Monday, August 30, 2010

Krauthammer v. Greenwald, and You Can Guess Who I Like

When I read Charles Krauthammer's op-ed today, I couldn't help but laugh. I thought immediately of two specific friends of mine (there is a third, but we don't really discuss politics). Both of them have made Krauthammer's argument to me in some manner over the course of the time that we've known each other. I've often wondered if there was a mass e-mail sent out with a set of specific talking points to use in an argument with a liberal. Naturally, conservatives wonder the same thing about the other side.

What feels missing this time around, however, with at least one of those friends is the comity at the end of the discussion. Now, it is quite possible (and I really hope that this is the case) that the disembodied nature of the comment section of a blog makes it difficult to get the full measure of one's emotions, or one's feelings following the hitting of the "submit" button. I hope that I am wrong in feeling that something has changed between us; that would be sad indeed.

But I digress. When I finished the Krauthammer piece, I thought that I would address it, but then I read Glenn Greenwald's response over at Salon, and decided to link to it. I couldn't have said it better myself. It's a really good read...well, liberals will think so.

My Thoughts on the "Restoring Honor" Rally

I wasn't really sure what to expect from the event that Glenn Beck orchestrated, but I can say, after watching all of it, I came away feeling as though I'd watched an interesting congregation's revival. God was invoked to an almost absurd level in my mind, but I am sure that many of those gathered found some form of solace in the words of the speakers.

It should surprise no one who knows me that I was not convinced of Beck's sincerity, and bringing out Alveda King of all people was certainly not a way to move me away from my original perspective. As a matter of fact, I found Sarah Palin's comments, though vapid, more sincere than anything King offered. Nor was I surprised to see that the diversity on stage did not match that of the gathered.

Now I would be lying if I said I enjoyed the "Restoring Honor" rally. I never sensed that we lost our honor (though going into Iraq made me wonder greatly). But I would also be lying if I suggested that the event was anything more than it was. Political issues were kept to a minimum, though King couldn't help herself, and Beck went out of his way, as Republicans tend also to do, to make sure that his guests covered the American rainbow (though I am not aware of any openly gay speakers who spoke), which was the right thing to do.

None of this makes Glenn Beck any less vile in my mind. His personal history is toxic, and his attempts at academic history are pure comedy. Beck is nothing more than a modern day Elmer Gantry, and one day the majority of the country will see that.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

On Claiming Legacies

People often claim to represent the legacies of those who have gone before us. Some claims are legitimate, some, not so much. Before I write a post on the two rallies that Washington hosted today, I thought that it would be good for folks to be reminded of what exactly was said 47 years ago today on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Real Courage Down in Memphis

I just finished a post thanking our troops for their service, and it was a heart felt thanks. But now, I want to thank Michael Hildebrand of Memphis, TN for what he did at the City Council chambers in Memphis, TN. I watched the video clip of Mr. Hildebrand over at Towleroad (clip below), and I loved it. Having lived for so long in Washington, DC, I can say that I took for granted living my life, and simply being, irrespective of sexual orientation. But now that I am splitting my time between Washington and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, I sense that the GLBT community in Hampton Roads like shares the fears of those in Memphis (I will have to go out more to get a better sense, but between the massive military and religious right presence...).

I hope that many more folks in the GLBT community who live in cities and towns, and when the opportunity presents itself, will follow in Hildebrand's shoes. And to Mr. Hildebrand, I really hope that the Coucilwoman who proposed that anti-discrimination law for the Memphis GLBT community will push again at the next opportunity. Clearly, she will know that you have her back.

As the Troops from Iraq Come Home, I Offer My Thanks for Their Service and Sacrifice

When I started this blog, war was a fact of life for our service members. I have a couple of relatives and a couple of friends who are currently servicing, all of whom have spent some time either in Afghanistan or Iraq. Being the son of a Marine, the grandson (and cousin) of soldiers, and the brother of an Airman, I understand that the freedom I have to write this blog post, for example, is secured by their sacrifice. Whether I agree politically with service members I know, or not, I have nothing but respect for what they do.

I am glad that we are seeing more men and women come home from Iraq. People who know me know that I felt that we had no business in Iraq, that we took our eye off the real targets in Afghanistan, and now we are having to play catch-up after years of needless neglect. I wish our service members in Afghanistan well, and I hope that we will be able to begin our sending our troops home next July.

