The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Archive for the ‘Aliens Study America’ Category

The Rapture Happened and I’m Still Here

Harold Egbert Camping (Yes, that is his middle name)

According to 89-year-old Harold Camping, the Rapture actually happened, but in a “spiritual” way. Since I’m not feeling spiritually rapturous, that must mean I’m Left Behind. That actually makes me pretty happy. In a spiritual sort of way.

Yep, as a very left-leaning-liberal-lotus-sitting Christian, I’m pretty glad to be here with all the rest of you non-Raptured folks. The Rapture, the belief that Jesus is coming and will float all the “good” people up to heaven naked so the End Times can occur, has no appeal to me whatsoever. First, I’m not going to be naked in front of strangers for any reason. Second, my experience of some folks who believe in the Rapture is that they have an ulterior motive.

And that motive is not to convert folks to belief in Jesus.

My first Rapture-ready acquaintance was a woman who did day care a short distance down the road from me. Since she was close, and I was in need of a new provider for my 4-year-old daughter, I did a test drive. Attention parents: Never leave your kid with a stranger for hours on end the first time. Try it for just a couple of hours. AFTER you check references.

Anyway, I left my daughter with this woman while I went to the grocery store and ran a few errands. I was gone two hours. When I came back, the kids were playing horsey, with a rope, around a child’s neck. I put an end to that and went into the house (yes, the kids were outside without supervision) to pay the woman. There I found her “disciplining” a little girl by making her stand with her nose in a corner for an HOUR! A four-year-old.  So, I guess you know my kid was never going back.

This was during the time when, as a Lenten discipline, I challenged myself to wear a cross, visibly, every day for the whole of Lent. Talk about a challenge for a closeted Christian closeted lesbian out journalist.  Anyway, the woman sees my cross, and sensing a kindred spirit, proceeds to tell me about the Rapture and the End Times and how she can’t wait. Why, I naively (and somewhat snarkily) ask.

She says, “I just can’t wait to sit in Heaven and watch the sinners roast in hell.” Oh. My. God.

Some people just need people to be “beneath” them, and this women had this trait to the extreme. She thought heaven was a ringside seat to Hell. Hell-o?!?!

I suspect that at least some of Camping’s followers suffer from that same insecurity. If they don’t feel good enough about themselves, then they need a God to validate them. As long as that God doesn’t validate those they believe are not good enough, or beneath them.

I fit that category in so many ways. Right off the bat, I’m lesbian. Then I’m a liberal Christian and a Unitarian to boot. I vote Democrat most of the time. I actually support new taxes. I’m appalled at how backward the US is compared to the rest of the first world in so many ways (including the ridiculously low taxes we pay. There, I said it.) I think kids SHOULD attend public school and be exposed to all sorts of things. I even took my children on field trips so they could be exposed to things and people they didn’t get to meet in their home village. I don’t believe in the Rapture. Although I always thought the bumper sticker was pretty funny. You know the one. “In Case of Rapture, This Vehicle Will be Unmanned.” I put that bumper sticker in the category with the one that said, “If the Car’s A’Rocking, Don’t Come A’Knocking.” Don’t know why. Just did.

Does this guy look like a rocket scientist to you?

Oh, there was that one time. Back in August of 1989, some guy named Edgar Whisenant predicted the world would end on September 1st, 1989. Mind you, he’d already predicted (and written a book about it) that the world would end September 1st, 1988. But he claimed, you guessed it, a math error. And this guy was a rocket scientist. Well, a retired rocket scientist. As in used to work for NASA. A REAL rocket scientist (hmmm….now I’m wondering if he was responsible for the misplaced comma that caused all that trouble?!?).

Anyway, he predicted that there was a 96 percent chance the world would end in 1989. Then, just in case he was wrong again, he raised that to 97 percent for 1990, 98 percent for 1991, and so on until he hit 100 percent in 1993. FOUR MORE CHANCES TO BE WRONG!

How do I know all this? Well, I cut the article out of the Oregonian, if you must know. This was just too weird to let

Formerly available at Amazon; Currently unavailable. Must be a collector's item.

pass and I have kept it, in my WELL-READ Bible, all these years. Yes, I have actually read the Bible. Several times. Took notes, underlined, my RSV Bible needs duct tape to hang together.

So, there I was, on Friday, September 1st, having forgotten all about it. Driving home from the dentist. I’m in a bit of a rush, because I set off a bug bomb that morning because of a major flea infestation (we also had plagues of tree frogs and slugs in our house. Don’t ask. Just more proof that I’m among the damned.) The kids were at school, but I had to be home in time to keep them from going into the house. Oh, and I was pregnant. Very pregnant. That probably played into what followed.

So, I’m on the freeway. And the freeway stops. Not grinds to a stop. STOPS. I’m thinking there’s a wreck so I turned on the radio. Nothing. I checked the overpass sign. Nada. Not a wreck. Then it hits me! It’s the Rapture. All the cars are suddenly unmanned except mine. I’ve been Left Behind. In spite of the cross, in spite of all that Bible reading. (Did I mention I was VERY pregnant at the time?)

