Friday, October 31, 2008

Back when Sarah Palin first hit the national scene, I realized that the catty in Cathy had been turned loose. Some people have that affect on me, so the cat in me came out with claws splayed.
It's not my best trait, it can be very hurtful; I've wounded many a friend, sent unfriendly acquaintances scurrying for safety beyond earshot, and gotten myself into trouble with numerous authority figures. Sarcasm is an easy defense mechanism I use when I feel threatened, unattractive though it is. Something about the Alaskan governor immediately scared me. My therapist and I have had more than one conversation about this shadow aspect of my personality.
The cat is an image I've identified with as long as I can remember, and my father is the one I credit for that, he planted that idea in my head at an early age. Not all of my cat-like qualities are negatives, some have served me well. Some of the things I've heard my dad say about the cat in me:
“She’s like a cat. No matter how you throw her, she lands on her feet." That's proved to be a very affirming image when life "throws" me.
"She can climb a tree faster than anyone." He frequently coaxed me down with, "Here, kitty, kitty."
"She loves to curl up on the floor like a cat in front of the fire and go to sleep. She would spend the entire night there if I didn't wake her up and make her go to bed."
"Don‘t pick a fight with her. She‘s not afraid to use her claws.”
But the earliest encouragement I got from him to be cat-like was in the song he sang sometimes as he rocked me to sleep. I doubt that Irving Berlin wrote it for a lullaby, but Daddy used that way.
The girl that I marry will have to be
As soft and sweet as a nursery
A girl to call my own
She’ll wear satin and laces and
Smell of cologne.
Her nails will be polished and in her hair
She’ll wear a gardenia and I’ll be there,
‘Stead of knittin’, she’ll be sittin’,
By my side and she’ll purr like a kitten.
A girl I can carry,
The girl that I marry must be.


And may any cats who
cross your path
be cool cats.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This has got to be the most outrageous thing I've heard all day:

“Equality, which is the primary value of the left, is a European value, not an American value.”

And who, you ask, is the idiot making that statement? Dennis Prager, a right-wing talk radio host, while stumping for Republicans in Minnesota. Wonder how many copies of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution he has received since saying that? Maybe he's been taking history lessons from Dubya. What are these guys smoking? I mean, I know it's been a rough campaign year for Republicans, but sheesh!

It makes about as much sense as McCain criticizing Obama (last night on Larry King) for wanting to spread the wealth around, then five minutes later saying that "taxes pay to keep our government secure, to help those who can't help themselves and other functions of government,” claiming that is far different from Obama's plan "to take from one group of Americans and give it to another." Oh, and don't ask him how Governor Palin's sharing of oil profits with all Alaskans is different from the socialism that Obama is allegedly advocating. He can't explain that either.

The most encouraging thing I've heard today is that McCain got stood up by Joe the Plumber! He was supposed to be at a rally, but when the old man called out to recognize him, he was a NO SHOW! The other encouraging thing I saw is Sheppard Smith of FOX News defending Obama after Joe the Plumber claimed Obama is no friend of Israel. Wow! Who'd a thunk it! Today I'm proud to claim Sheppard Smith as a native Mississippian. Good for you, young man!

I'm thinking of making a T-shirt that says: This Jo, the liberated woman, supports Obama/Biden! Whaddaya think?
I fell again today, but I'm about to get the hang of it. Before I hit the ground, I positioned my limbs for a spread-eagle sprawl, so my thighs and belly took the brunt of it. Rather than spraining a foot or ankle or wrist, all I got was a bruise on my left knee, and I actually dove for the grass rather than the sidewalk, not very gracefully, but it was less painful than kissing concrete.

Why do I fall as often as I do? NOT PAYING ATTENTION, that's why!!! The sidewalks around here are notoriously uneven at the joints, and they've tripped me several times. The dogs didn't run off, even though I dropped their leashes. They were no help whatsoever, looking at me curiously, sniffing my hair, wondering why humans do some of the things they do, I'm sure.

Today my distraction was the Monarch Butterflies that were everywhere. I've never seen so many all at once. I'm not sure if they were on their way to Mexico, they try to leave before the first frost, you know, or maybe they landed here from up north thinking they had flown far enough. Our low last night was 32*, our first frost of the fall, so either they found a warm place overnight or the Mississippi cold snap felt mild compared to where they came from. Who knows?
And no, I didn't make the picture. Wish I had.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Every once in a while I come across something that deserves broader distribution than it is getting. Whether you are familiar with the particular letter mentioned in this article, or not, (a link is provided if you want to read it, but I warn you - it's vile) you are aware of Dr. Dobson and the influence he has had among evangelical Christians in the past few elections. Dobson's letter went out to all on his mailing list about a week ago in a last ditch effort to scare folks into voting for McCain. Here is a response to James Dobson's letter by Jim Wallis. What I like about the Wallis response is the hope he holds out for Christianity and for America. If you received a copy of the Dobson letter from a friend, please feel free to copy the Wallis response and return the favor. Just be sure to give credit to Jim Wallis of Sojourners Magazine for his excellent writing.

