"A Girl in Trouble is a Temporary Thing" - Romeo Void
There's a time when every girl learns, to use her head
Tears will be saved till they're better spent
There's no time for her to be afraid
So instead, she takes care of business
Keeps a cool head
Hey there -- it is damn cold here in our nation's capital. Everyone who attended was quite lucky the inauguration was held yesterday. The only one I know who likes this weather is Stanley, who seems positively giddy in the cold. His human companion much less so. I was reduced to wearing the terrorist face mask tonight, which is not really a look I prefer.
- On this, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Rachel Maddow had a terrific report on how highly circumscribed the right to abortion has become in large parts of the country. She focused on Arkansas, North and South Dakota, and Mississippi, each of which is down to a single abortion provider. In addition, those who are fortunate enough to be able to get to the single state clinic during their often truncated hours then face a barrage of obstacles (waiting periods) and indignities (forced ultra sounds, scripted untruths that providers are required to read to them before they exercise their constitutional rights). Essentially women in these states have become second class citizens, possessors of a right in theory that has become nearly impossible to exercise. It's an outrage.
- What did you all think of the inaugural address. I thought both its content and delivery were quite impressive. I am not sure that I was as impressed with its sheer rhetorical content -- I think he has given more poetic speeches -- but I thought he made a compelling argument for the theme of continuous struggle for equality and inclusiveness in American history and for the role of government (as well as activism) in helping to bring about progress in this realm. As many have noted, the tying of Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall back to the Declaration of Independence was a great thing to hear from a sitting president of the United States while on his grandest stage. His vigorous defense of the social safety net and his pointed attack on the notion that those who make use of it are "takers" was a wonderfully pointed moment from a president who has often held fire on his opponents. I liked it.
- Which leads me to another thought -- do you get the sense that Obama feels extremely liberated by having won reelection? One gets the sense that without the prospect of facing reelection, he feels like he can draw some lines in the sand in a way he has not in the past.
- One last thing on Obama -- the notion that he has been stymied from time to time due to his unwillingness to socialize with Republicans or because he lacks "executive management skills" is just laughable. Why is it that these critics cannot understand or accept that the ideological gulf that separates the President from Republicans is real and that Republicans will not give him a break because of this -- not because he won't have them over for movie night and not because he hasn't properly delegated authority to his cabinet. It's not that I don't have criticisms of how Obama conducted his first term -- the failure to pursue immigration reform early on, the passivity in the face of the Gang of Six highjacking health care reform for months, the lack of urgency regarding judicial appointments, and the fundamental misjudgment about the nature of his opposition were all significant mistakes. But they were mistakes of political judgment, not the result of being socially aloof or not having served in an executive capacity,
- Read Roy's review of Lincoln. It's a thing of beauty.
- Speaking of movies, I finally saw Zero Dark Thirty yesterday. It's an impressive bit of film making, taut and compelling. I was disturbed by the apparent apologia for torture and the suggestion that it was the key to finding bin Laden, but I found the film to be impeccably made and acted. Hopefully Roy will review this too and give you a little more than I have.
Alright, the floor is open.