God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's Comedy Routine

From ABC News

Palin Fears Media Threaten Her First Amendment Rights

October 31, 2008 11:25 AM

ABC News' Steven Portnoy reports: In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by "attacks" from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.

Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama's associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate's free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."


Now...just how frighened do you think the NY Times is?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Evangelical Spokespeople and Obama

As many of you who have followed my blog know, I am a born-again evangelical Christian. As a child I accepted Christ as Savior. Subsequently, beginning in college and for many years thereafter, I rejected my early teachings and commitment. Many years later, in the face of adversity, I returned to this faith and maintain it today. It provides me hope, faith and a deep and abiding belief in God's grace and glory. It is the same spiritual foundation underlying much of the religious right.

However, I am appalled by the viciousness, bigotry and hypocrisy of many national figures who have become spokespeople for people of faith. I find much of what they do in the name of faith to be hate-mongering and contrary to the teachings of Jesus and God's commands. Their high-minded insistence that if one is not a republican or if one disagrees with them on issues then that person can not be a Christian is emphatically wrong, most certainly steering people away from faith. I find it abhorrent and beyond hypocritical that Rush Limbaugh is a bedfellow and purveyor of truth for these people.

The impetus behind this blog entry is James Dobson, guru of Focus on the Family, who has produced and is distributing an incredible piece of hate, designed solely to inflame and frighten. It contains no truth. Sadly, many people will read it and accept the premises as gospel--forgetting the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is inconceivable to me that anyone professing to honor and follow Jesus could do something so antithetical to what He would do or condone.

A Chilling Look at an Obama Presidency

Be sure to use the link to Letter from the 21st Century

My consolation is that such attacks may only appeal to those who already believe and thrive on vitriolic hate and, just maybe, it will be so appalling to others that they will reject the appeal, changing their votes to Obama who has clearly proclaimed his faith.

Here's Winking at You

Need to find a smile today? Try this.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama and Me by Casey

A quick link to Casey's newest blog entry. It fits in here well and I think you'll get a kick out of it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Unraveling of a Man

Given the degrading race that McCain has run and the unparalleled desperation behind his drive to become president of the United States, it is difficult to find soft feelings for him. However, there is pathos in the story.

John McCain entered this campaign with a reputation that, at least on the surface and as expressed, spoke of a man of conviction. Men and women who worked with him from both sides of the aisle indicate a respect for him and the integrity that was—but is no more.

This man who at times stood for the unpopular position, who voted contrary to expectations, who could claim the title of “maverick” will leave as his legacy actions and decisions that ultimately diminish the man that was.

He will have created a nightmare for his party by having introduced to the national scene an unqualified woman who may, through great hubris and narcissism, see herself as the new standard bearer for her party. This will surely result in new dimensions of intra-party blood letting.

He will have given us Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, who may attempt to project an undeserved 15 seconds of fame into “serving his country” as a congressman. Joe for Congress. Of course, he will need to find a different occupation for the ballot as he isn’t really a plumber. And then…he must first pay his back taxes. But the far right will gravitate to him to make certain that “this great nation,” as Sarah refers to us, does not blossom into a socialist state.

He will have inscribed on the collective conscience the indelible memory of robocalls as an extension of an already scurrilous campaign.

He will have made his disdain for us, the public, abundantly clear by over and over and over again maintaining SP's experiences as a past member of the PTA, mayor of the great urban metropolis of Wasilla and the spurious claim that she is the “most popular” governor in the nation qualifies her to be vice-president of our country. Never mind that less than two years into her term she has been found guilty of unethical behavior in office, has allowed her husband access to state personnel files and to participate in government business, has illegally used private e-mail addresses for government business, has charged the state per diem rates for nights spent in her own home and used tax payer money to pay for her children’s expenses as they accompanied her on trips where their presence had not been requested.

