While I haven’t written (or had the time or the energy or the drive to write) I’ve been collecting ideas for topics for the last few months on my BlackBerry as I roam about.I would now like to make an effort to catch up on the those months by listing (sic) the ideas I thumbed into the little device and what a portion of the essay would have been, had I had the parenthetically aforementioned motivators.I’ll try to do these three at a time, over the course of a few days, beginning with the most recent and working my way to October 2011.
Dec 23, 2011: Karl Rove telling Reps to cave and accept the Senate extension of the tax cuts
The latest example of why people who are either a) retarded or b) fucking crazy should be disinvited to the party on Capitol Hill. Rove told Fox News that Republicans in the House needed to accept the two month extension of the payroll tax cut because some in the party had “lost the optics on it.”
Two days earlier, Speaker John Boehner blocked a Senate proposal to extend, even though he earlier backed the prop, because some of the more conservative (a term that is rapidly becoming a word synonymous not with traditional, level-headed, structured as it has been and should be, but with extremist, bull-headed, unstable) members of the GOP vowed to revolt. Call them Tea Party-ers, call them Ultra-Conservatives, call them hard-liners – these people who refuse to rationally negotiate (and sometimes accept things they aren’t too please with; the characteristic that differentiates a negotiation from a browbeating) make me want to keep Barney Frank around for another six years just so he can tell them
Dec 10, 2011: Why do people have trouble drawing lines? Baby not born till it passes the vulva? Kiki and fucking animals? And ACLU Allen Lichtenstein on Atlantic Monthly article?
This was a reminder to write about the limits at which things change, or at which people think things change and their inability to agree on the moment one thing becomes another (not their inability sketch straight lines, as I first thought when I read it a second time, this morning). The birth thing is a frustration with how certain people have trouble distinguishing when a human becomes alive (which is as absurd as an inability to distinguish when someone’s dead, as if there a stages: developmentally dead, mostly dead, dead dead).
And the rather off-putting Kiki thing is my friend Kiki who, when Prop 8 passed in California, said, “Of course it passed; if you allow people of the same gender to marry, when does it end? Can people marry 12 year olds? Family members? Animals?
The latest confounded attempted obfuscation came at the hands of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been trying to block the creation of something called “veterans courts” at which former military service men and women are tried, convicted, sentenced and rehabilitated outside of the mainstream legal system.The programs have been operating for about two years now and, while there so far are not any definitive success-rate numbers, “by and large, the courts have reported little recidivism,” according to the Atlantic Monthly. The ACLU has tried to block the creation of veterans courts, claiming they’re some sorta form of elitism – because a person who commits a petty crime after spending 12-15 months in brutal, uncivilized, psychologically scarring conditions, fighting for the (ostensible, but still) perpetuity of the American civil system that will, as a thank you, rush them through a criminal court, sentencing them to a 60 days in Folsom without peer support or counseling and therefore initiating a cycle of criminal behavior that will continue until death or the same court just says fuck it and hands down a life sentence – that person is exactly the same as some drunk jackhole who parks his pickup halfway into the candy aisle of the BP.
“We’re not against diversionary programs, but the idea of an entirely different court system based on status doesn’t make sense,” says Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel of the ACLU of Nevada. “Does that mean a police officer who is accused of a crime should have a separate court because of his stress?"
My guess is Mr. Lichtenstein never served win an infantry unit on the front line.
Dec 1, 2011: Obama Should Box Out
Finally: I wrote this note on the subway, heading home from Manhattan, reading GodKnowsWhat. It was reactionary, making the “GodKnowsWhat” part a bit of a problem. Regardless, the sentiment was this:
The game that Obama needs to play in order to win is also one of the most effective gambits of his favorite sport: boxing out you opponents.
The GodKnowsWhat article was talking about Newt Gingrich’s stance on illegal immigrants and how, in order to get that crazy right, fringe vote, he has been curling in on the borderline amnesty (no pun) talk and going harder on the deportation talk.Obama should encourage this; he should box his opponents further and further right.
This is not a defensive move. As anyone who has played even a high school gym class game of basketball knows, boxing out is a brutal display of muscle and brilliant use of momentum and position. In order to win, Obama has to take up more and more real estate on the right; he has to push his opponents, starting now, further and further over into the hands of the Tea Party theocrats (be honest, that’s what they are). Obama will win the 2012 general election precisely because he isn’t liberal enough for the bloody liberals (who were dumb enough to see a black man instead of a candidate in 2008, just as they were to see a young man instead of a candidate in 1960) and the great majority of American citizens aren’t stupid enough to believe that immigrants’ participation in the United States marketplace reduces their economic well-being. I hope.
