Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Random Question of the Week

When will Joe the Unlicensed Plumber reach the end of his 15 minutes? Or will we have to keep hearing from this uninformed jackass through November 5, when he's called upon to offer his "analysis" of the republican implosion?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

California's Prop 8

This year a conservative group of Californians--with an assist from religious groups across the US--is again pushing for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as "one man, one woman." This is a cheat blog post, adapted from a letter I recently sent to the San Jose Mercury News*:

One of the reasons frequently cited in support of Prop 8 is that marriage was intended for procreation and should, therefore, be limited to one man, one woman.

Putting aside for the moment what is in essence a demand for state sanctioning of a religious belief (for marriage is not, in fact, a biological imperative), passage of Prop 8 would bring up several other ridiculous questions, among them: 1) Would we refuse to allow the marriage or remarriage of women who have passed their reproductive years? 2) Will men be allowed to marry once they have reached the age at which their sperm begins to degrade? 3) Will those who are unlikely to live to see their children reach adulthood be allowed to marry?

I would far rather my children learn to respect people and their relationships, regardless of the age, race or gender of the couple, than to be taught the intolerance, fear and bigotry that Prop 8 supporters seek to write into law.

* The letter was not printed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


20 months. 26 debates before the party conventions, plus three debates between Obama and McCain. The result? Two candidates with vastly different beliefs, not to mention radically different approaches to conducting their campaigns and their response to the economic crisis.

We've heard their views on, among other things:
  • the economy
  • education
  • the war in Iraq
  • defense
  • veterans affairs
  • civil rights
  • foreign policy
  • the Middle East Peace process
  • health care
  • energy
  • the environment
  • immigration
Clear differences on all of these issues. And if I hear one more person say they're waiting to hear that one thing they haven't heard yet that they can't identify but they'll know it when they hear it, I am going to scream.

Actually, I'm going to scream right now. Penny, cover your ears:




Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama at the Al Smith Dinner in NY

Hilarious and well worth the 10.5 minutes.

This is a re-post as the first version was no longer available.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


The entirely too-cynical me thinks the video may not be a real victim. But doesn't change the fact that Sarah Palin believes that if a rape results in a pregnancy, the victim should have to carry to term.

No one is pro-abortion. But no one should have to carry a rapist's child to term, either.

Please share this.

UPDATE: In case I wasn't exactly clear about the "no one is pro-abortion" what I meant was that, while everyone would prefer to see fewer abortions, only the woman involved should make the decision as to whether or not to carry to term. That's an entirely private matter in which neither Sarah Palin, nor the courts, nor or anyone else has any right to be involved, unless the woman in question so chooses.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bonus Dammit

When I picked up my Obama/Biden yard sign this afternoon, the usual "Thanks! We're going to do this!" was followed almost immediately by "Good luck keeping it in your yard."

The Dammit, #31

I've been busy with work and the book lately, so some of this is old-ish, but Dammits there must be!

Dammit #1:
A couple of weeks ago, Gwendomama informed me that the account for the Palin Baby Name Generator had been suspended. Big rude Dammit.

Dammit #2:
The first time I attempted to type those words (above), my computer locked up after "Palin Baby Name Generator." I couldn't even force quit Firefox; I had to shut down and start over.

Dammit #3:
Charlotte goes to school in Palo Alto twice a week from 9-12:00. If I went home after dropping her off, I'd lose an hour of work time between the trip home and back again. So instead, I go to the Peet's two blocks from her school and work there. That's not the Dammit.

Every Thursday and many, many Tuesdays, a group of people from a local gym comes in to chat, drink coffee and hang out for an hour or so. That's not the Dammit, either.

The first to arrive is the lone guy, probably in his mid-fifties, in relatively good shape. Which one is forced to note because he wears very tight spandex (no, not redundant in this case) with a short jacket. That would be the Dammit.

The only good thing about this guy is that I am reminded of one of my all-time favorite TV moments: Will and Jack (of Will & Grace) are sunning themselves on the deck of Karen's yacht. Karen walks by, stops:

"Will--two things . . . "


"When you sit like that I can see your man-berries."

Dammit #4:
The squirrels are going crazy this year. They have dotted my lawn with divots, tucking an acorn into each. When I mow the lawn, they scream at me from the fence and the trees. They aren't at all shy about coming into the yard or sitting on the play structure, glaring as I do the pruning, weeding and edging; and think next to nothing of it when I walk toward--or run at--them.

Hopefully the Farmers' Almanac is right about increased squirrel activity being a sign of a bad (wet) winter.

Dammit #5:
Speaking of winter: I had to turn on the heat this morning. Only for an hour or so, but still—I had to turn on the heat. And to think only a couple of months ago I was wondering if the summer would ever end.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

MORE Randomness

Because I have too much going on for a real post:

Has anyone else noticed that, now that McCain/Pain (no, not a typo) is doing so very poorly, their campaign seems to think it's time not only for the boots to go on and the gloves off, but that it's time for the Palin to put on the bitch boots AND let down the hair? Looks a little sexier, no? Maybe part of the reason that her approval numbers are still high (relatively speaking) among men.

