Saturday, November 29, 2008

Will Lower Gas Prices Loosen Your Purse Strings?

Yesterday I paid $1.99 a gallon for regular gas here in San Jose, which after filling up my tank amounted to a mere $35. After that, I headed across the street to grocery shop at the semi-gourmet market near our house. I figured that the approximately $50 dollars I saved since the price of gas had come down from somewhere around $4.40 a gallon allowed me to loosen the purse strings a bit at my next stop. Which brings me to the following question: Could the economic downturn that our country is now experiencing have been avoided if the price of crude oil had not been so exorbitant and if companies like ExxonMobile had trimmed their profit margins? I wonder how much of the current woes of the Big Three auto makers is caused by the glut of the market with fuel hungry SUVs that simply sat gaining rust on the dealership lots when gas prices shot through the roof. Do you feel a little more inclined to spend a bit more this Christmas now that you aren't squandering your savings on gas? Will these lower prices act as an economic stimulus package supplied by the oil and gas corporations?

This also leads me to wonder how many businesses are now feeling a pinch because gas prices have come down so dramatically. This summer, when fuel costs were at their highest, an article came out in the San Jose Mercury News about the sudden huge demand for motor scooters. Steve and I had been talking for a while about getting a scooter, so we decided to head to a couple of dealerships to take a peek. The Honda dealership? Back ordered for two months. Another shop we visited had about five scooters left. A 2006 model sat on the showroom floor with a sold sign on it, having languished for two years before being snapped up in the current boom. At the Vespa dealership, they had about five scooters left, but suggested that we buy that weekend or they'd be gone. Everyone was planning on stocking up and new scooter shops were opening. Gas sipping scooters seemed like a great investment. Flash forward to the economic downturn and plummeting gas prices. I wonder how many 2008 scooter models now sit gathering dust on showroom floors everywhere.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Garrettisms

Last night, after my nephew Brandon gave a really nice prayer of thanks, the family tucked into Thanksgiving dinner with great gusto. After a few minutes of quiet conversation, it was decided that we should all share a couple of reasons why we are thankful this year. Just about everyone was thankful for good health, the presence of family, and their financial security in these times of crisis. A couple of us mentioned the new incoming Obama administration. When Steve’s brother-in-law Tim’s turn came around, he mentioned how grateful he was to have his beautiful wife Theresa by his side (hi Theresa!!) to which all but Garrett responded with “awwww”. Why not Garrett? Because he was too busy advising Tim, “get a room!” Earlier in the evening while Garrett was watching Planet Earth on the new wide screen TV, Garrett excited pointed out the baboons to Theresa. Pretending to mishear what he had said, she questioned, "The monkey's have boobs?" To which Garrett responded, "I don't think that's appropriate for an almost 9-year old".

Every year at Thanksgiving, Steve’s father, Dan, brings out one of his favorite (but somewhat ill-fated) cooking tools, the automatic whipped cream maker. This fancy device was given to him a few years ago at Christmas. Heavy cream is poured in, and the simple press of a lever causes perfectly whipped cream to shoot with considerable force from the dispenser. The Christmas he got this gift, Dan proceeded straight to the kitchen dizzy with excitement, rooted around, and was pleased to find a small container of heavy cream at the back of the fridge. Into the whipped cream maker it went and in a nick of time, he was ready to dispense. Remember the “considerable force” phrase I used, above? Well, take a moment to imagine sour whipped cream shooting across the kitchen. The one trick to the fancy dispenser is that its nozzle must be angled down at 45 degrees to the surface upon which the cream is being placed. Dan found, that to do otherwise, results in a large area in front of the user being painted with the contents. In this particular case, it was rotten whipping cream.

After dinner, it was time for pie, and out came the fancy cream whipper/dispenser. We all sat down an enthusiastically enjoyed the apple and pumpkin pies Theresa had baked. The boys’ pies each had a generous dollop of cream. Garrett, upon sitting down, had pledged that his first slice of apple pie was just the first of five he planned to consume. True, as always, to his word Garrett asked for a slice of pumpkin pie next. Having watched Weston shoot a little mountain of whipped cream on his second piece of pie, Garrett insisted he be given a chance to serve his own cream too. Steve wisely suggested that this would only happen if he, Steve, acted as a spotter. His father sat across the table from Garrett, and warned Garrett that the nozzle needed to be pointed straight down. As the words left his mouth, with Steve’s helping hand, Garrett pressed the lever. Whipped cream exited the dispenser with such force that the back crust of the pie was blown off the pie and onto the table, and Steve’s father found himself, once again the victim of his cooking device, wearing a large amount of whipping cream. This year, I am thankful that my father-in-law has a good sense of humor.

