Archive for the ‘Asian-Americans’ Category

Luck, Superstition and The Presidential Election

November 4, 2008

Barack Obama’s Grandmother has died and we mourn her loss and pray for her peaceful repose.

But this is not lucky.

Barack Obama will win Tuesday’s election and be the next president.

But my Asian American family members all responded the same way to the news of the death of Brack’s Grandmother: this is not lucky.  In fact; this is an ill wind like a curse.

I assured them again that Barack would be the next President of the United States.

“Even worse,” said one.  “Bad luck then covers America.”

I put my lucky ACORNs in my pocket….

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama wipes away tears ...
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama wipes away tears while speaking about his grandmother during a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. Americans vote in an election of rare historic potential Tuesday with front-running Democrat Barack Obama seeking to become the first black president and Republican John McCain hoping for a poll-defying comeback.(AFP/Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

By Campbell Brown
CNN

On the eve of the election, the campaigns are relying on their lucky charms. That was the gist of a story on Politico.com Monday.

Did you know there are 20 guys in Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s Ohio office who haven’t shaved since Obama pulled ahead of Republican candidate Sen. John McCain in that state?

Or that there is a McCain aide who wears only his pair of socks that have the palm trees on them? McCain fan Sen. Joe Lieberman is sporting his lucky sweater, while an Obama press secretary is putting on her lucky cowboy boots.

So far, it is reported, thank goodness, that no one has outdone James Carville and his decision to wear the same pair of underwear for an extended time when Bill Clinton’s poll numbers started going up. Watch Campbell Brown’s take on lucky charms

The candidates themselves are hardly immune to superstition.

Read it all and see the video:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/03/campbell.brown.
lucky.charms/index.html

Acorns in Scotland.jpg

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Grandmother’s Death Casts Pall of Death, Ill Wind on Optimistic Election Eve

November 4, 2008

My Asian American family members all responded the same way: this is not lucky.  In fact; this is an ill wind like a curse.

I assured them that Barack Obama will win Tuesday’s election and be the next president.

“Even worse,” said one.  “Bad luck then covers America.”

By Shailagh Murray and Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, November 4, 2008; Page A01

The senator from Illinois spent yesterday campaigning in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, states that have not supported a Democratic presidential nominee in years. He posed for a group photo with his traveling staff, grinning broadly in front of the gleaming white campaign plane emblazoned with the slogan that has carried him through his 632-day candidacy: “Change We Can Believe In.”

“This is our last rally,” Obama told a sea of supporters in Manassas last night. “After decades of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, and 21 months of a campaign, we are less than one day away from bringing about change in America.”

But the final day on the campaign trail was rooted in sadness. Obama learned yesterday morning that his maternal grandmother, the only survivor among the adults who shaped his young life in Hawaii, had died overnight at age 86.

Madelyn Dunham, or “Toot,” as he called her, had been a beloved figure, described by Obama in countless speeches and interviews as a surrogate mother, pioneering female executive and proud World War II wife who worked on a bomber assembly line. [Obituary]

“She was the cornerstone of our family,” Obama and his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng said in a statement announcing Dunham’s death. “She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.”

Dunham and her husband, Stanley, had raised Obama in Hawaii during part of his high school years when his mother was living in Indonesia, and the candidate spoke to his grandmother often. Her poor health had not permitted her to campaign for him, but she had corneal transplants this year so she could see him more clearly on television.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/03/
AR2008110303464.html?hpid=topnews

It took nearly two years, many ups and downs, countless smart moves, missed chances and lucky breaks. But finally Barack Obama could say the words: “One more day.”

Race Issue Marring Election Unnecessarily

March 14, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

This is an election featuring a Black Man and a White Woman – but mentioning that fact might get you accused of racism, bigotry, fanaticism, zealotry and other forms of treachery.

Take Geraldine Ferraro, for example.  She was quoted recently is a California newspaper saying, “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman [of any color] he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

Former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro addresses ... 

Obama surrogates unloaded on her; inferring if not saying outright that she was a racist.

Hillary, instead of running to her friend’s assistance, said, “I didn’t say it.”

Many in the Black American community acted appalled.

Give me a break.

This came closely on the heels of another firestorm caused when an Obama advisor called Senator Clinton a “Monster.”

Even Bill Clinton, once referred to as “The First Black President,” has taken the heat and been tarred and feathered as a bigot from Black Church pulpits.

Sum up all the criticism from Black toward white and you find one word in the undercurrent: division.

The only guy that hasn’t taken too much heat for his over the top language is long-time Obama pastor Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.  He said “God Bless America” should be changed to “God Damn America,” he implied that America deserved the carnage of September 11, 2001, and he more than hinted that the KKK was running things in America. 

Barack Obama, Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Not divisive, right?

If you think it is, I dare you to criticize him.  The Black Leader Union will attack you for sure.

