Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Scary stuff, if this is the case.

RFK Jr., Mike Papantonio: "Is Your Vote Safe?"


by: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ring of Fire

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has expressed concern for the safety of the vote in the 2008 election. (Photo: wikimedia.org)

Transcript from Ring of Fire on Air America Radio

Bobby: "There are about 30 scams the Republicans are deliberately using, particularly in the swing states to get Democratic voters off the rolls. These scams originate in the so-called Help America Vote Act which was passed after the Florida debacle in the year 2000. It was originally suggested by Democrats and Republicans but it was passed by a Republican congress with a Republican senate and a Republican president. And instead of reforming what happened in Florida it basically institutionalized all the problems that happened in Florida. And institutionalized a series of impediments that make it very difficult for Democrats to register, for Democrats to vote and then for Democrats to have their vote counted.

"One of these requirements under HAVA is called "the perfect match" and what that does is little known but it is devastating. A quarter of the voters in Colorado have just been removed from the rolls because of this - just this one scam. And what it does is they use a computer system to compare your registration application to all other government records of you in the state. So they'll look at your social security records, your motor vehicle records and any time you've had any interaction with the government and if there is any information on your voter registration that is different than the information on another government record that they find they remove you from the voting rolls.

"Are the Democrats Suing to Stop This?"

Bobby: "No, the Democrats are doing nothing to stop it. In New Jersey, which is a swing state, 300,000 voters in New Jersey were just sent letters saying that they are now ineligible to vote. New jersey is nice enough to actually notify them - most states will not even notify them. And New Jersey intends to send out 870,000 letters so that is three quarters of a million people off the voting rolls in a state that could decide this vote by 50,000 votes. And these are Democrats that are being pushed off the rolls.

Bobby: "Let me tell you about one other of these scams people should know about. If you're a newly registered voter - and of course the Democrats have done these gigantic registration drives - 12 million people on registration - if you're a new voter you MUST include your license or some other state I.D. when you come to vote. What that means is that if you're a college kid (and college kids now - they're sending in absentee ballots - they're not going to the voting place, they do everything online or they do everything remotely - they don't dream of going to the precinct house voting on election day and waiting in a long line) so if they send in the absentee ballot and they don't include a color copy of their license their vote is going to be thrown into a trash can. And none of these people know this because you have had to read the law in order to know it. So there is no notification for when you fill out your registration form, so all of those 12 million people that the Democrats have registered: those ballots are going to be just thrown out.

Pap: "And if Democrats won't talk about this how the hell's anybody gonna know about it? I'm involved with this kind of thing every day - I didn't know that until you just told me. The media is not talking about it. How in the hell is somebody gonna find this out? It's just incredible.

Bobby: "Hopefully - Obama is getting 66 million dollars a month - hopefully somebody in the Democratic organization is going to pay some attention to this before election day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In the US???

In hard times, tent cities rise across the country

By EVELYN NIEVES, Associated Press WriterThu Sep 18, 1:03 PM ET

A few tents cropped up hard by the railroad tracks, pitched by men left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer.

Then others appeared — people who had lost their jobs to the ailing economy, or newcomers who had moved to Reno for work and discovered no one was hiring.

Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a "tent city" — an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.

From Seattle to Athens, Ga., homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation.

Nearly 61 percent of local and state homeless coalitions say they've experienced a rise in homelessness since the foreclosure crisis began in 2007, according to a report by the National Coalition for the Homeless. The group says the problem has worsened since the report's release in April, with foreclosures mounting, gas and food prices rising and the job market tightening.

"It's clear that poverty and homelessness have increased," said Michael Stoops, acting executive director of the coalition. "The economy is in chaos, we're in an unofficial recession and Americans are worried, from the homeless to the middle class, about their future."

The phenomenon of encampments has caught advocacy groups somewhat by surprise, largely because of how quickly they have sprung up.

"What you're seeing is encampments that I haven't seen since the 80s," said Paul Boden, executive director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, an umbrella group for homeless advocacy organizations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore. and Seattle.

