McCain Speech

So I just finished watching John McCain's live speech on foreign policy from the University of Dallas. My general reaction is that it shows that McCain is a much more complicated, mature candidate than most voters and pundits give him credit for. He's more than the stupid, evasive response- "just four more years of failed Bush policy"- that liberals like Howard Dean love to spew after a being challenged by McCain on a particular issue.

In the speech he focused mainly on nuclear proliferation issues. In doing this, he brings up an important political issue that doesn't claim much of the spot light. It also makes him appear as a first-mover on pertinent foreign policy issues, which goes against Obama and the media's portrayal of McCain as a relic and puts the spotlight on Obama's foreign policy inexperience.

Ironically, the speech turned out to be more of an anti-war speech- another move that is sure to complicate the liberal attacks in the general election. He spoke about the grave dangers of nuclear weapons and bluntly stated that as one of the two greatest nuclear powers in the world we have the greatest responsibility to reduce the number of nukes. He issued a strong call for Russia (the other nuclear powerhouse) to join in talks with the United States to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, halt production of most new nuclear weapons, and create a more transparent monitoring and transportation system to ensure the safety of the world.

Specifically, he says that he will halt the production of a new nuclear weapon that is being built here in the US. Apparently this weapon has the ability to blast through 1,000 feet of rock to reach deeply buried caves and fortresses that I assume are used in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. McCain strongly believes that this weapon serves no feasible purpose and will only heighten the arms race. Also, he brought up the fact that nuclear power is indeed good for the earth and should be encouraged both in the US and abroad, as long as it is handled in a safe, non-military way. He mentioned that some sort of world watchdog group should be formed to continually monitor these nuclear activities in countries that agree and are allowed to use such nuclear power to avoid situations like Iran, which was harshly criticized by the UN today for evading UN nuclear inspectors (no surprise there).

Also, given that the speech was held at a liberal college campus, it was only a matter of time before the hippies jumped in to cause some sort of disruption. McCain's speech was halted three separate times while security guards removed these screaming crazies from the premises. He kindly invited them to tomorrow's town-hall styled meeting where he would be more than happy to have a civilized debate with them (which might be impossible, as I doubt these people are very civilized) and reminded the audience how rude such actions are. The second time, he forcefully replied to the protestor that he will never back down in Iraq and that our soldiers will come home with their honor and victory. I'm glad he didn't allow himself to get pushed around by these idiots. I hope someday when they're older (and less interesting in being radical liberal college students) they look back and realize how foolish they make themselves look in such situations. In the mean time though, I'm sure they'll all be high from their experience at the speech (among other things). Man, they sure showed him! There's nothing like yelling and screaming at an American war hero...
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More

Our first weekend has come to an end and I'm trying to get back into school-mode for class early tomorrow morning. Since my last post we've had a number of new speakers and explored the city a bit more.

On Friday morning we got up and went to class like it was a normal school day to see a young MBA student teach us about Feng Shui, which is the Chinese way of organizing your home and office that hoity toity Americans do these days. It was interesting, though I don't buy any of it. Apparently you're doomed if you position yourself across from a 90 degree angle at any time. I'll pass on losing sleep over my 90 degree angles. Then directly after that we had a presentation on living and working in Hong Kong, where the speaker pretty much told us that Hong Kong workers work the longest hours, have their dollars stretched the thinnest, produce the fewest children, inhale the most pollution, and are constantly threatened by an incompetent government and China. I'll pass on that as well :). After heading back to the hotel to do some research for our term projects we went to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which would have been a lot more interesting had the presenter known how to do a proper Powerpoint presentation. Instead she dragged on for almost two hours in a stifling hot room and lost most of our focus. The subject is interesting, though. In the 1970s and 1980s Hong Kong used to be a city totally ruled by corruption. It was a place where to receive any sort of medical or police help you had to pay someone off and a place where all business deals were greased. Through strict enforcement and education by the ICAC, though, Hong Kong has now become remarkably un-corrupt. It was ranked the 2nd least corrupt city in Asia last year, behind Singapore. After that, we moved out of downtown on our way to one of the best experiences of the trip so far...

