Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Josh Marshall on McCain

He gets it about right, I think:

My verdict may be a severe one but I think a lot of people -- a lot of former admirers -- are coming around to agreeing with the general outlines. McCain has revealed himself as a liar well outside the permissive standards applied to politicians. He's shown himself to be reckless to the point of instability, repeatedly putting the country at risk (exploiting the Georgia crisis, picking Palin, storming the bailout negotiations) for transparently self-serving reasons. And in too many ways to count, he's conducted his campaign in disgraceful and dishonorable ways.

If there has been one moment of the campaign that demonstrates this the most clearly (if only symbolically) it's the video of McCain getting makeup while Katie Couric looks on while David Letterman needles him for lying to him. In that image we see McCain -- however honorable his past service to our country -- for what he is now: a fraud.

Monday, September 29, 2008

That's Not Putting Country First

Let me get this straight -- the Republicans were going to vote for the bill until Nancy Pelosi trashed the president?

The Party that wants us to entrust them with foreign and financial crisis is really using a "so there, take that" approach to governing?

Carol Schwartz Doesn't Get It

Carol Schwartz, a long-time member of the DC City Council who was defeated by a challenger in the GOP primary here, is running a write-in campaign. In an op-ed in today's WaPo she tried to explain why she's running and demonstrates instead she is tone deaf to current political times.

The victories of Adrian Fenty over Linda Cropp and Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, plus her own primary defeat at the hands of an unknown newcomer have taught her nothing. And she's still running on the past.

And her column includes this paragraph:

While I have never been mayor (though I tried to be four times), as a council member I have always been a sharp-eyed watchdog. I have used my legislative, oversight and budgetary roles to make government more accountable and efficient -- not in an "unrelentingly negative" way, as characterized by The Post in another recent "unrelentingly negative" editorial about me, but in a way that has helped bring about positive results.

In other words, let me use my own editorial space to remind you how you rejected me for mayor four times. I'm a four-time loser. Remember? And let me repeat something negative the Washington Post has said about me.

It makes her "oldie but a goodie' campaign signs from the primary seem wise.

She ends her little article with this:

So when The Post says "Mrs. Schwartz admits to offering more of the same," indeed I do.

And therein is the problem, Ms. Schwartz. Voters don't want to know where we've been. In these uncertain times, we want to know where we're going.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Luckiest, the Fish from Nowhere

It's not raining men in my gayborhood. It's raining fish.

The LTR was summoned to the door the other night by a frantic neighbor. "Do you have an aquarium?" he asked in a panicked voice?

Turns out he was walking his dog, Lucky, and in front of our house he came across a large koi, gasping for air and looking as out of his element as Sarah Palin in a Katie Couric interview.

No, we don't have an aquarium. Nor do our neighbors.

The LTR grabbed a bucket and filled it with water and plucked the fish from nowhere in it.

The neighbor who originally stumbled on the koi has named it "luckiest" and found a home for it -- a half block away in a neighbor's koi pond (and no, the found fish was not an escapee).

At last report, Luckiest is getting along just swimmingly.

Meanwhile, I'll be watching my neighborhood for "Missing Fish" signs.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Financial Crisis Explained

A (humorous) explanation.

"Feeble Heartbeat"

I've been using the line, Palin would be a "feeble heartbeat" away from the presidency, a riff on the usual, "heartbeat away." I think it's a great line, and I want to give credit to the source: jimbo.info.

Jimbo, don't know if you came up with that or saw it elsewhere, but it is a delicious line.

This is Why McCain Came Back

The more you learn about what happened yesterday and how McCain is "leading," well, I just want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over my head:

At one point, several minutes into the session, Obama said it was time to hear from McCain. According to a Republican who was there, "all he said was, 'I support the principles that House Republicans are fighting for.'"

Read the rest of the details here.

So a Day After McCain Swoops in to the Rescue, Where Are We?

Let's see.

