Monday, September 29, 2008

Two Hanging Loose Observations

It is easily noticed that those people who are extremely emotional about the people they love and adore, are just as extremely harsh and brutal in criticism about the people they detest or disagree with. Thus, when speaking about their children, spouses, relatives, and friends, no superlative is spared to flesh out the platitudes directed to them, painting them like they are supra-humans devoid of flaws and shortcomings. But in the same vein when directing their attention to those they do not like or disagree with, no venom vile enough is spared or left on the ground, like these beings are sub-humans, devoid of any traces of goodness in their entire beings.

Now, isn’t this quite incongruent? That super love or charity could co-exist in the same person as the detestable qualities of extreme hate and maybe even self-gnawing envy. How could two diametrically opposed extremes exist in one person?

In current day milieu, one can point to and make the apt comparison to the protest being held nightly in front of the house of the parents of Casey Anthony in Florida. Casey is the mom being interrogated for the loss of her little child. We are witnesses to these angry residents nightly staking places close to the parents’ house shouting obscenities, obviously showing grave concerns and sympathies for a child that continues to be missing all these weeks. Again, you have human beings expressing the commendable virtues of sympathy and compassion for a child not even theirs as possibly lost, but in the process of doing that acting horribly and detestably in their heated interaction with the parents of the accused. In a real way, nullifying whatever good will that may have been initially engendered by their expressed sympathies and concern for that little child.

Can’t figure this one out.

If Sarah Palin had been a lot less than she actually looks, would the negative press or negative criticism had been less than harsh and more tolerant?

Suppose Gov. Sarah had instead been after giving birth to 5 children possessed of distended curves and more rotund, and maybe perpetually covered up by those thick winter clothes that have formed our archetypal perception of an Eskimo, would she have been observed and assessed with more compassion?

This is truly one question I wish could have some honest answers.

On Taking Sides

What is the one distinctive quality that permeates the expression of our political partisanship?

Before tackling and actually trying to get an answer to that question, allow me to digress a bit.

Grocery shopping is one task, no, call that chore, that most of us have to go though on a very regular basis. We know the aisles are well stocked and come replete with similar items of different brands, and even items of one particular brand that individually differ somewhat one way or another, like this sardine is with olive oil and another one has corn oil. Being discriminating shoppers all, we tarry a bit, scrutinize minutely at times each item, reading labels and lists of contents, and then making our choice. We quietly make our choice, carefully pick the item chosen and just as carefully put it in our cart, leaving the rest of the items on the shelves unharmed, neatly arranged, and if these were delicate fruits, clean and untouched or not squeezed too much. The person or family behind does basically the same things.

And we all sigh in satisfaction and contentment, knowing our actions are well regarded and accepted by our peers or betters, or simply by the next shopper behind us.

And we basically do the same things with most of the choices we make in our daily living, in the clothes we buy and wear when we already have them, the schools we send our kids to, the friends we choose to have, etc.

Why then are we so different when we are choosing the politicians who will be serving us? We appear to suddenly morph into something horribly different, hurtful, and at times violent, maybe just verbally. In politics when we have already taken sides, or are dyed-in-the-wool partisans, it is the default order of the day to “demonize” the other side in order to promote our own side. To step on the heads of our opponents so the rest can see how better and taller our own candidate is. Why is that? Why do we need to bring the opponent down in order to raise the one that we have chosen? Why can’t we simply line them up together on equal and level footing, and argue our case based on what really counts for the position being aspired for? Like my candidate is taller and thus can reach the heights that the aspired position are required to reach. Or that my candidate is stronger and has more fortitude to take on the many challenges that the office will be faced with? And of course, that his slated programs and plan of action are much better than the other.

While we may publicly protest that we do have good regard for our opponents, our actions belie that, or we send our surrogates to do the dirty work for us keeping us ostensibly clean and blameless. But we know deep down that we have been tainted and dirtied. Still we continue to do our slanted ways every time.

I am reminded of a now dead politician from the old homeland, who many say personified the culture’s virtue of “delicadeza”. The literal translation of this Spanish term would be gentleness, tact, diplomacy, hyper-sensitivity, and even softness. But in the local context in that milieu it meant more and took on a more profound ethical characteristic.

But which for that honorable politician’s adamant and stubborn adherence to this virtue lost for him a presidency that was almost handed to him in a silver platter, given the prevailing circumstances then. And the irony of it all is that because he had delicadeza and lost his bid, it ushered in the most repressive and repugnant regime under a democracy in that part of the world.

Almost like poetic justice, but more like punishment for an entire country which allowed through its collective apathy the initial travesty that resulted in that politico’s undeserved loss.

Remember also that when we say that our candidate is better, that word is the comparative degree of good, not bad.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sarah Palin Swimsuit Competition - Miss Alaska

Like any viral video, this will scatter throughout the Internet firmament:

Pass it on!


Here's our Sarah on the talent part of the same competition:

File this under the same folder as Prez Bill Clinton on the sax. And Obama shooting hoops?

The Politics Of The Economic Crises

A 10-minute lesson on why we have this economic crisis that we have today:

This fast-paced video can be slowed down by clicking on the "pause" button when you want to view the text, chart, or graphic at your pace.

A good earnest way to spend 10 minutes productively. Definitely very partisan, but this is one explanation coming from one side and can be refuted if found to be erroneous or claims are half-truths, or even outright lies.

Altruism And the Economic Crises

But what is ironic is what was thrown into all this, causing this beleaguered system to collapse. The last straw ironically was what I call compassionate economics played by compassionate members of the government. In the 90's financial institutions were urged, but more like pressured, into lending practices that went against the grain of capitalism, lending to people who could not afford simply because they needed housing. During that time, the "bad" practice of "redlining" was thrown around Congress. This is the banks' idea of profiling, lending only to those who can afford and have the means. Since most of those hit by this were minorities, Congress put its foot down and went after banks that did this.

Did you know that illegal aliens were allowed and given mortgages,
and even had more lax standards to follow?

This was the birth of sub-prime mortgages, lending to those who
couldn't afford them. Of course, many in the upper classes also
availed of these. And why not? Remember no "redlining".

The sub-prime mess brought us the credit squeeze, and now the
collapse of the financial institutions.

So in effect, Christianity and its avowed altruistic pursuits also
had a role in all this. The noble virtue of compassion backfired.

Sarah Palin: Out Of Their League

Our major league players continue to condescend on the candidate that best typifies and represents us, that means, you and me.

Ms. Kathleen Parker dutifully admonishes Sarah to drop out of the race because pitifully she is out of her league and doing so will do her some personal good. She is so scared and uneasy, her shoulders are hunched when she sits down for a chat, chimed in Ms. Judith Warner. Even a young guy, Mr.Ezra Klein, joins the fray, and like many educated vocal guys, parses and trashes poor Sarah’s statements during her interview with Katie Couric. All these major league players, and more, cry out in unison - The GOP VP pick is a rube, quite uneasy with her betters in Washington and the august media.

