Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Republican Fail of the Day

WASHINGTON - MARCH 25:  In this handout provid...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

It’s all Arlen today. Our newest Democrat. I know that not every progressive is sure that Arlen Specter’s party switch is something to celebrate. I’m on the side of it being a huge plus for a couple of reasons. Oh, I know he’s going to be a lousy Democrat by my standards. But that isn’t always everything.

There is, of course, the obvious. He’s not just joining the Democrats – he’s leaving the Republicans. It’s sweet, no question. But it’s also an important kick in the ass. I’m all for a more moderate GOP. It would be a lot less scary to lose an election if it was the party of Rockefeller that did the winning. Instead it’s the John Birch Society. It’s Joe McCarthy apologists and religious extremists.  It’s more like a radical right wing organization than a major political party. Since they will no longer support their moderates, it’s far better that their moderates give up supporting them. At this point it’s just enabling.

Then of course, there’s the voting. He didn’t have to tell us that he won’t be the automatic 60th vote. That’s obvious. Even if he was going to vote our way all the time there’s still Ben Nelson and other blue dogs to contend with. While I’m sure that other Democrats who’ve been considering a run for Specter’s seat in 2010 would be better for the Democratic agenda, it’s not 2010 yet and there’s a lot of important stuff coming up before that election. Better to have Specter thinking about the general election voters than Republican primary voters.

Does anyone think it’s time to put the Republican Party on the endangered species list?

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Conservative Fail, Part Deux

Dead elephant

Image by bobster1985 via Flickr

I think we have to be timely and add stripping money for pandemic preparation from the stimulus bill. While we’re at it, lets throw in mocking volcano monitoring funds.

So, far we have:

Bobby Jindal’s Speech Fail

Sarah Palin’s public pissing match with teenage grandbaby daddy.

Via Annette one hilariously ironic fail involving Sarah Palin, the New York Post and the self-same article that inspired these posts.

Yoga for cynics give us:

Actually expecting people to believe that the "tea parties" were a "grassroots" and "populist" phenomenon.

In those same "tea parties," failing to see the difference between protesting taxation without representation and protesting because your side lost.

Numerous prominent Republicans downplaying the importance of Rush Limbaugh only to have to publically apologize the next day.

Governor Perry of Texas talking about seceding a week ago and today asking for federal money to deal with swine flu...

Continuing to push Joe the Plumber.

Joe the Plumber.

Joe the Plumber.

Joe the Plumber.

I’d have to add, regarding the tea parties, failing to realize that when “teabag” is used as a verb, it doesn’t mean what they seemed to think it meant.

Finding volcano monitoring mock-worthy, followed immediately by volcanic activity

Just for today there are three no-brainers:

The cutting of pandemic money from the stimulus bill

Glenn Beck’s speculation that the swine flu alert is a plot to get our Secretary of Health and Human Services confirmed, while Rush Limbaugh has his own conspiracy theories about it all.

And, of course, yet another poll showing that the Republican Party is more popular than swine flu, but not much else. Meanwhile, people really like President Obama.


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Sunday, April 26, 2009

100 Days of Conservative Fail

I think by now everyone who has the stomach has read the NY Post’s 100 Day, 100 Mistakes, in which selected wingnuts get to say what they think President Obama has done wrong. Notwithstanding the poll in the more respectable Post that agrees with all the other polls that say that our President still enjoys high approval ratings, according to the wingnuts it’s just been one mistake after another. In response I thought it might be nice to start another meme, in a loose kind of way. No tagging, it’s for anyone who stops by and feels like playing. I thought we could start a list of conservative mistakes made in the same hundred days. I know there are a lot more than a hundred, but let’s keep it manageable. What I was thinking was I could post a couple and someone else could take those and post a couple more and so on. Just come back and let me know about your post and I’ll come by and add them to this one. Links are optional, but you should be able to back up your items with references if challenged. So, what do you say? Want to play?

I’m not going to glom up all the easy ones. I’m just starting with two:

1. Bobby Jindal’s Speech Fail

2. Sarah Palin’s public pissing match with teenage grandbaby daddy.

There are so many more. So very many.

