Showing posts with label Karin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karin. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Obamas as Role Models and Inspirations

You can see me on tonight's edition of BBC London news chatting about how Barack and Michelle can serve as inspiration to young people. I'm there alongside Tim Campbell, an inspirational entrepreneur and former winner if the UK version of The Apprentice (nice guy). My bit starts about 20 minutes and 35 seconds in.

Again, that link is here.

I can't really stand watching myself - and I know if my Mom were watching she'd notice how desperately I am in need of makeup. Sorry Mom!

Me on the telly today...

Just to shamelessly self-promote, slightly – I’m doing lots of media appearances this week for Democrats Abroad while the President is in town.

Here's an outline of my schedule:

Tuesday, May 24

14:00PM - BBC World TV: a stand up interview near Buckingham Palace

14:15PM SKY news: (another) stand up interview near Buckingham Palace

6:30PM - BBC London News (TV) - Portland Place

Wednesday, May 25

7:00 - BBC World Service - radio interview outside Buckingham Palace

17:30 - BBC Five Live - interview from Millbank studios

Feel free to invent creative drinking games or suggest obscure words for me to insert into comments.

And, by the way - to all my newish blog readers: if you live in the UK and support the President, you should definitely join Democrats Abroad. We do great stuff here.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Blog can be a lonely place...

Apologies for the metablogging (now I'm blogging about blogging about blogging... This could go on forever) but I wanted to take a moment to ask for your help with this blog.

You see, despite what some of my critics believe, I actually have a lot of other stuff going on in my life besides this blog. And making the time to do it is a bit of a labour of love that sometimes means I ignore my poor and patient husband, or get less than my requisite amount of sleep. I enjoy it. But, compared with my other online interactions on Twitter and Facebook it requires a lot more of my time and intellectual energy in exchange for less actual interaction with other humans. I watch my stats really closely, so I know that I do have some readers. But for the most part I don't know who you are or what you think about the stuff I put out there. Quite frankly, if you do like the stuff on the blog and if you would like more of it, I could do with a bit of positive reinforcement to help me keep it coming.

Here's what you can do to help:
  1. Comment. Please let me know what you think - I always keep my eye on comments and make an effort to reply. I really like it when you guys actually talk to each other or challenge me on something I said or ask a question.
  2. Tweet. If you're on Twitter, please use the green Retweet button at the top of each post to share stuff you like with your friends.
  3. Follow me on Twitter. I'm @karinjr - and I almost always tweet a link to the latest post shortly after posting, so if you follow me you can stay on top of what's new.
  4. Like the post on Facebook. There's a button to do this at the bottom of each post. Remember, if you read the blog on my Facebook feed and like the post there, it doesn't count in the overall "Like" rate for the post as recorded on the blog. So please click Like on the blog itself.
  5. If you read the blog on Facebook... It would also be great if you could click through to the main blog every once and a while just so your interest is recorded in my blog stats.
  6. Write a guest post. I never meant for the blog to be so entirely my own voice, and I'd love to hear from anyone who has something relevant to say. Contact me on Twitter if you are interested, or let me know in comments and we can speak offline. Be aware, the blog is for Obama supporters and written from an expat perspective, so content relevant to that is most welcome. And I can't promise to publish anything you write, for a number of reasons. But would love to hear from you.
  7. Send me leads! Read or heard something interesting lately? Send me links and suggestions.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Sometimes I forget... I have fans!

So, apologies for the silence on this blog - I assure you that I have been very far from silent in real life over the past month and a bit. Just differently loud.

But at tonight's Democrats Abroad Speakeasy (first Wednesday of every month here in London - all are welcome!) I had to face down multiple complaints about the lack of posting on this blog.

Flattered that you care - thanks guys! I'm back on the blogging beat - and to make it up to you, I'll promise to post at least once a day for the rest of the month.

That's right! Obama London is giving a special offer - Every Day in May! For the bargain price of... nothing! Enjoy.

I'm never sure how much personal information to include on this blog, as it was never intended to be about me or my life, but you should know that in the past month I have:
  • Been re-elected Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad UK (thank you all - I'm truly honoured to serve, and I really love this organisation)
  • Gone with my husband on a much needed 2 week vacation - hiking in the Peak District and Snowdonia.
  • Continued to learn the guitar (if you're really good someday I'll post video of my efforts at "The Times They Are A Changin").
  • Planned some big and interesting digital campaigns for clients.
  • AND - appeared yesterday on the BBC World Service to discuss the death of Osama Bin Laden and Obama's political situation.
On that last point, you can listen to me here - it was the Tuesday morning program (03/05/11), and my segment was about 46 minutes in.

