Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is Badu's "Window Seat" a Logical Conclusion to "Bag Lady?"

This is just a banner year for me when it comes to music. Three of my four favorite female artists (Sade, Suzanne Vega, Erykah Badu and Bjork) have released cds this year. Erykah Badu is the latest with the release today of her album "New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh," and I am really excited about hearing the new music.

I love the "Window Seat," the first release from the album. It's classic Badu, with a smooth flow, and purposeful lyrics that just hit you with their honesty. However, it's the video for the song that is getting a great deal of buzz:

I decided to write about this after reading Natalie Hopkinson's article on it over at "The Root." And I found that I agreed with Hopkinson's "non-cynical part" that the video, which I like, really can be read as a discarding of the past with regard to the images of black women. Badu is just like that. But I also saw the video as a conclusion of the message she was putting forth in the song "Bag Lady" from her sophomore effort "Mama's Gun."

The bottom line is that Badu is back better than ever, and I want her to continue to push those barriers and give us that beautiful music.

To Sean Penn: Sometimes it Pays to Listen to the Locals

I have to agree with Maria Conchita Alonso on her criticism of Sean Penn's embracing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. And while I think that some on the right are just happy to see someone "go after" uber-leftist Penn just because, but I am more interested in seeing Sean Penn take a look at the issues that Alonso has put forth, after all, she was raised there. His embrace of Chavez reminds me of those who embrace Che Guevara without understanding fully what his actions represented. I hope Penn does his homework, and perhaps talks with Alonso about her perspective. It's always important to be open to points of view different from your own, just in case you are wrong. Penn's passion, I think, can sometimes overshadow his reason.

Monday, March 29, 2010

$1,946.25 RNC Dollars on Strippers Giving Lesbian?

Of course GOP/conservative straight men are more than willing to embrace lesbianism, when it's confined to faux lipstick lesbians entertaining them at a strip club. I wonder how many other RNC chairs/staff members have had similar expenditures. Now I have nothing against the ladies whatsoever (get those dollar bills), but I am now just so bored with the whole fetish for lesbians by straight dudes. Isn't it time for something new?

UPDATE: Well that was a quick turnaround.

Still Trying to Understand the Tea People

I read an article this morning in the New York Times about the people who make up the Tea Party phenomenon, and a comment made by one of the folks interviewed stuck out: "[i]f you don't trust the mindset or value system of the people running the system, you can't even look at the facts anymore...." I found this quote interesting because it, reasonably, could be applied to anyone who is in opposition to whomever is in power. But, the fascinating part for me is that for these Tea folks, facts really didn't matter during the Bush administration.

They have called continually for fiscal responsibility, beginning in January of 2009. They have expressed real concern about deficits, once Obama started trying to right the ship. They are concerned about government takeovers and "socialism," yet they enjoy the benefits that the "socialist" government programs provide.

I think that Frank Rich is on the right path toward understanding the Tea Party phenomenon, but I think that there is also a delusional element that has led too many of these people to believe that the Founding Fathers were 21st century conservative Republicans, and everything that Democrats believe is in contradistinction to anything the Founders believed. And I remain intrigued by this notion of "wanting my country back."

So, I would recommend a solid historical review of the years 2001-2009, before jumping all the way back to the Founding Fathers. Then, I would recommend that the Tea people actually read about the Founding Fathers and then see if there are genuine commonalities. Now, I still think that many of these people are just pissed off Republicans still mad that Obama won, and I also think that regardless of what Obama does or will do, these same people will be against him.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Will the Same Folks Who Took Down ACORN Turn Their Attention to Say Goldman Sachs?

I see that ACORN, the bogeyman of the right, is going to shut down. Now, I am all for calling out organizations for corruption or craziness, and it is true that the people who were in those now infamous videos advising the pretend pimp and ho needed to be called out, identified and fired. However, my problem with the people who champion the taking down of ACORN is simple: Why not hurl that same venom to those Wall Street investment banks?

It should be no surprise that the impact on the nation that ACORN has had pales in comparison with the impact that those Wall Street investment banks had (and continue to have). ACORN was lucky to get a few million in government dollars over the course of a decade. Aren't the estimates well over a trillion dollars in lost assets that the banks were responsible for? Why aren't the people on the right really working to deal with that.

To hear the reports from folks on the right, as well as Fox News, ACORN was the epicenter of all that was troubling this country. Yet, there is little desire, it seems to focus that attention on the few thousand people mostly in Manhattan who robbed the nation blind. This same lot also shook the axis of the global economy with its tricks and schemes. But it was ACORN that deserved the extra scrutiny.

