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Quick update

Tue, 07/01/2008 - 2:00AM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

Just a quick update to let y'all know I'm still here - I've been getting sucked into some books lately, so it tends to eat into my surfing time. But I am trying to check in, and be back and more active soon :)



Yes, Obama *IS* eligible to be elected President

Thu, 06/19/2008 - 1:44AM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

Messages like the one quoted below have been floating around trying to claim Barak Obama is ineligible to be elected President because there are questions about his status as a "natural-born citizen" of the US.

It seems that Barack Obama is not qualified to be president after all for the following reason:

Barack Obama is not legally a U.S. natural-born citizen according to the law on the books at the time of his birth, which falls between "December 24, 1952 to November 13, 1986." Presidential office requires a natural-born citizen if the child was not born to two U.S. citizen parents, which of course is what exempts John McCain though he was born in the Panama Canal. US Law very clearly stipulates: "If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16." Barack Obama's father was not a U.S. citizen and Obama's mother was only 18 when Obama was born, which means though she had been a U.S. citizen for 10 years, (or citizen perhaps because of Hawaii being a territory) the mother fails the test for being so for at least 5 years **prior to** Barack Obama's birth, but *after* age 16. It doesn't matter *after* . In essence, she was not old enough to qualify her son for automatic U.S. citizenship. At most, there were only 2 years elapsed since his mother turned 16 at the time of Barack Obama's birth when she was 18 in Hawaii. His mother would have needed to have been 16+5= 21 years old, at the time of Barack Obama's birth for him to have been a natural-born citizen. As aforementioned, she was a young college student at the time and was not. Barack Obama was already 3 years old at that time his mother would have needed to have waited to have him as the only U.S. Citizen parent. Obama instead should have been naturalized, but even then, that would still disqualify him from holding the office.

*** Naturalized citizens are ineligible to hold the office of President.

*** Though Barack Obama was sent back to Hawaii at age 10, all the other info does not matter because his mother is the one who needed to have been a U.S. citizen for 10 years prior to his birth on August 4, 1961, with 5 of those years being after age 16. Further, Obama may have had to have remained in the country for some time to protect any citizenship he would have had, rather than living in Indonesia. Now you can see why Obama's aides stopped his speech about how we technically have more than 50 states, because it would have led to this discovery. This is very clear cut and a blaring violation of U.S. election law. I think the Gov. of California would be very interested in knowing this if Obama were elected President without being a natural-born U.S. citizen, and it would set precedence. Stay tuned to your TV sets because I suspect some of this information will be leaking through over the next several days.

Thomas Sowell
Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow
The Hoover Institution
Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305

Snopes, one of the BEST sites on the web for finding out if something you've seen floating around the Internet is true or not, has a very interesting article looking at the questions raised in the quote above. In addition to what I've quoted below, Snopes also gives some interesting information on why it can sometimes be confusing to determine if someone is considered a natural-born citizen or not - though in this case, the question is basically pointless, since anyone born in the US - regardless of their parents citizenship status, ages or how long they've been in the US - IS a natural born citizen.

The item quoted above posits that Barack Obama does not qualify as a natural-born citizen of the U.S. because the law in effect at the time he was born specified that "If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16." Since Barack Obama only had one U.S. citizen parent (his mother), and his mother had not been residing in the U.S. for at least five years after the age of 16 when Barack was born (because she herself was only 18 at the time), then he's not a natural-born citizen.

A few facets of this claim immediately jump out as being far-fetched: first, that a sitting U.S. Senator who has already spent a good deal of time and money securing his party's nomination for the presidency would suddenly be discovered as ineligible due to an obscure provision of U.S. law; and second, that U.S. law would essentially penalize someone who would otherwise qualify for natural-born citizenship status simply because his mother was too young. The fact is, the qualifications listed in the example quoted above are moot because they refer to someone who was born outside the United States. Since Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, they do not apply to him.

Moreover, because Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, all other citizenship qualifications are moot. The Fourteenth Amendment states that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." Since Hawaii is part of the United States, even if Barack Obama's parents were both non-U.S. citizens who hadn't even set foot in the country until just before he was born, he'd still qualify as a natural-born citizen.

Some have claimed that Barack Obama's Hawaiian birthplace doesn't qualify him as a natural-born citizen because Hawaii was not yet a state when he was born. This claim is wrong on two counts: Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state almost two years before Barack Obama was born there (21 August 1959 for statehood vs. 4 August 1961 for Obama's birthdate); and even before it achieved statehood status Hawaii was a U.S. territory, so persons born there were entitled to claim the status of natural-born U.S. citizens.

