I hate redwinged blackbirds!

Workout notes 1500 yards swimming, including 5 x 100 on 2 (1:38, 37, 38, 37, 35), yoga then 4 miles of slow walking. Last night: 4 miles with the group.

Oh yes, the stupid redwinged blackbirds are nesting again.

Next time, I walk with a tennis raquet.

Odds and Ends

Some interesting newsweek articles:

Hillary Clinton: a weak manager? This is from an article about two recent anti-Hillary Clinton books. Neither book revealed anything new in terms of tabloid style “scandals”. But

the books do draw out what could be a problem for Clinton in a general election campaign: her perceived weakness as a manager. Bernstein’s book, in particular, offers a harsh recounting of Clinton’s disastrous turn running her husband’s 1993 effort to provide universal health care. In this portrait, she is politically tone deaf, secretive and polarizing—and alienates Senate allies she needs to get the bill passed. Bernstein argues that many of the non-Monica scandals of the Clinton White House, like Whitewater and the firings of travel office staff, were exacerbated by Hillary’s weak executive impulses. The books provide an early glimpse of a key Republican critique of Clinton should she win the primary—the notion that she lacks the instincts and experience to competently run the country.

Fortunately for Clinton, her opponents have yet to try to exploit that opening. Her two main challengers lack the executive experience to effectively critique her style. Barack Obama often speaks in the circular, measured tones of the law professor he is. John Edwards, a former trial attorney, is best known to Americans as the vice presidential candidate of the worst-run presidential campaign in recent memory. The one executive in the Democratic race—New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson—is low in the polls and has seemed unwilling to frontally attack Clinton. On the trail, Hillary has so far been quick to underscore how much she learned from the health-care debacle. Her positioning is shrewd: by proving that she can acknowledge mistakes, and learn from them, she frames herself as the kind of leader that, critics say, George W. Bush has not been.

Hmm, actually, Hillary Clinton may have countered this by her latest debate performance. She came across as being very presidential, and it is impressions that seem to matter.

Remember that she was First Lady, not an office holder during that helath care debacle.

A Zakaria article: How to restore America’s Place in the World. This whole article is worth reading. Here are a couple of highlights:

The notion that the United States today is in grave danger of sitting back and going on the defensive is bizarre. In the last five and a half years, with bipartisan support, Washington has invaded two countries and sent troops around the world from Somalia to the Philippines to fight Islamic militants. It has ramped up defense spending by $187 billion—more than the combined military budgets of China, Russia, India and Britain. It has created a Department of Homeland Security that now spends more than $40 billion a year. It has set up secret prisons in Europe and a legal black hole in Guantánamo, to hold, interrogate and—by some definitions—torture prisoners. How would Giuliani really go on the offensive? Invade a couple of more countries?

The presidential campaign could have provided the opportunity for a national discussion of the new world we live in. So far, on the Republican side, it has turned into an exercise in chest-thumping. Whipping up hysteria requires magnifying the foe. The enemy is vast, global and relentless. Giuliani casually lumps together Iran and Al Qaeda. Mitt Romney goes further, banding together all the supposed bad guys. “This is about Shia and Sunni. This is about Hizbullah and Hamas and Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood,” he recently declared.

But Iran is a Shiite power and actually helped the United States topple the Qaeda-backed Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Qaeda-affiliated radical Sunnis are currently slaughtering Shiites in Iraq, and Iranian-backed Shiite militias are responding by executing and displacing Iraq’s Sunnis. We are repeating one of the central errors of the early cold war—putting together all our potential adversaries rather than dividing them. Mao and Stalin were both nasty. But they were nasties who disliked one another, a fact that could be exploited to the great benefit of the free world. To miss this is not strength. It’s stupidity.

Such overreactions are precisely what Osama bin Laden has been hoping for. In a videotaped message in 2004, bin Laden explained his strategy with astonishing frankness. He termed it “provoke and bait”: “All we have to do is send two mujahedin … [and] raise a piece of cloth on which is written ‘Al Qaeda’ in order to make the generals race there, to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses.” His point has been well understood by ragtag terror groups across the world. With no apparent communication, collaboration or further guidance from bin Laden, small outfits from Southeast Asia to North Africa to Europe now announce that they are part of Al Qaeda, and so inflate their own importance, bring global attention to their cause and—of course—get America to come racing out to fight them.

