Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
TO FAKE OR NOT TO FAKE?—That is the question.
When pressed by Couric about which “newspapers and magazines” the governor reads, the ever troubled Palin couldn’t even resort to what most 8th graders have now since perfected: providing a fake answer. This is a HUGE problem—don’t you think? Instead of rescuing herself once again from the precipice of mass embarrassment, dumb-dumb Sarah belly-flopped off the high-dive because she couldn’t name one source—who cares if she were to tell the truth? I mean, make up something—The Juneau Jump; lie your rimmed glass as@ off—The National Review; go porno—“The Penthouse Letters;” say something—The Wall Street Journal; Sarah, for heaven’s sake—F A K E IT: Newsweek.
In her dizzying gibberish, the best Sarah could offer was that she reads a “vast variety” of news sources. That silly Sarah couldn’t offer one title—just one—from this “vast variety” says a great deal; that she couldn’t or wouldn’t FAKE IT sadly says so much more.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Daddy Fight & ‘08
Like the angry father who can’t or won’t admit that a younger man will eventually replace him, John McOedipus exhibited nothing but disdain and disregard toward Barack Obama during Friday’s debate. It was stunning and pathetically obvious from the initial handshake that McCain thought: “how dare HE be on this stage with ME!” Furthermore, it was horrifically reminiscent of the early debates between Judas Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont in the summer ’06, as grumpy Joe, then Oedipus Lieberman, adopted the hubris that afflicts so many tragic figures. Perhaps McCain should spend less time with narcissistic Joe and more time with dignified Republicans like Richard Lugar to treat his current psychological disorder. In the cults of personality and orbits of psycho-dynamics, there is a personality factor here that’s quite legible even to the most naïve of eyes. And no one likes a b@stard of a father.
But this Freudian family subtext extends way beyond McCain. Just look at the pundit class, who can’t or won’t admit that Obama won because he had the right temperament and gravitas that Americans unequivocally desire in our leaders. Hell, it’s obvious that Obama was the winner in poll after poll. But despite that, the pundit class, like a group of obnoxious sons and daughters in one, f*cked-up, dysfunctional family, SO want a daddy fight in a major way.
It was laughable to read mean-girl Maureen Dowd—who STILL has Catholic gossip-girl cafeteria disorder—on Sunday again miss the mark in her dreadful analogy to a A Few Good Men. Mika Brzezinski, whom I normally like, followed this morning on Morning Smoe claiming that Obama should’ve and could’ve been meaner. Et tu, Mika?
We DEFINITELY need therapy for this Freudian family disorder, and maybe when Chimpy, who has HUGE daddy-issues that will be on full display in Oliver Stone’s W., leaves office we will alas be free from this mass political psychosis.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
John McCain and the RNC have been very careful in the veiling and unveiling of Sarah Palin. She was carefully concealed after her coming out party at the RNC, offering the media and the public just a few staged appearances with some lipstick and talking points.
’08 & The Classroom Motif
As columnist Bob Herbert noted yesterday, Sarah Palin resembles that unprepared student who clearly doesn’t know much about anything. When Charlie Gibson asked Mrs. Palin about the Bush doctrine, it all became abundantly clear: Mrs. Palin indeed looked like…a moose caught in headlights. Put simply, in educator’s jargon, Mrs. Palin came off as a student BADLY misplaced in a class where she simply does not belong and where she will most likely fail. This could all change, of course, if she cheats; if her symbolic parents—her Rovian surrogates—at the RNC make her jump a grade level, or two, or, hell, ten, on policy; and/or if she shows she can glide by with a low pass in the D range because her “parents” did most of her homework to counterbalance a pathetically low performance on the job.
But what’s most interesting in all of this is the classroom motif that has manifested in the 08’ meta narrative, especially with Mrs. Palin’s meteoric emergence. We hear reports about Mrs. Palin in terms of whether she passed or failed. We hear stories of how Mrs. Palin is “cramming” on foreign policy matters because she knows so little. Yet disturbingly enough, much of the American public digs her “studious” appearance because of her dress and the eyeglasses even though she is perhaps one of the most unqualified republican female politicians Mr. McCain could’ve selected: Imagine had he considered Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Governor Jodi Rell, or Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison? Clearly, these women would be appropriately placed in the narrative of national classroom politics, and, better yet, each of them would be a suitable VP choice for Mr. McCain’s presidential ticket. Perhaps the mainstream media should consider why Mr. McCain LEFT THESE WOMEN BEHIND for a woman whose skills and experience indicate she should stay on the elementary school playground.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
You know there is so much that lies in the adage "Truth is stranger than fiction". Why? Because I could possibly make this stuff up.
Now that the media has picked up their chins off the floor in regards to McCain's pick for a running mate right before the RNC, they are unearthing more and more about Sarah Palin's actual political career. (Before anyone says it, they are not out to get her; they are doing there job in informing the public about a relatively unknown figure that will be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
The Frontiersmen, an Alaskan newspaper, reported that when Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, the city charged victims of sexual assault between $300 and $1200 for their own rape kits. If you don't know, a rape kit is a sexual assault forensic evidence kit, used to collect DNA that can be used in criminal proceedings. The kit is performed as soon as possible after a sexual assault or attack has been committed.
So let me get this straight - a woman (or man) is assaulted, thus going through one horrific experience. The victim gets the guts up to report the crime and then has a rape kit done - thus another horrific experience because the victim has to relive the experience and it is uncomfortable physically (a yearly female exam magnified 10x). Then, the victim get s bill in the mail for $1200? Definitely a third horrific experience.
