truth, justice and punk fucking rock

by lestro

Punk rock is the true American art form.

In its purest forms, punk rock is simply a rage of personal freedom and anti-authority that is at the very heart of the American idea. That simple reflex – “fuck you, I don’t have to do what you say” – is what not only founded the nation, but continues to permeate every aspect of American life.

That challenge, that question, that pushback against being told what to do and how to live, it IS the American experience.

Every culture that comes into the melting pot comes here for the same reason: the simple freedom to question.

And no matter what, through even the tightest of home cultures, America – the idea of America – persists and infects.

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I have a new proposition: Ban Mormonism

by lestro

It’s been said again and again over the past few weeks, but the passage of Proposition 8 in California was a tremendous blight on the victory of a new, progressive coalition on the national stage.

This year, despite the tremendous Blue Wave that swept the nation, somehow voters in California, traditionally the most liberal state in the Union, passed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, as ridiculous as that seems for a state that went to the Dems with a 60.9% – 37.3% margin.

On Saturday, all across the country, protesters gathered in support of gay rights.

“People around the country were watching this very closely,” said Kellan Baker, a Washington, D.C., resident who is organizing today’s protest there. “For Californians to go to the ballot box to strip people of civil rights they had been enjoying is, I guess, the last straw.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that “San Francisco city officials, joined by the city of Los Angeles and Santa Clara and Los Angeles counties, have petitioned the [state Supreme] court” to again declare the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.  The LA Times reports that legal challenges include those brought by “groups including the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund” which “brings to four the number of lawsuits asking the court to overturn Proposition 8.”

The California Supreme court has overturned a gay marriage ban once before, earlier this year, setting off an economic boom and a legal recognition that in the government’s eyes, marriage is simply a legal contract between two consenting adults.

And a constitutionally protected right, something the California State Constitution vows to protect right off the top in its Declaration of Rights:

SECTION 1. All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

That’s Article I, Section 1.

“pursuing happiness and privacy.” That’s nice.  I read on, but nowhere did I find,  “unless you like the cock.”

and don’t think I didn’t look…

But Prop 8 is an amendment to the constitution, codifying the idea that marriage is only legal between a man and a woman. It is the first time I can recall that we have ever voted in this country to remove a right, to eliminate one of the very things we create governments to protect.

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The Kiwi wishes to apply

by The Kiwi

So a park in Utah has a Ten Commandments display, but is refusing a monument to the Seven Aphorisms of the Summum religion (founded 1975).

The Summums are taking it to the Supreme Court, which is hearing arguments today.

The justices will consider whether a public park open to some donations must accept others as well. In cases involving speeches and leaflets, the courts have generally said that public parks are public forums where the government cannot discriminate among speakers on the basis of what they propose to say. The question of how donated objects should be treated is, however, an open one.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a religious issue without hypocrisy and irony (aside from the idea that the Summum believe the Aphorisms were on the first set of tablets the lord gave to Moses, though he destroyed them because the people could not handle the rules of creation…):

The Ten Commandments monument here stands in Pioneer Park, which pays tribute to the city’s frontier heritage, one that is mostly Mormon. The two sides differ about how best to honor that heritage.

Mayor Daniels said the monument broadly reflected local history. Mr. Barnard, the Summum lawyer, said the Ten Commandments did not play a central role in the Mormon faith. “If they wanted to quote from the Book of Mormon,” he said, “that would, at least, relate to the pioneers.”

“Mormons came to Utah because of religious persecution,” Mr. Barnard added. “The pioneer heritage in Utah has to be escape from persecution.

And for the record, the Seven Aphorisms actually make much more sense than the whole Mormon backstory.

The NY Times weighed in again today with a lead editorial:

The federal appeals court reached the right result, but regrettably, it ducked the issue at the heart of the case, which turns on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The real problem is that Pleasant Grove City elevated one religion, traditional Christianity, over another, Summum. The founders regarded this sort of religious preference as so odious that they included a specific provision in the First Amendment prohibiting it. The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has a bad record on Establishment Clause cases, which made it easier for all of the parties to treat the case as a simple speech case.

The Kiwi absolutely agrees and would like to start the process of applying to have a Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi monument added to the park as well.  If one religion is allowed the free advertising in a public place, we deserve the opportunity to get our message across as well.

And we will not be undersold.