Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A friend forwarded this to me. Unfortunately there is no attribution that I can share with you. Whoever it is who wrote it ... Nice Work!

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe. This is a matter of great urgency. We need blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance.
My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Political interjection

A good friend of mine (and an excellent writer too) Linda Greene sent me the following political epistle from her home back in the liberal fortress of the Northeast.

You wanted Hillary. She didn't get onto the ballot. You're frustrated, hurt, and angry. You want to express how you feel. You have an absolute right to express yourself, but don’t do it in such a way that we end up with four more years of Republican rule.

These are the key points:

  1. Do not write Hillary in. Write-in votes NEVER win elections. All they do is steal votes from the major candidates. If you write Hillary in, McCain will win because Obama will get fewer votes. It's as simple as that.
  2. Do not put Hillary's name on the ballot in a comment or something of that sort, even if you do mark the checkbox for Obama. Republicans will welcome any excuse to throw out an Obama vote. If somebody writes a comment on the ballot, it may be seen as a joke or a crank or a double-vote, and it will be thrown out by those who seek an excuse to do so. And McCain will win.
  3. Do not vote for McCain just because he has a woman Vice Presidential candidate. Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have nothing in common except that they're women. If you vote for Palin just because you can't vote for Clinton, you're saying that all women are the same. This attitude is not a step forward for women, and it’s a slap in Hillary’s face.
So, how DO you express your support for Hillary?

First, vote clearly and directly for her party for President. She is a Democrat. Even in the hottest days of the primary battle, she did not want the Republicans to win. Do what you can to make sure that they don’t. That is supporting Hillary.

Then write letters and send them to Hillary’s Senate office. Or write letters to the editors of newspapers. Or start a “Hillary in 2012” petition after the election is over.

But don’t throw the election to the Republicans just because you’re upset. Then we’d all end up paying.

Linda added a note that she was nervous about sending it to me since she wasn't sure of my political persuasion ... which, as you might guess is unpersuaded if not downright suspicious and surly. I sent back a note.
I can understand why you might be confused about who I'd support ... people tell me I'm a liberaltarian ... but, as you probably remember, I dislike inconsistency and McCain is too inconsistent as he panders to the various special interest groups.

The funny thing is ... he used to be a man I could have supported, one with a sense of honor and responsibility. I still see flashes of it from time-to-time, but his political story has become too much like a blending of "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" and "Faust" for me to be comfortable having him in the presidency.

To which Linda replied:
Remember back when John McCain wouldn’t use his time as a POW for political purposes? He thought it would be sleazy to do that. Most of us agreed. We honored him for his service, and we admired him for his restraint.

Now we hear about McCain’s POW experiences every time we turn around. He and his handlers plaster it all over TV. He and his handlers rub it in our faces. He and his handlers won’t shut up about it.

And, yup, we were right. It does feel sleazy.

My question is this: Did John McCain decide that using this political tactic is ok? Or did he get dragged into using it against his will?

  • If the first is true, he has revealed himself to be comfortable with sleaze.
  • If the second is true, he has revealed himself to be easily manipulated.
Neither of these qualities is one I particularly want in my next President.
It's always nice to know that there are still a couple of people thinking ... and, thank goodness, thinking out loud.

I know that some people might consider this naive and too old school to be believed, but I think that it is a Good Thing for a politician to be an honorable person. That doesn't mean that he or she cannot change their mind or their strategy as long as they're honest about it.

I'll tell you what impressed me during this campaign ... Obama's refusal to distance himself from a pastor and friend whose opinions were disadvantageous to his campaign and his eventual capitulation to need and his full disclosure of it. After the Eagleton affair, after Nixon's dirty tricksters, after Reagan's long nap, after the elder Bush's sly pandering, after Clinton's proposing and disposing of friends during the early part of his administration, after Shrub's (if I may use an Ivinism) outright, blatant and unapologetic lies, I'm about ready to put someone in office who hasn't lied to us yet.

Call me a romantic, but I still consider myself patriotic enough that I'd like to see some honor in our administration. Don't get me started on the legislature ... just don't ...

My Kettle Runneth Over.

On the deck of my new home in suburban Seattle I was enjoying the sunshine and low puffy clouds (strato-cumulus if memory serves), when I noticed some specks of black against the clouds' puffy white.

As I watched, I realized that there were about 15 to 20 birds wheeling in various circles in and out of the cloud mass. They seemed to be having a good time, and as the cloud moved off, they moved with it.

Had the clouds been lower, I almost would have thought them to be crows (since they took so much joy in flying) but they were too high and their glides too long and stable. I suspect that they are raptors of some type, red-tailed hawks, kestrels and Cooper's hawks are most common here, but I have never seen a group as large and so obviously playing with a cloud. I dropped a line to Laura Erickson who informed me that the swirling dance of a group of raptors is called a "kettle" ... a singularly appropriate and evocative name.

It was hard moving here and away from my Massachusetts garden, but there are compensations. The crows here are a rowdy crowd, and a group of them in a park by Lake Washington have made me an honorary member of their murder. (I do love my terms of venery.) I suspect that their motives have much to do with the fact that I have hands and a wallet and can provide them with an ongoing diet of snack foods.

I miss Pat and Pat The catbird pair, and the blueberry thieving bluejays ... but not those damn depressing mourning doves with their melancholic bubbling.

On the upside ... there is a Steller's jay that likes the evergreens in the postage stamp that they try to pass off as a backyard here. He comes visiting almost every day ... and a handsome chap he is too.

I am hoping that once construction stops in this area (houses are being built on three sides of my little plot) there will be more in the way of discernible avian neighbors.