Monday, September 29, 2008

In Which We Call Attention to Connor's Brilliance

Because this is rather earthshatteringly awesome.

I don't have much to say about the bailout, though I do wish I'd become more dedicated to my autodidactic economics course earlier, rather than struggling to get back on it now. For the most part, it's simply the blatant hypocrisy that gets to me. And it says alarming things about a society that the American economy could, even if it's just in the minds of many, be entirely dependent on the collapse or artificial shoring up of a few big companies.

That's all I know until I teach myself more.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Poetry: Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
Siren Song

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who has heard it
is dead, and the others can't remember.

Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?

I don't enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical

with these two feathery maniacs,
I don't enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How's It Going to End?

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

In the second article, a member of the InfraGard discusses a meeting of business owners that he attended. “Then they said when—not if—martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted."

I do have to keep reminding myself of this: that no matter how involved or invested or even just interested I am in electoral politics, there is a really good, reasonable chance that there will be no election.

To break it down logically, to not be a conspiracy theorist, I want to break this down again.

First, the Military Commissions Act, passed in 2006 and supported fully by one Mr. McCain (among others, obviously), allows the executive branch full discretion over the treatment of enemy combatants, suspends the right of habeas corpus completely for enemy combatants, and allows the president to decide, without supervision, oversight, or checks, who is and who is not an enemy combatant. In other words, a United States citizen may be declared an enemy combatant at any time, and thus be imprisoned indefinitely, be refused access to an attorney, be unable to notify her family, and be subjected to all the abuses committed at Abu Ghraib. This is not in any way exaggeration or hyperbole, to both of which I recognize I am prone. This is simple legal fact. It could happen right now, to anyone. Nothing in the law calls for the President to justify his actions.

The USA-PATRIOT Act II allows for warrantless federal wiretapping of any citizen. You know, those citizens I mentioned above, who could, at any time, be declared enemy combatants and indefinitely imprisoned. Also not exaggeration.

National Security Presidential Directive 51 provides that in the case of a "catastrophic emergency," defined as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions," which event the executive branch has the power to identify on its own, the executive branch may declare a state of emergency and a "continuity of government," meaning that the current government will remain undisrupted, unchanged, in such a situation. Meaning the current President stays in office. Nowhere in the declassified part of the document does the Directive provide a time limit for this state of emergency ("a period up to 30 days or until normal operations can be resumed"; italics mine); nowhere does it mention who can declare the end of it.

What is clear to me, and I hope is clear to everyone else, is that there exists a substantive faction within the government that seeks to make the United States into what I would call a "military-industrial dictatorship," a nation of great military and industrial power and minimal civil liberties, through which a few groups could gain even greater wealth and power than is already available to them.

What is not clear to me, and I doubt it's clear to much of anyone outside of the government, is exactly how far this has gotten. Yes, the MCA has been in place, but we have no idea if and/or how many people have actually been arrested and detained under it. Yes, there are a lot of very suspicious connections (awfully convenient to have a stateside military force and business leaders trained to kill when the President could, legally, declare martial law at any time, don't you think?), but we have no idea who, in the government, is fighting against these laws, what other lawsuits or committees or provisions have been created to keep this force in check.

It is reasonable to say that there is a chance this election will be legally prevented from happening. It is foolish to think otherwise. Let's have that out there. Mr. McCain's "suspension of his campaign" could well be a precursor to such a move. My next post, after Friday Poetry, will be about concrete ideas for what to do should that occur.

It is also possible that a John McCain administration would keep all the above-listed policies of a Bush administration, and that several of these disasters would occur under him, all the more so should he perish and Ms. Palin take the helm. Given that McCain was an advocate of the Military Commissions Act, we have no reason to think otherwise.

There's at least an equal chance that the election will take place as scheduled, and that these breaches of the system of checks and balances will be simply a one-hit wonder. We do not know. We, as civilians, have know way of knowing. But we ought to be prepared and educated, or as prepared and educated as we can be, for either situation.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Question for the Ages

I'm sure many of you have seen the Email that's going around, suggesting that you send a $10 donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name. I've been excited about it, but today got into an interesting debate with my mother. A friend of hers had responded, saying that it's wise to keep the "abortion issue" out of the limelight until the election—"if we can just focus on the economy we have a chance," and the priority is just to get Obama elected.