When I started to think rationally, I noticed that other drivers were also left behind. In fact, all of them were left behind. Relief. Of course, now I had to figure out how to get off the stopped freeway, get to a phone, and call someone to go keep my kids from being poisoned by the bug bomb.  Remember, it’s 1989. No cell phones. To make a long story short, I pissed some people off by forcing my way across two lanes of traffic, then backing up on the shoulder to get to the off ramp. They probably wanted to watch ME burn in hell. But, the kids were rescued. I’m still here.

And I am still here. And so are you. Until October 21, 2001. Because Harold Camping made a mistake. And not his first. Back in the early 21st century it was a math error that undid him. Oddly enough, he is also an engineer. Went to Berkeley. What is it with rocket scientists and the end of the world, anyway?

Tall Grass

I live in Oregon. For those of you who know Oregon, that probably says it all. Oregon is beautiful, lush, green.

And there is a reason for that.

It is not good karma. Like most states, Oregon is abusing its state workers to balance its budget, “weed” is the number one unregulated cash crop (jeez, can’t we just tax the shit out of the shit so the state workers can get paid?), and the weeds here are big and strong and totally indifferent to my wishes. Because of freaking rain!

Three days ago, I left my sick house (bronchitis being the primary object being passed around inside) to venture out into the sun. Yes. Oregon does get sun. In August.

Oh, the gods tempt us with moments of beauty, but they are fickle bastards, and we have to wait until they leave the state for their annual retreat on Olympus or wherever they go to to escape the heat before we can enjoy a moment of peace and sun.

No. Here in western Oregon, rain can be mind-numbing depression fodder. So, with great joy, I stepped out into the sun a few days ago. And was greeted by grass as high as my head.  Well, maybe it wasn’t QUITE that tall, but it was pretty damn close.

But the sun was shining, the warmth inspiring, and I said “PREPARE TO MEET THY DOOM” to my lawn. I planned a date with a weed whacker. Just as soon as I got back from my mammogram, an eye appointment, and some much-needed grocery shopping, not to mention the humiliation of having to send my car payment by Moneygram because my number problems finally caught up with me.

I looked at my car payment online, in early May, because I can never remember a) how much it is and b) what day it is due. It said 4/28. Great, I thought, I still have several weeks. You see the flaw, I suppose. Some people can actually see the problem here. Not me. Even when the guy from Wells Fargo called me and told me my payment was way past due. I blithely said, “No, it’s not due until 4/28.” He said, “Right. And that’s the problem.” I sweetly said, “But that’s still two weeks away.” Yep, it was. In the wrong direction.

Now, remember, from the post you probably haven’t read yet, that I had bronchitis a few weeks ago. I took heavy duty drugs because I have a tendency to break ribs if I cough too much, and I lost a week or so. I also lost control of all cognitive functioning and especially lost control of the part of my brain that is numerically challenged. He was right. I’d missed a whole month in terms of that dang car payment. Don’t ask me how. I don’t know. No, I don’t have early-onset Alzheimers. I’m just easily distracted by other things. Flash some bling or an aluminum can and I’m gone…

Anyway, the humiliation. Being poor in America must be a royal bitch. We’re solidly middle class, some might even argue that we’re borderline upper middle class by US standards, filthy rich by global standards. Sort of fits with being upper middle aged, I guess. I had never before had to make a payment by Moneygram. In fact, I had to go several places before someone at a bank pointed out that the Western Union form I’d completely filled out had NOTHING to do with Moneygram. But it gave me some new awareness.

First, the payment was late. So there were late fees and penalties and stuff. Because it was late, they wouldn’t let me pay on the website as I normally do. So, it cost me an additional $9.99 to send a freaking Moneygram, and I had to do it in Albertsons which was ridiculously noisy for a grocery store, and I had to do it over a phone with a guy in India that I couldn’t I understand and who refused to speak loud enough for me to hear him. So I kept saying, “What?” and practically yelling to make myself heard. All the while wondering what it must be like to have this be a regular occurrence. My calendrical error cost me over $50 more than the payment by the time I was done.

Obviously, there are so many things wrong with the last paragraph. Albertsons, alone, I could write a book on. Outsourcing of American jobs. My aging ears. Extortion. Banks. Extortion by Banks. Fees on the backs of the poor. The way we treat the poor.

I could wax poetic on being poor in America (read Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, if you haven’t. Should be required reading for all middle class folks) (also read the Bible, if you think this country is based on Biblical principles. It ain’t. Especially read the parts on how to treat the poor, usury, gleaning, Sabbath practice, and Jubilee years) (And don’t give me that “It’s OT” crap because JESUS, the main man according to Christians, has a lot to say about how we treat the poor as well. And NOTHING to say about homosexuals. Just saying.) (Then, if you want a real education, you might want to notice that the Qur’an teaches, and Muslims practice, giving money to care for the poor. Not just a box of $.39 Mac and Cheese on food bank Sundays).

This Great Depression Recession is being felt by a lot of us, even those of us who thought we were invincible due to education, training, jobs, unions, seniority, and all that. Here at the farmette, we’re feeling it from the cuts state workers have had to take in wages and benefits, and in the decreasing amount publishers are willing to pay for indexing. And we’re the lucky ones. We still have jobs. We still have options.  We still have health insurance to pay for the mammogram, eye glasses, and that stupid codeine that allows my ribs to stay in one piece.

