Saturday, December 06, 2008

Prop 8 - The Musical

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Credits: Conceived and Written (six weeks later than he shoulda) by-Marc Shaiman Directed and Staged by: Adam Shankman Produced by Adam Shankman, Marc Shaiman and Mike Farah Edited by Bradly Schulz and Drew Antzis Cast (in order of appearance) California Gays and The People That Love Them Jordan Ballard, Margaret Cho, Barrett Foa, J.B. Ghuman, John Hill, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Rashad Naylor, Nicole Parker Proposition 8'ers and The People That Follow Them Prop 8 Leader- John C. Reilly Prop 8 Leader's #1 Wife- Allison Janney Prop 8 Leader's #2 Wife- Kathy Najimy Riffing Prop 8'er-Jenifer Lewis A Preacher- Craig Robinson Scary Catholic School Girls From Hell-Rashida Jones, Lake Bell, Sarah Chalke The Frightened Villagers Katharine "Kooks" Leonard, Seth Morris, Denise "Esi!" Piane, Lucian Piane, Richard Read, Seth Redford, Quinton Strack, Tate Taylor, Brunson Green Jesus Christ Jack Black A Very Smart Fellow Neil Patrick Harris Piano Player Marc "Marc" Shaiman ---- Co-Choreographer: Anne "Mama" Fletcher Recorded and Mixed by Frank Wolf & Greg Hayes Director of Photography: Michael Barrett Camera Operators: Jake Szymanski, Bradly Schulz and Drew Antzis Production designer: Nelson Coates Costume designer: Shanna Knecht Costume assistants: Leslie Schilling, Annalisa Adams, Elizabeth Abate Hair: Laura Sanchez Make-up: Shauna O'Toole, Atticuss Sharp Production sound: Bradford Craig Music editor: Lisa Jaime Music assistant: Brian Naguit Snacky: "Snacky" Special Thanks to Adam McKay for the nudge

Monday, December 01, 2008

World AIDS Day

Still in Chicago, still don't have much to say, but I could not let the 20th Anniversary of World AIDS Day go unmentioned. HIV/AIDS must be a priority on President-Elect Obama's agenda. This disease has not gone away, will not go away, unless there is a sincere focus on prevention, as well as treatment. A Vaccine is possible, and should have been found by now. HIV/AIDS does not target one specific group, or race, or religion. It is not gender-specific. This is everyone's responsibility, and we should all take action.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Old Naked Women For Peace

sung by The Righteous Mothers

Mind you, no bailout for the Auto Industry. The Dow falls below 8000. But what the hell, we can all take our clothes off for peace.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Visiting my Daughter and Beanie

The Secretary of Strawberries loves The Wizard of Oz - the movie. She can sort of sing all the songs (Weoff tsee dizard unerfoo izardoz; Dindon thitch is ded itchoitch titchoitch) you get the picture. She looks at me as her best friend - and we play so well together. So all my worries seem insignificant when I am with Beanie.

Meanwhile, there are realities: the person who'd agreed to be my backup financial support as I build my business has conveniently forgotten the amount agreed upon. This presents a significant problem for me, as I have almost no income at the moment - two months behind on mortgage payments, late to the point of default on two credit cards, late on my health insurance, two months late on car insurance - on and on. And I'm not alone in this - so many people are suffering, everyone in the Travel business is experiencing the normal slow season woes, but this is worse. Some agencies are closing their doors. Restaurants are suffering. House sales are down as people can't afford to sell (let alone buy). Will I be able to do something to avoid foreclosure? I don't know.

I have business - I have clients who are traveling, booking trips, but they are not going until March, April, May, June, July -- all future travel, and I will not be paid until they travel. It is foolish to give up hope, but I am looking for a job, to supplement while I build my own independent business. Fear? Yes. Despair? Not yet.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just Like Marie Antoinette

My dear Utah Savage is passing around the love once again. This image of Marie Antoinette is intended to go to bloggers who have something to say, who tell the truth. And yet, she chose to include me. Hey, I ran for Diva President and lost. Utah was to be Big Chief Supreme, but now we have to look at another administration. Oh, well. Sometimes, the only solution is to laugh. When it hurts too much to cry, all that's left is laughter. That's where I am these days.

At any rate, we are to pass this on to others who tell the truth. So I'm gonna do that as well.

1. The wonderful Border Explorer is a real blogger. I adore her. She gets it.

2. FranIAm is a real blogger. I adore her too. She gets it.

3. Dianne, Forks Off The Moment is another real blogger. I adore her. SHE gets it too!

4. The Pagan Sphinx really gets it. I adore her. She's a real blogger.

5. Pursey Tuttweiler because SHE gets it. I adore her. She's another real blogger.

Today is Gordon Lightfoot's 70th Birthday. Yikes. And

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When did our priorities get so skewed?

"People are grieving. There was a death. Their money died." BARBARA GOLDSMITH, a semiretired psychotherapist in Delray Beach, Fla.

Bye, Bye, the American Pie
Drove my Lexus to the Bank
But the Bank was dry
Those AIG Boys are drinking
Champagne and Rye
And This will be the day
That I tear my hair out in frustration.

What happened to our values that we grieve money over all else? I look around at new housing developments - all "Luxury Homes", rather than affordable housing. All for the uber-wealthy. Good people are struggling horribly, and AIG throws a party for the top Executives with some of their share.

Really, I am a natural blonde, going grey. Somebody explain this to me, because I am really too pissed off to make sense.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where is my bailout?

I believe I am as deserving of a bailout as anayone. What do I have to do? Be AIG or build motor cars or something?

The terms of the bailout are sort of limited to “qualifying U.S. banks, savings associations, and certain bank and savings and loan holding companies, engaged only in financial activities.” But since the $700B bailout package is now down to $60, Karl Rove's former boy Jeb Mason gets to pick and choose which companies he'll approve or whack. They include automakers, banks, S&Ls, cheesemakers, Credit Card companies and they all get in line and beg at the hand that may or may not feed them.

And if the government runs out of money? No worries. Jeb's got a printing press and they can just print more.

I need an official lobbyist to go get me a piece of that pie. I work hard, I know my business, and I want to keep my home. So there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 4th

It never ceases to amaze me how a date on the calendar can take on so much significance for an individual. I was married on November 4th, 1969, in a suburb of Tel Aviv Israel. My parents had flown over for the event - I was four days after my 21st birthday and still a baby in so many respects. My mother, who would be a story in and of herself, was distraught. She didn't like my intended one bit, and she made it known any way she could. One moment in particular stands out: we were walking to a restaurant in the old city of Jaffa, all cobblestone streets and Yemenite restaurants - and she flung herself to the ground and said she'd tripped. My dad, my intended, and I had all seen it - she hadn't tripped, she truly flung herself - tossed her purse, then collapsed. It was almost funny.

