30 September 2008

I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore: A rant of a political nature

I'm mad.

I'm mad about the fact that Sarah Palin's candidacy is still being taken seriously by anyone in the voting public of this country. But I'm also mad about the way the discussion is being framed as a question of the importance of experience.

I think experience is overrated. I believe in what JFK told Robert McNamara, when the latter expressed hesitation to accept the job of Sec Def: There's no school for secretaries of defense, and there's no school for presidents, either. A great president isn't made by experience alone, but a combination of judgment, personal strengths, innate ability, intelligence, experience, yes, and millions of other things.

The issue isn't her inexperience - it's what the way she DEALS with her inexperience says about her as a leader, manager, and person.

Whereas almost any thinking, moderately self-aware individual would pause to reflect before accepting one of the most important jobs on Earth (as McNamara did), Sarah Palin didn't blink, as she told Charlie Gibson. She has no interest in even acknowledging that it's CONCEIVABLE she's not prepared. Here's someone so insecure that she thinks it would have been a flagrant admission of unworthiness if she had simply said, "Yes, John offered me a huge responsibility, and after much reflection and discussion with him, I decided to accept and allow the American public to make their own decision."

Watching these interviews, which provide our only glimpse of what the non-scripted Sarah Palin is really like, I'm not so concerned about her incredible degree of ignorance and her inability to form a coherent sentence; I'm more concerned that she is evidently EXTREMELY uneasy being challenged or pressed on anything she says. Is this someone who's going to surround herself with people smarter than she is, people who will tell her when she's wrong, people who will tell her what she doesn't want to hear? Or will she surround herself with sycophants who reinforce her own worldview and her opinion of herself? Is she going to let facts and common sense guide her decisions, or will she be more concerned about asserting herself as The Decider and proving to her advisors that she's not an idiot? What does the record show us? The image of her working out the state budget with her husband Todd and the emails from her subordinates saying things like "You're SO awesome!" do not paint a very optimistic picture, were she ever to occupy a position of real power.

What scares me about Palin is not inexperience or ignorance. It's that when I watch her in those interviews, every fiber in my body tells me that what I see is an insecure, defensive, and incurious individual who knows she's already ascended beyond her abilities, and is deeply uncomfortable with being faced with that reality. If given the opportunity, I'm sure that she would shield herself from it as much as she possibly could - probably without even realizing she was doing it.

Just look at Mao to see what happens when an insecure, small-minded human being is handed vast amounts of power. The reason the Great Leap Forward resulted in 50 million deaths is, above all, that Mao unwittingly created incentives for people to tell him what he wanted to hear, even if it wasn't true. People have a natural tendency to favor those who make them feel good, which can backfire against managers in a very big way; and Sarah Palin gives no indication that she's the sort of person who understands or appreciates this issue. It doesn't matter how much executive "experience" you have (not that she has much of that, either) if you don't have the mental and psychological qualities of a great manager. And courageous, intelligent management requires more psychological fortitude than Sarah Palin has demonstrated in any of her interviews, where she comes across as fragile, fussy, and impatient towards any kind of intellectual challenge.

She's bad news, and it's not because she's inexperienced.

27 September 2008

What Chicken Sandwich?

I want to start by saying that Chick fil a usually provides me with wonderful customer service. In fact, in all of my trips there (a lot) I have only had one problem other than today. I went to the Short Pump Town Center location-- (probably my fault because i prefer the free standing locations) and the service was horrible. First of all "Erika" looked like she hadn't hit puberty yet-- then, she when she gave me my food-- she slammed the bag down on the counter and didn't ask me if I wanted any sauce. (I ALWAYS want sauce). Then... the violation of all violations-- she didn't say "My Pleasure" after I thanked her.

Moving beyond the initial bad experience-- I went to eat my "Sandwich" and there was no top bun. Excuse me? Are you trying to tell me I need to watch my carbs? Then... when I took it back to "Erika" and told her the problem... she looked at me like I was an alien. Took my sammy and whipped around to find someone else who maybe had two brain cells and said "umm like there's no bun on this...." The other person confirmed they had brain cells because they said "We will get them to make you a new one right away"... Thanks "Kayla"

Seriously- tighten up Chick Fil A. Especially you... "Erika"

26 September 2008

If I Had a Penny: Project Runway Edition

Project Runway Season 5 contestant Kenley Collins is spunky and cute and, enviably, has amazing control over the behavior of her bangs. She's also alternative and vintage which just means that she prefers the alternative definition of the word "contestant", as seen here:

con·tes·tant (kn-tstnt, kntstnt)
1. One taking part in a contest; a competitor.
2. One that contests or disputes something, such as an election or a will.

We should also add to that list "constructive criticism, preferably via eye-roll and, eventually, tears whose delicious sting nobody but Kenley will truly ever appreciate."

Girl cries A LOT. And because I'm all for a) Project Runway and b) spontaneous dips into the emotions pool, I was all set to give Kenley the benefit of the doubt and believe that she was moved to tears by her passion for fashion, until she went and committed the ultimate act of treason, i.e. disrespecting the sacred, notedly tight words of the Rt. Hon. Tim Gunn, at which point I gave up because life is too short to work at liking someone just because they have nice, shiny hair. Am I right? I mean, if passion for fashion wore a three-piece suit and said "make it work", it would look just like Tim Gunn. And so all the crying and talking back started to take the form of an ugly passion-less b-word that I really hate to deploy against my fellow womenfolk (it's a layered issue and we can chop that onion later - who's in for that entry!) so I felt a little stuck. Maybe she had a difficult childhood in a home where patterned fabric was a no-no? Perhaps her Brooklyn apartment is, like mine, designed for people who don't own clothes? No. It's something completely different. Take it away, Kenley:

Rad! Hormones! I get that. In fact there are some shooting towards my fingertips right now. Oh the emotion. Excuse me while I take a few deep breaths and go pound my head against the Feminine Wailing Wall for an hour or so before I can resume rational blogging.

