Here's a real gem from the Worldnutdaily, from someone named Jane Chastain:
President Bush has done more than any president in history to advance gay rights
I'll give you a couple minutes to pick your jaw up off the floor....okay, ready? Want her evidence for this? Get this:
"The Bush administration allowed money set aside for the families of the 9-11 victims to go to domestic partners."
Egads! How horribly pro-gay could they be! They allowed maybe two dozen homosexuals who had lost their partners to share in the benefits given to those who lost loved ones in that great tragedy. Why, this is an outrage! Oh, but that's not all:
For years, Congress inserted a provision in the District of Columbia appropriations bill (the District gets all its money from American taxpayers) to keep federal money from being used to implement a proposed domestic partners law. In 2001, with behind-the-scenes pressure from the Bush administration, that provision was dropped. The following year, voilÃ , the District passed its domestic partners law and our tax dollars began flowing to support these unions.
First, it's absurd to claim that DC gets all its money from American taxpayers, as though the inhabitants of DC were not themselves American taxpayers. The fact is that they all pay taxes and have no representation in Congress (yes, they have a representative there...who doesn't get a vote on anything). That alone violates one of the founding premises of this nation (no taxation without representation). The DC taxpayers have no say whatsoever over how their tax dollars are spent by the Federal government. The fact that a tiny portion of them goes back to DC and is spent on this particular thing hardly constitutes a moral outrage or a huge blow for gay rights. Where does the Worldnutdaily find these idiots to write for them?
If I am not mistaken (and I am a DC resident), the domestic partner benefits are completely financed by local tax dollars - not to mention the payment by the federal government to the District is in lieu of real estate taxes, and nearly 1/3 of the land in DC is untaxable because it is federally owned or part of an embassy. That is not a gift from the American taxpayers, it is compensation, pure and simple.
It is also remarkable to me, as a gay man, how completely unAmerican people like Chastain are. Not only does she receive special privileges for her "behavior" (e.g., child bearing and church membership), but her evidence of "pro-gay" actions is so scant as to prove the main point of the anti-gay crowd - to eliminate any respect or dignity given to those of us who are gay by our society and government.
If it weren't for the enormous elephant in the room (hint: it begins with 'r' and ends in 'acism'), I'd find it amazing that the DC anomaly still exists. It's an outrage against democracy, the founding principles of the country, and common sense. Why, beyond racism, is there no movement to end it?
Count me in the minority for wanting to keep DC a federal district as defined in the Constitution. There were reasons that it was done that way. Perhaps those reasons are no longer valid. Perhaps they still are. In any event, I suggest that residents of DC be given voting rights in Maryland.
Given that most people with real power in Washington already live in Maryland, that would seem to compound the theoretical problem.
Ginger, I'm not sure I follow that logic. I'm also not sure most of the people with real power already live in Md. What about Virginia? And how many of those with real power who live in Maryland actually vote there as opposed to in their home states?
"Allowed" is an interesting choice of words; maybe that is part of that Scooter Libby code? What probably happened was that the administration neglected to read all the details in the fine print, overlooking the clause regarding domestic partners compensation, in the various documents. I notice that Bushco has fought a number of times to reduce the amounts and restrict access to the funds.
Let me chime in, as a DC resident, I understand the rationale for not having DC be part of a state (and if you really wanted to create a new state with DC, you'd have to throw in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Montgomery and PG counties to make is sensible, and there ain't no way VA or MD are going to give up their most prosperous areas). And I actually am fine with having only a non-voting delegate in Congress. I lived in MD for many years and chose to move into the District, knowing the political situation.
However, WHY AM I PAYING ALL THESE TAXES?!!!! (sorry, had to vent). None of the other territories with the same political situation as DC (e.g., Guam and Puerto Rico) have to pay the same amount in federal income taxes as the states with representation - IIRC it's about 1/2 the typical rate. If the powers that be really wanted to revitalize DC, just lower the federal taxes to the same as Puerto Rico's, and the city would become completely popular overnight.
Getting, in a roundabout way, back to the topic, the one great unfortunate about DC's status that is also unique is that Congress has final veto approval over EVERYTHING in DC, including matters that have nothing to do with the federal/district relationship. For instance, the district is STILL barred from using our OWN money to count the ballots in a medical marijuana voter initiative from 2 - 3 years ago, for crying out loud!
That status, sadly enough, leaves laws like the domestic partner law (and for a long time even having a DP registry was blocked in Congress) at the mercy of the Congress. They could, at any time, pass legislation to turn it over. Only the protection of our Delegate, and those home-rule friendly local Representatives keeps those things from happening.
I have not lived in the WashDC area in a number of years, but, if memory serves, people who work in DC, but who live outside of DC, are exempt from paying DC income tax. That is very different than in other jurisdictions. Here in MA, people who live in New Hampshire, but work in Massachusetts, are obligated to pay MA state income taxes.
NH residents are also obligated to pay state real estate taxes, which are actually quite high. Somewhat puts a lie to the NH state motto: "Live Free Or Die." It's more like "Live expensively and try to survive."
Regarding Doom's comment about the percentage of untaxable property in the DC area, I'd feel sorry, but the fact is that in the town in which I live (Wellesley MA) over half of the property is tax exempt. Wellesley College and Babson College alone occupy a substantial portion of the town, and they provide nothing to the town. Both of them serve to "educate" mostly out of town--and also out of country--residents. Add to that the tax exempt property occupied by churches, and it's well over half.
BTW, the Boston/Cambridge area is even worse.
Getting, in a roundabout way, back to the topic, the one great unfortunate about DC's status that is also unique is that Congress has final veto approval over EVERYTHING in DC, including matters that have nothing to do with the federal/district relationship.
Re-read the federal Constitution. It basically gives the US Congress plenary powers over WashDC (the federal district). The federal district originally included Arlington (and perhaps also Alexandria--I don't recall) but the portions of the federal district that were in Virginia were ceded back to Virginia long ago.
The US Constitution also gives plenary powers to Congress over the territories, military bases in the states, etc.
I happen to believe that the residents of DC should be voting in Maryland elections, but apparently some people disagree with me.
OT: Will wonders never cease - an actual, reasonable take on tolerance by an avowed evangelical gets picked as the "letter of the week" over at WorldNutDaily. Seems the writer lived in a predominantly Buddist community in Hawaii, and was shocked to find "pagan" Buddist prayers before a football game. The experience leads him to reject prayers in such settings.
If WND printed this, then Hell must be pretty chilly today.