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Sunday: 10,000 hours

Chesley Sullenberger, 1973

Chesley Sullenberger, 1973

Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent book, is about the characteristics of leaders and other success stories.  In case you didn’t know, geniuses don’t automatically rise to the top of the food chain.  In fact, quite a few end up as security guards on the midnight shift.  It is also true that you don’t need to be a genius to be a success.  If your IQ is around 120, you’re capable of doing just about anything you set your mind to.

So, if ability is not the determining factor to becoming a success at anything, what are the factors?  Gladwell identifies several including opportunity, family background, creativity, the degree to which the culture you live in is “top down” and one other teeny-tiny thing- practice.  Yep, that old adage “practice makes perfect” is absolutely true.  If you want to become an expert at anything and be able to create new things from your starting materials, you have to have a lot of practice time under your belt.  The research points to a very consistent number of hours to attain this level of mastery for any field- 10,000 hours.

This week, we’ve seen a very dramatic demonstration of that requirement in the person of Chesley Sullenberger.  Captain Sullenberger, a 1973 graduate of the Air Force Academy, former fighter pilot and US Airways pilot used all of those hours of practice and experience to glide his aircraft into the icy waters of the Hudson River after it was disabled by birdstrike.  Oh, did I mention that Sullenberger had a glider license as well?  All of the elements of success came together for Sullenberger and his crew including the cockpit training that allowed for him to get control of the aircraft from his co-pilot.  But it was Sullenberger’s years of practice, practice, practice with jets and gliders that allowed him to create and execute a water landing from a gliding AirBus.

I woke up this morning to a headline in the NYTimes that declares that the nation has faith in Barack Obama and will wait patiently while he gets his $%#@ together.  That’s great because Obama has virtually no practice time under his belt.  His whole political career has consisted of a lot of amazing opportunities and family background.  He doesn’t strike me as a creative type.  I hang out with a lot of creatives including my Brook who has a surplus.  Obama’s no creative.  He does have an uncanny knack for staging.  I’m beginning to think even the Reverend Wright debacle was carefully staged so he could deliver a speech on racism.  But choreographing a campaign is quite a different thing from running a country.  This sounds obvious but it is even more important in Obama’s case.

George Bush was allowed to get away with murder because his predecessor had left the place in tip-top shape, having had 8 years of a governorship and 8 years of a presidency to practice.  We know that Bush didn’t practice and was a lazy president.  But there was enough of a cushion built into the economy that we could ride out Bush’s presidency.  Now, that cushion is gone.  Here is when experience matters a great deal.  We could have had Hillary Clinton who was there for the 8 years of governor training, 8 years of presidential training and 8 years of senatorial training.  That would have given her.  210,240 hours of experience to fall back on.  One could argue that she wasn’t running anything for 16 of those years but we know that she wasn’t a typical first lady and she took on health care and peace in Northern Ireland while the Big Dawg was president.  So, OK, let’s take away her 8 years in Arkansas because that was not at a federal level.  That would leave her with 140,160 hours.  Let’s give her a month off for every year for vacation.  That brings us to 128,640 hours.  Let’s give her a 40 hour work week.  That brings us to 30,720 hours.  Not bad.

Now, let’s look at Obama.  We’ll exclude all of his work on the state level just as we did for Clinton.  It’s fair.  She did tons of work for Arkansas in the areas of education and children’s welfare but let’s put it aside for a moment.  He’s been a senator for 4 years.  We’ll give him a month off for vacation every year and a 40 hour week.  Yeah, he’s probably worked more than that per week during the campaign season but it normalizes with respect to Clinton.  That gives him 7,680 hours.  At this rate, it will take him a couple of years for him to know the emergency procedures.

Just sayin’.

74 Responses

  1. the scary part for me is that though it seems
    “His whole political career has consisted of a lot of amazing opportunities ” it is probably more likely those “opportunities” were manufactured. The big question that keeps haunting me is who has manipulated this selection and why.

  2. OT – I am disgusted by the media onslaught. I was in a Barnes & Noble this week and couldn’t move two feet without being visually assaulted by yet another book on the One. Its like people have been working on this for years.

