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For those Kossacks living in Seattle and the Puget Sound region, today is the day to Give BIG. Give BIG is the Annual Day of giving sponsored by the Seattle Foundation to encourage citizens to give generously to local non-profit groups.

Give Big is supported by major Puget Sound corporations including Microsoft, Boeing, BECU, and Starbucks.

Many non-profit groups benefit from this highly visible day of giving because the Seattle Foundation provides a "Stretch Pool" of funds to encourage individual giving.

Further, individual or foundation supporters of non-profit groups provide "matching dollar for dollar" gifts to make the event more compelling and rewarding.

See below the Orange Cloud (Croissant?) for examples of great groups that are doing great work in the community and who have matching fund supporters lined up.

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Here on the left coast and just slightly south of Alaska, we've been cheering on our Seattle Seahawks all year with a quiet confidence that this would be our year. Many of us still remember the pain and crushing disappointment when we lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in SuperBowl 40. But this team had a different feel from that team in 06 and was built on a foundation of very young, hungry and mainly overlooked players.

Many of the key players were deemed too small or lacked elite speed or just didn't have the talent to be impact players in the NFL. Richard Sherman (aka the mouth that roared) was a 5th Round draft pick and is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Russell Wilson, our franchise quarterback, was deemed to short (5' 10.75") to play in a league where prototypical quarterbacks are 6' 3" or taller. For comparison, Peyton Manning from the Denver Broncos is 6' 5".

Malcolm Smith, MVP for SuperBowl 48 was a 7th Round draft pick from USC.  Doug Baldwin, one of Seattle's top receivers, was an undrafted free agent - which means every team in the league passed on him 7 times in his draft year. I think that one of the reasons why this team captured the imagination of the fans in the Pacific NW was that we could all easily identify being underestimated, rejected or ignored.


Who were you cheering for in SB48?

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| 74 votes | Vote | Results

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I tuned in to see Melissa Harris-Perry yesterday subbing for Rachel Maddow. Melissa showed clips from a town hall event hosted by Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

It looked she had a packed room and there were questions about her vote to filibuster the recent Toomey-Manchin legislation to introduce (watered down) universal background checks.

Of course, it's now perfectly acceptable for politicians to lie without significant repercussions or consequences. You only need to look at how RMoney ran his presidential campaign to see that lying seems to not faze or trouble the media or members of his party.

And Ayotte trotted out a blatant falsehood which was, of course, captured on video. She clalimed that she could not support the Toomey-Manchin bill because of her concern that this would potentially lead to the creation of a national gun registry. The Toomey-Manchin compromise explicitely forbids the creation of a national gun registry. Now that she has stated her rationale for her vote, this would either demonstrate incompetence of the highest order or she is lying through her teeth.

Which option do you think is more likely? I wrote a note to Senator Ayotte  and you can see my text below the fold

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I've commented a few times here that I am a big fan of Rachel Maddow. She is one of our most gifted, insightful and intelligent commentators. Rachel's show last night was remarkable.

One month after the mass murder of children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, many of the parents of the deceased children spoke at a press conference which was held to announce to formation of a new organization - Sandy Hook Promise.

One of the missions of Sandy Hook Promise is to work to identify and implement holistic, common sense solutions that will make our community and our country safer from similar acts of violence through education, outreach and grass-roots discussion.

After the press conference attended by Rachel in Newtown, she had an opportunity to interview David and Francine Wheeler, parents to Ben Wheeler, one of the children gunned down on December 14. I honestly don't know how they were able to talk about their son's death so soon in such a public forum.

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Folks, from what I've seen on DKOS, this tragedy at Sandy Hook has finally, at long last, shook the nation to its core.

I'm angry, frustrated and frankly, frightened for our country's future. There is no place that we feel safe anymore.

I have a five year old daughter and I dropped her off at Kindergarten Friday morning. I hugged her, gave her a kiss and wished her a great day at school. You assume that she is safe at school.

Well, no longer. Does any parent anywhere in this country feel like their child is safe anymore?

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I don't often get misty eyed when looking at the morning news from our local paper but today was different. At 12:01 AM today, King County officials opened the doors to a line of over 200 same sex couples applying for their marriage licenses.

King County Executive Dow Constantine, a longtime gay-marriage supporter, signed the first license when the voter-approved Referendum 74 formally took effect around the state. Recorder's Office staffers stayed open throughout the night and until 6:30 p.m. Thursday to accommodate as many gay and lesbian couples as possible. It was estimated that the line at midnight consisted of over 200 couples.

