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Chat > Dancing With the Stars

IVA and Sharon,

Like Nyon, I learned a great deal from your posts and at various times became exasperated by the way that thread played out. I value both your resources and your interpretation of them.

Friday, November 20, 2009 at 12:29 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

Boy was I disappointed by Mya's freestyle dance. She should not have listened to Dmitri and followed her first mind. When they finished I was like WTF!!!! I still think she should win. Her other dances were great and she has been consistent throughout the competition.

Kelly's freestyle was a mess, but she did look like she was having the time of her life.

Donny's freestyle was perfect for him.

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 10:26 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Better late than never - right!?!?!?

Mya's freestyle was awful, in terms of it being a dud. It was executed well, but lacked a wow factor that I feel she could have given. I think Dmitri was off with his position and I'm sure Mya let him know it. Oh well - that's the way things can go.

However, I don't think it would've made a big difference. Donny pulled off a good enough freestyle that kept faithfully to his showman strengths.

I agree with everything you wrote about Kelly.

Now - with regard to the outcome. I'm ok with it. Donny was surprisingly good. I think Kelly deserved 3rd - that's farther than anyone could have imagined and about right in terms of dance capabilities.

Mya couldn't overcome the Donny base. I think Marie would've won her season, when she was on if she could have danced better. But her last few dances - and the doll dance freestyle - really hurt her in terms of judges' scores and the public's enthusiasm. Donny didn't do a doll dance, and was much better and more consistent throughout the season. So, his judges' scores weren't too far behind the leaders after most episodes, and the public was probably more enthusiastic to vote for him. So he had the needed elements for a win against a pure dancer like Mya. It's like an Emmit Smith vs. Mario Lopez situation.

So basically, while Mya deserved to win due to sheer dance ability, I'm ok with Donny since he has what this show is probably all about - the boisterous, outgoing attitude. The dance ability and overcoming his inadequacies. The fanbase.

In the end this was an "ok" season. Definitely not the best, but not the worst. I think the season that Kristi Yamaguchi won was the most boring, although I still watched it!

Well that's all for now with this season. Hopefully next season will be a little more exciting. I think they should stay away from any Mya-type dancers. She was just too good. The bright spot is that I think she forced everyone to be better.

Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 10:09 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

IVA, I had a feeling Donny was going to win, but I wasn't that upset about it. Plus, I wasn't even watching it because I was so focused on trying to see the State Dinner and Mrs. O. Thats probably why I wasn't too disappointed because I didn't actually see it. Can't wait to see the next group of stars.

I actually wanted to talk to you about the Pres. What do you think about his decision to add more troops to Afghanistan? I don't know how I really feel about it. I want to trust that he is doing what is right, but I am against war. I mean I understand it, but I think it should be considered only after all other resolutions are void. Especially after being in a war that was unnecessary in Iraq. Then there are numerous reports saying that Al Qaeda has basically fled Afghanistan, so what would be our reasons for staying. We need to fix our own country before we go trying to save another one, AGAIN!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 1:35 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Hi Nyon!

I'm waiting to hear the speech first. I have to be honest, I don't know my Afganistan/Pakistan/India/Taliban/Al Qaida history very well, so I am not as knowledgeable as I'd like. I'm reading a lot on the internet, and am reading so many different assessments of the situation and of the history, that I really don't know what a good move is at this point. This is one of those "gut" situations, where my gut will lead me to how I feel about the situation.

I have a fundamental problem with the notion that we can leave right now. I don't think that's in our best interest. There is a reason Britian is still in it. There is a reason Canada is still in it (although they are withdrawing in a few years). There's a reason NATO is going to add troops. In other words, something is bad in Afganistan, and it's bad enough that we have allies. That makes me think withdrawal is not a viable option.

And I know this sounds terribly right wing of me, but to leave right now just screams DEFEAT to me, and it does not sit well with me that al Qaida and the Taliban would be able to so easily claim a victory over us. I'd rather we give it one more good "surge" and then leave on our own volition, as opposed to a "throwing our hands up and getting out" which is what we'd do if we just left now.

