Obama Dissed the "New Rochelle Train" and Commuting Life

Barack Obama dissed the "New Rochelle train" and commuting to work.

David Mendell's Obama: From Promise to Power, p. 148-149:

"[Obama] always talked about the New Rochelle train, the trains that took commuters to and from New York City, and he didn't want to be on one of those trains every day," said Jerry Kellman, the community organizer who enticed Obama to Chicago from his Manhattan office job. "The image of a life, not a dynamic life, of going through the motions... that was scary to him."

....There's nothing wrong with saying, "that life, taking the New Rochelle train, just isn't for me."


But there's a fine line between rejecting that life and looking down at that life. Because some people are just fine with jobs that require them to take the New Rochelle train. Some people actually prefer it to the stress, the risk, the time away from family, the constant demands from strangers. And the world needs these people - who get up every morning, go to work to do jobs with no glamor and little or no prestige, wages modest or worse, and whose names never appear in the newspaper. These folks receive a round of applause when they dance at their wedding, and at their retirement party, and that's about it. ...Never mind the small towners who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment." Obama didn't want to be a suburban commuter.

Ha. Of all the towns in America, he had to pick mine. I grew up in New Rochelle, NY. The train to Manhatten, 17 miles away, was a part of life. My father took it to work every day. When home for the summers during college, I took it to my various jobs every day. I can remember the first map my mother drew me when I was 11 and finally allowed to go into "the city" by myself: It had directions from Grand Central Station to Park, Madison, 5th and 6th, 7th and Broadway, and from 42nd St. up to 59th and down to 33rd.

During high school, a friend of mine and I took it every Saturday so I could get to acting school while she went to classes at the Art Student's League. My boyfriends from Manhattan took it to get to my house and I often took it when meeting them in the city for dates.

I knew every stop, from New Rochelle to Pelham and on down to Harlem (125th St) and finally to Grand Central.

It was easy, fast and a time to read the New York Times and collect my thoughts. Once outside on 42nd St., I picked up my coffee and blueberry muffin at a coffee shop and walked the remainder of the way to work.

You may remember the Dick Van Dyke show took place in New Rochelle. That was because Carl Reiner lived there at the time. Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis lived in New Rochelle, not far from me. Dave Brubeck. And countless others who commuted to Manhattan every day because they preferred living in a house with land to a concrete and impersonal city when a short train ride would bring them back to the city for work or to experience the cultural and other events Manhattan had to offer. (Not to mention the average apartment in Manhattan had ridiculously small kitchens.)

It had beautiful foliage. The south end was on Long Island Sound, filled with marinas, boats and beach clubs (kind of like less expensive versions of country clubs with real beaches instead of golf.) My parents played tennis there every weeknight after work. I learned to swim there and to ride a bike and drive a car on its wide streets. It was racially, ethnically and economically diverse with a population of 100,000 back then -- in other words, not a small, myopic town. It had a college (Iona), great bars that didn't check highschoolers' ID's too closely (the drinking age was 18 back then and 16 and up was usually okay.) We even had organized crime.

My high school had 3,000 students with 1,000 in my graduating class. It wasn't wealthy like Scarsdale or a tiny village like Larchmont, but it was a fine place to grow up and raise a family.

I can't magine why Obama picked it to put down and I'm sorry he did.

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    My brother moved there (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:29:36 AM EST
    from California 4 years ago.  He is the happiest he has ever been.  When I visit him I take that train with him to work.  He loves that train.  It's really mixed and vibrant town.  When  was there, it really felt to me, like what is good about American suburban towns.  

    Growing up in a rural area near Milwaukee, WI, w/ (none / 0) (#145)
    by jawbone on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 04:00:40 PM EST
    the only way to get around being auto, bike, shank's mare, or an actual mare (which I had no access to), I dreamed of living in an urban or close-in suburban setting, where I could get on a bus or walk to see a movie by myself, where I could get on a commuter train and go to a Big City with art museums and theaters. I envied kids I met in college who had grown up near NYC.

    Must have been really neat to grow up there, Jeralyn.

    Oh, my brother bought some kind of scooter--which terrified my mother beyond measure.  I loved riding on that thing, but never had a chance to be the ride with control. He went to a car when he got older and also had a bad experience with black ice.


    where's the evidence (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by dogooder on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:48:57 AM EST
    that Obama's looking down at them (and you)? None of these quotes are from Obama.

    Maybe you shouldn't have elipsed over the part that showed the objectivity of the author: "We can't all be touted as secular messiahs, surrounded by adoring throngs. Very few us get crowds chanting our name on a regular basis. Scarlett Johansson doesn't e-mail us, and Jennifer Lopez doesn't visit our offices."

    That part (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:50:23 AM EST
    wasn't about New Rochelle.

    I think he wanted not to be like (5.00 / 6) (#9)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:56:28 AM EST
    everyone else, which is admirable enough, however, if you live your life following the book "How to Suceed In Business Without Really Trying" and get to the top in a week's time, you will have no real experience to show for it. That is part of his problem now, no real longevity at anything.

    Jerry Lewis (none / 0) (#44)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:42:09 AM EST
    and Barack Obama.



    Don't you mean... (5.00 / 4) (#71)
    by p lukasiak on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:36:30 AM EST
    Robert Morse?

    To me, the issue raised here isn't about the views of a 20 year old -- its about someone whose narcissistic perspective of the world hasn't changed since he was a 20 year old.

    For most of us, the older we get, the less we know.  It takes a long time to finally lose our infantile certitude that we are the center of the universe -- and that the universe is unjust because it does not conform to our desires.   We go to school, and learn about other cultures, and think we understand them -- but we don't until we develop empathy.

    Obama's comments about New Rochelle are, in fact, the same as his bitter/cling remarks.  Its not as if Obama ever experienced life in New Rochelle -- instead, his perception of life in places like New Rochelle is based on college sociology texts -- the kind that portray suburbs as vast wastelands of soulessness and complacency, and non-urban working class people as superstitious bigots.



    Obama's comments about the New Rochell train? (none / 0) (#163)
    by fib11235 on Sun Jun 15, 2008 at 03:02:14 PM EST
    What are they?

