Friday, October 31, 2008

I Believe in Human Kindness

A quick note as we load the car. BOTH of our Obama yard signs were taken/destroyed today. In broad daylight! I quickly created a sign suggested by my friend Carol: "YOU CAN STEAL MY SIGN BUT YOU CAN'T STEAL MY VOTE! OBAMA ''08!" I stuck it in the ground next to the mangled Texans for Obama sign and ran a few pre-NM-departure errands. I told myself the homemade sign probably wouldn't last the afternoon. Wow! It was wonderful to turn the corner onto my street and see a brand new Obama/Biden sign in the yard next to my handwritten declaration. We're at our best when we do these kinds of things. Bravo peacemakers!

Taking The Show on the Road

Our bags are packed. We've checked the weather. The animals are taken care of. The GPS is programmed... We're off! Headed to New Mexico for four days of political canvassing, encouraging, reasoning, and cajoling. It's a swing state. We Texas democrats have come to terms with the redness of our home state, so many of us are shaking the dust of God's country from our sandals for a few days, and heading North. They call it GOTV - getting out the vote. And while I've always been passionate about the candidates I support, and the vote I cherish, I've never taken my determination quite this far. Really, I'm a big ol' introvert. The thought of "cold calling" on anyone, whether it be by phone or at the front door, gives me - I have to confess - a stomach ache. I'm sure as we approach that first unopened, uncommitted voter's door, I'll wish I were back home, sitting right where I'm sitting now, writing about what I'm thinking and feeling instead of acting on it. But we're going. Not in the comfort of a big busload of excited democrats...just two middle-aged hard heads in their mini-SUV. Not to a location where we might actually see one of the candidates on a final stump, but to the semi-rural plains of Southern New Mexico. Not to secure over-the-top electoral votes in a surprising EV turnaround, but to help hold onto a handful of votes that are already purple on most electoral maps. Still, we can't not go. Every good reason to stay home has failed to make any sense to us as we look the last few days of this historic election in the eye. We can't leave the end of this race solely up to the people who always do this kind of thing. We aren't comfortable with our usual "But, what can we do?" compassion conundrum. It's a story we have to be part of. And so we pack our TUMS, leave the house empty on Halloween, miss our son's birthday, miss election day in our own state with our own circle of friends...and we go. I'm taking the laptop. If the network gods are on my side, I'll be sending daily updates on the view of the end of George Bush's world from Clovis. Thanks for reading. Peace.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's a Sign....

Do we agree that all Americans are free to speak their minds in public? Can we agree with James Madison, who proposed the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, that anything inappropriately expressed by an individual will be subject to the natural course of justice according to criminal law? Last I checked, having a campaign sign in my front yard is not illegal. Furthermore...I just revisited the Constitution this morning, and it is still my right to express my views: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Even so, someone in my neighborhood thinks the Obama/Biden signs need to go. Another one was taken from the front yard sometime before 7 this morning. I'm trying to keep my outrage in check. After all, it's just a $2.50 sign and there is so much more that really matters to worry about. Bigger rats to kill, my friend Anita would say. But the rats who continue to think it's okay to grab my sign off its frame have really gotten under my skin. A couple of months ago, after we'd lost two signs in two days, I fired off a letter to the editor of my local newspaper reminding folks that a vote for freedom, country, mom, and apple pie meant I could have a Texans for Obama sign in my yard. Here are a few email responses I received after the letter was published: Here's a hint. Put up a sign that is reflective of what a true Texan thinks. True Texans are likely offended by that sign. However, if you put one up that said Idiots for Osama it would be left alone. I imagine that whomever is removing your signs is simply helping you obey the community rules, i.e. removing trash. Wow!!! Your neighbors object to garbage on your lawn and you are surprised? It is so ironic that you mention freedom of speech, yet Comrade Pelosi and Comrade Obama will work to re-implement the so-called "freedom doctrine" which will eliminate radio freedom of speech. Nothing fans my determination like rudeness. So, for a couple of months our sign has been "guarded" by lights that come on when someone walks by. (I'm married to a creative genius who is also motivated by having his rights violated.) In addition to the lights, the sign is attached to fishing line that pulls a switch and rings a bell if someone yanks on it. But, we dared to put a second sign on the other side of the lawn. Unprotected. It's really not the missing sign that bothers me. It's the spirit of meanness here in my upwardly mobile suburban neighborhood that leaves me raw. These are my neighbors: people walking by with their dogs, I presume, or running by pushing strollers, or just strolling by feeling annoyed by the plethora of Obama signs scattered about in this typically conservative GOP stronghold. What does it mean when we cannot even tolerate our neighbor's yard signs in an election season? This morning, I'm imagining a new sign on my front lawn. One in flashing neon that reads: I did not steal your yard signs in 2000 or 2004. I have not taken them this year. I have not ripped the smug bumper stickers from your cars. I have respected your waving flags, even when they have been hoisted in hate. I have endured 8 years of your president. It is my turn to hope. Please, leave my sign alone. Oh, and peace. PEACE.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oh...Eastern Time!

Yikes. I missed Senator Obama's 30-minute ad tonight. Dinner was over, dishes were in the sink, and I was planted in front of the TV at 8 PM. Except the piece aired at 8 PM EDT and I live in CDT...so I was off by an hour. In case you missed it...perhaps there was something else on at 7/8/whenever that you wanted to watch...maybe you were still eating dinner....maybe you're as network challenged as I am...here you go.

