Saturday, August 23, 2008

Image & The Joe Biden Pick


Sure, Joe Biden brings a great deal to an Obama-Biden ticket. Biden brings all those years of working in D.C., extensive knowledge about foreign affairs, and a long record of working with respected colleagues and dreaded trolls from the dark side of the moon. But let’s face it, folks: Uncle Joe also brings his big mouth, which, at times, suffers from chronic, verbal diarrhea. Also Uncle Joe, as much as I like the guy and agree with the choice, brings some mess-ups from yore that will probably resurface for a cycle or two in the media smear machine.

The most important element, though, that Biden brings to the ticket involves image dynamics. The elder, grey-haired Biden helps to neutralize those skeptics (and thought-disordered folks) that think Senator Obama is too young or too inexperienced for the job. Moreover, the rather lively, you-talk-too-much-and-sometimes-you-never-shut-up Joe serves as an effective contrast to Senator McCain who frequently comes off as tired, as slow-moving, as tripping over his tele-prompted words, and, quite frankly, as old. And by no means do I mean disrespect to Senator McCain who has heroically served our country with distinction. This is why I suspect that the ever dapper, the ever sexy locks, porn-star-named Mitt Romney will do image justice to a McCain ticket.

The fact of the matter is that far too many Americans are NOT willing to educate themselves. They avoid learning policy differences, how to vote in their best interests, and what matters most to their futures and the future of their country. The medium is the massage, after all. Image dictates a lot more than meets the eye, and in this presidential race image might even matter more.

And The Winner of the Dem. Veepstakes Is...

Barack Obama has chosen Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate. They are set to appear today (Saturday Aug. 23) at 3 PM EDT at a rally in Springfield, Ill. where Obama began his campaign 19 months ago.


Friday, August 22, 2008

American Prayer

As those of us who have been glued to presidential primary news, especially blogs such as this one, Obama has had several music videos made endorsing his campaign.

Released this week is the latest and, in my opinion, the most moving one. It is a song featuring lyrics by Brit Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame). It features many other singers and actors, and also has clips of MLK, Jr's powerful and moving speeches.

The video is approximately five minutes long and is in black and white (there is no need to adjust your set). Click here to get to the link and watch the music video which also includes Stewart's reasoning behind the song and other tidbits.

P.S.: Before the McCain supporters start in again about how Obama is a celebrity, yada yada, etc. and so on, I do want to point out that at least Barack did not whore himself out like McCain did in this clip from the blockbuster Wedding Crashers. Either McCain doesn't know the meaning of the word celebrity or Alzheimer's has already set in on the ol' fella.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back in the USSR?

Growing up, I received advice from my father. You know, the usual what to do if I ever had mechanical problems on the long drive between my college town of Orono and home, how to throw pitches other than the the typical three thrown by most softball pitchers and how to read opposing batters, be respectful of elders, be polite, and other things.

One thing that I remember him talking about has come to the forefront in light of Russia's recent invasion of its neighbor Georgia. When I was in elementary school, the Cold War was still ablaze and my father, while not working directly for the government or a branch of the military, worked for General Dynamics/Electric Boat Division in Groton. Because of his job and his age (my dad is part of the "bomb shelter" generation), he was interested in and kept abreast of the political situations between our country and allies and the Soviets and their allies. During this time, our school routinely had "evacuation drills" in case of nuclear attack. (If you are not familiar with SE Connecticut, please note that within a 20-mile radius, there are two nuclear power plants, the largest submarine builder in the world (Electric Boat), Dow Chemical, Pfizer Pharmaceutical, a Coast Guard Academy, a US Navy submarine school, Sonalysts (they make state-of-the-art sonar equipment and many other things, and a Hess gas/oil storage facility to name a few important things.)

After one of these drills, I asked my dad about these drills. He rattled off the list above, we talked about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, weirdly, he quoted Nostradamus. This last item perplexed me as my dad, while educated, is a "man's man" and did not talk about things like predictions and "what may be", like horoscopes and fortune telling. He told me that Nostradamus basically predicted that our country's biggest enemy and problem would be "the bear from the north". Naturally, I am paraphrasing for brevity, but you get the picture.

