Tag Archives: Kim Kardashian

A Civics Test: Could You Pass?

With all the informed debate and commentary on cable TV these days (LOL), you would expect that most Americans were experts on U.S. history, government and our constitution. Apparently not.

Here’s from USA Today, “Americans put to shame by immigrants on sample civics test“:

Immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship have to pass a 10-question civics test asking basic questions about American history and government, and about 93% succeed.

But only 65% of native-born Americans could get the required six out of 10 right answers when asked the same questions in a telephone poll.

That’s the finding from the Center for the Study of the American Dream at Xavier University in Cincinnati, which commissioned the telephone survey of 1,023 native-born Americans last month. Michael Ford, the director of the center, said the results are particularly troubling in an election year featuring competing visions of a Constitution that many citizens may not understand.

“If we are civic illiterates, the chances of losing our freedom is greater than being invaded by aliens or a foreign country,” he said.

Most Americans agree. In a separate survey, 77% said all Americans ought to be able to pass the citizenship test, and 60% said it should be a requirement for high school graduation.

The survey was designed to mimic the actual test. The 10 questions were selected from the same bank of 100 questions that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses. Like the test, the answers are open-ended — no multiple choice — and can have multiple valid answers.

One difference: Unlike citizenship candidates, the survey respondents didn’t have time to study.

“The citizenship candidates who have decided to file their application for naturalization and begin their life in the United States, they want it really bad,” said Christopher Bentley, a USCIS spokesman. “That said, it is stuff that people would have learned in Civics 101 class.”

They are not learning it, said Gene Koo, director of iCivics, an education non-profit founded by Sandra Day O’Connor, a former Supreme Court justice. Many schools aren’t teaching civics as they used to — an unintended consequence of the justifiable emphasis on science and math, he said.

“We always assumed that those who grew up here were getting that in the school system. That stopped being true a couple decades ago, and you can see the results of that in this study,” he said.

Ford noted that 44% of those with a high school education or less passed the test, rising to 82% among college grads. “They’re still getting whupped by immigrants. … I don’t blame the educational system. We have personal responsibilities as citizens. Not just rights.”

Wonder how many of the survey respondents could have talked at length about the Kardashians? (Related civics story. Kim Kardashian has indicated that she plans to run for mayor of the city of Glendale. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, Glendale does not have a mayor.)

So it goes.


Kim and Cain: Back to Reality

Well, this bites. I had 100 in the Kim Kardashian wedding/divorce pool. Wonder why I was so optimistic about this 72-day union while remaining so pessimistic about the behind-the-scenes deliberations of the congressional supercommittee? Anyway, the Kardashian-Humphries hook-up lasted an eternity compared to the marriages of some other celebs — Britney Spears and Jason Alexander, for instance.

Go figure.

And I’m not sure exactly what Kim Kardashian does other than be ah, Kim Kardashian. But apparently she does that well — and she sure knows how to manipulate the media.

Here’s from USA Today, “Kardashian’s divorce won’t tarnish her brand“:

Reality starlet Kim Kardashian and NBA basketball player Kris Humphries were not meant to be together forever after all.

Seventy-two days after their lavish wedding ceremony, which cost an estimated $10 million and was subsequently televised to more than 4 million viewers, the couple announced their split.

It was something many celebrity watchers saw coming. But shed no tears for this couple — they’re going to be just fine, say the experts. At least there are no kids, the pre-nup should not be a problem, and the golden Kardashian brand should be safe.

Herman Cain should be so lucky. The potential GOP presidential candidate was involved in yesterday’s other media shitstorm. And something tells me that his brand is now circling inside the commode, waiting for one more flush, most likely from someone at the National Restaurant Association.

Here’s the latest from Politico, “Herman Cain sexual harassment allegations: Damage-control marked by inconsistencies“:

Herman Cain’s presidential campaign enters Tuesday facing a full-blown political crisis, now that the Republican White House hopeful has struggled for more than 24 hours to respond to allegations of sexual harassment dating to his time as president of the National Restaurant Association.

Since POLITICO published a story Sunday night revealing that the NRA had reached financial settlements with two women who accused Cain of inappropriate behavior, Cain and his spokesmen have offered a shifting and inconclusive series of responses.