Doing the Hard Math

It bites to be poor. We sat over dinner with a friend last night who lives on $1,200 a month. If your head calculator is slow to figure such meager dollars after pondering numbers like $700-billion for the last six weeks...we're talking about an annual income of $14,400. Our friend has two children: a three year-old daughter and a three week-old daughter. He hopes to have custody of the girls soon. Without custody of the children, he is living well above the 2008 poverty level for one person ($10,400). If he becomes full-time caregiver for one of his daughters, he is still above poverty level. If he has custody of both girls, he begins to qualify for programs that use poverty levels for "vetting" participants. Of course he can't receive a pay increase, or work overtime. And he has two more mouths to feed, two more little bodies to clothe, and 52-weeks of daycare to provide. Wow. Do you know how much $1,200 a month is and what it affords? Here is our friend's financial picture:
  • $200/month rent. He's very lucky to currently share a rental with family members. Stirring two small children into the mix is sure to increase stress in the household. Who knows what's next?
  • $150/month student loan payment. This is for a tech program he didn't finish. It will cost him this auto-withdrawal payment every month for 15 years. Beware of these programs, they seem to be circling the economically disadvantaged.
  • $116/month legal debt. This is for past life run-ins with the law. The payment disappears if it is paid in full by September 2009. If it's not paid in full, there will be jail time and more fines for not paying the fines. This is a demoralizing cycle. Time in jail = time off work = no job to be found after jail time is served = more desperation.
  • $35/month car insurance. Liability insurance is required under Texas law.
  • $345/month car payment. This pays for a 13-year-old car with AC that doesn't work. The car was financed at one of those "No Credit, No Problem!" places. I probably don't need to say much more about this except these people are predators. Poor people are their prey. Our friend needs a car to get to his construction job. The location changes regularly. Public transportation in the area of town he can afford to live in is very hard to access. And, he cannot save money to pay cash for a car he can afford. He is at the mercy of a loan shark.
His employer currently offers a health care plan, and our friend's coverage is free under the plan. His daughters cost him about $2 each paycheck. If they actually have to go to the doctor, of course, the deductible is huge and the cost of medical care is almost prohibitive. So they wait until medical issues are emergencies, and they go to the ER. Bottom line: After basic commitments are met (remember his rent/utilities situation is a dream come true), our friend has $354 a month to put gas in his car, food on his table, diapers on his babies, and to be ready for anything unexpected...like, say, a tube of hydrocortosone cream for the poison ivy he picked up on the construction site ($6 at Walgreens). Never mind paying for anything remotely entertaining. Oh, except cigarettes...which run him about $50/month. Sure - he could give up smoking, and should. But, given the stress he's under and his history of anger issues and the fact that he can't afford to go to a movie, eat a dinner in a restaurant, pay a cable TV subscription - a $1.67 a day habit is probably the cheapest entertainment available. So, now we're down to $304 "disposable" income a month. Let's go ahead and factor in a tank of gas every 10 days for that 1995 beast. There goes $150. Now we're down to $154 for groceries and pampers. Oh...and there's the phone. Doesn't everyone need basic phone service so those basic human service agencies can get in touch with you if they ever have good news for you? $40/month. Now we have $114 for groceries and pampers and daycare and things unexpected. $28.50 a week. People like our friend are what we refer to as "the working poor"...and they typically fall through the cracks of every system. They certainly have been overlooked by our politicians this year. All of the campaign trail talk has been about the Middle Class...the Main Street Americans...the Joes from every walk of sustainable-income life imaginable (Joe the Plumber, Joe the Carpenter, Joe the Teacher, Joe the Nurse, Joe the Chocolate-Maker). What are we going to do about Pete the Poor? Pulitzer prize winning author David Shipler wrote a book a few years ago entitled, The Working Poor: Invisible in America. Here's an excerpt from the book's introduction: Most of the people I write about in this book do not have the luxury of rage. They are caught in exhausting struggles. Their wages do not lift them far enough from poverty to improve their lives, and their lives, in turn, hold them back. The term by which they are usually described, ‘working poor,’ should be an oxymoron. Nobody who works hard should be poor in America. Thirty-million people in this country are working poor. I have signed a petition at ONE.org, asking both Senator McCain and Senator Obama to keep their eyes on the enormously critical issue of global poverty. I invite you to do the same. I have also written to my candidate reminding him that the American dream is still nothing but a pipe dream for millions of folks in the United States. While our friend falls asleep each night staring at the financial worksheet posted on his bedroom wall, and praying for a miracle...I fall asleep on my pillow-top mattress, in my warm home, on my well-kept street, in my Homestead Tax Exempt county...mostly praying that nothing ever changes. Because it really bites to be poor. And I am not poor. What do we do, my peace loving friends?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Who....Us?

My pastor has a difficult job every Sunday of every year when she stands in the pulpit. During a political year - an historic campaign season - the job has got to be that much more difficult: Speak truth. Make it relevant. Don't endorse a candidate. An endorsement, you see, violates prohibitions set out in federal tax law for tax-exempt organizations (501(c)(3)). Clearly, this would not be a job for me this year. I cannot get through the check-out line at the grocery store without engaging someone in an opinionated exchange of endorsement. If it were my job to deliver a spiritual nudge, or a revelatory whisper, or a God-inspired headline every week...well, I'd surely have spoiled my community's standing with the IRS by now. But Mary addresses the faithful every week...we, the very people who have been part of turning an election into Us vs. Them (in the most faith infused way, of course). Most of us think all of us sitting together in that space agree (we lean liberal for churchgoers), but there is no doubt that some of Them are in our midst. We are all people who care very much about God's politics, and we agree most often with one another on most subjects. When it comes to our politics, though...we cannot define one another's views of the world. Apparently. I find the same to be true in my family. And my neighborhood. And my grocery store. Last Sunday, though, we all left the building with an assurance and hope that grew from what can only be described as a swell of corporate patriotism. I must stop here to explain that we are not that kind of church. We have no American flag. We do not proclaim any particular national standing with God. We never, ever sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Last Sunday, though, Mary dismissed us, after a challenging sermon about loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, by reading a portion of a column written by New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristoff. I had to share it with you:
The other day I had a conversation with a Beijing friend and I mentioned that Barack Obama was leading in the presidential race: She: Obama? But he's the black man, isn't he? Me: Yes, exactly. She: But surely a black man couldn't become president of the United States? Me: It looks as if he'll be elected. She: But president? That's such an important job! In America, I thought blacks were janitors and laborers. Me: No, blacks have all kinds of jobs. She: What do white people think about that, about getting a black president? Are they upset? Are they angry? Me: No, of course not! If Obama is elected, it'll be because white people voted for him. [Long pause.] She: Really? Unbelievable! What an amazing country!
I have to confess - the punch line there kind of knocked the wind out of me. I've spent months promising to move to Canada or New Zealand or Zimbabwe if the GOP is given another four years in the White House. It has not occurred to me, often enough, to marvel at the history that has already been made this year. Certainly, I have remembered the Civil Rights days of the 1960s...but only in the context of a fear that we have not moved far enough down that road. I have not stopped to ponder the idea that we might be an amazing country regardless of who wins in 7 days. So, I invite you to spend a moment or two today imagining a country where Barack Obama is not even possible. Not even possible. Entertain the idea that we live in an amazing country. I hope the thought makes the journey through the next 7 days a bit lighter. Peace.

