Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. I don't have a lot of time to Blog today but thought I would stop in and give you my two cents on last night's Debate between the Barack Obama Human and the Hillary Clinton Human.

Mind you, I didn't actually watch this so-called Debate. But I did read about it this morning when I was Perusing the Internet as is my wont. And I read some Live Blogging over at Watergate Summer, and my Impression is that the Hillary Human didn't do herself any Favors with her Performance. It seems as if she is Schizophrenic; one minute she is cordial and conciliatory and the next, she comes out Fighting.

Now, mind you, for Cats, this is a Good Thing. If a Cat acts pleasant, this Lulls his Opponent into a False Sense of Security, and then the Cat can strike unexpectedly and do more Damage. But for Politicians, this may not be so good. It seems as if the Audience applauds most when both of these Candidates are cordial to each other, such as the end of the last Debate. It remains to be seen whether the strikes the Hillary Human made will have any positive Effect or whether her shifting Tactics may work against her.

From what I understand, the Obama Human, although he did respond to the Attacks, did not lose his Cool. This should stand him in good stead.

One thing my own Female Human has noticed is how different this series of Debates is from other Presidential Campaign years. First of all, there are Too Many of them. How many times can people get up there and answer the same Stupid Questions?

The other Thing is, the style of these so-called Debates is more reminiscent of World Wrestling Friday Night Smackdown than a serious discussion of the Issues. In the Old Days the Debate style was highly Formal and Candidates got a set number of minutes that were strictly Enforced, and video clips of their Speeches were not interpsersed. CNN has made this into Entertainment - and biased Entertainment at that - and I think it does the Public a Disservice.

It was somehow Appropriate that the Clinton Human referred to a Saturday Night Live skit that showed Favoritism toward her Opponent in order to claim the Moderators favored the Obama Human.

The Big Test will be on March 4, and we will see whether the Clinton Human's tactics did anything to slow the Obama Human's Momentum.

I've heard Hints that my Humans are Going Away on Vacation soon; if so, I am going to be here Sulking in Solitude. Oh, yes, one of my Human Friends will be here to visit me, so I won't be completely Alone. But I will be Cranky. The only Good thing is That Dog won't be here to Annoy me.

On that note, I will close this Post. Have a good Week and have plenty of Catnip to get you through the next bout of Primaries.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Haiku Monday

I have to tell you, I am all out of energy. It is a combination of the February blues (an extension of my January Seasonal Affective Disorder) and all of the family chaos that has been going on this month.

I swear I don't even know where February went! The last thing I remember was it was Super Bowl Sunday and I was looking forward to a nice evening at a friend's party (which she always has catered with awesome and delectable party food) - and it never happened and I just remember an endless swirl of hospitals, nursing homes, and telephone conversations with doctors, nurses, social workers and more.

In the meantime, while my in-laws have had their health problems, we've also been trying to get my aunt's house ready to sell. She moved out in October into a senior citizens' apartment building, and now we have to sell her house. But it had to be painted inside. And the floors had to be done. And now a plumber must be called to fix the downstairs sink. So even though we have had months to get the house ready to sell, of course we are down to the wire now. And the house has to be cleaned before it is offically on the market, which is supposed to happen imminently. Progress is being made but there are still more details to be finalized. All before this Friday.

Because, in the midst of all this, we are heading out for a two-week vacation, this Friday - to Hawaii. Yes, we're going to our favorite place, to de-stress, relax and recover from winter. Last year at this time we were in Australia soaking up hot sunlight in 100 degree weather (but it was a dry heat!). And we swore we would make sure to take a warm-weather vacation every winter if at all possible, because that made winter so much more bearable.

This time, instead of Australia, we're spending a week on Maui, here, and a week on Kauai, here.

So in the next two days, I may not have much time to post or visit, as we'll be finishing up last-minute things and trying to pack.

Luckily all seems to be going well for my in-laws and they will be in good hands while we're gone; for awhile there we were wondering whether we'd have to cancel our trip.

Baxter may not be able to post since I won't be home to help him, but my good friend (fondly known as "Friend #2" in several anecdotes you may have read) is going to be dropping in and visiting him and making sure he has plenty to eat and a clean box.

Diva will also be in good hands at the vet's, where she is treated like a major celebrity by the staff and the veterinarians, all of whom adore her, as of course they should, since she IS the Diva.

I am going to bring my laptop with me, as I'm pretty sure there is wi fi in at least one location, so I won't be out of cyberspace for very long! And we'll be downloading the NY Times and keeping up with the politics because a news junkie like me can't keep away from it too long.

