Thursday, December 25, 2008

the day after the day before! it's here!

hehe...



this was after our christmas eve "just-us" family celebration last night. notice the time on the clock on the wall. hilarious, huh? both of them, out cold. missy slept 12 hours, straight thru. dang, i think she's been partying just a tad too heartily. (her excuse? she got her grades for this fall semester and all a's and one b, dean's list again, so we can't really blame her for celebrating a bit.)

here is my present from missy: a really soft chenille/velour robe, something she knew i would like but don't ever buy for myself.



and hubs surprised the crap out of me by giving me some fur-lined crocs:



i haven't had them off my feet since i opened the package, lol.

our lunch with the relatives turned out to be very nice. i was treated wonderfully and i even got something close to an apology for being manipulated! i'll gladly take it! plus, none of the family members i had issues with behaved in the ways i don't like. everyone played nice. i did begin my visit kind of aloof, but once i saw it was going to be a good visit, i chimed right in the convos. the only disapointment of the day was that my parents didn't really want their present i'd sent (a digital phone system that was too technical for them, but my dad is going to think about keeping it for a few days).

since i always love to look at snow photos, here is another one of our december 10th snowfall. this one is what the pasture behind our house looked like. it was just the most gorgeous thing...



i am hoping everyone i know out in cyberland had a wonderful day in at least some small way.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

it's really the night before!

i promised to share some photos from our snowfall on dec. 10th. here are 5 that really show it. it even lasted overnight and part of the next day, too.
see the snow drift forming against our pumpkin-colored fence?
hubs looking out from the storm door
one side of the front yard
and the other side of the front yard

the back yard deck - check out the back fence (it's leaning cuz it got damaged during ike)...

tomorrow will be christmas day. amazing. where does all that time go, exactly? i could have sworn thanksgiving was just a few days ago.

as far as exchanging gifts with the relatives, we are having an austere christmas this year like most other people i know. just a few good things, and no excess fluff. hubs and i gave both our parents the same one thing, and every child is getting one gift card. this means it was a very manageable buying chore for me. i went to kroger one low-traffic afternoon and got all of the gift cards at once, and then i ordered everything else online.

i don't do well in the holiday shopping crowds at all. it's stressful and exhausting, but i don't rebound well and i usually get pain flares for all my trouble. i do miss the feel and atmosphere of it occasionally, but i really fell out of love with it around the same time i quit trying to get missy the "in" "hot" toy (the last one i moved mountains to get her was a life-size barbie...quite a long time ago, maybe 15 years ago).

as for gift-giving between hubs, missy and me, hubs and i usually don't buy stuff for each other unless we know the other one really wants it. and then half the time, we just buy it for ourselves. we probably wouldn't even buy anything during the holidays except to get a sales price.

it's been hard not to buy everything in sight this year because of the great prices. we've been good. but i confess it's because we both are betting that those sales prices are going to last and last. maybe even get better. just a hunch. anyway, hubs really wanted the sham-wow rags this year. he also wanted a new recliner and got that earlier this month. he had been wanting a sleep number bed, but then decided he did not. so i got him the sham-wows and a wall calendar.

because missy's been in college, she knows not to expect lots of little things like when she was younger. we have been giving her one big thing and some money for a while now. this year the one big thing was some expensive adobe software for her new imac (that she bought for herself). it's called in design and she uses it all the time for her advertising classes.

as for moi, hubs asked what i wanted and i said that i want him to take me to ikea in west houston next week while he is off. and i want to buy an expedit bookcase...not for my scrap room, but for books in the family room. and he's putting it together for me. that's my present.

when hubs picked up the other recliner this morning, he talked to the store owner about an adjustable bed for me (the kind where you can elevate the head and the knees and feet...like a hospital bed). so that looks promising. i may eventually get a full night's sleep in one place yet! lol

tomorrow's the big day - a very merry merry and happy happy, ya'll

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

the day before the day before...

a random photo of Reggie getting his occasional treat -- salisbury steak!:


he is such a sucker for anything with gravy, lol.

and, sometimes he does eat the carrots if i butter them.

##

here is one of our new recliners:

i got down on the floor for the first shot, trying to make the photo more interesting. can i just say...not worth the pain that caused!
and, another "normal" shot, more close-up:


i could only fit one of them into my honda crv, so hubs is picking the other one up in the morning...because he is off work, yay! well, yay for now. he doesn't go back until jan. 5th and i will be climbing the walls having him under foot by next week, trust me. but anyway, back to the recliners. this is a champaigne gold color, i think that's what they called it. i arrived there this afternoon at 5:15 by the car clock, and i was back onto the highway at 5:27. yep, that's gotta be a record for choosing a piece of furniture AND getting it loaded into your car, huh? that's why i shop there, cuz if i can't choose and be done with it, i end up not being able to make a decision at all.

##

and, a shot of our bare white christmas tree...nothing but lights this year:

basically, i first decided to go "bare" because with hubs working so much and me dependent upon him getting the decorations down from the attic, i didn't even ask him to do it. of course, this meant that i had to improvise a skirt (a leopard print throw) and live without a tree topper, so i decided to treat the tree as just another light source in the room. it has added an understated and unexpectedly elegant touch. we're enjoying it.

##

ok, so i had a few rough moments today giving in to my real feelings about being with the relatives on christmas day. trepidation, mostly. i will be trying to hide some not-so-nice feelings, so i figured i needed some kind of gameplan with at least a few specifics. maybe reading an advice column could help, so I googled and got this:http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-12-23/how-to-uh-talk-to-people/2/
it was mainly advice on how to chit chat effectively at holiday parties, but would have been great help. except that when i read the comments to the article, i found myself agreeing to them more. and then i realized that i really don't much care about convincing anyone of my sincerity...i'm really looking for a way to sort of diss a few folks, but in a way that leaves them confused until 3 hours later after i'm long gone and they realize it.

hehe. no small order. guess i'm out of luck of making that happen, since the most i can come up with is to act disinterested yet pleasant. like, if one of them talks to me, act like i'm hard of hearing, make them repeat it, answer really ambiguously, that kind of thing. yeah, leave them wondering.

meh. i am not good at faking stuff. i would much rather address the issue head on and let the facts stand in my defense, maybe even resolve something, but manipulators don't play that game, so i would have to force the issue and create a scene in order to have that opportunity. and i am trying not to do that, as that just plays into the manipulator's hands, so Thursday should be interesting.
##
finally uploaded my photos from the snowfall we had a couple weeks ago, and i will try to show those tomorrow. every time i look at them, it puts me in a wonderment mood.

