Thursday, March 20, 2008

And now it's time for a quick update on "What's Ryan Been Reading??"

March GQ:

Fun statistic: For those of you who remember my GQ-reading-ritual, this month I tore out 78 two sided advertisements, or 156 total ads. That is from a 322 page magazine. 48% of my magazine is ADVERTISEMENTS. Ridiculous. But I love it anyway... it's still a great magazine AND I like the independence from consumerism I feel when I get a new edition and sit down to tear out all those pages.

Things you might like: If you want me to make copies of any of this, and send it to you, just let me know...

- Article on Hilary loosing Iowa

- Article on Mitt Romney's campaign... kind of irrelevant now, unless he ends up as VP on the ticket.

- FASCINATING article about nuclear power and Three Mile Island. Really, really interesting. See quotes below...


"Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances." - Thomas Jefferson p. 188

On critics of her new rock collaboration, Actress Zooey Deschanel "I'm not sure who these 'some people' are, but they sound petty. I don't think I'm very interested in them." (I love that)

"...France, which remains one of the last European nations to embrace nuclear power and currently produces nearly 80 percent of it's total electricity that way. (Providing France, incidentally, with the cleanest air in Europe, the lowest electrical costs, and the greatest percentage of electrical independence, not to mention $4 billion a year in electrical exports.)" - Nuclear power article p. 311

Now from "The Audacity of Hope" - pages 63-69 Obama writes about how impossible it seems for politicians to authentically talk about, and function with, values in general.

"I often wonder what makes it so difficult for politicians to talk about values in ways that don't appear calculated or phony (p. 63)..." He points to Empathy as a major factor in whether or not someone possesses "...the quality of authenticity, of being who you say you are, of possessing a truthfulness that goes beyond words... [Empathy] is the heart of my moral code, and it is how I understand the Golden Rule - not simply a call to sympathy or charity, but as something more demanding, a call to stand in somebody else's shoes and see through their eyes." (p.66)

PLEASE READ THIS, I'm going to take the time to type it, soooo...

"It's not a question we ask ourselves enough, I think; as a country, we seem to be suffering from an empathy deficit. We wouldn't tolerate schools that don't teach, that are chronically underfunded and understaffed and under-inspired, if we thought that the children in them were like our children. It's hard to imagine the CEO of a company giving himself a multimillion dollar bonus while cutting health-care coverage for his workers if he thought they were in some sense his equals. And it's safe to assume that those in power would think longer and harder about launching a war if they envisioned their own sons and daughters in harms way.

I believe a stronger sense of empathy would tilt the balance of our current politics in favor of those people who are struggling in this society. After all, if they are like us, then their struggles are our own. If we fail to help, we diminish ourselves.

But that does not mean that those who are struggling - or those of us who claim to speak for those who are struggling - are thereby freed from trying to understand the perspectives of those who are better off. Black leaders need to appreciate the legitimate fears that may cause some whites to resist affirmative action. Union representatives can't afford not to understand the competitive pressures their employers may be under. I am obligated to try and see the world through George Bush's eyes, no matter how much I may disagree with him. That's what empathy does - it calls us all to task, the conservative and the liberal, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressor. We are all shaken out of our complacency. We are all forced beyond our limited vision."

SO, does he put this into practice?

Democratic Debate in Ohio

The debate opened with Brian Williams presenting both a clip of Hilary giving an angry press conference about a Health Care mailing Obama did, and a photograph that was leaked on the internet of Obama in native garb from a country he was visiting.  The blog site said that the photo came from Hilary’s camp.  It was a very strong opening opportunity for conflict/a fight between the candidates.  Hilary responded about the mailing and talked about health care, then Williams asked about the photo.

Brian Williams to Senator Clinton: “…Can you say, unequivocally, that it did not (come from your camp)?”

Sen. Clinton: “Well, so far as I know it did not.  And I certainly know nothing about it, and have made it clear that that’s not the kind of behavior that I condone or expect from the people who work in my campaign…”

Brian Williams: “Senator Obama, your response.”

Sen. Obama: “Well, first of all, I take Senator Clinton at her word.  That she knew nothing about the photos.  So I think that’s something we can set aside.  I do want to focus on the issue of health care, because Senator Clinton has suggested that the flier that we put out, that the mailing we put out, was inaccurate.  Now keep in mind that I’ve consistently said that I think Senator Clinton’s got a good health care plan.  I think I have a good healthcare plan.  I think mine is better.  But I’ve said that 95% of our healthcare plan is similar.  I have endured, over the course of this campaign, repeated negative mail from Senator Clinton, in Iowa, in Nevada, and other places, suggesting that I want to leave 15 million people out.  According to Senator Clinton, that is accurate.  I dispute it, and I think it is inaccurate.  On the other hand, I don’t fault Senator Clinton for wanting to point out what she thinks is an advantage to her plan.”