But November 4th came, and we married, and I was so afraid. I went literally from my parents' house to my husband's house, and that was no longer on Kibbutz. We lived in a neighborhood outside of Tel Aviv that was made up of Iranian Jews, a slum, where kids routinely shoved live rats into milk bottles. They didn't like me, they called me "Blondini from Romania" - and would toss mud at my wash hung out on the balcony to dry. They knew I was afraid. And I had no voice. I grew up without a voice, swallowed by family events.

So we moved back to the States. Back to Illinois, to a suburb of Chicago, and I became involved in Political Organizing, for Abner J. Mikva. Mr. Mikva was both a great lawyer, and a great politician - a rarity I've not seen since until Barack Obama. I began to speak. I began to believe I had a point of view, and began to find my voice.

Fast forward a few years: November 4, 1980. It was my 11th Wedding Anniversary. We were at dinner, perfectly miserable, as we already new the results of the election - Ronald Reagan had just demolished President Carter in the Presidential election by almost 10 percentage points. It was a disaster of epic proportions as the Reagan Revolution moved forward.

November 4, 2008 - I voted first thing, for Barack Obama, and at 11 AM, got the call that my Aunt Jo had died, 93 years of age. Turns out that my cousin had not been able to turn in Joey's absentee ballot (Joey was voting for McCain, and no on Prop 8- how weird is that) - but there you have it.

Since Joey died, though, I've not felt like doing anything. It was exposure to family, all the good and all the bad. I'm struggling financially right now - business is down for several reasons (not the least of which is that it is "slow season" until after mid-January - Fran knows this, she's in my industry) - but also because of the economy. I had been working for three months with a client on three cabins on a luxury cruise when he decided not to travel. Huge booking lost, and I'm worried. I'm 1 1/2 months behind on mortgage; late on car and health insurance; behind on credit cards; behind on everything; new medical bills because deductible was so high. After I return from Chicago I will be looking for part time work so I can get benefits (Walgreens, Starbucks, Borders, and I think Home Depot all pay benefits if you work 20 hours) and extra income while I make my business work.

But it's the other part of this: the emotional part. My dad was one of 7, and they are all dead now. My mother was one of 10, and there is only one still living but she's not been with us mentally for years. Both my mother's and father's families had challenging and colorful histories - my paternal grandmother used to tell us stories of how her mother would hide her and her siblings during pogroms by burying them in shallow "graves" with straw for air. My mother, while pregnant with me, was babysitting my cousins when one died from pneumonia. My mother was blamed for the death, and she became incapable of loving me. She was hard on everyone, but as her behavior in Israel shows, she was mentally unstable and incapable of real rational thought or action.

There's more - so much more. My Aunt Jo was married to one of the most destructive, evil people I've ever encountered. He was a monster. And when he appeared at the funeral, he was kept hidden from the family by a curtained-off area. He came to the gravesite briefly, but was shoved away. Still, even that brief encounter, and I lose my voice. I swallow it. My cousin, while eulogizing his mother, spoke directly to each cousin who was there - and when he got to me, he referenced how hard my mother had been on Joey. She was hard on Joey, she wanted her to leave the monster. But, but. I found myself shrinking.

Joey died four days after my 60th birthday. She never missed a birthday, and when I visited her in the hospital on Sunday to say goodbye, she made sure I'd gotten her card. She asked about my cat, Mr. Bean. She was all love, tolerance, forgiveness. She felt mentally young and physically exhausted. And I get it. I feel mentally and emotionally like a child, and physically exhausted.

Yesterday I called my ex-husband to wish him a happy birthday. We chatted about Obama's victory and what it might mean for all of us. This is the guy who said he finally got the chance to vote for Bobby Kennedy. Maybe, in time, I will feel the joy I know I should. Today, not so much.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank you, Utah!

Utah Savage, one of the most colorful bloggers I know and my friend and sister traveler, has awarded me this gem, the Scribbler Award. It comes at a time when I've been feeling really silent again - my Aunt Joey's passing has really made me reflective and quiet - and so Utah's gesture means more than I can fully express. In the face of my family, I feel like my voice gets swallowed. But apparently, others don't think so and Utah could not have timed this better.

But there are rules. I hate rules. It's one of the things I don't do well. Rules, and singing. Nevertheless, here they are:

*Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
*Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
* Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
* Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
*Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

So, my blog roll is long. All the people on it are amazing writers, so picking five is a real challenge. However, I'm going to give it a go:

1. Border Explorer never ceases to amaze me with her unceasing dedication to human rights and justice. She's just brilliant and tireless, and I adore her. Plus she keeps me in farm animals at Facebook.

2. ThailandChani of Finding My Way Home writes about mindfulness - it is an exquisite blog. It's a peaceful blog.

3. Grandmere Mimi of Wounded Bird is someone I've just started reading. She's quite entertaining, and interesting, and covers a variety of topics. Sometimes, with irony.

4. I love Mathman, of When Will I Use This? Sorry DCup, I don't mean it as anything more than motherly love. Besides, he's a White Sox fan. I forgive him that, because he is a real educator. A real one. Not a faux educator, but someone who takes it to heart.

5. And Distributorcap New York is always thoughtful and entertaining. He covers politics, Constitutional law, and humor, and I love his blog.

I also would tag Randal and several others, but they've been gotten already. So go forth, read something. It's good.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Message from the (presumed) Secretary of Strawberries

So but I waiting for a call from ether Presinet-elec Obama or his Cheefsaff Rammanul, telling asking me to be Secretary of Strawberries an Cream an such even tho my gramma din't win the lecshun. She voted for Obama insted of herself but she paid he Campaign Manger Randal six times nuthin slavery. An she thanks everbody who sported her campaign wich wasn't too many but thanks anyways.

We like Rammanul, he blongs to the same singog temple as my cuson David and he went to the same skool as my mommy an my unka Aman went to only not at the same time. Coz he's older than my mommy and unka Aman.

So this in'sit a dreem we all gonna wake up from an say oops. Barack Obama is reely the new Presinet-elec an we be done soon with the Bush.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Blog for Peace

Today is the day: the 2nd anniversary of BlogBlast For Peace.

For reasons beyond me, Blogger won't let me upload my peace globe - but you can see all the others at the above link. I made my peace globe using a program that Blogger doesn't seem to like.

Let me just say this: I feel hopeful for the first time in seven years. I believe that the USA can once again become a beacon for peace. We can send that energy out to the world. We can be the change we want to see in the world.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New Dawn

I have never been so proud to be an American than I am this morning. Yesterday, a massive change happened and we moved from being a nation afraid to a nation that believes again in our ideas. It was a massive generational change as well. Those of us who grew up in the '60s are so aware of the significance of this election: a Black man as President, a Black family in the White House - built by Slave Labor - and we can hope that this ends Racism. Those who are the ages of my daughter and son see it differently. They grew up differently than I did, with friends of all races and nationalities and so to them, it was a choice of age, ideas, demeanor, and style. I voted for Barack Obama for those reasons as well, but I also saw the historical significance and I shed tears when I vote. I voted with pride, with hope, with fear - and waited.

