Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Julio Needs a Witness

Sometimes I see something and I think to myself: This would be funny if it weren't so sad.
Well, this was one of those times. But then I got to thinking about it more, and really the sad state of this young man doesn't mitigate the hilarity at all.
The video itself is a good 2 and a half minutes long, and not totally necessary. The beginning is good stuff because you get to see the quality of questions encountered during President Obama's town-hall meeting yesterday in Ft. Myers, FL. Later in the clip you can also have a good laugh at the fact that Obama tries to take the guy seriously, tries to pay him a compliment, and tries to assure him that a tax-credit (ostensibly for his income taxes he incurs while flipping burgers and sticking his face in the deep-frier) will pay for his tuition. Also, the little "picture in a picture" action that MSNBC uses is good for something and you can watch the young man have some sort of a religious experience while being addressed by the President. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Ongoing Saga of D.C.'s Mayor-for-Life

Oh yes... the always entertaining Marion Barry is in the news again. It seems that Ward 8's beloved City Councilman is not doing so well. Let's begin with a quick back-story: First elected as Mayor of the District of Columbia in 1978, he held the office until 1990. Of course, we all remember (even if you were only four years old at the time), the sting. Yes this stunningly good looking man in the wife-beater tank top and suspenders, smoking crack cocaine, is none other than the honorable Mayor Barry. It was shortly after this moment from the sting footage that Mr. Barry could be heard waxing poetic about his plight: "Bitch set me up."

Fear not though, Marion Barry's journey was far from over. Only in the supreme meritocracy that is D.C. could a Mayor be arrested and convicted of misdemeanor cocaine possession (a mistrial had was declared on the other 12 counts he was charged with... so it's not that he was innocent, instead he got off easy), serve 6 months in a federal prison, be elected to the city council less than two years later, and re-elected as Mayor two years after that.

After a period of lying relatively low from 1995 (following successful treatment for prostate cancer) through 1998 he decided not to run for re-election. He eventually ran for and won a seat on the city council again in 2004. The District (or at least Ward 8) really loves this guy.

Wait, there's more. We're now back to recent events that contribute to his current "situation." In October of 2005, Councilman Barry pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an IRS investigation. Apparently there was a small matter of him not filing his taxes... since 1998. 1999-2004 were years in which Mr. Barry seemingly forgot he had an income at all. Not only this, but before he could enter his plea, he underwent mandatory drug testing. Shockingly, it turned up positive for cocaine and marijuana. Subsequently, in March of '06, the Councilman was sentenced to 3 years probation and drug counseling.

So here we are today: 2 years and 11 months later (that's 0.14 score years and 1 month, for those of you swept up in this strange equivocation of Presidents Lincoln and Obama).
(Enter Marion Barry, stage right, being chased by IRS agents)
He must have "forgotten" to pay his taxes from 2007. You know, this forgetfulness bug is going around now-a-days. It was just a "moment of sloppiness," like Daschle and Geithner.
Be that as it may, it is a blatant violation of the terms of his probation.

So it looks like jail time for Marion Barry... again. (You know, it's a natural cycle. Just like solar maximums and minimums [and climate change on Earth as a result, but that's another matter altogether], and Lindsay Lohan's oscillating sexual preference) Needless to say, he will be back, and the good people of Ward 8 will welcome him with open arms and a spot on their ballots.

Until then, I leave you with a few thoughts that I had while contemplating Marion Barry's story during my afternoon lavatory meditations...
  • I'm all for DC being given voting rights (that, by the way, will be an upcoming topic as well) in the House. But I'm not sure that I like the idea of a vote in congress coming from an enclave that knowingly re-elected a crack-head Mayor by popular vote.
  • Why is it always those people most likely to advocate for tax increases that seem to think they are above paying their own taxes? Strange, isn't it?
  • I think Marion Barry might want to hire me as his new publicist/hype-man because of the picture (left)... after all, he looks much better with O.J.'s body.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Quick thought on Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, had surgery today to treat her pancreatic cancer. They apparently caught it early, so that's good at least. I just want to express my sadness at hearing this news. Cancer has taken quite a personal toll on me and my family. I just hope she has a speedy recovery from her surgery, and I pray she can find the strength to fight and beat the cancer.

Ideologically, I am no great fan of Justice Ginsburg. That being said, I wish her nothing but the best of health. She'll be in SCOTUS-philes' thoughts and prayers.

So here's the plan...

I don't exactly know where to start with my first substantive post. I'm currently preparing to take the LSAT on Saturday, so I don't have a whole lot of time to sit here and write about everything I wish I could.

Trust me, I have plenty to say. So I'm thinking about a list of topics that are pertinent right now. Here is what I'm currently thinking about and will get to in the coming week or so (in no particular order):
  • The "Stimulus" Bill
  • "The most transparent, open, and ethical administration," and the ever-growing list of tax cheats employed or nominated by said administration.
  • Executive salary-capping for companies receiving bailouts.
  • The merits of a good apple pie.
  • The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (a.k.a. Thank-You Gift for the Trial Lawyers)
  • The impending effort to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine," and other nefariously un-American endeavors.
That's not all I can think of but it'll keep me busy for a little while. And I'm also sure there will be new developments before I can get through all of it, so it is most definitely subject to change. I really can't wait to get started. If my brain doesn't feel like it's been turned to some sort of Sociology-lecture-induced-gelatinous-goo, I'll try to get something up on Saturday after the LSAT.

And so, I'll leave you with this most inspirational picture of our courageous leader...


Quick back-story:
During the debate over the pending ratification of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote a series of articles under the pseudonym "Publius." These articles eventually became known as The Federalist Papers. The name "Publius" referred back to a Roman consul who was generally known as "friend of the people." Yeah... I know. It's a bit out there, but not without meaning.

The symbolic gesture of the shrug is an understated yet powerful image that conveys an understanding and an outward sense of indifference. Beneath the surface, however, that indifference gives way to a smoldering desire to speak out... if only we believed that anyone would care to listen.

Publius, then, is the public interest that has reached a point of helplessness. But the need to influence remains, despite the futility.

So, forgive me for my over-embellished sense of symbolism. You can take it or leave... just as long as you understand it.