Today’s Android App Deals of the Day are 86% off The Sims 3 ($0.99) and several other Electronic Arts games for $0.99 that usually sell for $2.99-$4.99: MONOPOLY, SCRABBLE, Bejeweled 2, THE GAME OF LIFE, TETRIS, NBA JAM by EA SPORTS, BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2, Dead Space, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Need for Speed Most Wanted and Real Racing 2.
Today’s Featured New Release is The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History ($14.57 Kindle), by Thor Hanson [Basic Books]. Booklist Starred Review
All prices current at the time the post is written. Most books remain at their listed price until “midnight” (each store operates on it’s own timezone and schedule), but prices can change at any moment. I have seen prices change within the hour or even minutes after posting.
Fandom: The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: James "Bucky" Barnes/Maria Hill
Characters: James "Bucky" Barnes, Maria Hill, Pepper Potts, Natasha Romanov
Additional Tags: Post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Friendship, Pre-Relationship, Flirting
Summary: Stark's people expect Maria Hill to kick up a fuss when Steve Rogers brings back the Winter Soldier and so do most of the Avengers. In SHIELD, this would've been history repeating itself.
This is sweet and fun and so in character, I love it!
Broad strokes, here’s what happened.
The War on Drugs — or, as our friends at LGM call it, the War on [Some Classes of People Who Use Some Kinds of] Drugs — means that using peyote is against the law.
But peyote isn’t just a recreational drug. It also plays a role in some Native American religious ceremonies — and this is an actual thing, a bona fide religious practice that goes way back.
Alfred Smith was a member of the Native American Church. He also worked as a counselor at a drug rehab clinic in Oregon. But the clinic fired him because he participated in religious rituals using peyote and they didn’t want a “drug user” working as a drug counselor. Not only did he lose his job, but then the state of Oregon denied his unemployment insurance saying they didn’t have to pay to a guy who got fired for being a big ol’ druggie.
Smith sued, saying this was religious discrimination — which, of course, it absolutely was. This should’ve been a slam-dunk, no-brainer First Amendment case. Oregon was claiming that the War on Drugs gave them the right to enforce a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. That’s bonkers.
But the case wound up going all the way to the Supreme Court — Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, or just Oregon v. Smith. And in 1990, the top court ruled in favor of Oregon. It’s anti-peyote law may have had the effect of prohibiting Smith’s free exercise of religion, Justice Scalia argued for the majority, but since the War on Drugs wasn’t intended to pick on Native Americans, specifically, that was cool.
Oregon v. Smith was a big departure from precedent and tradition. Think back to the Prohibition Era, when the country actually rewrote the Constitution in order to outlaw alcohol. But even at the height of Prohibition, neither the courts nor the public thought that ought to apply to the sacramental wine that was an essential component of the religious practice of millions of American Christians. But Scalia’s argument in Oregon v. Smith veered off from that earlier way of thinking.
So at that point, back in 1990, everybody who likes the First Amendment went ape. And I mean everybody — every religious group in the country, right or left, advocates for secularism, the ACLU, the Christian Coalition, you name it. This broad, transpartisan coalition pushed for a legal remedy to reassert that freedom of conscience shouldn’t be trumped by the War on Drugs or any other law that has the effect of discriminating against religious practice. Scalia’s decision had said that since the anti-peyote law wasn’t explicitly “an attempt to regulate religious beliefs,” then it didn’t matter that it had the effect of doing so. The coalition said it did matter, and they rallied behind a law that said so.
The result was the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. This was an attempt to reassert the earlier legal regime in which laws that had the effect — deliberate or not — of restricting the free exercise of religion should be subject to strict scrutiny.
Roughly translated from legalese, the courts have always recognized that some religious practices will conflict with some generally applicable laws. Strict scrutiny means that those laws need to justify themselves in order to be upheld. Oregon v. Smith said the opposite was true — it shifted the burden of proof onto the religious practices, forcing them to justify themselves while giving the benefit of the doubt to the laws that restricted them.
Specifically, proponents of RFRA and the law itself sought to re-establish the older Lemon Test — a form of strict scrutiny the courts had previously used to evaluate laws that had the effect of restricting freedom of conscience. Wikipedia’s summary of this three-part test is pretty good, so I’ll copy-and-paste that here:
- The statute must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religious affairs (also known as the Entanglement Prong).
- The statute must not advance nor inhibit religious practice (also known as the Effect Prong).
- The statute must have a secular legislative purpose (also known as the Purpose Prong).
Those three “prongs” include lots of other language, such as defining what it might mean to “inhibit religious practice” by considering whether a law place an “undue burden” on citizens, etc. But the important thing there is the first three words of each item: “the statute must …” Any statute that has the effect of restricting the free exercise of religion must stand in the dock and justify itself.
