Now Cough

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's Biden!

Even though Joe Biden said this earlier this week:

"Hey guys, I'm not the guy." It turns out he IS the guy.

Barack Obama made a good choice, and I'm not saying that just because I am a son of Delaware.

I first met Biden as an incoming freshman. Thousands of us were lined up at the University of Delaware fieldhouse and stadium, waiting to sign up for coveted classes. In the blazing sun, this guy in shirtsleeves and a tie comes down the line quickly shaking hands. I shook his and he moved on and thought "That guy sure looks young."

He was -- only 29, a former elected county official. And his wife, Neilia, so very attractive.

Within weeks he was elected as the youngest US Senator from Delaware. I cast my vote for him, certainly.

And, within weeks she was dead along with his daughter, Naomi. They were killed in a horrible car accident less than a mile from my parent's house (View Larger Map) at a dangerous intersection where a winding, two-lane country road joined a busy four-lane highway. Police at the scene said they knew the victims were members of the Biden family because of all the strewn campaign material found at the scene. His two sons, Beau and Hunter, survived the crash.

If you want a clear picture of Biden as a candidate and senator and flawed person, you won't get a better account than the chapters about him in the masterful What It Takes.

I next saw Biden a couple years later. He was speaking one night on campus at Mitchell Hall, a beautiful theatre. This was when it was still exciting and somewhat cool to go see a US senator speak. I went there with my friend Greg Leute; we sat in the balcony and Biden walked out onto the bare stage alone. And, without notes, he spoke---about the Vietnam War (what we were concerned about), and poverty and Nixon and trust and most importantly, public service. He was about 10 years older than us and that night he owned the venue. At precisely one hour into his talk as he finished, the alarm went off on his watch and everyone laughed. He had timed the talk perfectly.

Greg and I left the speech so inspired and moved. It was really something.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Power Vacuum

The Russians move into Georgia. The bear takes a strong swipe. There are lots of reasons this happened, but one of them is because of Bush's total foreign policy failure.

Troops over-extended in Iraq, not even enough to quell Afghanistan. Global world opinion aligned against the US and this president. Fractured NATO. Weak dollar.

Years of a wayward global strategy has reduced the US to an ineffectual superpower. So, Condi Rice can talk tough (with a quavering voice) and the president can try to sound like he's got his war on, but Putin knows better.

He has Georgia and probably as much of what else he might want and there is nothing the US can do.

Russia has decided to fill a power vacuum. And China and North Korea are watching.

UPDATE 8/24/08 from the LATimes:

...With the U.S. floundering economically and bogged down in two costly wars, Russian officials were confident that it could not and would not come rushing to Georgia's defense with a military intervention, analysts here say. Europe, meanwhile, depends upon Russian oil and gas exports, and was leery of a conflict with Moscow that could further raise fuel prices, they said.

"There is no West anymore. It's eroding and weakening," said Sergei Karaganov of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a Moscow think tank. "We are feeling very strong, and we don't trust anybody. Especially the United States."

Three or four years ago, he said, Russia would have been nervous to hear threats of expulsion from the Group of 8 industrial nations, as Republican presidential candidate John McCain suggested. Now, Karaganov said, many Russians laugh at the notion.

"I mean, who are these nations? Russia is probably stronger than any country in the G-8 except for the United States, and it has more credibility because it hasn't killed hundreds of thousands of people recently," he said. "It has won wars, and the other countries are losing them."

He paused. "There is arrogance in my statements," he said, "but that's the way people see things."

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Muscle Mania

I had a trainer early on who told me all she ate for breakfast and it was intimidating---eggs, fruit, yogurt, milk, cereal, orange juice, water--the list went on and on.

But now that I have been training for about 9 months I understand. This is only a partial display of the foods I eat on the days when I see my personal trainer. Not shown: the water or iced tea I drink, the Advil before the exercise...and the amount of time it takes to make and consume this stuff.

On a typical Saturday I get up and start eating almost immediately: coffee, cereal with fruit, a protein shake (about 2 large glasses) and if there is time, an egg or two with ham and cheese.

When I get home, a special muscle-building protein shake with two bananas and strawberries.