Saturday, March 29, 2008

 

Open Thread

Once threaded, twice shy.

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Family Reunion Weekend

The constellations must have been in a weird sync the last few days.

On Thursday, I had dinner and drinks with two cousins whom I hadn't previously met. D'Arcy Sallion (on the left in the below picture) -- son of my father's brother of the same name -- was born and raised in London, where he still lives. Steve Sallion (in the middle) is the son of my father's brother Clayton. He was born and raised in Brooklyn. He and I had communicated a few times over the years, but had never actually met. Shockingly, we found out that we were only a few blocks from one another (when I was still living in Brooklyn).

Both of them are doing quite well. D'Arcy is involved in international brand-marketing; Steve raises capital for real-estate ventures. Oh, and the ubiquitous Facebook brought us together. I did a search on their last name, since it's not overly common. They both popped up and we re-connected. D'Arcy let us know that he was flying to our ancestral home of Trinidad and had a twelve-hour layover in New York. So, without further ado, we made plans.

It was a great time all around. Steve and I found out we have a couple of mutual friends.

Completely coincidentally, my parents -- who have been divorced for thirty years -- separately decided to visit Trinidad in the last couple of weeks. Mom (currently living in St. Croix) was staying with her older sister Cythia; Dad (who's been residing in Los Angeles for decades) was staying with his surviving brother Clyde (both D'Arcy and Steve's fathers are deceased).

Mom and Dad aren't exactly on friendly terms (though after all these years, she goes by her married name, Umilta Sallion -- though I use her maiden name George). Still, I gave her Uncle Clyde's phone number, in case she wanted to put in a courtesy call. When Mom visited me over Christmas, she spoke briefly with Dad and they were cordial. Even so, I had thoughts about checking CNN during the week for reports of any mushroom clouds over Trinidad.

Anyway, my phone rings on Saturday afternoon. It was Mom, calling from Aunt Cynthia's. I figured she was calling to let me know she'd had a good week and was planning on flying back to St. Croix Sunday. So, I talked to her for a few minutes, noticing a lot of noise in the background. Then she said, "Hold on a moment." Next thing I know I'm talking to a familiar voice. The weird thing was though, between the long-distance service and my cell phone, I initially thought I was talking to one of my cousins on my Mom's side. But no, it was my Dad, Adrian Sallion.

As it happened, Mom called Dad's brother and found out that he was living barely two blocks down the street from her sister. So, when they called me, there was a full-fledged family reunion going on. Dad's sister Bernice who moved back to Trinidad a few years ago was there, as were Aunt Cynthia's family. The only ones missing were my Dad's other sister Joyce, who lives in Atlanta, my sister Angelique and myself.

Mom said she and Dad had a good time catching up; as she reminded me, the last time they had seen each other was 30 years ago in court ("and not the tennis court," Mom added -- yeah, she has a similar warped sense of humor as I do). She said something along the lines of, "We're all getting too old to hold onto these grudges and ill feelings."

Anyway, as soon as I got off the phone, I called my sister who, fortunately, was home. I just gave her Aunt Cynthia's number and told her to call right away -- without telling her why (only to tell her that it wasn't an emergency, but it was "important"). I told her to call me back after she was finished.

After about 20 minutes, she called me back and we had a good laugh over the events. That was good in itself, given that things had been somewhat strained between the two of us since my sister got married last fall (her inability to tell Mom, Dad or myself about the wedding until after the fact caused a bit of tension over the holidays). But, the weekend's magical feelings touched us too. She told me about a new business venture she's trying to get underway. I also found out that my sister is a registered Democrat (strangely, this had never come up before) who voted for Obama in the Georgia primary.

And so it went, a truly remarkable couple of days -- one of which didn't even require me to leave my apartment.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

 

Hillary's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

New Gallup tracking poll has Obama with an outside-margin-of-error lead of eight points, 50-42. Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Casey jumps off the fence and endorses Obama, while the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman tells Hillary to get out.

