Monday, September 28, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Let's Talk About Drugs, Shall We?

WHAT: A forum. The topic? “Drug Legalization and Emerging Economic Opportunities”

The goal of the talk is to discuss emerging economic opportunities and policies (laws) that may affect businesses and people operating legally under state law (also what changes in the law would be needed to protect business people engaged in this trade).

WHERE: Vanderbilt University. Specifically, the law school.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 from 5:15 PM to 6:15 PM.

WHO: David Boaz, Executive Vice-President of the CATO Institute, Paul Kuhn, board member of NORML and Robert Mikos, Vanderbilt law professor.

I will be the moderator. Why me? Dunno exactly. I guess they figured someone who once wrote this would be a good person to have moderating a forum on drug legalization. Or maybe everyone else they asked said no. Who knows? Anyway, I'm honored to do it.

The event is open to the public, so come on out if you get the notion. No drugs allowed at the event. As far as I know, anyway.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Democracy In Action

This man is a duly elected state representative. I have no further comment.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Best Part About This Video

The "Call me!" near the end. (around 1:17) Remind you of anything?

Maybe We Should Be Kind Of Worried About Violence

I'm (mostly) with Kaus here.

I mean, put aside your political prejudices here, if you can, and think objectively: don't you find some of these folks--meaning "folks who seem overly obsessed about the offenses (real and imagined) levied against them or society by politicians"--a little scary?

Just to be clear here, I'm talking about folks of all political stripes. There are screwballs on the political left, too. I will say this though: if you hate Barack Obama on a personal level, or as close to a personal level as you can get given that he is the President of the United States, there's probably something wrong with you. Seriously: you may need professional help. And I don't mean that rhetorically.

The guy is by any reasonable measure the most personally likable president we've had since Ronald Reagan. Bush I was generally likable, but in that WASP-y patrician sort of way that told you he would give you the time of day only out of a sense of duty to do so. Bill Clinton was Mr. Warm-and-Fuzzy, but you always got the feeling that it was only because he got something out of it. Bush II was likable on a superficial level, but it's hard to really like a guy whose main qualification for the high station he attained was having the same first and last name of the guy who held that station just eight years before him.

Barack Obama, though...this is a guy you really have to work at to hate, and I'm speaking as a person who could potentially lose his job tomorrow if some of the things he wants to happen with health care come to pass. If you hate Barack Obama on a personal level, the problem is not him. It's you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Very Gay Day Indeed

Six years ago—almost to the day—I lost a Metro Council district runoff election by a mere 25 votes. Just having gotten to the runoff was rather impressive, if I do say so myself, because the eventual winner, Parker Toler, had the backing of both the labor and the business folks as well as pretty much anyone in the district over the age of 50, who make up a disproportionate number of voters in Metro elections. He also had over $25,000 in campaign donations.

I had about a fifth of that in my miniscule war chest. Other than that, I just had me. My family pitched in a bit, but 98% of the campaign was me and me alone. I designed my own signs, my own literature, my own everything. I also—with some family help—did all of the mailings. I had no phone bank, no campaign staff, no nothing. Just me. Basically, my campaign was me going door-to-door before and after work on weekdays and all day on weekends, often with my then one-year old in tow.

The media liked me, which I’ll grant can be a double-edged sword. I received endorsements from every paper, including The Tennessean, which I found mildly surprising, because they knew my general political inclinations, but, evidently saw fit to overlook them in favor of the overall impression they had of me. The Nashville Scene endorsed me, which, given that I had been—and would return to be—a staff writer for them, was kind of a slam-dunk.

And..Nashville Out & About endorsed me. They did this—presumably—because of the answer I had given them to their question about laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which was, in effect, that I would not support the imposition of these laws on the private sector but would support such a law for the public sector. In other words, businesses and private citizens could discriminate on this basis but the government could not. If you’re wondering why that paper would endorse me with that “halfway” position, the answer is because the others in the race wouldn’t even go that far.

As George Will might say, “Well.”

This position, once it was made public, caused great consternation among a number of folks inside and outside of my district and I would usually make it a point to go talk to any person who inquired about face-to-face to explain where the position and how I had gotten there. Most people, happily, respected the fact that I had come to talk with them and were to live with it, although I can’t say for sure how they may have eventually voted. I suspect I batted about .333 with them.

There were a few, though, who, frankly, I saw no reason to waste my time bothering about. These were the people—and you’ve seen the type—who give Christians, or religious folks of any flavor for that matter, a bad name. There is actually a special label for them, developed over the years by authors, sociologists, anthropologists and other keen observers of the human condition. That label is, of course, “Complete Asshole.”

My personal favorite of this subspecies was a person I’ll call “John,” because John was indeed his actual name but since it’s so common it doesn’t matter if I use his actual name. My position on this issue—as opposed to, say, my position on schools, roads or taxes—inspired John to become my his special email pen pal, assaulting me with Bible quotes and other writings giving the usual patter regarding the allegedly highly unfavorable view God has of homosexuals. I eventually wrote him that I appreciated his opinion, but that we would just to agree to disagree on this one.

That set him off. John sent back this long, blistering email that concluded with the following:

“Mr. Abramson, I see from your campaign mailings that you have a young son. I don’t think someone who holds your views is fit to be a parent and I might have to do something about that.”

And that was it. To this day, I have no idea what he was talking about. What would he do, exactly? Talk to my son? To me? Assault me with a tire iron in the Kroger parking lot? Kidnap my son? What? Beats me. All I know is that it was extraordinarily creepy. Definitely the biggest “WTF” moment of my foray into local politics.

I have no idea what happened to John. Don’t really care, for that matter. But I do know that if John is still living in Nashville, he had to wake up this morning to read this story.

And that just completely makes my day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

If The President of the United States Wishes to Talk to My Son in School...

...I'm cool with it. He's the president. Having the president talking about how important school is seems to me to be a perfectly acceptable thing for the president to do.

But, seriously, all of you folks who are getting all bent out of shape about conservative types getting all bent out of shape about President Obama doing this, I'm sure you would have been perfectly fine with President Bush (the second one, or, heck, even the first one) doing the same thing, right?


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to the Future

This would mean a lot to me, I suppose, if it were, say, 1993 or so.

Because I think that's the last time I ever sat down to watch the nightly news.

For what it's worth, sometime in 2001 was the last time I bought a Tennessean.