Posts from September, 2008

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hiking in rock creek park (why we love dc #9)

Sunday, 28 September 2008

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it turns out that rock creek park (of Chandra Levy fame) has a network of trails … *actual* trails with switchbacks, elevation gain, wildlife, streams, and mud. not just the paved rec paths or glorified sidewalks you would imagine in a city park.

it amazes me that residents of Mt. Pleasant won’t shut up about the glory that is the National Zoo — though it is pretty awesome — and yet they neglect to mention the National Park-grade liking trails less than three blocks away.

even more stupefying is that we had the trails to our selves. sans a couple or dog owners and a pair of septuagenarians warning us about the perils of poison ivy (they had just been interviewed by News Channel 8 on the topic) there was nary a human in sight on a stunningly beautiful Sunday afternoon.

there are two main trails around the park … the western ridge trail and the valley trail. we looped through the bottom third of both in about two hours. the trails go from the Zoo all the way up to Maryland, but we weren’t that brave (and, frankly, should have been in better shoes).

we did get lost (yes, in rock creek park) and used my fancy-pants new iPhone’s GPS locator-thingy to save our bacon. I’d like to think that the coolness of the iPhone balances embarrassment of actually using it in the “wilderness” … but, sadly, it’s still just humiliating.

speaking of maps, those provided by the Park Service show the trails as one unintelligible smudge, which makes navigation (without an iPhone) that much more exciting. there are larger, more printer friendly rock creek trail maps here:

Map: Hiking Trails in Rock Creek Park (South)
Map: Hiking Trails in Rock Creek Park (North)

Explore the Photoset:
Hiking in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC

live: the first presidential debate

Friday, 26 September 2008

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Guess who live blogged the debate tonight? Tonight’s coverage came from waaaay out in suburban Maryland — home of the very mighty baby boig. Also, in case you missed it, I live blogged that joint appearance by Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton on Saturday night two weeks back.

thoughts from the debate

8:05 AM I honestly can’t imagine a better prologue for the debate than McCain calling for it to be canceled, and Obama educating John that a President needs to be able to walk *and* chew gum at the same time.
12:08 PM debate is looking like it’s a go. washingtonpost.com reporting that mccain has agreed to participate, citing “significant progress” on the bailout.
12:14 PM in case you hadn’t heard, mccain has already won the debate … and this “happened” while he was still trying to kill it.
5:10 PM i’m more than a little nervous about rolling out new technology (posting from iPhone) in a live broadcast event … even if it there are just three of you watching/reading.
8:18 PM at the party … negotiations have commenced as to which network coverage to watch. it doesn’t look good for PBS.
8:55 PM So we have the option of watching RoboCop or the debate. Dunno, I do like Peter Weller.
9:01 PM Here we go, in the land of the stars and bars. On CNN. *Sigh*
9:03 PM I [heart] Jim Lehrer.
9:05 PM Interesting how McCain entered from the *right* of the stage … hmmm.
9:05 PM Barack = too much makeup.
9:07 PM McCain trots out Kennedy’s illness? Nice try, but poor form … especially for what was deemed a “mild seizure.”
9:08 PM At least McCain practiced his response to the financial bailout question. Barack should have had that speech polished. You’ve *got* to map out your first fifteen offensive plays if you want to coach in this league, kiddo.
9:10 PM It’s going to be a long night if they don’t start answering Jim’s questions…
9:11 PM How is the financial crisis like the landings at Normandy? I got WAY confused on that one…
9:13 PM Point to John McCain for making a joke … proof that he’s actually alive. Especially important as he (a) isn’t moving much, and (b) his makeup makes him look like a corpse.
9:16 PM That lighting makes McCain look like he has a comb-over … or maybe that’s just reality doing that.
9:20 PM “I didn’t win Miss Congeniality in the US Senate..” NICE!
9:27 PM Barack is looking great … and I don’t think McCain is winning many points being *so* focused on pork barrel spending. It’s a bullet point, John. It’s not the whole speech.
9:31 PM Is McCain running for President or Accountant-In-Chief? Next slide, John-boy.
9:35 PM Barack is much more nimble at jumping from issue to issue … John-boy isn’t flustered, but isn’t exactly fleet of feet here.
9:44 PM I hope Petraeus doesn’t retire … who is McCain going gush over when he’s gone.
9:48 PM Watching on CNN, I am fascinated by the little graph on the bottom of the screen measuring audience response, one line each for dems, indies and repubs … I know it prolly has no substance what-so-ever but I can’t tear my eyes away
9:51 PM Barack is calling McCain out for “misrepresentation” a lot. People here are standing saying “Hallelujah,” but I wonder how the confrontation is looking to the undecideds.
9:52 PM I feel like McCain keeps fighting the last argument.
9:56 PM Is McCain sleeping with General Petraeus? I know about this “don’t ask, don’t tell” thing, but maybe John-boy should do a little more “don’t tell…”
9:58 PM John-boy supports extinction for North Korea and jokes about bombing Iran? Two good lines to Obama. I’m thinking he was well prepped.
10:00 PM McCain’s jowells are twitching … I think he’s getting ready to combust.
10:01 PM Oy. A verbal battle of soldier’s mother’s bracelets … unseemly. You can see that Obama is wearing the bracelet, John. Why bring it up?
10:05 PM McCain just called Iran an “existential” threat. Was that “existential” as in “existentialism,” as in Albert Camus and Friedrich Nietzsche … as in “I create my own reality?” Heck, I’d agree that John-boy creates his own reality …
10:07 PM I know that I’m partial, but I’m pretty sure Obama is doing waaaay better keeping McCain honest than vice versa.
10:09 PM “Punishing countries by not talking to them does not work…” *great* line from Obama, putting McCain square in the Bush camp.
10:12 PM So, this reminds me of a funny joke I heard: Raul Castro, Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Obama walk into a bar — stop me if you have heard this one …
10:18 PM I can’t hear the word “Russia” without thinking about Tina Fey saying: “I can see Russia from my back yard.”
10:20 PM You know at least a hundred people outside Atlanta just called the Georgia state police to report that the Russians have invaded.
10:24 PM That smirk on McCain’s face is positively Bush-ian. Do you think the general public finds it as pompous (and vaguely unstable) as I do?
10:26 PM Does anyone know what Nunn-Lugar is? Two of you? Great. Are you an undecided living in middle America? No, not so much …
10:28 PM If the U.S. is safer now than after 9/11, can we get step down from that “Code Orange” thing that’s messing up all the airports?
10:30 PM I know Obama isn’t going to say it, but could the biggest threat to our security be to remain in Iraq? Or, for us to not fix our standing in the world?
10:31 PM Spoke too soon. Obama just said “we must restore our standing in the world” and that statement shoved that audience reaction graph through the roof. Dems and Indies are way up. Even the repubs are up, up, up. Who knew America cared? Or, who knew a focus group in Atlanta cared?
10:33 PM McCain just said “blood and treasure.” Which brings up an important point … does middle America celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and do they know it was actually last week?
10:36 PM McCain just said Bush and Obama shared foreign policy stubbornness. Sharpest knock on the president so far, though (imho) it seemed a bit forced.
10:37 PM John is tiring out, Barack. Just smile and nod… and say you love America, a lot. And babies.
10:38 PM It’s over, enter the Stepford Wife!
10:45 PM Well, that’s done … not sure anyone really won or loss, but I’m drooling over the next round of polling.
10:46 PM How far up does Obama have to be to overcome people swapping teams in the voting booth due to the latent racism of Americans? Someone here at the party said 15%, though I’d guess Palin may have moderated that a bit (target for latent sexism).
10:47 PM Okay, gotta drive home. More thoughts later …
10:51 PM Not leaving quite yet. Was there any moment of this debate that we will remember in 20 years? I am thinking not. And it seemed to me that debating with McCain sullies Obama. I don’t like seeing such a gifted orator have to deal with a bean-counter like that.
10:55 PM Lotta people talking (in person, on the telly) about Obama saying “John is right” so much, and that being a sign of weakness … I’m not so sure. A sign of bipartisanship, yes. Weakness? Maybe not.
10:56 PM Okay, now I really am leaving…

a couple thoughts from the drive home

first, i liked how approachable obama seemed … he had a “kitchen table” schtick about him, and it think that will serve him well. it’s not him at his most eloquent, but i think everybody is expecting a good state of the union already. it’s still a question of if you want to drink beer with him, and the debate was a personal win for him here.

second, that stupid audience reaction graph seemed to map indies and dems very closely together, with repubs more often swinging the opposite way. if that graph has value, which is a bold assumption, then this correlation is a very, very good sign for Obama. actually, anecdotally, i’d say that the three lines were more “together” when barack was speaking, and a little more separated when mccain was speaking. that could be good, too.

finally, a Conservative commentator (not sure who) mentioned that foreign policy and national security are the bread and butter issues for McCain, and that if he doesn’t score in this debate, he probably isn’t going to score at any debate. Now, call the debate how you will, but i don’t think anyone is saying that McCain did any better than “holding his own” … so, that could be good, too.

well, good night! god bless you … and god bless the united states of america.

p.s. i want you to know i did this whole thing from a couch using my iPhone. come on in, my friends … drink the kool-aid. the water is *mighty* fine.

iPhone makes wife love you

Monday, 22 September 2008

on the way back from the airport last night, i had my first “come to Jesus” moment with my new, beloved iPhone …

it was late(ish) and we needed to get some food. there is nothing around the airport (bwi, yick…) and the lady sparkler said she wanted something that wasn’t fast food … like maybe baja fresh or panera, and then proceeded to start chatting up her cell phone.

so, ever looking for reasons to play with “my precious,” i brought up the fancy GPS/map thing, and typed in baja fresh. it immediately brought up my location, the location of the closest baja fresh (8.2 miles towards D.C.), plotted directions for me, and then proceeded to blink a blue dot to guide me in.

this, in itself, should have been enough to make me babble about the technology revolution all through dinner.

however, it turns out that when we made the blinking blue dot (us) match up with the steady red dot (them) there was no restaurant — but (!), when i clicked on the red dot to get more information about the restaurant, there was a phone number listed (which i clicked), and the phone dialed it automatically (!).

a nice boy told me we needed to go two blocks farther down the street. wifey ate, i didn’t go 20 miles out of the way, and evvvverybody was happy.

i’ve totally drunk the iPhone kool-aid. nothing will come between me and my precious … <ominous> noothiing </omninous>.

return from the northern kingdom

Sunday, 21 September 2008

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it’s the beginning of fall travel season, and we kicked it off with a trip to visit the Vermont Parkers, outside Burlington.

I’m certain we did stuff — we have pictures as proof — but mostly we kicked around and relaxed. I remember something about mini-golf (tho we didn’t keep score) and food / deck / backyard, but mostly I remember relaxing.

my iPhone is the personification (electronic-device-ification?) of *awesomeness.* I can’t believe I didn’t get one of these sooner (oh, wait. AT&T … that’s why.)

next up is Dallas for our second consecutive “wedding of the century.” it’ll be an Anglo-Dutch-Indo-Pakistani-Mexican-Middle Eastern affair, so should be fascinating.

pregnant:

-18w

pregnant:

-145w

kids on campus

Monday, 15 September 2008

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It’s that time of year again … when drunken freshman boys roam the streets, parkour-ing off downtown curbs to impress non-existent girls.

When young women move in packs of eight or more, with anorexic blonds leading the way (pressing the less-than-skinny into service as “rear guard”).

When you see athletically mismatched couples running together, the result of conversations that must have gone something like this:

    Buff Girl: I love running. Do you run? (Please say yes, please say yes…)

    Flabby Boy: Um. Yeah. Of course! I, uh, run all the time. (Shoes. Did I bring anything other than flip-flops?)

    Buff Girl: Great! How about Saturday night? (That’ll get me off the hall, and if it’s dark people won’t be able to tell he’s a dork …)

    Flabby Boy: Sure, that’d be great. (I hope she puts out quick. I haven’t run since that presidential skills test in 7th grade, when I puked on the second-to-last lap.)

    Buff Girl: 9 o’clock? (Oh, I’ve got the perfect outfit. I hope his cute roommate sees me.)

    Flabby Boy: Great! (Dude, I *love* college! It’s exactly like I saw in that movie…)

When on Thursday night, girls in impossibly impractical shoes — and with nary enough clothes between them for one good outfit — block up metro escalators by standing to the left.

When on weekends, shell shocked parents lead miserable looking children around Target buying those last minute essentials, like toilet paper and granola bars.

*sniff*

Boy, I miss college.

one down, one to go …

Sunday, 14 September 2008

well, we (finally) polished off that hallway-painting-project that we started way back on labor day weekend.

actually, we finished up most of it last week, but still had a couple of touch-ups left for today … a switch plate here, an empty picture frame there, that sort or thing. we’ve got a couple more things left in the bathroom, however, so we won’t be able to slay that beast until next week.

never thought such simple projects could take so long. they say that, for home improvement projects, you should take your original estimate and double it … but, i think we are somewhere around 16x.

well, at least it looks purdy.

in mt. pleasant, dc:

1y, 1m, 26d

Karma

Saturday, 13 September 2008

I’m writing this from my brand new iPhone … from the side of the road next to our broken-down car.

Ain’t karma a #%*£?

It’s hard not to think that something is up. Hurricane Gustav came after the Louisiana Spindlers. Hannah tried to get the Virginia Parkers (but failed) and took a swipe at us (the DC Parkers?) but we had fled south.

And, just today, the Texas Spindlers took Hurricane Ike on the chin, though by all accounts they weathered the storm. But, in the immortal words of The Lady Sparkler, “if I were [the Oregon Spindler], I’d be on typhoon watch…”

So, considering every one is happy and healthy (and I have an iPhone), I guess a temperamental radiator isn’t such a big deal … thank the good sweet Lord.

washington, dc at night (again)

Friday, 12 September 2008

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[Photo]
ECPA20080829_5346, originally uploaded by [ecpark].

choose your superpowers

Friday, 5 September 2008

I’m reading a fun (read: trashy) little book called Who Can Save Us Now?: Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories, and while I don’t normally do fiction, this one is pretty good.

so, each hero in each story has a strange new power to meet a modern threat (to become a meerkat, to mind-control televangelists, to never forget a name) which got the lady sparkler and i to thinking about what powers we would take if given the choice …

mine was easy. ever since i was a child, i wanted (a) to have bionic eyes which would zoom, see infrared, take pictures, etc. and (b) the power to be invisible. i’d totally be the little monkey boy who’d come back with the intel and then let the main characters go off and do the dirty work.

she floundered a bit, but soon settled on the ability to fly (“that’s be so cool! zooming in and out of the clouds…”) and to time travel, which — i’ll have you know — includes *both* going backwards and forwards in time, *and* stopping it all together. she also wants a costume that kicks major heiney, too (first draft is above, right).

I thought my desired superpowers say a lot about my personality, but her’s seem an even better match. i’m curious, tho … are we the only ones who have thought this through?

live (not really): McCain + Palin = The Coming Apocalypse

Thursday, 4 September 2008

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so, i not going to watch the whole Repub convention (a man can only take so much), so it’s just Wednesday and Thursday this time around. To be fair, i wasn’t going to watch any of it … but i have to say that I think the nomination of Palin for Veep (or Trophy Veep, or VPILF, depending) is a masterwork. the dems are in real trouble on this one, and i hope she’s not the harbinger of the apocalypse for their ticket.

Also, in full disclosure, I must confess that I am not live-blogging this, but instead “tivo-blogging” this … on wednesday night, the lady sparkler and I had to decide between going to RFK to watch D.C. United win its 12th major championship, or stay home and bear witness to the coming apocalypse. it didn’t turn out to be as hard of a decision as i’d have thought.

UPDATE: I was going to try and tivo-blog both nights right now… but my weak psyche just can’t take another three hours on top of what i’ve already endured. You’re on your own until the weekend when i’ll plow through the final night.

UPDATE #2: It’s two weeks later, and the last night of the convention is still untouched on my Tivo. I’m beginning to question my dedication to this effort …

UPDATE #3: It took three-odd weeks to gain the courage to finish the repub convention. Boy, the things that I do for my loyal readers … all three of you.

Random thoughts below.

thursday night

8:07 PM “Sometimes the best sermons aren’t preached, they are lived.” Pithy, but I don’t actually know who this guy is.
8:08 PM eighth incancation of “John McCain put our country first.” at least those wacky repubs got that call and response thing down … drill, baby, drill!!!
8:11 PM Now he’s extolling the virtues of “Sam’s Club republicans.” Big, empty, ugly, destroys family businesses, filled with crap you don’t need in quantities you can’t use. Interesting analogy.
8:12 PM Who is he again? Oh, Governor of Minnesota … the state that brought you Jesse Ventura. Of course, I say this from the city that brought you Marion Barry.
8:15 PM Bill Frist is talking about HIV/AIDS? That seems like an odd play for the Trade Federation. What’s he up to…?
8:16 PM Interesting to see Frist explaining the genocide in Rwanda to the Convention … wonder if he is going to need a map. He might want to explain what “Africa” is first, and move on from there.
8:17 PM Frist ended with “God bless the children of the world.” Is he some sort of Commie? Who ends a speach with something other than “God Bless the United States of America.” I mean, really?!?
8:24 PM Nothing’s better than a white man in a $800 suit saying “Are you ready to rock, America?”
8:25 PM Brownback is highlighting McCain’s historic vice presidential nomination. Has he forgotten about Geraldine Ferraro, or is he just highlighting that the RNC is historically 20 years behind the DNC on social issues?
8:27 PM Great talking point for the repubs: “Last week in Denver, the other party was encouraging us to ‘believe.’ They told America over and over, ‘Yes we can.’ But when you look at the past two years with Democrats controlling the House and Senate, all we’ve seen is, ‘NO we can’t.’ They said we can’t reach energy independence by finding new sources of oil and gas in our own country. We can’t cut spending. We can’t have a health care system run by doctors and patients instead of a federal bureaucracy. They say we can’t win the war in Iraq. While the other side may say ‘yes we can’ and then votes ‘no you won’t’ — John McCain says ‘yes we will.'”
8:28 PM okay, okay, okay, okay, okay … call and response. i get it. you guys are *just* like baptist preachers. i get it. please stop.
8:34 PM Now Mary Fallin (R-OK) is digging up the OKC bombing? They really are the party of the past … how about we focus on health care, education, foriegn policy or the economy? Heck, I think talkin’ babies, guns, gays and jesus would be more useful for the party.
8:37 PM Candidate for most forced soundbite of the evening: “We need a president who knows you can’t negotiate with Evil.”
8:39 PM Oh, God. A video about 9/11. This can’t possibly be good news for either party.
8:39 PM “The first attack came in Iran.” Wow. Subtle. I wonder who we should invade next.
8:40 PM “And kill us they did.”
8:41 PM “We remember buildings burning, bodies falling.”
8:42 PM Video closes with: “We will never allow that to happen again.” Wonder if that statement comes with a life-time guaruntee. I can just imagine: “We voted for McCain, and then it happened again. Can we sue for false advertising?”
9:01 PM Sen. Lindsey Graham is discussing the “surge” in Iraq, with a picture of military headstones (Arlington National Cemetary?) in the background. Now, *that’s* an unfortunate image …
9:02 PM Newsflash: According to Lindsey Graham, John McCain is presponsible for the Surge! If we pair his surge up with Al Gore’s internet, I wonder what crazy things we could make …
9:04 PM Oifff: “Ladies and Gentlemen … thank God for Joe Lieberman.”
9:06 PM Graham just downgraded “Mission Accomplished” to “We are winning.” Maybe “we are doing pretty okay” is next?
9:06 PM There are some *really* awkward pauses in Graham’s speach, while he waits on applause lines. Is the convention just waiting for big names, or does Lindsey have the speaking presence of a turnip?
9:10 PM Video on Palin. Starts with: “Mother, Moosehunter, Maverick.” I don’t think they were kidding …
9:11 PM Palin’s daughters make me … uncomfortable. How much of the under-25, Middle-American-male vote do you think they bring in for McCain?
9:13 PM “Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.” What noun exactly does “Conservation” modify in that sentance, “Alaska” or “Oil and Gas”?
9:14 PM So, this whole “candidate as sex-symbol” thing the video is pushing … Sarah Palin creeps be out in one direction, and Hillary Clinton goes the other way. Isn’t there a happy median somewhere?
9:18 PM Tom Ridge is great and all, but couldn’t they find a better setup man? And where is Cindy. I thought she was speaking today.
9:20 PM Again, the applause from the audience is really weak. Where did they get these delegates? Shouldn’t they be making a ruckus?
9:22 PM Not being glib (this time) but I honestly don’t understand this line: “For the consideration before us is not about who can take a 3 a.m. call. It’s about who has answered the call throughout his life.” Is it a reference to something I missed?
9:25 PM Oh, no. I sense another “call-and-response” thing coming on. Do repub operatives read my blog? I’m honored and all, but i think you took my advice a little toooo literally.
9:31 PM Hey, hey. Here she comes. Cindy McCain video: Why don’t they recognize his first wife, and those three kids? Strange, from the part of family values.
9:35 PM Yup. I’m sold. Cindy McCain is just like me. I have a $300,000 dress, too.
9:36 PM No podeum? Shut up and get on the stage, woman. No speaking for you!
9:37 PM Speaking without a podeum?!? Interesting. Veeeeeerrry interesting.
9:38 PM Nope, strike that. Without a podeum, she looks like a talk show host … only less Whoopi Goldberg.
9:39 PM No, wait! An NFL sideline reporter … only more awkward.
9:40 PM No, wait … Sally Struthers! Yes, I want to give money to the Christian Childrens Fund! Yes, yes, yes!
9:41 PM Must. Resist. Fast forwarding.
9:42 PM “From the beginning of time, no matter how accomplished in other fields, women have always sought a husband with an eye to what kind of father that man would be. Well, I hit a home run with John McCain!”
9:45 PM No more! Where is the #@$%@ tivo remote?!?
9:46 PM We get it. No animal is safe so long as Sarah Palin has a gun. Next slide, please.
9:50 PM This speach goes … ever ever on, over rock and under tree, by caves where never sun has shone, by streams that never find the sea.
9:52 PM Rwanda again. Crazy. It’s like there are at now atleast 10 or 12 other countries in the world.
9:55 PM “STAAAAND BYY YEEEERRR, MAAAAANNN! ‘CAUSE AFTER ALLLLLL, HE’S JUST A MANNNN.”
10:05 PM McCain video: John’s father ordered the place he was being held to be carpet bombed?!? Did I just hear that right? — "Gee, thanks Dad!"
10:08 PM Okay, I admit … his Viet Nam story is great. I would have gone insane by day two. Okay, okay … hour two.
10:10 PM Ooooooo. They just name-dropped “Mother Theresa.” They are goooooooood.
10:13 PM Now, *there* is the audience applause that the GOP handlers have been waiting for. Thank god they showed up before the coverage shifted to the networks.
10:15 PM How did we get here? He was written off more times than I can count …
10:17 PM Listen to that applause for good ‘ol Dubya.
10:17 PM “Finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We’ll go at it over the next two months. That’s the nature of these contests, and there are big differences between us. But you have my respect and admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, an association that means more to me than any other. We’re dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. No country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.
10:23 PM What just happened? They showed three people tussling, one of them holding a flag.
10:29 PM Fascinating. THe protester was holding a flag that said, “You can’t win an occupation” on one side, and “McCain votes against vets” on the other. Unfortunately, it appears to be the work of Code Pink, which almost completely de-legitimizes the whole thing.
10:31 PM It’s a bad sign that I am paying more attention to researching the protest than I am the speach. Come on, McCain … earn your nomination.
10:32 PM Hmm, didn’t realize CodePink disrupted Palin’s speach, too.
10:33 PM McCain’s an environmentalist! He keeps recycling his lines … “I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.”
10:33 PM Good decision to bring regular people to shout out during speach. Very presidential. Very “state of the union,” actually.
10:34 PM Senator Obama passed a corporate welfare bill for oil companies? That doesn’t even sound possible. Wonder if it was another republican rider to an appropriation bill.
10:38 PM This is a sharp change in tone from the rest of the convention so far. I know you send your pitbulls to do the attacking, but it’s almost like a completely different convention …
10:38 PM This is a sharp change in tone from the rest of the convention so far. I know you send your pitbulls to do the attacking, but it’s almost like a completely different convention …
10:39 PM First time I have heard a call and response that consisted of “boo-ing.” Did the Dems do this? Doesn’t seem like a way to bring in undecideds and moderates.
10:40 PM He’s doing a much better job that I’d have thought. Very mellow. Not snippy. Almost seems compassionate, which is something his public persona could use a little more of.
10:40 PM Good line: “My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back, find a new one that won’t go away.”
10:40 PM Another good one: “Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucracies. I want schools to answer to parents and students. And when I’m President, they will.”
10:43 PM Speaking of … it’s amazing how intrenched charter schools are now in our culture. Not sure I saw that coming. Maybe it’s just because i’m in DC …
10:46 PM So glad that America got to hear chants of “Drill, baby, drill!” in prime time.
10:48 PM Georgia (the country, not the state) must be so happy to have gotten invaded at such an opportune moment. The republican party couldn’t even find it on a map two weeks ago.
10:53 PM John has been practicing the “earnest” vibe. Wonder if he has been watching old tape of Ronald Reagan. The repubs only wish he had the same level of charisma.
10:57 PM It all comes back to a prison cell in Hanoi. I wonder if that is going to be enough to get him elected…
10:58 PM This whole “choosing” to stay another four years … if the Viet Cong really wanted to send him back, why would they be bound by the wishes of a prisoner? It seems a little non-sensical.
10:59 PM He’s starting to get warmed up: “I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.”
10:59 PM Yup, definately going for the Reagan-esque grand finish: “Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.”
11:04 PM Well, time will tell. McCain definately came across as more of the 2000-01 McCain that moderates fell in love with, but he didn’t seem to make an overarching statement. There was a lot of traditional conservatism, and I’m guessing once Palin went right, McCain felt better about moving to secure the center. In my humble opinion, I don’t think this speach was a win for McCain … but it certainly wasn’t a loss either. One thing is for sure: Palin has oppened him up to whole new strategy in the last two months … and I think only time will tell if it’s going to pay off the way he hopes it will.

wednesday night

8:17 pm parade of female ceo’s (meg whitman, carly fiorina) testifying.
8:26 pm michael steele is no baptist preacher, but holding his own. “we need someone who won’t play to the public applause.”
8:28 pm beautifully framed argument against affirmative action: “the ideal of a color blind society is worth fighting for … because each man, woman, and child is an individual, and not the member of a hyphenated class or group.”
8:29 pm good god, did steele really say “drill, baby, drill. and drill now.”
8:30 pm omg. the crowd is now chanting “drill, baby, drill.” i’m not kidding. i swear, they are actually doing it. oh, god .. and there are signs, signs that say “drill now.”
8:31 pm btw, the republicans get the call and response thing. steele’s use of “do you want to put your country first” was exactly how it should be done.
8:34 pm damn. if i was african-american, i would have some poignant things to say about mr. steele’s position visa vis our shared ethnic background.
8:35 pm “the only label that counts isn’t partisan, but ‘American.'”
8:36 pm romney is up. oh, my.
8:37 pm “For decades, the Washington sun has been rising in the east – Washington has been looking to the eastern elites, to the editorial pages of the Times and the Post, and to the broadcasters from the coast. If America really wants change, it’s time to look for the sun in the west, cause it’s about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaska! “
8:40 pm Oh, my. He’s not kidding when he says … “Is a Supreme Court liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitution rights? It’s liberal!”
8:41 pm “Liberals would replace opportunity with dependency on government largesse. They grow government and raise taxes to put more people on Medicaid, to take work requirements out of welfare, and to grow the ranks of those who pay no taxes at all. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity … It’s time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother!”
8:43 pm I hate to be naive, but could we at least kind of not lie about your opponent’s positions? “Democrats want to use the slowdown as an excuse to do what their special interests are always begging for: higher taxes, bigger government and less trade with other nations.”
8:44 pm Ouch: “And I have one more recommendation for energy conservation – let’s keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground!”
8:45 pm Well, good news if we elect McCain … “radical violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it!” I was so worried … can we sue for false advertising if it turns out he can’t do it?
8:46 pm Ooooff: “There’s never been a day where i haven’t been proud to be an American.”
8:48 pm That speech was amazing. Who abducted Mitt Romney and replaced his brain with Newt Gingrich’s? I think he just staked out the Conservative right for 2012.
8:52 pm I’m starting to get nervous. Sick to my stomach, but nervous.
8:57 pm mike huckabee. he just called McCain his “second” choice for the nomination (behind himself, of course).
8:58 pm Just thanked the “elite media” for unifying the republican party behind McCain and Palin.
9:01 pm First props to Obama for being the “person of color” nominee.
9:04 pm Good message point. “Barack Obama’s excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don’t even vote or pay taxes here.”
9:08 pm Biggest applause line of the night: “I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.” It’s going to take a long time for Dems to shake this image in middle America.
9:14 pm Good line from Gov. Linda Lingle of Hawaii about the authenticity of Palin: “She will not be trying to reinvent herself during this campaign! She is who she is.” They are just daring the opposition to take her head on … sheesh.
9:18 pm This is going to be tough … i the Dems don’t take Palin on, she gets a free pass. If the Dems do, then they are beating up on a girl. We are so screwed.
9:22 pm Oh, God. Someone get Mrs. McCain a gay man. I didn’t know they *made* dresses in that color of florescent green. That being said, it’s the only thing that could have topped her gold dress that looked like it was made out of my grandmother’s drapes.
9:32 pm Rudolpho Giuliani. Can you imagine his career if it weren’t for September 11th? I’m pretty sure, he wouldn’t be speaking at the Convention, that’s fer dern shure.
9:34 pm He’s started off being quite conciliatory, but I can just feel the wheels getting ready to fall off the rationality bus.
9:36 pm Another refrain the party is obviously pushing: “America comes first.” Fascinating in the number of nuances you can read into that.
9:37 pm Sure Giuliani can rip on Obama’s Harvard education, but he’s ripping on him for being a community organizer?!?
9:38 pm Did Obama really vote present at 100+ State Leg votes? “For president of the United States, it’s not good enough to be present.”