Barack Obama would not be the first person to qualify for the office of President of the United States by virtue of having been born in a U.S. territory. Senator Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential candidate, was born in Phoenix, Arizona, three years before that territory was admitted to the U.S. as a state.

I have to say, I find it a bit galling that conservatives are even raising this as a question since they've often pointed out that the US policy of giving anyone born on US soil instant US citizenship leads many women from Mexico to try and sneak across the border so that they can give birth to their babies in the US so that their children will be citizens. One of the most common complaints I've heard is that because these children are US citizens, the state has certain obligations to them, and because the state is hesitant to take kids away from their parents over citizenship issues (and they can't deport the children,) the illegal-immigrant parents end up benefiting as well. So, it's pretty obvious that conservatives are WELL aware of the fact that anyone born in the US itself is, without question, a US citizen, and yet they decide to try and blow this bunch of chaff in the air in hopes that Obama will have to waste time trying to defend his citizenship (and, by extention, I have a feeling, his patriotism, which - of course - conservatives love to question.) It's nothing more than a typical dirty trick.


Ain't THAT the truth!

Mon, 05/19/2008 - 10:34AM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

The Story of My Life




Mon, 05/19/2008 - 2:49AM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

I've been contacted by a reporter from ABC News about a story he's working on. Near as I can tell, he saw a link from my Facebook page to one of my rants on how fat people are treated, and though I might be able to help him.

Over the last few years, there's been a new phenomenon that's been occurring, generally among college-age males where they go to bars, get drunk and see who can pick up the fattest woman. In general, the goal is to get laid and then kick her out, humiliating her. What the reporter finds most disturbing is that this is becoming something of a "structured deviant activity" (his words,) and is getting popular enough that people can now even buy merchandise online to brag about their participation. He referred me to an article published a couple years ago in the Cleveland Scene newspaper that explains more of what its all about. I haven't been able to read the whole thing yet - I just keep getting too angry, but what I've read explains what is going on pretty well.

He says that different regions of the country have different names for it, including "slump-busting," "hogging," and "big game hunting"

Right now, he's got a lot of information from guys who engage in it, but he wants to speak to some women who are familiar with it happening or, if they're willing, women who have been targeted this way. He understands that some women will want to keep their identities secret if they opt to talk to him, and says he will respect that.

I talked to him for about 20 or 30 minutes and he seems sincere in his view this as a very negative thing (and pointed out that if the guys are using alcohol to get the girl, it could go from being a deviant practice to a criminal act.) He says he's not comfortable doing the story without presenting the other side of it - allowing the victims of this form of exploitation the opportunity to explain why its wrong. We talked a bit about how some people will justify something like this with the classic "she did it to herself (got fat) so she deserves whatever treatment she gets..." and he indicated he's aware that isn't always the case and that he might also be interested in presenting information as to why that attitude is wrong - that there are other factors in people gaining weight.

Anyway, I not really an appropriate person to appear as part of the piece (mainly because of my age, disabilities and unfamiliarity with humiliating women as some kind of competitive sport,) but I think it's an important story that should be told, and wanted to see if anyone here was more familiar with it, or - Gods forbid - has been a victim of it. He has given me permission to give his name, phone and email to anyone interested in speaking to him, but I'd rather not just post it in a blog. If you're interested in speaking to him, let me know. Like the reporter, I understand that some would prefer to protect their identities, and will respect that also - I'm not gonna go around and tell anyone who asked for his info or anything, ok?

Thanks for taking time to read this, and let me know if you'd be interesting to talk to him, or know someone else who might.




R.I.P. John Rutsey - 1953 - 2008

Thu, 05/15/2008 - 3:59AM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

Way back in 1968, 3 high school friends got together to form a band. Drummer John Rutsey, guitarist Alex Zivojinovich, and bassist Jeff Jones named their fledgling act "Rush" and began one of rock's most enduring acts. Zivojinovich anglicized his last name, becoming Alex Lifeson, and within a month of Rush's founding, Jeff Jones was replaced on bass and vocals with Gary Lee Weinrib - now known world-wide as Geddy (because of the way his grandmother said his name through her thick Israeli accent) Lee. Rush went through a few other names before eventually coming back to "Rush" and had a few different lineups, but in the early years, Rutsey. Lifeson and Lee remained it's core.

After spending several years playing coffee houses, high school auditoriums and other such venues, the band decided it was time to make a record. None of the labels they sent demos to opted to sign them, so in 1974 the band - all three around 19 years old - formed their own label, Moon Records, and recorded their first, self-titled LP.

Not long after "Rush" was released, Rutsey decided to leave the band, as he felt he would not be able to manage his diabetes the way he needed to while touring. Neil Peart was hired as a replacement and the Lee, Lifeson & Peart lineup has remained the same for the last 34 years.

