Sunday, January 27, 2008

Uncle Teddy Gets It Right

Although some may think Ted Kennedy is a joke or as irrelevant as yesterday's newspaper, I'm fairly certain his endorsement of Barack Obama today says volumes. Along with his niece's endorsement yesterday, Teddy's seal of approval amounts to a "passing of the torch" to a new generation of leaders. This is clearly a hard-won endorsement and is coming for Obama at just the right time.

Can you imagine the phone calls between the Clintons and Kennedys over this endoresement? Billary has to be downright pissed right about now. Somehow you get the sense that they thought all Hillary had to do was declare her intent to run and everyone would just get out of the way. And it probably came as an enormous surprise that Teddy would actually not stay neutral in this fight.

According to "The Politico":

“This is the biggest Democratic endorsement Obama could possibly get short of Bill Clinton,” said a high-level Democrat.

The Clinton campaign launched a last-ditch effort over the last few days to stop Kennedy's move, orchestrating a flood of phone calls to Kennedy from sources ranging from union chiefs to his Massachusetts constituents.

The former president also called Kennedy in a vain attempt to keep him out of the race, a source familiar with the conversation said.

Since Bill has recently decided he wants to play hardball against Obama, how could he possibly expect that the other side wouldn't?

I certainly hope this brings more of my fellow Massachusetts voters to Obama a week from Tuesday when we have our primary. The polls I've read have shown Hillary with a substantial lead here (although I've yet to meet anyone who is voting for her). Perhaps this will turn the tide.

Thanks (again), Teddy!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama Routs Clinton in South Carolina

Alleluia!

Barack Obama clearly beat Hillary in South Carolina tonight and I couldn't be happier. Who knows what the next primary will bring, but at least for the time being, the momentum has shifted.

As for me, I'm doing my happy dance.

UPDATE: For those who are interested, Caroline Kennedy is endorsing Barack in tomorrow's New York Times, calling him "A president like my father."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Memo to Bill: S.T.F.U.

OK, I'll say it as plainly as possible.

Bill Clinton needs to shut the fuck up.

Watching the state of the political discussion (if you'd like to call it that) this week, I've been incredibly disturbed by the former President's role in his wife's campaign and his need to be the center of attention. As I've said ad nauseum, I'm not interested in voting for Hillary, primarily because I think it's time to MOVE ON to new people with new ideas.

When he left the presidency, we all wondered how Bill was going to keep himself occupied. I hadn't thought of it before, but I am now wondering exactly WHY he befriended the Bush family and was frequently inserting himself into disaster relief efforts: the Asian tsunami; Hurricane Katrina, for example. Somehow he managed to get himself into the limelight, despite what we presume (hope?) were opposing views on the politics.

At the same time, he obviously was interested in Mrs. Clinton pursuing a political career - not only because she was good at it, but likely because it allowed him to continue to be a player. Now that she's running for president, Bill can't help but draw all the attention to himself.

I voted for Bill Clinton twice, and happily did so. I defended him during the impeachment days, and even found myself defending him in recent years - especially in conversations about the inevitable discussions of his and Hillary's marriage.

But, here's the point. Bill Clinton is addicted to attention. Unfortunately, Hillary is too ambitious to suggest they go home and live happily ever after. I think it says something about the two of them that they can't be content with for her just being a damn good senator from New York. Personally, I think it will not be good for the country to wallow in the Clintons' drama (and you KNOW there will be plenty of it) for the next 4 (or 8) years.

If Hillary wins the nomination, I'll vote for her in November, but I won't like it.

In the meantime, I hope Senator Obama figures out how to beat back both of the Clintons and snatch the nomination from their death grip.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Barack Obama: Hope Monger

Check out Barack's speech at Martin Luther King Jr.'s Atlanta church below. It gave me chills and I hope you all will take a listen:



Sunday, January 20, 2008

Inauguration Day: Let the Countdown Begin

In almost exactly one year from the moment I am typing this (12:22 pm ET), we are guaranteed that the Bush presidency will be over. OVER, I tell you, O.V.E.R. And it can't come fast enough. It's clear that the Chimp has lost interest in the job - he can't even feign that the economic stimulus package he's proposing gives him any thrills, there's (presumably, hopefully!) no more wars to start. He's clearly playing out the string. (And, after seeing Cheney for the first time in a long time, standing behind the Chimp, it appears that he died a while back, and we're in "Weekend at Bernie's" mode.)

