Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why I am Voting for Obama & Biden!!!

I woke up this morning and I was so excited to see that Obama had picked Biden. I had thought that Obama might be best served by picking someone who had Foreign Policy and experience. A face that the average American could related to and be reassured by, and Joe Biden fits that bill!

Earlier this year on July 15th, Joe Biden was speaking at the Center for US Global Engagement, and this is what he had to say:
Biden said of Obama, he

"has the judgment, he has the intellect, which no one doubts, and I guarantee you he has the steel in his spine to lead this country of ours out of the deep hole we have dug ourselves into."

Simultaneously, he criticized Bush and McCain's inability to understand the situation in Iraq.

"President Bush and Sen. McCain lump all the threats together," said Biden. "Al Qaeda, the Shia militia, listen to them speak. Listen to my friend Joe Lieberman, and he really is a friend, listen to them speak. Find me a distinction that they make. As a consequence of this profound confusion they make profound mistakes. The idea that al Qaeda will cooperate with the philistine, a guy who in fact used to run the country in Iraq, the guy who did away with the caliphate... is completely contrary to anything that the now-dead leader of Iraq had in mind. It's dangerous. How can we run a sound foreign policy without understanding these decisions? How can we talk about a Shiite-dominated nation cooperating with a Sunni dominated Wahabi sect of Islam as if they had anything in common? Yet listen to my friends, listen to the president, listen to Joe Lieberman, listen to John McCain. Ladies and gentlemen, if they can't define the enemy we are fighting it is very difficult to define whether we have won or lost."
Here we have two intellectual giants; both Obama and Biden have taught Constitutional Law. We have Obama graduating with honors from Harvard Law, and has taught Law at the University of Chicago. There he has mingled with many of the top University of Chicago Economists, gaining insights about economic policies, theories and what makes pragmatic policy to influence individuals and change. If you think I am referring to Behavioral Economics, then you have hit it on the nail! Economists such as Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein had a profound influence on Obama.

Biden is no light weight either, his experience in the Constitutional law, and his experience as both Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, brings a lot of experience and judgement to the ticket.



As I watch the coverage, I was also struck by what a strong case they make for representing family values. Both candidates are family men, Biden in particular having suffered a tragedy early on in his career, losing his young wife and daughter in a car accident. Biden, rather than living the political life in DC, commuted on the train every day to be with his sons, and later when he remarried with his second wife and daughter. What affected me in particular was the touching scene as Biden said goodbye to his family, where he hugged and kissed his mother goodbye, then did it again after hugging his granddaughters good-bye. Here is a man who really respects and honors his mother, and his family. You can't ask for more than that in a man!

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Why I am Voting for Obama

McCain's House Gaffes continue to be in the news, and already voters are starting to take notice. Obama has taken this to his advantage to drive home McCain's inability to relate to the Average American, and thus McCain's inability to fundamentally understand the problems in the economy.

People will parse the argument that because he is so rich, he doesn't know and shouldn't be expected to know off the top of his head what he owns both in personal and investment properties. If that's their defense, my question is, how can we expect a man who can't even manage his finances to some extent, be able to manage a country? I don't expect McCain to do his taxes, but he should have some understanding of what his net worth is, and how many homes he has. Others will argue, well it's actually Cindy's, on this point, I think the Republicans have no room to argue, as this is EXACTLY the same argument they used to sink John Kerry on Therese Heinz.

Some liberal pundits will argue this is a sign of his age - I don't agree. I think it's more of a lack of ownership of his own finances, and the fact that he is so rich, he doesn't know or need to know. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame him for being rich. Per his point from the Saddleback Forum, many rich people are unhappy. So given how much wealth he and his wife have, he must be one unhappy man.

But that's not the point of my post. It's more to illustrate the point, that John McCain is out of touch with the Average American, and that's just one reason why I can't cast my vote him. But this isn't the only reason, and there is hard data and arguments to support my point.

I'll be honest with you, for most of my life I have voted Democrat, initially because my parents were democrats, but more recently because of both the micro and macro issues we face. In particular, with the past 8 years, the country has been going in a very wrong and dangerous direction. Recently, an acquaintance of mine has challenged me on why I should vote for Barack Obama. I think that's a fair question, as much as I doubt what the average American knows (this is from reading up on the Pew Research on Media Matters), do I know exactly why I am voting for Obama? I have several concerns on the direction of our Country, and I feel that Obama is our best solution.

