Friday, October 31, 2008

Retro-Revival Post: My 2004 Halloween Costume Is A Lot Like My 2008 Costume

In 2004, I was a Republican for Kerry. Today, I'm still in a suit, but, since I'm a brown-haired girl with glasses, you can guess what I am.

It's amazing how much meaning can now be conveyed with a flag pin. And I don't mean patriotism. Flag pins don't really mean that for me anymore. They don't not mean patriotism, of course. They just mean a sort of co-opted patriotism that, if you listen to some, would specifically exclude me as unAmerican.

Oh Wait! Me! Me! I Know!

Sarah Palin says she doesn't know why most women don't support her candidacy or why others believe she is unqualified to be vice president.

[waves hand uncontrollably in the air without waiting for speaker to finish in effort to be called on first as know the answer]

And - for funtime Halloween comparison purposes, two quotes from Palin's interview with ABC:

When asked why women aren't rallying to her, Palin said, "I don't look at polls, so I would not be able to answer that.

"But you have to consider that there has been the constant barrage, a kind of spin on the my record or my positions," Palin said. "Perhaps it would change someone's perception."
And, wait for it:

Vargas asked Palin if she continued to refer to Obama's relationships in order to suggest he was "un-American," an historically loaded term.

Palin said she was not calling Obama "un-American" but was calling attention to his record.

"[I'm] not calling him un-American. There is nothing wrong, though, with calling someone out on their record, their associations," she said. "The association issue here, it's not mean-spirited. It's not negative campaigning. It's important and fair to the electorate."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Elite How?

Michelle Obama rocks everything from H&M to J. Crew, to, surely, higher end fashions. But let's focus on the fact that J. Crew is beating the recession blues thanks to the Obama bump. And they aren't being shy about it:

As much as I'll admit to thinking Palin does wear a suit well, and I like her shoes, I'm not going to hit Saks to copy her look. I WILL however buy a bit of potential-first-lady style from J.Crew.

How is it that the Dems keep getting labeled elite again? Joe the not-plumber and Tito the builder or whatever should really check what's going on more carefully. CD the nonprofit lawyer finds much more in common with the Obamas than anyone put forward as a GOP role model or example of real America.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Four Years Ago

First, this blog is coming up on its 5th Birthday next year. Can you believe that? I've had a longer relationship with it than with my husband. Moving on. . . . .

These days, my mind is squarely in the past, looking at the future, if that makes sense. Thanks to the blog, I know what I was doing and thinking and feeling four years ago. I'm surprised, when rereading the old election posts, that I recall so much more than what's on the screen. I can read my own code. I know my own references. The me of now is grateful to the me of then for making such a record.

It's hard not being in WV or PA. I know if I jet there tomorrow, however, the people will be mostly different. I have no idea who is in PA. There are some I'd go to join and some I'd stay home to avoid. I know WV is in good hands. That's where I'd like to be.

To navel gaze a moment: yesterday I felt off. Funks happen, of course. This was typical election year "I should be doing more"-itis. Citing our new mortgage as an excuse for being less active seems selfish and shallow and makes me hate the house and myself.

So I phone banked. I almost didn't go. I though I'd just go home and get some rest or clean the hated-house. But I phone banked. And I felt immediately better.

I don't love phone banking. I love it more than walking precincts. But no, it's no one's favorite activity. Lit drop, okay. Assemble yard signs, sure. But that voter contact - the single most effective campaign tactic - it's tough sometimes. It's just so important.

Last night, my calls were to the 209 area code. That's inland. Modesto, Stockton, up to Calavaras County. Miners. Truckers. Agriculture. It's not the coast. I wasn't sure the kind of reception I'd receive there - and I'm not talking about cellular technology.

But the results were heartening. I spoke with one man who, when I asked how he was voting on Proposition 8, asked me how I was voting. I told him no. He asked if I am gay. I said no, I'm not, and I'm also married. He asked my age. I told him 29. And we talked about generational divides and fear of new things and time moving on. He's still undecided, but his daughters, both in college, are voting No.