McCain decides the government can't fashion a rescue plan without him, so he "suspends" his campaign (though his ads continue to run, his surrogates continue to attack Obama) lies to David Letterman about why he can't be on his show, telling him he's dashing to the airport when in fact he's sitting with Katie Couric and getting makeup applied, finally shows up in DC after an initial agreement is set; pulls all the players to a photo op at the White House where the only thing of slight substance he does is mention a counter proposal by Conservative Republicans that he can't defend when challenged by the Secretary of the Treasury. Meanwhile the person he picked to be a "feeble heartbeat" away from the presidency can't respond to softball questions on McCain's record while making an argument that she's got foreign policy experience because Putin flew through her state's airspace.

And now, after all that, whatever deal had been struck is unraveled. Heckuva job, Johnnie.

McCain says he's suspended his campaign but the only thing being suspended is a sense of disbelief.

Is this really a serious person capable of leading us through the century's biggest fiscal crisis and the "global war on terror?"

Or did all those years of appearing on Saturday Night Live go to McCain's head and he's now perpetrating the biggest parody in history on the country?

I'm not laughing.

Offensive Typo of the Day


Quote of the Day

Sarah Palin:

"reducing taxes ... has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans"

Maybe McCain should make her Secretary of the Department of Redundancy Department.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Palin on Russia with Couric.

This is not an SNL skit. This is all too real.

Nasa Image of the Day

According to NASA:

Generations of stars can be seen in this infrared portrait from NASA's Spitzer
Space Telescope. In this wispy star-forming region, called W5, the oldest stars
can be seen as blue dots in the centers of the two hollow cavities.

And according to Sarah Palin, those oldest stars would be about, oh 7,000 years old.

Locker Room Reax on McCain, Bush

I work out on weekdays in a decidedly GOP-leaning gym in tony Old Town Alexandria. The reax, both to Bush's speech and McCain's "suspension" of his campaign (is his staff reporting to work today?) was decidely mixed. My favorite comment was that Bush during his speech "looked like he was having a root canal." As indeed he should. Where the hell has he been?

Reax to the campaign suspension (which itself requires a suspension of disbelief to take seriously) was mostly negative. One woman said to her workout partner about McCain: "what a loser!" And here I had her pegged as a blue-haired matron of the Republican Woman's Club.

These people see the McCain move for the desperate PR stunt it is. there is nothing McCain, or Obama, for that matter, could do to help the process that they couldn't do from anywhere in the country. Going back to Washington is a distraction to the legislators during the real work.

McCain is following the worse course you can in a crisis: When in doubt, run in circles and scream and shout. Or as George Will put it he is substituting vehemence for coherence.

This is not a McCain we can beleive in.

Letterman Rips McCain

McCain used the "I have to go back to DC and save the economy" excuse to cancel an appearance on Letterman...and then Dave finds out during the taping of his show that McCain is down the street being interviewed by Katie Couric.

Which prompted these comments from Dave:

"He can't run the campaign because the economy is cratering? Fine, put in your second string quarterback, Sara Palin. Where is she?"

"What are you going to do if you're elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We've got a guy like that now!"
"You don't suspend your campaign. This doesn't smell right. This isn't the way a tested hero behaves." And he joked: "I think someone's putting something in his metamucil."

He also offered to give McCain a ride home.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


A former boss told me that one of my biggest weaknesses was that I was too trusting.

It's true.

For example, I trusted my government when it told me there were WMDs in Iraq. And so I supported the war.

And then I found out -- I know, no surprise to you -- that it was all a lie.

Now I'm being told by my government that we "have" to spend $700 billion in taxpayer's money to bailout Wall Street.

I do believe we're in a crisis. It's real.

And it's a terrible thing to not be able to trust your government in a real crisis.

And the McCain campaign is engaging in the same sort of distortions, lies, double talk, avoiding accountability or scrutiny, as the Bush Administration.

Barack Obama may end up disappointing me and lose my trust. John McCain has already done so. The idea of trusting a McCain administration in these perilous times is enough to send me into a great depression.