James Dobson, you owe America an apology. The fictional letter released through your Focus on the Family Action organization, titled “Letter From 2012 in Obama’s America”, crosses all lines of decent public discourse. In a time of utter political incivility, it shows the kind of negative Christian leadership that has become so embarrassing to so many of your fellow Christians in America. We are weary of this kind of Christian leadership, and that is why so many are forsaking the Religious Right in this election.
This letter offers nothing but fear. It apocalyptically depicts terrorist attacks in American cities, churches losing their tax exempt status for not allowing gay marriages, pornography pushed in front of our children, doctors and nurses forced to perform abortions, euthanasia as commonplace, inner-city crime gone wild because of lack of gun ownership, home schooling banned, restricted religious speech, liberal censorship shutting down conservative talk shows, Christian publishers forced out of business, Israel nuked, power blackouts because of environmental restrictions, brave Christian resisters jailed by a liberal Supreme court, and finally, good Christian families emigrating to Australia and New Zealand.

It is shocking how thoroughly biblical teachings against slander—misrepresentations that damage another’s reputation—are ignored (Ephesians 4:29-31, Colossians 3:8, Titus 3:2). Such outrageous predictions not only damage your credibility, they slander Barack Obama who, you should remember, is a brother in Christ, and they insult any Christian who might choose to vote for him.
Let me make this clear: Christians will be voting both ways in this election, informed by their good faith, and based on their views of what are the best public policies and direction for America. But in utter disrespect for the prayerful discernment of your fellow Christians, this letter stirs their ugliest fears, appealing to their worst impulses instead of their best.
Fear is the clear motivator in the letter; especially fear that evangelical Christians might vote for Barack Obama. The letter was very revealing when it suggested that “younger Evangelicals” became the “swing vote” that elected Obama and the results were catastrophic.

You make a mistake when you assume that younger Christians don’t care as much as you about the sanctity of life. They do care—very much—but they have a more consistent ethic of life. Both broader and deeper, it is inclusive of abortion, but also of the many other assaults on human life and dignity. For the new generation, poverty, hunger, and disease are also life issues; creation care is a life issue; genocide, torture, the death penalty, and human rights are life issues; war is a life issue. What happens to poor children after they are born is also a life issue.
The America you helped vote into power has lost its moral standing in the world, and even here at home. The America you told Christians to vote for in past elections is now an embarrassment to Christians around the globe, and to the children of your generation of evangelicals. And the vision of America that you still tell Christians to vote for is not the one that many in a new generation of Christians believes expresses their best values and convictions.
Christians should be committed to the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of America, and the church is to live an alternative existence of love and justice, offering a prophetic witness to politics. Elections are full of imperfect choices where we all seek to do what is best for the “common good” by applying the values of our faith as best we can.
Dr. Dobson, you of course have the same right as every Christian and every American to vote your own convictions on the issues you most care about, but you have chosen to insult the convictions of millions of other Christians, whose own deeply held faith convictions might motivate them to vote differently than you. This epistle of fear is perhaps the dying gasp of a discredited heterodoxy of conservative religion and conservative politics. But out of that death, a resurrection of biblical politics more faithful to the whole gospel—one that is truly good news—might indeed be coming to life.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I just found this on Benji's site and couldn't resist lifting it. What a great shot of our adorable Pip! Thanks, Benji.
Thanks to Huffpo, I discovered a kindred soul on Sunday. Grandmere Mimi and I share several things in common. We're retired grandmothers in Southern states who have latched on to blogging as a way to share with the world whatever crosses our personal radars every day. We're both liberal Episcopalians, choir members, supporters of Obama, and each of us is a soft touch for dogs in need of rescue.

Her blog Wounded Bird earned a spot on my "Daily Required Reading List," and I offer this link for your enrichment and for those of you who wonder where I'm headed with Ms. Sippi. One day I would like to be as successful with this venture as she is. She draws several hundred readers a day and gets comments on just about every post. Rather than sulk and be jealous, as I was first inclined to do, I've decided to emulate her, so you may be seeing a few changes here. I really do admire what she has accomplished, and even though she claims not to be ready to give me private blogging lessons, I can learn a lot just by imitating some of her ideas. (It's the purest form of flattery, you know.)

I won't be pulling any punches, as a couple of close acquaintances have wished I would do. She posted the same piece (with a couple of minor revisions) on racism that I posted back on Oct. 5th. She's already getting positive feedback. I got hate mail, but I am not deterred. It needs the widest circulation possible and I'll do whatever I can to circulate it.

The next eight years of an Obama presidency will require constant challenging to prejudice that should have died out long ago. I'm sick of the smug sanctimony that defends fear-filled, hate-filled politics. Would I have used the Molly Ivins' quote on my title banner had I not been initially motivated by that very principle?

