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Such a Fine Sight

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:13 pm - September 6, 2006.
Filed under: Travel,Vacation Blogging

Usually when I make long-distance drives, I tend to push myself and go further than I had intended, but tonight, I decided to stop at Flagstaff. It seems I was rewarded for my efforts for I was greeted by a very cute man at the desk. Now, to figure out if he’s gay or not.

I began the day in Raton, New Mexico, where I decided to avoid the Interstate for a while and drive through Cimarron and Taos, New Mexico. Up until Cimarron, I enjoyed the drive, delighting in the vast open spaces with mountains just to my north and on the distant horizon in the south and west. It seemed I was the only person on the road. And the colors of this empty landscape were wonderful, soft browns and greens of the earth against red-tinged rock, all set against the blue sky, decorated with white and gray clouds.

Something went wrong in Cimarron. The coffee machine was broken at the Shamrock Grocery. Maybe it was that I had just bought a T-shirt at the allegedly haunted St. James Hotel where Jesse James had once stayed. Wherever I stopped after that, the people were friendly, but the coffee was terrible.

Despite the beauty of the landscape from Taos until just north of Santa Fe, I became anxious in traffic as my turn signals stopped working in the New Mexico mountains. Maybe that was why I starting I feeling off, experiencing different sensations that I normaly experience when I drive through mountains or across open spaces. When, about an hour west of Albuquerque, I stopped to get gas, it started raining cats and dogs. After filling my tank, I rushed in to relieve myself to find the men’s room being cleaned. When I asked how long it would take to clean, the lady at the counter (in the adjacent convenience store) was downright rude.

Finally, I could use the facilities, but still felt off. They were working out the road outside the filling station and I had to wait for 10-15 minutes before the construction worker directing traffic signalled for me to get back on the road. Ever a bit superstitious, I wondered if the T-shirt were jinxing me. So, once in Arizona, I decided to throw it away with my trash. And suddenly, things started to change. While the woman at the Subway (in the roadside convenience store) told me to wait, I realized I really didn’t want a sub sandwich anyway. On my way out, I discovered this yummy Quaker Baked Cheddar Snack Mix on a chips shelf.

As I noshed on that, sipped coffee, then water, I began to feel better and delight in the scenery once again. Even the rain clouds didn’t bother me. Indeed, I delighted in the beauty of the dark clouds hovering over a distant mountain.

It was beautiful driving across northern Arizona, seeing the dark shadow of mountains in the distance, across the vast plain. I stoppws in Winslow, Arizona where I stood on the corner. I took a few pictures, bought a few T-shirts, then decided to make it as far as Flagstaff where I would call it a night.

I found a great hotel and learned upon entering my room that I had gained an hour, so will relax a bit and decide on my itinerary for the last day of my trip.

Interesting Fact About Iraqi Parliament

Did you know….

Women comprise 25% of the Iraqi Parliament, which is the highest proportion in the Arab world and one of the largest percentages worldwide.

I bet you didn’t!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Driving Cross Country, Katie Couric, Randi Rhodes and Family

For the past eight days, I have been doing a mini-cross country drive, visiting friends and, as I noted previously celebrating the PatriotFatherWest’s birthday. It has been a great trip and I’ve not had as much access to the Internet as I would have liked — and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Today, I woke up at my cousin’s house in Denver, then spent the day with the most wonderful PatriotAuntWest (that cousin’s mother) in Colorado Springs. When I left here, I headed south, beginning the return journey to Los Angeles. A bit sad to be leaving the family behind and regretting that I cannot travel further and explore much of this great country.

Here I sit at a hotel with wireless in New Mexico and instead of getting sleep so I can get an early start tomorrow, I’ve been checking my e-mail and the web. An idea came to me while reading about the Mexican elections and soon I found myself tapping out a post, then I read an e-mail from my friend Rick Sincere and wanted to alert our readers to Judge Wilkinson’s most excellent Op-ed on constitutions and gay marriage.

I had some thoughts on Katie Couric’s debut as anchor for the CBS Evening news (a debut about which I heard radio talk show hosts blab endlessly on Tuesday). Rush Limbaugh was defending himself for taping an opinion piece to appear on the CBS broadcast while a female caller to Air America referred to Couric’s (then-impending) newscast as FoxNews in disguise. I guess that female caller heard Rush was appearing and thought that any news forum which provided an outlet for conservative views (even when presented alongside liberal ones) was diabolical by definition.

Here are my thoughts on Ms. Couric’s debut: I’ve seen her a few times on the Today and found her perky, uninteresting and mildly annoying. She reminded me a lot of Doris Day, a star to whom I never really warmed, but was a big box office draw in the ’50s (even appearing twice on screen with the Gipper in Storm Warning and The Winning Team). Perhaps the American people will warm to Katie Couric as they once warmed to Doris Day.

But, I doubt it. The fora are entirely different. Couric is not entertaining us as Day once did. She doesn’t have the presence (or gravitas) we expect from our news anchors. I expect Ms. Couric to enjoy the same success with the CBS Evening News as Geena Davis enjoyed with Commander in Chief. All the hype about the show will give her great initial ratings which will gradually decline as the buzz wears off.

I really enjoy driving across this great land of ours. (I would also like to drive across Australia . . . ) I love the natural beauty, the open spaces, sometimes prefer taking smaller roads than the Interstate so I can get a better feel for the country. If it weren’t for my graduate work, I would have taken a longer trip, perhaps going as far as Chicago and maybe to somewhere I’ve never been.


Conservative Judge Opposes FMA

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 12:29 am - September 6, 2006.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Gay Marriage

Ever since I met Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson while president of the Federalist Society at the University of Virginia School of Law, I have been impressed with that conservative jurist. Now on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, he was recently on President Bush’s short list for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Indeed, he was at the time, my first choice for the spot later filled by current Chief Justice John Roberts.

Not only is Judge Wilkinson widely respected, but he is also a decent human being. Warm and gracious in person, he wrote personal notes to me, thanking me for invitations I extended to him to speak at Federalist Society events. Thus, I was delighted when my friend Rick Sincere alerted to me to his latest post where Rick notes the good judge’s opposition to a constitutional amendment defining marriage.

Making an argument similar to one I have made against the Amendment, Wilkinson wrote in yesterday’s Washington Post:

The Framers meant our Constitution to establish a structure of government and to provide individuals certain inalienable rights against the state. They certainly did not envision our Constitution as a place to restrict rights or enact public policies, as the Federal Marriage Amendment does.

Among many other wise things he says in his column, this conservative jurist notes, “To constitutionalize matters of family law is to break with state traditions” and asks “Is it too much to ask that judges and legislatures acknowledge the difficulty of this debate by leaving it to normal democratic processes?

Rather than summarize the rest of his most excellent piece, just read the whole thing and make sure to check out Rick’s thoughts as well.

For in this short piece, Judge Wilkinson succinctly makes the conservative case against amending the constitution to define marriage — and he does so better than any other other writer I’ve read. It is, in short, the argument of a Ronald Reagan Republican.

It was indeed the Gipper himself who appointed Wilkinson to the federal bench in 1984. And it is to President Bush’s credit that he considered such a jurist for the nation’s highest court.