Tuesday, September 30, 2008

There was something about that 777 number yesterday that told me, "Don't despair. The sky is not falling. This could be our lucky day." If you know me well, you know I'm always looking for "signs."

Try as I might, I did not fully comprehend the implications of the failed bailout bill. I still don't. I did understand that our terror alert had been raised beyond orange and into the red. It's been the modus operandi for Bush and Company ever since the towers fell. "Be afraid! Be very afraid!" My initial reaction was one of distrust and suspicion, but the more I heard people say, "Nobody knows what the solution to this problem is," the less confidence I felt in any proposal that was put forth. McCain's impetuous movement toward a bailout and Obama's reticence to rush into heroic measures confirmed for me that panic was probably not the best course of action. I'm coming to appreciate Obama's studied, serene, cerebral approach more every day.

So here we are on the morning after the night before, a little hungover from drinking too much hype, but not afraid to see what the new day brings. Maybe the bailout bill needed to fail. Maybe the greedy people who got us into this mess will be the ones who suffer the most severe losses. If that's true, then so be it. Wall Street has a way of correcting itself when basic principles are violated. If that is all that is happening, and some say it is, then why are those of us who are not rich and have not speculated wildly trying to make the quick and easy buck worrying so much about what will happen? Yes, the inflated gains on my IRA's are back down to pre-inflated levels, and could possibly fall to less than the initial investment, but they could also gain again if they are well managed and the market goes up. My bank funds do not exceed the insured amount. My house is still worth more than I owe, so, for now, I'm satisfied to sit back and watch how this "crisis" plays itself out.

The Republicans may have done us all a favor yesterday by getting their feelings hurt and refusing to go along with the Democrats. Maybe they jeopardized their re-elections back home, maybe they didn't. Maybe a better plan is being formulated that will address the real concerns of us average Americans. $700B would go a long way in helping to rebuild the failing infrastructure of a nation whose resources have been largely wasted during the Bush years. If Bush wants to preserve any kind of legacy worth preserving he will own up to his years of mismanagement, just as Reagan did when he accepted ''full responsibility'' for the Iran-contra affair: ''As the Navy would say, this happened on my watch.''

Monday, September 29, 2008

The bailout bill just failed in the House, and Republican John Boehner blamed Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said she alienated some people whose votes she needed for the bill to pass. What she said, even though true, was probably ill-timed:

"...the cost of the bailout is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies -- policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system."

So a few Republicans got their feelings hurt and decided to punish the country? Where are the grown-ups? The only upside I see to this mess is that it makes the Republicans look even worse than they were looking. By a 2 to 1 margin, Americans were blaming Republicans for this mess, and now they will get blamed for blocking the bail-out bill. Way to go, guys! McCain immediately blamed Obama. So much for McCain's maverick move to rally his Republican cohorts!

The stock market just closed lower than it's closed in over two years. The Dow Jones industrials closed 777.68 points lower -- a 6.97% drop, the biggest loss since 2001. And politicians are spinning so fast to try to make the other side look bad it's making my own head hurt. I've got to take a break.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My friend Jean was back at church today for the first time in two months. Her weight is down to 94 lbs from 101, and she was too weak to do the aerobic routine we do in every service, sitting through the standing and kneeling parts, instead, but she was able to go to lunch at Amerigo's, where all her old buddies came and welcomed her back. I've really missed her and Pam on Sundays and am very thankful for her recovery, so far. They are planning a trip to Pensacola next week-end and will be back on the second Sunday in October for our Goat Roast and Bluegrass Mass. I've never seen anyone less suited for "bed rest" than Jean. It's great to see her on the go again.

Most of the polls I've seen since the debate, say that Obama won it. More undecided voters moved in his direction after the debate than McCain's. Even the FOX poll immediately following the debate gave the win to Obama. I was amused by all the McCain surrogates on the talk shows today trying to give McCain credit for the bailout plan. John Kerry on FOX set the record straight:

Barack Obama was in constant touch with Secretary Paulson almost every single day, sometimes several times a day for the last two weeks. Barack Obama was the first person to speak and lay out at that meeting at the White House for about seven or eight minutes the entire parameters of what we had resolved. John McCain, when offered the opportunity to speak, passed, didn’t speak until the very end, and when he spoke, did not offer a solution and did not say what he would support. The fact is that on a Monday of about a week ago, John McCain said the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Within a few days, John McCain was suspending his campaign because of the greatest crisis since World War II. He suspended his campaign and it took him 22 hours to get from New York to Washington, a one-hour flight, had time to go do a Katie Couric interview, had time to give a speech to the Clinton millennium, and when he got here, he wound up — I mean, he said he was going to interrupt his campaign to come down and save the negotiations. Most people believe what he did was interrupt the negotiations to come down and save his campaign.

From what I can tell of this Reuter's summary of the bill, it is reasonable and fair:

-A structured layout where $300 billion would be allocated immediately, $100 billion would be reserved under presidential discretion for later allocation if needed and the remaining $350 billion under only the say-so of Congress.

- Taxpayers would gain stock warrants in companies using bailout money - an asset stake and an opportunity for future profits to recompense any federal outlay.

- Executives would have their Golden Parachutes cut off if their company used bailout money.

- There will be an oversight board and management also would be under close scrutiny by Congress’ investigative arm and an independent inspector general.