One point so Alaska itself doesn't get a bad rap - Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat, recently signed legislation protecting victims of sexual assault from being billed for tests to collect evidence of the crime, but one local police chief said the new law will further burden taxpayers.
The new law makes it illegal for any law enforcement agency to bill victims or victims insurance companies for the costs of examinations that take place to collect evidence of a sexual assault or determine if a sexual assault did occur.
People, please wake up and smell the coffee. I am all for smart women in powerful places, but if Sarah Palin is the smartest and the best female, I need to wake up from this nightmare...
Monday, September 08, 2008
Just when you thought that your eyes and ears only had to worry about what literally stupid remark Chimpy made, now you have to worry about Sarah Palin.
Now before you say : is this another tabloid story?", it isn't. This is a legitimate, caught-on-tape gaffe on a rally in Colorado Spring, CO today. In the clip, Palin claims that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had "gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers.". Freddy and Fannie "aren't taxpayer funded but operate as private companies. The takeover may result in a taxpayer bailout during reorganization." Economists, analysts, and intelligent people gobbled up her HUGE faux pas like college students at an all-you-can-eat happy hour buffet.
"You would like to think that someone who is going to be vice president and conceivable president would know what Fannie and Freddie do," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "These are huge institutions and they are absolutely central to our country's mortgage debt. To not have a clue what they do doesn't speak well for her, I'd say."
The best part of the clip (the audio quality stinks; it is VERY low) is it could be in one of those MasterCard commercials because the look on John McCain's face is like 'oh f%@k' and absolutely PRICELESS when she makes this INCREDIBLY STUPID remark.
Monday, September 01, 2008
The Republican National Convention is underway and the only thing I can say positively about it is that McCain is rightfully downplaying it because Hurricane Gustav is bearing down on the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi as I am typing.
So, late last week, the media cycle should have belonged to Barack and his wonderfully moving speech on Thursday night. Instead, the weekend media cycle belonged to Sarah Palin and John McCain's campaign. Now, to be fair, McCain's choice was always going to be named on Friday. The reason for the buzz, the hype, and the attention is that NO ONE saw this coming. The press is all a twitter because no one outside of Alaska really knows who she is. News people across the country are working 24/7, vetting McCain's choice as his Veep running mate.
I was getting ready to sit down to do some homework on this when an email from a former student (the VERY intelligent EB) sent me the following email that details Ms. Palin and her background:
Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.
Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:
She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7
This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.
We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here's a sample:
She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK
She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She's a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK
As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK
Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK
She's vehemently anti-choice and doesn't care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK
I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK
So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.
In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.
1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008
2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008
3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008
4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006
5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008
6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008
"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008
"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008
7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008
I kept the sources in there in case anyone wanted to check them out for themselves and all great writers cite sources. (BTW, The author of the letter is a member of the MoveOn Organization.)
Anyway, I keep wondering (not that I am a McCain supporter) why McCain picked Palin if he was looking for a strong female running mate, and looking for Hilary supporters that feel the Obama-Biden ticket is not for them. There are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins from Maine - both feminists with solid political backgrounds and experience. (And they are both wonderfully warm people - I have met them both.) If he was looking for governor material, why not pick Jodi Rell, who brought CT government back from the embarrassment that was Rowland.
In short, there is only three reasons to pick Palin. She is for big oil, she has pull in the one state that has untapped oil and thus, has contacts there, and she brings the religious right in from the cold into the Republican Party fold.
I implore everyone - if you did not think this elections was important to the path of our country before, it surely is now. Please get your facts, register, and make sure you get to the polls in November. The future of the country depends on it...
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Sure, Joe Biden brings a great deal to an Obama-Biden ticket. Biden brings all those years of working in D.C., extensive knowledge about foreign affairs, and a long record of working with respected colleagues and dreaded trolls from the dark side of the moon. But let’s face it, folks: Uncle Joe also brings his big mouth, which, at times, suffers from chronic, verbal diarrhea. Also Uncle Joe, as much as I like the guy and agree with the choice, brings some mess-ups from yore that will probably resurface for a cycle or two in the media smear machine.
The most important element, though, that Biden brings to the ticket involves image dynamics. The elder, grey-haired Biden helps to neutralize those skeptics (and thought-disordered folks) that think Senator Obama is too young or too inexperienced for the job. Moreover, the rather lively, you-talk-too-much-and-sometimes-you-never-shut-up Joe serves as an effective contrast to Senator McCain who frequently comes off as tired, as slow-moving, as tripping over his tele-prompted words, and, quite frankly, as old. And by no means do I mean disrespect to Senator McCain who has heroically served our country with distinction. This is why I suspect that the ever dapper, the ever sexy locks, porn-star-named Mitt Romney will do image justice to a McCain ticket.
The fact of the matter is that far too many Americans are NOT willing to educate themselves. They avoid learning policy differences, how to vote in their best interests, and what matters most to their futures and the future of their country. The medium is the massage, after all. Image dictates a lot more than meets the eye, and in this presidential race image might even matter more.
Barack Obama has chosen Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate. They are set to appear today (Saturday Aug. 23) at 3 PM EDT at a rally in Springfield, Ill. where Obama began his campaign 19 months ago.
Friday, August 22, 2008
As those of us who have been glued to presidential primary news, especially blogs such as this one, Obama has had several music videos made endorsing his campaign.
Released this week is the latest and, in my opinion, the most moving one. It is a song featuring lyrics by Brit Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame). It features many other singers and actors, and also has clips of MLK, Jr's powerful and moving speeches.
