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The upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates are being framed as the last opportunities for turning points in this election. Unfortunately, if past debates are any indicator, the questions the candidates are asked will be the wrong ones. Much of the time, when it comes to leadership, the media gets it wrong. The media frames presidential leadership through an out-of-date model that focuses on the notion that leadership is housed within an individual, whom we call a “leader,” who possesses specific traits.

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Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 01:09 PM PST

Hey you with the job opening!

by lmelina

Hey you--you with the increasingly rare opportunity to hire someone to work for you. These are tough economic times. Lots of people are looking for work, and you hold all the cards. That may feel good, but the people who are applying for those jobs do not feel so good, so this is an invitation to avoid the opportunity to exploit your hiring situation and, instead, treat applicants with compassion and dignity. You stand to gain from that, too.

Here are some tips:

First, understand that $10/hour is not a living wage for full-time work, much less for the part-time hours so many workers are offered. If you must offer a worker that kind of wage and limited hours, at least offer a predictable schedule so that she can find another part-time job. If you don't, you will likely find that no sooner have you invested in her training, she will leave, either for a full-time job or to move back in with her parents who live in another city.

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For 35 of the past 41 years, I've lived in small towns (under 35,000) in Ohio, Indiana and Idaho. My closest neighbors have included immigrants who owned their own restaurant; a family of 13 who belong to a Christian church that prohibits its members from watching TV  and required girls to wear dresses; and a family apparently immune to the constant barking of their dogs. I've hunted both elk and deer successfully. I've owned my own small business, which employed one part-time worker. Until this month, it had been 29 years since my husband or I had employer-provided health insurance.

So, as someone who, I think, qualifies as being from the "pro-America" parts of this country, let me tell you what I believe are "pro-America" values.

I believe the values that make us most "American" are those embedded in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

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A lot of the posts about the editing of Katie Couric's interview with John McCain seem to assume that CBS deliberately edited the piece to hide McCain's gaffe. But the fact that they posted the entire interview calls that assumption into question.

There may be other possibilities, equally, if not more, disturbing.

So, these are the questions I would ask CBS News and Katie Couric:

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Mon Jul 14, 2008 at 08:30 PM PDT

The New Yorker got me thinking

by lmelina

Well, The New Yorker cover got me thinking.

Although I've read attempts to find comparable caricatures of McCain, notably the idea that his POW status raises suspicion of him as a Manchurian candidate, I'm having a hard time finding a comparable caricature. I'm having a hard time thinking about other presidential candidates whose narrative fictions have been so believable.

The idea that McCain is a Manchurian candidate doesn't have much credence. What other caricatures might there be? Bill Clinton as a womanizer? Oh, wait. not a fiction. Hillary Clinton in 1992 as a feminist? Oh wait, not a fiction. George W. as a frat boy man-child? Oh wait, not a fiction.

Has there ever been a candidate and his wife more misunderstood than Barack and Michelle Obama?

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Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:06 AM PDT

My Father's Backbone

by lmelina

by Lois Ruskai Melina

My father’s spine had fused into one solid mass of bone before I was born. Bowed forward, it might have been the tusk of an ancient beast stood on one end.  With his back forming a C and the C-vertebrae of his neck permanently twisted slightly to the left, he invariably gazed down and a little off-center. He had no mobility in his backbone to counter-balance his hip movement, which put an awkward bounce in his walk. To see what was in front of him, he would pause every dozen steps or so, bend his knees to thrust his hips down, and in doing so, bring his eyes to a horizontal plane. He looked then like an unfinished question mark.

I see men who would be my father’s age, had he lived, with that characteristic walk and stoop, and know immediately they, too, have ankylosing spondylitis, a trochaic-sounding disease whose name literally means the vertebrae have become inflamed and fixated. The disease mainly attacks young men. No one knows what causes it or why it targets males, although an autoimmune response is suspected and there are markers that indicate genetic factors make some people more susceptible.

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On June 3, I posted the text of a speech I wish Hillary had given on gender. I think she has missed an opportunity to bring awareness to why so many women felt so passionately about a woman in the White House as well as an opportunity to shed light on gender relations (apart from labeling things as "sexist.")

