Archive for May, 2003
did you know that you donâ€™t have the right to vote according to the constitution of the united states?
you donâ€™t have the constitutional right to vote for your congressional representatives in the house or senate unless your state legislature determines you have that right:
The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.
(Article One, Section Four, US Constitution)
you donâ€™t have the constitutional right to directly vote for the president. the “popular election” makes it seem so, and much is made of the “popular election”, but it is ultimately and legally moot:
Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.
(Article Two, Section One, Paragraph Two, US Constitution)
a few people might say, â€œwhat about the 19th amendment?â€ it may seem that the 19th amendment says you have the right to vote:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
(Amendment 19, US Constitution)
however, amendment 19 merely states that in says that in a place where individual citizens are allowed to vote, ALL citizens of legal age are allowed to vote. you canâ€™t just have men vote, or whites, or straight people. if a place (specifically a state) were to say that *no one* is allowed to vote then it’s a moot point; the 19th amendment does not apply.
“weâ€™re a democracy!” you cry. “we have the right to vote; we always have and always will.”
no, we do not have the right to vote. we are allowed to vote because our state legislatures allow us to vote. if a state had passed laws (or passes a new law) which said that you were not allowed to vote, then that would be the law and there is nothing the US constitution could do about it. facinating.
most states declare openly that you, as a citizen of the state you reside in, have the right to vote. louisiana is a good example:
Every citizen of the state, upon reaching eighteen years of age, shall have the right to register and vote, except that this right may be suspended while a person is interdicted and judicially declared mentally incompetent or is under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony.
(Article 1, Section 10, Paragraph A, State Constitution of Louisiana)
texas has an interesting manner of explaining you have the right to vote in their state:
Section 1 – CLASSES OF PERSONS NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE
(a) The following classes of persons shall not be allowed to vote in this State: (1) persons under 18 years of age; (2) persons who have been determined mentally incompetent by a court, subject to such exceptions as the Legislature may make; and (3) persons convicted of any felony, subject to such exceptions as the Legislature may make.
(b) The legislature shall enact laws to exclude from the right of suffrage persons who have been convicted of bribery, perjury, forgery, or other high crimes.
Section 2 – QUALIFIED ELECTOR; REGISTRATION; ABSENTEE VOTING
(a) Every person subject to none of the disqualifications provided by Section 1 of this article or by a law enacted under that section who is a citizen of the United States and who is a resident of this State shall be deemed a qualified voter; provided, however, that before offering to vote at an election a voter shall have registered, but such requirement for registration shall not be considered a qualification of a voter within the meaning of the term “qualified voter” as used in any other Article of this Constitution in respect to any matter except qualification and eligibility to vote at an election.
(b) The Legislature may authorize absentee voting.
(c) The privilege of free suffrage shall be protected by laws regulating elections and prohibiting under adequate penalties all undue influence in elections from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper practice.
(Article Six – Suffrage, State Constitution of Texas)
very wordy. looks like it would be easy to find some legal loopholes. californiaâ€™s right to vote is stated with simplicity and bluntness:
A United States citizen 18 years of age and resident in this State may vote.
(Article Two, Section Two, State Constitution of California)
every state i have looked at (i did not have time or inclination to look at every single one) had articles declaring a citizenâ€™s right to vote, worded either as “vote” or “elect” or “suffrage”. every state also had some limitations -as the texas example above gives- of some exceptions to your having a right to vote.
this would make it appear we have the right to vote, and for practical purposes we do. this is, however, guaranteed by the states, not the federal government. it is conceivable that a state could write its constitution so that you do not have the right to vote. it is conceivable that there could be a state in the union in which a citizen has no right to vote. “weâ€™re a democracy!” you cry again.
no, weâ€™re not. we are a republic, at least in as much as we are anything. nowhere in the constitution does it say we are a democracy. nowhere, in fact, does it say we are anything other than a union. it does say that the constitution will guaruntee the states a republican form of government:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
(Article Four, Section Four, US Constitution)
please note that the clever wording of this belies whether it is the states or the federal government that shall be a republican form of government. is the constitution telling the states, â€œhey, the federal government will be in a republican form,â€ or is it saying, “hey, if you want to be a state in this union you have to have a republican form of government.”
the definition of a republic is vague. it could be defined as, “a political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them”), however, a republic is also, “a political order whose head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usually a president” (or a governor in the case of states) (quoted definitions from DICTIONARY.COM). so which is it? one in which a country/state is led by someone who is NOT a monarch but in which the people have no say in the governing of the country? or is it a country/state that is led by people chosen by the people?