So at 8 PM last night, in Los Angeles, when Keith Olbermann made the announcement, I cried with joy. My friend Peggy (the former Republican) called me crying. I called my daughter, crying. My friend Nancy was in Grant Park, in the second row from the Podium, and she called several times. My friend Teri called me, in tears, thrilled. It was an enormous decision, and we are proud.

John McCain's concession speech was gracious, generous, and real. I was finally proud of John McCain in defeat. He spoke as a real patriot, a real American who will work with Obama.

My ex-husband told my daughter (with tears in his eyes) that he finally got to vote for Bobby Kennedy!

Jesse Jackson's face said it all.

And I slept soundly for the first time since 9/11/2001. I felt safe, for the first time since 9/11/2001.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Aunt Jo

My adorable, 93-year-old Aunt Jo died about 40 minutes ago - not unexpected - sad nevertheless. Joey was one of the most warm-hearted, tolerant and loving people I've encountered. She had a hard life, was the second youngest of ten - one of my mother's sisters - married to a dispicable man who scarred everyone in his path. Still, Joey forgave, was tolerant, and sought joy and positive energy.

I spent Sunday with her at Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills - it was to say goodbye. She was having trouble letting go - her body was done, she was tired, but her mind was as sharp as ever - and she sought permission from all of us. So that's what we did - one by one, people went in to say "I love you, it's okay, you're tired, it's okay, good-bye."

And she waited until today to die so that we'd all get to vote. Her own ballot was marked on Sunday, my cousins turned it in today to the polling place - even though she voted for the wrong guy for President, she wanted us all to have the chance.


Having major blogger issues. Please vote.

I keep getting frozen out of blogger, and am having trouble uploading images. Not sure if it's blogger's fault, or if my computer needs more memory. Probably the latter.

Also, some family issues going on, which is keeping me distracted. I'm not ignoring your blogs, but yikes!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Message from the Secretary of Strawberries and Cream

So my gramma got a kitty cat an his name is Mr Bean an I'm Ellie Bean so we relugates reltated. He makes noise an bites gramma's nose an toes an such. I like to play in fountuns. Vote for Obama. This is Mr. Bean:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy BIRTHDAY dear Diva Jood,
(you old prude)
Happy birthday to me.

Yep, 10/31/48 I am 60!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Attention Blog Friends

I am really sleep deprived - Mr. Bean might be an adorable kitten, but he has been keeping me up at night and I really am at my wit's end. He bites my fingers. He wants to play with my cosmetics. He likes to knock my glasses off the night stand (so they now live in a drawer at night.) He does what he can to be annoying, and I can't think straight. Any suggestions? I'm serious. I'm so tired, I cannot find the words, nor the energy to go read your posts, because all I want to do is sleep.

So anyone who has dealt with a 7 month old male kitten who is adorable but annoying, tell me what to do. Please.

No Time For Complacency

This article in today's LA Times is enough to give me nightmares. Warning against election day potential problems are huge, ranging from the 30,000 voters who were purged from the Colorado lists to the problems of long lines that will cause people to leave for work rather than vote. The Colorado voters will be allowed to vote provisionally, but the Republicans have adopted a very aggressive policy to challenge voters.

The reason? Obama supporters registered 2-to-1 over McCain supporters in battleground states like Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, Florida. Republican dirty tricks want to disenfranchise these new voters any way they can. They treat this responsibility as a game, and will do what they can to deny people their voice.

Vote. Vote. Vote. If you have a job to go to, either vote early or take the day off. You cannot be docked pay for voting. Don't give up, don't cave in, don't be afraid. Do not be complacent. Vote.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Meanderings for a Tuesday

I spent yesterday with my new addiction. Facebook is quite hilarious. I challenged Border Explorer to a game of word challenge, she opened a whole can of whoopass on me. I challenged both my kids to sudoku, neither of whom have played yet. But I also reconnected with some people from my past, which is sweet.

Today, I wish I was here. This has got to be an amazing exhibit, and it would be fantastic to be able to make the comparisons between Picasso and the Masters first hand. Picasso once said
Art is not the application of a canon of beauty, but what instinct and the brain imagine quite apart from the canon.
The review of this blockbuster exhibit contends that Picasso got bogged down with looking backward, despite his major accomplishments.

Listen, I'm a huge fan of Picasso's work - he took grand risks, and was willing to fail miserably. One of my favorite places in Paris is the Musée National Picasso which houses a major collection of his work. But Picasso was at some point bigger than his work - the work itself became secondary to the grandness of the personality. He was, in a way, the first rock star artist. He became way too aware of his place in history, which ultimately made his later work less than his reputation.

In the Picasso Museum, there is a clay sculpture of a sleeping cat that is used as a door stop. The cat is graceful, playful, beautifully done with none of the various riffs that embellish the paintings. In fact, most of his ceramic work is elegant. It's as though the clay mastered his personality and made him less self-conscious.

The reviewer suggests that the selection of works for the exhibit create the problem - that it's just too much of a "blockbuster" for its own good, that the exhibit is self-conscious. The last "blockbuster" exhibit I've gone to was the Jeff Koons at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago - the exhibit was hilarious, with one well-made joke after another, beautifully constructed, ultimately cold.

I'm of the belief that art should be experienced in a smaller, intimate setting. I like the Picasso Museum because it is a beatiful setting, the Hotel Salé, built in1659. I like the Musée d'Orsay because it was the former Gare d'Orsay, a railroad station. The building is interesting.

At any rate, I still wish I was in Paris, and at the exhibit. It would be a real treat.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

virtual 'Tornado of Change' necklace.

Susan is amazing artist. Not only does she draw, and write, and paint apparel, now I find she also makes beaded necklaces. How do I know this? Because she gave me one of these undeserved virtual awards, the virtual 'Tornado of Change' necklace.

I suggest you all go over to her blog and buy her work, because it's gorgeous. I mean that, she's amazing. Thank you, Susan.

Yes We Carve

Hat tip to Enigma for the link to Yes We Carve. They even provide stencils and they're having a good old fashioned pumpkin carving contest.

I don't forgive the pun-kins, though.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Flash Fiction

Randal, by way of Ubermilf, has called for the return of Flash Fiction. There are rules (there are always rules), which means this:
You will write an anecdote, short story, or novel length prose poem beginning with the sentence below. You will add comments to this post indicating your desire to participate and the completion of your story. You may join in at any time prior to the deadline. You will display your story as a post on your own blog. You will be done by Monday 12:00 Noon CST.

This week's sentence is She was suddenly gripped by...