And that’s because these people still do not get it.

Sarah represents us, you and me, and we can identify with her. So if she is not in their league, then she is in our league, and we, the electorate, are also involved in making the choices not just them. And guess what, we have the numbers.

We get ill at ease talking before large crowds and in front of millions of people on TV, and because of this and other unnerving pressures we sometimes have difficulties getting our ideas across. But we know that a little practice and more exposure will make us better. Our ideas are just as good as the rest of humanity, maybe even better in some respects. Look at the current crises. These were caused and made worse by members of their league, graduates of elite schools, smooth talkers but many action-challenged, loquacious and skillful, heaping-full of oratorical skills and argumentation nuances. But where did these gifted elite get us? Both in government and in our economic institutions?

We have problems with our speechifying and our diction, our syntax in our conversational dialogues may be a little awry, and probably because we did not get enough academic education in language or languages. But this does not mean our ideas are not there. And maybe if given the proper guidance and opportunity we can devise ways or improve our delivery in articulating them better. Maybe just as good as the betters of the other league.

That is why many of us identify also with the current president who the media has judged from the get-go as a bumbling oaf, unable to put many good sentences together, and quite uncomfortable emoting before crowds without prepared notes. But this precisely is why we gave our nod because we understand that he is just like any of us. And maybe this is better for us to have somebody who is not too comfortable talking before crowds, because maybe it will be easy for us to find out if he is speaking the truth or what he truly believes in. Maybe for us Obama is too smooth and too skillful that it becomes quite easy for him to spout lies or half-truths, or hide his personal beliefs, or whatever, without showing any discernible changes in his physical demeanor.

Sarah detractors will not miss any spotted opportunity to put her in a bad light. Miss Warner points to a “sag in her back” as a clear sign that Sarah must be scared out her wits sitting down with Henry Kissinger. I have little doubt that Sarah must have been ill at ease meeting and sitting for the first time with a personage like Kissinger. Who wouldn’t be? But to suggest that a hunched shoulder. . . Maybe Ms. Warner should have looked at earlier videos and pictures of Palin before arriving at that silly psychoanalysis or profiling. Because I myself, an early silly admirer of Sarah have noticed that hunched shoulder in earlier videos and pictures. Posture, Ms. Warner. Maybe Sarah was absent when proper posture was taught in class. Or maybe that is how she is genetically structured. And she did well in athletics using what nature gave her.

But looking at the pictures I have shown of the ladies involved, might not we also impishly delve into some pop analysis and surmise that there might be a tinge of envy involved here?


First, an explanation for the late reply. I had been quite preoccupied before I could attend to the comments to this entry, and the ensuing blog entry of Mr. Ezra Klein (Populism of Mediocrity) with its many comments. Couple that with the fact that I am not used to being confronted at any one time with so many issues raised from a few glaringly generalized statements made by me. So being that English is a second language for me, I took my sweet time to read and try to understand the statements made, hoping to arrive at the same perspectives that the authors had in making those statements. And I also had to spend a little time in crafting one reply that would sufficiently elaborate my statements and address those issues. Finally because one comment made reference to it, while I did go to a Jesuit school, it was one that is situated more than 7000 miles away in the old homeland. Fortunately, we did have American Jesuits teach us English and the Arts. So I can easily see why I cannot even begin to compare with the academic background of Ms. Parker if she did indeed come from a Jesuit background here in San Francisco.

Sorry for the delay.

Allow me to apologize to Ms. Palin for creating the misperception that because we unceremoniously lumped her as one of “us” that she is indeed like one of us in all respects. So perish that thought. In the first place, Ms. Palin’s record can speak for that. In her over a decade of public service, she has been, aside from the silly and inane labels of hockey mom and PTA member, a city councilor and a mayor for two terms (I think) in that same small town of Wasilla, an appointed official in her state-wide oil energy commission, and then finally a governor of her state of Alaska (though huge in geography but sparsely populated by under a million people). I understand Montana also has under a million residents. And oh, this she did doing public service, not really high on the list of preferred careers of many high-born families. And this she was able to do literally swimming against the current, such as going against entrenched partisans in her own party. And still almost miraculously, has been able to garner an approval rating of 80%, not only from a populace from whose number she has “ruffled many feathers” in pursuit of her high ideals, but this from a hardy people raised in a very rugged and inhospitable terrain. So humbly looking at the mirror, I have to have the grace to acknowledge and accept that Ms. Palin has shown the passion and the necessary skills to accomplish what she has done in public service. Though now we are seeing based on the several public appearances that she has made, that public speaking is not one of her forte. But rather than at this point completely counting her out, let the process of discovery continue so we can fairly try to discern what is in her core that will enable her to justify her public accomplishments, considered exemplary by many amidst not only those challenging factors mentioned but additionally, given her difficult personal family situation.

So public speaking and/or oratory are not among her strong suits, and the same has been said of the current president. And this is precisely where “we”, your ordinary folks, can identify not only with her but with Pres. Bush. Not in their origins, their educational background, their station in life, or such items as gender or physical attributes. And not in origins definitely for Pres. Bush who comes from a privileged background and went to those elite schools mentioned. And we can even throw in the assumption that he must at least be one of above average intelligence and predisposition having been able not only to enter those prestigious and challenging schools but also to finish the courses he had enrolled in. And thus the previous claim of affinity is more in the difficulties encountered due to maybe a limited vocabulary, lack of articulateness, or maybe because the manner of conversational speech is a bit pedestrian, and not as nuanced as say the many revered news/opinion purveyors in media, academia, and yes, even in the blogosphere.

For me elitism is rather a state of mind or an attitude. It is not a right/left issue either. So Mr. Obama could also be an elitist, regardless of his also humble origins. Many say that his statements about “certain angry Americans clinging to their guns and religion” could be a window revealing how he views the rest of America, especially those in the small cities and rural areas.

Furthermore, let me address the issue that purports to infer that “we” peddle in mediocrity and worship in its altar. Granted that there may be many of “us’ who are mediocre, and exhibit traits of being mediocre, but that is not necessarily something that is consciously felt, desired, and aspired for. Given our great numbers, there will be a sizeable and visible percentage of us who will be mediocre. After all that is why we have a population “bell curve” rather than a flat one. We do in great numbers aspire for excellence in the fields we find ourselves and in the fields who find open to opportunities for our higher aspirations. This is especially true to many of us in the immigrant communities, who came to this great country with determined minds and hearts to do better. So we do aspire to send our kids to elite schools, but with the strong parental admonition that they not forget their humble origins and not look down upon their own once they have acquired the extra knowledge and skills from their cherished schooling. So again, please perish the thought that we adore or subscribe to mediocrity as a choice.

