Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, in Lakewood, Colorado who violated the law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple was directed to change his store policies immediately and force his staff to attend the training sessions. For the next two years, Phillips will also be required to submit quarterly reports to the commission to confirm that he has not turned away customers based on their sexual orientation, says Todd Starnes in this article, Baker forced to make gay wedding cakes, undergo sensitivity training, after losing lawsuit, at Fox News.
Shortly after Dykes on Bikes rumble across the starting line of the Capital Pride parade in Dupont Circle on Saturday, an expected 150,000 spectators should witness something never before seen on an American city street â€” a U.S. Armed Forces color guard marching alongside rainbow flags in a gay pride parade.
A triple helping of scandals and five years of arrogance on the part of the president and administration are coming together to mark a turning point in relations between this administration and the Washington political establishment. The special protection that Barack Obama has enjoyed for five years may be coming to an end.
The town is turning on President Obama â€” and this is very bad news for this White House.
Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama â€” and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.
Buy-in from all three D.C. stakeholders is an essential ingredient for a good old-fashioned Washington pile-on â€” so get ready for bad stories and public scolding to pile up.
Vernon Jordan, a close adviser to President Bill Clinton through his darkest days, told us: â€œItâ€™s never all right if youâ€™re the president. There is no smooth sailing. So now he has the turbulence, and this is the ultimate test of his leadership.â€ Jordan says Obama needs to do something dramatic on the IRS, and quick: â€œHe needs to fire somebody. He needs action, not conversation.â€
Obamaâ€™s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats. And the press, after years of being accused of being soft on Obama while being berated by West Wing aides on matters big and small, now has every incentive to be as ruthless as can be.
This White Houseâ€™s instinctive petulance, arrogance and defensiveness have all worked to isolate Obama at a time when he most needs a support system. â€œIt feel like they donâ€™t know what theyâ€™re here to do,â€ a former senior Obama administration official said. â€œWhen thereâ€™s no narrative, stuff like this consumes you.â€
Republican outrage is predictable, maybe even manageable. Democratic outrage is not.
It used to seem shocking that five of the ten richest counties in the United States were part of the DC Metropolitan Statistical Area, but the 2011 American Community Survey numbers released yesterday show that the DC suburbs now account for seven of the ten richest counties in America.
Loudon, Fairfax, and Arlington in Virginia lead the way followed by Hunterdon County, NJ then Howard County in Maryland; Somerset, NJ; Prince William and Fauquier in Virginia; Douglas, CO; and Montgomery County, MD.
Ross Douthat, sounding unusually conservative, noted yesterday that the comparative advantage in affluence of America’s capital these days seemed to resemble that of the capital of a particular dystopian fantasy novel recently made into a successful film, and remarked that, if relations between the provinces and the capital have not yet completely reached the point depicted in The Hunger Games, their differences in prosperity have exactly the same moral basis.
If you donâ€™t mind congested roads and insanely competitive child rearing, all this growth is good news for those of us inside the Beltway bubble. But is it good for America? After all, like the ruthless Capital in â€œThe Hunger Games,â€ the wealth of Washington is ultimately extracted from taxpayers more than it is earned. And over the last five years especially, D.C.â€™s gains have coincided with the countryâ€™s losses.
There arenâ€™t tributes from Michigan and New Mexico fighting to the death in Dupont Circle just yet. But it doesnâ€™t seem like a sign of national health that Americaâ€™s political capital is suddenly richer than our capitals of manufacturing and technology and finance, or that our leaders are more insulated than ever from the trends buffeting the people theyâ€™re supposed to serve. …
In reality, our government isnâ€™t running trillion-dollar deficits because weâ€™re letting the working class get away with not paying its fair share. Weâ€™re running those deficits because too many powerful interest groups have a stake in making sure the party doesnâ€™t stop.
When you look around the richest precincts of todayâ€™s Washington, you donâ€™t see a city running on paternalism or dependency. You see a city running on exploitation.
It’s entertaining to read MM exercising her wit on real life as opposed to politics and economics for a change.
[I]n DC, only the main streets have been plowed. And by “plowed”, I mean that one meager lane has been cleared, so that even major arteries like New York Avenue frequently narrow to one lane. The side streets have been turned into defacto one-way streets–except that no one knows which way. The result is a lot like driving on a country road in Ireland, where you are apt to come upon someone going the other way, and then spend precious moments staring at each other until one party reluctantly backs up to a wider spot.
