It's the end of the world as we know it...

Politics, philosophy, the law, current events, left leaning debates, religion, baseball, football, pop culture, growing up Greek, random events in my life...whatever hits my mind at the time.


Tsunami Relief

Move On has started a petition for the U.S government to provide significant relief effort to those countries and peoples affected by this past weekend's earthquake and tsunami. The Bush administration initially offered $15 million and then increasd it to $35 million. Whether you agree with Move On's politics, surely you can't deny that the U.S. has an obligation, as the self-proclaimed sole superpower, to provide meaningful relief to those countries devestated by this weekend's events. I encourage everyone to sign the petition. You can sign the petition here.

Other than this, I'm still not talking about the earthquake and tsunami. I will later. But not now.


Since Katie had some luck getting rid of those things, I will copy her brilliance. I'm straight out soliciting Gmail invites. I am up to 19 Gmail invites. It's scary. They are friggin' multiplying like tribbles. I can't keep up. I know that odds are that everyone already has an account because the "exclusive trial period" has become some sort of supply exceeding demand thing, but if anyone wants one, or anyone knows anyone who wants one, even if it's their third grade teacher, just me know know. I will spread the Google love.

On other news, I'll be out for a few days. I am going to go away in celebration of the new year. I shall return. But until then, Happy New Year to everyone. 2005. Geesh. Where does the time go? (I feel all curmudgeony at the end of every year, as that is my response to the upcoming year.) Talk to everyone in 2005.

(Oh this color is similar to the color of my bathroom wall. I want to make it the color of my hallway as well. Just giving you some information that you didn't care about.)



R.E.M. is now part of the iTunes Originals series! 30 total REM-happy making numbers. It includes 6 live recordings music AND interviews AND some album tracks. Including Boy In The Well, my favorite song from their latest album. But NOT including It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine). That makes me sad. :( Still, I know what everyone wants to spend $10 on...

And in other REM news, I got my calendar and my CD. It came a little late this year. I usually get it around the 15th or so. This year it was the 23rd. I was a bit anxious, thinking something happened with my new address. But I was not forgotten. The CD has I Wanted To Be Wrong, and She Just Wants To Be. (One of my favorites.) Granted, it's not as wonderful as last year, when the CD had It's The End Of The World on it. But the cover is most excellent. It doesn't look exactly like one, but it reminds me of a grecian key. Yes, I accept the fact that I am more or less likely obsessed.

Finally, the Judge that I worked for when I was clerking called me today to ask my advice on an opinion that he's writing. It's in my specialized area, and after I gave him my basic impressions on the case, he told me that was what he thought, he just didn't like the result. I have to agree, sometimes the law sucks. Not in the Ally McBeal way ("Let me tell you something. I didn't become a lawyer because I like the law; the law sucks. It's boring, but it can also be used as a weapon. You want to bankrupt somebody? Cost him everything he's worked for? Make his wife leave him, even make his kids cry? Yeah, we can do that.") but just in a "that's not right" kind of way.

So with my days off, I've pretty much done nothing of substance. I'm not even sure what day it is anymore. It's like I'm taking a vacation from the world. It's really nice, actually. BUT I'm getting bored. It's been7 days off work (actual days). And while I've actually done about half a hour of work every day, what with checking in the office, checking my email, calling clients, reading arbitrator's awards, and editing memos, it's not the same. Though I have to say, I've had a chance to read several books (these are NON LAW RELATED books!) I forgot that it was even possible to read books that were not law treatise. (I really need to reorganize my life so that I *make* time for stuff like that during the year. Not just my random vacation at the end of the year. I am accepting advice...)

And what about my noble dream to finally unpack my house. will have to stay just a dream...But no regrets. I had a noble plan to write a letter too. Hasn't happened. I don't want to do the things I have to do, or even should do. I want to do nothing except what I don't have to do and am choosing to do.

What I *haven't* done is spend $750. That's how much I have left in my tax deductible medical expenses. So anyone who has medical receipts that they want to send to me...let me know.

But I have been domestic today. I went to a light store. I didn't even know before today that there were stores that sold only lights. Nor did I know that every light that I liked would cost $4000. Seriously. $4000. FOR A LIGHT. (They are really cool lights though.) Rest assured, even I have limits. As much as I never thought I'd say that...(I did learn that I hate traditional lights, I hate post modern light...leaving me with a contemporary look. I have no idea what that really means.)

So with I got into an OC marathon. It occurred to me. Does Marissa do anything OTHER than cry?? (Sorry. That's as deep as I get. It's the OC. What did you expect. Oh, that, and how adorable is Seth Cohen?)

Ok, a few nudges. First,
Matt (who celebrated a birthday on Monday) wrote a brilliant post about the direction the world is heading in. If I may quote him for a moment:
And what used to be considered politeness, thoughtfulness and empathy for others has now been labeled as 'political correctness', made to look radical, and we're seeing people starting to reject it, almost as if they just can't stand to be tolerant of one another.

Really. Go read the entire thing. It's brilliant. No matter what I say, I can't do it justice. So I won't even try. (I haven't figured out how to link to a specific one of his posts, but it's the one entitled Era posted on Tuesday.

And speaking of birthday's, which I did at some point in this post, it's
Ms. Jennifer's birthday today. So everyone wander on over and wish her a happy birthday.

Finally, Curtis is trying determine what makes a
subjective attraction. A noble quest. Perhaps futile, but noble, nonetheless. Which got me thinking, which is really irritating when I'm on vacation and just want to mess up my internal clock by sleeping all day and playing all night. But I digress. As any of my friends can tell you, much as I don't believe in gravity, I don't believe in blondes. Even light brown hair is debatable. But that's not really an answer. It's more of an observation. The two main qualities for me are brilliance and insanity. I'd like to say that I'm kidding. But if anyone wants to get into such a noble discussion...

Oh, before I forget, let us acknowledge Susan Sontag's life. I actually like her, but I can't help but think of the quote from Bull Durham: "Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days." That, by the way, is part of Kevin Costner's three great baseball movies. (OK, maybe calling For The Love Of The Game a "great" movie is an overexaggeration, but only slight. And perhaps my love of all things baseball influences that, but come on, it's not like I'm talking about
Summer Catch or anything. And Field of Dreams is one of my ultimate favorite movies ever. Whenver I am in a mood, that is the movie that I'll watch. I have seen that often enough that I will randomly quote the movie. In fact, looking back, I somewhat did in this post alone. One of my favorite parts of the movie. But I digress. Wait, no I don't; I didn't have a point. Excellent.

Finally, a few fun stories for those who are a bit bored at work today:
First, evidentally it pays well to be a
professional begger.
Second, umm...he carved his own forhead?
Third, while it's better to give than receive...they didn't exactly mean giving your family a lesson in arson.

Ok, it's almost 4. I'm off.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! My family celebrated New Years Eve last night. The best part of this is, I've only gotten to spend one New Year's Eve separate from my family in 28 years because it's my grandmother's favorite holiday. So everyone comes in for it. But this year, since we celebrated on the 26th, on the 31st when the *rest* of the world celebrates New Years Eve...I can too!! Break out the champagne.

And I have TWO (yes two) baby showers in the next two weeks. Way lots of familyness. Here's my question though. The one in Sunday the 2nd. This is the same couple who got married on the 4th of July. Do these two have some sort of goal to ruin holidays for everyone? Give me a break. Ugh.

My cousin in Afghanistan called home on Saturday, so we know that he's ok. That's good. But this is funny. He was "adopted" by some random teacher's third grade class. I guess they get lists of names and just choose one and adopt them. Anyway, they've written a few times, and he wrote them back a few times. His picture is in their classroom. Anyway, the latest letter, "I hope that you have the bestest Christmas ever. And if you don't accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you are going to burn in hell." My cousin's response. "The bestest Christmas ever? I'm in Afghanistan. Even the worst Christmas I've ever had at home is 100 times better than this. And as for burning in hell? I'm already there." He decided he's not going to write the kids anymore. Good call.

