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There are few people in the world – very few – with whom I am willing to get into a discussion of politics or religion. My nature is that whatever topic I am discussing, I am going to try to search for common ground to stand on with the other person. For the record, I am a spiritual person who votes, but that is more than most people need to know. The more my nation appears to grow more polarized, the more I stick to safe topics like the weather and what area restaurants are worth checking out (though even the latter can get up the dander of certain people).

Occasionally someone will come out and ask me point blank, “So, what are you? A liberal or a conservative?”

Where I live, the correct answer is conservative, or – if I really want to impress people - very conservative. This will make people smile and nod in agreement and shift the conversation toward how Obama is driving the nation toward doom and destruction. I like to answer, “I’m a radical moderate,” because it makes them scratch their heads.

Today’s battle has been cancelled due to lack of interest. )
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I've heard complaints that it's trite that everyone stops and tells their story about where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. I've heard someone say that unless you were in New York City on that day or one of the other places that got hit, then your story doesn't matter. That view fails to take into account that it was a shared experience for millions of people, all at once. While those of us who were far from Ground Zero that day did not experience the terror, we collectively felt like we had been punched in the stomach. We stopped what we were doing, and as a nation tried to comprehend what was happening. The stories of the victims and their families are by far the moist poignant, but there is a collective poignancy to all the tales of, "It was an ordinary day...until the moment it wasn't."

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Here's Mine )
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For the past few months, there has been a flier taped to a jar at the courtesy booth at my local grocery store. It has a photo of a 15-year-old boy with dark wavy hair that hangs in his eyes. It says he was in a serious accident and suffered from head trauma. He was comatose and in intensive care. His family has no health insurance, and was asking for whatever cash anyone could spare to help cover the costs.

There's great healthcare out there, if you can only affort it. )
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There are 3 branches to the American government – the executive (the president), the legislative (congress, also known as the opposite of progress) and the judicial. The US Supreme Court is the tippy top of the judicial branch, and once you get approved to be on the Supreme Court, you get to stay there until you're too tired to do it any more or you die. When a vacancy comes along on the court, the president nominates a person to fill it, and congress votes to either let that person sit on the court, or decides they aren't good enough and tells the president to pick someone else.

Politics! Politics! Rah, rah, rah! )
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Or is it the other way around?
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The last I checked, my father was writing a book called What's Destroying America. Maybe he's finished with it, for all I know. He doesn't discuss his book with me, and I'm pretty sure the reason he doesn't is because he thinks I'm one of the people destroying America. To maintain peace in the family, he bites his tongue.

As a dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republican who never misses Bill O'Reilly's show on FOX News, he seems to think that if everyone in the world thought like him and Bill, things would just go a lot smoother. In the name of maintaining peace in the family, I refrain from pointing out to my father that if everyone thought like he and Bill O'Reilly, the two of them would have no one to complain about and they would both be miserable until they found a new hobby.

Everyday People )
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Yesterday I had lunch with my former coworker and friend, Astro Joe, who works in the Federal Reserve Branch Office building next door to where I work. I won a baseball autographed by a rookie player for the Houston Astros the other week in a United Way fundraiser, and I'd send Joe an email asking him if he wanted it. The player, Hunter Pence, is still wet behind the ears, but Joe is gaga about anything having to do with the Houston Astros baseball team. He said he would love to have it, and told me to just walk next door and he'd be happy to show me around the Fed and we could have lunch in the cafeteria there.

At the appointed time, I walked the short distance to the front gate of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Houston Branch.*

Federal Reserve building Houston


It turns out that the front gate and grand entrance are largely ornamental. I'm sure the architect who designed them had noble intentions, but the part of Houston I work in doesn't see a lot of foot traffic, so the building management is only set up to receive people via the parking garage.Read More )
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Unlike so many people I hear about, I don't stay up all night to watch election results.

