OPINIONATRIX…because my opinions dominate

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.


{December 7, 2008}   The Juice Is In The Can!

Never thought the day would come did you?  Me neither, but what can I say, karma’s a bitch!

OJ Simpson

OJ Simpson has been sentenced to 33 years in prison, after 9 of which he will be eligible for parole.  While I think OJ finally got what he deserved for all his arrogant, criminal and downright disgusting behavior, I can’t help but feel that this sentence is really for the crime committed 13 years ago.

Clearly, OJ committed a crime in this case as well, but most defandants in his position would have gotten off with probation.  Nevertheless, I am sure there will be appeals and motions filed on his behalf – I assure you we have not heard the last of OJ Simpson.  I do feel badly for his children though, it has gotta suck having him as a dad.

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.


A few days ago, Nebraska ammended its Safe Haven Law, so that it applied only to babies 30 days old or less.  Originally when Nebraska enacted its Safe Haven Law, it neglected to specify an age limit, because the legislators did not think it necessary.  No one could possibly forsee parents leaving older children and teenagers at hospitals because they could no longer care for them.

The original law was enacted in July and since then 35 children have been abandoned at area hospitals, none of whom were babies.  In fact, the majority of kids left by their parents were over 11 years old!  Clearly, something is going on here.  Many are quick to jump on the adults.  Alledging bad parenting, irresponsibility and cruelty.  However, I think we need to dig deeper than that.

It takes a lot to drive a parent to the point of relinquishing their child over to state custody.  Many of the parents who utilized this law say their kids had mental illnesses that they could no longer deal with at home.  A few claimed they did not feel safe living in close proximity to thier out of control teenager, and some thought that leaving their child in state care would be the only way to get them the help they truly needed.  After all what is a parent with limited economic resources supposed to do with a seriously mentally ill or troubled child?

I do not advocate the abandonment of children.  In fact I think this points to a new low in our society.  However, I am not as quick as some to demonize the parents.  Instead, I place fault on the state.  Nebraska (and all states) need to get hip to the fact that mental illnesses require extensive (and expensive) treatment.  This may include therapy, hospitalization and medication.  If families cannot afford to treat their children on their own then there should be state departments to help them facilitate this.  Often times, insurance companies wont recognize and cover mental illnesses, and thus financially strapped families run up against a terrifying wall.  How can a parent watch thier child deteriorate and do nothing?  These parents who utilized the Nebraska Safe Haven law (many driving great distances from other states) were desperate.  They felt they had no other choice.

The recent Safe Haven “crisis” in Nebraska revealed the ugly truth of what often occurs behind closed doors.  States need to provide resouces and support for families dealing with difficult kids. Obviously, facilitating abandonment is not the answer, but maybe a better child services department is.  Perhaps states across the US could band together and provide support networks and services for these families.  Clearly if Nebraska has taught us anything, it’s that we need a better emotional support system in this country. That it is not only our finances that are suffering; our families are in peril too.


{November 18, 2008}   The Sad Decline of Heroes…


Last night, I did something I couldn’t have imagined doing two years ago: I erased this weeks episode of Heroes from my DVR without watching it.  I know, I know, how can I possibly call myself a fan? Well folks, the sad truth is, I can’t.  Can anyone?  Seriously, who enjoys this show anymore? Heroes started out with so much potential.  It encompassed an interesting storyline, filled with a diverse cast, conflicted characters and magical powers.  It introduced problems and questions fast and then quickly followed them up with action that led to answers.  Honestly, the first season unraveled almost perfectly.  Mystery, character development, action and eye candy (hello Sendhil Ramamurthy)!  Who’d have thought things could go so wrong.

Last season I chalked up the misteps in plot to the writers strike that plagued all of TV.  This season there is no excuse.  I am not alone in my opinions either.  The ratings have declined tremendously, and friends of mine who used to be avid fans have since abandoned ship. The problems are wide and varied but I think one thing stands out among the rest.  This show started out as a show about conflicted characters who were trying to discover who they were as people.  Sure there was action sequences and “bad guy” fighting mixed in there, but at the core the show as about it’s characters trying to live ordinary lives as extraordinary people.  Currently, Heroes has too many characters (most of which are under developed at best) and the mythology has taken over the show.  I am unable to keep track of storylines and timelines and frankly I don’t care.  This is a case of trying to hard.  Sometimes simple is better.

Frankly, as disapointed as I am, I am happy to be freed from it’s crazyness.  Glad that I’ll no longer have to watch it linger on my DVR playlist until I feel guilty enough to watch it.  To anyone out there who still enoys this show – power to you.  To everyone else – fear not! Lost returns soon.

{November 11, 2008}   What the F*ck?!

Excuse my language. I’m sorry if I offended you, but I am extremely confused!  How is it that our economy is circling the drain, the civil rights of gay people are being trampled upon, we are involved in two wars and the Supreme Court of the USA is hearing a case about “fleeting expletives” (AKA accidental use of the “F word” on live TV)?  Is this really an issue so pressing that it needs to take up the time of the highest court in the country?  I think not, and I am sure the many detainee’s at Guantanamo Bay awaiting their right to a trial would agree.


Basically, the Supreme Court is trying to decide whether or not the FCC can fine Fox for live TV programming during which stars like Cher, Bono and Nicole Richie dropped the “F bomb.”   The FCC prohibits 4-letter words that “depict or describe sexual or excretory activities or organs.”  However, they don’t really seem to be super consistent.  Swear words during a broadcast of Saving Private Ryan were deemed ok, yet Cher’s utterance of “fuck ’em” is under contention.

I understand the need for some regulation.  As the lawyer representing the FCC said, we don’t want to descend to a point where Big Bird  starts dropping the F-bomb on ‘Sesame Street.’  On the other hand though, sometimes people swear.  I know, shocking (but true).  During a live event/performance the networks do not have full control.  Furthermore, there is something that bugs me about the fact that the Supreme Court is hearing a case about Nicole Richie swearing on television when there are other important cases that probably deserve to be heard.

I can only imagine what is going on inside that courtroom.  The reports that have leaked have ranged from the ridiculous to the downright surreal.  I almost lost it when I heard that Justice John Paul Stevens pondered  if “it’s ever appropriate to consider whether the particular remark was really hilarious — very, very funny.”  You just have to laugh (otherwise you might cry).  Also of note? The actual use of the word fuck in court is not allowed. Even during this case, in which swearing is the central point, the lawyers and justices are dancing around the terms.  Being that everyone in the courtroom is an adult, I’m pretty sure they could handle hearing a swear word or two.

All in all, I really don’t know what to make of this case.  I actually find it rather funny.  I mean it’s just so ridiculous.  I wish I could sit in and hear the arguments.  Imagine these esteemed intellectuals having to discourse on the intended meanings of A-list celebrities when they used the word fuck.  I bet they didn’t learn that in law school!

{November 9, 2008}   America’s First Kids


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.


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.


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