But first, this:

. . . The median household income last year was still about $1,000 less than in 2000, before the onset of the last recession. In 2006, 36.5 million Americans were living in poverty – 5 million more than six years before . . .

And what is perhaps most disturbing is that it appears this is as good as it’s going to get.

Sputtering under the weight of the credit crisis and the associated drop in the housing market, the economic expansion that started in 2001 looks like it might enter history books with the dubious distinction of being the only sustained expansion on record in which the incomes of typical American households never reached the peak of the previous cycle.

Oh, sure. But what the New York Times fails to acknowledge is that it’s been a positively grand time to be rich and powerful in America.

And now this:

Should it be legal to fire someone just because he’s thought to be gay?* Most Democrats think the answer to that is ‘no.’ Republican Senator Larry Craig of Idaho disagrees. He voted against protecting people from being fired this way. And he’s against letting gays serve in the military.

Some people think the Senator himself is gay. (Research suggests homophobes often are**.)

He says he’s not***, and wants to keep his job.

So let him keep his job (unless he’s lying**** – lying’s not good) . . . but wouldn’t this be a good time for him to change his position on the law that allows people to lose their jobs just because they’re gay – or, like Senator Craig, are rumored to be gay?

My own view is that what consenting adults do in private is none of the government’s business. Republicans, from President Bush on down, disagree. They generally believe the government does have a legitimate role in your bedroom. Governor Bush supported the Texas law by which two boyfriends, in bed in the privacy of their home, were convicted of sodomy. As President a few years later, he joined most Republicans in decrying the Supreme Court for striking down this law. I know you hate it when I get all partisan this way. But on these issues, it really is almost entirely partisan. In the House, for example, Democrats voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing a ‘Hate Crimes’ bill onto the floor for a vote. Not a single Republican voted to allow this. They hate gays so much they won’t even include us in the hate crimes law!***** And, once the bill did come to a floor vote, only a handful of Republicans voted for it. (It passed, but now faces the hurdles of the Senate and the White House.)

* In most of America it is. (By contrast, it’s not legal to fire someone on account of his race, color, religion, gender, age, or disability.)

** Click, for example, here.

*** And of course he’s not gay in the sense of living an honest life with – or seeking – a gay partner, surrounded by gay and straight friends.

**** Was he lying when he took an oath and pled ‘Guilty’ before the judge? Is he lying now in denying guilt?

***** Most Republicans don’t hate gay people. (A frisson of distaste, perhaps, but not hatred, certainly.) But what does it say that not a single Republican House member voted to allow this bill to come to the floor? If it’s hate crimes generally they oppose, and not just extending the existing law to apply to gays, why didn’t they work, when they had a strong majority in Congress, to repeal the existing hate crimes law?

Oops. We’ve run out of time.

Tomorrow: Eggplant And Asperger’s


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