In issue 17
Right Left Wrong!
Republicans Love Teabagging
Whether or not it’s true, I give MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow credit for the common media references to last week’s tea parties as “teabagging.” The elite liberal media may not be aware of the alternative definition of teabagging, but Rachel sure made it fun to think of all the people that would proudly announce they were teabagging to protest taxes (it’s even funnier when you realize that the bulk of these teabaggers are now enjoying lower tax rates than they did under President Bush). Teabagging events across the country led to some awesome sound bites, too. Huffington Post reported Texas Governor Rick Perry threatened that Texas may secede from the union; CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “It’s hard to talk when you’re teabagging.” (Tell us about it, Coop!) Plans have already been made to turn teabagging into a circuit event, with the next big event being in Chicago on July 4th. Next they’ll be having weekly T-dances…
No, No, No – Yes
You might say Republicans were against it before they were for it, exactly the opposite of 2004 presidential candidate Senator John Kerry. In the run up to the voting on the omnibus spending bill, Republican lawmakers decried the economic stimulus bill as wasteful, fiscally irresponsible and other colorful descriptions like “bloated” and “pork-barrel.” The tune changed once the bill was passed. Two Florida representatives share in the game. According to The Wall Street Journal, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart announced his pride in securing $570K for his district “to ensure that all residents of Miami Lakes can have easy access to parks, schools, shops and businesses.” Rep. Cliff Stearns, meanwhile, bragged he had secured $1.7M for “citrus-research project and a mental-health program.” Yes, after voting, “No.” Tea anyone?
A report released last week by the Department of Homeland Security on the threat of right-wing extremism really got the juices at Fox News flowing. Heavy hitters from former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino to Fox’s own Sean Hannity weighed in on the report, proclaiming it was an attack on conservatives and an attempt to shut down free speech. You could practically hear Hannity salivating as he dug up the old jewel about President Obama starting “his political career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist who bombed the Pentagon and capital.” Not to be outdone, Perino added, “If Bush had done that we would be having a very different conversation. It wouldn’t have taken a week to find it out. There would have been a special prosecutor. We would have had to come out and apologize.” On the surface nothing appears unusual, until you take into consideration a report on Fox News the next day. Catherine Herridge reported that the report was ordered by the Bush administration, and that the Bush administration had ordered reports on both right- and left-wing groups. Dana Perino is right on one point: It didn’t take a week; it took months. I’m waiting for the conservatives to start demanding a special prosecutor and, of course, an apologetic phone call from Ms. Perino.
Gays in the Military
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy our military operates under that forbids declaration of homosexual activity or its associated behavior, draws nearer to the end. A recent survey conducted by Military Times claims 58% oppose the repeal of the policy. That’s 58% of Military Times readers that participated in the poll. That would be like Hotspots conducting a poll of its readers asking for their position on same-sex marriage and publishing that figure as representative of the southern United States (which wouldn’t go over well in Mississippi!). The truth is gays have existed in the military for a long time and they’re tired of hiding. A new group of West Point graduates, Knight Out, already has a membership of 50 alumni who have publicly proclaimed their sexual orientation and military service. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate that came out on Rachel Maddow’s show in March, is still serving in the Army National Guard. The group is actively working to prepare West Point and military leaders in the transition once the policy is repealed.
First Comes Love
The tide is turning. In recent weeks we’ve seen amazing progress on the equality front. Iowa’s Supreme Court has ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is unconstitutional, thus legalizing it. Vermont’s legislators made history by overriding the governor’s veto of legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, making Vermont the first state to do so. Legislators in New York appeared to be dragging their feet after Governor David Paterson urged them to introduce legislation allowing same-sex marriage, so Paterson presented them with the legislation last week. And so we don’t feel left out here in Florida, Senator Nan Rich of Weston has introduced two bills repealing Florida’s 32 year old ban on allowing gays to adopt (a ban that Florida courts have ruled unconstitutional on more than one occasion). In no time at all you’ll be able to meet a beautiful corn-fed Iowa boy, fall in love, marry him and move back here to start your family. Until then, feel free to keep trying.