Sunday, April 22, 2007

I know, this is pathetic.

I keep saying to myself: "You've got to write a letter back to this woman and challenge her dismissal of my request to meet with the Prez!"

And then I look at everything else I need to do and it is very hard to justify the time to write and send that letter.... into the black hole of what, I am convinced, will someday be seen as the most incompetent and corrupt presidency in our history.

I may still get around to it, but please don't hold your breath.

Instead, do any of the following, thereby making the world a measurably better place:
  • Donate some of your blood and/or platelets. Save a life!
  • Call your Congressperson and ask them to end all Corporate Welfare (payments of our tax dollars to companies to subsidize their business activity, usually overseas).
  • Go out for a bicycle ride, or a run. Anything that involves some exercise and does not have you sitting in front of this screen. GO AWAY!
See ya, Steven

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Another "go away and don't bother us" letter

How odd.

A month ago, the White House called to let me know that they would keep an eye out for an opening in the President's schedule, so that I could meet with him. Very exciting!

Today, I received the following letter from the redoubtable Ms. Bennett:

Dear Mr. Feuerstein,

I have been asked to respond to your letter inviting the President to meet with you.

While the President would appreciate the opportunity, we are unable to add it to his calendar at this time. I know you will understand that with the tremendous demands on his time and the large volume of similar requests, meetings such as this are extremely difficult to schedule even though each one is important. However, your suggestion is a good one, and we will keep it in mind should an opportunity present itself in the future.

I know that the President would want me to thank you for your interest and to send his very best wishes.

I have three reactions to this letter:

1. How very odd. It doesn't seem as though they tried very hard or for all that long to find an opening in the President's calendar, as they'd offered.

2. I have no idea what Ms. Bennett is taking about when she mentions "your suggestion."

3. I am glad to hear that the President would want Ms. Bennett to thank me. But I should point out that she never did, in fact, thank me; nor did she send his very best wishes. She just told me that the boss would want that.

Anyway, soon soon soon I will write a reply to Ms. Bennett and continue my odyssey!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It never hurts to be polite.

I wrote this follow up letter after getting the call from Natasha, letting me know that there was a glimmer of a possibility that maybe someday I might get a call that could be an invitation to meet with the President.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Melissa S. Bennett
Deputy Assistant to the President
for Appointments and Scheduling

Dear Ms. Bennett,

I am writing to thank you.

On November 8, I received a call from Natasha informing me that the President did not have any immediate openings in his schedule to meet with me.

She stated further, however, that you would (I am paraphrasing here; please correct me if my understanding is not accurate) keep an eye out for such an opening in his schedule in the future, and then let me know when I could meet with President Bush.

Natasha also made clear that there were no guarantees, but I certainly feel that at this point it is more a matter of WHEN and not IF, that I will get to meet with my President.

I am very happy about this and look forward to the meeting.

I will contact your office in a month or so, if I have not heard from you. I don't want you to think that I've lost interest!

Warm Regards,

Steven Feuerstein

A citizen of the United States

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The White House Calls Back!

On this day of all days....some say there is no such thing as coincidence. Who can tell?

Anyway, I was driving back from Milwaukee, where I'd done a two hour PL/SQL best practices talk for a group of 100 Oracle technologists (sponsored by Quest Software), listening to the news of (shock! awe!) the "resignation" of Rummy, and President Bush's admission that when he'd told three wire service reporters just last week that Rumsfeld and Cheney would be with him to the end of his term he'd been, well, pretty much lying through his teeth...and then phone rang!

It was Natasha from the White House Scheduling And Appointments Office with this message (paraphrased):
  • We got your follow up letter to our follow up letter.
  • We have no immediate openings in the President's schedule right now.
  • But we will keep an eye out for an opening and then get in touch with you for a meeting.
  • But no guarantees.
That's promising. Of course, it could just be a stalling tactic. I think what I will do is wait a month and then call/fax a reminder. Do that every month, maybe every two weeks after the first month.

