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Archive for the ‘Elections USA’ Category

Pardon me for being way behind the curve here, but I do live on an island in the middle of nowhere with only an hour and a half of CNN per day …

Thankfully, however, I read blogs so came across this link to the transcript of the Bush Roast at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, given by a guy I’ve never heard of … as if that matters to anyone, especially Stephen Colbert.

Okay. Okay. This is going back about a thousand days, but … shit … it’s really funny, and worth recalling, if for no other reason than to make one feel better about today.

Yeah … the world is a mess and people are suffering and life sucks, but BUSH IS GONE!!!!!

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From Precidio to Battery, someone changed all the street signs on Bush Street to Obama … and what had been “end” Bush was the best of them all.

How cool is this?

The San Fransisco street formerly known as Bush

The San Fransicso street formerly known as Bush

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I know I’m coasting here, posting vids instead of writing, but, believe me, my work sucks these days with all the crap swirling in my head … plus, I need all the music and laughs I can get out of every hour.

That being the case, I’m sticking a couple of YouTube contributions up here that had me wetting myself, and anything that can crack me up this much today deserves to be passed along. (Thanks, Jane)

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Magnar and me

Magnar and me

This morning’s post is bound to ramble, as I’m foggier than San Francisco in a November due to a spontaneous Magnar-induced party that invaded my veranda at about 10 last night, then left him here … three sheets to the wind, maybe four … and wanting to show me photos of his dad’s sheep and read to me in Norwegian after the six people he brought along (Who were those guys?) moved on to their next venue.

I never complain about Magnar, and never will, as he kept me going through months of sheer torture and terror, and because there’s actually nothing to complain about … he is truly Mr. Wonderful in every way … plus I LOVE to hear the world news in his native language. (Stan fell asleep in a chair … but that was no problem. His snoring … he saws logs, while I simply purr when I sleep … was great background music.)

But … I was just getting ready to hit the sack, being well worn out from a full day in town, and all the happy dancing I did all day to the tune of President Elect Barak Obama, when he and a gaggle of Brits arrived equipped with wine and beers and great conversation. (One even bought a copy of my book, so it was an evening of fun AND profit.)

The kids were well asleep, and once they’re out, they’re out, so undisturbed by the hilarity created when perfect strangers meet and find they get on like a house afire.

One thing in the long list of things I love about island life is the tendency people develop here to not let personal connections pass without notice and appreciation for kindred souls casually encountered.

Mark has the kids this weekend, and now we have a party to attend tomorrow night … and that’s how the social calendar fills so very fast in such a small place.

On the election topic, my daughter, Jenn, forwarded an email this morning from one of her coworkers that offers a symmetry that deserves thought:

1. The modern conservative movement began with the crushing defeat of Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential race. The modern conservative movement ends with the crushing defeat of Arizona Sen. John McCain — who took Goldwater’s Senate seat upon his retirement — in the 2008 presidential race.

2. Modern liberalism began its implosion with riots in Chicago’sGrant Park at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Tonight, modern liberalism is reborn at Chicago’s Grant Park, where a black Chicago Democrat will celebrate winning the presidency.

Got out of my morning drive today thanks to another great friend. Andy was flying to Praslin today … another island about 15 minutes away by flying soapbox … and the timing worked out that dropping the kids at school was a favor he could provide. Yipee.

I was up at 5, as usual, but had only to walk Sam and Cj up the hill to catch their lift with him; then was back in bed by 6:30 and caught another couple of hours. What a treat!

I’m loving life these days, and so happy to be. Turns out, I’m a lucky bunny after all. Wow.

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As most long-time readers know, I’m 12 time zones away from my home state of California … that’s exactly halfway around the globe … so I was well into Wednesday when election results started coming in. I caught a few of the early ones on CNN before leaving for the long haul to town in my daily trek taking the kids to school, and was sorry to leave the TV.

By the time I arrived, I’d had text messages updating me, and those set me on a search for a functioning television, but seeing that it was not yet 9am, that was fruitless. I tried the British High Commission, but being British and all no TV was to be found. I then hit the American Consular Office, but Travis, the guy who mans the place was not yet in.

A bit more wandering managed to kill off an hour, so we popped into the Pirate’s Arms … a local hangout, for a cup of tea, and … lo and behold … were greeted by President Elect Obama delivering his speech on the 5′ plasma screen!

Wow. The crowd! The speech! The tears! The smiles! I did the happy dance right then and there.

Throughout the rest of the day, as we spent the whole of it in Victoria, I had people stopping me every few yards to congratulate me … I’m fairly well known here, you see … all of whom were almost as happy as I am with the outcome.

Even on this remote island in this far-flung country the population is taking hope from this amazing and historic turn of events, and are now looking toward America for the sort of leadership … albeit not until the 20th of January … to begin to lead us all out of the mess 8 years of living under the idiot bush has created.

