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30.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Lease-busting party Permalink to this item

When George W. Bush came to the White House, there were all sorts of stories of mischief pulled off by the outgoing Democratic administration, but did any of those turn out to be true? I remember the one where the [W] keys had supposedly been pulled off of computer keyboards, and pretty much nothing that rose to any level of significance. The news has had many cycles since, and the trail of truthiness has grown cold.

On their way out though, the mischief is real, and potentially far-reaching. The "no last minute regulations" decree by Chief of Staff Josh Bolton does not apply to last minute anti-regulations.

Making it harder for the government to protect workers by regulating toxic substances and hazardous chemicals is deemed worthy of special attention. Eight years to enact regulations? Let's make it ten.

Allow coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop removal into nearby streams and valleys? Sounds great. Can't get enough of that great stuff.

29.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Perhaps the Almighty struck him down Permalink to this item

A more interesting tale than "he collapsed, was taken to the hospital, and pronounced 'ok'" after all. It seems that one of the Federalist attendees called out A.G. Michael Mukasey... as Tyrant! And apparently with some justification, as summarized by Randy Stapilus.

Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders' departing assessment, delivered a quarter hour before Mukasey's unexpected fainting spell, and in spite of the Society's failure to provide "for questions or response," seems an overdue statement on the quality of leadership in the Attorney General's office under George W. Bush. Hard to imagine at the time that John Ashcroft would prove to be the best of the lot.

The most useful—and therefore the most satisfying— of the demonstrations I participated in during Bush's term was when Alberto Gonzales came here to Boise, expecting to find a friendly audience for a morale-boosting photo-op but finding instead that he had to hide his face.

And now Mukasey, chortling with his Federalist Society buddies about how quaint the rule of law is. We can't say good-bye soon enough.

28.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Thanksgiving Permalink to this item

In my cultural milieu, there were two great family holidays, bundled here at the end of the two darkest months of the year. Having cycled from grand nephew to great uncle, and experienced the range from most boisterous to least, from the widest circles of friends to the closest to home, it still feels that a "family" gathering is the right way to observe the day.

There are more possibilities for "family" than ever before.

We had dinner with 15 yesterday, siblings from each of three generations, two ex's and their new spouses, all turned grandparents, ages from 3 to 69. It seems like only yesterday I was trying to puzzle out who was who, aunts and uncles, cousins and in-laws, the inevitable wrong names and awkward re-introductions followed by minimally recognizable conversation.... and now with an almost completely changed cast of characters, it all makes perfect sense, framed with near-perfect and jolly chaos for four or five golden afternoon hours, laced with the ultimate comfort foods: turkey, stuffing, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberries, three kinds of pie.

It was a long way over the hills and through the woods to find this year's gathering, but definitely worth the time and trouble to get here. We long for the company of those who couldn't be with us, hoping that they had at least as jolly a gathering, somehow, and that next time, we'll all be together, even as we know it won't be possible. We gather the harvest of the season as best we're able, give thanks for the bounty we have to share, pause a moment to enjoy a family gathering we now know is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

22.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Why we didn't hear from Bill Ayers Permalink to this item

As explained in his interview with Terry Gross:

"...I taught, I lectured at universities, I spoke to my students, I spoke in certain public forums, but what I didn't do was respond to microphones being thrust in my face, and saying 'what is your relationship with Obama? Are you an unrepentant terrorist?' and I felt like, 'gee, how does one enter into that discussion when the premises, ah, as I said, are so profoundly dishonest...?'"

The short version is that the "charges" were utterly irrelevant. And ultimately ineffective, but it could easily have gone differently.

Beyond the deconstruction of the McCain campaign's effort to smear Obama, Ayers does provide a unique, first-person perspective on the history of American terrorism over the last half-century.

45 years ago today Permalink to this item

Must have been that first "remember where you were" moment for me. Sister Mary Carl told my third grade class what had happened in Dallas, with as shocked a look on her face as I'd ever seen an adult have.

