"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."
~~Benjamin Franklin


"There are two ways of meeting difficulties; you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them."
~~Phyllis Bottome



If you saw the post, a week or so ago, with a picture of Greg's wrecked car , you know that he needed to get a new one. He was fortunate enough to find a used 2008 Prius, at the local Toyota dealer. He and Jen each test drove it, and then bought it. It's a very cool green color. Emy wanted that particular color because "green is one of her four, very favorite colors."


"I am only one. But still, I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something."
~~Helen Keller



"Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me."
~~Anne Morrow Lindbergh



By Robert Scheer, in a column on June 26, 2002:
"Has the war on terrorism become the modern equivalent of the Roman circus, drawing the people's attention away from the failures of those who rule them? Corporate America is a shambles because deregulation, the mantra of our president and his party, has proved to be a license to steal."

Zztopdog's note: Robert Scheer is author of a new book, "The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America."


"You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us."
~~Robert Louis Stevenson



From Anne McCrady, of InSpirity:
"(Dear) Conservative America,
"I know many people are stunned by the loss of presidential candidate John McCain, and his running mate Sarah Palin, and the victory of President-elect Barak Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. Many 0f you may think we 'liberals' are dangerous. You may even feel your country is in deep trouble. In angry and fearful voices, some are already saying, 'They will never take away our guns…our rights…our freedom…our wealth!'
"If you are one of those worried about what this election means for America, here’s food for thought on some important issues:
*Politics - Don’t worry…unless you think our country belongs to someone besides its people
*Security – Don’t worry… unless you care more about your safety than the safety of the whole world
*Foreign Policy – Don’t worry… unless you value violence over the power of words and ideas
*Wealth – Don’t worry… unless you disagree with rewarding honest work and ethical investment
*Healthcare - Don’t worry… unless you believe there are people who don’t deserve a doctor’s care
*Education – Don’t worry… unless you think some children should have to follow their dreams without an education
*Energy – Don’t worry… unless you would rather have cheap gas now than energy resources in the future
*Environmentalists - Don’t worry…unless you don’t really care about the Earth we give our children
*Guns – Don’t worry… unless you would be willing to use a gun to get your way
*Religion – Don’t worry… unless you want to take away someone else’s God
*Race - Don’t worry…unless you believe your family heritage is superior to all others
*Elitism - Don’t worry…unless you have your own sense of being better than someone else
*Morals - Don’t worry… unless you support people who don’t have any
"If this election didn’t go your way, if you feel angry or frightened or sad, open your hearts to this: Barak Obama is calling us to face down our fears, resist the temptation to hate, draw on our faith in each other and be our best selves as Americans! This is a historic time for us–all of us. Let’s believe that no matter how much we disagree, we can have a conversation. Let’s try to understand that the things that upset us can also teach us. Let’s embrace the politics of possibility and, like Esther in the Old Testament, who was called to lead her people, believe that we were 'made for such a time as this!'
"When We Rise to the Occasion, We Can Be a Blessing!"


"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."
~~ Agnes M. Pahro



"Democracy is an objective. Democratization is a process. Democratization serves the cause of peace because it offers the possibility of justice and of progressive change without force."
~~Boutros Boutros-Ghali



"He was a person who, if he did not exactly love change, had learned to welcome it, to stand in the shifting winds with a continuous alert curiosity about whatever might come next. I think this is the secret...of a different sort of youthfulness...."
~~Mark Doty



By Richard Eskow, on A Night Light:

Zztopdog's note: Originally written for Thanksgiving, this message seems equally appropriate for Christmas and the new year.

"A lot of subjects flashed through my mind when I was invited to write a Thanksgiving piece for the Huffington Post. The slow, corrosive effects of greed. The holiday celebrations of Wall Street CEOs, golden parachutes rippling in the wind, and those of Americans who can't find work through no fault of their own. The generosity of the Native American who took in a group of dying settlers, saving them and losing his land in the process.
"Or the story of a family that, like so many squatters and relatives, took over a house that they were only meant to occupy for a short while. Pretty soon they started acting like they owned the place, like they could do whatever they want with it - change it around, share it with their friends, leave a mess for others to clean up ...
"You know. The Bushes.
"Then there's the irony-rich first set of pardons the President issued this week. I mean, he actually pardoned someone convicted of ... killing bald eagles. What writer wouldn't give thanks for material like that?
"But now doesn't seem like the time for negativity, or sarcasm, or snark. We're facing a crisis whose proportions we have yet to fully comprehend. As hackneyed as it may sound, this seems like a time for thinking positively. It seems like a time for putting aside old resentments and rivalries, a time for doing all we can. And like the old Elvis Costello song says, I'm not angry anymore.
"So I thought about positive topics. John Lennon, for example, or the land that nurtures us (and which too many of us forget to thank.)
"Or Gary Snyder, the poet laureate of this continent. In 1968 he called the single-family house 'a box to capture the biped in,' and this crisis shows how prophetic that comment was. A hundred million Americans enslaved to their mortgages. On a recent road trip I drove through Bakersfield, one of the hardest-hit real estate markets in California. 'We have cash buyers,' one billboard said.
"There's a lot of human misery behind a sign like that. I thought I might give thanks for those who warned us that misery was coming, and who might show us the way out of it.
"Then there's General Carter Ham. This four-star commander had the courage to admit publicly that he suffers from PTSD. Hopefully that will encourage more people in the military to come forward and seek help. Maybe it will help others in society do the same. Mental illness is stigmatized in a way that physical illness isn't, and that's wrong. That stigma's the result of our failure to understand that mind and body are a continuum, a matrix, an interconnected whole. It's an artifact of outmoded Manichean beliefs. Thank you, Gen. Ham.
"It's also worth giving thanks just for the extraordinary privilege of being alive, for the chiarascuro unexpectedness of this existence and all its endlessly fascinating facets. You name it, we've got it: spiral galaxies and Art Deco and film noir and Boltzmann brains. We've even got 70's era garage-rock and country music from the Golden Triangle of Burma. Who could've thought up Lashio Thein Aung, the "Burmese Texan"? Or any of the other stuff we come across every day, if we bother to look?
"That's the great thing about reality: it's endlessly inventive.
"(Boltzmann brains are a theoretical possibility - living intelligences that appear randomly from the fluctuations of the universe, look around for an instant of self-awareness, that disappear back in the flux of existence.)
" 'The way to know God is to love many things,' said Van Gogh. I'd thank God, but I don't believe in an anthropomorphic deity. Another kind? Maybe. I use the word 'God' sometimes, but I'm just as happy to address my thanks to Her, Him, or Current Occupant. Or None of the Above. And I'm especially thankful for the beauty of mathematical laws. Want to say a prayer of admiration and thanksgiving to the universe? Here's one way: First, solve for x ...
"What epitaph would you put on your tombstone? I think I might like this one: 'Wow, that was interesting.' Because it is pretty damn interesting, even if our allotted span isn't all that much longer than a Boltzmann brain's.
"I can't shake the feeling that something big is happening in the world right now. Something really big. I don't know if it will be bad or good - or maybe it will be bad at first and then be good later. It works out that way sometimes. Or maybe I'm wrong, and a bunch of small things will keep happening one after another like they've been doing all along. But however it plays out, it will be interesting. And it will be a privilege to play whatever small part I'm assigned in dealing with it, shoulder to shoulder with everybody else. Because we'll be facing it together, in our common humanity and common membership in the web of living things.
"That includes all of us, even those CEOs and the family in that big house.
"So here's my shot of gratitude to you, Interconnected Universe. Or God, if I may call you that. If that doesn't work, I'll just direct this to 'what is.' Names don't really matter, and maybe I've got no business talking about this stuff anyway. I certainly can't claim any special insight. But on this 27th of November in 2008, for the record, and to whom it may concern: Thanks."


