Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Wish...

I wish I could hear Katie Couric talk about Sarah Palin off record for even five minutes. Does she feel bad for Palin? Is it hard for her to maintain her professionalism in the face of some of that nonsense?
I hope some day she spills the beans about it, even if it's years from now.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Anything to Save a Buck

Last spring the local school board voted to "privatize" custodial services at the elementary and middle schools in order to save $185,000. This meant that staff that had been employed in the schools for years and sometimes decades were let go. The new company, UGL UNICCO, which is based out of state, took over the janitorial duties about one month ago. Yesterday two of their employees were arrested for smoking pot in the middle school parking lot last Thursday night. It turns out one of those employees had been arrested for drug possession previously, but it didn't show up during his pre-employment screening.
Now the school superintendent is outraged and calling for drug screening of all UGL UNICCO employees. I'm really not surprised. I think they would have been better off keeping the staff they had. I know some of those people had nieces, nephews, kids and grandkids in these schools and they would not pull that kind of crap. But God forbid we employ people with a vested interest in the community when we could save a few bucks by hiring some outside corporation willing to make a low ball offer.
Man. The world really sucks lately.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Rant on the Economy

I don't get it. We're spending $10 billion a month for the war in Iraq and now the Treasury Secretary is saying the government is going to need to spend "hundreds of billions" of dollars to deal with the financial crisis and to bail out all these corporations that fucked up big time. None of these "solutions" is going to help out the shareholders of any of these companies. They (we?) are out of luck. I'm not exactly sure who the bailouts will help, but my guess is that the CEOs and other executives don't need to worry too much about losing their homes.
And who really pays for it? We do. With our tax dollars.
I thought that deregulating and giving reign to free market forces meant that going out of business was supposed to be a natural end result of businesses that chose poor policies and practices. Apparently government bailouts for major fuckups is okay, but government regulations that could prevent this mess in the first place are bad. That seems to be the logic we have been operating under.
Yeah, definitely time for a change.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Are You Registered?

If you live in NH, here is some info about registering to vote in the upcoming election. The following info comes straight from the NH Secretary of State's website.
New Hampshire residents who will be 18 years of age or older on election day, and a United States Citizen, may register with the town or city clerk where they live up to 10 days before any election. You may also register on election day at the polling place. The town clerk's office can inform voters of what proof of qualification they should bring to register.

There is no minimum period of time you are required to have lived in the state before being allowed to register. You may register as soon as you move into your new community.

1) Apply to your town or city clerk's office. You will be required to fill out a standard voter registration form and will be required to show proof of age, citizenship and domicile.
2) It may be easier for you to register with your community's Supervisors of the Checklist. By law they are required to meet on the Saturday 10 days prior to each election. Check the local newspaper(s) or call your clerk's office for the date and time of such meeting.
3) Qualified individuals may also register to vote at the polling place on election day at all elections. You will be asked to show proof of age, citizenship, and domicile.

If you meet the state's voter requirements and qualifications and are unable to register in person because of physical disability, religious beliefs, military service, or because of temporary absence, you may register by mail. You should request an absentee voter registration affidavit and a standard voter registration form from your town/city clerk. The absentee voter registration affidavit must be witnessed and then both the affidavit and the voter registration form are to be returned to your town/city clerk.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alert the Media!!!!

OMG!!! Me and my sweetie actually agree on something! This doesn't happen all that often.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Go 207!


207 reporter pwns McCain in an interview. I take back the bad things I've said about Maine tv news in the past.

(Tried to embed the video but I got error messages. Watch it. Really.)

Citizen Reporter

Here is my crappy cell phone photo proof that I was just at the Obama event earlier today. It was a little chaotic outside and I ended up waiting in the wrong line and almost didn't even get in, but when I explained my situation to a nice police officer he escorted me through some of the cordoned off areas and I was able to get into the gymnasium and and even get a seat.
Senator Obama comes across to me as a person of substance. He talked about his tax relief plan contrasted with McCain's. He talked about his plans for health care and in the process I learned that McCain's plan will tax what I pay for health care benefits, which pisses me off. He kept on point and on the issues, even when one person in the audience called on him to start hitting back hard at the Republicans' dishonest and sleazy TV commercials. Obama said he and his people will rebut the lies that are spread and will not get distracted with the nonsense that brings people away from focusing on the issues that are what this election should be about. He mentioned his tax cuts will "will cut taxes to a smaller share of the economy than they were under President Reagan." He also promised that he would not raise income taxes, payroll taxes or capitals gains taxes for the middle class. I think his plan to not tax
senior citizens who make less than $50,000 a year is a good one and should pick up his support among senior voters who pay attention to these issues. (To read the full text of the prepared remarks go here. )
For a political event, it managed not to be too nauseating. I guess partly because the main point of it was to give undecided voters a chance to hear the candidate and ask him their own questions, so although there was the usual contingent of rabid follower groupies on hand, Obama wasn't completely preaching to the choir. I do, however, hate hanging out in crowds because it's always the selfish, obnoxious people who are the loudest. (People complaining about where they were made to line up because the police weren't about to cut off access to the court house, which is across the street from the gymnasium, for a political event.)
Gotta run now. Might write more later if I have the time and remember anything by then!

