Max Markham Basically what I'm trying to say is that I think the comment was very innocent and definitely not a sign that Obama has trouble separating physical attributes of female politicians from their relevant political attributes. And I feel like the bad press on the issue exacerbates how uncommon it is to see a strong female politician in the spotlight.
Max Markham Hmm. I would normally tend to agree with you (and CERTAINLY agree with you about how unnecessary and inappropriate Reid et. al.'s comments were). But if you actually examine exactly what Obama said and how he said it, I actually don't think it shows an "inability to separate the physical attributes." Firstly, and I think this is an important thing to note, Obama has been publicly present with Kamala Harris previously. And he hasn't made comments her good looks, when I'm sure he certainly could've. Secondly -- he introduces all of the pertinent complimentary qualities FIRST. And then adds a caveat (unnecessary, maybe, but I don't think inappropriate) that she "also, HAPPENS TO BE the best-looking AG..."
Max Markham I can't tell you how many of my friends have texted/emailed me asking "what's going on today with gay marriage?! Fill me in!" To which I've explained to them the importance of yesterday and today's testimony at SCOTUS, when the judges will come to their decisions, how much support repealing Prop 8/DOMA has gained over the past months, and how likely (in my opinion) the marriage ban is to be repealed. If changing my profile picture, something requiring MINIMAL effort, is an effective way to raise awareness for an important event, why is that dumb? The idea here isn't to say "we're changing the world by changing our profile pictures," it's just to say "Hey! Pay attention!"
Max Markham Great article, thanks for sharing. I do find it a bit depressing though, at how the survey question is conveyed. It just reinforces the attitude that ALL Israelis or ALL Palestinians are to blame for the human rights abuses and unwarranted attacks coming from both sides. Personally, I have sympathy for all Israelis and all Palestinian who are affected by the conflict through no fault of their own, either because they've been hit by a rocket/mortar by guerrilla forces or because they are being forced out of their own homes by aggressive opposing government. But either way, great analysis.
Max Markham I have no desire to argue with you about whether YOU think Jay-Z or Anthony Weiner are good politicians. Especially when you use rationale like this: "If that scumbag can't even cheat on his wife properly, I don't want him in Washington." Seriously...?
Max Markham Yes, I would argue that Anthony Weiner's twitter saga should not have precluded him from being a politician. And, to be honest, it hasn't. If you check the NYC Campaign Finance Board website, you'll see that Weiner has the 2nd most contributions for his mayoral election group (behind only Chris Quinn, who is the front runner). And he hasn't even announced (and probably wont). It's just fundraising. My point is that I don't think the lyrics that Jay-Z, as a rapper/artist, created for entertainment value should preclude him from being a politician. Especially when you don't know how he stands on issues. And I don't think it will. I think he could win an election.
Max Markham Making the argument that he has said some crazy things while doing his job as an entertainer is hardly reason to say he would be a horrible politicians. Al Franken had a whole BOOK about how ridiculous the right wing is, where he talked about "bitch-slapping" Bill O'Reilly and he got himself elected in Minnesota. Reagan was a former actor, Fred Thompson was on Law & Order and won two Senate terms, Clint Eastwood was mayor of Carmel... it's been done before. And successfully at that. Definitely don't think lyrics he wrote for his rap persona would (or should) preclude him from being a smart, fair and decent politician. They would probably lose him some votes, but if he were running for Congress in Brooklyn I don't think it would matter.
Max Markham Haha that's exactly the problem. Recognising her accomplishments as a politician goes hand in hand with recognising her as a lesbian woman. Not recognising those two facts would belittle her accomplishments. It's impressive enough to be the "leading" candidate for mayor of the biggest city in the country, but the fact that she is a woman AND from the LGBT community makes it even more unique and impressive. It sends a message, a congratulatory one to those who have been working to further LGBT/women's rights, and a critical one to those who would try to sabotage that progress. I don't think that's a bad thing. I also was not comparing NYC to SF by any means. Both cities have deep rooted history with the LGBT (and women's) community.
Max Markham I don't really think it's an issue of labels as much as it's an issue of recognition. When there is inequality or injustice and it goes unrecognised -- that's harmful. When the Chairmen of the House Committees were announced by Boehner at the end of 2012 and they were all white males, we tried to recognise the hypocrisy and unjustness of those decisions. In the same vein, I think it is important to afford the same kind of recognition to a candidate who breaks the mould and brings diversity to a city that has been at the forefront of both women's rights and LGBT rights.
Max Markham You say "that's not even true" and then go on a tangent about why YOU personally vote the way that you do, and your opinions about sexual orientation. I'd like to hear why you claim Kiki's comment is untrue...
Max Markham Yes. And yes. But the fact remains -- having an LGBT mayor of the biggest city and (arguably) most diverse city in the country is a big step forward for the LGBT community. And it is certainly worthwhile to note that. I agree with you - it SHOULDN'T matter what her sexual preferences are. But there is a large minority in this country who believe it should. And until there is equality for all, and respect for everyone's sexual orientation, I think it's important to recognise where progress is being made.
