Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: April 2010 Page 1 of 3

Friday Music: Mash’n’Move Edition

I will probably regret ever admitting this, but these have forced their way into my running playlists, and refuse to leave:



And from the “Democrats Can Be Idiots, Too” Files . . .

So, I’d seen bits and pieces about a silly scheme supported by Sens. Schumer and Graham to create some sort of national worker ID card, but I didn’t think such a bad idea would make it into legislation. Well, it’s apparently part of the immigration reform package:

The national ID program would be titled the Believe System, an acronym for Biometric Enrollment, Locally stored Information and Electronic Verification of Employment. It would require all workers across the nation to carry a card with a digital encryption key that would have to match work authorization databases.

“The cardholder’s identity will be verified by matching the biometric identifier stored within the microprocessing chip on the card to the identifier provided by the cardholder that shall be read by the scanner used by the employer,” states the Democratic legislative proposal.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a civil liberties defender often aligned with the Democratic Party, wasted no time in blasting the plan.

John Cole reacts appropriately:

Apparently they think the outcry over the Arizona “SHOW YOUR PAPERS” bill is that it will only be applied to Hispanics. Polls pretty clearly demonstrate that half the country has no problem with the Arizona bill because it will not affect them- it only is an inconvenience for “others” (meaning brown people). But start talking about a national id with biometric data that everyone has to be issued, and you will think the death panels and health care reform debate were a walk in the park.

And I’m not even talking about the actual merits and downsides to the id card. I’m talking about the freak-out that will be inevitable, some of which I will probably even agree with. This is just stunningly tone deaf.

I’ve talked about the merits (or lack thereof) of national ID cards. What an incredibly stupid move.

The Velodrome DC Needs . . .

until DC or Arlington can get a real velodrome:

Red Bull Minidrome from Radar Films on Vimeo.

The 9:30 Club could totally make this happen. (You know, if Bardo were still around . . . )

The Risks of Drilling Off Virginia’s Coast

Waldo Jaquith has a good piece illustrating the risks that Virginia is undertaking by pursuing off-shore oil drilling.  Like me, I don’t think he’s anti-drilling in general.  It’s just that it doesn’t make any sense for Virginia when you compare the risks – oil spills, threat to tourism, etc. –  against the relatively small benefits of the oil royalties (which aren’t even assured, remember).   Virginia’s off-shore drilling is primarily a political slogan, and not a choice born of a policy-driven debate.  That should be remembered in the face of the risk of the very real costs it could impose.

It’s Hard Out Here for a . . .

White Guy?

The Washington Examiner brings us a headline for the ages, in this photo snapped by Twitter user Maimonides.


The headline leads to this story by Julie Mason, which captures the narrative I spotlighted yesterday — conservative shock and horror at President Obama’s blunt video message asking his less electorally reliable coalition of blacks, Hispanics and young people to vote in 2010.

Don’t worry too much, White Guys – Bob McDonnell should be riding to your rescue soon!

M.I.A.: Born Free

M.I.A. first hit the scene in 5 years ago, to much acclaim (most of it completely misdirected, but still, it was exposure).  I jumped that train then, and have enjoyed the ride ever since. This new video – Born Free – brings a departure from her musical style, but heads straight down the political path her music has been on. It’s NSFW, and the conceit of it may be a little disappointing at first, but I’d suggest sticking with it.

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

Pardon My French

Worthwhile NYT article on the changing position of the French language as a cultural connector:

French is now spoken mostly by people who aren’t French. More than 50 percent of them are African. French speakers are more likely to be Haitians and Canadians, Algerians and Senegalese, immigrants from Africa and Southeast Asia and the Caribbean who have settled in France, bringing their native cultures with them.

Which raises the question: So what does French culture signify these days when there are some 200 million French speakers in the world but only 65 million are actually French? Culture in general — and not just French culture — has become increasingly unfixed, unstable, fragmentary and elective.

Friday Afternoon Music: Just Right

The Be Good Tanyas:


Melden, Belgium

Looking down from halfway up the Koppenberg.


that this is you.  Or your mother or father:

Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place–wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold’s care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes.

Ignoring Clay’s significant role in Harold’s life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold’s “roommate.” The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold’s bank accounts to pay for his care.

What happened next is even more chilling.

Without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold’s possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold’s lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.

I’ve quoted more than I should, here, but I wanted to make sure that you saw what happened.  This is what happens when you deny people the basic decency of equality.

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