Our Foreign Policy is in disarray, and we are in danger of losing not only the principles for which America has stood for, but our inability to influence the international community. The War in Iraq was a mistake, and has not made American safer. Rather it has made us more at risk with our foreign, military, and economic policies compromised.

On the state of America's Economy, we have seen such a reversal in our progress, with the gap between the rich and the poor growing so significantly, that you'll find that Robert Rubin, the Chief Economist under the Clinton Administration who felt that free market policies were more important than class differences, is reversing his position.

Why should we care? The economy's ability to grow is based on organic growth of goods and services, produced and sold. When you have 80% of the population unable to buy with out using credit, and a lack of real savings increasing in the US Economy, you get a double whammy. Manufacturers, Retailers, and Service Providers see a drop in sales and profit. This then leads to a scenario where we see unemployment increasing or jobs being sent overseas with companies trying to cope with rising costs and maximize what profit they can. Given the lack of organic growth, and in trying to meet Wall St expectations, the first big win corporations can make is to reduce cost, and labor accounts for a large percentage of costs. With unemployment on the rise, people can afford less, and thus we have a vicious downward spiral. With less ability to save, we have less going into investments, which could help expand the economy.

Then we have the Federal Deficit, which poses a problem not only on our ability to be flexible in applying appropriate Fiscal and monetary policy, but it causes a national security risk, and a very precarious situation with the value of the dollar. We have all experienced the devastating affect of the rapid fall of the dollar, with the price of Oil skyrocketing. Currently under the Bush administration, we have the largest percentage of debt being owned by FOREIGN NATIONAL INTERESTS.

The deficit has ballooned due to the irresponsible Tax cuts and the Iraq War. Some of you may scoff and say they like having tax cuts - I won't disagree with you. So how did that $600 tax credit work for you? Under the Bush Administration, the tax policies put in place has benefited the top percentage of earners MORE than the middle and upper middle class.

According to the Center for Tax Policies, with data from the CBO and the Brookings Tax Policy Center,

    • The Bush tax cuts have contributed to revenues dropping in 2004 to the
      lowest level as a share of the economy since 1950, and have been a major
      contributor to the dramatic shift from large projected budget surpluses to
      projected deficits as far as the eye can see.

    • The tax cuts have conferred the most benefits, by far, on the highest-income
      households — those least in need of additional resources — at a time when income
      already is exceptionally concentrated at the top of the income spectrum.

    • The design of these tax cuts was ill-conceived, resulting in significantly
      less economic stimulus than could have been accomplished for the same budgetary
      cost. In part because the tax cuts were not as effective as alternative
      measures would have been, job creation during this recovery has been notably
      worse than in any other recovery since the end of World War II.

Based on this, those earning more than $1 Million garnered 15% of the tax cut benefits, and the top 1% received on average $34,992 in tax cuts. But at what cost?

Why am I so focused on the Bush Administration? Because McCain would continue the same bad policies.

While the right wing attack machine is eager to paint Obama as a traditional tax & spend democrat, a socialist, and near communist, the truth behind Obama is more complex then the what the average American can imagine. This is what the Republicans are hoping to bank on, as they run negative ads and false facts about Obama and his economic plan, they are gambling that most Americans will not invest the time to really understand the complexities and investigate the facts.

I don't give Obama a free pass either, unfortunately, given the level of negative campaigning, Obama has had no choice but to run harsh ads as well at McCain. But if you compare the percentage of campaign funds on negative advertisements vs. their own messages, McCain spends a disproportionate amount of time and campaign funds attacking Obama, and less on the realities of what he brings to the table. This should tell you that McCain's platform is SO weak, he can't even convince the American Voter to select him as President on what his policies will accomplish. When he's not attacking Obama, his constant message is "Surge worked", "Drill here - Drill Now", "I want to give Tax Cuts", and "I know how to win wars".

Both have taken liberties on their advertisements, but when you check with, you will find McCain is more labeled with "Liar Liar Pants on Fire" than Obama.

