Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Notes on the temporarily meaningless existence otherwise known as my life:

Did the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator and...
AIMESLEE, if you were born to Sarah Palin, your name would be:
Bush Gator Palin

Geebus, I can't catch a break, although I suppose I should be thankful it didn't name me Ike, lol.

Could you live on $20 a day for food if you lived in a hotel room and had no kitchen? I've been trying to since Hubs and Missy left. It's tough. I have a bag of chips and a 12-pack of Diet Cokes so I try to only buy the sandwich or entree. What I have discovered is that the healthier you want to eat and also satiate your hunger, the more expensive it becomes. No wonder lots of poor people are obese. Seriously.

Speaking of which, this is why I know: I have gained some weight. I can feel it and it don't feel fine. Maybe later today after my nap I will attempt some kind of fast. But being that going to get my meals are the bright spots of my day, I may fail miserably.

I really wonder about the weight gain since I try to get out every evening and walk around the hotel property 3 times. It's all I can do to get that much walking done because I am trying not to take so much pain reliever, but my lower back has degenerative disk disease and gets really painful after exactly 1/8 of a mile. I literally have fears of it freezing up on me while walking and not being able to get back to my room. I would seriously be crying, help, I've frozen and I can't get up. It's happened before and more than once.

I need to get out and do my laundry in a day or two...or three. Not looking forward to it. I have a dislike for laundromats.

I do a lot of driving around and wasting gas. Well, not a lot, but probably twice a day. Until yesterday, this would involve going only at certain times in order to be able to keep a parking place close to my room. But this week hardly anyone is here, so there are several open spots at all times. The weekends are definitely the busy times. This is a college town and they play football. Probably a factor.

I have finally discovered what the attraction to Starbucks is, because last week I became addicted to a daily large iced coffee from McDonalds. What it is is habit. And it's enjoyable.

Well, I had tons more to note, but they all seem silly to write down here now. While I was thinking them up they seemed great. I will leave you with one travel tidbit, though. How to stay regular on the road: I take my Metamucil powder in a bottled water every day by saving a plastic spoon from a leftover meal and folding a note paper in half. Spoon the Metamucil into the paper fold, then gingerly pour the powder into the little small opening of the water bottle. Screw the cap back onto the bottle and shake shake shake forever. The powder will eventually dissolve. Uncap and drink it down. I'm sure that some camper or RV'er already thought that up, but I sure was proud when I figured it out.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Video of How I'm Feeling

saw this on the houston paper's website and had to share. i listened to what those interviewed had to say and felt they could have been my words, too.

The Politics of Ike

hello. bored silly here. and your name is?

dealing with an ever sporadic wireless internet connection at the hotel. i am now wondering if i can find a reliable connection that i can buy a month of. while i first thought i'd need to require that it be national / regional so that i could still use it at home for the remainder of the month, but now i'll gladly buy a month just for the rest of my time here. i've no clue where to look, tho. the sporadic an unreliable connection at the hotel just pisses me off and leaves me in a bad mood. i do not want to continue the hassle.

ike stories in the houston chronicle are pretty lame. they rely far too much on info to come to them. of course, coverage of my east side is little to none. so most of it is news i can't use.

it has been an endless source of depressing news, though. seems that under deregulation (like our utilities), customers are responsible for repairs so our bills will be increasing for years to come. and then there is the news that centerpoint has my area down for power restoration by thursday 9/25. i would be mildly excited except for the fact that it is not a guarantee. if there's a line break affecting me and 6 of my neighbors, well we don't get restored until they work on restoration affecting that few folks. this is what i spend a lot of time not thinking about because doing so just angers me.

things have been getting slowly tougher and tougher, mentally. i am nearing the point of needing to pay bills again, and some of them are in my desktop computer, which hooks up normally to the internet via cable and router at home. the computer is here with me, but there is no cable internet, only wireless. so bill-paying is going to be hit and miss this month until i get all of them written down on old-fashioned paper. this is one more reason to get started on my Rolodex of Life project...one no-tech place for all the important info.

so the politics of power turns out to be electricity, not oil. down here, anyway. i am finding so few reasons to continue to be here lately. so many reasons to move away. of course we can't until retirement. sucks balls. i read that centerpoint made 9.6 billion in 2007 and netted 1.5 billion. we are all seeing first hand down here the effects of not investing in infrastructure on centerpoint's part, and now those numbers show they can afford it. it's all for the shareholder now. no wonder businesses and governments go south. no re-investment. shareholders need to suck it up and be quiet for a while. and companies need leaders who can tell them to sit quiety.

well, glad to get that out. thanks for listening to my hissy rant.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hotel Life

**mi casa**

i didn't feel so well today and so i took it easy. this post will eventually fit the title, i promise.

