Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interesting Article

This is an interesting article:

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is an interesting, audacious choice, by John McCain. I strongly suspect that before yesterday, most people did not know who Governor Sarah Palin was.

Why her?

John McCain recognized that he is running against an historic opponent. Running against history is a difficult proposition, to be sure. Ask those who ran against Hillary and Obama. McCain, by choosing Sarah Palin, made his ticket historic. No matter who wins, this will be a first. He now brings this to the table.

This also gives John McCain a crack at the PUMA voters. Many of those who voted for Hillary Clinton, who loved Hillary Clinton, who voted for HER, will NOT vote for Obama. McCain is trying to make his candidacy more attractive and his hope is that they will vote for him instead of staying home or choosing a third party candidate.

Bigger than this, and seemingly lost on the press, is that Sarah Palin puts cultural conservatism back on the table. This is a very clear attempt to place someone on the ballot who can motive the Religious Right to come out and vote for him. Frankly, they have had great success running against gay marriage and abortion, and she helps them with this. McCain had no real issue to run on before Sarah Palin’s choice. The Bush legacy, something that the Obama campaign is going to tie to him, is not something that McCain wants to run on.

Governor Palin, for her part, seems to be an intelligent, very capable woman. Her speech in Dayton was fine. She showed great poise and was younger, more energetic voice than McCain.

She does bring down sides to this, however.

First, Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton and many women are going to be enraged by this as being perceived as being shallow and stupid. I have heard many women express disgust at this because they are seen as supporting Hillary because of gender as opposed to agenda. Her gender and her agenda made her an incredibly attractive candidate. Palin only brings gender to the table. Her agenda and Hillary’s agenda are pretty much mirror opposites.

Secondly, she is from Alaska and is very reflective of that state. She grew up there and is very acculturated to Alaskan culture which is not exactly the same as the mainland. Her husband is a commercial fishermen, they are both avid hunters, and her favorite meat is moose meat. They are part of a very unique culture filled with great people and great charm. It is also a different world and she might experience some major culture shock. The photograph of her in her office, dead bear and king crab is very much her, and very unique to that region. Alaska has a smaller population than the Louisville Metro area. It will be interesting to see how she plays in the rest of the country. She will be a novel candidate----but is novelty enough?

Then there is the ‘she doesn’t believe that global warming is being impacted by humans.’ Duh. Just great. We need another leader who doesn’t believe in science.

The question is going to be if Sarah Palin is a good choice. I would be very, very cautious if I were the Obama campaign to not underestimate this person and this ticket. Sarah Palin is a smart woman, very personable and poised, and brings cultural conservativism back on the table in a big way. People are asking if she’s the ‘next Dan Quayle.’ Dan Quayle won.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Issue of Values

I remember the last time we had a Presidential election I was asked about voting for values. I do not think, four years ago, that I entirely grasped what this was all about.

The issue of voting for values seemed to boil down that people ought to vote for the person who inspired the best values. The two major values that were 'key' were abortion and gay marriage. My slowness at this was based on the premise that I thought that there were other values as well.

I guess that these two issues are not what motivate me a great deal. For one, many of the people who are adamantly anti-abortion and pretend that they are pro-life. Pretend. Strong word. If they are pro-capital punishment I don't want to hear about their 'pro-life' stand. It's insulting to anyone who is serious about ethics. What I also found ironic was that many of these people were also 'pro-torture.' I will respect that they are anti-abortion and that's fine. To say that they are pro-life, however. Please.

Secondly, the more I deliberate on the issue of gay marriage the more I keep coming to the realization that this is more and more a civil rights issue. I read arguments concerning inter-racial marriage written years ago and the arguments were chillingly similar. Race and sexual orientation are not life styles and not choices. I think that churches have actually been on the wrong side of this debate.

There are values that I do hold dear.

First, is the issue of poverty. The poverty rate in this country is growing exponentially. Instead of waging a war on poverty, we seem to be waging a war on the impoverished. This needs to be reversed.

Secondly, is health care. I read of a young boy who died from an abscessed tooth. He had a tooth-ache and no insurance and no money, so no dental care took place. An infection set in and since they had no insurance they avoided doctor. The boy ultimately die. In the United States of America. When such things happen and we don't fundamentally make changes, I have no idea where are values are.

Thirdly, there is the issue of justice. One of the greatest things the United States has given the world is our way of doing justice. A jury of one's peers. A right to face one's accuser. A need to be clearly charged. A right to counsel. As much as we often make folly of the legal profession, many of these hard-working professionals are helping to maintain a sense of justice for all that so many people have died for. The fact that we are holding people, off our shores so that we do not have to follow our own rules, is appalling.

Funny thing about values. The priorities often end up being what ever we choose them to be as opposed to what we are told that they are.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Little More to the Last Post

I was thinking some more about this.

There are two things that I find particularly revolting.

Rush Limbaugh found Michael J. Fox's illness to be hilarious. He's finding it greatly entertaining that Elizabeth Edwards has a terminal illness. Actually, both of these people do. Both Michael J. Fox and Elizabeth Edwards confront their illness each and every day.

There is nothing funny about a terminal illness. These are people who blow out birthday cake candles and wonder if this is their last birthday. At Thanksgiving they wonder if this is the last turkey they share with their families. At Christmas they wonder if this is their last Christmas. They live lives with a very direct confrontation of their own morality. Each day may be a turning point for the worst. What is more, they know it is going to happen, sooner rather than later.

Over the I have dealt with a lot of people dealing with terminal illness. They are some of the most remarkable people I have ever met. THEY occasionally find humor in their lives and can have really good laughs. They are remarkable because they appreciate each day, so much, that they live lives with greater enthusiasm then most. They make decisions, and life choices based on their circumstances; circumstances never far from their immediate thoughts.

When this sorry excuse for a human being mocks them, he mocks the sacred, he mocks anything and everything that is good about humanity. He finds folly in the midst of their suffering, their pain, their very lives. How incredibly pathetic is this?

Here's the second thing I find revolting. He still has people who listen to him every day and admire him. I cannot imagine how.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Talk Radio’s Offshore Driller

I live in constant amazement of Rush Limbaugh. I have often seen Limbaugh as the quintessential bottom-dweller, the person who delights in uniting people by their lowest common denominators. Instead of being just a bottom dweller he has now taken on to being an offshore driller. When sinking to the bottom is not low enough, one must drill to go down deeper. Rush wins. No one has sunk deeper.

It all begins with John Edwards.

I was a fan of John Edwards. I thought that he would have been a far better Presidential Candidate than John Kerry who I never really liked. Edwards was my early choice for the Democratic nomination. I thought that he offered compelling insights into the American economy. My wife, however, believed he was as genuine as a three-dollar bill----and she proved to be very correct.

The story of his affair is a sleazy story. His interview was quite bad. His wife had cancer but he said that when he had the affair she was in remission. Oh, goody. That makes it all better. I have strong doubts that it ended when he said that it ended and I have strong doubts that he is not the father of the child in question. Telling a little truth sometimes is used to deceive people into believing you are totally honest. Edwards was and is not being totally honest. There is nothing good to be said. Edwards decided to sink to the bottom.

The problem is, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t want anyone to beat him. When John Edwards proved to be a bottom dweller, Limbaugh had to figure a way to go even lower than Edwards. Alas, the problem with John Edwards was, and a mighty drum roll ought to take place, Elizabeth Edwards. She is the problem, says Rush, because she keeps talking and doesn’t know when to keep quiet.

Elizabeth Edwards, Rush Limbaugh proclaimed, is said to be smarter than John Edwards and it was she who pushed him into staying in the race, etc., etc., etc. Mrs. Edwards, in the words of Rush Limbaugh, just didn’t know when to shut up. And poor John Edwards had to go out and find a woman who would use her mouth for something other than speaking. Yes. He said this on the radio. Oh, he laughed, thus making it funny and not offensive. Right.

Most people have given Elizabeth Edwards a great deal of sympathy. She has terminal cancer and confronts her mortality each day. To add to this her husband had an affair that has been splashed all over the media and she has endured great humiliation as a result of this. All of this and her fool husband seems to lean toward justifying this by saying, ‘she was in remission.’ Ugh. It is, frankly, difficult to not give some sympathy toward Elizabeth Edwards.

But, not Rush. He went right in there and decided to insult her. He went right in there and essentially blamed John Edwards’ affair on Elizabeth’s intelligence and her talking. It’s her fault.

Rush Limbaugh, marriage expert.

It is funny how Rush Limbaugh assaulted the Clintons, especially Hillary, following Bill’s affair(s). The Clintons have remained married for a long time. They have never been married to anyone else.

The Edwards are under assault. They have been married for a long time and they have never been married to anyone else.

Ever hear of Roxy Maxine McNeely? She was married to Rush Limbaugh from 1977-1980 when they divorced.

Ever hear of Michelle Sixta? She was married to Limbaugh from 1983-1990.

In 1994 Justice Clarence Thomas officiated at the wedding of Rush and Marta Fitzgerald who parted company in 2004.

Alas, Rush Limbaugh loves to do commentary on the marriages of others as if he were an expert. His track record indicates otherwise.

We are a culture in need of dialogue. Right and left need to work together to solve problems. This is true in politics and religion. There is an ideological divide in this country that is dreadful and damaging for everyone in the long term. I find myself always struggling with the likes of Rush Limbaugh because he, like so many others, both right and left, fan the flames of hostility and work diligently to prevent civil discourse and exchange.

But this is not political. There is something called human decency. Sadly, this off shore driller has none.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Let's Sit These Olympics Out...

I do not believe that the United States ought to participate in the Olympics this year. I suspect that most of the world will disagree with me about this, but I really believe we ought not, in good conscience, be a part of this venture.

For one, I don’t believe that the Olympics have much value any longer. Sure. There are wonderful athletes from around the world who are competing against one another. Sure, there are some heart warming stories of the accomplishments of some young (or somewhat old) amateurs who are competing. But let us be honest. At this juncture, the Olympics is a contest of professional athletes from around the world. What made 1980 so special when the United States Hockey Team defeated the Soviet Union is that the US team were truly amateurs going against pros. These days have long since passed. It’s now all pros, some trying to pretend to be amateurs.

The Olympics are not what they were intended to be. Frankly, we should all boycott them on TV.

My second reason is China and my reasoning is two-fold.

We are reading and observing China clamping down on dissidents. They want to give the world a vision of China as one, big, happy country where everything is great. It is not. China is one of the world’s leaders in human rights violations. They practice misogyny openly and have little problem destroying baby girls so that they can have baby boys and fulfill the ‘one child to a family’ rule. We were, rightly, horrified by the cruelties of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The sad reality is that China is really no better. By even venturing into this country we are giving tacit approval to a horrendous, murderous, regime.

Additionally, whether we want to accept this our not, China is become our leading economic enemy. I use the word enemy very deliberately. They have a goal to destroy us economically and they are being successfuly.

A large reason the Soviet Union crumbled was because of economics and an inability to compete with the United States in spending. In the early 1980's, we heightened the Cold War and began, essentially, creating a wartime economy. Large amounts of money went into purchasing weapons and technology for weapons. A war time economy when there is no war, for a capitalist nation, means that there are plenty of jobs and plenty of money in the pipeline. The downside is that often the government does this with hot checks. Ronald Reagan’s plans had lots of people working and lots of manufacturing of arms, but he put it all on MasterCard. That brings about its own set of problems, obviously.

The problem the Soviets had was that this drained them financially beyond a point of no return. They were in a wartime economy that they couldn’t afford----but they were also fighting a war. A wartime economy when a nation is at war, drains the country. As a result, the money runs out as the debt accumulates. The Soviet Union collapsed.

History is repeating itself. China is building itself up militarily and financially, and is not in a war. They are using more and more oil----thus raising the prices of oil, and generating capital----much of which the United States is borrowing.

We are in a wartime economy but we are fighting two wars. Incomes are not growing. There is no place to invest money for it to grow. Interest rates are going higher and prices are going higher. We are borrowing more and more money and facing economic collapse ourselves.

Our big opponent in all of this is China as well as ourselves. By participating in the Olympics, a large amount of American money will flow into China and put us further and further in economic trouble.

We have no business going there.