Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our Three Minutes of FAME

Vi and I are the "stars" of a three-minute Associated Press video and a number of AP still photos.

Please click on this video link and hold tight for the unavoidable commercial that comes before our grand debut on national TV.

The photo above is one of those taken by the AP photographer.


We spent part of Monday and most of Tuesday morning with an AP videographer and a photographer. The story line was that we were on opposite sides in the recent Presidential election.

How did the press find us? Well, about a month ago, Vi's name was given to a Miami AP reporter (by a friend at The Villages Democratic Party) as a former Republican now supporting Sen. Obama. Vi was interviewed by phone and her name appeared in one paragraph of a story that ran in the Miami Herald and many other newspapers (To get links please Google: "Violet Glickstein" Obama).

About a week and a half ago we were asked if we'd like to be interviewed prior to the election for a more detailed version of her story. We agreed enthusiastically.

Lynne, from AP Miami, came to our home Monday afternoon. She wired us up and video-interviewed us in a very professional manner. The last scene of the AP video shows us behind our house, arm-in-arm, gazing at the pond, as I wonder where I'll sleep if the McCain-Palin ticket wins :^)

Lynne came back early Tuesday morning, along with John, an AP Orlando photographer. We had our morning coffee and some discussions as he and she took some more video and photos.

We then headed, by golf cart, to vote at the Mulberry Recreation Center. Lynne took more video at Mulberry and then departed because she had to compose her video report by a 2PM deadline. John stayed with us and composed captions and uploaded his photos from his laptop to the AP from our living room.

Both Lynne and John were delightful to have in our home and very professional. We are very pleased with the results of our experience with a national press organization.


Of course, Vi is more pleased with our new President-Elect Obama than I am :^) In the photo above she is wearing a button with "Barack Obama" in Hebrew letters.

She remembers the civil rights struggle with great emotion, as do I. It was a heroic effort by many people, black and white - not a few Jewish - to achieve racial equality.

In Martin Luther King's stirring words from 1963, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

As a young child I had an aunt who lived in Washington DC. I remember taking the Greyhound bus from New York City to DC with my parents to visit her. When the bus was about to cross the state border into Maryland it pulled over and the driver announced that "negroes" had to move to the rear because the State Troopers would stop the bus otherwise. They all complied without any fuss. I remember being angry but powerless to do anything about it. In DC we took public transportation and observed as blacks moved obediently to the rear. At that time, blacks could buy food at the snack bar at Peoples Drug Stores and most other restaurants in our Nation's Capitol, but they were not allowed to sit at the tables to eat it.

How far we've come in our lifetimes!

Although I was on the other political side in this election - hoping to elect our first female VP - I am very happy we have finally elected a black man to the highest office in the land. It is an historic event to have witnessed. President-Elect Obama is a wonderful speaker and writer and clearly a very smart guy who ran a brilliant campaign. I wish him the best and hope he has a very successful Presidency.

On the other hand, if you look closely at the photo above, I am wearing a "Sarah Palin 2012" button! I can hardly wait for the elections four years from now. We saw the appointment of a Republican as the first female Supreme Court Justice and as the first black Secretay of State. How historic it will be to see a female President, and I hope she will be a Republican!

Ira Glickstein

PS: In a previous posting to this Blog, I complained that the major media often show their bias by doing extreme close-ups of conservatives, making them look bald and more angry than necessary, while they generally show liberals full-face. Well, if you look at the AP video, sure enough, Vi is always shown full-face while the close-ups of me are extreme.

Here is part of what I wrote: "... have you noticed how conservatives are often shown on TV with tight focus on their eyes, mouths, and chins, making them look mean and even bald? Liberals seem to get a much kinder camera." [Guardians at the Gates are Gone See my Comment posted 14 Aug 2008]


Howard Pattee said...

Good show Ira and Vi. Without getting into the pros and cons of each candidate, how do you and Vi interpret the poll results that show education level clearly dividing Obama and McCain supporters?

Drop the subject and don't answer if the question causes any further marital discord!


Ira Glickstein said...

Howard: Thaks for your "good show" compliment on our AP Video.