- the government could use its power as the owner of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities to help more struggling homeowners modify the terms of their home loans.

- “In the end, House Republicans won support for a provision that would create a privately funded insurance program for mortgage-backed securities, congressional aides said.”

- “Democrats jettisoned proposals that would have put money into a trust fund for affordable housing and would have allowed judges to alter the terms of mortgages for bankrupt borrowers, according to aides.”

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Initial reaction to last night's debate:

I went to a debate watch party with Rankin County Democrats. There were about 20 of us there. I was totally riveted on the whole debate. Obama came off as a much warmer, more reasonable, rational, fair-minded man than McCain, who refused to even look at Obama throughout the debate, even though moderator Jim Lehrer instructed them to talk to each other. That cost McCain some points even among his own supporters. He looked annoyed, snobbish, rude, cranky, dare I say “ELITIST.” His frequent fall-back to calling Obama “na├»ve” exposed him as a shallow name caller with no substance to back it up, and every time he said, "Senator Obama does not understand..." Barack proved him wrong by showing he did understand.

Agreeing with McCain on several points, Obama displayed extraordinary diplomacy and looked as though he could actually build consensus among opposing viewpoints and handle tense negotiations with terrorists, despots and other hostile leaders. He is extremely comfortable in his own skin, was relaxed and confident as he smiled and laughed. His entrance on to the stage at the beginning was cordial, but also very commander-in-chief-like. He hammered McCain on his mistakes about the economy and the Iraq war and did not flinch, called attention to his poor judgment without pulling punches.

Obviously, I was impressed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

When the movie about this campaign comes out, it's bound to be a comedy. I don't recall ever seeing such a series of unbelievable blustering and blundering. The straight talk express has become the no talk express, but I can't blame them there. Nothing that either candidate says makes sense, so "no talking" is probably the best plan.

Palin's interview with Katie Couric was almost as incoherent as Miss South Carolina's interview for Miss Teen USA, 'member that? When asked why she cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of her foreign policy experience, Palin said: "It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to . . . I don't know, you know . . . characha. . . .reporters -- "

"Mocked?" Couric asked.

"Mocked, yeah I guess that's the word, mocked." Pressed on why her location enhanced her foreign policy experience, Palin replied:

"Well, it certainly does, because our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I’m the executive of. And they’re in Russia… It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and uh comes into the airspace of the United States of America uh where do they go? It’s Alaska, it’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to, uhm, to our state."

I'm not nearly as worried about the airspace over Alaska as I am about the airspace between the Alaska governor's ears. Her answer regarding McCain's record of voting for stricter regulations was equally mystifying:

COURIC: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

PALIN: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie--that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

COURIC: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

PALIN: He's also known as the maverick though. Taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about--the need to reform government.

COURIC: I'm just going to ask you one more time, not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation?

PALIN: I'll try to find ya some and I'll bring 'em to ya.

McCain has just announced that he will attend the debate in Oxford tonight. Whoop-de-do! Why does he keep whining about those blasted town hall meetings that he asked for and didn't get? Oh, I forgot. It's supposed to justify every erratic action he's taken and comment he's made. These people are seriously unbalanced.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yesterday I joined the Y again. I went with my friend Sandra to a water aerobics class at the Flowood Y and quickly decided it's where I need to be. The instructor was as intense as any Army drill sergeant, the class lasted for an hour and a half, it was all in deep water (no jarring of joints), and there was very little chance for chit-chatting among the 15 exercising ladies. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy talking as much as anyone, but when I'm spending good money for a work-out, I'd rather wait until after class to visit. If I do this regularly, I'll be in really good shape. BIG IF.

The Water Lilies ate at the Hilton on Weds, had a good Blue Plate Special including drink and dessert for only $6.99. WOW! Today I ate with some Democratic ladies at Papito's in Madison. The conversation was better than the food, IMO. It was great to talk politics in unguarded tones, not something I get to do nearly enough, another reason I blog. Tomorrow I'm meeting George at Sweet Peppers, more unguarded Democratese, yeah! And tomorrow night I'm planning to attend a Debate Party on the other side of the Rez.

McCain has still not said he will be there for sure, but after having spent $5.5M for this event, Mississippi has not cancelled and probably will not cancel without inflicting severe damage to McLame. His campaign has been suspended (have you heard?), even though ads are still running and campaign staff members are not doing anything differently from what they were doing before it was "suspended." Shouldn't the FOX station have nothing but a test pattern on it if the McCain campaign has truly been suspended? Anyway, I'm looking forward to the party. Democrats are so much fun, I can hardly wait.

