Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Different Party

I don't know if it's the hurricane, the candidate or just a different party, but this one is a dud.

Last week at the airport before Denver, it was a party. People were decked out in Obama wear and eagerly greeting each other. Two people even approached unapproachable me and introduced themselves. At the airport for the GOP convention? A few people in McCain tees, a married couple in red, white and blue regalia, and otherwise a subdued atmosphere. Even arriving here it was hard to tell that a convenions was happening, whereas in Denver they beat you over the head with it the minute you stepped off the airplane.

Gay Patriot Loves Sarah Palin

GayPatriot thinks McCain hit a home run. I think he dropped the ball. But if you read the comments to his post, you get a sense at how shrill and empty the right has become. Some points in response to what I read there, before taking a shower:

Many comments about how Palin has "executive experience" and therefore has more experience than Obama, making her selection one based on the merits and not on gender. Okay, but does she have more experience than Mitt Romney?

The right continues to underestimate Obama. Look guys, he did something "experienced" men like George H.W. Bush, Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole, could not. He beat the Clintons.

Someone answered my question, "would Palin have been selected if she were a man" by saying "would Obama have been chosen by the Democrats if he were white?" Please. See point above.

Finally, the first commenter said the crowd at Palin's speech chanted "USA" while the (by implication unpatriotic) crowd at Invesco field chanted "Obama."

Sorry, Charlie, got your facts wrong. We chanted "USA" too. I was there.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


The house is quiet. Quiet in the way quiet is when there is no other soul around. An empty quiet. Curious how the silence of an empty house feels heavy. It's different than the serenity of a quiet house filled with other souls, a kind of warm presence of no sound. This is the absence of sound.

The LTR left for a family gathering in Ohio, taking our remaining dog. How rare for me to be at home without even hearing the scrape of a dog bowl or the sound of paws on clicking on the wood floor or even the mad bark at a trespassing squirrel in the backyard.

I'm leaving this quiet house for a while, to go to the gym, run some errands. My subconscious sent a routine thought to my mind: go pet Ranger before leaving.

But she too is quiet.

Fulsome sounds have fled the house and left starving my hungry ears.

Dreams of Sonny and Cher

Last night I dreamed I was watching Sonny and Cher. Each were on a flying trapeze, a la Cirque du Soliel. And they were singing "I Got You Babe." Cher was more graceful at it than Sonny, but there was something touching in his face when he sang "then put your little hand in mine.." as he passed her mid-air, reaching out for her but not quite getting her hand.

I'm serious. I really had that dream. I wonder what it means?

Quotes of the Day on Sarah Palin

They love Sarah Palin:

“She’s really a perfect selection,” said Darla St. Martin, the Co-Director of the National Right to Life Committee.

Politico has a must read about the six things this selection tells us about John McCain. Another quote for the day:

Most people know the staff at the local Starbucks better than McCain knows Palin.

Sarah Palin

The key question: If she were a man, would you think she is qualified to be president?

Home Again, Home Again

And too tired to giggity gig.

I leave Sunday morning for the GOP convention.

I had a week of hope and change, now I'm off to a week of ignorance and fear.

I used that line on the LTR and he worries that I'm becoming radical.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Hail Sarah Pass

The reaction of the DNC women that I've seen here in Denver over the McSame selection of what's-her-name is anger.

Anger that he would pander so blatantly. Anger that he would think them that stupid. Anger that he could be so presumptuous that Gov. What's Her Name has the same qualifications, let alone policy positions, of Hillary.

One woman I talked to said that maybe those who were still harboring anger and resentment would go for it. But those Democrats were probably going to stay out of it anyway.

There's also some glee that McSame would cede the "experience" issue.

The best analysis I heard on CNN was that McSame gets a short term gain (everyone is now talking about it) but a long-term loss (everyone will be talking about how stupid it was).

Yes We Can

I'm too tired to post a complete recap of the events at Mile High Stadium this afternoon and tonight. But here's a quick thumbnail:

They had me at the Pledge. Really. I choked up halfway through, because the pledge of allegiance is Obama's message: One nation...liberty and justice...for all. Those words really mean something. I felt a part of them tonight.

I was surprised that Obama went after McCain as he did. But I thought it was one of the highlights of the speech.

I was not surprised by the more nuts and bolts issue speech he gave. He needed to do that.

Has a Presidential candidate ever said the words "same sex marriage" in their acceptance speech before?

The crowd was amazing. 80,000 I'm told. Have 80,000 people ever wanted to come hear what John McCain had to say?

Don't know if this came across on TV, but the campaign's use of texting is incredible. They captured the text address of 30,000 people tonight. And texting is how they are going to reach out to younger voters, a key component of their strategy to win. Brilliant.

They could have done without the Greek set. I know why they did it, but still.

I am so thrilled to have been at this historic gathering.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yes She Can

This was class. And a great historical moment.

Eating Words

Bill Clinton did it and said the words needed.

And I loved the "Power of our example vs. the example of our power."


Chomp, chomp, chomp.

What Hillary Clinton Didn't Say

For what she said she said it well. For a speech aimed at giving her supporters "catharsis" it was right on the money. As oratory intended to unite, it largely succeeded.

As for helping Barack Obama against the Republicans, it failed. It failed because she didn't say: "Barack Obama is ready to lead."

