Wednesday, January 31, 2007

DC School's Bookkeeping Gets an "F"

From today's WashPo:

An independent audit of the D.C. government has found serious problems with the public school system's financial controls, alarming District officials who say that the city's fiscal health could be at risk if the lapses are not corrected.

Not good news for defenders of the status quo who oppose Mayor Fenty's efforts to take mayoral control over the schools precisely because of the continual mismanagement of the system's current management.

And what of the response of the school system? A serious avowal to fix the problem? Naw, it's the typical dodge knowledge and responsibility game, Buried at the end of the Post story:

But the biggest fireworks came when Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), head of the council's Finance and Revenue Committee, demanded that Janey and Bobb respond to the auditors' conclusions. Evans said the auditors told him that the school system was the worst department to deal with.

"The cooperation was not there," said Evans, who supports Fenty's plan. "They could barely audit your system."

Janey professed not to know about the auditors' concerns. "They have not come to me and given me the same conclusion," Janey said. "I heard differently."

This is why I'm supporting the Mayor on this one.

Life in the Nation's Capitol -- Cont.

A DC metro subway station was closed this morning after Alexandria police spotted "suspicious" packages at a nearby bus stop. According to the Post:

The packages remained undisturbed for two hours after being discovered because Alexandria police do not have a bomb squad and "apparently they couldn't get a hold of anybody from Metro until after 5 a.m.," Bartlett said.


Hello? I thought communication between multiple branches of law enforcement and various city government departments was "streamlined" and "improved" after 9/11. With all the focus the DC Metro system gives to "suspicious packages" you'd think there'd be somebody to call after hours. You can't set foot in the Metro system without seeing or hearing announcements and warnings about "suspicious packages." Like this one I heard yesterday over the Metro's intercom system:

"If you see someone leaving a bag or or a backpack, approach them and say, 'excuse me, is that your package?'"


I'm not making that up (in fact, the person making the announcement had the "I can't believe I'm saying this" tone in his voice). Perhaps the Alexandria police were following the Metro's instructions and spent two hours walking around the station looking for someone to ask, "is that your package?"

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

DC Voting Rights Watch

Marc Fisher in his column Raw Fisher explains the raw deal DC residents got with Congress' utterly meaningless move to allow DC's delegate to vote on amendments. Quote of note:

People who don't watch the sad saga of D.C. voting rights closely get all excited when the Democrats are in power because they think the Dems are the natural allies of District residents and will surely move to give Washingtonians their birthright and let them elect a member of Congress.

But that's not how it works, and House Democrats showed once again last week what they really think of the District. In a move calculated to make it appear as if the Dems really do care about D.C. voting rights, the House voted to let the non-voting delegate from D.C. cast a vote anytime it doesn't matter. That is, the delegate will be permitted to vote on amendments to bills--if and only if the margin of victory in the vote is large enough so that the D.C. vote would not alter the outcome. In other words, if and only if the D.C. vote is utterly meaningless.

As symbolic gestures go, this one would be harmless enough if it didn't also make it vastly more difficult for any real voting rights reform to come out of the House. But it does.


Why should DC citizens be given the right to vote? We pay the same taxes you do. Our sons and daughters bleed on the same battlefields as yours do. The precarious nature of the early federal government and the dominance and jealousies of the states that prevailed when the District was created have gone the way of powdered wigs and knee britches. Taxation without representation was unfair to the colonies more than 230 years ago and it's unfair still today on American soil.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

There Go Her American Idol Judges' Votes...

Hillary's mic gets switched on half-way through the National Anthem. Lord have mercy.

Bumpersticker of the Day

Fenty's Opponents: Defense of Status Quo

Foes of the mayor's plan to take over DC schools aren't getting much traction, according to today's Washpo:

...the response to community activists' efforts has been underwhelming, with empty seats outnumbering attendees at some forums.

Last month at Kelly Miller Middle School, for example, the D.C. group Parent Watch flew in five school activists from New York and Chicago to discuss the problems with mayoral control of schools. The group provided a free buffet and invited the community, but fewer than 20 people showed up in an auditorium designed for 10 times that number.


Perhaps it's because the only thing they're offering is the whimpering defense of the status quo and the selfish whine of the threatened entrenched. Or as DC Councilman Jack Evans says:

"A lot of people are making a lot of money on our system, and they do not want that system to change," Evans said. "If you start with a cynical point of view, what is the reason they do not want to change anything?"



Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Little Crush

Crushes are irrational things (I keep telling myself) as I admit I have a little thing going for Ryan Seacrest, especially when he's sporting a little 5 0'clock shadow. He and I would probably have nothing to talk about over dinner -- but, well you know (and yes, the LTR knows of my affliction).

Out and About

This is one of my favorite places in DC...it looks a little austere now, especially with the snow on the hill of Mt. Zion Cemetary, but in the spring and summer at the right time of day the sun just dances off the water here.

"Here" is on the bike path in Rock Creek Park betweem Connecticut Ave. and P. Street.

Oh -- and I got a new camera to replace the one that was stolen. Well, technically I guess I "lost" in when I left my backpack on the transit from BWI to Amtrak, but no one turned it in so someone must have it which means it was stolen. Yes?

Life with My Partner (the LTR)

Learning that a meat cleaver and a glass cutting board don't mix (it coulda been worse -- I thought the meat cleaver was for me when he bought it today).

Dragged into 1950s Drag


The LTR has a colleague who is turning 50 and next Saturday we're going to his birthday party -- which has a fifties theme, as in 1950s. Everyone is supposed to come dressed in costumes from that era.

Somehow, I've been drafted to be a part the LTR's boss' costume plan. She plans on going as a 1950s prom queen. Her husband doesn't want to be her prom king -- so by some strange logic, I've been designated the LTR's boss' prom king.

There's an I Love Lucy plot in here somewhere. The LTR has some 'splanin' to do.

Carol Schwartz's Flunking Plan for DC Schools

DC Councilwoman Carol Schwartz opposes Mayor Fenty's plan for a mayoral takeover for DC schools. She raises one argument against: the Mayor is too busy, she says.

Then she goes on to undermine her argument by saying that if the schools don't get any better the Council should go ahead and grant the takeover in three years. Presumably by 2010 Mayorlicious will have nothing to do other than run marathons and send text messages to admirers.

The DC school system -- as it stands -- had had its chance. Last fall, the DC School Board gave the superintendent -- already the highest paid DC public official -- a whopping bonus, even though the schools have not shown progress on any measurable standard. That, to me, was DC's education Katrina.