if it is the latter, then we have to deal with the equally vague term, â€œthe people.â€ while the united states has a very broad definition of â€œthe peopleâ€ who are allowed to vote (thus participate in the detirmination of their representatives), we see that in some other countries only the men may vote, or only people of a particular ruling party or class. these governments are also democracies (elections are held). they could also be republics. the could also be nominal dictatorships.
obviously i find all of this very interesting. who ever really thinks that america, land of the free and home of the brave, could be the land of the unfree, completely supported by the constitution? if someone had the balls and wherewithall to get each state to rescind a citizenâ€™s right to vote. of course someone will point out that i am wrong iâ€™m sure, but iâ€™m reading the constitution which is the supreme law and fairly clear (aside from that republican form of government bit).Comments Off | Catergorized: rights
quickly following up on the an entry a couple days ago (2003.05.09) about the rights and non-rights of children -specifically an aside where i say, "until a child is an adult (most often legally defined in this country at 18) then they should be treated completely differently than they are today."- here’s an article about attitudes in america concerning when a person should be considered an adult:
The law may imply that you’re a grown-up when you’re old enough to vote, serve in the military or drink legally. But most Americans really think adulthood begins at age 26, according to a new study from the University of Chicago. The study said most people don’t consider a person grown up until they finish school, get a full-time job and start raising a family.
in general, i agree, though sometimes (probably most of the time) people finish their schooling with high school and go straight into the work force. thus the standard would have to be adaptable and dynamic which would ultimately cause more problems than it would solve.
i do think that with the ever increasing life expectancy, with the differences between hard and soft america, and with the state of definitions of what makes an adult, legally and socially, that something must be done. similar to our vague definitions of terrorism (where the USA could be defined as a terrorist state by our own definitions), the term adult needs some clarification.
sure the legal age is easy to detirmine: it is set in law and (theoretically) immutable. to define it in terms of maturity, however, is murky. is biological maturity when the specimen is able to survive on it’s own? or when capable of reproduction? if it is based on survival, is that in a natural physical world where the food chain is strictly enforced or survival in our modern civilization? if it is based on ability to reproduce, do we really want packs of hormonal pre-teens helping to participate in civic society by voting, joining the military, and renting cars with cheap insurance?
and speaking of renting cars, there is where even current legal definitions seem conflict (though i am sure the insurance companies have a more than legal loophole to escape through). in addition to generally not being able to rent a car till age 25, i could vote when i was 18, or buy cigarettes, or fight and die for my country. i had to wait till i was 21 to drink, though, in most states (all of them now?). i’m sure that there are other age based limitations and "protections" out there for me to contend with, as well.
even the constitution, in it’s more than specific manner, has age based limitations. when i turn 35 i can run for president. when i turned 25 i could have run for congress (senate or house).
not that age based delimiters are bad. in fact they are good; just think back to the example of a wild pack of
horny hormonal teens voting for the hottest boy/girl band for some government position.
should the base definition of an adult be 21? or perhaps 25?Comments Off | Catergorized: thoughts
High Fidelity Soundtrack. Various Artists.
this second nick hornby inspired movie soundtrack falls short of About a Boy. perhaps this is partly because i’m not a huge fan of this particular genre of music; older rock, precursing the new wave and punk movements. to be honest i only really picked this thing up because of jack black’s cover of marvin gaye’s let’s get it on. holy cow, what a song! jack black is a funny guy, and i know he plays/sings with Tenacious D, but this song… worth every cent i spent on this CD. otherwise i’m not too keen on the rest, and in fact some of it is crap. such crap that i don’t even feel like digging out the CD and playing it to find out which songs.
What can be said about dead Bill Hicks? He’s fscking funny. I can see where many would not get his humor; he’s hard and critical and throws it in your face. But he is funny. “A message to all you non-smokers out there, and this is a certifiable fact: (voices drum roll) non-smokers die every day.” to which he laughs his almost maniacal laugh.Comments Off | Catergorized: audio
Alabama 3. Exile on Coldharbour Lane.
alabama 3 is known as A3 in the US. the reason is that the group alabama sued them because of the name. nice gospel, blues, country and acid house mixture. some of it refers to drugs which might turn off some people, but whatever. they’ll live. a lot of fun to listen to, clever but not saucy with it’s blendy of musical styles.
About a Boy Soundtrack. Badly Drawn Boy.
nicely done soundtrack by an almost unheard of band (actually one guy named damon gough) called badly drawn boy. the themes repeat in nice ways. this is typical, i have learned, of the band’s other albums which are almost more concept albums in the old style than simply a collection of songs with little coherence and consistency found on most everyone’s albums these days. the music is easy to listen to but not simply background music as many soundtracks tend to be, and is dominated by catchy guitar riffs and damon’s voice which is clear and easy to sing along with.
