Category Archives: history

Harold Kepnes, my friend, has died. I’m very sad.

Harold S.Kepnes, 1947 – 2012

He was a year younger than me, but we were both in the Class of ’64 at Tabor. Harold was my best friend and in the summers, when I worked on Cape Cod at the Candle Factory doing tours, Harold, who lived close by in Hyannis, had the home I hung out in.

Harry and Billy… that was how everyone knew us… wandered the Cape, went to drive-in movies, chased girls and hung out at his family’s private chunk of Craigville Beach. Even when I went off to college in Illinois and Harold went off, too, we would get back together in the summer.

Harold was the kind of friend you didn’t have to see in years and yet nothing changed. You don’t get many like that.

He spent the last couple of years fighting pancreatic cancer… in and out o9f hospitals and with the caring support of his wife, Monica, and his daughter, Caroline, who came in from California to be with her Dad. Caroline, a television writer of talent, has been keeping everyone informed about Harold and his condition.

Now he has died at age 65 and I shall miss him. What awful news to get from Monica this morning as I packed for Georgetown Hospital.

What is it about tattooed people? A disdain for their skin?

After yesterday’s piece on the results of the man with the a Romney tattoo on his head, this bunch of tattoos popped up on the web (can you believe it?!):

So it doesn’t matter whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you have the amazing need to defile yourself as a party poster, you fall into a category of folks that is beyond my understanding, not that I am fond of the current trend to cover yourself with all kinds of tattoos at all.

So where are we with General Petraeus?

What on earth is happening when an American who has been trusted as much as General Petraeus has his little love affair exposed (which doesn’t seem to have effected his CIA leadership at all) and feels the need to resign?

This article is from Truthdig… I’m putting it all here:

How the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell Affair Was Uncovered

 

AP/Cliff Owen
Former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Modern technology apparently cost ex-CIA Director David Petraeus his job. The retired general’s affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was discovered by the FBI while it was investigating harassing emails she sent to Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old woman who serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. A former associate of Petraeus says he and Kelley are just friends.

After news of the FBI investigation that uncovered the affair, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stepped in and asked Petraeus to resign.

The Associated Press:

Clapper was told by the Justice Department of the Petraeus investigation at about 5 p.m. on Election Day, and then called Petraeus and urged him to resign, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

…Concerned that the emails he exchanged with Broadwell raised the possibility of a security breach, the FBI brought the matter up with Petraeus directly, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

Petraeus decided to quit, though he was breaking no laws by having an affair, officials said.

Read more

In the wake of Petraeus’ resignation, members of Congress are asking for more information about the investigation, including why they weren’t alerted sooner and whether the probe had any impact on national security.

Now here are my thoughts. Given the world situation, why in hell are we letting a man with this amount of military and foreign policy and management experience leave this job over a little penis stimulation? You can’t tell me that the Congressfolk who would sit over his situation if he hadn’t resigned haven’t been involved in the same kind of stuff.

If I were Obama, I would have, at least temporarily, refused Petraeus’ resignation and let him go ahead with his testimony about Libya (which he should do anyway, whether he has resigned or not.)

If we really let him go we are more stupid than I already think.

 

The questions you ask yourself…

I’m discovering as I face brain surgery and it’s unknown consequences that I find myself asking questions about what I have and have not accomplished over the last 66 or so years. It’s not a pleasant experience, btw, only one that makes me realize how many things I REALLY wanted to do which will probably never be realized. I guess, however, that this is common to just about everyone.

(Sorry… this is much longer than I expected and it will not hurt my feelings if you sign out right now,   – Bill)

Starting with the basics:

  • I have a wonderful wife who is taking care of me when she also maintains a full time teaching job that keeps us supported and in our mandatory health insurance mode.
  • I have three impressive and incredible grown children, Cassandra, Penny and Will (who we call Buddy… I don’t know where “Will” came from), and four wonderful grandsons, 3 in Maryland and one in Connecticut. (Allow me to say while I’m in this particular note about how lucky I am to have my son-in-law Matthew Corrigan in Connecticut who has made sure Cassandra could be down here with me during all of this.)
  • I set out many years ago for a life in the Arts, something I really discovered while a prep-school student at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA.  Between painting and sculpture creation under Lou LaVoie, drama and theatre discoveries under Tom Weisshaus, ending as President of the Drama Club where i acted, but didn’t do much in tech theatre, I was poised to take off when I headed for The School Of Speech/Theatre Department at Northwestern University in 1964.