The result is that a story that would have been damaging to Cain under any circumstances now threatens to derail his campaign permanently as the former trade association chief’s honesty comes into question.

Republican super-strategist Karl Rove declared on Fox News Monday night that Cain might only be able to right his campaign if the NRA shares additional facts to confirm his claim that any allegations of sexual harassment against him were dismissed as false.

“I suspect there’s gonna be a demand for the National Restaurant Association to release details of the investigation that was done” into the harassment complaints, said Rove, who dismissed suggestions from the right that Cain had been targeted for his race.

“He should be prepared for things like this because he’s a serious presidential candidate,” the former White House adviser said. “We want our presidents to be as far above reproach as possible.”

Wow, what a mess Cain and his staff have created because they weren’t prepared — even with as much as a week’s notice — to manage this story. Did he or didn’t he? Were payments made to former NRA female staffers? What did Cain know and when, if anything?

If you’re going to play with the big boys Herm, you need to understand how the media works. And it doesn’t work like this. Here’s an example of what might be the worst interview ever on the part of a “spokesperson” trying to set the record straight or at least spin the facts to some favorable end. It comes via a segment on Geraldo Rivera’s TV show as reported via Mediaite, “Geraldo Blasts Herman Cain’s Spokesman For Not Denying Sexual Harassment Claims“:

Fox News’s Geraldo Rivera grilled Herman Cain spokesman JD Gordon Sunday night about the new salacious sexual harassment allegationsbeing made against his candidate, repeatedly asking him for a yes-or-no response to the charges. “What you’re doing now is a recipe for disaster, mate,” Geraldo warned. “I’m telling you the morning papers are not past their deadline yet. Are you denying there was a cash settlement to two female employees of the National Restaurant Association — yes or no?” “You would have to get that from the National Restaurant Association,” Gordon responded. “These are serious allegations,” Geraldo said. “You gotta give us a little more substance.”

All Cain’s spokesman would say is that the charges were thinly sourced, as Geraldo continued chipping away at Gordon, trying to to receive an explicit response.

“These two sources aren’t even named in the piece and it was a third party,” Gordon explained.

“Are you denying it ever happened, JD Gordon?” Geraldo asked again.

“These are thin allegations, this is non-sourced, right now we’re trying to put this in perspective for you that this is not even an — uh — sourced allegation,” Gordon stammered, saying his candidate deserved better.

“He may deserve much better than this, JD Gordon, chief spokesman of the Herman Cain, but I want your denial–if you would– to be more substantive, do you deny that this ever happened?” Geraldo questioned.

“Let me just tell you this is an example of the media attacks,” Gordon hit back.

“Yes or no, was there a cash settlement to two female employees of the National Restaurant Association?” Geraldo persisted.

But Gordon would only continue to give non-answers to the allegations. “All I am telling you right now is it’s something the establishment is trying to attack…”

“You are evading my questions — was there or was there not a cash settlement?” Geraldo interrupted.

“This is a typical attack on a conservative who is doing well in the polls,” Gordon continued, before Geraldo cautioned he was dooming his candidate with his non-answers.

“Are you not in contact with your boss — may we speak with Mr. Cain?” Geraldo grilled.

“The international media already passed on it because they knew there was nothing to it,” Gordon claimed.

Ouch. Where’s someone who has taken and passed Media Relations 101 when you need him?

And I’ll bet Kim Kardiashian would have handled the interview better.

That’s reality.

Reality TV Meets the Real World: Kim and OWS

OK. It’s early Friday a.m. and we’re sliding head first into the weekend. And not much pressing for a pajama-clad citizen journalist to opine about. Here are the top stories via a quick survey of online and dead tree media:

Mad Dog is playing Texas hold’em with Saddam.

Obama’s “Pass This Bill Now” jobs plan got smacked down again last night in the Senate.

Lindsay Lohan arrived late for her court-ordered community service at a morgue in LA and was told to leave. So she drove away in her $80,000 Porsche to get her teeth whitened. Sweet.

Yet beyond the headlines, other significant stories warrant attention. Two involve reality TV and the real world events surrounding Occupy Wall Street and Kim Kardashian.