My "thought for the day" correspondent sent a timely quote from JFK's inaugural address:

"Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed."

MountainGoat Report: Remembering JFK.

21.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

You cannot be serious Permalink to this item

Wired reports a Zogby poll says Fox News is the most trusted TV news source. Rush Limbaugh edged out Bill O'Reilly as "most trusted news personality," 12.5 to 10.1%.

Stephen Colbert was "least trusted," under 2%. You do know he's trying to be funny, don't you?

Did he really write that? Permalink to this item

Yup. Cal Thomas did:

"Remarkably, a college degree does not increase civic knowledge. According to the report, 'The average score among those who ended their formal education with a bachelor’s degree is 57 percent, or an ‘F’. That is only 13 percentage points higher than the average score among those who ended their formal education with a high school diploma."

So, with a college degree, you average 57, and with just a high school diploma, a 44. No increase?! Civic knowledge isn't the only other deficit at hand: Houston, we have an innumeracy problem.

Of course, reading about a quiz, I had to look it up and try for myself. (The answers that Cal gave away in his column didn't make a difference, by the way: I knew 'em anyway.) I got 32 out of 33 right (97%), without cheating. I missed the one about the Puritans: I have them credit for pacifism rather than pessimism.

As with so many tests, you can get a different answer if you look at the questions a different way. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute's summary bemoans the result that "almost 40 percent of all respondents falsely believe the president has the power to declare war," whereas some of us who know how it's supposed to be bemoan the demonstrable fact that the our most recent President was quite capable of declaring war, now wasn't he? (And that's talking about real-live shootin' war, not just the rhetorical War on This or War on That.)

So, take the test, learn from what you miss, and remember: it's your country. Don't let the big men take it away from you.

Limited warranty Permalink to this item

Nebraska found out about unintended consequences with their newly enacted "child safe haven" law. The intention was to protect newborns from being abandoned or killed by panicked young mothers, but they neglected to be more specific than "child."

Teenagers can be a handful, you know. In the last couple months, parents have been dropping off their older children—as old as 17—to have the state take over. As Homer Simpson would say, D'OH!.

They've scaled back their offer to a 30-day warranty; after that, you're on your own.

(One of my 16 great-great-great grandfathers found himself with too many kids to handle when his wife died; he handed them off to a sister and emigrated from Germany to the U.S. of A. Two of the boys tracked him down, joyfully reunited and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they all lived happily ever after, so you never know how these things will turn out.)

20.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

From long ago and far away Permalink to this item

Here's a novel legal theory: that was "fair use" of that "long-ago published song," and besides, it wasn't us anyway. "Long" in this case is a paltry few decades, well within the 100+ years envisioned by the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. I thought Republicans liked businesses.

"McCain argues that Browne's stance only 'strengthens the fair use argument.' Their emphasis. You're welcome!"

(Whatever you think about copyright laws, it's still important to keep your tires properly inflated, by the way. Especially those of you who are getting ready to go over the fields and through the woods to grandmother's house for Thanksgiving. Word to the wise.)

19.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Other worldly Permalink to this item

Excerpt of artist's conception of the geysers on Enceladus Carolyn Porco is one of my favorite storytellers, with some amazing stories to tell. In this month's Scientific American, she has enough space to describe some of the Secrets of Saturn's Strangest Moon.

"Enceladus not only has enough heat to drive surface-altering geologic activity but also is endowed with organic compounds and possibly underground channels or even seas of liquid water. Energy, organics, liquid water: these are the three requisites for life as we know it. In our explorations of this alien and faraway place, we have come face to face with an environment potentially suitable for living organisms. It does not get much better than this."

18.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Polled Pols Permalink to this item

Looks like Ted Stevens won't be going out on a high note after all. Voted out is so much less memorable than expelled. At 85, he'll be able to manage on his pension, no doubt.

But President of the last Freshman class, and famous patoot in his own right? Maybe not. (Do you even get a pension after one term in the House?) We at least have the last word on whether those were bunny ears, or horns: he's got neither.