But my gut feeling right now is that it is just a matter of time (when, not if) until I have an appointment to meet Public Servant #1!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Finally, I get around to responding to the Bennett letter

I mailed and faxed this letter to the appropriate office of the White House:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Steven Feuerstein
6759 North Maplewood
Chicago IL 60645-4619
Phone: 773 426 9093
Fax: 773 262 8138

Melissa S. Bennett
Deputy Assistant to the President
for Appointments and Scheduling

Dear Ms. Bennett,

In August 2006, I sent a letter to your office requesting a meeting with the President.

On September 11, 2006, you sent me a reply which stated:

Unfortunately, we have had to make some difficult decisions regarding the President's schedule. It is with sincere regret that we must decline your invitation. I want to assure you, however, that your letter received every consideration. Thank you for your understanding.

I find this reply puzzling, and I need some clarification.

In my original letter, I wrote that " I look forward to hearing from your Scheduling Office on a time when I can come to Washington DC or Crawford, or wherever it is most convenient, to meet with you."

In other words, I offered to meet with the President wherever and whenever it was possible to do so.

Given that, it seems to me that what your letter is actually saying is that the President outright refuses to meet with me.

It is hard for me to see how my letter did in fact receive "every consideration" in light of such a blanket rejection. And I just don't understand the basis for this decision.

You mention the President's schedule. Surely, for example, the President still has time in his calendar in, say, March or September 2007, or even in 2008?

I am happy to "wait my turn"; I understand that the President is a busy man, especially now. But even he must still have some slots open for meeting with a citizen of the United States who is actually ready to spend the time and money to come to Washington (or wherever) for a brief conversation.

Thank you for your further consideration in this matter.


Steven Feuerstein

A citizen of the United States

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A response from the White House

Today, September 16, I received a note from Melissa S. Bennett, Deputy Assistant to the President for Appointments and Scheduling:

Dear Mr. Feuerstein:

Thank you for your letter inviting President Bush to meet with you.

Unfortunately, we have had to make some difficult decisions regarding the President's schedule. It is with sincere regret that we must decline your invitation. I want to assure you, however, that your letter received every consideration. Thank you for your understanding.

The President sincerely appreciates your thoughtfulness in writing and sends his best wishes.

Hmmm. Now that is a little bit odd. Certainly, the President's schedule must be an awesomely complicated and full thing with which to deal. But I set no timeframe for the meeting. Surely he has an open spot or two in, say, February 2007?

Well, I probably didn't make clear enough that I was very flexible as to time and place for a meeting. So I will call Ms. Bennett on Monday to make sure she is fully aware of how easy I want to make setting up this meeting.

Someone didn't like my idea....

I received this email from a person who really didn't seem to appreciate my efforts to meet with the President. I have removed his name and offer it to you so you can hear "all sides" on this "issue." His comments are in italic, responses to my original posting.

Subject: If I were GWB, I would not meet you

I want to meet face to face with my president, with the man to whom I have vested enormous authority over me and my family, in exchange for a fine quality of life and physical security.

The man has a pretty full schedule, are you bringing something to the table? An issue perhaps?

I want to meet with President Bush and see what sort of man he is. Does that sound like an outlandish thing to want to do? Do I sound disrespectful? I don't see why you should feel that way.

I am an American citizen. I pay taxes (lots of them, in fact) and those taxes pay the salary of the President, and everyone else in government. In that sense, I and millions of others are President Bush's boss.

Congratulations on being a tax paying citizen. Do illegal residents get to demand a meeting with the legitimate, elected leader of the most powerful (and complex) nation in the history of the planet too? You and I are his boss in the same sense that a Viacom shareholder is Sumner Redstone's boss. Are we going to arrange these meetings based on tax payments? Sumner probably gets to go ahead of us

Since this is a democracy, some believe the greatest the world has ever known, our leaders are or should be accountable to us.

