Monday, January 28, 2008

"Repaid with Abandonment!"

Apparently, a few of the sisters in New York are peeved at Senator Edward Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama. (The national chapter promptly hedged on this harsh statement, by the way.)

From CNN:

"Sen. Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard," said the statement. "Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few."

"And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment!" the statement continues. "He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton."

Repaid? This is quid pro quo? That sounds like the Old Boy Network they're always railing about. Ah, but the real issue is buried inside that rant: someone who can't or won't handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton. My guess is that Kennedy could give a damn if the next prez wears a skirt or not. It's Hillary that bugs him.

HRC falls firmly into the "business as usual" camp. She part of the Old Boy Network despite her sex. Bill also is an issue for me. What is he going to do for four or eight years while his wife runs the country? He's not going to play lots of golf and keep his mouth shut, that's for sure. During that entire time the Repubs are going to spend every waking minute trying to scuttle the boat. The truth is, it'd be a lot harder with Obama.

The endorsement I found more compelling was Carolyn Kennedy's Op Ed piece in the NYT yesterday. I can't remember her endorsing a candidate before. Her elegant article lays out its case simply -- to her Obama is the man who offers a new vision for those of us tired of the politics of the Washington elite, the man whose vision most reminds her of her father's.

If elected, would he be able to fight the good fight? I'm not sure. But at best he offers a glimpse of someone before DC ruins them.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Snowing of Atlanta

Atlanta has this thing about snow. It fears it. No, that's not too strong a word for its apprehension about anything resembling white stuff falling out of the sky. As an Iowan, unless it gets 5 or more inches deep and is blowing around in a blizzard, I ignore it. I do take note of driving conditions, but that's about it. Since I've moved South I've changed my thoughts about snow. Well, not snow per se, but my fellow Atlantans when the white stuff starts falling. They panic. Yesterday was a case in point.

Friend Pam (she who comments on this blog every now and then) flew into Atlanta to set up for a trade show. That's what her company does. Her morning flight was canceled because of the weather. Mind you, it wasn't doing much of anything here at 9:15 in the morning, but Delta decided it would be better to cancel the day before than the day of service. I don't fault the airlines. They're screwed no matter what they do. By ten in the morning it's snowing. It's light fluffy snow, enough to coat the ground and the cars. Pretty, especially since I know it will be gone in a day or two. No wind, temps are in the mid-thirties.

Friend Pam arrives later in the afternoon, her flight delayed due to the bad weather in Atlanta. Well, unless the airport had completely different weather than we were experiencing, the weather didn't suck. She found that quite amusing. We meet, go to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It is at this point we note the Lack of People. Midtown Atlanta Saturday evening is like the Vegas Strip on the weekend. You can hardly drive anywhere without sitting in traffic for ages. Last night -- no traffic. Popped right into the restaurant, got a seat, ate a great meal. That never happens.

Then we adjourned to the Borders so we could sit, sip coffee and b.s. Borders closed at 8 p.m. due to the severe weather. Okay, at this point there is no snow, the streets are DRY and the temp at 35 degrees. So we went to a Cariboo Coffee. Ditto. Off to a Barnes & Noble. Closed. Starbucks? They remained open until ten and then booted us out due to the inclement weather. It's now 34 degrees, still no precipitation and no ice on the streets.

So we retreat to Pam's hotel and order (what we found out after the fact) were the World's Most Excellent Glasses of Wine(TM) The flat screen TV in the bar is turned to CNN and they're taking about the ONE THOUSAND (1,000) flights canceled because of the bad weather. We're looking at each other wondering what the hell is going on here.

Pam had an excellent laugh out of all this. Compared to the 5 inches of snow and sub-zero temps Iowa's been enduring the last few days, Atlanta is a weekend at the beach. The evening was fun, if nothing more than for the Twilight Zone-ness of it all.

General Sherman went about sacking Atlanta the hard way. He didn't need to bombard the city and burn it to the ground. All he needed was to walk up to one to Atlantan, peer quizzically at the sky and ask, "Is that snow?"

*The snowman is in our neighbor's yard. It's all decked out in Braves regalia, of course.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Obama Quiz

Barack Obama is:
A) An atheist
B) A Muslim
C) A Christian
D) All of the above

Apparently at least 80% of Americans have no clue that the correct answer is "C". Whether being an "A" or a "B" is worse is up for grabs. After all, he has a foreign name, doesn't he? That can't be good.

Now the Constitution states that there is no religious test for office, but that doesn't stop us from judging someone by which church/synagogue/temple/mosque they attend (if they even do). So the rumors that Obama is a closet Muslim who is running as president in a sneaky attempt to take over America is pretty tinfoil hat. Why would the Muslims want America? Do they want to take on our debt, our crumbling infrastructure, our aging health care system? Of course the real nuts wouldn't look at all that. We are the Great Satan and worthy of destruction. Frankly, if Satan does exist, I think he'd be doing a much better job than we are, but that's personal opinion.

I remember the same hoopla about Kennedy and his allegiance to the Pope. I'm not troubled if the president is a Mormon, a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim or even a Hindu or a Buddhist. If he/she truly knows his/her religion's core teachings and FOLLOWS THEM, we're in good shape.

Unfortunately, we have a tendency to warp those holy scriptures as time passes. You're not a real Christian if you're dunked rather than sprinkled or if your church has an organ rather than no instruments at all. Ridiculous. We love to muss with the good stuff in an attempt to feel superior to everyone else. I've never understood this human desire, but it causes more grief that we're worth. Thank goodness the Supreme Being appears to have endless patience.

Voltaire said it best -"God created man in his own image, and man promptly returned the favor."


Land Where the Tall Corn Grows. For most non-Iowans, the Hawkeye State is either Idaho, chock full of pigs and farmers or is known for its butter cow at the Iowa State Fair. Of course, like any other state in the Union, it is a bit more than that.

With just under 3 million inhabitants, most are of German, Irish or English descent. (Contrast that with Atlanta who has 4 million folks and growing). Iowa has a 90% high school graduation rate. Besides some excellent farm ground (in the middle of the state at least) Iowa is also surprisingly metropolitan. Des Moines is a delightful town with sky walks, a Triple A baseball team, an opera, ballet... all the goodies you find in the "Big City" minus the grueling commute. I used to joke that Des Moines had a "rush minute". I've been gone a decade now and I know the commute is probably worse, but not that much.

Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, is an amalgam of old buildings and the dubious effects of urban renewal (which took out a lot of the head shops in the 1970's.) Bright-eyed young students swarm all over the campus and, depending on my mood, can make me feel VERY old.

Most Iowans are pretty solid folks. Yes, we have our crazies. Every state does. Still, there's something about Iowans that say "No pretense here. Take us or leave us, it's your choice." That's rather refreshing in our faux world.

I do admit (with shame) that I never participated in the Caucuses when I lived there. I wasn't a political animal at that point in my life. Now I am and Georgia doesn't offer the same opportunity. So I wish my fellow Iowans a good night of caucusing and hope a lot more than usual turn out for the events. Grass roots participation. We need more of that. Gee, maybe we need more Iowans....