Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tom Paxton - Changing My Name to Fannie Mae

"All this crazy rooty tootin and this golden parachuting

Means that someone's making millions - just not you!"

youtube link


crossposted at firedoglake ox 30 nov 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

One - No, Two - Deaths at WalMart

crossposted at firedoglake 30 nov 2008 and oxdown 29 nov


A man was crushed to death and a woman lost her baby in the madness that is post-Thanksgiving shopping.

I am trying to put myself in the place of those who were lined up, eager to shop for certain items that had limited availability, those folks who wanted to be Good Parents for their child and secure the wii or other urgent item.

I've always been leery of the phrase "I would kill for..." because we are not so evolved that we wouldn't. Taught my children not to say the word kill unless they meant it. Words lose their meaning if they are used in mundane ways. Take care to use the words kill, freedom, God, love, "Help!" when it matters so that these words don't lose their meaning.

A man--a temporary employee--was killed, and a baby was killed, so that good parents, well meaning parents, could be the first in line to get the Christmas items their own children desired.

I am trying to imagine the first person who stepped over the body of the fallen man. Or those who rushed past the stricken pregnant -- but pregnant no longer -- woman on their way to the toy counter. It is human. But very dark. Our first story in recorded human history is that we screwed up. Not sure we've evolved very far past that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Russian Medical Fund 24 November 2008

Twelve years coming to a close today. We have saved the lives of more than 3,000 newborns and changed their families forever. We brought hope to a dark place when they thought there was no hope. We kept the entire children's hospital open in 1998 during the ruble crash.

With the hospital gaining political support from the government, I can move on to other projects. But this was a special baby for me, a lifelong dream to help children in other countries who were dying from lack of medicine. It seemed so wrong, and I vowed as a child I would do something when I grew up.

With great affection for my colleagues and supporters, I declare the Russian Medical Fund closed. I think I need to go have a good cry now.


Monday, November 17, 2008


Need* to replenish after the exhausting journey up to the election. Daughter-west, in a great act of mercy, removed my fingers from the keyboard for some delightful spa time in SF with her over the weekend.

I was amused to realize I was beginning the journey north with a near empty tank of gas. How fitting. Then looked in my wallet and realized I was about to travel with a minimum of cash. Both pretty uncharacteristic of me, and shows how frazzled I was getting.

Fighting the temptation to just plow ahead anyway, I took the extra time to fill up with gas and cash and then start the journey. Hope I can remember this lesson in the future. It's not about logistics - it's about taking care of myself, and not last, either.

[And yes, the spa was heavenly]

Update -- *Surprised to see I wrote this in the present tense. Guess I'm still in need of re-creation.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Going to Ground

It's been a very intense couple of weeks as you can see from the attatched firedoglake crossposts. Still awaiting the outcome on a couple of races including Charlie Brown in CA-04 and Begich Sen-Alaska. Our man Larry Kissell NC-08 in '08 has won won won won!!!! After just missing it by 300 votes in 2006 he cruised to a lovely 55% victory over the longtime incumbent.

And so, to rest and reflect and recuperate. I have little idea even how to begin. Daughter-west is taking me to a spa over the weekend for some proper reeducation into that rest thingie, not to mention taking care of oneself. I'm always so brain oriented, keep the mind busy, I forget everything else. Dinner with a friend a couple days ago, a girl talk fest. A little shopping - I was good, just one new pair of lovely shoes. Restocking the frig with healthy food. Getting out the door with walking shoes on every day. You know, the basics.

Not quite there yet. I went to prepare my coffeemaker for the morning - 6:45am editor shift is an abrupt way to begin the day, must have caffeine - and realized I had purchased beans instead of ground.

Oh well, I figure, if you can laugh at your own mistakes, you'll never run out of material.


Alaska -- Begich Vote Count Update

crossposted 10 Nov 2008 at firedoglake oxdown


Blue Alaska favorite Mark Begich is still waiting to learn whether he will represent Alaska in the U.S. Senate.

