Sarah Palin and Twelve Lanes in Atlanta!

Well, I’m back from the drive from Florida. I don’t recommend it. It took about 34 hours, and my brother did most of the driving (about 24 hours worth), but it certainly took a toll on me. I slept for 15 hours yesterday and today and beaten down by both a nasty head cold and a bad back. I don’t want to see a steering wheel for a loooong time.

There were some interesting observations along the way, however. We went past Coleman federal penitentiary, where Conrad Black is serving his time. We were in Florida just as Hurrican Gustav was going by. Thus, we were hit with several very intense rain storms, out of the blue. The road kill complement was decidedly weird, with highlights being a dead o’possum and a relatively intact –but dead– crocodile! The latter was a good 5 feet long, tail not included. The driver who hit it must have been scared out of its wits. Traffic approaching Toledo on the I75 drew to a standstill when a stray dog decided to cross 4 lanes to the other side– sucessfully. As we passed it, we say in the rear that the idiot dog was trying to cross again to the other side. Don’t know if it made it.

Two really interesting sights will remain with me for a while. The first was the enormous way in which the I75 expands to 12 lanes just outside Atlanta. Yes, TWELVE lanes. You could land a couple of jumbo jets on that spread. The Atlanta traffic is pretty intense, as is the wacky way in which they’ve chosen to present their highway signage. The second memorable sight was the glistening reflective lanes that are incandescent at night, about 3 hours north of Atlanta on the I75. It really is mesmerizing, especially if you’re the only car for miles in either direction. It’s as if aliens are trying to communicate with you via road reflections.

Staying awake for many hours is one thing. Staying awake for more than 24 hours while driving is quite another. Not the safest thing, I know, but we switched off when it was appropriate. It’s intriguing, though, to note how the brain plays tricks on itself when sleep deprived. Everything starts to remind you of sleep. The point at which you must stop, though, is when your brain starts to tell you that the car is in fact a bed, and that you are actually tucked under sheets and well into slumber.

I don’t think I want to do that again for a lonnnng time.

In Other News…

As you all know, John McCain has chosen Sarah Palin (who?) as his running mate. Well, for obvious reasons I don’t like her. To name a few: she is pro-Arctic drilling, anti-Climate Change control, pro-Creationism, anti-Choice and, most critically to me, pro-Iraq war. There are a few things about her that are admirable, however, among them her ability to “walk the talk”. Specifically, regarding her stance opposed to abortion, she at least had the moral courage to keep and raise her Down’s Syndrome child. Her teenage daughter’s pregnancy is no one’s business, so I won’t discuss it here, even though it is currently front page news.

Her predictable, nonsensical small-c conservative views on Climate Change are profoundly disappointing:

What is your take on global warming and how is it affecting our country?

“A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.”

It is incorrect to suggest that Alaska will be affected more than any other state. Every place on the face of the Earth will be affected quite profoundly, though impacts on human culture will vary. Hers is a misperception born of the media’s mistaken characterization of “Climate Change” as “global warming”, and the lay person’s characterization of Alaska as a place that thrives in coldness.

But whatever. She strikes me as someone with dangerously anti-scientific views. For me, the kicker is her desire for Creationism to be taught in secular public schools. There’s a nice discussion of her views on this issue here. Sarah Palin has some attractive traits that make her –in the eyes of some Americans who are intolerant of any change– somewhat of a reformer. But to me she is just another old-fashioned, Bible-thumping theocrat, dressed up in modern clothes, and seemingly unaware of the religious roots of many of her beliefs.

As for whether it was a canny choice for McCain, I say no. It seems she was chosen to court those disaffected Hillary supporters who have not been swayed by Obama. But does anyone really think Hillary Democrats would support an anti-Choice Creationist, just because she’s a woman? There’s also something superficially desperate about choosing her, that it speaks more to her electability than to her potential contributions to government. If Obama won, then croaked, I think most people would be confident in a President Biden. If McCain won, then croaked (more likely, given his age), how many folks would be happy with a President Palin?

Overall, I think she’s a silly choice. And a final note about Creationism: