Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rants and Revels

Alright, so once again I've failed to post for a little while. However, here are a few important things on my mind that I'd like to share with you. I apologize ahead of time if this heads in the stream-of-consciousnss direction.

First of all -- and I know that it's Wednesday and this post is overdue -- last Friday I went to the Ben Folds/Jason Mraz concert at GW's Smith Center. It was great! I'm not normally one for concerts (especially ones where you don't get a plush seat), but I was thoroughly impressed. Both performers were last at GW my freshman year there (that was almost 6 years ago for those of you without an abiccus) and while I saw Mraz (with Guster) I sadly missed Ben Folds. Thus, I was inspired to make it out this time.

I went into the night with a thoroughly pro-Ben Folds outlook, thinking of Mraz as icing. Folds was great to watch and did a few of my favorites, but Mraz was electricfying. His stage presence and overall charisma was just much more fun, regardless of whether you've ever heard anything he's done.

Bottom line: if you have the chance, see Mraz. But Ben Folds is still good too...


Little known fact: Southern Delaware is not unlike rural Alabama. I have family in northern Delaware and visited many times in my childhood. However, it wasn't until this past weekened that I spent any time in the far southern reaches of the state. Let me say that my eyes are now open.

Sheam, Skank, and a few others journeyed to our dear friend Chad's family estate in lovely Seaford, DE to celebrate President's Day. Among all the festivities, we had the opportunity to do some sight-seeing and visit with the locals. Everywhere we went (most notably a thoroughly enjoyable tour of the manor once owned by Governor William Ross) we interacted with people with a very pronounced accent. If I hadn't known any better I would have gussed we'd landed somewhere in Mississippi. It turns out Delaware, as a slave state, was a little divided on the secession issue leading up to the the Civil War. While most of DE wanted to stay with the Union, the people of Seaford and other southern DE regions sympathized with the south.

Pure conjecture: but it seems to me they're still passive-aggressively rejecting their northern neighbors and putting on those phony southern accents.


Voting Rights!!

The Senate has moved the latest incarnation of DC voting rights legislation out of committee (even some Republicans voted for it, though not John'Curmudgeon' McCain). This bill, like one passed by the House but filibustered in the Senate last session, would give DC a full voting House member and give Utah an additional member (they're next on the list to receive one by population). Majority Leader Reid plans to bring it up for debate soon (next week?) and anticipates that they will have more than enough votes to overcome a filibuster, thanks to the November election.

The House has yet to really act on the bill, but it passed last session by an overwhelming majority and we can only expect those numbers to go up.

Exciting news!! While it's far from a solution, leaving DC unrepresented in the Senate for instance, it's a great step forward!

Also -- I'm officially endorsing Howard Dean for HHS Secretary! I've actually been ranting to my friends/twitter following/facebook for a few days on this matter. He's quite the ideal candidate in my book. Dean is a doctor, was a very successful Governor (who reformed and greatly expanded healthcare), very successful DNC Chairman, and he's shown that he's a skillful manager (ala DNC, Vermont, etc).

All that said we're not likely to see Dean at all active with this White House. The new President's enforcer / chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has a notoriously bad relationship with Dean going back to Dean's DNC Chairmanship and Emanuel's time running the DCCC. Emanuel scoffed at Dean's '50 State Strategy' of investing in Democrats nationwide, instead of targeted spending that would have helped Emanuel's colleagues in Congressional races.

Apparently Obama, though the obvious benefactor of the 50SS success, seems to agree with Emanuel. Last month when the new DNC Chair Tim Kaine took over and Obama held an event to celebrate, they failed to even invite the outgoing Chairman Dean. Talk about arrogance.

I honestly fail to realize how at a time like this, facing innumerable national crises, our leaders can still afford to not put skilled and experienced people like Dean in key positions like this. I realize that there are going to be personality conflicts, and Dean's presidential campaign didn't end on a particularly high note (well, actually maybe the note he hit was a bit too shrill...), but at some point let's realize that ability to do the job and do it well should be paramount.

In any case: Dean for HHS!!

That's all for now. Feel free to share thoughts, idea, disagreements, etc below.