Monday, December 31, 2012

The Smurfette Principle (End of Year Re-Run)

Since the ratio is getting a bit better next Congress, and since this post deals with core YBGP issues, I wanted to revisit Mandi's exploration of the Smurfette Principle (from June 17th).  Is it getting better?  When will there be even a Smurfette level of women presidents? 

So, apropos of nothing in particular, I was thinking about the three women we have on the Supreme Court now (Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg), and how we are slowly moving away from the “Smurfette Syndrome” in politics. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Follies: Hey Girl, Politics Are Dreamy 2

I'm feeling nostalgic.  So today's Follies revisit the Ryan Gosling Memes of August, but with new meme finds.  PS If you want to see what Gosling himself thinks about the meme craziness, go here...

1. (Poli-Sci) - 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Team USA: It Takes a Village (End of Year Re-Run)

So while we're talking about large government cuts versus raising taxes, I wanted to re-run a piece I did (on July 31st) about why Democrats love the government, and some of the awesome things our government does and has done over the years...

I am sick of Democrats being defensive about our love for American government.  We have the best government ever, and we have used it to do some truly amazing, wonderful things.  And what's more, the people who "hate the government" are usually overlooking the many, many things the government does for them - and does very well.

Take this dude (not the President, the business owner), for example:

He's forgetting that he accepted over a million dollars in aid from both state and federal governments to help his company start and grow.  Money that had nothing to do with his success?  I doubt it.

Every time some self-involved, entitled person...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

America: A Meritocracy? (End of Year Re-Run)

Since we are spending a lot of time arguing about whether and how the "rich" should be taxed, and whether people who aren't born rich are takers, I thought it time to revisit Mandi's piece from September 25th, about whether we are a Meritocracy...

The New York Times recently asked, "Should people who have had no financial help from their families get more credit for their accomplishments than people who did?"

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Follies: Mayan Apocalypse Edition

So apparently it's the End of the World As We Know It...

...But in the meantime, it's taken us too long to figure out the winner of the election contest.  That's because it took a long time for the final popular counts to get in, but also because we ran into an unforeseen (because we're new at this contest thing) circumstance: people who got close on electoral count did not get close on popular, and vice versa.  

So, after a discussion, we decided that the winner - Sara S. - would be determined based on who got closest on the electoral (since, in the end, that's what counts here).  And Sara did get impressively close.  

Our two second place winners were Sea Bass and Sherene, who came the closest on the popular vote.  

Great job, guys :-)  

Next contest to follow in the new year.  And now, onto the Follies...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Linkage Is Good For You: Sayonara Edition

Well, this is my last post until after the new year.  It has been fun these last few months writing at Your Big Girl Pants.  I look forward to seeing what the new year brings.  Now on to linkage:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Suffer The Little Children

Because guns don't kill people.  Lack of access to mental health services don't kill people.  America's fascination and worship of violence doesn't kill people.  No, it is the lack of school-sponsored prayer that kills people.

The response to the Newtown shooting, in which 26 people were killed on school property, 20 of them children, was as predictable as it was infuriating:

You know the question’s gonna come up, where was God?” he said. “I thought God cared about the little children, God protected the little children. Where was God when all this went down? And here’s the bottom line: God is not gonna go where he’s not wanted.

Now we have spent, since 1962, this, we’re 50 years into this now, we have spent 50 years telling God to get lost. Telling God, we do not want you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you before football games, we don’t want to pray to you at graduation, we don’t want anyone talking about you in a graduation speech.

We’ve kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, "Hey I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you’ve gotta invite me back into your world first. I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman."

And then, Mike Huckabee weighs in:

Monday, December 17, 2012

How Do We Stop It From Happening Again?

I'm thankfully at the end of a peaceful, children-filled weekend.  We shielded our young kids (and ourselves, frankly) from the news, and focused on other things.  And that's probably the right parenting move.

But I've been surreptitiously gathering news and trying to sift through the onslaught of information to distill the important things I'd like to talk about today, after Sandy Hook Elementary's tragedy.

