Friday, February 29, 2008

Computer Down, Spirits Up

I'm writing in the office now as our desktop at home is having some issues and sadly I have not been able to post all week. I'm sorry and hope to have it up and running soon. However, we have been busy with our newest addition.




We got her last Saturday and there is a story that goes along with this pup. She's six week old and pretty much the cutest pup in the world. Her name is 희망 and although you can't pronounce that, there is a meaning and a story behind it. However, that will have to be for another day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Daily Politics: Red State, Blue State

TH has been claiming that a win in Ohio is more important than a win in Texas and all the other Red states where she was soundly beaten by Obama. The rationale is that those states will be red anyways and that that her blue state wins are more important. Again, great excuses for a possible loss.

Let me attempt to figure this out. When she wins a blue state like CA and NY which will go blue in November anyways, that somehow means she will fair better in the GE. When Obama wins big in a red state (even if the Dems who voted just for him outnumbered the total number of GOP voters) it is not as impressive. This, imo, is the most insane logic, but I'm not surprised. It just follows her overall poorly run campaign.

Naturally, there is a lot of time left before November, but to me, it seems that capturing both red, blue and purple states is the goal here. Obama does not want just the big ones. No, he wants all of them and is going to fair much better in the red ones than she would. Kerry tried to simply hold the blue states in hopes of an electoral victory, but it bombed. She is trying the same thing. Remember 2000? We were all up in arms about the absurdity of the electoral college, yet now, TH seems to think that it is the best way. The Dems will fail if they try to coast in on blue states.

Also, she is alienating so many voters by continually reducing the importance of red states. She might beat Obama in Ohio, but that does not suggest that Ohio will be blue. If you have been alive for at least 15 years, you know that she is polarizing enough and to base her strategy on the possible color of a state in November is so risky.

I would have thought her so-called "experience" would have produced more than this.

Daily Politics: Texas, Ohio and TH

If you recall, Bill Clinton said that if Texas did not deliver for Hillary, then she would have to bow out. Her base has also said this and this has been her campaign's strategy in the face of her huge losses this month. However, I'm getting a feeling that she's going to continue even if she loses Texas.

The polls are suggesting that her 20 point lead in Texas has diminished. In fact, most have Obama leading her by five points or so. What does this mean? Obviously, her Guliani-esque "Last Stand" strategy is not working as she thought it would. Surprised? TH thought that by making TX a must win, her fence voters would be guilted into voting for her and this would give her the margin she needed. Well, I remember New Hampshire, but if these polls suggest anything, it's that Obama has made some serious dents into her base and an objective onlooker (if there are any left) could confidently say that a TX loss would be the time for her to concede graciously. And until recently, I had no doubt in my mind that she would bow out.

However, now I am seeing elements of TH starting to make excuses for her potential TX loss or narrow victory. I know they try to soften the blow with this (pathetic) strategy, but how many can we make excuses for? I'm seeing people already thinking that PA is where it will decided and I even read one blogger who was counting on Puerto Rico to go to Hillary.

TH is making the PA argument because they are already starting to give up hope in TX and are trying to redefine their argument that Ohio is actually the important one and Texas is not as crucial.

Hypothetical:

If Hillary loses Texas, both popular vote and delegates, she will trump Ohio (presuming she wins) as a victory and plan on stumping in PA. She will claim that Texas will be red in November anyways and that the will of Ohio is more important. However, she will face instense pressure from the DNC to drop out and the SD's will flock to Obama in order to mend and unify the party. She will drop out while her white woman support will swear to stay home in November. They won't though.

If Hillary wins the popular vote in Texas, but loses the delegate count (which is very possible), she will trump it and Ohio (presuming she wins) as the TRUE will of the people. TH will critisize the DNC, caucuses, Obama and alienate all the other Dem voters. The DNC will still ask her to step down, but not as many SD's will flock to Obama, but a lot still will. She will start stumping in PA, plan debates and intensify attacks on Obama. Her white woman base will become even more vocal, but now the MSM will intervene and start running stories about Hillary being stubborn and asking why she has not dropped out yet. She will not drop out. Still, I don't think she could get the nomination. After PA, it's six weeks until the next one. That gives McCain too much time.

If Hillary wins both the delegate counts and popular vote in both states by a large margin, then she will stay in and we go to PA. This is the road to a brokered convention which some of TH is not too upset about. Talk about selfish...

If Hillary loses both, then she's done. Still her base will start chanting about her wins in MA, NY and CA.

This needs to be over soon. Everyday gets a little worse and the attacks intensify and get dirtier. The goal is a Dem in the WH.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Daily Politics: Nader, Clinton and Obama

I turned on CNN today and was shocked to see Ralph Nader on there. I thought for sure that he would be discussing the current race, but as we know, he was announcing his bid for the White House. The guy is 74. All I can say is, who cares?

The political climate was much different in 2000 than it is now. Nader appealed to a generation that has matured and now has hopefully aligned themselves within the two party system. If they have not, I can guarantee that they are much more guarded with who they support and fully understand the impact they had on the past eight years of world history. Technically, Nader was a spoiler in 2000, but we can't forget the average campaign that Gore ran which allowed for Nader to become such an issue. However, the similarites of Hillary's campaign is quite shocking as well. She, like Gore did, is running in the shadow of experience. Both of these candidates accomplishments are worth giving credit, but they were and are running on the public's Bill Clinton high that was much more addicting then than now. The main difference is that Hillary has the women that would vote for her if their hair was on fire.

Nader is a good man and has good ideas, but he simply does not need to be the president. He'd be a great part of an administration, but that's as far as he should go. The question, as it always is these days, is if the MSM gives him any time. They did not give Gravel or Kucinich any time, so I would be shocked if they gave him anything.

There could be a possibilty that some disgruntled Clinton fans might head in his direction so they could still vote, but not for the MAN (as they see it) who stole their chance to shine. I have read some hateful blogs that berade Obama for winning and running an excellent campaign. Let's hope that does not happen.


Nader, thank you for the interest, but not this time.

Daily Politics: Ron Paul fans...give it up!

I know that there are some fanatical Ron Paul fans. They are trolling the blogs and other sites, just picking a fight and doing so in such a childish way. As you know, I have an Obama video on youtube. This very harmless video has gotten a few hits (Dailykos picked it up!), but it was a fun, impromptu video. Be that as it may, some trolls found it. Here's a little taste...

