Sunday, August 31, 2008

McShame's Baked Alaska Melts the GOP

The Democratic Convention in Denver was historic, dramatic and amplified the stark contrasts between the political parties. Bill Clinton's speech was just terrific as was Joe Biden's. Both helped to forge a people's agenda.
During the primaries, I became somewhat disillusioned with Bill Clinton; I think he got pretty snarly and petty. But he rose above the fray, and in my estimation, I re-learned a lot of admiration and respect for him.
Biden was just super and what a stark difference from the Cheney mentality!
Obama was unbelievably good. He really got the the stadium fired up on the last night. I think his acceptance will will go down in history as one of the most important in American politics. He clarified his values and his life and set forth a detailed agenda for his presidency. His acceptance speech came on the anniversary of King's "I have a Dream." speech in the Washington Mall.
The Republicans, on the other hand, continued to demonstrate their crass political agenda and pettiness. I really think this is a political party in deep trouble ( and I think most of the party members realize it). The GOP comes across as being political animals who would sell off their own mother's for a vote; a snarly, petty group who aren't really interested in the country, only their own agenda.
McShame announced his choice for vice-president, the Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. She has only been Governor for two years and before that was a mayor of a small town. While the woman does have some good attributes as far as the outdoors, she likes hunting and fishing, she is hardly a good choice for the second slot on the GOP ticket. She is relatively an unknown who has zero foreign policy experience.
This selection comes at a time when the nation is at war, the economy is near a depression and there is a myriad of problems on the home front - poverty, crime, a a failing educational system.
What was McShame even thinking? And to think he is now 72 years old and selects someone who is so inexperienced? Was it crass politics to get more women to vote for him? Or was it a crass attempt to throw a curve ball into the election with a surprise announcement? Or both?
Sarah Palin, from what I have read and seen so far, is not an environmentalist. She wants more drilling for oil in Alaska to solve the energy crisis. Hardly, an intelligent position when we should be freeing ourselves of the yoke of oil.
Her selection is perhaps the biggest blunder yet. One has to question, seriously, McShame's judgement. This was simply foolish and will only deepen the demise of the GOP.
In other horrible news, Hurricane Gustav is a monster storm ready to hit the Gulf Coast, which is being evacuated. It could be the storm of the century. I hope not but it does not look real good. I am sure that some Republicans will find a way to blame the Democrats.
The monster storm comes on the heel of the three year anniversary of Katrina. While Bush and McShame celebrated his birthday over 1,500 Americans were killed, thousands lost their homes, and thousands were stranded without food, water and proper sanitation. The government's response to the crisis was nothing short of a complete debacle and disaster.
This is Labor weekend, on a somewhat lighter note, and the weather here is just great; warm sunny and not a cloud in the sky. Actually, here we could use a little rain, it has been dry of late.
But then again, winter is coming, and the only hopeful change will be the great democratic victory in early November.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This election is about the future

Hillary Clinton's speech at the convention last night was brilliant. I was somewhat disappointed with her during the primary elections because of her attitudes towards Obama, but she redeemed herself more than a hundred percent.

Yup, there are critics that say she should have gone on the attack more but I am not convinced of that. It was a very important speech on the anniversary of Women's Suffrage.

She campaigned very hard and had her heart and soul into the primary election, but let's face it, she lost. And last night I thought she was very gracious.

Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled for this evening. I have a gut feeling he is going to go after McShame even more and really throw a lot of support to Obama. Bill will really bring the unity among the Dem's to the forefront and his support will prove to be crucial to the fall campaign.

Three others I heard last night were really powerful as well. The Governor of Montana, Schwerfzer, had the delegates on their feet a number of times. He tied in the country's energy crisis with McShame "plantations" spread across the country.

John Warner, a candidate for US Senator from Virginia and a former governor was equally as good. In particular, I liked his comments that this election is about the future not the past.

Bob Casey, the US Senator from Pennsylvania was also very, very good and threw a lot of support towards Obama. In particular, he mentioned that he disagrees with Barak on the issue of abortion, but yet, he and Barak can still work together and we all need to because we simply can not live under another four years of the same tragedy Bush and crowd have created.

So much for last nights politics, the left overs from Hurricane Fay could start to spread some rain here beginning later today, a little rain wouldn't hurt. Though southern rains sometimes bring a blight to this region vegetable crops, mainly tomatoes.