McCain seized that opening and issued a statement last night pointing that out. His new ads feature clips from her "3 a.m." ad as he continues to use her attack of inexperience against Obama. Romney was here yesterday saying, "Barack Obama is not ready to lead."

You can bet that the line "not ready to lead" will be on the lips of every GOPer leaving the Twin Cities next week. I'm not sure what line Democrats take with them from the Mile High City.

The most fatal mistake a campaign can make is work for the wrong goal. Yes, Clinton needed to unite her supporters behind Obama, which she did last night. But then, she needed to walk a step further an undo the damage her "inexperience" attacks caused him in the primary and that are and will be hurled at him from the McCain campaign -- with Clinton's implicit endorsement. Hillary may have taken the democrats to third base. But it doesn't count until they cross home plate, and she didn't get them there.

The "he's not ready" is a salient can think positively of Obama but then cluck sympathetically, "he's just not ready." People can think, "I'd like to vote for him, but he's just not ready."

Maybe Bill will deliver the "he's ready" endorsement tonight. Doubtful. But I'll be willing to eat my words.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama

This is how I saw her from my vantage point in the nose-bleed section.

I also saw her as an accomplished woman, balancing roles as a mother, wife and a succesfull careerist. I don't see how people can see her as an angry, un-American demon.

If nothing else, those little girls refute that slur.

The Voting

UPDATE: The Denver Post reports on this today also. I assumed this was biz as usual, but I was wrong.

I learned something from a delegate this morning that I didn't know.

Each state delegation is housed in a hotel. For example, the Minnesota delegation is housed in my hotel (and yes, I've seen MN Senate candidate Al Franken). Each morning they meet.

During tomorrow morning's meeting they actually vote on the nominee, and it's those votes that will get announced on the floor that night.

The Obama Family and the Democratic Response

From my vantage point inside the Pepsi Center tonight (I managed to score some credentials to get in) I thought Michelle gave a great speech. I thought the Obamas are clearly a (justifiably) proud and at its core a quintessentially American family. It's hard for me to not admire the Obamas, for their striving, their sacrifice, the value they place on family, their kids and community service. If I don't admire that, I would dishonor everything my parents taught me. That they hold the Obamas with contempt is a great mystery to me.

I thought the response was muted inside the hall. Granted, I was in the nosebleed section. But I compared notes with a colleague after who was closer to the stage and he felt the same way. The crowd seemed somehow unfocused.

Maybe it's the lack of oxygen at high altitude. Maybe they Jim Leach turned some of them into zombies. Or maybe it's always like that and it looks and sounds more exciting on TV.

I have pictures, which I'll post tomorrow if they turned out.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama's Problem

Is one he can't do anything about.

I had a call yesterday from a family member I had not yet spoken to about the election. And although my family now resides deep in the heart of the Midwest, our roots are deep in Appalachia.

She said she didn't like either candidate. I understood 50 percent of that, and asked, "why don't you like Obama?"

She hemmed and hawed and finally said, "He'll help the wrong people."


The LTR has been warning me not to discuss this election with family, for it will take me places I don't want to go. Perhaps he is right.

This episode has brought back a distant memory. My very first best friend was a fellow named Curtis. We became friends in first grade, and even now after all these decades I can still remember the affinity I felt for him. He was black. His family moved away after I'd known him for only a short time. Had they stayed, I have no doubt we would have stayed buds. I wonder how my family would have coped with that?


The LTR is probably right.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Road to Denver is a Mile High and Littered with Kleenex

I'm in Denver. You'd think I'd be oozing with political juices but actually I'm oozing with snot. Wait! Don't stop reading. I won't get any grosser than that. I just have a nasty cold.

My post-nasal drip (see, safe, medical-sounding term) is so severe that I had to liberate the roll of toilet paper from the bathroom (I've gone through the Kleenex). They rig those toilet paper thingys in the hotel so guests can't remove them and I had to crawl under the sink to figure it out -- that's how desperate I was. And if you think reading about my cold is gross, imagine crawling under a bathroom sink in a hotel to free some nose rag. I tried not to think what that floor would look like under the urine and semen revealing glow of a black light (okay, sorry, that might have been grosser).

Anyhow, the day started better. I wore my Obama Pride tee shirt for the trip, the one where the Obama logo has the rainbow in it. Almost everyone on my flight were conventioneers and everyone was in a party mood, despite the fact that all of us got up around 4 am to get to the airport on time. MD Senator Ben Cardin and former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume were on my flight as were other people who looked familiar but I couldn't place. Including the fat older lady with Obama earrings whose Southwest ticket clearly said B60 and mine said B49, which I noticed when she laughingly cut in front of me in line.

Okay, but the highlight of the trip was the cute Latino flight attendant who shamelessly flirted with me. I first saw him at the coffee shop at BWI. He was having breakfast as I walked by. He noticed my Obama Pride shirt, looked at me and smiled. Yes, smiled. Guys don't look at me and smile. This one did. Damn, I thought. Obama is getting me cruised. Talk about Hope!

I didn't expect to see him again but there he was at the door of my plane. He smiled again. I smiled back. He gave me the look (you know what I mean) the look that says I'm not just being friendly, here. I'm being friendly. Really. Friendly. I was embarrassed.