Max Markham I think this article raises a very legitimate point -- that people decry the electoral college system relentlessly yet propose no feasible alternative that would tangibly produce better (read: fairer) results. What I don't find legitimate, though, is arguing that the electoral college functions more democratically than other systems, when you don't give them a proper unbiased explanation. As Abhimanyu mentions, your explanation of the British system is extremely different from how the government actually functions (comparing the Speaker of the House to the Prime Minister is quite misleading).
Max Markham Finally, as much as I appreciate you wanting to root for the underdog here, I don't find compelling your personal beliefs ("an apology that seems genuine") used to justify or plead the case for Ravi, who, in fact, sent that apologetic text message after he was confronted by the RA, NOT, as you say, when he learned that Clementi was going to take his own life (something that no one knew until it happened). In my opinion, it is the media's job to bring to public attention situations like these, involving extraordinarily hurtful situations that contribute to the abuse that gay teens all over this country face. Ravi, knowingly or unknowingly, indirected contributed to the suicide of a teen. He should face legal repercussions. End of story.
Max Markham "Anyone who remembers the 1999 movie American Pie would know that high school and college kids can use webcams for unsavory purposes" -- is that you saying Clementi should have somehow been aware that he might be FILMED in his own room via his roommates webcam? Or that he should've been okay with his roommate sharing a sexual video with OTHERS online? Is the fact that Ravi was born in India, and and therefore "lacking experience" with homosexual culture, something that should be defended? Last time I checked, just because someone is ignorate towards a certain type of person does not give them a right to discriminate against them.
Max Markham I can't see Hollande beating Sarkozy by that wide of a margin. I think it will come down to the final days of the campaign. With that said, I still think Hollande will win, and that Sarkozy and the UMP will be retired from political majority for a few years. Typical of many countries as of late (Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc.), France seems as if it is about to undergo a political facelift, where one challenging party storms to a resounding win against the incumbent (by how wide a margin, I don't know). And Sarkozy does not seem to be helping his case by consistently putting his foot in his mouth. This will definitely be a very interesting election.
Max Markham I actually agree with Maine's placement, but I think Massachusetts should be no2. Those are the two major chances for the Democrats to maintain a majority in the senate. If they turn both (maybe if they only turn one, but unlikely), they won't have to worry about losing North Dakota and Nebraska which, in my opinion, is inevitable. Missouri is also likely, as McCaskill is shooting herself in the foot as of late. I'll be following Wisconsin very closely, as I think Tammy Baldwin would be a huge asset for progressives and am excited for our first LGBT Senator. I'm also very disappointed that Pilgree decided not to run in Maine, as I think she could've helped the Democrats hugely. What about Hawaii? That could be a Dem turnover too...
Max Markham But the difference is that it has maintained (and, in fact, increased) hugely expensive subsidies for the oil industry. Which has made the energy budget huge. I imagine there will be a bunch of changes to the Department of Energy next term, as Steven Chu has been receiving a lot of heat from the GOP and might not be confirmed if appointed again.
Max Markham I contemplated putting FP on the list, but to be honest I don't think that is an important issue for a majority of people. I personally see quite a big difference between the handling of FP between the Obama admin and the Bush admin. In terms of energy, I agree it will be a tough sell, but as I said, I think a large positive change can come from stopping the heavy subsidies to the oil industry, and putting some of that money into developing of alternate ideas (instead of large sums of invested money into specific companies like Solyndra).
Max Markham 200% agree with your last point. An issue that people should take on more is the divisive and attacking rhetoric of both parties. In attacking conseravtives, liberals set themselves up for a complete rejection of their arguments by anyone who has any kind of conservative lean, on the simple basis of the claims being exaggerated and unrealistic. In their rebuttal of Rush Limbaugh's claims, instead of calling for him to be "fired" for what he said, they should 1. lobby for advertisers to make him face severe repercussion, which would then set an example for other media using extremist rhetoric 2. advocate AGAINST said rhetoric like that of Limbaugh and most extremist conservative OR liberal media.
Max Markham This is a really interesting take on a divisive issue -- I wouldn't have drawn parallels between the UK economy and the US' (other than the fact that they're both in dire straits), but I think you present a compelling argument about the fractures between fiscal conservatism globally and in the US. I would, though, hesitate to equate European/global austerity so closely with Republican positions in the US.
Max Markham Thanks for your comments. Notwithstanding your last statement, I definitely don't think any of these issues are wishy washy -- the only "social" issue is LGBT rights, which I find personally and ideologically compelling enough to include in a list like this. In terms of foreign militarism and the PATRIOT act, I find both of those issues to be extremely important. In terms of foreign policy, I think Obama's record has been close to impeccable for a President with a split and completely inept Congress. And I doubt the majority of Americans would want Obama to focus more on external factors than internal factors (I personally disagree). The PATRIOT act is a bit more niche, and I was focusing more on broad subjects.
Max Markham Thanks for your comments, David. I actually included this at the end of the article, but it seems to have been edited out -- I didn't include reference to the economy because that has been Obama's no1 priority as of late, and will surely continue to be in his second term. It goes without saying. He will surely focus on the first three issues you've mentioned (hopefully) throughout the end of this election, as well as throughout his next term. I completely agree with you.