Friday Beauty – in the eye of the beholder

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I kept it traditional yesterday, but I can’t resist sharing a couple of more politically oriented Veteran’s Day today – and yes, I consider these beautiful because sometimes it takes a proper visual representation of an issue to get a very very critical point to be made:

And one more traditional representation of beauty (in my eyes anyway) that I posted on my birding site a couple of weeks ago – Male Anna’s hummingbird in my backyard (do you have any idea how hard those little buzzers are to photograph? Especially with two cats flailing at the window?)

Enjoy your weekend!

Oh, and check out Robin’s place – she’s visiting San Diego for a week and will be posting some of her awe inspiring photos while here. I’ll be taking her out on the trails on Wednesday. Perhaps I can help her find some ceviche? 🙂

 

Why I love this country

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Sometimes in the deep doo doo of an election year, we can forget how amazing it is that in the end, we will put the nonsense behind us and watch a stunningly peaceful change over of power from one president to another on inauguration day. And we will, because we are Americans.

The other thing we like to do is laugh.

One night after the final debate (one which I thought was the most contentious), the candidates participated in a campaign season traditional event. The Alfred E Smith Charity Dinner in New York. The only year this did not happen in recent history was in 2004 when Catholics had some issues with John Kerry and stubbornly would not invite him which meant they also did not invite Bush and essentially canceled all the fun. Which was a shame. Because I think we need moments like this. When humor is used to find some common ground between opponents. When we laugh at ourselves. When we remember that we all really want what is best for his great country of ours, we just approach it from different angles. I love this tradition of the two combatants roasting each other and laughing together. I was just lucky enough to get home from a meeting and then dinner to sit down and catch the full broadcast of the two routines on Rachel Maddow’s show last night and I laughed and laughed. And it felt good.

This Week In Politics – Suspended?

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I know, I said I wasn’t going to do appointment blog topics. But then, I found out that when you declare that you will stop doing something, like oh…campaigning for instance…if you declare that you are suspending something..you don’t *really* have to DO it!! In fact, all you really have to do is just not make appearances yourself (other than one or two) and let your surrogates do all your talking for you! It’s awesome. So, following along with a certain Presidential candidate, I will pass on opining about the bailout issue myself and send you all to read Greeblemonkey’s version of it. Which, other than the hysterical suggestion by her DH which I did not think of myself, is pretty much spot on with how I feel about things this week.

For the record, IF McCain actually HAD suspended campaigning then I could have potentially agreed with this editorial by a local San Diego writer.  Unfortunately I think Mr Navarrette wrote that just after reading the McCain press release about the suspension, not after seeing if reality would match the announcement. Instead, I end up agreeing more closely with Mike Huckabee!! (yeah, I’m quite freaked out by that statement myself).

This Week(end) In Politics – special Palin edition

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I am very glad that I had the first weekend of Pop Warner to distract me from posting a knee-jerk reaction to the Sarah Palin as GOP VP pick announcement. My word, the things I would have missed out on!!

I know that I did not do a Biden edition for the Dem side. I should have, but I cannot remember what distracted me from that 🙂 Oh yeah, the Olympics and such. Anyhow, the veep stake outs were insane weren’t they? The media really went over the top perching themselves outside the homes of the prospective choices for the Democrats. For me, the tables tipped to Joe Biden as soon as Obama revealed that his criteria had been someone who is an independent thinker who will challenge him when necessary. Perfect description of the oft-blunt to the point of foot in mouth Biden!. Plus, there was the obvious need to pick someone with more government experience to balance out Obama’s biggest weakness. To me, it was a politically wise choice as well as a good pairing for Obama personally. OK, so that was (and still is) my opinion on the Biden pick. In case you did not catch their interview together on 60 mins last night, here it is on the web. I really like them together. Good chemistry. From the beginning of this campaign 18 months ago, I have been very impressed with Obama’s judgement in picking who is on his team and in his ability to lead a campaign. I stand by my opinion that the team he has built – and led – is highly indicative of his leadership abilities.