9:39 pm Giuliani doesn’t know how good of a speech he has. He keeps looking surprised at each of the reactions he gets.
9:41 pm Giuliani is such a good old boy. Audience is eating up all the condescension. Is the key to Conservatism about the promise that one day you might get the chance to be a good old boy?
9:43 pm Best line yet (despite the poor delivery): “They would have you believe that this election is about change versus more of the same, but that’s really a false choice, because there’s good change and bad change. Because change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.”
9:44 pm “Drill, baby, drill” again. Is this a NIMBY thing? Repubs live in middle america, so they don’t care about drilling so long as it’s off the coasts of the Blue states?
9:47 pm “For four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the words ‘Islamic terrorism.’ I think they believe it will insult someone. Please tell me, who are they insulting if they say ‘Islamic terrorism’? They are insulting terrorists.”
9:50 pm “And I believe, ladies and gentlemen, when they gave up on Iraq, they had given up on America.”
9:52 pm Israelies and Palestinians aren’t “morally equivalent” and some United Nations bashing. [Insert punchline here.]
9:53 pm At least they recognize the problem: “Like Ronald Reagan, John McCain will enlarge our party, open it up to lots of new people.” [emphasis added mine.]
9:55 pm Oiiff, that hurts: “She’s already had more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined.”
9:57 pm “One final point. And how — how dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president. How dare they do that.” Who did this? Someone tell me the name of the Democrat who did this?!? Speeches should require footnotes.
10:00 pm  More awful delivery, but good lines: “We’re the party that has expanded freedom from the very beginning, from ending slavery to making certain that people have freedom here and abroad … And we’re the party — and we’re the party that unapologetically believes in America’s success, a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom that inspires the world. That’s what our party is dedicated to.”
10:02 pm Here come Palin, and she’s a’ wearin’ pink. Or is that a light taupe? Or is that lavender? Why the h-e-double-hockey-sticks did they put her in something that is even allowing me to think about this …
10:05 pm Palin’s son (who’s service is being trotted out again) is deploying, to Iraq, on September 11th. There is no way we can win an election against these people.
10:06 pm I’m going to hell, but i am not sure i can support a woman for elected office who named her children Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig.
10:08 pm At least her flaunting of her special needs baby was a *little* less crass.
10:13 pm More community organizer bashing, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” I just don’t get it …
10:18 pm This little gem is the byte I woke up to this morning on NPR (and my day never recovered): “Here’s a little newsflash for those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country.”
10:23 pm Much better response to drilling (and certainly more subtle) than I had expected: “Our opponents say again and again that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems, as if we didn’t know that already. But the fact that drilling, though, won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.”
10:26 pm More ouch: “But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate.”
10:28 pm More comments I’d like to see the footnotes for: “America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions.”
10:30 pm She is trying incredibly hard to make McCain the candidate of change … “In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”
10:32 pm I’m running out of nice things to say. “And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, ‘fighting for you,’ let us face the matter squarely … There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain.
10:33 pm Another knock on community organizing.
10:34 pm Apparently, It doesn’t count if you aren’t being shot at by foreigners: “And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, ‘fighting for you,’ let us face the matter squarely … There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain.”
10:38 pm Objectively, a good speech … but I see the strength as energizing the base. Very aggressive against Obama, and (obviously) very positive about McCain, but I don’t think it will turn the undecided and there was very little on policy. There was a lot of mocking and condescension, and I don’t see how that grabs the independent, undecided middle.
10:49 pm The more I think about this, there is no way she pulls disaffected dems. Big pull for the heartland, tho, but I don’t know how much of the heartland they didn’t already have.
10:55 pm Gawd, I’m depressed.