Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bail out plan bailed out

The bail-out bill got bailed out yesterday, and Wall Street went into a funk as a result. However, what I found most interesting is how the GOP was getting blamed for it. But if one looks at the voting, here's what they discover:

The bill needed 218 votes to pass. It got 205, and 95 Democrats voted against it. Had less than a fourth of that number voted in favor of that bailout, it would have passed - and done so without the GOP being able to do anything about it. So why weren't the Dems able to get the necessary votes from their own party?

Well, it seems that there is something even more important than doing "what is good for the country", and that's making sure that you have nothing in your voting record that could come back to haunt you later. Basically, the Dems didn't want only their asses to be hung out to dry in case this comes back to bite them in the butt.

And yet, that's not how I read it in most newspaper articles yesterday. Instead, I read mostly about Speaker Nancy Pelosi scolding the GOP for failing to show up and being unpatriotic and such. It seems to me, though, that her scolding should have instead been directed towards members of her own party. Like I said, this bill was GOP-proof if the Dems wanted it enough, but I didn't see that particular fact mentioned in newspaper articles yesterday. I'm not saying that there's liberal bias in the media, but....

Another thing: For the better part of a week, we've been told how big a financial crisis this is and why it's so important that some bill goes through. And yet - and yet - Congress has recessed until Thursday because of Rosh Hashanah. Okay, if you're Jewish, I can understand that you would want to celebrate your holiday. BUT, if you're NOT Jewish, and if the crisis hasn't gone away - then getcher ass back there and settle this!

It's a crisis, right? And it needs to be dealt with, right? I'm not at all saying that the Jewish members of Congress should not be allowed time off to celebrate their holiday, but I ask: Will the financial markets wait until Thursday before something happens again? What I AM saying is - if the members of Congress can take a 2 day holiday despite having told us for days that something needs to be done NOW, then I have to doubt just how urgent this crisis really is.

That, plus the hard-sell that we've endured lately really makes me suspect that foul play is afoot. Throw in the fact that we are mere weeks away from a presidential election with candidates that have expended lots of emotional capital, and you have a virtual guarantee that conspiracies are in place that have more to do with achieving political aims rather than doing what's "good for the country".

The radar in my cynical side is going off like gangbusters here, folks. Time will tell whether I'm right.

Monday, September 29, 2008

First debate goes to Obama by a nose

My official opinion is that the first debate goes to Barack Obama by a nose. Neither candidate committed any major gaffes, and basically each candidate was feeling out the other one for the most part without plunging into anything that might possibly backfire on them. I think that in the next debate, they'll each take more chances, and it should be very entertaining. I went with Obama this time because he seemed to carry himself off in a more relaxed and confident manner while John McCain seemed annoyed at times. McCain seemed to be on the verge of coming up with something a couple of times, but held back. However, he uttered my favorite line of the debate when he said - in words to this effect - "It's hard to reach across the aisle to someone as far to the left as you are."

The veep debate is next, and it could be one for the ages as far as veep debates go, as we have the human gaffe machine in Joe Biden vs. the country bumpkin in Sarah Palin. I imagine that there's going to be abundant white knuckles in both parties that night. For pundits such as myself, however, that's when we crack out the popcorn. :-)

And of course, I'll be giving my take on how each candidate did. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 26, 2008

John McCain to debate after all

It looks like J-Mac is going to debate after all. Whatever he hoped to get out of this "I'm suspending my campaign to help rescue the nation" ploy apparently didn't pan out. Well, he took that risk, and it didn't work. Folks, that's why they're called risks. All he can do now is to make a good showing tonight, as he is now working under a deficit. And look for my reaction to how the candidates did here on my blog sometime this weekend.

I'm going to ponder something else over the weekend that I am getting increasingly disturbed about, and it is the increasing attacks on Sarah Palin. Barack Obama had gone through this during the primary season, and now it looks like Palin's turn.

A lot of the criticism is directed at her "lack of experience", but the same could be said for Obama - in fact, it applies even more to him than to her, because while she will be "one heartbeat away from the presidency", he will actually be in the Oval Office (that's if either of them are elected, of course).