Okay, so I’m ranting. But the way we treat people, especially vulnerable people, in this country is racking up some serious bad karma for this country.

I’m pretty sure it’s not the cause of the bad weather karma, though. Oregon just has a lot of rain. We don’t have big floods, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, raging wildfires. Well, we do, but they tend to be finite and well-contained and infrequent.

So, by the time my boobs had been mashed flat in a machine that repeatedly poked at my most recently broken rib until I was in tears, and my new eyeglasses were making me see the world just slightly “off,” and I’d been humiliated by some guy in India who probably has YOUR job if you’re now unemployed, I was in no mood to deal with the weeds in the front yard.

Besides, it was raining and has been ever since. The weeds now ARE as tall as I am. That would be 5’3-3/4″ tall. Unfortunately, we have several unemployed young people in our family. Guess it’s time to put some of them to work for a day or two whacking away at all the problems in the yard. Wish I could whack away at theirs.

Almost Forgot

Things I learned today:

  1. How to unfreeze pipes using towels and hot water (while doing research for an article I was writing).
  2. I still hate Costco. I hate it worse with my youngest daughter in tow when she’s in shopping mood.
  3. You can get a passport endorsement on your driver’s license for $15. It’s only good for entry into Canada and Mexico, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than an expedited passport ($150) and it only takes a simple trip to the DMV. Meg got her’s in Washington. Not sure if it works the same way in Oregon. Guess I won’t know for sure until my passport expires again and I forget to get a new one.  Of course, in 20 years, Jenny and I have been to Mexico once and Canada not at all. We have, on the other hand, been several places that required passports.

Football Redux

Two days ago I wasted time watching part of the Rose Bowl. I attended U of O so I sort of hoped the Ducks would win, but I don’t get football so in that sense I didn’t care. But I did learn (?) some new things about the game.

  • We need a larger TV. Apparently there were words at the bottom of the screen of our old 27″ television which showed things like the score, how many minutes were left in the quarter, and other important information. After I’d asked what quarter it was and how many minutes were left one time too many, Jenny pointed out that this information was readily available. I, however, being 58 with bad eyes, couldn’t see it. Nor could I see the ball. Hence, we need a new TV.
  • The dog thinks that Jenny yells because there are whole packs of wild wolves circling the backdoor. So everytime something happened (I have no idea what those things might have been as I couldn’t see the ball, the score, the clock, or what was going on) Jenny yelled, the dog woke up from her football stupor and looked hopefully out the back windows. No wolves. Just football. I’d prefer wolves. So would the dog.
  • Just when I thought I’d figured out the whole “1st in 10” thing, Jenny introduced the “1st in 15” thing which is just like the “1st in 10” thing except it includes a penalty. I didn’t recognize it as a penalty since no one hit anyone with a stick or got sent to a penalty box. I speak better hockey than I do football.
  • If your knees touch the ground, the play is over. Which begs the question, why do football players pray? And if they pray on the field is the game over?
  • If your knees, however, are on top of another player, and you put your arm over the goal line with the ball in it, it’s a touchdown even if the guy on the other team pushes it back. Unless, of course, you’re rooting for the other team. Then it’s a bad call by the ref.
  • Halftime is only important to me. I like cheerleaders. I like marching bands. What I don’t like is color commentary and instant replays. Which is what they had during halftime.
  • After the non-event of halftime, I left Jenny to her stupid game and took a nap. The Ducks lost. I’m sure the two were not related.
  • Sometimes when someone kicks the ball it’s called a conversion and it has one point. Sometimes when someone kicks the ball it’s called a field goal and has three points. Or maybe two. I’m not sure. Nor am I sure which is which.
  • I still don’t know what offsides is.
  • Instant replays are a thinly disguised way to hide the fact that a football game lasts for approximately 17 minutes but takes four hours to watch.
  • For further adventures in football see this

Football, A Theological Perspective

I spent the day with friends today and we watched football.

I hate football. I don’t understand football. Here’s what I know about football.

Nothing.

My history with football started in high school. I never missed a football game. I was there to watch the cheerleaders and smoke under the bleachers. I was there to go to the dance after the game. I was there to get out of the house. I was not there to watch football. I knew the object of the game was to carry the ball down the field to the goal place and that other people tried to knock the person with the ball down. Mud was part of the game. As was rain which caused the mud. But, from the bleachers, I could never find the ball. Never. Once in awhile, I would see some guy run down the field, chased by other guys, and I assumed he had the ball. Then he would end up in the mud and the cheerleaders would yell this:

“First in ten, do it again, we like it.” Huh? But they were cute when they did it and I was there, after all, to watch them. Did I mention I’m a lesbian? So when the cheerleaders said it, so did I.

(At basketball games they said “Get it on the rebound, rebound, rebound” and I knew what that meant. But “First in ten, do it again, we like it?” WTF were they talking about?)

Aside:  I graduated from high school in 1969. When I was twelve I went through confirmation classes in the Episcopal Church. I knew that the fact I would graduate in 1969 was funny for some reason but had no idea why.  What I learned in confirmation classes was this:

  • Parts of the prayer book did not really exist (The 39 articles. Have you ever seen them? I thought not.)
  • The Holy Spirit would descend on me when I was confirmed.
  • After that I could eat the body and blood of Christ which was actually fish food and wine.