The video is approximately five minutes long and is in black and white (there is no need to adjust your set). Click here to get to the link and watch the music video which also includes Stewart's reasoning behind the song and other tidbits.
P.S.: Before the McCain supporters start in again about how Obama is a celebrity, yada yada, etc. and so on, I do want to point out that at least Barack did not whore himself out like McCain did in this clip from the blockbuster Wedding Crashers. Either McCain doesn't know the meaning of the word celebrity or Alzheimer's has already set in on the ol' fella.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Growing up, I received advice from my father. You know, the usual what to do if I ever had mechanical problems on the long drive between my college town of Orono and home, how to throw pitches other than the the typical three thrown by most softball pitchers and how to read opposing batters, be respectful of elders, be polite, and other things.
One thing that I remember him talking about has come to the forefront in light of Russia's recent invasion of its neighbor Georgia. When I was in elementary school, the Cold War was still ablaze and my father, while not working directly for the government or a branch of the military, worked for General Dynamics/Electric Boat Division in Groton. Because of his job and his age (my dad is part of the "bomb shelter" generation), he was interested in and kept abreast of the political situations between our country and allies and the Soviets and their allies. During this time, our school routinely had "evacuation drills" in case of nuclear attack. (If you are not familiar with SE Connecticut, please note that within a 20-mile radius, there are two nuclear power plants, the largest submarine builder in the world (Electric Boat), Dow Chemical, Pfizer Pharmaceutical, a Coast Guard Academy, a US Navy submarine school, Sonalysts (they make state-of-the-art sonar equipment and many other things, and a Hess gas/oil storage facility to name a few important things.)
After one of these drills, I asked my dad about these drills. He rattled off the list above, we talked about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, weirdly, he quoted Nostradamus. This last item perplexed me as my dad, while educated, is a "man's man" and did not talk about things like predictions and "what may be", like horoscopes and fortune telling. He told me that Nostradamus basically predicted that our country's biggest enemy and problem would be "the bear from the north". Naturally, I am paraphrasing for brevity, but you get the picture.
This "prediction" has come up many times over the years and, most recently, came up this week as Russia invade and fired upon the country of Georgia and its people. My father and I watched a news update as we saw Georgia's capital taken hostage and its people and journalists fired upon by the Russian army. The "conflict" is over "finger-pointing" between the countries over who is responsible for the "ethnic cleansing" in South Ossetia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are taking a hard line with Georgia as Chimpy and Condi try to cater to them and get them to gently back down, without hurting the Russian government's feelings. Despite a cease-fire brokered by the European Union, Russia is still taking a hard line in Georgia at this writing.
Some people are shocked; my dad and I are not. Did everyone, including the White House, miss when Putin's presidential term was over that he basically picked his successor and then named himself prime minister? Ummm.... it has been a while since I have taken a Political Science class, but isn't that what people in a dictatorship do?
Russia still has a great deal of military fire power and, if need be, they could roll over its smaller neighbors and take control of more. Did everyone miss how the Russians are gobbling up rights to certain land areas in the north that are considered to hold untapped oil reserves? Did everyone miss when Medvedev publicly announced that "Georgia won't go unpunished" and called the Georgian government "morons"? I am not saying that I know the whole story, but the way the Russian are going about things smacks of "something ain't right here".
The signs of this Georgian takeover (or something like it) have been there for some time, and Bush has elected to, as usual, go on some "road trip" (in this case the Olympics) instead of doing his job. We need to ask Obama and McCain what they are going to do if elected. The problem in the former Soviet Union is not going away anytime soon and I feel safe saying that Bust won't take care of it either. In any case, Americans should arm themselves with the knowledge that is out there regarding this crisis and keep an eye on it.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
On Monday, over at Presidential Politics for America, I used the Democratic Convention speaker schedule to eliminate all but three scheduled speakers (Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson) from VP contention. I then added one unscheduled speaker (Wesley Clark) to the list to come up with the final four VP candidates for the Democratic ticket.
A finalist that the media seems hell-bent on pushing is Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, so I should quickly address why he's not on this list. First, next Wednesday, when the Vice-Presidential nominee will formally accept the nomination, the convention will make foreign policy its theme. Tim Kaine has no experience in that area. It would be an awkward fit, and the DNC could easily have avoided this by making Tuesday about foreign policy and Wednesday about the economy or the environment, instead of vice versa. Another strike against Kaine's chances is Mark Warner, a fellow Virginian, being named as the Convention keynote speaker. It would be highly unorthodox for two Virginians to give the major speech on successive nights (which also eliminated Jim Webb, if he wasn't already eliminated in your mind for other reasons). Finally, Tim Kaine himself has said that he thinks he's been awarded the silver medal of the veepstakes. So there you have it.
This solidified my final four: Bayh, Biden, Clark, and Richardson.
So which of the Final Four will it be? As the speculation continues with the convention a week away, here's a quick look at the pros and cons of each:
Senator Evan Bayh (Indiana)
Pros: Centrist enough for moderate Republicans; Is popular among remaining disenfranchised Clinton supporters; Is a Democrat in a largely Republican state; Serves on Armed Services Committee;
Cons: Too centrist for Democrats?; The least gravitas of the Final Four; Would be spun as a great pick by the pundits, but otherwise won't cause a buzz among the average voter like the others.
Senator Joe Biden (Delaware)
Pros: The expert of the party on foreign policy and international; One of the biggest critics of an unpopular President; Compliments Obama's inexperience; Would perform very well in the VP debate; Has proven presidential aspirations.