I did get some great news from my favorite Republican today, so I hope you'll forgive Gramma for indulging in a proud moment of bragging. Ricky sent this glowing account of Cooper's ballgame last night. Here's a sneak preview of our 2020 Pro All-Star:

Cooper batted cleanup tonight and was the starting pitcher. He pitched 4 scoreless innings, but then after an error by the third baseman allowed the leadoff hitter in the 5th inning to reach base, that runner scored the first (unearned) run for the Warriors. Cooper was lifted for a relief pitcher and the Bulldogs trailed 1-0 going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Cooper stepped to the plate as the leadoff hitter in the inning and drove the first pitch over the 200' fence in Left Field to tie the game!! The game went into extra innings (7) but the Warriors took advantage of one more error (with two outs) by the Bulldogs defense and the Warriors score two more Unearned runs on a 2-run homerun and win 3-1. After 11 games, the New Tampa Bulldogs are 9-2. Ranked 7th in the State among 67 12-year old teams. Cooper is hitting .536 and has a 1.09 ERA pitching in 3 games.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Well, that's just great! McCain doesn't want to debate Obama Friday night, so he's called a time-out, and says it's due to the financial crisis. Pure old-dee grandstanding! What a jerk! Obama thinks it's during a crisis when American voters need to hear from the candidates. "A president has to be able to handle more than one thing at a time," he said. Now that's true leadership. The debate commission just announced that the debate is still on, full speed ahead!

With poll numbers plunging on the Republican side, I'm not surprised that McCain wants out. Obama leads by 9 points in a couple of polls, he's ahead in all of them. On the poll that asks "Who do you trust to handle an economic crisis?" Obama leads 53 to 39!

What in the world does McCain think he can accomplish by going back to Washington? Who is going to listen to Mr. Deregulation, who was converted to "more regulation" in just the last week? Everybody but McCain knows he's got a credibility problem. He doesn't have a decisive vote, he isn't even on the banking committee, and doesn't have anything to say about regulation that anybody will believe. Mr. Poor Judgment Keating 5 is floundering, and as George Will said, it's very unpresidential behavior from a presidential candidate.

Who is this jerk that's saying this crisis is Bill Clinton's fault? Orrin Hatch. Unf**kingbelievable!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yesterday I quoted a conservative columnist George Will who appeared on one of Sunday's talk shows. Evidently, he didn't get to say all he wanted to say about McCain and his unpresidential temperment. Be sure to check out his editorial today.

It gave me a whole new appreciation for Obama's cool, unruffled demeanor. I got a quick glimpse of him on TV earlier saying the bailout would probably delay the programs he's advocated throughout his campaign. He is strongly opposed to any bailout that would benefit only the people who got us into this mess and not the people who pay it off. They should be treated as investors, he said, and I agree.

Newt Gingrich, who was on NPR's All Things Considered yesterday, thinks the bailout plan is "just wrong," and that "it's likely to fail, and it's likely to make the situation worse over time." The full interview and transcript are here. Two out of every three American voters say this latest catastrophe is the fault of the Republicans. Maybe that's why they're finally beginning to realize they need to apply the brakes once in a while.

Bush, Paulson, and Bernanke continue to warn of Financial Armageddon. Thank goodness, our senators and representatives are not buying any more "just trust me's" coming from Bush et al.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Republican neighbor sent me this graph to demonstrate that the national debt under Bush is not so out of line with previous administrations, which I guess it does. But the most glaring fact it demonstrates to me is how Republicans, who claim to be fiscally conservative, are not as fiscally conservative as the Democrats. Take a look and see if you see what I see.Please notice that in those years where there is the biggest differences between deficits and revenue, they happen to be years when Republican presidents are in office. The ones who kept spending more in line with revenue were the Democrats. And where the graph's yellow line crosses over the blue line (a budget surplus occurred), those were Bill Clinton's years.

Deregulation vs regulation? Blank checks with no questions asked? No accountability, no oversight? The gamblers in charge of the casino? Who but crazy people would think these are good ideas?

Here's what conservative columnist George Will said yesterday on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos :

"I suppose the McCain campaign's hope is that when there's a big crisis, people will go for age and experience," said Will. "The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and unflustered? It wasn't John McCain who, as usual, substituting vehemence for coherence, said 'let's fire somebody.' And picked one of the most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox, and for no apparent reason... It was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate."

And for more details on Bush's Legacy of Squandering Taxpayer Money, Think Progress has this.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The more I learn about the Wall St. Bailout Plan being cooked in Washington the less I like it. Why are no criminal charges being filed against the greedy, irresponsible people who engineered this train wreck? If the individual taxpayer were this corrupt, there would be dire consequences. Where is the accountability?

Dennis Kucinich was right. Bush and Cheney should be impeached! Actually, tar and feathers might be more appropriate.

Any bill that gets passed to rescue these greedy jerks should have Republican names all over it. Don't try to hang this on Bill Clinton and Barack Obama! But there will be plenty who will try it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Today is the 4th Anniversary of Mike's stroke. I've been back to the Caringbridge site to review the journaling I did and all the wonderful comments that were posted by encouraging angels. It helps to remember all the blessings that came from that terrible crisis.

Journaling about our ups and downs regarding the stroke and recovery from the stroke was the impetus for starting this blog. All it took was a few friends telling me they missed getting "Updates on Mike," and I was off and running....er, typing. Some of you are probably sorry that you encouraged me.

For those of you who still wonder about Mike's progress, there is progress still being made. Currently his physical therapist is concentrating on getting him out of his leg brace altogether. His occupational therapist has him working with a Saboflex gizmo that looks like a medieval torture device, but has enabled him to grasp, lift and move objects from one side of a table to the other. This week he actually used his left arm to hold a box of Jimmy Dean De-Lites while he opened it with his right hand. First time in 4 years he's had any practical, functional use of his left arm.