The next frontier of civil rights Permalink to this item

Mountain Goat: H8 in Idaho? loud and clear in Boise. ("Can I vote on your marriage?")

Left Side of the Moon: Marching...

Ridenbaugh Press: The other side of Idaho Falls

Thinking about the mob scene Permalink to this item

Jerry Brady offers the most thoughtful response to the Madison County schoolbus chant that I've yet seen:

"Anyone with ears to hear know these children were parroting their parents. Children get the drift from home: The new president is radical, dangerous and not to be trusted.

"How terribly sad.

"Elsewhere, Obama's election loosened a joy and celebration unknown for decades, including unprecedented acclaim from abroad. It was the greatest imaginable affirmation of America's capacity to renew itself. It could only have happened in the U.S.A. Whether you voted for him or not, you could be proud of your country in this hour.

"Predisposed by their parents, many Idaho children will miss the marvelous message that, with character and ability, anyone can succeed here. They may go on muttering, complaining and passing on adult myths instead of joining in the renewal we so badly need."

16.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

A big, fat 'I told you so' Permalink to this item

From Christie Todd Whitman:

"Unless the Republican Party ends its self-imposed captivity to social fundamentalists, it will spend a long time in the political wilderness. On Nov. 4, the American people very clearly rejected the politics of demonization and division. It's long past time for the GOP to do the same."

As entertaining as Sarah Palin has been, the election would have been a lot more interesting with a McCain-Whitman ticket.

New kid in town Permalink to this item

Idaho's soon-to-be freshman Congressman made his way onto All Things Considered today, as an "interesting politician," a Democrat from Idaho, talking about moving to a new town for a new job.

All politics are local Permalink to this item

Reflection of Decatur's old Courthouse, Nov. 2008 "Local" to this planet, that is. Email from our friends in Belgium a few days after the U.S. election:

"I have never known a US presidential election to be so 'popular' in Belgium. Already for several weeks, 2 full newspaper pages were daily dedicated to the election.

"Even our youngest (Saar just turned 9 last week) can tell you who the candidates were, and who was the good one and who was the bad one. McCain was bad but according to her 'nobody could be worse then Bush.' (Although now she has had it with Obama, he has been so prominent on the news and on other programs on TV that she reacts, 'now he is elected, he better start working and stop occupying all my TV time.') Wout, our eldest, is doing a presentation in the Dutch course on the figure of Obama."

Other reactions: from the Voice of America, Medvedev, the security-minded (who would seem to agree with Joe Biden's assessment), Yemen, Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur (now from a friend of a friend of a friend of a blogger), the Beeb, Calcutta, and a long list of disaffected racists, right here at "home," including the two incidents in Idaho.

15.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Shooting from the air Permalink to this item

For somehow who made his living through erudition and good humor, the success of ill-tempered anti-intellectualism can't be pleasant. It does provide opportunity for comment, of course, and our mood is better off for Dick Cavett's consideration of the Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla.

"Could the willingness to crown one who seems to have no first language have anything to do with the oft-lamented fact that we seem to be alone among nations in having made the word intellectual an insult?"

13.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Turns out hate is a family value Permalink to this item

Some of the people on the losing side of the election have managed to communicate their disappointment to their children... or maybe it was just one child who heard the word. Let's be generous and imagine that the word was brought up out of the concern that has simmered underneath every conversation about race and politics for at least 40 years, but never more than in this campaign, with a black man running for—and elected!—President.

These things can happen, young children chanting like a mob, if not acting like one. The people of South Africa, perhaps might hear the news and wonder what kind of madness is this, or perhaps think to themselves "yes, we know of this madness ourselves."

The people of Rexburg, Idaho (among others) now have a decision to make, how to react. I say, it's a moment for teaching. Let's learn what this word "assassinate" means, and how it resonates through American history, still fresh in the minds of people who were alive (and in 3rd grade) the last time it happened to a President, or to a candidate for President, or to a preacher who led a Civil Rights movement that culminated in a historic victory this month.

