Mr. Walker is correct that there is a great deal of confusion regarding the Marriage Amendment appearing on the May 8 ballot. Unfortunately his letter fails to resolve the debate and in fact includes its own incomplete information and outright inaccuracies.

Mr. Walker cites the work of three law professors from Campbell University who refuted claims that the Amendment would damage all unmarried couples.  He fails to mention that all three have made statements in the past regarding their opposition to gay rights, which doesn’t necessarily disprove their legal analysis but does make one wonder if they are writing more about their preferred ideology rather than sober-minded legal thinking.  And if those allegations are so incorrect, why does conservative Congresswoman Renee Ellmers oppose the measure? Why does the director of the John Locke Foundation oppose the measure? Several professors from UNC-Chapel Hill also wrote a legal analysis that suggested that many protections could be taken away from unmarried couples if a case comes up in front of the wrong judge. At best, the debate is very unclear and everyone considering a vote for the measure should be aware how problematic the measure’s wording is.

Mr. Walker then states that this measure will prevent the law being “overturned by liberal judges” and cites California as an example. He should do more research on what happened with California and Proposition 8.  The judge who ruled that Prop 8 violated the U.S. Constitution was not some “liberal judge”.  Vaughn Walker was originally an appointee of Ronald Reagan but his nomination fell through after opposition from many Democrats including Nancy Pelosi. He was later nominated to the bench successfully by George Bush. A little bit of research suggests he has “libertarian” and “conservative” views and was at one time active in Republican politics. Hardly the description of a “liberal judge”. Second, it should be pointed out that Vaughn Walker was a federal judge when he overturned Prop 8. It doesn’t matter what was in California’s constitution as it was overturned on federal grounds. Even if this measure passes in North Carolina, it is irrelevant whether it’s in the state constitution or not. If a federal judge or the Supreme Court rules at some point in the future that the U.S. Constitution allows gay people to get married, the law will be overturned because federal law trumps state law. The best argument supporters can make is therefore completely redundant.

I voted against the measure. Even if I was 100% convinced the measure would only affect gays, I would have voted against as I am not interested in treating my gay and lesbian friends as second-class citizens.  But even the most vehement opponents of gay marriage should recognize that this measure has the potential to affect many heterosexual couples as illustrated by the opposition of the previously mentioned names and many others I don’t have the space to include. And supporters of the measure should ask why they should fight so hard to pass a measure in an effort to protect it from “liberal judges” when doing so does nothing to protect against federal judges, whether they be liberal, moderate, or conservative.

Jeb McRary

Please forgive me for the futuristic conceit I have employed. I promise there is a reason that will be explained.

December 27, 2015

Dear Quisha,

It’s been a while since we last spoke. I promise I won’t take up too much time but I wanted to let you know what I have been up to these days.

I am doing well. I remember distinctly those dark days in December of 2011 when it didn’t seem like I ever would be ok again. Never again did I believe I would have to endure the level of sorrow I felt after losing my father. If your passing didn’t top that, it certainly was equal. Your loss devastated me. I felt like a complete and utter failure. I still sometimes feel that way. My days are not as bad today as they were then, but that doesn’t mean that I miss you any less. Or that I don’t think about you every day. Or that I don’t cry when I look at the birthday cards you gave me or the photos we took together. But I have learned to cope. And I accept that you are now in a better place. When my father died, I wrote a letter to him as well. I closed that letter with a paragraph expressing how thankful I was because he no longer had to deal with his illness. Obviously, what I wrote then wouldn’t translate perfectly to today. But there are a few thoughts that have helped me deal with your loss and that hopefully captured the spirit of what I was trying to write after my father’s death. Here they are:

All the pain and all your demons are gone. You won’t have to deal with them anymore. There will be no more worries. There will be no stress. There will be no more unbearable pain. You are at peace. You are now able to be happy.

