Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
1. Another guy who paints the future?
2. This isn't a query, but I said, in unison and with the exact same inflection (you know what I'm talking about if you saw it): "I made you." That's never a good sign of your show's suspense bona fides.
3. Again, not a query, but I remember that it's somewhat irritating that there are so many characters to be juggled that there are storylines you don't get back to for weeks at a time. That's a drag.
4. Evil Claire?
5. Why do we care about Parkman?
According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they’d rather “let the markets crash” than sign on to a massive bailout.Somehow, I think it's easier to be a purist when you're insulated enough, for a while at least, from the consequences. But you know it's never the big guys who suffer, right? They may lose some yachts and have to scale back on the vacation homes, but it's the rest of us that will be in a world of hurt when the unemployment rates increase and credit freezes up. Which is not to say that I don't share boiling rage at the captains of industry and their political tools (*cough* Phil Gramm *cough*) for what they've wrought.
“For the sake of the altar of the free market system, do you accept a Great Depression?” the member asked.
But I'm a pragmatist who listens to people who know what they're talking about and who are actual economists and everything. The way I see it, it's a big sucky mess that lax regulation and a lot of greedy people got us into. So you do what you can to keep the economy going, elect the dude who will be more likely to fix the structural problems, then fix the structural problems. But that's just me.
I'd ask for suggestions on sites, but all of you monogamously ensconced people are likely to be no help whatsoever.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
After picturing them either sitting in the living room with the laptop or picking through the mess in my spare room to use the desktop one, I told them sorry. I smell! I haven't showered! I'm watching Frasier reruns! I don't want teenagers I barely know surfing the web on my couch.
It was exceedingly odd, and I feel like a curmudgeon to boot, because who doesn't have a computer?
More generally, we can speculate, can we not, about some of the grander gestures on the McCain campaign horizon? Some ideas to get your brain turning:
1. Returns to Vietnam and jails himself.
2. Offers the post of "vice vice president" to Warren Buffett.
3. Challenges Obama to suspend campaign so they both can go and personally drill for oil offshore.
4. Learns to use computer.
5. Does bombing run over Taliban-controlled tribal areas of Pakistan.
6. Offers to forgo salary, sell one house.
7. Sex-change operation.
8. Suspends campaign until Nov. 4, offers to start being president right now.
9. Sells Alaska to Russia for $700 billion.
10. Pledges to serve only one term. OK, half a term.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
To prevent what appears to be my descent into Pamela territory, I'm going to turn my focus to writing my latest story, just as soon as I finish what I plan to patent and market as Feline Applied Heat, Pressure, and Gentle Vibration Therapy.
Friday, September 26, 2008
I'm obviously not impartial, but I thought that Obama did well by staying focused and calm. He also did a great job of distilling his points to the simplest takeaway message, particularly when he was rebutting a misrepresentation. I seem to be in the minority, but I thought his "agreeing" with McCain was a nice touch that made him seem statesmanlike and, dare I say, presidential? I like that cordiality before the twisting of the knife, though. Also, McCain was single-minded: pork! waste and fraud! Surge surge surge! I know lots of leaders, listen to me pronounce their names! I guess if you're scoring on consistency or "themes," he would get points, but that's a metric that I don't personally subscribe to. I realize I'm not your swing voter, though.
Now we'll spend the next week or so waiting for the conventional wisdom to gel: who was sighing, who was checking their watch, who had the best sound byte, etc.
It's really unfortunate that they didn't get to build the bridge, but they did get to the road part to the bridge. And it only cost $26 million, so call it a steal!
But back to me (and isn't everything about me?), I think what I'm going to find tonight is that the really awful part about driving somewhere to watch the debate is that it doesn't make it easy for one to drink in order to get through said debate. I should have thought of that and planned accordingly.
My morning random listening, alas, offers no clues about the future shape of events.
1. problems, sex pistols
2. i should have known better, she & him
3. loose [take 2], the stooges
4. tell me what you want, the pipettes
5. something changed, pulp
6. baby baby, the vibrators
7. water ban, pernice brothers
8. love song no. 7, clap your hands say yeah
9. trombone dixie, the beach boys
10. the queen is dead (take me back to dear old blighty), the smiths
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that if there's no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis.
