Friday, October 31, 2008

Flower Maker

This web site for making flower designs is totally awesome and addicting

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I really need to leave this state. I just heard on MSNBC that 23% of Texans think Obama is a Muslim. I can't believe that, with all the news on TV, almost 25% of the people still think this. I guess these are the same stupid people who still believe Iraq had something to do with 911. The Republicans are of course happy to spread lies. So many of them are truly despicable people. If you don't believe this look at the ad Elizabeth Dole is running against her opponent Kay Hagen in North Carolina. I don't want to put her ad here but you can see Hagen's response to the ad in the post below. The good thing is that so much of the negative advertising by the R's is backfiring. I hope the [expletive] lose every race.
I voted this afternoon. There were several hundred people in line ahead of me but the line moved pretty fast because there were so many booths. I went to the polling place on West Gray.

Kay Hagen's response to Elizabeth Dole's negative ad

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Twittering Terrorist

I never really been tempted to Twitter but I may have to get an account now that a new report has come out outlining how social activists and terrorists might use Twitter. The entire report is posted here Federation of American Scientists.

From the report: They may be, “utilising the social networking tool Twitter to organise attacks,” and "Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Discovery Green Park

Here is a nice article from Treehugger on Houston's Discovery Green Park:

Obama Biden Tax Calculator

Using the full calculator I will save a little over $1,000 a year. Under McCain $0.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Today when I got home I had a large hand addressed envelope in the mail. Inside were several very negative xeroxed articles (16 pages total) about Obama and a cover letter that said "Shame on you (my name) for supporting racist and anti-American Barack Obama. I have included a couple of articles for you to read if you have the intelligence to understand it!"
I would love to know who sent it and if anybody else received a similar package. I also wonder who is stupid enough to think I would believe any of this BS. Whoever sent it is really wasting money ($2.00 postage) and time trying to change a vote in one of the few red states left.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fiscal Conservatives

This was written by Meteor Blades and was in the Daily Kos:
National Debt When Jimmy Carter arrived at the White House:
$660 billion.
Added during Carter's four years: $337 billion.
Added during Ronald Reagan's eight years: $1.6 trillion.
Added during George H. W. Bush's four years: $1.6 trillion.
Added during Bill Clinton's eight years: $1.5 trillion.
Added during George W. Bush's seven years, nine months: $4.5 trillion.
Portion of the $9.5 trillion added to the national debt during the past 31 years and seven months that came during Republican presidencies: $7.7 trillion.
Percentage of that $7.7 trillion added during George W. Bush's two terms: 58%.
Could somebody explain again what "fiscal conservative" means?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Post Material Girl Wannabe

I just read an article about a new trend called "downshifting." People who downshift voluntarily choose to live a simpler, more environmentally sustainable life.

A survey by an Australian Institute found that people ages 30-59 downshift for 5 reasons:

1. A desire for a more balanced life with less stress

2. Clashes between personal values and those of the workplace

3. Wanting a more fulfilling life

4. Ill health

5. Environmental concerns/rejection of consumerism

This is something I would like to do. When my Ike evacuee was staying with me I realized how much stuff I have, most of it in the spare bedroom where she stayed. I may begin my downsizing by getting rid of some of it and not acquiring any more. I am also looking into getting rid of my car in a few years. I live pretty close to everything I need but it would be a pretty big adjustment to always have to walk or take public transportation. I have been trying over the last few years to be more responsible in terms of energy consumption in my house which has paid off in a big way in my electric bill. I managed to keep the bill under $100 all summer by keeping the thermostat turned up and using fans. Last winter I only turned on the heat when the house went below 60.
I've also been trying this year to eat simpler foods like beans and rice instead of buying more expensive frozen dinners or prepared foods from Whole Foods. I sort of fell off the wagon in the last month but am back to eating this way at least part of the time.
Neither one of my jobs clash with my personal values. They, in fact, make me a better person most of the time. I would like to, when I have more time, do some volunteer work.
Baby steps, but it's a process.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sparky with his new Obama button

Amazing Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Fall is in the air. I slept with with all the doors open last night and my house was cold in the morning. I've also decorated my house for Halloween. Here is a yummy sounding recipe for a fall inspired cookie that I found on Eat Drink Better

Amazing Pumpkin Spice Cookies
1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter)
3/4 cup unrefined sugar (or maple syrup or honey)
1 cup cooked pumpkin (cut in half, scoop out seeds, place cut side down on baking sheet and bake at 350 until soft. Peel and mash or blend the pumpkin.)
2 eggs (or egg replacer equivalent)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix all ingredients together and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325, drop spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Try substituting sweet potatoes or butternut squash for the pie pumpkin for a different taste, or bake in a loaf pan.

I'm Voting For THAT ONE!

In case you missed it, McCain referred to Obama as "that one" in the debate last night. These buttons can be ordered from CafePress

This is Our Time

Here is a link to the video I saw at the JRR dinner on Saturday night:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Flirting Her Way to Victory

Here is a great editorial from Michele Goldberg of the Guardian Newspaper.
Flirting her way to victory
Sarah Palin's farcical debate performance lowered the standards for both female candidates and US political discourse

