The Massachusetts legislature does a few things right.
Well, whatta ya know? Even the country's dumbest legislature, located right here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, can occasionally get things right.
The first unexpectedly sensible thing they did was repeal a racist law left over from 1913 that banned people from other states from getting married in Massachusetts if they would be forbidden to marry in their home state. The reason for the law was to prevent people from down South, where interracial marriage was once illegal, from coming up to Massachusetts to tie the knot.
The law has rarely been enforced in recent times, but was revived when former Governor Mitt Romney found the law useful to limit the number of gay marriages performed in Massachusetts. He famously declared that he didn't want Massachusetts to become "the Las Vegas of gay marriage" just as our forefathers originally passed the law to prevent Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of mixed marriages.
In both cases, the goal was the same: To prevent people in love from obtaining the legal protections they needed to insure their happiness together. For some shriveled souls that happiness was simply more than they could endure, but the killjoys went down to defeat when the legislature voted overwhelmingly to repeal the hateful law. Governor Patrick has promised to sign the liberating legislation.
Myself, I ain't the marrying kind, so the whole gay marriage thing is sort of abstract to me. In fact I'm sorta glad gay marriage didn't exist when I was younger, because otherwise I probably would have made some of the same poor choices my heterosexual friends did and got married too young and to the wrong person. Indeed the real education for gay folks since the legalization of gay marriage has not been living together in matrimony, since gay couples always lived together anyway, but gay divorce, which has been a real eye-opener to those once used to walking away from failing relationships with no strings attached.
While many joyously celebrated their right to marry by rushing to the altar, the reality of gay alimony has taken some of the bloom off the rose. For gays and straights alike the old saying is still true: Marry in haste - repent in leisure.
The other unexpectedly sensible thing the legislature did was reject Governor Patrick's irrational desire to drastically increase the fees gun owners must pay to get their license. The increases were a thinly veiled attempt to hinder gun ownership, whose status as a basic American right was recently firmly stated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Gun grabbers may be bitterly disappointed, but they have been totally defeated and must learn to accept that fact.
So the usually asinine Massachusetts Legislature has finally done a few things right by standing up for the rights of lovers and gunners. Let's hope it's the start of a trend!
From the Washington Post:
Columnist Richard Cohen is described in the Wikipedia as "liberal on most issues" but even he is forced to concede that when it comes to the issue of character John McCain far outclasses the opposition.
"Just tell me one thing Barack Obama has done that you admire," I asked a prominent Democrat. He paused and then said that he admired Obama's speech to the Democratic convention in 2004. I agreed. It was a hell of a speech, but it was just a speech.
On the other hand, I continued, I could cite four or five actions -- not speeches -- that John McCain has taken that elicit my admiration, even my awe. First, of course, is his decision as a Vietnam prisoner of war to refuse freedom out of concern that he would be exploited for propaganda purposes. To paraphrase what Kipling said about Gunga Din, John McCain is a better man than most.
But I would not stop there. I would include campaign finance reform, which infuriated so many in his own party; opposition to earmarks, which won him no friends; his politically imprudent opposition to the Medicare prescription drug bill (Medicare has about $35 trillion in unfunded obligations); and, last but not least, his very early call for additional troops in Iraq. His was a lonely position -- virtually suicidal for an all-but-certain presidential candidate and no help when his campaign nearly expired last summer. In all these cases, McCain stuck to his guns.
When I was in Maine earlier this month, I was saddened to see that when charging three dollars per hour it is still necessary to show people what that means. Don't they teach the multiplication tables anymore?
At UMass they have learned how to avoid the inconvenience of having to put up a thin ice warning on the campus pond every winter. Simply never take it down!
Here is a soothing new video from the avant-garde Amherst band called ZEBU or No Sound or something.