Philosopher Kings

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You Must Be This Tall To Ride: Carla Bruni and Nicholas Sarkozy's happily ever after

At 5 ft 9inches, Carla Bruni has made it from the runway to the recording studio and now into le coeur of Nicholas Sarkozy. Recently, the 5ft 5in tall President of France was spotted frolicking through EuroDisney with this grand verre d'eau.

Just last week, Sarkozy was sighted making nice with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The pair negotiated lucrative defence contracts, causing a lashing of controversy and accusations of human rights betrayal.

By donning his heart on his sleeve, critics believe that the fairytale-like public appearance is Sarkozy's attempt to reclaim his reputation.

The WALC (the anti WASP: wacky-American-liberal-cynic) in me suspects that Sarko is no Dumbo.

Actions do speak louder than words. So what else was he saying?

For starters, Bruni is a charmingly complex hybrid of the French psyche -of which Sarkozy has been accused of being out of touch. Just dating her, alone, does wonders for his image.

Sarko the Americano's French-ness is enhanced quite a bit, (no?).

She represents much of what lies in the hearts of the French: alluring-beauty, French tradition and high-fashion. This symbolically finds an opposite connotation in all that is disliked about EuroDisney. We have two very different sides of a coin and it's sitting in Sarkozy's pocket.

This was a message to all those who criticize his new approaches.
He is saying, "You can make poo-poo my new agenda, all you want, but I am with zee Carla Bruni... in Disneyland!"

Do not underestimate a Frenchman's innate capacity to yield a metaphor.

The outing is more than just spin that will put Tony and Eva on the back page this week. It is highly symbolic and a message to the French people, in general.

As Sarkozy embraces two opposites, he calls on the French to be able to embrace his new sense of direction and ethics - while still caressing all the character of the country they adore.

Merci for the savior faire, Monsieur. While seducing Bruni in EuroDisney, Sarkozy delivers subliminal media magic.

He may be chastised for being no intellectual, but he is still French - and nothing shy of savvy.

OLD SCHOOL: A post from my glory days

Shhh...don't tell this blog, but once upon a long-long time ago, I had a brief blog at CAMPUS PROGRESS.

It was just a fling, baby, so I'd rather keep on the DL. You know how those jealous types get and, uh-hem, I have not decided if I'm a one-blog kind of gal.

However, for collectivity and organization's sake, this here blogger will be alpha.

This was my post from a section called GRADE THIS:

Virginia is for Lovers – but not for underwear. My fellow D.A.R.E. graduates will surely stand with me and applaud anyone who can say no to crack. However, this cheer stops short of Virginia’s lawmakers and their fashion crusade against visible boxers, briefs, thongs, and low riding pants. Recently, the House passed a bill written by Algie T. Howell (D) that will impose a fine of 50 dollars on anyone who wears pants that expose underwear in an offensive manner. Kudos to Lionell Spruill (D) for reminding the House to think about the fashion crimes of lore- "shell suits, Afros, and platform shoes." The plumbers of Virginia need not worry, yet – the bill must still pass the state senate.

Virginia’s law: F. Their tourism Motto: A +. Howell: F. Spruill: C – only because some of us still dig the ‘fros.
Elizabeth Sexton, Northwestern Missouri State University

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Monday, December 17, 2007

The Bryant Park Project-Lite

Is anyone down for a movement to bring Luke Burbank back?
I'm serious.
Today was just wrong.

After Burbank left, I'm afraid the sizzle within the show has gone luke-warm.

It's like some sneaky sneakster just replaced your Paul Newman Organic Special Roast with... errr...Folgers!

I consider myself "easy to please" and will never forget those rough Aldi-days, but there are three things in my life that can not and never should be an "off-brand" :

1. coffee
2. toilet paper


3. the host of my favorite radio program

So please, MoveOn, Urgent Ron Paulians, and all you grassrooters, consider it; we can finally unite.

"Hey hey.. Ho Ho... bring back my favorite host of the show..."

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Iowa Caucus Curiosity: A Momentous Fraction or a Magesterial Faction?

"Knitting is hard, but caucusing is easy."

Regardless of what state you call home, as long as you haven't gone into winter hibernation, you've probably heard this sound clip more than once.

To be honest, I neither knit, nor do I caucus. So unconvinced, this comparison leaves me feeling blank with caucus curiosity.

Aside from being one of those words that are just fun to say (i.e. Zamboni), what exactly is a caucus and why is it so important?

As the first major electoral event in the process of nominating a presidential candidate, this demonstration in democracy began to steer the political landscape in the 70's. The beginnings of the Iowa Caucuses are truly aboriginal; the inception of the word came from the Algonquins and means "a gathering of the ruling tribal chiefs."

The Hawkeyes early start of casting "ayes" in January was put into motion in 1972 by the state co-chair of the McGovern campaign. Twenty-six years later, on January 3, Iowans will once again be providing the nation's indecisive with a possible answer to that burning question: "Whom shall we nominate?"

However, a nation-wide caucus catechism has risen from the powerful impact of a system that is loosely defined as a "gathering of neighbors."

On caucus night, Iowans flock to designated locations like churches, schools, and homes to take the first step on the path to the national convention. The selected candidates then go to a later caucus on the county level. This leads to more caucuses at the district and state level, which eventually culminates at the national convention.

From the media's perspective the winner, determined at the first caucus, is the candidate with the most number of delegate seats. This is allocated by the proportion of caucus goers votes and is not binding. Delegates can always change their vote with further developments in the race.

The voting system in place is considered unique and controversial. Other states use a primary process that can be summarized with two words: poll and ballot. Caucuses involve political calisthenics and lengthy persuasion. Participants form standing preference groups for each candidate. Representatives from each group may be sent around the room to persuade others, while non-decided voters may go from group to group to ask members about their candidate.

Is it really easy?

As much as I love to trust old ladies - especially the kind that knit - the Iowa Caucuses are a far cry from child's play. Granted, in my imagination, I visualize a grown-up version of musical chairs. The idea of it - the dialogue, the hands-on-public participation factor, the-in-your-face-ness of it, even sounds like it could be fun. It's "The Survivor" of political terrain with a much larger prize: the fiscal pot.

The estimated impact of the 2004 Democratic Caucus was $50 to $60 million, yet only 124,331 Iowans - or 6% of eligible votes - actually participated in the process.

Why aren't more Iowans reciprocating such a hefty investment?

Beneath the surface of it's grassroots appeal, is a far deeper democratic concern than the impact the caucus has on the presidential nomination. The Century Foundation points to an exclusionary nature that violates fundamental values of voting rights; broad participation is discouraged by time-consuming procedures and complex rules. Participants must devote a minimum of two hours to caucus night, which may not be an easy task for the average American. As TCF notes, this creates difficulty for parents who will need babysitters, blue collar workers, or those with nocturnal commitments - like night jobs or evening classes. Ultimately the caucuses uphold party elitism, as those involved tend to be older and more political engaged. In fact, 64% of 2004 caucus goers were over the age of 50.

The harm of the caucus system does not cease with the ills of voter disenfranchisement; the entire health of the party is in question. Supporters of the Iowa caucus system claim that it serves as a prediction of national voting behaviors. If the caucus goers are in-fact a small homogeneous group, does the opinion rendered actually represent nation-wide interests?

Could the dominance of the Iowa Caucus be resulting in premature group thinking?

With a growing number of undecided voters in America, it is time for public responsibility to lead the Democrats. We must cast old behaviors aside and take up a different kind of needle to measure what is truly effective.

Let the knit-picking begin!


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