September 27th, 2008

barack obama


I woke feeling confident about Obama and his words.  What I remember about McCain was his supposed tribute to Kennedy who was taken to the hospital yesterday but it seemed contrived and fake.  Kennedy was back home at the time, and I don't suppose would appreciate any words from McCain, who then continued his staged and seemingly robotic performance.

I come to the news.   People wanted more substance in the answers.  With this much up in the air as to the rescue, I don't know what substance people can want.  I thought Obama was clear and responsive and was saying we have to meet the world new, other countries new.  We have lost our clout.  Wake up, people!!   I think that is the message we need to hear, and I think Obama was very blunt and very clear.  I was actually a little stunned.  There is not going to be any coddling with Barack.  He predicted the mess, and he isn't going to deny or sugar-coat that it is here.  

I also woke thinking about Palin and the rape kits.  It occurred to me that for a small town, Wasilla has an obscene amount of rapes.  I would think the mayor of Wasilla would address the problem of why there are so many rapes, rather than worrying about who pays for the rape kit.  Also, the budget of the town is tiny.  It is laughable to think of that as experience.   That said, I come to Bob Herbert who says it is time for McCain to choose someone who really can do the task.

Op-Ed Columnist

Palin’s Words Raise Red Flags

Published: September 26, 2008

The country is understandably focused on the financial crisis. But there is another serious issue in front of us that is not getting nearly enough attention, and that’s whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be vice president — or, if the situation were to arise, president of the United States.

History has shown again and again that a vice president must be ready to assume command of the ship of state on a moment’s notice. But Ms. Palin has given no indication yet that she is capable of handling the monumental responsibilities of the presidency if she were called upon to do so.

In fact, the opposite is the case. We know that there are some parts of Alaska from which, if the day is clear and your eyesight is good, you can actually see Russia. But the infantile repetition of this bit of trivia as some kind of foreign policy bona fide for a vice presidential candidate should give us pause.

The McCain campaign has done its bizarre best to shield Ms. Palin from any sustained media examination of her readiness for the highest offices in the land, and no wonder. She has been an embarrassment in interviews.

But the idea that the voters of the United States might install someone in the vice president’s office who is too unprepared or too intellectually insecure to appear on, say, “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation” is mind-boggling.


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alan's beach photo

The beach for me -

Yesterday my mission was to deal with this problem of duality that has been a stumbling block for me.  I believe it began more urgently when Palin was chosen, and I tried to wrap my mind around someone so incompetent being placed in the vice-presidential slot.  I was angry for Hillary, and I went into quite an internal tirade.  It was not pretty and I couldn't shake it.  I read books on the brain, on the emotions.  I tried, which as we know, is a stumbling block in itself.  Yoda was wise.  "Don't try, Luke, Do!"

Something shifted yesterday.  I got in the car and drove to Stinson Beach.  The fog was in, so I fortified with breakfast at the Parkside, one of my favorite breakfast spots.  I had scrambled eggs with basil, avocado, tomato, and feta cheese, and homemade raisin-walnut toast, and chunks of potato, with a contantly re-filled cup of coffee.

Beautifully full, I rose and went to my car, decided to carry a small backpack not sure how far I would walk but wanting, on one hand paper and pen, and, on the other to clear my mind.   I knew my mind was too full and that was part of the problem.  I was an overflowing cup and not in a good way.   I got to the beach and looked right and left, and decided to go north to Bolinas, so I put my shoes in my pack and walked in the water, which was warm, and walked to the end.  It was a smooth sand day, no treasures, and that, too, felt right.  No shells called to me, no sand dollars, or rocks, just water and sand, and mountains and sky.

Somewhere in that, everything fell away.

alan - joshua tree bloom

Paul Newman -

I see that Paul Newman died at the age of 83.  He was surrounded by family and friends, and certainly lived a good and generous life.  I feel touched by his passing.  It is a loss for us.

Book Cover

choosing a president -

I realize in reading Gail Collins today that McCain creates crisis.  He enjoys turmoil.  I think sadly that often those who have endured great stress such as prison camp continue to seek out a strange level of excitement.   What McCain did with whether or not he would show up for the debate was inexcusable.  Is this what we want leading us in these times, a crisis a moment, and one who cannot stand, look at the issues and lead?   We have our leader.   Gobama!

I also agree with how he kept bringing up old issues.   He wants to use the language of the past.  This week has changed all the rules.  We need response.   Everyone knows the earmarks will stop.  There is no money.   I'm sure McCain can't take that in, because he doesn't know what that means.  He thinks if you lose one of your homes, you move to another one of them.  He does not grasp what is going on.   And the study on the grizzlies, which has been made to look like a joke by McCain, was valid.   Can we afford studies now?  Probably not.   And study.   What is that?   Neither McCain or Palin look like they did much of that.   Scholars, they are not. 

Op-Ed Columnist

McCain: Bearish on Debates

Published: September 27, 2008

John McCain looked a bit off his game during the big presidential debate. Maybe he was exhausted from parachuting into Washington to resolve the financial crisis. Really, there are only so many hills a man can charge up in the course of a single week.

The debate had barely begun, the financial crisis barely addressed, when McCain started off on government spending. “You know, we spent $3 million to study the DNA of bears in Montana ...”

Oh, no! Not the bear study. Congress is working feverishly on the $700 billion rescue of the national financial system and McCain is complaining again about the $3 million the Senate blew to help determine whether the grizzlies are still an endangered species.


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barack obama

Palin -

Palin clearly out of her league

By KATHLEEN PARKER - Washington Post Writers Group

If at one time women were considered heretical for swimming upstream against feminist orthodoxy, they now face condemnation for swimming downstream — away from Sarah Palin.

To express reservations about her qualifications to be vice president — and possibly president — is to risk being labeled anti-woman.

Or, as I am guilty of charging her early critics, supporting only a certain kind of woman.


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barack obama

Another look at Palin -

Lloyd sent me the following this morning.  When I questioned him on it, he said,  "My Alaskan brother-in-law keeps warning me, she's not dumb or naive, She has used that strategy repeatedly, only to turn around and destroy those who believe she shouldn't be taken seriously."   What I see in this is that the Democrats want what is best for the country.  It seems for this group of Republicans it is a cruel game. 

from Lloyd Parker:

After watching portions of Ms. Palin's interview with Katie Couric, I believe the Republicans are attempting to pull off the biggest ruse in American political history. This belief is due, in part , to the smirky tone of John McCain voice, when he mentioned Ms. Palin in last night's debate.

Palin has appeared to be such a complete idiot in recent interviews, even telling Couric she would "get back to her" with an answer to one of her questions about McCain's history of opposition to regulation. Palin's "stupidity" seems way overdone. Her record in Alaska demonstrates a sharp and biting cunning, not the naivete and apparent inexperience she's shown in recent interview.

Fortunately, for Obama, Biden, and the Democrats, she is also a pretty bad actress. The stumbling bumbling candidate we've seen in recent television appearances is not the sharp, competent, and very prepared, if sometimes viscous and vindictive, administrator she has repeatedly shown herself to be in Alaska.

I strongly advise Mr. Biden not be taken in by the act. The Republicans are hoping, when she takes off the gloves at the debate, Biden will be ill prepared to deal with the intense briefings she's been given, and Ms Palin's own considerable intelligence. We ignore her record with great peril. She is not only smart and aggressive. She also has a great memory for detail and can spin like a spider. The dumb brunette we've been seeing is just a subterfuge they're hoping we've bought. I'm trusting we've looked at her track history and will not be deceived.

In the past month or so we've seen a McCain campaign which has attempted to keep the Obama campaign off-balance. The "patriotic" suspension of the convention due to the hurricane, Palin's nomination, the suspension of the campaign, again for "patriotic" reasons, "to lead the country in a bipartisan manner", are all examples of what they are trying to do. The selling of an easily flustered and not very bright Palin is a similar ploy. Wouldn't they love to put one over on the "liberal" press, one of their special targets? We must not be taken in by the ruse. Palin can be truly nasty and is often deceptive, but she's certainly not dumb. Study her history.

alan's beach photo


Today I drove into the city to the Legion of Honor to read the poem of a friend.   She won a contest and because she is in Houston asked if I would read her poem for her.  Her home was heavily damaged in Hurricane Ike,  and it was not possible for her to come.

