The Pope says “No mas” — in Latin

Pope Benedict XVI became the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to step down from his heavenly ordained role as the Vicar of Christ — you know, the guy in charge of feeding the sheep (you and I).

I didn’t know that was a job you could quit, but apparently you can. God is like the commander-in-chief of the universe, which would make the pope his press secretary — or maybe God is the constitution of everything, making the pope the president of everything? One of those must be right.

Anyway, in his official announcement Monday morning, Benedict said that he’d come to the decision after conferring with his “conscience before God,” but at 85 years old, I’m sure his joints did most of the talking.

He’s slated Feb. 28 to be his last day on the job, and Catholics worldwide are hoping the College of Cardinals choose the guy God has chosen before Easter (Mar. 31). Many are hoping the next pope will be a Latin American, a region home to a majority of the world’s Catholics.

Finally! A pope that can dance cumbia.

Watergate (Remix) ft. Marco Rubio

For months now pressure has been mounting on Marco Rubio, the Republican Florida senator and son of Cuban immigrants picked to be the new Latino face (or bait) of the Republican Party. TIME has even dubbed him “The Republican Savior” on their latest cover.

So when the GOP tapped him to deliver the party’s rebuttal to Pres. Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, partisans on both sides of the political divide were anxious to see how effective this young upstart could be on the national stage.

By the end of the night, Rubio was the most popular person on social media. Unfortunately for him (and the party he’s meant to resurrect), his increased visibility wasn’t the kind he was hoping for.

Seemingly in an instant, #watergate was the top trend on Twitter. Republican commentators scrambled to find excuses for the gaffe as the Democrats cited the sip as evidence that Rubio wasn’t ready for primetime.

Stewart, Colbert and the other sultans of satire, tore Rubes a new one the following night.

Personally, I feel for the senator. It’s tough to be named the savior of a party that’s already circling the drain. That’s like being named the captain of the Titanic after it’s already hit the iceberg.

The GOP doesn’t need a Marco. It needs a miracle.

Illinois gets gayer

The goal of marriage equality in Illinois came one step closer on Thursday as the state Senate passed a bill for the first time allowing same-sex couples to get married. The senators voted 34-21-2.

Debate in the state House is expected to be tougher than it was in the Senate, where largely conservative religious principles on the right clashed with mostly progressive religious principles on the left.

The legislation clearly states that religious groups and leaders will not have to conduct gay marriages or provide their facilities for such ceremonies.

“We’re knocking down one of the basic foundations of society,” said Republican Sen. Tim Bivins of Dixon.

Republican Sen. Kyle McCarter of Lebanon objected to the vote taking place Valentine’s Day, arguing that it was only “scheduled on the holiday to celebrate love to disguise what is truly a devaluing of traditional marriage.”

“For the love of God,” said Democratic Sen. Willie Delgado of Chicago, “I feel like I’m sitting in 1865, where similar debates were created on why slavery should continue in this country.”

If the bill can get by the House, Illinois will become only the 10th state to recognize same-sex marriages.

And if the bill doesn’t pass, then we might as well take Lincoln of our license plates and replace him with Jesus. We should even adopt Hemingway’s description of his hometown of Oak Park as our official state motto: “A place of wide lawns and narrow minds.”

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