Next year, our new president will be giving his or her inauguration speech right at this time. (Isn't it nice to even use the word "her" and perhaps mean it?) The new president will begin a post-Bush era, but will be left will a complete mess to clean up: a war that will likely still be going on, continued threats from terrorism, environmental issues and global warming, health care concerns, losses of jobs to emerging economies in Asia, immigration problems (although I personally don't know why this is any more of a threat today than it has been since the 1800s...), etc. etc. Considering all the troubles, why would anyone want the job in the first place? But that's a subject for another day.

For the next 364 days this country will be on "hold," just waiting for the primaries to cough up two nominees, the conventions in the summer and the general election in the fall. It will likely go fast (especially at my advanced age), but the idea that we're nearing the end of having to think or hear from Bush and/or Cheney makes this one happy day for me. The only day that will beat it is January 20, 2009.





(The picture above is Abraham Lincoln's inaugration in 1861, from the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris - Goodbye

I do believe this is one of my favorite songs...ever.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Democrats for Mitt

OK, a little background for this one is required. The circular firing squad, otherwise known as the GOoPer candidates for president are having a hard time coming up with a frontrunner.

If you live in Michigan (and I doubt anyone reading this does, but what the hell?), voting for Mitt in the upcoming primary just prolongs the hilarity in the Republican ranks. You see, Mitt's spending his considerable fortune creating attack ads on the other guys. If he doesn't win the Michigan primary, he could be out of the race. And then who could we depend on to take the other guys down for us?

This video sums it up perfectly. Go Mitt!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

We're Going to Texas?

(Photo by way of the New York Times from the Texas State History Museum)

For the first time in our adult lives, Bob and I are thinking of going to Texas...voluntarily. Bob has been there before, for Air Force Basic Training, and I went to Houston once on a business trip, but these doesn't really count, now do they?

Yup, folks, we're going to Austin, that hot bed of live music of all types: rock, country, blues...and more. We anticipate soaking up the local culture to find out why people want to "Keep Austin Weird." Perhaps we'll even catch some of our musical favorites, everyone from Alejandro Escavedo, to Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson or the Dixie Chicks...who knows who we might run into? And we have our own personal guide to all things Austin: my internet pal "Tex." If ever there was a great advertisement for a city (or really an entire state of mind), it would be Tex. She's a little bit Cajun, a wee bit Southern, but Texan to the marrow of her bones. I'm looking forward to having her show us around the capital city and to let us see it through her eyes.

While we're in the neighborhood, we'll likely take the short drive to San Antonio - if you're that close to the Alamo, you have to visit it, right? The story of that famous siege has always been interesting to us and we have to see it for ourselves. We'll also take a drive through the Hill Country and find out what LBJ and Ladybird saw in it. Perhaps we'll even catch a bluebonnet or two, but we may not make it in time for peak blooming season.

I'm beginning to do a lot of reading about Austin and with everything I read I get more excited and sure that this is our kind of place. We're just a little weird, too. Not sure if I'm weird enough to buy some cowboy boots, but you never know.

By the way, "Tex" assures me that the Chimp isn't really a Texan, so there's no worries that I've turned into one of them. We have just one financial hurdle to cross before I sign us up for the trip. Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Issue of Gender

Man, this week's presidential race took some surprising twists and turns. New Hampshire, which seemed to be leaning toward Barak Obama, went for Hillary Clinton. All the pundits seem to be saying that the reason she won is because of her now-famous "tearing up" the other day.

If you haven't seen it, you can certainly find the clip on YouTube or any news outlet. I'm not going to run it here. But, here's what I saw. I saw an exhausted, frustrated woman who got emotional and momentarily dropped her professional wall in public. I recognized so much of myself in this moment. There have been many times in the workplace where I have teared up when I least expected it, and gotten emotional when it was MOST inconvenient. It's happened more times than I care to admit.

