Friday, October 31, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 31, 2008: 


Chip D. Dog is fading.... 

About three weeks ago, Dan took Chip to the vet for his annual vaccinations. The vet on duty was the one who does the surgeries and was the one who first told us that the growths on Chip's head could interfere with his health. Dan asked him how much time Chip might have left given how fast the lumps have been growing.

The vet said that even if we could afford surgery to remove the growths, the prognosis would not be good given Chip's age and the fact that he has other medical problems. Dan then asked when we would know when it was time to have Chip put to sleep. The vet replied that if Chip stopped eating, that would be a pretty good clue.

Last week, Dan and I both noticed separately that Chip seemed to be thinner than usual. We got him groomed on Saturday, and we were shocked to discover once his thick fur was shaved down a bit, you could see his backbone and even a hint of his ribs. But oddly enough, on Sunday, he suddenly got his appetite back, and I relaxed a bit.

Then on Monday, when I woke up, I noticed Chip was oddly quiet even though I had slept past the time for his medication. I gave him one of his pills, a chewable, and it just fell out of his mouth, and he couldn't seem to find it. I had to pick it up and hold it for him until he could smell it and then eat it.

When I let him out into the back yard, I saw him lurch alarmingly. He spent his usual amount of time outside and did his usual sniffing around, but he staggered when he walked. And he seemed completely oblivious to the squirrels just feet from him.

I began to suspect that Chip had had a small stroke, but he was eating and seemed to come around later that afternoon, so I decided to forgo calling the vet as there was probably little that could be done. I kept an eye on him, though, mindful of any signs he might be declining to the point where keeping him going would be more cruel than kind. Dan and I gave him plenty of attention, and he seemed content considering.

Then yesterday, when Dan came home from work and came into the bedroom where Chip and I were, Chip got up to greet him and fell down. He hit the trash can and smashed into the wall. He could only get up with help from me, but once he was up, he seemed to improve.

But today, when Dan was home on his lunch break and let Chip out into the yard, the poor dog fell again, and Dan had to help him up. And not only did he refuse to eat his regular food, he was slow to eat the treats he usually loves, and I couldn't get him interested in drinking any water. And once when I was petting him, he seemed to not even know I was there.

So it is now obvious that Chip is no longer able to much enjoy his life, not if he is collapsing in his own yard. I think it may be time to make that final call to the vet.
I just hope Chip is ok with it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bonus Rave of the Day for October 30, 2008: 

They're poets and they know it. Hilarious haiku about Palin, link courtesy of Ducky....

Palin Haiku

Dan and I plan to go to the polls as soon as he gets off work on Tuesday. I'm bringing my wheelchair in case the lines are long.

Rave of the Day for October 30, 2008: 

Tacky but quite funny. Dr. Karen sent me this video in which a hockey mom sings about Palin to music from "Evita"....

Was offline for awhile. A week long migraine but a day long migraine hangover rather discourages one from using the computer much.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 26, 2008: 

Now, here is a way to decide the election: dance it out! Thanks to Ducky for this hilarious video....

Have filled up all available space on my DVR, believe it or not, so I've been watching more TV than I really ought to so that I can delete some stuff and make some room. That's what I get for recording 25 movies plus weekly series, heh heh.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bonus Rave of the Day for October 24, 2008: 

My latest review for But You Don't Look Sick has been posted. In this one, I review three new prime time shows....

Network Television Fall Season 2008

Hope to get to some book and product reviews at some point, as well as the DVR movie reviews I've been promising for the past six months. Am fighting a rotten fatigue flare and a migraine, so I may end up becoming one with the sofa instead.

Rave of the Day for October 24, 2008: 

This is a hilarious video that you can customize. Thanks to Ducky for the link....

No matter which candidate you prefer, don't be the non-voter who causes your man to lose.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 22, 2008: 

Stumbled upon the link to this on Facebook. I encourage my friends living outside the U.S. to participate....

If The World Could Vote

I almost do wish we could put it to a worldwide vote, because according to this side, Obama would win in a landslide! Meanwhile, I'm stuck in a stubborn red state where there aren't enough electoral votes to make a damned bit of difference anyway. But that won't stop me from voting, of course.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 20, 2008: 

Here's a handy page, courtesy of Ducky, that lets you see how you would fare under McCain's and Obama's tax plans.....

Tax calculator

Not surprisingly, with McCain I would remain unchanged from last year, but would get over $1000 as a refund with Obama. Guess which plan I prefer? Hmmmmm.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 19, 2008: 

Some of these may have been posted before, but they're still funny. Thanks to Pete for the e-mail....

1. My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't.

2. I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

3. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.

4. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

5. Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive.

6. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.

7. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

8. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

9. I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are just missing.

10. Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

11. NyQuil, the stuffy, sneezy, why-the-heck-is-the-room-spinning medicine.

12. God must love stupid people; He made so many.

13. The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

14. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

15. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

16. Being 'over the hill' is much better than being under it!

17. Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew up.

18. Procrastinate Now!

19. I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts; Do You Want Fries With That?

20. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

21. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.

22. Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!

23. They call it PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.

24. He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless DEAD.

25. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the memory.

26. Ham and eggs...A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.

27. The trouble with life is there's no background music.

28. The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

29. I smile because I don't know what the hell is going on.

Bonus Rave of the Day for October 19, 2008: 

Pete sent me this hilarious link. Just click on various items in the room and see what happens....

Palin As President

Yes, I did see Palin on SNL tonight. Laughed my ass off. Even though I think she's a lousy candidate, for once she was a good sport.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bonus Bonus Rave of the Day for October 18, 2008: 

Ok, so his name got botched by McCain, and he's not really a licensed plumber. Details, details....

'Joe the Plumber' and Obama's tax plan

BTW, I think before he attempts to buy his own business, he should consider paying the back taxes he owes. I'd like to establish my own media empire but, oh yeah, I'm broke.

Rave of the Day for October 18, 2008: 

How about a good joke? This one courtesy of Dr. Karen....