The Mayor still has to prove himself -- but the DC School system is already a known entity. And the status quo, or changes at the margins of the status quo, aren't enough for DC's kids.

Pro Gay Tax Legislation, Blocked by Dems, Part Two

A reader writes that the Democrats are not trying to block legislation in the Senate that would extend a tax break for domestic partners to small business owners, as I posted previously, citing a Log Cabin Republican news release. The reader writes:

Democrats are not blocking this bill. They support it - they wrote it. It will be Democrats (specifically Senator Baucus) who will move it into law. I suspect that an over-zealous staffer at Log Cabin either doesn't know the situation, or is just trying to cause trouble.

Actually, they are exploiting a procedural move by the Democrats to make trouble. Baucus may indeed support it, but he in fact did prevent Smith's amendment from moving forward. So we'll have to wait and see what happens -- I remain skeptical of the Democrats real commitment to gay issues.

The WashBlade has more.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Saw the Doctor

I've been to the doctor and we're trying Laxapro It's for anxiety/depression. Possible side-effects are nasuea, which, if it occurs should go away and ACQUIRING THE SEXUAL STAMINA OF A GREEK GOD. Ok, really the side-effect is taking forever to cum, but I prefer to think of it as ACQUIRING THE SEXUAL STAMINA OF A GREEK GOD.

Don't Worry, Be Happy?

I've been having anxiety issues. Should I be worried?

The perplexing this is, I have nothing to really be anxious about. I am healthy. My business is going great. I have a great house (except for the holes in the wall from the plumbing problem), a great partner who loves me (and is a great cook!) and two great (albeit ancient) dogs. What the hell am I so anxious about?

I've always been high strung with a lot of nervous energy (okay, I heard someone whisper "temperamental bitch." I know who you are). Lately, though, those tendencies have risen to a fever pitch, to the point where I'm either pacing the hall aimlessly or sitting at my desk hyperventilating and staring into space.

Worrying runs in my family. My maternal grandmother was a notorious worrywart. She would jump at the slightest unexpected sound -- "What's that?" she would exclaim, looking around the house as if expecting to see Satan coming to take her away. I never could figure out why she was so uptight...after all, in her lifetime she had seen and survived two world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, Vietnam, and polyester pant suits. She had come through it all.

Now I understand better, though. Somewhere in my late 30s to now it dawned on me how fragile life is. I lost the indestructible confidence of youth. It sank in that this is it, the one chance, no do overs.

At this point I'm supposed to cry Carpe Diem! and Smell the Roses! and Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May! I believe all that crap but I am finding myself increasingly incapable of doing them.

So, I'm thinking of trying drugs. Pharmaceuticals, that is.

I've tried therapy. I've tried religion. I've tried porn. Exercise helps. But I'm going to my doctor this afternoon to talk to him about the problem. I'm not sure I like the idea of going on medication to calm my nerves. Especially if there are unpleasant side-effects: "May cause nausea, loss of appetite, impotence, halitosis, dizziness and force you to vote Republican." If I get all those, I really will have something to worry about!

So we'll see how it goes.

I'm worried my doctor will think I'm nuts.

Friday Hottie of the Week


A Naked Australian Rugby player, from the Naked Rugby League Calendar. Yes, you need wood to get hot on the beach.

BTW, I've generally felt that B&W photos are sexier than full color...anyone else notice that? Or am I just warped?

From a Distance: NASA Image of the Day

From NASA:

Variable star V838 Monocerotis lies near the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy, about 20,000 light-years from our sun. Still, ever since a sudden outburst was detected in January 2002, this enigmatic star has taken the center of an astronomical stage. As astronomers watch, light from the outburst echoes across pre-existing dust shells around V838 Mon, progressively illuminating ever more distant regions.

This stunning image of swirls of dust surrounding the star was recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope in September 2006. The picture spans about 14 light-years. Astronomers expect the expanding echoes to continue to light up the dusty environs of V838 Mon for at least the rest of the current decade. Researchers now have found that V838 Mon is likely a young binary star, but the cause of its extraordinary outburst remains a mystery.

Marriage Rates


Social Conservaties should be spending less time trying to stop gay marriage and spend more time trying to convince straights to get married. Meanwhile, Boi from Troy shows that Gay marriage has strong support from incoming college freshmen.

Graphic from the University of MD.

Laugh of the Day

Mambo Italiano -- Nothing to Lose Your Head Over

This vid has everything -- Rosemary Clooney singing "Mambo Italiano," hot Italian boyz and an apparent decapitation. What's up with that? See if you can spot it...anyone know what happened?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

And the Dems are Blocking the Pro Gay Bill Because?

The boys from Log Cabin Republicans sent out an email blast about an amendment by Republican Senator Gordon Smith (OR) to the Fair Minimum Wage Act that would allow small business owners (like yours truly) to deduct the health care premiums of domestic partners from their tax bill. According to the Log Cabinites:

Current law allows small business owners, independent contractors, and consultants to deduct the total cost of their health insurance premiums. They also can deduct the premiums for their spouse and children, but not domestic partners. Smith’s bill would correct that inequity.
But the bill is being blocked by the Democratic Chairman of Smith's Committee:

Senator Smith was prevented from offering his amendment during a recent Finance Committee hearing because Democrat Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) threatened to rule it out of order. Now Smith has introduced his amendment to the entire Senate, but Baucus is still threatening to use arcane Senate rules to stop the amendment.

Says the leader of the Cabinites:

“Democrat leaders should allow a vote on this important amendment. LGBT Democrats gave a lot of money and support to their Party last November,” said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. “Now Senate Democrats better not block the first piece of pro-gay legislation in the 110th Congress. Majority Leader Harry Reid should stop Senator Baucus from obstructing this amendment and allow a vote by the full Senate.”
Seems like a fair amendment to me and seems like the dems should let it come up for a vote.

Abraham Lincoln, the Internet and Fox News

I'm reading Dorris Kearns Goodwin's wonderful book, A Team of Rivals -- the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

I just finished the chapter that covers the time from Lincoln's election as president in Nov. 1860 to his inauguration in March 1861. It's a four month period I've never read much about in learning about Old Abe.

What's remarkable is Lincoln's success during that time of holding his winning coalition of former Whigs and pro-Union northern Democrats together while not yet actually holding power. Consider what happened in the wake of his election: the deep south seceded, the Buchanan administration failed to take any type of response, and South Carolina seized Federal property. Meanwhile the border states, including Maryland and Virginia teetered on the brink of secession -- which would have cut Washington off from the North giving the South access to the nation's treasury and other assets.

To be sure, these four months were disastrous -- but it could have been so much worse. The border states could have left the Union. Lincoln's party -- the nascent Republicans -- could have splintered. Washington could have been taken. Lincoln may never have taken office. That things didn't go that far, well, south, is, argues Goodwin, to Lincoln's credit.

Thinking about this, it's amazing that Lincoln could do this from Springfield, Illinois without benefit of email, fax, phone or even the technical wonder of the day, the telegraph. Lincoln -- whose use of the telegraph would eventually help him win the war -- wouldn't communicate that way because it wasn't private -- and he was careful not to say anything publicly that would make the situation worse.

Instead, Lincoln kept things from collapsing by sending messages through intermediaries, private letters and personal meetings. He maintained a moderate, civil position during a calamitous time. It's a stunning achievement given what was going on in the country and without the aide of modern communication.

Or, perhaps, the lack of instantaneous communication and cable news is what enabled Lincoln's success. As cacophonous as the period was, imagine secession in this country had Fox news and Bill O'Reilly been around. Imagine the blog firestorm. Our modern communication favors the instantaneous and the extreme. Thoughtful and balanced doesn't earn many site visits or Nielsen ratings. Our politicians can rarely take a nuanced approach because they have to get to the next Sunday morning news show, send out another press release or get a video ready for You Tube. Moderation -- taking a step back, thinking before speaking or hitting "send" -- doesn't fit into this world very neatly. The slower pace of communication in the mid-nineteenth century may have enabled the moderates to keep their heads and maintain a centrist position, instead of goading them into rash action.

The moderate, restrained and nuanced Lincoln that held the north and border states together from 11/1860 to 3/1861 would have a much tougher time in today's world. Lincoln was a master communicator who skillfully used technology available to him to his advantage and no doubt would do so today. But it just seems that in today's firestorm any attempt for moderation would be consumed.

Taking a Look at Bill Richardson

Chris Crain blogs on New Mexico Governor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson's pro-gay record. Among other things:

  • He signed legislation expanding New Mexico civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity. (At the time, only three other states had included transgender protections.)
  • He signed an executive order in 2003 extending health insurance and other benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of N.M. state employees.
  • He's on record backing full-fledged civil unions and (unlike John Kerry) opposes state-level constitutional amendments banning gays from marrying.
  • While in Congress, Richardson backed military service for out gay men and lesbians. That means, unlike Al Gore, John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary and the rest, he was anti-Don't Ask, Don't Tell when it was very uncool to be.

Obama vs. Fox News

Sen. Obama is right to take on the smear job about him waged by Fox News, being schooled in a radical Muslim school.

The cynicism -- if not racism -- behind this story though -- that it's somehow wrong to be raised anything OTHER than a Christian and run for office is what is so disturbing. That Sen. Obama has to point out that he is Christian and even mention what church he belongs to deflect these charges speaks volumes about our political religious myopia.

Support the Cause in Virginia

It's important to support the activitists fighting for our cause in the most hostile of hostile anti-gay states. The Arlington (VA) Gay and Lesbian Alliance holds a mixer and fundraiser for Equality Virginia tomorrow night at Freddie's Beach Bar. The folks at EV fought the good fight last year and continue to carry on. Drop by if you're in the area.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Bit of Joy

Here's a balm for the God Hates Fags video. Via Reality Cubed. The story behind the video here.

God Hates Fags

The video is here.

Who is this guy? From his Web site:

A lot of people have been asking me, "Where are you coming from, Donnie?" Well, I was hoping that in my song The Bible Says that I had made myself clear, but there is only so much you can say in a 3 minute song.

I am in fact a Reformed Homosexual and I'm trying to let people know that there is an escape from being Gay. By letting people know that "God hates a Fag" I am doing Gods work, I'm preaching.

When I was in highschool I kept having feelings for the boys I was in school with. Often I would let these feelings take over. I got into lots of trouble when I was Gay.

I stopped listening to secular music and started going to my fathers church services. I was so miserable, being gay, something had to happen. I found Jesus! I found Jesus and He showed me the way. The right way to live that is. Loving, Gods Way!
Sad.

Over the holiday I read a book by Daniel Helminiak titled, "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality." Helminiak argues that:

Recent research on the Bible shows that, at the very least, the same-sex acts that are the focus of biblical concern were not what we mean by “homosexuality” today. Put the Bible back into its original cultural and historical setting, and it becomes blatantly obvious that the Bible conceived of the matter very differently in a very different world. Even more, this research shows that the Bible is basically indifferent to homosexuality in itself. The Bible is concerned, as with heterosexuality, only when practices violate other moral requirements….

The Bible supplies no real basis for the condemnation of homosexuality. Therefore, people must stop opposing homosexuality merely by quoting the Bible because, taken on its own terms, the Bible simply does not support their case. If they have some other reason for their opposition, they ought to get clear what that reason is and state it up front.

I found his arguments both persuasive (on refuting today's common interpretation of Leviticus's condemnation of homosexuality as an "abomination") and a bit strained (the passages in St. Paul's writing in Romans).

But the most powerful part of his book, I think, was the evidence he presents that Jesus met someone gay (as we understand the term today) and the love triangle that may have existed between King Saul, David and Jonathan in the old testament.

UPDATE: The God Hates Fags guy is a hoax...or is he? Much debate on the blogosphere. Here is Dan Savage's take.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What is it with Hot Politicians?

The number one referral I get to this site is from people googling "hot politicians." I had no idea that so many were so interested in stuffing their ballot boxes with public servant hotness. Is this the future of our political debates? Forget posing questions -- doff your shirt and strike a pose. Don't worry about appealing to the center -- worry about becoming the centerfold. Wanna contrast yourself with your opponent? Forget about throwing barbs or dropping allegations -- renounce carbs and drop weight. Don't worry about sound bites, take smaller bites. And you don't need a spin doctor. You need a spinning session at the Y.

It's A Big Ad

I've seen this before, but S.C. reminded me of it. The music is the opening chorus of Carmina Burana which I'll be conducting for my symphonic band's spring concert. I'm very excited about that, I've always wanted to do it and I think the band is ready for it. Hmmm, now how do I get this many extras and fit them on stage?

Fenty Snubs Laura


Mayorlicious blows off the First Lady to sit with her during the SOTU, opting instead to attend as Speaker Pelosi's guest, because the prez doesn't back DC voting rights. Hmm, doesn't seem like a good way to try to influence a different outcome, does it, by essentially saying "F You " to a man's wife because you have difference of opinion with him? Presumably Pelosi is for DC voting rights so Fenty gains nothing for the cause by symbolically giving Laura Bush the finger.

