Thursday, January 31, 2008

Odd Coincidence? Or Something Deeper?

Here is a picture of Hillary Clinton at tonight's debate in California. Note the necklace and earrings.


Here is a (rather interesting) picture of me and my friend Joanna at my friend Chris's wedding in July 2007. Note the color of the vest (and the tie and the cufflinks and the ... garter?).


I think it is clear that I am destined to one day marry a future president of the United States, have my own shot at being president of the United States, and do it all while wearing an ugly brown pant suit that is unflattering of the hips. :)

My Sister is Blogging

Go give her some love!

heberleink.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Worst. President. Ever.

And one of the more arrogant and pompous buffoons on the planet, I'd wager. Bush just issued four signing statements on the 2008 Defense Authorizations Bill. Apparently, because he's the "commander guy", he can:
1) Block the creation of a commission to investigate contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan explicitly outlined and created by in the bill.

2) Remove whistleblower protections related to contractor fraud explicitly outlined and created by the bill.

3) Ignore a the part of the bill requiring intelligence agencies to promptly provide Congress all requested documents. (The official position of the administration, in case you're wondering, is that certainly Congress can see the documents, but not while anyone in the administration is looking at them, and golly gee you just wouldn't believe how many people in the administration want to see these documents, so ... come back next year maybe? Apparently no one in the intelligence agency has heard of a xerox machine.)

4) Ignore the pretty plain and clear language that says he must come to Congress if he wants to construct permanent bases in Iraq for a long-term presence like the kind we have in South Korea.


Think about that last one for a minute. The constitution is very clear that while the president certainly has a role in foreign policy, any and all treaties and agreements with foreign nations MUST be approved by the Senate. You'd think it'd be pretty clear that an agreement with Iraq to have troops there for decades would have to be ratified by the Senate ... but you'd be wrong, because you see Bush isn't calling it a "treaty" or an "international agreement". It's a "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship".

I need a cocktail.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cat Blogging!

Lucy's been busy being a cat!




Snow!

Ok, wow, THAT New Year's resolution sure didn't last long. But lots of posts and lots of pictures soon. To start, it actually snowed a week ago in Richmond. And while I wasn't very good about putting the pictures online, I did take them!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hillary Wins in New Hampshire -or- The Empire Strikes Back!

Whew! Long and hand-wringing night, but she pulled it off! Clinton: 39%, Obama: 37% in the New Hampshire primary. Absolutely amazing, especially considering everybody was expecting an Obama blowout tonight.

Hillary said tonight that over the past few days she's "found her voice", and you know what? She really did sound more human tonight. She's not anywhere near as inspiring as Obama, and bits and pieces of the automatron are still there, but the beginnings of a not-too-bad candidate are definitely there. Her one quote "Ending the Iraq war the right way" is really going to resonate, I think.

One thing that I want to say though: if I hear one more political commentator ask whether "the tears" changed everything, I'm gonna puke. "The tears" were, at best, one eye getting slightly misty, possibly not even in direct response to the question. And it got wall to wall coverage on just about every news outlet in the country. Sheesh. Let's see ... we have: the cleavage, the laugh, the tip, and now the tears. Eeeeyup, that's some great press coverage alright.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sunday Cat Blogging

In case you're wondering, Lucy's paw is much better; she's been using it normally for a few days now. *Phew! I was actually kind of nervous, not because I didn't think she was going to be fine, but because if she wasn't, I knew fixing it would probably be traumatic.

This was taken later in the week, as I was enjoying my new Comcast digital cable. There's no feeling of contentment quite like the one you get when a cat jumps up and falls asleep on you.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa Caucus Rollup

If the news channels are to be believed, the Iowa Democratic and Republican caucuses have been won by Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee, respectively. I write about almost everything else on this blog, so why not politics?

First, the Republicans (disclaimer, I'm a registered Democrat). In the case of Huckabee, I think the Republican's chickens have come home to roost. Huckabee is the candidate of the hard-line social conservatives and religious right; supports outlawing all abortions and several forms of contraception, believes being gay is a disease, thinks we should teach creationism in school, etc. The neocon and anti-tax wings of the party have always courted this bloc of voters that Huckabee represents, even though deep down they're not nearly as extreme in their views, because they needed the votes. This season, though, neither of those two wings produced a candidate that the values-voter could rally behind. There's Guiliani, the pro-gay, pro-choice, thrice-married, cross-dressing New Yorker; there's Romney, who's blatant pandering and opportunism was too much for even the most extreme to absorb; there's Thompson, whose campaign was so lackluster that nobody even noticed his carefully honed positions on issues like stem-cell research and civil unions; and then there was McCain, whose stance against torture, interestingly enough, actually hurt him among evangelical voters. Given that list, is it any wonder the values-voters went so heavily for Huckabee?

And now for the Democrats, which is (to me at least) much more interesting. For whatever reason I could never really get excited about Edwards, so it was always between Obama and Clinton for me.

Originally (in early/mid 2007) I was an Obama supporter. I didn't really have anything against Clinton; I thought her to be a competent politician who had the misfortune to be married to a president that conservatives spent quite a bit of effort trying to destroy back in the 90's. She's nowhere close to being the calculating, lifeless automaton that the media makes her out to be, but just because I know that doesn't mean that most of the population does, and she will always be a divisive figure. Better, I thought, to support the less divisive Obama, who was making quite a name for himself with some impressive speeches.

The problem, though, was that the more I listened to Obama's speeches, the more I found that they weren't actually impressive, they just sounded impressive. He was a great orator with an incredible gift for rhetoric, but when you stripped that away, he didn't seem to actually be saying anything at all. Worse, when he actually did say something, it generally wasn't very progressive. He invited a prominent cure-away-the-gay homophobe to lead one of his rallies, criticized health-care proposals, repeated the absurd notion that Social Security is in some kind of crisis, etc. And so I moved back to Clinton, who is divisive, but who at least wasn't parroting Republican talking points.

And the thing is, now that I'm on the Clinton bandwagon I'm beginning to have more and more concerns about the Obama campaign. I know some of this is probably a psychological desire to find fault with the candidate I don't support, but hey, it's my blog, so indulge me. Obama supporters generally fall into one of two categories.

First, there are the cult-of-personality supporters. These are the people who have vague ideas about Obama's positions but don't know details; their support is premised entirely on the fact that he's a great speaker who just has that special something. This is great, as far as it goes, but it's a lousy thing to base a campaign on. The Culters seem to believe that simply because he's Obama the world will magically move away from the hateful politics of the past and towards some kind of progressive utopia where moderate Republicans completely ditch their party and support liberal initiatives, and where the nastier rulers of the world suddenly realize the folly of their ways and reform their countries into Switzerland. That, quite frankly, has a snow-ball's chance in hell of happening.

The second, and much stronger in my view, category of supporters are those who do so almost entirely based on Obama's position on foreign policy. I won't deny that Clinton has a lot to answer for here; her early support for the Iraq invasion will be a permanent black mark on her career, and Obama is rightly proud of his early opposition to it. But the Obama camp doesn't just leave it at that, they use it as a launch pad for arguments that span the entire gauntlet of right, wrong, and crazy. They are right that Clinton's positions were objectively pro-Bush in the early years of the war, but then they claim that means Clinton's foreign policy will be just a continuation of Bush's. Huh? Bush's policies have been an absolute disaster, but that doesn't automatically imply that the correct policies are those that are farthest away from what we have currently. I'm honestly starting to worry that there's a branch of the Democratic party whose disgust with Bush is so great, that they are now unable to look at anything except through the prism of how it would have played out in an argument to go to war with Iraq. Raise some concerns about Iran and you're automatically branded as some neocon chicken hawk whose policies led us to war. The Bush years have so twisted the political discourse that anything other than complete pacifism can be turned into an objective argument for supporting a continuation of Bush's failed policies. But that's simply not right. These are complicated issues, they deserve more consideration than what a lot of people are giving.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

*sigh

The best laid plans of mice and men...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year Wrap-Up

I think digital cable is going to be bad for me. Ever since I gained the ability to just scroll up and down and pick out whatever I want to watch, plus a whole bunch of movies that are OnDemand, I've spend an alarmingly large amount of time on the sofa watching tv. Not good for the waistline. Hopefully wants work resumes and I'm busy again that will all change.

Had a nice dinner today with some friends, then watched the first half of the CapitalOne bowl game. By the second half though, we were bored and did other stuff.

Work tomorrow. Sigh ... I feel like I'm in high-school again.