    Even the third hand account being decribed simply says he talked about it. Where you there or something?

    Can you read the orriginal source and let us know what Senator Obama said?

    The third hand account did state that the situation he was in presented a life that scarred him as just going through the motions.

    Could you please explain what is wrong with desiring a more personnaly fufilling life. like running for the US presidency?


    is this youthful urban snoberry of the (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Edgar08 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:55:36 AM EST
    responsibe class?   in the bay area us cityfied homedwellers called them the bridge and tunnel crowd.

    I don't know.  I see this in the context of the energy debate.

    is he suggesting i raise my kid in a one bedroom  high rise apartment south of market?

    Or is he suggesting I.......... drive..... to work?  Short of that have I, mere cog that I am, succumbed to an unfulfilled life?

    ya see Jeralyn (3.66 / 3) (#12)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:02:50 AM EST
    this is what you are doing, not just reminiscing.

    And Edgar - he is not suggesting anything. 20 years ago he apparantly made a comment to a friend about what felt right for him. I dont think he was running for president then, or thinking about what is right for you.

    jeezuskrist you people are amazing....


    So if a 20 something today says (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Edgar08 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:22:49 AM EST
    I don't feel like taking mass transit, it's drudgery, it doesn't feel right for me, etc. etc. at the very least we can say Obama has an empathic connection with that distinctly American tradition.  Don't you think?????!!!!!

    Maybe a malaise speech isn't in our immediate future.

    This could be a good thing.  Who knows?

    And remember now, ye ol' over-sensitive Obama supporter, there was a time in my life when I counted myself amongst the urban dwellers who looked down on the people herded into mass transit.  I freely admitted that.


    how do you fit a train under a bus? (5.00 / 12) (#45)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:44:47 AM EST
    It's a hell of a mystery ride.

    There really had better be (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by Edgar08 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:52:10 AM EST
    An open bar and a shrimp tray under that bus.

    No shrimp, Edgar... (none / 0) (#132)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:08:44 PM EST
    I heard on C-SPAN this morning (a call-in to Washington Journal) that shrimp is deadly for people with high blood pressure and heart trouble -- therefor, no doubt the problem re Tim Russert's demise.  (The news had mentioned Russert's hospitality after programs' finish including trays of shrimp).

    I'm going to pretend I never heard that...high blood pressure be damned.


    I've concluded that the Under the Bus (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by kredwyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:08:45 AM EST
    space is some sort of Whovian Tardis.

    However, if you look back over those (5.00 / 0) (#87)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:27:40 AM EST
    20 years, his attitude about staying put and learning has not occurred. The only place he did stay and put down roots was his church. Whatever his profession became, it was short-lived and on to the next venture. If he wins, will he be bored and seek employment elsewhere?

    Well for a guy... (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by ineedalife on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:52:23 AM EST
    that wants to transcend stereotyping in America he seems to be particularly prone to it. This may have been twenty years ago, but the sweeping "bitter-cling" remarks were just this year. And his grandmother is the "typical white person". I could go on. Your thesis is that people change. But it seems that Obama has not.

    Hey, don't confuse (4.50 / 8) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:11:03 AM EST
    TalkLeft or me with the commenters. All I did was express my regret that Obama put down living in my home town. If someone posts a personal attack on Obama it will be deleted, but commenters are entitled to draw their own conclusions from the quoted book and state what they think.

    it's not like I said I wouldn't vote for him because of it. I am going to vote for him because he's a Democrat and better than McCain and  because a Democratic administration is preferable to a Republican one. That doesn't mean I can't find fault with something he does or says I disagree with.


    I am just waiting (5.00 / 0) (#33)
    by Grace on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:36:35 AM EST
    for the person who is going to give you a "1" for your post.  ;-)

    Dang those bots!  


    You got it! (5.00 / 0) (#110)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:42:28 AM EST
    But Maui no ka 'oi!  If I did not have an anchor in a group home near here, I'd be happy in a shack (preferably near Napili).  Hungry and tattered, maybe, but happy.

    Big chuckle from me (5.00 / 0) (#119)
    by tree on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:33:57 AM EST
    on "channeling your inner Punahou." I went to public high school in Honolulu. In high school parlance, Punahou was where all the stuck-up kids went.

    Well, it still sounds like PUMA... (5.00 / 0) (#138)
    by rhbrandon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:28:44 PM EST
    even though you are not intending to, but PUMA nonetheless.

    Obama has wanted more for his life than the commuter train to work.  You have likewise for yourself by moving to Colorado and pursuing the career you chose. After all, you didn't stay in New Rochelle.

    I didn't just want to stay in my home town: joined the Navy, got a commission, saw a lot of the world. Got to serve in a lot of memorable places at memorable times. Wouldn't trade it for the world. Glad Obama took the same kind of shot at life.

    We all should, if given the chance.


    Sorry (none / 0) (#150)
    by Randinho on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 05:48:32 PM EST
    But I just don't see a dis. As I mentioned before, I lived in New Rochelle for seven years.

    the New York metro area (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by Nasarius on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:11:49 AM EST
    is generally a great place to live. I grew up on Long Island, albeit a little farther than 17 miles. Still, an LIRR round-trip off-peak ticket to the city is cheap enough to do it once a week or so.

    There are plenty of people who commute an hour or more each way. It's not a big deal: you're on a train, so you can read, do some work, etc. Though I still think that people who drive that kind of distance are insane.

    I'd agree with Obama to the extent that living in a city itself is a very different feel from the suburbs. It's not for everybody, I suppose. But that's why I'm in Germany now, and I'll be heading to Berlin on Monday to look for a new place. Even at current exchange rates, the price of a nice room in a desirable location is about a quarter of what I'd pay in Manhattan.

    There are some really lovely (none / 0) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:23:13 AM EST
    suburbs around Berlin, as I recall.  Not a bad place  to be at all now.

    The best.... (none / 0) (#89)
    by kdog on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:37:09 AM EST
    place to live...# 1 reason the people, it's like the United Nations with all the diversity and it keeps your mind open I think.  New immigrants, old neighborhood people, people from all across America.  

