Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blagoverjevich

Or Blagoutjevich? Whatever play on words you want to use, he's out by a unanimous Senate vote to impeach, and Pat Quinn has been sworn in as Illinois governor. I didn't have a lot to do at work today so I kept up with a live blog of today's impeachment "trial" on the Trib. You can go back and read it for an interesting semi-off the cuff account of events as they happened rather than an analytical, traditional story about what happened today. I love live blogs - they give you minute by minute accounts of events so you can draw your own conclusions about them in the event that you are unable to watch something because you're stuck behind a desk doing mindless busy work all day... err... steadfastedly working to defend our freedom... whichever...

The reason I put the word trial in quotes up there is that the term is incredibly misleading in this context. The world thinks that the Illinois Senate was trying to find former Gov. Blago guilty of some kind of illegal actions. Even Blago himself spent the week telling everyone from the ladies of The View to Rachel Maddow to Larry King that the "trial" was unfair because he couldn't bring witnesses. Well Rod, here's the thing: This was not a "trial." You did not face a court, a jury of your peers, or a judge. That group of people you did face did not have the job of finding you guilty or not. What happened today was basically an interview for a firing. In what other job would your boss be so kind as to let you plead your case for 90 minutes (of which he only used 47) before he or she fired you? And before anyone tells me that this man was elected by the people, not the Senators, and therefore the Senators are not his "boss" per se, well, they are, in that they are the representatives of the people and the only voice the people have in this matter. Anyways, these Senators were incredibly generous to allow him to beg for his job. Again, imagine if you pulled some of the crap he pulled... would you get 90 minutes to beg for your job? Chances are you would be shown the door. And shown the door Blago was this afternoon. He has not been found guilty of any criminal wrongdoing. That's for the real court to decide. All that happened was that he lost a job that he should have been fired from long ago.

Below, Rachel's discussion two nights ago of her interview with Blago.



And yes, I have taken note of the multiple requests for me to blog about the new stimulus package. I'm still collecting my thoughts, unfortunately. There so much about the events of the last couple of days connected to the package that makes me angry (for example, the MULTIPLE concessions President Obama made to House Republicans who then did absolutely nothing in return in the way of a single stinkin' vote for the package... good things were taken out of that bill, for what? Thanks for nothing, GOP), but I also have grown increasingly disdainful of rash acts that do not produce results. Examples: War in Iraq, 2003. USA PATRIOT Act. Stimulus package January 2008. Stimulus package October 2008. All excellent examples of Congress rushing to do something...anything in response to a crisis, and getting it horribly, devastatingly wrong, with disastrous (even deadly) consequences. And so this one makes me nervous, too. All that said, I am still conflicted and unsure about a coherent analysis of the subject. Know that I am mulling it over, though, and am curious to hear what you all think about it too.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Arianna Huffington Saves the Day!

I friggin love the Huffington Post. My dream is to write for the Post one day, if Lady Arianna deems me worthy of a job. I will use posts from The Paradox too woo and wow her with my wit and charm and she will be so blown away that she will just have to employ me. Why do I love HuffPost so much? Well I was thinking that all of today's political headlines were boring (NY Rep Kirsten Gillibrand appointed to Clinton's U.S. Senate seat! Obama got annoyed when a reporter asked him a question at a social meet-n-greet! G-Rod makes another stupid speech! Yawn...) and then I visited the flashy Huffington Post and discovered that Ty Dolls (of Beanie Baby fame) has produced "Sasha" and "Malia" dolls and is claiming that they're somehow not supposed to be little doll depictions of SASHA and MALIA Obama... derrr... here's a picture.

They're little girl dolls, sold as a pair, they are cute and most likely African American (although you could argue for Indian or some other type of Southwest Asian I suppose) and they're named SASHA and MALIA! Who dropped the ball on this one? Michelle Obama, classy lady that she is, called the whole thing "inappropriate" and went about her business, but you better believe those dolls will be off the shelves quicker than you can say "just compensation."

The Ty spokeswoman made me laugh with her comment:

The company insists there's no connection to the Obama daughters. They just chose what they thought were "beautiful names."

"There's nothing on the dolls that refers to the Obama girls," spokeswoman Tania Lundeen said. "It would not be fair to say they are exact replications of these girls. They are not."

Reminds me of when Budweiser had its "BudPong" promotion,, which it claimed was a fun game all about drinking water, like they didn't know people play beer pong with... beer. Similar situation.

