The Commonwealth Comment

Monday, February 23, 2009

Socks the Cat: A Life of Politics and Chocolate Labs

This isn't the most important political story to come out of the Washington, D.C. area this weekend. But, for me it was sad to hear. Socks, the official First Cat of the Clinton days in the White House died.

Socks was adopted by Chelsea Clinton back when her father was still governor of Arkansas. When the family moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the black and white kitty became a rock star. He had his own stationary, had a muppet made in his likeness, and was supposed to have his own video game.

Barney Bush was no where near as popular. Maybe it was Socks' willingness to talk to reporters rather than bite them that set him apart...
In 1997 the Clintons introduced a chocolate lab named Buddy into the family. This did not bode well with Socks. According to Hillary Clinton, Socks"...despised Buddy from first sight, instantly and forever." Bill Clinton said, "I did better with ... the Palestinians and the Israelis than I've done with Socks and Buddy."
Upon their departure from Washington, Socks went to live with the president's secretary, Betty Currie. Socks, like most cats, grew ill as he grew older. On February 20th, 2009, cancer forced the Currie family to put Socks to sleep. He was about 20 years old.
This icon of 90's culture is at rest and will be missed. I just hope no one told him that all dogs go to heaven...that means Buddy too.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

No More Monkey Business

When I first saw the now famed money cartoon on the news I could not believe my eyes. My jaw quite literally dropped. It wasn't until later that I tried (unsuccessfully) to put it into the context of the recent chimpanzee attack in Connecticut.

This cartoon is so openly racist it is hard to understand how the editors at the New York Post failed to notice its blatant meaning. I know this tabloid isn't exactly the bed of journalistic integrity, but there must be at least some shred of journalistic judgment in that newsroom, right? It is comparing the first African-American President of the United States to a chimp! How can the racial meaning not come through almost immediately?!

The Post has since apologized for publishing the offensive piece. But in an editorial in the "newspaper" actually lashes out at media critics it says saw the cartoon as "an opportunity for payback." It goes on to refer to them as "opportunists" and flatly states that those people are due no apology.

It is sad to see that in a country that has broken down one of the largest racial barriers in its history with the election of President Obama can be reduced to such petty, childish, offensive, and disgustingly low levels.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Oui, nous pouvons!

I recently spoke with a friend via Facebook who is living and studying in France for the semester. She's been away for close to a month now. I asked her what it was like to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama from another country.
She said she felt something she hasn't felt for a while...pride in her country.
"I think I felt more emotional about it because I was in France...I am so proud to call Obama my president, I kind of feel like an ambassador of our new Obamified nation," she said.
She said in the days leading up to January 20th that Obama's face was plastered on almost every newspaper and magazine cover, and that she's hopeful the new president can improve our strained foreign relations with with France and the world.
"I didn't watch the inauguration speech itself with many French people, except for a few of my professors, and they seemed really amused by us. A bunch of us were crammed into the only office in the building that had working speakers so we could watch the live feed on I think the French were more interested in OUR interest in the speech than they were in the actual inauguration, but there is definitely a huge air of excitement about Obama here."
Based on my friend's account, it looks like Obama has the whole world saying "Yes We Can!" in just about every lanuguage there is.

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