Sunday, September 28, 2008

No, not comedy

Just in case you thought that the word-salad answer that Tina Fey spouted in her SNL skit as Palin, when asked about the current economic crisis was comedy....nope, most of that is pulled from the transcript answer from Palin's actual interview with Couric.

Which makes it even funnier, I think. And scarier.
Fey as Palin: "Like every American I'm speaking with, we're ill about this. We're saying, 'Hey, why bail out Fanny and Freddie and not me?' But ultimately what the bailout does is, help those that are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy to's gotta be all about job creation, too. Also, too, shoring up our economy and putting Fannie and Freddy back on the right track and so healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reigning in spending...'cause Barack Obama, y'know...has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans, also, having a dollar value meal at restaurants. That's gonna help. But one in five jobs being created today under the umbrella of job creation. That, you know...Also..."

Palin: I like every American I’m speaking with, we're ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the tax payers looking to bailout. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy– Helping the — Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. Shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive scary thing. But 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.
You can't make this stuff up.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kids is Weird

The weird dancing kids ad for Mastercard is back again. Makes me laugh every time!

Posse Comitatus?

Several bloggers today have pointed to this obviously disturbing article from Army Times, which announces that "beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the [1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division] will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North" -- "the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities." The article details:

They'll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. . . .

The 1st BCT's soldiers also will learn how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

"It's a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they're fielding. They've been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we're undertaking we were the first to get it."

This is apparently intended as a permament deployment. Isn't this prohibited by the Posse Comitatus act? Deploying military troops on American soil except as an ad-hoc response to a crisis, is prohibited, and I am curious about this deployment and the reason behind id. With the unprecedented grab for executive power by this administration, this is actually worrying.
There are other avenues for this sort of force, and it's not from the military.

And - this is on the "dwell time" for units , that time when they are supposed to be stationed at a post between deployments overseas. I wonder how the military is viewing this, and more importantly, I wonder why we're not hearing a whole lot about it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Husband Reboot

Well, the Adorable Husband had another episode of Atrial Fibrillation (basically, one of the atria in his heart just goes haywire), and was on the receiving end of cardioversion today -- rebooting his heart to get back to a normal rhythm. So he's got a big shaved patch on his chest where they put the electrode pad used to shock him, and a full-body ache from zapping him with enough electricity to shock him back into sinus rhythm. Basically a "reboot" -- and all his background processes and CPU seem to be fine, luckily.

This is not really life-threatening, as long as it is treated, and he is back home and just fine - more whacked out from the anesthesia (they knocked him out cold to do the cardioversion) than anything else. He slept most of the afternoon, and seems to be doing fine, albeit still tired.

Of course, we can probably still pick on him that this started yesterday and he didn't tell me until today. Called me from the hospital to ask if I could pick him up. Why, yes, I'm a little irked.

Breaking Rules

Twenty five years ago today, a Russian Soviet Air Defence Forces lieutenant colonel saved your life by breaking the rules.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Amelia makes art - needlefelted dog dopplegangers.

Take that, dastardly brush!

Just a few moments of mindless cuteness. We all need a break from politics.


We (well, I should say, the Adorable Husband) pulled up all the old carpet in the living room and dining room last night. Then he spent about two hours pulling the staples out of the floor after getting the pad pulled up.

The dining room was a mess -- really, quite gross under the carpet. I painted the floor with Killz, which is recommended to seal the floor and hide odors. So now we have a room surrounded by super-sharp tack strips and nicely painted white floors...and all the furniture is out on the porch!

Well, most of the furniture. The television armoire is still in the living room, with a swath of carpet underneath it. The Husband needs help to get the television out of it -- that thing weight about 300 pounds!

But, the carpet people come tomorrow and I will put up the drapes over the weekend and we will be almost done! (I say almost because we still are looking for an ottoman). Yeah!

Suspended what?

  • McCain campaign offices in battleground states are open and operating, just like yesterday.
  • McCain's television ads are on the air, just like yesterday.
  • McCain media flacks are all over the news networks, just like yesterday.
  • McCain's campaign staffers are working, just like yesterday.
  • McCain's campaign website is up, soliciting contributions and promoting McCain's message, just like yesterday.
  • For the big White House meeting today, Barack Obama was told not to bring any campaign aides, so he's bringing a legislative assistant from his Senate staff. John McCain is bringing a campaign advisor.
And we could add - doing interviews with Katie Couric, giving a speech at Clinton's Global Initiative meeting, and doing a purely political photo-op.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I don't usually watch Letterman, but I tuned in to see his opening bit after hearing that John McCain canceled his planned appearance on the show late this afternoon. He "had to go back to Washington" and deal with the crisis.

Except not so much. He joined his running mate and did an interview with Katie Couric during the taping of the show, when he should have been on Letterman. Just down the street. Letterman was stood up. Letterman might host a late-night talk show, but he's no lightweight to piss off with a capricious and false excuse.