Here's what I've got, so far:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Follies: 5 Most Embarrassing Presidential Moments

George HW Bush throws up on Japanese Prime Minister:

In January 1992, while at a formal dinner in Japan, then president George Bush became ill, vomiting on the Prime Minister of Japan, Kiichi Miyazawa, then fainting. Earlier in the evening, Bush had told his physician he was feeling unwell. This all happened at a presidential news conference and dinner in Tokyo. It was later famously parodied by Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Party Foul: Top 5 Ways Rs Cheat When They Don't Win

Foul on the Play.  Take a seat.

So it's possible that I'm really, really angry about the way Michigan's government has been behaving itself.  And by "possible," I mean "a virtual certainty."

But I will try my best to stay rational and not rant.  Here's my take on how Republicans deal with  the situation when they lose in our democracy: "how can we undermine democracy so that we win?"

It's not, as saner members of the party might suggest, about "how do we reach out to voters?  How do we make our policy arguments in a better, more convincing way?"  No, no.  It's "how do we change the rules so that we can win."  And let me be clear: by "change the rules" I mean "subvert democracy."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Demanders: Another Way to Look at Job-Creation

I hate the term "Job Creators."

I mostly hate it because it's palpably falsely applied.  It smacks of the same kind of Madison-Avenue Political Speech in which Frank Luntz specializes (e.g. the Estate Tax as "the Death Tax").  What Republicans tend to mean by "Job Creator" is "rich person."  And mostly, when Rs call rich people that, they are saying that we should give rich people tax breaks because then they will take pity on the rest of us and create more jobs.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Double Rainbow: DOMA and the Supreme Court

Still one of my favorite viral videos...

But to get slightly more on topic, last week, to the impatience of many, the Supreme Court finally accepted two cases which took up the issue of gay marriage.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Follies: Cliff-Diving Edition

Eddard Stark.  Every Week.

So there are some saying it's not a cliff, it's a slope.  There are some saying let's go over.  But no matter what direction, the imagery of the Fiscal Cliff just begs for some Follies...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How The Republicans Almost Stole the Election

Well it turns out that the Republican-led Great Voter Suppression Effort of 2012 was a spectacular failure, in every way.  Not only did most of the laws get struck down, but it also fired more minority voters to go out and vote who otherwise would have stayed home.  The schadenfreude is delicious with this one...follow me below the fold....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Between The Rock and a Cold, Hard Place: Religious Discussion in America

My grandmother liked to say "my Father's house has many rooms." John 14:2

Yes, I know, some people say "mansions" and argue that John meant different physical churches, not different faiths.  But that's not what my Grandmother meant.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pretty In Pink-Sex Segregation and Toys

This review is from: BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen, 1.0mm, Black, 16ct (MSLP16-Blk) (Office Product)

First of all I'm a male. I picked a pink one up by mistake to write a quick note... Next thing I know I'm sitting down to take a pee. Be careful.

You see, when I as a woman hold a 'legitimate' pen (read, one made for him,) my body has a way of shutting that whole thing down. That's what my Congressman told me, anyway. But when I hold the delicate barrel, pleasing colors and small size of the BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen, 1.0mm, Black, 16ct, everything works as God intended. BIC, you have answered my prayers, as well as all of the men in my life who know me better than I know myself. Thank you!

Someone has answered my gentle prayers and FINALLY designed a pen that I can use all month long! I use it when I'm swimming, riding a horse, walking on the beach and doing yoga. It's comfortable, leak-proof, non-slip and it makes me feel so feminine and pretty! Since I've begun using these pens, men have found me more attractive and approchable. It has given me soft skin and manageable hair and it has really given me the self-esteem I needed to start a book club and flirt with the bag-boy at my local market. My drawings of kittens and ponies have improved, and now that I'm writing my last name hyphenated with the Robert Pattinson's last name, I really believe he may some day marry me! I'm positively giddy. Those smart men in marketing have come up with a pen that my lady parts can really identify with.

Where has this pen been all my life???

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Follies: Zombie Apocalypse Edition

Winter is coming...and with it the supposed end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar.  So what if it technically isn't true that the Mayans predicted the end of the world? The zombie apocalypse may well be upon us!  Are you prepared with your zombie survival strategy?   Here are some of my favorite zombie memes, from the political to the genre-bending, below the fold...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Badass - the Sequel

So we here at YBGP do pay attention to what you guys like.  And Mandi and I are impressed by your devotion to Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Our first NDGT post has recently become our Most Visited Post.  It's also one of the top ways people get here from Google (thanks Google! Welcome NDGT People!).