One last caution with regard to how we evaluate and value the subjects of our criticism. Remember thousands upon thousands of words thrown into the wind would still be as light a weight as the air; but an ounce of sweat equity should definitely weigh more and thus valued more. Action is what determines the real value of a person.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Breaking News: John McCain Suspends Campaign

As I write FoxNews has just shown John McCain announcing that he is suspending his campaign starting tomorrow morning in order to get back to Washington and participate in the debates over the $700 billion bailout plan proposed by the administration.

With this bold move already publicly announced, we await the response from the Obama camp which had been alerted earlier and invited to join in.

The scheduled presidential debate this Friday is now up in the air.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who is Responsible for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Mess?

Indeed what is the short answer to the question - who is responsible for the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and consequently and subsequently, the giant brokerage firms' illiquid positions necessitating more bailouts?

This Fox News clip from YouTube gives a three-minute account. Is this the definitive irrefutable answer, easily understood by us laymen?

Here's another classic:

You be the judge!

Could There Be A Catholic Vote?


Cal Thomas ponders on this same issue in his article at Real Clear Politics, entitled Catholics & Abortion (Again).

As much as 23% declare themselves as Catholics, out of a total US population of 300 million. This translates to about 70 million Roman Catholics, owing loyalty and obeisance to the Pope and the Papacy seated in the State of the Vatican.

In a couple of states Catholics are the huge majorities like New Mexico (84%) and Rhode Island 63%). Massachusetts sits at 47% and the populous state of New York at 38%. But California with its over 35 million inhabitants, 34% declare themselves as Catholics. In numbers that would be about 12 million people. And other states like New Jersey, Vermont, etc., also boast of large considerable segments of Catholics.

With this huge bloc of devoted followers to a religion steeped in traditional practices and doctrines, can we say that there could be a Catholic voting bloc, given that many of the defining political issues partake of a religious or moral nature like abortion, just wages, stem cell research, and even lately the moral ramifications of the continued stay of illegal immigrants in the country?

Traditionally, the religious convictions of certain candidates for political office rightly or wrongly had always been given sufficient notice and evaluation by the pundits and the electorate, with certain religions, or the lack of it, being adjudged more politically viable than others. The less openly religious the candidate generally the better before the discerning eyes of the electorate. And in this slanted climate, the very traditional and at times archaic practices of Roman Catholicism had been more a disadvantage than anything else.

But the late JFK broke that stubborn religious ceiling by having himself elected as President while openly declaring that his allegiance to and practice of his religion would not in any way influence his governance of the country. He stands as still the one and only Catholic to become a US President. John Kerry came close, but no cigar. Currently many Catholics populate the congress and other appointive/elective offices, both federal and state. The SCOTUS has 5 members who are Catholic, out of a total of 9, thus constituting a majority.

In the current milieu, VP candidate Joe Biden is a Catholic. Sarah Palin was baptized Catholic as an infant, but changed religion as a teen in Alaska. The honorable Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is an avowed Catholic, I suppose in the grand Italian tradition.

In the past, Church authorities had been somewhat ambivalent in shepherding their faithful, most especially those in very visible public office, to the strict observance of their tight-fisted dogmas and doctrines. Thus, many Catholic politicians even on the national level could publicly contravene doctrine without much repercussion. Some may even say, could resist Catholic doctrine with impunity. Of particular contention has been the issue of abortion, which according to strict Catholic doctrine is legalized killing of human life.

But of late, certain interesting developments may bring out this issue more contentiously in the current campaign and may even draw deep and distinct, though under the surface, political lines, depending on how Catholics at present view their religion and its practice.

It was this Pope who as Cardinal finally laid down more unequivocally how Catholic politicians should regard their offices and their religion. It was this Pope who postulated that the public actions and policies of Catholic politicians should be congruent with their private religious beliefs. Should they espouse policies and programs that are incoherent with Church doctrine, the Church rules against them. Which may be interpreted to mean that if a politician cannot change his political choices, then he cannot continue to be a member of good standing in his church?

On the other side of the spectrum, with the weakened state of the Republican party, which traditionally has been pro-life or anti-abortion, the other party the Democratic, which has historically been represented as the vanguard of abortion rights, has of late become more publicly assertive about its stances on abortion, again openly defying those whose faith does not look kindly on those questioned practices. The party has wrested this golden opportunity to rally its people using the feminists’ clarion call of abortion and reproductive rights, or in the more nuanced pro-choice lingo, of women’s right of choice.

I foresee a clash between the two sides, though I cannot tell how it can develop sufficient legs given the very limited time frame between now and the November election.

This much we can deduce that the resurgence of the McCain campaign, who is himself a declared pro-choice candidate, can be attributed to the selection of Sarah Palin, his opposite on the abortion issue. With her in the ticket, the GOP is suddenly competitive. She is strictly anti-abortion, and as we have seen very traditionally so – like allowing the birth of her last son who had been early on diagnosed as suffering from Down syndrome; and allowing the continued pregnancy of his teenaged but still unmarried daughter. Her large family also helps solidify this qualification, a large family that is ever visible in her political sorties.

So we can then surmise that in the quiet of their solitude, whether at home or in the voting booth, earnest Catholics agonizing as they are with the difficult current choices of candidates, will also introduce in their inquiring minds the issue of abortion which clearly is against their Church’s teachings, emphatically brought to the fore by a Pope who has been unequivocal about it.

On the Democratic side you have a non-Catholic Christian Obama who is not only pro-choice but has taken positions considered more extreme compared with the mainstream of those espousing the same cause. Then you have Catholic Joe Biden who favors abortion and even through public pronouncements continues to deny or is unaware of the teaching of his Church on this issue.

On the Republican side, we have a John McCain, forever a maverick in his party taking the opposite stance on this issue. Then you have a Sarah Palin, once a Catholic but now a member of a Protestant denomination(s) but who is staunchly anti-abortion and presents unapologetically and unashamedly her large family as proof positive of her firm stance.

So where will the earnest Catholic vote stand, if indeed they could vote as a bloc?

Acknowledgment: Graphics from One Nation Under God site.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Palin Smear: Done By Pros?

Before getting to bed last night, had a quick last look at Memeorandum to try to spot any breaking news.

This fresh item was included on the right sidebar titled New Item Finder and showed that it had been posted 15 minutes ago.

It immediately piqued my curiosity so read this rather long expose way past my bedtime, Pacific Time.

I was completely stunned by the revelations, with videos and pictures, and had wanted at that very second, to start a little blog entry linking to the story.

Inertia got the better of me and decided instead to wait for the morn.

Lo and behold! When I woke up this morning the story had hit the ceiling. Other blogs were linking to the original story and/or adding their own insights. And expectedly like clockwork, sudden deletions of videos, accounts, and comments were noticed and noted, clearly actions of persons guilty as charged.

I recommend your visiting the linked sites to get updates on this developing story. Let us see how the MSM handles, or tries to ignore, this story.

Here's the smear video yanked out from YouTube by the party who originally uploaded it:

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Palin Does Florida!

