Archive | December, 2008

Sadness after Christmas

29 Dec

I’m back home, and while I love being home and being around Rela and Bryan and all, I can’t help but feel a little sad after I leave my family. This Christmas I got to spend a week with my family, and almost each day I got to see all of my 12 nieces and nephews and all of my brothers and sisters, not to mention parents.

This really has been the best Christmas ever, and last night I got to share the last day of opening gifts with Bryan and Rela. It was perfect.

But I still can’t help to wish that my family was closer. As a gift I hired a professional photographer this year to take our family portrait. I couldn’t have been more on target.

Entire family, minus 1 brother in like who had to work

Entire family, minus 1 brother in like who had to work

Caroline Kennedy is no Hillary Clinton

17 Dec

Alright, there’s probably tons of people out there in cyberworld that are great fans of Caroline Kennedy, and she seems to be a wonderful lady, fully capable of sitting on boards to raise money for lots of worthy causes. But what is sad is seeing these political commentators try to bring down Hillary’s experience in order to make Caroline seen more qualified. I don’t understand why Caroline would be entitled to be handed (yes, it would be HANDED, Hillary ran for her seat) a top office job. No, I’m not from New York, but Senators are not supposed to represent only the state they were elected from. That’s why there’s the House of REPRESENTATIVES and the Senate. The Senate is supposed to work for the good of the entire country, not just their respective homes, which is why every state has two Senators. So yes, everyone in the country should be in tune as to what is happening in New York because it affects us all.

Lets be completely frank, people love to hate Hillary Clinton and they cannot stop loving the Kennedys. Hillary Clinton is a divisive figure, there’s no way around that. As her SNL depiction showed, people think she’s shrill and over bearing. People know Hillary’s hands were in business a lot more than even Bill would care to admit while in the White House. So I honestly feel that anything that Hillary gets she earned. People don’t hand her positions because of who she is, if anything they avoid her because of who she is. She’s simply not likable. Cue Caroline Kennedy. Really? Do I need to state anything about why people like lovable Caroline? She even had a pop song written to her, for goodness sake! And her famous father and name aside, she has raised a great deal of money for lots of really good organizations, and unlike Hillary she’s actually lived in New York for a great deal of her life. But so have many other wonderful people.

So the argument is that Hillary’s only qualifications was that she was married to a former President, Caroline was the daughter of a former President, so what’s the big deal? They’re both lawyers, they both advocated for “things”, and before the Senate seat they never held office. First, let state how much I detest career politicians. I think that Senate seats, be it local or national, should be filled with people who have worked as something other than politicians most of their lives. It should be filled not only with lawyers, but with doctors, teachers, throw in some students. Real people who have real expertise at the things they are asked to govern about. So the fact that neither Caroline nor Hillary spent most of their life as politicians is actually good news for me.

The argument is that they were both lawyers. Here’s the thing though, Hillary, until the day that Bill Clinton was elected President, was earning more than her husband, and was an in high-demand lawyer, was a law professor, and the first female full partner to the Rose Law Firm back in the 70’s. Caroline has a degree in law but has not praticed, and no one is yet to be able to point to a full time job that she’s ever had outside of interning decades ago. As far as politics, until Obama Caroline had never been involved in a political process, been head of governing body, or developed an agenda she wanted to pursue. That’s the thing, if she were inclined to govern you know that she would have been the head of whatever committee she had wanted to because of her political connections. Had she really wanted to get her hands dirty she could have served on the Board of Education, or some sort of committee in educational reform. Hillary Clinton had served on the Children’s Defense Fund as a lawyer that helped set policy for children’s rights, was part of the impeachment inquiry staff to the House Judiciary Committee, which ultimately brought down Richard Nixon. And while Caroline sat in boards raising money for schools, Hillary Clinton has published scholarly articles explaining the rights of children in order to move the agenda of Child Protection and Children’s rights. Then the unimaginable happened; She married Bill Clinton, he got elected as Governor, and she became branded as the “First Lady.”

But that’s what I admire about Hillary Clinton. First ladies are supposed to decorate the house their husbands live and govern in, and take up platform (not unlike Miss Americas). But Hillary wasn’t that sort of first lady in either Arkansas or in the White House. She headed committees to better the rural health care of people in Arkansas, worked on several issues with child rights, and she fought to reform school size and teacher testing in the state she was First Lady of. She didn’t set back and let her knowledge go to waste, she got in there. In the White House, she attempted to do the same. Even Bill Clinton would say that if he was elected people would be getting two leaders for the price of one. And as soon as they got into the White House she set up her own office and her own agenda, and immediately began to work on health care reform. Back then Congress was controlled by Republicans and they laughed at her for basically the same health plan Obama is proposing. D.C. was hellbent on putting the little lady in her place, and to some extend they succeeded. Most of her policy work had to now be done behind the scenes as to not make herself a liability for the President.

Caroline Kennedy has sat on a number of charitable boards in the past few decades, and not much else. People don’t know why she’s even interested in public office. To push what agenda? Health care reform? Bailout money to large corporations? To be the new star of the Democratic power which just recently learned that star power is more important than anything else in D.C.? She could be a wonderful Senator. She could have a wealth of knowledge and a work ethic, which is what Hillary is known for, that is unmatched. But how do we know that? And what entitles her to be handed a powerful Senate seat without having to run for it or without knowing what kind of Senator she would be?

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Governor of New York to hand that seat to someone who has a history of public service, not necessarily a politician, but someone who has been able to show an agenda and work discipline, and let Caroline run for the seat, just like any other untested hopeful? I did not think Obama was ready to govern this nation, but he ran for his office and he certainly earned the win, and commanded respect not only from me but from everyone across the country because of what he was able to accomplish. So did Hillary, she earned her seat by running for it. I cannot help but to think that if that Senate seat is handed to Caroline Kennedy it would only serve to show that qualifications are overrated.