    And all the culture...food, music, plays, art, sports...we truly have it all and are blessed.

    That being said, I agree that it's kinda nuts to spend more than an hour each way commuting to work, whether by car or by train.  Life is too short for that sh*t, imo.  And the LIRR ain't cheap no more either...nothing is:)


    I don't disagree, but he has, imo, (5.00 / 0) (#90)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:40:53 AM EST
    lived his life this way, never staying anyplace too long to learn and empower his resume. Each piece does not a whole resume make without some longevity to back it up.

    If that is all she could find (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by LoisInCo on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:12:16 AM EST
    considering her superlative abilities, you should be estatic.

    Thanks and (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:17:58 AM EST
    I just hope he doesn't diss Denver or its convention hosting, I'll really get upset.

    As a CO resident (none / 0) (#26)
    by LoisInCo on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:26:39 AM EST
    it is really annoying that the DNC doesn't have the money to spread around that it usually does. ( Thank you Howard!)

    But then I have actually only ventured into Denver 3 times, so I can't complain too much! Once for dinner, once for a Rockies game, and just this weekend for the aquarium. I do go to the zoo fairly often but I don't know if thats Denver proper.


    The zoo is (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:37:05 AM EST
    Denver proper. And i wrote a long post at 5280 today about the convention money troubles. They canceled the media walk-though for next week.

    They had a you tube contest a few months ago where people submitted videos of Denver to show off the city-- the video had to be set to the Bon Jovi song "I love this town" -- this was my favorite.  


    That video was great. (none / 0) (#38)
    by LoisInCo on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:45:35 AM EST
    I saw rumours of them actually cutting down the Convention to one day. Is that even possible?

    Sure. No need for multiple ballots and (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:51:58 AM EST
    ordain short, pithy speeches.

    OMG, has Obama (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by stillife on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:13:45 AM EST
    thrown suburban commuters under the bus (or the train)?  

    I live in NY but my knowledge of Metro North is limited to rides up to my daughter's college (SUNY Purchase).  It's a nice train, much better than LIRR.

    I do have to admit to city person snobbery.  I grew up in the city (Hyde Park in fact) and absolutely hated the suburbs when my parents moved to the North Shore.  Moved to NYC as an adult and didn't want to raise my kids in the suburbs, so here we are in Brooklyn 20+ years later.

    The New Rochelle thing definitely evokes Rob and Laura Petrie.  More recently, it reminds me of my favorite TV show, "Mad Men" which chronicles the lives of ad men in the 60's and the women who love (or hate) them. The main character, Don Draper, lives in Ossining (but I always thought it should be New Rochelle).

    Yeah, SUNY Purchase, Nelson (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:31:23 AM EST
    Rockefeller's state university arts campus.  Great place.  So glad my daughter picked that school, as her being there gave me many fine opportunities to visit both her and Manhattan.

    OK, it was 20 years ago (5.00 / 8) (#20)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:17:11 AM EST
    but geez, it's all of a part.  I have yet to see this guy exhibit the faintest understanding of what other people's lives are like.  The "bitter/cling" business hit me very hard because I live in a tiny town (1,200) in the country, and my town, which loves both guns and church, voted for him by a pretty good margin.

    Yes, I admit that at that age, I might well have thought the same thing since I didn't know the first thing about New Rochelle, but I don't know that even then, I would have said it out loud.

    Jeralyn, you paint a wonderful picture.  Most of us struggle our whole lives with which compromises we have to make between living life and earning a living.  Only a very few of us get to live like Tim Russert, being paid obscene amounts of money for work that we love.  If you're a more ordinary person and the primary wage earner for a family, your choices are desperately few.

    Sounds to me like the New Rochelle commute is a darn good way for a lot of people.  Is it in some way less demeaning to live in a different city's closer suburbs and take a bus to work, or drive?

    Man, I hate this kind of thing.  We all of us do what we have to do.  My choice will be different from yours.  That's what makes thew world go 'round.

    When I heard about this (5.00 / 16) (#23)
    by otherlisa on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:23:05 AM EST
    I thought it felt pretty inconsequential (though no one likes to have their hometown dissed, of course!). I thought about it some more. What it speaks to, I think, is Obama's self-dramatizing personality - his autobiography has a lot of drama in it that I'm not sure is supported by fact.

    "I will never be ordinary!" Ya know, I get that.

    I just don't know, if he's still that guy, if it's the right personality type to be President.

    That's my fundamental problem with Obama - it just seems to be all about him and his personal drama.

    Obviously people who run for President have outsized egos and tremendous ambition. You wouldn't do it otherwise. But I keep looking for passion about issues, about policy, about...something other than Obama. I don't see it.

    Am I missing it?

    Short answer? (5.00 / 8) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:26:02 AM EST
    No.  You're not missing anything, IMO.

    I didn't think so (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by otherlisa on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:28:26 AM EST
    Which really scares me.

    He is "considering" a world tour (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:33:09 AM EST
    before the convention.  Better book now!

    I hear you (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by otherlisa on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:40:11 AM EST
    God knows I have plenty of that tendency in my own life, so I do understand it.  I chose to seek out extraordinary experiences as a response and to try and lead an interesting life. And I like to observe things and learn stuff. As a consequence, I'm a pretty good writer of fiction.

    But I doubt that I would make a great President!

    Obama and I are almost the same age too, with the single parent family thing, so I relate in a weird way. Unfortunately my response to him is both visceral and negative.

    I keep hoping I'm going to change my mind.


    The people I really admire (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Fabian on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 05:03:12 AM EST
    the people I'd really love to share a meal with are the ones who seem to be genuinely honest, caring people.  They are also enormously talented and/or successful, but they must be down to earth.

    Nancy Kress wrote the Beggars In Spain series and the first book talks about a totally brilliant, driven scientist who attracts people to him because of his success and brilliance.  Some of these people are his wives, who give their all to support him and his work.  They give him all they have to give and he simply takes it.  Once they realize that this one way relationship won't change, they drop out from exhaustion or disillusionment.

    When I read that, I realized that described a lot of successful people.  They believe their priorities should be or are everyone's priorities.  It gives them an incredible focus on their goal, but leaves a lot of wreckage in their wake.  The goal may be admirable, but the method isn't.