Since Randal sez, and I do everything Randal tells me to do (he is my campaign manager and that's why I pay him the big bucks), here goes nothing:

She was suddenly gripped by an insane urge to giggle. The staff meeting was ridiculous, and the boss was so full of his own self-importance that she could not even look at him. He was short, and he had a bad habit of putting his hand in his lapel just like pictures of Napoleon. She could not look at him. He had been droning on about all the awards and accolades he'd won that year, how important he was, and how terrible the attitude was in the office so he'd won those awards on his own accord, without team support, blah blah blah. The agent sitting next to her passed a note that said "He's speaking Urdu," and that's when it hit her. She bit her tongue. She put her hand over her nose, she squeezed her eyes shut. Nothing helped. She just had to get up and run to the ladies room, and that would mean he'd scream at her for at least a half an hour about her rudeness. But if she laughed in front of the entire staff, that would have been worse. She timed it, and ran out the door. She knew she'd have to quit this job, sooner rather than later. She heard his whiny voice, "And where do you think you're going, Ms. Know-it-all?" "Bathroom, sir," came her choked reply. "Emergency."

The entire staff cracked up at that. It was code for "I can't take your droning any longer, you self-absorbed twit." She was really going to get it, oh, well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Message from the Secretary of Strawberries

My mommy sez that peepols should only call 911 when they has real dismergencies. So but that means not like this:

911, what's your emergency?

"I'm stuck in traffic."

"Are you having a heart attack?"

"No. But this traffic won't move."

"Is someone in the car having a heart attack? Are you being threatened? Has there been an accident?"

"No, no, and no. Do you know who I am?"

"No, sir, but please state your emergency."




So my mommy sez that's not a dismergency. My gramma saw a dismergency yesterday, she saw a car crash with a car flipped onto its top and the other car all smushed in front and peepols with blood and such and lots of pleece cars and amblances and hurt peepols. She dint call 911 cause they were arredy there.

An Ms. Sarah Palin thinks that her clothes are sexist the fight about what she spent on them. Ms. Sarah Palin has a pretty red leather jacket from her clothes and somebody went to help her pick out the clothes but peepols got upset when John Edwards spent too much on his hair so she's wrong it isn't sexist she spent too much money an such.

My gramma got a new sweater which she likes which she will wear when she comes to visit me soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Only Difference Between a Pit Bull and a Hockey Mom

Appears to be a $150,000 wardrobe. Since August, 2008.

The cash expenditures immediately raised questions among campaign finance experts about their legality under the Federal Election Commission's long-standing advisory opinions on using campaign cash to purchase items for personal use. Politico did pursue the McCain campaign for comment, however, spokeswoman Maria Comella said “The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent." So, dressing the Vice Presidential Candidate to look like Tina Fey is a strategic decision?

I guess it's more important to dress well than it is to actually have a point of view and intellectual curiosity. This bizarre form of window-dressing has caused real Republicans and real Conservatives to re-think their alliegence to a candidacy that prefers lies and innuendo to common decency. It motivated 4-Star General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell to break ranks with the Republicans and endorse Obama. It moved Christopher Buckley to endorse Obama. Chris Buckley, son of the father of Modern Intellectual Conservativism William F. Buckley, wound up being booted from the magazine his father founded, The National Review for his obviously socialist leanings.

Look, it takes more than spending $75,062.63 at Nieman Marcus or $49,425.74 at Saks Fifth Avenue to make a campaign work. Perhaps Republican donors should ask for a refund?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm a Real American

Recently, I established that I am Pro-Life. Now, in the face of Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman's call for an investigation into Congress to see who is Anti-American, I thought it wise to establish my apple pie standards right away.

I love my country so much that I believe in my right to dissent. Like Thomas Jefferson, I believe that religion was a very personal matter, one which the government had no business getting involved in. His beliefs led to the the First Amendment (also known as the Establishment Clause) which states
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Unlike Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska), I have never associated with a group that wants to secede from the United States.

In my vision of America, we are are not color-blind when it comes to matters of race. Instead, we have a full-palette, seeing all people. We don't separate because of race, we don't discriminate because of race. We celebrate and learn from our differences.

In my vision of America, we have three separate but equal branches of government to establish a system of checks and balances, so that no one branch seizes too much power.

But instead, we have a first term Republican Congresswoman demanding a witch hunt on Hardball. We have a previously unknown Governor from Alaska claiming that Senator Obama pals around with terrorists. We have an increasingly hate-filled, fear-mongering campaign from the Far Right, designed to paralyze intelligent thought. Why the Republicans need to demonize their opponents rather than discuss issues continues to astound me.

Still, if you need proof, I have a fantastic recipe for Apple Pie: I use nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Lots of butter. Brown sugar. Yum.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Weekend's Endorsements

Senator Obama has an impressive list of endorsements, but a few stand out. On Friday, Oct. 17, The Chicago Tribune came out for Obama, stating
On Dec. 6, 2006, this page encouraged Obama to join the presidential campaign. We wrote that he would celebrate our common values instead of exaggerate our differences. We said he would raise the tone of the campaign. We said his intellectual depth would sharpen the policy debate. In the ensuing 22 months he has done just that.
The Tribune Editiorial Board stated that they've worked with Obama over the last dozen years as he rose to this historic position. They say they have confidence in "intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready." And they talk about the substance of the "Change" Obama puts forth: the Tribune says that "Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics."

But the real significance of the Chicago Tribune's endorsement is this: in the paper's history, they have never before endorsed the Democratic Nominee for President.
The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause--the Republican Party. The Tribune's first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP. The editorial page has been a proponent of conservative principles. It believes that government has to serve people honestly and efficiently.
The Tribune editorial in full cites Obama's ability to listen carefully to people who disagree with him; his ability to build consensus; how he worked with Republicans in the Illinois legislature on several key issues in the state.

Obama, they say, "is is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations." Frankly, when the Chicago Tribune endorsed Obama, that was a huge step in returning to those aspirations.

The other truly significant endorsement from this weekend was from former Sec. of State Colin Powell. Describing Obama as "a transformational figure", Powell broke ranks with the Republican Party in his endorsement. Powell cited the negative nature of McCain's campaign, and said that Obama's nature is better-suited to solving the problems the US faces.

Rush Limbaugh says Powell's endorsement is about race.
OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with.
Of course, Powell donated money to John McCain's campaign last year, and waited until two weeks before the election to make any endorsement. Powell said it was about the way the campaigns were being run, and the candidates they have both become. Had it been about race, Powell said he would have endorsed Obama when he first announced he was running for President.

Obama's full list of endorsers includes a host of Republicans, conservatives. The reasons they all give talk about his ability to remain calm and build consensus. This gives me hope.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Fantasy

Because it's Sunday, and I have not a damn thing to say about anything, I thought I'd rather feast my eyes upon the sexiest 62 year old on earth.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What an honor

The amazing Liquid AND my beloved Utah Savage have seen fit to bestow these two honors on l'il ole me. I'm really quite surprised, and grateful for this. Liquid is a real artist; Utah is one of the most colorful writers on the interwebs. They are both quite wonderful, so this means a lot. I'm humbled.

Uber (synonym to Super)Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:

~ inspire you
~ make you smile and laugh
~ or maybe gives amazing information
~ a great read
~ has an amazing design
~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules (there are always rules) of this award are:

* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received these Uber Amazing awards by commenting on their blog.

