Thursday, December 18, 2008

What are you doing here?

That is probably the second most common question I'm asked. People come to my cubicle, see my Obama buttons (two, I'm tasteful) and my picture of Obama and Biden from the convention (not as tasteful, but cool to me), and they immediately forget what they came to talk about, instead asking me "You're a liberal? What are you doing here?"

See, I'm in the Navy and apparently, being a liberal in the military makes me a total freak. I usually just let it slide, but with the new year, and the impending inauguration, I've decided to change my attitude. No more shrugging it off. No. From now on, I'm going to take on these douchebags (nicely,if they out-rank me). As far as I can tell, the only people that have actually defended the Constitution in the past eight years have been liberal. Torture? Conservatives. Wiretapping? Conservatives again? I mean, Bush was the one who said the Constitution is "just a piece of paper." So, fuck conservatives. They suck at defending the Constitution.

I'd like to say that I have no idea why conservatives have felt that they own the military, but that's not exactly true, and this article does a pretty good job of explaining what drives the conservative mind ("fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity"). Well, I'd say that pretty much sums up the military. That, and they can be protected from "the gays." I guess it makes sense that conservatives would be attracted to the military environment. And there's guns, so many guns!!!

The past eight years have been a Bush love-fest. It's gross. He can do no wrong and I've endured way too many "discussions" about how going into Iraq was the right thing to do. But, I can feel the pendulum swinging back in the other direction. For people that have taken the "support the president or fuck off" attitude, they're surprisingly ready to shed that mentality. Ok, it's not surprising, but it's so hypocritical, it makes my head spin!

Well, I've been supporting the Constitution all along. It's not about the President, and it never should have been. So, you want to know what I'm doing here? The same thing I've always been doing here: exercising my right to serve my country and defend the Constitution. If you don't like that, well, fuck off.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Addicted to Religion

I just want to preface this by saying that I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I haven’t even taken the “standard” college psych class. I’m just writing from my observations and experiences. So, on with the show…

I have this theory that everyone is addicted to something. Alcohol and drugs are the common ideas that pop into people’s minds because those are addictions that cause chemical dependency, but there are many more addictions and they’re only driven by one chemical: dopamine. Gambling, shopping, BASE jumping, sex, food, hell, even politics (c’mon, you know you’ve gotten a “rush” from a heated debate and totally trouncing your freeper cousin). We’re all after that feeling of total awesomeness. It’s not that our compulsive society drives these addictions, but that our need for satisfaction drives the compulsive society.

Addictions can be treated, but the need for that next rush never goes away. my observation is that people “trade” one addiction for the next. I have a family member that is a gambler. After attending Gamblers Anonymous, he gained about 60lbs. He loves food. Well, he loves eating. It’s that rush. It makes him feel good. I’m sure everyone knows someone who has traded one addiction for another (maybe it’s you); food for exercise, gambling for shopping, alcohol for God. Yea, I said it. People don’t stop being addicted, they just focus their addiction on something else.

How many people do you know that found God after battling an addiction or rough spot? I know a lot. After all, most born-agains have the “My life was crazy until I found God” story. And, it’s not just Christian God. We all know people who have converted to another religion and became fanatics. Well, I’d like to replace the word “fanatic” with “addict.” I believe that the religious fanaticism in this country is not about God at all, but about addiction.

Think about it. Is there another explanation for religious fanatics? They’re addicted to feeling righteous, to feeling superior. But, beyond that, they display all the signs of addiction. Here are some general signs of drug use from the Mayo Clinic:

• Feeling that you need the drug regularly and, in some cases, many times a day
• Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
• Feeling that you need the drug to deal with your problems
• Driving or doing other activities that place you and others at risk of physical harm when you're under the influence of the drug

And my personal favorite (from the Hallucinogens section):

• Greatly impaired perception of reality

Interestingly, neglect and abuse were not listed, but from my own experiences with addicts, these are classic symptoms.

Religion can absolutely be substituted for drug in many of these cases: daily church attendance, not being able to go without church, feeling that only God can handle your problems, denying medical care to people because of religion. The impared perception of reality speaks for itself. We can plainly see that religious fanatics are not operating in the same dimension as the rest of the world. These are signs of addiction. I went to college with a girl who became “born again” and she used to pray that God would give her ideas for her assignments. She’d waste hours waiting for signs instead of just writing the paper. I thought she was just crazy, when in reality, she was an addict.

Maybe it’s too controversial to suggest that people can be addicted to religion, but I’m pretty sure that if scientific studies were conducted on the dopamine levels of religious fanatics, they would bear strikingly similar results to those of recognized addicts. Religious addiction is damaging our society, our Constitution, and it, more than anything else, drives a wedge between us and keeps us from moving forward as a people.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How can I say this?? You're wrong

So, I saw this the other day and laughed:

First of all, it's funny, but more importantly, it's true. I'm so sick and tired of having to defend equality. I'm sick of the Prop H8-ers, of the fundies, of the "civil unions are ok" people. No. Separate is not equal and marriage is a state institution. You and your partner can go into a church (or house of worship) and say your vows, but without a marriage license, you're not married. Conversely, you can go to town hall and say your vows before a judge or clerk, never set foot in a church, and be married.

So really, let's just get this equality thing on the books and everyone chill the fuck out. Civil unions are not equal. And, I don't really understand this thinking at all. Marriage is not car insurance. You can't pick the features you want. You're either married or you're not. It's very simple.

One reason this issue touches me is because my parents are an interracial couple and married only four years after Loving v Virginia. They endured hell to date and my mom, who's white, was shunned by her mother (didn't attend the wedding, never met or wanted to meet me, her oldest grandchild). People are people, rights are rights, and to quote Loving v Virginia, "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,'..." So, to all those people out there who are opposed to gay marriage: You're wrong. Go worry about your own lives and stay out of everyone else's.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Am A Liberal Because...

So, I just hung up the my picture of Obama and Biden that I received after donating to the DNC. I have this overwhelming sense of pride every time I look at the picture, and I though "I am so proud to be a liberal." But, I started to ask myself why am I liberal in the first place. So much of the last eight years have put liberalism in a context as against Bush and his administration. Yes, we are against many (all) of the things that W has done, but we are for more than we are against. And we stand for a lot.

* I am a liberal because I believe that America can only succeed when we include everyone in our process and our consideration.

* I am a liberal because I believe that success does not come from the top down, but from the bottom up. When the lives of those who are struggling the most are improved, we all benefit. America is the land of opportunity, but everyone is not born with the same access. We can change that.

* I am a liberal because I believe that the government has an obligation to take care of its people. Health Care and Education are a right, not a privilege.

* I am a liberal because I am not afraid to deal in reality. Sex is a reality. Unwanted pregnancy is a reality. We cannot solve the problem if we pretend it does not exist. Education is the key.

* I am a liberal because I believe in every right provided in the Bill of Rights. I also believe in the safety of the greater community. It's illegal to yell "fire" or "bomb" in a crowded building and I'm ok with that. You're not hunting with an assault rifle, so let's be reasonable about how far our right to do anything really goes.

* I am a liberal because I believe in the rule of law, man's laws. You can practice whatever religion you want, just don't expect me to follow your religion or its "laws."

* I am a liberal because I believe that when the government is run by good people, it can do great things. When there are bad people in charge, terrible things happen.

* I am a liberal because I believe in an economy that respects the strength of the individual not the influence of the corporation. Without individuals, every corporation fails.

* I am a liberal because I believe America is part of the global community. We cannot expect to hold influence if we don't also take responsibility. We are all partners and every nation shares in the future of this world.

* I am a liberal because I believe that power and military strength are not the same thing. I would rather speak softly and carry a big stick. Potential to act can be just as influential as the action itself.

* I am a liberal because I appreciate nuance and gray area. Life is rarely simple, and I accept that.

* I am a liberal because I believe that every person is equal regardless of the money they have or the place they live, I believe in a government by, of, and for the people, and that the future can only be better if we work to make it so.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Make no mistake, tomorrow is not the end. It is the beginning.

I would just like to start out an say that I am so proud of the Democrats this year. We always knew we could run a better campaign, that we didn't need Karl Rove and fear tactics to win. We haven't won yet. I'm not counting those chickens. But, we are on the offensive, fighting Republicans on "their" turf. We are going into this ahead, in the best position we've seen in years.

And, thank you, all of those that have volunteered these past 20 months. Not just to those that have volunteered for Obama. Personally, I began this political season in the Edwards camp. But, from the beginning, we have been charged up. We have been ready to put our hearts and souls into electing a Democrat. We have put our divisions behind us and come together around Senators Obama and Biden.

When the votes are counted tomorrow (or next week), we will have our next president, and I believe we will have President Obama.

But, please, don't think the fight is over tomorrow.

This election is round one. The next four years will see an organized, vocal and aggressive Republican minority. They will push back against every plan we have for fixing America. They will not yield to our majority as so many Democrats yielded to them.

Make no mistake, tomorrow is just the beginning. We will need all of our strength, all of our grassroots networks to continue to be mobilized. We need to continue to speak out and support everything we have worked so hard for. After tomorrow, we will have the chance to see our dreams become reality. Fox and Rush and Bill-O will be feeding the fires of their followers. We must continue to outshine them. We must drag them kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. They will hate it and us for it, but it is the only way to fix America.