So I get confirmed. Bishop Carmen had some sort of palsy and when he laid his hands on your head it felt like you were being attacked by a blender on high. Your whole head shook and then you were confirmed. For a long time I thought the Holy Spirit was part kitchen appliance, part bird. Then, after he finished shaking all our heads, he gave us a verse. The point of the verse was this: When we saw him, we were to say the verse and he would know which year he had confirmed us. (Stay with me. We will get back to football after this brief half-time show).

Now, remember this. We are twelve, so sixth grade. The girls had brand new breasts, the boys were still short, we were all, basically, morons. We already know there is something funny about the fact that we will graduate in 1969 but we have no idea what and our older siblings and friends refuse to tell us.  And Bishop Carmen gives us this verse: “Whatsoever he saith unto you do it.” But, he wants to make it easy and tells us we just have to come up to him and say, “Do it, Bishop Carmen.” Although we are not quite sure about the mechanics, we do know that “Do it” means sex. We also suspect that 1969 has something to do with sex and we find this quite funny. We spend the next several years looking for excuses to tell the bishop “Do it, Bishop Carmen.” Hell, we were twelve, we amused easily, especially if it had to do with sex, which we only understood in a clinical 5th grade health class sort of way.

Now back to football. By the time I was in high school I had a better idea about the whole concept of “doing it” and I even had an inkling about what made 1969 so dang funny. And there are the cheerleaders, for no reason I can understand, yelling “First in ten, do it again, we like it.” One of them is my next door neighbor whom I have had a crush on for years. She was four years older than I was, a senior when I was freshman, and beautiful. She moved like the dancer she was (she went pro with SF Ballet) and I have always had a thing for dancers.  So, between smoking under the bleachers and watching the cheerleaders, I’m pretty sure this particular cheer has something to do with sex. That whole “First in ten” thing is a freaking mystery and remains so for my entire high school career. But I was sort of getting behind the whole sex idea and if it involved the cheerleader next door, I was all for it. So I was pretty sincere on the whole “Do it again, we like it” although at that point I had no idea if I would like it or not.

Fast forward. I never went to a single game in college because I was too busy being a hippy and doing that whole sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll thing. Yes, I did it. And I liked it. After college, I went to a New Year’s Day party some college friends still hold today, some 30 years later, and we played an annual game of flag football. However, since these were mixed teams, flag meant the guys tackled the girls into the mud. Sort of as if we were still in sixth grade only in our late 20s. Morons. Some guy on my team tackled me. You read that right. ON MY TEAM. And my glasses broke so I had to sit out. I am blind without them. That is the only time I ever played football, I was tackled in the first 30 seconds, and couldn’t even see the rest of the game. If I remember correctly, there was a bong involved.

Another fast forward. I meet the beloved Jenny who actually likes football. I make it clear that I will not watch football with her and she decides that she will watch only the Super Bowl. Or maybe the Rose Bowl. I get those two mixed up. So once a year she goes butch on me, watches a football game complete with yelling at the TV which I patiently explain cannot hear her, and I go in the office and do something else.  For about 13 years this works just fine. Then our kid, the Divine Miss M, decides to be a cheerleader. She makes the squad freshman year and by senior year is star of the show and team captain. Suddenly I have to go to football games. All the time.

I no longer smoke, you can’t get under the bleachers anyway, and I’m still there to watch the cheerleaders. There is no bong involved although I wish there was. But Jenny is determined to teach me to like football. So start the endless repetition of the FACTS OF FOOTBALL, listed below:

  • There are two teams.
  • The home team wears white. This means that if we are at home, we’re the white guys, if we are not at home we are the blue guys. Except Maggie’s school always wears blue so one of my certainties flies right out the window.
  • Each team has two lineups, one for offense, one for defense (finally I know why there are always so many guys just standing around)
  • On the far side of the field, the one I can’t see because I am blind, are two, or maybe three or four, guys with orange numbers on sticks.
  • The number guys move around depending on where the ball lands and they flip the numbers to figure out many yards the ball went. This has something to do with the white lines on the ground if it isn’t too muddy.
  • There is still something called “First in ten” and I still don’t know what it means. Or maybe it’s “First and ten.” Either way it’s meaningless to me. Jenny explains it every game. And every game I forget. Did I mention the brain injury?
  • The game still consists of about 20 minutes of action and three and a half hours of standing around.

Every week she explains this (or something close to it) and every week I have no clue. (You have to know that one of my daughters played soccer year round for almost two decades and I never understood offsides either) (and, I find out, football has offsides as well but I have no idea what that means either) (However, I’m pretty sure that football offsides and soccer offsides are not the same but it doesn’t matter because I don’t understand either.) I watch the cheerleaders.

(Note: I am no longer interested in the cheerleaders in that way because they are now young enough to be my children. In fact, the one they keep tossing in the air is my child.  And that would be, well,  icky. Not too mention illegal. And I am married (although apparently that is not legal either since I’m married to a butch-wannabee named Jenny.) And, in case you forgot, my name is Susan which means we are both women. That whole lesbian thing. And don’t ask me which one of us the guy, you moron. The whole point: NO GUY!)

