news from the north

You may have read today that Canada passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. The ‘final bill’ passed by a margin of 158 to 133. The stories I read about the process seemed to consider the bill’s final approval a done deal, but an aside at the end of the CBC news clip mentioned needing both approval from the Canadian Senate and “Royal Assent”.

Thus follows an interesting foray into the Wikipedia. It turns out that the Canadian Senate, the upper house of the Canadian parliament, is an appointed body of 105 members. I guess it rarely fails to approve lower-house legislation, deferring to the more democratic body. It’s been since 1991 that they failed to approve a lower-house bill. Apparently, the thing is regarded as something of a boondoggle, and indeed, two of the major political parties up there are calling for its abolition.

I’m generally a fan of upper houses, and their strange customs. The “sober second thought” function of an upper house is great, when properly exercised in a manner I agree with at the time.

When I heard the words “Royal Assent” I got all excited, because I thought that part of the job of the United Kingdom’s Queen was signing bills from Canada. It’s disappointing to learn, instead, that Canada’s got a Governor General who does the bill-signings. Right now, it’s a woman, and guess what her spouse is called? The Canadian Vice Regal Consort, which is possibly the most awesome title you could get by marrying someone appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister.

So not only do Canadian gays get to have a governmental system that’s way more interesting than ours, they also will get to marry each other, assuming the rubber-stamp Senate and the rubber-stamp Governor General rubber-stamp the bill. Way to go, Canada!

also: for the internets

If you’re a “weblogger”, or if you prefer, a “blogger”, and especially if you get paid to post things on the “internets”, please take note:

Writing about or pointing out something amusing you saw in the craigslist personal or classified ads is stupid, and you should stop doing it. And if it’s a typographical error that you think is hilarious, please take a leave of absence and think about what you’ve done.

That is all.

ok, hipsters

Here are some things that are not just okay, but great, transgressive, brilliant, amazing, and should be entirely legal:

And, here is something that is awful, horrible, embarassing, exploitative, and should be illegal:

Anyone want to step up and explain the difference to me?

grand unifying theory


Godwin’s law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.


Moore’s law: At our rate of technological development, the complexity of an integrated circuit, with respect to minimum component cost, will double about every 24 months.


At our rate of technological development, the speed at which an online discussion races towards a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis doubles every 24 months.

safest cities tidbits

Jesse@Pandagon writes:

I found out last night that my hometown is the seventh most dangerous city in America.

I remember the night that I started to hate Dayton.

Yeah, I hate Dayton too. But hey, why isn’t Chicago on this list somewhere?

The methodology section of the report states:

Chicago and Other Illinois Cities: For several years, rape numbers submitted by cities in the state of Illinois have not met the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) guidelines. This remains the case with 2002 crime data. According to state statisticians, the state of Illinois tracks “sexual assault,” which includes not only female rapes, but also offenses such as male rape, sodomy, etc. For these reasons, Chicago and other Illinois cities once again are not found in this year’s Safest City rankings.

According to the FBI:

For UCR reporting purposes, can a male be raped?

No. The UCR Program defines forcible rape as “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” (p. 19). In addition, “By definition, sexual attacks on males are excluded from the rape category and must be classified as assaults or other sex offenses depending on the nature of the crime and the extent of injury” (p. 20). An assault is a Part I offense and would be reported on the Return A form. Sex offenses qualify as Part II offenses and would be reported on the appropriate age, sex, race form (pp. 96 and 142).

According to the Attorney General:

Illinois’ rate of forcible rape is 45 rapes per 100,000 people, which is significantly higher than the national average of 33 reported rapes per 100,000 people. (FBI, Uniform Crime Report 2002)

I was doing really well on tracking down exactly why Illinois lumps all of its sexual assaults together, and why and when the change was made, and how our Attorney General can cite FBI UCR rape statistics about Illinois that may or may not exist, but then I started getting distracted. See, this is why I’m not a very good blogger.

Looking through the Illinois Criminal Code, I found that the section on prostitution (720 ILCS 5/11‑14) begins with the line, “Any person who offers a person not his or her spouse […]” — I guess it’s okay to exchange money for sex as long as you’re married to the vendor. I also discovered we’ve got a fornication law still on the books, and also a “Sale of Maps Act”, which prohibits the “sale of current Illinois publications or highway maps published by the Secretary of State”. Both of these crimes are class B misdemeanors.

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