Barack Obama could not have gotten this far without us. He will not get any further without us. Please, celebrate tomorrow, relax on Wednesday and come back ready for round two on Thursday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let's Talk About Taxes

So, it's been, what, a week since the "Joe the Plumber" debacle at the debate, and I think it's fair to say that taxes are the most misunderstood issue in an election. Here we are, a nation fighting two wars (which is another issue entirely, but here we are), facing crippling economic slowdown and at an environmental precipice. How the party of "limited government interaction" got us to this point I'll never know, but these are problems where the government is either the only solution (war) or the likely leader of a solution.

I'm not for irresponsible government spending, but something's gotta give. Either government spending must come down drastically or the government must raise more income. What we have now is fiscal malfeasance at its absolute worst.

Now we have Republicans continuing to label Democrats as tax-and-spend. This will be the only time you ever hear me quote Cheney seriously, but "so?" In my view, a fiscal conservative is not someone who says they support small government but then goes and spends more than any administration in history. A true fiscal conservative spends what money they have, regardless of how much it actually is.

But, more importantly, who exactly are we taxing? It's misleading to say that only a certain type of tax scheme is "wealth redistribution." All tax schemes distribute wealth, plain and simple. The idea that somehow the wealth is going to trickle down has been proven false, not once, but twice now.

So, here are my thoughts. Any business person who believes that tax cuts are the best way to grow a business deserves to go under. These excessive tax cuts and rebates for businesses are nothing but corporate welfare. The best, and really only, way to grow a business is to sell more of your product. And, the only way to sell more is if people can buy more. So, doesn't it make more sense to keep the money in the hands of the people who spend it. Instead, with gas and food prices up 300 to 400%, people are struggling to cover their basic needs. They're not buying anything that's not a necessity.

I read a great piece on dkos (that I can't find anymore) that discussed the strength of the economy is in the rate at which money changes hands. It's like comparing the pulmonary system of a couch potato versus that of a triathlete. Right now, this economy is sluggish, slow and out of shape. We don't even have the energy to get off the couch, much less go for a run. And why is that? Probably because the last eight years have not been geared at truly growing our economy. Sure, there were shots in the arm, but we all know that steroids do more damage in the long run. The Bush tax plan was like steroids at the beginning, but the strength wasn't real and now we're suffering from crippling damage.

So, what do we need to do? Well, a good start would be to stop wasting $10-12 billion per month in Iraq and an increasing amount in Afghanistan. And then what? We need to keep the money in the hands of the people who drive this economy. So, rich people, sorry (not really), but you're heyday is over. You didn't hold up your end of the "trickle down" economy theory, so now we're going to go for the "trickle up" theory. I believe that when the many succeed, we all succeed. It's not socialism or communism, it's common sense.

There is a saying in the Navy that goes, essentially, "On the strength of one link in the cable, depends the might of the chain." Well, right now we have a lot of weak links in our economic chain. Strengthening those links would strengthen our economy. It's time to go back to REAL responsible government, a Democratic government.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Is There Anything Left To Say?

I have to admit, I was kind of excited (hm, I don’t know if that’s the right word) on September 15th. It was really a turning point in this election. Finally, we were able to stop talking about pigs and lipstick and feigned sexism. We had real problems on our hands, and the candidates were given a chance to speak on real issues. I didn’t want to be one of those people using negative economic events to Democratic advantage, but there I was.

In the generic polls, Democrats had a lead in economic issues, and Obama was able to capitalize on that. He was smart, thoughtful and presidential. McCain looked schizophrenic, unsteady, totally unsure, and definitely not presidential. We were back on top and I felt so good. It’s entirely possible that I spent a lot of time gloating to my Republican coworkers. After all, it was their stupid greed and legislation that put the grease in that fire.

And then the bailout came along. Oh the free for all; hardcore capitalists and libertarians now begging for a big government band-aid. What irony. Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. Admittedly, I was undecided on the bailout. I saw both sides of the issue, and, while I’d rather give $2,300 of my tax money for universal health care than bailing out Wall St, I don’t want to see America slip into a depression.

So, now the bill failed. Are Republican hurt feelings to blame? Was it a bad plan? Will the economy survive without the bailout?

But, I’m not feeling so good about this now. Obama’s got a strong lead, but how will this affect the next presidency? After January 20th, all the fingers are going to be pointing at that administration. I don’t think that Republicans can clean up this mess, considering how their policies and greed got us here, but the opportunity for a brilliant Democratic administration has been stolen by this crisis. Of course, I think a McCain administration would be far worse for America. I’m just sad for the fact that a Democratic President will be harangued by the blunders of a disastrous Republican administration. I believe that Obama will prevail, but it won’t be easy. And the Republicans will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future. It’s going to be ugly.

This is just a really fucking depressing situation.

At least we can still be sure of one thing. John McCain is a complete joke. First of all, the suspension of his campaign (that was not actually a suspension) was probably the most absurd thing that’s happened in modern politics (except for the choice of Palin as a running mate). Who does that? Obviously it was a stunt, but maybe he should have double-checked the choreography. And even though McCain has been for and against and for the bailout, he was busy taking credit for its passage…before it failed. Maybe he shouldn’t have counted those chickens. So now is he taking the blame for the failure? Obviously he didn’t secure Republican support. But, it continues the image of his campaign as a circus. That, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin (he’s a moron…not even the high-functioning type).

Should have put my money under my mattress…

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Enough! This Election Is NOT About Obama

Is America regressing? Seriously. What is going on with this election?

In our personal lives we change jobs, dump boyfriends and return products when they don’t live up to our expectations. Why don’t we do the same when it comes to our politics?

This election is not about Barack Obama. It is about whether or not we as Americans want to turn our backs on the failures of the past eight years and make positive progress towards a better future. It’s about reining in the corporate interests that have poisoned our economy and restoring trust in America both at home and abroad.

The past eight years have been fraught with lies, destruction, and greed. Like a cheating spouse that begs for forgiveness yet again, John McCain pleads with the American people that he is the agent of change. McCain holds Sarah Palin aloft as evidence that he is different now, different than “those” Republicans. He swears it won’t happen again because he’s learned his lesson. No matter that, since his crushing defeat at the hands of Karl Rove in 2000, his voting record shows that he votes with Bush Administration more than a majority of the time (when he manages to show up). And make no mistake, Sarah Palin isn’t a pitbull in lipstick, she’s Dick Cheney in drag…and probably a better shot.

John McCain may not think you’re stupid (that’s the purview of Karl Rove and Steve Schmidt), but he thinks you’re forgiving. He thinks that if he pleads long enough and hard enough, you’ll forgive his transgressions and give him and his friends (because, let’s be honest, John McCain is bought and paid for) just four more years. Of course, John McCain’s friends also think that your suffering is part of a mental recession and that because Americans can go to an emergency room, there's no such thing as an uninsured American.

Reality provides a different look at the situation for Americans. McCain knows this so he wants to shift the debate (and thanks to our spineless media, he’s been able to). He doesn’t want this election to be about the issues or the problems that Americans are facing. He doesn’t want to talk about the economy or the war in Iraq (the Surge is ok though); he doesn’t want to talk about renewable energy or the soaring deficit. Because he knows he will lose if Americans demand an explanation for the last eight years. He knows he will lose when people ask him “How will you help us?” and he has no answer. No, John McCain wants to make this election about Barack Obama. Just look at his ads. Doesn't look like the "respectful campaign" he promised, does it? A majority of McCain’s ads focus on Obama because McCain is attempting to force the debate away from the real issues of this election. The fact that these ads are largely based on falsehoods is lost on most Americans (thanks again, “journalists”).

Now, conservatives will point to the fact that Democrats have been in control of Congress since January 2007 and, by that simple fact, it means that they are somehow responsible for our current situation. But, until one of those yammering heads can point to what legislation, exactly, the Democrats have passed that would have caused this, their argument is moot. Unfortunately, the Dems in Congress have capitulated on every issue. They haven’t forced an end to the war in Iraq, they haven’t repealed the Bush tax cuts or ended oil subsidies, they caved on FISA. And they took impeachment off the table, right up front.

Now, in the rare instance where Congress manages to pass meaningful legislation that would actually help Americans, such as Children’s Health Insurance or enforcing the Eighth Amendment by banning torture or improving the Medicare system, Bush goes and vetoes it. So, next time your child has to go without medical care or you hear of Americans being tortured as retaliation for the torture at Guantanamo, don’t look at this Congress. Cast your disapproving eye to the Republicans who refuse to actually help Americans.

So, in the words of Barack Obama: Enough!

Enough with this fake-outrage BS. Enough with the circus and non-issues. I don’t care who is wearing lipstick or which side can feign outrage faster. This has crossed the line from tedious to ridiculous. This election is not about Barack Obama. It’s about the crises that have been created in the last eight years and what we are going to do to reverse the damage. If you think the Constitution can stand one more pass through the shredder, then go ahead and vote for the old guy who keeps changing his positions and his fundamentalist sidekick. I, personally, like the First Amendment and want to keep it around. After these last eight years, I’m going with the Constitutional Law professor and the Senator with the history of real progress.

(This pretty much sums it up)

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Burden of Sacrificing Everything

Let’s be honest – life is full of unpleasant experiences. We learn early on about coping mechanisms for life’s great devastations.

Life is not gentle – gracing us early with that unspeakable break up during the eighth grade dance – and it only gets worse from there. And although we all like lemonade a lot better than lemons – making the analogy work isn’t always that easy.

Life teaches us early on about the importance of coping, of grieving, of recovering, and most importantly – of growing. And as embarrassing as they may be, our stumbles really do make us smarter, and wiser.

