My vacation is over, and it's time to get back into a daily routine. To be honest, I'm not all that happy about either of those developments.
That said, there's a lot to be excited about. And I'm really wondering if I missed out on a golden opportunity to take in the proceedings in D.C. over the next couple of days.
Oh well. Que sera, sera. Here's a few things bouncing around the ol' cerebral cortex:
1. I've been trying to find the words to express my thoughts about how MLK's memory and work has, in many ways, been perverted and co-opted to water down his powerful message. These days, MLK's line about "not color of skin, but content of character" has endured a virtual whitewashing. The holiday honoring him has become a celebration of a milquetoast, sanitized version of the Civil Rights era. It's easy to forget that, during his heyday, MLK was actually considered an extremely divisive figure. I sometimes wonder if, were Dr. King alive today, he'd be generally trivialized along the lines of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Here's some brain food about the man and the holiday from Ari and Matt Y.
2. At least one development from Obama's inaugural bash Sunday brought a smile to my face. Obama had New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the nation's first openly gay bishop, open the concert at the Lincoln Memorial with a prayer. Robinson's inclusion in the festivities should be noted, especially in light all of the criticism Obama has taken for allowing Rick Warren to do the invocation at the inauguration Tuesday. Here's some video of the event and a transcript of the prayer. As Digby says, watching Obama hug Robinson "did my heart good."
3. Not to stir up old shyt, but I wonder what Rev. Jeremiah Wright is making of all of this?
4. Speaking of the inauguration, don't be mislead about how much this whole shindig is going to cost in comparison to previous ones. Via Steve Benen, we learn that some news organizations are making phony comparisons (perhaps deliberately) about the difference in cost between Obama's and Bush's inaugurations. For whatever reason, the AP, Yahoo, MSNBC and Fox News - to name a few - are factoring in the costs for Obama's security and not doing the same for Bush's tab. Media Matters drops the actual factuals here.
5. Unlike his predecessor, Obama seems to be quite the reader. Thus, The Washington Montly asked 25 of their favorite writers and thinkers (no, I didn't make the cut) to come up with their own reading suggestions for Obama, assuming he actually has time to read over the next four years. It's a list we'd all do well to take a swing at ourselves.
6. PostBourgie has up a couple of interesting posts related to our president-elect. One muses about the extraordinary task of keeping up with the "tinfoil" set likely to be plotting against Obama's life. Another links to a New York Times photo gallery of some of the players in the new Obama administration.
7. What do women need for good sex? Well, for a good many of them, money. No further comment necessary.
8. Sometimes, it's easy to forget that Obama isn't president yet. Then things like this happen: Bush pardoned a couple of Border Patrol agents who were imprisoned for shooting a rumored Mexican drug runner. Lou Dobbs and people of his ilk will be happy. I will not. And if you value law, you won't either. But as one prescient commenter noted, these guys are the mice. We should expect that the real rats will be pardoned soon.
9. A couple of things from Michael Tomasky: imagining the mood of the nation had McCain won on Nov. 4 (shorthand: things would suck worse) and his attempt to put into words what I'm feeling about the hype surrounding the inauguration. I too feel as if things are being cheapened, if only a little. I embrace the excitement but Ialso wonder if there's not enough humility being shown on our side. Maybe I'll snap out of this by tomorrow.
10. Scott D. Shuster from Watertown, Mass., asks Norman Chad "is the Obama presidency a direct result of the NFL's implementation of the Rooney Rule?" I was ready to get all upset about this until I cracked a smile.
11. Since we're talking football and all, a friend at work reminded me that Willis McGahee had suffered two of the worst season-ending injuries that he'd ever seen. Here's the evidence, from college and from Sunday. Say I'd have to agree. Thankfully, it seems as if he's going to make a full recovery. My prayers are with him.
12. Day after day, I read through arrest reports and see dozens of people arrested for some form of drug possession. Usually marijuana. Then I silently add it all up: the time deputies spent on the arrest, the paperwork, the jail time, the subsequent court costs. This shyt is costing us a lot of money. In off-the-record conversations with cops, most of them to a man (or woman) will tell you that it's a waste of time. But this is our War on Drugs, no? And America is well known for its tenacity in fighting stupid wars. Well, Anita Bartholomew details the real costs of this endless - and fruitless - war.
13. Some interesting news about Sarah Palin and her, ahem, in-laws, courtesy of MySpace. Please, let this all be true.
14. From Spencer Ackerman, possibly the quote of the day, if not the week: "It's not very likely that the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals would be NFC champions, but the next president of the United States is African-American."
15. And because it always comes back to music, please get familiar with Soul II Soul. Until later, that is all.