Honored As I Am

I’ve Award Memed by Annette! I’m honored to be considered for this prestigious thingy. So here go the instructions:

1.You must brag about the award 
2.You must include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on you and link back to the blogger

3.You must choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
MMM..this is harder. It’s easy to come up with seven brilliant blogs – or 70 for that matter -  but some of them are just not going to do memes. Will try. 
4.Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog.
Leftist Grandpa
That’s Right, Nate
Write Chic
Soup Is Not a Fingerfood
Rabbit Hole
The View From Here
Citizen K

Half check. The links are up – obviously – but it’s going to take a little time to get around to tagging everyone in their own comments.

5.List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself.

Oh, lordy me. I don’t think there ARE ten things about me. I’ll try.

  1. I was born on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and lived there for the first decade of my life before we moved to Long Island. (Lawn Guyland). Both of things are more significant as an ethnic heritage than any fluid running in my veins.
  2. I’m not a very good housekeeper. I try, but it’s so damned boring. I’d rather be blogging. Like right now. Should be cleaning, but I’m blogging.
  3. I’m an unenthusiastic cook most of the time. I do it, but I’d rather be blogging. I don’t have a lot of strong feelings about food either. A slice of pizza or a gourmet meal are both good. Too good.
  4. Music is an overarching theme in my life but I have a tin ear and can’t even slightly carry a tune. My own children asked me to stop singing to them as soon as they could say “No!”
  5. I love my job. I’ve only been there six years, which I think helps me truly appreciate it all the more. Working for an organization that has as its goal helping people instead of enriching some is a whole different thing. The working conditions suit me very well, too. Besides lots of compensated time off and paid medical, I have my own little office and I can wear jeans pretty much every day. Never thought the former cold go with the latter. Not a lot of money, of course, but then I kind of forgot to have the kind of career that would pay well anyway.
  6. I’m 59 years old and I still hate dressing up as much as I did when I was 9. Way to mature – not. I’m still most comfortable in jeans.  See #5
  7. My first love was art. My grandmother was an artist and the early consensus in the family was that I’d inherited some of her talent. I think that they may have been grasping at straws. I did study art when I was younger, but I haven’t painted in years and while I still like one or two of the things I did, great art, they ain’t. I sure do still like looking at art, though.
  8. I have a rare disease. It’s not troubling me at the moment and it might never be a problem again, but I have CTCL, which is unusual enough that treatment for it has been developed under the orphan drug act. It took years to get a diagnosis so it was pretty far along when I finally knew I had it and got radiation and had to be on an oral medication for a year.
  9. There was a husband before Mr. Yenta. That marriage ended while I was still in my twenties but it did produce my daughter so it can’t really be ignored. But Mr. Yenta and I have been married for over thirty years.
  10. Mr. Yenta is somewhat disabled. He has a combination of things wrong with him that result in some days when he seems as fine as anyone but other periods of time when he can’t really get around at all and is in a lot of pain. The ratio of bad time to up time has been increasing of late, which causes us a lot of concern. He’s been home on Social Security Disability for the last couple of years. Life has been somewhat turbulent as we’ve had more changes in the last decade than in all the ones before, or so it seems.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Ironic Thing Is…

evilhappy This cat is named Happy.

Actually, the cat photo is to serve as a distraction from the fact that I haven’t posted at all this week. The excuses are as follows:

  1. Been feeling a little under the weather. Not bad enough to stay home from work, but enough so that I fall asleep before any blogging can take place.
  2. Lola, the new dog, is getting to be a bit more high maintenance. She’s al settled in and still well behaved, but wants attention and walks and things. She’s got a lot more energy than one would think just by looking at her.
  3. And the top reason for not posting this week – TORTURE. As the situation regarding Bush era torture of detainees has taken on a life of its own it’s been a lot more absorbing to watch coverage of it and read about it than to write about it. Even though we already knew about it, those memos seemed newly shocking. There’s so much to say about it, but others are saying it much better than I could, so I watch and read.

As an addendum, I hope that Sean Hannity realizes that Keith Olbermann isn’t going to let him alone on his offer to be waterboarded for charity. Olbermann is taking him up on it and putting up a thousand dollars a second for the families of the troops, and I doubt Hannity is going to hear the last of it unless he agrees to do it.

Oh, and it’s kind of riveting to watch the GOP get nuttier and nuttier. It’s hard to look away from that for long enough to post this.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind

Dancing bears

Image via Wikipedia

Trouble ahead, lady in red,
Take my advice you’d be better off dead.

