Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Okay, so there's this woman sending me links for my blog, but she doesn't know she's doing it. Basically, she's got the wrong email address, but it took me a while to figure that out.

The links are interesting - such as this one to Found Magazine, a collection of odd found photos, notes, and such - or this one to The Queen of Sky, the blog of a fired airline stewardess - and she says they're "for my blog," but each email had information that didn't seem right.

Like, for some reason, she thinks I live in NYC and work at Macy's. I've visited NYC, and I've shopped at Macy's (but not the one in NYC), but that ain't me. Then, there's this thing about being a "friend of the Donk." What or who the heck is the Donk?

Then it hit me: She's got the wrong blogging Ken Goldstein. The Ken Goldstein she thinks she's sending the links to writes a blog called "The Illuminated Donkey" - hence, "The Donk."

I've linked to this guy before, when I did a round-up of all the various people running around using my name for different purposes. I think he's linked to me once or twice too. But we've never communicated directly, and that's the way I like it. If we actually did connect, who knows what would happen? Like Superman entering Bizarro world. Just don't want to mess with it.

But, what do I do about the woman sending the links? Should I write to her and let her know she's got the wrong guy? I feel guilty not telling her. But I need the links.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

And another holiday has been survived without any new scars or much blood to speak of.

Here's the thing: There's just too much pressure and expectations built up around holidays that make family visits far more stressful than they should be or have to be. As I keep saying to my family and in-laws, isn't so much nicer to see each other when we want to, when we have time, when we miss each other, (when there's not so much traffic/travel problems), etc.?

Because the bottom line is, somebody's going to be hurt. When you're a couple, and neither of you is an only child or an orphan, somebody in one family or another is going to get screwed at every holiday.

I don't care if you have a large enough place to invite each of your siblings and their associated in-laws, somewhere down the line there's another host wondering why cousin Joey chose your celebration over theirs. Somebody, somewhere, doesn't feel welcome, and you're going to pay for it.

I'm laying down the law right now: In 2005 I refuse to spend any time with family (including in-laws) on any major national or religious holidays. I will visit with them regularly on a leisurely schedule when it is purely for the pleasure of each other's company and without any expectations.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

"Programs! Get yer programs here! Can't tell who's in the Bush cabinet without a program. Get yer programs here!" Check out CNN's easy to follow pictorial of who's in and who's out in the new administration, "Revenge of the Neocons." (And get a good chuckle as you learn that the new Secretary of Education is named "Spellings." You know that's why W picked her, right?)

The new administration is barely underway, but already the question is being asked, "Who will it be in 2008?" One possible answer to that question requires that we first "Amend for Arnold." Yes, the Governator would like to be der President, except for that pesky little thing we call the Constitution. (The Constitution hasn't been much of a roadblock for the current crew, it shouldn't stand in Arnold's way either).

I'm willing to open the debate on whether or not foreign-born citizens should be eligible to run for President, but I'm not willing to amend for any one person. It may well be time to make the required change, but we have to decide it on the basis of law, policy, and democracy, not by personality.

As long as the debate is only about allowing a single neophyte Governor, with only one year of public service to his record (and a slightly mixed record, at that), to run for President my answer is No. Begin with a discussion of why the framer's banned foreign-born Presidents in the first place, and what has changed since then, and I'm willing to listen.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Here's a true tale of a couple of idiots that's been bugging me for a couple of days now. On Friday I was eating my lunch at a fast food outlet and was forced to hear the conversation of the two guys at the table behind me as they discussed the election results.

After showing that they knew nothing about the Presidential candidates they moved on to the California ballot propositions. They came to a point of disagreement when they got to Prop 63, which would have added money to the state system for mental health services through raising the taxes on incomes over $1 million.

The first idiot said that he voted for it because, "I thought it would be fun to raise somebody else's taxes for a change with it effecting my own."

Idiot number two disagreed. "Well, I looked at it and said, 'What if I earn more than a million dollars someday?' so I voted against it."

Right there. That's the problem with how most people vote. There entire conversation was about how much anything would cost to them personally, and how to stick it to somebody else. They didn't say anything about mental health services, they each made their decision solely on the tax.

Am I the only one who looks at these things objectively? When I approach a proposition such as this, the first thing I look at is the actual program suggested. Is it needed? Can it realistically work to solve the problem identified? Are the services provided at the right level (county, city, state...)? How much of the program is eaten up in new bureaucracy?

Once I'm satisfied with the program, then I can move on to the funding mechanism. Does the money come from existing revenue? If so, what will be cut? Is it a new tax? Who or what will pay for it? Is it a bond issue? Will we be paying for the bonds longer than the life of the project? What is the relation between the funding source and the problem? Is one population (smokers, home-owners, etc.) being asked to pay for a problem that has nothing to do with them?

There were many good reasons to support proposition 63 (needed vital services). There were also reasons to question it (what's the connection between wealth and mental services?). Whether or not I might be in the group paying, or whether or not it would be "fun" to stick it to someone else never even entered my analysis.

Anyway, there was a piece in the SF Chronicle the other day (sorry, lost the link to the article) addressing the number of progressives who are seriously considering bailing on the U.S. The author had a more positive suggestion for those folks: Move to a swing state. Real estate is cheaper than the Bay Area, and you might be able to actually make a difference in the next election. Not a bad idea...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

3) Yesterday I scolded the people who didn't vote (sorry, but it had to be done). Today's warning is for those who did vote, and think they now have a four year vacation. You don't.

