Thursday, October 30, 2008

Better Late Than Never - Write to Marry Day

I was in the city for a conference yesterday. It started at 8 a.m. Yes, 8 a.m. In the morning. I usually meander (hence my blog name) in to work at more like 10:15. To get into the heart of New York City by 8 a.m., I left my house at 6:45 a.m. Without breakfast or coffee. I drove halfway to New York in the early morning darkness without my car lights on, wondering why on earth the car behind me kept flashing its lights at me, and getting annoyed about it. That's how out of it I am that early in the morning without coffee.

I did recover enough (after 3 cups of coffee) to participate properly in this conference. But it was a long day. The afternoon didn't end until 5 p.m. and then I walked all the way back to the bus station, a total of 19 short blocks and 3 long ones. Then we had dinner at my aunt's and didn't get home until almost 11 p.m.

At that point I looked at some blogs and realized I'd missed the Write to Marry Day Blogswarm. I was too tired to write last night but can't let this opportunity pass without a post in support of the movement against Proposition 8 in California.

I have always felt very strongly about the issue of same-sex marriage. It is absurd to me that two people who love each other shouldn't be allowed to marry. Love is love, it doesn't matter whether it's a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.

I predict one day people will look back on these days and marvel at how ignorant and bigoted our country was, when so many states still forbade same-sex marriage -- much the way we do now when thinking back to the old laws against marriage between different races.

I could go into a whole bunch of great reasons that same-sex marriage is good for society, good for marriage in general, and best of all, good for those who choose to marry. But that's not the point. The point is that marriage should be for everyone who wants it. Period. We're talking about justice and equality, and those are the only reasons that matter.

So, those of you in California - Vote "No" on Proposition 8, which would change the state constitution to eliminate the rights of same-sex couples to marry and define marriage as only between a man and a woman. We cannot allow a step backward in the march for equal rights.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. My Humans finally got Home after being gone for Too Long, in My Opinion. At least I was here by myself without That Dog, since they take It with them. My Humans' friend came and Served Me in their Absence.

Well, this has been an eventful couple of Weeks, hasn't it? I have to tell you, I am so glad I am only a Cat and don't have to worry about Money. My Humans have given up on the idea of ever looking at their 401ks again, as that Stock Market thing just keeps sliding downward. Today at first it looked as if it was going to be Better, and then in the last 10 minutes it tumbled over 200 points! Those People who invest in it keep looking for it to be the Bottom but it never is.

In other News, it was just announced that Senator Ted Stevens was convicted of corruption. While I don't like to wish Evil on anyone, it is Good to see him get his come-uppance. However, he still intends to continue his campaign for re-election to the Senate. I find this Bizarre:

"Despite being a convicted felon, he is not required to drop out of the race or resign from the Senate. If he wins re-election, he can continue to hold his seat because there is no rule barring felons from serving in Congress. The Senate could vote to expel him on a two-thirds vote."

From what I understand, regular Humans who are convicted of a Felony lose their right to vote - but apparently Senators don't lose their right to be a Senator? This just makes no sense to Me...but of course we Cats probably just don't understand the intricacies of Government.

Meanwhile, the Obama Human continues to lead in the Polls, which is good news. Despite my Female Human's fear of a Stolen Election, I think he's going to actually win. Interestingly, about 40 telemarketers in Indiana walked off the job rather than read a Script attacking Obama. I wonder if THAT had ever happened before?

In the meantime, there is some Scary Stuff going on Out There. There are breaking reports of a white supremacist plot to assassinate Barack Obama having been, thankfully, broken up by the Feds. But how many more are Out There? This Country is a Very Scary Place. I am glad that, being a Cat, I can just hang out at Home and not put Myself at Risk. The Obama Human deserves a Lot of Respect for putting himself Out There and taking these Risks.