I've been arguing with friends that I think many on the right loathe poor people generally, and poor minorities particularly. For all of its faults, ACORN is an organization that attempts to help the poor develop those fabulous boots and straps that the right wants everyone to pull themselves up by. For all of the calls of class envy, I think there is an equal measure of class loathing coming from the other side. For example, it's likely that this "government take over" of health care is despised so thoroughly in part because it will help those who don't deserve it.

Sometimes, I think people unleash venom on poor people, because it is really hard to unleash the same amount of venom on really rich people, the people who drove this economy into the ground aided by the governmental officials (of both parties) who continue to enable them. And most of us are enablers as well. Who doesn't want a healthy 401K? Who wants to blame themselves for the role that we each had in the fiction that was the economy of the last decade? No one.

So we look for scapegoats, and we find them. As usual, those scapegoats are less powerful than the objects of our real derision, scorn and anger. ACORN, in my mind, was a scapegoat. But, perhaps I am wrong about rich people being the real object of those who were so enamored with bringing down ACORN. Maybe, just maybe, those ACORN haters are simply pissed that Barack Obama won the election. And maybe, just maybe, health insurance reform took the place of ACORN.

I don't know what will be next on the list of scapegoats, but I do know that those same people who "took down" ACORN would never dream of doing the same with say Goldman Sachs. The question I would have for them would be quite simple: Why?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good to See Chris Matthews Called Out

I just read this post over at Daily Kos, and it is nothing short of sweet justice. Generally speaking, I do not mind Chris Matthews. Yes, he talks over his guests all of the time. Yes, he basks in his insider status, just like most former Hill staff members. But, Matthews was utterly wrong, rude and dismissive to Rep. Alan Grayson, when Grayson suggested the way forward on health insurance reform.

In taking his swipes at Grayson's being a new guy, and being wholly hostile to the netroots (because they are "outsiders), Matthews strikes me as the type of typical DC denizen who would never consider apologizing to Grayson, or own up to his mistake and dismissive attitude to Grayson. But Grayson doesn't need the apology, because the reality of how this process is moving is precisely as Grayson stated.


A Significant Obama Victory

Though I know the whole process for health insurance reform isn't complete, it was nice to see the measure pass the House. There are things about this massive piece of legislation that I don't like. I think many people can say that. But what made me happiest was knowing that in spite of every lie, every threat, every insult that the GOP put forth, as well as the desire to make this Obama's "Waterloo," the bill passed.

The truth of the matter is that most Republicans would love to see a purely private health insurance system, notwithstanding their new found love of Medicare in the last few months. Many GOP supporters who currently receiving some form of "socialized" health care (seniors, active duty military members and the families, and veterans) would do well to remember where many in the GOP stand on this issue, particularly seniors.

I congratulate President Obama on his tenacity, and his ability to shut down the Washington pundit class that agreed with the GOP that health insurance reform was dead. Good deal dude.

Friday, March 19, 2010

And Virginia Really Voted this Guy In? Words Fail

I am still trying to sort out what this man's ascension to a Commonwealth-wide office says about Virginians.

UPDATE: Well, I think I found an example of how "the Cooch" got elected in the Commonwealth.

Righteous Indignation from the Dutch

Here is what grasping at straws looks like:

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I am glad that the Dutch are outraged by this, and sad that tons of Americans will see nothing wrong with Sheehan's "assessment." Furthermore, Sheehan's perspective is an insult to every current gay service member, who is serving with pride and honor in military organizations throughout the world.

What Was That About Supporting the President and Listening to the Generals?

I read this post from Glenn Greenwald over at Salon this morning, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement so often that if anyone had been watching me he would have assumed that I was listening to music.

There is no question that the very people who were quick to question the patriotism of those critical of former President Bush are gleefully criticizing President Obama (and a couple of formerly important Generals), particularly on his administration's dealings with Israel. Mind you, I am all for criticism, but don't be hypocritical about it. It has become quite clear that, for some, anything that Bush did regarding Israeli policy demanded our lockstep agreement with Bush, and anything that Obama is doing demands our lockstep agreement with the right wing of the Israeli political class.

