The Minstrel

“Happy Birthday, Mrs. President.”
October 29, 2007, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Law & Politics

NYC–how did it go, you ask? Turns out, I didn’t make it to Leif’s brother’s photography opening. Seriously, I’m bummed about that. BUT! I did have a last minute change of plans, which included attending Hillary’s 60th birthday party with one of her over one-hundred party hosts. Amazingly, I sat among a group of people, who included a two-time Oscar winner, one of the foremost New York nightlife producers, one of Hillary’s top fundraisers, a member of the board of the National Stonewall Democrats, and the producers of the Woodstock festivals (1969, 1994, and 1999). The attendees also included, um, the Wallflowers (Jakob Dylan, swoon), Elvis Costello and Billy Crystal. The media has been way into Costello’s song, “Happy Birthday, Mrs. President.” Daddy, Bob Dylan was in the front row, watching his son perform. Bill said a few words. I drunk a few cocktails and attempted to dodge camera flashes (although, in retrospect, I’m not sure why.) Here and below is ABC’s picture of the goings-on.  Here are more pictures of the Birthday Bash at Hillary Happy Hours.

My sweet, handsome host also managed the red carpet at the unofficial after-party–which was held at a private club on 10th Avenue called Marquee Club. Terry MacAuliffe, chair of the campaign, was there. (The official afterparty was at the Russian Tea Room.) I was, to say the least, swept off my feet.  At any rate, NYC baby–never a dull moment.

NOTE: I realize the link I posted above is a Fox News link, but ironically, I thought they had the best coverage. Eh, I’ll give them this one.



Mr. Speaker Hackney, thanks!
May 22, 2007, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Law & Politics, LGBTQ

Latest on the N.C. Marriage Ban: The N&O just reported that N.C. House Speaker Joe Hackney, from the university town of Chapel Hill, said “that he will use the power of his office to kill the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage.”

Hackney’s words were, “I said at the beginning of the session that we will control the agenda, and that’s what we will do.”  Kudos, Mr. Speaker!

Party Foul
May 10, 2007, 2:36 am
Filed under: Law & Politics

President Bush winks at Her Majesty

Sex-Ed Bill Pending in North Carolina
May 8, 2007, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Law & Politics, LGBTQ

On May 1, 2007, just a few days ago, the House Health Committee and Rep. Susan Fisher sent House Bill 879, “Modify School Health Education Program” to the House Education Subcommittee on Pre-School, Elementary and Secondary Education. The bill proposes the replacement of the “abstinence until marriage” sex education program with a comprehensive sex education program. There should be more news on this topic in the next several weeks.

In the meantime, you should go read this website.

Exotic Animal Ban? But no mention of CPT?
January 31, 2007, 9:09 am
Filed under: Animals, Law & Politics

This story made the front page of the Raleigh News & Observer today, reporting that a “legislative study group . . . want[s] to ban individual ownership of a list of risky critters — from lions and tigers to anacondas and apes — and to restrict people and institutions allowed to keep them.”

Then, public outcry:

[The] proposed ban on exotic and dangerous beasts has whipped up a guerrilla network of animal lovers who don’t want their favorite creatures outlawed.”

Basically, we got together because we were getting our butts kicked by this study group,” said Doug Evans, co-founder of the Conservators’ Center, a sanctuary for big cats and other exotic animals near Mebane.

Oddly absent from the story, though, is this organization, located in Pittsboro, NC–the Carnivore Preservation Trust, which I visited in my Natural Resources class at UNC Law. I, personally, would like to know whether the proposed legislation limits the good work of CPT–if it does, I’m officially in the fight.


Stem Cells and Minimum Wages
January 12, 2007, 9:11 am
Filed under: Law & Politics

BlueNC reports the U.S. Rep. votes from North Carolina on on HR-3, The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. Here are the no votes:

District 03 Jones, Walter B Jr (R) – No
District 05 Foxx, Virginia (R) – No
District 07 McIntyre, Mike (D) – No
District 08 Hayes, Robin (R) – No
District 09 Myrick, Sue (R) – No
District 10 McHenry, Patrick (R) – No
District 11 Shuler, Heath (D) – No

I’m not at all surprised by Mike McIntyre’s vote, and only slightly surprised by Heath Shuler’s vote. BlueNC also reports the no votes for the Minimum Wage Increase.

District 05 Foxx, Virginia (R) – No
District 06 Coble, Howard (R) – No
District 09 Myrick, Sue (R) – No
District 10 McHenry, Patrick (R) – No

I wonder how many of Virginia Foxx’s faithful and good-hearted constituents work at minimum wage. Probably would make us all shudder with anger to know.

UPDATE: Here is what Heath Shuler said about stem cells at his blog. Take a gander.

Let’s say it together now: “Lethal injection violates the 8th Amendment.”
December 21, 2006, 11:55 am
Filed under: Law & Politics

Marcus Robinson faces death by the State of North Carolina via lethal injection on January 26, 2006, but Florida, Maryland, and California, have recently halted executions to decide whether their current procedures for killing by lethal injection are unconstitutional–violating the 8th Amendment, which forbids “cruel and unusual punishment.” We want North Carolina to follow suit!

This, after an execution-gone-terribly-wrong in Florida last week. The N&O reported:

[I]t took 34 minutes for an inmate to die. Prison officials had failed to inject the lethal chemicals into his veins, but rather injected them into soft tissue.

The problem is potassium chloride, which has been described by one professional as:

[S]o painful that I screamed until the nurse pulled the thing out. . . . I liken it to putting an electric wire in your artery.

However, observers don’t witness the pain the drug causes, because two other drugs are given before the potassium chloride:

The first chemical is sodium pentothal, a barbiturate intended to put the inmate to sleep. The second chemical is pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes the body.

But, what happens if one of those drugs fails to function properly? Oh, let’s say, someone accidently injects into soft tissue. Will the executed still feel pain, despite his sedation? Will the paralytic drug merely mask our ability to determine whether the executed is experiencing pain? At any rate, my opinion is that this process is cruel and unusual, and should be declared a violation of the 8th Amendment. I’m at a loss for words at the fact that people, fellow human beings and co-inhabitants of this planet, have devised such a wicked, murderous scheme, all in the name of the sovereign State.