Okay, it's a fluffy story. But it's Friday and I was itching for a fluffy story. Thank you Huffington Post. (To HuffPost's credit, that story was pretty far down the page and over on the right, far below the missile strikes in Pakistan and the appointment of Rep. Gillibrand to Senate. Nestled just above "Pope Launches YouTube Channel." Oh PLEASE give me a job Arianna!!!)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

AC3-drunk-ee



Turns out everyone came to work late, hungover, or drunk in and around Washington D.C. yesterday, the morning after the inauguration. CNN's Anderson Cooper was no exception, and the result is this AWESOME error reel from one single episode of AC360. Of course my mickey mouse blogging skills are no match for a flash video, so I am still figuring out how to embed it here. Until then, check out the link to the original on Gawker :-)

P.S. Yeahhhh my punning skills are on par with my embedding skills...

UPDATE (23 JAN): I have beaten the system by downloading the flash video to my hard drive and re-uploading it to YouTube, where I got an embed code, so I can now provide you with this hilarity RIGHT HERE on the Paradox!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Biggest of Big Days


I started this blog on November 5th with joy and hope in my heart, the day after we successfully elected Barack Obama as our 44th president. Today he was sworn in, and I no longer have to type out the cumbersome phrase "President-Elect" every time I refer to him. I wish that I had heard before this morning the term "PEBO" which stands for "President-Elect Barack Obama"... I would have been using it all along! Unfortunately, I had to work all day today and didn't get to see any of the festivities of the inauguration. Whether or not I watched, it happened, and the sun will shine a little brighter tomorrow morning. No, I don't expect that elusive thing, "change," will happen overnight, but for those who think I'm naive or too optimistic, I beg you to take a look at the joy people are feeling and the service many have already pledged and performed in the name of imminent change in this country. Change happens when people believe in their leaders, in themselves, and in their capacity to hold themselves responsible to create the change we seek. We are a nation of believers today.

Until I get a chance to watch the speech online and read up on the events of the day, I can't really comment on them, but I think I'll post some of my awesome pictures of President Obama and other rally pics from the campaign. These are my pictures that I took myself so if you want to repost them please credit and link to me. Thanks, and happy inauguration day!!!

This first group are from a rally in Las Vegas in September 08:


These are from another rally in Vegas in October:


And finally, from my days as a Senate intern, an old picture of me with then-Senator Barack Obama from Summer 2005... what an awesome memory to hold onto :-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bail Out Bail Out Bail Out!

This post is in response to the following comment, which was posted by Kelly on my post about Sarah Palin comparing her own media coverage to that of Caroline Kennedy last week. I typed it all up as a comment response and then decided to make it its own blog post since it forced me to examine an issue I have been avoiding deliberately: The auto industry bail out.



Kelly's comment:

"I am curious as to what you think about the second recovery package. I, for instance, do not always think that a bailout is the way to go. Chapter 11 exists for companies like General Motors to help them get out of cumbersome contracts in order to help them become profitable again."


My response:

In regards to the auto bailout, I have avoided that topic on purpose... I grew up in Michigan and don't know anyone there who isn't directly hit by the failure of the American auto industry. That said, I have driven a series of craptastic Fords and Dodges, and this summer I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a lovely little fuel efficient Korean car that I love dearly and know will last me the next 10-15 years at least, because I couldn't deal with my shitty unreliable American cars anymore. I feel pretty strongly that if the American companies had produced RELIABLE, FUEL EFFICIENT, COMPETITIVE cars, instead of giant, impractical beasts that guzzle fuel, mow down smaller cars with reckless abandon, and break down regardless of their massive stature, they would not be in this predicament. Again, you reap what you sow... But that's the executives, not the workers and their families. Now, THAT being said, Chapter 11 is not an option for the auto industry. Would YOU buy a car from a company that had just filed for bankruptcy? That you weren't sure you'd be able to get serviced or find parts for? I sure wouldn't. Circuit City filed chapter 11 in November, and then this past Friday announced liquidation of assets (get your TVs now folks!), because once consumers lose confidence in a company, there's not much that can be done to save it. Big-box electronics stores are one thing... the entire American auto industry, with its hundreds of thousands of jobs and the communities it has supported, is another thing entirely. So to sum up my feelings here, they're conflicted and I'm rather ambivalent (semantically speaking, can one be RATHER ambivalent?? I'm not sure...) in that I personally am pissed at the auto execs for their poor business practices and for leaving me stranded on the side of the highway more than once. (More than twice. More than 3 times. I'm not kidding). HOWEVER - ultimately this battle is not about the execs. It's about my neighbors back home who are struggling because of their bosses' bad judgment. I think if we can afford to bail out banks (without oversight or regulation, I might add), banks who then have NOT translated that bailout money into competitive loans for qualified individuals, we can certainly afford to "bail out" an important industry on whom we are placing ENORMOUS restrictions and regulations - produce fuel efficient cars in XX numbers by XX date, for example.

I want to thank Kelly for asking me this question - my personal and political feelings about this issue have been in conflict for some time now, and that's why I haven't blogged about it. Thinking out my response to her comment and blogging it all out, however, has gotten my thoughts on it in order. I think over the course of this response I have become less ambivalent. Arguments/comments/bitches/gripes/complaints welcome and warranted! :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How Could I Leave This Out?