Greenwald provides a great dissection of the hypocrisy on this issue, and I would encourage everyone who sees this post to hit that link at the top. But I also want to add something. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are completely innocent here, and I think too many of us forget that simple fact. People willing to bomb innocent folks to convey their point of view should be condemned, period. But I also think that this blatant push to take over sections of Jerusalem where Palestinians live, at the expense of a potential settlement of this long standing conflict, is destructive in a different way.

I am far from an expert in these matters, but I cannot help but think of our history with various Native American communities, when I think about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Clearly, we have settled our differences, but man were those some brutal times before that happened. Peace in the Holy Land is possible, but both parties have to be willing to make concessions in order to achieve it. What neither group needs are American harpies trying to undermine the effort the Obama administration is trying to put forth to achieve the greater goal. And it seems that a majority of Israelis might agree.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Congrats to One of My Favorite Journalists!

Christiane Amanpour is going to be the new host of "This Week" on ABC. I have enjoyed watching her reports for years. Amanpour brings an intellectualism that is often missing on Sunday morning shows, and she will also bring a much needed international flavor and context to the news made in the United States. I will definitely start watching the program again, and maybe they will shake up the talking heads that sit around that table while they are at it.

Now if we can just get Rachel at the helm of "Meet the Press...."

The Truth Can Be a Beast at Times (Remember, Truthiness is the Goal)

This post is simply about how the GOP is lying to the American public about congressional procedures that they have used and are now pretending that they are not what they seem now that Democrats are using the exact same procedures to move health insurance reform legislation forward.

Start with this post from 'The New Republic" about how rules that the GOP used when it was in power are suddenly "unprecedented" in 2010. Then take a quick look here at the way the media in Washington manage to carry the GOP water in creating the fiction of Democratic impropriety. Now check out this first instance when a member of the GOP is put on the spot actually to tell the truth about this procedural push known as "deem and pass." And once that is read, mosey over to this post showing how one C-Span viewer put another GOP member (a member of the House rules committee no less) on the spot actually to tell the truth. Here is one more example of a GOP member being forced to tell the truth.

What is sad about this exercise is that the likelihood of this corrective information, the Democrats legitimate use of legitimate rules to pass health insurance reform legislation, will find its way to the various media outlets that reach the most people across the country is quite slim. So supporters of Representatives Cantor, Sessions and Pence, most likely, will never know that these men supported the very procedures (not tricks) that they are now deeming "unconstitutional" or "Democrat tricks." Those supporters will continue to "know" that "deem and pass" is a dirty trick that will be used to force "Obamacare" on them.

Truthiness prevails again (even though the truth is actually out there, if they only just looked).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Truthiness on the March

Let's just put this out there so that everyone can understand this "truth": when Democrats use House or Senate rules in the same manner that Republicans have used House and Senate rules when they were in power, those rules become unconstitutional, special or new. Most media will report this GOP version of the "truth," and then it becomes conventional wisdom. For example, reconciliation, which has been used by the GOP more than the Democrats overall, is now a "nuclear option" (even though that term refers to something altogether different) that not only will bring down the Senate, but it will also show the American public the Democrats disdain for majority rule.

Now, even folks at the American Enterprise Institute are calling out the GOP for hypocrisy. To pass health insurance reform, the House Democrats may use the same procedure the GOP used for legislation to reduce the deficit back in '05 (according to the blogger at AEI). However, to hear the GOP tell it, the House Democrats have magically come up with a rule that did not exist, and are planning to use it "to ram health care down our throats." To that I say check out this article, and read the reality for yourself.

What pisses me off more than anything is the fact that thousands upon thousands of Americans will believe the utter bullshit being spewed by the GOP in this regard, and they will come up with a multiplicity of excuses to suggest that somehow the situations aren't the same. Add to that the media, forever cowed into believing that it's "too liberal" will take its bullying from the right, and report the GOP position as "truth," while forgetting that unless the media outlet is Fox, then the charge of "liberal bias" will remain undisturbed.

This, my friends is real truthiness in action. Behold.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On Zadie Smith

I've stated in the past that I am an Anglophile. I am a sucker for Forster's England (and its depictions on film), and I have fallen for Rowling's magical Britain. I love the British comedies, and think that BBC America is just a whole lot of goodness. But I am also totally fascinated by artistic Brits of African descent, from Sade (of course), to Thandie Newton, to Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (hold me back), to Estelle, and others. Though I cannot really explain it, they remind me of artistic black Americans from the early 20th century (intriguing, interesting, and engaging).