Sonic Blast

17 Dec

I have digged Sonic’s commercials since they started out on this The Office-esque type of road. I got from Noe at Twitter this link to Sonic’s commercials. My favorite is the last one…”To the Movies!” I love good funny commercials…and endearing commercials. They make those agonizing seconds before your show comes back on so much easier to deal with.

Am I Qualified To Be Myself?

16 Dec

So I’m sitting in a meeting with the Lt. Governor’s “people”. I’m listening to a conversation about the state’s position on lowering the drinking age to 18. I get excited about a point, give my two cents, and feel like moron when I hear “the Lt. Governor doesn’t believe in harm-reduction”. I had a valid point, but I feel like a little kid, playing with grownups. More and more I’ve had to come to terms with my lack of age and experience while trying to feel that I’m qualified enough to sit in that room.

To be completely honest I don’t feel qualified. Sometimes I’m doing my job, like writing 5-year objectives for a grant for CDC and think to myself “why would anyone trust me with this stuff?!” There’s just this overwhelming feeling that I’m not equipped to deal with the bureaucracy and the politics involved. And I can’t help but to let it get to me that everyone else with my job has gotten their Masters, while I’m still trying to get one, and they certainly weren’t hired right out of school. Heck, everyone else in my level either qualifies for retirement or will in a few years (or months). God knows I don’t know half of the acronyms people use in Public Health. Everything is just a damn acronym, and there’s no manual that explains what they all mean. You just sort of have to pick up, somehow, what the heck they’re talking about.

But then there’s this part of me that feels like I’m not at my job because I met the education qualifications but because I bring something new. And I have good ideas. I use good judgment and I work hard. Sometime that gives me a really good boost of ego, enough to get to speak up at meetings when I have ideas, and enough to defend them when someone questions me.

But what I don’t have is the ability to look back at mistakes that I’ve made and feel like I’ve “lived” through them. I afford myself no mistake, and keep chugging a million miles a minute, taking up every spare project, because I cannot do less now, I have something to prove. What I lack in education and age I make up in know-how and work ethic. Sort of. At least I want to give the appearance that I do. Secretly, I sweat at meetings, hoping I don’t do anything stupid that shows how insecure I am that I may screw up.

The sad thing is that because I love what I do is why I need to be perfect at it. I’m not unhappy, and no one particularly is tough on me, other than myself. And maybe I’ll never live up to my own standards of what I believe a “qualified” person should be.

If I had one wish…

15 Dec

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and one of the perks of beginning to rise in the ranks of public health (is that even possible?) is that I get to travel across the US for meetings or conferences.  Because we grew up basically low-income in Hawaii, travelling outside the state was never much of an option.  Now as I get to travel I feel a sense of guilt of being able to see these places that my family hasn’t been able to.

The first time I went to NYC I thought of how much this place made me feel like I was in a Movie.  I’ve certainly seen enough movies based in that city to feel like everything was a part of a big movie set.  But I couldn’t help but to wonder what my sister would think of Spamalot, or what my dad would feel like on top of the Empire State Building.  I wanted my mom to tour San Francisco with me, and I wanted my brother to eat at that winery restaurant in Napa.  Oh, and I certainly wanted my grandpami abuelito to see the redwoods in Muir Woods. 

As my parents get older, my nieces and nephews become less interested in child-like things, I cannot shake that sense of guilt that I get to see things that they may never get to see.  I tell myself that what I see they’ll get to see, someday.  I bring souvenirs back, lots of pictures, and try to encourage them to go one day.  I’m not in a position to help them go with me, but perhaps as I fly more I can begin to amass a small number of free air tickets so I can take one or another here and there.  And they have been travelling more and more, to Vegas, to California, New Mexico, etc.  But I wish I could show them everything I’ve seen, and give them everything that’s ever been given to me. 

The one exception was my trip to Orlando earlier this year, when my mom decided to go with me.  I was staying at a posh hotel and knew that I would be sitting with remorse in my room if I didn’t have someone with me.  My mom put the plane ticket on her credit card and we had an unforgettable time with Shamu, Spongebob, and Mickey.  We’re not poor like we used to be anymore, but now with children, jobs, and “responsibilities”, my family just can’t pick up and travel.  I wish one day I were rich enough to take them to see what I’ve seen.  That’s my one wish.

This is my 4th blog… sad isn’t it?

14 Dec

So I have emigrated from xanga to wordpress.  And, yes, this is my 4th attempt at a blog.  The first one was on blogger, way back when Britney Spears had “done it again”.  I stayed there for a few years, but then began my own domain with typad with a secret blog, which was lost to cyberspace (and cyber pirates).  Then it was off to Xanga, to basically keep in touch with friends.  Now that xanga has become yet another version of myspace, I feel it’s time to move.

Not only is it time to move but it’s time to write again.  There are way too many times that I sit on my desk at work wondering wishing to complain to someone.  Too many things that I see online that I want to share.  Bryan has basically become immune to my rants, so I need a way to capture them. 

About Obama, and Oprah, and about The Soup, and about that crazy Bromance that’s about to happen.  I’ve recently been getting into Twitter, but that only allows me a few seconds of ranting bliss.   I need more. 

If someone wants to read this, great, but really this is more so that in a few years I can read back my thoughts.  That’s the way you do process eval for public health programs.  You track pre and post and changes in the middle. Then you can do process evaluation by taking a look at changes due to the intervention.  Yes, the previous few sentences made sense in my head.