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Sarah Palin “Jokes”; Just Calls Kettle Black

Posted by emmsolom on October 2, 2008

I have little to say regarding this clip other than that, in preparation for tonight’s debate, I sincerely hope Sarah Palin has spent her time at McCain’s Arizona compound coming up with a) jokes that don’t suggest that she’s ENTIRELY unaware of, well, everything and b) the ability to pander to the public outside of referencing a local football game.

Following Palin’s foot-in-mouth moment du jour, resident mascara abuser Katie Couric seized the opportunity to call Palin out on mocking the age of the opposing VP candidate when her own runningmate (an aside for anybody into political semantics: is McCain Palin’s runningmate, or is only Palin McCain’s runningmate? If so, what is McCain to Palin?) is seven years older than the senator. While it’s not much of a surprise to hear that Palin issued a sturdy denial, citing Biden’s many speeches as merely lending themselves to his vast experience, it was indeed fairly surprising to hear the tried-and-true Obama card of change played by the Alaskan, as well as references to her “new ideas.”

I also find it immensely entertaining (in an accurate way) that when transcribed by the HuffPo, Palin’s word of affirmation is spelled as “yah.”


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The What’s, Why’s and How’s of HuffPo

Posted by emmsolom on September 29, 2008

In light of this week’s assignment to follow Arianna Huffington’s “Huffington Post” blog and at the same time consider the effect of Wikipedia on the internet, I thought it might be interesting to Wikipedia the Huffington Post. For the record, this post may contain a lot of “obvious” information for many but since it’s my blog and I was almost entirely unfamiliar with the HuffPo other than my awareness of its existence (and Huffington’s arguably pretentious Greek accent) until now it’s here anyway.

One thing I hadn’t realized about the HuffPo is how much strength in the blogging (particularly political blogging) community it has gained since its conception an amazingly short while ago in May of 2005. It made me wonder why exactly the HuffPo has become a first-priority go-to for the politically informed and has even been called the world’s most powerful blog.

It turns out that there are a number of reasons to which the success of HuffPo could fairly be accredited. One of them is the fact that money talks, and Arianna Huffington, with or without her blog, has a lot of it to throw around, even though the budget of the blog itself is less than notable. Perhaps Huffington’s deep pockets have something to do with the myriad of celebrity contributors (this article, to the contrary, insists that while celebrities are not monetarily compensated, charities of their choice may be), but surely the lengthy list containing everyone from liberal extremist Rosie O’Donnell to political mainstay Carl Bernstein (a quick rundown at the all-time contributors’ alphabetized “A” list includes Ben Affleck, Madeleine Albright, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Lance Armstrong and Alan Alda) draws a wide array of readers that other blogs may not attract.

Another reason to which one might attribute Huffington’s blog’s popularity is because it may not be the only but it certainly was the first blog to include a fair spread of news coverage and subsequent commentary; additionally, the blog was one of the first to boast a “Comments” section that is arguably as informative and ideologically stimulating as the website itself. In fact, the HuffPo’s “Comments” section came under fire earlier this year when Bill O’Reilly, citing some less than favorable comments made about him on Huffington’s blog, called for her to shut down the “Comments” section entirely.

Additionally, the website linked above even goes so far as to say the Huffington Post singlehandedly turned the internet into a credible marketplace for big corporations, using Murdoch’s ownership of MySpace as a prime example.

With as many supporters that the HuffPo can claim, there is an equally large number of naysayers: some argue that Huffington is making a quick buck off the free (or at least underpaid) work of her many bloggers, some look beyond pay inequalities because they’re focused more on the fact that the blog has evolved from a bipartisan political commentary site into an extreme left-wing attack of the right. Others yet think that the HuffPo gives a dazzling first impression with little to no truly original content to back it up.

Despite the tug-of-war between those who want to maximize the reach of HuffPo and those who want to bring it down entirely, Arianna Huffington deserves a lot of credit: she had the foresight to ride the financial coattails of her millionaire ex-husband from her religious conservatism of yesteryear to the outspoken liberalism for which she has become famous, which she then turned into a blog whose political reach extends well past substantially more “established” outlets.

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The Clinton Response: From “Cool” to “Crybaby”

Posted by emmsolom on September 29, 2008

When former president Bill Clinton publicly congratulated Barack Obama at the DNC for securing the Democratic nomination, many, given Obama’s defeat over his wife, were surprised to hear the ex-Prez’s kind words about the nominee. Thanks to recent Clinton comments about the two candidates, however, some Democratic voters feel that Clinton is becoming a liability to the campaign and may in fact be encouraging some leftist voters to vote for the opposing party, going so far as to plead with him to either rethink his most public support or stop talking altogether.

Although this article points out that in recent days Clinton has also continued to vocalize his support for Obama, even reiterating that he is better equipped than his opponent to save the country from the economic crisis, recent allusions he has made to McCain do seem to confirm Clinton’s personal bias.