This "prediction" has come up many times over the years and, most recently, came up this week as Russia invade and fired upon the country of Georgia and its people. My father and I watched a news update as we saw Georgia's capital taken hostage and its people and journalists fired upon by the Russian army. The "conflict" is over "finger-pointing" between the countries over who is responsible for the "ethnic cleansing" in South Ossetia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are taking a hard line with Georgia as Chimpy and Condi try to cater to them and get them to gently back down, without hurting the Russian government's feelings. Despite a cease-fire brokered by the European Union, Russia is still taking a hard line in Georgia at this writing.

Some people are shocked; my dad and I are not. Did everyone, including the White House, miss when Putin's presidential term was over that he basically picked his successor and then named himself prime minister? Ummm.... it has been a while since I have taken a Political Science class, but isn't that what people in a dictatorship do?

Russia still has a great deal of military fire power and, if need be, they could roll over its smaller neighbors and take control of more. Did everyone miss how the Russians are gobbling up rights to certain land areas in the north that are considered to hold untapped oil reserves? Did everyone miss when Medvedev publicly announced that "Georgia won't go unpunished" and called the Georgian government "morons"? I am not saying that I know the whole story, but the way the Russian are going about things smacks of "something ain't right here".

The signs of this Georgian takeover (or something like it) have been there for some time, and Bush has elected to, as usual, go on some "road trip" (in this case the Olympics) instead of doing his job. We need to ask Obama and McCain what they are going to do if elected. The problem in the former Soviet Union is not going away anytime soon and I feel safe saying that Bust won't take care of it either. In any case, Americans should arm themselves with the knowledge that is out there regarding this crisis and keep an eye on it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dem's VP's: The Elimination Game

Weekly Wednesday Presidential Politics - 8/20/08

On Monday, over at Presidential Politics for America, I used the Democratic Convention speaker schedule to eliminate all but three scheduled speakers (Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson) from VP contention. I then added one unscheduled speaker (Wesley Clark) to the list to come up with the final four VP candidates for the Democratic ticket.

A finalist that the media seems hell-bent on pushing is Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, so I should quickly address why he's not on this list. First, next Wednesday, when the Vice-Presidential nominee will formally accept the nomination, the convention will make foreign policy its theme. Tim Kaine has no experience in that area. It would be an awkward fit, and the DNC could easily have avoided this by making Tuesday about foreign policy and Wednesday about the economy or the environment, instead of vice versa. Another strike against Kaine's chances is Mark Warner, a fellow Virginian, being named as the Convention keynote speaker. It would be highly unorthodox for two Virginians to give the major speech on successive nights (which also eliminated Jim Webb, if he wasn't already eliminated in your mind for other reasons). Finally, Tim Kaine himself has said that he thinks he's been awarded the silver medal of the veepstakes. So there you have it.

This solidified my final four: Bayh, Biden, Clark, and Richardson.

So which of the Final Four will it be? As the speculation continues with the convention a week away, here's a quick look at the pros and cons of each:

Senator Evan Bayh (Indiana)
Pros: Centrist enough for moderate Republicans; Is popular among remaining disenfranchised Clinton supporters; Is a Democrat in a largely Republican state; Serves on Armed Services Committee;
Cons: Too centrist for Democrats?; The least gravitas of the Final Four; Would be spun as a great pick by the pundits, but otherwise won't cause a buzz among the average voter like the others.

Senator Joe Biden (Delaware)
Pros: The expert of the party on foreign policy and international; One of the biggest critics of an unpopular President; Compliments Obama's inexperience; Would perform very well in the VP debate; Has proven presidential aspirations.
Cons: Is vocal enough to turn off a lot of voters; Useless geographically; His selection could be perceived as Obama being too inexperienced, making Biden look like the chaperone of the ticket.

Former General Wesley Clark
Pros: Supreme Commander NATO Allied Forces from 1997-2000; Gravitas like Biden, but much more respected amongst Republicans; Highly decorated officer; Perfect attack dog on McCain for all things military; Assuages fears that Obama is too green.
Cons: No political experience; A beginning Democrat; Like Biden, his VP nomination might imply that Obama is inexperienced.

Governor Bill Richardson (New Mexico)
Pros: Wins over Latino's, crucial in New Mexico and Florida; Executive experience as governor; Helpful knowledge as former Secretary of Energy; Foreign policy experience as U.S. ambassador to the U.N; Congressional experience as former House member.
Cons: Had a stagnant presidential campaign; Lacks a presence in public forums; Unexpected support of Obama over former ally Clinton would look fishy if Richardson is appointed #2; Two minorities on the ticket is playing with fire.

