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Archive for July, 2009

Here’re those pictures I promised. They come from a day I had to myself, tooling around Georgetown and I found this great little art gallery featuring bronze sculptures by one Richard MacDonald. As a dancer, of course, I was spellbound. And the gallery director was kind enough to let me take pictures which she really, and I mean REALLY, could have declined to do. Sometimes, people are kind. Also, check the original Dr. Suess. I wanted badly to buy a small reproduction for my niece but even that was out of my price range — hence the traveling back and forth to DC every five minutes looking for work. Something will give, right? Hello…?

Anyway, of course, as usual, I have another dance video to entertain you at the end because, as is so often the case, it moved me, made me feel inconsolably sad and yet uplifted and hopeful at the same time. And that pretty much defines what it is that dance, if you let it, can do to (for) you.

But one quick thing — there’s so much going on to debate at the moment: Healthcare (of which I’ll be posting something a friend wrote at a later date and you should check out Jr.’s take on it because he mentions Tort reform which — if I can infer this from a meeting I had Monday — is looking to be a hot button issue for conservatives); the cash for clunkers debacle; food safety bill H.R. 2749 that Juje clued me into; the whole “end-of-life” consultations offered as an option in ObamaCare — which, I’m sorry, just freaks me out; and just what will happen with the Congressional elections next year.

But I’m a little tired — didn’t get a lot of sleep last night — so there’s really only one thing I want to say. The whole Beer Party as a means to racial accord situation at The White House was interesting. On the one hand, it had kind of a light and down-to-earth flavor that seemed an appealing way to handle the situation and was, on the surface, a very interesting and potentially successful way of repairing damage. But then reality crept back in and the truth rose to the surface — our President, had he played his press conference question correctly and declined to comment on something he was woefully undereducated about (he didn’t know the facts is what I mean), rather than immediately jumping to conclusions, would never have needed to call these folks to his home to chat it out over a beer. What I’m saying is, the beer party never would have happened if everything else about the situation went down in exactly the same way but Obama declined to comment. I think I’m right about that. So, the beer party was really about Obama trying to fix his own image, wasn’t it? I mean, had he declined comment, would he have still called his buddy and the cop to come to The White House to talk about some of these things that, agreed, really should be talked about? I think the answer is no. And this is why Obama just doesn’t do it for me. This is about fixing his image but he turns it into some drummed up, feel-good opportunity to talk about race-relations. It’s just disingenuous, self-serving and arrogant. Especially when the discussion of race-relations — the real discussion — would be a very good, productive thing to do and would prove that Obama had some leadership qualities. Doing it this way — which is to say, doing it without the goal in mind being actual understanding rather than image protection — is kind of insulting. To Gates, Crowley and all of us who care about these things.

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Let it move you this weekend.

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Playin’ catch-up today so I’ll write more and post some pics from the recent DC shenanigans Friday. I did make it down to the water this time thank God and I found this great little boathouse that rents two-man and single kayaks and canoes for pretty cheap so I’m hoping to take advantage of that the next time. Also, Jr. suggested this because he’s all cosmopolitan and stuff so we went and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The WWF announcement each time tiny Rahm was on stage was the best in my opinion. They did a nice job of skewering everyone and that just speaks to my sensibilities. If you live in DC you should totally go. It made for a nice night out at le théâtre.potomac

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I don’t have a lot today because I’m sitting in a hotel room in DC waiting to see if there are any loose ends that need my nimble fingers and I’m working on about 2 hours of sleep. The most pressing thing on my mind is whether or not to take a dip in the hotel pool or climb into bed for an extended nap. They will likely both happen, in that order. So, I’ve got some dance stuff, a new song related to dance stuff, and just a little on the Obamacare primetime update because man I’m exhausted, not feeling diplomatic, and being nasty tires me out.

So, first, the brief nasty on Health Care. Look man, I didn’t read (I read the transcript instead of watching the presser for two reasons: a) it’s hard watching someone defend the indefensible and b) i wanted to watch dancing. Sue me.) anything that sounded particularly new and what keeps going through my head is why the rush? I know the party line is that health insurance coverage is so dismal for so many but that’s just not what I’m reading…

