31 December 2006

Happy new year from Buster

Buster wants everyone to know that he's already drunk and being sexually inappropriate with other bunnies. He expects you to do the same with preferred members of your own species.

Buster opening a gift.

Buster in his party hat.

Buster on the dance floor.

Happy new year to all!

Taking in a State Funeral

I headed down to the Capitol tonight to see Gerald Ford lying in state. He seemed harmless enough, and probably wasn't a half bad leader, not that I remember or know a lot about the 1970s. I'm fascinated by his role in healing the nation and restoring public confidence in institutions after Watergate though, so perhaps I'll explore that a little, as I have recently taken a shine to issues of national reconciliation.

The whole thing was a touch surreal though. The line was long, but it wasn't too cold out. The thing opened late, of course, but that was fine. The views off the Capitol portico were incredible at night, but I didn't bring a camera with me. Inside the rotunda was incredibly quiet, and even more so when the guard changed just a minute or so after I got in. That was pretty impressive. Six servicemembers walking in as quietly as possible. The whole thing was just so... silent. After the retiring guard marched out, I walked around for another minute or so, then headed out. Again, the views outside were gorgeous. Seems so somber and fitting. I guess that's why they do it though.

Forgive the lack of snark in this post up to this point. I leave you with a conversation I had with a friend following my telling him about going through what I dubbed the "security hut."

chris: do you know when they're going to finish that whole ...billion dollar underground visitors center?
me: oh probably
me: what else would they waste the money on?
chris: well, i mean
chris: they're working on it
chris: have been for years now
chris: but i'm not sure when its going to finish
chris: like, you know the whole east side of the capitol has been "under construction" for them to do it
me: well, i doubt pelosi will allow the continuation of the cheney bunker section
chris: lol
chris: indeed
chris: or the "ronald reagan worship center"
me: and they'll probably take out the "dry ass fucking by the executive branch" exhibit with the change in power
chris: aww. i'm gunna miss that one
me: won't we all
me: i'm sure they'll add a statue commemorating the checks and balances
chris: oh, those were the good old days
me: mmhmm
chris: although seriously, they need to erect a memorial to habeus corpus
me: only if it goes on the ellipse
me: or in front of the justice department
chris: or up bush's ass
me: well, no one would enjoy it that way

20 December 2006

NoVa and RoVa: not so different after all

A few months back, the Post published a glaringly offensive piece comparing the alleged differences between Northern Virginia (NoVa) and the rest of Virginia (RoVa). Aside from being painfully classist, smug, and elitist, the piece is generally not deserving of comment because it's so grossly exaggerated. Nonetheless, the point was that NoVa was this bastion of liberal modernity while RoVa was full of dirt eating hicks who do math on their fingers and can't really spell. In a season of particularly intense political campaigning in the state, the point of the piece seemed to be that NoVa really is superior, even if its political desires (electing liberal Democrats) somehow were to be drowned out by RoVa's clamor for conservatism. One particular gem including this line:
In RoVa, they hope the South will rise again. In NoVa, they hope the souffle will.
After the election, there was even talk of NoVa seceding from RoVa because it was so liberal, unique, and incredibly different. The accusation was that the legislature in Richmond was just using NoVa for its hordes of tax revenue, while denying it an appropriately elitist, holier than thou voice in state affairs.

Why do I bring this up now? Because this past Sunday, NoVa sent word that it's not so different from RoVa after all. Seven parishes of the Episcopal Church, most of them located in NoVa, voted to leave the Episcopal Church of the United States of America and instead place themselves under the jurisdiction of a radical social conservative archbishop in Nigeria, who opposes the rights of gay people to even eat together in public, among other virtues. Two of those congregations are among the oldest and largest in the United States, and none other than George Washington was a member of one.

