How long until the next election?

Politically, I'm independent. I will, occasionally, find a politician from either party that I actually want to vote for.  The rest of the time, I choose the least unacceptable of the two options, or, all too often, I hold my nose and vote.  

The last few months, I have to hold my nose to read the paper.  I've been following politics since I was in junior high school back in the 1970's.  The current crop of NC Republican state legislators is... how to put it politely... crazy?  whacko?  totally off the map?  

I really am independent.  I'll read something thoughtful and well-written from either side.  I may not agree with it, but even an essay I don't agree with can start me thinking or help me to clarify my opposing view.  

This time, I can't even understand where these legislators are coming from, and how they have found so many who can vote for irrelevant or irrational bills (here's the list in the Charlotte Observer which prompted this post).

For instance, from what I've read in the papers, the Republicans haven't even tried to come up with a public justification for keeping college students from voting.  The proposed law says that, if college students register to vote at college, their parents can no longer claim them as dependents on their state income tax.



They've provided no reasoning behind the bill.

Of course, I'm sure the underlying reason is to make it more difficult for college students, who are usually more liberal, to vote.  However, even going by Republican partisan politics, this is a stupid move.  They're not only giving the Republican party an even worse reputation among those students, they're angering their parents who could be Democrats or Republicans - or really irritated independents.  

When daughter and older son were both little, back in the mid-1990's, our small voting location in eastern Durham, NC was on the national news.  It was a major election, and we only had one working voting machine.  The lines went on for hours, and they closed the voting late at night to give everyone a chance to vote.  I stood in line with two small children for hours because I've always considered thoughtful voting to be extremely important.  Now, they want to make that more difficult for my kids when they're finally old enough to vote?

A prominent NC Republican is quoted in the article explaining the changes:  "What they’re trying to do is help us rebuild the state’s economy. They feel they have a very limited amount of time to make the kind of reforms they want to make and put them in place before they get picked apart."

The Republicans keep mentioning the economy, but so many of the changes don't have any economic value.  Here are some quoted from the article [Sarcastic comments in brackets are mine.]:

  • Marriage: Couples would have to wait two years rather than one to divorce. They would have to take courses on communications skills and conflict resolution and – if they have children – courses on the impact of divorce on children.  [Economics?  No. Busybody-ness.]
  • Helmets: Anyone 18 years or older could ride a motorcycle without a helmet if the driver meets certain requirements, including having had a motorcycle license for more than a year.  [Why is this necessary?]
  • Charter schools: Teachers would not have to have a college degree to teach core subjects. Criminal background checks and teacher certification would be optional.  [Churches do background checks for Sunday School teachers who only teach for an hour a week, but teachers who are responsible for children for a large part of the week don't need to be checked.  Why?]
  • Teacher tenure: Tenure in public schools would be replaced with contracts for one, two, three or four years. [The state is not going to retain the best teachers by taking away job protections and reducing salaries.  That is basic economic logic.]
  • Indecent exposure: Women could be sent to prison for going topless in public in legislation to amend the state’s indecent exposure law by including "the nipple, or any portion of the areola, or the female breast" in the definition of "private parts."  [Because NC is overrun with rampaging female breasts.][Really - if NC was overrun in that way, wouldn't it help the economy?!]
  • School bus speed: School buses could go as fast as 55 mph. Under current law, 45 mph is the top legal speed for buses with children aboard, and 55 mph for school activity buses. Rep. Mark Brody, R-Union, says slow buses are “a hazard.”  [Only if the other drivers are bad drivers who shouldn't be on the road.] 

I could make this blog post really long and look for more examples (they're not difficult to find), but I'll try to keep it short(er).  The Democrats, the last time they were in power in NC, passed a number of bills that I thought were more controversial than they had support for.  I don't remember which bills in particular, but I remembered saying that, if they kept doing this, there would be a backlash.

