August 3, 2016

A (not-so-brief) response to Matt Lewis, and others, re: Johnson-Weld

This morning, Matt Lewis and I were on CNN together (along with Kellyanne Conway and Errol Lewis) discussing the Republicans for Johnson-Weld effort I am involved with—as well as the presidential race, in general. I wanted to follow up on that appearance with some food for thought regarding several points made, mainly by Matt but also by others, during that segment, since the trend of Republicans (and others) taking a look at Johnson-Weld is on the uptick—as is the trend of Republicans pledging to vote for Clinton, apparently.

Matt takes the position that he cannot support the Johnson-Weld ticket (or the Clinton-Kaine ticket, or the Trump-Pence ticket), and that’s fair enough. I actually think that as a commentator who gets unfairly beaten up for supposedly being a water-carrier for “neanderthal,” arch-conservative Republicans, and an elitist liberal RINO all at the same time—all unfairly and inaccurately, in my opinion—there’s a logic to Matt not voting at all in 2016. At a minimum, this will ensure that in 2017, when someone claims Matt voted for Hillary, or for Trump, it will be a matter of public record that he did not (since he didn’t vote). But I still hope Matt, and folks who share his views, will reconsider and take a second, third, fourth or fifth look at Gary Johnson.

I get that this isn’t the easy ask it may appear to be on spec. For starters, Matt is pro-life. Gary Johnson is not. And for as much as pro-choice Republicans wish that single thing weren’t a big sticking point for pro-lifers, the truth is that it is.

It bears remembering that for pro-life people, abortion literally is a life-and-death issue....

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November 10, 2015

What I learned from my sweet kitty. RIP Moira.

Today, we wished our dear ginger kitty, Moira, our last goodbye. Recently diagnosed with cancer, it was unlikely that with or without our intervention—of any sort—she would make it to the end of the week. Not wanting her to suffer any more, we went ahead and put her to sleep today.

I will miss Moira terribly. She’s the cat who used to lie on my outstretched legs as I sat on the sofa after our son had gone to bed each night and as I finished off work. She’s the cat who loved playing red dot. She’s the cat who slept between us every night. She’s the cat who mourned her adopted out (by people other than us), and much-missed kittens at least one night a week, by rounding up athletic socks, purring at them and licking them, while cuddling them. She’s the cat who was slightly obsessive-compulsive about licking, and sometimes had to be reminded to quit licking the sofa, when she had progressed on from her own body.

I feel terrible about putting her down in many ways, but I do believe it was best to spare her the suffering of the last few days (or maybe even hours) that she had left. Like most pet owners in this situation, I’m sure, I’m trying to focus more on all the wonderful memories that we will have of Moira, and as part of that process, I was thinking earlier today about what I learned by virtue of living with her for nine years.

(Moira, modeling for the 2013 Mair Strategies Holiday card)

So, here’s to Moira, and here’s some of what I think I learned in my time with her—lessons big and small, silly and serious.

1. Cats’ noses feel like marshmallows...

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June 1, 2015

Liz’s Top Five Sites

As my top five cities entry probably indicates, when I travel, much of what I prioritize is visiting historical sites, especially ancient ones.

It’s hard to narrow a large list of amazing places down to a top 5. But this represents my best effort. Here goes.

1. Angkor Wat

OK, this one was easy. There is nowhere more spectacular that I have been than Angkor.

Undoubtedly, if you travel there today, it will be much more touristy than it was when I visited in 2002. Nonetheless, you should do it, and do it before it becomes more touristy than it already will be.

The way we did this was a) to fly from Bangkok and b) to hire a car and driver for the day (actually, a couple of days). This gives you latitude to spend lots of time at every temple you want (Angkor is a large temple complex). It also gives you the benefit of air conditioning, which you don’t have if you hire a scooter driver (very common in Cambodia). Since I was traveling with my mother, a car was also going to be better than going by scooter (the latter is a lot more tenable when you’re under 40 than when you’re retired or pushing retirement).

All of the temples are special, and gorgeous. They date from as early as the 9th century when the Angkor area was a major global population center, and were originally Hindu. Thereafter, several centuries later, the temple complex became Buddhist. There is a specific Angkor Wat temple, and this is probably the most photographed and visually familiar. However, my personal favorite temple within the overall complex is Banteay Srei. It is a small, pink-red sandstone temple and has particularly intricate bas relief carvings. Lost to the jungle, it was rediscovered in 1914.

Banteay Srei...

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