The difference is that Irish drivers are somewhat familiar with the conditions. DC today is the province of taxi drivers and SUV owners who seem simultaneously confused and overconfident. As I eased down the street in our little Japanese sedan, I quickly surmised that none of the drivers in the bite-sized tanks surrounding me had ever seen snow before. Three blocks later I revised that opinion: I don’t think any of them had ever seen cars before. Certainly not the ones they were operating. …
By the time I finally got to the grocery store, I discovered the scene many of you have already viewed on cable television. There was virtually no meat. There were no eggs–I thought I was missing them, until I realized that the egg section comprised the rows and rows of empty shelves stretching beneath one lonely carton of egg beaters. The frozen pizzas were pretty well decimated. Oddly, all of the shredded cheese and sliced cheese was gone, but there was plenty of the stuff in blocks. And I scored the last three containers of Yoplait Light. Oh, and the last four twelve-packs of regular diet coke. Sorry, Safeway shoppers–but I’m told that Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper. More than what, I couldn’t say.
I also noticed what Brian Caplan has remarked upon: the store brand frozen foods were pretty much still stocked at normal levels. This, even though Safeway’s store brands tend to be private label versions of top premium brands–and more than occasionally, are better than anything else on offer. I helped myself freely to their quite tasty rising crust pizza, but anyone who wanted a slab of Red Baron’s tomato-flavored cardboard was out of luck.
Naturally, both the fresh and frozen vegetable sections were still stocked to overflowing. I spent quite a bit of time last night making backup lists of vegetables I might buy, since I naturally expected that the produce would be picked over pretty well by now. Silly Megan. Apparently, when DC gets snowed in, it wants to do so with diet soda, Ritz crackers, six pounds of shredded cheddar, and a lifetime supply of stew meat. Me, I’m making slow cooker spaghetti sauce tomorrow.
When I got to the store, the lines looked reasonable. But by well before 9 am, they were stretching towards the back of the store. God knows what was left for the people who put off their shopping until noon.
I understand that it doesn’t necessarily make sense for DC to maintain plentiful snow moving equipment, when these types of heavy snowfalls only occur about once every seven years. But it seems to me we could try to maintain some psychological readiness. If this is how we react to a snow storm, what are we going to do when the Russkis invade?
Yesterday’s mass protest against federal spending was estimated by the comparatively neutral Daily Mail as made up of “up to two million.”* US Parks and Recreation estimated 1.5 million.
All this was not even front page news for the New York Times, for whom the numbers involved dwindled to mere “thousands.” The Washington Post more generously acknowledged “tens of thousands.”
The astonishing demonstration of massive popular opposition to socialism naturally proved a problem for the left’s commentariat. The preferred discounting technique was demonstrated by Think Progress: point to Confederate flags, identify expressions of opposition to Barack Obama as “racism,” describe open expressions of conservatism as “offensive” and “radical.”
Glenn Greenwald at Salon dismisses all opposition to Obama as illegitimate, coming from people with heretical and unacceptible views, worthy only of contempt and dismissal.
What I find amusing is the leftist Greenwald’s claim to proprietorship of “the country’s core founding values.” Since when was the left in favor of the framer’s republic of federalism, individual rights, personal responsibility, and limited government?
Nothing that the GOP is doing to Obama should be the slightest bit surprising because this is the true face of the American Right — and that’s been true for a very long time now. It didn’t just become true in the last few months or in the last two years. Recent months is just the time period when the media began noticing and acknowledging what they are: a pack of crazed, primitive radicals who don’t really believe in the country’s core founding values and don’t merely disagree with, but contest the legitimacy of, any elected political officials who aren’t part of their movement. Before the last year or so, the media pretended that this was a serious, adult, substantive political movement, but it wasn’t any truer then than it is now. All one has to do is review their behavior during the Clinton presidency — to say nothing of the Bush years — to see that none of this is remotely new. Nothing they’re doing to Obama is a break from their past behavior; it’s just a natural and totally predictable continuation of it.
UPDATE 23 Feb 2010: The Daily Mail, at some point subsequent to this posting, revised the estimate in its article downward to “As many as one million people.” The original estimated figure was also cited here.
ABC News also denied having made a 1M to 1.5M estimate.
Politicians gloated as ground was broken and a great river of federal dollars began flowing for the construction of the home of yet another massive federal bureaucracy on the 176 acre hilltop site of what used to be Washington, D.C.’s insane asylum.
What could be more appropriate? The next directive requiring the confiscation of pocket combs and cavity searches of blue-haired grannies can be written in the same location that not so long ago used to be a padded cell.
The federal government locked Ezra Pound away in the same asylum in lieu of prosecuting him for treason for siding with Benito Mussolini during WWII. Perhaps the unruly spirit of the modernist poet will continue to preside over Homeland Security’s new cubicles, resulting in the Canto replacing the memorandum and translations from the Chinese or Occitan filling out the press releases.
