June 2010

The Woman Effect…from Kagan to Palin on The Daily Caller

The DC logo For a writer it’s all about having a voice; most of us write because we want to engage in the collective dialog, especially those of us who write columns and commentary. Today, the people with whom I can have a conversation just increased exponentially: My first opinion piece has been published on The Daily Caller.

“The DC” as it’s known, was founded by Tucker Carlson, a 20-year veteran of print and broadcast media, and a partner who worked in the Bush White House. Its website states that “The Daily Caller is a 24-hour news site providing original reporting from an experienced team of professional reporters, thought-provoking commentary and breaking news”…along with a blog and various regular features.

My slightly tongue-in-cheek look at the current class of 2010 women in politics, “The woman effect…from Kagan to Palin”, is also meant to make a point: We’ve waited a long time and paid a lot of dues to get to where we are today.

There are good examples of how far we’ve come baby on both ends of the spectrum. Politics aside, it looks like we’re going to get a historic third woman on the Supreme Court. Personally, I wish Elena Kagan had more of a track record. The release of the papers and emails from her years with Clinton have shown her to be a very savvy “operative”. But let’s face it, we know she’s a liberal replacing another liberal, so hopefully, no harm, no foul.

Nikki Haley’s win last night in the face of one of the worse smear campaigns I’ve ever seen, was worth the wait. She has conducted herself with class and dignity. Maybe she’s a great actress, but in the face of no hard evidence of the infidelity charges against her, I choose to believe she’s who she says she is. I heard Haley speak this morning on Morning Joe…one of my favorite shows, and she was impressive. Very intelligent, thoughtful, and smooth. Let’s hope there’s a lot of substance behind that attractive exterior package.

As I said in The DC op-ed…

Here we are, almost four decades after the start of the modern women’s movement, finally having a political impact from coast to coast and across the political spectrum. What we’ve always wanted is coming to pass: Women of all political persuasions are duking it out in the public arena, taking on each other…and the boys. They’re paying their dues, spending their own fortunes, and setting their own agendas.

I love the smell of estrogen in the morning.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/06/23/the-woman-effect-from-kagan-to-palin/#ixzz0rhKGFkhN

The Oil Spill: Good news for Elena Kagan

Kagan Some eastern religions believe in the yin and yang of life: Every action or event has a positive and negative energy. By not letting the negative overwhelm you, and tapping in to the positive side, you can benefit from even the worse disaster.

Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, hasn’t needed to chant any mantras to benefit from the Gulf oil spill. The disaster knocked her right off the front pages and the 6:00 news. Even the release of the documents from the Clinton Library, reflecting her time in the While House, has barely received a mention. According to The Washington Post’s email blast wrap-up of the Sunday morning talk shows, “Sunday Roundup”, only CSPAN’s “Newsmakers” program had any discussion of the upcoming Kagan hearing which is scheduled to begin in one week. 

The Post reported that, “Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said he was unsure if Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan would serve as a consensus builder on the high court, but he said he would "like to see us go back to more consensus decisions." He said Kagan’s hearings, which are scheduled to begin June 28, "will last until we finish. I would hope they don’t last more than a week." He expects a vote on her nomination sometime in July.”

In political speak I think that means Kagan is going to get a pass and the hearings are a mere formality.

There is a case to be made for the fact that her appointment to the Court will not shift the balance; perhaps with so much else requiring our attention, from the Gulf to Afghanistan to the deterioration in Iraq, putting Elena Kagan through her paces is not a priority.

However I like to have a little bit of yin with my yang. At her age she could well sit on the Supreme Court for 30 years.

As much as I would like to see a historic third woman on the Supreme Court, I would also like for the person who is going to have that much influence over our future to have a known track record, a public airing of her record, and a very thorough Senate hearing.

Looks like the oil in the Gulf is covering up more than just birds, marshes and beaches.

Birthday Wanderings…with a little help from my friends

Today was my birthday; for the past week I have been enjoying the passing of another year. Combined with a concentration of friends, family and memories, it has all made me a bit nostalgic. With my Irish ancestry this state of mind should call for a bender, but since I don’t drink, at least to that degree, I’ll share my “sober” reflections instead.

The nice thing about having a blog is it’s kind of like talking to yourself only better. You can have complete conversations, discuss important issues, and never lose an argument unless someone who disagrees with you posts a comment. You also get to ramble on about whatever is on your mind like I’m doing now…

I’ve always loved birthdays: Mine and my friends’. It’s the only day all year that’s about you…no Santa Claus, Easter bunny, candy-filled hearts or parades. It’s a celebration of one’s life; what that life has meant and who it has touched.