Most recently, Clinton raised eyebrows by first referring to the “greatness” that McCain established for himself during his military years, then admitting that Obama, contrarily, hasn’t proven his greatness yet and will do so only when he “[does] good” as president.

As someone who was a Clinton fan, it pains me to see the way in which he is putting his personal vendettas ahead of the good of his party. Certainly McCain is deserving of the “greatness” title, considering his war-hero past, but when a former president starts heaping praise on the opposing party’s nominee while simultaneously hesitating to unequivocally compliment his own party’s nominee, there are bound to be voters whose hearts belong to him, whose votes will be cast in the direction he “endorses,” and Clinton’s attitude appears to many that he is endorsing Senator McCain.

Aside from the fact that Clinton may actually be making these comments out of sheer spite, if he doesn’t change his tune it should be interesting to see how his opinion actually does affect the election (if its effect can indeed be tracked).

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“Sexism” Needs To Be Stricken From The Record

Posted by emmsolom on September 25, 2008

As much as I laughed at the now-infamous SNL skit with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler respectively lampooning Palin and Hills, there was a time when I agreed that everyone – not just the media, but the PUBLIC, including people with whom I personally associate – were in fact focusing far too much on the fact that Palin is a woman. Not that they shouldn’t have been, seeing as there has never been a woman in such a high-powered office. Being that I am a woman, though, it was a little offensive when McCain’s selection was presented to me as “the alternative to Hillary Clinton,” as if one set of ladybits is just as good as the next.

Then I started reading about what the McCain campaign was doing in terms of press access to Palin’s U.N. meetings, which is a story deserving of full coverage in and of itself. That being said, the behind-closed-doors nature of these sit-downs was strange enough when the campaign announced that they would in fact be allowing press coverage at her meeting with Afghan president Karzai, except it would be limited to only one specially selected pool camera and producer (most pow-wows of this sort include at least one journalist from print, television and radio). Still, one camera/editorial presence is certainly enough to document publicly what Palin has to say to the leader of a country with whom we are warring, no?

Well, actually, no. It turns out that the lone CNN producer and camera were allowed in for an unbelievable TWENTY-NINE SECONDS. What did they talk about during this near-half-minute? Their children.

That’s all well and good, but if Sarah Palin wants to be taken seriously, then perhaps she might find it wise to start talking more about the real issues and less about breast pumps and formula. As a woman, certainly it is her prerogative to raise and celebrate a family, nor should she feel in any way compelled to hide them behind the scenes, but the irony of her only public rapport with Karzai being related to their children is so thick that it might as well have been Fey in front of the cameras camera all over again.

However, it seems that CNN anchor Campbell Brown completely disagrees with me. According to Brown, the only sexism here isn’t perpetuated by Palin herself so much as the campaign supporting her. Whereas some people might think that the curtain with which she has been so opaquely veiled exists with the hope that the public might forget, say, about the time she blatantly had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was, Brown thinks instead that it is in an effort to demean her as the inferior sex. And I quote:

“Tonight I call on the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower that will wilt at any moment. This woman is from Alaska, for crying out loud. She is strong. She is tough. She is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heart beat away form the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff. Allow her to face down those pesky reporters… Let her have a real news conference with real questions. By treating Sarah Palin different from the other candidates in this race, you are not showing her the respect she deserves. Free Sarah Palin. Free her from the chauvinistic chain you are binding her with. Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has just as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. So let her act like one.”

Brava, Campbell Brown, brava. You might be the only CNN employee who actually believes this to be the reason that Palin is rarely let out of her cage in McCain’s backyard, but at least you’re telling the campaign to let her sparkle the way we all know Saran Palin can, and I truly hope they listen to you.

On another note, I’d like to thank Katie Couric (and Arianna Huffington for this great article breaking down the how’s and why’s of the situation) for once again reminding us all that Sarah Palin has the face of a beauty queen and the brain of a bumblebee. Someone wake me up when Palin actually brings some facts to the table, as promised.

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I Don’t Blame John McCain For Cutting Off The Media

Posted by emmsolom on September 25, 2008

At a very important press conference yesterday, the press bombarded ruthless financial svengali Gordon Gekko with questions about how to improve the current financial crisis. Gekko, of course, is infamous for obtaining Blue Star Airlines thanks to some unethical insider tips promising the imminent growth of the company, then selling its assets off piece-by-piece, by proxy destroying a company and the family that built it simultaneously; ultimately, however, his “tipster” Bud Fox became an informant and threw Gekko under the great bus of big business.

Here’s the problem: Gordon Gekko is a character played by Michael Douglas in the 1980’s classic “Wall Street.” Douglas was at the U.N. in support of the ratification of a nuclear test ban treaty when he was asked to compare nuclear Armageddon to the “financial Armageddon on Wall Street,” and then later asked if, in fact, “greed is not good.” All while being addressed as Gordon.