Apparently the United States has launched yet another Attack on some other Country out of the Blue - killing a bunch of people in Syria, including some Children. According to the Report,

"Syrian officials lashed out at Washington on Monday for a 'sheer violation of international law,' saying the U.S. attack killed eight people and wounded one."

Seems to Me that a Country can't get away with calling other Countries "Terrorists" if that Country is going to act the Same Way they do. I mean, what is Up with THAT?

Well, telling you all this News has now made Me depressed. I was trying to find some Lighthearted Stories to share with You but couldn't find Any. That is Scary in itself, isn't it?

My Female Human is thinking of taking off on Election Day to make calls to Get Out the Vote. Even though she lives in a Blue State, there should be no taking anything for Granted this year, no matter where You live.

So with that I leave you with this LOLCat from

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Chilling Guarantee by McCain

On today's Meet the Press, John McCain "guaranteed" that he would win in a squeaker.

"'I guarantee you that two weeks from now, you will see this has been a very close race, and I believe that I'm going to win it,' McCain told interim "Meet" moderator Tom Brokaw. 'We're going to do well in this campaign, my friend. We're going to win it, and it's going to be tight, and we're going to be up late.'"

The article goes on to say that the most recent polls are showing a tightening race, but I am not sure about that. It could be Obama's short absence from the campaign trail to visit his grandmother might have taken him off the top of people's minds for a day or so. The polls can't change that radically in two days.

But what does it mean that McCain has so much bravado that he is willing, like Joe Namath, to guarantee a victory? Does he know something we don't? Does he know what the GOP may have planned for all those hackable Diebold voting machines out there? Does he expect a massive voter suppression effort by the underground right-wing forces to whom he's sold his soul?

This pronouncement shouldn't bother me, but it does. Sure, he might just be putting a good face on his situation. He might be trying to buck up his supporters. Or maybe he really knows he's going to win.

We must not let this happen. If there is another stolen election I think half this country will rise up in revolt. And I'll be right there with them. We must make sure that every Democratic vote is counted, and every Obama supporter gets to the polls and votes. We cannot take any chances this year. Too much is at stake.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Haiku Thursday

We've been having a great week up here in the Adirondacks. The first few days were beautiful and we were able to see a lot of great foliage. We also had the opportunity to clean out our newly-purchased cabin and get it all tidied up and ready to have work done on it.

The fall foliage inspired me to write some haiku to go with the pictures we took! See below...

Hawk gliding above
Quiet lakes and rushing streams
He awaits his prey.

White birches flashing
Through brown oaks and red maples
As chipmunks rustle.

As the trees undress
A bright carpet of yellow
Forms at their bases.

White-tailed deer bounding
And flocks of turkeys roaming
Are there any bears?

Now leaves are falling
Sifting through tangled branches
Against bright blue sky Birds are quiet now
Muted calls filter through trees
Autumn closes in.

Below are a few more pictures we took. This one below is the cottage - really, a house - that we are staying in while working on our cabin. The cabin, as I've mentioned before, is not yet ready to live in - there is no running water (we need to drill a well) and that means no plumbing! So we are spending the week at the same place we stayed a year ago, Sheltered Lakes, which providentially is only a 10-minute drive from our property. Sheltered Lakes has a number of rustic cabins surrounding a beautiful pristine lake (that is the lake you see in the first two pictures above).

Most of the cabins don't have television, but "The White Cottage," as they call it, does have satellite TV, central heat, and all the amenities of home. The one thing it doesn't have is internet access. The only place you can access wi fi is in the parking lot near the office or in the cottages nearest the office. So we spent some time at the parking lot but mostly we just didn't try that hard. Today we are at the laundromat in town, which has internet access!

DH's dad came up for a couple of days and really enjoyed being away, even though it actually snowed while he was here! I think he enjoyed the novelty of snow in October. It didn't stick, though, and today is another beautiful sunny - but cold - day.

Here is some beautiful scenery near the town of Whitehall.

