Traveling Blues

One would think that when you travel (especially overseas) that you would have plenty of down time to relax, write, and otherwise goof off.

Wrong.

I flew out of Detroit Metro on Tuesday, and have been on the run ever since. Fly to Frankfort, train to Bremen, meeting, find place to eat, sleep, another meeting, train to Stuttgart (arrive at 11:30 PM), go to work, change hotels, and now, finally, I can sit down, log in, and check on things. And it’s pretty depressing.

Gas is up (the fuel, not the naturally occurring methane…) as well as food & services. And the thoughts are that commodity traders are to blame (that’s a change – not blaming the oil companies?)

The politicians are at it again sniping and throwing mud (although it is interesting that the media is hammering President Bush’s low approval rating when Congress as a whole is twice as bad).

And speaking of politicians and oil companies, I did hear Representative Maxine Water’s (D – California) solution to high oil prices. And I have a different take on the whole affair. But that’s for the next post…

In the meantime, I’m not planning on castle-hopping this weekend, nor extensive traveling. I might actually catch my breath!

Memorial Day

On this day…

Let us put aside our differences in politics, religion, and whatever we may disagree upon…

Let us instead remember those warriors, both living and dead, who gave part or all of their lives to preserve this country and its citizens.

Let us make Memorial Day a day of remembrance instead of a day off.

Obama’s Change?

Yesterday’s John Edward’s endorsement of BHO all but sounded the death knell for HRC’s presidential nomination bid.  So now it looks like the contest is going to be between BHO and John McCain.  Of course, BHO’s campaign has centered around one word:

Change.

But the question begs to be asked – Change what?

Both John Edwards and BHO’s speeches finally gave details of what the Democrats are wanting to do to effect change. but the programs are either reversals of previous Democratic sponsored programs or continuations of the same programs that are in place.  Some highlights of these speeches (with comments) include:

  1. "We can refuse to give more tax breaks to the wealthy few who don’t need it and aren’t even asking for it, and decide that the next tax bill signed by the next president will put money in the pockets of the working families who need it most, by expanding the earned income tax credit…"  Hmm…shifting the tax burden even more skewed towards the people who are in the best position to invest in companies that create jobs.  That is real incentive to become successful…
  2. Help each person save money by giving "free savings account that comes with a small nest egg, so that they don’t spiral into bankruptcy because of an emergency or an accident."  What happens if that person squanders that nest egg, or the money runs out?  Give them another one?
  3. "…every child, no matter where they come from, no matter who they look like, have the chance to get a world- class education by investing in early childhood education to make sure that every child gets a good start in life. And I won’t just talk about how great teachers are, because we’re going to reward them for their greatness by giving them higher salaries and giving them more support. We’ll invest in after-school programs and summer school programs for children who don’t have anyplace to go when school is out. We’ll make sure that they get the support they need."  Isn’t this done yet?  Billions of dollars have been spent over the past 40 years to ensure that the youth of America have that world-class education.  And it has been a dismal failure!!  Test scores are down, and high-school graduates entering college are taking remedial classes in math and English.
  4. High school graduates "…can afford to go to college by giving them a $4,000 tuition credit, every student, every year, in exchange for community service…" A requirement of my son’s High School is that each student must complete 40-hours of community service, which on the surface isn’t a bad thing.  But can this be considered conscription?  An argument could be made with a parallel to the draft of the 1960’s & 70’s…  So now we are going to pay them to graduate, and then teach them how to read and write before they take college classes!
  5. "We can make it so that if you want to work, you can find work. And then if you do work, you’ll never want." Oh really?  Then who is going to offer those jobs?  My son spent 3 months looking for a part time job, and then lost it because business slowed down.  Is the Government going to guarantee a job?  If so, then look what happened to the Soviet Union!!
  6. "For those who have trouble finding work, we can invest in transitional job programs that get people a weekly paycheck and the skills they need to find a permanent job." To the best of my knowledge, this program is in already in place.
  7. "…because since this war in Iraq started, we have lost our bearings. We have lost our focus. We have not gone after Al Qaida in Afghanistan, those who killed 3,000 Americans, with everything that we’ve got, because we’ve been distracted. We have seen thousands of lives lost, hundreds of billions of dollars spent — money that we could have been spending rebuilding America."  Yeah, distracted because of the partisan politics your party has played with the military budget and tying their hands behind their backs…

There are more, but these will do for now just to illustrate my point – Government knows best.  Another word for this is Socialism.  And any reader of this blog knows that this is not my idea of what the role Government of the United States is.

Now What Do The Democrats Do?

HRC and Obama split the primaries last Tuesday, and there are only a few primaries left. Unless there is a huge lopsided swing, the Democratic nomination will be up to the super delegates. And what a choice they have!!

Obama in recent weeks has gone from the savior of the Democratic party to someone who may just be marginally better than HRC. The situations with Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, his wife’s comments about never having been proud of America, and his own guns-and-God condescension toward small-town whites has helped define this candidate as a man of the academic left who is so out of touch with everyday America that he is comfortable in such extreme company and among such alien and elitist sentiments. Because of this lack of understanding, he doesn’t understand why people are concerned and upset when his pastor and his “friends” make statements that reflect badly upon him. A quote from a previous post:

The character of the candidate is an issue that is of interest to Americans. After all, the character of the candidate aspiring to the Presidency is important. Would you, the American voter, want a person of poor character leading this country?

Senator Obama fails to realize that character does matter, and that Americans are looking at who he associates with, what he says, and what he does. Associations with people give glimpses into the person’s character, and the people that Senator Obama has around him has not given a stellar endorsement of his choice of friends & associates…

HRC, on the other hand, is absolutely no fresh as a daisy/pure as the driven snow candidate. Going from an attitude of leftist arrogance to scrambling back toward the middle of the political spectrum when Obama and Edwards became serious contenders for her apparent birthright showed that she was indeed a politician willing to say and almost do anything to become elected to the highest office in this land. The photo-ops of HRC drinking beer and shots of whiskey to identify with the common man was laughable at best. The made-up story of coming under sniper fire in Bosnia showed that she is a desperate liar. The mudslinging that her and her political machine was pathetic to say the least (until Obama had lots of help from his “friends” is tarnishing his image). And then there are her records of “achievement” as First Lady (Hillarycare, Travel Gate, theft of the china, Vincent Foster’s “suicide” and raiding of his office, her role in the Whitewater scandal, Rose Law Firm billing records, etc…), and as a Senator for New York (Voting for the war voting against it (putting our soldiers lives at risk), and who knows what else…). Last, the specter and drama of her husband’s “legacy” while in the White House should give cause to wonder if she didn’t know what her husband was up to in her house, can she run the country from the White House?

So what are the super-delegates to do? A Real Clear Politics averaging polling data as of this date has Obama over HRC by 0.9%, HRC over McCain by 4.1%, and Obama over McCain by 2.7%. So the polls have both Democratic candidates beating the apparent Republican nominee, but who is the best Democratic nominee? If you believe the polls, then it’s Obama, but polls can be both inaccurate and misleading. But one of the pundits at Times Online of London has this to say about who is going to get the Democratic nomination:

If this long US Democratic primary campaign were opera we’d be deep into the final act by now. The doomed soprano would be working her way up the emotional rungs of her last aria. A few feet across the stage would lie the knife fated to deliver her from her plight. The tragic denouement for the fallen heroine is as predictable as it is moving.

Of course, this is the indefatigable Clintons we’re talking about, who have never been known to follow anyone else’s libretto, so you can’t quite be sure how precisely the story will end.

If Hillary Clinton were Madame Butterfly, she’d be out there till the last, quibbling that she could still persuade enough super-delegates that Pinkerton really would be coming back. In the Clinton version of I Pagliacci, Canio’s conclusive declaration that “La commedia è finita” would be greeted with a shrill, defiant response from somewhere in the gods: “No it’s not. Not until we’ve counted the delegates from Michigan and Florida!”

And yet even the Clintons must know now, whatever they say in public, that the drama is done. Barack Obama, who was only just out of law school when their presidential dynasty began 16 years ago, has brought it crashing to a premature end.

Her hefty defeat in North Carolina on Tuesday, accompanied by a narrow victory in Indiana, has closed off any last remaining possibility that she can win the Democratic nomination. She trails Mr Obama by so many delegates and by so much in the popular vote that only a collapse by him in the few remaining primaries and an act of political larceny by her in the messy procedural discussions that will follow could deny him the nomination.

And who do the Democratic voters want leading this country? With Michigan and Florida out of the picture due to the stupidity of their respective Democratic Party leadership, there are two states that only have their superdelegates to make their choices. And they are not obligated to even listen to the voters.

Perhaps the superdelegates will get a break in the upcoming primaries in West Virginia (5/13, 28 delegates), Oregon (5/20, 52 delegates), Kentucky (5/20, 51 delegates), Puerto Rico (6/1, 55 delegates), Montana (6/3, 16 delegates), and South Dakota (6/3, 15 delegates). They can only hope that the voters in the remaining primaries will make that decision for them.

Obama & The Radicals

Obama’s nightmare with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has been well documented in the press and by many of my fellow bloggers. Many are speculating that Wright’s comments have essentially sunk Obama’s bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination. And that is very possible given the constant and continued coverage this issue is getting.

Add to the mix statements made by the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson promising demonstrations if Obama lost the nomination, and one wonders what is the real goal of these self-styled representatives of the Black community. For instance, here’s a quote from Sharpton on Bill O’Reilly:

Well, if he is denied the selection of the nominees by super delegates making backroom deals, not by the voters, well, you not only would see people like me demonstrating, you may see us talking about whether or not we can support that ticket.

Given the history of some of the “demonstrations” that Sharpton has fostered, one begins to speculate (as others have) if these outbursts will rise to the level of that of the 1968 Chicago riots, or that of the Sean Bell shooting, or somewhere in between. Regardless, I think it is going to get ugly and uncomfortable for everyone.

But what has not been speculated on is this: Do the radicals (Jackson, Sharpton, Farrakhan, and now Wright) want Obama to get the Democratic nomination and perhaps the Presidency? We hear threats of demonstrations and speeches that link Obama to the racist views of Wright. Are they sabotaging Obama?

I’m starting to suspect that the answer to the last question is a qualified “yes”. Now before everyone thinks that I’ve gone off my rocker, bear with me.

Should Obama get elected to the Presidency, then the arguments of the radicals that their represented groups need more help with becoming more “equal” with the rest of mainstream America starts to fall flat. After all, 40-years of struggle has resulted in one of “their” group becoming elected to the highest office in the land. So now the argument that they are still victims of discrimination and unfair practices loses some of its sting. Then the reason for these respective people’s existence as advocates is diminished.

Yeah, right…

What I see happening now is the setting back of Civil Rights. I see more polarization, more “us vs. them” than ever before. The problem is that the more these people are given a forum to spout their message, the more damage they will do to their stated “cause,” which is to bring people together. And they are having the exact opposite effect.

Perhaps they should read my post from January 2006 and think about this statement I made about Martin Luther King:

His vision looked for the Negro people to stand side by side with the White people as equals, and to get there by self-sufficiency, not by a government mandate. He wanted his people to rise up to their potential, to stand on their own two feet, not by some law or subsidy. Patronage of the Negro was not his vision, but to join the human race as equals to any other ethnic group, to enjoy the fruits of hard labor through equal opportunity, and not through quotas.