However, today I learned something about the mysteries of football. One problem with live football is that they run, they fall down, the stick guys move, and everybody huddles, slaps asses, and then they stand around until they do it again. Like I said, little action, lots of standing around. But in televised football they can fill the “standing around” time with instant replays. Endless instant replays. Endless instant replays of instant replays. So you can’t even figure out where the game ends and the replays begin. Makes it all so much clearer to me.

PS. The Divine Miss M is trying out for the PSU cheer squad in April. She will probably make it. I will have a few more years of chances to understand football. I just hope the cheerleaders are still cute.

Weird News

Time magazine arrived today. I prefer Newsweek but for some reason we get Time. Today it was worth it.  First, there was the article early in the magazine about how shrink-types have discovered that 50% of college students have psychiatric problems. This led to a discussion, at our local Scottish pub over steak and mushroom pie, about college students we have known and their various psychiatric problems. I was a college student with psychiatric problems, not the least of which was a roommate who was a psychology major and once diagnosed me, while taking an abnormal psych class, with “manic-depressive manic-depression.” Whatever that is. I was, to quote a psychiatrist friend of mine, JPN. (That’s Just Plain Nuts for you non-shrink types, and she swears she puts it in the charts of folks she can’t otherwise diagnose. Sort of like FLK – pediatrician talk for Funny Looking Kid. One of my kids was an FLK as an infant, but she turned out okay.)

Anyway, later on in Time magazine, and still at the Scottish pub although before the whiskey-laced cheesecake, was an article on a recent high school graduate who has changed her name to Cutout Dissection.com. Yes, you read that right. Dissection.com is her last name. Now,  I thought it was a burden having a hyphenated last name. I once had this conversation with someone who needed my last name:

Me: It’s Landis-Steward [I actually said Landis hyphen Steward]

Idiot: How do you spell hyphen?

Me: No, it’s a hyphenated last name, like, you know, a dash.

Idiot: Dash? I thought you said it was hyphen.

You get the idea. But .com as part of your name? This young woman is writing college essays about why she changed her name to something insane. All I can say is Time missed a great layout opportunity!

But, here are the truly important thoughts on this:

No one should be allowed to:

a) change their name to something stupid

b) get a tattoo in any place that shows

c) pierce anything except ears and belly buttons

Until they a) turn 40 or b) prove they can become gainfully employed and stay that way.  Nuff said.

Alien News – Election Edition

Hey, finding out that Bill and Hillary really DID adopt an alien child wouldn’t be any weirder than the stuff that’s going on in this election. I’m not going to provide links because my hand hurts but I’ll refer you to the following:

Daily Kos

Huffington Post

New York Times

So, here’s the rundown:

Sarah Palin went off target this weekend and brought up the clothes. Which, although she wears them, are not hers. (Is she a nun? Are they “clothes that I use”? (I know a lot of nuns and some of them talk that way: “It’s not my car. It’s the car that I use.” )) In fact, most of them (the clothes, not the nuns) are still in her jet. Hmm. She did say “my jet”. Maybe they struck a deal. She gives the clothes back and keeps the jet? The Republicans are now pissed at her for continuing the circus and are calling her a “rogue” and a “diva”.

Of course, McCain says the RNC bought the clothes, not the campaign. Now the RNC is saying that they only bought the clothes because the campaign asked them to do so.

In the NYT this weekend, it turns out there is one endorsement McCain doesn’t want brought up. See, it seems that a terrorist group, a certain Al Queda, has endorsed McCain. Seems the Bushies have been such a good recruiting tool, they want to continue these stupid wars as long as possible.

Speaking of wars, the vast majority of US soldiers are voting…wait for it…DEMOCRATIC. HUH!?!?!? (Last I heard it was about 80 percent)

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has been convicted on all 7 counts of canoodling with the Big Oil and LYING about it. Sarah Palin has not asked for his resignation, saying she trusts that he will do the right thing for Alaska.  So much for the reformer who took on her own party over corruption.

Today someone in the Palin mob shouted “He’s a n****R” about Obama. Palin, naturally, only fumbled her lines and said nothing. And two white supremacists were arrested by the ATF in a plot to kill 102 African-American students AND Barack Obama. Gee, I can’t help but wonder how Bridget McCain feels about all of this. Or did her parents cancel her Internet and cable TV?  Bridget, in case you don’t know, is the McCain’s 17 year old adopted daughter. She’s Bangladeshi, not African, but she’s definitely black.

In a call center, 40 employees walked out, sacrificing their pay rather than read a hate-filled screed the McCain campaign wanted read to voters in swing states. Having done time in a call center myself, I know that those folks NEEDED the money they lost by exercising their consciences. And, because call centers tend to be sweat shops, it’s quite possible they could lose their jobs.

Speaking of low-wage workers, it’s so bad out there, the McCain campaign is hiring people to call voters. And some of those people are Obama supporters who just need a job. Now, what is this whole Acorn thing about? Oh, yeah, hiring people to register voters. See, it’s bad to hire people to register voters, but it’s okay to hire people to slime other people.  Of course, the McCain people are threatening to sue the folks who told on them.

And, while we’re on the topic, McCain can’t get volunteers to do his campaign work.  I was at the Obama joint in Oregon City the other day and it was jumping! Dozens of volunteers, packed into a small storefront. Great energy. And they weren’t getting paid.

Also, Acorn flagged all the bad registrations and turned them in AS THEY ARE REQUIRED TO DO BY LAW. Oh, and earlier this year, McCain was honoring Acorn for the good work they do.

Meanwhile, Republicans are up to their old tricks. (Can they learn new ones?) Voting machines that register for McCain when you push Obama. Or allow you to vote a straight Democratic ticket with one push but don’t register the vote for President.  Mailers telling voters in Democratic areas that the general assembly (I forget what state….but it’s a swinger) has decided to hold voting on November 5th. Swing states being sued because “we never thought the election would be so big” so they didn’t get enough ballots. (Funny, I did. And I’m just a soccer mom/football grandma/intellectual elite/small business owner/lesbian Christian so what do I know.)

Speaking of me, I figured out that under McCain’s finance plan, I’d get zip. Zero. Nada. And could lose my health insurance. Under Obama’s, I get some tax breaks. If I ever make $250,000 net I’ll make sure to whine.

And speaking of Christians, be sure to Google Jim Wallis, an evangelical minister, or look him up at Huffington Post, and read his guidelines for Christian voters.

I know there is much more but the dog is whining because Jenny just drove in and I have to let her out.

The Great VP Debate – Part II

Well, after an hour and a half of blathering about being a maverick, a hockey mom, having a special needs child, and getting lots of things wrong, all while smirking at Joe Biden when she wasn’t being cuter than a button, the results are in. BIDEN WON!

And, in other news, an Alaskan judge has decided not to throw out Troopergate. The report comes out on October 10th and the McCain team did not strengthen their case when they convinced Todd Palin and others not to obey subpoenas. Isn’t that against the law? I thought so.

But here’s the interesting question. If Palin decides that she needs to leave the ticket, with some help from McCain’s staffers, who on earth would want the job? You see, there’s a slight problem. Being the VP candidate on a losing ticket is a death sentence for future political aspirations. Sure, you can go back to being who you were, but you AIN’T gonna be President. Or VP for that matter. In my 56 years, I can’t think of one VP candidate who lost who went on to become President. Yes, I know Nixon was a VP. And he lost to Kennedy as a Presidential candidate and went on to win several years later. But name me one person in the past 50 years who lost a VP contest and went on to be someone again. (I am not discussing failed bids for re-election either.)

So do you think Huckabee, Romney, or any of the other aspirants to the Oval Office would be willing to sign on to a losing ticket? If they did, they’d mark themselves as total fools. Nope, if they want a chance in 2012, they’d better take a pass. So who would he get? Well, maybe Lieberman. He’s already lost any chance he had. And he’d just lose again because the “base” would object to his pro-life stance.

Either way, the only way for McCain to pull this one out is a) cheat (enter voter fraud in your browser if you don’t know what I’m talking about) or for b) Obama to make a huge mistake. However, Obama has pretty much proved himself to be accessible, intelligent, bright enough to know what he doesn’t know and surround himself with good people, and fairly unflappable. And, despite the Republican’s bashing of community organizing, Obama has put together a strong team that has registered an unheard of number of new voters. Mostly Democrats.

BTW, there is a video on YouTube of McCain in which it appears he is having a mini-stroke. His face acts weird, he becomes confused, it happens again, and he can’t find his way off the stage. Now, there are usually two ways off, stage left and stage right. But he’s trying to walk to the back which appears to be a wall. Someone actually has to help him find his way off stage. I’ll try to find the link tomorrow.

UPDATE: Found it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haIAN02tlLM

The Great VP Debate Part 1

Right now i’m doing my debate prep: reheating some eggplant and stuffed peppers in the microwave, watching the pre-game show on CNN, making sure I have a full drink (no commercials so not TOO full), trying to calm the adrenaline rush I get when my news junkie persona takes over.

I should be working but I’m obsessed with Sarah Palin.

CNN’s little wavy line poll is now showing Ohio uncommitted voters, male and female. Palin has her hair in bouffant with the back hanging down. To hide a wire?

Biden goes for the Bush jugular right off the bat. And then pumps Obama’s plan for the economy. So far so good.

Palin just told us to watch a kid’s soccer game. She’s talking about fear. Now she’s lying and saying McCain was addressing the economy two years ago.

Biden is talking now. About DV, police, his record on bipartisanship. He’s now saying McCain said the economy was strong and George Bush did a hell of a job.

Ooops…She said maverick and talked about Obama voting 96 percent of the time along party lines.

Gwen wants to know what they will do as Vice President and plans to come back to that.

Palin is blaming predatory lenders and greed on Wall Street. Joe Six Pack and Hockey Moms. Dang! Where’s my Sarah Palin bingo card?

Biden is talking now about McCain’s support for deregulation for the past two years. And how he wants to deregulate the health care industry.

Biden just called her a liar on taxes and pointed out that Palin did not answer the question about deregulation.

Palin says she cut taxes in Alaska, and is refusing to answer the question.

Interesting that the women in the poll are more negative about Palin than the men.

Palin starts talking and the lines drop. YAY. Now she’s talking about how she took on Big Oil.  Line isn’t changing much. Claims Obama voted for energy laws that she had to undo. And there is nothing she has promised that she would not be able to do.

