BIG SITE NEWS: We now work on your mobile device!

One of the leading gripes we’ve received about The Recovering Politician is that it was too cumbersome and too slow to access on a mobile device, particularly by Crackberry addicts such as myself.

Well, we listened, and after thousands of hours of laborious research and hard work (OK, it took us a minute to download some new software), we now are accessible by Blackberries, IPhones, Androids, you name it.

So please try us out on your mobile device, surf around our site, and give us your feedback.  Is it working?  Is it still too slow?  Does the new technology make up for the RP’s horrible sense of humor?

Let us know in the comments below.  Thanks!

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Fame

The Politics of Fame

You can’t get a police motorcade in D.C. unless, of course, you’re a celebrity. [Washington Post]

Trump watch: The Donald signs Grover Norquist’s No New Tax Pledge. [News Max]

It’s all in the numbers: Obama reelection campaign to be metrics-driven [International Business Times]

NFL Hall of Famer Joe Perry passes away. Some experts believe it was caused by injuries from the game. [SportsBlogNation]

Mark Nickolas: From the Political Trenches to Film School

Last fall, at age 44, after 15 years in Democratic politics — or writing about it as an advocate and observer — I decided to challenge myself one more time and go after the thing that has interested me for quite a while: taking my experience and applying it to one of the most powerful mediums for affecting change: political documentary filmmaking.

I had come to believe that the documentary presents the greatest potential of informing the masses about the happenings in our society, providing itself as an important catalyst for political and social change. Think no further than Fahrenheit 9/11 or An Inconvenient Truth or even Super Size Me to understand how documentaries are able to circumvent the media or political filters and speak directly to the public about the issues of our time. They usually don’t force change quickly, but instead help to generate the critical mass necessary to alter perceptions and raise awareness, allowing us to re-prioritize our concerns as a society, rather than relying on the traditional media or, God-forbid, government officials to lead the way (are they still looking for those WMDs in Iraq that they both promised us?).

This time, I resisted the impulse to simply jump into the deep end of the pool and learn the craft of filmmaking on my own. If I were 10 years younger, who knows? But having recently moved back to New York City, I decided to do the thing that many of us 40-somethings frequently seem to long for – rather than just dream about – and that was going back to school. In my case, film school.

In brighter days...

After taking a close look at some of the excellent film programs in New York City, I decided to go against the wisdom of pretty much everyone whose advice I sought, and applied to only one school. If I didn’t get in, I was fine with those consequences. I’ve done well in politics, and had just left a tumultuous stint working for Governor David Paterson as we tried, unsuccessfully, to keep the job that Eliot Spitzer suddenly handed him a few years earlier. I knew I would be okay if school didn’t pan out. Either way, I would have chased a dream and would no longer torture myself over whether or not to pursue it.

Ultimately, I applied to master’s program in Media Studies and Film at The New School. Being a UC Berkeley graduate, and a strong Democrat, I suspected I’d fit in quite well with the more renegade and avant-garde environment of The New School (after all, the school began a century ago largely from a group of breakaway scholars from Columbia University who refused to sign their government loyalty oaths). Beside, while NYU is renowned for its film school, it is geared toward traditional fiction films. If you want to go the documentary route, The New School makes much more for sense. So, I applied in October, got accepted in November, and began school barely a month later.

During orientation, I learned I was the oldest of my incoming class of about 70 students. That discovery came just as I pulled out a notebook and pen to take notes, rather than typing directly into a shiny MacBook Pro, as did a majority of my new classmates (note: I used a typewriter the last time I was in school in the late 1980s). It was a new world and, at first, awkward. Terrifying, actually. It’s funny how you don’t feel old working on a political campaign when in your forties, but feel ancient when you’re a new grad school student. Like, dinosaur-ancient.

Thankfully, that feeling largely subsides after a few weeks as you realize just how great of an advantage and head start you have on your classmates when it comes breath of experience, perspective and focus, all of which translates into your coursework and relationship with professors, one way or another. While most grad students are, understandably, still figuring out what they want to do after they’re done with school, an older student has a laser-like approach to figuring out the lay of the land, the right classes to take and professors to avoid, how to take advantage of all the networking opportunities during visits from filmmakers and distributors and producers, and, most importantly, a plan. As a result, the lectures and readings are remarkably interesting and you’re enjoying it too much to even contemplate meaningful procrastination. On top of that, it turns out that professors love older students because we have a purpose, are engaged by what they’re teaching, and we’ve been around-the-block long enough to intuitively know what matters and what doesn’t when processing large amounts of new information.