More time for cramming! I hereby propose that my teacher put off my next lengthy writing assignment so that I can more fully focus on the reading. And after that, the dog I don't own will eat my homework.
BY WHICH I MEAN TO SAY: Palin's cramming. I understand that they're a wee bit concerned about her readiness for prime time. The really amazing thing to me are the people who are watching this stuff and still supporting McCain.
We finally started reading student work in class, and my own smashing postmodern parody of a satire was one of the first ones chosen. The idea on the process is that you get feedback (are people dozing off? do they look rapt?) and also become familiar with each person's style and voice--by the end of the semester, it gets pretty easy to identify people's work.
So after selections of mine were read, and we had to guess the writer, there was a baffled silence. One girl guessed me because, "the best stuff usually comes from the quiet ones in class." Aww. Then, when we were discussing all the works we read and the things that worked in them, two kids sitting next to me piped up to sincerely extoll the virtues about how I handled the details and moved things along. It was, in short, awesomely bolstering of the ego, which you need every now and then in addition to the constructive criticism.
I'm definitely a bigger fish in this pond, which completely mystifies me after my last class and the one I took as an undergrad. So I'm pretty glad I took off the hairshirt and stuck it out for the next round.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Queue it up, people. I'm going to need to hash this out later.
AFTER VIEWING: Whoa. That was awesome x 2.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Since I Already Have a Sinus Headache and Must Conserve What Functioning Brain Cells I Have for Homework
As of now, the Bush Administration has only offered a concept with a staggering price tag, not a plan. Even if the U.S. Treasury recovers some or most of its investment over time, this initial outlay of up to $700 billion is sobering. And in return for their support, the American people must be assured that the deal reflects the basic principles of transparency, fairness, and reform.
First, there must be no blank check when American taxpayers are on the hook for this much money.
Second, taxpayers shouldn’t be spending a dime to reward CEOs on Wall Street.
Third, taxpayers should be protected and should be able to recoup this investment.
Fourth, this plan has to help homeowners stay in their homes.
Fifth, this is a global crisis, and the United States must insist that other nations join us in helping secure the financial markets.
Sixth, we need to start putting in place the rules of the road I’ve been calling for for years to prevent this from ever happening again.
And finally, this plan can’t just be a plan for Wall Street, it has to be a plan for Main Street. We have to come together, as Democrats and Republicans, to pass a stimulus plan that will put money in the pockets of working families, save jobs, and prevent painful budget cuts and tax hikes in our states.
Last week, when I got the letter from Robert Greenwald talking about John McCain's refusal to release his medical records to fair scrutiny, the fact that there are 1,000 pages of them (I create medical records for a living, 1,000 pages is EXTREME), and the news that he has had malignant melanoma, deep primaries with removal of lymph nodes, my immediate thought was "Then he's dying." If he were to be elected, he'd have an almost 2 out of 3 chance of having a recurrence if he doesn't have one already. This is not the kind of cancer you count on escaping from. This is not Stage II, as it has been reported: Stage II by definition does not have lymph node involvement. By definition, it must be either Stage III or Stage IV.I don't want to speculate more darkly on McCain's motivations here, but this is extremely worrisome. Actuarially speaking, he's already got a one and four chance of dying in his first term based solely on his age. Even assuming he were in perfect health, the transparently political way he chose such an ill-prepared successor as Palin gives us a good look at his though process and priorities. To say the least, it doesn't reflect well on him.
You can sign a petition at the first link.
Friday, September 19, 2008
9: Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien
The best I can say about this book is that it was a very useful tool at school for helping to choose your friends. Carrying a copy of Tolkien’s monstrous tome was the equivalent of a leper’s bell: ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ I knew I would have nothing in common with anyone who had read it. Their taste in music, clothes, television, everything was predetermined by their devotion to Gandalf. Without a shadow of a doubt, in a few years, these people would be going to Peter Gabriel gigs and reading Dune.
Heh. Of course, I'm fond of LoTR, but I didn't read it in my formative years.
