An alternative plan to Koran burning on 9/11…

Many of you may have heard about the pastor in central Florida (Florida, of course!) who is calling on folks to mark the nine-year anniversary of the September 11,, 2001 terror attacks by burning copies of the Koran.

Yes, because book burning has such a rich, storied history of success in our country, does it not?

The head of the controversial church says he is not deterred by protests, death threats or warnings by the top U.S. commander that his plan may put the lives of US military forces at risk.

And why should he be?  After all, he’s getting his fifteen minutes of fame, isn’t he?

But I have a better idea.

Instead, buy this book, written by a high school buddy of mine:

Apropos title, isn’t it?

He won’t care if you burn it, and it won’t put the lives of our military at risk – though Jihad may go after him personally.  But he won’t care – he needs the cash.  And a ranking on Amazon higher than #6,989,111 will help  his ego.

And about Red Fred, the poor tense fish, Bob reports that Red Fred, “…had to be committed to the Sunnydale Home for Tense Fish a few years back…His behavior had become too aberrant, and I had found that he was operating a small crystal meth lab under the rocks…He will be missed by all…”

Indeed he will.

Politics

Kate at One More Thing is doing a weekly carnival of sorts, choosing a topic for other bloggers to write about.  This week’s topic is “Politics”.

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”  Groucho Marx


I resent every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year of my life that involves reading about, hearing about, thinking about and worrying about politics.

I can’t stand world politics, national politics, state politics, county politics, city politics, school politics, work politics, playground politics, family politics nor relationship politics.

However.

I would be an irresponsible human to put my head in the sand.  So I read, listen, think and worry about world politics, national politics, state politics, county politics, city politics, school politics, work politics, playground politics, family politics and relationship politics in varying degrees.

Politics are like hemorrhoids.  They’re there.  Nothing I can do about that.  I could get it removed, but the doctor says it would likely grow back and be even more of a nuisance than before.   So,  I avoid it as much as possible.  But every once in awhile they get inflamed and I have to deal with them – the biggest possible pain in my ass.

On the Firing of Carrie Prejean. And World Peace.

Thee California Miss USA pageant has officially fired Carrie Prejean and appointed her runner-up to take over as Miss California for the remainder of her reign.  The official reason for the dismissal is failure to meet contractual obligations.  Not the furor resulting from her controversial answer to Perez Hilton’s gay marriage question during the Miss USA telecast.

I have several thoughts on this subject.

1.  Carrie Prejean was asked her views on same-sex marriage as part of the Miss USA competition.  An unfair and inappropriate competition question.  As were several of the other questions.  Unless you understand that the only appropriate way to respond to these questions is to bring out your best Stepford-wife smile and give the vaguest, simpiest, most politically correct response – and understand that your real views don’t matter.  At all.  World peace!

2.  Carrie Prejean needs to understand that adding, “no offense to anyone…” to her comments does not magically make them inoffensive to those that are, um, offended.  It’s tap-tap-no-erasies.    “I think all Jews should be exterminated because that’s the way I was raised…no offense to anyone!”  Get it now, Carrie?  World Peace!

3.  There is not a doubt in my mind that Carrie Prejean did not fulfill every single of of her contractual obligations.  There’s  also not a doubt in my mind that she really got fired for her comments, her adherence to those comments, and her new association with organizations that feel the same.  Pageant officials were gunning for her, period.  World Peace!

4.  The head of the California Miss USA pageant might get  more people to believe that the contractual obligations WERE the real reason for her ousting if he didn’t – in the same interview – derisively point out that Carrie’s attorney is also the attorney for a group that works to prevent the passage of laws allowing gay marriage.  Um, so what?  We know how she feels on the subject.  Why should she not have an attorney with similar beliefs?  Would Perez Hilton hire an attorney who was against gay marriage?  And while we’re on the subject…

5.  Perez Hilton is an asshat.  You don’t agree with Carrie?  Fine.  Don’t call her the C word.  Don’t make fun of her (and millions of others’) belief in G-d.   I could write pages on his asshatity, but he’s just not worth my time.

6.  Tami Farrell, the pageant 1st runner-up who takes over as Miss California, cannot keep from smiling.  She’s been rubbing her hands together and licking her chops for weeks.   Better mind her p’s and q’s, that one.  World Peace!

Politically correct“.  Dangerous words, those.   People are starting to be afraid to speak their minds in fear of retribution – political, financial, social.  Methinks that’s happened a time or twelve in the history of the world.  Anyone remember The Crusades?  The Inquisition?  The Holocaust?  Tiananman Square?

I think we need to proceed with caution.  And lots of it.

World Peace!

His Presidency’s First Win

Being a white Jewish girl raised in an uber-liberal household, I’ve grown up to become a  surprisingly more moderate woman than one would think.