So this went on for the nearly four hour flight to Denver. He gave me extra treats the other passengers didn't get (no, no -- I didn't join the Mile High club...I have SOME scruples. Plus I'm kinda shy). And when we said "buh-bye" he gave me the look again and I admit I turned around on the jetway only to see him look right back at me and give me that damned sexy smile again. Perhaps if I were single I might have been bold enough to slip him my number.

Nah, I doubt it.

So, I should be on cloud nine here at mile high city about to nominate the candidate of hope.

Can someone hand me another roll of toilet paper?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Denver Bound and General Catch Up

I am packed, the alarm is set for 4:30 a.m. (Hillary will have already beat me by 90 minutes) and I'm ready for Denver.

Except I have a bloody cold. Aren't summer colds the worst?

Anyway, since I'm going to the GOP convention too, and over Labor Day weekend the LTR will be in Ohio celebrating his older brother and his sister-in-law's 25th Wedding Anniversary, this was our last day together for over two weeks. We planned a bike ride for today. To prepare, I didn't ride into work yesterday so I could recover and be ready for a long ride.

Problem. My bike was stolen this morning. My fault. I brought some stuff home from the office to take to Denver and early this morning I went to the garage to get it out of the jeep. I guess I didn't close the garage door, for about 45 minutes later I noticed it was open and some free-lance socialist had taken my bike.

F word inserted here.

So, instead of going for a bike ride together, we went shopping for a new bike for me together. I won't be able to enjoy it until after the GOP convention. But it will be here waiting for me.

I'm feeling bad I won't see the LTR for more than two weeks...and that I'll miss the 25th anniversary party. The LTR's oldest brother and his wife are the first members of his family I met. His sister in law was pregnant with the LTR's niece when we did meet. She is now a beautiful young woman. So much time...and so little time.

And to the MFer who stole my bike -- you won't enjoy it as much as I did. And by the way -- I was going to take it to the shop after the ride today to get the front wheel hub replaced while I was gone. You better do that soon-- or you may be in for a nasty surprise on a steep hill very soon.

It's 3 A.M. and It's Biden on Your Phone

At least in a text message.

In delicious irony the Obama campaign apparently scrambled to get out the word that the pick was Biden after it leaked to the media -- sending out their much anticipated text message announcement at 3 a.m.

You remember 3 a.m.? Hillary does.

I'm happy with the pick -- Biden struck me as a pragmatist on Iraq and seems to have his eyes fixed on U.S. security interests in the region. I've been arguing to my Republican friends (and yes, I have them) that Obama is a pragmatist. The Biden pick reconfirms that.

Biden, the Senator from Delaware, commutes from home to DC on Amtrak. I've seen him on the Metroliner. I like that.

But what's up with Yahoo? The headline on the Yahoo email login page this morning was "Biden pick a sign of weakness." Add that to my growing list of reasons to abandon my Yahoo email account.

Whining her way to Denver

Aides to Hillary whined to the media that Obama never "vetted" the former first lady.

Wasn't the fact that she was already vetted a key element of her campaign?

Hillary deserves a prominent role in the Dem convention, given her strong performance in the primary.

But I wish Team Hillary would consider a new concept: Graciousness. It could be their first step to real class.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I was getting my hair cut and I noticed in the mirror that my left ear protrudes from my head a bit farther than my right.

Funny how one's flaws -- big and small -- become more apparent as you age.

Or when you get bored at the barber.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Meanwhile, at DC Mayor Fenty's Office

DC Chief of Police Cathy Lanier is getting her review from Hizzoner:

Fenty (holstering his second Blackberry): So, Chief, how do you think you've done?

Lanier: Well, we're really cleaning up the city, sir. Our second sting operation to ticket cyclists was a complete success.

Fenty: What were you ticketing them for?

Lanier: Going the wrong way down a little used street. I felt it was a great way to show how we're cracking down on cyclists in the wake of the garbage truck running over a biker in Dupont Circle. We really needed to send the cycling community a message, and we've done that.

Fenty: Good work, kiddo! Speaking of that tragic accident, have you concluded your investigation? Made any charges?

Lanier: Um, no.

Fenty: Well, that's okay. Sometimes these things can be tough. Can only do what you can do, right?

Lanier: You got that right, sir. I mean, look at the Wone case. We haven't been able to solve that murder in years. Oh, I suppose I could put more resources on it, but I get faster results by waving down cyclists and issuing $25 tickets.

Fenty: True. And I suppose it's better to target cyclists rather than motorists.

Lanier: Except when they're driving into certain neighborhoods, like Trinidad. Then we need to stop them and interrogate them about their business and decide if they have a legitimate reason to be there. Moving about the capital of the free world is a privilege, not a right!

Fenty: Yes, I suppose so, though maybe you could have some of your officers get out of their cars and patrol the neighborhoods, get to know the people and do some tough police work?

Lanier: Sir! It's summer, and have you seen how out of shape our force is? It would be a health risk to send some of these officers out of their air conditioned patrol cars into the DC summer heat. What if they had a heat stroke and had to rely on city emergency services? I shudder to think!

Fenty: True. Hey, I when I was riding one of our new Smartbikes across town I noticed a Fed Ex truck on 14th Street parked in the bike lane -- even though there was a clearly marked vacant loading and unloading zone right there at the curb. Are you ticketing those guys?

