Category Archives: Politics

“Articulate”

Here is a good NYT article that discusses the offensiveness of white people calling black people “articulate” as Sen. Biden recently called Sen. Obama. Frankly, the whole statement was wildly offensive — with Biden saying that Obama is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Again — there are so many problems with the statement, but what really gets me is: the first. Biden, if you’re reading, please drop out now.

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Wins and Losses

Congrats to Beth Bye, our local heroine!  We’re sending her to Hartford — well, I suppose it’s not that far.  She ran a strong campaign and deserves her win.

Of course I’m sad about the Lamont loss.  I think Lieberman is becoming a bit of an insidious character, and I’d hoped that Connecticutians would see that.

Finally, things are looking decent for the Dems in general.  Perhaps we have a good shot in 2008!

So last night Sujal was holding a Lamont sign outside of a polling place, and then he needed to phone in the results to the Lamont headquarters.  Since he needed to use my cell phone, I was at the polling place for a bit, too.  We got to see the election officals opening the polling machines — something I’d never seen before.  They are the lever kind of polling machines — not my favorites.  (I like — I guess they are optical scan — the kind where you draw a black marker line connecting an arrow.)  They opened the back of the machine and read out the totals.  What was funny to me was that they had this flashlight, and there are rolls of paper at the top for write-ins.  They had to check for the write ins by looking on the scrolls.  There were none, but I remembered writing in some of my friends’ names years ago when I was voting for an election that I had no idea about — I think I voted for Madeleine Reber for Judge, Dale Hudson for Auditor, etc.  It made me realize some poor dude had to read that.  He or she probably wondered — now who the hell is Madelene Reber?!

It was very cool to see the democratic process in action.  We were invited to the Lamont party, but I was so tired, I just couldn’t go.  It makes me want to be an election official next year.

Anyway, Congrats to the winners — esp. Beth Bye!

Last Big Push!

Sujal and I are looking forward to doing our civic duty — voting! Get out there and vote, loyal readers (or passers-by).

Vote for Beth Bye
Vote for Ned Lamont
Vote for Harris

If I weren’t so dang tired, I’d be a lot more enthusiastic. [Insert enthusiasm here.]

GO VOTE!!!!

Vote for Beth Bye!

Yippee! She has a website: Beth Bye for state rep.

Ned Lamont and the Debate with Lieberman

Last night we watched the debate between Lamont and Lieberman, and while Lamont did not come off as polished (which is fine with me) and while he kept referring to himself in the third person (remember when that did Bob Dole in?), Lieberman was just nasty. I was shocked at how much he was behaving like a ill-mannered republican — almost like George Bush in the last debates. He kept cutting Lamont off, exceeding his speaking times, and behaving in an arrogant manner. Clearly Lieberman feels threatened that he is preparing to run as an independent. I tried looking fr a transcript of the debate and couldn’t find one, but here’s what the Lamont Blog says.

After the debate, Sujal and I went to Tisane for a meet and greet. Sujal writes about it on his blog. When we finally had a chance to shake hands with him, he looked exhausted, as I’m sure he was. But her really perked up when he saw Sujal. I guess that’s because Sujal is so good looking!

Why? Why? Why?

Gosh — I want to say something about this, and yet I am so far from comprehending our actions and inaction that I have no idea what to say. Are we choosing to attack countries based on vendettas, based on the perceived ease of victory, based on which way the wind is blowing? I don’t particularly advocate invading N. Korea, but “consideration” of condemnation?

Is this how the world works — despots trying to amass land and power? Why? Why? Why? (Though I say this living in a nation with power…)

Beth Bye Interview: Part I

I interviewed Beth bye on April 23, 2006. I wrote this after the interview:

I just got back from meeting with Beth Bye. Our chat lasted for a bit more than an hour, and I got to get a better sense of who she is as a parent, education professional, West Hartfordite, school board member, Connecticutian, and candidate for state representative. I had the good fortune of being able to stroll over to her home from school in the cool April drizzle. Let me make this clear to you, as I did to Bye, I am not a reporter. I have not done an interview since high school. While I know a few techniques, I am no professional. I am a teacher, and a creative writing teacher at that. I am all about embellishing, but I will try to be true to the chat.

