There are no words
This amaryllis is dedicated to the people in Boston. It’s supposed to have a good two feet of stem, but due to its exposure to red virus last year, wasn’t able to grow one. It refused to let that stop it from offering the blooming it was meant to give to the world.
Meantime, they caught the guy (and I’m sure that story will be updated by morning). He was arrested today and accused of sending ricin-laced and threatening letters: the President was sent one, as were five members of Congress, some of them hand-delivered, and what looked like a bomb was left at a Senate building entrance; thousands of staffers were locked down.
Those Congressmen’s peers still voted to make it so that, should this man get out of jail, on bail or for time served, he then can have access to any gun of any capacity he should so choose without submitting to a background check against his mental or criminal state. The Senate wasn’t even willing to say to Heller with you. (Paging Scalia.)
But I thank those those worked so hard at identifying and stopping this guy so fast and I pray for all the other investigators needing the help, as well as for the wounded and those tending to them.
Of whom there are now more. My heart goes out to everybody in the town of West, Texas tonight.
Tuesday April 02nd 2013, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Politics
Ah my. Our city is starting a pilot program and our neighborhood got made the ones who get to do it. Probably because there is not one member of the city council who lives here.
There will no longer be trash trucks for us. Nope, zip, gone. We’re all such perfect recyclers that we will have recycling and we will have composting and that’s that.
A little compost bucket got dropped off by the front door a few days ago, with a box of biodegradeable liner bags inside. You had to break the lid of the thing to get it to stay upright while trying to put stuff in it, like when peeling a mango with two hands with the bucket needing two more hands to hold it steady and open for the peels . Meat scraps! Those go in too. The bags are to go in the bins that were formerly for yard clippings only and the bucket is intended to stay in our kitchens whether we want them to or not, unless we want squirrels raiding them by day and rats and raccoons by night. (Full or empty, they’re going to smell like food to them.) And no, there are no charcoal filters. (Paging Suburban Correspondent.)
I have an occasional gardener here doing some of the outdoor stuff I with my sun sensitivity absolutely can’t. Mows the lawn, that sort of thing. When he does come, it’s the day before pickup, and now he’s supposed to deal with his work bin having week-old chicken bones in it and the like (says the woman who made chicken broth tonight).
If we want details on the program, do we get a written-out description on the city’s website?
No, we get a video to listen to.
Nope, can’t hear those either. I mean, come on, guys, how hard is it to type out the (insert aggrieved word of your choice here) thing?
And! They want the participants to fill in a survey, and if you do they will give you a $5 gift certificate to…wait for it…Peet’s coffee.
Now, I’m told Peet’s makes great coffee. But we’re Mormons.
The real kicker and the biggest reason this all bugs me in the first place is that anything that really is trash is to be sealed up in a bag and put out in the recycling bin. Which is already way more than full every week, because, y’know, we’re such great recyclers and all; I emailed the city and outlined just exactly what goes in the trash at our house since my colectomy and asked if they really wanted to risk–I mean, have they seen their trucks in action?!–contaminating everything with–that.
So they gave me a second recycling bin to help with the volume issue.
Would the Health Department seriously be okay with this? What this is really about is the city strong-arming the garbage workers’ union they’ve been fighting with.
Tomorrow’s the first day.
Kicking and screaming all the way.
(And on a more cheerful note, I saw a peregrine falcon hovering at the top of the trees that were cut back from the road as I carpooled and Richard drove to pick up Michelle this evening, and on the way back I saw it again!)
Jeff and Brady
Part 1. Turns out my daughter has her own Piano Guy friend. He had no insurance and was saving his money to pay for the surgery he knew he needed but the stroke beat him to it. At 30.Â Sam blogged a link to the effort to raise money for Jeff’s medical expenses and I’m passing it along.
Any amount is an emotional as well as a financial support and makes a difference. Thank you.
(Edited to add.)
Part 2. Later in the day I read that there is a surge of interest and donations to the Brady Campaign, with politicians and others coming through their doors who perhaps would not have been seen there before, asking what can we do to help? On Brady’s site, they decry the official NRA argument of it’s all guns vs no guns, setting forth proposed limits that most NRA members would find very reasonable.That we have had in the past. But to go on with no changes, now, even after Newtown…
Again, out came my credit card. My token amount was a small but present voice among the many.
I hit submit.
