Friday, July 25, 2008

A Herd of Cattle

I must admit to spending more of my attention on art of late than politics. But I have been following Obama's international tour. I bet McCain wished he had never suggested his opponent actually go visit Iraq. Obama has been looking very presidential. Definitely more presidential than GW ever looked. He has not leaned on a podium once.

Meanwhile McCain has been back stateside trying to make bitter little snips at the Democratic candidate. So imagine my surprise today when I caught a CNN video with the latest poll of polls. Seems that McCain is gaining on Obama and that currently they are separated by only three points. Course the margin of error on most polls is plus or minus three points, but I had figured that McCain would be lagging further and further behind. Not gaining.

I worked at one time in Washington, DC for Senator Charles Goodall who had been appointed to take the seat vacated by the murdered Robert Kennedy. Since he was one of the authors of the amendment to end the war in Vietnam President Nixon pulled out the big guns to defeat him when he ran for the Senate seat. We did a poll on polls. And it seems there is a polling factor. Or factors actually.

First any population that is studied has this tendency to start behaving strangely because of the attention given it. i.e. it is not odd to find people who have been called more than once to start giving strange answers to just see what the result might be.

Second people start following the leader. I could as an example get published a poll which said that the majority of the United States Citizens would prefer a dictatorship with Vice President Cheney as the leader. And people would start heading that direction in their opinions.
It would appear that we are after all just a herd of cattle and will follow any leader whether they are heading for the slaughter house or not.

And we do not deviate from habitual behavior easily. We hate change. Rather like this herd of cattle pictured above. They had recently been in a small field where they were dropped bales of hay and grain. Load them in a truck and transport them to green grass heaven and what do they do? Head to the random two legged stranger that pulled up to take their picture. They assume I am going to give them hay; fodder for their opinions as it were.

In short we prefer the monster we know over the unknown behind the closet door. McCain we know. He is just like George Bush. Everything he says, even the bitter snipes, sound like GW. Obama on the other had is promising us change; a whole field of new spring grass to munch. But we could get lost. Better to stay by the fence and wait for the pickup with hay.

All this herd got from me is their picture taken, and isn't that what a poll is? A snap shot of the herd's behavior at this point in time. Is it valid? For the moment it is taken. It is out of date by the time it is published even in this fast track digital world. Give these four footed beasts in the picture above another week and they will totally ignore the opportunity for a free meal from a truck. Well, until the nights get cold and the grass starts to die. About the end of October here in the high country. This group will be walking into a cattle truck for a trip to the slaughter house. A couple weeks later voters in this country will be walking into polling booths. Are we going for the slaughter we know or an opportunity to change things?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Under the shoulder pads

Be prepared for a petty blog. Yes, there are some weighty issues out there on the political landscape at the moment and maybe this whole blog is silly but just where are John McCain's shoulders?

I get that since Richard Nixon went on television with five o'clock shadow to debate John Kennedy that making up your candidate to look good on television is a prime objective of any support team. And they clearly failed on covering the age spots on the back of his hand during his Viagra moment.

But for me the whole shoulder pad thing has been carried to the extreme and he is beginning to look like Tammy Faye minus the false eyelashes.

He doesn't have a neck to begin with and he already has the beginning of a stoop (early sign of prostrate cancer or just age), and I understand that he has issues with his arms because of what was done during his imprisonment as a POW. But he has big enough shoulder pads to serve as flotation devices should his plane go down over water. They are so big and stiff that it hinders natural movement. On a recent video of him in a town hall meeting predicting an up turn in terror attacks before the November elections (prediction or promise?) he looked like a robot in a suit of armor.

We are told he is very fit, but where are all the standard political campaign images of the candidates jogging past the capital building? We have Obama playing basketball. And blowing it on bowling but I want to see McCain in gym shorts. Does his workout suit have the same shoulder pads? I have seen women jogging outfits with shoulder pads. I imagine his campaign can rig up some for their candidate speed walking around the mall before the stores open.

Fibbing to the public about the health of our presidents is an old story. FDR made it a point to never appear in a wheel chair or even with crutches though he was severely crippled. We were kept from the truth about the severity of JFK's back issues. It was years after he left office that we discovered he had not drawn a sober breath for his last 13 months in office. And what is the truth about GW falling off the couch? Do you believe the pretzel story?

I am not looking for any national security information to be revealed here. I just want to know what is under that suit of iron he wears? Does he have shoulders at all? And how much bigger are those shoulder pads going to get as the campaign moves forward?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Money Changers in the Temple

One of my favorite Bible stories has been that of Jesus and the Money Changers. It made for a wonderful scene in one of my all time favorite rock musicals - Jesus Christ Superstar.

It generally gets worked into sermons about the evils of selling the good of God. But then it seems to me in this day and age that religion is all about money and how you are not going to the promised land if you don't tithe. But I digress. This blog is about those all time bad boys in the land of money changing - the sub-prime lenders. And the wonderful government that is going to bail them out of their financial woes.

So back to that Bible story. Jesus walks into the temple square and throws a tizzy because of all the merchants selling lambs for sacrifice, etc. So he starts in overturning tables and scattering gold coin of the money changers and generally all hell breaks loose. The modern version would feature the Romans following him around and doling out compensation for the losses of the money changers. With a bit extra for pain and suffering. It rather ruins the story don't you think?

Now wouldn't the Christian thing to do be for those Romans to go around and find all the people that availed themselves of the money changers and got cheated and compensate them? I mean in answer to that ever present bumper sticker - What would Jesus Do? - wouldn't that be it?

So shouldn't the United States government make the sub-prime lenders lower their now raised interest rates to those initially agreed upon at the beginning of these loans? And then access all those people about to lose their homes to these mortgage bait and switch scams and give them relief in at least the form of say a mortgage payment holiday for three months so they can catch up? Or allow them special protection under the bankruptcy laws because they were cheated?

Speaking of bankruptcy laws; the man in the White House had all those toughened up so it costs a lot to avail yourself of this protection if you can fit the rules at all. He thought too many people were getting out of credit card debt and hurting his friends - dare I say the money changers. Course GW has done nothing to stop all the bait and switch going on with credit card companies. Nor has he taken into account that the majority of people that end up filing bankruptcy (people and not airlines) do so because of medical expenses they cannot pay. And this year that number may be joined by those that cannot buy gas to get to work or pay the rising energy bills to heat their houses.

So just where is Jesus when you need him? The temple of the United States Government is filled with vile money changers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Who was that masked man?

As Senator John McCain sashshays to the left to distance himself from Bush and Obama sidles up to the religious right to emphasis that he has the right moral values it is getting more and more difficult to tell the cat from the raccoons. Or this election from any other.

Wasn't this one suppose to be about change? Didn't us Democrats vote for Obama over Hillary because he was for change and she seemed a bit like the old guard? Wasn't this year the Democratic party was at last going to give us some hope?

Well, I'm not feeling it. In fact I have not blogged here for several days because I was just too stunned at what I was watching happen to all that hope for change. Now McCain is talking about change. But then he was so wonderfully positioned in Columbia when at last the hostages were rescued. Not unlike Bush reading to a kindergarten group during 9/11?

OK, I am a cynic. Seems like I have seen this same song and dance before. But now it seems this may well be our last dance. Because if something does not change one of two things may well happen: 1) we get taken over by another country after we crumble or 2) we finally wake up and riot in the streets.

Any opinions out there on that? Or are we all suddenly silent because we cannot believe what is happening yet again. Well, if it gets down to only a choice between age and beauty I am going for beauty. Got to feel good about something.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stepford Wife? Or Barbie Doll?

Must be a quiet week on the political front because everyone is talking about the wives of the candidates rather than them.

I like Michelle. She seems very real. And commanding as well. Her girls seem well adjusted and it would seem that she and Obama have a good relationship. However, I just cannot get a handle on Cindy McCain. I find myself thinking back to the officer wives I knew when my father was an Air Force Officer. They usually excelled in cocktails and bridge and standing just behind their husbands.

Words like plastic and Barbie Doll and Stepford come to mind every I see here beside and slightly behind her husband. I liked this photo because her hair is messed up a bit. Something you don't see often.

The Internet rumor mill has her being the other woman in McCain's first marriage. They had a sordid affair after McCain returned from Vietnam to find his wife very altered by a horrid car crash that left her disfigured and handicapped. Remember when presidential candidates could not be divorced let alone remarried to their mistresses?

I guess times they are a changing but I had hoped they had moved away from the plastic, perfect little wife forever at her husband's side like an appendage. Her father is rich. Maybe that is her one redeeming trait. It certainly is not morality.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

They Haven't a Clue

After all the scare over tomatoes they now say they don't think that was the source of the salmonella. Or is it that they could not find out where the tomatoes came from?

Their guess at the moment is a local favorite salad called Pico de Gallo or rooster beak salad. It contains tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro. The ingredients are finally chopped and mixed together. How can they tell which of these ingredients is the carrier of the disease?

Certainly if it was the onions there would be a lot more illness sweeping the country. They think it is not the tomatoes only because people are not eating them and yet the spread of the salmonella continues. So cilantro? Or jalapenos? And if they could find which could then then find the source of the contagion? Somehow I doubt it.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration hasn't a clue. And one of the reasons is the lack of labeling of country of origin. And NAFTA. It is time to call a halt on free and open borders. It is time to label all products and enforce the labeling and inspections of products at our ports. It is time for all American citizens to be safe. And buy American products. Oh, but if we only could. But all our manufacturing companies have moved overseas. And food products from Mexico and Canada are not clearly labeled or monitored. We should be outraged. We should be marching in the streets.

On the upcoming 4th of July we should renew our pride in America and American products. Buy nothing this week from any other country. Then maybe we can get their attention and they will start doing their duty.