On a solo flight, VP Candidate Palin goes to Florida and attracts a crowd of about 60,000.

Read the reports of two eyewitnesses, here, and here.

Acknowledgment: Picture taken from one of the above blogs. More pics available there.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pilin’ On Palin

For the second week in a row, the concerted efforts from the prominent sectors of media to pile on the candidacy of Sarah Palin continues not only unabated but rather intensified, all in the honorable and avowed purpose of “the public’s right” to know about its VP candidates. Though never in the almost 30 years that I have been in this country has such grating scrutiny been so deep and personal. I suspect that before all this is over, count the less than 50 days before the election, this young hapless candidate’s life will have been quartered and filleted to such minute detail that no stone will have been left unturned and not publicly revealed. The revelation of a tanning bed in her mansion is but a tiny sliver of the tip of the iceberg.

The print media, talk radio, both broadcast and cable TV, and the great cloud that is the blogosphere in the WorldWideWeb, all these have floor to ceiling coverage on Palin, majority of them negative, a good number downright malicious, and many it would appear uninhibitedly and without subtlety intended to smear, embarrass and dash that daring lady’s hopes to serve government. Without as much as providing a thin cover for what appears to be a bald-faced disdainful intent to skewer this unknown lady from rural Alaska because she dared to elevate herself as a candidate on the national stage. How dare she do that, came out wailing cries in their hearts from the mostly elitist segments of biased media. For they cannot countenance this bold challenge to their self-proclaimed roles as august gatekeepers of intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom in all things appertaining to politics, economics, civil rights, etc., and yes, even with regard to what hairdo or glasses are appropriate to wear.

Now a columnist from the once-venerable NYT has elevated this shamefaced condescension of her, with intellectual words like “ ultimate sources of wisdom”, “knowledge and experience,” And yes, including the moral intellectual virtue of “prudence”. Pontificating that prudence is acquired only through rigorous experience, and thus by extension, only older and seasoned politicians can govern properly, and definitely not this young upstart from rustic Alaska.

In the first place, the same could also be aptly said of the Democrats’ candidate for president, and maybe even more so. After all, the lady is running for he vice-presidency only. Okay, there is the possibility she gets to sit as president, but isn’t the Speaker of the highly unpopular House, in this instance Rep. Nancy Pelosi, also in line for succession to the presidency in case….? But enough of that.

But mention of the cardinal virtue of PRUDENCE raised my hackles because on the same day I also read a co-blogger’s support of Obama couched in the other cardinal virtues of TEMPERANCE and FORTITUDE. That Obama fares better in intellectual fortitude and emotional temperament. Thus, the only other cardinal virtue left unsaid was JUSTICE.

Now some words about these commendable moral virtues which have now ungainly entered the realm of political discourse.

I do not pretend to know what exactly Mr. Brooks meant when he used the term “prudent”, but I am going to assume it is a description of one who practices prudence.

Prudence is concerned with the right ways to do or perform man’s truly human acts, and those are what we call his free acts. Since free acts emanate from free will, then prudence is dependent on the goodness of the will. It is self-evident then that the ability to act prudently is not dependent on one’s life experiences. But on the will. No amount of experiences can straighten a man whose will is bent askew. One does need to acquire the virtue of prudence, but in other ways not necessarily from experiences. Let me not count the ways for there are many that the Lord has made available.

So who is to say that a younger, less experienced person like a Sarah Palin cannot be sufficiently prudent in the discharge of her duties? It is a bit arrogant to arrogate prudence to the exclusive realm of older and more “seasoned” individuals. Might not these persons be exposed more and thus more susceptible to the wily and corrupting allures while fraternizing and enjoying themselves in the corridors of power, fame, and fortune?

Now a word on FORTITUDE, which essentially is needed to strengthen the appetites or passions in man in pursuing “difficult” good. A man steeped in fortitude is one who has gone through the gauntlet of extreme human suffering and formidable challenges in his life. So which, candidate has any semblance of having gone through extreme physical challenges and still came out of it, fazed, broken, but unbowed?

A man with balanced emotional temperament juggles the virtue of TEMPERANCE in his pursuit of human perfection, trying to curb or rein in at times runaway irascible passions that tend to go awry and get the better of him. Again a man who has exercised inner emotional strength in his conduct with regard to his sense appetites which is naturally askew toward personal gratification and fulfillment.

In fine, if we are earnestly urging voters to judge candidates, or we ourselves judge them, based on these cardinal virtues, at least be aware of the size and markers of the measuring sticks that we are measuring them up or against.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Uh, oh. Ohio one of the battleground states.

Hope it's not in Franklin or Montgomery counties.

Where to put graphics

SiteMeter Issues

Many may not be aware that over this weekend SiteMeter “migrated” its databases and made changes on its services. During that downtime, it was inaccessible. But it is now back on-line.

But for those availing of its services, whether as a free or premium user, you will need to re-activate your account so your stats will be updated and its data-gathering can continue seamlessly. If you do not re-activate, your stats do not get re-activated. And the process also allows one to be familiarized with the new look of SiteMeter stats and reports.

Many of those who refer regularly to or confer with Sitemeter stats to monitor blog traffic may find the new reporting different and maybe, even difficult.

As a possible back-up or in tandem, one can also avail of another “free” service Extreme Tracking, some of whose reports are quite similar with the old SiteMeter report formats. And set-up and installation are as easy as SiteMeter.


Lo and behold, SiteMeter has brought back the old format, giving me now two counts, the old one for unique visits and the second one for page views. They did send a memo that because of the big howl against the new format, they would revert back.

Friday, September 12, 2008

IC Is 50 Years Old Today

Today is the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit invented by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments. Since its inception it has revolutionized so many of the old gadgets that we had used and the modern ones that we are using today.

Thinking about it today, immediately our attention turns to our computers sitting in our laps or desk; and recalling the past we think about those bulky and hot vacuum tubes that hid lit inside our radios and phonographs which were quickly replaced by the IC. Then we had the commercial explosion of the transistor radios.

But today try to look around your house and see, apart from your PCs, modern appliances, and digital watches, what consumer and/or business gadgets you still have that would be a throwback to an earlier period of IC use?

I looked around and found this, which to this day is still being used to do some simple math calculations such as addition and subtraction in reconciling bank statements:

An electronic calculator that fits snugly on a small desk and weighs only a pound or two. (TA ARBM 1121 PD, which came out about the late 70's)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Hindsight: The Palin VP Candidacy

(Getting to the finish line)

In the middle part of February of this year, some clear political lines had been drawn. McCain had inauspiciously and unexpectedly garnered the top post as the presumptive presidential candidate for the de-glamorized Republicans, quite disheveled and emaciated by the resurging marches of Democratic victories. In the 2006 election the Dems reaped its highest honors when they reclaimed control of both houses, while the Reps continued being battered, roundly criticized and blamed for the ensuing economic reverses and of course, the continuing Iraq War. And triumphantly riding on the crest of this huge Democratic wave were the candidacies of Hillary Clinton and the upstart Barrack Obama.

