Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Au Revoir, Forgettaboutit

So long, Karen Hughes. The Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy is the latest Bushista to skip ship. Ms. Hughes - whose tenure at State as a communications guru has been criticized as an abysmal failure - gave all of us some Halloween candy by kissing her job goodbye.

I don't know how much she was paid; I know she once worked as a reporter, but that was long ago. But the benefits for the U.S. image overseas - like much of the Bush Administrations efforts to keep people from blowing up Americans after 9-11 - didn't prove to be much. As a matter of fact, perceptions of the United States overseas dropped during her tenure.

Like many who have fled the sinking ship, Ms. Hughes is "returning to the private sector," but whether she will be completely out of the inner circle at 1600 remains to be seen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

That's me in the corner ....

I just watched Mitt Romney's interview - or at least a 10-minute portion of it - on CBS's Face the Nation. The focus of it is Romney's Mormon faith and what role it plays in his life as a political candidate. Okay I get that. The man's running for president. But my impression of him was that he is obfuscating.

Several times in the interview he uses a contrast between his faith and his values. He says things like people might be concerned about his faith, but when they look at his values they would agree with him.

As the interview continued, I got the idea that Romney is using the word "values" in the sense of "what is important to me," i.e. don't steal, don't cheat, be honest in business, deal evenly with people, etc. But the word "faith" is reserved for his belief about the nature of the universe, is there a God and how to relate to Him.

The question that came to mind is "when did faith and values become different things?" Should not our faith inform - and if I can use the word - dictate our values? Or is faith something that is reserved for Sundays or Saturdays or Fridays, but the rest of the week we live by "values."

The problem with that kind of thinking - in my opinion - is that it separates faith from the everyday. Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments were to love God with everything (heart, mind, soul, strength) and to love our neighbors as ourselves. The majority of His teaching dealt with everyday issues - things we would call "value judgments" - not with just how to know God or relate to him. Jesus even went so far as to say that if we don't forgive others their trespasses, God will not forgive US!

Mitt Romney gives a good speech. He looks a little like Max Headroom, but he and his family paint a pretty picture. But I am not really comfortable with any candidate making the dichotomy between faith and life. All of life is a work of faith, or none of it is. Either we believe or we don't.

It almost reminds me of someone who says they are "trying to quit smoking" while they have a cigarette dangling from their mouth. A person either smokes or they don't; decide which you are and BE that.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Baseball, blah blah blah

Now is the time when baseball actually means something. The only problem is, two of the four teams are boring, boring, boring.

The Arizona Diamondbacks play the Colorado Rockies in an NLCS that's about as interesting as watching the balls at Coors field's humidor grow fat. (They put the baseballs in a humidor; it counteracts the really dry weather there that gave the Rockies' home field the reputation as a hitter's ballpark).

The other series between Boston and Cleveland promises to be at least a little exciting. But since most of the people on the East Coast don't get to see the Rockies or the Diamondbacks play on a regular basis, the NLCS promises to be a low-rated affair. That and the fact that it's on TBS, instead of ESPN or Fox. ESPN is running college football - Florida State against Wake Forest!

But it's time for football anyway. The Baseball bobbleheads have milked as much money out of us as can reasonable be expected. Maybe they can have a really boring World Series - like Cleveland and Colorado. Anyone for re-runs of The Bionic Woman online?