Finishing up with a few pertinent haiku:

New Jersey winters
Are long, cold, gray and slushy
Too long to abide.

Snow and ice abound
But birds have started chirping
Spring will follow soon.

Soon we will leave for
A tropical paradise
And return to Spring.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday is Memeday!

I'm trying to catch up here since snow gave me the opportunity to stay home - and I'm done working from home for today.

First of all, I want to try to address a few backed-up memes and award tags that I've been letting pile up.

Kuanyin asked me if I'd like to pick up a "Never Ending Story" meme that had gotten sidetracked last year. This was similar to the Viral Story started by Splotchy awhile back. Kuanyin credited Kilroy of Fear and Loathing with beginning the story, which has not gotten that far yet. I'll tag a few people to see if we can get it moving for them!

Here's what Kilroy sent Kuanyin:

"The telephone rang. I counted, one...two...three..."


"...and let it ring til the answering machine picked up. Would that hot-to-trot sex-crazed druggie ever stop calling?"

Mauigirl's contribution:

"I muttered out loud, 'I swear I'm going to have to get an unlisted phone number if this moron doesn't knock it off.' The phone beeped and I picked it up to check the message, only to hear the sound of a click as the caller hung up. This was unusual; the druggie sex addict usually liked to leave a message, starting with a lot of heavy breathing.

I was alone in the house and a sudden shiver went up my spine."

For this meme, I'd like to tag:

Dr. Zaius of Zaius Nation
Nick of This is It
Phydeaux of Phydeaux Speaks
Fran of FranIAm

Hope at least one of you will pick it up and run with it! Have fun!

OK, one down, more to go.

Back in January, PunditMom very kindly awarded me a "Just Posts" award for December of last year over at Jen's blog, One Plus Two, for my post about New Jersey abolishing the death penalty. I had posted the logo and link to the site on my sidebar but am just getting around to thanking PunditMom for the honor! The "Just Posts" are for posts regarding issues of social justice, and I urge you to visit her blog and read some of the other great posts on various subjects.
Kuanyin also awarded me a "Mentoring" award (which seemed ironic, as I feel she has been more of a mentor to me!). Of course, she did qualify the award in general as being for mentors, inspirations, or people who urged her to continue blogging, or those that are, and I quote, "such characters that I've got zero clue as to what drives them. They're forces of nature on the blogosphere." Now, she did not specify which category I fit into, so you can draw your own conclusions!

I am going to go with the basic spirit of the award and try to pick a few people I feel have been mentors to me in my still-nascent blogging "career." Actually, I could pick almost anyone on my blogroll for this one but I'll have to limit myself to a few in particular as I've included nearly the entire blogroll further down anyway!

So here goes:

Larry of Lydia Cornell's blog has always been a great commenter and has given me lots of good advice on how to expand my blog's reach.

Tomcat of Politics Plus has also been a great help to me and a loyal commenter.

Robert Rouse of Left of Centrist and Blog World Report has also been a real mentor, and has posted my blog posts on his Blog World Report, which always increases my traffic quite noticeably!

I could add many more - suffice it to say that I love all of you and appreciate all of your comments and thoughts!

Last but not least, here is the Technorati meme, if you want to call it a meme.

FranIAm recently posted her entire link list as part of this kind of viral meme that is spreading about the Blogosphere, in order to improve Technorati ratings.

I confess I know nothing much about Technorati although I am listed on the site. I sometimes check to see my ranking and find I do not make it into anywhere near the top of the list so the chart they calculate for me is basically at zero.

Since this little exercise gives a lot of Link Love to everyone's blogs, I thought I'd play along, whether or not it has any effect on Technorati rankings for any of us or not. So below is my full list of personal/political links, please have fun perusing them!

American Politics Journal
American Street
Blog Against Theocracy
Blog World Report
Crooks and Liars
Fire Dog Lake
Huffington Post
Lydia Cornell
Talking Points Memo
The Blue Republic
The Cosmic Message
The Daily Kos
The Political Voices of Women
The Smirking Chimp
TPM - Election Central

An Average American Patriot
Axis of Evel Knievel
Blue Gal
Boxer Rebellion
Comrade Kevin
Distributor Cap
Freida Bee
From the Left
I Can't Believe It's Not a Democracy
I Was Just Wondering
I, Splotchy
Impeachment and Other Dreams
Informed Voters
It's My Right to be Left of Center
Kelso's Nuts
L'Ennui Melodieux
Last Left Turn Before Hooterville
Left of Centrist
Let's Talk
Liberal Journal
Liberal Values
Little Bang Theory
Little Country Lost
Mock, Paper, Scissors
Monkey Muck
Morning Martini
My Saturday Evening Post
Nailing Jello to the Wall
Phydeaux Speaks
Pissed On Politics
Politics After 50
Politics Plus
Preserve, Protect and Defend
Pundit Mom
Reconstitution 2.0
Sumo Merriment
Suzi Riot - Rants from the Left
The Devil is in the Details
The Divine Democrat
The Existentialist Cowboy
The Future Was Yesterday
The Gypsy's Caravan
Various Ecstacies
Watergate Summer
Who Hijacked Our Country?
Yikes (BAC)
Zaius Nation

