Sunday, November 30, 2008

Steamboat Bed

I promised PoP that I would post a picture of the finished product. Madam has finished her decorations at Bulloch Hall for the year. The theme for the Christmas decoration this year was "Christmas across the U.S.A." Madam's room is Memphis.
The room is Mittie Bulloch's bedroom and this year the bed was turned into a steamboat. With a little help from yours truly we created a paddle wheel from some plastic irrigation pipe and some foam core and a couple of smoke stacks from a cut in half concrete post form. There is a fan under the bed that makes the paddle wheel turn slowly. Nifty huh?
The rest of the room carries out the Memphis theme. Photos of BB King, WC handy, Elvis, and the Peabody Ducks are around as well as a clear pyramid and a little BBQ vignette.

Resurrection Fern

We stopped by Bulloch Hall yesterday to look that the Christmas decorations for this year and I noticed that the rain had resurrected the Resurrection Fern. Interesting plant and you will only find it here in the South on fairly old trees like cypress and live oak. The plant is an epiphyte or air plant like Spanish Moss. If there is no rain, as there hasn't been around here, the plant curls up and looks quite dead but as you can see with a little rain it just bursts out.

(as always click on the picture to enlarge)

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Like I said earlier it was just Madam and I this year but we had a nice traditional dinner in celebration of the day. Everything was good and the two of us barely made a dent in the meal. Lots of roasted chicken and dressing left over. One good thing is the dressing freezes well so that is one dish that I am ahead on for Christmas day. Since it is cornbread and sausage it will go nicely with the planned pork roast.
Only one minor flub in the fixings. I realized about halfway through baking that I neglected to put the sugar in the pumpkin pie which precipitated another round of pie making. The second was properly made and delicious. I have tried all kinds of recipes and to my mind the one on the Libby's can is still the best. That is if you use quality spices and a good crust. I will revert to my Southern roots for Christmas and make sweet potato pies for Christmas. Exactly the same recipe except roasted sweet potato instead of pumpkin though I have been known to add a dash of Jack Daniels to the mix.
Supposed to rain all weekend starting tonight so I have leaves to rake and get composting, radishes to thin, compost to turn, and other outdoor chores. It is already a glorious day and up to 53F already at 10am. One of the advantages of living in the South.
Everyone enjoy your leftovers today. I know am looking forward to my slice of pumpkin pie for lunch.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your families and the good food that so many of us are blessed and lucky to have. Take a moment and remember those of our fellow Americans that are doing without or needing help this year. Also remember that we have more than 180,000 young men and women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and even though there may be turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce in the chow hall they are far from home and in harm's way.
Maybe next year we can welcome the majority of the them home and share this holiday in person.

I have to go get my pie in the oven and get going on the dressing. See you back here tomorrow maybe.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Starting In On the Meal

It's not going to a big deal this year at the Monk's. Madam has forbade the turkey, so it will be a small chicken. No family this year and just the two of us so a nice roasted chicken is the perfect size(and possibly my most favorite thing anyway). Just doing a Rosie the chicken and not the Poulet Rouge but it will be nice.
Just put my day old cornbread cubes and baguette cubes in the oven on dehydrate so they will be nice and crisp for my dressing tomorrow. Getting ready to do the pie crust for the pumpkin pie so it can rest overnight and I will chop the onions and celery for the dressing today to save time tomorrow. In a little bit I will put together my dough for the rolls so it can rise very slowly overnight in the fridge.

Oh! and enough of the small green tomatoes I harvested after the freeze are nicely ripe so I will have home grown tomatoes for Thanksgiving after all.

So the menu is going to be simple but traditional.

Local organic green beans in brown butter
Local organic sweet potatoes (see the recipe in the post down the page)
yeast rolls
sausage and cornbread dressing
roast organic, free range chicken
organic cranberry orange relish
pumpkin pie with whipped cream for desert

The wine will be a nice German Riesling that is yet to be selected though I may stray into Pinot territory or even a Gewurztraminer.

What's on your menu for Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bad News

No big surprise here but it's not very good news. AP:
The government says the economy took a tumble in the summer that was worse than first thought as American consumers throttled back their spending by the most in 28 years.

It was further proof the country is almost certainly in the throes of a painful recession.

The Commerce Department’s updated reading on the economy’s performance showed gross domestic product shrank at a 0.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. That was deeper than the 0.3 percent rate of decline first reported.

Don't Read This

Don't read Joe Bageant. It will just make you mad and depressed at the same time. True though it may be.

It's Getting Hungry Out

The following should tell us something...

At a 600-acre farm in Platteville, Colorado, an astonishing 40,000 people from around the USA turned up this weekend ready to partake in the ancient practice of gleaning – the act of collecting leftover crops from farm fields following the harvest.

Joe and Chris Miller, the farm owners, had invited people from neighbouring communities to come and take home the remaining potatoes, leeks and carrots on their land - expecting between 5,000 to 10,000 people to show up.

When an estimated 11,000 vehicles converged on the farm, 37 miles north of Denver, Chris said, 'Overwhelmed' is putting it mildly... People obviously need food’.

The couple decided to open their fields to those suffering hardship and as a thank you to customers after being informed of raids in local churches where food was being stolen.

The farm visitors were so numerous and did such a thorough job of cleaning up the leftover vegetables on the Saturday, that the second day of gleaning had to be cancelled.
As many of us in the U.S. look forward to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner there are an estimated 36 million of our fellow Americans that cannot. There is a real and growing food crisis in what is purported to be the richest nation in the world.

According to the New York City Coalition Against Hunger demand is up 28 percent. In Chicago there is 33 percent rise in the number of people who have turned to a pantry for food assistance compared with a year ago. The Los Angeles Regional Foodbank reports that demand is up 41 percent and the quote that "One out of every ten people in Los Angeles County is at risk of hunger." With all of this new demand and a Thanksgiving dinner costing 12 to 15 percent more than it did a year ago, 72 percent of the food banks across the nation are receiving less government funding then they did last year.

Some 28 million Americans now receive some amount of help from the Food Stamp program, known since the beginning of this month as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Soup kitchens everywhere are in tough straits. That's because food prices have increased at a time when the numbers of people in need have risen and the people who donate, hampered by economic difficulties of their own, are contributing less. A family of 4 qualifies for about 28 dollars a week and if you have been to the grocery lately you know what $28 bucks will get you.

This is a big problem and growing bigger by the day. The great majority of us folks are feeling the pinch of the times but many of us not as much as a lot of us. Look real closely at your budget and see what you can spare for your local food bank. Even $10 will help. This is a special holiday week but next week and the week after people will be just as hungry so consider setting aside a small portion of your weekly food budget for those that have a whole lot less. Here in Atlanta and in other large cities the problem is staggeringly large but even if you live in small town America you can find someone that needs help with food. Check with local churches and they can point you to groups that are trying to help. Even if you can't help financially you might be able to help by volunteering.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sweet Potatoes with Soul

Down South, sweet potatoes are a standard part of the Thanksgiving dinner. There are lots of way to cook them and my family always did the cook and mash with butter, brown sugar and OJ and cover with mini marshmallows and bake routine. They are fine and still bring the same memories as the old bean casserole(not a fave).