We are so impressed with how much you like NDGT, that I'm going back to the well to find some more of the reasons Tyson is a Badass.

NDGT is a busy man.  He has his own podcast/radio show, called StarTalk.

He tweets -

.: I believe in God. No man knows when the world will end. // When asteroids head our way, you'll quickly believe in physics

And here are 7 ways NDGT is busy, bringing the awesome... 7 Days a Week.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

True North: Objectivity Is Not a Fad

Alec Baldwin: But in your profession, in the political professional class, the punditocracy, whatever you want to call it, now we have a whole network which is very, very tilted in one direction. Did you see that coming?

George Will: You have two – you have two whole networks. Well, look, 30 years ago – CNN was founded in '81, I think – 30 years ago at the dinner hour in this country, 80 percent of all television sets in use were turned to Cronkite, Chancellor, and Peter Jennings. Today we have this cornucopia of news sources. People define journalism on their own terms, get it on their own time.
I was told by an activist in South Carolina during the primary this year that a survey showed that 72 percent of all Republican primary voters in South Carolina get all, not most, all of their news from Fox News. When a Republican candidate buys an ad on Fox News, he's not broadcasting, he's narrowcasting right into Republican voters. 
Now, in a way, this too is a reversion. When the party system developed in the 1790s and early 1800s, American newspapers were largely factional papers. Some of them were paid by the parties.  So we may look back upon the, some would say the pretense of objective journalism or nonpartisan journalism as an episode, a parenthesis in our national history. [Emphasis Mine.]

- Here's the Thing Podcast, September 24, 2012

There are things I like about George Will.  He's an interesting, smart guy.  He often has a different take on political situations than the Republican party line.  And I like smart people who aren't afraid to show their smarts - so in the same way that I have an appreciation for Justice Scalia, I have an appreciation for George Will.  But this statement he made - in a generally good podcast episode - made me seriously upset.

I'll try to explain why.

Monday, November 26, 2012

5 Reasons Why You’re Fat

Why are Americans, out of all the countries in the world, one of the fattest? One of the most common answers is that Americans are fat because individuals are making bad food choices, and are thus willing themselves to be fat. People routinely cite obese people with a ton of junk food in their carts at grocery stores, or the “super-sizing” at fast food places as reasons why Americans are fat.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Cornucopia of Post-Turkey News

So I only have the time left in a playground outing of the hubby and kids to write, but there are a few stories that bear discussion this week...

1. R.I.P. Warren Rudman - Warren Rudman was a Republican Senator from New Hampshire, one who earnestly sought progress and bipartisan governance.  He resigned from the Senate after two terms because he said it was too partisan and fractious.

He was well-known for his work in Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, which established some bipartisan (Hollings was a Democrat from South Carolina, Gramm a Republican from Texas) budget processes to try to tame budget deficits in the mid-1980s.  Those processes were about... raising the debt limit.  They would have created mandatory sequestrations by the Comptroller General, but they were found unconstitutional (as was the Line Item Veto - which was not in GRH but was also supposedly a method for achieving budget sanity, though at the same time a large grant of presidential power).    Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) also penned budget control measures in the same era.

Rudman later served in a Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under President Clinton.  And he helped steer the Iran/Contra Hearings with Senator Inouye (D-HI), producing a bipartisan document that said Reagan officials knowingly violated the law (hence the Bush Pardons).  Rudman supported aid to the Contras, but famously said (and here you will hear echoes of C.J. Roberts from the Affordable Care Act decision - "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices."):

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Follies: Prez Is Not Impressed

So we're taking tomorrow off, because unlike Walmart, Kmart, Toys R Us, and Sears, we Respect the Holiday.  I mean seriously: only TV Celebrities, Broadway Dancers, High School Marching Bands, and Football Players are supposed to work on Thanksgiving :-)

In the meantime, let's meme it up.

First there was McKayla, being unimpressed:

...and then...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

YBGP Index: Math Is Hard

Election Contest Update:  We have not forgotten the Election Contest, but Arizona has been crazy slow to count, so we haven't had the numbers until this week.  I'll sit down and do the math sometime this week when the kids are at their least frenetic.  The T-Shirts are in and ready to go once I figure out the winner.