Neko Case. Blacklisted.
you could almost call it country, but despite her apparent twang i still couldn’t call it country. music that sounds similar to chris isaac or the cowboy junkies. favorite line: it looks alot like engine oil and feels like being poor and small and popsicles in summer. moody but not depressing, stylish without being in your face. i love this album and find myself going back to it often.
what is wrong with so much of the youth in america? i read one woman’s account and was shocked and horrified with the behaviour of the kids. just so you’re aware of your own stereotyping before it happens, the kids she talks about are white, not black, so get rid of your racial prejudices; this is a deeper problem.
ed sent a link to OOKEE a while back that covers some of the problems, and i think the focus should be on parental involvement. if the parents don’t care, why should the kids? what sort of example are they setting? do the parents even know these days what their kids are doing?
the "one woman" (deborah fillman) actually makes a list called the parental pledge that makes alot of sense (though if i were her i would take out the slight against the democrats; republicans can be just as snaky) and should be published and given to every person who wants to be a parent, whether in a marriage or a single parent home.
i don’t believe that this problem is a matter just for poverty either; you can see rich kids misbehaving just as badly, just with more money and in different ways. i don’t think this is a matter of race, because it doesn’t matter if the kids are white, black, asian, or martian; you can see this on every street in every town in the country. most of all, i don’t see this as a problem the government can -or even should- be involved with EXCEPT to allow parents to do what they need to do. spanking a child is not lifelong trauma (i am fine, thank you very much) and grounding them for a month is something they will get over (i certainly did, though it sucked at the time). parents should be given more power over their children, not less.
the only time government should get involved is when the kid misbehaves badly and is caught; the parent should be in just as much trouble. if the child commits murder then the parent should at the very least goto jail for a set amount of time as well. if a parent genuinely abuses a child (i’m talking bruises, broken bones, cuts, burns, etc, *not* spanking) then the parent should be prosecuted. our government has gone too far these days, though. i wouldn’t be suprised if a child could sue their parent for not allowing them to spend the night at a friend’s house and get away with it.
everyone needs to realize that a child is a minor, subject to the parents law with limited legal rights. they are not adults. the adults are responsible for them. it sounds harsh or strange, but the analogy of thinking of children like pets is not far off the mark:
if you pet pees on the carpet you clean it up the first time, discipline them the second time on. the pet learns not to pee on the carpet. it doesn’t love you any less for it. if your pet attacks someone, YOU are responsible. the pet has certain rights (you can’t just beat an animal), but it cannot take you to court for better food.
until a child is an adult (most often legally defined in this country at 18) then they should be treated completely differently than they are today. not inhumanely or cruelly, but sternly, fairly, and with the goal of raising them into responsible individuals.Comments Off | Catergorized: thoughts
enterprise tonight (originally showing last wendesday but i just caught it tonight) was quite good. not so good for most of it (very typical in many ways) but the ending was powerful and novel for star trek.
enterprise encounters a new species, the vissians, while studying a star. they make a very successful first contact. during the exchanges, trip (enterprise’s chief engineer) meets the vissian chief engineer and his wife. then he learns that the vissians aren’t bi-gender (as we are) but tri-gender, and the couple are trying to have a child with what the vissians call a cogenitor, who trip sees as being treated as no more than a sort of breeding slave. this goes against his views of the vissians who he sees as enlightened and advanced in every other way.
trip takes it upon himself to teach the vissian cogenitor, first reading and later exposing it to film and music. it learns eagerly. trip has opened a whole new world of learning and potential to the cogenitor, but has also interfered with the vissian culture.
eventually it is learned that the vissian cogenitor has committed suicide, and the captain gives trip a dressing down, chastising him for not thinking about the ramifications of his actions and placing the blame squarely on his shoulders. the captain doesn’t sugarcoat anything. if anything he pushes the needles in deeper, and offers not an ounce of sympathy.
while the bulk of the show was nothing special. the ending was amazing for its hardness and for the new direction it could push trip if they actually follow up with what they have done with his character. trip could go into depression. the friendship between trip and archer could become cold or destroyed, and/or could be rekindled at some point in the future when they have a shared danger. the incident is dripping with future potential. hopefully they don’t kill it like they did with voyager.
i am not looking forward to the tired story line of bringing the borg back into the franchise. c’mon! as much as the borg made for a great villain, they were the nemesis of the next generation, and that’s exactly where they should have remained. i hope this doesn’t spell doom for the series.
someone drove a ruddy nail into my bloody tire. i just went out to park my car since i was in the driveway (my own fault for driving my car around today; losing my spot in the garage) and i heard the distinct *flap flap* of a flat. pisses me off. the nail is driven straight into the tire and i could only pull it out half an inch by hand. i am truly PISSED OFF.Comments Off | Catergorized: tv