I thought the first question that I was asked by the interviewer was laugh out loud ridiculous, basically: "So is Obama just going to change the subject to national security throughout the campaign?"

Ummm... so we should have NOT taken out Osama Bin Laden because... we don't want to change the subject from the economy?

As Obama said way back in the 2008 campaign, when John McCain wanted both candidates to SUSPEND THEIR CAMPAIGNS to DEAL WITH the economic CRISIS (scare caps sarcastic, please note)- "You know, Presidents have to be able to do more than one thing at a time."

 Keep doin what you're doing, Barack. Proud of you.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Do I write like a boy?

Because it's Friday... I just did an automated gender analysis of my most recent long blog post, and the blog codes as being weakly male.

Although it does add the caveat that my, "Weak emphasis could indicate European."

Oh. Right, then.

But then I noted that the site says you should remove any quotes from the sample content, as they will obviously be gendered according to their original author. "Aha," I thought - and stripped out the quoted comments from Obama's Facebook page.

With this, largely male-written, content removed my gender score was adjusted. To be slightly more male. And, apparently, a bit less European.

I am woman. Hear me blog.

Lots of media commentators who wrote about my blog recently assumed that I was male. I ascribed the assumption to cultural bias (anyone whose gender you don't know is assumed to be male). But perhaps they were just subconsciously absorbing the science of gendered language use.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Deep Thought: What being a Democrat means to me.

Today at the Democrats Abroad International meeting, one lovely young woman from France said that she was interested him hearing what being a Democrat means to us - why do we do it?

The next speaker after her complimented the presenation that had just been given, saying that having attended the earlier meeting to discuss it, which had apparently been lively, he felt that the final presentation was (probably not an exact quote): "A beautiful synthesis of complaint and argument into something really great."

I responded that that's what being a Democrat means to me.

A beautiful synthesis of complaint and argument.


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

I'm Baaack...

Hello loyal blog fans. I have not forgotten about you - just returning this week from an amazing 2 week vacation in the US. And Canada (Vancouver Olympics! Yay for maple leaves!).

Your regularly scheduled Obama administration and health care obsessing will resume shortly.

In the meantime, here's some tidbits for your reading pleasure:

Friday, 22 January 2010

Sibling Rivalry?

I've been having a very interesting Facebook discussion with my brother (say hi Tim), that I thought might be worth airing for my wider blogging public. (Both of you...)

Tim wrote:
My opinion is that the electorate is more sophisticated and independent than professional politicians give them credit for.

Lets be honest I have not even heard the Vice-Chair of Democrats abroad say that the voters made the wrong choice in MA.

I have heard much about how inconvenient the results are.

Here is a crazy idea... spend less time in defending the "Status Quo" and more time recruiting candidates that can lead and inspire the country. And damn it... why are the lawyers taking over politics and business there must be other options.
And I responded:
Tim, you haven't heard me defend Martha Coakley as a candidate because I can't. She ran a terrible campaign, she said things on the campaign trail that offended me and annoyed me. I think I understand why MA voters chose the way they did, and I don't blame them for it. iBut for the record, yes. I think the voters of Massachusetts made the wrong choice. I think they made a choice that is going to directly lead to a lot more people dying in America, cause the government's budget to explode (remember that health care reform is deficit REDUCING), and continue the unacceptable insecurity for American families. If you lose your job you should still be able to get health care. If you have a pre-existing condition, you should be able to get health care. You should be able to afford health care even if you don't have a lot of money.

The status quo in America is the opposite of that, and I hate it with a fiery passion that only groes every day. The status quo is that America is a country that pays more PUBLIC health insurance alone than most other countries, but doesn't cover more than 46 Million people, and has higher infant mortality and lower life expectancy than most countries in Europe. The status quo is that everyone lives with this as if it were somehow normal, whereas to me it's a national emergency or 9/11 scale happening a few times a year. I'm not defending the status quo, I was hoping and working, and trying very hard to change it. That may not be possible now, and I will never accept that as anything other than a terrible, terrible outcome.
Tim responds:
Amen Sister!

