Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Senator Larry Craig Bathroom Sex Scandal: A Rush to Judgment or No?

I rarely have trouble making decisions. Ask anyone who knows me well, I usually have an opinion -- an opinion that I am happy to share. But when it comes to the Larry Craig bathroom sex scandal, I still have questions, on a couple of levels.

First, I'm not convinced that people would care as much if the scandal didn't revolve around accusations of homosexuality. At this point, it's significant that news conversations revolve as much, if not more, around Craig's sexual orientation as around sex of any kind in a public place, or even the fact that Craig is married, which is often mentioned only as an afterthought. Really, shouldn't the point be that the man was accused of soliciting sex in a public restroom?

Second, I find Craig's guilty plea perhaps persuasive, but not determinative of his guilt for anything other than legal purposes. As any lawyer, I am fully aware that it is sometimes in individuals' best interest to plead guilty to crimes which they did not commit. Sad, but true. Unfortunately, in this case, it was clearly not in Craig's best interest to plead guilty, but he did, and that cannot be undone.

Third, "You have to be guilty in order to plead guilty" which has become the mantra of CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, usually a quite well-reasoned commentator, is misleading at best. While, yes, that exact language may be printed on the plea form that Craig signed, it is basically meaningless. It is a standard convenience clause included in an attempt to preempt later challenges to guilty pleas. This is something I expect Toobin knows full-well, which leads me to my next and final point.

It is the reaction of Washington insiders coupled with Craig's willingness to plead guilty which I find most persuasive of his guilt, far more so in fact than his actual guilty plea. No one in Washington came to Craig's defense. When the story broke, it was immediately reported that Craig's sexuality had been a point of ongoing discussion for many years. While Craig and fellow "Family Values" Republicans argue against extending equal rights in many arenas to homosexual individuals and couples, they seem fully aware of closeted individuals who serve the party well and at the highest levels. This is something they seem to have little problem with until there is a scandal. The fact that no one came to Craig's defense, not even the staunchest Republicans, makes me believe the accusations against Craig and his guilty plea were something they found not only believable, but almost expected. If he did not actually commit the crime to which he pleaded guilty, it would require more cynicism than I can muster even for the Republican party.

More troubling than the scandal or its impact on politics, I find it deeply disturbing that we live in a society where many men find it more amenable to seek out anonymous sex in public restrooms than acknowledge an identity they are told is sinful and morally reprehensible. This only furthers deep and shameful secrecy that destroys the lives of these men and others.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Mortgage Market Woes Explained -- A Brief Explanation of the "Loan to Own" Approach of Lenders

If you have any financial decisions to make, other than just how to spend the interest income from your inexhaustible trust fund, it's important to understand the cause and impact of the current mortgage crisis. In this video, John Vogel, from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, gives a brief, easy to understand explanation of the "Loan to Own" theory that furthered the competitive mortgage lending frenzy.

I found it interesting and think you might too.

Video from Beet.TV

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I May Not Be Too Cool For A Minivan After All

Upon taking a life inventory, I realize perhaps I am not too cool for a minivan after all.

Exhibit A

I badly, badly want a nifty apron just like this one, so much in fact that I bought this pattern to sew it myself. Total square.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Exhibit B

Given the opportunity, I would dress my dogs in equally appealing apparel. Square, square, square.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Exhibit C

All three of these items reside in my jewelry box. Hopelessly square.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Exhibit D

This book is my idea of a good Valentine's Day present. Totally square.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Exhibit E

Square from an early age type square.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Minivan, I think, might actually enhance my coolness factor.

*Note - This is not intended to insinuate that people who drive minivans are not cool, only that my level of coolness is, eh-ehm, not a consideration.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Minivan Envy

I've been eyeing minivans lately, lusting over all that roominess, the huge cargo space, the sliding doors. I bet they have nice cup holders too. Front seats handsome and well-equipped, interior space large enough to change a diaper in, what's not to want? I hear some can do four-wheel drive.

I proclaimed in high school that I would never, never, never drive a minivan. Is my resolve to my pledge beginning to crumble? Am I slowly succumbing to the temptation of its incredible vanness?

May-be. Slowly. SUV's have that big gap between the floor and ground that can be difficult for kids to navigate. Even a stately luxury sedan doesn't seem equipped to handle my needs, with double-stroller, diaper bag, groceries, and two babies in tow.

Still, there is something in me that just won't let go of the hope of a sporty ride in my life. You know, because Corvettes are so practical with toddlers.

But then again, could a minivan be sporty? Could it be like the steamy guy with glasses and a big brain who is totally hot but just doesn't flaunt it?

Maybe. Just maybe.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Two, The Age of Reason

"Are you putting pizza in your pants for later?"