And just what did I do that I remember proudly?:

  • After I discovered systems analysis through an amazing engineer, art collector and professor, Dr. Gustave J. Rath, I created my first small theatre company, Systems Theatre, which applied this amazing intellectual technology to performance creation. Our first major production was an adaptation of Frank Zappa’s “Lumpy Gravy” which eventually played Chicago’s Performing Warehouse between sets by the two great bluesmen B.B. King and Albert King (who I got to give a ride home to later… wow!) When I ended up in NYC in 1971 I restarted Systems Theatre with some of the same people who were with me at Northwestern
  • There were a couple of plays that we did at Theatre at St. Clement’s, one of the really great off-off Broadway locations in the city. Well reviewed, well attended and most important to me was my adaptation of Thomas Merton’s “Original Child Bomb” which had gothic-y chants composed by a wonderful musician, Ed Roberts, who I had met when teaching for a year at Tabor. Ed and I went on to do several shows together… at St. Clement’s and other places. My greatest pride came in a project we did a little later:
  • Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”, an opera for children, was presented at the Whitney

    The Whitney

    Museum of American Art, thanks to a contact I made with one of the most  influential people in my life and someone who I am so proud to call a friend today, Berta Walker. Berta was working as the Administrative Assistant to Steve Weil at the Whitney and was looking for children’s programming. Ed and I suggested doing “Snark” which we had just started working on and now we had a reason for pushing through. We opened to great reception at the Whitney and, a little bit later on, Berta and I produced it for a few weekends at a little theater on the East Side of Manhattan. Following that, it was taken to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, a major museum which had been started by Berta’s grandfather, where it was also successful.

  • My friend and former Northwestern student John Driver, who played the original Bellman in “Snark” had been writing a musical based on Samurai warrior Mushami called “Ride The Wind” with pretty much of a rock ‘n roll score and martial arts based choreography. This was during the time that “Kung Fu” was a big television show, and we thought we were really on something here, so Berta and I decided to produce it (the company we created was called Snarkophilus Productions after our big success). We started out aiming for Off-Broadway, but then the Bijou Theater, a little house at the end of Shubert Alley, became available and we booked it. We were now a Broadway show… albeit a very small one. My set design professor, Sam Ball, agreed to do the sets, which were built by Northwestern students and which I brought to New York driving a truck across country. A number of the actors who auditioned were folks I had known from the New Theatre Workshop, a small non-profit group which acted as a try-out location for new plays that writers were working on. I was their stage electrician for a year before they tore the theater down to build the CitiPlace Center on 57th Street.
  • Unfortunately, “Ride The Winds” didn’t pass the New York Times test and I was no longer a Broadway producer.
  • I had to work, so I took a job as Administrator of the Jamaica Arts Center in Queens, where I structured classes, set up concerts, scheduled movies and ran the books. It was there I met Elly, my current wife, who I hired to teach Photography in the class size darkroom I had built in the Center’s basement (I took up photography, too… something I really loved.)  Eddy came down and we did a little revival of “Snark” in Jamaica for the kids in Queens. When I was hired later on by The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, by their Board President (you can probably see this coming… it was Berta Walker), Elly came with me and we settled in on  lower Cape Cod. I helped the Work Center fund raise, grow and prosper over three years, then spent another three years on it’s Board. Elly and I however, moved down to the mid-Cape where we started a business that would keep us in debt and development for the next decade: Our photo studio, Photography Associates of New England Inc., and U-Design, Inc.
  • The appearance of the Apple Macintosh computer, the laser printer, a piece of software called Aldus PageMaker and things like scanners, modems, etc., inspired us to set up a rental-area business where folks would come in, rent space in a booth, and lay out, with our help, their ads and brochures. After a couple of years, we moved it to Hartford, CT… back in my home state. At one point we had U-Designs in three cities in CT (that was a mistake!) and we started doing more jobs for clients ourselves rather than booth rentals. We worked with major and minor companies, lots of non-profits, plus we offered desktop publishing classes. At one time we had a dozen or so employees. During this time I did no theatre, maybe a little painting, but not much (Elly was our painter and her work was wonderful.) While in Marlborough, however, I was recruited to be a Justice of the Peace, where I married several couples (I specialized in non-believers who I thought should have a person of their own.) I did start designing computer fonts at this time… still do it, especially my “picture fonts” which have been used on this blog many times. U-Design Type Foundry has attracted hundreds of buyers, for which I have great appreciation.