However much I like the Planned Parenthood idea, I wouldn't be deeply disturbed or upset to lose the opportunity. However, something is rubbing me very much the wrong way about the above argument, and I am finding it very difficult to articulate.

Little help?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh, It Amazes Me

I had a lovely, lovely week seeing my lovely, lovely friends and family in Los Angeles. As I was leaving the aeroport with my suitcase, it occurred to me that it would be very, very easy for someone to just walk in from the arrivals area, pick up a suitcase—say, mine—before I saw it, leave with said suitcase, and there's nothing that the aeroport staff, myself, or really anyone could do. I have, however, never once heard of this happening. I'm sure it has a couple of times, but I've spent a calculable percentage of my life in planes and the resulting aeroports, and I've never even heard such a story.

About a month and a half ago I took a train to Boston. It occurred to me then that it would be very easy for pretty much anyone to set up a bomb on a train, or bring a gun onto a train and hold every passenger up. I have heard of only two train bombings in my lifetime, and while I wish in no way to minimize the suffering of those who endured them, via personal experience or simply in their city, it's kind of stunning that, in the dangerous world I have long been taught exists, this hasn't happened on a fairly constant basis.

I don't think the world really is like we (at least, I) have been taught to think it is.

I know that many, from Lenore at Free-Range Kids to Barry Glassner, have considered this idea long before myself, and I don't really intend to treat it in-depth now. But I have been thinking lately about how foolish a credo is "never talk to strangers," how many errors we make in teaching that to children. "Don't go anywhere with a stranger" is perfectly reasonable, but if the flower girl at the wedding is asked a question by one of the bridesmaids at the wedding and feels the need to turn around and say, "Mommy, can I talk to her?" before answering, how can she possibly ask for help in a(n extremely statistically rare) dangerous situation? I don't like that we're building a culture (not to mention several elections) out of a lack of trust in the world. I've never loved a murder victim or a murderer, have never personally been a victim of, or even threatened with, serious physical and/or sexual violence, have rarely (to my knowledge) been in the presence of a loaded gun, have been robbed only twice in my life. In other words, I do understand that it's easy for me to say. But I would prefer to live in the world where I completely trust my beloved acroyogi friend to fly me and each of my family members and friends in turn, never wavering for a second in her strength, focus or joy. I would rather live in the world where the two days I spent hiking with two college friends, hearkening back to the days we spent hiking five years ago in South Africa except that we're all much more complex, compelling people now and have a much deeper history to our friendship, are fuckin' well worth twisting my ankle for.

There are horrible things in the world. I have no interest in denying that. There are also glorious, transcendent things and simply fascinating things. If we among the privileged (generally the folks reading blogs, certainly mine) could find it in ourselves to structure our lives more around the glorious, transcendent things and the fascinating things than the horrible things, even while acknowledging that all are present, I think it would have an impact on what the world is, and how it works. Beyond some vague definitions of karma, I don't know how yet, but I intend to keep thinking about it, and either way I am confident that it's true. Not to make this a campaign post, because it really isn't, but HOPE is not too shabby a message. Or promise.

In fact, I kind of feel like making that promise now. I promise to hope. There will be several incredibly politically negative posts forthcoming in the next six weeks. What with the near-constant barrage of news, there will be near-constant anxieties and frustrations and confusions and tons of unforeseen personal crises in my life and, by extension, the lives of my loved ones. That's how we roll. But I promise to hope, because I want to. That's the way I'd rather live my life; in fact, I think it's the only way I can, sustainably and completely, live my life.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Poetry: Osip Mandelstam

A post in which she keeps her word, but not in exactly the way she intended.

Anyway, here's a poem.

Osip Mandelstam
Whoever Finds a Horseshoe

We see a forest and say:
There's a sea-going wood,
rose-colored pines free of
shaggy burdens right to their tops—they ought to
be creaking in a storm, their
lonely umbrella tips
in a white rage of treeless air. But fitted
square to the deck, they'd stand the salt wind's heel.

And sailors
Unconquerably hungry for space,
dragging delicate chronometers over damp ruts,
measure the earth's pull against
the seas' rough face.

