I Wish I Were In Paris

From war to peace and politics to gossip, if we have an opinion on something we'll share it here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Assuming Makes An Ass Out Of You And Me

What's my favorite part of the Obama administration thus far?

Watching all of the people who assumed that he was going to be "different" or that there was going to be "change" coming to understand that, guess what, he isn't and there won't be.

The latest "victim"?


The real victims are those that the ACLU are representing.

From the ACLU list that I subscribe to:

"Dear ACLU Supporter,

"Yesterday, ACLU lawyers encountered a recurring -- and troubling --obstacle in our lawsuit seeking justice for torture victims caught upin the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. But this time, theobjections were not coming from the Bush administration.

"To our surprise and disappointment, the new Justice Department urged afederal appeals court to dismiss our lawsuit charging a Boeingsubsidiary with providing critical support for the CIA'srendition program based on the same "state secrets" claimthat the Bush administration had repeatedly invoked to avoid anyjudicial scrutiny of its actions. During the course of the argument,one judge asked twice if the change in administration had any bearingon the Justice Department's position. The attorney for thegovernment said that its position remained the same.

"This isn't the kind of change we need if we want an America wecan be proud of again.
If the judges rule in the government's favor, our clients -- whowere tortured as part of the government's rendition program --will never get their day in court."

Hmmm. Imagine, the Obama administration playing the exact same game that the Bush administration did. I can't believe it. I'm quite shocked.

Well, not really, because didn't I say something about there not being "change", oh, only for the last year, every single time I typed out some comment on this blog?

Weren't there people, other than me, warning about Obama and just how in bed he was with the status quo, the established order? And weren't they called racist or crazy or insane or told to shut the hell up and let him get into office before they criticized him?

He's in office now, is it okay to criticize him?

Congratulations, ACLU, on figuring out that Obama's not actually the guy that you thought he was. Too bad it'll be a short-lived awakening. By the time I read your next e-mail, I'm confident you'll be back in the fold.

Monday, February 02, 2009

"It's hard to explain why it's important."

Did you know that it's hard to explain why spending money to prevent HIV/AIDS is important? That's according to a "Democratic source" after the cowardly Democrats dropped that funding from the stimulus bill as a "symbolic gesture" to Republicans.

(CNN) -- A group of Republican senators drafted an alternative stimulus measure that narrows government spending to infrastructure programs and helping unemployed Americans, addresses the housing crisis and relies mostly on tax cuts.

The $713 billion plan was put together by Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, who has been working with a handful of other GOP senators.

The proposal includes $430 billion in tax cuts, $114 billion for infrastructure projects, $138 billion for extending unemployment insurance, food stamps and other provisions to help those in need and $31 billion to address the housing crisis.

The draft Martinez put together is a broader approach than what some GOP leaders have suggested.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans appear to want to limit the stimulus to tax cuts and addressing the housing crisis.

But the draft is more narrow than the Democrats' plan because it eliminates spending on government programs that Republicans and some Democrats say shouldn't be in the bill because they don't create jobs.

Martinez has just started showing the plan to his colleagues, and it is too early to tell how much traction this idea will get among other lawmakers.

McConnell on Monday dismissed the idea that Republicans are trying to block passage of the economic stimulus plan.

"Nobody that I know of is trying to keep a package from passing," he said at a news conference Monday. "We're trying to reform it."

The House last week passed an $819 billion stimulus bill without a single Republican vote, despite Obama's efforts to work with both sides of the aisle.

The House version is two-thirds spending and one-third tax cuts.

Much of the $550 billion in spending is divided among these areas: $142 billion for education, $111 billion for health care, $90 billion for infrastructure, $72 billion for aid and benefits, $54 billion for energy, $16 billion for science and technology and $13 billion for housing.

Republicans have blasted numerous measures in the package, such as funding for veterans in the Philippines, sod on the National Mall and honey bee insurance.

On Monday, Senate Democrats dropped two controversial spending programs in the Senate economic stimulus bill: $75 million for anti-smoking programs and $400 million for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

Two Democratic leadership sources told CNN on Monday that the Democrats dropped the programs as a "symbolic gesture" to show Republicans they are listening to their objections.

But one of the Democratic sources also said, "It's hard to explain when you're in the midst of a crisis why these programs are important. When people are struggling and thinking about their jobs, it's hard to make that connection."

Republicans, and even some Democrats, have been pointing to both of these items as prime examples of "excess spending" that doesn't belong in the stimulus bill.