Breathe, Laugh, Relax

We have all earned a 7 minute break. I started this morning on factcheck.org...looking to dispel (successfully) a revived email rumor making the rounds that has Senator Obama taking advice from three people who are billed as the key players in our failed Fannie and Freddie economy. Then the surfing began. I went to John Mellencamp's radio ad. That led to a satirical piece from a Sarah Palin rally in Nevada, in which a McCain/Palin supporter actually picks up horse droppings with his bare hands to illustrate the fix the country will be in if Obama is elected. I eventually landed on a piece entitled "Indiana KKK Says Obama Will Be Assassinated"... I'm not providing the link to that one. It is too disturbing. Why do we do this to ourselves? It's not even 10 AM, and I'm already frothing at the mouth and chewing on my fingernails. So I went looking for something a little easier on the soul. I confess I am a TV illiterate...I am assuming Ellen DeGeneres's show is daytime TV, and that most of you, like me, don't get to watch. Well...we missed a good one last week. Let the red-and-blue-and-brown map, and the who-said-you-said email, and the liars-liars-liars angst lie dormant for 7-minutes. Enjoy the break: I hope you're smiling. Peace.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, E-Day!

When I began this blog, there were 42 days remaining in the walk toward the light. Forty-two days to be filled with record numbers of new voters registered, 400+ campaign-related emails, 4 debates, 11 electoral map color changes, a fair amount of mud-slinging, and polls, polls, polls. I think it is fair to say there has never been anything quite like this election season. Imagine my excitement today when I opened my internet browser and up popped my countdown-to-election-day timer...showing a single digit! Nine days...NINE DAYS...until a new president of these United States is elected. Just nine more days of pundit pondering, breath holding, hand wringing, sign snatching (yes, mine was tampered with again) days...and then it's over. Has anyone else begun to wonder what we'll talk about then? What will compel us to check the news online, read our favorite blog, or watch Saturday Night Live? And, most importantly, what about the people in this nation, at your office, across your street, at your Thanksgiving table who did not get their way? The ones who believe the country is on a path of great despair...what about them? And, what if it's you? I propose we take the time we have...nine days...to make peace. Make peace with the great truth that we live in the land of the free, where choosing our president is a right that can only be taken from us if we are still serving time for a felony. It is a right that leaves a percentage of us feeling like losers every four years. Make peace with the knowing that our voices are ours to raise in every level of government, and no matter who's elected our voices cannot be taken from us. Even if it feels like we have not been heard this time. Make peace with your neighbor, who really wants exactly what you want: a job, a safe environment to raise children and dogs and cats, the ability to dream...always...of something better. Make peace with your own role in this process. And, make sure you've done enough. I'm headed to a swing state for five of the nine remaining days. Only a handful of electoral votes are at stake in New Mexico...but, the idea that some rural voter in Clovis might not get to the polls this year, or might not understand what's at stake in 2008, or might not feel empowered to be a part of deciding the future compels us (my husband and me) to go. Yep...it will all be over in 9 days. And, then reality begins again. Forty-two days ago, I invited you to think rather than follow. With 9 days remaining in this historic presidential campaign, perhaps it is time to follow...your heart, your hope, your dream for the future. I know your decision is made. What will you do with the next 9 days? Peace.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An Easy Lesson...

...on the difference between political ideologies and personal philosophies. ide·ol·o·gy - visionary theorizing phi·los·o·phy - the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group Take a look at the cartoon my friend Darlene (a good democrat) sent yesterday:

So, the political ideology represented here is the Democratic visionary theorizing that those who have more in this country should share with those who have less. The kids with lots of candy don't keep it all. It's the we're-going-to-spread-the-wealth-around kind of thinking.

But, don't miss the personal philosophy implied by the cartoon...which is that anyone who doesn't have more in this country is simply too lazy.

Perhaps the kids in their nice costumes with their custom trick-or-treat bags were just born with nicer parents than some other kids. Or, maybe they are simply the ones lucky enough to have parents at home. Or, parents with money to buy a costume. Maybe the kids drawn on this doorstep have no idea how lucky they are. And, perhaps it doesn't even occur to these kids that there are some people their age who aren't trick or treating.

Maybe the kids who aren't out in their costumes with their specialty candy buckets are sick, or permanently disabled, or hiding in a closet to avoid being beaten, or simply more worried about what's for dinner than what to wear on Halloween.

My political ideology would be better represented in this cartoon by Gary McCoy if the Democrat were saying: "Look how much candy you have. I'm going to take half and give it to the kids who couldn't trick or treat tonight."

I think you probably can deduct my personal philosophy.

And what if we turn the cartoon around, so the think bubble over the kids' heads reads: "Oh crap, a Republican (ideology)?" Here's my rewrite:

Look how much candy you have! I'm going to take half of it and give it to the kids who have so much candy they'll never know they have more!

Which ideology represents your philosophy? Peace. (Don't miss listening to Nanci Griffith by clicking on the title above. Check her face at about 1:10...there we are.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fears, Not Years, Make Us Old

So now we need to know that Barack Obama is not who we think he is. Sigh. I worked for a Lubbock television station in the 70s that was owned by R.B. McAlister, a Bible carrying, polio stricken, democratic member of the Texas House of Representaties (1969-1977). Mr. Mac, as we called him, had a Sunday night commentary at the end of every weekend news report...the content of which ranged from the virtue of being a good neighbor to the wild shennanigans of his cohorts in Austin. He ended every broadcast with this little nugget: "Remember, fears - not years - make men old." (women, too) Are you feeling old today? If so, you're right where the GOP wants you. I've been involved in a number of groups that run on fear. Without exception, they exhaust me. One was a school district with a vindictive and off balance superintendent. Another was a church with a pastor who needed to feel needed so much, we all had to be in ruins for the model to succeed. And, who hasn't seen a dysfunctional family operating solely on the emotion of fear? Fear is powerful. Very powerful. It is crippling, disabling, disorienting, and a catastrophic place to be when it comes to decision making. Don't let the McCain/Palin campaign push your fear button. The nation will have its say on this presidential election in just 12 days! It is becoming clear to me that the Republican machine plans to do all it can to engage our fear responses. What do they have left? We've made it hard for them this year. Americans apparently are no longer afraid of what "murderers" are doing to unborn children. We apparently are no longer running scared from same-sex couples who want to be married. And, we've grown leary (and weary) of the reprise of 911 for the sake of instilling the blood-chilling fear of terrorists on our soil. Now, the terrorist is apparently running for president. Jeez. We're not falling for that, are we? Would it surprise anyone out there if the next mailer from the RNC reminded anyone who might have been blinded by the light of hope that Barack Obama is, after all, a black man with a score to settle from the days of slavery? Don't be afraid. Be hopeful. Be courageous. Be the change. Peace.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Saw Those Boots at Target!

