Friday, February 29, 2008

It is getting Weirder and Weirder

Okay, I know that I am breaking my promise not to post anything on the Presidential Election, but this cultish new video from Hollywood praising Barack Obama is absolutely hilarious. I really mean that. I also like the whole strategic element to it - it showcases Hollywood African-Americans, Latinos, and members of the cast of Friday Night Lights! Hmm, I think this was clearly meant for Texas.

Oh yes, it also has the adulterer Ryan Phillippe. Because who he supports is clearly going to dictate my choice for president. I highly recommend this video, for the creepiness of it. If I were an undecided voter, this might make me a little bit frightened. The chanting really is over the top.

But please, everyone - We must vote for Obama because Jessica Alba needs a cleaner world for her baby and Obama is our only hope!

Also - I thought this was an interesting observation from Slate, about who really is winning the "Democratic" Primary. Democratic superdelegates should take note of that, in my opinion. Yes, nowI have broken two of my rules in this entry as I also had sworn off Slate as well.

Look before you Leap Year

When I was walking to school this morning, I tripped and had a terrible fall. I was wearing a heavy backpack and once I tripped, I felt like a snowball rolling down the side of a mountain because I had too much momentum and I couldn't stop myself. I haven't fallen that hard since well, probably since I fell down the side of a mountain on a hiking trip in Utah. Even when I broke my foot in New York I didn't fall that hard.

The good news is that although I ultimately landed on my face, my lower body absorbed enough of the momentum from my fall that I didn't knock a tooth out or something (which would have even been more traumatic considering that the wedding is in exactly four weeks). The bad news is that I think that I quite possibly did some serious damage to my right knee. Aside from the surface level skin that got ripped off, my right knee really won't bend so well now. I am afraid that I pulled some ligaments or something. After spending considerable time cleaning up my knees they now look like this:

They have swollen in very strange patterns. Just like when I broke my foot and then I didn't go to the emergency room until 4:00 p.m. the next day, I think that I will sleep on it tonight and then see how they feel in the morning before I go waddling into the doctor's office.
This whole experience makes me even more bitter against Seattle and its CRAPPY, UNTENDED sidewalks. I ran in stilettos in New York and never once fell on a sidewalk (NOTE: the foot breaking incident happened in a road, not on a sidewalk), and here I can't make it through the day generally without tripping somewhere. I know I haven't grown any clumsier here than I was in New York.
If my knee really is messed up, and it affects my wedding (or my ability to walk around and enjoy Disney World), I don't think that I will ever forgive Seattle.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who does Bill Gates give to?

I am avoiding the topic of presidential politics but I thought this article in the Seattle Times was informative in regard to who high powered tech workers donted money to in the presidential election.

Google employees were more likely to donate to Barack Obama. Microsoft employees were more likely to give to Hillary Clinton. This makes alot of sense to me. If my feelings on Google were more widely known, it may make sense to others why this makes so much sense to me.

By the way, Bill and most of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation types gave to Hillary Clinton. Bill Gates Senior did not, though; he gave to Obama. However, Bill Gates mother gave to Hillary Clinton.

On the subject of the money trail - here is one other article that should be of interest - about donations to the political campaigns of superdelegates. Obama has given almost $700,000 of his campaign money to the political campaigns of superdelegates. Here is an interesting statistic from the article "Of the 82 elected officials who had announced as of Feb. 12 that their superdelegate votes would go to the Illinois senator, 35, or 43 percent of this group, have received campaign contributions from him in the 2006 or 2008 election cycles, totaling $232,200. "

I will refrain from editorializing on this, rather just say, hmmm, very interesting.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bad News All Around

I thought that not posting about presidential politics anymore would make my blog content more upbeat. But is difficult to be upbeat when the economic news in this country is uniformly depressing. The dollar hits an all time low against the Euro (so much for that European honeymoon). Oil and gas prices are headed for all time highs (I am sorry for anyone who is driving to the wedding). But the Fed keeps signaling that is going to drop interest rates which just exacerbates these two problems. Granted, I don't have a PhD in economics, and people say that it is easier to get growth back on track first and then deal with inflation problems (considering that we are now dealing with the stagflation problems of the late 1970s), but the whole inflation thing just bothers me. We are not yet Zimbabwe with six figure inflation, but I don't like it one bit.