Sen. John McCain said Monday that he would not be able to vote for the Senate bill in its current form.

The former GOP presidential nominee said President Obama and Democrats will have to "seriously negotiate" with Republicans if they want to pass a stimulus plan with bipartisan support.

"I think we are clearly prepared to sit down, discuss, negotiate a true stimulus package that will create jobs," McCain said on CNN's "American Morning."

"But now it's time, after the way it went through the House without any Republican support. It's been rammed through the Senate so far. We need to seriously negotiate. We haven't done that yet."

McCain said he's been working with fellow Republican senators to come up with a plan that eliminates policy changes that have nothing to do with job creation.

He said the way to separate what's pork and what isn't is by asking two things: Does it take effect in the next year or so? And does it create jobs?

One change already made in the Senate version is the addition of $71 billion to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was intended to place a tax on the wealthy but now hits many middle-class families.

The Senate bill also adds a $300 payment to seniors, disabled people and others who can't work and suspends taxes on the first $2,400 on unemployment benefits.

Meanwhile, House Republican leaders put out a list of more than 30 "wasteful" provisions in the Senate version of the stimulus, including:

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion pictures

• $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon program

• $248 million for furniture at the new Department of Homeland Security headquarters

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees

• $1 billion for the 2010 Census

Asked if it would be better for the president to offer up two separate bills -- one for job creation and another for programs Democrats think were neglected during the Bush years -- Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, said that "might be a better way to bifurcate the issues."

"But, at times, you put things together because of the efficiency of getting something done," he said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "And there's no pork in this. Let me say that right away. But there may be some sacred cows."

Nelson and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, spent the weekend scrubbing the bill of spending that does not narrowly target job and economic growth so moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats will be more likely to vote for it.

President Obama said Monday that both parties need to work together so that a bill can be passed quickly.

"There are still some differences between Democrats and Republicans on the Hill, between the White House and some of the products that have been discussed on the Hill," he said. "But what we can't do is let very modest differences get in the way of the overall package moving forward swiftly."

Obama's remarks came after meeting with Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican governor who supports the economic stimulus program.

The president also was meeting Monday with Democratic congressional leaders.

Obama said Sunday he's confident that his economic package will have Republican support once the final plan is hammered out.

"I've done extraordinary outreach, I think, to Republicans because they had some good ideas. And I want to make sure that those ideas are incorporated," he said in an interview with NBC.

"We're going to be trimming up -- things that are not relevant to putting people back to work right now," he said.

In other words, fuck you right? Who cares if you contract a deadly disease? After all, it's too hard to explain to someone without a job that it's important to try and prevent diseases!! Hey, look at it this way. If you contract HIV and die from AIDS and you were employed, a job has freed up for an unemployed person who just couldn't understand why it was important to prevent you from dying!!

Isn't America great?????

What other "symbolic gestures" are the Democrats going to offer up? I have a gesture of my own to offer up!! Care to guess what it is?

What Will It Take?

I'm sure that by now everyone has heard that Michael Phelps was photographed smoking what was allegedly pot. Whether or not it was pot is a different story, but he's not denying it and nobody is claiming that it was something else.

Does embattled Michael Phelps deserve a break?

NEW YORK – A young man appears to be smoking pot at a party. Big deal, right? Our new president has freely admitted doing just that in his youth — inhaling, too — and it didn't derail him one bit. So should we expect more of Michael Phelps?

It depends on what we want and expect our youthful role models to be: perfect, or flawed like the rest of us.

And so as the Olympic swimmer's many corporate sponsors were wrestling with their options Monday, a day after an embarrassing photo emerged of the decorated athlete appearing to inhale from a bong, some were looking at the bright side.

"We should grab this teachable moment," said Lisa Bain, executive editor of Parenting magazine. "It's a good opportunity to talk to your kids about role models. They're human. They're not gods."

"Any conversation you can have with your kids about the choices people make, especially those they hold up as role models, is a good thing," Bain said.

To her and to many others, there's no question that Phelps is a role model for young kids, as opposed to, say, a mere celebrity endorser. Only role models appear on Kellogg's cereal boxes, for example. And that complicates the problems for this young man, whose journey to eight gold medals in Beijing last year captivated the world.

"Breakfast cereal — that's really speaking to kids between 6 and 12," said Marian Salzman, known as a trendspotter in the advertising industry. "He has big, important deals, in a terrible economy. This is just wacky."

