Thursday, January 31, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
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.
"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
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
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.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
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.
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
Thursday, January 17, 2008
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!"
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
----------------------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
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
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.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
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.
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
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
Ralph and his squeaky ball in Mom's apartment in Pensacola:
My favorite color of green, shiny magnolia leaves:
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?