Diva enjoying the sun on the deck at our property:

The inside of our cabin (the one we just bought) now that we've cleaned up the junk that was left lying around:Diva after a long day of sniffing squirrels, chipmunks, deer and who knows what else in the woods:We'll be returning on Saturday and at that time I think I'll have Baxter take over and summarize all of the events of the week. There certainly have been a lot, what with Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama and the news that the GOP spent $150,000 on Sarah Palin's clothes! In fact, I think that little news item deserves a few haiku of its own:

Sarah Palin's clothes
Cost a hundred fifty grand
She's a hockey mom?

Saks Fifth Avenue
And even Neiman Marcus!
What were they thinking?

Caribou Barbie
Has all the accessories
Talk about "elite"!

But hey it's OK!
It all goes to charity!
Just what the poor need!

Heating bills too high?
Here's a Neiman Marcus vest!
That should keep you warm!

Who needs those tax breaks?
Have a thousand dollar skirt!
You'll feel so pretty!

I could go on...but I'll stop now.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dispatch from Whitehall, NY

We're up in the Adirondacks for the week and, although the place we're staying at is supposed to have wi fi, we haven't managed to connect yet. I'm hoping we'll figure it out today, as I was looking forward to the uninterrupted blogtime!

We were happy to discover the laundry in Whitehall has wi fi so we can sit on the street and steal some internet time!

We closed on our property yesterday - all went well - and we are now the proud owners of 6.6 acres of woods, pond and cabin in the Adirondacks! We are now in the process of sprucing up the place and hope to get a few estimates on some work we need done while we're up here this week.

The foliage is beautiful and I'll be posting some pictures after we download them.

In the meantime I'm feeling panicky, not knowing what the daily polls are doing and missing out on all of your great commentary.

I did happen to read Adirondack Musing today, where there is a great post pointing out that the so-called projector that McCain keeps ranting about is actually to replace an obsolete sky projection system for the Chicago Adler Planetarium - something that will benefit everyone, since people from all over come to this planetarium. Given the hole the U.S. is in compared to other countries in terms of scientific knowledge (and the increasing desire on the part of right wing fundamentalists to teach non-scientific ideas like creationism) it is important to continue to support educational institutions such as planetariums.

I wish Obama had called McCain on this during the debate - I thought he did a very good job of explaining McCain's outrageous lies about his associations with ACORN and Ayers, and definitely seemed calmer and more presidential than McCain. But this one "projector" earmark that McCain loves to bring up annoys me and I wish Obama had pointed out that it's not the kind of projector you use for PowerPoint presentations but a very high tech, scientific machine and that its use is worthwhile. But of course probably anybody who supports McCain would think this was a waste of money too - after all, these are the people who think anyone with brains and an ability to speak coherently is a member of the "elite" and not "one of them."

That's my two cents for the day - off to our cabin to do some more work!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day - On Poverty

Poverty. This is certainly an appropriate time to be discussing poverty, when the economy is in a shambles and people are worried that their life savings are evaporating into thin air. Some are wondering how to make ends meet and whether they will hold on to their home as foreclosures continue to rise. Still others are facing reality and realizing retirement may not be feasible as soon as they had hoped...if ever. Some are losing their jobs.

But even these situations, unfortunate though they are, are not necessarily official poverty. The government currently defines poverty based on various annual income levels, depending on the size of the household. For instance, for an average 4-person household, the poverty threshold is $21,203 annually. There are also poverty guidelines, which are similar to the thresholds and are used to determine eligibility for various programs. These guidelines have higher thresholds for those living in Alaska and Hawaii, where living expenses are higher.

Unfortunately, although legislation was proposed back in 1994 to account for differences between the cost of living in the various states, it apparently never passed, as the poverty line is still the same throughout the contiguous United States. As someone who lives in the metropolitan New York area, I find the idea of any family of four surviving on only $21,200 a year hard to imagine.