In the meantime:  with a nod to Harper's, I give you the YBGP Index...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mandi Mansplains It All


Mansplaining:  The tendency of some men to mistakenly believe that they automatically know more about any given topic than does a woman and who, consequently, proceed to explain to her- correctly or not- things that she already knows.
Woman A: When he started mansplaining to me what it really meant to be a woman in the 21st century, I got up and left.

Woman B: Really, what else could you do?
                -Urban Dictionary

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Follies: Top 5 Stupid Sex Scandals Edition

There's been a lot of talk this week about whether the affair General Petraeus had with his biographer Paula Broadwell is a legitimate news story.  The only reason I think it is, is because of the potential for blackmail Petraeus opened himself up to as CIA Director (i.e. holder of the government's most important secrets).  But because of the downright Real-Housewivean facts of the case, I felt this week's follies should look at the crazier sex scandals we've seen over the years.  All of these scandals have a sad side, with families impacted.  But they also have a funny side, with prominent politicians acting like fools while seemingly convinced they will not be caught.

And so, without further ado...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

4 Ways Republicans Can Relaunch The Brand: Crystal Pepsi Edition

After every election, the losing party assesses the damage, and thinks of ways they can get the elusive 50.1% of the vote the next time around. In other words, how do political parties relaunch themselves to get a bigger share of the market for the next round of elections?  As the loser of two presidential elections in a row, Republicans are now the ones in re-branding mode. What tried and true marketing techniques can the Republicans perform moving forward to become more appealing to more people?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dangerous Liasons: Sex and the Powerful Man

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few days, you have by now heard about CIA Director General Patraeus and his mistress, Paula Broadwell.

Monday, November 12, 2012

3 and 1/2 Reasons Republicans Should Be Glad They Lost

Okay, my Republican Friends: enough with the predictions of gloom and doom.  What Would Reagan Do, people?  Reagan wouldn't talk about the country being awful these days, and he wouldn't despair.  Let's try to find the bright side here, folks.  And there really is one.  Three and a half, even.

Seriously, Grover.
1. The Game of Tax-Raising Chicken Can End.  A.K.A. Grover K. Norquist: will you please go now?

Grover Norquist (founder of Americans for Tax Reform or ATR) has been holding the Republican Party hostage for years now.  He's bullied almost all Republicans running for any national office to sign his no-raising-taxes-ever pledge.

And then he puts together a highly-biased yearly rating based on his own estimation of what votes should count as "raising taxes" and which should not.  He threatens legislators with rating given votes in his yearly tally.  And he has been very successful in keeping Rs in his line...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Follies- In A Galaxy Far, Far, Away

By now the news has had time to sink in.  Wounds have had time to heal, all the wailing and gnashing of teeth has stopped, and spontaneous celebrations have ceased.  That's right, Disney has announced last week that they bought Lucasfilm for over 4 billion dollars, and plan to release at least six, but as many as 12 new Star Wars movies. 

Rumors are running rampant right now, and one rumor has it that Disney tentatively plans to start the series about 5 years after the last one ended.  As none of the original cast are spring chickens anymore, this will probably require a recast of all the major human characters.  (No Tron: Legacy please).  So who will be the next generation to step into those shoes?  I give my speculations below the fold:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Come Sail Away: Our Top 3 Take-Aways from the 2012 Election

So there has been over 24 hours of sobbing, crowing, whining, gloating, and finger-pointing.  And that was just on Facebook.  Now that we have a bit of distance from the emotion of the night, what are our top take-aways from the election?  We will each give you our top 3.


1. Women Matter -

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Blue Heaven

It was a very good night for we YBGP ladies.

It's so hard to pick the best memes, there are so many.  But since both Mandi and I are spent this morning from a loooong live-blog day, memes it is.  And hopefully they will capture a bit of the feeling.

1. Yay.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Live-Blog 5.1: 99 Problems...But Mitt Ain't One


Live-Blog 5.0: Can I Get A...?

AAAAAAAHHHHHH.  It's finally here, people.

