Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from Rusty

This year, Rusty volunteered to do his first annual Christmas letter on the internet:

Merry Christmas to family, friends, and strangers:
This is my first Christmas newsletter that I am publishing on the internet.
This was a blessed and wonderful year that began on January 1 with Chilly Dog being released from his ten day in-house quarantine for biting the mailman. The people came to our house on New Year's Day to see if he was alive, because if he had rabies, he would be dead.
Chilly's arthritis got worse over the year, and he continued on his thyroid medication, but his skin cancer from 2005 and eye cancer from 2007 both stayed in remission. He did start taking glucosamine pills for his joint pain, and also takes pain pills. He gets mad at me sometimes when I do bad things like watch him eat, try to eat his food before he is done, or being around him when he doesn't want me to. Most of the time I don't bother him too much.
I gave everyone a scare when, in early June, I hid under Mark's bed for two days without coming out. Everyone thought that my days were numbered, but it turned out that the hair on my butt was too long so when I got diarrhea my runny poop stuck to the hair and then it dried and pulled down on it making me miserable. The vet cut my hair, and that took care of the problem. I later got a full haircut so I could see.

I also had a very loose tooth so I had to get a teeth cleaning, but my tooth had already falled out by the time I went.

In August, Mark left us for a week and we had to stay home alone. We had lots of fun.

Andy was healthy all year, and he was especially happy to see his choice of Mr. Obama win the primaries and then the election.

The rest of us all wish Mr. Obama well, but we were all rooting for someone eles at first. We are very proud of Andy for his role in the election. He does get in trouble every once in a while for chewing on pens, electric cords, and razor blades. He spends most of his time on the couch.

He probably needs to back to the vet in the next few weeks to get shots.

We ended the year by getting in Mark's Jeep and visiting Santa Claws.

That was fun, but he was in the cat section of the store so we had to be around cats the whole time we waited in line.
Tomorrow (Christmas Day) is Andy's second anniversary living with Mark and Chilly.
I hope everyone's year was as wonderful as ours, and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Chilly Dog

When you were born in Memphis on December 14, 1995, and given away to your first owners from the trunk of a car in a Wal-Mart parking lot a few weeks later, you were probably a very cute Jack Russell/Chow mix puppy, but I never got to see that. Your owners gave you the name Chili, after a character in Get Shorty, and moved to St. Louis shortly afterwards. When they wanted to move to Florida in 2002, you objected and demanded to come back. On August 16, 2002, you officially moved in with me, and your soon to be best friend, Snikk, and changed your name to Chilly Dog. I was afraid that you would not get along with us because you had a reputation for being aggressive, and even sometimes mean (by people that didn't know you, of course), but you fit in right away. Before long, you and Snikk were inseparable, playing, wrestling, going for walks together, and just lying next to each other.

When we lost poor Snikk two years ago, I know that you were as sad as anyone. Seeing you stare at Snikk's empty cage,

and pace the floors in the middle of the night made me realize how close you were to him. Now that you are entering your teenage years, your arthritis keeps you from jumping off of my deck chasing rabbits, and you don't like to go for long walks, or jump up on furniture, but you still follow me around whereever I go (sitting under me as I write this), sleep next to my head, and never let me leave the house without licking my face. And of course you successfully protect our house from invasion from the mailman's attempt to break in every day.
I hope you like your new brother Andy

and Rusty.

Sorry for the late birthday card, Chilly, but on your birthday we were too busy visiting Santa Claus.

After knowing you, I can see why they call dogs like you "Man's Best Friend." Happy birthday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Review of Election Predictions

Before the election, I made my predictions; unlike the people on TV, I will compare them to what really happened:

Obama wins with 355 electoral votes.
He won, but it looks like he will get 364 (although I did leave open the possibility of a North Carolina win, which put him over my guess).

Obama will get at least 53% of the vote, and will have the most votes of anyone in history.
According to the NY Times, he got 53.1%, and his 63 million votes is more than a million more than the prior record holder.

There will be record voter turnout.
The 231 million voters was the most ever by over 10 million, and the percentage of both registered and eligible voters was the highest in recent years, although I have heard that it was higher in 1908 by one computation.

Democrats will have 60 senators.
I missed this one. I did not account for the fact that Alaskans would return an 84 year old convicted felon to the Senate. But they did. How I overestimated the voters who elected Sarah Palin, I don't know.

The Snikk Blog will have called the race by 8:15 CT, if not earlier.
It was about 8:45.

The stock market will finish the week substantially higher on news of the Obama win (or, if I am wrong on the results, it will be substantially lower on the news of the McCain win).
Check back at the end of the week.

First state to be called by the networks: Vermont.
Vermont tied with Kentucky.

Closest state: Missouri.
Missouri still isn't done, but it looks like the difference will be less than 5,000 votes, well less than 1%, by far the closest.

Most lopsided (other than DC): Idaho.
Way off here. The McCain state that was the most lopsided was Oklahoma where he got 66%, but Obama got 72% in Hawaii (including the vote of his grandmother, who died before election day, something that I have been hearing about from the McCain supporters around me (see posting of 11/3 "McCain: Why?") who can't accept the fact that their guy lost fairly). McCain only got 61% in Idaho. (The predictably greatest total difference was DC, where Obama received over 93%).

Unlike nearly all losing VP candidates, we have not heard the last of Sarah Palin.
We'll see.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


None of the networks are calling it yet, but it is now clear. With the 200 votes that the networks have projected, another 59 for the guaranteed Obama states of California and Hawaii, and another 18 for Washington and Oregon, he is well about the 270 he needs to win. The election is over! The networks should realize this soon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Predictions

This is my prediction of what the map will look like tomorrow night. If I did this a day earlier I would have had Obama winning 370, giving him either North Carolina or Georgia, and maybe another 11 for Indiana, but I got a little conservative on election eve. I wouldn't be too surprised if the total was 370 to 390, but I am sticking with 355 for now.

Other predictions:
Obama will get at least 53% of the vote, and will have the most votes of anyone in history.
There will be record voter turnout.
Democrats will have 60 senators.
The Snikk Blog will have called the race by 8:15 CT, if not earlier.
The stock market will finish the week substantially higher on news of the Obama win (or, if I am wrong on the results, it will be substantially lower on the news of the McCain win).
First state to be called by the networks: Vermont.
Closest state: Missouri.
Most lopsided (other than DC): Idaho.
And finally....
Unlike nearly all losing VP candidates, we have not heard the last of Sarah Palin.

McCain: Why?

I took a survey of McCain voters that I know and asked them what the reason for their support of him is. The actual responses include:

"Obama is a socialist."
"Obama thinks that there are 57 states, so he is obviously unqualified" (referring to Obama's misstatement that he had visited 57 states during the campaign, apparently ignoring McCain's numerous misstatements)
"Obama wants to redistribute the wealth." (spoken by a person who lives paycheck to paycheck, and could use some redistribution)
"Those black people think that they should get everything we have without working for it. I am tired of them having 10 children and demanding welfare, and Obama will make sure that continues."
"Obama wants to merge the US with Canada and Mexico, and I don't want to be in the same country as all those Mexicans."
"Obama thinks that abortions should be legal in the case of a woman whose life is threatened by a pregnancy; there is never a reason to choose the mother's life over the baby."
"Democrats favor immoral issues like gay rights, abortion, the destruction of the family, and legalizing drugs, and I would never vote for a Democrat."
"Obama never produced his birth certificate. I think that he was born in Kenya and I don't want an African running our country."
"Joe Biden is scary. His plan to deal with Iraq is insane."

All of these are actual responses. Any McCain voters reading this, feel free to leave your reasons in the comments.

Message from Barack to Andy

My dog Andy, an early Obama supporter when the rest of us were for Hillary, has been corresponding with Mr. Obama alot lately. Here is the latest.

Andrew --

We're just one day away from change. Election Day is tomorrow -- Tuesday, November 4th.

We've asked you to do a lot over the course of this campaign, and you've always come through.

When this campaign began, we weren't given much of a chance by the pollsters or the pundits.

But tomorrow, we can make history.

We've made it this far because supporters like you never stopped believing in your power to bring about real change.

Take the final step now.

Watch the video, find your polling location, and get everyone you know involved on Election Day:

With your vote, and the votes of your friends, family, and neighbors, we won't just win this election -- together, we will change this country and change the world.

Thank you,


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Update on the Puppies

It has been two weeks since I first saw my three new little next door neighbors. Now they can see me; they first opened their eyes a few days ago. Today they went outside for the first time.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

McCain Top Advisor: Palin Qualified? "Of Course Not"

Larry Eagleburger, Secretary of State for Bush I and one of the 4 former secretaries of state that McCain could remember who has endorsed him (see posting of October 26), was designated by the McCain campaign to make the case for him on foreign policy issues on NPR Thursday. While Sarah Palin gets lots of criticism from the other side, it is interesting to hear the words of McCain's friends:

Host: You mentioned experience--Are you entirely comfortable with Sarah Palin as the Vice President of the United States, that she would be able to take over in a crisis if she should be terribly called upon to do so?

Eagleburger: That is a good question. (chuckle) I am being facetious here.
Look...of course not. I don't think at the moment she is prepared to take over the reigns of the presidency...
So the question I think is: Can she learn and would she be tough enough under the circumstances if she were asked to become president? Heaven forbid that that ever takes place. Give her some time in the office and I think the answer would be she will be (dramatic pause) adequate. I can't say she would be a genious in the job but I think that she would be enough to get us though a four year--I hope not--get us through whatever period of time was necessary
And I devoutely hope that it would never be tested.

So true.

(the whole interview can be heard at
with the Palin portion in the last two minutes).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

This is a picture of a friend of mine (and a reader of the snikk blog) dressed up for Halloween. Any guesses who this is supposed to be?   Chilly will post the answer later this weekend if not before.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who Writes This Stuff?

I was looking at our sample ballot tonight and found this issue from next week's election:

"Shall Missouri law be amended to enable the elderly and Missourians with disabilities to continue living independently in their homes by creating the Missouri Quality Homecare Council to ensure the availability of quality home care services under the Medicaid program by recruiting, training, and stabilizing the home care workforce?"

This raises several questions:
1.  Does a no vote mean that all elderly and disabled Missourians can no longer live in their homes?  If a yes vote will allow this, it would seem that a no vote will require that they all be rounded up and taken somewhere.  Where will they go?
2.  It talks about "Missourians" with disabilities, but apparently applies to ALL elderly, regardless of where they live.  Why are we only concerned with disabled people who live in ths state, but all elderly worldwide?
3.  Does a yes vote ensure that all old and disabled people will continue to live independently in their homes?   The language would suggest that it would, but how can this be?  The ballot will also say "A 'yes' vote will amend Missouri law to enable the elderly and Missourians with disabilities to continue living independently in their homes...."  I guess that means that it will.
4.  By saying "continue", this implies that the affected people are currently living independently in their own homes.  What if they don't have homes?  What if they are not independent?  If they currently are living with other people, will they now have to live alone?
5.  How old does one have to be to be considered "elderly"?  
6.  How will "recruiting, training, and stabilizing the workforce" ensure that all such people get to stay in their homes?  The total cost is only an estimated $540,000, so that wouldn't pay for too many home health care salaries, even if they are underpaid.
7.  What if the independent people stop paying their rent/mortgage?  It would seem that this new law guarantee that they will be enabled to stay in their house could give them an argument that they get to stay regardless.

Obviously the people who wrote the language are for it, but if it was such a good idea, why didn't the legislature vote for it?  I think that I will have to vote against it on principle.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eight Things About Sarah Palin That Should Not Matter...And One That Should

Sarah Palin may be easy to make fun of, but it seems like most of the things people are saying about her are meaningless and overshadow the important things.  

1.  She spends $150,000 on clothes and has her personal hair dresser fly around with her.  (She is a middle class woman of modest net worth; what better way for Republicans to spend their money than making her look good; they are spending millions on negative ads that certainly aren't working.  If she would really wear dresses from "consignment stores in Anchorage" she would be described as frumpy and not having the right image to represent her country.  If the main qualification for VP is to have someone with lots of clothes and nice hair, Mitt Romney would have the job).

2.  She gives weird names to her kids.  (How can anyone voting for a Barack make fun of Track, Trig, or Piper?)

3.  She has an unmarried pregnant teenaged daughter.  (If embarrassing relatives was a disqualification, would anyone be up to the job?  Actually, W probably has had the fewest such embarrassments of anyone in recent history, and look how he turned out).

4.  The scandal with her brother-in-law's firing.  (There may be something here.  But, as Ken Starr demonstrated, if you spend enough time and money trying to dig up dirt, you can find it on anyone.  Plus, any discussion of scandal doesn't get very far before the whole Clinton thing comes back again).

5.  She voted for the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it.  (Good politicians will change their minds.  And we forgave John Kerry and Hillary for voting for the war before voting against it (well, on second thought, they both lost, so maybe not the best example)).

6.  She shoots wolves from airplanes.  (Sure, this is a disgusting form of hunting, but would it have anything to go with her ability to govern?)

7.  She didn't get a passport until the past few years.  (W. had only been out of the country three times before running for President, despite living in the border state of Texas, having a family vacation home in another border state of Maine, and being the child of an ambassador, VP, and President and he had enough foreign policy experience to be a great President.  OK, another bad example).

8.  McCain campaign aides call her a rouge diva for failing to listen to instructions about the way to conduct the campaign.  (What are they complaining about?  Isn't that the definition of a maverick?)

And now one thing that should matter:   She is absolutely unqualified to be next in line to be the leader of the country in chaotic economic times at a time of war should anything happen to the oldest man who would be elected President.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain: I Can't Even Remember Who Likes Me

It must be tough for the writers of Saturday Night Live when the real people actually say things like this:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama or McCain: Who will be better for the economy?

With the stock market down another 5% today and a recession looming, it is a good time to look at the effects of the election on what will happen with the economy in the next four years. In an earlier post, I showed how the stock market nearly tripled under Bill Clinton, while, as of today, it is down nearly 15% under GW Bush. Some people have suggested that this is not a normal pattern, so I looked for some more data....since 1901, the stock market has increased an average 12.07% under Democratic presidents, while only 8.11% under Republicans. Industrial production has increased by an average 5.43% under Democrats, while only 2.04% under Republican leaders. And almost every Democratic president has been more successful at creating jobs than almost every Republican president, for as far back as statistics are available (and this chart doesn't even include the Herbert Hoover years, which would make it even more dramatic:

8.8%………….Democratic…….Roosevelt (pre-war)
2.6%…………..Democratic…….Roosevelt (wartime)
2.1% …………..Democratic…….Kennedy
0.4%…………..Republican…….Bush II
0.4%…………..Republican…….Bush I

So why is it that people think that Republicans are good for the economy?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Presidential Prospect, Puppies, and Pain

This weekend I went to the Obama rally under the Arch along with an estimated 100,000 others:
I got there late (not yet feeling the pain from a wisdom tooth removal that would affect me for the rest of the weekend) and was way off to the side, so this picture a very small part of an already blown up picture, which results in the poor quality of the picture---but at least I got to see him; I talked with other people who got there hours before me who said they watched most of it on the big screen TVs set up.  Later in the day I took these pictures of my neighbor's newly born Boston Terrier puppies, born just hours before I held the three of them in one hand.  

They were still a little camera shy, and the mom was a little protective, but I hope to get some better close-ups in a week or two. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sarah Palin's Tax Return

Last week, Sarah Palin released her recent income tax returns.  While the media had a few little stories about how much she made, etc., looking at the returns themselves was more interesting. They looked, at first, like regular tax returns filled out by a middle class family not planning on releasing them to the world, but it also provided some interesting information about the family that McCain wants to be a heartbeat away from the White House.  

The Palins had their taxes done for $178 by H & R Block.  Their total income of $150,000 was mostly from her income running Alaska, but Todd earned $43,000 from his work at BP Exploration Alaska for his oilfield work.  Their taxable interest and dividends were too small to require itemization, suggesting that they don't have alot of savings outside of their home.

Sarah has tried to make a big deal of not only her extensive executive experience running Alaska and Wasilla, but also of her role owning small businesses.  The Palins, in fact, do own two "businesses" although they appear to be the work of Todd.  The first is his fishing "business" which he uses to get deductions for his trucks, boats, and fishing supplies.  His other, and more interesting, "business" was his Snow Machine Racing "business."  Although he earned $17,000 in income, presumably in winnings, he had $27,000 in expenses, allowing them to deduct $10,000 against the family's real income.  The expenses that he used for this tax break include depreciation on his Arctic Cat machine, fuel for the snowmobile, and his cell phone.  

As of result of these "businesses" the Palins also claimed a deduction for the portion of their $357,000, 3,600 square foot Wasilla home that was used exclusively for the business.  This deduction is generally used by people who operate businesses out of their home, but the Palins were not required to state how a part of their home was needed to compete in snowmobile races.  

The Palins also made an even $2,500 in charitable contributions to "various" charities (this was allowed since no single contribution was more than $250), and ,on the last day of the year they dropped off $825 worth of used clothes at the Wasilla Salvation Army.  

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rear Window

Although these two pictures are not as exciting as from the great Hitchcock movie Rear Window, playing this weekend at the Tivoli, (a movie that I have seen numerous times and am still on the edge of my seat every time I see it; also the first movie I ever watched on video tape) they were taken from my rear window.  The first is looking to the right....the beautifully landscaped yard with a gazebo and pool creates a country club atmosphere and makes a sharp contrast to the view to the left, reminiscent of an industrial park with 3 temporary buildings and a garage in serious need of paint and repair (fortunately the garage is will mostly obscured by the large, out of control tree in the yard, at least until the leaves fall off).  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Few Updates

A few updates to some prior postings:

Obama Must Defeat McCain (8/31/08):  As of today, the stock market is at exactly the same level that it was on GW Bush's first day in office over 7 1/2 years ago.  Under the "fiscally responsible" leadership of the party that is supposed to be good for the economy, business, etc., you would have been about the same had you invested your savings in cash and storing it at home than  by putting it in the stock market (Unless, of course, you invested in Ford, GM, Enron, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman, Bear Stearnes, AIG, or a bunch of others stocks, in which case you would have little, if anything, left at all).  And isn't Bush's lack of saying anything responsible during this financial crisis reminiscent of his lack of saying anything helpful after Katrina?  We can't be more than a day or two from hearing him tell the head of the SEC, Treasury, or Fed that they are "doing a heckuva job."

What Does a Mayor of Wasilla Do?  (9/7/08):  I came across this quote today that I should have included originally:  Running Wasilla "is not rocket science.  It's six million dollars and 53 employees." (SP, October 1996).
And, when asked about the city's receiving $1.8 million of federal earmarks, Mayor Palin told the Wasilla City Council:  "This does not include our nearly one million dollars from the Feds for our Airport Paving Project.  We did well!"  (SP, June 1999)

Monday, September 15, 2008


This is my foster dog, Rusty, who has lived with us since October, 2007.  The first picture is from a few months ago, the second was earlier today after his haircut.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Didn't Really Mean That....

This is my first try at putting a video up here....I hope it works

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

McCain's Role Model: Richard Nixon?

To see what kind of President McCain will be, it might be helpful to compare his decision of selecting a running mate. Unlike what many Democrats have said, Sarah Palin is not the person with the least experience ever....Forty years ago this year, Richard Nixon picked Spiro Agnew as his running mate. The similarities are amazing:

S. Agnew: Married, 4 children: 3 girls and a boy.
S. Palin: Married, 5 children: 3 girls and 2 boys. Unless Trig really is her grandson.

First political job
S. Agnew: Baltimore county zoning board
S. Palin: Wasliia City Council

First executive job
S. Agnew: Baltimore County executive, 4 years
S. Palin: Wasliia Mayor, 6 years

Election to governor
S. Agnew: 1968, by a margin of 49.5% to 40.6%. Ran on platform of reform and taking on the establishment. Served less than two years.
S. Palin: 2008, by a margin of 48.3% to 40.9%. Ran on platform of reform and taking on the establishment. Served less than two years, so far.

Selection as VP candidate:
S. Agnew: Surprise. Nixon, a moderate, picked him to keep conservatives happy and be energetic attack dog; he was clearly not part of the Washington elite and someone willing to "play second fiddle."
S. Palin: Surprise. McCain, a moderate, picked her to keep conservatives happy and be energetic attack dog; she was clearly a Washington outsider and someone who "knows her place."

Primary alternatives to their selection:
S. Agnew: Nixon preferred John Connaly, a Democrat who later became a Republican. Party base favored George Romney (Mitt's dad), who ran unsuccessfully in the primaries.
S. Palin: McCain preferred Joe Lieberman, a Democrat who likely will become a Republican. Party base favored Mitt Romney (George's son), who ran unsuccessfully in the primaries.

Prior meetings with the presidential candidate:
S. Agnew: Nixon met him twice before the convention: "You look a man in the eye and you know he's got it."
S. Palin: McCain met her once and talked to her on the phone once before the decision. Knew instantly she was "his soulmate and partner."