Zile77 (1 month ago)

"Either way, you have many more kids if Obama or Hillary win. They want to kill all the babies!"


cloud1232006 (1 month ago)

"ron paul 08...
Get informed... you have no idea whats going on in the world and why its happening... easy to tell by who you're rooting for..."


gjswank (1 month ago)

"To bad we have people like you brainwashing the kids in another nation....
I would hope that the parents of these children watch this and kick your butt out of their school......"


JBTG33 (2 days ago)

"RP fans just want the government to get out of their wallet. The feds waste a ton of money and then want more!!! 20% of the budget goes to pay the interest on the debt!!! WE keep voting the same chumps into office and expect a different result...thats not simple that is stupid."


I decided to follow up on this guy since he was the first to have an opinion beyond "Ron Paul is my lover".

Me:

And Kucinich would be a great President as well, but that is not the point. We all know that neither one of the men could ever get past the primary, let alone the GE. So we are left with the electables and we most choose the best who can change our shameful trajectory. It's fun to yell and scream about RP and he does have some good ideas, but eventually reality will set in and his very vocal youtube supporters will quietly fade away and no doubt vote for the GOP.

That's what is "simple".


JBTG33

"This is the first election that their isn't a great deal of differense between the top 3 candidates. (baby killing aside) They are all big government liberals who think that the government can solve the peoples problems by handing out more candy. Are government programs going to all the sudden work? If so what is going to be different. I am a simple person, who doesn't like to waste my money."


Me:

First of all, the phrase "baby killing" is a little much and in very poor taste.

""Are government programs going to all the sudden work?"

I'll answer your question with a question: When has it worked to totally eliminate the government's role in people's life?

Furthermore, you use the term "waste". Define it..."


JBTG33

"Abortion is killing your own baby, to think that a mother would do that to the baby growing in her belly.

Waste, I would start with the 20% of the budget that goes to pay the interest on the debt. Considerint that the latest budget is over 3 trillion. The waste here would amount to 600 billion. For every tax dollar that is supposed to go to food stamps, 75cents is used to run the program only 25cents actually gets to the person who is supposed to be hungry. The government needs to ballance their check book just like you and I have to. Spending is out of control, and if Barrack Hillary McCain do a third of what they talk about, taxes will have to go up again. I don't trust the feds to spend your money, let alone mine.

If I wanted to live in a Socialistic country, I would move to Cuba, I hear they have "free" health care."


Me:

"The reality is that what you want is an impossibility. Again, name a time when a complete hands-off government thrived. It's fun to have these ideas, but I would love some support for this great society you speak of.

Once you accept the reality of the world and country you live in, then the question becomes: Since this money WILL be spent, where would you like it to be spent?

In addition, abortion is a privacy law and while your philosophical views regarding it might be genuine, I have noticed a very conservative GOP-leaning pattern in your postings. You do not approve of government spending money on programs and since you only mentioned a form of welfare (food stamps), I can assume you disapprove of social programs specifically. You are overly pious in your disapproval of a woman's right to privacy, and you use the word "liberal" like it's a bad thing.

RP might be in the GOP, but even he would not make such claims. But this is not about RP at this point. IMO, you are not a RP fan, but an aging GOP'r that still lives the Reagan-myth of a hands-off government that did not and does not work.

Political maturity can be defined in two ways.

1) Acceptance and mastery of the current system

2) Feasible change

Conservative and GOP talking points do not fit into the above criteria. However, I'm happy to keep this going if you want to reply.


I'll let you know if he responds.

However, my point remains. RP fans are the worse than undecided and independent voters. This generation of closet Repub's think that they are fooling people with 1984 theme's like "Wake up and vote for RP 2008" and "You're all Robots! RP will unplug you." RP is not Timothy Leary. The RP fan gets to claim that they are anti-war and compassionate while slamming everything that the left stands for.

The hypocrisy!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Daily Politics: Why Debate?

The debate was not interesting in the least. I think Obama did well on Immigration and Iraq and Hillary did well on Healthcare, although both agree on most issues. TH needed a big and clear victory in the debate, but at this point it simply can't happen.

Why?

I don't think Hillary is going to go agressively negative. If she was going to, she would have last night and she didn't. The ball is already rolling and both of them have as much momentum as they are going to get. The supporters of each candidate will view the next fews weeks as a victory for their team and nothing will change.

I'm not sure why we are having another debate.

If you have 20 minutes and wouldn't mind a little laugh, then go here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Daily Politics: Hillary's Alamo?



Doubt it. Hillary usually does well in debates and we should expect that she will come out punching and ready to destroy Obama (and herself) for the GE. Still, I'm so confident that the Dems will walk all over the aging senator in the GE that even if they really lay it on, it still won't matter.


What to expect:

Hillary will not be able to use her new "empty speeches" theme tonight because he will be there and that hurts her. However, she is viewed as an underdog, so many of the liberal blogs will give her the win regardless. She will focus on debunking Obama's NAFTA claim while championing her basically identical policies. She will be smug and she will try to be inspirational.

Obama will treat this like he did in his WI victory speech. He will address every claim against him and try to clear himself in a very orderly fashion. He is also a great debator, so don't expect him to lose any ground. What he does need to do is lay on some policy. Hillary is a policy wonk. She knows her stuff and she is ready to flaunt it. He needs to jump in there too and specifically needs to play up his Immigration Policy which I think is his strength.

In the end, it's all about the moderators. I don't know who is moderating, but I hope they ask policy questions, not campaign questions.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Image of the Week

Now that McCain seems to have the nomination is his pocket, the MSM is going to jump on him and start digging. Initially, I was worried about the GOP having already chosen their candidate for fear that they could solidify against the Dems, and they might still do this and I expect it still, but I applaud the NYT for starting to dig and not let this phoney get a free ride.

Here's to a checkered past, Senator McCain!

Daily Politics: Derailing the Straight Talk Express

First of all, I think McCain is going to be easily and soundly defeated without the help of his checkered past.

Judging by the new strategy, it's pretty clear that McCain believes Obama is going to be the candidate. TH already has the car waiting outside for him to hop right in. Good thinking TH.

I think McCain is such a bad politician that he won't be able to stand next to Obama very long. McCain's entire strategy is to continue to brand Obama as inexperienced. This is all he will be able to run with. Even with all of McCain's foreign policy credentials, I don't think he can convince ANYBODY that he is the best choice for President.