A Good Husband

Jack wakes up with a huge hangover after attending his company's party.
Jack is not normally a drinker, but the drinks didn't taste like alcohol at all.
He didn't even remember how he got home from the party.

As bad as he was feeling, he wondered if he had done something wrong.
Jack had to force himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins next to a glass of water on the side table and next to them, a single red rose.
Jack sits up and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed.
He looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly clean. So is the rest of the house.

He takes the aspirins and cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror.

Then he notices a note hanging on the corner of the mirror written in red with little hearts on it and a kiss mark from his wife in lipstick: "Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to get groceries to make you your favorite dinner tonight. I love you, darling! Love, Jillian"
He stumbles to the kitchen and sure enough, there is hot breakfast, steaming hot coffee and the morning newspaper.

His 16 year old son is also at the table, eating.
Jack asks, "Son, what happened last night?"
"Well, you came home after 3 A.M., drunk and out of your mind.
You fell over the coffee table and broke it, then you puked in the hallway, and got that black eye when you ran into the door."
Confused, he asked his son,'So, why is everything in such perfect order and so clean?
I have a rose, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me??'
His son replies,"Oh, THAT... Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed, "Leave me alone bitch, I'm married!!!"

Broken Coffee Table $239.99
Hot Breakfast $4.20
Two Aspirins $.38
Saying the right thing, at the right time: PRICELESS

Bonus Rave of the Day for October 18, 2008: 

My latest review for But You Don't Look Sick has been posted....

DVD Review: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Am probably gonna do a review of new fall TV shows next. I'm way behind: I have three completed books I intend to review along with some other stuff. Been spending too much time on all the political articles and videos I've been sent. Should calm down once the election's over.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 17, 2008: 

Time for a little geezer humor. Courtesy of Pete....

If you are 30 or older you will think this is hilarious!!!! 

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears
 with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up, what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning uphill... barefoot...BOTH ways 

Yadda, yadda, yadda

I remember promising myself that when I grew up,
there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of 
Thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. 

You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my 
childhood, you live in a damn Utopia!

And I hate to say it but you kids today, you 
don't know how good you've got it!

 I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and
 look it up ourselves, in the card catalogue!!

There was no email!! We had to actually write
 somebody a letter… with a pen…  then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there! 

There were no MP3's or Napsters! You wanted to 
steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up!

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you
 were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it! 

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! 
When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school,
 your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you
 just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video
games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600… with games
like 'Space Invaders' and 'asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You 
actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or 
screens, it was just one screen 
forever AND you could never win. The game just kept getting
 harder and harder and
faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE! 

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was 
on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off
 your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no
 Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons 
on Saturday morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK 
for cartoons, you spoiled
 little rat-bastards!

We didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat
 something up we had to use the stove ... imagine that!

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. 
You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted 
five minutes back in 1980!


The over 30 Crowd

Presidential debate #3: Is that your final answer? 

I can sum up last night's debate in one word: feisty!

John McCain's back was up against the wall, and it showed. He decided to take Sarah Palin's debate tactic of appealing to the average American, in this case, mentioning several times a dude who became known as Joe the Plumber, who couldn't buy the company he'd worked at for several years. Thing is, as a (lower) middle class American, I couldn't relate, because if I had the income of a plumber, I'd consider myself rich.

McCain's other tactic seemed to be to goad Obama into an angry outburst, which didn't happen. CNN showed a split screen of the candidates so you could see each one's reaction's to what the other was saying, and every time McCain would say something inflammatory, Obama would just grin even wider. Occasionally, Obama even laughed softly, which appeared to seriously piss McCain off.

This debate had both candidates sitting at the same desk, and oddly, it worked better than the town hall meeting. Unlike last time, the moderator was firmly in control of the questioning and follow up and moving on to the next topic. And the questions were pointed and got right to the heart of what most Americans have been griping about the last few months.

McCain did get one really good zinger in on Obama. He said something along the lines of, "I am not President Bush, and if you want to run against him, you should have done that four years ago". Too funny.

Obama had the perfect opportunity to launch an attack on Palin when asked why his VP pick was better than McCain's, and he wisely refrained from doing so. He instead focused on building up Biden, something he really needed to do because a fair number of voters have been unhappy with the notion of Biden being second in command. Don't know if he sufficiently silenced the Biden critics, but it was worth a shot.

When asked whether Obama's stance on abortion would affect his choice of Supreme Court nominees (an excellent question, by the way), Obama launched into a rather in-depth speech about his personal feelings about abortion that may have been TMI. You could feel the uncomfortable tension in the room which grew greater the more he talked. I felt two ways about it: I know Roe v. Wade may very well be at stake, so I was relieved he said something, but even I got a bit tense as I watched him flounder on and on.

The low point of the evening? When McCain defended the people at his rallies that were saying things about Obama like "he's a terrorist" and "kill him". Denying that these things happened is ridiculous; I saw videos of it myself. I feel it is dangerous and inexcusable to side with racists, even if they are joking about killing Obama (a couple of them could be serious for all we know).

One thing I noticed about McCain's health care strategy: never once has he mentioned those with pre-existing conditions that won't be able to get coverage even with a $5000 credit. I guess someone who survived breast cancer ten years ago is SOL (I know people in this situation). Obama's got an excellent idea removing pre-existing condition exclusions, even if you don't agree with the rest of his plan (which I do).

One thing that concerns me about Obama during these debates: despite being asked three times, he never has stated clearly what spending would have to be trimmed during his administration. With the current financial debacle, we can't possibly fund absolutely everything. Being vague on this subject has only added fuel to McCain's accusations that Obama is going to spend us to death.

But I'm not sure I want Joe the Plummer handling the economy, either. I suspect he's out having a beer with Joe Six Pack at this very moment, heh heh.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 16, 2008: 

I love these fake inspirational posters. This one courtesy of Ducky....

