Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday LINKS

I'm heading off to Ohio for my brother's wedding.  I only have one brother, so this is a particularly big deal for me.  I'm also Best Man, which means I get to give a speech.  I love public speaking, but have wrestled with the Toast all month.  The Big Brother's toast to his Little Brother seems to have some gravitas that I don't want to come up short on.  I'm pretty sure I'm close, but it will take some last minute wordsmithing to get it just right.

In other news, BIG announcement on Monday.  The blog isn't closing.  I'm not running for office.  And no babies (sorry ma).


I was blown away by Emily Yoffe's "My Molesters" piece in Slate.  Father Robert Drinan was my Legislative Affairs professor at Georgetown Law and definitely one of my favorites.  He passed away two years after graduation.  I've never had anyone in my life accused of being a sexual predator or assailant.  Father Drinan is sort of in a no man's land in terms of folks to defend him.  The Catholic Church didn't approve of his pro-choice positions (and from what I remember, forbid him from practicing mass), while Dems normally kept him on the outskirts of party politics.  His family is limited to nieces and nephews.  I know the compulsion is to say "This accusation is made after the man is no longer around to defend himself", but the contra is to respect the victim and the fact that this is not easy to say under any circumstances, and certainly not anything anyone would want to "make up."  Up until this point, I thought Father Drinan's place in history would be as the Congressman who moved for Richard Nixon's impeachment.  Now he's just an archetype.

If you are at all interested in following the undercurrents of the Presidential Campaign without the static of "He-said-X-which-pisses-off-Y-and-will-have-no-affect-on-November-but-fills-our-airtime-just-fine", please check out the Rational Irrationality Blog.  The author, John Cassidy, is clearing rooting for Obama, but long ago predicted that the President may be out of luck for a second term, which makes for an interesting perspective.  In this post, Cassidy observes that the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare may be a flash in the pan compared to the decisions made by Republican appointee Ben Bernanke. 

In celebration of Columbia's birthday (yesterday), I posted this essay by Michael Chabon, who is one of my favorite writers (there's that word again).  He grew up in Columbia and wrote a very deep thinking piece about what Columbia was like in the early days and whether or not an idea like Columbia could ever really "fail".  Please read it. 

Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland posted Part 1 of his Top 50 Influencers in Maryland politics.  I was happy to be friends with at least three folks on this list, but observed that Howard County folks were mostly left out.  Local politicos are probably not too disappointed, considering most of these "Influencers" are described as puppet-masters, moving the arms and legs of their employers with ease and grace.  From what I hear about Ken Ulman, that's not how he rolls.

I've linked to the Placemakers blog before, but this post read as if it was describing Howard County: "More importantly, [mixed use town centers] are quickly becoming a market favorite and a valuable amenity to their adjacent (and integrated) residential neighborhoods. Too often, however, municipalities and developers choose only to commit to this model halfway, viewing it as a niche market with limited potential where quaint mom and pops struggle away (you know, that one-off new urbanist development at the edge of town), while the “real stuff” happens in large conventional single-use centers down the street" 

A Town Center resident hates the new Wegman's so much that he shops there on the first week after opening...and then complains about the traffic.

Catholic leaders have begun a nationwide campaign against President Obama and his healthcare policies, starting in little old Bal-tee-more.  A separate crowd of Catholics were gathered outside of the church, protesting that the Bishops do not speak for them.  Polls indicate that Obama's handle on this base group of supporters is slipping, but also appear to line up with the favorability rating amongst all Americans of around 47%.  By my anecdotal experience, those Catholics that were not inclined to support the President enjoy the opportunity to oppose him under a cross, while those that approve of Obama enjoy the opportunity to challenge their faith leaders for their less progressive policies. 

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Matt Wilson is firing on all cylinders recently.  His post about Wilde Lake redevelopment is spot on and even-handed (a very difficult balance to strike).  I particularly liked this line that should be front an center for any discussions about the future of Columbia: "Any space like that that's empty on a Saturday afternoon in pleasant weather is a failed space, no matter who designed it or how noble the thinking behind it was, or how popular it was when it first opened."  Church.

That's all for today.  Off to the Buckeye State.  Make sure to check in on Monday for the announcement.  We've got some work to do.

Have a great Friday doing what you love!