Another man said he was voting yes, that it was "the only way to vote." I thanked him for his time and he continued his thought by saying "if you want your freedom."

I have no idea what that means.

But there were many more Noes than Yeses. One woman said she didn't much care about what other people did or who they married and that I probably wouldn't like that answer. I said no, I agreed with her. And that many people agree with her and it's what leads them to vote No on 8. It's the more libertarian view, I suppose. I don't care who you are and who you marry because I'm far too busy paying attention to my own marriage. She said she'd vote No as well.

I dialed the phone 81 times last night. I spoke with about 10 people. Only 4 were voting yes. More were voting No. Some had already voted No by mail.

It makes a difference - reaching out to people. Organizing. Finding volunteers. Working.

There are only a few days left. Do something.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Style And Substance

I KNEW I should have tried on and/or purchased this when I saw it at H&M a week or so back. Michelle Obama wears it - and she has nearly impeccable style.

The above links are to a blog dedicated to a discussion of Mrs. O's style.

And yes, it's totally cool to fawn over her dress: she chooses what looks great on her while managing to both fit the Political Wife mold and smash it with nods to current style, youthful colors, and accessible designers/sources. Like J. Crew. She shops J. Crew!

And since no campaign reports have shown yet that the DNC or any campaign funds are going toward Obama family clothing purchases, she deserves actual credit and no criticism for her clothing purchases.

I want to go shopping with Michelle Obama. I want to go shopping with her because I know that, not only will she shop at stores within my means, not only would she understand my budgeting - having only recently paid off her own law school loans - she'll be looking for similar styles. We're both tall, pear-shaped (she has a better shape) women. AND, we could hit the food court and have an intelligent conversation about . . . well, just about anything, I'd assume. I can't imagine, on the other hand, having anything at all in common with Laura Bush or Cindy McCain - not enough to get through an engaging lunch chat over a Hot Dog on a Stick lemonade.

Is that like the "who would I want to have a beer with?" test? I don't think it is. Because I don't want a back-slapping drinking buddy.

I want to go shopping with Michelle Obama, who buys her own clothes and pays off her student loans and looks good nearly every day and is 5'11" and wears flats and heels.

See Mom, Totally Not My Fault. Your Fault!

Bad spelling could be in our DNA.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Answer Is In The Context

Are Democrats Better at Political Satire Than Republicans?

Only right now, because the material is so much better for us.

A Boston Globe writer says "comedy naturally has a liberal bias, many comics and cultural critics say, because humor is inherently subversive. . . . And no matter who is in the White House, they say, Republicans are more culturally aligned with the churchgoing, manners-minding establishment than Democracts ever are."

Right now.

That's what you have to add to make that statement true(r): Right now. Because while it is true that humor is inherently subversive (though don't confuse its ability to be cohesive as well), Republicans might not (and have not) always had the corner on the establishment.

Then It's Back To Long Skirts And North Face?

Cha-ching! After saying they don't talk about money, the RNC released a new and way less good thought on the $150k department store and make up expenditures that were reported post-Palin pick:

"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."
As Seth and Amy would say, Really?! After the campaign, the empress relinquishes her new clothes and then wears crap again? Barn jackets and denim skirts are what sells in Wasilla!

[Bill] Clinton's $200 haircut doesn't seem so bad anymore, does it?

Ladies of America, if this doesn't convince you that McCain and the RNC are a bunch of pandering dorks, I don't know what will. Sarah Palin wants to be an insider. She's being primped to be an insider. She's been dressed up, made up, set up just to confuse, pander, pacify, and placate. Don't. Buy. It.

And lastly, how rad-tastic is it that, instead of quietly having a donor leave some bags outside Palin's hotel room doors in any given city, Mr. Campaign Finance Reform's pary REPORTS ALL THE CLOTHING PURCHASES? And baby purchases for Trig, too, by the way. You can't expense or deduct for clothing you wear to work (oh that we could) and from what I've read and recall, the FEC (hey, is anyone actually ON that these days?) and finance rules disallow that sort of personal use of campaign donations. Why? Because otherwise people would spend $150k on clothes for their campaign. Hell, I would. Who wouldn't.