It took me very much by surprise how fiercely the feelings came, instantly. I had owned my voice. I had used my voice. I knew then that I will use it again. Our children and grandchildren need our every voice, and when they needed me I too was there for them, is the only way I can put into words how strongly good it felt: more powerful than, as Superman says, a speeding… Yes.
Tuesday November 06th 2012, 12:00 am
Filed under: Politics
Poring over the sample ballots together. Not quite always agreeing but being agreeable.
Sunday, the California Supreme Court declared 7-0 that under California law re its ballot propositions, the big donors to the anti-union and anti-tax-the-rich measures had to be disclosed. And so today they were.
Is anyone surprised that the Koch brothers were some of the ones hiding behind there? With Karl Rove’s friends in there. What’s really interesting to me is that the state officials were talking about a potential money-laundering charge, a felony. Maybe plutocrats don’t get to buy elections after all.
And on a lighter take on the endless politicking, our old friend Wes Facebooked that he’d just seen an ad for Pepco, the power company around DC where he lives and where we’re from; his wry comment was, Some politician is going to lose the race tomorrow because they didn’t buy that air space.
Heh. May the best candidates–and the country!–win. Vote!
A fund-the-sciences p.s.: A rubberÂ chicken is going to the Space Station.
A little looking around… It IS the same Greg Prince! I thought so! He and his wife threw a big bash for my dad at their home in Maryland when Dad turned 75, and all of us kids came into town for it. Lovely people, just the best.
It wasn’t long after Richard and I had done some remodeling, and I remember his wife in their kitchen telling me why trash compactors are a bad idea: you cannot access them while the pusher is down, for obvious safety reasons, but that means you can never really clean them. She’d given up and had had hers removed and replaced with a simple pull-down drawer. She was right.
Dr. Prince invented a vaccine for a form of newborn pneumonia that is now given to a quarter million infants around the world, saving many lives.
And he is a Mormon. Who knows Romney and has mutual good friends with him.
So he found himself interviewed by Lawrence O’Donnell after writing a cri de couer for the Huffington Post after the 47% video surfaced: he had donated the maximum allowable amount to Romney’s first presidential campaign, he said, but that was Romney 1.0.Â Romney 2.0 has utterly turned his back on the unfortunate. “That’s Republicanism, not Mormonism!” He was horrified at our church being equated with some of the things Romney has said and done in this campaign. “Mitt Romney is *not* the face of Mormonism.” Looking out for one another is what it’s all about.
Preach it, brother. And thank you.
In his latest ads, Romney’s been trying to prey on the fears of auto workers, telling them that their jobs are about to be shipped to China and to vote for him to save them.Â And yet he opposed Obama’s bailout that did save them at the time that private sources of credit had vanished in the bust, and Bain itself is right now shipping 100% of its American Sensata employees’ jobs to, where else, China. Despite being profitable here.
The heads of GM and Chrysler felt compelled to step up and publicly pronounce Romney’s ads about their products and companies wrong. They are doing quite well right here at home, thankyouverymuch.
Yet Romney is still pushing down on those same ads that are trash and he won’t come clean. And he’s certainly not improving as the pressure of election day gets closer.
Shall I mention that Romney’s family and friends invested in the last few years in Hart Intercivic, which sells voting machines? And that three of its five board of director members donated at least $50,000 each to Romney’s campaign? As reported by Forbes. Voting machines. With the owners of the company voting for one candidate with their money.
I’m with Dr. Prince. If a good Mormon ever runs for that office, more power to him, but Romney isn’t one.Â We do have a good President, though–and you don’t have to constantly guess which side of every issue he stands on. Please vote, and please vote for Obama. And a better Congress, too. Thank you.
Short and sweet
Wow, you guys. Thank you! Boy, Sam’s numbers sure jumped overnight.
Now here’s a political link to enjoy: Romney and Obama at a fundraiser for Catholic charities, poking fun at themselves and each other together for a good cause.
Meantime, we get to hug the kids and play with Parker tomorrow. I so can’t wait.
Just a few more weeks to go
Monday October 15th 2012, 11:11 pm
Filed under: Politics
Walt De Vries, George Romney’s old campaign and gubernatorial aide during the ’60′s, wrote a cri de coeur to the press. He quotes his old boss, “As you campaign so shall you govern,” in a letter the New York Times posted. He is so horrified by the behavior of George Romney’s son that he felt absolutely compelled to speak up about it.
