Spouse #1: "You're better than coffee!"
Spouse #2" "You're better with coffee."
Paterson has appointed Kirsten Gillibrand, a second-term congresswoman from Hudson, near Albany. "Paterson has no comprehension of upstate New York, absolutely none, and has chosen someone better at representing cows than people," Lawrence O'Donnell says. "What you have is the daughter of a lobbyist, instead of the daughter of a former President or the son of a former governor. This is the hack world producing the hack result that the hacks are happy with."
Much of what's wrong with American politics is reflected in that last sentence -- the arrogance, the entitlement, the adulation of pedigree. I don't throw this word around, ever, but a world where "hack" is an antonym of "blue-blood" can only be described as un-American. And it runs through both parties, as you can still find Republicans who think it's a shame that W ruined Jeb and George P's chances.
Though I disagreed with her politics and thought it ludicrous that she was even being considered, Caroline Kennedy seemed a nice enough person and wouldn't have been the worst Senate Democrat. But it's probably best for both parties and the entire country that she fade back into her life of quiet privilege and let her family's political dynasty come to a quiet end.
I will admit, however, my disappointment that we won't have a Democratic Senate majority bolstered by the illegitimate trifecta of Burris, Franken and Kennedy to laugh at for a few years.
As a Cub fan, this makes me very, very nervous.
But, on the other hand, whateve happens, that is one friggin' nice suit Big Z is wearing.
The Pope's annual address to the Roman Curia, which the mainstream press stupidly touted as an assault on gay marriage (follow the link and search for "gay" and "homosexual" and when you're done search for "matrimony" and see what he really said), was actually a meditation on the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the world which also contained this defense of World Youth Day from a man who some Catholics seem to think is opposed to WYD-type gatherings:
In particular, the phenomenon of the World Youth Days is always the subject of analysis, in which there the attempt is made to understand this kind of event, so to speak, of youth culture. Australia had never seen before so many people from every continent as during the World Youth Day, not even at the time of the Olympics. And if beforehand the fear existed that the presence of such a mass of young people could bring with it some risk to public order, paralysis of traffic, upset to daily routine, provocation to violence and the occasion for drugs, all of this was shown to be without foundation. It was a feast of joy - a joy which finally embraced the reluctant: in the final analysis, no one felt threatened. The days became a celebration for everyone, rather only then did we take full account of what a feast was - an occasion in which everyone is, as it were, outside of themselves, beyond their very selves, and in truth with themselves and with the others.
What and wherefore was the nature of this success of the World Youth Day? What were the forces which drove it? Popular analyses tend to look on these days as a variant of modern youth culture, like a kind of rock festival, modified in church wise, with the Pope like a star. With or without faith, this festival is at root always the same thing, and so the question of God can be sidelined. There are also Catholic voices which move in this direction, seeing it all as a great spectacle, even beautiful, with having little significance for the question of faith and the presence of the gospel in our time. They could be moments of festive ecstasy, which however when all is said and done leave things as they were, having no bearing in any depth on life itself.
With this, however, the peculiar nature of such days and the particular character of their joy, their creative force for communion, find no explanation. Above all, it is important to take account of the fact that the World Youth Days do not consist of one single week in which they become public and visible to the world. There is both a long external and internal journey leading to them. The cross, accompanied by the image of the Mother of the Lord, goes on pilgrimage in different lands. Faith, in its own way, feels the need to see and to touch. The encounter with the cross, which is touched and carried, becomes an interior encounter with Him who died on the cross for us. The encounter with the cross arouses in the depths of youth the memory of that God who willed to become man and suffer with us. And we see the woman whom He has given us as Mother. The solemn Youth Days are only the culmination of a long journey, along which they meet one another and together they go to Christ. In Australia, not fortuitously, the long Way of the Cross through the city became the culminating event of those days. It recapitulated once more all that had taken place in the preceding years and pointed to the One who unites us all together: the God who loves us to the extent of the Cross. And so even the Pope is not the star around which everything happens. He is simply and solely Vicar. He defers to Another who stands in our midst.