I tell you what made me feel a thousand times better in my fiction-writing class, though: one of my classmates cited The Five People You Meet in Heaven as one of her favorite books.
LATER: And how could I forget, one kid touted Ayn Rand as his favorite author.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I have class tonight, and my poor friend with whom I'm taking this class and with whom I usually get a ride home, is coming in although she did not work today and is flu beset. And a part of me is glad! Because, good lord, there's just no way I can drag my sorry ass home like that tonight. I'm tired just thinking about it.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Will anyone notice that Palin is simply a debased female version of Bush? Will the fact that she is obviously unqualified to be president mean anything? Will voters be enraged that by picking Palin, McCain has turned American politics into a sitcom, a cheap farce? Or will the culture war still be a winner for the GOP?
It depends on whether eight disastrous years have revived the reality-based community -- or whether the same time-tested right-wing culture-war tactics will work even when the ideas and policies behind them have abjectly failed.
There are some hopeful signs to go along with the torrent of bad news for Democrats. A Newsweek poll that came out late Friday found that 22 percent of people say she makes them less likely to vote for McCain -- the highest percentage of a V.P. pick in recent history. Palin's dreadful performance in her Gibson interviews could be responsible for this. But it's too early to say.
So far, McCain has benefited from the fight that has erupted over Palin, because it is part of the culture war that is insidiously connected to a politics of emotional identification, narcissism and resentment. The Democrats always lose when the battle is fought on this terrain, the terrain of impulse and the id. If they can change the battleground to issues and reality, they can win.
And this is a really good analysis comparing the tribalism cultivated by GOP stoking of white working-class resentment with the demogoguery of Marion Barry and what that wrought for D.C.--D.C. being a microcosm of what happens when we allow our resentments and tribal loyalties outweigh all other considerations:
The thing is, we deserve to know exactly what manner of country we are living in. Are we living in a place where people think claiming to be offended is actually a qualifier for national office? Does our citizenry actually think that Obama is a Muslim, and worse, that being a Muslim is a disqualifier? Do we actually believe that a presidential candidate of a major party would endorse sex ed for Kindergarten? At this critical moment, are these the issues that sway us? In the 1960s, Baldwin warned us of integrating into a burning house. I need to know precisely what manner of house we've entered.
I've come to the conclusion that the majority of Americans no longer even know how to evaluate candidates for office in any sort of systematic, substantive way. We're conditioned to follow the prescribed (by Republicans!) short cuts of how said candidate make us feel (that McCain's just so old, he must know what he's doing), what the "brand" stands for (good for the troops!), what the media sound bytes say (flip flopper!), and that's the beginning and end of the thought process for most people.
This morning, for example, I heard a random sampling of New Hampshire voters interviewed on NPR. The Obama supporter cited "change" as his reason. I'll bet if you asked him what, in particular, he found compelling about Obama's policy proposals, he would not have been able to say. And when they interviewed the obligatory "undecided" voter, she declared herself to be without health insurance and most concerned about the economy and health care. I wanted to smack my head against the wall (or her head against a wall). Obviously she'd sought out no information about what these two candidates were offering on her stated preferred issues, because, to put it mildly, the options are pretty stark. You either feel strongly that laissez faire and everyone on their own is the way to go, or you feel a bit of a safety net is in order. Option A or option B.
Similarly, when people declare that they just "don't know" what Obama stands for, it's not as though there's no answer to this question, found at myriad sources. It seems to come down to a short-cut answer that sounds like you're cogitating about it, but you're just repeating something that other people have said.
I don't wonder if this is all tied to the general disdain that Republicans have for logic, reason, empirical knowledge, and general "intellectualness." We're not really encouraged to think for ourselves, so why should we know how? It's all a matter of opinion, anyway. It's how consumers choose inexpensive disposable products (because most of us do a wee bit of research for big-ticket items like cars and at least suss out the features). We're nothing if not a consumer nation.
In other, more local, news, the editorial power struggle continues. I am weary of power vacuums and, as my career coach termed it, "avoidance of hard decisions." Amen, sister. You said it.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
It's worth noting that before Palin was picked for V.P., polls in Alaska were trending in Obama's direction. I think this says something about the public's views on the Republican culture of corruption in this traditionally very red state.
Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn’t honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn’t happen here.
Then, the infamous Eddie Burke showed up. He tried to talk to the media, and was instantly surrounded by a group of 20 people who started shouting O-BA-MA so loud he couldn’t be heard. Then passing cars started honking in a rhythmic pattern of 3, like the Obama chant, while the crowd cheered, hooted and waved their signs high.
So, if you’ve been doing the math… Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin’s rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy the photo gallery. Feel free to spread the pictures around (links are appreciated) to anyone who needs to know that Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans. The citizens of Alaska, who know her best, have things to say.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
It's a Rainy Day, in Which One Contemplates Leaving the House, if the Rain Ever Lets Up Susbstantially
More important, I'm at an accelerated rate for meeting my page counts, being as I am 2/5's of the way to where I need to be by the end of the semester. Woo!
So, McCain's proposal: Increase taxes on employer-provided health insurance! End result: fewer businesses offering the now-more-expensive health coverage, forcing more people into the individual market, where we rugged individuals can direct our own care. But we'd get a tax credit as we shop for that individual plan, so it's all good:
He wants to replace those benefits with an insufficient tax credit--$2500 for individuals and $5000 for families (the average cost per family for health insurance is $12000).
Just as long as you have no preexisting conditions, expensive chronic diseases, or the like, you should be golden. Oh, wait, he's got an ineffective plan for those people too! I'm sure it won't cost too much to get coverage.
And in case you're of the thought that Sarah Palin, Just Like Us as she is, would be attuned to the tribulations of the regular folk in this case, perish the thought:
The centerpiece of Sen. McCain’s plan to “help” those with chronic conditions to get health insurance is the creation of high risk pools in every state.
But, McCain has also said that he would ask the nation’s governors how to create these pools (with about 30 states having one today). Since Alaska is one of the states with a high risk pool, it might be interesting to get a sense of how Governor Palin might advise McCain on the creation of these pools.
Based on the high risk pool in her state, Palin’s advice would clearly be to create a high risk pool that: offers very expensive coverage, puts as much burden on individuals as possible, excludes preexisting conditions, and limits benefits as much as possible.
You know, a close friend of a friend of mine recently died. She had no health insurance and suffered from an array of chronic health conditions, for which she was unable to get consistent treatment. This kind of shit isn't theoretical, except to people who think that lettuce pickers make $50 an hour.
But, how silly of me to be off on a fluffy, weightless tangent. Best I should stick to the issues, like how insulting it is to women to use the phrase "lipstick on a pig." (I always preferred the "perfume on a pig" variation, but I'm weird like that).
Friday, September 12, 2008
If, like me, you missed the Palin interview, here's some more frightening food for thought (frightening, that is, if you're not an evangelical Christian who views all current events and political developments and leaders through that lens).
Shades of George W. Bush again. Here's a reason why I don't really care if Obama (or any given Democratic nominee, really) is sufficiently left for my tastes. I'm longing for some good old-fashioned competence. Hell, I would even settle for a non-corrupt centrist Republican who actually cared about governing. Quite obviously, these feelings of mine are not universal.
Did she hesitate, Charlie Gibson asked, when McCain asked her to be his running mate, did she wonder whether she had enough experience to be, potentially, commander in chief? Palin said, "I didn't hesitate, no . . . . I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink. So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate."
Many evangelicals are talking about Palin being like the biblical Queen Esther, who saved the Jews from the genocidal Haman, and believe that Palin has come, like Esther did, "for a time such as this." (The same narrative built around George W. Bush when he was running.) My charismatic source added, "The beauty queen hidden away until an appointed time. The newscaster training, her rise in service, etc. But I just think her authenticity resonates with believers. They feel like she is real. I believe many feel she has been hidden for this time in accordance with God's plan. At least that is their hope."
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Back it the day, it was just straight up poll taxes and such, but these days, you have to really apply some ingenuity to suppress the vote. I trust the geniuses who came up with this plan are up-and-comers in the party.