And yes, her nomination is an election year ploy, but that's pretty much like saying that a sacrifice bunt is a strategy ploy in baseball or the fake handoff is a strategy ploy in football. In other words, it's part of the game. Both the experience and the "election year ploy" arguments are weak, in my humble opinion. More on this next week.

Have a great weekend!

Note on the journey to Nerdville: WoW update

Time to update you good folks on how my WoW characters are doing.

Night Elf Hunter chick
My elf is now at level 18. She's learned how to skin critters and to make basic leather attire out of their hides. This gives her a little extra income besides the copper coins that she finds on some of them after she's finished them off. At first it bothered her to rob them of their dignity by stripping them of their skin, but eventually she reasoned, "Well, hell! They're dead! What do they care?"

In case you're wondering, when she's "skinning" a critter, all she does is have one hand make a circular motion for a few seconds over the palm-up other hand with a "shwrrrrip!" sound effect. There's no bloody mess of her actually removing a hide from a carcass, as the dead critter is still lying there with its fur once she's done with her hand motioning, and yet somehow she's got its hide . I'm absolutely certain that truly skinning an animal looks much, much worse, but if WoW tried to accurately depict an animal being skinned, PETA would probably skin the creators of WoW.

Anyway, my elf has gotten quite skilled at the bow. In fact, she's dying for a new bow - especially one with greater range. The critters she's dealing with now are higher level, and they're harder to kill - even with the grizzly bear that she now has as a pet (by the way, she named him "Yogi"). She had initially reached new levels pretty quickly, but lately she's slowed down, because not only are the critters harder to kill, but they often will attack in groups instead of coming one at a time like she's used to.

I think that in the past week, she's gotten killed more times than in the previous 3 weeks combined. If she's killed in a cave of critters, she sometimes have to get killed two or three times before she's finally out at a safe distance. I know that I'd hate to be killed two or three times just to get out of someplace. I've also been to parties that probably would have been the death of me two or three times to escape.

Fortunately, my elf's been invited to join a guild. She couldn't join at the time she was asked, because apparently people still on their free WoW time can't join guilds. But that free month ended on Monday, so she should be good to join now. She's already made a couple of online friends who appreciate her pet bear and her long range attack skills. I've found that some quests are much easier when you team up with others. It's a lesson that my dwarf character is still trying to learn. Oh yeah - let's talk about him now.

Dwarf Warrior dude
The dwarf is now at level 10. He's getting killed much less frequently, as he's gotten really good at swinging the double-bladed axe that he now sports (When he first got the axe, he exclaimed, "HAHA! A warrior's weapon at last! Fantastic!" and couldn't wait to go knock off a boar or three). He's also picked up a couple of skills: mining and metalworks - both of which he calls true dwarven callings.

He seems just as happy mining for copper as he is taking an axe to a bear. With his new axe and skills, he seems just a tad less cantankerous now - although he still feels the need to express cantankerousness from time to time so as to remind me that he's a dwarf. He takes to dwarven behavior like Worf from Star Trek takes to being a Klingon.

Anyway, he's gotten quite skilled at both mining and metalworking. He's got the physique for both, as both skills require a good deal of upper body strength - and he has that. He's also got a nose to know where certain lodes of metal are nearby, and before you know it, he's there with a pick in his hand, picking away the metal. Then he takes the fruits of his labors to nearby Ironforge, which is the capital of dwarfdom. Ah, does he go on and on about Ironforge! He should be a salesman for trips to there!

Oh! Not only that, Brewfest is also in town! Brewfest is a festival that celebrates the drinking of alcohol! Basically, it's the dwarven equivalent of Oktoberfest that many American towns celebrate. After a few ales, the dude is dancing like Michael Flatley! Well, maybe not quite like that, but he's got more twinkle in his toes than I ever expected him to have.

As he got up to level 10, he was able to handle most of what came at him, but now he's starting to run into critters that even his mighty double-bladed axe can't take down in a few swings. Now he's taken to teaming up with others more often than he's done in the past. Not only that, he was invited to join a guild! Right now, he can't join for the same reasons as my elf character, but I think he'd be willing to join this guild, despite his taciturn personality. The reason? It's a guild of dwarves!

And that updates you for now. More to come at another time, of course.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Words of advice: Don't fart at cops

Words of advice: Don't fart at cops. You could be charged for battery!

Okay, who DIDN'T burst out in laughter after reading that?

McCain wants to postpone the debate? Hmm...

I don't know how effective it's going to be for John McCain to try to postpone the debates in order to "unite for the good of the country to figure a way out of this financial crisis". What's he gonna do, exactly? It sounds like he's trying to look "decisive and presidential", but in the heat of a campaign season, it looks more like a political ploy. Time will tell as to what kind of effect it has on his campaign.

In the meantime, Barack Obama is going to go on with the debates. But with who? Himself? Also, if the debate panel doesn't nail him with hard questions like a debate SHOULD have, all that will do is encourage the ol' "the media's in the tank for Obama" criticisms. If there's any "softball questions", then Obama would lose any sort of edge that he might get for showing up for the debate while McCain did not. It would be better if he struggled with hard questions than "knock it out of the park" with softball questions. The debate needs to play out like it's supposed to.

Know what would be good? If Sarah Palin could take J-Mac's place. Ha! But that's not going to happen.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The power of Facebook

Texas Christian University recently opened up a brand spankin' new student center, which is a far cry from the old one (although I'll miss the old one, too). While the students enjoy the new building, what they don't enjoy is the new meal plans that came with it. Freshmen and sophomores have to purchase a meal plan, which can be either $1,799.00, $1,979.00, or $2,099.00 *per semester*. So that you have an understanding about what it is that the students don't like about it, allow me to explain a bit about how it works.

There are three plans to pick from - named silver, gold, and platinum. What students do is go to the main cafeteria and swipe their ID card. The card swiper then deducts the amount of one meal from the $1,799-to-$2,099 that they put into it. Then they go in and eat. It's an all-you-can-eat arrangement, and there's plenty to pick from. That's not the problem, though. The problem is that not all students can spend the time necessary to sit in the cafeteria and eat; sometimes they need to take their meals to go. The previous meal plan allowed for this, but the new - and more expensive - plan does not.

What the meal plan allows for instead is something called "frog bucks". "Frog bucks" are a sum that can be used elsewhere on campus, but it's very small compared to what they have to put into the plans (from $100 to $450 depending on the plan). Not only that, it can get boring eating at the same place all the time, no matter how good the food is. And therein lies the problem: Students are made to eat almost exclusively in one location, and they can't take any of it out. How many of you could eat at the same restaurant day in and day out - even if you have a big selection to pick from? Wouldn't you eventually get tired of everything on the menu?

One TCU student brought up this issue with the management of the eatery, and basically, the student was told that they hadn't got that many complaints. So to gauge how extensive the dissatisfaction of the student population is with the meal plan, the student posted a petition on Facebook (NOTE: You'll probably need to log in to Facebook to see the petition). In one week's time, the petition got over 1,000 signatures on it.

Putting it on Facebook is probably the best and fastest way for the student protester to reach his fellow students. Not only have students signed the petition, so have TCU faculty and staff (including myself). When one of my student workers told me how much she pays each semester for the meal plan, I couldn't believe it. Once I heard about the Facebook petition, I had to sign it as well. And just like that, I was down with the struggle!

When word of the petition got out, the campus newspaper, the TCU Daily Skiff, ran an article on the story. Now the management can no longer just ignore the students' dissatisfaction. Most likely, nothing won't be done until the spring semester at the earliest, but at least now there is more of a likelihood that something will be done than before. The Facebook petition dramatically demonstrated the dissatisfaction that the student population has with the limitations of the meal plan, so it's virtually impossible to ignore.

