Archive | September, 2008
September 11, 2008

I’ve lived in Russia. Can I be Secretary of State?

Trust me, I’ll be eminently more qualified that Sarah Palin on anything having to do with foreign affairs.
This is one of the worst talking points I’ve ever seen. It’s from a recent interview with McCain:

Q: Well, you say you’re sure that she has the experience, but again, I’m just asking for an example. What experience does she have in the field of national security?

McCain: Energy. She knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America. She’s a governor of a state where 20% of America’s energy supply comes from there. And we all know that energy is a critical and vital national security issue. We’ve got to stop sending $700 billion of American money to countries that don’t like us very much. She’s very well versed on that issue. And, uh, she also happens to represent, be governor of a state that’s right next to Russia. She understands Russia.

Now, let’s ignore McCain’s ridiculous assertion that Palin knows more about energy than anyone else in the good ol’ US of A (I mean, really, what?!) and take another look at the last sentence of his statement. Apparently, because Palin is Governor of Alaska, and Alaska is separated from Russia by the Bering Strait, this somehow translates into Palin understanding Russia, and thus having national security experience. Never mind the fact that Palin has never actually been to Russia, and didn’t even get her first passport until 2007. I’ve been unable to ascertain whether Palin took any elective courses in Russian language, history, literature, or politics at any of the four colleges she attended while pursuing a degree in communications. But this does not matter, because McCain has assured us that Palin “understands” Russia, something that very few people, whether scholars or government officials, can claim to do (in fact, it brings to mind a certain quote by Winston Churchill). Dude, I have a Master’s degree in Russian & Post-Soviet Studies, have traveled throughout the former Soviet Union, and even I would never claim that I totally comprehend what Putin & Company are doing over there in Moscow.

But this wasn’t the first time that the McCain campaign used this talking point. Cindy McCain had this to say when George Stephanopoulos claimed that Palin had no security experience:

C. MCCAIN: You know, she — the experience that she comes from is with what she’s done in the government.

And, also, remember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. So it’s not as if she doesn’t understand what’s at stake here.

I think my brain just exploded.

September 2, 2008

OBX: Cape Hatteras National Seashore

On Monday morning I drove down to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, about 60 miles south of our hotel in Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The surf in KDH had been rather disappointing (completely flat on Saturday, and blown out and choppy on Sunday) so I was hoping that Hatteras would offer something better. As it turned out, that wasn’t the case, but I didn’t mind, because it was absolutely beautiful down there.

The Cape Hatteras Light, built in 1870, is the tallest lighthouse in the United States. The lighthouse was moved inland several years ago due to erosion of the shoreline at its original site.

More on the actual trip later…