Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Ten DVDs I Netflixed in 2008

About a year ago when I usurped this blog, I posted a list of the Top Ten DVDs I Netflixed in 2007. Seems like a harmless enough tradition to keep up. This is a non-sequential list of the ten DVDs that earned my five stars this year.

To put this list in perspective, I Netflixed over 150 DVDs in 2008. We don't watch broadcast TV. We just watch Netflix DVDs interspersed with the series we own on DVD: The Office, Arrested Development (we bought the whole series after we Netflixed it last year - little did we know we'd move to the Orange County it makes such good fun of), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel.

Creature Comforts America: Season 1 - I am seriously tempted to buy this DVD just for the Southern mother/daughter pigs. I love them so.

No Country for Old Men - We heart the Cohen Bros. But we didn't get the chance to see this in the theater. We were fools. It is awesome. Tommy Lee Jones' character has the best line, "Once you stop hearing 'sir' and 'ma'am', it's a slippery slope." So true.

The Prestige - So much better than the other period magician movie I also Netflixed, The Illusionist. Not that The Illusionist sucked or anything. We really liked it. But we watched The Prestige twice in a row.

Ed Wood - I know, I know, I should have seen this YEARS ago. I don't know what made me not want to watch it before. It was BRILLIANT! Maybe I just love Johnny Depp in this sort of Willy Wonka-esque role.

The Sting - I know, I know, I should have seen this YEARS ago. It was awesome.

Sicko - As I've said before, this was my big life changing documentary of the year.

King Corn - If you can't be bothered to read The Omnivore's Dilemma, watch this for the Cliff Notes version of Michael Pollan's cornification argument.

The Daily Show: Indecision 2004 - I couldn't get my political humor in real time, so I had to settle for four year old hilarity.

My Kid Could Paint That - Brilliant documentary that I've been meaning to write a more thorough review of since it rocked my world. Modern art, child exploitation, and Binghamton, New York. Does it get any better?!?

Battlestar Gallactica - all three seasons that are thusfar on DVD, the miniseries, and the television movie Battlestar Galactica: Razor - I am SO humiliated to confess this guilty pleasure.

A few honorable mentions (i.e., I read this list to David and he protested the omission of the following):
Gangs of New York
Why We Fight
Our Brand is Crisis
Northfork
Charlie Wilson's War
Michael Clayton

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best Comments of 2008

This year was the first year that we've really blogged from start to finish and your comments are one of the things that kept us going. Here is a random selection of some of my favorites from 2008.

The comment that really made my year was Joel Berg's response to my post Free Market Versus Legislative Philanthropy:

Thanks for your comments. I agree that our elected officals often spend our tax dollars on bad things. But they also fund roads, health research, parks, etc. Plus it is our job as citizens to get our elected offcials to support our priorities -- or to vote for new elected offcials. Do you have a better alternative?

-- Joel Berg

Again, when you thought no one would care, Terri posts this well-thought out response to Sarah's post on Corporations as Voldemort:
I agree. I have wondered about civil lawsuits on a large scale against the boards of directors and CEOs, though. Maybe even against the leaders in government as mismanagers of tax dollars. Although, can you sue politicians for something like that?

I'm not under any illusions that it would do any good in any short term, but I wonder what kind of precedent it would set? Probably a whole can of worms right there.

I agree with the soulless definition, but I also think of it in terms of strict behaviorism that you may use on a child without the development yet for empathy and long term planning. It seems that positive or negative reinforcement would be the only way to regulate the system as it is. Right now, the government seems to be giving positive reinforcement for screwing up, though. Clearly the wrong thing to do to change any behavior.

Then again, there's always overthrow of the system, but it historically always seems to be so messy and doesn't accomplish was intended.

Bah! Where's Hermione? She'd have some answers.

Thalia's hilarious response to Bob & Sarah's discussion of Clickers and White Bread:
I first thought this was about clicker-training students as has been done with dogs. Fabulous...but not the case.

And a Nobel candidate in the family? I think any sperm bank/ova harvesting fees just shot up by 1000%. In case you were wondering.

Bob's response to my praising the Wieman/Segal household's ongoing food photography prowess as exhibited in Rebecca's Ready for Armageddon post:
We're all about the translucency, yo. If it ain't translucent, I ain't interested.

And Rebecca gives me credit for the photo, but you know that I'd be trying to squeeze pretty light coming through a dark jar of Smucker's if it weren't for her wild jellin' picklin' so-tongue-ticklin' delicious Little House on the Prairie re-creation. Without the Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Thalia's Cuteoverload-worthy comment on Sarah's Flat Furrday post:
Mmm, delicious dog pattie, perfect for nibbling. Or plotting world domination. It's in his eyes, I can tell.

I'm beginning to wonder if anyone ever feeds Thalia based on her comment to Rebecca's grape jelly post:
*trying to eat jelly through computer monitor*

Dang.

Very pretty photo, btw.

And her comment on Rebecca's Spicy post:
I want to eat your house. Well, maybe just all the food in it.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Furrday: Baby, It's Cold Inside

How do I know the ambient room temperature in this picture hovers around 65 degrees Fahrenheit?

Because Izzy climbed on my lap and insisted I wrap him in a fleece throw and THEN Augie climbed on top of Izzy's lap to curl up for nap.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Armadillo!

Wednesday, December 24th, twas the night before Christmas and all through Honeymoon Island State Park Mom, David, Ed, and I spotted all sorts of animals. So many in fact that we came up with a parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas to commemorate it.

Six White Ibis,
Five Osprey,
Four Sweaty Tourists,
Three Monarch Butterflies,
Two Bald Eagles,
And an armadillo.

More armadillo pictures after the jump.






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Monday, December 22, 2008

There's Gotta Be an Ointment for This

Re-Nest came out with its Top Tens after my Top Ten of Top Tens, so here are a few more for you to peruse.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top Ten-itis

December brings us the darkest day of the year and Top Ten lists. Coincidence? I think not. Top Ten lists bring light and joy into the hearts of seasonal affective disordered Grinches. So here are a few of my favorites . . . a Top Ten Top Ten?

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Romping Pooch Vid

Gristmill, an environmental blog, made an interesting pitch for taking action against climate change: if we don't preserve winter, where would dogs find snow to romp in? To support this argument they linked to this hysterical video, which is pretty amusingly edited to the Frank Sinatra version of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer.