We had our differences. I guess anyone who spends a great deal of time with someone else eventually discovers that the hard way. Our personalities often clashed for various reasons. You knew more about horoscopes than I ever will, so it probably didn’t take too long for you to figure out that I was a Taurus with my level of “bullheadedness”. I told you that shortly after we met and I am sure you regularly shared that fact with everyone. We had such different backgrounds and seemed to be at different points in our lives when we met. But I told you once that I considered you my best friend. Sometimes you did things that made me wonder if I had spoken too soon and I’m certain I did the same and made you wonder if I had been sincere. But I meant it. And I still do.

Your family and close friends seem to be doing well. I have tried to stay in contact with them over the years. But like me, everybody still misses you and thinks about you. Some seem to deal better than others. But everybody makes it as best they can.

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing you today of all days. Well, today was the day that the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened. You probably thought I had forgotten but I remembered. I told you something the day I moved out of my apartment in Williamsburg. You started to cry because I was leaving and you were scared that our relationship wasn’t going to continue in the same way with such a long distance between us. I told you that I didn’t know either but I wanted to try. And then I made you an offer. I told you that no matter what happened, I wanted to go with you to the NMAAHC on the day that it opened to the public. That seemed to make you feel better and you said you’d like that. That day was today, and I made sure I was there. I am very sad you weren’t able to join me. I wanted to let you know that it was wonderful and the experience only could have been better if I had been able to share it with you. I know that’s not completely true though. You may not have been there  in the way I originally envisioned, but I know you were there with me.

I always remember how upset you were when you found out your dog, Ginger, had passed. As I shared at your Celebration of Life service, you cried more over your pet than I have seen anyone cry over another human. You always seemed to experience emotions in a grander sense than most other people I have met. Us sensitive souls weren’t made for such a mean world. I did my best to console you that day and I hope I succeeded in doing so. You always told me I had and that you appreciated me for it. But you don’t need me anymore to help with the loss of your beloved pet. Because you have found her. You are now with Ginger, probably playing with her and giving her lots of hugs. I know she is happy to see your smiling face, your radiant glow, and your eyes filled with love.

Quisha, you once wrote in a card that “Even though we are miles apart, you still hold a special piece of my days.” I hope you understand that you had the same effect on me.  Because even after all the time that has passed, even with all the difficulties we encountered, and even though there is much more than miles between us, you still hold a special piece of my days.  I love you so very much and I will miss you dearly. But I know we will meet again someday. And when we do, I can’t wait to give you a big hug.

Love,

Jeb

Image

Ed Rowell is the writer of The Rowell Collection and has some very humorous tweets on his Twitter account, but that’s not why I’m interviewing him. I’m interviewing him because he provided a very important boost to my ego by interviewing me first for his blog. So I decided to return the favor. Shameless plugs found at the end.
The Great Depressive: Welcome to The Great Depressive Ed. Tell me a little about yourself.

Ed: I grew up in Massachusetts, lived in and around DC for the past decade and hopefully moving west sometime soon.  I have a few degrees, no job, no lady, and time on my hands.

TGD: Where do you hope to be in five years?

Ed: Happy and fulfilled.  Details TBD.

TGD: Please describe a typical day in the life of Mr. Ed Rowell.

Ed: Right now it is wake up, make coffee, write my blog, shower and do whatever is on my list for the day.

TGD: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Failure?

Ed: I have no idea.  That said, they likely wouldn’t conform to norms and expectations.

TGD: Ok enough of these bullshit MBA candidate interview questions
I checked your Facebook profile for questions to ask, but you only
share some information with everyone. Why do you hate me?

Ed:There is just not a lot of information on there for anyone.  Once a girl told me I have a waste of a Facebook profile. (editor’s note- You should never let a Facebook profile go to waste)

TGD: You were the champion of the Mason School of Business Trivia Night I
hosted in 2008. How on earth did you get so much trivia knowledge? And
has your knowledge been as miserably unsuccessful in wooing women as
mine?

Ed: I remember things I’m not supposed to and forget things I am supposed to remember.  Applying that to dating; it is no surprise it hasn’t turned out well.

TGD: I have noticed that you have been doing Live Tweets of various classic films including Point Break and Lethal Weapon 2. How did you decide to do this and what do you plan for your next subject?