Meantime, Paul Ryan, on his way to the airport, arrived at a soup kitchen after the patrons had left and the place had been cleaned up for the night, and with cameras rolling and a white apron on, picked up a clean pot and made it look like he was scrubbing it out. His wife and children pitched in. Reporters noted that none of the items they worked on appeared to have been dirty to start with.
The resident Republican here exclaimed to me, “What is he teaching his children!”
There’s a presidential debate on Tuesday night. It’ll be interesting to watch.
Thursday October 11th 2012, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Politics
Did you watch the debate? The New York Times’ editorial afterwards is here.
Ryan tried to invoke Reagan and a particular meeting and Biden pounced: “There were five people in that room. Reagan was there, Tip O’Neill was there, and I. Was. There!”
There was a ticker tape running across the bottom of the screen, and it suddenly showed the leading trend on Twitter: “Jack Kennedy.”
And sometimes it would pronounce, FACT:Â (and then state a fact in reference to what the candidates were saying.) I want to know, why haven’t we done that all along? I loved that Biden again and again called Ryan out and told the voters what Ryan had voted for while he was now deriding the President for it.
At the end, as the families poured onto the stage and everybody shook everybody’s hands, Ryan’s little boy got away from his parents and claimed the vice president’s chair; he leaned back with a grin like he thought he owned the place. It had to be way past his bedtime and he was stuck in this suit and clearly under dire orders to smile and be pleasant–well, hey, this is fun here!
Gonna have to give up your claim on that seat, now, son, it doesn’t belong to you.
Wednesday October 03rd 2012, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Politics
Did you watch the debate? The Washington Post did a good job dissecting some of the he said-he saids and their validities here.
My take: Obama looked tired as he chose his words carefully, trying to present what he had done with a lot of specifics, and what he hopes to do. He also got four minutes more, per CNN’s count, than Romney–Lehrer’s quiet payback at Romney for telling him he would cut his job? Nah, I think Lehrer was just listening rather than clock-watching, but it was a moderator fail on his part.
Obama did not laugh at all, much less out loud like I did, when Romney lectured him as how *he*, Romney, was going to go sit down with the Republicans–*and* the Democrats!–to work *together* to get the job done!
To me, one of Obama’s faults was that he tried too long to get bipartisanship out of Congress and that he expected his opposition, Tea Party and all, to put the good of the country above petty politics. To all who say he had a Democratic majority, he did. For one month–while Ted Kennedy was dying and then dead.Â While the modern version of the filibuster rule required 60 votes to stop it and the Senators could just phone it in. Can we please go back to my grandfather-the-Senator’s day, where you had to hold the floor to hold the floor? Your party, whichever it may be, will thank you in the future.
Romney danced and rose up on his toes and his voice got breathy when he was trying to look passionate: to my eyes, he appeared not to be believing what he was saying so he was trying to say it with a lot of emphasis that came off wholly fake.Â There’s that tight smirk, with a lot of jerky motions, shoulders, arms, hands, and his words were almost manic. His body language betrayed him.
His numbers and claims were goofy too but never mind. Others can argue those more succinctly than I can.
As our Michelle put it, Obama talked too slow. Romney was Alvin the Chipmunk.
How to make sure you didn’t get taken off the voting rolls
Monday October 01st 2012, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Politics
While the Chicago teachers’ strike was going on, whatever one may think of that (and I actually thought their mayor made some good points against some of their arguments), Romney went on record as saying that teachers’ unions should not be allowed to make political contributions.
Think about that a moment. Out of all the possible groupings of individuals or corporate interests in the entire country, and under a Republican-celebrated Citizens United Supreme Court decision, teachers’, and only teachers’, unions should not be allowed to do what all the others throughout the United States can.
Says the man who wants to run the place. Shades of 47%. (The video Romney didn’t know was being taken behind closed doors with his donors in Florida.)
I can understand changing the laws to limit political contributions to being by individual human beings only, but I cannot understand how Romney could think it fine to disempower one and only that one group. Who would be next?
If only that were all there is to complain about. I read an article today at freepress.org. If what their investigators say is true, then like that video, word has to get out.
They say they have found that there is a group that is Mitt Romney’s 11th biggest donor, HIG Capital. Of the 49 people in charge at HIG, 11 used to work for Bain. And what do they sell?
Voting machines that counted 10,000 non-existent votes in Ft. Worth. And there is more posted there, if you want to read it.