And here are some of the other blogs I enjoy:

Aim for Awesome
Balls and Walnuts
Basket of Puppies
Blog Blond - Blogging Tips
Cats Working
Crazy Aunt Purl
Figuratively Speaking
Inside Betty's Head
It's All About the Walls
Jurgen Nation
KGMom Mumblings
Looky Daddy
m's blog
Marge's Words to the Wise
Martta's World
Mimi Writes
Miss Doxie
O My Word
Ransom Note
Schmutzie's Milkmoney or Not Here I Come
Slouching Past 40
Stop Katie
The Boomer Chronicles
The Constant Whiner
The Needs of the Few
This is it
Who's Yo Mama?

Freefalling Me
In a Dark Time
Me, My Life, My Garden
The Flames of Eden

Bay Area Love Letters
Double Brush - Hawaiian vacation/gifts
Must be that girl!

Addicted to Medblogs
Denver Doc Online
Doc of Ages
Dr. Anonymous

If you want to participate and do the same thing, it is very easy - you highlight your blogroll on the side of the page, copy and then paste it into your post in the "compose" mode. The system will then include the links as well as the description.

That's it! I may have more memes that I've forgotten about and if I remember one, I'll post it. In the meantime, enjoy browsing among all of our blogrolls.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. As you can see from this picture, I've been entertaining myself tonight by getting into the Catnip. There was another one of those Debates that my Female Human likes to watch, but I've had enough of them for awhile so I didn't watch it myself. So I thought I'd have a little Diversion from Politics for a change and do a little 'Nip to relax.

Yes, I know I'm a day late. My Humans have been very busy with my Male Human's parents so they haven't been giving me the Opportunity I need to get on the Computer to Blog.

However, That Dog I am forced to live with has also been Inconvenienced, so it's not all bad. The Male Human has been away on a Business Trip and the Female Human has been visiting his Parents in the evening. This means That Dog hasn't gotten as much Attention as she generally demands. So she wants to play when the Female Human gets home and does lots of barking. I keep a low profile when this happens; I hate Noise. Another reason to delve into the Catnip.

Well, as you know, it's been another busy Week. Besides the Political news, there have been other Events of Note. For instance, Fidel Castro resigned as President of Cuba. He'd been Dictator for Life practically ever since my Humans can remember, starting in 1959. In fact, my Humans remember very distinctly when in 1962 he allowed Russia to put nuclear missiles on his Island only 90 miles from the shores of Florida. This was called the Cuban Missile Crisis and eventually - after the Humans truly feared a Nuclear War was going to happen - the Russians agreed to remove the Missiles and things calmed down again. The stupid thing is ever since then, no one who is a U.S. Citizen is allowed to go to Cuba. Not even now that Mr. Castro has Resigned. It seems kind of Silly to me.

However, I digress. It must be the Catnip. Of course, this was all Before My Time. I was only born in 2001, myself. I don't even remember the 9/11 Attack the Humans talk about that apparently started this War on Terror business.

Let's see, what else happened this week? Oh yes. There was a lunar eclipse last night! It was pretty Spectacular, I am told, although I didn't bother to try to look out the Window; I was busy Washing. My Female Human happened to come home just as it was at its Peak and saw it as she was getting out of her Car. She reported it made the Full Moon look like a tiny little sliver of a New Moon.

The Pentagon shot down that satellite I told you about a couple of weeks ago, with a Navy missile. Supposedly they got it right where they hoped to, and the Dangerous Fuel on board will burn up in the Atmosphere. There is Much Suspicion among the Humans that this wasn't really Necessary and that this was Only a Test to see if their anti-missile missiles actually Work. Star Wars Lives!

That's it for my News Roundup. I'll end with a LOL Cats that I can truly identify with. If I could lure That Dog down into the Basement, this could be ME!
Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Win for Obama

(Picture credit Tim Johnson/Reuters)

Barack Obama has won the Wisconsin primary with a 57% to 42% margin over Clinton, with over 3/4 of precincts reporting.