If McCain wanted to cancel, just cancel. Why weasel out of this and then do another, friendlier interview elsewhere instead? Oh, wait! I think I just answered my own question. Can't actually face anyone who isn't friendly. Nope!

And I'm waiting for Palin to find one example of McCain's actions to manage regulation and the markets and "bring it to you", as she finally managed to stammer when pressed in the interview.

This is reaching epic proportions of comic ridiculousness. This is a presidential candidate?

The Dog Ate my Homework

I can decide if I should laugh or cry. McCain wants to postpone the debates , nay, the very campaign, so he can be in Washington to "work on the bailout proposal" with the President and congressional Republicans.

As if he as anything substantive to do with it. He doesn't sit on any of the committees that might be convened, he doesn't hold any sort of tie-breaker vote, he doesn't seem to have any sort of plan of his own that he needs to propose. Sure, the president needs all hands to flog this idea, but this sudden need to be involved is a pretty thin, pretty pathetic excuse to not debate Obama on Friday. He has no primary role in this economic crisis, except to campaign. Neither of the candidates do - and if they are needed in Washington on Friday to discuss the proposal in congress, they should both be able to manage a debate that night. That's not an unreasonable expectation from someone, anyone, who want to be the President.

He claims that we all need to focus on this economic problem, that he needs to stop everything he's doing to be there in Congress and get his spoon on the pot.

What the hell? He can't actually manage to do more than one thing at a time? He can't deal with more than on crisis without running away? And this is a person who could be the President? Does he think that when competing problems erupt -- and they do -- he can just skip out on one if he doesn't want to deal with it. I would like a president who realizes that you have to multi-task, or at least be able to deal with the rigors of a very stressful, very difficult job.

I know this was supposed to play to the US Public as McCain being concerned about the crsis, jumping in to focus on the big issue and be all presidential. Unfortunately, it has come across to most people as "I dont' want to talk about economic issues with Obama on Friday." You can supply the reason - not prepared, don't have a position to articulate, overly stressed, whatever, but it isn't coming across as noble and self-sacrificing, it's a gimmick, and z shallow, transparent one at that.

If McCain really does need to be in Washington, then they should shuffle the debate schedule and have the VP debate on Friday (instead of "rescheduled at some point in the future"). Biden and Palin should be ready, right?


Bailout? Not like this.

I wonder why the powers-that-be aren't publicizing this particular statement in the bailout proposal:
"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."
Got that? NO oversight. NO review. Just give him the money and go away. No need to know how it will be spent or how it is disbursed. Nope. Just trust us. Give us the money, and release all control. Give the Executive Branch full and unfettered authority to do whatever it wants with it, and just shut the hell up.

Sorry, as a taxpayer, this is not an acceptable solution.

Yes. This.

I'm sure you know that I'm not a Palin fan (if you don't, it's probably because I haven't spoken to you, yet!) but this call by Campbell Brown that everyone -- the media, the Republican party, the McCain campaign, everyone -- start actually treating Sarah Palin as a real, live candidate is exactly what I've been thinking.
Tonight I call on the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower that will wilt at any moment," said Brown. "This woman is from Alaska from crying out loud. She is strong. She is tough. She is competent. And you claim she is ready to be one heart beat away form the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff. Allow her to face down those pesky reporters... Let her have a real news conference with real questions. By treating Sarah Palin different from the other candidates in this race, you are not showing her the respect she deserves. Free Sarah Palin. Free her from the chauvinistic chain you are binding her with. Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has just as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. So let her act like one." [catch the video here]
I may not agree with Palin's policies or her ideas, but frankly, I've been unable to actually figure out what some of them are, since she's been so carefully cocooned from the press, hasn't answered any unscripted questions, and is pretty much kept under wraps and trotted out as the "token female" in the Republican party. Why? If she's up to the job, she should be able to handle it. What are they so afraid of? The more she is hustled off stage, the more the campaign demands that we show her "deference" (wtf? Is she the queen?), the less likely it is to me that she's actually capable of the job. I think she probably has something else to say, and she should be scrutinized and questioned and evaluated just like any other candidate. It's not sexist to question her abilities, it's not sexist to demand proof of her statements. It's not sexist to suggest that she is unqualified, or that she holds certain opinions any more than levelling that sort of question or observation about a male candidate would be sexist. That's just how we, the people, can vet candidates. Trying to parse any criticism as sexism is just bullying the public into shutting up and not asking any questions.

Women can do anything they want. A woman can be qualified for anything. So what's with the kid gloves and 'delicate flower' treatment? It does a disservice to her, and to any woman trying to rise to a position of power. It's insulting and patronizing-"oh, we have a woman on the ticket! Isn't that just too cute? Yeah, we're all equal-opportunity! See? She wears skirts, and she's a real, honest-to-goodness woman!" I'm really not getting the message that the conservatives are actually taking her seriously, and if I was her, I'd be pissed off. If there's some substance there, let's see it. Quit trying to shield her from the press, quite trying to make sure she never has to answer a tough question. I may not like the answers (I'm quite sure I don't so far), but damn, Republicans/McCain, at least show women in this country the respect of acknowledging that you really believe a woman can do the job instead of bringing her along like a trophy wife.