The inevitable dire forecast under all this was that surely the Democrats were going to win the coming presidential election, regardless who they eventually pick, since at that time the bitter contest of primaries and caucuses between the 2 main contenders was still full-blown. The only interesting prediction then was simply how badly the Republicans will be biting the dust or trailing behind in the election.

It was under this heavy cloud of pessimism and resignation that the possible VP candidacy of Gov. Sarah H. Palin was first broached and broadcasted in a couple of blogs. The prospects on the candidacy of McCain being not that optimistically sunny, the idea that some unknown but fresh face (and a pretty one at that) could help bring some needed energy to its lackluster future, was not that farfetched or considered too extreme. Why not? What could they lose that has not already been projected as lost anyway?

Anyway, for some unknown reason I decided to blog about Palin on her possible draft to the VP position. Some Googling allowed me to learn more about her and what I learned sparked some primal interest and excitement about her possibilities and capabilities to win. For some (not easily articulated reason) I found her to be a good pick, especially against the inevitable juggernaut that the Obama campaign was gathering, or had already gathered. The phenomenally successful campaign of another largely unknown and thin-resume candidate, known more for his charismatic oratorical skills and his very unique ethnic mix - white and African. An eclectic mix that attracted and electrified the largely apathetic electorate to his side – giving support and financial contributions.

If Obama could generate such excitement given his vaguely known background, why not for the likes of Palin whose personal experiences and circumstances could approximate that of Obama in ways conformable to the unique standards and platforms of their respective parties?

The last two weeks have laid out for us the realities that will bring us to the fall election. The Republicans are surging, and as not many will doubt, due primarily because of the inclusion of Palin in the ticket. They are now winning in the polls. The Dems are now on their heels, and even the super-cool Obama is showing kinks in his once invincible Teflon body armor.

So where is this heading? Any forecast? After all, I made several like casting my lot with McCain to win the ultimate prize, and Obama to get his party’s nod, and of course, Palin as the VP pick. Well, only that Democratic victory appears not inevitable anymore.

But the country is still very sharply divided along political ideological lines so there are still no clear projected winners. This will be a hot-contested race getting into the wire.

Gone are the days when Ronald Reagan lost only 2 states to Mondale in 1984, 4 states only to Carter in 1980. Or even when Ike in 1952 won 39 states out of 48.

This will be a sustainably interesting election.

I do have other issues I need to kick around before election day. As a voter, how do we assess the candidates taking into account their spouses? Does Michelle Obama, an African-American, honestly help Barack outside the African-American communities? What about Cindy McCain, given her very privileged background and her very laid-back demeanor making one wonder if she ever sweats at all? I do not know much about the current wife of Biden, but what about the Alaskan First Dude, who appears to be very apolitical?

(HS Long distance runner)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Lipstick On A Pig

The joke, but more an analogy, about lipstick on a pig or putting lipstick on a pig is an old one. And Google can vouch for this with its search results.

But what is interesting is that in the site Democratic Underground under its General Discussion area, there was a little exchange last September 3rd essentially about the Palin pit-bull/lipstick remark, with one participant claiming that Palin plagiarized the joke from a documentary titled Stumped.

The next participant then titles his comment with: lipstick on a pig is still a pig, with a brief comment: “just saying” and the commenter’s accompanying image on the right is that of Barack Obama.

DU being a very popular liberal site, did the Obama campaign go mining for good talking points or clever punchlines from one of its surrogates, to directly bring down the Palin remark?

Remember in the original context the joke or analogy (lipstick on a pig is still a pig) clearly referenced to the statement of Palin during the RNC convention.

You be the judge.

Tracy Went Bean Crazy

This past weekend for two days, Saturday and Sunday, a sizeable portion of the old downtown of Tracy was festively converted into one huge bazaar, carnival, cook-out, etc., for its annual dry bean festival.

Dubbed as the 22nd Annual Tracy Dry Bean Festival, it is Tracy’s prideful reply to similar festivals celebrated around the farming centers of this huge San Joaquin Valley. Stockton has its asparagus festival, Manteca its pumpkin, and famous Gilroy its garlic

Tracy residents could not helped but noticed and hopefully attended the festivities since they were given more than adequate exposure and promotion by the city’s newspaper, Tracy Press, which devoted an entire supplement to focus on the event.

Though I couldn’t find the time and effort to witness the festivities on the first day, I finally was able to gather myself up at almost 2 p.m. on Sunday and gingerly negotiate the almost one mile distance from the house to the downtown area. And let me tell you that the sweltering heat of that hot afternoon couldn’t shrink my newly-minted interest, or maybe just ticklish curiosity, to see what was cooking.

The blistering heat from the no-mercy sun definitely affected many of the goers, most of them slyly escaping to the shaded areas and under the trees. But it was easy to see that total attendance and interest were not dampened by this, even considering that this was already the afternoon of the second and last day of the festival. Most were dressed outdoorsy and I espied many of them either licking or eating bottled water or soda, ice cream, shaved ice, popsicles, anything that had coolness written on it.

I simply gave my feet and fancy freedom and control to roam wherever, through main Central Ave and down the side streets looking and observing the activities. With the many vendors and participants around, in my mind there was enough diversity of selection, activities, and assorted wares to tickle the fancies and interests of everybody attending that festival – from enticing cook-outs of many varieties, fancy motorbikes and odd-looking trail vehicles, carnival rides, to the usual T-shirts, and performances on the stages erected at strategic places in the venue.

With one hand dangling at one time and clicking the next, I had my little point and shoot ready to record what I saw and from the singular and limited prism of this one eye witness here are the scenes witnessed:

One side-street scene

Slide ride

Western movie set

Along Central Ave

Tracy Firehouse

Fireman bronze statue

Grand Theatre

Bank building

On stage..

.. and the audience


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pallin’ with Palin

In a relentless bullying march toward more campaign money, Obama thunders the following challenge in a rodeo-like fundraiser with each participant ante-ing above 30K dollars each to the pot:

"We're not going to be bullied, we're not going to be smeared, we're not going to be lied about,.."

Right. But as far as I can tell, I see a smallish self-avowed Alaskan hockey mom who is out there stumping against him. So now irritated by the pit bull in lipstick?

So you do not have to bother craning your necks searching all over the place, this site has collated all the rumors spread so far about Gov. Sarah Palin.

I am stealing (I hope I merit forgiveness) the complete list so you do not even have to click to the site above. So let’s all read this to the tune of “Getting To Know You” from the King and I:

Palin Rumors

1. Yes, she is Governor of Alaska. No, she’s not the Lieutenant Governor. No, she’s not currently Mayor of Wasilla. Yes, she was Mayor of Wasilla, some years ago.

2. Yes, as Governor of Alaska, she’s the Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard. And yes, her professional military subordinate is quite impressed with her in that role.