I hate posting any news or clips without commentary if I'm sure you've all seen them already. I'm sure everybody's seen the Rachel impression from SNL this past weekend, but given my adoration of her I can't really see leaving it off the blog. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is fake-Roland Burris and fake-G-Rod talking to fake Rachel and making fake gay jokes about her... she was very good humored about it, by the way, tweeting
"In my mind, I'm much more Mr. Cunningham than Chachi -- so grateful to not be Potsie.



Next up, funny article over on Huffpost about the sex you'll have in 2009. No, not really very political, except that it basically states that the amount of sex in your life is inversely proportional to the money in your wallet. So, poor=totally sexed up. Hooray Recession!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

When nothing is going on, look no further than Sarah and Joe for inspiration

Once again I have let the blog lapse for over a week. As my buddy Ryan will point out, it is becoming more of a ParadoxMonthly than it is ParadoxDaily. However, I have had a busy busy week! My man got home from Iraq and I had to spend some time smooching on him, and then I got hit with an almost deployment myself, and then today found out that it was a no go. Good thing, too. I would have had 3 days to get out of my lease, move out of my townhouse, store my stuff, and outprocess. Not fun. But here I am, back on the beat, ready to inform and titillate you with my fascinating commentary.

Unfortunately, politics have been a little boring lately. Most headlines are proclaiming today that Roland Burris has indeed been confirmed as a U.S. Senator, taking Barack Obama's Illinois seat. Whoop-de-doo... a sitting governor appointed a Senator and he was seated. Yawn.

I did manage to find two fun things though. First, Sarah Palin got in on John Ziegler's upcoming documentary "How Obama Got Elected" and threw some punches at the media for their handling of her coverage as opposed to that of Caroline Kennedy.


“I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope...It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be.”

First off, lady, the media has not been nice to Caroline Kennedy. In fact, seeing as she's American royalty, it's surprising how mean the media has been. The Times and the blogosphere (including the Paradox) lambasted her for her annoying verbal pause (ya know?) and for her lack of any sort of stance on any substantive issues. Oh, and then there's the fact that Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified for any job requiring reasoning and thought, evidenced by such gems as this, from the Couric interview:

Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that? Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don't know, you know … reporters. Couric: Mocked? Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah. Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials. Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there… Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians? Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

(I know we've all seen and heard that a hundred times by now, but does it ever get any less funny?)

Caroline Kennedy's Columbia law degree, incredible philanthropic efforts, and two books on civil liberties (co-authored with Ellen Alderman) more than make up for her, uh, ya know, verbal hiccups. Sarah, you comparing yourself to Caroline Kennedy is like this year's Lions comparing themselves to last year's Patriots. Or a leather couch comparing itself to a steak as something good to munch on. Par example.

The second fun thing this week is the fact the Joe the Plumber (the original, one and only Samuel J. Wurzelbacher) is now Joe the War Correspondent. I'm totally not joking. I wish I were joking. And then today, while talking to Israeli reporters, he advocated that reporters should not be allowed in war zones, stating,

"I don't think journalists should be anywhere allowed war (sic). I mean, you guys report where our troops are at. You report what's happening day to day. You make a big deal out of it. I think it's asinine. You know, I liked back in World War I and World War II when you'd go to the theater and you'd see your troops on, you know, the screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for them. Now everyone's got an opinion and wants to downer-and down soldiers. You know, American soldiers or Israeli soldiers."

Really Joe? So what you want is World War Dos era propaganda films, not reporting. Nevermind that it was embedded reporters showing the carnage and futility in Vietnam who aided in creating a national sentiment, and in hindsight a universally accepted correct sentiment, that we should not have been in Vietnam and the war needed to end? And on the other end of the spectrum, embedded reporters become friendly with the troops, develop repoire, and report favorably on them, not unfavorably. Embedded reporters are good for morale, Joe.

Joe the Wurzelberger is one of those people you can't argue with because you see your arguments fly over his big fat arrogant non-plumber non-country singer non-reporter head and take wing, while he pulls an Audrina-Patridge-trying-to-understand-the-Large-Hadron-Collider:




That's all for today, I promise to be on top of things this month. Missed your comments and chatter!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hello Al!

Oh and buried beneath that (nobody else is as excited about Minnesota as I am...) is the fact that today, Senator Chuck Schumer, the chairman of the DCCC, declared Al Franken the winner of the Minnesota Senate recount against Norm Coleman.