Before dusk we took the famous Victoria's Peak tram up a steep mountain to a position that gave us an unbelievable bird's eye view of the city. Atop the peak there is a huge shopping mall full of restaurants (even restaurants that have American license plates!) where we ate and shopped for souvenirs a bit. After dusk fell we went to a clear viewing site and just relaxed in the beautiful weather, took pictures, and admired the view of the dark city lit by millions of colored florescent lights. Check out the pictures under the "my pictures" tab to see what I'm talking about. On the train ride home we also ran into a creepy, drunk, self-important British professor from a university here in Hong Kong who thought we were crazy for not wanting his business card. All he could talk about was how he came here to "chase some skirt" and hasn't left for 20 years. I'm now convinced that all the older, white men in this part of the world are perverts. Anyways, we went home after that and just crashed.

On Saturday morning we woke up early to get a Tai Chi lesson from the same guy who taught us about Feng Shui. Every morning you can see hundreds of Honkies, ranging from young to elderly, doing Tai Chi along the waterfront behind our hotel. I was amazed the other day to find out that the average lifespan for a Hong Kong woman is 85.4 years! The book I was reading attributed this partly to exercises like Tai Chi that a huge portion of the population takes part in every day. After Tai Chi I went back to my room and took a glorious four hour nap.

Waking up motivated, I decided to do a little exploring on my own. I walked out of the hotel door and stumbled into the shuttle that takes guests to Tsim Tsa Tsui, which is a busy downtown area. With no particular destination in mind, I hopped aboard. I then wandered down towards the water front (no surprise there) and found that a harbor-tour ferry was leaving in eight minutes! I quickly bought a ticket and hopped aboard the Star Ferry. After the boat made a quick trip across the harbor and then back to port, I realized that I had of course hopped on the wrong boat. Doh! Well, the tour cost HK$50, so there was no way I was putting that ticket to waste. So, I hung around for another 45 minutes until the next ferry took off. The later ride was just before dusk. It was a nice ride through a crowded Victoria Harbor, though I wish the boat had gone a little deeper into the harbor. I then hopped off at around 7 PM and faced my next debacle: how to get home.

I then saw a bunch of people running towards a bus at the bus station across the street. I saw the bus that everyone was madly running to said something in Chinese (which might as well have been Jibberish to me) and ended in the word "Estate". Remembering that there was a bus stop ending in the word "Estate" near my hotel, I got caught up in the craze and bolted for the bus. I sat down and immediately said to myself, "Well, that was dumb". Sure enough, it was. The bus took me about an hour into suburban Hong Kong, far from anywhere I had ever been before. I ended up just completing the loop after realizing I was totally lost and ended up right back where I started two hours later. I then took the MTR (HK's version of the T or Metro) back to the hotel, which is what I should have done in the first place. Oh well, it was an adventure. That night we went out to a festival in Long Kwai Fong, which was pretty fun.

This morning myself and a few others ventured out to go to mass in Hong Kong. We ended up at St. Benedict's in Sha Tin. The mass was pretty similar to mass back home, since we picked the one that was in English (though the priest didn't speak very good English. I think he was from Italy). Here they don't shake hands for peace (they bow slightly) and they dip the Bread in the Wine during communion. I'm guessing these are a result of the SARS scare a few years ago. I'm also pretty sure that I accidentally donated my room key to the collection basket with the change in my pocket. Not looking forward to that HK$200 fine! After mass we went to Pizza Hut in the mall across the street. It's funny that in Hong Kong Pizza Hut is positioned as a luxurious place to eat. We had to wait almost half an hour for a table (a table with a table cloth and fancy chairs). The decor is all new and the menu is much, much larger than that in the U.S. But, there was a bit of a language barrier when ordered, so my order of a sausage deep-dish pizza with marinara sauce somehow arrived as as deep-dish pizza with Thousand Island sauce (yes, Thousand Island dressing) with sausage, chicken, pineapple, and mushroom toppings. Surprisingly it didn't taste that bad. It was also funny that they had a pizza called the Adventurous American, which included sausage, pepperoni, and corn. Apparently they think Americans like corn on their pizza.