Cost is an issue but, hello, supply and demand pretty much have a way of regulating things like that so if you begin to artificially control a market you mitigate the effects of supply and demand, correct? Am I freakin’ crazy over here or is it that simple? I talked to my cabbie about it this morning on the way to the hotel and he — a lovely man who really did just want better things in life — told me that his wife’s coverage kept changing and increasing and dropping coverage for things they needed as they got older. So I said — “Sounds like your wife’s company needs to renegotiate their coverage or move to a better provider.” He looked at me like I was nuts. I mean, I guess it’s okay for the gov. to decide who your provider should be but not your employer. There was a time when wanting better things motivated people to move — move jobs, homes, ways of thinking — and I know the degree to which this is hard. I’m in the middle of it as we speak. But last time I checked, no one, not a one of us, was ENTITLED to healthcare nor do we DESERVE it. We decide to move in directions where we get what we want. Notice the use of the first person active voice there — WE GET what WE WANT. For the downtrodden, unemployed and those who do need a little help, of course, let’s give them some basic healthcare at low cost. The market can do that, too. I’m just tired of all the panic and histrionics to get what amounts to a crappy bill that no one really seems to like pushed through because, I’m assuming, your ego won’t have it any other way. Or is it some other external pressure? I can’t tell…Juje (again, smarter than me) thinks it’s ego but I know that egomaniacs are obsessive about their image and his is suffering under this healthcare thing so I just feel there must be something else…any guesses…? Speaking of panic and histrionics and my sister, she read me an article the other day detailing the “crisis” in childcare and she asked me over the phone, “I mean when does it end?” Then we had a good laugh about how this article was talking about the childcare situation having been in crisis for the last — get this — 25 years. Um, doesn’t that amount of time pretty much dictate that it’s not been a crisis…?

Anyway, I digress. Told you I was feeling snarky and tired. So, some dance I thoroughly enjoyed watching. I took a master class once from this choreographer. She was insane but I remember loving the steps. Also, did a little lyrical moving around to this song the other day and it made me happy (thank you Ms. Maerz).


Have a lovely time this weekend. I have a feeling, for me, there may be a little fight over this post…I don’t even try to avoid them anymore. They always find me…

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So, turns out The Rolling Stone piece was pretty good – equal opportunity offender which equals success in my book. Key insights include this little nugget that made me laugh:

That summer, as the presidential campaign heated up, the accepted explanation for why gasoline had hit $4.11 a gallon was that there was a problem with the world oil supply. In a classic example of how Republicans and Democrats respond to crises by engaging in fierce exchanges of moronic irrelevancies, John McCain insisted that ending the moratorium on offshore drilling would be “very helpful in the short term,” while Barack Obama in typical liberal-arts yuppie style argued that federal investment in hybrid cars was the way out.

But it was all a lie. While the global supply of oil will eventually dry up, the shortterm flow has actually been increasing. In the six months before prices spiked, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the world oil supply rose from 85.24 million barrels a day to 85.72 million. Over the same period, world oil demand dropped from 86.82 million barrels a day to 86.07 million. Not only was the shortterm supply of oil rising, the demand for it was falling — which, in classic economic terms, should have brought prices at the pump down.

So what caused the huge spike in oil prices? Take a wild guess.

Again, I can’t argue that it’s 100% true because I’m just a novice and would like to see arguments refuting all of this. But it’s extremely compelling. One interesting thing to note however: the author places most of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the bank. Seems to me that collusion requires at least two parties by definition. Making Goldman Sachs the big baddie who’ve been manipulating and raping every economic sector since the early 20th Century is probably a bit simplistic. And, hell, I’m a capitalist. So, on principle, I tend to be somewhat forgiving of massive acquired wealth if achieved ethically and morally. Book cooking – most definitely argued by this author — is a different game altogether…

Somewhat off topic (but not totally), this is a very good post on being able to say “I Don’t Know.” Make sure to click the link he includes at the bottom to the poem that I’d like very much to reproduce here but would much rather just point you to the blog so you get the full effect and maybe revisit sometime…Rejoice in the living…reminds me of that line from “The Shawshank Redemption”: “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’…that’s damn right.”

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Trying to make my way through this article about how Goldman Sachs is the cause of all our economic woes since the Great Depression. So far it’s fairly reasonable but I’m a bit of a novice so it’ll take me a little time to work out if I agree or not. I will say, given what I know of this publication’s tendency toward bias, that it might be smart to fact check with other reputable sources before believing. The difficulty is that — well, economic theory is hard…

Listening to this fabulous album. I’m kinda shocked that I never saw this video before a little YouTube crawl this morning. Awesome.

Also, just found out another friend is hightailing it out of town for strange new lands and — I’ll say it — sonofabitch I’m starting to lose my faith over here. I’m gonna have to come up with some fantastic new plan that’ll scare the crap out of me but will push the issue. It might just be time. But I’m happy for you Winders. Stay in touch my friend.