Furthermore, Obama has had to reassess his opinion on Offshore Drilling. It was clear he hated to do it, and he made it as a very limited concession. It's difficult to maintain your position when 72% of Americans are in favor of Offshore Drilling, even when you know this is only a gimmick, and not a real solution.

In the next week, I am going to explore in more detail on the following issues that I think are important, and validate for myself why I should vote for Barack Obama.

  1. Economy - as they say "It's the Economy Stupid!"
  2. Tax Cuts - Comparison of McCain vs Obama
  3. Iraq War
  4. Foreign Policy
  5. Domestic Policy & Constitutional
  6. Health Care
  7. Cultural America - Immigration, Religion, & Abortion
  8. Environment

We are truly at a cross roads- not only in our American History, but in our World History, and the decision we make will have such a far reaching impact for not only ourselves, but our children.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Time out for Humor

Today there was a barrage of back and forth sniping between all kinds of people.

Between McCain and Obama, with Obama hitting at McCain for not knowing how many homes he has, and a McCain Spokesperson defending McCain with the argument that he was a POW for 5 years living in only a small room.

The McCain campaign was in full damage-control mode as the housing story took off today. Rogers tried to play down the story, saying that reports of the many McCain houses were overstated. He also added: "This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison," referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War.

Again the reference of POW as a defence...McCain is milking this for all he can. I would propose a weight loss program - as opposed to a drinking game - every time someone references McCain's POW record, we should get down and do 10 push-ups and 25 sit-ups.

Seriously, it's interesting, you hear individuals highlighted for being a hero, they are always modest. They disclaim any favoritism, and they downplay their actions, usually saying to the effect "it was the right thing to do". I always had the impression before with the McCain of 2000 that he was relatively quiet about his POW experience, but it seems not to be the case for McCain of 2008. It's almost as if he is using his POW record as a currency, and in that case, it's sad because it devalues what he has done and suffered.

Then there was the usual drama about Hillary & Bill Clinton and her supporters: are they really ready to support the party? There's been a lot of talk about Bill Clinton, and whether he is over the Clinton backlash during the primaries. Some speculate that he is still feeling betrayed for the attacks on his legacy as the first "black" President. People look to put Hillary and Obama under a microscope for proof of discord - certainly their primary was a contentious and tough battle.

Hurt feelings abound these days, people are so quick to take offence, to feel married to their principles without giving an inch lest they appear weak.

This is true within our general American population, this country is so divided as never before. Are we in danger of being close to the point of not being able to be respect one another's opinion; to listen instead of shout; to put someone else first before ourselves?

I hope not. I think we all need to take a time out for humor.

Life is complex, relationships are hard work these days, and maybe sometimes we need to take ourselves less seriously like Matt and Al.

For me personally, today, it seems I am in desperate need for something to laugh about.

I think this video clip of Matt Lauer and Al Roker can bring a smile to any one's face.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jon Stewart - America's anchorman

I just read the other day that Jon Stewart, the host of the Daily Show ranks 4th among Americans as a News Anchor that they most admire. It’s pretty amazing, given the fact that he hosts a fake News Program.

This was also pretty interesting to the Pew Research Organization, so they set about to study the “Daily Show” for one year.

According to their findings:

“The program also makes heavy use of news footage, often in a documentary way
that employs archival video to show contrast and contradiction, even if the purpose is satirical rather than reportorial….In addition, "The Daily Show" not only assumes, but even requires, previous and significant knowledge of the news on the part of viewers if they want to get the joke. And, in 2007 at least, the joke was more often on the Bush administration and its fellow Republicans than on those from the liberal side of the aisle.”

“In its choice of topics, its use of news footage to deconstruct the manipulations by public figures and its tendency toward pointed satire over playing just for laughs, The Daily Show" performs a function that is close to journalistic in nature -- getting people to think critically about the public square. In that sense, it is a variation of the addition of Russell Baker, Art Hoppe, Art Buchwald, H.L. Mencken and other satirists who once graced the pages of American newspapers.”
For a good example of this, check out this recent episode, where John Stewart makes fun of the Offshore Drilling Issue. The funniest part is where you see McCain surrogates making claims that keep reducing the time that we would get relief at the Gas Pumps from OffShore drilling. He does this by using actual footage of what was said, and not just opinion. But lest you think this is a stacked deck against Republicans, Obama is not offlimits to Jon's tongue-in-cheek humor. Though there certainly seems to be more material to make fun of with McCain.