And finally, in totally unrelated news, but still needing mention because of its awesomeness, the Macy's Thanksgiving parade featured a live Rickroll!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Speedfit - The Exercise Revolution for the Gullible

I have no idea how much this thing costs, but if you consider this a worthwhile investment, I have another invention to sell you. Yes!!! Exercise goggles with a wide variety of virtual urban scenery. Your exercise routine won't bore you anymore! VirtualVision will supply you with exciting visual stimuli while you exercise. Imagine being able to see houses, hike and bike trails, artificial track surfaces, any many other stimulating virtual environments during your morning run. Operators are standing by. Call now!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Callous Sarah Palin Averts Eyes to Turkey Suffering

As any regular visitor of my blog knows, I am no fan of Sarah Palin, but I'm about to defend her from the latest round of negative publicity she's getting. According to this article (with YouTube video embedded) the governor was invited to a turkey farm to pardon one of the birds that was about to be slaughtered for someone's Thanksgiving meal. "After the pardon Palin proceeded to do an interview with a local TV station while the turkeys were being SLAUGHTERED in the background!! Seemingly oblivious to the gruesomeness going on over her shoulder, she carries on talking for over three minutes." Three minutes? Oblivious to gruesomeness? She should be taken out and stoned, right? Wrong.

This is a woman who shoots caribou for sport. What does the author expect Palin to do? Put a full body tackle on the dude in the trucker hat that's shoving turkeys into a life-ending device of some sort whilst screaming "Noooo, not the turkeys!!"? Less than a week from now, millions of Americans are going to gather around the table to enjoy a delicious feast of turkey that met its demise in this exact manner. You may not like Sarah Palin, but if you want to stop the "SLAUGHTER" of turkeys, or if you feel that this is "kind of gruesome", you need to look a bit further than Alaska's governor or even Trucker Hat for a villain. I'm afraid those millions of turkey-eating Americans, many of whom voted for Obama are the real bad guys.

A New Leaf Turned

Today was the day for our big parent teacher conference with Garrett's 3rd grade teacher, and as we have since 1st grade, we girded our loins for the usual "Garrett is a bit of a trouble-maker" talk. Surprisingly, it didn't go down that way. Every year his teachers tell us that Garrett is a very bright boy and that academics are not an issue at all. He is always way ahead of where he needs to be with his reading skills, learns quickly, and generally glides through his class work with the grace of Dorothy Hamill on ice skates. This year was no different. What was different was that his teacher did not speak of his behavior through clenched teeth accompanied by flared nostrils. While our little boy wonder is by no means the class angel, he seems to be making great progress towards being less disruptive and more focused.

Now I'm trying to figure out what has caused this change. Is it that Garrett is maturing? Maybe as each year progresses, he'll get better at suppressing his urges to make random bizarre vocalizations or fart sounds, or allow his chair to fall on him to provoke the laughter of his class mates. Could it be that his teacher is simply better at coping with Garrett than others that preceded her, and that next year we could be once again back in conference hell? Or have the consequences that I have imposed at home begun to make a difference so that he is now motivated to fly the straight and narrow so he can enjoy all his usual privileges? Whatever the cause, Steve and I are immensely enjoying this new phase and have taken the time to congratulate Garrett on a new leaf well turned.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama Memorabilia

After seeing a segment on the Daily Show about Barack Obama merchandise (commemorative coins and plates) , I thought it would be an interesting exercise to go online and see what sort of bizarre Obama themed items were available for purchase. Here is what I turned up.

