Sunday, February 10, 2013:
Indiana teacher Diana Medley made herself mighty unpopular with mostly everyone when she said that gay kids have no purpose in life. Just goes to show Sunday’s a day of rest but not from unparalleled intolerant asshattery or terrifically bad press, depending on your point of view. Now, granted, teachers are private citizens and they have the same rights to freedom of thought and expression as the rest of us. But they also have the same responsibilities to face the consequences of those thoughts when they’re blathered into a live microphone wielded by a reporter. Unsurprisingly, her words have whipped up calls for Medley’s immediate and involuntary unemployment from her position as a special needs educator with the Northeast School Corporation in Sullivan County, Indiana (see also: Facebook page titled “Fire Diana Medley”).
So far the superintendent of the school corporation, Mark Baker, has expressed that he’s dismayed by Medley’s comments but no action has yet been taken to remove Medley from the classroom.
Perhaps in next week’s news, Ms. Medley will self-deport.
Monday, February 11, 2013: Edutainment!
The History Channel’s crack research team misspelled “seceded.” The misspelling looked humorously similar to “succeed,” which is probably not the word association you want evoked when you’re the History Channel and you’ve just failed on the one tiny bit of mild information about, you know, history, that you were trying to throw into your reality series.
In other news, Pope Benedict XVI announced he was resigning the throne of St. Peter at the end of February, prompting amusing bon mots like “guess he didn’t like the car” and “didn’t know the pope could give up being pope for Lent.” I love Twitter.
Related and interesting: Atlantic Monthly’s piece about the mass media at the time of last papal resignation in 1415.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013: Holiday, Cubed. Just Add Water.
Mosaic Abe. Located in the Indiana Government Center, North Building, Indianapolis, Indiana. Detail of mosaic titled “Here I Grew Up”: the mosaic text reads “Abraham Lincoln, our finest contribution to civilization.”
Indiana also contributed the first canned tomato juice
to civilization (Kokomo, City of Firsts
; though the juice itself was first served at the French Lick Springs
resort). Not really relevant to Lincoln’s Birthday, but little known fake-fact: the muralist almost
chose that as Indiana’s finest contribution.
Mardi Gras: Some people ate, drank, and made merry. And then gave it up temporarily.
State of the Union (SOTU day is a holiday. You just read that online, which means it’s true.): President Barack Obama delivered his first State of the Union of his second term in a chamber chock-full of bipartisan bonhomie (this evident by the sartorial choices of members of Congress: lavender ties, pale blue shirts with red ties, or non-partisan ties in orange (my personal favorite and yet another reason to like Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY), aqua, mint, and rose.
The full text of the speech is here. Wonkblog’s crack footnoting of the speech is here.
The 2013 SOTU speech, in my opinion, was Obama’s best yet, but then, it did contain about 80 percent of my personal policy wish-list. (Money for science and health research, lifting the minimum wage, attention to climate change, reforming the legal immigration system as well as addressing illegal immigration, repairing infrastructure, tax reform, Medicare/Medicaid reform done by changing payments instead of cutting benefits, etc.) It was lighter on foreign policy and aid for veterans than I would have liked, but I’m told that Ordinary Americans have short attention spans. The speech was an hour long and had greater density than a kitchen-table sized asteroid smacking into Russia (spoiler alert: that happened on Friday), so I’ll give it a pass for its absences since the content was otherwise so full.
On the topic of Ordinary Americans and the SOTU, however, a big, whomping “shame on you” to Chuck Todd, who tweeted this as the speech began: “@chucktodd: Am surprised POTUS is leading with deficit and sequester: if his audience is outside DC, then why not lead w/min.wage and or pre-k?” I tweeted back “@myrailey: @chucktodd Because those of us outside DC are grown-ups, too.”
Oh, Chuck Todd, if you keep up with condescending towards those of us outside the beltway, I’m going to be forced to remove you from the all-important List of Smart People at My Dream Dinner Party. And you don’t want that to happen, do you?
Just Add Water:
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave the official Republican response to the State of the Union. By which I actually mean “Marco Rubio drank some water.” This was followed in turn by the most exhilarating night of Twitter ever: “Somewhere in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal is laughing his ass off.” “Stay thirsty, my friends.” “He just went for the kiddie bottle of Poland Springs. I’m done.” “Looks like a drinking problem.” “Watergate.”
I love Twitter.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013:
Marco Rubio, in a lemonade moment of genius, decided to invest in water bottles.
Thursday, February 14, 2013:
Republicans in the Senate filibustered the confirmation of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense. This was done partly to show that Tuesday night’s neckties were simply Tuesday night’s neckties and Symbolism is Dead.
Many in the GOP admit that Hagel will probably get through the confirmation process anyway once the Senators return from their 10 day recess. So the alternate headline for the filibuster? “Congress Wastes Time Just Because it Can.” (Oh, wait, not a headline: it’s that whole “Dog Bites Man” vs. “Man Bites Dog” thing.)
Valentine’s Day: Ya Gotta Have Heart.
Friday, February 15, 2013:
A meteorite exploded over Russia
. According to CNN, it was the size of “a large kitchen table.” A dinette-sized chunk of rock and gas from outer space would have been less eventful.
And asteroid 2012 DA14
did a drive-by of the planet but, happily, did not stop to see if we were home.
Other things happened today, of course (Oh, my god, those kids.)
but I think I’ll leave it with the space rocks and a recommendation for a quirky, smart, and poignant movie about a space rock: watch Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
It’s a good movie and it’ll help you release your tears about fifth-graders in murder plots, injured Russians, and all the world’s many other ills. Even when nasty and inexplicable, the world is still something I’d rather have than not.