Read the rest of…
Mark Nickolas: From the Political Trenches to Film School

Tomorrow at The Recovering Politician

For those of you who follow Kentucky politics or the national blogosphere, I have a fun surprise for you at 8:30 tomorrow AM. 

That’s all I’m sayin’.

You just better tune in tomorrow morning.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Laughter

The Politics of Laughter

*Not actual size [image]

I love Conan. You probably love him too! Relive some of the greatest moments from his shows through the years (before the Tonight Sh0w fiasco). [Funny or Die]

Oh. My. Word – So evil. [image]

A man who’s story just has to be told: Timothy Dexter. [Wikipedia]

“Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps.” A scathing, witty article by the great LZ Granderson. [CNN]




The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of The Diamond

Politics of the Diamond

There has been a bit of hoopla in the media about an attendance crisis in MLB.  The Big Lead has done some investigating.  Turns out that if your front office makes an effort to put a good team on the field consistently, fans show up to games.  How erratic! [The Big Lead]

The Arcade Fire won the Grammy for Album of the Year this year.  Here is a video of them singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at Wrigley Field. [Deadspin]

Another link cross-pollinating WWG topics is this: a very interesting read about Jeremy Guthrie of the Baltimore Orioles and many other members of the Latter Day Saints faith in Major League Baseball. [Desert News]

Major League Baseball has released their All-Star ballot.  Be sure to fill it out! []

As a Cardinals fan, I hate it when the Cubs do well.  And that means I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two years being mad at Starlin Castro, the Cub’s young and promising shortstop.  Although this article’s title may be a bit racist, the content is very interesting–its about Starlin and his climb to the majors from his Dominican roots. [Yahoo!]

Lisa Miller: Behind Every Good Woman is a Great Woman

Behind every man is a good woman.

And behind every good woman is a great woman.

In 1975 when Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, and Lorraine Newman were the feminine faces of Saturday Night Live, the late great John Belushi made it his mission to sabotage their success. 

No kidding.

John Belushi and Jane Curtin

Jane Curtin said as much on Oprah Winfrey’s April 14 tribute to SNL.  According to Curtin, Belushi apparently believed that “women were fundamentally not funny; and if a woman had written a piece for John, he wouldn’t read it during rehearsal, he’d whisper it.”

She went on to explain that this type of disrespect wasn’t at all an unusual feature of the workplace experience in the 70’s.  A working comedienne (terrifically talented at that) in New York, on the most exciting new show on television, and Jane Curtin, as a self-employed woman — “could not even get a credit card.”

Why bring this up now? 

Because I thought of this super good title while walking the dog three days ago.  And I decided this piece can’t be about my life as an RP spouse as I had originally planned.  That’s because watching Tina Fey sit with Curtin on Oprah’s famous couch illustrated how far women have come in 36 years.  And that was deeply inspiring.

Today, Tina Fey is lauded as one of the most brilliant entertainers in T.V, and she is indeed a woman with a credit card — as well as loads of respect.  Here’s what Oprah says:

“Tina Fey is the creator, writer, and star of 30 Rock — and former head writer of SNL — she is one of the smartest women on our planet right now.” 

I wonder if she’s the smartest woman on all of the planets.  She might be, and do you wonder too how she got to be so all that? 

Fey said simply, “I was 5 when the show started, and I studied it all the time.”  There it is, nourished by the brilliance of women before her, Fey now stands on the shoulders of those who blazed the trail. (For the purpose of this spiffy blog article, I wish she’d have been more specific in that sound bite about emulating women in particular.  But maybe that’s exactly what she meant, eh?)

Anyway, it was a powerful statement when she said later about her own trail-blazing time on SNL that “the more women in the room to laugh at pieces written by women, the more everyone would agree to put it in the show.”

While the scary, loathsome dynamics of middle school girls might lead us to believe that girls will always and forever scratch each others’ eyes out, most adult women have each other’s backs. There is no doubt that we help one another in ways that make us cry with gratitude.

Consider all the stories of women all over the world:, which helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives; United Prosperity, which guarantees loans to female entrepreneurs in developing countries; the nameless thousands of women volunteers who stand on call in the middle of the night at rape crisis centers across the world; or the women in your own family and in my family who say to each other, “I know your heart is breaking, and I know you will get through it because I did.”

Click on Tina to review and/or purchase

Whether we realize and appreciate them or not, new generations build on the successes of their ancestors.  It’s why the indigenous people pray that their current actions be “for the good of the children and the children’s children.” And it’s why Tina Fey can now be queen of comedy in an industry that is still predominately male. 

I plan to read her new book, Bossypants, this weekend by the way.  In it are many stories of her road to empowerment, success, and hilarity.  Can’t wait.

