Monday, March 31, 2008

Here's where I ask you to do something

In my previous post I chided the democratic party and the Obama camp for not doing anything to publicly denounce the misogyny being flung at Hillary during this campaign. So I did something about it, because unless they publicly say something, they will lose me, and hopefully all other people who do not feel that it is ok to be silently complicit in allowing this blatant sexism to continue whether it's coming from the campaign staff, the pundits, or the media. Please join me to tell the party that we need this party to be the liberal one, the one that not only talks about change and equality for women, but actually walks the walk.

It doesn't matter who you support. This is supposedly the party that represents us, but you know that it won't until we make them.

Call or email the DNC and tell them to publicly denounce the sexism being bandied about so openly during this campaign.
Phone: 202-863-8000
To email: Go here and under issue select Election 2008.

Ask the Obama to make sure his campaign keeps in line. I know if he wants my vote in November (if he is the nominee) he has to take a stand against sexism.
Campaign HQ Phone: (866) 675-2008
Email: Go here.

Contact your state and local democratic parties. If you feel confident enough in this decision, tell them you will withdraw from the party. (I will, but I know that not everyone is OK with being party-less/3rd party.)

The more pressure, the more likely they are to publicly condemn the sexist overtones. When there have been racist remarks there has been public outcry from everyone all the way down to the feminist blogosphere. When there are sexist remarks, it is *only* the feminist blogosphere, since they are perpetuated by everyone above us. If it's ok on this scale they are saying it's ok everywhere. Tell them it's not. Make them make this a better country and a better party for women.

Also, as a sidenote, if you are upset and/or feel that the voters in MI/FL were treated unfairly, you can sign a petition here. There are examples of letters talking about the dienfranchisement of voters (and yes, sexism) that people have sent here

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Maya Angelou likes Hillary

State Package for Hillary Clinton
Written for Hillary by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may tread me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits’ end, but she has always risen, always risen, don’t forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies. Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to be what it can become.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the family, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. She is the prayer of every woman and man who longs for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

She means to rise.

Don’t give up on Hillary. In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country the wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without crippling fear.

Rise, Hillary.


The fervent misogyny of some Obama supporters makes me kick things

Now not all Obama supporters are raving misogynists, but they are out there and they are pissing me off and making me hate them more and more (whereas before I was just nervous about Obama.)

To those who want me and others like me to support your candidate, should he get the nomination, it would be in your best interest to publicly chide these people and get them to stop spewing their misogynist statements*. I don't have a complete list, but only recently in the NYT have the phrases "just as often she raises her voice to a shout that can sound grating" and "among other things, she has also been accused of having a grating voice and bad taste in clothes." Would we be hearing this if she was a man? No. You better do something, because whenever I do something it's dismissed b/c I support Hillary, not because I object to misogyny period.

Read it all here.

I found out that one of the Blogger Boyz whose site I no longer visit characterized the battle between the Hillary and Barry factions of the party as some kind of "lover's quarrel", where, once the Hillary side realizes it can't win, they will kiss and make up with the winner. We wimminz (because we all know Hillary supporters are just typical old white wimmin) will come around and vote for The Precious and if we don't, well then we're infantile.


To describe the unrelentingly savage and misogynistic assaults on Hillary Clinton over the course of this campaign as some kind of lover's quarrel that her (feminized) supporters will "get over" is deliberately overlooking the strand of violence that has been present in this campaign season in a way that I have not seen since the bourgeois "riot" at the Florida recount. Domestic violence is a better description.


Death threats called in to Black super delegates. Caucus goers threatend and forcibly blocked from entering the caucus location. Encouragement on major blogs to find out real life information about Hillary supporters and harras them in their place of work and in their homes. Threats of riots at the Denver convention If delegates fail to vote for The Golden One. Under the veneer of Hope and Change, this is a campaign that traffics in intimidation. You better do what we say... or else.

*I have not voted for a democrat for president in at least the past 3 cycles. But I was voting in NY and WA. This was the first year I was going to go democrat for pres, but the more misogyny I read in the papers and on blogs the more I say no if it's Obama b/c it means that I forgive such tactics, which I never will.

Genetic breakthrough!

Gay scientist isolate the Christian gene!

Thursday, March 27, 2008



Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm in love

Read the love inducing comment here.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


So I've decided that part of my rigorous spring break schedule is going to be dedicated to making phone calls to Pennsylvania voters. I don't give a flying fig how many people are screaming that Hillary should back out all ready. I think it's great and exciting and I know more then a few Obama supporters who agree with me. (And also, I doubt they'd be saying Obama should pull out if it was him trailing....and it's not like it's an insurmountable difference.) This is exciting and I hear people talking about this election season so much more then the past few presidential election cycles. I like it. (I did also just watch the West Wing Dem convention and it was AWESOME.)