Furrday: Super Snuggly

Fall suddenly arrived in California around two weeks ago. We've had sub-forty degree temperatures at night.
At an end of semester happy hour the other week I confessed I keep the temperature in the house excessively cold (65 degrees Fahrenheit). When the astonished table asked why on Earth I would do such a thing I explained, "It makes the dogs cuddlier!" This garnered a round of laughs.
But super Augie doggy snuggles like these are no laughing matter.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Final Official Fullerton Election Results

Back in November when I published the initial election results for races at issue in Fullerton, California, I promised to post an update with the official certified election results. I keep my campaign promises.
As before Warning: Orange County is notoriously conservative, so before you proceed to the results, do not have a kitten when you see President and Vice President: John McCain/Sarah Palin. I compare the numbers in Orange County to the numbers in neighboring L.A. County and California as a whole, so we can all marvel at how Orange County differs from its neighbor and the rest of the state.

First off, back in November I noted the big news about record turnout in Los Angeles County and compared it with the rather lackluster turnout in Orange County. The Secretary of State's Voter Participation Statistics by County helps to further illustrate that point. 78.36% of registered voters in Los Angeles County cast a ballot this past November, compared to 72.62% in Orange County and 79.42% statewide. That works out to be 58.32% of eligible voters in L.A. County cast a ballot, compared to 62.75% in Orange County and 59.22% statewide.

Sounds like L.A. County needs an increased voter registration drive next time around. Somebody call A.C.O.R.N.

According to the Secretary of State's Historical Voter Registration and Voter Participation in Statewide General Elections 1910 - 2008, in terms of statewide voter participation, you have to go back to the presidential election in 1972 to find a higher level of participation, 64.52% of eligible California voters cast a ballot, than this November's 59.22%. In terms of registered voters casting ballots you have to go back to the presidential election of 1976 to find a higher level of participation, 81.53% of registered California voters cast a ballot, than this November's 79.42%.

Orange County election results for races at issue in Fullerton, California:
President and Vice President: John McCain/Sarah Palin
579,064 Orange County voters (50.20%) cast ballots for John McCain & Sarah Palin, compared to 956,425 (28.90%) in L.A. County and 5,011,781 (37.00%) statewide.
549,558 Orange County voters (47.70%) cast ballots for Barack Obama & Joe Biden, compared to 2,295,853 (69.20%) in L.A. County and 8,274,473 (61.10%) statewide.
7867 Orange County voters (0.70%) cast ballots for Libertarian Bob Barr, compared to 16,967 (0.50%) in L.A. County and 67,582 (0.50%) statewide.
7689 Orange County voters (0.70%) cast ballots for Ralph Nader, compared to 26,946 (0.90%) in L.A. County and 108,381 (0.80%) statewide.
3562 Orange County voters (0.30%) cast ballots for Alan Keyes, compared to 9,201 (0.20%) in L.A. County and 40,673 (0.30%) statewide.
3118 Orange County voters (0.20%) cast ballots for Ron Paul, compared to 1,290 (0.00%) in L.A. County and 17,006 (0.10%) statewide.
2454 Orange County voters (0.20%) cast ballots for my former representative, Cynthia McKinney, compared to 11,238 (0.30%) in L.A. County and 38,774 (0.20%) statewide.
373 Orange County voters (0.00%) cast ballots for Chuck Baldwin, compared to 308 (0.00%) in L.A. County and 3,145 (0.00%) statewide.
1 Orange County voter (0.00%) cast his or her ballot for Frank Moore, compared to 3 (0.00%) in L.A. County and 36 (0.00%) statewide.
1 Orange County voter (0.00%) cast his or her ballot for James Harris, compared to 17 (0.00%) in L.A. County and 49 (0.00%) statewide.

A total of 25,065 votes in Orange County went to "third party" candidates, 2.17%, which was not quite enough to change the outcome in the county. 65,970 votes in L.A. County went to "third party" candidates (1.99%). 275,646 votes statewide went to "third party" candidates (2.03%).

United States Representative, 40th District: Ed Royce (Republican)
Democrat Christina Avalos earned 86,772 votes (37.4%) compared to incumbent Republican Ed Royce's 144,923 votes (62.6%).

State Senator, 33rd District: Mimi Walters (Republican)
Democrat Gary Pritchard earned 157,945 votes (41.8%) compared to Republican Mimi Walters' 219,068 votes (58.2%).

Member of the State Assembly, 72nd District: Michael D. "Mike" Duvall (Republican)
Democrat John MacMurray earned 65,216 votes (45.2%) compared to incumbent Republican Michael D. (Mike) Duvall's 79,066 vote (54.8%).

On to the statewide propositions!

Prop. 1A - Safe, Reliable High-Speed Train Bond Act: YES . . . yay!
Shortly after Election Day this race was deemed too close to call by the L.A. Times due to the fact that those in favor were only up by 423,424 votes. By the Secretary of State's final tally, 6,680,485 voters (52.70%) favored Prop. 1A while 6,015,944 (47.30%) opposed it. So it ended up winning by 664,541 votes. This is one of the three ballot measures where the outcome in Orange County differed from the outcome statewide. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 470,846 voters (43.6%) favored Prop. 1A while 608,271 voters (56.4%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 1A would have lost by 137,425 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,694,649 voters (55.6%) favored Prop. 1A while 1,354,093 voters (44.4%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 1A would have passed by 340,556 votes.

Prop. 2 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals: YES . . . yay!
According to the Secretary of State's final tally, 8,203,769 voters (63.50%) favored Prop. 2 while 4,731,738 (36.50%) opposed it. So it won by 3,472,031 votes. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 660,741 voters (60.0%) favored Prop. 2 while 441,070 voters (40.0%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 2 would have passed by 219,671 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 2,090,665 voters (67.1%) favored Prop. 2 while 1,026,497 voters (32.9%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 2 would have passed by 1,064,168 votes.

Prop. 3 - Children's Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program: YES . . . yay!
According to the Secretary of State's final tally, 6,984,319 voters (55.30%) favored Prop. 3 while 5,654,586 (44.70%) opposed it. So it won by 1,329,733 votes. This is one of the three ballot measures where the outcome in Orange County differed from the outcome statewide. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 528,320 voters (49.1%) favored Prop. 3 while 547,061 voters (50.9%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 3 would have lost by 18,741 votes. This was the closest proposition contest in Orange County. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,882,951 voters (61.9%) favored Prop. 3 while 1,160,833 voters (38.1%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 3 would have passed by 722,118 votes.