Every 4 years, in the case of the executive branch

The President is not a King. We do not have a monarchy in which the Glorious Leader cannot be questioned. We, very fortunately, do not live in a nation in which it is a crime to meet the eye of the President (an act punishable by death in some monarchies in the past).

I can't prove it, but I would bet the farm on Iraqis having died for lesser infractions under the Hussein regime. He wasn't a king either.

It should not be difficult for an American citizen to meet with President Bush, especially if that citizen is ready to fly anywhere in the country to attend such a meeting.

300,000,000 million citizens You don't work in logistics, I'm also willing to bet.

I want to sit down with President Bush and have a simple conversation between two human beings. I would like to know things like....

Is he sharp as a whip, eager to take me on in debate on the major issues of the day? What better way to test one's ideas, to celebrate the power of the freedom of speech?

Does he exude the sort of gravity, a weightfulness, that a man with the future of the world on his shoulders (at least more than any other single human) would naturally acquire?

Probably not, since he can interrupt his day to meet with you.

Does he seem respectful of those around him, particularly those who serve him?

Is he truly compassionate? It is easy to say you care, quite another to really mean it and act on it.

I want to see for myself, because from what I can tell from his appearances on television and the occasional quotation in the newspapers (the only ways that I have been able to experience the President directly, to date) it seems quite possible that George W. Bush is, in fact, a sorry excuse for a President. If I met him and was able to experience his integrity first hand, I might be less troubled by his apparent trampling on the Constitution and the principle of the separate of powers.

I have no idea what you are talking about here. Is there a specific issue or is this just mental diarrhea on your part?

If I met him and was able to feel his compassion, I might be less horrified by the agony his policies have caused the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of human beings.

Glad to hear you don't have an agenda.

So I am going to call the White House on Monday, August 7, and ask for an appointment with the President. At his convenience, his choice of location. I will chronicle my efforts to meet with the President in this blog.

Now, just so we are entirely clear on what I want to accomplish, I need to spell out my requirements for this meeting. Clearly, if I only am given five minutes to shake his hand and make small talk, I will not be able to take the measure of this man.

So here are the minimum requirements for my meeting (hopefully they sound reasonable to you):

  • The meeting should last at least a half hour. (17,000+ years to give one to everybody)
  • We don't have to be alone (I am certain that will not be allowed), but those others present should be silent observers. I want to be able to talk with my President directly and without intermediaries.
  • We must treat each other with the respect due to fellow, equal citizens of our wonderful nation. We are all equal under the law, aren't we? Under the law and only under the law.
  • The meeting can be recorded. In fact, I would encourage the media to attend. (I'm sure you would)

Ah, I bet that some of you are now thinking to yourself: so this is just some grandstanding by another commie-pinko-liberal-radical-tree-hugger, out to embarras the President.

Yup. Nice spell check ya got there pal.

Not at all!

Taurus feces.

I believe that a critical element of a successful, working and thriving democracy is openness and transparency. I have nothing to hide in a conversation with my President. Why would he have anything to hide from me? He surely is not going to divulge any secret information to me.

Openness and transparency Want a quick tour of the NSA/CIA/DIA etc as well? I'm sure you're not a believer in "need to know", but our people in bad places, with their lives on the line, probably do believe in it. I'm sure they appreciate that you understand that when he meets with you he'll keep the Top Secrets under his hat.

So that is my plan. I start on Monday. I will let you know how it goes. And I encourage you to do the same: ask for a meeting with the President, your President, our #1 Public Servant.

You have poor reasoning skills, as well as a whiny, self-centered world view. I'm sure you think that you're a world class humanitarian and man of the people, so why not put that ego to use and join a campaign to better the world. Or, just keep complaining. If you cry long enough, Mommy will bring you your bottle.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Step 3: Fax received, the wait begins

So...the first fax seems to have gotten lost in transit or on arrival. When I called to confirm that it was received, friendly Ryan drew a blank. I faxed my letter a second time and a few days later, Ryan called to say that it had been received. Very exciting!

Now I will wait a few days and then call to find out the status of my request.