T-shirts were plentiful and to be expected. Everyone wears t-shirts, and who doesn't want to display their affection for their candidate on their chest? What was surprising however, were the number of maternity t-shirts bearing Obama's name or visage. Does the enlarged belly provide a better substrate upon which to advertise? I see a business opportunity here for gestating ladies. This one was the strangest by far. What does "Drain McCain's Brain With Obama Drama" mean? Does it suggest that the election of Obama will be a step towards McCain existing only in a chronic vegetative state? Who knew that we, the voters, had that power? Clothing for pets that voted Democratic was also available. I found this one cute, but confusing. Was an Obama/Clinton ticket ever an option? Apparently that fashion conscious pooch never got the memo.

Ebay featured some really interesting Obamabilia, including nothing less than an entire bowling alley for a starting bid of $50,000. Or for $100,000 you could buy the domain name How much would you bid on a set of playing cards that feature Barack Obama on the Aces, and oddly a jaguar with Obama's head on the 10 of spades? Other cards in this set feature Jon Stewart as a groundhog on the 2 of diamonds and a very youthful looking George Bush head perched on the body of a red rat snake. Try not to hurt yourself scratching your head over that one. An Obama bobble head doll could be yours for just $20. What says "I'm proud of my president" more that enshrining his image in a figurine with no control over it's upper extremities? At a certain point I began to be overwhelmed by the vast selection of strange items commemorating our president elect that could be purchased from Ebay. I decided it was time to quit looking when I came across the matched set of Obama and McCain sock monkeys. It could only go downhill from there.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let Them Eat Quail

George Bush hosted a dinner at the White House on Friday night for foreign leaders attending the much ballyhooed economic crisis summit. You know, George Bush, the people's president. The guy we were all supposed to be able to relate to, or perhaps even have a beer with. What would you expect this football-loving, English-language mangling, every man's guy to serve at an economic crisis dinner for a bunch of foreign heads of state? Something elegant, but yet also bespeaking a certain level of concern for the current economic state of his people, right? Nothing over-the-top that would scream luxury to the rooftops of course.

Well, apparently the Dude in Chief has forsaken his common guy image in the waning days of his presidency because here's the menu. Fruitwood-smoked quail with quince gastrique; quinoa risotto; thyme-roasted rack of lamb; tomato, fennel and eggplant fondue; an endive salad, baked brie and walnuts; and a pear torte for dessert. The main course was paired with bottles of Shafer Cabernet "Hillside Select" 2003, priced at $300 per bottle.

Now let's be totally realistic here. When the president of the United States, the leader of the free world is entertaining a bunch for foreign dignitaries, he can't realistically serve burgers and fries. I also acknowledge that this is not a case of caviar, white truffles, and Dom Perignon, a la AIG. But when the very reason for this gathering is the economic meltdown of the world's economy, the menu seems to merit a bit closer critical scrutiny. Rachael Maddow put it best (once again) when she said "Ixnay on the uxerylay guys".

Friday, November 14, 2008

OK, Then None Of Us Will Be "Married"

When I heard the initial reports that came out that stated the African American voters who came to the polls to vote for Obama but againt Prop 8 had made the difference between Proposition 8 passing or being defeated, I thought about addressing that issue here. The reason I didn't, was that the notion of scapegoating that community seemed like a step in the wrong direction at at time when racial division seemed to be waning. Now that Nate Silver at has debunked that myth, I'm glad I didn't fan any flames. Turns out the margin by which Prop 8 passed would have been much larger if young, progressive Obama voters had not turned out.

Now for another notion regarding Prop 8. How many people are so attached to the term "marriage" as it pertains to their union, that they would not be willing to give it up? What if instead of being married we were all "legally joined" (you pick the terminology you like). Remiel proposes that the term marriage be thrown out as a legal definition of a union between a man and a woman. Instead, all such unions should be referred to as "civil unions", leaving the term "marriage" to be applied by religious institutions and putting church and state in their separate spaces. This would level the legal playing field for gays and and heterosexuals, while leaving religious institutions the right to refuse the right of being "married" (it really is just a word after all) to those who offend their sensibilities. Would you agree to that change to our constitution?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recession? Depression? How Will the Story End?