The lobbyist thing (at this point) is not a proven romance. -- it's that she was a lobbyist whose company had business before his committee. This is about his ethics and his casting himself as a reformer. Yet he makes questionable decisions. There are other instances in the article, like him refusing to fly a plane route he voted for but yet accepting corporate flights from those with business before his committee:


Mr. McCain promised, for example, never to fly directly from Washington to Phoenix, his hometown, to avoid the impression of self-interest because he sponsored a law that opened the route nearly a decade ago. But like other lawmakers, he often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support, including the media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Michael R. Bloomberg and Lowell W. Paxson, Ms. Iseman's client. (Last year he voted to end the practice.)


This will cause the MSM to revisit his involvement with the Keating scandal, the Keating Five hearings, and his being proved to be in the pocket of Keating. This whole thing is about him exercising poor judgment on ethics issues while hailing his superiority on it.

I believe that McCain is a media darling (like Obama) and that the media and the people can look at this two ways. Which one will be a bigger story? Well, the NYT article was more about ethics than an affair, but the after-story seems to be more about sex. We'll see where this goes, but I think this will bite him.

It's in the hands of the MSM now and if they run with this, then it only helps Obama in TX!

I can say that the Right does not want or need any more bizarre stories coming from their leaders. I mean, meth-smoking preachers, toilet-sex seeking senators, prostitute-glomming Vetter and page-stalking Floridians is a lot to deny, even for them.

**Could this be a hint of which way the Media will spin for the GE?**

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Primary Tunes

Partisinship aside, I thought maybe I should redine my music themes from earlier. Now that we're doing to so few and the race has changed so much.

For Huckabee, the canidate that won't back down.



For McCain, perhaps his wisdom will outweigh his politics. Doubtful...



Hillary might be feeling a little lonely.



Obama seems poised to win and ready to take what's dished out to me.




**Sorry Gravel and Paul. Maybe next time...

Assembly-Line Medicine

Last week 고 came to me with an idea that we should get total physicals and see where we stand with our health. I, being a man, did not want to do this at all. Not only does my gender prefer to ignore health issues, but I have not led a healthy led at all. I smoked cigarettes* for about eight solid years and kept a pretty healthy binge drinking regiment up for the last six, so I prefer to stay away from the doc. Nonetheless, she convinced me to get it done. So, we did not eat or drink anything after 5pm on Friday and went to bed early.


The next morning we woke up and braved the windy morning in the name of health. I was a little uneasy about the whole thing still, but once we walked in I felt better. They gave me a little locker key and I changed into my super cool martial-art looking scrubs. Since I can not speak the necessary Korean for this situation, 고 and I got to team up. I liked this and she did too.


First, we went to the consultatory doctor and expressed our medical shortcomings. 고 was worried about breast cancer (no family history)and I, of course, was worried about cancer (skin, colon and prostate). She asked me if I had an family history and I replied with a very firm and confident, "YES!" She then preceded to check every box and shooed me out the door to start the assembly line check up.


1) I got my retina's checked. In comparison to my body as a whole, I believe that my eyes might be in the best shape.

2) I got my weight and height taken next. 66kg and 174cm. Perfect in theory, but I'm sure I could change my muscle v. fat proportions.

3) Then it was blood time. 고 went first. I could tell they were having trouble finding her vein. They weren't poking everywhere, but when they finally did, her body had already used up the adrenaline and her blood pressure dropped to the point where she needed to lay down. She was okay, so I went and got stuck. No problem. I have blood. (고 did not finish her blood test. She went back today. No problem this time!)

4) I was then escorted into the next room where they took my hearing. I never heard anything, so I'm not sure if they actually tested me. Kidding, but hearing is not my strong point. I am becoming hard-of-hearing. In fact, I can't understand a word from one of my fellow teachers from England. I think the pitch of his voice and my hearing don't get along. I can understand the other Brits though.

5) 고 recovered and we went to the next room: lung capacity. I was worried. This could be it. All of my years of thoughtless smoking will get me here. I put the device in my mouth and blew. I did great! I beat 고 and the doctor seemed to be pleased. I guess I have more lung capacity that anyone else...ever.

5) The next room was testing my balance and involuntary muscle response. I responded.

Those first few rooms were basics. Now, we got to the back rooms. This is where it got serious.

6) 고 went first. She entered the ultrasonography room. She was in there for awhile. I didn't like the wait. Then it was my turn. I was nervous about this too. I don't want to see what I looked like in there. The doctor put the goo on the thing and looked at my neck. She periodically would see a black dot and click it and measure it. Great. Then she went to my stomach. Nothing. Then she looked at my prostate. She saw something and clicked and measured again. I was a little worried about this, but 고 told me that the doctor was measuring normal things and that I should not be worried. Hmmmm...

7) At this point, 고 was one room ahead of me. I was just following my clipboard from room to room, not knowing what to expect when I walk in the door. They called my name, "Choejie Hokeon". I walked in and the doctors laughed. This happened a lot. They were not used to seeing foreigners and my fancy-free attitude also caught them off gaurd. They told me to "Open" and then they listened to my heart on a machine. It's in there and pumping blood.

8) Chest X-Ray was next. This was my first male doctor. He spoke clear English. Of course, his test took less than 30 seconds.

9) This one was my favorite. The doctor called 고, but she was in the mammary(?) exam room. I was next. She asked me in Korean if I spoke Korean. I told her and she continued in English. This test was why we could not eat or drink. She gave me a couple awful drinks that kind-of made my empty stomach fizz. I climbed on this huge machine and the abdominal X-Rays started. Her directions were great though. "To the left. Little more. To the right. Little more. Good. Take a breath. Hold a breath. Good." I was having a great time.

10) Finally, I took my urine test and that was that.

It was a fun three hours and 200 bucks. I'm glad we got it all done and it's nice to know where I stand in this department. The whole process was really quite interesting. There were a lot of people there and it was a flat rate. I get the results back in about a week and a half. I applaud Korea's medical system and how affordable they make everything. Good for Korea and good for us!

Daily Politics: Rush and Company

We all have heard the wingnuts of the GOP claim that they will support Hillary or a Dem if McCain gets the nomination.

