OPINIONATRIX…because my opinions dominate











While fans across the country were busy debating who wore what to the Oscars on Sunday, the real “best dressed couple,” were busy entertaining the United States Governors in D.C.

Obamas at the Governors Ball

Could the President and First Lady be any more attractive, elegant and stylish?  I don’t think so.

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{February 2, 2009}   What Ever Happened to Healthcare?

Washington has been abuzz with talk of stimulus, bipartisanship and Wall Street accountability.   Make no mistake, these are all very important issues and the economy needs to be attended to, but I can’t help but wonder why the only health-care related story we hear about these days is the tax problems of Tom Daschle (Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary nominee).   Health-care reform NEEDS to be at the forefront of the national conversation.  With so many workers facing unemployment our already precarious health-care situation has become even more dire. 

Americans have needed to reform our system for a long time.  There is a reason that every other “first-world” country has some sort of socialized medicine policy in place: it is the only system that has a chance at success.  How can a country based on equality stand behind a health-care system in which profits are the end goal and medical insurance is tied to the workplace??  This isn’t to say that Canada, the UK and the various other countries subscribing to some form of socialized medicine are perfect – they’re not – but all the citizens of said countries have equal access to care. 

There are caveats to any system, but there is no denying that our system is broken.  The average person without health-care has to undertake great risk just to live their day to day lives.  Even those who are insured often face extensive out of pocket costs and co-pays, and I know from personal experience that ‘approval’ for access to proper care is often hard to come by.

It’s great that we are so focused on rehabilitating our economy and securing more jobs for Americans.  The billions we are investing into the country will hopefully bring forth ample returns.  At this point, if we are going to sink so much money into the resurrection of the nation, why not spend the extra so that once and for all we get the ball rolling on a health-care system that works.



{January 26, 2009}   Yeah, And My Name is Mickey Mouse

Malia and Sasha Dolls

Earlier this week our nation celebrated as Barack Obama was inaugurated as our 44th president.  Liberal or conservative, the country has come together and few would argue that we are all still basking in the glow of an Obama-nation!  Unfortunately some people can’t help but exploit the little people.

I’m not talking about another big company pulling a fast one on the common man (although lord knows that’s a frequent occurrence these days).  I am talking about the Ty company actually exploiting  “little People, as in Sasha and Malia Obama!  Apparently, Ty (famous for manufacturing beanie babies) thought no one would notice if they fashioned Sasha and Malia dolls and marketed them to young girls who crave a piece of the famous first daughters.

When pressed, a spokeswoman for the company said:

“There’s nothing on the dolls that refers to the Obama girls, It would not be fair to say they are exact replications of these girls. They are not.”

Is anyone buying this explanation?! Do they really think I am going to believe that they just happened to manufacture two African American dolls named Sasha and Malia at the same time Sasha and Malia Obama stepped onto the national stage?  I don’t think so.  Apparently, Michelle Obama doesn’t buy it either, stating “it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes.”

Nice try Ty company, but next time… grow a conscience!



Poor George Bush.  At this point, he is pathetic.  So much so, that I cannot help but feel badly for him.  His approval rating is dismal, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the worst presidents in history, and now it turns out all those folks in Iraq to whom he tried so hard to bring democracy aren’t all that appreciative.

I guess they aren’t fans of near civil war, constant bombs and civilian deaths over there in the Middle East… whouda thunk?  Well today Bush surprised the Iraqi’s by bestowing them with a visit – I’m sure they were thrilled! One Iraqi reporter decided to show his love and appreciation by screaming:

“This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog” — and threw one of his shoes at the president, who ducked and narrowly avoided being struck. As chaos ensued, he threw his other shoe, shouting, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” The second shoe also narrowly missed Mr. Bush as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal Al-Malaki stuck out a hand in front of the president’s face to help shield him.  NYTIMES

Hmmm… I guess the USA and Iraq have more in common than I previously thought.  The same idiot has driven both countries and its’ citizens into a state of anger and despair.



caroline kennedy

Now that Barack Obama has appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, the guessing game as to who will take her place as the junior Senator from NY has begun.  A lot of names has been floated through the ether; Robert Kennedy Jr, Andrew Cuomo, Jerry Nadler, Nita Lowey and even Bill Clinton have been rumored to have their eyes on the prize.  So will someone please explain to me how out of many qualified and able candidates, it is Caroline Kennedy who has somehow floated to the top of the pack?