This weekend, in the midst of sorting through my emotional confusion regarding the Republican announcement of their Vice Presidential candidate, I was reminded of my own middle school dance break up – and the heartbreak that followed. I was reminded of life’s recovery process – and what we learn along the way as we battle life’s curve balls.

Life teaches you about the five stages of grief:


On the morning of August 29th – as we sat in horror watching Senator McCain stumble through the announcement of his Vice Presidential running mate, many of us plunged into denial – praying, hoping, and pleading that we were victims of a sick political joke. It seemed nearly impossible that Governor Sarah Palin was qualified for the position. She was barely even “googleable.”

When denial wasn’t enough – we became angry – angry that such a pandering, nonsensical choice would be considered – let alone selected.

And then we bargained. We told ourselves, “…Maybe she is qualified.” And so we searched. We checked her record – we wanted to believe – but we couldn’t – because as a mayor of a town numbering less that 9,000 people and as a Governor for shy of 2 years, there was hardly a record to check.

Depression settled in across America this weekend. We looked at ourselves in the mirror. We asked, “Has it come to this? Is this what we’ve become?”

Today, I’ve left depression behind me and I’ve accepted. I’ve accepted that the Republicans and their poor, selfish policies, with their inadequate, condescending leaders, finally broke down their own immoral restraints.

Pain may not always be pleasant, but it makes us tougher – and the events of this past weekend have made me a better, more resilient Democrat. I’ll no longer allow myself to be surprised or shocked by Mc-Cheney-Bush’s ruthless political agenda. My skin is thick – they can’t make me angry any longer. I won’t let them.

I’m grateful for the snot-nosed eighth grader that broke my heart that night on the gymnasium floor during the dance. My heart is stronger – and I’ve learned. I’m a better, tougher woman because of that kid.

And I’m grateful for women like Sarah Palin – who chose to sacrifice her own integrity – her own pride as a woman – simply to fulfill a political agenda.

On Friday, August 29th – I was reminded once again – that a woman’s greatest enemy isn’t that eighth grade kid on that gymnasium floor.

A woman’s greatest enemy is herself.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dave Chappelle Was Right...

I’m having a hard time with this presidential campaign. Not that it’s unexpected, but this is such an outrageously lopsided debate that it makes me want to tear my hair out. Luckily, I’ve been busy with one of the local campaigns, but I’ve decided to come back and address some things.

I’ve heard many times that Barack Obama doesn’t “deserve” to be president. Honestly, no one deserves to be president; people have to earn it. Hillary Clinton thought she deserved to be the Democratic nominee and look what happened to her. Just because you’ve been around for a while doesn’t mean you’re entitled to anything. All achievement must be constantly earned. But, I interpret this comment against Obama two ways.

One, Barack Obama is too young to be president, like there’s some sort of line that every person is in based on age (so, I guess McCain (JSM3) would be at the head of the line). But, like the policy of promotions based on time instead of skill, you won’t end up with the most qualified candidate, just the oldest one. McCain’s been in DC for 26 years and has contributed more to the problems than the solutions, especially in recent years. JSM3 is so entrenched in DC that he’s blinded by reality. Perhaps he should just retire? But this “too young” argument really loses legs considering that Obama can join the AARP in three years. Let’s not act like he’s a child. He’s actually in the prime of his life, with the energy and enthusiasm necessary for the hardest job on earth.

Two, Obama is black. Yea, I’ll say it. Rush Limbaugh was thisclose to dropping the N-word on Obama yesterday (“little black man-child” is pretty damn close). And, every time the Republicans say they don’t want to make this about race, they bring up race and make it about race. So, somehow a Harvard-educated man who is actually of mixed-race cannot be president? Welcome to the 21st century Republicans. I know you’ve spent the past 60 years oppressing minorities, but some manage to slip through and succeed. Weird.

Of course, Dave Chappelle had it right. In my favorite political skit of all time, Chappelle imagines what would have happened if Bush was Black (ok, not just black, but the worst of all African-American stereotypes). It’s hilarious. But, sadly, it’s true. Obama is getting grilled, while McCain gets a free pass (I know I’ve mentioned this media study, but it’s quite shocking). So, race is an issue, and it’s clouding the real issues in this election.

But, on the flip side of the idea that Obama doesn’t deserve the presidency is the idea that somehow John McCain does. So, I thought it would be prudent to look at what JSM3 has done with the other entitlements in his life.

1) John McCain goes to the Naval Academy. Thanks to his father and grandfather, both admirals (or, as the Navy calls them DADmirals), John Sidney the Third was able to circumvent the application process (which is currently in the top 1% of selectivity). So, of course, with an opportunity like that, there’s nothing left to do but squander it. Which McCain did with flying colors. As we all know by now, JSM3 had to call on his father numerous times just to keep him at the Academy. And, we’re all familiar with the number 894 (as in, McCain’s rank out of 899 graduates). Super.

2) John McCain becomes a pilot. Being a pilot is cool. Most people will admit that. However, at the Naval Academy, it’s also well known that in order to become a pilot, one has to work hard an prove that they have respect for the Navy’s time and money. Well, almost everybody. Even though he graduated at the bottom of his class, McCain managed to be selected as a Naval Aviator (I imagine it had something to do with his DADmiral). And again, it was a squandered opportunity. McCain wasn’t just a poor pilot. He sucked. In his time, he crashed five airplanes. I graduated with a kid who was in flight school and came up short on the runway. Guess what? He’s not in flight school any more. He didn’t crash the plane, but he made a serious mistake. So serious that the Navy determined he was no longer eligible to be a pilot. This leads me to the belief that not only did JSM3 believe he was entitled to a prestigious aviation billet, but that nothing should keep him from continuing, even after repeated fuck ups.

3) John McCain cheats on his first wife. Apparently, in McCain’s world, he’s also entitled to a beautiful, wealthy wife. Good thing he married a model. Too bad she was in a devastating car accident. Even though she stayed with him and kept the vigil for him while he was a POW, that apparently doesn’t count. None of that “for better or worse” crap for JSM3. He just wanted better. So, he went out and got himself better. Thirty-four days after officially divorcing his first wife, JSM3 picked up the newer, faster model. I’m not going to judge the age difference, but I am going to judge the 34 days courtship. You know that saying, “once a cheater, always a cheater?” Is that the judgment we need (new slogan: JSM3=Me first)?

4) John McCain goes to the Senate. Ha, ok well, he was elected. Going to work is another question entirely. And, I know I’ve talked about his horrific attendance record before, but it’s very troubling to me. Why would someone who so blatantly shirked his responsibilities be deserving of the Presidency?

I’m really just disgusted with the way this campaign is being handled, though it’s really no different than any other. Unfortunately, we can’t just throw in the towel. We have to redouble our efforts to expose the truth about JSM3: he’s a temperamental hot-head who believes that he’s entitled to anything he wants. He may deride Obama’s ambition, but what of his own? Whatever JSM3 wants, someone in his family has given him. Where has his work been? What has he earned?

So, I’ll leave you with this quote (though from a non-traditional source): According to one classmate, "being on liberty with John McCain was like being in a train wreck." It is unclear what being with McCain during his presidency would be like for the nation. Unfortunately, America has no direct experience from which to draw with a president who was a temperamental son of a distinguished military man and who in college was a temperamental fuck-up who liked to party. What could possibly be so dangerous about that?

Hm, I wonder??

Monday, August 4, 2008

Be The Tidal Wave

Most people would assume that because I'm in the military, the War in Iraq/Global War on Terror (actually, I just wanted an excuse to use the acronym GWOT...G-WOT!!) is the most important issue to me in this election. And, honestly, I have been trying to pin down exactly what is the most important issue to me.

The War(s)? Possibly.

Energy? Also a good choice.

The Economy? Definitely in dire straits and in need of attention.

Health Care? The Right to Choose? Prosecuting the Wackos who've held this country hostage for eight years?

So, I mulled this over (and over again), and I finally came up with my answer. The most important issue in this election is...the election itself!

Surprised? I was, too. But, when you think about it, it makes sense. Here we are, talking about who's going to change (or not change, as the case may be) things around here, but nothing is going to happen if we don't have a successful election (by "we" I mean Democrats...and by extension, America). If we don't get the issues out there and talk about them in a way that's meaningful to Americans. If we don't honestly talk about what went wrong, what's still going wrong, and what could go wrong in the future. As well as what we are doing, and can continue to do, right.

You know, it's only August and already this campaign has taken a ridiculous turn. I suppose it's not unexpected, but it's completely unnecessary. John McCain (who is the worst candidate on earth) refuses to tell the truth about anythign, especially himself. He refuses to talk about the issues, adn instead, takes a road so low it's practically a tunnel.

And no one is going to stop him. The people should be pissed!! I'm completely insulted by McCain's campaign. To stoop so low and shirk the issues is NOT worthy of the American people's time or money. It's why American politics are a joke around the world, and why, if McCain is elected, America will continue to loose standing across the world (hard to imagine, but completely possible).

And, it's why we can't do enough this year. It's not enough to sit here and chat about it. It's not enough to send money (unless that's really all you can do). We all need to put our blood, sweat and tears into this election, from the top of the ticket to the bottom. WE need to be the force behind the change. Like Obama said, "he's just a symbol." The change has to come from us. We must demand that change. The people must be the ones who are driving this democracy. It's been hijacked and it's time for us to take back control.