As for marital discord, the only positive result of Sen. Obama's success for me is that I can live in the same house and share a bed with Vi. Had Sen. McCain (and especially Gov. Palin) won, I would have had to move to a different house and perhaps a different state :^)

You say: "...interpret the poll results that show education level clearly dividing Obama and McCain supporters..." [Emphasis added].

However, your poll results link has nothing to do with McCain - it is from last April and compares Obama and Sen. Clinton !!!

Your linked poll results are from the Democratic primaries and show that white college grads, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic, favor Sen. Obama over Sen. Clinton by about 20 points as compared to non-college grads (all are Democrats).

This is interesting since both Vi (Master's) and I (PhD) strongly favored Clinton in the Democratic primaries. That goes against the findings in the poll that college grads favor Obama over Clinton. (Perhaps when college grads are smart enough to get advanced degrees they get even smarter about presidential candidates? :^)

Ira Glickstein

PS: I'm sure you can find polls that show college grads (even Masters and PhDs :^) favor Obama over McCain and I believe those polls.

Obama is clearly the smartest in terms of academic intelligence and speaking and writing ability which is why the academic elite favored him over Clinton and McCain. On the other hand, those who work for organizations that actually produce products and services people want to buy, appreciate the importance of the kind of experience McCain (and Clinton) brought to the race.

Steve Ruberg said...

Mary Ann and I watched the video together and thought it was very good. She does not think AP made you look mean ... or bald! She says you appeared thoughtful, warm, and wonderfully able to handle differences with your wife.

I am a reformed Republican too. Good luck with the Sarah Palin campaign ... but doesn't that ensure that Obama will win a second term if she's the nominee?

Ira Glickstein said...

Steve Ruberg - Welcome back to the Blog and I hope you make more Comments and also start new Topics ("New Post").

Thank Mary Ann for saying I did not look mean or bald. Although Lynne the videographer was very nice to both of us she couldn't help but using extreme close-ups of me but not Vi. Of course, I knew she would do that so I tried to smile and not look as mean as I actually am! Next time you watch 60 Minutes or other news magazine TV, check out how they treat conservatives and liberals differently.

As for Gov. Palin, when newly re-elected Sen. Stevens is kicked out of the Senate for being a convicted criminal, Gov. Palin may appoint herself as his temporary successor [YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!] and serve in the Senate and do some foreign travel to get more legislative and foreign policy experience ahead of the 2012 election cycle.

Ira Glickstein

joel said...

Howard said:
Good show Ira and Vi. Without getting into the pros and cons of each candidate, how do you and Vi interpret the poll results that show education level clearly dividing Obama and McCain supporters?

Joel responds:
Yes, it was a good show. Vi revealed how emotionally attached she is to the Obama personage. My daughter is similarly inclined to blind faith in this messiah. He revealed a piece of his real nature with his appointment of Clinton moneyman Rahm Emmanuel as Chief-of-Staff. Check Rahm out on Wikipedia, if you want to see the gap between dream and reality. Obama is apparently confident that none of his dreamers will awaken.

I'm surprised that Howard could have completely erred about the polling data that he references. The fact that it only represents democrats in the Obama-Hillary primary cannot be mistaken. Was it a secondhand reference from an unreliable source? Is this another example of how fallible we are because we filter data to fit our preconceived notions. How else could this happen?

With respect -Joel

Howard Pattee said...

Sorry about the wrong graph. I was trying to keep it simple. My source was the Gallup Polls that show a lot more interesting data. The education results are essentially the same for Obama and McCain as my mistaken bar graph, but more detailed.

Ira, since you questioned it, note the advanced degree line.

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks for the link to the Gallup Poll results by educational level.

Very interesting:

High school or less -: Obama +9 over McCain

Some college - - - - : Obama +7 over McCain

College graduate - - -: Obama +6 over McCain

Postgraduate education: Obama +27 over McCain


1) Obama LOSES support as education increases from High school or less to College graduate.

2) Obama gains BIG SUPPORT as education increases to Postgraduate.


Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Joel apparently believes that Vi and his own daughter have not made a rational decision to support Obama. He sees their decisions as "emotional" and based on “blind faith in this messiah.” I can’t imagine how he knows so much about how other people’s brains work.

