Friday, August 31, 2012

My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready to GO!

In just a couple of hours I'll be putting my bag and backpack in the car and heading to Portland to begin the Great Convention Adventure. A short night's sleep at the Ramada, and I'll be on a very early shuttle to the airport. Hope there's enough time for a Gustav's breakfast!!!!

Delegates around the State are doing the same, many flying out of Seattle on the same flight...what a blast that will be! I'll have my eyes peeled for Oregon delegates as I leave PDX at 5:55 am, and since I change planes in Houston, I'm sure there will be some Texans on my flight to Charlotte.

This week I've been overwhelmed with info about events, workshops, receptions, speakers...I can't worry too much about it until I get there. Since last Wednesday I've been busy with the County Fair, delivering signs, emailing reminders, making more earrings, houseguests, a fundraiser dinner and debate watch, a haircut, finding yard sale items, watching the RNC and Comedy Central, and getting all the laundry done so I have something to pack!

Many many thanks to all the wonderful people who donated to my hotel bill fund by buying my earrings, attending the BBQ and debate watch, and just plain writing me a check! Due to your generosity my hotel bill is now covered. You know who you are. Watch your mail next week.

I'm  hoping the wifi is sufficient for regular updates and posting. If there's nothing at this site, look for me on Facebook (my page and Klickitat Democrats), on the Klickitat Democrats Website, and on the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate. If I can make deadline, there may be something in the local paper next week as well. I'll do my best to keep up, though, so you all can be there with me!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Who is Mitt Romney and A Constitution Rewrite

My favorite day of the week for PBS Newshour is Friday, when Mark Shields and David Brooks discuss the political topics of the week. They are coming from opposite sides but know how to have a civil discussion, occasionally agree, and kindly agree to disagree. They model very good behavior that we should all aspire to. Of course, David Brooks is known as a moderate Republican, a threatened species in the country today.

This morning's Oregonian carried David Brooks' column The Real Romney. I began reading what seemed to be a compilation of Mitt Romney jokes, waiting for the tone to switch to one condemning media for their treatment of Mitt. It didn't. I don't think David Brooks is a fan. But the comedy writers at Daily Show and Colbert Report don't have to worry about him bumping them out of a job.

Speaking of comedy writers, I'm reading a book called "Me, The People: One Man's Selfless Quest to REWRITE the CONSTITUTION of the United States of America" by Kevin Bleyer, who writes for The Daily Show. With certain factions waving The Constitution in our faces, it's a timely read. And by Kevin's reckoning, a rewrite is long overdue.
 "By Thomas Jefferson's math, the Constitution of the United States should have been rewritten eleven times by now."
Apparently, Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founders so often referred to, thought the Constitution should "naturally expire at the end of nineteen years" so that each generation could keep it relevant. I've got a ways to go in the book, reading the section about the Legislative Branch right now, but there are some very humorous historical notes in the beginning about how our Constitution came to be. Maybe I'll get further during my upcoming plane rides. Thanks for the birthday book, Edie. I'll look for Kevin at the Convention!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Define Mandatory

Political Alert. Again. Get Used to It Until November.

These Republicans really are into their definitions, aren't they? Last week was the rape modifiers. This week: your definition of mandatory is what? Perhaps Ohio's English classes need to do some remedial work.

Seems some coal miners faced a bit of coercion when it came to the GOP Presidential Nominee.
"There were no workers that were forced to attend the event,” Mooresaid. “We had managers that communicated to our work force that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event."
I am (almost) speechless. Attendance was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend. Get it?

And then, to add insult to injury, there are stories about nuts being thrown at CNN camerawoman, along with comments about feeding the animals, and other such nonsense.

What a damn circus. Don't get me started on how well Ann Romney humanized her husband.

What on earth makes anyone think that R and R will "save" our country? Romney couldn't tell the truth if it was scripted for him. Everyone is screaming for bipartisanship. They are incapable of COMPROMISE.. We know all too well that President Obama compromises a lot. More than a lot of progressive Democrats want him to. The goal line is already past central. So, we need R and R in charge, right? Right. FAR RIGHT. We are having a perfect storm of Idiocracy and The Handmaid's Tale.

