Friday, October 31, 2008

All Hallow's Eve

I went and voted tonight; to avoid Trick or Treaters that may or may not have come to my front door. I don't have the money to shell out candy to these Munchkin Thieves.

I got in line at 6:11 and entered the doors at 8:05. The ballot was 5 pages long, front and back, and it took me about 14 minutes to fill it out. However, I love the fact that it is a paper ballot ... something that can be recounted. Plus, it was very interesting that this new system prints out the ballot when you sign in. They were very organized. Three people checking you in on the computers and there were 25-30 booths. The only reason the lines were long was because the ballot had just too much on it, small print, and written in three languages.

It may be very undemocratic of me, but I still say that if you vote in this country, you should speak and read English. I truly believe that a ballot should be written only in one language. It was written in English, Spanish and Creole. As for all the amendments and charter changes, anything that would cost money, I voted against. I don't want my taxes to go up and we cannot afford it. I also hate these multi-million dollar "studies" that community leaders like to spend money on. You either need something or you don't.

Of course, I also voted against changing the State Constitution regarding same-sex unions/marriages. I didn't vote for any Judges, since I could find nothing on them and there was no campaign literature available online nor at the poll. I did not vote for the Mayor's older brother for Sheriff (I felt it was a conflict of interest) and after talking with both candidates for School Board member, while waiting in line, chose the man over the woman, mainly because the woman kept looking at my feet and would not look me in the eye.

Pianist Who Lost Arm Arriving At Supreme Court

After given a drug treatment to ease the pain of migraines, a known reaction, not mentioned on the labeling of the medication, set in and this Vermont woman lost her livelihood when her arm was amputated.

She sued and won her lawsuit that was appealed to the VT Supreme Court, who upheld the lower courts. Now, the case is headed for the Supreme Court.

Listen to NPR Radio's moving story by John Dillon.

David Tennant quits as Dr Who

David Tennant has announced he is quitting the BBC's Doctor Who series at the end of next year.

Tennant's decision brings to an end his popular four-year tenure as the time lord [tenth doctor].

He made the announcement while collecting the Outstanding Drama Performance gong at the National Television Awards.

Tennant said: "When Dr Who returns in 2010 it won't be with me.

"Now don't make me cry. The 2009 shows will be my last playing the doctor. "I love this part. If I don't take a deep breath and move on now I never will."

The Mirror Story

A big gay Mormon wedding

The Church of Latter-day Saints has pumped millions into Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage. But for one devout family, the politics are personal.

Oct. 31, 2008 | "Love each other, be selfless, negotiate," George E. Redd III said to his son Jay on his wedding day recently. Gazing at his 36-year-old son standing next to his beloved, in the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco, Redd III quoted Paul, Ringo, John and George: "All you need is love, love is all you need."

It was hanky time inside the chapel, a cozy wooden Arts and Crafts building that could have been airlifted in from a village in Scandinavia, or perhaps the Shire. There's nothing like the father blessing the son at a wedding, with Irish folk musicians strumming in the background, to get the tear ducts flowing. Especially when the son's gorgeous spouse is another man.

A few weeks after the wedding, Jay, a movie director based in Los Angeles and San Francisco, told me that his father's Beatles reference had taken him totally by surprise. "When Dad said, 'And to quote the great Western philosophers,' I thought for sure he was going to read from Scripture," Jay said. But to his great relief, the advice his father doled out came from John Lennon and not John the Baptist. After all the pain Jay had endured, wondering whether his devout Mormon father would even attend his wedding, those Liverpool lyrics were music to his ears.

While same-sex weddings are daily events in California these days, especially since the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage earlier this year, it's easy to overlook the fact that it's still a strained personal issue inside many families. With Proposition 8 on the ballot this Tuesday, which would amend the California Constitution to ban gay marriage (effectively overriding the recent Supreme Court ruling), the strain has taken on a renewed political intensity.

Full Salon story.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GOP plan "special goody" for trick-or-treaters

Is this the Republican's idea of Family Values? To me, these are just cheap GOP tricks in Broward County:

Parents, check the kids' candy extra carefully this Halloween. Some Broward Republicans plan to drop a little something extra into the bags: a piece of political propaganda.

Each is about 3 by 4 inches on heavy paper, the brainchild of Sharon Day (pictured at right), Broward's state Republican committeewoman. When parents go through the kids' candy, they'll find messages telling them, "Don't Make Everyday Halloween in America! Keep Barack Obama from using your hard earned dollars as his own personal 'Trick or Treat' bag!"

Original Story

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wanda Sykes For President

I like her ideas!

New Harry Potter Trailer Released

A new trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been released.

The trailer - featuring new footage of the sixth Potter film - comes ahead of the film's July 2009 release.

The latest Potter film follows the trials of Harry during his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Beyond the Facts

Monday, October 27, 2008

Families split when it comes to politics this year

On TV and the Internet, I'm finding more and more stories on this topic. There seems to be no middle ground. This post shows two examples of this year's presidential race effect on normally close-knit family ties that have created a social strain on the family unit.

Story #1

Some couples are united in love but fiercely divided at the voting booth

When Jonathan Doyle, 40, talks politics, you can hear the passion rising in his voice. A question, say one about Sarah Palin, sets off a 20-minute monologue starting with an incredulous “I don’t even know what to say about that,” and concluding with exclamation points: “a vice-presidential candidate winking at everyone! I mean, when did we start to accept that!?”