But I can tell you who shouldn't.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How Come No One Told Me That Was Job?

You can be SNL's chief political satirist? As a career. Damn. Jealous!

But seriously, folks, an interesting like up there to cable news-athons' use of said chief satirist's material as the representation of what they think-but-cannot-say.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's Okay, I Fell For It Too

So I heard Palin saying she was cleared of all possible wrongdoing and ethics violations and, sucker me, I believed her. I was partisanly disappointed, sure, but hey, a result is a result.

Except the report actually says Palin abused her power and violated state ethics laws. Go fig.

Palin picks up reading at finding two, it seems, which says the firing was fine. She skips finding one, which calls her out for improper influence - both on her part and for letting her husband exert some as well.

Palin's lawyer cleverly fights back by saying since there was no monetary benefit gained from her wrongful influence, she didn't violate the state ethics law. Super clever. I suppose that's the best I could have come up with as well if my client were guilty of ethics violations. If this were a court battle, however, that'd be a losing argument. I don't know AK's ethics laws, but knowing a bit about ethics laws generally from past clerkship experience, I'd say the Palin excuses are pretty thin.

Oh, and Rachel Maddow is piissssseeddddd.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How About Bush v. Gore? There's one.

God help us, Fox News really does find amazing ways to occupy itself all day long. Like presenting this story about Newsweek failing to do Palin a solid by photoshopping her extreme close up face.

And that led me to the Newsweek cover story in question. It starts with a recap of Palin's failure to provide Katie Couric with a single example of a Supreme Court case with which she disagrees. Palin's got problems, says the article.

No sh*t.

A McCain campaign adviser says the question was fair, but wonders how many Americans would be able to name one for themselves. I can! See above for the foremost on my mind these days. But perhaps Couric should've have widened the net and asked for Palin to name ANY case. I hope some Americans can do that. But really, shouldn't she know MORE? A wee bit? No, of course not. Smarts is offensive.

The writer sums it up thusly: "Do we want leaders who are everyday folks, or do we want leaders who understand everyday folks?" I'd say we could have both and Sarah Palin is neither. If I had to choose one, I'd go with the latter, thanks.

I may find this passage particularly moving:

Jackson, Lincoln, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Clinton were born to ordinary families, but they spent their lives doing extraordinary things, demonstrating an interest in, and a curiosity about, the world around them. This is much less evident in Palin's case.
This is a list of men - self-made bootstrapping types, or at least so go the myths attached to each. (Largely true, yes.) Don't women in positions of political - or any - power tend to make themselves as well? Don't we have a bit more against us? Don't we climb a bit more purposefully, tentatively, and doggedly? Must we not? We drive harder because the presumption is that we have to do so and that we don't know as much or lack the same innate capabilities. But what Sarah Palin is showing the world is that it IS about smiling after all. It's not about substance, it's about take-no-prisoners style. If someone challenges you, kill them. Don't learn more, just kill them.

What's maddening in all of this is that, no, Barack Obama doesn't have loads more experience than Palin. I think his experience, qualitatively, counts for more, but I'd almost be willing to call it a draw if not for Palin's attitude.

Barack Obama's narrative reveals a man with a burning need to learn. He bootstrapped himself to a 5-star education. He sought his African roots. He speaks of hope and a limitless future. Palin, on the other hand, seems to revel in limitations - mainly her own (she's only been here, like, five weeks, y'all, wink). What the hell kind of message does that send our daughters?

Girl Crush: Sarah Haskins

What this girl does with yogurt, dusting, or fiber kills! And Palin. Sister Suffragette!

(A-ha! Improv gal - Second City and i.O. and she's tall. Girrrrl Crush, y'all. GrlCrsh.)

"That One"

Snark heard 'round the world? Attempt at saying "The One?" Just a comment?

