GOP Debate #4327: Washington DC – The belly of the beast.

Our man Wolf Blitzer gets another shot at these Presidential hopefuls as CNN hosts the next GOP debate, main topic: National Security.  This may set up well for Newt and Jon Huntsman, the only two on the stage with any cred in that area.  The debate is at the DAR building.  That’s Daughters of the American Revolution building in case you were wondering, and it’s in the heart of devil town or as some people call it Washington DC.  I’m personally hoping for another Wolf Blitzer Miss America type training session on how to introduce yourself.   I might just DVR the first 10 minutes in case Wolf decides to creep us all out by giving a demo on the proper introduction technique.

Some pre-game info: Newt misses the chance to get on the ballot in Missouri.  Filing deadline was today, $1000 and some forms in triplicate and his staff missed the deadline.  So Newt will not be on the primary ballot in Missouri.  Keep that trend up and it might be hard to get votes.  Of course Missouri is one of those goofy states that does both a primary election and a caucus.  In the election all registered Missourians will vote, in the caucus only party members will vote.  Guess which one actually counts – that’s right the caucus vote.  Newt may have just saved himself $1000.  I’ll take him to win the Missouri caucus in March in a landslide if he’s still in the race in March.  His personal baggage and a commercial he did with Nancy Pelosi about climate change is starting to hurt him a little, but not nearly as much as missing ballot registration deadlines will.

Mitt has put some ads on the air in New Hampshire, even though he’s winning that state by almost a 3-1 margin over the next closest rival.  The ad getting the most buzz – a spot where Mitt attributes comments Obama made about McCain to Obama himself.  Bottom line is the ad just outright lies about what the President said.  Politifact gave the ad a “Pants on fire” rating.  Mitt’s staff maintains that it’s all fair game baby.  So now we know where the bar is set, lets see who tries to go under it.  The ad is here:  Mitt’s Ad

Oh great, Ari Fleischer is on the CNN pre-debate coverage.  President Bush 43’s first press secretary, Ari is possibly the most delusional poltico turned politco pundit out there.

It’s go time.  Wolf intros the candidates all by himself, having them line up in front of the podiums like at the all star game in baseball.  Now we get the rules.  Wolf leaves no stone unturned.  Oh NO!  He does it, Wolf gives us the intro demo.  Holy cow, I thought I missed it.  And yeah it was creepy.

First question is about the Patriot Act, signed by Pres. Bush 43.  Newt is for it and even strengthening it.  Ron Paul is completely against it in the name of liberty.  And Ron Paul gives the first Founding Fathers quote of the night and gets the first round of applause.  Look out Wolf, the crowd is not following the rules.   Be advised, whatever the answers are tonight, the final sentence will be “it’s Barak Obama’s fault.”

Getting a little ugly now.  Just had some Mormon on Mormon crime as Mitt and Jon Huntsman lock horns on troop levels in Afghanistan and their relationship to Pakistan.  Mitt says commanders on the ground want troop levels to drop slowly.  Huntsman counters with a hissing “The Commander-in-Chief makes the call.  Commanders can be wrong.”

Newt chastises them both and then cuts Wolf in half with a no-look condescending look.  Blitzer literally was split in two by Newt.  So far only Megan Kelley of Fox News has been able to de-fang Newt.  Newt is batting around 900 with respect to crushing moderators.  This is Newt’s second stomp of Wolf this season.

Perry begins to sputter on the supporting Israel question.  He’s leaking oil.  Full scale Perry melt down all but guaranteed in the next hour.   Cain will support an Israeli attack of Iran if they have a good plan.  A 999 plan perhaps?

God love Newt.  He’s such a pompous ass, but he’s right just about all the time.  His responses are measured and thought out, only Jon Huntsman can match wits with Newt.  Only moderators feel Newt’s sting.

Mitt has engaged his cloaking device.  Which means he wins this debate as the rest bloody each other with non-facts (read lies & made up stuff) and mispronounced names of foreign leaders.

An hour and 15 minutes in and Cain still can’t find the switch to raise his cone of silence.  Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are leading Cain in time of possession by some 10 minutes of answer time.

Newt now lecturing on models he drew up to balance the budget.  Might be a power point presentation complete with laser pointer any moment now.

Snarky but true, a drop out from clown college did Bachman’s make up.  Tammy Faye Baker would be proud.  That being said I was wrong before, Bachman also has street cred on these issues.  Her Pakistan answers were as good as anyones, to include Newt.

Perry is warming up for the big melt down.  Says he would make congress part time and draw from the regular citizenry.  What’s that great line from a NFL coach, “Take advice from the fans and it won’t be long before you’re sitting with them.”

Newt now schooling Bachman on the Dream Act.  He likes the idea of giving illegal immigrants citizenship if they serve in the US Military.