The relatively tony city of Santa Barbara has given over a parking lot to people who sleep in cars and vans. The city of Fresno, Calif., is trying to manage several proliferating tent cities, including an encampment where people have made shelters out of scrap wood. In Portland, Ore., and Seattle, homeless advocacy groups have paired with nonprofits or faith-based groups to manage tent cities as outdoor shelters. Other cities where tent cities have either appeared or expanded include include Chattanooga, Tenn., San Diego, and Columbus, Ohio.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently reported a 12 percent drop in homelessness nationally in two years, from about 754,000 in January 2005 to 666,000 in January 2007. But the 2007 numbers omitted people who previously had been considered homeless — such as those staying with relatives or friends or living in campgrounds or motel rooms for more than a week.

In addition, the housing and economic crisis began soon after HUD's most recent data was compiled.

"The data predates the housing crisis," said Brian Sullivan, a spokesman for HUD. "From the headlines, it might appear that the report is about yesterday. How is the housing situation affecting homelessness? That's a great question. We're still trying to get to that."

In Seattle, which is experiencing a building boom and an influx of affluent professionals in neighborhoods the working class once owned, homeless encampments have been springing up — in remote places to avoid police sweeps.

"What's happening in Seattle is what's happening everywhere else — on steroids," said Tim Harris, executive director of Real Change, an advocacy organization that publishes a weekly newspaper sold by homeless people.

Homeless people and their advocates have organized three tent cities at City Hall in recent months to call attention to the homeless and protest the sweeps — acts of militancy, said Harris, "that we really haven't seen around homeless activism since the early '90s."

In Reno, officials decided to let the tent city be because shelters were already filled.

Officials don't know how many homeless people are in Reno. "But we do know that the soup kitchens are serving hundreds more meals a day and that we have more people who are homeless than we can remember," said Jodi Royal-Goodwin, the city's redevelopment agency director.

Those in the tents have to register and are monitored weekly to see what progress they are making in finding jobs or real housing. They are provided times to take showers in the shelter, and told where to go for food and meals.

Sylvia Flynn, 51, came from northern California but lost a job almost immediately and then her apartment.

Since the cheapest motels here charge upward of $200 a week, Flynn ended up at the Reno women's shelter, which has only 20 beds and a two-week limit on stays.

Out of a dozen people interviewed in the tent city, six had come to Reno from California or elsewhere over the last year, hoping for casino jobs.

"I figured this would be a great place for a job," said Max Perez, a 19-year-old from Iowa. He couldn't find one and ended up taking showers at the men's shelter and sleeping in a pup tent barely big enough to cover his body.

The casinos are actually starting to lay off employees.

"Sometimes I think we need to put out an ad: 'No, we don't have any more jobs than you do,'" Royal-Goodwin said.

The city will shut down the tent city as soon as early October because the tents sit on what will be a parking lot for a complex of shelters and services for homeless people. The complex will include a men's shelter, a women's shelter, a family shelter and a resource center.

Reno officials aren't sure whether the construction will eliminate the need for the tent city. The demand, they say, keeps growing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Out of the blue we receive an e-mail on Sunday from a couple that own a coffee shop we used to frequent back in WI. It seems they were on a short vacation in Sequim, WA, just east of Port Angeles, and wanted to visit Victoria for a day and wanted to see us. So, despite Monday being the first workday of the week, we met them in Victoria after work and had a very nice 2.5 hour visit. We tried the food at Red Fish Blue Fish, (check their website!) right at the waterfront, and it was VERY good. If one didn't know any better they might just walk past this great little establishment, with it being in what appears to be an overseas cargo container and all. But, one would be most sorry for missing it and their wonderful seafood menu. It is all take away but they do have some waterfront seating available. They offer sustainable 100% Ocean Wise* seafood and an Earth friendly Reuse and Recycle system. Dixon and I each had the Grill Seared 'Thetis Queen' Tuna Sandwich with spicy spot prawn mayo, tartar, organic greens and pickled cucumbers. It was VERY good! Terry and Kerri each had Fish and Chips, I think, but I don't recall if they had Halibut, Salmon or Cod. All of us also sampled a side of Mushy Edamame (their version of Mushy Peas) and Tempura Pickles, which are dill pickle spears dipped in a tempura batter and deep fried. That sounds very odd but, with the dipping sauce, they are actually rather yummy. I know Dixon and I will be back to try other selections from their menu, us being seafood fanatics and all. We also wandered about downtown, checked out the Jade Shop and even had some dessert at Rogers Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shoppe, all while enjoying another picture perfect sunset over the harbor, and perfect weather. I had a waffle cone with one scoop of Ultimate Chocolate and one scoop of Bananas Foster, my favorite combination! Kerry had the same but Dixon and Terri sat this one out. Their loss I guess. We then walked around the Inner Harbor and said our good byes as our visitors prepared to board the MV Coho for the ferry ride back to Port Angeles. This is the same ferry we are planning to take to Washington in about a month and we found out that US Customs does not allow you to bring DOG FOOD into the US from Canada!!! How positively absurd! Seeing that we are taking the pooch I guess we'll just have to buy some in the US when we get there. Crikeys!!