He also thinks Obama’s “real nature” is revealed by one appointment.

I suggest that more is revealed by
Steve Kroft’s interview with his campaign staff.

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard (and Joel): I'd like to avoid partisan political arguments to the extent possible on this Blog. However, since this election cycle is completed, with a solid result (thank goodness!), I guess we can spend some time on ancillary issues.

Howard asks (about Joel) "I can’t imagine how he knows so much about how other people’s brains work."

Joel can speak for himself, but the way I judge people is to listen to them and discuss things personally if it is me with my wife (or, I assume, Joel with his daughter).

That is how we judge a relative or friend's voting decisions as primarily rational or emotional.

If I'm judging a stranger like Sens. Obama, McCain or Biden, or Gov. Palin, I listen to them and read their record and material written by those who have talked to them.

That is how we decide for whom to vote.

I assume Howard makes his judgments the same way and none of us are infallible.

I share Joel's judgment that many people who voted for Obama, including some of our relations, did so for mainly emotional reasons, often remembering the horrid abuses of blacks in the past and the heroic efforts of the civil rights activists in our own lifetimes.

Even though I voted differently, I find emotional solace in the fact we have finally elected a black man to the highest office in the free world. (But, there are more women than blacks in the US and I hope to see one of them as VP or President before I die.)

As I said earlier, I judge Obama to be the most academically intelligent of the four as well as the best speaker and writer. That is why I doubt his story that he did not know about the "God Damn America" sermonizing of his long-time pastor even though the videotapes were on sale in the church lobby where he was a member for 20 years. That is why I believe he knew and did not care that Ayers/Dohrn were famous for actions he now calls "despicable" when he made common cause with them to funnel foundation and public money to them for educational projects that would help Obama politically. That is why he voted "present" 130 times in the Illinois senate to protect himself from upsetting constituents on either side of controversial issues.

All of this proves he is an astute politician - not a bad thing for a President to be - but he is not "the One" some of his more emotional supporters think he is.

But you don't have to accept my possibly partisan explanation (or Joel's) for Obama's actions, listen to liberal Democratic Rep. Nadler from a videotape of him at a synagogue event in Florida last week (as reported by ABC):


“Think of the history here,” says the six-term New York congressman. “You have a guy who's half-white, half-black. He goes to an Ivy League school, comes to Chicago ... to start a political career. Doesn't know anybody.

“Gets involved with community organizing -- why? Because that's how your form a base. OK. Joins the largest church in the neighborhood. About 8,000 members. ... Why did he join the church? ... Because that's how you get to know people.

“Now maybe it takes a couple years,” Nadler says, suggesting that soon Obama starts to think of Wright, “'Jesus, the guy's a nut, the guy's a lunatic.' But you don’t walk out of a church with 8,000 members in your district.”

Suggests a woman: “You don’t walk in though.”

“He didn't know it when he walked in, presumably,” said Nadler.

And then, the line that may haunt Nadler for four years or longer: “He didn't have the political courage to make the statement of walking out.

“Now, what does it tell me?” Nadler asked. “It tells me that he wasn't terribly political courageous. Does it tell me that he agreed with the reverend in any way? No. It tells me he didn't want to walk out of a church in his district.”


I want President Obama to have a successful Presidency for the sake of our Country. But, I worry about his worldview and experience. His whole work life as a community organizer, lawyer for an activist practice, and legislator has been devoted to taking foundation and public money from people who earned it and funnelling it to those who didn't, in return for their votes.

Past is prologue - we can assume more of the same.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

What have you conservatives got against enthusiasm? Emotional or not, Mikhail Gorbachev’s opinion is a clue to what many leaders are thinking:

"This is a man of our times; he is capable of restarting dialogue, all the more since the circumstances will allow him to get out of a dead-end situation. Barack Obama has not had a very long career, but it is hard to find faults, and he has led an election campaign winning over the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton herself. We can judge from this that this person is capable of engaging in dialogue and understanding current realities."

Not just the leaders, but the entire world is relieved, and many are overjoyed, that Obama had the political skill and that voters had the sense to displace one of the worst presidents in our history.