**i'm where the star is**

i spent a good 8 hours in the car yesterday, driving missy back home so she could pack and drive her car back to school and work. her dorm will re-open next week and she's bunking in with friends/coworkers until then. then, driving back alone to my hotel. in between my two road trips, missy and i took a drive around to look at ike's effects, which were pretty sobering. after missy left, i packed more clothes in the hope that i won't have to do laundry, and visited with hubs once he got home from work.

we managed to carry several rubbermaid storage tubs that sat in the storage buildings on our back deck, which were destroyed by ike. hubs had not had time to do it yet. we also made a can of trash to put out for pick-up.

i finally pulled out to return to san marcos just after dark. the drive is 3 and a half hours if you're lucky and you drive atleast a third of it at 70 mph or more. my cruise control got a workout. i have now made the trip one way or another 3 times -- twice in the day time and once at night, and i prefer the day because it's visually safer, but there is a lot less traffic at night. vox nix i guess.

anyway, seeing my street, neighborhood, town really affected me. i couldn't even take pictures because it's all ugly. very little of the tree debris has been picked up so far, and because it's all brown now, it makes everything look dead. then, there's a smell everywhere. to call it a stench is unfair. more like an odd smell. old timers to hurricane know the smell, and no one can really describe it except to say it is different. so the whole thing combines to make things eery there.

anyway, i think the smell is, in part, vegetative decay, but also maybe just the stirring up of the atmosphere. after all, what is a hurricane but the catastrophic dumping of one part of the world onto another different one. maybe it's what the atlantic ocean and gulf of mexico smell like.

justapoxed against that is the ever-constant hum of generators. hardly any street working signals and lights. some businesses open for some hours, some not. i thinks we have 8 grocery stores and only 2 are open. dozens of gas stations, but only 3 are open. parts of neighborhoods have power, parts of the same neighborhoods are still without.

back at my own home, i tried to take a brief nap during the heat of the afternoon. the corduroy couch, usually such a cool cushion, was hot and itchy. just as it absorbed the cool of the a/c, it now absorbed the hot wind and muggy heat blowing through without a/c. i was pretty exhausted so i did drift off for a bit. the heat woke me up, and i remembered that is how it is every night spent without a/c down here. i'd been considering going back the next morning, but that nap helped me decide not to stay overnight.

i think even though i'd had a most busy and stressful day, what wore me out more was trying to do things inside the house while waiting for hubs. i could go on, but if you have never experienced our summers, it won't help. i have always heard visitors or new residents from up north or out west marvel at how much hotter it seems with more humidity. summer nights are almost stifling sometimes. i think they call it radiant dispensation or something.

**the actual pool at mi casa**

so this brings me to hotel life. solitary hotel life. oh, and free hotel life. my brother told me to apply with fema for direct hotel payment because my zip code had mandatory evacuation and we have no power. i tried applying online and i am so glad i did, because about an hour later, i received an automated call telling me i qualified and to go online for a list of approved hotels. i was never more happy to see my hotel on the list, lemme tellya. lol it has been one of the few bright spots in this whole thing.

**my room looks just like this, seriously**

i have to remember to plead my own case here about my health, and why i'm staying in a hotel to begin with. the heat and lesser sanitation can really trigger various arthritic attacks, particularly the psoriasis. i can recall how ill i became after 3 days of suffering post-rita. i read that centerpoint said today that most people would not see power restored before next thursday, so that's almost another week now. i know that people survive 3 weeks without power up north in the winter, and if that makes me a wimp, then my bad, i admire them, they win.

**at one of the local parks here**

i do believe i could survive that long without a/c up here, though. i've been walking outside here in the afternoon and haven't even sweated. there is a cool wind here, even at 3 in the afternoon. that is non-existent at home unless there's a cool front or something. and it's humid but much less so than on the coast.

this is my 8th day here and the honeymoon is slowly wearing off. as wiped out as the road trip was, i was happy for the variety. i'm still happy with my hotel, as lodging goes. it's just getting old. i miss the air conditioned little life i had. at my own house. i want it back. i want to smell my normal life, too. i miss my rocking chair. and reggie. and my coffee pot. and my constant cable internet. i even miss hubs, believe it or not. lol he's working on his new job project now 7 days a week, since his quality of life is better at work right now. we talk a couple of times a day on the cell, and exchange accounts of our boring daily adventures.

well, i guess i needed to get all of that out. i was going to include some politics, but although i have been keeping up with it all, it's just not that front and center on my radar right now. i talk often with many of the other ike evacuees at the hotel and we all feel like the rest of the world is passing us by. we've all had our routines and lives disrupted and held hostage by the electric company, the roofing company, the construction company, the insurance company, fema, etcetera. all we can do really is sit and wait. so i try to be more patient, once again. pretend it's a vacation. pretend i'm in some control...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Rollercoaster Week in Photos

...ike at sunset...

...third time's a charm...

...situational irony...

...a new high school ...

...electrifying bribery...


...new tourist attraction?