I’m curious to know who in the media thought it would be a good idea to let Douglas wax philosophical on our country’s current financial crisis. Hearing that the Republican campaign is cutting off the media is a difficult – and hard to believe – pill to swallow, but the knowledge that the press is looking to an actor for sound bytes about preserving the economy makes the GOP’s move strangely justifiable.

Maybe Douglas should take the stand in Friday’s planned debate in lieu of McCain, thus allowing the Senator to devote his attention to the economy. He did, after all, wear the commander-in-chief hat in The American President, resulting in his full preparedness to debate. It’s ON, Obama!

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The Palins Are VERY Hip

Posted by emmsolom on September 22, 2008

Is it just me or is anybody else INSANELY bothered by the fact that the media has taken to calling Todd Palin “First Dude”? I have to be honest: when I first heard this term I actually thought it was the title of a new Disney movie. Really. I mean, that ANYBODY associated with the White House would be referred to as a “dude” (if McCain/Palin wins, will Sarah be Vice President Dudette?) is horrifying in and of itself, even if it’s in reference to someone who looks like he’d be right at home in his Camaro listening to “Sister Christian” and shotgunnin’ a Pabst.

On a side note, it always makes me a little bit sad when I hear really buttoned-up people (like Sarah Palin) use the word “dude” – sad like last week when I heard Kathie Lee Gifford mention how she had to miss MTV’s Video Music Awards, because then she continued on about how sexy Stone Phillips is looking these days and we all know that anybody who considers Stone Phillips’ sexiness to be gossip-worthy would NEVER watch the Video Music Awards.

That being said, it’s funny how all of a sudden nobody is paying attention to the fact that Trendy Todd supported the secession of Alaska from the nation (and still distinguishes between “Alaskan families” and “American families”), or that he didn’t even bother registering to vote until the ripe age of 25, all very interesting information considering that this article alludes to Todd as being his wife’s “de facto chief of staff”. Indeed, now anybody looking for information on Todd Palin is flooded with human-interest stories about his success at snowmobiling. I’ll take a direct quote:

“Those who know Todd Palin say he understands the steely determination that has defined his wife’s rapid climb to political prominence; he shows the same quality in the Iron Dog races, maintaining his focus at 110 mph over days of competition as Sarah and the children wait at the finish line. Once, recalled racing partner Scott Davis, Todd Palin rode the final 500 miles of a race with a broken arm. “He wouldn’t let me take him to the doctor,” Davis said. “It said a lot about his character, not giving up.”

Would it be wrong of me to say that, given these credentials, I’d want him as MY de facto chief of staff as well?

No, seriously though, if the Republican campaign makes even one more tiny effort to portray their candidates as being family-minded and in-tune with the working class, I might actually throw up.

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It’s Nice To See She Knows Who’s REALLY In Charge

Posted by emmsolom on September 19, 2008

Just as we all suspected…

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Who’s That Other VP Candidate Again?

Posted by emmsolom on September 19, 2008

That’s right, it’s Joe Biden, and he’s back with enough gusto that he has likely singlehandedly lost Obama the whole of the Catholic vote.

The oft-forgotten second-string Democrat has managed to wriggle his way back into the news and be effectively excommunicated by the Catholic Church in a matter of days. Biden, a known Catholic, has always been rather forthcoming about his pro-choice ideals, a conflicting issue that was feverishly dividing the Catholic vote. I say “was” because recent events, particularly Biden’s decision to take communion even when multiple Archbishops pleaded that it be denied to pro-abortion politicians, have led to Biden’s “excommunication” (a Pennsylvania bishop has banned him from taking communion in the diocese, which, until further notice, is the equivalent of excommunication) from the Church and, likely, from the minds of Catholic voters permanently.

Needless to say, the excommunication of Senator Biden does seem like a garishly impulsive move when compared to the comments made by and subsequent lack of punishment (I beg you to please, please, PLEASE not click this link if you are in ANY WAY bothered by disturbing images, having learned it myself the hard way) towards Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who noted that even Church-appointed doctors have failed to determine exactly when life begins and claimed to have based her stance on the views of St. Augustine.

It should come as no surprise that in this year’s “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” a bishop-penned election guide of sorts, readers are told that to specifically vote for a candidate based on his or her support for “an intrinsic evil” like abortion rights equates to “formal cooperation in grave evil.” That said, it seems to me that the decision to excommunicate the Senator was actually quite politically biased; not that this isn’t without exception, but doesn’t it go without saying that the typical Catholic is inherently further “right-wing” than practitioners of many other denominations in terms of politics? (Consider the “not without exception” preface to be my preemptive defense against any potential backlash that comes my way regarding my not-entirely-ignorant generalization of the Catholic ideology.) Biden’s pro-choice stance probably would have been enough to isolate Catholics from the Democratic campaign, but the Church’s public shunning of him will surely do the trick.

