Friday, April 24, 2009

Few Things Considered

I found out that Morning Edition and All Things Considered - two news programs on NPR, are virtually tied for the 2nd and 3rd most listened to radio programs. Number 1? Rush Limbaugh. That's right. More people in America would rather be told what to think than to hear the news and decide for themselves. Sad.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Early turkey

How sad is it that I woke up early this morning. But not thinking about the family and friends I'm thankful for, or the glorious feast I'll get to eat today. No, I woke up thinking about school stuff. You know, things I still need to do for our concert next week, paperwork I still need to take care of, and other general school crap. Albeit short, this is a vacation! I want to enjoy it, spend some time with Traci and our families, stuff myself with great food, and not worry about school! So whatever part of the brain handles school function, can you please shut off until Monday morning? Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween! Want to see something truly frightening? Turn on your TV and wait for a McCain ad. They continue to step up the politics of fear, choosing not to focus on what McCain would do as president, but instead choosing to make the idea of President Obama as frightening as possible. If McCain wins, I'm not afraid that he'll make a bad president (Palin is another matter, of course). He'd still be a step up from W. I just think Obama will make a much stronger president. No, my biggest concern is that Republicans would be further convinced that fear-mongering is the best way to win elections.
McCain, Palin, and the RNC have called Obama dangerously inexperienced, a shady character with links to religious extremists and terrorists, and a socialist. Some of McCain's supporters have taken these already inaccurate and offensive labels a step further to call him a threat to our security, a secret Muslim, a terrorist, and a communist, not to mention Hitler and the Antichrist. Beware of the monster you create. When you train your followers to fear, can you be surprised when they also hate? These aren't the politics we want to see, and they're not the politics I would have expected from McCain.
The ubiquitous "Joe the Plumber" (who, apparently, is not actually a licensed plumber) now seems like McCain's top economic adviser. He would get a bigger tax break from Obama's plan, but doesn't seem to realize that. That makes him a hero to McCain - someone too ignorant to know what will benefit him the most. He's now campaigning for McCain, and recently told another McCain supporter - while being filmed - that he agreed that Obama as president would bring death to Israel. So, apparently he's also now a foreign policy expert, with as much grasp on foreign affairs as he does on economic policy. Is this really the circus McCain wanted as his presidential campaign? Where did it go wrong? I blame the RNC, which has become a monster, feeding off fear, hate, and ignorance. But McCain should have known better. He should have control over his own campaign. Instead, he let the monster control him.
So, kids, monsters are real. Forget watching a scary movie tonight. Just turn on the TV. Watch some ads. Watch the campaign news. It just might scare you to the polls.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Puppy Yuppy

Traci and I are are puppy yuppies: young urban professionals who treat their dogs like kids. I've come to terms with the idea that as a music teacher and an an attorney who enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, recycling, and supporting Barack Obama, that we are yuppies. The fact that I'm also a beer/music/movie snob (and a foodie) clinches it. We also like way too many items on the "stuff white people like" list. I wouldn't mind, but yuppies once had a negative connotation of greed and materialism, not to mention a certain political disposition. The new yuppies, on the other hand, are socially and environmentally conscious. In light of the updated definition, we've come to accept our yuppiness.
As for the "puppy", we treat our 2 dogs, Schubert and Puccini, like children. They sleep with us at night, I carry on conversations with them, and Traci sings to them. They get excited every evening when the garage door opens and I say, "Mommy's home!" They also like to go to Grandma and Grandpa's (and don't forget their dog, aunt Angel). I feel sorry for unsuspecting visitors who approach the house, hearing barking and yapping, seeing a head bounce in and out of view of the window in the front door. They will soon be attacked by a flurry of leaping dogs with wagging tails and furious tongues. They've entered the house of a couple of puppy yuppies.
But now I've got to go. Traci and I are going out for sushi, then back home to watch a documentary from Netflix with dogs in our laps.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Veep Deeb

I watched the vice-presidential debate last night. Like many Americans, I was partially expecting to see a Palin train wreck. That didn't happen. She sounded incredibly scripted, talked in circles, offered little or no specifics or substance, and didn't answer many of the questions she was given, staying only on her talking points, but at least she kept her cool. Reading online responses to the debate, many people seem to consider that a victory. Really? Were your expectations that low? Were you actually listening to the questions asked and responses she gave? She even prefaced her inability to articulate responses by stating that she wouldn't answer some questions asked by the moderator. She may as well have said, "I'm only prepared for certain questions, so if you ask me one for which I'm not prepared, I'll retreat back to one of my scripted answers for a different question." Followed by a wink.
The biggest surprise of the night for me was Joe Biden. When Obama selected him as his running mate, I looked him up. He seemed like a strong enough choice, although it was relatively unimportant to me. But I really haven't thought much about Biden since the DNC. Last night, he started fine. Unimpressive, but fine. He got a little repetitive (like Palin) and bogged down in details (the opposite of Palin), but he didn't really grab my attention. About halfway through the debate, though, he hit his stride. He sounded like he was speaking from experience and the heart, and really drove some points home. By the end of the debate, I was really impressed with him. I think he compliments Obama well, and will give sound advice without trying to control the White House.
Speaking of which, I was shocked to hear that Palin wants to expand the powers of the vice-presidency. Especially for someone who, not long ago, didn't know what the vice president does. After 8 years of Cheney pulling Bush's strings and running the show, do we need more power in that office? Particularly if McCain is elected, and Palin is trying to wield that power?
So the big question still remains: Did she convince me that she would be able to handle the vice-presidency or, heaven forbid, the presidency should something happen to McCain? Absolutely not. Her ability to memorize and spew a script ad nauseum is no indication that she has any grasp of the issues or any substance. Her off-script moments in the interview with Katie Couric are jaw-dropping...and not in a good way. Plus, she says "nukular." I don't think I can take someone else in the White House who can't pronounce nuclear. The prospect of President Palin is still very frightening to me, and for reasons far deeper than mispronunciation. I'm surprised that it isn't frightening to more Americans. But on the bright side, I won at Palin bingo!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Baby Steps

So the Royals might not finish in last place! From a team that has been bad - REALLY bad - for many years, this is great news. I've been a Royals fan since I was a kid, so I've cringed seeing them with 100+ loss seasons in recent years. Not only have they been in the basement of the AL Central, but of the majors. This year, they won't even have 90 losses, and there are several teams in the majors with worse records. It's exciting! If you're not a Royals fan, you may laugh at my exuberance over such a seemingly ridiculous feat. Granted, it's not on par with KU's national championship, but at least the Royals are finally heading in the right direction. The same cannot be said for the Chiefs, who are desperately trying to take over the coveted "Kansas City's Worst Professional Sports Team". It looks like they're finally going to take that title from the Royals.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Trash-Talk Express

John McCain's "Straight-Talk Express" has derailed. It's hitched on to the Republic attack machine, and can now be dubbed "The Trash Talk Express." I used to respect John McCain, even if I didn't always agree with his politics. At least he had morals and stood by them. At least he stood for something. As such, I thought that this election season would be an interesting comparison of Obama and McCain, and an intelligent debate about their different approaches to the presidency. But McCain's campaign quickly went negative, and hasn't looked back.
Not that Obama hasn't run negative ads, but his started much later than McCain's and are at least based in truth and the issues. McCain's focus is routinely on the periphery of politics, taking Obama quotes out of context and making untrue accusations. Lipstick on a pig? Lindsay Lohan? Are those the issues that are important to McCain? Even Karl Rove criticized McCain's negative ads. And when Karl Rove says you're ads have gone too far, then you know you've gone too far.
Obama has consistenly tried to bring the conversation back to issues and specific plans to address the problems our country faces, only to be sidetracked defending against the latest outlandish falsehood perpetuated by McCain. So much for an intelligent dialogue about the issues. References to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears put an end to that pretty quickly.
McCain is weak on economics, and has admitted as much. So apparently his plan to deal with our weakening economy... is attacking Obama. "You're taxes will go up!" Sure, if you make more than $250,000 a year. If you make less than $150,000, you're taxes will actually go down under Obama's plan. What about the cost of the war that McCain wants to continue and Obama wants to end? We shouldn't pay for health care, but we should keep footing the bill for a war that should have never begun? No wonder a recent poll of prominent economists showed that they support Obama over 2 to 1.
McCain seems also to have abandoned what he previously stood for so that he could cater to the right. His biggest successes have been (1) his proposal to drill off-shore - an idea which experts agree would not have any effect for several years and does almost nothing to solve our energy problems - and (2) his selection of Sarah Palin. The choice of Palin was obviously made for political reasons, and with her as his second fiddle, his tune changed. Suddenly, experience - his biggest legitimate criticism of Obama - was no longer important. He also began trying to steal the "change" mantra from Obama. So the best recipe for change is more of the same ingredients? Furthermore, he's tried to pass Palin's meager experience off as extensive, especially her foreign policy experience - because you can see Russia from Alaska. Is that some kind of joke? Are people actually buying that?!?
But now, McCain has someone to spread the lies for him. She's lied about her own record (including the bridge to nowhere and earmarks), and has seemingly has no qualms about spreading more lies about Obama. She gives a good speech, but we've already seen from her first interview that she has trouble when not scripted, and her knowledge about the national and international scenes is limited at best - at least for someone who could potentially be our president. McCain's selection of her says a lot about his own campaign for president, and how it's come to whatever he thinks he needs to do to get elected.
This post has probably gone on too long, but so has McCain's dirty campaign. I hope I live to see a presidential campaign where both candidates run with dignity and respect, talking about issues that matter and letting Americans decide based on that. Seeing this election season, I'm not holding my breath.