There is, and it's a bad one.  I'm amazed at how many stupid bills the Republicans have come up with this time around.  

The Republicans may get some short-term gain from their politics and policies, but they're not looking to the long term.  They're alienating numerous groups and making themselves look intolerable to the upcoming generations.  Younger son just started really paying attention to politics in the last few years, and he has no respect for the current Republican politicians.

The greatest danger in the short term, however, is that independent voters, like myself, who used to vote for Republicans some of the time, will not only stop voting for them (I didn't find any worth voting for last November (and I tried!) so I voted straight ticket Democrat for the first time ever), but will actively work against the Republicans, which I plan to do at the next election.  


Link Snack: November 26, 2010

Daughter's here; the days are full.

Here are some interesting links I've found recently:

  • Scouting New York* is one of my favorite architecture blogs.  It's written by a Film Location Scout in NYC about unique and interesting buildings.  The Abandoned Palace at 5 Beekman Street is about a beautiful building that hasn't been used since the 1940's.  It has a nine story atrium with a huge skylight, wrought iron work, towers, etc.  It's gradually being restored.  The photos are fascinating!

Partisan tensions on Capitol Hill are delaying efforts to fix an error in the federal health care law that could cost Children’s Hospital Boston and others like it millions of dollars in added drug costs...

The error was a simple and unintentional omission in the final, frenetic days of drafting the landmark legislation and reconciling House and Senate versions. Con gressional staff intended to allow children’s hospitals continued access to the portion of a federal program that offers below-market prices on 347 specific medicines for rare, life-threatening conditions. But that language was accidentally altered...


*  I've added both blogs to the blog roll.

National UnFriend Day

Apparently, someone named Jimmy Kimmel ('scuse me while I go Google) has decided that today should be National Unfriend Day

Ah... apparently he is a comedian and TV personality.  That's why I don't know him.  If he doesn't Think He Can Dance, isn't a Gleek, or hasn't appeared on a David Kelley show or an incarnation of Star Trek, I wouldn't know him.  Except for Steven Colbert, whom I actually only know through internet videos.

Anyway, Unfriend day has to do with Facebook, and it's supposed to "protect the sacred nature of friendship by cutting out any "friend fat" on their pages occupied by people who are not truly their friends."


Okay, you could relable Facebook friends as "acquaintances and friends" but that just doesn't flow as well.  Are all my Facebook friends people I would tell my deepest secrets to?  I'm an INFJ.  We're very private so, for me, you can count those people on one hand.  Are my Facebook friends people I enjoy and like reading things about?  Yes. 

Does it have to get more complicated than that?

Time magazines' Newsfeed today has 10 reasons to unfriend someone on Facebook.  Here are their reasons and my responses:

  1. They're your parents:  Okay, if you're the sort of person who likes to post Facebook photos of themselves fall down, vomiting drunk, you may not want to have your parents see them.  Really, though, do all the rest of your friends want to see that?!  I have Facebook friends of varying ages, political views, and senses of humor.  Not everything I would like to post is suitable for all of them.  I have different lists that I don't send various updates to - people who wouldn't appreciate a political view, a slightly bawdy joke, or just things I don't send to other people's teenagers. 
  2. They're your ex:  Dear husband was the first guy I dated so this one is irrelevant.  
  3. You don't know them:  I'm very conservative about "friending" people so this doesn't happen to me.
  4. You would never say hi to them in real life:  I'm polite.  I would say hi.
  5. They invite you to a million events:  If they're personal events - performances, etc., I'd be interested to hear about them even if I can't go.  Other things - it's not a problem to ignore the events.
  6. They are in Loooovvvve:  A few of my Facebook friends have found love while on Facebook.  I'm happy for them. 
  7. They bring you down:  Oh, and there's something wrong with trying to empathize, or cheer someone up, or just listen?!  Everyone goes through bad spots.  It doesn't mean you have to disappear from the world so that you don't bother anyone.
  8. They send you dozens of quizzes and game invites:  You can turn off the game invites.  I got addicted to a few Facebook games when I first got on, then I decided I didn't want to spend my time that way.  And I enjoy a number of the quizzes...  let's see, in my recent quizzes:  I'm Molly Weasley (Which member of Order of the Phoenix?), I'm similar to five of my Facebook friends (possibly for three, not so likely for two), I'm Tim the Enchanter (Which Holy Grail character?), I am fierce and protective (Which warning sign should you come with?), and I'm Luna Lovegood (Obscure Harry Potter character?).  However, I could have well done without the nagging to go vote.  Even though I always vote, I was tempted not to this year because I was so sick of hearing about it.
  9. You've already hidden them from your newsfeed:   I haven't done that with anyone.
  10. You don't want them privy to your social media life (co-workers, teachers, etc):  I wouldn't friend them in the first place!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go see if I've read more than 6 of these books (BBC related book meme).