He has offered the most negative presidential campaign in memory. Weekly he, or his misbehaving surrogate, has delivered abominable claims such as his opponent having supported comprehensive sex education in kindergarten, that he has supported no medical attention be given aborted babies born alive and viable, that he consorts with terrorists, implying that he is not a "real" American, that he is promoting increased taxes for just about everyone, that he is a socialist, that he is an "elitist," (which for as long as I can remember has been the territory of the republicans), that he doesn't support the military and..and...and.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned from John McCain this year will be that there is a time to let go of a dream, a time to instill it in someone else, a time to let someone else nurture and form new visions. Perhaps it will be a legacy of knowledge that personal ambition, which isn't of itself a negative, can be corrupting and deforming. Perhaps it will be a legacy that, as this campaign is deconstructed, leads to a new expectation of integrity and honesty in fighting for the respect and vote of the electorate. Perhaps it will be a legacy that recognizes that people want vision, not recrimination.

The result of election 2008 may well be that this man who has prided himself on a record of "crossing the aisle" will now hold no weight on either side as he leaves his party so splintered he will be anathema to his own colleagues.

The final pathos of this election may be a McCain lastly seen as embittered, angry and too old.

As I write this, I am listening to Obama speaking in Ohio, saying with passion and conviction,

"We must unite to bridge our differences--all of us must come together."

"There are no fake parts of this country--we are one nation--all of us proud and all of us patriots."

"Service people do not serve a red America or a blue America, they serve a UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

I listen to a man who believes he can unite the United States and passionately wants such a reality. I watch a man who brings hope and a future for Casey and the children of our country...and, my final thought is "what a lucky woman Michelle is."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scars and Heroism

John McCain served his country and as a result experienced deep and lasting pain. Respect for his valor should not be denied him. As a Nation we owe him admiration and appreciation. He, along with other prisoners, survived; others didn’t.

In the years since then he has gone on with his life, sometimes in admirable ways and other times in not so admirable ways. Both the good and the bad have been chronicled.

However-- if I were a political columnist I am sure I would not subject myself to the vilification for saying this--I am not impressed with McCain’s subtle and not so subtle references to the ordeal he experienced as a POW. The oft repeated phrase …”and I have the scars to prove it” accompanied by his trade mark self-congratulatory smile, irritate me.

I want to yell at him “You can’t keep trading on that. Yes, you survived something terrible that many of us wouldn’t survive, but it wasn’t a heroic act." ...Let me clarify that I believe there is a difference between "hero" and "heroic act."

An heroic act is the deliberate action of aiding someone else while knowingly putting yourself in harm’s way. It is the fireman who enters a burning building; it is the soldier who falls on a grenade to ransom his comrades; it is the mother who falls under the wheel as she pushes her child to safety. It is a deliberate, although maybe reflexive, action. It is not an after the fact behavior.

I do believe that all of our nation's men and women in the armed forces are heroes in the sense that they serve to protect us. The most unrecognized heroes are the veterans who have no legs, no arms, who suffer from PTS, the ones who are never able to lead whole lives and who are ignored or occasionally receive generic recognition by people such as McCain who give tribute in speeches. These are people who are not welcomed back as heroes but are quietly shuffled to anonymity.

Barry Goldwater was different—not that I agree with him or would have voted for him—but he cared and was proactive in the lives of men and women at war. I remember when my in-laws one night answered the phone to find their son on the line, patched through by ham radio operator, Barry Goldwater from Arizona. Goldwater did this for thousands of homes during Vietnam. He did this quietly without praise or acknowledgement. This is a quiet heroism—a political figure doing good because he cared, not so that he could make points with anyone.

A hero does not speak of heroism--unless it belongs to someone else.

So, John, I remember when you walked down the steps of that plane and came home. I remember the celebration and the awe of the Nation. But....that does not qualify you to be president of our country and should not have a place in what is to be evaluated as we select our next leader.

Your renowned temper, your erratic behaviors, your exchange of principle for ambition, your foisting on this country someone who is grossly unqualified to lead are not the actions of a hero. They are a mirror on desperation. Your scars do not compensate for wisdom and judgment no matter how often you tell us you have them.