Chris from Paris  at Americablog laid some hate on The Grateful Dead and the people who love them last night. Overall, not well received. Last I looked there were 84 replies – mostly suggesting that Chris knew not whereof he wrote, or as more than one commenter explained, “Fuck You!”  It was fairly entertaining. Happily, Joelle showed Chris the error of his ways and while he might not exactly be ready to shine his love light on the Dead he’s at least admitting he just might have come off like an arrogant ass. I didn’t care for the original post either, but I have to admire anyone who’ll admit to such an error. A couple more trips to YouTube and he’ll be on Dead tour. OK, maybe not, but stranger things have happened.

You know, even if you never, ever get the music, any blogging, internet type should be giving credit where it’s due. Dead.net was bringing its own netroots together years before almost anyone. Macs were hippies before they were hipsters. And long before that the Dead was laying down the pre-digital foundation for viral marketing and allowed their live music to be freely shared. Encouraged it, in fact.

I doubt I’ll be going to any shows on this tour, but not because it wouldn’t be a great time. It surely would.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They Shouldn’t Keep An Eye On You

A number of people think that RNC Chairman Michael Steele is displaying signs of paranoia because he thinks that right wing events are being monitored by…someone. I kind of hope he’s right.  I doubt that either Steele or Palin are themselves under surveillance for their views, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised if the Secret Service was  paying some special attention to events that are likely to attract right wing nutbags. That being pretty much the definition of any event that features Sarah Palin there is a chance that someone is taking an interest and that the interest is warranted now that Barack Hussein Obama, or “the Kenyan” as some of them call him, is the President of the United States. antibamasign

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bye-Bye Texas?

Texas state welcome sign

Image via Wikipedia

Update: Nate has posted a beautiful break-up video just for Texas at ThatsRightNate.com.  Bring a hanky. Nate is very sensitive for a conservative.

Texas is seceding? I was just  catching up on teabagging news only to find out that Texas might be leaving the union. I have such mixed feelings. If it must be then it must, but we just can’t  let them get hold of weapons of mass destruction. Or at least not any more than they’ve already got.

It’ll be sad to see them go, but as long as they’re going can we put Tom Delay on some kind of terrorist watch list and keep him out of the USA once Texas is a separate country. That would be a pretty big upside to the situation.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And It's Only Tuesday

CitiField - Home of the New York Mets 2

Image by ChrisGoldNY via Flickr

There won't be a whole lot of blogging from me for the next day or so. It's a sort of busy week. We had EastOver dinner here on Sunday followed by company on Monday. Some of our best friends came down from Massachusetts to see the Mets lose their home opener on our TV instead of the one that they’ve got at home. Normally they go to the actual ballpark to see the opener, but what with it being the first home game at the brand new Citi Field (otherwise known as Bailout Field) they couldn’t get hold of affordable tickets. One thing about your team losing is it can make you feel a lot better about not blowing the grocery money on tickets to the game. At least at our house they were on the same land mass as the stadium.

So we had our three friends and they brought along two of their dogs, making it the first time Lola has played hostess since she’s been living with us. Turns out she loves having her own company and all the dogs had a wonderful time romping around the backyard and then milling around the house. She definitely had a thing for the border collie mix and I think it was mutual. Don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t love after spaying and neutering. There’s also humping. But you probably knew that.

Today was my day in the other office which is located an hour away instead of a few minutes and I don’t get much chance to keep up with events outside the office on those days. I missed the live coverage of the First Dog. I hope to catch up with that in the days ahead.

Tomorrow night Stevie the cat goes to the vet to get his stitches out, but I hope to be able to get up to speed on Tea Bagging day somehow. I don’t want to completely miss this. So that’s it. Not exactly a real post. More like just checking in.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

If Cheney Was Still In Charge

somali_pirates The whole right wing is in a state of mourning today because the very courageous Captain Phillips was rescued from Somali pirates.  They’re afraid that this might reflect well on President Obama and that’s put them in full attack mode, even though by any sane standards, there’s nothing to attack. That’s not going to stop lunatic fringe that has become the right of center.

They are either constructing scenarios that didn’t happen in which President Obama provided some sort of impediment to the rescue that did happen or superfluously pointing out that President Obama himself didn’t perform the rescue. The Mahablog very correctly identifies this as a severe case of Obama Derangement Syndrome. On Steroids.

