Anyone who doubts that our president has serious balls should check out his Q+A at Friday's Republican Retreat. It was a take-all-comers intellectual ass-whupping, on live TV. We need more honest encounters like this - in which politicians from both sides call each other on their bullshit until they're having an actual conversation. We have so many problems to tackle right now, and spouting talking points at press conferences isn't going to get us anywhere.
Looking for some V-Day DIY? The Martha Stewart website has a TON of ideas. I don't know if I'd do any of these exactly the way they're designed, but the techniques are useful. Change up the colors, the motifs, and away you go.
Soft "chains" have been a trend lately - there are some nylon ones available at jewelry supply stores that look a bit like this, but some of them are held together with some pretty unsightly glue. This could be a good alternative.
Plenty of mechanical details and gothic elements -- there's definitely some steampunk influence here, but it's not tiresome. Of course, I'm also a sucker for art that recalls iconography, as a number of her pieces do.
A customizable Valentine's Day gift pick that's reminiscent of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. (I can barely think about that book without crying.) While I'm not sure that The Giving Tree is the best model for a romantic relationship - one person giving all of their self to another, until there's nothing left to give, is probably more appropriate in a parent-child relationship - this ring is certainly sweet, and different. (via Refinery 29, who has another Valentine's gift story here)
I also like their Lost Love Compass Necklace - although if I gave it to someone, I would frame it as a "Love Compass, for finding you, my beloved, etc, etc."
In South Carolina, Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer's campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor is getting some unwanted attention from the media, after a speech in which he compared people receiving government assistance to stray animals.
"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better," he said.
His opponents have claimed that his remarks are un-Christian, but I think maybe Bauer has just been reading from the "Compassionate Conservative" version of the Bible. You know, the one where Jesus says, "I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink; and I would like to thank you, because otherwise how would I have ever learned my lesson?"
See? Andre Bauer is trying to help people -- BY NOT HELPING THEM AT ALL.
Maybe I've just fed way too many stray cats in my life, but I think that Andre Bauer might be a terrible person.
Fashion Rickets continues to strike the model community. Will no one help these beautiful, limp women?
Here, a model for mothlove, a Portland, Oregon-based company that uses cruelty-free silk, made without killing the silk worms. But will no one think of the models? All this one can do is lie on a rug. Please, someone give her some milk.
Le sigh. It's the same story over at Lanvin. Sure, Alber said he wanted "movement," so they tried their best, the brave things.
It's even struck the usually vital Miranda Kerr, shown here in Vogue Russia. So close to standing! Don't give up, Miranda!
As Frank Rich points out in the NYTimes, conservatives like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Michael Steele are making serious money off of the "Tea Party" movement. Palin is reportedly being paid $120,000 to speak at the Tea Party convention, Beck uses his viewers' apocalyptic fears to sell them gold coins, and Steele is using his status as the Republican Party's appointed Obama-fighter to sell his book and "speaking skills" to the largely Obama-hating Tea Partiers. For Steele, this is another example of his taking advantage of his unique position as by far the most well-known African American in the Republican party. He's been calling out others for "displaying racism" and "playing the race card" while gleefully doing both himself. He offered Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal "slum love," claimed that he would use "fried chicken" to attract minority voters, and, my personal favorite, used the phrase "honest Injun" in a television interview.
WhoWhatWear's predictions for Spring 2010: Extreme wedges, all-weather leather, accessory overkill, lingerie galore, pretty pastels, mid-blue hues, manicured ruffles, digital prints, cut-out dresses, khaki craze.
I agree overall, but think they missed this season's over-riding "African" theme - the khaki is really safari/military, and the most interesting graphic prints are tribal - as are some of the shapes, which are less "cut-out" than wrapped. And I'm all for "mid-blue hues," but I'm hoping, Chloe et al. not withstanding, that it won't take the form of the double denim "Canadian tuxedo."
Model Crystal Renn is always described as "plus-sized," but she's just plain HOT. She's been front and central in fashion's latest "size wars," releasing her memoir, Hungry, and starring in the much-talked-about "size issue" of V Magazine. But according to her New York Times interview, she doesn't believe her recent popularity is necessarily a big victory for size acceptance. "When designers and editors choose one fat girl to salivate over, and revel in her avoirdupois, I'm not sure how much it advances the cause of using girls of all sizes in a magazine," she wrote in her book.
Democrats need to implement some strategic populism if they want to escape the November 2010 anti-incumbent wave, and bashing big banks could be the solution. And there's reason to hope that they'll implement practical actions, rather than just rhetoric. The NY Times reports that President Obama will attempt to recoup as much as $120 billion of the $700 billion financial bailout. How he'll do it is uncertain, but a windfall tax on profits, such as the British are considering, could be just what taxpayers and voters need.
Governor Schwarzenegger wants to shift California's money out of prisons and into schools, a move that could thrill those concerned with social justice. California spends $10.6 billion a year on its 33 prisons and 12 community correctional facilities. 30 years ago, 10 percent of the general fund went to higher education, and 3 percent to prisons. Now, 11 percent goes to prisons, and just 7.5 percent to higher education. Unfortunately, he wants to accomplish this liberal goal in a conservative way - by privatizing prisons. The system would be better served by releasing low-level offenders. The state's prison system is vastly overcrowded, and a panel of federal judges gave it two years to reduce its current number of 170,000 inmates to 130,000. But the governor has refused to allow prisoners to be released early, and the correction officers union is not cooperating.
Some prominent conservatives would like Americans to know where they stand - against the insanely popular movie Avatar. Also against the environment, certain religions, and hot human-on-humanoid sex. But for the Iraq war and clear-cutting. Read all about it!