Monday, August 13, 2012

et ceteras

The last week has seen me too busy to write, but not too busy to know what is happening in the world. In my bit of free time tonight, here are my thoughts looking back:

I am very pleased with Mitt Romney’s choice of running mate. Part of me wishes that Paul Ryan would remain in Congress, because the work he has done in taking leadership of the budget debate and pointing the way toward fiscal sanity is invaluable. However, his presence on the presidential ticket confirms Romney’s seriousness on fiscal matters and strengthens Romney’s chances to defeat Obama. Plus, should Romney win in November, Ryan would be the perfect “right hand man” to help deliver fiscal sanity.

Finally, Ryan would be more than capable to step in as president should something happen to Romney. Four of our forty-four presidents have been assassinated while in office, and four others have died of natural causes. Also, two were shot but survived (Jackson and Reagan) and one suffered a stroke but survived (Wilson). This means that one-fourth of our presidents have either died in office or been lucky not to -- which means the question of whether a person is ready to become president is probably the most important fact in choosing a veep candidate, even though it is the one least talked about by the media.

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While I am on the topic of Romney, I might as well add my voice to the chorus of conservatives and independents/moderates who are decrying Obama & Co’s “Romney killed my wife”ad. Last month I referred to another Obama & Co. ad as being “in the same league as the infamous ‘daisy girl ad’ from 1964,” but this new one is even worse. It is not only “in the same league” as the daisy girl ad, but equal to it when it comes to lying and character assassination.

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How great it is to see our athletes finish the London Olympics atop both the overall medal count and the gold medal count.

Obvious American highlights were Gabby Douglas winning the all-around gymnastics gold, and the women’s gymnastics team winning gold by an incredibly comfortable margin…And of course, Michael Phelps closing out his career with four golds and two silvers to make him the most decorated Olympian in world history…And, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh winning their third consecutive beach volleyball gold probably ranks right up there in the public’s mind, since that duo finally got the kind of media hype they deserve.

Personally, I think the following stories deserve just as much attention: Allyson Felix prevailing in the 200-meter run in her third and final Olympics, after coming up short in 2004 and 2008…Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee finishing one-two in the decathlon, marking the first time in more than half a century that Americans have done that in the same Olympics…Galen Rupp coming from back in the pack on the final lap of the 10,000-meter run to pass everybody but Mo Farah and win the silver -- in an event where East Africans (especially Kenyans) always dominate the podium and no American had medaled in 48 years…Kim Rhode winning gold in skeet shooting by hitting 99 of 100 clays, thus breaking the world record. Her feat is even more impressive when you consider that this is her fifth Olympics and she has medaled in every one (gold in 1996 and 2004, plus silver in 2008 and bronze in 2000, in case you were wondering).

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Internationally, what struck me most about these Olympics was the amazing success of the Brits. Although Great Britain has never been known as an athletic powerhouse, it finished the 2008 games fourth in the medal count, and I mentioned it at the time…Well, this time around they not only repeated their 2008 success of finishing fourth in the overall count, but exceeded it by finishing third in the gold medal count. They increased their total number of medals from 47 to 65, and finished with 21 more than Germany and 30 more than Australia (the “perennial powers” I compared them to last time.)

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