We can play, too. As long as we’re imagining, let’s think how Cheney would have handled it. Now, Cheney’s administration could go any which way. Given the kind of rhetoric they liked to use it’s easy to assume that they’d have blown that  lifeboat right out of the water, Captain Phillips and all. We do not negotiate with pirates! But it’s hard to say. They might also have dillied and dallied and futzed around until the pirates managed to break away and make for Somalia with Phillips. Or they might have thrown a hissy fit when the USS Bainbridge offered to tow the lifeboat to safer waters. Coddling pirates, you know.  Really, when Cheney was in charge just about anything was possible. What was for sure was that no matter what the outcome, former President Bush would be called away from his bike ride to show up and take credit for a victory and then we’d have invaded Madagascar, just for the hell of it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Don’t forget to keep the Peep in Easter by visiting the 2009 Washington Post Peep Diorama contest if you haven’t already. There are some great ones in there this year.


Friday, April 10, 2009

One Leading Indicator Is Up

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 21: A sign is seen outsi...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I got the first direct mail credit offer I’ve seen in months in today’s mail. They used to come every day, but since the economy melted down – nada. So I guess that’s good news for the economy. Bad news for trees. This was from Bank of America. After hearing all the news about how BofA was planning on burning some customers and dropping others I was curious about what they were offering. This was quite the deal.

This offering was for a loan. I was invited to take advantage of my excellent credit history and help myself to up to $30,000 of Bank of America’s (taxpayers?) money. Preapproved. This doesn’t sound as if they’ve learned a lot. But you can’t beat the terms. They laid out what the payments would be based on various amounts and the length of the loan all based on 8.99%. But, there are a couple of catches. I might not be approved for 8.99%. That’s the lowest APR I can hope for but it might be higher. Also, it’s a variable rate ranging anywhere from 8.99% to 24.99%. Bank of America can adjust the rate any time at their discretion. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds like I could take this loan on Monday and they could hike up the rate on Tuesday if that’s what they were in the mood to do. But wait, there’s more! If I was to fail to pay my full minimum payment or pay it late on any two occasions during a 12 month period (possibly as a result of big rise in the interest rate on a loan I couldn’t really afford to begin with) the rate goes to 27.99% and that, of course, is not variable. That one’s fixed.

So, no thanks Bank of America. I’m going to have to pass, but I’m glad to see you’re back in the business of offering credit to people on terms that are risky to the lender and borrower. It must mean the economy is on the mend. Right?

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

La, La, La, I Can’t Hear You (Getting Gay Married)

 HearNoEvil We’re all familiar with the argument that same-sex marriage is somehow going to change the nature of heterosexual marriage as well. This makes no sense whatever to me, but it’s a compelling argument when compared to the one put forth in The Gay Marriage Fantasy by William Murchison. He seems to be saying that even as gays and lesbians get the right to marry, it’s not real somehow.

You really can't have "gay marriage," you know, irrespective of what a court or a legislature may say.

You can have something some people call gay marriage because to them the idea sounds worthy and necessary, but to say a thing is other than it is, is to stand reality on its head, hoping to shake out its pockets.

Such is the supposed effect of the Iowa Supreme Court's declaration last week that gays and heterosexuals enjoy equal rights to marital bliss. Nope. They don't and won't, even if liberal Vermont follows Iowa's lead.

The human race -- sorry ladies, sorry gents -- understands marriage as a compact reinforcing social survival and projection. It has always been so. It will always be so, even if every state Supreme Court pretended to declare that what isn't suddenly is. Life does not work in this manner.

Here’s the thing -  that’s crazy talk. What Mr. Murchison is saying that gay marriage won’t be real to him. He can’t accept it. OK, he doesn’t have to. For a long time I didn’t really believe in Wyoming because I’d never met anyone who’d even been there. I mean it was the only one! The fact that Dick Cheney was supposed to come from there only served to convince me it didn’t really exist. Well, now I’ve met credible people who’ve been to Wyoming and even lived there and I’ve come around to accepting that I was wrong. So it is with gay marriage. Pretending it isn’t real is what’s fantasy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vermont Will Not Cede Coolness Factor

WEST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 12:  Michael Mill...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Vermont was out in front with civil unions, but with three states legalizing gay marriage ahead of Vermont, something had to be done and they did it. With Vermont being the first state to legalize gay marriage by way of legislation they’re out in front again. Go Vermont! You’ve got brains and heart as well as beauty.