My fervent prayer is that racism and scare tactics do not defeat the man who can lead this country to new heights and hope.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Buried in the Heart

What goes on in a child's heart? If we could only know!

What I do know is that it often runs deep into territory we adults don't realize has been breached. Children think harder, deeper, more profoundly than we imagine. Little minds travel to unknown places as they try to make sense of their worlds and the greater world around them.

Raising Casey brings this home to me more often than I would like. It is so much easier to believe that little minds go no further than toys and fun and good things because then we don't need to have answers for hard questions, confusions and sometimes pain.

But...raising a child is serious business and requires wisdom to answer or explore questions that spin around inside until they finally erupt with "why?" Questions for which we adults often have no easy answer or perhaps no answer at all. These are the times when we realize that all of our accumulated wisdom amounts to very little. These are the times when our hearts break and hurt because we just don't want our little one's heart to feel pain or endure confusion. We don't want to be helpless in providing hope and comfort.

It is at such times that God mysteriously gives us the words that we can't find. We hear ourselves making sense out of confusion and the words lead to an understanding of the question--an understanding of the question that has sifted through our child's mind many times before giving it voice. And with understanding the question and from where it comes and what it means, we begin to know what words are needed to bring solace and help and comfort.

Often those words speak to the question in simple, direct, child-right language that brings the understanding that is needed. Even more times they end up being as simple as "I don't know the answer to your question. I too puzzle over that. But what I do know is that God loves you so much that He will hold your hurts and comfort you. And I know that I love you with a love that only God could have given me for you and I will hold you close and keep you safe."

Sometimes this is all that is needed to restore a peace of heart and I know this because of the grand hug as little arms encircle me. And... finally---I love you, gramma.

Friday, October 17, 2008

L A Times Endorsement--Worth the Time to Read

This is an excellent, well-reasoned endorsement of Obama as a man and as the future president. I wish that those who are not voting for him would read it so, at least, when he wins they can be hopeful and supportive.

Barak Obama for President the LA Times Endorsement

Be sure to continue to play the Sarah Palin Interactive game below as new things are being added to it daily--it seems. Joe the Plumber's truck is now making an appearance.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Palin for President Interactive--Tonight's Fun

This is much, much too fun!

Palin for President Interactive

Just start clicking on different parts of the picture. Have fun! Laugh a lot!

(You can click on some more than once for new laughs)

Turning the Tables

OK--I know that I have not done any original stuff lately--but, sometimes what other people are saying is so much on target and interesting that I bow to them.

Right now I'm feeling the need to get back to Italy and Casey for a while.

But........in the meantime, I really enjoyed this twist on The McCain Free White House as it is clever and adds a touch of the unique to this election year. Sometimes it is good to smile and lighten up--I think we need it. Be sure to explore all the menus--particularly the "Having the Talk" section.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Why Election 2008 Is Different

Frank Rich of the New York Times has written a long but informative opinion piece about what is transpiring this year. He brings up several things I had not read before and which individually are concerning and collectively damning. Although long, I recommend reading through to the end.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's Wrong With "Arab?"

In the following exchange between the woman and McCain something is very wrong...and...the wrongness extends to the media. Its inherent implication needs to be addressed.

Woman: "....he's an Arab."
John: "No, ma’am, he’s a decent family man....

It seems that underlying the void in recognizing the prejudice and racial bias in this interchange is an unacknowledged acceptance in America that Arab equates with terrorist--that any person of Arab extraction is an enemy.

John should have challenged the word but so should have Campbell Brown, Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, Larry King, et al--maybe even Barak. America is composed of all nationalities, including Arab. The premise of our nation is maligned when implications such as this are left unaddressed. An apology is owed to our Arab citizens--decent, family men.

Another Good Read
Khaled Housseini, author of The Kite Flyer and A Thousand Splendid Suns has written a piece that is well worth reading.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The World is Watching Us Fall

Yes, we have managed to bring down the world's economies--of course, they were ready to fall or it would not have been so precipitous--but the misguided, perhaps criminal, performance of our government and the unparalleled greed of the corrupt, narcissistic men of "Wall Street" have redefined what and who we are as a country and in the process destroyed untold lives.

However, in my mind, worse than this monumental economical disaster is the ethics and character decline being so clearly and definitively demonstrated by McCain and Palin. Markets will eventually rebound and the economy will once again be strong but a country divided by hate, one where office seeking aspirants build their base by not just building on but actively creating divisiveness among people will lose its moral leadership of the world and decline will follow.

McCain's Chilling Dance With Death Washington Post.com

Rage Rising on the McCain Campaign Trail

McCain Lets the Dogs Off the Chain

The rest of the world is watching and judging and abhorring our behavior. Some may say "but other countries do worse things." The difference is that we have always stood for more in both our eyes and the world's eyes. Therefore, more is expected.

Obama is a Traitor Cry McCain Supporters The Independent World--London

The Tragedy of This Flawed Hero--John McCain

McCain Unleashes the Attack Dogs Germany Spiegel International

McCain Gives Beat to the Dark Heart of Conservatism Guardian UK

There are more and as I have time, I will link to them.

In the meantime, I just read that Palin is claiming that Obama is putting ambition above country. This coming from the sidekick to the man who has clearly, without question, been doing this for the last month--beginning with the selection of her very own self as his mate.

Also, I was very happy to read that HER campaign headquarters have cleared her of any wrong doing in Troopergate. With that, we all now know that she is an honest woman who does not use private e-mail for government business, did not use her powers of office to try to intimidate a government employee into firing her ex-brother-in-law and did not allow the First Dude access to confidential personnel files. Now---let's see what the report of the true investigation reveals.

Yes, John and Sarah, I Am Afraid

of who you are and the ugliness and evil you have become.

John, you once were an honorable man whom even your opponents respected and honored. You have thrown away your good name.

Sarah, you are the poster woman as to why people view evangelicals as hypocrites and worthy of disdain and ridicule. Spewing hate and lies, encouraging cries of "kill him" and "cut off his neck", creating and playing on fears, appealing to the lowest denominator in society is not reflective of Jesus, the man who challenged the hypocrites to throw the first stone, the man you claim to worship as Savior. Hate was not his message.

The political ad released by your campaign today says it all. Your campaign has rejected virtue and morality, replacing them with the vileness of hate mongering and character assassination. You have embraced evil.

I would pray and hope that even my good, close Christian friends would be appalled by and reject this ad and demand integrity and honor from the ticket they are supporting.

Monday, October 06, 2008

When Boys Grow Up

Because I had several empty nest years—loving each and every one of them, much of what I learned as a mother of growing boys has been lost. Now, with Casey, it is all new, often puzzling, often entertaining.

I think that kids are growing up faster now—milestones seem to creep up sooner—needs to know come earlier—baby teeth are replaced more quickly. I’m glad that I’m a stay-at-home “mother” this time around rather than the working mother I was the first time. However, I should clarify, I do not regret my career or working life, nor would I do it differently.

Casey is just 10 but already shows signs of eating like a future teenager. I can not imagine what he will be like in just a few years. Coming home from school, where he has already had lunch, he spends at least 20 minutes eating and drinking—milk, juice, yogurt, cookies, maybe some of last night’s left over, a bowl of cereal or what ever else he can scrounge, with fruit as a last resort. With all this, he never has an extra ounce of fat on his body. I think he burns it while he sits. The situation is that I am not sure if all of this eating is because of hunger or if he has found a way of putting off homework time. I strongly suspect it is a combination of the two.

He wants his own cell phone--now, tell my why a 5th grader needs a phone? In my past life as a school administrator, it wasn't deemed appropriate even for a junior high student to tote one. Now, I understand first graders think that it is a necessary school accessory. Casey does not have one.