What we need to believe

IMG_1303s [A long and winding post bringing together various things drifting around in my head the last few weeks.  If you make it through, you'll probably wish I would go back to my S side!]


Breakfast with Pandora's recent post, A would-be myth , reminds me of a blog post that I didn't have a chance to write a few weeks ago.  BwP writes:

…As long as people believe in a loving God, they will never be able to explain the presence of suffering in the world. The situation can be discussed, but it's pretty incomprehensible.

But there are people who try to explain. Such as the TV preacher Pat Robertson, who argues here that the reason the Haitians suffer so much is because they "swore a pact with the devil" and as a result are "cursed."

It's a great story pattern. Sell your soul to the devil, reap the consequences. This is so widespread, it even has its own number in the famous folk tale story-pattern catalog by Aarne and Thompson.

It has been very popular for a long time to claim that suffering is a punishment meted out for sins, often of one's ancestors: "The sour grapes eaten by the fathers set the sons' teeth on edge." Countless cultures swear by it. It is even somewhat logical: if you engage in dangerous and/or destructive behavior, there can be consequences, not only for yourself but for those near you, even your family.

But just because something happens to you doesn't mean you caused it because you or someone else sinned...

BwP does his usual excellent job describing and analyzing the stories we tell ourselves.  But, why do we need these particular ones?

I really should never read the comment sections under news articles.  They often make me mad, and they almost never provide any interesting insights (I still keep hoping, though…).  Locally, there were two recent terrible car/train accidents that have been prominent in the news.  In the comment sections, along with comments expressing sympathy, there are also always harshly judgmental comments about the drivers.  The commenters, of course, say that they would never drive that way and that the drivers are solely to blame. 

True or not, regardless of blame, these comments always make me angry because they show no empathy – no care for the suffering of a fellow person.  Now, I only read the article about Pat Robertson’s comment because I didn’t have the stomach to watch the video where he made it.  He may have shown empathy also in his TV appearance; I don’t know.  However, I can’t picture blaming an earthquake on people, and I certainly can’t picture having so little care for others so as to say that anywhere, much less on national television. 

I went a step further than anger while thinking about the commenters on the train accidents.  Why do these people always crawl out of the woodwork when these things happen?  Why do they have the need to judge and condemn?

I think that it’s at least partly so that they can convince themselves that it won’t happen to them.  They can’t really feel empathy – put themselves in someone else’s place* - because that would make them vulnerable.  If they just believe that they do everything right, they can be confident that things will turn out the right way.**

We all do this in various ways, though, hopefully, not so harshly.  Get the right degree, get the right job, eat the right foods, get the right amount of sleep, etc. etc., and you’ll be fine. 

This belief is quite apparent in raising children.  If we do everything correctly, they’ll turn out okay.  If we come up with just the right birthing plan… if we nurse long enough… if we co-sleep... put them in their own rooms... wear a sling... dine totally organically... put them in the right schools… enroll them in the right after school activities… get them into the right college… they’ll turn out right. 