Let's not wait for Martin Luther King Day to talk about how the human spirit can rise above hatred and bigotry and ethnic cleansing and genocide. Or not.

Let's talk about this in school. Let's talk about this in church. Let's talk about this in coffee shops, and restaurants, and libraries, and bookstores, and bars, and every public place, and most of all, at home.

12.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

It's not desecration, it's just stupid Permalink to this item

Out here in Red Zone America, the folks who ended up on the short end of last Tuesday's election are feeling some distress. To share their feelings, some have taken to flying their flags upside down, which is recognized as—yes, that's right—a distress signal.

It's not the "gee I'm upset and need an antacid" distress signal, but rather the "dire distress" of "extreme danger to life or property," as in ship sinking, house afire, and so on. If you make believe (with or without an overactive imagination), you risk the Boy Who Cried Wolf scenario: when your pretend stress changes to real stress, no one's going to know your protest has changed to an actual call for help.

Oh, and the crucifix atop the flagpole? That's just wrong.

11.11.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Armistice Day Permalink to this item

A week on, it's time to think about how we're all going to get along. A friend writes this morning that he's "been reading way too many nasty comments about our president-elect for (his) own good" and I wonder first of all, why? and only a little, from where? I have seen that spammers have taken to provocative subject lines including McCain (a little) and Obama (mostly), trying to get some attention.

The election is over. The governing goes on, and while there will no doubt be some dramatic changes to what goes on in Washington (that's what we voted for, 52% of us!), the apocalyptic nightmares that have been bubbling in the dark recesses of reactionary cellars are not coming to pass.

Last Tuesday night, Alice Walker sent an open letter to Barack Obama, counseling realistic expectations, and starting from a ground of happiness:

"We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want...."

Do read the whole letter, it's quite wonderful.

I've been travelling (and reading) in different circles than my friend in the past week, and while I can tell that everyone doesn't have the same enthusiasm about the result of the election, there is no doubt in my mind that we, as a people of many races and cultures mixed together, are ready to close the book on the "crushing of whole communities, torture, dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit," and start writing a new story.

It's not going to be easy for any of us. The righteous urge for self-preservation as an ultimate value that motivated lawyers in the Justice Department to draw careful lines around methods of dehumanization, and to repudiate international treaties that were signed with the blood of the millions slaughtered in our worldwide warfare remains strong among many who lost power last week.

"We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise."

The second article that my friend sent as a tonic against fear and bitterness was by Said Ahmed-Zaid, in Saturday's Idaho Statesman, Unless we love our neighbors as ourselves, we do not truly love God.

Seems to be a common theme here, going back a couple millennia. Might we be ready to listen?

7.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Hope to see him surface from this Permalink to this item

Good wishes going to my blog buddy Bubblehead (aka Joel Kennedy, there in the blogroll), getting some stomach cancer looked after. Let's hope medical science gets the job done, and Idaho's premier submarine blog will continue giving us its unique point of view.

Bring back the Whigs Permalink to this item

I'm just joking, I don't remember anything about them from history class (assuming there was something), but Timothy Egan's list of the surprises include this tidbit that struck home in Ft. Boise:

"For Republicans, the trouble is deep and spreading. They nearly lost Montana, Missouri and the most populous county in Idaho, a state where a Democrat was just elected to Congress. When this kind of thing happens in Idaho, it’s time to start reading up on the Whig party for history lessons."

Look Who's Talking Permalink to this item

John Ensign writes for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, under the subject It's Not Over:

"The liberals are mobilizing an army of lawyers in Minnesota and Alaska to try to steal these seats they could not win outright on Election Day."

No doubt they recognize the tactic? They can't stop the Georgia runoff, but I suppose there's a 50-50 shot at keeping Norm Coleman in Minnesota, and Ted Stevens' seat—letting GOP diva Sarah Palin appoint a replacement after his ethics debacle plays out—in Alaska. Merkley seems to have edged out incumbent Republican Gordon Smith in Oregon, so the Dems and their sometime-fellow travellers Sanders and Lieberman are up to 57... +3 is the magic number, for a straight anti-party line vote anyway.

