Tag Archives: Tim Kaine

VP debate shows Pence gloriously ignoring reality and who he’s actually running with. An awesome mothers and sons ad from IKEA. And a beautiful essay from a dog owner about the end for his pooch


Watching Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate, I tried to think of any great moments or lines from any vice-presidential debate, ever, in America.

I thought for 10 minutes. I came up with two: Lloyd Bentsen, in 1988, telling Dan Quayle “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine.  Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

And the other one I remembered was Admiral James Stockdale, Ross Perot’s running mate in 1992, seeming strange when asking “Who am I? Why am I here?”

But that’s about it. VP debates get a lot of attention but nothing really too interesting tends to happen in them.

Still, this VP debate seemed like it might be interesting strictly because Mike Pence would, theoretically, have to defend at least some of the 9,323 batshit crazy things GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump has said in the past 15 months.

I mean that’s what a VP candidate does, right, defend the person at the top of the ticket and explain why criticisms of them are all wrong, and why their candidate is the best answer for America?

Except, that’s not what happened Tuesday night. Pence, bless his anti-abortion, anti-gay heart, pretty much ignored or lied about all the Trump statements he was confronted with. He just smiled and laughed and pivoted every single Trump statement into an attack on Hillary Clinton. It was almost as if Trump wasn’t his running mate.

Truly, it was dizzying. Josh Barro of MSNBC and Business Insider summed it up best in this Tweet: “I’m not sure it works when Pence acts incredulous at actual things his running mate said. These things got lots of news coverage.”

Not in Mike Pence’s world! Other thoughts from a debate that seemed to me like a draw.

— Kaine interrupted too much. I understand why he did, because Pence was lying through his teeth, but he still came off badly when he constantly cut in.

— Always fun when the phrase “whipped out that Mexican thing again” comes up in a political debate. Oh, sometimes the “South Park” and “SNL” episodes write themselves.

— The candidates were asked about religion. It’s 2016. I long for the day, and I hope I’m alive for it, when it matters not a whit what the religious beliefs of politicians are. I mean, unless they’re bringing church and state back together (as if they’re not already in many states) or banning people of a certain religion, who cares? (Looks back at what Trump said, starts to reconsider). Oh, wait…

**Next up today, my super-smart friend Catherine, a mother of two, put this French IKEA commercial about a Mom and her son on her Facebook page last week and I just about started crying at the end.

Watched it a few more times, and yeah, it got dusty in my apartment. Crazy to think my little 2-year-old munchkin will grow up to be so big one day. Love, love, love this ad.


**And finally today, some people you meet on the Internet scare you terribly, and you’re thrilled you never have to actually meet them. Others, you find you have a great kinship with, and are totally sure you’d be pals in real life if you lived anywhere near each other.

Luke Martin is a Southerner, a fellow Dad, and a bit of a baseball nut (OK, so except for the fatherhood thing, we don’t have much in common). He’s also hilarious and smart on Twitter, and he wrote something Tuesday on his blog that just about blew me away.

It’s on an emotional subject for millions of people: The day you realize you have to put your beloved family dog to sleep. I was there the day my Dad put his beloved golden retriever to sleep (I was already an adult), and it was brutal.  That day happened recently for Luke and his dog, Wrigley (that’s her, above). His piece is human, and touching. A brief excerpt here:

After we went in to say our goodbyes in the exam room, the vet asked if I wanted to be in there with her when they performed the procedure. I’d gone back and forth on that and at the time, didn’t want to be there. Now, however, I wonder if I made a mistake in not being there. As we were leaving, she looked so nervous, but I don’t know if that’s because she always is at the vet’s office or if she knew what was about to happen.

But I’ll choose to remember her not like that, but as the enthusiastic dog who wanted to go for a walk every afternoon around the lake. That’s the fun, loving, affectionate dog I want to keep in my memory.

I highly, highly encourage you to read the whole piece here. I’m not a dog lover and dammit, even I was getting choked up.

After last week’s debacle, Hillary and Kaine get their shot. The Rio Olympics are already a disaster. And remembering the biggest moment of Hall of Famer Mike Piazza’s career


There’s always something to be said for going last in a two-person competition. You get to leave the final impression, you can see what the other person did and NOT do that, and maybe most importantly with this week’s Democratic National Convention, the bar for “being better than your opponent” has never been lower.

