Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm still your friend, Mr. President

State of the Union.


I love this Constitutional relic- I think its really a neat thing crafted into the Constitution by our founding fathers in order to keep the people updated and to keep the government in the position they were designed to be: responsible to the people!  We elected them, after all.

Not incredibly noteworthy, we're pretty used to well-written and well-delivered speeches by our current President.  Although, there has been a bit of subsequent drama associated with the fact that Obama totally called out the Supreme Court right in front of them, and in front of the rest of the counrty, for the opinion they issued last week (as discussed in the previous post- I KNEW Obama read my blog!).

People are saying this was an untrue presenation of the facts or that it was just plain disrespectful.

I, on the other hand, am completely fine with it- and not just because I happened to agree with what he said.  After all, they don't call it the "Bully Pulpit" for nothing.  And if the President can't exercise free speech, then who can?  Give him a break.

Friday, January 22, 2010


By the way, per the request of many, I have created a second blog on which I plan to talk about what's going on in my life, as opposed to what's going on in the world at large.  If you care to take a gander, you can find it with this link:  Livin the Life



Come On, Supreme Court!

I am a little less than happy about the Supreme Court's recent decision to eliminate all corporate caps on political donations.  Frankly, campaign financing disgusts me.  I first went to college devoted to pursuing a career in politics and in my very first semester, I endured a lecture on campaign financing and political action committees (PACs) and left the class feeling nauseated.  And then I switched my major.  It is just ludicrous. 

We're talking millions and millions of dollars coming from people and organizations who pretend that they are all into making the world better, when really all they want is to get the person elected who will give them the most power.  If they were really interested in reform, they would stop spending on commercials slandering their political enemies and donate some of those millions to reputable nonprofit organizations, to food aid, to scholarship funds, or to public schools, just to name a few places.  There needs to be spending caps in place, otherwise politicians will keep hunting down more and more and more dollars to waste just so that they will have as many or more signs and commercials as their opponents.  If we set a limit, there wouldn't be this huge grubbing race for fruitless donations.

The 2008 Presidential Elections turned out to be the election with the most money spent in history.  Barack Obama alone raised nearly $140,000,000.00!  We may as well have used all the money collected for the election to finance the bailouts and to lessen the national debt, at least that would have done something for the country.  I would be fine if Congress sent out circulars (like the local governments do for elections on propositions, judges, etc.) where there are the names of people running, their platforms, and their plans to put their goals into action.  Isn't that why we vote anyway?  To show which policies we want implemented, not because we were most convinced by candidate X's dashing smile and catchy jingle?  How much would that cost?  A lot for printing the circulars for everyone, but it could be done on cheap paper.  A little to hire people to write it, but cheaper than hiring speech writers, media consultants, makeup artists, graphic designers, videographers, etc.  And you would not have to rent facilities for rallies, print signs, print bumper stickers, buy commercial air time, make commercials, blah blah blah.

I like Obama, but I will tell you a secret, I did not vote for him.  Want to know why?  Its because I did not agree with how his campaign was run- yes, this stuff really means a lot to me!  He was portrayed as an idol, he was marketed like a teen super star.  His campaigning focused on his image, not on his policies.  It was more important that he was black than how he was going to get us out of a recession.  No one knew his stances or policies, all they knew was he was a good dresser and that they had warm fuzzies whenever his commercials came on.  People rallied around the words "Hope" and "Change" without really knowing what that had to do with Obama at all.  That's not how politics should be.  We elect officials to responsibly govern, not to look good on a postage stamp. 

I guess that's all for now, I'm sure I will have more to say on this soon.

Check out this really cool site about the 2008 Election financing: Super Cool Site!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Modern Art and the Modern Man

 Recently I had the interesting treat of seeing the world-renowned Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), an unusual experience in and of itself, which was further enhanced by the fact that I was accompanied by a man.  We're talking a grown man who plays semi-pro football, has a somewhat cynical mind, and likes to eat bacon.  A lot.  Got a good image?  If you're not already laughing at the sheer irony of the scene, just wait.

So after a little coaxing, we walked in through the tall glass doors and began perusing.  This man, we will call him Daniel (mostly because that's his name), seemed a little nervous, as if questioning his manhood, then after looking around a bit, he looked suddenly enraged and finally spoke the words, "What the heck is this?!" (edited version) probably a little too loud for the comfort of our fellow art viewers.  I lost it; I totally cracked up.  I immediately thought of the story about the Emperor's New Clothes with everyone around us taking what they saw so seriously and trying to appear sophisticated, while Daniel was the only one to call out the napkin with pencil marks on it accompanied by a half-eaten bagel for exactly what they were: garbage.

Fortunately, there were many better pieces.  One of our favorites was this one that looks like a great painting of white birch trees, but up close you can see that its actually a collage made of newspaper and the faces of famous people photocopied onto green paper.  Now that's cool.  That takes talent and it was also very visually appealing.  Both of us could appreciate that.

   To be truthful, although some modern "artists" (so they call themselves) have "art" (so they call it) that is little more that a ridiculous excuse for creative mediocrity and sensationalism, I generally really like modern art.  And Daniel kept giving me these puzzled looks when, from a room away, I could tell who had painted what and was dashing to go see them up close.  The conversation would go omething like this:
"Oh, I love Matisse!  His paintings are coming up in the next room!"
"Huh? How do you know who painted those without reading the card next to it?!"
"Oh, I don't know, I studied a little post-Renaissance humanities in college and I just like modern art"
"Yeah, whatever.  Okay, I bet you don't know who painted that one..."
"Easy, that's Chagall.  Marc Chagall.  I like him, he puts a lot of Judaism in his paintings"
(walking over to read the card)
"You cheated!  You read the card!"

And thus it went.

For me, the best part was probably seeing all of the Picassos- I was hyperventilating!  This is a post-Guernica piece that is pretty similar and since Guernica is ont of my favorite paintings, I was super excited to see it.

We even made a little crazy modern art of out own, of all places, in the Picasso room:

Next we came to some HUGE Jackson Pollock paintings.  They truly are a lot more powerful in person, they are so gigantic and so emotional and they were so revolutionary for the time during which they were created.  Or at least that's what I was thinking as I stared at them from 3 inches away, drooling.  Meanwhile, Daniel sat in the back, rolling his eyes and sending a text.  Typical.  And totally understandable!  Pollock's pieces are a bunch of paint thrown down from a latter and onto a canvassed floor.  I would have been worried if Dan had actually liked them.  After all, his is a modern man.

Needless to say, it was a great evening and I saw a lot of amazing pieces that I only been able to behold via textbook images before then- and there they were, right in front of my own eyes!  Very cool.  Modern art is different because its viewers are forced to do a little added introspection since the motives and the feelings of the artists are not as obvious as they may be in a more classically done piece.  That being said, I admit that some of it is just a bunch a junk.  So the take-home message is don't be afraid to be creative, but let's not go too far, or else you take the risk of being called out by an incredibly insightful bacon-eater.

Au revoir

(*Special thanks to Dan for his patience in coming with me to the MoMA.  Not every dude would have or even could have done it.  Not only his he handsome, but accommodating as well!)

I love Mondrian!
This is called "Broadway Boogie" nicknamed by my male companion as "Broadway Booger"- haha :D