‘Making Mistakes Was Not an Option.’ Michelle Obama on the Pressure of Being ‘The First’

Former First Lady Michelle Obama opened up about race and the elevated expectations that come with being “the first” while speaking at the American Library Association’s annual conference in New Orleans on Friday.

“Barack and I knew very early that we would be measured by a different yardstick,” Obama said of her husband’s tenure as the nation’s first black president during a conversation with Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden. “Making mistakes was not an option for us. Not that we didn’t make mistakes, but we had to be good — no, we had to be outstanding — at everything we did….When you’re the first, you’re the one that’s laying the red carpet down for others to follow.”

Obama, who spoke during the conference’s opening general sessions, also emphasized the need to look beyond a person’s color.

“It’s just a shame that sometimes people will see me, and they will only see my color, and then they’ll make certain judgments about that,” she said. “That’s dangerous, for us to dehumanize each other in that way. We are all just people.”

Obama’s appearance came a few months before the release of her upcoming memoir, Becoming, which explores her journey from the South Side of Chicago to the White House, as well as her years as a successful lawyer, executive and mother. The book comes out in November.

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Source:: Time – Politics


Graham Thomson: ‘Glue of Confederation’ makes things sticky for Alberta politicians

It has been called the glue of Canada’s Confederation.

It is also one of the major irritants in Canada’s Confederation.

Say hello to the federal equalization program.

Some provinces would love to say goodbye to it.

At least, they’d love to say goodbye to the current equalization formula.

It was ever thus.

The federal equalization program creates a stink about once a decade.

Or, more accurately, it’s politicians who create a stink about equalization every 10 years or so.

Virtually every province at one time or another has had a problem with the federal program that is designed to make sure all Canadians enjoy a basic level of government services. Over its 60-year history, the program has come under attack from various premiers, usually because they think their province isn’t getting enough money out of the program, or because they think their province is putting too much money into the program.

In 2006, Alberta’s then-premier Ralph Klein famously threatened to opt out of the equalization program because of a dispute with Ottawa over whether oil and gas revenues should be included in the funding formula.

“We won’t participate if resource revenues are included,” declared Klein.

Let me pause here for a second to point to a flaw in Klein’s rhetoric that continues to confuse the debate over the equalization program to this day.

“Have” provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan do not send money to “have-not” provinces such as Quebec.

Equalization is a federal program supported by federal taxes. It is not funded by the provincial treasuries. Opting out of equalization would be like Alberta opting out of the Armed Forces.

We could do it only if we seceded from Confederation. (By the way, as tempting as that might sound to some people, I’m not sure it would make building a pipeline any easier, unless we invaded British Columbia, but then we wouldn’t have any soldiers to do that, having, you know, opted out of the Armed Forces.)

The equalization program is ridiculously complicated, made more so by politicians over the years.

It could no doubt be improved.

Alberta and Saskatchewan were hoping to start that conversation at next week’s meeting of Canada’s finance ministers.

“As long as the program doesn’t work for Alberta, I am going to continue to fight for a better deal,” said Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci earlier this week.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe went one step further and suggested changes to the equalization formula to give less money to “have-not” provinces and start sending …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal – Politics


Press Gallery podcast #235: The (Cabinet) Shuffle To The Top Of The Class edition

A tiny cabinet shuffle and a deep dive into class sizes by Postmedia’s Janet French are the focus of this week’s Alberta politics Press Gallery podcast.

Join host Emma Graney with guests Janet French, Clare Clancy, Paula Simons and Graham Thomson to delve into the political fallout of all of that, as well as the NDP’s new attack ad and a new Indigenous training course for government workers.

Good Stuff from the Gallery

Graham’s pick: This phenomenal political ad by MJ Hegar, called Why am I running for Congress against a Tea Party Republican in Texas? It all started with a door.

Paula’s pick: This Globe and Mail column about the immigrant crisis on the southern U.S. border — and the fact it’s actually at historically low levels.

Emma’s pick: The Texas Tribune’s excellent coverage of immigrant kids being removed from their parents, particularly this piece on everything we know about Texas-regulated facilities holding migrant children. Also, Janet French’s series on class sizes.

Clare’s pick: Also on immigration, The Border Trilogy podcast by Radiolab.

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Source:: Edmonton Journal – Politics