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Dillo: If Mitt Romney wins we'll have to move...
mr. flea: Why would we have to move?
Dillo: Because he's going to shut down the EPA.

He has, in fact, threatened to do so - at one point in the primaries every single candidate was vowing s/he'd shut down the EPA - but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't actually do it.

politics

Mar. 21st, 2011 07:27 pm
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Casper has just written her first letter to the president.  It is about "tocsic gases" and global warming.  All her own work.  I helped her address the envelope.  I hope we get at least an email back.

ARGH

Sep. 4th, 2009 10:48 am
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Yesterday: newspaper article on my wacky insano representative in Congress: headline: "Broun warns of dictaorship" http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/090309/new_489061975.shtml

Today: Editorial on the proposed Obama speech to schoolchildren from my local newspaper (note the writer is not a newspaper employee; he seems to have a column about once a month): http://onlineathens.com/stories/090409/opi_489397974.shtml

Plus this over the PTO listserv:
Dr. Lanoue [brand new superintendent] is about to bring before the board - tonight - a move that will limit students viewing of the President's address. Elementary students
cannot watch it during school at all in CCSD [our school district] and students can only watch it in social studies classes. A letter will go home with a letter about the
address, an FAQ sheet from the White House, and an "opt-out" form."
He says this is coming from the state; the state (Cathy Cox's chief of staff
who I just emailed) says they left it up to local board's discretion.

Good grief, people. I, for one, would not be opposed to letting my first grader hear a speech from George W. Bush about the importance of staying in school, just to get that out there. (I do think Obama's speech will probably be better than any Bush speech could be, but that level of message is probably within Bush's rhetorical competence.) I am so sick of this mass hysteria.

sadly

Nov. 11th, 2008 10:35 am
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My congressman, just-re-elected, believes Obama is planning to establish a Marxist dictatorship. No, really: http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/111108/new_354491763.shtml

Dreams...

Nov. 7th, 2008 09:44 am
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David Brooks' column in the NYT begins today:

I have dreams. I may seem like a boring pundit whose most exotic fantasies involve G.A.O. reports, but deep down, I have dreams. And right now I’m dreaming of the successful presidency this country needs. I’m dreaming of an administration led by Barack Obama, but which stretches beyond the normal Democratic base. It makes time for moderate voters, suburban voters, rural voters and even people who voted for the other guy.

[I think he'll come closer to his dream than even he imagines, honestly.]

The top reader-recommended comment:

I have a dream where neocon propagandists admit when they're wrong and assume some responsibility for the past eight years of arrogance and neglect.

— Andrew Hyra, Los Angeles

[It is rare that I have cackled this loudly at the office. Excellently snarked, sir!]

Georgia

Nov. 5th, 2008 08:26 am
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In the midst of my real happiness last night about Obama's victory, I was nagged by the numbers we were seeing from Georgia. The national media called the state for McCain very early, and when I stopped looking at the internets at about 11pm the results were showing 60% McCain/40% Obama. I always thought it was a long shot that Obama could take Georgia, but I thought it had to be closer than THAT, especially with the demographics we'd seen in early voting (heavily female and black). I started to wonder if the early voting numbers were not being reported - fully or even at all - in the returns we were seeing in the press.

This morning, it looks like I was right. The New York Times is now showing GA as only 52.6% McCain, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution says that as of 7:30 this morning there may be 600,000 votes still uncounted, all early, majority heavily Democratic counties. And the AJC is saying Chambliss doesn't have the 50% majority he would need to prevent a runoff for his senate seat.

I'm surprised at how quickly I got invested in Georgia. I'm glad it's been close.

On Obama: I think he truly believes in the things he said last night, and good luck to him, and us. Leadership: such a novel thing in a president.
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I am supposed to be writing an essay, but my coworker is meeting with a student and I find it impossible to concentrate with them talking. Must consider earphones and classical music; this happens a fair amount. Or plan all writing for before 10am.

I have been really interested by the contrasts between Athens and Durham. Both are smallish cities, college towns, drops of blue in mostly red states. But they are VERY different.

In Durham, almost everyone I knew who was similar to me in demographic profile (latte-drinkin', volvo-drivin' elite-educated liberal types) was not from Durham, from NC, or from the south. At work, in my neighborhood, parents of the kids' classmates, all tended to be from New Jersey or Seoul or DC or California or Maine. The native Durhamites I knew socially were mostly the children of Duke professors. Very few had southern accents.

In Athens, I work most closely with 6 librarians. They are from AL, SC, FL, GA, NC (and, well, Connecticut). Two of them have strong southern accents (AL and SC). Athens feels much more southern than Durham to me. Interestingly, the parts of it I inhabit don't feel any less liberal - but it's a native southern liberalism, not a transplanted West Coast or Bos-Wash liberalism. I can't yet articulate how it's different, but it is.

Athens feels more segregated than Durham to me; there is no black middle class here as far as I can tell, and the poverty rate among minorities in general is high(er even than Durham). Athens is more a one-industry town than Durham, that industry being UGA, and Atlanta is further than Raleigh, and there's no RTP equivalent. Athens is more truly a college town than Durham, and I suspect is more like Chapel Hill in some respects (student demographics at a state university being rather different from those at Duke).