According to Robert E. Rector, published on the website of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, although about 37 million people were officially under the poverty line in 2005, a large number of these people apparently live in relative comfort compared to what we ordinarily think of as poverty.

"The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various gov­ernment reports:

Forty-three percent of all poor households actu­ally own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

Only 6 percent of poor households are over­crowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

...While the poor are generally well nourished, some poor families do experience temporary food shortages. But even this condition is relatively rare; 89 percent of the poor report their families have 'enough' food to eat, while only 2 percent say they 'often' do not have enough to eat."

However, the full analysis does indicate difficulties in making ends meet among those designated as poor, and Rector includes the following paragraph in his conclusions:

"But the living conditions of the average poor per­son should not be taken to mean that all poor Amer­icans live without hardship. There is a wide range of living conditions among the poor. Roughly a third of poor households do face material hardships such as overcrowding, intermittent food shortages, or difficulty obtaining medical care. However, even these households would be judged to have high liv­ing standards in comparison to most other people in the world."

To me the takeaway from this particular discussion of poverty is that a) conservatives don't like to admit that there is real poverty in this country, and b) generally, people in the United States are still a lot better off than, say, people in parts of Africa or other countries where real famine stalks the land and people truly have nothing.

That said, there are more subtle effects of poverty in the United States that, while not as devastating as actual starvation and complete penury, are nevertheless deeply harmful.

This site summarizes the consequences of poverty as follows:

"More than any other social class, the poor suffer from short life expectancies and health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental illness. Reasons include the following:

Poor people are often not well educated about diet and exercise. They are more likely than people in higher social strata to be overweight and suffer from nutritional deficits.

They are less likely to have health insurance, so they put off going to the doctor until a problem seems like a matter of life and death. At that time they must find a public health facility that accepts patients with little or no insurance.

Living in poverty brings chronic stress. Poor people live every day with the uncertainty of whether they can afford to eat, pay the electric bill, or make the rent payment. Members of the middle class also have stress but have more options for addressing it.

Poor people usually do not have jobs that offer them vacation time to let them relax.

High levels of unresolved stress, financial problems, and poor health can wreak havoc within a relationship. Poor people report more relationship problems than do people in other classes and have higher rates of divorce and desertion. The children of such families are more likely than their middle-class counterparts to grow up in broken homes or in single-parent, female-headed households.

...Anthropologist Oscar Lewis coined the term 'culture of poverty,' which means that poor people do not learn the norms and values that can help them improve their circumstances; hence, they become trapped in a repeated pattern of poverty. Because many poor people live in a narrow world in which all they see is poverty and desperation, they never acquire the skills or the ambition that could help them rise above the poverty level. Since culture is passed down from one generation to the next, parents teach their children to accept their circumstances rather than to work to change them. The cycle of poverty then becomes self-perpetuating."

Another reason the poor tend to suffer from obesity and undernutrition is that they don't have as much access to stores that sell healthy foods as those living in more affluent areas; plus there are more fast-food restaurants in their neighborhoods. In addition, healthier food costs more than less healthy food.

And of course, without enough money, the poor are less apt to attain higher education, and therefore are trapped in low-level, low-paying jobs, continuing the cycle of low income, stress and poor health. Studies have shown that people in low-level jobs feel less in control of their situation and suffer from a higher level of stress than those who feel they have some control over their fate. In addition, they cope less well with the stress, being more apt to deal with it by smoking or other unhealthy behaviors than those of a higher socioeconomic status.

All of these factors combine to leave the poor at a great disadvantage in our society.

Maybe they aren't starving or even lacking modern conveniences. But they are held back from the "pursuit of happiness" that the Founding Fathers saw as an inalienable right back when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. Surely as a nation, we can do better than this.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?"

The famous question that Joseph Welch asked Senator Joseph McCarthy during the McCarthy Hearings in the 1950s could as easily be asked of John McCain today.

