Sunday Drive

This map makes me appreciate how huge Virginia really is:



Why? Because I drove almost 70 miles west of DC today and only ended up at that little red dot. But, it was yet another great Sunday excursion. I finished the trip in a small town called Front Royal, Virginia. It actually reminded me a lot of New England; The town was set among the mountains dotted with little white churches and lots of trees and open space. Tons of cows, too.

I’m still amazed each week by how quickly the scenery changes once you get about half an hour outisde the DC-Metro area. All of a sudden there’s very few people, houses, or businesses. Instead, it’s all forest, farmland, and all the horse-trailers surrounding me on the two lane highways. It also makes me think that a lot of the urbanites I’m surrounded by in DC forget that the rest of the country doesn’t necessarily look like the place they’re familiar with. I’m lucky to have the mobility down here to explore like I do each week and learn about the area.

I think I’ve also discovered that my sense of direction (or lack thereof) is naturally attracted to expensive gas. With my gas light glaring in my face, I pulled off the highway to fill up, first passing a station offering gas for $1.85/gallon. I figured the station closest to the highway would be most expensive, so I found another one a little bit up. This one turned out to sell for $1.87/gallon. I figured $0.02 wasn’t worth the illegal U-turn, so I filled up there. Satisfied that I filled up for just over $30, I pulled out of the station and turned the corner...only to find a station selling for $1.66/gallon.

>:-o !!!!

Still, I can’t complain. Who could’ve imagined it that “cheap” a few months ago?

I’m making the 500 mile trek back home Wednesday afternoon for Thanksgiving break and pretty much counting down the minutes until I can relax in Scituate with family and friends.

That’s all for now... Happy Sunday

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Dunkies

Dunkin Donuts in China!
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Auto Bailout

Definitey check out “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” by Mitt Romney from today’s New York Times opinion section. It’s definitely the most well-written example I’ve found yet that matches how I feel about the Detroit bailout issue.

I’ll write about it here sometime if I get a chance.
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Tolerant Georgetown

Well I’m glad Georgetown is so tolerant of people’s beliefs and opinions, no matter how crazy those beliefs might be.

Actually, on second thought, I’m pretty sure Georgetown is
only tolerant of ideas and people who are crazy or out of the mainstream.



For the second time this year somone stepped into the bushes in front of my window, actually reached into the open window, took my McCain sign, and proceeded to tear it up and throw it on the ground (doens’t that harm the environment?).

Tolerant indeed...
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44

The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is a historic event by many means. Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that America has demonstratively shown its ability to move past race. Beyond the important racial significance of the election, though, we see other important factors and events. Many different demographics and electorates gained interest in American politics for the first time, most notably blacks and a large number of youths. I read an article in the Boston Globe yesterday written by an inner-city Boston school teacher who described the attitude and emotion that filled the school the day after the election. It is my sincere hope that the emotions of those school children, often so defeatist and hopeless, will expand and evolve into a more determined, positive outlook of their capabilities and the future. Additionally, for the first time in a long time we see a young family in the White House, which will undoubtedly affect the atmosphere and the business that takes place there.

So, yes, this is a historic election and I appreciate and recognize this as an American. The recognition transcends political ideology.

That being said, friends, coworkers, and classmates have continually bombarded me with questions like, “When are you moving to Canada?”, “Did you cry yourself to sleep that night?”, and “Aren’t you frightened for the future of the country?”. Well, the answers are no, no, and no.

Firstly, Canada has ridiculous taxes, so you wouldn’t catch me there. Can you believe sales tax in Montreal is 15%!? Insane! Secondly, I’d probably move to Ireland before Canada. Lastly, the United States is the best country in the world, so you won’t catch me moving any time soon anyways.

And no, I didn’t cry myself to sleep that night. I just put my “somber” playlist on my iPod and drifted off to sleep. Just kidding.

Now, the question regarding my fear of the next four years is more pertinent. But, to the amazement of those around me, I’m am not fearful.

Why? At the most basic level I trust that Obama is an intelligent, level-headed American who isn’t going to take this country on a 180 degree political U-turn. I think anyone has to look at his faith, family, and the way he lives his life and at least give him that much credit.
Secondly, the American Constitution is remarkably designed to prevent such a drastic political change. Any radical measures proposed by Obama will have to be supported by legislators who are already on thin ice with their consituents, who, we must remember, remain center-right politically. Also, thank God the Democrats did not get a supermajority in Congress. The fact that some semblance of a balance of power still exists also allays any wild fears that I might have. Finally, any chanages that a President makes (e.g. tax increases) can be amended in the next administration. Not very much is permanent. So, if things do go horribly wrong (again, I don’t think they will), a lot of the damage can be reversed.

