June 2009

Same-Sex Marriage in NY State

Crowds on both coasts celebrated Gay Pride this weekend with parades, parties and irreverent reverie, the gay marriage and gay rights debates of the United States continued to enforce ignorance and intolerance behind the scenes. In fact, while gay pride celebrations took over the streets of San Francisco and New York city, both states continue to ban same sex marriage.

Here is the state of same-sex marriage in the United States: Currently, same sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa, with Vermont starting in September. Unless the citizens of Maine veto it, same-sex marriages will begin in the middle of September. New Hampshire is set to begin same-sex marriages in 2010.

Obama on Youtube

I opened up my iGoogle page this weekend and saw President Obama in the “YouTube Spotlight Video” section. Expecting some kind of statement about the Iran election situation, or perhaps some kind of commentary on the South Carolina Governor’s affair or even on the passing of Michael Jackson, I was thrilled to hear him start talking about health care reform.

If you haven’t seen this video yet, go here now: http://bit.ly/Zqy7a

As of 5:30 PST on Sunday, June 28, over 44,000 people have watched the YouTube video from the President.

More Republican Sexy Time

By now, you've all heard that Mark Sanford, the Republican Governor of South Carolina (well he's a Democrat, according to Fox) had a little press conference today where he tearfully admitted that his mysterious disappearance was to Argentina and to visit somebody with whom he was having an affair with.  For those keeping score at home, this is your second sex scandal involving a Republican this month as earlier, Nevada Senator John Ensign also admitted to having an affair. Considering that last year's Republican sex scandals involved congressional pages, anonymous sex in a bathroom stall, and wearing diapers with hookers, these two recent scandals are rather boring and almost mundane.

Global Chess!!!

Major powers in the world have a lot of issues going on right now- climate change, a broken economy, and just the general sense that things are not going well. Three of the major players, the U.S., the EU and China have intricately interwoven foreign policies, histories and financial ties that bind them in an inconceivable domino set up. This week, two of three made a move that will affect the foreign policy, trade and financial scales for the entire world.

The United States and the European Union implemented action against China this week to stop them from restricting exports of industrial raw materials. In fact, the U.S. had recently brought the issue before the World Trade Organization (WTO), in line with President Obama’s attempts to flex some muscle in the trade policy world.

The catch is that the U.S. needs China to keep buying our debt.

Climate Change Legislation Update

The Democrat-controlled Congress is focusing on creating legislation to combat climate change- perhaps the most far-reaching and influential shift in administrative and legislative policy in decades. The New York Times calls it a comprehensive energy and global warming bill- but how the bill will look once it satisfies everyone enough to pass both the House and the Senate is still anyone's guess.

In fact, the Democratic Party still doesn't agree with itself on everything, though the House Democrats say that they are close to an agreement and hope to be ready to move forward next week. Whether they have a bill that will satisfy rural and fiscal conservative Representatives is not apparent. 

Immigration: Where does Obama stand?

What does it mean to be American?

America is often referred to as a melting pot, as a land of immigrants, of opportunity, of refuge. At the same time it is characterized by a brutal and violent history of intolerance, murder and exploitation. While the Statue of Liberty has come to stand, both literally and figuratively, as a guardian over immigrants and the American dream of a “better life,” America could just as easily have the statue of a gun grace its money, sacred grounds and serve as a figure-head for its history.

Why is Obama Rewarding the Insurance Industry?

President Barack Obama recently wrote a note excusing a fourth grader missing school to attend a town-hall style meeting after her dad asked Obama about health care. I wonder if this was possibly a note to actually mitigate the fact that Obama, despite a Democratic majority in the house and senate, is not actually "going to town" on health care himself as he promised in his campaign and earlier in his presidency.

Twittering Iran, How to Get the Inside Scoop

     In case you haven’t heard yet the Islamic Republic of Iran is in a state of widespread protest over last week’s presidential election results.  Really to no one’s surprise, the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was announced the victor by a huge margin (a specifically curiously huge margin, even winning on his opponent’s home turf).  Election result tampering coming from a nation whose leader openly denies the Holocaust doesn’t shock the international community as a whole, but the surprising part is that instead of rolling over and playing dead, Ahmadinejad’s opponent, http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/mir_hussein...