Speaking of Ahghanistan, does anyone remember that we are there?? And while Iraq is constantly on the news, Afghanistan almost never is. The death count for US soldiers in Iraq is available, it's even in my local newspaper daily, including names. Guestimates on the numbers of civilians dead in Iraq are available, and yet I haven't been able to find numbers of the dead in Afghanistan. I find that frustrating. These soldiers are largely ignored because of the horror in Iraq. That isn't fair to those soldiers who have died. Or those who are fighting.


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

I despise wrapping presents. "Despise" may not be a strong enough word. I hate it. My friends know that the presents that I give are always in a bag, never wrapped. (If they are lucky, the presents are in an actual gift bag and not the store bag. Most of my friends aren't lucky.) This is rather unfortunate because I love
Christmas wrapping PAPER. I personally have Scooby Doo, Strawberry Shortcake, and the Care Bears wrapping paper. I love the paper itself. Just not the process.

So why this hatred? Mainly because I'm not good at it. I hate anything that I'm not good at. This neverending list includes cooking, math, and, yes, wrapping
Christmas presents. (Actually, saying that I'm just "not good" at wrapping Christmas presents is yet another understatement. (When did this "question talking" thing start? How annoying. Sorry.)

Anyway, this
Christmas card failure is made even worse because my mother is the wrapping paper QUEEN. I mean, this woman spends HOURS wrapping Christmas
presents, but the result is nothing less than spectatular. The corners are perfect. There is not a single crease that is out of place. It's irritating. Talk about an inferiority complex!!

Lest you think that I'm exaggerating or am just talking about those weirdly shaped items that no one other than my mother can wrap, I can't even wrap boxes properly. All those blasted corners and whatnot. I can't cut the wrapping paper straight so it's all ragged. Seriously, it looks like a drunk trying to walk a line. I always end up with corners that aren't straight and don't measure up, so there is too much paper at the ends so that the corners all turn the opposite way so somehow white paper is face outward and the Scooby Doo is facing inward and it's all horrible. So my way of solving that is to take scissors to the paper, which then comes all all jagged. Or I end up with not enough paper, so I have to take multiple pieces of paper and cover the box with bits of paper to cover it all. (If I'm lucky, the paper matches. I'm not always lucky).

Anyway, that's why I hate wrapping
Christmas presents.

I'm also torn.
Christmas is at my mom's. So I have to load my car with the presents I got for my family. All wrapped. Horribly. And here is my question: do I take the (unwrapped) presents I bought myself?

Yes. I admit it. When I go
Christmas shopping, I buy stuff for myself. I hate the mall. Hate it. Hate. Hate. Hate it. (Why do you think I put it off Christmas shopping for so long? Because I hate it. I procrastinate what I hate.) So that means that when I'm forced to go -- like when I'm Christmas shopping -- I buy things for myself. This year it includes (drinking) glasses (still plastic, because I can't be trusted with glass ones), some sweaters (as long as "some" is defined as 7), a couple pairs of pants, a few DVDs, and a lot of candles. That might be all I bought myself. I can't remember. Oh, wait, I also discovered how to work ITunes and paying 99 cents per song. So I've been downloading every song imaginable. It's...well, since I don't know how to get the songs off the bloody computer and I don't have an IPod thing.)

Where was I? Oh, I feel like these are
Christmas presents, and I should take them as well. OK, not really. I never thought about that. I just wanted to talk about the glasses I got and thought that was a good segway.

I've mentioned that my kitchen is painted yellow, blue, and red. These glasses are red, yellow, blue, green, and purple. Two of each. It is so cool. They kinda match my kitchen in a bright, obnoxious way. I'm thinking about just leaving them on my kitchen table as decoration. (No, I don't use my kitchen table for anything other than to store things on. If you saw my house, you'd be appalled at my lack of housekeeping skills.) Anyway, these glasses LOOK like they are not plastic. Well, maybe they do, but they are NICE plastic, unlike the rest of my drinkware, which are all free plastic. From baseball and football games, from college, and law school. So these are glasses I've actually PAID for. I'm so proud of me. I just wanted to share my self pride with you all on this happy day. (But could you imagine the looks on my parents' faces if I brought over a bunch of presents to me from me? (It would really work better if I said that I wanted to wrap them. They know how much I hate wrapping.))


White Trash

I, my friend, have class. I am so not white trash. . I am more than likely Democrat, and my place is neat, and there is a good chance I may never drink wine from a box.


Everyone has good qualities I guess

Trying SO hard not to make any comments about this:

Found from a fellow Clevelander (at least for now).
(Still trapped in my house...)

ETA: One more. From here

Oh, and the snow plow guy JUST game. JUST. It's 9:54. Grr...

Fuck this white shit

I pay to have my snow removed. Up to twice daily, at two inches of snow. This is very important to me because I hate to be cold. I wear layers when the weather falls to 50 degrees. I've been to Arizona in August and not complained one word. Same with Greece. It can never be too warm - it can always be too cold. Everyone gets one season to bitch about it, and this is mine. I have days where I'll walk into my car in my garage, drive to work, and park in our heated garage below the building, then leave work and pull back into my garage. During this time, I never see outside. Well, I see it, but I never feel outside. This is the only way I will continue to live in Northeast Ohio.

However, the service that I have paid to have my snow removed for the winter, in a word, sucks. As far as I can tell, they come once a day if I'm lucky. Right now, I'm stuck inside my house because I can't get out of my driveway. Not only has it snown a billion inches since they last came (or, maybe 8 inches. But a billion sounds better for purposes of this story), but also, my road HAS been cleared in this time. Know what happens when a road is cleared? The snow all ends up at the ends of driveways.

This doesn't affect me, except when said driveway is mine. Which it includes. Which means that Christmas is going to be cancelled because I can't go out Christmas shopping. Spare me the "if you started a few weeks ago" shit. I'm trapped in my house. I don't even own a shovel to manually do that (I typed that sentence as if the lack of a shovel was what prevented me from shoveling my own drive. I hate the cold. THAT is what prevents it.)

Now the normal response is, "call the snow service and bitch. We know you. You are perfectly capable of bitching when something is not to your satisfaction." Well, yes, but...

Like the circle of life, now we are to the reason I have pay for the snow service. I don't do outside in the winter. Their telephone number is outside on the poles they stick up so that they don't run over my grass or something like that. So I can't get their numbers because I'd have to go outside.

See the dilemma?


Who is Krystal Fernandez and why for the last few days have all my Google search been on whether she is gay? I find it highly unlikely that I've ever blogged about someone who I've never even heard of. What is UP with Google?

ETA: Since Ontario got me into this, I will just direct you all right back to him. His is the one who talked about Krystal Fernandez on my blog in the comments section here. Not me. I don't even know who she is. And all he said was, "...(2) Many of my blog hits from search engines are from fans of female sportscaster Krystal Fernandez (although I'm not sure that they like her because of her winning percentage of Monday Night Football picks)..." THAT'S IT?

If you want...whatever it is that you are looking for...check out his two posts on her. One even includes a picture. (No, after seeing her, I still don't know how she is. And I watch Monday Night Football.) Just click on the three blue links.


I am forced to conclude that "Anonymous" is a coward

Remember this post about "Christians" taking back America? Anyway, today "anonymous" had a comment for me (took me a while to figure out what s/he was commenting upon):
this woman is out there....

however, judging by your other posts the speechlessness you all seem to be experiencing is from a lack of original ideas and critical thinking skills.... not from any reaction to her perceived lunacy...

have a nice day.

First, I must confess if I make comments on someone else's blog, I leave my name, blog address, and email address.