My mind - forever and absolutely tuned to Tina Fey - immediate recalled this clip, which featured "this one," which is close to "that one," right?

Anyway, from a younger, hipper candidate with a soul, it would've been funny in a Lorelai Gilmore kinda way.

America Was At Its Best When It Was On NBC

Oh, Paris, you make fake-sense to me.

America Was At Its Best When It Was On NBC

Oh, Paris, you make fake-sense to me.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mull And Marvel At This

Their wheels are falling off and it's starting to show. McCain/Palin are going gloves-off, "heels-on" and fightin' it all the way. They will destroy this temple to rebuild it, yet somehow, they paint others as destuctive:
Barack Obama, she told 8,000 fans at a rally here Monday afternoon, "launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist!" This followed her earlier accusation that the Democrat pals around with terrorists. "This is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America," she told the Clearwater crowd. "I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country." The crowd replied with boos.
No, he doesn't see it the way you do. He doesn't hate smarts. He doesn't hate education. He doesn't sneer at accomplishment, effort, or heart. And if he sees America as imperfect, perhaps we can all avoid the Emperor's-New-Public-Policy way of doing things that has been running us collectively into the ground for the last 8 years.

It seems, then, that John McCain's descent is complete. It began when he swallowed his hatred for George W. Bush and stuck up for him, appeased him, agreed with him. I still believe, given the opportunity, McCain would serious f his s up in a dark alley. But it's too late now. He's made his bed and wrapped himself in a cozy Palin-duvet of neoconservative rhetoric and bile.

It's a shame. Truly.

Style Section: People To Copy, Exhibit A

I don't take many style notes from celebrities or people-of-note, but Kate Middleton never fails to dress perfectly - British, regal, populist, age-appropriate, sophisticated, gorgeous. I'd give a pinky just for some of coats and hats.

As Per Linda Richman, Discuss

Women and Funny:


(Special note: "'The cultural values are male; for a woman to say a man is funny is the equivalent of a man saying that a woman is pretty. Also, humor is largely aggressive and pre-emptive, and what's more male than that?'" I would disagree. Humor is circular, not linear. Men are linear, they die. Women create life, we're circular. Men may have coopetd humor, but I think it goes against biology. I think it's because they can't give birth. So they have jokes. Note the author's similar but differently shaded treatment of birth in the discussion. I digress.)

Counter point.

(Unfortunate that the girls' side comes second as "That's not funny, I am funny," is a crappy bargaining position from which to argue for one's witty superiority, or at least witty parity.)

And back again.

(Both the point and back again clearly have a ribbon of modestly offered proposals running throughout, but does that lessen their evil?)

Sarah Barracuda Hates You, Smartypants

I hate people who sneer at you if you have an education. Sarah Palin, argues this piece, is one of those people.

Why she's allowed to make Barack Obama seem like an entitled rich kid is beyond me. He's accomplished, yes. But that's "accomplished" not "born into it." Hell, I get annoyed at the kids who have everything too, but I try to keep things in perspective and at least find out if they really have everything or not.

I also super-hate the glorification of ignorance or stupidity, or the stupid trait of clinging to your positions because your fragile ego can't handle being wrong or admitting there may be something outside of your knowledge and experience worth knowing. Sarah Palin lacks confidence and it seems all around her will pay for being smarter, more educated, more deliberate, or just more fortunate. That's not very Christian of her, however.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pleadings I'd Like To Read. Or Not.

If the person you voted for turned out to be of the opposite gender than you thought when you cast the ballot, would it matter? Georgia says no. I can't come up with a situation when it would. Or should.

With You In Spirit, PA

Michigan was grand and if we can add Pennsylvania to the list, all the better.

No, You Go To Hell

Now she said it, I didn't.

And get the F offa my high school campus, yo. Seriously - doesn't Carson have enough crazy sh*t going down? Whatever. Ugh. Seriously. Misuse of TWISI - direct penalty kick.