When we got back from lunch we went to my first horse race! We caught the last three races of the day. It was pretty cool. There were probably about 10,000 people in the stadium on one side of the huge racing track. I won HK$125 on the first race when my pick, horse #1, came in first. Great start! Of course, I lost the next two races. But, I ended the day up $25. Not too shabby for my first horse race!

Now we're all just laying around. I'm going to go for a run, do some reading, and head to bed early so I'm not too tired this week. Anyone have any book suggestions for me? I just finished John McCain's
Faith of My Fathers. I highly recommend it to anyone. After reading it, I don't know how anyone could not vote for him, regardless of some political disagreements (of which I have quite a few).

Happy Memorial Day to all back home! Enjoy the long weekend.

Pictures from the first week of Hong Kong will be up later tonight, so check those out too.
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Update

So we just finished our first week of classes here at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Aside from classes we had two speakers/site visits this week. On Tuesday we met with the General Director of InvestHK, a government entity that seeks to attract financial and capital investment in Hong Kong. From the board room of a beautiful skyscraper looking out over Hong Kong's harbor the director spoke to us about the intertwined history of China and Hong Kong and how Hong Kong has evolved as a world-class business center for Western companies. We also learned that Hong Kong's fierce rival for investment is Singapore, which the director claims offers similar, but not quite as good investment opportunities with better marketing and advertising. The meeting lasted about an hour and after that we ventured to Stanley Market.

The trip to Stanley Market was probably the best part of the evening. We trekked for over half an hour on the city double-decker bus through the Repulse Bay community, which is situated on a high mountain overlooking the city and bay. Skyscrapers tower in a seemingly perilous manner surrounded by dense trees and forest, looking like they'll blow over with the slightest blow of wind from a typhoon. There are also a lot of imperial-looking mansions overlooking the bay, complete with Rolls Royces parked in the driveways (Hong Kong has the highest Rolls Royce per capita in the world, interestingly). The Stanley Market reminded me of the Mexican markets from Tiajuana where shopkeepers sell cheap goods mainly aimed at tourists (though I did find a pretty sweet pair of foul-weather rain pants that I'll use for work this summer). The market was pretty dead, though, because of the rainy weather. We then all ate dinner at a wharf that was just a tourist trap full of expensive Western restaurants (though I thoroughly enjoyed my BBQ ribs and fries, even if it cost me over 20 bucks).

After class on Wednesday we took a bus to the Hong Kong Jockey Club where we heard Susan Tang, the PR Director, discuss the history of the prestigious club and its role with the horse events for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which are being held in Hong Kong. The Club is an intriguing place. It was created to combat illegal gambling a few decades ago and currently exists as the only legalized method of gambling in Hong Kong. Interestingly, it is a not-for-profit organization that donates hundreds of millions of (HK) dollars back into the community each year for various athletic, health, and environmental projects. It also supplies 8.5% of all of Hong Kong's tax revenues- a gigantic percent for one organization. The group prides itself on its spotless reputation and its intense pursuit of fair horse racing, from all sorts of drug testing to intense camera monitoring of races. It has helped to fund the stadium that the Olympic horse races will take place in later this summer. The horse races that we were supposed to see after the meeting had been cancelled earlier in the week because of the 3 day morning period set by the government for the Chinese earthquake victims. Unfortunately, we had to attend the meeting with a bunch of University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business MBA students who, yes, are just as obnoxious and arrogant as you would expect them to be. Yuck.

We then went back to Tsim Tsa Sui to see the waterfront at night, which is incredibly lit up by thousands of different colored lights and signs. We ate dinner at a British pub. I think all non-Chinese food here is expensive. I guess its wisely targeted at desperate Americans like myself who will do almost anything for meat, dairy, fully-cooked, bone-free food. I paid HK$120 (about $15) for a huge BBQ (if you can't tell already...I really like BBQ) bacon cheeseburger. I think I threw the waiters for a loop when I asked for American instead of Swiss cheese. It must not be called American cheese outside of the good 'ol USA. I don't know what I got on the burger, but it sure wasn't American.

Today we just had class in the morning with a new professor, Professor Lau. He's pretty hilarious and class should be okay for the remainder of the trip. It was really the first day without any other speaking/travel activities planned, so most of us have just been laying around and resting this afternoon.