The last few days have been extremely busy, but that alone does not explain my neglect of my blog. Once the election was over and I had said all that was on my mind about Proposition 8, anything else that I could write about here began to feel pretty trite. I will certainly continue posting here as often as I can muster up a meaningful topic, but now that I have met my NaBloPoMo goal for October, I am once again going to try to focus on quality and content rather than just getting a daily post up on my site.

To that end, I'm going to address something today that has really been weighing on me heavily, and has, I am certain, been on everyone else's mind. Just how low can we go? Every time I hear a fresh report that the stock market has taken another big dive, I cringe as I imagine several thousand more dollars hemorrhaging out of our nest egg. The most difficult thing about this, is all of the unknowns. How much longer will this go on? Will I be able to find a new job? Will Steve be able to hang onto his? How much worse will it get, and when it does start to get better, will it improve so slowly that our kids will still be feeling the effects when they try to get jobs? Nothing that I have gone through in the past has prepared me to really deal with all of this.

When I was in high school, a social studies teacher assigned my class the task of finding and interviewing someone who lived through the Great Depression. I chose to visit my great Aunt Betty in the retirement home where she lived so I could listen to her story. That I remember nothing of what she told me speaks volumes. Had I any inkling at that time that I myself could face similar circumstances as an adult, I think her words might have sliced through the never-may-care attitude of youth, and have stayed with me. Which makes me wonder, what stories will we tell our grandchildren about 2008 and the great financial crisis thereof?

Here are a couple of very sobering excerpts from the Wikipedia page on the Great Depression:

"The Great Depression was not a sudden total collapse. The stock market turned upward in early 1930, returning to early 1929 levels by April, though still almost 30 percent below the peak of September 1929.

"...consumers, many of whom had suffered severe losses in the stock market the previous year, cut back their expenditures by ten percent..."

"In early 1930, credit was ample and available at low rates, but people were reluctant to add new debt by borrowing. By May 1930, auto sales had declined to below the levels of 1928. Prices in general began to decline, but wages held steady in 1930, then began to drop in 1931.""

Does any of this sound familiar? Nobody can say for certain whether or not we are headed for the next Great Depression, but our economic outlook is undoubtedly the worst it has been at any time since the depression finally came to an end.

The other day, I asked Steve, if he could imagine what it would be like to wake up each morning being Barack Obama, now that he is to be our next president. I believe that many of the tears of joy around the world came from the hope that this man could begin to change the course that the worldwide economy is currently on. To get up each morning, knowing that the entire world is counting on him and his advisers to make the right decisions must be very sobering. One man and one country cannot make all of the changes that need to be made, and forward progress will be slow, but my greatest hope is that President Obama rises to the challenge and gives me a story with a happy ending for my grandchildren.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Justifying the No Vote

Since Tuesday, I've heard quite a few people defend their choice to vote in favor of Proposition 8 both in person and in the media, and a theme seems to be emerging. People that otherwise believe that minority groups should receive equal rights, seem to have a difficult time applying this concept to gays. They reason that people are born to a particular race, but that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. The color of one's skin is a genetic twist of fate that is thrust upon an unfortunate percentage of our population through no wrongdoing on their part, whilst gay people choose to swim against the tide of human conformity to be with their own sex. These same people often argue that homosexuality is unnatural. After all, why would God (or Mother Nature if you prefer) have made pregnancy and the continuation of the human species the outcome of the coupling of male and female if he intended us to mate with our own gender?

I'll confess that when I started college, I was one of those people that just didn't understand why anyone would want to be gay. After all, who would chose to be the subject of jokes and discrimination? I didn't know any gay people and thought of them as well, queer. I remember realizing with horror that I had worn jeans to school on "Gay Bluejeans Day" at UCSD. What if someone had mistaken ME for one of THEM! Growing up in ultraconservative La Jolla obviously didn't expose me to much diversity. My attitude began to change when a panel of gay and lesbian students spent an hour conducting a question and answer session as part of a psychology class in which I was enrolled. As we filed into the lecture hall, a series of questions was written on the blackboard.

Why did you chose to be a heterosexual?
How old were you when you decided to be heterosexual?
Would sleeping with someone of your own sex maybe change your mind about being heterosexual?
Why do you like the opposite sex more than the same sex?

Flipping the question around was enough to at least allow me to consider that homosexuality wasn't a choice.