Being a good southern boy, and as is typical of my generation, my brothers and I were raised, in large part, by a black maid. In my case her name was Hattie Mae and she was the spitting image of the woman depicted on the old Aunt Jemima pancake syrup bottle. Big and jolly and amazingly good natured when you consider the raw deal life had dealt her and her race in pre-sixties America. She cooked a lot of the meals for us and while not fancy she made the most of her ingredients.

Anyhow, she had a way of cooking sweet potatoes that I still use today when I want to do something other than just bake them in their jackets and it is simple and oh so good. You wouldn't know it from looking at at one but sweet potatoes contain quite a bit of moisture and that is the trick behind this method of cooking. You can use this method to cook a few or a whole pile of just have to adjust the other ingredients to the amount of potatoes you are cooking.

You'll need a nice heavy bottomed sauce pan or dutch oven type pan. This is important because you cook the potatoes in their own juice and it takes a while for this to develop. A thin bottomed pan will cause them to burn before they release enough juice to cook.

I usually use the rule of one good sized sweet potato for every person at the table plus one for the pot. Peel them and cut them crosswise into about 3/8 inch slices. Layer the slices in the pan and then cover with plain white sugar. For 4 or 5 largish sweet potatoes I usually use about a half a cup or so. On top of the sugar put some pats of salted butter or if you want margarine. Again, this is by eye but I would say I use about a stick(1/4 pound) for 5 large potatoes. Cover the pot and put it on the stove over low heat for about 45 minutes or a little longer(depends on what low means to you). You don't have to stir them or anything. After about 45 minutes check on them and you should find that they have cooked and exuded their moisture which has combined with the sugar and butter to form a nice sweet sauce. The potatoes should be tender and almost falling apart done but not already fallen apart. These will keep in a warm oven for quite a while with no harm or they can even be made ahead and reheated without harm. Just be careful not to stir them much or they will fall apart into mush. If you are going to cook them ahead then don't cook them all the way done and let the reheating finish the job. To serve them, put them in your serving bowl using a slotted spoon and then pour the juice over the top. Again, depending how how long they have cooked you need to be careful not to break them up. You still want to be able to see the slices of potato.

This is a really simple and old fashioned way to cook sweet potatoes but it is so simple that it really brings out the best of a good Southern grown sweet potato. The nice thing is they look so fancy and taste so good people won't believe you when you tell them how they are made.

Let's Talk Turkey

It is almost Thanksgiving in the U.S. and that is not good news for about 46 million turkeys. Madam has declared turkey as "not welcome" in the Monk house for various reasons but I agree if you are talking about the standard turkey that will appear in most American dinners this Thursday. The conventional Thanksgiving turkey purchased at the grocery store is a Broad Breasted White. These turkeys are bred to have so much breast meat, that they are often unable to physically support themselves or breed. That means that without human help, these birds would die out in just one generation. I don't know about you but this is just the sort of "franken food" that I really don't care to consume.

These really are a sad example of American big agriculture at its worst. Virtually all of the mass market birds grown for the Thanksgiving rush are factory farmed. This means that they are confined in crowded conditions and fed a high controlled diet of grain and hormones in order to be ready by the holiday. Most all are also injected with saline or other solutions to make them "juicy".

There is an alternative and that is the "heritage turkeys" that are becoming more available each year. The only problem is that these turkeys are real animals that are pasture raised and are not fed the high growth diets of the factory birds and therefore grow much slower. They are also very expensive when compared to the old "Butterball". I was in Whole Foods yesterday and stopped to look at what was being offered in the turkey case. Most in the case were free range all natural birds but still "Broad Breasted White" and they were going for about $50 bucks which is pretty pricey when compared to the conventional supermarket bird. They also had a few heritage birds but they were twice the price at about $100 a piece. Sorry, I don't like turkey that much but if I just had to have a turkey I would probably cough up the price for the smallest one I could find and failing that I would at least go free range.

So whatever you cook for Thanksgiving, whether it be the regular supermarket Butterball or some rare heritage gobbler make sure you honor the sacrifice the bird has made for your celebration and for Goddess' sake don't overcook it. That means ignore the "pop-up" thingy and use your thermometer. Oh! and also consider brining the sucker as it makes a world of difference.

You've Just Bought Another Bank

Updated below.

Looks like we just bought another bank. The current "plan", as best as I can figure, is to take on Citigroup's losses beyond a certain (still undetermined) level. If the government does so, Citigroup will give us either warrants or preferred shares. While shares are better for we taxpayers I seem to remember Warren Buffet getting an even better deal which was preferred shares and warrants on additional shares. We should get, at the least, as good a deal as Buffet, don't you think?

If you remember Citigroup was all hot to trot to take over Wachovia just a few short weeks ago. They even had the backing of the FDIC over Wells Fargo, the eventual winner. The FDIC's insistence that Citi was the better partner for Wachovia really points out the questionable finanacial leadership we have in Washington right now.

Unfortunately, it looks like Hank Paulson and company are going to play by the same rules it has throughout this "crisis" and that is that the people who caused the crisis are going to be left in charge of the organizations they've mismanaged to the point of failure. You know that Paulson is not going to hurt any of his country club buddies. It is really amazing that there is not more public outcry over this because these folks are obviously incompetent. If they were competent and capable of managing Citigroup properly, they would have done so. The only explanation is incompetence. The actual problem is probably a combination of incompetence and the fact that Citigroup has become too large to effectively manage. If our current financial leadership itself were competent and not hamstrung with all kinds of misguided loyalties to the bad players we would nationalize the operations of the Citigroup and proceed to break it up into manageable bits while insuring none of the current culprits are involved.

Update: Paul Krugman notes this morning that a Citigroup bailout, under the circumstances, may have been worthwhile, but this bailout is outrageous: "a lousy deal for the taxpayers, no accountability for management, and just to make things perfect, quite possibly inadequate, so that Citi will be back for more.

Drum and Yglesias seem to be asking all the right questions.

At the current stock price the mismanaged company is worth $20.5 billion. It's already received $25 billion from the TARP rescue plan, and the Treasury is poised to inject another $20 billion, on top of generous asset guarantees. Sure looks like a sweetheart deal to me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chilly Saturday

Wow! A cold 20 degrees this morning in the North Atlanta burbs. I won't be getting any outdoors stuff done until a little later. I think I managed to protect my small vegetable bed last night with an emergency cold frame and a hundred watt light bulb. We'll see this morning as soon as it is warm enough to remove the frame.

Not much on the agenda this weekend other than some more chicken wire compost holders and composting the frozen tomatoes and mange tout peas. Looking forward to harvesting those peas but not this winter.

Finally finished the on site testing last week. Still some testing to do but I can do it from home as I don't need to be on their lan to do it. Thank goodness no commuting this coming week.

Off to the basement and the battle of the chicken wire. I'm definitely wearing long sleeves and gloves for this battle as I am just healed from the last.

Everyone have a great weekend. Try and stay warm and make some nice soup as it is the perfect weekend for it in most of the country.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ok I Can Sleep

PARIS (AFP) – It's taken more than a century, but Einstein's celebrated formula e=mc2 has finally been corroborated, thanks to a heroic computational effort by French, German and Hungarian physicists.

I've lain awake night after night worrying about this. Seriously, it has taken 103 years for someone to validate Einstein's work. Seems this math works when you considers space and time a four dimensional crystal lattice. What took so long?

