Archive for August, 2008

Campaign Thoughts Update

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Listening to Democratic people on Twitter and in a few blogs since yesterday has not been a good thing. Why? Because it is very hard not to respond the the vile talk without a knee jerk reaction which could prevent clear thinking. You have to understand that honesty is not something I automatically associate with Democrats. Now I am suspicious of any politician but when it comes to private citizens Democrats just go off the deep end a lot. They call my target rifle an “assault weapon” for example. They call supporting vouchers and charter schools and getting rid of bad teachers “anti-education.” And on and on.

But I do try hard to keep an open mind as much as possible. Much of what Democrats were saying was as positive to me and it was negative to them. Things like her stance on abortion and gun control. The ethics issues they brought up were disturbing but looking closer at them they don’t seem so bad. Especially when compared to other national political figures. <cough> Bill Clinton <cough> Even if they are completely true which there seems to be some doubt about.

I have some concern about her energy policy still. I have some concern about her lack of experience. She doesn’t have a whole lot of it. It is executive experience though so what she has is more directly applicable to the job than some other candidates. If she were running for president I’d be a lot more concerned. But anyone who can live with Obama’s experience in a presidential candidate should not reasonably have an issue with Palin as VP.

All in all she gives me a better opinion of McCain in much the same way Biden makes me think a lot less of Obama. Really I would have trouble voting for Biden for anything. The idea of a less experienced Palin being a heart beat away from the presidency scares me a lot less than having Biden being a heart beat away. I know where Biden stands on a lot of issues and shudder to think about a Biden presidency. So in effect Obama’s pick for VP makes it easier for me to overlook flaws in McCain’s pick.

I’ve been hearing quite a lot of whining from Democratic women about Palin. They are upset because they believe that Republicans think that women who supported Hilary will automatically vote for Palin because she is a women. Well that would be crazy if true but I don’t think it is. Well not completely. I do think that for some nut cases who are wildly upset about Clinton losing Palin will make it a little easier for them to vote for McCain. But it will not be a deciding factor and very few Clinton supporters will actually vote for McCain when push comes to shove.

But history shows that a lot of people, men and women, vote for people for reasons other than issues. Sometimes it is name – Kennedy. Sometimes it is looks – Kennedy. Well others too. Sometimes it is race or gender. Will Palin help pick up some women who just want to vote for a women? Perhaps. She might pick up a few men who vote for her just because she is attractive. Anyone who doesn’t think that Obama picks up a lot of votes just on looks is clearly not paying attention so it works both ways.

When Obama picked Biden I thought he was throwing the election. Biden has high negatives and conservatives will be able to use him as a “bogey man” to raise lots and lots of money. Palin may serve the same purpose on the liberal side so it may balance out. Or maybe she will turn out to be a huge liability and cost McCain the election. There is no doubt that selecting her was/is a huge risk. The willingness to take a risk says something about McCain.

Last note, I have long believed that the first woman president would be a Republican. I thought the same about the first black president. I may be wrong about the first black president. Obama might be the guy.  On the other hand, imagine VP Palin running for president in a few years. And wouldn’t a Clinton/Palin race be an interesting thing some day?

On Moving Books

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

We’re having our family room painted next week. That means a lot of things have to be moved out of the room or at least away from the walls. That includes book cases. We have four book cases and between them they hold several thousand books. At least 2,000 based on my best guesstimate. That’s a lot of books to move. Right now they are all stacked up in an unused bedroom until the job is done.

There are a couple of, lets just call them issues, with moving  books. Sure there is the obvious that they are heavy and that it takes a lot of trips to move them. Then there is the issue that they collect some dust which is now doing wonders for my sinuses and allergies. But a bigger issue is that, surprise, I like books. That means that it is hard to avoid looking though them as I pile them up. That slows the process down and I think as we put them back next week I will be holding some out to re-read.