With the Republican efforts to purge the voter rolls going on in contested states, the place to start is here, canivote.org, to make sure that your right to do so has not been messed with while there’s time to fix it if it has. Clicking through, it takes me to my county’s voter registration, which asks for my zip code, house number, and date of birth: yes I am still registered. Yes my husband still is, despite there being another man of the same name in the same town–no problem. Yes Michelle is too, but no, our youngest, who has not lived in this state for three years, is not–in other words, the records were indeed updated as they should have been.
I want this question asked loudly and by many. Why is it okay for a company that sells voting machines to make large political donations to the candidate they want? On the presidential level, no less. Given the right wing’s worship of the unfettered free market, I want a straight answer on just what that voting machine company thinks it’s buying with their large investment.
The New York Times had a graph last week showing the possibility of one individual vote’s possibly changing an entire state’s outcome, and in one swing state the probability was 8%. One. Single. Vote. Your choice to stand a moment in your precinct’s booth could determine not just the Presidency but Supreme Court decisions for a generation to come.
Happy New Year
Sarah Palin called Senator Joe Lieberman’s office.
“I’m sorry, he’s not here, it’s Rosh Hoshanah.”
“Hey, Rosh, could you take a message for me?”
Edited hours later to add the real post. You know how some days are all about winding yarn while your brain sifts through what project and idea to pursue next? Only, I’ve been doing that with fruit trees, winding my way through websites, learning everything I can while trying to decide what makes the most sense for our small lot. Avocado trees are poisonous to birds? Forget that. Wait–we get 880 chill hours? We do? (The number of hours of cold a tree needs in the winter in order to produce a good crop come spring.) That’s a lot more than I thought and gives me a lot more options.
Note that if you plant close to a light-colored house it will reflect warmth onto the tree and up the hours needed.
Wait–Lorings? 750 hours–Yamagami nursery in Cupertino has Lorings?! (Down the right side there.) Lorings are the peach trees of my childhood!
There was a commercial orchard just barely into West Virginia that grew them.
The farm hands would come through and pick everything ripe or that might ripen, leaving only the tiniest and greenest that could never sell like that. The trees would then put their all into those very few, and over a few weeks they would become huge–a pound, a pound and a half, drip-through-your-fingers juicy and with a flavor like no other. But getting to them was so much work that to the farmer it wasn’t worth hiring help again for.
Mom and Dad would call, and when the peaches were ready for gleaning we would go. It was a long haul from the DC suburbs but also one of the adventures of our childhoods.Â Putting ladders here and here and here with Mom and Dad, we six kids got to climb up in the trees after those scattered few, so perfect peaches left behind, while getting an incredibly good per-pound price for our prizes; for the farmer, it was found money.
And also found friends. He loved that we so much loved what he did–and that we got to see his peaches not the way they ship best but fully how they’re supposed to be.
Meeting new neighbors down the street once with some of those incredible peaches the day we’d picked them answered their wondering as to whether anyone would notice or care that they’d moved in. Wow, *where* did you get these?!
It took us, what, Marian, an hour and a half? Hour three quarters each way to get there? But it was always worth it.
I can grow Lorings here in California! Who knew!
The lace hat I was already working on yesterday when Representative Cleaver was speaking is finished. The cabled hat that I dropped two stitches at the needle switch awhile ago is now finally ripped way back and restarted: he’s getting a cabled hat and it’s back to halfway done so far.
Had quite a few laughs at the typos in the closed captions during tonight’s convention. John Kerry, it claimed, said: “We do batter where we must, peace where we can.”
That was even better than the spoken “a man and a woman” scrolling across the screen as “a minimum bomb.”Â Let’s all go have that proverbial Army-fundraiser bake sale! (As the cold-war saying goes, it’ll be a great day when the schools get all the funding they need and the Army has to hold a bake sale.) Batter up! Bring on their just desserts! Robert Fulghum once wrote about how great it would be if we could stop wars by dropping from the planes colored paper and crayons, a bit of childhood delight revisited to make friends with the enemy below. I guess he’s saying we could let people have the means to draw down the fighting.
Add in some carrot pecan cake and some chocolate chip cookies, too, and surely you can’t go wrong with that.
(p.s. And maybe you’ve already seen this, but how many handknit lace fences are there out there? With thanks to Betsy Bowman for the heads-up.)