And breathing the fragrance
of resinous tears, oozing from a ship's planks,
feasting our eyes on riveted
boards shaped into bulkheads,
not by the Bethlehem carpenter, but the other one
(Father of voyages, and the sailor's friend),
we say:
They stood on the uncomfortable ground
too, as on a donkey's spine,
their tips forgetting their roots,
stood on famous mountains,
rustled under sweet rainwater,
forever offering heaven, which never accepts,
their noble load for a pinch of salt.

How to begin, with what?
Everything chirps and rocks.
The air quivers with comparisons.
No word is better than another word,
the earth honks with metaphor,
and light carts
of bright bird flocks, straining, thick,
break apart,
like snorting circus horses.

Whoever sets names in a song is triple-blessed;
songs decorated with names
live the longest—
marked off by a headband
that cures frenzy, a stupefying scent,
strong, too strong, perhaps a man's presence,
perhaps some powerful animal's fur,
or only the breath of mint, rubbed between palms.
The air can be dark like water, and everything swims like fish,
pushing fins against the dense, resilient sphere,
faintly heated, shaking the crystal
where wheels and horses spin,
and the damp black soil of Neyera, plowed every night
with pitchforks, tridents, hoes, and plows.
Air kneaded thick as earth—
you can't leave it, and it's hard to get in.
A rustle runs through the trees, like a child's ball;
children play knucklebones with dead animals' spines.
Our time's brittle chronology runs out.
Thank you for what we have had:
I was wrong, I lost the way, my count went bad.
Our time rang like a golden globe, cast
hollow, held by no one,
and answering, to any touch, "Yes," and "No."
The way a child answers:
"I'll give you the apple," or "I won't give you the apple."
And as he speaks his face perfectly mirrors his voice.

The sound's still ringing, though what made it has gone.
A horse in the dust, snorting a lather,
but the steep bend of his neck
remembers running with legs flung out—
not just four of them,
but as many as the stones in the road,
all renewed in four shifts
in proportion as hot hooves pushed off the ground.

whoever finds a horseshoe
blows off the dust
and rubs it with wool, and it shines,
and then
he hangs it over his door
to rest,
never again to strike sparks out of flint.

Human lips with nothing left to say
keep the shape of the last word spoken,
and arms keep the feeling of weight
though the jug splashed half empty, carrying it home.

What I'm saying, now, is not being said by me,
it's dug from the ground, like grains of petrified wheat.

coins show lions,
show a head;
flat cakes of copper, gold, bronze,
lie in the ground, all equal.
Their time tried to bite them through, here are the teeth-marks.

Time cuts me down like a clipped coin
and I'm no longer sufficient unto myself.

Tr. Burton Raffel & Alla Burago

Friday, September 12, 2008

We've Got Issues

Don Hall has a good post about prejudging and its discontents, and a very specific candidate-to-candidate view comparison broken down by issue. I think you should read it. A lot of us are falling for this personality contest, myself not discluded, and the specifics here are worth thinking about.

I promise, I promise, I PROMISE that my next post will not be about the presidential election. There will be lots of them (clearly—have I *ever* had this many posts between Friday Poetries?), but I need to make sure I'm using my brain as I want to.

Either way, I'm in Los Angeles and going camping this weekend, so until Monday there will not be any posts at all.

Friday Poetry: W.S. Merwin

W.S. Merwin
Burning the Cat

In the spring, by the big shuck-pile
Between the bramble-choked brook where the copperheads
Curled in the first sun, and the mud road,
All at once it could no longer be ignored.
The season steamed with an odor for which
There has never been a name, but it shouted above all.
When I went near, the wood-lice were in its eyes
And a nest of beetles in the white fur of its armpit.
I built a fire there by the shuck-pile
But it did no more than pop the beetles
And singe the damp fur, raising a stench
Of burning hair that bit through the sweet day-smell.
Then thinking how time leches after indecency,
Since both grief is indecent and the lack of it,
I went away and fetched newspaper,
And wrapped it in kerosene and put it in
With the garbage on a heaped nest of sticks:
It was harder to burn than the peels of oranges,
Bubbling and spitting, and the reek was like
Rank cooking that drifted with the smoke out
Through the budding woods and clouded the shining dogwood.
But I became stubborn: I would consume it
Though the pyre should take me a day to build
And the flames rise over the house. And hours I fed
That burning, till I was black and streaked with sweat;
And poked it out then, with charred meat still clustering
Thick around the bones. And buried it so
As I should have done in the first place, for
The earth is slow, but deep, and good for hiding;
I would have used it if I had understood
How nine lives can vanish in one flash of a dog's jaws,
A car or a copperhead, and yet how one small
Death, however reckoned, is hard to dispose of.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oh Michigan Michigan State.