Ed: My friend and I are planning to live tweet Die Hard.  We haven’t figured out the date yet.  Plug: @TheRealEd_R: Follow Me! (editor’s note- Die Hard is one of the greatest action movies of all time. I would be honored to join this Live Tweet)

TGD: It seems you go to a lot of indie rock shows in the DC area. Do you have a cot set up at the 9:30 Club?

Ed: No cot set up at the 9:30; instead I just live about 4-5 blocks away.

TGD: Most of your questions directed to me were related to the Confederate-Yankee divide. Are you trying to provoke a new Civil War?

Ed: The South is a mystery to me.  I love a lot of  the food, the women,etc. There is a lot that just confuses me about the south; for instance why southerners still care about the civil war, the genteel passive aggressiveness, the love of sugar, and more. (Editor’s note- What the fuck is wrong with sugar?)

TGD: If you could wrestle any GOP candidate in a WWE steel cage match, who would it be and why?

Ed: Michele Bachmann?

TGD: I am jealous of the headshot used on your profile (as seen above). Please explain to
the audience why you decided to do this and how they can do the same.

Ed: I saw a living social deal over the summer for a portrait studio and immediately jumped at it.  Friends, family and even the lady I was seeing at the time mocked me.  Now everyone loves it.  Having vision isn’t always easy.

TGD: I made some guest appearances on a Red Sox blog this season. God what a bunch of assholes! Why are Boston fans such jerks? How many titles do Boston fans need to achieve self-fulfillment?

Ed: There is never fulfillment.  I prefer to lump Boston/New York/Philly fans together into a group that cares too much about sports. We can generalize the following things: Winters here are rough; sports keep you going The sports radio culture is different than anywhere else (I’m familiar with at least)The passion manifests itself differently based on the cultural norms, it really isn’t different than any other passionate group (such as college football fans in the south.)

TGD: If you were trapped on a desert island for the rest of your life and were allowed to have one album, one movie, one book what would they be?

Ed: I have no idea.  Likely a book on how to escape desert islands though.

TGD: What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

Ed: The things I realize about myself or ideas I come up as I’m writing.

TGD: What song lyric best describes your life?

Ed: Hmmm… it depends on the day really.

TGD: If you were named Dictator of Earth, what would be your first directive?

Ed: To make the position permanent.

TGD: In the spirit of James Lipton, what is your favorite curse word?

Ed: My favorite curse word is probably “krunk” from the early Late Night with Conan O’Brien years.

Thanks to Ed Rowell for being a great sport. He’s welcome back to The Great Depressive any time he wishes. Let’s do that Die Hard Live Tweet. And if he does end up moving to parts west of here, I hope he remembers the words of Horace Greeley: “Go west young man, and grow up with the country.”

Plugs: RowellCollection.com & @TheRealEd_R on Twitter.

Hello there again. It’s been a while. I apologize to all three of my readers for my extended absence. I started getting involved in various endeavors, most of which seem to have gone nowhere. Plus I have a very difficult time writing when I am in a relatively good mood. Fortunately/unfortunately a few people have been able to solve that problem so back I am. I’ll try not to burn myself out like I did last time. I have a few fun ideas for articles and recurring segments (some of which I didn’t shamefully steal from others!) that will maybe keep me inspired. I mean there’s so much going on to talk about! The imminent collapse of Europe! The surprises and disappointments of the NFL season! Great movies I have seen! Crazy things said by Herman Cain! Other various topics I can add exclamation points to! So let’s try The Great Depressive Part 2.0 and see if we can actually keep it going this time.

Planned for later this evening: I return the favor with an interview of Ed Rowell, writer of The Rowell Collection. Stay tuned.

Disappointing first week. .500 isn’t going to get it done. So let’s try to do better this week. Lines are again from Danny Sheridan as of yesterday.