Wolf sees through Mitt’s cloaking and hits him with a direct question.  You da man Wolf.  Mitt takes Newt to task with Wolf’s question.  Where do we get these names?

Perry literally froze for 3 seconds mid sentence and you could hear the hearts of the 400 in the audience and the 60 or so watching at home, skip several beats as they wondered if Perry would finish the sentence or just stop talking.  It’s coming folks, although we’re late in the 4th quarter, the melt down is coming.  Newt and Perry are on same page with respect to illegals gaining citizenship for serving in the military and going to state schools.  That may hurt Newt in the republican party.  It buried Perry.

Now Wolf sniffs out Cain like a pig to a truffel.  Hitting Cain on Perry’s idea for No FLy Zone over Syria.  Cain does not agree with Perry’s No Fly Zone idea.  Gave short answer and shut his mouth.  National Security is clearly a weakness for Cain.

Huntsman gets the question on the crisis in Egypt.  Remember Huntsman was President Obama’s ambassador to China.  Huntsman is debunking the myth that sanctions are a useful tool.  Says China never buckled under to sanctions and won’t play ball in enacting them on Syria, Eygypt or anyone else.

Mitt disassembles Perry’s No Fly Zone idea by pointing out that Syria has no viable air force but they have over 500 tanks.  “Maybe we should have a no drive zone”  Ooh, beat down Mormon style.

Final words from each candidate.  Only Huntsman says joblessness is America’s greatest enemy.  The rest spout about China, except Newt who fears EMP – Electro-Magnetic Pulse.  Not sure what he means by that, must be some pseudo reference to a cyber attack or something.  Santorum, he fears Honduras.  Personally Rick, I’ve always be suspicious of Belize, but I’m a worrier.

Well that’s it from the pressure chamber that is the Nation’s Capitol.  Next up, Drake University in Iowa on the 10th of December.  Check back for a Mitt Romney profile.

Diary of a Stay at Home Dad: Well it looks like mud!

So we decide to go on our first real family outing.  I think it was our first.  It was a weekday so that means Tracy took the day off.  It must have been a special occasion of some type, but currently it escapes me.  Stop the presses, my dutiful wife just reminded me it was Frank’s first birthday.  Yeah, seems like I should have remembered that.  Anyway we decide to make a weekend of the whole thing starting off with a trip to the zoo.  Whoa, whoa, whoa,  hold the phone a second.  My diluted memory is coming back, thanks to a photo album I did of the event on Facebook.   Frank was actually only 19 weeks old, so it would have been the end of September, not his first birthday which is in May.  It was the weekend I retired and Tracy went back to work from maternity leave.  Yeah seems like ol` mommy should have remembered that.  Well we’ll just keep that between us, no need to gloat to Tracy that I remembered and she did not.

No matter, we press on.  Our “garb” makes more sense now.  No way I would have been wearing a long sleeve sweatshirt in May; end of September, early October probably.  But its East Tennessee and the weather gets “ah mite bit squirrely” as they say round these parts.  That would account for the garb Frank had on.  And before I describe it let me just say Frank followed the runners code of dress ten degrees lighter than the temperature.  In other words if it’s 30 out, dress like it’s 40 because you’ll eventually heat up.  The problem in this case is Frank was not going to be doing any running and we dressed him like it was 60 and it was probably closer to 48 in the early morning hours at the zoo.  Well too late to do anything about that now.  I covered him  with my sweatshirt I think.  Not too bad a mess up for first timers until we run into a group of friends in front of the bear cave.  Seems they have this little zoo get together club one a week I believe.  Now we feel like dopes and we can taste the judgement raining down upon us.  They weren’t judging us in the slightest but we felt stupid and frankly probably deserved a little judgment at that point.  I mean for all we knew Frank was going to have hypothermia before we made it to the monkey cage.  That would have been a real downer too because the highlight of any zoo trip for me is always the olympic style feces tossing that goes on in the monkey cage.

We did in fact make it to the monkey cage.  Too cold for the feces toss.  Can’t have the gorillas pull a hammy or blow an achilles while they’re tossing their excrement.  Crap!  Although I will risk a fire bombing by PETA to say that seeing a gorilla blow a hammy in the middle of a heave might have been too funny for words.   Oh well.  It finally warmed up and we ran into the group of friends, all moms by the way, near the little zoo eatery.  We were pleased to show them that not only was Frank still alive, but the same color he was when they saw him 15 degrees ago.  On a side note I thought it was odd to put a hamburger/hotdog/BBQ joint right along the path of the animal cages.  I mean the cheetah habitat was to the right of this joint, the zebras a little further down.  You would think the animals wouldn’t take kindly to the smell of burning animal flesh all day.  Apparently they didn’t care so we sat down and muckeled some burgers.  I guess cows are not respected by the animals of the Serengeti.