But that doesn't mean Phelps, 23, doesn't deserve a break, says Salzman, chief marketing officer of the Porter Novelli public relations firm. She blames his handlers, who should have done a much better job protecting him from the foibles of youth, from newly won freedom, and from piles of money.

"He's probably a nice boy who didn't get enough guidance," said Salzman — especially after a drunken driving arrest following the 2004 Olympics. "I think he accomplished that huge dream in Beijing, and then his people just relaxed."

Of course, smoking pot, assuming that's what Phelps was inhaling from that bong, is not nearly as serious as endangering lives on the road.

Indeed, perceptions of marijuana use have changed since 1987, when federal appellate judge Douglas Ginsburg withdrew from consideration for the Supreme Court after reports surfaced about his smoking marijuana while a student and a law professor.

In 1992, candidate Bill Clinton admitted he'd tried it as a student in England, didn't like it, and, famously, didn't inhale. Fast forward to 2006, when Barack Obama said just as famously: "I inhaled frequently. That was the point."

Still, as Bain points out, "No matter what we may have done in our youth, you can't be saying to kids that it's not so bad. First, it's illegal. And also, it can lead people to make bad choices."

The Phelps affair is sure to revive the debate over whether athletes should even be considered role models. "I don't think they are," Salzman said. "We have a tendency to deify people who are great at one thing. We assume they're great at everything. When we want them to be infallible, aspirational, perfect, it never works."

Especially in 2009, when a simple visit to a party can be recorded on a cell phone camera. "The whole question of role models is a big problem in the age of 24/7 connectivity," she said.

So maybe our expectations of a 23-year-old exploring his freedom and new celebrity are too great. On the other hand, Phelps signed contracts with morals and behavior clauses, which allow sponsors to cancel deals over egregious behavior, noted Carol Weston, an author of books for young girls and the advice columnist for Girls' Life magazine.

"He knew he was being hired not just because of his accomplishments in the pool, but also for his ongoing behavior in public," Weston said. "It's part of the deal."

That said, Phelps' apology sounded genuine to her. "It wasn't the lame, 'sorry-if-anyone-got-offended' kind," she said. And in the athlete's defense, she added: "I often think, 'Wow, he spent a lot of time underwater. When did he even get to hang out with friends?'"

It remains to be seen what happens with Phelps' sponsors. Apparel company Speedo, luxury Swiss watchmaker Omega and sports beverage PureSport all say they support him. But other big sponsors, such as Visa Inc. and Kellogg Co., aren't talking yet.

His agency, Octagon, said Phelps has spoken personally with his sponsors to apologize and that the agency was encouraged by his sponsors' support.

Weston, the author, fears that if Phelps emerges unscathed, parents seeking a teachable moment are going to have a tricky situation on their hands. "If this all works out for him, parents are going to have a pretty hard time saying drugs are bad," she said.

Whatever happens, syndicated ethics columnist Randy Cohen sees a different problem. He takes no issue with possible pot smoking — only with what he sees as hypocrisy implicit in Phelps' apology.

"So the guy smokes pot," Cohen said. "For once I'd like someone to say, 'Yeah, I smoke pot, it's harmless and I enjoy it.'" Instead, he said, Phelps is lying by pretending he'll never do it again.

As for whether Phelps is a role model for kids, Cohen dismisses the notion that any athlete or celebrity, for that matter, should be seen that way.

"The people who should be shaping our kids' conduct are parents, friends, people they know in the community," Cohen said. "Michael Phelps' glory is that he's an incredibly talented swimmer. Unless your child happens to be a fish, why do you want him to be a role model?"

The answer is quite simple. NO!! Michael Phelps doesn't deserve a "break".

I don't give a damn that he was smoking pot, aside from the fact that it is a banned substance during competition testing. Why it's not a banned substance in sports while athletes aren't competing is beyond me. Everything else is banned!! So shouldn't this be too?

The point is, this is a man who was arrested for driving drunk after the Athens Olympics. His excuse then was that he was 19 and it was a "youthful mistake". Now he's caught on a photograph smoking what is supposedly pot, and his excuse is that he is 23 and it was a "youthful mistake". When is he going to truly accept responsibility for his actions?

Driving drunk is not a "youthful mistake". It is a crime, and it could have resulted in the injury or death of another person. I wasn't aware of that incident until last year mainly because the media didn't talk about it much if it all. However, people out there said to cut him some slack or give him a break.

Now three months after the 2008 Olympics he's caught smoking pot, and we're supposed to cut him some slack or give him a break.