Second, trust me, I'm perfectly aware that crackpots like "this woman" are out there.
And lack of critical thinking skills. Sweet. I have to say, I spend much of my younger days TRYING to have a lack of critical thinking skills. I found it quite difficult to do so. So I finally feel as if I'm acclimated. Awesome.

Come on, COMMON SENSE suggests that no one could take her comments seriously unless they were suffering from a mental defect. (Take that comment as you will...) My friends all have sufficient common sense. I was merely bringing the comment to the attention of my friends -- I didn't feel the need to actually defeat the argument. It defeats itself. Kinda like the Cleveland Browns on a Sunday...

Though I will explain for the masses who may not possess the requisite intellect to figure it out themselves, when I'm "speechless," that generally means that I've deemed my opposing argument too idiotic to even bother replying to. In fact, I've actually written "not even worthy of a reply" in briefs I've filed with the court. Yes, I am an intellectual snob. I always have been.

And thanks! I did have a nice day. I went Christmas shopping and bought myself some new clothes and whatnot. And now I'm watching The Amazing Race and Jonathan implode again. Which is the best reality tv show ever. I'm drinking mudslide. I'm in my flannel pants and an oversized sweatshirt, all comfy like. I've got candles burning. My cats are purring by me. Yes, it's a very good day. Again, thanks. I appreciate it.

Dogs v. Cats

I'll admit it. I have two cats, who I absolutely adore, but I am a dog person. I got my first dog when I was two. I don't really remember that much about being two (I think it's just because I have a bad memory and nothing with suppressing anything awful), but I remember my dog. But I could be remembering my dog from when I was 10. You never know with me.

When she died when I was 14, it was quite possibly the worst feeling. We got another dog when I was 17 (same breed. I think some people get loyal to a particular breed.) If I wasn't at work such awful hours, I'd have tons of dogs. Or at least one. But since I have an unpreditable work schedule, having a dog would be unfair, even if I have a four bedroom house that largely goes to waste. So I have the two cats. One who was raised around my dog and acts like a dog. He might, actually, weight more than most small dogs. (I took him to the vet this morning, he weights 17 pounds, and has to go on a d-i-e-t. Damn...He is also blue right now. Not blue as in depressed because of his diet. Actual, literal blue. He is normally white, but he leaned against the blue wet point. D'oh!)

But anyway, back to my point, which is, my love of all things dog, explaining why this article cracked me up.
Man's best friend is always ready

I'm trying to convince my wife that we need a dog. I grew up with dogs, and am comfortable with their ways. If we're visiting someone's home, and I suddenly experience a sensation of humid warmth, and I look down and see that my right arm has disappeared up to the elbow inside the mouth of a dog the size of a medium horse, I am not alarmed. I know that this is simply how a large, friendly dog says: ''Greetings! You have a pleasing salty taste!''

I respond by telling the dog that he is a GOOD BOY and pounding him with hearty blows, blows that would flatten a cat like a hairy pancake, but which only make the dog like me more. He likes me so much that he goes and gets his Special Toy. This is
something that used to be a recognizable object -- a stuffed animal, a basketball, a Federal Express driver -- but has long since been converted, through countless hours of hard work on the dog's part, into a random wad of filth held together by 73 gallons of congealed dog spit.

''GIVE ME THAT!'' I shout, grabbing an end of the Special Toy. This pleases the dog: It confirms his belief that his Special Toy is the most desirable item in the universe, more desirable even than the corpse of a squirrel. For several seconds we fight for this prize, the dog whipping his head side to side like a crazed windshield wiper. Finally I yank the Special Toy free and hold it triumphantly aloft. The dog watches it with laser-beam concentration, his entire body vibrating with excitement, waiting for me to throw it . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . until finally I cock my arm, and, with a quick motion I . . .

. . . fake a throw. I'm still holding the Special Toy. But WHOOOSH the dog has launched himself across the room, an unguided pursuit missile, reaching a velocity of 75 miles per hour before WHAM he slams headfirst into the wall at the far end of the room. This stimulates the M&M-size clump of nerve cells that serves as a dog's brain to form a thought: The Special Toy is not here! WHERE IS THE SPECIAL TOY??

The dog whirls, sees the toy in my hand and races back across the room. Just as he reaches me, I cock my arm and . . .

. . . fake another throw. WHOOOSH! WHAM! The fake works again! It will always work. I can keep faking throws until the dog has punched a dog-shaped hole completely through the far wall, and the dog will STILL sprint back to me, sincerely believing that THIS time, I'm going to throw the toy. This is one reason why I love dogs.

My wife, who would not touch the Special Toy with a barge pole, is less impressed. She fails to see the appeal of an animal that appears to be less intelligent than its own parasites. Oh, I've tried to explain the advantages of having a dog. For example:

A DOG IS ALWAYS READY. It doesn't matter for what: Dogs are just ready. If you leave your car window open, the dog will leap into the car and sit there for hours. It will sit there for DAYS, if you let it. Because the dog knows that sometimes the car just starts moving, and you have to be ready! Usually the dog will sit in the driver's seat, in case (You never know!) the dog is called upon to steer.

A DOG IS VIGILANT. One time, on a movie set, I watched a small dog walk past a line of six metal light stands. When the dog came to the sixth light stand -- which was EXACTLY the same as the other five light stands -- the dog stopped and began barking furiously at it. The dog would NOT stop. The owner finally had to drag the dog away, with the dog yanking wildly at its leash, still enraged by the light stand. Clearly the dog had detected some hostile intent in this particular light stand, something that we humans, with our inferior senses, were not aware of. We humans were thinking: ''What's WRONG with that dog?'' Whereas the light stand was thinking: ''Whew! That was close!''

These are just a couple of examples of the practical benefits provided by dogs. There are many more, and I have tried pointing them out to my wife, but she doesn't see it. This is why, in our house, we have fish. They're nice fish, but they're not a whole lot of fun. Although they are excellent drivers.
Too funny!! Oh my gosh! I actually do that with my adorable golden retriever. He's 11, so I'm starting to feel guilty about it. He just might be the sweetest dog to ever live. But he isn't the brightest animal ever. Actually, we play Tug Of War with those ropes. You put your hand too close to his mouth, and he gets worried that he will hurt you and he will immediately let go. I mean, the sweetest personality ever. We once had a pet rabbit, and the rabbit could run around and he wouldn't attack it. They would actually curl up and lie together. He has had to deal with both my cats visiting for a month here and there when I was on breaks, then my sister getting a cat, then my brother getting a dog. He went from the only child to the oldest of three. And he never once minded when a new animal came in the house. He is just adorable. The sweetest thing ever.

I have no point to this, if you were waiting for it. I often have no point. It's part of my charm. Or so I tell myself. I'm sure other words spring to your mind...


Christmas Parties

I am done working for 2004. I have these great plans to finish work on my house, Christmas shopping, get all organized. Blah. Ain't happening. Today...I got my cats and dog their Christmas presents. That's it. Period.

Last Friday was my Christmas party at work. I'm not going to get into it. I'm not the world's best drunk. But a few non-specific things.
First, undertstand, I went to lunch Friday (a partner, our secretary, and I) and we had 2 glasses of champagne and three glasses of wine. So I was drunk BEFORE the Christmas party began. The night just got better...

This cracked me up: "The quickest way for a young professional to wrech a budding career is to mess up at the office Christmas party."

Umm....does revealing that I call Yoda "Yoda" count?? D'oh! Realistically, I probably did one...or two...or three...or four...or...of the 10 Things Not To Do.

(Though what is this "introduce self to the senior manager?" He knows who I am. For Pete's sake, he knows the damn color of my kitchen. I know the color of his. We are well beyond the "my name is so-so" point. I feel sorry for those types of work places. But how do I count those?)

This list confused me. I can go through each one and explain why I disregarded it. But, for example, take the first one. I arrived to the party over half an hour late. And there were plenty of people there already. Was that wrong? Somehow rude? I, however, was coming from a bar with a named partner, one of the three partners on the managing committee (have I ever mentioned that Yoda is on the management committee?), and two other partners, two paralegals, and three secretaries. So...was that right, or wrong??