However, shortly after I narrowed it down to four, there has been yet another development. Yesterday, Joe Biden plainly told a group of reporters that he wasn't "the guy." So the Final Four has become the Final Three: Bayh, Clark, and Richardson.

Who next to eliminate?

Well, as unfair and politically incorrect as it may be, it's highly unlikely that the Democrats, when the consensus is that this election is theirs for the taking, will nominate two minorities on the same ticket. A half-black and Latino running together would be an enormous roll of the dice. That eliminates Richardson.

And then there were two...

Senator Evan Bayh and former General Wesley Clark remain. However, the media doesn't even consider Clark a finalist. I don't consider myself media until I get a check in the mail for my work. However, believe it or not, the media has better sources than I do. If nothing is leaking about Clark being vetted, than it's probably not him.

That leaves one. The Democratic vice-presidential nominee will be Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.

Still, I can't help but wonder "Why not Clark?" Indeed, if I were kaing decisions for the Democrats, Wesley Clark would be my pick to round out the ticket. To see my reasoning, check out Presidential Politics for America tomorrow.

Until next week...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Seriously Flip' Floppin' on VP

Now I'm back to Wesley Clark. Honestly. For an explanation, check Presidential Politics for America on Monday, and don't forget to start checking Wednesdays on 1% More Conscious for Weekly Presidential Politics.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lord, I'm a Flip-Floppin' Man

The Democratic nominee for Vice-President will be Joe Biden. Or Evan Bayh. Or Wesley Clark. No, Joe Biden. Explanation to come on Monday, when Presidential Politics for America returns.

Also returning: for the first time since June 11, Weekly Presidential Politics on 1% More Conscious!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Gold?

Ever since I can remember, the Olympics have enthralled me. I cheered for Dorothy Hamil, Eric Heiden, Mark Spitz, the 1980 hockey team, Mary Lou Retton, Kerri Strug, and various others. I wept for Tai and Randy, Mary Decker, and all of the 1980 Olympians when the government boycotted the Moscow Olympics. Perhaps it was the competitive athlete in me or I was moved by the athletes’ emotions; the Olympics have never failed to move me.

This year is no different. Obviously, Michael Phleps is putting on a show at the pool as well as the men’s gymnastics team earning bronze without the powerhouse Hamm brothers. The Williams sisters are burning up the tennis court while our basketball and softball teams do the same in their venues. Even sports I never knew were sports thrill me (who knew that watching synchronized diving and kayaking were so exciting?).

However, the Olympics are filling me with other emotions this year. Since the announcement of the Beijing Games in 2001, I have been puzzled and perplexed the International Olympic Committee, which stands for camaraderie and, by its own credo, the promotion of ethics, would hold the Olympics here. The announcement came a mere three years after Tiananmen Square and when China was still the only threatening Communist country in the world. Then, I also realized that part of the Olympic spirit was to have faith. I thought that perhaps China would move toward a better treatment of its people in the way it was progressing into the 21st century in other areas. I tried to have faith.

However, this faith has given way to dread and anger. This spring, one of my students was excited to go back to her homeland of Tibet this summer with a visit to China and the Olympics, bringing one of her friends along. (She was lucky enough to have fled the Chinese-oppressed Tibet when she was younger.) However, her trip was not to be as she explained to me the difficulties of her getting into China, and the possibilities of what may happen.

The Chinese government made promises to the IOC that journalists from other countries would be able to work freely and they would be provided the tools to do so during the Games. These promised evaporated once the games were eminent. Limited internet access is the least of journalists’ problems as many of them, according to Voice of America, are being harassed and detained. Journalists that are trying to cover the “terrorist attacks” in the Xinjiang province against police have been beaten, detained, and had their work erased.

What about the opening ceremony "snafus"? The little girl that sang so beautifully was not the real singer. She lip-synced for the real singer whom the "powers that be" deemed too ugly to represent the country. The amazing "footprint fireworks" over the city were also found to be computer generated.

On the second day of the Olympics, U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon’s father-in-law and mother-in-law were stabbed. He father-in-law died from the attack while his mother-in-law’s condition is now stable and improving. Little coverage has come out about the attack and less has been said about what the Chinese police are doing to catch the murderer.

Protest parks, built for “approved” demonstrations, remain empty. Reports state that police detain anyone who has filed a petition for protest. Police put three Americans on a plane home after they peaceably demonstrated for a free Tibet.

