January 29, 2014 archive

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Oh Baby Please Don’t Go

Life, the Universe and Everything

In a multi-part series, the host of Moyers and Company, Bill Moyers and the popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson discussed the universe, higher beings and science literacy.

Transcript can be read here

Transcript can be read here

Transcript can be read here


On This Day In History January 29

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 29 is the 29th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 336 days remaining until the end of the year (337 in leap years).

On this day in 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “The Raven,” beginning “Once upon a midnight dreary,” is published on this day in the New York Evening Mirror.

“The Raven” is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in January 1845. It is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man’s slow descent into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem makes use of a number of folk and classical references.

Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett‘s poem “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship”, and makes use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Late Night Karaoke

Fixing Our Right to Vote

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In 1965, spurred by the slaying of voting-rights activists in Philadelphia, Mississippi and numerous other acts of violence and terrorism, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act that was designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. In June of 2013, the US Supreme Court struck down part of that act, specifically Section 4, that designated which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court:

The 5-4 ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that “things have changed dramatically” in the South in the nearly 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965.

The court’s opinion said it did not strike down the act of Congress “lightly,” and said it “took care to avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act” in a separate case back in 2009. “Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so. Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare [Section 4] unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.” [..]

The court did not rule on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the preclearance requirement itself, which requires those affected states to have changes to their voting laws cleared by the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington, D.C., before they go into effect. Rather, the court ruled that the current formula that determines which states are covered by Section 5 is unconstitutional, effectively eliminating Section 5 enforcement, at least for the time being.

Since the beginning of 2013, even before the ruling, over half the states have introduced or passed restrictions to voting rights.

  •    At least 92 restrictive bills were introduced in 33 states.
  •    Of those, 13 restrictive bills are still pending in 5 states.
  •    Of those, 5 restrictive bills are currently active in 2 states, [1] in that there has been legislative activity beyond introduction and referral to committee (such as hearings, committee activity, or votes).
  •    8 states have already passed 9 restrictive bills this session.

Some of these laws are being challenged in court and most recently the Pennsylvania voter ID law was found unconstitutional by  Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley. But there is a lot of money backing the passage of these laws mostly in states controlled by Republican legislatures mostly in the form if untraceable political donations. In an two part interview with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman, the host of Moyers and Company, Bill Moyers discusses the consequences of that “dark money” on our democracy.

The transcript can be read here

The transcript can be read here

State of the Union Open Thread

I have a sneaking suspicion that many regular readers of this site will be as little interested in #6 as they were in the previous 5.  If you feel compelled to share your outrage or something unexpectedly interesting occurs you’re more than welcome to share it below.

On the other hand perhaps you’re just looking for some alternative programming-

ABC Family Ravenswood AMC The Bourne Identity
BBCA ST: TNG CBS Sports Women’s College Hoopies, Louisville @ Rutgers
CMT Smokey and the Bandit Discovery Moonshiners
Disney XD Jessie Encore Independence Day
ESPN Men’s College Hoopies Kentucky @ LSU ESPN2 College Throwball All Star Challenge
Food Chopped FX X-Men: First Class
G4 Heros History Counting Cars
Hub The Karate Kid IFC Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie
Vs. NHL Hockey Capitals @ Sabres Nick Full House
Nicktoons Fairly OddParents Science Survivorman
Spike The Day After Tomorrow SciFi Face Off
TBS Big Bang Theory Turner Classic Movies Gambit
TNT Castle

(listings from Zap2It)