What people commented on, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he took the podium at 8:44am, was that the day was clear just like the Tuesday ten years ago. From what people can remember. For those few hours of thin daylight before the late morning sun was choked gray by 200,000 tons of steel, 425,000 cubic yards of concrete, 43,600 windows, tumbling horribly, devastatingly toward the earth in downtown Manhattan.
Mayor Bloomberg spoke of the lives lost, aptly quoting Shakespeare: “Let us not measure our sorrow by their worth, for then it will have no end.”
Exactly at 8:46am, the time the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001, those at Ground Zero observed a moment of silence. That silence seemed, today, to resound around Manhattan. Streets were closed, tourists were sparse, Grand Central Station was almost laconic.That tangible grayness ten years ago is an emotional grayness that clings to the city today, on the conversations, the memories, to the steps of pedestrians, on each note of“America the Beautiful” from the bells of the Catholic Church on Park Avenue played out at 12:09pm.
The shock and the anger and the abject incredulity are still a little raw, even after a decade.
“I cried thinking about the New Canaan train station filled with cars that would be left unspoken for and I cry now,” one woman wrote on Facebook. Another said, “10 years ago I woke up planning to go to Tower Records on 72nd St after math class to buy the Glitter soundtrack... and then a whole lot of things got put into perspective.” And another, “So searing it seems like it was yesterday – we will never forget.”
I imagine those feelings, for most of us, will never scab and never ameliorate. They can’t. They can’t because we will never have answers satisfactory enough to consummate healing. I, personally, will never get used to the moments of silence.
Looking over the faces of those presents at Ground Zero this morning, taking in that moment of silence, some with heads bowed, some with eyes lids drawn, some staring lugubriously into the inches of air before them, you couldn’t help but wonder what particular memories were going through their minds when they thought about the loss of a friend or family member.
You couldn’t help but wonder if Barack Obama stood tall with the pride of successfully hunting and killing Osama bin Laden.Was he imagining those moments when CIA briefed him and those moments when he had to decide which course of action to take?A decision that, were it the wrong one, would cut back into the wound those who lost at Ground Zero felt, and, were it the right one, would hardly begin to help heal.
And what about President George W. Bush? Why did he look so small, weathered, beaten? Does he think back to that Florida classroom and that children’s book and the moment the agent whispered into his ear that the United States of America was under the largest foreign attack since Pearl Harbor? Does he feel sorrow, anger, regret?
Following the ceremony, the New York Times couldn’t help but comment on the politics of the situation.
“Unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush drew a brief cheer from the crowd before his reading. Applause also followed Mr. Bush as he left the stage,” the Times nodded.
The Times isn’t wrong to bring politics into this.As much as we want to keep it out, to shame those who would stoop to even hinting at using tragedy as demagoguery or gambit, in the basic level that politics is getting people to do what you want (ideally, philosophically what you think is best for them), while the US has in some ways succeed in fighting the terrorist that attacked New York City ten years ago, we’ve done little to change the way people feel about a place know as the Land of the Free.
“More worrying, some experts say, the administration has yet to figure out how to effectively counter Al Qaeda’s propaganda,” according to the Times. “It has failed to prevent a small but growing number of Americans from becoming radicalized, often by listening to online videos by militants like the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, now in hiding in Yemen.”
What’s heavier and grayer and more dangerous than weapons and arms getting into the wrong hands in Korengal Valley, is that.It’s that the Idea that propelled those planes into those towers is still out there.It’s that the people are still afraid.It’s that the bright blue sky this morning is not the only thing that’s the same as it was ten years ago.
It’s more than disheartening to admit that I am my generation. I have difficulty writing and researching without the immediate, ever-present crutch of an internet connection (high speed; the browser on my mobile phone is as infuriating as sitting twenty minutes at a diner on Sunday morning without being offered a coffee (1)). It’s because I’m ill-prepared, as again are many of us. Were we to take John Steinbeck’s Rocinante out for a spin today, it’s likely we’d run out of supplies or patience by Buffalo, N.Y., I’d imagine at the point Customs refused to let our large blue poodle pass, or divagate from the point entirely and wind up in Nova Scotia or, heaven forbid, Tulum.