The timing is off

I got an astroturf email today from some random person (who I think is trolling the forum and snagging email addresses, ah, well) going on and on about Muslim extremists and how Muslim terrorists are the root of all evil and we need to return to that good old timey religion and conservative politics to survive. It's pretty common rhetoric, and I was about to delete it as junk when the following claim leapt out at me as just too much to pass up:
According to the Book of Revelations:

The Anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, he will destroy everything.
I had to comment.

No verses in Revelations mention the Antichrist. The only time the term is mentioned is in 1 and 2 John. Revelations has beasts and dragons aplenty, though, and is a rather fever-dream apocalyptic sort of story, but no anti-christ, and certainly not specifics. In fact, references occur in John to multiple anti-christs, always lower cased.

Revelations was probably written in the first century AD (estimates are roughly 65-93). Muslims didn't exist. Islam was founded around 600 AD. According to most interpretations, Islam is the one religion that the antichrist could not come from. There are quite a few protestant sects that are quite sure that the Pope qualifies, though. That was a bit surprising.

Claiming the Bible says something when it does no such thing is awfully common among people with an axe to grind. The person starting this email did a rather poor job of it, actually. We can all go and look this stuff up. If you're going to email a xenophobic rant, at least get your facts straight!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who do you agree wtih?

This quick quiz showed up in one of the forums I read -- it was really interesting to see who I really agreed with!

Pick the statement you agree with more, for a dozen categories, and it will tell you who you agree with. Interesting!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Childhood Desires

I meant to post this last week, since it was my sister's birthday (Happy Birthday! Yeah!), but I got a bit sidetracked.

About a year ago, her son had a complete meltdown in Target because he wanted some toy. Hey, at 6 years old, that can be a big problem! Since Nin wasn't going to buy said toy, she sat him down and explained to him that when she was a little girl, she really, really, really wanted a Cabbage Patch doll. They had just come out and they were The Thing to have and they couldn't afford it and they were very hard to find, and so she just didn't get a Cabbage Patch doll. Sometimes you just don't get what you want.

So, last week, he and Grandma went to Target to pick out a present -- and he spent his allowance to get mom a Cabbage Patch Doll.

Aaaaawwwww. How unbelievably sweet.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gluttony and Sloth

An absolutely perfect day for the Winefest - breezy, cool (except for a brief bit right after lunch), 40 wineries, and food galore. It was a lot of fun. We met two couples from Salt Lake City, and spent the day tasting new wines and eating tasty food in the tent.

But the highlight was the Wine Maker's Dinner at the Chateau at Two Rivers, catered by The Cowboy and the Rose-- a seven course dinner paired with wines from Two Rivers (and other wineries). We attended this dinner last year, and it's definitely going to become a yearly event.
1st Course
Two Rivers Reisling
Salmon and Cheese

2nd Course
Two Rivers Merlot
Red Pepper Gouda Soup
Garlic Parley Soup

3d Course
Grand River Viognier
Stuffed Roma Tomato with Micro Greens, Balsamic Vinaigrette,
Mozzarella, Crispy Proscuito, Carpaccio

Black Currant Sorbet

4th Course
Slate Point Pinot Gris
Squid ink Linguini Stuffed Calamari w/Lobster Sauce,
Baby Zucchini, Roasted Heirloom Tomato

5th Course
Two River Syrah
Smoked Quail with Dried Cherry Sauce, Purple Potato, Quinoa
and Pearled Onion

6th Course
Two River Vitners Blend
Buffalo Tenderloin with Cabernet Sauce
Hericot-Vert beans, and Baby Carrots

7th Course
Garfield Estates Vin de Glace
Key Lime Pudding Cake with Guava and Raspberry Puree
and Grilled Pineapple
The buffalo was just about the best thing I've ever had -- so tender it didn't even require a knife. And - someone spent a lot of time on presentation and plating. The seafood course was parboiled squid that was stuffed with linguini, so it looked like a squid swimming lobster sauce. They even tied the beans together with a chive. It was lovely.

And the Vin de Glace with dessert? One of my favorites. We bought two bottles at the festival during the day and were so pleased it was on the menu!

I'm calling to get on the list for next year's dinner as soon as possible.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Threat Level Orange

We are in Grand Junction at the Colorado Wine Festival, enjoying a weekend of sloth and gluttony (lovely wine, lovely food, chocolate, you name it!) and went out to dinner tonight at The Winery Restaurant downtown, which was recommended by my in-laws, who were out in Grand Junction two weeks ago.