Should I be worried that I don't really like cold calling people? Oh well. I'm doing it anyway. I'd rather be volunteering in person, but oh well I can make calls from here.

I don't think I have enough time to read. I mean, you need to take breaks every few hours, so there need to be more days of spring break. Though I am hoping that I will be able to keep up with the Northanger Abbey read along (through the Austentatious Fiber Artists group at Ravelry a knitter's paradise) which will apparently be starting mid-April. A few chapters a week should be doable and keep me grounded, and a few chapters of Jane Austen no less! (with discussion!)

I got a B in Thermal Physics. Booo. But hopefully without living without a constant mixed manic state caused by evil moore method class will curb my absences. (As my anxiety attacks go down my attendance goes up! Fancy that! Who woulda thunk it.)

I get to go to the Post Office and get a refund since my express mail was guaranteed to be delivered on saturday and was delivered monday, which was when they said they'd begin reviewing applications, so I hope it's ok that they got it, but a money-back guarantee is a guarantee dammit.

Science Times was depressing today. Frogs are dying. Bats in NY are dying (90% of those being tracked in 4 locations.) *sad*

I should have been in bed hours ago. SPRING BREAK! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Edited to add: ETA means estimated time of arrival not edited to add dammit!

*smacks forehead*

So my advisor (who's in Norway atm) cc'd me a copy of his rec letter for my REU. For geometric group theory. See if you can spot the problem.

I am writing this letter to express my wholehearted recommendations for Burrow as an elementary mathematics teacher. I had the pleasure of working with Ms B both as a teacher and as an advisor. I got to know Ms B very
well and can offer strong testimony to her dedication, ability, and creativity.

Overall, I can't complain, like all letters of rec the rest is very nice. Now he's an advisor for the elementary ed program which I have never EVER been in. I think it was a little mix up, but I'm hoping that it won't be a problem. Since I never EVER want to teach elementary school and it's really different then what I want to do. oopsy.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Relief and sadness

I express mailed my REU application yesterday, the essay nearly killed me (oh grad school apps are going to be awesome).

I passed evil Moore method class. Granted it was a C, but I passed nonetheless and it will average out with my A in Abstract Algebra so it's not too bad. (And my A in Thermal Physics. Granted those grades haven't been posted, but unless I got 0's on my finals, which I can guarantee I did not get, I should be getting A's.)

When I (flippantly) mentioned that my math geek could teach in Houston (I *really* like the program at Rice, thanks Rebecca! but no matter where I go it will not be in this state or (hopefully) anywhere west of the Mississippi) his only response was that his scholarship is dependent upon him teaching in state for the next 3 or 5 years (he wasn't sure which). But he did say that the program sounded really good and we agree that I should go if I get accepted. It just makes me really really sad. He wasn't averse to the idea of moving (and he does have a job which is highly portable: high school math teacher), he just has to be here for awhile. Oh well, that is in the future, but it's still a sobering thought and one that doesn't exactly fill me with warm fuzzies.

At least I get to read and it's nice to not have classes because I get to meet up with my math geek everyday after he finishes school for coffee or an early dinner. (Since my afternoon spring break schedule consists of me buying a New York Times, going to my favourite coffee shop, yelling at the paper and talking to my friends I have neglected because of school.)

[imitation drunken coed voice]
Spring break '08. WOOOOOOOOOO!
[/imitation drunken coed voice]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I've been loving the Letters to the Editor lately

The whole Spitzer thing through prostitution into the front pages of papers all over (it came to my sleepy burb's paper Saturday, glad to see they're paying attention). And with it people debating legalisation, calling it "victimless" and assorted other comments that show the complete ignorance most people have towards the horror that is prostitution. Not only have there been Op-Eds by prostitution researcher Melissa Farley, but also a very good one talking about how legalisation has increased child prostitution, violence, and trafficking into the Netherlands since they enacted the law while Sweden has seen a decrease since they made selling sex legal and buying sex illegal. You can read this Op-Ed here.

I want to point out some of the best comments (in order of publication):

To the Editor:

I believe that the comments by Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz of Harvard Law School about prostitution were irresponsible and insensitive.

As a second-year student at Harvard Law School, I have been taught by my professors that making hyperbolic, unlikely and unsupported statements, such as Mr. Dershowitz’s assertion that “prostitutes aren’t victims — they’re getting paid a thousand dollars an hour” is irresponsible generally and particularly so when speaking with the press.

Through my Harvard Law seminar on women’s human rights, I have read empirical studies that document that murder, sexual assault and post-traumatic stress disorder rates among prostitutes are much higher than among the general female population, belying the accuracy of Mr. Dershowitz’s avowal that prostitutes are not victims.

Finally, Mr. Dershowitz’s admonishment that resources devoted to ending prostitution should be apportioned to fighting terrorism is insensitive because it ignores the continued economic, racial and sexual exploitation of women and children the world over and seeks to distract us by generating fear.

As such, Mr. Dershowitz’s statements are a disservice to gender equality and the fight to end violence against women and children. Jessica Corsi

Cambridge, Mass., March 11, 2008

To the Editor:

Re “The Myth of the Victimless Crime,” by Melissa Farley and Victor Malarek (Op-Ed, March 12):

In the various political roundtables this week, everyone seemed to agree, at least, on the “victimless crime” argument. I am shocked that the thoughtful, intelligent people (mostly men) on these shows are so comfortable with the idea that a woman would choose to have sex for money.

Do these people know any women? Can they really believe that this is a choice?

We have programs in place to reach out to people who “choose” to use drugs or “choose” to live on the streets, so why do we view prostitution, high-priced though it may be, as just another comfortable, middle-class career choice?

Yes, Eliot Spitzer’s prostitute probably drank fine wine. That doesn’t change the fact that she engaged in a psychologically damaging transaction every day.

I applaud Melissa Farley and Victor Malarek for calling our attention to the one neglected and yet terribly important issue of the Spitzer scandal.

Kathleen Reeves
New York, March 12, 2008

To the Editor:

Melissa Farley and Victor Malarek are correct. I would like to add that seeing Silda Wall Spitzer’s stricken face on TV — not to mention pondering what the Spitzer daughters must be going through — shows prostitution to be far from “victimless.”

Patty Quinn
Elkins Park, Pa., March 12, 2008

Here's the latest one that reminded me that I had a lot I wanted to say about this, but unfortunately it's finals and I'm short on time, so I'll let these people (many of whom have raised points I would have) speak for me, and many women who know the horrors that prostitution brings.

To the Editor:

Re “Do as He Said,” by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, March 13):

In the coverage of Eliot Spitzer’s prostitution patronage there has been scant recognition that the exertion of the worst sort of power over a vulnerable person is the fundamental basis of prostitution and its close cousins rape, sexual assault and torture. While sexual acts are indeed often the vehicle, subjugation is the essence. If this were more widely understood, there would be less tolerance of these crimes and less tendency to blame or punish the already victimized.

I am grateful for Mr. Kristof’s continuing attention to these issues in our country and around the world.

Irisita Azary
Glendora, Calif., March 13, 2008

If these arguments don't convince you, take a look at Melissa Farley's studies in prostitution, which can all be found here. I'll leave you with a snippet of her study from 5 countries:
Here is what 475 prostitutes from 5 countries said:

United States: 56% don't want it legal, 88% want out now.

South Africa: 62% don't want it legal, 89% want out now

Thailand: 72% don't want it legal, 94% want out now

Turkey: 96% don't want it legal, 90% want out now

Zambia: 92% don't want it legal, 99% want out now

Monday, March 17, 2008

To do

1) Abstract Algebra final due Wednesday
final check before turning take home in Wednesday

2) answer thermal physics final question (ONLY ONE) due Tuesday morning

3) prove ONE MORE FUCKING PROOF before Wednesday's 2 hour class proved nothing, but then neither did 68% of the class.

4) mail the Buffy DVDs I sold on Amazon this week by Tuesday

5) celebrate the end of finals and *sigh*

6) take out friend from Abstract class on wed. night for drinks starting with trivia night

7) write essay for REU

8) YAY SPRING BREAK!!!!! mmmmm *rubs hands together and ogles the pile of books on the desk*

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tips for application "essays" (REU)

I'm applying to an REU this summer in geometric group theory that I really really want.

The about blurb:
Geometric group theory lies at the crossroads of geometry, topology, and group theory, yet many of its questions can be attacked by undergraduates. In the first two weeks of the REU, we will explore what it means for a group to have a geometry. We'll start with a hands-on introduction to non-Euclidean geometries, tilings, how to draw graph pictures of groups, and how groups can act on spaces. We will also look at an assortment of groups arising from topology and geometry, such as braid groups, reflection groups, and fundamental groups of surfaces. We will discuss algorithmic questions, such as how to tell when two strings of group generators actually determine the same element in the group.

And the "Statement of Interest" is your standard 1-2 page why do you want to do this REU, what are your interests, mathematical or otherwise, your career plans (pure mathematician or mathematical/theoretical physicist? who knows?!) and other info.

What do people look for? I highly doubt that they care about my interest in circus, so I'm safe there. ;)

Also, the deadline is in 10 days and one of my prof's hasn't gotten back to me about a rec letter. I need a second and no one else really knows me that well. What do I do? FOUND!

Pi day!