The on-the-fly researching accomplice of the internet is both the reason for and the cause of my often labyrinthical divergence – much like the surfeit of entertainment options is the reason for and cause of the waning collective attention span. e.g. Since the last paragraph, I’ve spent a good quarter-hour snooping around for the meaning of (the etymology being quite clear) Rocinante; although I’ve said the term in my head many times (never pronouncing it correctly, I’m sure) I realized I didn’t know exactly what it meant or why Mr. Quixote chose such a name for his horse. (2)
One author – and I can’t, ironically or not, be bothered with the internet enough to search for who – once said that he wrote exclusively without a web connection because the damned thing was always taking him to places he didn’t want to be.
This author was someone old. Someone like John Updike or Norman Mailer or someone like that, but not like Burroughs or Bellow or Roth – although, thinking about it, it could have been Roth. It really doesn’t matter. I cannot write without a connection to everything else; perhaps because my mind requires Tarzan vines with which to swing from topic to topic and is otherwise fallow of a sprout of inspiration.
But there’s more. There’s the job that pays me (3). But that’s my weakness for letting it consume me or not being good enough at it to be able to consummate tasks required without utter and constant concentration. Kafka, among others who were not of some sort of professorial vocation that gave them the unique luxury of time to do their work like a waitress who is really an actress, were rumored to have overcome such trite inconveniences.
There’s also the interior design (which at this moment hits a little close to “the job that pays me”). There’s the apartment without the internet connection that is also without desk, something that I didn’t think I’d miss until, as I am right now, I sat hunched over a coffee table and keyboard not realizing how much pain my lumbar was in until well into the second hour of hunch.
I left the desk in Los Angeles.I sold it, more accurately; but it stayed there all the same.
The desk was good. Like Hemmingway good. Not like something Earnest Hemmingway would sit at to write (I always imagine he wrote longhand in well lighted cafes, for obvious reasons) but something that he would call good if he were describing the room in which I use to sit to write. viz. (were Earnest H. to have actually written about my Los Angeles living room) I opened the door to the apartment and looked around at the furniture placed throughout the room in a deliberate pattern.There was a couch, half over a large sisal rug and a bookshelf against the far wall. Next to the end table was an old stained maple desk. It was good desk (4).
The desk is replaced by an older back that aches more than it should from hunching for two hours.It’s that, and the spotty connection and the other thing.
I’ve realized this little nugget is, just as dishearteningly as the generation note, more personal and less pithy than I prefer to write. And, in that case anyway, I probably shouldn’t post it. It’s not worthy of publishing, honestly, at any level. But the entire design of this exercise is that nothing is and everything is worthy.Like another now dead author once said in an interview, I'm not trying to hide my gaucheries.
1) I also refuse to capitalize internet or web for the same reasons I’d never capitalize earth or community.
We would spend hours arguing the finer and broader points of global warming, from a single flap of a butterfly’s wings to the ontological basics. To maintain and advance the argument, it was obviously necessary that one of us took and obstinately sometimes against better logic stood by the opposite side of the others.
As my friends and I sat in the Upper East Side condo years ago, I didn’t exactly understand why we did this and why we had to until I read a sentence in Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short.”
Lewis wrote about a investment fund manager named Mike Burry who was the first person to ask Wall Street to create credit default swaps on mortgage backed bonds so that he could but the CDSs and bet against the bonds.Burry came to the idea after realizing the loans lower middle class Americans were receiving bordered, if not completely dove head-first into fraud.Burry was a value investor, usually long stocks and so when he decided to short bonds, the people that gave him hundreds of millions of dollars to fuck around with started to ask him to please explain himself.
"I hated discussing ideas with investors,” he said, “because I then become a Defender of the Idea, and that influences your thought process.”
What he was saying was, once he has to defend a position, it is no longer this is the best idea; it is if I don’t make this the best idea, I lose.
This was the same social trend within our global warming debate, as it’s the same social trend in politics and in punditry.No matter how unsound your argument is, you will go at great lengths to make it appear sound once you become its Defender, even if that argument isn’t specific, even if that argument is always fighting against someone.
I heard this mind-bending argument roll out in a three-way converfuck on Fox & Friends this morning:
a)Companies are going where there are cheaper labor costs. b)Three big tech companies have operations overseas: Apple, Google, Facebook. c)The CEOs of these companies have met with the US President, therefore: d)The CEOs of these companies must have advised the President at one point or another, so: e)The President doesn’t listen to what his top CEO advisers say f)The CEOs can’t convince the government/President to keep jobs here. g)The US President does not want Americans to have jobs.
At the end of this clearly scripted pile of horse diarrhea, the moderator for Fox & Friends closed with, “Good debate,” which is like telling your right hand “Good game” after jerking off into your football helmet.
I can’t even count how many logical fallacies there are in that argument; I find a new one each time I read through.The big glaring-ass ones are: Affirming the consequent that companies are going overseas for cheaper labor, denying the antecedent that the CEOs gave the President advice (and a specific advice) simply because they met with him; and, the non sequitur that a United States President would chose to explicitly injure the economy he leads.
Now, I’ve heard a number of people claim that they’re not partisan one way or the other. They are issues people. They vote based on a candidate’s promise to lower taxes or criminalize abortions or withdraw troops.Fact is that, once in office, once with all information in hand, any candidate might slide back on any issue, which means you can’t always trust the arguments, promises and issues of candidates running for US president.
Rather than issues (or, I’ll allow along with issues; if we elect someone who promises everyone a pony and then actually delivers, eh, might have trouble), perhaps it’s more important to base our individual votes on the character and intelligence of the candidate, rather than simply saying she is for gay marriage, so she’s the best candidate.*
Bill Clinton said something last week that was taken a bit lightly, a bit as though he were joking, but what he said, while it evoked giggles, is not short on truth or utility.
“Huntsman hasn't said what he's for yet, but I just kind of like him,” said Clinton in Colorado prompting a round of laughter. “He looks authentic – he looks like a real guy. I mean, a real human being. I like his family. I like his kind of iconoclastic way. And he was a pretty good governor. And he wasn't a right-wing ideologue.”
Clinton wasn’t being sardonic. He meant what he said: he just has a good feeling about this Huntsman guy.
So do I.If I were forced to vote now and select a GOP candidate, it would be Jon Huntsman.I actually know that he is moderate on gay marriage and sides more with those who say humans have some sort of effect on climate change, but more than that: he just seems a good guy.
Of course, four years ago John Edwards seemed like a good guy and then he started screwing anything holding a Flipcam.So…you know…
*This qualifies not just for POTUS, but for any elected official, although we don’t have access or time for any elected official as we have for the president. (Also: I realize that we derive character and intelligence by hearing someone speak or watching her act and handle important policies and issues; it’s true that there is no duality.)
Just over a week after the anemic showing by GOP candidates in the either first or second debate of the 2012 US Presidential run depending on whom you ask, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman stood on the shores of quintessential American town, Jersey City N.J., and announced that he was joining what has already become the race against President Barack Obama.
There’s a reason Lady Liberty has her back turned to New Jersey.
"He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help a country we both love," Huntsman said of Obama. "But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president, not who’s the better American."
Great sentence. For a number of reasons. So, let’s go ahead and take ‘er apart.
First, "He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help a country we both love…" shows deference to the man who is Huntsman’s former boss and the man who is presently the leader of Huntsman’s country. This is job interviewing 101; you don’t sit for an interview and when asked about your former (or current, if you’re defecting) boss tell HR that he is a goddam moron whose hobbies, although you can’t absolutely confirm this you heard anyway, include hiring Filipino transvestites and not for research on the LGBT community, defacing national monuments with racoon feces, and running a sweatshop where heartbreakingly adorable puppies are forced to stitch white pyramidal-shaped hoods for days on end without either pee-pee or doo-doo breaks.
Next, "But the question each of us wants the voters to answer…" puts Amb. Huntsman on the same level as Pres. Obama. And brushes off that President Obama gets to call Ambassador Huntsman Ambassador Huntsman, a title that he gave Huntsman, at each "if necessary" debate between the two, basic title-protocol being that we address Him Without Title by the most recent non-unique title he held (with generally agreed upon exception going to the unique position of POTUS where Clinton, Bush 2 and Bush 1 (and, fine, I suppose Carter as well), all still heavy with secret service, are formally greeted "President So-and-So").
"…is who will be the better president…" casually brushes off that Barack Obama is, lest we forget, actually and presently the President of the United States and/or suggests that Obama is at present the better president (logically, since America chose him and since Huntsman is not currently in that office) and, only perhaps, Huntsman will be the better come January 2013.
