Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dude, I am so depressed...

So, while I could continue my discussion on the issues of the upcoming election, let me just break it down to this:  our health care system sucks, is broken , needs serious fixing and no one really knows how.  Second, the war on terror:  The war in Iraq was poorly conceived and should never have started.  We've left the job undone in Afghanistan for a second time.  

Most importantly, since no one reads this blog, I will change no minds, educate no voters and effect no lasting change.  Those who disagree with me are just as convinced they are right and I am wrong as I am they.  They think me foolish at best, arrogant at worst and just plain wrong.  Which just makes me angry and then depressed when I realize I think the same thing of them.   So, rather than continue to exchange scathing commentaries, wall postings, etc. I will concede defeat.  

I will vote my conscience and they theirs come November.  God help us all.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Issues and Just the Issues, please

I have been accused of not getting it and being ignorant about the issues in the upcoming Presidential election. So just what are the issues in this campaign? Are they Palin or Obama's lack of experience? Or how about John McCain's rich wife, ambiguous number of homes or self-proclaimed computer illiteracy? Or maybe Obama's support of explicit sex education for kindergarteners while in the Illinois senate? Maybe it's McCain, Obama and Palin's questionable choice of preachers. Maybe it's that 10% of Americans think Obama is a muslim. Is it really any of those things? Of course not. They are what the ads are all about, what the media is covering and what's being talked about around water coolers across America. Some of them are blatant attempts by one side or the other to inflame voters, some of them are patently false (and yet still circulated) and some are open to opinion on their importance.

So what do I think are the issues for this campaign? In my opinion, there are really only 3 issues facing this nation that cross party lines and affect us all: the Economy, Health Care and the War on Terror.

Let's look at the economy first. I will be the first to admit that I don't know a lot about the intricacies of the economy. Both candidates have attempted over the last year to expand upon what they will do to fix the economy. Both agree that there is quite a bit wrong.

McCain's website has a briefing paper on his economic plan. He would reduce corporate taxes to encourage companies to remain in the US, reduce our reliance on foreign oil by drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, build 45 nuclear reactors and commit $2 billion annually to clean coal. This plan includes reducing government spending by freezing all non-defense and non-veteran discretionary spending for a year and reviewing government programs to
weed out those that are ineffective and streamline others while using a line-item veto to remove earmarks. He would support small businesses by keeping tax rates low, allowing a first year deduction of equipment and technology expenses and giving every American family $5000 to spend on health care costs to reduce the burden on small business.

Obama's website also has a briefing paper on his economic plan. Obama wants to give a tax break to the middle class by creating a new tax credit and simplifying the tax return. He would also exempt any senior citizen making less than $50,000 from paying taxes at all. He wants to end tax breaks for companies that move overseas and reward those that create jobs in America. Obama proposes a Credit Card Bill of Rights that would ban unilateral charges, apply interest rates only to future debt, prohibit interest on fees, prohibit universal defaults and require prompt and fair crediting of payments. He would also reform bankruptcy laws to close loopholes for mortgage lenders and make an exemption for families that file bankruptcy because of medical bills. Obama wants to eliminate capital gains taxes for start-up and small businesses and create a network of public-private business incubators.

Obama and McCain agree on a few points. Both would make a permanent tax credit for Research & Development. Both have HOME plans regarding home ownership, though they differ in many ways. McCain's HOME plan would aid those with sub-prime mortgages in danger of foreclosure by allowing qualified applicants to trade their unworkable loans for a FHA loan. Obama's HOME plan creates a standardized metric for home mortgages that a compares various mortgage products and helps borrowers to understand the full cost of the loan, their long-term obligations and would be include all mandatory taxes and insurance. Both want to reduce dependency on foreign oil. Obama by creating 5 million new green jobs through the research and development of biofuels, accelerated commercialization of plug-in hybrids, development of commercial scale renewable energy, clean coal and new job training for clean technologies. McCain would drill on the OCS, build 45 new nuclear power plants, set up a Clean Car Challenge to encourage US automakers to sell zero-emission cars and calls on automakers to make a more rapid and complete switch to Flex Fuel Vehicless.

The basic differences in the two plans, as I see them, are that Obama's reforms are directed at helping the middle class through tax breaks, credit card and mortgage reforms and creating jobs through the development of renewable energy; while McCain's plan focuses on helping business through corporate tax cuts, reducing spending and reducing our dependency on foreign oil through domestic drilling, nuclear energy and biofuels.