The Supreme Court bristled at this attempt to correct its earlier ruling and, in 1997, it found RFRA unconstitutional when applied to the states, but not when applied to the federal government.
That’s confusing — perhaps deliberately so. It has the effect of making strict scrutiny sometimes applicable and sometimes not. And it seems, these days, that whether or not the restriction of religious exercise is subject to strict scrutiny depends on whose religious exercise is being restricted.
That smells bad. It has the pungent stench of differing weights and measures — of justice for some but not for others.
But that’s the foul-smelling current state of our national discussion of “religious liberty.” In the early 1990s, the religious right fully supported RFRA because, after all, if the government could deny the free exercise rights of Native Americans, then what’s to stop it from denying their rights as well?
Twenty years later, the religious right has changed its tune. Their goal nowadays is not to ensure religious liberty for all, but just for themselves. They’re fighting for differing weights and measures.
Part of what really stinks here is the way the language of RFRA is being twisted to turn an attempt to defend the rights of religious minorities into a tool for defending the hegemony of religious majorities.
Hence, Pence. The Indiana governor just signed into law something called a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” But the law itself is nothing like its 1993 namesake. It’s an artificial Lemon. Indiana’s new law is not an attempt to hold statutes restricting religious liberty to strict scrutiny. It is, rather, a reaffirmation and expansion of the obnoxious logic of the Oregon v. Smith ruling that the real RFRA was written to correct. And it goes beyond that, to grant this power to discriminate not just to the state itself, but to private businesses and business owners.
In Indiana, every business is now Oregon and every customer they don’t like, for whatever reason, is now Smith.
And Smith, you’ll remember, lost.
And in the comments of one of the posts from the last month, I found this group of people saying it was impolite to host your own birthday party. Basically, that it was bigheaded, and saying "I am an awesome person, let's celebrate ME!"
To which I was (as pretty much everyone else who responded to this post): "...wtf, mate?"
However, as someone has pointed out, the issues seem to be around several points of etiquette:
1. That the party is a Big Deal - lots and lots of people, not just 'close friends'.
2. That birthday parties are for children, not adults, and that there's an element of "being the centre of the universe" - possibly not unrelated to the feeling behind the Bridezilla mentality: this day is all about ME!
3. The assumption that gifts are expected as part of your presence at the party.
Added up, throwing your own party can be seen as greedy and self-centered.
Certainly this isn't going to change my attempts to draw people together for something to celebrate my birthday, but it's an interesting insight into...well, social attitudes, expectations, and mentality.
And by "remembers," I mean, "uploads conversations to ToyTalk's servers, so they can improve their voice recognition software over time."
Many privacy groups are freaked out about this. Many consumer advocate groups are concerned that Barbie may start spouting commercials at impressionable tykes. I think it's an obvious Summon Lawsuit spell, and I can't imagine why Mattel's legal department thinks that saying "but ToyTalk has all the voicey softwareish server stuffs" will keep them off the hook. (I don't think ToyTalk has a legal department.)
I'm willing to believe that their only reason for wanting these recordings is to improve their software. I'm less willing to believe they won't hand them over to law enforcement on request, but willing to posit that such requests are unlikely to be common. I don't know whether I think the NSA's dragnet would include the metadata, but am willing to accept that it's probably not particularly damaging either way; when and how often a kid talks to a doll is much less invasive info than when and where your cellphone conversations take place.
I imagine the planning discussions went something like this:
"Our voice recognition software needs work; kid voices are hard because their grammar is weird and their accents and tones aren't consistent the way adult voices are. Hey, let's arrange for thousands of kids to upload snippets of real conversation to us, and we can make better software!"
Yeah, dude, nobody's done that before. That's because there are LAWS AGAINST RECORDING PEOPLE without consent... and for kids, you need parental consent, and for kids-under-13, you need COPPA compliance, and it's a nightmare of permissions with any one slip-up being a company-destroying lawsuit.
( But it's okay. They get consent by email. )
Turned out to make a rather nice shawl, actually. Adding in the slightly different weight yarn gave it shaping, and it's as soft as the down feathers of cherubs. :^)
I didn't feel like hunting up the tripod to model it myself, but 'tasha was convenient.
( Read more... )
Natasha created a portrait of Tony Stark from cat kibble. I didn't change a thing. ;^)
( Read more... )
The website for the product is www.rxtimercap.com. They sell the caps in either two-pack, six-pack, or twelve-pack, and they come in standard and large sizes, as well as child-resistant and easy-open. Each cap comes with an empty vial to put your pills in since pharmacy pill bottles aren't really standard and this way they can ensure the cap fits.
