Friday, March 30, 2007

A guest post by Bloggerdad

A trial lawyer persuades a trial lawyer

It was a very unusual day in red state Indiana. A Democratic candidate for the presidency came to Indianapolis to shake hands, break bread, speak and answer questions. They usually don't bother.
I was surprised to see that John Edwards isn't much taller than me and probably doesn't weigh as much. What impressed me as much as his obvious intellect was his friendliness and sincerity. Understand, please that I have been dealing with con artists, political and otherwise, for way many years. It is next to impossible to sell me siding, blue suede shoes or penny stocks that will make me a millionaire. John Edwards is real.
He started out by bringing tears to my eyes. He told of being with Elizabeth for 12 hours in the medical facility before they brought the bad news. Then they were alone with each other. He asked her what she needed. Told her he would drop the campaign. She said she needed him to be the next President of the United States. Fifteen minutes later I was convinced she was right and that is what we need as well.
I will try to summarize, much as I hate to do that. I think I will try it with bullet points.
He is believable.
We need a president we can trust, but also one the rest of the world can trust.
We need the trust of the rest of the world.
We need to be out of Iraq but not out of the rest of the world.
We need to be engaged with the rest of the world, and we need to be here at home what the rest of the world will respect.
Poverty at home will destroy democracy and poverty in the rest of the world will destroy our security.
Our present course is unsustainable.
Our present level of energy consumption is unsustainable.
Capping carbon emissions is an EMERGENCY. It is also doable.
Universal health care is not only desirable, it is essential and he has laid out the plan to do it.
No one else in the campaign is doing anything but mouthing generalities.
He welcomes competing plans because we need the debate.
The next election is critical and this is not the time for glamor or glitz.
The above are my paraphrases so don't hold the specific articulations against John Edwards
I got to ask two questions. I asked if he didn't think we needed a program to ramp up our health care infrastructure to accomodate the utilization levels that would occur. I don't think he had thought about that. He said something to the effect that it needed to be addressed. I am hoping he will focus on it. That is mostly why I asked the question.
I asked him if he thought mass transit as a public works project didn't need to be a part of the energy consumption issue. ( I am obsessed about this). He said our fiscal situation required prioritizing. He thought the revenue from selling carbon emissions, but always within the cap, might generate 30 billion dollars that could be used for mass transit.
Before the sitdown when he was working the room I told him I thought we should have been saying the things he was saying for 30 years, but I was not sure it was the most political way to go. He said he was going to tell the truth regardless of the political consequences. I believe him.
He wants to fund primary education for every young child IN THE WORLD. He says it is much cheaper than the Iraq war and will keep us much safer.
He expressed several inspiring ideas. He said we are not a timid people when we are at our best.
I know I will recall more of this as the evening wears on. I just hope that we will all hear more of it from him as 2008 approaches.

What? Me post?

Mr. T's been on a bidness trip (this time domestic), our Shanghai-based friend and colleague "O" is in town, and Trailheadquarters is hopping. It's always fun when O's in town. He's become a good friend, and not merely a business associate. It's fun to show him around. I'm far more careful than Mr. T is about finding food that O won't find revolting. Mr. T's standard response to my worries is a withering look and the question, "Do you know how many sea worms I've eaten over there?"

Of course, when I remind Mr. T that O is not actively trying to gross him out, he relents. But he did insist on going to Chipotle yesterday. Fortunately, O liked the Barbacoa burrito.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Life is a terminal disease

So John and Elizabeth Edwards are out there discussing the recurrence of her illness and their decision to go forth and conquer in the face of peril. If you watch Katie Couric's interview with them here, Couric observes that "some" suggest that John Edwards is putting "work before family."

Okay, people, let's get this straight right now. Here is the key to this question. The Edwards' have an integrated life. Family, public service, work and marriage all blend together. I think part of the reason they don't approach the question from this angle is because they don't maintain such clear lines between "work" and "family."

I strongly suspect that John Edwards is, in fact, putting his wife first by staying in the race. In the interview, she talks about being the one to determine her legacy -- is it that her cancer pulled John out of the race, or is it that she kept forging ahead? Running for presidency seems to be something that gives their lives a great deal of meaning. Some of us, if we knew we were looking at a life abbreviated, might choose to hike a long-distance trail (I have no idea who that might be, ahem), write something, travel somewhere, or just sit and hang with friends and family.

Elizabeth Edwards wants to be on the campaign trail and get her candidate elected president. In the bargain, she gets to teach her kids fortitude and guts. She gets to meet thousands of ordinary people and give them hope.

I'm hard pressed to think of a more meaningful way to spend one's last years. And here's my sneaking suspicion: Continuing this campaign is not going to kill Elizabeth Edwards, but quitting might.

I think John Edwards knows that.

Friday, March 23, 2007

My kind of kid

Of course, anytime I click on a blog and am immediately confronted with the title, "poop humor," I know it's gonna be a good time.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Speaking of huevos

Huevos

A few years ago, my eldest sister and I were lamenting what we perceived to be a relative dearth in our public life of real heroes. We sat on her front porch, naming those few we thought qualified. One of our criteria was that the individual provide an example in the way they live their lives.

Here's one for the list. I can't find the transcript of their press conference yet, and the news reports, as expected, concentrate mostly on what John Edwards had to say (which wasn't too shabby either). But as I watched the press conference, I listened closely to what Elizabeth Edwards said. I admire the hell out of that woman, who you think, for just a minute, can't possibly have cancer because she must be made of steel and not flesh. And then you remember that she is human just like everyone else, and that's a great thing, because it means even a peon like me can be more like her. And I'm glad to know that, because I probably need to be.

