Back when I was younger, I always used to like to think of movies I wanted to see and then cast them in my head. This was in the nineties, and one of the major objects of my hobby was always an X-Men movie. While that has come and gone, I remember that pretty much the only character from my dreamcast who made it to the movie was Patrick Stewart as Professor X. Bearing in mind this was the mid-90s, I’d always thought Kurt Russell and Gates McFadden would have made a terrific Cyclops and Jean Grey, respectively, while Jean Claude Van Damme was at that time popular enough, short enough, and Canadian enough to seem like a good choice for Wolverine.
I can’t say I’ve stopped. I still would love for Gore Verbinski to buy my adaptation of Macbeth and direct it with Christian Bale as the titular character and with a supporting cast including Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean, Dougray Scott, Angelina Jolie, and Anthony Hopkins. That’d be so, so rad. Imagine the swordfights of Pirates of the Caribbean but in medieval Scotland (which, admittedly casts the setting a solid several hundred years post Scottish play, but whatevs).
And now that President-elect Barack Obama (God, there’s a lovely ring to that) is considering his cabinet members, I have, too. I think it’s really important, too, because these are people chosen, rather than elected, and you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps. The cabinet consists of 15 members (You can find the current list here): they are the Secretaries of Agriculture, the Interior, Commerce, Justice, Defense, Labor, Education, State, Energy, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Treasury, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development.
Now, there are a couple I wouldn’t even venture a guess toward, like Agriculture or Interior or Commerce. But a couple of the others? I’ll start with the ones I’d certainly offer:
Secretary of Labor: John Edwards. Don’t care that he had an extramarital affair. I’d at least ask him.
Secretary of Defense: General Wesley Clark. Dude’s awesome, and seems to know what he’s doing.
Secretary of Homeland Security: Richard Clarke. Because Against All Enemies is, by all accounts, genius. He was counter-terrorism czar for a while, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State until he “retired.” Thing is, dude is only a couple years older than my father. Again, I’d at least ask him.
Now here’s the thing: I considered John McCain in one of those. I think I’d want John McCain in my cabinet. Thing is, you can’t very well offer either post to the man who joked about Bomb-bomb-bombing Iran. So I think that what I’d do is ask McCain to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs, but also increase the synergy between the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veteran’s Affairs. They seem related, after all.
Secretary of State: Bill Clinton.
Secretary of Education: Hillary Clinton.
Now, I wrestled over this one. But Hillary wrote It Takes a Village, and education has always been near to her heart.
Secretary of Energy: Al Gore. Because we need new energy if we want to end global warming, which is his cause and all, and hey, the man invented the Internet, so I’m sure he could come up with something (that’s a joke. I know he didn’t actually build these here tubes). And shit, dude won a Nobel, no? And for Peace? I would so totally want a Nobel Prize winner in my cabinet.
Secretary of Treasury: Paul Krugman. Hell, why not two Nobel Prize winners? Dude is the latest winner for economics. He’s got to know something. I’ve heard Warren Buffett’s name mention a couple of times, though, and I’m sure he’d be good.
I wish I could figure out who my attorney general would be. We’ve been in desperate need of a good one for several years. But I don’t know enough about law to know whose name should be mentioned here. But I can tell you what I’d want: an expert in constitutional law, and someone unafraid to follow it closely. Someone unafraid to denounce torture as an interrogation technique. Also, would it be this guy’s job to introduce legislation to abolish the electoral college and revise the way voting works? Because I think we need that guy, too.
So those are my big choices, I think. Looking over it, it seems to lean slightly left, but I left several slots unfilled, and I’d definitely try to balance the cabinet in filling those.
I know I got very wrapped up in the election and discussing it. I hadn’t meant to. I hadn’t meant to avoid it, exactly, but I hadn’t realized I would become so focused on it. I think I got so wrapped up in it because McCain/Palin scared me so much, and because I thought there was so much at stake.
A lot of it was wrapped up in my feelings about September 11th. I realized that before, but watching Obama’s acceptance speech drove it home. I’m only 30 and ain’t been alive long, arguably, and missed some major cultural milestones. I may be mistaken, but I don’t think any man has walked on the moon so long as I have been alive. The sixties are full of a lot of cultural imagery that will only ever be grainy footage to me; JFK and RFK and MLK. I came in at the tail end of the seventies, and missed free love and freer sex. While I enjoy the Beatles music in some ways, I still don’t see what the big fuss was about, and by the time I came around, Elvis was gone, too. I enjoy few movies made before 1980, Star Wars being the most notable example.