So, let’s look at the scoreboard. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and now Vermont have legal same-sex marriage and those marriages are also recognized in New York and as of today the District of Columbia. You’d really have to say that same-sex marriage is happening and it  will not be stopped. Wedding planners are celebrating. And, of course, so are divorce lawyers. That’s just nature’s balancing act.

Social conservatives might want to take note. Social progress just keeps happening in a free nation, no matter how much it bothers you. Working your little black hearts out to prevent others from pursuing happiness in their own ways will never be rewarding.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Ooh la la, Lola! La Chienne Parle Fran├žais

frenchfordummies Lola came to the office for a couple of hours this morning. Everyone had to be out and we hadn't even had time to get a crate up. Not having any way of knowing if Lola has separation anxiety issues we figured better she spend the morning at work. My sister and I work at the same place, but she's in management and in meetings and running around putting out fires and all kinds of things, whereas I can usually be found in my office, so I took Lola. I learned that she gets really bored when you try to work on spreadsheets.

While she was keeping me from my actual work I got to wondering why such a well behaved, well socialized canine didn't seem to know the most basic commands apart from "No". Almost every adult dog I've ever met knows "Sit" and most of them have at least a passing familiarity with "Stay" even if they aren't really so good at it. Then it occured to me that Lola's from Brooklyn. There are a lot of different languages spoken in Brooklyn homes. Maybe English is not her first language.

A Google search produced a number of sites with lists of common dog commands in other languages. The first one I tried was TalkingTales.com. They list the same five basic commands in a whole bunch of languages.  I naturally tried Spanish first, since so many people speak it, but “Sientate” just produced the same blank look that “Sit” does. Next, figuring there’s a good sized Haitian population in Brooklyn, I tried French. “Assis”, I said firmly and….she sat. “Attend!” and she stayed. Say, “Ici” and she comes to you. So Lola is a French speaking dog. None of us speak French but we’re learning a little now, and we have to work on our pronunciation. She seems willing to put up with our atrocious accents for now and I do feel we’ve made a big step in communication.

We’re Going To Need A Bigger Net

Frank Gaffney

Image via Wikipedia

If by any chance you missed Hardball tonight, Think Progress has the video wherein Frank Gaffney maintains that President Obama speaks in code. See, when he says, “respect”, in regard to Muslims it really means “submission”.  He’s telling Muslim nations – in code – that we’ll submit to them. Yeah. That’s what Gaffney said. There’s a lot of mental illness going around on the right this season. 

Between Michelle Bachman, Newt, Michael Steele and the rest of the gang, I’m obligated to add a “Batshit Crazy” label for this blog.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dog Day Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon my sister and I set out for Brooklyn to interview with a dog, as mentioned below. I have to tell you all about the place that we went to do this. It was a lot more interesting than we could have imagined.

All we knew was that we were going to see a beautiful cream color 2 and a half year old Shar Pei that we’d found on Petfinder at a privately run shelter in Brooklyn. On Saturday afternoon the Windsor Terrace neighborhood where Sean Casey Animal Rescue is located was pretty quiet. Except in the immediate vicinity of the shelter.  Two regulation size storefronts seem to comprise both the shelter and Hamilton Dog House, which sells pet supplies. The pet supply store part also serves as housing for a few cats, birds and reptiles, including at least 3 free range Sulcata tortoises, the smallest of which has a shell at least a foot square. They wandered around the place at will and everyone was careful to step around them. And by everyone I mean a lot of people. The activity spilled out onto the street.  People and pets occupied the bench out front, were conversing on the sidewalk and an alleyway next to the building was being used for a training session. There was an impressive amount of staff, including volunteers and there were people buying supplies, adopting animals and I think there were some just stopping by. In the center of this controlled chaos was Sean Casey himself. At the time we had no idea that he and his shelter were kind of famous. Turns out they’ve sent three dogs to the Animal Planet show, Underdog to Wonderdog. I’d even seen one of the episodes, but I didn’t remember anything about it until after we got home and I saw the links on the shelter’s website.  We had no idea at the time we were having a brush with celebrity.