The competition to be the tough guy is producing new policy ideas, all right—ones that range from bad to insane. Romney, who bills himself as the smart, worldly manager, recently explained that while “some people have said we ought to close Guantánamo, my view is we ought to double [the size of] Guantánamo.” In fact, Romney should recognize that Guantánamo does not face space constraints. The reason that President Bush wants to close it down—and it is he who has expressed that desire—is that it is an unworkable legal mess with enormous strategic, political and moral costs. In a real war you hold prisoners of war until the end of hostilities. When does that happen in the war on terror? Does Romney propose that the United States keep an ever-growing population of suspects in jail indefinitely without trials as part of a new American system of justice?

In 2005 Romney said, “How about people who are in settings—mosques, for instance—that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror? Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping?” This proposal is mild compared with what Rep. Tom Tancredo suggested the same year. When asked about a possible nuclear strike by Islamic radicals on the United States, he suggested that the U.S. military threaten to “take out” Mecca.

Giuliani praises the Bush administration’s aggressive approach for preventing another terrorist attack on U.S. soil after September 11. Certainly the administration deserves credit for dismantling Al Qaeda’s infrastructure in Afghanistan and in other countries where it once had branches or supporters. But since 9/11 there has been a series of terrorist attacks in countries like Britain, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia—most of which are also very tough on terrorism. The common thread in these attacks is that they were launched by local groups. It’s easier to spot and stop foreign agents, far more difficult to detect a group of locals.

The crucial advantage that the United States has in this regard is that we do not have a radicalized domestic population. American Muslims are generally middle class, moderate and well assimilated. They believe in America and the American Dream. The first comprehensive poll of U.S. Muslims, conducted last month by the Pew Research Center, found that more than 70 percent believed that if you worked hard in America, you would get ahead. That compares with 64 percent for the general U.S. population. Their responses to almost all questions were in the mainstream and strikingly different from Muslim populations elsewhere. Some 13 percent of U.S. Muslims believe that suicide bombings can be justified. Too high, for sure, but it compares with 35 percent for French Muslims, 57 percent for Jordanians and 69 percent for Nigerians. […]

Though Democrats sound more sensible on many of these issues, the party remains consumed by the fear that it will not come across as tough. Its presidential candidates vie with one another to prove that they are going to be just as macho and militant as the fiercest Republican. In the South Carolina presidential debate, when candidates were asked how they would respond to another terror strike, they promptly vowed to attack, retaliate and blast the hell out of, well, somebody. Barack Obama, the only one to answer differently, quickly realized his political vulnerability and dutifully threatened retaliation as well. After the debate, his opponents leaked furiously that his original response proved he didn’t have the fortitude to be president.

In fact, Obama’s initial response was the right one. He said that the first thing he would do was make sure that the emergency response was effective, then ensure we had the best intelligence possible to figure out who had caused the attack, and then move with allies to dismantle the network responsible. […]

here are many specific issues that the United States needs to get far more engaged in, from the Israeli-Palestinian problem to global warming to Darfur to poverty alleviation. Most important of all is the shift of global power toward new countries in Asia, and what that means for international order and cooperation. But to succeed at any of this, we will need greater global legitimacy and participation. We are living in new times. As countries grow economically and mature politically, they are demanding a greater voice in global affairs and a seat at the high table. The United States should make sure that it is listening to these voices, new and old, and recognize that to function effectively in this new world, it can lead only through partnerships, collaborations and co-operation. The Bush-Rumsfeld model of leadership—through declarations, threats and denunciations—is dead.

Above all, the United States has to find a way to send a powerful and consistent signal to the world that we understand the struggles that it is involved in—for security, peace and a better standard of living. As Barack Obama said in a speech in Chicago, “It’s time to … send a message to all those men and women beyond our shores who long for lives of dignity and security that says, ‘You matter to us. Your future is our future’.”

Some of foreign policy is what we do, but some of it is also who we are. America as a place has often been the great antidote to U.S. foreign policy. When American actions across the world have seemed harsh, misguided or unfair, America itself has always been open, welcoming and tolerant. I remember visiting the United States as a kid in the 1970s, at a time when, as a country, India was officially anti-American. The reality of the America that I experienced was a powerful refutation of the propaganda and caricatures of its enemies. But today, through inattention, fear and bureaucratic cowardice, the caricature threatens to become reality.

Note that Zakaria is a conservative.