The weather's about the same, though. It's actually been a remarkably lovely early fall. Athens is horticultural zone 7b, where Durham was on the 7a/7b line.
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I was thinking last night about elections I have participated in, and those I have not. I was pretty patchy at the start, and didn't become a reliable voter until I was in my later 20s.

1990: I turn 18. Freshman year in college; do not vote.

1992 (age 20): Junior Year abroad in Athens, Greece. Register to vote at home (Wallingford CT) and turn in absentee ballot at the Athenian embassy for diplomatic mail, as Greek postal service is in a tragedy/comedy phase. Voted for Clinton; can;t recall local election matters, but I supported my congressperson, Rosa DeLauro, and CT's two senators, Dodd and Lieberman. (Hey, all three are still seated!)

1994 (age 22): Spend August-November in Europe on field project and travel; do not vote.

1996 (age 24): living in Cincinnati. Do not vote; I can't bring myself to vote for Clinton again, feeling betrayed by welfare reform, don't ask don't tell, and Lewinsky (I think - not sure how far that had broken yet). I don't know who my congressperson in Ohio was, and could probably have named a senator at the time, and the governor, although I can't now.

1998 (age 26): whoops, I'm in Greece again. Do not vote.

2000 (age 28): living in Thomaston, CT. Do homework on local, state, and national issues, and vote on old ca-chunk machines in town hall. Vote for Nader for president, Lieberman for senate, and the incumbent, a Republican woman whose name is eluding me, for House. Note: CT is a safe Blue state.

2002 (age 30): have just moved to NC. Don't recall voting.

Since we moved to Durham in April 2003 I've voted in every election, including primaries, and done my homework. I think I did miss a couple of special runoffs for local offices. I am registered to vote here, and will do so, but have very little information yet about local issues (except the school board, which is a kettle of fish). I know who my congressperson is, but can't recall GA's senators at the moment (not up for election this year, I don't think). Have some reading to do.
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You know you've been living in a small city long enough when you know (as in have met & had dealings with) two of the candidates for office whose names are on every streetcorner sign.

A woman running for school board runs (or ran) a program for at-risk teens that included finding them summer jobs. I used to hire one of her students in the summers; I stopped when she started being able to find them jobs that were more suited to their eventual career goals (i.e. in the hospital).

A man running for county commissioner is the neighbor of a good friend, and I have chatted with him at child birthday parties.

200,000 residents, 6 years - I guess that's long enough.
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Karl Rove is speaking at my high school alma mater next month, based on "student interest in a visit during which they might engage him in conversation about his experiences in public life."

It could be worse; he had initially agreed to be the Commencement Speaker.

Between this, the Language Log Antediluvian Twit vs. Ass-Foot of Veejane sitch, the fact that I'm reading a book about sororities called Pledged, the town-gown issues we revisit in this town every freakin' 15 minutes, and a good blog post about class-based school segregation in the county, I'm very down on the state of humanity today.

Well, maybe some lefty Choaties will rip Rove a new one. You never know; it could happen.
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I have been thinking about what I would ask the presidential candidates, if I found myself with the opportunity to conduct one-on-one job interviews with them. My big question would be ye olde, "What is your management style?"

We see a lot in the press about likeability. I 'like' Obama, I don't 'like' Clinton, everyone seems to 'like' Huckabee, the press 'likes' McCain. But while I do like some candidates more than others, I hope it doesn't influence my actual voting much. (I realize that not all US voters are analytical like me, of course.)

We also see some comments in the press, and in those online quizzes that tell you who you should vote for, about policy positions. Nobody jibes exactly with my positions, and it feels to me like the differences between, say, Edwards, Clinton and Obama are miniscule.

What I want in a president is, first, someone whose basic stance I agree with. This matters a lot when it comes to things like Supreme Court Appointees and the power to appoint Cabinet ministers, conduct foreign policy, etc - the areas where the president has the most direct power. But second, I want someone who is intelligent and willing to think about decisions and their impacts, and is a good manager, able to delegate to good people when necessary, handle crises coolly and without being an asshat.

So I think if I had to vote for a Republican (which I don't, and I won't), I might well vote for Romney. I may like him least of the Republican candidates; I don't think he actually HAS any values, for example, and frankly I like someone with honest values that I disagree with wholeheartedly (Huckabee, McCain on many issues) much more as a person than someone who twists in the wind the way he does. But he does seem to have a high level of managerial competence (Massachusettians can correct me if I'm wrong). One could do worse (Rudy Giuliani, I'm looking at you.)

I don't have a firm handle on the managerial skills on the Democratic side, except that I know that much as my personal values jibe with Kucinich's, he was an absolute disaster as mayor of Cleveland (where mr. flea grew up), so even if he were electable I wouldn't be in his camp. I am not wild about Hillary Clinton's managerial skills; we saw plenty during Bill Clinton's years in office and one of my major complaints about the Bill Clinton presidency was the managerial incompetence that resulted in stupid time-wasting instead of accomplishing policy. I don't know much of anything about how Edwards or Obama actually run things when they are in charge of things; as senators and campaigners both have certainly had some experience managing things, and I haven't heard much about major screwups by either, but you just don't know.

I hope this doesn't sound dumb; I've never studied government, and I'm no political junkie. Feel free to correct any errors of assumption I've made.

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