How did we miss him?!
Did you hear that!? Knitters?! I sent messages to Ellen and India.
Emanual Cleaver, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and a House Rep from Missouri, got up before the Democratic National Convention today and proclaimed, “We need warm hearts. Not. Hot. Heads!”
I was stunned. Thrilled.Â He cribbed our line! Cool! They DID notice in Congress!
I immediately wondered, who knit his? Surely he got one (and that if he didn’t we needed to fix that fast.) So many of us knitters made those hats for members of Congress in our campaign last year to get them to cooperate with each other in mutual respect and kindness, to say to them that no matter who we each were in our own politics, we wanted to make a statement that the too-dominant lack of mutual respect did not represent us well and, as I liked to think of it, we wanted them to put a lid on it.
Some thought it a waste of time. Some just didn’t have the time just then. Some did one, maybe two, with each one making a difference: how many people ever see, much less get offered, a handknit hat, and created just for them? Some threw themselves into the cause. The more hats that arrived, the greater the sense in the thank-you notes that came that, at least in some offices, our voices and our stitches were being received warmly.
Gratitude makes the hearts grow fonder.
I found Ellen’s spreadsheet. We got all the members of the Senate but not of the House and somehow Representative Cleaver didn’t seem to get one.Â Wouldn’t it be great to help him reiterate his point that was our own all along? Wouldn’t it be great to send him a box of handknit hats to pass around, or maybe to send to the people that were missed last time around, but at least, we’ve got to have one for him. I think I might have some wool around here somewhere….
My cousin Grant Bennett spoke at the Republican Convention tonight about his neighbor and did a fine job of it: straight from the heart.
Then he introduced a few people, and I ended up emailing a friend from our ward here: was that your mom?!
It was. The mother of this child, if you want more of the woman’s story.
I still have no intention of voting for Romney, but I read a comment on the Washington Post today by a fellow Obama supporter who said that clearly the man loves his wife and she loves him: you can’t fake that look he saw between them.
Much though I dislike that Paul Ryan last night repeated outright lies that have been exposed again and again and he didn’t care–like that Janesville plant that closed not under Obama but while Bush was in office, that that debt commission report didn’t get acted on because he voted not to let it out of committee, and on and on–but his little boys stole the show by hamming it up every time the camera landed on them last night and tonight. I laughed as it got snatched away again and again, trying to find that right moment while the youngest especially was simply being a cheerful little boy cooped up too long in cooped-up clothes. Bring on the balloons!
I think it was his sister that caught one almost as big as her at the end and was wobbling with it, exit, stage right.
A quote in the Washington Post today about the GOP: â€œ “The demographics race weâ€™re losing badly,â€ said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). â€œWeâ€™re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.â€ ”
Generating. Angry. Okay…Â CNN itself did not report what happened at the convention today until other outlets started asking them why, since they certainly should have had photographic evidence; finally, Wolf Blitzer made a statement re his camerawoman: a couple of abusive, racist people had gone, literally, nuts. “This is how we feed the animals!” as they threw peanuts at her.
Do I need to mention she was black and female? Did they realize how much shame the whole country would feel that they would think of such a thing, much less do it before the watching world?
Well, there you go, Graham. But at least those two got thrown out. Who they were or whether they were banned completely or snuck back in later, nobody seems to know. And if they’re actual elected representatives (or future ones), their constituents need to know.
A little calm fact-checking and setting in order after the speeches.
Richard, horrified at what that woman had been put through, hoped hard that Blitzer had told her that she didn’t have to stay there, that she didn’t have to take that, telling me he once counseled a fellow employee to just get up and walk out on a harasser and not ever worry about her job for it. He would stand up for her: her job was the one that was safe.
Boy did that bring back memories.Â In the year after my college graduation, I had a boss who harangued and demeaned everybody. The car she was in was stuck? It happened to need the one and only thing I knew how to fix, I totally won as it started right up, and right there as the others on our shift were cheering me on she dissed me for it: only stupid people were mechanics.
And so much more. I needed that job but I hit the point of no return and all I could do was quit. Unbeknownst to me, every single one of my fell0w co-workers under her (there were about eight of us) did the same thing the same week; I was just the first. Then, at last, she was sent packing.
Thank heavens for good bosses who stand by their employees. We moved across the country for a good boss. A good boss is worth everything.
And you know we’re the bosses in this election. Be good ones. Vote!