I did everything I should have when I was pregnant with younger son – exercised (taught aerobics until 7 months), ate correctly, focused on what the doctors told me to do, etc.  Early in the morning of January 10, 1999, we had a group of concerned physicians and nurses huddled around our blue newborn who had an apgar score of 3 (on a scale of 10 for those of you unfamiliar with this system of evaluating newborns) after the emergency c-section.  Apparently, the one thing I did that was wrong was having people with strong habits in his genetic background.  In utero, he turned the same way – over and over.  His umbilical cord was not only twisted up like an old fashioned phone cord, it was also wrapped around his ankle.  Every time I had a contraction, pushing him further, the cord would tighten, and his heart rate would plummet. 

It still gets me – how I tried to do everything right, and something so bizarre happened.  Everything turned out fine, and his apgar score eventually made it to 8.  He’s a healthy eleven year old now.*** 

We have to believe we have more control than we do.  It’s almost impossible to function otherwise.  After my father passed away, I was very aware of the fragility of life.  Though a car accident was not the cause, I found that I could barely make myself buckle my two small children in the car and drive away from the house because I was so aware of the possibility of not coming back.  Eventually, I got past that – you have to.

We watched Amelie recently – an absolutely enchanting film with a very unusual main character.  At one point, she’s waiting to meet someone, and he’s late.  Her reaction is described by the narrator:  

Nino is late. Amelie can only see two explanations. 1 - he didn't get the photo. 2 - before he could assemble it, a gang of bank robbers took him hostage. The cops gave chase. They got away... but he caused a crash. When he came to, he'd lost his memory. An ex-con picked him up, mistook him for a fugitive, and shipped him to Istanbul. There he met some Afghan raiders who too him to steal some Russian warheads. But their truck hit a mine in Tajikistan. He survived, took to the hills, and became a Mujaheddin. Amelie refuses to get upset for a guy who'll eat borscht all his life in a hat like a tea cozy.

It was so good for me to see her conclude this train of thought with something funny because that type of thought (though not the creativity of the story) is quite familiar to me.  As we were discussing the movie, I mentioned this to dear husband, older son, and daughter, and they just looked questioningly at me.  I said that that’s why I like for them to call if they’re going to be late – otherwise my brain can come up with long, involved stories, often ending with their van, upside down in a ditch, with the rain pouring over a slowly turning car wheel lit by the pale moonlight (which doesn't go with the pouring rain, but I didn't say that any of this made sense).  When they realized that that’s what I do naturally (in fact, I have to keep myself busy and work at not letting my thoughts drift that way),**** they said they’d be even more careful about calling. 

BwP started by explaining the common stories we tell ourselves to make sense of tragedies.  That’s perfectly natural, in a way.  People always try to make sense of the world around them.  We also want to believe that it won’t happen to us.  If we can just pin the tragedy on someone’s behavior, then we can escape tragedy by behaving the right way.  It’s a lot easier to pin blame with a car accident or homelessness than it is with an earthquake.  That’s partly why the news article commenters don’t get well known while Pat Robertson’s horrible remark ends up all over the news.***** 

Oh, and I have plenty of these sorts of beliefs (i.e. if you do this, everything will be okay), though I don’t really have enough.  Without those beliefs, you worry and stress too much, which is bad for your health.  My physical therapist comments on how difficult it is to get me to make my muscles relax…

*  Not that empathy helps any in this case.  Having the imagination to, somewhat, picture what it was like being the driver doesn’t do me or anyone else any good. 

 **  I won’t make this post longer than it already is, but I was struck by the same thing regarding an article years ago in the Independent about the homeless (obviously this article really stayed in my mind).  No, these men didn't do everything right, but they tried (to various degrees).  It’s so much easier to believe that the homeless are totally unlike oneself, and that one could never be in that situation – until you read articles about how their lives played out.