    Just a thought... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by kredwyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:23:13 AM EST
    Most of the people I know who are anything but ordinary and go out to do great things--big and small--never have to say "I will never be ordinary!"

    They just are...


    To get to 'extraordinary,' (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:25:38 AM EST
    you pretty much have to deal with 'ordinary.'  It is the root of the word, after all.

    I Think Your First Impression Was Accurate (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by daring grace on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:24:23 AM EST
    Apparently, this is a quote  from 20 years ago?

    Maybe I'm the only one here who ever said stupid, shortsighted things in my twenties, but when I see a discussion like this it makes me awfully glad I'm not running for president. Because I said and did silly youthful things way back. Things I wouldn't do or say now--and some I really wish I could take back.

    But more than that, what he was guilty of with this observation is something I find very common. I live in an urban setting (about 100 miles north of New Rochelle) an area Ed Koch made fun of to his electoral peril when he was running for governor.

    I'm often asked by suburban living folks HOW I can live in this small city--as if I take my life in my hands every day venturing out on mean streets with no amenities. These people usually either only see the city when they drive in on their way to work, and out on their way home or hold their breath long enough to swoop in, fearfully, to sample a well reviewed restaurant or attend a concert or gallery opening. Many people I know pride themselves on never coming here, rejecting the many small shops, galleries and restaurants for suburban settings dominated by big box stores and malls. Fair enough. We all want to live and hang out where we feel most comfortable. And many of us (me too) develop narrowed attitudes about places and things we have not actually engaged with.

    I'd be more disappointed if this was a recent quote from Obama, but even then, as I say, I think it's a pretty common perspective.


    not be ordinary? all of us are ordinary. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:07:54 AM EST
    we all are mortal, get up everyday and live the life we have. period! sounds sorta out of touch and short on compassion to me.

    yes, you are missing (1.00 / 0) (#118)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:00:20 AM EST
    just about everything.

    Perhaps it is because you WANT to miss it? I dont know about you personally, but it sure seems that way reading everyone else around here.

    If you were a total narcissist, if it was all about you, and you had just graduated from Harvard Law as Law Review editor, and you could write your own ticket anywhere, what would you do with your life?


    Run for President? (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by tree on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:43:48 AM EST
    Sorry, it was too easy a shot.

    Touche' (none / 0) (#124)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:53:02 AM EST
    gotta admit, pretty good...

    Best example I know (1.00 / 0) (#161)
    by echinopsia on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:13:30 PM EST
    of someone who never wanted to be ordinary: my brother.

    He always thought the world owed him a living. He always thought he could and should get away with everything. He always thought that because he was born with amazing gifts (and he was; he was tall, handsome, smart, funny, charismatic, athletically talented) that he shouldn't have to put in the time and work that other people do.

    He died a penniless alcoholic former convicted felon when he was 42.

    Me? I'm ordinary.


    Someone who uses the screen name (none / 0) (#166)
    by echinopsia on Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 09:13:59 PM EST
    "Dark Avenger" has a problem with echinopsia?

    On the other hand, if you think you are (none / 0) (#56)
    by jpete on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 05:05:28 AM EST
    ordinary and end up President, it must be a bit of a shock.

    There is the American story about who 'aw schucks' sort who goes to Washington somehow as  something of an accident and takes over because  of their plain talk.  But today it's probably going to require some sense of specialness.


    What bothers me (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by mikeyleigh on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 06:05:13 AM EST
    isn't Obama's pomposity, but rather his certitude.  Haven't we had enough of a guy being president who knows all the answers and hasn't really got a clue about what the questions are?

    Yes. It was (none / 0) (#136)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:21:19 PM EST
    more than a bit of a shock to Harry Truman who actually thought ordinary was plenty good enough.

    And it was...for the most part.


    I'm not like everybody else..... (none / 0) (#92)
    by kdog on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:44:57 AM EST
    I know the feeling, and the Kinks summed it better than anybody.

    How to succeed in business? (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by LCaution on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:43:30 AM EST
    Wasn't there a song in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying about New Rochelle?

    yes, it was called (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:03:37 AM EST
    "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm."

    And on that note, I'm signing off for tonight. Thanks to all for indulging my reminiscences.


    So much for suburbia (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by janarchy on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:25:33 AM EST
    And you know, the ride on Metro North into the City is a lot nicer than the one I take on the LIRR. I used to work in Manhattan and my commute sucked. I had to leave earlier than everyone else to get in later than everyone else every day. My line is the worst one on all LI as they still make you switch trains 2 stops from my house, even after promising to switch to all electric lines 30 yrs ago.

    My boss lived in Yonkers and couldn't understand that my constant latest had to do with trains breaking down, transfers not showing up, and generally LIRR stupidity since Metro North never seemed to have that problem (and their trains run more often and for much shorter times. My average commute was 90 mins each way)

    However, most people in the suburbs of NYC commute. It's just a way of life -- Manhattan is where most of the jobs are unless you're in engineering, defense contracting or a few other things. However, it's a lot cheaper to buy a real house, have a yard to raise your kids etc. than living in a shoebox in Manhattan.

    I stopped commuting years ago, but it was for personal reasons, including health issues. I would never once look down my nose at all the people who have to do the daily schlepping. And it's still 1000x better than driving! Sheesh.

    Interesting that Obama dissed New Rochelle ... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Ellie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 03:02:22 AM EST
    ... because Michelle Obama wants to be Laura Petrie baaad:

    She doesn't expound on her husband's five-point plans; she just tells her story, whose bass notes are the deep hum of family, work, sacrifice, aspiration. You can watch her in her triple pearls, hear about her love of mac and cheese and reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show and imagine her as the most traditional First Lady since the ones named Bush. (The War Over Michelle Obama Thursday, May. 22, 2008 By NANCY GIBBS, JAY NEWTON-SMALL)

    Apropos of ugazzo: I always thought Condi Rice and (Repug talking point repeater) Gwen Ifil were the black version of Mare and Rhoda, but without the hats to throw.

