Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘constitutions

Things I’ve Enjoyed on the Internet Today

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Things I’ve enjoyed on the Internet today.

* A Seth tribute to Charles Schulz.

* The ruins of Detroit’s abandoned Belle Island Zoo. Via MeFi.

* Spy Vibe, a blog devoted to the ’60s spy aesthetic. Also via MeFi.

* Three Jane Austen sci-fi films are apparently in the pipeline: Pride, Prejudice, amp; Zombies; Pride & Predators; and Lost in Austen.. What can account for Austenmania?

* I can’t believe putting a totally unqualified action-movie star in charge of the world’s fifth largest economy has turned out so badly for California. More on this from Ezra Klein, who actually points the finger not at Arnold but at systemic gridlock, i.e., the California state constitution and deluded Orange County Republicans.

* Why we love gambling: almost winning is almost as good as actually winning, as far as our neurochemistry is concerned.

* Grade inflation is a feedback loop: students now expect a B just for showing up.

* Life as a tie-in novelist.

* Braid, Game of the Year 2008 by all accounts, is finally coming to the PC.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 18, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Prop 8 Update

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The California Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to consider complaints by opponents of Proposition 8 that it improperly revised the constitution to ban gay marriage. The court declined to stay its enforcement in the meantime.

Court spokeswoman Lynn Holton said the court asked the parties involved to write briefs arguing three issues:

(1) Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?

(2) Does Proposition 8 violate the separation-of-powers doctrine under the California Constitution?

(3) If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?

Holton said the court established an expedited briefing schedule. She said oral argument could be held as early as March 2009. (via MyDD)

Written by gerrycanavan

November 20, 2008 at 12:10 am

Ecuador’s New Constitution Grants Inalienable Rights to Nature

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Art. 1. Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.

Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public organisms. The application and interpretation of these rights will follow the related principles established in the Constitution.

With the public ratification of its new constitution last week, Ecuador has for the first time anywhere in history granted inalienable rights to nature. The new constitution also includes strict egalitarian provisions about food production, water access, and protection for indigenous peoples and uncontacted tribes.

As the Guardian link makes clear, this unprecedented act stems in part from Ecuador’s custodianship of the Galápagos Islands and in part from its long history of abuse at the hands of multinational corporations:

The origins of this apparent legal tidal shift lie in Ecuador’s growing disillusionment with foreign multinationals. The country, which contains every South American ecosystem within its borders, which include the Galapagos Islands, has had disastrous collisions with multi-national companies. Many, from banana companies to natural gas extractors, have exploited its natural resources and left little but pollution and poverty in their wake.

Now it is in the grip of a bitter lawsuit against US oil giant Chevron, formerly Texaco, over its alleged dumping of billions of gallons of crude oil and toxic waste waters into the Amazonian jungle over two decades.

It is described as the Amazonian Chernobyl, and 30,000 local people claim that up to 18m tonnes of oil was dumped into unlined pits over two decades, in defiance of international guidelines, and contaminating groundwater over an area of some 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and leading to a plethora of serious health problems for anyone living in the area. Chevron has denied the allegations. In April, a court-appointed expert announced in a report that, should Chevron lose, it would have to pay up to $16bn (£8.9bn) in damages.

Chevron, which claims its responsibilities were absolved in 1992 when it handed over its operations in Ecuador to the state-owned extraction company, Petroecuador, immediately set about discrediting the report. A verdict on the case is still thought to be a long way off, and Ecuador’s government could face US trade sanctions for its refusal to “kill” the case.

It remains somewhat unclear what this law will mean in practice, especially in the context of a country whose economy is so heavily dependent on petroleum extraction. However things shake out, though, this should be a fascinating test case for protection of the environment outside the failed paradigms of property rights on the one hand and “securitization” on the other.

Here’s the full text of the relevant articles, including an intriguing bit of commentary that suggests a codified right to civil disobedience in defense of the environment: “Public organisms” in Article 1 means the courts and government agencies, i.e., the people of Ecuador would be able to take action to enforce nature rights if the government did not do so.

There’s still more at MeFi. This has received almost no press in the States, but it’s an amazing and very important development, definitely worth keeping your eyes on.

(cross-posted at culturemonkey)

Written by gerrycanavan

October 6, 2008 at 4:18 am