I also have a problem with the idea of just throwing more and more troops at the problem, though. I have a military friend who told me that from what he's read, the president is adding troops to give us some space to withdraw. That does seem like what he's doing, and if that's what he's doing...setting up an orderly withdrawal, I'm all for it.

Bottom line is that this is one of those situations where no one would be happy. I don't think the president is happy right now. I don't think anyone likes what a mess Afganistan is. And ANYONE talking about what the president is doing is a "mistake" or "wrong" doesn't have the humility to admit that they don't really know what's a good idea and so I take their opinions with a grain of salt. None of the choices with Afganistan is a safe bet.

In terms of the idea of war - I don't like war either, but I think it is necessary sometimes. I believe WWI and WWII were necessary. I believe the Revolutionary War was important. The Civil War was most definitely a "good war." I don't think we, Americans, love war as much as it seems. I just think warring is as old as the Bible, and it's a part of living with different people on this planet. Yes, we should avoid it. But we can't always avoid it. And I'm sorry, but we are dealing with people who have no problem blowing themselves up in the name of their supposed religion. They have no problem cutting off people's hands if they steal. No problem whipping grown women if they think the woman cheated or showed too much skin. And they want to spread this shit (pardon my French). We can't let these types get organized in their craziness by taking over a country.

I'll have more to add, I suppose, after the speech.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 7:31 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

I feel you, IVA. Maybe I will feel better once I hear Obama's reasons from his own mouth. I know this was a painful decision for him, so in a way I feel like there was no other way, but this way.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 7:54 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Very well put, IVA.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 8:08 PM | Registered CommenterGroovy

Ok.

Well I watched the speech last night, and then read it this morning. And I have just re-read my comment above, and that's how I feel about this new strategy. I'm not thrilled, but then again, this isn't a thrilling situation either way. It does appear to me that he's giving the Afgans space to try and get their house in some semblance of order, and then we're getting out. I think in the meantime, our forces will attempt to kill and capture as many Taliban and al Qaida people as possible, as well as develop greater intelligence capabilities in that region. I think working with Pakistan, the goal is to squeeze the Taliban and al Qaida into operating in just the mountainous area between Af and Pak.

But the bottom line for me is that his plan sounds like a withdrawal plan - but on our terms. I watched the Senate Committee hearing with Gates, Clinton, and Mike Mullen. All of them were strong in their support for this approach, and all were strong in saying July 2011 is a target that they (and the president) have every intention of hitting, in terms of beginning a withdrawal.

In the end, I guess you can say I "support" this plan. I almost feel like I don't have a choice since I don't support any other option more than another, including complete withdrawal right now. If he had said we were leaving, I would "support" that too subject to a rational explanation like he gave last night.

You know, there was a time when this country had a healthy dose of trust for the president. Those days are sadly gone. I trust this president because for as long as I've been following him, he's been consistent, honest, and mainly because he does not have the luxury of being as wrong and lying to us, like George W. Bush or Dick Cheney could. He has no rich family to lean on. No deep connections within the "system" to help him reshape things. There is no tv network or newspaper devoted to helping him get out his version of things on a constant basis. So to me he has decided, based on deliberations and I could imagine a little prayer, to chart this current course. It's going to be messy. It may very well fail. But it is what it is, and I hope that those who oppose his decision don't root against it now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 3:47 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

That's how I felt too watching him last night. Like I said before, I knew this was a tough decision for him and I could actually see it on his face last night. He looked like he wanted to choke up a lil bit or that he had a lump in his throat. So that is the difference for me between him and George W. He is sincere and he is doing what he thinks is right for this country and for Afghan. I pray it works and that we don't lose too many lives in the process.

What also got to me was at the end, how all those cadets were climbing over each other to shake the hand of the man that is sending them to war, maybe to their deaths. They still love and respect him. I know they knew that when they signed up, but I am sure it has to be hard when it is a reality.

So, like you say, I support his decision and we will just have to wait and see what the outcome will look like.