Monday, December 22, 2008

i just can't quit you

hehe

yep, guess who. me. it's like i just dropped outacybersight (and outamind, probly, by some of you, but i deserve it for being so neglectful). i most assuredly was present and visible in the *real* world, though. i just got caught up with life and a few bouts of painful days. more than a few, ok. and really caught up with my life.

ok, so what have i been doing?

i do know that some annoyingly large blocks of time were spent pondering current questions of life, such as:

do relatives ever have a decent function besides being pains in the arsses?

now that my christmas tree is up, do i have to decorate it or can i just enjoy it with lights only?

does anyone alive seriously believe that there is someone in charge in d.c. actually knows how to solve this financial crisis (because the #1 reply to my question "so how about this financial crisis?" is "nobody has a clue how to solve it")?

am i in denial if i just cannot believe this crisis will still be wreaking havoc in may 2010 when missy graduates college?

if it appears by all rational logic that a loved one is dying of cancer, yet no one talks about it or says anything, what is the proper way to think? i mean, do you ignore the obvious, or do you ignore the insane denial of it? I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO KNOW. SERIOUSLY.

and on and on it goes. that's just a sampler. seriously, the first question was the one most of my energy was spent on. i better not go into detail, but suffice it to say that i know this family that is going through some tough times right now and they do not know how to lean on each other openly, so that makes family dinners hard. some families just behave secretly. it sure does make it uncomfortable for the ones who are not privy to pertinent details. you wanna feel for those who are suffering, but hell, if they won't even admit to suffering, after awhile ya think, why even care?

the holiday family gatherings are merry and bright for many, but also very difficult and stressful for many others. i feel for those of you caught in the family crossfire. it really sucks. but about the only thing to do is to just repeat over and over to yourself that it is not you causing the problem and it's not you who is responsible for any of it. just brace yourself, get through the hours or the day, and then get over to the other side of the thing and then smile.

yeah. ok. so, you get the drift. really tough to do, but necessary, especially if the problems are being caused by different stresses. i've been trying to handle my anger at being manipulated by one or more people in my own family. and since i will never really get to handle it right, i'm trying to figure out how to let it go without resolution. i go days thinking it is gone, then, bam, it hits my face again. the only great thing is that missy has figured it all out and totally sees it the same way as me. thank god. at least i am not alone with it. i'm so glad i got raising her right. as she grows into adulthood, our close relationship just keeps getting better and better.

speaking of missy, she is now the proud renter of a 2-bedroom apartment. she and her work bud matt are roomies. (don't worry, matt's gay, not that there's anything wrong with that...hehe, seinfeld, get it?). i'm really excited for them, because they are excited. it is the first apartment for both of them. we gave them practically all of our living room furniture and that room is now decorated with 5 stiff modern chairs until we decide what we want to replace things with.

she had friends show up with 3 trucks and they whisked it all away, last weekend. that has been an adjustment for me, because i miss having a couch. i was glad to lose that couch because i want a new one, but i tend to miss it more now than i normally would because there's nothing yet to take its place.

a lot of times, i can only sleep a few hours on my bed and i have usually gone to the couch and slept sitting up until i can get pain-free enough to go back to my bed. this past week i've not had that and my back or whatever body part is hurting has been letting me know it's not happy. sometimes it is a pressure point with my fibromyalgia, and the ability to move my position is crucial to mitigating pain.

so i need to decide on something soon. hubs gave missy his old recliner so he was forced to finally get him a new one, and it's very comfortable. i may just go get myself one tomorrow and that'll take the pressure off needing a couch. i wanted to try several and take my time on it, because i'm considering a nice leather couch this time.

well, enough for awhile. it's a very brrr-y 29 degrees here right now with light rain, and my hands are crampy and achy. time to quit keyboarding and go lay down under an electric blanket for a bit...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

back atchya

guess it's past time to get back on here and figure out what this blog's purpose is gonna be. With the election over and my art on its own blog, frankly, i'm trying to rationalize any and all lame excuses for not closing it down.

i am lately full of all kinds of ideas for my paper playing and not much else if I can avoid it. what to write, what to write? i have some bragging i could do on missy and hubs. they have both been busy this fall. guess it wouldn't hurt to share. i will try to tone down the bragging.

missy made the deans list last spring, went to the national conference in dc of her student professional society last month, and a couple of weeks ago her team won their fall student competition among 6 or 7 regional universities, including texas a&m and ut. she is a junior advertising major and is focussing on the creative side of it as opposed to the marketing side. so, she has to work doubly hard and is very into her campus ad-fed society. we basically just leave her alone lately, we call at the wrong time a lot, and i think it's nothing more than she doesn't really have two seconds to spare.

there's more, like her job and her plans to rent a house next semester, and her getting serious about learning adobe in design by buying her first apple mac, but like i said, i'm trying to tone down the bragging. ;-)

hubs is still running his special project that i don't know the first thing about. he's been at it since august. that's a long time to work 6 days a week 12 hours a day, isn't it? it's supposed to last at least a year, maybe 18 months. ugh. he's so dependable though, he just chugs right along. i just avoid him if he's in a bad mood, which isn't often, knock-wood, and he's only awake a couple hours when he's at home so i do try to be accessible to him. i think missy not being here helps. it's more boring and calm here now...in a good way.
*******************
i've always liked this shot. it allows me to *know* what comes next, yet *feel* the last few moments of what was Camelot. the *knowing* is what i must remember. the *feeling* is what i yearn to remember.
it was that heavy. americans of my generation ventured into unchartered territory that day. nobody's dying today or in the last 50 years (after martin and bobby) could ever produce the same shock for us. we were children basking in JFK love. then, bam.
i used to joke that kids my age grew up learning one set of choices and consequences, and then entered a world without any. this photo lets me go back before all that, 45 years ago today.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Weird, whacko and wild

This was the first link that greeted me in my inbox this morning, in an email from a fellow politi-blogger. She was incensed. I LOL'd. Sometimes I don't think people take the time to slow down and read. It's a pretty tame parody, sort of sweet, like if you had a thing for your Barbies your entire life. It could be far more rude and biting. I just enjoyed the novelty of the whole thing, "filming" a story (in stills) using dolls as the actors. It's almost an homage, but I do agree, it's pretty weird when you think about the vast amount of time and tedium this blogger goes to in order to play with dolls. Enjoy if you have a mind to...
********************
The second link in my inbox was to Ann Coulter's latest column. Gotta say, I'm only a fan of hers about 1/3 of the time. the other 2/3 of the time I usually thinks she goes way too far (you thought *I* was too argumentative, HA!) .
Today's Ann read was in the 2/3 pile.
First of all, that title -- rukiddingme?
Ann has clearly gone off her meds. She's particularly biting here, so if you like Bride of Frankenstein, you'll enjoy the read. Her nerve is amazing. She goes right back to blaming the party for allowing McCain to win the nomination, instead of wondering -- oh, I dunno -- maybe why it is that the GOP almost won with a moderate candidate against a liberal?
I know, I know...then she would have to admit that her far-right wing flavor is an even smaller faction of the electorate than she thinks everyone else thinks it is. I can see right now she isn't going to be fun to read for quite a while. Or, maybe I shouldn't say that, because she is always good for a xtreme caustic zinger or 3.
I think the real point here might be that I may lack the stomach for it.
Case in point:
"This was such an enormous Democratic year that even John Murtha won his congressional seat in Pennsylvania after calling his constituents racists. It turns out they're not racists -- they're retards. Question: What exactly would one have to say to alienate Pennsylvanians? That Joe Paterno should retire?"