Lanier: Well, sir, in this tight fiscal time I can only do so much....better use of my resources to have an officer stand at a corner and just let the moving violations come to him. That's why the bike sting worked so well. Besides, the bikers can just go around those trucks, and cabs and Metrobuses who block the bike lanes. As long as they look carefully behind them, they're probably not in any danger from having to swerve into traffic.

Fenty: Well, I've got to say Cathy, heckuva job. Heckuva job.


Did someone slip him on the ballot when I wasn't watching?

"There are gray areas in war."

Ya think? Shepard Smith didn't get the "Russians are evil" party line from this girl and her aunt that he interviewed after their escape from Ossetia. The U.S. has no business getting mixed up in this -- it's not our fight. Tell that to the McCainiacs who refuse to let go of their Cold War thinking. They continue to be stuck in the past. Russia is not the Soviet Union and Putin, anti-democratic thug he may be, is no Stalin.

There's gray areas in war...unless you're John McCain. Then it's all back and white, whatever we do is good, (i.e. in the 21st century nations don't invade other nations, unless you're us). Whatever they do is bad. And our only response is to flex US military might and if anyone questions the wisdom of that course they are unpatriotic saps.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Polls and McCain and Obama

Someone asked me today my thoughts on the tightening of the polls. Here's my take:

I think the polls are wildly inaccurate in this election. Two reasons:

As George Will has pointed out, the polling models don't take into account the new voters Obama will bring. Remember, most polls are predicated on "likely voters" which is based on past elections. 2008 will not be like past elections.

Countering that is the number of people who won't vote for Sen. Obama because of his race. I know people, back where I come from, who are life-long Democrats who have never voted for a Republican but who have said they are voting for John McCain. That factor is also unlikely to be picked up by the polls.

Do these trends balance each other out? Dunno.

The Surfer My Friend, is Blowin' in the Wind

In case you need proof that wind surfing in a tropical storm is a bad idea...

Obama's Nomination Night -- and I'm In!

I finally was able to get - through a friend and colleague -- credentials for Thursday night of the Dem National Convention when Barack Obama makes his acceptance speech.

I know some of you are skeptical of him but think about it from a historical perspective -- this will be a night to remember.

And I'll be there. I'm excited.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Roof Tops

I like pictures of roof tops. I don't know why. I've always been drawn to them. Perhaps because we're so used to looking at our cities from the bottom up. Or perhaps they are some unconscious metaphor about how life looks different if you come at it from a different perspective. Or maybe it's just meaningless.

Anyway, I've been experimenting with taking my own photos of rooftops. Here's one from Harper's Ferry this weekend:

I like the different textures here, in the shingles, the brick and the stone wall. The perspective interests me as you have the roof in the far left so close to the ground. The three chimneys and the lampost make a rough arc. And the colors, with the red, green and white, are vivid.

Here's another, from Cusco, Peru. I like this one because the rooftops of Cusco are themselves framed by a roof-shaped window. The roofs stretch into the distance until they blend into the mountains, the roof of the world, if you will.

Anyway, this is all pretty silly, I guess. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Irony Watch -- Playing with Fire

The LTR and I went to Harper's Ferry, WV this past weekend, renting a small cabin at the KOA, a rainbow excursion to the Redneck Riviera. Usually we camp primitive-style but in this case we were looking for an easy escape.

Accordingly, we bought assistance for starting our fire. Normally we start our fire the hard way, by rubbing two dry cliches together.* This time we bought this product:

Little did we know, like the unsuspecting city-folk we are, that this product might actually work! See the small print (click to enlarge and read):

*I wish I could take credit for the "rubbing two dry cliches together" line, but I'm stealing it from Robert A. Heinlein where he used it in Glory Road, one of his, I think, under-appreciated books.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Look for Me in Gitmo

I just had a house guest who is Lebanese. The LTR dropped him off at the airport this morning and I just looked at his email address he left for me.

It starts "beirutbomber@..."

I'm so waterboarded.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Those High Tech Alleys in Alexandria

They are really going high tech in Old Town, Alexandria, despite the name.

I don't think John McCain would get this.

Jay Brannan; Housewife

I love this Jay Brannan (Ceth with a "C" from Shortbus) song. I wanted to go see him when he was here in DC at the 9:30 club but it was Eli's first day and besides MattyDale didn't seem to interested in going.

Anyway, I just saw this the "official" video, which is well done. I dedicate its place here to Zac.

John McCain in the 21st Century!

John McCain's lecturing, well, the world, on proper behavior in the 21st century is just, well, wrong.

Being a self-made man, rising from a single-parent, bi-racial background to be Harvard educated, first black to be president of the Harvard Law Review, a constitutional law professor, best selling author, successful legislator, strong marriage with a self-made woman, first black candidate for president of a major political party in America: now that's 21st century.

Using family connections to get into the Naval academy and favorable treatment from your captors in Vietnam, never using the Internet, ditching your first wife to marry into money to finance your political career : soooo 20th century.

"Nations Don't Invade Other Nations"

"You might want to stop look ridiculous." (Hat tip: EB)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

McCain. And Mary.

Joe Klein gets it just right. Sadly.