"The Universe has a plan to make sure we don't ever stop learning, not only in our minds, but also in our hearts."
~~Pam Houston



I'm thankful for Toyota's attention to safety in the design and manufacture of its vehicles. After a rear-end crash, at highway speeds, Swanny's Rav 4 took the beating; Swanny's body did not. Swanny was taken to the hospital, but walked out on his own with only a cut on top of his head. Unfortunately, the Rav 4, is a loss. But Swanny is not.
And for that, we are all very thankful.



"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."
~~Kris Kristofferson



From a not-quite-four-year-old drama queen with Pink Eye:
"While Emy was brushing her teeth tonight she said,
'I don't think my eyes will be white ever again!' "



From XKCD - A Webcomic


"Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition." ~~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


From Cynical-C:
Wikipedia’s giant list of common misconceptions.

Zztopdog's note: Be prepared to spend hours once you look at this fascinating list.



By Tom Tomorrow, from This Modern World:
"Rush Limbaugh, who spent much of the primary season urging Republicans to vote in Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton in order to prolong uncertainty among Democrats (he called it 'Operation Chaos'), is now complaining that John McCain became the Republican candidate due to Democrats and Independents voting in the Republican primary."


From Salon.com


"The important thing is not to stop questioning."
~~Albert Einstein



"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
~~Albert Einstein



"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, wheather sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
~~Dwight D. Eisenhower
By James Glanz and T. Christian Miller in The New York Times:
"An unpublished 513-page federal history of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure.
"The history, the first official account of its kind, is circulating in draft form here and in Washington among a tight circle of technical reviewers, policy experts and senior officials. It also concludes that when the reconstruction began to lag — particularly in the critical area of rebuilding the Iraqi police and army — the Pentagon simply put out inflated measures of progress to cover up the failures.
"In one passage, for example, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is quoted as saying that in the months after the 2003 invasion, the Defense Department 'kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces — the number would jump 20,000 a week! ‘We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000.’ '
"Mr. Powell’s assertion that the Pentagon inflated the number of competent Iraqi security forces is backed up by Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the former commander of ground troops in Iraq, and L. Paul Bremer III, the top civilian administrator until an Iraqi government took over in June 2004.
"Among the overarching conclusions of the history is that five years after embarking on its largest foreign reconstruction project since the Marshall Plan in Europe after World War II, the United States government has in place neither the policies and technical capacity nor the organizational structure that would be needed to undertake such a program on anything approaching this scale."
Read the rest of this article here.



"The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their 'vital interests' are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the 'sanctity' of human life, or the 'conscience' of the civilized world."
~~James Baldwin



By Joby Warwick, The Washington Post:
"A bipartisan Senate report released today says that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials are directly responsible for abuses of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and charges that decisions by those officials led to serious offenses against prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere.
"The Senate Armed Services Committee report accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being the principal architects of the plan to use harsh interrogation techniques on captured fighters and terrorism suspects, rejecting the Bush administration's contention that the policies originated lower down the command chain.
"'The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own,' the panel concludes. 'The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.'
"The report, released by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and John McCain (R-Arizona) and based on a nearly two-year investigation, said that both the policies and resulting controversies tarnished the reputation of the United States and undermined national security. 'Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority,' it said.
"The panel's investigation focused on the Defense Department's use of controversial interrogation practices, including forced nudity, painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and use of dogs. The practices, some of which had already been adopted by the CIA at its secret prisons, were adapted for interrogations at Guantanamo Bay and later migrated to U.S. detention camps in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.
"'The Committee's report details the inexcusable link between abusive interrogation techniques used by our enemies who ignored the Geneva Conventions and interrogation policy for detainees in U.S. custody,' McCain, himself a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, said in a statement. 'These policies are wrong and must never be repeated.'
"White House officials have maintained the measures were approved in response to demands from field officers who complained that traditional interrogation methods weren't working on some of the more hardened captives. But Senate investigators, relying on documents and hours of hearing testimony, arrived at a different conclusion.
"The true genesis of the decision to use coercive techniques, the report said, was a memo signed by President Bush on Feb. 7, 2002, declaring that the Geneva Convention's standards for humane treatment did not apply to captured al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. As early as that spring, the panel said, top administration officials, including National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, participated in meetings in which the use of coercive measures was discussed. The panel drew on a written statement by Rice, released earlier this year, to support that conclusion.
"In July 2002, Rumseld's senior staff began compiling information about techniques used in military survival schools to simulate conditions that U.S. airmen might face if captured by an enemy that did not follow the Geneva conditions. Those techniques - borrowed from a training program known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE - included waterboarding, or simulated drowning, and were loosely based on methods adopted by Chinese communists to coerce propaganda confessions from captured U.S. soldiers during the Korean war.
"The SERE program became the template for interrogation methods that were ultimately approved by Rumsfeld himself, the report says. In the field, U.S. military interrogators used the techniques with little oversight and frequently abusive results, the panel found.
"'It is particularly troubling that senior officials approved the use of interrogation techniques that were originally designed to simulate abusive tactics used by our enemies against our own soldiers and that were modeled, in part, on tactics used by the Communist Chinese to elicit false confessions from U.S. military personnel,' the report said.
"Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that 'SERE training techniques were designed to give our troops a taste of what they might be subjected to if captured by a ruthless, lawless enemy so that they would be better prepared to resist. The techniques were never intended to be used against detainees in U.S. custody.'
Defenders of the techniques have argued that such measures were justified because of al-Qaeda's demonstrated disregard for human life. But the panel members cited the views of Gen. David H. Petraeus, now the head of U.S. Central Command, who in a May 2007 letter to his troops said humane treatment of prisoners allows Americans to occupy the moral high ground.
"'Our values and the laws governing warfare teach us to respect human dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right,' wrote Petraeus, who at the time was the top U.S. commander in Iraq. 'Adherence to our values distinguishes us from our enemy.'"