Crossfit Training

My personal trainer, frustrated that he hasn't been able to kill me yet, has started me on a new program. Crossfit training:

Here's the formula for a typical CrossFit workout: a warm-up, followed by three
to five sets of three to five repetitions of a multi-joint exercise like squats,
pull-ups, push-ups, dead lifts or bench presses. Next, a 10-minute circuit of
gymnastic-type moves performed as quickly as possible. And finally, two to 10
minutes of high-intensity sprint training. Incorporated into the mix is jump
training, obstacle courses and lifting and swinging various heavy objects like
kettlebells (weighted balls with handles). The whole thing takes about 20

Key words in that paragraph: high-intensity. Possible side-effects: nausea or death. So far just a little nausea.

Here's an example. I'm using lighter weights, though.

Monday, September 22, 2008

McCain's Senate Chief of Staff

Outed, today, by the usual suspects.

I'm not linking because I don't agree with outing as a political tool.

That McCain's chief of staff is gay tells us nothing new about the Senator - his embrace of the religious right, his opposition to gay marriage while going on Ellen and congratulating her and wishing her well already show him to be a hypocrite and using anti-gay positions to win political support.

Hell, it's not even a new story -- rabidly anti-gay Rick Santorum had a gay press secretary.

And we've seen how Republicans in private are gay friendly (recently, Newt Gingrich movingly eulogizing his gay friend at a memorial service I attended) and how they cynically use homophobia to appeal to voters even while acknowledging the anti-gay policy they espouse is something they personally don't agree with (GOP strategist Rich Galen saying gay marriage might save lives by promoting monogamy instead of promiscuity in a time of AIDS, but GOP candidates should scream "San Francisco values" anyway to get elected. In other words, to his view and in by his own logic, saving lives is less important than winning elections. Disgusting).

This news is simply, well, more of the same.

As for the gay COS. I don't know why he works for McCain and I don't think it's any of my business. I am out socially and professionally and I wouldn't choose otherwise -- but that's my business. We don't know the particulars of his personal life or the reasons he has made the choices he has. Nor should we. He is not the elected official here.

And outing someone -- a potentially personally destructive act -- for policy disagreement, however tempting, is a slippery slope. I know it seems cut and dried in this case, but where does it stop and who draws the line?

I don't think hate crimes laws are necessary. Does that mean the many gays who do are justified in trying to punish me personally? That's what outing is. It may make some gay activists feel good but doesn't change a damn thing.

Palin, Feminism and the Limitations of Identity Politics

The nomination and popularity of Sarah Palin has turned feminism on its head.

Rebecca Traister writes in Salon.com (hat tip: BDU):

In this strange new pro-woman tableau, feminism -- a word that is being used all over the country with regard to Palin's potential power -- means voting for someone who would limit reproductive control, access to healthcare and funding for places like Covenant House Alaska, an organization that helps unwed teen mothers. It means cheering someone who allowed women to be charged for their rape kits while she was mayor of Wasilla, who supports the teaching of creationism alongside evolution, who has inquired locally about the possibility of using her position to ban children's books from the public library, who does not support the teaching of sex education.

The paradox Traister points out here highlights the limitations of identity politics. Voting the gender, the skin color, the sexual orientation, isn't ultimately what's important. Issues are. That doesn't mean turning a blind eye to the historical significance of the first possible black president or female vice president. But such firsts are more symbolic than substantive, their power lying more in their ability to inspire and shatter stereotypes than push an agenda.

Palin's success comes in part because she shatters feminist stereotypes of women in power by being feminine. Traister is right to point out the sexism that Palin's candidacy has engendered:

Every time someone doubts Palin's ability to lead and mother simultaneously, or considers her physical appeal as a professional attribute...I bristle

Yet it's because of her being both a career woman who embraces her femininity with pride that women like my mother are so excited by her. When we think of Palin, we think of her being not only a successful politician (which she is) but a mom, in a way we don't think of Hillary Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro or even Kay Baily Hutchinson.

