Friday, December 4, 2009
I visited the site, Conservapedia, to learn more. Apparently, it's also a right-wing Wikipedia of sorts. I compared the Obama entry with the Palin entry, and it was disturbing. It's the same thing with Fox News (or any liberal blog, for that matter) - people are increasingly only getting their information from highly biased sources. Yes, it's comfortable and reassuring to hear news that agrees with your personal beliefs, but it removes any possibility of true debate. Terrifying.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 13, 2009
Filed at 9:10 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sarah Palin's new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven't become any truer over time.
Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer's dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.
Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush -- a package she seemed to support at the time.
A look at some of her statements in ''Going Rogue,'' obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:
PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking ''only'' for reasonably priced rooms and not ''often'' going for the ''high-end, robe-and-slippers'' hotels.
THE FACTS: Although travel records indicate she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) overlooking New York City's Central Park for a five-hour women's leadership conference in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000. Event organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter. The governor billed her state more than $20,000 for her children's travel, including to events where they had not been invited, and in some cases later amended expense reports to specify that they had been on official business.
PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, mostly from first-time givers, and turned back large checks from big donors if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.
THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised for her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis of her campaign finance reports. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC.
Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees.
She accepted $1,000 each from a state senator and his wife in the weeks after the two Republican lawmakers' offices were raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into a powerful Alaska oilfield services company. After AP reported those donations during the presidential campaign, she said she would give a comparative sum to charity after the general election in 2010, a date set by state election laws.
PALIN: Rails against taxpayer-financed bailouts, which she attributes to Obama. She recounts telling daughter Bristol that to succeed in business, ''you'll have to be brave enough to fail.''
THE FACTS: Palin is blurring the lines between Obama's stimulus plan -- a $787 billion package of tax cuts, state aid, social programs and government contracts -- and the federal bailout that Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted for and President George W. Bush signed.
Palin's views on bailouts appeared to evolve as McCain's vice presidential running mate. In September 2008, she said ''taxpayers cannot be looked to as the bailout, as the solution, to the problems on Wall Street.'' A week later, she said ''ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.''
During the vice presidential debate in October, Palin praised McCain for being ''instrumental in bringing folks together'' to pass the $700 billion bailout. After that, she said ''it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in.''
PALIN: Says Ronald Reagan faced an even worse recession than the one that appears to be ending now, and ''showed us how to get out of one. If you want real job growth, cut capital gains taxes and slay the death tax once and for all.''
THE FACTS: The estate tax, which some call the death tax, was not repealed under Reagan and capital gains taxes are lower now than when Reagan was president.
Economists overwhelmingly say the current recession is far worse. The recession Reagan faced lasted for 16 months; this one is in its 23rd month. The recession of the early 1980s did not have a financial meltdown. Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent, worse than the October 2009 high of 10.2 percent, but the jobless rate is still expected to climb.
PALIN: She says her team overseeing the development of a natural gas pipeline set up an open, competitive bidding process that allowed any company to compete for the right to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48.
THE FACTS: Palin characterized the pipeline deal the same way before an AP investigation found her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited a company with ties to her administration, TransCanada Corp. Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders during the process, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
The path leading to this program has not been easy or direct for me. I have spent the past decade working in so-called “good” jobs, yet never quite achieving any sense of career fulfillment. My nine years in finance, while satisfying on an purely intellectual level, was neither engaging nor rewarding on a personal level. After much research, I feel that the Masters program in Organizational Communication is a perfect fit for my interests, skills, and future goals.
People have always asked me how a French major ended up working in investment banking. It’s an excellent question, and one that I have asked myself many times over the past 9 years. I accepted the job because I am innately curious, and I knew it would challenge and educate me. Was it an area in which I had any actual interest? No, but I learned something new every day those first few years. I loved interacting with intelligent people, loved dealing with clients, and loved observing the internal structure (and power plays) at a big corporation. Over time, I began to realize that I had absorbed the jargon and the basic routine. The learning curve flattened, and the things that attracted me to the industry no longer existed.
I decided to pursue an MBA, with the goal of changing careers. I chose Emory University due to its strong Organization and Management department, including mandatory communication, leadership, and ethics courses. At the beginning, I was particularly interested in the field of human resource consulting, which addresses corporate issues such as employee identification and motivation, internal communication, and leadership styles. I was fascinated by these topics, and selected a course of study accordingly. However, the more time that I spent in class convinced me that I could make more of an impact by teaching at a business school, rather than working as an outside consultant. I saw many students graduate with great statistics skills and no ability to actually communicate or lead in a corporate setting. Many students laughed off the mandatory communication classes, considering them nothing more than “soft skills” or “girl classes”. I perceived the classes in the opposite manner. Having worked in investment banking, I was fully aware that finance can be taught; yet, these so-called “soft skills” were often completely missing in many otherwise top performers. Without these abilities, it is very difficult for anyone to be truly successful on a long-term basis in a leadership position, regardless of how talented he or she may be at statistics.
