Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Building Social Muscles

Empire State

I had an appointment with someone in that building earlier in the day. After that was over, I decided to walk north. By the time I was done, I was at the northern tip of Harlem, by the water. I was wearing my new shoes, decent leather, otherwise I had been wearing my funky pair that I had bought for five bucks: Third World pride. I took the three train back. It is like you put on a white shirt for an event in a black neighborhood, you put on funky shoes for an event in Manhattan.

Bye Bye Drinking Liberally

Rudy's is not going to work for me.

Obama 2008

I go to Obama 2008 events. I participate more, learn names, engage in more talk, build social muscles. That will be better. You also end up with varied locations, a few different boroughs.

Justin Krebs

He obviously does not feel the Harvard thing for Barack. He instead feels the white guy thing for John Edwards and Chris Dodd. That is not Jewish angst, that is white guy angst.

Martha Kenton

When I crunch the numbers I realize I have spent more time in Kentucky than in the village I call my homevillage, kind of. But Berea and Lexington are night and day. Berea is Bible Belt with a strong small academic town feel. Lexington is a cute city, cosmopolitan. Martha is from Lexington. She knows the street I lived on for about six months after Berea, less than six.

She gave some time to when Cesnik ran for City Council. He had also been a Deaniac from 2004.

Barackface: Eric Cesnik For City Council
Barackface: Some Suggestions To The Cesnik Campaign

I think I have a lingering interest in the committee she is on, Women's Issues. If you are into group dynamics, gender is a goldmine as a topic. The first meeting I mostly listened. My enthusiasm for 2.0 might not have been shared though. Most people are like, I am here to socialize, and if I am here for an hour, that is all the time I have for it, not before or after. Understandable.

I guess I come from a little more hard core political action angle. NYC is the progressive capital of America and the world. If you are a group of women in NYC gungho on women's issues, I think you have an audience out there in small town America. Got to reach out to them.

But it's a free country, and I should put out my ideas in person at a meeting, and if the idea is rejected, I should just accept it. I think there is some discomfort among some people about putting your photos and videos online. Some people feel uneasy, maybe even a little unsafe: privacy issue.

At this last meeting, one person present said, "This is Hillary country."

I said, "I am a hard core Barack Obama guy in the city, but the good news is I am rooting for Hillary for vice president."

Martha stepped in saying she was supporting Edwards out of "Southern pride." She did that for the only man present. Only women do things like that, at least most of the time. Guys don't even notice half the time.

Martha Outed Kenton And Women With Issues

It was curious to me though as to why the meeting was at what would be church time. Was there a method to the madness?

I am still undecided about this next event of Martha's committee. Is this one where you get to meet local women politicians? That would be great. Like that woman who beat Cesnik, for example.

Thursday, February 7

6:00 pm

Planned Parenthood and DL21C's Women's Issues Committee present

A Night Out with Women in Politics
The Zipper Factory, 336 W. 37th St. between 8th & 9th

Please RSVP!

At some level I feel this committee might also fizzle out for me. I have no interest in event planning. There might not be enough policy talk. Or the chemistry might go awry: that is always the interesting part. Or I might not even show up. Or Martha might try to act the bridge back to DFNYC. That is always a possibility.


I am surprised that organization has not endorsed Deaniac Barack.


I see a few different organizations in the rear view window. DFNYC, MYD, Drinking Liberally, and DL21C. Although Martha's committee is affiliated with DL21C, it is a satellite to the planet.

Somewhere along the way it struck me of all the people at all the organizations in the city, perhaps Caputo is one who might run for office at some point. Or maybe not so. I would still bet on it, but running for office is one of those things noone can decide for you. My judgment comes from a five second snapshot here, a five second snapshot there. But then all that might be rearview window stuff by now. I find that curious.

She has a way of wielding power, an instinct for it.


I got to know so many people running so many organizations, I have been to so many events, including Obama events. Caputo stands out as major office candidate material like nobody else. That is just a statement my political eyes want to make as if to show off my political instincts.

She could be the woman Barack.

Or I might be totally off the mark. Politics might just be a good, nice thing to do on the side.

My Hood

You walk one way and it is a Hasidic neighborhood, you walk another way and it is Little Bangladesh, best of both worlds. Yesterday evening I went to a local eatery and struck a conversation with a random Bengali over tea. I face a language barrier. I understand very little Bengali, and speak none at all. And we could barely follow each other's English. But it felt good afterwards, like nourishment.

Free Hand Exercise

It can feel like meditation. I am lucky in the slim department, the high metabolism department. The free hand exercise is a core component to building social muscles.


That would be the nonstructured way to do it. Meet people, build social muscles. I like big, rowdy kinds. Not small, gentle kinds. Opal and Red Lion are good stuff.