Update: Overall, I felt like Senator Obama respected the intelligence and time of his audience by keeping his focus on the issues and outlining the differences between his and McCain's economic, education and health care plans. It wasn't too dry either. He is an effective and engaging speaker and he makes you feel like he believes you are a person of intelligence, too. It wasn't like I took a few hours out of my day to waste time at some rah! rah! rally. It also made me feel like if he can keep focused on the issues and ignore the dog and pony show, maybe the rest of us should try a little harder, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hello. My Name is Pam and I'm calling from the Obama-Biden Presidential Campaign

So, you know last week, after spouting off here about McCain's vice-presidential pick I decided to walk the walk and signed up to work the Obama-Biden campaign phone banks tonight.That turned out to be a really good idea.
The task this evening was to call voters who had previously identified themselves as "undecided" and invite them attend to an invitation-only event being held here in town with Senator Obama tomorrow to hear and ask questions about his plan for middle class tax relief.
I was lucky right off the bat. In spite of my shaky voice and general awkwardness (I absolutely hate making phone calls), the very first person I called was really happy to get the invitation and agreed to attend. I had several people accept the invitation. Many more wanted to go but couldn't make it mid-day on such short notice. Only a few people were mean or rude. One of the names on my list was a former student of mine. I called and he picked up, so I told him who I was and still did my spiel. It was awkward, but kind of funny. (Even funnier that he apparently emailed me shortly before I called him to ask if he could use me as a reference for a job application.)
I asked to be put on the guest list for this invitation-only event and I have no classes tomorrow. So, around noon time I will be in the McConnell Center Gym listening to Senator Obama talk to a small (probably less than 200 person) crowd about his plans for tax relief. If you haven't done it yet, go check out ObamaTaxCut.com and see how the Senator's tax plan will probably save you more than McCain's proposed plan. (If you make over $600,000 a year, this probably doesn't apply to you. And you probably don't read this blog.)

PS: It still freaks me out that people I know in real life read this blog. I'm used to using it as a place to blow off steam and like to operate under the (most likely false) assumption that I'm sort of a quiet, private person who keeps her opinions to herself. Now why I would want to see myself that way is probably something I'd need to work out with a therapist. Which if I had one would be fine, but mine basically told me I didn't really need her anymore last year. And that's nice to have a professional opinion about my progress in coping with all the crap I went through during and after my divorce, but also kind of scary to think that all the rest of what I'm left with is really just the way I am. Wow, too long for a ps and also TMI. Go me!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Real Life is Just Like High School (and we aren't the cool kids, again.)

If the majority of voters in this country really believe that it is in the nation's best interest to vote for a presidential ticket using the same criteria they would use for choosing a class president or the winner of a beauty pageant then we probably deserve whatever idiot we get in the office. Since when does intellect and education not count as a qualification for the job of President of the United States? (Oh, yeah, since we voted W. into office eight years ago.) Since when is it okay to air commercials that spout outright lies about the competition? Apparently holding political ads to truth in advertising standards is not an issue.
How can people believe that some guy who graduated nearly at the rock bottom of his class from Annapolis, who has spent over 20 years in the Senate and who voted with Bush 90% of the time and some right-wing, Christian governor lady who may not have much governing experience but who is shrewd enough to bill her state for over 300 days of food and lodging when she stayed at home and thinks matters like wars between nations are "part of God's plan" are just like them and will bring the kind of change that will make everyone's lives better? It's like the popular kids in high school sucking up to the dweebs to get elected class president. Once the voting is done they'll just act like they never knew you or would have ever acknowledged your existence.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back to School aka Tempest in a Teapot

