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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rattzlefrap: Beauty and Leadership

Rattzlefrap: Beauty and Leadership
Copyright 2009, Jim Penny
Word count: 578

I receive tweets from a few people associated with the North Carolina General Assembly. Representative Tricia Cotham sends tweets as she can, and I find them quite illuminating. Laura Leslie covers the GA for North Carolina Public Radio. Her tweets are a delight, especially when she's restraining her inner snark, and Laura can snark with the best, which is another reason to love her and her work. Ian Palmquist also sends tweets as he listens to debate regarding the issues on which he lobbys. Ian's tweets, like Laura's, are generally factual and objective. However, there occasionally arises the moment in which we can tell Ian is drowning in disbelief over what he's seeing and hearing. His key word, taken from Charlie Brown, is “Good Grief.”

What this means is that I'm ahead of the news at the end of the day. In addition, if we need to call senators or representatives, it can happen immediately. With Twitter and FaceBook, important information becomes viral within minutes of the initial post. What can be done with 140 characters is amazing.

Today was a busy day in the GA, as evidenced by the bazillion tweets on my phone as text messages. Two dozen arrived while I was eating lunch. During the middle of the afternoon, Laura sends a tweet saying that Miss USA is in the GA speaking. Cool, though I had to wonder what was the compelling reason for Miss USA to be consuming valuable time in the session, aside from the protracted adolescence of some in the assembly membership.

A few minutes later, this tweet appears from Laura.

#NCGA Dalton says "I like to think of [being Miss USA] as the ultimate leadership job for women across the country--a spokeswoman."

I read that single line a half-dozen times, thinking that I was missing something or that Laura had missed a stitch. I wasn't, she hadn't, and I retweeted before posting the line to my FaceBook status with slight edits for the different venue.

I was without words. Do I go out and stand in traffic? Do I pound my skull on a cement wall? I shared the line with people at work. Our dental coverage will rise after it pays for all the restorative surgery from the dropped jaws.

Now in case you missed some recent history, Miss USA is also Miss North Carolina USA. Her name is Kristen Dalton, and she is no stranger to the Miss USA title. Her mother held it in 1982, and her sister won the teen version (Miss North Carolina Teen USA) in 2008. Ms. Dalton is also well-educated, holding degrees in Psychology and Spanish from East Carolina University.

With all that preparation behind her, what possessed her to speak with such ignorance and stupidity? Has she received special training? Was she standing too closely to the representative from Wake County, and his skills in the area rubbed off?

Did Ms. Dalton miss the news this morning that the nominee for Souter's seat on the Supreme Court is a woman? Did Ms. Dalton miss the appointment of Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State, and that Hillary gave Obama fits during the campaign? Did Ms. Dalton not notice the new governor of her home state, and how long has a woman represented NC in the US Senate?

Yet, I suppose those achievements pale when compared to the duties of Miss USA.

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