The head of the GOP in Virginia, Jeffrey Frederick, has compared Barack Obama to Osama Bin Laden. This is no longer a campaign of sly, vicious innuendo. This man has come right out and compared Barack Obama to the worst terrorist there is. Comparing Obama to Bin Laden, he said: "'Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon,' he said. 'That is scary.'"

What is scary is that there are people out there making these absurd comparisons. And what else is scary? John McCain isn't repudiating them.

According to Talking Points Memo, McCain refused to condemn the comparison, saying he needed more "context" and once again brought up the idea that Obama has not been forthcoming about his real relationship with Ayers:

"'I have to look at the context of his remarks. I have always repudiated any comments that have been made that were inappropriate about Senator Obama. The fact is that William Ayers was a terrorist and bomber and unrepentant. I don't care about that. But Senator Obama ought be the candid and truthful about his relationship with Mr. Ayers in whose living room Senator Obama launched his campaign and Senator Obama said he was just a guy in the neighborhood.'"

Come on, John. You know as well as we do that there IS no possible context that would make that comparison acceptable or appropriate in any way, shape or form. And to follow up that "context" remark with yet another aspersion cast on Obama's so-called relationship with Ayers, is just disingenuous to the extreme.

John McCain has sunk to a new low and will never be able to regain the respect many people had for him until this campaign. It is sad in a way to see a person completely give up any remnant of their soul just to try to win an election.

I hope, in the most reasonable, above-the-fray way he can, that Obama will call him on this behavior in the debate on Wednesday. I hope McCain has the grace to look ashamed.

In the meantime, the latest poll shows McCain's favorability ratings going south while Obama's lead is now 53%-43%. You'd think McCain would realize that trying to tell the American people that Obama is a terrorist is just not working.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Woodpecker

I started watching birds when I was just nine years old. We had moved out of suburban New Jersey to a more rural (although still suburban) area, outside of Rochester, New York, that year. The house, more modern than the one we'd left, had a huge picture window in the living room, framing a back yard that overlooked a creek and some woods. Unlike my native New Jersey, where the birds were pretty basic, this area had a lot of interesting birds, both native and migratory, and my mother placed a birdfeeder outside the back door where it could be viewed from the picture window.

We had always had a bird book around, and I started trying to identify the various birds we saw from the window. That first winter we had a whole flock of dull olive colored birds with black and white wings. We weren't sure what they were since there were so many drab little olive-colored birds in the book. Then, lo and behold, spring came, and some of the birds developed bright yellow feathers and saucy black caps! It turned out they were hardy little Goldfinches who wintered in our woods, and had shed their bright feathers for their winter garb.

My mother and I would go walking in the woods with our binoculars, and over the years made a lot of exciting discoveries, including various migrating warblers. Once we even saw a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, singing in a tree. I'd always wanted to see one of those birds, and I recognized him at first from his song. I had a record back then called "Bird Songs in Your Garden," which familiarized me with a myriad of calls and songs of birds of all kinds, both common and uncommon. To this day I can still whistle a fairly credible imitation of the song of the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.

Now that I'm back in New Jersey, we don't see a lot of "good" birds, but once in awhile something more unusual does stray into our yard. One time we saw several Golden-Fronted Woodpeckers sitting on our fence, which I'd never seen before - or since.

One woodpecker I'd always been fascinated with was the Pileated Woodpecker. It was pictured in my bird book right next to the extremely rare (until recently thought extinct) Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, and looked almost like it.

Neither of these species are ordinary woodpeckers. They are huge, larger than crows (in fact, the Ivory-Billed is so big and spectacular it is known as the "Lord God Bird" - because when people used to see it they'd exclaim, "Lord God, what was that?!").

Naturally the only woodpeckers I ever saw were the most common ones - the Downy Woodpecker and the Hairy Woodpecker.

These are two almost identical woodpeckers whose biggest difference is size. They should be called the "Lesser Speckly Black-and-White Woodpecker with a Red Patch on the Back of its Head" and the "Greater Speckly Black-and-White Woodpecker with a Red Patch on the Back of its Head."

Downy (left)

Hairy (right)

Well, this past weekend in the Adirondacks I finally saw a Pileated Woodpecker. We had been visiting our property (which we're closing on this Friday, finally!) and were just driving down the road after exiting the unpaved gravel road that leads to the cabin.

Suddenly, up ahead, I saw a huge black and white bird with white wing patches and a bright red head fly across the road. "Holy shit! Did you see that?!" I said to DH. (Does this mean this bird should be nicknamed "The Holy Shit Bird"?)

We saw the bird fly up into a tree as we went by, and there was no doubt about it. It was a Pileated Woodpecker.
(Picture courtesy of

We continued our drive down the road, and ultimately, home to New Jersey.

But all last week, throughout the financial chaos and all the negativity, every once in awhile my mind returned to that moment, the flap of the wings, the flash of black and white, the bright head, and I'd feel a quick burst of joy.

I'd forgotten the happiness that the mere sight of an unusual bird can provide, a feeling of gladness that I can hold close inside, like an ember, to keep me warm in the cold days ahead.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. I had to Take Over because my Female Human is in the Fetal Position on the Floor right now. She made the Mistake of Daring to look at her 401k Balance. Foolish Human. She knew she shouldn't, but she did it anyway. I guess it was like that Human expression, "biting on a Sore Tooth."

As a Cat, of course, I have Words of Encouragement for All of You. We will Get Through This.

Humans are so Superficial. They think this stuff called Money is so Important. And of course it is, if you don't have enough to Eat or a House Over your Head. I am not Minimizing the Importance of the Losses People are suffering.

But Cats understand that once those Needs are fulfilled, Life is Good. If we get a Pat on the Head and a Sun Spot to lie in, and have a full Stomach, we don't really need Anything Else.

Even Cats who aren't living in the Lap of Luxury as I am, usually Get By very nicely. They catch a Mouse or a Rat when they're hungry, or dig into the neighbor's Garbage Can. And they huddle under a Car to keep dry and curl up together for Warmth.

Humans can learn a lot from Cats, particularly my Female Human. For instance, she really doesn't need to order Books and Clothes on the Internet. She has enough Books and Clothes to keep busy and clothed for a Lifetime. If she gets Bored she can do Sudoku. That is cheap and very Time-Consuming.

And you know what? If she really needs Clothes, there are plenty of Thrift Shops that she could buy from, which would not only be cheaper but would benefit the Cause that they support, such as Hospice, or other charities. We Cats, of course, don't wear Clothes, as we come with our own Fur - much more Efficient.

Another thing many Cats do is Catch their own Food. Humans can Grow their own Food and save Money that way, which is a Good Thing, since there are no Mice in this house so I can't catch my own Dinner and they have to buy my Food. Of course the Growing Season is almost over so that's something for Next Year.

In the meantime, another way my Humans could save Money would be to stop eating out all the time. They could use Real Ingredients and make Stew or Casseroles and freeze them and eat them all Week when they don't feel like cooking.

As for the Political Stuff, I am feeling Confident that the Obama Human will Prevail. I know my Female Human is worried about All Sorts of Things happening between now and Election Day but the Polls still look Good and as my Female Human's Mother likes to say, "Don't trouble trouble till trouble troubles you!" We Cats take Life as it comes. There is no sense in worrying about Tomorrow when you can sleep in a Sun Spot today.

With that, I will Sign Off and wish you an excellent Weekend. Since the Stock Market is not open on Weekends, at least no one will have to worry about THAT for a couple of Days. I suggest you partake of massive Amounts of Catnip or whatever you prefer, and don't think about this Stuff until Monday. Hang In There Everyone! And remember...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I Am Afraid

I am afraid the country is on the verge of another Great Depression.

I am afraid of the vicious, hate-filled mobs who are cheering McCain and Palin.