One of the almanac, I think it is the Farmers Almanac, is calling for a pretty brutal winter here in northwestern Pennsylvania. To me they are all sort of brutal but kind of fun too. But that means, I need to get back in the woods for more firewood.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Something Happin Here

I watched the opening of the Democratic Convention last night, while not the entire event. I missed the early hours and then turned the television on just before Caroline Kennedy introduced a video of her uncle Sen. Ted Kennedy.
He was given a rousing and emotional greeting and still had the great Kennedy flair, intensity and charisma. He's dealing with brain cancer.
Michelle Obama was just terrific. Granted, she was likely prompted by speech writers and advisers and had a goal to accomplish. She just came across as a strong, good woman, a human being like all of us. There were no snippy airs, but rather just a homespun simplicity and honesty.
It was a remarkable opening, and the videos of the other speakers and the interviews with delegates and observers all had a common thread. The Hope and the Dream of equality and opportunity.
I sense there is something very important going on here. Certainly, I was watching American History unfold, but it is also World History in the making, unfolding a new direction for all people.
I get the sense, the opening was a real watershed moment for all of us. This election, and the eventual Obama presidency, will be more than a political event.
Maybe, that is overly hopeful, but "something is happenin here."

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Woodshed

The Democratic Convention opened this afternoon in Denver. I think it is sort of a "Forest Gump" moment in American History. Somewhere in the future, it's true importance will be realized. At the moment, I don't hear a lot of people talking about it, or for that matter, even the upcoming election. But there is sure to be more discussion about the candidates as October unfolds.
John McShame still comes across to me as a vindictive, grumpy old man, whose starting to loose his grip on reality. I don't think his GOP handlers are doing him any favors.
This past week, the McShame couldn't even remember how many homes he owned (McPlantation) while wearing his $500 Italian loafers. The GOP handlers defense was plain stupid..well he was a POW. Good Grief!
They have been using this POW line almost daily and it has absolutely nothing to do with the price of butter...any where in the world.
All of the drama aside, I still think, the GOP misrepresentations of the truth, of the honest facts, is what is most troublesome for me. They are setting a horrific example for younger generations. To tell a lie is okay. To bear false witness is okay. I don't hear any neo-right winger Christians saying otherwise. The GOP has taught a whole generations that the truth is not important and it is okay to lie.
On a lighter note, the weather here in northwestern Pennsylvania is changing; there is a coolness in the air, and the sun is slipping away quicker and quicker. The local community fairs are about half over; the Celebrate Erie fest is over, Crawford ended this past weekend, while Wattsburg opened. Next weekend, Waterford and Spartansburg open. I haven't made it to one of them yet.
September/October can be great months, then it is time to look out. Winter will soon settle in for the next four or five months and I need to get busy cutting splitting and stacking wood.
And that's a thought, someone should take McPlantation out behind the woodshed,

Saturday, August 16, 2008

One final wild flower photo for the day

The Village of Riceville

Work as a freelance journalist is interesting to say the least. This is the first one I'll post, although I've been doing this for twenty some years now. In the future, I'll post more. This one appeared in the Crawford County Neighbors section of the Erie Times News on Friday, August 15th, 2008. I usually have a story or two every week.
Riceville, in Crawford County, is a small place, blink and you miss it. In many ways, it's rural America and the challenges faced by small communities and their organizations. While some folks make billions, there's another world out there.

Winter heating bills are a looming burden for everyone, including church congregations. At the Riceville Methodist Church, it means selling a lot of baked goods, submarine sandwiches, crosses and fabric notepads to help meeting the cost of heating oil.
Smaller organizations, like the church, are facing some financial hurdles this winter.
“This is just so important for us because we are such a small congregation,”Our next sale will be this Saturday, August 16th at the park in front of the Frog Pond Restaurant in Canadohta Lake,” Barb Weisser, a member of the church and one of the organizers, said. “Our next sale will be this Saturday, August 16th at the park in front of the Frog Pond Restaurant in Canadohta Lake. We have had several throughout the summer to help raise the money to keep the church heated.”
The sale begins at 9 a.m. and should end around noon. The fund raiser will include a wide variety of homemade breads, cookies, pies and other food items. The Sunday School youth are making and decorating crosses which will also be for sale, the proceeds going into the heating fund; and the new leader of the congregation , Pastor Ray Speakmen will have homemade fabric notepads for sale.
“The fabric notepads are really unique and he learned the art from his aunt,” Weisser said. “Fifty percent of the proceeds from the notepads go towards the heating fund while the remainder is for a missionary project in China.”
Pastor Speakmen plans on being with members of the congregation at the park on Saturday.
“The fabric notebooks are just a neat little hobby and a lot of people like them,” he said. “I just arrived here on July 1st so I am not sure about how much fuel we use in the winter but I know it is a lot. We are just trying to be creative in raising money and attract new families. But since I have been here, I can tell you that there will be some excellent and really good baked goods along with the crafts.”
The Riceville Church, which currently has about 15 to 20 families, is a historic building located on Route 77. Riceville is a small community in Bloomfield Township close to Canadohta Lake.
According to the 2002 census, Riceville had a population of 82 residents. Currently, the Riceville Church is connected to the Methodist Church in Centerville.
Riceville was incorporated as a Borough 1859 and was named after Samuel Rice, the first pioneer who settled in the region in 1831 and erected a saw mill on Oil Creek.
The Riceville Methodist Church was first organized in 1849 and worship services were held in various locations including the one room school. Finally, in 1874, the church was erected for a cost of $4,500.
“There is so much history here.” Weisser said. “Most of our furnishing have all been donated over the years, many of them as memorials. Even the bell in the steeple was donated by the Congregational Church in 1931.”
The village once boasted a population of 314 people in the 1880 census and the community has several woodmaking shops, three general stores, two physicians, a hotel, and the Union and Titusville Railroad use to chug through the community on a daily basis.
Today, neither the church nor the village is quite such a bustling place but winter remains as cold and as costly as before.
“It can be an icebox here in Riceville during the winter,” Weisser said. “We keep the the oil furnace turned down low during the week, just enough to keep the water pipes from freezing. But we push the temperature up for Sunday services. It is just so expensive.”