Neat place, in a 100 year old firehouse, good food. We were not familiar with the fish that was offered as the special for the night - escolar. We asked what it was and the waiter told us it was a mild white fish, "much like tuna". Huh? Tuna is anything but a light white fish, so The Adorable Husband pulled out the handy-dandy interwebs on his iPhone and looked it up.

This fish should really be called Horrible Orange Explodey Butt fish. Seriously. It's banned in Japan and wikipedia has the following to say about eating it:

Like its relative the oilfish (Ruvettus pretiosus), it cannot metabolize the wax esters (Gempylotoxin) naturally found in its diet, which accumulates to give an oil content in the muscle meat of 18–21%. These wax esters may rapidly cause gastrointestinal symptoms following consumption; however, these effects are usually short lived.

The gastrointestinal symptoms, called "keriorrhoea", caused by these wax esters may include oily orange diarrhea, discharge, or leakage from the rectum that may smell of mineral oil. The discharge can stain clothing and occur without warning 30 minutes to 36 hours after consuming the fish. The oil may pool in the rectum and cause frequent urges for bowel movements due to its lubricant qualities and may be accidentally discharged by the passing of gas. Symptoms may occur over a period of one or more days. Other symptoms may include stomach cramps, loose bowel movements, diarrhea, headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

Oh, fun! That sounds like something I'd like to eat, yummy! It should come with a warning. A bright orange warning sticker or something.

To be fair, of course, the solution is strict portion control and cooking by grilling or some other method to reduce the oil, which is how this was offered. We kept looking over at the table sitting next to us and wondering if we should share our Wikipedia knowledge with them as they considered the special.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Where's Waldo?

Oh, this made me chuckle a bit.

Notice a distinct lack of the current president hitting the stump for Republican nominees? That he didn't speak at the convention? It's not really a coincidence, according to Bloomberg news.
The president, who toured the Beijing Olympics last month, spent more time in front of cameras with the U.S. women's beach volleyball team than he has lately with the Republican nominee.
It seems that poor Dubya is considered a liability. He's still the Fund Raiser in Chief -- and as a money-maker, he does a bang-up job-- but no one really wants to be seen with him. Everyone is desperately trying to avoid being linked to the current administration.

Queen of Klutziness

Behold me! Queen of the Klutz People! Unable to walk in her own backyard!

So, I tripped in a hole in the backyard, twisting my right ankle.

Which flung me willy-nilly into one of the big sprinkler heads with the exact center of my left kneecap and twisted my knee. It's possibly sprained. Swelled up like a canteloupe.

So I can't really walk well, my knee hurts, my ankle hurts. I can't drive (no clutching for me).


Diagram that Sentence

“Disapointed that taxpayers are called upon to bailout another one,” she said. “Certainly AIG though with the construction bonds that they’re holding and with the insurance that they are holding very, very impactful to Americans so you know the shot that has been called by the Feds its understandable but very, very disappointing that taxpayers are called upon for another one.”
I'll give $50 bucks to anyone who can actually diagram that sentence.

Yeah, I know, it's a bit ridiculous, but we have to have fun somehow!

AIG bailout

It's been an interesting week at work -- or, well, interesting for my client I guess. They do the bulk of their business with AIG insurance and have been fielding calls from panicking clients wanting to know what's going to happen with their insurance.

And left us twiddling our thumbs for a bit, since the new system we wrote is customized specifically for AIG business and would need to be changed/de-linked if AIG disappeared or was downgraded to such a credit risk that they could no longer do business with them. There were some very tense calls ysterday. I don't think we've seen the whole fallout yet, but it was certaining an up-close-and-personal view of how this was happening.

Fun, too, to listen to the politicians trying to make hay on this one. McCain claimed (wrongly) that his committee (the Commerce committee) was in the thick of things and could affect change -- which is 100% wrong, by the way, commerce is specifically excluded from the banking and finance industries) and, even better, that he (McCain) had warned about this coming mortgage crisis and his prescience simply went unheeded. Which is also wrong. Just before the primary, he was talking about how he didn't see this coming and really didn't understand the forces at work. I didn't hear Barack's speech, I'l lhave to go listen to it online, I guess. I do know that he talked about mortgage relief and new bankruptcy laws, but I don't know the details.

It looks like the government is going to bail them out -- o the tune of 85 billion dollars -- in order to keep that sector in finance from collapsing completely. It was not a sure thing -- and may still be in the works -- but here's hoping that it stabilizes things.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Taxes as a primary issue

One of the issues that is bandied about a lot in this political season are "tax cuts" - everyone wants tax cuts, everyone thinks they pay too much tax. However, everyone I talk to seems to think that the Republicans will always do better than the democrats -- I suppose that's true, if you're in the top 4% or so of earners. Otherwise, the myth of the middle-class-tax-cut by the Republicans is just that - a myth. Most voters believe that Obama will "raise their taxes", which is more a nod to the success of the Republican campaign to paint it that way, than any real numbers. In fact, for nearly everyone I have talked to about taxes, they are not sure or are misinformed about what the impact really is.