Perhaps these economic problems would trouble me less if I had already found a job for when I am done with school. Unfortunately, I have not, and the two jobs that I have applied for, at Duke and Georgetown, I have not heard anything back from. I guess I am going to have to consider applying for that Alabama job after all.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On the President (not politics)

If anyone has access to a copy of this week's Time Magazine, then I highly recommend Bob Geldorf's article on travelling with President Bush in Africa. I know that I have given my share of criticism on President Bush, but something I really do appreciate about him is that he has been pretty proactive in trying to make a difference on the African continent. This is important to me. So when I saw President Bush in Tanzania and in Rwanda and in Liberia, it made me happy because it seems like he legitimately cares about African. And that is something that he should be commended for.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Moratorium on Presidential Politics

Today was the day when I have just decided that I have had enough. I am going to attempt not blogging about the Presidential election anymore. My opinion is really just my opinion, and I just realized today that the entire country has gotten too out of control over this whole election. The family fist-fight/choking/stabbing incident over the Democratic Presidential Primary that happened in Pennsylvania reminded me too much of countries where it is impossible to have an election without violence of some kind, and I am just not comfortable with this at all.

And here is a happy start. I was on the phone this morning with my Disney florist for the wedding coming up in a little over four weeks this morning. We were discussing some other treats for our guests to throw in and it just made me so excited that so many of my favorite people are going to be in one place. Although I have several essays that I have to finish writing before this quarter is over, I pretty much spent the rest of the day thinking about how excited I am to get married and thinking about other touches to the festivities.

Here are some happy pictures from our family's first trip to Disney World, many years ago.

What I really appreciate about this picture is my sleeveless sweatshirt. I clearly was obsessed with the notion of two mice falling in love. Although I am certain that my five year old mind wasn't consciously aware of it, I love that this shirt offered a nice sense of foreshadowing that here I am, twenty five years later having my wedding reception at Disney World.

These are happy pictures for all of us, although, maybe not for Mom in this shot, considering we had just gotten off the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups, and she did not appreciate Dad's strength in spinning that teacup.

For kids, we sure were happy in Reagan's world; even with the unfortunate fashions (I think the Donald Duck hat is poised to make a comeback, though).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Who is this all about?

I can't help but agree with the Republican on this subject.

Thank Goodness for Tina Fey

I am praising the return of SNL last night. Not only was the opening skit a hillarious rendition of the media's obsession with Obama, but Tina Fey's defense of Hillary Clinton was so right on during weekend update that I wanted to stand up and cheer. WATCH the Tin Fey commentary and watch the SNL CNN Debate Sketch! Comedy is so funny when it has such a ring of truth.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Of all the Stupid Things that the Utah Legislature has done...

This one has to be the stupidest. Because of three stupid state senators in Utah, additional funding for the IB program failed. Their reasons for voting against this program though are truly ridiculous though. According to them, the IB program is anti-American. I could rant about the complete ignorance of these three senators on the Education Committee for hours. However, I think I will just let the words of Senator Darin Peterson speak for themselves:

Sen. Darin Peterson, R-Nephi, said he was prepared to vote in favor HB266 as he walked into last week's Senate committee meeting until he conducted an Internet search linking IB with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). After reading a line in reference to "worldwide socialization and training for a global work force," along with words such as "independence movements, exploitation and colonialism" his decision became clear. "Socialization has been a failure everywhere it's been tried," Peterson said. "It's not the system we work in, and it's not the system that pays our education bills."

Um, Socialization and Socialism aren't the same things. Perhaps, if you had an IB education you would understand that.

I could talk for hours about how lucky I feel to have attended an IB high school. I could talk for hours about how much better prepared for college I was because of my education. I could talk for hours about how so many of my high school classmates are doing amazing things now, in part, because of the education we were offered through the IB program. Clearly, these three legislators who are being spoonfed "concerns" by Gayle Ruzicka and the rest of the Eagle Forum crowd in Utah don't have the first idea what is going on in the IB program. They just see "International" in the title, and find out that the "IB" program is headquartered in Switzerland and shout socialism, communism, and horror of all horrors, the UN!

I guess according to these Utah legislators, teaching critical thinking skills and requiring community service as a pre-requisite for graduating with an IB diploma is anti-American. It is truly distressing how narrow-minded some people's views of what is "American" is.