After looking at both website and reading both briefs, I find Obama's more appealing, more thorough and more likely to work; while McCain's was really more of the same old Republican mantra.

Next time: Health Care.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Of storms and politicans

As promised, I wrote Sen Clinton. Here is the spiffy reply I got the next day:
Dear Friend:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns with me
via e-mail. I hope you will understand that, because of the volume of
e-mails I receive from residents of New York State, I cannot at this time
respond to messages received from residents of other states. I encourage
you to contact your U.S. senators if you have an issue or concern that
needs immediate attention. You can access your senators electronically by
visiting for a listing
of their contact information. If you are still interested in learning
more about the work I am doing on behalf of New York State, I hope you
will continue to monitor my work through my website at


Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
New York State


Well, not quite the response I was hoping for. Next will be to write to Obama.

So I watched the second night of the Sarah Palin interview with Charles Gibson. Not as bad as I was anticipating overall. She sounded very rehearsed most of the time but not as flustered as last night's response on the Bush Doctrine. She danced around the question tonight regarding how she and McCain will "change" Bush's economic policy, forcing Gibson, much like he did on the Bush Doctrine, to repeat the question multiple times and force a coherent answer. Many of her answers were never quite on topic but the worst example came near the end. Gibson asked about her experience and did she believe it to be adequate to the job. She latched onto the first part of Gibson's question to defend her belief on the necessity of reform and then began to hold forth on her experience in the energy sector and how important energy is to our security. ABC did cut the final part of this dialog but posted the excerpt transcript minus the edits on their website. She added that as governor she hosted trade delegations and that many other vice presidents had no more experience than she. But isn't the Republican Party and McCain comparing her experience to Obama's, not Biden's? Shouldn't she be defending the idea that she has more experience than Obama with some sort of concrete evidence? More than she's hosted trade delegations and oh look Russia is just a few hundred miles away?
I think the best answer she gave all night was in response to the stem cell question. She stated clearly what her personal opinion was and that it might not be the official party line (she disagrees with McCain). An honest response at last.

And now for Ike. As we speak Ike is pounding the hell out of the coast. Galveston's famous seawall is being topped by enormous waves and may not withstand the surge. The island is flooded, power is out and one can only hope that this direct hit doesn't destroy the city. The surge is progressing into Galveston Bay and flooding low-lying areas. Houston is already (12:29 AM) seeing hurricane force winds. As always I am amazed at the live coverage from CNN. These guys are amazing. Crazy, but amazing. Having grown up in Houston, and with relatives still in the area, I'm watching this one closely.

Updates to follow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Write Sen. Clinton today!

Let me be clear. I did not vote for Clinton in the primaries. I had and have no desire to see her in the White House. I do feel, however, that she is essential to this campaign. Here is the letter I sent to her via her Senate website:
Senator Clinton-

I write to you to ask that you address your former supporters directly and let them know in no uncertain terms that they should vote for Barack Obama. I find it appalling that so many of your supporters are willing to vote for John McCain simply because he has chosen Sarah Palin as a running mate. I beg of you to address this issue directly, forcefully and, most importantly, publicly.

I know that you are disappointed for failing to secure the Democratic nomination, but you must put aside your hurt feelings and deal with the PUMAs and others who feel so disenfranchised that they are willing to sacrifice our nation’s future to 4 more years of disastrous Republican leadership. Set aside your ambition and speak to these women. Help them to see that Obama is a far superior candidate to McCain and Palin. Address Palin’s lies and distortions. Reach out to your supporters and enlighten them.

If you actually intend to support Barack Obama’s bid for the White House, you must convince your former supporters that to vote for McCain/Palin is to ensure 4 more years of Bush. Four more years of lies and deceit and idiotic frat-boy politics. You must, absolutely must, fight Sarah Palin with every fiber of your being. Be the leader your supporters believe you are. Prove your detractors wrong. Do the right thing. TO NOT DO SO WILL BE A SUPREME ACT OF COWARDICE.

I encourage you to do the same. Tell Senator Clinton how important you believe her support will be in this campaign. For that matter, write and tell Obama the same thing. Tell everyone you know to look past Palin's ovaries and see the real woman that will only bring 4 more years of Republican idiocy. Be a voice for your friends, your school, your family. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

WTF? Are we really that stupid?

Current polls show that McCain is an average of 2.4 percentage points ahead of Obama. Of particular interest is the ABC News/Washington Post poll that shows Obama's lead among white women has flipped to McCain. McCain now leads Obama among white women by 8 points. More importantly, that number represents a 20-point shift.