If Obama’s VP choice shows good judgement as I think it does, then John McCain’s choice shows just the opposite. Now, I get her positives. I really do. The voices on his side saying he needed a woman were probably quite strong and also quite politically shrewd. However, it was not just *any* woman that would work! Let’s just start out by listing some of the very much more highly qualified GOP women out there who have been supporting McCain vociferously and/or actually working in his campaign: Meg Whitman (former CEO of Ebay), Carly Fiorina (former CEO of HP), Christine Todd Whitman, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and even Condoleeza Rice would all have been brilliant selections. In fact, the choice of one of those would probably have made me nervous! I mean, talk about a boost to the GOP ticket. However, the McCain camp apparently thought they needed to combine their deepest needs and appeal to the religious right as well as women. I guess the previously listed women would not have passed the evangelical smell test? I don’t know. What I do know is that we are saddled with the prospect of a Vice President Sarah Palin. On a ticket with a potential president who is older than any other potential first term candidate and has had health issues. A governor of a state with the “population of San Bernardino” as Bill Maher put it. For the non-Californians, that’s a suburb of LA 🙂 As I said – I get her positives. Great personal story as far as taken on the establishment GOP politicians in her state head on, dethroning an entrenched old boy governor, mother of 5, husband a blue collar union worker, and well established social conservative stances. I am sure that was looked at as a good balance to McCain much as Biden is to Obama. She shores up that right wing religious base that has been wary of him. But…

As the days have passed, it seems like every day something new comes out about her that makes you just shake your head at this choice. Exactly what judgement did McCain use here? First off, no, she does not even have close to the experience she should have. I don’t care what the idiots on Fox news (parroted back by Cindy McCain) say, but governing a state that is ‘next to’ Russia does not equate to forgein policy knowledge! And shoot – why is Canada getting no love? It’s a forgein country and Alaska shares a much larger border with it! Then there is the vetting issue. Did he do any?  By their own admission they spoke on the phone ONCE and then met in person ONCE before she was asked to join the ticket. All in the span of the last 30 days. And now McCain says they are soul mates? Ew! Thank you, but no. We’ve already had a ‘shoot first, think later’ team in the White House. I really don’t want another!! And honestly I am so disappointed in McCain. I cannot figure this man out. He was so darn interesting and impressive back in 2000. What happened to him? He is a maverick no more I am afraid. In fact, I am convinced that Palin was forced on him by the GOP leadership. I’ll bet anyting that he wanted Joe Leiberman. Sure, Leiberman would have been rough for the hard core conservatives to swallow, but at this point I think he would have been preferrable! Stories are flying left and right about Palin. Some of them stupid of course which is inevitable. But some which do need investigating. And always keep in mind that if a Democrat was in a similar situation, the GOP would be all over it ad nauseum – especially the stupid ones! It appears as if the vetting is being done NOW through the media which is really risky. You want to be on the offensive about these rumors, not defense (which the GOP is normally so brilliant about), but it seems today particularly as if some scrambling to cover some butts is going on. The truly cynical side of me thinks they waited until the media was busy with hurrican coverage to drop a couple of stories about Palin that could be touchy.

Any way I look at it though, Palin is much too extreme to truly pull in any disgruntled Clinton voters. At least not any who support Hillary for her positions vs her gender. Palin is pro life to the point of even telling rape victims they don’t have a choice. Yikes. Also advocates the abstinence only policies. Double yikes. I can tell you from personal experience that does not work! I think her daughter can vouch for that too. I could go on about why I am pro choice, but someone already wrote that essay for me today 🙂 This diary from Mother Talkers says it all for me on that topic.

I do applaud the GOP for scaling back their convention right now in response to hurricane gustav. I also applaud the many area local government agencies and the national response team for learning from Katrina and making sure the Gulf Coast does not suffer as it did 3 years ago. Things look good as far as hurricanes go which is a relief.

This election season is not going to be boring is it?

TWIP – Houses and Veeps – UPDATED

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It just hit me what an amazing 4 week period we are in! Well, amazing at least, if you are an Olympic and political junkie like 🙂 Two weeks of Olympics leading into two weeks of conventions. I know I am going to check out the convention coverage this weekend and set my DVR for a lot of it. It figures I have a board meeting following a scrimmage on Tuesday night. Plus with the Wii and SportsBoy in the house, it will be hard to watch very much live. IOW – I wont be sleeping until sometime in the second week of September!

