Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

It's Dryden's favorite holiday (except for those who believe it to be an anti-Christian pagan ritual). To indicate how overwhelmed we are with work, we've carved no pumpkins, and O threw together a costume in half an hour last night. She'll trick-or-treat with the neighbors in a favorite neighborhood outside the village and return for a party at their house.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Power Outage

We, too, lost power for about 6 hours last night. Luckily, the new generator worked.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Excuse Me, It's Still October

On the Ballot

Everyone knows about the top of the ticket. Further down the line, Dryden voters will be selecting a town justice and a town board member to complete the final year of a term. Dryden Dem candidates are Joe Valentinelli, who has served in the justice position for a decade, and Jason Leifer, who was appointed to town board last January and has kept his nose to the grindstone ever since.

New Yorkers will also vote on an amendment to the state constitution, which the IJ has assure me they will explain in detail before November 4.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

United We Browbeat

As a former Union Maid who hoped at one time to organize editorial freelancers, I usually find it hard to criticize unions, but the NYSUT has outdone itself this season in sleazoid political maneuvering. First they withheld all endorsements from incumbents, which I actually thought was a rather understandable stance. Then they worked a deal with Skelos and Smith in the Senate to get them to say that they would block any attempt at post-election "give-backs" (read: "take-backs"). Finally, they came out in support of all 30 GOP incumbents. I missed this when it happened, but Larry Cummings remarked on it at our BOCES session this week.

I wonder: What do they suggest we give up to maintain funding levels of the schools?

No Peace

Perhaps the most disheartening news today is that coming out of Israel, where Tzipi Livni couldn't move the ultra-Orthodox to join a coalition. The end result will be snap elections and (I fear) Netanyahu making a comeback. Not that I thought the Bush administration was going to win a Nobel Peace Prize, but nor did I want the Obama administration to start out with this new stalemate. Interesting that hardliner religious nutballs have taken over right-wing parties in both Israel and the U.S.

Local Meat

We have a seven-pointer hanging in the barn today. While in his tree stand this morning, Paul saw eight coyotes playing, a pileated woodpecker in flight, two four-point bucks sparring, a couple of migrating woodcock, a six-point that broke up the four-points, and a couple of does. None of the bucks were the crooked-antlered one we have seen up at the house. But it was a busy morning.

This is the first deer he's taken in a couple of years. Since Roxie is now on a venison-and-sweet-potato regimen for her allergies ($50/bag!), we're happy to have the meat for more than one reason.

Required Reading

Palin and McCain forces go postal as the campaign sinks below the waves.
"Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic," said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the "hardest" to get her "up to speed than any candidate in history."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tax Cap Unfair

Here's the Statewide Consortium's anti-tax cap video, which I find fairly convincing despite the typo. As Larry Cummings told us last night, "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste." Maybe now we'll get a fair formula, or at least we'll get certain unfunded mandates rescinded.

As Tompkins Goes, So Goes the Nation?

Well, probably not. However, this IJ article has several facts worth noting:
**3,000 new voters registered here in just the last 3 weeks.
**Of all the new voters this year, 56 percent registered as Democrats. Only 12 percent registered as Republicans.
**This year, 7,426 new voters registered. In 2004, the number was 4,862.
I guess the message is: (1) Good for local Dem candidates, and (2) expect long lines on November 4!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Snow. Phooey.

Yes, it truly snowed. I had too much going on to record it for posterity, but it stuck around for a brief while up here on the mountain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another One Jumps Ship

Well, it's not as though Peggy Noonan's going to vote for Obama, but she feels free to criticize her party's choice. And I do admire her ending.
In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It's no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism.

I gather this week from conservative publications that those whose thoughts lead them to criticism in this area are to be shunned, and accused of the lowest motives. In one now-famous case, Christopher Buckley was shooed from the great magazine his father invented. In all this, the conservative intelligentsia are doing what they have done for five years. They bitterly attacked those who came to stand against the Bush administration. This was destructive. If they had stood for conservative principle and the full expression of views, instead of attempting to silence those who opposed mere party, their movement, and the party, would be in a better, and healthier, position.

At any rate, come and get me, copper.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Required Reading

Haven't even read it yet, but anything economic by my classmate Roger Lowenstein is worth perusing.

Art Imitates Life Imitates Art

It's hard to wrap one's head around the spectacle of Sarah Palin playing herself being mistaken for Tina Fey, who plays Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. Gov. Palin was quite pert and cute, especially in the segment involving a rap done by Amy Poehler. But. . . is it presidential? Bill Clinton playing the sax early on in his campaign is one thing. This is something unprecedented and actually kind of scary. I did say I thought she deserved her own sitcom. Or maybe a reality show. It's a question now of what exactly is real.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Palin as President

Thanks to Mark for this. Run your mouse over and click at intervals for loads of fun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Deep Freeze

Here's an article sent by Larry Cummings of the CNYSBA. Quite depressing, but unsurprising. Schools can't possibly be immune to a 20 percent decline in revenues.