I’ve never had Obamamania.  I thought long and hard before choosing the candidate who would get my vote.  I felt there was good news and bad news about both candidates and their philosophies.   I rued the injustice of a two-party system and a media that bars all but the most flush candidates the opportunity to debate and garner coverage.  In the end I made the choice I felt would be best for our country, and that’s that.   No matter who won I would not  be jumping for joy.  There are too many challenges awaiting us, too many unknowns.   We all know who won the election, but we have yet to see if we, my fellow Americans, wind up as winners.

Obama finds himself in an interesting position.  Every incoming  President is faced with the task of uniting the country, but it’s never been more important to do so.  The country is facing such dire threats right now that even the  staunchest conservatives I know are warily rooting for him to do well.  That is so very different from past elections.   and in my opinion this gives us a chance to get through these challenges and find a way to win.  I so very much hope we do.

So, for me today is a day of hope, but it is not a victory celebration.  Still, the little Jewish liberal girl inside me is thinking of those who marched on Selma, refused to sit in the back of the bus,  were inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I’m thinking of the people who spoke up and risked their lives, and sometimes gave it.  My heart is heavy and my eyes are wet when I think of what this day must mean to them, and their children and grandchildren.  Knowing that when any American child talks about what they want to be when they grow up, and their parents tell them they can be anything they want to be they don’t just hope it or declare it; they mean it.

All of the rhetoric and entreaty and idealization is true.  It is possible.

And that, my friends, is the first win of Obama’s presidency.

Deal of the Day December 7, 2008

Buy a dozen donuts at Krispy Kreme by December 25 and get 12 free holiday gift tags.

Certainly free gift tags are nice on their own, but there’s a free donut coupon on the back of each gift tag. Nice! The free donut coupons are valid the entire month of January.

And don’t even THINK about not using those gift tags and keeping those free donut coupons for yourself!

Hee hee.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day October 30, 2008

Two of my favorite words to pair together in any sentence are “free” and “donut”.

Krispy Kreme wants your vote! Actually, the company doesn’t care who you vote for as long as you vote. On November 4, locations around the country will be handing out free star-shaped donuts with red, white and blue sprinkles to anyone with an “I Voted” sticker. So save your sticker if you’re an early voter!

The effort is non-partisan, so don’t worry about one of the candidates forking over a wad of leftover campaign money in some kind of weird get-out-the-vote effort. This is just about Krispy Kreme trying to get some foot traffic of its own.

“We can’t guarantee that your candidate of preference will win on November 4, but we can guarantee that your right to voice your choice will be rewarded with a patriotic doughnut that will remind you just how tasty freedom really is,” said Krispy Kreme’s Chef Ron Rupocinski in a press release. “Krispy Kreme encourages everyone to take part in this historical election and vote.”

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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The Lynching (in effigy) of Sarah Palin

I wanted to get my son a Halloween t-shirt this year. I wanted a cute one with some pumpkins, or some candy corn, or something equally sweet and benign. Instead all I found were skulls and bats and macabre scenes of death and gore that I just don’t want to see my four-year-old wearing (I also don’t understand why the commercials for Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights are permitted to be shown early enough in the day for my Son to see them. They are scary, even to me. Have these people no sense?). Just…ick.

Go ahead, roll your eyes at me. I don’t mind. I don’t think the macabre is funny, and the scariest Haunted House I will enter is the one at Disney World. I just don’t think being scared is fun. There’s many other ways to get that same adrenaline rush that are fun.

So perhaps I am not the one to think that a mannequin dressed to look like Sarah Palin being hung in effigy is funny. I wouldn’t think it funny no matter who was depicted.

Chad Michael Morisette, who put up the display, says that the effigy would be out of bounds at any other time of year, but it’s within the spirit of Halloween.

Really?

I don’t think it’s ever an appropriate time of year to hang someone in effigy. And I don’t think there’s a person breathing who doesn’t understand that the reaction would be far stronger, swifter and outraged if it was a likeness of Obama hanging from that roof. Would the homeowners not be met with angry mobs demanding the display be removed, demanding the homeowner be charged with a hate crime?

Well, let’s see. Asinine college students at George Fox University hung a cardboard cutout of Obama from a tree on the abundantly Republican campus, and it was immediately removed and absolutely decried as a hate crime. “What happened on campus this week is disheartening to American politics,” said John Archibald, chairman of the College Republicans. “Regardless of your politics, this act of hate cannot be tolerated.” And that’s a Republican talking.

Does Mr. Morisette not understand that America’s history of lynching did not make any Greatest American Trends list? Did he think it was okay since it was a white woman and not a black man, or did it never occur to him that depicting a lynching might spark some outrage at all?? Did he think she was fair game because Saturday Night Live does skits poking fun at her twice each week? Did he think this was the same thing? Heck, I’m surprised he didn’t set up a diorama of a concentration camp with McCain walking to the chambers. That wouldn’t have been offensive because McCain isn’t Jewish, right?