Chicago (+6.5) over New Orleans:

Cincinnati (+3.5) over Denver: 

San Diego (+6.5) over New England: 

Miami  (+3) over Houston:

San Francisco (+3) over Dallas: 

Atlanta (+1.5) over Philadelphia: 

Minnesota (-3) over Tampa Bay: 

Carolina (+9.5) over Green Bay:

Seattle (+14) over Pittsburgh: 

Tennessee (+5.5) over Baltimore: 

Washington (-3.5) over Arizona

Jacksonville (+8.5) over Jets

Buffalo (-3) over Oakland

Kansas City (+8) over Detroit

Indianapolis (+2.5) over Cleveland

Giants (-6) over St. Louis

Record: 7-7-2

Goal: 135-121 

In case you weren’t aware, I like to play (imaginary) games against the spread. I made picks during every NFL game last year and came up a game or so short from where I would have made money. Most point spread bets require you to wager $110 for the chance to win $100. This means you need to get about 52.38% right to win money. There are 32 teams in the NFL. Since all 32 get eight home games, that means there are 256 games during the NFL regular season. If you bet on every point spread during the season, the gambler has to go 135-121 to make a profit. It’s an extremely difficult goal, but let’s start the quest for the 2011 NFL season. I am using point spreads from Danny Sheridan’s page on USA Today

New Orleans (+4.5) over Green Bay: Green Bay is the defending champ AND it’s at home, but this line seems dangerously high to me against the Saints who want to return to glory. I don’t feel comfortable saying Green Bay will win by more than a field goal.

Minnesota (+8.5) over San Diego: I think San Diego is going to run roughshod over the AFC West and be a Super Bowl contender, but this line seems high. The Chargers always seem to start off slow. They win but by a touchdown or less.

Tampa Bay (-1.5) over Detroit: Expect the Lions to improve dramatically this year but I’m taking the Bucs at home.

Chicago (+3) over Atlanta: Everyone is jumping off the Bears bandwagon because of the special teams rule. They still have one of the best defenses in the league and the offense shouldn’t be as bad as last year. The special teams’ advantage will be less but they’re still a threat. I like Chicago to cover AND win at home.

New York Jets (-4.5) over Dallas: This line seems low because of deluded Dallas fans. The Cowboys still suck guys. Jets by a touchdown.

Carolina (+7) over Arizona: Are you crazy? The Cards are favored by a touchdown? They lost to the Panthers last year. And the Panthers are a better team. Arizona could win but it will be close.

Pittsburgh (+2) over Baltimore: I think Pittsburgh is the best team in the NFL. If home field is worth three points, then I have to believe that Baltimore is only one point worse than Pittsburgh. Probably closer to three

Cincinnati (+7) over Cleveland: The Browns look close to a breakout year but this line seems a bit much. I don’t think Cincy is anywhere near as bad as the pundits think. Maybe a four or five point win for Cleveland.

St. Louis (+4.5) over Philly: Let’s be careful about declaring Philly as the automatic Super Bowl champ. Let’s see how they perform in real games. This could be more dangerous than most realize. On the road against a near-playoff team from last year who play in a dome? Philly will really need to be clicking to beat this spread.

Indianapolis (+9) over Houston: Now look: Indy is going to have a hell of a time without Manning. Even if Manning was playing, I think Houston is the better team this year. But is Houston going to beat Indy by double digits? Kerry Collins has won a  game or two in his career. And Houston’s defense is awful. No way it’s that big a blowout.

Buffalo (+6) over Kansas City: This line is nuts. Kansas City is going to take a dramatic step back and Buffalo will be improved. KC is not winning by a touchdown.

Washington (+3) over Giants: I don’t think Washington is very good but it’s not like the Giants are a Super Bowl favorite. Washington can win this game at home.

San Francisco (-5) over Seattle: I’m picking San Francisco to win the NFC West and I think Seattle is going to have a debacle of an offense. Road game plus little offseason prep equals ugly. Take the 49ers.

Jacksonville (-2) over Tennessee: Tennessee is going to be an absolute mess this year. I have no idea why anyone thinks Tennessee is better than Jacksonville. With homefield, this could be Jags by a TD.

Miami (+7) over New England: This is less an indictment of the Patriots and more that I think the Dolphins are really good. I would not be surprised to see a Miami upset on Monday night.

Oakland (+3) over Denver: This may have been the most difficult pick for me. How to decide between two bad teams? I’ll just say Oakland because John Fox is coaching Denver and I think he’s an idiot.

