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Vondy last won the day on August 6

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About Vondy

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    One With The Force
  • Birthday 07/13/1972

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    Bremerton, WA

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  1. Vondy

    Free Harnworld Stuf (By Me)

    I am hoping to have more for you: A new fanon location in Tashal in January-February. An officially published write-up of Caer Esenor in 2019. The line-editor and I are editing/polishing the draft right now.
  2. Vondy

    Days Won

    I have no idea what you people are talking about.
  3. Vondy

    Free Harnworld Stuf (By Me)

    I'm glad some may find it useful. There are a few anachronisms in it. There is a discussion about that (with criticism fair and otherwise) on the HarnForum.
  4. A good while ago I had an idea for a Harn article called "Haldana Row" that covered three houses and their inhabitants in the city of Tashal. It grew into five houses as a shared project with another writer and is now complete and available as a free download on Lythia.com. HALDANA ROW My sections are Gevel & Clodya's House, Aethel Atan's House, and Elendsa House. Gevel, Clodya, and Aethel are my long-time "iconic" fantasy characters. I reworked these as "playable versions" that could be grounded in a place. The other two dwellings, as well as the maps, are by Matt Roegner. The art is by Richard Luschek, who does all the official Columbia Games art for Harn. Harn itself is generally presented more as low-fantasy medieval realism, but you'll note I depart from that a bit. I like a bit of gothic horror, noir, pulp and swashbuckling action in my games.
  5. Perhaps so! But if we do, then its time to own that several prominent officials in previous administrations have been given a pass and should have been indicted or impeached as well. We have not traditionally uttered the phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" or sought impeachment over what is presently on the table. Its premature. Bill Clinton's impeachment was for obstruction and perjury because he lied about a blowjob, not because he got one. And he remained in office because it was overreaching nonsense. No one sought to impeach Clinton over his pre-1992-election hush-money agreement with Gennifer Flowers. It wasn't a "high crime" or even a "misdemeanor." If all of that was overreaching nonsense then, its overreaching nonsense now. What does that leave us with? A quite probable campaign finance violation. For that I give you Barack Obama (fined), Hillary Clinton (still under investigation), Bob Dole (fined), John Edwards (acquitted). Only John Edwards faced criminal charges and his career only ended because he resigned. Obama and Dole both remained in office and won subsequent elections. And Hillary seems to think she should run again. I sat down and read every single page of that AG report on her conduct front to back and the difference in treatment between the two candidates' malfeasance astounds the mind. "Misuse of assets, failure to supervise, and dereliction of duty" could easily be applied to her tenure at State and her campaign is still being investigated. Are you willing to give me "high crimes and misdemeanors" for it? I'm not saying the Cohen-Mantafort revelations aren't sordid, unseemly, unacceptable, potentially criminal, and totally unbecoming. Or that its not potential grounds for impeachment. I am saying, however, that defining what we have at this juncture as "high crimes and misdemeanors" would be highly inconsistent, largely unprecedented, and very likely improvident. The GOP is meaner, more disciplined, and better funded than the DNC. They will remember and they will say turnabout is fair play. They will vow and get their revenge. If we are going to define this as "high crimes and misdemeanors" then a good many officials from the past several administrations should barred from ever holding office again. I'm much more patient and circumspect when it comes to serious matters of state. I'd rather wait for some real meat and not waste my time pouncing on scraps. This nonsense is just an apertif. It whets the appetite, but it doesn't satisfy. I'm waiting for something more.
  6. I was promised treason and collusion. What I've been given is a campaign finance reporting violation and the shocking revelation* that Donald Trump cheats on his wives. Its the political equivalent of kissing your sister. A total let down. We may yet get to collusion, or an actual crime stemming from said collusion, but so far all we have are some very reasonable suspicions. To quote Robert Mueller "I only know what I can prove in court." Reasonable suspicions are legal bupkis. We need more. We may yet get more. But, at present all I have is a lot of hyperbole and speculation and premature excitement. A garden variety financial reporting violation and a politician who once appeared on Playboy stupidly covering up a dalliance no one is surprised about? Is that what were calling "high crimes and misdemeanors" these days? Warren G Harding, who is a much better analog for Trump than Nixon, paid his mistress $5,000.00 a month to keep quiet while he was president. It was the Tea Pot Dome scandal that mattered. Not Nan Britton or Carrie Phillips. Where's my bloody tea pot? Obama was fined "bigly" for reporting violations, the FEC has an open case into Clinton's campaign, and Edwards was acquitted for paying off a mistress with campaign funds. Does all of this sound banally familiar? Don't get me wrong. I would love to see Trump go down in a great big blazing ball of flames, but... talk about the legal equivalent of a box office dud. Its like the remake of a sequel to a remake. If we want to impeach the man for his manners and his morals, let's be honest about what we are on about and get busy. Otherwise... I'm still waiting to get me some tasty treason. *Irony intended.
  7. History: On September 3rd, 1998 the Starr Report citing 11 impeachable offenses (including perjury and obstruction of justice) that President Clinton was potentially liable for was given to the Judiciary Committee. On October 3rd the committee confirmed Sonya Sotomeyer for SCOTUS. Two days later, on October 5th, that same committee voted to recommend the House open an impeachment inquiry into the president. On October 8th the House opened said inquiry and on December 19th they voted to impeach him. On January 7th, 1999 the trial in the Senate began the trial. On February 12th the Senate held a vote with 45-55 on the perjury charge and 50-50 on the obstruction charge. The president, ultimately, was not removed from office and went back to work. The point of all this, aside from my being a fan of due process and waiting for the facts to settle? If you think the Senate should put a hold on a SCOTUS confirmation because a president may be found to be an unindicted co-conspirator you are likely to be sadly disappointed. If that were the norm/rule, Sotomeyer would not be a Supreme Court Justice today.
  8. Vondy