What will happen if the Senate actually has the ability to do things?!

Trepidation all the way around.

6.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Back to abnormal Permalink to this item

Traveling to Atlanta today, US Airways thought I should go via Phoenix, so, most of two hours to kill in the vicinity of the Barry M. Goldwater terminal. Kids are travelling, David Martinez Gomez is being paged, flights are boarding with only one carry-on and one personal item per passenger allowed, a little spark plug of a guy in blue jeans shorts and olive t-shirt is broadcasting his animated half of a phone conversation, pacing a five hundred square foot area, working some kind of a business deal.

As he wanders by me for the 5th time, I'm a little disappointed that the conversation has shifted to the other end, and now he's silent, just pacing in and out of the streams of baggage laden travellers coming and going.

After we'd cleared the cloud deck south of Boise, and after I'd squeezed myself into a magazine between the fuselage and the super-sized gentleman in 5E for a while, the start of a gradual descent prompted me to look out the window. To the west of our flight path were sculpted canyons of the Colorado River piercing the bland, brown desert expanse. Then uplands with scrub, and forest, mountains, fractal drainage patterns, outlying signs of habitation scattered about, a main highway with sharp-edged shadows in the morning light, traces of the gigantic waterworks that supply millions of Arizonans with life's essential, then descending to make the mountains stand starker, closer, more intense and personal. I'd been glued to window watching the scrolling geography as we neared greater Phoenix, the habitation density scaling up, a medium-sized reservoir drowning a wide canyon when the guy in 6F looked out, said to his seatmate in a bored tone, "not much to look at."

5.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

More stories from election day Permalink to this item

A friend who was the Democrat's poll-watcher in just-across-the-CD-line precinct 31 said 250 people used Idaho's day-of registration at her polling place yesterday. There have been a bunch of new apartments built across Cole, filling in the last remnants of farms that were once west of the city.

Missouri—leaning red—and North Carolina—leaning blue— still haven't made up their minds which way to cast their electoral votes. So much for Big Mo's bellwether status. Even if they do finally tilt to the winner, you don't get points for coming in after the decision is made.

Kay Hagan trounced Elizabeth Dole in the N.C. Senate race, after Dole's "godless" stunt backfired big time. (So, just in case you weren't paying attention, this country does have a religious test for office. Atheists need not apply.)

One commentator on CNN last night, before the race had been called, said Obama provides a sort of Rorschach Test for America: what do you see when you look at him? A liberal? A socialist? A moderate? A black man? A white man? (The Anti-Christ?)

Walt Minnick for Congress Permalink to this item

The Secretary of State's *** UNOFFICIAL *** 953 of 956 precincts reporting, last updated 9:22am, and Walt Minnick with 51% of the vote, 173,865 to Bill Sali's 170,219. Looks like our all-red Congressional delegation is going to be infused with the winds of change, too. (Bubblehead called the race at 5:52am, scooping the MSM.)

The Democrats repeated their sweep of District 16, where we live: congratulations to Les Bock, Grant Burgoyne, and Elfreda Higgins.

While we were waiting for Obama's speech, Jeanette asked Grant how long he'd been laboring behind the scenes before this night. He said "the first campaign I worked on was in 1972." 36 years of hard work, and now the harder work begins!

Districts 16, 17, 18, and 19 are all sending three Democrats to the statehouse.

What you didn't see in this morning's Statesman Permalink to this item

Trudeau's post-election Doonesbury, written last week It was deemed too "premature, ill-advised, and sophomoric" by our local paper's editorial page editor last week, and he decided to do reruns instead. D'OH!

"Hanging on to the strips" so we can "catch up" isn't quite the same as being first thing in the morning, now is it? He seems to have confused the editorial page's mission as being right (let alone Right) rather than provocative.