You can listen to the audio of the committee meeting where the IB bill was voted down here (click on the audio from Thursday, February 21). Skip ahead to 1:28 minutes. You will hear from the sponsoring senator, an IB coordinator, a coordinator for gifted programs, and a PTA president. Then you will hear some propostorous things from Senators.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Distinction Made

When I watched the debate last night, my favorite moment of the debate was one that was probably mostly overlooked by others. It was when Senator Clinton made a point of elaborating on all of the new events that had just taken place in the world this week and talked about what her reaction as a president would be to those situations. She was able to speak articulately about the issues, showing that even in the midst of campaigning, she is capable of being informed and responding to world events.

When Senator Obama's turn came, he returned to why he was against the Iraq war from the beginning, and left Senator Clinton's remarks about developments in Serbia today, for example, completely alone. That drew the central distinction between the two candidates to me. Senator Clinton is capable of responding quickly to worldwide developments and clearly is ready to step into that role where you do have to think quickly and act quickly to responding developments. Senator Obama isn't capable of that yet. He can only speak of things in hindsight, and frankly, that isn't what the President's role should be.

If something happened in Serbia that day, then you should have a response on it.

The Obama Delusion

This Washington Post Editorial, by Robert J. Samuelson, is well worth a read.

It is the best read of the day.

The Forgotten Book

Steve Jobs has declared that the book is dead. Timothy Egan of the NY Times disagrees. I for one love it when Steve Jobs is wrong, and think that he couldn't be more wrong on this. However, part of me worries, that the hip cult following of Steve Jobs and all related products will now deem reading uncool. Hipsters beware! Steve Jobs should not be controlling you on this matter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Baffled, As Usual

With all of these losses, one might think that it might cause me to like my chosen candidate for President less. Nope. It actually has the opposite effect. I become more and more convinced of just how badly we need Senator Clinton as President.

It is funny, because I live in a world where the people that are all around me support Senator Clinton, so I am constantly baffled that Barack Obama has this huge base of support and that his supporters can base their support on rational, policy reasons. The only supporters I hear are the people that I described at the caucus and the young, ill-informed college students that are around me. I would like to have a conversation with a rational Barack Obama supporter. I am sure that there are some somewhere, I just don't know them (or perhaps they are just afraid to tell me about their Obama - love, considering I haven't kept my feelings on the subject particularly private).

Interestingly, even my friend Patti, who is on the exact opposite side of the political spectrum for me thinks that, by process of elimination, Hillary Clinton is the best candidate left in the Presidential race, and that she would vote for her. Wow. So I am a little surprised that Barack's legions keep thinking that he is the only one that could draw a base of support from Republicans. Granted, Patti is just one person, but she is a rational and logical person, so if she can think rationally and logically about Senator Clinton, then I think that other rational and logical people could also think that way about her.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Michelle Obama apparently hasn't found any reason that she has been proud to be American, that is, until her husband's run for the White House.

Even I, who is frequently critical of American policy, can safely say that I have had plenty of moments when my country has made me proud.

I think that the Obamas have started heavily ingesting the kool-aid they are try to sell to the rest of the American people. "Not only am I the president of the Hair Club for Men, I am also a customer too."

I Enjoy Being a Girl

My wonderful friend Katie sent me this article from the Boston Globe about why it can suck to be a competent woman, particularly if you are a highly competent woman who is running for president against someone who plagarizes speeches.

But speaking of the Boston Globe, when I went to their website today I saw that they also had a story about colleges adding "Mormon studies" to their curriculum. Interesting.

And since I can't post anything from Boston without also paying homage to NYC, here is David Brooks' editorial about Obamamania. I typically don't like David Brooks, but I think this editorial is pretty interesting.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Most Possible Ever

Since I have been sick all weekend, I have not done a good job in regard to even starting the schoolwork that I have to do this week. However, I have tried to begin the process of organizing and packing to move again. David and I both have so much stuff, I don't know how we are going to fit everything into his apartment. My books alone could fill up his apartment. By the time you throw in his jeans and my skirts, we might not have enough room for the dining room table.

The process of organizing and packing always takes me much longer than it should because during that process, I am always rediscovering nearly forgotten trinkets and mementos. This time, I found my old journal from my senior year of high school and my freshman year at BYU. Wow. It was pretty hilarious to read. Note to eighteen year olds everywhere: If you think that something is the most dramatic that it could ever be or that an emotion is the most intense that you will ever possibly feel, you are probably wrong. Things will change.