The GOP Leaves Christopher Buckley

In case we were still wondering about the fate of those Old Guard Republicans, it appears that Christopher Buckley has been expelled from the rag his father started. Can a third party movement be far behind?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sex, Drugs, and the Interior

PZ wants me to revive this one-day Department of the Interior scandal, which seemed so redolent with creepiness and bodily fluids but disappeared immediately from the media view. It's a fun one.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kudos to Krugman

Amazing. My buddy Krugman won the Nobel Prize for Economics. He's one of only two people I know who can make the topic palatable, the other being my old CU classmate Roger Lowenstein. And he won despite--or, it seems, because of--his politics.

Fun in East Chatham

Took a pilgrimage to see young Gabe, driving up Saturday and back Sunday. Saturday night we had a fine feast prepared for the most part by Lisa's mom. DZ and Phil drove over with Klauser, visiting for the week from London, and BT showed up later to collect birthday swag. Both days we took fabulous hikes through the peak leaves, with the Taconics visible in one direction and the foothills of the Berkshires in the other. Here's the slideshow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

William F. Spinning in Grave

One fascinating part of this whole campaign season has been the sight of Old Guard Republican Conservatives throwing themselves on the rocks rather than seizing hold of the candidates their party has tossed them. David Brooks holds his nose when discussing Sarah Palin; Christopher Buckley comes out of the closet for Obama. George Will suggests that being wet behind the ears is correctable, whereas being impulsive and horrible is not. Kathleen Parker tells Sarah Palin to pack it in and go home.

For eight years, this solemn bunch has stood by and watched their party being hijacked by people they wouldn't have wax their Beamers, much less invite to lunch at the club. Can a new, committed, Conservative Party be the logical outgrowth of the GOP's sellout to the braindead hoi polloi?

There Oughta Be a Law

That's the title on this email I received from a fellow educational freelancer:
. . . Here's some industry scuttlebutt - one of the "big three," with a 40% share of the K-12 market, issued a new directive this summer. Starting July 2008, editorial and production of all TEs and ancillaries will be done in India and will be printed in China. Within the next two years, nearly all of their SEs will be developed overseas as well. This is why so many small development houses in the US are going belly-up.

Of course, the expected QA issues have started to crop up. The C printing of their TX math program had 85,000 errors. The C printing!!!!! Just wait 'til all those property tax payers find out where their dollars are going, especially once they get a look at these books!

It's Macmillan

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh, Perfect.

Coyright laws be damned. I have to record this AP article in its entirety.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The National Debt Clock in New York City has run out of digits to record the growing figure.

As a short-term fix, the digital dollar sign on the billboard-style clock near Times Square has been switched to a figure -- the "1" in $10 trillion. It's marking the federal government's current debt at about $10.2 trillion.

The Durst Organization says it plans to update the sign next year by adding two digits. That will make it capable of tracking debt up to a quadrillion dollars.

The late Manhattan real estate developer Seymour Durst put the sign up in 1989 to call attention to what was then a $2.7 trillion debt.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eleanor, We Need You Now

I went to NYC for lunch yesterday--drove there and back to attend the annual Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee Luncheon with Irene and Cindy Emmer of Chemung County. It was in the Hilton this year, having outgrown all the other venues in NY. ERLC gives money and training to NY women who want to run for office. This year, my pal Linda Adams of Caroline and our assemblywoman were the Tompkins County recipients. We heard from lots of people, notably Governor Paterson and Senator Clinton, who reiterated their themes from Denver with a far more serious mien, since these are suddenly even more serious times. Founder Judith Hope gave a downer of speech, pointing out that most of their luncheons follow disasters, whether it be 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, or the collapse of world finance. And several mentioned that the lady for whom the foundation is named helped guide America through the last great financial crisis, and maybe we could use her now.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Don't Make Me Go All Palin on Your A**

Paul and I went to Candor to bag some pheasant today. He shot, Alex fetched, Sadie ran around wildly, I hiked. It was a beautiful day; I'll post more pictures later. But PZ challenged me to post this virulent piece by Mike Taibbi, and I thought the picture fit.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pork in the Bailout Bill

It's larded with such winning baco-bits as: money for NASCAR tracks! tax breaks for TV producers! rebates on rum taxes! repeal of an excise tax on wooden arrows!

That $700 billion dollar "rescue" ballooned to $850 billion JUST TO GET PASSED.

Kudos to local Congressman Hinchey for voting NO again. Hard to see how "no-pork" McCain will wriggle his way out of supporting this stinker.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

The House approved the "Rescue" AKA "Bailout" bill, apparently at least partially thanks to some wild last-minute phoning by Barack Obama. No news yet on who voted how, but I'll post it when it's available.

I find it hard to believe that this is going to help me in any way.

And Ms. Palin lived to fight another day, although O thought she should have been docked a point for each "Doggone it" and "Yer darned right." The transcript captures her convolutions but not her winks and "aw shucks" attitude.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Electoral Votes

The blue states are surrounding and beating up on the red states on Electoral Votes Daily. NC and FL are tied? Amazing what a little worldwide financial crisis will do.