I mean, is it possible for Hillary Clinton and Co. to make a worse impression, to come off more disorganized, racist, plagiarizing and lying through their teeth than the GOP? I honestly don’t think it’s possible.

Lots of things I’ll be watching for in the next days, some quick-hit thoughts on what should be a pretty good show in Philadelphia:

— Tim Kaine in his national spotlight audition. I didn’t love Hillary’s choice of the Va. Senator as veep; he’s a bland, moderate white guy, when so many more appealing choices were available (Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren, hell even Tom Perez would’ve gotten people more excited). But after a few days of reading up on Kaine’s background (dude’s never lost an election, that has to be encouraging), voting record, etc., I think he’s probably a decent choice. I don’t love that he loves Wall Street and banking deregulation so much, but otherwise he checks most liberal boxes. And he’ll help in Virginia. I’m anxious to see what kind of performer he is under the huge spotlight this week.

— Bernie Sanders speaks Monday night, and boy will he have a lot to say. The DNC email leaks scandal is one thing, and happily, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the maestro of the incredibly tilted Democratic primary this year, has resigned. But I really want to hear how Bernie speaks about his core issues, since he did so much better than anyone thought he would, and what he says about Hillary, after months and months of attacking her.

— Michelle Obama speaks tonight, too; will she make me and millions of others happy by starting with “When I was a young girl growing up in Slovenia…”? That would be so awesome.

— The Big Dog, Bill Clinton, talks Wednesday: Will he talk about Hillary as her husband, or as a future President, and how many great one-liners about Trump will he get off?

— Barack Obama’s speech on Wednesday; he and Hillary have some history together as rivals and then partners, and he, too, is in supreme position to push back on all the lies Trump told last week. I hope he calls out every one of them.

Should be a fascinating four nights.

View of an athlete's room at the Olympic and Paralympic Village for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 23, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBAYASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_DI6ZI

**Next up today, rarely has an Olympics looked more like a shitshow than these Rio Games appear to be. So many problems in Brazil right now, from the economy, to the uncertain political leadership, and the nation looks completely unprepared to host an Olympics, who oh by the way, start in 10 days.

I don’t know, you think THIS is a bad sign? Sunday the Australian delegation announced that upon arrival at the Olympic Village, where thousands of athletes will be staying, the place was “uninhabitable.”

The toilets wouldn’t work, there was a rank smell, and all sorts of exposed wiring. Again, this is TEN DAYS before the Olympics.

Man oh man, I know lots of Olympics have looked like they’d be disasters before they started, and everything then ran smooth, but I don’t see how that happens here.

**Finally today, one of the few baseball things I pay attention to each year happened Sunday, the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

I was incredibly fortunate, when I worked in upstate New York for the Glens Falls Post-Star, to get to cover two HOF inductions, and they were awesome, some of the best things I’ve ever covered. Cooperstown is such a special place, the people are incredibly friendly, and Otsego Lake is spectacular.

Anyway, Sunday was this year’s ceremony, with Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr. being enshrined. Griffey Jr., was a no-doubt pick, and it’s still incredible to me that he didn’t get 100 percent of the vote (No one ever has.)

Piazza’s a more iffy case, because rumors of steroids (very, very strong rumors) have dogged him for a long time. But as a New Yorker, what I’ll always remember Piazza for, beyond the whole “Roger Clemens throwing the bat at him in the World Series thing, is that he gave me one of the most indelible sports memories I’ll ever have.

On Sept. 21, 2001, the Mets and Atlanta Braves played the first professional sporting event in New York City since 9/11. The whole city had been feeling so awful for 10 days, and sports seemed even less important than usual. Nobody was smiling, for any reason.

In the bottom of the eighth, with the Mets down a run, Piazza pummeled a pitch over the center field wall for a go-ahead home run. Shea Stadium went nuts. I remember going nuts, too, and I’m a Yankees fan. As Piazza rounded the bases, the sound from the crowd just kept growing and growing, and the TV cameras flashed to a bunch of FDNY firefighters in the crowd, and I get goosebumps right now just watching the above video.

An incredible night I’ll never forget. After so much horror, for two minutes, millions of New Yorkers got to feel just a little bit of joy.

So I’ll always be grateful to Mike Piazza for that.