I did watch the debate tonight, but it's too late in the evening to go into what I thought of it right now. Tomorrow, perhaps.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I want my basement back! and other news.... 

Ok, to recap, my basement flooded in April. In the process of removing damaged drywall and insulation, it was discovered that the foundation was cracked and the southern wall of the basement beginning to sag. Anchors were placed and a secondary drainage system installed in July, and we were instructed to tighten the anchors once a week until the beginning of September, which we faithfully did.

In July, I informed the carpenter who had removed the drywall, insulation, brickwork, desk, shelves, etc. to make room for the foundation company's work that I would be needing him to come by the week after Labor Day to put everything back together. He agreed. I called him in September, and he said he was so behind schedule with other projects that he wouldn't be able to come out until the end of the month, which annoyed me, but I agreed to call him back then.

So I call him end of September. He says he's even further behind and won't be able to start for a few more weeks. I call him one more time last week, and he finally agrees to come out on Friday afternoon to assess what needs to be done.

I hurry home from aquacise on Friday, make a quick lunch and wait in the living room because I don't always hear the doorbell in other parts of the house. I wait for three stinking hours. No phone call to say if he's gonna be late or just won't be coming by.

I'm pretty ticked out being blown off, and since Dan was home a little early from work this afternoon, I ask him if he'll call the carpenter for me. Dan does, and the guy is rude to him! Gives all kinds of excuses and then finally says he'll TRY to come by sometime end of this week or next and that he'll call before he comes over.

I understand that projects often take more time than planned, but it's inexcusable to say you're going to be someplace and then not show up and not call to re-schedule. And then to get all defensive when someone asks where you were is pretty unprofessional. But this guy is the only one who knows what the basement looked like before it was dis-assembled, and it would be so much simpler for him to put everything back together than for me to try to get a stranger to try to figure it out (we're trying to re-use as much as possible because we don't have the money to buy many new materials).

The other problem is that Dan and I cannot afford to go to a large company to get this work completed. We're already paying copious amounts of money monthly to pay off the Mayo Clinic and the loan we had to get to pay the foundation repairs. The carpenter we're using is a friend of the family and has been cutting us a lot of slack financially.

So I guess you do get exactly what you pay for. But, dammit, I want my basement back! Last night, the temperature got down to freezing, and it really sucks that there's no insulation on the walls that got worked on.

I'd be tempted to see if we could do this ourselves, but there are exposed electrical wires and other hazards, not to mention plenty of drywall dust still around to aggravate my asthma. So I guess I'll just sulk while waiting around for this dude to maybe get around to us by Thanksgiving. One thing is for sure: the other work we need done on the house will be handled by someone else, probably next year if we are lucky enough to get a tax refund then.

In other news, I finally have worked my way up to 20 minutes on the Gazelle machine (a non-impact glider). Crap, it hurt those last five minutes! Low back spasms, pain in my right foot (I think the plantar fasciitis is getting worse), legs shaking, and feeling as though vampires drained me of all my energy which has persisted the rest of the day.

But I am creeping slowly closer to that magic 30 minute, three day a week exercise mark that is supposed to "cure" my fibromyalgia. And I still do aquacise three other days a week. Too bad this stuff still kicks my ass energy-wise, but the majority of rheumatologists in Sioux Falls couldn't possibly be wrong, could they?

One more note and then I'll have to quit so I might not sleep through my aquacise class in the morning (even though I couldn't get up until noon today). I have been keeping one of my New Year's resolutions, believe it or not, the one about cooking. At some point, I plan to post about all the new dishes I've made; for example, this coming weekend I'm going to make "Taco Pasta Bowls" using homemade enchilada sauce since I can't find any gluten free canned stuff in Sioux Falls.

Just wish I could fix my basement as easily as I can make stir fry Thai noodles.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 14, 2008: 

This offering is more vicious than the previous one, but I still thought it was funny. Thanks to Ducky for the link....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Brief observation about a scene from a TV show.... 

Was watching "Grey's Anatomy" from Thursday on the DVR tonight. On it there was a character who had had chronic unrelenting head pain for seven years. One of the docs said he must have a low pain threshold.

Then the patient mentioned that his wife had died recently. He said that he didn't even feel the pain from that because the pain in his head was so severe that it took up his entire capacity. I know it's just something that a writer came up with for a TV show, but it brought tears to my eyes because there are times that a situation like that is not much of an exaggeration.

I don't think most people realize that chronic severe pain interferes with functioning in all areas of life, including emotional. Not just stuff like being depressed from hurting so much, but also strong feelings both positive and negative in interpersonal relationships. I find myself no longer able to mourn or sustain any intense negative emotion for prolonged periods; the capacity seems to have faded as my chronic pain has grown.

As for the positive side of life, I know it seems counter-intuitive that something like euphoria would raise someone's pain level, but that does seem to be the case with me; it's just too intense to sustain without consequences. Now, that doesn't mean I'm not happy and don't strive for good in my life, it's just that I've had to learn to be satisfied with less exuberance. I suspect that may a contributing factor as to why I can no longer write poetry; the emotional extremes I used to experience are now blunted in order for me to function.

I'm not a scientist or a doctor, so I have no real knowledge of why this is or whether many chronic pain patients experience this. But I believe that at least part of the problem is that the pain is a huge huge distraction that takes up excessive amounts of brain activity. The result is similar to trying to have an eloquent conversation during a rock concert while standing next to the amplifier; only the most basic of notions can get past all that noise.

And even though this post may seem like the ramblings of a nut job, I will say this: the concert in my head goes up to 11.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bonus Rave of the Day for October 12, 2008: 

Not for the easily offended, but I thought it was HILARIOUS! Link courtesy of Dr. Karen....

Rave of the Day for October 12, 2008: 

This man's testimony made me cry. I could identify with several of the things he said.

Brian Smith Testifies on Impact of CFS

I've been sick for so long that sometimes I forget how different my life is from a healthy person's. He reminded me just how much of a challenge it is, every day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bonus Rave of the Day for October 11, 2008: 

I thought this was a joke at first. But thanks to the link from Robert, there really does appear to be a Spidey musical in the works....

