Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Palin vs Kennedy?

I find myself sort of offended by this recent Wall Street Journal article comparing Caroline Kennedy to Sarah Palin: http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB123060542110241631-lMyQjAxMDI4MzIwOTYyMDk1Wj.html

While I absolutely do not think that Kennedy should receive any special favors because of her family name, I think that it is absolutely ludicrous to compare this woman to the beauty queen/hunter/sportscaster/PTA mom who thought she could be President of the US of A. Come on, now! I mean, Caroline Kennedy has a law degree from Columbia. She's worked as an attorney, an author, and helped to pass legislation in New York. The woman is no slouch when it comes to activism, or even the political arena. She's grown up around it her entire life. She was the head of Obama's VP selection committee. I don't even think that a person could put the two women, Palin and Kennedy, on the same plane when it comes to intellect and background experience.
Plus, we're not talking about a heartbeat from the Presidency here. We're talking about a Senate seat. We're talking about someone who is supposed to know and understand the people of New York, and someone who wants to represent their best interests on the federal level. I don't think that her candidacy is as absurd as people are making it out to be. It's not as though she doesn't have the education and background to back herself up. I think that people are more upset about her "celebrity" status than anything else, which I can understand. I think that it would definitely be a struggle for her to prove herself in spite of her family name. A lot of people think that she doesn't have the grits to fight in Washington, so that's something that she'd have to prove as well.
On the other hand, Kennedy put herself out for scrutiny by tossing her hat into the ring. Knowing herself that she is a shy person, she should have worked to try to eliminate nervous tics and speech habits when talking informally to press. As a politician, speech and clear, concise communication skills are essential. However, I am incredibly upset that there seems to be a double standard in the media when it comes to criticizing women politicians and "filler" words. They go on and on about how "distracting" the "you knows" are--as if Obama's long, scratchy "uhhhhh"s aren't? Please!
I happen to think that "you know" isn't as distracting of a filler word as "uh" or "um." The latter aren't even words. If you sit and concentrate on "uh"s, while someone is talking, the person starts sounding like there's something mentally wrong with him or her, or that he or she is speaking some sort of strange morse code language (instead of dash-dot-dash, it's um-uhhhhh-um).
It's true, we've become too lax with our filler words. We let television and radio presenters get away with it, and now politicians. At least they're not writing it into their speeches.
It's clear nowadays that filler words are a part of our everyday vernacular, and that they do not hold a mirror to the speaker's intellect. Still, it's hard to tell the difference between the smarties and the dummies if everyone speaks the same way: "Like, you know, I may, um, sound like a, you know, valley girl, but, uh, I'm, like, really a Harvard scholar!"
I guess the best thing to do would be to give a piece of advice to Mme Kennedy and other politicians:

Sunday, 14 December 2008

All work and no play makes the econ go round

While the perhaps infinitely more well-adjusted of you are planning on ringing in the new year with various shindigs, yours truly will be thrusting sore shoulders into a well-worn collar. However, I weigh the benefits of this situation against the faults: Okay, so one night of spinning around in circles in a champagne haze lost, but a much needed wad of payola in the pocket watching other people have a grand old time.
Besides, those big checkmarks on the calendar are almost always somewhat of a let-down. Like that time you downed one too many Jell-o shots and ended up pouring your heart out to some stranger about how your ex boyfriend just didn't care about your ambitions, while he stared at your chest and swigged scotch from the bottle (was that just me that one time? Oh...). Bleh. who needs it?
Besides, we've really been too lax in our ambitions. We've been too willing to party it up, to spend, spend, spend in the past. We haven't held any regard or premonition about devil-may-care, freewheeling dumps of money. We dispensed it by the barrelful in good times, at bars and restaurants and clothiers. Now, we are facing a pinch, and so, why shouldn't we have to work to get it back?
There is a time to eat, drink, and be merry, and there is a time to diet. We've all got to trim the fat a little bit, eh? I'm not saying don't go out and have your jollies on New Year's Eve. Sure, these vendors need to make money some how, but, remember to put in some extra time at work the following week. After you recover from your hangover, of course.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Long awaited updating

You've got every right to beat me with a wooden or metal spoon for not blogging for almost a year on this particular blogsite. If you've been holding your breath in anticipation of my next move, I hope that the paramedics arrived on time.
I've landed back in "the good ol' US of A," not because I didn't have the official right to stay in the UK (I am an EU citizen, after all), but because the terra firma of the MA degree started to roll into an avalanche under my very feet. Now, after six months of job hunting in the UK, and over two in the US, I'm coming to the realization that this is only the pre-avalanche of the avalanche to end all avalanches.
Each news item brings about another barage of B-words, such as "bailouts," "bombings," and "Blagojevich" (another trying name for us newspeople--almost as bad as Ahmadinejad). My B-word of the hour is "broke." Well, it has been the blanket statement for months here. Still, I'm doing better than some people.
If we put it into perspective, I still have more than most people in third world countries will see in their entire lives. And I have the opportunity to move up, some day, when things get better or when someone, somewhere decides to take a chance and read my blinking cover letter.
Now is the time to shoulder that dying American entrepreneurial spirit. Instead of sitting around, hands out, we now have the opportunity to make our own fortune. Yep, freelance, people. And diversify your skills. Start learning something new. I'm writing, editing books and video, and doing promotional work, such as web design or YouTube site maintenance. It's all about what you can do to help people who are doing well in your area. Make yourself useful!
At any rate, keep up the good work, and I'll keep up my end of the bargain (of which I've sorrily neglected over the past year--okay, I'm done apologizing)!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Attention Deficit Deaths?

More children today in the United States are being diagnosed with ADHD than ever before. Neurologist Dr. Fred Baughman of the American Association of Neurologists says that recent statistics show that almost 7 million children are now diagnosed with ADHD each year. Only 500,000 children were diagnosed with the disorder in 1985. In fact, daunting, "fear tactic "reports still come out regularly to encourage parents to lug their children into the psychiatrist's office, where immediately they are diagnosed with things such as ADHD, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and depression, and subsequently put on medications to "help" them with their issues.

According to the FDA's website:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today proposed that makers of all antidepressant medications update the existing black box warning on their products' labeling to include warnings about increased risks of suicidal thinking and behavior, known as suicidality, in young adults ages 18 to 24 during initial treatment (generally the first one to two months).

Call me crazy, but I think those statistics are just a wee bit more frightening than little Jimmy's having a problem concentrating on his schoolwork.