Prop. 4 - Parent Notif. Before Terminating Minor's Pregnancy: NO . . . yay!
Shortly after Election Day this race was deemed too close to call by the L.A. Times due to the fact that those opposed were only up by 447,561 votes. In the end, according to the Secretary of State's final tally, 6,220,473 voters (48.00%) favored Prop. 4 while 6,728,478 (52.00%) opposed it. So it was defeated by 508,005 votes. This is one of the three ballot measures where the outcome in Orange County differed from the outcome statewide. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 600,830 voters (54.4%) favored Prop. 4 while 504,707 voters (45.6%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 4 would have passed by 96,123 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,437,830 voters (46.2%) favored Prop. 4 while 1,673,251 voters (53.8%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 4 would have failed by 235,421 votes.

Prop. 5 - Nonviolent Drug Offense. Sentencing, Parole, Rehab: NO
According to the Secretary of State's final tally, 5,155,206 voters (40.50%) favored Prop. 5 while 7,566,783 (59.50%) opposed it. So it was defeated by 2,411,577 votes. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 380,102 voters (35.1%) favored Prop. 5 while 701,377 voters (64.9%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 5 would have failed by 321,275 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,312,378 voters (42.8%) favored Prop. 5 while 1,751,858 voters (57.2%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 5 would have failed by 439,480 votes.

Prop. 6 - Police, Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Laws: NO . . . yay!
According to the Secretary of State's final tally, 3,824,372 voters (30.80%) favored Prop. 6 while 8,559,647 (69.20%) opposed it. So it was defeated by 4,735,275 votes, the largest margin of any of the propositions. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 321,170 voters (30.4%) favored Prop. 6 while 732,879 voters (69.6%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 6 would have failed by 411,709 votes. Of the proposition contests, this was the widest margin in Orange County. Compare that to L.A. County where 907,732 voters (30.6%) favored Prop. 6 while 2,052,672 voters (69.4%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 6 would have failed by 1,144,940 votes. Of the proposition contests, this was the widest margin in L.A. County.

Prop. 7 - Renewable Energy Generation: NO . . . yay!
According to the Secretary of State's final tally, 4,502,235 voters (35.50%) favored Prop. 6 while 8,155,181 (64.50%) opposed it. So it was defeated by 3,652,946 votes. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 373,504 voters (34.6%) favored Prop. 7 while 705,463 voters (65.4%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 7 would have failed by 331,959 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,127,468 voters (37.3%) favored Prop. 7 while 1,893,487 voters (62.7%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 7 would have failed by 766,019 votes.

Prop. 8 - Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry: YES
Shortly after Election Day this race was deemed too close to call by the L.A. Times due to the fact that those in favor were only up by 415,839 votes. In the end, per the Secretary of State's final tally, 7,001,084 voters (52.30%) favored Prop. 1A while 6,401,482 (47.70%) opposed it. So it ended up winning by 599,602 votes. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 659,037 voters (57.7%) favored Prop. 8 while 484,015 voters (42.3%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 8 would have passed by 175,022 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,624,672 voters (50.1%) favored Prop. 8 while 1,622,287 voters (49.9%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 8 would have passed by 2,385 votes. Of the proposition contests this was the closest margin in L.A. County.

Prop. 9 - Criminal Justice System. Victims' Rights. Parole: YES
According to the Secretary of State's final tally, 6,682,465 voters (53.90%) favored Prop. 9 while 5,728,968 (46.10%) opposed it. So it won by 953,497 votes. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 612,578 voters (57.9%) favored Prop. 9 while 446,576 voters (42.1%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 9 would have passed by 166,002 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,537,289 voters (51.9%) favored Prop. 9 while 1,428,673 voters (48.1%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 9 would have passed by 108,616 votes.

Prop. 10 - Altern. Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds: NO . . . yay!
According to the Secretary of State's final tally, 5,098,666 voters (40.50%) favored Prop. 10 while 7,464,154 (59.50%) opposed it. So it was defeated by 2,365,488 votes. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 418,350 voters (38.8%) favored Prop. 10 while 657,191 voters (61.2%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 10 would have failed by 238,841 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,368,119 voters (45.2%) favored Prop. 10 while 1,657,227 voters (54.8%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 10 would have failed by 289,108 votes.

Prop. 11 - Redistricting: YES . . . yay!
Shortly after Election Day this race was deemed too close to call by the L.A. Times due to the fact that those in favor were only up by 90,878 votes. In the end this was the closest race of all the propositions. In the Secretary of State's final tally, 6,095,033 voters (50.90%) favored Prop. 11 while 5,897,655 (49.10%) opposed it. So it ended up winning by 197,378 votes. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 559,971 voters (55.0%) favored Prop. 11 while 458,329 voters (45.0%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 11 would have passed by 101,642 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,378,561 voters (47.6%) favored Prop. 11 while 1,513,159 voters (52.4%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 11 would have failed by 134,598 votes. This was the proposition contest where the outcome in L.A. County differed from the outcome statewide.

Prop. 12 - Veterans' Bond: YES . . . yay!
According to the Secretary of State's final tally, 7,807,630 voters (63.60%) favored Prop. 12 while 4,481,196 (36.40%) opposed it. So it won by 3,326,464 votes. Based on the Secretary of States data on Ballot Measures by County, in Orange County 603,006 voters (57.6%) favored Prop. 12 while 445,357 voters (42.4%) opposed it. So if Orange County was the sole decider, Prop. 12 would have passed by 157,649 votes. Compare that to L.A. County where 1,955,109 voters (66.4%) favored Prop. 12 while 990,171 voters (33.6%) opposed it. If L.A. County was the sole decider, Prop. 12 would have passed by 964,938 votes.

Now we get into elections reported only in the Orange County Registrar of Voters Statement of Votes - a 2,037 page document. Just giving y'all with slow connections a heads up that you might just want to trust me on these numbers.

Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 12: Debra Carrillo . . . Yay!
1,607,989 registered voters could vote in this contest. 1,167,657 registered voters cast ballots (72.62%). Debra Carrillo earned 581,954 votes compared to Kermit Marsh's 327,065. You can find these numbers on page 412 of the Orange County Registrar of Voters Statement of Votes. So does that mean of the 1,167,657 voters who cast ballots only 909,019 (77.8%) bothered to vote in this contest? So out of all registered voters in Orange County only 56.5% actually voted in this contest? That's still better than the statewide turnout in most midterm elections, so I guess that's not so bad.