I spoke in absolute terms about everything. Here is a sample from a day over ten years ago right after the boy that I liked at the time went into the MTC, and I was sure he had forgotten me for ever:

"My world is nothing, because I am nothing. My opinions and feelings aren't important, because I am not important. I don't even know why I bother writing these words, they themselves aren't important. Because I have discovered that what hurts the mosts is that sometimes feelings yield you nothing. And if I didn't care so much, I am sure that I could make it without them."

You just can't get any more dramatic than you can with those kind of pronouncements. But in fairness to myself, I was recovering from a year where I spent far too much time listening to Ella Fitzgerald, reading Ezra Pound, dissecting William Butler Yeats, and pontificating on the film "The English Patient". It was a pretty profound year for me, and in retrospect was a pretty important year in my personal development because it was the year that I forced myself to think of more adjectives than the word "awesome", because a good vocabulary was suddenly a very important component of my social interaction. And in hindsight, I can see that my emotional intensity did in fact yield me something, although it just took me several years to put it in actual perspective. Sometimes things not working out the way that you want them to manages to do that, unfortunately generally in significant retrospect.

But also what made me laugh is how my "happy list" that I wrote in my journal after my freshman year (things for me to think about to be happy when I was sad because of all the emotional intensity that I described before was too overwhelming) are still things that make me happy ten years later. I guess that it turns out that freshman year of college was pretty formative:

A Happy List for Leslie (things I have learned to appreciate):
1. Jil Sander dresses (even just the idea of them)
2. Speaking Swahili and fantasizing about Africa
3. Red Rock Canyons (especially when covered with snow)
4. Old School Jazz singers - Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald
5. Last minute camping trips
6. Jumping on the beds
7. Painting my toes strange colors
8. Getting funky with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
9. Watching Balanchine Ballerinas
10. Doing what you feel and not what you think

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sisi wanawake!

Down for the count with the flu (which couldn't have come at a much worse time, I might add), I have been trying to do schoolwork from bed. I found this article in the NY Times today about President Bush's trip to Tanzania, and the excitement of the Tanzanian people over the presidential race. As usual, leave it to the Tanzanian women to speak with a sense of prudence and practicality. It reminds me of the village women's meetings in Ndengele in the summer of 1998 - shouts of "Sisi wanawake!" The women were the people in the village actually getting the work done. It is interesting that the women interviewed in this article were both for Senator Clinton.

As for as the Tanzanian man who expressed the view that if Obama is elected that America will pay more attention to Africa, as much as I wish that were the case, I would have to tell him, "Don't count on it." If Obama's campaign is any indication of what his priorities are, then Africa isn't high up on his list.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My thoughts exactly

This Economist article points out the biggest truth that most Americans have been too willing to overlook, but need to start looking at critically RIGHT NOW : We need to start looking at Obama and what his supposed answers are more critically right NOW before it is too LATE! This Newsday Editorial is also extremely appropriate in asking some questions that the Obama campaign has yet to answer (and needs to answer soon, otherwise, Democrats are only going to realize their mistake of selecting him as their candidate too late).

I can't handle four more years of an incompetent president, and neither can this country. I wish that Americans would be a bit more reflective about whether the words are sufficient to solve the actual problems.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What Eases the Pain

There has been much gloom and doom on this blog lately. So in a tribute to the superficial, let me just say that I am so excited because I bought the cutest Marc by Marc Jacobs dress yesterday for my family dinner in March during the wedding week. I am so excited. Ahh, tax returns.

If anyone else is in need of some triviality because the weight of the world has them down, I posted the link to the Marc Jacobs site and you can decide which dress I bought. Or you can just admire all of the other cute dresses.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Obama the Great

I am trying not to post so much about politics. My frustration with what I view as poor long term decision-making by many Americans has turned into apathy. I am trying to console myself with the fact that it probably won't make much of any difference in my life who is actually the next President of the United States. Unfortunately, the second that I almost seem to convince myself of that fact, I am hit with a panic attack, because what if I am wrong?