After much debate, I made the difficult decision to leave the MBA program in order to pursue a more specific course of study. I wanted to focus on the psychology of business interactions. Why do people interact the way they do? How do outside forces shape internal interactions? Can we affect the way people think and act within a business without outright manipulation? The term manipulation is pejorative, but what is its realistic place in corporate communications? The list goes on and on, and I knew that the strict MBA program was not going to allow me to delve deeply into these topics.
I researched several communications programs, but was drawn to Queens University for a number of reasons. The University’s close ties with the business community are very appealing because they ground the program in an applicable, practice-based course of study. I also like the idea of a young program, adapting and growing with the shifts in communication today. Finally, I appreciate the interaction with the business school, as that is my particular interest.
I believe I would be an excellent fit with the program. I am intellectually curious and driven by a personal passion for the subject. I also look forward to conducting dedicated research studies, as I have never had that experience. This program will also allow me to pursue my future goal of teaching. I plan to study for my PhD after completing this degree, and I am particularly interested in the Organizational Science program offered at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It has a similar real-world focus as the Queens program and would allow me to teach at the graduate level, preferably in an MBA program. I also believe the Masters in Communications would prepare me to perform outside consulting work in the business community, specifically in investor relations. This would be an excellent blend of my work experience in finance with the advanced skills and focus of the masters program.
The program combines my passion for learning with my passion for the subject matter; my innate skills with my capacity to learn. I look forward to beginning the next part of my professional life, and I believe the Masters in Communications from Queens University is the first step.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I've been staying up way too late at night reading "Guests of the Ayatollah", by Mark Bowden. Now, at first glance, a 700 page analysis of the 1979 Iranian hostage situation might seem a bit dry - but it is absolutely fascinating. Bowden also wrote "Black Hawk Down", and he brings the same suspenseful, tight writing style to this book. It's also particularly informing in light of the current political climate in Iran.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
It's no secret that I loathe Sarah Palin. So when Vanity Fair came out with a lengthy article addressing her bizarre rise to power, I eagerly read every word. The article was just as juicy as I had hoped. Of course, I wasn't remotely surprised by the accusations of her chronic lying and narcissism, but some of the anonymous quotes by McCain staffers were definitely interesting. New York Magazine had a nice summary list of the top points. Enjoy...
"[T]he senior members of McCain’s campaign team have undergone a painful odyssey of their own. In recent rounds of long conversations, most made it clear that they suffer a kind of survivor’s guilt: they can’t quite believe that for two frantic months last fall, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as vice president of the United States someone who, by mid-October, they believed for certain was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be. They quietly ponder the nightmare they lived through."
"At one point, trying out a debating point that she believed showed she could empathize with uninsured Americans, Palin told McCain aides that she and Todd in the early years of their marriage had been unable to afford health insurance of any kind .... Checking with Todd Palin himself revealed that, no, they had had catastrophic coverage all along. She insisted that catastrophic insurance didn’t really count and need not be revealed."
"And she comes on TV and says, ‘I want to once again confirm that neither I nor my staff ever holds closed-door meetings.’ Well, we had just been in a closed-door meeting for an hour and a half!”
"Palin’s old nemesis, the Alaska Republican Party chair Randy Ruedrich, called on Stevens’s Democratic successor, Mark Begich, who had defeated Stevens just days after the original conviction last fall, to step down and allow a new election. Palin told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in an e-mail, “I absolutely agree.” Days later, at a news conference, Palin insisted she had never called on Begich to step down."
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
And I HATE American Idol, so there.
Anyone who says they don't have guilty pleasures is so full of shit. I mean, I love to read literary classics and watch serious documentaries, but I also love trashy paperbacks and reality TV. I just think it's so funny when people claim to be "above" contemporary culture.
But I think that's a wee bit crazy. The thing is, I really love writing and this is a great outlet.
So here goes :)
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
David's going to take some pictures later - not my best look!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I'm in denial about the entire neurology issue. They found a cyst in my brain in Hilton Head, but no one ever followed up on it or told me anything else about it. I just figured it wasn't important. Once I saw the immunologist here, he quickly realized that a fair amount of my symptoms were neurological in nature and sent me for a consult.
The neurologist discovered that I have limited sensation and reflexes on my left side, which wasn't a huge surprise. I've had numbness and tingling in my left arm for a few years now, and the headaches are all on the left side. David was very entertained by one of the doctor's tests - he had me stand up with my feet together and close my eyes. I promptly fell over. Whoops.
The MRI, MRA, and contrast dye imaging showed that I have a 2cm (like a gumball) cyst on my pineal gland, at the base of my brain stem. These can be asymptomatic, but mine is 4 times the size of a "normal" cyst. That, combined with my other symptoms, means a consult with the neurosurgeon.
I'll know more after the EEG tomorrow, but it's such an awful waiting game. I'm supposed to go on my honeymoon in 5 weeks! Am I having brain surgery? I have no idea. Even if they want to operate, it may not fix everything - not to mention the assorted risks. I desperately want my life back, so it's an incredibly difficult choice.
