Shorter Question Everything
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm. – Pres. Obama, 2nd inaugural address
• Vice President Biden’s plans over the inaugural weekend are just the latest sign he is thinking beyond the next four years, beginning to lay the structural groundwork for a 2016 bid. On Saturday night, the vice president made an unannounced drop-by at the Iowa State Society ball, where he flubbed a familiar campaign line, declaring, “I’m proud to be president of the United States.” After the audience broke into laughter, Biden quickly corrected himself, saying, “I’m proud to be vice president of the United States,” adding, “I am prouder to be Barack Obama’s, President Barack Obama’s, vice president.” In another sign that 2016 jockeying has already begun, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley also attended the Iowa ball.
• Not only an eye roll, but a head shake too! Michelle Obama reacts with both at the luncheon following Obama’s swearing in. She sits between Obama and Boehner, and clearly, Boehner said something dumb. Really dumb. [link]
• Justin Trudeau holds his own during first Liberal leadership debate. With nine candidates on stage, it was a battle to make an impact during the first Liberal leadership debate. Canadian Press reporter Joan Bryden says Justin Trudeau stood his ground, despite some jabs about lack of experience.
• The federal Liberal Party leadership contenders will hold the first of five debates in Vancouver this afternoon. The crowded field of nine hopefuls includes Vancouver MP Joyce Murray — the only one who’ll be on home turf. It’s expected many will take the opportunity to take some shots at Montreal MP Justin Trudeau. The next debates will be in Winnipeg, Mississauga, Halifax and Montreal. The party’s new leader will be chosen on April 14th.
• Algerian special forces have found the bodies of two Canadian Islamist fighters after a bloody siege at a desert gas plant, a security source said on Monday, as the death toll reached at least 80 after troops stormed the complex to end the hostage crisis. Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal is expected to give details later in the day about the siege near the town of In Amenas, which left American, British, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Filipino and Romanian workers dead or missing.
• Vancouver police to endorse recommendations for regional police force. The recommendations related to policing were made by Wally Oppal following the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry last year.
• Virginia GOP Pulls Dirty Trick That Violates The State’s Constitution. Yesterday, on a public holiday, while a member of the Democratic caucus of the Virginia Senate (currently split 20-20) was attending the inauguration in DC, the Republican caucus decided to launch a dirty trick. Republicans in the Virginia Senate are now trying to redraw the maps and draw at least one Democratic Senator out of the Senate. Once it passes the GOP-controlled House of Delegates, and assuming it gets signed by the Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, the Republicans’ attempt at gerrymandering would give them a potential 27-13 supermajority in the Senate.
• As mentioned earlier, seizing on the absence of a Democratic senator who happens to be a veteran of the civil rights movement and was in Washington, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, for the second inauguration of the country’s first black president, Republicans in the evenly split Virginia state Senate pushed through a surprise mid-decade redistricting plan to try to gain decisive control of the body in the next election. We’re not done yet. At the end of this wild day, the “Senate adjourned in memory or (sic) General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson,” according to the minutes of the session. Jan. 21 is the Confederate general’s birthday.
In other news
• Cayman Islands to Disclose Tax Shelter Companies. After decades of secrecy, the tax-haven country is considering a public database that will make the names of thousands of previously hidden companies and their directors, public. CIMA, the three-islands’ monetary authority has outlined plans to create a public database of funds domiciled on the island for the first time.
• [O]ne of the things that makes a society work is that people have rights that are protected in the law, but they also exercise those rights with consideration for the society’s other members. For instance, we have a strong commitment to freedom of expression, such that many things that would be deemed obscene and get you tossed in jail in other countries are tolerated here. So if I want do a performance art piece that involves lots of cursing and tossing about bodily fluids, I can do it. But I’m not going to do it on the sidewalk in front of your house during dinner time, not because I don’t have the right, but because that would make me an asshole. In the exercising of my rights, I’d be changing the conditions of your existence, even for a brief time, in a way that you’d find unpleasant. So because I value having a society where we all live together, I’ll choose to find a theater to put on my performance, and you can choose to come see it or not. In the same way, if you choose to have a gun in your home because you think it protects you, that’s your right. I’m going to choose not to let my kid come play with your kid at your house, and we can all get along. According to the Constitution, you have a right to own a gun. I’ll be honest and say that I wish it weren’t so; the fantasies the most extreme gun advocates notwithstanding, our liberty is protected by our laws and institutions, not by our ability to wage war on our government. Canadians and Britons and French people aren’t any less free than we are because they are less able to start killing cops and soldiers when they decide the time for insurrection has come. Nevertheless, that basic right exists and it isn’t going to be taken away. But the rest of us should also be able to say that there are limits to how far your exercising that right should be allowed to change the rest of our lives, and if necessary the law should enforce those limits.
• Israelis voted Tuesday in an election likely to return Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as head of a rightwing coalition that will face the challenges of peacemaking with the Palestinians and Iran’s nuclear programme.