Studies have shown that if one identical twin is homosexual the other twin is more likely to be homosexual, but when one fraternal twin is gay the likelihood of the other twin being homosexual is the same as when two non-twin siblings are compared. This suggests that genetics rather than environment has some roll in determining sexual orientation. Exposure to prenatal hormones is also thought to influence sexual orientation. There is also some evidence that the youngest sibling in a family of multiple male children may be more likely to be homosexual. The point is, that homosexuality appears to be much less a conscious choice than it is the result of a complicated interaction between the environment and genetic predisposition.

If homosexuality is aberrant or dysfunctional, why does it persist? Why hasn't natural selection eliminated this trait and further why does it occur even in non-human animals? This article explains a couple of theories on how different forms of a gene could confer a reproductive advantage for the gay individual or a close relative, thus causing the gene to persist. What about gay animals? Do they exist outside of South Park (Super! Thanks for asking!)? In fact, according to this article, homosexuality has been documented in "over 450 different vertebrate species", including the male bighorn sheep. This sounds like a case of Brokeback Mutton to me.

So, if homosexuality is not truly a lifestyle choice, shouldn't civil rights legislation be extended to gays for the same reasons that it is extended to women and minority groups? Maybe the religious right would feel more at ease with legislation allowing gay marriage if they could begin to understand that homosexuality is really part of God's big plan for all of us. Along with Adam and Eve, he really did create Adam and Steve. Do you think they'll buy it?

Friday, November 07, 2008

If You're Still Pissed About Prop 8

Thanks to Mikki, who posted a comment in response to my last post, I have a link to another petition, in addition to the one Stephanie Geffeller posted, that you may sign to voice your opinion about Proposition 8 passing. Here is a link to the petition which seeks to strip the Mormon church of its tax exempt status due to excessive participation in "carrying on propaganda" and "attempting to influence legislation". I encourage you to read through this legislation, form your own opinions, and sign the petition (as I did) if you agree with their arguments.

There is one section of this petition that I disagree with vehemently. It reads as follows:

"For the past six months, Mormons misled Californians about the effects of the Supreme Court ruling.

They told us we would lose the right to participate in our children's education. Lies.

They told us the California state public school curriculum would be modified to teach sex education to kindergartners. Lies.

They told us churches would lose the right to free speech. Lies."

Remember when I said "Take a minute to read the arguments from both sides. If you can't or won't take the time to get educated, please don't vote. Stay home and leave it to those of us who are willing to vote with our brains and our conscience, not just follow popular sentiment like a bunch of sheep." I wonder if some of you were taken aback that I would discourage people from going to the voting booth. Well, the outcome of the vote on Proposition 8, and the comments above are exactly why I made that statement.

If you watched TV, read the fliers that came in the mail, listened to the ads on the radio, or saw all the signs in people's front yards and blindly voted in favor of Prop 8 without investigating the full implications of a yes vote, then you are as much at fault as the people who propagated these "lies". So yes, please, go to the above URL, read the information they provide, and make an informed decision. Take the time to follow the links that they provide to back up the statements that they make.

A moment that truly struck me as I worked at a polling place near my house on Tuesday was a young man who walked up to the touch screen voting machine, with no cheat sheet, not voter guide, no nothing in his hand and completed his vote in the space of about 5 minutes. It took me well over an hour in front of my computer, pouring over all sorts of information, to make up my mind about all of the different candidates, ballot measures, and propositions that needed my vote. It is high time that the American public shakes themselves out of their apathetic state and takes the time to really get educated before they vote. I am so tired of people who disconnect their brains and simply vote the way their church, their co-worker, their spouse, or their political party suggests they should vote. This is your country. This is your vote. This is the founding principal of democracy. Please, take the requisite time to decide if the way you are voting really makes sense!

Whew. Done now. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Prop 8 Petition

An open letter to the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, requesting that he "re-open" Proposition 8, is being circulated. If you are a resident of California and are interested in signing it, the link here. The petition was authored by Stephanie Geffeller, upon whom a Google search, returns pretty much no information. I have no idea what signing this petition will accomplish, but for those of us who were left with the bitter taste of discrimination in our mouths by the passage of Proposition 8, it gives us a place to voice our opinion.

