As someone with lots of opinions, I've done my share of criticizing President Obama.
My criticism of Obama has to do with how, until recently, he spent more time courting Capitol Hill than maintaining the momentum of his movement. I'm thrilled to see him becoming more involved with the people again. After all, it wasn't his ability to manipulate congress that scared the hell out of the Washington establishment a year ago. It was the masses of people who were standing behind him. That is his strength, his power.
That's also the one tool he has for moving elected leaders whose main goals are to get reelected - scare the hell out of them with their own people demanding something different. In the end, only our votes can compete with the other interests influencing every politician's move. They system rewards members on Capitol Hill who make funding their next reelection bid a priority.
If people want to be mad at something, be mad at a Senate that is so beholden to lobbyists and their money, that the members are incapable of looking beyond their own self interest - winning the next election - to work for something that is good for the people they represent.
The Senate and its leadership need to take responsibility for their own inability to move. They are the immobile bureaucracy too ossified to either fall in line or think anew. It's their job to find a way to pass legislation. President Obama's leadership is not the issue here.
Each week the members of the Mozilla Drumbeat Community conference call to strategize on ways to keep the web open. “Canadians, Bosnians, Britons, Californians, Mexicans, Basques and so on... We have slightly different perspectives, angles, points of view. We have different time zones, indeed, different experiences which we are eager to share. But also the same concerns. Keep - The - Web - Open.”
Most of us are so used to going online and getting the information we want, we don’t often think of what we can’t get. For me, it took a trip to Asia to wake me up to what I really knew all along - there’s a whole other Internet out there that, until translation technology catches up, I can’t access. If you’ve ever used a translation website, you know how awkward the results can be. That situation is only compounded with video where no adequate search mechanism yet exists.
If you speak English, you might think that you have quite enough Internet. What would you do with more, especially video? I mean, do we really need Tickle Kitten translated to understand what is going on?
But consider people in developing countries where even one computer in a small village could make a huge difference. The problem is, developing nations don’t have a vast Internet in their own language like what we are used to having.
“The project came out of a whole bunch of conversations among PCF folks and other organizations,” informs Nicholas. “We think a lot about how to make video more open and accessible to people across cultures and the rarity of subtitles and translations for online videos puts tons of great video out of reach for all of us. Subtitles are a really tough problem and I think our approach could change the landscape because it will let people contribute subtitles and translations easily and share them across sites.”
On Government: So we face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope – what they deserve – is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds, different stories and different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared. A job that pays the bills. A chance to get ahead. Most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.
In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength.
To the banks: I have proposed a fee on the biggest banks. I know Wall Street isn’t keen on this idea, but if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.
As an exhausted lefty, I suppose my preference is to jam through the most liberal Health Care Reform agenda possible via reconciliation. I suppose. It's better than nothing, right?
But I want believe the idealists, that it is important to achieve some measure of bipartisanship. I mean, that's what Democracy is supposed to be about, right? Democracy isn't just about mob/majority rule, it's about protecting the minority too. But it's hard to have faith in government these days. When so much of the opposition is based on fear-mongering and lies, money and access, it's hard to achieve things the right way. So here we are, the best option being to jam something through. It's sad how politics has become about tactics and money instead of achieving that More Perfect Union our founders sought. And so, cynically, I find myself rooting for expediency.
The challenges of change are always hard. It is important that we begin to unpack those challenges that confront this nation and realize that we each have a role that requires us to change and become more responsible for shaping our own future. -Hillary Clinton