Debating Debacle…

I just finished watching the first Presidential candidates debate tonight. It actually aired on Friday, but by the time M and I had a chance to watch it (we had it recorded) we were passing out halfway through.
The change in format was good. The encouragement on the part of Jim Lehrer to have the candidates address one another directly was a great idea. I vastly prefer that over the talking only at the moderator of times past. It took the two men a little while to adjust to that idea, and frankly McCain never really bought into it.

Which brings me to a big beef I had with McCain: his constant condescension. Now, I will admit to watching the first half while drinking a cheap bottle of wine. But had I not been imbibing spirits on my own volition and I wanted to roll out the barrels quickly and decisively, all I would have had to do was make a game to drink anytime McCain called Obama na├»ve or say that Obama doesn’t understand something.

It vastly preferred Obama’s approach of saying where he agreed with McCain then pointing out where he disagreed and listed the reasons for his stance. However, I fault both men for occasionally going on very wide tangents that usually led to some schtick on energy independence. It comes off as, brilliantly coined phrase I just came up with, Palinesque. And, while I’m on it, I resent anyone who brings up offshore drilling as part of a solution to anything. It’s a red herring that even oil companies say isn’t viable.

Now, as my readers may or may not be aware, I am an Obama supporter. I think he nailed the debate and that the longer we think about it, the more we’ll realize just how far he hit it out of the park. I may not agree with the man on a number of his policies, but I do see him as the sole candidate who can restore our reputation in the world, which in turn increases both our power and our security.

I would like to point out here that some good things did in fact come out of McCain’s mouth. The big winner for me was that he finally up and declared he would end the policies of torture. It’s been a huge part of what kills us all morally and politically, and as a victim of the very same brutalities, it’s about damn time McCain said it.

Let me reiterate that I say Obama won the debate by quite a margin. And to top it off, he won the television angle of the night. McCain looked like an old man. Not good or bad, but definitely old. I have watched a great many grainy YouTube clips of him. Tonight though, in all its high-definition glory, television showed him as old. His hands were shaking, his posture was off (something M pointed out repeatedly though I didn’t really see it), and his whistled sibilant consonants just made him seem not quite up for the task of the coming years.

By contrast, Obama came off looking perfectly Presidential. Cool and collected, clear and concise, stern and forceful, but never looking even slightly angry even when his opponent was spouting misnomers and lies about him.

Obama won the night, and he will win the election.

Yet Another Reason…

Here is yet another reason I like Obama the way I do.
Also, my wife and I only got halfway through the debate last night (we recorded it) before we needed to go to bed. I’ll write up my thoughts later today when we’ve done it. I have to admit right here, though, that I love how my wife manages to see and find things in this election that I miss and it’s great being able to openly talk about it all.

I picked a winner here, folks, and for no political reasons. Well, other than the fact she makes cute kids.

Preemptive Failure…

I made the tough decision this week to end my master’s program. Since the number of children in my home doubled, my ability to keep up with post-graduate levels of schoolwork dwindled to nothing. I don’t blame the kids in any way, of course. It is a matter of knowing my limitations as well as my priorities.
For those who don’t know, I have been enrolled in a graduate program to earn both a Minnesota teaching license and a master’s degree in teaching since last Fall. Along with the master’s classes, I have taken on a few undergrad intro courses to beef up my content knowledge. Apparently, to teach Social Studies, they require you to know at least some of everything humans do or have done.

When I first began the program, my wife was only just pregnant with our daughter and our son had returned to his normal daily daycare schedule. The routine was simple enough that I could eke out enough brainpower and time to finish work and classes, though not without some stress behind it.

By Spring, our baby was born and our lives filled in more, unimaginable ways. So down the list of priorities school went. That semester, I was taking on two undergrad courses along with my graduate course. I ate an incomplete with the graduate, but managed to pull off good marks with the others. I tried again over Summer to finish what I left hanging, plus did a short class online. The online class again was undergraduate level so it was done simply. The master’s class, not.

And now beginning this Fall semester, with no undergraduate stuff to take for the time being, I kept on with just the master’s. Well, I tried. But the motivation and mental space for it simply weren’t there. For something I’ve wanted to do for so many years now, I now found myself not excited at the prospect of learning more. And for this level of schooling, if I’m not wanting it and not acing it, then it’s not where I ought to be.

This has been hovering in my mind most of the Summer as I was struggling the entire time. It just hit home now with getting the lad off to Kindergarten and then out of Kindergarten, with someone sick at any given time, with the return of full-time work, with so many other daily things.

So I am out for now. Taking time to evaluate what I was trying to achieve, I do still want it. I want the classroom and the students and the enlightenment in my life. But I must also weigh that with the needs of my family, which are always growing.

So while getting the master’s done at the same time as my license is ideal, I think it is better that I aim for one at a time. Getting the license first through a more accelerated program gets me in the door and into a much better pay scale (and a first-year teacher’s income being a big increase for me really says something about what I’m sitting on right now.) Then, once I have that groove, and I have kids a little more grown and autonomous, the move to get a master’s will be right. The circle will then be complete.

In the meantime while I’m working at getting into other programs, I will be looking for gigs to slip me cash on the side. Anyone know of any? I can always act as an editor to spruce/spice up someone’s writing. Or if the big wide world wants to hire a blogger, I’m game for nearly anything.

End The Atrocities…

Whenever I pass an orange ‘End Road Work’ sign, I think to myself, Amen, Brother!

Let us all join together and end these atrocities against our roadways, namely where I drive every day. Especially at the corner of Hanson and Bunker Lake, ’cause it’s getting ridiculous.