Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Look, this is a communicative English class. I can't actually do anything if you don't participate. We can do something else, like sit in silence and write stuff down. I realize it's the last class on Monday. It's hard for everybody. But if we do the work, we can leave early. Otherwise, we stay the whole time.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Chilean: [incomprehensible blur of Spanish words]Chris: Can you repeat that more slowly?Chilean: [nodding] Ah, ya. [repeats self, at least as fast as the first time]
Chilean: Are you Chilean?Chris: [stunned] Uh, no, I'm American.Chilean: Really? You understood everything. And you speak really well.Chris: Oh, thanks, but I actually only understand about fifty percent of what people say.Chilean: Nah, you manage really well.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
- The Republican war on the constitution. This is just the stuff Republicans want to repeal or change; it'd be another long list to talk about the stuff they perverted and degraded during Bush II's reign of destruction. (To be fair, Obama isn't pulling enough of it back, but at least we've returned to paying lip service.)
- Homophobe fan club Focus on the Family applauds the Wisconsin Attorney General for refusing to defend domestic partnerships, then a year later (to the day) excoriates the California Attorney General for refusing to defend Proposition 8.
Why, oh why do conservatives over and over again demonstrate little to no empathy for their fellow man until they themselves are humbled? And even then... their empathy is limited only to those in their own predicament.
Take Dick Cheney (please). This man is quite tolerant of homosexuality (for a Republican), because he has a gay daughter. But in every other way, he is almost the definition of a hard-liner in both foreign and domestic affairs: pro SS privatization; anti-social safety net; and pro-torture.
Rush Limbaugh is infamous for the harsh things he said about drug users... until he was discovered to be one himself. Perhaps now he has the good sense not to talk about drug enforcement... but does anyone believe that Rush's experience and expensive rehab made him in any other way a gentler, more considerate person?
And now there's Duke Cunningham [sent to prison for corruption] who has suddenly become a bleeding-heart on prison conditions and the criminal justice system.
The full post uses more confrontational language than I would choose (I often feel like that's really saying something) but doesn't have a bad point.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
It is true there are a bunch of older state cases upholding marriage bans-as well as a handful of more recent ones (sadly, the New York Court of Appeals, the Maryland Court of Appeals, and the Washington Supreme Court). But Judge Walker is not bound by any state court decisions. There are very few federal cases considering the validity of marriage bans-and virtually none decided by the federal courts of appeal. In a nutshell, Judge Walker had to decide the questions presented to him without relying on an binding precedent that is directly on point, because there isn't any. He did the right thing by presenting his reasoning about the legal issues presented. It would not have served any purpose for him to spell out why he disagreed with the reasoning in other cases that were not binding on him in the first place.
I think Baker v Nelson is a real red herring being waved around by the other side in a desperate attempt to recover some lost media ground after Judge Walker's amazing decision! In 1971, the MN Supreme Court upheld MN's marriage ban. The gay couple who brought the case asked SCOTUS to review the decision. At that time, the Supreme Court HAD to take any case that presented a federal constitutional question. In 1972, the Supreme Court denied the case on the ground that it did not present a substantial federal question. But a heck of a lot has changed since then! in 1972, the supreme court had not yet held that laws that discriminate against women were subject to a heightened level of review. The court had not struck down Colorado's anti-gay ballot initiative in Romer, or held that individuals have a protected right to be in a same-sex relationship in Lawrence. So much has changed that any precedential value that Baker v. Nelson has, is exceedingly small. And in any case, the question presented by the Prop 8 case is a new one not considered in Baker: can the people of a state first permit a group to enjoy a fundamental right, and then take that right away based on a bare desire to send the message that the group is inferior?
All righty, then.
(UPDATE: More stuff relevant to my questions, in this response to an anti-equality op-ed by Edwin Meese.)
Monday, August 23, 2010
- It's like pulling teeth to get the kids to stand up and move around. Not worth it, except for very limited exercises.
- I see them once a week or less.
- The educational culture doesn't expect a whole lot from them, by American standards. They do more for me, but not a lot more.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
It turns out they were protesting the teaching styles of three teachers, women in their 60s who have all been here at least 30 years. Apparently they move through the material too fast (or talk too fast, or both, I'm not sure), and at least one of them often teaches while seated, because she's in her 60s and standing up while talking 40 hours a week is hard.
The school's director did not provide a satisfying response quickly enough, so the students called some higher authority from the Ministry of Education, who came to the school and summarily fired the three teachers, without any review or hearing. (To answer the obvious question: no, that's not legal in Chile, either.)
The students say that wasn't what they wanted, and everyone is now having conversations about how to manage these relationships in an adult and productive way. Oops.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
"No one stops you?", Mom asked."Yeah, you just walk in and play.""It's not whites-only?"I don't come from racist folk, so there was a confused, awkward silence."Um...isn't that illegal?"
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
"But you're going in tomorrow?""Yep.""Good, you have to go in tomorrow because the strikes are coming. No school for a month.""Oh? When?"
"We don't have a date?"
"Nope, they just come all of a sudden. So we have to hurry up and get as much done as we can before school stops.""Uh...huh."
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
I can barely imagine how annoying this experience must be if you don't speak the language.
- "Free speech" suits the needs of the moment. Sarah Palin referred to media criticism of her as a violation of her free speech rights, and opponents of marriage equality seem to think their "First Amendment rights" including preventing gays from getting married. The honest idea of the First Amendment as supporting, say, free speech, or religion--you know, for everyone--seems less important.
- Selective reading: one commenter said that California already treats everyone equally, because everyone has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex. The decision specifically notes that that for gays and lesbians, that's the same as not having a right to marry, and the fundamental right in question is to marry the person of your choice.
- One comment, which I now can't find, said something like "Yes, but where's the constitutional harm?". As though the decision didn't address that in the first 3 pages and spend the remaining 135 explaining it.
- The commenters seem very upset that one man nullified the will of 7 million California voters. One more leftist commenter responded, "Yes, those 7 million voters enacted an unconstitutional statute." I imagine if the voters of California voted some right-to-abortion law that a judge overturned, they'd be fine with it.
At oral argument on proponents’ motion for summary judgment, the court posed to proponents’ counsel the assumption that “the state’s interest in marriage is procreative” and inquired how permitting same-sex marriage impairs or adversely affects that interest. Counsel replied that the inquiry was “not the legally relevant question,” but when pressed for an answer, counsel replied: “Your honor, my answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Monday, August 9, 2010
"Okay. I don't know exactly how it is here in Chile, but in North America, taking someone's stuff is disrespectful. Here, too?"Nods and murmurs."Good. Now, do you guys know why I have that box in the corner of the board? Why I don't just send you to the Inspector immediately?""To write down who's bad?"
"Hmm. Not exactly."Bruno speaks. Bruno, who's usually a step away from the Inspector, every class. Last week he came up to me after class, looked me in the eyes, and shook my hand, and he's done it since, every time I see him in the hall."To give us an opportunity."Awesome."That's right. To give you a chance. Now, all these activities we do are ways for you guys to practice and use English. The way English is taught here--""It's really bad.""Right. You don't learn a lot of English in your classes here?" Nods and murmurs. "That's why I'm here. To help you guys practice so you can learn. A lot of you say 'I can't, I can't,' but I know you can, because I gave you a test and I talked to each one of you, and I'm really proud of all of you and everything you worked hard to learn. Think you can keep going with class?"Nods and murmurs.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
"If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is 'no legitimate state interest' for purposes of proscribing that conduct...what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising 'the liberty protected by the Constitution'? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry."
"Teacher, why'd you write our names down?""Well, you're hurt, so I should tell the Inspector so they can help you, right?Dead silence (extremely satisfying) as they look down at their hands.
"Okay, what's up with you guys?""It was a joke, teacher.""No, right now we're talking about why you guys are behaving with a lack of respect for me and for the class.""It's our last class of the week and we want to go home. We get bored and we just do stuff.""It's my last class too, but I manage to come here and teach."Silence."Look, I'm having a bad month. It's hard to live in another country, far away from my girlfriend and my friends, and right now I don't have any patience. I know in my class I ask different things from you than your other classes, but it's been three months and you know what to do. Every class you guys are constantly chatting, and you, Scarlett, last week"--I didn't really have the right words, so I just made bitchy snarling noises--"I tried to talk to you about it, and you weren't interested. Do you guys feel like I treat you with a lack of respect?""No! Not at all.""Then maybe you can act like it. Think you guys can improve?""Yes, absolutely."Reflective pause while I think."Okay. I'm not going to report you this time. But we'll see how the month goes. Okay?""Okay."
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Walker's original nomination to the bench by Ronald Reagan in 1987 stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee because of controversy over his representation of the United States Olympic Committee in a lawsuit that prohibited the use of the title "Gay Olympics". Two dozen House Democrats, led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, opposed his nomination because of his alleged "insensitivity" to gays and the poor. Years later, the San Francisco Chronicle noted the irony of this opposition due to Walker's sexual orientation.
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
"Hey! Have some coffee.""No, thanks."
"I don't want any."
"Well, have a plate of pasta.""Uh--""It's delicious, I made it for Ignacio's lunch. It's warm, I'll make up a plate.""Uh--""Let me get you a fork.""Uh--""And a napkin. Here you go."