Obviously, I could go on and on with this (and include a tirade how "Chimpy" is being an idiot for ogling the bikini-clad women’s volleyball players and moronically holding the American flag the wrong way) as the games are not over yet. My point is if the “civilized’ world is so “gung-ho” on correcting human rights violations, what the heck are we doing? What more proof do we need that China not only does not care about the common person, but they are using the Games to flex its muscle and influence? Our government once before boycotted the games held in a country that at the time was doing similar things. Did it hurt athletes? Yes, but people understood that human life and liberty are more important than a medal.

I do not condone war and violence. However, when are the “civilized” countries of the world going to stop being bullied and stand up for those who cannot do it for themselves? Or are the all-mighty buck and television ratings more important in the world today? Olympic spirit indeed.

Friday, August 08, 2008

"Not That There's Anything Wrong With That"

“Not That’s There’s Anything Wrong With That”

In trying to set the record…straight about his personal life, in an episode of Seinfeld Jerry insists to the interviewer that he’s not gay, “not that’s there anything wrong with that.”

I’ve found myself using “NTTAWWT” or a permutation of “NTTAWWT” many times recently when hearing reports from friends and co-workers about people they know and the…interesting sexual practices people have—“NTTAWWT.”

Honestly, I’m not a prude or trying to be a prude—“NTTAWWT.” Nor am I trying to be the morality police— we all know there is something “WWT.” So for my straight readers, my gay readers, and my gray readers, this entry isn’t so much about sexual orientation or identity as it is about why I’ve being saying “NTTAWWT” or something similar lately.

M., an IT guru, tells me that the company he works for requires him not so much to spy on workers and their computer use, but, more practically, to protect the system from viruses, harmful downloads, and potential problems from Internet traffic. M. reports that he has been witness to numerous extra-marital correspondence, sometimes hetero, sometimes homo—“NTTAWWT”; group sex solicitation and participation—there DEFINITELY IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS; and pay per view porn use on company computers, during company time—there IS TRULY SOMETHING SOOOOOOOOOOOOO WRONG [AND STUPID] WITH THAT.

CR, an educator I know, informs me that a police officer who works in the local schools is pretty open with the staff about how he and his wife “swing” with other people—of the same and opposite sex—there is something incredibly “WWT.” Another education friend of mine tells me one of her teacher colleagues was arrested for pleasuring himself in public and it’s pretty public about what he did…to himself—there’s MOST DEFINTIELY something “WWT.”

Now these are just a few among a ½ dozen "WWT" tales I’ve heard over the past couple of months. Look, what people want to do (and whom they do it with) in their private lives is their business, providing that things are consensual and harmless, of course. In my mind, there is totally nothing “WWT.” However, when people start Larry Craig—ing publicly all over the place there does seems to be something wrong with this low-level (or high level) pattern of exhibitionist behavior. Is it me, or there is something very, very “WWT?” Conscious minds want to know.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008



I haven’t been able to blog as much, play guitar, or pleasure read. Slowly but surely, my better half & I strive to interweave strands of our former selves into our newly adjusted routines that revolve around raising three beautiful and healthy children.

ATM is getting back into swimming, and I just learned a Concrete Blonde song. We hope to read more than just news snippets here and there—the less about the MSM’s summer ’08 stars, Brett Favre and Paris Hilton, the better. And once the three month old gets into a steady sleeping pattern, maybe we can escape for an adult night out—even if it’s to drive around the block a few times.

This adjustment period has indeed offered us learning opportunities, aside from getting adept at changing diapers in the sand at the beach—talk about a summer Olympic sport—or managing three at the grocery store amidst the hostile on-lookers who scowl as if to say: “the kiddy-tracked crowd is only allowed here very early in the morning or very late night—so f*ck off.”

The one major realization I’ve had is that it’s not easy to adjust. I would go so far as to say that in many cases our natural inclination is NOT TO adjust. Sadly, for many individuals it’s far easier to stay the same, to think the same way, to behave the same, or, in this political climate: to stay the course. That’s why I’m not at all surprised there isn’t more of a spread in the general election tracking polls between John McCain and Barack Obama.

It’s tragic that American society still grapples with all the same, recurring issues that require enormous adjustments to change things ever so slightly: the Iraq War, socio-economic inequality, poverty, racism, sexism, and homophobia. Certainly, it’s not so tragic, I’ve come to realize, to believe that some small adjustment can create some kind of change. The question is: how do those of us who can adjust help those who cannot...adjust to the idea of change? After all, changing a diaper in the sand at the beach isn’t so hard as it seems.