Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Usage: describes a successful and often pretty obnoxious husband and wife team
("husband and wife team" is another phrase which I hate)
Power couple examples that prove this to be true: Mary Matalin and James Carville, Lynne and Dick Cheney, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian
The term's high-intensity tenor is what gets me in particular. It's another one of those journalistic cliches that's often used in the context of politics or business to lend a snappy, knowing air to a piece.
Expressions in the power couple family: power lunch, business casual, power nap, heads down, suit up
Is it bad that,
(1) This stunt makes me like Hillary a little better?
(2) I've started to enjoy the Journey song after this and the Sopranos finale?
Yes, I think it is.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Journalism school may be more useful than in the past, according to Berekley's dean:
The leaders of five of the nation's most prominent journalism programs are joining in a three-year, $6 million effort to try to elevate the standing of journalism in academia and find ways to prepare journalists better.
The unusual collaboration, which has been developing for three years, involves Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University; Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley; Loren Ghiglione, dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University; Geoffrey Cowan, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California; and Alex S. Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.
While journalists have long debated the value of journalism schools, Mr. Schell, who did not attend journalism school, said he now thought such institutions were more vital than they might have been in the past.
"Things have changed substantially since we came up the journalistic food chain," he said. "As news cycles have gotten faster and more bottom-line driven, there has been less inclination and capacity in media outlets to train, mentor and guide upcoming generations."
I'll keep posting about my own investigation into journalism school. My first j-school visit is planned for the weekend of July 27th to Medill at Northwestern, my alma mater.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Mr. Obama says he never did any favors for Mr. Rezko, who raised about $150,000 for his campaigns over the years and was once one of the most powerful men in Illinois. There is no sign that Mr. Obama, who declined to be interviewed for this article, did anything improper.
Wizbang argues that "this presents a problem for Obama" because "[a]nything which clouds his pure-as-the-driven-snow image can damage his campaign, since he doesn't have a resume of experience to tout and depends upon that image." They are wrong. Rezko only presents a problem for Obama if blogs like Wizbang decide to talk it up. Obama has been proven guilty of nothing. It seems, as I have said before, that people love to knock down those who they see as perfect, or as Wizbang puts it "fresh face[d]." If Obama were an unabashed wheeler and dealer, I'm sure he wouldn't be getting this treatment. George W. Bush never did.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Hypothetical: If I'm making $15 per hour at a non-profit working 8 hour days, five days a week, I make 2400 per month, before taxes, or 31.2 K per year. My D.C. income tax alone would be $400 per year plus an additional 6% of the excess income above 10,000, which in my case would be $139 per month. Federal income tax is 4,220 plus 25% of the amount over 30,650, which amounts to $4357.50 or 363.13 per month. Medicare and Social Security taxes are 199, by my calculations, so after taxes, I make 1837.87 per month. My health care premium might be around 60 per month (more if I have a "pre-existing condition"), so I'm down to 1777.87 per month. Now, subtract my 933 rent and a 50 utility check (add at least 25 more if I have cable), and I am left with 794.87. I have to eat, which we can approximate at around 250 per month and buy work clothes which maybe be around 60 per month. If I'm paying back 250 in student loans per month, I am now down to about 245, some of which I probably want to put into a retirement account (though it won't amount to the 10% of income that is recommended), the rest of which I should put in a cash reserves account. Keep in mind that Hill staffers often make significantly less than this hypothetical non-profit salary.
So the question is, why, in spite of the high cost-of-living and relatively low salary do young, aspiring public servants move to this city after graduation? I guess my reason was that it seemed like the most likely place to get the sort of occupation I've described and to meet other people with the same priorities, but often enough, people like me come to D.C. and get disconcerted that their peers aren't here for these noble reasons but rather to feed their own ambition. Members of this group are willing to stick out their financial necks to live in a city whose lackluster city services, absent mid-range dining and shopping scene, and pretty uniform group of professionals (i.e., lawyers and aspiring lawyers) can make it at times a trying place to live. Note to my peers: as long as we keep forking over our rent money (and I'm guilty like you), D.C. will continue to be increasingly unaffordable to people like us.
This flight from affordability is of course egged on by D.C.'s subscription to the standard mode of urban renewal today: gentrify, gentrify, gentrify. The luxury condos and shopping complex with the likes of a Target that have swept through Columbia Heights within the past year are a clear culprit for the recently increased rents; they're also the culprit for the continued lack of entreprenuerial character that D.C. maintains. Increasingly, D.C. has become a city for the very well-off, the young cash-strapped, and the long-time residents who seem to have fairly little say in any of this planning. Why I continue to live here, I don't know.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
2. San Francisco
And the top 5 most scenic cites:
2. San Francisco
Honorable mention: Washington D.C. and San Diego
And the top 5 best airports:
1. Chicago O'hare-United Terminal (reason: the neon lights in the moving walkway tunnel, the bevvy of good vendors, the brightness, the exciting people watching, a lot of vendors after the security checkpoint)
2. Detroit McNamara-Northwest Terminal (reason: state-of-the art monorail that shuttles back and and forth between this huge terminal, tons of vendors, sobering bright white interior, like O'hare there are a lot of vendors after the checkpoint)
3. Amsterdam Schipol (reason: like being on an Austin Power's set, lot of weird cafes)
4. Washington-Reagan National (reason: other than it being cumbersomely renamed after one of my least favorite American presidents, the main terminal is nice, airy, and bright with decent vendors and just about enough of them to pass the time before a flight. getting stuck here might be dull though, as it's not that big)
5. Portland (reason: lots of independent vendors and claims to have competitive prices)
Honorable Mention: Dulles for the terminals, though probably not for the security checkpoints and lines
Top 5 worst airports:
1. Paris Charles DeGaulle (reason: uncontrolled lines, long waits, few vendors, unnerving 60s spaceship interior)
2. Raleigh-Durham (reason: it doesn't help that I got stuck in this dull airport because of a cancelled flight with only a Cinnabon voucher to keep me enthused about the wait)
3. Zurich (reason: dull as all get out, and it doesn't help that I had to sleep on an uncomfortable airport chair there overnight with my grandparents)
4. Rome (not sure if it's Fiumicino or Ciampino) (reason: like being inside an 80s hotel lobby, pink and green with fake tropical feel is never a good interior design motif)
5. Boston Logan (reason: meh)
Honorable mention: Frankfurt (reason: haven't been here in awhile so it may look better now, but last i was there it was a mid-renovation madhouse!)