... power of nature

FYI, girls, he's gay

what a root system!

this is a six lane highway (I-10)

typical neighborhood after ike

gas pump canopy

one of too many downed power line poles

this used to be a building

pushed out of their watery boat slips

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurrication Update

thanks to everyone who has emailed and called me. i appreciate your concern about us. we're alive and safe. we are at a la quinta in san marcos, tx., which is in what is called the I-35 corridor between san antoniio and austin.

we boarded up our home and packed and left friday morning. got on interstate 10 about noon-thirty. our trip took about an hour longer, due to stop and go traffic on the west side of houston, but all in all was a pretty good trip.

hubs was not going to leave at all, and i had decided to stay with him because i tried to look into the future and how i would feel if missy and i evacuated without him and something happened to him. we told missy she could go but she felt like i did.

friday morning i decided to ask hubs what our gameplan was for weathering the storm. our bedroom hall is the only space not walled by windows. so we were going to sit there. then i asked him, what if the storm surge comes? what if our roof comes off? his answer to leaving had been, where do we go? so when i asked him to really, really, look at what would we do in the house were Ike to destroy it, he finally began to see logic. so, we looked online for a hotel and found one that took pets right off. good omen. we packed and left. lots left behind, as in our entire lives. but what can you do?

even evacuated to a safe place with internet and air conditioning, the last few days have been very traumatic for us. it's been next to impossible to find information about the status of our locality. eventually, by late saturday and sunday, we began to hear from friends and family. my brother works for our city and he had to weather the storm at his home, which survived 8 tall pine trees falling and barely missing it. he was on call so he had to navigate the roads at 6 pm saturday to go to work on a skeleton crew clearing the roads and then manning the phones at the emergency call center.

my brother found time to drive to our home and found it in great condition, thank goodness. the top of the chimney that keeps water out had flown off and the back fence is leaning, and that is all. i cannot tell you how much of a relief that was. our street never flooded, even though we are 1/4 mile from cedar bayou, which flows into galveston bay. we were not in a mandatory evac zone because our land is very high. it is on a plate separate from the bottomland that is pretty much sea level.

we are about 25 feet above sea level. and we do not have flood insurance because we were always told we do not need it. i probably do not need to tell you that hubs and i were sweating it out heavily, since all of the meteorological warnings predicted a 22 foot storm surge up into galveston bay and its tributaries, cedar bayou being a main one of those and the houston ship channel aka buffalo bayou being the other main one. i had figured we were just f*cked. my mindset was, hey, i was never gonna use all those art supplies anyway. lol, trying to rationalize so the sting and hurt would be lessened.

so, anyway, here we are today. our house still has no electricity and the water is not drinkable due to the water plant being flooded. hubs helped bring the refinery down on thursday before he left work and it is still down until they can get proper power, but all reports from his coworkers who were on shelter-in duty there are good. the refinery sustained very little damage and it hardly rained there at all. they are ready to bring it back up, but the utility infrastructure of the area is delaying it. you might live in a new area where the utilities are underground, but on my gulf coast they are largely hobbled together above ground, pole to pole, susceptible to wind, trees, wild animals and lightning. just my 2 cents, but if the gov't wanted to help lessen the effects of weather along the gulf coast, they would use the rebuild dollars on relocating the utility infrastructures underground where possible. every time this happens, that is what is damaged the most. who listens to little old me though.

I waited til today to update the blog because the wireless router for our hotel building wasn't working until today. i was going to find another hotel if it hadn't been fixed by today. like hubs said, if the tv in the hotel room didn't work, he'd be pissed. same with my internet, jeebus. anyway, all is well for time being at least.

hubs left to go back this morning. he just couldn't wait around. he had to go back and check out what's going on. me, i am planning to stay right here in san marcos until our water and electricity are back online and good. poor missy is really distraught. she spent all weekend refusing to give up hope that she could return to school in beaumont today, despite us telling her that was a pipe dream. the downtown there had 9 feet of water in it. they and western louisiana got pelted by ike just as much if not more than we did. missy and her school friends spent all weekend trying in vain to find out when they were supposed to be back at school.

we finally found out this morning that missy's tentative date to return to school is Sept. 29, and that is at the earliest. turns out that a lot of the campus flooded. her dorm room is on the 3rd floor, so luckily her room did not flood, and the roof is still okay. she is still not happy about having all that time to fill though. i feel bad for her, but she is really impatient by nature, so it is gonna be testy, lol.

well, she wants to go see "burn after reading" so we are off to do that. i'll check back in later...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Y(IKE)S, Call 9/11

Well, it's that time again, isn't it? This time around, it strikes me that Americans are united in honoring this day, yet there are so many differing beliefs on how we got here and how we go on.

For myself, I wouldn't be shocked to discover that OBL ordered the attack as vengeance for the Bushies cozying up to OBL's father and bringing western evil to his country. I even used to think there might be a chance that GWB choreographed it to start his wars and control us easier.

My planning to vote GOP in November doesn't mean I believe the possibilities of those theories any less. It's just that was then, this is now, and we have to move on and deal with the leftovers. There have been many days that I want to hurt George Bush but I guess I've always paid enough attention to the news to know that John McCain has probably wanted to hurt him more and more often. Most of the nasties in the Congressional GOP are no longer there, finally, and I think sometimes the GOP haters are still hating the past.