It's Back

I touched on Spam a while back but it seems the Hormel folks and Spam specifically, are benefiting from the wonderful Bush economy now coming into its full bloom. According to the New York Times: Spam Turns Serious and Hormel Turns Out More

Spam plant employees are working around the clock just to keep up with demand.

The article notes that some other products are benefiting from the bad economy including pancake mix, instant potatoes, vitamins, beer, rice, beans, mac and cheese, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, and Velveeta. At least consumers have the right idea with the rice and beans but the other stuff in the list is not so hot.

Here's something else from the article:

And sales are still growing, if not booming, for Velveeta, a Kraft product that
bears the same passing resemblance to cheese as Spam bears to ham.

I hate to admit it but Velveeta does make a pretty good grilled cheese sandwich not to mention a traditional Southern Mac andCheese. We are talking "White Trash Cooking" here which is a recognized culinary tradition but you go with the cheese you can afford. During some hard times growing up, my family got the giant chunks of Velveeta from the USDA along with the other staples such as peanut butter, rice, etc. That may be why some of us from that generation still have a warm place in our hearts for things like Velveeta even whilst knowing it is, on balance, not really good food.

Copernicus Found?

A very interesting story and very good detective work. They figured out it was him (pretty sure) based on hairs they found in one of his old books. Think about it. Over four hundred years ago he was hanging out reading a book and some hairs fell off his head and lodged between the pages. Four hundred plus years later somebody can compare those hairs to the DNA in some bones and pretty conclusively id the bones. This is almost as cool as the news that they have charted the DNA of the woolly mammoth and are actually contemplating making one.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

At Least I Still Have ?

This not the way to begin the Christmas season. I mean really!

Emergency Escape

I escaped early today. About 2pm the fire alarms went off and the intercom announced an emergency in the building. I grabbed my stuff and trudged down the 15 flights of stairs. After a half hour in the parking lot the all clear was sounded and I went to the parking garage and drove home. Fifteen flights of stairs is the limit of my dedication for any given day. Fortunately the day has turned of fairly nice and it's almost 60 out and sunny. The only downside was the time of escape. That put me in traffice with all the soccer moms and their Suburbans and other monsters trucks picking up their little flowers from school while nearly empty school buses added to the mix. Oughta be a law.

Some Good News

Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.) has ousted Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (Mich.), as Democratic lawmakers voted 137-122 Thursday morning to hand the gavel of the powerhouse panel to its second-ranking member.This, more than anything, could be the biggest change in the federal government in 2009 and beyond. Waxman's Safe Climate Act sets the targets needed to mitigate the worst effects of global warming. It now becomes the working document in the House for anti-global warming legislation. This is the biggest change in policy we have seen so far and it's a big progressive victory.

Still Commuting

Yeah, I am still a part of the 8-5 crowd. Still assisting the implementation team with their user testing process. I think they are regretting asking for my help since I am a very thorough tester and my years of working with users has taught me all the most effective methods of breaking software. I know how to force bad code to bubble up to the surface and am constantly having the developers ask me why I did that since it is not a normal thing a user would do.
The good news is that this is probably the last week as the developers are winning the race. They are now fixing bugs faster than we are creating bug reports. That's a good thing.
I may get a chance to play here today...we'll just have to see.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tomato Eulogy

The tomatoes didn't make it. My gamble with Mother Nature was lost. I came home tonight and they were all shriveled and sad. I picked the green tomatoes still hanging on as they seem ok but the plants are now ready for the compost bin and their return to the cycle. Tonight it is supposed to be even colder and at 6pm it was already 38F so colder is a definite. I covered the radishes and the carrots to see if I could nurse those through. The peas are too big to cover so they are on their own. That is the story of gardening on the edge. You win some and you lose some. Funny coincidence is that in tonight's mail was a small book from Organic Gardening on extending your harvest.

Forgive? Never!

I am a forgiving person and I can forgive John McCain for his sacrifice of honor in the most recent campaign. I can forgive him for calling Obama a terrorist. I will not, however, ever forgive him for inflicting us with Caribou Barbie. I will hold it against him forever.

Pardon Me? No, Pardon You!

While I sit here and wait for the dev guys to figure out why "optimistic locking" on the database (I have no idea so don't ask) is preventing me from testing, I was reading around and the subject of Shrub's upcoming pardons has surfaced here and there and there was also the comment by someone on Obama's team that torture prosecutions probably won't happen.

So we know that a herd of pardons is coming down the pipe. This last 8 years has been so full of criminal acitvity that has gone unpunished you just know that the pardon list is long and distinguised. Any ideas? I think we all can agree that Darth Cheney and Rumsfeld are going to head the list--guaranteed. Probably a good bet that anyone and everyone involved in the torture we didn't do is pretty much guaranteed to be preemptively pardoned as well. Who else? Skooter Libby, Turdblossom Rove, maybe Ted Stevens? There are, of course, many others that could show up...Mark Foley, Abramoff? Both of those would be a little harder to swallow but don't put it past Bush. We know he is a mean and vengeful person and could give a crap whether what he does is morally right or wrong. The last two would cause even Bush some heartburn, but don't think they're not being considered. Oh, and let's not forget the old BugMan Tom Delay. Have any other candidates?

Let's Pollute Everything

Thanks to Jill at La Vida Locavore ,who is currently reading Soil Not Oil by Vandana Shiva, we get a peek into the thinking of Larry Summers who is evidently on the short list as a potential Secretary of the Treasury. This was from back in his World Bank days.

In 1991, Summers wrote in a memo to senior World Bank staff, "Just between
you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty
industries to the LDC [Less Developed Countries]?" Summers had justified the
economic logic of increasing pollution in the third world on three grounds.

First, since wages are low in the South, economic costs of pollution arising
from increased illness and death are lowest in the poorest countries. According
to Summers, the logic "of relocation of pollution in the lowest wage country is
impeccable and we should face up to that."

Second, since in large parts of the South, pollution is still low, it makes economic sense to Summers to introduce pollution: "I've always thought," he writes, "that countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently
low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City."

Finally, he argues, since the poor are poor, they cannot possibly worry about environmental problems: "The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostate cancer than in a country where under five mortality is 200 per thousand."

(pages 33-34)

I will leave it up to the reader to draw any conclusions about the sanity of Mr. Summers.

Hungrier and Hungrier

Not a good morning. Here I am worrying like a silly ass about a few tomato plants that probably got frozen last night all because I am trying to cheat Mother Nature and grow effing tomatoes in effing November and and what is almost the first thing I see this morning on the tiny TV in the elevator?

In 2007, the number of children who went hungry grew 50 percent over a year earlier.

Families with the highest rates of food insecurity were headed by single mothers.

