Contrary to Tim, I'm not totally skeptical of the news that Obama has invited Republicans to have a half-day conference -- at which they'd tell him why his health-care bill is awful, and he'd tell them why they're wrong. This is, of course, a media event in the strictest sense -- it has no legislative purpose but is something created so that it can be viewed. It's something to get us from the limbo we're in now to some actual voting.
Greg Sargent already pointed out the absurdity of this Washington Post article, but there's something else of which we should take note. The article asserts that Obama is "a rare president who comes from the middle class, yet people still perceive him as disconnected from it.
E. J. Dionne had a talk with Joe Biden on the subject of American superiority (Biden is strongly in favor), which brings up yet another way in which the right and the left are often talking past each other when they appear to be talking about the same thing.
Over at Foreign Policy, Israeli scholar Danny Kaplan has an article about Israel's experience since it lifted its ban on gays serving in the military back in 1993. The piece's title -- "They're Here, They're Queer, It's No Big Deal" -- pretty much says it all:
The United States and Turkey are now the only NATO military powers that do not allow gays to serve openly, but Israel and other countries have shown that the participation of gay soldiers in combat units presents no risk for military effectiveness. What's more, acknowledging their presence might even improve unite cohesion.
Our last print issue included an article on Richard Florida, urban-planning guru and author of the 2002 bestseller The Rise of the Creative Class. Florida's ideas about what drives economic growth -- particularly the presence of a vibrant artistic community, the means to incubate technology, and a large gay community -- were embraced by cities around the country, many of whom paid Florida as much as $40,000 to speak.