No more friggin' political ads.  No more robocalls.  Actually, we may have a few more hours of those.  For those people who inexplicably have yet to decide.

Follow us below to the live-blogging action, and the results contest (yes, you could earn your very own YBGP t-shirt if your prognosticating skills are up to snuff).

Monday, November 5, 2012

All the Pretty Numbers, or When Can I Go to Bed Tomorrow?

Some of you may have just heard that there is an election tomorrow.  Others, like me, have been obsessively following this election since the last election ended.  Still others have taken a casual interest in the election, paying attention only when something truly noteworthy is in the news.  Any which way, it's all coming to a close tomorrow night.  And the biggest question on everyone's mind is, at what point can I go to bed?  I'll give you some early signs to let you know which way the election is breaking, below the fold...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Follies: One Step Beyond!

Hey, it's the Last Follies Before the Election!

I believe this calls for some music, and some video madness.  So without further ado...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Black Flag

When you're already in a ditch, stop digging.We've touched on this subject before ( here and here), but John Sununu has stirred the pot yet once again with his recent remarks.  "When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to look at whether that's an endorsement based on issues or he's got a slightly different reason for endorsing President Obama," he said. "I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him." Sarah Palin recently wrote in a Facebook post, “President Obama’s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Taxman and Question 7

I've been thinking about this post for awhile, trying to boil it down to the essence, to shake off the unnecessary or confusing parts of the argument I want to make.  I'm using the suggestion of a friend - to write about Maryland's Question 7, which would increase the amount and type of legal gambling in Maryland - to springboard into a larger discussion.

I've spent a lot of time on tax policy, and tax policy is complex - needlessly so.  But there are underlying theories behind the tax decisions we make, and I've noticed that we almost never talk about them.  It may be due to the influence of guys like Grover Norquist, but the political discussion we have about taxes is almost entirely this:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Down with FEMA!!!

OH strong Manhattan!
Manhattan, during Hurricane Sandy

During one of the 2011 GOP presidential debates sponsored by CNN, Mitt Romney argued that the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be disbanded and replaced by handing over the responsibility to the states to deal with their own emergencies.

Here’s what the Republican candidate had to say when asked whether FEMA should be shut down:

“Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?”

When moderator, John King, responded “Including disaster relief, though?”, Mitt Romney had this to say—

“We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids.It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.

                                                                           -Forbes Magazine

“Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions.  As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA."

                                                                  -Statement by Romney spokesman Ryan Williams

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Enjoy Being a Girl: Gender Politics and the Modern Girl

She's leaning left.

I think it was the third time this election season that I was called - not to get out the vote as per usual, but to ask whether I would be supporting Obama - that I noticed the difference.

I'm a life-long Democrat.  I'm independent-minded in some ways, but there are a ton of areas where I think that Democrats view the world the right way, and act accordingly.  On social justice, on women's rights, on using the government to help the poor, the elderly, and the sick - I'm all D.  Therefore, I've never truly been tempted to vote Republican.

It did help that Kerry ran against W.  And even in my post-Hillary rage, I never would have voted to endanger the people (particularly the kids) who depend on the programs that only exist because of Democrats.

But apparently I now fit a certain demographic that is viewed as "up for grabs."  I think it's that I'm white, married, in my thirties, and I live in the suburbs.  But the thing about me that I think should belie those other facts is the fact that I am a woman.

Women lean left.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Follies-Presidents and Personality

As we bring this 2012 election season to a close, people have discussed the personality of the two men running for President extensively. One of the measures used to discuss personality is the Myers-Briggs test. A quick explanation of the Myers-Briggs personality test, courtesy Wikipedia:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Under Pressure: High Anxiety Linkage


Tis the season of the anxiety - if you're a person who gets passionate about politics.

My mom wouldn't watch the debates and won't talk about politics.  I'm avoiding most polls and predictions and only listening to the half of my podcasts that don't freak me out.  So if it's a story about scientific studies or Abraham Lincoln or a new play on Broadway, I'm your girl.  Ask me the current poll numbers?  Not so much.

But a few stories/ideas have permeated my anxious haze, and here they are:

1. Colin Powell Endorses Obama. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Will of God

..."even when life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen." ...

"The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen."

                                       -Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Indiana