Two things that do cause some degree of honest fear in me, though, involve the Supreme Court and the war in Iraq. These two seem to be the exceptions to my previous statement. The President’s ability to nominate lawyers to the Supreme Court is his greatest power. The nomination of a judge affects the legal and political landscape for decades to come. Now that is indeed a scary thought. I am somewhat comforted, though, by the fact that the justices expected to retire in the next four years are liberal justices. So, barring any unforseen circumstances, the ideological makeup of the court shouldn’t change much.

Regarding Iraq, it would be an incredible shame to precipitously withdraw troops despite the gains that have been made over the past five years there. To carelessly pull the plug on a war that has so greatly affected the lives of our soldiers would be insulting beyond words. The importance of a stable, democratic ally in such a region of the world is immense. A pullout would not only cause the money, time, and blood of countless Americans to become a sacrifice made in vain, it would cause even more chaos in a country that is gaining solid footing in the effort to become a stable democracy.

So, I have hope (not the corny political campaign kind) for the next four years. I hope that the positive energy put into this election can instill a more motivated, positive attitude in America. I hope we Americans can work ourselves out of the current economic mess, start saving for the future, and learn from our mistakes. And finally, I hope and trust that the inherent goodness, values, and decency of Americans will prevail no matter the political circumstance.

With that, I congratulate Barack Obama on his victory in last week’s election and wish him the best of luck.
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Update

“Why hasn’t Dan yet posted his thoughts on the outcomes of the 2008 presidential elections?”, you might appropriately ask.

Well, the answer is that I’m busy, busy, busy (currently writing an overdue paper for my Religious Ethics and Moral Issues class at 2AM on the 4th floor of Lauinger). So, I haven’t had time to write out my thoughts on the previous days yet, though I assure you I have them floating all around my head. I figure that this election is so historic that it deserves a little more attention than a hastily put-together blog post.

So, once I finish this paper tonight or early tomorrow, I should get a chance to sit down and collect all those thoughts wandering around up there and put them together in a more serious, thoughtful fashion.

Until then...some fall photos:





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The Day Everyone's Been Waiting For

Well. Here it is. Election day at last. Georgetown is teeming with election signs and pins. You can be assured that the McCain pin on my backpack has been getting funny looks all day.
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Sunday Drive

It’s hard to compare my Sunday drives. They’re generally the highlight of my week, as I finally get out of the bubble of Washington DC and travel into the real world- away from the congested, hyperpolitical, urban utopia of Georgetown and into communities filled with families, farms, and churches.

Despite the difficulties in picking favorites, I’d have to say that this morning’s Sunday drive beats the others thus far. I traveled about 40 miles west of DC through Manassas and Antioch, Virginia. The majority of the trip was on a narrow, winding country road that often didn’t even have yellow travel lines. The road wound past the famous Civil War Battle of Manassas field, over hills, and past dozens of farms filled with grazing horses and cows. The leaves are finally changing down here too, which made the miles and miles of uninhabited, open land and fields even more picturesque. I’m kicking myself for not bringing a camera along. Words can’t really describe the beauty of the scenery.

And to top it off, once I hopped back on I-66 East I got off at the next exit and stumbled upon a Derby Street-esque shopping mall seemingly plopped in the middle of a field that had a Panera Bread and a Starbucks right next door to each other. So, I got my fix of Panera, which is hard as anything to find down here in DC, and my typical black iced coffee to go.

It’s also funny how not only the physical landscape changes with the miles, but also the political landscape. You would have been hard-pressed to find an Obama sign anywhere around these parts of Virginia. I ran into a nice McCain campaign volunteer who formerly supported Hillary while getting coffee, too. Yet another reminder of just how different different parts of the country and even different parts of a state can be...
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Article

So I planned on seeing McCain speak in Virginia today, but decided to cancel the trip after I printed my ticket and MapQuested the town. Turns out Virginia is a heck of a lot bigger than I remember, and the rally was over 200 miles away. But, it also turns out that I was an idiot and printed out the wrong rally ticket and therefore missed out on the fact that there was indeed a McCain speech/rally in Springfield, Virginia only a few miles away this morning. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have the opportunity to see him again close by on inauguration day?

In the mean time, check out “
McCain Calls on Schilling for Miracle Comeback”.

And two song recommendations for the day:

The Pretender- Foo Fighters
He Ain’t the Leavin’ Kind- Rascal Flatts
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