S. Agnew: Elected twice. Due to his lack of legislative experience he was ineffective in his role in the Senate, due to Nixon's lack of trust he was never a key player in the White House, making him one of the least effective VPs in US history. In 1973 he became the only VP to resign due to scandal-- he admitted to taking bribes, tax evasion, and money laundering while governor of Maryland. And for anyone who says a VP is meaningless--had this scandal come public only a year later, he would already have been President because Nixon had resigned in 1974 as a result of Watergate.
S. Palin: Undetermined. Allegations of scandal while governor of Alaska have not been resolved.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mayor Palin Leaves Wasilla

After she had served 6 years as mayor of Wasilla, what was Sarah Palin going to do? She tried to run for lieutenant governor of Alaska, but lost. Then a U.S. Senate seat opened up for which she was on the short list, and had expressed interest in. But she didn't get it; in December 2002, after the Governor appointed his daughter to the seat over former mayor Palin she said, according to the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman:

"It took me about seven seconds to get over my disappointment," Palin said from her Wasilla home. "I mean, look at where we live and look at where I'm able to raise my family -- there's so many things to do that are positive." Where she lives played a big role in other decisions Palin has made this week. In her conversation with the governor, Palin said he asked her whether she had her eye on any commissioner jobs that were still open. She said she asked if he was requiring commissioners to live in Juneau, and the governor said he was. Palin said she turned the commissioner positions down, preferring instead to live in Wasilla. "You weigh a lifestyle in Juneau and a lifestyle in the Valley and, hands down, the Valley is a better place to raise my kids," Palin said. She added that the position of lieutenant governor or U.S. Senator were worth the sacrifice of leaving the home she loves, but not a commissioner position.

But she changed her mind two months later when she accepted an appointment as a commissioner to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission with a salary of $110,000. Its responsibilities include regulating drilling and production of oil and gas to ensure that physical waste does not occur, protecting rights of mineral interest owners and ensuring greater ultimate resource recovery. Palin's husband, Todd, works on the North Slope as a production operator for British Petroleum. In taking the position she was excited that her service on the board may help her relationship with Todd: "Maybe by the time this is all through, I can have an intelligent conversation with my husband about work," Palin said. She quit less than a year later.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What Does a Mayor of Wasilla Do?

Anyone watching the Republican convention last week heard all of those speakers say with a straight face that Sarah Palin has more experience from her time as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than either Obama or Biden. What did she do?

As reported in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, the bi-weekly paper that serves Wasilla, one of the first actions taken by Palin upon taking charge of the town was to ask the Library Director whether she would have a problem with censorship of objectionable books in the library. The director stood up to Palin and said that she could not live with the suggested censorship, indicating that she would get the ACLU involved to protect the constitutional free speech rights that she was responsible for by running the library system.

Her biggest accomplishment was pushing through a $14.7 million sports arena and a corresponding sales-tax increase, raising the sales tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent. The special election drew a 14-percent voter turnout, and the arena bond package and associated tax hike passed by just 20 votes, 306 to 286 (it's not exactly a big town). During the dedication ceremony after she left office, she was given credit: "This would not be possible if it weren't for the vision of Mayor Palin, and that due to Palin's efforts, a traffic light would be installed to relieve congestion at the intersection of Church Road and the Parks Highway."

Palin's time as mayor was not without recognition: "MAYORAL AWARD -- Wasilla's Mayor Sarah Palin is receiving an honor for the "Longest Sentence Award." Her recent Spectrum article showcased an incredibly complex 85-word sentence. This is a feat deserving of reward. Adjectives were plentiful, along with a complete collection of commas, verbs and nouns. The MOUTH would love to quote it again but it would take up half the paper."

Palin was also earning her $68,000 annual mayoral salary by passing out frequent awards to local sports teams, and by recognizing a 9 year old boy for saving his family from an unsafe electrical problem in their home.

What was Joe Biden doing during this time?

Palin believes Ike was a founding father

We all know the facts about Sarah Palin killing and eating moose, the rumors about who is the mother of her son Trig, the fact that if Trig is hers she actually named the poor kid after a high school math class, her role in a group whose goal was to secure the independence of Alaska from the rest of the United States, her questionable ethics, and the fact that Republicans believe it is fine to include the time served on the PTA and local positions in Wasilla, Alaska to prove that she is more qualified that a man that has served 4 years in the US Senate and has already won over 18 million votes. But here is one I haven't heard before....When running for governor Sarah Palin answered the following question given to all candidates (it appears to be a written question that she could go home, think about, and research if she wasn't comfortable with her answer at first):

11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

Answer: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

Too bad she doesn't know about the history of our country....the pledge was written in 1892....well after all of the founding fathers were long gone. The original wording was "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Several changes were made to this over the years, including "United States of America" and the LAST of such alterations was the addition of "under God" in the mid 1950s. I guess she is elevating Ike to status of a founding father. But since Eisenhower was president when Alaska was admitted as a state, maybe she really believes that he was one.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Obama Must Defeat McCain

People say that it really doesn't matter who wins, the two party system doesn't leave us with any choices, that they don't like either candidate, or their first choice didn't win the primaries so they wont vote. Even though Obama's experience is questionable and many of the specifics of his ideas are not known, there is still reason to vote. Here are some.