He beat Clinton among white male voters, split women voters in a near-tie, won among Independents, and gained among white, working-class voters, according to MSNBC. He also led on electability (63% to 37% for Hillary).

According to the New York Times,

"Almost two-thirds said Mr. Obama would be more likely to unite the country and about 55 percent considered him more likely to improve foreign relations."

Although the Clintons can never be counted out, and there are some big states yet to vote, the momentum is continuing to propel Obama forward. The Associated Press characterized the win in a way that does not bode well for Hillary Clinton's chances:

"Barack Obama cruised past a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday night, gaining the upper hand in a Democratic presidential race for the ages. It was Obama's ninth straight victory over the past three weeks, and left the former first lady in desperate need of a comeback in a race she long commanded as front-runner."

The win came after controversy generated by the Clinton campaign regarding his using certain phrases that had previously been used by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. The two men are friends and Obama had credited him with one of the phrases in a previous speech. According to the CNN Political Ticker, the whole thing was old news:

"A Boston Globe article in the spring of 2007 titled 'Patrick, Obama campaigns share language of "hope"' noted many similarities between their stump speeches, and said that the two men shared a 'symbiotic friendship.'"

Another controversy arose when Michelle Obama was quoted as having said that for the first time in her adult life, she was proud of her country.

The statement was taken somewhat out of context, as Ms. Obama added, "Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change." She went on to say:

"'I have seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues and it has made me proud,' she told supporters."

The statement immediately generated all kinds of commentary in the media, and no doubt will be used against Obama by his opponents. But when you take into consideration the fact that Michelle Obama, at 44, has had an adult life that really only began in the middle of Reagan's presidency, she may have a point there.

Let's see...we've had policies that made the rich richer and the poor, poorer. We've had a president who was impeached for having sex in the Oval Office and lying about it. We've had a president who invaded another country without provocation, killing perhaps as many as a million of its citizens, including women and children, with no end in sight. We've seen our country's image tarnished throughout the world as a result. We've seen political partisanship poison our government to the point that nothing can be accomplished.

I'm not saying that there aren't plenty of reasons to be proud of our country despite all this. But I am saying that Michelle could have her reasons for feeling more positive toward this country than ever before.

Obviously neither controversy bothered the voters in Wisconsin, since Obama's margin of victory was decisive.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cruising the Internets

Today is the first day we haven't driven an hour each way to see DH's parents. They are now both ensconced in the same nursing home, my father-in-law for "rehabilitation" from his emergency operation and my mother-in-law still in respite care due to her Alzheimer's Disease. My father-in-law is very glad to be with her again, and since they now have each other, we decided to take a break and relax today.

So, I started meandering, in my eponymous way, among the Interwebs. Christopher had advised me that there is a "Cats 4 Obama" site that Baxter might be interested in joining. So I decided to do a little Googling and see if I could find it. I found a number of sites when I searched on "Cats for Obama" and some of them were quite interesting, so I thought I'd share them with you.

The Purple Crayon reports that Socks the Cat (formerly owned by the Clintons) has endorsed Obama for President.

"Socks’ succinctly worded statement, “You choose Buddy, I’m choosing Barack... Meow!”, may allude to lingering resentment over the Clintons’ decision to move First Dog Buddy to Chappaqua, NY instead of Socks.

(Buddy was tragically struck and killed by a car in January of 2002 and thus is not expected to cast a delegate ballot during the nominating convention in Denver, Colorado this summer.)

How this endorsement will affect Senator Clinton’s standing with cat-lovers remains to be seen."

This link will bring you to a video of a lovely cat speaking in a meow-like high-pitched voice in support of Obama.

I found The Irregular Times, which is a progressive blog which also sells bumper stickers for Obama, and plenty of other pro-progressive merchandise. Here is an example of one of their bumper stickers I found amusing:

I also found another blog written by cats who, like Baxter, like to talk politics and discuss other subjects of feline interest: Cats Working. The linked entry, written by a white cat named Adele, explains why she would not support Hillary.

Last but not least, I found LOLCats4Obama, which seems to be early in its development but will hopefully grow!

I'm not sure I found the site Christopher recommended, but I had a good time looking!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. Since I got off schedule last week, my Female Human said I could switch my Blogging Day to Wednesdays. So here I am.

I have some News from the World of Animals so I thought I would start out with the good news that a Beagle has finally won "Best in Show" at the Westminster Dog Show. Now, I am no Fan of Dogs, but this one seemed as if he was pretty cute.

In News of the Bizarre, the Associated Press reports that a car driven by an Alaska State Trooper was nearly hit by a falling moose while driving along a highway in Alaska. Apparently it fell from a Cliff to its Death. Who knew Moose would be so clumsy? I can imagine that being hit by an Animal of that Size would not be pretty. Hope he made someone a good Meal. (And they better have shared it with their Cat. I'm sure one of my Relatives would enjoy it).

