Thursday, February 28, 2008

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

My friend, the Village Green, had her father pass away the other day. I never met him but feel like I will miss him. I wanted to post a link to her tribute to him on her blog:

Long Live The Village Green

There is also a book that he and her mother wrote about their love letters during WWII after he had to come back to the states for a while and she was still in her native England:

Dear Stephanie, Dear Paul

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


On Monday on Countdown Keith brought up this story:
In our fourth story tonight: Measuring a man’s patriotism by his allegiance to symbols. The “Associated Press” reporting yesterday, the conservatives question Senator Barack Obama’s patriotism because he does not wear a flag pin and because he did not put his hand on his heart during the national anthem last September. aiding and abetting with a shocking online poll: Does Barack Obama show the proper patriotism for someone who wants to be the president of the United States?

Obama has already said his grandfather, a World War II vet taught to put his hand up for the pledge but stand for the anthem a common practice as you can see in any ballgame. As for a flag pins, Obama stopped during in the runup to the Iraq invasion when it seemed to become, quote for him, “A substitute for true patriotism”.

Yesterday, he challenged the Republican monopoly on supposed patriotism: “A party that presided over a war in which our troops did not get the body armor needed or was sending troops over who are untrained because of poor planning or not fulfilling the veterans’ benefits that these troops need when they come home or undermining our Constitution with warrantless wiretaps that are unnecessary? That is a debate I’m very happy to have.”

Keith then brings on Rachel Maddow, my favorite left wing radio person, to comment on this and zeros in on the important part:
He’s doing something here that national level Democrats have either been too insecure or browbeaten to do in the last few years. He’s not in hiding. He’s not wishing this away. He’s literally confident and calm in picking up this teargas canister and flinging it back from where it came. He’s saying, you want to talk patriotism, let’s talk patriotism. You want to talk American ideals, all right secret prison guys. Let’s do it.

If this had happened in 2004, this would have seen as John Kerry taking those swiftboat veteran attacks and using them to say, all right, if you won’t denounce this George W. Bush, let’s talk about your Vietnam era service. That’s what a confident candidate does with these kinds of attacks.

And this is exactly the kind of thing I've wanted to see for years. The rightwingers twist the debate and accuse the dems of doing the very thing the Republicans are doing, and the Democrats never set the record straight. If Obama can turn the tables on them I will be very happy, to say the least.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hillary Done?

Can we stick a fork in her? Yeah, I'd say so. The pundits say she would have to win 65-70% of the vote in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania and that's impossible. Obama's momentum has been incredible and it keeps growing, and his campaign seems to be extremely well organized while her's is not.

I feel sorry for her, it's not that she's run a bad campaign, it's not that she's an inadequate candidate, she just had the bad luck to run in the same year Obama ran. The problem is that HE is just that good, at least at getting people excited. Democrats have turned out at the polls with almost twice the number of voters as Republicans, and Obama is also claiming most of the independents. If Obama can keep this level of excitement up the November election should be a blowout.

I sure wish I had her to vote for in 2004 rather than John Kerry. He was a pretty weak candidate and that is being generous, Hillary would have blown him away. But she waited one more cycle, not realizing Barack Obama was waiting for her in 2008. Who could have known that. Obama is a phenomenon, just being good isn't enough. I just hope he can actually get things done when he gets into office. I still have serious doubts about his level of experience but I hope I'm wrong.

If Hillary is smart, and can swallow her pride and not go negative in the next two weeks, she should become Obama's VP. She can be his Cheney, his behind the scenes knife fighter. That way she can add her experience to the ticket.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

American Atheists

This is the head of American Atheists telling secularists not to vote because no one is courting our vote. This has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. All not voting would do it make us completely irrelevant in national politics.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My Mom

Finally got over to the nursing home my mom had been sent to, just haven't had the time or energy to get over there. She just had a jaw infection but we can't get anyone to say why they sent her to the nursing home for physical therapy afterwards.

When I got there I leaned over to gently yell in her ear to say hello, her hearing has been going steadily for 40 years. When I'd last seen her she didn't even know who I was at first because she couldn't hear me and her macular degeneration had gotten so bad she couldn't see me, either. So I knew I had to yell in her ear, as soon as I did she started hitting me and yelling at me to get away.

“Who are you! What are you doing here! Get away from me, get away from me!”

The level of hostility was startling but I figured she was just scared and didn't know where she was or what was going on, when someone can't hear no one at the hospital bothers to try and make her understand they just keep doing things to her. So I tried her other ear in case she could hear better in that one, nothing, she kept yelling and hitting and pushing me. So I stepped back, with macular degeneration she can still see around the edges so I thought if I stepped back she could see me.

And she did, she stopped for a second and said: “Kevin?” Then started yelling again: “What are you doing here?” Over and over, like she thought she was some place I couldn't get to. Then she yelled: “I don't believe it, you aren't Kevin, go away, go away!” While continuing to push and hit me. So I went and talked to the nurse since I only seemed to be upsetting her, the nurse didn't have much to say except that she had been like that since she had come in.

It looks like her hearing is gone completely now, but worse, that her mind is gone too. It was only a few weeks earlier that I'd seen her last and she had trouble focusing and kept drifting off and repeating herself but was otherwise perfectly coherent for someone 91 years old. And I've never seen that much hostility from her before. She had been getting more hostile in the past few years because she was in such bad shape she couldn't do anything any more and was pissed as hell about it, but nothing like this.