A bit more on Obama:

Obama started his career as a community organizer, and he thrives when he’s doing grass-roots work. It’s his appeal, but it also exposes a potential flaw: he’s running for commander in chief now, not city council, and Obama’s aides are acutely aware that his approach doesn’t always translate in a modern presidential campaign. His set-piece speeches are often received in respectful silence, not rapturous applause; his political rallies can turn into policy workshops. In his first TV debate, Obama seemed hesitant, uncomfortable with the time limits. (“These formats don’t suit the style of a man who speaks in paragraphs,” says a senior aide who, like other advisers and confidants NEWSWEEK interviewed, declined to be named talking about campaign strategy.) Though the ailment is easy to diagnose, the usual remedy—more stage-managing—can kill the candidate. John Kerry and Al Gore, the last two Democratic presidential nominees, bounced from one persona to the next as consultants tried to “correct” their personalities. Publicly, Obama hasn’t shown signs of suffering from such whiplash, but the pressure to adapt will only mount.

Obama isn’t blind to this. “First he’s the rock star who needs to prove he’s serious about policy—which is ironic because he loves policy,” says a confidant. “Then he’s too serious and needs to be glib on TV. It’s tough for him, especially because he’s so self-critical.” Privately, the senator isn’t shy about vocalizing his frustration if he thinks he has underperformed. Speaking to the Building and Construction Trades labor conference in late March, Obama tossed off a few lines about union issues before resorting to a tired stump speech that bored even him. Walking offstage, he told aides, “Man, I gave a bad speech.” Some advisers worry that he risks being overmanaged. “Language is a tool for him, a strength,” says Eric Holder Jr., a former deputy attorney general who has served as an outside adviser to Obama. “We got concerned about people trying to include things in his speeches that sounded canned and predictable—campaign platitudes that we’ve heard too much of in the past. We were worried that his authenticity wouldn’t come through.”

Interestingly enough, one of the reasons I like Obama is that he tends to include a bit of background on the basic principles involved on many issues. To me, it is clear that he has thought things through. I wonder how this will appeal to others though.

One more Obama note. Remember his “quite riot” address? Of course, the wingnuts are playing this up and trying to say that he is inciting riots. Of course, any half-way intelligent person knows that he was speaking metaphorically.

dnA sets the record straight:

Both Tucker Carlson and Rush Limbaugh tried to spin Obama’s speech at Hampton University to suggest that he was either advocating for or justifying violence. Either they didn’t read the speech, or they’re lying, but the danger of a black candidate offering insights into urban violence is becoming less and less of an abstract issue for Barack Obama.

* dnA’s diary :: ::

Here’s Tucker, from two days ago (h/t sfflyman):

TUCKER: This is not the first time Obama has sounded such an alarm, but will this kind of rhetoric help or hurt his chances to become president? We welcome back MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen and senior editor of the “New Republic” Michael Crowley. Hillary, it seems to me that when people burn down stores, kill because they`re Korean, or beat people in the head with cinder blocks because of their race, like Reginald Denny, that`s not a political statement. That`s just crime. And Barack Obama seems to me to be giving a political justification to totally unacceptable, never justifiable behavior. And I think it`s pretty outrageous.

And here’s Limbaugh:

RUSH: Barack Obama. Let me give you this quote from a story. I mentioned this yesterday. He talked about the quiet riot. “Obama noted that during the riots…” this is the LA riots 15 years ago, South Central riots, and he’s talking about a quiet riot brewing in America today because Bush doesn’t care, because Bush isn’t doing enough. This guy was inciting riots. He spoke to an audience of, I think I remember it yesterday, 8,000 people. To talk about a quiet riot that is brewing out there is dangerous, it is reckless.


Can you imagine in a Republican candidate talked about something equivalent to this, “There’s a quiet riot brewing out there.” It would be all over the place, headlines and so forth, about how this is irresponsible trying to incite violence in America. What do you think Obama was doing? This is all to establish street cred, folks, as being down for the struggle. He has to show that he is down for the civil rights struggle, because they have all these pieces that the libs have written. Is he black enough? Is he not black enough? He’s the magic negro, said the LA Times, all of this.

And here’s what Obama actually said about riots.

Much of what we saw on our television screens 15 years ago was Los Angeles expressing a lingering, ongoing, pervasive legacy—a tragic legacy out of the tragic history this country has never fully come to terms with. This is not to excuse the violence of bashing in a man’s head or destroying someone’s store and their life’s work. That kind of violence is inexcusable and self-defeating. It does, however, describe the reality of many communities around this country.

Obama says riots are “inexcusable and self-defeating,” and conservatives say he is “justifing” and “inciting violence.

Leonard Pitts: tells racists to buzz off.

‘Oppressed’ whites? Give me a break

That’s the title; enjoy the rest. 😉

He writes with directness and clarity that I admire.

Redstateupdate weighs in on Fred Thompson!