This post is simply a thank you to our troops coming home from Iraq, and a well wish to those continuing the effort in Afghanistan.

Will the Former NJ Education Commissioner Now be Considered "Lazy" for Seeking Unemployment Benefits

In all honesty, I have no idea why I decided to start reading an article on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's now former Education Commissioner, but now I am glad that I did. Bret Schundler essentially lost his job over a clerical error from his office that ultimately cost New Jersey $400M in education dollars. I'd heard about that "little"oversight, and assumed that New Jersey would have a new education person soon. I was not, however, prepared to read that Schundler had been asked originally to resign, but asked the following day if he could be fired instead, for the unemployment benefits.

Schundler is perfectly within his rights to seek his unemployment benefits; he paid into that insurance plan, like every other worker in this country. But, in light of this strange growing sense that people who are unemployed are "lazy," I couldn't help but pause when I read Schundler's request. Now I am sure that Schundler will not remain unemployed for long, but what happens if he does? Will he be considered lazy then?

Hip Hop Remembrances: Slick Rick

What fan of hip hop does not remember his/her reaction to hearing "The Show" for the first time? I was stunned, too through, and totally done. Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick and the Get Fresh Crew gave us nothing but a classic that is just as hot now as it was in 1985. And that was my introduction to Slick Rick.

He sounded like no one I'd ever heard before. I definitely picked up on the British accent, though at the time I thought it was merely an affectation. Little did I know that I was listening to a London born rap artist who would take rap to another level. And when he ventured out on his own, we were given the masterpieces "Children's Story" and "Hey Young World" (songs with actual meaning and messages).

I remember being particularly sad and disappointed when Slick Rick ended up behind bars, and I hope that he used his time to consider the very good and important things he put forth in some of his best songs.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Ken Mehlman and His Coming Out

I am of two minds on the coming out of the former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman. First, I fully understand and appreciate the personal nature of coming out of the closet. It can be a difficult process. I felt like a very late bloomer coming out at 25 (the '93 March on Washington was the catalyst for my coming out). So I can only imagine what it would be like coming out at 43, and I wish him well personally. I am sure that he, like millions of others before him, will find that his world will change in very significant and substantive ways (Mehlman is already working on gay marriage issues, for example), and he will be better for it.

However, my second position is quite different. The vast majority of the GLBT community, as it struggled with coming to terms with sexuality, did not have a front row seat in bashing the community. The vast majority of the GLBT community did not work tirelessly to make sure that gay marriage and GLBT lives were used as wedge issues to re-elect politicians. The vast majority of the GLBT community did not applaud, or tacitly approve of, the passage of a slew of state constitutional amendments banning marriage equality during his time in power (I think the count was 21 states). Even openly gay Republicans didn't go that far.

Many more people have laid out the crimes against the GLBT community that Ken Mehlman committed (Joe.My.God is a blog that I have clearly and unfortunately slept on, but I highly recommend it for a full review of all the Mehlman did during his tenure in politics against the GLBT community, including Log Cabin Republicans). Check out this post from Blog Active's Mike Rogers, who outed Mehlman years ago. It is important, I think, for the world, and particularly for the GLBT community, to be reminded of just what happened during Mehlman's tenure as RNC Chair, particularly as he seeks understanding from the broader GLBT community.

I sincerely wish Mehlman the best as he explores being an out gay man. Again, it can be a difficult road. But just as he struggled for 43 years to come to terms with who he is, perhaps he should give most of us in the GLBT community about that same amount of time to come to terms with his legacy to our community.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Will Being Gay in Uganda Lead to Execution or Imprisonment? VIII

Right now, I am listening to Jeff Sharlet's interview with Terry Gross of the NPR show "Fresh Air" (here is a related link to the actual interview).

Sharlet was invited to Uganda by David Bahati, the author of the "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda, and the interview is stunning actually. Bahati seems determined the eradicate gays from Uganda, and by eradicate, I mean execute. I cannot imagine the fear that is running through the gay community in Uganda. I also find it tired that Bahati and his ilk are trying to link Ugandan homosexuality with colonialism or Western culture. A new lie might serve them better.