Considering all the times Hillary has had cameras in her face, I'm actually surprised it took her this long for a small crack in her facade to appear. For 15 years, she has had every iota of her personal life questioned and inspected. In my view, Hillary is MORE than entitled to a moment like this.

Most interestingly, I cannot recall a political question (small though this may be) on which my husband and I disagreed. Bob saw Hillary get emotional and stopped taking her seriously as a candidate. While I don't want to characterize his take on this totally, I think he was a little surprised that I - basically an Obama supporter - could even relate to Hillary in that moment. The thing is, women have those kinds of moments ALL THE TIME. It's who we are - we get emotional, we share our feelings, we vent and we move on. In no way do I think this disqualifies a woman for the presidency because any woman who didn't have these types of emotions would be abnormal.

Just consider, if you will, a moment where one of the male candidates gets emotional. It could be Mitt Romney discussing his religion, or John Edwards talking about his late teenaged son, or Barak Obama discussing what it means to be a black man running for the White House. Picture them tearing up while talking to the press. What would that tell you about them? Try to apply the same thought process to the woman candidate. And, also, try to imagine your wife, your daughter, your niece getting the shit figuratively beat out of her every day at work. She's entitled to get verklempt once in a while, right?

So, guys, I hope you'll get used to it because one day - whether you are ready or not - a woman is going to be in the Oval Office. And the world will be better for it.

PS: I'm still voting for Barak. ;)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Ancient History

Although it feels like a lifetime ago (and perhaps it was), I still remember the first presidential candidate I met, and later voted for. My sister, Nancy, and I, along with our dear friend Barb, went to a union hall after work in the fall of 1972 to hear George McGovern speak. In those more innocent times, all you had to do was show up and you were able to hear the man speak and shake his hand. I'm trying to remember if he had Secret Service protection, but I can't recall. I know there were handlers and TV crews present, but it was not difficult to get close to him.

In November, I proudly cast my first presidential vote for Senator McGovern. I've tried to do a Google search to find out the election results in my county that year, but suffice to say, I'm sure the good senator did not carry Hamilton County, Ohio.

I thought of Senator McGovern this morning, when reading an opinion piece in the Washington Post, entitled "Why I Believe Bush Must Go" in which he outlines why Mr. Bush should be impeached. While, at this point, impeachment might do more damage than it's worth, we should pay attention to the problems left behind by the Chimp and his entourage. The next president will have his or hands full trying to shovel out the dirt left behind.

Here's Senator McGovern's take:

Although the president was advised by the intelligence agencies last August that Iran had no program to develop nuclear weapons, he continued to lie to the country and the world. This is the same strategy of deception that brought us into war in the Arabian Desert and could lead us into an unjustified invasion of Iran. I can say with some professional knowledge and experience that if Bush invades yet another Muslim oil state, it would mark the end of U.S. influence in the crucial Middle East for decades.

Ironically, while Bush and Cheney made counterterrorism the battle cry of their administration, their policies -- especially the war in Iraq -- have increased the terrorist threat and reduced the security of the United States. Consider the difference between the policies of the first President Bush and those of his son. When the Iraqi army marched into Kuwait in August 1990, President George H.W. Bush gathered the support of the entire world, including the United Nations, the European Union and most of the Arab League, to quickly expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Saudis and Japanese paid most of the cost. Instead of getting bogged down in a costly occupation, the administration established a policy of containing the Baathist regime with international arms inspectors, no-fly zones and economic sanctions. Iraq was left as a stable country with little or no capacity to threaten others.

Today, after five years of clumsy, mistaken policies and U.S. military occupation, Iraq has become a breeding ground of terrorism and bloody civil strife. It is no secret that former president Bush, his secretary of state, James A. Baker III, and his national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, all opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.


See? There are some Republicans who got it right - it ain't so difficult, now is it?

And I'm still proud of my vote in 1972.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Favorite Picture

A few years ago, Bob and I attended a Sox game on my birthday and I snapped this lovely image of him and Wally. As I study the picture closely, I can't decide which of them is cuter.

Only 39 days till pitchers and catchers report for spring training! Yeeehaaaaa!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Favorite Word

Several months ago I realized that I have a favorite word. What is it?