Once again, spreading the linky-love, and there are so many bloggers I adore. Amazing designs, great reads, inspiring, humorous, you name it. So I'm going to pick a few.

1. Dr. Monkey Von Munkerstein even though he's also running for President. I will beat him, but I have to honor his blog.

2. Distributorcap, NY treads the balance between informative, and funny, and is brilliant.

3. FranIAm tackles real matters of faith, and I feel like she's my sister.

4. The Pagan Sphinx reminds me that we must have a world filled with art. And art needs to be examined.

5. Susan, phansythat is another real artist. I love her ink drawings, and her stories. I love her silk paintings. She's wonderful.

6. and of course, my campaign manager and poet laureate, Randal even though I've given him tons of raises (hey, 5 times zero is still a raise.)

What the hell - anyone on my blogroll deserves these awards.

Go forth and read, people!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Message from The Secretary of Strawberries & Cream

Hi my gramma gotta new kitty his name is Mr Bean but she don' havany picksures yet cause she's lazy and besides there's Mr. John McCain's friend Joe The Not Plumber to talk bout. Mr. John McCain doesn't do too well vetting peeples too much. Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher is really not a plumber at all. So but he also seems to owe some back taxes too. An he doesn't have a liesenze thingy that sez he can be a plumber. I don wan him to work on my mommy's toilets because he's not really a plumber and we need to fix the back bafroom. So but he wanted to know about if he buys this bizness and it makes $250000 a year wud his taxes go up but they wudn't and that's good caus he owes about $1200 in back taxes anyways.

An Joe-the-not-plumber has the same last name as Robert M. Wurzelbacher Jr., the son-in-law of Charles Keating of the infamous "Keating Five" scandal but nobody's really proven that he's related to Robert M. Wurzelbacher Jr. but lotsa peeples think he is related but I don know for sure. If they is related then that's kinda stoopid of Mr. John McCain but he's a meanie man an I don much like him. An look what he does, he tries to grab anybody's behind.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Am Pro-Life

Yes. It's true. I am Pro-Life, and I can prove it: I support Roe v. Wade which upholds a Constitutional right to privacy as defined by the 14th Amendment. Essentially, the decision of the Supreme Court ensures that women have the right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy without interference from the States.

I oppose hunting for sport and trophies. Hunters using semi-automatic weapons, with telephoto sights will always hit their target. Animals cannot escape our greed. I certainly am opposed to the aerial hunting of animals which is outlawed by the Airborne Hunting Act. I am opposed to Capital Punishment
which neither acts as a deterrant, nor does it bring back any victims. And, I am completely opposed to the USA engaging in Pre-Emptive Warfare based upon lies and misinformation.

Oh, and back onto the support side: I do support Assisted Suicide when a patient has no other options. Yes, it's our right to die, to choose our death as well as to choose our life.

I maintain that my Pro-Choice positions make me completely Pro-Life, and I am determined to take back the language of compassion from the Neo-Conservatives. Being Pro-Choice does not make me an abortionist. But it seems that some who call themselves Pro-Life feel it is okay to attack abortion clinics and practitioners, which I really don't understand.

But during last night's final debate between Obama and McCain, when McCain started talking about being Pro-Life (anti-abortion), I felt I had to just shout out NO. I am the one who is Pro-Life, not you, Mr. McCain. Not you, not your running mate. I want my language back.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Make Poverty History Blog Action Day

The dream is to end poverty globally by 2015. That's seven years from now. Seven years. I wonder about the reality of this on a global scale, until I remember that we can think globally but act locally.

A few days ago, I read an article in the LA Times which described how a homeless man, called John, was burned to death by an unknown assailant. John had been a fixture in the Beverly Wilshire District of Los Angeles for about 20 years. People fed him, took him once a week to get a shower, gave him cigarettes. They were kind to him. He was harmless, he was homeless, he was a face of poverty. Some punks decided to burn him up for whatever reason - anger? Hatred? Some bizarre gang initiation? Whatever it was, murdering John does nothing to eradicate poverty.

I had originally thought to write something else, but this climate of hatred, anger, fear and destruction is the root cause of poverty. Fear breeds a poverty of spirit; fear breeds a poverty of hatred; fear breeds the poverty of "otherness" that keeps us separate from one another. Fear causes us to lie, to hoard, to steal, to cheat, all in the name of getting ahead. Remember that bumper sticker that said "He who has the most toys wins"? The more stuff, the more money, marbles and chalk you have, theoretically, the better you were. Not true.

I'm not claiming that this murdered homeless man was a saint - he was homeless, he was apparently mentally ill. Yet he did not deserve to meet this horrific end. Nor do the people who have worked hard but are losing their homes deserve to be cast out on the street. People who have saved, only to see their savings wiped out by the banking crisis and Wall Street crash. Nobody deserves to have pain or tragedy come into their life - at the same time, everybody has an obligation to try and end this growing poverty.

Actions we can take are as simple as supporting local farms by going to local farmers markets; driving less, and walking more for short trips; recycling; using CFS bulbs; conserving water. We can also help by creating jobs - something along the lines of what FDR did when he created The New Deal, which created jobs for the unemployed, and regulated business and banking.

We have to act. We have to think of us as connected - not just in the USA, but to all people, in all nations. Let's make poverty history. Yes, we can.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This is REALLY Special

Last night, I went to see Tina Turner perform at The Staples Center. She's amazing - really connected with the crowd, despite the size of the venue. And, at 69 years of age, she clearly loves what she does. Her version of the Beatles Song "Help" was amazing - completely re-invented the song.

So that made the following message from Ringo Starr REALLY special. Pay attention, he says it's really important.

Well. Isn't that just so perky? Asshole.

His Name is Mr. Bean

And he's a love muffin who purrs all the time, and has made sitting in my lap his number one priority.

Pictures will follow. Thank you all for the suggestions. He's a bit of a clown, too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Name the Cat Contest

I adopted a 7 month old male kitten today. He's at the vet being neutered, I bring him home tomorrow. He's black, with gold eyes, very playful, very affectionate, and sweet. However, I need to name him. The Shelter is calling him Ooogey, which doesn't fit.

So I am holding a "Name the Male Kitten" contest. Winner will be awarded the cereal prize (nothin, honey) unless I design an appropriate award. Help please.

Mellow Sunday Sounds

It is one of those weekends where I feel disconnected, strange, and distant. The election has me unsettled. In 2000, I was certain Gore would win; I could not imagine a nation so superficial that it would allow Frat Boy George W. Bush to take the White House. In 2004, I was convinced the people had had enough, and that Kerry would win. I will continue to do all I can to help Obama win the election, but the truth is that at this point I don't hold out hope. I don't, and it's because I think that the majority of our citizens are driven by fear.

