17 Jun 2011

*The President Doesn’t Have As Many Friends As He Thinks at NN11

This morning at Netroots Nation in Minneapolis White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer was openly and lustily booed at his Q&A session with bloggers and activists. Even Kalli Joy Gray (Angry Mouse) of the Great Orange Satan got in on it by demanding to know why the President lied about

25 Mar 2011

Wanna Sell Some Books? Teach Your Kid to Lie

I’m a hardcore secularist. I generally consider my hostility toward religion (or any worldview that isn’t scientific, for that matter) to be the aspect of my politics that is furthest away from the mainstream. As we all know, Americans love their myth and superstition.  See Jesus, or Reagan, Ronald. I’m also a writer. As someone

24 Mar 2011

Even You Can Have a Better Life. Just Do Everything I Say.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="Money! by Tracy O, on Flickr"]Money![/caption]

It’s 8 o’clock on a Thursday morning, March 10, when Suze Orman’s segment comes on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. The show’s namesake, former Florida Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, has taken the morning off while at-least-as-conservative advertiser and media personality Donny Deutsche fills in for him. Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist (Scarborough’s usual co-hosts) along with disgraced former journalist Mike Barnicle round out MSNBC’s panel. In the segment Orman will be peppered with questions about her newest book, The Money Class. It is this medium, television, where the brightness of Orman’s star peaks.

In still photographs Orman tends to have, for lack of a better term, “crazy eyes”. Her television appearances, however, are a different story. Her personality bubbles through on screen; effervescent, comforting and ceaselessly optimistic. She looks polished in a yellow suit and a black top, sporting tasteful gold jewelry and always smiling to show off her straight, impossibly white teeth. She has the deep tan of someone rich enough to have whatever they desire. Her voice is deep, intense and boisterous with the faint rasp of an aging smoker. She speaks with both words and her hands.

Orman has become a very rich woman using her presence and personality to sell a common sense personal finance message of saving and responsibility. In 2009 Forbes named her one of their 100 Most Influential Women in Media and Time magazine named her one of their 100 Most Influential People. She has her own show on CNBC that airs every Saturday. She is the highest grossing fundraiser in the history of PBS. She regularly makes appearances on Oprah and NPR. Orman is also the author 10 books, seven of which have been New York Times bestsellers, printed by publishing giant Random House, where she is one of their flagship authors.

Her advice ranges from standard boilerplate (don’t buy things you don’t need, Roth IRAs are preferable to traditional IRAs if you qualify) to nuggets that provoke skeptical responses from other financial advisors (her love affair with municipal bonds, her overemphasis on paying down mortgage debt). However, in The Money Class, she claims a loftier mantle than doling out mostly mainstream financial advice in a pretty consumer friendly package.

She wants to redefine the American Dream through a complete rethinking of personal finance.

Orman certainly doesn’t lack for confidence or hubris. She frequently speaks in terms of what she is giving people and has even been known to refer to herself in the third person.

18 Feb 2011

The Unbearable Heaviness of Irrelevancy

Recently someone important to me in my past came back into my life. I find myself questioning things as a result of their re-entry into my life – assumptions I used to have about this person, myself and us as a relationship or whatever you would call it. What I find myself

05 Feb 2011

Just Stop Already. No One Cares What You Think and You’re Making It Worse.

I haven’t published anything since the holidays. First I was taking a break for personal reasons. Then I got overwhelmed by the massacre in Arizona and, now, events in Egypt. Today I have some righteous anger I had to get out. Like everyone else I’ve been following Egypt almost religiously.

19 Dec 2010

Bob Cesca Is a Hack and Now I’m Going to Tear Apart His Column

So…for Sunday I was thinking lighthearted and easy. Maybe some fluff about Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann, something simple and stupid that gets the clickthroughs (after all, when you’re just restarting your blogging life like I am, aren’t clicks priority number one?). Then I saw this column by Bob Cesca

17 Dec 2010

Moving Towards War: Escalating Tensions in Korea

The last time South Korea and the U.S. did military drills in the Yellow Sea was last month – when North Korea responded by shelling fishing communities on the island of Yeonpyeong. The island is disputed territory between North and South. The island’s population is South Korean, but North Korea

15 Dec 2010

Economic Alternatives and Hope for the Future, Part 1: Brazil

While our government in the U.S. continues to cater almost exclusively to the interest of the global economic elite and working with other traditional conservative elites to maintain the Washington Consensus, there are changes taking place elsewhere. For a variety of reasons Americans are unable to address the economic crisis

10 Dec 2010

Bernie Sanders Is Standing Up to the Economic Elite: A Real American Hero

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is currently, as I write this at 3:14 PM Central Time, leading a pseudo-filibuster to prevent the President’s extension of the Bush tax policy from hitting the floor in the Senate. The link there is to the page on HuffPo carrying the CSPAN live feed. So

09 Dec 2010

On Obama, Transformational Politics, and Looking Forward on the Left

Last night I found myself reading an old post by Digby from February 2008 about transformational vs. transactional politics. Two years into an Obama Administration that turned out to represent a deeply neoliberal, doctrinaire Washington consensus approach to governing, some thoughts about where the left is and where it must go