Perhaps.

First of all, it literally sounds interesting, with a certain balance and symmetry in its two syllables. Similarly, for me it also comes with a certain promise and optimism -- it's not NO (probably my least favorite word).

Of course, perhaps isn't yes either, but it could be. As a child, my mother often said "perhaps" in response to our requests. To me, this response allowed me to continue to hope, and what could be better than that?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

YAY!


I'm very pleased that Barak Obama won the Iowa caucuses tonight. I would have been just as happy with Edwards, but this pleases me very much.

Forrest Gumpabee

For a long while, I've thought that Mike Huckabee reminded me of someone. Tonight, seeing him sit on the guest chair across from Jay Leno, it came to me: Forrest Gump. He looked so self-satisfied in a very child-like way. Clearly, this man is in over his head.

Here's an example. A few weeks ago, reporters asked him whether he had read the NIE on Iran. (Even I know that the NIE is a "National Intelligence Estimate".) Gumpabee said he was too busy to read such things. Yes, he seriously said this. Naturally, reporters were coming to the same conclusion on the man's capabilities, and good ol' Mike tried to extricate himself:

The whole perception was based on an ambush question on the NIE report,” Huckabee said in an interview Monday with the Quad-City Times. “From there, it was like, ‘Wow.’ That was released at 10 o’clock in the morning. At 5:30 in the afternoon, somebody says, ‘Have you read the report?’ Maybe I should’ve said, ‘Have you read the report?’ President Bush didn’t read it for four years; I don’t know why I should read it in four hours.”

His comment about President Bush appears to be a reference to allegations made by Bush’s critics that Bush didn’t pay close enough attention to intelligence reports, particularly in the early years of his presidency.

When asked to clarify, Huckabee said this:

“The point I’m trying to make is that, on the campaign trail, nobody’s going to be able, if they’ve been campaigning as hard as we have been, to keep up with every single thing, from what happened to Britney last night to who won ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ ”


In the serious times in which we live, who the #$#@!@! cares about the tabloid news or reality TV? Apparently, these topics are near and dear to this man's heart. Stupid is as stupid does.

Huckabee scares the livin' shit out of me.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Countdown Begins

A headline on msnbc.com today stopped me in my tracks:

"Clock Running on Bush Presidency"

Whoa! While I've been distracted temporarily by the 2007 World Series victory of the Red Sox, the upcoming primaries, the perilous state of Pakistan -- even (gulp) the excellence being shown by two other Boston sports teams: the Celtics and Patriots -- the clock has started to run out for the Chimp.

I have one word for this: alle-fuckin'-luia!!! For all the hatred I have for this man (and I don't use "hate" lightly here), I've not noticed the day-to-day BS he continues to perpetuate on all of us. But this article reminded me that this too shall pass. So how will the dope spend his last year?

Bush will venture to four other continents, get more involved than ever in trying to forge Middle East peace, and continue to command two wars that assure his relevancy to the end. As Iraq improves, he must now deal with renewed violence in Afghanistan and upheaval in Pakistan.

At home, Bush will try to extend two domestic achievements that are dear to his legacy — the No Child Left Behind education law, and tax cuts that otherwise expire in 2010.


Well, you wonder if he could screw things up worse than they already are...particularly in the Middle East and environs. I still scratch my head and wonder how Congress allowed him to take his eye off the ball in Afghanistan/Pakistan and go his own way in Iraq. That will haunt me, and most of this country, for years to come.

Let the countdown begin...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Kicking Off the New Year

Just noticed that in each year of this blog's existence, I have reduced the number of posts nearly in half. If that holds true for 2008, it means I will only post 50 times this year.

Seriously, there were many times in 2007 when I considered folding up this tent and stealing away into the night. If the past few weeks have been any indication, the election season could provide the fodder I need to keep the writing juices flowing. There's also inspiration to come from other quarters, including other friendly bloggers who write posts each and every day. How they do it, I'll never know. But a new year is a great time to get rejuvenated, and we'll see how this goes.

In the meantime, if I meet expectations, I only have 49 posts to go this year!