SO today at 1:59 (3/14 1:59 haha) that math department showed this HI-larious video called The Great Pi/e Debate. (I would LOVE to have Garrity as one of my prof's. He's hysterical! I love it! I do like the prof's that get all crazy and yell. Branco does that all the time especially with proofs, it's highly amusing.)

I also found this:

e vs pi!

"Ladies and Gentlemen, in the one corner we have pi. First written about by Euclid, pi is the ratio of the circumference of any circle to its diameter. Pi's been baffling people for millennia with its ability to just keep going without end. And here's the thing folks, it's the same for ALL circles! you can have a circle so small you can't even see it, and it'll be pi times as big around as it is across. And then you can draw a circle around your house, and same thing. If you had a circle that went all the way around the universe, people, its circumference would be pi times its diameter."

"And in the other corner, the scrappy young e! e was studied by the mathemetician Euler in the 1700s, e certainly doesn't have as much experience as pi, and at a measly 2.71828, certainly gives up a weight advantage to pi's 3.14159, but don't let that fool you folks...e can go on just as bafflingly long as pi, and represents the limit as n approaches infinity of (1 + 1/n)n. It is the base for the natural logarithm! The graph of f(x)=ex has a slope of exactly ex at any value of x! That's right folks, it derives its OWN tangent!"

"AND WITH THAT, e takes an early jab at pi, which reels back but quickly multiplies itself by i and raises e to...-1! Oh, e is hurting people but quickly re-derives itself from itself showing pi the versatility of truly interdimensional mathematics..., pi confined merely to the cartesian plane is quickly lost in its meager foray into Complex mathematics, and tries to re-aquire geometric footing..."

"But Pi's not done here folks, the referee can't really comprehend this higher-calculus either and quickly breaks up the hold. Pi immediately starts spinning out sine waves, proving its utility to electrical and recording engineers worldwide, but e is unimpressed. Despite lying "undiscovered" for centuries longer than pi, e demonstrates its presence throughout nature in the shell of the nautilus, the expansion of the universe, and even the architectual designs of pi's Greek contemporaries."

"Pi stumbles back, dumbfounded and weakly shields itself with a large circle, but its bag of tricks appears to be running empty, and e is just getting started, as it begins to feed itself into continuously-compounding interest equations, showing off its economic maximizing potential. But it's still not done, it's now rubbing pi's face in the base-e numerical system, with the undisputed most efficient economy of numerical width times radix, leaving no doubt as to where the "natural logarithm" got its name."

"Now I must say here, folks that stylisticaly speaking, pi looks good, but e has the undeniable presence advantage, being found on every keyboard, while pi is inherently difficult to type, not even being included in the ASCII character set. Nobody's confusing e with dessert, either, and the game may be stacked here, but ln(e1)=1, while ln(pi1) is incredibly ugly."

"Pi is definitely outclassed here. It's a textbook case of a long-time champion growing overconfident in its size and inertia and getting out maneuvered by a leaner, meaner number who just wanted it more. The winner by undisputed decision and a KNOCKOUT is...."


This deathmatch brought to you by by the balanced ternary number 111, and the letter theta

(source here)

Hope this doesn't spoil this for ya, but e wins twice in one day! That's my constant!


in other news: physics final: one question about entropy of the universe, easy. to be done on Monday with some other physics students. algebra final: done with page one, gonna do a little here, a little there, meeting with someone before wednesday (when it's due.) evil deathly proofs class: must prove at least one more thing for wednesday.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dumbass comment of the day

I’ve never been in favor of arresting and shaming men who pay for sex. Most customers who get in trouble aren’t high-profile politicians like Eliot Spitzer. Their “crime” is that they’re poor or getting started in life.

Because poor men are the bulk of men who frequent prostitutes. She (the writer) must have a very strange way of judging poor, because in my neighbourhood there are days in the month when there ain't food in the fridge. And these are the guys buying sex. riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

2 more days

The email from the NY Times said I would be notified within 7 days if my letter would be published. I will know by the end of Friday.

*sigh* I'm not very hopeful at this time, but I've never written a letter to the editor before. Over half of todays letter's to the editor were about Spitzer. I guess my topic's just not sexy enough. (Or something that's too uncomfortable for the Editors at the Times to think about. I mean classism? Who wants to talk about that? It just makes the general Times reader uncomfortable I'm sure.)

*fingers crossed*

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Let's try something new:


So a (regular, I think) anonymous poster left a link in an unpublished comment* that I was going to publish as I thought the questions for Hillary were answered really well by the first commenter, but then I read the rest of the comments (I know, I know.)

