Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Final Debate in Cleveland, Ohio

The final Clinton-Obama Debate took place in Cleveland, Ohio, the place I was born and lived in for 29 years. From my point of view, Clinton won the debate on many fronts in spite of the fact that the media and her questioners are biased against her. When Hillary mentioned the fact she is usually asked the first question, I understood instantly what she meant. By answering the first question, Hilary gives Obama factual information about the issue that he may not possess straight away as Hillary seems to do. It is easier to criticize the first answer, then it is to answer the question in all its fullness which Hillary does very well. This is not to say that Obama can't answer any of these questions, but it does make one take pause wondering how well he could answer most of the first questions if he was given the opportunity. The questioners played softball with Obama for most of the debate.

Clinton hammered out her position on health care in understandable terms. From my vantagepoint, she won this debate because I agree with her position that health care should be mandatory for everyone which makes universal health care possible. Giving a person a way out of having health care coverage is risky and not wise policy.

Clinton was stronger when it came to the question about Farrakhan and anti-Semitism. The question was for Obama, although it was a positive that Clinton did add her own take on the issue and forced Obama in a way to take a stronger position than he did at first blush when he said he would denounce Farrakhan's anti-Semitism and his position on Israel. After Clinton spoke, Obama said he would both denounce Farrakhan's anti-Semitism and reject Farrakhan's support.

Clinton made points I felt in her answer about Putin's successor and Putin's continued influence as the real leader of Russia and the Russian people. It was a first question and she did an admirable job on this question. Obama basically repeated what Clinton said and reiterated his agreement on the subject. When talk of Kosovo came up, Obama went as far as to say that the Clinton administration had done an admirable job of putting procedures in place to deal with the various problems that might emerge in that part of the world. Was Obama just being magnanimous? Whatever Obama was doing or feeling, it pointed up the positives of Hillary Clinton's knowledge and history in foreign affairs.

I also feel in some ways the differences between Clinton and Obama were neutralized by this debate when it came to Iraq, NAFTA,and the economy. Clinton was effective when she continued to say she would be a fighter or would fight to make change happen implying she would not just talk about change, she would make it happen and that she knew how to do it. I think Clinton won the effectiveness argument. She will be the one to make things happen and she made me feel that she could do it. Obama made the point that he could persuade the public to believe in his policies. The majority of the public has wanted health care all these years and it hasn't happened. We are already persuaded on this score so I give Clinton more points in presenting herself as someone who can get things done.

Sharon Raphael


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Microsoft Pioneer Employee Bequeaths 65 million to LGBT & AIDS groups


Try this more in depth article in the Seattle Times (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004197961_weiland24.html)

Ric Weiland, an early pioneer employee, high school classmate of Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen recently died and bequeathed 65 million of his 160 million dollar estate to various LGBT organizations which include The Pride Foundation of the Pacific Northwest, HIV/AIDS groups, including Lambda Legal; the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; and Amfar, and the Foundation for AIDS Research.

Weiland who was Microsoft's first software developer had a history of depression. His death was a suicide at age 53 in 2006. He left behind his partner Mike Schaeffer. Three other close family members members had died previous to his own death. This included his father, mother, and a sister.

"He was a member of the Pride Foundation's board of directors from 1997 to 2002, and helped win the foundation's fight to get General Electric Co. to include sexual orientation in their non-discriminatory policy, Haberman said.

"He really understood ... the range of issues that strengthen the gay community," she said. "He will be tremendously missed, just because of who he was. ... Everyone who met him always liked him." SeattlePi.com