So it is that on this day I always re-assess my feelings about our place in the world. I remember how passionately angry so many around me were in 2001, and although I wanted to be, I wasn't. Instead, I get a bit angrier about it with every passing year and less fearful of accepting and appreciating a hawkish stance in a post-9/11 world. That my child and her many wonderful friends have all become adults in the last 7 seven years has a lot to do with my courage, I think.


As I write this, Ike keeps turning more and more towards us. Even so, Hubs wants to stay and shelter in place, and Missy called to report she doesn't want to come home. So we decided last night not to leave, and went to bed.

Hubs got up to discover Missy sleeping in her bed. Turns out the college and town both decided on an evacuation in the middle of the night. There was the college's automated message on our machine. We'd slept right thru it. Well, there goes my Plan B (I was going to hang out at her dorm if things looked really ominous for us.)

We turn on the local news and the damn storm track is closer to us even more now. I try reserving a hotel and the traffic nightmare to get to any of them makes me stop. (Missy refuses to get into that traffic after the last storm.) So, here we are, waiting for a mutha of a massive storm to decide the weapon and the method, cuz it's now a given that it will happen to us. We will get the storm. What scares me is the storm surge, should it become a Cat 4. We are around 25 ft about sea level, but also only about 1/4 of a mile from Cedar Bayou that feeds into Galveston Bay. The bayou will back up and rise if the bay does. It's never flooded on my street from the bayou or from storm surge and I am just praying this is not the first time.

I don't know, but it seems like right now only the coastal low-lying towns are under evacuation right now. Seems like a lot of folks are going to stay. Tropical storm winds and rain are supposed to begin tomorrow mid-day, and I have have have to prepare a corporate tax return today (my last official one). It's due next week, but if we lose electricity that's a problem so gotta do it now. Then, I have to take a video of all our rooms. Then help secure odds and ends. Missy can get groceries today. I paid all the bills already for the next two weeks. I have our prescriptions, our hurricane supplies, cash, full gas tanks, water, clothes are washed, got dogfood. What else?

A nuclear black-hole machine to put Ike in would be nice...

Mayor Palin's Big Book-Ban Scandal 411
FROM THE ARCHIVE: Palin: Library censorship inquiries 'Rhetorical'

Editor's note: This story first ran in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman Dec. 18, 1996. It has been typeset and posted here to accommodate numerous requests for the story from media worldwide and curious individuals. Please note that not at any time were any books ever banned from the Wasilla city library.

WASILLA -- In the wake of strong reactions from the city's library director to inquiries about censorship, Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin on Monday was taking pains to explain her questions about censoring library material were “rhetorical.”

Library Director Mary Ellen Emmons last week said Palin broached the subject with her on two occasions in October - once Palin was elected mayor Oct. 1 but before she took office on Oct. 14, and again in more detail on Monday, Oct. 28. Besides heading the Wasilla City Library, Emmons is also president of the Alaska Library Association.

The issue became public last Wednesday, when Palin brought it up during an interview about the now-defunct Liquor task Force. Palin used the library topic as an example of discussions with her department heads about understanding and following administration agendas. Palin said she asked Emmons how she would respond to censorship.

Emmons drew a clear distinction Saturday between the nature of Palin's inquiries and an established book-challenge policy in place in Wasilla, and in most public libraries.

"I'm not trying to suppress anyone's views," Emmons said. "But I told her (Palin) clearly, I will fight anyone who tries to dictate what books can go on the library shelves."

Palin said Monday she had no particular books or other material in mind when she posed the questions to Emmons.

Emmons said in the first conversation, before being sworn in as mayor, Palin briefly touched on the subject of censorship.

But on Monday, Oct. 28, Emmons said Palin asked her outright if she could live with censorship of library books. This was during a weak when Palin was requesting resignations from all the city's department heads as a way of expressing loyalty.

"This is different than a normal book-selection procedure or a book-challenge policy," Emmons stressed Saturday. "She was asking me how I would deal with her saying a book can't be in the library."

Monday Palin said in a written statement she was only trying to get aquatinted with her staff at the time. "Many issues were discussed, both rhetorical and realistic in nature," Palin added.

Emmons recalled that the Oct. 28 conversation she pulled no punches with her response to the mayor.

"She asked me if I would object to censorship, and I replied 'Yup'," Emmons recounted Saturday. "And I told her it would not be just me. This was a constitutional question, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would get involved, too."

Emmons said Palin asked her on Oct. 28 if she would object to censorship, even if people were circling the library in protest about a book. "I told her it would definitely be a problem the ACLU would take on then," Emmons said

Asked who she thought might picket the library, Palin said Monday, "Had no one in mind ... again, the issue was discussed in the context of a professional question being asked in regards to library policy.

"All questions posed to Wasilla's library director were asked in the context of professionalism regarding the library policy that is in place in our city. Obviously the issue of censorship is a library question... you ask a library director that type of question," Palin said

Palin also said Monday censorship issues would not involve any departments other than the library.

Emmons said she has been offered help if it is ever needed on censorship issues from the state library association's Intellectual Freedom Committee and the National Freedom to Read Foundation.