Courtesy of HelsBells:

You've got to be fucking kidding me.

You will be unable to VOTE in this county in Michigan State if your home has been foreclosed? Excuse me?

I have to say, I've taken the allegations of voter fraud in the last two elections with a pinch of salt. I mean, I know that some fucked-up shit went on in Ohio, particularly now that I've heard it firsthand from an Ohio acquaintance, and obviously the hanging chads were what they were, but I have generally believed that the allegations of fraud came from those of us who would simply be too pained to believe that 51% of their fellowcountrymen actually wanted Bush in office.

Now, I'm not so sure.

Mind distributing the above link really widely? And keeping those cards and letters comin' to the state of Michigan? Thanks. I appreciate it.

EDIT, one day later:

Detroit Free Press says the above link may have been a lie.

What do we think? I don't know what I think.

Except that I think we ought to be doing some reeeeeeal careful poll-watching in Michigan, one way and another. I might consider making that a priority.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Both Sides Now

My father just sent me this, an open letter from a Wasilla resident about Ms. Palin, and the flurry of responses that followed.

The letter is interesting and appreciated. Not terrifically enlightening, at this point, but I'm very glad it happened.

It's the responses that intrigue me. First of all, there are a couple of people who casually, easily refer to Mr. Obama as "Hussain" [sic], and one who says "Osama—oops, Obama!" I mean, yes, these are angry people, but I had no idea that had become so common. Which just goes to show, I guess, exactly how much influence Rush Limbaugh has. Then there's the vociferous belief that Obama wants us to be dependent on foreign oil.

There are plenty of leftist, pro-Obama, anti-Palin (have we noticed that anti-McCain, as a concept, has been kind of eclipsed in the last two weeks?) responses as well, of course, but I already knew what they said. Except the mommy ones, I suppose—the "I can't support Sarah Palin because I'M A MOM and a REAL mom would NEVER do what she's doing!" complexes. Which I can't say I am any more behind.

I forget, in spite of my best efforts to the contrary, that I have lived in liberal enclaves ALL MY LIFE. New York City. Chicago. Very brief interludes in Vermont and western Massachusetts. Three months in South Africa, whose majority leadership at that point in time (2003) was substantially further left on a classically defined political spectrum than McCain/Palin (though, to be fair, probably more so than Obama/Biden as well). I know nothing.

To suggest that the media was silent on the Obama-Rezko affair, and to consider Bill Ayers more of a terrorist than, say, Blackwater, seems ludicrous to me. And most likely to all sixteen of my readers. But IT'S NOT LIKE THAT.

The time, I believe, has come for me to really volunteer in swing states. I'm looking on the Obama website for trips I can take. The whole liberal urban elites argument holds some water, and I'll be much better off if I can admit that. But it's certainly not all there is to it. At least I don't believe it is. But it's time I tried to prove it.

Hey, By the Way

Did I tell you I'm going to Ghana in January?

'Cause I am.

For six months.

I'll be starting a theater program for Ghanaian students north of Accra through a literacy organization.

Just wanted to share that information!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Marshmallow Murders

I need a break from posting about the election. Time for a silly list. This was conceived and begun by Connor, Jess and myself, and then received other contributions from Mikey, Silvana, and Leah.

