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This week, everyone in my gmail contact list received an almost believable plea for money from my email address -- complete with my picture. The plea, which began "I'm writing this with tears in my eyes," asserted that I was in London with my family, had been mugged, lost all my my credit cards and money, and needed help immediately. It's not a new scam, but it was the first time I and most of my contacts had seen it. And it was, sadly, effective from the hackers' point of view. Several people sent money.

Follow me below the fold to hear how it happened, and what happened next.

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I've known Tracy Potter, the Democratic candidate for Byron Dorgan's seat in the US Senate, for more than 40 years. It has been many years since we worked together against the Viet Nam war, the nomination of Shirley Chisholm for the Presidency, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the protection of North Dakota's environment in the face of massive strip mining during the 70's energy crisis. More than 30 years ago Tracy brought Saskatchewan officials to tour North Dakota in an effort to enact single payor health insurance.

Tracy is an historian, Director of Fort Lincoln, an historic site in Mandan, ND. (Custer was alive when he left there.) He is a citizen legistor, serving in the North Dakota State Senate to which he was elected by voters who have historically sent republicans to represent them. He stepped up to take on popular republican governor John Hoeven for the US Senate seat left open by Senator Dorgan's retirement this year and, despite a seriously under-resourced campaign, Tracy has worked tirelessly to reach the people of the State. I thought DKos readers might be especially interested in Tracy's most recent "Grillside Chat" a weekly feature he posts Sunday nights on YouTube.

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Sausage and Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeños
Shrimp-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Sesame Crab Rolls

In the small Costa Rican community to which my husband and I have retired, the most common social event among ex-pats is the boca party.  Boca, Spanish for mouth, refers to appetizers/finger food that one can just pop into one's mouth – no need for utensils. In the US, we'd call these events cocktail parties, but that sounds so grown up and not like us at all. When someone says, "Come for bocas," what she really means is, "Bring a boca, and we'll provide the drinks." While there's no meal served, the wonderful array of bocas that guests bring substitutes for dinner; so many here put substantial effort into making something great, and the urge to provide a unique and especially tasty boca is compelling.

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Sun Feb 07, 2010 at 10:45 AM PST

Now they've really got me mad

by Alice Olson

It's bad enough that the NY Times has given the Tea Party gathering two weeks of run-up coverage, and two days of Sarah on the front page.  Now they've really done it.

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When Senator Baucus finally emerged from the "hundreds of hours" of work trying to wrest a bipartisan agreement out of his gang of six, there was no one at the podium with him. Not only was there no bipartisan agreement, there wasn't even a Democrat who would stand with him on this bill. Not even Kent Conrad! And, within a matter of a few short days, Committee members had submitted for consideration more than 500 amendments to his bill.

During Committee deliberations, in advancing his Public Option Amendment, Senator Rockefeller called the Baucus Bill, without a public option, a $483 billion giveaway to the insurance industry. Has this changed in any way as the Committee has droned on and on last week and this? Is it no longer a giveaway? Have they removed the mandate? How can these Democrats vote to send this bill to the floor of the Senate? And what is to be done to stop them?

Follow me, below the fold.

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Sat Dec 20, 2008 at 11:16 AM PST

Caroline on the Issues

by Alice Olson

Caroline has submitted answers to written questions submitted to her by the NYTimes.

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The New York Times story about Shaun Donovan's having been chosen by Obama to head HUD veritably glows. My natural skepticism of anyone at the head of NYC's HPD (Housing Preservation and Development Agency), after several years of active involvement in low income housing preservation there, (I left the City before Donovan came on the scene) led me to ask for a view from a less lofty position. I called on thoughtful friends with day-to-day practical knowledge of the issues and people involved there to enlighten me. What I learned is "on the street" kind of info that raises more questions than answers, but it does point to things to watch for:

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Last night I read one of the most disturbing pieces of news I've seen in a very long time. An 8 year old boy, attending a Massachusetts gun exhibition promoted as family entertainment with his dad and brother, was given a loaded Uzi to shoot at a pumpkin. While his father was reaching for a camera, the recoil caused the boy to lose control of the gun and shoot himself, dead.

http://www.nytimes.com/...

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