Although I carry two passports, today I am SO proud to be an American … and after living abroad for so many years I have to admit that it’s been quite a while since I’ve felt right in holding my head up high and shouting my roots to the rooftops.

We really aren’t as stupid as we’ve been looking, and the rest of the world is heaving a sigh of relief over that.

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It’s only been election day in the States for a little under an hour now, but on this side of the world the morning is heading toward afternoon and that has me thinking I should be sitting in front of the TV and listening to Wolf Blitzer yammer on about exit polls.

This is certain to be one of those days that I resent the hell out of whoever has yet to get around to inventing the beamy-uppy thing, as I would LOVE to be in the US for all of this particular Tuesday in this particular November.

I’ve not minded at all missing out on the hoopla of the last two Presidential elections … in fact I casually contemplated passing myself off as Canadian (or a Kiwi like Sis, but I can’t do the accent) … but this one brings such promise that I’m sorry to be missing the party … Democrat, of course.

My beautiful and bright daughter, Jenn, has been stumping for Obama in North Carolina, and I would love to be sitting with her as the results come in. Not that I’m counting unhatched chickens from way over here in the Indian Ocean … no way! I’ve been out of America long enough now to harbor no illusions about the potential of pinheads to rise like over-yeasty bread and take over the world, reminding me in no little way of the creature introduced in Michael Landon’s first film, “The Blob”.

Could it be, though, that this time around intelligence counts? Could smart and honorable and vital and committed and fresh and fill-in-a-positive-adjective-here carry the day?

Do the world a favor, and get out and vote today, and if you’re still undecided and of the mindset that a movie star should tell you what box to tick, feel free to let my brother influence you. After all, he’s a smart guy, too.

I’ll be over here waiting with fish on my tongue (baited breath … a groaner, I know, but it’s an inside joke aimed at a few) for the results to start coming in on CNN’s website … Anderson Cooper is cute, isn’t he just, and isn’t that what TV news is all about? … and hoping for the promise of a new and brighter world.

We all sure could use that.

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The title of this post is not one I expected to ever write nor an emotion I would experience, but this morning I am most certainly missing being in the loop of the US political scene.

My measly one hour of CNN consisted of commentary of Obama’s speech at the convention, and although it was conducted with more enthusiasm than I’ve seen from some of the folks at the network than usual, I get the sense that an historical moment passed me by … one that I would have enjoyed a whole heck of a lot, too.

As mentioned in my previous post, my daughter is stumping for Obama in North Carolina and thrilled to be doing so. Having not seen her jazzed about national affairs like this ever before, my 1960’s protesting soul is thrilled at her passion, and her choice of direction for aiming that passion pleases me.

I recently read “The Audacity of Hope”, my first introduction into Barack beyond soundbites, and found only one topic to disagree with in the entire book. (I’m not a fan of bio fuels, ethanol especially, and consider them an unacceptable compromise over fossil fuels that’s going to bite the world in the butt big time.)

For the past eight years, I’ve been living as an embarrassed expat apologizing for GW Bush and wondering how in hell such a stupid man got the job of President … TWICE … which caused no end of worry over what the hell my fellow Americans could possibly be thinking.

Finally, finally, there’s something I can understand happening, a process and a conclusion (so far) that makes sense on many levels, and a hopefulness in the air that’s not been detectable, much less breathable, in a very long time.

So, yes, I find myself missing the politics of today’s America, the hype, the groove, the zeal and wholehearted and hopeful commitment that has grabbed a generation with little example in living memory of happy days being here again.

I will, of course, be voting, as every vote DOES count, and following the campaign as I can from here with my limited TV and painfully slow Internet, and while doing so I’ll be envying all of you there the national frisson that’s taken hold, shaken things up and has so many so hopeful.

Enjoy the ride, and keep up the good work!

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I could, with very little prompting, boast endlessly about the innate genius, fantastic beauty and amazing accomplishments of all four of my children, and sometime do.

Today, however, I’ll just post a link to this article in the New York Times that shows the quality of the paper by quoting my eldest child, my daughter Jennifer, in a story about her presidential candidate of preference.

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Back in the days when I was still working for Adoption dot com, when a new and enthusiastic editor carved out yet another blog for me after noting my news-houndyishness and created the “News” blog, word came down from On High that I should take on the task of examining Presidential candidates and their positions on adoption.

Having worked with politicos during my news days, this seemed an easy assignment; after all, who in a big race would turn down a chance for free press on a topic so much less loaded than weapons of mass destruction and genocide, and to shine with some merciful light radiating from some innocent child?

Turns out, all of them.

After researching who was who and where, I sent emails to the people in charge of getting press for their candidates, for answering questions and sending out miles of column inches of controlled blather in hopes that someone, somewhere, will pick it up and publish at least something, but to no avail.