We demand our sports heroes be elite, the best of the best. We expect our entertainers to live an elite life, to be unobtainable so that we can fantasize. But when it comes to our Nation's leaders, we think it's okay to turn the reins over to somebody we might like to have a beer with. I don't want to have a beer with my President. I want him, or her, to be smarter than I am, to understand complex world issues, to be calm in the face of conflict and to inspire. I want my President to be visionary.

But today I don't hold out hope. And so, I give you this lovely song:

Friday, October 10, 2008

So My Campaign Manager Doesn't Get Worried

I recently raised a question about why certain images are posted more frequently than others. My campaign manager suggested that I use the interwebs to do a google search (thus distancing myself from John McCain) specific to my own preferences.

So I did that search. Handy little tool, those Googles. Really.

I thought if I started small, with this lovely little self-portrait my heart-throb dashed off, it would make this post have at least a semblance of intellectual versisitude.

That makes it easy to slide into a man in kilts. Nice legs. Really.

From there, we can segue into the shy guy, hiding behind the bust, keeping it all modest and coy:

Before leaping into nearly naked man at the beach with friends:

Oh, well, as much as I adore Alan Rickman, he just is not the beefy stud I know many of us long to gaze at. I personally would love a committed relationship with Mr. Rickman, complete with regular sex, but for just gaping, please god, give me this:

A message from the secretary of Strawberries and cream

Gramma likes this pikshure ame coz it looks like I giving a speech. I like it too coz I rode my big wheel an I like it it pink. I made a apple pie with my mommy we went to the apple fesval, an I go downa really big slide. So we made a pie. An we don't much like the new ads Senator McCain is running coz they aren't true about Bill Ayers an Rezko an The Bailout an as much as I like Strawberries I think Senator Obama has to talk about McCain's scandal. I mean the S&L scandal but so Obama's got a new ad that starts today about it. It's long. I don't have time to look at it now, I have to go to skool.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Onze upon a time

Monsieur Graves has tagged me with a charming little meme that asks for eleven things you might not know about me. Well, of course you wouldn't know them, unless you've been to my house, and no, I cannot see Russia from my house. Hell, I can barely see Catalina Island, due to the fog, but that's weather-related. So, but, I have to answer these one-word questions, which I am certain are a nefarious plot to link my candidacy to William Ayers.

1. Clothes Shop: Turley Road in Chicago. Yes, it's true. A hip designer in the Windy City. Also, caBI.

2. Furniture Shop: Hmmm. I haven't got a clue how to answer this. I used to like antiques, so I would rummage various antique stores. Now I want to sell everything I own, every stick of furniture and start over with just a more relaxed, beach-cottage look. So I dunno.

3. Sweet: are ya kidding me? Chocolat. It's a food group.

4. City: Well, I live in San Pedro, California, which is really Los Angeles. I LOVE Chicago, but it's too fucking cold. So there.

5. Drink: well, not since July 18, 1988. Oh, that's not what you meant. Okay, then it's gotta be Root Beer.

6. Music: I could listen to Yo-Yo Ma all day long. I mean, forever.

7. TV Series: toss-up between Sex and the City and The Sopranos. Oh, unless you mean currently? Um. Oh. Er.

8. Film: This is really, really, really hard. I love films. From Casablanca to Lawrence of Arabia; from Oklahoma to Singin in the Rain; from It Happened One Night to Gone With The Wind; from Dogma to Die Hard - I really can't pick just one. However, for 2008, I really loved Burn After Reading.

9. Workout: I walk. I try to get in 3 miles every day. Really.

10: Pastries: Chocolate cake. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Update: Dammital, Distributorcap noticed I forgot #11. Here it is:

11. Coffee: not for me. Tea all the way. Robust, Irish Breakfast. Yum.

Now I have to pick five suckers bloggers to play along. Hmmm. Sort of a "tic-tac, no trade-back" sort of thing, eh? Okay, Katie Schwartz, Border Explorer, Liberality, Susan, and Dianne.

Go forth, spread the meme.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Cool Hand At The Tiller

Last night, during the debate, John McCain said "we need a cool hand at the tiller." Hmmm. People who know him say he has a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty. John McCain is a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

I don't want the McCain/Palin team anywhere NEAR the White House. We must act decisively November 4th. In Ohio, you can already vote. Go DO it.

Leave it to the British to say what the US Media will not

Normally, I never take a complete article and reprint it. Today I am, because this about says it all. Friday, October 3rd, Michelle Goldberg of The Guardian writes:
At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.

By any normal standard, including the ones applied to male presidential candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually answering the queries put to her. "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also," she said.

And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects she was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted attack lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her own pseudo-folksy authenticity.

It was an appalling display. The only reason it was not widely described as such is that too many American pundits don't even try to judge the truth, wisdom or reasonableness of the political rhetoric they are paid to pronounce upon. Instead, they imagine themselves as interpreters of a mythical mass of "average Americans" who they both venerate and despise.

In pronouncing upon a debate, they don't try and determine whether a candidate's responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission accomplished.

There is indeed something mesmerising about Palin, with her manic beaming and fulsome confidence in her own charm. The force of her personality managed to slightly obscure the insulting emptiness of her answers last night. It's worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden's comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush's policies:

Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? ... My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

Evidently, Palin's pre-debate handlers judged her incapable of speaking on a fairly wide range of subjects, and so instructed to her to simply disregard questions that did not invite memorised talking points or cutesy filibustering. They probably told her to play up her spunky average-ness, which she did to the point of shtick - and dishonesty. Asked what her achilles heel is - a question she either didn't understand or chose to ignore - she started in on how McCain chose her because of her "connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills?"

None of Palin's children, it should be noted, is heading off to college. Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter is engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and self-described "fuckin' redneck". Palin is a woman who can't even tell the truth about the most quotidian and public details of her own life, never mind about matters of major public import. In her only vice-presidential debate, she was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What kind of maverick, after all, keeps harping on what a maverick she is? That her performance was considered anything but a farce doesn't show how high Palin has risen, but how low we all have sunk.

Monday, October 06, 2008

In Beauty and The Beast, we knew which one was the Beast

JoAnn Wypijewski's September 10th, 2008, article in The Nation shows John McCain's rampantly hypocritcal morality for what it is. As I read through the article, once again I was infuriated by his cynicism. He didn't pick Sarah Palin for her qualifications. He picked her because 'Palin is the sex symbol they've been waiting for, better looking and more real than the ghastly gasbags Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham.'

