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Sun May 11, 2008 at 12:16 PM PDT

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson

by ScientistMom in NY

Mother's Day seems a particularly appropriate day to post these thoughts, which I've had for a while.  I am very grateful to Michelle Obama's mother for making it possible for Barack to run for president.  I don't think that the Obamas would have been willing to take on the campaign had they not had Mrs. Robinson to care for their children, and hold the household together, during their extended absences.  In my view, Barack is exactly the leader that the country, and the world, needs right now.  Without the woman who raised two strong, confident, courageous and ethical children under less than optimal conditions available to fill in, would Barack have been available?

Happy Mother's Day, Mrs. Robinson, from a mother who hopes that her two children turn out as well as yours have.


I have had problems setting up email accounts on OptimumOnline, my new ISP.  After a couple of hours wrestling with their online account management tools, finding (with difficulty) a phone number that would eventually (after a journey through an annoying menu) reach a live tech support person, and several long periods on hold while he investigated the problem, I learned the reason.  More below the fold.

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Thu Apr 21, 2005 at 08:29 PM PDT

Just a joke? with poll

by ScientistMom in NY

I participate regularly in a nonpolitical message board.  Yesterday morning a joke was posted.  Another poster and I simultaneously posted (courteous) responses objecting to it.  The original poster said that she was sorry that we were "offended", and offered to remove it.  There followed many responses supporting the original poster, and expressing bewilderment that the two of us had a problem with the joke.  As the day wore on, some vicious comments about us appeared.  Below the fold is the joke and a few of the dimmer and/or nastier comments.

It disturbed both me and my fellow pariah that not one person on the board understood our objections, let alone agreed with us.  I'm interested to hear what you think.


What do you think of the joke?

4%4 votes
1%1 votes
0%0 votes
72%63 votes
21%19 votes

| 87 votes | Vote | Results

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Sun Jan 30, 2005 at 08:59 PM PST

Special election in NY

by ScientistMom in NY

There will be a special election on February 15 for an open seat on the Westchester County Board of Legislators.  (The seat has been vacated by George Latimer, a great guy who was elected to state-wide office in November.)  

If you know anyone who lives in Rye, Mamaroneck, Larchmont, or (northern) New Rochelle, please ask him or her to vote for Judy Myers (D) on the 15th.  Some information below, and I can provide more by email.

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Sat Jan 01, 2005 at 12:48 PM PST

Redefining obscenity

by ScientistMom in NY

I realized today that I live a sheltered life.  I've managed to insulate myself from the worst of American popular culture by watching television only rarely and by almost never entering a mall.  A trip to the mall yesterday and a restaurant outing today have focused my attention on materialism and excess as the truly obscene factors in our society.  According to an op-ed by Jim Wallis of Sojourners, I have more company than I would have thought.

(more in extended entry)

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Each time you go to this site:

and click on the button, the site's advertisers will contribute to several programs that provide free or low-cost mammograms for poor women.  Each person can do this once per day.  From what I can tell, they focus on women between age 40 (when yearly mammograms are recommended) and age 50 (when mammograms are more likely to be covered by other sources).  Presumably, these women do have access to treatment if a cancer is discovered.  

Isn't it pathetic that we have to resort to clicking on a sponsored website for this?  The Kerry/Edwards administration can't come too soon.

I've been convinced since Condi Rice resisted testifying at the 9/11 hearings that some people at the highest levels of Bush's administration are vulnerable to prosecution.  At the time, I thought of treason (Plame "outing"), but since then other possibilities have emerged.  It frightens to think about what desperate people with no scruples and unchecked power might do to avoid losing power.  Remember that even in the best case they will remain in office for 3+ more months.  

I'd like nothing more than to see those people rot in jail, but if this threat were removed they would no longer be cornered rats (just rats, and my apologies to rodents).  Kerry could do it in a speech, in the context of intending to unite our polarized electorate, or privately, during negotiations to stop post-election challenges from their side.

Kossacks are the smartest people I know.  What do you think of this idea?


Should Kerry offer pardons?

12%4 votes
87%29 votes

| 33 votes | Vote | Results

I thought I'd post a diary on this, in case anyone was unaware that the Kerry/Edwards campaign is using volunteers in red or blue states to organize volunteers in swing states.  For the past week, I've been calling people who've signed up to volunteer for the Kerry campaign and asking them to canvas or deliver absentee ballots.  Because I live in NY and have a job and young children, there are not many ways that I can contribute to the effort.  This one is perfect for me.  I make the calls after 9 p.m., when my children are in bed, and my cell phone minutes are free.  The people being called have already signed up as volunteers, so they are not annoyed at being disturbed.  (I made calls to voters in NM and SC for Dean, and many of them were angry at being called.)

This is how it works.  If you go to:

you will find instructions and a sample script for calling people in a swing state and asking them to participate in, e.g., a weekend canvassing event.  (I never follow the script, but read it to get the information.)  By clicking on the "Get Started" button, you get a list of 5 names and phone numbers, and several meeting times and locations.  As you call each person, you fill out an online form with the result of the call.  After the 5 calls are finished, there is an option to get 5 more.  This effort seems quite well-organized.  The system changes a bit each night, in response to feedback.  I always log in after 9 p.m. EST, and I've always gotten states at least 2 time zones away.  It's been a great way for me to contribute in a small way.

Last night I was calling NV.  One of the people I spoke to said, after I'd introduced myself, "Why are you wasting time calling me?"  I thought I'd reached a Republican, but he went on to say that he was a Democratic precinct captain who had already registered hundreds of voters and was working with ACT every weekend.  We ended up talking for about an hour and I learned a few interesting things that gave me hope for NV.  First, Democratic voter registrations have recently surpassed  Republican registrations.  Second, the Yucca mountain issue is apparently uppermost in the mind of citizens of NV.  I've seen it mentioned here, but didn't realize how strongly people felt about it.  This guy told me about a recent Las Vegas rally, where he'd met both John Kerry and Teresa Heinz; the attendance was about 15,000.  Two days later, Bush came to town and held a rally that was attended by only 300.  He also met Howard Dean at an ACT conference in OH.  Howard said that after the election, every ACT member could take 30 days off, then they were to start running for office!

This man was confident that NV would go for Kerry.  

I just received an email from Bill Clinton asking for a donation to Kerry/Edwards.  The fact that there are only two days left was mentioned.  I am baffled and need some help.

If Kerry is going to accept federal funds for the post-primary season, then while it is true that he has only two more days to raise money, it is also true that he has only two more days to spend money.  They can't possibly spend all the cash they have on hand now in two days.  Why are they asking for more?

If Kerry is going to reject federal funds (and I hope he doesn't), then he can raise and spend money for months.  Why the "two more days" pitch?

Is there something I don't understand about campaign finance rules?

I just received an email from Tom McMahon at DFA.  Dean will be speaking in prime time Tuesday night, and will be speaking to supporters over a DFA webcast immediately afterwards.  (I hope this works better than the old Dean For America webcasts!) I wonder whether he will be introducing Barack Obama?

I am so happy that he is getting the recognition he deserves.  

I'd never heard of Reese, but apparently he is a very conservative columnist for the Orlando Sentinel.  Someone emailed me a column he wrote last month.  As far as I can tell, no one has posted anything on it here, so here it is for your enjoyment:

Vote For A Man, Not A Puppet

Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers.

I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a frontman, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his administration. Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any president in my memory.

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Maureen Dowd redeemed herself today, with "Wolfie's Fuzzy Math" following close on the heels of "Bushworld".  She made up for a lot of superficial, mean-spirited columns with today's offering:

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