A friend suggested I make a video of this speech, which I did after posting the text. This post (after the fold) has the videos (Parts I and II) embedded (I hope--if not, links to youtube are included).

I hope this isn't a violation of any dailykos rules. If so, I apologize and will delete the diary if requested.

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In an earlier diary, I pointed out that while Hillary Clinton rightly
calls out sexism in this campaign, she has not delivered a speech about
gender or sexism comparable to the one Barack Obama gave about race.

I have been waiting for her to explain why it is important to have a
woman's perspective and experience represented in the White House and
other high offices. I have been waiting for her to tell us how her
experience as a woman would inform her service as president. Her failure
to use the incredible platform she has had to call attention to what women bring to leadership is one of my many disappointments with her and one of
the reasons I am supporting Barack Obama.

In response to my earlier diary, one person pointed out that I did not
explain why a woman's perspective and experience matter. So go beyond the fold to: the speech that I would write for Hillary. The speech I wish Hillary had
given.

[Updated to reflect comments pointing out a necessary correction.]

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Sat May 24, 2008 at 08:03 AM PDT

The only delegate count that matters

by lmelina

Another Clinton Superdelegate has switched support to Obama. As the media and supporters for each side recalculate the delegate count, they should not lose sight of the fact that a delegate can and did change a pledge. The only delegate count that matters is the one taken at the convention.

Not only can Superdelegates change their minds, pledged delegates can, too. The identities of the Superdelegates are easily known. Superdelegates often hold positions where they can be held accountable for their votes. That is not true of pledged delegates. Most of us do not even know the names of the people we are counting on to represent us at the national convention.

I don't know how often a pledged delegate has changed his or her vote from one candidate to another at the convention. Delegates tend to be passionate voters, thrilled to be part of the political process, eager to publicly vote for the candidate they have supported through the primary season, even if that candidate has no chance of winning. But that doesn't stop campaigns from trying to win over delegates pledged to another candidate at the convention. I know. I was a delegate for Gary Hart at the 1984 Democratic Convention.

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The choice of a vice presidential running mate is often the first public decision that a presidential nominee makes. It is a real decision, but also a highly symbolic one; it communicates much about how the candidate will lead as a president. What Sen. Barack Obama has been saying and doing throughout his campaign provides a framework for his choice of a VP:

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Sen. Hillary Clinton and her supporters are absolutely correct when they claim sexism has played a role in this campaign. So has racism. Both are rampant in our society, although incidents of racism and sexism tend to be far more covert than they were in the 1960s. Clinton has been quite willing to complain about sexist treatment by the media, by debate moderators, and others. However, one of my many disappointments with her is that she did not give a speech about gender comparable to the one Barack Obama gave in Philadelphia to raise awareness of the racial divide in this country.

My hope, as Clinton continued to campaign when the electoral math turned against her, was that, having nothing to lose, she would talk about how being a woman would inform her presidency, or about why women feel it is so important to have a woman break this particular glass ceiling. Instead, she talked about the importance of having someone who knows how to "clean house" after the Bush administration. The failure of her candidacy will not be that a woman was not elected president, but that she did not use the long, closely watched primary campaign to raise awareness about the gender divide in this society in such a way as to help all women, regardless of who is in the White House.

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Sun May 18, 2008 at 10:47 AM PDT

Women under 60 less cynical about hope

by lmelina

The recent endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama by NARAL has re-opened the debate over why some women don't support Sen. Hillary Clinton in her bid for the White House.
Earlier in the campaign, in commenting on the incendiary sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama pointed out that African Americans who were active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s "continue to have a lot of anger and frustration" about race relations in this country.
I think the same is true for women. Those women who were active in the women's liberation movement of the 1960s continue to have anger and frustration about the obstacles women have historically faced and continue to face.
Something significant happened to the women's movement between the time Hillary's class graduated in 1969 and when their younger sisters left home in the early 1970s. It isn't surprising that 60 is a watershed age when it comes to support for Hillary.

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