Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Hope Blogging

Blog of Rights has a touching post about a woman who successfully fought a court decision that denied the rights of her same-sex partner.

This week, Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit, issued a new opinion in this dispute, stating once again that Karen is entitled to receive health care coverage for her wife, just like any other lawfully married employee of the federal courts. But this time, he added “Et Uxor” to the caption of the case, so that it reads "IN THE MATTER OF KAREN GOLINSKI, ET UXOR", reflecting in yet another way the federal court’s recognition of the validity of Karen and Amy’s union. And throughout the decision, the Chief Judge refers to Amy as Karen’s wife.

The merits of the decision are important — guaranteeing employees of the federal court system equal pay for equal work — but the court’s linguistic respect for their relationship is also a milestone.
Speaking of milestones, an Argentine judge has upheld a gay couple's right to be married:
An Argentine judge paved the way for gay marriage when she granted a homosexual couple permission to marry in a first for Latin America, the world's biggest Catholic region....

Friday's ruling by Judge Gabriela Seijas ordered the civil registry to make official the marriage of Alejandro Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, who had been denied their request because they were both men.
In New York, meanwhile, judges upheld the state's recognition of gay marriage.
New York State’s highest court unanimously fought off a challenge to the NYS policy signed by Gov. David Paterson that recognizes gay marriages performed in other states.

However, the judges ruled narrowly, and asked that the legislature resolved the question of marriage equality.
A law requiring immigrant women to be vaccinated against HPV has been rescinded:
The requirement was originally implemented in July 2008 and was mandated by the Federal Immigration Authorities. It applied to immigrant women ages 11 to 26 who were seeking permanent resident status. Women's and immigrant rights groups argued that the requirement, which is gender-specific and costly, is discriminatory.
Young Indian girls are speaking out against child marriage:
Fourteen-year-old Ahalya Kumar lives on a single daily meal of starched rice and has never been to the movies, but the girl from a dirt-poor Indian village packed enough power to reject her arranged marriage in June.

One of four children in a family that earns a pittance rolling bidis, or cheap handrolled Indian cigarettes, her elder sister was married off young and forced to bear children before she turned 18, the legal Indian marrying age.

But when it was Ahalya's turn, she said "no" after hearing about a 13-year-old girl from the same area who had shot to national fame by stopping her marriage.

"I want to be educated first and live healthy. Marriage can wait until I am 19," she said.
Also in India, women are reviving a traditional agricultural practice:
Commercial mono-crop cultivation in recent decades has usurped the traditional space women had in agriculture. Most farmers in this region, with an average landholding of two acres, did not want to divert plots for pata and lose income in cash, Kumre added.

Tulsiwar held meetings with women farmers in 31 villages in Jhari Jamni tehsil. The women pooled available seed stocks, which Tulsiwar’s non-profit bought and multiplied in 2006-2007 by planting them on the existing patas and on its five-acre nursery....Women from Lalguda and Mahadapur estimate the patas helped them save Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 last year. More than that, they offered a variety of nutritious food. “There is happiness only when there is plenty to eat,” commented Atram.
A number of prominent conservatives are arguing in favor of closing Guantanamo and trying terrorists in federal courts.
Civilian federal courts are the proper forum for terrorism cases. Civilian prisons are the safe, cost effective and appropriate venue to hold persons convicted in federal courts. Over the last two decades, federal courts constituted under Article III of the U.S. Constitution have proven capable trying a wide array of terrorism cases, without sacrificing either national security or fair trial standards.
A swim club that discriminated against minority children has filed for bankruptcy:
Yesterday, Valley president John Duesler announced that the club's board of directors had voted 5-1 to file this week for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

For months, it had been rumored that Valley would not survive the costs associated with legal proceedings and lawsuits filed on behalf of young campers from Creative Steps Day Camp, a city summer camp whose members are minorities.
A population of critically endangered crocodiles has been found in Cambodia.
Nhek Ratanapech, the director of the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, which is home to the 35 purebred Siamese crocodiles, describes the population as "on the verge of extinction".