I think most Americans, rightfully so, are so tired with the failed policies of the Bush Administration, that they are looking for anyone to lead us away from that, and so I can see how they might gravitate toward the person that they view as the most empassioned voice. But my fear is that gravitation towards passion is what got us into this mess in the first place. Finding a scapegoat, finding someone to blame after September 11 and then being persuaded by empassioned speeches is what got us into trouble with Iraq. Putting easy answers (and easy money) before thoughtful reason about finances is what got so many Americans into trouble with subprime mortgages that led to this huge economic collapse. Overzealousness in believing that the housing boom could go on forever is what led so many Americans to take financial risks that perhaps were poor decisions in hindsight. In looking at the problems that we have created, I have a hard time seeing how the same attitudes will get us out of this mess. How do overzealous speeches, easy, non-substantive answers, and empassioned words solve our American dillemma? Why am I the only person in the room that thinks that we actually have to WORK hard and be pragmatic about solving our problems?

I worry about what I hear from the candidate who I think is responsible for this foray into foolishness. His ego seems to grow by the day. After winning in the Potomac Primaries, he basically said that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the economic downturn because she voted in support of the war. What? First of all, if defense spending is what is responsible for the economic downturn, then how could Senator Obama defend the fact that he has continually voted to fund the war since he has been in Congress? And secondly, is he really trying to turn the U.S. economy into something that simplistic? I guess he views the war as his strength (since he keeps preaching that he was against it from the beginning), and the economy as his weakness, so if he can link the two (and these days everyone is buying what he is selling), then voila, the presidency is his. Whether or not the two actually go together is another thing. Whether or not that addresses the fallout from the sub-prime lending crisis doesn't matter. He gets to become president.

He is a master of making Americans feel like they are part of a grass-roots movement. But I am frightened by the fury of his supporters. I am frightened because I have studied enough history to know that this is how dictatorships are born. All of this nonsense about a post-partisan government that comes from his campaign scares me because to me, that sounds like the end of democracy. Perhaps this seems like an exaggerated fear, but I don't know what to believe about him because I don't think he has enough experience to really judge who he is. Many of his young supporters (and I see enough of them at the University of Washington to be concerned) seem to accept what he says as doctrine without doing any research behind his words to see if he is actually right or not. That open acceptance at face value, that lack of critical thinking, the lack of safeguards and checks and balances is what destroyed us under the Bush Administration. Now, it seems that the left is poised to do the same thing (not to mention the fact that since Obama has become quite the media darling, they seem unwilling to challenge him on much of anything). And as someone who values research and critical thinking, I am distressed because America appears to have learned nothing when it comes to being wary of hype.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hillary Rebroadcast

Last night, when I was driving home from the gym, the NPR station in Seattle was replaying the speech that Senator Clinton gave at the rally I attended last week. It was even better the second time around and I thought to myself, I really am out of touch with most Americans because I don't understand how they don't get this. I *heart* policy speeches. Other Americans don't.

And in a matter of days, or weeks, I probably won't be able to listen to policy speeches like this anymore. Sigh.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I couldn't have said it any better myself

Paul Krugman is always so right on but this op-ed does it again. It says, much better than I could have, why we should be so troubled with the brand of "hate politics" that these days is focused on attacking Hillary Clinton at all costs and why it is disturbing that Obama supporters are relishing it. These days, as I heard Obama supporters say on Saturday, they are banking on Hillary hatred to propel their candidate to victory even if it is without any other rational basis.

While your at it, read this Nicholas Kristof editorial as well. It is pretty much right on with the obstacles that competent women face.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hope has Left the Building

At my precinct caucus today, I was prepared to hear the debate be on substance versus inspiration. I volunteered to give the candidate speech for Hillary, and then the "precinct chair" for Obama gave the speech for Obama. Here is the text from my speech:

"In deciding who I was going to support today, I realized that I am an incredibly fortunate person. It probably won't personally matter much in my life who is the next president because I am so fortunate. But in thinking about this, I recalled the words of Hillary Clinton to two reporters from New York Magazine. She said:

Most Americans need a president. Not everyone, probably not the two of you. So you are free to vote how you choose. You can vote on a feeling, you can vote on a speech, you can vote on a debate, you can vote any way that you want. But if you are on the brink of falling out of the middle class, if you're worried about health care, home foreclosures, and all these other problems, then you need a president that you can believe in and count on to deliver.

"I thought about these words when I thought about who I would support today - for people in need, which candidate would help them the most.