The easiest thing for the management to do would be to greatly increase the amount of "frog bucks" so that the student would be able to take out more of their meals from other campus eateries. Or perhaps the main cafeteria can have one counter that's exclusively for take-out. Some local franchise cafeterias have such arrangements. Either option allows for more options than the current meal plans do, and most importantly, the students will see that they can make a difference if they speak out. After all, the classroom is not the only place where they can learn lessons. I'll keep you updated on this issue, just so that you know how it plays out.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Today is talk like a pirate day, matey! YAAAR!!

Ye ever wanted to talk like like a pirate, matey, but ye couldn't getcher yohoho mojo goin'? Then this website is fer ye scruvy seadogs! Yaaaar!!

Now go out an' "yaar" with the likes o' ol' Long John Silver himself!

(why do pirates say "Yaar!" so much anyway?)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting to know history when it comes - and appreciate it

Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald hit the nose on the head on what I was going to blog about the other day had I not been smacked around by a virus earlier in the week. His recent column discussed a lot of the rumors floating around about both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

I had hoped to get to know more about Palin, but so far a lot of what I've heard are rumors worthy of what had been spread around about Obama earlier in the election season. The early rumors about Obama had been mostly about whether he was a closet Muslim trying to deliver America to Allah and so forth, while the early rumors about Palin have been about whether Palin is some sort of religious nut-job looking to convert America into God's Happyland on Earth. See the pattern here?

Both are "historical candidates", thus, each candidate’s supporters want “their candidate” to be the one who makes history first. At the same time, critics on both sides are eager to NOT be perceived as criticizing their respective opponents "for the wrong reasons". That is, right wingers don't want to have their criticisms of Obama to be perceived as racist, while left wingers don't want to have their criticisms of Palin to be perceived as sexist - thus, the safe path is to question their religion. See, who says that religion doesn't unite?

Also, both sets of critics have sought out every jot and tittle, every little rumor, every little scrap of a bit of an item of information that seems to suggest in the slightest that their opponent's candidate isn't suited for the office that they're running for. It's really making a mockery of what should be a banner year for both African Americans and women, because for the first time in our history, we have a representative of both running for the highest offices of the land. And yet, instead of taking it all in, we are all reduced to petty bickering and shameless rumor-mongering.

One of these candidates is going to be making a historic entry into our nation's history as the first black president or first female vice president, and yet it looks like fully half of our nation's population are not only going to go away disappointed, but also bitter that their candidate didn't win. Disappointed is expected, but bitter is not good. Bitterness can lead to unpleasant actions, and unpleasant actions that don't need to occur. And that bitterness is also going to rob either Obama or Palin of their moment of reaching a historic high.

So, how do we prevent that bitter turn of events from occurring? How can we encourage all Americans to take in the historic moment without the disappointed half going away bitter? First, this pointless digging by both sides for every tiny scrap of dirt on both candidates and reporting on it as if it’s a shocking revelation has to stop. It’s stupid, and worse, it’s making both sides look like desperate idiots. It’s embarrassing, man.

Next, the debates have to start, and the sooner, the better. Not only that, there needs to be town hall meetings. We need to see all the candidates in more than one format – plus, town halls put the candidates face-to-face with the very people that they plan to represent. Not too much to ask, I think, for the candidates to see just whom their actions will be affecting.

Also, I’d like to see some of these town halls taking place on college campuses – and NOT just schools like Yale or Hahvahd! Go to colleges in the home states of all the candidates, from Alaska to Hawaii, from Arizona to Delaware, and all the points in between. Those folks are our future, and they deserve a say in who is going to lead them in the future.

And next, all the candidates – ALL the candidates – must stress repeatedly that, one way or another, a candidate is going to make history, and whoever it is, we must applaud their success, even if we don’t agree with their views. We WILL be witnessing history in the making in either case, and no one should deprive themselves of that special moment when it arrives. Before we are liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, or whatever artificial dividers we want to identify ourselves by, we are first and foremost Americans, and the swearing in of Barack Obama or Sarah Palin will be something that all of us should celebrate. Let’s try not to rob them – and ultimately, ourselves – of that special moment when it comes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm sick as a dawg, y'all....