SIDENOTE: The Clintons never used their roles as parents as a political tool. For all the drama swirling around the Clinton marriage, there was none centered on their role as parents. Whatever trauma Chelsea endured as a teenager in the White House remained safe from the public eye. And Chelsea emerged on the public stage this year as a competent, poised, professional and able campaigner. Whatever their faults as spouses, the Clintons must have been good parents. In a short time, we already know more drama surrounding the Palin children than we do about Chelsea or even the Bush twins.

But back to the point: Feminism as a movement faces limitations to the extent it rests on gender identity.

Several years ago, I was in the leadership of a GLBT group in Florida. Some of the women wanted to amend our organizational structure to divide our leadership evenly into male and female. They argued that only women could understand and adequately represent other women.

I opposed this, feeling then as now that such a move would institutionalize our differences and discourage attempts to overcome the barriers between sexes. Just because someone has a vagina doesn't mean she necessarily speaks for all women or has their best interests at heart.

A point that the Palin candidacy drives home.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Strauss' Four Last Songs: Im Abendrot (At Sunset)

Okay, this is for everyone but especially for my readers for whom Madonna and Celine are "artists" who walk on water...

One of my favorite pieces of music is Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs, composed shortly before his death. The songs combined as a set after the composer's death, are for soprano and orchestra.

Of the four songs, my favorite is the last, "At Sunset."

In this YouTube clip, Renee Fleming is conducted by the crisp Christophe Eschenbach (who I swear looks like he is chewing gum in the beginning).

The text is about a couple walking hand in hand as sunset. Along the way they encounter flying larks (you'll hear the flutes trill when they appear in the text). At last they encounter the setting sun over the valley at the climax of the piece. If you ever wondered what a sunset would sound like in music, this is the piece that does it. Flemming's voice just resounds with golden warmth here -- listen for the German "abendrot" sung at the dynamic climax (though I like the studio recording she did with Eschenback was more effective here than in this live performance). The piece ends with this text:

O vast, tranquil peace!
so deep at sunset.
How weary we are of wandering -
Is this perhaps death?

We hear a quotation of Strauss' earlier work, Death and Transfiguration, as well as a return of the trills in the flutes...perhaps the souls of our couple freed in death?

Plug in your earpods, seal away distractions, and be transformed (and curse the audience member who starts to clap before the last note has died away!).


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Financial Times

I'd comment more on the economic mess if I understood it better. Like John McCain, I have no expertise on economic matters (though I did get an "A" in Econ 101 in college, so I may be one up on him there. Hey, how come I'm not his running mate? Oh, I have a penis. Never mind).

Anyway, have at it -- let's start an open thread. What do you think about what's happening on Wall Street and Capitol Hill's response?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Musical Weekend

Three things I'm excited about this weekend:

First is the resumption of rehearsals of the brass quintet I am in, Stonewall Brass. I play tuba in this small ensemble.

The other is I start guitar lessons. I've been playing guitar since college, taught by my good friend Chuck Pelletier (whom I've lost touch with, again...Chuck where are you?). But I could be a lot better. I enjoy playing and singing (tho I just entertain myself and have never really played for other people). But I want to get better and who knows, I may end up doing an open mic or two.

Finally, I'm going to prepare for an audition to play tuba for the Capitol Symphony Orchestra. I'm not sure my playing is going to be up to snuff so I have no prediction if I'll pass muster (my guess would be not). But we'll see.

I wasn't sure what role music would have in my life after the accumulated frustrations and personal failings in leading community music for 14 years and this weekend marks my first return to trying since I stepped down from the band in April.

I'm happy about it...but let's just keep things small.

Jay Brannan Quote of the Day

"You said physical chemistry between us was bad.
Then why are you still responding to my Craigs List ad?...

"Your text messages were like no calorie food for my soul.."

From his song, "At First Sight."

I love his lyrics.


I think this is the first time since I've been blogging that I have let most of a week go by without comment. I've been busy and also dealing with some crap and I have been tired and uninspired.

To my three readers, I apologize. But I will return.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Police Stats

This is a mind-blowing statistic:

The proliferation of SWAT deployments in this country is stunning, up from 3,000 a year in the mid-1980s to more than 40,000 now, according to Peter Kraske, who studies the militarization of policing as a criminal justice professor at Eastern Kentucky University.

From Marc Fisher's column today on the police raid of a DC suburb mayor's house, that resulted in the death of his two dogs. Mayor was innocent. In fact, if the police had bothered to investigate first and shoot later, the Mayor wouldn't even have been a suspect.

My grandparent's generation used to laugh at slapstick police work and called it "keystone kops." That's before the "kops" armed themselves with machine guns, body armor, no-knock warrants and an shoot first, ask questions later attitude. The Mayor's story gets front page attention because of who he is. I wonder how many anonymous innocents have similar stories?

I was raised to trust the police, and was shocked several years ago when, serving on a jury in a murder trial, some of my fellow jurors refused to trust anything the police said.

I begin to understand.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Boys and Sunflowers

Sarah Palin's Travels

Visited Iraq? Nope, never left Kuwait.

Ireland? Just a refueling stop, she didn't get out of the plane.

Andrew has the deets.

The more we learn about the truth behind Sarah Palin's foreign experience and travels, the more we realize it is as thin as the soup that was made:

'by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death."

That metaphor is Lincoln, by the way, since Sarah seems to be fond of Lincoln quotes.

This and That

We've started talking about getting a new dog. The void left by Ranger has been an anchor that drags us both down. And Buster, our other dog, is obviously distressed as well.

I'm starting guitar lessons next Saturday.

Despite the well-laid-out plans of the LTR, our attempt to talk to our son on his birthday were quashed and so far we still haven't been able to reach him.

I try to avoid talking politics with my family, but they keep bringing it up. This has made me start to avoid talking to them. This is not a good thing.

I recently bought two civil war era antiques on Ebay. One is a bound volume of Harpers Weekly from 1861. Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations was being serialized in it at the time. It thrills me that hands that originally turned these pages were living through it all.

The LTR is making his own Chinese Chili hot sauce and my nose and throat are starting to burn on the second floor...I better go investigate.

Friday, September 12, 2008

John McCain's Lies

Quotes of the Day

Sarah Palin:

“Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s [Obama] worried that someone won’t read them their rights..."*

Barack Obama:

"The reason that you have this principle [habeas corpus] is not to be soft on terrorism. It's because that's who we are. That's what we're protecting," Obama said, his voice growing louder and the crowd rising to its feet to cheer. "Don't mock the Constitution. Don't make fun of it. Don't suggest that it's not American to abide by what the founding fathers set up. It's worked pretty well for over 200 years."

The U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

*For a discussion of why Palin's comment not only trivializes an important issue but is fundamentally wrong, go here.

Happy Birthday, Eli

My son is four today.

The story of his birth day is here.

The Bush What?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11, Liberty and Life

Important words to remember this September 11, are these:

"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time," wrote Thomas Jefferson. "The hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them."

On September 11, 2001, the hand of force destroyed 2,974 lives. The hand of force did not destroy our liberty.

Today, as we focus on our safety and preventing another 9/11 -- or worse -- we can't forget the life's conjoined twin: liberty. For Jefferson is right -- force cannot seperate liberty from life. But we can choose to give up our liberty in the name of saving lives.

Encroachments on liberty in the name of life -- suspension of habeas corpus, illegal wiretaps, renditions -- have become too common in the past seven years in the service of life saving. Anything can be justified in the name of safety...for in a dangerous world complete safety can never be achieved and if that is our only goal as a society we will slowly surrender our liberties for the sake or a strong paternal government bent on keeping us safe.

James Madison warned us against "evil lurking under plausible disguises and growing up from small beginnings. " At some point, the chipping away at the connection between life and liberty in the name of safety changes from right and proper to an evil lurking as a plausible disguise.

Knowing the difference is a tricky business, one that requires serious, thoughtful leadership.

Today we again remember and honor the lives of those lost. But to do more than mourn, to preserve their legacy, we must re-dedicate ourselves to protect the liberty they enjoyed in their lives. We must carefully choose a future that honors both life AND liberty.

Force cannot destroy the connection between life and liberty. We can only render the connection ourselves

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bush Rejects McCain Approach to Russia

From the NYT:

The Bush administration, after considerable internal debate, has decided not to take direct punitive action against Russia for its conflict with Georgia, concluding that it has little leverage if it acts unilaterally and that it would be better off pressing for a chorus of international criticism to be led by Europe.

That's a far cry from John "We're All Georgians" McCain who wants to treat Russian transgressions against Georgia as the next Cold War.

Sometimes it's as if a McCain Administration wouldn't be "more of the same" but simply the realization of the policies even the Bush Administration though too stupid or risky.

And, as Jeffrey Goldberg also points out, America needs Russia if we're going to keep the nukes out of terrorist hands, a prospect made more difficult by the saber rattling McCain.

Hmm, let's see: Russia out of Georgia; Russian nukes out of America.

I know which one I would pick.

McCain Opens 15 point Lead Among Independents

Read it and weep.

What is happening in this campaign is truly absurd. McCain is winning by proclaiming himself a maverick despite the fact that he caved into the entrenched evangelical wing of the Republican Party that the former truly maverick McCain denounced.

Sarah Palin was not John McCain's first choice for the person who should succeed him if needed. He was forced to abandon his preferred veep because the pro-life party establishment made him.

This...is a maverick?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Obama and Competence

If Barack Obama has exhibited one attribute during the last grueling 18 months, it’s competence.

Everyone keeps focusing on experience. Well, Obama has already done what the “experienced” George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole could not do: beat the Clintons.

He did it by running a highly competent and tightly managed campaign. Obama and his team figured out that to win the Democratic primary they needed to keep a steely gaze focused on the prize: the delegate count. Meanwhile his “more experienced” opponent wrongly focused on a swift win on Super Tuesday and couldn’t change course even when the mistake was obvious to all.

Obama has the same management team today that he had when he announced in Springfield, Illinois. Hillary had to replace her management team. McCain has replaced or reorganized his twice.

Obama keeps his cool. His opponents keep creating drama. You can disagree with Joe Biden, but no one doubts the competency of Obama’s selection process.

The Obama campaign is modern, integrating new communication technology like social networking and turning it into real world results. His campaign has mastered the tools of the trade, traditional and new. The McCain campaign has at the top a leader who doesn’t know basic skills like email or Google. His campaign doesn’t seem to know the difference between Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Walter Reed Middle School.

Obama has displayed prized superior management skills: visionary leadership, clear direction, strategic focus, expert implementation, the ability to communicate clearly in a way that mobilizes the masses. All skills we would expect in a capable chief executive.

Experience as defined by McCain and status quo Washington has given us Katrina, the intelligence disaster of pre-Iraq war and the planning disaster of post Saddam Hussein Iraq. All the experience of Washington hasn’t been able to capture Osama Bin Laden.

I don’t agree with Barack Obama on all of his policy positions, particularly on domestic policy. But in these dangerous times, I want a chief executive who is competent and who can lead others to implement his vision.. Obama has demonstrated that type of competence through this campaign and throughout his adult life. He is a rags-to-riches story personified – born in a broken home and rising in racially divided America by pulling himself up by his own bootstraps to national prominence. It’s a story that should be celebrated as solidly American – to be successful through hard work, courage, determination, and concern for others.