Ira says, “I want President Obama to have a successful Presidency for the sake of our Country.” Ira, if you and Joel really wanted that, why are you so focused on finding faults ― even before Obama takes office?

All I hear are a couple of stubborn conservatives who are sore losers.

joel said...

Howard criticizes:
Joel apparently believes that Vi and his own daughter have not made a rational decision to support Obama. He sees their decisions as "emotional" and based on “blind faith in this messiah.” I can’t imagine how he knows so much about how other people’s brains work.

Joel replies: There isn't much imagination required. Vi says in the video that she is "passionate" about this election. A little later she says that this election is "the most exciting of my life." Vi is certainly a rational person (so is my daughter). However, she chooses to tell us about her emotion. After the election, my daughter waxed rhapsodic over the election of Obama. She was broken hearted that we couldn't share this "greatest moment in history" with her.

To better understand the emotional (and by definition, irrational) content of this election, I think you should watch this interview by Charlie Rose. If you don't want to bother, here's an interesting exerpt.

MEACHAM: I was very struck watching the stagecraft -- and this comes out again and again in the project -- in Grant Park [Chicago], he walks out with the family, and then they go away. Biden’s back, you know, locked in the bar or something, you know --

(Rose laughs.)

MEACHAM: They don’t let him out. And have you ever seen a victory speech where there was no one else on stage? No adoring wife, no cute kid -- he is the message.

THOMAS: There is a slightly creepy cult of personality about all of this. I mean, he is such an admirable --

ROSE: ‘Slightly creepy cult of personality’?


ROSE: What’s ‘slightly creepy’ about it?

THOMAS: It just makes me a little uneasy that he’s so singular. He’s clearly managing his own spectacle. He knows how to do it. He’s a -- I think, a deeply manipulative guy -- you know, this could be a useful thing in a leader --

ROSE: How so is he ‘deeply manipulative’?

THOMAS: I think he's always in control, you know -- he controls events, events don't control him. He's a pretty calm guy. He seem to be able to get people to do pretty much what he wants.

I think the key moment, to answer your question -- when did he have this inking. I think it's when he was running for -- to be the president of the Harvard Law Review. He would spend a lot of time searching for himself, and deciding that he was a black man -- and he goes to Harvard and there's this politically-correct frought time, and there are conservatives and there are liberals. He manages to persuade all of them that he's on their side....And he realizes that people want to help him. They want to help him. It makes people feel good to help -- And this is an important insight for him. Oh my gosh, I have this gift. I have this knack. People are going to want to help -- want to help me. I'll let them help me, all the way to the White House. I'll bet you that was the first time. That's when he starts to write his memoir, and the memoir stops before he gets to Harvard....He leaves out the critical chapter, because I think the critical moment then is when he realizes he has got this gift, and he is going to ride it as far as he possibly can.

With respect -Joel

Steve Ruberg said...

Ira said, "I share Joel's judgment that many people who voted for Obama ... did so for mainly emotional reasons".

I disagree that "many" voted for Obama for emotional reasons. Could it be that after enduring eight years of George Bush that "many" of us just want a president who can speak in complete sentences? Could it be that "many" of us recognize that "drill, drill, drill " is not a good long term solution strategically or environmentally? Is it possible that "many" of us just recognize that we must work well with our global neighbors?

Colin Powell referred to Obama as a "transformational leader". I don't think that means that he's "the One". But I think he just demonstrated a better understanding of the situation we find ourselves in today on a variety of fronts. And I think Obama did the better job of communicating that he intended to lead the country in a different direction in response to several pressing issues.

Certainly the first black president is really important ... and emotional. Just showing up to be inaugurated he begins address the injustice of exclusion for many. He is a visible representation that "We the people" has real meaning to all. But to many of us he also communicated that he has a better grasp of the times in which we find ourselves - a better understanding of what must be done in regard to energy, the environment, terrorism, and foreign policy to name a few. Now we'll see if can really bring about the change that we heard so much about.

Ira Glickstein said...

Steve Ruberg - Great to have your continued participation - we need different views, especially those that differ from mine (in the serious and courteous way you do).