*** Though younger son's health has been quirky.  He had febrile seizures.  Our doctor told me they always damaged the brain (wrong).  A few weeks later, our new pediatrician said that kids just get them, and they get over them by about 6 years.  Younger son got sick very easily his first four years.  He’s the only child of ours who has ridden in an ambulance (asthma attack a year ago), the only child who had a reaction to a vaccine (rash and an extremely high fever from the first MMR), and the only one to get the flu (after sleeping for a week with a fever, Mr. Hates-shots now enthusiastically gets his flu vaccinations).  I’m far more thankful for good health now. 

 **** The first time older son went on a drive by himself with his new driver's license, I cleaned out the freezer to keep myself busy and to keep my thoughts from.  Last summer, when daughter drove solo for the first time, I did some intense blog organization.  Everyone is more aware of fragility when their teen drives alone for the first time.  All of a sudden, Nemo’s father looks more familiar and less neurotic.

***** The rest of the reason is that someone has long outstayed his fifteen minutes of fame.

[Totally irrelevant photo of the view from Rough Ridge on Grandfather Mountain (last October)]


New links

I recently realized that I haven't done anything with my sidebar in a while.  Some of the links aren't active anymore, some need rearranging, and I've been wanting to add new ones for a while:

New links:

  • Phoenix Berries:  Episcopalian Faith, motherhood, and an adorable toddler.
  • That's Why:  I can tell I haven't updated my blog list in a very long time.  I've been reading Lisa's blog for years - Life, politics, feminism, and great photos.
  • Popdose:  Music, movies, TV, books, etc.

More to come (hopefully, if I get back to this).

Rearranging:  I've put links to dear husband's blog, Color Sweet Tooth, and older son's blog, Hamjamser, at the top with the links to my/our other blogs.

I wish she would go away already;...

...she's certainly had more than her 15 minutes of fame.  I wouldn't even do an opinionated blog post on her if I had the energy to write anything else.*

The Daily Dish is one of my daily reads.  They've got interesting posts and links about political and cultural matters, plus features such as the Mental Health Break, and View From Your Window.  Usually, however, if they have more than two articles on Sarah Palin, I go on to another blog.  Today, however, I thought I'd count the Palin posts.  It's one of the Dish's more obsessive days.  Out of 45 posts (by 10:15 pm), 16 are about Sarah Palin - one third of their posts.

I know she's on a book tour, but still, she's not that interesting.

If I had stuck to my usual, close-The-Daily-Dish-at-the-second-Sarah-Palin-post policy, I would have missed the posts on smuggling sheep through tunnels to the Gaza strip, what if we fail in Afghanistan, the biology of smell, and jihadists who recanted.  However, most days I don't have the patience to wade past the Palin posts. 

*  All the pansies and snapdragons are planted except for the ones that will go on the pots in the deck.  I can plant those while sitting in a chair after my surgery. I spent most of the daylight doing yardwork, except for a few hours this morning when younger son and I went to take pictures at Duke Gardens.  He's turning into quite the shutterbug too.  A good day, but I was ready to go to sleep two hours ago (as an insomniac, I couldn't.  If I go to sleep before about midnight, I wake around 1 or 2 am, my body considers that I've had a good nap, and I'm up for hours.). 

Is it twenty years already?

StOlafTallinn When I was little, back in the 60's, we would have an International Day at our school.  We would each bring in something from our background - food, clothing, a knick knack - and we'd tell the class where our ancestors came from.   Since I'm half Estonian and half Finnish, inevitably, the teacher would ask me where Estonia is.  "It's a small country, south of Finland, which gained its independence from Russia during World War I, and lost it to the Soviet Union in World War II."  I got used to explaining.  Actually, I was lucky if the teacher knew where Finland was.  We never went too far past that since most people have some idea about Sweden.