"This could provide a critical lifeline for the long-term preservation of this critically endangered species," he says of the DNA results.

Nhek Ratanapech, who also heads the country’s crocodile conservation programme, says six of the 35 purebred Siamese crocodiles are mature adults which are unrelated to each other—vital for ensuring genetic diversity.
Birds and marine mammals have helped to create an atlas of the Patagonian Sea.
The atlas contains the most accurate maps ever assembled for this ecosystem and shows key migratory corridors spanning from coastlines to deep-sea feeding areas off the continental shelf hundreds of miles away....

“This unprecedented atlas was essentially written by the wildlife that live in the Patagonian Sea,” said Dr. Campagna, who runs the WCS Sea and Sky initiative. “It helps fill in many gaps of knowledge and should serve as a blueprint for future conservation efforts in this region.”
In the UK, tidal power turbines are producing more energy than expected:
The twin generators typically produce an average of 5MWh of electricity during the 6.25 hours of each ebb and each flood tide, enough energy to meet the average electricity needs for 1500 UK homes. SeaGen has already delivered over 350MWh of power into the electricity grid of Northern Ireland.
A federal judge has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to take necessary steps to protect New Orleans from flooding:
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers' failure to properly maintain a navigation channel led to massive flooding in Hurricane Katrina, a decision that could make the federal government vulnerable to billions of dollars in claims....

The ruling should give more than 100,000 other individuals, businesses, and government entities a better shot at claiming billions of dollars in damages.
Back in 2003, the US government ruled that decades of bomb testing in Vieques, Puerto Rico posed no environmental or health hazards. Now, they appear to be changing their tune.
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said Friday it intends to "modify" some of its earlier research on Vieques, where the U.S. and its allies trained for conflicts from Vietnam to Iraq....

Robert Rabin, who moved to Vieques from Boston in 1980 and helped lead the protests against the bombing range, said he and other islanders had an "attitude of cautious celebration" about the agency's announcement.

"We hope this will lead to the best possible cleanup and allow people here to receive the best health care," Rabin said Saturday from his Vieques home. "They are using hopeful language, and this island really needs help."
The US, Canada, and Mexico have agreed on a new plan to protect North American wilderness areas.
The cooperation agreement establishes an intergovernmental committee to exchange research and approaches that address challenges such as climate change, fire control, and invasive species in land, marine, and coastal protected areas throughout the continent.

"This agreement will allow for the exchange of successful experiences, monitoring, and training of human resources, as well as the financing of projects that will protect and recover wild areas," said Mexican President Felipe Calderón at the
opening ceremony of the Ninth World Wilderness Congress in Mérida, Mexico.
In related news, a Texas industrial plant will not be importing and incinerating Mexican PCBs.
Veolia Environmental Services' industrial incinerator in Port Arthur — which gained national attention in 2007 for importing and burning waste from a military nerve agent — was seeking an exemption to a federal rule prohibiting the import of the chemical waste. The company has been in the application process to burn imported polychlorinated byphenyls, or PCBs, since 2006.

The company cited the economy for its decision to abandon the plan, but environmental groups claimed victory in stopping the area from becoming a "dumping ground for the world."
The Obama administration claims it will toughen oversight of strip-mining operations:
The Obama administration on Wednesday announced plans to beef up federal strip-mining inspections and reviews of mining permits issued by state regulators like West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection.

Interior Department officials said these steps are among its "immediate actions" to improve oversight of state mining regulators and "better protect streams affected by surface coal mining operations."
Builders are increasingly downsizing American homes:
For the first time in four decades in the luxury-home business, executives at John Wieland builders are thinking the unthinkable: Maybe houses in the South don't really need a fireplace.

They're also wondering whether new homes require 4,700 square feet of living space. Or private theaters with 100-inch screens. Or super-size-me foyers....

Wieland believes the market downshift reflects "a fundamental change in the way people are going to want to live," and not just a reaction to scarce credit and insecure jobs, said F. David Durham, senior vice president. "We're not waiting for things to return to the way they were."
The EPA has proposed new regulations on sulfur dioxide:
EPA said the proposed rules would "better protect public health by reducing people's exposure to high short-term concentrations of S02."