On a ligther note, did you see last night how many people in the audience were falling asleep or already asleep. Where dey do dat at? I watched on CNN and they showed the audience plenty of times and if people weren't sleep, they were blinking real hard to keep the sleep away. Even Hillary Clinton!! Too Funny!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 6:39 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

LOL, yes I saw the droopy eyes and heads! Professor Obama was in the house last night - I caught myself drifting away a few times too.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 9:53 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

LOL, I didn't fall asleep, but me and my cuz were talking through alot of it and laughing at the sleepyheads.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 9:58 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

I watched on C-Span and they didn't show the sleepyheads though I saw some comments about it later. What I saw in the audience were cadets listening intently, as they should, since their lives may well be at stake here.

Politico had a video of comments from two of the cadets after the speech. They felt he was talking directly to them and one even said that she felt that she had received her commission directly from him, her commander-in-chief. And, in reality, those cadets will be the officers on the ground physically carrying out the plan. But these two sounded as thrilled as the ones greeting him looked to have him there and to get to interact with him.

I agree with Iva's assessments. I've heard some complain that Obama ran as an anti-war candidate. That is not quite right. He ran as an anti "dumb" war candidate. He always promised to focus on Afghanistan.

Besides the emphasis on training Afghan troops, it appears to me that the other emphasis will be on gaining control of small areas, holding them and then turning them over to the Afghans. Sec. Gates said today that the extra troops President Obama sent earlier have been doing that and the efforts are now beginning to show results. Also saw a broadcast on this (probably CBS early morning which repeats during the night because I recall seeing it several times) that highlighted a formerly very dangerous town that has benefited from this technique and has become more livable. Also the death rate dropped dramatically for November.

Most reputable pundits--the few I still feel are credible--have been stating over and over that President Obama has no good options in Afghanistan. This, unfortunately is true. And so he listened to everybody, turned over all the stones, and carefully thought things through.

I don't like war either and I kept hoping that President Obama with his brilliance might have some fabulous epiphany on how to solve this. But he is not a miracle worker so he devised quite likely the best shot.

Sec. Gates prefaced his explanation ot the 2011 beginning of withdrawal, with the planned reevaluation of the situation in December 2010 to see where they stand. But he was confident that the withdrawals would begin in 2011 in any case.

I still have tremendous faith in President Obama and I have seen nothing that he has done to even slightly dampen that faith. I trust him on the war because I know that he will keep a close watch on it and keep reevaluating it and make changes before it gets out of hand like it did under Bush. The way will be hard, but I will support him all the way.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 9:10 AM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson

Hey guys!

Well, it's turbulent out there with Joe-mentum throwing it down and "sticking it to the liberals." The guy is such an a-hole it's unbelieveable.

What do you all make of the kill the bill movement from Dean and co.? I'm feeling very confused, we have the left and right literally joining forces with the same rallying cryto "kill the bill." Well, at least Dean says the mandate part of the bill.

The problem with that, however, is that means the only people likely to get insurance will be the sickest and oldest, therefore insurance (government or privately run) would be too expensive since the risk isn't shared amongst a wide and varying group of people. Conceptually, I think the mandate is necessary if those with pre-existing conditions aren't giong to be discriminated against. I think every other country with universal health care has a mandate for just that reason.

This feels like some turbulent times for Mr. O. I think he's going to take a nice hit from this. I hope the Senate can hurry up and pass the bill. It would be good, at this point, for Pelosi to be able to do that ping pong thing and just let the Senate bill go straight to the House for them to vote on it without having to deal with conference. I think Joe and everyone at this point has put down their cards and everyone's bottom line is out there. So let's just cut the deals, make the compromises now and bypass the conference committee.

This entire reform has been emotionally draining. I have no idea who is "to blame" apart from the Republicans and lobbyists and Joe-mentum. Those are clearly the bad guys. Conservadems are next because they, I feel, are pretty hard "nos" but don't have the heart to be as out about it as Joe L. I think we've never been closer than 55 votes for the public option in the Senate.

Hopefully things will die down on the Democratic side. I think the president has to come up with some progressive wins early next year. I also hope this teaches the Democrats in Congress that they have to be just as united in governing as Republicans are united in opposing. Ultimately, there was entirely too much grandstanding and that's why this proces has been so painful.

I think we never had the votes for the public option and I wish the president and Congress would have done a better job managing expectations. I don't think it was smart to let grassroots, etc. campaign so hard for the public option since I think all of the relevant players knew it wasn't going to happen.