"For my Sudanese friends in Washington who escaped war to build a better life in America, only to find they can't even afford to see a doctor here, I am voting for Hillary because she is the only candidate offering a truely universal health care plan.

"For my family in Mississippi, and for people all along the Gulf Coast, who suffered through the mismanagement of FEMA after Hurricane Katrina, I am supporting Hillary who promises to appoint experts once again to head up government agencies and to do a top to bottom overhaul of those agencies.

"For the kids I worked with in the Bronx, and for my mom, a teacher, I am voting for Hillary who has primised to do away with No Child Left Behind and make college education affordable again.

"For my sisters, the scientists, I am supporting Hillary Clinton who has pledged to end the war on science, fund stem-cell research, and subsidize the green energy revolution that could create millions of new jobs for Americans.

"Finally for the wonderful people I have met from many different countries, I am voting for Hillary Clinton because she intends to responsibly end the war in Iraq and work to cooperatively solve the multiplicty of global problems that our world faces together.

"I am supporting Hillary Clinton today because like me, all of these people of whom I just spoke, not present in the room today need a president who is a pragmatic problem solver with a clear vision of what we can be, and the substantive policy proposals to get us there."

That was my speech. It was followed up by the candidate speech from the Obama supporter that said in essence, "I am voting for Barack, because Hillary can't win in November."

Huh? That was it? Where was the flowerly rhetoric about hope? Where was the vision? Are Barack supporters now operating out of, dare I say it, fear? Also, where are you getting this notion that Hillary can't win in November. Are you a pollster? I didn't think so. How ridiculous is it that you are basing your vote on some opinion poll, taken months before the November election that doesn't reflect the demographic realties of the fact that swing state votes are what matter the most, not nationwide polling data. Give me a break people. Do you live and die by everything that the media tells you these days without any thought of rationality? Does the fact that these flash nationwide polls done by the big media sources like CNN aren't the most scientific things give you pause at all?

The total for my precinct caucus - 1 delegate for Hillary (me, I might add); 3 for Obama.

In scoring it should look like this - substance:1 fear:3

Good job Seattle.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ready to Caucus for Hillary!

Hillary was fantastic last night. Pier 30 was packed, her flight was late, but it was worth every second. She spoke about real specifics - environmental policy, building a green-based economy, making college more affordable and improving opportunities for non-college bound children, building international coalitions and using force only as a last resort, providing true universal, affordable health care. I don't have enough space here to go into all of the specifics, but it was a great night. I was amazed when she talked with specificity about all of the technology companies in Seattle who are doing things for the environment. She named them individually. I am just glad to be supporting a candidate who is actually capable of telling me how she is going to change things and who talks in prudent, practical terms.
Elites and the higher tax bracket may be for Obama, but last night, I stood with people who are legitimately concerned for their futures and the futures of their children, and they know we don't have time for a president who knows more about the art of rhetoric than soving problems.
The governor of Washington, Christine Gregoire announced she was supporting Obama today. She has to be one of the worst governors ever - she hasn't done anything in her time as governor. We have crumbling infrastucture all across the state and she hasn't done anything to force anyone to make the tough decisions here. If that is the kind of politician that supports Obama, I am happier than ever to support Hillary, and ready to caucus on Saturday.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Obama is a Debate Pansy

Obama is so unbelievably arrogant these days and is afraid of appearing weak. Thus, he has refused to sign on to the weekly debates, proposed by Hillary Clinton.

At his news conference, Obama also rejected calls by Clinton advisers and some Democrats for more televised debates; the Clinton camp had proposed one debate a week through March 4.
"I don't think anybody is clamoring for more debates," Obama said. "We've had 18 debates so far."

Maybe it is just because he knows that he gives terrible debate performances? Perhaps, because he senses that he seems more uniformed, and that voters can see through to his lack of substance when he is actually having to answer detailed questions about policy. No, he prefers to continue to wow voters with his exciting oratory.

It is too bad, when American voters can see the two candidates side by side, it isn't hard to see the differences between them.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Obama as a Candidate of Unity?

Am I the only person troubled by what Barack says in this article? Essentially, he is trying to drive a wedge the Democratic party, particularly by in essence telling us that his supporters won't back Hillary if she gets the nomination.