Still, the other night, watching Obama accept the presidency, I thought of what I have seen. I saw a black man become president of the United States, and while I know that racism is in many ways still alive and perhaps too healthy in America, I think it’s the surest sign there’s hope.
I remember this, too:
Which was in 1987. Two years later, in August 1989, 28 years and one day after it was constructed, that wall came down:
I think a lot of us had that feeling first thing Wednesday morning, just after midnight.
The end of one era, and the beginning of a new one.
(I’ve just realized, too, that 28 years and three days after I was born, I left for USC. That’s kinda neat)
Because the other momentous thing I’ve seen during my lifetime is something that too often hurts too badly to talk about too much. A few weeks ago, I caught the premier for Life on Mars, a show by which I was singularly unimpressed save for a single moment:
I often feel like that day started a time of corruption and incompetence carried through 7 long years. Seven years during which America lost internationally most of what reputation it had, invaded countries it had no right to attack, ‘defending freedoms’ it had already taken away anyway.
I don’t know what Obama will do, nor what he will change. I don’t know that he will be a good president. But I think he has both dignity and integrity, two things the office of the presidency have been sorely lacking for a long, long time (and not just during this past administration. I like Clinton, but dignity and integrity are not words that come to mind when he does), and I feel comfortable enough with the next four years (at least) in his hands.
I don’t think much will change for a while; Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the Berlin Wall didn’t fall the day after Mr. Reagan challenged Mr. Gorbachev. Then again, September 12th, 2001 saw the sun rise on a world completely changed from the one that had existed just 24 hours before, so who knows?
I don’t. But here’s the thing:
While I don’t remember much about the morning of September 11th up to, say, 8:50 or so, it is because that day at that point in my life was unremarkable, which means it was a good morning. It was a morning on which I woke up a little later than I wanted, brushed my teeth, walked a block up to the PATH station at Journal Square. It was a morning I walked from Herald Square at 34th and 7th to my office at 40th and Madison, and if I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary during that several block trek, I will claim it was a good one, because those walks were, back then. They weren’t all sunshine and roses, of course (not many rosebushes on the streets of Manhattan), but after that morning, those walks were different, and they disappeared all together several weeks later.
I cried when I watched Obama’s acceptance speech, just like I cried when Hillary Clinton spoke at the DNC. I cried when I watched McCain concede. Not because I was so happy, though there was that, but because I was feeling something with which I had been unfamiliar for so long. I watched the polls and results with hope but also with caution, and even posted over at Making Light that I would believe it only when he took the oath of office.
Because the thing is, when you’re so scared, when you feel so beaten down, when you get so wound up and anxious, if you feel that way long enough, it can be hard to give it up. Watching Obama speak, I started to give it up. I started to let the sun shine in again. I started to feel myself open again, and that’s something I haven’t felt in a long, long time. Watching Obama speak, I started to realize that things might not always be so dark as I felt they were.
Then again, I also know that I may well be projecting my personal feelings onto those of the country as a whole. I took this election more personally than I took the one in 2004 because I’ve changed in the years since. In 2004, I was working as an assistant editor and living in my parents’ basement; this just a couple of years after I had graduated college with all the promise in the world and gotten a great gig at a prestigious advertising agency. In a way, I think I felt I was going backward if I ever felt much at all, because I know at times I was going just to go, doing just to do, coasting through to get by. This year was personal because I don’t feel that way. I’m working and living and doing. I’ve stopped waiting around for life to happen and started to make things happen, and I think I projected some of that feeling onto the election. I think I felt as though, since I was changing, the world should, too, somehow, in however small or large a way.
I think, too, I felt ready.
I don’t know what the future will hold. I don’t know what tomorrow will be.
But just the hope of it makes me smile at the possibility.
For now, that is something. For now, it is enough.
I’m more surprised people are surprised by this. By Republican standards, $150,000 is an absolute bargain, considering it’s roughly half what Cindy McCain’s RNC outfit cost.