[The photo is of St. Olaf's church in Talinn, Estonia.  It's from Claudio Ar's Flickr Photostream: / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]

The other kids had easier backgrounds:  Italian, German, even Swedish went over better.  I've always loved stories about immigration: why people decided to come, where they went in the U.S. and why, how their families eventually blended in, etc.  How did their families' stories compare to mine? 

I'm not going to tell you my family's stories because they're not mine to tell, as fascinating as I've always found them.  However, I'll give you an idea of the circumstances.  As a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the Soviet Union annexed Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia in 1939.  Up to 60,000 Estonians, including most of the government and the military leadership, were deported to Siberia or Kazakhstan.  You didn't have to be that high up, however.   A college education could condemn you - maybe not at first, but eventually.  There's far less risk of rebellion or resistance when one takes out those trained to be leaders and managers.  If you lasted through the initial conquest, after a few years you got a new set of rulers as Nazi Germany headed through the Baltic countries on its way to Stalingrad.  If you were still around, as Nazi Germany withdrew and the Soviet Union advanced, you knew that your days were numbered. 

If you escaped, then it was on to the questions I mentioned earlier:  where to go and how to become a part of your new society.

The Finnish side of my family was already in the U.S. a few decades before World War II.  However, learning about the Winter War with the Soviet Union, in which Finland had to fight to keep their independence, combined with the Estonian history to give me more of a sense of the Soviet Union's grip on Eastern Europe than most kids my age had.  When I was a teenager, I read more on my own, including most of Solzhenitsyn's work and, one of the most hopeless books I've ever read, Graves without Crosses.  I avidly followed the news about the interactions of the Soviet Union and the West.

Then, 20 years ago, the Berlin Wall fell. Having read so much, and felt so much, about the division of the Iron Curtain, it was amazing and exhilarating to watch.  Estonia won its independence four years later.  A number of Estonian-Americans, including some in their 20s and 30s who had grown up listening to the same sorts of stories, went to Estonia to help build the free country.*  I had two children by then, but I could picture that I would have been tempted to do the same if I had still been single (and if I knew how to speak Estonian).

The stories about Estonia gradually changed.  The small, newly independent (again) country was developing their economy and was becoming more successful.   About half the time, now, people I talk to have actually heard about it (although I had to explain it again last week:  "They lost their independence in WWII and regained it twenty years ago"). 

I've never had a chance to go to Estonia.  We went to Finland when I was in junior high, but the boats to Estonia were full while we were there.  My mother and sister went in the 1990's, but I didn't want to leave my young kids.  It made sense at the time, but I now regret that I didn't. 

* The first commander of the Estonian armed forces, Alexsandr Einseln, was a retired colonel in the U.S. army who had fled Estonia as a child in 1944. 


  • One of the blogs I check daily is Itching for Eestimaa, the thoughts of an American of Italian background, living in Estonia with his Estonian wife and daughter.  I really enjoyed today's post, eestlased, which delves into a Finnish/Estonian tradition which I've tried but never really understood, the sauna:
...And in the gym I found a third remedy for the cold: a sauna.

Saunas are magical places. They can cure any ache or pain. Broken arm? Go sit in the sauna awhile. It'll heal more quickly. I always thought that saunas were just for fun, a sort of outdoor pub for woodsy drunks. I've come to learn that, during the winter at least, a long stew in the sauna is exactly what you need to defrost those frigid digits. You can cancel out the damage done by the northern climate in a sauna. By exposing yourself to extreme cold outside, and extreme heat in the sauna, you may finally arrive at a normal body temperature. Or so the logic goes.

But what of summer saunas? Now that's interesting. If winter saunas are therapeutic, then summer saunas are like Woodstock. There's nothing but nudity, lake swimming, and cool vibes, man. You sit there covered in sweat and silt, and feel as if you are truly one with nature, as if you should have moss for eyebrows and snails hanging from every appendage. In fact, after a co-ed sauna in the summer, it's kind of hard to justify wearing clothes anymore. I mean, if you've already seen everybody in their birthday suit, and it's hot out, then, what exactly is the point of wearing trousers?