I think I just have to conclude that our office is a little...odd... But this was the view from the party. Breathtaking.

(For the record, that blue bridge is my favorite in Cleveland. The one to the far left.)

After the office party, we all end up at some bar. (The managing partner drove me to the bar. Again, I didn't need to introduce myself. I just needed to say, "who is driving me there?" Seriously are there people who *don't* have that type of relationship with their managing partners? I am kidding, obviously. I know we are unique. I like it. It fits me. It really does. As much as I complain about my job, and I will, I do work in a great atmosphere.

And I want to get back to the other day when I got my bonus. We have our actual reviews in January. I'm sure I will be a nervious wreck. I was nervous just to get my bonus, and that is all money and none critical. The bonuses were given to us by two parthers, Yoda (as a member of the management committee) and a named partner. Anyway, Yoda tells me that I have done a great job this year, and that I have a lot of potential. I turned to named partner and say, "___, did you hear? I have potential." And Yoda tells me that yes, I have potential. Then the OTHER partner tells me that "when he thinks of you, he thinks of someone who has potential, who is a hard worker and willing to help people out when they have a tight deadline. He told me that I have areas that I need to work on, such as not taking things personally (I think he means when opposing counsel makes me cry, or I get frustrated with settlements and go around irritated about "justice derailed" when they did nothing wrong but it costs too much money to defend the case. Or more money to defend the case than it takes to settle.) THEN he tells me that he DOESN'T think that I have potential to be a good researcher or writer. At which point I'm stunned because those are the only things I thikn that I *am* good at rightnow. And he continued "those are things that I already am." "When he thinks of you, he thinks of someone who *is* those things, not has the potential to one day be them." So that's really cool, BUT I swear to God, Yoda telling me that I had potential was the highlight of my day. It was even almost cooler than getting my bonus. YODA said that I have potential. Oh my! One day I might be able to be a Jedi knight as well!!! ;-)


Because I've been succumbing to peer pressure for the last 24 hours, I might as well make the destruction of Stephanie complete

So after facing peer pressure from Matt and Matthew, I guess that I'm required to discuss "Three Things." Bah, humbug.

Three Things You Like About Yourself: My hair. (I love my hair.) My unique weirdness or whatever it is that defines me. And my general sense of integrity (even when it temporarily leaves me, such as it did last night, and even when I'm crititized about it like it's a negative thing).

Three Things You Dislike About Yourself: My ADHD inability to focus on anything, which can be a big problem at work. My difficulty trusting, which can be a big problem in relationships. And my inability to turn off my brain sometimes, which can be a big problem overall.

Three Parts of Your Heritage: Greek (50%), English (25%), Scottish (25%)

Three Things That Scare You: (1) Settling in life; (2) spiders; and (3) being forced to be someone who I'm not for any reason.

Three of Your Everyday Essentials: (1) My contacts; (2) my black onyx crystal necklace; and (3) Bonnie Bell Blueberry LipSmackers.

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now: (1) Jeans; (2) a sweater; and (3) Sketchers tennis shoes

Three of Your Favorite Bands/Artists (at the moment): REM!!! (Wait, there are more bands than REM? I'll add Trans-Siberian Orchestra. And...The Cure.

Three of Your Favorite Songs at Present: REM's It's The End Of The World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine), Written In The Stars (from the musical Aida), and Pittsburgh Sucks. ;-)

Three New Things You Want to Try in the Next 12 Months: white water rafting, TAKING a fucking deposition all by myself without backup (HELLO?!), and...I'm not sure what else. There are lots of things, so I have to think about what is the third most important. I'll get back to you.

Three Things You Want in a Relationship (love is a given): A slight sense of oddness and general not caring about what the rest of the world things (which I'm counting as one thing), lots of laughter no matter what, and intelligent discourse.

Two Truths and a Lie: (in no particular order): (1) When I was 6 I stole a pack of gum from the convenience store. I felt guilty about it for a long time, and so when I was 23, I sent the convenience store $20 with an unsigned note saying apologizing and explaining that I had stolen a pack of gum from the store in 1982; (2) When I played soccer in high school, sports bras were insufficient so I duct taped myself before every game; and (3) When I was in high school, I went through a phase where I had colored contacts; I had blue eyes one year, green eyes one year, and one year I would have fun with one blue eye and one green eye.

Three Physical Things About the Opposite Sex (or same) That Appeal to You: (1) Dark, longer hair; (2) I-haven't-shaved-in-several-days scruff; and (3) intellect (ok, it's not physical, but it's the most important to me).

Three Things You Just Can’t Do: (1) I gotta go with Matthew's first, vote Republican; (2) forgive myself when I do something evil or wrong or hurtful; and (3) not buy whatever I want whenever I want it.

Three of Your Favorite Hobbies: (1) Politics; (2) sports (baseball and football); and (3) theatre.

Three Things You Want to do Really Badly Right Now: (1) Finish painting my house; (2) Catch up on some sleep (didn't sleep much - or well - last night) but I have the next 2 weeks off work to lounge and sleep; and (3) start (let alone finish!!) Christmas shopping!!

Three Careers You’re Considering: Philosopher. Professor. Writer. Commerical Writer. And lawyer.

Three Places You Want to Go on Vacation: Greece. Scotland. Italy. Hawaii. (I've been to the first three before. They are fantastic.)

Three Kids’ Names: Alexander, Benjamin, Christoper.

Three Things You Want to Do Before You Die: I have a list of 100 that I'm working off, and I refuse to whittle it down to three.

Three People You Want to Take this Quiz: I think everyone should be forced to take this quiz. ;-) I don't know him at all, but I'd love to know what
Jason Mulgrew's answers would be. Because I bet they would make me laugh. Sarah and Melyssa.


Deliberate Childlessness

I never thought the day would come when people were FORCED to have children.

Connie Schultz of the Cleveland Plain Dealer
wrote an article on Monday about Bryce Christensen (who regularly writes for the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society), who argued that "deliberate childlessness" must be stopped. Let's reflect on some of his thoughts: woman have abandoned their biblically mandated roles as housemankers for the work force, working mothers kids are "semi-orphans," working mothers steal jobs from men, depriving men of a "family wage."

Ironically, Christensen's own wife works -- full time -- outside the home. Oh, how I love hypocricy. Wanna hear her view?

First: "I resented that society put me in the position where I had to go back to work," she said. "I remember a time when cars were $3,000, houses were $27,000. But banks started taking second incomes as collateral, and that priced so many out of a home."

Then: "Did I want to go back to work? Yes. Yes I did." D'oh!

But he isn't even the worst offender. Even more appalling, R. Albert Mohler Jr. (president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
wrote that:

Christians must recognize that this rebellion against parenthood represents
nothing less than an absolute revolt against God's design. The Scripture points
to barrenness as a great curse and children as a divine gift.

This is the precise worldview the Scripture rejects. Marriage, sex, and children are part of one package. To deny any part of this wholeness is to reject God's
intention in creation--and His mandate revealed in the Bible.

But the fact remains that though childlessness may be made possible by the
contraceptive revolution, it remains a form of rebellion against God's design
and order. Couples are not given the option of chosen childlessness in the
biblical revelation. To the contrary, we are commanded to receive children with
joy as God's gifts, and to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The church should insist that the biblical formula calls for adulthood to mean marriage and marriage to mean children. This reminds us of our responsibility to raise boys to be husbands and fathers and girls to be wives and mothers. God's glory is seen in this, for the family is a critical arena where the glory of God is either displayed or denied. It is just as simple as that.

The church must help this society regain its sanity on the gift of children. Willful barrenness and chosen childlessness must be named as moral rebellion. To demand that marriage means sex--but not children--is to defraud the creator of His joy and pleasure in seeing the saints raising His children. That is just the way it is. No kidding.

