Archive for Politics

Ted Kennedy Video Tribute

Embedded video from CNN Video

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Remember When Obama Lost Stride the First Time?

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Remember last summer when Obama headed off to meet European leaders and drew huge, adoring crowds in the hundreds of thousands, and the media covered his travels as if he was ALREADY President? In contrast at the time, John McCain looked irrelevant.

McCain’s new campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, countered with a new playbook and TV ads that sought to attack Obama as nothing more than a ‘celebrity,’ as ‘uppity,’ as the ‘Messiah’ and they started to make the election about Obama. Remember those startling and entertaining TV commercials that compared Obama to Paris Hilton? Welcome to the Republican playbook 101. Trash. It took the public several weeks to realize that the Republicans were all mind-games and no substance. Because there were few policy solutions in the Republican play book. Only criticism of Obama for being popular combined with stale, failed ideas – like tax cuts for business. What Schmidt succeeded in doing was throwing off Obama’s game. Maybe it was just the law of physics – a pendulum swing…what goes up must come down.

The same pattern is happening now with the Stimulus Bill. The Republicans are in their first joust with the White House. In response to Obama’s olive branch approach to Congress – meetings at Congress, meetings at the White House, etc. – the Republican minority decided to play hardball (thanks Chris Matthews) and demonstrate the power of the minority at a time when bi-partisanship is needed.

Rather than joining on a Stimulus Bill to create jobs, the Republicans are stonewalling, focusing on the less than 1% of the proposed bill they consider to be unrelated to job creation, and voting no as a bloc. It’s a good PR stunt when every day we are losing jobs and people are suffering. While this bill is far from perfect, Obama feels we simply need to put $800 billion dollars into the system to get things moving. And I honestly have no proof it will work – nobody does. This is take your best shot. But, we elected Obama to take the shot.

While it appears the Republicans have taken control of the debate on the Stimulus Bill and put the President on the defensive, this will turn in Obama’s favor because the Republicans have shown themselves to be sad losers, and somewhat vindictive in their approach to the American people. They will seek to deny the American public a powerful economic engine for growth – one that will put people back to work – for politics sake. And by playing terrible tactics, they will continue in their free fall as a party.

Look, Obama is a fierce competitor who may appear to lose now and again, but don’t count on it. He starts out kind and if you want to play nice, he will play nice. If you diss him, he will outlast you, out-think you and never give up.

A majority of American have entrusted national leadership to Obama and the Democratic majority and the Republicans should play nice.

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UNDP: Doing A World of Good

undp_logoThe United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) issued their 2008 Annual Report which highlights their progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and other development objectives agreed to by the United Nations.

For those in my Bay Area community consumed at the nexus of social networking, technology and business, the MDGs are worth considering if only to put our lives into perspective in the context of millions of folks struggling simply to survive:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
2. Achieve universal primary education.
3. Promote gender equality and empower women.
4. Reduce child mortality.
5. Improve maternal health.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development.

It’s worth a few moments to connect with the meaningful and important work of UNDP which is enabling democracy, healthcare and education in scores of developing countries.

I consider my six years serving as a UNICEF staff member, and ten years serving as consultant to UNDP and UNICEF, to be among the most important and productive years of my life.

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