When I asked Bye why she was initially interested in running for the school board, she had a detailed and impassioned history explaining why. She began by alluding to something Jodi Rell may have said about women getting into politics, that they get into politics because they feel something is at stake, particularly for their child. When her daughter was an infant in a daycare center, a daycare center that Bye ran, Bye was saddened by the turnover rate of her staff, thus affecting the quality of care her daughter was receiving. Quality care, Bye explains, is affected by how permanent the staff is. She became involved with Worthy Wages Campaign which calls for higher wages to child care employees so employees will be less likely to leave the profession and be more likely to be more effective.

It began with an editorial she wrote. She felt strongly about magnet schools, and her daughter was currently attending one. She began watching board meetings on TV, and soon she began attending them. Being situated close to the school, Bye hosted Mothers’ coffees, where concerned mothers gathered to talk about the issues facing their children’s schools, and thus she decided to run to make a difference. She was also exasperated by the disarray of the board at the time, citing Joe DeLucco’s ability to silence many parents trying to raise concerns. Being an education professional and a mother, Bye certainly had kids’ interest at the forefront.

And now she is running for state representative. This does not seem an uncommon route, as Bye herself explains that she can actually do something about budget allotment for school districts if she is a member of the assembly. Since we are working with an outdated formula for state funding of schools, she hopes to work on this issue.

In her work on the school board, it sounds like she is a pragmatist. In our chat she spoke about research and evidence over and over, making it sound like her every decision is based in empirical evidence. She also said she listens to all sorts of people involved: students, parents, community members. Since I am a teacher, we also chatted shop. I asked her about her views on tracking. She said she needed to be upfront with me, that she has done a large quantity of research in the field on heterogeneous grouping of kids. We seemed to see eye to eye on this issue. I recalled how I read about the regular vs. honors. vs AP discussion in the West Hartford News. I was so annoyed at this article, and Sujal and I had a discussion on it ourselves. Sujal would rather err on the side of tracking. Bye said her first stance was that there should not be an honors biology track. But parents convinced her, again, bringing in evidence from a variety of sources. Bye touts one of her strengths as being a reasonable person and having an open mind in terms of listening to people she does not necessarily agree with. Clearly constituents can talk to her, can approach her, and she will listen.

She talked about being a responsive person, that in her time on the board, people will ask her questions because they know that she will investigate and address these questions. That sounds like real representation to me.

As you can tell, I support her. I encourage anyone who has interest to become involved in her campaign. Let’s get her elected! More of the interview to come…

Pure Interest, Dreams, Masks, and Reality

Anyone who knows me well, knows I think excessively. It is nearly impossibly for me to turn my brain off. Try meditation, thanks, sure, I will. So as I’ve been blogging in the past, I’ve been intrigued by Beth Bye, Vice Chair of the WH School Board and candidate for state representative. And as I’ve mentioned before, I am the second entry on a “Beth Bye” Google search. So I contacted her and asked her if I could interview her for me blog, and she accepted. This was last Sunday. I know I should have written it up by now, but I had a mini-crisis in between interviewing her and finishing writing the interview up. See, it has long been a dream of mine to be an NPR correspondent. While I asked Bye if I could interview her mainly because I was very curious to know more about her, I also wanted to support her and help give her some more exposure, because frankly, I believe in her. She strikes me as a clear, compassionate, well-spoken, thoughtful, and engaged citizen: the makings for a great representative.

But once I got that “yes”, (and this is where this post turns to be solely about me and my own narcissistic ways) I began to fret about it. What do I ask her? I’ve never done an interview before, at least not one since high school. I began to think about journalistic approaches, because now I was going to be part of the news media. And I think that’s about when I began to connect the dots to being an NPR correspondent. “Well, if this interview goes well, NPR will certainly start recruiting me.” I planned carefully, and I drew up questions. I did my homework and tried to read what there was already printed about her on the web.