    A Thread for Random Musings

    I appreciate you comments on craft and the actors experience. I would not dream of disputing it and find it illuminating. However, I was making a left-handed reference to something more specific and, in my mind, more culturally insidious. Ergo, assertions such as "to play a lesbian Jewish superhero you must be a Jewish woman who identifies as a lesbian." I'm Jewish and, quite frankly, I don't care if an actor playing a Jew is actually Jewish insofar as they are respectful and put in the study and work to do their subjects justice. Donald Sutherland did fine in Uprising, for instance. He himself expressed concern over playing a Jew until his Jewish co-stars told him to get over it. They wanted him there for his talent and what his name would bring to the movie. Some ethnic groups might be less convincing in terms of "how Jews look," but a lot of Caucasian, Latino, and Arab actors could pass for Jewish as easy as kiss-your-hand with a modicum of study and work. And, there are Kai-Feng and black Jews (the descendants of freed slaves from the American south) out there. They just aren't what people expect, but a good screen-writer could make it work and I wouldn't have a problem with it in most cases. To that same end, Sarah Shahi is straight and yet managed to play one of the most popular characters on the L Word. You don't have to be an avowed lesbian to play-pretend being one on camera. The current identitarian trend is, quite ironically, extremely exclusionary. Ideological didacticism produces inferior cultural product and makes qualification demands that have little bearing on the competence or quality of the artist. Four examples of transidentitarian acting...
  9. Vondy