"To look up and not down,
To look forward and not back,
To look out and not in -
To lend a hand!"
~~Edward Everett Hale



"That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."
~~F. Scott Fitzgerald

From the blog, People Reading:

Taking a break from work, Reading Blindness, by José Saramago. A friend had recommended it as a really great book. He's only just begun, but agrees!His favorite authors -- Jane Austen and Michael Chabon. It was Michael Chabon who got him reading again and Jane Austen, he admires. He admires that she lived at home with her parents and he admires the women in her stories who fight against marriage.Before this he was rereading Michael Crichton books--the author passed away from cancer at age 66 last month. He really liked Chrichton's earlier books, but put down State of Fear about 2/3 of the way through--he disagreed with the premise that our fear of global warming is bogus.
What authors do you admire--their lives, not just their books?

Zztopdog's note: If you have not checked out the People Reading blog, do so; it's facinating.



What is more hilarious than a big, black wig on a little 6-month-old boy?
Absolutely nothing!

Many thanks to his sitter for the wonderful picture!



Ratio of Americans who die from tobacco-related illnesses each year to the number who are murdered : 17:1 .
~~September issue of Harper's Index
From Who Hijacked Our Country:
"Everyone’s having a field day with the Indian Navy’s little blooper. They thought they were sinking a Somali pirate ship, but it turned out they had actually just sunk a Thai fishing boat that the pirates had seized. Heeheeheeheehee.
"Now, as long as we’re having fun with military bloopers and blunders committed by third world governments, here’s a real kneeslapper: (Technically, the following unnamed country isn’t part of the Third World. They have the largest, most advanced and most omnipresent military force in the world. But in terms of infrastructure, education, competence level among government leaders — we’re talking Third World all the way.)
"Anyway, on September 11th, 2001, this country suffered an unprovoked, brutal attack by a gang of terrorists. The country planned its retaliation very carefully and deliberately. The government spent a year and a half collecting intelligence, analyzing data, finding out which country most of the attackers were from and which country was the most closely aligned with the attackers’ organization. And then — they attacked the wrong country!"



"When you are kind to someone in trouble,
you hope they'll remember and be kind to someone else.
And it becomes like a wildfire."
~~ Whoopi Goldberg



A message from Michael Moore:

"I drive an American car. It's a Chrysler. That's not an endorsement. It's more like a cry for pity. And now for a decades-old story, retold ad infinitum by tens of millions of Americans, a third of whom have had to desert their country to simply find a damn way to get to work in something that won't break down:
"My Chrysler is four years old. I bought it because of its smooth and comfortable ride. Daimler-Benz owned the company then and had the good grace to place the Chrysler chassis on a Mercedes axle and, man, was that a sweet ride!
"When it would start.
"More than a dozen times in these years, the car has simply died. Batteries have been replaced, but that wasn't the problem. My dad drives the same model. His car has died many times, too. Just won't start, for no reason at all.
"A few weeks ago, I took my Chrysler in to the Chrysler dealer here in northern Michigan -- and the latest fixes cost me $1,400. The next day, the vehicle wouldn't start. When I got it going, the brake warning light came on. And on and on.
"You might assume from this that I couldn't give a rat's ass about these miserably inept crapmobile makers down the road in Detroit city. But I do care. I care about the millions whose lives and livelihoods depend on these car companies. I care about the security and defense of this country because the world is running out of oil -- and when it runs out, the calamity and collapse that will take place will make the current recession/depression look like a Tommy Tune musical.
"And I care about what happens with the Big 3 because they are more responsible than almost anyone for the destruction of our fragile atmosphere and the daily melting of our polar ice caps.
Congress must save the industrial infrastructure that these companies control and the jobs they create. And it must save the world from the internal combustion engine. This great, vast manufacturing network can redeem itself by building mass transit and electric/hybrid cars, and the kind of transportation we need for the 21st century.
"And Congress must do all this by NOT giving GM, Ford and Chrysler the $34 billion they are asking for in "loans" (a few days ago they only wanted $25 billion; that's how stupid they are -- they don't even know how much they really need to make this month's payroll. If you or I tried to get a loan from the bank this way, not only would we be thrown out on our ear, the bank would place us on some sort of credit rating blacklist).
"Two weeks ago, the CEOs of the Big 3 were tarred and feathered before a Congressional committee who sneered at them in a way far different than when the heads of the financial industry showed up two months earlier. At that time, the politicians tripped over each other in their swoon for Wall Street and its Ponzi schemers who had concocted Byzantine ways to bet other people's money on unregulated credit default swaps, known in the common vernacular as unicorns and fairies.
"But the Detroit boys were from the Midwest, the Rust (yuk!) Belt, where they made real things that consumers needed and could touch and buy, and that continually recycled money into the economy (shocking!), produced unions that created the middle class, and fixed my teeth for free when I was ten.
"For all of that, the auto heads had to sit there in November and be ridiculed about how they traveled to D.C. Yes, they flew on their corporate jets, just like the bankers and Wall Street thieves did in October. But, hey, THAT was OK! They're the Masters of the Universe! Nothing but the best chariots for Big Finance as they set about to loot our nation's treasury.
Of course, the auto magnates used to be the Masters who ruled the world. They were the pulsating hub that all other industries -- steel, oil, cement contractors -- served. Fifty-five years ago, the president of GM sat on that same Capitol Hill and bluntly told Congress, what's good for General Motors is good for the country. Because, you see, in their minds, GM WAS the country.
What a long, sad fall from grace we witnessed on November 19th when the three blind mice had their knuckles slapped and then were sent back home to write an essay called, "Why You Should Give Me Billions of Dollars of Free Cash." They were also asked if they would work for a dollar a year. Take that! What a big, brave Congress they are! Requesting indentured servitude from (still) three of the most powerful men in the world. This from a spineless body that won't dare stand up to a disgraced president nor turn down a single funding request for a war that neither they nor the American public support. Amazing.
"Let me just state the obvious: Every single dollar Congress gives these three companies will be flushed right down the toilet. There is nothing the management teams of the Big 3 are going to do to convince people to go out during a recession and buy their big, gas-guzzling, inferior products. Just forget it. And, as sure as I am that the Ford family-owned Detroit Lions are not going to the Super Bowl -- ever -- I can guarantee you, after they burn through this $34 billion, they'll be back for another $34 billion next summer.
"So what to do? Members of Congress, here's what I propose:
1. Transporting Americans is and should be one of the most important functions our government must address. And because we are facing a massive economic, energy and environmental crisis, the new president and Congress must do what Franklin Roosevelt did when he was faced with a crisis (and ordered the auto industry to stop building cars and instead build tanks and planes): The Big 3 are, from this point forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail (a corresponding public works project across the country will build the rail lines and tracks). This will not only save jobs, but create millions of new ones.
2. You could buy ALL the common shares of stock in General Motors for less than $3 billion. Why should we give GM $18 billion or $25 billion or anything? Take the money and buy the company! (You're going to demand collateral anyway if you give them the "loan," and because we know they will default on that loan, you're going to own the company in the end as it is. So why wait? Just buy them out now.)
3. None of us want government officials running a car company, but there are some very smart transportation geniuses who could be hired to do this. We need a Marshall Plan to switch us off oil-dependent vehicles and get us into the 21st century.
This proposal is not radical or rocket science. It just takes one of the smartest people ever to run for the presidency to pull it off. What I'm proposing has worked before. The national rail system was in shambles in the '70s. The government took it over. A decade later it was turning a profit, so the government returned it to private/public hands, and got a couple billion dollars put back in the treasury.
"This proposal will save our industrial infrastructure -- and millions of jobs. More importantly, it will create millions more. It literally could pull us out of this recession.
In contrast, yesterday General Motors presented its restructuring proposal to Congress. They promised, if Congress gave them $18 billion now, they would, in turn, eliminate around 20,000 jobs. You read that right. We give them billions so they can throw more Americans out of work. That's been their Big Idea for the last 30 years -- layoff thousands in order to protect profits. But no one ever stopped to ask this question: If you throw everyone out of work, who's going to have the money to go out and buy a car?
"These idiots don't deserve a dime. Fire all of them, and take over the industry for the good of the workers, the country and the planet.
"What's good for General Motors IS good for the country. Once the country is calling the shots."