Councilman Marion Barry was late, and Mayor Adrian Fenty even later, but both arrived in time to grab a golden shovel and turn a little earth on the lush green lawn of St. Elizabeths Hospital. And with that, ground was officially broken for the $3.4 billion headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, a vast new federal complex that will be built on the quiet hilltop with spectacular views where once stood the city’s main hospital for the mentally ill. …
Barry thanked Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who helped create the grab-bag department of security-related agencies after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. …
Lieberman hailed the largest federal project built in the region since the Pentagon. And Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the new campus, which will be home to 14,000 employees when finished in 2016, will help her fledgling agency grow into a more cohesive entity with a unified culture.
It wasnâ€™t long ago that the Department of Homeland Security was just a fascist glimmer in George W. Bushâ€™s eye that subsequently went on to become a symbol of one rogue and illegitimate administrationâ€™s gross abuse of civil liberties.
But now a new sheriff is in town, and a new enemy is in the cross-hairs that needs to be aggressively confronted, so itâ€™s worth an even heavier investment of taxpayer dollars.
That and they needed the meeting space.
Assuming Napolitano holds a meeting every single weekday over the next 10 years, this new complex is only costing $1.3 million per meeting. Not bad by government standards â€” but weâ€™ll round that up to $2 million per meeting on the assumption that theyâ€™ll buy bagels.
Richard A. Clarke, in the Wall Street Journal, discusses, from a professional’s perspective, the political wars over US Intelligence Operations, describing recent events as “part of a 60-year historical pattern of manic swings of opinion in Washington about the efficacy of covert action.”
Most Americans might not think it was a big secret that CIA agents were trying to kill al Qaeda members, but in the weird world of Washington intelligence, it was.
For over a decade, in three different presidencies, there has been an ongoing debate about whether and how to kill al Qaeda terrorists and what part of the U.S. government should have the mission. The 9-11 Commission report details how President Clinton decided that killing Osama bin Laden and his supporters was not a violation of the ban on assassinations, how he authorized attacks, and how the CIA failed successfully to use that authority. Several media accounts this week indicate that after 9-11, the CIA put together a more serious effort to take out terrorists, but that the program was variously activated, deactivated, and put on hold by the four directors the CIA has had since 9-11. Senior CIA officers have been reluctant for years to create hit squads, fearing that a wave of CIA assassinations of terrorists would provoke a major al Qaeda retaliation against U.S. intelligence officers worldwide. They have also, with good reason, doubted the ability of their own agency to successfully kill the right people and then escape. Some have pointed to the Israeli terrorist targeting effort as evidence that such killings can be counter-productive, providing the terrorist groups with propaganda victories. Israeli experts are themselves split on the effectiveness of their killings, but it does seem likely that it has made it harder for terrorist leaders to operate.
It is puzzling that some people object to U.S. personnel killing terrorists with sniper rifles or car bombs, but have little apparent problem with CIA and Department of Defense personnel tracking down specific terrorist leaders with Predator drones and then killing those leaders with the unmanned aircraftâ€™s Hellfire missiles. The terrorist groups probably see little difference in how we choose to kill their leaders.
Clarke is perfectly right. Outside the nation’s capital and beyond the circles of the chattering class elite, no one in America would ever understand why there is (supposedly) some kind of a legal and moral problem with US covert intelligence killing al Qaeda terrorists. You need elite education, real sophistication, and a habit of reading important publications to understand these things.
The Americans Veterans Center in Arlington has brought to my attention that this Monday, May 25, 2009 The National Memorial Day Parade will start at 2:00PM on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th streets NW. The parade has been an annual event since it was revived in 2005 after a 70 year hiatus in the nation’s capital.
This year’s program advises:
It is the largest Memorial Day Celebration in America and will have more the 250,000 in attendance honoring those who have served and sacrificed. There will be marching bands, veterans units, and uniformed military personnel from around the country. The parade will also feature a special tribute to the U.S. Navy, and include Navy vet and Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine, fellow actors and veterans’ supporters Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna, and music star Lee Greenwood. Also participating is Edith Shain, the nurse from the famous World War II â€œV-J Day in Times Squareâ€ kiss photograph.
Josh Marshall complains that representatives of the MSM in the nation’s Capitol are insufficiently on his side.
Like many others, I’ve been saying this for years. So I’m surprised to be surprised. But the journalistic establishment in Washington, whether it’s the Post or the Politico or much of the rest of the journalistic apparatus in the city, is essentially Republican in character — not necessarily in terms of individual voting habits, though you’d be surprised, but in fundamental outlook about whose opinions matter and how government functions, which is what really counts. And you can see that resurfacing with increasing clarity just in that last week.
Personally, I think the Washington Post would need to be blowing up US troops with IEDs to be more any more anti-Bush Administration than it is. I’d be curious to see Josh Marshall try expanding and justifying this curious claim to victimhood.