    A Thread for Random Musings

    If you are an actor you are playing someone other than yourself. If you have to have the same identity-driven associations as the character you play to be allowed to take the role... you aren't acting.
  10. A metaphor for our times: Hundreds of furious reporters seeking to whip up widespread moral panic descend on a lackluster protest by a score of wet asshats with no staying power. The irony is so deep it aches and makes me want to reach for an aspirin bottle. Yes, the alt-right exists and beating them is a kind of hot kinky-fetish for many of us. But... unless you have a paintbrush the size of the Titanic, they aren't as dedicated, influential, numerous, or relevant as their opponents seem to want them to be.
  11. No disagreement. However, we seem to be discussing the same act in three distinct contexts. A political rally in a central urban public square or on "main street." A private gathering on private lands removed from the public square. A clear case of direct intimidation in a residential neighborhood (or someone's front lawn). I would suggest the following: A rally in a central urban public square (especially at the center-stage of our democracy) is contextually different than a rally in a field, the woods, or a residential neighborhood. There may be an implicit threat inherent in the symbolic act, but in this context it is indirect, and intent is hard to prove. We would need supplementary circumstances (e.g., concurrent speech or action) to make a cogent case for that. They could, after all, explain their own intent and meaning as something else entirely. Without something beyond the act itself to hang our hat on, we can't really disprove their explanations. We may find their explanations self-serving and disingenuous, but legally and empirically, intent is a monkey-wrench in our interpretive works. I would add the size of the city may also be relevant to context. For instance, thousands of hooded KKK members showing up to march down the street of a small town could much more easily be interpreted as a direct threat or intentional menace to the local community than those same people rallying in Times Square, The National Mall, or Lafayette Park. This is especially amplified if the number of KKK marchers outnumbers the number of black, Jewish, or catholic residents where the rally or march is taking place. Now, in DC, the black population is 49%, but that cuts both ways. It does make this kind of gathering intentionally provocative. However, the black community in DC, not to mention other minorities and right-thinking supporters, vastly outnumbers the reprobates holding this rally, and has a capacity for counter-protest that smaller communities do not. As a result, the viability of the implied threat, even if hateful, intentional, and reprehensible, is much curtailed. I would, under this set of circumstances, rather the nation see them dwarfed by the counter-rally. That, in of itself, is a powerful symbolic argument for what I believe we both agree the right values are.
  12. A fair question! For two parallel reasons: participation and practicability. Federal taxes are relevant to board members from all over the US. We share a stake and context in them. To a much lesser degree, board members outside the US do to. In the in the US context we have "dual sovereignty." Each individual state, determines its own tax structures. That would devolve into a discussion of fifty-one (!) separate tax codes and reform processes. I would be happy to discuss Washington State taxes with you, as well as some problems and reforms related to it, but... How many posters even care about my state's tax structures? Wouldn't it prove incredibly tangential?
  13. This would be a vast improvement. Its agree its a bit of a Gordian Knot. But, that is what made Alexander great.
  14. I think where we differ here is the implied premise that we can simply decide that an admittedly plausible prognostication of violence is sufficient to shut down protected speech. I'm not entirely comfortable with that. We don't do this when we know Antifa or the Black Block leaders are involved in planning the counter-protests. Rather, police meet with leaders, ban items that can be used as weapons, and very strictly enforce order. Should potentially violent right-wing protesters be treated differently than potentially violent left-wing counter-protesters? No argument here. This follows the basic reasoning of the Washington State Supreme Court on carry that I mentioned above. You can carry a gun on your hip, but that gun will become a major factor in interpreting your intent and behavior. So, bringing them to a political protest and then being confrontational would likely cross the line into assault, menace, or a number of other crimes. I obviously don't disagree that it is reasonable to interpret it that way and, quite frankly, it makes my vigilante bone itch. I'm very hard pressed, however, to to say a culturally disagreeable symbolic act in the public square as a part of a political rally would not be protected. On the other hand, I would suggest that a cross burning at a public rally allows authorities to interpret everything you do and say with a very critical eye (just as wearing a gun on your hip does) and prosecute you for any missteps accordingly. I think my concern is that this is a form of preemptive enforcement and calls to mind Minority Report. We don't have a trio of precogs who have foreseen a riot. Even if we did, until one erupts no crime has been committed. I'm not trying to sound cliche, but liberty entails some risk. Sometimes we do suck in our collective breath and hope for the best.
  15. It really depends on the context. There have been permitted marches where those things have been present and they weren't deemed threats. That some people find something threatening doesn't mean it rises to an actual threat under the law. It depends on how the judges apply the reasonable person standard. For instance, in Washington State, the police used to routinely arrest people for disturbing the peace, or threatening behavior, for openly carrying a firearm (even though we are an open carry state). The state supreme court ultimately ruled that "a reasonable person is not threatened by a fellow citizen exercising their constitutional rights." At the same time, they clarified, that the totality of circumstances would be weighed very differently because of the presence of a firearm. In other words, if you are walking around with an firearm on your hip, you need to speak softly and mind your Ps and Qs. I could make arguments for why a large protest with the items you note could easily cross the line into being a threat under the law (it really wouldn't take much), but I wouldn't automatically assume they do.