We have Tai Chi tomorrow morning and then I'm sure we'll find some tourist things to do over the weekend. We still have to see the Giant Buddha and I've heard the islands off the coast of HK are really nice. And we're in the process of planning a weekend trip to Phuket, Thailand for an upcoming weekend.

Hope all is well back home in the USA and that everyone is having a good summer. Send me an email (dee7@georgetown.edu) to let me know how home is!
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Hong Kong

So today marks our second full day in Hong Kong. We started class bright and early this morning at 8 AM with strategic management. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is about 45 minutes away from our hotel and we get there by either the hotel bus or a public bus.

Once we arrived in Hong Kong we settled into the Horizon Hotel and Suites, which is an extended-stay hotel. The rooms are pretty awesome- two bedrooms, a kitchen, and living room that overlooks the huge pool and ocean. After unpacking we went to a nearby mall in search of food. Matt and I gave up on finding a decent restaurant, so ended up grocery shopping and bought some white bread (their loaves are tiny), Skippy peanut butter, and Smuckers strawberry jelly. Grape jelly is nowhere to be seen in any grocery store here. I'll have to find out why. Since then, I've been averaging at least 2 PB&J's a day. Who would've thought PB&J could be so good?

The next morning we settled in and most people got SIM cards or new phones. After that we took the hotel shuttle to the downtown harbor area, which was amazing. The pictures I'll post soon will do a better job explaining it than I can, but it's pretty much a zoo with unlimited shops and neon signs hanging over and across all the streets. First myself and a bunch of other guys stopped at a McDonald's, which also never tasted so good. For some reason "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" was playing while we were eating our food, which was pretty humorous. We walked down to the water front and saw a cruise ship that had just arrived and looked across the bay to the business hub of the city. Almost every square inch of the city is covered by incredibly high skyscrapers. In the business section across the bay the names and logos of American companies are emblazoned across the tops of all the towers. It sort of looks like a big Lego city. We then took the bus home and went to our first official Hong Kong meeting with the program director and two professors who went over the class materials and schedules.

After that we went out that night to Long Fai Kwan (no idea how to spell that), which is the nightlife part of the city. It's chock full of all sorts of bars and restaurants from every culture you can imagine. It's definitely where I'll be going if I'm craving non-Asian food other than McDonald's. There's Irish pubs (I'll eventually make my way to the Dublin Jack, a pub that Mrs. O' recommended to me), Mexican restaurants, Jamaican bars, and everything else. My other roommate David turned out to know the owner of one of the restaurants, so the whole group of us was treated to much appreciated free food and drink. It's crazy that people even have connections like that all the way across the world.

And that brings me to today, where we just had a tour of CUHK, our first class, and a computer lab session. We're all unwinding now and getting ready to go out to dinner around the corner later on.

Hong Kong couldn't be more different from Beijing. It was a British colony until 1997 and currently exists as a "Special Administrative Region" of China, which pretty much means that China owns it, but doesn't control much of what goes on there. That is pretty apparent from seeing daily life. Honkies (Hong Kong residents- not sure if that's derogatory, but thats what people say) elect their leaders democratically and aren't censored in their speech like their Chinese neighbors are. They also speak Cantonese (and English, mostly) instead of Mandarin.

One of the things that I first noticed upon arrival is that there is religion here, much unlike the mainland where religion is shunned and even forbidden. We've all heard about the persecution of the underground Catholic churches there I'm sure. But, there's a Mormon church right outside of our hotel and we passed a second one in the city earlier. There are a good few churches and people wear crosses and crucifixes around their necks, which is totally different than what we experienced in Beijing a few days ago.

The fact that there isn't a one-child limit here is noticeable as well. Kids are far more visible than they were in Beijing, where the population all seemed to be aged around 60 and there was no sight of children. There, the minivan ads showed mom, dad, one child, and two sets of grandparents in the back seat. The ads look funny, as if it was back home in the U.S. that minivan or Chevy Suburban would be filled with five young kids. I'm sure they cherish the ability to have children here and are thankful that the Communists aren't determining their families like they do in China.

Also, being a million times more capitalistic, business is everywhere here. You see it in varied levels of wealth and poverty- the cars, the hotels, the workers. You see it in the huge buildings and the bustling city. Hong Kong is routinely voted the freest economic country in the world (even after the U.S., which was #5 I believe).