Spiderman: the Broadway Musical

I don't know which is funnier, the idea of making a musical out of this, or the fact that BONO is doing the music.

Rave of the Day for October 11, 2008: 

I thought that McCain's comment during the recent debate that a questioner probably had never heard of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac was condescending. Apparently, I'm not the only one that thought so. Link courtesy of Dr. Karen....

Questioner: 'I Actually Did' Know Fannie

It hadn't occurred to me that the comment might be racially motivated. I just thought McCain was talking down to Americans in general. Either way, it made McCain seem elitist, ironic since that's what some people say about Obama.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thoughts on presidential debate #2.... 

Must warn my readers that I'm having excruciating back and rib spasms tonight that are only partially responding to Baclofen because I stupidly did twice as much housecleaning as my body can handle (which apparently amounts to dusting one and a half rooms and cleaning some area rugs). Between fibrofog from the pain and Baclofen-induced loopiness, I have no idea if the following will be coherent....

Was looking forward to the "town hall" style of the debate because I thought Obama would be in his element. He loves to schmooze with the people and always looks as though he's listening intently to whatever question is being asked. He seems to get fired up in front of a live audience.

But last night, he just didn't wow me as much as I had expected him to. Oh, he was still well-spoken and personable, but the fire seemed absent. I don't know if he was just tired or if he had been advised to play it safe because he was ahead in the polls, but he seemed sort of...ordinary.

With McCain trailing going into last night's debate, this was his big chance to sway the undecided voters, particularly young voters. He failed, big time. Oh, no major election-losing gaffes, but referring to Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan as his buds probably did nothing to impress people who were born after Reagan took office.

The questions had been chosen ahead of time from both people in the audience and elsewhere. Tom Brokaw was the moderator, but he almost didn't need to be there because both candidates ignored the debate guidelines they'd agreed to, went past time limits, strayed off subject, and did everything but tell Brokaw to shut up. Format-wise, it was a free-for-all.

Still, some good questions did get through. My favorite was this: "How can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got us into this global economic crisis?" Obama acknowledged there was good reason to have lost faith in elected officials, but McCain was more wishy-washy.

One thing that annoyed me during the first debate did not change much during the second: McCain's condescending tone. He said repeatedly during the first debate, "what Senator Obama fails to understand"....like he was talking about a child. Last night, he included the American people in his dismissiveness when he said things like us not knowing what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were.

McCain did try harder this time to push his health care ideas, particularly the part about giving American families a $5000 credit to be used to purchase insurance. This sounds pretty good until you realize that it costs $12,000 a year to insure a family of four. Where is that family supposed to come up with the other $7000? And I'm still incensed that he voted against insurance for children.

Obama's health insurance plan will probably have problems going through Congress, but I feel it is preferable to McCain's. For one thing, all kids will be covered. And probably most importantly, there will be no more denying benefits due to pre-existing conditions, which would be a huge relief to those of us with chronic ailments.

Overall, I'd say Obama was good but not fantastic, and McCain was preaching to the Republican choir. McCain really needs to step up his game in the next debate if he wants to gain any more undecideds. And I wouldn't mind if Obama were a bit more dynamic next time.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Telephone "survey" almost as offensive as ballot issue they're pushing..... 

WARNING: controversial subject matter follows. I don't expect my readers to agree with me, but simply to allow me to express my thoughts. I hadn't ever planned on bringing up this issue here, but after today's events, I'm too upset to ignore the goings on in South Dakota.

Ok, this afternoon, I'm zonked out on the couch, which is what usually happens after aquacise. I am awakened by the ringing of the phone, which always annoys me since I'm on the do not call list. I was thinking it might be Dan, but it wasn't.

An automated message asks if I will participate in a 45 second survey about the upcoming election. I figure contributing to a poll might be considered an extension of my civic duty to vote, so I agree. But to be honest, I am sleepy as hell and just want to get the 45 seconds over with in the hope they won't bother me again.

I am asked if I am registered and plan to vote, which of course I answer in the affirmative. Then the voice asks me if I will vote in favor of Amendment 11, which prohibits abortion used as birth control (their words, not mine). I know this amendment to be in reality a pretty much total ban on abortion, but I'm still really sleepy, so I'm thinking it was a rather poorly worded question and reply no, expecting the next question to be about other ballot issues.

But then the voice says something along the lines of: "Amendment 11 would reduce the abortion rate in South Dakota by 95 percent. Does knowing this make you more likely to vote in favor of Amendment 11?" WTF? Didn't I just say no? I believe abortion to be a private medical matter best decided on a case by case basis between a woman, her doctor and perhaps family members/significant others. I have no business telling a pregnant woman what to do, and neither does the government.

The voice continued: "Amendment 11 has exceptions in case of rape, incest and to save a woman's life. Does knowing this make you more likely to vote in favor of Amendment 11?" Actually, no. Amendment 11 is an extremely complicated bill, six pages long. Buried amongst all the legalese are some very disturbing limits to these "exceptions". Yes, if a doctor is willing to testify that a woman will die if she carries to term, she will be allowed an abortion. But if the baby has a problem that would result in its death either in the womb or shortly after birth, there is no provision for that. That woman would be forced to carry to term. Also, in order for the victim of incest or rape to be allowed an abortion, she must agree to have a police report filed by her doctor, making public the perpetrator's name and other info if known. While I see the importance of not letting criminals go free, telling a traumatized woman that she must either tell the world the name of her abuser or be forced to carry to term is barbaric. Finally, a doctor who doesn't comply with these and other complicated provisions is subject to 10 years in prison! I won't support a bill that would create situations like this.

The voice went on to imply that Amendment 11 was written by very knowledgeable and qualified people. Uh, no. It was dreamed up by the same folks that had a no exceptions amendment on the ballot in 2006. A bill that was VOTED DOWN, which indicates to me South Dakota's government is unduly influenced by people who won't take no for an answer.