The 2008 numbers are expected to show more hunger because of the economy.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some 691,000 children went hungry in America sometime in 2007, while close to one in eight Americans struggled to feed themselves adequately even before this year's sharp economic downturn, the Agriculture
Department reported Monday. The department's annual report on food
security showed that during 2007 the number of children who suffered a
substantial disruption in the amount of food they typically eat was more
than 50 percent above the 430,000 in 2006 and the largest figure since
716,000 in 1998. Overall, the 36.2 million adults and children who
struggled with hunger during the year was up slightly from 35.5 million in
2006. That was 12.2 percent of Americans who didn't have the money or
assistance to get enough food to maintain active, healthy lives. Almost
a third of those, 11.9 million adults and children, went hungry at some
point. That figure has grown by more than 40 percent since 2000. The
government says these people suffered a substantial disruption in their food
supply at some point and classifies them as having "very low food security."
Until the government rewrote its definitions two years ago, this group was
described as having "food insecurity with hunger."
Here we are giving away billions of dollars everyday to Wall Street fat cats and no one knows how much money to a secret cabal of who knows who and I am reading this in the effing elevator? How are we justifying giving tax breaks to banks to the tune of $140 billion on the sly and yet the number of American children going hungry keeps rising and will rise again this year? Am I just having a nightmare? Are we still spending $10 billion a month killing Iraqis and bombing Afghan weddings? Stop and think about it. This is Insanity with a capital I.

I'll tell you one thing and that is on January 21st, 2009 somebody better have a damn plan to end this once and for effing all. How much money was just spent electing a new American President? Not a good morning.

Oh! And one other thing....Stop calling it "food insecurity" for Goddess' sake it's hunger, it's starving, it's an empty stomach, it's going to bed in pain that will only be worse in the morning, it's not understanding why you're weak, it's not growing, it's not developing a good brain, it's slowly dying, it's destroying a life, it's something much worse that fucking "food insecurity'.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What to Do About GM

Caught a few good posts at Firedoglake during lunch which give a pretty good perspective on the GM bailout and some scenarios if it is not bailed out. The first is by Emptywheel and the second by Jane Hamsher. If you have a few minutes they are worth reading.

In a nutshell, we don't really have much choice when the economy is at its current state. Couple this with the need to move forward on green technology and the fact that if we don't protect GM the Chinese will step in an try and buy it. There is no way the economy can absorb that many additional jobless because a Chapter 11 in reality meand Chapter 7 or liquidation since there is no money in the credit system to generate the debtor in possesion loans necessary to see a company the size of GM through a full Chapter 11 scenario.

Jane and Marcy do a good job of making this all pretty clear.

Back At It

Back at the client this morning. No DSL at home so I had to wait until I got in to see what is going on. Not a lot of good news on the economic front this morning. I noticed on the video in the elevator that Citi is cutting another 50,000 jobs. Crikey! That's on top of the 10,000 or so they have already cut. One might begin to wonder what all those jobs were when they can be eliminated and Citi expects to still run the business.

The Eurozone is already in recession and now Japan is joining the recession club. We all know that it is doubtful that the US Q4 will manage to show any positive numbers so we'll be joing the 'official' recession club as well though we are really already there. On top of the GDP numbers are growing rates of consumer bankruptcy which in turn will trigger more problems for families, personal credit and housing problems. While I have mixed thoughts about bailing out Detroit, we have to decide just how bad we want things to get. How many jobs will disappear if the big three go into Chapter 11 which a lot of people think will just be the first step into Chapter 7 (liguidation). There is a huge pile of industries around the periphery of the auto industry and the impact will be enormous.

Looks like the Big Dog is coming to Georgia to stump for Jim Martin. Good for him. Early voting starts today in Georgia and turnout will be the key if we expect to dump Saxby Chambliss. It would be so sweet, not to mention another Senate seat.

Better get to work. You guys have a nice Monday. We are expecting our first freeze tonight so I will be out in the garden tonight covering tomatoes with sheets in an attempt to keep them going for another week or so. It really is silly to expect tomatoes from the garden in November but the challenge is fun. Just a few more home grown tomatoes would be great for Thanksgiving and a real gardening coup if I can pull it off. The average date of first frost in this area is supposed to be October 20th so I am gardening on the edge anyway.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Rambles

After the rain over the last few days(not a lot but some) it is too wet to do yard work though the leaves need attention in the worst way. Not only is it wet but a cold front is coming in and it is very windy...suboptimal for leaf raking.

Got my first seed catalog yesterday and it is the best one. It is from Seed Savers Exchange and it only has heirloom varieties. It is the hardest thing in the world to just choose a few things to plant when there are so many interesting things available. It is also fascinating to read the history of each seed. Where it was discovered and who originally cultivated it and the names are wonderful. Jacob's Cattle beans originally cultivated by the Passamaquoddy Indians in Maine. Hidasta Red beans from the Native Americans of the Dakotas. Trail of Tears beans brought by the Cherokee to Oklahoma on the infamous march from the Smoky Mountains in 1838. Bloody Butcher corn first grown in 1845 and Country Gentleman corn a gorgeous 'shoe peg' corn first introduced in 1890. Boothby's Blonde cucumbers from the Boothby family of Livermore, Maine that makes bread and butter pickles that are fabulous. Hundreds and hundreds of vegetable seeds that have been kept year after year by our ancestors and all tested by mother nature. No, many of them don't grow vegetables as large as the new hybrids but you can save the seeds and they will grow true. Plant the seeds from the new hybrids and if they are even fertile you will get something totally unpredictable. These heirloom seeds have been selected by time and mother nature to produce a dependable crop. I always plant at least one variety of heirloom and multiple varieties of tomato and beans. I will also plant some hybrids but I will know that I can save back some seeds from the traditional plants and no matter what happens I can grow a garden. You are beginning to see some heirloom tomatoes in places like Whole Foods and once you taste them you will understand their appeal. They are grown for food and not because you can pick them mechanically and ship them around the world or because the have a shelf life of weeks. Besides its fun as I can spend hours looking at the catalogs and figuring out which to plant.

Something else that's interesting is that Slow Food USA has teamed with the Seeds Savers Exchange and identified some of the varieties for their ARK of taste program. We're talking real food here.

Tonight I am going to do 'trailer park' cooking. I got some broccoli in the CSA box and I am really tired of just steaming it or sauteing it. I mentioned I was cooking broccoli to my mother while chatting today and she said she had a new recipe from a church supper for broccoli cheese cornbread. I looked it up on Google and their are hundreds of recipes, all very similar. Basically, a box of cornbread mix(I'll just mix my regular cornbread and leave out the eggs and buttermilk), 1 cup of cottage cheese,1 box of frozen broccoli(I'll sub fresh but blanched), a chopped onion, 4 eggs, salt...mix and bake. It actually sounds pretty good! I'll let you know.

UPDATE: Don't bother. Definitely not worth repeating. I could probably work with it a little and make it better but it is too much like a casserole for my taste and I am not a fan of casseroles.

Even though Madam will whine I've decided tomorrow is chili day. I bought a nice little grass fed piece of London Broil today that I will cut up and we'll do a slow cooked chili for dinner. There will also be leftovers which I can take with me to work next week(yes I will be testing software again next week). I made the mistake of going to the cafeteria in the building once for lunch last week and that won't happen again.

Madam is home from shopping now so it is time to spring the broccoli cheese cornbread on her and the chili.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Around the Bend

The latest rumor is that Senator Hillary Clinton is being considered for Secretary of State. I think it would be a great idea not only because she would do a good job but just ponder for a moment how crazy it would drive the wingnuts. Gotta love the possibilities.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good News, BAD News

Taking lunch break and waiting for another build to go up on the test server. Things are looking much better today and all of the bugs found yesterday were addressed on the overnight build. Nothing but minor annoyances this morning...thank Goddess.