Now if I can just discern the fine line between tolerance and intolerance, I may be able to make a small difference. It ain't easy. I tend to be very intolerant of intolerance. Maybe the Bloggers' Prayer will help. Thanks, Grandmere Mimi!

"Almighty God, you proclaim your truth
in every age by many voices:
Direct, in our time, we pray,
those who speak where many listen
and write what many read;
that they may do their part in making the heart
of this people wise, its mind sound,
and its will righteous;
to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord."

Book of Common Prayer

Monday, October 27, 2008

Maybe it was in the stars that I should have been so bold as to wear my Obama-Biden button to the neighborhood chili supper on Sunday. After all, I do live in the most Republican county of all the 82 counties in Mississippi. Here's what Sunday's horoscope said for Sagittarians:
Finally, you speak freely about your passions. This is risky, though. Take care not to light a fire under a person who doesn't agree. If you don't know who this is, you'll soon find out.
As I entered the clubhouse, I immediately drew fire from the first elderly woman to greet me, but my friend Pam, herself an unapologetic Republican and Bush supporter, promptly defended me with, "It's a free country and she can vote for whoever she wants to vote for." Thank you, Pam. It's Republicans like you who keep me from writing off your party wholesale.
As the rest of our neighbors began to arrive, there were 3 people who sidled up to me and whispered words like, "I like your button," "I admire your courage," "You are one brave woman." While it's comforting to know I'm not the only left-leaning person in the 'hood (I may be the most audacious one, but I no longer feel like the freak I once did), I think it is incredibly sad that any American feels too intimidated to let their political affiliations be known. That is what the politics of hate and fear, as promoted by FOX, Limbaugh, et al and practiced by right-wing nuts, will do. My "enough button" got pushed on those tactics long ago.
I had a nice conversation with these closet-Democrats before I left. One of them even predicted a landslide of the '84 variety. He's an attorney who has been in several circuit clerks' offices in Mississippi and has heard that new voter registrations are at an all-time high and that the volume of early voting by absentee ballot is unprecedented. People have never been so enthused about voting for a candidate as they have for Obama, he told me. Gosh! I hope he's right.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this get-together very much.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"You may recognize this famous quote," the Floridia reporter said as she interviewed Joe Biden, "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. That’s from Karl Marx. How is Sen. Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?"

Biden laughed and responded with "Are you joking? Is this a joke? … Or is that a real question?"

What he was too polite to say was "How can we call ourselves a Christian nation and not operate by that principle?" Everytime I hear this socialism charge leveled at Obama and the Democrats, I'm reminded how far we as American Christians have strayed from the model of the original Christian community as described in the second chapter of Acts:

All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, as every person had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

I've never quite grasped the flaw in that concept. Maybe, as some say, it is too Utopian to be practical, but just think how much more peaceful the world would be if we would live that way.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I had been needing a good cry, have I mentioned that? Well, today I had it. While watching the movie, "The Secret Life of Bees," the tears got turned on early, within the first half-hour, and didn't really get turned off until the end. Some movies affect me that deeply. I remember crying while reading the book, but not as much as during the movie. If you go, take plenty of tissues, something I forgot.

I was impressed with how closely the movie script adhered to the book, some veer wildly from the original tale. Not this one. The racism of 1964 depicted in the movie was a little more blatant, flagrant even, than we see today, but there are remnants of it that have survived. Hopefully, one day it will die off. It's so ugly, so uncivil.

Some critics have not appreciated the movie's themes of redemtion, tolerance, love and healing, calling it syruppy sentimentality, but could there be a more timely season for such themes than this election year? I think not. Evidently, I'm not the only one as it has proved to be successful at the boxoffice, too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Has it really been three days since I blogged last? Yes, I'm okay, for those of you who were concerned, but since I'm not so engrossed in the political stuff, I don't have a lot to say. Sad, isn't it? I didn't realize how completely consumed I was until I quit it. Thanks for your concern.
I had company over the week-end, two of my very favorite people in all the world - Benji and Pip. Then Monday I took some downtime and spent the day doing calligraphy. I started that last week when I decided to occupy my mind with something other than the upcoming election. It's been several years since I did calligraphy, but it came back pretty easily. I'd forgotten how relaxing it is, I get into "the zone" within minutes and completely lose track of time. The first night I did it for 6 hours and it felt like less than one. It's been a while since I went to "that magical place where mind and body work in perfect synch and movements seem to flow without conscious effort." Painting takes me there, too, and when I get tired of calligraphy, I'll probably do that.
I watched a couple of political talk shows last night while doing calligraphy and discovered that I stayed calmer and felt much less anxious and angry as differing opinions were expressed. It's an altered state of consciousness where I'm physically relaxed and mentally calm, a place I don't go to nearly enough.
I've been reading more also. Currently, it's a book by Louise Erdrich Four Souls, recommended by a friend in my Red Hat Readers book club. It introduced me to Karezza, a sexual practice familiar to me, but not the name. Erdrich's book Love Medicine was this month's assignment, but it was checked out at the library, so I chose another by the same author. She has several books in this series involving descendants of the once proud Ojibwe tribe of Native Americans, and they're all related somehow. I don't recall such lyrical language in a novel. I'm amazed by writers who can do that. On Friday, we're going as a group to see the movie The Secret Lives of Bees, which was a book we read a couple of years ago, so that should be fun.
Here are a couple of pictures I made Sunday of my cute grandson.