But it was Zadie Smith who brought together that fascination with artistic Brits of African descent and my love of Forster. And Smith's novel On Beauty, her homage to Forster's Howard's End, was simply a joy to read. I am looking forward to reading her latest book of essays, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, particularly after reading this great review by Adam Kirsch in "The New Republic." If you haven't had a chance, check out Smith's novel White Teeth. It's quite funny in so many ways. I also enjoyed Smith's essay "Speaking in Tongues" in "The New York Review of Books."

It's been fun familiarizing myself with Smith's work, and it will be cool to see how her work changes, and how it remains the same. Check her out!!

Yep, I'm Not a Conservative

Once I finished reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' post "Conservatism and Power," I realized that Coates summed up the reasons why I have found identifying with American conservatism difficult:

"Taken in sum you have an ideology, whatever its laudable merits, that will almost always, necessarily, look charitably upon those with power, or those who control the institutions, and skeptically upon those without power, or those who seek to change those institutions" (T. Coates, "Conservatism and Power," The Atlantic Online, 3.16.10)

I don't see the relevance of hate crimes legislation, we have existing laws that, if applied appropriately, would suffice. I believe that we should really re-examine affirmative action policies to reflect the significant changes that have occurred since its inception, while acknowledging that problems continue. I am cool with the death penalty and a woman's right to choose. I am for civil marriage equality, as well as for divorce. I am for a health insurance system where everyone has access via a public program like our seniors, veterans and military members enjoy, coupled with private insurance for those who want more coverage.

I am not an isolationist, but I do think that we need to re-examine our foreign policy. I believe that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should be eliminated. I am totally against pre-emptive war, and I think that a thorough investigation of the Bush administration's use of contractors and intelligence gathering policies is beyond warranted. I believe that we do have to have serious entitlement reform, because it is true that the current systems are not sustainable as they are.

I believe that this idea of continually cutting taxes is completely unrealistic, especially if we want government to continue to do things. I think that we need to be extremely aggressive about rebuilding our infrastructure. I think it would be helpful to consider developing national education standards and exiting exams, with the hope of mitigating the glaring discrepancies among the various states. I think that we need to re-install various New Deal era economic policies (with a 21st century twist), policies that ushered in one of the longest periods of economic growth across the classes in American history. I believe that we should legalize drugs and tax them, as we do cigarettes and alcohol. I think that we should consider renovating the nation's public housing and develop a rent to own program for the residents, thus encouraging home ownership, and generating additional property tax revenues.

I don't believe that unions are bad, but I do think that the teachers' unions have a bit too much power (and not enough great results). I think that if we build a wall along the Mexican border, then there better be one coming for the Canadian border too. I believe that there is climate change, and that things should be done to mitigate the most negative effects. I think that the idea of a green revolution will help the United States regain its total superior status on the planet (we do have challengers, particularly China). And, I believe that historic preservation and community revitalization through preservation can be key components to bringing this country out of our economic mess.

Now with all of those various positions stated (and that is far from a complete list), I don't know if that makes me a liberal, libertarian, moderate, or some combination of those things, but I do know that Coates' point makes very good sense to me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ever Wondered What a Weathercock Looked Like in the Wind? Then Take a Look at Former Congressman Eric Massa

Didn't he decide not to run for re-election for health reasons? No, wasn't he resigning because of a possible ethics violation with a male staffer? Hang on, weren't the Democrats trying to get him back for not supporting the House health care plan? Where did the groping of the staff members come from? And what's up with the whole Glenn Beck thing?

Lord Jesus, was I like this before I came out of the closet?

Civil Marriage Equality in DC: To All of Those Who Will Marry

The world has not come to an end. "The Rapture" has not ensued. Poor and working class black folks still live in the District of Columbia (still can't believe someone made that claim). The battle was well fought, and the best argument won. There is marriage equality in Washington, DC, and it is beautiful. Forget the naysayers, and the people who are "offended" by the natural displays of affection.

May your marriages last forever. Cheers!

Don't Let the Door Hit You...

Man has my indifference about the potential passage of health insurance reform changed. Rush Limbaugh has threatened to leave the country if health insurance reform passes. Now, I want that weak attempt at reform (and weak attempt at cost controls) passed more than ever. And Limbaugh, don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

Oh, and please take your beloved private health insurance companies with you. Maybe then we could become more like an advanced nation with a single payer system (we can keep some insurance companies around, because the rich will require it of course).

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Favorite Part of the Academy Awards Last Night

Congrats to all of the folks who won Oscars last night. I enjoyed the antics of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. But, my favorite segment of the night was the tribute to John Hughes. All of those memories came flooding back as the various "Brat Pack" members emerged on the stage.

It's funny. I've posted about my love of the iconic John Hughes films of my high school years (1983-1986) before. Being black, gay and lower middle class did not make me feel that I could not relate to the messages those movies put forth. I got it. I understood. They made sense to me, and I will always appreciate the world Hughes created, and I was beyond excited to see that the Academy felt that his work warranted the special tribute they provided.

Save the Save America's Treasures Program, and Help Create Jobs and Revitalize Communities

I want to keep this quite simple. It makes no sense to abandon the Save America's Treasures program. I have had the pleasure of seeing the impact this program has had on communities across the country. Here is an analysis, with hard numbers, showing the number of jobs created and the amount of funds spent to bring those jobs about.

With the savings that the Obama administration is proposing to save through necessary cuts in various budgets, I do not understand why some of those savings could not be directed to a program that not only creates "jobs, jobs, jobs," but it also has the ancillary benefit of saving important historic resources that reflect poignantly who we are, and what how far we've come, as Americans. If there are problems with the metrics of the program, or a sense that the purpose of the program isn't clear, then give the folks in charge of it an opportunity to make the case and address the shortcomings.

Check out this link to see which communities the Save America's Treasures program has impacted over the years. American jobs were created. American historic resources were saved and put to effective and innovative new uses.

I've already argued that we need to revive the FDR era Civilian Conservation Corps, and put people to work on improving the infrastructure of the nation, as well as shoring up our national parks and historic sites. I still think that it is a great idea, and the money we would spend as a nation would be an incredible investment, as it was during the Great Depression.

Finally, one of the things I have come to love about historic preservation is that it is truly a non-partisan issue. Nearly every group imaginable within the nation has something worth preserving, even controversial historic places. Nearly every community across the nation can benefit from some form of community revitalization through the use of historic preservation. It is so simple, this idea of preserving our past, revitalizing for the future, all while creating jobs and enhancing community pride.

I know that I am not alone in this sentiment. Remind the Obama administration of that too. I know I will.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Christianist Virginians - 3; GLBT Virginians - 0 (Though I Think GLBT Supporters of the New Governor Are Banking on Special Treatment)

First the new Virginia governor rescinds the protections on GLBT state employees, and claims that he will not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Perhaps he will not, you never know, but I am more than confident that the Christianists and straight up homo-haters throughout the commonwealth are more than ready to discriminate at will.

Second, the GOP controlled Virginia House of Delegates killed not one, but two bills that would have offered protection to GLBT Virginians (both state workers and the general population). I suppose they were tired of the gays pushing for those "special rights."

Finally, the new Attorney General has gone out of his way to let state colleges and universities know that they have no legal basis for offering protection to GLBT workers (thanks again to the House of Delegates), and that they should rescind the protections that they have in place.

I've heard that there are some gay Republicans I know who seem cool with this. To that, I say that I will never understand. But I will also say, and call it hyperbole if you like, that there were slaves who were convinced that they were separate and apart from their fellow slaves, because they seemed to have the master's favor, until they didn't have the master's favor.

There is nothing wrong with the argument that we are more than our sexual orientation or racial identity. Too true. But, there is something wrong with gleefully supporting the policies of a political party that at the moment is singling out the GLBT community, as is happening in Virginia. Perhaps some have assurances from political cronies that all will be fine. Trust and believe that those assurances given would disappear with the quickness, if those cronies were forced into a choice between protecting their gay friends from discrimination and self preservation.

I am very sad for Virginia right now, but I hope that I will be proven wrong. I hope that we will not see discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Virginia. We'll see.

UPDATE (3.10.10): I wonder how many business types in VA said something to McDonnell.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Don't Do It Mr. President

If the Obama administration reverses Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammad in federal court (and in New York City, the site of the crime), then it will prove to me that this is an administration that is accepting as fact that what was good enough for President Bush and his Department of Justice is simply not good enough for President Obama and his Department of Justice. This will be, in my mind, an act of cowardice of epic proportions, and I will expect the Obama administration to be bullied at every turn from truculent Republicans, who would say "the sky is green," if Obama said that "the sky is blue." And a solid proportion of the American populace would agree with the Republicans.