Michelle Goldberg,
Friday October 03 2008 18:30 BST

Sarah Palin winks during the vice-presidential debate on Thursday in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP
At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.By any normal standard, including the ones applied to male presidential candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually answering the queries put to her. "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also," she said.
And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects she was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted attack lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her own pseudo-folksy authenticity. It was an appalling display. The only reason it was not widely described as such is that too many American pundits don't even try to judge the truth, wisdom or reasonableness of the political rhetoric they are paid to pronounce upon. Instead, they imagine themselves as interpreters of a mythical mass of "average Americans" who they both venerate and despise.
In pronouncing upon a debate, they don't try and determine whether a candidate's responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission accomplished. There is indeed something mesmerising about Palin, with her manic beaming and fulsome confidence in her own charm. The force of her personality managed to slightly obscure the insulting emptiness of her answers last night. It's worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden's comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush's policies:
Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? ... My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.
Evidently, Palin's pre-debate handlers judged her incapable of speaking on a fairly wide range of subjects, and so instructed to her to simply disregard questions that did not invite memorised talking points or cutesy filibustering. They probably told her to play up her spunky average-ness, which she did to the point of shtick - and dishonesty. Asked what her achilles heel is - a question she either didn't understand or chose to ignore - she started in on how McCain chose her because of her "connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills?"None of Palin's children, it should be noted, is heading off to college. Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter is engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and self-described "fuckin' redneck". Palin is a woman who can't even tell the truth about the most quotidian and public details of her own life, never mind about matters of major public import. In her only vice-presidential debate, she was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What kind of maverick, after all, keeps harping on what a maverick she is? That her performance was considered anything but a farce doesn't show how high Palin has risen, but how low we all have sunk.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

This Is Our Time -- The 2008 Johnson-Rayburn-Richards Dinner

Last night I went to the JRR Dinner which was sponsored by the Harris County Democratic Party. It was held at the Westin Galleria and there were about 1100 people in attendance including just about every elected Democratic in Harris County and everyone running for office. Chris Bell was the Master of Ceremonies and other speakers included Roland Garcia, Rick Noriega, Gerry Birnberg, and Sefronia Thompson. I sat at a table with one of the planning committee members Sam Keeper. Judge Bert Moser and his wife Jane were also at the table. She manages the Brazos Bookstore which is imho the best independent bookstore in Houston. Also at the table were some neighbors of mine. I walk past their house everyday but had never met them. The keynote speaker was General Wesley Clark. As I was listening to him I was thinking what a wonderful president or vice president he would have been. There were so many good Democratic candidates to choose from this year, all of them better than anyone the Republicans had to choose from. The program ended with a tribute to Ambassador Arthur Schechter who also spoke for a few minutes, and an introduction of all of the candidates, elected officials, and sponsors.
It was a wonderful evening and I left feeling a lot better about the chances of electing Democrats in Harris County as well as on the national level.

Pictures from the JRR Dinner

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sarah Palin v the polar bear: who will survive?

This is from The Guardian:

The financial crisis may be dominating the US presidential campaign, but the season's most intriguing political battle is shaping up as a straightforward fight for survival between two old foes: Sarah Palin and the polar bear. When the US government decided to classify Ursus maritimus as an endangered species earlier in the year, Palin sued in attempt to overturn the ruling, fearing the label would deter oil and gas exploration in Alaska. The case of Palin v Polar bear will be heard in January. Here's how the contenders size up:


Polar bear: Found across the Arctic regions of five countries; the US, Canada, Russia, Norway and Greenland.
Sarah Palin: Not quite as well travelled. Lives within sight of Russia, but has never ventured there, possibly because of diminishing sea ice.

Conservation status

Polar bear: Vulnerable, largely due to climatic change and the resulting habitat loss.
Palin: Also vulnerable, because of a lack of experience and controversial stances on abortion, creationism, global warming, same-sex marriage and the environment.

Predatory armoury

Polar bear: Possesses razor-sharp teeth, a powerful build and a sense of smell that can detect a seal a mile away under three feet of snow. Still unlikely to triumph in a direct confrontation with Palin however, unless the Alaska legislature suddenly decides to uphold the right to arm bears.
Palin: Licensed gun-owner, avid hunter and crack shot. Palin also supports a policy of shooting wolves from helicopters in order to increase the Alaskan moose population so that Alaskans can shoot more moose. Deadly.

Impact of climate change

Polar bear: Length of hunting season has diminished, birth rates have fallen and it now has insufficient fat reserves.
Palin: None observed.

Biggest supporters

Polar bear: Greenpeace, the US department of the interior, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Geological Survey.
Palin: Hockey moms, the National Rifle Association, rightwing fundamentalist Christians, climate change deniers, the oil industry, God (endorsement unconfirmed).

Biggest threat to survival

Polar bear: Sarah Palin.
Palin: Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, feminism, belated national reality check brought on by global economic crisis.
Ruggles is opening a restaurant right around the corner from my house. It says on the door that it's Houston's only certified green restaurant. That's pretty exciting.
Ike update: All of the debris and all of the bags of leaves have been picked up on my street!
All of the lights on my way to work are working!
I'm taking care of my neighbor's beautiful dog named Zoe this weekend. I'm also feeding their fish and giving their 2 turtles kale. There is supposed to be a cat too but I haven't seen her yet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Farmers Markets

Here is a neat little graph showing the increase in Farmers Markets over the last few years.

Rice has a really nice farmers market on Tuesday afternoons from 3:30-7 in the stadium parking lot. There is one vendor who sells delicious gelato. I know this because my Ike evacuee brought some home last week. Here is a link to the website:

More Bigotry in the News

Four students at George Fox University, a Christian (why am I not surprised) University in Oregon have been suspended for hanging a cardboard cutout of Barack Obama from a tree on campus. A message on the cutout said "Act Six Reject" which refers to a scholarship plan for minority and low income students at Christian colleges. The FBI is investigating the action to see if any civil rights were violated.