Alaska Senate and House races are still unfinished as absentee and provisional ballots are being counted. Colleagues in Alaska indicate if the counting is done honestly, Begich ought to come out the winner. But that's a big "if".

Received this from the Begich campaign: [Donate Here to help the count and recount]

There are currently more than 81,000 early, absentee, and questioned ballots going through the validating process. More ballots are arriving each day, so that number will grow a bit. While currently trailing by 3257 votes, we did exceedingly well with the early votes counted so far (61% for Mark, 48% for Stevens), sent a terrific mail piece to every absentee voter, and question ballots in Alaska usually skew to Democrats. You can see this by going to http//

This is a race we are fighting for and intend to win.

Olbermann on 8 - This Is What Your Heart Tells You To Do?

crossposted 10 Nov 2008 at firedoglake oxdown

Can we stand between people who love each other? And on what basis? Legally, morally - explain how it can be right to stand between adults who meet their match, who find their soul mate.

"A question of love. Let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate." ---Keith Olbermann 10 November 2008

Can Obama Undo Bush's Disasters? Olbermann Interview with Jonathan Turley

crossposted 12 Nov 2008 at firedoglake oxdown

Learning more about the Congressional Review Act of 1996, which deals with acts of outgoing presidents in the last six months of their administration.

Executive orders are easier to undo, President Obama can come in with his own superseding executive orders. These include some executive orders that are classified that President Obama will be able to unravel. Things such as Guantanamo Bay and other very hot button issues are often contained in executive orders rather than regulations.

Those regulations, however, is really what concerns people the most because, a push for regulation at the end of an administration is akin to fouling the water well. It is almost a sign of contempt for the results of the election. [snip]

The Congressional Review Act is designed to prevent presidents in the final hours of their adminstration from creating this deadhand control. What is does is it creates something of a kind of fiction. It says if you push it through in the final days of your administration, it won't be considered final until the new Congress comes in.

So if you do this closer at the end of the previous Congress, Congress gave itself extra time to reverse it.

That sounds good, so no prob, right? Hm:

The key here however is time..We're not going to have a lot of time and we're talking about a lot of regulations, and a lot of executive orders. And that's why Obama reportedly has a team of dozens of people who are trying to unravel this very complex web of executive orders and regulations, to use that time efficiently.

Kind of high stakes chess on both sides. How much moolah can Bush-Cheney throw to their criminal buddies, and hide, versus what the Obama people can find and undo.

I like to think there are many hidden whistleblowers just aching to be of service to their country.

Too Bad It's Parody

crossposted 12 Nov 2008 at firedoglake

NY Times Announces End of War in Iraq


Waiting for the real thing here.

UPDATE: NYT is a good sport about the whole thing

Spontaneous Honor Guard for the Fallen

crossposted 11 November 2008 at firedoglake. My grandfather McIntosh died on 11/11 - WWI vet, fought in France.

Honor Guard

Wanted to share Prairie's story from 2007 about a spontaneous honor guard she observed along the frozen North Dakota highway for a young Minnesota soldier who was killed in Iraq.

Had a really poignant drive into town. Turned on the Fargo radio for weather and road reports. Right at the freeze mark and rainy dismal white-knuckle driving all the way back.

Then the radio mentioned a motorcade for the [------] soldier’s remains which were arriving in Fargo and asked people to come out to honor him.

Just west of Hawley we started seeing pickups and SUVs at the ends of driveways. Flags flying in front yards. By Dilworth, the fire dept trucks were all out along the road. As we drove into Moorhead, the police escort led the way for their group.

My God, I had tears running down my cheeks. Flashing our lights seemed such a small gesture. All those fatheads on the Sunday shows and cable news with their strolls and photo-ops and posturing.

And it’s all about this. One 28-year-old kid coming home for the last time.

These sons and daughters of America died for us. Let us remember, and honor.

More Good Jobs Evaporate -- DHL Closing American Operations?

crossposted 10 Nov 2008 at firedoglake

No more DHL in the US?

