Days Until Opening Day 2009

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Historic Day

What can I say? There are really no words to describe the way I feel. Today is without a doubt one of greatest moments in our country's history. As a nation we have overwhelmingly shown that we are willing to vote on the issues and over come racial bigotry, fear mongering, and failed policies.

I talked about race and the election the other day. Lets be honest here, race was the 900 pound gorilla in the room this entire election. Now don't get me wrong, the election of Obama will not end racism but it is certainly a huge step forward. It is a day that I never thought I would see in my life time. I can only imagine what those who lived through segregation must be feeling. My father has told me stories about basic training in Biloxi Mississippi in 1961. I should mention that my father has always been tolerant of all races, albeit that this was the first time in his life he had ventured away from New England and he was perhaps a bit naive about the realities of segregation. His roommate was African American and when my father asked him if he wanted to go into town to get a beer his roommate looked at him with shock. "You can't be seen with me in town" he said. Little did my father know that there was only one bar in town that would even cater to black patrons. Shortly thereafter he was taking a bus when an African American woman stood up to give him her seat. My father was surprised and told her that he didn't want her seat. It was then he realized that this woman had become frightened, not because of my fathers reaction but because she was surrounded by white people who were clearly getting angry at the situation. Dad ended up taking her seat only for fear of retribution against the woman.

But this election wasn't just about race. It was also about pointing us in a new direction. It was about learning from out mistakes and reestablishing our credibility in the world. It was about responsible government. My hope is that Obama does the right thing. I hope that he is centric and brings the country together again. I hope that he doesn't sub come to the corruption of power. I hope that he is every bit the great president he has the potential to be. With so much already riding against him on day one if he succeeds he could be one of historys greatest presidents.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Your Vote Doesn't Count

That is a complete lie, I was just trying to hook you in with a shocking title. If the 2000 election taught us anything we all know that your vote really does count.

Now on to today's subject, intimidation and fear. Already this morning there have been reports of foul play and voter intimidation. In Virgina five voting machines at one poll suddenly stopped working. Elsewhere in Virgina and reportedly in other states text messages and signs have been circulating telling democrats to vote on Wednesday to avoid the long lines. The so called 527 ads on both sides have been over the top trying to invoke fear about the candidates and about what may happen if the other guy is elected. It is all pretty disgusting. Imagine what it would be like if we had civil national elections that focused only on the issues.

Monday, November 3, 2008

D-Day 2008

Tomorrow is it, no more predictions, no more analysis, no more speculation. By Wednesday morning or late tomorrow evening we will know the next president of the United States (hopefully). Suffice to say that I am nervous and will no doubt get little to no work done tomorrow as my office becomes my own version of election center 2008. I have laid out the issues that are important to me and have been clear about my choice. When casting your vote I beg you to make your decision based on the issues and how you think that they will have an impact on you and what is best for this country, not on aesthetics, not on attack ads or on irrelevant campaign tricks.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Congratulations to the Phillies

Even though I was pulling for the Rays you have to give credit where it is due. So in the interest of being a good sport congratulations Philadelphia! As for Tampa while I am sure their fans are disappointed today they still have to be happy with what they were able to accomplish this season. They won the AL pennant for god sake, that is no small task especially doing it in the AL East!

So now this years season is in the books and this baseball fan begrudgingly moves on to a tepid interest in the other professional sports while patiently awaiting warmer weather, a bag of peanuts, a cold beer and a score card for opening day 2009.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Series Delayed...and One More Political Post

For the first time ever a World Series has been delayed mid game due to rain. What a way to cap off such a crazy season. I mean come on, who really thought the Rays would make it this far ESPECIALLY after going through the Red Sox in the dramatic fashion that they did. It makes you wonder, will this little hiccup change the momentum and give the kids a much needed breather to recoup? I think that it will, it would be very fitting for them to bounce back now.

Now on to politics. I swear I'll tone down the rhetoric here pretty soon but with the election so close I can't contain myself.

When Sarah Palin was first nominated she was kept away from the press at all costs. When the media complained about their lack of access to the woman who could potentially be president of the United States the McCain campaign screamed that she was being treated unfairly because she is a woman. This has been the reoccurring theme for the campaign. Anyone who criticise her is either sexist or too far to the left (never mind that a number of top republicans have spoken out against her). Most recently this defense was used to justify her 150,000 worth of clothing and makeup.* This is why I am shocked that McCain's own advisers said this about Palin's new "rouge / diva" status:

"Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom," about the kettle calling the pot black. Sounds like he actually wanted to use that one word a man should never call a woman unless he is looking to get know the one I am talking starts with a B and can make you itch.

This comment alone is far more sexist than anything the mainstream media has said about Palin. So how can McCain possibly accuse anyone of sexism anymore after his own campaign just basically said remember who the boss is....McCain the MAN, not Palin the DIVA. Go back to your knitting sweetie, let the boys deal with the gotcha media.

The worst part about all of this is that McCain has been right to keep a tight leash on Palins interviews. She is a disaster plain and simple. She is not competent enough to answer questions on Meet the Press, but she is competent enough with the nuclear codes. Give me a break.

*I will say that it is true that women are unfairly judged based on their appearance, however this was far over the top. Regardless, the only reason this issue is relevant is because of the campaigns portrayal as a down to earth hockey mom.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A few more thoughts on the election and race

First of all and very quickly I want to give a big congratulations to the Ray's for all that they have accomplished this year. While they lost last nights game you have to be pulling for these kids. It is fun to watch.

Now please indulge me for yet another politically themed post.

