Archive for February, 2008

26
Feb
08

Disgust

I loathe this man.  Read on.

23
Feb
08

CNMen

Over at The Hillary 1000, Donna Darko offers an (as promised) depressing summary of the sexism rampant in the election.  One culprit she doesn’t address directly is the MSM, though their shenanigans have been documented extensively by fellow bloggers. 

Well, as I posted over in H1K comments, here at the Cinci airport, I just watched a commercial for CNN where they trumpeted their diversity (as in their range of global news coverage and topics).  To demonstrate their depth and breadth in appealing to all corners of humanity with their hard-hitting journalism, they paraded 5 different MALE faces across the screen.

Of course.  This makes sense, you know, because all women hate politics.  We, after all, spend all our time watching Lifetime and HGTV and WE and Oxygen and HSN. 

Though perhaps the commercial is prescient.  After this election cycle, dudes may be the only folks left watching CNN, MSNBC, and their ilk.

22
Feb
08

Why I COULD be president

Part 35.  (Because why always tear myself down?  So unbecoming.)

A Slate columnist applied the Myers Briggs personality type tests to the three presidential candidates.  Turns out Clinton and McCain are common presidential personalities; Obama, he’s more of a movement leader.  Sometimes these articles just write themselves.

So, rather than go to bed at a reasonable hour last night, I knew I needed to immediately discover my own personality type.  Using a free on-line version of the test, I discovered I’m a INTJ: Introverted / Intuitive / Thinking / Judging, with Intuitive traits comprising the majority and Introverted and Judging making up the bulk of the remainder.  Sounds about right. 

Apparently, INTJ’s are Masterminds, comprising less than 1% of the population (think Nietsche, Stephen Hawking, Eisenhower, Keynes, and Ayn Rand).  Here’s the excerpts that both ring true to my ear, and are my leadership qualities, despite my amazing capacities for sitting on my couch in my pj’s not engaging with the world for hours on end:

Entailing or contingency planning is not an informative activity, rather it is a directive one in which the planner tells others what to do and in what order to do it. As the organizing capabilities the Masterminds increase so does their inclination to take charge of whatever is going on.

…there is one attitude that sets them apart from other Rationals: they tend to be much more self-confident than the rest, having, for obscure reasons, developed a very strong will.

Being very judicious, decisions come naturally to them; indeed, they can hardly rest until they have things settled, decided, and set [like this primary, for ex!!]. They are the people who are able to formulate coherent and comprehensive contingency plans, hence contingency organizers or “entailers.”

Natural leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command of projects or groups, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once in charge, however, Masterminds are the supreme pragmatists, seeing reality as a crucible for refining their strategies for goal-directed action. In a sense, Masterminds approach reality as they would a giant chess board, always seeking strategies that have a high payoff, and always devising contingency plans in case of error or adversity [I do this nightly, as the hours pass and I fail to sleep, I reorganize the coming day to reflect how much energy and time I'll have].

On the other hand, Masterminds can be quite ruthless in implementing effective ideas, seldom counting personal cost in terms of time and energy. [This is why I surround myself with emotional people!!]

Self-confidence; a willingness to make decisions; an analytical, organizing mind; and an ability and willingness to course-correct (one of my fave corporate buzzphrases) as we go along. Yep; yep; yep; and yep.

What’s your personality type?  Please submit all reports to my desk by 10am Monday morning, when I’ll next be on-line.  Family duties call this weekend.  Why not hang with my fellow bloggers Donna Darko and Pocochina over at The Hillary 1000 while I’m gone? 

21
Feb
08

Gulf Coast Realities at the next Democratic Presidential Debate (UPDATED)

UPDATE: The LA Justice Institute and The Children’s Defense Fund (Sen. Clinton’s former employer, I might add) have released preliminary data from a survey of families living in the 38,000 FEMA trailers still spread out around the Gulf Coast. They found that approximately 100,000 people live in those trailers, or an average of 3 people per unit. (FEMA trailers are about 400 sq ft, IIRC.)

Other findings include (their emphases):

Most families have been in the trailer for over 2 years, since the fall of 2005 or spring of 2006.

The majority of people living in FEMA trailers are employed. Many are retired.

15% report depression, anxiety, other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. 10% report that their mental health problems are their biggest obstacle to getting out of the trailer.

55% report that if they are evicted from their FEMA trailer in the next few months they have no family they can turn to for help and they expect to be homeless.

29% reported rashes, itchy eyes, breathing problems and other symptoms usually related to high levels formaldehyde in their FEMA trailer.

“Our presidential candidates must understand the plight of FEMA trailer residents and answer the tough questions those conditions present concerning affordable permanent housing for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita survivors. This is no way to treat our people!”

HERE ARE THE DETAILS ON SEEING A FEMA TRAILER FIRSTHAND AT TONIGHT’S DEM DEBATE IN AUSTIN :

Though the Democratic debate in Austin on Thursday has limited space for the public, there is an opportunity for folks in the vicinity to visit the KatrinaRitaVille Express: The National FEMA Trailer Tour. From krvexpress.org:

This is a rare opportunity to place our region’s unaddressed recovery/justice needs squarely before the candidates, media and US electorate. Our FEMA Trailer and a caravan of survivors/speakers from coastal AL, MS, LA and TX would certainly help raise the region’s national visibility.

Friends at UT Law School’s Justice Center are currently looking into a day-long exhibit and speak-out at some campus location not far from Thursday night’s debate.

With your help, the event will feature the trailer, human testimonials, video, and the distribution of information on housing, environment and other social justice/policy needs for gulf coast communities.

Click here for more debate info.