I still believe he would have made more progress had he left off all alcohol, yet, if I'd been through what he's been through, I would probably drink all day long. It's been a horrible roller coaster ride of emotions to deal with the reality that I live with a disabled alcoholic, who at times can be hostile and verbally abusive. I promised my therapist on Monday that I would go back to Al-Anon. My conscience will not let me leave him and my worn-out psyche tells me I must. I've discovered ways to refresh my spirit, but I need more. Maybe Al-Anon will help.

Helping him is easier when I think of myself as the manager of Mike's Assisted Living Facility. I help him approximately 12 hours/day, which means I'm "on call" to assist with whatever he needs, and the rest of the time I'm free to do as I please, and not officially "on call," even though he can reach me in case of emergency, but it has to be a real emergency, not just an episode of anxiety. (Most of Mike's anxiety stems from "a loss of control.") It's an arrangement he approved, not totally kosher, according to some people's standards, but it works for us. I have begun to feel compassion for him again, more than resentment, and I actually appreciate his company when I need a Democrat or an Episcopalian to reinforce my thinking. Platonic friendship between us still remains, and for that I am grateful.

He's gone again today to eat lunch with friends who, in the past, have allowed him to drive back home drunk, so drunk he falls in the floor when he gets home. The idea that he's been on the road in that condition really worries me. I just put in a call to "Bub" to please monitor the situation more closely, and to call me if he needs a ride home. Other than calling the Ridgeland police to pick him up, I'm not sure what else I can do.

Obviously, your prayers are still needed.
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever," John Keats wrote. So let me show you a beautiful thing, and let's hope the trend continues until November 4. It is a concensus of Palin's numbers in recent polls:

......Approve... Disapprove... No Opinion...difference
9/11: 52.............. 35............... 13.............. +17
9/12: 51.............. 37............... 12.............. +14
9/13: 49............. 40............... 11............... +9
9/14: 47............. 42............... 11............... +5
9/15: 47............. 43............... 10.............. +4
9/16: 45............. 44............... 11............... +1
9/17: 44............. 45............... 11............... -1
9/18: 42............ 46............... 11................ -4

Maybe I'm not being overly optimistic by hoping that Americans are coming to their senses.

One of the many arguments I've had with my Republican neighbor over the past week concerns which party has the smarter candidates. He very much resented (even called it elitist) my pointing out that McCain finished #894 in his Naval Academy Class of 899, and that Palin had trouble cobbling together a 4 year degree in journalism from the 5 different colleges she attended (making a D in macroeconomics, by the way); whereas, Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, and Biden has a JD from Syracuse University College of Law, and a BA in History/Political Science from the University of Delaware.

Now who, in a sober frame of mind, could argue that McCain and Palin are smart enough to be trusted with the future of our nation?

Friday, September 19, 2008

I've got a mid-foot sprain; no fracture, thank goodness, it's just sprained. I spent half a day at the MEA clinic, got x-rays, a boot, and a prescription for Darvoset. I was so relieved to hear there was no broken bone. My left foot found a hole in the yard yesterday while I was walking the dogs. Walking on it today is not nearly as painful as yesterday, but shhhhh! don't tell Mike! He's discovered that he can actually do some chores that heretofore he claimed he couldn't do. You don't think I would milk this, do you? Naaaah!

We finally have renters for the Madison house. Two 20-something year old sisters and their Miniature Schnauzer. Cross your fingers and let's hope they're as dependable as their credit check and references say they are. They move in on the 28th.

Most of the Republicans I know are getting a little nervous with the idea of McCain (and his buddy Phil Gramm) trying to handle something so near and dear to them as Wall Street and the U.S. economy. As he stumbles around in the dark looking for the light switch, their confidence in his ability fades, especially when they realize that their pension plans and Social Security could get flushed down the toilet if his fuzzy thinking is implemented. SOCIAL SECURITY?!? Yep, if it had been privatized, like McCain recommended, we would all be in deep do-do, indeed. I mean, the man said today that the chairman of the Federal Election Commission should step down, based on Wall Street's performance this week. So now we are privatizing profits and socializing losses! I apologize to my grandchildren here and now for the humungous tax bill they will assume. Lord have mercy!

For my Democratic friends who need a reason to smile, check this out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Finally! Some good news:

The Times/CBS News [9/18/08] poll suggested that Ms. Palin’s selection has, to date, helped Mr. McCain only among Republican base voters; there was no evidence of significantly increased support for him among women in general. White women were evenly divided between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama; before the conventions, Mr. McCain led Mr. Obama among white women, 44 percent to 37 percent.

So if McCain led Obama among white women before the conventions by a 44% to 37% margin, and now they are evenly divided, that means Obama has gained support among white women and McCain has not! I was hoping that would be the case, but not until I saw this new poll today did I feel encouraged. Thank you, Ladies, for not letting me down. Now let's increase Obama's lead and win this thing.

This week's financial news from Wall Street knocked the Alaskan governor out of the headlines and exposed her and McCain's incompetence regarding the American economy. He's switched from being Mr. Deregulator to trying to be Mr. Populist, and not doing a very good job at it. I hate it took such a drastic downturn in the stock market to bring us back to issues of substance, but I was getting real weary with pigs and lipstick. Good grief!