Michael Moore


"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily."
~~Sally Koch


From The Bob Edwards Show blog:
"Christiane Amanpour is my guest on Thursday's program to draw attention to "Scream Bloody Murder," her riveting documentary about genocide--and also to celebrate her 25 years of going to the worst places in the world on behalf of CNN. Christiane is a brave, dedicated and indefatigable journalist who has covered wars, famines, and disasters all over the world. A person seeing her arrive in his or her town must figure calamity is imminent.
"Christiane is also on TV, and people on TV are easily caricatured. She is an international"star," a celebrity for whom heads of state would cancel important meetings just to meet her. She is attractive--men all over the world desire her and some women want to BE her. She is paid extremely well, gets the best tables at restaurants, airlines upgrade her, cabbies will not take her money, there are freebies and perks aplenty. Yet I would not dream of trading my life for hers.
"I have one of the cushiest jobs in all of broadcasting. I don't make Christiane's dough, but I'm doing more than all right. I work with a staff of smart, talented, funny colleagues whose company I enjoy. Sirius XM executives do not tell me how to do my job. My working environment is sheltered from the elements and despite its location in a changing neighborhood, I've not yet been under fire. There was a time 35 years ago when I might have sought adventure, then I got married, had children and turned chicken. I wanted no part of war when I was in the army, why should I pursue it as a civilian? Other journalists do and we are all in their debt.
It is the responsibility of journalists to bear witness. Very bad things happen when journalists are not around. No journalist witnessed My Lai or Abu Ghraib, but word leaked and journalists caught up with the facts. How many My Lais or Abu Ghraibs have there been when the word didn't leak? How many atrocities were averted because someone knew a journalist was nearby? Journalists also need to be there to record the bravery of our men and women in uniform and the positive work that they do.
"To get those stories, many other brave Americans--journalists--risk their lives. Daniel Pearl wanted us to know more about the war on terrorism and became one of its victims. Ernie Pyle, one of the most famous war correspondents of all time, was killed on Okinawa. Robert Capa survived the Normandy beach only to step on a land mine in Vietnam. George Polk was a U.S. soldier in World War II and later was hired by Edward R. Murrow at CBS to cover the civil war in Greece where he was assassinated. The list of news people killed covering wars is a very, very long one. It nearly got longer last weekend.
"My former colleague, NPR's Ivan Watson, was doing interviews for a story on security in Baghdad. Returning to his car parked at a marketplace, Ivan and his Iraqi staff were pulled away by Iraqi police officers who'd received a tip that a bomb had been attached to the car. Then the car exploded---and fortunately no one was hurt. Ivan not only was spared, but he certainly learned something about security in Baghdad.
"Many other of my NPR comrades have been in danger. Neal Conan was Saddam Hussein's prisoner in the Persian Gulf War. Deborah Amos and John Hockenberry had very close calls in Iran. NPR reporters were under fire or under detention in Central America in the 80's. Anne Garrels was one of the very few American reporters to stay in Iraq when the U.S. started bombing prior to the invasion. She risked her life to hide a forbidden satellite telephone so she could talk to me each day on Morning Edition. Sylvia Poggioli and Tom Gjelten saw things in Bosnia that no human should have to endure--and journalists there were major targets of snipers who didn't want that story reported. Reporters put themselves in danger so that we would know what was going on. They put themselves in danger so that I wouldn't have to do that job and I could be comfortable in my air-conditioned studio.
"For all I know, CNN might have a dozen or so commandos whose job is to keep Christiane Amanpour alive--to protect CNN's investment. I probably should have asked her that question when I interviewed her, but no matter. She still goes---she's there for every example of man's inhumanity to man--and God bless her for that. Whatever they're paying her, it's not enough."



From Badtux, the Snarky Penquin:
"Helicopter Ben has been printing money with all the fervant abandon of a Weimar Republic finance minister. Anybody see anything that looks like economic recovery anywhere in sight?
Pushing on a string, folks. Pushing on a string. If the money isn't making it into the pockets of people willing to spend it (i.e. ordinary people who need jobs), you're just pushing on a string. Money that just sits in bank vaults (or 1's and 0's in their computers nowdays) ain't doing diddly to keep people employed and keep factories rolling."


"The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things - the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and genuine to the bad and counterfeit."
~~ Samuel Johnson