There was more: "Amendment 11 is supported by churches throughout South Dakota. Does knowing this make you more likely to vote in favor of Amendment 11?" Apparently they didn't talk to my church, which makes a point of NOT telling people how to vote. That's one of the reasons I like my church.

By now, I was disgusted beyond belief. And then voice asked, "Would you consider yourself pro life?" I hung up!

Thanks a lot, South Dakota. I am NEVER going to participate in any sort of poll again. I have half a mind to never answer the telephone again.

Rave of the Day for October 4, 2008: 

Homer Simpson tries to vote for Obama....too funny! Thanks to Dr. Karen for the link....

Hope all my readers have registered to vote by now. Those of you who are American, I mean.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 3, 2008: 

One last video of Stephen Wiltshire. This one documents a trip to Madrid....

Thoughts on the VP debate.... 

I admit I watched this only out of morbid curiosity. I needed to see for myself whether Palin would babble nonsense and whether Biden would put his foot in his mouth. I was quite surprised that neither happened.

After watching the "Nightline" interview and snippets of the Katie Couric laugh fest, I had low expectations of Palin. She actually did much better tonight. Not enough to convince me in a million years to vote for McCain, but less of a fiasco than predicted.

She did annoy me, though. If you're a former journalist, you should know that Iran is not pronounced "eye-RAN" and that nuclear is never "NUKE-u-ler". She tried wayyy too hard to be homey, to be someone the American public can relate to, and it came off as cutesy. She said that if you want a barometer for American opinion on the economy, go to a kid's soccer game. She tried hard to present herself as a proper go-to person on foreign policy, but she said Iran's president is insane, and I think it would be dangerous for our nation to allow her to have any sort of diplomatic role abroad. And while she was praising herself for being a parent, she seemed to forget that Biden was one too.

My main concern about Biden is that he tends to speak first and think later. But I don't think he said anything tonight that would prove embarrassing to Democrats. And even though he has way more applicable experience than Palin, I was relieved that he wasn't condescending to her.

Bottom line? In the unlikely event that anything would happen to Obama or McCain while in office, I'd feel much more comfortable with Biden stepping in for Obama than Palin stepping in for McCain. But I really hope we never have to find out.

Bonus Rave of the Day for October 3, 2008: 

Hollywood uses a little reverse psychology in the hopes of getting more people to vote. Thanks to Dr. Karen for the link....

FYI, the deadline for voter registration in most states is Monday, so if you haven't gotten around to registering yet, you might want to get on that.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Rave of the Day for October 2, 2008: 

Stephen Wiltshire is at it again....

Personal economics.... 

Even though it's too late in the evening to be starting this (can't seem to get online before the fibrofog sets in), I'd like to make some comments about the national financial situation as a spokesperson for the (lower) middle class. I figure the folks making over $250,000 a year probably have professional financial planners working for them, and the folks at or below the poverty line have problems too serious for me to address with any authority, so I'll just focus on what I know. Michael Moore has done a good job coming up with ideas for Congress, but also think that it is (past) time for "Main Street" people to be looking at their personal economic situations as well.

I wish I could get away with mis-managing millions of dollars, get bailed out by the government, and be free to mis-manage even more money, which appears to be what will happen on Wall Street. But the only money I'm in charge of is my own, and if I screw up, it's my own ass on the line. That being said, I think for most middle class people, given the current economic situation, to panic is futile.

Yes, I have read all the articles and have heard all the freaking out going on. But having multiple chronic ailments have taught me that no matter how dire things seem, the best thing to do is breathe and do the best you can with whatever you have to work with. I am confident that the majority of the middle class will survive this crisis intact if we have been and continue to behave responsibly.

First of all, just because you CAN borrow more than you can afford doesn't mean you SHOULD. If you are buying a house, unless you know for a fact that you will be getting significant raises every year, don't fall for the adjustable rate mortgage with a low starting rate. If a fixed rate makes the payment too high for you to qualify, either you need to buy less house or save up money for a bigger down payment.

Do you really have to lease a pretty new car? How about saving up for awhile and buying a nice used one so you won't have to deal with monthly payments? Or, if reasonable in your situation, using public transportation, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles or just plain walking?

Credit cards: I know that some people advocate not having them at all. I don't, mainly because I do things like discovering at the cash register that I am again sans checkbook, and I like to pay for gas at the pump instead of hiking into the gas station and standing in line to pay. But I do believe that except for emergencies, if you can't pay your balance in full each month, you're putting too much on the card.

I personally believe in keeping my checking and savings accounts in a hometown credit union rather than a giant conglomerate bank. My money is still insured by FDIC, and I can participate in decisions affecting the credit union if I so choose. And I doubt very much that it will ever require a government bailout.

The stock thing I admit is scary. But most people, unless they are a hair's breadth from retirement and have every penny in company stock that has gone belly up, are going to get by. If you have a truly diverse portfolio and have an amount of risk appropriate to your age (younger people can risk more, older people less), yeah, you'll lose some, but you won't lose it all, and people my age have plenty of time to make up for any losses before retirement (if they are able to work).

For example, Dan's 401(k) has a moderate amount of risk but is still diverse. He has no money in employer stock, and he has 30 more years to make up any loss in funds. There isn't much money in the account because he has only been eligible for it for a year (previous employer funds got converted into an IRA) and we can't spare very much for contributions, but something is better than nothing, and he should still have something no matter how much of a beating his stocks take.

My personal situation is a little different. Because I had to go on disability, I could no longer have a 401(k), but I was allowed to roll what little I had amassed into an IRA. I am not subject to the 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal, but I am trying to not cash out unless I have an expensive medical crisis.

Also because I am unable to work, Dan got a life insurance policy. That way, in the unlikely event he should meet his maker sometime in the next 30 years, I won't necessarily lose the roof over my head. Dan has disability insurance too, albeit with a more reputable company that the one I had.

