Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Questions

Here is an article that CNN just posted about Obama as "the most liberal senator" based on his voting record. I am actually fine with that about Obama. What this article reveals about Obama that gives me further cause to question him, is how it is that he missed twice as many Senate votes as Senator Clinton did. I know he has talked about why he voted "Present" so often in the Illinois Senate, but has ever talked about why he didn't even bother to be present for so many Senate votes? How does he even have the legislative experience to be present, not even considering his complete lack of foreign policy/diplomatic experience?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Obama Snubs Clinton at State of the Union

This video is hilarious! Here's hoping for High School Senate Musical!

More Substantively...

And on a more substantive note - here is the other Kennedy endorsement, from today's LA Times. Of course, this one hasn't gotten as much media airtime, which is interesting, but pretty much supports my theory that the people of substance don't get their airtime that the cute soundbites and big named egos get. I would take a RFK Jr., Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, and Kerry Kennedy endorsement any day over Senator Teddy Kennedy. But that is just because of my bias for favoring substance and actually doing something good in the world over egotism. Even this endorsement itself is chock full of substantive reasons to support Hillary, instead of vague rhetoric about someone else's supposed legacy.

Like a Middle School Cafeteria

I can't help but to post a link to this picture showing Barack's shunning of Hillary last night. That's pretty cold, dude. The CNN story about this moment can be found here. Don't you think that it is time to grow up and show some civility? I mean, if Hillary Clinton can smile and shake Senator Kennedy's hand after he dissed her earlier in the day, can't Barack do the same, particularly since he preaches civility and being a unifier? The picture is pretty classic. I took that same approach to not acknowledge Melissa McElhaney in seventh grade.

If anyone doubts that the snub was intentional (since Senator Obama claims it wasn't), might also want to take a peek at this photo by the AP. It looks like two cheerleaders plotting against their perceived rival. Look at the way Barack looks like he is scaring Hillary down.

Pretty Words do not Stop a War, Senator

So after another violent day in Kenya where an opposition lawmaker was slain, amongst many others, and it appears that the country could be slipping into a civil war, Senator Barack Obama goes on Kenyan radio and says the following:

"Now is the time for all parties to renounce violence. Now is the time for Kenyan leaders to rise above party affiliations and past ambitions for the sake of peace," Obama said. "Most troubling are new indications that the violence is being organized, planned and coordinated."

Thanks, once again, Senator Obama, by proving that you have NO SUBSTANCE whatsoever. All you know how to do is speak a pretty rhetoric. He has absolutely no experience or know how when it comes to real international conflict management. Nor does he really seem to care. It is so frustrating and annoying that Senator Obama spends more airtime in Florida, violating the pledge agreement he signed not to campaign in Florida, than he does on actually doing something substantive to save lives where he has the clout to make a real difference. Last night, after the State of the Union, he spent all of this time on the national news channels, among other things saying that he wasn't campaigning in Florida. At least be honest and say that your campaign is running television ads there. Last time I checked, that was campaigning (and a clear violation of the pledge that states there should be no electronic campaigining).

I am just so tired of his blatant hypocricy. My other favorite this week is that he claims that the vote in South Carolina trumpets the triumph of "new ideas" over the old, and then the next day, is up on stage receiving the endorsement of Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the oldest politicians around. That was such a joke.

It is frustrating, because so many people buy into this rhetoric. Rhetoric is what got us into trouble with George W. Bush. At this point in time, can anyone truly say that they have any idea what he believes? One day he is touting Reagan (the ads in Florida are about how great he gets along with Republicans), the next day he is courting Senator Kennedy. Is anyone else concerned at all that Senator Obama seems to be malleable to conform with whatever person he is sharing a stage with? I guess that is what "post-partisan" politics is all about.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Manning Love

It is no secret that I love the Manning family. Maybe it is because I always feel a particular kind of kinship with a family that has three children all of the same sex. This article in the New York Times today made me love the Mannings even more, because it struck me as very similar to my family - the older two siblings frequently competitive growing up, and the youngest reserved and shy. It makes me like Eli Manning even more, because anyone who reminds me of my younger sister, I generally like alot.