More recent years… “Things fall apart, the center does not hold” – TS Eliot.

  • We had built a passive solar house in Marlborough, CT, where we moved so Buddy could go to school there and we could lead the suburban life (eventually, we moved the last vestige of U-Design to Marlborough where it finally ended up in our house until it died.) I started going out and getting jobs as an Information Technologist at some larger companies, finally ending up at Computer Sciences Corporation, where I spent five working years. For most of that I was commuting to the Maryland-DC area every week to do a major piece of work for the Internal Revenue Service with a bunch of my colleagues. I made more money here than I ever had before. When my whole department was laid off after three years I even got six months of part-time work for the IRS itself to finish some of the project stuff.
  • Elly and I sold the Marlborough house and bought a historic co-op space in Old Greenbelt, MD, where I was still doing CSC work. Eventually, when there was no more work and a guy in his late fifties had a hard time finding IT jobs when the market was stuffed with lower earning young guys. I had to take early retirement which, thanks to CSC’s salary, brought me a higher Social Security than I had expected. Elly took a teaching job in Graphic Design at Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, MD, and we eventually moved to

    Ride The Winds

    Hagerstown, then Shepherdstown (our favorite) and now Harper’s Ferry. While I was living in Greenbelt, I got involved with two community theatres, the Laurel Mill Playhouse and the Greenbelt Arts Center. Amazingly enough, with the entrance to all of this I made by meeting Linda Bartash, I directed several plays and musicals. The highlight of these was a revival of “Ride The Winds” which I got John Driver to rewrite the second act for. It was well-reviewed in the Washington Post and local papers and I breathed a sight of final relief. I also, amid all the shows I did, had a really good production of that unusual musical “Urinetown” at Greenbelt, also a success.

  • I got involved with a new Community Theater in Shepherdstown, The Full Circle Theater, where I

    The Hunting of the Snark, in Shepherdstown

    became the House Electrician and ran lights on a bunch of shows, And then, can you believe it, I go to to do a revival of “The Hunting of the Snark” and Eddy, who was then living in Pennsylvania, came down from time to time to help my friend and music director, Ruth Raubertas, get our favorite opera for kids off the ground. Everyone seemed to like it, but this was my last chance to direct anything and I sank into an ongoing depression hoping I would get to do it again some day. I don’t think, now, that it will happen. I have to say, though, that I made a great friend of John Case who played the Butcher in that last production. John had a weekday morning radio show on WSCH 89.7FM on Shepherd University’s radio station and originally he invited me on for an interview and eventually I was on every Friday, which John started promoting as “The Bill and John Show.” I guess I did OK, since a few months later the station manager, Todd Cottgreave, gave me a show of my own on Saturday mornings which I called “Talk To Me” and which I made into a call-in production. I think the radio shows really saved my intelligence and ability to carry on while under depression.

So those are things I’ve been thinking about. What I haven’t discussed here is this blog, which is the major occupation of an old, retired guy’s day. I hope I can keep it going for years (as you can see, I love to talk)… if it has to cease, however, someone will put up a final post.

Time to feed the dogs.

So the world’s culture changes… not necessarily for the better…

Is our view of social interaction unusually influenced by television crime drama? You Betcha!

For instance:

Dorothy, Dorothy! And what are you doing with your attack dog Toto?

Hey, did you see that they auctioned off the gingham dress that Judy Garland wore in the movie for $480,000.00?

It’s Veterans Day…

I’ll be clear, here. I am not a veteran of our armed forces. When my eligibility would have occurred I got a 1 Y on my physical and was never allowed in (I was also married with a child and in college at the time.)

What I do remember every Veterans Day, however, is my Uncle Butch (Marine Sgt. Irving B. Tchakirides, my father’s younger brother), who died on his third tour of duty in Viet Nam… a victim of American fire as it happens. Many times I have gone to DC to see his name on the Viet Nam Wall and to remember how much I liked him, along with my other uncles, as a child.

