Allerton Photos, Obama Commentary.

Workout notes 10 mile loop at McNaughton (2:57); I really lolly-gagged at first (48 minutes to the Totem Pole station), 1:01 to the first Lick Creek crossing, 1:07 to Golf Hill, 1:27 to the Lick Creek Bridge. This was one of those walks where I didn’t expend much effort and my mind wandered all over the place. But, on the good side, as I got to a landmark, it was “oh, am I already here?” type of deals.

A couple of remarks:

The first major creek crossing was bone dry:

At times, it has been mid-thigh deep.

Also, the McMansion near the last downhill from what I call the “bluff section” (miles 4 to 4.9) is nearly complete. To their credit, they have installed a clothes line! Good for them.

More course photos here and here.

I mentioned in my previous post that we went to Allerton Park yesterday. Most of the photos that I took are here.

Some highlights:

Barbara in one of the manicured gardens.

Another one of the manicured gardens.

Some of the statues that you come upon while going on the longer trails. This one is of a dead half-horse, half-man.

There are several miles of trails like this.

Here is a side spur off of one of the main trails that leads to one of the large statues.

After the hike: Barbara trying to hide her red face.

There are at least two frogs in this photo. Can you spot them? (larger photo)

I couldn’t figure out what type; they are bigger than cricket frogs, and have redish eyes. They made a high pitched “peep” when they escaped to the water; they are very fast and are excellent jumpers.

There are about a half-dozen frogs in this photo.

The pond with the frogs is in front of this building.

Barack Obama

Prairie State Blue has a nice spread on Barack Obama. Ok, PSB is a Democratic site from Illinois; perhaps there is a wee bit of bias there. 🙂

True, Obama has been talking about “faith”. And yes, I roll my eyes when he does that. But, well, that is important to many people. Friendly Atheist says it very well:

arack Obama still has my vote. The following isn’t him being overly religious. It’s just him pandering. I can live with that. He’s just acquiring future votes. He still supports church-state separation:

[Obama] finished his brief remarks by saying, “We’re going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth.”

Frankly, where someone derives their inner strength from is none of my business. The only thing that worries me are people who think that they have some special line (calling?) from some deity that somehow excuses them having to take a long hard and objective look at the facts.

I think that John Edwards got it right when he was asked about prayer and its power. That is, “you can’t prevent bad things with prayer.” Obama’s answer is good too; Hillary Clinton, well, triangulated. Gravel got it right too. I liked Richardson’s answer too. Biden got it right too: “no amount of prayer can stop a hurricane.”

But Obama talks about prayer helping us with empathy and compassion, though it can’t work magic.

More on Obama: The New Republic Magazine talks about his campaign and how it is too traditional. But I found these lines to be interesting:

But it’s also, notably, one about a cranky candidate who needs firing up in the first place. I saw hints of this while traveling with Obama in Iowa in September. Before taking questions from an audience, Obama usually seeks to preempt long-winded queries by reminding the crowd of a few ground rules, including that “I’m the only one who gets to make a speech.” It’s a reasonable request, perhaps, but one most politicians resist. Instead, Obama repeats it. At a riverside rally in Davenport, he teased an African American World War II veteran for “giving such a long speech.” It was a light moment, but, the next day, Obama was at it again. At a bucolic Maquoketa park, a woman stood up holding a prewritten question. “I’m very nervous,” she said. Obama told her not to be, but, when he saw her holding a handwrit- ten question, he blurted, “I hope that doesn’t take up the whole page!” In a quavering voice, the woman offered a rambling account of struggling through economic insecurity. “So, you want me to focus on the economy?” Obama asked. He proceeded to recount his six-point economic plan–bloodlessly skipping past the woman’s personal distress. Lip-biting empathy this was not.

Obama actually lost his cool a few days later, at a rally in Washington, D.C. The lanky senator was in the middle of charging up a large and enthusiastic crowd with a riff about reforming politics when he suddenly stopped and looked down at a small group of people near the edge of his stage who had been making noise. “I’m sorry–do you guys want to get up here and speak?” Obama scolded sarcastically, his words booming through downtown Washington. After a brief, awkward pause he carried on–but with his concentration broken and at a slightly cooler temperature.

To be sure, Obama is hardly some Cheney-esque sourpuss; he’s usually pretty chipper–if subdued–on the stump. But it’s easy to understand why Obama might often find himself in a bad mood these days. Back when he launched his campaign, he promised it would be something different: an experiment in electoral politics that would discard the cynical tropes of consultant- driven electioneering. In place of slash-and-burn tactics, he would conduct something more rarefied, a mix of inspiring rhetoric and high-level discussion. Obama’s February announcement speech in Springfield, Illinois bemoaned “the smallness of our politics–the ease with which we’re distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.”

Emphasis mine. In short, as I noted before, Obama is noted for connecting on an intellectual level, and frankly he doesn’t suffer fools well. I like that about him! But, unfortunately, the best politicians are those who make the not-so-smart FEEL smart. Quite frankly, Obama doesn’t do that; he still has a bit of “professor” in him. That plays well with people like me. But appealing to people like me will not win an election, at least not outside the standard “blue states.”


October 8, 2007 - Posted by | bill richardson, edwards, family, hiking, marathons, obama, politics/social, religion, running, travel, walking

1 Comment »

  1. During college, I attended a student government retreat at Allerton. Cool place. They’ve got some crazy statues.

    Comment by Kevin Lowe | October 11, 2007 | Reply

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