balmofgilead: (Default)
Wow, interesting:

A higher percentage of white men voted for Obama than any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton included. 
------------------------------------
also:
There's been some discussion about how the media vastly underreported the turnout at last Friday's march in San Francisco protesting proposition 8. The media's been saying a thousand or a few thousand people were there.  Those of us who actually attended - and the police that supervised - say it was more like 10-20 thousand people.

I watch the RSS feed of Rachel Maddow clips on msnbc.com, so when something about Friday's rally popped up yesterday, I went to go watch it. 
Rachel Maddow herself said "1000 people."  That's really strange to me. 
Rachel Maddow:
1) is intelligent/generally well-informed
2) is gay and opposed prop 8
3) is a native of the bay area and presumably knows at least several people who attended 
4) said this in the middle of a segment about underreported news! 

What's going on? 
-----------------------------------
also OMG look what I just discovered: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8132577/  They have Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow streaming or downloadable in their entirety now. 
balmofgilead: (Default)

"Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel."

-Bella Abzug

(Hat tip to subvert.com for this.)
balmofgilead: (Default)
One of the bits from Sicko (which I haven't yet seen) that people keep mentioning is that Hilary Clinton is the Senate's second-highest recipient of campaign donations from the health-care industry.  Some people have wondered who the highest recipient is.

It's...Rick Santorum!  I can't laugh too much, though, because my own senator, Ben Cardin (D) is also in the top 20.   
balmofgilead: (Default)
Dear Election Judge,

In 2007 and 2008 we are faced with three important elections.  On September 11, 2007 and November 6, 2007 we will be holding elections for the Mayor of Baltimore City, [et al.] and March 4, 2008 for President.

I've always known that the folks running the board of elections aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, but...did they totally forget about the general presidential elections?  I mean, I know Maryland usually goes to the Dems, and the whole electoral college dealie pretty much makes our individual votes moot, but...you'd think they'd at least stand on ceremony and still have general presidential elections.  I assume they will, but it's a strange oversight for the people that run the elections. 
balmofgilead: (Default)
I decided to make this (brief description about my election day experiences) un-private.  It's still funny thinking about election day.  And there's so much more I didn't write about 'cause I thought it was inappropriate.
balmofgilead: (Default)
Today I was:
-assumed to be a Republican (because my mother is a registered Republican and has worked at the polls for years)
-mistaken for some recently-married lady ("Do you remember me? I'm S----'s mother! Don't you know who I am? Your husband's..." umm, I'm not married! I think you're confusing me with someone else "Well, I hope you get married soon!")
-asked if I was married (by a different person)
-given an offer to be set up with a fellow election judge's clients (he's an accountant, and immediately started going through all of his single male clients to see which ones he could set me up with. he wasn't too put off when I told him that I'm not Orthodox anymore, either!)

I also:
-explained how primaries work to a fellow election judge
-told a fellow election judge that Bush is, in fact, in his second term of office and cannot run for president again
-was asked (again by a fellow election judge) to explain the difference between Republicans and Democrats. I told him that it wasn't something that could be summarized accurately in a few sentences, even if I were less rusty on the "real" differences. (liberal/conservative just doesn't do it justice, and even if the current Republican party is sucky, that's not necessarily because of the overarching Republican ideals.)
-when I wasn't able to do that, was asked which party likes the death penalty more
[This election judge is a Republican, and had said, minutes before, that he is a *strong* Republican...whatever that means. Actually, though, he wasn't born in the US, and I'm kind of thinking it's possible he's not actually registered or qualified to vote. See, he's a city employee, and they really pushed city employees to sign up as election judges the day before the election...I'm thinking they may have been lax on some of the details.]

