Why does Condoleezza Rice have to be such a hag? Instead of acting like a human being by attending the New York Philharmonic concert in North Korea this week, she has decided not to attend, even though she's right there in South Korea to shower praise on that country's new president. It would probably take her 45 minutes to get to the concert, which is being attended by media from all over the world. She could attend the show, shake hands with Kim Jong Il, make nice, and leave, thereby at least making it look as if the Bush administration can get a needle up its ass without too much trouble. But no. She's too busy wringing her hands about denuclearization, something she would like to force on every other country in the world except the United States and Israel. Oh, and she's chiming in about Cuba, now that Castro has stepped down, urging the release of political prisoners and calling for fair elections. Uh, has she looked in the political mirror lately to see that, based on the 2000 presidential election in Florida, we don't have fair elections in the United States and, based on the people who've been caged and tortured at Guantanamo for seven years, we have plenty of political prisoners of our own who don't get to even have a trial? I will be so happy when she just goes away. And I will be even happier if Barack Obama becomes the next president of the United States. Not that I think by any stretch of the imagination that he will be a left-wing knight in shining armor and bring about the kind of change on which he has built his campaign. He is too conservative for that. Not as conservative as Hillary Clinton, who is just embarrassing herself at this point by leaving claw marks on the campaign trail as she is dragged further and further from being the democratic nominee. But I think the reason we need Obama in office is all about saving face with the rest of the world. Right now, if you talk with almost anyone from Europe, they will tell you that they don't despise the American "people" but just the U.S. government under George W. Bush and his ring of war-mongering thieves. But, they will add, the people of America elected him a second time, which was shocking, and at some point we have to take responsibility for that. To any civilized nation, we as a voting body look like buffoons. Sure, the first election was completely rigged and caught us all pretty much asleep at the wheel. But a second time? Not good. Not good at all. And while I hate for anything to boil down to racial issues, it is going to take the United States electing an African-American man for the first time in its history to bring us up out of the opinion gutter in the eyes of the rest of the world. A woman being elected for the first time would have been okay too, but not Hillary Clinton. She peed in her warm spot when she voted to give George Bush the authority to invade and occupy Iraq, and you just can't take things like that back or try endlessly to justify it by pretending you didn't know what you were voting for. It was pretty basic. And now all this sarcastic shrilling about choirs coming down out of the heavens and all being right with the world as she pokes fun at Obama's campaign rhetoric about optimism and change is just making her look like the sore loser that she has become. But shame on both of them. A couple of weeks ago, they had the chance to vote on an anti-torture bill. John McCain voted against it. They could have used that against him in the general election, particularly because it shows he has no real backbone on the matter despite having been a victim of torture himself. But neither of the two bothered to vote on it. They were too busy campaigning to become president to take the time out to show up and vote on one of the issues that needs to be addressed should one of them win in November. By missing that boat, they sunk a little lower in my eyes, and it doesn't bode well for what either of them will do if elected. But I guess that's just politics, and we still need Obama in office so the rest of the world will stop thinking we are the biggest idiots in the world because of this urchin we've elected to office for the past, LONG seven years.