I would like to think that even the most conservative Christian in this country would not support the systematic and government sanctioned execution of members of the GLBT community (and imprisonment for those who do not turn in GLBT family and/or friends). But there are times when I wonder. Meanwhile, I am going to have to make it a point to get the September '10 issue of Harper's Magazine (I don't know why I don't have a subscription) and check out Sharlet's full article. Here is an excerpt.

The Negro Motorist Green Book Gives Us an Important Glimpse Into Our Recent Past

A Facebook friend of mine posted a link to a story in the NY Times about the Green Book from back in the Jim Crow era. The Green Book was a handy guide for black travelers during the mid-20th century; it pointed out safe places black travelers could patronize. Here is a link to a 1949 edition of the book held by the University of Michigan.

This book is a treasure trove of information regarding the history of Jim Crow in this country. Naturally, I looked up my hometown, because Hampton, VA (Elizabeth City County circa 1949) was a known spot for black vacationers, specifically the old Bay Shore Beach (now private property between Buckroe Beach and Fort Monroe's Dog Beach). There are three sections under Virginia that are in Hampton: Bay Shore Beach, Phoebus and Hampton. I am going to ask my older relatives what they remember regarding the place names listed as safe spots for black travelers (the book stopped being published, following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Sadly, I think most of those places are gone. It will also be interesting to see which white owned businesses were willing to serve black customers.

I have a couple of friends who have been working on raising awareness on the need to preserve some these old Jim Crow era vacation sites (Martha's Vineyard, MA, Idlewild, MI, Highland Beach, MD, for example). Not only does it provide a window into the vacationing habits of black folks, but it also helps to reinforce the fact that there was economic diversity within the black community during that time. I remember seeing an old copy of "Ebony" magazine that listed some of the more popular vacation spots for the black middle and upper classes, and Bay Shore was right there with Martha's Vineyard, which surprised me.

It's little bits like the Green Book that have really made African American history (the "official" academic term) an interesting field of study for me, and I hope many more people will get exposed to that little, but very important, book.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Man Do They Need a Better Spokesperson

Okay, I had to go back to "The Daily Show" well for this. I'd heard that former House Majority Leader Dick Armey's appearance was something worth watching. I'd no idea that it would be sad and funny simultaneously. I would strongly suggest that the Tea Party people suggest a spokesperson other than Mr. Armey, because if what he is saying during this appearance is truly representative of the movement, then all I can say is drop the Tea Party drag, and just vote Republican as they during the course of the last decade.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Dick Armey Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Dick Armey Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Dick Armey Extended Interview Pt. 3
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Three Cheers for Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show," Yet Again

And we have yet another reason why people follow Jon Stewart and the folks of The Daily Show. Take it away Jon:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Extremist Makeover - Homeland Edition
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Friday, August 20, 2010

And You Thought the Seed of Chucky Was Bad

A friend of mine, an atheist, often talks about the "God virus," when the subject of religion comes up. Unwittingly, I think that Franklin Graham just provided my friend with some "evidence."

This whole "seed of Islam" and "seed of Judaism" thing is just strange to me. Actually, the whole conversation bothered me (I should note that I am totally skeptical about John King). It was a complete continuation of this characterization of Obama as "the other." "If that is what he has done" was an interesting phrase for Franklin to use to emphasize his diffidence regarding Obama's "claim" of his Christian faith.

I have an aunt who truly believes that a large swath of Obama's opponents simply want to go all Dr. Laura on the man. I am not so sure about that (meaning a large swath), but there has been a concerted effort to question Obama's citizenship, patriotism and his faith. This whole "seed of Islam" stuff that Graham went for is yet another example.

Oh, and before I forget, I hope that American Muslim supporters of the GOP are taking notes on how evil and un-American many of their cohorts believe they are. Perhaps they can empathize with gay Republicans.