Now this is not a complete picture - we're talking only about SS and income taxes, but CNN Money did a very clear analysis of what a 2009 tax bill would be for each income bracket, if either Obama's plan or McCain's plan were implemented. (Note that this assumes the whole shebang - which is probably unlikely in either case).

In general, if you make > 150K household income, your bill will be lower under McCain's plan. If you make less than that -- like 95% of the country -- then Obama's plan will be better for you.
                    MCCAIN                OBAMA
Income Avg. tax bill Avg. tax bill
Over $2.9M -$269,364 +$701,885
$603K and up -$45,361 +$115,974
$227K-$603K -$7,871 +$12
$161K-$227K -$4,380 -$2,789
$112K-$161K -$2,614 -$2,204
$66K-$112K -$1,009 -$1,290
$38K-$66K -$319 -$1,042
$19K-$38K -$113 -$892
Under $19K -$19 -$567

The summary of the tax plans is usually explained as:

McCain: The average taxpayer in every income group would see a lower tax bill, but high-income taxpayers would benefit more than everyone else.

Obama: High-income taxpayers would pay more in taxes, while everyone else's tax bill would be reduced. Those who benefit the most - in terms of reducing their taxes as a percentage of after-tax income - are in the lowest income groups.

The data is supported By the Tax Policy Center research -- a long, detailed analysis of the proposed plans. It's well worth a read and is probably far more detailed than most people would need, but it is the best source I've found so far for unbiased information. I'm still not entirely sure I understand all the details!

But let's also keep in mind that McCain plans to end the largest tax break that affects every working American -- he proposes to remove the exemption for health insurance (currently paid for with pre-tax dollars for over 60 million workers) and apply income tax to that amount.

In general, though, those of us over the cutoff point are likely to see a tax increase (really the revocation or non-renewal of the Bush tax cuts, if I understand correctly) back to the levels before 2000, and those in the lower tax brackets will see a cut. The bunch of people who are comfortable and making 100K-ish, are probably more in the gray area- maybe better, maybe worse, depending on the rest of the pictures (dependents, etc).

Saturday, September 13, 2008


You have GOT to see the opening from SNL - Tina Fey does such a spot-on impression of Palin that it's almost eerie. For just a second, I actually thought they'd gotten the real deal! Pohler's Hillary is good, too, and the opening is absolutely hysterical.

Tina Fey has her own show now, and it was a coup of monumental proportions to get her in.

Here's the video from Hulu.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Freakiest Cake Ever

You all know I love to read the Cakewrecks blog, it's all good snark.

But this. This thing. Eeeu.

THIS has to be the most disturbing, gross, disgusting cake ever. Yes, it IS a cake. A groom's cake at a wedding, no less. I mean, the decorator was gifted, but...WHY?

I don't think I could eat this. I don't even want to look at it.

[image from cakewrecks]

We're still here!

Well, the new Hadron Collider has been tested, and despite some fears that it would actually destroy the earth, we're all still here. There were actually worries that this test could trigger a black hole that would swallow the earth, or something.

But so far, the tests have been going well.

Well, they haven't actually bashed anything together yet, I guess, but you can check out the liveblog here, from the folks at Cosmic Variance.

Bad Credit Ads

I really dislike the ads - you know, with the weird-looking guy singing about how he has to live in his in-laws basement because his new wife has bad credit, or he has to drive a jalopy becuase he didn't check his credit first? They are SO ANNOYING.

I do, however, hate him less now that I know he's a French Canadian actor lipsynching to words he doesn't really understand (he's not fluent in English).

That makes them sort of charming, in a weird way.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It's about Time!

Lieberman has been kicked out of the Democratic caucus lunches and meetings. Considering that he's one of the Republican's biggest cheerleaders (and spoke at the RNC, and not in support of the democratic candidate), all I can say is, it's about time.

He became and "independent" because he couldn't get support for a presidential nod from the Dems, but at least said he was going to caucus --and thus support -- the Democrats. But the reality has been quite different. Old Joe has an ideology far closer to the R than the D, if you ask me, and apparently this was the last straw. He had ceased to be a "colleague" for quite awhile.

Of course, his people say he voluntarily left. Not true. Reid booted him. Hah!

Technically Ethical

While this is technically allowed, I wouldn't feel to terribly comfortable charging expenses to my client for a night that I spent at home, in my own bed, working from my own desk. This is something I do often, so it's not a hypothetical in my case: I'd have no problem expensing the travel from home to work site, but expenses while at home? Uh, no.

This seems backwards. Rules or no rules, it seems very odd. What's the scoop elsewhere for government servants?