Under Bush, we prosecuted scores of terrorist suspects in federal court, and those people are serving in federal prisons. Alexandria, Virginia saw the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui go through without a real hitch. We were under no greater threats than usual, and last I checked, Washington, DC is right across the river from Alexandria. President Bush was at the White House, while Moussaoui was sitting in a courtroom. The Pentagon, an attack site, was not far away. I simply do not understand the fear factor (New York City is a perpetual terrorist target, like Washington, DC). I think that this notion of costs and logistics are just ruses.

Should we all prepare for the White House to force Eric Holder to fire the so called "al Qaeda 7," because Liz Cheney thinks that these people are moles or some such craziness (I guess she must think that all criminal defense attorneys are really just supporters of crime, forget that whole concept of innocent until proven guilty, and having proper legal representation)? And let it be said that even if that did happen, the GOP barbarians at the gate would remain unsatisfied.

I did not cast my vote for someone who would cower in the face of GOP criticism. I didn't cast my vote for someone who would be Clintonian in terms of his slavish relationship to poll numbers. And I don't want to have to start saying "oh no he di'in't," instead of "yes he did."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

When Politicians Lie, Keep Calling Them Out

I am really tired of people simply saying that "all politicians lie," and just leaving it there. Define the terms. Are people including the changing of one's mind on a political position as a lie? You know the "flip flop" that became a popular phrase against Sen. John Kerry. If that is the case, I don't see that as a lie. Saying that you haven't changed your position after you've done so (check Sen. John McCain on Don't Ask, Don't Tell), in my mind, is a lie.

Regardless of which politician does it, lying should be called out vigorously, and the politician should be shamed publicly for it.

I raise this to say that I am bothered by what I am seeing coming from the GOP over health insurance reform. Last night, for example, Rep. Michele Bachmann said on national television that the U.S. Senate does not operate under the simple majority rules, that 60 votes are always required to pass legislation in the Senate, and that the use of reconciliation is breaking the rules of the Senate.

Bullshit, each and every point.

And then there is this segment from Rachel Maddow last night:

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To echo Maddow, it is true: they aren't embarrassed. Call them out anyway. We need to kill the truism that all politicians lie. It simply isn't acceptable, and Americans deserve better from its political leaders, regardless of party. Which reminds me, I wonder how that ethics investigation on Rep. Charlie Rangel is going?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Civil Marriage Equality in DC: Let the Wedding Planning Begin

I am stunned, and supremely happy. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Chief Justice John Roberts has decided not to intervene on behalf of those against marriage equality in DC and stop the passage of the legislation, or stop the issuing of marriage licenses.

And apparently, there will be cupcakes handed out to couples who head downtown for their marriage licenses tomorrow. There is a mandatory three-day waiting period, so the first official gay marriage in the District could happen as early as March 9, 2010.


UPDATE: Check out the first couple in line for the new marriage license in DC. I am so happy for these ladies.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Little Lesson in Civics Thanks to Jim Bunning

Personally, I think Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is providing the American electorate a wonderful lesson in civics, and how interconnected our governmental programs happen to be. It is important for citizens to know what this one Senator's action has wrought: a potential cut in unemployment benefits to more than a million this month, the furloughing of approximately 2,000 workers in the Department of Transportation (infrastructure projects perhaps), and cuts in Medicare fees owed doctors.

Now, Bunning, the man who fell asleep during those maddening Senate Finance Committee meetings back in the fall, is not running for re-election this year. This is also the same man who uttered, so eloquently, "tough shit," when his fellow Senators tried to get him to change his mind. And he allegedly gave reporters the finger earlier today. All of this because he is pissed that Sen. Reid, in abandoning the Senate Finance Committee's attempt at a jobs bill that was filled with tons of things other than direct help to create jobs.

I wondered if Bunning's real motivation is similar to the motivation of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), when he placed a blanket hold on all of Obama's nominations in need of Senate confirmation. In some ways I hope that this situation will play out just like the government shutdown of 1995, which amounted to nothing more than a pissing contest between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, over a presumed slight against Gingrich by Clinton.

Perhaps Bunning, so opposed to health insurance reform, or so pissed that his party essentially showed him the door, is just being a pissed off soon to be irrelevant former politician flexing the last bit of political muscle he has left. Regardless, I hope Americans will take away from this situation a better understanding of just how obstructionist the U.S. Senate can be, whether the obstructionism is principled or not. And from that, I would hope that all of those people who want to blame Obama for not getting his agenda through the Senate will understand better exactly what he, or frankly any other POTUS, would be up against.

I am probably hoping for way too much from my fellow Americans.