Oh what a night Permalink to this item

One of those ones we'll remember where we were. I was at one of the two Ada County Democrats events, in one hospitality suite to watch John McCain's concession speech, and another, for one of our District 16 state legislators, to watch Obama's victory speech, to an amazing crowd on a warm night in Grant Park. (The other was at the aptly-named Powerhouse Event Center, livelier than both the suite, and the "big room" downstairs at the Holiday Inn, by good measure.) The crowd in Grant Park in Chicago, as seen on CNN

"Hello Chicago."

The two TVs in the suite were tuned to different channels, the audio out of synch, as if I were there, hearing the words bounce off the buildings on Michigan Avenue, before they floated out over the lake.

"It's been a long time coming—but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America."

It's easier to be gracious when your side has won, but I did take note that the crowd cheered, politely, at the mention of the "extraordinarily gracious call" from McCain... as compared to McCain's partisans, who had booed mention of the man who will be their President, their Commander-in-Chief, come January 20th, 2009.

"...while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility, and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress."

Election Day Permanent URL to this day's entry

Blue tide rising Permalink to this item

8pm Mountain, half of Idaho done voting, and all those easterly states sending in their results. Watching predictions on MSNBC (200 to 124), the oddly retarded New York Times site (155 to 17) and the amalgamated NewsHour map (collecting others' calls, not making their own: 207 to 95; whoop make that 129) rolling in.

The popular vote totals so far for President are 22 million and change for both candidates, 50 to 49%...

Get on the Word Train Permalink to this item

Play along with the NYT's interactive feature: What one word describes your current state of mind?

5pm MST snapshot of the Word Train, half blue, half red

On the verge of VP or Queen of the rump Permalink to this item

Sarah Palin popped onto my radar like Putin coming over the Bering Strait, but according to Jane Mayer's account of how McCain came to find his running mate, Palin was being touted by the east coast media elites for more than half a year before the GOP convention in Minnesota. I guess my left-leaning MSM reading list doesn't include the Right stuff.

She's some kind of maverick, you betcha. She prays a mean grace, walks rough-hewn Alaskan floors with high heels, and generally charms the pants off of conservative white guys. A match made in heaven!

Yet another casserole dish of high ambition and Bill Kristol's salesmanship. The only thing missing in the story is some Ahmed Chalabi-style savory seasoning.

"After she became the mayor of Wasilla, Palin oversaw the hiring of a law firm to represent the town’s interests in Washington, D.C. The Wasilla account was handled by Steven Silver, a Washington-area lobbyist who had been the chief of staff to Alaska’s long-serving Republican senator Ted Stevens, who was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts and is now standing trial. (Silver declined to discuss his ties to Palin.) As the Washington Post reported, Silver’s efforts in the capital helped Wasilla, a town of sixty-seven hundred residents, secure twenty-seven million dollars in federal earmarks...."

Annoying for him, but good for others? Permalink to this item

Imagine this: you've been going to the same place to vote for 15 years, no change of address, no registration anywhere else. You show up to vote... and "sorry, you're not on the list." Excuse me?!

That's what happened to actor Tim Robbins today, along with maybe 40 others in his precinct.

Having a high-profile case may help out some of the possibly thousands or tens of thousands not-so-high-profile cases that are playing out today.

We voted Permalink to this item

The first hour at precinct 55's polling place Saved it for the day-of, because isn't it more fun to go "live"? Leisure Villa was full of our nearest neighbors during the first hour's rush, the line snaking around inside the clubhouse. The only less than fully orderly event while we were there was one gal who showed up ready to register and vote, but at the wrong precinct. Just on the other side of Cole Road, she's in the other Congressional District, too. She seemed upset that things weren't the way she expected, and that she couldn't just vote there. Sorry.

Two dilligent poll-watchers were straining to hear names above the variable hubbub of people chatting in line, I said my name nice and loud for them, and everyone else in the room. No need to give us that late afternoon GOTV call.

The sky is gloomy here but fall colors keep it lively, wind out of the SE and started to rain while we were inside. The tandem ride back home was brisk and damp.