Are these acts of hate? What if the students’ display had also been a politically motivated Halloween decoration? Does it matter that one is a protest against a policy the pranksters see as unfair and the other is “satire”?

When did violence become funny?

My view is clear. Hanging a likeness of a real person? Not funny. Even if they are a political figure. Even if you don’t like them. Even if you do like them. No matter their color, gender or sexual orientation. Oh, and a concentration camp diorama is off limits, too.

I just don’t understand why we feel the need to vilify those with whom we disagree. And to take a child’s holiday, one that many of us are using to escape the constant noise and mud-slinging of the election process, and turn it into a political statement (Psst! Republican Party! Please, please tell me this rumor I’m hearing about you putting political pamphlets in the kids’ treat bags isn’t true. Please!) is just maddening.

I’m all for Halloween pranks. I’m all for political statements. I’m all for pushing the envelope. I’m all for free speech. But with the right of free speech comes responsibility. This is a self-serving, tasteless, irresponsible display that may get you on the Today Show, Mr. Morrisette, and has certainly gotten you your fifteen minutes of fame. Congratulations.

I’d rather get mine in the pages of Good Housekeeping.

Ban Ki-moon, Have I Got a Speech For You!

Three and a half hours.

That’s how long I spent at our homeowners association meeting last night, between the meeting itself and the commentary afterwards.

My attendance at said meeting was precipitated by a knock on my door this past Saturday night whilst having the in-laws over for dinner. One of my neighbors wanted to warn us to move my in-laws car, which was parked on the street in front of our unit. Parking is not allowed on the streets, as they are very narrow. Unfortunately guest parking is very limited, and as long as people don’t make a habit of parking in the street it’s always been generally overlooked.

We are in the situation, however, where a new board is in power (the old president -a very effective president – had some medical problems and wanted to step down), and they are wanting to flex their mighty muscles to show residents and the past board that there is a new sheriff in town. Apparently this neighbor had just stopped a towing company from towing a car out of his own driveway. It’s a car they do not use and is properly covered with a car cover. It had the gall to get a flat tire, which is against the rules. No warning letter was sent, just the tow truck.

You just cannot do that.

The neighbor had to pay sixty dollars for the tow company to release his car (which is now going to have to be reimbursed by the board). According to this neighbor the tow driver told him they were 4 other vehicles to be towed from driveways, and he was also contracted to come back at midnight to tow any car on the street.

The next day another neighbor (one that was on the tow driver’s hit list) knocked on our door asking us sign a recall petition, which would attempt to dump 3 of the 4 members of the board. I’d not been to a board meeting for several months, and the neighbor filled me in on all the errors that the new board was making. She told me that the old president had agreed to get back on the board, another ex-member wanted to also, and the wife of the neighbor whose car was nearly towed (never a member) would be President. A coup, as it were.

Husband, a fierce defender of individual rights, thought everyone on the new board should be drawn and quartered. He wanted to sign so badly his body was nearly convulsing. In a cruel twist of fate it turns out that I am the only one on the deed (I bought when I was single), so I am the one to sign, or not.

And I chose not. Much to Husband’s chagrin.

I didn’t sign because the emotions were so high, and I didn’t think I could completely trust the information I’d been given. I also think that a new board is going to make mistakes, and that doesn’t mean you burn them at the stake. Hopefully they are coachable, and can learn from their errors (sorry, it’s a wonderfully frugal thought, but a board member should not be cutting down trees himself, as there are huge liability issues!). And I wanted to go to a meeting to get my own take on it. I already knew I wanted the old president back on the board because of her expertise, but I wasn’t sure that everyone on the new board needed to go. And I just didn’t think there had to be a war to make things better.

And that’s basically what I told the old president when she knocked on my door, petition in hand. I explained that tempers were so high that I thought it would accomplish much more if I walked into the meeting neutrally. And she ultimately agreed.

So the meeting started, and there were accusations and grievances and angry words and even one idiot who started throwing profanity. Things were deteriorating quickly, and I threw out a few, “Can we stop shouting, please?”s that ebbed things for a moment or two before things heated up again.

Finally I got up and spoke for about ten minutes about working together and how things aren’t always as they appear and how there’s always going to be “selective enforcement” of rules because no one can see every breaking rule all the time, and it’s always going to look selective to the ones who are caught. I reminded them there no one involved is evil, that what everyone wants is what’s best for the community. I talked about how tough times are and how tough they are going to be (what with 5% of our community in foreclosure), how we didn’t have to war with each other, etc, etc.

Really, I was quite brilliant.