You quote only part of what wrote:

"I share Joel's judgment that many people who voted for Obama, including some of our relations, did so for mainly emotional reasons, often remembering the horrid abuses of blacks in the past and the heroic efforts of the civil rights activists in our own lifetimes."

As for how "many" people voted one way or the other for primarily emotional reasons, that depends upon what "many" means.

Can we agree that "many" (perhaps most) of us had some significant emotional reaction to the advent of the first black President?

Even me! I wrote in part:

"I find emotional solace in the fact we have finally elected a black man to the highest office in the free world.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Joel and Ira have missed my point. They have assumed that my doubts about their knowledge of how brains work implied that I doubted the existence of emotion and passion in people’s decisions.

Not only do I agree that people are passionate and emotional about Obama, but all theories of political leadership agree that arousing passionate responses is a necessary (but not sufficient) sign of a great leader.

In fact, every aspect of Obama’s character that Joel implies are bad, by quoting selections of the Rose interview of Meacham and Thomas can be found in books as good qualities of great leaders. For example, see the Introduction of Polelle’s Leadership. I think Joel’s selection is biased. To get a fair view, listen to the entire Rose interview.

What are Joel and Ira complaining about? Apparently they argue that emotion and passion are incompatible with facts and reason, and that if Obama arouses their passions they cannot also have good reasons for voting for him. That is nonsense, and a gratuitous judgment on what goes on in another person’s brain, as Steve and I attest. I think Joel and Ira are still focused on explaining why by their criteria Obama should have lost.

So I’ll stick with experienced leader’s evaluation of Obama’s potential, and give him the benefit of the doubt until we see the results. I hope that eventually Joel can share this “great moment in history” with his daughter and the rest of us.

Ira Glickstein said...

Howard asks: "What are Joel and Ira complaining about? Apparently they argue that emotion and passion are incompatible with facts and reason,..."

That is the nub of our argument and I think it is a fruitful area for further discussion.

Passion and emotion in human affairs often override facts and reason. That is not a bad thing in love and sports and war where we take great personal risks for the sake of the longer-term future. But, while some level of passion is necessary for success in any endeavor, it is generally best to follow cold facts and reason while running a business, doing an engineering design, or making any serious decision!

At the risk of opening up another can of worms, let me relate a couple of my favorite Chasidic stories. (The Chasids are ultra-Orthodox Jews that originated in the 1700's as a reaction against the overly "academic" Judiasm of the rabbis. Some of Vi's relatives are Satmar Chasids and, when we were living in New York I attended classes and contributed to Lubovitch Chasids whom I regarded as "our Moonies" for their work with Jewish students at Binghamton University.)


In the first Chasidic story, a rich landowner is returning to his estate, snug in his horse-drawn coach against the driving evening rain outside. He looks out the window and, in a sudden flash of lightning, happens to see a poor man with his wheelbarrow stuck in the mud.

Uncharacteristically, the rich man orders his driver to stop and help the poor man. The driver returns several minutes later. "He's just a poor Jewish farmer who took his produce to sell in the market and has some purchases for his family. The wheelbarrow is stuck in the mud and cannot be pulled out."

Against his normal instincts, the rich man gets out of his coach and wades through the mud. The three men try, without success, to move the wheelbarrow. He orders his driver to hitch up the horses and, with great effort, the horses pulling and the three men pushing, the wheelbarrow is dislodged and the poor man and his possessions are returned to his home. As a final act of charity, the rich man gives him a gold coin.

The rich man falls ill from this abnormal exposure to the elements and, a few days later, he dies!

His final judgement is like a court trial, with the angel of justice as the prosecutor and the angel of mercy his defense lawyer. The prosecutor produces reams of evidence against the rich man. He is cruel to his employees, pays them little, cheats in business, bribes the authorities, and so on and on. As the evidence against him is piled onto one side of the balance, weighing his future in heaven or hell, the rich man is deeply repentant and wishes he had acted more justly.

Then it is the turn of the angel of mercy, his defense lawyer. "Your Honor", he addresses the Judge, "Only two nights ago, my client gave a gold coin to a poor man."