Simply stated, Biden’s rash decision to take unauthorized communion does seem like a particularly convenient incident that publicly affords the Catholic Church and its many followers the right to ostracize the entire Democratic campaign, even more than they already would have due to his belief in the right to choose.

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Sarah Palin DOES NOT Hate Rape Victims (Any More Than The Rest Of Alaska)

Posted by emmsolom on September 16, 2008

Well! There is much to be said regarding Sarah Palin’s weekend exposure (i.e. Charles Gibson – who is now my favorite television journalist – and the phenomenal SNL skit) that I will be getting to once all of my ducks are in a row after suffering through something slightly resembling the Black Plague for the past few days. However, here is one post, which may ultimately stand alone in its support of the sassy Alaskan, in which I am pleading with the public to give Sarah Palin a break (well, at least a little one).

For days, reports have plagued the media that in 1996, Governor Palin, then-mayor of Wasilla, AK, signed a bill that led to the billing of rape victims for the forensics tests that follow, no small expense given that the charges were typically to the tune of $500-$1200. Former Wasilla police chief Charlie Fannon asserts that this decision was made for the benefit of taxpayers, with victims being charged merely “deductibles”; needless to say, the abysmal rate of insured women resulted in some hefty charges for, as Arianna Huffington so eloquently puts it, “the privilege of having their cases treated as crimes.

Shocking, right? That this treatment of rape victims is an abomination of social decency is non-negotiable. However, in the same way that it was unimpressive and quite garish for John McCain to repeatedly lie about Senator Obama’s campaign, it’s only fair that someone steps up and points out that Wasilla was far from the only town in Alaska to be billing back its rape victims. Some might say that the decision was Palin’s chance to take a stand and truly impose change on the state (and some would be right). I say, though, at least it wasn’t her personal pet project the way the media is painting it out to be. There is no need to wash her hands clean but as an educated society we do bear the burden of giving credit EVERYWHERE that it is due.

I will, though, and without hesitation, admit that to even be riding this bandwagon pretty much negates Palin’s position as a “women’s rights activist” (although many would say that her stance on the right to choose has already put that nail in the coffin).

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Oprah-loonies Strike Again

Posted by emmsolom on September 11, 2008

This isn’t exactly the most hard-hitting news out there for the day but I was shocked to hear that crazy Oprah fans are outraged by their fearless leader’s decision to NOT interview GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin. In fact, some of her viewers are actually boycotting the show indefinitely (one would assume only until after the election, given that her viewers are actually rabid animals disguised in Mom jeans whose breath is sustained only by hauling home bi-annual loads of Oprah’s “Favorite Things”).

Say what you will about the fact that Barack Obama has stopped by her Chicago set on two separate occasions, but let’s not forget that his most recent appearance was in late 2006, long before he was even being considered for the nomination. Amid reports to the contrary (most of which attribute Winfrey’s disinterest in hosting Palin to her bias toward Obama), Winfrey herself has very adamantly stated that her show will not be used as a platform for ANY candidate, yet the ladies of the Republican party seem to think that the exclusion of Governor Palin is unacceptable and, in fact, “disingenuous.”

First of all, even if she were to host Obama during his campaign, the equivalent guest would be John McCain, NOT Sarah Palin. If anything, the fact that her audience believes that giving attention to Obama’s race merits the same attention to Palin’s gender is practically insulting to Obama himself, whittling the extraordinarily large gap between the responsibility of President and that of Vice President down to an issue of which social “taboo” deserves more focus. Being that Obama hasn’t actually appeared on the show since throwing his hat into the ring, maintaining party “equality” is hardly a justification for the ladies’ tirade.

For those viewers who are chomping at the bit to get a piece of Sassy Sarah, it’s your lucky day! ABC News’ Charles Gibson will be sitting down with the veep candidate to ask what will hopefully be hard-hitting questions, but more likely will be fluff questions, probably related to her expecting daughter and sure to be glossed over with some ambiguous responses.

In the wake of a provocative New York Times article that insinuates that Palin is a pretty face with little to back it up (the article loosely quotes a former Palin aid as saying that “she generally prefers light preparatory materials to heavy briefing books, and prefers walking through potential questions and answers with aides to holding mock sessions”), Gibson would be wise to probe her mind in search of answers that may not have been made so readily available to her by her advisers.

However, given the McCain campaign’s promise to keep the press at arm’s length as well as campaign manager Rick Davis’ assertion that no Palin interviews would happen until “the point in time when she’ll be treated with respect and deference,” it is likely safe to say that “deference” will be the name of the game for as long as is absolutely possible, relegating Palin to the shadows as a pageant-winning, gun-toting, lipstick-wearing anomaly.

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