  3. Good morning, Riverdaughter! Is it snowing in NJ? It’s snowing here. We’re due for a January thaw!

    The NYT apparently thinks destroying the social safety net is “politically moderate:

    What is more, Mr. Obama’s effort to use this interregnum between Election Day and Inauguration Day to present himself as a political moderate (he might use the word “pragmatist”) appears to be working. In this latest poll, 40 percent described the president-elect’s ideology as liberal, a 17-point drop from just before the election.

    “I think those of us who voted for McCain are going to be a lot happier with Obama than the people who voted for him,” Valerie Schlink, 46, a Republican from Valparaiso, Ind., said in an interview after participating in the poll. “A lot of the things he said he would do, like pulling out the troops in 16 months and giving tax cuts to those who make under $200,000, I think he now sees are going to be a lot tougher than he thought and that the proper thing to do is stay more towards the middle and ease our way into whatever has to be done.

  4. Great post. It’s the couple of years of trial and error that scares (and angers) me. Like you said, there is no cushion.

  5. Experience doesn’t matter! It’s all about JUDGMENT!

    Barack’s superior judgment is self-evident:

    He gave some speeches (that other people wrote)

    He is in favor of gay marriage, gun control, war, choice and NAFTA.

    He opposes gay marriage, gun control, war, abortion and NAFTA.

    I rest my case

    (sips Kool-aid)

  6. It’s snowing here.

    I mowed the lawn yesterday.

  7. RD, excellent post. I also read Gladwell’s newest offering and had the same thought. I looked at it conversely and thought about where Obama has excelled based on world-class practice. I came up with self-promotion, narcissism, taking credit for the work of others, evading core values, singular self-service, opportunism, and ruthlessness. Just sayin’…

  8. indiegirl,

    You should live in Chicago. You think Barnes & Noble is bad. I have to hear Obama’s name EVERYWHERE I go. I have to look at Congratulatory banners of him on our stop signs, buses and trains.

  9. afrocity, you need some O’blinders.

  10. BB: Yep, it’s snowing here. I’m going back down into the mines, er, the basement, to paint. I have 5 gallons of drywall primer, one quart of magnetic paint and one quart of chalkboard paint. I’m going to get Brook down there too and hand her a roller:
    “This is my roller. There are many like it but this one is mine. My roller is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my roller is useless. Without my roller I am useless. I must hold my roller true. I must roll straighter than my mother, who is trying to outpaint me. I must paint more than her before she takes away my youtube privileges. I will. Before God (if I believed in her) I swear this creed: my roller and myself are defenders against dreary basements, we are the masters of the dark, we are the saviors of useable space. So be it, until there is no grey drywall, but light. Amen.

  11. Oh Afrocity,

    I feel for you. It must be almost as bad as being in DC. It’s like a horror movie–zombies everywhere you look. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

  12. RD, this post is so reasoned in our sea of hyperbole. I feel almost calm.

  13. Good luck with the painting, RD. It sounds like it’s driving you around the bend. But I’m sure it’s better than watching the 24-hour Obama worship. I hope some of the zombies wake up or we are going to be living in the fourth reich.

  14. RD:

    I assume you put the foil under the drywall?

  15. And now she gets recognition

    King Center to Honor Hillary Clinton

    ATLANTA (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton will be honored by the King Center at the annual “Salute to Greatness” dinner in Atlanta Saturday night.

    The dinner comes just before Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday marking what would have been the slain civil right’s leader’s 80th birthday.

    Clinton, U.S. senator from New York, is President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of state. The former first lady ran unsuccessfully against Obama for the Democratic nomination for president.

    Isaac Newton Farris Jr., president and chief executive officer of The King Center, praised Clinton for “working tirelessly throughout her career to advance racial justice, child welfare, health security for all Americans and human rights worldwide.”


  16. BB: Oh, I don’t have to subject myself to the 24/7 Obamathan. I’ve banked several really good movies on my DVR like Unbreakable and Nurse Betty. Then I have two netflix movies, Becket and Riding Giants (‘cos I LOVE big, tasty waves). Plus, there is a whole busload of good reading material in my library and Audible. I just bought Collapse by Jared Diamond. I’m teaching myself to play the piano using Brooks piano books. Then there podcasts, music and karaoke I can sing to while I’m rolling. I could be totally oblivious to the whole inaugural fol-de-rol for the next several days. I’ll probably check in for the official oath but skip the totally insincere Jon Favreau speech. I can slide right into keeping a careful watch on the Obama administration without missing a beat!