    Obama needs a better class of supporters (5.00 / 0) (#50)
    by Mickeleh on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 03:20:06 AM EST
    So, why not join us and raise the average? Seriously. It would help us all if the Kool-Aid drinkers were balanced by folks who keep their eyes open and their skepticism intact as they help elect a Democratic president. Consider the alternative.

    Unfortunately (for you) (none / 0) (#149)
    by echinopsia on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 05:33:59 PM EST
    folks who keep their eyes open and their skepticism intact

    Are not likely to join you just to raise your average.

    It's kind of a self-canceling proposition.


    If I'm following this... (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by Y Knot on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 05:46:27 AM EST
    We're seriously commenting on what David Mendell says that Jerry Kellman says that Barak Obama said twenty years ago?

    Uhm. Yeah.  OK...

    I got nothin'.

    It says something about his mindset (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by fctchekr on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 06:05:30 AM EST
    This tells us he rejected a life without much public adulation or acknowledgement and he first uttered the "cling" and "not like them" comment which was repeated in San Francisco.

    This is a man who sought edification and rejects the small life of most Americans, as he defines it.

    I'm not sure we've ever had such a revealing picture of a President's more personal motivations to seek the highest office in the nation..

    Even assuming... (5.00 / 0) (#141)
    by Y Knot on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:51:24 PM EST
    That the author correctly interpreted the point of the story-teller, who in turn correctly interpreted Obama's meaning, and remembers it after 20 years?

    It says he was the kind of man who might be ambitious enough to, oh, I don't know... run for President someday.

    It's utter nonsense.  I defy you to find someone who has made a serious run for the Presidency that wasn't by definition rejecting the "small life of most Americans."  "Leader of the Free World" is kinda de facto a big life.


    All I can say is (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by ruffian on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 06:26:58 AM EST
    New Rochelle seemed exciting wehen Rob and Laura Petri lived there.  

    Imagine being able to get on a train for an hour and end up in Manhattan!!  Wish I were there now.

    I loved that (none / 0) (#66)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:16:40 AM EST
    show when I was a kid and thought it looked like a wonderful place to live. Much more exciting than the hometown I grew up in. But then, I've always had wanderlust.

    Exactly. Me too (5.00 / 0) (#139)
    by ruffian on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:35:22 PM EST
    Commuting to Manhattan sure seemed glamorous when I was a kid in medium-sized-town Illinois.  I can understand why it seemed boring to a young man already living in NYC or downtown Chicago though.  It is all a matter of perspective.

    According to Geo. M. Cohan (none / 0) (#106)
    by eliz0414 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:15:53 AM EST
    "It's just 45 minutes from Broadway..."

    for a guy with his academic (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by cpinva on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 06:31:49 AM EST
    credentials, sen. obama seems to be a walking, talking faux pas machine. but then, he does seem to enjoy portraying himself as an "intellectual". unfortunately, he's taken the stereotypical disconnected "egghead" route.

    there's roughly 4.5 months until the GE, time enough for him to insult pretty much the entire voting public.

    as well, there's roughly a month and a half until the convention, time enough for the superdelegates to remove their collective heads from their hind parts, and rectify their mistake.

    I've been (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:18:33 AM EST
    thinking the same thing. In the end the only people left will be the bloggers and the Obama campaign and they'll be driving that bus over the cliff.

    I didn't know a thing about New Rochelle before. (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by kempis on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:30:49 AM EST
    Thanks for a great glimpse into life there, Jeralyn. Now I want to go there--and I want to go back to a time when my mother drew me maps and my friends and I were going to do great things and our parents were young....You did such a beautiful job in your description that you succeeded in making me nostalgic for a place I've never been--a time, yes, but not a place.

    As for Obama, meh. I've been reading The Audacity of Hope, and while his reflections are sometimes impressive and empathetic, he seems oblivious to his own competitive and judgmental pettiness sometimes.

    For instance, he has to spend a couple of pages mocking Alan Keyes. Now, normally that doesn't bother me because I find Keyes mockable. But he went on and on....and he beat the guy. That desire to stub out your "enemy" like a cigarette butt is something he has in common with George W. Bush, who is also ungracious and petty.

    But, hey, maybe that's what we need in a President. Who knows....  

    Wasn't Ragtime set in New Rochelle? (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by ineedalife on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:44:32 AM EST
    Ragtime is one of the great musicals dealing with racism and bigotry of all kinds in America. My daughter acted in it in high school. Maybe Obama applies special symbolism to the people who live in New Rochelle and singles out its residents for derision. He will rise above them.

    And also... (none / 0) (#97)
    by ineedalife on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:59:19 AM EST
    if I recall correctly, the young affluent white boy in Ragtime gets his first exposure to diversity and poverty on the New Rochelle train.

    Ragtime! (none / 0) (#137)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:34:04 PM EST
    Wonderful book...terrific movie.  Recommend both very highly.

    Never saw 'the musical.'


    Ha! (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by jefered on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:49:55 AM EST
    Try being from the rural south - better yet, southern Appalachia - and you'll get so used to people dissing your hometown you won't even notice the sting.

    Yep-- (none / 0) (#104)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:14:53 AM EST
    My self-proclaimed Appalachian hometown (my dad traveled and moved us around) wasn't even rural south--but a 'big' university town.  Still, my pal and his friends called it the 'armpit of the universe.'  (He was from a dot on the map 15 miles away.)

    He's not an ordinary man.... (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by bmc on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:16:07 AM EST
    I have to agree with Kempis about your descriptions and memories, Jeralyn; beautifully written, evocative, and peaceful. Happy. I, too, had never heard about New Rochelle, but it sounds like a wonderful hometown, and "the New Rochelle train" would be a dream to people in California, fighting an hour or two commute in heavy traffic both ways every day at rush hour--and paying extraordinary prices to do it.

    No, in my view, "The New Rochelle train" means something to Barack Obama as an idea--the idea of Barack Obama as ordinary--that would be his worst nightmare. He has a destiny.

    Because in Barack Obama's conscious mind, he's special, unique, gifted, and he is driven by subconscious psychological and character motivations that make it imperative for him to achieve his special place in history so that he can banish his subconscious fears that he is less than ordinary. So, it continues to come as confirmation of underlying pathology that drives him.