I have a theory and I hope it's crazy, but here it is: Are Rush and Co. making this outrageous "he's too liberal" claim in order to appeal to those indy's and mod's who might be concerned to vote in another crazy conservative? By doing this, they can disway those with Obama leanings and now they offer another choice.

Am I giving too much credit to these idiots?

Daily Politics: Hillary for McCain

The GOP knows that McCain is going to be the nominee. Even Huckabee knows it and this fact is allowing McCain to get a free ride. He is jumping on Hillary's anti-Obama wagon and enjoying the free ride. McCain can just sit back and let TH find all the dirt and he can just repackage and deliver it.

He's all over the "empty rhetoric" rant and the more she digs, the less he has to do. So, essentially she is working for McCain.

Daily Politics: Flawed Strategy

Again, TH made sure to that everyone knew that she was not going to do well in WI and HI well before the polls opened. She can "soften" the loss this way and focus of the states that are "important", but it's just a slimy move imo.

Well, she lost today and she lost BIG. Obama was supposed to win this, but TH started citing some numbers where she was within 2 points of Obama. In fact, I even read that some were calling this another New Hampshire. Well, that couldn't be further from the truth.

Wisconsin went 58-41 to Obama! That number even beat the pro-Obama blog Daily Kos by 6 points! The exit polls are quite telling and if this is any indication of what's to come, then Obama should be able to slide in there without SD's or FL and MI mattering (which would be great). The key to his margin was the woman vote. Obama pulled in 50% of white women. That is TH's last savior and if they lose that support then she's through. He also managed to take some of TH's senior vote (45%). All good news. You can look at these stats yourself and determine that it was a huge win, but I want to look at why Hillary is not doing well.

I can admit that she is an excellent candidate and if Obama was not in the race, I'd probably support her, but her campaign has been dreadful and now we are seeing the worst of it.

From what I can gather, she has only three strategies left and they might be brilliant, but I simply can't see the genius behind them.

  • Demographic Battle

Let's face it, she has not won much and her wins weren't all that impressive (except for MA ). She has excuses for every loss and those have lost validity as Obama seems to continue to rake in her base (white woman, uneducated and the 50,000 or less group). TH loves to claim that the woman, elderly and Latino vote will court her to the nomination. Now, she only has this to bank on. When you publicly make a campaign about demos, then you run the risk of a) alienating the rest of the voters, b) pressuring those demos to vote for you and c) highlighting and showcasing the differences and potenial for fracturing within the party itself. Judging by today's vote and with the exception of Latino's who were not really represented today, she is effectively chopping away at her own base and those chips are falling at the feet Obama.

  • Last Stand

Essentially she is putting all of her money on a BIG Texas and Ohio win. If she wins these handily, then yeah, it buys her some more time, but can she win them handily? I reminded of a certain fellow New Yorker that tried this and soon after dropped out of the race. This is such a flawed strategy even if she wins there. First of all, she is basically saying that small states don't matter. Wrong! Secondly, she is jumping on these states based on demos which is risky and lastly, she isn't that favored. It's suprisingly close in Texas and I'm not sure that Obama won't win Ohio.

  • Attack!!!

Attack anything and everything. I don't need to discuss specifics here, but she is digging into every non-issue. TH is acting so selfish and immature. Her win is more important than a Dem.

If she loses one of these, I expect an immediate withdrawl from the race.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Daily Politics: Odd Thinking

The direction this primary has taken is quite surprising. I never would have foreseen the fracturing that we are seeing today, but it's here and I want to examine a couple things.

The Dems have put forth two amazing politco's of the time and we should be proud that we can boast that it was OUR party that was responsible. However, what's happening in the trenches is a little different. One of my favorite law blogs, Talk Left, has become a safe haven for Clintonians to spew their nonsense and, imo, man hatred. I have read stuff on there that infuriates me and ultimately, makes me dislike Hillary only because they support her. Yet, this kind of feeling is what's wrong.

Reading these pro-Hillary people and the claims they make about Obama and his supporters is sickening. I have noticed 5 trends that they all seem to be repeating these days:

  1. It's wrong for AA people to support Obama. Obviously, if they had any brains (which they don't) then they would be voting Hillary.
  2. There is a difference when women vote for Hillary and when AA's vote for Obama. Woman do it based on merit. AA do it based on race.
  3. Liberal white men ONLY support Obama because they are terrified that if they don't, they will be considered racist.
  4. Men who don't support Hillary are sexist. The misogyny runs so deep that it's just engrained.
  5. If any aspect of female biology is ever mentioned then it is clear you are a closet-sexist.

I'm serious. They hammer these points and they do it in a very clever way that is protected by the cloak of sexism. I used to comment on TL, but not anymore. If I say anything, than I am cast into the misogynous lakes of yesterday and doomed to spend my days with Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd.

I know the Dems need the woman vote, but this is too much.

Daily Politics: Come Together...RIGHT NOW!!!

Don't start thiking that I'm getting lazy in the posting again. I had a busy weekend and I prefer to be outside and doing stuff, rather than in our apartment. However, it is a Monday and the work week is in full swing. Of course, the wild political landscape did not take the weekend off, so here we are with another Daily Politics post.

I'm noticing a very sad trend. The supporters of both Clinton AND Obama are starting to really HATE each other. When the race wasn't close, but Obama was still gaining, the Clinton supporters seemed to be patting Obama on the back. It was the kind of pat you give your little brother when he does well against you in a pick-up game of basketball, but just couldn't really compete. I'm not saying it was demeaning, but it seems that they were taking his candidacy for granted. Now, he is the "front-runner" of sort. I disagree though. When the underdog team is up in a game that means they're on the way to an upset. It does not mean they somehow assume front-runner status. Clinton fans want to frame it this way (just as Obama did) because of the natural tendenacy to root for the underdog.

Reagardless of useless definitions of the candidates, I'm worried about the fracturing of the Dem party. The Main Stream Media (MSM) has been claiming this for some time now, but they are out of touch with the reality of politics and political opinion. I, however, am in touch with it and just now have I noticed this battle. It is getting rough and is full of sexism, racism and identity politics.

Here's an example. This is from a TL comment board and it not at all rare. This arguement is a result of this comment from Obama.


"I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she's feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal."


- Barack
Obama, February 15, 2008

How was this taken by the Clinton supporters and even some soft-core Obama fans? Like this...