I do not think you are stupid for voting for Obama. I am scared by reasons from *some* people that I am given as to why someone is voting for him, but I do know many knowledgeable people with good reasons to vote for Obama as well. The fact is, their platforms are very very similar, but one cannot just be "present" when one is president, one *must* make decisions. I'm going to side-step and come back to the topic of the vile being spewed in these comments to post what is (in my opinion long overdue) a very good article on why I am not supporting Obama. (I'm quoting it here since you have to register and I know some people don't like that or else I would have just kept going with my original train of thought.)

Obama in Senate: Star Power, Minor Role

Senator Barack Obama stood before Washington’s elite at the spring dinner of the storied Gridiron Club. In self-parody, he ticked off his accomplishments, little more than a year after arriving in town.

“I’ve been very blessed,” Mr. Obama told the crowd assembled in March 2006. “Keynote speaker at the Democratic convention. The cover of Newsweek. My book made the best-seller list. I just won a Grammy for reading it on tape.

“Really, what else is there to do?” he said, his smile now broad. “Well, I guess I could pass a law or something.”

They were the two competing elements in Mr. Obama’s time in the Senate: his megawatt celebrity and the realities of the job he was elected to do.

He went to the Senate intent on learning the ways of the institution, telling reporters he would be “looking for the washroom and trying to figure out how the phones work.” But frustrated by his lack of influence and what he called the “glacial pace,” he soon opted to exploit his star power. He was running for president even as he was still getting lost in the Capitol’s corridors.

Outside Washington, Mr. Obama was a multimedia sensation — people offered free tickets to his book readings for $125 on eBay and contributed thousands of dollars each to his political action committee to watch him on stage questioning policy experts.

But inside the Senate, Mr. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, was 99th in seniority and in the minority party his first two years. In committee hearings, he had to wait his turn until every other senator had asked questions. He once telephoned reporters himself to draw attention to his amendments. And some senior colleagues were cool to the newcomer, whom they considered naïve.

Determined to be viewed as substantive, Mr. Obama kept his head down, declining Sunday talk show invitations for his first year, and consulted Senate elders for advice. He was cautious — even on the Iraq war, which he had opposed as a Senate candidate. He voted against the withdrawal of troops and proposed legislation calling for a draw down only after he was running for president and polls showed voters favoring it.

And while he rightly takes credit for steering through an ethics overhaul that reformers called a “gold standard,” like most freshmen he did not play a significant role in passing much other legislation and disappointed some Democrats for not becoming a more prominent voice in other important debates.

Yet Mr. Obama was planning for the future. He spent much of his time raising money for other Democrats, which helped him build chits and lists of potential voters. He tended to his image, even upbraiding a reporter for writing that he had smoked a cigarette (a habit he later said he gave up for his presidential bid).

Early on in his tenure in Washington, he concluded that it would be hard to have much of an impact inside the Senate, where partisan conflict increasingly provoked filibuster threats, nomination fights and near gridlock even on routine spending bills.

“I think it’s very possible to have a Senate career here that is not particularly useful,” he said in an interview, reflecting on his first year. And it would be better for his political prospects not to become a Senate insider, which could saddle him with the kind of voting record that has tripped up so many senators who would be president.

“It’s sort of logic turned on its head, but it really is true,” said Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the former senator and Democratic leader who has been a close adviser to Mr. Obama.

“Two things develop the more time you spend here,” Mr. Daschle said. “One is a mind-set that we did it this way before, we should do it this way again, and I think that’s a real burden. More importantly — and Hillary and McCain are the perfect examples of this — the longer you are here, you take on enemies. And these enemies don’t forget.”

Rising to Stardom

If freshman senators arrive as celebrities, it is usually because they are “dragon slayers,” having ousted big-name incumbents. Mr. Obama was not one of those; two serious opponents in Illinois self-destructed, smoothing his path to election in November 2004.

He had been anointed his party’s rising star after delivering a soaring speech at the Democratic National Convention the previous July. His fresh face that fall cheered Democrats demoralized by their failure to win the White House and the defeat of Mr. Daschle, the party’s Senate leader.

But Mr. Obama knew the Senate scorns a showboat. He had waited to crack open “Master of the Senate,” Robert A. Caro’s book about the legendary legislative career of Lyndon B. Johnson, until after he was elected, wary that he would be photographed — and seen as presumptuous — reading it during his campaign. After he was on the cover of Newsweek the same week President Bush appeared as Time’s Man of the Year, his fellow Democratic senators gently ribbed him at their first weekly luncheon of the new Congress.

He met with nearly one-third of the Senate, from both sides of the aisle, including his future rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, to learn about the institution and solicit advice on how to succeed. That shaped a strategy: work hard, tend to your constituents, and, above all, get along with others. He spent many weekends traveling across Illinois for town-hall-style meetings.

