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whereyouare / whereiam@ – A Satircal Election Map of Maine’s Vote on Same-Sex Marriage
|| 11/8/2009 || 1:46 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Original Map by Julie Harris & Eric Zelz of the Bangor Daily News [PDF]

The evening after Maine’s election results came in I was asked to help coordinate the sound system for an impromptu rally at Dupont Circle. During one of the speeches, I remember hearing someone mention that the ballot should never be used to let the majority of population impose it’s will on a minority population. Being that there are far fewer gay couples in Maine (or most states for that matter) than heterosexual couples; the point stood out in my mind.

Its an example of the “tyranny of the majority,” at the ballot box. The fundamental inalienable principles of equality, all men being created equal, and the pursuit of happiness are the foundation of American democracy and when those words were written the largest city in America was Philadelphia, with 28,000 citizens and the rest of the American population was mostly rural. Yet in the 200+ years since, the rural / urban divide has only grown more stark as some states contain few large centers of population. Paradoxically, its in these cities where the most social interaction & social education takes place. It’s in cities where people are more likely to see same-sex couples in their daily lives and possibly have same sex-couples as their friends, and thereby be more apt to see same-sex couples from a different perspective that is not based on prejudice towards The Other.

The modified map [pdf] above was originally found on the Bangor Daily News website. It shows how the state of Maine voted on the question of same-sex marriage. Voters were given the opportunity to Vote Yes and repeal the recently-passed same-sex marriage law or Vote No to keep it in place.

To remix this map, I first inverted the color scheme, which surprisingly yielded a pink color for the counties which voted 65% or greater to repeal the law. Ironically, its a color I personally associate with those who voted No. I then added my own typographical critique to the map. I created a pink square and placed in an unpopulated rural location and added the words “whereyouare,” in large font and in the southern portion of the map, in smaller font size, I added the words “whereiam@” above Maine’s largest city, Portland.

The justification for this subtle addition was to highlight the nature of the urban / rural divide. Portland, for example, voted 73.5% to not repeal the same-sex marriage law, so I placed “whereiam@” nearby to show where my vote would have been. Most rural areas overwhelmingly supported the removal of equal rights for their fellow citizens, so I placed the pink square in an area that doesn’t even an election precinct.



The 23rd Amendment – Time Magazine – March 31, 1961
|| 2/14/2009 || 6:05 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I found this article when I was looking up more information about the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Thanks to a succession of oversights by the Founding Fathers and early Congresses, the residents of the District of Columbia have never enjoyed one particular constitutional right cherished by all other Americans: the privilege of voting. There was no reasoning attending the oversights; it was just plain neglect.† Last week Rhode Island cast the 36th affirmative vote for the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution, giving 746,000 Washingtonians the right to vote in presidential elections — and three electoral votes. Ohio and Kansas are expected to ratify the amendment this week, making the necessary two-thirds majority for official adoption (only one legislature—Arkansas—rejected the amendment outright, on the ground that 54% of the District’s citizens are Negroes).

But after 161 years, Washingtonians will be limited to voting for the President and Vice President. They will continue to have no representative in Congress, no voice in their municipal government.

†One segment of the capital gained the right to vote in 1846, when one-third of the District’s land area, now Arlington County, was ceded back to Virginia.

What this article shows to me is how racist America used to be….
In some ways, even with an African American president, it still is.
sigh



Related 23rd Amendment Entries:



The Singapore 18
|| 11/7/2008 || 11:56 am || Comments Off on The Singapore 18 || ||

This morning I received an e-mail from Timothy Cooper announcing that his Op-Ed was published today in the Washington Times (below).

After I read the article, I went on to do my morning IP analysis, and guess who visited my website looking for more information? None other than the Singaporean government. The very same government the Op-Ed was written to agitate. Examples like this prove that we really do live in a small world, while at the same time showing that human rights transcend borders.

COOPER: The Singapore 18

Prosecution or persecution?
Op-Ed by Timothy Cooper
Friday, November 7, 2008

The names Gandhi Ambalam, Chia Ti Lik, Chong Kai Xiong, Jeffrey George, Jaslyn Go, Chee Siok Chin, Govindan Rajan, Chee Soon Juan, Jufrie Mahmood, Jufri Salim, Surayah Akbar, Ng E-Jay, Seelan Palay, Shafi’ie, Carl Lang, John Tan, Francis Yong and Sylvester Lim aren’t exactly household names — but they should be. This week 18 Singaporeans — the Singapore 18 — are standing trial for purported crimes against America’s 11th largest trading partner — Singapore.

Indicted for violating the Miscellaneous Offences Act for assembling peacefully without a permit to register their concerns over escalating housing costs, they claim that they’re innocent by virtue of their right under the Singapore constitution to enjoy the guarantees of freedom of assembly and expression. Historically, however, Singapore has viewed political dissent through a lens darkly, treating protest as a threat to social tranquility and economic prosperity, rather than what it is — a fundamental right and necessity in any democracy.