I will take a street parade over some event at some bar any day. That is why summer is so much fun. I remember this parade I went to in the Bronx. Uh, that was so amazing.

Street Food

Street food makes you street smart.

Never A Corporate Job

I have never held a corporate job in America. I think the number one reason is I find it eery that so many people end up with this very narrow range of expressions on their faces. Easy, careless, smiles, loud laughs, mischievous looks go out the window. I have seen it happen to a high school classmate of mine who is a Citi guy.

So it gets unnerving when a political organization starts acting like it were some kind of a corporation. No, political events are like going clubbing. That is as far as I am willing to go.

Cloud Group Dynamics

That is what it was for Nepal work, for Obama work, and the young tech startup is an extension.

I love New York City, but I have to think Global South and so my career necessarily has to be online. I have to think of my people, my Global South people, in an active way, on a daily basis.

New York City

This is one place in America where it is the world at your doorsteps. If you are someone of my background, the outer boroughs are so very endlessly fascinating. It is like going on a world tour.

There is rest of America, and there is New York City. It is as if NYC were a different country altogether.

When I walk the streets, the city gets me. I see the full spectrum in my mind, from my homevillage to Times Square.

Third World To Times Square

My village I am going to call the center of the unknown universe, because it is your typical Third World village. Times Square claims to be the center of the known universe.

You get to call me Global South.


I was thinking about him today. He is a little bit in the doldrums right now. This guy is high on intellectual intelligence, relatively low on emotional intelligence. He is right, the point is not that he is not right. And he likes to take on big issues.

I have met Paterson in person and of course Pollak. These two are smart people, sure, but they happen to be high on emotional intelligence, both. If Spitzer were to form a close troika with these two - closer - I think these two will more than compensate in the emotional intelligence department.

But then nobody thought Bill Clinton was low on emotional intelligence, and the dude had rough years in 1993 and 1994.

Christianity, Buddhism

In the Christian worldview, it is your one soul, unique to eternity, it is one way street. In the Buddhist worldview, things get recycled endlessly. I think the two worldviews collide in social settings. In one worldview, you have hit the wall, crossed the line, in another you take what you take, you throw away what you throw away, and you start all over again, you recycle. It can feel like a culture clash, or it can feel like a power differential. I have the power to say I am done with you. Now, here I go off to eternity.

Observations like these on culture are also what get me about gender talk. They are fascinating to watch unfold. Women are hardwired different, and I mean in the mind. They see richer textures on the face. They bring different perspectives. And the gender power differential in general out there in the world is something to look at.


NYC thinks like a bank. From here to Silicon City is to be a major cultural challenge. You are trying to change the culture. The bank culture asks for a 50 page business plan. From there how do you move on to ideas scratched on napkins?

Barack Is Deaniac From 2004: His Anti-War Image Is No Fairytale
Progressive Political Religion: No Place For Superpowers
Tackling Race As An Issue The Average Person Way
Why Bill Clinton Is Misbehaving
An Ode To White Women: I Think I Am Going Hispanic
5.0 With Manhattan Organizations

Amardeep Singh: Tunku Varadarajan: on Amartya Sen, Racial Profiling Mr. Sen, now a professor at Harvard, was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in economics for his contributions to the field of welfare economics. He has a CV so seriously good that everyone, surely, knows of his being (in his previous post) the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, the apex of the British academic pyramid. Everyone, that is, except a British immigration official at Heathrow Airport a few years ago who, on looking at Mr. Sen's Indian passport and then at his home address on the immigration form--"Master's Lodge, Trinity College, Cambridge"--asked whether Mr. Sen was a close friend of the Master. This question made Mr. Sen enter into a private contemplation, rather self-indulgent in the circumstances, of whether "I could claim to be a friend of myself." As the seconds ticked away without answer, the immigration officer asked whether there was an "irregularity" with Mr. Sen's immigration status. And can you blame the man? Yet Mr. Sen--in his amused-but-chippy recall of the episode--says that the encounter was "a reminder, if one were needed, that identity can be a complicated matter." Well of course it can, professor. But in the 700-odd years of its existence, Cambridge had never before had a nonwhite head of college. Cannot immigration officers be just as empirical as economists?
Howard Dean Was Grassroots 1.0, Barack Is Grassroots 2.0
Time: Tuesday, February 5 at 7:00 PM
Duration: 4 hours
Host: katherine bernhardt
cafe enduro (Brooklyn, NY)
51 lincoln road
Brooklyn, NY 11226
Directions: take the Q train to Prospect Park station, exit Lincoln road. cafe is just to the left.

Time: Thursday, January 24 at 6:30 PM
Duration: 7 hours
Host: Martin Sutler
Madame X (Upstairs Lounge) (Manhattan, NY)
94 West Houston Street (between LaGuardia and Thompson)
Manhattan, NY 11217

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