You can't say that for the people looking for work because it is getting VERY ugly:

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week
to 516,000, the highest level since the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001
attacks, the Labor Department reported on Thursday....

Continuing claims reached 3.897 million for the week ended Nov. 1, the latest period for which the data was available, which was an increase from 3.832 million the prior week and marked the most people filing for ongoing unemployment assistance in a quarter of a century. Continuing claims were 3.95 million in the week ended Jan. 15, 1983.

That's nearly 4 million folks out of work and getting unemployment which means they are looking for work and can't find it.

Poop Sandwiches?

There's an interesting article on fast food on this week called What's Really In Your Fast Food?. It's worth a read but I especially liked this quote:

In an interview, Jahren, who is a geobiologist and professor at the University of Hawaii, even suggested that the nitrogen isotopic signatures found in meat products were so high that they were consistent with environments where animals had consumed their own waste.

Anybody up for Mickie D's for lunch?

Easy Pizza Dough

I was talking with my fellow testers yesterday about (what else?) food and all of them seemed to be amazed that I had made my own pizza dough the night before. It's a snap and it makes a much better pizza dough than you can buy. It really doesn't take too long either. Actual hands on time is maybe 15 minutes and another hour or so waiting for it to rise. The nice thing is you can create a nice little pizza for dinner when you don't want to rattle a bunch of pots and pans. The other night on the homemade pizza we had roasted red peppers(from a jar), marinated artichoke hearts(from a jar) and some grated cheese(Irish Kerrygold Ivernia). Quick and easy and very tasty.

This recipe will make the dough for two 6 or 7 inch pizzas or one 14 inch or so. You can double the recipe or even triple it but there are only two of us and this is just right for us. I always make sure I have the ingredients for a quick dough on hand.

1/2 cup warm water
1 and 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour or all purpose is ok
1 package of Rapid rise yeast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 and 1/2 tsp olive oil.
1/2 tsp of honey or a tsp of sugar (white or brown)

Preheat your oven to 500 and if you have a pizza stone(recommended) put it in the oven to heat.

Dissolve the honey(or sugar) in the water and add the yeast and mix.
Let the yeast mixture sit for about 10 minutes until it begins to foam.(proof the yeast)
Add the oil to the mixture and stir an then stir in all of the flour and salt and mix until it comes together. Turn it out on a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until it forms a nice dough. Return the mixing bowl(that you have wiped out and oiled lightly with more olive oil) cover, and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled, it should take about an hour depending on the temperature.

I use parchment paper but you can just turn the risen dough out on a floured board or your peel and, without working it too much, cut it in two pieces for two individual pizzas or leave it whole. Spread in out into two 6 or 7 inch rounds or one 14 or so inch round( I like my crust kind of thin) and set it aside to puff up a bit which should only take a few minutes.
When you are ready to assemble just paint the dough with olive oil and put on the toppings you want. I don't like a loaded pizza so I am usually kind of sparse. I go for flavor. Thinly sliced tomato, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella or pesto and grated parmesan or just a little fresh goat cheese and some chopped mixed herbs. Bake it until it browns on the edges. Careful not to overcook.

Note: if you are using a pizza stone, they work best on the very bottom rack of the oven. This gives the crust time to crisp before the toppings start to burn.

You can also mix up the dough, knead it and then put it in a zipper plastic bag and put it in the fridge. It will keep all day or even overnight. If you are thinking pizza that night make the dough in the morning and let it idle in the fridge all day. It will actually develop better flavor with a slow cool rise.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Still Testing

Sorry for the quiet around here but I am still very busy testing software. Not going well is the best I can say. Long days and lots of frustration. Should be over(one way or the other) this week and things can get back to normal. Not enjoying the commute everyday and definitely not enjoying sitting in a 15th floor conference room all day struggling with a very complicated application that really is not ready for "prime time". As is common in our industry pushing the 'bleeding edge' is fraught with disaster at every turn. The developers are starting to hate me and my ability to break stuff. They have yet to learn what I have in my nearly 40 years of doing this... that users will do things that don't necessarily make sense to a developer and this usually causes unexpected results. Today the system assigned the technician I am pretending to be a service call at a Burger King. Since I am also pretending to be the dispatcher I knew that there were existing trouble tickets for the same location and being the model of efficiency I manually added all the rest of the tickets to the tech's work schedule so that all the tickets could be handled at once. The application is supposed to do this automatically, it didn't, I did and it wasn't happy. I won't go into what happened when I used parts on a call that the system didn't think I had on the truck. Let's just say we are having fun. More tomorrow so it will remain relatively quiet here for another few days.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's Help Jim Martin in Georgia

While the biggest part of this November's historic election is over for the nation it is not over here in Georgia. We have a run off between the bastard Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin.

It will be enough for me to see Saxby Chambliss defeated just because of what he did to Max Cleland in the Georgia Senate Election in 2002. Using Max Cleland's support of unions for the Department of Homeland Security workers as an excuse Chambliss ran what is arguably the most disgusting and insulting ad against Cleland. Max Cleland is a triple amputee from Vietnam and the ad accused Cleland of being unpatriotic and showed him alongside pictures of Saddam and Osama bin Laden. It is widely held that the ad was the primary cause for Cleland to lose his Senate seat to Chambliss.

Here's what Senator John McCain - like Cleland, a man who suffered a horrific ordeal in Vietnam - had to say about Chambliss' ad back then:

"I'd never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield -- it's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible."

Reprehensible though it may be, it was apparently not enough to stop Senator McCain from campaigning with Saxby Chambliss.

McCain (R-Ariz.) will come to Georgia on Thursday to help Chambliss. Though details were still being confirmed Monday morning, McCain will likely appear in Cobb County on Thursday afternoon. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will also come to Georgia for Chambliss, and an invitation has been extended to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has not confirmed.

It's very sad to see this from McCain. As he said, what Chambliss did in attacking Cleland's courage was reprehensible. And it should be condemned, then, now and forever.

I should also note that Saxby Chambliss is no friend to veterans. His contempt for veterans in the political arena is matched only by his opposition to them on the floor of the Senate, voting against funding for the new GI Bill, traumatic brain injury research, proper amounts of time between deployments, and dozens of other initiatives. Not only does he not support veterans but he most conveniently recieved six deferments from doing his part in Vietnam.

Now, Chambliss is facing Jim Martin, an Army veteran who served one tour of duty in Vietnam. Neither candidate reached 50% in the November election, so there is a December 2 runoff scheduled. Barack Obama is sending aides to Georgia to work on the campaign, which will undoubtedly come down to turnout. The more ads that Jim Martin can run will be a bigger turnout for him. We really need to put Chambliss in his place.

You should also consider that a Democratic win in the Georgia Senate race was not predicted but a win by Jim Martin would put us one step closer to a Super majority and it would neutralize Joe Lieberman. Enough Democrats in the Senate and the representation on the Homeland Security committee might be changed enough to the Dem side to put any chance of Holy Joe launching a jihad against Obama impossible. Think about it.

So so this Veterans' Day, support our veterans and our military by supporting Jim Martin. Show that Chambliss' attacks against those who have given so much for their country will not be tolerated.