It makes me furious. I though he was supposed to be the candidate of "unity." I don't like how he is trying to use scare tactics to frighten voters into voting for him. The funny part, is that the NY Times warned precisely about this type of campaigning in an editorial today.

But then, after giving an interview like that, he follows up in a campaign speech with this kind of rhetoric:

Trying out a new slogan, Obama said Super Tuesday proved, "this time can be different." "What began as a whisper has now swelled to a chorus that cannot be ignored; that will not be deterred; that will ring out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, and make this time different than all the rest."

I am not quite sure that I get it. The more successful he gets, the more abstract he gets when it comes to his speeches. You can see my post below for how I feel about that.

Political Headlocks

"Why don't you ever have fun?" This is the question that Durwood Willis, a fellow seventh-grader asked me as he held me in a headlock at a party at a classmate's house. I responded with a shrug of the shoulders and an answer about how everyone always seemed to be doing all of the same things. Even as a 12 year old, I was always the most serious girl in the room.

I have been trying today to understand why it is that I have such a problem identifying with my age group, or even more difficulty trying to understand the generation directly younger than me. There is something identifiable in their political zeal, I possessed that all though high school and college. Confession of the day: my freshman year of college, I had a Dole/Kemp sign hanging on my dorm room window. I had no problem spouting off my unresearched opinions to any person that came in my way. Then, something happened. I spent four months in Africa and saw the world in a whole new way. I came back and started spouting my opinions on the opposite extreme. I sat in the library for weekends studying political theory, concepts of distributive justice, and the like. It gave me passion; I was full of zeal, but I still couldn't transform it into realistic practice. Instead, I liked speaking in theory and about sweeping notions of justice and ethics, right and wrong. But ask me a question about how to turn John Rawls into practice to actually change the lives of the people of Africa, and I was stumped.

It wasn't until I actually left the academic world and faced real life, without my parents financing my ability to think great thoughts, that I realized that without a realistic means of transferring my idealistic notions of the world into actual experience, I could think and say all that I wanted to, but I could never claim to really be changing anything.

The reason that I wanted to write about this is because I feel legitimate concern that as Americans, we are currently operating as me, circa 1999, full of emotion, not full of realities. Back again at a different university, I listen to students once again carrying on about what they want the world to be without any clue of what the world actually is, and the realities that we are confronted with. In some ways, maybe Durwood Willis was right about me, because I have a hard time having any fun knowing that for all of our pretty talk about things, so little is actually accomplished. But it seems like no one cares about the difficulty of actually doing anything if you wrap your speech up in such lovely rhetoric.

I mean, who cares if you are Barack Obama and can call your plan universal health care when it really isn't, so long as you can give a nice speech to wrap it up in? Then you can go on CNN and claim that "mandates" for health care are like forcing homeless people to pay mortgages, and without the slightest sense of irony believe that you have made a deft argument. Too bad that health care economists disagree with you, because you bank on the fact that no one is going to bother reading a boring study done by someone with a PhD when they have you to vouch for the fact that your program is actually practical. I mean, no one is going to think for five seconds that when health care coverage isn't mandated, if it is made available to all to sign up for at any time or not sign up for, their choice, that people have incentive to free-ride in the system and then only decide to actually purchase health care coverage when they become sick and then costs for everyone in the system rise, thereby making the plan too expensive to maintain. Barack, you know no one is actually going to think about that when they have you declaring in your commercials that you are offering a "universal" health care plan?

What bothers me the most, is that the most educated people that are supporting Barack these days are the same ones who are totally willing to take his words at face value, even when even the slightest amount of research can show you how contradictory those words are (ex: Idaho rally: I support the second amendment; 1996 candidate questionnaire: I support banning the manufacture, transport, and sale of handguns). These are the people who maybe want to be inspired, but are forgetting that there are other people in this economy who are just trying to get by. These people are worrying about where their next mortgage payment is coming from, how they are going to be able to pay for their kids' braces, not whether or not you version of hope is an adjective or a verb. I have read the exit polling data from most states, without fail, people who feel like they are falling behind in the economy are supporting Hillary in numbers, whereas those who make over $100,000 a year are supporting Barack.

