digressions


This morning I woke up in a foul mood. I’m not entirely sure what set me off. Before I even got out of bed, I told myself today was going to be a good day, even if there was nothing planned, well except work, to necessarily guarantee such. But then, as soon as I was upright on two feet, those good intentions were given a good beat down by whatever part of my mood that just wasn’t having it.

Actually, I think I do know the cause; although it might seem a bit ridiculous. For the last week, the area I live in has been beset by wildfires. In fact, this is considered one of the worst fires in California history. The Station Fire has burned over 140,000 acres (roughly the size of Chicago). The mountain range that I’ve grown up next to is barren and black. I live a mile south of the base of the mountains where this is all taking place. Far enough away that I never need worry about being evacuated. But the massiveness of the fire has produced such intense smoke that I, like most people around here, have had to keep all the windows and doors of the house closed for the better part of the week now. Add to that 100+ degree days and you have all the makings for an air quality designation of “hazardous” and horrendous.   (more…)

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I’m trying a little experiment this week. I’m not going to watch the news. I’m also going to try& avoid looking at any news sites online & the newspapers. There’s just so much negativity out there & I’m a little tired of it. I”m working on a much clearer, more positive me. I don’t think I need the news to influence my day & my decisions anymore. Thus, the experiment.

Given the fact that I’m a bit of a news junkie this could be hard. Right now, I’m used to having the morning news on while I check my email & get my day started. Every evening, I have the news on while making dinner. And every night before I go to bed, it’s on again. Every day, online, I check the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Washington Post, BBC, & Google News. That’s way too much.

So, TV is off. All news bookmarks on my homepage have been deleted. We’ll see how this goes.

By the way, I trust that if anything major happens that I should know about, someone will leave a comment here to let me know. Thanks.

I know I promised not to do this again, but I must. So I’ll give you fair warning. If you don’t want to hear my thoughts on the Palin choice again, tune out now. I’ll return to my normally scheduled broadcasting in my next post.

And now…

Last night I watched Palin’s speech at the Republic National Convention. I actually had to watch a repeat of it well after midnight since I was out when it aired live. But I wanted to watch it, because, well, I’ve become fascinated by her. Not in a “wow, she’s really amazing. It’s an honor to have her as a woman running as VP.” No, my fascination is more of the “Seriously? They picked her?” But, I feel I must be informed if I’m going to critique.

In the last six days I have developed a new found interest in Alaskan politics and even election politics as a whole. I hate to admit, but, domestic election politics have always tended to bore me. So, I guess I can give credit to this whole debacle for getting me informed.

But anyways, back to the speech. Watching it I had some thoughts. These are completely random, but I feel the need to share my thoughts.

  • The first fourth of her speech was an introduction to her family, where each of them awkwardly stood up to receive their applause in turn. And there was her 4-month old son. Now, I don’t have kids and I’m no baby expert. My friends with and without children can attest to that. In all honesty, they kind of freak me out until they can walk & I only really find them entertaining once they can talk. But, I’m guessing that taking a 4-month old baby (regardless of its special needs status) into a large, loud crowd with bright, flashing lights & loud music is not a good thing. Am I right? Would you take your 4-month old into that situation? At least give the kid those baby headphones to block out the noise. I hate to say it, but I feel like the baby is being trotted out like a prop.
  • In the 48-hours before Palin’s speech, aides to McCain & Republican pundits have been all over the press saying that the press & non-Palin supporting pundits are scrutinizing her unfairly because she’s a woman and that it’s “sexist.” You know what I find sexist & demeaning as a woman? The buttons on some in the crowd. Indiana delegates were sporting ones that read: Hoosiers for the hot chick. And the Alaska delegation: From the coldest state comes the hottest vice president. When the McCain campaign and the GOP apologize for that, then I might buy into the “sexist” criticism. (Ok, really I won’t because I don’t find it at all “sexist” to ask questions about her experience and qualifications.)
  • Let’s see, she managed to mention Iraq, Russia, the Caucasus, Europe, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela in her speech. (Yes, I kept score). Now, I’ll give her credit for saying them correctly; she’s one up on the current President.) But I’d have been more impressed if she could have pointed them out on a map–one without the names of the countries listed. I’m sorry, but her lack of foreign policy experience is a credible issue to scrutinize her on if she’s going to be (god-forbid) our next VP. Despite what the McCain aides & Cindy McCain herself like to say, living in a state near Russia and being the head of the Alaska National Guard as governor does not equal foreign or national security policy experience. Hell, I have more foreign policy experience than she does. NO, seriously, I do. Back in my previous life, I interned here and here before going on to work here (and no, it was nothing like this!) and I even worked at one of these. Let’s see, I’ve also had a passport since 1995; visited more than 2 foreign countries in that time, even living in a few; and I live in a state near a foreign country (California-Mexico). Now, as for Palin. She’s only had a passport since 2007; has only been to 2 foreign countries (Germany & Kuwait); and she lives in a state near a foreign country (Alaska-Russia). Yeah, I’m still going to say I have more foreign policy experience than she does. Does that mean I’m more than qualified for the VP job? I joke about this, but if you want one issue I do pay close attention to in an election, it’s foreign policy experience. Now, while Obama’s experience has been criticized, I’m going to say even he has more. Before this whole election thing started, he’d already spent significant time in two foreign countries–Kenya and Indonesia–in his younger days. And I’m guessing he’s had a passport for more than a few years. And, Illinois is near Canada and Hawaii is near Japan, and those are foreign countries. So, that totally gives him more foreign policy experience than Palin.