Wow. Again. Where is this supposed freedom of religion, a bedrock of our country? Now we have to get married, we have to have kids, we can't work. They really *do* want to move his country back to the 40s. Hell, why even give women the right to vote? Did we run that one by God before we just started handing out rights like that? Women voting makes the lines longer, depriving men of being able to vote and get to work on time.

What is wrong with the world?!


I know, I'm on a roll today, but from Rox Populi, check this out.

Christians Are Taking Back America
wanda_for_decent_values (47/F/Des Moines, IA)

And we are THROUGH kowtowing to muslims, atheists, homosexuals and anti-American "artists" living on our tax dollars!

By the end of President George W Bush's 2nd term:

1) Iraq will be well on the way to being a peaceful Christian country. Once Iraq has gone Christian, the Gospel of Jesus will spread throughout the Middle East. The region will be at peace and millions of Arab souls will be saved through the grace of Jesus Christ.

2) Bush will have appointed at least two USSC Justices and the baby slaughterhouses will finally be closed down forever.

3) Gays will be put back in the closet for good. The sodomy and decency laws will be
reinstated and their disgusting disease spreading activities will be outlawed again. Maybe we can’t get rid of them, but we can get them out our children’s view.

4) School vouchers will allow parents to send their kids to decent Christian schools instead of the NEA-infested cesspools that exist now.

5) Worthless liberal social welfare programs will be dismantled and replaced by Christian faith-based government funded programs. People will finally get REAL help through Jesus Christ.

6) Filthy shows like Howard Stern, Jerry Springer and Will & Grace will be off the air and replaced with decent Christian family programming. Families will once again be able to turn on the radio or television and not be embarrassed to listen or watch together.

7) The abominable scourge of Internet pornography will end with the expansion and ENFORCEMENT of the Online Decency Act. Pornographers who expose the public to this sickening material will be behind bars where they belong.

You can be with us or against us, but you had BETTER believe one thing:

Christians are DONE sitting at the back of the bus

Wow...Our forefathers are rolling over in their graves right now. I'm not even sure what to say first. We are telling other countries not just how they must govern themselves, but not what religion they must be? Are we back during the Crucades? Why was this country founded again? Shit, I learned this back in second or third grade (beyond Wanday for Decent Values eduation level, I'm sure). Was there something with religious persecution in that?? That whole freedom of religion thing?? Maybe I'm thinking of something else. And point two is almost definitely true, but is scares me to death. Especially because saying he would appoint only two justices is probably a "conservative" (ha) number. As for nubmer three, what if I don't want hateful, nonaccepting disgusting people in MY children's view? The fastest growing group with AIDS is adult heterosexual females - not homosexuals. And it was the already uber conservative Supreme Court that destroyed sodomy laws. Attacknig the public schools - maybe if we tried to IMPROVE them rather than divide the "private school kids" from the "public school kids." Vouchers don't pay the entire thing, so families that can't afford to eat are doomed to inferior education, and you are ok with that? The division between the upper and the lower class is getting worse and worse, and soon the chasm won't even be able to be fixed. Why is this a good thing? And wasn't it the Christians themselves forcing blacks to sit at the back of the bus. Using the Bible to show the inferiority of minorites and how God didn't want the races to mix? Again, what the fuck is wrong with Compassionate Conservatives. Yes, I know that I have discussed this before, and that it is close to becoming an obsession with me, but come on. How on earth do you take Jesus' message and get HATE from it. I've read the Bible - have they??

Ugh. I'm so disgusted that I'm out of words right now.


So I'm happy today. Today was bonus day. Extra money (that I've already spent on my house, granted). This is a good day because it's not the performance review - that comes in January and I'm sure I'll vent ALL about that. So this was just a happy day with money and no "you suck because..." lessons.

Anyway, I've been frustrated on and off at the firm, depending on my day. For lots of reasons. But I've been saying the entire time, "ok, I know this bonus will be at least $10, but it better be closer to $15 than $10 or else I'm leaving. I've been here two years now" (in October, happy anniversary to me).

So...this was a deal breaker for me. Headhunters regularly show me the love because I'm brilliant. And I'm in the window where I'm most in valuable to other firms. I'm done with the initial training, but I'm not too close to partnership that they have to pay senior-level associate/junior partner salary. OK, fine, more the second than any proof whatsoever of the former. ;-)

Anyway, let's just say that I got more than I expected, and even more than I thought was realistic to hope for. This is truly exciting b/c that means that while I *have* spend all of my bonus on purchases throught the year and my $3000 annual Roth IRA contribution, I have *not* spend ANY of my tax return (I thought I spent that alerady as well.) So in March, I'll get some money that I *haven't* spent yet!!

Woo hoo.

Me and Red Nosed Lawyer

Why is it that my firm gives us free hot cocoa, Starbucks Coffee (and flavored coffee at that), pop for 25 cents (they subsidize the rest), we are allowed to order any particular office chair that I wanted (I went with this one, and highly recommend it).

Why is it that we are handed the Office Max catalog and permitted to order whatever we feel we need to be happy. (I've ordered a lamp for my desk, a corkboard to pin things too, my

something to put my telephone on and put the roll-a-dex under it, something to life my computer, a gel arm rest, and multiple calendars (a pocket one, a desk one, and a regular sized one) and two more bookshelves.) They give us us saline, cough drops, Listerine, Advil Cold and Sinus (I swear by this stuff, and I had never had it before I worked here), space heaters...any little thing that comes to my whit and whimsy.

SO WHY IN THE HELL DO THEY PROVIDE ROUGH, SAND PAPER-Y KLEENIX??? Oh, I'm sorry, I mean the "Fluff Out" Facial Tissue. Are you kidding me?? I swear, it's HARD to make a Greek girl's nose turn red. While I appreciate the fact that I was given three tape recorders (one for my office, one for my house, and one for my briefcase), I will give two of those up if you can JUST order some friggin' Puffs Plus.


Star Wars

I have a Darth Vader voice changer in my office. Whenever I'm in a mood, I'm tempted to use it when I answer the telephone. Other than the simple voice changer, there are also three buttons. One is Darth saying, "Impressive." The second is him saying "What is thy bidding, my master." The third his his breathing. (Can you just imagine the heavy breathing prank telephone calls?) Anyway, you can imagine how important the voice changer is in my profession. Or if I ever decide to kidnap someone.

So I went to talk to Yoda today about the hacket job he did on my ERISA brief (there was literally red EVERYWHERE. I think he performed a human sacrifice on my brief. That's the only explanation.)

Anyway, he was busy (shocker) but he said he wanted to talk about it and that we would talk about it later. Of course, he's said this about other cases before. I do 75% of my work for Yoda. I want mentoring!! I'm obviously going to have to explain to Yoda that he is my Jedi Knight, and he can't leave to without knowing how to work my light saber.

"The economy is now is very good shape."

It's really fucking amazing that the economy trugged along (with slight lapses) before Bush and Cheney took over, with permanent tax cuts imperative to the success of the economy and all.

"the administration believed Bush's four tax cuts over the past four years had provided a badly needed boost to get the economy out of recession. But he said now the focus needed to be on making the tax cuts permanent."

* * *

"I'm pleased to say the economy is now in very good shape," Feldstein said.

What the fuck planet are you living on?? In my opinion, we are still in a recession. But maybe that's just Ohio (PDF).

"The economy added a net 112,000 jobs in November, considerably fewer jobs than analysts had expected and a big drop from the 303,000 positions added in October.

More than 2 million jobs have been created in the past year, but Bush remains 313,000 jobs short of avoiding a net loss of jobs during his presidency."

Yup, them is good statistics. Great economy. Geesh. I mean, I know that Republicans expectations are low (evidenced by Bush as their leader) but come on here. We're not (all) stupid. Whatever they are smoking, I'd like some.

And what about the tax cuts during a war? Doesn't the administration think that maybe the reason that it doesn't occur is because it's not economically feasible? That may be beyond their capacity. I mean, a net LOSS of jobs equals a "very good" economy. Imagine what their reaction would be if it was even? Or (gosh forbid), there were more jobs created than lost?? Can you even imagine?? Pull out the Thesaurus. What is better than "very good." Spiffy, maybe? Ph, the excitement...

Can't. Contain.

Radio Stations

I have been driving since I was 16. (I failed the exam one. Automatic failure for a left hand turn. I actually passed the parallel parking portion of the exam. Worthless in Ohio, because there is surface parking everywhere - we are not a street parking place. At least Cleveland isn't.)

Anyway, you set your radio stations and then pretty much never set them again, right? Well, here's my problem. When I was 16, the radio station that I listened to then, as #1, is some random stuff now. Yet it's still number one. The station that was set as #4 was some soft music back when I was 16, but is now a bunch of 80s rock music. Score. BUT it's still set as station #4, because that’s what it was set when Bush was president. (Wait a minute, maybe I’m still 16....)

Anyway, this weekend, I told myself, “that’s silly.” After an extended conversation with myself, I decided to give in, just to shut me up, and changed the radio stations to reflect the me of 12 years later.
(What is the quote? Ahh, yes:

Talking to yourself is not crazy.
Talking to yourself in public is not crazy.
Answering yourself is not crazy.
Arguing with yourself is not crazy.
Losing an argument with yourself is not crazy.
Crazy is when you get angry at yourself and decide that you are no longer on speaking terms.

Anyway, now I can’t find my radio stations for the life of me. I keep on hitting #4 and getting NOT what I want. Then I’ll hit #3 and it’s not there either. I so do not handle change well.


First, I spent a year in Northwest Pennsylvania. It was the first time (and actually, the only time in my life) that I haven't had to deal with "lake effect snow." For the longest time growing up, I had no idea that it could snow if it wasn't "lake effect snow." What amazes me is, the first snow of the year, everyone freaks out. It's like we forgot how to drive in the snow since March or April. Come ON people, work with me here! It should not take anyone 3 hours to drive home from work - generally half an hour. For no apparent reason. Bah, humbug. (And in case anyone is interested, on December 13, of 2003, there was a blizzard as well, because I was driving from Northwest PA at the time. Maybe it's December 13?? Maybe we should go from December 12 to the 14th. Not to say that I don't like winter. Wait...yes I am.

Second, I think that getting the number of beer in my fridge down from 150 to 37 is a great thing. It's enough that if people come, there are enough to be polite, and yet, there is still enough room for my six containers of orange juice. (I'm an orange juice snob. I will only drink Simply Orange.) his did not strike me at all odd - I like orange juice - until a friend made fun of me today. "I can see the value of one, maybe even two if it's on sale. But six?" (In my defense, technically, it's 5 1/2. One is opened.) But if I love my orange juice, and I have this fear or running out. So I essentially buy in bulk. What else is that top shelf in the fridge for? Just orange juice, right?

Finally, I've decided that I want to be on The Amazing Race. It appeals to the historian in me. They are in Africa and next they are going to the Berlin Wall. It's like a chance to explore the world for a months. The bad part -- you are on tv. And since you are going whirlwind, you don't get a chance to really experience it I guess. But still...I want to explore. Why is the job thing getting in my way?

Bush To Google Future Nominees

Again, Andy Borowitz amuses me. Not to mention the fact that I love Google. The entire Kerik thing is humerous. I am just amazed at things that "don't occur" to people. Like, "if I'm paying under the table, is there a possibility that she is an illegal" and "If I get a blow job under the table, is that cheating on my wife?" How do they come to the answers "no" and "it depends on what your definition of is is."

Kerik + Nanny Yields 20,000 Web Pages

After the embarrassing flap over the nomination of Bernard Kerik as the new Homeland Security Secretary, President George W. Bush announced today that the White House would take the extraordinary step of Googling all future Cabinet nominees.

"Looking back on it, I wish we had Googled Bernard Kerik," the president said today. "It would've saved us a lot of grief all around."

Mr. Bush said that he would have Googled Mr. Kerik earlier, but that he only learned of the existence of the Google search engine on Friday, long after the Kerik appointment had been made public.

"I guess I have a lot to learn about the Internets," Mr. Bush said.

Instead of silencing critics, however, the president's comments only emboldened those who had been urging the Administration to Google prospective nominees for months.

According to those critics, a simple Google search using the words "Kerik + Nanny", for example, yields over 20,000 separate web pages, while a search using the words "Kerik + Conflict + Interest" yields over 900,000 pages.

At the firestorm over the failure to Google Mr. Kerik raged, White House spokesman Scott McClellan denied that the Administration did not do a thorough job of vetting the former police commissioner: "We asked Jeeves if he was okay, and Jeeves said he was."

Mr. McClellan added that the White House is now considering nominating only candidates who do not have a nanny, but added, "That would mean picking a Democrat."

Elsewhere, the Labor Department announced that unemployment surged in the last month but attributed much of the increase to the Bush cabinet.



Wait, NOW Kobe cares about his marriage vows?? Are you kidding me??


So I was visiting Jennifer and Erin the other day. Saturday morning, Jen walked into the family room, where Erin and I were talking about creationism versus evolution and the concept of time. First, the literal translation of the "day" as used in the Bible was a "period of time," (undefined as to a literal day of 24 hours) (which I actually didn't know and learned thanks to Erin). Second, how is a "day" defined anyway when the sun (which defines our concept of a day) wasn't created until the Fourth Day.

Anyway, Jen walks in and makes a comment that normal people don't have these conversations on a Saturday morning. that true?? I can't imagine. Everyone that I know regular has such conversations on a regular basis, and I live in Cleveland, for crying out loud. We are a blue collar town. So if everyone that I know has such conversations on a regular basis, it seems to me that everyone in the world does. Jen assures me that I am wrong.

So the Browns had a total of 17 offensive yards. No, that is not a typo. 17 yards. Total. For an entire game. (Oh, and 15 of those yards came in the final 2 minutes of the game.) Wow. Just when you think that a team who gave up 100 points in two games can't get any worse, they find a new way to lose. Just wow. I mean, I knew that we were bad, and unlikely to win another game this season, but 17 total yards bad? Just wow.

I also got to see the
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Saturday night. They are simply fantastic, and for anyone in the cities where they will still be before the end of the year, I highly recommend them. They are flat out fantastic. And my similistic nature is completely captivated by lasers and lights. "ooh, colors..."

This week is going to be hard. I have to work tomorrow because I have a brief due and a client interview. Friday I have to work because it's our office party and the partner and I are taking our secretary to lunch before that. Which means that I have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Have I mentioned that I just have no motivation to work right now? Because I don't. None. I have taken the last two weeks of the year off just because I can. I know that I get my bonus sometime this week too. And a memo I (STILL) need to finish that I have had burning WAY WAY WAY too long.

Does anyone else living in suburbia think that their street is SO BORING when compared to desperate housewives? Suicide, arson, hit and runs, murder, arrests...and that's just been the last few months. I remember the biggest excitement in my neighborhood growing up was...well, nothing. It was all quite boring. Content, familiar, but nothing like that. No police, ambulances, fire trucks.


Dean's Speech to the Democratic Party

For anyone who missed Dean's speech yesterday:

Let me tell you what my plan for this Party is:

We're going to win in Mississippi
...and Alabama
...and Idaho
...and South Carolina.

Four years ago, the President won 49 percent of the vote. The Republican Party treated it like it was a mandate, and we let them get away with it.

Fifty one percent is not a mandate either. And this time we're not going to let them get away with it.

Our challenge today is not to re-hash what has happened, but to look forward, to make the Democratic Party a 50-state party again, and, most importantly, to win.