Biden: Obama voted to eliminate tax breaks for Big Oil, McCain did not. Palin supported windfall profit tax? McCain does not.

Palin: would have supported making it harder for people to declare bankruptcy. Then she went off on a ramble about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and how McCain warned us.

Biden: Obama wrote to ? about subprime mortgages two years ago. Is proposing allowing bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages.

Palin: She’s gone back to energy, is avoiding questions about economy. Oil for energy independence?

YAY! Climate change. Palin says Alaska sees impact more than other states, cyclical climate changes are to blame. (Tell that to New Orleans and Galveston.) Blames other countries for polluting more than US.

Biden: It’s man-made. If you don’t understand causes, hard to come up with solutions. McCain has voted 20 times against clean energy sources. Obama wants to encourage solar, wind power, invest in clean coal. McCain thinks answer is drill, drill, drill.  3 percent of world’s oil reserves, uses 25 percent of world’s oil.

Palin: Dems said drilling is wrong tack. Nucular. She said it, not me. I know how to spell and pronounce it.

Biden: Hard targets on clean coal. How do we deal with global warming if we rely on fossil fuels?

Biden: Same-sex benefits – YES. Will all be treated the same.

Palin: Ok in Alaska, but not if changes definition of marriage.

Biden: Not talking about the definition of marriage. That should be left to the religions.

Foreign Policy:

Palin: Surge, counter-insurgency part of the plan. McCain supported. Obama voted against supporting troops. Have plan for withdrawal, but not early withdrawal, can’t afford to lose against Al-Quada. (who are not in Iraq, BTW)

Biden: GOP has no plan, troop draw down. McCain voted against funding the troops because there was a timeline. Dems will end this war. McCain has no plan to end it.

Palin: Dem plan is white flag of surrender. We will know when Iraqis can govern themselves. Says Obama will cut off funding for the troops.

Biden: McCain voted against funding for troops, said lots of things totally wrong about the war. Obama has been right.

Biden: Pakistan has nuclear weapons, has deployed them, can hit Israel and Mediterrean. Would be a bad thing if Iran gets nuclear weapons. McCain says Iraq is center of terrorism.

Palin: Petraeus and Al-Queda said Iraq is center of war on terror. Just called Ahmejindad insane. Called Obama naive. Not smart to engage dictators on Presidential level.

Biden: Obama did not say he would sit down with Ahmjinedad. Theocracy runs security operation in Iran. Allies, others saying we need to sit down with others. Allies not going to sit down with us if we don’t sit down with others. McCain won’t even sit down with Spain, a NATO ally.

Palin: on Israel, two state solution is the right solution. Called Israel a peace-seeking nation.

Biden: Obama said West Bank elections bad idea. Hamas won. Other stuff I didn’t catch. Only thing on march is Iran. Thoughtful, real life diplomacy.

Palin: Bush administration has not been wrong on Israel. Taking over the change motto. Country first. Maverick. Glad they are both lovers of Israel.

Biden: Past is prologue. Hasn’t heard how McCain’s policies are going to be different than  McCain.

Palin: Nucular (sic) weapons would be the end-all, be-all of blah, blah, blah, wandering around in the wilderness. Ours are deterrents. Theirs are for agression. Afghanistan: fighting terrorists, building schools, we will win there.

Biden: Facts matter. Commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principal will not work in Afghanistan, need more troops, more money for infrastructure. Spend more money in 3 weeks in Iraq than we have spent in 7 years in Afghanistan. McCain voted against comprehensive test ban treaty, weapons inspections. McCain against arms control

Palin: McClelland did not say surge would not work.

Biden: McClelland did say that. McCain said Afghanistan not in news because it “succeeded”

Biden: Interventionism. It worked in Bosnia. McCain voted against. Iraq said a mistake to go in. Voted to give President power but not to go to Iraq. Does not have a stomach for genocide in Darfour.

Palin “Washington outsider”. You voted for the war, now you are against the war.  Americans want straight talk. (lines went down). Called for divestment of funds in Sudan.

Biden: Line should be drawn. A) can we do anything about it. B) genocide disqualifies countries from having a say. McCain doesn’t get it about Iraq and has been wrong from outset.

Palin: McCain knows how to win a war, knows what evil is, knows how to learn from blunders in war in Iraq

Biden: Would carry out Obama’s policies. Restore middle class. Clean energy. End war. Go after Bin Laden, eliminate Al-Queda. Prevention not preemption.  Most important election since 1932.

Palin: Team of Mavericks. Not going to agree. McCain has not asked her to check opinions at the door. Get rid of greed on Wall Street. Take lesson from Wasilla Main Street (she created a $20 million deficit in Wasilla which had been solvent before she took over).

Biden: People know middle class has gotten short end.

Palin: There you go, Joe. Pointing backward.  Prefaced with “George Bush”. Biden’s wife’s reward is in heaven for being a teacher. Riff on education.

Palin: Vice Presidency. Lame attempt at joke. VP presides over Senate. Supports President. She would lead in energy and with families with special needs.

Biden: History of getting things done. Point for legistlative initiatives. Will sit in on all decisions, Barack wants his opinions and viewpoints.

