Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain Round-Up: A Rainbow of Quotes from the 2008 Democratic Convention

"I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain." ~ Hillary Clinton

"John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn't think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it's okay when women don't earn equal pay for equal work.

With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart." ~ Hillary Clinton

"Now, in spite of all the evidence, their candidate is promising more of the same: More tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy. More band-aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families and increase the number of uninsured. More going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.

They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more. Let's send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks. In this case, the third time is not the charm." ~ Bill Clinton

"Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own." ~ Barack Obama

"Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close." ~ Barack Obama

"George Bush, with John McCain at his side, promised to spread freedom but delivered the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. They misread the threat and misled the country. Instead of freedom, it’s Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban and dictators everywhere that are on the march. North Korea has more bombs, and Iran is defiantly chasing one."
~John Kerry

"Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain’s own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would now vote against the immigration bill that Senator McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before you’re against it.

Let me tell you, before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself. And what’s more, Senator McCain, who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target, has morphed into candidate McCain who is using the same “Rove” tactics and the same “Rove” staff to repeat the same old politics of fear and smear. Well, not this year, not this time. The Rove-McCain tactics are old and outworn, and America will reject them in 2008. " ~John Kerry

"John thinks that during the Bush years “we’ve made great progress economically.” I think it’s been abysmal.

And in the Senate, John sided with President Bush 95 percent of the time. Give me a break. When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largest companies, but no relief for 100 million American families, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.

Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in history-a half trillion dollars in the last five years-he wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks. But he voted time and again against incentives for renewable energy: solar, wind, biofuels. That’s not change; that’s more of the same.

Millions of jobs have left our shores, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That’s not change; that’s more of the same.

He voted 19 times against raising the minimum wage. For people who are struggling just to get to the next day, that’s not change; that’s more of the same.

And when he says he will continue to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq when Iraq is sitting on a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that’s not change; that’s more of the same."
~ Joe Biden

"In Congress, as in medicine, when we are offered snake oil as a remedy for the nation’s energy ills, our question should be: “Is it safe and effective? Does it do more harm than good?”

Senator McCain and the Republicans have centered their answer to our vital energy needs on one solution: off-shore drilling. Senator McCain calls for it in every speech; his party has demagogued the issue in both houses of Congress.

So, is off-shore drilling energy policy or snake oil? Let’s review the facts. White House analysts, congressional analysts, and the oil industry all agree that off-shore drilling won’t add one drop to our energy pool for at least ten years. The way things are going now, in another ten years we won’t need more oil; nobody will be able to afford it.

T. Boone Pickens said it right: “We can’t drill our way out of this crisis.”

But even if Doc McCain’s magic off-shore oil elixir won’t work, will it do any harm?

The answer is, we just don’t know, and neither does he. It might not ruin tourism in the Gulf or on the California coast. It might not destroy vital fisheries. It might not pollute our waterways.

Nobody really knows. But kindly old Doc McCain would like to sell it to you anyway.

The simple fact is that the promise of more oil isn’t part of the solution; it’s part of the problem. At best this is an 18th century answer to a 21st century crisis; at worst it’s pure baloney." ~ Harry Reid

"After eight years of a White House waiting hand and foot on big oil, John McCain offers more of the same. At a time of skyrocketing fuel prices, when American families are struggling to keep their gas tanks full, John McCain voted 25 times against renewable and alternative energy. Against clean biofuels. Against solar power. Against wind energy.

This not only hurts America’s energy independence, it could cost American families more than a hundred thousand jobs. At a time when America should be working harder than ever to develop new, clean sources, John McCain wants more of the same and has taken more than a million dollars in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. Now he wants to give the oil companies another 4 billion dollars in tax breaks. Four billion in tax breaks for big oil?

That’s a lot of change, but it’s not the change we need. " ~ Brian Schweitzer

They obviously think women are stupid

As the country watched a mile-long parade of progressives this week in the mile-high city give thoughtful, hope-inspiring speeches that melted this cynic's icy heart and convinced me that Dems know that there's serious class division in this country and that oil is the past and renewables are the future, the Repugnicans were hatching their scathingly brilliant plan: Find a woman to run as VP so snubbed Hillary supporters could be fooled into voting for McCain.

This was just posted in the Washington Post:

McCain Chooses Alaska Governor Palin as Running Mate

Palin Will Be the First Woman Nominated to the Ticket by the Republican Party

The Fix: The Palin Stunner

Analysis | Campaign believes rift caused by Democratic primary gives them an opportunity to pick up votes from disgruntled women.


The problem with this plan, of course, is that the so-called disgruntled women were for Hillary because of her progressive stance on social and bread-and-butter issues. And because she is the first woman in a position to be taken seriously as a presidential contender -- not for the second slot on the ticket. I believe that Hillary probably was considered as a VP choice for Obama, but that she emphatically turned it down because she wouldn't want to be seen as second to a man in the highest position. That's the point of her candidacy, that women CAN RUN the world, not serve as an assistant to the GUY who RUNS the world. Of course, she could never admit that because she would look like a brat.