Well those are some of my first experiences and impressions of Hong Kong. There will be more analytic stuff some other time. But, for now, I'm off to be daring and try some Chinese food!

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Hello from Asia!

We're in the middle of our first full day in Hong Kong today after three days in Beijing, China. It's been an eye-opening cultural experience thus far and I look forward to the remaining five weeks.

We landed around 8 PM in Beijing in the incredible new airport and first decided to venture out to get a late dinner. We stumbled upon a "Korean Barbeque" restaurant. We sat down at a table with a grill in the middle and after being handed menus, realized that the waiters didn't speak a single word of English, not even "hello". We were in for an adventure. The menu was just pages full of pictures of raw meats including chicken hearts, dog (they didn't mention what breed), cow brain, etc. We ended up getting chicken and beef (at least thats what the menu said it was) and never ended up with the water we ordered.

The next day we met up with our tour guide Sunny (thanks to our concierge Storm) who was to guide us around the city for the day in a tour bus. We first went to the Ming and Qing Tombs where 13 emperors are buried. A few of them were destroyed by the government during Mao's Cultural Revolution, so we only saw one. When entering the tombs we crossed the "barrier of life". When we re-entered the "real world" girls had to step over the step in the arch with their right foot first, while guys had to step over with their left foot. While doing this we were supposed to scream some Mandarin phrase signifying that we were leaving the world of the dead and re-entering to life. Then we traveled to a jade factory where we watched how they cut, polish, and figure different jade items and then were served lunch at a restaurant in the same building. Next, we were bused to the Great Wall of China, which was pretty impressive. It was in a really cool mountainous section of Beijing and snaked around the mountains as far as one could see. Finally, we toured a silk factory and saw the silk construction process from worm to bed sheet. All this, including transportation, entrance fees to the sites, and a full lunch, for $28 USD. We finished off the night at a Hot Pot restaurant, which was quite the experience. There everyone sits around a table where a huge soup-ish pot sits on a burner in the middle. The waiters bring out various raw meats, sauces, and vegetables that are all thrown into this pot and brought to a boil. The noodles in the pot begin small and thick and are stretched out by a waiter who dances around and whips the noodles around herself until they are stretched out and more like spaghetti. Everyone then scoops their share out of the pot and eats it with chop sticks. That night we went to a Karaoke place recommended by Sunny that was like nothing I've ever seen before. We all agreed that it would be a big hit in the U.S. We rented a private room complete with stage, TV, couches, neon lights, bar, etc. for something like $45 USD from 9 PM to 6 AM. It was a lot of fun. We left around 1:30 or 2, figuring that the $3 each wasn't too much of a burden to leave and get some sleep.

On the second day we were on our own without a tour guide, though the concierge Storm was always there to help us (he actually followed us around the city to places he thought we would encounter trouble). We first took the public bus to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Tiananmen square was full of police, pollution, and cameras. There were cameras everywhere you looked, watching your every move. I have a feeling that if you made any sort of public demonstration you would be hauled off in an instant. The pollution was noticeable everywhere in Beijing, but especially in Tiananmen, as the buildings were all clouded and difficult to see. Most of us were coughing by the second day. The entrance to the Forbidden City, which served as one of the emperors former palace, was plastered with a huge picture of Mao and surrounded by Communist soldiers (dressed differently than the regular Chinese police that were everywhere), many of whom had red armbands around their right arms, eerily similar to pictures we've all seen of Hilter's guards in Germany. The architecture of the palace was very different, but intricate. The grounds weren't as nicely kept as the palaces in Europe, which was one of the things I noticed most while there. We then ate a quick lunch, which, for me, meant a stop at a pizza joint. I couldn't resist. After leaving the palace we entered the Zoo and quickly saw the Panda bears before hopping on a miserable boat ride where we were screamed at by a tour guide (not literally screamed at, she was just telling her story) on a speakerphone. They then ripped us off on a 30 won fee for entrance to the summer palace. We arrived at the Summer Palace of the emperor at 5:05, 5 minutes too late and 30 won poorer. Nevertheless, the palace, perched high on a hilltop, was a sight to be seen. We then took a cab to a Peking Duck restaurant, which we were told was a fancy Chinese restaurant. There was a stage in front of all the tables where kung-fu people and porecelin-doll-faced women sang and danced and performed traditional Chinese song and dance. The food was not that great and included a full chicken laid out on a plate in body form including the head. Needless to say, the whole chicken was pretty much there when we left.

We packed up that night and passed out from tiredness. The next morning we slept in a little and boarded a bus taxi from our hotel at noon and got to the Beijing Airport at around 1 PM for our 3 PM China Air flight to Hong Kong and arrived around 6 PM.

There's more to come...but I have to run to our first meeting with the program coordinator. I'll finish later. Good morning to the US, I guess. And good luck to all the B.C. High Class of '08 guys graduating today. I wish I could be there.
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Barack v. McCain

Talk radio is one of the things I miss most while I'm down at school. It gives me new ideas and new perspectives on different issues and candidates. Today on the way home from CVS I was listening to Michelle McPhee on 96.9. She's a woman who has voted the Democratic ticket her entire life and is liberal enough that I disagree with her the majority of the time she's speaking. However, she has endorsed John McCain for president this year. On her show this afternoon she was arguing that Hillary Clinton has every right to remain in the race and that she should indeed stay in the race. McPhee was linking Hillary Clinton to Bobby Kennedy, who joined and remained in the race in 1968 despite criticism from peers, who claimed that he was dividing the party. In response to this, he claimed that he cared more about America than the Democratic party. In the same way that Kennedy stayed in the race because he was dissatisfied with the options on the ticket, Hillary is doing the same. McPhee and her callers brought up some good reasons why she and every other American should be dissatisfied with the eventual Democratic ticket.

There were a good number of liberal callers who phone in saying that they currently supported Hillary Clinton but could in no way support Barack Obama if he became the nominee in November. Most of them also agreed that they would switch their support to John McCain (begrudgingly) in that scenario for a good few reasons.

Firstly, all of them admitted that you just can't win a character contest with John McCain, which is true. They mentioned the fact that he has never mentioned his enlisted son's duty to our country serving in Iraq as an example of his humility. They mentioned that he hasn't been caught lying in his career, unlike the other two Democratic candidates. And, of course, they mentioned his own heroic sacrifice for the United States throughout the course of his life.

Most importantly, though, they rightfully claim that they can't support a presidential candidate with as many controversial ties as Obama has. I guess I don't pay enough attention to this because I've obviously already written off Barack for a million other reasons. But, some good-hearted Democrats who love and care about America just can't vote for someone who has so many questionable and unabashed ties. To begin, Jeremiah Wright represents everything that is wrong with the radical components of black America. He represents unfair hate, anti-Americanism, and racism. He is unapologetic in his beliefs- beliefs that clash with any level-headed, patriotic American. The fact that Barack attended this man's church and angry tirades for two decades and even wrote checks to him says a lot about Obama. Next, Obama's own wife has made controversial remarks about America that cause one to question her own patriotism and adherence to radical beliefs like Wright's. How about her claim that this election has made her proud of her country for the first time in her life? Notice that she hasn't been in the spotlight since then, as words like that make her a liability. And the newest controversial figure added to Obama's repertoire is unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, who are 1960s anti-Vietnam radicals. This lovely couple openly advocated the bombing of American buildings to protest the war and to this day claim that they would do the same in a similar situation. Obama allowed Ayers and his wife to hold a fundraiser and their home for him. Barack has also served on the board of one of Ayer's groups for years.

We were all told growing up that who you hang out with reflects who you are as a person. If these are the people that Barack Obama chooses to associate with, what does that say about Barack's character and sympathies? Apparently this is so blatant and insulting that even some liberals can't support him. I don't blame them. I'll just add that to my list of reasons why America is doomed if he and his entourage are elected in 2008.
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Summer?

So it just sort of hit me last night and today that I'm going to be far, far away for the next almost six weeks. Woah. I was telling my mom tonight that its strange having come home a few days ago and entered into "summer mode" (a.k.a. catching up with everyone from back home and just relaxing all the time) and then realizing that in two days I'll be snapped out of it and back in the classroom. Not very conventional.