My only hope is the progressive activists who are upset and disappointed realize that staying home and disengaging is not the answer. If we can pick up 1 more Senate seat, Joe-mentum is useless. Granted, we'll have the Nelsons and Landrieus to deal with, but at least they aren't all mavericky like Joe and perhaps feel more shame than Joe would ever feel.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 4:04 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

Well, I find the Dean scene pretty interesting, IVA, because back when he was Gov. of Vermont, he eradicated the idea of competitiveness among insurance companies by turning the state into a one- company provider, promising us that rates would not go up - and they did go up by at least 14% for successive years.

So he is a hypocrite on that front.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 9:15 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

I am not going to lie, I am very confused about what's going on. One minute there might be a public option, the next minute there is not. Dems don't want it, Repubs don't want it. Like you say, Joe L. being a first class A-Hole and I don't know what to say about Dean. I am just ready for a bill to get passed and one that is going to help everyone who is uninsured and needs better(or more affordable) insurance. I see no point in passing a bill that is not going to help just to say you made "some" changes and actually got a healthcare bill passed. IDK, I am just waiting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 9:33 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Confusion is a good term to use here.

The one thing I know for sure is that I refuse to listen to any Republican legislator ever again. Day after day for months now they get up in the Senate, the House, at daily press conferences, at local town hall meetings, on TV news programs including C-Span where they whine, lie and distort, as they drone on and parrot the official position. They simplify the issue, repeat the simple message and it begins to sink in. They are very good at this. And as boring as hell.

The divisions amongst the Democrats get a lot of play. The core issues they agree on do not. I think old Joe just likes all the attention and enjoys seeing himself on TV and has no real principles. Ben Nelson and a few others have large numbers of the crazies among their constituents.

President Obama's interview with Charlie Gibson on ABC tonight laid down the bottom line that bears consideration by all: "If we don't pass this bill, the federal government will go bankrupt."

I know some things, but not well enough to espouse on this issue. I've always thought it to be important and that a bill would come to pass.

Below is a link to a short article (blog form) that lays out the good that is still there without the public option. It also quotes Kevin Drum's bullet point summary of what is in the bill. A pleasant counterpoint to Republican bleatings.

http://business.theatlantic.com/2009/12/liberals_against_health_care_reform_are_nuts.php

The first comment there repeats the distorted Republican talking points. The others are more about emphasizing exercise and healthy eating which the Administration and Michelle have been laying the groundwork for. Is the Surgeon General nominee still waiting confirmation? She promised to emphasize that.

My gut feelings are reflected by a comment made by a usual Republican-leaning fellow on an item posted by Political Wire: "Just get the bill passed. I'm exhausted."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 11:47 PM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson

I think much of the confusion is cleared up by Glenn Greenwald in This very insightful article

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 4:50 AM | Registered CommenterWillow

I'm sorry, Willow, I don't see this article that you reference as being very insightful. It's pretty speculative as far as I can tell, and completely discounts the fact that the Republicans in Congress are adamant about killing the bill.

It alludes to imaginary conversations and is just more fodder for jumping ship.

Like I said earlier, I saw Dean destroy the competitive market health insurance environment in Vermont.

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 8:42 AM | Registered CommenterBevi

So what does Greenwald make of Nelson now rearing his head to scale back the bill's provisions expanding Medicaid and calling for Stupak language in the Senate bill? Here's how ANOTHER conversation went:

Rahm: Mr. President. I know you ran as pro-choice and wanting to help the least among us, but you know, those insurance companies gave you a lot of money, and I believe Catholics voted for you a lot too...you know what that means.

Mr. President: You're right Rahm. Call in Ben Nelson.

Ben Nelson: Hello Mr. President. How can I help you?

Mr. President: I need you to be my foil. You saw what Joe did last week, right?

BN: Yep.

Mr. President: Well, I need you to go on tv this Sunday and mention that you're not going to support the bill without tough anti-abortion language and you want to gut the Medicaid expansion.

BN: Ok...

Mr. President: Meanwhile, I'll say that I don't want these provisions in the bill, but I won't say the words "veto."