There is a really good article on White Privilege on Alternet. I sent it to my Republican neighbor who promptly blew more than one gasket. But he harasses me with right-wing propaganda all the time, so returning the favor seemed to be fair. He's actually a nice guy most of the time. After I sprained my ankle this afternoon, he came over to check on me and to see if I needed anything. I just wish I could convert him to a Democrat. When pigs (with lipstick) fly!

I'm hoping the ankle is just sprained. I've had ice on it, so it's not swollen too badly, but it really hurts to walk on it. Tomorrow I'll have it x-rayed, just didn't want to fool with it tonight.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Being only a nominal fan of Contemporary Christian Music, the name Ray Boltz did not ring a bell with me. So I had to google the name to come up with an explanation for my neighbor's remark - "I guess you heard about Ray Boltz?" Then a quick change of subject.

What I found troubled me deeply. Nobody does vitriolic scolding and judging quite like people who love their Bibles more than the people around them. No wonder Gandhi said:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

The best story I found of this man's "coming out of the closet" is in the Washington Blade. Some of the most excoriating comments are also there. I've written about this subject before, so I will simply copy and paste a couple of things from previous posts:

To quote an Episcopal priest whom I admire: "As Christians do we reject, ostracize, persecute as unholy 'other oriented' people until scientific evidence is conclusive? Or do we err on the side of grace, compassion and welcome? I would rather stand before the Great Judgment Seat of Christ and apologize for the latter."

And these words from Anglican theologian Richard Hooker are relevant, too: "I pray that none will be offended if I seek to make the Christian religion an inn where all are received joyously, rather than a cottage where some few friends of the family are to be received."

Mr. Boltz would be warmly welcomed by any progressive Episcopal parish any day of the week. I hope he finds a fellowship where he is fully accepted and appreciated.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One of the other topics I discussed yesterday with KMB was Sarah Palin. She asked what I thought about her. "I can't stand her!" I blurted without even stopping to think about it. "And what is it you don't like?" she asked. "She's a big phony. She's in over her head and doesn't have the capacity to acknowledge it or correct it."

And then it hit me. I'm projecting. My sweet therapist sat there smiling, waiting for that light bulb to come on over my head. "So the phony in me is reacting adversely to the phony in her? I'm in over my head and don't have the capacity to acknowledge it or correct it?"


Ooh...that hurt!

Maybe the projecting part is true. If so, all kinds of people with all kinds of hang-ups and all kinds of aspirations are projecting on to the Repug VP candidate. It probably accounts for the intense personal attacks or accolades she's provoking.

Maybe the same thing applies to Obama. Deepak Chopra explores a similar theory. What do you think?

Monday, September 15, 2008

One of the recurring themes in my dreams for at least 20+ years has been of climbing a ladder or staircase. I'm always ascending until I get to a gap where trying to step over it is just too risky, or something else happens to prevent my reaching the top. My climb usually ends, at that point, when I realize I can't get all the way up.

Back in the summer of 1985 after Don and I separated, I had one of these where I'm about 3 or 4 rungs from the top, and if I’m remembering correctly, the building is burning, maybe I’m trying to rescue someone from the burning building, when the ladder swings away from the wall and sways to and fro with me hanging on for dear life. It scared me so bad that I woke up before the ladder fell to the ground. Sometimes, in these dreams, I go back down; usually I just give up and wake up. Saturday morning, I had another step-climbing dream.

I'm ascending stairs that lead to a wall, not a landing, not a door, not another room, a wall. A narrow sliver of floor leads from the top step over to a bonus room, a play room. It's a loft-type room with no rail to protect from falls to the ground floor. Benji and Pip are playing on the floor in this room and I want very much to join them, but am unwilling to risk the 5 or 6 steps on the narrow, open ledge to get over to where they are.

I talked this over with my favorite dream guru this morning and have concluded that once again I'm being reminded of the trouble I have reaching my "highest potential." With son and grandson representing the youthful impulses and creative instincts in me, I'm afraid to take the risk required to attain that lofty playground.

What is holding me back? Figuring that out may take a while. To those of you who know me, I'm open to your ideas.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back before the Republican presidential nominee had been determined, our mild-mannered U.S. Senator Thad Cochran had this to say about John McCain:

"The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

To be fair (and balanced), he was backing Mitt Romney at the time and has since endorsed McCain. He is a Republican. His candor regarding McCain needs to be considered carefully, though, by those who still think voting for McCain is a good idea. And my state is full of them.

McCain's running mate sends a cold chill down my spine. In her interview with Charles Gibson last night, it was obvious to me that she had no idea what The Bush Doctrine is. She talked about possibly going to war with Russia and didn't even bat an eyelash. Inserting "Charlie" with every other response she gave was clearly intended to soften the harsh reality of her shockingly shallow grasp of national and international affairs. The woman is clearly in over her head and doesn't have the capacity to realize it or correct it.

The very idea of Mr. Impulsive coupled with Saber-rattling Sarah and all the shenanigans that have been going on in some states to purge voter rolls makes my stomach a little queasy. Lies about Obama are flying fast and furiously and he is so cool and unruffled it's maddening. Doesn't he know he has to fight fire with fire? One of his supporters says he's playing chess while McCain is playing checkers. Bill Clinton says Obama will win it and win it handily. I just hope he's right.