UPDATE: I am watching "Countdown" right now, and Olbermann just reminded me of something that Graham said that was a lie. Obama has not renounced his Islamic faith. You can't renounce something you aren't.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To Understand Why I Like Frank Rich, Read His Review of Jonathan Alter's Book The Promise (I Also Agree Mostly With Their Assessments of Obama)

On average, I see Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter a couple of times a week during the run of the various MSNBC opinion shows. I am confident that our politics are likely closer than they are not, since I don't find myself yelling at his pronouncements like I do, say, Pat Buchanan (I really don't know why he is still on television). Naturally, Alter's book The Promise: President Obama, Year One has been hawked by all those folks on MSNBC. I will admit that I didn't really have an interest in it. However, I was over at the New York Review of Books site, and I saw that Frank Rich wrote a review of Alter's book.

The review is an excellent read, and I think that the combination of the information Alter apparently provides in the book and the commentary of Rich's review have made me interested. I think that both supporters of Obama and reasonable opponents of Obama (who knows how small a fraternity that may be) could agree on some of the shortcomings of this administration. I will admit that I felt a little vindicated regarding my criticism of Obama's economic team (mostly Geithner and Summers), when I saw an expansion of my basic problems with those gentlemen in Rich's review.

Like Rich, I believe that Obama was the right person for the job when we had to choose in November, but that his shortcomings, as well as those of this administration, have hurt the brand that he spent '07 and '08 building. And I agree with the assessment that, if Obama lacks sentimentality, as has been said, then he may yet do what he needs to do to right his administration (let the firings commence), and do right by those who put him into office (and even do right by those who still claim that he is a fascist, socialist, Marxist, communist, racist (against only white people), Muslim, anti-Christ, Kenyan who isn't an American citizen).

A Guess About Those Who Think Obama is a Muslim

My guess is that the overwhelming majority of those people who think President Obama is Muslim are people who simply don't like his politics, and who also think that Muslims as a whole are evil (see the connection?). That is just a guess. I would also guess that some of these same people were lapping up the Rev. Wright stories. Does that make Rev. Wright, adored for his political detriment to Obama, a secret Muslim too?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Even Political Junkies Need a Break Sometimes

I just wanted to let the folks who are kind enough to read my rants that I am taking a short break from posting. I am looking forward to seeing South Central Texas (computer free), though I am not looking forward to that heat. I wish I could take Down East Maine weather with me. I will post again late next week.

Some Things Just Make My Head Hurt

As an historian, I understand fully that new or ignored information can have a massive impact on the interpretation of an historical event. The historiography of Reconstruction, from the early 20th century interpretations to today, is an excellent example of how our understanding can change. When it comes to scientific interpretations, I see it in a similar fashion. But what Rachel Maddow talked about on her show last night, this assualt on things like the Theory of Relativity or evolution from the right, seems to be more focused on the notion that if it challenges fundamentalist Christian principles, then it represents a liberal conspiracy. Check this out.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sometimes Politics Just Puts Me in a Mood

There are times when I feel a sense of helplessness. When I look at the looming elections come this November, I feel it particularly acutely. I have little faith in Democrats right now. If anything, the last year and a half have shown me that there is little spine within that party. There is insufficient discipline and virtually no willingness to stand up to enemies.

Meanwhile, I trust the Republicans like I trust a mugger on a street. There is no doubt in my mind that they care for anyone whose income is below six figures (unless it is to scare the right people into voting for them). That they have continued the lie that they care for the majority of Americans speaks of their political character. However, I cannot help but look and listen incredulously at people who I think (yes, I wrote it) should run as far away from Republican "policies" as possible. But then, I realize that if I were voting my aspirations, as opposed to my reality, then perhaps I too would return to the GOP.

Going back to my occasional feeling of helplessness, I must say that when I look at Republicans and conservatives in the news, or read their words, I am stunned that anyone actually believes anything that they have to say. Yes, Democrats are bad, but not as bad as Republicans, in my estimation. There seems to me a quiet glee that the nation remains on its knees economically. There seems a callousness toward those who are suffering that feels obscene, and a simpering to those with money that seems just ghastly.

Perhaps the truth of the matter is that few of our elected officials and civil servants actually care about the average American. Perhaps another truth is that the average American is so beleaguered that they no longer have the will to fight. In the end, I feel like it's either support the weak willed or the sycophantic liar. That is a bitch of a choice.

By the way, the two things that I read that really put me in this mood are here and here.