McCain has a vastly different view from Obama about foreign policy, taxation, health care, government name it. He has lots of experience; it is always shocking to remember that this time four years ago, Barack Obama was still in the Illinois State Legislature. Apparently, though, McCain isn't confident that conservative policies and personal experience can win, given the ruinous state of the nation after eight years of Bush. So he has made a fateful decision: he has personally impugned Obama's patriotism and allows his surrogates to continue to do that. By doing so, he has allied himself with those who smeared him, his wife, his daughter Bridget, in 2000. Those tactics won George Bush a primary--and a nomination. But they proved a form of slow-acting spiritual poison, rotting the core of the Bush presidency. We'll see if the public decides to acquiesce in sleaze in 2008, and what sort of presidency--what sort of country--that will produce.

The new book about Obama being promoted by Mary Matalin is making me bite my tongue about Mary. I was at the RNC when she arrived courtesy of Lee Atwater. My first encounter with her was in front of the vending machine which she was beating up and cursing. My impression of her went downhill from there. And it keeps heading that direction.

A Little Michael Phelps

Between Ranger's death and all the politics, things have been a little grim around here. The LTR and I, usually avid Olympics watchers, haven't been able to see any of it so far. So here's a little gratuitous Michael Phelps.

If only he had stretched up just a leetle more...

And what exactly is the gentleman on the far left looking at?

I do beleive that Mr. Phelps has now replaced Matthew McConaughey as the most photographed chest in American culture.

A Missing Name in the Draft Democratic Platform

No, not John Edwards. Jon Rauch points out the platform calls for the repeal of DOMA (which it did not in 04). But he also points to this ommission:

From 2004:

We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families.

And 2008:

We support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections.

Some will view that with suspicion given the rift between Howard and the gays. My gut reaction is agreement with the commenters that as long as "all" really means "all," it is a positive development.

Quote of the Day

I wouldn't believe McCain actually said this if it hadn't been in a reputable newspaper like the Post:

I'm interested in good relations between the United States and Russia," he said. "But in the 21st century, nations don't invade other nations.'' -- John McCain


Please don't let this man be president.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another Maureen Dowd Hillary Smackdown

Marueen Dowd chastises Team Obama for letting the Clintons getting away with murder at the convention, including adding language in the platform that blames Hillary's loss on sexism, thus dampening the "dreams of our daughters." MoDo says the plank should have state this:

A woman who wildly mismanages and bankrupts a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar
campaign operation, and then blames sexism in society, will dampen the dreams of
our daughters.

The rest of the column is equally genteel.

Meanwhile, let's hope Barry comes back from Hawaii recharged and ready tobe more the candidate he was this winter.

The Discourse: McCain v. Obama

I'm disappointed.

Almost everyone thinks the country's headed in the wrong track (pollster talk for "we're going to hell in a hand basket") and the two presidential candidates are arguing over who is the bigger celebrity.

I'll blame McCain for taking us there with his Paris Hilton ads, but Obama went right into the gutter with him. Why couldn't he have responded with a message something like:

John McCain wants to talk about Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears. I
want to talk about how we can come together to solve the big problems facing
this country -- the problems that affect Americans in their daily lives.
We've got some work to do, from getting out of Iraq to defeating Al Queda to becoming energy independent. I have plans to address those issues. So let Sen. McCain focus on Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. I want to focus on how we can
keep America the greatest nation on Earth. I'm serious about going to work
for the American people. I'm serious about uniting this country
again. I'm serious about tackling the big issues that we can only solve
together. Because together, we can.

Maybe the Obama campaign tested that type of response and it didn't work. I don't know. But this current exchange is a school yard spat. We deserve better. And the crying shame is that Obama is capable of "better." I just don't know what happened to it.

McCain and Saakashvili

All well and good for McCain to declare "We're all Georgians." Except that it raises Georgians expectations that we will help them fight the Russians:

This morning Saakashvili told CNN: "Yesterday, I heard Sen. McCain say, 'We are all Georgians now,'" Saakashvili said on CNN's American Morning. "Well, very nice, you know, very cheering for us to hear that, but OK, it's time to pass from this. From words to deeds."

McCain is acting irresponsibly. Thank God he is not president.

What a Difference a War Makes

If Iraq hadn't happened, I would be cheer leading John McCain's bellicose reaction to the Russian invasion of Georgia. Not now. I've been a hawk as long as I can remember. But I now know there are limits to hard power and I simply don't trust a Republican administration to 1) tell the truth about its intentions and 2) wage war competently and 3) act in accordance with with basic human rights.

So I am alarmed by McCain's saber rattling (do we really want to get NATO involved in this?) and reassured by Obama's measured and dispassionate approach.

Apparently there are some Republicans who haven't quite gotten the lesson of the last eight years. Kevin Ivers, posting at Citizen Crain, is disappointed Obama didn't get all riled up:

Where was the passion we (thought we) saw in Barack Obama's primary campaign as the man who would right the wrong-from-the-beginning U.S. policy in Iraq? Where was the man so brazenly adopting the suit and posture of John F. Kennedy on the home stump and in the capitals of Europe? Where was the moral foundation in a man who dared to tell the whole world they could rejoice if he was elected leader of the free world, because he would answer the call of freedom's destiny?

