Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Boys Club

Yesterday, the Republican candidates for the Illinois gubernatorial race came together for an NPR radio debate. Whomever wins this primary election will face Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. Although I do care about the outcome of this race because I want the state government to be run successfully, I'm not too worried. It's generally believed that in Illinois, Republicans and Democrats are all really about the same, because they must appeal to the mostly moderate voters in Illinois. Anyway, after the debate last night, Judy Baar Topinka (the only female candidate) left and the 4 or 5 other candidates stuck around to answer questions during a press conference. Not sure why Topinka left--the news clip on WGN News (click on GOP radio debate to watch the clip) this morning didn't mention her reasons for leaving--but during the press conference, the other candidates spent the whole time criticizing Topinka and her platform. At one point, candidate Jim Oberweis (yes, of Oberweis Dairy) crooned, "Come back, Judy dearest. Come back and play with the boys." She did, and she held her own as the other candidates criticized her to her face.

Since the news clip was less than 2 minutes long and they didn't really say much else, I will refrain from making any assumptions about what else happened. But when I saw Oberweis crooning, I cringed. It seemed incredibly condescending, and whether Topinka will be a good governor (if elected) is beside the point. I just wondered 1. whether the male candidates would have done the same thing if Topinka were a man and 2. If Topinka WERE a man, whether s/he would have left after the radio debate or stuck around with the other candidates to continue the debate at the press conference. Just an interesting character study, is all.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

When it all falls down

On this blog, I usually try to avoid writing about what everyone else is talking about and instead look for the stories that may be under the radar. However, there is one really mainstream topic about which I would post here, if only I understood it. Chicago city politics fascinates me. Right now, it's slowly crumbling, as evidenced by City Clerk James Laski's resignation. Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass writes about city politics all the time, which has really piqued my interest in the whole thing (though it could also be the journalist in me). Kass has been writing about city politics for a great number of years, and although he's obviously biased against Mayor Daley, he knows a lot about what happens behind closed doors and can explain it better than probably anyone else out there.

Chicago is nicknamed the Windy City not because of the weather (although yeh, it's windy) but because of the politics. The history of the city and the scandals that are slowly being exposed tell a lot about the way this city is run and how complicated it all is. I encourage everyone to look into it. If I have a lighbulb moment, I'll post it here. Happy learning!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Musical lamentation

In the past month, I have acquired somewhere in the area of a few dozen new albums, an amount of music so daunting that I haven't even tried to listen to most of it yet. My iPod and I are going to have to have a serious reconnection. During this time, I have also gotten my coworkers hooked on the workday addiction that is Yahoo Launchcast, shared my music collection with some other willing participants, and sampled yet another online music service that looks cooler than Launchcast, has none of the annoying commercials of Launchcast, plays way random music, and allows users to create more than one station.

With all this exposure to new music, I must lament the impending end of an era known as No Doubt. In 1996 I went to a Mighty Mighty Bosstones/No Doubt concert at the World Music theater, and I still hold to this day that it was the best concert I have ever been to. Although Gwen Stefani usually gets most of the attention, No Doubt was definitely more than just the strong female vocalist. The drums always carried a stong beat that stood out, complemented by the bass line and guitar riffs. No Doubt was a band that was strong because each of the members was equally strong. But now, dear friends, I feel the time has come. I feared it was nearing with the release of Gwen's independent high-school pop album (which isn't bad, but it's certainly a departure from the band's unique sound and rockin' albums). And now that she's pregnant, she and husband Gavin Rossdale are going to make their pretty little nest and have their pretty little baby and the only music produced by either of these musicians will be the lullabies and preschool songs about baby animals. Two of the other band members have families as well, and so they will probably go their separate ways, then show up on some VH1 reunion show in 10 years. I guess everyone has to grow up sometime, huh?