North Orange County Community College District, Governing Board Member, Trustee Area 4: Molly McClanahan . . . Yay!
433,011 registered voters could vote in this contest. 304,581 registered voters cast ballots (70.34%). Danarose Crystal earned 43,288 votes (18.6%), Molly McClanahan earned 162,776 (70.0%), and Ross P. Romero earned 26,365 (11.3%). That's 232,429 votes all tolled, or 76.3% of the voters who cast ballots bothered to vote in this contest, or 53.7% of registered voters actually voted in this contest.
You can find these numbers on page 430 of the Orange County Registrar of Voters Statement of Votes.

City of Fullerton, Member, City Council: Sharon Quirk . . . Yay!, Shawn Nelson, and F. Richard "Dick" Jones. I believe the top three vote-getters make the cut. I am particularly disappointed that F. Richard "Dick" Jones made the cut given his use of misleading direct mail.
70,242 registered voters could vote in this contest. 50,181 registered voters cast ballots (71.44%). Incumbent Sharon Quirk earned 25,450 votes (24.1%), incumbent Shawn Nelson earned 21,285 (20.2%), incumbent F. Richard "Dick" Jones earned 19,592 (18.6%), Karen Haluza earned 16,788 (15.9%), Virginia Han earned 9,137 (8.7%), Scott Carroll earned 8,419 (8.0%), and Richard "Dick" Little earned 4,865 (4.6%). You can find these numbers on page 818 of the Orange County Registrar of Voters Statement of Votes. That's a total of 105,536 votes, which seems odd until you realize voters could vote for 3 candidates. So that means 35,178 2/3 voters voted. Just kidding. I only voted for two candidates myself.

Orange County Measure J: YES
1,607,989 registered voters could vote in this contest. 1,167,657 registered voters cast ballots (72.62%). 253,331 voters (24.8%) opposed Measure J. 768,374 voters (75.2%) favored Measure J. 1,021,705 total votes, or 87.5% of the voters who cast ballots bothered to vote in this contest.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Orange County in the News

A nugget from KPCC's local news coverage pertaining to Orange County that I found particularly interesting: Orange County introduces special court for veterans by Susan Valot.

Cookies in the News

Did y'all hear Shirley O. Corriher on All Things Considered this evening? You have to listen to the audio as she sounds like a southern grandma telling stories, not a food scientist giving baking advice based on chemistry. She's promoting her new book, Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking, which I hear isn't quite as wonderful as her superbly wonderful Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed.

Corriher specifically addressed the inverse of one of Rebecca's concerns regarding the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe: what makes a chocolate chip cookie flat?

Like the author of the article which accompanied the NYTCCC recipe, Corriher considered the ingredients and conditions under which Ruth Graves Wakefield made the original Toll House chocolate chip cookies. Corriher concludes that the flour Wakefield used had higher protein levels, so to get thicker cookies use a flour with higher protein, like bread flour.

Now, if the converse is true, for Rebecca to get the two-dimensional cookies she craves, she might want to use only cake flour, which contains even less protein than all-purpose flour, rather than the NYTCCC's combination of cake flour and bread flour, which either is trying to get the best of both high and low protein or ends up splitting the difference, which means a nice average all-purpose would do just as well. These are experiments that will have to wait for another day.

I might have to test drive her Chocolate Crinkle Cookies first.

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Fat Lady Makes Last Stop Minnesota

Back in November I mentioned there were five Democratic candidates in too-close-to-call elections: Jim Martin - GA Sen, Mark Begich - AK Sen, Al Franken - MN Sen, Charlie Brown - California's 4th Congressional District, and Mary Jo Kilroy - Ohio’s 15th Congressional District. As I'm sure you know, Jim Martin lost his runoff to Saxby Chambliss for the U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, Mark Begich won the recount against indicted incumbent Ted Stevens, and Al Franken is still fighting to have all the votes counted in his race against Norm Coleman. But those poor congressfolk just don't get the same kind of press those big senatefolk do. So in case you haven't heard the latest, on December 4, Charlie Brown conceded an election decided by a razor thin 1,800 vote margin. On the up side, after all the votes were counted Mary Jo Kilroy won her seat in the 111th Congress by 2,311 votes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Writing as Punishment

When your students complain that your assignments are punitive, now they have a little precedent to back up their argument. A superior court judge in New Jersey ordered two young men, who were convicted for going along with the marijuana growing plan of their roommate, to read and write essays about

Judgment at Nuremburg, a 1957 play by Abby Mann that was adapted into the Academy Award-winning 1961 film about Nazi war criminals brought to justice for their crimes against humanity. The significance of the assignment is that the war criminals claimed to just be following orders,
just as the two young men said they were following their roommate. Via Prof. Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy Blog.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Microcow

The New York Times Magazine's Eighth Annual Year in Ideas issue came out today. The first idea that caught my eye: Minicattle. So I went over to my friend April's house to get an image to go along with this post about minicattle.

Specifically, I wanted a picture of her dog Talula, an obese Chihuahua who has white fur with black spots. We call her Microcow, Vaquita, La Petite Vachette, you get the idea. But then I remembered Talula, who is 19 years old, has arthritis. So in the winter she wears a sweater, which keeps her warm and spry. Unfortunately, it also covers up her cow spots, which sort of defeats the purpose. But she's SO cute, I just had to share these pictures anyway.

Also, if any knitters out there would be willing to knit a white sweater with black cow spots, Talula and April would be VERY appreciative.
Updated on 4/3/2009 to add a:
I just took a picture of Talula without her sweater so you can see her full cow-ish-ness.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Updates: Parenting and Color

Just a quick FYI to let you know I've recently added some more links to my compilation of parenting resources [No I am not pregnant.] and the Color Theory Index.

Wooh! It feels good to clean out the ol' starred items list on Google Reader.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Furrday



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Academic Micro-Round Up

A few little blips in the world of academe:

  • Harvard University's endowment, the largest of any university, has lost 22% of its value in the past year — or approximately $8 billion. From Marketwatch via Consumerist.
  • A calculus teacher sold advertising space on tests to pay for photocopies for his class. Chronicle of Higher Education. Also, and perhaps more easily accessible on USAToday via Consumerist.
  • Student employees at California State University called off a threatened strike today after Darrell Steinberg, the new state Senate president pro tem, offered to mediate between the union and the college system. From the LA Times.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pie Charts

Two links to two pie chart related posts:

Food Stuff - Not to be confused with Foodstuffs

A few links to a few posts about food that have been burning up my Google Reader waiting to be shared with you including: squash, cookies, minimalist holiday menu, salt, baking tips, and biodynamic wine.

Awhile back the New York Times had a wee article on the wonderful world of squash along with two squash recipes: Squash and Cheese Pie and Squash with Creamy Curry. I've heard of people, yes, I'm talking about YOU Gentle Reader, who just hack a butternut squash in half, toss it in the oven and eat it with a spoon. Brutish. Me, I prefer the squash soup recipe in The Flying Biscuit Cookbook. Now that I've seen the price used Flying Biscuit Cookbooks are going for on Amazon, I might just photocopy my favorite recipes and sell it. That's my economic recovery plan.

Via Serious Eats, Gourmet magazine shares its favorite cookie recipes of all time. My cookie love must be on the fritz because I can only find two I'd consider making right now: rugelach from 2004 and glittering lemon sandwich cookies from 2008. Can anyone suggest a substitute for corn syrup in the GLSCs? I hate to buy a bottle of something I'm never going to use.

Mark Bittman shared his minimalist Thanksgiving menu with Serious Eats. Were I ever in the position to cook a holiday meal, I would follow this menu. Meanwhile, I shall be thankful for in-laws and out-laws who I must visit during all major holidays and who must therefor bear the burden of feeding me.

Serious Eats also linked to Portfolio magazine's Eat Sheet on salt. It's no Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky, but that's kinda a good thing. Note the low resale value on that book as compared to the Flying Biscuit Cookbook. I'm just sayin'.

Also via Serious Eats, the Guardian's compilation of 30 Baking Tips from famous bakers. I'm not sure that Jim Lahey's "Measure precisely," is going to change my life, but I'm sure you'll find some gems in there if you keep digging.

Lou Bendrick's Checkout Line column for Gristmill had a nice answer to a reader's question, "What the hell is biodynamic wine and does it taste any better than regular wine?"

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas party penguins

So, we're having a cookie party this weekend. Here's some of the VIPs on the guest list:

(Closeups below the fold)

But Rebecca's mad skillz extend beyond the edible -- here's the first of _many_ squares she's knitting for a blanket for her sister:



This is Rebecca's favorite, because of his rakish beret.

These are mine. The one on the left is supposed to look like a baby emperor, and the one on the right is meant to be an Adelie. (In both of these, the beaks aren't really supposed to be orange, but I invoked artistic license because the color makes them cuter.)

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Fluffy Furrday

When Augie comes back from the groomer's he looks like a ball of fluff. I wish you could see him in person to get the full fluffy effect.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

P.S. re: z

If you were all worried about me and my X's and Y's and z's, the z equaling the death of my Cuisinart, I have some good news. News of the Cuisinart's death was greatly exaggerated.

I went upstairs after my last post to contemplate making guacamole without a Cuisinart. I took apart the Cuisinart and unplugged it and wiped down the base in one of those pathetic, "If I maintain you in death in the manner that I should have maintained you in life, maybe you'll come alive again," ways that reminds me of a mother cat with a baby kitten that doesn't make it . . . [jeez, this post was supposed to be all, "Yay! My Cuisinart works, so maybe all the rest of the stuff going wrong will turn out OK in the end!" and it has taken SUCH a maudlin turn] . . . anyway, I plugged it in and reassembled it for one last ditch effort before I chucked it . . . and it worked just fine.

And I just made some AWESOME guacamole with my 3 for $1 avocados from Henry's in Yorba Linda.

Stuff I'd Like to Cook

Some days you say, "I can't handle X." You avoid dealing with X. Then Y crops up and makes you realize that X is SO no big deal and you could SO handle X if only Y wasn't demanding your attention? Well, I'm ignoring both X AND Y to share with you a few recipes that I'd much rather be making than handling either X or Y.

  • Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting from Smitten Kitchen via Not Martha - did I mention that I recently found out my father-in-law hates maple syrup? The very concept of someone not liking maple syrup blows my mind.
  • Bakerella's Moist Yellow Cake via Not Martha - though maybe without the artificial butter flavoring
  • DIY vanilla extract from Vanilla Review via Angry Chicken - did I mention I think I killed my Cuisinart? It's directions TOLD me to put the cheese in the freezer before running it through the shredding attachment. So why oh why did that cause an odd smell and possibly smoke to emanate from the base just prior to becoming completely unresponsive? This has nothing to do with Vanilla Review's instructions for making vanilla extract.
  • Quick Fix Fajitas from Serious Eats - the death of my Cuisinart is neither the X nor the Y that I am avoiding by composing this post. Let's call it z. Just lowercase. No big thing. This has nothing to to with Serious Eats' recipe for Quick Fix Fajitas.
  • Pan De Elote (Mexican Pan Cornbread) from Serious Eats
  • Root Beer Bundt Cake from Serious Eats' Cook the Book series on Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

VMFA on NPR

All Things Considered is doing a series of reports about museums. Yesterday's installment focused on the director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which the report described as being located in, "an elite Richmond neighborhood." Bob and Rebecca, I always knew you were elite neighbors.

Friday, November 28, 2008

You're a Turkey

I am in Hilton Head, South Carolina, for Thanksgiving. Twelve years ago Bob joined me for Thanksgiving in Hilton Head with the in-laws. That was when we developed the "game" "You're a turkey." In honor of that monumental occasion I have composed a brief recreation.
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: ...
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: ...
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: [furrows brow]
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: [continued brow furrowing]
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: [add "huh?" mouth to brow furrowing]
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: [attempts to ignore Bob & Sarah in the hope they will stop or go away]
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: [returns to reading book]
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: [concentrates on book and ignoring Bob & Sarah]
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: [scowls at book]
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: [looks up from book scowling]
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: >sigh<
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: >mumble< >sigh<
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: [stares at Bob & Sarah in disbelief]
Sarah: You're a turkey.
Bob: You're a turkey.
David: STOP IT!

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Happy Thanksgiving Furrday

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sign of the Times

Who was I talking to about the "O" logo for the Barack Obama campaign? He or she didn't like it at all. I completely disagreed, finding it more pleasing than any campaign logo I'd ever seen. Apparently Matthew Yglesias agrees with me. And he has a link to an interview with the designer of the "O".

