Friday, October 03, 2008

The VP Debate

So I drew during the debate again. Palin was so distracting with her dopey way of speaking that I ended up scribbling quotes all over the page next to her and writing a lot less next to Biden. In the end I wrote SUBSTANCE under Biden and FIGHT under Palin.
I was angry that I'd left my smaller sketchpad at my studio so I had to start my really nice large new one with a picture of Palin.

The only positive thing I have to say about Sarah Palin is I hope a lot of smart young women and girls are watching her and are just incredulous, their mouths open, eyes narrowed, faces slightly turned as though waiting to hear it's all a joke, thinking "Holy Crap, if that ludicrous woman can be in the White House, certainly I can."

Meanwhile remember they're just the leader. Yeah, I said "just" the leader. Of a whole LOT of people who do much of the actual work. Change can be brought about by you and me. Did you even go to vote for your local politicians? You know those "little elections" that get these people on their way to govern our lives? Have you made your life greener lately? If you're fed up watching the black hole of our economy, the barely hanging on planet, and more, what can you do today? Be the answer.

My friend Tamar explained to one of her sons that the fact that Sarah Palin thinks we can fix global warming without knowing (i.e. admitting) what causes it was like if she kept hitting him in the head with a hammer saying, "I don't know what's causing your headache, but I'll try to fix it." This made a difference. My friend Pete who runs upped the percentage of his profits going to the Obama campaign. Me, for now, I'm taking my 1.5 year old into the woods to play and explore and get in touch with the earth more than she can in my concrete neighborhood, and I'm making plans for how to more efficiently heat my home this winter.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Foreign Policy Debate

It will likely be called a draw, this presidential debate we witnessed this evening. And draw is what I do while digesting debates. I study their faces and draw until I get one good likeness of each (admittedly McCain's ears are a bit large but I drew them while he kept saying the word "earmark"). My drawings made Obama the winner.

My sketchbook ended up with two baseball cards. I began adding words as I sketched. For instance, McCain said "I know" defiantly numerous times while Obama tends to mumble the conversational "y'know" before saying anti-McCain things, and these ended up on their cards.

However, as they kept talking I found myself writing above McCain "I'm your dad. I supported you. And now I will act like I can tell you what to do forever." (For the record, my dad does not have that attitude...that is another sort of dad McCain sounded like.) I wrote the word "pork barrel" on his chest, I couldn't help it after he said it so many times. Across the top of his card I wrote what seemed to be his saying for the evening "You just don't understand." Or more accurately, "Senator Obama" (as though he wasn't standing right there) "just doesn't understand."

I wrote "I am earnest and responsible" across Obama's chest. I wrote "I am your professor, and I will work very, very hard," above his head. I wrote "I just want to make this point" across the top of his card.

I listened as McCain said his personal anecdotes and squinted at his notes. I saw him nearly derail talking about veterans. I heard Obama say sharp things like "take them out" and "kill him." I noted that McCain made anti-other country remarks numerous times and that Obama was polite to the moderator and his opponent. I thought McCain is better at speaking to Joe Citizen in less contrived way than George W but that he wasn't winning in Normal vs. Smart Guy mode the way Bush could bumble around and still come out ahead against earnest smart guy Gore in a debate. I think it's because McCain is too enmeshed in his world and when he referenced obscure things or people or deals, Obama then explained them.

In summary, looking at the top of each card I wrote my analysis. Above "You just don't understand" I wrote "REACT." Above "I just want to make this point," I wrote ACT. I believe in choosing a president, ACT would win over REACT. So I felt Obama did a bit better in the debate.

However, I was startled by the ineffective discussions about energy. I have been able to list the names of various kinds of alternative energy since I was about 12. I'm glad they can to. Could we be more useful in our discussions? And truly: I don't understand how in this day and perilous position we are in as a planet a discussion of foreign policy did not include how we will work with the global community to work on global warming. (And I was confused by how someone could be for nuclear power with safe disposal of the waste. We don't have safe disposal of nuclear waste.) And what the hell was McCain thinking referencing Reagan's ludicrous Star Wars plan in the talks about missiles. That didn't seem very wise.