Oh, Annie, Annie. And she goes on, with this little bitch-slap:

"Apparently Florida voters didn't mind Obama's palling around with Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, either. There must be a whole bunch of retired Pennsylvania Jews down there."

All I can say is, the size of her balls must be freakish. And of course, I'll keep reading and being shocked. Why am I thinking she would be perfect for the 2Peas NSBR? (bwwhaaaaaa)

**********************

Then someone sends me a link to Reason's blog, where they are asking the age-old question: will we finally make an honest woman of pot now?


"The Marijuana Policy Project's Bruce Mirken notes that the majorities supporting the marijuana decriminalization measure in Massachusetts and the medical marijuana initiative in Michigan (65 percent and 63 percent, respectively) exceed the share of voters who went for Obama in each state (62 percent and 55 percent respectively). In those states at least, you could say marijuana reform has a bigger popular mandate than the president-elect. In retrospect, this is not so surprising: National polls have long indicated that a large majority of Americans think 1) patients who can benefit from marijuana should be able to obtain it legally and 2) people should not go to jail for smoking pot."

This was on Reason's blog, so there were comments. And that's where the high-larity was:

"Yes, We Cannabis!"


******************


And finally, a wild Blast from the Past as we go Back to the Future, all at the same time, with that rapidly deteriorating icon Ralph Nader. Seems he tried to prove the old addage, I don't care what you call me, just so you call me. Check this out if ya missed it:


"Ralph Nader calls Obama "Uncle Tom" and Fox News calls him out:
As if Ralph Nader wasn't a big enough tool already, he went on Fox News on election night - the very night Barack Obama broke the racial barrier on the presidency - and uttered the words "Uncle Tom." Not only that, after being called out on the words (which he initially said in a radio interview) by Fox News anchor Shepard Smith - and given a point-blank chance to apologize and take them back, Nader said he wouldn't. It's a stunning bit of television and a lot of people missed it
."

(The You Tube of it is at the bottom of the story)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day...


I've had a very long day and am about to hit the sack, but I want to congratulate the Obama and Biden families, and all Obama supporters tonight. It's a very historic event today. Even I felt stirrings of pride. I can imagine that for minorities it is a truly once in a lifetime experience. I sometimes think of what it must have been like for women in 1920 when they got the vote, so I thought of that today.

I watched CNN for the first time in months and months when I got home tonight (I still couldn't stomach more than 15 minutes MSNBC, but I'll try again after awhile). McCain gave a fabulous concession speech and handled himself like the gentleman and class act that he is. I'm disappointed he lost, of course, but mostly relieved for it to be over. Plus, I'm not going to have too much trouble, as thinking like a Democrat has been in my DNA for 52 years. It won't be nearly as hard as if I had actually become a Republican or something.

Which is what I wanted to chat a bit about. I spent a few minutes perusing some of the McCain blogs I've kept up with, because I was frankly looking for some gracious language to borrow. But, funny thing, couldn't find any. The vast majority are still in denial or just downright depressed or catty.

I find it kinda old. C'mon, guys. It's a contest, a competition. I do feel for them, though. It's been a rollercoaster for our side ever since the conventions. We fight back and then the meltdown hits, and we come soooo close when we really never shoulda had a chance, actually. Not if you consider a mediocre campaign, a controversial VP pick, no money, and a candidate whose entire career has been anathema to loyal factions so he really has none. It's truly a wonder this wasn't a total blow-out. I'm grateful, anyway.

My precinct where I worked this afternoon was very busy, but not as much as we thought it would be. Finally, about 5 pm, someone from the county clerk's office called to let us know we wouldn't be getting a surge at the end, because we'd have huge early voting from our precinct. That was helpful, because we were constantly wondering when they would storm in. We were all kinda punch drunk goofy after that. It was more stressful than we'd realized.

Well, I cannot hardly keep my fingers typing, I'm so tired. I guess I'll have to fall back on blogging about my own boring life again now. Meh. Maybe I can think of something more interesting...

Til then, stay safe and party if your guy won, or try not to drink too much if yours lost. :-)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Letting the American Eagle Guide Me

The American bald eagle, our national bird and symbol, has never been an especially inviting animal.

Nothing about him welcomes us to pet and coddle him like we do puppies and kittens.

He's best enjoyed from a place of best defense and definitely from a safe distance.Kind of the same way I'd like the rest of the world to see America.

Americans saw themselves that same way once. Do we still? I wish it were true today. I believe it was President Kennedy who said

"The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America."
After the Revolutionary War, our forefathers decided to put the eagle on the Presidential Seal, and as our nation matured, he's been put on on money, coins, and flags to symbolize our independence, strength and resolve as a nation of people.

The bald eagle is by nature a loner. He hunts for food and shelter alone. He depends on only himself to live. He is not afraid to fight to protect his claimed space on earth.

The American bald eagle has two wings, a left wing and a right wing. He needs both of his wings to fly, to live.

This is more than a simple matter of physics to me. I appreciate the many analogies of the eagle to my role as an American citizen, but in these times, I am especially sobered by the wings analogy, for it reminds me that without both of his wings, he can do none of those other things.

So, too, it is with us, with America.

The eagle was very much on my mind yesterday afternoon when I voted. I work at my precinct on election day, so I usually vote early. The hours leading up to my vote were reflective and cerebral. For all my bluster and bloviating here on my blog these past several months, it was now D-Day. Deep down, how did I really believe?

What I found surprised me. As much as my political ideas have changed in the last year, I know deep down I am and perhaps always will be a child of the Sixties. Before this election, it would be a veritable sure thing that I'd be chiming in with all the left-leaning lore that decade holds.

I've lamented here that I could never drink the Obama Kool-aid (ie, believe in the abstract mantras of Hope and Change even if I don't exactly know any details, and believe in him even if he has no track record). What I discovered was, I never needed one sip. The allure is already imprinted within me.

Reconnecting with that long lost part of me held the possiblity open for both candidates in my mind. And it also enabled me to examine those ideas and beliefs in the light of today and not wearing those oh-so-famous rose-colored glasses. The truth is, the mantra of the Sixties was idealism on steroids. What did we want? We wanted earthshine, easy, ecosystems, egalitarianism, emancipation, eighteen-everything, and everlasting ejaculations.

What did we get? We got pretty much everything on that list. That's why I say, time to move on. As Abe Lincoln said,

"Be not deceived. Revolutions do not go backward."


What we didn't ask for back then was elitism and enpatronizing enforced equity, but that's what the Left is asking for now. They are still fighting the same past, even though we should have moved on.

And in order to power their grab, they are asking us to trust our national flight in an eagle with one wing (or two left wings, if you please). This is where I balk. I cannot in good conscience surrender that check and balance to them. I trust everyone has the best intentions, but unabated energy follows its own trajectory. This, too, is more than a simple matters of physics to me.

In the end, it was as simple as that. McCain got my vote. It wasn't worth the risk to me for middle-aged and elderly Hippies to wake up one day in the near future and realize it was mostly Camelot and in the end not very realistic. And that we really did get what we asked for, and that anything else thought up to fill a new agenda is just that and not worthy of what went before. McCain presiding over a Congress intent on excess is the greater hope of steering it onto a new course, into the future.