3. And yes, the New York Times says the job of Governor of Alaska is one of the harder, and more powerful, jobs in state government.

4. Yes, there are people in Alaska who think she’s too liberal.

5. Yes, she did giggle when someone called Lyda Green a “bitch.” Yes, it was the same Lyda Green who tried to force a scheduling conflict that would make Palin miss her son’s high school graduation. Yes, this would also be the Lyda Green who complained no one had asked her about Palin during the vetting process.

6. Yes, she did push for and approve the Wasilla Sports Center. Yes, it did cost a lot of money. (People keep saying $20 million, that article says $14.5 million, but then they also added a $1.2 million dollar food service/kitchen piece. This year, after Palin was out of office as Mayor.) Yes, the city went into debt to do it (how did you buy your house, bunkie?) and raised the city sales tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent to pay for it. Yes, the city is paying it off early.

7. Yes, she did want authority to have wolves culled from the air, because they were taking too many moose and caribou. Which people hunt for food in the back country in Alaska. No, she isn’t shooting them herself. I mean, not that she couldn’t, but I’m sure she doesn’t have time. (Thanks to bluemerlin in the comments.)

8. No, the Downs baby (Trig) isn’t Bristol’s kid, and no, the kid wasn’t born with Downs because (a) Palin flew on an airplane (b) went home to have the baby after an amniotic leak (c) because he was the result of incest between Todd Palin and Bristol.

9. No, Track (the kid who is leaving for Iraq) didn’t join the NG because he was a drug addict. He may have joined the NG because he was tired of people saying his Mom was getting him into the good hockey leagues. (Yes, that one was original reporting. I’ve got sources in Wasilla.)

10. No, Willow and Piper aren’t named for witches on TV. Among other things, Willow was born before Buffy came on TV, and Piper was born before Charmed.

11. Yes, Trig’s name may be misspelled. Isn’t it usually “Tryg” as in “Trygve”? In any case, I doubt he’s named for the Secretary General of the UN (1948-1952), either. But at least that was before he was born, unlike the others.(Thanks to Chris, via his blog

12. Yes, it appears that she has a Big Dipper tattooed on her ankle. She lost a bet.

13. No, she’s never been in any porn as far as anyone can find (and God knows I get enough google hits on those very topics.) I would think the Big Dipper tattoo would be a giveaway.

14. No, no one seems to be able to even find swimsuit pictures of her from her beauty queen days; God knows I looked. The bikini pictures that are around are photoshopped, just like the Vogue cover I have up.

15. No she wasn’t a member of the (wild-eyed libertarian) Alaska independence Party, although her husband once was

16. No, neither the (Canadian) National Post, nor Marc Armbinder at the Atlantic have troubled themselves to issue a correction. Yes, the New York Times did finally correct their story of September 1 — on September 5. This was after Elizabeth Bumiller was quoted by Howard Kurtz as saying she was “completely confident about the story.” Yes, that was after the New York Times’s source retracted the story. Yes, this should embarrass the Times, Bumiller, and Howard Kurtz. No, there have been no signs of embarrassment.

17. No, she was never a Pat Buchanan supporter; even when Buchanan claims she was, she was on the board of Steve Forbes’a campaign in Alaska.

18. No, she’s not anti-semitic. In fact, she has an Israeli flag in her office. (Contrary to popular belief, the usual Evangelical thinks Israel has a right to exist, granted by God.)

19. No, I don’t think she’s being “indoctrinated by Lieberman and AIPAC as we speak”; I don’t get the feeling that being indoctrinated is something that Palin does well.

20. Yes, it seems unlikely that she’s going to be in hiding for the next two weeks seeing as she’s been in rallies twice in the last two days. Or at least it’s going to be real rough, given that she has three media interviews scheduled today (6 September) alone.

21. Yes, it does appear that Palin’s local pastor preached about an end time when God will judge everyone, even Wasilla, Alaska, and the United States. Duh. This is called the Book of Revelations, and while I don’t believe it personally, I don’t see it as a disqualifier for the hundred million or so Baptists, Methodists, Evangelicals, Episcopalians, Catholics, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Lutherans (traditional and Missouri Synod), African Methodist, and so on Christians in the US.

22. Yes, I do sometimes wonder about the state of Andrew’s health.

23. No, she’s doesn’t believe that the Iraq War was directed by God. Yes, she did pray that proceeding with the war was God’s will: “they should pray ‘that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.’” (Ever hear the phrase “Not my will, but Thine, be done”?) Yes, this apparently freaks some people right out.

24. No, Buchanan doesn’t support her now; in fact he’s supporting Obama. (Buchanan did think her speech was amazing, but then so do 80 percent of the people who saw it.) Or maybe not. Buchanan sure doesn’t like McCain though.

25. Yes, she was apparently pregnant when she got married

26. No, so far there’s no confirmation she had an affair while she was married, and they’ve denied it pretty strongly. No, she wouldn’t be the first Christian woman who got a little on the side, if it were true.

27. No, she wasn’t named as a co-respondent in a divorce; there’s no evidence she had an affair with her husbands’ business partner. The partner tried to have his divorce records sealed because he was being harrassed by journalists who used them to get his phone number.

28. Yes, barring immaculate conception virgin birth (whatever), Bristol appears to have had sex with her fiancee. No, Bristol didn’t receive only “abstinence-only” sex ed.

29. Yes, I have it on reliable report that Sarah Levi’s mom has been heard screaming “Way to go Levi!” at her future son-in-law son. No, it doesn’t appear to have been when Bristol broke the news to her family.
Note: I originally understood this story to be about Sarah, not Levi’s mom, in the context of hockey games. As such, it’s shouldn’t be in a Sarah Palin Rumors story, but I like the story too much to delete it.

30. yes, her 17 year old daughter is pregnant; no, the baby’s father is not an eighth grader; no, having sex at 16 is not statutory rape in Alaska. And no, there’s no way that a 17 year old can be 5 months pregnant as a result of having sex before she was 16. Learn to count for God’s sakes.

31. yes, she did fire the public safety guy — but he said in the Anchorage paper that, for the record, she never, and no one else in her administration ever, tried to make him fire her ex-brother-in-law

32. and yes, the state trooper (her sister’s ex-husband) she was worried about did: tase her 10 year old nephew; drive his state patrol car while drinking or drunk; did threaten to “bring her down”; and did threaten to murder her father and sister if they dared to get an attorney to help with the divorce.

33. yes, the state trooper was suspended when he was put under a court protective order

34. no, the trooper wasn’t fired

35. yes, she did fire the Wasilla Chief of Police as Mayor; yes, it was because he was lying to the City Council.

36. Yes, she did try to cut her own salary as Mayor by $4000 a year; yes, she had voted against the $4000 a year raise while on the City Council.

37. No, she didn’t cut funding for unwed mothers; yes, she did increase it by “only” 354 percent instead of 454 percent, as part of a multi-year capital expenditures program. No, the Washington Post doesn’t appear to have corrected their story. Even after this was pointed out in the comments on the story.