It was the dancing poetry contest and the event is a combination of poetry and dance, so many of the poems are danced.  It was exquisite and continues until 4.  I read in the first half and left at the intermission so I could stay with the images and experience.

I have never read in such a large auditorium where the audience is in the dark, and I am in the light.  I wanted to look up and out and I did, but I couldn't see anything.  I wondered if this is what it is like to be a black hole.  I knew the audience was there, could sense them, feel them, and I couldn't see them.  It is an odd sensation to know so many people are close and listening and focused and yet unseen.  I am still with the experience, and also with the enjoyment of the poems and dance.

When I walked up to the museum, I thought this is what Sarah Palin doesn't see, what the Republicans deny with their cry for family values, the stimulation that a city offers, the museums, the open focus, the illumination that art and community bring and inspire.  The Academy of Sciences officially opened today.  It is a huge effort.   A city has a vitality and an energy that brings people together, all kinds of people.  There is a uniting, excitement and enthusiasm that invites introspection and connection.  

I drove home across the bridge and the bay was filled with sailboats and an array of visiting boats.   People were out, lifting their children on their shoulders to see the view.  We need to stay clear on what matters and what this country has built.

I found myself wondering as I sat in the auditorium what it would mean to the world if we had dropped crayons, pens, clay, paints, and paper instead of bombs.

barack obama

A beautiful Marriage -

Posted September 26, 2008 | 08:50 AM (EST) in The Huffington Post:

The Obama Relationship: A Major Benefit Nobody's Talking About

by Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, two marriage therapists. 

One of the greatest benefits of an Obama presidency is hidden in plain sight: the relationship between Michelle and Barack. They provide a great role model of a healthy relationship, at a time when such models are sorely needed.

For example...
Imagine having a president who is not distracted from the nation's business by the stresses of secrets in the presidential marriage.

Imagine having a president who likes his partner and values her as an equal, a president who touches his wife affectionately in public and actually listens to her when she talks!

Fortunately we don't have to imagine it, because we already have that potential at the tip of our voting fingers. For Americans, one of the most important aspects of an Obama presidency is being overlooked: the model of a healthy relationship. In the 28 years of our own marriage, we've worked with more than 4,000 couples in our office and seminars, so we have a reasonably good idea of what kinds of behavior one sees in a healthy relationship. For example, Michelle and Barack do something we've never seen before in a presidential couple: they actually look directly at each other when they're speaking to each other. They also laugh at each other's humor, and they allow their sexual attraction for each other to be visible. Contrast that with other presidential marriages, in which the sexual attraction to each other was not visible but their sexual attraction to others became highly visible. Michelle and Barack talk openly about their feelings for each other. They're real.


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barack obama

My senator responds:

I appreciate this response from Diane Feinstein.  I find it peculiar that McCain decided to hop into town and disrupt negotiations that affect us all.  What is his point and who is he for?    Duh!   I must sound a little weak in the head tonight.  It's been a long day.


Dear Ms. Edgett:


           Thank you for your letter expressing concern about Congress' consideration of a plan to meet our Nation's credit crisis with financial help from the Federal Government. This is a difficult situation for which there are no perfect solutions, and I would like to share my thoughts and concerns about this issue with you.


           On September 19, 2008, Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, Jr. announced a legislative proposal to use $700 billion to purchase illiquid mortgage-related assets from ailing financial institutions. Secretary Paulson's three-page proposal was a non-starter, and without critical changes it has no chance of approval from Congress.


           This proposal would have given a blank check to an economic czar who would have been empowered to spend it without administrative oversight, legal requirements, or legislative review. Decisions made by the Treasury Secretary would be non-reviewable by any court, agency, or Congress. The proposal also lacked a requirement for regular reports to Congress on the status of the program. This was simply untenable.


            Since this announcement, my offices have received thousands of comments from Californians like you concerned about how this action will affect them. Yet, I believe prudent action must be taken. The bill should include the following principles: a phase-in of funding; oversight, accountability and transparency; a mechanism allowing the Secretary of the Treasury to modify mortgages to prevent additional foreclosures; and a precise cap on executive compensation.



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Sincerely yours,


Dianne Feinstein
        United States Senator

Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list at