Needless to say, I'll be rooting for her.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Is he or isn't he, part 2 (Updated below)

David Roberts at Huffington Post has the video of Gore's opening statement to his testimony to the House. He also sets forth Gore's extensive legislative proposals and remarks, "My initial reaction is that Gore is going for the whole enchilada. He's pushing the envelope. These are radical proposals. To me, that indicates almost beyond reasonable doubt that Gore is not running for president."

That's not an unreasonable conclusion, particularly given the timidity of Democratic politics in recent years, but I wonder whether it's accurate. One possibility I've considered recently is that Gore may not be using the global warming issue to fuel his political amibitions as his detractors claim (as if that's somehow ignoble). Rather, I wonder if he's keeping speculation about a presidential run alive in order to maintain attention to the global warming issue.

Or maybe not. But I will say this. Gore's response to the recent brouhaha about his personal energy use was pretty tepid for a person with a presidential bid in mind.

So the mystery continues. The only thing that's clear is that he hasn't publicly, firmly ruled out a 2008 run.

UPDATE: I swear, I wrote this post before I read this.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Another one of my posts about nothing

Pardon my silence, but for the last few days I've been living my life instead of foisting it upon you people.

One thing I love about Portland is that spring comes earlier than so many other places, even though it will take a lot longer for the Willamette Valley to be consistently warm and sunny. (Try July.)

I just got back from visiting Bert's place, and he has some wonderful pictures of what spring looks like around here. Spring weather here is so textured. Morning might be filled with rich, golden sunlight, but give way in late afternoon to dark blue, menacing skies that contrast nicely with the light green of brand new leaves. Toss in a couple of light rain showers in between, and there you have it.

Must get to Tryon Creek State Park this week to check on the trilliums.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Micropolitical act of the day

I know a lot of people in the U.S. acknowledge that global warming is a problem, but expect government to implement the institutional and structural changes required to avert the crisis. Not everyone wants to make individual changes to solve the global warming issue. You may not want to buy a car with better gas mileage, change to compact fluorescent light bulbs, get green power or recycle. I get that. (I don't necessarily agree, but I get it.)

But the government's not going to do squat unless and until you tell them to.

Al Gore is going to testify before Congress on March 21st in an effort to galvanize legislative action on climate disruption. He's been collecting messages from individuals asking Congress to kindly get this show on the road. He has almost 300,000, but wants more.

If you're one of those who doesn't worry about global warming because you want government to fix it, then this action is for you. It will take you approximately ten seconds to add your name to these messages.

Go here to tell Congress to get to work on this problem. Pretty please?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Do you take ibuprofen for that?

Actual conversation at Bloggerdad's house last Sunday:

TH Stepmother, watching as Trailhead Kid paces restlessly: "Trailhead Kid, do you need to go to the bathroom?"

TK: "Yes." [heads toward the bathroom, stops cold at the door, and turns around] "Actually, no I don't. Sometimes I just get penis headaches."

[Bloggerdad nearly falls off chair.]

Monday, March 05, 2007

Flies with Moose

On a serious note, this does make me sad. I feel badly for the moose.

Another round begins

Ugh. Mr. T leaves for China in three hours. At long last I've learned to indulge myself during his frequent international absences, and so I'm leaving (with TK) for a trip back to Indy tomorrow.
Friends, family and favorite restaurants are all on my menu. I'm also going to do a document review -- what Bloggerdad calls picking rat shit out of a pepper barrel -- but work is work and like he says, this pays by the hour, kid.

This also will be the first flight with TK I've not sort of dreaded, because we're going first class. Ordinarily I'm far too cheap to actually spend money to fly first class. Hell, usually you can get almost a whole set of extra tickets somewhere else for what you'd spend to fly first class. But we're using frequent flier miles, and the first class option cost no more miles and had a better schedule. Sweet. Leg room! Not feeling like a sausage in a casing! Yee. Haw.

You might also be interested to note that, given my moralizing over the global warming issue lately, I have purchased carbon offsets for 7,500 lbs. of carbon dioxide from TerraPass. I got an extra 2,000 lbs. in lieu of the luggage tag that comes along with it, too. So I've offset 9,500 lbs. of carbon dioxide for $37. The flight to Indy (round trip) releases, for both me and TK, a little less than 3,000 lbs. So I have our flight back in September covered as well, I guess.

After Mr. T gets back on the 15th, he leaves again on the 24th for a domestic trip, till the 30th. Then, he says wearily, he would like to take some time off and head to Montana for few days. My life will kick up around that time too. There will be trilliums, tulip fields, and apple blossoms in the Gorge to photograph. By May there will be fairy slipper orchids and the lupine and balsamroot up at Tom McCall Preserve again. Good stuff.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I guess this is what it comes down to eventually, but I didn't expect it quite so soon

Actual conversation this morning as Trailhead Kid is cutting out rocket ships from construction paper:

Me: Be careful with those scissors, please.

TK, with a weary, but patient expression: I will, Mommy. But thank you for your concern.

Friday, March 02, 2007

But what about The Grinch?

On this rainy Friday afternoon, I offer you the latest golden nugget coughed up from the intertubes, a thing so perfect I fear it may all be a dream. I give you, ladies and gentlemen, Dylan Hears a Who.