my crush on joe biden aside, here's what i saw last night:

i saw sarah palin answer the initial questions well ... as we all thought she probably would. she was prepped, she was groomed, she was fed buzzwords and catch phrases. (seriously ... "maverick" should be a drinking game.) she actually had a point i agreed with strongly and felt she answered better than biden - on where the blame should lay for the mortgage crisis. wall street is one thing, predatory lending practices are one thing, but homeowners falling for the "you can have it all and you can have it now" and not using common sense is, i agree, a huge part of the problem. we need to hold ourselves accountable as much as wall street and washington dc.

however ... you knew this was coming ...

she couldn't answer follow-up questions. when things went off script and off topic, she flailed and drifted. "i may not answer your question"? "i've only been at this for five weeks"? the point of a debate is to DEBATE. not make your own little stump on the side. and the achilles heel question? she didn't even answer it! not even remotely!! in fact, she answered the opposite of what the question was asking. oy.

but that wasn't where she lost me completely. i expected her to gasp for the ability to stick to a point. where she lost me was here: the giggles and winks and folksy-cutesy talk. why why WHY can't she just make a valid point and then let it lie? why does she have to negate everything she just said by winking and using some northwoods colloquialism? any respect for her i may have surpisingly felt after the economic answer was immediately stripped away. can you imagine if hillary or madeleine albright or margaret thatcher or even condoleeza rice finished up a topic point with a wink? please! you canNOT be a heartbeat away (and a 72-year-old, four-time cancer stricken heartbeat at that) from the presidency and think you can win over people with a wink, a shoulder shrug, and a "i'm a maverick!" that would NOT fly anywhere. she wouldn't have the respect of a single leader. charm only works so far ... then you have to have something to back it up with.

another area where she could have made points but instead lost them was when joe biden got choked up. it was so unexpected - i think it surprised even him - that at mentioning that he DOES understand what a woman goes through because he's been a single dad wondering if his child would make it, he teared up for a moment. and palin, not just as a mother, but as a mother of a special needs child and a child shipping off to iraq, should have immediately been an empathetic person. but instead, she floundered and then spiralled onto energy. real emotion wasn't on her test cards and she had no idea what to do with it and proved she cannot think empathetically on her feet.

and lastly, did anyone else catch these phrases come out of her mouth?

"And that is democracy and tolerance and freedom and equal rights. Those things that we stand for that can be put to good use as a force for good in this world."

"And, again, voters on November 4th are going to have that choice to either support a ticket that supports policies that create jobs. You do that by lowering taxes on American workers and on our businesses. And you build up infrastructure, and you rein in government spending, and you make our -- our nation energy independent."

yeah ... those would be OBAMA's platforms, and direct contridiction of mccain's platforms - and palin's own personal testimony to the fact that she does NOT, in fact, support equal rights across the board. interesting.

an excellent article that puts a finger right on it

yes, i'm being political again. but this article needs to be read. it focuses on just how high the stakes are, and just how scary the republican frenzy over sarah palin is. because, as stated in the article, where the republicans love her because she's "ordinary," the rest of the country is scared shitless because she's "ordinary."

true, she'd only be vice president. but if her being on the ballot pushes mccain into the white house, there are much bigger things to fear.

i now heart matt damon. big.

even bigger than when he was f***ing sarah silverman.
and that was big.

i love him more now because he speaks to the gut-wrenching, stomach knot-tying fear and apprehension i have daily at the thought of the republicans winning in november. they are caught in lies every time they open their mouths, they manipulate the integrity of their opponents to come across as "victims;" they are classic abusers - lie, hit, kick, then apologize and sugar-coat. and seriously, if i hear sarah palin say one more time "thanks, but no thanks" about a bridge that she did, in fact, say "thanks, but no thanks, though i'll just keep that money" to, i will literally hurl. the republicans need to start letting her speak for herself at some point, because the news will run out of sound bites pretty quickly if she's embargoed to say only that she politely refused a bridge (false) or that she's a pitbull with lipstick (um, pitBULLY, maybe). and at this point, even the most unbiased news outlets are trying real hard to find something unbiased to say. (and if you follow that link to read the article, you'll notice a quote saying palin is popular because she's an "insurgent." yeah ... isn't that what we've been calling the iraqis? are they popular now, too?)

ugh. sorry. i know i said i would let this go, but i truly feel that information needs to get out. people need to be informed and educated about what we're up against; it's uneducated party-line voting that will bring this country to its knees. all i hear about the republicans is that they lie, and all i hear about the dems is that they are looking the other way - which faces the future. how is that a bad thing? seriously ... someone tell me!

oh, and here's matt damon:

i was ahead of my time. ha ha.

two years ago i read anderson cooper's blog and saw these comments that a senator named barack obama had said at a sojourner's rally, on being a liberal and a democrat and a christian, and how the democrats need to be okay with having faith instead of trying to be "not the other guy."

i loved what he said then, and i still love it now. and think, with all the stuff swirling around these days, that his words need to be revisited. (and yes ... at the time i said i would love to see him run in '08 but didn't think he'd be ready. well, since hillary was bumped, he's gonna have to be ready. and, quite honestly, he's more ready than a certain someone who says the iraq war is jihad ... and i'm not talking about the taliban.)

so here's the link to his speech and my response, from '06. what he said is worth the time it will take to click and read. and if your curiosity is piqued, here is the full transcript.

and now i'll get back to funny stories about the kids, photography, scrappy stuff, and other pointless yet moderately entertaining drivel.

oh, how i love this.

it says exactly what i've been mulling over for the past few days. why IS it, exactly, that the republicans spent more time belittling and making fun of the democrats than they did actually going about building their case for bringing change? (and yes, i will refrain from making the obvious observation here.) is it that they are so confident of their place in the country that they didn't feel the need to be more specific? or is it that they are scared and felt more confident in their skills of tearing someone else down than building themselves up with anemic words? anyway ... i'll let this guy say it well.

blogged by someone named darksyde:

"Can someone tell me what it is conservatives are so afraid will happen if Obama wins? They sure sound angry and terrified about the prospect, but why?

It can't be that they're afraid women will be suddenly awarded the right of reproductive choice; women already have it and the GOP did nothing to change that when given the chance of a lifetime. Fuel prices have tripled under the Republican reign, they seem fine with it, and so we have to assume that that worry is not a factor in the conservative calculus. Nor can they be legitimately concerned that democrats will vastly increase federal spending, or enact horrendously expensive new entitlement programs supported by taxes socializing healthcare costs and bar the government from benefiting from the cost saving magic of the free market. Nope, those horses have all fled the barn, no use closing the door now.

Maybe they're worried democrats will be vacationing, sound asleep at the switch, while the intel community frantically tries to warn them of a vast, pending terrorist attack that could kill thousands of innocent Americans. Some might even be concerned that democrats will exploit such a tragedy for personal political gain and still fail to capture or kill the criminal masterminds that planned it. Others might speculate Obama will respond by foolishly attacking the wrong nation on a false premise and get us embroiled in a trillion dollar bloody boondoggle that wrecks out military readiness, destroys our international credibility, and gets thousands of US soldiers and untold hundreds of thousands of innocent bystanders killed or maimed for life. Worst case scenario: after all that misery and money, weak willed democrats will roll over and hand a date for US failure to the insurgents in Iraq.

Then again, maybe conservatives are thinking closer to home. What if progressive economic policies wrecked the economy, rocked Wall Street, caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their homes and jobs, and turned over our national economic future to the tender mercies of fundamentalist Sunni Monarchs and the communist Chinese? Or expand government intrusiveness making toilet paper out of the US Constitution? Maybe, in their darkest fears, they're afraid democrats would foolishly go on vacation and ignore their responsibilities while a massive hurricane lumbers into the US coast at a slow jog and sinks a major American city.

At least one source of conservative anxiety is imminently plausible: Democrats might rescind tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas, divert corporate welfare from insanely profitable corporations to uninsured or sick children, raise taxes on billionaires and oil companies, and create a more equitable healthcare system. That such possibilities strike fear into the corrupt soul of conservatism says a lot more about their decedent priorities than the middle class values of their opponents.

I guess that's what confuses a lot of voters: Conservatives are worried that Democrats might do the same astonishingly lousy job Republicans have done for the last eight years. To avoid even the possibility that that might happen, conservatives prescribe electing more members from the same crew who wrecked the country, in what is clearly to any lucid external observer the ridiculous and desperate hope that the same party will fix it all by continuing, uninterrupted, the same policies that produced the damage in the first place. In the alternate reality fabricated by the seamlessly integrated conservative PR apparatus, this extension of the failed status quo is called change, in the rest of the world it's one of the better known definitions of insanity."


hillary rosen says what i'm feeling/fearing much more eloquently and much less "impassioned." i'll paste here, and then be done. for real this time.

"(CNN) -- Warning! This pundit isn't feeling the same way as many of my colleagues about Sarah Palin. She is being attacked for her lack of experience for the job and for whether she should be putting her family first instead of her career.

This just isn't that unusual in my book. And the more it goes on, the more uncomfortable I feel with that message.

Let's reflect. In her acceptance speech, we saw a woman who was compelling, charming and aggressively partisan. She succeeded in demonstrating that she is a regular mom who came to government to make a difference.

And she had that crowd in the convention hall eating out of her hands. Celebrity? It will be hard for the Republicans to attack Sen. Barack Obama for his celebrity now that they have one of their own.

A superstar of the radical right was made Wednesday night. And she may also have made some headway with those who buy her folksiness without knowing the extreme nature of her actual policy views. Read the transcript of Palin's speech

So where does this leave us as Democrats in making the case against Sarah Palin and her running mate for president? What is the choice now for the American people? There is a really strong case to be made against the McCain/Palin ticket and Democrats need to make it the right way, right away.

I am a woman who someone took a chance on several years ago when they gave me a job that had only previously been done by old white guys. Experience? How do you get any if no one takes a chance on you? And the decision to take a chance can be instinctive, as John McCain said.

And what about the argument that she is a negligent mother who will be distracted from her important role? I am a mother who constantly feels the pressure from others about whether I am fit to be a parent, whether I put my kids first often enough and whether my children get enough of my attention. Who has the right to judge my family?

My grandmother always said, "You can't tell time on someone else's clock." Judgments about people's personal lives are better left unsaid and unrealized.

So why then do I think that Sarah Palin would be a terrible vice president? Because I also think that John McCain would be a terrible president.

I don't care about how Sarah Palin or John McCain take care of their families. I care about how their policy choices affect my family and millions of other Americans.

McCain and Palin get their health insurance paid for by the government (hers in Alaska and his in Washington). Yet they oppose giving the nearly 46 million uninsured Americans the same access to affordable health care.

John McCain's kids don't have to worry about paying for college. Yet he has opposed every single education support program to help others.

McCain and Palin say they will stand up to oil companies. Yet the only energy policy they support gives millions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies to do more drilling and he has opposed every piece of federal legislation to explore alternative fuel sources.

McCain and Palin say they will revamp how Washington does business. Yet his campaign is filled with lobbyists and she has cooperated with Sen. Ted Stevens in funneling federal money for useless projects in Alaska for years. And McCain and Palin have no solutions for Americans worrying about their jobs in a fragile economy.

McCain and Palin want us to leave their families alone. Yet they want to make rules for our families by eliminating our right to make our own choices over abortion, eliminate our access to family planning education or domestic partner benefits, and our freedom from discrimination.

They want to control what our kids learn in school about sex and about science. In short, through the policies they promote and the judges they support, they want the government to have more control over our private lives than at any time in history.

McCain and Palin now say their campaign is about change, too. Yet the only real change they have proposed is a change from a suit to a skirt in the vice president's office and one man fighting a misplaced war for another in the Oval Office.

That seems to me to be the right reason to oppose them in November. It's not the process or the people, it's what they represent. This unconventional choice of a vice presidential nominee by John McCain won't result in a win in November, because McCain and Palin are the wrong choice for the country."


now that's just wrong.

it's no secret that i'm not exactly a republican. nor am i a big fan of prez bush and the way he's handled things. however, as i drive around the 'burbs and watch shows like the one i watched the other night, i'm getting increasingly incensed over how the real estate, mortgage lending, and building businesses have contributed to the declining economy ... i find them just as responsible as those backing war and shady business deals.

i see all these condo and townhouse communities being built ... but who's going to live there? there is a condo development going up in the heart of my suburb, a three phase project, and phase one, which has been finished for more than a year, is less than a quarter sold and yet they continue to build phases two and three.


and the other night i was watching "real estate confidential" on the fine living channel (i'm addicted to real estate shows), and there was this family looking into moving from their cramped apartment and into a house. but it couldn't be any house ... it had to be their dream house.

again, why?

what's wrong with moving up from house to house, building equity, living within your means, and taking your time? why do 30 year olds need their dream house from day one?

but anyway, they were working with a real estate agent and looking into new construction. and the agent took them through the model home. she pointed out all the things that were upgrades. at the conclusion, the wife and husband put down money and said "deal!"

as they picked out all the upgrades, they were told only once or twice how much something was ... but the agent followed it up with, "oh, but that would only add a few dollars to your mortgage each month." so they just kept picking.

at the end of the day, they were $10,000 over budget. working the numbers, the husband finally said they couldn't do it unless they changed some options. the wife, though, was in accordance with the agent. she said, "if i can't have it the way i want it, i don't want it." the agent had been telling them it's more cost effective to select the upgrades upfront rather than waiting and changing something down the line after the house is built.

now, that may be true, but what about saving up for a bathroom revamp? or to upgrade kitchen counters?

when it was all said and done, the husband caved and they bought the house with all the options. and the agent's last words? "i'm so glad they went ahead and chose to go just outside their budget. they'll be so much happier with the final house."

but are they taking into consideration new furniture? landscaping? utilities? taxes and insurance?

it's the attitude of "i want what i want or i want nothing at all" and "just go ahead and spend the money you don't have to get what you want" that's pushing this country into a recession. people are not thinking smart about their money! what's wrong with looking at your finances, being realistic about what you can logically spend each month, and then figuring out what THAT number translates into in a loan amount? what the bank says a couple could spend isn't necessarily what they SHOULD spend. i wouldn't be surprised at all to find out later that the family on that show is now a foreclosure statistic.

it's just so aggravating. the people who live within their means and are practical about their finances are the ones being hurt by the carelessness of lenders and brokers and buyers who just couldn't wait for their Dream House. and yet more houses are going up every day. what's the point? to live in a city with no green space, a high percentage of vacancies, and a huge interest rate? no thanks. there's got to be a better idea out there somewhere.