And, because when I start getting all sad, I try to make myself laugh. So I don’t cry. This did it.

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I’m playing around with themes here so don’t get confused. You’re at the right place. I was finding the text size difficult with the other theme. Or maybe it was an optical illusion related to the dark background…There’s just so much I want to say today that I’m having trouble editing it all in my head so that it can be reasonably — and thriftily — conveyed here…

Okay, first: Did anyone see this beautiful little smack down by the National Black Chamber of Commerce chair? Hot Air rightly notes it as a top pick because I think it’s one of those topics related to race in this country that people really don’t talk about — to wit: the most egregious offenders are generally the ones who appear to be the most sympathetic to your cause. I disagree slightly with Hot Air’s take on this; I don’t think it’s soft bigotry at all. I think it’s blatantly disrespectful and is absolutely and obviously proof that Boxer lumps people together based on how she views the world and panders to their associations rather than seeing them as individuals who have individual interests — in this case, energy policy. But the most disgusting part? She clearly is so elitist and obviously believes herself to be so superior intellectually that she’s taken aback when Alford not only gets it but — the horror! — calls her on it. I might be a bit too impassioned here but that was the most offensive to me, this woman’s surprise that her ridiculous little game was noticed and brought out into the light. Pitiful Boxer. Just pitiful. And, just as an aside, I laughed aloud when I watched this yesterday. It made an otherwise bleak day at work tolerable. Score one for the individual voice!

Second: Wow. ObamaCare is actually making me consider biting my nails again. And, lest you get all emotional about how much better things will be once employers are forced to buy health insurance, just remember this:

“Employment Tax: Both the House and Senate bills help pay for their new spending by instituting an employer mandate to buy health insurance that, as CBO director Elmendorf explained earlier this week is really just a job killing employment tax: “[I]f employers who did not offer insurance were required to pay a fee, employees’ wages and other forms of compensation would generally decline by the amount of that fee from what they would otherwise have been.”

So, you get you laser eye surgery but have less for groceries. I don’t know man…which one do you need to live…

Finally, the Gudger taught me some exciting choreography the other day to the lovely song below. Gudge, your choreography is on the short list of things that make me happy to still be here in our sleepy little town (oh alright, this town has been great but it’s just time to move on…). And I was reminded of a former life where I wrote about things like this. You’ll notice that the article details Ms. DiFranco’s actively progressive tendency and, make no mistake, I was at that time very well-formed in my conservatism (just ask my fellow reporters who worked with me just prior to the interim music editing gig at this magazine. In fact, just yesterday, one of them was lamenting that she — as a resident of Minnesota — may be regretting her Al Franken vote and I told her I really — seriously — wasn’t gloating. She said she was rethinking missing me…). But here’s the thing: after speaking with someone the other day about the nature of journalism — specifically whether or not the journalistic ethic belongs in the blogosphere — I reread this article and felt pretty good about the fact that I let the artist have her say without interjecting my own opinion in there. Cause it wasn’t about me you see. It was about her. And this is what I think the mainstream media has forgotten. There is still a place for the unbiased report and it’s almost definitely not in the world of blogs (although it is increasingly online. Sorry print but you’re too damn expensive…). So, get on it MSM. Your life kinda depends on it.

Also, Krauthammer talking about one of my favorite things. It’s just a convergence of awesome things and I try to promote that.

So I’ll be swing dancing tonight. Hope you find your Friday groove, too.

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Alumni pride

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Hey yo. I recently made a crack on Twitter referring to this article that the whole potential for favoritism in the (allegedly) soon-to-appear carbon credit market reminded me of graduate school. To clarify, in academia, who you know, whose office you frequent, how much you’re willing to pander and coddle and fawn really does make a difference. And should you have an opinion that is outside the accepted norm, God be with you. This kid does not compromise her beliefs but I decided toward the end of my graduate degree that I would say what I needed to say just to get the hell out of there with my paper in hand so that it would not have been in vain. Fortunately, I was never forced to defend my positions. I just tucked my head down and tried not to call attention to myself. So I find articles like this one fascinating in that the author approaches the subject in a much less — ahem — biased way by focusing on the problem as less political in nature and rather the product of groupthink. But then, as Orwell was fond of telling us, groupthink is pretty damn political after all. Also, this guy’s from the old hometown (Emory was, literally, 5 minutes down I-85) so my heart sorta swells with pride that we get a little intellectual cred down here in the South.

And on that note, straight from the department from which my graduate degree originated and my current employer, another moment of pride. Proud to be a Georgia girl today.

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