    • "All women "periodically" lash out when their hormones go berserk, i.e., "periodically," and they feel "down," and try to boost their "appeal" by launching attacks (with their claws, of course--because really, women are savage, mindless animals). So how the hell can a woman be President of the U.S., and how can we trust a woman with that nuclear (or in Bush parlance, nuclur) button, with all these periodic malfunctions??????"

    • "I know it too well. The subtle, implied, code language.
      He knows exactly what he is doing. He keeps it up and he will completely turn me off, good of the party be damned. "


    • "I cannot vote for this man should he become the nominee. Up until this point, I was still planning on voting for him if Hillary isn't our president. But I'm finished with that now. That did it. I will not vote for this man. I will write in Hillary Clinton."

    • "Right - and the patronizing language, the patronizing and demeaning way that he
      said it. Like he's the man with the cool head who has to understand when
      women have their periodic meltdowns. Disgusting."

These are the cleaner ones that I found. This is very troubling to me. They will not vote for him. They are going to contribute to a GOP soldification of America for this kind of stuff.

So, what does this mean?

The feminist bloc of the Dem party have their mind set to vote ONLY for Hillary. They do not care about anything, but finally having a woman in the WH. As in many cases, these types of feminists will take any language and dig and find something that is some sort of an "attack" on women. The women above are a minority in my opinion, but this type of discourse is horrible for the Dems and it seems selfish to me. If this meme gets any press (it won't from the MSM, but grassroots can have an effect), it will be the end for the Dems GE hopes. The fact that Obama could be labeled a "sexist" is laughable, but the feeling is out there and needs to be dealt with. This bloc claims that Obama is using race and every dirty trick in the book, yet they are the ones who will refuse to vote for a man.

I know this post was all over the place, but the Dems HAVE to get together, dust off and move on after this HORRIBLE primary season is over. It's time to come together...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Daily Politics: Hill's Five-Step Recovery

Team Hillary (TH) has announced a new five-step recovery plan that is supposed to give her the bounce to win the nomination. Here are the details.


1. "Recapture "Hillary voters," starting in Wisconsin."

The Feb. 19 Wisconsin primary, which, like most of their potential losses, TH has downplayed, could provide her with a chance to regain her footing with blue-collar whites and women in Milwaukee and its suburbs.
I don't think she can win these votes back though. She is now planning on stumping around for three days instead of her original plan which was to settle down in TX and OH. She's going to lash out at Obama and try to pander to the poor voters their by discussing the economy.


2. "She has to win Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania."

If Obama wins even one, TH should be using that primary-night speech as a chance for a graceful concession. Remember, she needs to win BIG. And by BIG I mean close to 20 points. The delegate count should favor Obama either way. He'll win the big cities. TH believes she has a very strong advantage in Texas because of the Hispanics. From what I've read though, Texas Hispanics are less likely to vote than their western brethren. She also needs to dominate PA and OH. Most have her comfortably ahead in PA, but remember the tides are changing and the cities tend to favor Obama. Ohio is going to be close. Obama is expected to perform very strongly in Cleveland's big AA community and in Columbus where student and young professionals rule the land. Clinton is looking for Cincy (Not from the Culpeppers though!) and the rest of the hick-towns.


3. "Keep the SuperDelegates on board."

She is still ahead (242-156), but if she does not seal up the popular vote (Obama leads) and/or the delegate count (Obama leads), then they will have no choice but to defect. The AA SD's who supported Clinton are already facing the firing squad, so they will probably be the first to go. I wish I could hear that call to Hillary. Maybe like this?

"Sorry Hillary, but I have to support Barack and unite the party. Why? Well, because winning the White House is very important for the country and the world. No...wait...please don't cry, Hillary. I know, I know, I think he cheated too, but what can we do? I'm sorry. Okay, I'll join your 'I Hate Obama' club. We can still be friends, right?"

That's just what would happen...

4. "Go Negative, but carefully."

There will be an ad in Wisconsin railing into him for refusing to debate her. I think he was smart not to do this before WI.

5. "Sweat the Small Stuff."

After Iowa and other small state losses, Clinton gave up in those races and Obama won them. Now, she's decided to open offices in Wyoming, Montana, Kentucky, Mississippi and even Puerto Rico. I think it's too litte, too late. Obama should carry most of those states.

I think she needed to be doing this stuff all along. Obama really has run a fantastic campaign. He played by the rules, identified his weaknesses and strengths and just surprised the nation. Hillary went into this with her inauguration in mind. That's the issue.

She's also trying to get the youth vote, but there something that just doesn't work when a 60 year old baby-boomer tries to appeal to the youth of today.

This is her official Youtube video.



Yeah, next time you want to appeal to today's youth don't use an average 1970 American Bandstand song. And the lyrics had to be written by someone close to her age or by a high-school student.

Happy Valentines Day!

I hope everyone has a nice Valentines Day! 고 and I will go to dinner and drinks to celebrate the day! The day is not as special here in Korea though. Let me make this clear though: I don't think this day is very special anywhere. However, Korea has managed to make even less special because they have TONS of these days. Every holiday except for Lunar New Years and Chuseok are pandering towards romance. There is White Day, Valentines Day, Peppero Day, Black Day, 100th Day and even Christmas Day and all of these days are geared towards lovers, therefore, sale of silly and loving gifts.


Korea is a very "cute" society. They love the image of innocence and playfulness. The women try very hard to maintain this cute image and the men eat it up. Take this for instance.


Could there be anything cuter than this? A couple with matching animal hats (which I had when I was 8) and the girl is sporting the oversized lollipop. That hats are quite popular actually.
And then we see this on TV...




You like the hand hearts, lollipops, polka-dots and over-sized chairs? Korea does. And the lyrics couldn't be better.

So, Happy Valentines Day from "cute" Korea.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Daily Politics: The Electability Myth

As I have said, Dems are not good at predicting electabilty, but I'd like to add something. There are many Hillary supporters who like to say that Obama should not be the nominee because he did not win the big Dem states. In my opinion, this is a very bad argument. They seem to be thinking as if Obama was not a Dem and that this is a general election. It's not. They're both Dems. In a way, this electability argument is pretty silly -it slowly seems to be coming clear that, Obama could be the candidate.

Still, I want to adress this issue.