I voted for the eagle with both left and right wings.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Prime-Time Ad Skips Over Budget Realities

By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer
Wed Oct 29, 9:18 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was less than upfront in his half-hour commercial Wednesday night about the costs of his programs and the crushing budget pressures he would face in office.

Obama's assertion that "I've offered spending cuts above and beyond" the expense of his promises is accepted only by his partisans. His vow to save money by "eliminating programs that don't work" masks his failure throughout the campaign to specify what those programs are — beyond the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

A sampling of what voters heard in the ad, and what he didn't tell them:

THE SPIN: "That's why my health care plan includes improving information technology, requires coverage for preventive care and pre-existing conditions and lowers health care costs for the typical family by $2,500 a year."
THE FACTS: His plan does not lower premiums by $2,500, or any set amount. Obama hopes that by spending $50 billion over five years on electronic medical records and by improving access to proven disease management programs, among other steps, consumers will end up saving money. He uses an optimistic analysis to suggest cost reductions in national health care spending could amount to the equivalent of $2,500 for a family of four. Many economists are skeptical those savings can be achieved, but even if they are, it's not a certainty that every dollar would be passed on to consumers in the form of lower premiums.

THE SPIN: "I also believe every American has a right to affordable health care."
THE FACTS: That belief should not be confused with a guarantee of health coverage for all. He makes no such promise. Obama hinted as much in the ad when he said about the problem of the uninsured: "I want to start doing something about it." He would mandate coverage for children but not adults. His program is aimed at making insurance more affordable by offering the choice of government-subsidized coverage similar to that in a plan for federal employees and other steps, including requiring larger employers to share costs of insuring workers.

THE SPIN: "I've offered spending cuts above and beyond their cost."
THE FACTS: Independent analysts say both Obama and Republican John McCain would deepen the deficit. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates Obama's policy proposals would add a net $428 billion to the deficit over four years — and that analysis accepts the savings he claims from spending cuts. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, whose other findings have been quoted approvingly by the Obama campaign, says: "Both John McCain and Barack Obama have proposed tax plans that would substantially increase the national debt over the next 10 years." The analysis goes on to say: "Neither candidate's plan would significantly increase economic growth unless offset by spending cuts or tax increases that the campaigns have not specified."

THE SPIN: "Here's what I'll do. Cut taxes for every working family making less than $200,000 a year. Give businesses a tax credit for every new employee that they hire right here in the U.S. over the next two years and eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Help homeowners who are making a good faith effort to pay their mortgages, by freezing foreclosures for 90 days. And just like after 9-11, we'll provide low-cost loans to help small businesses pay their workers and keep their doors open. "
THE FACTS: His proposals — the tax cuts, the low-cost loans, the $15 billion a year he promises for alternative energy, and more — cost money, and the country could be facing a record $1 trillion deficit next year. Indeed, Obama recently acknowledged — although not in his commercial — that: "The next president will have to scale back his agenda and some of his proposals."


I love what comedian Greg Gutfeld had to say about it:
"Obama's infomercial was just like the Sham-WOW guy, but without the WOW."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

7 Days 2 Go

speaks out in an open letter to America's newspapers and to America.

"I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor -- which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house -- along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making
political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefitting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a
regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a TownHall.com essay entitled Do Facts Matter? "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the
President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized
Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Franklin Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign -- because that campaign had sought his advice -- you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign..

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican..

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish,
short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie -- that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad -- even bad weather -- on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth -- even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences.
That's what honesty means. That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time -- and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah
Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter -- while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to
stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe --and vote as if -- President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats -- including Barack Obama -- and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans -- then you are not
journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a daily newspaper in our city. "

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

8 Days 2 Go

Will Voters Vote the Way They Answered This Poll?


Fifty-eight percent (58%) of U.S. voters say more tax cuts will better stimulate the economy than new government spending, even as Congress considers a second stimulus plan that could cost as much as $300 billion.

Only 32% think the government should pass another economic stimulus package, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Forty-three percent (43%) disagree, and 24% are undecided (see crosstabs).

The findings come as a separate survey shows just 11% of voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job -- even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, increasingly confident that Barrack Obama will be elected president, is talking about a special session after the election, if necessary, to enact the second plan. Fifty-one percent (51%) of voters say Congress is doing a poor job.

The White House signaled this week, however, that it is willing to consider another stimulus plan.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of those who plan to vote for John McCain think additional tax cuts will stimulate the economy more than new government spending. Likely Obama voters are evenly divided on the question, with 28% undecided.

Men favor new tax cuts over more spending, 64% to 22%. Women agree, 54% to 23%. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Republicans and 61% of unaffiliated voters support tax cuts over spending, compared to 40% of Democrats.

Only 27% of GOP voters think the government should pass another stimulus package, as do a plurality of Democrats (41%) and 27% of unaffiliated voters. Fifty-three percent (53%) of Republicans and 44% of unaffiliateds oppose such a plan, along with 35% of Democrats.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of African-American voters believe the government should pass another economic stimulus package, compared to 28% of white voters.

The level of opposition is perhaps not surprising since 63% of voters in an earlier survey said Wall Street will benefit more than the average taxpayer from the recently passed $700-billion economic rescue plan.

Opposition to the first economic plan was sizable and emotional, prompting most members of Congress seeking reelection to vote against it. Voters in earlier surveys generally opposed the first plan and preferred tax cuts to more spending.

Voters are more evenly divided when told some of the specifics of the proposed new stimulus plan. Forty-three percent (43%) favor a $300 billion stimulus package that includes an extension of jobless benefits, funding of infrastructure projects such as road and bridge construction, more money for food stamps and helping state and local governments that need money.

But 40% oppose such a plan, with 17% not sure.

Women by nine points oppose a second stimulus plan, but when specifics are cited, they shift in favor of it by 11. Men oppose both the concept and, by a narrower margin, the specifics.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of Republicans oppose a second stimulus plan even when some of the proposed beneficiaries are listed, while 63% of Democrats are in favor of it.

The Rasmussen Investor Index stabilized on Wednesday after a five-point jump the previous day. But investor confidence is still down eight points from a month ago and down 32 points from the beginning of the year.

As in previous surveys since the problems on Wall Street flared up last month, a majority in the new survey (55%) fear that the federal government will do too much. Just 32% worry that the government will not do enough, and 12% are undecided.

Eighty-four percent (84%) say they are following news stories about the new stimulus package at least somewhat closely, with 45% saying they are following Very closely. Only two percent (2%) say they are not following news stories about the proposal at all.

Among those following news stories Very closely, support for tax cuts over more spending is even higher, 63% to 22%. Fifty-three percent (53%) of this group oppose passage of another stimulus package but are evenly divided when the some of the details are listed.

In the second survey, 56% of voters say Congress has not passed legislation to improve their lives, but the identical number (56%) believe their legislators are at least somewhat likely to seriously address important problems. Sixty-nine percent (69%) say most members of Congress are more interested in their own careers than in helping people, and one-out-of-three voters (32%) say most members of Congress are corrupt.