Friday, October 17, 2008

One of the things I"ve decided to do between now and Election Day is to cut down on the amount of political coverage I've been consuming daily from TV, internet, newspapers and magazines. I tend to get a little obsessive about these things and realized a political fast might be in order.

I'm glad I didn't decide to go cold turkey, otherwise, I would have missed the hilarious speeches given by McCain and Obama at last night's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner, a fund-raiser for Catholic Charities, which was held at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. If you missed all the jokes and, like me, need something that will make you smile and "lighten up," be sure to go to the C-Span Video Library and watch the 51 minute clip. It's free and well worth the time.

I wish we had seen more of this particular John McCain in the campaign, but then he would not have been trailing Obama like he is. Maybe it's best that his better side has been in hiding, and his curmudgeon is the one who has been most in evidence. Obama delivered some zingers at this affair, a lot of them directed at himself. He has the poise and charm of a natural performer. Won't it be nice to have someone representing us who is not an embarrassment to the whole nation?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One of the things we will have learned when this much-too-long presidential campaign has come to an end is exactly where the deepest pockets of racism and prejudice still live and thrive. What we're discovering is how pervasive it is beyond what we in the South have known for years.

When Katrina exposed the impoverished population of New Orleans, a majority of whom were black, I heard remarks like, "They're mostly Democrats, let 'em drown," and that seemed to be the pervasive attitude of Bush and his buddy Heckuvajob Brownie and his FEMA crew. I heard them referred to as the worthless deadbeats who had done nothing to help themselves and suffered mainly due to a lifetime of depending on government for handouts. I heard them being compared unfavorably to their Mississippi neighbors (mostly white Republicans) who seemed to be more successful in securing funds and managing rebuilding efforts.

As I listened to Republican friends and neighbors, even I had moments of wondering if there weren't some truth to this warped view of the way things should be, and assuaged my guilty conscience with those unusually cold words of Jesus: The poor you will always have with you. Where, as Christians, did our responsibility to them end and their responsibility for helping themselves begin?

And how, as Southerners, did we reclaim the beauty and charm of the city that some of us considered the crown jewel of The Deep South when her beauty and charm had been so seriously tarnished? Would we ever be able to take for granted again that "The Big Easy" could be "a place that care forgot," and once again enjoy the carefree, easy-going nature of her natives? Was it just an outdated fanciful image that tourists enjoyed while residents knew the ugly truth of her crime and crumbling infrastructure? Once those ugly realities were exposed to the rest of the world, the romantics among us recoiled at the horror of what we'd been told but refused to hear. How could we have been so blind?

A similar revelation is taking place on a much larger scale as this torturous campaign comes to a close. Divisions and vulnerabilities are once again exposed, but this time it's all across our nation, while opposing forces accuse and blame one another for the disorder. Political passion runs hot, destructive forces are unleashed, Truth and Decency are among the first casualties, and the damage to our fragile sense of security and prosperity increases every day.

God help us if another 9/11 or another Katrina occurred.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

When McCain's candidacy crashes and burns in the ignomy of personal shame and humiliation, we will owe a debt of gratitude to this TV commentator. I admire him more with every passing day. Thank goodness someone has the nerve to say what has to be said.

From Tuesday night Countdown, Keith Olbermann:

"It's not negativity, it's truthfulness," said the Demagogue from Alaska as she drew visions of terrorists and foreigners and hobgoblins across the blank minds of her supporters...

"I've heard the same things said about me at Senator Obama's speeches," said Senator Holier-Than-Thou - ever the real victim, never at fault.

And so, as Senator Obama's lead spirals upwards (14 points over McCain in tonight's CBS News/New York Times poll) we spiral downwards towards the point where anybody can say anything at a McCain or Palin rally - someone else shouted "kill him" today - knowing neither candidate will ever draw a line... will never say enough!... Because - they do not want to.

That another voice of hate should have emanated from a Palin or McCain event, with not a hint of reproach from either candidate, is appalling enough.

That Senator McCain should have gone on another martyrdom kick - insisting he is the true victim here - is beneath the minimum dignity a political figure must retain to maintain viability as a public leader.

Congressman Lewis, Senator McCain says, "accused me and Sarah Palin of being involved in segregation, George Wallace and even made reference to a church bombing where children were killed. Senator Obama has not repudiated that statement. Senator Obama should do so immediately. Its the most outrageous thing that I have heard since in politics. It is disgraceful."