Oh I drew a third, worse picture. It's is of our dear moderator. It simply says, "I look pained by my position." They should use him on Excedrin commercials.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This is a funny, and yet scary article. I love the combination of column, travel and political writing. It's Steve Lopez from the LA Times. He visited Wasilla, to get a better sense of Sarah Palin's background.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

If Kids Could Vote

I was thinking a lot the other day about the big bold organizing I did while in high school, the effective protesting, the change I could make happen, the things I thought might be possible. I shook things up in my tiny world. I made waves. And so do so many young people. And then so much gets beaten out of you by life. I'm really trying to fight that lately. I dislike adult inertia and lazy role playing. So I am very pleased to recommend to you some T-shirts my dear friend Pete is bringing to the world. They're for kids. They say things like "I Can't Vote, Don't Blow It." Take a look:

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Register to Vote

If you choose to live in a democracy, it's obviously a little silly not to vote. But if you have been on a voting hiatus of some kind for one reason or another and you're not sure if you're registered, you can look it up online now. Don't hesitate; time is a-ticking. You'll need to have your registration postmarked in just a few days if you live in one of the 24 states that vote on the presidential primary on Super Tuesday (Feb 5).


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Idea for You

The effects of TV writers striking has been really interesting. However, it got me thinking...

On New Year's Day glenn fished Parade magazine out of the recycling bin when I mentioned that I had chucked it in there on sight when I saw the cover. He immediately began reading aloud the offending story (in his best Texan accent and with additional commentary): our president supposedly waxing poetic about what he found Special in 2007. It was one of those bizarre roundups of people who knew about hard times (some of which he caused) who he had the great fortune of meeting (or their surviving parents). You know this format: Many people were courageous. I had the good fortune of meeting one such person: Joe Lost His Legs in the War. Many people are struggling with the economy. I had the good fortune of meeting such a person: Jane Minimum Wage. The people who make up this proud country are strong. I have met at least five of them.

Anyway, here's an idea all you writers: unify even more and strike a deal with Other Writers. That's right, you know what I'm thinking: TV writers fire up your computers and get typing while the political and speech writers take an election time turn sitting out. Now That would be interesting, And it would give the television writers plenty of material. Let's work together, folks.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who's Your Candidate?

So, who's your ideal candidate?
I have the most in common with Kucinich and the least with Hunter, according to this quiz.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

No to Iraq War Escalation

No to Iraq War Escalation
BOSTON COMMON - Park St. & Tremont St. (in Boston)
Thursday, Jan 11 2007, 4:00 PM

If this event doesn't work for you, click here to search events in hundreds of other locations around the country.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Department of Homeland Stupidity

Karthik Arumugham, a family friend, was detained and interrogated by DHS on Saturday night, Dec 2, at the Orlando airport. He was supposed to be flying to Frankfurt; instead, he was removed from a plane by Department of Homeland Security officials and interrogated for over an hour. He was warned by DHS officials not to write about his experience or to post it on any message boards, which is a clear violation of first amendment rights. So his family is asking that everyone help him do it.

In this process, he missed his connecting flight, and the airline would not put him on the next flight, and his computer and hard drive and cell phone were searched. He was never offered a lawyer at any point in the questioning.

Of particular interest to them was an email his sister sent to their parents saying she wanted to visit the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. It happens to be in Oklahoma City, which is a few hours drive from where their parents live. She was a gymnast from the age of 3-16 and has taught and coached gymnastics since then. She is a dancer who often travels abroad and loves watching gymnastics almost as passionately as dance.

Karthik is in the process of documenting exactly what happened, and they are filing a complaint with DHS. They're also trying to publicize this . . . . .


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Staying in Canada

Our neighbors and friends, the Druckers, really did move out of the country when Bush was re-elected, like so many of us only talked about. The LA Times just asked David to write some humorous commentary on the status of the US and their own decision to move after the mid-term elections earlier this month. Here it is.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Meet my son, Blastoplast

Okay, I was pretty set on naming my first kid Doctor, but I think I might have to change it to Blastoplast. I mean Doctor gave them the instant title of respect from their first kindergarten roll call onward -- no med school tution required... but Blastoplast. That gives the kid more options. Blast, kid Superhero, and D.J. Blastoplast, for example. Maybe I'll just change my name to Blastoplastany. Rock on.

Did you know that a woman gives consent for what she wants done with the extra fertilized embryos left over from in vitro? Our leader just took control of those 400,000 frozen fertilized blastoplasts in this country that were donated by women for use in stem cell research.

