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Cancer, responsibility and politics

I was feeling a little overwhelmed today. It was non-stop meetings from the minute I got in this morning until the minute I left this afternoon. I couldn’t close my door for a minute before someone else was banging on it, asking for something. I even got stopped on the way out the door by someone who managed to squeeze another meeting into my calendar tomorrow. “Damn”, I thought, “You start to look a little bit competent and before you know it, everyone wants something.”

But the grim reality is, this morning, I was sitting two chairs away from someone who had cancer. In the past year, he had undergone two surgeries and emaciating chemotherapy. And although I don’t work on the kind of cancer he has, it is my job to find a cure for people like him.

And sometimes I forget.

Too often it seems routine. Just something I do to keep a roof over my head. Or I come out of the gym at dusk pleasantly buzzed that I *have* a gym on my worksite and I can wear jeans to work everyday and it’s just so damn cool to be able to be a student at work. It’s like being in college, forever. I am so damn lucky in that smug creative class kind of way. Or sometimes the stuff I actually do is like a set of tricky games and I think that the whole thing would be a whole lot more entertaining if the application I am using would make noises when I did something wrong or right. And wouldn’t it be great if I got some extra lives so that I could get to the next level.

And then it hits me that there are people out there desperately waiting for me to stop playing games and do something or they will run out of the life they have. Maybe it would be better if there was a little bar at the top of my screen that indicated the amount of life left on one of the patients who is waiting for this cure that is still years away.

It’s a lot of responsibility. Oh, it’s not *all* mine. I have to share that with all of my colleagues. And I have to persuade them to try my ideas and show them what I’ve done and get them to make it and test it and tell me what worked and didn’t work and sometimes, I just ask them to trust me, it is worth the extra work, there will be a reward. It is hard work and there are many failures but every once in awhile, that trust pays off and we get a little further down the road. We understand the problem a little more. But time is never on our side and we tend to forget that there are people in pain, people who are scared and their beloveds who are scared for them.

It it too easy to disconnect from your goal. To think you can get away with a pretty presentation. And it is much harder to work diligently and put that extra level of commitment into it. And our country is like an ailing patient but the symptoms are only now beginning to present themselves. And it isn’t a game. This is real people’s lives.

Ok, I’m done moralizing.

OK, one more time: Hillary won the debate

Period.

She wins all of her debates against Obama. It is only the media punditocracy that sets the bar for her so damn high that if she doesn’t clear 454 ft with her pole vaulting, it looks like a loss. She routinely clears 25 ft to Obama’s 16. But this does not indicate the level of superhuman abilities that we require from her. Anything less than 454 is like so much “So what have you done for me lately?”

Well, the debates are over and it is now for the voters of Texas and Ohio to decide. Do they need her to be superhuman and perfect or is excellent good enough? And are they going to buy the rambling, Shatner-like delivery of Obama, along with adolescent expressions of impatience and surprised disbelief as sufficient for the highest nation in the land or will they send him back to school for 4 years?

I guess we’ll see if the media standards are the ones that the rest of the country feels are fair. One thing for sure, though. Russert’s and William’s behavior last night didn’t make their case that we should adopt their standards as our own. Classy people don’t act like that. People with a vendetta do and we’ve watched enough crime drama since the advent of TV to know what that looks like.

Wilentz Blows Lid Off Obama Race-Baiting Campaign

TNR’s Sean Wilentz has a blockbuster article — Race Man: How Barack Obama played the race card and blamed Hillary Clinton. Excerpt:

A review of what actually happened shows that the charges that the Clintons played the “race card” were not simply false; they were deliberately manufactured by the Obama camp and trumpeted by a credulous and/or compliant press corps in order to strip away her once formidable majority among black voters and to outrage affluent, college-educated white liberals as well as college students. The Clinton campaign, in fact, has not racialized the campaign, and never had any reason to do so. Rather the Obama campaign and its supporters, well-prepared to play the “race-baiter card” before the primaries began, launched it with a vengeance when Obama ran into dire straits after his losses in New Hampshire and Nevada–and thereby created a campaign myth that has turned into an incontrovertible truth among political pundits, reporters, and various Obama supporters.