Peru

The LTR and I just booked a trip to Peru. We originally wanted to go to Thailand after dropping our son off with his moms in Hawaii but getting a flight (on frequent fligher miles) from HNL to
Bangkok proved to be impossible. Several years ago we wanted to go to Peru but had to put it off so here we come!

And the highlight of the trip I'm sure will be the Inca Trail.

A co-worker of the LTR's hiked it and said it was the best experience of her life (other than the vomiting from altitude sickness).

Adventure!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

DC Mayor Fenty Backing Off on Campaign Promises Made to Gays?

It would seem so.

During the campaign candidate Adrian Fenty said he would release a memo prepared by the city's top lawyer that contained an opinion on whether the city can honor same sex marriages performed legally elsewhere. Many think the memo states that DC can honor such marriages, but the former mayor kept the memo's contents hidden. Fenty vowed to release it.

Fenty also said, according to the Washington Blade:

“I believe that the government should never discriminate against people because of who they are. The state should make it possible for every committed couple to obtain an official civil marriage with all of the legal rights and responsibilities that married heterosexual couples currently enjoy.”


After Blade editor Kevin Naff wrote an editorial in December reminding Fenty of these promises, Fenty received an email from Neil Richardson, deputy chief of staff for the Fenty transition team.

Of the email, Naff says:

In it, Richardson said Fenty would not turn his back on promises made during the campaign, “especially on important human rights issues such as same-sex-marriage rights.”

He continued, “In our mind, this is a simple issue and it involves basic civil rights for thousands of District residents. We will release the findings of the legal memo prepared by Robert Spagnoletti [the author of the legal memo]."


That sounds good. But wait! the aide may have spoken out of turn. Naff reports that:

Fenty has since told the Blade that he is only considering releasing the memo and is consulting with his new attorney general about how to handle the issue. Richardson has not returned Blade calls seeking comment on his e-mail. (emphasis added).

Promise? What promise? We don't need no stinkin' promises.

Fenty may yet do the right thing. But I've got a bad feeling about this. Read Naff's entire peice on the issue here.

Homophobia is Gay

We seem to be following a meme here of homophobia of the young. This video was made by an elementary teacher to combat his students' excessive use of the word "gay" as a derogatory epithet. Via A Boy and His Briefs.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Not Game

Watching the video documentary I linked to yesterday reminded me of the taunts I endured in grade school and Jr. High because I was "bookish" (a polite way of saying sissyish) and didn't play sports (thankfully that didn't follow me to high school because A) we moved and 2) I kinda grew into a big guy).

Coincidentally, blogger Christopher Scott Sarno writes today about the way-out-of-proportion reverence and status our culture gives to sports. There are alternatives, he writes. Quote of note:

You want sportsmanship, strategy, and diplomacy? Pick up Trivial Pursuit or Risk and have at it. You're looking for a little male bonding and camaraderie? Join a choir or visit a bathhouse!

Read the whole thing here. Yes, perhaps he is grinding an axe because of his experiences (which he writes about) as a nonathletic kid pressured to be athletic, but it's a good case-in-point of what a steamroller our sports-obsessed culture can be for anyone in its path. I experienced it. And to this day I can't even play a simple game of volleyball at a party or at the beach because any team sports just dredges up to many bad memories. That's why I'm so avidly into individual athletics, like biking. And I do that for my enjoyment and to stay in shape, not to compete.

And I'll take Sarno's idea version of male bonding over dodge ball any day.

Friday Hunk of the Week -- Ryan Reynolds



Ryan Reynolds, currently staring in the new movie, Smokin Aces.















Three Little Maids


See what you're missing if you don't join the band?

Krauthammer's Plan B

Columnist Charles Krauthammer articulates a Plan B, predicated on the premise that the surge won't work because the Maliki government is unable to forge a national consensus that eclipses sectarian divisions (largely because the Maliki government is acting as a Shi'ite revenge force).

Quote of note:

We need to define that intermediate strategy. Right now there are only three policies on the table: (1) the surge, which a majority of Congress opposes, (2) the status quo, which everybody opposes, and (3) the abandonment of Iraq, which appears to be the default Democratic alternative.

What is missing is a fourth alternative, both as a threat to Maliki and as an actual fallback if the surge fails. The Pentagon should be working on a sustainable Plan B whose major element would be not so much a drawdown of troops as a drawdown of risk to our troops. If we had zero American casualties a day, there would be as little need to withdraw from Iraq as there is to withdraw from the Balkans.

We need to find a redeployment strategy that maintains as much latent American strength as possible, but with minimal exposure. We say to Maliki: Let us down, and we dismantle the Green Zone, leave Baghdad and let you fend for yourself; we keep the airport and certain strategic bases in the area; we redeploy most of our forces to Kurdistan; we maintain a significant presence in Anbar province, where we are having success in our one-front war against al-Qaeda and the Baathists. Then we watch. You can have your Baghdad civil war without us. We will be around to pick up the pieces as best we can.

Andrew Sullivanhas been arguing for a similar strategy. It does have logic behind it. It does put the onus on the Iraqis. It's short of an outright defeat.

But. Do we really stand passively by, like the UN in Rwanda, as a massacre ensues?

Fenty Offers Council a Role in Running Schools

Why? I thought the whole point was to streamline decision making and be able to execute change faster? Already he proposes adding an executive agency that would oversee the system and superintendent, who is now to be called "chancellor." Allowing the council to hold hearings and pass legislation and lift its leg on everything? Why?

Oh, here's the answer, in today's Post story:

Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) welcomed the prospect of additional power. He has sought a significant role in Fenty's plan, and he said the council is justified in taking on the new role. "We appreciate the line-item power, and I'm not afraid to exercise that authority," Gray said. "I don't have to be saved from myself."


This is a bone to the council chairman. It's all about the politics. Who cares if it's good for the kids?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

We Belong

"We Belong" is a documentary by a young man who was harrassed at school for being gay while school officials did nothing (except have him arrested at one point). From the documentary's Web site:

When C.J. Bills is gay bashed in the school locker room, then arrested for disorderly conduct because he protests to an administrator about the harassment he has experienced, he decides to fight back by making a documentary about discrimination. With his family’s help, he also initiates an investigation by the state human rights commission and shames the school district into developing an anti-bullying and diversity training program.

C.J.’s documentary project also leads him to Tim Dahle, a former high school student who challenged the years of anti-gay harassment he suffered in a neighboring town. In Tim’s case, the school district that failed to protect him agreed to one of the largest sexual harassment settlements in history, sending a signal to school districts around the country that such behavior can be costly.

You can view the short documentary video here.