If you want to know more about the Pew research on the Daily Show, check out their website. I thought it was pretty enlightening!
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Question of Patriotism

What is it with extreme right wing conservatives who believe that they have the market cornered on Patriotism? I have to say this is one of the most frustrating and negative tactics that increasingly enter our political landscape.

Obama gave a speech today at the VFW Forum in Orlando, Florida, where he was adamant about not questioning McCain’s patriotism or his motives, and that he is looking for the same courtesy from McCain.

But one of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can't disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism. I have never suggested that Senator McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interest. Now, it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same.

Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country. I love America, so do you, and so does John McCain. When I look out at this audience, I see people of different political views. You are Democrats and Republicans and Independents. But you all served together, and fought together, and bled together under the same proud flag. You did not serve a Red America or a Blue America -- you served the United States of America.

So let's have a serious debate, and let's debate our disagreements on the merits of policy -- not personal attacks. And no matter how heated it gets or what kind of campaign he chooses to run, I will honor Senator McCain's service, just like I honor the service of every veteran in this room, and every American who has worn the
uniform of the United States.

McCain and his surrogates have been very snide with their innuendos that Obama is being presumptuous (read “uppity”), ambitious, and willing to lose a war to win an election. If you’re willing to lose the war, it implies treason which makes you un-patriotic, so I don’t buy any claims from McCain and his surrogates that, that’s not what they were doing. Moreover, it is still a pervasive stereotype that anyone who has a “liberal” point of view or anyone who criticizes Bush or McCain, a POW, is an anti-American, a terrorist supporter, hates America, is a coward, etc.

Today, I read two articles written by Philip Butler, a POW and Naval Academy classmate of John McCain, and a blog by John Cafferty on CNN, and the responses their opinions generated.,15202,164859_1,00.html

Typically, all negative comments were accusing the authors of their lack of patriotism or *gasp - horror of horrors * of being a liberal. Why is it that Mr. Butler, who was a POW with McCain in the same location, but for longer, is being maligned, yet McCain who glorifies war and toughness is held up as a hero? Moreover, to paint Cafferty as drinking the liberal “Kool-Aid”, is just plain silly. I tend to think of John Cafferty, as a curmudgeonly commentator, a middle of the road, common sense guy – certainly no one who can be accused of being a liberal.

Our democracy and freedom should mean that we as Americans have a right to express our own opinions, without being maligned on our patriotism. I mean isn’t that one of the benefits the Bush administration is touting for why we invaded Iraq and got rid of Saddam? That the Iraqi people were living in tyranny, unable to voice opposition to Saddam without fear of being arrested or worse - sentenced to death?

I am not naïve to think that every international situation can be resolved peacefully. During the Saddleback Forum, both McCain and Obama were asked is there evil in the world and what should be done about it. Both candidates professed that they did believe in the existence of evil. I also believe that there is evil in the world.

People question why do bad things happen…how can God let the atrocities occur? My opinion is that God doesn’t let these things happen, people themselves cause them. God gives us the free will to do what we want. It is up to the individual how that free will is exercised. As to what can be done about it? Well, Obama was right, we need to confront it. McCain was wrong, we can’t defeat it - only God can truly defeat evil (again my personal view). Evil doesn’t end with just one war. McCain’s comment is very arrogant from a Christian point of view.

So yes, I do think there are certain situations where force is required. But War is not glorious. It asks a heavy sacrifice on our soldiers, as can be attested by the loss of life, limb, high case of PTSD and suicides. It causes just as heavy a toll in civilian populations, and it causes economic destruction. It’s been 5 years, and Iraq’s economy is still in shambles. This lack of financial stability is so crucial to getting Iraq on it's feet, and reducing our national security risk.

This is why we have to be judicious about bringing the case for War. Unfortunately, we are in danger of being “bullied” by neo-cons and extreme right wing conservatives, that anyone who opposes war is a coward, un-American, and not a true patriot.

