Inauguration Luncheon in Statuary Hall

January 15, 2009
Statuary Hall viewed from south (Wide-angle)

Statuary Hall viewed from south (Wide-angle)

So I’ve received my assignment for Inauguration.  I’m working at the Luncheon that follows the swearing-in, in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.  My role, along with about 20 other White House Social Aides, is to escort guest to their seats and distribute gifts to them.  You can see the menu here.  A map of the statues in Statuary Hall is available too.

Three lucky Social Aides will present flags to the POTUS and VPOTUS on behalf to Senator Feinstein.  They will also present a framed photo of the swearing-in (it gets printed and framed in about 30 mins) at the luncheon.  Approximately 150-200 guests will attend…the guest list is not releasable to the public.

Here’s a blog post from the LA Times that provides a snarky take on the Inauguration timeline:

“…Suffice to say, on this Jan. 20 while the big shots are munching seafood stew and duck and washing it down with apple cinnamon sponge cake, you won’t be able to buy pheasant on D.C.’s sidewalks.

While lovely music plays and stone statues statuesquely peer over diners’ shoulders, Congressional leaders will suck up to the president for possibly the last time by giving him some gifts. Don’t tell him, but they include an already-framed photo of his swearing-in, the Capitol flag that was flying at that moment and a one-of-a kind engraved crystal bowl to fill with popcorn in the White House theater…”

Hope you watch on C-SPAN.

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Thinking about polling and prediction

October 28, 2008

I have a few theories hunches on polling this cycle…and here’s how I see the final electoral map (Montana is the only true toss-up in my opinion)  OBAMA/BIDEN=326; MCCAIN/PALIN=209; UNKNOWN=3

Myles' final prediction for election night

Myles' final prediction for election night

1.)  Obama is overperforming on some polls because the people who support him are proud to say “Yes, I’m voting for Obama”; McCain supporters probably are less likely to respond at all to pollsters

2.)  Obama is underperforming on some polls because they don’t take in account cell-only voters. I have a detailed post on this subject on my personal blog.

3.)  Obama is underperforming on some polls because they don’t contact newly registered voters and there are numerous data points that indicate the Obama campaign and Democrats have registered millions of voters across the country.

4.)  The “Undecideds” are mostly McCain supporters who don’t want to admit they support McCain.  Therefore, McCain’s numbers will close on election day.

5.)  Obama will win any state he is currently up by +5% (and polling over 50%)

6.)  Mason-Dixon is given too much credit for accurate polling

7.)  Anytime a pundit says, “A democrat hasn’t won here since…” expect Obama to win that state.

Make your own map at Real Clear Politics.


Things I might ask a politician

August 21, 2008

If I were allowed to really ask tough questions of a politician…I would ask:

“Sir/Ma’am: Each year American born, ‘Christian’ Americans murder over 14,000 American born, ‘Christian’ Americans…why isn’t crime prevention higher on the list of campaign issues? Why does your messaging not link education, healthcare, adequate housing to crime?”

“Sir/Ma’am: Most Americans don’t work in factories. But it seems that the pols constantly pander to ‘hard working factory workers’ in ad after ad. What about the other people who work in the service industries, education, technical fields, military, artists, and even unemployed?  Do they matter too?”

“Sir/Ma’am: Many people in cities don’t drive cars, or at least not very far. So why, oh why, don’t we ever discuss the need from more rail and mass transit? Do you think the special interests have bullied you into drilling for oil?”

Does anyone else wonder why the media doesn’t ask tough questions?  Do you think the upcoming debates will focus on policy or side-issues?


A true “where were you when…” moment

June 4, 2008

January 28, 1986:  Space Shuttle Challenger crash (Sitting in front of the television; in sixth grade)

January 17, 1991:  Beginning of Operation Desert Storm (Sitting in 10th Grade English class watching Channel One and was penpals with a Soldier deployed to Saudi Arabia)

September 7, 1996:  Tupac Shakur shot in Las Vegas (Sitting at my BOQ watching MTV ***Breaking News*** with Kurt Loder)–BTW, I always believed Tupac is dead

February 10, 2007:  Barack Obama announces his candidacy for President of the United States of America (Sitting at home watching on C-SPAN then drove from Petersburg, VA to Hampton to attend the State of the Black Union)

June 3, 2008:  Barack Obama clinches Democratic Nomination (Standing in a room full Obama supporters in Washington, DC–listening, cheering, hi-fiving)

I wish I could express the internal elation I feel about Barack Obama winning the Democratic nomination for President.  Different than the other “where were you when” moments where I sat back and watched; this time, I actually was able to shape history.  Certainly my role was minor: a donation here, phone call there, knocking on a few doors, and consistentely wearing Obama gear despite the odd looks from classmates during the fall of 2007.  But I know my role was important because “the strength of the pack is not the wolf; the strength of the wolf is in the pack.”

From the outset, Senator Obama acknowledged that his campaign was not about him…instead it was about “us” (American voters).  “…in my heart I know you didn’t come here just for me, you came here because you believe in what this country can be.”

I was fortunate to see Barack Obama, twice in the summer of 2007 at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and the National Urban League Conference in St. Louis.  One thing I noticed were Obama volunteers cheering, selling Obama gear, recycled gear, and signing up new supporters at each event.  The media totally missed the groundswell of grassroots for Obama.  (As I reflect, over the past 17 months no one has asked me to support their candidate for president…why?)

Great leaders provide purpose, direction, and motivation.  Despite the haters critics saying, “he’s too young;” “he’s too inexperienced;” “it’s not his turn.”  Senator Obama realized he had to seek the Presidency at this moment to bring about change: 

“I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness – a certain audacity – to this announcement. I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

Knowing the fight wouldn’t be easy, I knew the best thing I could do was join my candidate in the arena.  It’s too easy to second-guess, ridicule, doubt and follow conventional wisdom.  If one wants anything in life they must work for it.  I, too, wanted change in the culture of Washington.  Therefore, I got off the bench and got in the game guided by my favorite quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”President Theodore Roosevelt

If you are still reading…as you know, this blog is for my Social Media course and I leave you with a quote from Barack Obama’s announcement speech:  “Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age.”

Join me in the Arena.  Forty years from now, when your grandkids ask “where were you when” tell them you were Standing for Change.  Tell them you were Standing with Barack Obama.

***This message complies with Dept. of Defense Joint Ethics Regulations***