To win the White House and a majority in Congress, yes. But also to do the real work that will make these victories possible -- to put Democratic ideas and Democratic candidates in every office -- whether it be Secretary of State, supervisor of elections, county commissioner or school board member.

Here in Washington, it seems that after every losing election, there's a consensus reached among decision-makers in the Democratic Party is that the way to win is to be more like Republicans.

I suppose you could call that philosophy: if you didn't beat 'em, join them.

I'm not one for making predictions -- but if we accept that philosophy this time around, another Democrat will be standing here in four years giving this same speech. We cannot win by being "Republican-lite." We've tried it; it doesn't work.

The question is not whether we move left or right. It's not about our direction. What we need to start focusing on... is the destination.

There are some practical elements to the destination.

The destination of the Democratic Party requires that it be financially viable, able to raise money not only from big donors but small contributors, not only through dinners and telephone solicitations and direct mail, but also through the Internet and person-to-person outreach.

The destination of the Democratic Party means making it a party that can communicate with its supporters and with all Americans. Politics is at its best when we create and inspire a sense of community. The tools that were pioneered in my campaign -- like blogs and Meetups and most importantly, community building -- are just a start. We must use all of the power and potential of technology as part of an aggressive outreach to meet and include voters, to work with the state parties and to influence media coverage.

The most practical destination is winning elective office. And we must do that at every level of government.

The way we will rebuild the Democratic Party is not from consultants down, but from the ground up.

We have some successes to build on. We raised more money than the RNC, and we did so by attracting thousands of new small donors. This is the first time in my memory that the DNC is not coming out of a national campaign in debt. We trained tens of thousands of new activists.

We put together the most sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation our Party has ever had. We registered millions of new voters, including a record number of minority and young voters. And we saw those new voters overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

Now we need to build on our successes while transforming the Democratic Party into a grassroots organization that can win in 50 states.

I have seen all the doomsday predictions that the Democratic Party could shrink to become a regional Party. A Party of the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest.

We cannot be a Party that seeks the presidency by running an 18-state campaign. We cannot be a party that cedes a single state, a single District, a single precinct, nor should we cede a single voter.

As many of the candidates supported by my organization Democracy for America showed -- people in places that we've too long ignored are hungry for an alternative; they're hungry for new ideas and new candidates, and they're willing to elect Democrats.

Since we started Democracy for America last March, we raised over $5 million, mostly from small donors.

That money was used to help 748 candidates in 46 states and at every level of government.

We helped a Democratic governor get elected in Montana and a Democratic mayor get elected in Salt Lake County, Utah.

We helped Lori Saldana in San Diego. Lori, a Latina grassroots environmental organizer was outspent in both the primary and the general, won a seat on the state assembly.

We also helped Anita Kelly become the first African-American woman elected to her circuit court in Montgomery, Alabama.

Fifteen of the candidates who we helped win last month never ran for elective office before.

And in Texas, a little known candidate who had been written off completely ran the first competitive race against Tom Delay in over a decade.

And others who lost came very close, including Scott Kawasaki who lost by only 45 votes in an Alaska state legislative race -- in a very Republican state. We can win in these states, and we will.

There are no red states or blue states, just American states. And if we can compete at all levels and in the most conservative parts of the country, we can win... at any level and anywhere.

People will vote for Democratic candidates in Texas, and Alabama and Utah if we knock on their door, introduce ourselves and tell them what we believe.

There is another destination beyond strong finances, outreach and campaigns.

That destination is a better, stronger, smarter, safer, healthier America.

An America where we don't turn our back on our own people.

That's the America we can only build with conviction.

When some people say we should change direction, in essence they are arguing that our basic or guiding principles can be altered or modified.

They can't.

On issue after issue, we are where the majority of the American people are.

What I want to know is, at what point did it become a radical notion to stand up for what we believe?

Over fifty years ago, Harry Truman said, "We are not going to get anywhere by trimming or appeasing. And we don't need to try it."

Yet here we are still making the same mistakes.

Let me tell you something: there's only one thing Republican power brokers want more than for us to lurch to the left -- and that's for us to lurch to the right.

What they fear most is that we may really begin fighting for what we believe -- the fiscally responsible, socially progressive values for which Democrats have always stood and fought.

I'll give this to Republicans. They know the America they want. They want a government so small that, in the words of one prominent Republican, it can be drowned in a bathtub.

They want a government that runs big deficits, but is small enough to fit into your bedroom.

They want a government that is of, by and for their special interest friends.

They want a government that preaches compassion but practices division.

They want wealth rewarded over work.

And they are willing to use any means to get there.

In going from record surpluses to record deficits, the Republican Party has relinquished the mantle of fiscal responsibility.

And now they're talking about borrowing another $2 trillion to take benefits away from our Senior Citizens.

In going from record job creation to record job loss, they have abandoned the mantle of economic responsibility.

In cutting health care, education, and community policing programs... and in failing to invest in America's inner cities, or distressed rural communities... they certainly have no desire to even claim the mantle of social responsibility.

In their refusal to embrace real electoral reform or conduct the business of government in the light of day, they are hardly the model of civic responsibility.

In their willingness to change the rules so that their indicted leaders can stay in power, they have even given up any claim on personal responsibility.

And in starting an international conflict based on misleading information, I believe they have abdicated America's moral responsibility, as well.

There is a Party of fiscal responsibility... economic responsibility... social responsibility... civic responsibility... personal responsibility... and moral responsibility.

It's the Democratic Party.

We need to be able to say strongly, firmly, and proudly what we believe.

Because we are what we believe.

And we believe every person in America should have access to affordable health care. It is wrong that we remain the only industrialized nation in the world that does not assure health care for all of its citizens.

We believe the path to a better future goes directly through our public schools. I have nothing against private schools, parochial schools and home schooling. Parents with the means and inclination should choose whatever they believe is best for their children. But those choices must never come at the expense of what has been -- and must always be -- the great equalizer in our society; public education.

We believe that if you put in a lifetime of work, you have earned a retirement of dignity -- not one that is put at risk by your government or unethical business practices.

The first time our nation balanced its budget, it was Andrew Jackson, father of the Democratic Party, who did it. The last time our nation balanced its budget, it was Bill Clinton who did it. I did it every year as Governor. Democrats believe in fiscal responsibility and we're the only ones who have delivered it.

We believe that every single American has a voice and that it should be heard in the halls of power everyday. And it most certainly must be heard on Election Day. Democracies around the world look to us as a model. How can we be worthy of their aspirations when we have not done enough to guarantee accurate elections for our own citizens.

We believe in a strong and secure America... and we believe we will be stronger by having a moral foreign policy.

We need to embrace real political reform -- because only real reform will pry government from the grasp of the special interests who fight against reform and progress.

The pundits have said that this election was decided on the issue of moral values. I don't believe that. It is a moral value to provide health care. It is a moral value to educate our young people. The sense of community that comes from full participation in our Democracy is a moral value. Honesty is a moral value.

If this election had been decided on moral values, Democrats would have won.

It is time for the Democratic Party to start framing the debate.

We have to learn to punch our way off the ropes.

We have to set the agenda.

We should not hesitate to call for reform -- reform in elections, reform in health care and education, reforms that promote ethical business practices.

And, yes, we need to talk about some internal reform in the Democratic Party as well, and I'll be discussing that more specifically in the days ahead.

Reform is the hallmark of a strong Democratic Party.

Those who stand in the way of reform cannot be the focus of our attention for only four months out of every four years.

Reform is a daily battle.

And we must pursue those reforms with conviction -- every day, at all levels, in 50 states.

A little while back, at a fundraiser, a woman came up to me. She identified herself as an evangelical Christian from Texas. I asked her what you are all wondering -- why was she supporting me. She said there were two reasons. The first was that she had a child who had poly-cystic kidney disease, and that the illness made it impossible for their family to get health insurance.

