Another Obama local Connection, Soaring Eagles, Gutter Dwelling Republicans

Workout Notes I swam 5500 yards today, which included 1000 yards of warm up 100s (fist drills, back stroke, “five and glides”), then 1000 yards in 16:13. I hit the first 250 in 4:01 and thought that perhaps I had a shot at finally going sub 16, but reality set in at my 8:06 500 yard split (12:10 at 750).

Still, it was my fastest since mid February, 2001.

I then did 300 yards of easy strokes, and 10 x (100 free, 100 pull, 100 fins) (55:25) and then 200 more to cool down. Total time for the 5500 yards (just over 5000 meters) was 1:45; not that bad for me.

Injury wise, my butt didn’t hurt too much today, but I am “feeling a thereness” this afternoon. My return to running/cycling/walking will have to be “oh-so-slow”.

Uplifting News

Today’s Peoria Journal Star had an excellent photo of bald eagles which live in a small town named Cillicothe, just north of town; here is the multimedia presentation
and here is the photo spread. It contains high resolution photos like these:

eagles and gulls

Speaking of locals, new blogger Elaine Hopkins won a journalism award for her reporting on lead paint in Peoria.

The Journal Star newsroom staff won four awards in the annual James S. Copley Ring of Truth Awards competition for employees of Copley Newspapers. Also, a circulation employee received a Copley Award of Valor.

Reporters Clare Howard and Elaine Hopkins received first place for Best Enterprise Reporting for their project revealing the high incidence of lead poisoning in Peoria.

Barack Obama: yet another local connection.

A son of Bradley Industrial Enginnering Professor K.S. Krishnamoorthi (a friend of mine) was the attention of a long article about his relationship to Senator Barack Obama. Here are small parts of it; it is well worth reading (especially for Obama supporters)

You’ve surely heard about the “skinny kid with the funny name” who beat the odds to become a U.S. senator, political rock star and, now, presidential aspirant. But you haven’t heard much about the skinny kid with a funny name who grew up in Peoria and his role in the making of Barack Obama. Their story says a lot about both men.

First, a confession. I’ve known Raja Krishnamoorthi since he and my son met in fourth grade at Peoria’s Washington School and became friends. […] I wasthere when he married Priya. My family’s been feted and treated at the Peoria home where his parents, Dr. K.S. and Vijaya Krishnamoorthi, live.
Raja was part of the high school crowd that always was, and always will be, welcome at our house. He is a friend.

So when he called the Journal Star during the summer of 2002 to say he wanted to introduce an aspiring Senate candidate to the Editorial Board nearly two years ahead of the primary, I suppressed a groan and said, “Only for you, Raja, I’ll give him 20 minutes.”

We spent an hour and a half with Barack Obama, in serious conversation about serious issues. He asked as many questions as we did and soaked up what we told him about what Peoria-area people needed from government – not what I was accustomed to seeing in Chicago politicians. I should have trusted Raja. […]

In the glare of happy hindsight, it is easy to forget what a long shot the Obama Senate candidacy was. Seven Democrats were running. State Comptroller Dan Hynes came from a powerful political family. Blair Hull had so much money to spend – $30 million of his own – that he seemed to show up on TV almost as often as Dan Rather. Obama was short on name recognition, influence and cash. Raja would work for free.

Raja says his passion for politics stems from his passion for the future of his country. “I deeply believe there are people of honor and integrity in politics despite the bad apples, and we’ve got to do everything we can to support them.” Given the challenges that must be addressed simultaneously – pressures on the social safety net, globalization of the economy, terrorism and more – it’s important to put into office “the most talented and gifted people.”

Those who want to know how a President Obama would be likely to make decisions will find his approach to policy development insightful. Consider, for example, his effort to transform his belief in universal health-care coverage to practical policy.

“Barack said, ‘We need to draft some kind of position paper on what it is I would support as a U.S. senator and what it is I would try to pass legislation on and how I would go about addressing the problem of health-care coverage and the uninsured,’ ” Raja recalls. To do that, Raja sought experts to help define the scope of the problem and potential solutions. Once the policy team members decided which ideas they could support, they approached Obama, who then “weighed in on what he felt comfortable with. … People underestimate his executive skills. He is able to digest information very quickly. He likes and wants a wide variety of viewpoints, but once he’s digested them, he makes decisions very quickly.”

For the general election, Raja moved to Obama’s “message team.” His task there was to help figure out what the campaign’s focus should be and how to get it across. As for the speech that made the man famous, the speech delivered at the Democratic convention, Raja says the senator gets the credit.

“Those were Barack’s words. He wrote the speech. He holed himself up in his office, and he wrote the whole speech himself on his word processor, just like you and I write.” Asked to critique the first draft, Raja says he knew right away “it was something special because the words came from the heart.”

But the high school speech champion also knew that the printed word and the spoken one are different. While the speech read well, Raja says he wasn’t sure how it would sound. And he was unaware “how it would have to be edited or pruned to accommodate John Kerry’s preferences.”

All convention speeches are vetted by the nominee and the party, explains Raja, but he was stunned when this one came back red-lined. Some of the reviewers had “watered down the portions of the speech that were the most powerful,” Raja says. Some had inserted “slogans” Kerry or the party wanted repeated. “It sounded scripted,” he recalls. “It wouldn’t sound like Barack means what he’s saying.”

Obama’s team decided “to push back,” says Raja, and eventually succeeded in keeping most of his unique message in and most of “the trite stuff” out. “I think I had a role in that,” he says. “I remember saying, ‘You just don’t want to come off as a hack.’ I don’t think that was big news to Barack” – here Raja laughs – “but I do remember he agreed. I said, ‘You have a distinct voice. You have to maintain it.’ “

Conservative Villians
Seperated at birth?

Hat tip to the Dependable Renegade for the first photo.

Coulter: A headache for the wingnuts.

First, I’ll sort out some liberal response to Coulter’s latest tantrum.

(short refresher: she said that she couldn’t discuss John Edwards in public because she couldn’t use the word “faggot”)

  • There was the “don’t feed the trolls” response (e. g., she does this to attract attention)
  • The “let’s collect all of her outrageous statements” response (useful when the wingnuts claim that liberals speak hatefully but conservatives don’t)
  • Someone challenged her to a boxing match (personally, I’d challenge Dick Cheney instead, but never mind)
  • There was the “let’s contact her corporate sponsors” approach
  • And there was the “hey, no “adams apple” or “Coulter is a male” jokes plea from our local “trannies” (what the transsexuals and transgendered call themselves, and yes, the diary that I linked to explains the difference 🙂 ). No, I am not making this up; when you hang around a liberal site and you decide to insult ANYONE, there is going to be some interest group that will cry foul. That is why the wingnuts are better at insults than we are. 😉
  • But while Coulter might provide amusement for us, she is a headache for the right wing nut jobs. Why? Because, as an anguished Republican pointed out, she represents the current face of conservative activism!

    Blogging coverage has been quite heavy. My friend Pam is bashing democrats over the head with it, and we all know how much I like democrat bashing. Ed Morrissey of Capitain’s Quarters states the flat out obvious on the entire gay issue – ‘lost cause, get over it’. The more interesting blogging on the topic goes to Andrew Sullivan whom unfortunately is ever-so-correct:

    When you see her in such a context, you realize that she truly represents the heart and soul of contemporary conservative activism, especially among the young.

    By the way, I’ve called Andrew Sullivan correct exactly 3 times. I don’t like doing it.

    Whether in the hohum rantings of ‘Toxic’ Terri O’Brien, in the blended quasi-scientific, psuedo-Christian ramblings of ‘Porno’ Peter LaBarbera, or in the misogynistic screechings of Jill Stanek – our ‘activists’ are a collection of the bitter, the mildly crazy, or the flat out evil.

    Part of the problem for those in the vast majority of conservatives who could give a hoot about Christo-Cons ties back to what Sullivan is saying. We small government types don’t have sexy issues. It’s our lack of sexy issues that makes us whom we are. The keepers of the hot issues are the social cons – who can fire up an extreme element of the base by waxing odd ball conspiracy fables of the ‘abortion industry’ or the ‘gay agenda’. That was the glory of mildly appeasing that base. You can get them fired up without directly giving into them, perhaps just obligatory appeasement from time to time. When they quiet down and start spending too much time watching Judge Judy, we can fire them up again by whispering some faux moral outrage about ‘the myspace’.

    It wouldn’t be so bad to have political pot stirrers around, apart from their astounding political liability.

    I am so glad that they have some headaches to deal with; I am sick of our side having people pay attention to some of the idiotic statements that come from some of those who are aligned with us (e. g., using the term Newton’s Rape Manual to desribe Newton’s work)

    Here is the quote:

    The full quote is:

    “Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica is a ‘rape manual’ because ‘science is a male rape of female nature’.”

    And more on it:

    Taking a cue from PM’s literary analysts, who spend their lives fussing over the meanings of words, the feminist critique of science minutely examines the writings and thoughts of scientists for sinister metaphors, or omens of the writer’s intent, or psychological clues of the kind which so hideously [they say] deform the work of Francis Bacon. Four hundred years ago Bacon had rashly described his experimental method as a way of “forcing nature to give up her secrets”.

    Well we all know about force don’t we? Especially when a ‘her’ is involved. Force means violence. Violence means rape. And when (say the augurers) the father of Western science, Francis Bacon, writes of scientific experiments designed to ‘force nature to yield her secrets’ only a fool could mistake his intention.

    Believe it or not nothing more substantial than this allows Sandra Harding, for example, in her popular and widely used The Science Question in Feminism, to ask ‘why is it not as illuminating and honest to refer to Newton’s law as ‘Newton’s rape manual’ as it is to call them ‘Newton’s mechanics’?’

    Margarita Levin’s calm and measured comments in The American Scholar, Winter 1988, say most of what needs to be said on this strange matter. Author Harding had been comparing different figures of speech. “Harding is unaware”, writes Levin. “that she has already answered her own rhetorical questions. The machine metaphor is fruitful; the rape metaphor is not… That is why rape metaphors are irrelevant to any analysis of extant scientific concepts, and why no one today speaks of Newton’s rape manual.”

    But fantastic extrapolations from figures of speech are central to feminist science critique. Metaphor-mongering is endemic. It is of paramount interest to the authors of “The Importance of Feminist Critique for Contemporary Cell Biology” that in scientific accounts of fertilization “the fertilizing sperm is a hero who survives while others perish…Whereas the ovum is a passive victim, a whore, and finally, a proper lady whose fulfilment is attained.” Again, “Metaphor plays a central role in the construction of mathematics,” write the authors of a 1993 paper. Toward a Feminist Algebra, concerned with politically correcting high-school algebra problems.

    Frigging idiot.


    March 4, 2007 Posted by | Friends, injury, obama, Peoria/local, politics/social, swimming, time trial/ race | 1 Comment

Sunday Morning Funnies…

Enjoy. 🙂 I am getting ready for a long morning swim.

March 4, 2007 Posted by | politics/social | Leave a comment