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Collections

As I've stated before, I am not a knitter. I'm also not a crocheter. But I am entranced by Supernaturale's use of a display case as a primer for crochet methods via WhipUp. I'm pretty much a sucker for anything in that sort of display case. But the start white of the crocheted bits against the dark wood is striking. The museum-like display and the labels remind me of Dario Robleto's collections of macabre ephemera in the Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet show at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego that I reviewed in October.

I'm similarly charmed by the design boards Lobster & Swan makes to record the things that inspire her each day, which I also found via Design*Sponge. Really, I'm a sucker for anything date-stamped. These collages remind me of On Kawara's Today Series, which you can go see as part of The Panza Collection exhibit at The Hirshhorn Museum.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Quilt News

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is showing Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt through December 14, 2008. In conjunction with that exhibit the PMA is showing Quilt Stories: The Ella King Torrey Collection of African American Quilts and Other Recent Quilt Acquisitions. The PMA is a great museum. I saw this particular Gee's Bend show at The Walters Museum in Baltimore. It's a definite must-see.

Also in quilt related news, Dear Ada shared some pieces from Sherri Lynn Wood's collection of Passage Quilts. These quilts commemorate and honor personal relationships, milestones, and rites of passage. You can read more about these quilts in the November/December 2008 issue of FiberArts.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Recipe Round Up

Serious Eats is doing a series of recipes adapted from Martha Stewart's latest cookbook, Martha Stewart's Cooking School. I have a couple of her cookbooks, and I never use them. The recipes are usually overly complicated or involve obscure ingredients or equipment (of course, I haven't really perused them since I started my cooking kick in Indiana, so maybe I wouldn't find them so esoteric or challenging now). But the recipes Serious Eats cooked so far seem pretty doable.

A few that I've been contemplating:


Recipes not from the Martha Stewart book that I'm contemplating making:
  • Mushroom and Chicken Risotto from food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza, who are writing a cookbook focusing on minimizing the use of meat, which was one of the suggestions in Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. Via Serious Eats.
  • We think our baking powder biscuit recipe is pretty darned awesome. But I'm tempted to try Amanda Clarke's biscuit recipe from Serious Eats.
  • We think our pancake recipe from The Grit Cookbook is pretty darned awesome, too. But I'm tempted to try Mark Bittman's Rich Ricotta Pancakes. Via Serious Eats.
  • David's Mom used to make meringues pretty regularly to serve with fresh fruit for dessert. I've never attempted it. But I'm tempted to try ditte isager's recipe from Design*Sponge. It's worth looking at the recipe for the pictures alone, even if you'll never make a meringue.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Round Up

In this round up: embroidery patterns meet technology, bag making tutorials, underbritches, french seams and hand-rolled hems, collages, decoupaged ceilings, stenciled cement, space-aged chicken coop, sheep, recycle Brita filters, recycle CDs, wash fruit & veg, persimmons, Obama and food politics, Obama and criminal justice, and a funny post title.

SharonB, formerly of In A Minute Ago, currently of Pin Tangle, shared an online resource for vintage embroidery patterns, J. F. Ingalls, which is cool. But what's even cooler is she links to two tutorials from the same resource about how to use GIMP to turn illustrations from the catalog into usable designs AND to enlarge a design without getting the fuzzies, i.e. it shows you how to turn images into a vector images.

I have this very specific drawstring bag project in the sourcing materials phase that might be helped out by one or more of the bag tutorials collected by KathRed over at WhipUp.

I'm not the only one interested in Angry Chicken's underthings. WhipUp mentioned her unmentionables and collected a few more panty production links.

I'm not remotely interested in making a french scarf, but I am interested in learning how to sew a french seam and how to sew a hand-rolled hem both of which Colette explains clearly with beautiful pictures. Via WhipUp.

I'm in love with impactist's photos of cut paper collages over at Design*Sponge.

When I was in my extreme fish-themed bathroom phase I would have been all about decoupaging my bathroom ceiling with printouts of fish after seeing this awesome DIY decoupaged ceiling project over at Design*Sponge. I'm over fish in bathrooms, but I wonder what else I could do.

Design*Sponge has a Before & After showing some pretty impressive stenciling on a cement patio. This has totally set my mind racing about ways to spruce up our back patio with paint.

Yanko Design featured a very modern looking chicken coop via Re-Nest. I can't actually find any information about whether it is in production. C'est la vie. It might look more sleek in the backyard than the Eglu, I found in June also at Re-Nest, which appears to be for sale in the U.K.

Of course we all know chickens are the gateway-livestock to sheep. Serious Eats posted about people becoming sheep farmers and artisanal cheese makers . . . a dream I know at least a few of us share.

According to Re-Nest, the Take Back the Filter campaign, which I mentioned back in May, has succeeded! So start setting aside your used Brita filters because starting in January you can drop off filters at Whole Foods Markets or mail them in.

Did you know you can recycle CDs and DVDs? It's true, according to Re-Nest.

Re-Nest suggests a novel & eco-friendly method to really clean produce.

To supplement my persimmon post, Re-Nest has more information about persimmon buying and consuming.

On the food politics front, Gristmill has been closely watching the Obama transition team for signs about the future of the Department of Agriculture and other key food-policy posts.

In other political news, Prof. Berman shared his thoughts on what presumptive Attorney General Eric Holder might do in terms of criminal justice and sentencing. He also shared his criminal justice wish list for the incoming Obama administration. He zooms in on the criminal justice section of the a new publication from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, entitled "Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President."

Lastly, The Most Hilarious Blog Post Title if You Think Like a 12 Year Old Boy: Dingell Waxed

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Vacation Furrday

The boys relaxing in their first hour of Thanksgiving vacation.

Sphinxy says, "Riddle me this, who's the cutest?"

David and Izzy confer, "We are the cutest, no?"
Izzy sticks his tongue out in triumph.
Zoom in for cuteness!

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Birthday Prezzie


In finally unpacking my suitcase from my East Coast Tour in order to pack it for my Thanksgiving in Hilton Head, I found the AWESOME gift Bob and Rebecca gave me for my birthday while I was in Richmond: a set of sassy post-its! I totally need this as I have finally worked my way through my extensive post-it collection that I may have borrowed from my last job before law school.
How many times have I needed a tiny post-it tab that says "Moo"? So very many times. And yes, the sassy words are on every single post-it, not just the top one. I believe B&R got these from Mongrel, the super cute shop in Carytown. If you can't get to Carytown, you can buy them online from the source: Knock Knock.
I am also entirely fond of the pirate post-its. Maybe I could write in some parentheses and use them for my Art History Reading Group, (aka A(rg)H). Thank you, Bob & Rebecca!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Birthday Prezzie

Yesterday I received a belated birthday prezzie from my friend Julia. Along with homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, she sent me a beautiful handmade scarf.