Marshmallow Murders

1) Marshmallows down your windpipe
2) Boiled to death in hot fluff
3) The Human S'more
4) Lowered into a vat of liquid marshmallows that cools around you—buried inside giant marshmallow
5) Crushed to death by a GIANT marshmallow
6) Fed marshmallows until your system crashes
7) Pour marshmallow fluff off an overpass to cause a car wreck
8) Stuck in marshmallows far from other food source until you starve to death
9) Surgery replaces vital organs with marshmallows
10) Poisoned marshmallows in Lucky Charms
11) Marshmallow fluff IV drip/deep-vein marshmallow thrombosis
12) Decapitation using a discus-shaped marshmallow
13) Kill someone in a non-marshmallow-related gory way … while dressed as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man!
14) Fill shoes with marshmallows and throw overboard. Marshmallows will float, so as soon as the thrashing victim tires s/he will be suspended head down in the water
15) A hand grenade in a bag of marshmallows
16) Stuff marshmallows up the nose, Egyptian-style, until brains ooze out the ears
17) Distribute a large quantity of marshmallows about a private golf course. Then leave an empty bag of marshmallows among the belongings of the person you wish to be killed. The resultant frustration of the other ball-seeking golfers will make tyhem pummel the target into a ruddy, bloody pudding.
18) Fly a marshmallow into a crowded building.
19) Use marshmallows to lure carnivorous insects
20) Fluffing and Feathering
21) Give marshmallow to killer baby, then try to take it away
22) Convince Parker Bros. to create a new Clue weapon

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Palin(g) in Comparison, Part the Third

This post written by guest blogger Jon Stewart.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Poetry: E.E. Cummings

E.E. Cummings






Thursday, September 04, 2008


Last week my friend Lawrence's father passed away after a brief illness. I wanted to take a moment to commemorate him.

I wish there were some way to make death easier for myself or for people in my life. I don't think there is. But my thoughts are with his family.

Palin(g) in Comparison, Part the Second

Some interesting comments were made on my previous post that you should read. You should also read this post.

Last night at Sarah's, I watched Giuliani and Palin speak. (Before that we had been watching Freaks and Geeks, which I liked much better.) I realized as we turned to it that I have never watched the RNC or, indeed, the bulk of Republican events. As a political thinker who wishes to be fair and balanced and thoughtful and educated in her assessments, that seems a glaring absence on my part.

I will continue to do it when I can. But if last night was anything to go by, it's going to be really, really hard.

First off, Rudy Giuliani is a really nasty man. (The last two links are last night's speech.) I have tried for many years to respect his meager contributions to my mental health and that of many others post-September 11, so far did it surpass George Bush's, that I forgot that I had real reason to loathe him as I did during his mayoral administration, when I was in high school. Sure, I was quoted in New York Newsday saying he was a fascist when I was seventeen, and that might have been a little rhetorically extreme, but it's got nothing on him. First of all, Giuliani started a huge Republican joke about "community organizers." I have never heard the term spoken with greater contempt than I did last night. It was alarming. Naturally, as a man with executive experience, Giuliani would have a great deal of disdain for those he governed, and he was certainly known to run roughshod over all community interests during his mayoral administration, but to take potshots at any non-governmental leadership experience and then claim that John McCain has outsider status by means of being a "maverick" is a little confusing. His attack on the U.N. was unpleasant (and tonal—don't rely on the text of the speech for most of what I'm saying here, but please do watch the speech if your stomach can take it). Trying to construe Palin as a representative of a new generation of politician while putting down Obama was equally complicated. And I'm not sure what he meant by "the party that believes in giving workers the right to work."

For the most part, though, the problem was not in transcribable content so much as the nasty, nasty pleasure he took at delivering insults, at making people laugh at other people. Giuliani is by nature a school bully. I know that sounds like an abstract, fuzzywuzzy liberal thing today, but Giuliani fundamentally comes into politics with a contempt for others. This is not a man you want being your leader or endorsing your leaders.

My first memory of a campaign commercial is the commercials that the David Dinkins campaign ran during Giuliani's first, unsuccessful mayoral run. I was about five, and I can't remember any of the images or ideas associated with the commercial. However, it ended with text appearing on the screen, text I could read even as it was also read aloud by a calm male voice. "Why are people afraid of Rudy Giuliani?" it asked, and the words dissolved into the answer: "Because they should be."

Yes. Yes, they should.

But Giuliani was only there to introduce, and my concerns about him pale in comparison to my concerns about the Republican veep nominee.