Mr. Obama’s advisers referred to it as “the Hillary model,” patterned after Mrs. Clinton’s approach when she joined the Senate in 2001. But while Mr. Obama expressed admiration for her at the time, he dissuaded reporters from making too close a comparison. AHA! (just found that interesting)

“I wasn’t the first lady, and I didn’t have some of the political baggage of eight years of hand-to-hand combat between the White House and the Republican Congress,” he said soon after he first arrived. “In that sense, she had a harder task.”

Knowing he needed insider help, Mr. Obama cajoled Mr. Daschle’s former chief of staff, Pete Rouse, to lead his office. Mr. Rouse advised Mr. Obama about managing relationships on the Hill and helped engineer hefty assignments, including a Foreign Relations Committee seat. He sought out senior colleagues, traveling to Russia with Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, an advocate of nuclear disarmament. (Later, they passed legislation to reduce stockpiles of conventional weapons.) Mr. Obama also sought tutorials from Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, considered the Democrats’ master legislator.

Some colleagues found Mr. Obama remarkably well prepared, even more so than longtime staff members, in discussions. And his role as the good student earned him the affection of some fellow lawmakers. “I don’t think you can be around him and not come to the conclusion that this is a person of rare quality,” said Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota.

Mr. Obama had visited Washington only a handful of times before taking office, and he was fresh enough to its ways that he bubbled over about his first trip on Air Force One in June 2005. He fretted about getting lost on his first trip to the White House, for a reception the day he was sworn in, and later marveled that there were flat-screen televisions in the Lincoln Bedroom.

But he remained ambivalent about the city and its institutions. Unlike many senators with young children, he did not move his family to the capital. He rarely spent more than three nights in Washington — aides would reserve tickets on several flights to make sure he got home to Chicago after the final Senate vote of the week.

Mr. Obama found the Hill a difficult place to fit in, and it was not always clear that he wanted to. He was 43 when he arrived, younger than most of his colleagues — whose average age was 60 — and even many senior staff members. Unlike senators who come up through the House, he did not have an existing network of friends, and while some members of Congress bunk with others, he lived by himself in one of the nondescript new boxes along Massachusetts Avenue. On the nights he was in town, he typically went alone to a Chinatown athletic club — not the Senate gym — or attended events on the Hill.

And for all his efforts to play down his celebrity, Mr. Obama was exceptional, and it was hard for him or anyone to ignore the aura and sense of history around him. He was only the third black senator elected since Reconstruction. His memoir was on The New York Times’s best-seller list for 54 weeks. And Washington society was eager to embrace him — a Capitol Hill newspaper ranked him as No. 2 on its list of most beautiful people.

Etching a Path

Mr. Obama was also pulling in big money. He created a political action committee, the Hopefund, to increase his visibility and help other Democrats. It raised $1.8 million the first year.

In the Senate, meanwhile, he was discovering the realities of being a senator — that not every bill is perfect (or perfectly unacceptable) and that most votes required balancing the good and bad. Mr. Obama wanted to vote to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. for the Supreme Court, for example — he thought the president deserved latitude when it came to appointments — but Mr. Rouse advised against it, pointing out that Mr. Obama would be reminded of the vote every time the court made a conservative ruling that he found objectionable.

Mr. Obama took few bold stands and diverted little from the liberal orthodoxy he had embraced in the Illinois Senate. His voting record in his first year in Washington, according to the annual rankings by National Journal, was more liberal than 82.5 percent of the Senate (compared with, for example, Mrs. Clinton’s 79.8 percent that year).

He worked with Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma and one of the most conservative in the chamber, to establish a public database to examine government spending after Hurricane Katrina.

But for the most part, he stuck to party lines; there were few examples of the kind of bipartisan work he advocates in his current campaign. he's a uniter, you say?

He disappointed some Democrats by not taking a more prominent role opposing the war — he voted against a troop withdrawal proposal by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin in June 2006, arguing that a firm date for withdrawal would hamstring diplomats and military commanders in the field. again, all this "HRC voted for the war!! Well he wasn't in the senate then, but look what he's done since!

His most important accomplishment was his push for ethics reform. Party leaders named him their point person in 2006, and when the Democrats assumed the majority in Congress in January 2007, Mr. Obama and Mr. Feingold, a longtime Democratic proponent of ethics reform, proposed curtailing meals and gifts from lobbyists, restricting the use of corporate planes and requiring lobbyists who bundle donations to disclose individual donors.

Colleagues fought back hard.

Mr. Obama’s determination not to back down, Mr. Feingold said, “struck me as an example of someone showing real guts.”

Of course, he added, “He was not any freshman. He was Barack Obama.”

To others, though, the mismatch between Mr. Obama’s outside profile and his inside accomplishments wore thin. While some senators spent hours in closed-door meetings over immigration reform in early 2007, he dropped in only occasionally, prompting complaints that he was something of a dilettante.