During the Nuremburg Trials, the Nazi Leader Hermann Goering was interviewed by Gustave Gilbert, an Intelligence officer and Psychologist. There is a very enlightening conversation in Gilbert's book 'Nuremberg Diary’ from April 18, 1946,

Goering: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

So if we were to take a feather from the Republican Neo-con playbook, are we to infer that Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the neocon gang are being un-American and using Nazi tactics??

By the way, anyone else getting irritated with McCain’s annoying boast “I know how to win wars”? He says it every chance he has, almost as much as he mentions the “surge worked”. If he knows how to win wars, why didn’t he share his wisdom with Rumsfeld or Bush?

Note: With regards to the surge, I find it amazing that McCain constantly gets the timing of the surge and the Anbar Awakening mixed up, and the fact that he has not been honest with what the surge really accomplished. But the public opinon is still that he is a Foreign Policy Expert. A majority of the public is not aware that a significant contributing factor, for why we are able to keep the insurgency down, is due to the fact that we are PAYING Iraqi’s not to be insurgents. Essentially paying them a bribe not to rise up against our Troops. Talk about the ultimate welfare program! Although, there will be some Iraqi’s whose hatred of the “occupiers” and their own sense of nationalism is more important than any money they receive to feed their families. It was the fact that Iraqi's were getting tired of being terrorized in their own neighborhoods by Al Qaeda, that led to such events as the Anbar Awakening and the Sunni re-engagement. This all happened BEFORE the SURGE!! McCain keeps harping that it was the surge that led to the Anbar Awakening, and the reduction of violence.

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Kennebunkport Find

If you ever think of Kennebunkport, Maine, inevitably the first thought that comes to mind is "Bush family retreat". But I recently tried a restaurant, that I think puts Kennebunkport on the map, and gives visitors to Maine another reason to visit this coastal town.

I was recently there a couple weeks ago, and found a really charming Italian Bistro.
It's called Grissini's Italian Bistro, and the setting was really perfect for a casual (in the Maine proper sense) evening. The atmosphere was very convivial, with a downstairs bar and additional seating for those looking for a more casual "en famille" seating.

The menu was pretty extensive and provided a plethora of culinary delights ranging from an array of traditional pastas to savory grills. I would definitely recommend it to anyone ever wandering in Kennebunkport as a "must" for dinner! Maybe I should tell Giada about this???
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Faith and Politics Part 2: Cone-gate

All the blogosphere was caught up today on a comment that Andrea Mitchell made on "MTP", where there were some allegations that McCain may not have been in the "Cone of Silence" as Pastor Rick Warren had stated as part of the forum set up. Interestingly, McCain's camp immediately fired off a letter to NBC Executive Steve Capus complaining of partisian politics.

In addition McCain's camp made a statement of outrage Nicolle Wallace, a spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, said on Sunday night that Mr. McCain had not heard the broadcast of the event while in his motorcade and heard none of the questions.
“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Ms. Wallace said.

I find it interesting that their extra defense is that "McCain is a former POW". Again they use that as a shield, as if John McCain is excused from any and all future wrong doing. No one can deny that he served his country honorable. This is not to take away from the time that he has served as a POW, but what does that have to do with his infallibility as a man?? He even admitted that he has been a very imperfect man. This is a man who is reverting to using negative campaign tactics used by Rove's proteges to win an election. These are the same people who smeared his honor and spread rumors about his adopted daughter Bridget in the 2004 Election campaign.

From my point of view, his moral values do come into play. We are talking about a man who cheated on his wife, and quickly divorced her upon his return from the Vietnam War, to marry a much younger, wealthy heiress. He made a vow to God - for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and quite frankly, he broke it. Oh but that's right, according to Hannity (and the rest of the crazy people at Fox news), it's all justified because he was a POW. He was allowed to cheat and abandon his disabled wife who, before her debilitating car accident, was a model. Because she had gained weight, he deserves a "hot" wife after nearly 5 years as a POW.

This type of allegation, on whether he was fed some advance intelligence, will be very difficult to prove, and could backfire as "sour grapes" for the Obama supporters. However, what is not in question is that McCain was on his way to the event, and not in the "cone of silence" as was suggested. He was in a motorcade and arrived 30 minutes prior to when he was supposed to go on. I think what has everyone talking are two specific examples where McCain jumped to answer the question - BEFORE Warren even has a chance to ask what those questions are...

