Friday, June 09, 2006

Big Day for science blogging 

So, the day has finally arrived - the Big Move to SEED scienceblogs. Today at noon, go check out the brand new front page and all the old and new bloggers there.

My new blog, a fusion of all three of my blogs, will be a new brand, with a new name - A Blog Around The Clock, reflecting my age and musical taste, my usual blogging frequency and the area of my scientific expertise, all in one title.

The Banner was designed by Carel Pieter Brest Van Kempen who also runs a delightful science/art blog Rigor Vitae.

The new URL is http://scienceblogs.com/clock/, the new Atom feed is http://scienceblogs.com/clock/atom.xml and the new RSS feed is http://scienceblogs.com/clock/index.xml.

Please change your bookmarks, blogrolls and newsfeeds to reflect this move.

As I said before, Circadiana and The Magic School Bus will be closed (but not deleted), while Science And Politics will slow down and will re-focus on local North Carolina topics, including local politics (which includes following the career of John Edwards), and perhaps an occasional post for my readers from the Balkans. If you are still interested in those topics, you are welcome to retain the bookmarks, blogrolls and newsfeeds for Science And Politics as well, but I will not be insulted if you do not, as my main blogging effort will be over there, on my new SB blog.

I encourage you to go and check all 24 newbies over on SEED - all wonderful bloggers you should read if you are interested in science. Let me introduce my new fraternity-mates to you:

Carl Zimmer, the NYTimes science/evolution reporter, is moving The Loom from here to here.

Matt Nisbett, an expert on political communication and writer of a monthly column for the Skeptical Inquirer Online is moving his blog Framing-Science from here to here.

My fellow North Carolinian, medblogger Abel PharmBoy, is moving Terra Sigillata from here to here.

James Hrynyshyn, another fellow North Carolinian, is moving Island Of Doubt from here to here.

My favourite cognitive psychology blogger Chris is moving Mixing Memory from here to here.

Philosopher of biology John Wilkins is moving Evolving Thoughts from here to here.

Mike The Mad Biologist is moving from here to here.

I thought that one of my favourite science bloggers George Wilkinson has quit blogging, but no, he is also moving Keat's Telescope from here to here.

Reveres, experts on Avian Flu, are moving Effect Measure from here to here.

Karmen is moving her beautiful Chaotic Utopia from here to here.

Sandra Porter is moving Discovering Biology In A Digital World from here to here.

Nick Anthis is moving The Scientific Activist from here to here.

Joseph is moving Corpus Callosum from here to here.

Jake Young, another one of several neuroscientists joining the team, is moving Pure Pedantry from here to here.

Shelley Batts, another neuroscientist, is moving Retrospectacle from here to here.

Evil Monkey is moving Neurotopia from here to here.

Mike Dunford is moving The Questionable Authority from here to here.

Mark Chu-Carroll is moving Good Math, Bad Math from here to here.

David Ng and Benjamin Cohen are moving from Science Creative Quarterly and Annals of Science to World's Fair.

The Cheerful Oncologist is moving from here to here.

Dr.Charles is moving the eponimous Examining Room from here to here.

Dr. X is moving Chemblog from here to here.

The rowdy bonobos from Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge are moving from here to here.

Steinn, an astrophysicist, is moving Dynamics Of Cats from here to here.

Finally, Jonah Lerer is a SEED staffer, starting his own blog called The Frontal Cortex.

There were very few surprises for me on this list. Two good blogfriends of mine (Revere and Mike the Mad Biologist) managed to keep me in the dark about their move until two days ago. On the other hand, two bloggers I thought were going to accept the invitation, are not on the list (yet?). Almost all of the others I knew about.

The SEED overlords intend to add more bloggers before the end of the year so keep an eye on SEED - that is where the SciBlogging action is going to be.

Friday Blogaround 

What a week: gay marriage, a dead terrorist, and Tom DeLay's last day in the House. But wait, there's more. The Liberal Coalition takes a look.
  • All Facts and Opinion shares a letter with the Human Rights Commission on the gay rights vote.
  • archy on the departure of al-Zarqawi and who's left.
  • Bark Bark Woof Woof gets dramatic over the battle between fathers and sons.
  • blogAmY on the tiff between Bolton and the U.N.
  • bloggg notes a resemblance between Frank N Furter and a well-known haridan.
  • Collective Sigh on the latest way cats can torture their staff.
  • NTodd on the on-going battle over outing anonymous bloggers.
  • Echidne on the new HPV vaccine.
  • the farmer signs off again.
  • FDL charts the demise of a loose pundit.
  • First Draft says goodbye to Tom DeLay.
  • Happy Furry Puppy remembers the golden days of vinyl.
  • iddybud on the reaction to al-Zarqawi's death by Nick Berg's father.
  • Left is Right with a comment from Cindy Sheehan.
  • Lefty Brown gets down with the Boss.
  • Liberty Street tracks the substantial revulsion from the right for Ann Coulter.
  • Make Me a Commentator responds to an argument against gay marriage.
  • MercuryX23 speaks out on how gay marriage effects his marriage.
  • Musing's musings on the Mary Poppins party.
  • Pen-Elayne engages in a little inner dialogue.
  • Rick on the power of prayer... ZAP!
  • Rook defines "indefinite."
  • rubber hose gets personal about the death of a terrorist.
  • Coturnix recaps a North Carolina blogger meet-up.
  • Scrutiny Hooligans handicaps a race for Congress that is getting national attention.
  • Sooner Thought on a real nutjob running for state senate in Oklahoma.
  • Speedkill on another real nutjob losing in Alabama.
  • Steve Gilliard on the World Cup (with a lot of posts and a bracket).
  • Kenneth at T. Rex's Guide to Life, someone who knows something about history, speaks on Florida's revisionist history curriculum.
  • The Countess keeps you up to date and offers some goodies.
  • The Invisible Library on the Mark of the Beast.
  • Wanda is back!
  • WTF Is It Now?? on the Cheney/Specter tiff.
  • The Yellow Doggerel Democrat on clearing the air in Houston.
  • ...You Are A Tree on re-enacting history -- as if the first time around wasn't enough -- with superheroes.
  • This Sunday night is the Tony Awards ceremony. You can bet I'll be watching for a certain person to win...

    Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    Explain It To Me 

    Today President Bush urged Congress, just as he did in his Saturday morning radio address, to pass an amendment to the Constitution that would ban gay marriage.

    As a gay American, I would like to have him explain a few things.

  • Explain it to me why, for the first time since 1919 and the ratification of the 18th Amendment that prohibited the manufacture and sale of liquor, we should change the Constitution to restrict the rights of citizens rather than expand them. It wasn’t a good idea then – it was repealed in less than fifteen years – and it’s not a good idea now. The Constitution should be an affirmative mandate for the rights of the people, not a bludgeon against them.

  • Explain to me why this amendment would not violate the First Amendment of the Constitution; specifically the Establishment of Religion clause. Marriage is, after all, a religious rite; according to the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, it was
    established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.
    So right there we have the Constitution defining a religious ceremony. The fact that our laws recognize civil marriage is merely an outgrowth of what is a religious sacrament.

    And while we’re on the subject of using the Constitution to define marriage, perhaps we should consider what else the Book of Common Prayer has to say about it:
    The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.
    Granted, the Episcopal Church is still struggling with their own issues about gay marriage, but nowhere in this sacred rite does it say anything about marriage being the bulwark of American civilized society, nor is it envisioned by the church as anything other than a covenant between two people. So not only would this amendment violate the Establishment clause, it would demolish the intent of the ritual itself, turning marriage from a private matter into a weapon of social change. Isn’t that something that the conservative movement has accused the liberals of doing all these years?

  • Explain it to me why the Constitution should be used as an instrument of discrimination against an entire group of people based solely on something that they have no control over – their sexual orientation – any more than they have over their ethnicity. That would violate the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the United States Supreme Court said so when it ruled in 1967 in the case of Loving v. Virginia that overturned state laws that banned interracial marriage. The Court also said,
    Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
    It would seem to me that again Mr. Bush is making the very anti-conservative argument of using the federal government and the Constitution as an instrument of social change. However, instead of providing more freedoms, such as the ruling of Roe v. Wade, Mr. Bush and the Republicans would use it to hold back the movement toward equal rights for people regardless of their sexual orientation.

  • Explain to me how “activist” it is for a judge to interpret the Constitution on its face as providing equal rights for all citizens? It is all too hypocritical for the president to decry judicial activism when it goes in favor of something he doesn't like, yet applaud it when it is applied to a politically-motivated attempt to raise the dead and score points with his political base. (And while we’re on the subject of activist judges, if it weren’t for at least five of them Mr. Bush would most likely today be collecting his pension as the former governor of the state of Texas.)

  • Explain to me how two men or two women falling in love and making a legal commitment to each other threatens someone else's marriage or the institution itself. As it is, marriage between heterosexuals is already in enough trouble -- anyone who listens to country music could tell you that -- so perhaps the idea of "marriage protection" ought to start there. And who are straight people to say that couples of the same sex aren't as serious about marriage as they are? Ask Britney Spears, Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor, or any number of the Republican House and Senate who are writing multiple alimony checks how they can consider their multiple trips down the aisle or up to Reno to be paragons of marital solemnity. I'm not saying that homosexuals are any more virtuous than straight people, but at least don't hold up heterosexual marriage as something that gay people could possibly tarnish any more than it already is.

  • Explain to me how anybody can stand up in front of the nation, advocate the passage of this amendment, and not sound like a homophobic bigot? How can the president stand up in front of members of his own party and his own administration who are homosexual and not sound like he isn’t singling them out for discrimination and reducing them to the rank of second-class citizenship? How can he stand up in front of Vice President Dick Cheney and tell him that his own daughter isn’t entitled to the same rights as the straight people in America?

    The rights that we enjoy as American citizens are binary: we either have them or we do not. If you take away one of them, you take away all of them. A citizen may lose his rights through due process of law, but to deny the attainment of these rights at the outset based on something as innate as sexual orientation and without due process is an assault on the very idea of liberty and the foundation of law that defines us not just as a nation but as a civilization.

    What’s even worse is that there is no other purpose behind this fatuous “Marriage Protection Amendment” than politics. It is no secret that the right wing and the Religious Reich are not happy with the president at the moment, so he is doing this just to fan the bonfire of their sanctimonious bigotry in the hope of re-electing Republicans next fall. What’s even more disturbing is that everyone from both parties knows that this amendment will never get enough votes to be sent to the states for ratification. So why, with a war of their own making dissolving beyond chaos, with gasoline prices soaring, with a budget deficit soaring to the moon, is the president and his party wasting our time by engaging in an act of political masturbation? (Or more correctly, an act of sodomy against the Constitution.)

    It’s simple. Nothing matters more to this president than being president; nothing matters more to the Republicans than being in office, and if sacrificing the rights of a several million queer people to do it, it’s a small price to pay for their grip on power.

    That explains a great deal.

    [Updated with minor edits.]

    Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.