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Archive for August, 2008

One of the defenses of John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate is that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were each also in their 40s and relatively inexperienced when running for President.

The problem with that defense is that Clinton and Obama each prepared for their presidential runs by networking extensively, asking the right people the right questions, and reflecting on the answers they got. Palin seems to have done none of that preparation (and, to be fair to her, she had no reason to do it).

Beyond that, Clinton was tightly networked into Washington before 1992 and Obama has served there as a senator for three years. Palin not only lacks even that experience with Washington, but she has also been in Alaska. Living in Portland, Oregon, I feel isolated from the rest of the country. Alaska? She might as well have been on the other side of the moon.

We don’t want our presidents to be “creatures of Washington”. The surest way to become a creature of Washington, though, is to not know how things work there and not have a trusted group of advisers who can help you. That’s where Sarah Palin is today.

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Hello, Goodbye

I was sitting in the Green Dragon yesterday afternoon (with a book, in the corner, with the lights down low) when the Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye” starting playing, and I couldn’t help stopping to listen to it. What a great little piece of fluff that song is! Light, funny, clever, poppy. Easy to overlook because the Beatles did so many better songs; but for a lesser band, it would have been a career-maker.

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The DC5 has landed

The entire Dave Clark Five catalog has been out of print for more than a decade (it appears that Dave Clark just likes it like that), but one of their greatest hits albums is now available on iTunes.

In case Clark changes his mind again, I have taken the precaution of purchasing:

  • “Glad All Over”
  • “Catch Us If You Can”
  • “Bits and Pieces”
  • “Can’t You See That She’s Mine”
  • “Because”
  • “I Like It Like That”

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The 3am phone call

To answer the question asked by that Hillary Clinton commercial…

Of Obama and McCain, Obama is the one I would want to answer that 3am telephone call at the White House.

Obama has the even temperament, keen intelligence, and mental vigor that I would want a leader to have when making tough decisions on little sleep.

McCain is hot-headed, incurious, and increasingly befuddled. On a good day, his ability to effectively carry out the duties of the presidency is questionable. On a day when he is awoken at 3am and asked to make a snap decision of historical importance?

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  1. The GOP is focusing on tearing down Obama rather than building up McCain.
  2. To the extent that the GOP does talk about McCain, the talk rarely refers to anything he has done in the last 35 years.
  3. The Democratic National Convention was well-managed, if somewhat boring.
  4. Biden was the right choice for VP.

I have no regrets about supporting Obama over McCain.

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The first major college football game of the season starts in about four hours.

One of these years, I will get cable hooked back up, buy a big-screen TV, and lose myself in football season the way I did when I was a teenager. Every summer, I ask myself whether this will be that year; and every year, the answer has been that I have other things I ought to do with my time and money.

So, not this year. Probably not next year. But it might be the perfect thing to do the year I turn 40—it would be a much less embarrassing response to that milestone than buying a sports car or chasing college girls.

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In Book I (345e-347a) of the Republic, Socrates distinguishes between one’s ability to succeed at a craft (to be a craftsman) and one’s ability to succeed in being paid (to be a wage-earner); and states that the two abilities should be considered in isolation from one another. One can be a craftsman without receiving a wage; one can receive a wage for doing nothing.

We naturally tie the two together because they are so often paired, but it is worth remembering (and worth hammering home in school) that just because you are skilled at your craft does not mean that you will be paid to perform it.

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