Hope to find some signs of intelligent life in Charlotte next week.

Dodgered a Couple of Bullets

Taking a short break from politics this afternoon to enjoy a Red Sox chuckle from Karen in Boston:

Auntie Em: There, there, lie quiet now. You just had a weird dream.
Dorothy: But it wasn't a dream. This was a real, a truly live trade.
And I remember that Beckett wasn't very nice -- but most of it was beautiful because the Dodgers ate all the money.
But just the same, all Gonzalez kept saying to everybody was, 'I want to go home!' And they sent him home.
(All Laugh)
Doesn't anybody believe me?
Uncle Henry: Of course we believe you, Dorothy.
Dorothy: Oh, but anyway, Toto, Beckett is gone! Gone! And this is our clubhouse -- and we don't have to pay Crawford!
And they're not going to blame us, ever again, because Larry loves you all!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yet Another New Side Gig

Last month I wrote about attended a blogging workshop in Seattle. As a result of that, I'm also practicing on my quick turnaround blogs so I can help cover the convention. We had to send in a 200 word piece the week after the workshop on the topic of our choice. I wrote mine on the selection of Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, as a keynote speaker at the Convention, having noticed other bloggers had written earlier about Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton. With a little bit of Texas in me from my two tours of duty in the Houston area, and a fondness for San Antonio, it was an easy thing to write after a bit of research. I didn't even notice when it got published August 6th.

Sunday night I was writing a piece for this site about the unfortunate Rep. Akin. I put it to bed and slept on it. In the morning, there was a request from NPI for someone to submit something for the blog on this very subject. I did a little more work on it, and sent it off. Here it is, with fabulous editing by Andrew, looking much better than it would have had I just posted it here!

Now that I see how what I wrote became what it is, I'm getting the picture of what they're looking for.

So it looks like I'll be putting out lots of words from Charlotte in lots of places: here at The Pahk, on my FB page, on the County Dem website and FB page, on NPI, and in the White Salmon Enterprise. Who needs a press credential when you've got a delegate pass?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Two Weeks to Charlotte

Two weeks from now, I will be at the Ramada PDX, my car parked for the next 11 days, and my bags packed for the 5:55 AM departure time for Charlotte via Houston. Today we got more great info from Jaxon: calendar of events, FAQs, talking points, how to pack and my personal favorite, prohibited items.

Most of them are straightforward. No firearms or weapons or knives or toys of firearms, weapons or knives, no fireworks, pepper spray or mace, razor blades, scissors, needles, screwdrivers...I see no mention of corkscrews. Leave your chemicals, radiological and biological materials, bullhorns, air horns, flashlights, laser pointers, whistles and drums at home.

Only the media can bring in tripods.

No glass OR plastic bottles, metal thermoses, soda cans, or coolers. Can I bring my stainless steel water bottle? Come on, it's Charlotte, NC in SUMMER. I need my water bottle.

Here's one: no produce (whole fruit). Are they afraid someone will throw it? I'll stick to clif bars. And speaking of throwing things, leave your baseballs, softballs etc. back at the hotel.

Your animals are not welcome, unless a guide dog. I get that. Oh, absolutely no unopened envelopes or packages. We will not tolerate anthrax scares. No way. No how.

No banners, signs or placards. Well, damn, I wanted to bring my Klickitat placard from the State Convention. Oh well. I'll keep it in my room so I can say it went to Charlotte.

No chairs. Seriously? I was really gonna carry a chair to the convention.

Stay tuned for more Charlotte travel tips!

Monday, August 13, 2012


I don't watch reality shows. I will admit to seeing a few Project Runways with Alina when she was still in High School, as well as a few Top Chefs. I was subjected to a few Dancing with the Stars when visiting my mom (not Tom DeLay, but Bristol Palin). And I recall a few American Idols, also when I had a teenager in the house.