This political junkie may have to give up watching the political talk shows and searching the internet for encouraging news. I've got a terrible case of Red State Blues.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Some call it karma. The Bible calls it reaping what you sow, more recently expressed as "what goes around comes around." It may be one of the reasons that Jesus told his followers to treat their neighbors as they themselves wished to be treated. For whatever the reason, Pastor Rick Warren revealed yesterday that he got a request for help from Sarah Palin:

"She asked me to send her some Bible verses on how do you deal with all of the unfair, unjust attacks and the mean-spirited criticism that comes in."

It reminds me of that scene from Wizard of Oz where Dorothy says to her dog, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." I mean, what did the woman expect? Did she think there would be no unfair, unjust attacks and mean-spirited criticism leveled at her? Especially since she's been delivering her hateful speeches with such enthusiasm? Not only did John McCain not vet his candidate, he also did a lousy job of preparing her for the realities of the campaign trail outside Alaska.

Who but John McCain would use a woman as his lightning rod? Who but John McCain would use a woman to draw crowds that he himself could never draw? Who but John McCain would put the burden of his pitiful track record on a rookie and expect her to make it look good? Who but John McCain would dress up his hypocrisy and lies and expect an already overwhelmed mother of five to peddle it to her Christian friends? Who but John McCain deserves to be dumped on the scrap heap of history by his running mate and American voters?

No way, no how, no McCain!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Whining is whining, no matter who's doing it. Sassysarah should know that; yet, she has done nothing but whine (and lie) ever since she hit the campaign trail. Her latest whine? "Barack called me a pig!" Yep, the same Sarah who said of Hillary Clinton:

When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism or, you know, maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think, man, that doesn’t do us any good. Women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country. I don’t think it’s, it bodes well for her -- a statement like that.

And what exactly did Obama say that got her and Pappy so upset? Here's the quote:

John McCain says he's about change too. So I guess his whole angle is: Watch out, George Bush -- except for economic policy, healthcare policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics, we're really going to shake things up in Washington.That's not change. That's just calling the same thing something different. You can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, and it's still going to stink after eight years.

Seems to me that anyone who ever passed 8th grade English would understand that he was talking about John McCain's claim to change, not John McCain's running mate. Did these guys get through 8th grade English with a passing grade? Maybe it was a D minus.

Mike Huckabee, a McCain opponent in the primaries, said he did not believe Obama was calling Palin a pig. "It's an old expression, and I'm going to have to cut Obama some slack on that one," Huckabee told Fox News.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

For those of you who are still considering voting for McCain, please take a few minutes to watch this first. Thanks.

Monday, September 08, 2008

I know I've reached political burnout when concentrating on how to express a certain thought, my thinking is completely overtaken by an old song I haven't heard or thought of in years. There's a good version of "If I Ruled the World" on YouTube by Celine Dion and Tony Bennett. (Lyrics written by Leslie Bricusse) Enjoy!

If I ruled the world,
Every day would be the first day of spring,
Every heart would have a new song to sing,
And we’d sing of the joy every morning would bring.

If I ruled the world,
Every man would be as free as a bird,
Every voice would be a voice to be heard,
Take my word we would treasure each day that occurred.

My world would be a beautiful place
Where we would weave such a wonderful dream.
My world would wear a smile on its face
Like the man in the moon when the moon beams.

If I ruled the world,
Every man would say the world was his friend,
There’d be happiness that no man could end,
No, my friend, not if I ruled the world.

Every head would be held up high,
There’d be sunshine in everyone’s sky,
If the day ever dawned when I ruled the world.

If I ruled the world.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sarah Palin was on Dodge the Press this morning. Did you see her? Everybody else did, too. She did make an appearance in Colorado Springs, home of James Dobson's Focus on the Family empire, but even that was scripted. No interview with him, either, and that would have been the least aggressive interviewer she could have faced. Of what are they afraid? What are they hiding? Have they had reminders from their moderate middle that John McCain used to call Christian Fundamentalists "agents of intolerance"? Grumblings about his hypocrisy being a little too obvious?

Oh, I get it! Sarah Palin was not brought onto the ticket to actually promote her views, but simply to assure a better turn-out from the turned off! The single issue, pro-life crowd has added significantly to McCain's campaign coffers since Palin came on board. Mission Accomplished? Don't they realize that if Roe v. Wade were going to be overturned, they've just missed their best opportunity with GWB in the oval office and until the 2006 election, Republicans in control of both the House and the Senate? Yet they continue to fall for that old carrot on the stick routine. Twelve thousand of them turned out to the new celebrity's Pep Rally today.

I wonder if McCain has been made aware of the conspiracy cooking among Palin's fanatical fanbase. They're urging their followers to use imprecatory prayer (I had to look that one up, even though I've been a Bible reading, church-goer for 60+ years) to make sure McCain is elected, then dies in office, leaving Sarah Palin to take over as POTUS. Don't believe me? Just google: imprecatory prayer McCain Palin.

Scary stuff!

9/8/08 Update: For a more complete picture of the fanaticism that will follow Sarah Palin from now til Doomsday, check out this article by Bruce Wilson. This lady does not need to get any more political power than she already has. Seriously.

