Disasters, The Economy, Politics & The World

Just a few stray thoughts to sort of “clean out” the dustbin of my mind. Thanks for indulging me.

My friend Denise is down in Texas helping in the aftermath of Ike. Working 12 hours a day and driving an additional hour each way to get to your work site is difficult enough; being sick on top of that makes things even harder. Hope she feels better soon

Up here in Iowa one of my co-workers had to go home when she came down with strep throat. Another one is currently on the job with bronchitis and a sinus infection. I’m told that in another office in Iowa there is a “creeping crud” going through the entire office, which is not a rare occurrence. I’ve had it happen in offices I’ve been in before. One person gets sick and then it just passes around to everyone until it comes back to the person who originally had it and had recovered but gets sick again and it starts its circuit all over again.

Another co-worker whose home on Galveston was destroyed while she was here in Iowa left to go home this past Wednesday and see just how much there might be that can be recovered. Judging from the photos we’ve all seen, I have to sadly think that there won’t be much.

Between natural disasters and the economy, 2008 has not been a good year for America.

Like most people, I think, this whole bailout issue leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Still, I’m not sure we’re left with much choice if we don’t want an even worse domino effect to take place. I woke up Thursday morning to find that my main bank had collapsed and been purchased overnight. My deposits are safe, but I still had to fight the urge to go move what I had there into another bank I use. There are plenty of people who did not fight that urge and watching them on TV was reminiscent of watching old footage of bank runs in the 1930’s. These types of actions lead to even worse scenarios and create a panic effect, and panic is the last thing we need right now.

Speaking of panic…

I watched the Presidential debate last night. Nothing that was said made a difference in how I plan to vote. There were no spectacular gaffes or knockouts, other than McCain’s mispronunciation of the Pakistan president’s name and what has become his SOP of misrepresenting statements by Obama, but we’re all used to that by now. He also completely ignored the moderator’s repeated entreaties for each candidate to address the other and not the camera; it was as if he almost absolutely refused to acknowledge that Obama was there. Obama’s tendency to give thought to his answers (NOT a bad thing) showed up less, meaning he was prepared for most questions and issues that came up (and cognizant of the time restraints on answering), but he still seemed tentative at times. I would have liked to have seen him be more forceful in his rebuttals to McCain’s misrepresentations, but I’ve read that he is desperately trying to avoid looking like “an angry black man” to skittish white voters. Funny how McCain can be a grumpy old white man, but Obama can’t appear to be an angry black man. I hope by the time my grandson is an adult we will be past these silly racial issues. I tend to think that backers of each candidate will feel their man did the best, but obviously the real question will be how undecided voters viewed the whole thing and if they are swayed yet toward any particular candidate/philosophy.

This is, in the scope of the whole thing, a very small matter but one of the many things that irritated me throughout the debate was McCain’s pronunciation of “Taliban.” He kept saying “Towel ee ban”, which made me think of the Day-o song chorus:

Come mister tally man, tally me banana,
Daylight come and me wanna go home,
Come mister tally man, tally me banana,
Daylight come and me wanna go home.

Then, in what my friend Michelle twittered to me as the “McCain hooked-on-phonics osmosis” effect, Obama used the same incorrect pronunciation, but thankfully only one time.

For the record, here’s the link to Dictionary.com with the pronunciation guide for Taliban and, for those who don’t know what that is or how to read it, they even have an audio example.

The shine has quickly worn off of McCain’s VP choice, Sarah Palin. When I heard McCain wanted to postpone last night’s debate and reschedule it in place of next week’s Vice-Presidential candidate debate, I could not help but think the ENTIRE reason he was postponing last night’s was so that Palin would not have to participate in next week’s debate against Biden. Her interviews with Charles Gibson and Katie Couric were train wrecks. She doesn’t take questions from reporters when she makes an appearance (sometimes the campaign even tries to ban reporters as it did when she was at the UN), won’t release her financial statement until AFTER the election and she declined to join Biden in responding to questions from reporters and offering an appraisal of last night’s debate when it was over. Instead, Rudy Giuliani stepped in to substitute. She has been kept on such a tight leash by the McCain campaign that, whether she is or not, it makes it seem that she is totally out of her league on this national political stage.

Even conservatives that hailed her as an inspired choice are rethinking this move by McCain and supposedly so are those within the inner circle who are frantic that she cannot present an informed picture to voters. Now I can’t help but wonder if the maverick will regretfully accept his running mate’s resignation from the platform in the next few days and choose a new one, rendering next week’s scheduled VP debate a moot point. Unlikely, I know, but so was asking to delay last night’s debate.

News came this morning that Paul Newman had passed away at the age of 83 after his battle with cancer. I don’t know what he was like personally, but he was a good actor and a great philanthropist. And he made a damn good salad dressing.

Yesterday, three Chinese Taikonauts lifted off into space and today one of them performed a 20-minute spacewalk. This might be an event to raise our admiration of the Chinese…if it wasn’t for the high probability that they accomplished it by stealing US technology. Added to the fact that the Chinese government already had a news article prepared, including conversational quotes by the Taikonauts during the liftoff, BEFORE the rocket even lifted off and you can see how this whole thing is as scripted as a Hollywood movie.

Hey, thanks for letting me get those thoughts out of my head and into digital print and thanks for reading. My head is much clearer now.

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