On the web:
Jim Martin for U.S. Senate

Dangerous Game

President-elect Obama has indicated that he will leave the decision about what to do with Holy Joe up to the Senate and Harry Reid. That is probably as it should be. The "official" word from the Obama team is that they don't hold any grudges and would welcome anyone that wants to caucus with the Dems. My problem with Lieberman is that he has shown his stripes and they are not Democratic and they are not supportive of Obama. Joe Lieberman is a two-faced egomaniac who has demonstrated repeatedly that he has no of loyalty to the Democrats nor to Obama even after Obama supported him in the last election when he went rogue as an independent. I am pretty sure he won't show any gratitude or honor and the first chance he gets he will stab Obama in the back. If, Goddess forbid, they let him keep his poorly performing committee chair of Homeland Security he will be in a position to use his subpoena power to harrass Obama on behalf of his conservative fiends. Leave a rotten apple in the barrel and you have trouble. It's also a big mistake to keep him in the caucus where he will be privvy to the strategy and legislative tactics. I think it is time to give old Joe his walking papers. He is a mole for the Republican party pure and simple and he will be a lot more trouble than his sometimes progressive vote is worth.

Veterans Day

Don't forget that today is Veterans Day. Take a moment today and reflect and honor those who have served our nation in uniform and those serving now. I remembered to put up the flag before I left this morning even if I broke the rules and put it up in the dark. A tremendous number of men and women have served over the 200 plus years since our country's founding and far too many have made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Let's also not forget the families, wives and children of those who have served and are serving our country. Millions have sacrificed much for us.

I salute you comrades and may the need for our service be replaced by peace and cooperation in the future.

More Testing

Another busy day testing software today. Today is mostly trying to clear reported bugs that devopment reports as fixed. My least favorite job since you have to reproduce conditions exactly and that means some deep database diving. I also need to do the final validation of street level routing. This is a little more fun since you get to try and trick the system by putting adjoining service calls where there has to be navigation around water or other hazard and see if it gets calculated correctly. Today we will be having the service techs going back and forth between Sanibel Island and Naples and Tampa. Will see if the system takes the Causeway into consideration.
Anyhow, it will probably be a little quiet around here until we get this software turned over to the client.

BTW, it was the commute from hell yesterday. An hour and 20 minutes, 15.6 miles. Let's hope this morning is a little better.

Book of Love

Here are some excerpts from Monday's Special Comment by Keith Olbermann:

Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it. ...

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."

Nothing needs to be added to it in my book.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bad News for Jobs

Two big hits on the jobs side today. First, switching from just closing hundreds of stores, Circuit City has filed for Chapter 11. I can remember thinking a year or so ago when they fired all their experienced sales people for the cheapest folks they could find that this would be their demise. Continued poor and increasingly declining sales says it all when you couple it with a tighter economy and competing for for fewer and fewer buyers. How'd all that cheap labor work for you there CC?

DHL has also announced a global reduction of 40,000 jobs with 20,000 in the U.S. While they didn't specifically say they were shutting down U.S. operations that 20K in jobs is basically their entire U.S. workforce plus some(Canada?). This will hurt us in the logistics field as that is one fewer player to keep the game competitive.

The carnage widens.

Monday, Monday

Monday again. Joining the commuting crown again this morning. Our developers addressed all the bugs we discovered last week and gave us a new build over the weekend that requires testing today. Tomorrow we are scheduled to turn over the system to the client for User Testing and load testing so this is our last chance to test before the client gets it. If we pass this gateway then we upgrade the existing client to this release and then begin rolling out the product to the rest of the universe which will be a multi-year global project. Once we get rolling on the work force piece we will follow with our service parts planning piece and business intelligence piece. There is a lot of work to be done.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and is ready to start another week. Chance for showers here tomorrow which we will welcome with open arms. Our primary source of water, Lake Lanier, is now at it's lowest pool in history. Not good.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Weekend Wars

Typical homeowner, gardener weekend around here. Leaves have started coming down in a rush and for a gardener that means gathering them all up for composting. I went to Home Despot yesterday and bought a 25 ft. roll of chicken wire to make up three circular bins for holding the leaves. This is a relatively cheap and effective way of making little portable compost bins. The hard part is in unwinding the tight little roll of wire, cutting it into three equal lengths and then joining the bitter ends to form three nice hoops for compost bins. It was quite the battle and in the end the chicken wire won. I am covered with punctures, scratches and other wounds and still have one bin to go. Damn stuff refuses to behave and wants like the dickens to return to its original form of a 3 inch diameter roll instead of three 3 ft diameter hoops.

I tried something new last night for dinner. I roast vegetables in the oven all the time...onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, beets, tomatoes, parsnips, etc. and since we got three nice turnips in the CSA box I thought roasting them would be just the ticket. Not a good idea, at least with purple top turnips. Roasting made them bitter and really sent the turnip flavor over the top and basically made them nasty. Lesson learned. It's soup for turnips from now on.

Off to tackle the final chicken wire bin and then on to the leaves. To make amends to Madam for last nights dinner debacle, tonight will be oven roasted beets(again from the CSA) and a small Poulet Rouge from North Carolina. If you happen to see one in your store and try it you will be spoiled for regular white chickens, even the free range ones. Paper thin skin and meat that actually has some flavor. Roast chicken is probably my 'mostest favorite' thing and these chickens are like the ones you get in the street markets in France off the rotisserie. Mighty fine and a truly noble way to honor the sacrifice the chicken has made. I also have a very nice Cote de Rhone that will go nicely with it all.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Odd Bits

Long hard day and an even worse commute. I said yesterday that the client was not that far away from my own offices(which I rarely go to) and that the commute was not that bad for Atlanta. Wrongy! It took me an hour this morning to go the 15 miles and an hour and 10 minutes this afternoon. Sheesh! Glad I don't have to do this everyday. The client is implementing our new work force management product which is really slick. It takes in calls for service from the client's customers and matches them up with available technicians and then schedules the techs to achieve an efficient 'route' for each tech's workday. It is interfaced with Google maps and all that high tech stuff and allows the customer service folks to monitor each call and do everyting necessary to meet customer expectations. It is also very complex and there is so much data involved it makes it very difficult to troubleshoot problems. I am crosseyed from trying to untangle all the variables involved in a simple service call. Tech skills, traffic, conflicting emergency calls, no parts, wrong parts, wrong zip code. It is also a little funny since we aren't talking life and death here but dispatching techs to repair soda fountains and machines but in the restaurant business if your high margin soda fountain is not working it is a bad thing. It's a living.

Trying to catch up on all the blogs this evening and one you shouldn't miss in MandT's newest post on the election at Adgitadiaries. As always it is brilliant.

Finally found a solution for the Austrian Kale in last week's CSA offering. I made a simple soup with chicken stock, onions, a bit of tomato paste and garlic, a can of canellini beans and the kale. Pretty good. If any one is interested I will post a more detailed recipe.

MandT's post, mentioned above, got me to reminiscing a bit about my experiences growing up white in the South of the fifties and sixties. We lived in a fairly small town in North Carolina, Roanoke Rapids. My dad worked at the paper mill and mom at the local dairy as a bookeeper. On the side they owned a little lunch spot next to the Trailways bus station. I can still remember the little window on the sidewalk for serving blacks. Whites could sit at the counter or in one of the few booths but blacks had to order at the window that opened on the sidewalk. It seemed so natural at the time but today I find it hard to believe. How things have changed.

I had a lot of idle time today whist commuting and that is always dangerous since I tend to think. These last eight years have had a hugely negative impact on my presence. I could use the word karma but it wouldn't quite be correct. Over the last years my ability to hate has grown as has my tendency to dismiss others who don't agree with me as stupid or of no account. These and some other 'sins' are a real and unwelcome reversal for me. I have spent years, since the late sixties, studying, practicing and meditating in an attempt to put these devils in their proper place and I was doing fairly well up until 2000. I, unfortunately, let what Paul Krugman calls the "monsters" leech away years of progress. The good news is that I have started to garden again and I already feel energized and more in touch with the universe than I have in many years. I let the fallout from the "monsters" contaminate me and my connection with the world and I should have responded more quickly. I need to do better and I will. I really should have been more in touch with myself and realized why, after so many years, I found it imperative to spend all the time and hard work to start the big garden again. The Tao knew what was needed.

Another day tomorrow trying to figure out why the tech with no 'o' rings on his truck was dispatched to a Burger King with a leaky syrup hose but it is Friday and that is a 'good thing'. Oh and one more thing...our 'test region' is Orlando, Tampa and Fort Meyers and have you ever contemplated how many soda fountains and soda machines there are in such a small area? It is really frightening to consider.

Still Real

Yes, it is Thursday morning and yes, Barack Obama is still the President-Elect. It wasn't a dream or a fear induced hallucination. I have to go to work so it will be quiet around here until the early evening.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hiatus Over

My little hiatus is over. One of our implementations has hit a rough spot with a new product and the 'Big Kahuna' has been called for aid. Fortunately it is local and the offices are just around the corner from our office so it is not a bad (for Atlanta) commute. Anyhow, off first thing in the morning to see if we can drain some swamp or shoot some alligators or something.

I have most of my gardening projects done so work won't interfere with anything except blogging. I was beginning to feel a bit unwanted since it has been a good 4 weeks without a billable gig. One has to earn one's keep and in today's economy you really should be making yourself indispensable.

Yes We can

Still trying to digest what happened yesterday and I think it will take some time. This is only the first step on a very long and arduous journey. We have a very difficult road ahead. It will take years and much sacrifice to begin to mend the damage done to our country and the world during the last eight years and only time will tell if the country has the fortitude and desire to make the journey.

There is much to celebrate this morning and also much to mourn. On the positive side, efforts to restrict a woman's freedom were properly shunned in Colorado and South Dakota. On the negative side, Proposition 2 in Florida and 8 in California were passed giving evidence that, in spite of the hope generated on the Presidential side, we, as a country, have a way to go when it comes to being a mature and socialized society. The Mormon church and the other hate filled people that so rabidly supported these measures should be ashamed. The people of Arkansas voted to ban gays from adoption and foster parenting. Why they think it is a good idea to keep love and support from children bereft of it is beyond me.

There is reason to hope this morning but there is also reason for pause. There is much to assess from the vote yesterday and the waves of change are just begun. The balance has shifted toward the light though and that is a good thing.

New Day

It's a new day both figuratively and literally. It is way past my bed time but I just wanted to type President-Elect Obama before I crashed. What a rush. We watched history being made today and the world will never be the same.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Don't Fall for the Trick

The NY Times is reporting something that is making me very nervous... Networks May Call Race Before Voting Is Complete :
At least one broadcast network and one Web site said Monday that they could foresee signaling to viewers early Tuesday evening which candidate appeared to have won the presidency, despite the unreliability of some early exit polls in the last presidential election.

A senior vice president of CBS News, Paul Friedman, said the prospects for Barack Obama or John McCain meeting the minimum threshold of electoral votes could be clear as soon as 8 p.m. — before polls in even New York and Rhode Island close, let alone those in Texas and California. At such a moment, determined from a combination of polling data and samples of actual votes, the network could share its preliminary projection with viewers, Mr. Friedman said.
Hello! This is just an under the table attempt at voter suppression so don't fall for the ruse. There are some very significant races that are very close and dependent on a large voter turnout especially from the Dems and Progressives. If the networks starting calling the race for the Dems early, even before polls close in some areas of the east much less the central and western states then that will encourage Democrats to give up and not make the effort to vote since it is a "done deal". Senate and House races will be affected by this, as will the tally to defeat disgusting ballot initiatives like Prop Hate(8) in California.

Don't fall for it! Ignore the preliminary results, whatever you hear, get to the polls and vote as if your single ballot could decide the election. Florida 2000 proves the value of a single vote!

We are in a fight for the future in this election, not just of the U.S. but of the world as we know it. Every single vote for Obama and the down ticket races for Democrats is a repudiation of the conservatism and policies of exclusion that have brought us to our knees. It is not enough for Obama to just win. We must reject the Republicans soundly and overwhelmingly. This is just the beginning of a fight to reclaim our country and our stature as a meaningful contributor to a better world and the battle will continue into 2012 and even beyond. If we are lucky enough to bring Obama to victory today the assult on his presidency will start in earnest just as it did for Clinton's. The Republican machine is already trying to cast doubt on the election and it will only get worse.

As an American the single best thing you can do to send a message to the dark and evil forces that want an Obama presidency to fail is to vote, no matter how long the lines. You must vote regardless of how the pundits call the election. Remember, the only chance the Republicans have of salvaging anything from this election is through voter suppression. They will do anything to keep you from voting, including making you think it is over and that your vote is no longer important to the outcome. Vote, no matter what is said or done before the polls are closed, vote no matter what.

Remember that every vote for Obama and the Democrats below him on the ballot is another nail in the coffin of the conservative cabal that has tortured our country for the last 8 years. Every vote for the change that our country and the world so badly needs is a repudiation of the dishonest and disastrous policies that have brought us to the painful point we are today.

A Poem for Election Day

The Boston Globe and Robert Pinsky (former U.S. Poet Laureate) remind us of this poem by Walt Whitman from 1884. Seemed a worthwhile effort to repeat it here.


If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,

'Twould not be you, Niagara - nor you, ye limitless prairies - nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,

Nor you, Yosemite - nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyserloops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,

Nor Oregon's white cones - nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes - nor Mississippi's stream:

This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name - the still small voice vibrating -America's choosing day,

(The heart of it not in the chosen - the act itself the main, the quadrennial choosing,)

The stretch of North and South arous'd - sea-board and inland - Texas to Maine - the Prairie States - Vermont, Virginia, California,

The final ballot-shower from East to West - the paradox and conflict,

The countless snow-flakes falling - (a swordless conflict,

Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern Napoleon's): the peaceful choice of all,

Or good or ill humanity - welcoming the darker odds, the dross:

- Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify - while the heart pants, life glows:

These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,

Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.

It's Here

This is day we have been waiting for since November,2000 or November, 2004 depending on your point of view. It's in the voter's hands now and there is nothing to do but wait and whatever you are doing to GOTV. If it is any encouragement, Dixville Notch, New Hampshire has a history of being the first locale to vote, both in the primary and general election. Dixville Notch is way up in the northernmost part of the state and hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1968. Tonight, according to CNN, Obama won Dixville Notch by a vote of 15 - 6.