She knit it out of variegated blue ribbon. I've been wearing the two scarves she knit me for my birthday in 2005 in the cold weather climates of Washington, D.C., and Bloomington, Indiana. This ribbon scarf is perfect for the warmer climes of southern California. Thank you, Julia!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do I Have 4 Cents?

Do you want to give your two cents to President-Elect Barack Obama? I've already posted a few opportunities to pool your two cents with like-minded organizations. Here are a couple more: Amnesty International and Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
Amnesty International has an app that helps you write a letter to President-elect Obama (requires registration) asking him to demonstrate his commitment to justice by:

  • Announcing the timeline to close Guantánamo
  • Issuing an executive order to ban torture and other ill-treatment as defined under international law
  • Ensuring that an independent inquiry into the USA’s detention and interrogation practices in its “war on terror” is set up

Fascinating that both NOW and Amnesty International emphasize the individual letter writing format rather than the petition format. I wonder if these time-tested NGOs have found letters demonstrably more effective than petitions.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums has a partially editable letter to President-elect Obama stating:
Congratulations on your victory. As you now prepare to take office, I am sure you are assembling a policy agenda for the beginning of your term. I urge you to include federal sentencing reform as a high priority for your administration.

As a concerned citizen and member of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), I believe that the one-size-fits all nature of mandatory minimum sentences undermines a basic principle of American justice - that the punishment should fit the crime and the individual. As you develop your criminal justice agenda, please keep in mind these key facts about mandatory minimum sentences:

- Mandatory minimum sentences prevent the courts from considering the facts of each case or the individual's role. For example, only the weight and type of drug, or the presence of a firearm during a felony offense, determine the length of a mandatory minimum sentence. Judges cannot lower a mandatory minimum sentence because of the circumstances of the case or a person's role, motivation, or likelihood of repeating the crime.

- Mandatory minimum laws often punish low-level defendants more harshly than those who are more culpable. Those with higher levels of involvement in an offense that carries a mandatory minimum often have information to give prosecutors in exchange for a sentence reduction. However, people at the periphery of these cases - for instance, drug couriers, addicts or relatives of drug dealers - often have no information to give to prosecutors and end up with a longer sentence.

- Public support for mandatory minimum sentences has waned. According to a recent poll commissioned by FAMM, 59 percent of Americans oppose mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders. And fully 78 percent of Americans agree that courts - not Congress - should determine an individual's prison sentence.

- Mandatory minimum sentences are the least effective means of reducing drug use and sales. At a time of financial crisis, our sentencing policies should be cost effective, not just costly. Treatment of substance abusers is eight to nine times more cost effective than long mandatory sentences, according to the RAND Corporation.

I believe the time has come for a new approach on federal sentencing issues, one that upholds the traditions of individualized justice that Americans hold dear. I sincerely hope that you will give mandatory minimum sentencing reform the attention it deserves.

Thank you for your attention to this issue. I wish you the best of luck during your transition and beyond.


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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Crisis Breeds Neologism

David coined a new term to describe our fun, non-mandatory evacuation from the fires last weekend: evacucation. We had a dog-friendly hotel all picked out and everything.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ash

This is a picture of ash on our deck left over from the fires in Brea and Yorba Linda this weekend. Our place is about three miles from the southwestern corner of the voluntary evacuation area for the Brea fire Saturday evening. So we're just fine. Smells like the bonfire at summer camp . . . any suggestions for getting that out of the carpets? And the dogs?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fire Furrday

For our fun, non-mandatory evacuation from the fires, we took the dogs to the Huntington Beach dog park.

The smoke from the fires made the sunset extra gorgeous.

This was Augie's first time at the Pacific Ocean and Izzy's first time at any ocean.

Unfortunately we didn't get close enough to the water's edge to see if Izzy would hop in.

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Fire

This picture was taken shortly before 2:00 p.m. today from our front door in Fullerton, California. I thought there had been an eclipse. But as soon as I opened the door the smell of smoke was overwhelming. Ash is falling from the sky like snowflakes - just light flurries right now.

There is a fire in the eastern portion of Yorba Linda near Corona. There is also a fire a fire in Brea near Carbon Canyon. That's like two exits north.

We're packing up and taking the dogs to the beach. A sort of fun, non-mandatory evacuation.

I Love Barney Frank

The New York Times has a great analysis piece today by Joe Nocera, Facing Crisis, Congress Makes Sense, highlighting two recent Congressional hearings that might restore your faith in legislative governance. It quotes Barney Frank, who I love, responding to a lobbyist for the securitization industry,

I would like to believe what you are saying. But as Chico said to Groucho, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"
Representative Frank was a guest on Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me the other week and I laughed so hard I cried.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Got Plans This Saturday?

How about joining a peaceful demonstration in support of equal rights for all? Join the Impact has coordinated an international protest this Saturday, November 15th (just in time for your birthday, Mom!) in response to the November 4th passage in Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and California of propositions undermining the equality of, well, all of us really. There are events planned for Richmond, Virginia, New York City, and, well, all over California.

If you're not up for a protest, at least head over to Human Rights Campaign and recommit to fight for marriage equality.

NOW Helps Craft Your Two Cents

The National Organization for Women has a great app that helps you develop your personal message to the Obama/Biden administration by selecting from a pretty wide range of statements like:

Juggling work and family responsibilities is a significant challenge for women. I ask you to expand family leave to cover all workers and put the issue of paid leave back on the national agenda, in addition to a minimum number of paid sick days for all workers.
and
Advocate for a guarantee of gender equality in the U.S. Constitution. Push forward on the ratification of CEDAW, the United Nations treaty to end sex discrimination.
to name a few.

Give President-elect Obama Your Two Cents

You can go straight to the source and tell the President-elect what would be best for the country by filling out the Share Your Vision form over at Change.gov. Or you can pool your voice with other folks who share the same goals, like True Majority, People for the American Way, MomsRising.org, the Organic Consumers Association, Code Pink, and/or Greenpeace.