Then there is that opposite sex thing. My understanding of elementary boy-girl relationships was that girls knew there were boys but that boys, really, were pretty unaware of girls. Boys had too many other interesting things to fill time with—you know, boy things. But, I was wrong.

Casey has two types of girl relationships. The first is “friend.” Several girls in his class qualify here—he really doesn’t seem to make a differentiation between them and his boy friends. The second kind is “girl-friend”--as in future wife. I don’t know how deeply embedded these feelings are and, they do so seem to be fairly transitory, but, they do happen. Encouragingly, he leans to tom-boy girls for his romantic picks.

If you read Casey’s blog, you are quite familiar with charming Camilla in Italy. Last year Cami was Casey’s sister. This year she has become Casey’s girlfriend with hints that they may even have “kissed.” Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from eyeing the ladies here. What I don’t need in the future is a resident Romeo.

Then there is the night when he let out an excited shout from the other room as he discovered hair on his legs. What an exciting night that was—for him. All I could think of was that puberty must be just around the corner. I really am not ready for the little boy to leave us. I want to keep the one who snuggles up on the couch, eating popcorn while watching some silly thing on TV or the one who wants gramma to lay on his bed with him for a few minutes at night—singing nonsensical songs or telling creatively bizarre froggy stories.

What I don't see happening is his being fanatical about doing his school work, using eyes to read or even practicing his karate. The "little boy" still controls his focus and drive. Nothing I say seems to penetrate this priority on play. Hopefully, with puberty, this too will change along with the voice. There are interesting years ahead! And, I look forward to them and the man Casey will ultimately become.

Oops John--the Pit Bull's Biting

Palin Goes Against McCain in Bringing Up Wright
Seth Colter Walls

October 6, 2008 09:42 AM

By suggesting that Barack Obama's relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a legitimate campaign issue, Sarah Palin appears to have sunk below the standard espoused by John McCain himself earlier this year.

In an interview with neoconservative columnist Bill Kristol, Palin said: "To tell you the truth, Bill, I don't know why that association isn't discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that -- with, I don't know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn't get up and leave -- to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up."

Doggone it, Sarah, are you annoyed again?

But the fact is, McCain has already made his call on whether he wants to "bring that up" fairly clear. Beyond deciding not to do so himself, he offered some implicit criticism for anyone else who would.

"I think that when people support you, it doesn't mean you support everything they say. Obviously, those statements are things none of us would associate ourselves with," McCain said.

After Hannity listed more potential reasons to make Wright an issue, McCain drew a deep breath and decided not to go there. "I do know Sen. Obama, he does not share those views."
In April, after the North Carolina Republican Party uncorked an attack ad linking Obama and Wright in April, McCain asked that they put it back in the box.

Do you think McCain may be having second thoughts? In the real world, she would be fired for insubordination. But then..........politics ain't the real world.

Do you think McCain may be having second thoughts? In the real world, she would be fired for insubordination. But then..........politics ain't the real world.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Who is Tony Hall?

Answer: A Pro-Life Democrat, Pro-Obama, Evangelical Christian and Former Congressman from Ohio

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Tony Hall represented his hometown in Congress from 1979 to 2002. Former Ambassador and Congressman Tony Hall is an evangelical Christian and a life-long advocate for hungry people in the United States and around the world. Congressman Hall is the founder of the Congressional Hunger Center, a non-profit organization. He served as Chairman of the House Select Committee on Hunger from 1989 until it was abolished in 1993, then fasted for 22 days to draw worldwide attention to the scourge of hunger. Hall was appointed by President Bush to be Ambassador to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization where he served until 2005.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

This is Very Disturbing

Of all that I have read recently, by far the most disturbing is this NY Times Op-Ed piece by Frank Rich. I can only hope that he is far, far off-base but my gut tells me that he may have an insight that has eluded others.

A Good Read and Religious Far Right Hypocrisy

This is a very good column--for those of us who are terrorized by the thought of a President Palin--a reality I am certain will materialize in the event John wins.