Here's to a an encouraging start.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Almost Over

While this has been an exciting and history making campaign and will soon result in a history making election, I am pretty much ready for it to be over. I want to be able to say, OK we did that, now let's move forward on the change we so much need. The opportunity for positive change is 8 long years in the waiting and I am ready for it. I do note that voting early has taken some of the 'moment' out of the process but I am glad I did anyway. Let those who couldn't vote early have my spot.

If you haven't already voted then tomorrow is it. Get out there and vote and please consider voting for the Democrat. Thanks.

Newspapers Continue to Climb Onboard

U.S. Newspapers continue to roll out endorsements for Barack Obama. Here is a sampling from the weekend. Impressive and positive. I like it.

CA – Pasadena Star-News: This election will chart the course not just for the next four years but for many more as the incoming president and Congress grapple with two wars and an economic crisis while carrying an onerous national debt and skyrocketing budget deficit on their backs. To best meet these challenges, we respectfully endorse Barack Obama for the presidency.

CA- LA Daily News: But [Obama's] offered detailed, sensible plans on pressing domestic issues and thoughtfully addressed the economic situation. He has a clear health-care plan, similar to what California has been trying to create over the past two years. He has a tax plan that gives back to the people who are generally asked to share the biggest burden, and a small tax increase on those who have benefited - and will continue to do so - from the policies of the current administration… His is a message that we're a people who might be down, might be facing hard times, but we still have a bright future. It's a message that makes us feel hopeful - not helpless - in the face of the climate crisis, that we can treat the elderly, the sick and the poor as a rich nation not only can, but should. And that in the end we can and will leave the country a better place for our children and grandchildren. That's a message America is dying to hear.

CO – Aspen Daily News: Barack Obama possesses both the style and the substance to guide this nation out of one of its darkest chapters. As many have noted, the mere act of electing Obama will begin to undo the unjust reputation bestowed on the United States in recent years. It would signal to the world that our country is ready for open-minded global debate, that it will act only after careful deliberation, and that the American dream is alive, well and moving into the White House.

CO – Boulder Daily Camera: He is educated, diplomatic and respected abroad…Obama has remained, for the most part, above the fray. In Sen. Joe Biden, he selected a solid running mate with more experience than himself, and someone who could help him navigate foreign policy. Obama is not just the right choice against the McCain ticket, he is the right choice for president in our troubled times.

CT – New Haven Register: Obama has proven a disciplined campaigner and a brilliantly effective orator. After eight years with a Republican in the White House, a fresh perspective is needed. Barack Obama should be the next president of the United States.

IL – Daily Herald: To respond to those challenges, the nation needs a confident change in direction. We believe Sen. Barack Obama is best suited by temperament, judgment and vision to bring about that change, and we strongly endorse Illinois' favorite son for the presidency.

NM- Santa Fe Reporter: The next president faces massive challenges at home and abroad. We are living in uncertain times and are in need of fresh perspectives, steady leadership and, perhaps most of all, inspiration. Barack Obama, whose life story reflects the best of America's promise, already has brought these factors to the campaign trail. Now it's time for him to bring them to the White House.

OH – Middletown Journal/Hamilton Journal-News: If anyone can help erase the Blue State/Red State division that makes any constructive political discourse in this country nearly impossible, it's Barack Obama. Obama has demonstrated the maturity, needed pragmatism, genuine concern and calm understanding of the historic challenges that our nation faces. That is why this newspaper endorses Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States.

OH – New Philadelphia The Times-Reporter: The Times-Reporter believes Democrat Barack Obama is the better candidate to lead the country out of these trying economic times and today gives its endorsement to him over opponent Republican John McCain… We believe Barack Obama is the better of the two candidates and the one who can lead us through one of the most difficult economic times since the Great Depression.

OR – Yamhill Valley News-Register: Only one candidate stands for change in this year's presidential race — Barack Obama. Obama's intellect, temperament and ability to inspire are precisely what we need after a disastrous eight years under George W. Bush.

PA – The Daily Item: Throughout our nation's history, in trying times, America has been fortunate that voters have shown the wisdom to select leaders ready and able to guide our nation forward…Considering the scope of the challenges facing our nation, voters again must make a bold, but wise, choice for president. That choice is Barack Obama.

TN – The Nashville Tennessean: This newspaper believes Obama would be an inspiring choice at an extraordinary time for the nation. The country needs a fresh, energetic face in the White House. Every race for president is important, but the current confluence of events, including the war on terror, mountainous challenges in the economy and a growing strain upon the nation's health-care system make the current race a call for vigorous new approaches and enthusiasm. Obama has managed to put a tone of optimism in his campaign at a time it would be very easy to be downhearted, worried and pessimistic. That characteristic alone goes a long way in demonstrating the kind of leadership the nation needs.

WA – The Columbian: Any successful reformer must excel in leadership and judgment. In the past several months, Obama has distanced himself as the superior candidate in those two areas, and today he receives The Columbian's endorsement for president… But as we examined leadership qualities of both men, we saw Obama's massive strides in uniting his own Democratic party, even reaching beyond his party to speak to all Americans. McCain, in stark contrast, continues to slog through a fractious Republican Party that often is his worst enemy. It takes strong leadership skills to enlist record numbers of volunteers and to continually explore new heights in the polls, as Obama methodically demonstrates.

WI – Madison Capital Times: But, for the most part, Barack Obama "gets it."Obama opposed authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq and he has been a wise skeptic with regard to the fantasy that a "surge" of U.S. troops into Iraq will turn that country into the "mission accomplished" paradise that Bush White House spin doctors keep trying to get Americans to accept. And he promises to replace threats and violence with a diplomacy that seeks peace, cooperation and development….The best hope for an Obama presidency is that he will arrive in the White House with a mandate from the voters, and a clear governing majority in the Congress. Where will the mandate come from? Let it begin here in the progressive heartlands -- with an overwhelming vote for Barack Obama -- and let it spread out across a country that has waited too long for a change, and a president, we can believe in.

WV- Huntington Herald-Dispatch: Others felt Obama has a better idea of how to finish the war. He is more attentive to the needs of the middle class. He has a stronger commitment to education, and he is more likely to bring a fresh approach to health care, the economy and energy policy. It was a good debate, but in the end, there was more sentiment on the editorial board that Obama would bring the change that America needs.

H/T to AmericaBlog

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Garlic Day

Today is garlic planting day. It only makes sense now that the vampires are safely away until next year. I was late in ordering my bulbs so the only variety I could get was CHILEAN SILVER which is fine though I did want some of the SISKIYOU PURPLE and INCHELIUM RED for variety but I will do with what I have. CHILEAN SILVER is the type of garlic you mostly see in the grocery stores and has a nice balance of flavor. It is a softneck garlic which takes a little longer to cure but it keeps pretty well. I have one and a half pounds of bulbs so if things go well I should get anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds of garlic in about 6 to 8 months. That should keep me in garlic for the year.

Still haven't had a frost down here yet and we are about two weeks past the average first frost date. I still have cherries tomatoes in containers but they are slowing down with the cool nights and though there are a lot of small green ones I have only had about a dozen ripe ones so far. Looks like the forecast is for another week or 10 days of above average temperature so maybe we'll get some more.

Everyone enjoy their weekend and if you haven't voted for Obama yet then Tuesday is your day. I am managing not to hold my breath but the tension an excitement is building. Just a couple of days to go.

P.S. don't forget to set your clocks back tonight as Daylight Savings Time ends.