Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Good Night in South Carolina

Let's just ignore New Hampshire and Nevada, shall we?

Last night in South Carolina, Barack Obama pulled ahead in the race for delegates. He won by more than a 2-1 margin. There will be much said about the divisions of the electorate by race, but 1 in 4 total isn't so bad, and his percentage among white males was quite high. Anyway, he won, and that's what matters.

Tsunami Tuesday will be very interesting.

But what about Bill? As far as Hillary's candidacy is concerned, I can't imagine that this last two weeks of venom and half-truths won't have a negative effect. They are both getting shredded in the press for the attack dog posture and win at all costs execution, and the public has to have noticed as well. As Maureen Dowd said this morning on Meet the Press, and I paraphrase, the only way the Clintons can win is to beat down Obama's message of hope, and that won't play well in the long run.

And the racial code words and off the cuff dissing of Obama looks mean and petty. A kid? You don't call a grown man and senator a kid. Saying that, well, Jesse Jackson won here in 84 and 88, so this means nothing? WTF Bill? Whatever race he's involved in right now, Obama in many ways is the future of the Democratic party, and to tear him down and belittle him and outright disrespect him this way is not smart or productive.

Really, this pulls the glow off the memories of the Clinton years and reminds me of just how frustratingly contradictory, self-interested, and sleazy they could be. It's too bad. But it's good to see that Obama can not only weather it but work through it and win.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Poor Henry

Back to the Present

We're back home. Mexico was great, but seems already a distant memory, buried under piles of work and medical bills.

Henry's had his leg surgery, and at this moment is catatonic in a crate in the living room, an Elizabethan collar round his neck, one leg shaved and Frankenstein-scarred, and one eye scarred and weeping. I'll try to get a picture up soon.

Other than that, I'm so busy I haven't had a moment to pull my head out of my job and write anything about the trip. As I'll be doing some close dog-sitting for the next couple weeks, I hope to have some time on my hands.

Friday, January 11, 2008

And We're Off!

This evening Cathy and I take off for LAX, where we'll pass a few hours before boarding Mexicana Airlines for Leon, Mexico. From there we'll head to San Miguel de Allende, where we'll stay until next Sunday.

We'll eat. We'll drink. We'll visit Guanajuato and maybe even Mexico City. We'll eat and drink some more. We'll walk around the gorgeous city of San Miguel, hear some music, meet some people, and do a whole lot of relaxing.

Kick on over to the travel blog if you want to follow along. I'm guessing I'll have plenty of internet access and will be able to post as we go.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Barack, Henry, and San Miguel

The lack of posts at such an exciting time is due to the fact that I'm horrifically busy getting ready for a trip to Mexico. But a couple quick comments.

Barack Obama came up second best in the New Hampshire primary. Forgive the flippancy, but Hillary's tears brought the sympathetic support out of the woodwork and totally changed the numbers of who voted for whom. Still, Obama is positioned pretty well.

But this brings up a problem: I'd have no trouble throwing my support behind John Edwards or Bill Richardson, or Joe Biden or Christopher Dodd, were they still in the race. But I have to say I'll have a real dilemma on my hands if Hillary gets the nod. I'll try to lay out why this is in the coming weeks--though I honestly hope I don't have to think too much more about it. The way she plays on fear is too Bushy, the cadence and pitch of her voice when she speaks makes me crazy, and this campaign has stripped the time-inspired glow off my high opinion of Bill, too. I forgot just how sleazy these people are.

Now on to more pressing matters: Henry the hound has completely torn his cranial cruciate ligament, the equivalent of our ACL. That means surgery. And since Cathy and I are headed to San Miguel de Allende this Friday for a 10-day vacation, we're in sort of a tough spot.

I've scheduled the surgery for when we get back and made arrangements for the hound while we're gone, but I don't feel so good about going now. I'm still looking into options, so these plans could change. Poor guy hardly puts any weight on it and limps around all the time, and I can tell the inactivity is starting to get to him.

But if we do make it off to San Miguel, I'll try to blog it over at the travel blog. So check in if you get a minute. If I can't swing it remotely, I'll put something together when we get back.

Friday, January 04, 2008

One Giant Leap

The Iowa caucuses last night brought a big boost to the campaigns of Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee.

For the Republicans, this suggests that the cynicism and outright meanness of the leading candidates (Romney, Giuliani, Thompson) is not playing well, at least in calm little whitebread Iowa. McCain had a decent showing, proving that he's back on the upswing and not nearly as dead as most pundits would have had you believe months ago. Considering the lack of depth in Huckabee's funds and organization, this might be as far as his phenomena goes. It'll be interesting to see.

On the Democratic side, these results would seem to indicate that Obama's message of change and unity appeals to people. If you saw his victory speech, you might understand why. Dude's an inspiration. Even though his hoarseness and his cadence suggested something of a preacher, this speech will still give you goosebumps, especially coming as it does after such a momentous occasion.

"Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I've heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence."

Even David Brooks is affected. As he says, "Barack Obama has won the Iowa caucuses. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel moved by this. An African-American man wins a closely fought campaign in a pivotal state. He beats two strong opponents, including the mighty Clinton machine. He does it in a system that favors rural voters. He does it by getting young voters to come out to the caucuses.

"This is a huge moment... Whatever their political affiliations, Americans are going to feel good about the Obama victory, which is a story of youth, possibility and unity through diversity — the primordial themes of the American experience.

"And Americans are not going to want to see this stopped. When an African-American man is leading a juggernaut to the White House, do you want to be the one to stand up and say No?"

Something's happening. It's early, too early to put a name on it or to hope too hard, but the ground is definitely shifting under our feet. We've trudged along in the political darkness for too long, and if you don't think politics affects you or your daily life, think hard about what the past 8 years have been like. Change has to come, and it's got to be big. We're due.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Iowa Caucuses

So, it's showtime.

Tonight the Iowa caucuses will mark the first big landmark on the long journey to a new POTUS. Could mean everything, could mean nothing. Caucuses are funny that way.

Here in Idaho we'll have our own caucus on February 5th. Bet you know who I'll be caucusing for.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy 2008

May your year start off well, however you choose to spend your days.