This is permitted in Alaska (I assume because of the vast distances involved and sparcity of population centers), but the previous Governer had the same travel patterns and didn't claim the expenses for working from home. Do any others?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Can't have it both ways

Declaring that clergy “have a constitutional right to endorse political candidates from their pulpits, the socially conservative Alliance Defense Fund is recruiting several dozen pastors to do just that on Sept. 28, in defiance of Internal Revenue Service rules.” [TP]
Yes, of course they do - they can pretty much say whatever they want to in church. Endorse a candidate, go ahead. I fully support churches exercising their right to free speech from their own pulpits.

But then, of course, they must lose the lovely federal tax exemption that they have gladly accepted, on the condition that they do not act in a political manner. As soon as they give up their tax exempt status, go for it.Say whatever you want.

Can't have it both ways. Become a political entity - pay taxes, like every other political entity. Churches should get no special treatment.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Scottish/Celtic Festival

We actually managed to catch the last day of the Scottish/Celtic Festival in Estes Park, CO today -- what fun! The weather was perfect, the drive up was lovely, and we had the chance to listen to the massed pipe band, military bands from the Navy and West Point(including the "Party Band" from the Marine Corp and over a hundred bagpipers playing Amazing Grace and Scotland the Brave.

There were a ton of people. Watching all the men in kilts was a nice afternoon's work, and we even got to see some caber tossing.

I'll post some pics as soon as I can snag them off the camera!

Talking about who?

"You know that choices presidential nominees make for a running mate say a lot about them," Palin said. "And when our opponent made his choice, he went for a fine man, a decent man. Sen. Biden can claim many chairmanships across many many years in Washington, and certainly many friends in the Washinton establishment. But even those admirers would not be able to call him agent of change."
--Sarah Palin, 9/6/08.

Hey! Doesn't that description - "many years in Washington...many friends in the washington establishment" also describe McCain?


I guess McCain can't be an agent of change, either.


I wonder where the video is of Palin speaking in tongues. Wouldn't that play well with the Republican base?

Until a few years ago (when she got involved in politics and was apparently looking for something a bit more mainstream, I guess), she was a member of the pentacostal church- specifically, Assembly of God.

Speaking in tongues is one of the sixteen fundamental truths of her faith.

8. The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit - The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance. (Acts 2:4). The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues, but is different in purpose and use. (1 Corinthians 12:4-10, 1 Corinthians 12:28)

That's way too crazy. Not too much in common with the regular mainstream evangelicals. That sort of weirdness starts pinging even their weird-o-meter. No wonder the campaign is downplaying her actual religious beliefs and peddling this soft-sell "shes just like you" schtick.

Friday, September 05, 2008

We may Starve

For the past few months, the Adorable Husband and I have been going to Entree Vous and getting frozen entrees for about half of the month, so we can eat at home more. With our schedules, we usually end up going out too much, or eating crap at home, since neither one of us really has the energy or inclination to cook anything.

Enter Entres Vous (or Supper Solutions, or any of the other 'come and make it here and bring it home'-types of meal services.) Good meal options, good price, the convenience of a 30-minute dinner prep. Pick something out of the fridge, and bake or grill. Love it!

We haven't had anything yet that we didn't really like -- you can view their monthly menus here-- and it's a great solution for just the two us. We stock up on frozen veggies (or fresh in the summer) and voila! Dinner.

But the one near us CLOSED! They apparently closed three of the five franchises in Denver! There is still one in Superior, but it's not convenient.

What a ridiculously tiny first-world sort of problem, eh? The company that prepares and packages my fresh dinners for me, is not convenient anymore.

It is to weep! Pity me.

Fighting for the LIttle Guy

Obama asks:
The question I have for them is Why would that kind of work (community organizer) be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for? What are they advocating for?

McCain answers:

I fight for Americans. I fight for you. I fight for Bill and Sue Nebe from Farmington Hills, Michigan, who lost their real estate investments in the bad housing market.
THIS is who he fights for? They lost their real estate investments? That doesn't even compute to the average American. The bad housing market has pushed people out of their homes, and the best example he can come up with is someone who lost real-estate investments? And, oh wait, appears to be in the real estate business?

Yeah, McCain gets it! He understands the little person, the common man who makes less than $5 million a year and invests in real estate!

I'm feeling the love, I really am.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Roomba Competition?

From Cuteoverload, a fun place to spend a few minutes if you're stressed out by all this political stuff.

I'm pretty sure this is a bunny. Or maybe a cat...

Used Food

This made me laugh today (another from because we once had a store in town that sold slightly-expired food stuffs and damaged goods. Dented cans, week-old bread, that sort of stuff.

We used to call it the "Used Food Store".

All we Deserve to Know

The teleprompter did NOT break during Palin's speech last night, as was reported by a few right-wing bloggers, touting her extraordinary memory and grace under pressure. She's a smooth speaker, I'll give her that, but she wasn't "winging it", like the 'pubs would have you believe.


Of course, the McCain campaign announced today that she won't be doing any interviews or any unscripted events at all -- she'll just read speeches that are written for her by the campaign over the next few weeks; once she gets back into the campaign at all after going to "school", I guess. Wow, they must have a lot of respect and confidence in her abilities, eh?