One July day, I asked our friend Mart why people sauna in the summer. I told him I understood the rationale behind winter saunas, but wasn't quite sure what purpose summer saunas served. It was hot already. Why get purposefully hotter? Could it be just for fun? No. There had to be some really good Estonian reason like, "It helps us work harder."

Mart's eyes bulged at the question as if to say Does not compute. In reality, he just repeated my words back to me. "Why do people sauna in summer?" I remember the puzzled expression on his face as he said it. He was stunned. I could have asked him why he breathes air or why he sleeps at night. But he might have actually had reasonable explanations for those activities. But why sauna in the summer, when it's hot? What a silly question. Mart shot an odd look at me again, then took another sip of his beer. He never answered...

The whole post is well worth a read.
  • Arts and Letters Daily has links to numerous articles on the fall of the Berlin Wall.  If you look at it in mid-November, you'll be able to see them.  If you're reading this later than that, they will have scrolled off.
It has been 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell. But deep in the forest here, a red deer called Ahornia still refuses to cross the old Iron Curtain.

Ahornia inhabits the thickly wooded mountains along what once was the fortified border between West Germany and Czechoslovakia. At the height of the Cold War, a high electric fence, barbed wire and machine-gun-carrying guards cut off Eastern Europe from the Western world. The barriers severed the herds of deer on the two sides as well.

The fence is long gone, and the no-man's land where it stood now is part of Europe's biggest nature preserve. The once-deadly border area is alive with songbirds nesting in crumbling watchtowers, foxes hiding in weedy fortifications and animals not seen here for years, such as elk and lynx.

But one species is boycotting the reunified animal kingdom: red deer. Herds of them roam both sides of the old NATO-Warsaw Pact border here but mysteriously turn around when they approach it. This although the deer alive today have no memory of the ominous fence... 
[Hat tip to Chris Blattman]

A rare political post...

... which, being that I'm an independent, always has the possibility of making everyone angry.

A year ago, as then Senator Obama became the front runner for the Democrats and Senator McCain for the Republicans, it actually looked like a fairly good choice for a change.  Unusually, they seemed the best of the electable candidates of their respective political parties.  Even some Democratic papers and magazines had good words to say about Senator McCain - before he became the nominee, of course.  Both choices looked possible, and I wouldn't have to hold my nose and vote for the candidate I disliked the least, which happens all too often.

Then Senator McCain chose Governor Palin, who hadn't even served one term yet, as his vice-presidential candidate. Why?  She certainly wasn't the most qualified Republican governor, and she also wasn't the most qualified Republican woman. 

For whatever reason, the choice showed deplorable judgment.  I don't care about her baby, her daughter's baby, or even her current political problems, however they turn out.  She had neither the state executive experience or the national legislative experience necessary for a president.  This was particularly important in Senator McCain's case since his age and his previous health problems increased the probability that he would not finish a presidential term.

This is not to say that Senator McCain's age or health were a reason not to vote for him.  It does mean that his choice of a vice presidential candidate was far more important than for many presidents.   The last time we had a president that age, President Reagan, his choice, Vice-President Bush, was quite capable of stepping in if anything happened to President Reagan.

For me, Senator McCain's choice of Governor Palin as his vice-presidential running mate sealed my vote for Senator Obama - regardless of whether I agreed or disagreed with various positions that Senator Obama's campaign took.  Although his experience in the Senate was also not lengthy, he chose an experienced vice-presidential candidate who was strong in areas where Senator Obama wasn't (for instance, foreign policy).  

Senator McCain's choice of Governor Palin also made me doubtful of his ability to wisely choose those who would serve in his cabinet and those he would nominate for the Supreme Court.

Now, I'm not impressed with Judge Sotomayor so far, and I dislike some of the directions that President Obama is heading.  On the other hand, his choice of a vehement political opponent, Senator Clinton, as Secretary of State has turned out far better than I had expected.