Much as I love Joe Biden, and to the extent that I wanted him as president but am contented that he will be the VP instead, it would have been great if Obama had chosen a woman to compliment his ticket. But how would that have looked? He can't very well say, "we want a woman on the team but we don't want Hillary."

So now McCain is twirling his invisible mustache, thinking he's just moved to check and mate. HA! I suppose he's banking on the fact that no one knows who she is and won't find out until it's too late. Her website says she is a "conservative Republican" who believes firmly in free market capitalism, as well as a "lifetime member of the NRA" with a strong commitment to gun rights. She also said she opposes abortion and believes that "marriage should only be between a man and a woman."

And this is from Americans Unite for Change:

At Americans United for Change, we've already done a little digging, and it turns out Sarah Palin fits in perfectly with John McCain's backwards energy policy, disregard for the environment, and cozy relationship with Big Oil.

Palin has argued again and again in favor of oil-drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, despite clear dangers to surrounding wildlife.

This year, Palin sued the federal government for adding polar bears to the endangered species list, arguing the move would interfere with oil and gas drilling efforts.

Palin's close relationship with Big Oil fits right in with John McCain's reckless energy plan: take millions in campaign donations from oil companies, and in return give them massive tax breaks and free reign to drill in environmentally sensitive areas.

And this, from Defenders of Wildlife:

“Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.

“Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration.

“This is Senator McCain’s first significant choice in building his executive team and it’s a bad one. It has to raise serious doubts in the minds of voters about John McCain’s commitment to conservation, to addressing the impacts of global warming and to ensuring our country ends its dependency on oil.”

Does that sound like an acceptable alternative to Hillary Clinton?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Perfect World - Mason's Story

Today's post is about the power of love, the importance of keeping one's word, and the magic of the internets.

On the day we returned from Australia in June, my girlfriend Kirsten's brother David was found dead in his apartment . He hadn't shown up to work, which was very unusual, so Wain went to check on him and discovered David and Mason, his gentle dog companion; they thought that they had been there about 2 days before being discovered. When Mason was let out of the room he went straight out onto the street and released all the poop and pee he had been storing up - he had not gone potty in the room all that time. Needless to say, Mason was traumatized, to say nothing of the dead brother's family (but that's another story). He spent a few days with his auntie Kirsten and cousin Cookie, and then went to live temporarily on a farm. No, not the "farm" but a REAL FARM! Everyone thought that was Mason's happy ending.

But no. About a month and a half later, on the night before David's funeral, Kirsten tripped and fell down her attic stairs, breaking her foot and bruising her ribs. Now, in addition to grieving the loss of her brother (and asshole boyfriend whom I shouldn't even be wasting space on), she had to contend with two rambunctious dogs without being able to walk well or move much without pain.

A couple weeks later, Mason was brought back to her house and told it wouldn't work out at the farm because he had nipped at one of the kids when they startled him and jumped on him. Kirsten called a co-worker of David's who had expressed interest in taking Mason. He called back and said, sure, he'd take him. He was going out and if he wasn't back when they came by she could just "drop him off in the back yard." Kirsten drove by the guy's house and found it to be one of those crappy yards with a chain link fence and junk strewn everywhere, with his dog tethered to a stake. Kirsten jokingly started calling Mason "junk yard dog." As the ward of her dead brother's dog, she wasn't about to just drop him off anywhere without more information about kind of living situation Mason would have. She called the guy back but kept getting his voice mail. He wouldn't return home or return her call until two days later.

But that first day I had stopped by when she gave up waiting for the return phone call. We decided to head up to my house for some cocktails, and why shouldn't everyone go! So the four of us - me, Kirsten, Cookie and Mason - piled into the convertible to head up 35W in rush hour. Mason is black and Cookie is blonde. They made quite a pair sitting in the back seat, heads pointed into the wind. They looked liked movie stars! Kirsten and I sang "Ebony and Ivory" and joked and and laughed and sang some more. That evening, after more discussion about Mason's situation, we decided he would stay with me and Pat until we could find him a foster home or, better yet, permanent home. He had already been bounced around a few times and was anxious and skittish.

That night nobody went to bed until after 4am, so we didn't really notice that Mason didn't sleep. The next day, though, we noticed that he was still uptight and edgy and hadn't eaten anything. The next night was Saturday, and at bedtime it was obvious he wasn't about to let us go to sleep! He stood over our bed, nervous and crying, not wanting to be left alone again!

Those first two days he followed Pat everywhere he went in the house, even if it was only a few feet away. On Monday I got online and sent out emails and calls to about a dozen no-kill rescue organizations asking if any of them could help him story. A few wrote back with concern for his plight but explained they were overflowing with abandoned animals, many left behind in the current mortgage crisis. On the Homeward Bound website it was explained that black dogs are the hardest to get adopted because there are so many of them. I tried not to get discouraged.