Apparently these simple groupings of cells that have been mingling for a few days are human lives, which is the only explanation of the mental functions of our president. I've passed clots that could have been a better president, I know it.

Choice is not yours any longer, ladies, and you know what comes next. Get your wire hangers ready, because your life is no longer as important as that of a blastoplast. See, that lends even more evidence to why this could be a name of some importance. (I wonder if we could get Bush beaten to a pulp finally by making him a t-shirt that says Miscarriage is Murder.)

Of course if these cells aren't thrown away for not being used in research, never mind being thrown away in the process of research, a lot of those frozen embryos lack identification papers and so will probably lose their rights protecting them against self-incrimination and to ready access to counsel.

And who knows if they have the ability to grow into weapons of mass destruction. I mean, they are super mutable cells -- they might touch rings and yell FORM OF. . . A TERRORIST! (Why is it that with all the options, one of the Wonder Twins was always something lame like FORM OF. . . (anticipation mounting) AN ICE CROWBAR!"?) Of course if these new political detainees are female they'll lose their rights over their own bodies. But if they are black, all is forgiven because right now the Republicans want to be friends. Really, they mean it this time. It has nothing to do with Barack Obama or anything.

Yeah. They really mean it. Just like Bush is really concerned that someone might lose their job if we control pollution and live another couple of centuries. Of course maybe he's secretly a genius – maybe he thinks that when the planet gets hot enough it will melt the embryos and incubate them, thus providing the country with 400,000 laboratory immigrants who are proud to be Americans.

That must be it.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

How's the Weather up There?

I wrote my first thesis in high school, in a history class. There were only two of us that elected to do this work. I don't remember if it was for extra credit or if it got us out of the final or what. We'd met as kids when we were both ferried out of our different grade schools once a week to attend "gifted and talented" school in grades 4-6. These history papers had an air of competition between us that probably stemmed from back then.

In those weekly gifted classes, Andy was one of the people who knew things to do with the Macintosh computer that sat alone in the corner in case one of us wanted to program something. I desperately wanted to use this machine, and I was aware of its possibilities. However, I was embarrassed to ask where to turn it on and didn't know what the hell to do next. It was like this monolith alone on a desk in the back of the room that taunted me. This was probably around 1980. That may have been one of the only computers in the five grade schools in my town.

So there we were in high school in the same classes again. It was the late eighties and Andy was a nice honors student who was madly into the band YES and programming computer-driven music, and I believe he had his own computer. I was the alterna-punk AP student who was consistently called to the principal's office for "making waves." I knew how to use my dad's Radio Shack computer to buy obscure Stranglers records off of CompuServe and store documents on our cassette drive.

I remember finishing my thesis surrounded by index cards on the floor of my brother's old bedroom, wildly typing away on an IBM electric typewriter while my parents had a dinner party downstairs that my history teacher was attending.

My paper brought to light what I considered lesser-discussed aspects of the war in Nicaragua. I obtained CIA documents that arrived with black magic marker obscuring various parts of them. I remember the coloring book-like pictures detailing how to wreak havoc on a Central American farm that were made for distribution to the illiterate. I remember knowing a lot about the Sandinistas. But I honestly don't remember much of what I knew or exactly what I was writing about at the time.

On the other hand, I remember the gist of what Andy's paper was about. (Of course it's possible he remembers attending the prom with me better than I do, too.)

I couldn't help thinking of it again today while reading about how NASA is cutting funds and delaying projects involving studying our current climate crisis because the Bush administration wants to put man on the moon again.

In high school, I believe Andy detailed just how putting man on the moon years before had delayed technological progress in our country. Take a look at this current issue, because other space technology progress is required for tracking our climate changes, and this includes being able to say whether you're about to be killed by a hurricane. It sounded like progress to go to the moon the first time even when it might have stunted other progress. To me it simply sounds like deadly bad prioritizing today.

It could be that NASA is the wrong place for funding one of these projects. If they are both needed, and one seemingly more urgently than the other, there must be a way to make it both happen. Some scientists are arguing for space research to be funded by private entrepreneurs instead of the government, which is interesting. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon seems to come up a lot.

Currently putting people on the moon seems cool, sure, possibly done by robots, sure, maybe a step toward colonizing other planets we can trash like this planet. I am not a scientist, but I like to know the options. I mean, before we're blinded by the theater lights on this one, shouldn't we see what we could be doing instead or how to prioritize and meet all of our needs well?