The former certainly has a lot to do with Pennsylvania politics and old grudges. As a noted observer of Keystone State infighting told me, "Bill Clinton kept his father out of the Democratic convention. The Caseys never forgot. In addition, Ed Rendell tried to kill Bob Casey in the governor's race. If Ed Rendell is for something, Casey is against it. He does the opposite. This also gets Casey national attention -- circumventing Rendell's national spotlight."

Even so, Casey must realize that the more-than-three weeks until the primary period may now work in Obama's favor. Yes, she currently has a double-digit lead, but if he beats her there, this thing is over. Especially given that there is another debate before the primary.

Even though Leahy had previously endorsed Obama, telling another fellow senator -- one with Hillary's pedigree and institutional power -- to drop out of the race is a pretty strong move.

It's all part of what can only be described as an awful week for Hillary. Obama continues to get overall good marks on his speech. Regardless of what people thought of his argument or about Jeremiah Wright, many considered it a substantial thoughtful speech that is rare in political campaigns. Simply put, he looked like a real adult in dealing with what could have been a crippling controversy. TNR's Marty Peretz praised Obama for not throwing Wright overboard. That was why Richardson decided to jump and endorse Obama.

In contrast, Hilllary's "sniper fire" comment was disastrous: It reminded everyone of the Clintons' truth problem; it totally undermines her experience argument. Even the average voter must have seen HRC's bringing Wright back up as the transparent attempt to change the topic. The release of her first lady schedule showing her pushing NAFTA also destroys credibility.

In short, this has been a two-week period where superdelegates -- and rank-and-file Dems, given the Gallup poll -- had a chance to see their two candidates facing the "issue" that may cause them the biggest problem in the general election: A post-racial black candidate trying to overcome a racial controversy and a female candidate with a reputation of not being completely truthful and straightforward. One candidate stepped forward and appeared to take the challenge head-on. The other candidate just tried to wave off her multiple statements as "a" mistake and turned her fire on her opponent -- and suggest a defacto war on other parts of the party.

Given those responses, this appears to be the weekend Democrats are ready to consider that it may well be better to run -- regardless of the risks -- with the new guy rather than with the tired old Bill and Hill show.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

 

Hillary Wrights A Wrong With The Right

Considering one version of this has been viewed on YouTube a million times, you may already have seen this CBS news clip completely destroying Hillary Clinton's "I visited Bosnia under sniper fire line." Still, it is a good one. Perhaps the most devastating part is the reporter's un-subtle line, "That's Sen. Clinton talking to me on the military flight into Tuzla and these are the pictures we recorded of the greeting ceremony when the plane landed." The entire report just drips with sarcasm:



So after being forced to
eat her words following the airing of this clip, what else can she do? Bring up the Jeremiah Wright controversy, by saying that she would have left the pastor had she been in that situation. (Hmmm...Michelle Obama could say that she would have left Barack if he had cheated on her, but in the words of Richard Nixon, "it would be wrong.")

But exactly where did Hillary first get to respond to an interview on Rev. Wright? Well, at the offices of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, owned by Mr. Richard Mellon Scaife, arch-enemy of the Clintons during the '90s! Understand the implications of this. Scaife isn't just an ordinary conservative publisher. He funded and published stories that essentially surmised
that Vince Foster was murdered. Yes, Hillary Clinton's former law partner (and lover, in many conspiracy theories). As NRO said, hell has officially frozen over.

Guess this must be part of the so-called "
Tonya Harding Option." To slightly disagree with Jake Tapper though -- in the scenario he sketches out in the end, I think Al Gore would be the most likely to emerge as Oksana Baiul (read the whole thing and you'll get the meaning).

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Monday, March 24, 2008

 

"Treachery" All Around...

Hot on the heels of Bill Richardson becoming "Judas" in the eyes of one Clintonite, a Reagan and Bush I legal adviser endorses Obama.

One question for James Carville: If Richardson is Judas, who gets crucified on the Clinton campaign -- or is it a "two for the price of one" deal
?

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