From a Perch in Maryland Suburbia

Mar. 22nd, 2008

10:01 am - Jeremiah A. Wright. for President!


 

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Mar. 19th, 2008

10:33 am - Pres. Stooges

 

awesome.

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09:14 am - The Angel Oak


 (alternat huge beautiful photograph of the Angel Oak)

The link above goes to a really amaizing picture of this tree in South Carolina.  Here's the wiki article:

The Angel Oak is a Southern live oak tree located in Angel Oak Park, in Charleston, South Carolina on Johns Island, one of South Carolina's Sea Islands. It is estimated to be over 1500 years old, standing 20 m (65 feet) tall, 2.47 m in diameter, and the crown covers an area of 1,580 m² (17,000 square feet). Its longest limb is 27 m (89 feet) in length.

In the spring and summer there are numerous artistic events, including the "Evening Under the Angel Oak" series, which feature music, dramatic presentations, and various other activities, especially during the Spoleto Festival in May/June.

See also:
List of famous trees

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Mar. 11th, 2008

03:45 pm - Cong. Arts Caucus

Last  letter of the day.  This time I just completely used a form letter, so I'll post the action alert that I was responding too.  I'm not journaling these so much to boast as to encourage folks to write letters too.

 Earlier this month, the Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs circulated two separate letters to all House members asking them to support an increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and an increase to the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education. We ask for your help in contacting your Representative's office and urging them to "sign-on" to these Dear Colleague letters. 

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12:08 pm - Mental Health Bill

Mental Health Parity Bill  H.R. 1424

To: 
George W. Bush (R)
Secretary Michael O. Leavitt
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD)
Representative Chris Van Hollen Jr. (D-MD 8th)

Thank you for supporting this bill.  I happen to not like the continued methods of mental health treatment using drugs and therapy to band-aid mental illness instead of helping the patient to become independently healthy.  However, considering the number of health problems which are not covered by insurance because they are caused by mental health problems, and considering the cost of treatment, and the many ramifications of untreated mental health problems which this country is currently facing, I support the Mental Health and Addiction Equality Act.

Sincerely, 
Elizabeth Schwartz
(with pic)

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11:18 am - Allow Cameras in Supreme Court

They call this bill the "Sunshine in the Coutroom Act."  Cute huh?  I noticed this one a while ago, because Cardin is on the Justice Committee which approved it last week.  Still trying to find transcripts of their mtgs so I can know if he voted for it there.

Support S.352
To: 
George W. Bush (R)
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD)
Representative Chris Van Hollen Jr. (D-MD 8th)

As long as the witnesses have the power to remain anonymous (meaning not just their faces and voice are distorted, but their names are bleeped out), and the judge has the power to turn them off, I encourage the support of this bill.

It would do a lot for civil participation if court proceedings, especially those in the Supreme Court, were televised.  Not only could people watch the entire proceedings, but the news media would also be more likely to cover the issues around court cases if they had video footage.

Sincerely, 
Elizabeth Schwartz
(with pic)

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11:02 am - Bush Vetoes Anti-Torture Bill

Override veto of H.R. 2082
To: 
George W. Bush (R)
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD)
Representative Chris Van Hollen Jr. (D-MD 8th)

Let's change our reputation for breaking treaties, shall we?  Please vote to uphold the Geneva Convention, which also protects American POWs.

While overriding vetoes can be difficult, it should be at its easiest now, while the President has the lowest approval rating in history.

Sincerely, 
Elizabeth Schwartz
(with pic)

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10:44 am - Senate Immigration Bill

My letter to congress/the president via congress.org around bill S.2717 which gives local law enforcement authority, training, and recourses to enforce immigration laws.  Please go to the site and write your own letter.  If you look at the letters people have shared, there are many more supporting the bill than opposing it.

To: 
George W. Bush (R) 
Michael Mukasey, Attorney General 
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD)
Representative Chris Van Hollen Jr. (D-MD 8th)

 I am concerned that this legislation encourages a mentality of demonizing a group of people based on nationality and ethnicity, especially since the legal status of any immigrant is only a matter of concern to the federal government. 

If there is an interest in providing local resources to help with immigration, it should be in the form of bureaucratic agencies to aid in cleaning up the procedural side, not law enforcement agencies.

Although I don't really understand why immigration is illegal at all for otherwise innocent people, for those who consider it a real problem, the most obvious solution seems to me to be repealing NAFTA or enact some other form of trade benefit for Mexico.  If we can boost Mexico's economy so that it is self-sustainably strong and has a surplus of jobs for its people, there would be far less immigration to the US.

Sincerely, 
Elizabeth Schwartz
(incl. pic)

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Feb. 19th, 2008

10:47 am - Obama Ice Cream!

awesome Fark.com headline of the day:

Ben and Jerry's introduces a flavor for Barack Obama, "Cherries for Change." It's light brown chocolate, smells like victory, and heals all sins 

I have a feeling it's actually pink, but still that's a funny take on it.  Could have gone all sorts of wrong with licking references...

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Feb. 10th, 2008

12:58 pm - Before Dollar Dizzy Disney

Who else in lj-land has been to Epcot Center?  I went when I was little and I remember it sucking pretty bad.  You can't really set up a futuristic theme-park area in 1983 and not expect it to need upgrades every few years to still look impressive.  Star Trek understood that.

Anyway, I was talking to someone recently about how truly creative Disney labs once was, as evident from Fantasia DVD extras, showing them doing brainstorming via elaborate pastel pieces and working to figure out how to convey the same art through the medium of animation.  Further evidence of this creative atmosphere can be found looking at what Disney originally intended EPCOT to be: an imagination commune.

From Wikipedia:

The name Epcot derives from the acronym EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), a utopian city of the future planned by Walt Disney (he sometimes used the word "City" instead of "Community" when expanding the acronym). In Walt Disney's words: "EPCOT... will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise."[1]

Walt Disney's original vision of EPCOT was for a model community, home to twenty thousand residents, which would be a test bed for city planning and organization. The community was to have been built in the shape of a circle, with businesses and commercial areas at its center, community buildings and schools and recreational complexes around it, and residential neighborhoods along the perimeter. Transportation would have been provided by monorails and PeopleMovers (like the one in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland). Automobile traffic would be kept underground, leaving pedestrians safe above-ground. Walt Disney said, "It will be a planned, controlled community, a showcase for American industry and research, schools, cultural and educational opportunities. In EPCOT, there will be no slum areas because we won't let them develop. There will be no landowners and therefore no voting control. People will rent houses instead of buying them, and at modest rentals. There will be no retirees; everyone must be employed." The original model of this original vision of EPCOT can still be seen by passengers riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority attraction in the Magic Kingdom park; when the PeopleMover enters the showhouse for Stitch's Great Escape, the model is visible on the left (when facing forward) behind glass. This vision was not realized. Walt Disney was not able to obtain funding and permission to start work on his Florida property until he agreed to build the Magic Kingdom first. Disney passed away before the Magic Kingdom opened.

After Disney's death, The Walt Disney Company later decided that it did not want to be in the business of running a town. The model community of Celebration, Florida has been mentioned as a realization of Disney's original vision, but Celebration is based on concepts of new urbanism which is radically different from Disney's modernist and futurist visions.
Spaceship Earth illuminated at night.
Spaceship Earth illuminated at night.
The landscape of Epcot includes lots of water, grassy slopes, and many trees.
The landscape of Epcot includes lots of water, grassy slopes, and many trees.

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