Erin’s second cousin Jessica stayed over with us on Thursday night since she had a teachers’ inservice class in Salem on Friday. Despite her somewhat late arrival from Coos Bay, we had a grand time staying up and chatting. Our thanks to her for taking us up on the offer of a place to stay! We love seeing family and friends!

In that vein, Matt, Ginger, and Laura held a get-together this afternoon where, in addition to our hosts, we saw Dennis, Maria, Joe, Carol, and Ella. Everyone doing well, though I think somewhat concerned about the political situation, both presidential and otherwise. (My political take on things I’ll get to in a moment.) We watched the infants and toddler do their things. Jonah was mostly well-mannered, though he’s never quite himself in larger gatherings of people. Still, he shared well, and he great fun chasing Dennis about. Thanks to the Ogles for the nifty get-together!

My September presidential predictions remain unchanged. I continue to think that Kerry will win with over 300 electoral votes. The first debate dispelled any myth that the man could not be president, and the second debate in fact gave us side-by-side comparison of just who is more presidential. (Hint: Not the president.) Bush’s early hyper aggressiveness aside, the President had a much better second debate (since worst than the first was nigh impossible), but Dubya simply doesn’t have the facts on his side. The charge that the president and veep are in denial and out of touch with reality seems to me to be particularly potent because (1) it’s true and (2) it’s an accusation that seems to be confirmed by every bad news report. The Republicans inability to deal with this is likely fatal to their hopes to hold the White House, and perhaps the Senate as well.

I suspect the next and final debate on domestic affairs will be more like the second than the first for the president, but that will only be sufficient to motivate his base. Like in the Veep debate, the Democrats will “win” because they will more effectively reach out to the middle-of-the-road, undecided voter. Unless Kerry stumbles badly—and remember he tends to close out campaigns very strongly, as he is now doing—I think he is the next President of the United States. Thank God.