Friday, September 26, 2008

Sarah Palin Swimsuit Competition - Miss Alaska

Like any viral video, this will scatter throughout the Internet firmament:

Pass it on!


Here's our Sarah on the talent part of the same competition:

File this under the same folder as Prez Bill Clinton on the sax. And Obama shooting hoops?

The Politics Of The Economic Crises

A 10-minute lesson on why we have this economic crisis that we have today:

This fast-paced video can be slowed down by clicking on the "pause" button when you want to view the text, chart, or graphic at your pace.

A good earnest way to spend 10 minutes productively. Definitely very partisan, but this is one explanation coming from one side and can be refuted if found to be erroneous or claims are half-truths, or even outright lies.

Altruism And the Economic Crises

But what is ironic is what was thrown into all this, causing this beleaguered system to collapse. The last straw ironically was what I call compassionate economics played by compassionate members of the government. In the 90's financial institutions were urged, but more like pressured, into lending practices that went against the grain of capitalism, lending to people who could not afford simply because they needed housing. During that time, the "bad" practice of "redlining" was thrown around Congress. This is the banks' idea of profiling, lending only to those who can afford and have the means. Since most of those hit by this were minorities, Congress put its foot down and went after banks that did this.

Did you know that illegal aliens were allowed and given mortgages,
and even had more lax standards to follow?

This was the birth of sub-prime mortgages, lending to those who
couldn't afford them. Of course, many in the upper classes also
availed of these. And why not? Remember no "redlining".

The sub-prime mess brought us the credit squeeze, and now the
collapse of the financial institutions.

So in effect, Christianity and its avowed altruistic pursuits also
had a role in all this. The noble virtue of compassion backfired.

Sarah Palin: Out Of Their League

Our major league players continue to condescend on the candidate that best typifies and represents us, that means, you and me.

Ms. Kathleen Parker dutifully admonishes Sarah to drop out of the race because pitifully she is out of her league and doing so will do her some personal good. She is so scared and uneasy, her shoulders are hunched when she sits down for a chat, chimed in Ms. Judith Warner. Even a young guy, Mr.Ezra Klein, joins the fray, and like many educated vocal guys, parses and trashes poor Sarah’s statements during her interview with Katie Couric. All these major league players, and more, cry out in unison - The GOP VP pick is a rube, quite uneasy with her betters in Washington and the august media.

And that’s because these people still do not get it.

Sarah represents us, you and me, and we can identify with her. So if she is not in their league, then she is in our league, and we, the electorate, are also involved in making the choices not just them. And guess what, we have the numbers.

We get ill at ease talking before large crowds and in front of millions of people on TV, and because of this and other unnerving pressures we sometimes have difficulties getting our ideas across. But we know that a little practice and more exposure will make us better. Our ideas are just as good as the rest of humanity, maybe even better in some respects. Look at the current crises. These were caused and made worse by members of their league, graduates of elite schools, smooth talkers but many action-challenged, loquacious and skillful, heaping-full of oratorical skills and argumentation nuances. But where did these gifted elite get us? Both in government and in our economic institutions?

We have problems with our speechifying and our diction, our syntax in our conversational dialogues may be a little awry, and probably because we did not get enough academic education in language or languages. But this does not mean our ideas are not there. And maybe if given the proper guidance and opportunity we can devise ways or improve our delivery in articulating them better. Maybe just as good as the betters of the other league.

That is why many of us identify also with the current president who the media has judged from the get-go as a bumbling oaf, unable to put many good sentences together, and quite uncomfortable emoting before crowds without prepared notes. But this precisely is why we gave our nod because we understand that he is just like any of us. And maybe this is better for us to have somebody who is not too comfortable talking before crowds, because maybe it will be easy for us to find out if he is speaking the truth or what he truly believes in. Maybe for us Obama is too smooth and too skillful that it becomes quite easy for him to spout lies or half-truths, or hide his personal beliefs, or whatever, without showing any discernible changes in his physical demeanor.

Sarah detractors will not miss any spotted opportunity to put her in a bad light. Miss Warner points to a “sag in her back” as a clear sign that Sarah must be scared out her wits sitting down with Henry Kissinger. I have little doubt that Sarah must have been ill at ease meeting and sitting for the first time with a personage like Kissinger. Who wouldn’t be? But to suggest that a hunched shoulder. . . Maybe Ms. Warner should have looked at earlier videos and pictures of Palin before arriving at that silly psychoanalysis or profiling. Because I myself, an early silly admirer of Sarah have noticed that hunched shoulder in earlier videos and pictures. Posture, Ms. Warner. Maybe Sarah was absent when proper posture was taught in class. Or maybe that is how she is genetically structured. And she did well in athletics using what nature gave her.