Palin called Emmons into her office Monday to discuss the censorship questions again.

Palin also attended Friday's staff meeting at the library, but without mentioning censorship , Emmons said.

"I'm hoping it was just a trial balloon," Emmons said, "because the free exchange of information is my main job, and I'll fight anyone who tries to interfere with that."

The timing of the issue comes at a time when Emmons is trying to get the book-challenge policies of the Wasilla Library and of the Palmer City Library in line with the Mat-Su Borough policy, revised in December of last year.

Emmons described the new borough policy as "a very good one."

It is a step-by-step blueprint of procedures for anyone wanting to challenge the selection and availability of library material, Emmons explained. "it is a good process, and almost all public libraries have one."

The borough's policy was revised mainly to replace the borough manager as the final decision maker with a formal Reconsideration Committee Mat-Su Borough Manager Don Moore said Saturday that changes were made, with the blessings, after a dispute that was resolved about two years ago involving a challenged book at the Big Lake Library.

Emmons said the current Wasilla policy, which she described as written in more general terms than the borough's, also worked procedurally in a book-challenge case last year. Emmons said then-council-woman Palin was distressed about the issue when it came up, indicating she was aware of the city's book-challenge policy.

Emmons said in the conversations with now-Mayor Palin in October, she reminded her again that the city has a policy in place. "But it seamed clear to me that wasn't really what she was talking about anyhow," Emmons added. "I just hope it doesn't come up again."

Meanwhile, Emmons said she is working with borough libraries boss Bruce Urban and Palmer Library Director Janice Sanford, in the hope of getting the cities to adopt a book-challenge policy identical to the borough's.

My additional information: Palin had constituents who wanted books banned. What if you were mayor of your town and had those constituents? Not cool to just tell them no. A mayor serves all the people. Palin asked questions and took her full position to do that, but that's all. She didn't DO anything. Just asked questions. And is that the story you got in newspapers, magazines, and TV news about this? No, but it should have been with an unbiased media...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Too Far Gone and Just Silly

I just can't help it. Even though I may get skewered and sent to hell, I have to show this video. It makes me cover my mouth and pee my pants Every. Single. Time.

This was on Jimmy Kimmel, and I know children are supposed to be off limits, and rightly so, so my bad in advance. It's just that whoever thought it up deserves kudos for cleverness, cuz it's one in a million. And ya gotta admit, that was one of those embarrassing parental moments, similar to one I had when they taped Missy's kindergarten class singing at assembly in and she was seated in a dress, exposing the entire world to her underpants. In my defense, I do think it qualifies as okay under "Kids Do the Darnedest Things" and is actual network TV RNC convention footage:

I also LOL'd at the latest Jib Jab video:


I spent all day yesterday fretting over Hurricane Ike and being in the middle of his Cone of Uncertainty (da da da duhhhhhhh). By about 2 this morning though, the Cone began moving far enough south to calm me down. Houston is not entirely out of the woods yet, but things are looking better and better. Fingers crossed...


Okay, now to get serious:

Palin has some gubernatorial policy achievements she's been touting ad hominem, and she has been criticized ad hominem, and as usual the truth lies in the middle. I will attempt today to take on 2 of them, earmarks and the bridge to nowhere, and look for the middle truth.

1. Earmarks. This article is one I found that mentions all of the players and almost all of the circumstances. Keep in mind though that both Palin and Obama have decreased their earmark dollars over time. Since I heard Rick Davis explain that Palin is getting blamed for earmarks for Alaska that other Alaska officials ask for and get (true), and that once she got up to speed on things she began cutting the ones she could. Fine, I buy that, but I also think she should have said that better and more specifically from the get-go. And I don't think Obama can be criticized for basically doing the same thing. It looks like silly tit for tat if you know what really happened.

One earmark request that I would criticize Obama for, however, was his asking for $1 million in funds for the University of Chicago Hospital, Michelle's employer at the time, for a pavilion. Michelle Obama had also received a promotion to VP of Community Affairs and her yearly salary almost tripled from $121K to $317K, all soon after Obama won his Senate seat. Just last month, Senator Grassley (R-Ia) requested info to investigate them for skirting their non-profit status by shooing off needy patients, which just happens to be one of Michelle Obama's initiatives there.

But the bottom line on earmarks is, all of this back and forth keeps the biggest point on the back burner: in his entire 22 years in the U.S. Senate, McCain never asked for one earmark for Arizona that has been defined or considered pork barrel, and he has a high rating on that from the National Taxpayer Union, a harsh critic of pork barrel spending. In 22 years (source is in the same article I linked first + I looked up when he began his Senate career). And that's walking the walk on that.

2. Bridge to Nowhere. Again, I think Palin is not helping herself by not being more specific in her description of this achievement. It's basically another example of her having a lag time when first elected and then acting as she claims once she figures out the project is not fiscally sound. She's not clairvoyant. But she could have qualified the achievement more. I found this actual 2007 story on CNN as the story had unfolded. She was for it before she was against it, as a candidate for governor. Then the bridge project began attracting negative national attention for the $329 million funding to provide a town of 50 mainland access. And after assuming office, Palin discovered the earmark would only fund half the cost of the bridge, so she vetoed the project and redirected the funds toward highway repair.

