"Mirror Image" (Poisoned Pen Press) now at your bookseller's.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Tonight, Joe Biden accepted his party's nomination as Vice President, to run with nominee Barack Obama, who speaks tomorrow night in Denver.

However, as good a running mate as Biden is, I think Obama's real running mate is history itself. The first African-American nominee of a major American political party. A man whose father was from Kenya, and whose white mother raised him herself with the help of her parents. A black man with the unlikely name of Barack Hussein Obama, running for President. If this isn't the unfolding of history, a history with a new face, a new contour, a new expectation of how things go, I don't know what is.

History itself is Obama's running mate, and partner, and advisor. History itself is the thing with which he must contend, the thing he must convince with his oratory and policies, the thing he must both respect and challenge. But it's not his personal history that accompanies him on the upcoming campaign trail. It's our history, the history of the American voter, that stands with him on every podium at which he speaks in the coming months. It's our history that will be challenged, tested, wooed. It's a nation's history that will be made and, perhaps, re-made, in a new, 21st-century image.

Yes, history was made tonight, when Obama became the Democratic presidential nominee. And so he begins his campaign with his new partner, new constant companion, new (and truest) running mate: American history--as conflicted, complicated, disheartening, inspiring, and surprising an entity as any living, breathing person.

Only in November will we know whether the team of Obama and history itself can work together in such a way as to move them both forward.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama and Biden:Let the Games begin!

Well, I did it.

I went ahead and signed on to Barack Obama's website, and sent in my two cents' worth of advice to the Democratic candidate: namely, not to let the GOP attack machine "define" Barack Obama, and to strike back forcefully when John McCain's campaign goes negative.

Now that Obama's chosen Joe Biden as his V-P candidate, I'm hoping the Democratic campaign will get back on track: clear, focused, and aggressive (when necessary) in the face of the coming GOP negative onslaught.

And that Bill and Hillary Clinton will get (without ambivalence) on the same page...

I guess we'll see about this last point, when the Democratic Convention begins next week. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Olympics Gold Medals for Commentators

Like a zillion other viewers, I've been enjoying the Summer Olympics from Beijing. However, it seems to me the comments from the broadcast booth are more pointed, nationalistic and downright insulting than ever before.
I mean, is it me?---or should commentators refrain from using phrases like "She just didn't bring it," or "I don't see the focus there," or "I don't understand what he was thinking." After the years of arduous training these elite athletes have put in, I feel they all deserve a huge amount of respect and regard. The nit-picking and second-guessing of some of the commentators have made some of the most biased event judges seem rational and fair-minded.
Also, I'm tired of on-scene reporters shoving microphones into the faces of tear-stricken teenagers who've just lost a berth in the medal round. "What are you feeling right now?" the reporter routinely asks an obviously devastated competitor. Geez, there's a puzzler. What the hell do you think he or she is feeling? 
Moreover, the way NBC has edited their broadcasts, you'd think there were only two nations competing for medals---the US and China. (Except for the amazing "Lightning" Bolt from Jamaica!)
But, admittedly, all these complaints fade in the face of the courage, tenacity and skill of the athletes themselves. No scripted drama matches the emotional heights attained by these international events, where the commonality of the human condition---regardless of country of origin---is demonstrated before the world. Triumph, failure, pain, loss, shame, envy, rage---they're all here, in rich abundance. The Olympics, at its core, is the world revealing its true face to itself.
And that's why the Olympics call to us every four years. And why, I believe, we respond.
Though it's become a cliche, I think nothing has expressed its essence as well as the opening lines from the old ABC Wide World of Sports: we watch because we remain riveted by "the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat." Feelings we experience in our own lives, in big ways and small, every day.

It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.