I'm not saying we're perfect. To be honest, I don't know if we should have qualified for our mortgage with me being unable to work, and our payments are a bit higher than the recommended 25 percent of our monthly income, but we do have a fixed rate and no mortgage insurance requirement because we made a 20 percent down payment. If we can just dig in and keep a tight rein on our spending, we can still probably survive, even if just barely.

One thing that we and most other middle class people need to do is not be seduced by shiny new frivolous toys. If we have what we truly need, we should try to make do with that. It totally pissed me off that Bush's response to 9/11 was to tell the American people to go out and spend money!

I know far too many people who got seduced by materialism. They bought a nice house, but instead of being content with that, they would turn around after a few years and use their equity on a bigger house with a higher mortgage payment, even if their income had not grown to cover the payments, and would continue this process as long as a lender would accept them. By getting a new 30 year mortgage every time, they also ensured that they would also not actually own the house until they were quite old (if the mortgage didn't outlive them).

Honestly, there is no shame in driving a Saturn instead of a Lexus, in using a land line instead of a fancy cell that does everything but tap dance, in actually saving up for things instead of borrowing now when you might not be able to pay later. We need, to the extent possible, to save our own butts, because Washington's gonna be in too much debt bailing out the wealthy financial execs to do anything for us. Don't be any more of a victim than you have to.

Well, I was planning on saying something really eloquent in this post, but all my fuzzy brain would let me produce was a semi-meaningless rant. I hope something in here was useful or at least interesting.

Let yourself not be led into temptation.

Bonus Bonus Rave of the Day for October 2, 2008: 

Michael Moore's proposals for what to do about the national financial meltdown. I definitely agree with the "no free lunch" stuff....


The richest 400 Americans -- that's right, just four hundred people -- own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 400 rich Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is $1.6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly $700 billion -- the same amount that they are now demanding we give to them for the "bailout." Why don't they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They'd still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!

Of course, they are not going to do that -- at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a $127 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not his, he did what the rich prefer to do -- spend it and never look back. Now we have a $9.5 trillion debt. Why on earth would we even think of giving these robber barons any more of our money?

I would like to propose my own bailout plan. My suggestions, listed below, are predicated on the singular and simple belief that the rich must pull themselves up by their own platinum bootstraps. Sorry, fellows, but you drilled it into our heads one too many times: There... is... no... free... lunch. And thank you for encouraging us to hate people on welfare! So, there will be no handouts from us to you. The Senate, tonight, is going to try to rush their version of a "bailout" bill to a vote. They must be stopped. We did it on Monday with the House, and we can do it again today with the Senate.

It is clear, though, that we cannot simply keep protesting without proposing exactly what it is we think Congress should do. So, after consulting with a number of people smarter than Phil Gramm, here is my proposal, now known as "Mike's Rescue Plan." It has 10 simple, straightforward points. They are:

1. APPOINT A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO CRIMINALLY INDICT ANYONE ON WALL STREET WHO KNOWINGLY CONTRIBUTED TO THIS COLLAPSE. Before any new money is expended, Congress must commit, by resolution, to criminally prosecute anyone who had anything to do with the attempted sacking of our economy. This means that anyone who committed insider trading, securities fraud or any action that helped bring about this collapse must go to jail. This Congress must call for a Special Prosecutor who will vigorously go after everyone who created the mess, and anyone else who attempts to scam the public in the future.

2. THE RICH MUST PAY FOR THEIR OWN BAILOUT. They may have to live in 5 houses instead of 7. They may have to drive 9 cars instead of 13. The chef for their mini-terriers may have to be reassigned. But there is no way in hell, after forcing family incomes to go down more than $2,000 dollars during the Bush years, that working people and the middle class are going to fork over one dime to underwrite the next yacht purchase.

If they truly need the $700 billion they say they need, well, here is an easy way they can raise it:

a) Every couple who makes over a million dollars a year and every single taxpayer who makes over $500,000 a year will pay a 10% surcharge tax for five years. (It's the Senator Sanders plan. He's like Colonel Sanders, only he's out to fry the right chickens.) That means the rich will still be paying less income tax than when Carter was president. This will raise a total of $300 billion.

b) Like nearly every other democracy, charge a 0.25% tax on every stock transaction. This will raise more than $200 billion in a year.

c) Because every stockholder is a patriotic American, stockholders will forgo receiving a dividend check for one quarter and instead this money will go the treasury to help pay for the bailout.

d) 25% of major U.S. corporations currently pay NO federal income tax. Federal corporate tax revenues currently amount to 1.7% of the GDP compared to 5% in the 1950s. If we raise the corporate income tax back to the level of the 1950s, that gives us an extra $500 billion.
All of this combined should be enough to end the calamity. The rich will get to keep their mansions and their servants, and our United States government ("COUNTRY FIRST!") will have a little leftover to repair some roads, bridges and schools.

3. BAIL OUT THE PEOPLE LOSING THEIR HOMES, NOT THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BUILD AN EIGHTH HOME. There are 1.3 million homes in foreclosure right now. That is what is at the heart of this problem. So instead of giving the money to the banks as a gift, pay down each of these mortgages by $100,000. Force the banks to renegotiate the mortgage so the homeowner can pay on its current value. To insure that this help does no go to speculators and those who have tried to make money by flipping houses, this bailout is only for people's primary residence. And in return for the $100K paydown on the existing mortgage, the government gets to share in the holding of the mortgage so that it can get some of its money back. Thus, the total initial cost of fixing the mortgage crisis at its roots (instead of with the greedy lenders) is $150 billion, not $700 billion.

And let's set the record straight. People who have defaulted on their mortgages are not "bad risks." They are our fellow Americans, and all they wanted was what we all want and most of us still get: a home to call their own. But during the Bush years, millions of them lost the decent paying jobs they had. Six million fell into poverty. Seven million lost their health insurance. And every one of them saw their real wages go down by $2,000. Those who dare to look down on these Americans who got hit with one bad break after another should be ashamed. We are a better, stronger, safer and happier society when all of our citizens can afford to live in a home that they own.