    City Life & Commuting (5.00 / 0) (#83)
    by Doc Rock on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:19:09 AM EST
    My mom's family was in Hempstead in the 1600's and later Brooklyn until my parents married and "escaped" to then semi-rural South Jersey where I grew up.  The only big city I ever really liked was Tokyo (where some of my Japanese colleagues spent a total of three hours a day commuting on trains)where I lived for four years until my son went to Columbia Law School.  His last two years he lived near the 125th Street station on Broadway and I rediscovered NY.  I am, however, a suburban boy and hate commuting. My son, on the other hand, choose to go to school in Cambridge, loved not having to have a car in Manhattan, and now having just graduated with his JD will be moving to his beloved Boston.  My point is we all have our preferences and predilections.  I would have hated a long commute on crowded trains daily and have been fortunate,therefore, my whole life, to either be able to walk to work or have an easy 10-15 minute drive at most. If, on the other hand, that's someone else's cuppa, great.  Let's respect differences while noting our own limitations.

    Knowing your son, will he flit from (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by zfran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:46:06 AM EST
    job to job, not staying anywhere long enough to put down real roots? I believe this is not about commuting, although it's been said Obama moved DNC operations to Chicago, it's about staying anywhere long enough to gather sufficient knowledge to move on to the next thing. Nothing wrong with wanting more and better, but inexperience brings only inexperience to each table he sits at.

    Leaves Out (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Athena on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:54:18 AM EST
    That's because he won't acknowledge his grandmother's accomplishments - as a bank vice president, rare for a woman at her time.  He lived with her in Hawaii during his prep school years.  And his mother was an anthropologist who I believed worked for the Ford Foundation.

    That's the grandmother who was reduced to a "typical white person."

    This I consider a personal attack on the man (1.00 / 2) (#126)
    by samtaylor2 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:12:05 PM EST
    He obviously loves his grandmother.  Stop using a line out, that is taken out of of context,  of a beautiful and important speech.  

    The "typical white person" quote (5.00 / 3) (#128)
    by tree on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:53:17 PM EST
    is not from his race speech. It was from an interview on Philadelphia radio after the speech. Here's the full context:

    "The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person who, you know, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, there is a reaction that has been bred into our experiences that don't go away and sometimes come out in the wrong way."

    And here is what he said in his speech about his grandmother:

    I can no more disown him[Rev.Wright] than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

    I'm sure he does love his grandmother, but he used her in a political ploy to deflect criticism of his freely chosen 20 year connection to Rev. Wright. It was disrespectful of him to even bring her into the discussion. I think his "race speech" will go down in history as an equivalent to Nixon's Checkers Speech. Both were effective, bu both totally avoided the issue they were supposedly addressing, and discussed something else in order to deflect criticism aimed at the  candidate.


    Obviously? (5.00 / 3) (#134)
    by andrys on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:15:53 PM EST
    First, it is NOT a 'personal attack' to talk about his lack of acknowledgment of his grandmother's accomplishments.  He introduced this woman -- who is in ill health and wants her privacy -- as a person with racist tendencies equivalent to Jeremiah Wright's ridiculously demagoguery and, for dessert, referred to her the NEXT DAY as having a reaction of "a typical white person"...  This is how he thanked her for all that she did for him (while adding she is "a woman who loves ME as much as she loves anything in this world" (emphasis was Obama's).

      He changed in his speech the description of her reaction, to make her story WORSE by saying she said this in connection with people who were passing by while in his book he recounted that she felt threatened by a panhandler who was angry with her for not giving him more and then asking for more, before her transportation arrived.

    Second, it is NOT up to YOU to tell people what "line" they must stop using because you find it inaccurate when it isn't.

      He is not the nominee of the party until the vote is actually cast almost 3 months from now.  Until then he is the presumptive nominee and people should be able to be quite frank while talking about him, as things are just too important to try to censor honest discussion about his attitudes if staying with a 'commitment' means that may doom us to Republican rule for another 8 years


    That grandmother (none / 0) (#147)
    by zyx on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 04:20:52 PM EST
    Huh. She was already in ill health when Obama was running for the Senate. Mendell went to Hawaii to research Obama's upbringing, and was granted an interview with "Toot" (the Grandmother). He talked to her for an hour or so in her apartment, accompanied by a minder from the Obama campaign. When he was leaving, the Ms. Dunham clutched at him an implored him to be kind to her grandson. Well, Mendell said gently, that wasn't really his job--he was supposed to report what he found, impartially.

    His family is in his court, anyway.


    You saw that as putting down your town? (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by halstoon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:53:55 AM EST
    I saw it as an expression of his ambition.

    Did you not make the same choice? To live a life bigger than the commute from New Rochelle to Manhattan?

    hardly (none / 0) (#117)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:00:05 AM EST
    most would say I went from a city of big fish to a small pond (New York, where I would have worked had I stayed living in New Rochelle, to Denver, particularly 30 years ago.)

    You misunderstand. (1.00 / 0) (#151)
    by halstoon on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 05:58:04 PM EST
    What I meant was that you chose to live your life on a grander scale, just as Obama did, than those you left back home.

    Whether you live that life in a metropolis like NYC or a small city like Denver is really irrelevant. The point is you chose not to live the 'simple life.'

    Not that there is anything wrong with the 'simple life.' People like you and Obama work hard to make that life better, more comfortable, and ultimately more enjoyable. You both deserve credit.


    Cow Town is (none / 0) (#122)
    by Iphie on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:47:12 AM EST
    is how we used to refer to Denver -- though I don't think you can call it that now. And no, that is no insult -- I'm a native Coloradan, my family has been there since before it was a state. Funny though, my high school in Denver was considerably smaller than your high school in New Rochelle.

    Heh (5.00 / 0) (#113)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:11:11 AM EST
    I lived the first part of my life as a suburban guy, living the suburban lifestyle, although I'm from Detroit where we don't have commuter trains.

    Then I found myself in NYC, trying to adapt to the far different urban lifestyle for the last decade or so.