Here’s from Mediaite — “MTV’s The Real World Is Looking For Some Sexy, Young Occupy Wall Street-ers To Get Real“:

The New York Observer has noticed that Bunim/Murray Productions, the company that produces The Real Worldfor Viacom-owned MTV has posted a casting notice on Craigslist looking for an Occupy Wall Street protester to join the cast of their next season.

So, basically, a giant corporation needs a young person to exploit for money and so they’ve decided the best place to look is amongst that giant group of young people who are sick and tired of being exploited by corporations for money.

Gosh! It’s just like a wacky rom-com odd couple!

Here’s what the posted listing says:

“MTV’s Real World is seeking cast members to tell their unique stories on our show. If you are over the age of 20 and appear to be between the ages of 20-24, and the description below sounds like you, we want to hear from you!

Are you a part of the OCCUPY WALL STREET movement?

If so, please contact realworldcasting@bunim-murray.com. Your subject heading should be YOUR NAME and WALL STREET.

Please attach 3 RECENT PHOTOS and a brief BIO, including your full NAME, DATE OF BIRTH (for ID purposes only) as well as your CONTACT INFORMATION including PHONE #.”

The whole thing is patently ridiculous. Don’t these people realize that, to go on this show, these protesters would have to go against the very things they’re fighting for, thus demolishing their very ideals? I mean, jeez, this is as stupid as creating a show called Jersey Shore and filling the cast with all people from New York instead of New Jersey!

Oh, wait…

Ah, to be young and sexy and sleeping on the sidewalk in Lower Manhattan.

Then there is Kim Kardashian. And dare I say it? There are reports that her marriage to Kris Humphries might not last as long as the NBA lockout. Go figure.

Here’s from a post on AOL TV as found on The Huffington Post:

Uh oh. Have Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries fallen victim to “the curse of ‘Hello!’ magazine” already? It seemed like a marriage made in reality TV heaven, but reports this week suggest that if you haven’t already picked out a gift from Kim’s spectacular wedding list, then don’t bother.

Before the ink’s even had time to dry on the thank-you notes comes news that the newlyweds’ relationship may have hit the rocks. There have been numerous “Splitsville!” reports in various publications, with allegations ranging from serial flirting to visits to a divorce lawyer through missing wedding rings, ex-girlfriends reappearing and — gasp — no reality TV future for Kris.

Now comes a report that Kim’s agent has dropped Kris as a client. And, that the Kardashian reality TV behemoth allegedly has no plans to feature the couple together on a reality show. Not even a road-to-divorce one. And we had so many plans for them …

According to ‘The MailOnline’, not only has Kim’s agent at William Morris dumped Kris, but it could be game over for the fledgling marriage. The website quotes a source close to the pair as saying “I don’t know when they’ll announce the split or why they got married in the first place but they are done.”

The source then spelled it out: “They are divorcing. They haven’t been together for a month and while Kim has been staying in New York she has been staying in a hotel room which Kris has failed to visit.”

And there we were thinking that Kim’s only wedding regret was that she wished she’d stood on a box to kiss her new husband …

‘Life & Style’ says the couple — who, let’s face it, seem to barely even know each other — are living separate lives. A producer on ‘Kourtney & Kim Take New York’ told the magazine that “Kim’s mapping out 2012, including holidays, and Kris isn’t a part of it. Any itineraries for the future don’t include Kris very much. That’s not a good sign.”

But it is a good sign for fans of the show, who presumably can now be rest assured that they’ll be following the sisters’ antics through next year. Sans Kris getting in the way or making Kim look short.


I read the news today, oh, boy!

The Prez on Vacation: Would You Stay Home?

OK. The Prez headed to Martha’s Vineyard yesterday to start his nine-day vacation. I don’t have a problem with that. He merits some time off from work just like anyone else. But that’s the rub. Millions of Americans aren’t working and might not find a job anytime soon. And the Prez says he has a plan to spur job creation — but we will have to wait until after Labor Day to learn the details.

Woo hoo.

So I guess we might as well all chill along with the Prez and members of Congress and the other miscreants who flee DC for all or most of August.