So, in the interest of the election, I've started volunteering for one of the local campaigns. We don't need another Republican to come in here and privatize the city government. We don't need another politician who's going to make a profit off of the suffering of others. On November 4th, I'm not going to be sitting at home (or in a bar) wishing I did more. I'm going to be celebrating, knowing I did all I could for this democracy.

A drop of water may be small on its own, but millions of drops combined can form a tidal wave. Obama is just the catalyst, we are the true force of change.

Monday, July 28, 2008

John McCain Needs Equal Media Coverage? Sounds Good To Me...

That John McCain is the worst candidate in this election is an axiom. There’s no way else to say it. Everything is says and does is confusing, wrong or false (or some combination of the three). And, yet, he keeps hanging on. Why? Well, as we’ve been made painfully aware, the media is essentially keeping him in this race by preventing any substantive discussion.

Don’t believe me? Well, let’s look at Exhibit A: The study released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. This study shows that in the first six weeks of the general election, the “liberal media” was actually harder on Obama. Yea, you read that right. So all you “liberal media” conspiracy theorists can just throw that crap out the window. In the evening news broadcasts, a mere 28% of stories about Obama were positive and the whopping 72% remaining were negative. As for McCain, he faired much better, with an essentially equal 43% positive and 57% negative showing. So, any claim that the media is simply presenting stories, and not specific viewpoints, is not true.

And, for Exhibit B, we’ll look at the fact that in a recent interview, CBS covered for McCain when he made a glaring mistake, especially considering that “the surge” is his area of expertise, so to speak. Instead of airing the mistake and letting the people discuss this fact, CBS edited in an answer to a previous question, an answer where McCain impugns Obama’s motives with more lies.

But, John McCain still whines that the media is unfair to him. He’s not satisfied with significantly more positive coverage, he wants equal time, too. Well, John, in case no one has mentioned this to you, you actually have to do something newsworthy to make the news. So, while you’re opponent is meeting with cheering crowds of hundreds of thousands around the world (at your urging, none the less), you’re knocking over applesauce and checking your notes for a price of milk in Pennsylvania. And then you're complaining about unfair coverage. C’mon John, you’re supposed to be the candidate of “experience” and “wisdom,” yet you’re stomping and pouting like a child. Is this how you’re going to handle the presidency?

And then you go and run “the ad.” You know what ad I’m talking about, the ad that completely goes against the “clean campaign” you promised to run. And, shit, John, you didn’t even have a 527 do it. You approved these falsehoods all on your own. Wow! It’s the one that only aired on national TV like four times, but has been on loop on all the news networks today. But, were the talking heads debunking the falsehood-laced ad? Not a chance. MSNBC made a feeble attempt during the day, but it wasn’t until Countdown that the whole truth came out. Shall we speak those truths? Yeah, I think so.

1) First, and most importantly, Obama never planned to make the Landstuhl trip a media fanfare. It was simply going to be a trip to visit the soldiers, just as similar trips in Afghanistan and Iraq were. However, the Pentagon labeled Obama’s trip a campaign event and did not allow advisors. Or specifically, one advisor: retired Air Force Major General Gration. But please, feel free to look further into who the Pentagon official responsible for the trip blunder is. It’s hilarious…you’ll never see it coming!
2) The full Senate Foreign Relations Committee has held three hearings on Afghanistan, and Obama did attend one of those. Let’s also bear in mind that he’s a member, not a chair (and, please, McCainiacs, bring up your candidate’s attendance record. We’ll compare).
3) And, let’s clarify what kind of years we’re talking about. Decades? No. Try two and a half years. And, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, like email and “the google,” we can all know what’s going on there every single day.

And, then of course, there are the lies that McCain tells about himself…in the same ad! McCain claims he's always supported the troops, but his actual voting record shows something different:
1) In mid-2007, McCain had only shown up for four of the previous 14 votes on Iraq.
2) In 2008, that number is zero. In fact, McCain hasn’t cast a vote in the Senate since April 8th. Not for FISA, not for Medicare, and not even for the GI Bill (which he and Bush opposed).
3) April 2003, McCain tabled a motion to provide over $1 billion in National Guard and Reserve equipment (brings a new meaning to BYO).
4) October 2003, McCain tabled a motion to provide an additional $233 million for safety equipment.
5) March 2004, McCain voted. He voted against closing tax loopholes that would have provided an additional $1.8 billion in veterans’ care.
6) March 2004, McCain voted against closing corporate tax loopholes that would have provided and additional $1.5 billion for veterans’ care.
7) April 2006, McCain voted against an extra $430 million for veteran outpatient care.

Sensing a pattern here? Ok, well I’ll continue then.

8) May 2006, McCain voted against $20 million for veteran health care facilities.
9) March 2007, McCain did not show up to vote on a bill to redeploy troops from Iraq in 2008.
10) September 2007, McCain voted against an amendment for minimum rest time between deployments.

And that was pretty much the last time McCain showed up to vote on anything (scroll down for a post that discusses his attendance record in depth). Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a D on his voting record. Obama received an B+. Disabled American Veterans gave McCain a 20% rating on his voting record, while Obama received an 80% rating. There's a difference in being a veteran and actually supporting veterans.

So, John McCain wants more equal media coverage, and I think he deserves it. Let’s write to all the media outlets and demand that they cover McCain the same way they cover Obama. Let’s see the pundits hack apart McCain’s gaffes hour after endless hour. Let’s see them call for him to do something, and then when he does it, let’s see them call him presumptuous. Let’s see him handle the pressure of true political discourse. Actually, it’s hard enough watching him now, I don’t know if I could really stomach any more. But, I suppose I can, and gladly will, in the name of democracy.


The August issue of Vogue demands an end to the spandex leggings era of last season, favoring the rebirth of the high-waisted, wide-leg trouser. Thus, as soon as the weather turns cool, women throughout Manhattan will rush to the store fronts of Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus in search of this fashion frenzy. And of course, the craze will pulse from New York to LA and back to Chicago – infiltrating the shopping malls of middle-America until our twelve year old daughters in North Dakota are wearing these new pants.

Why? Because Vogue says so.

America thrives on trendy – new habits and styles are adopted and discarded like dirty socks. And so it follows that this obsession with the cool and chic has transcended fashion and media into a medium once monopolized by old, wrinkled white men – American politics.

Political awareness has become the latest fad. Couples on first dates at trendy martini bars smile coyly at one other, softly questioning, “So…Obama or McCain?”

Life is full of casual choices:
Red or white wine?
Red Sox or Yankees?
Light or dark beer?
And so it follows that the Obama / McCain controversy has become the latest trendy social debate.

Today, political choice trumps religion, wealth, and status. It’s become a source of social identity. In fact, while on a first date last week, a nice Jewish man said to me, “Listen, I don’t care that you’re Catholic….I just care that you’re not voting for McCain.”

And although Anna Wintour hasn’t proclaimed Obama as the next big trend, many other media avenues have been fearless in their endorsement. Barack Obama has become the epitome of cool; he’s the human equivalent of the Toyota Hybrid Prius, fusion resturants, the Mac computer and the Blackberry.

Because Americans love what is cool, Americans love Obama. Let’s face it – the man is trendy. Not only is he young, hip, and charming, but his wife is a rockstar. The Barack-Michelle ‘fist-bump' has permeated social coolness: first on the political podium, then on the set of day-time television’s The View, and now on Wall Street’s trading floor. Just last week, USA Today ran an article entitled, “Can the Fist Bump Mix with Business?”

As Frank Rich (NY Times) claims, “Obama-branded change is snowballing, whether it’s change you happen to believe in or not.” McCain will either need to reinvent himself, or admit to being last year’s leggings. Either way, those wide-leg trousers are looking pretty appealing to me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Objection! Leading the Voter: How the GOP Stifles American Political Debate

I know I’ve said it before, but I just can’t resist it: These people are scared S**tless. What people, you might ask? Well, the GOP, of course. And why are they scared? Because they lose on every issue that is important to Americans today.

It’s unfortunate that the GOP is so scared of true debate. Why must they always ignore the facts, spin the truth, and point fingers at their opponents? It’s tiring, and more importantly, it’s hurting America. The GOP’s smoke and mirrors act is hindering effective debate on important issues and keeps America from making true progress for all.

Maybe you were lucky enough to see the RNC 2008 Critical Issues Survey. If not, it’s definitely worth a peek. And, it shows exactly who has critical “issues” in this campaign (hint: the makes of this ridiculous poll). How ridiculous? Well, let’s preview some of these “fair and balanced” questions:

Shall we start with the economy?

1. Do you think Congress should respond to the economic slowdown with a plan of tax cuts to stimulate the economy?

Hahaha, yeah. OK. Since they sunk a robust and growing economy, I’m sure they’d do wonders for a recession.

2. Do you believe our economy will grow if we cut taxes and put more money in the hands of hardworking Americans who pay taxes?

Honestly, where to start with this one? Regardless of what one believes, supply-side economics don’t work.

4. Which of the following factors do you feel is most adversely affecting the economy in your area?
Burdensome Taxes
Severe Government Regulations
Unstable Real Estate Market
Growth of Government Spending
Threat of Terrorism
Unpredictable Fluctuating Fuel Prices

Oh geez! Terrorism? Yes, I’m afraid of being the victim of a suicide bomber at the market. Oh wait. I’m in America, not Iraq or Afghanistan. Gotta get that fear mongering in…

10. Should “pork-barrel” spending be completely eliminated?

Like the word “lobbyist,” “pork-barrel” and “ear marks” are getting a bad rap. And from the Republicans of all people. The most irresponsible party lampooning their own failures. Ugh. Let’s talk about the reality of ear-marked money and the abuses that the Republicans have committed.

Enough with that, let’s move to something cooler: (dun dun dun) National Security!

2. Should America surrender in Iraq regardless of the consequences in the Middle East?

Surrender? Who’s surrendering? Republicans are war-mongering, plain and simple. Nothing like stifling the debate over each candidate’s plan (well, Obama’s at least. McCain doesn’t have a coherent idea of what to do in Iraq…or Afghanistan).

3. Do you agree with Democrats who believe national defense spending should be slashed in order to fund domestic programs?

What Dems are doing this? As far as I can tell, they give Bush everything he wants on Defense spending…including no oversight. C’mon people, actions speak louder than words. Let’s talk about what people are actually doing.

5. Do you believe we should set a public date for withdrawing from Iraq even if it undermines our troops in the field?

“Even if it undermines our troops in the field?” Well, when you put it like that, I guess not. But, considering that Bush has done more to undermine our troops and our efforts, AND the Iraqis have asked for a withdrawl timeline, I would say, yes, I support the timeline.

These are some bad fucking questions. It makes me sad looking at them because it’s like watching a democracy die. But, we still have two more sections to conquer.

Now, on to Other Issues.

1. Should we appoint judges who will interpret the law instead of liberal activists who will make new laws from the bench?

“Liberal activists,” like who? You and me? We are talking about judges, right? Ok, just wanted to clear that up. Now, the SCOTUS isn’t my area of expertise, but I can see very clearly that the GOP only has intentions of politicizing the bench and not actually appointing people who are independent thinkers. Way to obfuscate the question, GOP! Gold star!!

2. Is it critical for the U.S. to develop alternative sources of energy and find new supplies of oil in order to slow inflation and keep fuel affordable?

Huh? How many questions are you trying to ask here? And, even if I say yes, it doesn’t mean I’ll agree with your plans. I think most people would say yes, but there’s nothing in here about “how.”

3. Do you think we should work to give parents with children trapped in failing schools more choices to help their children have a better future?

Trapped? Really?! No way of escaping? Wow, that does sound pretty serious. Well, I guess I agree, but one question, why not work to improve these schools? I think the last thing the GOP came up with was NCLB, so I’m going to say that their education “solutions” are nothing of the sort.

6. Do you think that forcing every American into a socialized national health care system is the best way to deal with uninsured patients?

Wow, this is a pretty serious statement. Too bad that’s not what Obama is talking about. Of course, reality doesn’t matter to the GOP. But, I wonder how the uninsured would feel about this. My guess? They’d love to have some guaranteed insurance. Just a guess, though.

And now the final section (and the one question that reveals their fear): Campaign Strategy.

3. Are you concerned about the vast sums of campaign funds being stockpiled by the Democrats and their liberal allies?

Haha, yup. The GOP doesn’t know what to do now that they’re losing the money race. They all hate their candidate, so even his best month pales in comparison to the Democrats. And they are crapping their pants. McCain even has to compete in his home state. They are on the defensive and they know they’re going to face huge losses.

So, of course, why not stifle the debate and twist the facts? Honestly, I’m surprised there were no race questions in this poll. But, there are many more gems available, if you can stomach it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

John McCain's Balance: Senate 0, Campaign 100%

I know, it’s almost a week after the 4th of July. I’ve missed the celebratory bandwagon and now it’s back to politics as usual. Well, maybe I just needed some extra time to reflect on our situation. Each of the presidential candidates was asked to submit an essay about what “patriotism” means to them. John McCain focused on sacrifice, and Obama focused on faith in each other and in the American way (but, of course, also had to pay homage to McCain’s military service). Interesting, but do either actually do as they say or do they just expect us to look the other way when their actions contradict their words? John McCain is certainly expecting the public and the media to turn a blind eye to his hypocrisy (and, lucky for him, he’s getting it).

McCain always has a lot to say about duty and about his lifetime of service, but it appears that John McCain is sacrificing his duty in order to further his own goals. Why else would he be the most absent Senator, missing 61.8% of the votes in the 110th Congress? And today, of all days, McCain was absent again, campaigning in (insert state he’s going to lose here). Today is the day that McCain had an opportunity to stand up for the Constitution and for senior citizens or continue to act as a puppet for the neocons and big business. Unfortunately, he chose to do nothing. He couldn’t even bother to take a day off from campaigning in order to vote on the FISA and Medicare bills. Frankly, I’m not going accept any excuse that he’s too busy campaigning to do his job. Maybe he shouldn’t campaign if he can’t also handle his sworn duty to the Constitution.

And, I think I need to point out that Senator Edward Kennedy managed to make it to the senate votes on FISA and Medicare today. He’s recovering from brain surgery and undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer and he was there Brain Cancer! Chemotherapy! And he can still make it.

What does this say about John McCain?

It says he cares more about himself than America. Sure, he can talk about his service, which I’m convinced he would have never done if his father and grandfather hadn’t been Admirals, but that’s really neither here nor there. And, of course, we’re not permitted to discuss just what McCain’s military record says about his service (demerits, reprimands, plane crashes, etc). Even if we put all that aside, and I’m not quite willing to, John McCain’s Senate record says one thing: he doesn’t care about America. He has cared more about himself than his sworn duty, so much so that he hasn’t cast a vote since April 8, 2008.

Is this the type of person we need in the White House? Someone who can’t even take a stand, even an unpopular one? Someone who needs weekends and 250 days to get used to the rigors of office?

But, even more disturbing than the absenteeism, if you can imagine it, is the fact that John McCain has the nerve to accuse Obama of “flip-flopping” on many issues, but FISA in particular. Perhaps someone forgot to mention to Johnny that he can’t attack his opponent’s position if he doesn’t have one on the books. And, John McCain’s positions are, shall we say, less than clear. Since he’s absent more than he’s present, we can’t even turn to his votes for clarity. Well, that’s unfair. He does vote periodically. And when he does, he votes the party line.

John McCain isn’t the answer. He’s the problem. He’s a disgrace to the US Senate. He offers confused, messy policies and no spine. John McCain is a puppet of the neocon corporate interests. He’s a sickening hypocrite and I can’t take his lies any more!

John McCain's Patriotism

Barack Obama's Patriotism

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Elite? You Bet! And I Don't Care

I’ve been sitting on this idea for a little while. I just really didn’t know where to start, but “luckily” the neo-cons came to the “rescue.” I was thinking about elitism and how to handle it, when Karl Rove pathetically attempted to paint Obama as an arrogant elitist (“You know, he’s that guy at the country club…” No Karl, we don’t know people at the country club, you do.). Ha! Karl Rove, the mind behind the permanent campaign and the worst presidency in history. Maybe Karl should remember the old saying, “when you point a finger at somebody, three more point back to you.” In his attempt to brand someone as elitist, Rove demonstrated just how arrogant and elite the right wing has become. But, when you get right down to it, the people running for president are elite. What we’re really talking about these days is what kind of elite we want in power.

I’m not sure where this anti-elitist idea came from. Why do people want the “leader of the free world” to be just like the guy down the street? People understand that some people are not athletic, not everyone can sing or dance or draw. We happily chalk these up to “natural ability.” Why would politics be any different? I know, I know, politics is about the people, about ideas, and everyone can have those. Well, I’m going to lay out the truth: a lot of people are stupid. A lot of people (obviously) don’t understand the complexities of government, and even the smart ones get it wrong. It takes a special person, with a certain mix of smarts and savvy to be successful in America’s political jungle.

Here’s another secret that the GOP doesn’t want you to know: the men that founded America were highly educated, wealthy and intelligent. They weren’t the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. They were lawyers, judges, scientists, physicians, plantation owners and financial giants. Many were known beyond their communities, a rare feat in that time. They were elite. Or, to put it another way, do you really think that the average person could write and lead the greatest experiment in individual freedom and self-determination in history? I thought not. I certainly don’t want Larry the Cable Guy writing (or rewriting) the Constitution.

And yet, this election year, the charges of elitism are already flying. Multi-millionaires each claiming that the other is “out of touch” with the cares of the average Americans. It’s ludicrous! But, more importantly, it’s a superficial waste of time. The question shouldn’t be who is more elite, but instead, who will work for the elite and who will work for the average citizen. And, with W as our guide, it’s quite obvious that Republican policies are geared towards the wealthy. Well, “geared towards” may not be strong enough. “Specifically written for and solely benefiting the wealthy” is a better way to describe these failed policies.

I guess the question you should be asking is: What kind of elitist do you want? Do you want someone who was born into privilege, handed the best off all worlds and then married into millions? Someone who feeds of the wealth of his wife’s father? Someone who acts for the rich because they made him who he is now? Or, do you want someone who came from humble beginnings, worked his way to success, and is the epitome of the American dream? Someone continues to work for the people and continues to protect the American dream? Being elite and caring about the average American are not mutually exclusive. Let’s ensure we elect a president who believes in the dream because he is living the dream.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I’ve been eying the stock market in the same manner as the political spectrum: at times incredibly interested, and at times pathetically bored. They seem to go hand-in-hand. Just when I’m completely frustrated and apathetic with the sinking economy, John McCain makes another war-mongrel comment, and my heart swells with political enthusiasm. Life’s funny like that.