Where to go? What to do? Permalink to this item logo, from their site Check if you need to know where to vote. You can see if you're registered at your current address. You can register today, at your polling place, with photo identification and proof of residence, either for the first time, or if you've moved since you last registered.

Use the Idaho Statesman's voter guide to see what races you'll vote in, who the candidates are, how they answered questions, listen to their interviews, print yourself a sample ballot.

Outside of Idaho, try the League of Women Voters' site. Something seem fishy? Check it against the voting myths and misinformation catalog. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE if you need legal help, and if you have a problem, try to videotape the situation and send it to

3.Nov.2008 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Un buh lievable Permalink to this item

Jesus' General brings us a FoxNooz segment about a new twist on Hallowe'en: a true patriot refusing to dole out treats for Obama supporters—or their four-year-olds.

That's cool, it's not a socialist holiday or anything. But what part of Trick or Treat doesn't this mean-spirited partisan understand? No Treat has consequences; if she lived in my neighborhood, well, I would've had to do some mentoring about proper holiday protocols to the newest generation to go begging door to door.

As it was, we had exactly one trick-or-treater on Friday night. A little girl with a tiger onesy and no hat/head/mask, supervised by a parent, but otherwise by herself. Kind of somber to be in a neighborhood without much in the way of young kids anymore.

Color running out Permalink to this item

Last light on a maple tree, Nov. 2d It's been an especially colorful fall in our neighborhood, after the right sequence of cold and warm and dry and wet weather. Apparently a freakishly early snowfall followed by some moderately warm weeks is just the ticket?

Missing it already Permalink to this item

I imagine for those mired in campaigns (or wishing they were), the chaos and excitement is reaching a fever pitch today. Me, I'm looking forward to Thursday and having it all over. I'm looking forward to voting tomorrow morning, as always, but it seems anti-climactic after all that's gone before.

I am so sick of the endless fundraising letters and emails. We gave what we could, as early as we could, knowing that early money has more leverage. That of course put us on A-lists all the way around. I don't want to call anyone. I don't want anyone to call me. I don't want to persuade, or be persuaded. I don't want to hear any more lies, over-parsed voting records, Joe the Occupation, feigned indignation, hateful pseudo-patriotism, 30-second spots, debates, rallies, or press releases.

I know I should be sprinting for the finish line, beating the bushes for every last voter who'll vote the way I want, but great God almighty, anyone who isn't motivated by the situation at this point, registered long ago, and voted already, or else scheduled their day around it tomorrow... maybe they should just stay home and let those of us who do care decide things.

Still... there is the possibility of something new happening, whether it's in a community, a state, the nation, or just in one person's heart. I guess it's the retail aspects of politics that attract me, more than the wholesale. Too much sausage in the latter, with a lot of truly offal stuff going into—and coming out of—the process.

Día de las Muertos Permanent URL to this day's entry

Haunting sextet Permalink to this item

From Robert Draper's narrow encomium, through Ari Fleischer's tribute to moral absolutism, Curtis Sittenfeld's clever jujitsu, Jacob Weisberg's lighthearted recollection of Bushisms, Scott McClellan's sincere compliment, to Paul Burka's "Past Perfect," the NYT's collection of What I Will Miss About President Bush makes me look forward to starting.

All about us Permalink to this item

Regardless of Tuesday's outcome, George W. Bush may be the last President from the Baby Boom generation, and what a legacy he's going to leave in our name. Tom Friedman:

"Never has one generation spent so much of its children’s wealth in such a short period of time with so little to show for it as in the Bush years. Under George W. Bush, America has foisted onto future generations a huge financial burden to finance our current tax cuts, wars and now bailouts. Just paying off those debts will require significant sacrifices. But when you add the destruction of wealth that has taken place in the last two months in the markets, and the need for more bailouts, you understand why this is not going to be a painless recovery."


Tom von Alten      tva_∂t_fortboise_⋅_org

ISSN 1534-0007

Monday, 01-Dec-2008 22:54:31 MST