Palin’s Alternate Universe

by New York Times Op Columnist Bob Herbert

It should be must reading by everyone before entering the polling booth


And--Sarah Palin's malicious obfuscation at a fund raiser in Colorado today:

"Well, I was reading my copy of today's New York Times and I was really interested to read about Barack's friends from Chicago," Palin told the crowd. "Turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man who, according to The New York Times was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol.' These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes. This is not a man who sees America as you and I do -- as the greatest force for good in the world. This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country. This, ladies and gentlemen, has nothing to do with the kind of change anyone can believe in -- not my kids and not your kids."

How the Religious Far Right can condone this kind of evil meaness, deliberate falsification, and fear mongering is incomprehensible to me. WWJD is worn on bracelets, attached to notebooks, proudly proclaimed but seems not to translate into behavior.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Joe Six Pack--Please Stand Up

I don't know Joe Six Pack. Do you? Perhaps he's married to Hockey Mom. But then, here in California, I don't know many hockey moms. Soccer moms--yes. Little League moms--yes. Are they the same as hockey moms*?

The soccer moms, the Little League moms that I know are intelligent, thinking, admirable women--not people easily conned by winks, nose wrinkles and ya betcha's. They are not women who want to be condescended to. They do not want to be spoken to or about as simple minded.

The women I know have opinions based on their own understandings of deep and consequential matters. They are women looking for answers that speak to questions and concerns. They are bright enough to see through bs and recognize it when it is thrown at them. They want and demand respect. Nothing else will do.

And, they may not be wealthy but they do not want their husbands demeaned as Joe Six Packs. By the way, six packs? Beer or abs? Let's get some clarification there. Oops, did I just defocus and become vapid?

Sarah Palin does not speak to these women. These discerning women do see through non answers such as this from last night's debate when asked by Ifill:

“Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?"

And Palin said:

Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also."

With this, I do not understand why the pundits continue to say that Palin uttered none of her trademark nonsense. This rambling dissertation on the role of the vice-president was meandering gibberish that ranked right up with her bizarre responses to Couric.

Now today I read that she attributes her dismal performance with Katie Couric to the fact that she was "annoyed" with the questions--they were not the questions that "she thought" were appropriate. No matter what she would say it would be wrong so she didn't answer intelligently as she could have. Sharing the print mediums which she reads would be a wrong answer? Knowing Supreme Court decisions would be wrong? Aw shucks, Sarah, dog goneit, do ya really want us to buy that? You were annoyed? What will happen if you become annoyed when working with leaders of other counries? That is if you are "so privileged to be elected to serve this great country."

And, I love to picture Ms. Sarah, in delicate meetings with Russia, sauntering up to Putin, sticking her hand out and saying: "I'm pleased to meet ya. Can I call you Vlad?"

Oh my, let's hope she returns to Alaska, shooting wildlife from above and calling it sport.

*Actually, I do know that hockey is played here in the Golden State.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

OK-What Happened?

First: I thought Joe Biden was masterful. He spoke well. He spoke with authority. He spoke with the weight of background and depth of knowledge in all issues on the table. He was remarkably gracious to Palin.

Well, the one-liners that I predicted were not so much apparent but..........
  1. Sarah's direct disrespect for Obama and Biden was clearly, deliberately displayed by the use of Joe and Barak. This was the subtle meanness that she uses so well. Biden courteously, consistently respected Sarah with the use of her title--Governor. We first saw this with "Charlie."
  2. Sarah used the technique called "lies" and misrepresentation as she referenced Obama's and Biden's and John's votes and stances.
  3. Sarah tried very hard to drive a wedge in the public's eye between Biden and Obama. With a smile, she tried to creatively create situations where she could wield a presharpened knife.
  4. Sarah clarified at the beginning that she was not going to be accountable to either the moderator's or Biden's questions. This paved the way for her to stick with what she learned at her "debate camp." She simply would not address an issue that she was not prepared for.
  5. Sarah spoke with generalities rather than identifiable concepts and understanding of issues.
  6. She proposed that the US led the way in climate change concerns and issues and recognizing its importance. If I recall correctly, we were the country that would not join in with other countries when pacts were being designed and agreements reached on addressing this issue.
My sense at the end was that Sarah spoke from what she was taught. Biden spoke from what he knows and what is inherent in his personal, own understanding about the issues. He knows, she parrots.