Don’t get me wrong, Caroline Kennedy is a strong and capable woman.  She is  philanthropic, interesting and a symbol of sorts, but she is not qualified to be Senator of NY.  First of all, she has never even held a real job! Sure, she has sat on school boards, charity committees and most recently was a prominent supporter of Barack Obama’s candidacy for president, but let’s be honest, is she really the best and most fair choice as Hillary Clinton’s replacement?  I think not.

If Caroline Kennedy is appointed by Gov. Patterson it will be yet another example of power, privilege and insider connections triumphing over the hard work and perseverance of others.  Some may argue that Hillary Clinton herself didn’t have much experience when she ran, but the difference here is that she did indeed run.  Clinton was elected by the people, whereas her replacement will be appointed – no input from the public needed.  Shouldn’t the seat go to someone with political experience?  There is no shortage of candidates.

Kennedy is a wonderful person.  She has given a lot to society and could definitely make a mark if she chose to, but lets test her out first.  Politics is not a gene.  Just because you come from a political family does not mean you yourself will be a great politician.  If Kennedy wants to get into the political arena then she should, but she should run for office, not get handed a giant prize just because her last name happens to be Kennedy.

American royalty or not, we need to keep in mind that this county was founded as a meritocracy.  There are no real Kings and Queens, and we should not be operating as though a royal family exists.



Lame Duck President George Bush made a short speech in Philly this week at the unveiling of his portrait which started out with “welcome to my hanging.”  The whole thing is actually sort of funny, and even (dare I say it) charming.  Gets you thinking… maybe he isn’t such a bad guy after all.  Horrible president though – no doubt about it.



{November 9, 2008}   America’s First Kids

barackmaliasasha1

Barack Obama is in the spotlight.  All eyes are on him.  We want to know his every move, thought and decision.  It was surprising, with all the turmoil this country has to deal with, that one of the most focused upon questions during his first press conference as President Elect was what kind of dog he plans to get.  This has become one of the biggest stories in the past couple of days.  Blogs have been reaching out to give him advice, Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested that he think about a cat instead and animal rights groups are campaigning for a shelter dog.  I don’t know what exactly this intense interest means about us as a country.  Perhaps it just cements my previous belief that Americans on the whole are an animal loving people.  However, I think the real reason this holds so much interest for the public is because it pertains to Barack Obama “the father,” and by extension to his two young daughters Sasha (7) and Malia (10).

I almost feel sorry for these girls.  Their lives are going to change immensely.  Not only are they being uprooted from their home, school, friends and daily lives, but they will be under public observation 24/7.  A simple trip out for ice cream will now involve secret service security detail, paparazzi and most likely appearances on the evening news.  They will be forced to go through those awkward teenage years with all of us watching them, judging them and offering them “advice.” Makes me tired just thinking about it.

Already the dresses they wore on November 4th have sold out as the American public clamors for a piece of America’s first kids.  I recently heard TV pundits debating about whether or not the Obama’s will choose public or private school.  I’m sorry, but when did that become our business?  We are entitled to know what Barack Obama intends to do about domestic and foreign policy.  We are not entitled to inquire and comment on his personal family choices.

Many are focusing on the fun and positive things about moving into the White House.  A private bowling alley!  24 hour staff! Personal chefs! Maids! People Magazine has written an article about it.  I don’t know though. Isn’t some of the joy of living taken away when it has to be done under a microscope?  Wouldn’t you get tired of having a ‘staff’ around all the time?  What if all you really want for lunch is a peanut butter sandwich made by your mom?  Hopefully Sasha and Malia will not lose all these simple pleasures.  Luckily for them Michelle Obama seems to be a woman of strong values who will do her best to raise the girls as normally as she can.  She has already stated that soccer and dance will continue, and I have a feeling the girls will still be expected to do their chores regardless of the maids.

I too have a curious interest in the Obama family.  How could you not?  They’re so damn likeable.  So photogenic.  So stylish. So incredibly endearing.  However, I am willing to forgo knowing their every move and decision so that these girls can maintain some sense of privacy.  I don’t need to see their birthday party pictures and I don’t want any input on where they go to school.  I sincerely hope the media give these kids a break.   However, if Barack Obama wants to tell us what they decide to name the new dog I wouldn’t object.



{November 8, 2008}   One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

This week the American people achieved a huge milestone.  We collectively elected this country’s first African American President. A truly intelligent and compassionate man who will surely lead us both sternly and confidently.  However, during this week when we have been basking in the glow of an “Obamanation,” it would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the clouds that threaten to drown out some of the sunshine.  No one would argue that we did not make a big leap forward in terms of race relations, but we left our gay and lesbian friends and family in the dust.