So I wish a Best Veterans Day to the memory of my Uncle Butch and hope that someday we won’t have to think about losing our young men in wars we never should have been in.

 

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

Here’s a video treat from ALL HAT NO CATTLE…

…the one blog I try to view every day. This is a video that Lisa put together Called “Back in the Good Old Days” which is a good indicator that Romney will bring Bushiness back to us.

 

Hope you enjoy it. I sure did!

 

Do sacred undergarments make someone more Presidential?

If you’re a Mormon, you could be wearing the sacred undergarments to protect yourself. So would this help Romney as a president?

Well, let’s hear what Mike Wallace found out about the sacred underwear:

Are you convinced? Of course, Romney or his supporters have yet to criticize Obama‘s relatively ordinary underwear.

(Thanx to Caffeinated Politics.)

Romney would go after Free Government Money… doesn’t that contradict the Romney who was nominated?

From Mashed Potato Bulletin:

In what could become Mitt Romney’s J.D. Hayworth moment this ABC News video utterly contradicts the Republican presidential candidates calls to severely cut government spending. As with J.D. Hayworth – John McCain’s Tea Party challenger in 2010 who was caught in “Free Government Money” informercial which contributed to his election loss – this video may be the metaphorical topper to the ex-governor’s campaign of flip-flopping. Depending on the coverage it receives, Mitt may have essentially shot himself in the foot.

Listen here:

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Election is crawling toward it’s end. I am sooo thankful.

I’ll be so glad when all this election brouhaha is over. I’ll be so depressed if Romney captures a majority of American votes… in other words, I will think so much is wrong with this country’s education policies.

Bob Englehart in the The Hartford Courant:

So how likely is it that doing tax favors for the top 1% will raise the job totals?

- and -

Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

At least Romney makes it clear who his support base won’t be…

- and -

Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

One day women might disable the positions of Romney and his buddies…

- and -

David Fitzsimmons in The Arizona Daily Star:

Some time accusations reverse themselves to define the accuser.

- and -

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Foreign policy requires a lot of basic knowledge. Romney doesn’t seem to have any.

 

 

A Quote for the Morning: A Republican criticizes the racism of his party…

Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Colin Powell, had retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson as a Chief of Staff. Wilkerson made this comment in response to  John Sununu‘s statement on Thursday that Powell’s endorsement of President Barack Obama’s re-election was motivated by race:

“My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”

- Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

And there are people who want these guys elected… why? We worked so hard for decades to establish the civil rights of all Americans. It was a triumph to elect our first black president and Obama has made significant achievements in his first term, even though he faced Republicans in the Congress who publicly pledged to keep his agenda from being passed.

Voting for Republicans in this election endorses their racial views. Do you?

Educator and Cultural Critic Jacques Barzun Dies at 104;

 

Historian, essayist, cultural gadfly and educator Jacques Barzun, who helped establish the modern discipline of cultural history, was probably best known for viewing the West as sliding toward decadence. He died Thursday night at his home in San Antonio.  He was 104.

His remarkable curiosity and manifold interests and accomplishments, encompassed both Berlioz and baseball (and many other subjects.) He stood with Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell and Lionel Trilling as one of  the mid-20th century’s most wide-ranging scholars. He tried to reconcile the achievements of European philosophy and culture with the very different American intellect and culture.

He wrote dozens of books across many decades, demonstrating that old age did not necessarily mean intellectual decline. He published his most ambitious and encyclopedic book at the age of 92 (and credited his productivity in part to chronic insomnia). That work, “From Dawn to Decadence,” is an 877-page survey of 500 years of Western culture in which he argued that Western civilization itself had entered a period of decline.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Barzun showed little interest in taking political positions. This was partly because he became a university administrator and had to stand above the fray, and partly because he approached the world with a detached civility and a sardonic skepticism about intellectual life.

He traced periods of rise and fall in the Western saga, and contended that another fall was near — one that could cause “the liquidation of 500 years of civilization.” It looks like he won’t be around to see it.