Cons: Is vocal enough to turn off a lot of voters; Useless geographically; His selection could be perceived as Obama being too inexperienced, making Biden look like the chaperone of the ticket.
Former General Wesley Clark
Pros: Supreme Commander NATO Allied Forces from 1997-2000; Gravitas like Biden, but much more respected amongst Republicans; Highly decorated officer; Perfect attack dog on McCain for all things military; Assuages fears that Obama is too green.
Cons: No political experience; A beginning Democrat; Like Biden, his VP nomination might imply that Obama is inexperienced.
Governor Bill Richardson (New Mexico)
Pros: Wins over Latino's, crucial in New Mexico and Florida; Executive experience as governor; Helpful knowledge as former Secretary of Energy; Foreign policy experience as U.S. ambassador to the U.N; Congressional experience as former House member.
Cons: Had a stagnant presidential campaign; Lacks a presence in public forums; Unexpected support of Obama over former ally Clinton would look fishy if Richardson is appointed #2; Two minorities on the ticket is playing with fire.
However, shortly after I narrowed it down to four, there has been yet another development. Yesterday, Joe Biden plainly told a group of reporters that he wasn't "the guy." So the Final Four has become the Final Three: Bayh, Clark, and Richardson.
Who next to eliminate?
Well, as unfair and politically incorrect as it may be, it's highly unlikely that the Democrats, when the consensus is that this election is theirs for the taking, will nominate two minorities on the same ticket. A half-black and Latino running together would be an enormous roll of the dice. That eliminates Richardson.
And then there were two...
Senator Evan Bayh and former General Wesley Clark remain. However, the media doesn't even consider Clark a finalist. I don't consider myself media until I get a check in the mail for my work. However, believe it or not, the media has better sources than I do. If nothing is leaking about Clark being vetted, than it's probably not him.
That leaves one. The Democratic vice-presidential nominee will be Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.
Still, I can't help but wonder "Why not Clark?" Indeed, if I were kaing decisions for the Democrats, Wesley Clark would be my pick to round out the ticket. To see my reasoning, check out Presidential Politics for America tomorrow.
Until next week...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Also returning: for the first time since June 11, Weekly Presidential Politics on 1% More Conscious!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Ever since I can remember, the Olympics have enthralled me. I cheered for Dorothy Hamil, Eric Heiden, Mark Spitz, the 1980 hockey team, Mary Lou Retton, Kerri Strug, and various others. I wept for Tai and Randy, Mary Decker, and all of the 1980 Olympians when the government boycotted the Moscow Olympics. Perhaps it was the competitive athlete in me or I was moved by the athletes’ emotions; the Olympics have never failed to move me.
This year is no different. Obviously, Michael Phleps is putting on a show at the pool as well as the men’s gymnastics team earning bronze without the powerhouse Hamm brothers. The Williams sisters are burning up the tennis court while our basketball and softball teams do the same in their venues. Even sports I never knew were sports thrill me (who knew that watching synchronized diving and kayaking were so exciting?).
However, the Olympics are filling me with other emotions this year. Since the announcement of the Beijing Games in 2001, I have been puzzled and perplexed the International Olympic Committee, which stands for camaraderie and, by its own credo, the promotion of ethics, would hold the Olympics here. The announcement came a mere three years after Tiananmen Square and when China was still the only threatening Communist country in the world. Then, I also realized that part of the Olympic spirit was to have faith. I thought that perhaps China would move toward a better treatment of its people in the way it was progressing into the 21st century in other areas. I tried to have faith.
However, this faith has given way to dread and anger. This spring, one of my students was excited to go back to her homeland of Tibet this summer with a visit to China and the Olympics, bringing one of her friends along. (She was lucky enough to have fled the Chinese-oppressed Tibet when she was younger.) However, her trip was not to be as she explained to me the difficulties of her getting into China, and the possibilities of what may happen.
The Chinese government made promises to the IOC that journalists from other countries would be able to work freely and they would be provided the tools to do so during the Games. These promised evaporated once the games were eminent. Limited internet access is the least of journalists’ problems as many of them, according to Voice of America, are being harassed and detained. Journalists that are trying to cover the “terrorist attacks” in the Xinjiang province against police have been beaten, detained, and had their work erased.
What about the opening ceremony "snafus"? The little girl that sang so beautifully was not the real singer. She lip-synced for the real singer whom the "powers that be" deemed too ugly to represent the country. The amazing "footprint fireworks" over the city were also found to be computer generated.
On the second day of the Olympics, U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon’s father-in-law and mother-in-law were stabbed. He father-in-law died from the attack while his mother-in-law’s condition is now stable and improving. Little coverage has come out about the attack and less has been said about what the Chinese police are doing to catch the murderer.
Protest parks, built for “approved” demonstrations, remain empty. Reports state that police detain anyone who has filed a petition for protest. Police put three Americans on a plane home after they peaceably demonstrated for a free Tibet.
Obviously, I could go on and on with this (and include a tirade how "Chimpy" is being an idiot for ogling the bikini-clad women’s volleyball players and moronically holding the American flag the wrong way) as the games are not over yet. My point is if the “civilized’ world is so “gung-ho” on correcting human rights violations, what the heck are we doing? What more proof do we need that China not only does not care about the common person, but they are using the Games to flex its muscle and influence? Our government once before boycotted the games held in a country that at the time was doing similar things. Did it hurt athletes? Yes, but people understood that human life and liberty are more important than a medal.