Dean's Deep Thought of the Week

I have a friend, named Dean, who randomly emails me "deep thoughts" or observations of his which are usually apropos of nothing. Like this week:

"The Four Tops must have had a frustrating sex life."

And that's this week's random silliness, brought to you by Dean.

Hot Politicians, Part Two

In our previous post about hot politicians, we may have overlooked this one:


















Anthony Brown, Maryland's new Lt. Gov. There are better, candid shots of him in today's photo album on the washingtonpost.com's homepage (it's not linkable). Brown joins DC's trifecta of political hotness:

DC's Mayorlicious Adrian Fenty:




















And Brown's boss, rockin' Martin O'Malley, Maryland Governor.














You may also remember this guy:













Scott Kleeb, former rancher and bull rider, candidate for Representative in Nebraska's third Congressional district. Sadly, he lost by 10 points to someone with less political hotness.



Democrats Dither as Bush Pushes On

Dana Milbank has a good story in today's WashPo about the multitude of proposals coming from Democrats as alternative to Bush's surge gambit. Quote of note:

If anything, the competing proposals could strengthen Bush's hand. Though largely united in opposition to Bush's plan, members of Congress, carved up by the presidential ambitions of Clinton, Obama, Dodd, Biden and others, can't unite around an alternative.

And so it goes. Since the run-up to the second Gulf War, Bush has been able to win the argument due to a lack of a unified, serious opposition willing to offer plausible plans to deal with real threats.

With one exception: I actually think a plausible plan is Sen. Joe Biden's idea, to partition Iraq into a loose confederacy sharing oil revenue, but having three distinct regions for Kurds, Shi'ites and Sunni Iraqis, who largely control their own destinies within their areas.

The sectional hatred is too deep for a political fusion (other than one seared together by tyranny, as has mostly been the case in Iraq's history) to occur. Work with other powers in the region, like the Saudis and even the Syrians and Iranians if need be to broker this deal. The U.S. military ensures a peaceful transition and keeps Iraq's neighbors from mischief along the borders.

Meanwhile, return the focus to Afghanistan, where there may be a chance of securing what Bush initially claimed he wanted -- a stable Democratic society in the Middle East.

But, the Dems won't rally around Biden's plan, because they're too busy running for President. The eventual nominee will hopefully rally the party around a unified opposition Iraq policy. By spring 2008. Which means we're in for another year of Bush running Iraq as blindly as a Dick Cheney hunting party.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Overcoming Fear

Okay. So, I shared on this blog that I was trying to face up to a few fears as one of my goals for 2007.

I am embarrassed to admit that one of them is the dentist.

Yes, I'm 42, an adult about many things, but this isn't one of them. A week before a dentist appointment I'll start breaking out in cold sweats. If the appointment is, say, Tuesday at noon, a week earlier at Tuesday at noon I'll start the dismal countdown...next week at this time, six days at this time, and so on. I start losing sleep. The night before, I don't sleep. The day of, I can get nothing done. I approach the dentist's chair with an air of doom and fear worthy of the condemned slipping into the electric chair.

I don't know why this is so. I've generally had good dental health and never had serious pain or a problem. I had one bad dentist experience in Jacksonville, Florida where I used to live but that was solved by never going back to him again.

I think part of my fear is the invasion of personal space and a claustrophobic feeling. I don't like being physically close with people I am not otherwise intimate with. And to me the most personal "personal space" is the face and mouth. Think about it -- kissing is the most intimate physical act. To be sure, fucking is perhaps the most intense, but fucking without kissing, while maybe still intense, isn't really that intimate, is it? (Hey, maybe it would help if I was sleeping with my dentist first? But I digress.)

I used to overcome my fears and keep regular dental checkups. But the emotional strain it put on me finally caught up and I began to get lax. I won't tell you how long it's been since my last checkup but I will say George Bush was president.

Anyway, I went to a new dentist last week. I expected the worse ("Scott, we're going to have to amputate your lower jaw). What I got was, "Your teeth are healthy and strong. One cavity. You need a good cleaning. Nothing major."

Woo Hoo! The dentist said it was good diet and lucky genetics. So, thanks mom and dad. And thanks me, because I rarely, rarely eat sweets.

Today I went back for my second visit. I didn't have the pre-visit jitters like I used to. Taking the advice of the LTR, I was able to prevent myself from thinking about it in advance. And I didn't emerge from the dentist's chair soaked with sweat like I usually do.

Of course, the Valium the dentist had prescribed for me to take pre-visit helped. But still, a small step (albeit chemically aided) towards overcoming a fear for 2007. And a large step for better dental hygiene.

Okay, you've made it this far through a long post. Here's a little treat:

Captain Kirk of the Day

WMDs found in Syria

Well, WMDs from 5,000 years ago.

Maybe in another 5,000 years they'll find...well, no, probably not.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Obama's Got a Point

In his statement announcing his forming a presidential exploratory committee, Obama takes on the establishment:

Obama tried to turn his biggest weakness _ his lack of experience in national politics _ into an asset by criticizing the work of those who have been in power.

"The decisions that have been made in Washington these past six years, and the problems that have been ignored, have put our country in a precarious place," he said.


No kidding. If years of experience and seasoned political hands gets us Katrina and Iraq, who needs it?


Harold Ford, Supporter of Anti-Gay Amendment, Named to Democratic Leadership Position

Former Rep. Harold Ford, who voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment that would have, as the mantra goes, enshrined discrimination into the U.S. Constitution, has been named head of the Democratic Leadership Council. Some gay dems aren't too happy:

"Congressman Harold Ford has demonstrated a lack of leadership and judgment on family issues that causes our members great concern," said Joanne Wyrick, National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director.

"His willingness to lightly amend the U.S. Constitution and to exploit gay families for political gain should alarm Democrats across the country.


Ford's vote for the FMA was a change of heart as he ditched his previously pro-gay position as he eyed his (ultimately doomed) Senate campaign.

That's my big beef about the Dems: Theytake gay money and gay votes, but they won't take a risk on our behalf. (Witness for the prosecution: Bill Clinton, DOMA, DADT)


Monday, January 15, 2007

From Dan: He Won!

Dan Kaufman, owner of DKG, has won a "redate" with some lucky guy, courtesy of the Washington Post. Here's Dan:

Thanks to everyone who voted for me, and especially to Scott for posting this on his blog (3 entries! I'm honored! :-)

So, I won! I am the top male vote-getter, so the Gay Men's Chorus gets a nice $500 donation courtesy of the Washington Post, and I get another date, also courtesy of the Washington Post.

Keep an eye out for the results in the February 11th edition of the Washington Post Sunday Magazine.

Maybe Dan will give us "inside" scoop after the Post publishes the story.

This has been fun, thanks to everyone who voted for Dan and thanks to Dan for playing along.

Richard Simmons on Whose Line

Two blogs I link to have posted or referenced this appearance by Richard Simmons on Whose Line is it Anyway. One (I can't remember if it was Gay Orbit or Circumlocuter) disdained it as playing up gay stereotypes. Average Gay Joe posted it as funny.

I think it's hilarious. It's not like effeminate gay men are the only thing lampooned on this show.

So, here it is. Funny, or insulting. I blog, you decide.

New Boss -- Same as the Old Boss

The new minimum wage law passed by the House, which raises the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 carves out an exemption for American Samoa. There the minimum wage will remain $2.63 per hour.

The main industry in American Samoa is tuna processing for Starkist. Starkist is owned by Del Monte foods, which is headquartered in San Francisco, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's District.

Earmark, anyone?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Kid


I miss my son, Eli. His Pappa and I get to see him three times a year since his moms took him to live in Hawaii.

His last visit here was in November. My parents "Grammy" and "Grumpy" to their grandkids came to see him.

For a few boring (to you, not to me) pics of us, go here. He's a cute kid and yes I'm proud of him and he's the best part of me.

For DC Citizens: Taxation without Representation

It's possible to be a U.S. citizen living in the United State and have no vote in Congress. Washington, D.C. is prevented, by the Constitution, from having voting Senators or a Representative.

I write this for the benefit of my non-DC area readers.

In fact, DC residents could not vote for president until after 1961. In 1973, Congress granted us the ability to elect our own mayor and city council. However, all laws are subject to the approval of Congress, who could step in at any time.

I make these points because we're going to a party tomorrow to welcome a couple who are friends of ours into the district. Today, the LTR and I put together a "Life in DC Kit" for our friends, including this bumper sticker:

You may also recognize this as similar to the DC license plate.

So, DC residents pay taxes, die in Iraq, etc., but have no vote in Congress. There was compromise legislation advanced in the last Congress that would have given our delegate in the U.S. House a vote on the floor (she can vote in committee) and added another (Republican) congressional district in Utah. That measure didn't get acted on in the final days of the last Congress -- hopefully it will move forward in the new one.

For more info, check out www.dcvote.org. If you live outside of DC, write your Congresspersons and tell them you support full Congressional voting rights for DC residents. We need some allies from other parts of the country.

If you happen to believe in marriage equality, the oversight of DC by Congress has been the chief argument against the DC city government approving same sex marriages for DC residents or recognizing the legality of same sex marriages performed in Massachusetts or Canada. DC politicos and even local gay activists argued against DC taking a positive stand on marriage equality for fear it would piss off our Congressional overlords.

Likewise, in the late 1990s, a city referendum to legalize medical marijuana that passed overwhelmingly by city voters was overturned by Congress.

If taxation without representation was wrong for the American colonies in the 1770s, it's just as wrong today in 21st century. If we can be shedding American blood to promote democracy halfway around the world, we can surely be providing it to our own citizens here at home.

The Miserable, Sick Gays in Montgomery County

From the Wash Blade:

Montgomery County Public Schools officials unanimously approved a controversial new gay-inclusive sex education curriculum this week, but omitted five positive messages about homosexuality, including a note that gays can live happy lives.


I'm glad the "inclusive" curriculum passed and I understand the politics behind the omission. Bu it still makes me sad. Here's two of the five items students won't be allowed to hear:

All mainstream medical and mental health professionals have concluded that homosexuality is not a disease or a mental illness.

Homosexuals can live happy, successful lives; they can be successful parents.


If only some adult had told me that when I was a teenager, it could have saved me years of misery praying to an unfeeling god to make "those feelings" go away, it could have saved me depression, countless hours in therapy, etc. Contrast those two statements with the ONE statement I did hear as a teen from my dad: "Those people should be shot," he said, commenting on a news report of the 1979 gay march on Washington when I was a freshman in high school.

He and I have come a long way, but it was a rocky road...and others faced a rockier road as it is well known gay teens are at a greater risk for suicidal tendencies than other kids.

So, good job Montgomery County. Too bad you didn't go far enough.

Paula Abdul

Being true to who she is.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday Hunk of the Week


In honor of Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend here in DC. More images here.

Details on MAL here.

Morning Roundup

Iraq is at a violent and "precarious juncture," while al-Qaeda is significantly expanding its global reach, effectively immune to the loss of leaders in battle, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte told Congress yesterday. He also warned that the Taliban is mounting a vigorous insurgency in Afghanistan, that Pakistan has become a safe haven for top terrorists and that Iran's growing regional power is threatening Middle East stability.

-- Intelligence Chiefs Pessimistic In Assessing Worldwide Threats

BAGHDAD, Jan. 11 -- A few hours before another mission into the cauldron of Baghdad, Spec. Daniel Caldwell's wife instant-messaged him Thursday morning. President Bush, Kelly wrote, wanted to send more than 20,000 U.S. troops and extend deployments in Iraq. Eight weeks pregnant, she was worried.

Caldwell, a tall, lean 20-year-old from Montesano, Wash., wondered whether he would miss the birth of his child. He walked outside and joined his comrades of Apache Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, Stryker Brigade. They, too, had heard the news.

Moments before he stepped into his squad's Stryker -- a large, bathtub-shaped vehicle encased in a cage -- Caldwell echoed a sentiment shared by many in his squad: "They're kicking a dead horse here. The Iraqi army can't stand up on their own."

- -- U.S. Unit Patrolling Baghdad Sees Flaws in Bush Strategy

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Just Because


I found this photo of our son while looking for something else...his Pappa and I were taking him on a hike of Manassas battlefield last spring and it was a warm day. We took our shirts off. A short time later, he decided he needed to be shirtless too.

Six Degrees of Dan

It seems like everywhere I go everyone knows Dan Kaufman.

My former boss knows him. A friend I met for dinner tonight knows him. Someone else I know emailed me to say that Dan designed those well-known bumper stickers we love: Hate is NOT a Family Value. The Christian Right is Neither.

Don't know if that last part is true or not but it's what I was told. And it just seems that every day since I put up my first Dan Kaufman post everyone has been talking to me about him.

When My Partner Does Well at the Gym

My partner, my long term relationship of nearly 20 years (a.k.a the LTR) always has an intersting way of expressing himself.

He's a competitive powerlifter and won the silver medal for bench press in his age and weight class in the Gay Games in Chicago this past summer. He set the state record for bench press in VA, also in his age and weight class.

I come home tonight from dinner with a friend to find him elated -- he put up 315 pounds, twice, in the decline bench, the most he's ever done (that's three 45 pound plates on each side of the bar).

So what's he doing to celebrate? Dancing around the house, singing and listening on his IPOD to Shania's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman."

You go, LTR!

Romney vs. Romney

I guess the Republicans learned a lesson from George Allen. Here's Romney v. Romney thank to Youtube.




The Weak Spot in Bush's Plan

is this (from the Post):

Bush and his top advisers said they expect their new approach to succeed where previous ones failed because of a new commitment from Maliki to provide resources and crack down on violent sectarian militias, even Shiite ones. But they are placing great faith in an untested Iraqi government that has not yet demonstrated a capacity to bridge the sectarian divisions that have caused an upsurge in violence over the past year.

Seems like a big gamble to me.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Romeny has a Good Day

Eyeon08 has a good review of Romeny's early success in the GOP nomination. And overall it's a good sight for the scoop on the Republican nomination.

Iraqi Veep: Don't Give Up on Us!

Tariq al-Hishimi, the Iraqi veep, has an op-ed in today's WashPo imploring Americans not to give up on Iraq.

But he wants us to peg our endurance (not to mention the lives of our troops) on: the success of the Iraqi soccer team in the Asian finals. Quote of note:

During the Asian Games in Qatar last month, Iraq became quiet, if only for a few hours. Citizens united as brothers behind the national soccer team, which against all odds fought its way to the finals. The team didn't battle for a militia or a sect but for an idea -- the nation of Iraq. The players didn't win the medal but gained something far greater: They won us hope. From children on the streets to politicians to parents, we were all one, and we were all Iraqi. This tells me that all is not lost, that a deep-rooted sense of nationalism still lies within all Iraqis, and that it can and must be rekindled.


Well.

I don't deny the power of sports to instill national pride. Any American old enough to remember 1980 can't forget the "Miracle on Ice" when the underdog US hockey olympic team took the gold over the Soviet Union's favored team.

But, asking Americans to spill blood based on "a few hours" of soccer pride is a bit much. We need proof that the current Iraqi government is more than sectarian thugs in power.

And yes, by all means, let the "deep rooted sense of nationalism" that "lies within the Iraqi people" be "rekindled" -- but that's something that must come from Iraqis and be led by their leaders. It can't come from the point of an American gun. Show us your government is up to that challenge, Mr. Hashimi, and you'll show us something we can support. It has to be more than your soccer team.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Washington Post Requests Scott's Take Readers To Help Dan Find Love

I posted earlier about a Washington Post series called Date Lab, where random people are sent on blind dates to then have their experiences reported on in the paper. One such person was Dan Kaufman (pictured left), a friend of a friend. As I wrote earlier, Dan's first blind date went well, (you can read about it here) but didn't result in a romantic match.

Well, Dan has been selected to be a candidate for a second chance, if readers make him one of the top vote getters. I made a pitch for him because, if he gets selected, a charity of his choice (in this case the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington) gets a donation from the Post. I think that's a worthy cause.

I said you didn't have to want to date him to vote for him.

To which one of the Washington Post editors for the date lab left the following comment on this blog:

Hi there. I'm one of the editors the WPost Mag's Date Lab. We definitely appreciate the item on the re-Date contest, and Dan is indeed ahead right now. One important thing: While it's true you don't have to want to date Dan to vote, we do want encourage matchmaking. I mean, wouldn't it be great if aside from helping him contribute to charity, we could find him true love? The more nominations, the likelier it is. So c'mon folks: The perfect guy is out there--let's find 'im for Dan!

I figure if the Washington Post needs my help to find Dan a perfect match, who am I to say no?

See, you can not only vote for Dan to get a second date, you can nominate someone to be the potential perfect match he will go out on a date with.

From what I've been able to glean about Dan from the Post story:

  • He's 41
  • He's lived in DC for 18 years.
  • He has his own business which supports gay causes and organizations
  • Has a great smile
  • Likes Las Vegas
  • Playful and adventurous
  • Prefers an average to muscular build but not gym bots
  • He likes Remingtons (a DC gay C-W bar), or meeting guys there
  • Wants someone understanding and caring who is clean and organized.

Hmm? Dennis Weaver maybe?


So Dan, if you're reading this -- and you bloody well should be as it's 10:25 pm, I haven't had my dinner yet and I'm writing about you to help you get laid find romance -- give us more to go on here.

"O Star


The fairest one in sight..."

From NASA's "picuture of the day:"

'Pushing the limits of its powerful vision, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope uncovered the oldest burned-out stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. These extremely old, dim "clockwork stars" provide a completely independent reading on the age of the universe.

The ancient white dwarf stars, as seen by Hubble, are 12-13 billion years old. Because earlier Hubble observations show that the first stars formed less than 1 billion years after the universe's birth in the big bang, finding the oldest stars puts astronomers well within arm's reach of calculating the absolute age of the universe.'"

The quotation is from Robert Frosts poem, "Take Something Like a Star, which is one of my favorites and is what I recite to myself when I get too worked up about something:

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud -
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says, "I burn."
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may take something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

Gators Eat the Buckeyes


The LTR, a die-hard OSU fan and alumn, is moping about this news.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Charlotte's Web before the 12-Step Program

A New Idea for the Bathroom

The new Fish-N-Flush.

I could go for it if I could train the fish to nudge the flapper thing closed when it sticks so the toilet doesn't run.

via Best Gay Blogs. And if you link over there scroll down to find Reese.

Quote of the Day


"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices."


-- Voltaire

Sex at Columbia University

Bjorn posted a link to a New York Daily News article with the headline "Wild Sex 101."

It's about the S&M, sex toys and nude and sex parties that go on at one of the nation's most elite schools, sometimes on school property.

The article details one such party:

Late on the night of Nov. 13, a Daily News reporter sat in room 303 of Hamilton Hall, a venerable classroom building where Columbia students have studied Poe, Plato and Plutarch for nearly 100 years.

As a female student volunteer stood facing the blackboard, and two dozen Columbians watched, a lecturer who identified himself only as Dov flogged her repeatedly with leather whips, rubber hoses - and a cat-o'-nine-tails.


As unusual as that may sound, there really isn't much shocking here-- you'd expect kids with raging hormones to be raging sex fiends. I remember the existence of a co-ed nude study group on campus when I was a student. There were probably S&M clubs but I was too naive at the time to have noticed them.