I will say that Sarah was more coherent than I expected and what she has shown before. She does seem to be a competent study of crib notes. I do not have any increased sense that she understands history, what has happened, what the world is about. Sarah did nothing to minimally convince me that she is ready. She did not give substantive answers. I will say that she was masterful in redirecting a question to the questions she was coached to answer.

Senator Biden's knowledge and grasp of the world does give me confidence in him should he need to step into the presidency.

A little bit before the end, Sarah's snideness came through as she insulted and demeaned Biden. She made sure she went through her talking points.

That is the difference between these two candidates. One would lead us; one would come close to being a cheer leader-the only thing needed would be pom poms.

If I hear the word maverick one more time, I think I will be sick. I think using a held baby as a vote getter is despicable--using a child as a prop is unconscionable--even more so when parading him on stage at 10:15 after the debate. Folksy does not make a world leader. Increasingly I am angry at John McCain for doing this to the country.

Debate is over. Time for the pundits and polls.

One Last Comment: Our 10 year old watched the last part of the debate. Suddenly, he said: Joe Biden answers questions, why doesn't Sarah Palin? Out of the mouth of babes.

I love the last line in this commentary.

The VP Debate: The Strangest I've Ever Seen

Exactly an hour into the debate, Joe Biden began an answer by saying, "Facts matter, Gwen."

To him, maybe. To Sarah Palin, maybe not. The pattern, so far, has been one of Biden presenting facts and Palin countering with… saying stuff. Sometimes she throws in a fact, but mostly she seems to be offering a string of approximate policy positions, encomiums to the American spirit, disputed interpretations of Barack Obama's record and anecdotes from Alaska.

She has a certain charm, but I wonder how viewers are reacting to the way she just declines to answer the question at hand and pivots to more solid ground. I had forgotten how effective Biden can be in these debates. So far, he hasn't been patronizing or insulting. In terms of working-class street cred, Palin is in a league – or a universe – of her own. (Don't ya think?) But Biden holds his own.

I confess, though, I don't know what anybody is making of this. I don't even know what I'm making of it. This is the strangest debate I've ever seen. It seems like an interplanetary exchange, with poor Gwen Ifill trying to keep the Enterprise from falling into the wormhole.

By Eugene Robinson | October 2, 2008; 10:22 PM ET |

It's Almost THAT Time

46 minutes to go.........

OK--I'm watching the pre-game show on CNN right now. The pundits are pontificating. What should Biden do? What is Sarah going to do?

I think I know.......

Her handlers have filled her up with one-line zingers--mean, nasty and clever. I suspect that she will have very little to add to important concepts and issues other than programmed talking points that she has been able to absorb--maybe better than she had prior to Katie Couric. But, she will deliver the cheap shots well and garner the laughs that make good sound bites in later news casts.

I think that Sarah has proven to be mean and very unJesus like. This is wrong for a professing born again Christian. It is an example of the religious right rather than the believer. It is the hypocrisy that people see in those who profess Christ as Savior.

Biden? What will he do?

I hope he is calm, issue driven, a statesman. I hope that the man who has ridden the train home every night for 35 years to be with his children and wife will be seen as a man of values and commitment. I hope the person who quietly speaks at his son's deployment this week without calling in cameras and press will be seen as a man secure within himself--a man who gives his family an undivided self rather than using the family for personal ambition.

I hope that his intelligence, his knowledge, his experience, his beliefs, his vision for the United States of America are seen as real, admirable and wanted. I hope he is seen as a person who can lead us if the need arises. His opponent, regardless of what she says, is clearly not such a person.

I hope he does not get sucked into the Palin meanness. I hope he wins.