One thing to note here that I think is important: the back and forth of this earmark in Congress required it to be voted on twice: once as an earmark for the bridge, and then once as a lesser amount of funds to be used at Alaska's discretion (which was what allowed Palin to re-direct them). I've now heard FNC and NPR's Juan Williams say twice (and even though I cannot find a quote, I do believe him)that Obama and Biden both voted for the bridge earmark and against a vote to redirect those dollars to Katrina victims, and this article confirms it but was really hard to find (no one writing about it?). That's ironic, eh?

Okay, I am exhausted now and cross-eyed. More tomorrow...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Whatever It Takes, But Will It Sell?

McCain's Problems: decreased GOP voter registrations, low-to-no-tech campaign, RNC's delayed ground support.

The emails I received varied in their assessments of damage to McCain. A few people said it showed how out of touch McCain is, one person noted that maybe he just doesn't roll that way, and a few people said toss-up. I liked the idea I read that wouldn't it be cool if it ended not mattering a bit?

I have to agree, it would be one of those amazing footnotes to history, not unlike the 1948 election. Since I look at McCain / Palin and see many similarities to Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman, that dog might hunt and that shoe might fit. (Note: T.R. was an avid outdoorsman and Truman once sold shoes, LOL.)

What kind of odds would I bet on that happening? I have no freakin idea. Not high. We'll have to see. Lots of days left for stuff good and bad to happen. But I should also assert that these very factors could cause it to all go terribly wrong for McCain. And that kind of upsets me a bit, for all of us who want there to be a real fight for the office. Just sayin'...


Saul Alinsky, an early 20th century Chicago activist who is considered the father of modern community organizing, taught hundreds as a mentor to apply aggressive psychological techniques and bold behavior to both the people he was trying to empower as citizens and the people and institutions he considered their enemies or opponents. He had one thing in common with Dr. Martin Luther King: the belief in bloodless revolution. Beyond that, the differences in methods are clear and important. If you click on his name (above), that will take you to Wikipedia's page about him, where you can read more about his methods (if you didn't avail yourself of the links I provided yesterday, particularly this one).

My problem with Alinsky as an Obama mentor is not as a model for grassroots local community "revolution" because I think Alinsky's methods are tailor-made and appropriately suited to that small population. The problem IMO is how Obama has applied Alinsky's principles to the largest population possible: this country. What works well for 30 or 300 doesn't often work for 300 million, dig? To me, the volatility is in the chaos that must be created. And I believe you see that bad application on Obama's part in the vilification of both Clintons and Ferraro to dispose of them (take them all out of the political equation), and then the exact same thing being done to Sarah Palin in the blogosphere, the media, and, at the risk of sounding redundant, members of the Dem Party.

Many Obama supporters are totally out of control but feel empowered to plow on, because they've been taught Alinsky's principles one way or another. They read about him in Obama's books, they saw his pastors actions, they see how they can take over the internet and brow-beat their debate opponents. I just want to know, where is the accountability for this and who takes responsibility when it all goes terribly wrong (as it has, more than once)? Who is the grown-up when all Obama will say is the actions are despicable and his campaign staff will be fired if they participate, conveniently leaving out the vast number of perpetrators? And for why? He waaaa waaaa cannot control them? Oh. Well, just prove my point. I think here is where I say, see French Revolution. See Russian Revolution. The power of the mob without accountability is one of the main things our forefathers sought to avoid and one of the big reasons we are a democratic, representative republic instead of a flat-out democracy.

You may be thinking, what's the harm? Where are the dead bodies and burning buildings? Nowhere. There are none. The only casualties have been journalistic truth and perspective, something the forefathers also considered so sacred they gave it a special rightful place as arbiter, but also with a requirement to keep their integrity.

I lack 7 hours of having a bachelors degree in journalism, before changing majors and earning a bachelors in accounting 30 years ago. I once practiced it very seriously and felt its power and impact on a local level. I have always taken journalism very seriously. So, I see the difference now, the loss of total integrity and objectivity, believe me. The Bush Administration had them cowed. This is not a correction. It's a sell out. Actually, it has bore the hole where I put my negative feelings about Obama. IOW, if the media would do their jobs, I might very well have many more positive feelings about the candidate. So, it is not that I just "see" or "read" things into the media's work. Well, I do see one thing: the Emperor's New Clothes.

So, when I see Obama practicing Alinsky on a dangerously too large population of people, excuse me for not just concluding as Alinsky does, whatever it takes, do not worry, feel guilty or hold back, just do. I see horrible bad judgment with no responsibility for accountability.


Obama Flip-Flop Watch:
Obama considered joining military, regrets abortion answer

Sun Sep 7, 10:00 AM ET...
Barack Obama says his answer about abortion at the Saddleback Church forum was “probably” too flip.

