Below is an excerpt from a writing project of mine, presented as a historical interlude. It is not presented, however, as any sort of commentary on recent events in Baltimore. For the time being, I leave that to others. I am drawing no parallels here, and not in any way attempting to tie events 200 years ago with what is happening now. I just had this piece of writing available and thought it'd be an interesting detour through the past, that's all.
Archive of Articles for April, 2015
We've had a President Jimmy and a President Ronnie, so why not a President Bernie?
Sorry, I do not mean to make light of the historic nature of today's case, far from it in fact. I have to admit being personally stunned at how fast events have developed. Almost exactly two years ago I wrote a column predicting that America had reached the tipping point on marriage equality. I've re-run this column a few times, and last October I pointed out that when I wrote the original article, the following was true:
The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on a marriage equality case tomorrow. At this point, it almost seems anticlimactic. Either the Supreme Court will rule that gay marriage is a constitutional right everywhere in America, or they'll try to punt and say that all states have to recognize all marriages from other states, but don't have to perform their own gay marriages if they don't want to. Either way, gay marriage will become a reality in some awfully conservative states (whether couples have to take a vacation to another state to achieve it or not). The only question now is whether marriage equality will achieve a final and total victory, or just a partial victory. Either way, losing the progress that has already been made seems almost inconceivable at this point.
We'll get to other political news in a moment, but since last week contained the date 4/20, we're going to first run down all the marijuana news. Coincidentally or not, there was a lot of it this week. So let's just begin by "getting into the weeds" of politics, as it were (the ponies come along later, never fear).
Apparently, Ben Affleck's distant relatives once owned slaves. Now, in the history of this blog I don't think I've ever started an article by dishing celebrity dirt, but this story unfortunately goes a little deeper. Because I didn't learn that fact on PBS. I learned it as the spark which set off yet another integrity problem for both New York's WNET and the Public Broadcasting System in general.
Yesterday, the news broke that the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Michele Leonhart, will be resigning her post. Leonhart has long been controversial, openly contradicting the White House and President Obama at times. She was seen as out of step since both Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have moved the federal stance on marijuana closer to the new reality of states now legalizing it for adult recreational use. But it wasn't her controversial positions that forced her ouster, it was instead the news that D.E.A. agents in Colombia had been accepting from the drug cartels themselves not just gifts of fancy weapons but also "sex parties" with strippers and prostitutes. This, obviously, is unacceptable behavior.
A few words of introduction are necessary today. I spent most of the day dealing with email (cleaning out my mailbox and fishing for quotes for tomorrow's article), so instead of a fresh column today, I'm re-running a speech from Hillary Clinton from November of 2007.
I write today to challenge what is fast becoming conventional wisdom in the political world. In particular, the notion that Hillary Clinton really needs a strong primary challenge to "toughen her up" for the upcoming race with whomever the Republicans decide upon. When you deconstruct the logic behind this idea, however, it falls apart.
Strange but true, the "Scooby van" is now part of our political lexicon. Hillary Clinton herself is apparently to blame for this one, as this was the playful name she came up with for the van she used to get from New York to Iowa this week. The media, as it will be doing for the next year and a half over pretty much any new aspect of Hillary Clinton's campaign (and we do mean "any new aspect at all -- even the laughably trivial"), quite predictably, freaked out.