What does this mean about the NoVa/RoVa dichotomy? Simply put, social conservatives are all over the state of Virginia (and a lot of other "blue" states/counties/cities) and thus maybe NoVa should stop being so damn smug. Just because your cars, houses and incomes are bigger than those of your compatriots further south doesn't make you special. I should also remind you that Virginia's recent bizarro anti-gay marriage amendment passed with some 57% of ballots cast. Therefore even if you do deserve some credit for electing left-leaning types like Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and Jim Webb, don't construe this as making you somehow better than other people. If anything, voting in this country should be the great equalizer, not the great specializer.

You would think that I would be more bothered by other, more obvious aspects of this little saga. For instance, I grew up gay in a part of Tennessee not all that different from RoVa. Yet I maintain that people have the right to believe and vote as they please, even if I disagree with it and/or think some of their decisions will bear disastrous fruits. Though I'm one of those much beguiled bleeding heart liberals, I believe that conservatives are basically good people (as all people are), they just think differently from me, and that's ok. I believe that one of these days, various social issues will be worked out in ways amenable to the rights of all Americans.

In short: NoVa should get off its high horse, especially in light of these recent events. In the meantime, if NoVa wants some sort of voting in the state legislature based upon dollars contributed, they should consult the World Bank, and remember how well that's worked out for poor people.

18 December 2006

Holiday war on animals

Unbeknownst to me, the adorable PBS children's show Postcards from Buster (which is, of course, based upon my own pet bunny Buster's world travels and not some Arthur spin-off) was the victim of a malicious assault by none other than Secretary of Education Margaret "No poor, majority person of color public school left open" Spellings. The totally adorable show (did I say that already? It's really precious.) features the cute bunny Buster as he visits kids in various places and finds out about their lives. In so doing, PBS watching kids are exposed to different types of families, lifestyles, traditions, and thus have their points of view broadened. However, Buster had the audacity to visit a family in Vermont (figures) that had children collecting maple syrup. These horrible sinning children of course had two mommies. This led Spellings and various "family" organizations to protest Postcards from Buster, and it lost funding for its second season. Finally, after over a year of delay, the show is back into production, though for many fewer episodes than the first season.

Spellings, however, must have forgotten that animals secretly plot against people all the time. In this year's White House Barney Cam holiday extravaganza (a taxpayer funded glorified webcam that follows the First Dog), good ole Margaret failed to make Barney's cut. Honestly, if a dog decides that Karl Rove is a better dancer than you, there must be something up.

As a side note, Barney Cam is totally worth watching, as it's effing hilarious. Even more so than the spoof version. Also, what's with Laura Bush and her black cat?

16 December 2006

Liveblogging madness: DC Police search car

It's a Friday night and I'm bored out of my skull, with no real desire to do anything. Allow me the chance to share some neighborhood dirt.

Last night, sitting at this very desk, which faces a window looking out onto Harvard Street NW, a maroon Ford Taurus pulled up, and a black/grey SUV parked illegally behind it. The Ford parked on the street, the SUV pulled up beside it, and the driver of the car hopped into the SUV. Off they went, tires squealing. Not a big deal, right?

Further observation noticed that the Taurus was only about halfway in a legal parking zone. Whatever, that's like a $30 ticket. Then at about 8:00 tonight, a silver Taurus pulled up, and some dudes started mulling about the first car, also looking suspicious. So suspicious, in fact, that the thought of calling the cops popped into my head, as it had last evening. They finally put on police jackets, and thus became identifiable, while simultaneously killing any notion of cop calling. Throughout the evening, various marked and unmarked police vehicles (at least six) have pulled up, shined flashlights on the maroon Taurus, and joked with the dudes from the original unmarked car (of which there are four). The job of the unmarked car crew seems to be to smoke lots of cigarettes, make cell phone calls, and lounge about, while very likely killing their car battery by keeping the headlights on for nearly three hours. Finally, at about 10:20, another marked car popped up and two uniformed dudes opened the maroon Taurus and began searching it. Something is definitely being found, as they keep pulling out bags of various sizes, snapping photos, making lots of notations on clipboards, and using various pieces of equipment. They seem focused on the backseat. No sign of popping the trunk yet. Clearly, something juicy is in this car. Yet it's not roped off or anything. Other cars are still passing by. The original four cops from the silver Taurus continue to stand around and smoke/shoot the shit.