From what I understand Alzheimer's shouldn't come on that quickly, but hostility is one of the signs of it. I've been prepared for her to die for a while, even wanted her to because she was so miserable, but I wasn't prepared for this. I immediately went home and had 2 beers to calm down, and I drink so little these days that 2 beers is two months worth. I wouldn't even have the beer if Rod hadn't come over 2 weeks ago and I had gotten beer for him. But for the rest of the day I've been shaky and very nauseous. Monday we'll have to try and get in touch with her doctor and find out what is going on and see what we need to do. Maybe I'll go back with a large note pad and marker to see if I write things - very large - if she will respond to them. Maybe if she just knows what is going on she'll calm down some.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Made My Decision

A friend of mine sent me an article written by Noam Cohen in The New York Times on Hillary and Obama:
On one thing, the experts seem to agree. The differences between and can be summed up this way: Barack Obama is a Mac, and Hillary Clinton is a PC.

As a longtime Mac user now I want to vote for Obama, but wait, I better keep reading:

While Mr. Santa Maria praised for having “this welcoming quality,” he added that it was “ethereal, vaporous and someone could construe it as nebulous.” He said there was a bit of the “Lifetime channel effect, you know, vasoline on the lens” to create a softer effect on the viewer.

Then it hit me; that is actually a good description of Obama and his campaign and one of the things that bugs me. He is indeed nebulous, pushing feel good generalities without giving too many hard facts or details. I don't like that, gives him wriggle room down the road.

The “hectic” site that the Clinton campaign is offering could actually be quite strategic, exactly in step with her branding. After all, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly emphasizes how hard she will work for the average American “starting on Day 1.” If she comes across as energetic online, that may simply be her intention. If she shouts a bit more, typographically speaking, that may be the better to be heard.

That is much more of what I want in a president. I don't want nebulous, I want hectic energy; I don't want compromise that looks just like failure, I want a feisty fighter.

I also think that Obama is more nebulous because he doesn't actually know what he's going to do when he's in the White House, just vague ideas about what he wants but no definite plan. While Hillary knows exactly what she is going to do and can get it done. It's the difference between experience and the lack of it.

So I'm voting for Hillary. Yes, I'm disappointed in her, she's far too conservative for me, but I'm not sure that Obama is any more liberal. That seems to be a tag the media put on him and it has no substance. The guy who was liberal enough, John Edwards, isn't in the race any more and isn't a choice so I have to settle for what is left.

With any luck Hillary will pick Edwards as her VP, although there is a certain symmetry in Obama being the VP. Perhaps in 8 years he'll have the experience necessary for the top job.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Super Tuesday

Big decision coming up and for once California is in the thick of things. In the past it's always been over before we had our primary, very frustrating. But now I have another dilemma, who to vote for? John Edwards has always been my man, he was the only one who seemed to understand that the country is run by the corporations and rich and they were all stomping on the poor and middle-class in a big way. And he was the only one mad about it, as mad as I am.

My first thought was that I had to go for Obama since he is the more liberal of the 2 left, but then I got this link from a friend that put all that in doubt. I'm not sure how accurate this is but I've seen enough that made me question Obama's liberal leanings already. Several searches on it have muddied the water further, some say he's more liberal some say Hillary is.

Then there is the question of who will win. Will Americans elect a black man with the name of Barack Hussein Obama? Will they elect a woman who also happens to be Hillary Clinton? Lots of people hate her, for no good reason in my opinion, but it exists all the same. I could make damn good arguments either way and I could make damn good arguments of what each one's advantage in the race would be.

Barack is young and dynamic and can inspire the young people to come to the polls, Hillary is tough and experienced and has the political backing and election machine to get it done. I just keep going in circles, all scenarios could happen and we won't know which one will actually happen until the election.

Been watching speeches all day on CNN. Oddly enough, Hillary has been more dynamic and magnetic than Obama today. Most important for me is she came right out today and said her ultimate goal is universal health care, not even Edwards said that, and Obama's health plan is a little too far to the right. His response to the current economic crisis was luke-warm as well, far too much of a Republican tint to it, let the market work it out crap that we all know only favors the rich.

And once they are in office who will be more effective? Hillary claims the experience and she has it, more experienced than most of our presidents have been, including Bill. I've heard that as Senator of New York she has worked tirelessly for the people of New York and been very effective. Obama is one of the least experienced to ever run for president. About the same age as Kennedy but Jack had 13 years as a Congressmen and Senator under his belt when he ran. And yet, Obama put together an impressive political machine very quickly when he decided to run and raised money like crazy, showing an incredible degree of competence. He's almost matched what Hillary had years to create, that's damn impressive.

If I knew Obama was going to take Edwards on as VP that might seal my vote, or even if Edwards comes out and supports him, seems odd to me that he hasn't. If I knew that if Hillary won she would take on Obama as VP I could go for that. That could give us a 16 year democratic dynasty. Might almost be enough to overcome the tremendous damage Bush has done to this country, damage I'm not sure we can recover from at all. Or even Edwards as VP would work.

I've been saying I won't vote for Hillary because she's been bought by the corporate lobbyists, but that is iffy because the only reason Obama hasn't been totally bought yet is because he's still new. Give him some time and I think he would sell out to a greater degree than Hillary. In fact, I almost think that once Hillary is in office she will feel like she has arrived and will feel like she can give the corporations the finger and do what she wants because she will have already achieved her biggest ambition and doesn't need them any more.

I tend to think Obama has a better chance of getting elected and still lean towards the idea of him being more liberal, but he is always vague when he talks, never really makes heavy promises or gives details. While Hillary does give details, like stating flat out that she wants to aim towards universal health care. That statement alone might just get my vote.

I have a feeling I'll be mulling this over all the way to the polling place on Tuesday. But right now I think I'm leaning towards Hillary, health care is the single, most important issue for me.