I’ve also looked though a couple of old scrap books. Would you believe that Mrs T and I once saw a Broadway play, Godspell no less,  for $8.50 a ticket? You can’t get in for less than ten times that today. Oh and 30 years ago Mrs T and I had less weight and a lot more hair. And wow did she look great! Well still does to me but when I look at those pictures I wonder how I ever managed to date her at all. But I digress.

The plan is to thin the collection a bit after the painting job. That will be an interesting process as neither of us has ever been good at getting grid of books. But really there are some books we are unlikely to ever read again and we need space for the new books we keep buying. Putting up still more shelves is not an option as there is only so much wall space in the house. 🙂

Are Americans Ready To Vote For A Woman

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Well isn’t that interesting. McCain has picked Sarah Palin as his VP nominee. I heard an NPR reporter say that she didn’t see what Palin brought to the ticket. Say what?

Personally I think she brings a number of things. One is that she should help with some of the Republicans who worry that McCain isn’t far enough to the right. Also she brings a strong and recent record for fighting both corruption and pork barrel spending. And there is also the little fact of being a woman. McCain needs help winning over women and Palin can help there a lot. A lot of those women who are upset about Clinton being “pushed aside” are going to see Palin as a real excuse to vote Republican.

There is some concern in some parts about her stands on energy and I can understand that. But being in Alaska and being a hunter she has to be concerned about the environment so I can see some good potential there as she moves from an Alaska (oil producer) centric role to a national centric role.

All in all I think the campaign just got a whole lot more interesting.

Thoughts Around the Democratic Convention

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

So I have watched some of the Democratic convention tonight. I heard a speech on energy that made a lot of sense though I think it was less than completely honest about McCain’s position. McCain would like to include nuclear power as well as more drilling. It was poorly delivered as well.

I heard some of Biden’s speech as well. The parts I heard were very well done. But I also watched a lot of commentary by Democrats on Twitter. That really ticked me off. Oh not because they loved it all or even because they disagree with me. No what bothers me is these seemingly intelligent people (most are in education) do not appear to have the least understanding of the people who disagree with them. They are too caught up in the emotion of the event to understand any of the politics either. Scary.

Now to be fair a lot of Republicans don’t understand Democrats either. But I expect more from educators. When I hear people say that pro-life people are anti-women I want to scream. That is one of the stupidest things in the world to say. It is a gross admission that one doesn’t even try to understand the objection to abortion. Anyone who says that is either too stupid closed-minded or too dishonest to be elected to public office. Oh it gets me so upset. Pro-choice is pro-women in the same way that pro-slavery is pro-African-American. At least it is to pro-life people. Actually if you look at how abortion is used in China and India you’d have to be blind not to see pro-choice as seriously anti-women. I admit that I do not understand why the Democratic party is not violently pro-life. I mean I understand why some people are pro-choice but if any party on earth should be pro-life it is the Democrats.

But I digress. One person on Twitter didn’t understand why Biden wasn’t hitting on the issue of the Supreme Court in his speech. The obvious answer is because Biden is not a complete idiot. For a lot of people the Supreme Court is a defining issue. It is the main reason I voted in the last two presidential elections and probably the only reason I will vote (if I vote) this time around. During the convention a lot of people who are undecided are listening. Why would Biden use that platform to say “we’ll make sure baby killing stays legal and take away all your guns?” The Supreme Court is an issue to take up with your supporters to get out the vote not a platform to win votes.

A week ago I was pretty sure Obama would win. Now I’m not so sure. I think Biden was really a bad choice. If people were starting to believe that Obama wasn’t too far to the left the choice of Biden will likely convince them otherwise. You have to run to the middle to win. Of course McCain could similarly blow his choice of a running mate so it is still too early by far to place bets. This one is going to the wire I think.


Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

So I went bowling last week. Ten pin not candlestick. First time I did real bowling for decades. It was a group social event and there were no real bowlers there. I was the second high score with is really scary as I bowled a 99.
I have an excuse though. Besides not bowling for years my left leg would not hold me up on a proper approach. It is still weak from some problems I had some years ago and on the first try I fell at the end of the lane. Not pretty. I wound up standing at the end of the lane, bracing my leg with one hand and trying to bowl. That I got any strikes or spares at all is amazing and as much luck as anything.
Oh but most of the group was really bad. I can imagine real bowlers cringing as balls bounced down the lanes rather than rolled. To say nothing of a good number of fouls besides my own.
Still it was fun and I realized that I missed bowling. But I’ll have to exercise my leg before I can try it for real again.

Would you like to …

Monday, August 25th, 2008

So I have learned a few things about women over the years. One of them is about “would you like to …” You see women will ask a man “would you like to” and follow it with something no man in history has ever wanted to do of his own free will. Now when a man asks “would you like to” he is asking if doing the said thing will make the person more happy than not doing it. For example “would you like some food?” Or perhaps “would you like to go to the baseball game.” If one answers “no” that is fine. It was a real question.

A woman uses that sort of question the way a man asks “would you please do me a favor and …” In other words the ask is for something the askee wants the asker to do that they may or may not want to do.

I learned rather quickly that when a woman asks a question like this she really expects a “yes” answer regardless of the request. At first I thought that meant they wanted a man to lie. In other words, the wanted the man to say “yes I would like to do that” no matter how distasteful the task was. Well I was half right.

They do want the man to say “yes” but they don’t want it to be a lie. They want to man to actually want to do the thing. Really! Now that can be hard for a guy to understand. We don’t really want to lie but we do get asked to do things we really would rather not do. So to learn to live with myself I decided that a woman was really asking a different question. “Would you like to change the litter box?” translates to “Do you love me enough to change the litter box?” Now that question I can honestly answer (to my wife anyway) “Why yes I do!”

That way I don’t have to lie and my wife is happy because I change the litter box. It’s the difference between a literal question and an idiomatic interpretation. I pass this bit of wisdom off to you guys who are not yet married or who are recently married.

Sports Missing From High Schools

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

I have been watching some of the Olympics. Not much on TV though. The TV never shows the sports I am interested in. So I hvae been watching a lot of the shooting events at It’s been really cool because I have long wondered how those events were run at the Olympic level. Also it turns out that some of the women shooters are very attractive. 🙂

The US does surprisingly well at shooting. I know we have a lot of guns but we really don’t support the shooting sports that much here. (I should say that I was truly amazed at the Japanese shooters because I  think they all have to leave the country to practice their sport.) There was a time when there were a lot of high school and college shooting teams. Today not so much.

Personally I think that is a shame. We have many violent sports – football, hockey, lacrosse, wrestling and on and on. In many of these sports we encourage athletes to "get angry" and to "go get" the other players. In football so many players get hurt that an ambulance is required to be at every high school football game. We could use some non-violent sports and it seems like shooting and archery fit that need nicely.

I’m not sure what the objection could be. Clearly violence is not a problem because a) the shooting sports are completely non-violent (if a gun even accidentally points at someone the holder is disqualified on the spot) b) there are lots of violent sports in high schools. Weapons are not an issue because clubs are an important part of many sports including baseball, lacrosse and golf. And safety is not an issue because football for example sees more high school athletes killed every year than have been killed in organized shooting sports at all levels in well over 100 years combined. Cost? Also not much of a problem. Guns last a very long time and shooting ranges exist and most private ones would be happy to support local teams for the good of the sport. Ammo is the big thing and even that is not as expensive as a lot of sporting equipment. What are football helmets these days? $300 a piece? With annual expensive safety checks.

Shooting teaches patience. It teaches calm – you are trying to shoot between breaths and heart beats for goodness sake. You cannot do that while angry. It teaches self-control. It’s just about everything you want to teach high school students.
The world is a crazy place sometimes.