It's almost as if Ivers wants Obama to return to Berlin, re-rally the masses and march into the Russian motherland. As I recall, someone else from Berlin tried that once.

Reason, not passion should rule here. I'm not an isolationist and don't think we can ignore the invasion. But we need something smarter than threatening Russia with NATO.

Cooler heads are cleverer heads. If cooler heads had prevailed a few years ago, Georgia might not find itself under attack today.

Steve Clemmons offers a bit of history at the time the US was pushing for recognition of Kosovo's independence:

When Kosovo declared independence and the US and other European states recognized it -- thus sidestepping Russia's veto in the United Nations Security Council -- many of us believed that the price for Russian cooperation in other major global problems just went much higher and that the chance of a clash over Georgia's breakaway border provinces increased dramatically...

At the time, there was word from senior level sources that Russia had asked the US to stretch an independence process for Kosovo over a longer stretch of time -- and tie to it some process of independence for the two autonomous Georgia provinces. In exchange, Russia would not veto the creation of a new state of Kosovo at the Security Council. The U.S. rejected Russia's secret entreaties and instead rushed recognition of Kosovo and said damn the consequences.

Can it be any clearer that a vote for John McCain is a vote for more war? Iran...Russia. Will the list grow longer?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Tribute to Ranger (January 1993 -- August 9, 2008)

From MattyDale:

Over the past few days, I have been working on a tribute to Ranger. She is a wonderful, brave girl - she has always been a faithful companion and a loyal friend. This is just a small tribute to how much she meant to Scott and Dave, their family, and their friends. I am posting this at Scott's request as a tribute to Ranger and her companions.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Gift

The weather has broken here in Washington, D.C. August is usually our most unbearable month in terms of heat and humidity. Instead, tonight, the temps are dropping into the low 60s and there is a gentle breeze out of the north. We opened the house up.

This is a picture of Ranger laying in the hall between the kitchen and the dining room tonight, a place where she can feel and enjoy the outdoor breeze, a cool breeze unheard of in DC in August. I know she likes it. One final gift.

John Edwards and the Affair

So will "I had the affair but I didn't love her" become the new "I didn't inhale?" defense of 08?

The crusader for the downtrodden cheats on his wife who is battling deadly cancer.

The Edwards affair may make interesting tawdry reading but is not very meaningful.

Mountain Ranger

I was never certain why I named her "Ranger." I wasn't going for a gender-bender. I was driving a Ford Ranger at the time but didn't purposely name her after the truck.

It turned out to be the perfect name for. She enjoyed free ranging walks and runs. She loved hiking with us. She loved the mountains. She loved everything about the outdoors except water.

Above all, she had free range of my heart.

God this is hard.
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The Republican Convention

Word from the RNC hospitality folks is they have plenty of rooms available.

I guess they're having a hard time finding enough Republicans who want to go.

Business Casual

I'm not a fashion maven, by any stretch. But to the guys who think "business casual" means wearing a suit and taking off the tie: Wrong. You don't look casual. You look undressed. Especially if you're wearing a shirt with French cuffs.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Going to the Democratic National Convention?

I am. If any of you are going to be there as well perhaps we can meet up somewhere.

Leave a note in the comments if you're going and have any interest in meeting.

I'm also going to the GOP convention (work related, both cases) and I make the same offer there, though I'm doubting I have any readers who might be going.

Police Dog Shooting Incident Gets Nastier

UPDATE: Mayor is calling for a federal investigation. Says it's too early to think about monetary compensation.

The story about the Prince George's County police who burst into the Mayor of Berwyn Heights' home in a drug bust and shot his two dogs -- one of whom was running away -- gets worse.

1) the police didn't have a "no-knock" warrant, meaning sending a SWAT team bursting into the Mayor's house was not covered by the warrant they did have. Oops.
2) They HAVE arrested someone: a deliveryman. Who doesn't have anything to do with the Mayor or his household.

Police Chief Melvin High (ironic name, dontcha think?) told the WaPo that most likely the Mayor's family were "innocent victims."

Yeah. Of the police department.

Meanwhile, people like me who spend time commenting on this stuff in the blogosphere have been demanding retribution and encouraging lawsuits.

The problem with suing Prince George's County is that any settlement is going to come from the taxpayers (or is the County insured for stuff like this?)

At the very least, someone should be fired. As more details emerge it becomes clearer that the police really screwed this up - and as a result a family lost two beloved pets.

The Anthrax Scientist

I'd like to think the FBI got their man in fingering Bruce Ivins as the one responsible for the deadly anthrax attacks after 9/11. The evidence certainly portrays him as psychotic, going back a long time.

But wait a minute. How'd the guy get a security clearance from the Army, who employed him? This crazy guy who made death threats about poisoning people was given access by our government to some of the most dangerous substances known to man?

Or, to put it another way: You can be denied a security clearance if you love someone of the same sex. But threaten to poison your girlfriend? Hey -- here's the anthrax!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Why I Like Living in DC

Because places like this are just a few minutes by bike from my front door. It's on the C&O Canal towpath. This is the canal built along the unnavigable upper Potomac and the photo is one of the many locks and lock houses you see along the way.

And of course this is also just a little over an hour from my doorstep by bike.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Jacksonville FL, 1993

There was a dog pound on the West Side of the City.

