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Beer Summit

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So the beer summit between President Obama, Prof Henry Gates, and Sgt James Crowley finally happened Thursday afternoon.  VP Joe Biden also joined the party to make it an even four drinkers.  I have had beer with people I don't like.  I think I've even drank with people I hate.  Alcohol breaks down barriers and kills everything...including brain cells.  The question for this beer summit was, does it solve anything?

First, an analysis of the beers.  Obama went for Bud Light.  Good choice for an American President, although the beer is now officially Belgian-owned.  Not good for a beer connoisseur as I'd have trouble with that as my beer of choice.  Gates decided on Sam Adams Light, settling on it after rumors of Red Stripe or Beck's.  A better choice than Obama for sure.  Crowley had a Blue Moon.  Decent choice, as it shows somewhat of an everyday man with sophisticated taste.  Biden downed a Buckley's.  Honestly never heard of it before yesterday.  Apparently it's non-alcoholic.  Say it ain't so Joe!

Since we don't know what was discussed, we'll have to make assumptions based on their tone and Crowley's press conference later in the evening.  It appears to have been a success for the two primary persons, Crowley and Gates.  While they may never agree on what actually happened, or see each other's side, from the looks of it, they may agree to disagree. Obama gained points that he lost when he called the actions "stupidly", as he appeared to be there to act as a moderator.  Biden, I'm afraid may have slipped.  I like Joe, but a few things went against him.  Maybe this was the President's fault, but Biden was not initially invited.  Him showing up at the last minute is like the guy you don't want to show up at happy hour come up to you at 5:01 and ask "So we headed down to the pub?".  That can be somewhat forgiven.  But Buckley's?  If his choice is not to drink alcohol, I respect him for that, but why endure yourself through the taste without the benefits?  Just have a soda or iced tea.

Another thing that bugged me?  The suits.  Sure Obama just got off the phone with the Joint Chiefs or whatever, but home is next door.  Change into those mom jeans from the All-Star game!  Biden, couldn't you pack an extra set of clothes to bring to the office?  For Crowley and Gates, I guess if the President invites you to the White House, you have to dress up.  But I would have given them props if they showed up like any other tourists with camera straps around their necks, Hawaiian shirt on, and shorts and flip flops.

Back to to actual point of the meeting.  This is what makes America great.  Neither side appeared to budge, but they were cordial and maybe the flames have been fanned.  I wonder if we've ever had a beer summit in the past.  Imagine if we sat down with Khruschev for some shots of vodka.  Would the Cold War have ended decades earlier?
As a warning, please do not read this if you want to be spoiled.  The actor/actress I mention after the jump just finished their "last" project.
Councilman Barry, give me a call, I'll take care of your taxes.

Apparently Marion Barry does not understand tax law or court orders.  I'm an accountant and I don't understand all of the tax law, so I don't blame him on that part.  But I'm fairly sure I know that if I was told by the courts to file on time, I'd file on time.  But not filing his 2007 taxes, prosecutors are asking a judge to jail Barry because he is violating the terms of his agreement from the last bought with taxes.  Barry told NBC4 yesterday that he has not been served with notice of his tax issue.  Really?  You need to be notified?  Can't call your CPA?  Apparently he is taking the "Mayor for Life" title too seriously.  It does not make you exempt from court orders.

Not to be bashing Barry.  I think he did much good for the city.  In fact, if he were still mayor when Jack Kent Cooke built Fedex Field in Maryland, I don't think the Redskins would have moved.  And everyone has their faults.

His fellow council member, Jim Graham, defends Barry by stating he should not be locked up.  He references Timothy Geithner, the new Treasury Secretary, by not filing accurate tax statements.  I'm not dismissing that charge, but Geithner filed his taxes.  He failed to properly report some tax items and essentially underpaid.  That is different from Barry, who apparently has not filed his 2007 taxes.

If Barry really wants to avoid the hassle, hire a tax accountant and get the 2007 taxes filed ASAP.  I don't know how complex his issues are, but I'm guessing it won't take too long.  I'm not a regular tax return preparer, but if he can't afford it on his DC Council salary, I'll do it free for him.  Hit me up!  Then again, if he is making what this old Post article quotes, I think he afford to pay a trained tax professional.
By no means the end of partisanship, the nomination of Republican Judd Gregg as Commerce Secretary shows a willingness to change on two front.  First, if Gregg is approved, he will join the Democratic Obama administration.  That much is obvious.  Second, his Senate seat from New Hampshire will be filled by a Republican to not change the balance of power in the Senate. This is the more significant move as New Hampshire's governor is a Democrat and he could have prevented Gregg's acceptance of the nomination as Gregg his issues giving up his seat to a potential filibuster proof Senate.

The nomination also brings some good news on the Cabinet front as Bill Richardson, Timothy Geithner, and Tom Daschle have marred the nominations.  Daschle has withdrawn his nomination today because of tax issues.  Richardson had done so weeks ago which opened up the nomination for Gregg and Geithner weathered the storm to be approved.

Let's hope the Daschle scandal becomes the last so that the Obama Cabinet can be full and get to work.
Asia SocietyI'll admit, I got caught up in Obama-mania.  I was not a strong supporter of President-Elect Barack Obama, but I did end up voting for him.  Politics aside, everyone should be ecstatic about such a historical event, the first minority president elected in the history of the United States.

I considered going out to some of the "public" events, like the concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, or fight the crowds on the National Mall or Pennsylvania Avenue to see the swearing-in ceremony or the parade.  Those however prove to be logistical nightmares and time-consuming endeavors.  So I decided to attend the Asia Society's Presidential Inauguration Reception.

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