Meanwhile, legal activists have filed another lawsuit to halt demolition in the on-going public housing struggle in New Orleans, even as buildings at C.J. Peete, B.W. Cooper, and St. Bernard have come down (No word on any demolition at Lafitte). In DC, Sen. Landrieu has again marked up S. 1668, the Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act, to renew the negotiations with her colleagues and staunch opponents, Sens. Shelby (R-AL) and Vitter (R-LA), on this critical affordable housing bill.

This fight is far from over! ! !!

21
Feb
08

Project Home Again in New Orleans goes public

$20M Gift Planned for Gentilly.

There’s a press conference next week.

Wahoo!

Say what you will about private sector development – I’ve certainly done my fair share – but bringing 100 homes to a neighborhood with only 25% of its population back is a noble effort.

21
Feb
08

Oh No He Didn’t

I’ve written extensively here about my Obama skepticism.  Quotes like this don’t endear me to the man either.

From the February 25th issue of People, in “25 Questions for Barack Obama”:

Q: What was your best effort for Valentine’s Day?

A: Interesting question.  [Pause.] I’m so good to her in so many ways, no one gesture of undying love really stands out.

I really hope he was being facetious. The M.A.S. is a phenomenal partner, but if he ever uttered something like this, I’m pretty sure I’d be waiting with my “Need for Improvement” checklist when he got home that night.  But maybe that’s just me.

There’s some other comments in the piece, such as the first legislation he hopes to sign as President is “health care for all Americans,” that his last splurge was a birthday necklace for his wife that “wasn’t fake,” that she reminds him everyday that he is “not a perfect man” (though he has the “wisdom” to say she has “no flaws”), that he misses “anonymity” the most from his past life (though this Newsweek piece on Michelle Obama suggests otherwise – and also, in my opinion, does her less justice as a kickass independent woman than this NYT piece), and that he’d most like to meet Springsteen because he seems like a “good person.” 

I realize this is a People article, and that all the MSM links I’ve provided here deliberately paint – per the joint wisdoms of the campaigns and the publications – certainy portraits of the candidates, but honestly, someone should explain the concept of “modesty” to Sen. Obama.*

 

*Thank you for joining me in this latest edition of The RP’s Pot Kettle Black Politics.

 

Cross-posted at The Hillary 1000.

20
Feb
08

The MSM sets its sights on another strong woman

This is vile.

In case any Democrats and/or feminists missed the memo, no matter the nominee, we’ve got a serious fight on our hands.

20
Feb
08

President Organizer

Click here for a round-up of post-primary chatter.  I want to re-iterate what is buried in a long, late nite post below:

I like Obama’s call to increase the diversity of representation in the existing system.  Change at the top is key, but truly diversifying the ranks starts at the bottom – increase women or minority participation at the local level, and you’ll see change work its way up. 

Now, Obama’s campaign has done an amazing job at the grassroots level – their fundraising, their volunteer organization, their GOTV operation has been tremendous.  For this he is rightfully praised.  But how will this translate into the role of President? 

Organizing, no matter how routinized, depends on a symbolic position outside the system.  Obama knows this and speaks to this when he talks about changing Washington.  But, and I’m embarrassed to quote David Brooks here, “what if the 261,000 lobbyists” don’t get Obama’s message about unity?  Organizing, especially the Alinsky model to which Obama is frequently linked, is about bringing in outsiders to train community members to become leaders so that they can fight for change themselves.  Obama is doing an excellent job with inspiring and instilling skills via his campaign operations.  But this positions Obama as the consummate outsider, training others to take on the system for positive change.  How can we then elect this person to be the consummate insider? 

Strains of participatory democracy are prevalent in Obama’s campaign.  Participatory democracy, it should be noted, has highly positive impacts, mainly related to increasing people’s and groups’ sense of civic engagement and self-efficacy, and in practice at the local level, can lead to decision-making power.  But it is not a practice that layers very easily onto our political bureacracy, and, in its most reviled characterizations (from academic haters, mostly), is disparaged as process over results, or, that the process is the result.

There is a reason organizing is a distinct institution from bureacracy; there is a reason that social movements wax and wane, and that protest and direct action is appropriate in some instances and negotiating and deal-making is appropriate in others.  One thing that has been made dramatically obvious during this primary is that our current electoral system is not a fair and open one, and we’ve got two tremendous Democratic candidates to thank for exposing that with their breathtaking contest and its accompanying voter and citizen participation.  Perhaps one outcome of this campaign season will be a re-tooling our our electoral system, or more modestly, the Democratic Party’s rules.  But I’m skeptical.  Bureacracies are pretty entrenched; hence the staying power.  I hope that if Obama secures the nomination, his inside game is as good as his outside one. 

20
Feb
08

Post-Primary Round-Up

I squeezed about 6 hours of sleep between last night and this morning’s primary coverage. Here are the major themes I’m hearing in my on-line universe:

Despite the white woman/black man Democratic primary slate, white men reassert their primacy.

Just who is Obama’s constituency? And should Dems be worried? If Obama gets the nomination, he’ll get my vote, even though I’m so over him. Other Dems, though, are thinking twice.* Ironically, if unsurprisingly, the question of inauthenticity looms. On this conservatives and Green Party members agree. No one said he wasn’t a coalition-builder!

The turnout of 500,000 voters in Washington state’s doesn’t-count primary is more than twice that of its binding caucus. (The breakdown differed too: 50% for Obama, 47% for Clinton in the former, whereas Obama took 68% in the latter.) Discussion: Caucuses are neither representative, nor fair.

* There are many, many comments around the ‘sphere that reflect this blogger’s thinking. I linked to this post because of the actual activity of leaving the Democratic party. See here for the future split of the party.

20
Feb
08

My Life

by xkcd.





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