The Economy. The Republicans are of course the best party for the economy, or so everyone assumes. But....the stock market was at 3250 on the first day of Bill Clinton's presidency and 10,600 on the day of the transfer of power to Bush, an increase of triple, and the budget was balanced for the first time in decades. More than 7 and a half years after having a "fiscally responsible" Republican in charge, the market is at 11,500, up a mere 8 %, the banking system is on the brink, foreclosures are at an all time high, the national debt continued to set records, our dependence on foreign oil is crippling and outsourcing of jobs to the rest of the world continues to increase. The $10 billion we spend each month to fund the Iraq war probably doesn't help. (and McCain really did say that he didn't understand the economy as well as he should).

The Supreme Court. In the next two years there will be two vacancies on the Supreme Court, and they will be two of the three most liberal members. By the end of the first term, there will likely be at least one more. There are already four strongly conservative justices, none of whom have shown any desire to leave, and the youngest two will likely stay on for another 25 years. If Obama fills the upcoming vacancies, the Court will maintain a healthy balance and not change drastically from its current state; McCain's promise to fill any vacancies with the likes of Scalia and Thomas would guarantee that the Court would continue to ignore people's civil liberties and be far more conservative than the country as a whole for at least a generation.

Health Care. This is a complicated issue to solve and anyone's current proposals are subject to significant revision before they would take effect. What better training on this important issue than running against Hillary Clinton? By going after her base, Obama had to both understand this issue as well as she did, and devise a plan that was so similar to hers that they often spent the largest portion of the debate trying to find small differences.

Iraq. Going to war in Iraq as a retaliation for the attacks on New York with solid evidence that they were not responsible, and no credible evidence that they had weapons of mass destruction, was wrong. McCain was one of the first, strongest, and longest supporters of the war. Obama was against it from the beginning. As a result we have destabilzed that country, hurt the economies of both, and worst, set a precedent for the US to invade countries who had done nothing to provoke the attack. Possibly even worse, it gave Attorney General Ashcroft the idea for the Patriot Act, making privacy and other civil rights limiting activities by the government acceptable. And years after the Mission Accomplished speech, we still are no closer to finding bin Laden. McCain's comment that he didn't mind if we stayed in Iraq for a hundred years is often quoted out of context, but he did say it. Our presence there is not like Germany or Japan after World War II because Iraq was not the agressor, and our presence there is disruptive rather than stabilizing. McCain's running mate's opinion? In an interview with Alaska Business Monthly, Palin said she hadn't thought about it. "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

Judgment and experience. I don't care how many houses he owns (but, really, shouldn't he know?) or that his wife earns $6 million a year selling beer, and am not sure whether he really said that anyone earning under $5 million a year is middle class. McCain's pick of the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska as the person that he, the oldest nominee ever of any party, believes that the most qualified person to take over in case he cannot. Does she even have an immigration policy that doesn't involve Russians walking over the north pole? She is probably a nice lady and may have been a good mayor of this town north of Anchorage, but what does it show about his judgment? If his qualification over Obama is really the fact that he has 20 more years of experience in the Senate than Obama, shouldn't he have made a better choice? If he really is out of touch enough to think that any of the 18,000,000 Hillary voters will simply vote for her, do we really want his finger on the nuclear button? (for a comparison of the two, see Obama's lack of experience was troubling, but for him to pick a person who is actually qualified for the job if needed shows that he has already made a better choice than McCain. McCain may want to renew his prior reputation as being a maverick, but if this means that he will continue to make silly decisions like risking the country's future by picking such an unqualified person, what else will he do?

There are other important issues, but this is enough to make a decision. Would Hillary have done better? That isn't the question. Would the country be better served by the leadership of Obama than McCain? Yes.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Come back soon

This is a test posting. A real one is coming soon.