To quote the great American philosopher Zac Brown:

I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today, life is good today

Clearly,  the angst over a president’s vacation — or not — or about rounding up members of Congress and making them return to DC — or not — is all about perception. And the perception among many in this country as expressed in recent public polls is that neither the administration nor Congress are doing much, if anything, to address the big issues of jobs and economic growth.

And the perception is that things are getting worse, with no solutions, certainly no easy solutions, in sight. Here’s from WaPo, “Stock markets are walloped by another sell-off as fears of recession build“:

“I think the risk now is that we fall into another recession,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. “I think the risks have just changed very dramatically in the last couple of months. People are spooked.”

Data from the National Association of Realtors, a trade group, painted a disappointing picture of the housing market, with sales of existing homes falling 3.5 percent in July to 4.67 million, the lowest rate in eight months. Economists had been expecting sales closer to 5 million.

“Just as mortgage rates are dropping, people are not applying to buy homes,” Newport said.

Jobless claims rise

The latest figures on unemployment, considered another key piece in any recovery, also proved disconcerting. The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment benefits again rose above the 400,000 level last week, a benchmark figure that many economists take as a sign of a declining economic trajectory.

“Right now, it’s all about jobs in the U.S.,” said Kurt Rankin, an economist at PNC Financial Services Group. “Nothing is going to happen in the U.S. until some jobs are created.”

Guess we’ll have to wait until after Labor Day.

So let’s encourage the Prez to have a relaxing and enjoyable vacation — while we keep our fingers and toes crossed that he really does have a plan.

And an update. I still have not received my invitation to the Kim Kardashian wedding this weekend. Maybe she thinks I’m on vacation and wouldn’t be able to attend.

Congress: No News Is Good News?

Well, what now? As I opine this early Friday a.m., House Republicans and other miscreants failed to take John Boehner’s advice to “get your ass in line” and support a plan to increase the debt limit and shave government spending. And the Senate still has to vote on the Harry Reid and gang plan — although if and when that happens it’s unlikely to get the necessary 60 votes.

Wonder if Kim Kardashian is having better success with her wedding plans? I digress. But hey. This tidbit of info is in keeping with my now long-established tradition of highlighting good news stories on Friday.

Although, I guess at this point depending on your view of the world, no news from Congress is good news. Or not. And if Tiny Tim Geithner has been fibbing about the consequences of a USA default or credit downgrade then you better get the women and children off the streets next week. Things will get really nasty.

The reason? It’s possible that neither plan currently being floated in the House and Senate will prevent a credit downgrade. And neither really address the big fish in the skillet: unsustainable government borrowing and spending — without corresponding tax increases.

Anyway, here are a couple of thoughtful perspectives on what’s happening Inside the Beltway.

First from Kimberly Strassel in the Wall Street Journal, “Boehner’s Moment of Truth“:

By Thursday evening, Mr. Boehner had moved a significant portion of his conference, though he proved unable to net the final few votes. Some remained wedded to their vow to never vote for a debt-ceiling hike. Some, like presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, continued to insist, ludicrously, that a failed deal wouldn’t be a problem. It is an open question if Mr. Boehner could have ever won these votes, no matter how big, deep and dramatic a budget-cutting deal he presented.

What he did do this week is position his party to take credit for a bill that averts a crisis, cuts more spending than any Democrat ever thought possible, and exposes the White House’s insincerity on the deficit and economic prosperity. The Republicans who yesterday undermined bill now bear sole responsibility for whatever political fallout comes next.

And the second from Charles Krauthammer in WaPo, “The great divide“:

We’re in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and reach of government, the future of the welfare state, indeed, the nature of the social contract between citizen and state. The distinctive visions of the two parties — social-democratic vs. limited-government — have underlain every debate on every issue since Barack Obama’s inauguration: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health-care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending. Everything. The debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide.

The sausage-making may be unsightly, but the problem is not that Washington is broken, that ridiculous ubiquitous cliche. The problem is that these two visions are in competition, and the definitive popular verdict has not yet been rendered.

We’ll see how this all plays out this weekend. Or not.

In the meantime, I’ll keep checking my snail mailbox waiting for the Kim Kardashian invitation.

Now, for a Friday, that would be good news.