Hey, all. I won't be posting for a couple of days, as I am sick as a dog. How sick? I couldn't hold down Jell-o! Now that's sad, man!

Anyway, I'll try to return either Thursday or Friday. In the meantime, take care and play nice.

Difference between Obama and Palin in pictures

From an e-mail: The difference between Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, in pictures.

C'mon, folks. Lighten up! It's funny! :-D

If we can laugh at the Palin spoof on SNL (and I certainly did!), then we can laugh at this.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sad news

I just found out that the grandmother of one of my student worker died as a result of the hurricane over the weekend. My student has gone back to Houston to be with her family. Prayers for Lacey and her family are greatly appreciated.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Video clip of SNL's skit on Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton

Not much comment necessary here, this video tells it all. I loved it! Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin was spot on!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Natural disasters and reactions to them

As I write this, Hurricane Ike has hit the Texas coast and will be moving inland. Parts of it will hit the Fort Worth/Dallas area - weakened, but certainly still very damaging. We have been advised to make such purchases as batteries for our flashlights, non-perishable foods items, and the like. Prayers for those in and near the hurricane's path are appreciated.

Anyway, any time that there is a natural disaster, there's two things that happen that I never understood. One is the need for news stations to have their reporters out there at the edge of the storm, reporting on how bad it is. Sometimes they're knocked down by the strong winds or are clinging to a lamp post just to keep from being blown away. I'm not impressed by such reporting. Instead, I think "Get yer butt inside, fool!" Why is this neccesary? Why do reporters' health and even their lives put in danger just for the sake of showing us how bad it is out there? Wouldn't a remote camera do the same? One day, a reporter is going to be seriosly injured or even killed by such foolhardy reporting. I hope I'm wrong.

The other thing that I don't understand is for the need for some people to WANT to stay in the path of danger. I'm not talking about people who CAN'T get out of the way, but those who don't want to get out of the way. People like Harry Randall Truman, who in 1980 felt that the upcoming eruption of Mt. St. Helen's was exaggerated. After the eruption, his body was never found. And he proved what, exactly? The same goes for people who refuse to leave the path of a hurricane. Again, not that they CAN'T leave, but that they don't want to leave. So if they get washed away (and I pray that they don't), what do they prove?

Such events bring out strange behavior, and I just don't get it.

UPDATE: We got a lot of rain in Ft. Worth, but none of the bad weather here turned out as bad as they had feared. Thank God for that, but I will also pray for the people affected by the hurricane, as well as for those involved in rescue and repair efforts.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Could Biden be dropped from the ticket?

This article (a source, actually, that is hardly unbiased) suggests the possibility that Joe Biden could be dropped as Barack Obama's running mate and perhaps replaced by Hillary Clinton. That would be a mistake for two reasons:

One, it would suggest that Obama made a mistake in selecting Biden. During a campaign, you don't make such drastic changes midstream unless your running mate died (or so seriously injured to the point that he or she can't continue their campaign), or was found guilty of something serious like pedophilia.

Two, such a change would suggest that Sarah Palin is scaring them enough to make that change. During a campaign, you never, EVER admit that your opposition has frightened you into doing anything! It just isn't done!

As it is, Joe Biden wasn't on my short list of possible running mates for Obama (neither was Hillary, by the way), but Obama's already made his choice. He needs to stick by it, and stick by Biden. Obama needs to remember that old saying: "Never let 'em see you sweat!" Changing horses now would be a virtual admission that Palin is making him sweat, and that would be a mistake - especially if Palin ends up demonstrating how unprepared she actually is for the job.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On this date...

On this date 7 years ago, I was in the last semester of getting my Master's degree. I still remember that sense of anomie that hung in the air as news reports poured in about what was happening. To this day, seeing the images of those towers can still cause my eyes to tear. A few days after the attacks, Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote what I consider THE textbook case of the power of words in an opinion column. In those paragraphs, he captured the shock and anger as well as the American spirit of coming together. It's an awesome piece of work.

Read on, and get a feel for the times of that painful chapter in American history:

We'll go forward from this moment

Never forget, my friends.


For some reason, the comment below (by "Anonymous") didn't upload into the Comments section, even though I KNOW that I did it right. I decided to post it here instead:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Leonard Pitts' column on 9/11/2001":

Thank you for posting this. Mr Pitts' article was what helped me to start healing. To this day, it still invokes the emotion from that time, and I hope that someday, my grandchildren read it to understand what happened that day.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What John McCain needs to do to win

A week or so ago, I spoke on Barack Obama and what he needed to do to win. Now it’s time to speak on John McCain. I meant to speak sooner on this, but I was waiting to see what Gov. Sarah Palin had to say. Well, since I'm still waiting on her, I thought that I'd better go ahead with this.

McCain’s strengths

• Experienced, a war hero, and not afraid to challenge his own party.

• Has many connections to help him get things done, including connections with the media and with members of the Democratic Party.

• Has the savvy to know how to press Barack Obama’s buttons to get him off track, such as his ads comparing him to a messiah and a celebrity.

McCain’s weaknesses

• Sometimes overreaches in taking risks. It’s too soon to tell whether Gov. Sarah Palin is one such example. He also often reaches out across the aisle at the expense of his own party, which will often bring ill will between him and the GOP.

• Age and health are a factor. He is a cancer survivor, and if he is elected, he will be the oldest president.

• Lagging and sometimes lacking in knowledge of some modern conveniences such as computers, which makes him look like he’s out of touch and behind the times.

Strategies for McCain to win

• Since he’s taking the gamble probably of his political career with Sarah Palin, he needs to work, work, work on her until her public persona is as smooth as polished glass.

• Continue finding ways to upset Obama’s usually controlled public persona as he did with the “celebrity” and “messiah” ads. More such successful ads will play into McCain's statements that Obama "isn't ready to lead".

• Of the four candidates for office, he's probably the poorest speaker. When she's able to, Palin should probably shoulder the larger share of the burden of speeches, since she's demonstrated a very good knack for it (and besides, think about it: If you heard that an "old wrinkly white-haired dude" and a "hot young mama" were going to give a speech, who would you go see?)

Right now, I believe that J-Mac's campaign will soar or sink on how well Palin adjusts to becoming a candidate on the nation's biggest stage. My guess as to why he took such a risk is that he must have told himself, "At my age, this is probably going to be my only shot at this - so why not take a chance like this? I've got nothing to lose other than the election." So far, it looks like this gamble could pay off big time, so long as he plays his cards right. But he needs to play those cards! He introduced Palin to America, and they want more. He'll need to deliver, or his base will drift away again.

As to if I think he can win - again, it depends upon how well Palin adjusts to her new role as a "game changer". At this point, I still think that it's Obama's election to lose.

Sarah Palin can begin press conferences any time now...

Okay, Sarah. Go ahead and have a press conference now. Or grant an interview. I'd like to hear you in formats other than "preaching to the choir" staged events. C'mon...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Political conventions' usefulness

One of my coworkers asked me how useful political conventions such as we had the past couple of weeks are for knowing a candidate. I said that it was of very little use. Conventions are basically glorified pep rallies, and if the nominees (both for prez and veep) can't make a great speech, then they don't deserve being the nominees. Plus, who are the nominees speaking to? Members of their own party - so basically they're preaching to the choir. That's the script: The nominees make a great speech, the crowd builds up a rousing, celebratory noise, then the balloons fall. Then the nominees get a post-convention "bounce" in the polls, largely based on how well they "sold" their party unity and so forth. Nope, all that tells us is how well they've stuck to a well-worn script.

Ya ask me, I much prefer the debates. Bring 'em on!

Friday, September 05, 2008


Before more times passes, I need to answer the following question for someone: If I don't swoon over politicians, who DO I swoon for?"

Right now, if I ever met her in person, I would swoon over Halle Berry. In fact, I have this fantasy that I'd swoon and she'd catch me, asking "Are you okay?" Yeah, a nice fantasy, but what she probably would say in that scenario is "Release the hounds." But hey, a fellah can dream, can't he? ;-)

UPDATE: Someone else just said that I used to swoon over Sandra Bullock. That was before she married Tattoo Dude!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

McCain/Romney edtoon

I just had to post this! From The Week Magazine website:

What would have been even funnier is if the cartoonist used Rudy Giuliani, as he has been photographed dressed as a woman! By the way, Mitt makes an ugly broad.

Sarah Palin's speech

Now that Palin has spoken, I have a little something to go on. What I discovered is that Palin can give a speech. She's no Barack Obama, but she did very well. However, like I said yesterday, she's a politician, and it's the nature of politicians to say what they think voters want to hear. While she's selling herself as this good ol' hockey mom who just wants a better America, the cynic in me says that her speech really told us nothing about her - and some of her zingers were actually recycled from her introduction speech last week. At least get some new zingers! It's back to wait and see...

Tonight is John McCain's speech, but Obama is also scheduled to speak on Fox, so I might check that out instead and just download J-Mac's speech to view later on my MP3. Obama needs a very good showing on "enemy turf" in order to give his candidacy a real boost. After all, it's one thing to preach to the choir as J-Mac will be doing tonight (and Palin did last night), but another thing entirely to be able to make a good showing in front of people who want you to fail. This could become a real turning point in his campaign.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Time to get back up to speed

Okay, getting back to blogging took longer than I thought. Sorry about that, but stuff comes up, yanno? So with that…

Death in the family
My thanks for all who sent their thoughts and prayers for my uncle. I very much appreciate it. He was a good man, and he will be missed. Such times are reminders of our mortality. I have no more living grandparents, and my parents’ generation has lost a few members. This makes me appreciate the ones still with us all the more. By the way, when was the last time you talked to your uncle or aunt? Better do it now.

Edtoon video
My initial efforts to do an edtoon video did not come out good, as the lighting - well, it sucked. I need much better lighting so that you will be able to see what I’m doing. I’ll work on it, because I want you all to see what goes into making an edtoon. And for the video, I’ll make the idea for the edtoon as I’m working on it, so that you can see what thought processes go on for an edtoon. The edtoon will have Barack Obama and John McCain, but that’s all I’m going to say at this point, because right now I have NO idea on what it’s going to be. You’ll just have to wait and see just like me!

Nancy Pelosi’s tortured Catholic theology (Meet the Press, Aug 24, 2008).
The only good thing to come out of Pelosi’s pathetic explanation of the Catholic Church’s view on abortion is that it finally got some bishops to speak out about it. In recent decades, many Catholic bishops have failed in their duty as shepherds, which was most glaringly demonstrated in the priest scandal of 2002. "Better late than never" is the phrase that pops into mind, but the bishops shouldn't stop at criticizing Pelosi - there's plenty of wayward Catholic politicians to go around for them. As for Pelosi, she should brush up on her Catechism. Tom Brokaw knew better of the Church's position on abortion than she did! Her alleged “knowledge” is embarrassingly lacking, and she is exactly the type that I was referring to when I wrote this column some years back. Pelosi is a meat-eating vegetarian, as mentioned in that column.

Sarah Palin
Palin has certainly drawn a lot of interest and excitement. She's saying all the right things, and even got praise from the pro-choice Salon.com columnist, Camille Paglia (I love reading her columns, by the way). However, I am reserving judgment until I hear more, because I always keep in mind that it is the nature of politicians to say what others want to hear. There's an old saying that goes, "If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is". That's what I keep stored in my head when it comes to the stories that come out regarding politicians. For me, the jury is still out in regards to Palin. As of now, I am still voting 3rd party come November.

