Obama, I’ll come with you

Published 10:29 am Thursday, November 20, 2008

Call me crazy, but I would like a top job in the Obama Administration.

They’re turning the heat up on me.

The County Commissioners are getting agitated, the City Council is just plain dangerous and the publisher has this insane idea I should work eight hours a day.

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Go figure.

It’s time to push the envelope, see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, broaden my horizons and go for broke: A job in the White House.

A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive — some say invasive — application ever, a news report observed.

The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants’ spouses and grown children as well.

Only the smallest details are excluded; traffic tickets carrying fines of less than $50 need not be reported, the application says. (I wonder if my losing record at tractor pulls needs to be reported?) Applicants are asked whether they or anyone in their family owns a gun. (No.) They must include any e-mail that might embarrass the president-elect, along with any blog posts and links to their Facebook pages. (If some of those e-mails I get from my friends were ever made public, that could be the end of my White House hopes.)

The application also asks applicants to “please list all aliases or ‘handles’ you have used to communicate on the Internet. (“Big Lee” doesn’t sound threatening, but I may have to explain the time I used “Dark Stallion.”)

The first question asks applicants not just for a résumé, but for every résumé and biographical statement issued by them or others for the past 10 years — a likely safeguard against résumé falsehoods. (Putting down Governor Jesse Ventura as a character reference on my Austin Daily Herald application may come into question.)

Most information must cover at least the past decade, including the names of anyone applicants lived with (Grandchildren in my case); a chronological list of activities for which applicants were paid (I might have accepted a free beer for street dancing at the Waltham Sweet Corn Feed, but not money); real estate and loans over $10,000, and their terms, for applicants and spouses (I own a time-share at Renova); net worth statements submitted for loans (Some of the most creative writing I have ever done was on a loan application), and organization memberships — in particular, memberships in groups that have discriminated on the basis of race, sex, disability, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

(I don’t think my affiliation with Spruce Up Austin could cause any trouble.

We’re all just a group of lonely, dull people, who crave bark.)

There are no time limits for some information, including liens, tax audits, lawsuits, legal charges, bankruptcies or arrests. Applicants must report all businesses with which they and their spouses have been affiliated or in which they have had a financial stake of more than 5 percent. (I bankrolled my grandchildren’s Kool Aid stand, but never took any of the proceeds)

All gifts over $50 that they and their spouses have received from anyone other than close friends or relatives must be identified. (Does banana bread count?)

Just in case the previous 62 questions do not ferret out any potential controversy, the 63rd is all-encompassing: “Please provide any other information, including information about other members of your family, that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the president-elect.”

The answer could duplicate the response to Question 8: “Briefly describe the most controversial matters you have been involved with during the course of your career.” (There was that night at Adams where I was photographed helping a sheep over a fence that caused me considerable anxiety.)

Glenn Medgaarden walked into the Austin Daily Herald newsroom the other day with a 28-inch-long carrot he claimed to have grown in his own garden. It’s true.

The carrot is longer than his newest grandchild.

Unfortunately for Glenn, the 28-inch carrot fell short of the Austin Daily Herald’s minimum standards for odd vegetable shots, so you will have to take my word for it.

And finally, more Obama-mania from Bob and Diana’s daughter, Cassie Lynn Wangsness, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

That’s in Africa, the continent, for you Sarah Palin fans.

The Nov. 4 election results touched Tanzania, according to Cassie Lynn: “Lots of excitement from over here!  It’s been a euphoric week out here — and around the world — and I thought I’d send a few pictures your way from the last couple days.

The international community at my school and in Dar in general has embraced this election with the emotion and enthusiasm and hope as though it were their own.  In so many ways, I really think this is a shared victory for people from all corners of the world.  Thinking of you all, and so proud of America!”

She sent the pictures to prove it.