Obviously, Senator, you haven't heard your own speeches, and Governor Palin's, and what people shout during them.

And you haven't heard your state GOP Chair in Virginia, Jeffrey Frederick, giving talking points to 30 of your field-operatives heading out to canvass voters in Gainesville, Virginia...

With a reporter present, telling them to try to forge a connection between Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden - to emphasize bombings and terrorism.

And you haven't heard those volunteers, your volunteers Senator McCain, shout back "and he won't salute the flag" and "we don't even know where Senator Obama was really born."

Senator McCain -- these people are speaking for you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

There is a new email circulating that attempts to explain how the Democrats came to own the current financial crisis. I cannot believe that intelligent people would fall for that. The best response to it that I've seen is here.
My Republican neighbor showed me a KKK business card today that belonged to his dad. I knew his dad was a John Bircher, but did not know he was in the KKK. He told me I might be getting something like that if Obama won. His attempt at humor fell flat with me. I immediately made a "Hippies for Obama" sign and posted it by the door in our garage, hoping it would ward off the bad vibes I've been getting from the Southern Strategy remnants that are becoming increasingly desperate. With all of the McCain/Palin race-baiting that has been going on, I'm once again concerned for Obama's safety. I know he's got a really strong contingent of secret service agents surrounding him, but I also know how crazy certain rednecks can be.
Obama's numbers continue to increase, and McCain is losing support from long-time Republican allies daily. I think he would do himself and his country a huge public service to concede the race now. Not only is he going to get beat, he's going to destroy what little was left of his reputation. "We've got 'em right where we want 'em" he claimed today from that alternate universe that he and his running mate inhabit. I'm wondering if they both don't need to be in drug rehab.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I wish I'd been in the mood for today's festivities. I wasn't. My reluctance to throw myself into it was mirrored in our Gospel reading from Matthew 22, especially this part:

But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, `Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, `Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen.

I sat on the sidelines and envied those who were thoroughly enjoying themselves. I was not alone, however; there were several of us who said if the choir had not had such an essential part to play, they would have stayed at home. At least, I didn't have to weep and gnash teeth all by myself.

The most disconcerting part of this occasion is that it draws such a raucous crowd. Episcopalians are normally very reverent, entering the church quietly, kneeling to pray first thing, whispering discreetly to those around them if any visiting is done at all. Not on Goat Roast Sunday, they sound like a three-ring circus crowd. So the first mood I fell into was one of resentment for those who come only when they can be "entertained."

Then the old Baptist hymns put me in a sappy, sad, nostalgic funk. Surprisingly, I recalled every word of several old songs I haven't sung since this time last year - The Old Rugged Cross, Higher Ground, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms among them. Hearing Bluegrass bands always makes me miss Don, and I came as close to tears as I've come in a long time. Maybe it was getting the sad news about Paul Ballard's death right before leaving for church that tilted me to the down side of my emotional see-saw. Whatever it was, a gloomy cloud has hung over my head all afternoon.

I watched an unsettling interview on the PBS Bill Moyers' Journal this morning. George Soros is discouraged by the efforts being made, so far, in bailing out our economy. Then there were all those reports of Republicans claiming fraudulent voter-registration efforts. Are they gearing up to steal another election? At least, Obama is on top of it:

On Monday, Obama's communication's shop is expected to go on the offense on issues of voter protection after a week in which Republicans cried foul about registration efforts in various states and painted the community organizing group ACORN as a criminal enterprise.
Obama aides will attack Republicans over efforts to disenfranchise voters in several states, and announce a voter protection campaign involving hundreds of volunteer lawyers around the country.

That cheered me up some as did several predictions of an Obama landslide next month, some from conservative columnists even. Let it be, Mother Mary, let it be.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I so rarely get the urge to do housework that I've been trying to make the most of the last two days when I seem to have had this compulsion to clean everything in sight. What on earth has come over me? I know a couple of people who could come in and still find plenty of dirt and grime, but if they had seen what it looked like before, they would be impressed. I also gave both dogs baths and rearranged the furniture in the living room, so tonight I'm tired and my back hurts.

I had sorta planned to go to the cook-out at the church tonight, but could not summon the energy to do it. They're cooking all the BBQ for tomorrow's Goat Roast and Bluegrass Mass. From what I hear, the Saturday night before the Sunday event is a lot of fun. . . maybe next year.

I've tried to catch up on some of my reading tonight, but at 9 pm and only about half-way through the list of things I'd saved to peruse, I'm ready to turn in. The most despicable thing I've read is this part of the Rev. Arnold Conrad's invocation at the McCain rally today:

I would also add, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and election day.

The best thing I've read today is "Sorry, Dad, I'm voting for Obama" by Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley. I hope he is just the tip of a huge Republican iceburg that is going to sink the McCain/Palin ship. There were lots of Florida Republicans jumping ship today at an Obama rally in Miami. I hope this trend continues. Wouldn't that be loverly?