It’s become apparently newsworthy enough that the GOP is issuing statements concerning it. McCain says she needed new clothing, I guess either because she didn’t have enough, as governor of Alaska, or because everything she owned was maternity wear. They also claim all the clothes will be donated back to charity, by which I suppose they mean PUMA for Hockey Moms or somesuchlike.
To be honest, I don’t care, though I do so enjoy the fact that during the midst of an economic crisis verging on absolute collapse, John McCain can’t keep track of how many homes he earns and Sarah Palin spends very nearly more in a few weeks on clothing than I have so far earned during my entire professional career (and I’m 30. Which probably says a lot about my professional career, or sometimes lack thereof). The only thing I care about is that she’s a total hypocrite. Because here’s the Yahoo! news story in which she denies the rumors and then says that:
It’s kind of painful to be criticized for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported.
Which reminded me a lot of this video:
From back in March when she “offered Hillary Clinton advice on how to campaign” by criticizing Clinton for a “perceived whine.”
Please may this woman disappear just as quickly as she appeared in the first place.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go early vote. And by ‘early vote,’ I mean cast my ballot for “that one.” And by “that one,” I mean Barack Obama.
Right now, Colorado is split right down the middle between Obama and McCain. It’s a dead heat at 44% of voters each, which is why Palin was in Englewood the other day accusing Barack Obama of “pallin’ around with terrorists,” the best evidence she has of which is the fistbump Obama once gave his wife and the fact that Obama barely knows some guy who did something when Obama was, like, 8 years old.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and all, of course, and right now I’m not sure there’s anyone in America more desperate than the two people on the GOP ticket.
I get people who support John McCain, though, I’ll admit. I did once, too, long, long ago before he let Bush win the GOP primary back in 1999. Before then, I would have said he seemed like a good guy, and I’d like to see him come along after Bill Clinton. The world would be a much different place if we were currently ending a McCain administration instead of a Bush administration, and I’d wager, in fact, that alternate history wouldn’t have led us to such a bleak and very real present, with its economic crises, illegal espionage, and unjust wars. Back in 1999, McCain seemed like the kind of guy who would have told the world on September 12th, 2001, that we had been struck by terrorists and would respond swiftly and surely, and then, you know, responded to the right country.
But that’s not who John McCain is anymore. He’s erratic. He seems to want to believe that America can restores its international image simply by bombing more countries. He doesn’t understand the economic crisis, not in any real way; no one who would lose track of the number of houses his family owns could really grok the mortgage crisis.
So I get people who support him, I think, because they’re supporting who he used to be rather than what he’s done since and what he’s running on, now, and really, who wouldn’t like to go back to 1999? Well. Okay, I wouldn’t, but 2000-2001 would be nice, certainly. I’d dig it.
Houghton-Mifflin, purveyors of the textbook of said statistics. Who decided that even though I spent nearly $150 purchasing their textbook, I could only download it once, and then only to one computer, and only then using Adobe Digital Editions. Who the hell uses Adobe Digital Editions? And seriously, I get the new Coldplay, I rip it to my computer, I can listen on any device I want, but I spend nearly ten times as much and you lock me in? It’s a statistics textbook for a business course, and that business model makes me question just how damned authoritative you actually are. Business is about relationships and transactions with your customers. I am your customer, and you totally and completely failed me.
PUMA supporters. Which, apparently, stands for “Party Unity My Ass.” Have you heard of this? All the sad supporters of Hillary who are upset she lost and decided that Obama is the antichrist, and that McCain/Palin is a good choice because Palin is, like, a chick? God, I’m so tired of everyone backhanding Obama and treating McCain/Palin like they wouldn’t be 8 more years of the same. Dear female PUMA supporters; take your heads out of your collective twats long enough to acknowledge that feminism is about more than simply voting for anyone in a skirt.
After hearing the absolutely weird-o story about Sarah Palin, her daughter Bristol, and Trig, I just had to do some more digging. Yesterday was a grading day for the most part, so I only managed to squeeze a bit in, but I did still manage to. Because it’s the sort of story that sticks, isn’t it? Here’s the second woman in history to run for vice-president, and she brings with her what might be a surreal familial scandal.