The next election is not four years away. You will be voting on your Congress person, and maybe a Senator or some state offices in 2006. You may have some local or possibly state offices on a 2005 ballot.

Take a good look right now at who is representing you at each of those levels. Are they really representing you, or are they representing an ideology you don't agree with?

Sick of poor choices every four years when you vote for President, but think you can sit out local races? Forget it. You have to get involved and vote at every level. And if you don't like your representatives, are you willing to run yourself?

Here's the point: We can neutralize W by 2006 by denying him a conservative mandate in Congress and in state and local legislative bodies. We don't have to put up with four more years of this. But you have to start working now, while your angry.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

2) If you're upset about the election results, but you didn't vote, register today! I know, the next election is a ways out there, but register today while the anger is fresh.

Bottom line: You can't change the system unless you participate. Democracy is a verb; it's something you do.

I know all the reasons for refusing to vote, and I agree with the sentiment. That's why I'm a Green, and why I don't lock myself into the two-party duopoly. I'd rather cast a "protest vote" that some consider "wasted" than abstain and have it taken as tacit approval of the system.

Voting is the only thing that gets their attention. And better yet, it scares the hell out of them.

So, register today, and keep your registration up to date. This isn't just about voting once every four years, it's about getting involved in every election. By the time these weasels are running for President it's almost too late. We need to effect the system through every office, from local boards on up.

Monday, November 08, 2004

1) Forget all this "Red State Vs. Blue State" crap. That's only a story because conflict sells papers and gets ratings. Subtlety and fine details don't distinguish media outlets from each other or attract advertisers.

The truth is that most states, whether red or blue, were won by margins of 51% to 55%. America is not a sea of united conservatives surrounded by the monolithic coastal liberals. There are both liberals and conservatives living in your very own neighborhood: learn to deal with it.

Well, Utah is pretty scary (71% for Bush). But other than that, most Americans are not polarized extremists of any stripe. The real map of how we voted is mostly purple, with only a few patches of true blue or red.

Point being: Don't give up on each other, or on our country. The electoral college is something else. You may give up on that.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Okay, as far as the election goes, we've all got some grieving to go through, and the five stages of death all apply, from anger and denial on down, even if acceptance is still some time away.

But in case you thought I was serious about the Canadian immigration info on the post below, forget about it. I'm here to fight for my country.

I'll have more to say about that in the coming weeks, but for today my feelings are best expressed in the lyrics to a song:

I Am A Patriot
By Steven Van Zandt

And the river opens for the righteous...
And the river opens for the righteous...
And the river opens for the righteous, someday

I was walking with my brother
And he wondered what was on my mind
I said what I believe in my soul
It ain't what I see with my eyes
And we can't turn our backs this time

I am a patriot and I love my country
Because my country is all I know
I want to be with my family
With people who understand me
I got nowhere else to go
I am a patriot

And the river opens for the righteous, someday

I was talking with my sister
She looked so fine
I said baby what's on your mind
She said I want to run like the lion
Released from the cages
Released from the rages
Burning in my heart tonight

I am a patriot and I love my country
Because my country is all I know

And I ain't no communist
And I ain't no capitalist
And I ain't no socialist
And I sure ain't no imperialist
And I ain't no democrat
And I ain't no republican either
And I only know one party
And its name is freedom
I am a patriot

And the river opens for the righteous...
And the river opens for the righteous...
And the river opens for the righteous, someday

(c) Steven Van Zandt, Blue Midnight Music, 1983

Friday, November 05, 2004

Ready to follow up on those pledges to head north if W was re-elected?

You can find out aboot it at: www.cic.gc.ca. Hits to this website have shot up six-fold the last few days.

Yes, there's an application process that can take from six months to a year to complete, but they are recruiting immigrants. Ottowa alone is looking for up to 240,000 newcomers each year.

For single American progressives, you can find a fast-track to immigration with a sexy Canadian ready and willing to rescue you at: www.marryanamerican.ca

Take off, eh?
"... Franklin County (Ohio)'s unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry's 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct. Bush's total should have been recorded as 365..." - Yahoo! News

Not that this means anything.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

With apologies to Neil Young...

Ten lawyers and Bush's coming
We're finally on our own
November I hear the drumming
Close vote in Ohio

Gotta get down to it
Pundits are putting us down
Should have registered long ago
What if you voted
And knew that it might not count
How can they run when they know?

Ten lawyers and Bush's coming
We're finally on our own
November I hear the drumming
Close vote in Ohio

Close vote in Ohio
(How many more?)
Close vote in Ohio

- - - -

Not that it has anything to do with anything, but earlier this year, Diebold CEO Walden O’Dell told the GOP that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." Diebold made the voting machines used in Ohio that leave no paper trail and no possibility of a recount.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Excuse my long absence - I've been putting all my energy into my new job, now entering its second week. After just about a year of not having a full-time "regular" job, it's quite an adjustment!

I'm still rather tired, too tired to write much now, but just in case anybody is reading this: Get out and Vote!

I really don't know what tomorrow will bring, whether or not there will be a clear-cut winner, whether or not the loser will go quietly into that good night, or whether we're in for months of law suits and recounts, but I do know that I will be voting. And so should you.

For last minute, undecided voters, you can read several of my articles about this Presidential election season (with recommendations) on Suite101.com.

Californians trying to find last minute recommendations on the ballot initiatives with find my short analysis over here.

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