Palin: Constitution allows much flexibility in role of VP. EXECUTIVE experience? Her?

Biden: Cheney most dangerous VP in history. Article One defines VP role clearly as executive branch. Presides only when there is a tie vote. Is not part of legislative branch.

Palin: Achilles heel? can’t even answer the question. Connection to heartland. Knows what other Americans are going through. World view: America is shining city on hill, perfect ideal

Biden: excessive passion, discipline. Was a single parent. Much better off than most Americans. But knows what it’s like to raise kids alone, not know if child is going to live.

Palin: Maverick. Change. Bipartisan. We have got to win the wars. Get rid of greed on Wall Street.

Biden: McCain is not a maverick on things that really affect folks. Education, medicine, war.

Biden: Changed his view on judicial appointments. Ideology of judge makes a difference.

Palin: passed budgets she did not believe in. Caved. No she has not had to compromise on things. Didn’t answer the question she was asked.

Biden: Bipartisanship. Has worked across the line. Changed both parties mind on occasion. Does not question motives, just judgments.

Palin: appoint people across party lines. Diverse family. At the end of the day, it’s gonna be okay. Lower taxes on businesses. Obama is saying no to energy independence, will kill jobs.  Trashed main-stream media. So glad to be an American. Have to fight for freedom.

Biden: Most important election. Dug into a deep hole in last eight years. Need fundamental change. Don’t measure progress on how CEOs are doing. Measure on if can pay mortgage, military is equipped. Dignity and respect.

Running Mates

Uh-oh. I’m gonna get political here. You’ve been warned.

I strongly believe that a candidate’s first presidential decision is his or her running mate. Remember Dan Quayle? When Mondale chose Ferraro without vetting her properly first, I knew he was in trouble. Leader of the free world fails to do his homework. When Cheney chose Bush, I knew WE were in trouble. Puppet leader of the free world chooses puppet dumber than Charley McCarthy. So this is an important choice, folks.

Obama’s choice was brilliant. Biden is a known contender with some flaws but, those flaws are already known. Gonna dredge them up? Try the New York Times for the past 20+ year. Public knowledge. And Obama knew to play to his vulnerabilities. Youth and inexperience chose age, wisdom, and, above all, knowledge to complement his weaknesses. Always a smart move in a leader. Don’t know much about something, hire someone who knows a boatload about it.  And it doesn’t hurt that Biden’s son is stepping up to the plate and heading off to Iraq to serve in the Judge Advocate General’s office. Since so few of our leaders have children in the military, choosing one who does is wise at this juncture. The military, historically the tool of the  Republican-party-at-war, is poised to switch. Last I heard, from a military wife, was that eighty percent of the soldiers think this war needs to end. Now.

McCain, on the other hand, chose Sarah Pulin, a virtual unknown outside of Alaska. Her experience, while laudable in her rise from mom to governor of a sparsely populated state, is limited on the national scene and non-existent on the foreign scene.  Yes, she’s a woman. But she is no Hillary Clinton. She is deeply religious, which is okay. So am I. She is anti-abortion and chose not to abort a Down’s Syndrome child. I would have made the same choice but not for the same reason. I support abortion as a choice that should be available to women. I, personally, don’t know that I could have one.

McCain’s choice appears to be two things. First, an attempt to appeal to the disaffected Clinton supporters who want a woman in the White House. I want a woman in the White House. But not badly enough to vote for a team consisting of an old man and a woman who is clearly NOT ready to leave. Old people die. McCain is already in his 70s. Remember Reagan? Remember the advance of Alzheimers while he was in office? Do we need that again?  And, if he can no longer lead, do we need a woman of limited experience suddenly taking over? If he wanted a woman, he would have done better to chose Condi Rice. I detest her but she is smart and experienced. And she is an expert on Russia, a giant, armed creature we have recently been poking with a stick.

Second, McCain’s choice may be based on arrogance. Why, he thinks, do I need an experienced vice president when I am invincible and can do it all myself.  We already have that president. Look where that got us.

Sarah Pulin may be a perfectly nice woman, and her husband has served in Iraq. But raising five children and running a small state (yes, Alaska is a very small state by population) do not qualify you to be President of the United States.  If that were the case, I’d pop out a couple more, take over Oregon, and be President myself. Now, is that a scary thought?

A note to Hillary fans: If you think it is more important to have a woman in the White House than to end the war, repair the economy, educate our children, provide health care for all (you, too, will retire some day and Medicare is no picnic), and restore some modicum of respect for America in the world, then vote for McCain. If you think it would be better to wait another round or two until the next Hillary Clinton comes around, vote for Obama. Don’t be blinded by genitalia. Look at credentials.

Hillary Clinton is a star on the political horizon and there are plenty more where she came from. But Sarah Pulin is not one of them.

McCain’s choice is a risk. He thinks disgruntled Hillary fans will flock to his team because he chose a woman. I think Clinton’s fans are, for the most part, smarter than that. Don’t be sucked in by her gender folks, Sarah Pulin is not ready to lead this country, especially as we are busy pissing off the rest of the world.

Oh, one more thing about her. She supports drilling in Alaska. Not because she thinks it’s best for the rest of the country. Nope, she just wants to give Alaskans more juicy bonus checks. Already playing to the special interest groups.

Rant off.

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