4. IF YOUR BANK OR COMPANY GETS ANY OF OUR MONEY IN A "BAILOUT," THEN WE OWN YOU. Sorry, that's how it's done. If the bank gives me money so I can buy a house, the bank "owns" that house until I pay it all back -- with interest. Same deal for Wall Street. Whatever money you need to stay afloat, if our government considers you a safe risk -- and necessary for the good of the country -- then you can get a loan, but we will own you. If you default, we will sell you. This is how the Swedish government did it and it worked.

5. ALL REGULATIONS MUST BE RESTORED. THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IS DEAD. This catastrophe happened because we let the fox have the keys to the henhouse. In 1999, Phil Gramm authored a bill to remove all the regulations that governed Wall Street and our banking system. The bill passed and Clinton signed it. Here's what Sen. Phil Gramm, McCain's chief economic advisor, said at the bill signing:

"In the 1930s ... it was believed that government was the answer. It was believed that stability and growth came from government overriding the functioning of free markets.

"We are here today to repeal [that] because we have learned that government is not the answer. We have learned that freedom and competition are the answers. We have learned that we promote economic growth and we promote stability by having competition and freedom.

"I am proud to be here because this is an important bill; it is a deregulatory bill. I believe that that is the wave of the future, and I am awfully proud to have been a part of making it a reality."
This bill must be repealed. Bill Clinton can help by leading the effort for the repeal of the Gramm bill and the reinstating of even tougher regulations regarding our financial institutions. And when they're done with that, they can restore the regulations for the airlines, the inspection of our food, the oil industry, OSHA, and every other entity that affects our daily lives. All oversight provisions for any "bailout" must have enforcement monies attached to them and criminal penalties for all offenders.

6. IF IT'S TOO BIG TO FAIL, THEN THAT MEANS IT'S TOO BIG TO EXIST. Allowing the creation of these mega-mergers and not enforcing the monopoly and anti-trust laws has allowed a number of financial institutions and corporations to become so large, the very thought of their collapse means an even bigger collapse across the entire economy. No one or two companies should have this kind of power. The so-called "economic Pearl Harbor" can't happen when you have hundreds -- thousands -- of institutions where people have their money. When you have a dozen auto companies, if one goes belly-up, we don't face a national disaster. If you have three separately-owned daily newspapers in your town, then one media company can't call all the shots (I know... What am I thinking?! Who reads a paper anymore? Sure glad all those mergers and buyouts left us with a strong and free press!). Laws must be enacted to prevent companies from being so large and dominant that with one slingshot to the eye, the giant falls and dies. And no institution should be allowed to set up money schemes that no one can understand. If you can't explain it in two sentences, you shouldn't be taking anyone's money.

7. NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD BE PAID MORE THAN 40 TIMES THEIR AVERAGE EMPLOYEE, AND NO EXECUTIVE SHOULD RECEIVE ANY KIND OF "PARACHUTE" OTHER THAN THE VERY GENEROUS SALARY HE OR SHE MADE WHILE WORKING FOR THE COMPANY. In 1980, the average American CEO made 45 times what their employees made. By 2003, they were making 254 times what their workers made. After 8 years of Bush, they now make over 400 times what their average employee makes. How this can happen at publicly held companies is beyond reason. In Britain, the average CEO makes 28 times what their average employee makes. In Japan, it's only 17 times! The last I heard, the CEO of Toyota was living the high life in Tokyo. How does he do it on so little money? Seriously, this is an outrage. We have created the mess we're in by letting the people at the top become bloated beyond belief with millions of dollars. This has to stop. Not only should no executive who receives help out of this mess profit from it, but any executive who was in charge of running his company into the ground should be fired before the company receives any help.

8. STRENGTHEN THE FDIC AND MAKE IT A MODEL FOR PROTECTING NOT ONLY PEOPLE'S SAVINGS, BUT ALSO THEIR PENSIONS AND THEIR HOMES. Obama was correct yesterday to propose expanding FDIC protection of people's savings in their banks to $250,000. But this same sort of government insurance must be given to our nation's pension funds. People should never have to worry about whether or not the money they've put away for their old age will be there. This will mean strict government oversight of companies who manage their employees' funds -- or perhaps it means that the companies will have to turn over those funds and their management to the government. People's private retirement funds must also be protected, but perhaps it's time to consider not having one's retirement invested in the casino known as the stock market. Our government should have a solemn duty to guarantee that no one who grows old in this country has to worry about ending up destitute.

9. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH, CALM DOWN, AND NOT LET FEAR RULE THE DAY. Turn off the TV! We are not in the Second Great Depression. The sky is not falling. Pundits and politicians are lying to us so fast and furious it's hard not to be affected by all the fear mongering. Even I, yesterday, wrote to you and repeated what I heard on the news, that the Dow had the biggest one day drop in its history. Well, that's true in terms of points, but its 7% drop came nowhere close to Black Monday in 1987 when the stock market in one day lost 23% of its value. In the '80s, 3,000 banks closed, but America didn't go out of business. These institutions have always had their ups and downs and eventually it works out. It has to, because the rich do not like their wealth being disrupted! They have a vested interest in calming things down and getting back into the Jacuzzi.

As crazy as things are right now, tens of thousands of people got a car loan this week. Thousands went to the bank and got a mortgage to buy a home. Students just back to college found banks more than happy to put them into hock for the next 15 years with a student loan. Life has gone on. Not a single person has lost any of their money if it's in a bank or a treasury note or a CD. And the most amazing thing is that the American public hasn't bought the scare campaign. The citizens didn't blink, and instead told Congress to take that bailout and shove it. THAT was impressive. Why didn't the population succumb to the fright-filled warnings from their president and his cronies? Well, you can only say 'Saddam has da bomb' so many times before the people realize you're a lying sack of shite. After eight long years, the nation is worn out and simply can't take it any longer.