Sangria at PacificoThat’s why the love and fun and thoughtfulness of my family and friends these past few days has meant so much. They made me feel special, and what human being doesn’t need that?

My dear friend Charlie Versaggi took me to a fabulous al fresco lunch at one of my favorite places, Pacifico. We ate a tub of guacamole and drank, (I judiciously sipped), the best white sangria I’ve ever tasted.

And in an act of great unselfishness, Charlie then accompanied me to the strawberry festival at my childhood church, Church paintingSt. Peter’s Tohickon Church, out in the boonies of Upper Bucks County. It’s a real  beauty; almost two centuries old, built of fieldstone with rare stained glass windows.    

It was a true homecoming filled with names that were familiar connected to faces that no longer were, and so many memories that they tripped over each other rushing past my lips.

As we sat under the maple trees eating ice cream and strawberries, listening to the soothing Jim Steager playsmusic of Jim Steager, the church’s pastor, Rev. Steven Hamilton, sat beside us to talk of the area’s history, he even showed a genuine interest in all the “I walked three miles to school in the snow” stories.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was seeing Elwood Clymer. Now 93, Elwood and his family used to own the local mill, a real mill beside a creek, that ground flour and grain, where I bought feed and hay for my horse. He and his daughter, Brenda Elwood Clymer & daughterChernikovich, were in charge of the shortcake so we only reminisced for a short time, but it was so good to see him again.

As we were leaving, I paid my respects to my parents and my daughter whose final resting place is in the cemetery there.

The next day, my friends Eileen Stewart and Nancy Tulli, celebrated our mutual June birthdays by taking in the Wine & Food Festival at the Sands which was a benefit for the Northampton Community College Foundation. It was the first year for the event but I hope it won’t be the last…it was fabulous !! Many of the area’s top restaurants were there as were wine purveyors from around the world. Everything was delicious and it was very well organized.

One of the best parts of having a summer birthday is the family picnic and joint birthday party with my grandson, Connor, who was born within two days of my birthday so that we always get to celebrate together. The weather was perfect, the air filled with stories and laughter, and the cake was delicious. My wonderful husband surprised me, really surprised me, with something I’ve been wanting for a long time: A top of the line hi-def flat screen television for the bedroom, where I “nest” when I need to decompress. It has a beautiful picture with gorgeous color and I can now get all the movie channels. I’m enjoying it so much.

Now the birthday cavalcade is coming to a close; the mantel is filled with cards, my Facebook page is filled with good wishes, and my heart is filled with gratitude for all the love and friendship that this birthday has brought me. I am truly blessed. 

When You Wake Up In The Morning…

pelican Even with a bad economy and a recession heading in to its second year, there’s a certain level of comfort and security most of us as Americans take for granted. But the truth is, when you wake up each morning you have no idea what fate or God or “Mother Nature” has in store for you.

Imagine what it must feel like to be one of those Americans who woke up six weeks ago with a beautiful spring day ahead and went to bed that night slowly sliding in to hell.

Watching the live video of tens of thousands of barrels of oil pouring in to the Gulf of Mexico every day makes me ill. I’m not kidding; I had to stop watching it. And now the horror show of suffocating wildlife, their eyes pleading for help, has started to appear everywhere. And I’m a thousand miles away. It’s not my life, livelihood, or culture that’s being destroyed. I don’t know how the people of the Gulf coast are hanging on to their sanity. I’m in awe of their courage.

The criminal negligence involved here is a subject for another time. For now it will suffice to say that for the fourth largest and highly profitable corporation in the world to have not had contingency plans for this magnitude of disaster is beyond anything for which money can compensate. I doubt anyone will go to jail, but they should.

As for our government; the lack of leadership has been appalling. The local Parish Presidents in Louisiana have shown more native ability to lead than anything that has been said or done in Washington.

And there’s the rest of us, those who don’t smell oil in our nostrils every day, who haven’t just lost our quality of life perhaps for a generation or more. We think it’s a shame, but it doesn’t really affect us. That’s until the ripples reach in to our food prices, until energy costs go up, until real estate prices dip….until the oil starts to wash up on east coast beaches.

If you’d like to help your southern neighbors and/or help the poor creatures who are drowning in oil, there are two good, vetted lists of options on the Fox News site and on CNN’s site. Please do what you can. It may be our turn next.

Blogger’s Note: If you want to get a perspective of what this would mean if it had happened to us. There’s a visualization tool on the web called “If It was my home”. Read it and weep.

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