Friday, October 10, 2008

On the day that I decide I've had all I can take of McCain's nasty campaign tactics and must turn off the TV to preserve my sanity (and get acquainted with my new vacuum cleaner), the McCain campaign runs off the rails, alienates both camps of supporters - the grand old party guys and their white trash cousins, the rabid agents of intolerance. To top it off, the Alaskan legislative investigation committee concludes that Palin did abuse the power of the governor's office by firing Walt Monegan. How could I possibly have missed all the drama? Thankfully, I got caught up on it listening to one of my new favorite talk show hosts Rachel Maddow. What a day!

One of the most powerful statements of denouncement appeared in the Baltimore Sun from Frank Schaeffer:
John McCain, in 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.
He goes on to enumerate all the disappointments he's experienced as a former McCain supporter. Frank Schaeffer is the author of "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back." I saw him on C-Span one night and immediately wished that all my fundamentalist friends could hear what he has to say or read his book. He exposes all the un-Christian aspects of their politics.
I had fun with the new vacuum cleaner today. (I don't think I've ever made that statement in my life.) It's a shiny red Eureka which was left behind by a former renter. It had a broken belt so she junked it. My neighbor replaced the belt for $2.32 and it runs great. I've collected enough dog and cat hair to stuff a large pillow. My old vacuum no longer worked on the attachments setting, so you can imagine how desperately certain areas of my house needed cleaning.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Dow Jones closed at 8579 today, down another 679 points from yesterday. Americans are losing wealth by the minute, over a trillion dollars, so far, I heard; made me really nervous about opening the statements we got on our IRA's today. Of course, the totals were through the end of September and do not reflect what has happened in the first nine days of October. So now I know that a few of our dollars were in that trillion that disappeared.

I'm wondering if we're not witnessing another catastrophe of the 9/11 type. No one is jumping out of windows, yet, but the ruins of our economy, the fundamentals of which were strong, according to Bush and McCain until about a week ago, are collapsing into the smoldering inferno of dashed dreams and financial insecurity. Whoever comes out ahead in this election will inherit one helluva mess.

McCain's plan to rescue failing mortgages has upset supporters and opponents. In the latest revised version of his plan, the primary beneficiary is the banking industry. What taxpayer do you know who would be in favor of that? The Tampa Tribune, a conservative newspaper said this today of McCain's plan:

..he promises to spend billions to keep overextended homeowners in homes they might not be able to afford. That leaves us wondering where McCain would send the bill - to the majority of homeowners who aren't in financial trouble or to our children?
Many voices are calling for direct aid to homeowners, which may be possible. But McCain, who suspended his campaign to help reach a compromise on a rescue plan, now wants to take personal credit for a costly gift to a targeted minority. Such erratic behavior is uncharacteristic of the old McCain.

No wonder his campaign has gone back to old rumors that were debunked many moons ago. There's no ammunition left in the old man's arsenal.

My friend Jeanne sent a link to the Clarion Ledger article that her husband Steve wrote - Shattered dream? In economic crisis, voters may finally demand accountability. Take the time to read it. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The most glaring impression I got from last night's debate was that of McCain's smallness, not in his physical appearance, so much, as that of his emotional, intellectual, and moral character. He's mean, petty, dishonest and cowardly, afraid to say to Obama's face what he and his running mate and his advertising have been saying in their smears that include references to Ayers, Rezko and Wright. He's also afraid to say that we're going to have to make sacrifices in the years ahead if we are to ever dig ourselves out of the hole the Republicans have put us in. Where did they get the idea of getting everything for the low, low price of nothing?

I loved how Obama hung back, for the most part, and let him make a fool of himself. Even I could take some of his moments and make devastating commercials with his own words. McCain's surrogates were immediately out in full force blaming the mainstream media for misinterpreting their candidate's words and behavior. Seems the undecided voters, who rated the candidates' words and behavior as the debate progressed, interpreted what they saw and heard in the same way the pundits did, even on FOX (where the assinine host said, "The key is not who they like, but who they vote for." So they're hoping that hoardes of people vote for Candidate McCain, whom they don't like? LOL) I thought the town hall format was supposed to be McCain's best venue. I guess he did appear a little more human tonight, a tired, grumpy old human, but human.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

On C-Span, the cameras followed the Obamas for 10 or 15 minutes as they interacted with the crowd afterwards, signing autographs and making pictures. One of the Republicans, watching the big screen from an adjoining room, complained that they were not giving McCain and his trophy wife equal time. The cameraman explained that the McCains left the building about 5 minutes after the event ended. Was it the diverse crowd of Middle Class Citizens that made him uncomfortable, or maybe it was past his bedtime. Now there's a picture worth thousands of words!