When a recent study reported that one quarter of America’s teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease, you just about had to read the fine print before you saw that the study also concluded that fully fifty percent of the teenage Black girls had an STD. To use this fact in a headline, one newspaper editor told me, would be “Journalistic suicide.”

You cannot fix problems until you face them.  And it is difficult to face issues unless and until you can discuss them.

So the Black Leadership Union of America has created and fosters an atmosphere of ignoring facts and not facing the truth.  This allows them to perpetuate the idea that White people are holding the Black population back.  And it allows these so-called Black Leaders to sustain their “positions,” “reputations” and don’t forget donations.

Bill Cosby is among just a handful of Black Leaders that has been critical of his own Black people. For his efforts he has been roundly criticized by other members of the Black American Leadership Union and called an “Uncle Tom” in many churches.

I spend a significant amount of time in the Asian-American community.  Last Sunday we taught English as a Second Language to Vietnamese-American immigrants and just yesterday I worked with Korean-Americans on their language skills.

When I asked them about race being used in this election and all the reflections and facets of that use, I was simply told by Asian-Americans, “It’s not polite.”

Last night during a public appearance, while refusing to talk about her controversial comment about Obama, Geraldine Ferraro made the audience pause when she took a shot at how Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — a Republican and the second black judge to sit on the court — gained admittance to Yale University’s law school.
.
“Take a look and think about Justice Thurgood Marshall,” said Ferraro, referring to the first black judge to sit on the high court, “who drew on his life experiences as an African-American and as a civil-rights activist to write some of the greatest civil-rights decisions of the sixties and of the entire century.” Then she said that she did not think Thomas showed the same “sensitivity” as Marshall. Thomas, Ferraro said, acts as a rubber stamp for conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and “votes against affirmative action, which got him into Yale.”

Geraldine, you apparently just don’t get it.  Despite laws protecting your freedom to speak out, the Black Leader Union is watching you now and they’re ready to pounce.

Is this good for America, do you think?

I am not a racist.  But I expect I’ll be accused of that because of this essay.

Chistopher Columbus: World’s Finest Navigator (and Fundraiser)

October 8, 2007

By John E. Carey
October 8, 2008

First we salute Christopher Columbus, a wise mariner and colonizer. Mostly we think of him as a great navigator but let’s not forget that he also had to raise his own money for his adventures by “pitching” his plans around Europe. On May 1, 1486, Columbus laid out his plans before Queen Isabella, of Spain, who funded the project. Columbus then built, manned and supplied a three ship unit.

Christopher Columbus

Portrait by Alejo Fernández, painted between 1505 and 1536. Photo by historian Manuel Rosa.

Christopher Columbus faced immense challenges.  His critics said the earth was flat and he would fall off.  Few people had any idea how large the earth was or the distances between unexplored places.  And finally, Chistopher Columbus had no accurate timepiece. Estimating longitude depends on accurate time measurement. No reliable chronometer existed in the 14th and 15th centuries. Time was kept on board ship by the use of sand filled hour glasses which had to be watched and turned hourly.  

As a former Naval Officer who had to raise money, give some “pitches” and navigate in my own life, at sea and ashore, I have the deepest admiration for Christopher Columbus and his tenacity.

Pretty cool guy.

Notes from the shop

My wife and I run a small business — but she does all the work. I admit it!

I try to sit quietly at the computer doing research and cranking out newspaper articles.

And I also tell stories to people purely for the entertainment and fellowship (and I don’t mean just men: no offense intended to the women out there!).

Today I told stories about Columbus.

One customer today was born in Bolivia and I told him he might not be here if not for Chris Columbus. I told him he has two ties to Columbus: his life in the Americas and his Spanish language.  The Bolivian man was impressed that Columbus found this land but he also convinced a  Spanish Queen to fund the quest!

Another customer, who is a 49 year old mailman who walks five miles every day, was born in Brazil. He thought Columbus did an incredible job at navigation and said, “Whenever I get a new route I need a map. Columbus followed the stars and his dream.”

A woman born in Thailand added that the key to life is hope, your dream and determination. She thought Columbus would say that if he lived today.

Like a lot of Asian-Americans she spent time at sea as a refugee.

One customer, named Shaka, told me he is named for the greatest warrior of all time: Shaka who united the  Zulu nation in Africa. He said Shaka is viewed and respected for his military adeptness like Attila the Hun or Alexander the Great.  He said that Columbus was just as important as Shaka and maybe more so because Columbus had no idea what he would find or quite how he would find it.  In fact, Columbus was searching for India (that is why Native Americans have been referred to as “Indians”).

I told two day laborers born in Guatamala that Columbus probably landed closer to what is today Guatamala than say New York! Their response: “We don’t know much because all we do is work.”

All we do is work: a common thread among many of first generation American immigrants.

Finally, my own wife escaped Vietnam with the “Boat People” after the fall of Saigon in 1975.   She has no love of the sea’s vastness and perils.

About Columbus she said, “Don’t even think about it. He has to make that trip without me in the crew.”

Read more about Columbus:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus#Funding_campaign