Since the election, I have avoided most articles and blogs about Governor Palin.  At times, I've stopped reading The Daily Dish because of its bizarre focus on her and her family.  I have recently read a bit about her resignation, and what I've read has confirmed my choice not to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket.

Anyone who does not have the internal fortitude to stay the course and finish out their term as governor of Alaska does not have the steel and backbone it takes to be the President of the United States.

Linkfeast - February 10, 2009

A very long linkfeast for gloomy winter days (which is when I put it together, though this week is nice).  I've been gathering links of varying sorts - serious, musical, filmish, snarky, bawdy... Read at your own risk.

I wish I could write like that:  

Did anyone else take one look at all those people freezing their butts off out there on the mall and think of March of the Penguins?...
6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone? The Menahmehna song(from the Muppets or Sesame Street, I can't remember which one it's from) second favorite is the vibrate mode...need I explain that?

If I had answered that meme, I would just boringly answer that I don't have a cell phone.  And, in The Alphabet Game, she mentions ten things she loves that begin with N (Not safe for work or around small children): 

3. Nudity..DUH! Do I really need to explain WHY I love to be naked? Or why I love for other people to be naked? I can't speak for others but I like letting it all hang out although sometimes it's hanging in places I'm not impressed with, but what can you do? (Remember the depressed boobies?)

The depressed boobies post is very funny too.

Continue reading "Linkfeast - February 10, 2009" »

Linkfest: December 21, 2008

PC030290 I never made it to church this morning.  I've been lightheaded all day, and I've had to keep my leg elevated because of swelling.  The good news is that my foot is now a normal color, and my ankles are a more normal size. 

I missed Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day this month since that was my surgery day.  I haven't been outside since surgery so here's my floral view:  the wonderful azalea dear husband got me for our anniversary last February.  It's in our bedroom, on my side of the bed, and it's what I wake up to in the morning (along with WCPE).

Here are some fun and/or interesting things I've run across lately:

...3.  Finnish is elegant and economic. You can say so much more with just one word. For example “epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydellänsäkään”. Ok, so that isn’t a word anybody would really ever use, but technically it’s still correct. It means something like, “even with his or her (notice how awkwardly I need to express that) ability to not make others more disorganized”. The downside to this is that if you want to participate in NaNoWriMo in Finnish, you have to produce quite a lot more content.

[Hat tip to 3quarksdaily]
  • The rise of the late baby boomers:  Barack Obama and many of the people he's bringing to Washington came of age after the Vietnam War and the civil rights struggles. Their shared experiences offer insights into how they may govern -  Interesting contrast between the attitudes of the regular baby boomers (not me) and the late baby boomers (me). 
  • The Popdose 100:  Our Favorite Singles of the last 50 years:  Some of my favorites:  "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder, "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding, "Wouldn't it Be Nice" by the Beach Boys, "Sister Golden Hair" by America, "What a Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers, and "Rock the Boat" by The Hughes Corporation.  Actually, those are all of my favorites that they list.  I liked some of the others before they were overplayed (:::cough "Bohemian Rhapsody" cough:::).  Any favorites of yours on the list?
...We're not teaching literature, we're teaching the professional study of literature: What we do is its own subject. Nowadays the academic study of literature has almost nothing to do with the living, breathing world outside. The further along you go in the degree ladder, and the more rarified a college you attend, the less literary studies relates to the world of the reader. The academic study of literature nowadays isn't, by and large, about how literature can help students come to terms with love, and life, and death, and mistakes, and victories, and pettiness, and nobility of spirit, and the million other things that make us human and fill our lives. It's, well, academic, about syllabi and hiring decisions, how works relate to each other, and how the author is oppressing whomever through the work. The literary critic Gerald Graff famously told us to "teach the conflicts": We and our squabbles are what it's all about. That's how we made a discipline, after all...