I hate to bore you with my day. It was a little bit girlie. A friend of mine is testing the waters of a wardrobe consulting business...and I just happen to be the ultimate test for someone who thinks they possess skill in this area. My closet is full of mostly outdated, purchased in a panic, all black clothing. She came in, seemingly unfazed by the challenge and left me an hour later with a prioritized list of items to purchase on my own time and at my own stores. She did suggest that the basic black, flared leg dress pant on the list be an investment kind of expenditure. I told her I thought my limit on a pair of dress pants would be $120. She hid a cringe and said, "Okay...spend $120, then." (Yikes, Toto...we're not at Old Navy!) I tell you this story only because fashion purchases seem to be top on our list of political issues today. $150,000 worth of fashion purchases, to be specific. Clothes for Sarah Palin, to be exact. Sarah and Todd and Trig (Did you hear that romper Trig was wearing at the convention on mama's speech night cost $92??!! I need to see a $92 romper before it's spit up on!). The purchases the Republican National Committee has made to clothe and accessorize the Palins since late August ring up like this:
  • $49,425.74 at Saks
  • $75,062.63 at Neimans
  • $ 4,716.49 on hair and make-up
  • $ 5,102.71 at Bloomingdale's
  • $ 9,447.71 at Macy's
  • $ 4,902.45 at Atelier
  • $ 295.00 at Pacifier (Trig's romper, etc)

Okay...let's be honest and fair. Who among us wouldn't need a few new items for the suitcase before embarking on an 8-week rally, TV, radio, newspaper, magazine tour? Likely the first thing I'd have said to John McCain if he'd called and asked me to be his VP would have been, "But, I have nothing to wear!" Oh, and I'm a democrat.

Really, though...Saks? Neiman-Marcus? We all know this is NOT where Joe Six-Pack buys Josephine's Christmas present. And, Joe the Plumber? I saw him yesterday in front of me in the check-out line at Target. Come on, GOP...get a clue.

Just for fun, I priced a few items on my wardrobe makeover list at Neimans. If you are an average person living on Main Street, America...prepare to be amused.

  • Black dress pants - $575
  • Woven cotten basic shirt (white) - $250
  • Woven cotten basic shirt (black) - $795 (oh, it's lusious!)
  • Beautiful funky green cardigan sweater - $365 (I think I really want this one)
  • Belted cardigan sweater - $575
  • Turtleneck sweater (need 2) - $275 each - $550
  • Ballerina flats - $195
  • Dressy boots - $1,145
  • All purpose suede dress shoe - $425

Total - $4875. And I still need another pair of non-mom jeans (it's the WASH that gives us away, ladies, not the fit!!), a couple of tunic tops, tights, some belts, some jewelry.

I will not be shopping at Neiman-Marcus. Shame on you, GOP.

And do we really believe the intention of the RNC is to give Palin's pricey clothes to charity at the end of the campaign? They must not believe they're going to the White House. It seems to me you'd want to look spiffy while being the VP just as much as you wanted to look spiffy trying to be the VP. Or...once elected...do the Palins go back to the clothes of the common people?

McCain's campaign spokesperson said she didn't understand why, with all the real issues to be discussed, people wanted to talk about pantsuits and blouses.

Hmmmm....we felt the same way last week about Bill Ayers.

Peace.

$8 on Barack Obama Please

Am I the last person in the country to find out about Intrade? The online trading company bills itself as "THE leading prediction market" (which begs the question, "There's more than one?"). I stumbled onto Intrade when I noticed a little NYSE looking box on the Real Clear Politics site last night. Turns out, it's a site for all of us to "trade political futures and tap into the wisdom of crowds." There's an oxymoron for you...the wisdom of crowds. Basically, Intrade allows you to bet, with real money, on a horse to win this presidential race. They've built the process and the website to mimic the stock exchange. There's even a ticker running across the bottom of the screen with info on the hottest trades of the day. You buy contracts, rather than shares...prices are determined by volume traded. You cash in, obviously, if you've bet on the right horse. Currently on Intrade, Obama stock is selling for 86.9 points (each point has a value of $0.10 USD). A winner is worth 100 points, so if you buy an Obama contract today and he wins...you make $1.31 on each contract you hold. McCain stock is currently selling at 13.0. So, if you take your chances on McCain at 13.0 and he wins...you make $8.70 on each contract you hold. In other words, Intrade shows McCain as the long-shot in this race. Intrade's execs claim their predictions are better than polls because people put their money where their intentions are. They also claim Intrade has successfully predicted everything from the winner of the 2004 presidential election to the top picks on American Idol. (If you're interested, you can place your bet today on when Mad Cow Disease will hit the US). Why does this make my stomach hurt? Have we become such dullards that we won't even pay attention to our presidential elections unless we have some immediate reward coming? Or some gambler's rush in store? Or some reason besides world shaping decision making hanging in the balance? There's a sort of Fantasy Football feel to the whole thing. You suddenly care about a game you likely wouldn't otherwise watch because you have something tangible at stake. Some money in the game. It could be argued that people who might otherwise be lazy and vote a party line without thinking become obsessed with national and world issues in order to make wise Intrade contract investments. I imagine, for instance, the Fantasy Football player in my family knows more about Rodney Harrison's right thigh muscle this week than he ever thought he'd need to know. Point taken. But why not put money on a candidate to win by making a contribution to that candidate's campaign? The reward might not be a $30 wire transfer to your bank account on November 5...but it could mean a lower federal deficit, less money spent on war, more money spent on alternative energy development, and health care everyone can afford. What's the wager on the Common Good? I'm all in. Peace.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What Would Homer Do?

I have never voted early. I love voting on election day. My precinct's polling place is a retirement residence just around the corner from my house. I could walk there, but I usually drive. The very act of parking the car with my candidates' stickers on it and walking into the building with voter registration card in hand...well, it makes me stand a bit taller. I'm voting. The words always go through my mind and make me happy. This is my 9th presidential election as a voter. There have been untold numbers of local and state elections along the way as well. Still, I have not lost my sense of appreciation and obligation about taking part in our system by casting my vote. Inside my precinct polling station, the gracious, elderly residents are always dressed in their Sunday clothes, smelling of Here's My Heart perfume and Old Spice. They serve as greeters and hosts from 7 am 'til 7 pm. The Ladies Baking Committee always has a table set up with cookies and cakes for sale. I always buy something. I don't know what the money is for, but I wouldn't dream of passing them by. They are adorable. Our ballots are always paper here. We sit at desks with those don't-cheat-off-your-neighbor, three-sided boxes on top. We put our ballots into locked metal boxes at the exit. This is election day to me. Today I was standing in line at a lovely, but comparatively soulless, performing arts center. The process was slick. They scanned my registration card into some machine that I suppose holds the name of every voter everywhere. They printed two sticky labels...all about me...in less than 20 seconds, and gave me one of the labels to hand to a helpful gentleman who asked me to pick my station. Station? I've never voted electonically. Every story about ways people have messed up an electronic vote raced through my head. I was a little bit afraid, I have to admit. But I resolved to take as much time as I needed, even though a half dozen helpers were lurking behind me in a very non-secret-ballot kind of way, with an unspoken message to "move along." Undaunted, I told myself I would read every single word as many times as I wanted to. Except I forgot my glasses. It took longer than anyone wanted. Warning to all who feel no fear about interacting with technology. DO NOT HURRY. Read the instructions. Re-read your ballot once you are finished. I know you know how to use the back-up button. Use it. That red flashing VOTE on the top of the machine means it's the real deal when you push it. I hope I did what I meant to do. And now I wait...which is not my gift. I like the instant gratification of voting in the morning and watching returns in the evening. I'm like Homer Simpson after he's told at a restaurant that his whole fried buffalo will take an extra 2-minutes to prepare. "But I want it NOW!" whines Homer. Me too. Still, I was there this morning...15 days before the nation is counted...casting my vote in what I believe to be the most important election of my lifetime. The guy who checked my groceries later in the day said, "Wow, you're eager!" when he saw my I Voted sticker. "It's my contingency plan...in case I get hit by a truck before November 4," I told him. He said, "Why would you care then?" "I have children." Vote. Peace.

Get Out The Map*

...to our new future! Early voting has begun in my state. The rubber now meets the road. The voters we registered until midnight two weeks ago are now the people we must get to the polls. I've been humming the Indigo Girls tune* since that night I stood waving "LAST DAY TO REGISTER" signs in the middle of a busy Austin intersection. Even that night, as we celebrated the record number of new registrations...we all knew: It's not the registration, it's the vote that matters. Turn up your speakers. Hit the play button on the Indigo Girls below, and sing out! The new words are mine (apologies to Amy Ray and Emily Saliers). Hum the refrain every day until November 4. And do your part to Get Out The Vote! The saddest sight my eyes can see Is that big ball of red growing sea to shining sea Sitting in red state thinkin’ my vote is not the key This perfect moment will soon be leaving me Barbie calls from Denver the race is hot the polls are high And that same list that warms our hearts can leave us high and dry Everything we’ve learned before is enough to keep us cryin' Or make us more determined to take this contest to the wire Get out the vote Get out the vote And let this hope stand big on solid ground We'll leave the wonderin’ to those who say nothin’ new can be found Don't drink the water Complacency seems to be ailing everyone I'm gonna grab my card I'm gonna stand in line I'm gonna vote for something new With this vote that’s clearly mine! Clinton left the Big White House a few years ago Then that Texan took the job and it is time for him to go And us - we’re still trying to live a good life with this load That’s heavier by the year And crazier than we know. Why do we let ourselves believe that our voices have no place I must say around some corner I can sense a resting place With every lesson learned a line upon your beautiful face (this line is too cool to change) We'll amuse ourselves one day with the history we’ve aced!! Get out the vote Get out the vote And let this hope stand big on solid ground We'll leave the wonderin’ to those who say nothin’ new can be found Don't drink the water Complacency seems to be ailing everyone I'm gonna grab my card I'm gonna stand in line I'm gonna vote for something new With this vote that’s clearly mine! I'm gonna grab my card I'm gonna stand in line I'm gonna vote for something new With this vote that’s clearly mine! YeeHa! Peace.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Have a Fear

I spent much of the day stewing over a cartoon emailed to members of a California GOP women's group. Have you seen the "Obama Buck?" The caption above this illustration in the newsletter read: "Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on? Food stamps, what else!" The president of the 200-member organization says she did not intend her cartoon to have any racial innuendo. Fried chicken, ribs, watermelon, and KoolAid were just random foods she chose to put on the buck. Random, schmandom, I said. I followed my Obama Buck angst through pages and pages of scholarly pieces on racism in America...and then read a number of editorial writers who challenged the studied observations. I left the desk so completely muddied with words, all I could do with my day was scrub floors and rearrange books on my bookshelf. I re-played in my head the lunch I had a few weeks ago with a friend I've known and trusted to be brilliant for 30 years. She told me over coffee and pie that day that Barack Obama "won't happen." "Americans are too racist," she said with nothing but calm and confidence. Not a shred of outrage about it...just the hard, cold facts. I sputtered and scratched and scrambled for my composure then, much as I did today. She had kicked me into a ditch. I got out of it by assuring myself she was wrong. I was back in the ditch this morning. Racism always catches me off guard. I am issue focused as I look at the candidates running for president. I have let myself believe the color of Senator Obama's skin is not an issue in 2008 America. One of those (Pulitzer nominated) scholars I read this morning, Joe Feagin, burst my bubble: Colorblind thinking and rhetoric are central in covering up the continuing impact of what I term the “white racial frame,” the centuries-old, white-constructed racist frame rationalizing white prejudice and discrimination against African Americans—including likely large-scale white voter decisions against a black presidential candidate in November. It is absolutely pathetic to vote against a candidate rather than for a candidate. It is unbelievably lazy to base a vote on how a candidate looks. And may I take this moment to say: it is racist to make assumptions about a candidate because of the color of his skin. What do you want for this country in the coming years? What do you want? Vote for that. Not for what you fear or what you've heard someone else say or what you think the rest of your friends will say. The ballot is your secret. Here's what I want:
  • I'm voting for a promise of withdrawal of our troops in Iraq.

  • I'm voting for a tax plan that worries less about the guy who never has to think about his bank account balance and more about the family that can't afford milk for breakfast.
  • I'm voting to provide equal access for all to doctors and hospitals and prescription drugs.
  • I'm voting for funded mandates in our public schools.
  • I'm voting for the hope that we will all come together to work passionately and compassionately to make a good world for our children and grandchildren.