You know the phrase “Like shooting fish in a barrell”? Well, sorry folks, but I just cannot pass up on House-gate. It is just TOO easy!! Twitter yesterday was buzzing with commentary. Sarcastic statements like mine about just how gosh darn hard it is to keep track of all those houses. Queries of “how many do YOU have?” and “More cars or houses?” and “Can you get your staff to get back to me with that?” Hilarious stuff.And as bad as McCain looked yesterday asking his ‘staff’ to respond to the house question, his wife has appeared even *more* detached. They want to paint Obama as an elitist? I think he can tell you how many houses he has (1). I don’t think it was his wife who talked about buying a private jet because “that’s the only way to get around Arizona.” Or said that she bought a second multi million dollar condo in Coronado because they just “couldn’t get into the first one” due to all the family using it. Oh yes, a rough rough life there. And I wonder why you need two condos in Coronado AND one in downtown LaJolla? For those unfamiliar with my city, those two are locations are about 20 miles away from each other along the same coast. You need three? Yes yes, I know that this is all her money. She’s an enormously wealthy heiress and this is what you do when you have that kind of money. I’m just not so sure you should appear to be bragging about that during a Presidential campaign during what is very economically tenous times for those of us NOT quite so wealthy, you know?

Kagro X on DailyKos described McCain as “phumpering” his through a question and answer session. PERFECT description. He’s done that quite a bit already and it often ends with him snapping in irritation to end the discussion.  It saddens me really to see it, because I’ve always liked and respected McCain. Unfortunately the politician I liked is the McCain of 2000. And I didn’t quite pay attention to him after that other than to thoroughly enjoy his many appearances on The Daily Show. Considering the path the GOP has been going down in the last decade, I always thought of him as one of the Good Ones. And I was honestly not unhappy that he won the nomination because he was less scary to me as a liberal than any of the other choices from that side. However, he seems to have completely embraced the Dark Side of the GOP now. He is a maverick no more. Jack Cafferty put it so well in his essay this week. So so true. Please, no more embarassment!

Meanwhile…where is my VP??? I want my VP??? It’s lunch time on the west coast and still no magical text message??? Just tell us!!!!!!!! I gotta say I am thoroughly impressed with how well this has been kept under wraps. Just goes to show you that when they want to, they CAN shut out the press. If there is a leak..it’s because they wanted it leaked.

Update #1 (I say #1 since I will probably comment WHENEVER they finally fricking announce this thing!): Ramblingmom said in a comment that it’s all marketing. It’s much more than that. Announcing the VP name via a text message to those who sign up via his web site is utter brilliance! He’s totally neutered the media. They will not be the first to know. We will! Along with them of course as I assume every last one of them signed up for the Magic Text Message 🙂 But I just love the way he has eliminated the middle man.

Update #2 – Apparently it all started unfolding about 30 mins *after* I went to bed last night! I received my text message at around 2:00am pacific but some people seem to have received theirs up to two hours eariler according to the comments on Dkos. It seems that after the process of elimination (confirmation that other front runners did not get picked) and other activities at the Biden house, the networks finally went out on a limb at night and stated it was Joe Biden. Anyway, pretty funny overall how this was pulled off. And I am happy with Biden. When the ‘gang of three’ final contenders was put out there, he was my favorite. When we still had about 9 people running early in the campaign, he was the winner of a coulpe of those debates. He coined the phrase “a noun a verb and 9/11” to summarize Rudy Guliani’s campaign strategy which was a hoot. He’s tough, he has experience in Washington and he will NOT let the other side smear without response. It becomes kind of a Good Cop/Bad Cop team.

Now, I’ve heard a few talking heads already say that Biden’s foreign policy experience *exposes* Obama’s lack thereof. Oh my gawd! What? Showing some bias are you? Isn’t a VP pick SUPPOSED to balance out perceived weaknesses? And did even ONE of you make the same statement when Bush picked Cheney? Just wondering.