P.S. See? I'm so out of it now that I forgot to tell Kenley to tighten up.

In homage to tonight's debate - if it's still happening....

I thought I would dig up this memorable moment from the 2004 debates - possibly the only "tight" moment of Bush's presidency.

25 September 2008

The 6pm to Fantasyland

Since this election is all about magical thinking anyway (if Palin doesn't give interviews, it'll be like she doesn't have to, etc), I'm wondering what a TUR-sponsored presidential debate would look like. I mean, I don't know. What does awesomeness look like?


Apparently it looks a lot like a 1594 tableau by Martin de Vos. In the middle is the goddess of Tightness crowned with laurels and holding the scales of justice and a sword, triumphing over idiocy and dysfunction, symbolized by a masked woman caught in her own web and a violent miscreant who has been disarmed. In the foreground on the left, Moses is depicted with the Tables of the Law, and on his right the Emperor Justinian, the codifier of Roman Law. On the right there is the bearded Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, who compiled sacred laws inspired by his wife, the nymph Egeria. On the far right, Pliny the Elder can be seen, with his left hand resting on the 37 scientific works he wrote. 37! Anyway, I imagine that this is what the candidates will see before them as they do their best to answer my our questions.

You're wrong, Palin. We're not elites. We're GODS. Now go cower in your cave. We'll cover Plato another time.

TURs of Wrath

It has come to my attention that certain bloggers who enjoy making transparent references to themselves by talking about themselves in the third person have been M.I.A. for a deal-breakingly long time. BUT! Drastic times/measures, y'all. I think you'll all agree that we're starting straight down into the gaping maw of untightness and what we see is this:

How shall I put this without compromising my famously ladylike temperment. Oh, gosh. I know:

Wall Street, tighten the fuck up and take the fascist political establishment with you when you GO TO HELL.

Now. Where's my needlepoint. I must stick it directly into my eye.

coming out of retirement

OK I know this has been inactive for awhile, so it's time for a turnaround.

Tighten #1: Fail Blog, I love you to death (and you almost obviate TUR), but for god's sake you're the slowest website on earth. It shouldn't take 25 hours to download a video of a FedEx truck driving into a swimming pool.

Tighten #2: There's a new Wachovia ad with slow acoustic guitar music strummed stacatto. Am I the only one who realizes that this is Pachelbel's Canon in D slowed waaaay down? On acoustic guitar?! Is this 1996 and I'm at my high school's coffee house in the cafeteria on Thursday night? Yes, it is!

Don't believe me? Test it>>>>>>D - A - Bm - F#m - G - D - G - A

04 September 2008

Religious extremism, United States Postal Service edition

An open letter to the USPS (which I also sent directly to the VP of Consumer Affairs and to the whole damn Board of Governors for good measure):

To the USPS:

I wish to bring to your attention a disturbing display of unprofessional behavior on the part of a postal worker that I experienced while conducting business at a USPS location in Montana. I appreciate your time and your willingness to ensure that this problem is dealt with in the appropriate manner.

On Monday, August 11, 2008, at approximately 3:30pm, I visited the Grant Contract Station (1 Grant Village, Yellowstone, WY 82190) to mail a postcard. The name of the teller who worked with me is Ms. [blocked out]; Ms. X and I were the only people in the room at the time of this encounter. In the course of our transaction, Ms. X initiated ordinary small-talk with me, asking what was in the news that day. I mentioned the death of Isaac Hayes and Russia's invasion of Georgia, but was not forthcoming with any further information. Ms. X then lamented, in a general and inoffensive manner, the violent nature of human history (in reference to Russia's actions), with which I casually concurred.

At this moment, as I was preparing to leave, Ms. X suddenly asked me, "Are you a Christian?" Being rather taken aback by this unexpected question, I reluctantly answered, after which she asked me the follow-up question, "Do you believe in God?" When it became apparent that I did not share her personal religious beliefs, Ms. X asked me whether she could give me some literature to read. She reached behind the counter and handed me a copy of a tract published by the Watchtower Society, entitled What does the Bible Really Teach? She then pulled out her personal business card, wrote her personal cell phone number on it, and told me to let her know what I thought after I had read the literature in question. I have enclosed both of these items for your reference and examination.

Here, I come to the point: it is deeply inappropriate for an employee of the federal government to use her office as a personal pulpit for the dissemination of her religious beliefs. It is unacceptable that I should have been asked by a postal worker, in the course of a professional transaction, anything at all about my religious beliefs – to say nothing of having religious propaganda foisted on me.

I trust that you share my deep conviction that offices of the federal government are no place for religious proselytizing, or any type of unsolicited discussion of a religious nature. The postal service has been so vital to the smooth functioning of our society, from the time of Benjamin Franklin to the present day; it is regrettable to see it so abused by an unfettered agent leveraging her office toward the advancement of private objectives. I am grateful for your work in advocating on behalf of consumers, and I thank you for dealing with this matter in accordance with whatever disciplinary procedures your office deems appropriate.

I remain

Sincerely yours,

Donald Rump