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Three states (California, Florida and Arizona) voted on propositions that ban gay marriage, and Arkansas went equally as far by banning gays from adopting children.  This is an abomination.  How can we claim to be a country where “all men are created equal,” and then turn around and treat a large part of our population as second class citizens.  We expect gay people to pay taxes, uphold societies laws and be upstanding citizens, but we don’t want to afford them the simple right to hospital visitation, inheritance rights and the happiness of having a family?  How is this fair? How is this equality? How is this American?

Gay people have been around for a long time.  They were there in biblical times, they are here today and they will still be around 100 years from now.  No amount of propositions or laws is going to change that.  Many religious people try to disguise their support of these bans by talking about the “muddying” up of the term marriage, or the fact that they don’t want their kids to learn about gay marriage in school.  I’m sorry, but this is bullshit.  I am a fairly religious Jew, and I can safely say that I have no trouble at all with gay people getting married.  If certain church’s or synagogues do, then they don’t need to preform the marriages.  No one is trying to legislate any laws mandating churches to marry gay people.  No one is even bringing religion into this fight except the churches themselves!  Furthermore, straight people don’t have such a high ground to stand on when it comes to marriage, being that about 50% of today’s marriages end in divorce.  So as for “muddying up the institution of marriage” I think we’ve got that covered.  Lastly, I don’t ever remember learning about marriage in school.  If by chance a child should learn about gay people in school, why is that so threatening?  What is so scary about gay people?  They don’t have horns, they aren’t devilish horrid individuals, they’re just people.  Average doctors, lawyers and carpenters who are trying to go about their daily lives the same way you and I do.

I celebrated a lot this week.  You couldn’t have wiped the smile off my face if you tried.  Unfortunately,  the week was marred for all of us by ignorance and fear of “the other.”  This is the same fear that lead to the Holocaust, the Japanese internment camps and the genocide in Darfur. This is the same fear and maligning that has led to the racism that we so proudly claim to have overcome by electing Barack Obama.  I hope and pray that someday soon we are able to see this for what it is.  Not a group of people who are out to corrupt our children and force thier lifestyles on everyone, but simply a group of men and women who just want equality, acceptance and the freedom to live thier daily lives just like the rest of us.



obama-wins-2-2

This week has been amazing!  After wishing, hoping and praying that Barack Obama would be elected President, it finally happened.  I swear, I am so proud of us as a Nation.  This is huge, not just because Obama is the first African American President (although that’s certainly a milestone), but because he truly was the best man for the job.  He is smart, calculating, even keeled and genuine.  I cannot wait to see what he is able to accomplish over the coming years.

I have enjoyed this election, and I’m really going to miss it.  I loved the constant frenzy, the intensiveness and the surprising twists and turns.  However, there is another reason I will miss the 2008 Campaign: it brought us together.  For the first time in a long time people were talking to each other about things that matter.  Domestic Policy, the war in Iraq and economics trumped the more mundane chatter of Paris Hilton and Hollywood gossip.

This election reminded me of why America is so great.  People really do care.  People are able to come together – even when their opinions differ – and try to solve major problems.  And not only do people care, they are passionate.  I learned so much during this election.  I learned about the way Washington works, about states which I had never given a second glance and about the lesser known politicians who are doing  great things for this country.

I feel like we as a country lived up to our potential.  We went out there and voted.  We discussed.  We organized and volunteered.  And we conducted numerous conversations around the dinner table, debating the pertinent issues that are affecting our nation.  I am so proud to be an American.

I hope that even those whose candidate did not win the Election can take solace in the fact that we as a country really showed the world what we’re made of.  We are an accepting people who elected an amazing man to lead us through the next four years.

Congratulations America, Congratulations!



 

November 4th is going to be an exciting day.  After two years of what seems to be an endless campaign season, we will finally get to vote and choose our next president.  I for one cannot wait!  As a Jew I never had the experience of anticipating Christmas as a child, but this seems almost better.  I have been counting down the days: planning when I will vote, getting my registration in order and solidifying my election night party plans. OMG could it get any better? 

Turns out it can!  Starbucks is jumping on the bandwagon and offering free coffee to voters all day on the 4th.  Those who know me are aware that I am obsessed with “the bucks.”  This is better than Christmas!  It’s non denominational, exciting and free!  Hooray! Now get out there, get your vote on and enjoy yourself a free cup of heaven.*

 

* for those of you oddballs who dislike Starbucks, Ben and Jerry’s is giving away freebies too. 



et cetera