Starting from this as a base, I’ve continued a project of expanding and documenting the timeline of racial grievances between the campaigns. [The post in its current March 24 form is extensively updated from the February 27 original, and is a continuing effort.]

Continue reading

Wednesday Morning Hangover

Aww, Jeez, did I do something stupid last night? No? Oh, yeah, now I remember, MSNBC was the one with the lampshade on its head singing “Louis, Louis” karaoke. Well, ladies and gents, it looks like despite my best efforts, I have made progress at work and some of my colleagues like what they see and want me to do it again (the bastards). So, I am going to be posting lightly today while I attend to their insatiable need for results. In the meantime, please enjoy the following fine products from around the web:

  • Digby finally has had enough of the traditional media’s stranglehold on our presidential elections system in general and Tim Russert in particular. She asks what can be done about it. Well, one thing comes to mind: nominate Hillary by voting for her in Ohio and Texas. Nothing will knock their power down more efficiently than doing exactly the opposite of what they want. But this is not the only thing we should do. Oh, no, my droogs. Tim Russert must go. He and Broder and their other friends in Peyton Place on the Potomac have held sway for much too long. I think the answer is in money because media outlets are businesses. Hit them where they hurt, and BADLY. Anyway, we will have to put our heads together to figure this out. Put your suggestions in the comments.
  • ghost2 sends this link and comments:

    Shame on the media. In terms of grace, proposed programs, energy and enthusiasm, knowledge and abilities, and executive demeanor, Hillary Clinton can hold her own among any of the candidates in both parties — and she does so in high heels.

    who said that?

    A republican. Read the whole article. It’s really a must read. And when you have done so, PLEASE forward the link.

    Media Has Shameful Double Standard on Coverage of Hillary Clinton

  • OMFG. When even conservative women at The Corner of National Review Online take notice (see here and here), it must have been really baaaad. M(axim on)S(teroids)N(0t)B(illary)C(linton) might just as well donated a 90 min, multimillion dollar ad to Clinton last night.
  • My favorite part of last night’s debate comes about 2/3 thru when they start discussing the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan (see here about 1/2 way down page to pick up question.) I think there is a good reason why this question makes Obama fans uneasy and it has nothing to do with Farrakhan. It was because, oddly enough, Hillary was being helpful to him, almost like a mentor, explaining why he must reject this man’s endorsement in the strongest possible terms. Perception is reality when it comes to anti-semitism and by passively accepting Farrakan’s support, Obama is giving him a subtle *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* that comes off looking insincere. And I think Obama had a flash, of either insight or that she was trapping him on national TV, and he quickly corrected himself. To me it demonstrated 2 things: he is very green and she is a much savvier politician than we gave her credit for. That was a moment that she could have easily passed on, leaving him to hang out there, some people getting it and others not. But she seized on it to point out the problem with his position and then making him acknowledge that she was better at dealing with it. That was the thing that stuck in Obamaphiles craw, I’m guessing. She taught him a couple of valuable political lessons right there before millions of people. Did everyone really have to see that? How embarrassing. So, sportsfans, if there is going to be a Clinton/Obama ticket, that moment right there showed me why she should be at the top. Looks like I’m not the only one who thinks so. There’s another point that should be made, however, and that is that it is very difficult to pin Obama down on taking any political risks. It’s just not his style to be tied down on anything. That limits him. It’s the self-actualization, transcendence thing he keeps pushing. He’s post this and not the other thing. It lets him take advantage of a lot of projected dreams. And Hillary just told him he had to finally take a stand on something. It’s a small point that is actually much bigger. It pops his ethereal bubble.
  • It looks like the Rec List Hostage Crisis at DailyKos is having a temporary respite.  Only one rec diary mentions Obama specifically in the title.   There isn’t one overtly fawning Obama diary there.  It’s so unlike DailyKos these days.   Hmm, curiouser and curiouser.

It looks like the bias is clear and unmistakable. Hmmm, maybe she even *won* all of the previous debates. How much you wanna bet there are millions of women who weren’t previously Hill fans who are now ordering their own “Bitch is the new Black” T–shirts?

What else you got?