I think they are a waste of time and a way for once respectable networks to get away with cheap programming. NBC comes to mind. NBC used to be the epitome of great dramas (think Hill St. Blues, St. Elsewhere, LA Law, ER and West Wing). How far have they fallen? Well, they cancelled Kathy Bates' Harry's Law this year. Because the demographic of the Emmy nominated show was too old. Right. As if baby boomers don't spend money?

Now they've gone beyond the pale. Check this out. A new reality show called Stars Earn Stripes hosted by retired Gen. Wesley Clark -what the fruitcake are you thinking, Wes? Celebrities, such as Todd-will-they-never-go-away-Palin, will pair-up with members of the U.S. military to compete at war-like tasks, including "long-range weapons fire." Sans the killing and dying of course.

I am speechless. And disgusted.
Of course, there is a petition you can sign.
But I don't know how we are ever gonna cure all the stupid going around.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

This I Believe

Politics Alert: Read at your own risk!

I loved the PBS segment "This I Believe". I always wished I knew what to write myself when they were collecting them. So many were inspiring. Too late for PBS, but today was one of those days when I got hit with a This I Believe moment. I just hope that those who should have heeded the politics alert but didn't will try to understand that this is me. It's who I am and has nothing to do with them and how I feel about them. I can separate the two.

Families are complicated things. I am so lucky to have been born into a wonderful family. I have 6 younger siblings, one brother and 5 sisters, all very distinct individuals, and I love each one dearly. Mom and Dad were there for me always. We lost Dad last year, but Mom is still in the house we grew up in. If those walls could talk! Wallpaper in the bathroom upstairs is the same as it was almost 50 years ago. It's telling me it's time to replace it. This year, pillows. Maybe next year, wallpaper.

Mom is turning 85 on September 6th, and I will be flying straight to Boston from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte to celebrate with my daughters, sisters, brother, in laws, nieces and nephews, and maybe a few cousins. My Dad didn't make 85. No one in Mom's family made 85. It's a BIG birthday. I want to be there for the party. Fortunately, I'll be on the right coast.

I am so honored to have been chosen as a National Delegate to the Charlotte Convention. It's an understatement to say I'm excited to be one of the people to cast a vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and for the Democratic Platform which this year will include a plank for Marriage Equality. Not everyone in my family shares my passion, and it makes me sad that I can't share my joy and excitement about this once in a lifetime opportunity. But I respect their opinions and try to walk a peaceful line because no matter what, we're family and we do love each other. Ditch the politics and religion, stick with the Red Sox, Pats, Celtics and Bruins, Sullivan and Herrmann family lore, and we're all good.

It's been kind of crazy lately, so I've taken to emailing Mom. Phoning is not always convenient give the time zones and schedules. I want her know I do think of  her and love her, even if I don't pick up the phone. I'm actually kind of a phone-a-phobe. Like getting calls but am not much of one for making them. I love getting 'real' emails, and picture her opening up her little netbook to find something that's not spam. Last night she wrote that she was watching "Mitt and his vp choice Paul Ryan" while waiting for reruns of Lawrence Welk to come on. She added not so subtly:
" I hope you listen to both sides...  I know you are going to the Dem. convention, but this country needs to get back on track. I will leave it at that."
Mom, of course I listen to both sides. I'm a scientist (and a Gemini)!  I like data. I like truth. I know how to play with numbers. I am not easily swayed, and during my 60 years I have found myself at times when I was younger hanging about in no man's land because I can see both sides of an argument. I wasted a Presidential election vote one year many moons ago on an Independent (John Anderson). Those years are gone. This election is crystal clear to me, and the most critical and important of my voting life -I was too young to vote for JFK, back when you were a Democrat. And of course you love Ryan, he's Catholic.