If the legislation under consideration was going to do all those things America would vote for it. I can guarantee it. If you can assure me that the compromise health care bill that was being jammed through the legislature was going to do those things I would fight for it.

The one concrete benefit of the bill is (was?), the elimination of selective underwriting. There is very little else I can point to as a concrete benefit. The cost benefit was not a strong case as the best anyone could hope for was to minimize the increasing costs of coverage. I am not sure even the strongest supporters of the bill want to hang their hat on those projections.

Apparently the citizens of MA do not believe that we must spend Trillions and create a huge government program to accomplish those goals.

If you want to get a proper Universal Health Care system in the United State then it should be a system that is good enough to get implemented without the level of compromise and strong handed tactics that we have seen in this process. "Super Majority or bust" is a tough way to illustrate the value of any legislation.

What is difficult to understand, or at least difficult to remember, is that those with coverage in the US are content with it. Coverage for those that have it (voters) is state of the art and it is paid by the employer (generally). That contented group is your starting point for any discussion of National Health Care. What Clinton missed and Obama has tried to circumvent is that Americans that vote... are OK with their health care coverage.

The people who do not like health coverage are business owners, the uninsured/uninsureable and to a large extent the health care system itself.

We must prove legislation can fix the major issues with health care before we trust a legislatively mandated paradigm shift. (1) Stop premium from growing at an unsustainable rate and (2) provide coverage to every American that wants to buy it. If you can show some positive results on those concerns, that would put a more comprehensive Health Care overhaul within reach. I can even offer pragmatic solutions to affect this change.

It took other countries years to get a system they are comfortable with. Why should it be any different here?


Just thinking out loud.
And finally, here's me again:
Thanks Tim - really useful and interesting thoughts.

I think you and I are largely on the same page on all the key points. The bottom line lesson for me here is that the country's problems will ALWAYS be un-solvable if we need a 60 vote Senate majority to pass anything. It's time we all (not just Democrats) start getting serious about insisting that a majority is a majority - and if that means that in a few years time a small Republican majority can push through legislation that I don't like, then you know what? Fair enough. Democracy only works if voters can see whether the policies that their politicians advocate actually work or not. THe current situation where voters can express a clear preference for one set of policies and those policies can never be delivered just leads to stagnation and a total lack of accoutnability. In any other national parliament in the world, this process would already have resulted in a law. And frankly, a better law than the one we have.

Now, to the current health care bill. This bill (even the watered down Senate version) would have covered, by CBO estimates, over 30 million uninsured Americans. It would have put strict regulations on insurance companies that means no one can be denied insurance for a pre-existing condition (that the simple answer, by the way, to "what does this bill do for me" - the day after it passed you would instantly be protected against the common sceniaro of getting sick and then having to desperately hope that you don't lose your job or insurance lest you face bankrupcy), it would create a national health care exchange that would for the first time create real competition in the industry - right now there's 90% consolidation within each state. And finally, by adding an individual mandate and carefully offsetting that with tiered subsidies based on income, it established for teh first time the principle that every American must be covered. The Senate bill isn't perfect, but I was genuinely excited about it. It would have been a major and irreversible step forward. I still hope we might take that step. We've come so far, falling at this hurdle... well, it would be pathetic.
One further thought - to Tim's question about "no more all or nothing" health care plans...

The reality is that this plan WOULD be an incremental plan - it definitely wouldn't solve every aspect of the crisis in one go, it would just establish a framework for future tweaks and innovation. The New Yorker had a really good article recently about how health care in this sense may be like agriculture in that it will always need hands on management and constant adjustment to keep it working.
But, to begin solving this problem there is no way to avoid bold action, because the types of small improvments that would be superficially easy to make can cause the whole of the existing system to collapse. Most crucially, simply making it law that insurers can't deny people for pre-existing conditions - which would be the simple and fair thing to do - would massively increase costs for everyone because the incentive then would be to not buy health insurance at all until you get sick. The system only works if healthy people are paying into the system too so that it will be there for them when they get sick. That's why the individual mandate is important.
It's confusing and complicated and difficult. But it's vital, and I'm not prepared to give up. Ever.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Karin Robinson: Media Hound