The Passing of a Real Leader

I am a little overwhelmed today with President Gordon B. Hinckley's passing. It is almost like that I had forgotten that he was a mortal like the rest of us, because with his energy and spirit, it seemed like he would live forever. He will live forever, just not in the state of mortality in which we currently find ourselves. Right now I am listening to a talk by President Hinckley that Brigham Barnes has shared on his blog, entitled "The Loneliness of Leadership." It is an old talk, from the early 1970s, and actually President Hinckley waxes a little political in it. But the central message, I get. The path of true leadership in the cause for what is right isn't a path heavily travelled.
As the presidential candidates continue to jockey for power and for some advantage in the primary races still to come, I can't help but contrast political candidates with President Hinckley. The kind of leadership that they represent are totally opposed. One one hand, even the most benevolent political leaders are driven by their own self-interest, their own egos. I am no longer naive enough to think otherwise. Even those who begin with good intentions by the time they get to the level where they are known on a national stage have sacrificed so many of their ideals for the sake of political expediency that only a shred of their former selves remains. I accept this from my political leaders. As much as I wish it were different, I know that it isn't. It is why I don't buy into claims of a "different" brand of politics. If those politicians were different, then they would have sacrificed their political careers for the sake of doing what was right in some specific instance a long time ago. Politics is about compromising those ideals for the sake of dealing with realistic confrontations. It is necessary and what has to be done. Unfortunately, this means that in our country, doing what is right in places like Darfur, Kenya, and the DRC never takes place, regardless of who the President is. But at the same time, while at the end of the day those compromises of policy are made for the sake of political expediency, I don't like it when political leaders, for the sake of their own egos, try to sell me some idealistic version of the world that they themselves are incapable of bringing to pass. That is why I prefer the policy wonks, so to speak, those who just want to get work done by trying to find working solutions, rather than give grandiose speeches to pepper their own ambition.

The people who inspire, the people who change lives, they are not the ones running for political office. They are those, like President Hinckley, who feel a call to serve and who serve, not because they are elected to do so, but because they are filled with love. They do not sacrifice their ideals to be something politically paletable, unlike those, in the words of President Hinckley, "who will forsake principle for the sake of expediency". Nor do they have to do so, because they are in the trenches, working and serving others. They are getting their hands dirty in the work of service. I am lucky enough to know people like this who serve this way. Like President Hinckley himself was, these are my true heroes. They are not seeking to augment their own ambition, but rather to actually to make the lives of others better.

President Hinckley loved everyone and served so many people all around the world. He believed in the great work that he was leading to such an extent that he wanted to bring to the world the blessings that he himself enjoyed. You can see that sense of urgency and love in his work, in his inspired plan of bringing temples to people all over the world so that they could receive the blessings of making temple covenants. That kind of love for all of Heavenly Father's children is what I want to emulate. That is the kind of leadership I want to possess.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Endorsements from "THE PAPER"

So, I know that endorsements in presidential elections generally don't mean that much. But I have to admit, of all of the endorsements that are offered up during campaign season, the one that matters most to me is the NY Times. Sure I know that the NY Times isn't perfect, but to me it is still the paper of record and the only paper that is fit to be called, "the paper" (as in, "I am reading the paper."). They just announced their endorsements. It appears that the reason that I like the New York Times so much could be because the editorial board and I think alike. For the Dems, they endorsed Hillary Clinton, for many of the same reasons that I support her.

On the Republican side, they endorse John McCain. Once again, they present pretty much the same sentiment that I feel about the candidates on the Republican side. I do appreciate John McCain's approach to bipartisanship, particularly with regard to the immigration issue. However, their views of the other Republican candidates, I am pretty much in agreement with. It is sad that Mitt Romney has so altered who he was as governor of Massachussetts, because that candidate might have been more enticing than who he has become. But I particularly echo their sentiment when it comes to Mike Huckabee. It is well said and makes me feel good that the Times has the courage to point out that his insertion of religion into the race with regard to Mitt Romney should disqualify him from the office.

The Times has spoken.

Our approach to the Undocumented...

Everyone needs to read this article in the Salt Lake Tribune about the LDS church leaders' message to the Utah legislature about their need to treat the issue of immigration, particularly undocumented workers, more humanely. It is a sentiment that I completely agree with. Furthermore, it quotes my friend Rebecca van Uitert, who is now an immigration attorney in UW. As soon as I get out of class today, I am going to read her article she wrote in the Journal of Catholic Legal Studies.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Who *hearts* Ronald Reagan

I wanted to post the link to Paul Krugman's editorial "Debunking the Reagan Myth" which explains much more coherently and succinctly than I can why I found Obama's Reagan comments last week so troubling. If he is that enamored with Ronald Reagan's "dynamism" then I fear that as a country we will continue to build our economic future on outmoded, unsuccessful "trickle down" economic theory. We should be building a new future and seeking to solve problems in a different way - not in one that didn't make the economic reality of the poorest any better.