Cheers to Fareed Zakaria on Taking a Principled Stand

Like Zakaria, I was disappointed in seeing that the ADL opined against the mosque/community center in lower Manhattan, and I agreed with Zakaria that the ADL leader's defense of his position was both weak and reflected the antithesis of the mission of that great organization. That Zakaria went further was even more impressive. Both his letter to the ADL, as well as his call to have the Cordoba House built, were great. That Zakaria returned both an award and an honorarium from the ADL proved to me that Zakaria someone that would put almost all of our politicians and political pundits to shame. Zakaria showed conviction in the principles that most Americans profess to believe: freedom of religion.

Out of fear and willful ignorance, too many Americans are succumbing to the very things that we rightfully loathe in lesser societies: reactionary actions against an unpopular minority, fallacious justifications for already present prejudices, and disdain for intellectual and reasonable debate. Listen to the likes of Palin and Gingrich on this issue. Note that few mention that the mosque at the center of this debate has been a part of the lower Manhattan community since 1983, and simply seek to move to a larger location in their neighborhood (and with the full support of the elected officials in New York City).

It seems that for Zakaria the ADL's tacit endorsement of this pitiful position was the last straw.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Regarding Christopher Hitchens

I don't quite understand why, but something about Christopher Hitchens cancer diagnosis has affected me. Obviously, it makes me sad, but there is something deeper that I cannot quite put my finger on. Mind you, there have been times when I have both adored and loathed what he has written. And, I've even had the pleasure of seeing him on rare occasions in Washington; I had the decency to keep my distance (feeling that I wouldn't quite know what to say following a simple introduction).

Perhaps I just look at Hitchens, and I see a life that has been lived to the fullest, which is something I have not yet done. I wish Hitchens the best, and I look forward to reading Hitch-22: A Memoir. I particularly enjoyed reading this excerpt from the June 2010 Vanity Fair.

Here is an interview that Hitchens did with Anderson Cooper:

The Gay Marriage Fight as Only Stephen Colbert Can Explain It

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
How to Ruin Same-Sex Marriages
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

And I still love the fact that he spent two years of his life at Hampden-Sydney (we needed many more like him).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Justice Elena Kagan

I know that there are those who loathe to do head counts on bodies like the Supreme Court, but I think there is something special about that body having (come the first Monday in October) three women. Ronald Reagan deserves a great deal of credit for expanding the pool of his choices to include a woman, and a woman, Sandra Day O'Connor, who proved to be a real asset to the Court.

Congratulations to Justice Elena Kagan, the fourth woman to ascend to the Supreme Court. I hope that her tenure on the Court is a good one, even when she renders opinions on which I don't agree.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Proposition 8 Found Unconstitutional (YAY!!!)

Though this fight is far from over, I cannot help but be elated by the news that a federal judge has just found California's Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. It needed to be found unconstitutional, because it is. And I love the fact that some on the right are going after Judge Vaughn Walker, because he is a gay man.

I bet those calls to review the 14th Amendment will expand now to include a "review" of the Equal Protection Clause. LOL

Bravo to Mayor Bloomberg

I just read the text of Michael Bloomberg's speech on the mosque and community center proposed for lower Manhattan. He hit all of the right points and rightly calls out those in the GOP and on the right for seeking to forsake actual American principles for political expediency.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

On Losing a Toddler, Because His Babysitter Thought He Was Acting Like a Girl

Last year I wrote a post on the two young men who committed suicide in order to stop the bullying they suffered at school, and that was a heartbreaking post to write. Today, I came across a post at Towleroad that made me even more angry than the sad suicides.

I cannot believe that a grown ass man, a babysitter, decided that a 17 month old boy was not acting enough like a boy. That grown ass man was determined to beat the "boy" into this 17th month old, and he beat that beautiful innocent boy, Roy Jones, III, to death.

I think I am going to stop now, because I am about to hurl generalizations left and right, mostly aimed at sexually insecure straight men. I don't feel like going there right now. Instead, please direct your thoughts and prayers to Roy Jones family. I cannot imagine what they are going through right now, and all because some trick ass decided that a toddler, a fucking toddler, wasn't acting enough like a boy, and beat him to death.

An Interesting Article on Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) in Mother Jones

As I have said in this blog many times, I am not a political conservative. With that said, however, I am not one who dismisses good ideas, even if they are conservative ideas. While reading David Corn's Mother Jones article on Rep. Bob Inglis, I couldn't help but feel for Inglis.