Some will say that we all got the chance to voice our opinion on November 4 in the voting booth. I agree. If you were against Proposition 8 and didn't take the time to vote, this is me shaking my head in disappointment at you. Here is why I signed the petition though. While I agree that the voters have spoken, and now it is time to let democracy take its course, a vote that takes civil liberties away from a group of people really sticks in my craw. (Hell, I'm even willing to give the Mormons back their right to plural marriage if it'll make them leave the gay community alone. I wonder if they'd still want it if women were allowed to marry more than one man? But I digress.) I also take issue with changing the constitution of our state based on something that roughly half of Californians don't agree with. Finally, it is deeply disappointing to people all over the country that during a time when we took a huge step forward as a country by electing an African American to our highest office, we took three smaller steps back when Arizona, Florida, and California voters banned gay marriage.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Prop 8 Passes. Would 52.2% Of You Please Move?

As happy as I am about the outcome of the presidential election, I would have considered yesterday flawless if Proposition 8 had gone down in defeat. I am very very pleased with 47.8 percent of Californians. The rest of you, please move to another state where your intolerance will be appreciated and accepted. You may make your selection from one of the following: Utah, Florida, or Arizona. I've heard Arizona has a dry heat, for those of you with hair frizzing issues.

For the rest of us that will remain behind, those that voted against Proposition 8, it is time for all of us to do a some soul searching to figure out why our once reliably blue state seems to be turning a sickly shade of purple. We've elected a Republican to our highest office, and now we have passed two bans on gay marriage. What's next? Are we to become one of those dreaded swing states? I don't support partisan politics. I believe in electing the right man for the job, regardless of party affiliation, but this trend towards ultra-conservative thinking has me worried. Hasn't it always been conventional wisdom that as goes California, so goes the rest of our nation? Is this the charge we want to lead? This is the dawn of a new a more hopeful era for our nation. It makes me sad the sunrise has to be marred by the smelly smokestack of intolerance on our state's horizon that represents Proposition 8.

We Did It, America!

I find myself almost speechless in the face of the enormity of what we, as a country, just accomplished. I am so proud of what America just did. Not because we elected the first African American as the president of the United States, but because we elected the right person and the best person as our leader. In spite of the cawing and clamoring rhetoric of fear, divisiveness and mistrust that came from the Republican candidate and his running mate, we chose to elect Barack Obama for his integrity, his dignity, the hope for our future that his campaign inspired.

As I heard the news that Obama had been declared the winner, I was quite literally brought to tears. While the alternative outcome would have moved us forward as a nation from eight horrible years of mishandling of our nation, President Obama will do more. He will raise our stature around the world. No longer will we been seen as the nation that elected George W. Bush to not just one, but two terms in office. Bush, the man who led us into an unnecessary war, who deserted Louisiana in its hour of need, who ran up a 5 trillion dollar deficit, and through it all was resilient in his belief in his policies, his administration, and his presidency. The choice of Barack Obama will be viewed by the rest of the world as a rejection of George Bush, the Republican Party, and the disastrous policies of the last eight years. As a nation, we chose a man who has integrity, intelligence, and the willingness entertain ideas, even of those who oppose him. Once again, there will be a reason to look to the United States as a nation to be admired and respected. This transcends gender, race, religion, and political affiliation. This is history in the making.

A couple of posts to Twitter summed up this whole thing up for me. One of my favorites was this one:

The pendulum has swung back with such force, it's come off the fucking clock. This is good. This is natural.

This one really struck a chord with me as well:

Went outside. Quiet here in the 'hood. Neighbor walked by and said, "Well, it's over. Barack Obama!" I said "I hope so" & burst into tears.