I'll post pictures of "Robo-Jen", covered in wires and sensors.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Our story is very unorthodox - best friends for 12 years, he was in my first wedding. Our first date was in May, we were engaged in September, and this all happened in October. Not ideal for a newly engaged couple, but it certainly means that we have a very good idea of who we are and how we each react to stressful situations.
Don't get me wrong - David is no saint. In fact, he's generally a bit of an cranky misanthrope. But he's my misanthrope and I adore him.
I had a mini-seizure a couple of days after they released me from the hospital, which put me back in the ER. They recommended I see an infectious disease specialist, thinking perhaps I had some underlying nasty virus or parasite. Dr. Avramovski - love him - took an insane amount of blood from me and tested me for every bug out there. All negative, except something called the ANA test. Again, if you watch House, you're familiar with this test - usually for lupus. It tests for anti-nuclear antibodies, which basically means your body is attacking itself. I was perversely thrilled! Finally, someone found the root cause - an autoimmune disease.
That brings us to Charlotte and the immunologist here. After a gazillion blood tests, he diagnosed me with mixed connective tissue disease and fibromyalgia. MTCD is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks its own healthy tissue. I'm on steroids now, which will help manage the syptoms. We'll continue to monitor and tinker with medication, but I'll have to live with it for the rest of my life. The worst part is that it affects your ability to have a healthy pregnancy.
I still think that fibromyalgia is a fake disease for wimpy people. This really pisses off my doctor and David when I say this.
I haven't gotten to the neurological stuff yet. That's a post all on its own. (Mostly because I'm in complete denial)
Mikey wins the brother of year award. He's the one who took me to the hospital and took care of me until Mom and Dad could get back in town.
I started to get a little scared at this point. I was so, so sick and in so much pain. Plus, I was having these convulsions and no one could figure it out. Everyone at the Hilton Head hospital was very nice (if Emory was an Econolodge, the Hilton Head hospital was the Ritz-Carlton). I had every test known to man - if you watch House, that was pretty much my week. Finally, the doctors found a cyst in my brain (which they promptly dismissed) and a bacterial infection in my blood. After a couple of days of hardcore IV antibiotics, they released me.
Yep, returning to school wasn't looking too good.
What an amazing day!
Also, Charlotte got about 3-4 inches of snow last night, which just adds to the special feel of the day. It's still snowing, which is a real treat.
Monday, January 19, 2009
There was a bit of conflict going on in my mind. Here's the thing - I didn't really like business school, per se. I loved classes and I loved the discussions and the professors, but I didn't like the subjects. I enjoyed the communications and strategy classes, but couldn't stand economics or statistics.
The stereotype of a business school student is arrogant, money-obsessed, Republican, white male, etc. I'm not going to lie - there are definitely some of those, mostly in the full-time program. (I had fun taunting them during the election.) But as a whole, I met incredible people at school. Goizueta attracts a different type of person, and really focuses on core values instead of status. I have no doubt that I wouldn't have lasted a day at one of the cutthroat "top" schools. The competitive environment made me react like some kind of rebellious teenager. The more everyone stressed about grades and jobs, the lazier and less concerned I acted. Counterproductive, I know. Why bust my ass to get a Distinction when I could watch bad TV, never open my text books, and get a High Pass instead?
I also started telling people that I was in graduate school for business communications and psychology, in order to avoid saying that I was a business school student. I was oddly embarrassed by my choice to go to Goizueta, especially since I was becoming more and more certain that I didn't want to be in traditional "business". Of course, I had no idea what I wanted to do instead (still don't). All I know is finance.
I felt like I just had to finish and get it over with so I could have the letters on my resume.
It all started this summer. I was exhausted all the time. I couldn't make it through the day without a nap, and I was sleeping 9-10 hours a night. Since I was working full-time and going to business school at night, I figured it was just stress. Then I started to feel like I had to flu every 3 weeks or so. I would be sick as a dog on the sofa for 2 days, then recover magically. I hate going to doctors (always convinced they're just going to tell me I'm being a wuss), so I ignored it. The headaches started in June. It was as if an icepick was stabbing me behind my left ear through my left eye, and would last about 30 seconds. Agonizing and breathtakingly painful - I'd be doubled over. Now, I've always had headaches, but these were completely unlike anything I'd ever experienced. I even told David about them.
School started in September, and I spent most of my time sleeping, studying, or in class. Actually, I spent most of my time sleeping or napping, nicely interspersed with horrible headaches. One Friday in October, I woke up with severe back pain. By the next day, I couldn't stand up straight and had stabbing abdominal pains. David convinced me to go to the urgent care, who drew blood and sent me home. I was angry - I hate the doctor and I hate nebulous health issues. The clinic called the next day and said I had to come back ASAP. Next thing I knew, I was in the back of an ambulance headed for Emory hospital. I was trying to call the office and my professors while the EMT was putting in an IV - complete denial.
I spent a week at Emory Hospital, which I don't recommend. It was surreal being so close to business school, yet being stuck in a hospital bed. I had every orifice poked and prodded - let me tell you, nothing brings you closer in a relationship than a colonoscopy and a GI bleed.
They released me with some painkillers, but no diagnosis.