It looks like a pretty nifty product, especially if you have issues with pill boxes for whatever reason or a tendency to forget to take your pills the same time every day.
It does not have an alarm to remind you to take the pills, sadly. But it still looks pretty cool.
Still not feeling entirely the thing on Friday evening, so didn't make rolls - we had toast for Saturday breakfast instead.
Today's lunch: quail, which I spatchcocked and flattened and marinated in whisky, pomegranate molasses, tabasco, and avocado oil, and smoked over bourbon-soaked oak chips; served with sticky rice with lime leaves, tenderstem broccoli steamed with ginger, and flower sprouts stirfried with garlic and star anise.
This week's bread: Jordans' Wheatgerm Loaf from the Sunday Times Book of Bread - v nice.
This summer I will be doing a first for me: going to a musical workshop camp! Specifically, I’m going to Fiddle Tunes!
“But Anna,” I hear you cry, “you’re not a fiddle player!” This is true! But I am a guitarist, and there are several guitarists that will be teaching at this camp. Most notably, André Marchand!
If you know anything about Quebecois music at all, you may know this man’s name. At minimum, if you know anything about La Bottine Souriante, you’ve very likely heard him. He’s a veteran of the genre, with a long history with La Bottine and later with Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer. He also has recorded with flautist Grey Larsen, is one third of the trio Le Bruit Court Dans La Ville (all of whom will also be at Fiddle Tunes!), and has recorded with a few of the other Charbonniers gentlemen under the name Les Mononcles as well.
While my blatant fangirling is reserved for Le Vent du Nord and De Temps Antan, my general musical respect for the Quebecois trad genre owes a lot to Monsieur Marchand. He’s an excellent singer–several of my repeat-play La Bottine and Charbonniers tracks are things he sings lead on. But he’s also a fine guitarist, and I feel I would be entirely bonkers crazypants to pass up a chance to learn from him.
Bonus: my pal Dejah will also be there, and she will in fact be acting as M. Marchand’s assistant, providing translation assistance to help jump the language barrier. And a bit of a musical barrier as well, since Francophones use a system of scales oriented around “do re mi fa so la ti do”–so what an English speaker thinks of as the key of C, a French speaker’s going to be calling the key of do. D becomes re, E becomes mi, and so on.
I am very much looking forward to tackling this. Not only for exposure to a different way of thinking about musical scales, not only for a chance to learn from a veteran of the Quebecois trad genre (and maybe get in a bit of practice listening to someone speak French), but in general to just be able to sit down with people who know what they’re doing and improve my general ability to play. I feel like I’ve gone about as far as I can on my own, as a self-taught guitarist who just likes to doink around with the instrument. Talking to skilled musicians and learning from them will open up all sorts of new and exciting things to practice!
I’ll also be taking my carbon fiber flutes and the good whistle, mind you–because if any all-melody-instrument tunes sessions break out, I want to be prepared to practice learning those, too. And there will be some organization of participants into bands, too! So maybe somebody will want a flute or a whistle.
These musical shenanigans will be taking place in the last week of June, and will be taking place out in Port Townsend in Washington–which is the other reason I want to go to this thing. It’s a camp I can get to by car. And since I won’t need to get on a plane, I can bring the General.
Because if I’m going to learn from a veteran of the Quebec trad genre, better believe I want to bring the good guitar!
SO EXCITED. This is going to be huge fun. Y’all may expect I’ll report on the experience in depth!
Mirrored from angelahighland.com.
Relationships: Nick Burkhardt/Monroe
Summary: “There's no 'me and Monroe,' Hank. At least not the way you mean.”
“You don't have to be embarrassed about it. It's okay, Nick. It's not even that big a surprise, really.”
“I'm not embarrassed because there's nothing—wait, what do you mean it's not that big a surprise?"
Hank asks Nick a lot of questions--some he's expecting, some he's not, and some he doesn't know the answers for. Yet.
mp3 (right click and and save as)
Points: 10(a) + 10(b) + 0(c) = 20 x 4 = 80
NEPETA: :33 < the pouncellor rolls to seduce the dragon!
VRISKA: Not this again!
TEREZI: OK4Y F1N3
TEREZI: BUT W3 H4V3 T4LK3D 4BOUT TH1S
TEREZI: 4BOUT HOW 1F TH3 POUNC3LLOR ROLLS TO S3DUC3 TH1NGS 1T 1S OUT OF CH4R4CT3R FOR H3R TO ROLL TO S3DUC3 TH3N SH3 G3TS 4 P3N4LTY TO S41D ROLL 3QU4L 3X4CTLY TO TH3 V4LU3 OF TH3 ROLL?