  17. Downticket: How can that be??? She’s a RACIST!

  18. RD – it is sick. After being called a racist and with no AA defending her now this honor???? why

  19. myiq: I had a contractor do the entire construction work. BTW, I highly recommend The Basement Store for their quality work and working relationship. I had more trouble with the municipal inspectors than the contractor. The basement looks great and I have TONS of storage space as well as and entertainment/media room and an art studio for Brook. Highly recommended.

  20. I get it – ix-nay on the infoil-tay stuff.

    (They might be watching)

  21. “I think those of us who voted for McCain are going to be a lot happier with Obama than the people who voted for him,” Valerie Schlink, 46, a Republican from Valparaiso

    bostonboomer – Republicans should be rejoicing. It is as though those that stayed home knew he wouldn’t be that bad(for them).

  22. Myiq: If you think I’m going to tell anyone in a public forum where I hid my tinfoil, you need to get your hat adjusted. You must be using the cheap stuff.

  23. “I think those of us who voted for McCain are going to be a lot happier with Obama than the people who voted for him.”

    Not me. My vote for McCain was for authenticity and the possibility of a hint of integrity.

  24. Wow, what a great read to wake up to. Thanks. And in my book, it is MLK day on Monday, Captain Sullenberger week starting today, and I will not be observing any other commemorations next week.

    I lived in Japan some years back, and more than once I met women who had been studying Ikebana (art of flower arranging) for 20 years or more, and their strangely consistent refrain would be, “oh but I’m still an amateur.” I want to get that new Gladwell book. I wonder if practice fights creativity, or those things come from different parts of the brain.

    Yes, Hill has it by a galaxy mile over Barry on experience, but even on her natural smarts, strength of character, judgement above all, she has few if any rivals. Check that. I will be observing, in a quiet yet profound manner, Hillary’s arrival as a leader on the world stage, to look after both our security and economic interests globally. Because honestly, if she was not there, I would be scared s***less.

  25. 3 Wicks: *is still scared s(Y&less*

  26. Three Wickets said: “I wonder if practice fights creativity, or those things come from different parts of the brain.”

    RD, when the basement is completed, would you consider hosting another book discussion?

  27. Three Wickets: Practice doesn’t fight creativity. It enhances it. Of course, we aren’t just talking about practicing scales over and over again. We are talking about engaging in the activity for a sustainable period of time. You have to train your brain to carry out tasks automatically so you can leave other parts of the brain the freedom to improvise. If you don’t have enough practice, your time is spent learning instead of doing. So, essentially, Obama will be learning in the next couple of years when we desperately need him to be doing. We are like that AirBus with no power looking for a safe landing. Instead of getting a Sullenberger, we’ve got a guy who’s never flown solo.
    Personally, I think the optimism that is reaching a fever pitch is going to have us all crashing big time.

  28. “I think those of us who voted for McCain are going to be a lot happier with Obama than the people who voted for him.”

    I don’t know about “happier” but his approval rating with me has no where to go but up.

  29. I will watch this inauguration just like I have everyone before that. Despite my dislike for Obama, it is a ceremonious occasion for all of us as Americans, but especially for African American’s and I wish my mother had lived to see it. I am not sure what her position on BO would have been. I suspect that she would have been at odds with me.

    I can at least watch it and reflect on of my ancestors and feel a sense of triumph for those AA’s who felt this was necessary to “win the prize”. Personally, I do not feel this way but one sympathizes.

  30. Twenty years in rev wright’s church lets just say 2 hours a week
    math equation
    52 sundays a year lets say 2 hours a week
    52 X 20 = 1040 double that for the 2 hours 2080 hours
    Time spent with rezko, who knows but for someone to help someone buy a home and some land adjoining it, i will use my own experience of buying home and the time i spent with the person helping me buy it….
    2 hours daily for about a month working out all the kinks. = 60 hours
    2080 + 60 =2,140
    Ayers = lets just through 100 hours in there for good measure
    2,140 + 100 =2,240 hours
    being married to Michelle Obama…well, you figure out the math

  31. RD:

    Even with his experience in Arkansas the Big Dawg stumbled a bit during his first couple years.

