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Tag: "Obama"

Celebrating Earth Day: From Obama to Starbucks

[ 0 ] April 22, 2009

I never thought of myself as an “environmentalist”.  For me, the term evokes images of hippies hugging trees and chanting Kumbaya (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  With this being Earth Day, however, I’m thinking more about my role in helping to preserve our land and make it better.  Like most people, I already recycle and tote around reusable shopping bags.  I also shop more frequently at bulk food stores to cut down on wasteful, and often unnecessary, plastic packaging.  While I’m vegetarian for spiritual and health reasons, it’s good to know my “lifestyle choice” helps reduce my carbon footprint too.


The idea of Earth Day was first proposed in 1969 by peace activist John McConnell. The Iowa native made the pitch at the national UNESCO conference in San Francisco.

It’s only fitting that, four decades later, Barack Obama returns to Iowa to make the push for a greener economy.  Tending to his “political garden” in the state where his presidential ambitions were first “rooted” (I’m finished with the puns now!) the U.S. President is using Earth Day to promote his message for a plan he believes will help alleviate the country’s environment and economic problems.

Everything counts on Earth day from sowing seeds in your backward garden to promoting a national job plan.  The business community is embracing the concept too.  While many are cynical about their role, I think it’s great if it draws attention to the cause.  If they make money while doing it – good for them.

Starbucks in Canada is offering free java today as long as you bring in your travel mug.  After today, you’ll get ten cents off when you bring your own mug.

LUSH Cosmetics has an interesting campaign as well.  Their Seed the Nation Contest encourages us to make a difference in our community whether it’s planting vegetables in the garden or mending a neighbor’s fence.

Whatever you do, have a fantastic Earth Day!

Partisan Ties? Obama’s Ottawa Visit

[ 0 ] February 20, 2009

It seems people are anxious to read the tea leaves wondering how Obama will fare over the next four-to-eight years and whether U.S/Canada relations will improve under the new administration.  Canadians are also nervous about their own (minority) government which is likely headed for yet another election.

The media coverage of Obama’s first presidential visit to Canada was at times, amusing, especially when tv journalists asked pressing questions like ‘Why didn’t Obama call the Prime Minister by his first name?’ or ‘I am told President Obama is enjoying a beaver tail at the local market’ (that’s a fried pastry, btw).

All that overanalizing and giddy reporting encouraged me to look for my own useless clues:  I settled on their ties.

President Obama and PM Harper in Ottawa Feb.19, 2009 (photo: PMO)

President Obama and PM Harper in Ottawa Feb.19, 2009 (photo: PMO)

Throughout the U.S. election, then-senator Barack Obama appeared to make symbolic overtures to conservative voters by wearing Republican red ties.  Michelle Obama even wore a bright red dress on election night (although that dress was not tv friendly).  Now, it seems Obama has gone back to blue.  He proudly dons his party’s colors while riding a wave of optimism during the honeymoon phase of his administration.

Analyzing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tie is, like the man, a bit more complicated.  In Canada, party colors are reversed with the Conservatives owning blue.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was behind Harper’s choice of red tie with a few diagonal blue stripes.  Was he taking a page out of Obama’s election handbook employing the age-old strategy of befriend thy enemy by wearing their (Liberal) party colors?  Perhaps that little splash of blue on his tie was Harper’s way of assuaging Conservative fears that he is acquiescing to too many Liberal demands?

I can’t wait for the next presidential visit.  Hopefully President Obama will bring the First Lady giving us even more opportunities to overanalize.

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