Registering to vote as an overseas US citizen

I've recently been pursuing the possibility of voting in the upcoming US presidential election, since I am a US citizen. The trickiness is that I have never lived in the US but am a citizen by virtue of my parent who was born there.

The UOCAVA protects absentee voting rights of some citizens overseas, including those who have never lived there.

Here's where I've been looking; perhaps it will help you if you're also considering voting absentee.

Might take a couple generations for this devilry to quit

An image taken from the Archdiocese's site; a cute kid raising her hand with the caption "aim higher. catholic schools"

The Star Tribune reports on an Archdiocese who reduced members of a mandatory assembly at DeLaSalle High School to tears and protest with their disgusting homophobia and anti-adoption propaganda.

From the article:

[Quoting pupil Matt Bliss] " started going downhill when they started talking about single parents and adopted kids. They didn't directly say it, but they implied that kids who are adopted or live with single parents are less than kids with two parents of the opposite sex. They implied that a 'normal' family is the best family."

...Bliss was one of several students who stood up to argue with the representatives from the archdiocese. One girl held up a sign that said, "I love my moms."

...A priest and a volunteer couple presented the information. When someone asked a question about two men being able to have a quality, committed relationship, the couple compared their love to bestiality, Bliss said.

..."My friend said, 'You didn't just compare people to animals, did you?'" said [adopted student] Hannah. "I think everyone has a right to their opinion, and I don't judge them on it. But we don't force people to sit down so we can tell them their opinion is wrong."

...They were so upset that the priest and school officials abruptly ended the assembly. Students who were angry were allowed to stay there and talk with the archdiocese volunteers. It was more civil, for a while, but the more questions the presenters tried to answer, the worse it got.

"It was a really awful ending," said Bliss. "It was anger, anger, anger, and then we were done and they left. This is really a bad idea."

These kids are amazing and brave to protest in such a hostile environment. Looks like, even in an American Catholic School, pupils are beginning to be en masse unwilling to put up with being forced to endure institutional bigotry. These are the same students who (assuming they become Catholic) will form the congregations of the next generation, and who will vote on bills to do with marriage and religion in education. With any luck, this signals the beginning of the inevitable end to mainstream Catholic homophobic and anti-adoption (is even that a thing now?) bigotry. At least we can pray it is.

Ed Brayton's new podcast

I was delighted yesterday to discover that Ed Brayton, who used to host one of my all-time favourite political podcasts, Declaring Independence Radio, has recently started hosting a new show: Culture Wars Radio.

Declaring Independence was a show predominantly about American law and politics. It was constantly fascinating, with episodes being mostly interview with experts in constitutional law, civil liberties, police misconduct and such; interspliced with commentary and lighthearted discussion of current events. What I liked most about it was that Ed Brayton never shied away from getting right down to the tiniest details of case law and history, discussing the minutiae of various cases with his guests and drawing on his huge knowledge of American civil liberties law to get the best out of his guests. Also his staunch non-partisanism, hatred of hypocrisy and demagoguery, and willingness to harshly criticise Obama and the Democrats (while still poking fun at right-wing loonies).

Ed Brayton is an American political journalist, editor and development director of the American Independent News Network, and seems to specialise in civil liberties law. He seems to get particularly fired up about education, separation of church and state, and transparency and accountability in government. He has a general left-libertarian viewpoint. I don't agree with him on everything, but he's very knowledgable about law, and hella smart. To quote erstwhile acquaintance of mine, Seth Manapio, he is "a goddam genius".

I looked hard for somewhere online for old episodes of Declaring Independence to link here, because they're all really worth a listen, but it seems to have evaporated. I've got 74 old episode as mp3s if anyone's really keen. [Edit: find them here.]

The new show, Culture Wars Radio, only has a few episodes out so far, and I've only listened to the first two of them, but it looks to be much along the same lines as Declaring Independence, which is fantastic as far as I'm concerned.

I strongly recommend checking it out, if you've any interest in civil liberties law, American politics or just deep and informed yet intelligible political discussion.

Pork chops

Read this recently. From the article:

Beginning September 1 ... helicopter hunters can fly over Texas ranchland, rifle in hand and shoot as many hogs as pass through their scopes. While hunting from helicopters was previously outlawed, the "pork chopper" law makes it easier and more cost effective for land owners to fight Texas' wild hog over-population problem from the air where low-flying, fast-moving helicopters can keep up with the 400-pound animals, which can run as fast as 35 miles per hour, over terrain that is often inaccessible by vehicles.
"flying below 50 feet at high speeds and shooting semi-automatic rifles from helicopters" is "inherently dangerous" [said the president of Vertex Helicopters].

Top of the food chain, baby!