Monday, September 29, 2008

The 65th Reunion

Ronni, of TIME GOES BY asked me if I was going to write about my High School 65th reunion and I told her that I wasn't. However, since I really need a break from politics for at least one day I think I will ruminate on it. After all, this is a hodgepodge.

As I usually do, I left Tucson sleep deprived. I am always afraid that I may have set my alarm clock wrong and won't wake up in time to leave. Add that to the stress I always experience before I travel and I am lucky to get in three hours.

This is the first time I have flown since the plastic bag rule was installed so I made a list of items I thought I needed to put in it. I ended up with the quart bag full of cosmetics, perfume and meds. I hoped that none of them would leak and spoil the others. I sealed my perfume so tight I had trouble getting it open when I needed it.

I had to change planes in Phoenix and that was not the problem that I anticipated. (I now get a wheel chair every time I board or disembark the plane to avoid standing in line.) Even so, I managed to fall down and bruise my ego on the plane. I was trying to stand from a very limited space and found there wasn't enough room to do my 'bend over and lurch" movement to achieve an upright position. I then tried using the arm rests on each side of the narrow aisle to gain leverage and ended up on my well padded rear. The flight attendant was a man and I was facing another kind man and between the two of them they helped me achieve my goal of being able to walk to the rear of the plane to the only facility.

That, unfortunately, was not the end of my embarrassing experiences. I fell outside at my friends house and discovered to my horror that I can no longer get myself up. You remember that commercial "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up." Well, that was me and my friend had to call 911 for assistance. Mercifully, it was dark so the neighbors couldn't see me; at least until the paramedics arrived. Again, the only thing bruised was my ego. It was a wake-up call and I am now researching medical alert devices.

My hostess met me in Colorado Springs and there was a mix-up in my arrival time and I had to wait an hour wondering what might have happened. It is still in the high 90's in Tucson and I think the Colorado temperature was around 68*. My coat, which I wisely took, was packed and the 'chair pusher' left me outside so I was cold. I guess I should have enjoyed that as I returned to Arizona extreme heat.

Our reunion was held at three wonderful clubs, plus a brunch at the High School we graduated from. The first night was a get-together in an old, but lovely, club. I had never been in it before and felt like I had stepped into an English movie - wood paneled walls, stained glass, comfortable leather chairs - the whole private club setting. Since my hostess was on the committee and had to stay at the sign-in table I decided to take photos of everyone as they entered.

Let me tell you, if you haven't seen someone for sixty or so years you sure find out how they have changed. You have probably heard the old joke about the two people who met and the first person said that the other person had gotten so old that she didn't recognize me. "Tain't funny, McGee." (And for all of you too young to recognize that quote, ask your mother.) White haired women and men (some with no hair) were in abundance. There were walkers, canes, and other aids used by we 83-84 year olds. Nonetheless, there were still those who could hop around like teenagers and those who could still 'cut a rug.' (Ask your mother). There were the usual success stories. One of our classmates was a retired Judge, another was a retired Oncologist and I am sure there were others that I didn't know about.

The following night was held at a golf course club house and was a dinner dance. I would like to think it was because I had a cane that no one asked me to dance, but I was probably a wallflower again. Some things never change.

If you read my previous blog on this you know my camera let me down that night. I did enjoy getting to chat with former classmates and renewing acquaintances. It is my hope that we continue our renewed friendship. I really was pleasantly surprised to find out how much we had matured and how comfortable we were with each other. Those teenaged clicques were missing, as was the tense competition of youth. Some things do change.

The next morning we had our last event. We were lucky that one of our fellow grads was a memeber of the Garden of the Gods Club and had reserved a room for our brunch. The view of the Kissing Camels (a red rock in one of my stories) was magnificent and I viewed it from an angle that couldn't be seen when I lived there. The fact that I couldn't photograph it was disappointing, but it was beautiful and I hold it in my memory.

We said our fond goodbyes and promised to meet again there in five years. Now that's optomism.

My sister picked me up after the reunion for a family mini-reunion. I am glad I went in spite of the mishaps.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Political Thoughts

Yesterday morning I followed my normal Sunday routine and watched the talking heads give their opinions on the current "mess of the day". It was baffling. On SUNDAY MORNING George Stephanopolos had an interview with McCain who proudly announced that he was going to give everyone a $5,000 tax credit to buy health insurance. On MEET THE PRESS his stooge (oops - I meant spokesperson), Schmidt, confidently changed that amount to $4,000. Doesn't the right side of the 'mouth' know what the left side of the 'mouth' is saying? Schmidt was falling all over himself trying to give McCain credit for the bailout. I don't know if it was hilarious or pathetic. It was almost as bad as Palin's interview with Katie Couric.

