Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nandina...

Overcast today but nice. Airing out the house all day long. Some pics of our Nandina.... the first hint of a still distant fall.





















Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Two Stooges

A horrible foreign policy mess. A worse financial crisis at home. These are times that require not just good leadership, they demand greatness. Do we have greatness on the ballot in 2008? One of the consequences of the democratic process in a republican form of government is that greatness gradually fades and mediocrity rises to the top in the name of "the common man."

Great examples of this recently were provided by both Governor Palin and Senator Biden. Palin has mis-stated (I'm being polite) her past actions in her "executive" position over and over again. Biden, of course, has a history of plagiarism in addition to a long history of stupid public utterances.

Governor Palin sat down with Katy Couric of CBS for a rare interview (the McCain campaign wisely keeps her as much as tolerable from holding an actual press conference like McCain, Obama, and Biden all routinely conduct). She exposed herself as almost unbeliveably shallow on several important issues.

Katie Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundry that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don't know, you know … reporters.

Couric: Mocked?

Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state.

What the hell does a "trade mission" have to do with showing "executive experience" in a complex world of terrorism? Has Palin ever talked to a Russian representative? Is that supposed to make me sleep better Governor?

See the YouTube of this extraordinarily shallow comment here.

>>>>

Then, about the financial crisis...

Palin: I'm ill about the position that America is in and that we have to look at a $700 billion bailout. And as Sen. McCain has said unless this nearly trillion dollar bailout is what it may end up to be, unless there are amendments in Paulson's proposal, really I don't believe that Americans are going to support this and we will not support this. The interesting thing in the last couple of days that I have seen is that Americans are waiting to see what John McCain will do on this proposal. They're not waiting to see what Barack Obama is going to do. Is he going to do this and see what way the political wind's blowing? They're waiting to see if John McCain will be able to see these amendments implemented in Paulson's proposal.

Couric: Why do you say that? Why are they waiting for John McCain and not Barack Obama?

Palin: He's got the track record of the leadership qualities and the pragmatism that's needed at a crisis time like this.

Couric: But polls have shown that Sen. Obama has actually gotten a boost as a result of this latest crisis, with more people feeling that he can handle the situation better than John McCain.

Palin: I'm not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who's more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who's actually done it?

Couric: If this doesn't pass, do you think there's a risk of another Great Depression?

Palin: Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on. Not necessarily this, as it's been proposed, has to pass or we're going to find ourselves in another Great Depression. But, there has got to be action - bipartisan effort - Congress not pointing fingers at one another but finding the solution to this, taking action, and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.

Couric: Would you support a moratorium on foreclosures to help average Americans keep their homes?

Palin: That's something that John McCain and I have both been discussing - whether that ... is part of the solution or not. You know, it's going to be a multi-faceted solution that has to be found here.

Couric: So you haven't decided whether you'll support it or not?

Palin: I have not.

Couric: What are the pros and cons of it do you think?

Palin: Oh, well, some decisions that have been made poorly should not be rewarded, of course.

Couric: By consumers, you're saying?

Palin: Consumers - and those who were predator lenders also. That's, you know, that has to be considered also. But again, it's got to be a comprehensive, long-term solution found ... for this problem that America is facing today. As I say, we are getting into crisis mode here.

Couric: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie - that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

Palin: He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you've said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.

Huh? Did she say anything at all? The worst financial crisis since the great depression and she says nothing. "I'll get back to you." She's a disingenuous stooge. She appears sincere but is, in fact, coached and cannot offer much beyond what her coaches tell her because she doesn't have any experience to draw on. It's even worse when you see the YouTube of this interview here.

However...

If the McCain campaign keeps Palin away from a "real" news conference, maybe Senator Obama should consider doing the same thing with VP-wannabe smilin' Joe Biden, who seems to be a bit confused about basic American history.

Last week with Couric he tried to rewrite history with a comment more absurd than anything Palin has botched so far. When asked about the financial crisis he answered...

"Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence is to demonstrate what he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicating to people ... this is how we can fix this," Biden said. "When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, 'look, here's what happened.'"

Um. Two things. First of all the stock market crashed in 1929. Herbert Hoover was president, not FDR. Secondly, television was not widely available until years after the crash. Roosevelt addressed the nation on the radio Joe. I bet Obama's real proud of you.

I might add that you cannot find this gaffe by searching anywhere on the CBS News website (unlike the unfavorable Palin interview.) See the YouTube of this here.