 

Just Returned From Early Voting…

After having done the Friday Morning radio show on WSHC with John Case, Elly and I set out to go to Charles Town, WV, for a visit to the Jefferson County Courthouse for early voting. Since John and his wife, Carol, were already planning to vote today, Elly and I arranged to meet them at the polling place and to have lunch afterward at our favorite Charles Town restaurant, Mezzaluna.

We spent over an hour from getting into the Court House line through voting at the booth. I never expected that it would take that much time, but the lines were very, very long. It seems like many of our fellow citizens were there to vote early… but remember, this was the third day of early voting and it was still mobbed this morning.

But we HAVE voted and I feel very good about it. The odds are very low that West Virginia will agree with me on most of the votes… particularly it is not considered likely that WV will go for Obama. But you have to vote your conscience anyway, and I did.

The Courthouse is a famous location in Jefferson County since it was here that John Brown was tried and convicted for the Harpers Ferry raid during the Civil War. Now it’s famous as the place where Elly and I do early voting.

I hope everyone out there remembers to vote, either early or on election day.

 

On the Republicans and their sophisticated views on Rape…

The Friskey has published a Handy Dandy Guide with a great chart. Isn’t it amazing how these men don’t seem to ever have asked a woman what being raped and/or getting pregnant from it means? The Friskey comments on the gentlemen in the chart:

“I have such a hard time remembering which conservative politician said what ridiculously offensive thing about rape. They’re all old and white and most of them are in some state of partial baldness. They all look the same! And they all sound basically the same too, given that woman-hating bile spews from their open pie holes. Alas, they are all individual people, who hold or have held positions of power within government, and aspire to inflict their beliefs upon your life.”

You know, there are people who listen to and agree with these terrible concepts and who admire all five of these Republicans. You can bet Mitt and his buddy Ryan are included in these.

I will be amazed when someone comes out with the statistic after the election of how many women voted Republican. It is as if they would enjoy being treated like cattle.

And a really funny quote to start the day…

… this is the kind of thing that makes me realize why Obama is so far ahead of his critics. On the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Obama joked about Donald Trump’s latest challenge:

“This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya. We had constant run-ins on the soccer field. He wasn’t very good and resented it. When we finally moved to America I thought it would be over.”

– President Obama

Looks like a lie can be exploded by a funnier lie.

 

We hear so much about truth when talking about candidates’ statements…

… but is Obama/Biden or Romney Ryan the more truthful team? The Dems are the losers on lying… but the Republicans cannot seem to achieve overall truthfulness. Politifact evaluates their percentages of truthful expression as follows:

So if having candidates you can believe is important, then there is no question of which team to support.

 

Hey WV folks… it’s Early Voting time…

Today’s the day. Early voting starts today in West Virginia and I think Elly and I will be heading over to the Charles Town County Courthouse on Friday to cast our ballots for Obama. Speaking of Obama… he will be doing early voting in Chicago on his current speaking tour. That makes him the first President in office to vote early.

BTW… polls are open on Saturday.

 

The latest Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll finds President Obama had a lead of 53% to 42% among the 17% of the surveyed registered voters who said they had already cast their vote. Let’s keep it up!

 

Some words about this blog and me…

I often get e-mail from folks out there in the web world who want to know about Under The LobsterScope and why I keep it going and put a major part of each day into it. It is for that reason that I’ve decided to say a few things that will clarify my relationship with UTL and, perhaps, encourage you to get involved as a commentor.

I started this blog through another editing site, Blogspot, during the 2004 presidential election year. I did several thousand entries over five years or so and then something happened. For some reason, someone got into my blog at Blogspot and did some fairly confusing stuff leaving it impossible for me to post on. I cancelled my relationship with Blogspot and over 4000 posts ago I started UTL up again through WordPress where it remains today.

While I was interested in electoral politics (originally in Maryland before my wife and I moved to West Virginia), my biggest interest at the time – and even now, a little – was in theatre directing. I got to do a couple of musicals and some plays at local community theatres and spent a lot of time attending theatre events (one of the reasons we moved to the Shepherdstown, WV, area was to be closer to the Contemporary American Theater Festival which we attend every year.

I also have a great interest in the visual arts… Elly’s background is as a painter and visual artist. That means heading off to galleries locally, in DC and other places. Add to the visual stuff an interest in music and poetry and dance. The arts in general are very important parts of my life.