Sylvia, of THE VIEW FROM OVER THE HILL, had an excellent post on defining the satirical meaning of political beliefs and it started me thinking about the distortions that work their way into politics.

Name calling has been a part of politics since the first election of our first president. That doesn't make it right, but it has become an accepted fact. I tried to think of the current crop of labels that first surfaced with, I believe, Ronald Reagan. (I am relying on memory now so make no claims to accuracy.)

For brevity I will use the following abbreviations: PD = perverted description. DD = dictionary description.


PD: Uppity (for a black person), snob (educated individual)or anyone who thinks
they are better than Joe Six Pack.

DD: The choice or select part of a group as a society.


PD: See PD for elitist
DD: Showing high intelligence


PD: See PD for Intellectual
DD: The ability to learn or understand. The ability to cope with a new situation.


DD: Tax and spend individual. Bleeding Heart. Sometimes a Pinko Commie.
Sometimes a Socialist.
DD: Tolerant; broad minded. Favoring realism or progress.


PD: See Liberal
DD: One who practices the principle of equality, of rights, etc.


DD: Of and for the people.

When you read the Webster's New World Dictionary definition of the words you will note that they accurately describe Obama. Therefore, when someone sneeringly refers to Obama by any of those terms I will simply reply, "What a nice compliment. I am so glad that you realize what a smart, caring, and progressive individual he is. And that you realize that he will be able to cope with any situation."

Language aside, a more dangerous threat to our future is in the mishandling of the economy. Be sure to check out Paul Krugman's article in the NYT to see how dangerous to your future a McCain presidency would be.

The 3 A. M. Call

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Real Leader

While George Bush is using his usual scare tactics to stampede the nation into a bailout for his rich friends, we should look at what a real leader had to say at a time when the economic conditions paralleled today's crisis. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a different approach. He showed true leadership during a crisis. He said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." But that was not all he said. The text below is the rest of his speech:

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper ...

"In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunk to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income ... More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment ...

"The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of that restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit ... If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize, as we have never realized before, our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take, but we must give as well."

(The entire article can be found by clicking on the link.)

If ever this country needed a savior, the time is now. It is inconceivable to me that anyone who buys groceries, fills his gas tank, or watches his savings dwindle would vote for John McCain. Is half the country brain dead?

It was obvious that Obama showed better judgment in his debate answers, but I fear common sense does not sway voters. Critical thinking is sadly lacking in today's culture.

I wanted to have a stop-watch last night because I thought Jim Lehrer allowed McCain to ramble on way beyond the time limit. His constant repetitions grew tiresome, but I suppose he needed to drill, drill, drill them into the skulls of the non-thinkers
as a necessary way to get his point across. I hope that some of the people understood that McShame (not a typo) was lying when Obama corrected his statements. I fear most of it was over the heads of the McCain believers.

Roosevelt was correct then and he is correct now. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And I have great fear that McCain's sleazy tactics might work.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Reasons

For now I will leave the posts on Paulson and Bernanke to those who are more knowledgeable than I. I do want to make a few comments on other subjects.

While others are covering the economy, and doing it very well, I just found another reason a McCain presidency would be a total disaster. It is diplomacy, or lack thereof.

Remember Bush making the absurd statement, "You are either for us or against us." And we know how that turned out -- with the exception of Tony Blair most countries were against us. Now McCain is proudly claiming that he will continue this idiotic policy. Did you notice that Palin is only meeting with the heads of friendly nations? She will meet with close allies of Colombia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Afghanistan.

I may not be the brightest bulb, but even I know that you must meet with unfriendly nations if anything is to be accomplished. It reminds me of what my late husband used to call a "Mother-in-law survey." If you poll 'like thinking' friends you will get the results you want. You need to poll a mixture of ages, demographics, and cultures to get a true reading.

It's a small world after all, to quote Disney, and McCain's policy is antediluvian and simply won't work in today's shrinking world.

While the world is focused on the economy a related issue is being shoved into the background. Privatization is one of the biggest factors causing the economic meltdown and I am including the link to a video by Keith Olbermann regarding John McCain's stand on Health Care. He would like to do to health care what he helped do to the investment community. Beware!