We'll be carefully told everything we need to know about her, in a carefully choreographed manner. Apparently, being able to give a speech is qualification enough, and we don't "need" to know what her positions are or what she knows.
According to Nicole Wallace of the McCain campaign, the American people don't care whether Sarah Palin can answer specific questions about foreign and domestic policy. According to Wallace -- in an appearance I did with her this morning on Joe Scarborough's show -- the American people will learn all they need to know (and all they deserve to know) from Palin's scripted speeches and choreographed appearances on the campaign trail and in campaign ads.
[from - go watch the video]
I don't know about you, but that attitude scares me. Shouldn't we expect transparency and substance from our politicians? I know I do.

Daily Show Rocks

Double standard? You decide...

Turning off CNN

Sorry for the ranting in the previous couple of posts about politics. I made the mistake of turning on CNN for the last few days to catch the highlights of the conventions.

It all just pisses me off so much that I'm instituting a self-imposed news moratorium. I get nauseated watching the RNC, frustrated watching the DNC, and end up yelling at the lies and fakery of political ads. I feel sorry for any canvassers or telephone polls that call here, it isn't pretty. I don't think I've ever been this angry about politics -- I just can't imagine another four years like the last eight. I just can't.

So, while I may watch the news and such, I'll try not to actually post much here. You all can do your own reading and watching and fact checking.

It's all just Truthiness goes through the lies in the speeches last night at the RNC convention.

If I hear the "I opposed the bridge-to-nowhere" one more time, I'm going to scream. No, she didn't. And when it was finally killed, Alaska kept all the money for 'other projects'. Didn't save a penny there. And as for the new talking point about "command experience" -- nope. She has never issued any orders to the Alaska National Guard - she can't. While she has limited control over their deployment for in-state emergencies, those decisions are handled by the State Department (although with her approval in some cases). Once the ANG is sent overseas, the governor has absolutely no authority. Period. So all this "she's the CiC of the Guard is spin. Just stop it.

Where was the uplifting message of their vision? Where was the outline of their plans? Where was one moment of illumination of what kind of leaders these people will be? All I heard was petty snarking. Jon Stewart was right: the GOP may love America, but they hate half the people living in it. And now, the stage is set so nicely for any criticism of Palin to be "sexist" -- because they simply cannot imagine that there might be some other reason to dislike her. Oh, no, can't make any comments about her job performance, that would be picking on a poor, defenseless woman. I can't imagine how you can argue she's fit to be VP at the same time you say she needs protecting from those big, bad democrats who are going to chew her up and spit her out over policy issues and decisionmaking.

It's funny, though, since it's remarkably easy to find them arguing that other women (Hillary, for example) need to just suck it up and handle it and not cry sexism, if they want to be in politics. Are these people unaware that there are machines nowadays that can actually (gasp!) record their comments? Do they not think that the double-standard they are applying is going to be noticed? Gah.

It frightens me that there are people out there who hear this, and believe every word without checking anything on their own. Gotta fact check, people! On both sides.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Low Crawling

So, as I noted earlier in the 'new carpet' post, we have decided that the carpeted living room and dining a room are off-limits to Uulaq when we're gone. For the moment, we've just put two of the kitchen chairs across the entry to the living room and are keeping the dining room door closed.

It works beautifully for Uulaq.

However, I walked out this morning to see Berit happily chewing a bone in the living room. Oh, says I, how did you get in there?

Well, she proceeded to show me -- low crawling under the kitchen chair, while wagging maniacally. She was SO PROUD of herself. (It's a really blurry picture, she moves pretty fast!)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Is anyone watching?

I'm sure these "claims" by the Republican speakers last night will start the email rounds soon.
It took less than a minute to find the truth under all the spin. Yeah, yeah, politics is about half-truths and saying what people want to hear, but some basic honesty would be nice, you know? If you look at the world in bright primary colors and simple one-syllable words, well, I guess this sort of "truth" might appeal to you. Nuance really isn't a skill at this level, is it?

Yes, taxes will go up -- if you make more than 250K a year. While that probably does affect the delegates at the convention, it doesn't touch 95% of the people who vote republican. Neither income nor capital gains taxes would affect them. And, of course, closing corporate tax loopholes will piss off a big part of the Republican support base. So, technically true fpr about 5% of the people, but certainly not the gasping, breathless threat of "Obama will raise YOUR taxes" that is presented. Unless, well, the RNC assumes that everyone is making that much money.

Never reached across the aisle. Flat-out false. He worked with Sen. Coburn to track Federal spending, and with Sen. Lugar on a non-proliferation Law, among others. Maybe he didn't reach across the aisle to agree wholeheartedly with the Republicans, but to say he does not work with the other side is false. Then again, for the last eight years, bipartisan meant agreeing with the Republicans and Bush. I don't know how much of Obama's speech on "working together" we can take as face value, I hope it's true.