Yes, I did get on everyone’s mailing list and spend too much time trashing rah-rah bandwagon mail, but any direct adoption-related contact or offers to send position papers my way?

Nope. Not a one.

I was puzzled, to say the least, and since I still have a few contacts in and around the US political scene, some of whom have moved up the power ladder in the years I’ve been away and now hang with hopeful Presidents, I asked around.

In America it’s a ten foot pole, while the Brits say barge pole which must be about that long, but whatever you call it no one was touching me.

I’d been instructed to play the Adoption dot com card … huge Web site, thousands of hits per month, blah, blah, blah … which, it happens, slammed the door faster than if I’d showed up in black leather and asked to give spankings.

Seems the lawsuit the company had recently lost to a gay couple they refused to do business with put the kibosh on getting cozy for anyone with an eye toward not being associated in any way with homophobes.

A representative from one of the company’s advertisers even started a boycott movement, so apparently enough attention had been focused to staple a big “keep away” sign on anything coming that might look like a tie.

This all happened some months ago, and the field of candidates has narrowed a bit, and because of my early attempt at contact … and all the mailing lists that plastered me to … I’ve been following bits from the campaign trail I wouldn’t normally be paying much attention to.

I will vote in the general election when it finally rolls around … You bet I will! … but all the run-up hoopla usually ebbs around me like creek water around a midstream boulder. I’ve not lived in the US since the year after Bill Clinton came into office, so too many of the early posers are so new to me that I’d rather wait until it looks like I really should know about them.

I don’t vote in the Primaries, so it’s all done but the shouting by the time I get to say my bit, so burning extra energy on losers isn’t a hobby I take on.

I did see a tiny bit of CNN this morning, however … a tiny bit is all I get before Chinese State TV in English takes over to spout the wonders of the regime and the overwhelming joy of the people of China … candidate-related, as Florida was just finishing the voting there.

It was Mitt Romney on, spouting to his cheering and oh-so-well-groomed crowd, and I was very surprised to hear that his whole theme was change.

Change to healthcare. Change to education. Change to taxation. Change to war … and on and on. Rousing chants of something like “They didn’t fix it” followed each proclamation of what had badly needed change, but hadn’t been addressed.

Excuse me … but haven’t we had a Republican President for the last almost 8 years? And wasn’t, until recently, Congress also dominated by the GOP? So, wouldn’t they be they?

What am I missing? Really. I would love someone to explain to me how a Republican candidate can be running on a platform of change. (Not why … that’s clear … but how.)

Because he’s never held office in the federal government? Because he’s been a governor and businessman his GOP connection has been without pull … just a regular Joe hanging at the club and demanding better education for the poor?

Okay, you’ve probably gathered that I don’t usual vote the GOP ticket, although I am not a lock-step voter by any means, and I would be cutting him more slack if I thought more like he does, but even if that was the case, one line that got a huge and deliriously agreeable response stood out and had me suspecting that this guy hasn’t had an original thought in a very long time:

We will teach our kids that before they have babies they should get married!

.

Yeah. That’s new.

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I’ve been pounding away on the adoption advocacy front for a very long time, but still raw from the recent flaying I’ve decided to commence a brand new campaign for the betterment of humanity for the time being … today, anyway.

Having left the US in 1993, I’ve missed a lot, and I am nowhere near up to speed on aspects of Americana ranging from breakfast cereals to presidential candidates. The pack, both Democrat and Republican, is a confusion of Who dat?, and You gotta be kiddin’!, but the process does put me to pondering all things democratic and the processes that are said to add up to democracy.

I well recall researching a paper on the Electoral College about 35 years ago and coming away from the project convinced that it had seen its day. Lo and behold, however, it lives, and continues to drag its rotting corpse all over the election process of the new millennium.

With that mummy apparently propped in place and not easily budged, I would like to propose an idea that would make all the difference in turning democracy into something that would really mean what it is suppose to mean. In one swell foop and with simple implementation, the people … THE PEOPLE (in big letters) … could be guaranteed true representation in every government in the world that now has reasonably free and fair elections.

Ready for it?

Every category on every ballot would have one simple addition:

None of the Above

If “none of the above” wins, it’s back to Square One. Yes, it would be an expensive exercise, but only until those in positions of power take a good look at the sack full of nickels that hit them upside the head and stop jerking us around.

The idea orginally came to me in the ’80s when i found myself in New Orleans covering the gubernatorial election in Louisiana that pitted a convicted criminal against the head of the Ku Klux Klan.

Imagine never again having to mark your ballot for a lesser of evils. Think of the process of choosing candidates that would have to consider a total rejection of all party favorites or “best chance to win” creeps no one really wants to see in office. Consider the power that would come with a vote that said in no uncertain terms, “We are tired of this nonsense, and we’re not going to take it any longer!”

And that is my thought for the day. Feel free to discuss this and get back to me with your assessments.

I think it’s a fab idea, and one we should make happen.

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