The West Side of Jacksonville was not the favored side of the town. Wrong side of the tracks...actually, wrong side of the river. Everything west of the St. John's River north of JTB was suspect. It was here I rented a one bedroom apartment on the Cedar River, a tributary of the St. John's after the LTR and I split...after I lost my job in DC after the 1992 election. To lose one's partner, apartment and job in a single month (November, 1992) well, to borrow from David, I was careless that year.

I had a difficult new job. My past experience was politics and government work. Now I worked for a stodgy corporation and it was stifling. Unlike DC, socializing after hours with co-workers was actually frowned on. I knew no one. I could go entire weekends without speaking face to face with another human soul except a thank you to the check out clerk at the grocery store.

There was also a gay bar called Edison Street on the West Side of Jacksonville. There I met Jay, muscled, blonde, sexy. And a drug addict. One night he asked me to hang out. I was lonely. He was attractive. And attentive. And so I did.

This went on for a while. I remember, vaguely, Jay telling a dealer about the expensive stereo equipment I had. I remember wanting Jay, but he kept himself out of reach, except when it came to getting high, drugs bought with my money.

I was desperate. But not entirely stupid. I knew I had to end it.

There was a dog pound on the West Side of the City.

And so I found myself there. I had had a dog as a kid. She -- Candy -- had been my friend during those awkward pre-teen years.

There was a dog pound on the West Side of the City.

She was there.

A puppy, around six months. Infested with fleas and ticks and, the vet cautioned me, Lord knows what else. He warned me not to expect too much until we knew her true measure.

Her measure was that of the bestest of best of friends.

"You had me at hello." It's a cliche but it's true. She was joy wrapped in fur when we met. For the rest of her life -- until this last year when old age clouded her memories -- she would look at me with a look that said, "you saved me."

After she adopted me I never saw Jay again. Nor did I feel as alone. My partner and I got back together. She adopted him too.

There was a dog pound on the West Side of the City. It saved my life. She saved my life.

"You saved me." I can only hope this outcast dog from the wrong side of the river in Jacksonville, Florida saw that in my eyes too.

Because it's true.

I'm going to miss my friend.

The Obama Swing?

There seems to be a swing cycle at play in Obama's candidacy. Remember last summer when everyone felt he was under-performing in the polls, and people were asking when the campaign was going to get traction? Then Obama took Iowa, expectations soared and pundits declared Hillary was "toast." Then New Hampshire and Nevada and a seeming Obama be followed by South Carolina and his string of victories in February. And then he closed out the primary season with lackluster results.

Now, people are asking why he hasn't taken a sizable lead? Maybe it's the swing factor again (and if there is a swing factor, I'm not sure what causes it, though I think one contributing factor is that the Obama campaign gets cocky).

But I think other things are at play here too. People, like my parents, are too uncertain of him and wary of anyone that younger people go ga-ga over. That's the point of the "celebrity" attack and it plays to older, rural, middle of the road voters.

Obama has got to find a way to get these people over their doubts about him. If he can, I think people will stop being willing to overlook McCain's shortcomings and move to Obama.

Is McCain Losing It?

No, not the election -- he seems to be doing fine, according to recent polls. I'm talking about his marbles. At what point do all the vacant stares and mis-statements stop looking like a politician's occasional gaffe and seem more like the looseness of mind that comes with old age?

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo sees a pattern:

Let's be frank. On the campaign trail this cycle, McCain frequently forgets key elements of policies, gets countries' names wrong, forgets things he's said only hours or days before and is frequently just confused. Any single example is inevitable for someone talking so constantly day in and day out. But the profusion of examples shows a pattern. Some of this is probably a matter of general unseriousness or lack of interest in policy areas like the economy that he doesn't care much about. But for any other politician who didn't have the benefit of years of friendship or acquaintance with many of the reporters covering him, this would be a major topic of debate in the campaign. It's whispered about among reporters. And it's evidenced in his campaign's increasing effort to keep him away from the freewheeling conversations with reporters that defined his 2000 candidacy. But it's verboten as a topic of public discussion.

Then there's this clip where Andrea Mitchell and company speculate that McCain's campaign is keeping him in the dark and manipulating him ("manipulating" is my word).

Which would help explain why McCain was unable to articulate his campaign's major charge that Obama was playing the race card last week when asked about it a presser in Florida (I am trying to locate that clip to post).

Update: Here's the video of McCain having a...well, senior moment. Keep in mind that the reporter is not asking about some obscure policy or federal program, or quizzing the Senator on the economy which he has said he doesn't know much about. No, the question is on a major charge made by the Senator's own campaign against Obama just days before this press availability.


I'm finally getting around to organizing my pics from Peru. We went last year for almost two weeks, and took a five-day trek in the Andean mountains that included a stop at Machu Picchu. More soon. But I may throw out a few teasers, because as I look back on the trip I can't beleive how much fun I had.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

More Life as an Introvert

UPDATE: My friend and I were able to get together Sunday afternoon. All is well. thanks for the support.

Someone found my blog today by doing a search on The Google for "Gay Introvert."

That's me. As you all know.

The defining characteristic of an introvert is that they need time alone to recharge. I have been at that point for several days now.