Saturday, September 06, 2008











Friday, September 05, 2008

Well, I have to be honest. The most encouraging thing I saw of the Republican Convention was all the empty seats, and the two guys in the Utah delegation that were sleeping. I've never seen a less enthusiastic bunch of old white folks. As TPM said, John McCain just threw a wet blanket over Palin's sizzle.

I wonder if McCain realizes he just made a very good defense for Obama's community organizing, his political career, and his life:

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you're disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

Seems the MSM (main stream media, for those of you who hate acronyms) is not going to be the water boy for the Republican message. He's getting lots of negative press today. Didn't McCain know better than to get in a pissing match with those who buy ink by the truckloads? Maybe graduating fifth from the bottom in his Naval Academy class had nothing to do with all the partying he was doing.

McCain also made the best case I've heard for why we don't need Republicans in charge of anything, especially in Washington:

"We were elected to change Washington, we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people...when we valued our power over our principles."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wednesday's lunch with the Water Lilies was at Vasillio's in Madison where I had the Greek Burger with steamed veggies. It was actually a gyro with lamb, but if they want to call it a burger, I guess that's okay. Our original plan was to eat at the Hilton, but it was full of evacuees from Gustav, so we switched around our September schedule a bit.
The rest of my afternoon turned into a hunt for the silver lining in every cloud, and I found it. After leaving Vasillio's, I went by Dollar Tree to pick up a couple of items, then went back to my car to discover it would not crank. And I didn't have my cell phone, I'd left it at home on the charger. I went back in Dollar Tree looking for someone with jumper cables and to use their phone. No jumper cables, and no answer on either of Mike's numbers. Great!

So I headed out toward the Madison Walmart automotive department, just 3 doors down from Dollar Tree. On a whim, I stuck my head in the door of The Game Spot thinking I'd probably find a guy with jumper cables. Instead, I found Jordon, the son of our friends Tony and Terie, who didn't have jumper cables but did call his dad for me (who didn't have his with him either), so then he went with me to Walmart where I purchased a pair. Try as we might, we still couldn't get it to start. He called a tow truck for me whose owner happened to be an old friend of Mike's and a former employee of his father's. He took one look at the battery (the brand new battery we installed on July 4th, remember?), took out his pocket knife, scraped the corrosion off the connector posts, and told us to crank the car. It worked! And he refused to let me pay him.
In the meantime, Tony showed up to see if we got the car started, and when he heard that the connector posts needed a serious cleaning, he invited me out to his house where he proceeded to clean them and then cleaned the inside of my car. I spent a delightful hour in their kitchen visiting with his wife Terie (she's the brunette to my left in this picture, your right).
So an afternoon that started out to be a real bummer, turned into an unexpected blessing. The coincidences of everything that happened lead me to believe that it was a "God thing."
Thank goodness, GOD still takes care of fools and children.
In a conversation with an animal-loving friend today, she said she got sick when she heard about Palin's blood-lust for killing wildlife. "Shooting wolves from a plane is not sport!" she cried. "And she wanted to allow polar bears to be killed so more oil drilling could be done. She is the animals' worst nightmare!"

I must admit I had not paid close attention to Palin's claims of being a crack shot and experienced hunter. I don't belong to PETA, as my vegetarian friend does, but I certainly have never understood why anyone would mistreat or kill animals. "What is Obama's stance on cruelty to animals?" I asked her.

She directed me to this article from the Jan. 16, 2008 edition of Time Magazine. I copy it here for your information.

(HENDERSON, Nev.) — Democrat Barack Obama says he won't just be a president for the American people, but the animals too.

"What about animal rights?" a woman shouted out during the candidate's town hall meeting outside Las Vegas Wednesday after he discussed issues that relate more to humans, like war, health care and the economy.

Obama responded that he cares about animal rights very much, "not only because I have a 9-year-old and 6-year-old who want a dog." He said he sponsored a bill to prevent horse slaughter in the Illinois state Senate and has been repeatedly endorsed by the Humane Society.

"I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other," he said. "And it's very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals."

I wonder if my Republican neighbor knows this. He's a member of PETA, too. He must be terribly conflicted.

After I got off the phone, I decided to do a little digging for myself. (What did we do before Google?) Here's what I found:

Palin kills moose, eviscerates them herself, has put a bounty on wolf hunting, supports aerial hunting of wolves by trophy seekers, calls herself a free market capitalist while giving state money to support cattle concentration camps, and has sued to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list.

And on their eco-system?

She cancelled a wind farm project from the budget while putting in a half billion for oil companies, etc.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Don't you love it when irony just happens? I got an anonymous letter in the US mail today complaining about my critical posts regarding Sarah Palin. My critic thought I should keep my opinions to myself since I obviously disagreed in my political views with them. And because we have a difference in opinions, they judged me to be "someone with issues, much like Michelle Obama" with "many of the same qualities: militant, inferiority complex, misguided intelligence, intolerance, pent-up anger and hatefulness."

The ironic part is that the Jackson postmark included a tribute to one of the more famous relatives in my family tree John Adams with a 1765 quote from him: "Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write." Thanks, Uncle John, for the affirmation and the encouragement. (The postmark also included a plug for poweroftheletter.com, a link that leads to nowhere and was set up by HBO when they were promoting their John Adams series back in the spring.)