Thanks for tuning in and don't forget to click the link on the left to Help the Animals.

Friday, September 12, 2008

12 on the 12th.

I found a new thing on a blog, where you post 12 pictures from your daily routine on the 12th of the month. I thought it sounded like a fun kind of diversion so here goes. My only problem is they are not chronological and I could NOT get the dang things rearranged, so just deal with it. HAHA!

1. Me at my desk at work, just waiting for that phone to ring!

2. The veggie stand down the road from the office, which I pass every day on my walk to get the mail. I got a zucchini today for $1, and it is all organic stuff!

3. The view from our deck at work. It is a bit foggy on the water today so you can't see the mountains across the way, but they ARE there.

4. Dixon's suitcase, after he got home from a week of travel to the mainland for work.

5. Dishes all washed up! The dishwasher has not worked since we moved in and we can not figure out why. I can't wait until we get a new one!

6. First thing to do when I get up - feed the dog!!! She is SO patient.

7. MY usual breakfast - coffee with French Vanilla creamer and Honey Nut Cheerios. Hey, at least it's something!! Sometimes I indulge by adding an expensive banana to the cereal.

8. I glance out at the weather conditions before I get in the shower and figure out what outfit to wear today. Gee, fog again, but it will be sunny when I get to work.

9. On the drive to work. It is 20-25 minutes and I RARELY encounter another vehicle. If I do they are usually headed in the other direction. My kind of rush hour.

10. Well, here it is - my place of employment, nestled in the woods with beach access.

11. A beautiful sunset to end another good day!

12. Frying up some mushrooms to make an omelet for a late lunch, after Dixon got home from his travels.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Purple slush.

Once again I find myself home alone with the 'girls, as my other half travels for work, but I'm not complaining - too much. Being home alone I tend to watch a lot less tele and catch up with my favorite blogs. You know who you are because you'll see comments from me all of a sudden. I also try to catch up with e-mails and keeping in touch with friends and family in the US. I'm already so over this election in the US that I try avoid conversations in the genre. So here I am, online, posting and finding new blogs to read and possibly bookmark. The dog is doing her thing, chewing a toy vigorously in an attempt to remove the plastic ball that is surrounded by some wondercloth that has stood up to her teeth for quite a few months now. In the end she will be triumphant but in the meantime it gives her something to do. As usual the cat is upstairs sleeping in the waning rays of sunshine that are filtering through to the underside of the table. Little does she realize, nor care I suppose, that a few feet from her, just over the low window ledge, is the beginings of another spectacular fall sunset. The guys in Vancouver know what I speak of. And I'm not talking just one or two evenings but a string of perhaps 7, 10 or 14 days of glorious color in the sky over the ocean. Keeping me company tonight is a tall glass of Wild Blackberry Margarita, made with a handful of fresh berries that mere moments ago I, with my two bare hands and a bowl, persoanlly plucked from the thonry tendrils along the driveway that have nurtured these berries to the wonderful, flavorful state they are in, or were in. Now they are part of my Purple Slush, and OH so yummy.

Thanks for tuning in, and don't forget to click on the left link to Help the Animals.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A lighter note.

It seems that Fall is just around the corner. The days are getting shorter, the sunsets have taken on a brilliance not seen very much during the summer and soon we'll bid adieu to the cruise ships for another season. I've been thinking lately about how lucky I really am, to be living in such a wonderful place. The house is getting refreshed, the job is working out quite nicely and one of the most stellar moments as of late - I found peaches that are TO DIE FOR!!! I am something of a peach fanatic and with the demise years ago of a local establishment back where we came from, The Fruit Ranch, I have been having a devil of a time finding good peaches. Georgia? Nope. California? Nope. They are always too hard and crunchy, have no flavor, or turn to mush in your mouth, none of what I consider to be traits of a truly good peach. WELL! I found some BC grown peaches at a local chain called Thrifty Foods, and they are absolutely spectacular! Perfect texture, juicy and bursting with flavor. My regret now is that I only bought two, fearing once again an inferior product. In the next few days, when I am in the neighborhood, I will have to stop and get a few more. In this house they will not be hanging around very long, that is for sure.