After contacting rescue orgs, I sent out the the all-call to locals in my email address book ; I didn't count but it had to be about 40-50 people. Here's the email I sent:

I am taking care of a dog who needs a home. His name is Mason, and about a month and half ago his owner died, with Mason in the room. We think he was in the room for about 2 days before he was rescued. He didn't even go to the bathroom at all during that time (so we know he is potty trained!). He's a sweet dog but a little traumatized right now. He has been being taken care of by various friends, none of whom can keep him, unfortunately. He is a little skittish and has attachment issues (doesn't like to be left alone!), but he calms down after a day of being with the same person. I'm worried that all this moving around from person to person is making it worse for him as we try to find him a permanent home. He is ultimately the responsibility of a girlfriend of mine -- the sister of the guy who died -- who recently broke her foot and bruised her ribs, which is why others of us have been taking turns caring for him. Mason is neutered and up-to-date with his shots. He's a black lab mix, medium sized, likes other dogs and adults -- probably a little too skittish for young children. We think he's about 4 years old, and probably was abused by the owner previous to the one who died, as he winces if you lift your hand too quickly near him or startle him. I have started contacting shelters, but haven't heard back from any yet. I'm told they are over-filled because of all the foreclosures and people having to give up their pets to move into rentals. If any of you knows of a good home, can you please call me right away and give me the contact info. I'm so sad for this dog and desperate to find him a loving home. Please also pass along this email to others.

I don't know what moved me to take responsibility for Mason, but once I did there was no turning back. Kirsten was not in any condition to care for this orphan. Not emotionally, not physically, not financially. And I took his abandonment personally.

The first person to respond to the email was standing in my chiropractor's office when she made the phone call. The office receptionist had printed out my email and taped it to the counter. Kara said he sounded like the perfect dog for them - besides being drawn to his story, their dog , who had recently died, never really been potty-trained, so that bit was of particular importance. Kara said she would need to consult with her family and get back to me.

I didn't hear from her the next day. That night was National Night Out, and Mason romped in the park with all the neighbors, kids and dogs alike, without a leash, well-behaved and dog-happy. That was day four of living with a dog. By now, even Buster, who has no patience for dogs, was warming to Mason. Even though I had to swab the entire kitchen floor each time he drank and covered my white carpet with dirty paw prints, he was easing into our little family unit. And responded immediately to commands like "Go lie down, Mason" when he trotted over to see if I was awake at 2:00 am.

The day after NNO, I got a call from another person, Eric. I figured out later that one of the friends, Anthony, who received my email forwarded it to his best friend, Shannon, who belongs to a Golden rescue group. She posted my email on that group's website, where another member read it and contacted Eric. He, too, loved Mason's story, had been looking for a brother for his dog, Oliver, and wanted to have them meet to see if they would be compatible. After talking to him just a few minutes, I got the sense that he was a great dog lover, knew a lot about dogs and what he didn't know he would research, and most importantly, would treat Mason like family. We planned to meet later that night.

On my way home Kara called to say their family was excited to meet Mason. I felt terrible having to tell her that someone else was on their way to meet him.

Oliver and Mason got along very well, and Eric passed the not-so-subtle interrogation he got from me trying to ascertain whether it would be a good fit for Mason. Mason drove off with his new dad and brother in a nice, new Volvo.

I was so proud of myself and happy for Mason that I started to draft this post. That was 3 weeks ago now (although this post is dated August 7, I didn't actually post it until August 29).

But the happy union did not last. Oliver and Mason began to be aggressive toward each other in different ways. Oliver was biting Mason when inside the house, and Mason was mounting Oliver (extended penis and all) outside in the yard. When Eric saw blood he separated them, putting Mason at the house of a friend where he was virtually alone 24 hours a day. He emailed me with this information on the following Tuesday, not even a week after he took Mason. I asked him if I could pick Mason up and said I'd find him another situation.

I immediately called Kara back and explained what had happened. She said her boys, 13 and 7, had been so disappointed when they found out they weren't going to get Mason that they had refused even going to look at any other dogs in the shelters. They came over that night, Kara and her boyfriend and her two young boys.

By now Mason was very suspicious of this new group of people and did something I hadn't seen him do yet - he put his tail between his legs and paced around with his head lowered. Soon enough, though, he warmed up and got close enough to the boys to get a sniff and a pat on the head. I talked with the family for a bit about what to expect the first few days and then made them promise to bring him back to me if there was any issue whatsoever, not to be afraid that I would be mad. Pat and I had already decided that if this didn't work that we would keep him. I was tearing up when I spoke to them about being patient with him and giving him a chance to get comfortable with them. I had the boys each shake my hand and promise not to yell at him and never hit him. I wanted them to see it from his perspective, getting taken away from his family and going to live with strangers, not knowing if they would be nice to him or if he could trust them. They nodded at me with their sincerely frightened faces and made their promises.

Mason's new family hadn't even driven away before I was sobbing uncontrollably. How could I do that again to him? Was he going to get over yet another abandonment?But when we talked at the end of the following weekend and again the next week, Kara told me Mason was sleeping with her, that she couldn't convince him to sleep anywhere else. I recently got this email response when I checked in on him:

"Mason is wonderful! We love him sooo much. We just got back from a family outing to petsmart.I will send photo's soon. Thanks for asking. Kara"