From the Homefront

Mom sent me these from Mississippi to prove they actually got real snow this weekend.



For some reason, it just looks alot more fun than the snow in Washington State.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I am famous

Here is the story from King 5 where I am inteviewed. I am officially on the record as a Hillary supporter.

My old boss emailed me to tell me he was very disappointed in my choice.

Note: The first part of the story is about McCain. Then, when you first see me, you realize, Leslie blinks alot. What is wrong with my eyes? Why hasn't anyone told me about my blinking problem?

The Seattle Post Intelligencer Article that I am quoted in, on the other hand, isn't nearly as exciting. But I guess my lines had some punch to them, because they end the article with me. I wish they would have connected me back to being at the meeting for caucusing for Hillary, but oh well, you can't tell the press how to write their articles.

Cocktail Waitresses of America Unite for Hillary!

So the good news from the day is out of Nevada where Hillary Clinton was victorious in the caucuses today. My favorite story I have read so far is by Joel Klein about caucusing on the strip. I love that Hillary emerged victorious from the caucus in the Bellagio (despite the Culinary Workers Union's endorsement of Obama) and that she had the cocktail waitresses to thank for their riotous support. I am so happy to see so many women from all walks of life lining up to support Hillary. It is also pretty gratifying to see the Latino support for Hillary as well, but that is because she has been quite firm in supporting comprehensive immigration reform that offers a path to citizenship for people who have been working hard in our country and contributing to our economy.

Today, while Hillary was winning in Nevada, I was attending a caucus training session here in Seattle so I can help her win here in Washington. I am skeptical of caucusing, because I love secret ballots in primaries, but it will be an interesting experience to vocalize my support for a candidate in a public forum. So I want to go to the caucus equipped with the skills to persuade others to vote for Hillary. I think the most beneficial part of the day was when we worked in small groups to tell our own individual Hillary stories, ie - why we were supporting Senator Clinton. It gave me a new perspective of why others support her so strongly as well.

And there is a remote possibility that because of my attendence, I might soon be famous too. When giving my "Hillary speech", I was filmed by two television crews (and was then interviewed by one), and also interviewed by a writer from the Seattle PI. Keep a look out in the media. I haven't had this much press coverage since I spoke out in all of those Provo City Council meetings about rezoning Provo to keep students out of family neighborhoods.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A New Look

Maybe John Edwards isn't Barack Obama's tag team partner against Hillary Clinton. I agree with everything that Edwards is saying here. Obama claims that he plays by a different book, but he doesn't. He just allows someone else to do his dirty work blasting Hillary Clinton in obviously untrue ads. As I posted before, I think Obama is just incredibly sly about his divisive political plays, but he knows exactly what is going on.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

For your Next Milk Crisis! Watch Out Melissa!

For all of my friends with babies, I hope that your neighborhood milkman is as responsive to any milk-related crises as the milkman in this Sesame Street short. He has a sixth sense when it comes to sensing critical shortages of animal milk for babies.

But Melissa Street watch out! That milk truck isn't just responding to that infant's time of need! That milk truck was also sent on a more chilling mission. I think you know what I am warning you of!
"Here comes the milk truck to run over Melissa!"

Picture Pages! Picture Pages!

I am so excited to come home from school these days and see what is awaiting me from the daily mail delivery. I haven't been this excited about mail since we lived in Monticello, Mississippi and my sisters and I would wait by the mailbox for the Picture Pages to arrive. We would cheer outloud when the mailman would deliver that large envelope into the box, anxious to complete the Picture Pages with Bill Cosby on PBS later that week, wishing that we had a magical, musical pen as he did. Now, I am anxious to review the contents of the daily mail to see who has returned their R.S.V.P. card for our wedding in March. I get so excited, I want to let out a little cheer each day that I am greeted with those tiny ivory envelopes. If the person has returned an "accepts with pleasure" I excitedly fill them into my seating table chart with all of the excitement of a four year old completing her educational worksheets with Bill Cosby.