BN: You know, I can actually do it earlier than Sunday, and that will really throw the bloggers in a tizzy.

Mr. President: Sounds good. Go get em!

Mr. President and Rahm fist bump.

See, Lieberman killed the public option FOR Obama, not because he's a jerk and very much supportive of the private health insurance industry. And now, Nelson will kill the abortion and Medicaid provisions because the President is atually anti-choice/pro-abortion/women hating, and really doesn't want poor and low-income folks to be able to access Medicaid.

It all makes sense. I'm sure what's going on with Lieberman and now Nelson is exactly as the president hoped. Meanwhile, I'm sure he wants his numbers to reach 30% over this since that means he'll get a bonus from the private insurance companies upon his embarrassing exit after his first term.

In the real world:

Here's a link to a blogger named Ezra Klein who's done yeoman's work covering health care reform.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/

He can help with interpreting the bill and health insruance in general.

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 12:34 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

Things that make you go, WTF!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 1:07 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

IVA - I have not yet had time to read the Ezra Klein article you link. I will later.

But I do want to ask why there was no evidence of the President using his power to force Democrats to vote for what he wanted (if, in fact he did want the public option or the medicare buy-in that would actually do something to control the insurance companies). Apparently he used that power for another issue he truly wanted.

From Greenwald's article:

Indeed, we've seen before what the White House can do -- and does do -- when they actually care about pressuring members of Congress to support something they genuinely want passed. When FDL and other liberal blogs led an effort to defeat Obama's war funding bill back in June, the White House became desperate for votes, and here is what they apparently did (though they deny it):

The White House is playing hardball with Democrats who intend to vote against the supplemental war spending bill, threatening freshmen who oppose it that they won't get help with reelection and will be cut off from the White House, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) said Friday. "We're not going to help you. You'll never hear from us again," Woolsey said the White House is telling freshmen.

That's what the White House can do when they actually care about pressuring someone to vote the way they want. Why didn't they do any of that to the "centrists" who were supposedly obstructing what they wanted on health care? Why didn't they tell Blanche Lincoln -- in a desperate fight for her political life -- that she would "never hear from them again," and would lose DNC and other Democratic institutional support, if she filibustered the public option? Why haven't they threatened to remove Joe Lieberman's cherished Homeland Security Chairmanship if he's been sabotaging the President's agenda? Why hasn't the President been rhetorically pressuring Senators to support the public option and Medicare buy-in, or taking any of the other steps outlined here by Adam Green? There's no guarantee that it would have worked -- Obama is not omnipotent and he can't always control Congressional outcomes -- but the lack of any such efforts is extremely telling about what the White House really wanted here.

----------------

The White House is now criticizing Howard Dean, as they have criticized liberals throughout this year-long struggle over health care. If, in fact, the President was really eager for a public option, why have we never heard one word of criticism of the very people who have assured that it be removed?

I find this very confusing. Are we to believe that this White House criticizes the people who fight for what it wants, and praises those who kill what it wants?

That just doesn't make sense to me.

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 1:50 PM | Registered CommenterWillow

I'm leaving this thread.

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

Why are you leaving Bevi?

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:17 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Willow, what is your point? Are you trying to say that the Pres is a liar, that he never wanted a public option? Why would he do that? Why would he even try to tackle healthcare reform and talk about public options, when he knew that would bring much criticism from both sides and that if it did not work out, his "followers" would be hella mad and turn on him, like you so obviously have done. The same man that just a year ago was so inspiring and bringing hope and change, is now a liar. Don't get me wrong, I know he is a politician and I know he has to play the game, but I just refuse to believe that he would play these types of games.

And is this article referring to the same bill that the senate just delayed? I just read this blog today:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/12/18/time-political-games-over

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:33 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Hi Nyon,

I want to answer you, so this is one more post on this thread for me.

I find it really disrespectful that Willow takes the time to write a post without first reading the article that IVA proffered. It's an example of not really participating in dialogue, but feeling the need to hit and run on ideologic premises.

And I don't want to play that game. From the looks of how these chat rooms have diminished in participation, it looks like I'm not the only one who has that opinion.

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 3:39 PM | Registered CommenterBevi