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January 28, 2005

The VP Has No (Proper) Clothes

Really, what was he thinking? The Washington Post Style Editor reported that on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, our VP appeared in the front row of the ceremony in a Nordic ski parka, with fur-lined hood, lace-up hiking boots, and a ski cap embroidered "Staff 2001." All that was missing was a can of Bud Lite and his "sled." There is something stapled to the string of his hood ... a ski pass? or a hunting pass from his trip with Justice Scalia? Honestly. Other foreign leaders and dignitaries were properly attired in dress black coats, dress black gloves and shoes, to mark the somber occasion of the liberation of the Jews from this death camp, victims of the worst atrocity in the history of the world.

Where were his "handlers?" Where were the administrators of protocol? What an embarrassment. He can dress up for appearances in debates, inaugurals, and Meet the Press. But representing the United States on this occasion? I guess not.

Posted by Gadflygirl at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2005

Fur Bow Ties, Armadilloes, and Texas Long-Horned Steer

All represents to me a nation of meanness.

On Inauguration Day, my sister and a couple of our friends, had a discussion about meanness. I thought I saw tears well up in my sister's eyes, evidently the victim of it herself, on a local level. Haven't we all been.

I brought up the subject because I had gone to The Detroit Free Press, as I do daily, and thought about how much I missed my hometown (although I haven't lived there since 1987). I saw a photo of a man in downtown Detroit, doing something good for his city. I remembered how, when I lived in Detroit for most of my life, goodness and niceness permeated everything one did. Despite the bad rap Detroit has for crime, the normal populace has a good word for one another, a good deed to perform for one another, a smile, a respect for one another's point of view. There was no power grabbing, and credit was given one's due.

People in Traverse City, on the other hand, have no respect for any other viewpoint, power is the order of the day, and there are no pleases, thank-yous, nor appreciation (other than that given for toeing the line).

I wondered aloud if it was because of tv. Is it because of the Jerry Springer show, or the Bachelor, Bachelorette, or the Apprentice? Or Survivor? Where everyone who isn't "fighting naked" is back-biting their own team members? Or, is it, as my sister suggests, a result of day-care, where manners are not taught?

Or is it, as my husband maintains, trickle-down meanness? A president and an administration who has set the tone. Everyone for themselves. Our way or the highway. You're either with us or against us.

And so we as a nation go after anyone who doesn't think like we do, city officials find it necessary to go after the very people who voted for them. Co-workers are belligerent toward one another. Road-rage, shoving, pushing, and in-fighting.

How mean is it to import a Texas long-horned steer and a couple of armadillos for a pre-inaugural ball? Pretty mean.

Posted by Gadflygirl at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2005

A Reason ... Make that an Explanation ... for Staying in Bed

I read an ABC/Washington Post Poll this morning (not that I give much credence to polls, especially after the 2004 election, and certainly well before). But this one had to do with optimism in the new year. Personal optimism is down 19 points from the same time last year; world optimism is down 15 points. Personal fear is up 18 points, while world fear is up 16 points. Democratic women (of which I am one) are "most glum. Fewer than half are hopeful about their own prospects and more than 6 in 10 are fearful about the world in the coming year." And 51% of men and women are more pessimistic about the war in Iraq (this, to me, isn't necessarily bad news).

My good friend calls her upcoming trip to Tanzania "getting out of Dodge." She and her husband are looking forward to this new adventure, seeing Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, and teaching children and adults for the next three months, trying to accomplish some good in the world. "Getting out of Dodge," however, sums up their disappointment of last November's election and their feelings about the war. In my view, a lot better idea than moving to Canada.

Tsunami … the feeling of futility knows no bounds. Donating to relief efforts doesn't even come near to overcoming the devastating emotion of this tremendous devastation of lives. In the meantime, I am still personally troubled that I have not seen images of Americans holding candlelight vigils, or attending church services, or laying flowers at an embassy somewhere. We saw this kind of mournful symbolism throughout Asia and Europe after 9/11.

As my husband often says, "attitude is established from the top down." Bush didn't come out of his vacation ranch for several days after the Tsunami disaster and only when prodded by someone who called us "stingy." I swore I heard on NPR the day of the Tsunami disaster that Colin Powell promised $100,000 in relief funds … no one believed me. Only today did Colin Powell explain what my husband called the "petty cash" disbursement process on Meet the Press, and I did hear correctly. It makes me think that our Secretary of State announced the hundred grand on purpose, to get someone to call us "stingy." Only today did Bush announce flags should be at half-mast for all of next week (what about last week?).

So, only two days into the new year, and I spent about 18 hours of it in bed. Wecome 2005.

Posted by Gadflygirl at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)