Of course, getting married also means that you get other unexpected treats on your doorstep. Those boxes are fun too. Like the R.S.V.P. cards remind me of how lucky I am to know some pretty amazing people and how much I have to look forward to having so many of my favorite people gathered together in one very fun place on one very happy day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Addendum to the last post

I wanted to post a quick follow-up because I just saw this article about tonight's debate. Apparently now, Obama regrets that his staffers prodded the press to ask so many race related questions of Hillary Clinton. But that is the problem with race every becoming an issue - once it inserts itself, it doesn't just as easily take itself out. Furthermore, based on Obama's own statements this week, I find it a little politically calculating that now he wants to take the race discussion out. Maybe it is because he feels like it has done the damage to Hillary Clinton that he wanted it to for upcoming (ie South Carolina) primaries? And now, he wants to take it out because he now runs the risk of turning off white voters by keeping the race debate going?

It is totally brilliant strategy on his part. He is turning out to be quite the campaigner.

Note how the article also talks in terms of race about Nevada and the Culinary Worker's Union lawsuit going on, by making it sound like that people who filed the lawsuit against the state democratic party are trying to disenfranchise minorities. Or maybe they just want to make it fair for people who are members of other unions and work at locations off the strip and they would like them to be able to participate in caucuses too (in other words, give everyone the same opportunity to participate in caucuses). I don't think that has anything to do with the race of the people who are in the Culinary Workers' Union. But the press likes to play up the race angle, because that sure is a lot more sexy.

Also, here is another good read about Clinton's appearance on BET last night.

Sigh. Back to Politics.

The longer this election goes on, the more frustrated I get with the plethora of negative information people keep putting out about Hillary Clinton. It is frustrating, because people are just so intent to label her without looking to see if there is any actual fact behind assigning her with some ridiculous label.

The latest, completely ridiculous label is that "Hillary Clinton is a racist." Excuse me? To label the Clintons as racist is as ridiculous as labeling John McCain "anti-military." The Clintons may not be African-American, but Bill Clinton's administration did more for the African-American community than any other president since LBJ. Hillary Clinton's Senate record also exhibits that she appreciates and respects the African-American community. Interestingly, as an aside, the only successful bill that Barack Obama sponsored in his tenure in the U.S. Senate that became a public law was about the Congo, and it was also co-sponsored by Hillary Clinton. So in that token, Hillary Clinton has done just as much for Africa as Barack has (don't believe me? look it up under the 109th Congress on www.thomas.gov and get the proof of this yourself).

This ridiculous labeling of Hillary Clinton as a racist started when she gave a response in an interview about how Dr. King's dream began to be a reality when laws began to be enacted to legislate an end to segregation (you can see the exact answer here). This in turn led some to claim that Hillary Clinton was somehow denying the importance of Dr. King, which led others in turn to call her a racist, without probably thinking at all about what she was actually saying. This is what happens when race gets injected this way into a political debate, which I will discuss below. What I first want to talk about is Hillary's response to the question and the question itself.

First the question : She was responding to a question that in essence was a statement made by Barack Obama, which really compared his movement to what Dr. King did. He was saying that the Clinton campaign's attack on him for raising "false hopes" was akin to the Clinton campaign attacking Dr. King for raising "false hopes", which isn't what the Clinton campaign was doing at all. What Mr. Obama's statement in essence did was a brilliant and conscious campaign strategy of injecting race into his presidential bid shortly before the South Carolina primary, because he knows that 50% of the democratic electorante in South Carolina is African American. He knows it is a huge plus for him if he can A. make himself look like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and B. make it look like Hillary Clinton is against Dr. King. It is brilliant positioning for Obama, but is more than slightly dishonest.

Now on to the response, in the context of what the question was: Ms. Clinton never said anything negative about Dr. King. What she was pointing out, though, is that what began to bring Dr. King's dream into reality was the legislated end of segregation. I don't understand what makes this controversial. Dr. King's movement was powerful and it changed a nation. However, in order to change a racist legal structure, formal laws had to be legislated and put into place. It took a legislature and a presidency to do that. The dream could not have taken shape into reality without legislative change. And lets be honest, we judge the ultimate success of a movement by whether or not actual change was made. Has the Iraq anti-war movement been successful? Most would say no, because we are still in Iraq and no legislative changes have been made. What made the struggle for civil rights successful is that laws and lives were changed at the end of the day. Certainly that struggle is still ongoing, but the fact is that we no longer have institutionalized racism as a part of our government. This is what Ms. Clinton was getting at in her answer. Dr. King wasn't raising false hopes, because real change was the result, not lip service to change.