  • In an election where the two candidates don't have significant policy differences, then we see demographics and machine politics making a bigger impact. Both Hillary and Obama have the support of these voters. Obama has the AA and Hillary has the middle-aged women. Obama's edge is coming out now because of his across-the-board appeal.

  • A lot of the larger states - NJ, CA, NY, IL, WA, will vote for a turnip if the turnip is running as a Dem candidate. We know that these loyal Hillary Dems will not change their party identification. That is not a fear. If Obama takes it, he will hold her base and his diverse base as well. The key is that his base is much more varied and helpful in the GE. No brainer to me. Demographics aren't the SAME issue when a Dem runs against a Republican. Some of the same people who would vote for Hilary on a demographic basis (say single women, and older women) will turn right around and vote for Obama if he is the guy (and vice versa) rather than vote for the Republican. So you can't evaluate "electability" in an intra-party election, like you can a two-party election.

  • Not accounting for his charisma and discounting earlier his disadvantages as the underdog, Obama has already come very far. To come to the point where he eked out a very narrow win on Super Tuesday is huge. And yet, people forget the fact that clearly, incumbency, and not electability, is one of the main reasons why Obama has not won a big state - it's much harder to overtake someone who has name recognotion and a few extra public service years to line up the people and organizations in the big states.

  • As the challenger, Obama had to find a different route to the nomination and he found it. He found it in the small states. This is not proof of a lack of electability as TH suggests, but actually, proof of the sheer ingenuity on the part of Obama and his team.

Obama has a lot of work to do in the upcoming Tex-Oh-Vania.


Daily Politics: Big Win

Obama did it. He did it and he did it BIG. This is great news for the Obama camp and bad news for Hillary. She was already spinning her loss before the polls opened, but yet again, her spin must change. Why? Well, first we need to look at some polls.


Let me frame the current debate. Team Hillary (TH) and that includes her camp and supporters have been spouting off a few major claims:
  • "She has a better chance in the GE because she does well in primaries."

Obama DOMINATED the primaries today and he has done well in all of them including the ones he lost. Not only has he performed well in "her" wins, but he has beat her nearly 3:1 in every caucus that he has won. So TH, this claim does not work and today really proved that.

  • "Obama only has the support of activists and the African American identity voters."

Only activists and AA voters? I'm appalled that she would alienate her own base like this. She is dimishing her party's vocal supporters and a group that 95% of the time votes for a Dem. Still, let's look at some of Obama's numbers.

Virginia Obama Demographics

Male 68%

Female 60%

No College Degree 63%

College Graduate 65%

White 52%

African-American 90%

Latino 54%

He won his base and her base. The "Latte Liberals" (a phrase I hate) went for him just as much as those without a degree. He even won the Latino vote. The tides have changed, even since Super Tuesday.

  • "Obama doesn't appeal to the Democratic base. He's too much of a comprimiser."

Some Hillary supporters like to say that he's losing his Dem base. I laugh when I hear this. The Dem base is going nowhere. It's not like they're going to cross the aisle and there is no way that they would stay home and allow the GOP to win again. Obama does so well because he is not polarizing. He appeals to so many kinds of people and his fans don't make your skin crawl.

He's on his way!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Daily Politics: Potomac Primaries

The polls have opened and when I wake up tomorrow, they will have closed and the counting will have begun. Obama needs a big sweep and could get it, but there are a few things that need to happen.

Here's my advice to Obama.

  1. Win ALL three races tomorrow.
  2. Debate, but not as much as Hillary wants.
  3. Downplay GE polls.
  4. Focus on WI, but hit OH and TX hard.
  5. Make and lead the dialogue especially in regards DNC rules .
  6. Fight the seating of FL and MI and possibly consider allowing half to be seated if it's an option. Otherwise, fight it all the way.
  7. Play up the importance of caucuses, but don't alienate CA and NY.
  8. Pay attention to RI and open more field offices nationwide
  9. Send your wife to OH and you jump between OH and TX
  10. Win TX and OH or lose by single digits

All of these are very crucial.

Of course he needs a win tomorrow and three wins would keep the wind in his sails. If he loses one, Hillary will claim overall victory because they have already conceded essentially and if she did win, she would claim that it was an upset and an underdog win. She is not the underdog, so let's not let her spin it that way.

Hill is really pressing the debate issue, but she won't debate on NBC because of the "pimp" comment. Fine, but a debate against Hillary can be good, but make sure you limit it to one this month. Obama can use this single debate to comprehensively outline his policies. If he does not take the helms, she will win another debate. Also, please downplay the unity schtick for the debate. We know it already. This is his chance to shut up some of the venomous middle-aged Hilldog supporters.

Do not quote GE polls suggesting your electability. Dems are not good at judging this and conventional wisdom does not work to our advantage. Plus, it's February and they can and will change.

WI is an open caucus. That is good for him. He needs to solidify support down there and as quickly as possible, get cozy in OH and TX for a few weeks. This is Hillary's last stand and she will fight for it! Take it from her!

He needs to start talking about how he has done very well within the DNC rules and make sure that EVERYONE knows that caucus states are just as important as primary states. Hillary is already trying to say that these races aren't as important. That's smart of her, so he needs to counter that and soon.

While I think he will wrap up the delegates needed without FL and MI becoming a factor, he needs to consider the possibility that she and her supporters will whine. Set the dialogue now. Hillary did say that she thought they should not be counted, but that doesn't matter to me. Howard Dean needs to figure this out and if he bends to Hillary make sure he does not allow anything more than half to be seated (like the GOP). This is a delicate situation because Floridians are not too keen on having their votes not counted and the Dems NEED FL this fall. Be smart.

Caucuses do go in his favor, but do not make claims like "the true America lies in Middle America". That will alienate half of his base. We all know what color middle America is and it's not blue.

RI is small, but don't forget where alot of support is coming from. Keep opening offices.

Send Michelle to OH to motivate the women. You need to bounce between the two. Bill and Hillary are doing it and now Michelle is knockin 'em dead as well!

I know TX and OH are going to be hard to win, but there is plenty of time to narrow that gap.

That's it. I know that I switched between talking to Obama and talkng about him in this post, but who cares. Do that and it's all yours, Obama!

**Go Huckabee!**

Ankle Update

It's been two and a half weeks since I hurt my ankle and it's still a little tender.

