Just got back from a vacation in Cuba. I stayed in one of the new resorts outside of Santa Clara.
It really is a lovely country – but wow – backwards in so many ways:
1) Underemployment – visit the downtown core of any city @ 3:00pm and watch the crowds of people milling about.
2) Undersupplied – visit the shops (not the tourist ones – the ones for the locals) – the supply of goods is thin on the ground. A state store with 8 staff behind a small counter and 6 pairs of boots for sale? I’ve seen it.
3) The government is corrupt – the best dressed people in the country work for customs. Why is that? I can’t speak to the entire government – but there are clearly issues.
I’m hoping the establishment of relations with the United States will help them reform their economy – and that the freedoms and abundance we take for granted in the west will come to this little jewel of an island. I don’t think I’ll go back to Cuba, I think I’ll stick to the developed nations.
On November 4th, 2008 the United States of America elected their first Black President – and entered into a new era of political inclusion. After the hang overs have passed, and the pundits have danced many Americans are probably wondering “What Now?”.
The reality is the US is in serious trouble, they’ve had a decade of spending without the necessary increase in revenue. They’ve opened unpopular wars on two fronts, and doomed their economy by not regulating the banks that serve as its engine.
President Obama has a lot to fix and not much time. Here is the short list of things I hope Obama makes a priority:
Improve the image of the US Abroad by closing Guantanamo Bay, ending the war in Iraq, and restoring the Civil Liberties that were eroded under George Bush.
Implement regulation for Banks, Trade Unions, and Investment Banks for Credit Default Swaps and any instrument used for money creation.
Implement an economic stimulus package for the Middle and Low class. 700 billion for Wall Street is crazy, zero dollars for main street is criminal.
While health care is important, don’t let it blind you to the underlying problems in the US economy.
I wish Obama well, and offer my sincere congratulations on his great accomplishment. Obama – the world is watching – don’t let us down.
On the eve of the election I decided to write letters to both candidates as a means of expressing my concerns and hopes for each presidential candidate. Regardless of who wins, this election is a historical tipping point. The oval office will either see its first African American or its first Woman. The new president will face a unique challenging environment with the United States confronting economic challenges, an expensive and drawn out war, and a crisis in health care.
So as I promised last night, here is my letter to Senator Barack Obama.
Dear Senator Obama,
Let me begin by saying thank you – in reviewing your career as both a Senator and a community organizer I believe you to be a genuinely caring man who honestly wants to help his fellow Americans. I also believe you to be an excellent role model for the youth of America at a time when quality role models are a scarce commodity.
Senator Obama, you have shown yourself to be intelligent, level headed and concerned, but as you potentially embark on a new career as the President of the United States, I wanted to ask you to consider the following:
You are a natural consensus builder (a trait I admire and respect), but do not let the process of building consensus slow the important decisions. Some decisions result in a lost opportunity when delayed – do not be afraid to be decisive when called for.
Do not be afraid to be yourself, you are no longer the geeky kid in the corner with a strange name, your the president of the United States. You have a lot to be proud of, open up and connect to your constituents. It will help them accept the hardships they will face in the coming years to know and respect their president.
Lastly, never forget that the money you spend has to come from somewhere. If you spend a dollar, you must raise two (one to spend, one to pay down the debt). Despite what Cheney says debts do matter.
Thank you for reading this brief letter senator and good luck today.
On the eve before the US election, I came to the realization that life tomorrow changes – for good or bad the driver of the United States will change.
To that end, and for my own therapy, I thought I’d write an open letter to each candidate expressing my hopes and concerns with their respective candidacy.
My first letter is to Senator John McCain, I’ll write Senator Obama tomorrow.
Let me first say that I honor and respect your sacrifices for the great nation of America. I believe you to be a fundamentally good man that honestly respects and wants to help his fellow citizens.
If you win the election tomorrow, I’d ask several things of you.
Always remember that there are people that better understand technical or other policy issues. Do not be afraid to look for folks more knowledgeable on a topic than you. Seek their advice, their council, and do not be afraid to think thru a problem before taking action to fix it.
Remember that should anything happen to you, Sarah will be taking over your responsibilities. Never believe your own press, she’s not ready – yet – but with your help she may be. Teach her, guide her, and help her to become a leader capable of leading your great nation.
Your temper is your worst enemy, remember – if you get mad – you’ve already lost. As president you must always be in control of your emotions. As a senator you haven’t always been successful in fighting your darker nature. As president you must make a greater effort.
You’ve been accused of giving up your principles to advance your career. You’ve followed in the steps of Karl Rove and run an extremely negative campaign. While running on a campaign of not being the other guy may get you elected – do not for a second believe that sort of fear mongering is any way to run a country. Do not select a unpopular group or race as your national scape goat – instead focus the attention of the nation on its problems and issues.
Senator, I wish you the best on your presidency – and remember this isn’t just your legacy – its the future of the US and its trading partners.
I’ve been watching the elections coverage for the last 6 months. I’ve watched the republicans get progressively more defensive and misleading to the media.
A good friend of mine sent me this video this evening, which I think is indicative of the idiocy of the current republican party.
In this 8 minute 32 second clip, a Republican official is having trouble explaining Governor Palin’s apparent lack of understanding of what the Vice President does. Instead of actually explaining why she doesn’t know the exact role, the republican representative huffs, laughs, and try’s to change the topic to Joe Biden and Obama.
In the clip it seems pretty clear that Palin is intending to run the senate and set policy – something that is clearly outside of her purview. Instead of dealing with it, the republican representative is busy trying to change the topic.