I published my book with Lulu.com, a print-on-demand service, and I highly recommend it. Here's a video of a panel discussion about using this new technology to get published, created by Stacey Cochran.
One of the things that bothers me about Hillary Clinton is that she rarely reveals much humor in public. She comes across as "too serious" and "too perfect," and therefore it's difficult to relate to her. Her public persona reminds me of Al Gore's public persona in the 2000 campaign -- too scripted, too stiff, too repetitive and too predictable. I wonder if this is one reason many people just don't like her. They think of her as a humorless, controlling and intrusive school marm, a battle ax, as tough as a Marine, all work and no play.
The only sitting senator in modern times to win election to the presidency -- John F. Kennedy -- had a great sense of humor and wit, which is part of what charisma is all about. Al Gore has a strong sense of humor, but it didn't come through much in the 2000 campaign. I submit that if Hillary is going to win in 2008, she'll have to show more humor and wit in public.
Here are two examples that illuminate Hillary's humor. It's interesting that she agreed to take on "this role" in a video for the New York Legislative Correspondents Dinner -- a gathering in which politicians traditionally try to make fun of themselves -- so she was trying to be a good sport. I'm reminded of the hilarious video, "The Final Days," that President Clinton starred in in 2000 in which he made fun of himself. I'm not sure this one will be as image-enhancing and successful in terms of presenting a self-deprecating and likable persona.
Shortly after she announced her candidacy, Hillary revealed a spontaneous sense of humor (briefly). It's interesting -- and annoying -- to see how the media twisted it. The danger in being relaxed and unscripted, showing humor and wit in public is that it can be misinterpreted, and a candidate is considered "off-message," spends a day or more of the news cycle explaining and/or apologizing.
Not to sound like the old fogey I accused my parents of being, but in watching the raw innocence of this video-clip of Herman's Hermits singing "Mrs. Brown" in the 1960s, I'm appalled by the contrast to what my nine-year-old son is exposed to from popular culture. He popped into the CD player the other day Candy Shop, by 50 Cent, which was nominated in 2006 for best rap song, and one might therefore presume it's not x-rated. But check out the words. Our kids simply are not protected enough.
"In Teens' Media, Chocolate-covered Lust," by Jane Brown, a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. "The media rarely depict the realities of love or sexually healthy behavior. The three C's are missing: Commitment, Contraceptives and Consequences."
While I’ve thought a lot about how the Democratic candidates stack up, I haven’t thought much about the GOP candidates. Their race may actually be more interesting, if Hillary locks up the Democratic nomination early. Their faces are obviously fresher than Hillary’s and Edwards’, for what that is worth, if anything. Romney, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani each have some cross-over appeal, and haven't (yet) pandered to the traditional Republican base of NRA members and religious right activists. At this stage, I don’t have a visceral negative reaction to any of the Republican candidates. It seems they all have a reputation as “Republican lite.” They were by national GOP standards liberal or maverick. If George Allen was running, he would be easy to detest. But the three I mentioned, plus Sam Brownback, one can find common ground with. It does seem that each of the GOP candidates has serious negatives, however. McCain and Guiliani, with their multiple marriages and divorces, history of supporting gun control, and (in the case of Giuliani), strong support for abortion rights, not to mention their strong support for the unpopular war in Iraq, will have difficulty engendering enthusiasm in the Republican base, I'd imagine.
The money primary has begun, AP reports. Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist with a strong knowledge of the Internet and online communities, observes in his blog: "My friends who are deeply involved in politics tell me that the Democratic campaign is going to be about money, big money, and that Hillary has the big advantage and it may be over before we even get to the primaries. I am saddened to hear that. Because although we could play the big money game, I hate it. It's not democratic. It's not of the people, by the people, and for the people. The net is. I hope the Net plays an even bigger role in 2008 than it did in 2004. And if it does, Obama, Hillary, and Edwards have work to do."
I strongly agree. The prospect that big money will control the selection makes me angry. Hillary is expected to raise a staggering $100 million for the nomination contest. John Edwards' aides say he'll try to raise $50 million to compete with her. The other candidates, who do not have an already-developed financial network, who have no chance of raising Edwards' goal of $50 million, are going to be hard-pressed to compete with the $100 million dollar woman. Obama has no experience raising funds for a national campaign. I'm tempted to be contrarian, to oppose Hillary in the early stages because I don't think it's right for her or anyone to essentially buy the nomination because she happened to inherit her husband's financial network. She, or any successful candidate, needs to EARN the nomination.
In addition, there's the issue of Hillary's caution. Robert Novak:
What's wrong with Clinton was demonstrated by the Feb. 4 performance on NBC's "Meet the Press" of a competitor, former senator John Edwards, who displayed the qualities she lacks. He took firm positions and admitted error, in contrast to Clinton's careful parsing. It followed his virtuoso performance at the Democratic National Committee meeting two days earlier that overshadowed Clinton's speech there. Comparing Clinton and Edwards, one longtime observer of the Democratic scene called it "caution versus courage."
Rob Paral, American Immigration Law Foundation: "Only one of the five categories of visas for permanent immigration status is tailored to less-skilled workers, and it is capped at 5,000 visas per year....The family-based immigration system is not capable of compensating for deficiencies in the employment-based system due to arbitrary numerical caps. In the case of Mexican nationals, wait times for visas under the “family preference” system are currently 7-10 years for the spouse of an Legal Permanent Resident and 10-12 years for the unmarried adult child of a U.S. citizen." Read the whole thing.
If you're a recent U.S. citizen from Mexico, you can expect to wait 13 years before your unmarried sons and daughters can join you. If you're a legal permanent resident from Mexico, you can expect to wait seven years before your wife and children can join you, and 15 years before your unmarried sons and daughters can legally join you. Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from Mexico can legally come into this country after you've been here about 12 years, and siblings of U.S. citizens from Mexico can come legally after you've been here 13 years. Waiting periods are longer for people from Philippines -- 23 years for siblings of U.S. citizens. Check out the current waiting periods for U.S. visas, published by the U.S. State Department. In February, 2007, these were the figures:
I had the pleasure in my day-job to be involved in the planning for www.hkonj.com, "Historic Thousands on Jones Street" in Raleigh as NC NAACP President William Barber calls it, a "People's General Assembly." The News and Observerestimated that more than 2,000 people participated in the rally and march. Reporter Jesse James DeConto did a good job of quickly and simply summarizing the coalition's complex agenda.
Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch offered five reasons thinking people should be involved in the movement. He well articulates where North Carolina stands in the early 21st century, "at a dangerous juncture. Like a young adult enamored of his or her newfound powers and independence, North Carolina revels in its explosive growth and national (even international) prominence, but does far too little to harness or direct its new and exciting strengths and capacities toward the common good." Read the whole thing.
Jan Nichols and I created videos of Rev. Barber for a YouTube.com viral marketing campaign. About 850 people watched the videos in the four days they were posted on You Tube before the rally.