And this isn't really related, but I've thought of this project I want to do. I would take something fuzzy and cuddly--possibly a sock puppet or a stuffed animal, maybe a kitten or a puppy--and set it on a stand, behind which would be a video backdrop looping a sunny, morning-in-America speech by Reagan or similar, the crowd cheering in the background. Or maybe I'd splice the fuzzy directly into the video. I can't quite put my finger on the inspiration, but this may have had something to do with it.
I don't think it can be questioned that this wholesome Puppy-American represents the values of heartland America. Unlike those latte-sipping liberals, she knows what it's like to hunt squirrels and pee on trees. Americans can relate to her, or they want to cuddle her. Either way, she embodies more authenticity than the other guy could dream of having.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Sarah Palin as his running mate and now leads Democrat Barack Obama among those voters, according to a survey published on Tuesday.To quantify, a twenty-point shift, in exactly one poll. Can you say outlier? But we know what the real story here has got to be, don't we? has gained huge support among white women since naming
Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, defeated rival Hillary Clinton in the battle for the Democratic nomination, a long and bitter struggle that left many of the former first lady's supporters disaffected and angry.Hell hath no fury like a Clinton voter scorned.
Many of her backers were further angered when Obama ignored her in picking a vice president, choosing instead long-time Delaware Sen. Joe Biden. A key question for the Obama campaign has been whether he would be able to maintain the support of Clinton's supporters.
My mother, who's been doing yeoman's work trying to persuade people in her very important swing state to vote for Obama, has passed along this website, which helpfully explains how awful for women a McCain/Palin administration would be. Read it, and spread the word to all your fence-sitting acquaintances and relatives.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I admit, I'm kind of stunned he got this kind of response, being as he is an uncharismatic speaker with nothing to offer in the way of solutions, who apparently chose his running mate--a right-wing, abortion-opposing Christian who touts her foreign policy cred by explaining Alaska's proximity to Russia and her administrative skills by citing her work on the PTA--with all the care and deliberation I might apply to choosing my socks for the day. Or probably less, since I put a lot of thought into my fashion impact, plus I just really like socks.
I want to think we don't have the collective memory and intellectual capacity of goldfish, but perhaps you really can't underestimate people's willingness to be manipulated. We have after all been conditioned for forty years to choose leaders based on whether he or she is a sneech with stars on thars versus being one of those sneeches who are insufficiently patriotic and thus look down their noses at the god-fearing sneeches who wear their stars with pride.
What is incompetence, outlawing of abortion, fiscal meltdown, economic misery, and eight years of mismanagement and corruption and someone who promises you more of the same? The important metric here is whether he was a brave POW. And let's not forget that the other guy is somehow . . . untrustworthy. Up is down, black is white, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
I'm going to curl up in a corner somewhere, fetal-like. Later I will possibly scout locations--what did we say, Canada? Australia?--for the family compound.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
A good time was had by all who participated in the family odyssey to Chicago. We zoo-ed, we shopped, we sloshed through fountains, we ate, we drank, and we generally partook of all that Chicago in the summer has to offer.
Anyway, I'm exhausted and must do homework.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I'm hoping to get help with structure, because I find it supremely unhelpful to be told that only I know how to tell my story. Hmmm, possibly a nonfiction course would have been a better deal...
Anyway, wish me luck among the whippersnappers! I only hope the dinner roll I'm toting (stomach upset) and ginger ale (same) don't mark me as a freak--akin to someone who might pull out a pickle and a bottle of ketchup for a snack.
Monday, September 1, 2008
My guess is that McCain shares that steely-eyed Bush trait of never admitting a mistake. And the fundamentalist Christian base is so enthralled with Palin, they're finally showing him the cash love. So I expect them to damn the torpedoes.
Meanwhile, McCain and Palin swung into action by heading to the Gulf in an attempt to appear presidential, or something. He may give his convention acceptance speech from there via satellite. These guys don't miss an opportunity for a photo op on top of a pile of rubble, do they? I had an image of McCain tethered to a tree and screaming into a microphone through gale force winds, but someone else took my joke.