Roasted

I didn’t get to watch ALL of the broadcast of last night’s Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner, but what I did see and hear was great!  BOTH candidates were hysterical.  I loved it when McCain said that, while Oprah referred to Obama as “The One”, he simply called him “That One”.  He went on to say that Obama even had a pet name for him: George Bush.  Obama cracked up. And then McCain said, “even in this room full of proud Manhattan Democrats, I can’t shake that feeling that some people here are pulling for me”… and then went on to say, “I’m delighted to see you here tonight, Hillary”.  She about fell out of her chair laughing, as did the entire room and Senator Obama.  She laughed even harder when he went on to describe how ardently Bill Clinton had been campaigning for Obama, citing Clinton’s comments such as, “he’s over 35 and a U.S. citizen” when asked if Obama was qualified to be president, and attacking McCain with such comments as calling McCain “American hero, great man, and embracing him warmly”.  He said the only reason it took President Clinton so long to actively support Obama was that he was constrained by the Jewish holidays, and that the only thing holding him back right now was that “he was constrained by his respect for any voters that might be observing the Zoroastrian new year.”  That sent Hillary over the top.  His entire speech was really great – self-deprecating, witty, truly funny.  I especially loved his “setup” of Obama, saying that he had seen a copy of Obama’s speech in advance, and that “we should prepare ourselves for non-stop hilarity, the funniest 15 minutes of your life, or any other, and that anything short of that would mar the evening, insult our hosts, and probably cost him several swing states.”  He also made some really terrific comments about race, which were really heartfelt and poignant.  Honestly, I think that was the REAL McCain.  He is a warm, self-deprecating man, and I don’t think he likes going on the attack, the way his campaign has gone lately.  I am sure his campaign managers are encouraging him to do that, but it’s not his nature.  He comes across to me as the kind of guy who basically says, “here’s my position, here’s my plan.  I believe it’s better than my opponent’s for these reasons, but it’s up to you to decide.”  He’s a nice man, the guy next-door.

Obama was equally funny.  I loved it when he said “it has often been said that I share the politics of Alfred E. Smith, and the ears of Alfred E. Neuman”.  Then he went on to make fun of himself by saying the venue wasn’t what he was used to, that he was told they’d “be able to move this outdoors to Yankee Stadium”, and asked where the Greek columns he’d ordered were.  That was great.  He was hysterical when he said, “I obviously never knew your great-grandfather, but from everything that Senator McCain has told me….” He didn’t even have to finish his sentence.  His comment that Mayor Bloomberg announced he was going to rewrite the rules and run for a third term, which caused Bill Clinton to say “you can do that?” was great.  I especially liked it when he said that the answer to the question, “who is Barack Obama?” is “right there on my Facebook page”.  He went on to say that, contrary to the rumors, he was not born in a manger, but rather that he was born on Krypton, and he was sent here by his father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth.  He joked that Barack is actually Swahili for “That One”, turning to look at McCain when he said that. McCain died laughing.  He went on to say that he got his middle name from someone who obviously didn’t think he’d run for President.  Classic.  He went on to make fun of his lack of humility and awesomeness.  A couple of his jokes fell a little flat, like when he made fun of Rudy Giuliani, but overall he was hilarious.  By the way, he stated, his middle name is actually “Steve” – Barack Steve Obama. He made fun of his celebrity, talking about punching a paparazzi in the face when he was coming out of Spago’s, spilling a soy chai latte on his shih tzu.  Really good stuff.  He got serious for a bit, talking about the profound loss of Tim Russert, which was nice. He went on to talk about how we’re part of something greater than a political party – we’re part of a community, a country.  All good stuff.  But in this meeting of the two candidates, I think McCain won.  He was really, really funny and real.

And just curious, did anyone else notice Katie Couric’s bling?  Wow, kind of gaudy, dontcha think?

Don’t get me started

NOTE: I started this post yesterday, so keep that in mind when I say “yesterday”….

I watched some of the debate last night.  When The Spouse got home he changed the channel.  He gets too aggravated and stressed out when he listens to the debates, so we watched something we had on DVR.  But in the 45 minutes or so that I did watch, I noticed a couple of things.  Barack Obama is a really good speaker.  Duh.  He is smooth, polished, glib, while McCain is not.  McCain is more like your next-door-neighbor (well, unless your next-door-neighbor is a trial lawyer or politician).  He speaks like you and I speak.  He gets tongue-tied now and then, but he knows what he’s talking about, he knows his facts, and he’s happy to share his thoughts and opinions with you about how he thinks he could improve this country.  He’s a guy you feel like you could have a chit-chat with over the backyard fence without feeling as though he’s judging you and your education, or lack therof.  To a lot of people in this country, he’s too much like George Bush in his lack of glibness, so he starts off with one strike against him with them before he even gets up to bat (like my baseball analogy?  I figure it’s only apropos given the fact that it’s World Series season).

Back to the debate.  Obama is a great speaker.  There is no arguing that fact.  He’s got it down – the gestures, the eye contact, the smooth flow of words – just like JFK.  And sadly, in today’s TV-centric society, it seems it’s often style over substance when it comes to elections.  While watching the news this morning, they had a segment where a pollster interviewed a group of about 22 “undecided” (how can you still be undecided, and what are they waiting for?) voters in Florida after the debate.  He asked them who they thought won the debate.  The majority said Obama won.  When he started asking them indivudually why they felt that way, the answers floored me.  One guy said, “because he’s a much better speaker.  I don’t agree with a lot of things he says, but he gets right to the point.  McCain seemed to wander around a lot.”  To that, the pollster responded, “so, what is it, we’re now going to elect a president because they’re smooth, and a good communicator?”  They all nodded, and all sorts of chatter erupted among the participants.  One guy said, “Obama has a dream, McCain has experience”.  One guy, who thought Obama won, but said he was not going to vote for him, said, “You just hit it.  Kennedy won because of that reason.  Obama will win because he’s young, he’s good-looking, he’s articulate, he talks to the camera”, which I fear is true.  A younger participant chimed in to say that he thought Obama could “speak informed on every topic.  McCain only sounds informative when he’s combative.” ???? When asked why it seems Obama does so much better on health care, one guy, who looked to be about 30-35, said, “I don’t think it’s so much what Obama is saying, I really don’t understand what McCain is talking about.  It just doesn’t make any sense.”  When asked if it was a generational thing, he replied, “it might be.  It just seems like Obama is giving more. I’m not sure what that more is, but, it’s giving.”

So, that’s it.  We want a president who is a good speaker, regardless of whether or not we agree with his policies, or whether or not we even understand what his policies are.  Cool.  I can’t wait.  It’ll

Additionally, we want the government to give us more, so we want a president who promises to give us more.  Who do people think “the government” is?  People, “the government” is YOU AND ME!  If we want the “government” to “give us more”, WE have to pay for it!  Oh wait, only the “rich” are going to have to pay for it.  The rich – those people making more than $250,000 a year.  And supposedly, that’s only 5% of the population.  Well, let’s see – OS and DIL, who live pretty “middle class” lives, make about that much between the two of them.  They’re not rich by any means.  They have two kids, one in high school, one in kindergarten.  They work hard, try to save for college and their retirement, and struggle to make ends meet every month.  They don’t live in a mansion.  They live in a four-bedroom, 3-bath house that cost them about $350,000 in a middle-class neighborhood.  They drive Chevrolets, not BMWs.  They don’t have fancy clothes or lots of toys.  Their income goes to pay for the usual: food, mortgage, utilities, and the costs associated with raising kids, such as driving them to soccer and basketball tournaments, athletic apparel, school supplies, and the occasional family vacation.  Under Obama’s plan, they’d see a big increase in their income taxes so that the government can give a “tax credit” to people who don’t even PAY taxes – Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth around”.  Hmmm… seems to me that sort of society has a name: communism.

I am tired of hearing how people who make $250,000 a year are “rich”.  Honestly, I consider them simply upper middle class.  The Spouse and I make a little less than half that amount, but when I owned my PC business 15 years ago, my business “made” about $400,000.  Now, that wasn’t my net income, but I’m pretty sure that gross income would have put me in the “rich” category.  My actual net income after paying all my business expenses?  About $40,000.  Rich?  Hardly.

I’m all for helping those in need.  I’m just not for taking from those who have worked hard to get ahead in order to give to those who are standing around with their hands out. I do not believe in a progressive tax system.  Like Mike Huckabee, I think the tax system should be proportionate.  I do not believe in punishing those who have worked hard and succeeded.  While I may be envious, I certainly do not think they should be punished for their success!  What incentive is there to succeed when you know that, in doing so, you’re going to be paying a bigger and bigger percentage of your income to the government so they can give it to people who are standing around expecting the government to take care of them?  Now, no flames.  I am NOT talking about the truly disadvantaged – people who are physically or mentally challenged, people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, people who really do need our help.  I’m talking about the people who are on perpetual welfare, the people who pretend to look for jobs, but who really don’t want to work, people who have CHOSEN to do things that make themselves unemployable (dropping out of school, substance abuse, etc.).  I do NOT think those who are successful should be required to support those people, but that’s what progressive tax rates do.  I don’t think poor people should pay taxes, but I also don’t think successful people should pay 40-50% of their income in taxes to support everyone else.  It’s a disincentive to success.

Okay, enough about the debate and politics.Please support us by using Babylon search engine

Are you kidding me?

I was watching an interview with John Stossel about a story he’s doing on 20/20.  He went out to find out how well-informed the young people in America are relative to the election.  His first stop was a rock concert.  Keep in mind, there is a huge campaign called “Vote or Die” being promoted at rock concerts, musicians, MTV, etc., and there are people out registering voters at these concerts.  He asked questions such as “What is Roe v. Wade?” among other things.  He found the vast majority had no clue.  They asked, “Roe v. Wayne? Isn’t that about a black man and a white man?  Isn’t that where America declared bankruptcy?”  Then he went to Washington D.C..  He had large (10×13) photos of Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Obama, McCain, and Judge Judy.  He asked people to name the person in the photo.  It was shocking.  Almost no one knew who Joe Biden or Justice Ginsburg was.  He said about half knew Sarah Palin, half knew Dick Cheney, but they ALL knew Judge Judy.  He did say most knew Obama and McCain.  He said that, while there are some young people who are well-informed and pay attention, a lot of them really don’t care.  In fact, they’re so lazy they won’t even register to vote unless voter registration is taken TO them the way these groups are doing.  The interviewer made the comment that, while the youth vote is always touted as the thing that will make the difference, historically it has not.  Young people just don’t turn out to vote.  Stossel’s response was that, yes, this has been the case, but with so many “get out the vote” campaigns directed at the youth vote, this year it could make a difference, and that could be a bad thing since so many of these voters are very uninformed.  Now, before you young voters start sending me death threats (Sara), I am not suggesting there aren’t just as many uninformed older voters.  I’m sure there are, and that is equally appalling.  Honestly, how can any American NOT recognize a photograph of Sarah Palin, Joe Biden, or Dick Cheney?  I saw the photos.  They were HIGHLY recognizable.  I can forgive them not knowing Ginsburg. It’s not like Supreme Court Justices are rock stars.  But the fact that every one of them recognized Judge Judy and yet could not recognize Palin, Biden, or Cheney is frightening.  Give me a break!

Debating

BORING!  That’s my take on last night’s debate.  No fireworks, nothing we haven’t heard a thousand times before.  Same old, same old.  Half-truths, misrepresentations, BS.  I couldn’t watch the entire thing.  It was just two senators in the Senate trying to get their bill passed.  I am sorry.  I did not see a President.  The sad thing is, one of them WILL be President.  I know there are a lot of you who don’t find that sad at all.  You are thrilled with Obama, and excited about the “change” he promises.  I don’t believe it for one minute.  He’s a politician.  He’s one man.  He has the most liberal voting record in the Senate.  Sorry, that doesn’t sound like change to me.  And Biden?  Fugghetaboutit!

I really hate it when they characterize their opponent as having voted against something, like alternative energy funding, or tax cuts, when the reality is they voted against a bill that started off being about those things, but was laden with earmarks that detracted from the bill’s value.  I am okay with McCain voting against a bill to fun alternative energy research if it was loaded with pork.  I am okay with Obama voting against tax cuts if the bill added a bunch of unnecessary spending (not sure if that was the case or not, but just saying).  It’s this kinds of half-truth that infuriates me when I hear the candidates speak.  It’s as bad as the ad characterizing McCain as being old and out of touch because he doesn’t use a computer when the reason he doesn’t is because his war injuries preclude him from doing so.  THAT was despicable.  Calling Obama a friend of terrorists because he was on a board with Ayers is almost as bad.  Maybe it’s time for a new Boston Tea Party.  Anyone want to join the revolution?

Okay, that’s enough politics.