Archive for the 'Obama' Category

My Big Fat Rant About Single Issue Politics

Friday, January 9th, 2009

A popular Fat Acceptance blogger recently expressed their dismay at Barack Obama’s probable choice for the Surgeon General.

Sanjay Gupta is best known as a reporter for CNN. The Big Fat Blog doesn’t hate Sanjay because he made his share of mistakes as a reporter (maybe even some bias because the drug companies were indirectly filling his pockets). It’s not because he is beautiful. It certainly isn’t because he performed life saving brain surgery on a soldier in Iraq.

The Big Fat Blog has a problem with Dr. Gupta because Dr. Gupta sees obesity as a problem. I have to wonder how many of the commentators on The Big Fat Blog would have been willing to vote against Obama if his choice for Surgeon General had been on the table before November. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that some of them voted against Obama because of his skinniness.

Before I could publish this rant, I had to look at the facts enough to decide for myself if Dr. Sanjay Gupta was an appropriate choice for the post. I made up my mind after reading about what exactly a Surgeon General does. To me it seems like many of his critics are implying that Gupta would be creating and administering policies and that is really not the case. Some of them may be worried that he will start putting bold black and white warning labels on stretch pants.

Obamanomics: You Shall Know His Velocity

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Barack Obama is more than just the first Black POTUS. He is also arguably the first Presidential candidate to truly harness the power of the Internet. Howard Dean could have laid claim to that distinction. He was using his website to solicit small donations very effectively, but he failed to react sufficiently when the tools of the information age were used against him. He produced one alarming, non verbal soundbite and he underestimated its power.

Howard Dean was campaigning in a pre-YouTube era. Individual citizens didn’t get to decide what to watch over and over again the way they do now. Television executives were still deciding which moments deserved the ad nauseum treatment and they aired the Dean Scream 633 times over the course of four days. There were already numerous sources of online video in 2004 and the scream became very popular. Game Over.

When YouTube was used against Obama, millions of people got to see old footage of his crazy pastor. Obama didn’t sit around hoping it would blow over. He addressed it in his inimitable style and millions of people got to view that, too. The most striking difference between Obama and 2004’s Kerry (who I actually forgot about entirely at one point this month) was that Obama ALWAYS fought unfair criticism in a fast and hard manner.

With regard to raising funds, he used the successful strategy that Dean pioneered. Obama’s team treated donors and other supporters to a much more personal connection than any campaign before it. Emails were regularly sent out to his huge opt in list. There was also region specific text messaging to people who had provided the campaign with cell phone numbers.

This stuff is fascinating to me. If it interests you, check out the free ebook at

*Apologies to David Eggers for the title swipe.

I am Not a Leader of Men

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Last Monday, I was on a train reading a newly purchased copy of Death of a Salesman. I can only vaguely remember reading it in school and I was surprised and a bit creeped out at its relevance.

There have been many of Pop Culture References made to this award winning play. I spotted one that hasn’t been cataloged in Wikipedia. One of my least favorite bands, Nickelback, has a song called Leader of Men. One line of lyrics echoes Biff Lomans rebuke of his father’s American Dream.

I am Not a Leader of Men

If Biff and Willy Loman were real, they would probably be a bit disheartened to find that Nickelback has pushed them all the way to the 4th page of a Google query for this line. I know I am.

Death isn’t current enough to be effectively used a metaphor for the American political scene or the present economic crisis but I hope that somebody close to GWB makes some kind of Biff remark that he won’t get.