After leaving the band, John Rutsey became a bodybuilder and competed at the amateur level off and on for several years.

While Neil Peart will always be viewed as Rush's drummer (and rightly so,) Rutsey was an important part of the band's early years, and it was his drumming on the classic tracks of their first album - "Working Man," "Finding My Way," "In the Mood" and the rest - that helped get the band noticed and their long (and still ongoing) career underway.

May 11, 2008, John passed away, apparently in his sleep, due to a heart attack related to his diabetes. He was 55 years old.


The People's Campaign for the Constitution

Wed, 05/07/2008 - 5:50PM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

The Bill of Rights Defence Committee is sponsoring the People's Campaign for the Constitution, which is described at the campaign site as:

The People’s Campaign for the Constitution (PCC) was initiated in March 2008 by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), a national organization based in Northampton, Massachusetts.

BORDC developed and coordinated the Bill of Rights resolution campaign, which has involved community coalitions in 46 states. These coalitions organized to get local and state governments to defend the Bill of Rights and oppose laws and policies inaugurated under the guise of the “War on Terror” that violate these rights. Since 2002, 406 town, city, and county governments, plus 8 state governments have passed these resolutions, helping to dramatically alter the public debate on constitutional liberties since 9-11. Local organizers who were involved with those efforts provided valuable input for this campaign.

Six years of grassroots action to restore constitutional protections have led to increased oversight, congressional hearings, and many unfulfilled promises of more changes, but they have fallen short of the full restoration of constitutional rights and liberties that people who are familiar with the Constitution demand. Indeed, some of the abuses have gotten worse. The BORDC is initiating the PCC out of the recognition that we need a strategy to address the common source of the multiple threats to our Constitution, because we’ve seen that we are more numerous, stronger and, more energized when we re-unite our local coalitions to face common threats to our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The campaign is pretty new, not quite everything is set on their site yet, but I believe it to be a good cause, and wanted to encourage any of you who agree - or think you might - to check out their information and see if you want to support them also.


Targetting forensic evidence

Tue, 05/06/2008 - 7:10PM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

Forbes had a really interesting story today about a forensics lab that has been getting called on by police stations across the US for help, especially when analysis of footage from surveillance cameras is needed or video tape needs to be restored before it can be analyzed, since that's their speciality, though they've also been called on to help with fingerprint analysis and tracking cell phones among other things. The surprising part? This lab doesn't belong to any law enforcement agency, nor is it affiliated with any university or scientific association. It's owned and operated by, get this, Target!

Not only is Target getting called on to help out with cases, specifically murder, sexual assault and armed robbery, but they do the work on a volunteer basis. You read that right, they do not charge the police departments they're helping. All they ask for is one of the departmental patches (like the cops wear on the shoulder of their uniform) which they put on a display in their main office. So far, they have 136 patches in their collection, and have done so much work that they had to open a 2nd office to help with the volume of work.

We hear so much about evil corporations, it's kind of nice to see one that - in at least one way - is actually trying to do something that's actually in the public good.


Fritzl update: Eldest daughter not expected to live

Sat, 05/03/2008 - 10:53AM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

According to an article in the HeraldSun (an Australian paper,) doctors are now saying that they do not expect Kerstin Fritzl to live. Apparently, she has developed an auto-immune disorder, related to her inbreeding.

I suppose in some ways, if she doesn't survive, it might be seen as something of a blessing. Recovering from her ordeal wouldn't be easy - and it may not be possible, especially since she's the eldest. At the same time, though, it'd be sad for her to never be able to enjoy any of the freedom she helped bring to her mother and brothers.

I pray that Eir will keep watch over Kerstin, and that whatever happens, it will be what is the best for Kerstin.


Elisabeth Fritzl

Sat, 05/03/2008 - 3:18AM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

Over the last few days, I, like many, have been reading quite a bit about Elisabeth Fritzl, the Austrian woman who had been held captive by her father for 24 years. The story is at once disgusting, infuriating, saddening and horrifying - how on earth can one person do this to their own child (or anyone else for that matter?)

I've posted quite a bit about it at my LiveJournal, Thunderhaven, but trying to copy and reformat it for her would be kind of a pain, so I thought I'd just post links instead, in case anyone's interested in my thoughts on the matter.

There's been a lot of information coming out, and I've been trying to keep up with as much of it as I can. Apparently, the latest bit of bad news is that the illness that Elisabeth's eldest daughter, Kerstin, is suffering from - that helped lead to the release of Elisabeth, and her sons Stefan and Fritz - is epilepsy related to congenital problems due to inbreeding. I can only hope that her other children are spared any form of that horrible "gift" from their so-called "father."