Now that America’s desperate housewives have ousted Hillary’s fat ankles off the political podium, we’re back to the waiting game again. I’ve sent my money into the DNC; I even bought a bumper sticker. The only thing left to do is sit back and pray for either Republicans to get smart, or for McCain to crumble. It’s going to be a long summer.

Maybe Michelle Obama will challenge Cindy McCain to a spelling bee. That would provide some comic relief. [insert fist pound here]

Speaking of funny -- before my ultimate political boredom lapsed into a summer induced coma, the stock market barreled through with some charming summer humor.

At this point, Americans are struggling obtaining some of the most basic necessities. We can’t drive anywhere. We certainly can’t fly anywhere. We can’t buy new houses. We even found out last week that for the first time in almost two decades - the price of bananas is going up.

But if it’s one thing Americans haven’t given up on yet, it’s the power of good-old cheap, quickly made, American food. Maybe that’s why 4 out of 16 of Marketwatch’s “Stocks in Focus” are cheap restaurant or food brands.

We’re Americans! When life gives your lemons (or Bush’s oil war, a sinking economy and high gas prices) we make lemon pie! And lemon cake! And lemon pudding!

My gut tells me to trust Marketwatch – keep an eye on SONC, DRI, CKE and GIS.

I’m a skeptic; I don’t trust that Americans will vote for Obama, or that they’ll buy hybrids, or support women’s rights.

But if it’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that Americans will eat. As far as the stock market goes, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Past Sexism in the Present Military

The other day, I started a discussion about Sen. Jim Webb’s 1979 editorial railing against women in the military. The reaction of the general population? “Get over it.” And it made me wonder, if his statements had been about race instead of gender, would people tell me to let it go already? Doubt it. In the grand scheme of things, the past sexist ravings of a potential Vice Presidential candidate aren’t deal breakers. When I cast my ballot in November, I will be voting for Obama and his message of change. However, I believe that his number two also needs to be an agent of change, and this gives me reason to believe that Sen. Webb is not that person.

If we look at race, we can see what happened with Ron Paul. A series of writings dating back to 1978, penned under his name, espouse extreme racist and anti-Semitic views. And instead of people “getting over it,” they were shocked, outraged and disgusted by these views. Paul has claimed that he is not responsible for those writings and that he is not, nor has he ever been, racist. But, no matter, the damning label stuck. Why should sexism be any different?

I have definitely been berated for my lack of forgiveness towards Webb. People asked me if I believe that no one is allowed to change their mind, if I believe that Sen. Byrd is a still a racist (yes, I do), if I think Hillary Clinton is still a Goldwater Girl (sometimes it seemed like it, but no). I do believe that people can change their minds, but I think it’s harder for them to change their hearts. It also leads me to wonder whether we have to forgive and forget everything a person does as long as they apologize for it. Can a person spew hatred and then apologize when his position is no longer popular? “I said some hateful things in the past. Sorry. Here’s a grand gesture to make up for it.” It’s easy to say something that sounds good. It’s also easy to do something that the public supports, whether or not you believe it. In my mind, Sen. Webb will always be accompanied by a question mark when it comes to women’s rights.

As a minority in both the categories of race and gender, I am “lucky” enough to bear witness to discrimination on both points. As a female in the military, I can tell you that sexism is still alive and well. And while I do my best not to be a victim of sexism, it is constantly simmering right underneath the surface, tainting conversations and altering perceptions. I had an officer on my first ship that would send women off their watch stations if they “smelled too good.” Apparently, the first step to being a “real” sailor is not competency or skill, but smelling as if you’ve never been introduced to soap and deodorant. On a daily basis, women in the military are subjected to words and actions that would shock the civilian world. Actions that would get civilian men fired are acceptable in the military. And women often have no choice but to let it slide, lest they be painted as a whiner who can’t hack it.

I was in the 25th class to graduate women at the United States Naval Academy. No person who graduated in that class was alive before women were allowed into the service academies. Yet, there was constant, prevalent discrimination against and belittling of women. In a world of quotas, every woman’s accomplishment was attributed to “filling a quota” not her personal drive or ability. Men, on the other hand, earned everything they received. After my first midterm grades came out, my company officer, a Lieutenant, looked at the grades, and then looked at me and said “Wow, you actually are smart.” Well, gee thanks. I guess he missed the fact that it’s actually harder for women to be accepted into military academies. Approximately 2% of female applicants are accepted, as opposed to 9% for males.

The anti-female feelings still burn strong at our nation’s service academies. Outwardly, many men support women in the military, but behind closed doors, the sentiments are different. I will always be wary of someone who was so passionately against something that they now support. And, allowing women to hold more integrated and combat related roles in the military is still a battle. I don’t consider myself a super-feminist and I’ve been known to speak out against preferential treatment towards women. I believe that it only hinders our advancement and breeds resentment among men. While I attended the Naval Academy, the superintendent took bold steps to advance women, including the outlaw of derogatory terms and even changing the words in the alma mater. I’ve personally spoken with men who are angry and resentful towards women for changing “their” school. One of my neighbors was a 1958 grad who is against women in the military, but liked me and believed in me. He has yet to come around to fully support women in the military, but through me he saw that women were, in fact, compatible with the beliefs and teachings of the Naval Academy.

I think that when a majority of people look at the editorial by Sen. Webb and then his consequent actions, they see enough of a “change” to let it go. I think that these are also people who have never actually been through this warped world. When I look at Sen. Webb, I see someone who was passionately against women in the military. When I read his words, I feel the hatred and derision rising up from the page. I also see a political death trap. Jim Webb has been running from these words since the day he wrote them. What I see is someone trying to compensate for hatred that hides in his heart. I know the two-faced, politically convenient positions that men have taken over the years, and to me, Sen. Webb is no different.

I may never believe that Sen. Webb has truly had a change of heart. His position shift stinks of political convenience not genuine feeling. Unfortunately for Sen. Webb, his 1979 remarks were made at a time when women had demonstrated their competence and ability in technical and leadership positions. He is the one that opened his mouth and let his sexism show. He may see now that women are an integral part of our nation’s fighting force, but that will never fully excuse him from his past behavior. Has he repented? Yes. Willingly and whole-heartedly? We’ll never know. I will always doubt the sincerity of Sen. Webb’s subsequent actions regarding women in the military. It may be unfair or small-minded of me, but I treat claims of reformed sexism the same way I treat those of reformed racism, with skepticism and hesitation.

Click Here To Read Webb's Essay

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Republican Pro-Family Myth

As we get into the meat of this election cycle, we will once again be subjected to the biggest Republican lie. No, not that they are the leaders in efficient, balanced government (the past seven years have pointedly contradicted that lie). And no, not the one about how they support the troops (unless you count multiple deployments, inadequate training and equipment and selling out to private contractors as support). No, this year we will once again suffer through this nauseating sound bite: The Republicans are the party of family values. Ha! Personal conduct of Republicans aside, at least for now, the fact remains that the Republican platform is decidedly anti-family.

Let’s look at this from the beginning. The Republicans have the gall to use the phrase “pro-life,” thus framing the debate in their favor. But, the issue isn’t the act of abortion because that will happen regardless of legality. The issue is choice, which is why the flip side is “pro-choice.” For a party that claims the federal government is too involved in our personal lives, this argument is non-sequitur (also, for a party that supports the death penalty to be somehow labeled as “pro-life” is a ridiculous, hypocritical joke).

There is no legal reason to ban abortion. Until we can agree on the definition of life and science (which Republicans hate) can determine when life begins, abortion is not murder. If your religion discourages abortion, fine. Don’t do it. However, that is not reason enough to prevent others from making that choice. Republicans will try to paint Democrats as giddy about abortion and excited at the prospect, but in reality, Democrats are simply trying to protect the right of Americans to choose what is best for their lives. After all, most reasonable people would agree that bringing a child into a situation where it cannot be properly cared for is an action with much more far-reaching consequences.

But, if you still believe that Republicans are pro-life and pro-family, then they must have other pro-family ideas, right? So, I guess the first thing about being pro-family would be ensuring that all people have access to proper health care. If they’re pro-life, they must support healthy life and access to health services. Wrong. Republicans are adamantly against Universal Health Care. In fact, they are against any legislation that would increase the standard of Health Care in America. Even though numerous studies have shown that the US lags behind the industrialized world (37th as judged by WHO) and has the highest rates of preventable death among 19 industrialized nations (as judged by US Journal Health Affairs), the Republicans would not want to do anything that would jeopardize the profit margin of health insurers and pharmaceutical companies. I don’t know about you, but the fact that more than 47 million Americans go without basic health coverage doesn’t sound pro-family to me. The fact remains that dozens of countries have managed to provide basic services for their people without going bankrupt. The US spends more than any other nation on health care and for what? These abysmal rankings? The Republicans have privatized the health care industry for the benefit of their corporate masters, not once thinking of the American people.

Perhaps a pro-family party would consider universally available day care as a part of its platform? After all, Republicans love that Americans work more than almost every other nation on earth, so they would probably support policies that allow parents to work more. Nope. Except for programs like Head Start, which the Republicans have cut-down each year, there is no plan to support working parents. Annual costs for daycare in America run up to $10,000, an outrageous sum and one that working Americans cannot manage to pay. If America had universally available daycare, rates could be based on income and ability to pay. I’m not even talking about free (or as Republicans will have you believe: Socialist), I’m talking about affordable. And, universally available daycare would pay for itself in the end. Children would be better prepared for school, which would improve drop-out rates and ease the burden on teachers by ensuring all children have basic skills by the time they are school aged. Not to mention the fact that access to proper nutrition cut down on many future health issues. And parents aren’t mandated to send their children, but the option is always available. Now, that is pro-family policy, and surprise, it’s not supported by Republicans.

Perhaps another family friendly policy supported by Republicans is equal pay for women and minimum wage that is a living wage? As we all know, there is an increase in the number of single mothers and, 30+ years after the women’s equality movement, women are still facing pay discrimination. Additionally, women are more likely to be working hourly-wage jobs, so Republicans must support initiatives to ensure that women are paid equally and that minimum wage is a living wage? Unfortunately, no, Republicans don’t support these ideas. They believe in the free market setting wages. Yes, I can see where this would be misleading, since markets fluctuate. But the reality is that in the past seven years, real wages for American have decreased by $1,000, and this during a supposed economic growth period. Well, at least CEOs are doing well. In 2007, the average CEO earned more than 367 times the average worker, not including the approximate $438,342 in unpaid “perks.” This is up from 1989 when CEOs earned 71 times the average salary. And, just in case you’re wondering, the average hedge fund manager earned $657.5 million in 2006, 16,000 times the average salary of $40,000. So, Republican policy towards wages basically amounts to pay the rich, burden the poor, since Americans are shelling out thousands for heath care, daycare, schools, etc. Unfortunately, we’ve seen what this free market policy does for real American wages. Nothing. Corporations won’t pay their people more or equally unless it’s mandated by the government.

Oh, schools! We haven’t even mentioned those yet. I would say that the bedrock of a pro-family policy must be education for the children, right? How can someone be more pro-family than by supporting quality education? One of the greatest American ideas was that public education would be available to all. Lately, and by “lately” I mean “under W’s reign of terror,” quality education has fallen by the wayside. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has done nothing to address the quality of education, nothing to ensure that American children are prepared for the future, nothing to ensure that children are getting the attention they need. It’s a one size fits no one failure. Special needs children are placed in classes with regular students and no aide because NCLB mandates 100% passing. Teachers are forced to “teach the test” instead of teaching the subject. This standardized test mess is not helping anyone, and it’s hurting our schools and our teachers. American students continue to fall in world rankings, thus making them less prepared for college, less able in the work force and more prone to losing their jobs overseas (because corporations want to hire the most skilled workers).

Additionally, college costs are on the rise, in both public and private universities. The year-to-year increase is about 6%, which is shocking considering that the average wage increase is less than half of that. More and more students are finding college out of reach, and parents cannot save enough to keep up with the runaway costs. I’m not saying that the government needs to foot the bill for every person’s higher education, but it needs to get creative. One great suggestion is a School for Service program that would operate like the military’s ROTC. People could receive scholarships in exchange for years of government service (currently ROTC students owe the military at least four years and service academy graduates owe at least five, depending on the service selected). This would also help bolster the dwindling ranks of public servants. There are ways to make college affordable and accessible, but under the current Republican policies, college is just another way for the rich to make more money from the poor.

My final note about pro-family policies is probably the most controversial, but the most necessary. Family planning services and sexual education are the keystone to a healthy, successful family, but Republicans keep shunning this topic as too taboo. Let’s end the prudeness and get realistic. We need to give our children the best information on the subject possible. Abstinence-only education cannot trump biology. Making family planning and sexual education resources available does not encourage people to have sex. We’re hardwired to have sex, so no safer-sex tools are going to make the inevitable more likely. But, right now we are facing the first increase in teen pregnancy and STDs in almost two decades, and lack of information is the culprit. Being pro-family means having the fortitude to address family planning and sexual education. Purposely keeping people ignorant is not pro-family.

Republicans think that being pro-family means supporting a radical Christian agenda which flies in the face of the Constitution, giving hundred-dollar tax credits to solve thousand-dollar problems, and letting the free market and tax loopholes set working wages, without regard to the actual consequences. Being pro-family means addressing the needs of real American families: health care, child care, education and wages. These are the issues that Republicans will attempt to distort and spin in their favor, but the reality is that their policies are decidedly anti-family. Bottom line: Republicans only care about you until you’re born. After that, they hope you make it long enough to become a cog in their war machine.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Going The Distance

I'm not a distance runner, but I know a few things about endurance. And, I'm pretty sure everyone knows the first rule of competing in a long race: Pace Yourself! You might have a lot of energy in the beginning, you might think that adrenaline can carry you, but when you get halfway there and the novelty has worn off, what is going to make you push on? Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I did not pace myself for this race. And I know I'm not the only one.

Now, I like to consider myself a die hard politico, but I'm starting to rethink that assessment. In my defense, I had a lot going on in my personal life and with my job, but don't we all? Maybe it was the six week break in which we only heard about Reverend Wright, "guns and bitter", and learned new and different ways Hillary can fudge the math to make it work for her. Those six weeks were the longest of my political life. Nothing changed, but you would have thought that people were battling it out in the polls every night. The talking heads said the same things over and over and over. Luckily, I haven't had a TV for the past seven weeks or so and I've been spared the worst of it (on the flip side, I miss KO like crazy).

And then the races started again. Pennsylvania and Clinton's on the upswing, North Carolina and Indiana put Obama back on top, but can he win the racists and rednecks? (Note: not a particular state, but maybe a particular demographic). And still, nothing's changed. I'm starting to envy the campaign limits of Britain and France.

I think the biggest problem in this campaign is the information itself. Well, not the facts, but the 24-hour news cycle. Or more precisely, the 30 minute news cycle. I had MSNBC on today for about five hours, and except for the Obama speech, the other four hours were the same 20-30 minutes of news rehashed over and over. Enough already! If there's no news, don't pretend that there is. It just makes the TV stations look like morons (or they already are and it's showing) and it frustrates the crap out of Americans. Or, even better, report on the rest of the world. Americans are, for the most part, largely ignorant of the geography of anything past North America. Let's branch out and see what's going on with the other 5.7 billion people on this planet. Oh, that's depressing? Poverty, genocide, and famine? Better turn back to Clinton and Obama.

But, if I could thank one person for making me come back day after day, I'd have to thank John McCain. Almost more than I want a Democrat to win, I want John McCain to lose. I want him to lose embarrassingly. I want him and the rest of his Republican neo-con liars to go down in flames at the hands of 'We the People." I want Americans to stand up and say "Hell no I'm not voting for a lying, hypocritical, old fool who doesn't know crap about the economy and tries to pass off a corporate health care plan under which even he wouldn't be covered! Hell no I'm not voting for a man that didn't vote for Bush but now kisses his ass daily! Hell no I'm not voting for more of the same failed policies! But, mostly, I'm not voting for you because I do actually love America, and not just those with money. Hell no John McCain!"

So, thank you John McCain for reminding me every day of what we're fighting for in this election. I may not have paced myself, but you are the wind on my back, pushing me to victory. We are running away from your failed policies and towards One America!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Like every other American, I have a secret list of what I consider to be life’s guilty pleasures. Some are traditionally (and pathetically) obvious: Egyptian cotton sheets, a good bottle of sangiovese, a classic Audrey Hepburn romance film, and a sinfully expensive pair of Italian heels.

But as of late, I have a new guilty pleasure: taking advantage of every opportunity to mock, ridicule, and scoff at Bush’s disastrous embarrassment of a Presidency. You know the feeling – the painfully enjoyable sensation you get every time he delivers a muddled, ambiguously misconstrued speech – the sadistic feeling of shock and disbelief after watching him cowboy swagger to the podium with his Cheney-posse. I have a feeling that I’m not alone on this one.

So this weekend, when practically handed a new opportunity for a Bush-attack, I surprised myself by suddenly recognizing the dangerous trap I had fallen into. My guilty pleasure had turned into a perilous blame game. Somehow, in an effort to shun Bush, we’ve begun to mimic him – placing blame instead of taking responsibility.

George W. Bush is not to blame for America’s oil crisis.

The Republicans, Cheney, Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi War, Ben Bernanke, hedge fund managers, and subprime mortgage lenders are all not the secret culprits behind the prices at the pump.

Like all Americans, I’m crushed about the price of gas and I’m giddy about the upcoming election. But we need not confuse the two. Ending the Bush regime will accomplish a lot of great things (think: better healthcare, decreased unemployment, sounder war policy) but the election will not suddenly reverse the 25% increase in the price of light crude oil this fiscal year.

Crude prices are a global problem; they’ve surged more than fivefold since 2002. The spread of globalization and the demand of emerging economies (China) have placed an increased strain on a diminishing resource. Americans aren’t the only ones vying for oil anymore. Simple economics: increased global demand coupled with a diminishing supply. Sure, the fall of the dollar and geopolitical problems exacerbated oil prices; but we need to look beyond America’s economic status.

So instead of placing blame, we need to begin to rethink our relationship with oil. It’s also important to recognize that the prices won’t be going down – regardless of the upcoming election. We need substantial action – and I don’t mean purchasing a Toyota Prius Hybrid. We need to consider new innovative methods of travel, specifically by means of electric public transportation. And we need to rethink our relationship with plastics and rubber – both oil dependent necessities.

Bernanke will walk the tightrope of interest rate cuts again on Wednesday. Perhaps he can manage to rescue the American people without allowing inflation to increase. Perhaps we’ll see the stock market bottom out during the third quarter summer lull. Perhaps we’ll all get in a few more pleasure-filled laughs from our comedian of a President.