    Luckily there weren’t any wars or crisis to deal with.

  32. afrocity, the BBC did a very nice 1/2 hour musical tribute to what this inauguration symbolizes in terms of breaking the color barrier. It was moving and focused more on the symbolism of the event than on Obama. It was gratifying.

  33. “This is my roller, this is my brush. This one’s for big walls, the other for trim…”

    Great post RD, what worries me most is his inability to think on his feet. Sadly (and frighteningly) we don’t know if he can or not.
    Love Sully too. Perfect example.

  34. afrocity: I can’t say that I know how you feel but I have noticed a change in my interactions with many African Americans. Prior to the election, I’ve always felt a distance to AA’s. I consider myself a pretty open and engaging person but it has always been really hard for me to strike up a conversation with AA’s. I’ve felt at times like they don’t want to acknowledge me. That’s it’s easier to just get the interaction over with as quickly as possible. No chit-chat. Strictly business.
    But NOW, things are oddly different. I had a conversation with a young woman last night at Home Depot and she started it. She was friendly and funny. It was weird because this is not the first time this has happened. I noticed it the day after the election. I got much more direct eye contact. Things are different. I like it. A lot. But I don’t credit Barack Obama for it. I credit us as a nation for being able to put the color barrier in the past and recognize what dire straits we’re in. They picked the Democrat over the Republican but they didn’t have to. There have been worthier AA candidates in the past but they never got this far. We know why Obama was elected and it was not as some kind of affirmation of his skin color. But there are benefits nonetheless. It means we are a lot friendlier towards one another. And if Obama screws up, it will mean we have to work extra hard to maintain the friendliness but I am up to it.

  35. I hate rolling. I far prefer the brush work. Fortunately, my husband hates the brush work and loves rolling. We make a great team.

    I just finished my Sunday morning ritual of coffee and the Sunday newspaper. I am disgusted by the shameless open letter to his daughters that Obama published in Parade. How could he use his own children in this way?

    I just read that the Univ of VA will cancel classes on Inaug Day, and my daughter’s English class will listen to the speech. Up to this point, her English class has been focusing on classic literature and I have been thrilled with it. Now this. I’m debating as to whether I should complain. I’m sure that none of the classes were devoted to either of Bush’s speeches. One UVA student is quoted in the newpaper saying that the university didn’t cancel classes for either Bush inauguration. Poor kid, he’ll probably be expelled.

  36. OMG my son flipped over the channel to MTV at lunch, and what came on? A big red (why red?) page saying
    (in English)

    I’d hate to be in America at this moment.

  37. Riverdaughter, That contrast between Hero-Pilot, Chesley Sullenberger and our Inexperienced-President-To-Be makes the whole thing even more striking. We are (after all) ON a crashing Plane. And relying on Obama to pilot us out of it.

  38. I’m having fundamentally different experiences than you, RD. In this particular instance, I expect that and it’ll probably always be that way.
    Maybe it’s a generation thing.

  39. This Obama Marathon is comparable to the Christmas hype we have to put up with starting every year just around Halloween. Constant. Constant. Constant.

    There is no getting away from it. You can’t turn on the tv and if there is not a talking head singing his praises, he is injected during commercial breaks. I am not putting the tv on for this idiocy which is like form of brain washing to be honest.

    A 24 hour a day lovefest is more than I can personally take. The theatrics attendant makes me think of a movie script playing out. Train rides, wreath laying, impromptu speeches at whistle stops, comparisons to former presidents laid on thick, shots of the kids, the wife, the staff. The what ifs, and why nots flow endlessly. It is an unending barrage of sights and sounds without let up.

    You would think that there is nothing going on in the world aside for Obama and hauling a plane up out of the water for all that the MSM is displaying.

    Back to my book. It is snowing and I can feel the cabin fever sinking into my bones. I am leaving a wake up call for Wednesday when the true business at hand finally gets attention. The rest of the hoopla is on hold.

  40. janicen – that letter seems phony. Why not take the opportunity to write an open letter to America’s Children directly? His children would be covered by that. He lost an opportunity to reach out to the kids and make them feel special. I think.