38. No, she didn’t cut special needs student funding; yes, she did raise it by “only” 175 percent.

39. yes, she did try, clearly unsuccessfully, to get Bristol married off to her fiancee before the story came out

40. yes, she did ask the librarian if some books could be withdrawn because of being offensive; no, they couldn’t; yes she did threaten to fire the librarian a month later; no, that wasn’t over the books thing but instead over administrative issues; no, the librarian wasn’t fired either; yes, the librarian was a big supporter of one of her political opponents; yes, the librarian was also the girlfriend of the Chief of police mentioned above; no, this is not the first time in the history of civilization that someone has been threatened with being fired over a political dispute

41. No the list of books she wanted to ban that’s being passed around isn’t real; among other things, it includes a number of books published after her time in office there.

42. No, that hasn’t actually deterred people from claiming it really is true even if the list isn’t correct. For example:
“This list might not in fact reflect the books Sarah Palin wanted banned. As more than one person in Comments has pointed out, some of them were not published when Palin was in office. It is my hope that the mainstream media will not let this story drop and that at some point an actual list will surface. The very thought of having someone who once advocated book-banning possibly occupying one of the highest offices of our land fills me with profound dread. It should fill you with dread too.”

43. No, I don’t understand why a fake list is supposed to fill me with dread, either.

44. no, it wasn’t won’t be [bad tense, hasn't happened yet] a shotgun wedding; Bristol and Levi been engaged for a good while according to Levi’s mother. It was either an accident or just an unconventional order.

45. yes, she’s an was an Assembly of God Holy Roller. No, she doesn’t attend an AoG church now. Yes, she did leave the AoG because they were getting too weird for her.

46. No, she’s not anti-Mormon. No, not all AoG churches are anti-Mormon. (AoG is even more hard-core about allowing each pastor and congregation to make their own decisions than the Baptists are.) (Thanks to AnonAmom in the comments.)

47. No, she’s not from another planet. No, I haven’t actually heard that one yet, but you wait. Okay, I have now heard it.

48. yes, she apparently believes in some variant of Intelligent Design

49. no, she didn’t try to force the schools to teach it; she said if someone brought it up, it was an appropriate subject for debate.

50. No, she doesn’t believe in “abstinence only” education. Yes, she thinks abstinence is an effective way of preventing pregnancy. Duh. Yes, she believes kids should learn about condom use in schools.

51. Yes, she did smoke marijuana, when it was legal in Alaska. Yes, she apparently did inhale.

52. yes, she kills animals and eats them, and wears their skins

53. yes, she was a beauty contest contestant

54. yes, she was once a sportscaster

55. yes, she has a college degree in Journalism, but I won’t hold that against her, as she seems to have found honest work as well

56. yes, she sometimes wears her hair up; no that’s not a “beehive”

57. yes, her husband is Not A White Person (he’s a Yup’ik; an Eskimo but not an Inuit as my Inuit cousins have taken some pains to explain)

58. yes, she has on occasion, as Mayor, tried to get money from the federal government.

59. yes, she did finally turn down the money for the bridge. Yes, that meant changing her mind about it.

60. yes, she was vetted extensively, not just in three days — I’ve got links to press reports about people coming to Wassila on 29 May, and we had her on our Veepstakes at PJM from the first day we ran it.

61. yes, she want to a bunch of colleges before getting a degree. No, that’s not illegal. Yes, she seems to have made something of herself anyway.

62. no, they didn’t talk to a lot of the R’s power structure during the vetting; that probably has to do with the fact that she beat them in elections and sent a bunch of them to jail.

63. Yes, Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech was written by a speechwriter. Duh. No, none of Obama’s, McCain’s, nor Biden’s speeches were impromptu off the cuff things either.

64. Yes, she did put the Governors plane on eBay. No, that’s not how it was finally sold. Yes, McCain did say it wrong. Bad McCain.

65. No, Sarah Palin doesn’t have such control of Alaskans that people are afraid to say bad things about her. (What, are you nuts? Look at this list.) No, I don’t think it’s likely that she called Obama “Sambo”. (Good God, man, I’m ten years older than she and I barely remember “Little Black Sambo.”) Yes, it seems unlikely to me that she’s be real racist and marry a Yup’ik (or a part Yup’ik.) But yes, people are capable of amazing things. Yes, I’m sure there are people who don’t like her — I’ve talked with some myself. And no, I don’t think this waitress would have been thrilled to be called an “aboriginal”. And yes, if she called Hillary a “bitch”, I’m pretty confident is wasn’t the first time anyone in politics has said that.

66. No, she’s not a “global warming denier”, and when the crush dies down remind me to explain why the very phrasing “global warming denier” is anti-scientific, anti-intellectual, and a clear sign of a desire to impose your beliefs by coercion. But in the mean time, while I do believe that she has expressed some skepticism that warming is wholly human-caused, the existence of the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet and the Alaska Climate Change Strategy work demonstrate that she’s considering the problem and has brought together people more expert than she to advise her.

67. Yes, Todd Palin did have a DUI. Twenty-two years ago. Get a grip.

68. No, Sarah Palin’s brother isn’t in jail. No matter what the commenter at Anderson Cooper’s page says. (Thanks to Galynn in comments.)

69. Yes, Sarah Palin’s pastor apparently does believe that gays can “repent” and be cured of homosexuality. No, believe it or not, even fundamentalist Christians don’t have to believe every litle thing their pastor believes. Yes, Palin seems to be more libertarian about this.


70. Yes, contrary to press reports, Sarah Palin’s mother-in-law plans to vote for her and the R ticket (when interviewed on Inside Edition.)

71. No, the fact that some 17 year old was arrested for malicious mischief at the right time doesn’t mean Track Palin was. One of the actual perpetrators was interviewed by the New York Daily News, and he says unequivocally that Track wasn’t involved. The National Enquirer says “unnamed judicial sources” say otherwise. You pick which you believe.

72. No, she didn’t try to charge rape victims personally for rape kits. This is one of those complicated ones with a tiny hint of truth behind it. First, the Chief of Police in Wasilla (not Palin) did apparently have a policy of asking a victim’s health insurance to pay for the rape kit as part of the ER visit. This, it turns out, is policy in a number of states, including Missouri and North Carolina. Second, the way this became an issue was after the then-governor of Alaska signed a bill forbidding it; this law was signed before Palin was Governor and no one tried to reverse it while she was Governor. Third, what the CoP in Wasilla wanted to do was charge the perpetrator as part of restitution.

73. Yes, she did say that she figured if “under God” was good enough for the Founding Fathers, it was good enough for her. No, in context I don’t think that means she thinks the Founding Fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.

74. No, she didn’t violate operational security when she mentioned her son was to be mobilized for iraq on 11 September. That was an announced, public departure ceremony. The way this works is you’re mobilized, then go to a US base for conditioning and final training,and then actually go overseas.