And to my cowardly critic let me say, until you have the courage of your convictions and can sign your name to what you write, just continue to slink around in the dark and mumble insanely about liberals and Democrats and others who don't see things as you do. I think you need a check-up from the neck-up. There are drugs for conditions like yours, and therapy, and asylums. Go get some help.

I've gotten a couple of comments along the same lines, but at least they came with a return email address and a moniker. I elected not to post them, but then I do have this blog set up with that option. I do live in a "Red State," and a lot of local people who read my blog probably disagree with me. That's okay. I haven't coerced anyone to read what I write. If you're looking for Mississippi blogs that express the Republican point of view, they're probably a lot easier to find. I really don't know, I haven't looked for them. I don't have to go looking for Republican opinion, I'm surrounded by it, and I get harassed regularly by my nasty neo-con neighbor.

Now if you'll excuse me, I want to listen while the Republican Celebrity preaches to her choir.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Today I'm taking odd comfort in the fact that women are usually harder on other women than men are. Heretofore, that has not comforted me. What I was not expecting was the reversing of positions that has occurred in what is now being called "The Mommy Wars." Mothers on the left, progressive, pro-choice, career women are condemning Palin's decision to try to have it all, while mothers on the right, conservative, pro-life, stay-at-home moms are applauding Palin's decision to raise a family (that's 5 children which include one on his way to Iraq, one an unwed teen, and the Downs Syndrome baby), run the state of Alaska, defend herself in the "Troopergate" abuse-of-power investigation, explain the crazy rantings of her pastor, justify her support of (and from) indicted Senator Ted Stevens and the Bridge to Nowhere and her connection to Jack Abramoff's lobbyists, and campaign for the Republican ticket.

Kinda reminds me of that old commercial:

I can bring home the bacon, da, da, da, dum, fry it up in a pan, and never, never, never let you forget you're a man, 'cause I'm a woman. Enjolie.
Trying to keep up with all the "Breaking News" finally wore this grandmother out. I decided to just wait and watch the whole thing on Jerry Springer.
I was encouraged by the poll numbers that came out today. Obama leads in all of them. After Sarah Palin brings her star power to St. Paul, this will probably change some. Seems their charge of Obama being a celebrity reflected some jealousy, so they went out and found their own version of Britney Spears.
Gallup has Obama 50, McCain 42.
Rasmussen has Obama 51, McCain 45.
USAToday has Obama 50, McCain 43.
Hotline/FD has Obama 48, McCain 39.
CBS has Obama 48, McCain 40.
Fred Thompson actually just said in his speech that being a P.O.W. doesn't qualify anyone to be president. To prove that a McCain presidency would not be 4 more years of Bush's 8 year disaster, the Republicans made the president stay out of St. Paul and deliver his speech by video. The only word I can think to describe that is tacky.

Monday, September 01, 2008

We've had slow, steady rain for the better part of the day, not much wind, no lightning or thunder, just rain. When our civil defense siren went off around 4:50 PM, all we could get on local stations was the Haley Barbour press conference from MEMA. He was reminding everyone to be careful in the aftermath of the storm. Was that really necessary? Politicians do love to get in front of the cameras, don't they? Sheesh.

Well, now we know. Bristol Palin is currently pregnant, her mother announced, hoping to quell internet rumors about her daughter giving birth in April to the Downs Syndrome child. As an advocate of "Abstinence Only" for teenage sex education, I wonder what Mrs. Palin's response was to, "How's that working for you, Darling?" Maybe that's why she threw out the jibe attributing rumors to Barack Obama. And McCain says he knew about the unmarried teenager's condition before asking Sarah Palin to be his running mate. R-i-i-i-g-h-t!

Obama wants his supporters to leave the Palin family alone, calling children, especially, off limits. He bristled at the suggestion of one reporter that his campaign had started the rumors, and said, "There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us. Our people were not involved in any way in this and they will not be, and if I ever thought there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they’d be fired."

The girl is not the person under scrutiny here. Having at one time been an unwed pregnant teenager, I have a great deal of empathy for the girl and her predicament. But her mother deserves to be scrutinized very closely. And before some of you touchy Republicans start whining about how could anyone "go after" this beautiful Christian mother of 5, let me remind you that Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama are all Christian mothers, and political opponents have been merciless in their attacks on everything from their character to their tone of voice to their taste in jewelry. Sarah Palin willfully exposed herself and her family to this scrutiny. She knew her daughter was pregnant and that she would not be able to hide that fact. Sarah Palin is fair game.

Do I blame her for her daughter's pregnancy? No, kids are gonna have sex. A mother cannot monitor her daughter's behavior 24/7, but daughters (and sons) do deserve complete information on sex and access to contraception, and mothers play a pivotal role in making sure their daughters get these basics. The "abstinence only" policy does not work.

Ideally, a daughter should be able to talk with her mother about her sexual inclinations and activity. If Ms. Palin's religious convictions do not allow for such openness, that could lead to problems, as we're seeing in her daughter's circumstance. If she gets legal authority to impose her beliefs on others, by outlawing contraception or abortion or sex education or family planning clinics, she will effectively turn the clock back on what little progress has been made in the last 50 years. That's one reason I feel passionately that McCain must be defeated in November, even if Mrs. Palin is no longer a part of his ticket, and I have a feeling she won't be. I'm looking for another surprise announcement in the not-too-distant future.