It's now 10:40. All four doors of the maroon Taurus were just closed. The two investigators are shining various types of lights on the trunk cover. Apparently the trunk popper isn't working, as they seem to be having trouble getting it open. (See if the back seats fold down!)

Clearly, the Mrs. Kravitz in me is loving this.

Now one cop is in the backseat, leaned in kinda funny and facing the trunk. He's pulled out another bag of something (looks like an evidence bag). Now back to the front seat. No luck with the trunk yet. Will update again if any bodies/briefcases of money/big backs of cocaine appear to be found.

UPDATE, 12:04am: The CSI guys left just after I posted the above, without opening the trunk. No bodies in trash bags for me. Finally a tow truck arrived, driven by an angry looking woman. The maroon vehicle was promptly removed, and thus the four dudes in the silver unmarked car were finally able to go protect and serve some other inanimate object for four more hours. All in all, an anti-climactic experience.

14 December 2006

Oops, looks like I stepped out

A number of different things have piqued my interest of late, but unfortunately I'm a grad student. This means that every so often I have to write lots and lots of things in bursts of productivity that I'd honestly rather avoid. Anywho, I have decided to provide a roundup of sorts for your viewing pleasure (all 1.5 of you).

Africa conflict news
  • The Central African Republic is destabilizing due in part to the ongoing conflict in Darfur, which has already spilled into Chad. CAR provides a lovely stomping ground for Sudan and Chad to fight each other by proxy on somebody else's land.
  • Speaking of proxy wars, Ethiopia is gearing up to support the transitional Somali government against the Eritrean backed Islamic Courts.
  • DR Congo is alleged to be on the path to recovery now that elections went peacefully and no new fighting erupted. This is a good thing.
  • Sierra Leone may be destabilizing just a touch ahead of 2007 elections, which many expect to be rigged.
  • Let's not forget about the upcoming Nigerian elections, which might just be scary.
  • Ethiopia's former dictator found guilty of genocide, even though he's being sheltered by Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
UN news
  • Kofi Annan has made his final major speech, in which he politely bitch slapped the United States, in his very polite Kofi Annan way. One can also find a brief version of his lessons learned in office via WaPo.
  • Ban Ki-Moon has been sworn in as the new SG. Let's hope he'll have some teeth. Apparently his rise to the top of the planet somehow includes being fired from a top-level post in Korea after a major typo.
  • John Bolton is out, nations (literally) rejoice.
Homo news
  • NYT does an article on gay evangelicals that is sensationalized and written for the lowest common denominator in a way that queer related NYT articles always are. Said article features (and mischaracterizes) a friend of mine from NC.
  • Mitt Romney has filed suit in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to compel the legislature to put gay marriage up to a public referendum. Apparently likes to lose political battles in as many ways as possible.
  • Middle East is still not a fun place to be gay, reminds some observers of small towns in Tennessee or Utah.
Weird science
  • New study financed by abstinence crazed Bush administration finds male circumcision reduces HIV rates. Same study apparently fails to examine whether or not condoms are used, assuming that those silly Africans didn't pay attention in the sex ed that accompanied their operation, or lack there of. Way to spread cultural imperialism to peoples' genitals. Surely there's not some better way to curb the spread of HIV?
  • Nobody really knows what to do if a Democratic senator gets incapacitated. Some sort of cloning or stubborn refusal to die and thus vacate seat may be under consideration.
To spare you the repetition, I'll spare any mention of Vietraq and all the DC dribble going on around that issue. Consider yourselves lucky.

As a final note, I've made a couple of layout changes, and added a neat feature from LibraryThing that lets you see random books from my shelf, as though you actually cared. Also, this blog may now actually be read by at least 2 people. And that, friends, is better than nothing.