Finally, the solemn liturgy is the centre of everything, because there takes place in it what we are unable to accomplish and of which, however, we are always in expectation. He is present. He enters into our midst. Heaven is rent, and this makes the earth glow. It is this which makes life joyful and open and unites one to another in a joy which cannot be compared to the joy of a rock festival. Friedrich Nietzsche said on one occasion: "The ability is not to be found in organising a festival, but in finding people who can enjoy it." According to Scripture, joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22): this fruit was abundantly visible during those days in Sydney. Just as a long journey preceded the World Day of Youth, so successive journeys flowed from it. Friendships were forged which encouraged a single, diverse style of life and supported it from within. The great days have, not as their ultimate reason, the intention to create such friendships and in this way they bring about areas of life in faith, which are simultaneously arenas of hope and of a charity experienced.
The piece, by Jill Lepore, is actually rather good -- I don't think there's much La Leche League would disagree with and some information that I'd never heard before (like the fact that nursing is explicitly prohibited in some lactation rooms "This room is not intended for mothers who need a space to nurse their babies") as well as some great snark (Lepore: "A brief history of food: when the rich eat white bread and buy formula, the poor eat brown bread and breast-feed; then they trade places.")
At the end, Lepore misses one point. Yes, the pumping craze glosses over the child's need for her mother (Lepore: "'Should I take three twenty-minute pumping 'breaks' during my workday, or use formula and get home to my baby an hour earlier?'... is it the mother, or her milk, that matters more to the baby?"), but in real life, pumping is a real pain in the a** and many women give it up, thus depriving the baby of both mama and milk.
But that's a minor-ish quibble about a surprisingly good piece.
That's right. The cable network HGTV is the real villain of the economic meltdown. As the viewership reached a critical mass over the past decade -- HGTV is now broadcast into 91 million homes -- homeowners began experiencing deep angst. Suddenly no one but the most slovenly and unambitious were satisfied with their houses. It didn't matter if you lived in an apartment or a gated community, one episode of "House Hunters" or "What's My House Worth?" and you were convinced you needed more. More square feet. More granite. More stainless steel appliances. More landscaping. More media rooms. More style. You deserved it...
And yet on episode after episode for this entire irrational decade, HGTV pumped up the housing bubble by parading the most mediocre, unworthy-looking homeowners into our living rooms to watch while they put their tacky, run-of-the-mill tract homes on the market for twice what they paid and then went out and bought houses with price tags too obscene to repeat. You couldn't watch these shows without concluding that you must be an idiot and a loser if you lived in a house you could actually afford.
HGTV is an evil empire that never rests...
Pamela Davis, blond suburban mother of three, was told that her bra would be the best place to wear the wire that kick-started a long investigation into Chicago graft and that ultimately caught the governor of Illinois trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat. Davis is the president and C.E.O. of Edward Hospital, in Naperville, Illinois. She is proud of the fact that on her twenty-year watch the hospital has grown from a hundred-and-sixty-two-bed community facility to a four-hundred-and-twenty-seven-bed regional medical center that leads the county in babies delivered.
Back in 2003, Davis was trying to get approval for a new medical office building from the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. A night or two before a hearing was to be held, Davis recalled, something strange happened. A business acquaintance of hers, Nicholas Hurtgen, then a managing director of the Chicago office of Bear Stearns, called her at home and told her that unless she agreed to use a certain contractor she should pull her building request, because it wasn't going to be approved.
She ignored the warning and went off to the board hearing, where she was surprised to find that her request was denied. "I was humiliated," she said. "They were mean. So I walk off, and then a different guy comes up to me and he says, 'We told you to pull your project. Call me.' And right then I decided to call the F.B.I."
Don't worry, our next president (D-IL and friend of Tony Rezko) says there will be no pork barrel projects in the trillion dollar stimulus package.