A couple of neat posts from a blog I stumbled onto (hat tip to sandwalk, another blog I stumbled on to)

A bad case of mathematical plagiarism

Does religion deserve respect?

[…]when we read this utterly ridiculous opinion piece by Cardinal George Pell of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia.

Pell claims that global warming is “nonsense” purveyed by “zealots” who paint “extreme scenarios to frighten us”. Pell knows that global warming is nonsense, because “January also was unusually cool”.

But the worst is yet to come. In arguing against human causation for global warming, Pell states, “We know that enormous climate changes have occurred in world history, e.g. the Ice Ages and Noah’s flood, where human causation could only be negligible.”

That’s right. Cardinal Pell thinks that Noah’s flood was an actual, historical event.

I wonder if this clown (Pell) understands that his church has embraced evolution.

Maybe not.

Not every Republic Party Candidate has. Here is a related video:

Note: he doesn’t believe that we decended from primates. Also note that this is from a place that actually BACKS him for president.


June 7, 2007 - Posted by | creationism, hillary clinton, obama, politics/social, science, swimming, walking


  1. I got this comment. I edited out the personal information and shall post it.
    recieved comment follows
    Bill White | | | IP:

    Jun 8, 5:35 PM — [ Edit | Delete ] — View post “I hate redwinged blackbirds!”

    — “Wilson, Dave – Miami” wrote:
    > Mr. Bill White:
    > Sir, I have to strongly protest the forum posting on
    > your website —
    > — that encourages the harassment of Miami Herald
    > columnist Leonard Pitts and his family. You, your
    > members or your contributors may disagree with what
    > Mr. Pitts writes, but it doesn’t license harassment.
    > This posting also appears on a Yahoo! news group
    > that is affiliated with your organization.
    > Please remove the personal information about Mr.
    > Pitts from these postings immediately.
    > Thank you for your attention in this matter.
    > Sincerely,
    > Dave Wilson
    > Managing Editor/News
    > The Miami Herald
    > 1 Herald Plaza
    > Miami, FL 33132-1693

    Dear Mr Wilson:

    We have no intention of removing Mr Pitts’ personal information.

    Frankly, if some loony took the info and killed him, I wouldn’t shed a tear.

    That also goes for your whole news room.

    Bill White, Commander
    American National Socialist Workers Party

    Comment by blueollie | June 8, 2007 | Reply

  2. […] Here is something that I like about him: he gives accurate answers to questions instead of the politically expedient ones: […]

    Pingback by Lazy Day… « blueollie | February 9, 2008 | Reply

  3. […] asked how they would respond to a 9-11 type of attack. Obama gave far and away the best answer, and it didn’t have an ounce of pander to it. Fareed Zakaria writes: Though Democrats sound more sensible on many of these issues, the party […]

    Pingback by Indiana, North Carolina: Obama or Clinton? « blueollie | May 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. […] A couple of people talked to me when I was on the bike. One lady told me that the red winged blackbirds are back; I hate those little nasty dive bombing suckers. […]

    Pingback by back in the water again « blueollie | June 11, 2008 | Reply

  5. i hate obama too but not for the same reason. i have dug around and i have reason to belive that obama is a terrorist raised to become president and bring terrior to our lives not only that theres even word about him i belive in the bible about a decitfull leader and well i want to get the word out because people are so stupid they dont see whats really behind his eyes from the get go i felt there was somthing he was hidding and i found it. genealogy serch obama. thats not the only proof but thats all im willing to give out because of well you never know who will try and shut me up. i know i sound crazy but think what you will. any how go john mcain. and tipp for getting what we all want dont think obama cant be president but foucus on macain president because well theres alot to it just think macain president

    Comment by shhhh | October 28, 2008 | Reply

  6. theres nothing wrong with redwing blackbirds, no reason to be racist against a NATURAL animal doing its NATURAL thing. obviously, their is something wrong with you, and your nature. get a life and respect others. especialy thoese who live outside you facist!

    Comment by Sean | June 3, 2010 | Reply

    • So it is wrong for me to lobby for hunters to have the right to shoot these things?

      (it is illegal to hunt this type of bird in Illinois)

      Comment by blueollie | June 3, 2010 | Reply

  7. […] track miles (near mile 11) to perk me up a bit. The essential: every year, at about this time, the dreaded red winged blackbirds start nesting. There is usually one or two who attack and it is essential to find out where the aggressive one […]

    Pingback by Mission accomplished: I know where the red wing blackbird nest is. « blueollie | May 17, 2015 | Reply

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