As a white woman myself, that is the single most appalling factoid to come out of the Republican convention. Bad enough is the choice of Sarah Palin for a running mate and McCain's rambling and almost incoherent acceptance speech that leaves me acutely concerned for his health. With a record like Palin's, one expects the far right of the Republican party to be agog, but does it follow then that women are going to shift their allegiance to McCain?

Why is this happening? Are there really so many women upset with Hillary's loss that they would throw away their reproductive rights, their hope of healthcare, their nation's chance to rebuild it's economy and instead embrace four more years of disastrous Republican management simply because Palin has ovaries? Can they be that blind?

If you want to protest Hillary's loss of the nomination there are other things you can do besides vote Republican. Vote for a third party candidate. Don't vote at all. Make sure Obama hears your concerns. But why risk Palin's ascension to the Presidency of the United States because Hillary Clinton isn't the Democratic nominee?

And believe me, I don't really feel that I'm exaggerating when I say electing Palin as VP puts her chances of being President as much higher than Hillary's. For one, McCain is 72 years old and looking older every day. Check out this You Tube video of McCain berating Dolores Alfona. Then compare it to this clip.

Setting the content aside, I was struck by the difference in delivery and appearance in the two clips. There are several instances in the second one where McCain just plain looks old. In news clips in recent days, he appears to have aged considerably. Perhaps it's just the comparison to his young and vibrant running mate. Perhaps it's just the rigors of the campaign trail, though he had several weeks to rest prior to the convention while Obama and Hillary continued to duke it out. Whatever the reason, no one can argue that if elected, he will be the oldest individual to ever achieve the presidency. Ronald Reagan is the next oldest, who ascended to office just 16 days shy of his 70th birthday.

Even if McCain doesn't expire in office, his age may make it unlikely he will seek a second term, thus placing Palin in the position to ride his coattails into office. Would Hillary beat Palin in a one on one race with Palin as the current VP? It's hard to say but history shows us that being the current VP gives a significant advantage, even if it's not always enough to win.

More importantly, for me anyway, is the fact that if you take the time to study Palin's record, she is an odd choice at best for VP. McCain appears to be appealing to the far-right and the disenfranchised Hilary backers with one candidate. Though, in truth, the only appeal to the Hillary supporters is Palin's ovaries. She has nothing in common with Clinton except a tendency to steamroll the facts. (Not a Clinton fan, sorry.)

She does not have the experience necessary to be President. Obama does. Check out this comparison that shows how Obama stacks up against a few well known Presidents. If you added Palin to that list her line would read State legislature-0 Governorship-2 US House-0 US Senate-0 Age at inauguration- 44. How can the McCain camp not be laughed at when they try to say that Palin's political experience matches, let alone betters, Obama's? Yet that is exactly what they are doing.

As I watch the news and read the blogosphere, I am continually amazed at the sheer number of people that find Palin appealing. Yes, she's pretty, Yes, she's a mom, Yes, she's a decent speaker. But there is nothing substantial about her as a candidate and plenty to indicate that she has lied and is continuing to lie about many things. Is that really who we want to have win the White House?

I, for one, plan on writing to Hillary Clinton and telling her in no uncertain terms that she needs to get off her ass and tell her supporters to vote for Obama and not for Palin. If she is truthful about setting their differences aside and supporting his candidacy, she must do this.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Much has happened in the 6 months since last I blogged.

1) Mercifully, Britney Spears seems to have dropped off the face of the planet. Looks like the presidential race pushed her off the radar.

2) Speaking of which, Barack Obama is the democratic nominee. Can I pick 'em, or what?

3) New Orleans survived a near miss from what turned out to be less than "the storm of the century" as mayor Ray Nagin called Gustav. Most likely not even nasty enough to get the name culled from the list, though it should be. I mean really, Gustav? Not scary. Let's just hope the next time (and there will be a next time for a city 20+ feet below sea level) everyone remembers Katrina and not Gustav.

4) The Olympics. Michael Phelps. Wow.

5) Sarah Palin and John McCain. What more can I add to what's already been said? She's a Republican version of Hilary Clinton gone bad. Power hungry opportunist with an added dash of kooky religion and environmental cluelessness minus the experience and aura of "respectability". Just who I want running the country when the senior citizen cashes in his chips. And just for the record, I don't like either Palin or Clinton and it ain't because their reproductive organs are on the inside.