Glory, glory, hallelujah! His truth is marching on!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Oct. 16th issue of the Rolling Stone magazine has an article that is much longer and more detailed than my short attention span can usually handle, but this morning I digested it all. (It helps to click on the print version so that all the text is on one full-sized screen; it's the narrow columns and the flashing ads that usually distract me from the task at hand.)
"Make-believe Maverick" by Tim Dickinson exposes most of the inconvenient facts that McCain stays busy trying to spin to his political advantage or in some cases, denies outright they ever happened. Does the man not realize that his flip-flopping has been recorded?
...his own statements show that he has been on both sides of a host of vital issues: the Bush tax cuts, the estate tax, waterboarding, hunting down terrorists in Pakistan, kicking Russia out of the G-8, a surge of troops into Afghanistan, the GI Bill, storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, teaching intelligent design, fully funding No Child Left Behind, offshore drilling, his own immigration policy and withdrawal timelines for Iraq.
It's no wonder the man acts like a confused old man most of the time! He is a confused old man.
...perhaps the most revealing of McCain's flip-flops was his promise, made at the beginning of the year, that he would "raise the level of political dialogue in America." McCain pledged he would "treat my opponents with respect and demand that they treat me with respect."
Throughout the campaign this year, McCain has tried to make the contest about honor and character. His own writing gives us the standard by which he should be judged. "Always telling the truth in a political campaign," he writes in Worth the Fighting For, "is a great test of character." He adds: "Patriotism that only serves and never risks one's self-interest isn't patriotism at all. It's selfishness. That's a lesson worth relearning from time to time." It's a lesson, it would appear, that the candidate himself could stand to relearn.
"I'm sure John McCain loves his country," says Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar under Bush. "But loving your country and lying to the American people are apparently not inconsistent in his view."
One of the reader's comments had this plug for Obama:
I’m glad people are starting to open their eyes to the truth. It’s been there all along, just go to the library of congress and look at the legislation McCain has introduced. Almost every single bill is military related. A search for Obama shows legislation for the betterment of Americans.. equal rights, housing, health care, environment, energy independence, increased fuel economy, etc..

Monday, October 06, 2008

At 11:00 am CST, a 13 minute video will be released by the Obama campaign revealing John McCain's involvement in the Savings and Loan debacle that came to be known as the Keating 5 Scandal. John McCain opened Pandora's Box when he decided to go to personal attacks against Obama for the remainder of his campaign. He may regret making that decision. I hope so. I'm glad that Obama is not allowing himself to be Swift-boated as Kerry was in 2004. I hate this part of campaigns, buy hey, all is fair in love, war, and politics, right? The gloves are off, according to the moose slaughtering governor from Alaska, and the fight from here on out will be dirty.

I continue to read and hear about this campaign as it compares to sports contests, and I don't totally disagree with that analogy. My only problem with that is, "Where are the referees?" Is it possible that before “we, the people” are subjected to another blood bath in 2012 we could have an ethics panel in place headed by an ombudsman to keep everybody honest and honorable, imposing real penalties for violations of rules, i.e. no advertising for 3 days, no personal appearances, etc?

I’m sick of the lies, the slander, the personal attacks and the waste of money it has taken to produce this garbage. Enough!

The Christian Science Monitor has a good article this morning using the sports analogy, Conservatives question McCain’s attack strategy. Some good comments follow, including one from Yours Truly. I comment on articles a lot lately, since I can't seem to get much civil conversation going with this blog, and the uncivil comments, I try to ignore. But that is getting harder and harder to do. I sure will be glad when this election is behind us.

The Dow-Jones just fell below 10,000, did you see it? Batten down the hatches, boys and girls! Hurricane season runs through November.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

"Sen. McCain and his operatives are gambling that they can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance. They'd rather try to tear our campaign down than lift this country up," Obama said at an event in Asheville, North Carolina. "That's what you do when you're out of touch, out of ideas, and running out of time," he said.

From now until Election Day, we can expect to hear a lot more from Republicans about William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Frank Raines, and other irrevelant people and issues. John McCain has nothing left but mud to sling at his opponent. If Tuesday night's debate in Nashville is anything like the one in Oxford, I'm not sure I can watch the whole thing. McCain's contempt and anger were so obvious and so close to the surface that it's a wonder he didn't self-destruct before our very eyes. Maybe he will this week.

This info was emailed to me on Friday and I've forwarded it to several people, but just in case you haven't seen it, please consider

How racism works:

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review? What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5?
What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to? What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization? What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

You are The Boss... which team would you hire?

With America facing historic debt, 2 wars, stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc. consider...

Educational Background:

Obama: Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
Biden: University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science. Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)


McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire ?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Cooper is 12 today! Happy Birthday, Grandson! I talked to him a few minutes ago, they had just returned from eating at his favorite restaurant. He had a fun day of baseball practice and playing video games with a friend. Clay is in Orlando at a high school band competition, he said. Ricky told me that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are in the playoffs for the first time ever. Maybe they will go all the way. Will they ever move back to Mississippi with all the good baseball they have in Tampa? Somehow I doubt it.

