Insight. Antics.

Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Mates’ Rights.

In Politics on December 19, 2009 at 9:09 am

Now that is a “bignorant” sign (bigoted + ignorant), but proponents of same-sex marriage have a bit of good news after a year of numerous defeats. No, Richard Simmons is still gay. Rather, the District of Columbia City Council voted 11-2 to make it legal there. And yesterday, Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the bill, meaning gay couples in Washington could be married come mid-March. (Tasty morsel: one of the two “no” votes came from everyone’s favorite crack fiend ex-Mayor Marion Barry, who is a current council member.)

However, there is a catch. It is not yet law. DC being DC, Congress gets to review all laws passed in the district and evaluate them if it so chooses. USA Today foreshadowed this possibility back in April.

Congress gets 30 legislative working days to act on the bill by enacting what is called a  “joint resolution of disapproval.” In layman’s terms: “We really do not care what you autonomously decide is in your own best interest.” Reporters say interference is unlikely, since Congress has “rejected [DC] legislation just three times in the past 25 years.” I went to dig up what those exceptions were, but could not get a definitive return just yet. If anyone has the answers, please share.

So, what other precedent is there for something like this? In 1993, Congress opted not to repeal a law legalizing consensual sodomy, when the balance was also weighted to the Democrats. However, a decade earlier they did reject a similar law. As another barometer of social issue legislation, Washington may legalize medical marijuana use based on the freed-up result of last week’s Senate spending bill that stripped away the ban on that drug. Read the rest of this entry »

Gee, Why Joe?

In Media, Politics on December 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Most news outlets are reporting that Senate Democrats will give into “parliamentary terrorist” Joe Lieberman’s demands. That’s what he is at this point, regardless of your political leaning: someone who knowingly and unexpectedly creates legislative anger, confusion, and uncertainty for his own narrow-minded goals.

The Huffington Post was most blunt: “Lieberman Wins.” Long form, this means dropping two components of the bill that the Senate working group (aka the Gang of Ten) agreed to: allowing 55-64 year olds to buy in to Medicare, and a public option “trigger” if the national private nonprofit plans the bill calls for fail to come to fruition.

Suffice it to say, liberals are not happy. Some members of his state’s Congressional delegation are even calling for an (albeit non-existent in Connecticut) recall, just to show how livid they are.

Hater Joe made his initial unsupportive comments on Face the Nation. It’s too bad he doesn’t actually have to, y’know, face the nation and hear what people really think of him. It wouldn’t be pretty. With homeless guys lobbing tomatoes at Sarah Palin and mental cases nailing adulterous Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with statues on the fly (he and Tiger Woods should hang out), it’s kind of surprising nobody has chucked a honeydew at Lieberman.

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That’ll Do Donkeys, That’ll Do.

In Politics on December 9, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Perhaps you awoke this morning, exfoliated in the shower, chomped on your fibrous cereal of choice, and checked out the news, only to see that a certain buzz-term that fast became household vernacular is suddenly threatening to leave us.

If you said “Blue Dog,” go bark up another tree. If you said “Public option,” have a Scooby Snack; you’ve earned it.

That’s right, nine days into closed-door negotiations in the Senate between the Gang of Ten as they are being called (five more liberal Democrats and five centrists), Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is not one of the group, popped out and announced with an odd optimism that a “broad agreement” has been reached and it includes scratching the public option.

Maybe he’s not familiar with another DC buzzword: “Agreement.” (Who down there is?) Or maybe this is a good deal. Let’s unpack this development from two sides.

At first glance, this news reminded me of a tweet from a few months back: “@pourmecoffee: every Senator should have an animal name. Harry Reid is ‘The Bat of the Senate’ because he always caves.” Today’s New York Times originally led with, “Reid Says Deal Resolves a Dispute on the Public Option.” Man, talk about massaging language. That’s giving it a sensuous shiatsu and throwing in some aromatic Swedish oils. Resolves? Capitulates? What’s the difference?

Olympia Snowe may have flurried away from a vote with the Dems, eerily coinciding with an icy weather mix near in her home state of Maine, but now, reports say the irksome Independent that is Joe Lieberman is in play.

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Jobby Job Jostling.

In Economy on December 8, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Right after the Afghanistan decision rollout, the Administration turned on a dime and focused on jobs, something it seemed they neglected in public of late. The message has been deliberate and sustained ever since.

Thursday there was a jobs summit at the White House with business influencers representing a cross-section of geography, sector, and size, though Montgomery Burns was not spotted.

Friday the president took questions at an Allentown community college. (The last question was from a young guy who just wanted some help, as a student and veteran, with the red tape of getting his post-9/11 GI bill honored.)

With hints yesterday and a speech today the president revealed a plan to use the $200 billion of remaining TARP funds to create jobs. (Of the $700 billion passed under Bush, half was intentionally left over for the next president, and with faster than expected bank paybacks, this XXL $200 remains). It’s a shrewd (or sneaky?) way to assuage critics who are fearful the Stimulus was not large enough and placate those who do not see justification for passing a second one. Republicans would prefer he pay down the national debt with the extra cash instead. This (“CLEAR!”) defibrillating job jolt is intended to be executed via small business loans, tax breaks, infrastructure projects, and energy efficiency incentives.

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Marching Orders: Live Blogging Obama’s Afghan Speech.

In Media, Politics, War on December 1, 2009 at 9:10 pm

President Obama is giving a much-awaited announcement on his intentions for the conflict in Afghanistan tonight from Eisenhower Hall at West Point. I am following along with commentary:

The Commander-in-Chief Emerges | 8:03 p.m. To a substantial, sustained, but not striking applause, Obama emerged, waving with a staid smile to a sea of gray-uniformed cadets.

Past is Prologue | 8:11 p.m. He’s just finished summarizing the history of Afghanistan’s relationship to 9/11, our deployment in the region, and how the war in Iraq has withheld resources from it, without placing blame, but acknowledging the controversy of that war.

30-Large | 8:15 p.m. The official number leaked earlier has now come out of his mouth: 30,000 troops will head to Afghanistan by this summer, “the fastest possible pace.”

Three Means Justifying Three Ends  | 8:23 p.m. He hasn’t mentioned any metrics for the outcomes in the speech, but he outlined each of his objectives: to deny Al Qaeda a safe haven, reverse the Taliban’s influence, and strengthen security forces and the sovereign government. The intended means to accomplishing these are a military effort, a civilian surge, and an effective partnership with Pakistan.

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