In other News, I see that that Baseball Player, Roger Clemens, is testifying before Congress about his use of some kind of Illicit Drugs called Steroids. Now, I am not a big Fan of Roger Clemens in the first place, but as a Cat who has been known to partake of Prednisone, a Steroid, from time to time for my skin problems, I am Curious (as Cats tend to be) why this is a matter to be pursued by Congress? If these so-called Steroid things are illegal, why don't the Powers That Be just indict Mr. Clemens on criminal charges, to be handled by the courts? What does Congress have to do with this Problem? It would seem to me that Congress might have Better Things to do with their time. But I'm only a Cat so what do I know?

The Political Scene continues to be lively. After the Obama Human's sweep of the Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC primaries, he is gaining Momentum. Interestingly, the former manager of ex-President Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign just endorsed Obama for President. The Hillary Human must be getting Nervous as a Long-Tailed Cat in a Room Full of Rocking Chairs, as they say.

My Female Human has asked me to end this Post now as she needs the Computer. So long for now, and enjoy your Catnip this week. I'll be back next Wednesday for another Roundup of the News.

Hell is Other People

(Or as Jean-Paul Sartre originally said, "L'enfer, c'est les autres.")

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, as Richard Nixon was fond of saying. I know how to drive in the snow.

The thing is, no one else does.

We have had a very mild winter so far here in the wilds of suburban New Jersey. In fact, there was only one other storm that I recall, and it was before Christmas. But today the Gods of Winter decided we could not escape completely, and proceeded to dump snow followed by sleet and freezing rain on us.

In my usual fashion, I stayed late at work because the traffic is always worse earlier in the day when it snows. So I finally meandered out to discover a winter wonderland.

Unfortunately, because of the mild winter, I think people were even worse at driving in the snow than usual, from being out of practice. And my calculation was wrong: there were still plenty of them on the road. All driving badly.

My route home involves a rather poorly-planned interstate highway that goes up and down some major hills. This highway was not plowed. Nor was it salted. Traffic was bumper to bumper, crawling up and down the hills, with cars sliding back and forth and weaving in and out.

I took my place in the line and sluggishly moved along, wearing out my clutch as I repeatedly had to stop and then start again because people were driving so slowly. This is especially dangerous going uphill, since stopping results in getting stuck and spinning one's wheels. Luckily this did not actually happen to me and I managed to get off an exit and get onto the back roads - back roads that blessedly had no other cars on them.

From then on I was able to drive sensibly and consistently in the snow and made it home - an hour and fifteen minutes after I'd departed work. Usually it takes 20 minutes.

So in honor of my grueling trip home, here are some haikus, or haiku as I guess they are more properly called:

Snow and sleet falling
Many cars crawling uphill
Danger lurks ahead.

Don't stop here, idiot!
It only makes your wheels spin
Your car will get stuck.

Get your foot off your brake
While driving down the steep hill
You will only skid!

Get off of the road
If you don't know how to drive
You're holding me up.

Driving in the snow
Is not very hard to do
Following cars is.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Obama Rolls On

Picture Source:

Barack Obama swept the weekend contests, finishing with a nearly 20-point win over Hillary in the Maine caucuses, adding another 15 delegates to his list.

Despite snowy weather, there was a very strong turnout, including many who had never participated in a caucus before.

Now both candidates go on to compete in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC.

As the margin between the two Democratic candidates continues to be razor-thin, their supporters continue to be highly polarized. Even liberal Op-Ed contributors to the New York Times seem to be in conflict.

On Sunday, Frank Rich had a long piece discussing the upcoming "civil war" among Democrats. In his article, Mr. Rich talks about Hillary's "National Town Hall" that was televised on the Hallmark Channel the night before Super Tuesday, with an obvious skew against her.

He comments:

"Like the scripted “Ask President Bush” sessions during the 2004 campaign, this town hall seemed to unfold in Stepford. The anodyne questions (“What else would you do to help take care of our veterans?”) merely cued up laundry lists of talking points. Some in attendance appeared to trance out.

But I’m glad I watched every minute...However boring, this show was a dramatic encapsulation of how a once-invincible candidate ended up in a dead heat, crippled by poll-tested corporate packaging that markets her as a synthetic product leeched of most human qualities. What’s more, it offered a naked preview of how nastily the Clintons will fight, whatever the collateral damage to the Democratic Party, in the endgame to come.