My question is, why should we? Why should he get a break when we'd get thrown in jail for doing what he's done? What's it going to take before people stop cutting him some slack and giving him a break? What does he have to do? Kill someone? Even then I question whether or not people would hold him accountable.

If he goes to the 2012 Olympics and does something afterwards, what's his excuse going to be then? I'm 26 and it's a youthful mistake? He's not a youth. He's an adult. It's about time that he starts acting like one, and taking TRUE responsibility for his actions. Stop blaming it on his "handlers" not paying as much attention to him. Stop saying that we should give him a break because he's a role model. The only role model your children should have is YOU!!

Boycott Anyone Involved In Octuplet Mom Scheme

I encourage everyone to boycott anyone that becomes involved in this scheme. This woman doesn't deserve a dime!!

Octuplets' Mom Wants $2 Million From Oprah, Media Deals

The mother of octuplets born in California last week is seeking $2 million from media interviews and commercial endorsements to help pay the costs of raising the children, the Times of London reported.

Nadya Suleman, 33, plans a career as a television childcare expert. It was learned last week that she already had six children before giving birth to eight more. She now has 14 children younger than 8 years old.

Although still confined to a Los Angeles hospital bed, Suleman reportedly intends to talk to two influential television hosts this week — media mogul Oprah Winfrey and Diane Sawyer.

Her family has told agents she needs cash from media deals.

Suleman is being deluged with offers for book deals, TV shows and other business proposals, but according to her publicist she hasn't decided what she might do once she leaves the hospital.

On Friday she retained the Killeen Furtney Group public relations firm to handle what company President Joann Killeen says are hundreds of offers arriving daily. They include requests for paid interviews, TV show appearances, book deals and other opportunities.

Killeen says Suleman is "the most sought after mom in the world right now," but she hasn't decided what she'll do next, other than care for her children.

But Suleman's earning power could be diminished by the growing ethical and medical controversies surrounding her octuplets' birth. Experts believe that the unnamed fertility specialists who gave her in vitro fertilization (IVF) should not have implanted so many embryos, and in choosing to carry all eight to term, Suleman ignored guidelines, risking both the babies' health and her own.

Public reaction has been mixed: Many have asked how an unemployed single mother can raise 14 children, as her first six have already strained the family budget. Angela and Ed Suleman, Nadya’s parents, bought her a two-bedroom bungalow in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier in March 2007, but soon fell on hard times and had to leave their own home.

I call this a scheme because that is exactly what it is!! This is an attempt to be famous, and to use her children to make money. She should have thought about that before she decided to have 14 children without any means to support them. I, for one, refuse to contribute even a penny to her or her family.

Whoever performed the in vitro procedure should have his or her license revoked, and should be barred from practicing medicine for life. It doesn't matter that we don't know the whole story. The point is, it's a really fucked up story.

According to some accounts, this woman was perfectly capable of getting pregnant without any medical intervention. According to her mother, she conceived all of her children via in vitro. Now I'm not a doctor but even I know this is fucked up.

Here are the questions I have. She had six other children ranging in age from 2 to 7, and two of those children are reportedly twins. That means that she got pregnant almost every year. What doctor would give a patient in vitro every year, especially when it's recommended that you space out pregnancies? What doctor would give a patient in vitro if they don't have a history of fertility problems? What doctor would knowingly treat a woman who is "obsessed with having children" and may have "mental health issues" according to her mother? Finally, who in the hell would implant that many embryos in a patient, knowing that they would be risking their license if they did not to mention the lives of their patients? The answer? Nobody!!

So, that leaves me with more questions. Who did she con into doing this? If she's capable of getting pregnant without medical intervention, she's not a viable candidate for in vitro. Did she lie on the medical forms? If she did, that's fraud!!

When the woman who cares for her 3 year old autistic child asked her how she can afford the in vitro treatment costs, she told her "I get paid for it". The last time I looked, they don't pay you for undergoing in vitro. Not to mention, it is against the law to pay someone for a pregnancy. I would take a guess that it's also against the law to accept payment for a pregnancy.

This woman is not only looking for her 15 minutes of fame, but she's also delusional. She acts as though we (be it the media or society) owe her for having these children. She acts as though she's entitled to compensation for being pregnant and sharing her story. And to top it off, she actually believes that she's going to be a TV PARENTING GURU. Anyone who would take advice from her needs a mental health evaluation of their own. What advice is she going to give people? How to have a billion children, and expect society to pay for them?

I'm boycotting anyone and any company that gets involved here. She deserves NOTHING!!
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