And cut funding for troops? Well, I suppose you could spin it that way -- if by not voting on an appropriations and military funding bill that didn't include some sort of plan to withdraw from Iraq (as did many other Senators) is "voting against funding for the troops" . That's skating on pretty thin ice. If that's the criteria, we should take a look at the stuff that everyone else has "voted against" in the past-- like voting against funding education when it's got to much pork attached to it that it's a farce, or voting against veterans because the law didn't include enough support for huge spending increases in other areas. But, spin is everything. Characterizing this as a vote against the troops is misleading -- especially since there is a huge double standard here.

Then again, the fact that legislation is often festooned with various and unrelated bits of law -- funding pork barrel projects in a social security bill, adding wording to ban a contraceptive in a law creating parkland, that sort of thing. Have you ever read the bills proposed? By the time they make it through committee, most of them have a few pages of special legislation added. Can't veto a bill the funds the government for another year just because you don't like a line item that provides funding for something else -- or maybe you do, then you are criticized for shutting down government. Maybe the first law that everyone should consider is that every single line in a bill has to have the same topic.

And, if we want to look at "not supporting the troops" lets not lose sight of the fact that the current administration has refused to support pay increases, GI bill expansion, and has cut funding for VA hospitals among other things. What, you say? Well, that's just spin as well, isn't it? He didn't "cut" funding, he just didn't allocate as much as was requested; but he did strongly oppose raises and increased benefits for our troops, is that "voting against our troops"? What about opposing the GI bill? Pot, meet kettle.

And as for Palin having "more experience", that is laughable. Oh, wait, they're touting her "executive experience'. Apparently being governor of a state with the population of Memphis, TN is awfully important, and being the mayor of a town with 7K people has given her so much more experience than someone who has taught constitutional law, been a sendator in Illinois for eight years, and a US senator for four - and on the Foreign Relations Committee --....but wait! They are claiming Palin has foreign affairs experience because she lived near Russia. And she has command experience as CiC of the National Guard in Alaska (which is untrue, but the way - the governer has extremely limited powers to control the ANG) Oh! And she was in the PTA. And John McCain is a POW? Who knew? (please inject as much sarcasm as you can into that particular sentence. It seems to be trotted out against every criticism.)

Gah. I need to stop listening to CNN during the day. I avoided all but the final acceptance speech of the Democratic Convention, I should certainly stay away from the Republican one, or I'm going to be a Miss Bitchypants for the next week or so.

New Carpet

We finally succumbed. We've talked about recarpeting the the house in the next few years -- since we've moved in, Uulaq has had issues and occassionally peed in the dining room when she's left alone. Why that room, we don't know-- maybe it's the least-used part of the house and she figured it wasn't "den".

We know that she has some physical issues that make this a common occurrence - not only is she getting older but the has some long-term damage from chronic UTIs. At any rate, we had resigned ourselves to dealing with it and responded with frequent carpet cleanings and medication to make this a bit easier. We would replace the carpet after we lost her. Sounds a bit macabre, I know, sorry.

But this weekend was particularly bad (the Adorable husband cleaned the carpets again, and the wet carpet just reeks of dog pee). Nope, we can't wait any longer. This needs to be fixed. Now.

So, off to search for carpet -- you'd think that we'd be used to this sort of endeavor by now! At least we mostly agree on color and type of carpet -- we found a lovely cafe-au-lait color twist at Carpet Mill outlets and they're coming to measure the living room and dining room today. Just the two rooms -- we'll do the rest of the house later, I think. I'm planning on extending the wood floor into my office, and we are considering bamboo flooring on the first floor.

Oy. And all this started because I decided I was tired of the 18-year-old couch.

Monday, September 01, 2008

And this was the plan?

I've heard multiple times in the past few days that McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate will "bring over the disillusioned Hillary voters" and would bring the woman voters to the republican ticket.

I'm not a particularly vehement Hillary supporter (I don't hate her, i don't like her), but would someone please explain why I would suddenly vote for McCain because he has a woman running mate? Why would I change my vote to support an anti-abortion, anti-gay-rights, anti-woman, anti-contraception, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-conservation, pro-oil, pro-corporation, dominionist, stupendously unqualified woman?

Because she has a vagina?

That's just insulting. I don't vote for someone because they share the same genitalia, I vote for them because I agree with their positions and plans. That anyone thought women would suddenly flock to the party ticket because it has (gasp!) a woman on it, is just plan idiotic. There is absolutely nothing about this woman that appeals to me as a voter. Women (and men) were not supportive of Hillary because she's a woman, they supported her because they liked her policies and views. That's going to change? Bah.

I'm sure it will appeal to some cross-section of society that was looking for a fundamentalist, religious candidate that shared their values -- but to think that women would suddenly change their minds to support her just because she's a woman, is ludicrous.

Way to make that first "presidential decision".