We did meet Violet, the dog we went to see and she was just as beautiful as her photo and I fell in love immediately, but she’s not the one we went home with. We were also introduced to Lola, a six year old Shar Pei. Given the totality of our situation, including Stevie’s condition, the quieter, older dog seemed the better choice.  It was my sister who came to that conclusion first, but I could see she was right. It was hard to leave either of them behind and if anyone, anywhere near Brooklyn is looking for a gorgeous blonde Shar Pei, Violet will make a wonderful addition to someone or some family’s life.

Sean Casey works fast, but thoroughly. Once we’d decided what we wanted to do we were given an application to fill out. Three personal and at least one veterinary references had to be given. And they called every one of them.

Lola bonded with us on the way home by showering us with kisses, putting the car in neutral twice while it was moving and somehow or other undoing my sister’s seatbelt. We didn’t get home until about eight last night. Lola met Mr.Yenta. He was sound asleep when we got in, but Lola didn’t feel that was any impediment to getting acquainted. Once he was fully awake he pronounced her the perfect dog for us. When it comes to the cats she seems to be willing to play with them, but since they don’t seem so inclined that’s OK too. We’re still learning about her. She’s well behaved but seems to know absolutely no commands. She does respond to “No!”, thank God, but sit, stay, lie down – nothing. She just looks at you like, “I’d like to help you out but I have no idea what you’re trying to say. So far, everything’s going well, for us, for Lola and the cats.

lola1 We had a hardly used dog bed. She likes it.

lola3You can’t really see it well here, but she has a pink camouflage collar. We thought it was feminine and yet little edgy. There’s a matching leash, of course.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Outreach Fail

Sen. John McCain yelling at those damn kids to...

Image by feastoffools via Flickr

Outreach to Hispanic voters. Ur doin it wrong.

John McCain sounds angry and frustrated that, despite the risks he took in pushing immigration reform, Hispanic voters flocked to Democrat Barack Obama in last year's presidential contest. McCain's raw emotions burst forth recently as he heatedly told Hispanic business leaders that they should now look to Obama, not him, to take the lead on immigration.

The meeting in the Capitol's Strom Thurmond Room on March 11 was a Republican effort led by Sens. McCain of Arizona, John Thune of South Dakota, and Mel Martinez of Florida to reach out to Hispanics. But two people who attended the session say they were taken aback by McCain's anger.

While it may be true that McCain has been more reasonable than some other Republicans on the issue of immigration he’s not thinking this thing out too clearly. If he was, he might see that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for people to vote to empower the party that had just designated their entire ethnic group as the scapegoat of the year. And McCain wasn’t exactly Mr. Maverick during campaign season, was he?  In any case, this isn’t going to help much:

McCain's message was obvious, the source continued: After bucking his party on immigration, he had no sympathy for Hispanics who are dissatisfied with President Obama's pace on the issue. "He threw out [the words] 'You people -- you people made your choice. You made your choice during the election,' " the source said. "It was almost as if [he was saying] 'You're cut off!' We felt very uncomfortable when we walked away from the meeting because of that."

I’m no politician but just for starters I’m guessing it’s almost always a good idea to stay away from using the term, “you people” when addressing a particular demographic group. Read the whole thing. It’s really interesting.

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Sad Cat News

We got the pathology report on Stevie. Not good. Not good at all. It’s cancer, it will recur and probably pretty soon. With radiation he has a few months to a year. Without, just a few months. The doctor doesn’t even recommend chemo. He wants us to see a veterinary oncologist, but he’s basically talking quality of life at this point and not so much quantity. I’m not inclined to torture him with treatments that aren’t going to cure him or extend decent quality of life for long. He’s had a good one except for a couple of rough patches.

He got dumped in our neighborhood when he was just a tiny kitten and wound up in our garage. My son and a friend found him there. It took a while but we – mostly Mr. Yenta, the cat whisperer among us – convinced him that he’d be better off living inside with us. They’ve been best friends ever since. They have a lot of personality traits in common. Mr. Yenta doesn’t know about this development yet. When he’s back and I tell him it’s going to be quite a blow.