Record: 0-0

Goal: 135-121

 

 

 

Rick Perry is going to be a real problem in the general election: Republicans were thrilled when Governor Perry decided to enter the race. A man who has some establishment credentials with Tea Party appeal! Executive experience! Strong job record! All true but some chinks in the armor were for all to see last night. Perry doubled down on his accusations that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and even threw in “a monstrous lie”. Whatever your opinions on the current sustainability of Social Security (and I am at least somewhat sympathetic to Mr. Perry’s position), this is going to be a huge problem if he wins the nomination. Social Security isn’t a popular program. It’s a REALLY popular program. There was a Kaiser poll from earlier this year that suggested that 66% of voters want NO changes to Social Security. Some polls show support is a little more open but it needs to be remembered that senior citizens are the most reliable voters and they REALLY like Social Security. The Republicans will probably have to win Florida to unseat Obama. Is it a good idea for the nominee to have a scary position on Social Security? Add the awful stumbling and stuttering at the close and is this the man Republicans think can challenge Obama?

Mitt Romney was strong: Romney had excellent attack lines ready for Perry. Some pundits suggested that his “Al Gore inventing the Internet” shows Romney is out of touch, but they show a lack of understanding of the Republican primary. That line was actually a sly reference to Governor Perry supporting Al Gore in an ’80s Presidential campaign without actually calling Perry a traitor to the party. Romney also provided a contrast with Perry on Social Security but backed off when it was most prudent such as the HPV vaccine issue. I think Romney also has a winning strategy on attacking Obama. He says that Obama is “a nice guy” but “doesn’t understand the economy”. Obama has low approval ratings but most polls I’ve seen suggest voters still like him. Romney will give them that but say he is in over his head on key issues. I think that’s much more effective than claiming he’s an evil socialist bent on destroying America.

It looks like the beginning of the end for Michele Bachmann: I just didn’t see the fiery presence that was present in the previous two debates from Bachmann. Maybe it was due to a lack of questions or maybe she sees the writing on the wall. Perry has sapped all of the energy from her campaign. I doubt she drops out early like Pawlenty but I think the Iowa caucuses will definitely be a must-win. Fortunately she has a lot of time, but last night wasn’t promising.

This was probably Jon Huntsman’s best performance but I’m not sure it matters: Huntsman was showing off more of his passion in criticizing the anti-science views of his party but I don’t know if it’s going to carry him anywhere. He’s way too moderate for today’s GOP. Hunstman has to hope that Romney falters in some way. Perhaps he should press the issue in future debates.

Now that we’ve had three debates (four if you count the first awful one that contained no credible candidates), I thought I’d rank the candidates on stage last night by my personal preference (sorry gary Johnson Buddy Roemer, and Thaddeus McCotter!). From worst to first:

8. Michele Bachmann: She’s crazy and ignorant. I see absolutely no redeeming qualities.

7. Rick Santorum: He has shown some a few more decent moments than he has in the past of late, but I still think he’s an intellectual lightweight and a bigot.

6. Newt Gingrich: I’ve never understood why Gingrich is considered the “ideas candidate”. I think he just likes to talk a lot.

5. Rick Perry: He has his qualities, but overall I’m not impressed.

4. Herman Cain: He is an awful bigot to Muslims and has taken one too many executive education bullet points to heart, but I think he’s mostly a pleasant fellow. He also has some good ideas and has more business sense than most in the field.

3. Ron Paul: This ranking is highly subject to change. Sometimes Ron Paul is the voice of reason on military adventurism and loss of civil liberties. And then last night he starts talking about paying for gas with silver dimes, the government building a Berlin Wall across Mexico, and having the airlines do their own air traffic control. Sigh.

2. Mitt Romney: In a profession known for shameless pandering, Romney takes the cake. He would run on a Communist platform if he thought it would increase his vote count by one. But he has executive experience. And he has business experience. I think he’s a smart guy and has some good ideas. I don’t believe him in his moments where he’s throwing out red meat. He’s better than most.

1. Jon Huntsman: Jon Huntsman is the candidate that Republicans like me can get behind. Unfortunately, Republicans like me left the party around 2006. Oh well.

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