Both 고 and I went back to the acupuncture place recently to get some more "work" done. 고's back has been hurting presumably because of her 12+ hours sitting at work. She got stuck in all sorts of places from her hand to arm and, of course, her back. My ankle was still a little bigger than normal, so they stuck me in the ankle again. However, this time they decided that I needed a little bee poison to get my immune system back into the area.

They "stung" me about four times right in the wound. It wasn't pleasant. Then they put the needles in which really hurt and let me sit on the warm table for about twenty minutes. I was listening to my Ipod. It was called "House of Mirrors". It's a podcast that features this Brit with a wonderfully typical english accent who tells scary stories. This one was about a rich fellow who wanted hair, but his scalp was rejecting all the grafts. Finally, his personal surgeon secretly murdered some homeless men and took their beards which he then grafted to the his client's scalp. The story was good. I was at the point when the rich man was feeling pain on his scalp and as he was reaching up to investigate the pain, I felt an INTENSE pain!

The nurse had started taking out the 13 or so needles and they all seemed to be stuck in my increasingly swelling ankle. Finally, it was over and like last time, within minutes, I could move more freely and without pain. I love it...

I go back tomorrow. It costs 5 bucks.

Do They Have to be Told?

Korea has a large number of American military personal. McCain often uses Korea as a model for what he would like to see Iraq become. That would be awful for some many reasons as an occupying military presence anywhere is not great. Nonetheless, they are in Korea now and, like most outposts, there is an Armed Forces Network (AFN) here. Some places only have radio stations, but since Korea has such a high force here, they also have a television station.

The shows on AFN for the most part are pretty bad. It ranges from George Lopez to soap-operas. They don't even air big US events. I'm not sure who watches it, but they gotta be out there. I don't watch it much, but when I do, I have noticed an interesting theme.

Your AFN viewing experience will include average shows (imo), long and poorly produced commercials, followed by an update on GI happenings and really bad news. The commercials are what I want to briefly discuss in this post.

For some reason, a large number of the AFN-produced commercials are literally telling soldiers that rape and sexual assualt are wrong and illegal. Besides the overwhelming frequency of these commercials (and there are many different ones floating around), I wonder why they have to be told and reminded so much that rape is wrong. Can they not figure this out?

I'm not going to bash the already very easy targets that we call US soldiers, but this seems insane to me. I'm not going to get into who rapes and why, but I will name the top offenders as a group: soldiers, athletes and social fraternity members.

The causes are vast and of course a small minority of each group actually commits the crime, but there are some common threads within those groups.

However, there are tons of commercials that offer advice to soldiers, but as I said, the advice is something that a 15 year old would need.

Here's a quick example. This is a commercial telling soldiers that they need a "wingman". Of course, a wingman usually makes sure that someone doesn't go home with an ugly man or woman. Not here. These guys need it for "adult" reasons.





I guess we all need reminders, but some things are learned with age and if you don't know those things when you reach that age, well, maybe we shouldn't have you "protecting" our interests.

Image of the Week

The week started off on a bad note in Korea as 숭례문 or Sungnyemun burned down late Sunday evening. This is a major blow for Koreans and their tangible culture. I've obviously been there and driven by it dozens of times and it was quite a sight.



It is suspected that an arsonist had it out for the inanimate object that so many in this country revere. While conspiracy theories started immediately, i.e., right-wing Japanese terrorists, a 70 year old Korean man stepped forward and admitted the crime. This man apparently had problems with authorities over eviction compensation for his home and set fire to another palace in 2006. He was still under probation.

It's a sad sight, especially since it had been standing for over 600 years...


Monday, February 11, 2008

Missed It

I've been on vacation this past week, so no posts. However, let's get right back into it...

Obama's big wins these past few days have given him a lot of momentum. However, simply praising his wins would not be fun to write about. I have a few thoughts about what's to come...

  • We need to watch Hillary and her attempts to seat FL and MI.

I don't think that the delegates will be that split to warrant that attempt, but I know that the Hillary supporters will push for this and this brings me to my next point.

  • Hillary supporters on all the pro-Hill blogs are claiming that Obama is not winning "properly"

They claim this because he wins a lot of caucuses where Hillary wins close to none of them. They like to say that she has one all the primaries. This is a lie of course, but the underlying theme is clear: They can not and apparently will not accept a Hillary loss. Why? Well, I think that the Dems have been so badly burnt in the last two elections (FL and OH) that their first reaction is to claim that the opposing force, be it a Dem or Repub, was dishonest. This is so bad for us Dems. Obama has won a lot and has done is within the rules of the DNC. How is that not a fair win? What would they claim if the tables were turned?

  • Both Clinton and Obama should ignore GE polls

I'm worried that they both will jump on this electability wagon and if the polls change, it will be too late to reduce its significance. I think they can both beat McCain and Obama could do it more soundly than Hillary.

  • Obama should not change his campaign mantra once he is thrusted into front-runner position.

As she has done, Hillary will adapt to his tactics and do it well. We can't forget how string she is and how equally loyal her base is.

It's looking up for the Obama campaign, but how high is yet to be determined. He needs to keep it up, stay away from debates and continue knockin' em dead...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Yes We Can!

All that can be done is done. Everybody knows the message of Mr. Barack Obama and it is out of our hands. Now, it is time for the people to make the change. Yes we can!

Whether he wins or not, his message is clear. And when I'm 30, 40, 50, 60 and even 70 and 80, I will always remember his message and the promise he gave to America. It's one of love, unity and hope. Barack Obama is not just a man. He's not just a politician and I know many people would dispute that, but you simply can't. How can you dispute an emotion? How can you argue with inspiration? He is symbol for what we as people can be and achieve. He's an icon for why America is great. He has restored my faith in so many aspects of being a human and an American that had been so dim for all of my political life.

Barack Obama has changed my innner political dialogue. He has changed it from one of frustration and anger to one of hope, unity and courage and no matter who you support in this election, that fact is undisputable. In my opinion, every American owes Obama something. He changed the face of this election. He changed how every candidate talks about the future. Yet, he is the only one who will make it happen and help all of us realize that his dream is our dream and that that dream is the dream of all people all over the world. It's hope...

As you know, I have been researching past campaign videos, but this one is always going to stay with me.



Yes We Can was released on February 2nd. It's a song using the words from Obama New Hampshire Primary speech. h it twice, three times or more, but you can feel America changing when you watch and hear his voice.