Remember John's first wife? Carol? The one he dumped because she was in a wheel chair when he returned from Viet Nam, and the 'sight of her appalled him?' He replaced her with Cindy. Wypijewski writes:
At 42 McNasty, as he was called in high school, took up with 24-year-old Cindy, a former junior rodeo queen, and, having boosted his image and his net worth via a marriage vow, soon reverted to the pattern of insults and macho egotism that has typified most of his life. He denigrated her education at USC as a tour through "the University of Spoiled Children." For all but one of several miscarriages, he left her on her own. When she was popping ten to fifteen pills a day to mask her pain and "do everything he wanted," he never noticed. In 1992, in a rage over her gentle teasing about his thinning hair, he exploded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt," a one-two punch hurled in front of three journalists and two aides but unreported until recently, by Cliff Schecter in The Real McCain. On the campaign trail in June he joked about "beating my wife" and took umbrage when others failed to grasp the simple good fun in the remark. In early August he said he'd encouraged Cindy to enter the Miss Buffalo Chip beauty pageant at the high-revving, flesh-swinging biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. It might have been a fine quip except that up on the stage with her daughter Meghan, staring out toward the throng where a sign urged Show Ur Tits 4 McCain, Cindy had the thin, fixed smile of endurance, not joy. Just before the Palin pick, Mrs. McCain was so brittle that a supporter's energetic handshake put her in a cast. With the press and vast swaths of the country swooning over the Obama family, John needed a new queen.
And the new queen is Miss Wasilla 1984, a woman who believes dinosaurs and man walked together on an Earth created 6000 years ago. Lovely. Even Cindy McCain feels this is a perfect match.

She is Rush Limbaugh's wet dream. "Sarah Palin: babies, guns, Jesus, hot damn!" he crowed. "We're the ones that have the babe on the ticket!" Never before has a political woman been pictured so often in a T-shirt, armed--Rambette. Never before in a major political figure has the image of Mother been merged so readily with fantasies from porno. "You Go, GILF," proclaim buttons on Republican chests, that is, Governor (or Grandmother) I'd Like to Fuck. McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis said that "this election is not about issues; this election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates," as cynical a statement as any Republican has made. This election is not about issues, it's about personality.

JoAnn Wypijewski refers to the Biblical Book of Esther. King Ahasuerus dumped his queen, Vashti, and held a beauty pagent to replace her. Esther was his Miss Wasilla, 1984. However, Sarah Palin, a biblical literalist, will know the outcome of this story. Esther enables her people to engage in bloody slaughter against the king's other subjects, maneuvers for the public execution of his closest adviser and the man's sons, sees her de facto father become the de facto king; in sum, sabotages and unmans Ahasuerus.

We have seen Sarah Palin in action. She ranges between absolutely idiotic to charming and cagey. She's played all sides against the middle, from using sexuality as a tool to claiming her Christian values, from supporting the Bridge to Knowwhere to opposing it when the politics of that support became untenable. She's Anita Bryant with a high-powered rifle. And, she can stick the knife in your back, and twist it with a smile.

John McCain may have met his match, and he may have unleashed this disaster on all of us.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Diva Jood's Campaign

This is the BEST News Coverage Shit from Shinola has had. I'm so impressed. (hat tip to Betmo

A Cub Fan's First Sentence: Wait til next year.

Truly, the worst fold of a team since the 1969 Cubs. Or maybe the 1984 Cubs against San Diego. Or, perhaps the Cubs vs. Steve Bartman. Or... year, after year, after year. After year, after year, after year...

My clothes are torn, I'm in black, I'm in mourning. Don't gloat, I'll call out a hit man on you.

Friday, October 03, 2008

A Message from the Secretary of Strawberries and Cream

My gramma is deserpesed depersed sad. Don't make her sad. She's sad because the Chicago Cubs forgot how to play baseball and aren't doing too good. I can sing take me outa ballgame take me outacrowd real loud but it isn't helping. And gramma is sad because John McPain's runner mape isn't too smart but she was winking at everbody when she debate Joe Biden and talking about Joe Sixpack but Joe Biden is kind of Joe Sixpack and it scared Gramma to see Sarah Palin ack sorta like Raygun. All charmy chummy cute. It was icky.

But gramma had lunch with Alicia from Last Left Turn Before Hooterville and they had fun and got hand massages and ate sammiches and salads and had cookies. I like cookies too. That's them in the picture below.

They look happy, but it was before the debate and baseball.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Declare Yourself

h/t to D-Cup. Now, pass it on.

How to prepare for tonight's debate

I've been a bad Diva. I've not visited anybody, and didn't blog at all yesterday. The reason is because tonight is a big debate, and my running mate, Nunly hasn't been invited. Still, I wanted to find a way to help everyone prepare. Here it is: You can channel your inner Sarah Palin and get ready for ANY debate.

But it is also October, and yesterday, an October Surprise. The Cubs were bludgeoned by the Dodgers in game 1 of the Division Series, and dug themselves into a pretty deep hole. Where in the world was Ryan Dempster? The man who never walks anybody walked seven, and gave up a Grand Slam in the 7 - 2 loss. I'm sick. Who gives a shite about the World Economy and various Creditors when baseball is at stake? (Randal, you knew I would have to get an Alan Rickman reference in somewhere.)

Nevertheless: IF someone asks YOU about your foreign policy experience, you can always respond
**Alaska that we work with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it's Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy independence that I've been working on for these years as the governor of this country, and victory in the stringent oversight, making sure that these weapons of mass destruction, that nuclear weapons are not given to those hands of Ahmadinejad, not that he would allow terrorists to be able to go back in history and if you really think I can give you examples of things that can be looked to as the solution to the mission, the mission is to control and to control energy supplies, also, coming from and through Russia, that's a dangerous position for our world is and how important it is about doing a lot of background work first and shoring up our economy.
**computer generated response based on probabilities calculated from Sarah Palin's actual speech.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Price of Right, by Alicia Morgan

Alicia Morgan, of Last Left Before Hooterville has raised a compelling question in her book, The Price of Right. The question seems simple: "Why do people consistently vote against their own best interests?" The answer seems simple as well: FEAR.

But Alicia shows us, chapter after chapter, that this response of fear is much more complex than we realize at surface. She talks about the language of fear. She talks about the personalities of self-described Conservatives and self-described Liberals, equating them with Farmers and Hunters in an archetypical sense. Traditionally, the Farmer had to follow a strict schedule as set by nature. The Hunter had to rely on lightening fast reflexes, instinct and the ability to change. These personalities are quite different; the Farmer will respond to an Authoritative figure while the Hunter will not.

Alicia has done her research, and she has written a compelling tale of how the Liberals have lost their "hunting" muscles - how we liberals have gotten lazy with mind-numbing comfort in an essentially "farming" community. How we liberals must begin the hunt for Truth and Change in earnest. But what I like most about Alicia's book is this: she's one of us. She's a musician, a mother, a wife, a blogger. She's struggling to make ends meet. She's not loaded with degrees and credentials and fancy language. She's one of us, and she's channelled her impatience into answering the question. She does it in language that is compelling in its accessibility. Follow the link. Get the book. Read it, and give it to an "undecided" friend. Give it to a Republican who is becoming afraid of his or her own party. Give it to a Hockey Mom who is appalled by Sarah Palin. Give it to a Democrat who puts their dislike of Obama ahead of the outcome of the election. Give it to anyone who can think.