Oh yeah, school started last week. I was so busy freaking out over the political situation that I neglected to mention it here. This is my sixth year teaching at this school, so I don't get too freaked out about new semesters anymore. (I did have anxious dreams the night before classes started though.)
Enrollments are okay this year. The elementary class was, as usual, very popular and had a waiting list of about a dozen students. As is my custom, on the first day of class I gave the requisite "scary speech" about how much time and effort it takes to learn Japanese, category three language (scroll down for the details), blah, blah, blah, three writing systems, need to be seriously dedicated, etc. A lot of the students registered for the class are seniors, so I asked them specifically to realistically assess whether or not they have the time and motivation the course will require. I thought it was pretty much my standard spiel. Apparently it had a little more impact than I realized because later that day I got an email from my new boss telling me that "several students" had gone and complained to the dean about my "telling them they had to drop the course." WTF?
I was asked how I was going to handle the situation. I said I'd talk to the class again the next morning and clarify what I had said. And that is what I did, making it known to all the class that some of their classmates were totally wimpy crybabies who take things way too personally. I didn't say it like that exactly, but I sure was thinking it. I did let them know that no one had ever complained to the dean about the standard disclaimer of "hard work ahead" before. I'm just glad that class is sandwiched between my second and third year classes. Those classes are used to me and me to them and we have a lot of fun. It's still hard work, but they aren't crybabies.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Put Up or Shut Up

Talking about myself here, not the usual harping about the Republican VP choice you have come to expect from this previously not-very-political blog.
Starting this week I'll be doing a once-a-week 2.5 hour stint working the phones for the Obama-Biden campaign. Figured if I was going to bitch about it all this much I might as well do something to try to make a difference. Democracy only works if people get involved.
Polls show the race in this state is pretty tight. If I want things to change I better be active in trying to make a difference.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Eventually I WIll Write About Other Topics. Really

John Stewart rocks.

Campaign First

If you're planning on watching the Sunday morning talking news heads get into it with the candidates tomorrow, don't look for Sarah Palin to be among them. Obama will be on ABC's "This Week," Biden will be on NBC's "Meet the Press," and McCain will be on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Where's Palin?
Top McCain aide Rick Davis had this to say about putting Palin in the same unscripted hot seat situation as the rest of the candidates, "We're going to do what's in our best interests to try to win the election. If we think going on TV news shows are [sic] in our best interests, we'll do it. If we don't, we won't."
So, you see, it's not really about doing what is in the voters' best interests to make sure they have a chance to fairly assess the candidates' mental acuity and ability to think on their feet. It's about doing what's in the campaign's best interests.
If she's ready to be picked to run as VP, she should be ready to face a few Sunday mornings pundits.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Yes, It's A Fake, But Still...

The image is photoshopped, but sometimes "art" is truer than fact.

Yup, I'm one of those bloggers. The kinds who posts bad stupid internet garbage.
But now I'm listening to McCain talk about education and I think he is quite insane. Also, his smile is scary. And he can't read the teleprompter very well.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Good Night

I've stayed up a little past my bedtime to see what Sarah Palin's speech is about. I think it's about 10 minutes in and so far all she has done is say what a great man John McCain is and then she spoke about her family for a while. What does this have to do with her ability to govern the nation?
Fine, she's an "average hockey mom" and she likes the common folk. What is she going to do about the economy, foreign policy, energy policy?
I don't care that she was on the PTA. Even CNN keeps cutting to footage of the youngest daughter tending to the baby. This is boring. She's regular folk. I get it. I want someone smarter than that running the country. I'm not impressed. I'm going to bed.

Monday, September 01, 2008


I question the judgment of John McCain and the advisors of the Republican party for deciding that a woman with minimal political experience, a special-needs infant and a pregnant unwed teenage daughter was the most appropriate choice for a vice presidential candidate. What was the rationale behind this decision? "She's pretty and seems like a really nice lady, so let's go for it. She'll appeal in a "Legally Blonde" meets "Juno"-ish sort of way."
I think those commercials that claim "he's out of touch" are right on the money.

I also question Sarah Palin's judgment for accepting the offer. With a 4-month old infant and a pregnant 17-year old at home, is this really a good time in her life for her to enter the jungle of presidential politics? She's young by political standards and has at least another 20 years to try to become a big shot national politician, especially since her party apparently likes her. Why not wait it out for another go round in 2012?
Future pregnancy pact teenagers (a la Gloucester) are going to have all kinds of great comebacks for angry parents now. "But why is it such a big deal that I'm pregnant at 17? The vp candidate's daughter is having a baby at 17 and her mom said she was proud of her for it. It's not a big deal. Why can't you be proud of me?"

Well, at least this takes care of those rumors that the 4-month old wasn't Palin's child, but her daughter's. Either way, I really question her judgment there, too. (I'm not the only one.) So much for abstinence education.