-explained various weird practices of the Orthodox Jewish community (Sabbath, Passover, wearing wigs, Shidduch-dating)
-voted for the Green Party candidate for Governor (I didn't feel strongly enough about either Ehrlich or O'Malley)

and yet more:

-was asked whether I have kids
-was asked whether I plan to have kids
-was told that whether or not I want kids is something I should have already made a decision about
(funnily enough, this wasn't the same person who was trying to fix me up with single guys)
-vowed never to do this again
-realized that it gets easier as the day wears on and you figure out what you're doing
-decided that I'll work at the polls again if they continue to use the e-Pollbooks
-encountered a voter who really wanted to vote at our polling place because that's where he always votes, even though he'd moved (During training they brought up that hypothetical scenario, and I didn't believe anyone would actually feel that way.)
-explained to people that you can get called up for jury duty even if you aren't registered to vote, so you might as well register
-issued a provisional ballot to a lady who was really incredibly excited about voting, whether it was on a machine or on the provisional paper ballots, and brought her own special twirly pen to fill out the ballot with. (People like that make me happy.)
-was asked what ethnicity I was. White/Caucasian/Jewish/European/my grandparents came over from Russia was not enough. I think what she was trying to find out was whether I was born in the US. Dude, I'm an election judge, I have no accent, I'm 23 and I can vote, so I'm clearly a citizen. You know that my mother is also working at the polls and has no accent. Where do you think I was born?
balmofgilead: (Default)

I'm taping Meet The Press as per my mother's request. This morning it features a debate between Michael Steele and Ben Cardin. Personally, I'm pretty sure I'll be voting for Cardin, but...*shrug* My mother does things differently than I do, I guess. (I'm not too fond of Steele's positions on...war, stem cells, gay marriage...anything, really. Even if he *does* like puppies. I suppose I should still investigate throughly, though.) edit: more importantly, he avoids answering questions about his feelings about Roe v. Wade and where he stands. Not Cool.

Anyway, I also finally hunted down links to streaming video of the two debates between O'Malley and Ehrlich. In case anyone else is interested:
WJZ's debate
MPT/WBAL's debate
Both were about two weeks ago. I'm not sure if/when there will be more.

Looking at candidates' websites makes me remember why and how much I abhor politics. So many pictures of candidate X shaking hands with people, grinning...it's all empty, really.

Also, I am officially the worst Jew ever: I'm in the mood for Christmas music and it's not even November yet, never mind Thanksgiving. Hahah.

balmofgilead: (weimaraner)
I'm not sure what's changed, lately--my perspective, or the political world--but it seems that things have been looking up quite a bit.

Interesting things have been happening in Kansas.
NYTimes op-ed from last year (found that when I was trying to find out what John Danforth is all about)

It's also heartwarming to realize or remember that there are religious people who have what I consider "good" values. Hating or at least fearing people because they're religious was getting tiresome. (All of this coincides nicely with my plans to hear Jim Wallis speak tonight, too.)

**I think hate has a negative effect on the hater as well as the 'hatee' (to coin a term). But I still have a hard time not hating, sometimes.

PSA

Oct. 4th, 2006 12:22 pm
balmofgilead: (Default)
(which, as always in this journal, stands for "Public Service Announcement," not "Prostate-Specific Antigen.")

If you are not registered to vote, REGISTER TO VOTE. TODAY.

(your state's election office website)
(your state's registration deadlines)

As they say: vote early, vote often, vote on behalf of your dead relatives. Or just vote once. Y'know, whatever.
balmofgilead: (Default)
It is very, very interesting that in the US, estrogens for hormone replacement therapy are available in generic form for less than 1/3 the cost of estrogens+progestins for contraceptive purposes. I don't think it's because progestins are expensive to produce.

HRT isn't even recommended anymore--the dangers have largely been deemed too great for the benefits.

Jim Wallis

Sep. 21st, 2006 08:02 pm
balmofgilead: (santahat)
What a cool guy. I heard part of an interview with him on TV tonight. He's an evangelical Christian who "actively eschews political labels, but his advocacy tends to focus on issues of peace and social justice." It bugs me a bit to realize that I have some strong hatred for religious people in general because of the religious = right-wing conservative = bad bit. In truth it's not their religion (or religiousness) I hate, it's some of the values that they espouse.

If my brain were less mushy I'd link this to the concept of having a sense of communion with the world somehow. When religion (or political consultants who convince religious people that God's top issues are preventing gay marriage and abortion) divides people, it interferes with that.