Frankfurter Allgemeine reports DHL is eliminating 40,000 jobs, including potentially everything they have in the US.

For you Deutsch sprechers:

Appel wird nicht anders können, als einen massiven Stellenabbau zu verkünden: 40.000 Jobs in dem verlustreichen Bereich sind akut bedroht; 20 000 bei der Post direkt, noch mal so viele bei ihren amerikanischen Partnern.

Roughly -- 20,000 jobs direct, and another 20,000 by American partners. [h/t to Calculated Risk commenter HJ for this, you paid better attention in high school German than I did.]

Not a math expert, but to me this sounds like they're closing their entire US operations. Financial Times gives it to us gently, saying

Deutsche Post is poised to reveal bigger cuts than expected to its troubled DHL US express deliveries service today after the rapid economic downturn complicated efforts to restructure the lossmaking business.


DHL intended to become a third significant force in the US market but failed to break up the de facto duopoly enjoyed by UPS and FedEx. The company employs about 18,000 in its US express business.

Well, folks, if they employ 18,000 -- including 8,000 in one small Ohio town destined for doom, and they're laying off "about 20,000", doesn't that mean they're closing up shop?

McCain had his hand in this:

Darcy Burner Concedes, Reichert Re-elected in Washington State

crossposted 7 Nov 2008 at firedoglake


Blue America candidate Darcy Burner announced she will concede her congressional race to incumbent Dave Reichert in Washington's 8th District.

The Seattle Times has the sad news:

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert has survived a second Democratic wave election, bucking a national trend that flipped at least 24 Republican congressional seats to Democrats.

His opponent, Darcy Burner, conceded tonight after The Associated Press determined tonight that Reichert's lead for the 8th District seat was insurmountable.

In a statement tonight, Burner said: "It is likely at this point that Congressman Reichert has won re-election, and while we will certainly ensure that every valid vote is counted, we accept the decision of the voters.

"I would like to thank the thousands of people who put so much time and effort into the campaign, as well as the countless thousands more who went beyond voting to actively participate in our democratic process this year. The election of Barack Obama as our new president will ensure that the change to the direction of our country called for in this campaign is realized in the new year."

Our best wishes to Darcy and her family, along with the hope she will begin her campaign for 2010 as soon as possible.

Obama's Grandmother Dies of Cancer

crossposted 3 Nov 2008 at firedoglake, at which point i start crying and have to leave work from the stress.

Source: Obama campaign headquarters

MSNBC and Reuters reporting that Barack Obama's grandmother Madelyn Payne Dunham has just died.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's grandmother died of cancer, he said in a statement on Monday, a little more than a week after Obama interrupted the White House race to say goodbye to her in Hawaii.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer," Obama said in a joint statement with his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng. "She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility."

Dunham helped raise Obama from the age of 10 while his mother was working in Indonesia, and Obama took an emotional 22-hour trip to Hawaii to visit her on October 23 and 24.

Our deep sympathy and love to the Obama family.

Bush to Recognize Iran. So Iceland = Terrorists, Iran = Not Terrorists?

crossposted 25 oct 2008 at firedoglake


Bush intends to take the first steps towards diplomatic relations with Iran, as reported by Warren Strobel at McClatchy.

Meanwhile, folks in Iceland can't conduct normal business because of having the entire country on the UK terror list.

So Iceland = Terrorists and Iran = Not Terrorists.

Now I'm confused.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Lost in a Dream

Victory for the nation, exhaustion for the team.

A sad loss for the No on 8 folks in California, which my daughter and I worked on. Much to contemplate.

Time to rest, and to reflect.

Scottish mountains, of course. Perhaps it's time to visit Scotland again, where my soul expands.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

Is It Tuesday Yet??

Watertiger gently reminds me the correct question is, Is it Wednesday yet.

I hear echoes from dreams - anguished dreams - far, far away. My esp antennae on high alert. This is the big one. Let's make it happen people.

photo by eleda