10. CREATE A NATIONAL BANK, A "PEOPLE'S BANK." If we really are itching to print up a trillion dollars, instead of giving it to a few rich people, why don't we give it to ourselves? Now that we own Freddie and Fannie, why not set up a people's bank? One that can provide low-interest loans for all sorts of people who want to own a home, start a small business, go to school, come up with the cure for cancer or create the next great invention. And now that we own AIG, the country's largest insurance company, let's take the next step and provide health insurance for everyone. Medicare for all. It will save us so much money in the long run. And we won't be 12th on the life expectancy list. We'll be able to have a longer life, enjoying our government-protected pension, and living to see the day when the corporate criminals who caused so much misery are let out of prison so that we can help reacclimate them to civilian life -- a life with one nice home and a gas-free car that was invented with help from the People's Bank.

Michael Moore

Bonus Rave of the Day for October 2, 2008: 

Sarah Palin gets specific, heh heh....

I will give her this much, she's very much a politician.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bonus Bonus Rave of the Day for October 1, 2008: 

Stumbled upon this while looking for something else. In it, William Shatner describes the time he met Koko the Gorilla....

Bet THAT brought a smile to your face, didn't it? Priceless.

Rave of the Day for October 1, 2008: 

Stephen Wiltshire draws Hong Kong from memory....

Bonus Rave of the Day for October 1, 2008: 

Here's a follow-up to Michael Moore's letter of yesterday. I'd like to add some thoughts of my own but may have to wait until later due to brain fog....


Everyone said the bill would pass. The masters of the universe were already making celebratory dinner reservations at Manhattan's finest restaurants. Personal shoppers in Dallas and Atlanta were dispatched to do the early Christmas gifting. Mad Men of Chicago and Miami were popping corks and toasting each other long before the morning latte run.

But what they didn't know was that hundreds of thousands of Americans woke up yesterday morning and decided it was time for revolt. The politicians never saw it coming. Millions of phone calls and emails hit Congress so hard it was as if Marshall Dillon, Elliot Ness and Dog the Bounty Hunter had descended on D.C. to stop the looting and arrest the thieves.

The Corporate Crime of the Century was halted by a vote of 228 to 205. It was rare and historic; no one could remember a time when a bill supported by the president and the leadership of both parties went down in defeat. That just never happens.

A lot of people are wondering why the right wing of the Republican Party joined with the left wing of the Democratic Party in voting down the thievery. Forty percent of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans voted against the bill.

Here's what happened:

The presidential race may still be close in the polls, but the Congressional races are pointing toward a landslide for the Democrats. Few dispute the prediction that the Republicans are in for a whoopin' on November 4th. Up to 30 Republican House seats could be lost in what would be a stunning repudiation of their agenda.

The Republican reps are so scared of losing their seats, when this "financial crisis" reared its head two weeks ago, they realized they had just been handed their one and only chance to separate themselves from Bush before the election, while doing something that would make them look like they were on the side of "the people."

Watching C-Span yesterday morning was one of the best comedy shows I'd seen in ages. There they were, one Republican after another who had backed the war and sunk the country into record debt, who had voted to kill every regulation that would have kept Wall Street in check -- there they were, now crying foul and standing up for the little guy! One after another, they stood at the microphone on the House floor and threw Bush under the bus, under the train (even though they had voted to kill off our nation's trains, too), heck, they would've thrown him under the rising waters of the Lower Ninth Ward if they could've conjured up another hurricane. You know how your dog acts when sprayed by a skunk? He howls and runs around trying to shake it off, rubbing and rolling himself on every piece of your carpet, trying to get rid of the stench. That's what it looked like on the Republican side of the aisle yesterday, and it was a sight to behold.

The 95 brave Dems who broke with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were the real heroes, just like those few who stood up and voted against the war in October of 2002. Watch the remarks from yesterday of Reps. Marcy Kaptur, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Dennis Kucinich. They spoke the truth.

The Dems who voted for the giveaway did so mostly because they were scared by the threats of Wall Street, that if the rich didn't get their handout, the market would go nuts and then it's bye-bye stock-based pension and retirement funds.

And guess what? That's exactly what Wall Street did! The largest, single-day drop in the Dow in the history of the New York Stock exchange. The news anchors last night screamed it out: Americans just lost 1.2 trillion dollars in the stock market!! It's a financial Pearl Harbor! The sky is falling! Bird flu! Killer Bees!

Of course, sane people know that nobody "lost" anything yesterday, that stocks go up and down and this too shall pass because the rich will now buy low, hold, then sell off, then buy low again.

But for now, Wall Street and its propaganda arm (the networks and media it owns) will continue to try and scare the bejesus out of you. It will be harder to get a loan. Some people will lose their jobs. A weak nation of wimps won't last long under this torture. Or will we? Is this our line in the sand?

Here's my guess: The Democratic leadership in the House secretly hoped all along that this lousy bill would go down. With Bush's proposals shredded, the Dems knew they could then write their own bill that favors the average American, not the upper 10% who were hoping for another kegger of gold.

So the ball is in the Democrats' hands. The gun from Wall Street remains at their head. Before they make their next move, let me tell you what the media kept silent about while this bill was being debated:

1. The bailout bill had NO enforcement provisions for the so-called oversight group that was going to monitor Wall Street's spending of the $700 billion;

2. It had NO penalties, fines or imprisonment for any executive who might steal any of the people's money;

3. It did NOTHING to force banks and lenders to rewrite people's mortgages to avoid foreclosures -- this bill would not have stopped ONE foreclosure!;

4. It had NO teeth anywhere in the entire piece of legislation, using words like "suggested" when referring to the government being paid back for the bailout;

5. Over 200 economists wrote to Congress and said this bill might actually WORSEN the "financial crisis" and cause even MORE of a meltdown.

Put a fork in this slab of pork. It's over. Now it is time for our side to state very clearly the laws WE want passed. I will send you my proposals later today. We've bought ourselves less than 72 hours.

Michael Moore

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