When I went to do the interview, I fully disclosed the fact that I am a teacher, not a journalist, and that I had not done an interview since high school. At one point, she referred to me as a reporter. And frankly, I behaved like a reporter. The interview did go very well, and I was very glad to have had the opportunity to get to know her better and to get a better understanding on where she stands on issues. Like I said, I was initially driven by curiosity to know more about her.

As I left, I began to feel young, like a child, like someone pretending to be someone she is not. I went to my office at school and took out my notes and began writing a formal news article/interview. I continued my research. i wanted to be able to link to all of the references she named. I wanted to gain a better understanding of the equation that determines how much money the state contributes towards a town’s education budget. Boy, had I bitten off more than I could chew. I sat there writing, thinking to myself, why am I trying to write in this manner? This isn’t me.

Truth be told, I never really wanted to be a real NPR correspondent. I just wanted to be Bob Edwards, well, Bob Edwards when he hosted Morning Edition. Then I was feeling compelled to report the bulk of my notes, because “the people have a right to know.” What monster had I turned into? So I stopped writing and started grading.

Now with a week under my belt, I think I have a much better idea of the directions I’d like to take. I say directionS, because I plan to do multiple posts. And, since I am not a reporter, this won’t be straight reporting, since I’ve always hated trying to write objectively, because I do not believe for a moment there is such a thing as objective writing, period. So stay tuned for a few posts.

While I may not be a journalist or even a hardcore blogger, I do enjoy writing, and I’ll do just that.

Beth Bye, part II

I almost forgot, when Sujal told me that he saw the Beth Bye was running for state rep, he said she’s running against Bob Farr. Beth, if you’re reading, i have some advice. Shortly before the election, Farr rang our doorbell. As I ran down the stairs and opened the door, he was already walking away, but he turned around and hastily handed a pad of paper with is name printed on the sheets and quickly turned and ran away, adding, “I’m running for re-election. Thought you might like some paper.” I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as afraid of me before. Granted I am an imposing short, still somewhat thin woman. I do inspire fear in the hearts of door-to-doot campaigners. So Beth, my advice to you is don’t be afraid of your constituents. We’re not out to scare you.

Our Gal, Beth Bye

Ben pointed out in a comment that Beth Bye is running for State Rep — Congrats to hear. This led me to check it out, and I found this useful document about the state candidates. While I have not yet finished a thorough check, I was happy to see that we have a Green candidate, Cliff Thornton. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel new to local politics (and yes, I guess I’m even calling governor local…). Since I’ve moved from state to state, I haven’t set down those local politics kids of roots.

Hopefully in the near future I’ll post more on the book I’m reading, Absolute Conviction. But in the meantime, as it applies to this post, I am from Buffalo, NY orignially — well, a ‘burb. And I recall hearing a lot about Mayor Jimmy Griffin, as he was somewhat controversial. What stands out in my mind most is that I have this fairly vague memory of him funding an artist to create a sculpture along I-90 as people come into the city of Buffalo. The artist built his sculpture, which apparently did not go through any approval phases, because it was (I swear this is true) a neon green dancing penis with a cane and top hat. It was almost immediately removed. Nonetheless, in reading this book, I am finding out that I had no idea just how socially conservative he was/is. He was vehemently against New York State allowing abortion procedures, and he rallied against Roe v. Wade. So often my roots shock the heck out of me. I remember that he ran as a “man of the people” type, a democrat, though I seem to recall he often an republic leanings. My family really liked him. I’m not sure if my die-hard republican grandfather (worked for the sanitation department of Cheektowaga) liked him or not. Griffin was Catholic, which may have been enough for my grandfather. This link to Wikipedia on Griffin won’t work for me at the moment, but hopefully it is just temporarily down. This is all to say, I sadly have not following local politics well in the past, well, long time.

So read up, I must! And good luck to Beth Bye!