Consider the GOP’s founding president, Abraham Lincoln. Born in poverty to an illiterate and unsuccessful farmer, he rose by willpower and wits in 1860 to be the toast of what would now be called the liberal media, earning the praise of the east coast press after an eloquent and inspired speech at Cooper’s Union in Manhattan. Today’s Republican Party would call him an elitist. After all, he represented the powerful corporate railroads in Illinois and lived in a fancy Springfield home.

Like most people, and unlike the current leadership of the GOP who sneer at Obama’s Horatio Algers success, I was taught that if I worked hard, used my brains and applied true grit, I could be successful in life. The Republicans can sneer all they want to, but Obama’s life’s story is just a good old fashioned American success story about competence.

And let’s add that Obama’s competency isn’t the soulless nuts and bolts efficiency of a mere technocrat. Added to Obama’s skills is a vision he has articulated in a way to inspire millions to his cause: one united America that looks past the differences that divide us. Here too he emulates Lincoln, who, on the brink of the civil war, didn’t appeal to northern anger by demonizing southern aggression. Rather, Lincoln called on us to listen to “the better angels of our nature.”

Obama doesn’t have the type of experience the McCain campaign thinks he should have.

He has something better, which he has demonstrated over and over.

He has competence. The competence we need in an American president in the 21st century.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bears at the Beach

We have returned to Sandy Hook on the Jersey Shore. We got here yesterday minutes before Hanna arrived with gusto. Doing our best Dan Cantore impersonation, we went to the beach and stood outside looking like idiots. Sideways rain, fierce wind. And it stung. It was a blast!

Today Hanna is gone and the weather has been perfect. Gunnison Beach was on our agenda today and we weren't the only ones. There were a lot of bears on the gay side of the beach. Disney must have been doing a casting call for the "Bare Neccessities" number in The Jungle Book.

It was great fun watching a group of about 15 bears body surf together. If you've never seen a brood of nekkid bears body slam a wave you just don't know wet hairy fun. One poor bear stepped on something or got stung by something. Forturnately a Medical Bear was near by and applied the appropriate salves and ointments from his pouch. These bears were prepared.

We came back from the beach, relaxed in the jacuzzi and then each got an hour full body massage. The LTR is getting his now, I had mine first and I'm now writing this from the porch overlooking the Shrewsberry River and the Atlantic.

It's been a (forgive me) bear-y good day.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


The LTR and I both suffered from the same nightmare last night: we both dreamed that Ranger had come back to some zombie-like form of life. It was disturbing and forced me out of bed at 5 this morning.

I wonder if it's the product of the clash between my wish that she wasn't dead and my knowledge that she is.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Obama the Realist on Foreign Policy

UPDATE: I cannot determine why the line breaks are screwed up in this post. I've scrubbed the blockquote through notepad, edited it in HTML mode to remove any hidden tags, and nothing works. I like a tidy if cluttered blog, this is driving me nuts. Any suggestions?

In a recent issue of Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria contrasted teh foreign policies of McCain and Obama, finding the latter the realist and the former the starry eyed idealist.

Comparing the two candidate's approaches to Russia and China, Zakaria writes:

Obama's response to McCain's proposals on Russia and China could have been
drafted by Henry Kissinger or Brent Scowcroft. We need to cooperate with both
countries in order to solve significant global problems, he told me last week,
citing nuclear-proliferation issues with Russia and economic ones with China.
The distinction between Obama and McCain on this point is important. The single
largest strategic challenge facing the United States in the decades ahead is to
draw in the world's new rising powers and make them stakeholders in the global
economic and political order.Russia and China will be the hardest because they
are large and have different political systems and ideological approaches to the
world. Yet the benefits of having them inside the tent are obvious. Without some
degree of great-power cooperation, global peace and stability becomes a far more
fragile prospect.

My emphasis. And my take: McCain is the reckless one. Obama is the conservative here.

Clip From McCain's Speech Last Night

Well not really. But kinda.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"It Began with Iran"

With those words, the Republicans began their "9/11 Victims Tribute" video.