"…not who’s the better American." The last five words are by far the best part; along with capitalism, industry, right to bear arms, and keep big government out, "more American" is classic political rhetoric. But Huntsman cunningly goes against the grain and in doing so appeals not to the Sarah Palin-Glenn Beck Right (see aforementioned catch-phrases) but to the Intellectual Right, those who understand that saying "I’m the better American" is like saying "I’m better at candy;" it’s vague and in its terseness seems, at first glance, like it should mean something powerful, but really all it means is that you know how to stand at a podium and grunt.
Within eight months, we’ll see if Huntsman is still in it (money on Yes, along with Romney, Paul and Giuliani (Santorum, Pawlenty out after Iowa; Bachmann after New Hampshire; Gingrich out by August; Cain out last week)), but for now he’s an intriguing play.
Huntsman's got international experience (Asian at that; he was Amb. to China for Obama and served in Singapore for Bush, Sr.), along with a strong small government record where he, according to him, created a standard of living that led Utah to be named "the best state in America."
So, if you want to live really really well, but be going out of your mind with fear that you might lose that wellbeing, all while you’re not allowed to mitigate your stress with a shot of whisky, vote for Utah.
Other interesting Utah facts: Utah’s state emblem is the beehive; the state cooking pot is the dutch oven (smells great, what is that?); and the state bird of the landlocked territory is the sea gull.
One of the things you do to attract the opposite sex is drawn attention to your "naughty bits," says author and body language expert Janine Driver. Driver likes to demonstrate this by having a gentleman stand with his hands in his pockets. If, after she asks him to stand like so, he has his hands fully stuffed into either pocket of his pants, she considers this a timid pose; he his hiding his thumbs, therefore showing a lack of confidence.
If, on the other hand, he stands with his thumbs outside of his pockets, he is displaying a kind of sexual prowess by pointing, quite subconsciously but accurately, at his "naughty bits" with his thumbs.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) can do your thumbs one better, it turns out. Yesterday, as 150 Tweets in a row from various news sources will tell you (I subscribe to 45 total Twitter feeds, by the way, including friends), Weiner spoke of his indiscretions at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, explaining, as is compulsory for US politicians it turns out, why everyone in America has seen his penis:
"Last Friday night I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I posted it to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story to stick to that story which was a hugely regrettable mistake."
Although he might be overstating with hugely (I’ve seen bigger mistakes, like on Clarence Thomas and not just because he’s black; but yours is a good size, Tony), no doubt the punch line of that joke was killer.
Q: What did the mom Google when she wanted to learn how to block Rep. Weiner on Twitter? A: "How do you cock-block?"
Q: What do you get when you combine a United States Congressman, a Reply-all button and a camera? A: A whole lot of Weiner.
Did you know that Rep. Anthony Weiner and Spiderman are from the same neighborhood in Queens? Yeah. And they’re thinking of forming a superhero duo. They’re gonna call it "The Weiner and the Web."
Regardless, if pointing to your naughty bits with your thumbs is a form of posturing to sexually attract people, wouldn’t emailing pictures of your genital be considered the same, in theory?
Jessica Bennett writes, "As Ogi Ogas, coauthor of A Billion Wicked Thoughts, puts it, it's possible that men who show their junk are compelled by an unconscious, evolutionary urge. Men, says Ogas, inherit this desire from their primitive ancestors—male monkeys and apes, for example, regularly show off their parts to show their sexual interest."
One of the issues of the article is: Why do men do this? Why do they (so called) cyber-cheat? Why do they send photos of their junk to women they’ve never even met.
The implication in the question is that women don’t do this. They don’t send photos of their vaginas and breasts out to online chat buddies. You’re not about to see a close up of Nancy Pelosi’s supple nipples pop up in your inbox (Subject: Raise the debt ceiling and I’ll raise something else…). You’re not about to find a video of Sonya Sotomayor dancing to Beyonce’s "Crazy in Love" at New York Dolls armature night (180,056 views; 2,056 likes, 3 dislikes). You’re not about to find Olympia Snow’s labia majora sprinkled throughout cyberspace (Click here to see the unedited photo – caution NSFW!).
Okay, well, anyway: while those may be reasonable assumptions, it’s abjectly sexist (not to mention incorrect) to imply that women don’t email breasts, butts and cetera to friends, co-workers and acquaintances. Women are just as likely as men to crave the attention and "ego boost" that comes from people being interested in you. They are just as likely to get that will-I-get-away-with-it? rush when clicking Send. And, perhaps this is just my experience, but women are way more into exhibitionism than me.