I do not condone war and violence. However, when are the “civilized” countries of the world going to stop being bullied and stand up for those who cannot do it for themselves? Or are the all-mighty buck and television ratings more important in the world today? Olympic spirit indeed.
Friday, August 08, 2008
In trying to set the record…straight about his personal life, in an episode of Seinfeld Jerry insists to the interviewer that he’s not gay, “not that’s there anything wrong with that.”
I’ve found myself using “NTTAWWT” or a permutation of “NTTAWWT” many times recently when hearing reports from friends and co-workers about people they know and the…interesting sexual practices people have—“NTTAWWT.”
Honestly, I’m not a prude or trying to be a prude—“NTTAWWT.” Nor am I trying to be the morality police— we all know there is something “WWT.” So for my straight readers, my gay readers, and my gray readers, this entry isn’t so much about sexual orientation or identity as it is about why I’ve being saying “NTTAWWT” or something similar lately.
M., an IT guru, tells me that the company he works for requires him not so much to spy on workers and their computer use, but, more practically, to protect the system from viruses, harmful downloads, and potential problems from Internet traffic. M. reports that he has been witness to numerous extra-marital correspondence, sometimes hetero, sometimes homo—“NTTAWWT”; group sex solicitation and participation—there DEFINITELY IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS; and pay per view porn use on company computers, during company time—there IS TRULY SOMETHING SOOOOOOOOOOOOO WRONG [AND STUPID] WITH THAT.
CR, an educator I know, informs me that a police officer who works in the local schools is pretty open with the staff about how he and his wife “swing” with other people—of the same and opposite sex—there is something incredibly “WWT.” Another education friend of mine tells me one of her teacher colleagues was arrested for pleasuring himself in public and it’s pretty public about what he did…to himself—there’s MOST DEFINTIELY something “WWT.”
Now these are just a few among a ½ dozen "WWT" tales I’ve heard over the past couple of months. Look, what people want to do (and whom they do it with) in their private lives is their business, providing that things are consensual and harmless, of course. In my mind, there is totally nothing “WWT.” However, when people start Larry Craig—ing publicly all over the place there does seems to be something wrong with this low-level (or high level) pattern of exhibitionist behavior. Is it me, or there is something very, very “WWT?” Conscious minds want to know.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
I haven’t been able to blog as much, play guitar, or pleasure read. Slowly but surely, my better half & I strive to interweave strands of our former selves into our newly adjusted routines that revolve around raising three beautiful and healthy children.
ATM is getting back into swimming, and I just learned a Concrete Blonde song. We hope to read more than just news snippets here and there—the less about the MSM’s summer ’08 stars, Brett Favre and Paris Hilton, the better. And once the three month old gets into a steady sleeping pattern, maybe we can escape for an adult night out—even if it’s to drive around the block a few times.
This adjustment period has indeed offered us learning opportunities, aside from getting adept at changing diapers in the sand at the beach—talk about a summer Olympic sport—or managing three at the grocery store amidst the hostile on-lookers who scowl as if to say: “the kiddy-tracked crowd is only allowed here very early in the morning or very late night—so f*ck off.”
The one major realization I’ve had is that it’s not easy to adjust. I would go so far as to say that in many cases our natural inclination is NOT TO adjust. Sadly, for many individuals it’s far easier to stay the same, to think the same way, to behave the same, or, in this political climate: to stay the course. That’s why I’m not at all surprised there isn’t more of a spread in the general election tracking polls between John McCain and Barack Obama.
It’s tragic that American society still grapples with all the same, recurring issues that require enormous adjustments to change things ever so slightly: the Iraq War, socio-economic inequality, poverty, racism, sexism, and homophobia. Certainly, it’s not so tragic, I’ve come to realize, to believe that some small adjustment can create some kind of change. The question is: how do those of us who can adjust help those who cannot...adjust to the idea of change? After all, changing a diaper in the sand at the beach isn’t so hard as it seems.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
The Day’s Ann Baldelli deserves commendation for her columns—including today’s— on teenage drinking, and parents, teens, educators, and municipal officials need to get beyond the “fun” and “cool” of it all to address this problem and the many more that plague this feel good generation.
As Baldelli beautifully notes, today’s teens merely rationalize underage drinking because they deem it “fun” and “cool.” Baldelli also reports that in many cases, these teens’ parents are spectators of their sport, well aware of their children’s “fun” and “cool” drinking activities. The least said about the headlines involving underage drinking in Southeastern Connecticut over the past two years, the better.
Underage drinking is not new. With this generation, though, it is an extension of their “fun” & “cool” outlook, for lack of a better term, on life. “Fun” and “cool” are code words referring to an incessant need for satisfaction and gratification, all the time, everyday, for everything. With an Ipod bud in each ear, a cell phone in one hand, and an espresso-shot coffee drink in another, this generation has been conditioned to seek out “fun” and “cool” in everything they do. And no-consequence parenting and I-centered education haven’t helped matters much.
Let’s be clear: the “fun” and “cool” adolescent pleasure wave hasn’t consumed all. Appropriately guided by adults who know better, there are many teens out there resisting that powerful undertow to make the most of their lives. Such individuals tend to rise above things by learning to live in moderation, by adjusting accordingly to things that can either be pleasing or not, by problem-solving rather than by problem-creating, and by carving out a future for themselves to avoid a no-where fast existence courtesy of all that is “fun” and “cool.”
