Last Presidential Debate: Liveblogging

People who say this debate will be less interesting than the previous ones because it has to do with foreign policy are arrant fools. This is the most crucial debate of all. The main reason why the possibility of a Romney presidency scares me is that I believe he will start military actions against Iran. If that happens, Iran will immediately retaliate against Israel, and we all know that Israel will strike back. As important as the taxes, the economy, the abortion and the repeal of DOMA are, the possibility that we might end up on the brink of World War III trumps all that. Romney will invade somebody for sure because the Republicans always invade. And that somebody is very likely to be Iran, so I’m terrified. Aren’t you?

Another fiercely pro-Republican moderator, yip-dee-do. He immediately allows Romney to roll out his only foreign relations talking point with the attack in Libya and the resulting brouhaha about who said the word “terrorist” first. Both the attack and the brouhaha will be forgotten in two days, yet here we are discussing it like it’s the most pressing issue of the moment. Romney says we need “a strategy.” How very specific of him. Again, he repeats that we need “a strategy.”

Obama again forgets to say the word “Bush.” Does he suffer from Obamanesia?

Romney explains that his strategy is to “go after the bad guys.” That’s a very condescending way to speak to American citizens.

Romney wants to bring gender equality to the Middle East. But, as we all know, he will start by destroying gender equality at home.

Obama stuck the comment about Russia into Romney’s chest. The attack of Obamanesia is finally over.

Obama finally says that Romney wants to take us back to the  past. For the first time in this election, I love Obama.

Romney is losing his cool. “Don’t attack meeeee,” he whines.

OK, I hate Putin more than anybody in the US possibly can but he is not “Mr. Putin.” He is President Putin. A hateful president, yet a president. Elected in a landslide that neither Romney nor Obama can even begin to hope for.

The moderator is very professional but he is very obviously a passionate Republican. If that’s OK, why didn’t we see Rachel Maddow moderating one of the debates?

Obama seems to promise that the US will not be invading Syria. More than it has already, I mean.

Obama is trying to prove that he is hawkish enough to persuade the American exceptionalists of his worth. And just when I was starting to love him again.

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British English

Is there anything cuter than the British version of the English language? I’m reading a novel by a British writer and he uses the following beautiful turn of phrase, “fine words would butter no parsnips.” How delightful is this? This great expression really buttered my parsnips.


I was talking on the phone to my sister and decided to tell her that recently I started painting my nails. I was going to tell her that it turned out to be very easy and not at all a drag as I used to think. As I opened my mouth to share this bit of information, my sister began to speak.

“I recently started painting my nails,” she said. “It turned out to be very easy and not at all a drag as I used to think.”

My sister and I have been living in different countries for over 8 years yet our connection is intense. In the first year of her daughter’s life, I almost never got any sleep because if my sister doesn’t sleep in Montreal, I don’t sleep in Illinois.

And we are not even twins.

If Only They Didn’t Weep

One aspect of my job that I really hate is that students come to my office to weep. It is very stressful to me and I believe that it is unfair that I have to be exposed to this. I’ve had to sit through a steady stream of weeping people passing through my office today and I’m completely drained emotionally.

I’m sorry but if a person made 165 mistakes in a 6-page essay forcing me to spend 2 hours and 50 minutes grading it, no amount of weeping will convince me to change the grade.

I now realize that there is a reason why psychoanalysts charge so much for their services. Being used as a dumping ground for people’s uncontrollable emotions is the hardest, most exhausting work I have ever done.

I still have one more class to teach and a stack of exams to grade today but I’m shaking uncontrollably and feel ready to burst into tears at any time myself.

Manuel Noriega and the CIA

My lecture on Panama’s military dictator, drug overlord and CIA agent Manuel Noriega was a huge success. At first, the students were skeptical, so I told them that when I first heard the story from my professor many years ago, I also didn’t believe it and thought the prof must have been under the influence of a narcotic substance. But then I discovered that she was completely sober and the story was true.

By the end of the lecture, everybody in class was in stitches. This is a tragic story that is also so hilarious that you can’t avoid laughing.

“This guy Noriega could have gotten a great movie deal out of this whole thing,” one student said, wiping off tears of laughter.

“Nah,” I responded. “It is too bizarre to be credible even for a Hollywood movie.”

My idea to add a series of lectures on Latin American conflicts
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