I am afraid that the government may declare martial law and even postpone the election if the economic situation worsens.

I am afraid that McCain-Palin's completely heinous, false and misleading video about Obama being tied to terrorism might actually work because so much of America is full of people who are ignorant.

I am afraid of the Bradley Effect.

I am afraid of voter purges in swing states, voter suppression, and Diebold.

I am afraid of an October Surprise that would benefit McCain. I wouldn't even put it past the GOP to either engineer or allow a terrorist attack if they thought it would help him beat Obama.

I am afraid of the anger that is seething in America, which could erupt if things get worse.

One part of me is excited that Obama is in the lead but another part of me is full of fear for the future. There are still 27 days until the election. Anything could happen.

I've seen some overconfidence among Democrats - a headline today talking about a possible "Obama Landslide." This also makes me afraid. We cannot become complacent, cannot take anything for granted. This article from Alternet makes some very good points:

"Along with throwing mud and benefitting from racism, McCain stands to gain from the fact that the national Republican Party now has a lot more money in the bank than the Democratic Party does. And in many states, a wide range of anti-democratic measures -- including purges of voter rolls and very unreasonable requirements for voter ID on Election Day -- will work to the benefit of the McCain-Palin ticket.

Overall, the polls showing Obama with a sizeable lead should be taken with a box of salt. The count on election night could be close. In the meantime, McCain can only benefit when progressives assume he'll lose.

Such rosy assumptions are dangerous. They're apt to result in overconfidence, reducing volunteer energy and voter turnout for Obama.

Assume that the economic crisis has doomed the McCain campaign? He hopes you will."

Sinister Goings-On in the Swing States

According to the New York Times, a number of swing states have been purging their voter registration rolls, possibly illegally.

"The actions do not seem to be coordinated by one party or the other, nor do they appear to be the result of election officials intentionally breaking rules, but are apparently the result of mistakes in the handling of the registrations and voter files as the states tried to comply with a 2002 federal law, intended to overhaul the way elections are run.

Still, because Democrats have been more aggressive at registering new voters this year, according to state election officials, any heightened screening of new applications may affect their party’s supporters disproportionately."

I am not convinced that these purges aren't intentional. We must be vigilant that this type of thing does not end up costing Obama this election. Polls will mean nothing if the people who say they will vote for Obama aren't able to cast their votes.

This may be behind what happened to Enigma, who lives in Ohio and recently checked to see if she was registered and couldn't find her name on the list.

So, well before the election, be sure to double check whether you are on the list of registered voters in your state - even if you have voted in the past and have no reason to think you wouldn't be on the list.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

-508 Points...Need I say more?

What a mess. Even states, such as California, are looking for bailouts. And it's not just over here. Whole countries are going bankrupt.

I really am wondering where it will end. If McCain comes out tonight and tries to talk about Obama's ties to Bill Ayers when the world is crumbling around him, I think it will backfire and the people at that town hall will not let him get away with it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Turning the page? I don't think so...

This week McCain's adviser, Greg Strimple, publicly announced that the McCain campaign would try to distract the voters from the financial crisis by attacking Obama. In his own words:

"'We are very well-funded, and we are looking for a very aggressive last 30 days,'' said senior adviser Greg Strimple. 'We're looking to turning the page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama's liberal, aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for the Americans.'"

Sticking to this script, Sarah Palin has been trying to tie Obama to Bill Ayers, a former member of the radical Weather Underground group, which carried out a series of bombings during the early 1970s. From the same article linked above Palin has been saying:

"Obama 'is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country,' Palin, 44, the Republican vice presidential nominee, told donors at a fundraiser last night in Costa Mesa, California. 'This, ladies and gentleman, is not the kind of change that I think we should be believing in.'"

Palin and her backers are ignoring the fact that the man in question is now a respected professor, the bombings took place 40 years ago when Obama was only 8 years old, and Palin herself was hardly out of diapers at the time.