He puts the gold coin on the other side of the balance. It does not move at all. "He also pulled his wheelbarrow out of the mud." The wheelbarrow is placed on the scale to no effect. "He pulled the wheelbarrow out of the mud with his horses." The horses go on the scale and it moves a bit! "And he took him home in his coach." The coach goes on the scale. "And the mud was all around."

As the defense attorney piles the mud on the scale the prosecutor says "Enough!!! I withdraw my case."

The second story also has to do with a rich man who, in retirement, befriends a retired gonif (thief). They play cards together and the rich man helps him out financially, and so on. The poor man dies and the rich man gives him a proper funeral. Two days later the rich man dies.

Again the final judgment is a trial. The angel of justice comes out with a large briefcase that he says holds all the evidence of how the rich man cheated his employees, was mean to his family, and so on and on. As he relates these moral failures and crimes the rich man is appalled at what he has done. He looks over at his defense attorney, the angel of mercy, and is supprised to see he has a smile on his face.

"Your Honor," says the defense, "Where is the evidence? Ask the prosecutor to put it on the scale of justice!"

The prosecutor opens his big briefcase and ... it is empty!

"Remember the gonif we processed through here a couple days ago?" asks the angel of mercy, "He stole all the evidence!"


These stories always bring tears to my eyes when I think about them. They remind me of the thief on the gallows with Jesus who is promised a Heavenly reward despite his criminal actions in life, just for having faith in the last minutes of his life.

But, is this any way to run a world or a civilization? Of course not.

I don't believe in a literal Heaven or Hell, but, if I did, I would expect the final judgment to be based on actions over your entire life and not just a bit of charity or faith or a good deed at the end.

Of course, the point of these stories is that it is never too late to repent. Repent now because we may die tomorrow or the next day. It is good for society if bad people change their ways. Stories like these may encourage some to do so.

Which brings us back to the question at hand. A candidate for the highest office should be judged by what he or she has actually done in life over an extended period in public service that proves dedication to our Country and experience with important issues and so on. Not simply a brilliant speaking and writing style.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

Ira exhibits another C- vs. L-mind difference that I think makes sense.

C-minds make judgments based on the past performance over a lifetime.
L-minds make judgments based on the potential of youth for the future.

If I judged my students on C-mind criteria, I would fail as a teacher.

Here is a TED talk about C- and L-minds that I think pretty much covers the conclusions of our own discussions, except that it does appear liberally biased to some conservatives. Remember, he is speaking to an audience that is mostly liberal. The comments are also interesting.

In this post-US-election week, TED is passionately discussing Jonathan Haidt's talk on the difference between liberals and conservatives.

joel said...

Howard said:

If I judged my students on C-mind criteria, I would fail as a teacher. Here is a TED talk about C- and L-minds that I think pretty much covers the conclusions of our own discussions, except that it does appear liberally biased to some conservatives. Remember, he is speaking to an audience that is mostly liberal. The comments are also interesting.

Joel responds:

Thanks for the citation. I think it was an excellent presentation. I especially liked the fact that he tied the prewired part of morality to evolution. Although he and the audience (or his expectation of the audience) appear to be L-minds, the theory itself seems pretty free of bias to me.

As for judging students, it seems to me that you aren't making allowances for ALL of Haidt's five criteria. A C-mind would also be concerned with fairness and therefore judge based upon the current course only. I've seen teachers (both L-minds and C-minds) make allowances, based upon excellent performance in previous courses. I condemn such a practice (although frankly I've occasionally been a beneficiary as a student).

On the other hand, the grade point average is cumulative. It's the appropriate measure for recruiters and graduate school admission. I must say that I've seen recruiters give somewhat more weight to the last year. I've also seen a recruiter overlook lackluster academic achievement based upon a candidate's impressive performance at the interview. Is the latter situation comparable to the selection of Obama over McCain?
With respect -Joel

Ira Glickstein said...

NOTICE: I have copied the above two Comments to a New Topic on Haidt's TED Talk.

Please continue the cross-discussion regarding the TED talk there.

You are also welcome to continue posting Comments to this Topic thread for all but Haidt's TED talk.


Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.