Alicia has spoken for many of us, and I am proud to call her my friend.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Henry Paulson, Mortgage Broker

Looks like Henry Paulson's going to have more than 7 houses on his hands. Yes, it's true. Treasury Secretary Paulson is about to become the most powerful mortgage financier ever.

Paulson's plan has gone from an eco-friendly three pages to over 100 pages of detail, supposedly putting all kinds of restraint and oversight on him, but the dead trees give him mostly what he wanted: $700 billion, and the authority to spend it has he sees fit.

(dream sequence: Sarah Palin calls Henry Paulson: "So, Henry, ya know, Todd's back has been killing him and he wants to get out of the oil fields, so can ya give him about a billion to start a bank with? He doesn't know a thing about banking, ya know, but hey, we can see Russia from our house so that's gotta count fer something." Paulson responds, "Of course, Sarah. I'd do anything for you and First Dude.")

Under the terms of the "compromise", and I use that term loosely,
any firm selling troubled assets to the government would have to give Washington the right to take an ownership stake in the firm -- a more sweeping requirement than had been expected.
This doesn't please the administration because they fear that healthy companies will not participate (translation: Paulson can't acquire healthy companies), which will reduce the effectiveness of their attempt at world domination the rescue effort.

On the one hand, the legislation requires him to combat the nationwide wave of home foreclosures by pushing mortgage service companies to rewrite some loans and to cut the interest rates or even the principal for financially strapped homeowners. On the other hand, it gives him the politically explosive power to cut deals with foreign, not just U.S., banks in some cases.

It gives Paulson unprecedented power. And it makes me nervous that the Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush, at the end of Bush's disasterous administration, is being given the reins.
"This is not about a bailout of Wall Street," declared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). "It's a 'buy-in' so we can turn our economy around."
Geeze, I want what she's been smoking.
The measure's centerpiece -- its "troubled asset relief program" -- Paulson "is authorized to take such actions as the secretary deems necessary" to carry out the effort, including hiring, contracting and assigning companies to act as agents of the government, as well as buying, holding and selling assets.
This makes me nervous. Very nervous. To paraphrase the kid in "The Sixth Sense", I see greedy people. I see Halliburton. I see Blackwater marching into banks and taking over. Yes, I own a lovely tin foil hat.

And while the measure requires Paulson to "maximize assistance for homeowners . . . and minimize foreclosures," the very same sentence says the Treasury has to make sure that taxpayers are not stuck with any additional costs, which makes any substantial additional aid to homeowners unlikely.

Hey, I thought Republicans wanted LESS government, not more. If this "compromise" bill is approved, it will extend the Government's reach well into the mortgage business. I'm very nervous.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Economy, by Diva Jood

Once upon a time, the US Currency was linked to gold. But on August 15th, 1971, President Richard (I am not a crook) Nixon had the bright idea to close the gold window and take the US Currency off the Gold Standard, to which it had been linked since 1782. The rule was that we could only print up to four times the value of what was in our gold reserves.

By unlinking US Currency from Gold, Nixon effectively defaulted on our promise to foreign lenders to redeem dollars for gold. Now, we could simply print money whenever we felt like it. Need to pay for a new war? No problem, let's go down to the basement and print up some new trillion dollar bills and bomb the bejezus out of Iraq.

Some of our creditors aren't happy. "The Dollar cannot remain solely the problem of others," said Nicholas Sarkozy before a joint session of Congress in November, 2007. Nicky was referring to Nixon's Secretary of the Treasury, John Connally's remark that the Dollar was America 's currency "but your problem." Sarkozy said "monetary disarray could morph into economic war. We would all be its victims."

Did he have a Crystal Ball? Could Sarkozy, that Frenchman, have predicted this current economic meltdown that threatens our very large way of life? I mean, really, what happens when Governor Schwartzenegger cannot afford his Hummer, and has to actually take a fuel efficient car to work?

Whatever. I don't know about the rest of y'all, but I'm stretched pretty thin at the moment. I have bills and sporadic income. Still, I have hope. Didn't Obama tell me to get hope? I did, I went to the store and got me some hope and took a tremendous leap of faith to work independently.

But if McCain pulls this election out of his ass and winds up in the White House, I'm going to sell my hope for gold.

thanks, Dcap

Thursday, September 25, 2008

UN Millenium Project to End World Poverty

At the Millennium Summit in September 2000 the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the UN Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets, with a deadline of 2015, that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.

Quantifiable, time-bound goals for ending extreme poverty. Today, we are at the mid-way point in achieving these goals, yet progress has been far too slow in many parts of the world. From their site, the MDG Project says that "The crisis is most severe in sub-Saharan Africa where, despite some successes such as increased primary school enrollment, the majority of countries are not on track to achieving the MDGs."

Today, with the United States economy in crisis, with fuel costs at astronomical rates, with food shortages and food costs soaring, with AIDS still unsolved, the question arises: what can I do, as an individual, to contribute to end world poverty? What can I do, currently self-employed and with an uneven income, do to end world poverty?

Well, actually, there are plenty of things I can do. Slow Food supports good, clean and fair food, with a focus on local growers. I can support businesses that are green. I can recycle. If I focus on small, local actions, and put these actions out into the world, that energy spreads.

The cost of poverty is high - wasted minds, wasted potential, wasted lives. We can do better.

Dave Letterman's Take on McCain Suspending Campaign

It's just over nine minutes but worth watching all of it. His point about testing the VP candidate is so on the money.

McCain's act is a Hail Mary pass if ever there was one. (See Randal? I know my football terms.)

Update: Here is Craig Ferguson's take on the issue:

You can't suspend democracy. Hat tip to Dianne for this. Both Dave and Craig point out, through humor, the absurdity of McCain's empty gesture. The power of humor is far reaching. I applaud them both.

A Message from the Secretary of Strawberries

So but gramma has been so busy working for herself that she hardly has time to blog and she thinks she's a meanie because she makes herself work. So but today she isn't going to work much because she has to only drink clear liquids and then she gets drugs tomorrow for a test which people her age hafta get every five to seven years to prevent screens. I'm three.

Gramma's friend, Alicia, she has been writing a book which she's been working on for the past two years, which is almost as old as me but now the book is available and Gramma has a copy of it now. It's about how the Conservative Agenda is bad for America, and what makes people vote against their own best interests. And Gramma is very proud to call Alicia her friend, even though they don't get together very much because Alicia lives about three miles north of where Jesus lost his sandals. And Gramma lives in the port. Not in the port, like she doesn't have a berth and doesn't sit on the water. You should all buy Alicia's book. And then you should vote on November 4th. And Gramma's friend Peggy said that she was not only voting FOR Obama, she was voting AGAINST Sarah Palin. And Peggy is a life-long Republican. Sarah Palin scares her.

Gramma's opponent, Dr. Zaius seems to think Gramma looks good in pink, and that Veeper Nunly should smoke more. Why is Mr. Randal holding that little boy's head? Anyways. Buy Alicia's book and read it.