DADT

After the final repeal vote for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Senator Burr of North Carolina (R-NC) released an interesting statement. No, he did not personally support repealing DADT but he voted for the repeal anyway because his world was no longer this world. He’s an 80 year old man legislating on the morality of 20-somethings, and his view on the world is no longer their view of the world. The world has moved on.

People forget that the military was integrated by a stroke of a pen by Harry S Truman long before interracial marriages were legal or civil rights passed. The military, stoic and conservative, has always been on the bleeding edge of civil rights for a very simple reason: if you want to serve, here’s a gun. We need bodies, go go go. The military cannot afford to be picky in an all-volunteer army and here they were being told to be picky.

The end result of DADT was 13,000 people given involuntary honorable discharges regardless of their performance. It instituted date rape — sleep with me or else I will claim you’re a lesbian. It fostered an atmosphere of fear when the fear should be those guys over there shooting, not being kicked out for filling in a same-sex name for life insurance benefits.

So first goes the military, and then when the world fails to end, goes everyone else.

What the McCains of the world are railing against and gnashing their teeth and swearing vengence on is not the integration of a small population of the military with the rest of the greater population of the military. They are railing against their world ending. The morals of their generation are passing and the new generation isn’t quite so uptight about things. Generation Xers and the following generations simply do not care about gay or straight or lesbian or bi the same way their forebears did. We have Ellen on daytime TV and Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother and gay friends on twitter and on facebook and gay blogs and it’s all out there. As a voting block coming to age and coming to power, we don’t care. It is not an issue for us. Senator Burr was amazingly cognizant of this simple fact: on this issue of Civil Rights, Generation X is just going to wait until the Boomers all die and give the gays integration with the military and eventually gay marriage and universal gay adoption and gay equality. You can either roll your eyes and scream and yell and freak out or move on.

Yay for a victory. It will be interesting to see how the changes are implemented.

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Outsourcing

We’ve been having these conversations about religion at work — yes, yes, I know it is one of the verboten topics but we’ve been talking about it anyway at lunch — and I was thinking about the Catholic way of handling prayer. It’s a bit like having to call for a computer support and then, if the issue is something that the guy on the phone cannot help via following the script, it has to be pushed to the supervisor.

I’m kind of partial to St. Theresa of Avila who went through life being too intelligent for her own good. For me, I suppose, it would go to St. Theresa to Mary to Christ to God who, as the CEO, is too busy running the universe and perhaps putting together merger deals with other universes to deal with my pithy problems. And I feel kind of bad telling St. Theresa to let me “talk to her supervisor” and even worse when she puts me on hold hell. Because she would. She was that kind of person.

Then I got a bit freaked out the other day that maybe, like everyone else, even the ranks of Saints and Angels were having budgetary issues and they outsourced their prayer call center to India or China. (This would explain the spread of Catholicism in China — but the strange, statist Catholicism where the State picks the Bishops instead of the Vatican but that’s a whole different rabbit hole.) Does God have a budget so large even He can dodge the Recession? Is the ranks of Saints now too expensive with their lavish monestary and nunnery based lifestyles that they, too, have to be laid off and replaced by low-cost call centers?

This is the stuff that worries me sometimes. And, perhaps, just perhaps, I am overthinking it a little.

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Extending the Bush Tax Cuts and Obama’s Deal

Here’s how a tax cut for those making piles and piles and piles of dough works for those of us who do not, due to various circumstances and life choices, make piles and piles of dough:

Step 1: Take out a shiny new Chinese Co credit card with an introductory low low teaser rate and a huge limit.
Step 2: Take a huge cash advance on that Chinese Co credit card.
Step 3: Find the richest person with the biggest house around.
Step 4: Give cash advance to said person.
Step 5: Watch said person light money on fire.
Step 6: Go pay interest payments on that Chinese Co credit card in perpetuity.

So much for all those campaigns on fiscal responsibility and ‘having to get our house in order.’ We get to extend the tax cuts and the estate tax over $5 million thing and some sort of payroll tax holiday and the unemployment insurance extension. I am for one of these (the unemployment insurance extension) which will, of course, sunset because it’s for people trapped in awful circumstances, and can only see the rest becoming permanent, which are for people who are not.

The payroll tax break is supposed to sunset in a year but really? Honestly? It will be extended forever and ever because we need to protect our middle class voters in a time of recession that will certainly still be going on and we cannot place burdens on our middle class when we are not. Isn’t the money coming out of Social Security? How does that get paid now? Magic fairy dust? And having the big tax cuts expire in an election year? What genius thought that up?

You know, I’m not big on pushing Mish, he’s a little bit on the crazy side, but I think here he is pretty much right. And on the other end of the spectrum, Krugman says pretty much the same thing.

They should have asked me. I would have recommended printing $800 billion in small bills, giving everyone in the US a marshmallow, having a huge bonfire, and inviting everyone. At least we would have gotten toasted marshmallows.

Over at Naked Capitalism there’s a nice post that has a chart with the stimulative effect of various spending programs. Food stamps, unemployment insurance, building stuff people use — all good stuff. Everything else? FABOOSH.

But hey. All those people getting more money can use it to invest in more Chinese businesses.

This crap is like the TSA arguments. Circular and stupid.  No way to win because no one with a spine will stand up and say “this crap has to stop.” Oh, by the way, we are wasting more government funds to put crappy video messages about scary scary brown people in Walmarts because, you know, that’s where terrorists from Pakistan go. Walmart.  Presumably to buy socks made by the Chinese.