During separate televised interviews last month, Pastor Rick Warren asked the two presidential candidates when a baby gets human rights. Obama replied that the question is “above my pay grade,” while John McCain won love from the right by saying quickly, “At the moment of conception.”

Now, Obama tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview taped for “This Week”: “What I intended to say is that, as a Christian, I have a lot of humility about understanding when does the soul enter into … It's a pretty tough question. And so, all I meant to communicate was that I don't presume to be able to answer these kinds of theological questions.”

In the ABC interview, Obama goes on to give the answer he wishes he’d given: “What I do know is that abortion is a moral issue, that it's one that families struggle with all the time. And that in wrestling with those issues, I don't think that the government criminalizing the choices that families make is the best answer for reducing abortions.

“I think the better answer — and this was reflected in the Democratic platform — is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that's unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child.

In an electric interview, Obama suggested again and again that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, is unprepared for the job. At one point, he mocked her camp’s suggestion that Alaska’s proximity to Russia gives her foreign-policy credentials: “Well, look. You know, I actually knew that Russia was next to Alaska, as well. I saw it on a map.”

“It's not a qualification?” Stephanopoulos press.

“I don't think it is,” Obama replied.

But Obama’s team recognizes that picking a fight over experience isn’t necessarily in Obama’s interest, and he acknowledged as much in the interview: “You know, this whole résumé contest that's been going back and forth is not what the American people are looking for.”

Obama also accused the McCain campaign of cynicism by frequently attacking him and then denying it: “I mean, these guys love to throw a rock and hide their hand.”

However, Obama said he did not agree with the commentators who saw “racial code” in the Republicans’ mocking reference to his early work as a “community organizer” during their convention.

“You know, I didn't hear that,” Obama told Stephanopoulos. “I mean, I just think that there is a — for folks who suddenly have tried to grab the change banner, you know, they've got a very traditional view of what service means.

“You know, it means, running for office and being a politician, I guess. Or serving in the military. I mean, those are the two options that I think they've talked about. I think there are a whole lot of people — young people, in particular — who are teaching in underserved schools or working in a hospital in need, you know, volunteering for their community, that think that's part of the change that we need. That's part of the energy that we've been able to mobilize in this campaign.”

Obama disclosed that he had once considered serving in the military.

“You know, I actually did,” Obama said. “I had to sign up for Selective Service when I graduated from high school. And I was growing up in Hawaii. And I have friends whose parents were in the military. There are a lot of Army, military bases there.

“And I actually always thought of the military as an ennobling and, you know, honorable option. But keep in mind that I graduated in 1979. The Vietnam War had come to an end. We weren't engaged in an active military conflict at that point. And so, it's not an option that I ever decided to pursue.”
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are Obama's flip flops just clarification of honest viewpoint, or innocent pandering to connect to McCain supporters, or calculated spin to dupe them? Is it acceptable to you or unacceptable? Is it effective?

Joe Biden came out swinging today at the McCain campaign for "sequestering" Palin. It seems she hasn't yet interviewed with that lovable old media that trashed her, her family, and also several of her decent coworkers and friends in Alaska. Just today I read on a blog about the latest blogosphere rumor to be proven false. So, it has not stopped, just maybe toned down somewhat and maybe even gone underground for microscopic analysis of every little pimple and wart.

It was announced today at about the same time that Palin would give her first interview one on one to Charlie Gibson at ABC on Thursday...9/11.

So, do you feel she was justified in not immediately making herself available to the media, because of the smearing?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Socratic Method of Choice

They say that in order to really understand a concept or idea, you have to know it so well that you can argue for it as well as against it. I think I am going to do that as pertains to my presidential ticket choice at present: McCain / Palin. I want to make sure one more time that I have made the right choice for me.

And I don't rule out changing my mind because of what I discover. The goal is not to save face. The goal is to vote the best choice.

And I'd love to have company, so please feel free to chime in and give your take. The best way to learn is from many sources. And, on a personal note, some of my views may still be evolving. I won't go so far as to say that I wake up every day thinking differently about this or that, but I've come close a time or two.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Let's start with a probe into McCain. I heard various things on various cable channels this weekend that gave me pause.

unemployment was 6.1% in August, the highest % since 2003, which was when we were pulling out of the recession of 2002. Now, this number is not that bigadeal when you realize that it went up 2% in 5 years, but it sounds bad as a sound bite. The other thing about it is that it went down for the 3rd straight month, aligning with other recent economic good news.

Then, I realized that I had seen and heard things that together make me pretty suspicious that the RNC is just now gearing up for the campaign. In a story about McCain receiving his $85mil from public financing and the balance from the RNC to total $200mil, there was also comments that made me think they are just gearing up their "high tech" voter track system used in the last 2 elections, and they may have already written off all those registrations that changed over to Dems for the primaries. The cumulative effect of this made me blurt out to myself, There's no frickin way McCain can win!"

I was struck wondering how well the high-tech system stacks up this election against Obama's CIA of cyber-intelligence. I mean, please tell me if I'm over the top here, but I signed up for email at McCain's website 2-3 weeks ago and have not gotten more than a Welcome reply, and that took almost a week. By contrast, I'm on Obama's mailig list just for grins and I usually get at least one email from them daily, if not more. If I were an Obama chattering-class blog and message board activist, I'd be getting the email equivalent of talking points to spread. And McCain is not even participating.