For anyone who hasn’t heard, the official story is that Palin, while in Texas to deliver some speech or other, realized at some point during the night/early hours of the morning (back in April), that she had begun to leak amniotic fluid, indicating her water broke. She called her doctor for advice and was told she was mostly okay, and so she did what any late-term mother would do; she went and delivered her speech in the morning, and then got on a plane to fly back to the town of which she had been the mayor to deliver the child, Trig, who was born at 6:30 am.
Which sounds like it was more than 24 hours after her water broke.
This, apparently, is highly unusual for a fifth child; the general trend is that labor time goes down as women have more children. So a first child might take a day and a half (I’m pretty sure I did), while a fifth might take a third that much time (I think my sister’s labor took, like, six or eight hours. I’d have to find out).
There’s something else that bothers me, too; isn’t the official story that she knew her child was going to have Down’s syndrome? I thought she knew that ahead of time. So rather than seek medical attention right away, she delayed for nearly 24 hours. To fly.
Curioser and curioser.
The fact that Trig has Down’s syndrome might play into this as well; it is rather well known that women over forty are at statistically greater risk to both conceive/bring to term a child with Down’s syndrome, but so are exceptionally younger mothers. Say, those who are 16 or so.
Also, there is the question of media and a sudden paucity of pictures. The Alaskan State Government removed from its website nearly all photos of Palin and her family.
However, here’s a video of her chastising Hillary Clinton in March. In this video, according to the official story, she is 6 or 7 months pregnant:
I don’t know; maybe she’s just hiding it well.
Trig was born a month later.
And I’ll admit: I can be like a pitbull with lockjaw, and when I get focused on something, watch out. And yesterday, I was focused. So I employed some good ole’-fashioned Google fu.
My gut reaction was, in fact, what on Earth is she wearing? Is that periwinkle with a chartreuse scarf? Both those colors are words I generally use just because they’re funny; I don’t think I’ve ever expected to use them both literally and in context. But that jacket’s got to be something one wouldn’t wear for form so much as function.
Looking at those pictures, I can’t decide either way. My first thought on seeing either is not that that woman is 7 months pregnant (my first thought is the aforementioned gut reaction), but neither would I disbelieve you if you told me she was. I’d think, wow, hey, hiding it well.
But that jacket? She’s either trying to disguise that she’s pregnant or trying to disguise that she’s not.
Or then again: maybe she just likes the jacket.
After I saw the pictures, I wrote to Todercan. I figured the pictures had to have been taken around April, and that’s him in the picture with her, so I thought hey, dude might know. Few better ways to find out the answer to a question than to ask.
The pictures that I posted on my blog in a this post (April 3rd) had been taken on March 11th, so the governess was in her 7th month of pregnancy. I’ll have to admit that she doesn’t look very pregnant in those pictures (here is a large resolution version of one), but that doesn’t mean that she was lying. Simply because a woman (and a public figure) can and wants to keep her pregnancy secret, for different reasons (and there are tons of them that don’t involve her daughter’s sexual life) doesn’t mean that she is an incapable leader. It is her capabilities as a governor and a politician that should be tested.
Which I’ll return to in just a second.
Because there’s another image I found. It was originally on Alaska’s state website, and though it came up in a Google image search, the actual page would not. Meaning, I got to access the picture, but couldn’t get to the site. V. Fishy. Fishier, in fact, than tuna, as one reader’s mother said.
Here’s the picture:
It’s from the 2008 Iditarod. March 1st, it seems? Again, Palin would be at least in her 6th month of pregnancy. At this point, it’s worth noting that women who have already had children begin to show signs of pregnancy earlier, not later.
The problem is, Palin is damned if she was and damned if she wasn’t. Either her water broke early in the morning but she gave a speech anyway and then flew for 8 hours to deliver said child at a hospital where the care simply couldn’t have compared to that available in other places even despite knowing that her baby already had health problems, or
She lied about the whole thing to cover up her daughter’s pregnancy, because it’s a matter of shame that should be concealed.
But the thing is, either way, I still think it’s moot. I wouldn’t think she’s fit for the position either way. And those smug, arrogant PUMA supporters can call me an Obamatron all they like, but I don’t care; at this point, I can’t see a way to justify electing a guy who firmly believes in the war and a woman who believes so firmly in family values she believes in subjugating women’s rights to get there. Either way, I don’t think anyone who believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible that should be taught alongside evolution in schools is fit to hold any public office, whether mayor of a town of 5,000 or vice-president of a country exponentially larger.
