It Takes a Village Idiot

As I’ve said before, unless blackmail is involved, I don’t understand the Clintons’ loyalty to their campaign strategists.
At a time when the campaign is desperate for funds, last week’s buzz about wasteful spending, like the $500 a night rooms at the Bellagio, was bad enough.
But why Senator Clinton was advised to make a “shame on you” public fuss about the Obama campaign’s claims that she’s supported NAFTA in the past is more than embarrassing, it’s farcical.
Senator Clinton might do well to stop tilting at windmills and take a closer look at the company she keeps and their impact on her relationships with old friends.
For example, the Teamsters union had been Clinton supporters for some time, having gone on public record stating same less than a year ago.
Last week, they endorsed Barack Obama.
Could it be that the Clinton campaign made a big mistake in ignoring Jim Hoffa when he expressed concern that her chief strategist, Mark Penn, heads a public relations firm that assisted Cintas in its anti-union activities.
It’s starting to feel like Hillary Clinton’s campaign has become a halfway house for the idiots lost by her fabled villages.

The Better Part of Valor

The company I work for has remarkably generous employee benefits, so it’s an anomaly that it doesn’t offer telecommuting as an alternative work arrangement.
My department recently moved, so my commute is now a 76 mile round trip: about an hour each way under normal circumstances.
There was a snow storm yesterday which was predicted to include ice and sleet. With some trepidation, then, I emailed my boss about working at home; fortunately, he agreed that was a good idea.
From the way the storm looked as the day progressed, I wasn’t sure if I’d wimped out for nothing. We had a few snow squalls but no sleet, just rain, and only one momentary power loss.
Notwithstanding the seemingly mild conditions in this immediate vicinity, today’s local paper reported a serious crash less than 10 minutes away, and numerous fender-benders between here and the office.
Just as well to have stayed put.

Stepped In It

So, Michelle Obama – with her Princeton and Harvard education, $1 million+ house and $300k+ job – is “for the first time in (her) adult lifetime, … really proud of (her) country.”
Given that the nation’s economy is teetering on the brink, one could hardly have scripted a more witless, cruel, insensitive, sophomoric remark for the privileged wife of a Presidential candidate to utter.
Michelle Obama makes Teresa Heinz Kerry look like Mother Jones.
In comparison, Bill Clinton’s controversial remark about Jesse Jackson is about as minor a blunder as a clearing of the throat.
Maybe master media manipulator David Axelrod isn’t such a genius after all.

Smells Just as Bad

I’ve been wondering what media manipulator is behind the Obama campaign, and it turns out to be the same one that orchestrated another campaign pitting a youngish African-American man against a wonkish white female candidate: Chicago consultant David Axelrod.
That’s right, Axelrod was Deval Patrick’s media consultant.
Axelrod shares what is becoming one of the distinguishing characteristics of the senator from Illinois’ campaign: memory lapses on the part of high-visibility supporters concerning kindnesses and favors which the Clintons have done for them in the past.
As recalled last year in the New York Times, Hillary Clinton spoke at a fundraiser for the Axelrod family’s favorite charity, the CURE foundation, in January 1999. The date is significant because it was the start of Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.
Not only did Hillary Clinton speak on behalf of the foundation, she was instrumental in persuading the NIH to convene a conference on finding a cure for epilepsy. In the words of David Axelrod’s wife, Susan, it was “one of the most important things anyone has done for epilepsy.”
And now, as succinctly noted in the Times article, “David Axelrod is … dedicated to derailing this woman’s career.”
That kind of back-stabbing disloyalty may be the foundation of Obama’s hope, change and unity message, but it sure smells like old-time politics to me.

Sound Familiar?

This famous political wife was a corporate lawyer.
She served on the Board of Directors of a company that paid its CEO over $26 million in the same year it laid off 150 workers from a processing plan.
An executive at a $100 million hospital consortium criticized for price-gouging, she received a raise that boosted her salary to over $316,000 after her husband was elected to public office.
The woman is Michelle Obama, former associate at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin; board member of TreeHouse Foods; and vice president of the University of Chicago Hospitals.
This is not to criticize either the Senator or Mrs. Obama for the fact that they have been both hard-working and very, VERY fortunate. Rather, it’s to criticize the msm because a) Hillary Clinton has been pilloried for having a resume almost identical to Mrs. Obama’s and b) Mrs. Obama’s lack of progressive credentials has essentially been buried by the usual cast of left-wing characters.
To its credit, the Washington Post did run an article last December on the media bias in favor of Obama. Joe Kline of Time magazine commented on the Obama campaign’s “creepy…mass messianism” and David Brooks, one of the token conservatives at the New York Times, commented wittily that “Obama’s people are so taken with their messiah that soon they’ll be selling flowers at airports”*.
Robin Morgan’s reprise of her famous 1970 essay “Goodbye To All That” is a passionate reaction to the anti-Clinton bias that the mass media has been pushing at us for so long. It’s worth a read.
And I was glad to note that someone else (although I’ve lost the link) agrees with me about this election season’s great irony: of all the networks, cable or otherwise, Fox News has done the best job of covering the Clinton and Obama campaigns in accordance with its much-criticized motto, “fair and balanced”.
*Mr. Brooks does a masterful job of explaining Obama’s appeal to higher-income folks versus Clinton’s support among blue collar families as the difference between what he calls the dialects of self-fulfillment and struggle.

Smoking Cessation

It’s the start of day four.
I decided to quit after the first smoke on election day. An adrenaline rush helps us to wake up, but since nicotine increases adrenaline, the result can feel like a heart attack, or maybe it really is a heart attack. I didn’t bother to find out.
I’ve quit at least three times before: when I was pregnant, when I lived in Orange County, California and after I came back to Mass. I remember exactly when I started smoking again the last time: in the middle of my first commercial .NET project, about four years ago.

Continue reading Smoking Cessation