Please take the time to watch it. Keith nails it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm Back

Here I am - back in sunny (interpretation, hot) Arizona after being cold in Colorado.

On the previous post I promised to bring back photos. Sob, cry, rant and rave; I have no photos to show. My new Canon digital camera stopped functioning the second day. I spent the rest of the trip seeing opportunities for magnificent photos and feeling like weeping with each missed opportunity.

Someone suggested that I buy a disposable camera but forgot to get me to the store. One day we were driving in the foothills of Cheyenne Mountain and a black bear with her cub crossed the road in front of us. I almost wept with frustration at that missed shot. Another great scene that caused me endless frustration was at the Patty Jewett golf course club house. I stepped out on the balcony to view Pikes Peak centered and soaring above a long green fairway with trees flanking each side. It was breathtaking in it's beauty and my camera said "error 5".

Sorry, but I have no photos to show. Canon is on my bad list right now.

I guess it's really petty to gripe about such a trivial matter in the midst of the economic meltdown that happened while I was gone. I had over 500 e-mails to sort through and am still trying to read some of the political editorials so I can catch up on the bad news. I will be back with my rant on politics when I finally absorb it all.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Goodbye For Awhile

I am leaving for Colorado Springs
so this will be my last post until I
return late in the month.
Thanks for visiting and I
hope to have lots of new
photos to show you.

Keep the heat on the
McSame campaign while
I'm gone.

I was just wondering,
When will this political crap be over!


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Slash and Burn

Now I'm beginning to get it. Of course everyone knows about Karl Rove's slash and burn style of politics. Obama and the Democratic party expected it and thought they were prepared to fight it with rapid response. Its not working all that well, it turns out.

I may have hit on the reason. Obama just hasn't realized how devious Karl Rove really is. Rove knows that some of his smears won't stick, but that doesn't matter because Rive's real strategy is working like a charm. Subtly he is playing on emotions and not facts. Innuendos about Obama's middle name, Hussein, are sly messages that Obama is really a Muslim disguised as a Christian.

A comment made by Rep. Davis, (Republican, Kentucky) referred to Obama as that 'boy' and Rep. Westmoreland, (Republican, Georgia), referred to Michelle and Obama as "elitist class individuals that thinks that they're uppity." They can apologize to high heaven later, but the message has been delivered --- "You just can't trust Obama because he's so - well - different. He's not one of us - be warned."

But Karl Rove is clever and more subtle. He has his minions using the term 'elitist' endlessly and any Southerner knows thats code for 'uppity". The other term the Republicans use is 'The One' and we all know that means uppity.

Even a compliment about Obama's intelligence is disguised as a slur. Who does that elitist (uppity) guy think he is? And it speaks to the fears of many voters. The message is so subtle (or not) that it's like slippery Jello - it is impossible to counter.

Palin is as different from , say a Kansas housewife, as she is from me. But her image is, "She's one of us. She's tough, she won't take our guns away, and she will keep America strong. She's just an ordinary hockey mom like us." Of course that's utter nonsense, but emotions are 50% of what many voters base their choice on. And the religious right are delirious at her choice. She is anti gun control, anti choice, anti gays, and anti science. All issues important to them. Do you want creationism taught in your school? Elect McCain. Do you want anti-abortion judges who will overturn Roe vs Wade? Elect McCain. Do you want ideology over science? Elect McCain.

The Republicans don't have one single accomplishment they can point to so the strategy is to appeal to the emotions with smoke and mirrors. Factually, McCain and Palin are probably two of the worst choices anyone could make to run this country. McCain's judgement is so flawed that he has to run against himself. He has changed positions oftener than I have changed my linens. The few good things he did as a Senator are now the very things he is against. If it weren't so serious it would be laughable. He either can't remember vital and extremely important issues or he is lacking in knowledge. Palin is a loose cannon with absolutely no experience in foreign policy or issues vital to being President. She is a good showman and that's why she is being used. She fires up the base and appeals to them emotionally.

We can point out that Obama's experience as a community organizer helped 90,000 people as opposed to Palin's job as Mayor for under 7,000 residents. ( It must really take chutzpa to say she has more experience.) Facts don't matter in slash and burn politics. In fact they are a massive detriment to this crowd. They stand up and proudly say (with emphasis and a rah rah delivery) that she has more experience. Ridiculous as it is, those who vote with visceral feelings instead of their heads will believe it.

The Rove minions are told to keep the message short so that it will fit on a bumper sticker and then 'stick it to the Democrats'.

The Republican strategy is to appeal to veiled racism, the dislike of the wealthy elites (Never mind that Cindy and John McCain could buy the Obama's ten time over) and fear of the unknown. Then add the story of John McCain's prisoner of war status and repeat those messages over and over. Drill, drill, drill it into the skulls of the gullible. Make people afraid of Obama and obscure the facts with lies. Naturally the Fox bubble heads and Rush will help enormously.

I hate to tell you, folks, but it works. Now will someone explain how you fight a slippery emotional appeal with fire? I'm afraid the obvious way is to get down in the gutter with the opposition and Obama is trying very hard to avoid that. He truly wants to unite this country and not play into the Republican divisive culture wars.

Friday, September 5, 2008

John McCain's Speech

I watched the entire Democrat's convention coverage on C-Span and in so doing missed the blather from the pundits. last night I chose PBS and heard some of the blather.

I couldn't bring myself to watch the Republican's convention because I knew it would make me mad and I would end up arguing with the TV. (How pathetic is that?) However, I did force myself to go to PBS and take in McCain's entire speech, including the well done video of his life. I pride myself on reading all editorials from the right and the left. How else can you discover what the opposition is thinking if you don't bother to find out? There have even been occasions (rare lately) when I agree with a position on the right.

The only good thing I found in my McCain viewing was when he ran down the steps of the stage without using a hand rail. Now that really impressed me!

I found McCain's speech to be a contradiction in terms. He seemed to be against everything he had voted for the past eight years. (I can't wait to see Jon Stewart's comedy routine on this travesty.) The bulk of McCain's speech sounded like every other political speech I have heard in my long lifetime - but from a Democrat. The irony is almost laughable.

Of course there were the Republican positions on 'every man for himself ', big corporations being the solutions, privatize, privatize, privatize and drill, drill, drill.

About half way through I was getting so bored because I had heard all of it before. He actually stole references from other convention speeches; all of them from Democrats. Kind of an "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." I wanted him to hurry and wrap it up so I could go to bed.

I stayed with the program long enough to hear Judy Woodruff, Michael Beschloss and another guy praise it to high heaven. I wondered if they heard the same speech that I did. Then my favorite two commentators came on. Mark Shields, from the left, agreed with me. David Brooks, from the right, found it hard to praise the speech. I felt vindicated. I guess beauty and politics are in the eye of the beholder.

What are your thoughts if you had the courage to listen?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oh No! More Sarah Palin.(Updated)

If you read my last post on the column by Bob Herbert you will remember it was about Republican's changing the subject. This next bit of garbage is along the same line.

Before Sarah Palin is history I will comment on the latest bump in the road.

It seems that the Palin family photos are disappearing from the Alaska government site and the Republican site. The conspiracy theory crowd are interpreting that to imply that Sarah is not the mother of Trig (the Down Syndrome baby) but that her (then 16 year old) daughter is. A family photo showing a 'baby bump' on the daughter and showing the adorable youngest girl to be much older than another photo (that was supposedly taken later) combined with a story of Sarah's activities on the day she was supposedly in labor are fueling the suspicions. This whole convoluted scenario gets weirder.

If the media would just ignore the whole thing, as they should, there would be no need for speculation or interest. Who cares? Well, unfortunately, the type of people who read the National Enquirer do.

The conspiracy theorists carry this further by wondering if, by fueling suspicion and creating a feeding frenzy of news, this is the object of the whole issue. They speculate that Karl Rove has masterminded this whole scenario to take the news away from Obama. Then at the last minute, Palin will resign and a more acceptable candidate will replace her. Talk about George Orwell!

I couldn't care less who the mother of the baby is and I sincerely wish no one else would. If rational people would ignore the whole issue and get down to what we should be talking about it would be a much more interesting and worthwhile election.

Having said all that, here I am fueling the controversy. I guess I'm as guilty as the next guy.

After I finished this more information came into my mail box on Sarah and I will share it with you now. Progressive Majority sent this.

Sarah Palin is a GOPAC graduate.

GOPAC was founded in 1978 by conservatives who knew they were going to have to work outside the Republican Party to take it over. They knew they would have to recruit their own kind to run to wrest control of government from the Democrats. They knew they needed a long-term plan to build their "farm team".