I’d like to offer proof, but then they might stop doing it.
It took three days for a single official of European government to call for the resignation of IMF chief and spontaneous rapist, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Today, that first was Austrian finance minister, Maria Fekter, who said Strauss-Kahn "has to figure out for himself that he is hurting the institution," the International Monetary Fund.
As the head of the IMF rests in a solitary cell at Rikers Island on a bed likely less comfy than the king-size in his 45th Street Sofitel suite across the river, the debate over his alleged actions and future place at the IMF and in French Politics unfolds. The biggest issue on most minds, and I suppose all emotion aside this is only fair, is the repercussions to come from Strauss-Kahn’s arrest and possible 25-years in prison for attempted rape.
Stauss-Kahn’s arrest "comes at just the worst possible time for Europe," Eswar Prasad, an international economics professor at Cornell University told the Washington Post. "As the world economy stumbles its way to recovery, this could be a pretty serious blow that sets things back."
What Prasad meant to say is, if only (let’s call her) "Jennifer" (after that really good Jennifer Lopez movie, "Maid in Manhattan") could have withheld her complaint for a week or so, the economies of three major European countries (Portugal, Greece, Ireland) might have stood a fighting chance against collapse and insolvency. As it is, apparently, they’re fucked because the entire economic recovery of the world was resting on the shoulders of one man.
If Professor Prasad’s dubious logic is correct, what is Strauss-Kahn doing in a holding cell at Rikers right now? Isn’t he too big to fail? If millions of families around the world are going to fall on harder times because a single maid at a single hotel made a single complaint, let’s invoke Utilitarian cause and bail his hopefully sore ass out for the greater good.
Happily, although I’m not an economics professor or an economist or someone who knows the strict different between the IMF and the World Bank, I’m here to tell you that Strauss-Kahn isn’t too big to fail. The recoveries of economies and adjustments to loans will continue as planned – or not – under the guidance of IMF acting managing director, John Lipsky. There are various people qualified to make the kinds of decisions Stauss-Kahn was making at IMF – maybe even some more qualified.
While Austria’s finance minister urged DSK (not to be confused with DSW; I’m sorry, I’m done writing his full name) to consider what his alleged actions were doing to the IMF, most European finance ministers are biting their tongues, a move that many feminists – and I’m sure Dowd once she gets her hands on it – take with not a little incredulity.
One user commented over Twitter this morning on the IMF dismissing DSK’s previous indiscretion, an affair with a subordinate at IMF, Piroska M. Nagy: "What exactly DOES the #IMF see as an abuse of power? I guess not insistent and sexually explicit targeting of an employee till she gives in!"
Meanwhile, the macho culture of France and Europe is blamed and excused for DSK’s actions. The French version of the FCC even enforced a rather amusing law on Tuesday, reminding networks that they are prohibited from airing images of people in handcuffs, or otherwise restrained, until they have been convicted by a court.
"No one knows what really happened, and in the Western culture the principle of innocence is valid," said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. "What real or supposed events in a hotel in New York have to do with the currency crisis in Europe, I can't really deduce."
The craziest thing in this whole fiasco isn’t the reaction, but just how crazy S-K seems to be. Take "Jennifer’s" story:
She went in to clean the suite, which she thought was vacant. Suddenly DSK emerged from the bathroom naked. He chased her around the room and pulled her onto a bed, where he began to sexually assault her. He then dragged her into the bathroom, but she broke free, fled, and alerted hotel staff who called police. DSK booked it the hell out of there and headed for a flight to Paris that was leaving from JFK, where he was arrested 10 mintes before the flight was scheduled to take off because he called back to the hotel to inquire if they’d found his cell phone, which, in his rapey haste, he’d forgotten.
Now go back to the beginning. What kind of crazy motherfucker gets out of the shower naked, sees a 30-something maid in his room and, instead of grabbing a towel or ducking back behind the door with embarrassment or modesty, thinks, "She must be here to clean my balls!" And then chases her around a room, wondering, "Why's she running? She's here to clean my balls!"
Right now, Sofitel is promoting their "Seasonal Break" deal: 1 Night Offered When You Stay 4 Nights; A Box of Chocolate; And Guaranteed Late Checkout. No complimentary hand jobs anywhere in there. Hard to figure where Dominique Strauss-Kahn got confused.
If year 2011 were to end right now after 65 days and change it would, on the covers of new magazines and the bottom lines of cable networks, be called The Year of the Rally. Over the weekend, over a pint of Guinness at an Upper West Side pub, a young woman explained that she had been to two rallies during the day: one to support women in the medical field, and another to support the rallies in Madison, Wisc. – a rally to support the rally, which just demands to know, was there a rally to support the rally supporting the rally?
An intermediary friend laughed uncomfortably when I asked and joked that it was a "meta rally."
I’ve never been the rallying type. Mostly because it seems like a lot of goddam work, partly because during the winter you’re more likely to find me sitting on a rock watching the figure skaters in Central Park than skating in Central Park, and at least a bit because I have never believed in anything strongly enough to break out the Magic Markers to scribble "UNIONS OUR MY CUP OF TEA" on poster board.
Or to use a public gathering as an excuse for an arts and crafts project.
Nevertheless and apart from my own entertainment, I respect the rally as a serious tool for social change. I am jealous of those who believe enough to attend to support a cause, any cause. I know that a nation in which rallies are few, is a nation not apathetic nor satisfied but a nation strangled – because, let’s face it, a collective is never apathetic or satisfied.
However, there comes a moment when a rally crosses from a serious social endeavor to a mild joke. That moment was brought to us on Sunday in Times Square – where 300 people gathered to speak out against a planned congressional hearing on Muslim terrorism – by hip-hop heavyweight Russell Simmons.
While Democratic Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana, one of two Muslims in Congress, pointed to the Peter Kings of the world and promised to not accept "xenophobic behavior," and while Imam Shamsi Ali, the leader of the Islamic Cultural Center on Manhattan's Upper East Side, said, "We are here today because we love this country. We are here today because we want to see America remain the most powerful and the most beautiful country in the world," Simmons had a more frivolous point to convey.
As reported by the AP, Simmons promised "to make sure that this rally is taken to the next generation and to a new age" by enlisting entertainers and sports figures to tweet about it, including Kim Kardashian, who tweeted Sunday that she stood with Simmons in "promoting love and compassion."
Now, if Simmons could just get Kardashian to Tweet about rape in Kandahar, we’d be getting somewhere.
She finished telling me how, as a Minnesota resident, over an eight-month period during which she was employed, she’d been allowed to apply for unemployment insurance benefits thanks to a provision that allows residents earning under a certain amount per year to simultaneously collect supplemental income from the state taxpayers.One detail she neglected to notice or heed was that, when submitting your yearly income, you should submit your gross income, not your net income.As a result, she owed the state close to nine thousand dollars.
She finished telling me this and then said, “But that’s okay; I think that’s how it should work. When you need money, they give it to you, and then you pay it back later, when you are able.”
Besides the obvious flaw in that reasoning (the fact that, according to the state, she didn’t “need” as much of the money as she thought), it’s a damn impressive thing to proclaim.It’s the kind of personal philosophy that would make theoretical communism possible in practice.And I believe she genuinely meant it; her voice was void of sarcasm and bitterness.
If every American adopted the same attitude, we wouldn’t need the federal spending cuts that are terrifying some people.We wouldn’t have extended the Bush tax-cuts or bicker over capital gains or inheritance.Obama wouldn’t have to hold a press conference to say:
Just like every family in America, the federal government has to do two things at once. It has to live within its means while still investing in the future. If you're a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, you might put off a vacation. But you wouldn't want to sacrifice saving for your kids' college education or making key repairs in your house. So you cut back on what you can't afford to focus on what you can't do without. And that's what we've done with this year's budget.
Of course, if everyone thought like that, if everyone used as much as they needed and gave to the whole what was surfeit in their financial diets, America, I can hear Michele Bachmann saying, wouldn’t’ be American.
We love competition.We love winning.However, we’ve come to define American not as that competition, that struggle, we’ve come to define it as running up the score, destroying the opponent, kicking those who fall down, showing no mercy whatsoever.
That thinking is wrong.By all means do your best to win, but don’t play the game with a mindset that you’re wearing another jersey if you pass the ball or help up another player or actually follow the rules.
Ideally, we get what we need when we need it and say thank you and get better and tell friends in cars that’s how it’s supposed to be and we’re more than happy to pay back nine thousand dollars in unemployment insurance overcompensation.