By Kira Craft, on The Huffington Post:
Last week, Black Friday heralded the unofficial kickoff of the 2008 winter holiday shopping frenzy. Despite the economic chill in the air and the Ghost of Christmas Future in our peripheral vision, determined consumers gathered to snag special deals from anxious retailers who opened stores as early as 12:01 a.m. for these stoic souls. While it appears that sales have gotten off to a robust start, analysts warn holiday buying enthusiasm may fade once doorbuster deals peter out. Hallelujah!
Call me Scrooge if you want, but I think that no one should buy holiday presents this year. Materialism has been on a rampage for too long in this country- it deserves a time-out and we deserve an extended vacation from it. There's something really wrong with how the holiday season has been transformed from communal celebration into gift competition. Is there anything more valuable in life than our time and what we choose to do with it? The last thing I feel like using mine up on is running around searching for presents that are supposed to prove my love.
This year my goal is to be present instead of giving presents. My focus for the holiday season is to have fun and connect with loved ones instead of worrying about what to buy everyone. There isn't a single material thing I've ever received that could compare to time well-spent with friends. Though I've been nurturing this philosophy for years it's a particularly gratifying belief right now because it's become so socially acceptable. As the economic downturn affects us all there has been a perceptible shift in American sentiment towards acquisition. This year it's finally cool to give from the heart instead of the wallet, and I say hooray!
A shining example of promoting a return to tradition was Oprah's "Favorite Things" episode-- her focus was on bringing real meaning back to the holidays. While some people grumbled that the thriftiness of the show was depressing, I found it refreshing that she challenged people to actually think about meaning and authenticity. And check out a website called www.NoChristmasGiftsThisYear.com- it helps you create fun, customizable e- cards to send to friends and relatives that offer them the gift of time instead of money.
This year Americans are planning to spend an average of $431 on gifts for the holiday season. This is down almost 50% from 2007, an indicator of just how tight times are getting. So why not declare a no-gift Christmas/ Chanukah/ Kwanzaa, etc. and save your money for a better use than presents which decorate the basement? The act of emphasizing creativity, thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit this holiday season is a win/win situation: it yields both great personal dividends and helps keep your bank account positive.



From Badtux the Snarky Penguin:
Bigots who donated to Proposition H8 are upset that they're being targetted for boycotts. They whine, "we just wanted to support traditional marriage!" Yeah right. Let's get this straight: They targetted gays rather than straights because they're bigots. Otherwise they would have targeted divorce, not gay marriage, as the #1 enemy of "traditional marriage". Nobody is one less bit traditionally married if two guys get married or two gals get married. On the other hand, if they get divorced, they certainly aren't traditionally married anymore, right? So bigotry is the only reason to oppose gay marriage. The fact that bigotry is written into various religious scripts is irrelevant. It was bigotry when Southerners quoted the Bible to justify depriving blacks of fundamental human rights, and it is just as much bigotry when "Christians" quote the Bible to justify depriving gays of fundamental human rights.
So here's the deal: I have a right to not buy things from bigots, and to tell other people that someone is a bigot. That's my right too. This isn't "McCarthyism". This is just me being a citizen with rights, one of which is the right to not buy from bigots.
And if the bigots don't like it... well. Waahh! You want some cheese with that whine, bigots?
-- Badtux the Rude Penguin



A letter from Michelle Obama:
Today is Election Day. The opportunity to set our country on a new path has never felt more real than it does right now. The polls are open in most places, and people are already making their voices heard for change. There's just one thing left to do -- vote and make sure everyone you know votes, too. You can find or verify your polling location by looking up your most recent registration address at VoteForChange.com. Go vote today, and make sure you take your friends and family with you. This is the day when we have to commit to doing everything we can. We can't afford not to -- for our families, our communities, and our future. Once you vote, you can do more than just wait as the returns come in. You can help get every last vote for Barack by volunteering in your community or making calls from home. Help put us over the top today: http://www.barackobama.com/splash/volunteer.html It's not too late to knock on doors, make calls, and make sure that every one of our supporters gets to the polls today. Change is within our reach. We're counting on you to get us there today.




We all are. Seems like everyone I know is feeling some mixture of excitement, anxiety and anticipation. We're hoping, praying, we're checking the polls every five minutes—or trying to ignore them.

Here's the thing: Worrying won't help Obama win. But talking to voters will.

There are thousands of people in swing states who will only vote for Obama if someone calls them in the next 48 hours. You have the power to affect the outcome of this election—even if you only have an hour to give.

The Obama campaign has built an online tool that lets you call voters in swing states—and they urgently need help to call everyone on their list. All you need is a phone and a computer. Can you make some calls? Follow the link below to sign up. It's easy; you can do this from home. Please, just click the link below.

Yes, I'll make some calls!



From TheAtlantic.com: Ken Adelman further explains why he is voting for Obama:
"I've considered myself less of a partisan than an ideologue. I cared about conservative principles, and still do, instead of caring about the GOP.
"Granted, McCain's views are closer to mine than Obama's. But I've learned over this Bush era to value competence along with ideology. Otherwise, our ideology gets discredited, as it has so disastrously over the past eight years."
Read more about why he endorsed Obama.



The late, great Molly Ivins quotes George W. Bush in one of his "Bushisms":

"What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate, quotas, I think vulcanize society. So I don't know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that's my position."

Zztopdog: How could any thinking person have ever voted for this moron?!



Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told NBC's Meet the Press he backs Barack Obama "because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he's reaching out all across America, because of who he is."


By John Amato, from Crooks and Liars:
"McCain calls Obama a Socialist, but McCain voted for the Bail Out and wants to spend government money on the mortgage crisis."

Um, sure, makes sense to me....



From Liberaland, via Crooks and Liars:
It appears that John McCain’s transition chief worked for Saddam Hussein.
Murray Waas reports:
William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team, aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime.
This is the same William Timmons who earned $260,000 this year representing Freddie Mac before its lobbying activities were halted by the government bailout.
The two lobbyists who Timmons worked closely with over a five year period on the lobbying campaign later either pleaded guilty to or were convicted of federal criminal charges that they had acted as unregistered agents of Saddam Hussein's government.
During the same period beginning in 1992, Timmons worked closely with the two lobbyists, Samir Vincent and Tongsun Park, on a previously unreported prospective deal with the Iraqis in which they hoped to be awarded a contract to purchase and resell Iraqi oil. Timmons, Vincent, and Park stood to share at least $45 million if the business deal went through.
Timmons' activities occurred in the years following the first Gulf War, when Washington considered Iraq to be a rogue enemy state and a sponsor of terrorism. His dealings on behalf of the deceased Iraqi leader stand in stark contrast to the views his current employer held at the time.
John McCain strongly supported the 1991 military action against Iraq, and as recently as Sunday described Saddam Hussein as a one-time menace to the region who had "stated categorically that he would acquire weapons of mass destruction, and he would use them wherever he could."



From Barry Eisler's Heart of the Matter:
"Imagine the reaction if Michelle Obama had belonged to a political party that advocated secession from America, a party whose founder ranted, 'The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government... And I won't be buried under their damn flag... I'm not an American... I've got no use for America or her damned institutions.'
"And imagine if Barack Obama had attended that party's conventions, even after swearing his oath of office to uphold the Constitution.
"But wait, this has nothing to do with the Obamas -- it's all about the Palins! For seven years, Todd Palin was a member of this party -- the 'Alaska Independence Party' -- and Sarah Palin repeatedly attended its annual conventions, even after she had been sworn in as Alaska's governor. The quotes above are from the party's founder, Joe Vogler.
"So where are Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Peggy Noonan, the ardent defenders of America from the radicals who hate our freedoms and attack our values? Maybe these patriotic pundits just haven't heard about the Palins and their connection to the Alaska Independence Party? Because if they knew, I'm sure they'd be upset.
"I hope someone will tell them so they can expose the Palins for the America-hating radicals they are -- terrorist appeasers who pal around with people who despise our country and hate our freedoms!
"Please cut and paste or otherwise forward this message to every patriotic, country-first, red-blooded American you know -- I'm sure they'd want to know that the Palins have been palling around with people who hate America so much they want Alaska to be a separate country."