Finally, like him or not, you could not fail to be moved by seeing the Reverend Jesse Jackson with tears streaming down his face. This is a man who saw his mentor, Martin Luther King, brutally murdered. Forty years later, watching a black man be elected president of the United States must have drained the poison from some very old wounds. Jackson's face, a trail of tears of happiness and pride making their way down his face, and the hopeful faces of so many African Americans in the crowd at Grant Park truly make me proud to call myself an American.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Quick Hello/Working the Polls

Hi all. Just checking in to let you know that I spent the morning working at a polling precinct near by house. I'm going to spend the rest of the day, after picking the boys up from school, glued to my television, my laptop, and possibly posting the occasional tweet at Twitter. GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!! Will be back to regular blogging tomorrow.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The McItchy and McScratchy Show

The video in this link (sorry, can't embed this bad boy) is eerily reminiscent of this:

Rx for Election Anxiety

Well, this is it. Today is the last day of nail-biting anxiety over the outcome of the election. After today, no more checking the polls to see how Obama's numbers look. No further need for shaking my head at right-wing wacko reports on the Democratic candidate's "associations". My fingers are crossed that we'll be seeing the last of Sarah Palin, despite our collective enjoyment of Tina Fey's mastery of Palin's Fargo honk.

It occurred to me the other day, while driving around San Jose doing errands, that everyone has their own way of dealing with pre-election anxiety. For me, blogging has become a great outlet. For others, the need to see their audience drives them outside, like the two men I saw standing in a heavy downpour waving No on 8 signs and shouting to passing motorists. Some people need to take action. reports that "more than 10,000 Obama volunteers in Ohio were knocking on doors and planning to hit their one millionth home Sunday after a five-day push". I had planned to go to Obama headquarters and volunteer with the get out the vote effort for a couple of hours, but Garrett waking up with a stomach ache this morning put a crimp in those plans.

Voters of all persuasion are particularly active on Twitter, and last night I could help stirring the pot of dissension a little bit. I had the following exchange with a couple of people, one who asserted that Barack Obama supports infanticide. My reply was that Obama likely eats babies for breakfast and kicks puppies too. A third person (sense of humor intact, apparently) replied "Dammit will you people get the lie RIGHT!!! Obama eats puppies and kicks babies, NOT the other way around." Ahh, I love social networking! I highly recommend using one of these outlets over the next 24 to 48 hours in order to connect with like-minded people and to salve your wounded sanity.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Prop 8 Domino Theory

For those of you domino theorist who believe that the defeat of Proposition 8 will lead to people sauntering down the aisle, in connubial bliss with their dogs, here are a couple of other dominoes to consider.

One of the groups backing Proposition 8 is the Mormon church. They have raised in excess of $12 million in support of a ban on gay marriage. What will the Mormon church back next? Although they have officially renounced plural marriage, if we as voters allow the morals and values of a religious group to define the law in our state, couldn't this lead to a push at some later date to re-institute plural marriage? Picture your husband or wife coming home and telling you to make room in your closet for spouse number two. And consider this: your children WILL be reading books in school about a handsome prince who finds and marries TWO princesses.

And if we allow our laws to be dictated by one church, won't others step up to get out the vote in favor of their beliefs? Will we be forced to accept the teachings of Scientology also? Will the next Proposition on the ballot be one that outlaws any noise during labor and delivery because it may induce engrams? And if we follow Yes on 8 "logic" your children will be forced to learn about Dianetics and to take free stress tests in school, and you won't be able to do ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

One of the arguments that proponents of Proposition 8 make is that allowing gay marriage erodes the value of this union. But aren't there other things that undermine marriages? What will voters be asked to ban next? Will we outlaw going out drinking with your buddies after work, not picking your dirty socks up off of the floor, failing to perform your, erm... marital duties with sufficient frequency? Surely running up excessive credit card debt, extramarital affairs, and divorce should be stricken from the Things Allowed Withing the Bounds of Marriage column also.

I only half jest, because our founding fathers had a pretty good idea of what the consequences of non separation of church and state could lead to. Thomas Jefferson wrote:

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government." and "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own..."

What Jefferson is suggesting is that to use religion as a moral yard stick to determine the laws of our state or nation, is to erode the freedoms and civil liberties this country holds dear. Please vote No on 8.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Twitter Mock Election

I love social networking! Twitter is holding a mock presidential election. Vote and follow the results here. To vote, you need to sign up for a Twitter account. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Twitter voters do not accurately represent all American voters, but the following screen shot (as of 11:45 on Saturday morning) just makes me happy!

Click to vote for Mr.Obama
Mr. Barack Obama

Click to vote for Mr.Mccain
Mr. John McCain