Ok. That’s all I’ve got. Thank you for letting me vent. Feel free to share your thoughts, but only if their well thought out & well-informed.

I’ll now get back on topic.

I’m sorry, but I must digress.

Stop here if you don’t want to read a political rant from me. I’ll return to my normal benign posting tomorrow.

I’m pissed & insulted. John McCain announced his choice for VP today. Sarah Palin. This totally reeks of pandering!

Now, you should now, I am a Democrat and I was and still am a Hillary Clinton supporter. I have been incredibly reluctant about Barack Obama from the get-go. In fact, since she withdrew from the race in June, I have been trying to figure out what I would do with my vote. Even with the addition of Joe Biden as his running mate, I was still on the fence.

The reason I favored Clinton over Obama had much to do with the experience & foreign policy issues. If you remember back to 2000, one of the reasons our current President struck such a chord with voters was that he kept marketing himself as an outsider. Well, we’ve all seen how well that’s worked out. I wanted to see someone in office who was an insider, who knew how politics and government work and don’t work. It amazes me that the office of president and vice president are two of the few jobs that DON’T REQUIRE significant work/professional experience. Come on, if I want to be a respected doctor or lawyer, I think the people employing me and using my services would expect me to have an educational and professional background to warrant the position. So, I have no problem with the notion that Clinton was a “Washington insider.” All the better.

But I digress. What’s got me pissed off & insulted today is this notion that McCain adding a woman to his ticket will attract the disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters. I’m sorry, but I wasn’t supporting Clinton because she was a woman. I actually did care about her politics & her experience. I’m not that simple minded. And I hate this idea that there are people out there who think that. And, even though it hasn’t been said explicitly, I think the implication is there, that McCain choose Palin to appeal to women voters who were disappointed that Clinton would not be in the White House come January.

Seriously, do they think that me & my gender are that dumb! Yes, I would like to see a woman in the White House in my lifetime. But I figure I’ve got a good portion of my lifetime left. I’m willing to wait. I want the right woman in office–whether it be as president or vice president. And Sarah Palin is not it. Regardless of her politics–which I don’t agree with, her lack of experience is frightening. Yes, Obama has been criticized for his lack of experience–and I’ve been one of the people who has done so. But at least he’s been on the national stage in the Senate. He’s seen how DC works, even if his time there has been short. And, he has Biden who does have incredible experience to help him out if needed. But let’s be honest, there is a very real possibility of McCain kicking the bucket at some point in his presidency. Have you noticed how quickly & dramatically the Office of the presidency aged Bill Clinton & George W. Bush? It’s a stressful job. I kind of doubt that McCain has the physical (or mental) stamina to endure the job for four/eight years. Thus, Palin could very likely become president. For that reason, I seriously care about her experience and background. And a first-term, hockey-mom, former sports reporter, former beauty queen, governor of a back-water (sorry Alaska) state does not hack it for me when it comes to readiness for the job.

So, thank you John McCain for helping me decide what I’m going to do with my vote. You’ve now made the decision increadibly easy.

RANT OVER!