But looking at the pictures I have shown of the ladies involved, might not we also impishly delve into some pop analysis and surmise that there might be a tinge of envy involved here?


First, an explanation for the late reply. I had been quite preoccupied before I could attend to the comments to this entry, and the ensuing blog entry of Mr. Ezra Klein (Populism of Mediocrity) with its many comments. Couple that with the fact that I am not used to being confronted at any one time with so many issues raised from a few glaringly generalized statements made by me. So being that English is a second language for me, I took my sweet time to read and try to understand the statements made, hoping to arrive at the same perspectives that the authors had in making those statements. And I also had to spend a little time in crafting one reply that would sufficiently elaborate my statements and address those issues. Finally because one comment made reference to it, while I did go to a Jesuit school, it was one that is situated more than 7000 miles away in the old homeland. Fortunately, we did have American Jesuits teach us English and the Arts. So I can easily see why I cannot even begin to compare with the academic background of Ms. Parker if she did indeed come from a Jesuit background here in San Francisco.

Sorry for the delay.

Allow me to apologize to Ms. Palin for creating the misperception that because we unceremoniously lumped her as one of “us” that she is indeed like one of us in all respects. So perish that thought. In the first place, Ms. Palin’s record can speak for that. In her over a decade of public service, she has been, aside from the silly and inane labels of hockey mom and PTA member, a city councilor and a mayor for two terms (I think) in that same small town of Wasilla, an appointed official in her state-wide oil energy commission, and then finally a governor of her state of Alaska (though huge in geography but sparsely populated by under a million people). I understand Montana also has under a million residents. And oh, this she did doing public service, not really high on the list of preferred careers of many high-born families. And this she was able to do literally swimming against the current, such as going against entrenched partisans in her own party. And still almost miraculously, has been able to garner an approval rating of 80%, not only from a populace from whose number she has “ruffled many feathers” in pursuit of her high ideals, but this from a hardy people raised in a very rugged and inhospitable terrain. So humbly looking at the mirror, I have to have the grace to acknowledge and accept that Ms. Palin has shown the passion and the necessary skills to accomplish what she has done in public service. Though now we are seeing based on the several public appearances that she has made, that public speaking is not one of her forte. But rather than at this point completely counting her out, let the process of discovery continue so we can fairly try to discern what is in her core that will enable her to justify her public accomplishments, considered exemplary by many amidst not only those challenging factors mentioned but additionally, given her difficult personal family situation.

So public speaking and/or oratory are not among her strong suits, and the same has been said of the current president. And this is precisely where “we”, your ordinary folks, can identify not only with her but with Pres. Bush. Not in their origins, their educational background, their station in life, or such items as gender or physical attributes. And not in origins definitely for Pres. Bush who comes from a privileged background and went to those elite schools mentioned. And we can even throw in the assumption that he must at least be one of above average intelligence and predisposition having been able not only to enter those prestigious and challenging schools but also to finish the courses he had enrolled in. And thus the previous claim of affinity is more in the difficulties encountered due to maybe a limited vocabulary, lack of articulateness, or maybe because the manner of conversational speech is a bit pedestrian, and not as nuanced as say the many revered news/opinion purveyors in media, academia, and yes, even in the blogosphere.

For me elitism is rather a state of mind or an attitude. It is not a right/left issue either. So Mr. Obama could also be an elitist, regardless of his also humble origins. Many say that his statements about “certain angry Americans clinging to their guns and religion” could be a window revealing how he views the rest of America, especially those in the small cities and rural areas.

Furthermore, let me address the issue that purports to infer that “we” peddle in mediocrity and worship in its altar. Granted that there may be many of “us’ who are mediocre, and exhibit traits of being mediocre, but that is not necessarily something that is consciously felt, desired, and aspired for. Given our great numbers, there will be a sizeable and visible percentage of us who will be mediocre. After all that is why we have a population “bell curve” rather than a flat one. We do in great numbers aspire for excellence in the fields we find ourselves and in the fields who find open to opportunities for our higher aspirations. This is especially true to many of us in the immigrant communities, who came to this great country with determined minds and hearts to do better. So we do aspire to send our kids to elite schools, but with the strong parental admonition that they not forget their humble origins and not look down upon their own once they have acquired the extra knowledge and skills from their cherished schooling. So again, please perish the thought that we adore or subscribe to mediocrity as a choice.

One last caution with regard to how we evaluate and value the subjects of our criticism. Remember thousands upon thousands of words thrown into the wind would still be as light a weight as the air; but an ounce of sweat equity should definitely weigh more and thus valued more. Action is what determines the real value of a person.