I had my first Vietnamese test today. Co Phuc wanted to give me a test to see where I was as far as knowledge and understanding of the material. It took the whole hour-and-a-half class to take the test. I was able to use a Vietnamese – English dictionary, but that was it.
Warning: Bragging Ahead
I somehow managed to score an 82.5 out of 100 on it. Co Phuc said that she’s only had one student score higher – with an 85 out of 100 – but that student was a Chinese and there’s a lot more commonality between Chinese and Vietnamese than English and Vietnamese. She said most American students score between 50 and 60 percent. So yes, I am bragging, but I am pretty happy with that result.
All of that being said, co Phuc told me in advance that this test was “pretty easy,” and that the test she’d give me after I finish book two would be much more difficult, so I have that to look forward to.
Speaking of co Phuc, Thao and I met co Phuc and another of her students, Kevin, for dinner at a restaurant with a special vegetarian buffet for the lunar month of July (I think). It was $8 for all you could eat and it was awesome. All kinds of different vegetarian food – and all of it (that I had, at least) was great. I’m going to try to go back before it ends.
Today I went over the correct answers to the second midterm questions with my students. They weren’t too optimistic about how they did, but I am sure they did better than they think they did. I hope so, at least. I’ve got to start grading them – all 219 of them – tomorrow. Arrrgh. I really can’t complain. But I will anyway.
The more I think about Obama’s Joe Biden pick, the worse of a pick I think it is. (Sorry Darcie!) And I don’t think I even mentioned the main reason earlier: In 2002, Biden voted to authorize the war in Iraq. Just like Hillary Clinton. I completely don’t understand how Obama could spend the last year or year and a half or whatever excoriating Hillary Clinton for voting “the wrong way” on authorizing the war, saying that she was unfit for the presidency because of her poor judgment on that issue, had already had her “3:00am moment” and had failed, etc., and then turn around and select a vice presidential nominee who also voted to authorize that war. That vote was one of the – if not the main – differentiators between Obama and Clinton, and yet now he’s picked someone who voted exactly the same way as Clinton did as his running mate? (Which also begs the question – if he can get over the war vote issue – as he obviously can – why didn’t he just pick Clinton? Aside from the fact that he hates her guts, of course.)
I may be overestimating the intelligence of the American people, and their ability to follow fine political points, but I think they will realize that it makes no sense at all for Obama to virulently criticize Clinton for her Iraq vote and say that vote renders her unfit for the presidency, and then to select Biden who voted the same way as his vice presidential nominee. Does that vote make someone unfit for the presidency but not for the vice presidency? That can’t be since on of the main qualifications of the vice president is that he be able to step into the shoes of the president.
As much as I dislike her as a person, and as much as I would have absolutely hated to see her as vice president, I think that if Obama would have picked Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential nominee, the democrats would have had a much better chance of winning this election. Yes, he would have been picking someone with a different position on Iraq than Obama, but at least that person is someone who did pick up almost half of the votes in the democratic primaries, has a long of female support, etc. As it stands now, Obama did end up picking someone who had a different position on Iraq than Obama, and someone who garnered less than 1% of the votes in the democratic primaries.
Also, and this may just be me, but there is something a little weird about seeing the 40-something Obama who has a total of four years experience in the U.S. senate as the presidential nominee, and the 65-year-old, white-haired (or white hair-plugged, at least) Biden, who has about 36 years of experience in the U.S. senate as the vice-presidential nominee. It just doesn’t seem right based on their respective ages or levels of experience. Not sure how that will register in the general election, and maybe not at all, but it could be a factor. Especially since on the other side you will have John McCain who, let’s be honest, looks older than dirt, and presumably someone younger and more attractive.
All signs point to Mitt Romney, but I still think that would be a huge mistake. I would push very hard for McCain to select a female, and if I had to pick one female, I would pick Condoleeza Rice. Take away part of Obama’s advantage on the black vote and add in the female support McCain would pick up, and I think those two things would far outweigh the inevitable charges by the democrats that because Rice was such a senior official in the Bush administration, this would clearly be four more years of the same old, same old, etc. Maybe I’m wrong – and maybe this is why I am a teacher in a third-world country instead of a highly-paid political consultant in the U.S. – but I would definitely go female and female and black if at all possible. That would at least make things very interesting.
The polls are apparently showing that Obama picked up no bounce from his announcement of Biden as his running mate, which is not surprising to me. And I think that as the peculiarity of this pick sinks in, Obama’s numbers may actually decline versus rise. (And Obama introducing Biden as “America’s next president” instead of vice president at the Biden introduction doesn’t help things, nor does Biden calling Obama “Barack America” instead of “Barack Obama” at the same introduction.)