Add to all this that I think I heard that Dems have increased their registered voters by 2 million, whereas the GOP has lost 660,000? This is the effect of the primaries again. What, if any, does all this mean?

And yet, Gallop just announced today's poll with McCain 48 and Obama 45. And Gallop and Rasmussen both said yesterday that the full week of the GOP convention would not be reflected in the poll numbers until Monday-Wednesday as far as the full convention bounce and VP pick. Interesting...

Anyway, some things to think about. I also wanted to pass on some great links to learn more about Obama and his background in community organizing with the Saul Alinsky method. I believe we have already seen proof of his campaign's use of it, and it would really be instructive to know about this very important aspect of his approach to governing and citizen participation. I'll discuss what I think of it next time:





Baby Name Trivia: ...seen on the internet, the McCain / Palin ticket has birthed a new gender-neutral name: McCailin. Place your bets on this being the "hot" name in 2008 or 2009, for a girl OR a boy...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Political Potporri

Before I get into my hodge-podge of links and newsworthy items, I want to send a well-wishing shout-out to 2Paws Sarah who is experiencing Tropical Storm Hanna as I write this. She was just leaving me a comment the other day wishing me well during Gustav, and I remember thinking, she's in the middle of NC. How nice of her to think of me when hurricanes aren't a part of her life... Dang, hope I didn't cause the Hanna karma to find her... You might laugh, but after awhile a hurricaneer sometimes wonder why oh why, do I have a hurri-magnet on my butt or something? LOL

Anyway, Sarah, stay safe and dry! (She just re-did her bathroom floors this summer, too...).

And lookie what might be headed toward me next week? I don't like Ike!

Okay, on with the Potporri!

Saw this advertised on Greta Van Sustern tonight, and I'll be watching. I like Greta a lot. She is about the fairest commentator out there, and always takes great pains to appear neutral politically. Probably worth watching, on her recommendation...

Don't know about you but I can only take so much of this partisanship. I'm a judicious type by nature, always gotta weigh pro and cons, both sides. So, I think in a couple of days I will start something like a double-sider on the issues or the candidates. Doing that helps me stay grounded, like a reality check if one of those ever exist in politics...

Most of the internet posts and comments I read about the election are partisan, but sometimes there will be people post who say, "What Palin attack? I don't see it, can you provide links?"

This usually sends me into fits of laughter, but geebus, what a great idea that would be to have a website where they are all listed and linked? Anybody know of one or wanna start one? Huge job, too huge for me to produce, but I can provide help. Email me or leave a comment if you are interested. I mean, hell, Obama has an entire website devoted to fringe emails about him being Muslim. I think it might help us remember it all. And, I'm still waiting to receive my deluge of Obama email. Seriously, I'd love to know what the heck he's talking about?

See how that can go both ways? I'm just sayin....winkwink

Anyway, I can't decide whether to really believe that kind of question if it is indeed being asked sincerely. I guess someone who is watching Turner Classic Movies 24/7 would miss it. Or if they watch network news.

But it can, as I showed, easily be a tactic to cause chaos and upset. One of the boards I was on the other day had a group of Obama supporters in an obvious concerted effort to start as many threads as they could with Palin rumors. And after awhile, we McCain supporters were worn out trying to defend and correct the record, and one big reason I quit once I realized what was being done.

Those of you who do not know the name Saul Alinsky and his effect on Obama need to read this excellent 2007 article. When I look at what the Obama supporters teach each other to do (and his campaign can deny this all they want, but I'm sure the talking points are distributed by them albeit covertly), it always makes me think that Alinsky would be proud. Alinsky is the unofficial father of community organizers, among other more radical ideas. Anyone wanting to look objectively at Obama better make a long stop at Alinsky. The article I provided is a great start.

I kind of want to buy into some odds on whether Keith Olbermann can make it until Election Day without totally imploding or exploding. Let's think back to when MSNBC Prez Phil Griffin rationalized that they maintained objectivity using Matthews and Olbermann as anchors during primetime election coverage. The boys are supposed to be subdued and non-snarky. Right. Anyway, Keith finally blew that beyond all recognition on Thursday night. See the story here, complete with video.

This interesting piece of info from the article: Keith blogs on Daily Kos and read the comments in order to gain perspective.


I kid you not, my friends. (HA! I've actually begun using that phrase at times!) This arbiter of journalistic-objectivity-my-ass gains perspective from Daily Kos. Oh, never mind. He and they are both beyond any sane comprehension. Still, people should know he's a loon. A frickin loon.

Now, I used to love Olbermann before that political switch clicked in my head. I seriously did. I used to watch MSNBC 24/7 and abhor Fox. It's now the exact opposite. I really do think that partisans see the same issue or candidate through completely different lenses. And I have been, in one year, at both ends of the spectrum, lol. No wonder I've been having headaches, lol.