Our dream group met this morning and had a fairly intense session with the counselor who got us started. It is amazing to see how God works in and through our dreams, especially in a group where each person's perspective is a little different. Somehow it all comes together to make perfect sense. There is an unusual level of personal faith and emotional intimacy among the group's members, otherwise, I don't think we could go as deep as we go or receive the revelations we're given.

I've been getting hits on this blog from people who google images and are linked to some picture I've used. Most are pictures I found through Google and lifted, but every once in a while they land on one of my photographs. The most frequently viewed photo is the one of Gus on the 2/13/07 post, and they find it by googling pughuahua. The crying baby on 1/18/08 is another popular picture, but that's not mine (or me). She did perfectly illustrate how I felt at the time though. What frustration!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Our Madison lot looks almost bare, even though it has huge oaks and other trees on it. Missing are the elements that gave it that soft-around-the-edges look - the vines and bushes-grown-wild, the cyclone fence, the low hanging limbs on the trees. I really wish I had made before and after pictures. What sticks out like a sore thumb now is the house's need for a paint job.

The city still has not released the power permit, even though they told me the day before they would, but I'm not so worried about that today. Entergy got the lights reconnected in my name using my old permit number until we can get this silly city business settled. My renter called around noon yesterday almost ecstatic with the good news. "Just don't tell anyone who works for the city!" I instructed her, as I breathed a huge sigh of relief and prayed that my end run around the regulations did not incur the wrath of the powers that be. Our bond was finally approved, but they would not accept the bond number from one of their own respected businessmen, holding out instead for a hard copy. When I heard that, my slight twinge of guilt for pulling a sneak totally evaporated. It would not have bothered them, in the least, for me to lose a perfectly good renter. Yes, my hair got a little grayer this week.

I tried to watch the debate last night, but made the mistake of lying down to do it. I must have been more tired than I realized. I got about 10 minutes into it before losing consciousness. When I woke up around 11:30, the pundits were busy slicing and dicing and playing clips, so I watched some of that, then turned it on another station where they were replaying the whole thing and made another attempt to watch it. Again, I conked out. From what I've gathered, Sarah Palin did better than most people expected, Joe Biden managed not to bloviate, undecided voters were more impressed by him than her, and McCain's pull out from Michigan made more impact on the overall race than the debate. Maybe I didn't miss too much, after all.

Before the debate, I attended an organizational meeting at the Flowood Library for the Rankin County Democratic Women's Federation, met some nice, like-minded ladies, and managed to turn down the suggestion from a couple of them that I volunteer to be an officer. I really do not need or want anything else on my plate right now, really.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Getting a camel through the eye of a needle is supposed to be easier than getting a rich man into heaven, right? Well, today I've been trying to thread a needle with a camel, or it feels like it anyway. (The rich guy is on his own.) Some things are just impossible to do, but I had to give it a try.

Yes, I've been fighting Madison City Hall again. No power can be turned on until the property passes the city's inspection. The city won't inspect until the property owner has obtained a bond, and the bond can't be issued without a complete background and credit check. Even though I started on this process a week ago, we still don't have the bond, the city won't issue the permit for power, and my renter has moved in all her stuff and has no lights. She had to spend last night with a friend. She will have to do the same tonight. I'm pro-rating her rent for the inconvenience, but still it's turned into way more trouble than it should have been.

They've done all they can do to discourage property owners from renting out their houses. By the time I get through jumping through all their hoops, I will have spent several thousand dollars and still have an older home that doesn't quite measure up to their standards. I'm beginning to wonder if my civil rights are being violated.

I got a call last Saturday from a woman in Tampa who had seen my ad for the house and called to inquire about renting it. She had talked to a realtor who told her there was NO rental property in the city. "All our residents are home owners," she was told. When I told her the house was inside the city limits, she asked if I knew the city is saying there is no rental property there. Oh yes, I told her, I'm well aware that they would like to get rid of all of it. With all the new regulations, they're doing everything they can to discourage those of us who own rental property.

The Tampa lady is retiring and plans to buy a house, but wants to rent first to be sure she likes the city. Madison was named as one of the best retirement cities by Better Homes and Gardens, she told me. Even though I'd already signed a lease with our new renters, she and I had a long conversation about Madison and how snobby city officials are. I suggested she look over here in Rankin County around the Reservoir, and I gave her my friend Pam's name and telephone number. There are a couple of condos for sale in our complex, and it's the perfect place for laid-back living.

I've got thousands of dollars of work to do on the Madison place. They did agree to approve the power, before it's all done, so maybe I got a little bit accomplished, but we've still got to have trees and bushes trimmed, some totally removed, cyclone fence removed, house painted, etc. etc. Haven't these people heard there's a financial crisis going on? Maybe it hasn't hit them yet, but it certainly hit me today.