Our country IS on track. Our President told us from day one that it would take a long time to climb out of the hole we were in. Two unfunded wars and an economic mess were left in his lap. And he did not lie. It has taken a long time. It will take longer, especially if he has to keep going it alone. Do I think President Obama has all the answers? No. Do I think he's perfect? No. Heck, I was a County Convention Hillary delegate in 2008. I like to think I would not have caved on a public option for health care reform to compromise with the other side. But I think he's doing the best he can possibly do in impossible circumstances. I'm not in his shoes. He's compromised past the middle and gotten NOTHING  in return from the opposition. He's a good and very intelligent man.  He has a wonderful family that is obviously very important to him. His wife is warm, wonderful, accomplished and wicked smart. They have two beautiful daughters, as do I. To me they are real and honest people. I have an easier time relating to them than I do to the Romneys of this world.

I firmly believe in my heart and my head that the best choice for going forward is to reelect Barack Obama. I love you dearly and forever, no matter what, but the agenda of Romney and Ryan is not looking out for you or the people or the country. I ask, do you care about having Medicare? Look at Ryan's budget and tell me what he has proposed is good for you. Do you like your Social Security? Do you remember what happened a few short years ago when the stock market crashed? What if all your SS money had been invested and was now gone??? These guys want to privatize Social Security. I know you remember a time when our family needed help. Romney and Ryan would do away with a lot of the safety net that helps good people who fall on hard times. I can't abide that, along with a lot of other things they want to cut out. I could go on longer but I won't do it now. Maybe later...

A man who hides his wealth overseas to avoid paying taxes (as low as they are on the very rich among us who can write off horse expenses that are than twice what my two college educated kids made last year combined) and won't disclose his tax returns as every other presidential candidate (and VP) has, is not the kind of person I want leading our country. Do you think he asked Paul Ryan for more than 1 year's taxes in the vetting process? Mitt gave McCain a LOT more than one year's worth...and McCain picked Palin.

Men who want to insert their opinions into the decisions that should be made by women and their doctors and spouses are not people I can support. Men who have as their mission taking out Planned Parenthood, which serves millions of women around the country for basic preventative health and family planning (which PREVENTS abortions) are not people I can support. Count me among the millions of college age women in the 70s who graduated before becoming a parent because of PP.  Men who deny civil rights to fellow Americans are not people I can support. Men who are incapable of making a distinction between church and state and cannot respect that separation are not people I can support. Men who have been party to crippling any movement out of our economic crisis by voting NO to anything proposed by President Obama from the day he took office are not people I can support. In my mind they are nothing but traitors to our country. He says he'll do things but offers no plan.

Yes, Mom, I do listen to both sides. I just don't like what I hear from one of them.  I listen to more than Fox News and the Catholic League. And I am a big fan of Nuns on the Bus. You should be, too. I do more than listen. I read. I watch. I think. I participate. And I will be doing everything I can, with every fiber of my being, to make sure Romney and Ryan don't have the opportunity to take our country backwards. This I believe.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Fine Choice

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will be the keynote speaker at the National Convention in Charlotte. The announcement came along with primary GOP election results, with the Texas Tea Party smothering more sane candidates in the GOP, raising hopes that some of the Dem candidates just might have a chance in November. My friend Hal gives a summary that gives me hope.

Now one of the best and brightest of Texas Democrats will have center stage in Charlotte. The youngest mayor of a Top 50 City wowed the crowd at the Texas Democratic Convention, where he was introduced by his twin brother, both of them Stanford and Harvard Law graduates.

Texas Democrats are dancing in the streets.  "I had to put on heavy shoes this morning to keep from flying", wrote Juanita Jean. I share her excitement. Having lived in Texas (CD22, think Tom DeLay) for five years before relocating to WA, I know this is a big deal. I can't wait to witness his address. It will be historic. Look for me and JJ hootin' and hollerin'!

Who knows? One day this bright young Hispanic mayor from Texas might make up for the more recent governors who've made the leap to the national stage. At the very least, he'll give our country a glimpse of a non-stereotypical Texan doing The People's business in the best interest of The People.