All in all it was a lovely day.  Frank survived and we headed for the gate.  We stopped for the obligatory bathroom break for Tracy.  As I was sitting on the bench fixated on Frank I noticed some mud on his shoe.  That was really odd because at 19 weeks he couldn’t have walked or even stood up, not to mention the fact that we never took him out of the stroller.  The real odd part was the mud was on the top of his shoe near his sock, not on the bottom where you would expect to find mud, that is if he could have walked in the first place.  So no, the bell is not ringing for me yet.  Tracy walks up and I asked her where could he have gotten mud from.  She say’s what mud?  I said the mud on his shoe and as I point I can now see the mud on the side of his leg and in the stoller seat.  I’m like, dammit where is all this mud coming from?  Tracy looks at me with that penetrating look that says, your smart enough to fix military airplanes for ten years and you can’t see that our son has just emptied his bowels all over the stroller!?!?

Yeah, alright now I see it’s not mud, but it looked like mud.  Even the “mud” that got on my hands still looked like mud to me.  It wasn’t until the smell overtook us that it became clear there was not one drop of mud anywhere.  It was all Frank.  Funny thing among a host of funny things, Frank was not the least bit concerned.  He had not a care in the world.  So we hotfoot it back to the car.  Yes the car.  This was October of 09.  We didn’t get the mini-van/shuttle Frankerprise until April the following year.  We’re going into hazmat mode in the back seat of my Grand Prix.  In case you were wondering, it ain’t built for that.  Plus we were woefully underprepared.

I have no idea what were were thinking, but we only had 3 diapers and a small amount of wipes.  The diapers became an issue because the back seat was quickly becoming contaminated and Tracy threw me some diapers.  Wrong answer, diapers 1 and 2 now contaminated beyond usage.  I mean it was like this stuff was just multiplying.  “Mud” was everywhere and the wipes inventory was reaching a critical state.  Just as I wiped some up, there was twice as much as before.  I had to make a command decision.  The back seat was becoming uninhabitable.  We were about to lose the whole shooting match if we didn’t do an emergency egress.  I picked up Frank, stuffed the clean diaper in my pocket and moved to the trunk lid of my car.  We were in full view of the public in the zoo parking lot but at least I could breath and see the sky; two things I was almost positive I would never be able to do again.   Frank, the kid is a trooper.  He was quiet for the most part, probably dumbfounded by what he was witnessing.  At one point it seemed like he laughed a little bit.  Not a jolly, 19 week old type laugh.  It was more of a subtle, sarcastic, “God why do you hate me” laugh.  Now I have to set up a potty triage on the trunk of my car.

The little mat that you put down on a public restroom changing table, yeah that was annihilated inside of 3 seconds.  But a quick lesson for the young kids – the reusable shopping bags all the tree huggers use at the grocery store – they double nicely as a diaper changing station and, when torn in small pieces are surprisingly absorbent.  So we might have to max out on the diasper rash ointment to save Frank’s bottom, but those shopping bags really cleaned up the area.   It was a shame though.  The 4 grocery bags that bit the dust were actually a gift from my little sister.  When she heard I used those at The Kroger she sent me 4 bags with the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies logos on them.  Good soliders all.

Somehow we managed to finally get cleaned up.  We did have a onsie that survived the avalanche.  So Frank rode home in style.  We tightened up his diaper bag after that little adventure.  I also put a few packs of wipes in the car as well, just in case.  We learned some valuable lessons that day.  Not the least of which was, if your kid can’t walk, then that can’t be mud.


All smiles at the bear cave...

About Me

Originally born and raised in Mays Landing NJ with my 5 sisters and 2 brothers, I now live in Knoxville TN with my wife Tracy, our 4yr old, Frank and his 1 yr old sister Anne Marie. This blog is named for Frank and was Tracy’s idea. So it is truly a family affair.  

I’ve had the privilege of serving for 22yrs in the United States Air Force, first as an aircraft electrician, then as an instructor at the Noncommissioned Officers Academy in Knoxville, TN.  In that time I received an associates degree in Mathematics from ACC, a community college in South Jersey, and a bachelors degree in History from the University of Maryland’s distance learning program. Aside from my formal education, I was educated by some great people in the military. There are so many, too many to name but W. Clark Allen, Tim Donovan, Joe Zane, and George Wessler are the 4 guys who got the ball rolling. They taught a 20yr old, know-it-all it’s not enough to strive to be good at your job, you have to be dependable, reliable, and trustworthy as a person, be someone others can and want to count on, and when the red phone rings answer only with; “yes sir I’m on my way.” In other words, as Clark would always say “Vinny, it’s time to grow up.” To that foundation all others have added on. Well guys, I hope I’ve been worthy of your efforts.

ps The aircraft in the header – “142″ is an F-16 Falcon from my old unit, 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Home of the Jersey Devils!