Palin is scheduled to speak at the GOP convention tonight. That would be a good time to sell herself to the American public, and to explain about the recent issues that have been brought up about her. By the way, kudos to Obama for saying to leave Bristol Palin (Sarah's teenage pregnant daughter) out of it. It's Sarah that's running for office, not Bristol. The teenage pregnancy is difficult enough to contend with, and she doesn't need the glare of the national spotlight to make it worse. There's no need to make this another Jamie Lynn Spears saga.

Sorry that I don't have much to go on about Palin, but there just isn't that much out there yet. But give it time - I'm sure more is to come, and I will most certainly comment on it. I'm not in a swoon over her like other people I know. I speak more on swooning below.

Barack Obama
And speaking of Obama, let's go ahead and hit upon the "spotty past" that I had mentioned previously. There's questions I have, and it's not easy to find objective sources for answers. Should I believe the pro-Obama sites, or the anti-Obama sites? Either side will be saying their version of the truth by emphasizing what favors their side while de-emphasizing what doesn't favor their side. Below are my questions. If there ever were a time to sell Obama to me, this is it.

1.) Tony Rezko
My understanding is that Tony Rezko was a slumlord, and Obama was his lawyer. Also, Rezko donated a considerable sum to Obama for his campaign before Rezko was indicted for various legal charges related to finance. So how much does this taint Obama? If Obama is going to sell us that he is a "man of the people", I don't see how such a man defends a slumlord.

2.) "Clinging to guns and religion" comment
Obama got a lot of bad publicity from a remark he made at an April 6 fundraiser in California in which he said that Americans are clinging to guns, religion and anti-immigration sentiment because they are bitter about Washington’s unfulfilled economic promises. Hillary Clinton tried to use this comment against him during the Democratic primary. The "clinging" comment, I think, is what got the elitist talk going. If there ever was a time for Obama to defend the "little people", that fundraiser was it - but his comment suggests that instead he was trying to appeal to his potential donors with talk that they likely wanted to hear. Unfortunately, that's not what I want to hear.

3.) Bill Ayers
Why, o why would Obama go meet this man if he was planning to run for office? Ayers was part of a group that had orchestrated the bombings of buildings! The Weather Underground promoted and practiced domestic terrorism as stark, dramatic messages that "the establishment" couldn't ignore. But surely there were other, more civil yet just as passionate leaders that Obama could have chosen to associate with?

4.) Voted "Present" 130 times
That's what I don't like the most. If he's liberal, then vote that way! To me, voting "present" so many times shows not so much a lack of convictions, but rather an ambition that seeks to not have any potential "controversial" votes on his record. On the one hand, he'll visit men like Ayers, but on the other hand, he'll vote "present". Which is the true Barack Obama?

Anyway, that's the spotty past that I am curious about, and would like answers to. I see that Obama will appear on Fox on Thursday night. If Obama can make a good showing of it on "enemy turf", he will go a long way in helping his campaign.

Swooning over politicians
Just in my family, I've had members that have swooned over both Obama and the recent selection of Palin. Swooning is not good. I don't like swooning, and I don't swoon over people - at least not politicians. Swooning means that you're accepting a candidate uncritically. That's also not good. The swooning family members who support Obama don't like me criticizing Obama. Well, as a columnist and blogger, criticizing politicians is what I do. If I wanted to gush about Obama - or Palin - on my blog, then I might as well join their campaigns. Other family members wonder why I'm not on board with Palin, since she's prolife. Like I said previously, it's the nature of politicians to say what people want to hear. But what I haven't heard enough of is more about Palin and her past. Until such time, I am reserving judgment on how I feel about Palin. Call me a cynic if you will, but cynics don't swoon. It just doesn't fit our cynical attitudes.

Football is back!
What else needs to be said? :-D

Okay folks, that's it for now. Hopefully now I can get back to posting on a regular basis, and I'll keep you updated on the edtoon video.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Death in the family - posts to come tomorrow

It was a sad weekend for my family, as one of my uncles passed away. That's why I didn't post yesterday, but I'll catch up tomorrow, as the funeral is today. In the meantime, I ask for your thoughts and prayers for Joaquin Mercado and his family.