  41. PS — For those who missed it: The Confluence passed 5 million hits last night. Not bad for our first birthday!

  42. katiebird – it does seem phony. Right off the bat he starts out with, “I know you had fun these past two years traveling around and visiting fairs and picnics…” or something like that. Those kids didn’t have fun campaigning. Kids have fun in the warmth and security of their own home, playing with their friends and spending quality time with their parents.

  43. Oysh. Why are we stuck with a beginner when we could have had an expert!!!!!!!

    I loved BB’s post earlier.

    WTYS, Odiots! (h/t Anna Belle)

  44. Obama doesn’t NEED experience…he is SURROUNDED by geniuses and the media!!!

    And guess who’s coming to PBS? Al Jazeera. I haven’t had a problem with them from what I”ve seen on the Internet….but how will the stories go when they really hit the U.S…on PBS?

    And now that Frank has a fairly decent bailout bill in the House, which requires “creditworthy lending”—why isn’t the Senate on board? Because they claim that Obama will do the same–without it being written into law!!

    Oh, yeah…the EXPEREINCE Obama has will solve it all! NOT!!! Are we talking a repeat of passing out $$ to anyone in sight without oversight? The same people perhaps who have already been shown to be NOT “creditworthy”???

    I’m feeling we’re about to “experience” another round of this monetary disaster any minute….

    The Past Week: January 11-17, 2009 (Al Jazeera Hooks up with PBS; House vs. Senate/Obama and Bailout Oversight; “Everyman” Biden; Non-GMO Verification Project; “The Prisoner” is Free; Extra Anatomical Tube Bypass


  45. RD,

    I have had the same experience when I was in the east coast .Particularly NJ. Many of the “AA’s” there were Dominican, from Barbados. They expected me to know Spanish. I found it hard to relate to them and I am just plain ol black American mixed with Native American.

  46. I am counting on this blog to get me through the “big day”; plus I have a doctor’s appointment for my annual physical and a Board meeting. We are experiencing a lasting high pressure over CA. In my winter desert retreat near San Diego, the temp. is about 70 and climbing toward today’s high of about 75. The ocotillo splendens is a brilliant emerald and you can hardly tell the economy is in free fall. Our 5 golf courses are in deep panic mode as CA is considering a 10% tax on golf courses, golf lessons etc. etc. If they would just add off roading to that 10% tax haul we could probably erase our 42 billion shortfall. As for the One, I think we may have overlooked the precedents—think about the Bush run up to the presidency—do you remember the Dem outcry about all those corporate jets that flew in for the Bush inauguartion? all the money that was spent on that extravaganza? all the hype about him leading to his election and thereafter. And now we have witnessed the great fall. I would hope the same for O but I do not think our country can withstand another 8 years of ineptitude and decline so I actually hope that he pulls it together or more likely that the people he has selected do so. The reality is RD that Obama’s hours of practice were all in running for election and what we see is that was the expertise that he needed to win. Hillary’s practice was in trying to use government to solve problems and improve lives. That does not seem to be the expertise this country is voting for these days.

  47. Regency: I don’t know whether it is a generational thing. I don’t think so. I grew up in a weird set of circumstances compared to my peers. It’s hard to explain but I’ve seen the best and the worst when it comes to race in this country. At times I have been profoundly aware and other times not at all. And I’m telling you, Regency, there is a difference. Maybe the fact that we separate Obama from it because he wasn’t the agent of change, just the beneficiary, makes it harder to us to see a difference but we are outside the mainstream.
    But there is a difference. No doubt about it.
    Of course, we are also right about Obama. Time will prove us right. Just like it proved us right about Bush and the war and the financial crisis. We are right about all of that and Obama is a political opportunist who bit off more than he could chew. But there is a genuine thing going on that has nothing to do with Obama.

  48. Is “fairly decent” acceptable after the crap they’ve already done?

  49. I went to a high school that was more black than white. I had a mostly very positive experience there. I also live in NYC, so…I don’t think I will notice a big difference.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

  50. Regency – I, too, am having fundamentally different experiences than RD. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the South, but I’ve been called a racist (for bizzarro reasons) more in the last six months than I have in my entire life. Many Obama supporters here are not just happy he “won”, but they are completely in-your-face about it. Obama jackets, t-shirts, ball caps, buttons, scarves… completely tricked out and almost daring you to look at them cross-eyed.