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Hey Folks,

I get it. I ate a Standard American Diet for 30 Years and would look forward to my turkey surrounded by all the fixings as much as the next person. And I enjoyed many a turkey sandwich the next day and the next day and the next day .......

For many, Thanksgiving won't be Thanksgiving without a big Butterball to carve at the center of the table. We come together from far and wide to celebrate our biggest national holiday and we want to bring back warm memories and honor cultural norms.

However, times do change and more people are moving to meatless diets for a variety of reasons. Beach Babe in Florida has done a fantastic job with her Meatless Monday postings and talks eloquently about the human and societal benefits of a vegetarian diet.

I'm hosting 24 people for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving and I'm not worried that anyone will go home hungry or unsatisfied. You ask, what am I serving? Well, it looks a lot like your table. Have a look below the orange croissant:


What Does Your Family Highlight At Thanksgiving

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| 41 votes | Vote | Results

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It's been a tough stretch for us Kossacks to watch the polls tighten nationally and in the battleground states in light of the fact that Rmoney was seen as the better performer and debater in Denver. In my view, I thought that Mittens was pretty good on stage.

He was confident, aggressive and gave the impression that he was a very moderate candidate, basically repudiating every policy policy that he's had in the campaign. Etch-A-Sketch in action so to speak.

Rmoney should have looked polished since he's had a ton of practice in the primaries - I've lost track of how many but probably a dozen or more.

Since I'm originally from the Grey White North, I check in occasion to see how our friends in Canada are viewing this election. Well no surprise, they think that Obama blew the first debate badly.

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I followed Andrew Sullivan quite a bit during the run up to the 2008 Elections. At that time, he was blogging for the The Atlantic. I remember a few of his posts where he eloquently stated his case for why Barack Obama should be the President of the United States.

I've lost track of him since he left The Atlantic and was curious to see his take on the recent Romney smirk fest. He's now blogging over at The Daily Beast. Well let's say that Andrew is no fan of Mitt.

More below the fluffy orange cloud.

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With all the great speeches from the Democratic Convention, it's probably easy to over look the fact that investors are bullish on the prospects for corporate earnings.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index closed at 1432.12, its highest point since January 2008.

The Nasdaq Composite closed at 3135.81, its highest level in more than a decade, reaching a level not seen since the dot com crash of 2000.

The Dow closed at 13292, its highest point since December 2007.

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Jeremy Lin is a point guard for the New York Knicks of the NBA. Almost overnight, Lin has become a star in the NBA - an unlikely scenario given his background and ethnicity. Most stars in the NBA come from powerhouse college basketball programs such as Kentucky, UCLA, Duke, Syracuse and Michigan State. Lin attended Harvard and unlike most of his peers, was undrafted. The chances of a undrafted college player from an Ivy League school making the roster of an NBA team and succeeding are miniscule. The last Harvard player to play in the NBA was Ed Smith in 1954.

Lin is one of the few Asian Americans in NBA history, and the first American player in the league to be of Chinese descent. Lin follows in the footsteps of Yao Ming, the easily recognizable 7'6" center from China. Yao Ming, now retired from the NBA, gained a strong following during his career with the Houston Rockets  after he became the first international player ever to be selected first overall without having previously played U.S. college basketball. Yao is considered one of China's best known athletes.

Lin is certainly getting some respect from some of basketball's leading lights. Hall of Fame player Magic Johnson commented.

He is for real. For real.
L.A. Lakers Superstar Kobe Bryant said after their recent loss to Lin and the Knicks.
Players don’t usually come out of nowhere. If you can go back and take a look, his skill level was probably there from the beginning. But no one ever noticed.
Follow me below the croissant for some thoughts about the amazing story of Jeremy Lin and why Linsanity is a fast moving infection here and worldwide.
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Of course, the big story here and elsewhere has been the Susan G. Komen Foundation decision to defund Planned Parenthood earlier this week. Although the Foundation has apologized for this public relations disaster, all they have really agreed to is to allow Planned Parenthood to apply for future grants. Who knows if the Foundation will approve future grants given what we have learned about their organization this week?

In any event, I can understand the furor and backlash against Komen. They have allowed politics to influence their grant making process. And they have caused everyone to step back and really look at how truly effective they were as a grant making organization with the stated goal of finding a cure for breast cancer.

While I believe that it is laudable that government agencies, for-profits, not-for-profits, foundations and universities collaborate to find a cure for cancer, we should put in at least as much time and effort into prevention. We live in a society that demands and craves “silver bullet” solution to our problems and health issues. We want to find “cures” for diseases that we really truly don’t understand.Follow me below the fold for a discussion and review of cancer prevention tips and strategies as it relates to diet and nutrition.

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