Monday, June 04, 2007
But Mr. Romney’s Bain career — a source of money and contacts that he has used to finance his Massachusetts campaigns and to leap ahead of his presidential rivals in early fund-raising — also exposes him to criticism that he enriched himself excessively, sometimes by cutting jobs to increase profits.
He made his money mainly through leveraged buyouts — essentially, mortgaging companies to take them over in the hope of reselling them at big profits in just a few years. It is a bare-knuckle form of investing that is in the spotlight because of the exploding profits of buyout giants like Bain, Blackstone and the Carlyle Group. In Washington, Congress is considering ending a legal quirk that lets fund managers escape much of the income tax on their earnings.
--and not for the public good.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
There was a great article in a Times blog about the disconnect between the Washington media and the general populace and it manifests itself every time a public figure is badgered to explain himself after criticizing Bush and his administration. As this Times piece points out, the recent upbraidal of Jimmy Carter seemed to be a case of D.C. media imposing cocktail party decorum:
Something seems a little out of whack between the mainstream media and the American people. Take the arguments of the past few days over former President Jimmy Carter's remarks about the Bush administration and the consequences of its particular brand of foreign policy. Carter didn't attack President Bush personally, but said that "as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history," which can't really be too far out of line with what many Americans think.
In coverage typical of much of the media, however, NBC Nightly News asked whether Carter had broken "an unwritten rule when commenting on the current president," and portrayed Carter's words - unfairly it seems- as a personal attack on President Bush. Fox News called it "unprecedented." Yet as an article in this newspaper <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05
/22/washington/22carter.html> on Tuesday pointed out, "presidential scholars roll their eyes at the notion that former presidents do not speak ill of current ones."
This guy is absolutely right. I'm no presidential scholar, but I seem to recall reading many times of Teddy Roosevelt's vocieferous criticism of William Howard Taft's leadership. Anyway, getting in a tizzy over whether an ex-president criticizes a sitting president sanctions the office as a regal post where all former officeholders are loyal to the myth of the office, which runs counter to the fundmanetal tenets of this lower-case republican nation.
The recent acceding of the Democrats to the timetable-free Bush war funding bill is a prime example of the party being influenced by the popular though incorrect wisdom that their original war funding bill would be viewed as taking resources away from frontline troops. The writer offers a plausible exegis on the source of the Democrats dissonance and the resulting contrition it provokes on their part to the supremely unpopular Bush administration.
I wonder whether this media distortion also persists because it doesn't meet with enough criticism, and if that's partially because many Americans think that what they see in the major political media reflects what most other Americans really think - when actually it often doesn't.
Psychologists coined the term "pluralistic ignorance" in the 1930s to refer to this type of misperception - more a social than an individual phenomenon - to which even smart people might fall victim.
In pluralistic ignorance, as described by researchers Hubert O'Gorman and Stephen Garry in a 1976 paper published in Public Opinion Quarterly, "moral principles with relatively little popular support may exert considerable influence because they are mistakenly thought to represent the views of the majority, while normative imperatives actually favored by the majority may carry less weight because they are erroneously attributed to a minority." What is especially disturbing about the process is that it lends itself to control by the noisiest and most visible.
Think of the proposal to put a timetable on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, supported, the latest poll says, by 60 percent of Americans <http://pewresearch.org/pubs
/473/closeness-to-troops> , but dropped Tuesday from the latest war funding bill <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/23/washington/23cong.html> . -boosts-support-for-war-but-not-by-much
As the title suggests, there is as much a silent majority today as there was back when Nixon first uttered the powerful phrase at the height of the Vietnam War, but this majority is even more silenced by the D.C. media's insistence upon what concerns the "average American." If you've listened to members of the mainstream media over the years, the average American has not been too concerned with the Downing Street Memo, the Abramoff scandal, the Libby conviction, the U.S. Attorneys firings, ad infinitum. Using this logic, some members of the media fail to report on any of these incidents in a meaningful way and instead analyze the culpabilty of the players as a question of how well they spin their innocence. As a result, the media has shirked its duty to bring attention to the plagues to a democratic society--venality and autocracy--by claiming unjustifiably that the American people are too stupid to care.