The scariest thing for me about Palin's speech last night was her constant endorsement of the erosion of legislative power. "To use the power of veto in defense of public interest—and as a chief executive, I can tell you it works." More signing statements, here we come. This on top of Giuliani's efforts to tout her executive experience (and why, exactly, does McCain's military leadership count as "executive experience" where Obama's community leadership does not?) makes me realize more about why Palin was chosen, and the pandering to female voters was just for bonus points.

This woman is a social conservative in the truest sense of the word. She's charismatic (yeah, the voice is annoying, but not nearly so annoying as people have been saying), and/but she is not a politician is the manner of McCain—or even, in a certain way, Obama. She's a zealot politically, but she's a zealot with charisma and accessibility, accessibility that, yes, comes in part from her gender. She has staying power and a record of putting her money where her mouth is with regards to her views (I'm not just talking about her baby and her daughter's soon-to-be baby—I think I need to do a separate Bristol Palin post anyway—but also about her working-class story, her "hockey mom" views, and the fine line she walked about touting her own fiscal abilities without trashing Bush).

Simultaneously trying to paint Obama as a member of the Washington élite and too inexperienced for the job is a little bit confusing. And of course, the elitist thing is coded racism: again, nobody minds that McCain is also a "Washington insider," and Hillary, now that she's lost, is not a worthy target.

Make no mistake: a McCain-Palin administration would continue all the worst policies of the Bush-Cheney administration. And should McCain die, which with five cases of melanoma behind him is not an abstract threat, conservative Christian interests will really, genuinely, fully control the White House. Even if he doesn't die, we are looking at the continued and fully accepted erosion of the balance of powers. That really was the scariest thing for me: the full realization that it's not just the Bush administration that feels this way, it really is the party. When Palin said of Obama, "Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights?" the crowd cheered. For quite a while. Given that John McCain wrote and sponsored a bill in 2006 that allows the government to declare any American citizen an enemy combatant with no need for justification, and George Bush signed that bill into law, those cheers may well be the scariest real-time things I have heard in my lifetime.

All her statements about Obama's tax plan were totally deceitful. She made it sound as though he would do for all Americans what he has explicitly stated he plans to do only for the wealthiest 5%. He has promised not increased Congressional spending but redistribution of the budget. And on victory in Iraq: didn't Bush declare that several years ago? Did I miss something?

I think Dickerson articulates well both why we should worry and where she might fail in this article; a few days ago the same publication shared interesting thoughts about why the Palins can be blue-collar when their income is probably five to six times that of the average American family.

Out of fairness and out of general interest: Piper Palin is nearly as cute as Sasha Obama. Several of the points Giuliani made about Obama's changing positions—on wiretapping, on public financing for the campaign—were fair, but like anybody who supports McCain has a leg to stand on with "flip-flopping" anymore. (You know, for that matter, what really bugs me is not politicians changing their positions, but the it-does-not-exist-it-never-existed manner in which those changes are consistently made. Why can't they address it directly?)

And on the catty front: between Giuliani and McCain (and Dubya, for that matter), I'm going to make an official declaration that Republican men over the age of fifty should not smile. It's creepy as FUCK when they do.

This whole blogging the conventions thing is new to me, and I keep worrying that I am responding purely out of panic. I think I'm fairly rational, though, in spite of the deep visceral fear that came in last night. The one thing it was good for is that I have ceased, for the moment, to worry about the convergence of the two parties. I'm still not wild about the limitations inherent to the two-party system, but stop me if I ever come close to referring to the Republicrats or anything of the kind. I am not a Democrat by default, I am a Democrat because Republicans espouse some politics and worldviews that I do not, or cannot, get behind, and the Democratic party supports some things I really believe in.

Last night Sarah (my friend, not Palin) also told me that McCain opposed the GI Bill expansion, because he was concerned that it would encourage people to leave the military. You know, after their tour of duty. I was shocked to find myself crying, actually weeping, at that knowledge.

As far as I'm concerned, the GI Bill is one of the rare class equalizers in America. For McCain to wish its demise, for any reason, belies any street cred he's gained with Palin as a military mom or working-class. The level of hypocrisy inherent to this stance stuns and scares me.