Friday, September 07, 2012

Special Friday

Happy 18th to my high school senior, with his soccer season about to begin, and college application time approaching.

Today we had a small celebration; here his nephew assists with blowing out the candles on a little cake we got him.

Tomorrow morning he has to get up early to take the ACT -- a five-hour marathon. I simply do not get the obsession with testing in the U.S. educational system.

Tonight, the Giants beat the Dodgers to move into a pretty commanding first place lead in their division -- another nice birthday gift.

Out at 9 to pick up my daughter from a dance party. The cat loves her -- for one of the first times, he emerged from the closet to sit next to her on the bed for a long time.

I know I've not been writing the long posts that I normally write here lately -- too many distractions with the election, the baseball race, and getting the kids back to school.

But soon I'll start again, I hope.

Until then, short updates are the best I can offer.



Thursday, September 06, 2012


Biden: B-

Obama B

These were admirable speeches, but did nothing to move the electoral race. Bill Clinton's speech probably did more to swing Michigan and Ohio, frankly, so Obama is in the driver's seat, despite tonight's so-so events. Obama's moves saving the auto industry remain paramount.

Obama is the winner for now. The math is the math.


Political Comments

I perhaps should clarify that my reviews of the political speeches I am hearing this cycle do not reflect my own political beliefs so much as an analytical assessment on a quality basis. That may be hard for my more conservative friends to accept, but if I wished to be partisan, I would endorse a candidate and urge you to vote for him. (They are all "hims" this cycle, sadly.)

Romney gave the best speech last week and it was good, but he didn't have to do all that well due to the mediocrity of those he followed.

Obama has a far harder task. His wife, and then Clinton, raised the bar far higher than Romney faced. I cannot imagine him hitting a home run tonight, frankly.

I think the home runs have already been hit this week. I'll call Obama's at bat as I see it after the speech, without bias.

As for the outcome of the election, which will be largely unaffected by tonight's speech, watch three indicators:

* How the numbers in swing states develop into early to mid October. That is when we will be able to predict, on a statistically valid basis, which electoral votes will go to which candidate. Until then, expect volatility.

* The debates. These face-to-face confrontations between Romney and Obama will probably affect swing voters, and energize their bases, more than any other factor.

* Ignore TV ads. With a ton of money saturating major media markets in swing states, voters will certainly tune out and ignore them. This election will not be bought, trust me, by either side.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Greatest Political Speech of My Lifetime

Bill Clinton delivered it tonight. I may be an old cynical journalist, and also, as an editor, I have plenty of quibbles about how he should have shortened it, but Clinton's nominating speech for Obama tonight brought shivers to my bones.

This speech connected each of us, on a very personal level, with our heritage and our beliefs and our values. Replay it over and decide for yourself.

Barack Obama now has a huge act to follow tomorrow night. After the best nominating speech in history, he has to deliver the best acceptance speech in history.

If he can do that, his re-election is secure.


Backyard Images

Pumpkins, bell peppers and lemons grow, courtesy of my neighbors. (I do nothing.)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Real Deal

I restrained myself from rating last week's top five GOP speeches, partly out of the old adage my parents taught me: "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all."

Had I spoken my analytical mind, they would have been graded from D- to C+. There just was no authentic passion there, nor was there any substance on policy. Ann Romney's speech was a notable failure.


I wonder about that advice from my parents sometimes, as well as for how, during my long career as an investigative reporter, I never had anything nice to say about anyone.

Clearly, they did not anticipate my responsibilities as a journalist.

As I've grown older, however, I've been more willing to both criticize some people who don't live up to what we collectively deserve, and compliment others, who do deserve not only our respect but our admiration.

Tonight, Michelle Obama gave a great speech, a passionate speech. What Ann Romney could not do, Michelle Obama did do.

I don't know what this means, politically.

But I suspect America does.