From Alan Colmes' Liberaland Hate Mail:

From: Raven
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 10:25 PM
To: Alan
Subject: YOU ARE………………………………………………….





GO TO RUSSIA AND LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



NO OBOMA FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WE DON’T NEED TO LEARN TO SPEAK RUSSIA..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


GET OFF THE SHOW PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Simple Solutions to Increase Mileage and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Believe it or not, you may already have much of what you need to save money at the gas pump. And you could reduce your carbon dioxide emissions at the same time.
It's as easy as subtly changing your driving habits and adjusting your maintenance techniques.
Today's autos are about more than getting you safely from point A to point B. They're computers on wheels - and what's known as"EcoDriving" provides easy tips for getting the most mileage out of your vehicle. And because burning gasoline produces carbon dioxide, saving fuel helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions - which helps address climate change.
No matter what you drive, you can reduce carbon dioxide and save money - right now. Here's how to start.



From Excused Lame, for the "Elitists" who visit this blog:

Non calor sed umor est qui nobis incommodat.
It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

Di! Ecce hora! Uxor mea me necabit!
God, look at the time! My wife will kill me!

Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?
Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

Lex clavatoris designati rescindenda est.
The designated hitter rule has got to go.

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris.
If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar.

Animadvertistine, ubicumque stes, fumum recta in faciem ferri?
Ever noticed how wherever you stand, the smoke goes right into your face?

Sona si Latine loqueris.
Honk if you speak Latin.

Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes
If you can read this you're over-educated

Mihi ignosce. Cum homine de cane debeo congredi.
Excuse me. I've got to see a man about a dog.

Raptus regaliterRoyally screwedSi hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!
If you can read this sign, you can get a good job in the fast-paced, high-paying world of Latin!

Gramen artificiosum odi.
I hate Astroturf.

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.
I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult.

Noli me vocare, ego te vocabo.
Don't call me, I'll call you.

Fac ut gaudeam.
Make my day.

Braccae illae virides cum subucula rosea et tunica Caledonia-quam elenganter concinnatur!
Those green pants go so well with that pink shirt and the plaid jacket!

Visne saltare? Viam Latam Fungosam scio.
Do you want to dance? I know the Funky Broadway.

Re vera, potas bene.
Say, you sure are drinking a lot.

Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant!
May barbarians invade your personal space!

Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
May faulty logic undermine your entire philosophy!

Radix lecti
Couch potato

Quo signo nata es?
What's your sign?

O! Plus! Perge! Aio! Hui! Hem!
Oh! More! Go on! Yes! Ooh! Ummm!

Mellita, domi adsum.
Honey, I'm home.

Tam exanimis quam tunica Nehru fio.
I am as dead as the Nehru jacket.

Ventis secundis, tene cursum.
Go with the flow.

Totum dependeat.
Let it all hang out.

Te precor dulcissime supplex!
Pretty please with a cherry on top!

Magister Mundi sum!
I am the Master of the Universe!

Fac me cocleario vomere!
Gag me with a spoon!

Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?
Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

Prehende uxorem meam, sis!
Take my wife, please!

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem!
Stand aside plebians! I am on imperial business.

Vescere bracis meis.
Eat my shorts.

Fac ut vivas.
Get a life.



By Erica Jong on the Huffington Post:
"My day began with Ben Bernanke putting the American public to sleep with his woolly explanation of the financial 'rescue' package. I tried to understand his logic but with my 401(k) halving then quartering, my concentration was hardly the best. George W. Bush performed the coup de grace on the Dow and the NASDAQ, making it clear to me that my husband and I would be working well into our nineties. What excellent preparation for the Obama/McCain debate!
"Why are these debates so incredibly boring? Is it the questions framed by committee? Is it Tom Brokaw trying to exude gravitas? Is it John McCain telling us constantly he is our friend while he grimaces in a way that is friendly to no one? Or is it Barack Obama keeping his cool despite all the idiotic lies and provocations?
"My admiration for Obama has grown. Not only for his lucid intelligence, his excellent preparation, his understanding that eight years of deregulatin' dudes (as Sarah Palin might put it) has accelerated this financial mess, but also his amazing ability not to grunt, sigh or punch his opponent. When McCain lies with a straight face and pretends he has never had anything to do with the GOP, I'd slug him. But Obama is a prince among debaters. He just smiles elegantly and awaits his chance for a reasonable response. His calm blows me away. I'd hate to debate him. I'd be raising my voice and tearing my hair (as we did at Jewish dinner tables on the Upper West Side when I was a kid) but he'd be cool as the proverbial cucumber. He will make a great president. His temperament is superb.
"McCain looks old and ill to me. He seems to have no circulation under his papery white skin. He always looks like he is suppressing a fart. He has no cool at all. Even though he tried to correct his curmudgeonly reputation tonight, he was unconvincing. It seemed as if he had taken a Valium and it was wearing off. I wouldn't trust him to look into Vladimir Putin's eyes anymore than I trusted George W. Bush. He's the bomb-bomb King, no question. Erratic and rageful, condescending and insincere, he seemed to be auditioning to play Simon Legree in an antebellum bodice ripper.
"And why did he run from the stage while Michelle Obama and Barack greeted the folks? Was he afraid of retribution? Or possibly a hair transplant?
"Or maybe I just mistrust men with comb-overs."


By Steve Benen in The Washington Monthly:
"ONLY ELITISTS CARE ABOUT PRONUNCIATION.... Barack Obama pronounces 'Pakistan' correctly, with a soft 'a,' just like a lot of people who know what they're talking about, including Gen. David Petraeus. Apparently, having completely run out of compelling policy arguments to make, some high-profile conservatives have decided to make this their latest campaign hobbyhorse.
"This came after the National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez posted an email that argued, '[N]o one in flyover country says Pock-i-stahn. It's annoying.'
"The inanity of what the right decides to whine about never ceases to amaze me. That Obama's pronunciation is accurate is irrelevant. Mispronunciation apparently makes some conservatives feel better about themselves, and raises doubts about candidates who care to get this right. 'Elites' care about country names; real Americans don't."



From the Daily Kos, via Cynical-C:


By Ari Melber, from The Washington Independent:
"When the McCain campaign announced this weekend that it would start attacking Sen. Barack Obama via guilt by association, peddling smears about people he barely knows, I thought the tack would lead to the Keating Five. But I didn’t know it would happen this quickly.
"The Obama campaign swung into action immediately. By the time the Sunday news shows were taping, Democratic surrogates were hitting McCain with opposition research on his associations with extremist, racist groups (Begala) and the Keating Five (Emanuel). Today, of course, camp Obama is pushing a new Keating Economics website, which begins streaming a documentary about McCain’s Keating problem at noon.
"Obama’s campaign has never pushed the Keating button before, so this attack carries an original punch–and is clearly salient given the current financial crisis. Because the scandal involved McCain’s actions in public service, it is more likely to arise during the remaining two debates.
"McCain’s dredging up of Bill Ayers, in contrast, is not only old news but has no link to anything Obama has done in public life. Patrick Ruffini, a Republican operative who worked on Bush’s reelection campaign, said today that McCain’s Ayers attacks are so old that airing them now 'appears desperate.'
"Desperate and risky — given the corrupt skeletons in McCain’s closet."



After watching the first half-hour of the debate, I had to get out of the room for a while - I was getting such a headache. One can only listen to the canned Republican mantra for only so long.... Senator Biden did very well, and came across as a very knowledable, likeable man.



This is one of Zorro's mommas. I have been tagged by Jen, at My Life with Dogs, to list six quirky things about myself. Hmmm. Where to start....
1. (not necessarily in order of quirkiness) Rearranging items into a certain order or into alignment. Each item on my living room coffee table has a designated spot on the table; if they get moved around, I have to rearrange them. When I take out our vitamins and pills in the morning, each bottle has to be facing the front so one can see the label. Doesn't everyone do that?
2. Not plugging or unplugging any electrical item that does not have an on/off switch (and even a few that do - if the item looks old or worn).
3. Locking my car doors when the car is in the driveway or right outside my office. Hey, it only takes a few second for someone to walk up and take something! Of course, many people tell me that if the car is locked, people will walk up and literally break a window to get in, instead of just opening the door to get in. I guess I'd rather the person have to make at least a little effort to take my stuff.
4. One of the people who started this whole quirky tag game said she picks at her toes. Well, I pick at my the cuticles and skin around my fingernails. I do it more when I'm stressed; so one can really tell what mood I'm in, or how my life in general is going, by looking at my fingernails.
5. I guess one could call me somewhat addicted to The Weather Channel. Hey, I could be addicted to worse things! But I don't like storms - particularly ones with lightning, close lightning. One hears too many freaky stories about how horribly unpredictable lightning can be - and how dangerous. So, when the "screen is green" (or worse, yellow or red) in our area, I unplug everything: TV's, computers, etc. We haven't lost anything to a lightning strike yet!
6. I think this quirk will seem like the least quirky thing to you, but it's a huge thing to me. In 2004, after 30 years on NPR (where he was incredibly popular among both listeners and critics), Morning Edition host Bob Edwards was demoted to "senior correspondent" (whatever that BS means). NPR said that it wanted someone to take the morning show in a "different direction" (more BS).
Shortly thereafter, Bob left NPR. Soon, XM Radio offered Bob his own morning show on the satelite radio network; he remains there today, bringing "his reassuring and authoritative voice" to many listeners around the world each day. When Morning Edition won a George Foster Peabody Award in 1999, the Peabody committee lauded Edwards as "a man who embodies the essence of excellence in radio.... His is a rare radio voice: informed but never smug; intimate but never intrusive; opinionated but never dismissive. Mr. Edwards does not merely talk, he listens."
I have not listened or contributed to NPR since.



From Andrew Sullivan, for TheAtlantic.com:

Editor's Note: Historically a John McCain supporter, conservative journalist and blogger Andrew Sullivan takes on the issue of John McCain's integrity as he strives to win the presidency. - vh/TO

"For me, this surreal moment - like the entire surrealism of the past ten days - is not really about Sarah Palin or Barack Obama or pigs or fish or lipstick. It's about John McCain. The one thing I always thought I knew about him is that he is a decent and honest person. When he knows, as every sane person must, that Obama did not in any conceivable sense mean that Sarah Palin is a pig, what did he do? Did he come out and say so and end this charade? Or did he acquiesce in and thereby enable the mindless Rovianism that is now the core feature of his campaign?
"So far, he has let us all down. My guess is he will continue to do so. And that decision, for my part, ends whatever respect I once had for him. On core moral issues, where this man knew what the right thing was, and had to pick between good and evil, he chose evil. When he knew that George W. Bush's war in Iraq was a fiasco and catastrophe, and before Donald Rumsfeld quit, McCain endorsed George W. Bush against his fellow Vietnam vet, John Kerry in 2004. By that decision, McCain lost any credibility that he can ever put country first. He put party first and his own career first ahead of what he knew was best for the country.
"And when the Senate and House voted overwhelmingly to condemn and end the torture regime of Bush and Cheney in 2006, McCain again had a clear choice between good and evil, and chose evil.
"He capitulated and enshrined torture as the policy of the United States, by allowing the CIA to use techniques as bad as and worse than the torture inflicted on him in Vietnam. He gave the war criminals in the White House retroactive immunity against the prosecution they so richly deserve. The enormity of this moral betrayal, this betrayal of his country's honor, has yet to sink in. But for my part, it now makes much more sense. He is not the man I thought he was.
"And when he had the chance to engage in a real and substantive debate against the most talented politician of the next generation in a fall campaign where vital issues are at stake, what did McCain do? He began his general campaign with a series of grotesque, trivial and absurd MTV-style attacks on Obama's virtues and implied disgusting things about his opponent's patriotism.
"And then, because he could see he was going to lose, ten days ago, he threw caution to the wind and with no vetting whatsoever, picked a woman who, by her decision to endure her own eight-month pregnancy of a Down Syndrome child in public, that he was going to reignite the culture war as a last stand against Obama. That's all that is happening right now: a massive bump in the enthusiasm of the Christianist base. This is pure Rove.
"Yes, McCain made a decision that revealed many appalling things about him. In the end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base. No person who truly believed that the surge was integral to this country's national security would pick as his veep candidate a woman who, so far as we can tell anything, opposed it at the time.
"McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain - no one else - has proved it."



Jordan has been with us since Labor Day weekend, in 1998. The day was very hot, and he was very thirsty. My mommas gave him water, and looked him over. He's a very handsome boy.
He and my brother, Grover, became bestest friends. When I came to live with my Mommas, Jordan was good to me, but he wasn't pals with me like he was with Grover. Jordan is now close to 12 years old; he's as handsome and good and gentle as ever. Jordan is a friend to all animals and people.We love you, Jman, and we're glad you're part of our family.



Opinion piece by Gloria Steinam, in the Los Angeles Times:
"Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.
"But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.
"Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."
"This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.
"Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, 'I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?' When asked about Iraq, she said, 'I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq.'
"She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on 'God, guns and gays' ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.
"So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain."
Click here to read the rest of this Los Angeles Times article.