Either way, it’s about time for us all to scratch oil-hungry SUVs and long scenic joy rides off our guilty pleasures list. We’d all be better off with a little more chocolate and red wine anyways.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

If McCain Wins, America Loses

If we elect John McCain, America will demonstrate how socially backward, morally bankrupt and politically inept it has truly become. Maybe Republicans want us to vote on who is more patriotic, which is completely subjective. I say that a flag lapel pin doesn’t make a patriot if that person is willing to send hundreds of thousands to death in a false war and simultaneously tear down the very laws that make us free. But, that’s just my opinion. Maybe they want us to vote on who would have the ability to provide cheap (and crappy) beer to America. Keep us drunk to keep our minds off the misery that is Bush’s reality. I guess McCain would win that contest, but as for the actual election, there is too much at stake to waste a vote on John McCain.

First, on the issues of the economy, McCain has continually demonstrated that he does not, in fact, know anything about how our economy actually works. Though he has shown that he is willing to accept how corporate lobbyists want our economy to work. I think this is the most important fact when it comes to McCain’s economy: McCain’s economic plan does not budget for the war in Iraq. Does not even mention it. Does not believe in accounting for the single greatest expenditure in American history. Hello?! For the man who is an ardent supporter of this war, wants to be in the country for, well, ever, and wants to go to war with Iran, China, North Korea, Russia, and probably Venezuela, this budget is a joke. All it does is fling money at wealthy individuals and corporations without acknowledging the reality of our current situation.

So, if that doesn’t scare you, here’s more. We all know that McCain was against Bush’s tax cuts. Why? Because they don’t give enough to the 99.9% of people that actually make up America. Now, he’s for them. Hm, sounds like someone sold out to the ridiculous neo-con perspective (I’ve got mine, screw everyone else) to get the Republican nomination.

And now McCain is pushing a suspension of the federal gas tax, saying it would ease gas prices by 20% (in reality, it’s only 5%, but we know McCain no longer operates in reality). What does he think people are going to do when gas is $3.32 vice $3.50? Yea, I’m not planning that road trip yet, and neither is the rest of America. A suspension does absolutely nothing to address the true cause of these inflated oil prices, corporate greed. Additionally, the federal gas tax goes to support and repair our highways, which are in dire need of maintenance. Not to sound morbid, but maybe McCain should ask the victims of the Minneapolis bridge collapse if they support taking money from highway repair. He would be putting even more Americans at risk of such a tragedy.

In case we weren’t convinced of the utter failure of supply-side economics, there is the sticky little problem of the current economic downturn being “rescued” be demand side policies. Give the people money and they will spend it. Of course, that will only happen if they aren’t in debt already. But, thanks to Bush’s economic policies, we all are. Tax cuts won’t solve it. Deficit spending won’t increase consumer confidence. People will spend money if they feel secure, but right now, we are barely keeping our heads above water trying to cover the basics, not to mention retirement and/or higher education for the future generations. We need a government that will implement policies that help us, and McCain’s policies do anything but.

But, maybe the economy isn’t you’re thing. Maybe you’re more of a rule of law kind of person. Well then, McCain isn’t your guy because he definitely does not support the rule of law, the bedrock of American principles. Foremost is his support for the war in Iraq, which we know was started over lies. However, that doesn’t matter to him. What matters to him is that Americans keep fighting, regardless of whether or not we have a goal or a reason.

Then there’s the troublesome fact that McCain continues to support Bush in all his efforts to restrict the freedoms that make us Americans (those same freedoms that people are fighting and dying for, I assume). And the most important of these would be the Writ of Habeas Corpus, otherwise known as, the ability for anyone who is jailed to appear before a judge and learn why. Now the Constitution says that this cornerstone of freedom may only be suspended in times of “rebellion or invasion,” but Bush just wanted to get rid of it all together. And, thanks to the Republican Congress of 2006, it’s gone. Why worry about the limits of the law when you can just change the laws? Needless to say, I’m more than a little concerned about the serious neutering of the Constitution that has taken place under Bush and that McCain promises to continue.

However, I doubt that these issues will be brought to the attention of the general public. Why would we want to talk about things like economic security and truly protecting freedom (as well as health care, education, the environment, corporate graft, political corruption, the real war on terror, social security, civil rights, I could go on and on)? Why would we want to discuss the issues when we can talk about flag lapel pins and who staffs more lobbyists? Well, probably because the media, following the lead of the Republican Party, is socially backward, morally bankrupt and politically inept. They will focus on God, guns and gays; they will focus on fear and on trivial non-issues to keep us from seeing how truly pathetic American politics has become. Unfortunately, I’m not sure enough Americans will figure it out on their own to keep McCain out of the White House. After Wednesday night’s debate, I saw how the media is going to hand the election to McCain, I just can’t figure out why. If John McCain wins, America will lose.

Friday, April 18, 2008

How to Be a Grown Up -- 101

How to be a grown up 101:
Step one -- taking responsiblity.

At what age can we stop using ignorance as an excuse? Because it’s about time people begin to take responsibility for both their actions and their lack of action. Case in point: the members of the New Jersey National Guard – half of which are scheduled to deploy overseas in the next six months. This upcoming deployment, the largest in the NJ guard’s history, is scheduled to last 18-20 months.

Of the approximately 3,000 soldiers scheduled to deploy, 90 are currently enrolled in degree programs at Rutgers University in New Jersey. There will be a protest held at the Newark campus next week to voice staff and student concern that National Guard members are being uprooted in the middle of the semester. One professor voiced her concern, claiming, “Students should be finishing their accounting degrees, not deploying to Iraq”.

Did we forget that these students, by virtue of signing up for the National Guard and happily cashing their bimonthly paychecks are military members first, and students second? What did these National Guardsmen think they were getting paid for?

Look, I don’t want New Jersey’s children – or anyone’s children – to fight in Uncle Cheney’s oil war. And it goes without saying that I’m obviously in favor of continuing education. But these times aren’t about what I want, they’re about what is actually happening. Bush’s war business is booming; he needs more troops to feed his war machine.

Active duty military personnel have been shouldering the entirety of the war burden for too long. Some of our troops are approaching their fifth deployment to Iraq, and if McCain gets what he wants, we’ll be in Iraq for the next 100 years. It is not unreasonable to expect Reservists and National Guardsmen to contribute to this war effort. They’ve been receiving the paycheck for doing the job – why is it suddenly unfair to ask them to actually do it? And yes, it’s unfortunate that their education will be halted, but their education cannot continue at the expense of our active duty troops.

American apathy coupled with American ignorance is exhausting. First we didn’t know that we were signing mortgages that we couldn’t afford. Now, we didn’t realize that by taking National Guard paychecks, we’d actually be forced to serve in the armed forces. It’s about time that we take responsibility for the actions and choices that we made.

It’s time to step up and say YES – I signed that sub-prime mortgage. YES – I enlisted in the National Guard. And YES – I elected President Bush in 2004. Because knowing that we made a bad decision and admitting to that poor choice is far better than pretending that we didn’t understand the choice to begin with.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

When we were younger, there was no such thing as “too much of a good thing.” How could we have too much candy or ice cream? But, as we grew older, we realized that even the good things in life can backfire, and that we must try to achieve balance. We balance the good with the bad and the mundane. If we don’t, we loose sight what makes the good valuable. This election has often come to the question of experience and whose has the most and/or the best. And for me, and many other voters, it’s not the size of the experience, but the quality, that counts.

John McCain is a Cold Warrior. He came of age in a militaristic time and he was a POW in a hot war of cold war principles. He was raised to believe in idea that there are only two sides to any issues; the US versus the Soviet Union, Democracy or Communism, War or peace. This is his fatal flaw. He is simply not equipped to deal with the modern world. He has not honed his skills in discerning shades of gray, and the geopolitical situation today is anything but clearly defined. He will constantly fail, as he has already begun to do, when he tries to dilute complex issues into two sides.

I overheard a political advisor on the Bill-O circus the other day (don’t think I make a habit of watching that clown show) say that all McCain has to do to make Obama look weak on Iraq is hold his “stay the course” stance. The advisor stated that when Obama tries to explain his position, he will appear to “flip flop.” I vehemently disagree with this position (but, I encourage McCain to keep it). The longer that McCain sticks to the black and white situation, the more people will realize that he’s not equipped to deal with the complex issues facing the next president. Just as Bush has gooned everything up because of his refusal to address multi-faceted situations, McCain will be a monumental failure when he continues that policy.

And for the past two days, we’ve been shown what “experience” can give us. Obama speaks the truth about people’s opinions of Washington and points out wedge issues for what they are, and then the “experienced” politicians try to jump in and tell us that we don’t feel bitter, that we’re being condescended towards. If anything, it is condescending to tell us how we feel. If their experience has taught them anything, they would be listening to us, reading our letters and realizing that we are bitter. We don’t want to hear a pretty picture of how they will make it all better. We want someone who is willing to address the issues truthfully.

Because the world is complex, we need a president who is willing to face that reality head on (hell, we need a president who’s willing to face reality head on). No more of this doctored intelligence crap or the politicizing of every issue. We need a leader who has the mental agility to absorb many points of view while keeping the best interest of America, not his checking account, in mind.

So, McCain especially, but increasingly Clinton, have failed my experience test. Too often they have shown themselves to be entrenched in the past, stuck in their old ways. And, all I can see is that their experience will not move us forward. Their experience is only good for how things used to be, not what they are or what they will be. They have not shown themselves to be open to the change we need. McCain and Clinton are the old dogs, and right now, we need some new tricks.