Another indulgence as of late, that takes me back to the days when my age was in the single digits, is cooked peel and eat shrimp. When I was about six or seven years old, in the mid-60's, Mom and Dad and I would go out to eat at a restaurant called Country Gardens. In my eyes this was a fancy place and they did a smorgasbord that seemed to stretch on forever. OF course Mom would TRY to get me to eat a balanced meal, with veggies and such, but all I wanted was hard salami and the cooked peel and eat shrimp. In my developing years since then, with budgetary constraints, shrimp was relegated to a once a year treat that, truth be told, I probably didn't eat even that often. Now with the move to Vancouver Island, and an abundance of local and international seafood, we've dabbled in the shrimp and I am now once again addicted to cooked peel and eat shrimp. For some reason I am not overly fond of hot cooked shrimp in a dish but give me that cold cooked shrimp, with a good cocktail sauce, and I'll be your friend for life. Or until the shrimp runs out.

So, lately life has been pretty darn good. I have incredible peaches once again, I am reviving a childhood fondness for cold shrimp, the job is working out very well and the days leaning toward Fall are sunny with perfect temperatures. And I am taking a break from all the US politics. Don't even ask me about the Canadian election coming up - I'm still trying to figure out all the parties!

Please click on the link to the left to Help the Animals, and thanks for tuning in...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wake UP people!!

Sure, she is entitled to wear whatever she wants, but come on! WHO is the elitist?
And since when does one mix pearls with diamonds??? I'm sorry but to me that is just so wrong! One has to keep a theme going, not all this mix-n-match stuff. All diamonds or all pearls is elegant, Classy and says style way more than mixing your gem stones. Mix 'em if you're going to the local music festival or country fair, but NOT when you are appearing before the nation as the potential First Lady! What was she thinking??? Jackie O she ain't.

Cindy McCain's $300,000 Outfit

One of the persistent themes in the Republican line of attack against Barack Obama is the notion that he is an elitist, whereas the G.O.P. represent real working Americans like Levi “F-in’ Redneck” Johnston.

It caught our attention, then, when First Lady Laura Bush and would-be First Lady Cindy McCain took the stage Tuesday night wearing some rather fancy designer clothes. So we asked our fashion department to price out their outfits.

Laura Bush
Oscar de la Renta suit: $2,500
Stuart Weitzman heels: $325
Pearl stud earrings: $600–$1,500
Total: Between $3,425 and $4,325

Cindy McCain
Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500
Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000–$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600
Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100

Wow! No wonder McCain has so many houses: his wife has the price of a Scottsdale split-level hanging from her ears.

(All prices except Laura’s shoes and Cindy’s watch are estimates, and the jewelry prices are based on the assumption that the pieces are real.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Separation of Church and State?

In June 2008, Sarah Palin spoke at her former church. On the topic of Iraq, she asked that people pray for the soldiers and that "there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan." In regards to a proposed natural-gas pipeline she said, "I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built."

Is she for real? Is this what the US needs? YIKES!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Change your habits, change the world.

I came across the website of a visual artist, Chris Jordan, courtesy of an enlightened neighbor, and the images are startling enough that I think I will post from time to time, in an attempt to change peoples' habits with a visual one-two punch, as opposed to just words on a screen. I think any sane, thinking person would view these as a bit of a wake-up call, and hopefully be moved to action. We can not keep plundering our planet and expect there to be no long term consequences. Although the images are done with the US in mind I am sure they apply globally. If you would like to view the website, and share with others to spread the word, it is here

Step one - use reusable cloth bags for your groceries, or take some of your plastic bags along and reuse them. The store we shop at on Vancouver Island no longer provides plastic, or paper, bags and we bring along our own tote bags that are kept in the car trunk. It's an easy first step and maybe, just maybe, other people seeing you do this might be moved to do the same. Be a trend setter!

Depicts 60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the US every five seconds.

Partial zoom:

Detail at actual size: