McCain’s VP Pick: Sarah Palin

So McCain broke from the conventional and chose Sarah Palin as his VP running mate. Even I admit, I genuinely expected he was going to select Mitt Romney.

Like many, I had never taken note of the governor of Alaska so I went and did a quick bit a research on her. Overall she appears to be a good pick as VP for McCain, as they seem to mesh well on key issues. I personally am wary of her evangelical leanings and seriously disagree with her on several positions: denying benefits to gay couples and drilling in ANWR among other social and environmental policies. She seems to be something of a reformer in Alaskan government but seems to have a few lapses here and there such as supporting the “Bridge to Nowhere” until the state of Alaska would have to pay for part of the bridge and an on going investigation into whether she may have abused her power.

The funny thing is I’ve seen a lot of Obama supporters blasting her selection particularly latching onto things like inexperience and lack of international exposure. Gee. Sounds familiar, no? I did get some amusement from one blog stating experience gained from running Alaska wasn’t comparable to other states governorships in a poor attempt to dismiss Palin’s short stint as Alaska’s governor. But then that’s how politics works. There will be the cynics who view Palin’s selection as pandering to women and disaffected Clinton supporters and the idealists who will claim it was a brilliant move to show commitment to country over politics. The truth, I suspect, is somewhere in the middle.

All I do know is the presidential race just got very interesting.

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Obamapalooza: Obama

Well I watched Obama’s speech. It was okay, nothing inspiring and quite frankly laced with exaggeration but nothing on what Obama would do to “change America” as he loves to say. You can’t get elected saying you should vote for someone because you hate George W. Bush.

Basically all I got out of this speech was big government running your lives is good. Don’t worry about how the programs and tax breaks will be paid for. It’s big brothers job to decide what is important and what is not, not the citizenry.

  • Okay, that stage behind him is just plain dorky. I know some Republicans are mocking it as a temple, but I think it’s just plain tacky looking.
  • Oh yeah, the government should tell you what to do with your life. Socialist idiot.
  • “I and my brothers? Excuse me, sisters.” Freudian slip, Mr Obama?
  • I noticed the crowd didn’t like him saying he would cut taxes for companies. Funny how people think they should get tax cuts but no one else should.
  • 10 years end dependence on oil? LOL! Yeah right. Not happening unless he turns our nation into a communist state.
  • Help US auto companies. Why? They’ve had US federal help for decades and have becoming nothing but bloated carcasses that rebelled against fuel efficient vehicles and deserve to be shoved out of the market by their competitors. Just another tax payers handout to a corporation that Obama claims he is against.
  • Tax breaks for 95%? What about the rest? 5% can’t support 95%. Not possible.
  • Sorry, I don’t think I want a guy who has questionable friendships and associations (Rezko, Wright, Ayres, et al) to be deciding line by line what is important in the federal budget.
  • McCain is not Bush. Come up with something more than schlock.
  • Ah, I see going to play the ageist BS hm? I hope he realizes that discriminatory attitude being touted by some Democrats is equally as bad as racism and sexism.
  • When did our military fall apart? Idiot.
  • New partnerships? Where and with whom? The only ones in the world left are technically our enemies or have no interest in allying with the US in any way, shape, or form.
  • I support the 2nd Amendment but I’m still going to destroy it anyway.
  • I’m going to be weak on illegal immigration.
  • How come some of the crowd (obviously not Obama-zombies) looks bored to tears? I know I am.
  • Thank God the speech is over. Yawn.
  • Now comes the news media love fest.
  • Shock! Local pro-Obama analysts even admitted Obama’s policy of taxing the rich wont work and that it is Congress that had more influence on our country’s woes than the President. Heh.

I can tell I’m going to be hating this BS equally as much during the Republican convention as well.

Meh.

Russia in a growing quadry?

I think Russia is realizing it may have seriously damaged its prestige in the world, far more than was expected.

Russia’s Medvedev looks east for support on Georgia | Reuters Medvedev is going to need to look elsewhere as none of the Central Asian nations nor China are going to come out in open and loud support of Russia’s invasion of Georgia nor are they likely to accept Russia’s claim of “protecting” Russians. None of them want to give ethnic and religious minorities in their nations further justification and support for their demands for independence. This is especially so in China, which faces growing demands and threats from ethnic groups disenfranchised by the Communist government there (i.e. Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongols, Koreans, et. al.). Add to this a long standing dispute between China and Russia over territory and you can pretty much forget any support on China given Russia today threatening another nation, Moldova, over supposedly ethnic Russian regions.

U.S. assessing possible military aid to Georgia | Reuters Whatever hopes Russia had for blunting NATO expansion and integration into the EU and West of former Soviet satellites appears to have hastened the process rather than retard it.

And a scenario I briefly noted in a previous blog entry appears to have risen it’s head in Russia, like to the consternation of Moscow: Kremlin recognition risks domino effect at home | Reuters Russia may militarily control a number of regions but groups like Chechnya have resorted to terrorism and guerrilla warfare style fighting precisely because they know they can’t defeat Russian military forces in a head to head battle. So naturally Chechnya, Igushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia (who want to unite North and South Ossetia into Iryston, even if only theoretically), and many others have started to demand their independence as well. Russia may very have well opened a Pandora’s box in their own backyard that they cannot close without continued bloody crackdowns and suppression.

Of course Russia is playing the “victim” card: Известия.Ру: В Крыму выявляют “пятую колонну” (Trans. “Fifth column” revealed in the Crimea) Basically the article goes on to hint at threatening Ukraine while also trying to make it seem as if Ukrainians were just misguided Russians, implies Estonia supports Russia despite planning to send troops to protect Georgia, that there’s an international conspiracy led by Great Britain, the USA, Germany and France to punish Russia’s actions. Of course the article also implies all these world leaders and international institutions are wrong and Russia is right. Perhaps more telling is implying Ukraine was Russian anyway, the same justification used to invade Georgian territory.

News commentary

Robotic Suit Helps Paraplegics Walk Personally, I think this is fantastic invention. I know my paraplegic friend was very interested in the ReWalk suit when I showed him the article. And the estimated price tag, US$20,000, really isn’t that bad when you think about it.

Iraq Says US Wanted Presence Until 2015 So if the agreement (assuming this is part of the final agreement) is accepted on both sides and all goes reasonably well, the U.S. will withdraw in 2011. Sounds reasonable to me without being needlessly reckless.

US, Russia anchor military ships in Georgian ports And the tension and Russian occupation continues. As noted in the article there was a very thinly veiled threat now against Moldova using the same nationalist notion of “protecting Russians”. Sounds way to much like Hitler and his supposed desire to unite the Germanic peoples. Remember how that conflagration ended?

Computer Virus Found on Space Station – Switched Somehow I can’t stop myself from laughing at the absurdity of this. I guess I just expect better security on such important computers and software systems. As an engineer I find it disturbing given the previous attempt by a disgruntled worker to sabotage equipment intended for the ISS.

Woman With Last Name of ‘Yoda’ Barred From Facebook – Switched How stupid. Ignorant people making ignorant decisions. But then I avoid social networking sites for exactly that reason.

T-shirt gets Van Nuys woman kicked out of federal building – LA Daily News This it what happens when small people get a little perceived power and think “Big Brother” will cover their actions. Fortunately even DHS recognized this guard was a fascist asshole and made it clear the guys was out of line. I hope Paragon Security Company loses its DHS contract as well as is penalized for its discrimination against a US citizen over such a stupid thing.

Dead Sea Scrolls to go digital on Internet | Science | Reuters Excellent.

Union prepares proposal for Boeing as strike looms | U.S. | Reuters Not good news if negotiations fail. And both sides seem a bit hot under the collar at the moment. Both sides really need to come to an equitable agreement before any disagreements damage both sides, though Boeing has far more to lose than the IAM.

Obamapalooza Day 2: All About the Hill

Surprisingly a relatively Obama free zone…

So Hillary Clinton’s speech was pretty good, though I found myself laughing at some of her obvious pandering to DNC leftists. She’s definitely one to inspire on her own but some of her speech sounded a bit jingoistic and uninspiring. As expected she pushed her support to Obama, but she sounded more like one backing the Party Line rather than Obama himself.

Some of my comments on the speech:

  • OK. Video time. Better than the MO one last night I guess aside from the cheesy “American Girl”.
  • “My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.” What, did Russia invade us too? Sorry, I actually did think this when I heard that line.
  • “No way, No how, no McCain.” For this line, how about: how lame? Seriously, she really hasn’t gone all pit bull on McCain which I’m sure some Dems will be disappointed in.
  • Health care. Health care. Health care. Which is ok, since that’s been Mrs. Clinton’s thing for a while now.
  • Supreme Court in right-wing headlock? If that were truly the case abortions would be banned, police and government agencies would be arresting everyone in sight on trumped up charges, there would be suspension of habeas corpus, rampant torture, blatant suppression of speech and press, etc. etc. Partisan gridlock? Last I heard the Dems controlled the Congress. And is it not true that the Dems quashed attempts to put forth energy policies before conveniently departing for the summer break. Biggest deficit? Yes, but Congress is responsible for government spending in addition to a war going on. And lets not forget that before 9/11, the Bush admin was actually doing a good job of lowering the deficit and debt with the help of Congress. Borrowed from the Chinese to buy from the Saudis? Well that was (again) Congress, not the President’s, purview. I certainly didn’t go to a Chinese bank asking for money so I can fill up my gas tank. Didn’t see many Dems squawking about oil much during the last decade, save Al Gore.
  • “Affordable college.” Ah the old myth that you can only be successful if you have a college degree and it has to be affordable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people going to college if they are capable (intelligence wise) but a college degree should not be required to have a decent job and successful career. Once upon a time that was the case in the United States before we turned away from an manufacturing based economy to a service side one.
  • “To promoting unionization” Well what if I don’t want to be in a union? What then? I get left out of getting a decent job for not becoming a union drone without any protections from union bosses giving jobs away as has happened recently in the auto industry.
  • “To make America once again a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.” How about we enforce current immigration laws! Two birds, one stone. We are a nation of immigrants- legal ones.
  • “fiscal sanity back to Washington” snort.
  • “restore America’s standing in the world” Seems the world turned to the US nad our NATO allies rather quickly when Russia invaded Georgia. I think our standing is safe.
  • “And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he’ll revitalize our
    economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global
    challenges of our time” with his magic fairy dust and a toothy grin right? Sorry but the economy will right itself without government guidance (unless you think communism is the way to go), civil libertarians will defend the people not the President, and try to deal with challenges as all Presidents and leaders do.
  • Attempting to equate McCain = Bush. LOL! (Sorry for the net speak) Trotting out that tired line is as the kids are wont to say: Epic fail!
  • Nice to mention the anniversary of women getting the National right to vote. A lot of states and territories, particularly in the west already allowed women to vote in local elections well before Congress deigned to give women the right to vote. Being from Arizona I have a slightly different view on the history of women’s suffrage.* Yes it’s been 88 years nationally but some states have much deeper traditions of women’s suffrage than politicians care to be reminded of.
  • “We don’t need four more years of the last eight years.” So what were the Dems doing in Congress if Bush was the anti-Christ of Democracy?

Anyway, it was good speech, inspiring in part, and very much in line with Hillary Clinton’s style and agenda. Doesn’t change my opinion any on Obama, but I already decided not to vote Obama a while ago. He’s got potential, but he’s not yet ready.

So thus ends day 2. Day3 looks like it is going to be a snooze fest. I might pass on watching any of it tomorrow.

*On Women’s Suffrage in Arizona and the western United States:

Arizona as a territory viewed women’s voting much differently than many contemporaries, particularly those east of the Mississippi River, at the time. A large part of this was due to a combination of Spanish legal system influence that afforded women a number of rights not recognized at the time in many U.S. states and the general independent nature of the west. In fact, the Arizona legislature voted to give women the right to vote in 1903 but was vetoed by the Territorial Governor on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. Arizona (alongside eight other states) gave women the right to vote eight years (or sooner for others) before the rest of the nation, not through decree or constitutional amendment but by a public vote that passed in every county. So for someone from Arizona like myself I see suffrage in this state as something achieved since at least 1903 (and obviously much earlier in other states) but denied by Washington D.C despite state after state (Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Washington, California, Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona) approving women’s suffrage by 1912. So when I hear Easterners chatting up suffrage I cringe a little knowing how some of the eastern U.S. dragged its feet on (if not outright vehemently opposed) the issue.