He joined a bipartisan group, which included Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and Mr. Kennedy, that agreed to stick to a final compromise bill even though it was sure to face challenges from interest groups on both sides. Yet when the measure reached the floor, Mr. Obama distanced himself from the compromise, advocating changes sought by labor groups. The bill collapsed.

To some in the bipartisan coalition, Mr. Obama’s move showed an unwillingness to take a tough stand.

“He folded like a cheap suit,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, a close ally of Mr. McCain. “What it showed me is you are not an agent of change. Because to really change things in this place you have to get beat up now and then.”

Laying the Groundwork

Early on in his tenure in Washington, Mr. Obama began meeting every few months over late-night pizza with a handful of classmates from Harvard Law School and a couple of senior advisers to discuss his future. Being a 2008 presidential candidate, participants said, never came up. The only race mentioned was for Illinois governor in 2010 — the year Mr. Obama’s Senate term ended — but the group decided to put off considering the idea until at least his fourth year in the Senate.

Mr. Obama chose Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 to step into a more prominent role, speaking to his party’s caucus about the importance of using the disaster to focus the party’s efforts toward ending poverty.

The next February, he appeared on several Sunday shows in a row. “People are getting tired of me already,” he said in an interview.

In fact, outside Washington, people were clamoring for more. He was received like a returning hero in Africa in August 2006. On a book tour two months later, crowds mobbed him, and people urged him to run for president.

During the midterm elections that year, Mr. Obama was his party’s most sought-after campaigner — he helped raised nearly $1 million online in a matter of days that spring for Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, the institution’s senior member.

His appearances on the trail helped lay the groundwork for a possible presidential campaign. He earned the good will of some Democrats who have now endorsed him. And most campaign events required tickets, so his staff members collected names and addresses of potential supporters.

Finally, Mr. Obama did what he had done when he first arrived in the Senate, quietly consulting those who knew the institution well — Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Daschle — for advice on whether to run.

They told him that these chances come along rarely. His celebrity was undeniable. And yes, he was green, but that also meant he did not have the burden of a long record.

“For somebody to come in with none of that history is a real advantage,” Mr. Daschle said. “I told him that he has a window to do this. He should never count on that window staying open.”

Carl Hulse contributed reporting.

Since the platforms are so close, THESE are the reasons why I'm scared of Obama getting the nod. That, and the fact that he is an uber-politician by continuing his state senate record of not voting on potentially controversial issues so that he could secure a more powerful government position. Wow, I'm just bloody speechless. I don't think HRC's perfect. In fact, my perfect candidate will never get elected in this country and is substantially left of the ruling socialist party in Spain, fyi.

She's made mistakes, but she's also demonstrated that she has learned from them. Health care failed in the US? Well she got it to work for people, but they were in Puerto Rico so what do US voters care? (I do, however.)

Back to the vile comments in the link I will not post:

It was a list of questions for Hillary. Whatever. THIS one got me going:

4. Are you okay with the Clinton campaign darkening Sen. Obama's complexion in its ads and would you be okay with it if that's what it took to win the GE

WHAT? Hmm, well let's see what says:

Obama supporters on the Internet are agitated over the apparent darkening of Obama's image in a Clinton attack ad.

Our video team took a look. Our conclusions:
The Obama frames from the ad do appear darker than other video of Obama from the same event.

However, the YouTube copy of the ad, on which the bloggers base their conclusions, is darker overall than other copies of the ad. We obtained a digital recording of the ad as it actually appeared on a Texas TV station, and it is lighter.

Furthermore, our analysis of the Obama frames, using Photoshop, shows a fairly uniform darkening of the entire image including the backdrop. It is not just Obama's skin color that's affected.

Also, nearly all the images in the ad are dark, including those of Hillary Clinton. And dark images are a common technique used in attack ads.
Others will speculate about the Clinton campaign's intentions and motives, as they already have. But without further evidence to the contrary, we see no reason to conclude that this is anything more than a standard attempt to make an attack ad appear sinister, rather than a special effort to exploit racial bias as some Obama supporters are saying.

And you can see the comparison images for yourself at the link above. Anon: *THIS* is why the link goes unpublished.

Now for the comments:

I support Hillary. Unless you have something better to say then tell me I'm a "Hillbot" or that I'm "drinking the kool-aid" or telling me all the ways her HUSBAND screwed up (now I'm not an idiot and I know he will be involved to some extent but how sexist are you to think that she's just running so he can be president again?) They ARE NOT the same person for fuck's sake!