And because I’m always looking for fantastic role models for my girls, they are each getting a copy.

Now it’s your turn:  Whether you are female or male, tell a brief story below about the awesomeness of a woman in your life.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Recovery

Iraq recovers from its war-torn past… by becoming a tourist destination? [GQ]

You think you’re paying a lot for gas? At least you don’t live in Chicago (sorry, Windy City residents!). [Huffington Post]

Over the past 33 years, Dick Hoyt has pushed, pulled and carried his disabled son, Rick, through more than 1,000 road races and triathlons, including 28 Boston Marathons. Now, the man who gave million of Americans hope for the future is finally letting go. [Sports Illustrated]

Brian Williams revives his career while network newscasts have worse ratings than ever by getting in touch with his inner comedian. [New York Magazine]

Give yourself an energy boost for the last part of your day by enjoying two minutes of relaxation. Click here for the soothing sounds of the ocean.

Loranne Ausley: A Recovery in Progress

My name is Loranne Ausley and I am a recovering politician.  At least that’s what they tell me… I am not sure I have actually recovered yet, but you can decide.

Let me start out by saying that I never have liked to be called a “politician.” I have always preferred the term “public servant.” Whatever you want to call it the truth is that I come by it honestly. As a 6th generation Floridian, I was at least the 4th generation to serve our state in some capacity.  After 8 years in the Florida House of Representatives, term limits sent me on my way, but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel quite yet. Even after a tough statewide campaign in 2010, I’m still not sure I am ready to throw it in. In all honesty, I am truly struggling with how to “create meaning in my post political life.” I am hoping that this exercise will help.

Dog Island, Florida

So I started out by reading Tom Allen’s post about his “Blissful Recovery” and found myself thinking… that should be me. Consider the following:  I am writing this from one of the most beautiful places in the world, Dog Island Florida where I am celebrating 11 years of marriage to a wonderful, smart and supportive husband who I love very much.  We have a happy healthy 8 year old son who is an all around great kid and amazing superstar drummer even though he was never expected to make it out of the hospital after his premature birth at 22 weeks weighing just over a pound.  I had the privilege of serving 8 great years in the legislature, took a gamble and ran statewide.    Anyone watching will tell you it was a smart, scrappy campaign, but it was 2010…I was a Democrat… in Florida. We lost, but ran a good campaign, maintained civility in the process, raised over $ 2 million and got almost 2 million votes… no regrets.

Anyone who is looking at my life from outside would say that my life is blissful, or that I am pretty ungrateful if I claim otherwise. By all accounts, I am living the life… I am a “stay-at-home mom” which means I finally have time to do all those things I have put off.

Here I sit on a remote barrier island on a gorgeous day surrounded by the people that I love… WHY AM I NOT BLISSFUL?!?

For starters, it is past the halfway point of the legislative session and I am watching from afar as all of the things I care about are dismantled. I run into public employees and police officers at the grocery store who are terrified about changes in their pensions. I run into children’s advocates at church who are dismayed about savage cuts to children’s services, and every day at my son’s elementary school I am stopped in the halls by a teacher or a parent with grave concerns about what is really happening and how it is going to affect our kids.

I found some solace in Lisa Borders’ post and tried to take to heart her realization that we don’t have to be players on the field to impact the outcomes.   As much as we laugh about the lack of normalcy amongst “our types” and our addiction to crowds and the sound of our own voices and the applause that follows, in all seriousness we entered this arena because we care about our communities, our states and our nation, and we are committed to be the dynamic force of change that we want to see.  Let’s face it – we all believe that it is our responsibility to leave this place better than we found it and ultimately that is why we are here… The other stuff is the icing on top.

So maybe this is why I can’t quite yet describe my recovery as blissful… I haven’t yet figured out how to make an impact from this side of the fence.

So I hope that Tom Allen is right that while some of us may be recovering from our losses, that none of us are recovering from politics/public service. And I hope that someone out there can help me make the transition… stay tuned!

Tomorrow at The Recovering Politician

Wednesday at The Recovering Politician we will continue this week’s theme of featuring outstanding women and their stories of political recovery.

Tomorrow morning, we will feature a former state legislator who ran last year for statewide office, and got caught in the GOP tsunami that struck the entire country.  In her candid essay, she reveals her mixed feelings about her current status as a recovering politician, and shares her current state of mind about her future.

Speaking of outstanding women, Mrs. RP will make a return visit to discuss the vital role women mentors and leaders can play in the lives of other women.  I think you will find the piece both informative as well as a call to arms to ensure that all of our daughters (and granddaughters) seek stong women role models in their lives.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show