    I was at my retail job and I walked past a gentleman in an Obama ball cap. I smiled and nodded and he just stared at me and smirked. I had a customer in an Obama t-shirt ask me to check the warehouse for a certain item. I explained that another customer had asked for the same item about 30 minutes earlier and I knew for a fact that there weren’t any in the warehouse because I had already checked. A few minutes later the customer comes walking up to me with the assistant manager in tow (who also happens to be AA). The manager asked why I had refused to help the customer. I was flabbergasted. I told her that I had already explained to the customer that I had checked the warehouse 1/2 an hour ago for the same item and we didn’t have it. The woman declared that I was lying. The manager told the woman to follow her and she would look herself. Later on I caught up with the manager and said “Look, you know me. You know I’d never refuse to help a customer.” She said “Yes, I know. But you should have gone and looked again.”

    I could go on and on. I still have my AA friends at work and nothing’s changed with them. But then again, none of them know that I voted for McCain. So Regency, I don’t think it’s a generational thing.

    Afrocity – I feel for you. I don’t think I could take living in Obama Central.

    One thing that irks me to no end is the fact that our school district is allowing kids to apply for an excused absence if they want to skip school on inauguration day. They weren’t offered this option for Bush. You know damn well they wouldn’t be offered this option for McCain or for Hillary. I don’t appreciate my school board deciding which political events are worthy of an excused absence and which are not. BTW, excused absences don’t count against the kids and they are permitted to make up any work missed without penalty.

    All I know is that if one more person gets in my face and tries to make me excited or happy about the impending Obama festivities and administration, I may just have to go postal.

    BTW, here in Charlotte, the destination for the downed flight, Capt. Sulley is more than just a hero. He’s a lifesaver. Those passengers were our family, friends and neighbors.

  51. Talking about Frank’s bailout plain from insight at 10:28.

  52. crap. I forgot about the “r” word.

  53. Chris Matthews is asking if the Obama’s will be welcomed into the set inhabited by the Sally Quinn’s of this world. The answer was a resounding “yes”. The pundit also went on to say that the Clinton’s were not welcome. So obviously it is more important to be deemed worthy by Sally Quinn, the doyenne of social arbitration because she is such an expert in these matters.

    This is where the line is drawn between us and the “elite” establishment since how and when to use your salad fork is of utmost concern. These phonies never die out.

    And Sally Quinn and her “set” are in the vanguard of “those” and “us”. Utter snobs who offer nothing but their own jaded views. MoDo is a member of that group. Enough said.

  54. “President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake,” the two lawmakers wrote in a letter. “During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified.”

  55. And by the way – I’ve been watching footage of Sully’s landing on local NYC teevee. Unbe-LIEVABLE!!!!

    Oy vey – The View is going to be discussing the most Historic Inauguration of All Time for TWO DAYS!!!

    Meanwhile, the only reason that this is a historic moment is because Obama is black. Why does he have to pretend he’s Lincoln or Reagan or JFK or any of the other multitudinous figures he’s taken on? They were all white, in case he didn’t notice. Why are there not more people of color in his Cabinet?

    I’ll bet the Obama fauxgressives won’t touch that question with a ten-foot pole.

  56. I think maybe we are laying at O’s feet a great and deepening fault that is more about 21st century world culture than it is about any one human being—it is the obsession people seem to have today with celebrity and the way all the forms of electronic media juice it. O is not so much THE phenomenon as he is an example extraordinaire in the world of hype. In some ways I see the economic disaster we have right now coming right out of the same sources—a world of Ponzi schemes run amuck: regulation, oversight, prudent skepticism and questioning thrown to the winds and worldwide thoughtless media sources feeding it all on a global scale. O’s practice and cunning have simply been in exploiting this and knowing the essence of it protects him from answering to the world. Even Bush got by with nothing more than the public lowering his approval rating a few notches—thanks to Ms Pelosi taking impeachment off the table.

  57. Too right, boogeyman.

    New post up!!!

  58. Julie: I’m right there with ya. There’s a difference but it’s mostly a pain in my ass.

    For the record, I told my friend flat out that if she even thought about buying me the BO biography as a gift (because he likes the Twilight series so he’s suddenly cool), that I would cease to be her friend. I said it in honesty then and if she does it she will find out how honestly it has not changed. If I’ve said I feel a certain way and I’ve said it very loudly, I will take you purposefully egging me on as a sign that you don’t have respect for me or my opinions and I will drop you.

  59. This “celebration” would make Marie Antoinette proud! Or Nicholas and Alexandra for that matter. Can we cram more crap into the landscape?

    The big event still awaits: just what will MO wear to the Inaugural Ball? The world awaits with breathless anticipation!

    If this had been Hillary’s “coronation” would the same rules apply? A day out of school and work to celebrate the first female president? Rounds of parties and unhinged coverage? Doubtful. This stuff is beginning to border on lunacy.

  60. madamab: When I said I had some unique experiences growing up, I meant that I started school in CA where race was completely irrelevent, moved to SC where it was and the schools were segregated, moved to HI where anyone not Hawaiian was a haoli, moved to upstate NY where there were only a handful of AAs in the entire town and finally to VA where I was bussed to an inner city school and was officially the minority and my AA teachers let me know it every chance they got.
    As a kid, I never had an issue having friends of all ethnicities and races. When you move that much and get thrown into the mix that often, you learn pretty quickly to adjust and look for friends wherever you can find them.
    However, as an adult, I think there *has* been a distance. I noticed it starting in college. And it carries on at work. One of the most ironic things was our department administrator is an AA lady in her 50’s who loves Obama. We were at the department Christmas party and politics came up. After a few minutes she said, “You must have been a Hillary supporter” I grinned and said, “Yeah, I voted for the woman with experience” She said, “Oh, so you voted for her because she was a woman”
    Irony alert!
    I just smiled and said most people in the primary voted for her. She stomped off that “No they didn’t. Most people don’t agree with you”
    But I sat down right next to her at lunch. I could tell she was uncomfortable. But I was sweet as I could be. Butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth. I forced my Hillary lovin’ ways down her throat all lunch long. After awhile, she started to loosen up.

  61. Hee! I moved a lot before college, too. I went from having two AA students in a high school of 5,000, to being a minority in my high school.

    I did have some problems with some of the girls in my school, because some of the guys they liked liked me instead of them. They tried to say also that Jews and blacks always have problems with each other. But overall, it was pretty positive.

  62. Oh yeah, RD. They go crazy when you point out that Hillary got more votes.

  63. Staging. That says it all. Well, RD & Co. It is very hard to understand how the Presidency has become what it has —

    I finally (after months) checked my e’s. My old editor was pro-O. And there was even an e from someone claiming feminists could now be part of the hopium et al.

    But, we saw the misogyny. And? The non-apology for that. Facts are facts. My sense is that all these women fell hard because they think he is “cute” — like my old best friends who are white and now only want to be with black partners. It doesn’t bother me who goes with who in the least. But in a President?

    You need the substance — which, as you said means some experience. This looks like a free ride with plenty of target-marketed opportunities. What will be interesting to watch is how he lets various groups down one by one. It is bound to happen — the other day MoDo was speaking out here and I heard her on the radio while I was working. Even she had some interesting points.

    The BBoom’s tail has so many different directions in it.

    You can please all of the people all of the time.

    Hollywood could have made him a star, instead.

    He would have made a lot of money, no?

    It seems that is all they are interested in to observers who watched over the last year. Those of us who have lots of experience with many different presidents past —


    Whatever. At this point the only two pwople I have any faith in are John McCain and Senator Grassley.

    Who knew just how corrupt it all actually was in government?

    Until this year. The pressure will be on, and — my sense is that he won’t be getting much help at all from the people who don’t like what they just say happen. Those would be the Villager set you refer to all the time.

    hugs RD & Co.

  64. I ask this once again: what if he had played up his “white” half as prominently as he did his “black”? Would the outcome have been the same? I seriously doubt it. He got here primarily with the 98% voting block of the AA community. That contingent would have walked away from his “white” experience.

  65. ps: sorry typos!

    “you can’t please all of the people all of the time”

    No, you can’t.

  66. I agree, PJ. R@cism played a large part in his getting elected, and that to me, is the real tragedy here. That’s why I’m having more experiences like Regency. I used to feel a connection from AA’s in that we were all working class, hated Republicans, etc. This campaign has made r@cism against white people cool. I really hope this goes away.

  67. The Wright episode certainly appeared to be staged. Barack said he couldn’t “disown” Wright, but badly needed to do so.

    Wright then came out publicly acting unstable, giving Barack his out.

    A small personal sacrifice, no doubt, in Wright’s mind.

    Barack then ran the “okey-doke” slight-of-hand with his race speech.

    This was a crafty maneuver par excellence. But given Barack’s lack of originality, I’ve no doubt this particular tactic has some closely related precedent in the annals of history.

  68. I agree with riverdaughter about a shift in how many AA people interact with me.There is now eye contact , conversation begun by them with me and a genuinely more hopeful demeanor displayed.This is everywhere from Nebraska furniture mart to a hamburger place and Costco.I am genuinely happy for them.I don’t believe for a second that Obama will live up to their or anyone else’s high hopes.He truly is the most self-serving individual I’ve ever seen.Surrounding himself with the so-called best and brightest is no substitute for his readiness borne of actual experience.Many people seem to be dreaming that in Obama’s case that is not needed. The people on that plane get what rd is saying now. The country got that we had to fire the republicans for their policies but not that we needed someone of Clinton’s competency and work ethic to right our course.

  69. I see a mixture in terms of how some AA people interact with me. Some more open and seemingly having better self esteem but others seeming to use the election of Obama as a means to be beligerant/hostile/arrogant (i.e., r@cist) to someone so-called “white”.

    I just wish we could fast forward four or eight years so that, hopefully, a maturity and acceptance of a diverse America but not one with racial hegemony (i.e., “whites” over “blacks” or “blacks” over “whites”) will emerge.

  70. This election has proved that AAs are every bit as equally able to be duped as non-AAs are. Not something to be particularly happy about, imo.

    RD–love the connections in this article–so true!

  71. I read some of the comments about non-blacks feeling as if they are more relaxed now interacting with African-Americans, due to the outcome of the (bogus) campaign of Obama. That’s great, but I just wonder if you would get the same friendly reactions if you were wearing a “Hillary” or “McCain” button?

    I have found that people are all “sweetness and light” while assuming that I voted for The One. But when they find out that I am a Hillary diehard who voted “third party”, the sweetness turns sour in a hurry! And I am not white, but I was recently called “ignorant” by a black friend for supporting Hillary over “a black candidate”. So, just watch what happens to your relaxed conversation when you admit to being a NOBAMA voter! We are The Resistance.

    BTW — I am a lifelong NYC resident, and I work just about a mile and a half from where the jet plane went down in the Hudson River. When I heard that the heroic pilot had over *40 years* of flying experience behind him, the first thing that entered my mind was, “Obama supporters please note: Experience matters!”

  72. Riverdaughter, I think you are wrong here:

    I’m beginning to think even the Reverend Wright debacle was carefully staged so he could deliver a speech on racism.

    However, I think the Wright’s invitation to NAACP was staged. At the time, Wright was a very controversial figure. However, until that time, Hillary was the only candidate who had accepted invitation to African American theme events. Obama didn’t b/c he didn’t want to be seen as the black candidate. So he wouldn’t go to the NAACP event, while Hillary was certain to attend.

    So, how to make sure Hillary won’t be able to go as well? By inviting Wright, of course. Except that Rev. Wright didn’t take kindly to being used in such a crass way, and wanted to make sure that Obama and NAACP would rue the day they decided to use him like that. So he gave his infamous press conference, calling Obama a politician. And the man who had said he could no more disown Wright than his grandmother, did disown him, proving that there are sins that are unforgivable. They are just not the one you would have guessed.

  73. Just a wee correction: Bill Clinton was Atty Gen’l of AR from 1976-78. won the governorship in1978. lost it in 1980. He spent two years in a law firm, but really campaigning for reelection, which he achieved in 1982 and served as governor for 10 more years, until he took over the US presidency.

    So, he had 12 years of executive political experience, plus two years as attorney general. He served as chairman of the National Association of Governors during the mid-80’s.

    Per Wiki,

    Poppy Bush and Perot both tried to diminish his years of experience by continually calling AR a “small state,” iirc.

  74. I think part of the intense interest in the pilot of the plane which landed (ditched, technically?) is a fascination with true expertise and experience.

    Something which BushBoy didn’t bring–and, with all the hope and hype, people do wonder about with Obama.

    Hope is all we’ve got.

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