Hopefully the McCain campaign has given up the woman vote now that they've realized that our ovaries are smarter than they are.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Random Thought to Begin the Week

If by some twist of cosmic insanity McCain/Pain wins the election, perhaps Starbucks will be good enough to start printing foreign policy tidbits on its cups so that the Palin can at least try to get it right.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I Still Heart Joe Biden

And that's all I have to say about that.

Oh, except that I still . . . . um . . . don't heart the Palin ("abhor" is such a harsh word, no?)

National Security Mom--a Review

I was fortunate enough to receive early galleys for a new book by Gina M. Bennett, a 20-year veteran of the US Intelligence Community and mother of five children. National Security Mom: Why “Going Soft” Will Make America Strong takes the complicated issues involved in our national security, particularly in the “post 9/11 world,” and distills them into easily digestible pieces. The book’s unique twist is how Ms. Bennett relates the issues of national security to what goes on in a typical family. That the values that we learned as children and, as parents, are instilling in our own children, are the very same values needed to run government and handle some of the complex issues involved in national security, such as:

• Tell the truth
• If you make the mess, you clean it up
• Don’t give in to a bully
• Choose your friends wisely
• Learn from your mistakes

And of course, the job description for parents also requires an in-depth knowledge of issues such as crisis management, conflict resolution, budgeting and diplomacy.

So why aren’t there more women in government? On paper, many women—especially mothers—are uniquely suited to participating in government, on whatever level they choose. There are of course other qualifications that must be met—particularly for higher office—but there should be more women serving on city counsels, as mayors, as governors and in Congress. Ms. Bennett pulls this telling statistic from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University:

“In 2008 women hold only 16.3% of the seats in Congress; 16% of the Senate seats; 23.5% of the statewide elective executive offices across the country; 23.7% of the state legislative positions; and of the mayors of the hundred largest cities in America, only eleven are women.”

She also notes that “We can blame history, the educational system, men, and many other underlying factors for why this is the case. But we also have to ask ourselves whether our disengagement perpetuates the myth that men are somehow more naturally suited to govern.”

Sure, some days we barely have time to do the laundry and the grocery shopping—where on earth are we going to find time to volunteer at our child’s school, much less to run for elected office? I work from home part-time and have only been able to volunteer in my daughter’s classroom once. And she’s in first grade, so that’s two years of not being able to find the time.

Because we are living in the “post 9/11 world,” Ms. Bennett tackles some of the larger questions that relate directly to her argument that more women, more mothers should be in government:
• How much personal freedom are we willing to give up in the name of “security”?
• How do we protect our children while making sure that they enjoy the freedoms granted in the Bill of Rights—freedoms we used to take for granted?
• The terrorists win if we to afraid to go about our lives as usual. They are generally unpopular even in their own countries and feed off the fear and attention they engender.

And as to the title’s assertion “Why ‘Going Soft’ Will Make America Strong,”
“[in matters of national security, foreign policy and counter terrorism] Anything other than belligerent speech is considered to be weak . . . [but] strength and security come from more than just physical might . . . I believe that to resolve problems, we have to understand them first. I prefer to believe that American policies have had bad results in some places rather than sticking my head in the sand. . . . I believe it demonstrates more courage to allow people whose beliefs you reject to have their say; it takes more integrity to admit you’ve made mistakes; and it takes far more strength to reject change in the face of a threat. I am a mother and that is the strength I know. That is the definition of strength that I will pass to my children so that they understand that there is a balance.”

Of course, all of this got me thinking. I’ve been a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom for the past six years. In six years I’ve spent a lot of time in playgroups, at the playground and on play dates. And I’ve never ceased to be amazed at the sheer number of women who don’t think that politics has anything to do with them. But everything that happens in government—from the local, to the state, to the national level has ripples of consequence.

Imagine that you’re at the park with your child. You go the lake to feed the ducks and your child tosses a rock into the pond. Watch what happens to the ripples. That’s politics. And what’s at stake? The laws that are passed effect your family; the judiciary, both elected and appointed, and how they interpret those laws; the military—will the draft be reinstated, and where will our soldiers—our sons and daughters—be sent?; the national debt—will our kids and grandchildren really be paying for our excesses? All of it affects us every day.

Lately I’ve noticed that many women in my citywide Mothers’ Club have become actively involved in issues such as city planning, in the city education fund, and the Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTAR), which was started by a few mothers worried that their child’s needs weren’t being met.

But what about me? I am the ultimate armchair political junkie. If I don’t get an hourly fix—or at least several times a day—I start twitching. There’s a little panic: What happened? Something must have happened in the time I’ve been away from my computer. But, other than haranguing friends and a few strangers, and writing a few letters to the editor, I’m a passive audience. I hear “Are you going to get involved? Maybe run for office?” and my answer is always “No.*” I don’t have the time, the mental capacity, the self-confidence, or the ambition. All of those things that I imagine politicians need to be successful. But then I’ve always thought being involved in government meant running for city counsel and higher. It never occurred to me to start smaller—the PTA? A position on the board of one of my groups?

But after reading National Security Mom, I’m at least thinking about it.

Because being more involved does matter. To me, to my family, to my children’s future.

*My one exception was helping with a letter writing campaign for Mark Warner when he was running for Governor of Virginia.