Yes We Can! Yes We Can!

Monday, February 04, 2008

News That You Know

The Giants win the Super Bowl, but Pat's coach Bill Belichick decides to leave before the final whistle blows.

This is getting way too much press. The news is not focusing on the oustounding underdog victory, but the manner in which the pretestious New England coach takes the blow. Typical of the simple-minded Media.


Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has urged people to "have faith" that some of the worst snow storms in 50 years can be overcome, state media says.


This is laughable. First of all, I do feel bad for the Chinese. Second, maybe now they'll realize that the population in a tad out of hand if a snow storm can do this to THAT many people. And finally, a Communist government telling is people to "have faith" is laughable.


With the killing of Abu Laith al-Libi this week, the Taliban have suffered their biggest loss since being ousted from power in 2001, and they are left without their finest military brain just two months before their spring offensive.

Blah, blah, blah... How many times have a "top" or "number blah" guy been killed? It seems to happen every six months or so. So, by my calculations since the invasion of either Afghanistan or Iraq, we have killed 14 important people. Wow! I feel safe.

On the 31st students dressed in graduation gowns and carried mock-funeral portraits of themselves in front of the headquarters of president-elect Lee Myung-bak’s transition team to protest what they call rapidly increasing tutitions.

Hmmm... Maybe these kids should get jobs and spend money on tuition rather than blowing up fancy pics of themselves. They could have been working a shist at the Korean equivalent of Stuckey's.

Hillary Clinton is holding a national town hall meeting now on the Hallmark Channel.

That's right. She cried again. Enough said...

John Edwards vows to end all bad things by 2011!

This really isn't too far of a stretch.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Acupuncture


As the week filled with great politics, horrible war, suprising sports progressed at its natural pace, my world was moving very slow and on two crutches. Saturday morning came and my ankle had shown very few signs of improvement and I was tired of limping. As the earlier videos gruesomely depict, I have significant and total bruising from my achilles to my toes. It's not a good looking foot.

When 고 returned from work after a long and busy Saturday morning at the office, she came home with a fresh approach to the increasingly interfering injury: acupuncture. I was immediately intrigued and, after finding a nearby clinic, we left the house. The clinic was very nice and smelled great (like food, but I couldn't figure out what kind). The walls were lined with awards on one side and herbs on the other. Although acupuncture is completely legit, I kind of felt like I was seeing a holistic healer. Nonetheless, they took my weight, height and blood pressure. All good.

After a brief discussion with the doctor and my translator (also my fiance), it was decided that we could go ahead with the poking. I laid down on a table and upon completion of some painful excercises, she began the process. I wasn't sure if it would hurt or not. I know that it usually doesn't hurt, but since my ankle was HUGE and filled with dried blood and bruises I was not that optimistic. However, it did not really hurt. There was a little sting, but those needles are so thin that it wouldn't have been painful in any situation. They put the needles in and then they added these things that burn your skin just slightly so you skin can react to it and heal itself. Apparently, I needed this because my skin was very tight due to the bruising and there was a chance that it would have stayed in this odd puffy stage if heat was not applied.

I was instructed to lay there for awhile and that in a few minutes I would start to feel a burning sensation. It was unformtable though. My feet were on this awful padded elevating triangle thing that was digging into my achilles tendon, but I was cautious to move because of, you know, the needles in my foot.

After the burning had stopped and the egg-timer went off, they came in and removed the needles. We stood up, paid five bucks and left. 고 was proud of me for doing it and for "being brave", so she took me to Pizza Hut. While it may sound childish, I was very excited to go there. Afterall, I think an adult can also be rewarded with pizza. But, when we entered the Pizza Hut I was greeted by three screaming students who ran up to me yelling, "George Teacher" over and over again. This kind of took that adult feeling away.

To wrap up, within hours of the acupunture, the swelling had gone down, the bruising had subsided and I could walk without crutches. I'm not sure how much it costs in America, but you guys should try it sometime. I'm sold...

Here's a video...

video

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Past Campaigns: 1960

The 1960 election was a significant one for many reasons, but for my purposes for this post it was significant because it featured the first televised debates.

Here's what I found from JFK...



I like this one. I like how they politely slammed the GOP.



And here is Nixon. I could only find one.



I wanted to post the debate, but I could not find a clean version of it. Most people say that Kenneddy won the debate not only because of his answers, but because of his appearnace in comparison to the socially akward and sweaty Nixon.

That electorate went like this...

I had no idea that the vote was that close!

Frostbite

My ankle is getting a little better, but my toes look like they are suffering from frostbite. I have made the switch from two crutches to one. I think this makes me look a lot cooler. I had to wash my foot again yesterday, so I decided that another video update would be worth it.

video

고 is really a good sport about doing all that stuff. When she's at work, she'll call to check on me and see if I need anything. She's so sweet!

Water Cooler Theme

The past month has been a very busy one for Americans. We celebrated the New Year, made it through another and final Bush SOTU address and now we have the Super Bowl. There have been a lot of newsworthy issues and events this month, but only one thing has dominated the news: The Democratic nomination.


While I can't watch all the networks due to my geography, I still read most of the network news and I have seen an overriding theme. The Dems nomination is more "important" to the Media than anything. There are a lot of supportors for both of these candidates and, from what I can gather, the Media is leaning towards Obama. Regardless of Media preference, Americans also seem to be just as eager to ingnore the rest of the events these days. What will happen on Sunday?



I will not be watching the Super Bowl. I did not watch one game this season and really could care less, but I know that many people do. I just wonder how many people on Monday morning will be talking about the Patriots perfect season or the fact that the Democratic party has never looked so strong.

Friday, February 01, 2008

We Win

Perhaps I've been distracted. Maybe I was focusing too much on the battle between Hillary and Obama, but something struck me today when I was looking at images from the debates.













Is there anything more telling than these images?

I watched the debate this evening and it was chilling. From the moment they walked out on the stage, an African American and a woman, the Democrats won. Whomever wins the nomination, whomever wins the election, Democrats won. And America won.

One blogger said that that was the most electric moment of the night, and it was for me too. I did not expect to feel that way. I knew this already. But seeing it made it different. It just did. John Edwards said he was getting out of the way of history. And as powerful as his message and campaign were, he was right

I have never been more proud to be a member of the Democratic Party. Today, I am proud to be an American.