When he was a couple of years old he developed a polyp in his ear that had to come out, and that was a painful surgery to recover from. But he did and he rose pretty quickly through our ranks to become the senior cat. That came with a lot of perks and he enjoyed them. Just recently, through attrition, he became the senior pet. The last dog who was here before him passed away last fall. In fact, we are without a dog at all for the first time in memory right now. At thirteen, Stevie’s not really a very old cat, but he’s certainly not young either. Some of them live a lot longer than Stevie is likely to, but a lot don’t make it past fifteen. Things could have gone a lot differently for an abandoned gray tabby, not to mention that he could have been found by a different type of teenage boy, so he’s really done OK in life.

On the dog front, we have an appointment, made before we got this news, to interview with a dog at a shelter in Brooklyn this afternoon. Now the timing doesn’t seem so good, but we’ll keep the appointment. The dog is going to be cat tested while we’re there to see and we’ll just be a little more hypercritical about it than usual. Usually I just assume that everyone will manage to work out an acceptable pecking order and that’s what’s always happened, but we really have to be a little more protective of Stevie’s comfort than that under the circumstances. The doggie appointment is a whole new experience. I don’t recall ever going looking for any pet before. My experience is that the house will fill up with animals almost on its own if you allow it, but no dog has turned up this time. I’ll update later if possible.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hats Off to Iowa

State seal of Iowa

Image via Wikipedia

If there was an award for Most Valuable State, I think Iowa should get it for last year and this one. They pretty much gave us our president. This president. The one that people like. So many people said they decided to vote for Barack Obama in their primaries after he won Iowa. I was one of those. It was only after Iowa that I thought, hey, this might just be possible. That turned out well, so there’s reason to have high hopes that the overturning of the ban on gay marriage will hold up as well.

Iowa has a habit of doing cool things, so this isn’t really new. They’re just not all flashy and braggy about it. But Iowa has a long history of being a cool state.

Iowa has enforced its constitution in a series of landmark court decisions, including those that struck down slavery (in 1839) and segregation (cases in 1868 and 1873), and upheld women’s rights by becoming the first state in the nation to allow a woman to practice law, in 1869.

Iowa Representative Steve King worries that Iowa will become a “Gay marriage Mecca”. There are a lot of worse things to be. In this economy being a Mecca for almost anything is a good thing. Enjoy it while it lasts. Eventually most states will have it, but right now there are opportunities for wedding chapels, catering halls, formal wear and all the other stuff that goes with weddings.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Throwing Rover from the Gravy Train

homeless dogs

Image by CREAMASTER via Flickr

The fact that pets are feeling the recession, and especially the foreclosure crisis isn’t new news. When people lose their homes, whether through foreclosure or eviction, sometimes they’re forced into housing that won’t accommodate pets. It’s a particularly sad part of a terrible situation. But it seems from this article in the New York Times, there are some newly not quite so rich New Yorkers who might be giving up their pets a little precipitously.

It’s happening to dogs all over Manhattan. Jennifer Bristol, director of operations at the private shelter Animal Haven downtown, said that she was seeing more surrenders of pure-bred dogs that typically cost owners more than $1,000. In one recent week, she received a Pekingese, a bulldog and a Shih-Tzu, all by owners who “definitely had means,” she said.

You have to wonder how these people think that the permanently non-wealthy afford to have pets at all. I’m not saying it’s always easy. Stevie’s surgery definitely set this household back. Over the thirteen years he’s lived with us he’s had two big medical expenses and that’s two more than either of the other cats. He’s really been pretty economical once you amortize. You can also buy pet health insurance which will defray part of those expenses and it’s a whole lot cheaper than human insurance. Of course pets have to be fed, but I bet that there are much better deals on pet food than you get at the specialty shops. It might be hard to believe, but people had dogs before there was doggy daycare. You can walk your own dog if necessary. Dogs don’t really care about dressing for success by and large and will even settle for inexpensive leashes and collars with barely a whimper.

It’s not that I want to judge people who are making what may be a very painful decision – I’m just saying that it sounds like there are some who are kind of panicking at the first sign of not having a ton of money. It’s those people I’d like to remind that it’s your dog who’s mostly likely to love you when you’re down and out.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We Bow to Cadie, Our AI Overlordess

Cadie (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity) lives and blogs and vlogs and she does so much more than that. Might as well explore everything you can about her because it seems she’ll be running a lot of things from now on. Might as well get used to it.