I was interviewed several times yesterday for various different radio broadcasts about the Massachusetts Senate result. Fortumately, the BBC lets you listen to broadcasts online for up to a week after they air, so here's me on, respectively:
  • The BBC World Service's News Hour. My bit is 10 minutes inf. For this segment, they asked me to sit down and speak into a microphone for about a minute in the studio - no questions being asked just, "tell us about the election, and talk about what went wrong". Then the edited it together. They'd already interviewed the Republican before handhand - his position was as best I could tell, that Scott Brown won because we stopped torturing prisoners. Or something.
  • The BBC World Service's World Update. My bit starts 30 minutes in. This was a 7 minute live segment with me opposite Republican Guy (Charlie Wolf, for the record...).
  • BBC Radio Oxford Bill Heine's show. My bit should be about 55 minutes in. Did this one by telephone from my desk at the office.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

My First Blog Post EVER! Those were the days...

Wow. On a whim, I thought I would check to see if my short-lived first blog - the one I started way back in 2003 and used for a combination of political and personal perspectives for a very short period of time until... like most blogs... I trailed off.

Well it IS still up there, and reading it again it's funny to see how much my perspective has remained pretty consistent across time.

My very first blog post ever was inspired by W's visit to Britain at the time, when he was give the Royal treatment (literally) but kept far away from the many thousands of protestors.

So here's how I got started, on day one of My Life as Blogger:

So I live here in London, and I have a lot of friends back home in Washington who have been asking me whether I was at the demonstrations against Bush's state visit. I wasn't. But here's what I think of the visit itself and the protest.

The visit was a stupid idea - no American President has ever before been honoured with a state visit, hosted by the queen, and the time to do this would be when there was a genuine spirit of togetherness and pride in the "special relationship" that these two countries have. From what I have seen back home, Americans are feeling especially warm towards Britain at the moment and Tony Blair is becoming a sort of national hero. That's great - I'm glad that Americans are warming up to a leader who is anti-death penalty, staunchly pro-national health care, willing to invest huge amount of money in education (and not just create an unfunded mandate) and public services. I'm a little surprised, but I'm glad...

Friday, 12 June 2009

It's All About ME - the Self Obsessing Post

Hello friends,

Apologies for the blog silence for the last week and a bit. I think I might has well come clean and let you all know I've been having a bit of a mope. For nearly 3 months now I've been suffering from intermittently sever lower back pain that makes it hard for me to travel, to sit down, to stand still, or pretty much to do anything except lie on my back and occassionally walk slowly. I've had lots of very kind advice and recommendations from many folks about what might help, and I've tried almost all of them. But right now there's no relief in sight and... to be honest, it's been tough.

So I thought I ought to let you all know.

In my life outside this blog, I've been working as a free-lance consultant offering communications and campaigning advice as well as activist training to organisations here in the UK. I'm loving the work, and I'm meeting some wonderful people through it. But, again, my health issues are limiting the amount of time I can spend on it - and I can't sit through even a simple lunch meeting without a lot of pain. So obviously, developing my little business isn't going as well as it might if I were able to do exotic things like going to restaurants and typing at a desk. (Right now, as most of the time these days, I'm lying on the floor with my computer on my knees. It's not dignified, but my cats like it.)

I really love writing this blog. As you all have no doubt noticed, I'm sort of an opinionated person, and it's been really fun to get my thoughts out there in pretty close to real time for my small but loving group of readers. I'm not giving up on it, and hope to do more with it in the very near future. But for now, I can't promise the same level of frequency in the posting as I've been used to doing in the past. Que sera sera. I hope you'll stick with me for when the good times return.

Earlier today I was trying to remember when I started this blog - I went back and dug out the very first post, and it turns out it was a little over a year ago - May 18, 2008. So I missed my own first Blogiversary. Curses.

Here's a reminder of how this blog got started - from the very first post:

There is a longstanding tradition in online debates that as soon as one party in a discussion invokes the spectre of Nazi-ism, the discussion is over and the other party may claim victory.
So I am ready to claim victory over the Republicans today in the ongoing discussion about US foreign policy. In case you missed, it the double-act of George W. Bush and John McCain have this week decided that Barack Obama's foreign policy approach of active engagement withour enemies through robust diplomacy is somehow equivalent to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler. Uh huh.

How do we even begin to unpick the levels of nonsense in this thinking? (In this analogy, does W somehow fancy himself standing the place of Churchill? Because apart from the thousand other ways in which they differ, there's also the small point that Winston actuallywon his war.... But never mind.)

Happy belated Blogaversary to me. And many moooore...