Monday, June 30, 2008
As our host here has apologized for being lax in his posting, I also must apologize for not picking up the slack – life has interfered in many ways over the last few months; too many to count. However, the passing of a high school friend from complications due to her lung cancer has made me reflective and pensive with a need to share.
After surfing the internet aimlessly and reading more about the passing of comedic great George Carlin, I came across the following which speaks to my feelings today and what I feel is wrong with much of the world.
Rest in peace Grace; your family and friends will sorely miss you. R.I.P. George Carlin – your intelligent humor and wit will be missed.
From George Carlin:
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life, not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom…”
If you do not like Carlin’s straightforwardness, I recommend reading Tuesdays with Morrie. Same message, but easier for some people to swallow. Plus, you’ll be reading.
Monday, June 23, 2008
When I wake up in the morning—or lately, when I first ooze from one state of new-baby zombie-ness to another, I usually get my daily dose of MSM (mainstream media) therapy. What can I say: it’s addicting.
After being awake for about a half hour—I usually crawl out of my coffin at 5:30 am, at 6 am I check out Morning Smoe to get my morning dose. Yeah, it’s a sick, twisted co-dependency that I’ve yet to shake. 12-step, you say? Nah. But what I’ve noticed during my Morning Smoe fix is that I get the first few lines—pun intended—of the MSM daily script and I’m sure to hear these talking points reverberate throughout the day.
Take this morning, for example. On the Smoe, Mika had on Silly Willy, Pat Buchanan and Mike “probate court” Barnicle. One of the main topics: the latest match-up polls from Newsweek and other news agencies of McShame vs. Obama. When it came time to discuss the Newsweek poll, a poll showing Obama at 51% and McLame at 36%, one of Mika’s boys made some comment to the effect that Newsweek must’ve conducted its poll at Starbucks on the upper west side of Manhattan. I wonder which goon came up with that one. Sure, it might be true noting that these Newsweek polling numbers are a bit off when compared to the other polls. But really, does THAT matter?
Let’s get back to the script. As can be expected, I heard the same line uttered by Mike Barnicle this evening during his guest-hosting gig on PhlegmBall when he discussed the Newsweek poll. Sticking to the script, Barnicle reiterated that Newsweek must’ve conducted the poll at a Starbucks on the upper west side of Manhattan. Coincidence? Yeah—and I’m a Republican.
The bottom line is: mainstream media talking points exist and thus they constitute a script on a daily basis—just dabble in some MSM addiction yourself, and you shall see. The talking heads generally follow this script to rev up the echo chamber din, to shape perceptions, and to reinforce the notion that for many the media is the…massage.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
After being b-slapped (that’s blog slapped) by the ever-astute IC, I feel compelled to apologize for my absence from 1 % more consciousness.
ATM (my wife) & I welcomed #3 over a month ago. We had a lot of preparing and adjusting to do because we are never quite sure we know what we are doing with this parenting thing. Rest assured, though: I was not kidnapped by renegade wingtards for some sort of sick tribute to Rush Limfart, bka Jaba, the tart.
For sure, Mary Margaret, our latest arrival, has kept us and her brother and sister quite busy. Indeed, we are a party of 5 getting our grooves on.
But I’m returning this week with regular postings.
Forgive me, IC et al, for I haven’t sinned. We (my multiple personalities & I) have had to do more laps on the kiddy-track than I had anticipated.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
(IC note: This blog has been dormant far too long. Indeed, I haven't even posted here since February, with my "Explaining Limbaugh" column. Therefore, I've decided to run one of my recent blog posts from Presidential Politics for America. Enjoy.)
It's over. History has been made. Barack Obama is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party.
Yet, with all of the stories that slowly trickled in last week - the seventeen senate superdelegates, Clyburn, Carter, Clinton ready to concede, Clinton letting go staff, Clinton not conceding, Clinton wanting to meet face to face with Obama, Clinton interested in VP, Obama only interested in offering the VP if Clinton declines - it was easy to forget the big picture.
This was an historic event on several levels.
First, the magnitude of this upset is unparalleled in modern primary politics. Hillary Clinton, a lion in the Senate, with a 25-point lead in 2007 for the Democratic nomination, and with her spouse as the most popular member of the party and perhaps the most popular politician in the country, was beaten by a dark-skinned, mixed-race, first-term U.S. Senator with a Muslim sounding name who was just over two years removed from state politics when he declared for the United States presidency. Read that sentence again.
Second, the story everyone is talking about. For the first time in this country's history, a non-white has been nominated for President by a major political party. As an extension, if Obama wins on November 4th, he will be the first person with at least 50% African heritage to be the President of any country in Western Civilization (Europe, North America, South America).
Third, finally, and most important to me, I have to turn to a Hillary Clinton quote from last night. Who would have thought that it would be Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, who could put forth the quote of the contest? I have been following this primary for 18 months and in her speech last night, Clinton had my favorite line of the primary. Nothing sums up the ground breaking experience of the 2008 Democratic Primary better than a snippet of her simple prose. I know it's not Shakespeare, Jefferson, Glenn Cheney, or Dylan. I know it's clichéd. I know it seems obvious looking back on it. But she said it, and she's absolutely right.
"...we saw millions of Americans registering to vote for the first time, raising money for the first time, knocking on doors, making calls, talking to their friends and neighbors, mothers and fathers lifting their little girls and their little boys on to their shoulders and whispering,
"'See, you can be anything you want to be.'"
The crowd erupted, as it should have. Young minorities and young girls who saw the Democratic Primary come down to a woman and a black man must have been inspired. Our society isn't perfect. We haven't torn down all the barriers. We haven't convinced all the racists and misogynists of their archaic and misguided thoughts, and through aesthetic affirmative action, we've even gone too far in the opposite direction at times...