Schumer had this statement:

“With the Minnesota recount complete, it is now clear that Al Franken won the election. The Canvassing Board will meet tomorrow to wrap up its work and certify him the winner, and while there are still possible legal issues that will run their course, there is no longer any doubt who will be the next Senator from Minnesota,”

Bye-Bye Bill :-(

Politico is announcing (and that means everyone else will be momentarily) that Bill Richardson has withdrawn his name from the position of Commerce Secretary, to which he was appointed in November. He's citing an "ongoing investigation" into a company that has done business with the state, which he said "would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process." Sad... but the kind of responsible politics we don't see often - G-Rod, anyone? (just step down!)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Caroline in the Senate


As much as any good Democrat loves all the Kennedys, those living or dead, I do love the Kennedys. I even have a picture of my friend Sarah and I kissing a poster of John F. and Bobby Kennedy in my dorm room freshman year at Loyola. I think perhaps I will dig that picture up and post it... anyways, the point is, we love the Kennedys. HOWEVER... I do not love Caroline. I think she's a good progressive and I'm sure she'd make happy Demmy vote time in the Senate.. but the more exposure she gets lately, the more she just annoys me as a person. Check out this excerpt from her interview with the NY Times last week:
Twelve times in under a minute, 138 times in the entire interview. It's not just her verbal pause that gives me pause, though. I mean really, we all have them, and some (doncha know) are far more annoying (uhh.. uhh... uhh). No, what gets me is that in the course of the interview, Kennedy really seems to point out, without ever saying it directly, that her celebrity is her best qualification for being appointed Senator, and that the reason she should be appointed is that she wants to be a Senator. What? She also gripes at the Times reporters, asking them if they write for "a women's magazine," insinuating that they are asking gossipy questions rather than something a little more concrete. Too bad she doesn't really answer the more concrete stuff, and what the heck is that supposed to mean, "women's magazine"? Plenty of "women's magazines" make important contributions to journalism in topics of women's health, domestic violence, and other areas. There are enough mysoginistic men out there without self-hating women adding to their numbers.

I suppose I should point out that the appointment of Kennedy to the Senate by Governor Paterson (and she is his top choice, according to officials who spoke with the AP today) does not affect me, and likely never will, as I am not now and do not plan on becoming a resident of New York state anytime soon. I guess I would just love to see Hillary Clinton's Senate seat filled by someone of her caliber. I love seeing female representation in politics - I hate seeing poor examples of female representation. It makes me think, "is this the best we can do?" There are 16 women currently serving in the U.S. Senate. Not a math whiz? That's 16% of the Senate. Guess what percentage women make up of the United States... about 51%. And while we're at it, African Americans make up 13.4% of the United States, and we have exactly... zero serving in the U.S. Senate (unless you count "Senator" Roland Burris of Illinois... but that's another joke for another post). So much for a Congress that represents the people it serves. Back on women (that's what he said...), I know many, many talented, intelligent, driven women who would make outstanding elected officials. I am not sure that we can blame the electorate for the dearth of female reprentation. I think much of the blame falls on we women who decide, for many different reasons, that the work of a Representative or Senator is better left to the dudes who've been doing it for a couple of centuries now. (Interesting tidbit: Of 1,897 total U.S. Senators who have served since 1789, exactly 35 women, or 1.85 percent of the total, have served.) I've taken three different Bachelor's and Master's level courses on the reasons why this is true and have already unintentionally made this post a rant, so I will only point out a couple of the major ones and then pass it on to you. First I'll mention that more women now graduate from college than men, and more women graduate from law school than men. We're not talking about a lack of education for American females. However, women are far more likely than men to feel pressure to (or just want to?) give up their careers in order to raise children. Secondly, women are less willing to put their private lives on display in the way that campaigning for public office demands. So, dear readers, what say you? Where are the women, and why do we get such astounding represtentation as Sarah Palin and Caroline Kennedy when someone does step up to the plate?

Note: I am fully aware that there are some phenomenal women serving in elected and appointed positions. Hillary Clinton, Jan Schakowsky (my rockin Rep from Chicago), Shelley Berkeley and Dina Titus (my rockin Reps here in Vegas), Jennifer Granholm (my Michigan governor... okay she has her issues, but would YOU want to govern Michigan??) even Condoleeza Rice (though I disagree with her policies, I would not doubt her intelligence, competence, or drive). I think my issue is that until we get a representative sample in both houses, i.e. 51%, we need to put up the best of the best. When we have 51% we can let some doofuses (doofi?) in. Comments please, especially from the ladies! But mans, you're allowed, too.

Worst... blogger... ever

Wow... 10 days since my last post! I apologize - I had Christmas festivities to attend to, then traveled to LA, then had a houseguest in from Phoenix, so it's been a little crazy. My boyfriend returns home from Iraq the day after tomorrow and I can't guarantee I will be a consistent updater for awhile after that, either. To make up for all this slackadaisical behavior, I will update all weekend for you :-)

While I'm working on a real post, enjoy these recent pictures of Mark Wahlberg peeing on some bushes. And then say hi to your motha for me.