But then again, this summer doesn't promise to be conventional anyways. Friends will be all around the world at different times in Hawaii, Africa, Vermont, etc. and others will have legit jobs taking up most of their time. Sure there will be the concerts, the boating, the hang outs, but I feel like it's going to be very disjointed overall. After also being slapped in the face a few days ago with the realization that I'm halfway done with college, I'm beginning to think thats how things are going to be in the future. Yikes!

Regardless, summer is summer I guess. Even if its 39 degrees out like it is right now. Time to take a deep breath, catch up with everyone as much as I'll be able to, and realize that two more years of college isn't that bad after all.

Two contemplative blog posts in a row. Now that's a change! Have no fear, though. I'm sure I'll be back to politics in no time.
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Home Sweet Home

Well I'm finally back home! After a surprisingly smooth ride from Washington to Boston last night, I'm back in Scituate.

The first day back home is one of my favorite times. That's the time when I really realize how much I love it here. DC is great- great people, great places, great politics. But, you just can't beat home. I put a ridiculous number of miles on my car (another thing I miss while down in DC) the first few days back. I think I've probably already spent two hours today just driving around town aimlessly, looking at the ocean and realizing how much I've missed it, looking at boats (they're already showing up in the harbor), catching up with my family and neighbors, seeing which houses have sold or are up for sale (anyone want to move in next door to me, btw?), taking a shower without sandals and sleeping in a bed without a plastic, twin mattress. All of this reminds me that, as nice as other parts of the country are, I want to try my hardest to end up back here for my first job after college, even though all the pressure is to go to New York.

Well, there's my thoughts on being home.

And oh ya....Hillary got smoked last night :(. We'll see what happens there soon I guess.
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Word of the Week

I figure I should do a Word of the Week too since I haven't done one forever and have been circling a ton of words in my readings this week that are prime candidates...

Word of the Week:

Diktat- n., A harsh, punitive settlement or decree imposed unilaterally on a defeated nation, political party, etc.; any decree or authoritative statement.

It's exam week...so don't hold your breath on posts, either.
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O'Reilly

So I watched with amusement tonight Hillary's appearance with Bill O'Reilly on the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News. I must say that she pulled the whole deal off. She was humorous and at ease the whole time, probably a result of her recent good fortune after Barack's crazy pastor has come back into the spotlight unapologetically proclaiming his insane views (like the idea that the US government created AIDS to exterminate the black population) and implying that Barack really agrees with him, but can't say so publicly because he's a politician. Hillary should be, and is, all smiles after all that.

On the show Bill started off by pushing her on the whole Wright controversy and got her to unwillingly admit that she was offended by the comments and that she would have left the church had her pastor said such preposterous things. Eventually they moved on to health care, where she tried to falsely claim that her plan isn't a mandate or a big bureaucratic mess (it is) and that it doesn't make payers pay for bums who are willingly destroying their own lives by living unhealthily (it does).

Also, I'm glad he pressed her on raising taxes for the wealthy. I was surprised when she openly admitted that she was indeed going to raise them. O'Reilly rebutted, "Raising taxes on rich guys like me and giving that money out to the poor is income redistribution Mrs. Clinton and you know it. And income redistribution is a step towards socialism". We spent the last few weeks in my government class discussing this, so it was nice to hear it applied in the real world. Throughout this whole part of the conversation the two were pretty cheery, poking at who was wealthier and how they pay their taxes.

Then he moved on to the fact that she's such a polarizing figure like himself, as he said. He informed her (like she didn't already know) that the whole race is mostly about character and that she's losing on that end. She didn't seemed fazed though and just spit her canned rebuttal that fighting the good fight for so long creates battle wounds and enemies.

Finally, the piece ended with O'Reilly asking her if she was surprised that his own Fox News has treated her more fairly this election season than the liberal media. She wittily replied, "Oh of course I'm not surprised! You guys are so
Fair and Balanced". It was a smart and answer and the show ended on that note. Tomorrow's show will air the second half of the interview dealing with touchier subjects like Iraq, Iran, national security, etc. Stay tuned...

Here's a page that has the YouTube's of the interview in it.
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