I still like thinking pretty, idealistic thoughts, but I am happy to be on the side of the candidate who is supported by people who want to see action as well. Whether or not Barack Obama favors this kind of realistic campaigning is yet to be seen. Right now, Hillary has committed to holding debates to discuss the issues in depth, Barack has yet to do so. He prefers those energetic rallies where as little detal can be said is possible. I can relate to that notion of wanting to be inspired. But I want something more than inspiration from a political candidate, I want action. So perhaps in my caucus here in Washington State on Saturday, I might once again be feeling like I am in a headlock being asked why I am against having fun. But that is just because I think there is too much actually to do.

Monday, February 04, 2008

It's Official

I guess the Giants really did win the Superbowl. I just saw the Eli Manning, "I'm Going to Disney World" commercial.

If you happen to be Eli Manning and be reading this blog, I would like to cordially invite you, your fiancee, and anyone else who may be accompanying you to Disney World to come to my wedding. If you happen to be in Disney World the weekend of March 28, you're invited!

Too Funny

So I have to post this link, because it is too funny. BYU's Daily Universe has an editorial printed today authored by none other than Mark Penn. I am not quite sure how this happened, because I didn't know Mark Penn was so influential at BYU, but hey, whatever works. It might be the only pro-Hillary piece ever to appear in the Daily Universe.

Before Tuesday

I am trying not to stress about anything political today. However, I did want to post a link to Paul Krugman's op-ed in the New York Times about the difference between Hillary and Barack's health care plans. It seems like there are pretty substantive differences with only one plan providing the real opportunity for universal health care. That plan belongs to the senator from New York. By the way another op-ed in the NY Times focuses on the sport of "Hillary Bashing" which seems to be some people's favorite past-time these days.

Tonight's Late Show with David Letterman has the best lineup, two of my favorites right now - Hillary Clinton AND Eli Manning. Can't wait.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Some Good News and Some Bad

The GOOD sports news today - how about those Giants? I couldn't be happier for a team to win the Superbowl. Not only was it great that they beat those Patriots, but to see Eli vindicated that way, was pretty fantastic.

The BAD sports news, and I mean HORRIBLE sports news - Ty Lawson sprained his ankle in the North Carolina game against Florida State. Why is this so horrible? With Bobby Frasor out with a torn ACL for the season, this means that there is no realistic chance that North Carolina can beat Duke on Wednesday. This makes me very sad.

Oh well, I guess only one pompous team per week can lose.

Not Related to Politics...

But still related to hypocrisy, I found this NY Times article about Google's reaction to Microsoft's bid for Yahoo interesting. Considering that Google acts with near monopolistic power in so many aspects of the internet, particularly with regard to web searching, I found their stance against Microsoft at least more than a tad hypocritcal. Perhaps they just don't want someone else challenging their monopoly?

While Microsoft may not have a history of being entirely pro-competition, it appears that Google is now also trying to do its best in trying to stifle competition in areas where it has gained the advantage.

It is just another interesting development that to me shows maybe Google is getting just a little bit too big for its britches.

Note: I realize that this blog is hosted on a domain that is owned by Google. Yes, I realize it is a little bit hypcritical of me to Google bash and use their products. But the more I learn about Google, the more I am a little distressed by the presumptions their company makes (I HATE ADS ON THE SIDE OF ME EMAIL THAT REFLECT WHAT MY EMAIL IS ABOUT!!).

If you can find the PBS documentary, created by the Netherlands Public Broadcasting called "Google: Behind the Screen", watch it. Some things about what Google wants to do give me nightmares.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Overstating the Record Again

I have been trying to avoid being too political lately. But I can't help myself on posting this link to a NY Times article with Obama, once again overstating this record and NO ONE CALLING HIM ON IT (except the NY Times, of course).

Is he going to say that he forgot that this bill that he sponsored, that lost all of its teeth to actually do much of anything didn't actually pass? What is his excuse for this one?

Not to dwell on this total hypocrisy of the Obama campaign, but isn't he always hitting on the Clinton campaign having "muddied" interests because her advisors also have corporate clients? Well it appears that Mr. David Alxelrod, Obama's chief strategist also did some work for Exelton, the nuclear company who was allegedly the target of these proposed regulations (until Exelton's proposed amendments were accepted by Obama and resulted in him changing the bill).

Still not convinced? Check out these other two articles about Mr. Obama similarly exaggerating his record while on the campaign trail. One is from the Chicago Tribune, and one is from the AP. Both showcase his rhetoric deviating wildly from his actions.