Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saying goodbye to Big George

My best fuzzy friend, Big George, lost his five month long battle with lymphoma on Friday. He was strong till the last couple of days, and was a loving pet till the end.

George was always around while I made my vlogs and short videos, and would sit by my side and talk to me while editing. I joked that he was my producer. This is a short tribute to him.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Defending Ralph Nader, but Voting for Barack Obama

Long-time readers of this blog and my other writings know that I've been a pro-democracy crusader for many, many years, and have supported many "third party" and independent candidates over the years. You probably also know that this year I am supporting Barack Obama for president.

Here's a little video I did explaining this evolution, and the reasons for it:

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Now... does this mean I've sold out and have given up on third parties or independent candidates? Hell no! I'm still committed to the cause of restoring democracy and building the electorate.

But, believing, as I do, in the rights of all candidates to be heard, I accept that this includes the candidates of the "big two" parties, and if I'm going to be fair, it means accepting that once in a while, one of them might actually have the best candidate for me at that time.

This is one of those rare times when a Democrat is the best choice for me. But I respect Ralph Nader, and recognize his right to run, and support his attempts to be included in the debates. But I'm not voting for him this time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How Privileged Are You?

What Privileges Do You Have? based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

Items that are true for me are bolded, false are in italics - some items have notes in parenthesis.

1. Father went to college (two year business school)

2. Father finished college (finished business program, but not degree)

3. Mother went to college

4. Mother finished college (BA from BU)

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home. (might have been close, but probably not more than 500)

9. Were read children's books by a parent.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 (swimming, music)

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively. (sometimes true, sometimes not - can't answer this one)

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs. (parents paid a lot of my undergraduate, but not graduate program, maybe majority?)

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs

16. Went to a private high school

17. Went to summer camp

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels (sometimes hotels, often staying with family)

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18 (much of it new, but many hand-me-downs from older brothers)

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child

23. You and your family lived in a single-family house

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home,

25. You had your own room as a child (usually, shared for some of the time)

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18

27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course (It was at the high school, but I think it was an optional program)

28. Had your own TV in your room in high school

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16

31. Went on a cruise with your family.

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

Okay, that looks like 19 "Yes", 14 "No", and one abstention, or about 56% privileged. No wonder when they call my candidate "elite" I say, "And what's the problem?"

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Experience or Issues?

According to McCain-Palin campaign manager, Rick Davis, "This election is not about issues" (see video clip, below). Really? Not about the issues?

The continuing foreclosure crisis, with thousands of families losing their homes due to spiking mortgage rates? Only a crisis in our minds, according to the McCain camp.

The continuing rise in health care costs as the number of uninsured Americans climbs to greater than 15%? Not relevant to the presidential race, says McCain-Palin.

An overstretched military bogged down in Iraq while the real villains of 9/11 roam free, planning their next attack on us? Situation taking care of itself, McCain assures us.

No, what's important here is just the guy with 25 years in the Senate proving that he's a change agent by selecting a relatively unknown Governor with less than two years in that office. And, of course, that we recognize that his opponent is somehow the ultimate political insider, despite the fact that he's less qualified than that neophyte Governor. I'm sorry, I'm getting dizzy with that last paragraph.

Look, I'll tell you what this race is not about: It's not about experience. Each of the four candidates for President and Vice President are qualified and experienced in their own way. McCain and Biden have decades in the U.S. Senate. Obama and Palin each have a different variety of experiences that brought them to this point in time.

So if it's not about experience, what should we be talking about? How about ideas? How about the issues? How about the direction that each of these candidates will take our nation? Mr. Davis doesn't want us to focus on that, because he knows that's a losing proposition for the Republicans.

From health care, to the war, to education, to the economy, and everything else, there are clear differences between the two parties, with one ready to move us forward and provide hope for American families, and the other trying to hold us back and put us in our place.

Rick Davis is just a cheap nightclub magician saying, "Look, there's nothing up my sleeve," when he tries to misdirect you with his claim that this election "is not about the issues." There's nothing up his sleeve, alright: no new ideas, no relief, no hope. Just the usual rhetoric, pandering, and fear.

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