Friday, August 31, 2012

Everyone will be happy! And skinny and attractive!

Alright, it's Friday, it is a long weekend and there is no chance at all that I am getting anything else done, so I am going to blog. I have run out of clothes to look at online, so this is the next activity...

Convention thoughts:

Oh, poor thing...

That whole episode was just so very, very weird. You know how Republicans are fond of chastising Democrats for listening to celebrities? "Shut up and sing!" Well, you know what? THEY'RE RIGHT!!! For the love of God, leave the acting to the actors and the thinking to the thinkers. Whether you are George Clooney or Clint Eastwood, you aren't smart just because everyone you pay to hang around you says so...keep your mouths shut and we will all be better off.

I had almost identical thoughts on both Romney and Rubio: I though that they were both good, but the speeches sucked. Rubio especially was energetic and smooth and polished and had all of the stage presence that Republicans have wished that they could find since Obama took them to the woodshed in 2008. Of course, the content of the speech was vapid and woefully off-topic (he was aware that he was introducing Mitt Romney, right?) But then here the analysts go today doing exactly what they do with Obama all the time...mistaking a great delivery for a great speech. It looked and sounded great...but it doesn't read great.

Same for Romney: he was polished and comfortable and very Presidential. He just didn't say much of note. The first six or seven minutes, especially, were really terrible and some of the sentences just made no sense. He got going a little bit as it went along, but it still just wasn't a great text. In that forum, a great speech should answer three questions: 1) Why should you get rid of the other guy? 2) Why should you pick me? and 3) What will I do if you pick me?

I will give him pretty good marks on the first question, which is always the easiest to answer. I think we are all clear on what his criticisms of Obama are, and many of them are valid. The second question is one he has always struggled to answer...he seems to constantly be apologizing for who he is. He tries so hard to be "likeable" and "approachable", and it is totally not him. He would be much better off simply going with "You want a poker buddy, or do you want a Chief Executive? Because I am not gonna be your friend, but my credentials as a leader are impeccable and I will do this job better than anyone else you can find." He isn't going to be warm and fuzzy, and that shouldn't matter.

My favorite part of the analysis today, though, is all of the talk of his addressing that third question...all of the "firm policy details." Really? Do we honestly pay these people to be on television? "I will create 12 million jobs and strengthen the middle class," is not a policy detail. It is a promise and a lovely goal...but it isn't an actual idea. Which isn't to single out Romney, because Obama has been talking about "green jobs" for five years, and neither he nor any of his advisers has ever told anyone what the fuck a green job is. Really, my complaint is with the talking heads who can claim, with a straight face, that there was substance in that speech.

On to much more important's time to head to the beach!!! Last time this year, probably, but it should be a great weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I will admit to being less excited than I was at this time four years ago, but the political junkie in me won't let me totally skip the conventions, so I have watched quite a bit of the last two nights after the girls have gone to bed. As I am sure you all suspect...I have some opinions;-)

First of all, this whole thing seems like it is done in anticipation of losing. I don't know whether it is an unwillingness to accept Romney, or a feeling that Obama is just going to talk his way through the election pretty easily, or what...but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of passion in this convention. I am not totally sure that I am even know what makes me think this, but the whole building seems to be full of people who just don't believe that they are going to win.

None of the speakers have really been very good, either. I thought Ann Romney was terrible...fake and overly bubbly and not the least bit likeable. Chris Christie was OK, but he spoke too fast and the message was sort of scattered...a little bit about what is wrong with Obama, a little bit about how we could be better, and a little bit about why Romney is the guy, but none of it really seemed to tie together.

Condi Rice was pretty good, she is just not quite as comfortable in that forum as the other speakers. And they don't really know what to do with her...everyone likes her, but she seems a little bit too connected to W, and the GOP isn't quite ready to remember him just yet.

Paul Ryan...I don't know...he didn't quite do it for me, but it was close. I thought he had a really hard time with the pacing and the applause lines, and especially early on he just seemed really young. He started to get to a good message: "I had as much hope as everyone else did four years ago, but when can we all admit that Barack Obama is a terrible President?", but he didn't really hit that as much as I thought he could have. His opening line included the part about never seeing an incumbent want to talk less about his record, which should have been a great start...but then he didn't talk as much about that record as he should have.

And the entirety of the two nights has been completely devoid of any actual content...which is a problem...

So, I dunno...blah, I guess. I certainly didn't see anything that makes me think any differently than I did a week ago. When November gets here, we will hold out noses and re-elect the same President we did last time.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer, we hardly knew ya!

Had a fantastic weekend, and really an all-around awesome visit with Tinkerbelle. She is definitely working on her petulant teenager skills, but she kept that to a minimum and we had a really good time. We spent the first weekend at the beach, then came back here for two days and went back to the beach for the last couple days. The Boy brought the girls back with him on Sunday, and then brought them to the beach Friday, so they were much more on their regular schedule.

The weather, as it has been all summer, was really was really nice on the beach without ever being hot. I got a lot more sun on Friday and Saturday than I thought I did, so I am a little pinkish today;-) The girls developed a new favorite beach activity...pouring water into a hole. giant bucket, buried halfway and filled with water, and a big hole in the sand and voila, they climb in and out of the bucket and dump the water out for hours. All I have to do is refill the bucket once in a while...

Now, of course, the summer is at a crashing end. The beach house is basically closed after this weekend (it is in use for a couple of weddings, and we could maybe go there in late September or October if the weather is really nice, but usually we don't get there after Labor Day.) Munchkin starts school next Tuesday and the regular fall schedule will set in pretty fast.

What the fuck happened to summer? And don't I say this every single year? And why do I live in a place with something like 7 weeks of summer? And why do I keep asking myself rhetorical questions...?

The Republican convention is this week, and I will probably force myself to watch some of it, although not happily. I can't say that I am any more excited to watch the Democrats in a week or two, either...they are all making me kinda angry. Some time this fall I am sure that I will talk about it in more detail...but for now I plan to hold my nose and vote for Obama. He has been a pretty terribly President, and has turned into a horrible whiner (really, you'd think that no President ever had to deal with a minority party before) and I have almost no hope that he will be any better in his second term. But the current state of the Republican party scares me, and Romney just seems to add up to a lot less than the sum of his resume I don't think I will be able to bring myself to vote for him.

But we will see...more of this as the fall progresses. Until then, back to the grind...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Also, I am pretty sure he believes in the Tooth Fairy

I am back at work today, sort of, and wanted to spew some more public policy junk while it is fresh on my mind...and then, before I could get to Medicare shenanigans, Todd Akin went and stole the spotlight.

Really, on the long list of stupid things that politicians have said, this one goes right near the is just outstanding beyond belief. I am not going to sit here and rail about it, because there is really nothing I can say that will do him justice, nor do I think anyone needs any context or explanation to make their own judgement.

You know what I am going to rail against? People in Missouri (especially those in the western suburbs of St. Louis who elected him)!!! He didn't become a US Rep by accident, nor did he become the Republican nominee for Senate by accident, either...he did it because people voted for him (well, in the case of the Senate Primary, he was helped by his now opponent, Clair McCaskill, who deemed him the weakest of the three challengers and then set about supporting his campaign. They kick you out of the Badminton Olympics for that, you know.)

First sign of trouble? According to Wikipedia, his mother's maiden name (Bigelow) is also his father's middle name...which means they may well be related. They may well not be, but I have no journalistic integrity that prevents me from implying it:-)

More seriously, this guy has sort of always been this way. He may have never said anything quite as dumb as this, but he is no newcomer to saying things that expose his overall intelligence level: he once said that Liberalism was built on a hatred of God, and also said something really kooky about Davy Crockett getting Blackberry messages from Congress at the Alamo, too.

Nor has his policy platform changed. He has been a vehement opponent of abortion, defender of guns, proponent of religion in government and several other cookie-cutter Republican positions. That is what his supporters vote for. And you know what else? Public Policy Polling says that the voters in Missouri won't hold this latest flap against him, either. Part of that is related to his relatively weak opponent...but that gets us to another issue entirely: why has the State of Missouri picked the two ass hats as its Senate candidates?!?!? Seriously...I know people from Missouri, and there is a lot going on there. You should have plenty of people to choose from, and who on earth wouldn't want to be a Senator?

I suppose it is too late to go back to the drawing board (unless Akin drops out and they find someone better) which means we are stuck with one of these folks. But really, MO, try and do better next time;-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Short days, short weeks and special visitors

Anyone else having trouble concentrating because your littlest sister is coming out to visit? Or is that just me...

I am only working half a day, then going to pick Tinkerbelle up at the airport, and then getting the girls at day care, getting packed, waiting for The Boy to get home and heading to the beach! So, really, I can count on the whole afternoon to go according to schedule right? I can't imagine anything possibly going wrong!

The rough plan is to stay at the beach until Monday, then come back here for a couple of days...I think I will work Tuesday and Wednesday. I want to give Tinkerbelle (who is approaching "petulant teenager" years) some time to herself. She may decide to stay at the beach with Munchkin, but I have a feeling she will want to come back here and be independent for a little bit. If I know kids at that age, giving her some time to wander by herself will make her feel like quite the grown-up. I may suggest she try and track down some of the pretend cousins that are her age, too...

Then probably back to the beach for a couple of days before she heads home. That plan, however, is open to significant change and flexibility at any moment:-). However it turns out, though, you probably won't hear much from me!!!

So, until then...toodles!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paul Ryan

So, the big non-Olympic news of the last week is that Mitt Romney has chosen his running mate: Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Ryan is young, bright, articulate and handsome, and is widely known as the architect of the House Republicans budget plan. He was chosen over a number of other candidates, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida seemed to be the most likely alternative.

For some background, Romney seems to have been sliding in the polls a bit lately. A month ago, the race looked to be tied, and now he seems to be behind by 4-8 points. Given the consistently atrocious economic news from here and from abroad, he should have been able to at least hold steady during that time, and probably should have been making some gains. His slipping is a pretty clear sign that whatever message they were delivering all summer was not working.

As a side note, the campaigns and the pundits are reading WAY too much into those polls. There is no way on earth that the race was ever really tied, and it defies all logic that Obama magically pulled ahead by a huge margin during a time period when all of the news was bad for him and no one really pays much attention anyway. Just plain common sense should tell you that Obama has probably been ahead by 2-4 points the whole time. But, I suppose they have to do something for the summer, and overreacting is their only choice...

But I think this guided Romney's VP pick. Generally, a candidate can go a number of different directions with their VP selection. They can try to pick someone who is similar to them in order to re-enforce an image (like Clinton did with Gore in 1992). Or, they can try and pick someone who is viewed as strong in an area that the candidate is weak (like Obama did with Biden in 2008). Often there are those who think a VP can help turn a swing state, although there isn't much evidence that this actually works. Sometimes, a campaign is just lost, so they pick the craziest VP they can in hopes of shaking up the race (which is how we all met Sarah Palin).

I think Romney has gone a different way...he has picked someone who is heavily associated with an issue in hopes of driving the debate towards that issue. He is appeasing his base, and Wisconsin is maybe (in a very broad definition) a contested state, but I really feel like the primary purpose was drawing Obama into a discussion about the budget.

In that sense, I love the selection. Not that I necessarily love Ryan or think his budget proposal is much better than Obama's, but to me this should be the issue, and it constantly baffles me that young people so blatantly ignore it. I certainly understand why none of the other candidates appeal to people under 35 or so, but it consistently puzzles me how Obama can remain so incredibly popular after basically telling us to go and fuck ourselves for four years.

I can promise you that the budget discussion will be ill-informed, misleading and full of half-truths and blatant lies...but I am all for anything that ensures that we at least have the discussion. Just as a heads up, Obama is going to tell you that we can solve all of our problem by "asking the very richest Americans to pay their fair share." Which is only mostly a lie because he doesn't define what is "their fair share" is...otherwise it would be totally a lie. Ryan (and by extension Romney) is going to tell you that we can solve our problems by cutting taxes further and making some minor tweaks to Medicare and Social Security that won't really require anyone to sacrifice. I probably don't really need to explain the idiocy of that.

One thing is for sure, none of them are going to actually tell us the truth: the fiscal management of the Federal budget has been so bad that we can not even stop the accumulation of new debt without substantial new tax revenues and substantial spending cuts. And not just taxes on "the top 1%", and not just cuts in "wasteful government programs". No, everyone is paying more, and everything is getting cut.

But I will take a bad debate over no debate for now, and for that reason, I am glad that Ryan will be in the race. His proposals have all kinds of flaws, and all kinds of absurd assumptions...but he is at least willing to put his ideas on paper and talk about that. Just being willing to move the discussion forward makes him better than most.

So, short version...I like Ryan, but I don't really love him and I have a LOT of issues with his grand plan. I suppose it shows well on Romney that he is willing to pick someone how may upstage him at times. But mostly, I think he will be a welcome addition to the race, and that we will all be better off for having talked about the things that he is going to make them all talk about.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In my next life, I wanna be able to wear a field hockey uniform in public

I feel like I owe you a lot of catch-up, since I have blogged only once or twice since before we left on our college-hunting trip. A number of you have asked about further information regarding Frenchie's college plans, which I think I have limited to "He is probably coming to the States." So, yes...he is almost certainly coming here for college, which is a pretty big leap for an 18 year old, but both he and his parents are gung-ho about it. I think they have always been proponents of the idea, and it is just slightly possible that his feelings for a particularly charming New England girl have brought him around to their way of thinking.

His father works, after a fashion, in the defense and aerospace industry, and as such he spends considerable time in Washington, DC (like...I'd say two or three trips a year, at least.) Because of that, being close to DC has a certain appeal to it, and I have long suspected that he may end up at a certain esteemed institution that you might assume derives its name from the first name of our first (and greatest...yea, I said it!) President, but is in fact named after an area that likely takes its name from either an 18th century tobacco merchant or a King of England.

I still think that this is the most likely place he will end up, and it was on our tour last week. Frankly, Munchkin really loved the school, and I did, too. Not enough to leave Boston for, but it may well have been her favorite non-local school. Funny thing, though...I think she would have liked it more if he wasn't going to go there. She seems to not like the idea that she might be picking a place because that is where he is going. Again, I am not totally sure how her thought process would work if she was really thinking about these schools, but that was my gut feeling.

Speaking of Frenchie...he has been here for a week and is headed back home tonight. They were here for a couple of days, then headed to the beach for a bit, and have been back since Saturday afternoon. There are some differences in the relationship that I don't want to go into here, but they had another great visit and will probably start counting down the days until the next one soon (probably Christmas?)

And speaking of "counting down the days"... one week 'til Tinkerbelle! I feel like I haven't seen her in forever (it was New Year's) and since she never got out here either of the last two summers, this will be her first trip to the beach in three years. I am pretty sure she is taller than me;-) and almost certainly has bigger boobs, too. She is, after all, 13...and most 13 year old girls can yes to both of those.

I think I will take some time off, although I don't know whether it will be the whole week or not. I may work like two days, give her some time to herself, and then plan on spending the rest of the time at the beach with her. Chances of me getting a single picture with both sisters and both daughters? Hmm...maybe a possibility...

All of this, and I haven't even gotten to either an Olympic round-up (I love the Olympics, I think we all know that) or a discussion of Mitt Romney picking a VP candidate...maybe I will blog more than once this week!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

More babies!!!

Not sure what she tried to make it happen, but Big Sis woke up this morning in labor, headed to the hospital and had herself a baby girl at 1:14 this afternoon:-) She is so awesome that she gets two middle names...Aunt Smoking Hot Roommate's first and middle name (which is also my name, of course!), along with Big Sis's maiden name (which is also her brother's middle name). Which actually means that her first and two middle names are Smoking Hot Roommate's full, pre-married name.

If you followed that, then congrats...:-)

Anyway, Mom, Dad and Big Brother are doing great and I can't wait to meet the little princess!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Baby updates!!!

Somehow in my traveling, non-blogging and general awesomeness, I forgot to mention that I have a brand new niece:-) Twin Sister and her Wife had another little baby girl last weekend, right before Munchkin and I left. We got to see her on Sunday night before taking off on Monday:-)

Ten fingers, ten toes and seven pounds of absolute adorableness! Baby, Mommy, other Mommy and big sister are all doing great. She hasn't met her cousins just yet, but I think we will bring them over to meet her sometime early next week...

Big Sis, however, remains stubbornly still pregnant!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Tales from the highway

I'm back...from four days on the road, one day of work, and then a couple more days at the beach:-) All in all, it's not a bad way to live!!!

I can't begin to tell you how much fun Munchkin and I had. We left Monday morning, drove to Providence and then to New Haven (what, you need me to spell out the schools for you? C' are all better than that...) and spent the night in New York city. We saw two places in New York on Tuesday, stayed there again that night and then headed further south to Northern New Jersey on Wednesday morning, Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon and then stayed in DC that night, saw one school there and drove back on Thursday.

Along the way, we ate an enormous amount of junk food (although we didn't eat at any Chick-fil-A's...honestly, we were afraid of making a political statement and didn't really know which political statement we would be making by eating there. Thankfully, McDonald's has remained silent on all major social issues...) We also listened to a huge amount of terrible music, and sang entirely too much of it out loud. We almost certainly went over on the Demi Lovato allowance...

And we talked a lot, of course, about a million things...some silly and some serious. Frenchie is here for a week now, so she was thinking about that leading up to his visit. Her feelings about him are as deep as they have ever been, but I think they are getting more complicated as they both get a little bit older. It still breaks my heart just a little bit that she sees him as little as she does...she deserves to have a simpler boyfriend situation.

She didn't see anything that changed her mind about her college plans, although she definitely liked some of the schools more than others. I am not sure she really went in with an "open mind" in the normal sense, but she listened and asked questions and looked around with interest. I am glad she did it, and I think she is, too...I will feel better about her decision knowing that she at least sampled some alternatives. Bottom line, she couldn't stand to be that far away from me...and I kinda feel the same way:-)

And now, unfortunately, I am back at work...FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK WITH NO DAYS OFF!!! What the fuck?!?!