For a campaign that began with tightly monitored Web “chats” and then planted questions at its earlier town-hall meetings, a Bush-style pseudo-event like the Hallmark special is nothing new, of course. What’s remarkable is that instead of learning from these mistakes, Mrs. Clinton’s handlers keep doubling down. "

Mr. Rich also noted that the Clintons have apparently written off the African-American vote...

"In its carefully calibrated cross section of geographically and demographically diverse cast members — young, old, one gay man, one vet, two union members — African-Americans were reduced to also-rans. One black woman, the former TV correspondent Carole Simpson, was given the servile role of the meeting’s nominal moderator, Ed McMahon to Mrs. Clinton’s top banana. Scattered black faces could be seen in the audience. But in the entire televised hour, there was not a single African-American questioner, whether to toss a softball or ask about the Clintons’ own recent misadventures in racial politics.

The Clinton camp does not leave such matters to chance. This decision was a cold, political cost-benefit calculus. In October, seven months after the two candidates’ dueling church perorations in Selma, USA Today found Hillary Clinton leading Mr. Obama among African-American Democrats by a margin of 62 percent to 34 percent. But once black voters met Mr. Obama and started to gravitate toward him, Bill Clinton and the campaign’s other surrogates stopped caring about what African-Americans thought. In an effort to scare off white voters, Mr. Obama was ghettoized as a cocaine user (by the chief Clinton strategist, Mark Penn, among others), 'the black candidate' (as Clinton strategists told the Associated Press) and Jesse Jackson redux (by Mr. Clinton himself)."

After further discussion of the racial politics he sees the Clintons playing, Mr. Rich's column concludes:

"A race-tinged brawl at the convention, some nine weeks before Election Day, will not be a Hallmark moment. As Mr. Wilkins reiterated to me last week, it will be a flashback to the Democratic civil war of 1968, a suicide for the party no matter which victor ends up holding the rancid spoils."

I have a lot of concern about this myself. Those of us old enough to remember 1968 can still see the black-and-white images of the Chicago police beating demonstrators outside of the Democratic convention site, and the somber face of Walter Cronkite describing the scene. We know that these images associated with the Democrats stayed with the voters for the rest of the election season, and ultimately contributed to their loss in November to Richard Nixon, who still only won by a narrow margin that wasn't even finalized until the day after the election. Who knows whether Nixon would have won if the Democratic convention hadn't been such a terrible event in people's minds?

Then comes a point of view from another liberal writer. In today's Times, Paul Krugman writes about "Nixonland," a political history of the years from 1964 to 1972 written by Rick Perlstein (to be published shortly).

In his commentary, Mr. Krugman quotes Adlai Stevenson as having warned that the nation was in danger of becoming "a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win. This is Nixonland."

He then goes on to contend that the Democratic Party itself is becoming "Nixonland."

"The bitterness of the fight for the Democratic nomination is, on the face of it, bizarre. Both candidates still standing are smart and appealing. Both have progressive agendas (although I believe that Hillary Clinton is more serious about achieving universal health care, and that Barack Obama has staked out positions that will undermine his own efforts). Both have broad support among the party’s grass roots and are favorably viewed by Democratic voters.

Supporters of each candidate should have no trouble rallying behind the other if he or she gets the nod.

Why, then, is there so much venom out there?"

This is a good question, one that I ask myself as well. While I personally support Obama, if Hillary won I would still be able to support her with a clear conscience and enthusiasm. I just think she would have a harder time winning, with all of the Clinton baggage; and I don't like the idea of Bill being back in the White House, even in a secondary role. For him, nothing is ever a small role.

But many out there, including many Democrats, have a level of hatred for Hillary that goes beyond what makes sense to me. And of course many Hillary supporters scorn those who are for Obama.

Mr. Krugman is apparently not an Obama supporter and he makes it clear by blaming most of the vituperation on his supporters:

"I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration — remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again."

He then goes on to complain about two incidents:

"During the current campaign, Mrs. Clinton’s entirely reasonable remark that it took L.B.J.’s political courage and skills to bring Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to fruition was cast as some kind of outrageous denigration of Dr. King.

And the latest prominent example came when David Shuster of MSNBC, after pointing out that Chelsea Clinton was working for her mother’s campaign — as adult children of presidential aspirants often do — asked, 'doesn’t it seem like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?' Mr. Shuster has been suspended, but as the Clinton campaign rightly points out, his remark was part of a broader pattern at the network."

It's strange to me that he points out these two cases but neglects to mention the much more egregious statements made by Bill Clinton and Mark Penn to which Frank Rich referred, among other incidents.