Of course it was only the first of many steps on the path for civil liberties, equality and freedom in this country. A fight that continues to this day.

World Conflict Today

Todays conflicts: Russia-Georgia (on going obviously), North Korea, DNC protests

Russia recognizes Georgia rebel regions | Reuters
No surprise there, but I still say Russia must cede North Ossetia to South Ossetia to prove they are just in it to ensure the Ossetians can be independent. I can guarantee the Russians aren’t going to do that. It’s just a Russian land grab (and a way to control resources in the region headed for Europe) and all the world knows it, despite claims to the contrary: Известия.Ру: Россия не собирается присоединять Абхазию и Южную Осетию (Trans. Russia will not join Abkhazia and South Ossetia) Interesting since Russia claims the Georgia invasion was to allow the Ossetians the right to self determination but Russia makes no mention of giving up Russian controlled North Ossetia for a unified Ossetian state. In other words, it’s all BS.

Russia condemned for recognizing rebel regions – CNN.com And rightly so. And was noted the decision was “direct violation of numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Georgia’s territorial integrity.” Russia will face consequences from it’s recent actions, consequences I suspect they have not fully considered with respect to their relations in the world. As an interesting article at Russia Profile put it: What’s the Rush? (some interesting notes on China, potential disunity in the Putin/Medvedev regime, and discontent over the move by pro-Moscow loyalists)

Russia: NATO warships in Black Sea are worrying | Reuters and RussiaToday : News : Russia warns NATO over build-up of warships in Black Sea Duh. What did Russia think was going to happen? They invaded a sovereign nation without any apparent reason, expelled the local Georgian population, looted, pillaged and destroyed civilian, government, and military equipment, building, and businesses and siezed control of ports with the military. Of course military vessels would be used to deliver aid in turn to prevent the Russian navy from following the same activities of it’s army and committing piracy.

RIA Novosti – Russia – Moscow says NATO begins supplying new arms to Georgia
and RIA Novosti – Russia – NATO helps Georgia restore air defenses, ups Black Sea presence That’s what allies do for one another, especially when said allies are attacked. Russia has done the same so has no legitimate reason to complain aside from any expansionist plans of their getting derailed somewhat. More troubling was a recent comment by Lavrov:

“Russia is a self-sufficient country, and attempts to block our ambitious plans, which are extremely important for the country’s social and economic development, will bring no good, although someone is obviously keen to take advantage of a provocation like Georgia’s attack,” Lavrov said.

Okay, what exactly are these “ambitious plans” and why was Ossetia so important to them? Such comments make me think given the Russian governments somewhat recently bizarre behavior of a number of scenarios over Russia’s intentions speculators have made: Russian desire to control the flow of oil, gas, and other resources from the Caucasus to Europe, Russian dominance and control of former Soviet states, Russian nationalism, militarism, and expansionism, rising dictatorial behavior and oligarchs, suppression of free press and dissent, etc., etc.

Aside from that Lavrov needs to be reminded that no nation can stand alone any longer. The global economy will not allow this. Nor the environment. Nor a myriad of other issues ranging from war and terrorism to medicine and development of poor nations.

Angry North Korea threatens nuclear U-turn – CNN.com Same old, same old here. Any excuse not to abide by the agreements they sign.

DNC Protests

Political Radar: DNC Protesters Arrested, Pepper-Sprayed

The Associated Press: Protesters: We’re being treated like prisoners

Unconventional Griff: Live Shot Leads to Protester Outrage – America’s Election HQ,

VOA News – Protesters Clash with Police at US Democratic National Convention

Little Green Footballs – Zombie: Recreate 68 Finally Lives Up to Its Name: Riot in Denver (Highlights how stupid the supposed protesters and anarchists are. You go looking for violence you’ll get it–directed at you.)

Not really that unexpected since some groups had indicated they wanted to stir up trouble at both the Democratic Convention and the Republican Convention. The fact that there were some idiots who thought recreating the riots of the 68 convention would some how be a good thing shows the stupidity of some of the protesters. Seriously, Recreate 68? Dumb. As evidenced in some of the articles and blogs, the more violent protesters deserved to be arrested while others I suspect just got caught between the police and the extremists.

The fools take away from legitimate protests that simply want their often ignored issues and concerns acknowledged and addressed by our nation’s leaders.