Men are more critical of Congress than women. Democrats, given their control of both the House and Senate, give Congress higher marks than Republicans and unaffiliated voters
.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The CaCa Sisterhood

You know, I can't believe I'm posting about this, because I tend to give a wide berth to judging campaign tactics, but reading this piece has really made me sad.



Women finally won the right to vote in 1920, but might have had a decent shot at it years earlier had it not been for....

women.

Yup, we were once own worst enemy, and it's happened all over again.

I'm not going to impune anyone's character, however. I'll stick to saying I think any offenders are just plain wrong about this. Choice means Choice. Choice doesn't mean Your Choice Only. I'll just stick to that. Respect lifts all women.

The reason I mention impuning character is, a cyber-friend of mine, another like-minded political blogger, was the recent victim of an whisper-attack for blogging her opinions as a voter, a citizen, a blog owner. The attack was based upon someone else's displeasure of negative campaigning, which included a perception that my friend was being negative by criticizing the opponent of the candidate she supported. My friend's attacker impuned my friend's character. She literally called her out by saying what she wrote showed bad character.

My friend confided in me because she knew I've been through a bit of this myself. In my case, the irony was that I'd read ad nauseaum about her angst with motherhood and her obvious error in being way too indulgent a parent. But I defended her to others, saying she's young, no one can tell her, she has to learn on her own, she can't help it.

So, it was similar with my friend and who attacked her. I'm glad I was able to be there for her to vent and know someone else understood the urge to cry out, "If they REALLY knew...".

We agreed that the moral here is, feel what comes naturally, but try not to judge. Just react by saying, you're wrong. And leave it at that. Cuz it would be nice if everyone remembered to look at their own Glass House first.

I'll just leave it there and not even get into why it's totally unreasonable to expect any political campaign to be all cotton candy and Rainbow Brite (and that it makes it's *allowable* to think a candidate has poor character)....
********************
That being said, let me get right back into my bad character self here. Joe Biden's kind of hot-headed himself, as The Orlando Sentinel reports.
Click for YouTube video of Interview

The next day, at a rally:

JOE BIDEN: “I know this has been a pretty mean campaign. I was on a television station the other day and doing a satellite feed to a major network in Florida. And the anchor quotes Karl Marx and says in a sense, isn’t Barack Obama Karl Marx? You know, I mean, folks, this stuff you’re hearing — this stuff you’re hearing in this campaign, some of it is pretty ugly and some of the innuendo is pretty ugly.”

Out in the real world, Joe, people are wanting you and your running mate to answer these questions, not act insulted that they were asked, and then write them off as ugly and not worth your breath. Explain why it's not.

Don't just put a jpg of your birth certificate on your fight the smears website, Obama. Let a judge see the real thing and attest publically to it being legit, or ask the Senate for your own resolution, like McCain has for us to believe he's a natural-born citizen.

<-----Jpgs can be Photoshopped. You help yourself immensely by fighting your even more immense stubbornness and just be gracious. Explain and show. Some people are immune to the Kool-aid. We need cold, hard evidence.

That's how I feel. I don't care that there is only 8 days to go and Obama's ahead in all the polls. That's not going to make me stop feeling it or saying it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

14 Days 2 Go...


I thought this was such a nicely written endorsement for McCain, from the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday:
For president of the United States, The Dispatch endorses Republican Sen. John McCain, whose experience, service and sacrifice for his country make him more qualified to lead the nation.
McCain's Democratic opponent, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, is a rousing motivational speaker, but his experience and achievements -- eight years in the Illinois Legislature and less than four in the U.S. Senate -- do not stand comparison with McCain's.
A resume containing so little evidence of leadership and accomplishment leaves in question Obama's ability to handle the most responsible and difficult job in the world, especially at a time when the nation faces a combination of problems so large and complex that they would challenge even the most seasoned leader.
Nor does it seem likely that a man who has traveled in the left lane of American politics for his entire adult life really is the bipartisan centrist that he claims to be. And with Democrats already in control of the U.S. House and Senate -- and the possibility that they might gain a filibuster-proof majority in the next Senate -- there would be little to check the inevitable excesses of one-party rule if a Democrat wins the White House.
This could have a profound effect on the U.S. Supreme Court. A divided Senate acts as a check on presidential nominations to the court by preventing the confirmation of justices with extreme views. But with a filibuster-proof Senate majority ready to do his bidding, Obama would have the unfettered ability to appoint justices likely to be judicial activists, eager to launch a new era of legislating from the bench. Such a Supreme Court could end up as a rubber stamp for, rather than a check on, the White House and Congress.
While neither party can make a credible claim to fiscal responsibility, the dangers of more deficit spending, a growing national debt and uncontrollable entitlement spending are likely greater with an Obama administration. Democrats have not controlled the White House and Congress simultaneously since 1994. A return to majority status is likely to unleash pent-up demand to enact a Democratic wish list of new and expensive social programs when the nation can't afford the ones it has. Given his party-line voting record in the Senate, there is no indication that Obama is able or willing to stand against such an onslaught.
But many of the policy choices the nation will have to make in the next four years are monumental and should be the result of a bipartisan dialogue, not of unchecked one-party dictate.
Debate and political give and take ensure that decisions have been fully vetted, that all interests and concerns have been weighed and that the resulting decisions enjoy broad public support.
Unlike Obama, McCain has a record of bipartisanship: He was a member of the Gang of 14 Republican and Democratic senators who joined in 2005 to preserve the Senate filibuster rule. Note that this courageous act, which enraged the Republican Senate leadership, preserved the filibuster power for what was then the Democratic minority in the Senate. And that was not the only time that McCain has bucked his party.
At a time when the nation faces serious problems, including international economic turmoil, immigration, health care, war in Afghanistan, nation-building in Iraq and foreign-policy challenges from the Middle East, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and Venezuela, the president should have an extensive resume and long experience in grappling with tough decisions. Few new presidents have faced an assignment as tough as the one facing the winner of the November election.
From 5 1/2 years as a POW in North Vietnam, where he endured torture, through 25 years in the U.S. House and Senate, McCain has demonstrated the grit, energy and determination that the present challenges demand.
The choice is between a candidate who has been tested to a degree experienced by few and a candidate who is untested. In Obama, Americans are presented with a question mark.
Among the top problems facing the United States is its dire fiscal situation. The nation has a $10 trillion debt and other unfunded obligations to entitlement programs that total $53 trillion. The federal deficit this year is nearly $458 billion and some project the 2009 deficit could hit $700 billion. Despite these staggering numbers, lawmakers and the president just approved a $700 billion Wall Street bailout that they don't have the money to pay for. In short, the United States is dangerously overextended at a time when a worldwide recession threatens.
For years, The Dispatch has called on the president and Congress to deal with this massive, mounting debt which threatens the prosperity and quality of life of generations to come. But year after year, the nation's leaders have kicked the problem down the road.
Seriously confronting this problem will require a president able to call on Americans to make sacrifices for the sake of their grandchildren.
The president will have to ask them to accept cuts in popular programs, tax increases and lowered expectations of what government can afford to do.
Because of the personal sacrifices that McCain has made for the nation, he has unmatched moral authority to call on Americans to take their medicine. If elected, that is precisely what he should do.
The Dispatch urges voters to elect John McCain as president.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

For Me, The Party's Over



This will be my ninth presidential election as a voter. Prior to this year, my choices required little-to-no examination on my part. I was a Party girl. I voted the way my handlers told me. Some candidates were easier to rally behind than others, but Party positions were always easy to identify with even when the candidates were not.

