Hillary-ites for McCain?

Posted in Politics at 5:34 pm by ducky

There are a number of stories out right now, like this one from US News, about how Clinton supporters are mad as hell at Obama and the Democratic Party for the sexism that Clinton had to endure during the campaign. The venom in the comments section of the above article is really breathtaking.

I am way, waaaaay unconvinced that Obama should apologize.

While there certainly were a whole lot of sexist comments in the mainstream media about Clinton, I don’t think that it is fair to blame Obama or the Democratic Party for that. Obama and the DNC do not control the mainstream news media. (And they *certainly* don’t control Fox!)

The only dismissive comment that I remember Obama making about Clinton was the “I like you okay, Hillary” comment, and he took heat for that. I think that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton both played much, much closer to the racism line (and they took heat for that).

Did Obama mean to be sexist? Probably not. Did the Clintons mean to be racist? Probably not. It’s a long campaign, people get tired, they make little slips, move on. I think the Clintons owe Obama much more of an apology for racism than Obama owes H. Clinton for sexism. I’m willing to forgive the Clintons; let’s move on.

There is also a lot of anger about the DNC “stealing” the Florida and Michigan votes. I think that everybody was very gentle with Clinton about that because it was clear that she was beaten, and nobody wanted to look like they were piling on. Let me be a bit more blunt: Obama didn’t “steal” Florida and Michigan, Clinton did! She wasn’t entitled to any of those votes, because of rules that she agreed to. Obama wasn’t even on the ballot, and didn’t campaign. It would have been surprising if a newcomer who wasn’t on the ballot had managed to get as many votes as someone with total name recognition who was on the ballot. The Florida and Michigan elections were not fair elections, and for her to keep insisting that she had won strained my patience with her.

Furthermore, while Hillary had to deal with sexism in the mainstream media, Obama has had to deal with an enormous amount of crap from rumour and innuendo. From the comments section: “I despise the MSM for not telling the voters the truth about Obama associations. He has no normal friends. terrorists,people full of hate for this country and i believe his wife is one of them.” or ” The same can be said for the President and Obama…. he has had bad company. He hangs out with Wright, Ferrakahn, etc….”

Um, excuse me? Didn’t B. Clinton pardon a bunch of sleazy people? Members of the FALN terrorist group? Mark Rich? Didn’t the Clintons associate with some very shady characters? Wasn’t B. Clinton’s own brother a cocaine addict? Me, I don’t think that it’s fair to judge people too harshly by what their associates do and particularly what their associates (e.g. Wright) say. We are all human, none of us is perfect.

I understand that Hillary backers are hurting. I understand that Hillary represented for them, a hope that our society had gotten past its misogyny. I understand, truly I do, and how crushing it can be to discover that no, it isn’t. But to blame Obama and the Democratic Party for that seems highly misplaced.


My (almost) lunch with Steve Wozniak

Posted in Random thoughts at 12:00 pm by ducky

One day, probably twenty years ago, I was in a car with a bunch of friends of mine, and Arthur asked the question, “If you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be?” I immediately answered “Richard Feynman”, having just finished one of his highly entertaining books. A chorus of voices rang out: “But he’s dead!” “You didn’t say they had to be alive”, I retorted.

After a bit more thought, I chose Steve Wozniak. He was famously geeky, and interesting to me because of that. I had heard that he had started a company Unuson, and was excited about what new technology The Woz might bring out. And he was alive.

While Arthur’s challenge of who to have lunch was was purely hypothetical, it got me thinking. My father had been in the Physics Department at the University of Illinois with two-time Nobel Prize winner John Bardeen. I had realized years later, after Bardeen had died, that I could have probably gotten to chat with John Bardeen if I had asked when I was a kid. The idea of lunch with Steve Wozniak gnawed at me, and finally I wrote him a letter, telling him that I would like to have lunch with him. I expected him to say no, but to my surprise he said yes.

It turned out to be difficult to actually schedule the lunch, between my schedule and his, but we finally got a date and time settled… and then I had to cancel because of jury duty. After that, it fell through. I don’t remember precisely what happened, but I have a vague recollection that he simply got cold feet. This made perfect sense to me; if I were a wealthy celebrity, I don’t think I’d meet a stranger for lunch!

Still, the experience made me bolder about asking to meet people. At one point a few years ago, a talented young man named Ping Yee popped up on my radar. On the day when I saw his name in my daily San Jose Mercury News in two different articles on two different subjects and ran across his name in some source code, I decided I would try to meet him. I think he was kind of bemused and puzzled at that, but I ended up having a very interesting lunch with him.

While I was at Green College, I invited a number of the university’s top brass to have dinner with my husband and I, in order to give them more exposure to Green College, and I was a little surprised at the number who accepted.

I still haven’t had lunch with Richard Feynman, though. 😉