In the meantime, Obama has finally come out with ads pointing out that McCain was one of the "Keating Five" from the 1980s, a much more recent and pertinent connection to the current crisis facing our nation. Although McCain was ultimately cleared of illegal actions in the scandal, he was reprimanded for "poor judgment."

If McCain wants to try to "turn the page" away from our economic crisis and attack Obama to keep the American public's mind off the mess he helped get us in, it isn't a wise strategy. How many other skeletons does a 72-year-old man have in his closet compared to a 47-year-old man? I'd wager a lot more. Two can play this game.

In the meantime, Wall Street is continuing to tank, with stocks down nearly 500 points to below 10,000this morning after the markets in Europe went into free-fall overnight. This isn't the kind of financial problem you can just wave $700 billion at and it will make it go away. This is a serious, long-term financial debacle and it will take more than Congress passing a bailout package to fix it.

McCain will try to turn the page, but I think the American public won't let him do it, as long as their 401ks are going down the tubes and their mortgage payments are in arrears and there is so little confidence in the entire banking system. They'll just keep going back to the first chapter and seeing that the hero of this story is not going to be John "Keating Five" McCain. There is a reason Obama's poll numbers keep going up no matter how many attacks McCain and his henchwoman make on Obama.

As President Dubya famously said, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool can't get fooled again."

Friday, October 03, 2008

Let's Hope This Remains Fiction!

A friend sent me this spoof of a movie trailer starring Sarah Palin and what might happen if she became Vice President. Let's hope it remains in the fictional realm.

We attended the local debate party held at a nearby bar/restaurant, along with about 75 other political junkies. 99% were Democrats so most of the cheers were for Biden and chuckles for Palin, but there was a lone guy over by the wall who would clap for her.

Fox Noise was inside with a camera and also outside interviewing people as we were leaving, but I didn't catch the news last night so don't know if we personally were on television.

There have been so many great posts already on people's impressions of Palin that I won't bother to go into detail about how we felt, but basically it seemed as if she was very scripted, just kept steering the replies back to whatever she had memorized, and that Joe Biden did a great job. Sarah Palin beat expectations but that sure wasn't hard. Luckily it seems the independents polled felt Biden won the debate and were not particularly swayed toward the McCain-Palin ticket.

You can go over to Momocrats and see a hilarious flowchart showing how Sarah's thought process must have worked during the debate last night.

We're heading up to the Adirondacks over the weekend and will try to forget the scary possibility of Sarah Palin getting anywhere near the White House.

Weekend is coming
Politics will be on hold
We are escaping.

The bailout has passed
California's going broke
What else will happen?

We'll wait to find out
In the meantime we're driving
Up on the Northway.

The leaves are turning
Up in the Adirondacks
Views will be awesome.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Tonight's the Night

I haven't seen so much hype about a debate since Nixon-Kennedy. (Well, actually I don't remember how much hype there was before Nixon-Kennedy since I was only 7, but I imagine there must have been a lot since it was the first televised debate. Of course, back then, they didn't even know how to hype - so let's just forget this analogy, OK?)

Anyway, the fierce focus on this VP debate is getting me worried. All Sarah Palin has to do is show up and still be standing at the end and not collapsed into a babbling heap, and she'll be declared the winner. Biden, in the meantime, has to come off as knowledgeable but nice, and not say anything stupid (as he is sometimes wont to do). I think his job will be harder.

To amuse you in the meantime, here is a fun toy - The Sarah Palin Quote Generator. It will give you wonderful quotes that Sarah Palin hasn't said - YET. Let's see if she comes up with any of them tonight. Here are a few examples:

"What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at also bipartisan effort at a crisis time like this."

"And as Ronald Reagan believed that the impact — we have got to have all options out there on the table."

"The way that I have understood the world is the leadership qualities — that's paramount."

Have fun watching tonight - we'll be at a debate-watching party so will report back on what people thought of her debating skills afterward!