From Andrew Sullivan of TheAtlantic.com:
"We have had two big presidential decisions from both candidates - the first time we can clearly judge their decision-making skills. Obama's (vice presidential decision) was prudent, cautious, thoroughly vetted, and serious about governing. McCain's was impulsive, rash, barely vetted and decided at the last minute by a small coterie that left everyone else gasping.
"We are at war. Another 9/11 is possible. Israel may attack Iran. Pakistan may go up in smoke. Putin may invade another country. Who would you rather have as president?"



From The Huffington Post:
Barack Obama named Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his vice presidential running mate early Saturday, balancing his ticket with a seasoned congressional veteran well-versed in foreign policy and defense issues.
Obama announced the pick on his Web site with a photo of the two men and an appeal for donations. A text message went out shortly afterward that said, "Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee."



Today, August 23, is my brother Greg's barkday. He is a good brother to me and the other kids. He's a good son to my mommas. He a good husband to Jen; and he's a great dad to Peanut and Swanny Jr.
We all wish Greg the happiest birthday ever!



Happy Gotcha Day to my sister, Livi! She's been with us for one year. Unlike most other new pets, Livi seemed to fit in and know she belonged here from the start; and everyone gets along with her. She is a good sister to all!
Tonight, we'll celebrate with Frosty Paws and a new toy (an AKC goose - shhhh, don't tell!).



From Mockingbird's Medley:
So if John McCain is a war hero for bombing a third world nation that never even attacked us, did the anti-aircraft battery that shot him down at least get a unit citation?



Some interesting clips of smooth operator John McAncient.... (Warning: this video can be quite painful to watch!)



As promised a week ago, here are some pix of my mommas' yard (the first two) and some others in our area.
Lots of trees were down, lots of power poles and power lines, lots of phone lines. Miraculously, no serious injuries.



From The Peace Train:
"John McCain practically dared Barack Obama to go to Iraq, and he did, with a vengeance. He has been on a world tour, going to three key areas Iraq and Afghanistan, where US troops are fighting; to Europe, location of America’s principal allies; and the Middle East, where America has a fundamental commitment to Israel and to regional peace. By most accounts, the trip has been a huge success. Obama has seemed presidential, and has been treated as a world leader in world capitals. Media coverage has been very positive and extensive, and he has not made any serious mistakes that could undermine his foreign policy credentials.
"If the McCain camp expected an Obama trip overseas would highlight the Democratic candidate's inexperience in foreign policy, the strategy may have backfired. From Kabul to Baghdad, and now onto Jordan, Israel, Britain, France and Germany, Barack Obama's first international trip since becoming the Democratic presidential nominee is being covered by the media like a world tour for a popularly elected leader. There is no preparation for the position of President of the United States. We have already proven that a man (GW Bush) with absolutely no preparation at all, a man who ducked his National Guard duty in 1972, whose closest encounter with team sports was "cheerleader," who bankrupted four oil companies, cannot speak coherently without a teleprompter or back stage prompter via earphone, can be president.
"Now some worry that Barak Obama, an articulate man with brains and ability, who actually cuts a presidential appearance and can speak of national concerns on the world stage without a staged, hand-picked audience, isn't up to the job."



By Sally Deneen, from TheDailyGreen:
"Let’s say you have a perfectly good fish tank or swing set or computer you no longer want, but it’s too much of a hassle to drag it to a thrift store – where it may be turned away, anyway.
A fun way to find new homes for stuff is posting your items at Freecycle.org, a grassroots, volunteer-driven Internet movement committed to the notion that one person's trash is another person's treasure. Think of it as an on-line message center that connects people who want to get rid of stuff with those who can use it. Members of the free web site can give and receive items for free.
"It’s a "free cycle" of giving, which keeps good things out of landfills, reduces waste and saves resources. Begun in 2003 when Deron Beal sent out an e-mail announcing the Freecycle Network to about 30 or 40 friends and a handful of nonprofit organizations in Tucson, the Arizona-based nonprofit organization since has spread around the world. So far, there are more than 4,000 local Freecycle Network groups (reachable via Freecycle.org). Among rules: All items must be completely free with no strings attached. No illegal or adult-themed materials are allowed.
"No item is too big or too small to post at Freecycle. Offerings have included comforters, beds, mattresses, a 10-year-old glider rocker that rocks smoothly but its arm joints are broken, a working dryer, clothing of all kinds, a satellite dish, Halloween costumes, jogging strollers, file cabinets, computer stuff, picture frames, vases, kids’ stuff, an avocado green refrigerator that must be picked up the next day, coupons for infant formula… You get the idea. Imagine if all of that ended up at the dump. The network estimates that it’s daily keeping more than 300 tons of stuff out of landfills.
"If you’re in the market for an item, you can browse the listings or tell the community what you’re seeking. You never know what people have tucked in the attic. You sure can’t beat free! "



After five days with no power, and seven days with no internet connection (Grrrrrr!), we is back from the dark ages. Pix of some downed trees to follow.



"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up." ~ Martin Niemoeller, German Protestant Clergyman



Despite the seriousness of the coming election, JibJab nails the quirkier aspects of the campaign... and life.


From ThePoliticalCat:
"How many flip-flops has John McCaincient made? Anybody know? Yes, hello? Wanna take a guess? Sixty-one is the current count, folks. Yup, that's right. SIXTY-ONE flip-flops. You can bet his good buddies in the mainstream media haven't covered more than a handful. Alternet details them. No peeking, now! See if you can assemble your own list before you go over there to look. Complete with links and cute Godzilla pitchers. Enjoy!"



We'll be celebrating my brother Morry's Gotcha Day this weekend. We'll have treats (sugar-free for me), and he will get a toy and extra hugs and belly rubs!
All this for a doggy who started out as a stray in Chicago. He was then transferred to the QCAWC, a no-kill shelter in northwestern Illinois. My momma saw his picture on their web site; they called him a Corgi-Chow-mix. (He certainly has the short legs of us Corgis, and the big, orange-red fur of the Chow-Chows.) His bio said that he should not be around any other dogs or cats.
Welp, my momma visited him, and he seemed to be a "sweetheart;" but she could tell that he became very riled up when he saw other dogs. So my momma decided to bring me to meet and visit him; she also brought a pocket full of treats. Within 15 minutes, we were able to be eating our treats side by side. I think he could tell I'm alpha to every doggy I ever meet.
Momma took me out there two or three more times until she decided he was ready to bring home.
It took a while for him to get use to Rya and Jordan; he spent quite a bit of time on a leash, at first, getting corrected when he was getting agressive. But finally, he understood that he would get his food and his treats, and get loved even when the other dogs were nearby.
Now, he's the official watch doggy of the family. His favorite spot is on the living room couch, watching the front yard and the street, making sure that no other dogs, cats, or squirrels walk past without a warning.