Its very eerie to be seeing all the devastation happening and being 3,000 miles away and unable to do anything about it. Four years ago I was out walking in the ash-laden air, or glued to the local 24 hour coverage of the fire-storms; trying to make sense of it all, but secure in the knowledge that I was able to make choices and keep my family safe.
Funny, but I generally love the hot santa ana winds, and revel in them. Now, I fear them. I worry for all our friends who are having to flea the raging fires; I worry for our poor confused and frightened dogs who are terribly worried by our absence and the world gone smoky and strange; I worry that my job is gone and my family will be sorely affected in the wake of these events.... I ask for healing and gentle, steady rain to fall on all of southern california and mexico afflicted by the santa ana's. We will be home to help with whatever we can on Wednesday night.
Bright Blessings and Dark Dreamings...
Monday, October 22, 2007
wanna help us help out sd fire victims?
Republican Candidates speak at straw poll
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee stressed his poor, rural upbringing and his presidential campaign's appeal as an alternative to his better-known rivals during his remarks at the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll in Ames.
"Let me say it very clear today. I'm not the best-funded candidate in America," Huckabee told an audience of thousands at Iowa State University's Hilton Coliseum. "I can't buy you. I don't have the money. I can't even rent you."
Huckabee, who has pinned his campaign's future on a strong showing at the non-binding straw poll, focused on his up-from-nothing narrative.
He also emphasized his support for eliminating the U.S. tax code and replacing it with a consumption tax known by its supporters as "the fair tax."
"We need to take this campaign change our tax system. We need to completely rid ourselves of the current tax and penalty on productivity," Huckabee said.
Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, has sought the support of evangelical Christians in Iowa, a large and devoted bloc of GOP caucusgoers.
Huckabee noted his firm opposition to abortion rights, an outsized issue among Iowa's Republican base and one that has sparked exchanges between Huckabee and opponent Mitt Romney, who supported abortion rights until his term as Massachusetts governor.
"We are a people of life," Huckabee said. "Today, we wait anxiously for the fate of those coal miners in Huntington, Utah, not because we know them personally, but because they are fellow human beings."
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas touted himself during the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll as the candidate of freedom and liberty, who strongly believes in strictly following the Constitution.
“Our campaign is all about freedom and prosperity and peace,” Paul said.
Government, he said during his speech, is at the heart of many problems. If elected president, he would get rid of the U.S. Department of Education, the IRS and other federal bureaucracies.
While the federal government must provide for a strong national defense, Paul said it has not handled the threat of terrorism well, and bureaucrats have gotten in the way of people being able to defend themselves. “I think 9-11, quite frankly, could have been prevented if we had had a lot more respect for the Second Amendment," he said, referring to gun ownership rights.
Paul reached out to conservatives on the issue of school choice, saying, “One of most important of choices we should have is in the education of children, so home schoolers and private schoolers are never attacked by our government."
On the abortion issue, the Texas congressman said the rights of the unborn must be protected. “I can assure you that life begins at conception. And as an OB doctor I have a legal responsibility to take care of that life ...There is no reason that this government can’t protect life.”
Paul decried runaway federal spending, the welfare state, illegal immigration “and a very unfair tax system.” He also complained that “neoconservatives have taken over the traditional conservatives and they don’t have the respect for national borders that they should.”
Chicago businessman John Cox joked about his anonymity in the Republican presidential field during his speech to GOP activists at the state party's straw poll in Ames today.
"I'm one of you. I'm not a governor. I'm not a senator," Cox, a former president of the Cook County Republican Party. "Most importantly, I'm a conservative Republican who wants principles and integrity back in our Republican Party."
Cox has campaigned in Iowa, the leadoff nominating caucus state, but has registered little support in public opinion polls of preference among caucusgoers.
Cox, CEO of a Chicago-based food company, stressed his experience in the private sector as his chief attribute.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the field of candidates and touted his outsider candidacy as a strength.
"There's a whole series of fairy tales that begin with: If elected, I promise," Cox said. "Now you know why I'm running for president, because a lot of people you and I elected and sent to Washington forgot their promise."
Cox railed against Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate not participating in the straw poll, for supporting a failed immigration bill that would have allowed people in the United States illegally.
Cox was one of eight GOP prospects participating in the straw poll, with McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson deciding to bypass the event.
"Let's send a message that we want something better, that we're tired of empty promises," he said.
U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, speaking at the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll in Ames, promised to be a strong defender of the nation’s borders and its culture.
“We will fight to secure the borders of America and never give amnesty to illegal aliens,” the presidential candidate vowed. “We will deport people who are here illegally, because that is the law."
Tancredo said it was wrong to go soft on the 20 million people living in the country illegally, but he also blamed Washington leaders for a lack of backbone. “We see them demanding rights that our only reserved for citizens, because Washington has failed to do its job,” he said.
The country is also threatened by multiculturalism and forms of political correctness, Tancredo said. In public schools, Judeo-Christian principles are disparaged, and Christmas and Easter “are words that are banned.”
On the world stage, "we are engaged in a war for the survival of our Republic and the American way of life,” said Tancredo, and yet there are political leaders who do not acknowledge a clash of civilizations pitting the West against militant Islam.
In prosecuting the war in Iraq, Tancredo said he would unleash the military, not put restrictions on it. “The only rule of engagement in a Tom Tancredo administration is, "'We win. You lose.’”
On issues that are key to social conservatives, Tancredo said, “We will defend marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman. We will fight to overcome the abomination that is Roe v. Wade,” the Supreme Court ruling that established the legality of abortion.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney promoted himself today at the Iowa
Republican Party's straw poll in Ames as a change candidate during his speech to thousands of GOP stalwarts at Iowa State University's Hilton Coliseum.
"What brought us here is that change begins in Iowa and change begins today," said Romney, the heavy favorite for the non-binding test of campaign strength in Iowa. "If there's ever been a time we need to see a change in Iowa, it's now."
Romney ticked off the three elements of his campaign theme: Strong military, strong economy and strong families.
He emphasized his commitment to adding 100,000 troops to the military, providing middle-income Americans with a tax incentive for savings and strictly enforcing the nation's obscenity laws.
Romney also gave a nod to President Bush, whose popularity has sagged since his 2004 re-election but remains popular among the Iowa GOP base.
"I know it's kind of popular as of late for a lot of people, in the media and other places, to be critical of the president. There's no one that's perfect," he said. "But let's not forget at least one thing. And that is he has kept us safe these last six years. And it's not been easy. That's not an easy job."
Romney had thousands of supporters in the basketball arena wearing yellow T-shirts and waving red foam-plastic mitts, called "Mitt Mitts."
Romney was the first of eight presidential candidates to speak. Voting in the non-binding straw poll was to end at 6 p.m., with results reported at 7 p.m.