I don't know why I let myself get MORE angry at Sarah Palin (aside from her continuing to ruin it for the rest of us) - she lost me when she snarled at community organizers.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Par For The Course


This Debate Was Brought To You By Any-Letter-But-The-Letter-G

A few things about last night's debate.

-- I urge both camps to read this article about the Vice Presidency.

-- John McCain's health care plan, according to Sarah Palin (Washington Outsider begging for an opportunity to be a Washington Insider), would allow Americans to shop for health insurance in other states. More choice, right? Ironic, right? Not really - this notion is more about choice of law for insurance companies than it is about choice of coverage for consumers. States will rush to establish insurance company friendly laws to encourage migration to whatever state becomes the Delaware of Insurance Companies. Any special protections established by your own state won't apply. It's the federal privitization of healthcare. You know, like socialized medicine, except for companies. It's typically Republican - check that - typically THIS current form of Republican because it is completely not about decentralizing government and returning powers to the states.

-- Sarah Palin hates the letter G. Does anyone have film of a time when she liked it more? Had you elected to take a shot each time Palin dropped the elitist consonant, you'd be dead by now. You've already, I'm sure, seen highlight reels of her folksy manners and catch phrases from last night. Apparentlty people who like baseball can't like books, after all. Palin's an odd sort of bridge to nowhere herself. Which brings us to the next point, which will, just so you know, get us back to this one, momentarily . . . .

-- Sarah Palin, and we can only assume, her ticket, doesn't care about the source of anything. History won't get in the way of her progressin' and debatin' and administratin'. She doesn't care about the causes of global warming. She doesn't care how we got into this war. She doesn't care about the series of words causing her to form answers (you know, you call them questions and you generally tailor your series of words to follow them). Source is unimportant. Yet she seems to forget her own history . . . .

-- Because, getting back to the point above the last, Palin's manner is only possible, only saleable, because of George Bush - you know, that guy behind the curtain who she so clearly indicated she wanted nothing to do with last night because the past has passed. But Bush's brand of stupid paved her way. His folksy ways, his downhome attitude, his seeming contempt for anyone with an education (nevermind his own, he got Cs, so it doesn't count, he was only there for the beer, toga! toga! toga!), his contempt for intellect, reason, deliberation. Palin plays on "Main Street" - whatever that is. For this SoCal girl, the only image I get is from Disneyland. A simulacrum. It simply doesn't exist and maybe it never did. At least not the way Palin imagines it. Because her main street is a sacred place inaccessible to anyone using the letter g.

Palin is right, of course, to want to distance herself from the Bush administration. Given her proclivity to ignore the source (in flagrant violation of Jack Pitney's cardinal rule of life: consider the source), the distancing must come easily. The problem is, however, her ignorance doesn't doom Palin to repeat history, it dooms us all.

Is there much from the last eight years you'd like to repeat?

Choose change. Choose smarts. Choose the letter g. Help Joe Sixpack go to college.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

But Really, CAN You Name A Few?

Can you answer a question at all? Like, fully and stuff?

The Single Most Effective Statement Connecting Me To Barack Obama

If this statement, from a People Magazine profile of the Obamas, is true, the campaign is stupid for not making a much, much bigger deal out of it:

There clearly hasn't been much time for decorating [the Obama's Illinois home] since Barack and Michelle Obama, flush with cash from his best-selling memoirs, paid off their student loans and bought the house for $1.65 million in 2005.
Wow, really? They had student loans until that recently? Why should that surprise me - I know how much they spent on their educations and I know how slowly that student loan principal seems to go down with each monthly payment.

I think this slaps directly back at the baffling "elitist" label that Obama seems to carry so easily. McCain was born up, married upper, and remains pretty far up there. Sure, he may be a maverick jerk who doesn't need to be all braniac, but I haven't seen any ink on his struggles to pay for his education. Or anything else.

Obama worked his ass off from normal beginnings, wrote a book (even if you consider it a premature age at which to sell off one's memoirs), and was rewarded for his efforts.

I think that's great. And very American.