And, I want to believe I live in a country with people who treasure their right to vote enough to make their own 2008 decisions. We settled the "white racial frame" in 1865. And again in 1964.

Surely we have bigger fish to fry now.

Sleep well. Peace.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh Cockamamy Me!

I thought Barack Obama was brilliant last night. Best ever. He stood up quite gently and firmly to the bully in the cranky old man costume who showed up to share table space with him and answer Bob Schieffer's questions. And he directly answered the questions...sprinkling only lightly with the salt of his standard talking points. He was confident because he came with specifics on every topic. He was cool because he had nothing to hide. He was a winner because he stayed above the undercutting style that has become John McCain. I am so disappointed in Senator McCain. Does no one on his staff understand the virtue of a glass of wine? Honestly...the man needs to breathe and think and smile instead of using that short-gasp, rambling jab, sinister grinning thing he does. It just makes him look so bad. Really, dude, try yoga. He said "hurting and angry" too many times (gee, I thought I was feeling okay, Senator, but now that you mention it...). He suggested Obama was launching a "class war." This from a man who can't remember how many homes he owns? (NOW I'm hurting and angry!) He called Obama "Senator Government." I'm betting that was a slip of the tongue that sent his spinners reeling. Can anyone imagine the other names the McCain camp uses behind closed doors to describe Senator Obama? He sneered and air-quoted the word HEALTH...mocking Senator Obama's concern about women in risky pregnancies. For some reason McCain seemed to believe mentioning a woman's health in a conversation about late term abortion was a work of eloquent trickery on Obama's part. And speaking of eloquence...he used the word "cockamamy" to describe Senator Biden's plan to decentralize the government in Iraq. (And, he forgot to mention the other 72 senators who supported that cockamamy idea.) His comments about Sarah Palin? Oh, for garden seed! McCain's gushing "I'm so proud of her" over and over in a fatherly tone did NOT settle the question about her qualifications to be president. But here's the craziest thing...some people I'm reading today actually think John McCain won "on points" last night. Really? Were there some points I missed besides: "Vote for me because Senator Government is going to raise Joe the Plumber's taxes?" Did he veer noticeably from the blah-blah-blah we've heard recycled every time he speaks? When he did stray from the script, could you really score a point for the man? Really...did he whip Senator Obama's you-know-what like he promised? Really? I have concluded that I have completely lost my objectivity. It hurts to admit that. I felt certain I could post measured, insightful, compelling pieces here without any overwhelming biases seeping through the lines. I am, after all, the peace mama. But I just can't do it today. And I cannot leave unchallenged the media work that is painting Senator Obama out to be a cool customer who thinks he's got this game in the bag. It's a bid to engender complacency in a campaign that is high on enthusiasm. I can tell you that no Obama supporter I know considers the work finished until November 5. The idea that Senator Obama was resting on his laurels last night, and dodging a fight just to avoid losing his lead in the polls is an attempt to infuse arrogance into a candidate who believes he is still a long shot. Call me cockamamy, if you need to. But don't discount the comments made yesterday by Senator Obama's #1 supporter: Watch CBS Videos Online Peace.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The War I Support

The War on Poverty. Lyndon Johnson declared it in January of 1964. In that year, 19% of American families lived at or below the national poverty level ... an annual income of $2,473 a year. Forty-eight years later, 15% of America's families live at or below poverty, represented by an annual income of $14,824 for a family of three. Is anyone declaring a 4% decrease over 48 years a victory in this war? Federal welfare assistance was established in the 1930s, and ended as a government funded entitlement program in 1996, during Bill Clinton's presidency. The program that replaced welfare was Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and it remains the program administered to our impoverished citizens today. The annual budget for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families is currently $17.5 billion...which translates into an average TANF payment...for a family of three living on less than $15,000 a year...of $166 a month. Meanwhile, the War in Iraq costs $12 billion a month. As my mama has been known to say...if you want to know where your priorities are, look at your checkbook. The final debate between our presidential candidates has just ended. I heard no "buzzwords" to identify either Senator Obama or Senator McCain as a champion for the poorest in our land. The focus is on a financial crisis so sprawling that most of us have no idea how it will impact us. Our candidates for president are, at best, aiming their heftiest remedies at the middle class. But what about the poor? We must not forget the poor among us. So, on this Blog Action Day....the day bloggers across the world have spoken out on the subject of poverty...count me in! Mama de la Paz supports the war on poverty. Wiping out poverty here and around the globe is our most reliable road to peace.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Are You Ready to Rumble?

I can't remember when politics seemed like such sport.

There's so much to read and hear about tonight's debate strategy and game plan, I feel like I'm anticipating the Texas-OU kickoff all over again (hooked 'em last Saturday, by the way).

What must McCain do to hit the ball out of the park?

What must Obama do to maintain his ranking in the polls?

What will Bob Shieffer do to keep the game on track?

Just for point of reference...and great fun, take an 8-minute look at where these televised debates between presidential candidates began on September 26, 1960. Not much style. Not much hoopla. Not much difference in the messages. Sigh.

There were 66.4 million viewers in 1960. Networks expect about the same number tonight. I suppose that proves that interest in politics hasn't really grown with the country's population or with our media sophistication. Double sigh.

I'm still deciding how I'll watch tonight. Will I head to a local bar where democrats hang out and raucously cheer and boo...or stay at home with my Washington Post debate drinking game and not worry about post-debate driving?

Wherever you are tonight, I invite you to watch the exchange at least as attentively as you sit with college football. Then turn off the TV to discuss your opinion of the 90-minute contest with people you trust. Don't let pundits tell you what you saw. Do your own thinking.

And let me know what you thought by posting something here.

Go team!

Peace.