Fast forward to now. Every day I find that I miss those days more and more, and my biggest regret about this entire campaign season has been that I could not drink Obama's Kool-Aid.

Yes, I said it. I have been at times literally filled with regret about it. I've tried to tell myself it was because it would be so much easier, and it would, but I also think it would feel more familiar. It's been really hard for me to weigh each and every major issue on my belief meter and compare to both campaigns, for in the process I discovered that neither Party really represents me as well as I'd thought, but that the Party I was most aligned with on the issues was also the Party I was least aligned with as to Party character.

I've made no secret of how low I feel the Dem Party has gone this cycle to win, from their secretive reorganization of primary procedures to their partisanship during the primary to their advocacy of one of the most uber-Liberal political agendas in our history to their copy-cats-on-steroid embrace of Rovian politics. That's what I mean by Party character.

Good Lord, the GOP has certainly not been without fault, but they have been behaving more like a disbanded Party from the get-go and consequently one that's been more open to compromise. They are trying to find their way again. Their Party identity is weak, but their Party character is not. No matter how much the Axelrod Smear Express tries to paintball as racist or over the edge McCain's ad attacks on Obama's character with his ideological "pals", it doesn't stick in fact because any other candidate with Obama's lack of experience and similar associations would have gotten the same attacks and worse. To not concede that is to show basic ignorance about campaigning, as this opinion column by Jonah Goldberg points out.

Still, this is used as an excuse to negate choosing McCain. I'm always annoyed by this...I mean, what would you have McCain do, just pull out and concede? And why is it not plausible that he resisted normal, traditional negative ads as long as he could? Why does he never get credit for that, particularly when it should now be apparent that had he embraced them much earlier he'd be in much better shape? I guarantee you that Obama has been and is systematically using negative ads. Now, why is it okay for him to use them and not McCain?

The bottom line on this is that the Obama tactics have won the argument, however, by playing it better. Time for me to realize that no, Life's not fair, especially in this battle, so condoning fairness as a point of argument is trivial now, irrelevant. What I must realize is a life philosophy of Obama's new generation of support, and so I must, as they say, get over it.

Then, here comes
General Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama. My fellow political blogger Sara wrote an entry today that I wish I had written. It's worth reading, because she rears that ugly inconvenient head of hypocrisy and applies it to this latest endorsement. I'll just share one of her points here:

But, can we trust Powell's judgment?

Hillary did, and look where it got her. Look how Obama and his supporters treated her, for trusting Powell's judgment.

I respect Powell's service to his country. And I think he is a good man. But, for this love fest that is now happening, between Obama and his supporters and Powell just seems so hypocritical to me.

His camp criticized Clinton endlessly for her vote on the war. But, Powell sold us that war
.


I'm somewhat empathetic to Powell, because I do believe that he got involved with an administration (Bush) who considered him irrelevant, except when they needed him to support them. But, he's a big boy. He could have said no, and by showing some spine might have shed some earlier light on a rush to a war that had no real justifications (that we know about, anyway). If Powell knew about any, he was complicit (which I don't fault him for as I believe there could have been good reasons; but Obama Doctrine, based on that famous speech of his, should fault him). If he was lied to, then he was impotent, and that sets off all kinds of alarms for me, not the least of which would be Powell's plausible resentment towards or revenge against the GOP in making this endorsement.

I wish he'd stayed out of it and not endorsed. To me, that would have signaled he has the wisdom to realize he is too entwined in this to be any kind of beacon of advice. But as always today, one's personal position, reputation and future must be considered. And again, that's reality and must be accepted. We'll never know the truth, short of a confessional memoir, but perhaps Powell simply accepted reality, too.

I just wish I could shake this increasingly persistent tendency to channel H.L. Mencken. I think he might have been caught up in generational change himself. I'll research that and report back.

Friday, October 17, 2008

18 Days 2 Go...

Interesting profile article this morning on the Wall Street Journal's website:
Two Families Named McCain: Candidate Shares a History With Descendants of Slaves

It seems that John McCain's great-great-grandfather was a slave owner in pre-Civil War Mississippi. I don't even want to think about the nastiness that will be spread on the leftie blogs about this and I don't know if McCain's family were good or bad as owners went, but I have a sneaking suspicion there will be a lot of assuming they were bad. It seems no one ever correctly remembers that good, kind humanitarian people with consciences owned slaves, too, because the world known through textbooks and revisionist history paints them all bad.

I read this with an acutely personal interest. Those who know me know that I'm the family genealogist, and my mom's branch of my family tree lived in that same immediate area during some of that same time. And just to be clear, that means that my ancestors owned slaves, too.

This is the only image I have of the of the 19th century Mississippi branch of my mom's ancestors, taken in 1895 at a family celebration:


Moreover, beginning around WWI, my maternal great-grandparents (and then my grandparents) employed a black woman from that area as a housekeeper. Her name: Fannie McCain Brown.

Whoa, not 100% for sure that our Fannie is from the same McCain family, but from what I know about my ancestors and about Fannie, who was employed by my family as a domestic long enough to have helped raise my mother and also me as a baby, my gut tells me she was related to the McCains in this story.

This is why my gut is telling me this. See the red A on this map of Mississippi? That is Teoc, MS. where the McCains lived. Now, do you see up Interstate 55 just a ways, the towns of Tillatobia and Oakland? My family's farm was just south of Oakland. Teoc's about 40 miles from Oakland as the crow flies. Talk about a small world!

If I feel up to it, I will tell a family story about Fannie tomorrow. I'm still feeling puny and I woke up today determined to actually do something in my real life (as opposed to using up my productivity online, lol). It's overcast and cool down here today, and I'm going to try to do a little cooking, a little baking. We shall see how far I get...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

20 Days 2 Go...


I read a discussion of this chart and thought it was a good way to 'snapshot' how we got where we are now -- "we" the people (our government and others we trusted not withstanding).

Personally, the chart fits my life's circumstances in a couple of ways, so I had to copy it. That light blue line is the housing price index. It starts around 1987, which was the year we married. Hubs already owned our house he'd bought in 1976, but in 1998 we bought the house we live in now. See on the chart how the blue line is flat until around 1998, then it starts to climb? That's so true. I remember, because we had been waiting for the market to pick up. We bought at the front of the climb, so our home value enjoyed the full ride. (In our area it was a respectable climb and consequently the present values haven't really decreased...yet and hopefully never.) Our stock holdings mirror very roughly the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the red line, except our stock values didn't begin falling until May of this year.

I am thankful there is a 180-degree difference as far as our personal savings rate compared to the green dots. Ours would be sort of a flat line at 10% beginning in 1987 until around 1998, when we sold our first house and managed to save some of that profit and add to it over the last decade. Our bubbles would be in a straight line going diagonally up after 1998. I know we would feel much less secure than we already do right now had we not consistently put off short term pleasures and trivial spending as much as we did. We still managed to spend, I'm sure, more than we have needed to, but at least we saved, too.

The chart bubbles are probably the saddest part of that graph to me. But really, when you look at the 20-25 trend, the housing and stocks look a little more reassuring. But that's also because we have been in those markets for about that long.

Listen, I'm groping for any good thing I can find as mental outlook goes, because we've "temporarily lost" (as Hubs puts it) almost a quarter of a million dollars in Hub's 401K with 9 years to go to full retirement. Yup, about 30% of the whole thing. It can literally give me nausea and diarrhea to think about it too long. 7000+ shares of ExxonMobil. Hubs and most of the other old-timers he works with are bound and determined to hang tough, though. No one is moving one share. They are all convinced it'll be back up, if not in short order, then in the near midterm. No one can persuade them otherwise, and based on my 30 years of calculating retirement distributions of area Exxon retirees, history tells them to do just that. I, however, being the worrier I am, fear this is one time that will defy history.

Consequently, my nerves have really been taking a hit, too. Now that I've written about it, I am just going to try to forget about it. We've no need now to sell and pull out so it can all just sit there. I've researched where our cash sits, and those places are sound. And we have no need at present to borrow a dollar. Now, just to be able to get away from all of the panic and second-guessing on television and online.... LOL

As for tonight's debate, I slept through it, on purpose since I've really not been feeling well at all. I'll be honest. McCain is beginning to irritate me. Obama still irritates me as well, but not quite as much as before. Perhaps because I come at this from the direction of left-center as opposed to being a right wing conservative Christian or long time GOP, I'm past irritated at all of the little hissy fits and nag fests that the Right has been making every time McCain proposes something new or does something they don't like. To me it appears they are all ticked that he didn't run it by them first, and it also looks like to me to they expect that as a condition of solidifying around him. And this frankly makes me snicker snarkily, because it's greatly their own fault IMO he's not kicking ass and taking names in this election by this time (or at least ahead enough to absorb the hit on the economy and still be neck and neck). His party has not helped him in this nomination until the very end of it. It frankly seems a bit amazing that he's been able to hang in there and remain relevant despite everyone but the American People frantic to write him off at every turn. It's a big story of grit and determination and heroism that's not getting told at all. At least it is to me.

This has all been brewing inside me since my return from Ike, and I do not know where it's going to lead me. I still have no desire to vote for Obama, and I still feel that having a president right now who, even if he does nothing else other than veto bills with pork, might at least force Congress to quit adding them to legislation that they need to pass. And that is one thing right. Right now our government's corrupt, our economy is corrupt, our financial markets are corrupt, our vote is corrupt. Seems like we need a reformer much more than a Santa, but a month from now I might be making a list myself, who knows... Stay tuned, as I will continue to write about this. I am honest, if nothing else. :-)))

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

21 Days 2 Go...

Obama Thugocracy by Michael Barone

"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors," Barack Obama told a crowd in Elko, Nev. "I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face." Actually, Obama supporters are doing a lot more than getting into people's faces. They seem determined to shut people up.

That's what Obama supporters, alerted by campaign emails, did when conservative Stanley Kurtz appeared on Milt Rosenberg's WGN radio program in Chicago. Kurtz had been researching Obama's relationship with unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers in Chicago Annenberg Challenge papers in the Richard J. Daley Library in Chicago -- papers that were closed off to him for some days, apparently at the behest of Obama supporters.

Obama fans jammed WGN's phone lines and sent in hundreds of protest emails. The message was clear to anyone who would follow Rosenberg's example. We will make trouble for you if you let anyone make the case against The One.

Other Obama supporters have threatened critics with criminal prosecution. In September, St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce warned citizens that they would bring criminal libel prosecutions against anyone who made statements against Obama that were "false." I had been under the impression that the Alien and Sedition Acts had gone out of existence in 1801-02. Not so, apparently, in metropolitan St. Louis. Similarly, the Obama campaign called for a criminal investigation of the American Issues Project when it ran ads highlighting Obama's ties to Ayers.

These attempts to shut down political speech have become routine for liberals. Congressional Democrats sought to reimpose the "fairness doctrine" on broadcasters, which until it was repealed in the 1980s required equal time for different points of view. The motive was plain: to shut down the one conservative-leaning communications medium, talk radio. Liberal talk-show hosts have mostly failed to draw audiences, and many liberals can't abide having citizens hear contrary views.

To their credit, some liberal old-timers -- like House Appropriations Chairman David Obey -- voted against the "fairness doctrine," in line with their longstanding support of free speech. But you can expect the "fairness doctrine" to get another vote if Barack Obama wins and Democrats increase their congressional majorities.

Corporate liberals have done their share in shutting down anti-liberal speech, too. "Saturday Night Live" ran a spoof of the financial crisis that skewered Democrats like House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank and liberal contributors Herbert and Marion Sandler, who sold toxic-waste-filled Golden West to Wachovia Bank for $24 billion. Kind of surprising, but not for long. The tape of the broadcast disappeared from NBC's Website and was replaced with another that omitted the references to Frank and the Sandlers. Evidently NBC and its parent, General Electric, don't want people to hear speech that attacks liberals.

Then there's the Democrats' "card check" legislation, which would abolish secret ballot elections in determining whether employees are represented by unions. The unions' strategy is obvious: Send a few thugs over to employees' homes -- we know where you live -- and get them to sign cards that will trigger a union victory without giving employers a chance to be heard.

Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the staunchest defenders of free speech. Union organizers in the 1930s and 1940s made the case that they should have access to employees to speak freely to them, and union leaders like George Meany and Walter Reuther were ardent defenders of the First Amendment.

Today's liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters. Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that used to pride themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society.

Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech that they don't like and seem utterly oblivious to claims that this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the OBama Thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.

Monday, October 13, 2008

22 Days Left...


Meanwhile, Happy Columbus Day.

I've been sickly since I last posted. Hubs came home with what I guessed was a cold last Wednesday. Friday, I finally persuaded him to go to the walk-in clinic, so he took the afternoon off and got medicated up. Technical diagnosis: rhinitis. He got a steroid shot, some antibiotics, some antihistamine and some Nasonex, which he refuses because I have plenty. Wrong. I'm not about to give him any of my Nasonex. Get your own! So, he had to call them back and get a script phoned in. Dang, it's not gum or candy, dude.

Well, fast forward to Saturday night, late. We had made plans to go out to eat at Saltgrass Steakhouse and take in the American Carol movie on Sunday. But I started coming down with what he had. Your nose starts itching/burning, then dripping/running. Then, the eyes. Then, the throat. Muscle aches, lethargy, reduced appetite (only good part, lol).

So, nix on the fun. I slept an extraordinary amount of time between Saturday night and now, Monday morning at 8 a.m. And I may just lay back down some more. Sometimes I just have to sleep off an illness. The older I get, the more that works. (Or maybe the older I get, the more I am willing to slow down enough for it to work.) Hopefully, I'll be over this by tomorrow. I am almost there now.

As the ACORN mess spreads in the news, the Obama campaign feels it must sink once again to playing the race card, this time sending Georgia Rep. John Lewis into the media to complain about the bad bad man McCain saying mean widdle things like Gov. Wallace did in 1968. (And everyone under 30 or 40 says, Who?)

What Lewis refers to is during some rallies featuring McCain and Palin, supporters have shouted "traitor," "terrorist," "treason," "liar" and even "off with his head." Most of the time McCain hasn't even heard what they were saying, and when he does he has spoken against it. The shouters are talking about William Ayers, the unrepentent terrorist pal of Obama's. They are not referencing Obama. So it's a stretch and a bit over the top as an accusation.

But everyone seems to trust that these really are McCain supporters. Except me. Why would it be unreasonable to be skeptical of that? It could be plants from the Obama campaign, too. They seemed to be all in a common cluster of rallies. If my goal was to cause a stir like that so it would get on the network news and make McCain look bad, I'd certainly hire me some plants lickety-split. Then, make Lewis play the part that he did as his loyalty commitment to the Obama campaign. After all, Lewis is a former Clinton supporter.

No, nothing Team O did would ever surprise me. It's just a little too well run to be real. The longer this goes on, I am flummoxed that such few people speak out about the tactics. I guess getting hit by Obama sludge twice (once with Clinton, now with McCain) gives me a unique perspective.

I'm of the school that says to McCain, keep attacking and exposing. It's working because the polls show them almost back to neck and neck again. It's a campaign, not a tea party where snotty pretensious women bitch-slap each other with their long gloves and pearls.

And on that note, time for my nap.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

ACORNS Start to FALL...


The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is the subject of a probe in 14 states now: AR, CO, FL, IN, MI, MO, NC, NM, NV, OH, PA, VA, WA and WI.

Missouri officials suspect fake voter registration

Las Vegas ACORN Office Raided in Voter-Fraud Probe

ACORN Voter Fraud Spreads To North Carolina...

Lake County, IN Rejects Large Numbers of Invalid Voter Registrations

More Milwaukee Voter Fraud

Lynn Sweet reports: ACORN/Project Vote voting drive targeted states Obama needs to win

-----------------------------
ACORN Fraud History By State
From 1998 to First Half of 2008

-----------------------------
AR 1998
A contractor with ACORN-affiliated Project Vote was arrested for falsifying about 400 voter registration cards.
**********************
MO 2003
Of 5,379 voter registration cards ACORN submitted in St. Louis, only 2,013 of those appeared to be valid. At least 1,000 are believed to be attempts to register voters illegally.
*************************
CO 2004
An ACORN employee admitted to forging signatures and registering three of her friends to vote 40 times.
FL 2004
A Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesman said ACORN was “singled out” among suspected voter registration groups for a 2004 wage initiative because it was “the common thread” in the agency’s fraud investigations.
MI 2004
The Detroit Free Press reported that “overzealous or unscrupulous campaign workers in several Michigan counties are under investigation for voter-registration fraud, suspected of attempting to register nonexistent people or forging applications for already-registered voters.” ACORN-affiliate Project Vote was one of two groups suspected of turning in the documents.
MN 2004
During a traffic stop, police found more than 300 voter registration cards in the trunk of a former ACORN employee, who had violated a legal requirements that registration cards be submitted to the Secretary of State within 10 days of being filled out and signed.
NC 2004
North Carolina officials investigated ACORN for submitting fake voter registration cards.
NM 2004
An ACORN employee registered a 13-year-old boy to vote. Citing this and other examples, New Mexico State Representative Joe Thompson stated that ACORN was “manufacturing voters” throughout New Mexico.
OH 2004
A grand jury indicted a Columbus ACORN worker for submitting a false signature and false voter registration form. In Franklin County, two ACORN workers submitted what the director of the board of election supervisors called “blatantly false” forms. In Cuyahoga County, ACORN and its affiliate Project Vote submitted registration cards that had the highest rate of errors for any voter registration group.
PA 2004
Reading’s Director of Elections received calls from numerous individuals complaining that ACORN employees deliberately put inaccurate information on their voter registration forms. The Berks County director of elections said voter fraud was “absolutely out of hand,” and added: “Not only do we have unintentional duplication of voter registration but we have blatant duplicate voter registrations.” The Berks County deputy director of elections added that ACORN was under investigation by the Department of Justice.
TX 2004
ACORN turned in the voter registration form of David Young, who told reporters “The signature is not my signature. It’s not even close.” His social security number and date of birth were also incorrect.
WI 2004
The district attorney’s office investigated seven voter registration applications Project Vote employees filed in the names of people who said the group never contacted them. Former Project Vote employee Robert Marquise Blakely told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he had not met with any of the people whose voter registration applications he signed, “an apparent violation of state law,” according to the paper.
*****************
CO 2005
Two ex-ACORN employees were convicted in Denver of perjury for submitting false voter registrations.
NM 2005
Four ACORN employees submitted as many as 3,000 potentially fraudulent signatures on the group’s Albuquerque ballot initiative. A local sheriff added: “It’s safe to say the forgery was widespread.”
VA 2005
In 2005, the Virginia State Board of Elections admonished Project Vote and ACORN for turning in a significant number of faulty voter registrations. An audit revealed that 83% of sampled registrations that were rejected for carrying false or questionable information were submitted by Project Vote. Many of these registrations carried social security numbers that exist for other people, listed non-existent or commercial addresses, or were for convicted felons in violation of state and federal election law.
In a letter to ACORN, the State Board of Elections reported that 56%of the voter registration applications ACORN turned in were ineligible. Further, a full 35% were not submitted in a timely manner, as required by law. The State Board of Elections also commented on what appeared to be evidence of intentional voter fraud. "Additionally,” they wrote, “information appears to have been altered on some applications where information given by the applicant in one color ink has been scratched through and re-entered in another color ink. Any alteration of a voter registration application is a Class 5 Felony in accordance with § 24.2-1009 of the Code of Virginia."
*****************
MO 2006
Eight ACORN employees in St. Louis were indicted on federal election fraud charges. Each of the eight faces up to five years in prison for forging signatures and submitting false information.
*****************
MO 2007
Four ACORN employees were indicted in Kansas City for charges including identity theft and filing false registrations during the 2006 election.
OH 2007
A man in Reynoldsburg was indicted on two felony counts of illegal voting and false registration, after being registered by ACORN to vote in two separate counties.
WA 2007
Three ACORN employees pleaded guilty, and four more were charged, in the worst case of voter registration fraud in Washington state history. More than 2,000 fraudulent voter registration cards were submitted by the group during a voter registration drive.
******************
PA 2008
An ACORN employee in West Reading, PA, was sentenced to up to 23 months in prison for identity theft and tampering with records. A second ACORN worker pleaded not guilty to the same charges and is free on $10,000 bail.
******************