Bush VS. Obama- Round 1!

In this corner, weighing 8 years on the conscience of the United States, former governor of Texas, poor speller but straight-talker, friend to fossil fuel industries everywhere and favorite of the military-industrial complex, the peerless, the infamous... George Dubya Bush!  Ladies and Gentlemen!


And in this corner, weighing in at just over 200 days in office, former Illinois congressman, champion of change and hope, friend to universal health care, gay rights, climate change policy action and a host of other causes dear to the hearts of liberal america- President Barack... Obama!



Gay Rights in the Obama Administration

This past April the House of Representatives voted to approve an expansion of the Federal "hate crime" laws. Under the legislation "hate crime" will cover gay and lesbian citizens.

Wait, raise your hand if you knew that gay-bashing was not Federally considered a hate crime.


But wait, there's more. The expansion of "hate crime" laws is not even close to becoming official. It hasn't passed in the senate. How could this possibly not just go through with flying (Gay Pride) colors?

Do I remember the Bush Administration's stance on Gay rights? Wait, did they have a stance or a turned head? What about McCain's general approach? Yes, I realize that there is serious opposition to Gay rights, especially with all the progress that same sex marriages are having. It is pretty standard for Republicans to oppose anything related to Gay rights.

U.S. Politicians Are Embracing Climate Change

U.S. Senator John Kerry, former presidential candidate and leading senatorial democrat, has come out saying that global warming is a threat to U.S. security. Why? It leaves military hubs vulnerable to rising sea levels and runs the risk of fueling anti-American sentiment around the world. I didn't expect military-focused fear mongering from Senator Kerry, so I'm kind of impressed with this outburst.

Riots, Demonstrations in Iran

Today, several massive protests broke out in cities all over Iran in response to the supposed landslide victory of sitting president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Supporters of the former Prime Minister and vocal reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi have come out in tens of thousands, shouting for freedom and accusing their government of rigging the election.

Controversy over Climate Change Bill Doesn't Change

The Democrats currently have a climate change bill before the House. Al Gore is a fan, the Republicans are not. Pretty standard. In his party's weekly address Republican Congressman Mike Pence, Republican Congressman used his party's weekly address to say that the Democratic energy plan will cost Americans far too much money and that the Republicans have a much better plan. Again, pretty standard. Arguments between the parties are nothing new- but the reasons for the incessant arguing are becoming less standard. As the green business world continues to evolve, the classic lines between business and democratic ideals are blurring. The Triple Bottom Line (People/Planet/Profit) is blending what is good for the environment and the people with what is good for the bottom line. It won't work anymore for the two parties to argue over how a climate change bill should look- what they should be arguing about is how to make it work for everyone.

There's a Slight Hitch With That Whole Closing Down Guantanamo Thing

The Washington Post today reported that the Obama administration has backed away from plans to send prisoners still stuck on Guantanamo to the U.S. Instead, they're going to try and talk other countries into taking all of them, something that will undoubtedly go well: "hey, we're too scared to take these terrorists, so, umm, can you take them? KTHXBye." So far, that's not working out so well as the only countries that have been down with accepting some of the prisoners are Bermuda and Palau- both of whom decided to accept seventeen Uighurs- a small ethnic group of Chinese Muslims.

Will the Nuclear Industry Hitch an Expensive Ride on Obama?

Is it true that the nuclear industry is lobbying hard for money in the wave of Obama's push for cleaner energy? You bet your reactor donuts, Homer. The American nuclear industry and its friends in Congress are basically doing everything they can to take over Obama's green economy plans. The details? 100 new reactors over the next 20 years. Get some coffee, that's going to mean a lot of donuts for an army of Homer Simpsons.

The Iranian Elections - chaos or change?

Here’s a sentence that I never thought I’d type; the current elections in Iran have made me appreciate the power of twitter. I don’t really want to get into this too much, as my personal experience of the Iranian people getting ready to vote, frankly isn’t that interesting to anyone. I will say, however, it’s worth a few minutes of your timing following the #iranelection search, linked here.

Another view from inside the election is this fascinating photo blog from the streets of Tehran. The followers of the more progressive candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, have taken to wearing green about their person as a sign of their support. It’s also good to see that there are hipsters in Iran, just like we have here. It’s a universal thing, apparently.