NEPETA: :33 < yeah but you're making that rule up!
ROSE: Alas, it is in the rule book.
TEREZI: 4LL 1’M S4Y1NG 1S, 1F YOU W4NT TO S3DUC3 TH3 DR4GON, YOU H4V3 TO 4CTU4LLY ROL3-PL4Y 1T! TH3 POUNC3LLOR 4ND H3R P4RTY H4V3 B33N PURSU1NG TH3 W1LY DR4GON WHO S4T ON TH3 C1TY OF LL4NKHM3OWR FOR M4NY LONG MONTHS NOW, SURV1V3D COUNTL3SS TR4PS 4ND T4UNTS! TH3 DR4GON H4S 3V3N STOL3N 4W4Y (4ND P4RT14LLY-34T3N) TH3 PR1NC3SS TO WHOM TH3 POUNC3LLOR H4S SWORN H3R LOY4LTY FOR 4LL T1M3!
TEREZI: T3LL M3, POUNC3LLOR - DO YOU R34LLY W1SH TO 3ND YOUR LONG STRUGGL3 4G41NST TH1S M4J3ST1C B34ST W1TH 4 JOK1NG “ROLL TO S3DUC3?”
VRISKA: Yeah, can we please quit screwing around and get something done, for once????????
NEPETA: :33 < ...all right, then! i WILL role-play it! the pouncellor will seduce her old rival with the very fiercest of furvor!
TEREZI: NOW TH4T 1S WH4T 1 L1K3 TO H34R!
VRISKA: Oh, my god.
TEREZI: SO: HOW W1LL TH3 POUNC3LLOR PL4Y TH1S? 1 R3M1ND H3R TH4T H3R R3L4T1ONSH1P W1TH TH3 K1DN4PP3D C4TK1N PR1NC3SS (PL4Y3D BY 4 C3RT41N 4BS3NT NON-F3L1NO1D PR1NC3SS WHO H4S UNW1S3LY SK1PP3D TH3 P4ST TWO S3SS1ONS) W4S V3RG1NG ON TH3 BL4CK B3FOR3 TH3 DR4GON C4RR13D H3R 4W4Y TO H3R L41R!
TEREZI: W1LL TH3 POUNC3LLOR M3R3LY TOY W1TH TH3 DR4GON'S BL4CK 4FF3CT1ONS WH1L3 R3M41N1NG LOY4L TO TH3 PR1NC3SS? OR 4R3 H3R F33L1NGS FOR TH3 B34ST G3NU1N3?
VRISKA: Oh my godddddddd...
NEPETA: :33 < hmm... rose, can your guy shapeshift me?
ROSE: Given a live sacrifice of appropriate “narrative weight,” the wizard *could* transform the pouncellor into a dragon. However, he is willing to take so drastic a step only for the sake of true hate or love - not merely to avoid a confrontation.
TEREZI: LOOKS L1K3 YOU'LL N33D TO B34T BOTH TH3 W1Z4RD *4ND* TH3 DR4GON'S P3RC3PT1ON CH3CKS 1F TH3 POUNC3LLOR 1NT3NDS TO TR1FL3 W1TH TH3 B34ST’S STR4NG3 BLOODL3SS H34RT! 1S TH3 LOY4L 4DV1S3R TO TH3 QU33N OF TH3 C4TK1N D3V1OUS 3NOUGH TO D3C31V3 3V3N H3R FR13NDS 1N SUCH 4 W4Y?
NEPETA: :33 < the pouncellor’s intentions are pure! it is her heartfelt intention to capture the dragon’s bloodpusher, which i assume is in a box somewhere nearby, and carve her name into it!
TEREZI: THE DR4GON WOULD B3 D33PLY MOV3D COULD SH3 H34R TH1S!
NEPETA: :33 < - but the dragon did kidnap the princess, so maybe the shape-shift step isn’t even necessary? i don't know, how big actually is the dragon?
TEREZI: 4NT1C1P4T1NG SUCH 4 CONC3RN, 1 H4V3 PR3P4R3D 4 D3T41L3D 1M4G3 SHOW1NG SC4L3
VRISKA: OH MY GOD I AM LEAVING
ROSE: The wizard is fully prepared to sacrifice the Marquise for this scheme. Or really, pretty much any scheme.
VRISKA: The HELL he will!!!!!!!!
Fandom: Blood Ties
Summary: A sampler platter of scenes from a friendship.
mp3 (right click and and save as)
Points: 10(a) + 10(b) + 0(c) = 20 x 5 = 100