At the end of his column he calls for "strong assurances from both Democratic candidates that they respect their opponents and would support them in the general election. "

I too hope that unity will prevail and that the Democrats will rally behind whichever candidate wins the nomination. But let's face it - Mr. Krugman is indeed being biased by blaming the Obama supporters for the hostility that exists on both sides.

Democrats who support both Hillary and Obama must come together, and soon, to make sure the party can be unified against a McCain candidacy. That is all that matters, and I hope the nomination gets wrapped up before the convention, or we could be reliving 1968.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Catching Up - and Some Haikus

After a long day I have finally found some time to catch up on my blog reading and even post this brief entry.

We have been so busy visiting DH's dad in the hospital and his mom in the nursing home that I hadn't even heard the news that Obama swept the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington State on Saturday until now. According to the Associated Press, Obama and Clinton are nearly tied in the delegate race (Clinton 1,064 and Obama 1,029, when the Super Delegates are included.) Next up - Maine!

It has been hard to concentrate on the election with everything else going on this week. The situation with DH's parents is a real wakeup call for us; when you are only in your 50's you don't really believe in your heart that you will ever be old and frail. But this reminds us that the time will come, assuming we make it to old age.

In our case, we don't have children, so when I think ahead to our future, it looks rather precarious. After all, we have been the ones taking care of our elderly parents and relatives: talking to their doctors, making arrangements for care, helping with daily tasks. There may be no one doing that for us.

There isn't a lot we can do about it at this point unless some kind of miracle birth takes place, so we may need to look into long-term care insurance - or save a lot more money - if we want to make sure we receive proper care when we reach that stage of life.

Since I've been in a somber mood as a result of the events of the past few days, I'll end with a few haikus that reflect some of my thoughts and observations.

Crows hunch in bare trees
Pale sunlight streams through the air
Winter is so cold

Her mind is going
His body is growing weak
Aging is so hard

Love is forever
Together for sixty years
Now they are apart

The house is empty
Two glasses on a table
No one to drink them.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

Baxter here. I'm feeling a little cranky and out of sorts so I chose this picture for today's post. As you know, my Humans have been very Preoccupied, taking care of the Male Human's parents over the past three days. You know what That means. It means Yours Truly has been neglected. And you know how That makes Cats feel. Cranky. I had to hide under the spare Bed because there was a Female Human around that I don't know that well. Yeah, I know, she's been there before. But she never Stayed Overnight here. As a Cat, I really don't care for Guests. They disrupt my Routine. I could barely get up the nerve to go use my own Box; and twice I got shut in the Bedroom with the Female Human who was visiting.

Now things are getting back to Normal so, since my Female Human was too busy to let me Blog on my usual day, and she is too busy to Blog today, I thought I'd take up the Slack.

First of all, I'd like to comment on the fact that the Obama Human and the Clinton Human are continuing to have a Catfight over these Delegates in this Election year. There was a Big To-Do on Tuesday and many states had Primaries. The two aforementioned Humans split the votes pretty evenly - each won a fair number of states. This is probably the most exciting Election Year in recent History, my Female Human feels. It might not be decided until the Convention. Let us hope this does not lead to a repeat of 1968. That was before my glorious Cat Self was born, but apparently the Democratic Humans did not win the Election that year. The Democratic Humans need to be United.

In the meantime, the McCain Human seems to be winning out over the one my Humans call the Android, and the other one who apparently believes the "Flintstones" was a documentary and people and dinosaurs walked the earth together. Pish! Even Cats know that wasn't true!

If you want to read some more details, you can look here.

Elsewhere, there have been some really bad storms down South and a whole lot of Twisters destroyed property and killed some folks. And, although I personally do not go Outside, my Female Human informed me that it was nearly 70 degrees here in New Jersey today. I'm sure Some will say that this freakish Weather must be another sign of Global Warming.

I'd also like to report there is some Good News regarding the poisonous pet food that killed so many of my brothers and sisters in Catdom, and Dogs as well, in 2007. Two Chinese businesses and a U.S. distributor were indicted today for their part in the tainted pet food scandal. According to the article,

"The indictments allege that Suzhou Textiles, an export broker, mislabeled 800 metric tons of wheat gluten tainted with the toxic chemical melamine to avoid inspection in China. Xuzhou then did not properly declare the contaminated product it shipped to the U.S. as a material to be used in food, the indictment says.

It also says the shipment was falsely declared to the Chinese government in a way that would avoid a mandatory inspection of the company's plants.

According to the indictment, ChemNutra picked up the melamine-tainted product at a port of entry in Kansas City, then sold it to makers of various brands of pet foods. The indictment alleges that the melamine was added to make the gluten meet the required standard for protein content specified in the contract between Suzhou and ChemNutra."