But those young girls and minorities haven't experienced any of that yet. They're new and innocent and untouched by the evils of prejudice and thoughtless malevolence. The most publicized and talked about news event of their young lives had a black man and white woman vying for the nomination of the Democratic Party. I don't think we can yet accurately predict the far-reaching effect this one political event will have on the next generation, but we can hope that the very best was taken from it.
And as we wave good-bye to the last few pre-19th Amendment seniors, as the generation that grew up in pre-Civil Rights slowly fades away, as the memory of the George Wallace south diminishes, and as my generation of Rodney King, OJ Simpson, and affirmative action begins its exit in a few decades, the generation of watching Clinton-Obama with wide eyes and big dreams will take our place. It was Dr. King's dream and it's becoming a reality.
So yes, the Democratic Primary is over, but it might not be the only thing that is. Over is the time where we walk into an election cycle with full confidence that we will see a white man vying against a white man to lead a country that is half female and steadily growing less white. Over is the time where we discount a candidate's viability because of the way they look. Over is the time where a girl or a black child gives up on their dream to hold the highest office in the land because of what they see when they look in the mirror.
So I apologize if you checked into Presidential Politics for America this morning and wanted to see me break down numbers (unnecessary) or finish off my Barack Obama Veepstakes (Friday) or preview Obama-McCain (all summer). I just had to take a minute with a wide-angle lens and appreciate what we've experienced. I urge you to do the same.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
If you haven’t already, you must check out “Bowling 1, Health Care 0,” the op-ed piece by Elizabeth Edwards in today’s The New York Times.
In this essay, Mrs. Edwards beautifully examines “the candidates [she] saw; the campaign [we] see.” In other words, folks, the mainstream media frames, selects, emphasizes, de-emphasizes the “news” fit to print about the ’08 election to suit their agendas—they are controlling everything.
This is MSM therapy and it’s scary. But what’s even scarier is how in the MSM meta-narrative soap operas, we have the same cast of actors/cheerleaders/analysts/and of course, the likes of Jabba, the Fart—Rush Limbaugh, media-created “authorities” who are more about imposing their views rather than simply conveying the news. It’s an ugly, incestuous crew and they pretty much say the same things. Why, oh why, does Smucker Carlson get booted from a news network, get fired from a job, get a show canceled, only to land on his feet yet again as some sort of analyst? Let’s face it: bow-tie loser boy sucks. And we don’t need Jon Stewart to tell us this again.
Check out “Bowling 1, Health Care O” to cure yourselves from the mega doses of MSM therapy; after all, the first step of recovery involves an admission of powerlessness—and this is precisely the case when it comes to what the MSM feeds us.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
“Mission Accomplished” George W. Bush will appear on an episode of NBC’s game show Deal or No Deal tomorrow night. Apparently, he’s honoring a veteran from Iraq, W.’s “no deal” of a fiasco. Hey, at least the costs of the war—deliberately kept out of the media spotlight—are alas receiving mass prime time coverage if only in a cameo moment. Too bad, though, that W. didn’t honor all of our Iraq Veterans—fallen and alive—more often, more seriously, rather than be so obvious to select the best Nielsen ratings publicity op available.
Boy blunder and his party stay true to form, though, making deals, re-shaping reality, and bilking the American public to suit their needs. And truth be told, they are pretty good at what they do: with Gas prices soaring, home mortgages foreclosing, spending power diminishing, the market yo-yoing, jobs terminating, Iraq burning, local municipal budgets shrinking, in a year when it would seem that the planets are aligned for the Democrats to take the White House, the Republicans are well positioned for Bush Term 3, with sold-his-soul McCain, a deal most Americans can’t afford.
But let’s face it: Part of this deal involves the internecine warfare in the Democratic Party. On one side there’s Clinton—amorphous lady hate who NOW casts her self as shot drinking, Crown Royale-ing, gun-slinging Scranton girl. On the other side there’s Obama—an elitist, non-patriot, 60s radical, non-wearing flag pin snob. The least said about these false characterizations, the better.
Divided and framed by the MSM, they and the party still stand…for now. But the question remains: can either one of them stand against McCain in the general, now that McCain has pricked his finger in blood rites with Grover Norquist, almost every agent of intolerance on the right whom McCain once disdained, the MSM goons—just take a look at Frank Rich’s column today, and a shadowy, quickly organizing attack-group resembling a Swiftboat junta for ‘08? A year to six months ago, the answer to this question would be yes. But as the Republicans do what they do best, as Clinton and Obama duke it out, as the MSM echo chamber continues emphasizing the unimportant while de-emphasizing the all-too-important, as the talking heads, led by Tweety Matthews et al, continue their “bromance” with McCain, chances are that what would be a “no deal” Bush Term 3 unfortunately might be the consolation “deal” we will have to accept.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the European Kurtz establishes himself as a demigod among the African natives. Among these natives, Kurtz assumes absolute power. He reigns supreme. He lavishes in the worship until he recognizes that something has gone horribly wrong—“the horror…the horror.”
In classrooms all across America, teachers establish themselves as figures of authority among the students they teach. To many students, the teacher sometimes assumes a sense of power unparalleled to other authority figures in students’ lives—guardians, coaches, doctors or other professionals perhaps far more credentialed than the teacher in question. In short, there is an enormous amount of a power a teacher wields in his or her classroom and depending upon how the teacher manages that power, the learning experience for the student can be a benefit or a situation that has gone…horribly wrong.