I'm proud of the fact that I parented a three-year-old all by myself from last Friday through Wednesday. Other than putting him with the babysitting service at the gym for an hour here or an hour there, I was on. He and I had a great time, but it was still draining (Listen, if you think it's easy coming up for answers for endless series of questions like, "Daddy, why is it called the 'sky'?"you must be a philosophy major. With no kids.).

And recent loss is draining as well.

This month I lost a friendship. I'm still scratching my head, still puzzled, as to why someone I thought a great friend would just shut me out and refuse to be in my life anymore. I know I offended him, but even so, no chance to say I'm sorry? No opportunity to discuss it? But, friends are fickle. Still, I miss my friend.

But the hardest one of all is the looming loss of my old friend, Ranger, my 15 year-old dog. She has been failing rapidly over the summer, and we have come to the conclusion to end her life next Saturday. Yesterday I bought the shovel we will use to dig her grave and the stones to place over it. I fought back tears yesterday morning watching Eli get down on the floor, wrap his little arms around her, kiss her and tell her goodbye. I wonder if he will remember her? I know I will never forget that moment. I would have cried all the way to the airport over saying goodbye to Eli and also over the coming loss of Ranger had not the LTR spazzed out over traffic on the way. So, fortunately, I was able to be irritated instead of weepy.

An extrovert would welcome company and the chance to talk it out if confronted with some of these issues. An introvert would more likely deal with it on his own.

So, today, at the last minute I canceled an evening of plans with a friend. Unfortunately it's a friend not easy to make a rain date with, but I hit my wall this afternoon and knew I needed the night to myself. Selfish, yes. But I guess I gave in to my inner three year old. "I want it NOW!" is something Eli said often, and he wouldn't be satisfied with "later." Three-year-olds don't understand later, they live in the now. The downside of that is the tantrum that comes when they don't get what they want "now." But the upside is they put their entire being into the now. If you want to know what I mean, listen to a child laugh. That child's laugh takes over his entire existence and there is nothing else in his universe when it is happening.

So I needed -- wanted -- my "Introvert" time tonight. I know my friend is not happy, and I regret letting him down. I hope he will understand. For days now I have been pushing back tears. When I opened Eli's lunchbox, and saw the empty packages of fruit snacks. When I saw him give Ranger that last hug goodbye. When I stripped the sheets of his bed this morning. When I heard "If I Loved You" last night at the concert. While I'm writing this paragraph.

I'm sorry, my friend, for canceling on you. I just needed to be alone tonight. I will be strong tomorrow.

The NSO and Their Showtunes

The concert with Emil de Cou, the National Symphony Orchestra and Rogers and Hammerstein show tunes was fun last night, especially for the companionship of Matt, Chad (left) and Ben.

The orchestra provided the original score under clips of great moments in Rogers and Hammerstein musicals. It was thrilling to see Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner dance across a wide screen in vibrant color while a live orchestra glided and thumped underneath ("Shall we dance? Thump thump thump." I love it).

The orchestra under de Cou kept a right balance with the singing on the movies and provided subtle underscoring during dialog scenes. I thought the most musical moment was "If I Loved You" from Carousel but I've always been partial to that song. I searched for a good You Tube clip of it but couldn't find one I liked -- even a Mandy Patinkin version I found seemed lacking. That's a song that needs plumbed to its depths, containing longing, hope, fear, and irony. My favorite version is Holly Near's, of all people, and I gave that recording away and have not been able to replace it. But I digress.

I've conducted ensembles to recorded media and, as de Cou says in a Metro Weekly interview, it is tricky. And it tricked them up last night, as every medley had moments that were off, most glaringly in the climax to the Sound of Music.

The only discordant note I thought (and my friends disagreed) was in a comment that de Cou (who is gay) made about the bright purple and orange cowboy shirts in Oklahoma. De Cou said he was used to seeing cowboys like that when he used to live in San Francisco. It wasn't a bad line, but I winced, as in that setting in the hate state of Virginia, it almost seemed like de Cou was subtly saying, "I'm one of you, let's laugh at them." The point of the joke was poking fun at a Hollywood convention, still, it rang sour in my ears.

Still, it was an immensely enjoyable evening. Tonight the NSO with de Cou does the same gimmick with Hitchcock movies. It should be an entertaining night.

One delightful surprise last night, stemming from an outdoor concert, was the impromptu chorus of crickets that accompanied the evening. A human and insect duet making music in the night.

I wonder what the crickets thought?

Are You There Internet? It's Me Scott

Wondering if you can see this -- I can't open the blog on Internet Explorer (I get a helpful error message that says "IE cannot open the Internet site http://.....").

But I can open it on Firefox. weird.

Since It's a Broadway Night

My favorite version of this song.

Friday, August 01, 2008

My Big Fat Gay Evening

As if going to the National Symphony Orchestra's salute to Rogers and Hammerstein at Wolf Trap tonight wasn't enough, I invited two of my gayest friends (I mean that affectionately, boys) to join me: Thoroughly Modern Mattie and Chad, Baroness Von Bubbles.

And if that weren't enough they are bringing cute little Ben.

Tomorrow I will do something that gets dirt under my nails. But tonight it's I'm as gay as a daisy!*

*bonus gay points if you can pinpoint Rogers and Hammerstein show "gay as a daisy" comes from.