Either way, Sarah Palin is not the woman this country needs. The woman this country can use has already pledged her support to Obama, and PUMA supporters should stop pledging their support to anyone in a skirt and start voting with their heads and hearts, because otherwise they, like Sarah Palin, are just the sort of women who give feminism a bad name.
I just watched the nation’s first female presidential candidate endorse the nation’s first black presidential candidate.
And yes, I cried as I did so.
I’m an Eagle Scout. On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country.
And man, at this moment, am I ever proud of my country.
Rock on, Hillary Rodham Clinton. What a brilliantly, beautifully dignified legacy you have. What a brilliant, beautiful speech you made on this, the anniversary of our country’s finally recognizing women’s right to vote.
You have not done your gender proud.
You have done our country proud. You have made me proud to be an American.
For that, I thank you. For that, I will be forever grateful.
Obama’s naming his own choice for a running mate would effectively keep him in the news for a full week, and would certainly draw focus on him and his campaign at a very crucial moment. By then we might actually no longer be hearing about swimmers and underage gymnasts (which I, personally, think is a moment that can’t come soon enough, thanks).
The article names a handful of possible candidates, picking Hillary as a longshot behind people like Joe Biden and Evan Bayh, and a couple of people I’ve never heard of, Tim Kaine and Kathleen Sebelius. The latter has an impressive Wikipedia page and a good track record.
I should note I’m disappointed that John Edwards is gone from the process. To be honest, I really don’t care about candidates’ personal lives, and I’d still vote for him regardless of his extramarital activities. I don’t think they have any bearing on the good he’s accomplished, and it’s a shame his personal choices will effectively end his political aspirations.
Then again, I’m also the guy who thinks it’s a crock that some random pastor guy grilled Obama and McCain on issues of faith, because I’m also the guy who thinks religiosity comes in at the very bottom on the list of qualities I’d like to see in a leader.
Interestingly, that Yahoo! article speculates about McCain’s choices for a running mate, and names one by which I was surprised: Joe Liebermann. Who you might remember as Gore’s running mate in 2000. Which strikes me as a turncoat sort of thing to do, especially given McCain’s views on the war in Iraq and etc. The other name was Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania and a supporter of abortion rights. Lending credence to that: McCain is apparently surveying constituents concerning his choice–
Underscoring how seriously McCain may be considering Ridge or Lieberman, Republican officials say top McCain advisers have been reaching out to big donors and high-profile delegates in key states to gauge the impact of putting an abortion-rights supporter on the GOP ticket.
Which strikes me as hypocritical. In the same debate in which the candidates were moderated by random pastor guy, McCain stuck by his assertion that life begins at conception. It strikes me as a fundamental dichotomy to consider someone who is pro-choice as a running mate, not to mention morally oppositional.
This is, of course, not really news to anyone who’s been paying attention; Hillary became an also-ran as many as weeks ago. If I say that she desperately clung to mathematically impossible odds, though, instead of saying that she fought the good fight, I’ll probably be accused of misogynism, so I won’t.
Instead I’ll just say I’m both relieved and excited.
Lots of talk, now, about VPs. CNN notes that “the pressure is on” Obama, now, which I find rather odd, especially considering that, so far as I know (and I’d hope I would), McCain still hasn’t chosen a veep, though he secured the nom months ago.
I’ve heard several potential candidates mentioned. Three interested me. Edwards was the first.
Today, I read someone mention Gore. I’m not sure Gore would accept, though; he already was VP for eight years, and then had a failed presidential bid. He does bring both added cache (now that he’s got both an Oscar and a Nobel Peace prize) and experience, but… yeah, just not sure.
And then, of course, there’s Hillary.
Obama has said he admired Lincoln’s cabinet because Lincoln filled it with people he didn’t necessarily agree with; given that, maybe he would ask Clinton to run with him.
But then again, given Hillary’s performance in this primary, I’m not sure I’d want to run with her, were I Obama. She made it nasty. She made it personal. She attacked and went negative, and I’m just not sure that’s the sort of politician Obama would want to associate himself with.