Of course, the responsible, 1% more conscious teacher wields power with respect. S/he realizes on multiple levels how a teacher’s instruction, personality, and professionalism impact the degree to which students perform. When the door closes to the classroom, this kind of teacher takes the job seriously by adhering to the curriculum, by doing what is expected, and by making sure students learn. Unfortunately when the door to many classrooms close, these things don’t happen and this is primarily because of WHO the teacher is in that classroom.
The Kurtz teacher, a description I like to use, simply does what s/he wants. This type of teacher doesn’t wield power with respect and thus envisions the classroom—on some level—as a castle for a master of his/her domain—Seinfeld pun intended. Teachers fall into this category by either completely or partially ignoring the curriculum; by either giving the appearance of doing what is expected or simply disregarding what is expected; and/or by either barely caring about whether or not students learn—or the worst, not caring at all whether or not students learn—“the horror…the horror.”
Few people know that in education there is little accountability; once that classroom door closes, anything can happen. Teachers, even the new, untenured ones, are directly observed maybe 3-5 times during a 180-day school year. The tenured ones—another entry for another day—are observed less than that. And the sad truth of the matter is that in a school organization there’s no efficient, effective way to monitor teachers on a consistent, regular basis.
Without question, there are many excellent teachers out there who make student learning—rather than themselves, their egos and/or their agenda—come alive. However, it’s also important to note—and to make you aware—that there are far too many Kurtzs in classrooms either consciously or unconsciously abusing the power bestowed upon them in their domain.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Instead of the Iraq War, which just hit its 5 year mark, or Bush being the main character in the media exit novella, Hillary has been cast in that role and what a prima donna she’s become. The sad part about this opera is that it seems like it’s going to end like all operas end, in tragedy. I can almost hear the sounds of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.
There’s no question at this point: Hillary should go, not just for the party’s sake but also for her political future. The math is not on her side; the momentum is not on her side; the media is certainly not on her side—the least said about the latest lecture from the Dolores Umbridge of the right wing, Smeggy Noonan, the better; and the primary electorate is not on her side.
More importantly, in a strange way, Hillary’s campaign has NOT been on her side: Fumble after fumble, mistake after mistake, misstatement after “misspoke,” even with the few but well-publicized fumbles in the Obama campaign that perhaps could’ve worked to their advantage, the Clinton campaign has been disastrous with media-emergency management. They sadly resemble “heckuva job” Brownie—sorry. It’s been a dismaying collage of a whole lot of money, a whole lot of bravado for a whole lot of incompetence.
It’s interesting that a subtext to the media exit narrative has been Hillary’s contingency plans, if and when she decides to exit the race. Governor of New York? Senate Majority leader? On Friday evening’s Countdown and in the blogosphere, this story took hold. And what’s even more interesting, as Johnathan Alter mentioned on Countdown, there’s even been chatter about Obama’s contingency plan, should he become the nominee and lose to bomb, bomb McCainy, a media lover-boy whose many misstatements and frightening fumbles, along with the Iraq war, lurk in the media background as Hillary and Barack are on center stage.
Geeze. If only the media shifted its attention from whether or not Hillary would exit, who is urging her to exit—granted, she should go, what she will and could do when she exits, what Barack might do should he lose the general and exit the senate...to an exit from Iraq—given that now over 4,000 American lives have been sacrificed, maybe we could seriously think about what needs to be done once George W. Bush thankfully exits from a job he should have never had in the first place.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Cheating is epidemic in American society. Just take look at our public figures, for heaven’s sake: Cheating seems to be a prerequisite for the governorship of New York whether you're coming or going; cheating helped curious Georgey win the presidency in 2000; bad dog Bill cheated on Hillary; and just recently Hillary attempted to cheat the media with her Bosnia “fairy tale,” got caught, and subsequently received yet another zero for this latest pathetic attempt at creative campaigning.
So it should come as no surprise that while American students might not excel in certain academic subjects, they more oftentimes than not exceed standards when it comes to cheating. And every teacher, instructor, and professor, I’m sure, has a treasure trove of stories about cheating, about those who cheat, and about how they struggled to maintain their sanity when confronting those who cheat but who also pretend NOT TO know that they cheated. Mind boggling, I know.
On the high school level, cheating is a constant in the cult of adolescent personality. And generally speaking, the “cheating” narrative ascribes to the following plot points:
1. The cheater knowingly cheats regardless of being warned a 1.000 times.
2. The cheater usually can’t help make it obvious that s/he has cheated; in short, s/he is seldom “good” at it.
3. When caught, the cheater immediately PRETENDS NOT TO KNOW THAT s/he cheated.
4. Denial sets in.
5. The cheater then finds some lame-a## way to blame the teacher, instructor, or professor.
6. The crying game happens—and I’m not referring to the film of the same name.
7. At this point, the narrative goes one or two ways:
a. The cheater recognizes the obvious: s/he has been INCREDIBLY stupid, got caught, and SHOULD NOT do this again, although chances are s/he will.
b. The cheater CAN’T abandon a win at this point and thus resorts to the ultimate act of desperation: S/he brings in a parent as a "special operations" cheerleader, as an enabler of sorts, as the ultimate “character” witness.
I regret to inform you that choice “b” is the preferred choice of cheaters and their cheating parents, which brings me to my major point: How can we educators ever expect to stop cheating when parents blindly pass on their cheating behaviors to their children whom they are cheating out of some sort of moral growth and development?