Monday, September 29, 2008

Palin 1

Qualified? Unqualified? Is Gov. Sarah Palin qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency when the Pesident is already 72 year old?

Bailout 1

Now that the vote has failed in the House of Representatives, give your reaction to the plan.

Starter questions:
  • Was it targetted at the problem?
  • Was it a well crafted bill?
  • Was it another one of Bush's "Trust me!" initiatives?

Share your thoughts by clicking on the Comment link and putting your response in the popup box.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Social Security

Given what is happening to our financial systems and the volitility of the markets on Wall Street, how do you feel about the concept of privatizing Social Security.

Items for discussion:
  • Is privatization a good idea or bad idea?
  • Should your retirement funds simply reflect what is going on in the economy?
  • If Social Security were privatized, how should/could your retirement funds be protected from the current woes on Wall Street?
  • Should Social Security be preserved in its current form if it can remain solvent?
Share your thoughts. We're all getting older waiting for the right answer! Click the comments link below and pass on your wisdom.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The World of Cosmetics

So, how do you feel about putting lipstick on pigs? (Or testing eye shadow on rabbits, or for that matter, A1 Sauce on hamburgers?)

Weigh in on the Republican charge that the Democrats are being sexist by referring to McCain's policies being so similar to Bush's that it is simply putting "lipstick on a pig."

  • Is it sexist when Obama says it about McCain's policies but not when McCain says it about Sen. Clinton's policies?
  • What's the link between pigs with lipstick and pit bulls with lipstick?
  • Does Gov. Palin have a trademark agreement regarding references to the word "lipstick?"
  • Do you wish everyone would grow up and get back to the issues?

How about making a silk purse out of a sow's ear? Share your thoughts through the comment link.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Experience and Leadership

Each of the four people on the two tickets has "experience" -- and they are touting that experience as evidence of their qualification for president. Those experiences include legislative experience, military experience, administrative experience, community organization experience, and personal life experience.

Quite frankly, we all have experience. That doesn't automatically mean that our experience translates into qualification for the kind of leadership that is required to be the head of state.

From your perspective, what are the leadership qualities that you expect to see in the person who will be the President of the United States? Then, what experience is critical in preparing for that role, what is helpful, and what is irrelevant?

Considerations for discussion:
  • Do you want your leader to be like you or to inspire you?
  • Should their rhetoric be truthful even when campaigning to friendly audiences?
  • Is it important how the world see the leader of the U.S.
  • Should the President inspire fear around the world or command respect?

Looking forward to your thoughts! Click the comments link below to add your voice.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Can My Candidate Relate to Me?

Every political candidate wants to be perceived as being able to relate to you. Phrases like "I understand what you're going through," and "I feel your pain," are not uncommon.

Notice: I'm going to pick on the Republicans here for a second because I just watched three nights of speeches at the RNC so they're a fresh and easy target -- and it should trigger some conversation.

Item: Senator McCain was raised in a military family, went to a military academy, spent twenty some years in the military, and since then has been in elected office.

Item: For her speech at the RNC, Cindy McCain wore an outfit onto stage that was valued at around $300,000. (

How do these two items impact your tinking on the question of "Can My Candidate Relate to Me?" Is is necessary to share at least some common experiences or circumstances in order to be able to "relate" or "identify with" the candidates.

What are you thinking about this?

Considerations for discussion:
  • How important is the candidate's personal background and current situation to their ability to relate to you?
  • Does the candidate's background and current situation influence your support for them?
  • Given the complexity of our American culture, how important is the candidate's background to their ability to empathize with the American condtion?
  • What kind of background is valuable in dealing with the wide range of cultures around the world?

Thanks for wrestling with these questions. Feel free to suggest items for discussion through the comments area.

Sam's-Club Voters

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, one of finalists for the Vice President spot on the Republican ticket, likes to say that John McCain will appeal to the "Sam's Club" voter. What do you think that means?

Considerations for discussion:
  • Do you shop at Sam's Club?

  • Does that give you anything in common with other people who shop at Sam's Club?
  • Is that a valid label?

  • What planks in the McCain platform appeal to this group?

  • Why Sam's Club and not Costco?

I'm looking forward to your responses.

Small-Town Values

The phrase "small-town values" was used quite a few times in the speeches during the recent political conventions. It is assumed that we all have a common understanding of the phrase and that it is a completely positive thing. When asked to articulate just what is meant by the phrase, however, many people struggle to articulate a response.

Considerations for the discussion:
  • How do you define small-town values

  • What virtues, qualities, etc. are included

  • What aspects of "city values" are excluded

  • Are they unique to small-town people or are they also found in a broader category of persons

Thanks for taking the time to wrestle with this definition.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Energy Plan

The price of gasoline recently dropped over 50 cents per gallon in our area. Crude oil has dropped from a high of $148.50 to $106.60 today. According to the analysts, the drop in prices was due to the sudden reduction in consumption and possibly a correction among the speculators.

If you could write a comprehensive energy policy, how would you construct it? More drilling for oil, more electricity from nuclear power, incentives for consumer level solar and wind initiatives? Give it your best shot. Make our country energy self-sufficient in the next 10 years.

  • It would appear that conservation can have a significant impact on the market.
  • Is $4.00/gallon the tipping point for consumers between consumption and conservation?
  • Benefits of new offshore drilling and drilling in Alaska are years from impacting the price at the pump.
  • What impact would a gas-tax holiday have on consumption and personal savings?
  • Should the price of gas be left to go wherever it wants and if you can pay for it, you get to consume it?
  • Should the federal government establish its own oil busines (exploration, production and refining capabilities) in the name of national security to protect the source and supply of petroleum for the Defense Department?

Thoughts? Click on the comment link below and share your

War on Terror

We've heard the statement that "we will win the war on terror." What does that mean?

  • Do we mean "terror" (the emotion) or "terrorism" the method of conducting conflict?
  • How can "winning" be calculated -- incidences of violence, number of deaths, etc.
  • How are the War on Terror, the War in Iraq and the War in Afghanistan linked? Can they be separated; do they have different objectives.

What are your thoughts? Click on the comments link below and share your ideas.

Why another blog?

We've been using various methods of sharing information about the upcoming election. Some of the information has been simply passed on to get a rise out of the reader. Some has been inflamatory and false. Neither of these methods are helpful in pulling together the necessary information to make an informed decision.

The purpose of this blog is to put issues on the table one at a time and get feedback -- with the understanding that there should be room for discussion among intelligent people realizing that it is OK to disagree. There is a personal value to be gained from stating a case and defending it to a group of peers who bring their own unique perspectives and life experiences to their judgements and positions. We may disagree because we have different core values or we may disagree because of the personal impact of an issue. In the end, if we can form a better understanding of why we feel the way we do about issues, we may be able to serve this diverse country of ours more effectively.

This is not a place to cut-and-paste what some talk show host says or for picking fights. If you can back up your information with reliable sources, provide a link to that content. I want to hear your thoughts on the issues, not what someone has told you you should think.

With that, let's get started! The first posting will go up on Friday, September 5. If you would like to suggest an issue for discussion, please submit it through the comments.