I'm having one of those "everything I say or write feels like it's phrased poorly" days.
balmofgilead: (Default)

Today on Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed Wayne Slater, who just wrote a biography of Karl Rove.

One of the most fascinating bits: he (Slater) describes how throughout 2004 Karl Rove lovingly attended to the needs of his dying stepfather--who was gay--while constructing "the most effective anti-gay political campaign ever put together...designed to re-elect President Bush"

Slater explains that Rove is simply very good at focusing at the task at hand: what does it take to crush the opposition?--regardless of his personal feelings.

Wacky.

balmofgilead: (Default)
the top Maryland court will hear the pending gay marriage case in December.

I'm curious what they'll decide. I've found myself a lot more interested in legal issues in general, lately. The initial case brought before the Baltimore City Circuit Court took an interesting angle, alleging that prohibiting gay marriage discriminates based on gender. Furthermore, it looks like the Court of Appeals ruled in earlier cases that domestic partnerships are substantially different from marriage (which translated into gov't agencies being allowed to grant domestic partner benefits even though MD state law prohibits same-sex marriage). They also ruled, in a case regarding visitation after a divorce, that the father's sexual orientation was irrelevant, and that there was no reason to prohibit visitation when his partner was present.
balmofgilead: (Default)
Well, I guess I don't have to decide who to vote for in the MD gubernatorial primaries anymore :/

I hadn't been following the race too closely, but I'd been leaning toward Duncan. Oh well.

I guess we're pretty lucky in Maryland--even our republican governor firmly believes that abortion should always be legal...unlike the recent rash of other states' leaders who've been trying to outlaw it.
balmofgilead: (Default)
I've seen this meme wherein people should post (if it's true for them) the statement "I'm pro-choice, and I would have an abortion."

It's definitely something I would consider if I found myself in a situation where I was pregnant and it wasn't the right time or place or whatnot, but I don't know how likely I'd be to chose it. Chances of either event ever happening, however, are slim. But I think I'd base my decision on whether or not I wanted to have and raise a baby, rather than whether abortion is murder or whether fetuses are people. Which I suppose means that either I don't think they are, or that I'm okay with murder in select cases. Dunno. I doubt I'd stick out nine months of pregnancy followed by childbirth only to give a baby up for adoption.

On a slightly different note, it's quite paradoxical that there are so many children who don't have good homes and yet it's supposedly pretty difficult to adopt a baby--at least, it takes a long time and costs a good deal of money. I understand some of the reasons for that--many of the people who want to adopt want white infants, not non-white older kids, and many of the kids who could use better homes (or homes altogether) are non-white older kids. Still, it seems odd. Why do adoptions cost money anyway? I understand that there are things which need to be subsidized, like social workers and orphanages or whatnot, but why heap those costs on the people who are already doing the favor of giving some kids a good home?
balmofgilead: (Default)
Probably old but interesting: point-by-point answer to that stupid "letter to Dr. Laura" that's been floating around the intarwebs for so long.

I have Issues with traditional observance just as much as the next guy, but I'm informed about this stuff, and so many people aren't. And an addendum to j: no one's ever interpreted the mixed fibers thing to include fibers other than wool and linen.
balmofgilead: (Default)
Props to anyone who got the reference in the subject line.

DISCUSSION QUESTION:
What do you think about the idea of a military draft, both a) in general and b) specifically now?

Random pieces of information:

1) I personally am opposed to the current war stuff going on in Iraq (Is it still a war? Did we "win"?), which prompts me to cursorily condemn the idea of a draft.

2) Someone recently told me that they believe a draft would/could be a good thing.
Their logic was as follows: if there's a draft, people from all walks of life will be fighting (including children and relatives and family friends of the warmongering politicians and businesspeople), and this will cause The People In Charge to act more moderately/responsibly and give more thought and consideration to what they're doing. The assumption was that the military currently consists largely of poor people and minorities, and that The People In Charge may (sadly) view these people as more expendable than, say, middle-class white people.

3) There are more things I could say, but instead I'll shut up and see what people say/think.

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