A close friend of mine is deeply concerned that Obama poses a risk to nation in the event that he is assassinated or loses by a close margin. I strongly feel that this should not be a factor in choosing a candidate. However I can't completely cast this argument aside as pure fiction either. The unfortunate truth is that my friends fears are backed up by some of our nations most tragic historical events. There is no doubt that in much of the country racial tensions are still alive and well. This is why McCain and Palin's comments about Obama "paling around with terrorists" and "who is the real Obama" are not only reckless, but also dangerous. Comments such as these only serve to fan the flames of racial bigotry in the end making my friends fears much more realistic. Let's face it, racism (and sexism) has (have) played a huge role in this campaign. The reality is that if Obama was white and had a more "Christian sounding" name this election would have been over before it even stated. So my friend is right to a certain extent. There is no doubt that there would be a massive sense of frustration, bitterness, and anger among the African American community in the event of a loss given his current lead (barring some game changing event) or if the unthinkable were to happen. But to use that as the only catalyst in making a decision is a missed opportunity to move forward. The fact that this could even be a factor tells us that while we have certainly come a long way, we still have a long way to go. In the end I really just wish this campaign was more about the issues and not about black / white / man / woman but that isn't the reality of our society. I'll be glad when this is all over.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why I am Voting for Obama

Ok, this post has nothing to do with baseball obviously but since I can't watch the post season without being sick to my stomach indulge me for a bit while I go in a different direction for a post or two.

Let me start with full disclosure, it is no secret my absolute disdain for the current republican administration. While it isn't fair to blame Bush and his buddys for all of the current problems that we face, they certainly have had a heavy hand in destroying our economy, our reputation, our environment...etc..etc. You would be hard pressed to do a worse job than this administration even if you tried to screw things up.

That said, even though I am a registered democrat, I do not think that it is right to only vote along party lines. To truly make an intelligent decision about who is right to lead the country it is CRITICAL that people understand the issues that are important to not only them, but to the rest of the country. At the end of the day though intellectual curiosity and sound judgement are two key attributes that a candidate must posses.

So what about McCain? While I certainly appreciate his military service and feel that he is intelligent, I do not agree with most of his policies. But what really kills it for me is that clearly he is lacking in judgment. Let me break down the deal breakers for me with McCain:

Taxes and Health care - Last night at the debate McCain trumpeted that no one should be saddled with higher taxes. This is irresponsible. We have seen the effects of fighting two wars while cutting taxes, not to mention $700 billion that we sent to lower Manhattan, and then there were the economic stimulus checks to nowhere. These all have to be paid for. Somehow, someway McCain knows he is going to have to raise taxes, but how will he do it? Part of how McCain plans to pay for making Bush's tax cuts permanent is by taxing employee health care programs in exchange for a $5,000 tax credit. This is a thinly veiled tax on workers who will have to pay for the increased health care out of their salary, or will elect to just drop coverage all together because it is too expensive. In that scenario we all know that $5,000 isn't going to amount to a hill of beans if someone gets sick. Do the top 5% of America really need that second villa in Tuscany at the expense of "Joe Six Pack" not being able to see a doctor? How can Mr. Six Pack fulfil what McCain last night called his responsibility to health care if he has to decide between surgery and spaghetti?

People who can't afford insurance amd people with pre existing conditions that make them uninsurable are basically screwed under McCain's plan just as they have been for decades. Under the current system insurance companies can drop you even if you didn't know about a pre-existing condition, chrons disease for example. A close friend of mine can't get health insurance now because he has Chrons disease, again, a condition that he didn't know he had when he was first insured. Now if he needs to go to the doctor he has to decide between just toughing it out or going thousands of dollars in debt for hospital stays. Unfortunately neither candidate is calling for socialized medicine which I believe should be a right. We can essentially socialize wall street but we can't do the same for the uninsured? Health care shouldn't be a for profit business.

The Economy - I am not an economist, and I certainly would never pretend to be better versed on the financial markets than I truly am. However McCain isn't an expert either and has said as much. His comments that the economy is fundamentally secure as wall street crumbled around him only send up even more red flags. As we all saw during the failure of the first bailout package McCain had little to say and mostly got in the way. Now I do not feel that Obama has given us a terribly straight answer on what he proposes to do to fix the situation we are in. However, given McCain's history of deregulation I don't feel he has a grasp on the realities of greed on wall street and fear that once the markets stabilize he would eventually revert back to a lack of oversight.

Sarah Palin - Palin is perhaps the best example of McCain's poor judgment. I hate what she stands for, a political ploy to capture female voters. That combined with her positions on everything from gun control to abortion to teaching creationism in school is the polar opposite of what I believe. She is dangerously naive with regards to foreign policy and didn't even have a passport until the last few years. Whats more, I get the impression that she thinks that this is all some sort of game and that once (if) she ascends to the oval office it will be just like running Alaska. That scares me tremendously given we are now witnessing the results of someone who has no business being president running the country for 8 years. Further, in Alaska I don't think too much of the whole troopergate investigation...did she abuse her powers, probably, but every politician does at some point. What worries me is her blatant nepotism and crony-ism placing unqualified people in positions of government power in Alaska just as Bush has in DC. All that and the fact that a person who is running for vice president can not even answer a question about the Bush doctrine or how being able to see Russia gives her foreign policy experience. If you were Joe six pack then fine, who cares if you don't know what the bush doctrine is, but if you are a heartbeat away from the nuclear codes you better damn well know. Much has been written about McCain's health and ability to serve out his first term, as such putting a woman with Palin's experience so close to the Oval office is nothing short of reckless and irresponsible.