Given what Grief was caused by this terrible situation, it is good to know that there will be Retribution for the deaths of beloved Pets.

That is about all the News I have today. My Humans have been working on figuring out where to put their Parents so they will be located close by. They have made progress and hope to have a Plan in place when the Male Human's Father gets out of the Hospital.

My Female Human would like to thank all of you who have left supportive messages for her Family. As a Cat, I too appreciate it, since the sooner things get back to Normal around here, the sooner I will get the Attention I so richly deserve.

Please enjoy the rest of your Week and any Catnip you may have.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Family Emergency - I'm Missing in Action

Hi everyone, just a quick note to let you know I'll only be posting sporadically for the next few days and won't have time to blog visit. Will catch up with you all soon.

My father-in-law is quite ill in the hospital (it's touch and go so we don't know what the outcome will be) and my mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer's, is staying with us. Our hands are quite full at the moment.

Sorry I didn't get to participate in Blogroll Amnesty Day - this all started on the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday. We did get to watch the game - in the hospital.

Will keep you posted...


Things are improving...must be all your good wishes, positive thoughts and prayers that did it. My father-in-law had emergency surgery (he had been having intestinal bleeding that wouldn't stop) and they were able to stop the bleeding. He is back in his room in the ICU recovering from the operation.

In the meantime we were able to find respite care (which is short-term for now) at a very nice care facility for my mother-in-law and thankfully, they were able to take her immediately. The place has a homelike atmosphere, TVs in the rooms, good food (we tried it out when they brought her dinner!) and caring people.

Thanks again for everyone's support and good wishes. Will keep you posted.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Vick's Dogs Getting a Second Chance at Happiness

I'm taking a break from the political scene today to report some good news on the progress of the pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick's dog fighting enterprise.

According to the New York Times, 25 of the dogs are now in foster homes, and 22 remaining dogs are enjoying life at Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. Out of all of these dogs who had been so horrifically abused, only two were people-aggressive (one was euthanized and the other will live out her life at Best Friends). It just goes to show how wrong the stereotypes about pit bulls are, that the vast majority of these dogs are still able to be open and friendly to people.

After the cruelty suffered at the hands of Mr. Vick, who agreed to pay $928,073 for evaluation and care of the dogs, these dogs are finally getting the love and attention they deserve. According to the Times article,

"Here, they live in a 3,700-acre sanctuary that is covered by juniper trees and sagebrush, and surrounded by canyons and red-rock formations. They have food called Canine Caviar, squeaky toys, fluffy beds and four full-time caregivers. The caregiver on the night shift curls up with the dogs for naps."

The progress these dogs have made since being brought to Best Friends is phenomenal. Many started out wary and afraid, but now cover their caretakers' faces with kisses. Others still struggle with post-traumatic stress, such as Meryl, who is the one dog of all of the 22 dogs at Best Friends who is snappish with people, or Georgia, who has some neurotic habits such as barking at her kennel and rubbing her nose until it's raw.

"John Garcia, the assistant dog care manager of Dogtown, which houses about 500 dogs, said pit bulls that are withdrawn or aggressive toward humans break his heart because they are bred to be people-friendly. 'With most of these dogs, even Meryl, their actions are based on fear,' said Mr. Garcia, who communicates with the dogs in soothing baby talk. 'The biggest job we have with these guys is teaching them that it’s O.K. to trust people. It may take months or years, but we’re very stubborn. We won’t give up on them.'"

The picture at the top, which came from the Best Friends site, is of "Little Red," who may have been used as a bait dog for the fighting dogs. Her teeth were filed down and she has a lot of scars. It breaks my heart just to look at her, as she looks so much like our Diva; and interestingly, Diva's front fangs were filed down as well. We will never know any details of Diva's past, but it is clear she has been a lucky dog - as are these dogs, who were rescued from their sad fate.

BAD RAP of the San Francisco Bay Area, another organization involved in the care of the Vick dogs, also has information on their website about the dogs in their charge, which have all been put in foster care:

"The only difference between BAD RAP's 'Vick dogs' and the rest of the dogs in their foster care program is their celebrity. All are now living in volunteer foster homes with other pets and some, with children. Like other BAD RAP dogs, they're receiving basic obedience training and learning house manners. All are neutered and micro-chipped. All have different personalities. We can expect they will be well-mannered, good canine citizens that will blend right in with society. After escaping two certain deaths, they're now destined to be well loved family pets and they'll continue to help break down the stereotypes the breed has suffered."

Despite the payments by Vick, still more money is needed for the support of these dogs, so donations are welcome.