Out in the Real World

"Many writers do little else but sit in small rooms recalling the real world." -Annie Dillard I write these posts from a regrettably uncomfortable chair in a very cozy study with a lush view outside my window and a strong cup of $12/pound coffee sitting at my elbow. I read a lot of news online, in magazines, on blogs, and in my local daily newspaper. When I begin to go stir crazy, I ride my bicycle three miles around the neighborhood...and sit back down. My "real world" exposure is mostly in runs to the grocery store, emails and phone calls with like-minded friends, and the tidbits my husband brings home at the end of the day. Here's his report from yesterday, as he traveled from Austin to Colorado: Flew to Denver today next to a woman who told me that although she really didn't like McCain, she was not voting for Obama because he was going to be indicted soon for his association with Rezko and Ayers... Then told me about how irresponsibly the Democrats had been running up the national debt. Next she went on to say how criminal it was that all the fat cats were walking away with millions in our economic crisis. Then she told me how she was supporting her mom now because she (mom) had been impoverished by medical bills because she could not afford insurance...but she (the woman) thought a national health care plan was a really bad idea. I commented that I had grown up on national health care in the US military and she agreed that it had been really good when she was in the Army too...but reminded me that it was really bad in Canada where people have to wait in line to see a doctor...like she did when she was on a voluntary HMO (Kaiser) when she lived in Oregon. She concluded that what she really wanted to see was for McCain to croak quickly after the election so Palin could be president. "She would be a great president. I don't think she really needs to know anything...she has great common sense...that's what a president really needs." Wow! I really should get out more. Sitting here in my comfy room, the real world I like to recall is one in which people end their opines on controversial topics with, "What do you think?" Had this seat companion of my husband's stopped to ask this question, she might have been gently encouraged to at least examine the inconsistencies in her story. As I pour my third cup of coffee, I like to imagine a real world in which Thinking + Dialogue = Wisdom...even if we don't all agree on the final answer. To carry the math analogy one step further, honest conversation asks folks to show their work. That helps reduce the occurrence of answers that come from glancing on your neighbor's paper and copying her work. Right? I am wide open to embracing our differences. I am feeling quite closed to embracing our ignorances. Ninety-nine percent of the US population can read. It seems reasonable to hope that most folks you run into out in the "real world USA" have been doing their own reading about the issues and the candidates currently before us. Instead, apparently, it's a bit more like a bad reality TV show. Wouldn't it have been nice to find out the woman sitting next to my husband was not a real voter, but a plant for Network XXX's latest episode of "Pass the Nuts?" Eighty-percent of US households have easy access to the Internet. Would it be too hard to google "candidates +issues"? Then you folks out there in Real World America could count on at least 4 out of 5 informed conversations about this election. Oh my. What makes us comfortable running in packs and letting others do our thinking for us? I must leave this comfortable space and get out more. My room is apparently a bit too small to imagine reality with accuracy. How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think. Do you know who said this? Adolf Hitler. Peace?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

22 Days of Truth?

I'm tired of Palin-ology. Do you know there are people...people who do NOT work for the National Enquirer...who spend their days trying to find pictures that prove the Governor of Alaska was not pregnant this year? I'm tired of Town Hall Fear Mongering. Do you know there are people...people who do NOT work for the CIA...who spend their days trying to find evidence that Barack Obama is an Islamic Radical? I'm tired of FOX Fact Fudging. Do you know there are people who actually make a living finding the crazies mentioned above and putting them on national TV? I cannot bear another idiotic editorial or smug look or ignorant rant from the Political Right. And, I am growing equally tired of the frenzy strategies from my side of the stadium. It is time for this election season to end...before, I pray, utter depravity, ignorance, and lunacy become the only American voices heard on the world stage. Were you aware of what was said about us last week by Nobel prize official Horace Engdahl? He was quoted as saying the United States is "too isolated" and "too insular" to generate literary Nobel laureates. Ugh. In case the word "insular" doesn't embarrass you, here's Webster's definition: ...being, having, or reflecting a narrow provincial viewpoint. The jeers and curses are not funny anymore. They are depleting the dignity that our system of government allows each individual. It's the dignity to be, well, an individual. Can we stop parroting what we hear on TV or read on our favorite blogs? If you come across something that concerns/gripes/puzzles you in the next 22 days can you promise to check the facts before passing the information along? Add a factcheck wire report (consider it your daily clarification) to your browser home page (http://www.factcheck.org/). A voice of sanity amid the blah-blah-blah voices tied to the THREE R's (television Ratings, newspaper Revenues, general emotion packed Rants) is actually quite helpful. According to the poll on this blog last week, 80% of us believe politicians lie to us in order to be elected. 20% aren't sure one way or another. No one disagreed with the statement that politicians lie. I'm not sure why being lied to is okay with me...but I refuse to be a conduit for deceit. I invite each of you to be part of a movement to stop the madness over the next three weeks. Can we commit ourselves to "just the facts, m'am/mister?" Here are my top 3 stick-to-the-facts topics:
  • Who has a plan for ending the war in Iraq and bringing our boys and girls home?
  • Who has tax proposals that redefine a system that currently makes the rich richer and the poor poorer?
  • Who has a plan to create health care options for people in this country who can't come up with cash to see a doctor?

What are your factual non-negotiables for the next three weeks? Can we carry truth with us between now and November 4?

This is, actually, one of our sure paths to Peace. The truth.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Checkin' the Facts

This morning, on factcheck.org: McCain and Obama debated for the second time, in Nashville. We noted some misleading statements and mangled facts:
  • McCain proposed to write down the amount owed by over-mortgaged homeowners and claimed the idea as his own: “It’s my proposal, it's not Sen. Obama's proposal, it's not President Bush's proposal.” But the idea isn’t new. Obama had endorsed something similar two weeks earlier, and authority for the treasury secretary to grant such relief was included in the recently passed $700 billion financial rescue package.
  • Both candidates oversimplified the causes of the financial crisis. McCain blamed it on Democrats who resisted tighter regulation of federal mortgage agencies. Obama blamed it on financial deregulation backed by Republicans. We find both are right, with plenty of blame left over for others, from home buyers to the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
  • Obama said his health care plan would lower insurance premiums by up to $2,500 a year. Experts we’ve consulted see little evidence such savings would materialize.
  • McCain misstated his own health care plan, saying he’d give a $5,000 tax credit to “every American” His plan actually would provide only $2,500 per individual, or $5,000 for couples and families. He also misstated Obama’s health care plan, claiming it would levy fines on “small businesses” that fail to provide health insurance. Actually, Obama’s plan exempts “small businesses.”
  • McCain lamented that the U.S. was forced to “withdraw in humiliation” from Somalia in 1994, but he failed to note that he once proposed to cut off funding for troops to force a faster withdrawal.
  • Obama said, “I favor nuclear power.” That’s a stronger statement than we've heard him make before. As recently as last December, he said, “I am not a nuclear energy proponent.”
  • McCain claimed “1.3 million people in America make their living off eBay.” Actually, only 724,000 persons in the U.S. have income from eBay, and only some of them rely on it as their primary source.

For further analysis of the evening, absent of any comment about how the candidates LOOKED, check in with factcheck.org.