REV. WARREN: All right, let's go into the tough ones. That was just (opening ?). Let's deal with abortion. I, as a pastor, have to deal with this all the time -- every different angle, every different pain, all the decisions and all of that. Forty million abortions since Roe v. Wade. Some people -- people who believe that life begins at conception would say that's a holocaust for many people. What point is a baby entitled to human rights?
SEN. MCCAIN: At the moment of conception. (Cheers, applause.) I have a 25-year pro-life record in the Congress, in the Senate. And as president of the United States, I will be a pro-life president and this presidency will have pro-life policies. (Cheers,
applause.) That's my commitment. That's my commitment to you.
REV. WARREN: Okay. We don't have to go longer on that one. (Laughter.)
Define marriage.
SEN. MCCAIN: A union -- a union between man and woman, between one
man and one woman. That's my definition of marriage. (Applause.)

Are we going to get back to the importance of Supreme Court justices, or should I mention it?
REV. WARREN: We will get to that.
SEN. MCCAIN: Okay. All right. (Laughter.) Okay.
REV. WARREN: Man, you're jumping ahead. You know all my questions.

REV. WARREN: All right, let's talk about education. America ranks 19th in high school graduations, but we're first in incarcerations. Everybody says they want more accountability in schools. About 80 percent of America says they support merit pay for the best teachers. Now, I don't want to hear your stump speech on education.

SEN. MCCAIN: Yes, yes, and find bad -- (laughter) -- find bad teachers another line of work. (Laughter, applause.)
REV. WARREN: You know, we're going to end this -- you're answering
so quickly.

The question that was put to Obama earlier was 1) Do you think better teachers should be paid better, 2) Should they be paid more than poor teachers...which is what McCain's "yes. yes..." answers were responding to, so how did McCain know to answer that way without hearing Warren's questions???

REV. WARREN: Okay, let's go to education. America right now ranks 19th in
high school graduations. We're first in incarcerations.
SEN. OBAMA: Not good.
REV. WARREN: Not good. Eighty percent of Americans, a recent poll said
they believe in merit pay for teachers. Now, I'm not asking do you think all
teachers should get a raise. Do you think better teachers should be paid better, they should be paid more than poor teachers?
SEN. OBAMA: I think that we should, and I've said this publicly, that we should set up a system of performance pay for teachers, negotiated with teachers, worked with the teachers to figure out the assessments so that they feel like they're being judged
fairly, that it's not at the whim of the principal, that it's not simply based
on a single high-stakes standardized test. But the basic notion that teaching is
a profession, that teachers are underpaid so we need to pay them all more and
create a higher baseline, but then we should also reward excellence. I think
that is a concept that all of us should invest in. (Applause.)

But it seems that McCain's problems are not just limited to whether or not he was truly in a cone of silence or whether he had some advantage on knowing what the questions were in advance. The other hot topic that came up was whether or not one of the POW stories that McCain shared, where McCain relates that there was a guard who formed a cross in the dirt to secretly share that he was a Christian, was plagerized. The question came up, as McCain had not previously told this story until his 1999 memoir was published (all his earlier memoirs, including the personal account he wrote for US News & World Report in the mid 70s did not mention this incident).

The reason for the whispers is due to the fact that it seemed awfully similar to the passage in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's book "The Gulag Archipelago ". One other additional point of interest are the recent claims where McCain has professed his admiration for Solzhenitsyn and his works.

This is not the first time that McCain is being accused of "plagerism", for when the initial incidents with Georgia and Russia came out, McCain immediately seized the moment to make a statement to show his Foreign Policy prowess (even before Bush had a chance to make a statement), and ended up giving a history lesson on Georgia, in his press conference, that appeared to be remarkably similar to the explanations about Georgian from Wikipedia. Here I suspect that McCain didn't purposely plagerize, he was just unfortunate to have a lazy campaign writer who probably didn't know enough about the Georgia history and conflict with Russia.

All in all, this is going to most likely stay in the blogosphere, with the divided opinions between the left and the right. The right feeling injured and angry that McCain is being demonized, and the left feeling fustrated that again McCain is getting a free pass on incidents that Obama would not have been let off the hook for.

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