More about Biden gaffes can be found here. It is interesting to note that I had to go to a Canadian newspaper to find a summary as complete as this. Media objectivity anyone?

Biden has a history of these types of mental botches. So, unlike Palin, he is a genuine stooge. There's nothing disingenuous about him. He's uncoachably inept. Whatever comes into Biden's head comes out of his mouth and sometimes it's just stupid.

The two stooges. I'm actually looking forward to the VP debate. It should be a gaffe-fest.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last Two Songs from Zuma

This Weekend...

Friday afternoon our daughter had a middle school softball game. She played well getting a base hit and hitting a nice line drive to right center. She consistently puts the ball in play. She made a long running catch in left to end an inning with runners in scoring position. She made the catch in front of her knees, something I taught her back in June. Fantastic play. Her team lost the game 5 – 2, however.

Friday evening I watched Shields and Brooks then went out on the porch to enjoy the birds in our acre and a half front yard. A few cars passed. Jennifer and I talked. It got dark. The last few Katydid’s sang in the trees in spite of their numbered days.


We listened to some Coldplay until Jennifer mentioned two songs by Neil Young she had been thinking about. They happen to be the last two songs from Zuma. We listened to Cortez the Killer and Through My Sails. Later, we watched the Braves game on Peachtree TV then I read Proust until I got sleepy. My daughter had a friend over to spend the night. Jennifer picked her up after the local high school football game. The girls giggled until alittle after midnight.

Saturday was all about softball practice, grocery buying, and deck work. We installed a new bench on our deck and I cleaned and scrubbed the front porch. Jennifer planted grass seed and weeded. We christened our new deck bench with a bottle of champagne. Later, we watched Georgia defeat Arizona State to remain (hopefully) number three in the nation.

Sunday started with a large pot of Starbuck’s Columbia and the morning sounds from the farm. A cow was balling in the distance, upset over something. Next door the chickens and roosters punctuated the early, dewy day. We left the windows open all night so the house was cooled by the fresh night air. I did laundry, played a wargame, Jennifer’s parents came over for a visit and plant exchange. I ran 3 miles and did a light weight workout. In the evening, we enjoyed the hot tub under early autumn skies and cool temperatures.

Where did the weekend go?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's NOT the Lipstick - Stupid

I voted for John McCain in the primary earlier this year, mainly to do damage to any momentum Mitt Romney might attain in the nomination process. Romney comes off as genuine as a wax museum figure to me. I remain undecided today as to who I will vote for in the November election. I am tempted to take Ron Paul's advice and vote for some third party candidate. But today the McCain campaign pissed me off. By disingenuiously attempting to frame a very common political expression as a personal attack by Barack Obama on Sarah Palin, McCain lost points with me and, I hope, every thinking American. I found Obama's response to be appropriate today as he spoke in Virginia...

"Some of you may have -- I'm assuming you guys have heard this, watching the news. I'm talking about John McCain's economic politics, I say, "This is more of the same, you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig."

"And suddenly they say, "Oh, you must be talking about the governor of Alaska."

[Laughter from audience]

"See it would be funny, it would be funny except -- of course the news media all decided that that was the lead story yesterday. They'd much rather have the story -- this is the McCain campaign -- would much rather have the story about phony and foolish diversions than about the future.

"This happens every election cycle. Every four years. This is what we do. We've got an energy crisis. We have an education system that is not working for too many of our children and making us less competitive. We have an economy that is creating hardship for families all across America. We've got two wars going on, veterans coming home not being cared for -- and this is what they want to talk about! this is what they want to spend two of the last 55 days talking about.

"You know who ends up losing at the end of the day? It's not the Democratic candidate. It's not the Republican candidate. It's you, the American people. Because then we go another year or another four years or another eight years without addressing the issues that matter to you. Enough.

"I don't care what they say about me, but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift-boat politics. Enough is enough."

If McCain doesn't soon turn the focus of his campaign away from building a personality cult and back onto some issues then he's lost my vote.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tin Soldiers and Nixon coming...

Well, I told several people that Hillary would be the Democratic nominee and probably our next president. I was wrong. It is an amazing election year - by any measure. I may be wrong about this as well but when the hell did that stop me... Whoever wins Ohio is the next president of the United States.

Or Pennsylvania. Or maybe it's going to be Florida that makes the difference again. Boy! This is looking pretty close since the Palin bounce outbounced the Obama bounce.


The latest polling data is here.

And here's a "real time" polling summary...