    What I've learned is that people are just different, and there are people who find each lifestyle invigorating and people who find each of them horrifying.  Living in the city, you have a lot more unexpected developments over the course of the day, and you have to adapt to them.  Some people find that life-affirming, some people find it totally scary.  It's not a question of who's right and who's wrong.

    I think it's absurd to argue, as the clown from National Review does, that just because someone prefers one lifestyle to the other that he necessarily looks down on the other lifestyle.

    Obama is not quoted (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by MKS on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:48:55 AM EST
    The link is to a conservative website that takes a quote from an Obama friend, who is recalling Obama's feelings from 20 years ago.

    I suppose one can criticize Obama about what his friend remembers him saying 20 years ago, but that is pretty thin gruel......and it does help the Republicans with their elitist angle....

    Well . . . (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Randinho on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    If he was actually putting New Rochelle down you might have a point, but he wasn't.

    He didn't want to be a suburban commuter. I lived in New Rochelle from 1980 to 1987, first on Clinton Place and later on Centre Avenue near the College of New Rochelle. I took the ConRail later MetroNorth trains for seven years. I even endured a six week conductor strike in 1983 that drove me crazy.

    I finally got tired of commuting and moved to Manhattan for eight years and have lived in Queens for the past thirteen years. While I enjoyed living in New Rochelle, I hated having to arrange my life around the train schedule and would never want to be a New Rochelle commuter again.

    How that can offend someone is beyond me.

    Wow (5.00 / 2) (#133)
    by squeaky on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:11:55 PM EST
    I find it hard to believe that you took that quote as an insult to you, your family and New Rochelle.

    Even if Karl Rove, who I detest, said something like that and it was the opposite of my life choices, or my family's life choices, I would not take offense.

    Seems to me that either Obama has really got under your skin in a personal way, or this is one of the very few times I just can not relate to your experience.

    Newsflash: (5.00 / 0) (#142)
    by moe21885 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 03:08:59 PM EST
    People in their early 20's (as Obama was when he made these awful, terrible remarks) don't want to live in the suburbs!

    Gosh, if this is evidence that one is a terrible Elitist, then I'm the King of Prussia.

    Such melodrama (3.00 / 0) (#129)
    by LoisInCo on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:01:22 PM EST
    over a post that more about her love of Rochelle than Obama's dismissal of it. I personally think that if every little difference of opinion with Obama is considered giving aid and comfort to the enemy then Obama has already lost. When she starts posting about how evil Michelle is because she may have said "Whitey" sometime time in her life, then perhaps you would be correct.

    Doncha just love the faux outrage from the (5.00 / 1) (#146)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 04:12:23 PM EST
    obamtrons?  I guess they will spontaneously combust once the GOP really starts in on their boy.  Running with the big dawgs ain't pretty obama.

    I love it (none / 0) (#159)
    by echinopsia on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 07:03:54 PM EST
    Another Obama follower telling me I'm not a REAL Democrat.

    So if I think the Democratic nominee is not the best Democrat we could have chosen, and if I expect him to show me he cares about core Democratic issues and constituencies before I award him my vote, I'm not a REAL Democrat?

    OK, you got it, I'm not a Democrat. And I don't have to vote for him.

    That was easy.


    sweet (2.66 / 3) (#2)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:42:09 AM EST
    Now its quoting commentary from National Review. Wow - so glad that Obama bashing is out of fashion here.

    Fer chrissakes - this is a second hand account of what some 20-something year old supposedly said 20 years ago, about not wanting to get sucked into some corporate job.

    How many of us said similar things when we were young? Maybe even used, as an image, something like the New Rochelle train - not because we were learned sociologists, but because we were kids who maybe knew some sad executive who took that train and so we made the association. Its not like he made a speech about it - apparantly he made the reference to a friend, in casual conversation, 20 years ago.

    But the NRO people, and TalkLeft, sees fit to make some issue about Obama "looking down" on people and make that suburub into "greater Appalachia" with the clinging guns etc.

    What nonsense.

    Oh for heavens sake. Permit Jeralyn (5.00 / 12) (#4)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:49:59 AM EST
    her minute of fond nostalgia.  

    Thank you (5.00 / 11) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:51:48 AM EST
    that's just what it was -- a reason and a place to memorialize them -- one of the benefits of blogging.

    Honestly (5.00 / 0) (#140)
    by Randinho on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 02:50:17 PM EST
    I can see this as nostalgia, but a put down?

    No way


    hey, I enjoyed the nostalgia (2.50 / 6) (#7)
    by tben on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 12:54:02 AM EST
    but I found the title, and the extended commentary from NRO to be really lame.

    First of all (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by kimsaw on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:12:24 AM EST
    a great community organizer shouldn't have a propensity toward antipathy.  His bitter, angry, excuse for his failures was not a second hand account. What difference does it make if a 20 yr. old second hand account gives credence to his current state of mind?  You reap what you sow and if your words are the only seeds you've got you better choose them wisely because if they don't germinate properly you've got nothing but a whole crop of  trouble.

    The expectation that voters should ignore a history of words that represent personality traits or character flaws is nonsense.  As voters it is our responsibility to look at the whole person; words, actions and deeds in their historical context. A candidate can not use his/her past only when convenient. You can't acknowledge the great parts and expect the not so great parts will be ignored.

    Voters can choose to ignore contradictions in character or on issues  and then we get a President like George Bush. We can fall in love with average, ignore inexperience, praise undefined hope and change but can we define where that gets us? Given the last 7yrs I think we have a pretty good idea. Voters can be bamboozled by rhetoric, or voters can choose to examine candidates on the basis of their performance. There should be evidence that their words have been translated into action.  

    So far average has won in the last two cycles and bamboozling is reaching new heights in this cycle. Change today means the re-branding of a party by using your opponents tactics. A role reversal of sorts, the good guys become the bad guys, a lessoned learned well. A strategy of divide and conquer by any means necessary; race, gender, religion, socio-economic status and let's not forget age. Antipathy, stereotyping and prejudices are accepted when needed, discarded when caught, taking responsibility is someone else's fault and by no means are apologies offered.

    In 20 odd years the problem Obama faces is that given his statement of a "dynamic life" then and his "antipathy" offered now, he hasn't changed his view. And to me that's not okey-dokey.  