Joe Pye Weed

GoldenRod Full Moon

As mentioned yesterday, the goldenrods began to bloom. But it was getting towards dusk and a little dark for a decent photograph. I waited until this morning and took the dog for a walk. It was only 50 degrees, a bit cool for this time of the year, but sunny.
In several weeks, the golden rods will put on quite the golden-yellow display; the wild honey bees really are attracted to them. Grabbed a photo of some of the Joe Pye weed too; the monarch butterflies are usually all over these but not this morning. Maybe a tab too early and chilly for them.
The moon was brilliant last night; tonight is the official full moon.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tomatoes, Golden Rods and the cornered rat.

Today, actually this evening, I first noticed the golden rods beginning to bloom. Summer is on the wane but September and October can be really nice weather months.
The tomatoes and beans are going pretty good and every day I am able to pick some to eat or give away. If nothing happens, like a killer blight, I am going to be swamped with tomatoes. I have about 260 plants which look okay so far, nothing really terrific but still...and finally the watermelons took off, there are about two dozen at different stages and the plants are covered with yellow blossoms. I plant a smaller, short season melon called Black Tail Mountain. They are good.
We had a powerful hail, thunder and lightning storm Monday evening. It did some damage to the vegetables in the garden but not all that bad;bruised up a few tomatoes and sliced some plants here and there.
The more I see and hear John McCain (aka McShame) the more I think the guy is loosing his grip. Yesterday, some not-so-talented writer by the name of Corsi released a hate-spite-awful book about Obama. I read some excerpts and it is just literally enough to make a sane person vomit. McShames response was tasteless and something to the effect about the need for humor. And this is the guy who told us all he wanted to run a decent, upright campaign! Actually, the presumptive GOP candidate has been acting like a rat in a corner. How anyone can vote for this guy is way beyond my imagination.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

August arrives

Wow! July is gone. Hard to believe the summer is whipping along so fast.
Christopher has been here the past several days. He is pretty cool at 16 and glad to have him around. I think he is experiencing some things here that he doesn't get a chance to experience at home in Las Vegas -- like picking the blueberries and blackberries which are at their peak right now - and splitting wood.
Hopefully, his future will be better come November when Obama wins the next presidential race (I think he will be elected); the Bush Depression is serious, awful and insulting to common folk.
McShame (aka Bush #3) continues to make a complete fool of himself. It is hard to believe that anyone can support this guy for president. And like I mentioned in the last post, it is disgraceful the way his political machine lies and cheats while dibbling in tabloid gossip stuff instead of focusing on the real issues and real people. The grumpy old man should never hold another public trust -- except maybe as mayor of some desolate western ghost town. Even then, he would probably scare the rats.
On happier news, the garden is doing pretty well and the tomatoes are beginning to ripen and I picked the first beans yesterday. May/June was cold and rainy so everything was off to a late start this year.
I dug up the first bed of garlic and it is looking pretty good so far. The weather forecasts look good, pretty much warm and sunny with a slight chance of rain. There seems to be no major storms in the near future although Friday night there a powerful thunder storm. It happened about 3 a.m. and some people had quite a bit of hail but I didn't hear or see any here.