The second thing she said was, "The real reason we're with you is because evangelical Christians are people of deep conviction, and you're a person of deep conviction.

We may not agree with you on everything, but what we want more than anything else from our government is that when something happens to our family or something happens to our country -- it's that the people in office have deep conviction."

We are what we believe. And the American people know it.

And I believe that over the next two... four... ten years...

Election by election...

State by state...

Precinct by precinct...

Door by door...

Vote by vote...

We're going to lift our Party up...

And we're going to take this country back for the people who built it.

Here's my opinion on Dean. The guy has passion. The guy isn't polished. And both are why I liked him. He doesn't come across as a career politician. He comes across as someone who geniunely cares. He connects with the people he's talking to. (Not "at".) We'll see about him as DNC Chair perhaps this weekend.


Choose The Blue

Does it strike anyone else as humerous that Hooters gives 96% of campaign contributions to the conservative, family values Republican party?

Check out the Choose the Blue webpage. It tells you what corporations donated to political parties.

Found via Left Is Right.

I see that Rumsfeld talked with troops about, inter alia, the stop-loss policy preventing those who have already fulfilled their committment to the country from getting out of the military. That is bullshit. And yes, I'm thinking selfishly with my cousin. When he returns (either July or next Dec.) his time is up. But can he get out?? This stop-loss policy is the government's way of saying that they don't have a draft. Bullshit. Someone signed an 8 year contract. They can't get out in year 3 just because they want to. Thus, the US can't keep them in year 9 just because it wants to. I can already hear Bush et al arguing national security or needs of America. I say then the draft has to be reinstated, so that everyone had to deal with it, not disproportionately on one group. That is forced manual labor. Slavery was abolished in 1865. I am very passionate about this argument (as opposed to my "general" passionate stance on life.) Anyway, doesn't sound like his little pep rally was as effective as he wanted it to me. Those soldiers DARING to question him and the US. Don't they know, you are either with us or you are with the enemy?? Geesh! (Please ignore the First Amendment in all of this. Since we are not allowed to speak out against the government, peaceably assemble to protest the government anywhere near anything, like at the rallies, and we aren't allowed to petition the Government for a redress of grievances (or else we are aiding terrorists or accused of being anti-American)...well, I haven't figured this out yet. I should pray for the answer, like Bush prays for our foreign policy answers.)

Next, I am a huge baseball fan. Wanna know what I think about the steroid thing. Well, I'm gonna tell you anyway. "NO! Barry Bonds is on steroids? No way! You mean other players may be on steroids too?! NO!" The "is Bond a cheater?" is bullshit - they ALL are "cheaters," if that's the measure. And if someone didn't realize that at least 75% of MLB was on steroids, they are stupid. Or blind. The owners knew it - it brings fans. The fans don't mind being lied to, as long as they can stay safe and cozy in their ignorance. (I feel like I should make a comment about Republicans here...) But comparisons to how unfair it is Ruth are faulty. First, Ruth doesn't give a damn. Second, Ruth played when no one took steroids. He was the best of the best. Bonds is playing when everyone (including him) is taking steroids. He too is the best of the best. Let's not pretend that he isn't on the same playing field as his contemporary peers. The game changed, but the best of that field is still the best.

At least I always drank OUTSIDE of school

How sad is this.
The girl told the principal that her mother, who works in a bar, makes alcoholic
shots at home and sells them at work. The fourth-grader said her mother had
instructed her to take the shots to school and sell them, three for $1, to make
some money for Christmas, Nowakowski said.

Wow. She is EIGHT. Why doesn't her mom just send her out to work the streets to make money? Really!


How Well Do You Know Me?

I got one of those "how well do you know me" emails. I sent it to a few friends. I have known these people 14 years, 10 years, 9 years, 8 years, and 6 years. (Answers in that order) Here are their answers (You think 6 years is a long time -- and it is -- but it's interesting to see how much better the ones I've known longer know me).

What was your first impression of me upon meeting: Oh good Lord! I was such a little mouse, I thought you were crazy; You needed to ditch the black nailpolish, but otherwise seemed pretty cool; FUNNY; I don’t remember; very nice person.

What's one of my favorite things to do: Think; Well, seeing as how one of our mutual other things to do is now over for another 3 months [baseball], I'm going with "yell at the TV during football games" just like me; ARGUE (YOU MAY EUPHEMIZE IT TO "DEBATE"); BASEBALL, argue politics, Star Wars, shall I go on?; watch Indians play.

Do you remember one of the first things I said to you? No, but it probably had something to do with me being such a little mouse; Nope, not even a clue; Probably hello; Hi.

What's my favorite type of music: I don't think you have one: you listen to lots of different stuff; That sort of grunge metal alterna-pop. Well, with a little bit of everything thrown in. You're the only person I know with a stranger CD collection than mine, but every time I hear REM I think of you; DOES REM COUNT AS A KIND OF MUSIC; REM; not sure.

What is the best feature about me: Your confidence and willingness to fully live life; You're the most accepting and non-judgmental person I know. Totally forgiving of others' faults and giving of yourself; WHIMSY; Your unabashed nuttiness (fabulous!);
kind and intelligent.

Am I shy or outgoing: OUTGOING (Capitals intended); Outgoing; ODD MIX OF BOTH; hmmm you are outgoing -- you might think you are on the shy side but you aren't; outgoing.

Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules: REBEL (Capitals intended);You follow rules, but they're your own, so I'm going with rebel; YOU KNOW ALL THE RULES SO YOU CAN BREAK THEM; just like me---rebel who works with rules; rebel.

Any special talents: You know all the words to "End of the World". See aforementioned living of life; Um, does not believing in gravity and still staying on the ground count; I THINK ALL OF YOUR TALENTS ARE "SPECIAL"; you are **, your talents are endless; n/a.

If there was one good nickname for me, what would it be: ?????? You used to have an awful lot of them (i.e. Wahoo); The Bitch. And I mean that in the best possible way; YOU DEFY DESCRIPTIVE NAMING; Greek goddess; I can’t think of one.

What's your favorite memory of me: You skiing down the hill at Brandywine completely 100% out of control right into the ski school group of munchkins at the bottom. It's my favorite memory because 1.) you only did it in the first place because it was the hill I wanted to ski, 2.) you are crazy and adventurous and willing to try things and 3.) once you realized you weren't hurt and you hadn't killed anyone you laughed and got up and skied the same hill again;
[this was the first time that I had ever been skiing, and this particular friend was teaching me to ski - she had been to ski once two days earlier. Rather than start with the bunny slopes, or the beginning ones, we went right to an intermediate one. At least it wasn't a black diamond my first time, I guess]; Has to be "woot"-ing at Rio [our housemate’s dog], makes me laugh every time I think of it; TOO MANY TO CHOOSE ONE, ONE OF MY FAVORITES IS THE BREAKFAST WE HAD TOGETHER AT MCDONALDS AFTER OUR CRUSH PARTY, JUST YOU AND I [this was the morning after the first time I ever threw up due to a night of drinking. I drank three bottles of alcohol (one vodka, one blueberry schnapps, and one blue curaco for our house drink that we named sex on the porch -- not that hard to figure out what one of the housemates did on the pull out couch on our porch; I woke up at 7 am feeling great.]; probably drinking on the porch at the cave; too many to count.

If you and I were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would I bring? I would guess something that would allow you to listen to music; You know, I never understood this question, you either got stranded accidentally, in which case you don't have time to pack, or someone came up to you and said "quick, grab one thing so I can throw you on an island" and you were stupid enough not to say, um, it's in the bathroom, let me go get it, and then sneak out a window BEFORE they put you on the island. Now, that being said, I'm hoping you're bringing the vodka; I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD BRING SO HOW COULD I POSSIBLY KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD?; Your gameboy so you aren't bored;
caffeine free coke (for the record, I drink Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi, not Coke.)

And a mental note to everyone to listen to Dean's speech tomorrow.
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