Frustratingly, I can't find a petition asking President-elect Obama to work towards non-profit, single-payer health care. I checked Healthcare-Now, The Campaign for America's Future, Health Care for All-California, and Nine-Nine-Oh-Nine. Any suggestions?

True Majority has a little app where you vote for your top priorities for the Obama administration and then it generates a (kinda lame) little email for you to send to Obama listing your priorities.

People for the American Way has a petition asking President-elect Obama to restore the constitution. More specifically it states:

I urge you to uphold your commitments to restore constitutional rights and the rule of law. The Bush administration has run roughshod over Americans' civil liberties and its intelligence policies must be reversed, not continued.

The change you were elected to bring must include adherence to our core constitutional values: NO MORE torture... NO MORE domestic spying that violates Americans' rights... NO MORE excessive government secrecy... NO MORE gross violations of due process and habeas corpus.


MomsRising.org isn't doing a petition. But you can sign their "super-sized card." Because what, mommies don't do petitions? Mine did. Anyway, their big card says:
We were delighted to hear you raise issues of concern to women and families during the campaign. We share your view that it is critically important to address issues like expanding early learning/childcare opportunities, passing fair pay legislation, securing paid sick days for all workers, and providing healthcare coverage for all children. We look forward to working with you and the Congress to enact these family-friendly policies.

In the coming months, as you and the Congress address our nation's economic future, we urge you to keep these issues at the top of your priority list. We will continue to educate leaders about the way these issues impact real families and real moms, us.

We are behind you all of the way as you work for family economic security.

As you know, a majority of the bankruptcies filed due to the mortgage crisis involve families with children. A full three-quarters of mothers are now in the labor force and many are struggling to cover the rising costs of childcare, healthcare, groceries, and other necessities. Policies such as fair pay, paid sick days, healthcare coverage, and childcare/early education will support our families and help our economy get back on track.

Thank you for speaking powerfully about valuing women and families. We look forward to working with you to bring greater economic security to all.


The Organic Consumers Association has a petition to ask President-elect Obama to

1. Plant a working “Organic Victory Garden” on the South Lawn of the White House, to symbolize your commitment to locally-based, solar-based organic agriculture, with surplus food going to local food shelves.

2. Hire a well-known organic chef, such as Nora Pouillon or Alice Waters, to prepare healthy organic meals for the White House and staff, including vegetables and herbs from the White House Organic Victory Garden.

3. Increase food stamp benefits so low-income Americans can afford high quality organic foods. One way to do this would be to double the value of food stamp debit cards for fresh food purchased from farmers markets.

4. Restore consumers’ right to know by publicly supporting mandatory labeling of Genetically Engineered foods, with regulations similar to those now in place in Europe, Japan, and other nations.

5. Expand incentives for small and mid-sized organic farms and for farmers and ranchers who wish to make the transition to organic. The organic sector currently represents at least three percent of our current food purchases, therefore it deserves at least three percent of USDA program funds and incentives.

6. Appoint Michael Pollan, or another well-known advocate for organic agriculture and the relocalization of our food and farming system, as the new Secretary of Agriculture.

7. Provide funds and incentives for urban food access programs that connect organic farms with urban retail stores, providing fresh produce and vegetables for America’s inner-cities.

8. Redirect the existing multi-billion dollar crop subsidy system away from commodities and biofuels and instead towards energy-efficient, greenhouse gas sequestering organic crops, especially fruits and vegetables.

9. Strictly regulate factory farms, Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO), to sharply reduce or eliminate their damage to the environment and public health.

10. Fast-track the Employee Free Choice Act to assure that farm labor and other workers are guaranteed the right to form a union at their place of employment.


Code Pink has a slightly out of date petition (it still refers to Obama as Senator instead of President-elect) stating:
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about possibility that the Bush administration might be considering a military strike on Iran, that it might give a green light to such an attack by Israel, or that it might engage in other acts of war, such as imposing a blockade against Iran.

We welcomed your stand against the war on Iraq in 2002. And we were encouraged by your early campaign statements emphasizing diplomacy over military action against Iran. Today, you have an opportunity to forestall a repeat of the tragic Iraq war. We hope you will use that opportunity.

We agree with the conclusion of Muhammed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that "A military strike ... would be worse than anything possible. It would turn the region into a fireball..." A military attack, he said, "will mean that Iran, if it is not already making nuclear weapons, will launch a crash course to build nuclear weapons with the blessing of all Iranians, even those in the West." (Reuters, June 20, 2008.)

We don't know, of course, whether an attack on Iran is in fact being considered, or if there are serious plans to initiate other acts of war, such as a blockade of the country. But we call on you to issue a public statement warning of the grave dangers that any of these actions would entail, and pointing out how inappropriate and undemocratic it would be for the Bush administration to undertake them, or encourage Israel to do so, in its closing months in office.

An attack on Iran would violate the UN Charter's prohibition against the use or threat of force and the Congress's authority to declare war. Moreover, the public right to decide should not be foreclosed by last-minute actions of the Bush administration, which will set U.S. policy in stone now.

We were heartened by your earlier comments suggesting that an Obama administration would act on the understanding that genuine security requires a willingness to talk without preconditions (something Iran has offered several times to no avail), and that threats and military action are counterproductive. We hope you will follow through on these commitments once in office, but also that you will speak out now against any acts of war by the Bush administration.




Greenpeace is asking for something much more immediate and specific in its petition to President-elect Obama.
Congratulations, President-elect Obama, on your election to the White House. You’ve run an inspired campaign and gotten millions of Americans involved in their government again.

Along the way, you’ve committed to being a leader in the fight to stop global warming. Thank you. Your plan to build a new American economy based on renewable energy and to put a limit on global warming pollution could not come at a more important time. You have my support and the support of millions of Americans who understand the threat that global warming poses.

Over the last 8 years, the US has lost much of its respect in the world—not only as a result of the disastrous war in Iraq, but also because of our refusal to take action on global warming. Today more than ever, the world needs a leader in the fight to save the climate. And you can signal a new day of American leadership by personally attending the UN climate talks in Poland this December. Let the world know that the US is committed to doing what science says: cut global warming 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

With your election, Greenpeace and the American people are looking forward to a new era. We must end the days when fossil fuel companies are allowed to buy and sell our government, and begin an age when serious threats like global warming are acted on quickly and responsibly.


Sign a few petitions. Be the change that you seek in the world.

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