Now onto the injection of race into the presidential race. As I stated before, I think that it is a little too convenient that Mr. Obama has started to make these accusations against Ms. Clinton right before South Carolina. Obviously, he has a political purpose in mind. It might work. There is some anecdotal evidence from the meaningless Michigan democratic primary that suggests that 70% of African Americans who went to the polls to vote in the democratic primary today refused to vote for Hillary (SIDENOTE: this CNN story kind of pisses me off, because its stories like these that make race more of an issue than it should be in an election), and maybe that had something to do with this new label that has been assigned. No one wants to vote for a racist, particularly if you are from a minority group yourself. And now, since there has been so much banter from the Obama camp, and his supporters in the past week about Hillary Clinton being a racist, people are on edge, without really knowing what it is about. Labeling someone a racist tends to do that. It is a hard charge to overcome in a presidental campaign, particularly when minority constituencies make up an important part of the electorate. I don't, for one second think that Obama didn't know what he was doing when he started this by raising the Dr. King comparison. He may be a legislative lightweight, but he certainly has an astute mind and knows who makes up the electorate in the next important primary state.

I wasn't going to post about this whole race issue at all, because frankly, I think that it is ridiculous that race is a factor at all in a presidential election in 2008. I think that it is disturbing. That is why I am none too pleased that this has become an issue, and it got to the point where I have just heard so much silliness about this over the past couple of days, that I had to say something. The fact is it proves that people are still being judged by race in this day and age. Invoking the memory of those who gave their lives in pursuit of a country where people would be judged by their individual merits and not for their skin color now is done to try to curry favor. The sad part is that is an effective campaign strategy.

I guess I am disappointed because now I feel for certain that if Obama wins the nomination, I can't feel comfortable voting for him, because the one thing I thought that he had going for him was that I thought his goal was to bring people together. I don't fault him for his campaign strategy, I fault him for trying to sell himself one way to one group of people (as someone who can bring people together) and then trying to play up racial issues with another group of people. It isn't sincere, and it isn't consistent.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Break from the Political

Here is a non-campaign related post today. Today, I discovered the perfect outlet for my animated approach to watching North Carolina games. . . running on the treadmill at the gym while watching the game. I generally have too much energy when watching a North Carolina basketball game; I shout at the TV, stomp on the floor, and throw my hands all around to the extent that it is dangerous for anyone to sit next to me. Running on the treadmill while watching the game allows me to get all of my emotion out, but in a more constructive way. Furthermore, today I discovered that running on the treadmill while watching a North Carolina game means that I can run much longer than if I was just running on the treadmill generally. This is because I have these reserves of energy that suddenly come to life during a game. When North Carolina is walloping another team, as they were doing for NC State today, I just can run and run and run. Also, I don't want to give off of the treadmill either, because I want to watch the whole game (or at least the entire half). It is an extremely useful fitness technique for me. If only North Carolina played six days a week, then maybe I could run for an hour on the treadmill all the time.

Let me follow up that paragraph with a sentence that will cause anyone I know who reads this to do a double take - I am applying to a reference librarian position at the Duke Law Library. I know. I know. But it is an awesome position - it would allow me to teach legal research and supervise the faculty research assistant program for law students. The likelihood of me actually getting this position probably isn't that high, but it is the first job posting that I have seen that has made me really excited. Plus for me, North Carolina is the ideal place to live. Nothing about potentially working at Duke says I have to be a Duke basketball fan.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A different kind of Vegas trip

I really liked this article by Molly Ball in the Las Vegas Review Journal. Senator Clinton visited the part of Vegas that may be proximately close to the glitzy strip, but seems light years away in terms of economic realities. I realize that it polticians commonly will do token door to door visits, but something about this strikes me as sincere, and real, and considering that so much of Las Vegas seems overwhelmingly fake and contrived, I thought this would be a good article to consider.

And considering the concerns that I continue to have about the economy, it is important for us to realize those whom are most severely impacted by economic downturns.

A Cause not a Campaign

I thought this article by Matt Bai in the Times was an excellent analysis of the Obama campaign these days. That is kind of how I feel about Obama's feel good speeches, alot of feeling, not alot of substance, like he is hawking a cause.