How do you think calling her a monster or mcclinton and me an idiot for supporting her makes me want to support your candidate? It makes me want to kick things. You talk about how democracy's great because we can all make up our own minds, but to mean that means the ability to have reasoned (which doesn't exclude heated, mind you) discussions and debates about politics. Give me reasons to want to support your candidate, and give me actual reasons why you don't support mine. WHen we ask a question, please respond with something other then one of the aforementioned insults. (This happens from Clinton supporters to, but on this website it's like 4:1, though possibly b/c I'm getting the idea that this is a very staunch "We love Obama" website.) Also, CLinton isn't the only one saying not so nice things about her opponent so shut it. He should not be held to a different standard.

Here's another thing that pissed the hell out of me:
I believe that bringing up his past drug use, as some Hillary supporters did in the thread discussion was a low blow. He's been open and honest about it. I would think that a better way to show that he doesn't have good judgement is to look at the people he surrounds himself with, because they have been doing some pretty not good things. The drug use thing means nothing to me. It was in the past. Doesn't it show VERY GOOD judgement that he got clean and worked with his church to clean up his neighbourhood which would also mean getting rid of the drug dealers who prey on lower income neighbourhoods. (Yes I read his book.) How is drug use from over a decade ago relevant? DOes he do it now as he's running? No? OK then. Non-issue. That was just disgusting

You know what's going to happen? Everyone will keep ripping each other to shreds until we get a candidate and then we'll look horrible because half the party will hate the other half. Bah. I'm starting to agree with my math geek, primaries are not good.

*It was left in this post where I was not talking about either Obama or Clinton but rather a badly written article in the NY Times that implied that people with the luxury to attend caucuses are more dedicated then primary voters. Which is classist and sexist and generally fucked up. (though in theory, I think they're an awesome idea. But I think anarchy is a good theory to. You don't see me advocating for that at this very moment now do you?)

Friday, March 07, 2008


I know I shouldn't, but how could you not party with this guy? Yep, it's that time of year again. The "Just for the Hell of it Party" will be at the Cameo Club in Vancouver tonight. Just a reminder (not that any of you who know Duncan could have forgotten.) Even though my math geek's being a jerkfacehead and not coming I will be there ready to dance my ass off!

See you at the party!

It's not like it's Shakespeare

I wrote a letter to the editor of the NYT today, because I was mighty pissed off at a line from an article on the primaries (included in the letter):

I was disturbed by a line in the article that referred to people who went to caucuses as "more committed voters." This is unfair to all those voters who are lower income and do not have the luxury of setting aside what can be up to several hours (as my caucus in Washington was) for something where childcare is not offered for free. There is also the problem of those who are unable to take off work, especially in jobs that are blue collar and have shifts and it is hard to get someone to switch shifts with you as your entire schedule is predicated upon whether you work day, swing, or night.

Calling people who have the luxury of being able to attend a caucus more committed to the democratic system is akin to saying that those who have more means care more about the fate of our country, which in my book, is against what this country stands for.

Let's see if it gets published.

EDIT: I overlooked the fact that Obama tends to take caucuses (note that Hillary's support base is generally lower income) and that line implies that Obama voters are more committed the HRC supporters. The anger just keeps coming. Supporting Obama is fine, but saying that people who support him care more about the fate of this country then I and other Hillary supporters do is just plain fucked up.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

oh my good god

1) I have an algebra assignment I haven't touched, but at least it's due Tuesday.

2) Due to all the stress this quarter I have missed 99% of the deadlines for my REUs, but I'm sure my prof's sent off their rec letters since they're awesome (I did plan ahead and talked to them all at the beginning of January and what I was missing were mostly the essays). There aren't many that start mid-June or later. Damn quarter system. There is one I didn't miss at UIUC (FIghting Illini, my dad's alma mater and only 3 1/2 hours from Chicago, huzzah!) on groups and I've all ready talked to the professor leading the REU on groups who encouraged me to apply even though I will be missing the first few days due to finals. (I did mention in the email how excited I am by groups and we have corresponded about her research which I hope will be helpful in getting into the REU).

3) I have half finished my take home physics exam, but I just have to call some of the other kids in my class because my prof conveniently forgot to lecture on it, though the second problem is missing 2 important ingredients to find the equilibrium temperature and pressure, the change in internal energy, and the change in entropy, namely the initial temperatures and pressures of the 2 systems. I emailed him about this, though.

4) I LOVE The West Wing. It's awesome.

5) My loverly math geek got up this morning and cleaned up the biohazard that was my kitchen sink. Have I mentioned how much I love my math geek lately? Anxiety severely reduces the amount of spoons (which has nothing to do with dishes) I have and my dishes have not been done in about 5/6 weeks. He is very brave and oh so awesome for doing that. *sigh* I'm so lucky.

6) I SLEPT! and I feel rested! (One does not necessarily imply the other.) I did my physics!