Not only did he admit that his first go-round in the U.S. house was a waste (in seeking to, in his words, "destroy" President Clinton), but he also gave testimony to just how outrageous the Tea Party's influence on the GOP has become. Yet, I am sure that a fair few on the right will simply dismiss Inglis as a disgruntled loser. I think that he represented that minority of GOP members who genuinely wanted to resolve the really pressing issues facing this country, albeit from a conservative perspective.

Actually, Inglis sounds like some (though not all) of the folks I know who are Republicans and conservatives, concerned about the future of the GOP and conservatism.

The country needs thoughtful and substantive conservative ideas that help solve actual problems, and I don't mean fucking TAX CUTS (you would think that they represented a variation of the elixir of life to hear some on the right talk about them). This country has always done best when the left pushed forward, and the right pushed a little backward (isn't that their way?), and then we come to an accepted middle ground. Why not try that again? I think Rep. Inglis would agree.

Congressional Democrats Might Want to Learn from What Matthews and Maddow Said Last Night

As I watched the close of "Hardball with Chris Matthews" yesterday, I couldn't help but nod my head in agreement with his assessment that the GOP is in the process of lying to the American public once again. Instead of war, the GOP is lying about precisely who will be hit by the phasing out of the Bush tax cuts. President Obama wants to keep the current levels for 98% of Americans where they are right now (using the tax cuts implemented by the GOP under President Bush); however, for the top 2% of income earners, the goal would be to return the tax rate to what it was under President Clinton.

This, as Matthews points out, is the fact that the GOP is trying to get American voters to ignore. This is where the GOP lie begins.

I also found Rachel Maddow's segment "Scaring White People for Fun and Profit" tonight was simultaneously entertaining and sad, because it is beginning to feel like this is an actual election year strategy coming from the right. Moreover, it fits in perfectly with Matthews earlier point.

I raise both of these opinion segments to say that the communications teams of almost all of the Democrats is failing them. They are allowing these lies and made up stories to go unchecked. Democrats and liberals (please note that they are not necessarily interchangeable, just as Republican and conservative are not necessarily interchangeable) have failed repeatedly to set the terms of the debate, something that should give lie to the fatuous term "liberal media." What's worse is that only in particularly egregious circumstances, like the Shirley Sherrod episode, does truth will out.

If the Democrats hope to retain control of Congress, then they need to start combating the lies that the GOP is currently telling in unison (it also helps to continue to call out their own for ethics violations) and repeatedly. Fight fire with truth. We will not have the biggest tax increase in American history if the GOP created and passed Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire for the top 2%. And we have seen a real drop in crime across the board, particularly within illegal immigrant populations, no matter how many fake stories saying otherwise emerge in say places like Texas.

We deserve to know those truths.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Adolescent Music Flashback: The Fixx

I still remember the opening chords of The Fixx song "Saved By Zero," which introduced one of the strangest videos I'd seen. But I loved Cy Curnin's voice, and what adolescent isn't looking for some type of salvation. Of course, "One Thing Leads to Another" is one of the songs that is always played when there is a block of '80s songs played on the radio, or videos played on television. I remember one of my aunts declaring that "Secret Separation" was one of the ugliest songs she'd ever heard, and that made me love it even more (and I still like that song).

But I don't think I realized how much I liked The Fixx until about a decade ago. I decided to listen again to the whole of the albums "Reach the Beach" and "Walkabout." I didn't even realize that the songs "Red Skies" and "Stand or Fall" were from their earliest album, "Shuttered Room." And in spite of the popularity of "One Thing Leads to Another," I think that not too many people in the U.S. were won over by The Fixx. I was one of those who was mostly won over.

There is a Growing Attack on the 14th Amendment. What Will the Tea Party People Do?

All last summer, the Tea Party people screamed, whined and or cried about the need to "follow the Constitution." Mind you, no one has deviated from the Constitution, but that is a different discussion. Now we have a direct attack from a Republican Senator on the Constitution. The text of the 14th Amendment is quite clear. It's also clear that Sen. Kyl's intention is clearly aimed at Hispanics coming into the country illegally (not Europeans or Africans or Asians; that would be an ancillary benefit).

What is the Tea Party position?