But ask Amy Ryberg Doyle, 38, Jonathan’s wife, about Palin and she says “I like her!”

Jonathan simply cannot fathom how his wife, the woman he loves, the woman whose qualities he shamelessly praises, the mother of his three children, can consider voting for the McCain-Palin ticket when the superiority of the Obama-Biden ticket is so obvious to him.

She, on the other hand, thinks her husband is flat wrong. “And he keeps trying to convince me,” she says. “He thinks I am undecided. He is nuts. I have told him I am supporting McCain. He’s delusional.”

Voter registration across the country is at an all-time high and the whole nation seems riveted by this election. A crumbling financial system, two wars, an uncertain energy future and half a dozen other big issues have combined to make this the most momentous election in at least a generation. It has also left emotions ragged and voters arguing, particularly couples like the Doyles, of Greenville, S.C., who find themselves rooting for opposite candidates. All around the country, some husbands and wives are facing the challenge of loving their partner even when they don't love their partner's political leanings.

“I was huge Ronald Reagan fan,” explains Ellen Gold, 51, over a cell phone while her husband, Bill, 58, stands nearby while the California couple tours Rockefeller Center in New York. “I really loved Reagan. Bill thinks that is a disgusting thing.”

Judy Ranieri also finds herself in a house divided.

Full Story

Story #2

In mama-daughter disputes, politics is personal

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Karen and Kristen Ingraham, who’ve always been more BFF than mother and daughter, were united in their rabid support of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

But when it became clear that Senator Barack Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination, mom headed right — but daughter stayed left.

"Since Kristen was born, it's always been ‘Just you and me, kid.’ She finishes my sentences,” says single mom Karen Ingraham, who’s 55 and lives in Baltimore. “We've never had an argument about anything important — maybe about a $100 dollar pair of blue jeans. It's just shocking."

During one of the most heated presidential elections in this country’s history, party lines are being drawn among loved ones of every kind — couples, friends and family members — including that close-but-often-contentious relationship: mothers and daughters.

Generational divides are evident in certain election polls. Young voters favor Barack Obama over John McCain 59 percent to 38 percent, according to the latest Gallup data. Voters 65 and older are more evenly divided, with 45 percent for Obama and 43 percent for McCain. Among women overall, there's a big gap between the 54 percent who support Obama and the 39 percent who choose McCain.

Within those numbers are likely countless mother-daughter duos polarized by political preference — and surprised at the impact on their connection.

“Women tend to be more intense about relationships, they tend to prioritize relationships more,” says Nadine Kaslow, an Emory University psychologist. “Even if you think of female relationships in elementary school or the professional world, the women are often more intense about it than the guys are.”

Full Story

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stinky farts are healthy

A study has found that gas relaxes the blood vessels to prevent hypertension in mice.

A smelly rotten-egg gas in farts controls blood pressure in mice, a new study finds.

The unpleasant aroma of the gas, called hydrogen sulfide (H2S), can be a little too familiar, as it is expelled by bacteria living in the human colon and eventually makes its way, well, out.

The new research found that cells lining mice’s blood vessels naturally make the gas and this action can help keep the rodents’ blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). This gas is “no doubt” produced in cells lining human blood vessels too, the researchers said.

Hydrogen sulfide is the most recently discovered member of a family of gasotransmitters, small molecules inside our bodies with important physiological functions.

This study is the first to reveal that the CSE enzyme that triggers hydrogen sulfide is activated itself in the same way as other enzymes when they trigger their respective gasotransmitter, such as a nitric oxide-forming enzyme that also regulates blood pressure, Dr. Snyder said.

Because gasotransmitters are common in mammals all over the evolutionary tree, these findings on the importance of hydrogen sulfide are thought to have broad applications to human diseases, such as diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.

Full Report

Anchorage Daily News Supports Obama

The largest daily newspaper in Alaska has endorsed Barock Obama for President. The most read newspaper in the most northern state in the U.S. has been very supportive of Gov. Palin, however, in the op-ed, it feels that she is not ready to be the VEEP.

I have always said that it would be interesting if both Arizona and Alaska turned blue this year. After reading this and hearing reports of discontent in both states with their native son and daughter, it just might come true on November 4.

Alaska enters its 50th-anniversary year in the glow of an improbable and highly memorable event: the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate. For the first time ever, an Alaskan is making a serious bid for national office, and in doing so she brings broad attention and recognition not only to herself, but also to the state she leads.

Alaska's founders were optimistic people, but even the most farsighted might have been stretched to imagine this scenario. No matter the outcome in November, this election will mark a signal moment in the history of the 49th state. Many Alaskans are proud to see their governor, and their state, so prominent on the national stage.

Gov. Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency -- but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

Of the two candidates, Sen. Obama better understands the mortgage meltdown's root causes and has the judgment and intelligence to shape a solution, as well as the leadership to rally the country behind it. It is easy to look at Sen. Obama and see a return to the smart, bipartisan economic policies of the last Democratic administration in Washington, which left the country with the momentum of growth and a budget surplus that President George Bush has squandered.

On the most important issue of the day, Sen. Obama is a clear choice.

Read entire Op-Ed in The Anchorage Daily News.

Blooms of Plunkett

Blooms of Plunkett
A Banana tree in the backyard in full bloom