By the way, if anyone is interested as to why I am putting so much campaign related content on my blog these days, it is because I am prepping for the February 9 Washington State caucus (should there be any doubt as to who the democratic candidate is by that point in time, which is probably highly unlikely). I have never participated in a caucus before, as I have lived in states that seemed to have the more rational approach of having a primary, but if the powers of persuation matter, then so be it. I will have a response to every single person who tries to sway my vote to the big O, and not only a response, but a consideration as to why they should consider changing their vote as well.

On that same note, here is another Times article that people considering voting for Obama should consider - regarding his refusal to actually vote yes or no on substantive, controversial bills in the Illinois State Senate (instead chosing to vote "Present." You can imagine the situation in the White House - Mr. Obama, how should we reform our nation's outmoded immigration system? Obama - "URrr, Present."). The article points out that is the approach commonly taken by people worried about "their record" for their next election; perhaps common for some politicians, but wait. . . Hasn't Mr. Obama presented himself as an alternative to politics as usual? I thought he was supposed to be principled and resolved? It seems like worrying about elections perhaps is a higher priority than making principled stances on issues.

Note to Obama

So it looks like Mr. Musharraf, the current dictator of Pakistan, has come out pretty strongly regarding his position on whether or not it would be okay for the U.S. to enter his country "in pursuit of terrorists" without his permission. His position is "No, that wouldn't be okay, and by the way, don't you remember that we have nuclear weapons?"

Obama might need to rethink his Pakistan position. Maybe taking on another dictator, in a military fashion, isn't the answer.

Sidenote: I wish the poll numbers in that August Reuters article were still true. I don't understand what great experience Barack Obama has gained in the past sixth months.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Barack and Kenya, an Update

So apparently yesterday, Obama did call the president of Kenya. It took him long enough.

I also received the following email from his campaign. It is funny, because it is some form email that didn't respond at all to the question that I sent him on Sunday which basically was, "Why haven't you done anything or said anything publically about what is going on in Kenya?" Instead it says:

Dear Leslie,
Thank you for contacting me. I have been deeply troubled by the recent news out of Kenya. The instability and tragic violence pose an urgent and dangerous threat to the people of Kenya, and to Kenyan democracy. My family’s thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered, and to the families of the victims.The Kenyan people have a proud history of supporting the growth of democracy in their country. Their thirst for democracy was on display in this most recent election, when they turned out to vote in record numbers, and in a peaceful and orderly way.
Despite irregularities in the vote tabulation, now is not the time to throw that strong democracy away. Now is a time for President Kibaki, opposition leader Odinga, and all of Kenya’s leaders to call for calm, to come together, and to start a political process to address peacefully the controversies that divide them. Now is the time for this terrible violence to end.
Kenya’s long democratic journey has at times been difficult. But at critical moments, Kenyans have chosen unity and progress over division and disaster. The way forward is not through violence - it is through democracy, and the rule of law. To all of Kenya’s people, I ask you to renew Kenya’s democratic tradition, and to seek your dreams in peace.
Thank you again for contacting me, and for your concern.
Sincerely,
Barack Obama
----------------------Paid for by Obama for America


I have to admit, I am a little confused by his email, namely, does he think that I am Kenyan and that is why he is addressing the Kenyan people in his email to me? And secondly, once again, he wins the award for general good-speak with not alot of substance, nor any real action on his part (except for telling the Kenyan people to "seek your dreams in peace" which is so general and ridiculously stated that it really almost makes me want to hit him on the head and demand "Is there anything substantive in there at all?"). It also a shocking lack of knowledge about Kenya, namely that that they don't exactly have a good history in regards to that whole multi-party democracy part, nor actually having leaders who left office after elections. But hey, what is fact and actual details when you have an opportunity to pander and offer some more obvious generalities in the name of ensuring enough vagueness so that it seems ridiculous not to agree with you?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm Sorry, New Hampshire

I owe you an apology, New Hampshire. I was wrong about you. Thank you for the primary today. You might have taken some hope away from Obama but you gave some back to me.

Hillary's Passion

I wanted to post the link the the Newsweek Article and accompanying video that shows Hillary's answer to the question yesterday where she showed some emotion in regard to the future of this country. Of course the Hillary haters have chalked up the emotion to Hillary's alleged "fakeness", but if their view is true and that whole moment was contrived, then Hillary should have gone into acting, because she would be deserving of an Academy Award. I, for one, can't see anything but sincerity behind her response. Frankly, the sentiment that she expresses is one that I agree with wholeheartedly. And in spite of the somewhat sexist comments voiced below the article (where they talk about emotion as a sign that Hillary is too weak and that a female isn't capable of being president), I keep going back to my feminist mantra - "the personal is political", and I think that Hillary being willing to show the intersection of the two is exactly why we need her, a strong woman, as president. People need to stop thinking of the political arena as this place that is devoid of ourselves and our emotions. It isn't. And frankly, that recognition that Hillary voices here shows why she could make such a difference. In the traditional world of "realpolitik" where we use words like "collateral damage" to talk about the deaths of innocent people, the kind of sensibility that she shows here shows how she can truly bring a more human, realistic approach to politics.

New Hampshire makes me nervous, but I am still hopeful that the rest of the country may be able to see things in a different way. I think that Obama is really electric in person and in New Hampshire and Iowa, so many of the voters have seen him in person, and feed off of his energy that explains why they vote for him, even without perhaps considering whether or not there is substance behind his promises. In other states, his canned speeches can't have that same physical impact. However, I am sure that his media sound-biting will continue. And I have to accept the fact that most of my fellow Americans don't have time to look and see if they have policy positions (and an actual method for accomplishing those ends). Sigh.

I still am having a hard time moving beyond Obama's view on Pakistan and his statements (which he has stood by on multiple occasions), that we could consider entering into Pakistan for a military action, even without the consent of that nation. I keep coming back to that, because another, relatively inexperienced president had the same position about the disregard for the sovereignty of another country, namely Iraq. Maybe it is just me, but when it is that easy to draw parallels between Bush and Obama, I just can't find myself in support of Obama. I am actually surprised that this is Obama's position, considering Samantha Power, who wrote a fantastic book on the U.S. and genocide is one of Obama's advisors. But the even more shocking position that Obama has voiced (presumably with Samantha Power's advice) is that the U.S. should pull out of Iraq even if a genocide takes place (this bothers me, because the U.S. by invading Iraq created the conditions in which a genocide now could become a potential reality). Foreign affairs are a top priority for me when it comes to voting for a president. Barack's proposals show a lack of sincere consideration, in my view.

In contrast, I see Hillary as someone that champions diplomacy and building coalitions (the Newsweek article linked above also discusses this). She is at her best when she is talking about foreign affairs. In the debate on Saturday night, her response to the problems in Pakistan was the most cogent and realistic. With Hillary as president, I feel like we would have the opportunity to regain some international standing again.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Chance for Obama to Show His True Compassion

Kenya is devolving into a bigger and bigger mess right now. It is actually the top story on the CNN page. Barack Obama is Kenyan. His grandmother is there. His extended family is there. On his trip there recently, he was treated like a king or an important chief. Yet strangely, he has said NOTHING about the violence that has engulfed that place. He has made no effort to assist his family members, or work to try to stop the violence. Why? Because he is more obsessed with his own ego and ensuring his victory in the presidential election in the US than he cares about helping his family and a country that is his heritage. This disgusts me. I love East Africa. If I had one token of the influence that Barack Obama should seemingly have in Kenya, I would be working my tail off to stop the violence there. I checked his website. He doesn't even have a statement about what is going on there. That says alot about Barack Obama to me. He should be utilizing this opportunity to actually be the person that he claims to be in his speeches. He should be the agent of change that he speaks of being when he is speaking to sold out crowds of people in New Hampshire. But he hasn't done anything.

It is all about self-promotion. I am more persuaded by the real passion that Hillary Clinton displayed today than Barack Obama's words without substance. So much for the "Dreams of His Father." His father's country is a mess and the son couldn't care less.

A Reason to Vote Hillary

This article in Newsweek describes a profound moment in the Clinton campaign today. It touched me, and made me a little choked up. But that could be because I am in complete agreement with Hillary's response today. I wish every American would see this.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Another Reason I don't like Obama

He stole my hope. He is preaching so much hope these days, I am pretty sure that he stole mine for use in his campaign. Now, I am watching the North Carolina/Clemson game, and I have no hope that North Carolina will win.

Barack, I want my hope back! Maybe, if you preached more substantive policy then you could not suck the hope out of those of us who want to hear some actual policy positions.

By the way North Carolina just won on an amazing Wayne Ellington three pointer in the last second. It was awesome. Maybe I can muster up some hope.

Obama is not my Savior

As much as I have hated Slate recently, this blog pointed out a few of the reasons why I just cannot understand why Americans are so in love with Barack Obama these days. Maybe it is just me, but I can't stand arrogance, particularly when there is so little substantive policy to back it up. My favorite part of the article, is they guy that decided that he was voting for Obama because he "saw him." That sounds like a great reason to elect someone, particularly the person who is going to be chiefly responsible for digging our nation out of the deep hole created in the past eight years. But hey, who am I to value substance?

New Hampshire is totally going the way of Iowa and is going to vote overwhelmingly for Obama on Tuesday. After watching the debate last night, I just want to ask each person who is voting for him why? He sounds great in scripted speeches, but of the four major candidates last night, he was the least articulate and the least specific about much of anything (except in being quite specific in supporting his prior position that he has no problem with violating the sovereignty of another nation and invading Pakistan without that country's permission).

Friday, January 04, 2008

What is wrong with Iowa?

Yesterday was not a good day. It is too bad, because it was David's 30th birthday, and I wanted it to be a great day, but when you live in a country where people decide on who to vote for based on what Oprah tells them to do, and where people's bigoted views of religion can determine an election on the opposite side of the political spectrum, it is very easy to not have a good day on the day of the Iowa Caucuses. First of all, there is something profoundly antidemocratic, and something that stinks of a middle school popularity contest in the way that the Iowa Democrats handle their caucus system. What ever happened to the notion of a secret ballot? Whatever happened to the notion of one person, one vote, where you don't get second chances? Aren't there election laws that protect voting precincts from political signs and campaigning the day of the election? I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that such a system functions in a place where celebrity and conformity mean so much to the average person.

And don't even get me started on the Republicans. The fact that people are having group prayers at polling places is more than slightly disturbing to this whole notion of separation of church and state.

I am concerned. I am concerned because I think our economy is going south in a big way. I am concerned because the new fruntrunners have no experience in responding to the challenges that face our country. I am concerned because people are more persuaded by generalities about "hope" in a prepared speech, than by actually being in the trenches and working to make real solutions for working people. Certain elites have all along been saying that Barack Obama's support is drawn from more "educated" people, while scoffing at Hillary Clinton's support amongst the working classes. Well perhaps those elites have less to lose with a president fumbling his way trying to learn on the job. They have secure incomes, investments and savings. But the exact people who have suffered the most under the failing policies of a president who had to "learn on the job" are the people who do support Clinton because they know that she has the vision and plan to get them to a better place. Don't give me this, "Clinton is the corporate candidate" notion that the media is trying to paint.

I seriously hope that the rest of the country isn't persuaded by the ridiculous, antiquated, anti-democratic ritual that goes on in Iowa. Of course the media will spin it and act like the contest is completely over and that the candidates are already decided. But I am thinking that since Britney Spears was hospitalized last night for intoxication, most Americans will be more tuned into that than the Iowa caucus results. Of course, those are the same people that probably vote based on the notions of celebrity and shallowness.

If the two candidates that won Iowa stand for the general election, then I am seriously crossing my fingers that Mike Bloomberg makes a run as a third party candidate. Now he has the leadership that doesn't cause me to lie awake at night in fear of what is going to happen to the economy of this country. The alternative is well, let me just say that I think that I would prefer the buzzards and banshees.

Of course, I might be on the market for an opportunity to emigrate abroad to a country with a less frightening situation.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Its Oh So Quiet

I am back in rainy Seattle, but just to cheer myself up from coming back to such a dreary place here are a few final pictures from my trip home.

Ralph and his squeaky ball in Mom's apartment in Pensacola:

The view from my parents' backyard in Mississippi. The birdhouse is specifically for Purple Martins.
My favorite color of green, shiny magnolia leaves:

Here I am perambulating around the farm on a lovely, but chilly Mississippi day.



On this trip home, I think I realized why we believed that the banshee lived in a particular grove in the woods behind Ma-Maws house. I counted at least twelve buzzards overlooking me as I strolled below. It was kind of creepy, and definitely seemed like a place that death would haunt. I was afraid that the buzzards would team up and attack me on my solitary stroll, so I had to race out of that grove pretty fast. Twenty years later, who knew that one section of woods, even on a bright and sunny day could still terrify me?



Another view of Mom and Dad's new house:


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

wish you were here

Pensacola Beach; Today; Mom, Ralph, and I.