Iran? Iran had nothing to do with 9/11. Al Qaeda who was responsible (we know the current Republican party doesn't care about science but you'd think recent history...) was not mentioned once.

Iran linked to 9/11. Al Qaeda not even mentioned.

The Bush administration partly justified the invasion of Iraq due to alleged ties to 9/11.

"It began with Iran."

McCain at least is clear, however implicitly. His election = war with Iran.

Do we really need to do this all over again?

Beach Bound

The LTR and I are getting away from all the politics and are heading to the beach this weekend (on Saturday). It's a belated Labor Day since I was out of town this past weekend.

With all the recent hurricane activity, you never know what will wash up on shore...

(photo lifted from Spikes Boys)

American Corn Growers Endorse Obama

I mean, how middle America can you get?

Baby Props

Ignoring the fact that a screaming throng at 9:30 pm (central) isn't the best place to bring your infant, it's starting to look like the Palin family themselves are content to use the baby as a prop.

Am I the only one who looks at this as cringing and creepy?

Every Threat Gets a War

The Republicans made it very clear last night that they're going to follow every madman into the gates of hell. How far away are those fiery gates? At least seven years and counting, since that's how long Osama has been on the run.

So the question I have for Ms. Executive Experience Palin is, how many "madmen" are you going to march into hell for? Kim Jong-il? Ahmadinejad? Putin? How much money will you borrow from China to pay for it? (on top of the money we've already borrowed following Saddam into the Gates of Hell. And since Saddam is the only madman actually in hell, can't we go home now?)

The U.S. faces serious threats around the globe. But every threat doesn't warrant a war. By mocking Obama's more reasoned, conservative approach to foreign affairs, the Republicans seem to want to meet every threat with war.

Here's the irony: The Bush Administration finally gets it. They've reached out diplomatically to both North Korea and Iran.

I begin to fear a McCain Administration will make the Bush Administration look relatively dovish.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

McCain vs. the Media

Joe Klein is telling it like it is in saying the McCain campaign is trying to use and pump up the Bristol pregnancy story as a smokescreen for other issues:

There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God." The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

Onward Christian Soldiers

God wants us to get A-rabs. This is what John McCain's choice for Veep Sarah Palin said:

Speaking before the Pentecostal church, Palin painted the current war in Iraq as a messianic affair in which the United States could act out the will of the Lord.

"Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God," she exhorted the congregants. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

Between John "We're all Georgians, now" McCain and Sarah "Mission from God" Palin, I'm terrified.

I've a new word to contrast the Obama ticket from the Republicans: "Stable."

Today's Moment of Jay

I think Jay Brannan is a gifted singer and songwriter. His lyrics are sophisticated and intense. Here he is singing about heartbreak after being jilted. We've all been there and Jay's song touches that deep dark hurt and bitter place that such failed affairs create.

I'm going to post his song "Goddammed" but I don't think you're ready for it yet. But it will be a perfect tonic for that "Pentecostal Freak Show" from Minneapolis. Soon

Jay likes to begin his videos with a few minutes of banter. Music starts about two minutes in.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Different Hats

I'm a couple days late commenting on this, but you know what they say.

McCain said, in advance of the hurricane and curtailing the first day of his convention, "It's time to take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats."

Golly. I never knew they knew there was a difference.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Palin's Family

It's all a bit unsavory to me -- not the fact that Palin's daughter is pregnant, that's a private affair. It's the attention brought to it. Although I guess if the GOP wasn't so obsessed with defining what your family values should be it might not be such big news. Palin's interference in trying to get her brother-in-law fired concerns me more. Actually (to be a bit catty), the more you learn about Palin, the more you think she should be headlining Jerry Springer instead of Fox News.

Okay, that was a cheap shot. But I do seriously think the question should not be about her family. It should be whether or not Palin could set Senator McCain straight the next time he mixes up Shites and Sunnis, like Joe Lieberman could. Somehow I doubt it.