The entire tone of the meeting shifted. The anger was still there, but now they were talking to each other instead of screaming. The prevailing defensiveness stopped. They were listening. Things were accomplished.

Damn, I’m good.

After the meeting I was asked several times by people on both sides to be on the board. Thanks, but I’d rather pour acid in my eye. Fifteen years as an insurance agent dealing with thirty-five different condo boards on a daily basis cured me of any desire to ever serve in that capacity. Ev-er. Ever.

So, there will still be a recall meeting. And grievances will still be aired. And I do hope the new president steps down, because you cannot simply answer “I don’t know,” and “”Because I felt like it,” to nearly every question presented to you. The rest of the new board seems fine, they just need the assistance of someone experienced to help them.

My work here is not done. Ban Ki-moon and I know and understand that. Tomorrow is another day. Diplomacy is king.

What color are your glasses?

Everyone sees the world through the filters of their own beliefs. It’s as if we’re wearing glasses, and our life experiences and beliefs are the lenses. We unconsciously see the world through those rose – or crap – colored glasses, and that influences how we perceive everything from the opposite sex to money to politics.

Have you ever known anyone who had such bad taste in the opposite sex that they could be in the room with 100 people and they’d circulate to the only non-trustworthy one in the bunch? Or read a blog that was so rightist or leftist that the author cannot see anything beyond their own doctrine? How about the millionaire that started out so poor that they re-used Christmas cards or re-used their dryer sheets twelve times, even as they added zeros to their bank accounts?

Have you ever thought about what colors your glasses? Have you ever taken them off and examined them? Checked to see which beliefs are working for you and which aren’t? Noticed the tint and tried to clean them off and looked at a person or issue or candidate without the filters?

It’s hard to do, because while it’s easy to see others’ glasses, it’s hard to see one’s own. And harder still to clean them.

My Own Cynical Take on Presidential Politics: Get Your Facts Straight Edition

Last night was the greatly anticipated debate between Vice Presidential candidates Palin and Biden. The entire world was either waiting for or fearing Palin falling flat on her political face, repeating her dismal performances in the recent interviews conducted by the see-if-we-can-make-her-look-stupid-then-revel-when-we-do media. And Joe Biden was expected to put us all into a catatonic stupor as he talked, and talked, and talked and talked.

I did watch the debates last night, but I can’t claim to have paid rapt attention. I was playing Texas Hold ‘em poker at the same time. Sue me.

There was so much hoopla surrounding a debate that really doesn’t matter all that much, and lots of people were disappointed. Why?

Both candidates did well.

Here’s what I came away with:

Sarah Palin is a hell of a public speaker. She’s eloquent, personable, and she has a way of connecting with people that makes you feel like she’s speaking directly, and only, to you.

Sarah Palin did not fall flat on her face. She shined.

Joe Biden did not induce catatonia. He showed his intelligence and experience, as usual. But he also showed warmth, vulnerability (showing that his wounds are still fresh when speaking of his first wife and daughter, killed in a long ago accident, and his seriously injured but surviving sons), respect and humor.

I do not like in the least little bit Sarah Palin’s alignment with Dick Cheney’s contention that the Vice President has more powers than any reasonable person’s interpretation of our Constitution would suggest. No, ma’am.

I hate that both Biden and Palin told incomplete truths about several of their contentions. If you are like me you know that what you’re hearing isn’t the complete truth. That what you’re hearing is spin, and that if you only had the time or the inclination you could find out what the real truth is.

Well, it’s not that hard to find out. Check out this link for some fact checking results, and while you’re at it bookmark the site to help you wade through the spin and rhetoric.

And, on a separate but kind of related note, I do not like anyone’s contention that people who are caught in the sub-prime mess should get to renegotiate their principal. I have no issue with them getting a better interest rate, but their principal should not be forgiven, even if they have to give half of the profits from some later sale of their house back to the government. That is totally unfair to all of the rest of the people whose home values have plummeted – and to the institutions who lent them the money. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! (Okay, that wasn’t really debated, but it was part of the bailout that really pisses me off.)

I came away from last night’s debate knowing both candidates better. I’m still officially undecided, but I’m leaning one way pretty heavily at this point, and the night’s debate didn’t change that.

I lost all my virtual chips playing poker last night, but I’m not worried. In real life I’d never be so impulsive as to go all in on a pair of 2s when there’s a flush draw on the board. I’m just not that much of a gambler. I promise to be more careful than that when my money is really on the table – and on November 4th.

~<>~

Read the rest of this series:

My Own Cynical Take on Presidential Politics – Sarah Palin Edition

My Own Cynical Take on Presidential Politics – Hypocrisy Edition

My Own Cynical Take on Politics: Going to the United Nations Does Not Foreign Policy Experience Make

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