Fight the Amoral Fight

Why Hillary?

By: sp34n119w, 9:12 AM GMT on February 22, 2008

Oh, this should be fun, don't you think? ;)

I watched the debate between the Democratic candidates Thursday night and it really helped to solidify my support for Hillary Clinton. So, I thought, what the heck – I’ll write a blog for wu about why that is. Others are doing it for their candidates, after all.
First let me say that I didn’t start out supporting Hillary. A year ago, Obama sounded oh so good. He wasn’t my first choice either, though. Never mind – that guy’s gone. So, I took a good long look at the two Democrats who are left.
(for honesty’s sake: I’m registered as a rep but I vote my conscience – reps are not doing it for me this time around so...)

I listened to them discuss health care, foreign policy, economic policy, and immigration. Oh, and, Hillary mentioned bringing basic science funding back to the fore for the sake of our economic health as well as our standing in the technological world. That one’s a big issue for me and it doesn’t get much airplay. I wonder if she got the message through people asking for a debate on science. Did you see Dr. Masters’ blog on that? I also received an email from the Union of Concerned Scientists regarding that proposed debate.

The two candidates are very similar on the issues with just a couple of key exceptions so I will address those that stood out for me.

Hillary made the best argument I’ve heard for making universal health care mandatory. And I really am not a huge fan of mandatory universal health care, I can tell you. She compared the payment method to Social Security and Medicare (save your privatize SS comments - I know how you feel and it ain't gonna happen). Now, if that money were not taken out of your paycheck you, personally, may very well invest the same amount in a retirement account and a medical savings account. As we all know, most would not, and we’d all pay for it in the long run. How do we know most wouldn’t save it? Because there are tens of thousands of people who are in danger of losing their homes because they can’t even subtract a mortgage payment from their paycheck to figure out that they can’t afford to buy a house, that’s how. It’s just one example, of course – there are many that show that, as a whole, Americans are not great at long term planning. I know – it doesn’t help when the pres tells everyone to spend, spend, spend! Anyway, it seems that Obama wants it both ways and is trying to placate folks who freak at the word “mandatory” without accounting for what happens when those freakers end up in the emergency room having somehow forgotten to go get insurance. Ultimately, if we’re going to have some form of universal health care, her plan makes more sense to me.

Hillary is so strong on foreign policy. Obama sounds like a High School kid. I don’t think he’s stupid; I think he’s uninformed, inexperienced, and idealistic to a fault. Among other issues, I really don’t want my president meeting with the leaders of countries that do not and will not share our values or work with us in an open and friendly manner. It’s partly an image thing – she understands the message that is sent around the world when the Leader of the Free World meets unconditionally with an oppressive dictator. Diplomacy – yes! Lots of people talking and setting standards for a future meeting can only bring good results. But, for my president to treat Raul Castro with the same respect as, say, Merkle of Germany, is just not right and I won’t stand for it.

That final question in the debate is the one that has been in my own mind for the last few months as I listen to the candidates so I was glad when it came up.
Obama could not identify a time when he had been tested to tell how he’d managed it. The best he could come up with was that he was raised by a single mom. Sorry, that doesn’t cut it. What’s he going to do when congress won’t work with him? Get all inspiring and start quoting JFK and MLKjr? Call his mommy? I know that’s sounds snide – no, it is snide – but, I honestly don’t see how this golden boy is going to handle people and situations that are, frankly, really nasty! Not just here at home but around the world. Then, there’s the press. And, most importantly, I think, his own party. Obama is shaping up to be the same sort of puppet that Bush has been and we don’t need that. Obama is weak or, if he’s not, we have no way to know that. Now is not the time to take a chance on yet another man who says lovely things that we want to hear, that make us feel all warm and fuzzy and patriotic, without having the strength to carry through when the going gets tough. Bush went on vacation a lot, leaving the running of the country in the hands of appointees – what will Obama do? I have no idea.

Hillary has been tried and tested again and again in the most public of national and international arenas. She stayed calm. She maintained her composure and her dignity. She came through stronger than ever. Hillary haters hate her for that very reason – you cannot keep this woman down. She knows who she is, what she stands for, and she will let nobody push her around. Nobody. It’s proven. She takes money from corporate interests, yes, and then she votes her conscience even when it goes against what her donors would like. She has worked well in the Senate with everyone without giving an inch on the matters that matter to her and has been uniformly praised by democrats and republicans alike from the very beginning of her Senate career – and, in fact, even before she was elected to the Senate. She even worked closely with one of the managers of Bill’s impeachment trial and he has great things to say about her. Isn’t that what a president should do? Let bygones be bygones and work with all interested parties and come to compromise to get the work of the country done. Her ego is well in check.
Obama can talk all he wants about uniting a divided country but we’ve heard that before, haven’t we? Yeah, he’s a uniter not a divider, right? We’ve seen how well it works when people choose a leader who makes them feel good rather than one who has actually done work to move the country forward.

I know Hillary isn’t cool. The kids just love Obama and it’s great that he has energized them. Bill Clinton did the same in ’92. The youth of America need to be involved in the process, for sure. But I saw a super-delegate on TV saying that she would vote for Obama because if she didn’t, her college-aged daughter would hate her. Good, mom. Way to be the grownup. Listen, if the fact that college kids are excited about Obama’s candidacy sways your opinion towards voting for him consider the following: they don’t have mortgages; they are not employers or business owners; they have yet to pay much in taxes; they don’t give a rat’s patooty about social security or healthcare; they aren’t concerned about paying for their kid’s college; they don’t remember anything other than G.W. Bush; if they lose their part-time restaurant job to an illegal immigrant they figure they can always go work at the grocery store; their judgement is physiologically undeveloped – even rental car companies know that; they react the same way to Hanna Montana.
Be a grownup and vote according to what's best for those super excited kids.

We’ve had too many years of a president who likes to play at being president. Bush plays dress up with the troops, dress up with his horses, dress up with the press. He even dressed his voice – have you noticed how much better his English is since the end of the last election cycle? It’s quite comical – though I imagine the late night talk show hosts aren’t laughing. It’s all window dressing. I’m very afraid the same is true of Obama.

Now, I’m the decider – for myself. I’ve decided that I want a strong, independent, no-nonsense, kick-ass, take-no-prisoners, post-menopausal, nothing to personally lose, president to smack my country upside the head and move us forward with the grace, respect, and dignity that only Hillary Clinton possesses.
_______________________________________________________________________

Separately... but, related...
I had started to write a blog yesterday regarding voting records of Clinton, Obama, and McCain. I am not impressed with Obama in that area (and McCain is a total wash – dude never votes!). Obama was elected to do a job and he’s not doing it – he said himself, in the debate, that he has been campaigning for over two years. He needs to stop promoting himself and get some work done. He can come back later when he has something to show as well as something to say.

GulfScotsman said in ric’s blog something to the effect that we are not electing a monarch (actually, that’s what I was going to say in the entry I was writing but he said something similar - don't mean it as a direct quote). The candidate’s positions on the issues are important but it is not the only thing that is important to me. I know that the president cannot simply dictate his or her agenda to congress – it’s a two-way operation and we have a say in that, as well, through our elected officials. Ultimately, the Supreme Court can be used to determine the constitutionality of a piece of legislation, if necessary. So, since I have never agreed with any candidate for any office on all issues, all I can do is choose the best professional as I see it. And, yes, I think the pres should be a pro. I wouldn’t hire a plumber to do brain surgery or a brain surgeon to fix the plumbing. And I don’t want an unsupervised newbie, in either case!

I’m writing this in the wee hours so it is a shambles of a ramble. 3 pages in Word! But, at least I said my piece. Most of it, anyway. I think. I'll likely regret it in the morning.
We'll see.

_____

Almost forgot! The weather!
It's 49º and we've had half an inch of rain since last night - woohoo!

Updated: 9:03 PM GMT on March 12, 2008

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Choosing an Architect

By: sp34n119w, 9:56 PM GMT on February 11, 2008

The ponderings of a person with a penchant for parables...

If you were building a house for you and your family that you wanted to last for generations, how would you choose an architect? You might begin by speaking to others who have built a house, interviewing them about their experiences, and then interviewing the architects that they recommend.
Let’s say you narrow it down to four architects and your research returns the following general results:

ArchiA: has a few decades of experience designing buildings, both residential and commercial; makes a plan and sticks with it no matter what; has strong convictions about what is “right” architecture and what is “wrong” architecture and makes no apologies for his vision; is often described as “well liked by those who know him”, although you’ve never met anyone who feels that way; is known for standing his ground with contractors, inspectors, and homeowners; often takes several years to complete a project but always sees it through to the end – or, at least, stays with it even if it seems it will never end; figures staying within your budget is less important than achieving a correct result.

ArchiB: has several decades of experience designing mostly commercial buildings but, occasionally, likes to try something new; has, over the years, followed various schools of architectural thought, depending on whatever the latest trend is – calls it “staying current”; seems like a nice guy – he has a reputation for extensive volunteerism in the community; has worked with all the local contractors, sometimes all on one job; knows all the city inspectors and which will look the other way if something isn’t just so; isn’t sure if he can stay within budget or on schedule but will sure give it a try.

ArchiC: has a few decades of experience designing mostly residential buildings and some, mostly smallish, commercial buildings; definitely knows the history of architecture and can explain various styles in such a way as to help you choose yours; is thought of, by some, as kind of a jerk; has a reputation for getting along with the city inspectors – too well, perhaps; has been known to walk away from a contractor who isn’t getting the job done but won’t hold that against him, next time; won’t even take on a project unless he’s sure he can get the job done on time and within budget, no matter who’s asking.

ArchiD: has a few years experience in residential only; knows the work of every major architect of the last century and can speak long and eloquently about their merits – showing such passion for his work that you are moved to the point of tears; has never worked in your area so doesn’t know anyone but, he’s such a charming fellow that you feel sure he’ll do just fine – anyway, it’s nice to see a fresh face in town; has never actually completed a project but is sure that he can, given the chance; figures that the important thing is that you get exactly what you want even though he isn’t quite sure, just yet, how to fit that in your budget.

Who do you choose?

By the way, I use the male pronoun for simplicity’s sake. Obviously, any or all of these architects can be female.
Also, it should be noted that no architect works alone. They all have teams of people (designers, engineers, supply specialists, accountants, etc.) that they depend on. They also have a network of others (contractors, suppliers, etc.) with whom they work frequently and those folks will be working on your house, too.
I think it’s important to keep in mind, then, that when you hire an architect, you also hire their team and their contacts.

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When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. - Edmund Burke

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