Fossil fuel-based power plants and other industrial facilities are the main sources sulfur dioxide emissions.
London is trying to restore its water fountains:
London has restored a drinking fountain in famous Trafalgar Square, and hopes that it starts a trend of renovating fountains across the city, returning free clean water to citizens who are out and about enjoying their public spaces.
Software originally created for urban designers turns out to be a valuable tool for autistic children:
Science is rich with happy flukes. Remember the story of penicillin? Alexander Fleming discovered the bacteria-destroying mold by accident when he left a culture dish uncovered in his lab in 1928. Eight decades later, here's another one: a Googlesoftware program called SketchUp, which was intended largely for architects and design professionals, has found a very unexpected and welcome fan base—children with autism. SketchUp is not only entertaining kids with autism spectrum disorders, it's providing them with skills that might one day help them as they age out of school and into the workforce.
NASA invites you to help explore Mars.

A Nasa website called "Be A Martian" allows users to play games while at the same time sorting through hundreds of thousands of images of the Red Planet.

The number of pictures returned by spacecraft since the 1960s is now so big that scientists cannot hope to study them all by themselves.

The agency believes that by engaging the public in the analysis as well, many more discoveries will be made.

Click here to learn more.

Pictures of waves. The filming of Cenerentola (1913). Postales Inventadas and photos by Alan Aubry (both via things). Electrical Folklore. The World Atlas of Panoramic Aerial Images (via Plep). And some absolutely incredible photos from Russia's Antarctic station.

Everyday Miracles. A consideration of the Michigan Relics. Oddly soothing artwork by John Fischetti. Gorgeous images from mid-century ads (see also here). Computopia. More railroad posters. A history of ballooning. And some quaint scenes from our recent past.

Chinese anti-malaria posters. Photos by Toshio Shibata (via wood s lot). BioScapes and solar astrophotography. Nineteenth-century photos of the Russian Empire. Covers from Dutch mysteries. And for an exceedingly special someone who's much on my mind of late, Eating in Toronto.

And here's a movie.

(Photo at top by Alan Friedman.)


Hecate said...

I know Judge Kozinski. No flaming liberal he.

grouchomarxist said...

Thanks for the link to Bioscope.

I'd just this evening heard Robert Osborne on TMC referring to an American premiere of "the restored Metropolis", and was planning to do a little Googling about it. But then there was the Bioscope post and all the links I could ask for. Talk about synchronicity!

There is as always plenty of other stuff to make my day in this Friday's Hope Blogging (especially the Mars Mapping project) but I have a long-standing fascination with that film, dating from the first time I saw some stills from it in Forry Ackerman's "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine.

So I can't believe this is the first I've heard about the (almost) complete 16mm print they found in Argentina last year. That's only been kind of a Holy Grail for sf and silent film fans for over half a century.


Gotta go: getting mangled by a kitten.

Phila said...

So I can't believe this is the first I've heard about the (almost) complete 16mm print they found in Argentina last year. That's only been kind of a Holy Grail for sf and silent film fans for over half a century.

Yeah, it's fascinating! IIRC, I noted that discovery in a previous FHB, thanks (I'm sure) to The Bioscope.

That site makes me a little sad, though, as the author's always going to amazing silent festivals. I used to see lots of stuff in NYC and other big cities, but after moving to the Pacific NW a couple years back, I've pretty much had to do without real movie theaters. I can't think too much about the MOMA theaters or I'll start bawling.

Re: kittens, my pal Fourlegsgood recommends an oven mitt.

grouchomarxist said...

Despite being a demented little gremlin when she goes into Hyperkitten mode, she's actually pretty good about using her claws. So far, she's only climbed up my leg once.

The oven mitt's a great idea -- but we threw ours away last week, after I got a pair of those newfangled neoprene mitts. I have a pair of heavy leather work gloves that should make a good substitute, though.

Anything to use up some of that energy. She's a fierceable little beast.