While Singapore claims to be a constitutional democracy, it nevertheless routinely arrests Singaporeans for attempting to assert those rights articulated under the constitution in the open light of day. A democracy, it’s not quite.

Ironically, while their trial is about their right to public assembly in numbers more than four without a permit, and to free speech, they view it as a test about whether Singapore’s judiciary is independent enough to interpret the country’s constitution objectively. In effect, Judge Chia Wee Kiat, who’s presiding magistrate over the case, is on trial, too. Many Singaporeans will be watching how he rules. Americans should be watching, too.

That’s because Singapore’s Minister for Home Affairs, Wong Kan Seng, appears to refuse to be bound by the affirmative rights guaranteed under the country’s basic law. Last February, he stated that “[w]e have stopped short of allowing outdoor and street demonstration … Our experiences in the past have taught us to be very circumspect about outdoor and street protests.” His reference is to the race riots in Singapore during the 1960s — almost 50 years ago. Which is like saying that because Washington, D.C. experienced race riots in the 1960s, the residents of Washington must be denied the right to protest government policies. That argument simply doesn’t wash.

But the judge in the case will likely rule accordingly, regardless of the plain language of the constitution.

The late Singaporean politician, Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, stated in an interview shortly before his death that his main concern was that the public had the “perception that its judiciary was not independent.” He himself had been made a bankrupt by defamation lawsuits filed against him by his political opponents and the high damages awarded them by Singapore courts. After paying off his debts, he’d recently committed to heading a new political party, whose primary agenda was calling for the independence of the judiciary.

He was not alone. In July, the International Bar Association (ABA) issued a 72-page report on the state of Singapore’s judiciary noting that “there are concerns about the objective and subjective independence and impartiality of Singapore judges.” The report’s final recommendations advocate tenure be granted Singapore judges and that the transfer of judges between “executive and judicial roles” be banned. They also call on the government to prohibit defamation as a criminal offense, and forbid public officials from initiating criminal defamation suits, which detractors claim are used by government to silence its critics.

One of those critics is Chee Soon Juan. He’s been jailed seven times on a potpourri of politically-related charges, including speaking without a permit, contempt of court, and even for attempting to depart Singapore in order to attend an international rights conference. He’s been fined nearly $1 million to date and made bankrupt by defamation suits brought against him by former Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong, and Singapore’s current Minister Mentor, Lee Hsein Loong. In the next few months, he faces six more trials and an indeterminate amount of jail time. Yet all he wants is for the courts to properly enforce the spirit and letter of the Singapore constitution. Barred from leaving the country, he’s been put under country arrest and is a prisoner of conscience.

Were the Singapore 18 living in China or Russia, they’d be enjoying considerable support from the U.S. Instead, they’re victims of a sad neglect. They’ve been cut loose by a nation otherwise preoccupied. But the next Congress and administration should take up the cause of freedom in Singapore. They should exert their influences on Singapore to open up its political space to peaceful dissent and to embrace the benefits of political pluralism. Economic prosperity and political freedoms are not mutually exclusive in Singapore or anywhere else.

Above all, this country should call for judicial reform in Singapore because as J.B. Jeyaretnam would no doubt agree without independence there can be no rule of law.

Timothy Cooper is executive director of the human-rights group Worldrights.



Marginally Related OSCE Entries:

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YouTube Doubler [Scratch Slavery Revisited]
|| 4/13/2008 || 3:32 pm || Comments Off on YouTube Doubler [Scratch Slavery Revisited] || ||

YouTube Doubler

Links to my first YouTube mashup “Scratch Slavery.”

This weekend I found Brian Kane’s YouTube Doubler and smiled. In August of last year I coded a proto-version of YouTube Doubler to create my first YouTube mashup “Scratch Slavery.” The mashup juxtaposed Rory Mayberry, a former subcontractor employee for First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting Company, giving testimony at the Oversight Committee’s hearing on “Allegations of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse at the New U.S. Embassy in Iraq,” with a simple beat track by DJ Loomy showing the Vestax Controller One turntable.

What I would like to see next is YouTube Wall. In November of last year, I was able to place four YouTube videos together to create a YouTube Quadrupler. I think it would be interesting to scale down the size of the YouTube videos and create video tiling where the different video screens make a design. It would also be interesting to use multiple scales to create border of videos with a large video in the center. A random YouTube selector (a la Lost Series) would be a lot of fun because of the vast of amount of videos that could be chosen.



My first YouTube Mash-up : Scratch Slavery
|| 8/5/2007 || 2:11 am || Comments Off on My first YouTube Mash-up : Scratch Slavery || ||

Political Activism + Turntablism

Taking congressional testimony stating that your country is still engaged in slavery and mashing it up with a scratch demo video by DJ Loomy showing off the new Vestax Controller One.

Press the play button on both videos:

The scratch video ends first, but you know it deserves a rewind, because history is repeating.

(sometimes the videos do not show up in Firefox!)


Click here to view the updated version of this mashup created using YouTube Doubler





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