    "not second hand" "failure"? (none / 0) (#164)
    by fib11235 on Sun Jun 15, 2008 at 03:06:39 PM EST
    If you are repling to the orriginal post, it would be 5th hand with a source that is thrid hand.

    So I guess you are quite correct that it wasn't second hand.

    If Obamma is (as of now) a failure, then you have a tough grade scale.


    nice try... (none / 0) (#165)
    by kimsaw on Sun Jun 15, 2008 at 09:45:54 PM EST
     I should have used quotes to make my point clearer- if that makes more sense to you in regards to Obama's antipathy as the "bitter, angry, clinging" quote came out of Obama's mouth for his failure to win over the white working class.  Whether it was his exact words or not doesn't really matter in regards to a "dynamic life", it was the message he conveyed to those he interacted with 20 yrs ago and his antipathy is relevant to his character as he speaks now. After all we have to believe that words matter. Words are very important to Obama.

    You bet I've got a tough scale, it doesn't matter whether it's fifth hand with a third hand source, when it comes from his own mouth or his lack of action.  I've got current events to guide me that's why Obama fails to get my vote.


    Hey, that reminds me of a story (none / 0) (#13)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:04:40 AM EST
    a friend of mine told me. He said that he saw Alan Dershowitz riding the public bus in Seattle---Dershowitz was in town at the time, and  my friend said he has written about using public transportation.
    What would Obama think??

    I don't think (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:04:44 AM EST
    Bellatoni's was there then (I left in 1971 when I went to law school and my parents moved to Puerto Rico) but it did have great Italian and Chinese restaurants, kosher delis, fresh seafood and excellent diners.

    Jeralyn, have you read (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:28:00 AM EST
    Mona in the Promised Land?  Mona is the daughter of parents who were born in China and who started a Chinese restaurant in Scarsdale.  Very funny novel, as, of course, Mona wants nothing to do with her parents traditions and expectations.  Author is Gish Jen.

    No, I haven't but (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:32:26 AM EST
    I'll check into it.

    For your non-existent spare time! (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:37:16 AM EST
    I just want to know what (none / 0) (#79)
    by bslev22 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:05:51 AM EST
    he did as a community organizer.  Can someone who likes the guy and is voting for him (as opposed to someone like me who doesn't like him at all but will vote for him) explain to me what on earth Senator Obama, instead of being a train commuter like me, did as a community organizer?  I have nothing more to add, since I spent so much time in the suburbs.

    Obama's Community Organizing (none / 0) (#93)
    by daring grace on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:45:40 AM EST
    I'll give it a shot. There are many places online to find this, and probably some which are more critical of Obama than the one I used.

    According to an article online at the Nation website, in 1985, Obama was recruited by an organization called the Developing Communities Project to work in black neighborhoods, part of a larger area of black, white and Latino working class neighborhoods, which were suffering as a result of steel mill closings (among other things).

    He was paid $13,000, and $2000. for a "beat up Honda Civic" His work is described as: "[protecting] community interests regarding landfills and helped win employment training services, playgrounds, after-school programs, school reforms and other public amenities."

    He left to attend Harvard Law school.


    here's a shorter view (none / 0) (#107)
    by ding7777 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:16:09 AM EST
    and some context for the New Rochelle remark

    The Agitator

    After graduating from Columbia [...] Obama had spent the previous year on a fruitless quest. He worked briefly for a Ralph Nader outfit in Harlem teaching college kids about recycling and then on a losing assemblyman's race in Brooklyn.

    Just sounds like he's being a young man (none / 0) (#84)
    by lilburro on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:20:20 AM EST
    But I hope he's aware that fighting an "Obama is alienated from middle America" narrative is serious business and that he shouldn't fall behind.

    so now we have a whole town and train (none / 0) (#103)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 09:13:50 AM EST
    track under the bus!

    That wouldn't be so bad if (none / 0) (#112)
    by FlaDemFem on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:00:04 AM EST
    we all get his income too. Heh.

    I have been pushing that Mendell book (none / 0) (#115)
    by zyx on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:35:44 AM EST
    there is a lot of stuff in that book. Check it out from your library and look it over.

    I'm sure he didn't want to live in Iowa either (none / 0) (#116)
    by zyx on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 10:44:30 AM EST
    Yet the Boy Scouts mentioned on NPR this morning sounded pretty awesome, I must say. Amazing.

    Thanks for the lovely picture of New Rochelle (none / 0) (#120)
    by trishb on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:35:10 AM EST
    My father grew up there and met my mom while she was a freshman in college at CNR.  It's a lovely place and I have fond memories of visiting even after my grandparents moved to Mamaroneck.

    Thanks for sharing your memories! (none / 0) (#130)
    by SLH on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:01:41 PM EST
    The Dick Van Dyke Show always made New Rochelle seem exotic and romantic when I was a kid - so close to Manhattan that you could take a train, and still live in the suburbs!  Your account makes me want "do overs" - to relive my teenage years there.

    I just hope this doesn't mean he's not going to (none / 0) (#144)
    by jawbone on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 03:52:48 PM EST
    fund better long-distance and commuter trains.

    We could use some of those high speed trains.

    Anyone know if he used public transit to get around in Chicago to down to his legislative gig?

    Graduated Columbia 1983 (none / 0) (#148)
    by zyx on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 04:26:05 PM EST
    "Took a job with Business International Corporation, a firm that published newsletters on global business and offered consulting to American companies operating overseas. Obama was an editor and research assistant in the firm's international financial information division." (Mendell)

    Lasted a year, then he quit, shortly later took that famous community organizing job in Chitown.

    and you know this how? (none / 0) (#155)
    by cpinva on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 06:38:01 PM EST
    People in their early 20's (as Obama was when he made these awful, terrible remarks) don't want to live in the suburbs!

    in my 20's, i happily lived and worked in the DC suburbs. it was cheaper, and going into town took me all of a half hour by 95, should i so desire. or, i could hit 123 straight into georgetown.

    i lived in an apt. with a balcony overlooking the pool; great view on a recovery sunday afternoon!