Peace.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Debate Scorecard

If you have trouble with today's copy of the card, pick it up on the October 2 post! Happy thinking....! Peace.

Do Politicians Lie?

How can you tell a politician is lying?
His/her lips are moving.
So goes the joke.
But, does YOUR politician lie?
If you have a favorite presidential pick this year, the answer to that question is probably. Apparently at least 36 whoppers have been told by John McCain and Barack Obama (combined total) this political season. These whoppers, identified for us by the nonpartisan, nonprofit, “consumer advocate” for voters (http://www.factcheck.org/) are gently labeled half truths, or misrepresentations of the truth by factcheck. Do you call these lies?
I have a feeling most of us feel lied to if someone gives us information in this form...but maybe not if the someone is a candidate for public office? Is there a good reason for thinking people to settle for this?
Is it the way our information is fed to us...the sound-bite, the quotable quote, the youtube video, the supporters' rally, the timed-answer debate...that determines how much truth we believe our candidates are able to communicate? Is it that we really enjoy the idea of winning so much we don't care anymore about how the game is played? Or do we think the truth really doesn't matter when it comes to politics? Or are we not buying any of the BS from either side? Or are we rationalizing our own candidate's lies by qualifying them as "small" or"not as bad as..." ?
I'd love to hear your ponderings on the matter. Especially after tonight's debate. Just post a comment here. The debate begins at 8 PM CST.
And, by all means, register your response to the statement on the blog: All politicians...the ones I support and the ones I don't support...tell lies in order to be elected.
I'm inserting the "GODVOTE" scorecard, if you care to listen for peace and justice buzzwords tonight. It's pretty easy to keep score on these subjects, as they rarely come up on either side of the stage.
For those of you reading via email, don't miss "The Circle of Lies" video that's linked to the title on the blog. You can see it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4njer6BBgQ
People are so creative!
Peace, all.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are You Registered to Vote?

...at your current address? Midnight tonight is the deadline, in many states, to register to vote in the upcoming election. Please! Be prepared to exercise your most basic freedom within our democracy. Drop any excuse you have: my vote doesn't matter in my state, I don't really like either candidate, the system is corrupt, my vote and my wife's/friend's/parent's vote just cancel each other out, I don't know how to register... Oh c'mon! It's the right to vote! At some level, isn't that empowering? If you're a woman, remember...this has been your right for less than 100 years. Many of our suffragist sisters stood up with great courage to the strongly held belief that women did not need or deserve to be counted. http://www.milist.org/WhyWomenShouldVote.pdf If you live in Austin, you should be able to find folks registering voters in front of any Blockbuster or Thundercloud all day and night today. If you live in another city/state, and don't know how to register before midnight...just click on the link in the title above. During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Stevenson called back, "That's not enough, madam...we need a majority!" Register to vote. Peace.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Had to Share This

Click on the title. Breathe. Smile. Peace.

Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout...

...the same old things. The debate between Senator Biden and Governor Palin was...well...a bit of a yawner. No crazy "in the airspace" rambling from the governor and nothing but focus on the mission and gentlemanliness from the senator. Governor Palin was well rehearsed and intentional about swimming back to the edge of the pool when she found herself in deep water. She winked at us and said things like "there ya go again." For reasons I don't really understand, Americans find that presentation likeable. I find it a little too presumptuous. It seems someone in the GOP believes I like to be spoken to in over-solicitous tones and third-grade language. Senator Biden spoke like a man who's been paying attention and taking his work very seriously in the US Senate for 35 years. He wasn't folksy...but he let us know he stays in touch with the folks back home. While the polls on the likeable-ness of the candidates favor Governor Palin today, the polls on the competency of the candidates go heavily to the side of Senator Biden. The best comment of the evening on Main Street-My Street came from one of my favorite political thinkers...a 24-year-old Texas A&M graduate who we are certain will be President one day (if the country ever gets over the gag reflex that comes with the thought of another Texan in the White House). His text message to me at 9:53 pm was: Watching this Vice Presidential debate is like watching Betty Crocker debate Thomas Jefferson. I'll take the person who knows where Lebanon is on a map... We'll have to counsel my young friend on his sexist imaging before we launch him into the national spotlight. Still...the analogy worked with the thinking people gathered at my house. Finally...tracking our "faith vote" buzzwords last night wasn't too difficult. I heard: global warming, wildlife, equal civil rights for gays, bi-partisan, healthcare, and a "must do better" (but how?) mention of pubic education. Candidates are NOT talking about poverty, misappropriated justice, racial and gender equality, fair wages, homelessness, hunger. The target is middle-class, got-it-together, on-the-track-to-greater-wealth America. I guess we haven't worked hard enough to register voters among the poor people in this country. We will have to be their voice. Peace. By the way...if you're reading these entries (thank you) on email only, you're missing my creatively incorporated weblink of the day. In email, you'll have to copy and paste the link at the top of the piece into your browser. If you go to the blog site, you can just click on the title. Don't miss today's!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Debate Scorecard

Listen for buzzwords from candidates tonight that just might tell us something about what they're thinking on the issues that 72% of us agreed we care about in a poll here this week.
Click on the bingo card above for a printable/legible version.
And thanks to MomsRising.org for this idea!
Have fun. Report back tomorrow!

Palin Shots Anyone?

Everyone else is taking them... (click above) Here's a small sampling of today's headlines:
  • Growing Skepticism for Palin Says Washington Post/ABC Poll
  • Stakes High for Palin in Tonight's Debate
  • No Free Pass for Palin, Say Evangelicals

Nothing cuts closer to the heart, though, than last week's piece from conservative political columnist Kathleen Parker, who wrote: "my cringe reflex is exhausted." Then Parker implored the Alaskan governor to "save McCain, her party, and the country she loves" by bowing out and going home.

I can't wait to see Governor Palin stand before us all (including Joe Biden) tonight...knowing she may never live this 90-minutes of her life down. It's like the final installment of an American Idol season. If only we could use our cell phones to vote.... The news pundits tell us to be watching for appearances: Who looks "vice presidential"...How do the candidates greet one another...Will Palin commit an unforgivable blunder of intelligence...Will Biden commit an unforgivable error of long-windedness...Will Sarah Barracuda emerge...Will Joe Jab show up? They have made it worth watching, haven't they? Look for a "Debate Bingo" card posted here later today (the technology is stumping me at the moment). Use it tonight to distract yourself from the jeers and jabs and guffaws. Maybe we'll discover some real issues being addressed by these two sideshow spotlight stealers. I hope we do. Peace.

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