Election day is like Christmas Eve for me. I put on my best pajamas, say a little prayer, and go to bed nice and early, hoping that since I've been good this year I will be rewarded.

When I wake up, I run to the living room and see if I got what I wanted. If I do, then I'm filled with goodwill and cheer, and I will spend the day being pleasant toward everyone I meet.

If I don't, at least I have on nice jammies.


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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the book my father is writing. The working title is What's Destroying America, and he is putting a lot of time and effort into writing down all the things that are destroying America so that clueless Americans will realize the error of their ways. Americans such as myself.

Considering that my old man gets most of his facts from Fox News, I can guess what sort of things he is saying in his book.

You try to bring your kids up right, but sometimes they grow up to vote Democrat in spite of your best efforts. )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about voting in the Texas political primaries, which I did last night for the first time in my life. I also showed up later to caucus and vote again, because only in the Texas primaries can you vote twice for the same candidate in the same election, and have it be legal. The arcane system is described as The Texas Two Step, after a popular country and western dance.

Even the confusion is bigger in Texas )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking that traffic seemed awfully light. It was like driving in on a day like Good Friday, when some people get the day off but a slight majority still have to come in. I was almost to the office when I remembered the May 1st protest was today, that it was A Day Without Immigrants.

Q. If you take all of the Latinos out of the great city of Houston, what do you have left? A. A small town. )
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Today on the drive into work, I was thinking about how it's getting harder and harder to shock and upset my father. I'm losing my touch, and it upsets me a little.

Texas, get Kinky! )
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On the drive into work this morning, I was debating about whether my state has more stupid and hateful people than average in it, or whether the good and intelligent people are just too timid to make their voices heard. I am still up in the air about this. I've met a lot of good people. I've met a lot of intelligent people. They are out there, they just don't go to the polls in great numbers.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, "Proud Member of the Christian Left," and it made me sad because it was the only one like it I have ever seen. On the up side, it was heading into, not out of, my small town, so it could be a good omen.
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Today on the drive in, I was behind a die-hard liberal. This was in the Small Town, not the Big Town, so I was surprised. Usually, in the Small Town, if I am behind a car with a lot of bumper stickers, they say things like, "W" and "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart" and "In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned!"

This car, on the other hand, had stickers that said, "I will be a Post-Feminist when this country is Post-Patriarchy," and "My Karma ran over your Dogma," and "Never have the few taken so much from so many," and "The press is only as liberal as the conservative corporations that own them" and "Your Silence won't protect you."

I got behind her at the stop light so I could read them all.

That last one got to me. I'm a moderate, not a liberal, but I don't like the current yahoo in the White house. Still, I didn't put the Kerry sticker on my car last year, fearful of what would be done to my paint job because I live in such a hard-core conservative (and rural) neck of the woods. The right wing has gotten meaner in recent years, and it didn't seem right to me at the time that my poor car should have to suffer for my politics.

Now I'm ashamed for being a coward. Still, I doubt the woman in the Liberalmobile lived in the Small Town. I haven't seen her on my drive in before. I bet she was just visiting. Hell, if I lived inside the loop, I'd have shown my Kerry sticker with pride.
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Weather is cloudy and damp. The office is hot and muggy from having the AC shut down all week. My mind is mildewed and musty, so I'm airing it out. Still, as humid as it is today, I'm not sure that it will help.

Withdrawal from the Pink Pills of Happiness is going fine, in an I-hate-everyone sort of way.

Am disturbed that more people do not realize what a fascist evil bastard the President is. Louisiana friend and I are discussing ways to Gris Gris him out of office. Playing with the black arts is dangerous, of course, so using them to do him direct harm is out of the question, due to the way negative spells come back and bite you in the ass. However, we are thinking a Karma spell might do nicely, causing all of his own negative energy to turn back on him and consume him. Happy thoughts.

Hmmm. Wonder if the Secret Service has a Gris Gris division that I should look out for?

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