75. Yes, she is apparently against an expansion of casino gambling in Alaska. No, she hasn’t tried to make home gambling illegal.

76. No, Palin didn’t institute a “windfall profits” tax on the oil companies. She modified the existing severance tax, which works more or less like a sales tax on resources taken out of the ground. (A windfall profit tax, of course, is based on profits.) Just by the way, how is it she’s both “in the pocket of the oil companies” and supposedly instituting a windfall profits tax anyway?

77. Yes, Todd Palin works for BP Oil. There is a rumor around that he was some kid of executive; it’s not true. He was originally a plant supervisor, and after the concern about conflict of interest, voluntarily was reduced to be a night shift plant operator, a regular technician job. In any case, he took leave from BP when Sarah became Governor, since she would be negotiating with BP, in order to remove the potential conflict of interests.

78. No, British Petroleum/BP wasn’t the sole sponsor of her inaugural. It was among 20-odd sponsors. In any case, they certainly didn’t get their money’s worth if they were trying to use the inaugural to buy influence; Palin’s renegotiation of the severance tax cost them a pile of money.

79. No, Palin didn’t eliminate or “void” the Alaskan WIC program as Newsweek claimed. Warren Throckmorton explored this in detail; the truth is that the WIC funding increased during Palin’s time in office; what was cut was a $15,840 separate line request for office supplies and literature. Based on his work, Newsweek was forced to issue a clarification.

80. No, Trig isn’t an alien either.

81. No, Sarah Palin doesn’t think that dinosaurs walked the earth with Adam and Eve 4000 years ago, In fact, this was a purposeful satire that comes from a post actually entitled Fake Governor Palin Quotes. This has, however, kept neither Matt Damon nor Maureen Dowd from propagating them as fact.

81. No, Palin never said she and Todd would kill as many as 40 caribou at a time. That was from the same damn collection of fake quotes. No does it make any sense: can you imagine field-dressing 40 caribou?

82. No, she did not cut the Special Olympics funding in a recent budget, except in the Washington sense of “didn’t increase it as much as someone wanted.” Warren Throckmorton shows is was actually a 10 percent increase over the previous year; voxitar in the comments gives a link to the previous year’s budget of $250,000.
These have gotten sort of silly, though: she has a line-item veto power, and every last one of the cuts she made can be spun, by a political opponent, to say that she is hurting something that sounds good. She cut a new fire station building; she must be against fire departments. She cut an audio system for a grade school; she must be against education.But then, if she cut nothing she wouldn’t be a fiscal conservative, would she?

83. Yes, she did bill the Alaska State Government for per diem on days when she was “home.” This is how it works: she is maintaining two households. The state law defines her official residence in Juneau as “home”, so when she’s up in Wasilla, she’s “traveling”. That’s the way the law is written, and it appears that she has documented and handled her expenses legally and appropriately, even if it seems odd. And yes, her expenses have been anywhere from a third to a fifth of the expenses of the previous Governor. The Washington Post suggests this calls into question her claim to be a fiscal conservative; personally, I think cutting expenses by 70 to 80 percent seems like a pretty good claim to the title.

Dr. Laura Takes Exception

Dr. Laura expresses disappointment with the selection of Sarah Palin as VP, but..:

I am extremely disappointed in the choice of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate of the Republican Party. I will still vote for Senator McCain, because I am very concerned about having a fundamental leftist, especially one who is a marvelous orator, as President.
As usual, Dr. Laura does not mince words and will not compromise principles the she has admirably shown and supported in her show that has been on air forever, in order to please her audience and fans.

However, I too take exception. And I find my justification from the very quote above from Dr. Laura.

Real solution to the real world. Because in a perfect world, Dr. Laura is undeniably spot on – critical motherhood comes first for a mother who has freely chosen to be one!

Before one can be a soldier or a martyr for a cause, a just and noble cause like for love of country, for honor, etc., one has to take care of one’s personal commitments and responsibilities. Though Christ did exult that he who looks back before following me is not fit to be my disciple. Or that if one has to take care of family business before following me better just stay home. Or words to that effect.

But for the same reason that Dr. Laura will still vote for McCain (which she does not particularly prefer, as implied) primarily because the gravity and urgency of the problem of the presidency – the possibility of “having a fundamental leftist, especially one who is a marvelous orator” urges and demands that extreme measures must be taken to preclude our fears becoming a reality.

And what would that extreme measure to assure election be? - Picking Romney? Lieberman? Pawlenty? Me? Prevailing wisdom would most probably shake its head.

But as we know now from the unexpectedly loud and overwhelming responses around the country, Palin was that extreme measure needed to give McCain can even, or maybe just a yeoman’s, chance to overhauling the considerable advances that Obama’s charismatic but substance-free candidacy have garnered.

So Dr. Laura, real solutions for the real world – for once.

Are we shunting aside the role model aspect inherent in this selection?

Personally, I believe her own compelling life experiences are more than sufficient to uphold and promote that idea of being our role model – because in many ways she is also like one of us! One who has outstandingly shown remarkable fortitude and balance in meeting and resolving her many challenges. Maybe challenges more daunting and numerous than the typical person. She has shown she can do it, honorably and responsibly.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sarah Palin Look-alikes

Now that this good-looking mother of five and governor of her state has been projected into the national scene because of her selection as the running mate of Sen. John McCain, all of a sudden it seems like the entire country is interested in getting to know her. The busybody partisans are doing so for their purely ulterior motives, but for many the curiosity is borne by a desire to know more about this physically attractive woman, over everything else that she represents whether politically or socially.

And one of the obvious questions we want answered is who does she look like or who does she remind us of, from the ones who are already known to most us?

When her selection was publicly made known, reflexively many said that she looks like Ms. Tina Fey, the noted comedian of Saturday Night Live. Now, who does not watch SNL? Anyway, here’s why they thought so, juxtaposed:

And Ms. Tina Fey with glasses and hair down.

Then one source said that she looks a lot like the Overstock.Com spokesmodel (Ms.Sabine Ehrenfeld ) who we have seen in those commercials on TV, all dressed in white. The resemblance is uncanny:

For me personally, when I first caught sight of her pictures way back in February, she reminded me of a then quite unknown movie star of the 60’s named Christina Ferrare. She was at one point married to disgraced carmaker John DeLorean. She was a fashion model first before trying the movies. Then moved to TV. We understand she now designs jewelry. They both look like they are natural brunettes? Judge for yourself:

Miss Ferrare in one of her 60's movies


Forget about Tina Fey as a Palin impersonator. Here's a much better one - one who actually starred in a TV series filmed most likely in Alaska - Northern Exposure:

Janine Turner


But the hands-down winner is Cindy Michaels, a WVII ABC-7 and WFVX Fox 22 television anchor, in Bangor, Maine.

The next question to ask given the very uncanny similarities is which one is the original?