As to politics, during the past couple of years beginning with the election of Barack Obama, I have become more and more an active Democrat and have felt it is my obligation, since this is a published item read by thousands of people a week, to expose the really awful things Republicans and extreme conservatives are trying to pull off.

Several of you have also noted that I often expose dangerous things being done by religious organizations. As you probably know I am a non-believer… an atheist, a humanist… and cannot understand how people with developed intellectual capacity can believe this stuff. I have no problem exposing things that might make readers see what I see. I am, however, as opposed to pushing my atheism on others as I am of them pushing their religious beliefs on me.

Now that my current age and health keeps me in the house most of the days of the week, I have much time to read other web sites, magazines and other publications, many of which I quote or comment on in the blog. On an average day I do at least 5 posts.

I have established some regular features in this blog that I hope you enjoy. Cartoon(s) of the Week is the one people think of first when I talk about regular features. I have been interested in editorial cartoons for many years. During the current election I have regularly been posting poll results which I see by the search term roundups many of you are looking for. And, of course, there is my regular posting of celebrity obituaries.

If there is any kind of post I do that you would like to see become a regular feature, just let me know and it’s likely to happen.

- Bill

 

Did you know that converting “Frenchies” to Mormonism is equivalent to military service in wartime?

If you are interested in Ann Romney‘s response to Whoopi Goldberg on The View (which Mitt avoided making an appearance on… scared of Whoopi apparently) when she brought up the fact that Mitt hadn’t served his country in the Viet Nam War, take a look at this statement:

“Mitt certainly did serve his country during the war. He just served in a different way than most during that period. Sure, while many poor and minority young people were involuntarily drafted and soon found themselves knee-deep in cholera-infested rice paddies, you must remember that Mitt was also in a difficult spot serving Jesus, who as everyone knows made a special trip to America.”

“He roamed around the mean streets of Paris, riding a bike, and looking like a royal imbecile. You think he looks ridiculously uncool now, you should have seen him then! And it was a real hell-hole. Of course, he wasn’t being shot at or tripping any landmines, but he had to eat at 3 star restaurants! And he was doing just as important of a job as the Army was when they were fighting for Jesus and America.”

“He was out trying to baptize people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Do you know how hard it is to get anyone to swallow this ridiculous shit? Especially French people! They’ve got all of this good food, wine, and they just LOVE to smoke and have sex all of the time. And you have to tell them to give that stuff up! Darn near impossible! Well, you don’t tell them that right away, only after you get them baptized. We aren’t idiots, you know!”

“So I’d like everyone in the media to stop pretending that Mitt didn’t serve during the war. He baptized 103 Frenchies by all by himself. How many conversions did any of those so-called “soldiers” perform? I rest my case.”

Hey… did you ever think of how dangerous it is to eat in 3-star restaurants?

Thanks to Ye Olde Soapbox for leading me to this one.

A sample of Romney’s misunderstanding of foreign policy…

… like where the middle east countries are located. This statement on Iran and Syria seems to be typical of Romney’s lack of understanding:

I guess Romney doesn’t realize that Iran has it’s own coastlines and doesn’t need Syria to get to the sea. Fortunately, Obama pointed this out to him, making the debate a part of Romney’s education.

 

It looks like last night’s debate was Obama’s triumph…

Although I don’t think Mittens made any huge gaffes, he did tell a pile of obvious lies and Obama seemed to catch him on them.  I was reading Andrew Sullivan’s online live commentary as the debate went on, and his summations in the last few minutes pretty much made the event understood:

10.35 pm. After the first truly epic implosion in the first debate, Obama has clawed his way back in the following two, in my view. He has marshalled his arguments as potently as possible; he brought the themes of his candidacy together compellingly. His advantage on foreign policy will not, I think, diminish; it may well strengthen. And that is only just. After eight years of the most disastrous, misguided, immoral and a catastrophic foreign policy, Obama has brought the US back from the brink, presided over the decimation of al Qaeda, the liberation of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, and restored America’s moral standing in the world.
For Romney, he made no massive mistakes. No Gerald Ford moments. And since the momentum of this race is now his, if now faltering a little, a defeat on points on foreign policy will be an acceptable result. But this was Obama’s debate; and he reminded me again of how extraordinarily lucky this country has been to have had him at the helm in this new millennium.
He’s flawed; he’s made mistakes; but who hasn’t? If this man, in these times, with this record, against this opposition, does not deserve re-election, then I am simply at a loss for words. I have to believe the American people will see that in time.
10.34 pm. Obama’s closing statement was his best few minutes in all three debates. Romney’s seems a little desperate and now he – the man whose running-mate is Paul Ryan – is saying he is more bipartisan than Obama.
10.30 pm. So Romney just blames the entire economy on Obama alone. This litany of “the economy sucks throw him out” is the crude but effective big lie.
10.27 pm. “Governor, the people in Detroit don’t forget.” The lies this man has said tonight have been more numerous than I can ever remember in any debate. The man does not have the moral character to be president, in my opinion.

I think Obama, aside from appearing presidential and in control of his information (and correct in presenting his record, as well.) Romney, as Obama said, tried to “Airbrush History.”  The best turnover Obama brought around was when Romney claimed Obama had made an “Apology Tour” of the middle east, and the president cleared up his trips and and made it clear that the charge Romney has made was his “biggest whopper.”

Romney has seemed to abandon neoconservatism by endorsing Obama’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and agreeing on many other of the president’s foreign policy actions.  Obama made sure to point this out. It seemed like Romney was congratulating the President of the United States.

Obama really came out as one who deserves a second term.He was clearly the Commander in Chief and Romney didn’t look like he would fill that role in the same way.

 

Foreign Policy is the debate subject tonight. What will be discussed?

Andrew Sullivan posted this earlier today – tonight’s moderator of the debate, Bob Schieffer‘s list of questions he wants to see covered:

* America’s role in the world
* Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan
* Red Lines – Israel and Iran
* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I
* The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II
* The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World…

The one that will probably bring out a major Romney/Obama conflict is the Red Lines question since it deals with holding off nuclear weapons and brings the US into a war-support position with Israel. Since it works against Obama’s State Department‘s policy of negotiations over military imposition, I expect this will be Romney’s major moment. He has spent the last couple of months trying to describe Obama as being unfriendly with Benjamin Netanyahu and opposed to Israel’s rights – a major lie by the Republican, btw – and will most likely make this his position.

Since we haven’t really heard a foreign policy plan outlined by Romney, I expect Obama will keep bringing this lack of knowledge up to see if Romney crosses himself up.

Andrew Sullivan also listed the Foreign Policy subjects that most likely won’t be brought up:

1) The eurozone crisis

2) Latin America

3) Russia

4) Africa

5) Foreign economic policy

6) India

7) North Korea

From my point of you, the fact that Romney has publicly stated that Russia was our major enemy, I will be  surprised if Obama doesn’t use this to show Romney’s total lack of foreign policy knowledge.

George McGovern has died…

Last week or so I wrote about former Senator  George McGovern who had been admitted to a hospice with a deadly disease. Now, at 90 years old, McGovern has died.

McGovern ran for President 3 times and was nominated once, but lost to Richard Nixon. He was a North Dakota’s Representative to the U.S. House from 1957 to 1961 and a U.S. Senator from 1963 to 1981. For 24 years he was one of the leaders of the Democratic Party.

 

Wow! The Salt Lake Tribune has endorsed Obama over Romney!

Here’s a surprise… the biggest Mormon area newspaper is endorsing Obama… here’s part of their editorial:

Obama has earned another term

Nowhere has Mitt Romney’s pursuit of the presidency been more warmly welcomed or closely followed than here in Utah. The Republican nominee’s political and religious pedigrees, his adeptly bipartisan governorship of a Democratic state, and his head for business and the bottom line all inspire admiration and hope in our largely Mormon, Republican, business-friendly state.

But it was Romney’s singular role in rescuing Utah’s organization of the 2002 Olympics from a cesspool of scandal, and his oversight of the most successful Winter Games on record, that make him the Beehive State’s favorite adopted son.

In short, this is the Mitt Romney we knew, or thought we knew, as one of us.

Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: “Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?”

In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.

Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.

 

So what is Romney and his bunch thinking after this editorial? Certainly he must feel betrayed… or maybe he will start seeing himself the way the rest of us see him as he switches from character to character.

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