Tuesday, February 26, 2008

McCain and the New York Times

The New York Times reported that Sen. John McCain had an affair with Vicki Iseman, a lobbyist for the telecom industry. Here are some of my responses.

Vicky Iseman is good looking, but I am afraid she is not that good looking, she sort of has an oddly shaped face, I think she has a smile of a stroke victim (sorry) and she has that gender neutral non femininity of DC women.

The thing that is great here is that it looks like Vicky Iseman has quite a bit of power in her profession, perhaps somewhere on equal footing with John McCain, it seems to be the subtext in the reporting. Is that what makes it Ok? Attractive? Has this event helped Vicky Iseman professionally?

Bill Clinton's affairs didn't hurt him politically, either in the election or in the White House. Bill Clinton usually had affairs with women who were professionally less powerful than he.

I think the NYT article tried to make this about McCain's record and reality with lobbyists, but it flopped, by injecting a hint of smutty sex. Perhaps there was some humanity involved as well.

Sometimes people who work together have a relationship dynamic that does not involve "doing it" but are intimate and, otherwise, affairs. That is probably what happened.

Why has no one thought that maybe the NYT, a media organization, wanted to attack the telecom industry/lobby/regulations structure through this article? Is this about leverage against that structure? Could it be the cultural establishment thinks the NYT is really more "left" or "independent" than it really is? I read the Financial Times.

If this were a lobbyist from the "Merchants of Death" we met in "Thank You For Smoking," then would the story look the same? Who cares about telecom regulation except the grad students in ICR at UIUC.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I play tennis every Thursday night at the Atkins Tennis Center and it is great.


I think Kosovo's independence, and its support in the West, is about realpolitik.

I think this is about resolving an issue Milosevic created in the late 1980s. It could have gone another way, but in 1999, with the military occupation of Kosovo, and the reaction of NATO and the US, it couldn't go any other way. That was also about the EU and the USA feeling guilty about looking the other way in the region in the early 1990s and now feeling it has to do something in the region. Maybe it isn't the best solution, to have an independent tiny state, it is 1.9 million Kosovars and 100,000 Serbs, but it is the best solution of not very good solutions.

Kosovo will be under EU control/supervision for a long time. It has no civil society, etc. Perhaps EU presence here is the goal. Smuggling, etc, is a problem here, and perhaps the EU can clean it up, or perhaps not.

It is also about energy, energy markets, and energy transport: where will Russia's southern pipeline run? What about nuclear energy from Bulgaria? If the EU is in control of Kosovo, then maybe it has more influence in this.

Russia wants to say this is about creating instability, but I think this is a thinly veiled threat that Russia won't stand by the EU in other matters (when did the EU have a strong assurance from Russia?).

For more commentary, see
Philip Stephens, "Milosevic was the midwife to Kosovo's nationhood," Financial Times, Friday February 22, 2008, page 9. (Commentary).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

Did you see the Lunar Eclipse last night?

Around 6, I was walking from meeting someone at Starbucks, going directly east, to Krannert center. I saw I full moon, pearly, proud, feminine in the sky. It was a sky that is blue and clear on a cold night. I have a cashemere sweater dress that color blue and I am wearing it today with mother of pearl earrings.

I had been at Manolo's Pizzza and Empanadas for a slice prior to attending the performance by Pacifica Quartet at Krannert Center , which is just across the street. I heard the cook tell the cashier about the lunar eclipse (that is how I learned about it) and say it would take place around 8.45, on West Oregon St. in Urbana (Manolo's and Krannert are on West Oregon).

After listening String Quartet op. 18, no. 5 and Hindemith (String Quartet, op. 22), and before Beethoven op. 132, which were lovely, at at 8.30, there was an intermission. I really am not educated about music, unfortunately. String Quartets, I am learning by experience, are lovely, and Beethoven is really nice. Someone who knows more about it advised me about that before the performance, and it is so. Usually, I hear classical performances over the radio, at home, while working, or cooking on the weekend, and I think "where are those sounds coming from? the speakers? they are too complex and full to be being made in those two boxes." My reaction last night was, wow, that is where the sound comes from, the strings, and the people who are playing them, they had their bodies into the performance.

Intermission was the same time the pizza cook said the moon was scheduled to move into the shadow of the earth.

So as I walked out of the performance hall and zipped up my coat, the usher told me that I didn't even need to go outside to see it, and I walked to the big window that looks over West Oregon St. and saw it with some strangers who had also just heard the performance. It took my breath away. I saw it as the moon was moving into the shadow, and it moves really fast. I felt as if I were watching a clock that told me life going on in unknown directions, regardless of what I do. I also saw a shooting star as I was thinking of some things on the other side of the globe and wondered if I had imagined the whole thing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Knjiga za Svakog Pedera

knjigazasvakogpedera.blogspot.com is the website for the "Knjiga za Svakog Pedera" book project. I am writing "Knjiga za Svakog Pedera" as a scientific guide to life in contemporary, urban Croatia. It applies current scientific research on daily life and larger questions, from how to do the laundry so colors don't fade to how to live in harmony with a man. "Knjiga za Svakog Pedera" takes its inspiration from the book "Knjiga za Svaku Zenu."

(this is not anti-peder/anti-gay, it is maybe like a postsocialist, post-communist, post-SFRY, Central European "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy")