Sunday, August 31, 2008

Threat or No Threat?

There is certainly not any short supply of article's to read about McCains choice for VP. I read an informative one in the NY Times yesterday and this good one at Alternet today. The writer, Heather Gehlert, is no lover of the Republicans, but she makes some very good points and has some excellent contrasts; especially when it comes to issues that actually cause people to vote and how people usually think when they look at candidates. Sadly, it seems, the majority do not read nor care about actual issues, but rather at superficial things like appearances and who & what clubs and venues people belong to. Check out a few of the tidbits from the article, but it is very good, as well as informative, so you may want to read it all.

"That's because the very issues that Democrats say make her a political risk -- her newness to the political world stage, her anti-choice stance, her opposition to gay marriage, her support of capital punishment, her disregard for the environment -- matter very little in determining the outcome of elections. Voters -- some of whom dissect policy issues daily, but most of whom don't -- ultimately cast their ballots based on emotion. Not logic. Not knowledge of "the issues.""

When I read this I think of people, like my mom, who don't read much about issues, but who watch the nightly news and the "talking heads" on Fox etc. and take what they say as the gospel about candidates. She "just knows" that she doesn't like certain candidates, but cannot really tell you why. She doesn't like Obama's wife, but can not give specific details about what makes her feel this way.

"In 2004, John Kerry was the champion debater. He was sharp, focused, intelligent. He could call B.S. on George W. Bush and poke holes in nearly any of his arguments. But he was also stiff. He seemed cool and disconnected, not just because of his body language but also because of his words. His policy prescriptions, detailed as they were, didn't connect with his audience. Four years after hearing him speak, I can only recall that, on an intellectual level, I agreed with his points. But I don't remember what he said. His words didn't resonate with me. They didn't stick with me in my gut.

Bush, on the other hand, was the dunce. He wore a goofy smile and dodged questions in each debate. But he was the man people could imagine having a beer with. He drew crowds in with his drawl, spoke in a simple, unintimidating way, and so could get away with covering up four years of abysmal domestic and foreign policy. I probably disagreed with 99 percent of what Bush said, but I can at least remember some of his talking points. He said he worked hard and promised to work hard for American families. He said he understood American families. He said he would protect American families.

Was that a load of bull? Of course. But it sure was delivered in pretty packaging. And, most importantly, it made a large number of voters feel good."

You can see some this in the large numbers that turn out for the Obama concerts that end up actually crying at his mere appearance, they want to feel good and they are so overcome with emotion that this becomes their voting mantra. Drew Weston, from Emory University, is a clinical, personality & political psychologist who has studied this phenomenon and written a book about it; "The Political Brain:The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation."

"(T)he vision of mind that has captured the imagination of philosophers, cognitive scientists, economists, and political scientists since the eighteenth century -- a dispassionate mind that makes decisions by weighing the evidence and reasoning to the most valid conclusions -- bears no relation to how the mind and brain actually work," Westen writes. "When campaign strategists start from this vision of mind, their candidates typically lose."

I think that Timothy Egan, of the NY Times, summed it up best when he said," Palin brings a bit of the "Legally Blonde" aspect to the race -- you underestimate her at your peril."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DNC or Wing Night?

Hmmmmm, watch the DNC or 25 cent wing night out with the girls? Wing night, PRICELESS!! I decided to go this little neighborhood place, in a nearby city, that has the best wings I have ever come across. I would even gladly pay more! Not only are they the biggest I have ever seen, at this price, but crispy and not dripping in sauce. The big chain places do not even hold a candle to them! Those places think that if they have a thousand flavors and their wings are swimming in it that they rule. I could care less about the hype & sauce. For me it is all about the size and meat on the wing. This place, The Boulevard, has got it down 100%!!

It is one of those small, out-of-the-way, neighborhood places. You have to get there early to get a table or you will have to sit at the bar. You can not take any leftovers with you, but if you do not order enough, they get SO busy that you might wait a long time for another plate. I got 18 this time and barely ate 10. That is how big they are. They even have a decent wine list and a nice glass of red ( Shiraz) only cost me $4.00.

Quality time spent with the girls.......priceless!! Oh, the DNC.....I'll get the high and lowlights later. I can pick and choose what I want to see. As far as I am concerned it has been over for a long time and I'll just wait until it's the end of October and see where I stand.

Elections happen every four years while good times with friends need to be more frequent.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Additions, Welcome and Changes

I finally did a little bit of clean-up here at the 'ol blog! I have added the Drudge Report to my list of links. With all the links and news that they share I think that it can add to our knowledge base about many issues that face us today. So check it out, if you do not already read them, they also include links to many good writers like Dave Barry.

I also would like to issue a hearty welcome back to Esteban over at his blog! He was out of the blogging world for awhile, but has returned victoriously and with a new computer!! If you like to mix it up with the other side and go back and forth with some saucy rhetoric from the other side then you should check him out! Now with Mixter gone, but not forgotten, we will have to shake Esteban cage now and again to keep things lively!!

Finally, speaking of was with great sadness that I finally deleted her link from these hallowed pages. I hope she will stop by, from time to time, and I will miss all the regulars that made comment on her pages and if we are lucky enough maybe one or two of them will stumble by from time to time. She had the best readers and the most exciting comments! Hope all is going well Mixter!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

From Obama to Downloads

Mother Jones News has a very good article, "The Audacity of Hype", about Obama and one that has some good thoughts. They presented the question, " Is Barack Obama exaggerating when he compares his campaign to the great progressive movements in U.S. history?", and they asked a variety of thinkers and writers what they thought. Here are a few snippets;

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Author, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
Well, I think he's exaggerating, in the sense that it's hard to understand a great, substantive moment in history while it's still happening. We knew 9/11 was a historic moment, if only because nothing like that had ever happened. But we didn't know—and maybe still don't completely know—what that actually meant. So in the sense that all people who compare the ongoing, shifting, malleable present with the past, he is indeed exaggerating. Let me just state the obvious—electing a black president will be historic, and I guess quasi-progressive. But the substance of what his presidency will be for America just isn't known yet.

Debra Dickerson
Author, The End of Blackness
Kudos to Obama for reaching transcendence, but no way is the undeniable excitement he's generated anything remotely resembling America's past great progressive movements. To point out the obvious, the very examples he's invoking had specific purposes—winning World War II, ending slavery then Jim Crow, enfranchising women. Beyond dethroning Bush II, worthy though it is, what's his goal? Even were he to peg his entire candidacy on ending the Iraq War, that wouldn't transform America the way past convulsive movements did. At best, electing Obama might be seen as the final death throes of a racism that still dares to speak its name, but it might just be best if he stopped playing to his fellow citizens' lazy vanity—look, Ma! I'm changing America without sacrificing anything in the least!—and kept what he represents in perspective. His nearness to the presidency is an amazing, wondrous thing, but America won't be much different afterward, blasphemous as that sounds.

There are many others of varying thought that you might find interesting indeed.

I have been very busy, getting Max ready for his senior year and ready to graduate in Jan. and then off to the Navy. It is more labor intensive than I had imagined it would be. Then, we are getting back in to the busy time at the coffee mega giant. The college kids are back and business is crazy. I am working long and busy hours. When I get home I am too tired to blog and even too tired to watch any news etc. Although I did notice that last Sunday's N.Y. Times had a huge article about The Daily Show and how more Americans are now admitting to getting their actual news info from that show. No big surprise....I have been for years. Kudos to the entire team at The Daily Show!!

Somewhere I am finding the time to train for my first 5K race. It is at Kent State and it is the Bowman Cup 5K. On Oct.11th, I believe, a Sat. I downloaded a training plan for a 5K and have been trying to stick with it. I have to make modifications every so often to allow for my schedule and how tired I might be, but for the most part I am doing a pretty good job. I am excited to run my first race! Had I not gotten the mp3 player I do not think I would have been able to keep going. It makes a huge difference in my timing and desire to keep moving.

Speaking of the mp3 player. I find that I am always making lists now, on scraps of paper all over my house, of songs that I want to download. After I am finished here I am adding today; Bowling for Soup, Pat Benatar and some Aerosmith.

What's up in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's Been a Month!!

It has been over a month since I last sat down and blogged. So much has happened, not just in my life, but in the life of friends as well. I am sad to say that Mixter has shut down her blog. It was one of the first political blogs that I found when I first began to read blogs. Long before she invited me to join her I was a fan. It is going to be sad for me to finally remove her link from this site. I hope that she will occasionally stop by to read this little rag and maybe post some scathing commentary that we all came to love and enjoy! Miss ya Mixter! It was a joy to post with you and the other liberal gals at the Mix.

I was on an 11 day vacation this past week. One would think that I would have had the time for much reading and plenty of blogging, but as life would have it I had a huge curve ball thrown my way and I did not once even get on my computer. During this time we had an incident, at home with our teenager, that sent us in a tailspin. One that I am not going to elaborate upon, but enough to say that it is a hard job being a parent and you never know what is going to come your way. They grow up so fast and suddenly they think that they are adults.

I did buy a new book during this vacation. "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. He was the professor at Carnegie Mellon that actually did give a last lecture as he was dying from pancreatic cancer. My girlfriend is reading it and told me that she was gleaning much knowledge from it, so John and I headed to Borders one night and I got it for 13.00, not bad considering that it was 21.95 originally. I am just beginning it, so any thoughts will have to come later. It is a very small book, so I expect to finish it in a few days.

I also finally got myself an MP3 player to run with. I can not believe how much easier it makes the task of running! I have even increased my gait which means that soon I will have to add on some more time. Could be a curse as well! :-) So, last night as we sat outside with a fire, John & I had my player plugged in to the car stereo, and an entire evening of debate ensued about the music that we each have on our players. He was genuinely surprised that I did not have more music from my growing up years. I only went back and put on a few of the hits from the 80's that I really loved from the beginning of the "New Wave" & "Punk" movements; Clash, Blondie, Squeeze, Joe Jackson. The bulk of what I put on is today's music; Seether, Hinder, Staind, Fallout Boy, 3 Doors Down and the like. John could not believe that I did not have more of the 70's and old school style rock and disco. He has that and Neil Young, Van Halen and guitar rock that never was my thing. We talked about what would be considered "age appropriate" music and why does someone have to listen to what might be considered "more their style" and not outside their realm. It was kind of like discussing religion or politics. Everyone has their own tastes and beliefs. It was fun and we laughed often.

I got a new camera cell phone, we bought Max a car for his 18th birthday and have started to talk about what our life will be like when we no longer have a child in the home. I am going to begin the paperwork to get my passport so I can begin to travel with John. Maybe as soon as next year!

We have been avoiding all news, except the Daily Show. I have not even been reading any of my news sites. I am tired of anything that has to do with the election, the price of gas and how airlines are raising their prices and charging for everything. I LOVED the ad that Paris Hilton came out with as the retort to John McCains ad. It really made me laugh. I think I might vote for her!