Anyway, here are the posts I've made so far, and I'll either add new posts here with links as I write more, or I'll edit this post and add them to the list.

BTW: If you have an LJ and would like to be friends there as well, I'm thorswitch there, too :)

"The Austrian 'cellar girl' story" - http://thorswitch.livejournal.com/448953.html
"More on the Elisabeth Fritzl case" - http://thorswitch.livejournal.com/449495.html
"Fritzl neighbour claimed he knew Elisabeth was being raped prior to her imprisonment" - http://thorswitch.livejournal.com/449581.html


House report / a nice example of sportsmanship

Sun, 04/27/2008 - 10:11PM by thorswitch 0 Comments -

Well, they finished most of the major work on the house today! I'm amazed at how different it looks - it's SO much better than it had been before. The house had been a kind of dingy white with black shutters, but now the siding is kind of latte coloured with white trim at on the edges and corners - when Nyght gets some of the photos on the computer I may post a couple. They replaced the back door that was on the verge of falling apart because of Xander's tendency to try to eat anything he can - plus he and Tasha scratching on it to let us know they want to come back in - with a really nice STEEL door - it's gonna take Xan a bit more effort to damage this one, I think! They put in new windows that reported to reduce energy costs by up to 35%, so that will be helpful, too! They removed all the board with wood rot and replaced them with new wood, and completely re-landscaped the area where we had some crazy, overgrown bushes. They even planted some flowers at the base of this huge maple tree we have in our front yard (oh, is that tree beautiful - in the fall, when it's leaves are all flame red and bright orange, you can actually see our tree from a few blocks down the street!)

The tree lady (there were SO many people here, I really didn't get too many people's actually names, but it's ok, because she never did get my name right either - LOL!) managed to get me a birch and a rowan that she planted in the same hole so that they'll grow up together the way the birch and elm had, and I also now have an actual red oak tree in my yard! I'm really excited about this because when each of those species is tied in a very special way to my faith. The red oak is sacred to Thor, who is my Patron (hence my nick, thorswitch,) so having one in my yard is like having a piece of him there, helping watch over me. When it gets big enough to need some pruning, I'll probably see if I can't get someone to trim a decent sized branch and maybe have someone carve a blessing bowl for me or even a set of runes. An altar tool made from a sacred tree in on my land would be very special, indeed!

Thor is also associated with birch trees, and his wife, Sif, is associated with the rowan, so having the birch and rowan growing together from the same planting hole has a very beautiful symbolism, too. I'm amazed at how well that ended up working out. In many ways, it's actually a better arrangement for my grove than what I had before. The Gods to work in mysterious ways, eh?

I have to say, I am very grateful to my Gods for leading these people to us, and grateful to *their* God (or Gods) for encouraging the to do this kind of charitable work. I tend to be a bit cynical at times, so this kind of an outpouring of generosity just amazes the daylights out of me!


Speaking of generosity, I saw a nice example of it today on one of the shows I watch. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal at all, but it's just nice to see stuff like this sometimes. I was watching one of the Challenge shows they do on Food Network where they bring in a bunch of cake designers who know the basic concept of the cake they're going to be making, but don't know the specifics until they get there. In this episode - (which was a repeat, so some of you may have seen it before) - the challenge was to create an engagement cake for a couple who got engaged right before the competition. It was cute - the man had told his girlfriend that they had a chance to be on a Food Network challenge helping out some of the competitors, and she - knowing he was "wanting his 15 minutes of fame" (as she put it) agreed. So, when the show begins, they two walk out there and she's not quite sure what they'll be doing, when he turns to her, gets down on his knee and proposes. Luckily, she said yes, or this would have been a VERY short episode!

Anyway, about 5 hours into the 6 hour competition, one of the cake designers collapsed and they had to take her to the hospital. That left her assistant there with an uncompleted cake. One of the other competing teams decided that they could make make their cake a bit less fancy than they'd planned, so that one of them could go help the assistant finish her teams cake, while the other guy work on their own cake. Then, when the 2nd guy got done with their cake, he went over to help make sure the assistant's cake was done.

I just thought that was the coolest thing. I mean, it wasn't like they were completely done, they still had work to do, and in order to help their competitor be able to have a finished cake to show, they actually did LESS on their own cake than they'd planned - which was something that could have hurt their own chances - to make sure that another competitor could at least have something nice to offer as well.

Sometimes I think it's sad that small things like that really affect me, because it seems like those kind of things should be the norm, not the exception, and that they're rare enough that I take notice of them, it makes me kind of sad.

Unfortunately, my DVR cut off for some reason before the couple could give their opinions on the designs, taste the cakes and decide on a winner, but I think I probably saw the best part of it, anyway.