Newt Gingrich took over the organization in the 1980s. You see, Gingrich wasn't satisfied with the election of Ronald Reagan. He wanted to see conservatives in control at the local, state AND national levels - even if it took a generation. Under Gingrich's leadership, GOPAC stepped up its candidate recruitment efforts, sought out "movement conservatives" and taught them how to run campaigns and talk about issues in a way that galvanized the far right base while not completely alienating moderate voters.

It worked. During the next 20 years, they took over the majority of state legislatures and governors. They single handedly led the "Republican Revolution" that took over Congress in 1994. They elected George W. Bush.

And, yesterday, one of their own accepted the Republican nomination for vice president of the United States.

If you're a conservative, that's how you go from being mayor of a small town to governor to the very top of the ticket.

Don't think for a moment, despite Democratic victories in 2006 and a good climate for 2008, that they are finished.

Today, GOPAC is the sixth largest national political organization in the country. It is three times larger and 26 years older than Progressive Majority.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More On Sarah Palin

Bob Herbert made an important point in his morning editorial. He reminded us that while we are talking about Sarah Pailn's 17 year old daughter, we are not talking about the crumbling infrastructure, the failing schools, the dismal economy, and the Iraq War. Mr. Herbert stated that the Republican party is very good at changing the subject. Remember Willie Horton, the Swift Boaters, etc.? When the Repubs are unable to win on their merit they change the subject. That is exactly what they have done in choosing a pretty, well spoken and controversial woman. While we are busy pointing out her obvious lack of qualifications and what a total disaster she is we are not talking about the real issues.

Perhaps it's time that we stay on the subject and keep reminding our readers what this election is really about. But before we do, I am adding some more information that I think is pertinent.

Elizaberth Burmiller fleshed out the one redeeming feature that Palin may have and shoots holes in that. Following is an excerpt from her article:

"Mrs Palin said: "I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress ... 'thanks, but no thanks' on that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said we'd build it ourselves."

However it emerged that in a 2006 interview with the Anchorage Daily News during her gubernatorial campaign, Mrs Palin had a different view of the bridge.

Asked "would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?" she replied: "Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now - while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist."

When Congressional funding was withdrawn because of an uproar in Washington about the expense of the project, she canceled it, but in a regretful tone.

"Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island."

However in 2007 her state received the highest per capita amount of federal funding, $253.16 ($506.34), according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group which tracks "earmark" spending.

She also supported multi-billion-dollar tax increase on Alaska's oil industry, and approved a $250 million state subsidy to a Canadian company wanting to build a natural gas pipeline through Alaska."

We must stay on message and not let the attack machine change the subject.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Castles In the Sand

Every year a competition is held for the best sand sculptures. They are all awesome and one can only imagine the tedious work that goes into them.

I was taken back to my childhood when I viewed these two castle sculptures.

Until I was eleven years old I was an only child. I escaped from the adult world in books. I devoured every book I could get my hands on and I was especially fond of Fairy Tales. I think I must have read every fairy tale ever written. Of course, castles always loomed large in those stories, for what is a beautiful princess without a castle?

As I matured, I left the fairy tales behind but I never lost my fascination with castles and my fondest desire was to visit one someday. It took me many, many years to finally be able to go to Europe where the best castles are. As I chose my itinerary, the tour that included the most castles was the one I took.

Although it was a thrill to see those lavishly decorated rooms and be awed by the opulence of the castles, I felt a bit let down. I didn't experience the excitement over castles that I had felt when I read about them. When all was said and done, they were just lavish mansions.

It wasn't until I visited a castle in Switzerland that I experienced the romantic feelings of a time when the handsome prince and princess fell in love. My friend, Margrit, took me to Kyburg, a small and rather plain castle. The floors were of hand hewn planks and everything spoke of a time long gone by. The prisoners were kept in the attic. There was a torture room complete with an Iron Maiden that reminded me the suffering that must have occurred there. It felt authentic.

Perhaps because it was so different from today's mansions I could let my imagination run wild. I realized that living in this castle would not be as wonderful as I had thought. Isn't that a case of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence? Or perhaps, it makes the point that we should never envy someone else based on our preconceived ideas.

The last castle I visited was my favorite. Neuschwanstein, Von Ludvig's castle, is the one Disney used as a template for his Sleeping Beauty castle. I finally had my dreams fulfilled. It was everything I thought a castle should be.