In an article focusing on Mitt Romney's flip-flop on abortion (as well as a litany of other repubs and dems), Steve Chapman recently addressed the penchant of presidential candidates (from both sides of the aisle) to adjust their fundamental view points on important issues as practical tactics to try to get elected (see some quotes from the Chapman article below). That's one of the things I really dislike about politicians - that they tend to focus more on their own interests (financial, electoral, etc.) instead of what is best based on what principals they believe to be true or at least what is best for majority of the people they represent.

As he freely admits, Obama is mostly hype at this point, but this is one of the reasons I can't help but get excited about him - hat maybe he won't conform to this trend.

Speaking of Obama, Lisa and I listened to his World Aids Day speech and an article about him from Men's vogue while we were driving today. It worked out pretty nicely and here is how I did it. I had my laptop and I had the two web pages saved to my laptop via the "Scrapbook" extension in Firefox. I copied and pasted the text I wanted to read into MS Word. Then I printed it to a pdf file using the free CutePDF software. Then I opened the pdf and chose "read out loud" in the view menu of Adobe Acrobat Reader. I connected the laptop's headphone out jack to the FM modulator (just like I do with my iPod) and listened to Acrobat read the articles over the cars stereo. I've known for few years that Acrobat can read text out loud, but this is the first time I tried to use it to listen to a lengthy text without also following along visually. It worked fine. It sometimes pronounced words wrong given their context and tended to spell out words that followed a dash, but all in all it worked as I had hoped it would. Of course, I could have just read it out loud myself, but doing it this way was preferable to me.

Here are links to the Obama articles:

World AIDS Day Speech
Men's Vogue Article

Some quotes from Steve Chapman's article in the Chicago Tribune (because I think it will eventually disappear from their site):

You have to feel for Mitt Romney. The Massachusetts governor, who labored for years to convince voters in his state that he would not infringe on abortion rights, is now striving mightily to persuade voters elsewhere that he would do exactly that.

He becomes the latest of many politicians who, in the course of their quest for the White House, have felt an irresistible impulse to re-evaluate this issue.

This change makes perfect sense if you assume he had a late-developing moral epiphany on the sanctity of fetal life. About the same time, it would seem, the scales fell from his eyes on the entirely separate matter of judicial activism, forcing him to disavow a Supreme Court decision that he once embraced.

More likely, though, he realized that if he hopes to win the GOP nomination for president, he had better start sounding more conservative--no matter how many of his own words he has to eat. This hypothesis gains strength when you consider that Romney, who once endorsed a federal measure to outlaw discrimination against gays, now opposes the idea.

It's a little unfair to single out the Massachusetts governor, since he is not the first presidential candidate to outgrow a youthful set of abortion beliefs. Ronald Reagan signed a liberal abortion law in California before reversing himself. George H.W. Bush, once a supporter of abortion rights, took the opposite position as Reagan's running mate in 1980. The current president had a liberal position when he ran for Congress in 1978.

But Democrats have proven equally open-minded. Jesse Jackson, who once denounced legal abortion as "a policy of killing infants," morphed when he ran for president in 1984. Al Gore, who once voted for a measure stipulating that life begins at conception, made an about-face before becoming Bill Clinton's running mate in 1992. As governor of Arkansas, Clinton said, "I am opposed to abortion and to government funding of abortion." As president, not so much.

You will notice the common element: Each of these shifts, however morally sincere, perfectly fit the political needs of the candidate in question at that point in his career.


I can just see you driving down the road with your laptop reading to you through your car stereo ;>)It reminds me of when I was a teenager, I was a ham radio operator. My dad was too, and we were always trying to figure out ways to add more equipment and antennas to our car, so we could talk to other guys all over the world. We would get so excited about that stuff, but our excitement was rarely shared by the women in our lives. Too bad for them!