But the real surprise of the article is buried at the end. Quote of Note:

So does anything go at Columbia? Actually, no. Flogging and bondage are accepted, but the school apparently draws the line at another form of communication between the sexes: love letters.

They were good enough for Cleopatra, who sent them to Mark Antony, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who exchanged them with his wife, Zelda. But Columbia University Health Services lists love letters as a form of nonphysical sexual harassment, according to its Web site.


Let me see if I got this right: I can flog my significant other in front of the student body, on school property, but I can't send him a love letter after?

Gimme a break.



Queer as Nature

And that's why birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Homosexuality is as natural as nature. That's the conclusion of
Bruce Bagemihl's book,
Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity.

Quote of note:

Bagemihl had scoured every scientific journal and paper he could lay his hands on for references to homosexuality in animals. Tucked away at the end of long and erudite texts, or consigned to footnotes and appendices, he found that homosexuality had been observed in no fewer than 1,500 species, and well documented in 500 of them. The earliest mention of animal homosexuality probably came 2,300 years ago when Aristotle described two female hyenas cavorting with each other.
The Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, has an exhibit devoted to this topic.

Just doin what come naturally...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

More on Faith

During my grandmother's funeral the pastor made the statements you would expect about life after death and being united with departed loved ones in heaven. As I've noted before, I tend to think this is a convenient conceit thought up by humans as preferable to oblivion.

But I don't know. And I want to know more. During the ride back to DC from the funeral, my cousin, who is getting her graduate degree in theology at American University as she prepares to be a minister, shared a book summarizing the world's three major religions.

During Christmas I read a book by Daniel Helminiak, "What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality." During the course of reading that book I pulled out a bible and re-read parts I had long forgotten.

Two digressions:

1) I live in a haunted house. Meaning -- both the LTR and I (and houseguests) have experienced phenomena that can't be explained, like the sound of a woman's voice, footsteps on the floor when no one is there, strange behavior by the dogs acting as if another was present, and, for two houseguests, an apparition. I don't know what to make of all this, but I have heard things in this house that I can't explain. I have therefore witnessed phenomena that could support claims of an afterlife.

2) This has been a tough year for me and I'm lately struggling with debilitating anxiety. Starting my own business was in so many ways freeing but it also put enormous pressure on me. There is no steady paycheck and success or failure is 100 percent my responsibility. That pressure, coupled with my tendency for self-doubt, has sometimes created periods where I am so anxious I can do nothing. I started taking an anxiety medication and it is helping me cope, but it doesn't erase the nagging questions in my mind about whether I am up to the task at hand and able enough to be successful.

With that in mind, the other day I was walking the dogs and a garbage truck went by. On the tailgate was painted: Jerimiah 29:11. I focused on it, wondering what the significance was to that particular verse and thought I should look it up when I got home. Of course, I forgot.

Then, this morning, I was surfing the web, and happened over to a blog called Straight Not Narrow.

I read through a few posts then came across one focused on .....Jerimiah 29:11.

'For I know the plans that I have for you,'' declares the Lord, ''Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future. Then you will call upon Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and FIND Me when you seek Me with ALL of your heart.''


This verse seemed oddly relevant to what is happening in my life and my inner mind at the moment that I couldn't believe that I had randomly come across it twice in as many days. Coincidence? I don't know. Or is it like a horoscope where you can read whatever meaning you wish in the prediction. I don't know.

But it sure makes me wonder.

Taking Down the Christmas Tree Music

I was trying to decide what music to play to accompany the ritual destruction of the Christmas tree. The soundtrack for decorating is simple enough -- this year Bette's new Christmas album and the inevitable Rosemary Clooney "White Christmas." What to play while taking it down?

I settled on Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. It works.

Happy Trails to You

I'm pretty traditional when it comes to weather...I like the winters to be cool and the summers to be hot. When those things get reversed my system goes a little out of kilter.

Still, the best thing about yesterdays temps topping 70 was....

Shirtless joggers!
And plenty of them too on the Rock Creek Park trail.

The next best thing to a shirtless jogger is that move joggers do to wipe sweat off their faces, by lifting their shirts up to their brow, briefly exposing a hot, sweaty mid-section and, if you're lucky, a hot sweaty happy trail.

Speaking of happy trails, as an avid biker I'm constantly amazed and horrified by the careless and dangerous behavior of pedestrians on the trial. Yes, yes, I know bikers can be reckless and dangerous but I'm a biker and this is my blog so we're going to focus on peds.

1) Walk on the right. I know it may seem safer to walk on the left and thereby face oncoming traffic, but that move will get you tangled up in someone's spokes for sure on a trail as winding as Rock Creek. There are too many blind curves and I've come close to taking out several peds who were walking on "my" side as we both rounded a corner heading straight into each other.

2) Don't walk in the middle. I have no idea then which way you are going to move as I pass.

3) If you must listen to music as you walk, keep the volume down enough so you can hear my audible warning as I pass.

4) If you hear my audible warning this means you should move over, instead of thinking that the pretty bell sound and "passing left" are just things I do for my own amusement,

5) Don't cross in the middle of the street. I can't see you step out between two parked SUVs until I hit you. And in city traffic I have little margin for error.

6) And whenever possible, jog shirtless.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Purge the Surge

I've come around to the conclusion that a surge makes no sense -- not just because the commanders don't want it but because there's no political goal it would serve.

By political I don't mean politics here at home, I'm talking Iraqi politics. It seems to me that military goals must be in sync with political goals. And the political goals of the al-Maliki government appear, as shown by the state sponsored lynching of Saddam, are sectarian violence, obviously something we can't support (or condone).

I'm moving closer and closer to the conclusion for some type of orderly withdrawal (I'll use the word, even if Speaker Pelosi won't). The Iraqis will have to determine the fate of their country. The blood-soaked lesson we've come to is that you can remove a dictator with force. But you can't force Democracy on a people. They have to want it and work towards it. And they don't appear to want it.

Hell, 200 years on and we still haven't got it right.

What Musical Are You?

Take the quiz and find out what musical you are (Dean, this is for you!)

I was (horror) Chorus Line:

"You're A Chorus Line! You're wild, kinky, and love dance. Music is your life. You've had a dramatic past, but then again, who hasn't?"


Dramatic past? Hardly. And everyone knows I can't dance.

Your Nation's Capital

The Post has a good graphic of DC.

Note two stats in particular: 395,926 registered voters -- 1.36 million parking tickets issued. The ONE thing the DC govt does most efficiently is issue tickets. The parking Nazi who patrols my 'hood has to be DC's most dedicated public servant. I see her every morning, right on time, writing tickets as I walk the dogs in the morning then again in the evening.