Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I Will Vote for Obama

I have hope for our country. Hope we can return to the prosperity of the 90s. Hope we can get our troops home safely. Hope we can provide for our citizens - with quality healthcare and education for all, affordable housing, aid to the poor, fair wages, and equal treatment. I believe we can once again be a peaceful nation. I believe that eventually we will return to budget surpluses like we had only 8 years ago. (!!) I believe people of all faiths, races, gender, and sexual preference should have the same rights.

I believe there is one person who can get us there - and that person is Barack Obama. And yes, he does NOT have direct experience to be President. NOBODY does. It isn't a job you can train for. There isn't a Presidential apprenticeship program. But Barack Obama has lived a exemplary life. He was born to a white single mother, and a black father he only wanted to know, raised by white grandparents who didn't have much money in a largely white community. He worked his !#*off, got scholarships and attended some of the finest universities in the country. He graduated at the top of his class from Harvard Law School, and instead of going into corporate law and making MUCHO bucks, Obama instead became a civil rights lawyer and teacher. He has been a "community organizer" (since when is that a negative term??!!), educator, state senator and US Senator. He has an impressive record of collaborating with Republicans and Democrats, of passing important legislation dealing with ethics, healthcare, education, human rights and poverty issues. Upon taking the oath of office, Obama immediately joined forces with one of the most conservative members of the Senate (Tom Coburn) to develop a website to track Federal Spending.

Obama will NOT raise taxes on people making less than $250,000. He WILL raise taxes on people making more than that amount. I have no problem with that. People with those types of resources are able to avoid taxes on more money than most people have. I believe Obama will greatly increase the numbers of people with health insurance. He won't get them all - but he will make a HUGE dent - without threatening the quality of care or coverage. I believe Obama will work to keep our troops safe- by keeping them out of needless wars that aren't ours to fight,and providing them will all the resources and benefits they need and deserve. Obama will regain our standing in the international community as a peaceful, respectful, caring nation. Obama will jumpstart our economy and bring jobs back to America. Obama will promote alternative energy - both eliminating our dependence on foreign oil and improving our environment. Barack Obama will continue to work to make America the place it can be for EVERYONE. And that is why he will get my vote.

Franky, John McCain scares the $*&# out of me. I think he is an American patriot. If this was the John McCain of 5 years ago - I would still not be voting for him, but I would respect what he stood for. I don't anymore. He is a scary old man who has lost his way and lost touch with the American people. He can be highly irrational (demonstrated by both his well-known temper, and his ludicrous selection of a VP candidate who isn't qualified to serve on the Cabinet - much less a heartbeat await from the Presidency); he is a HAWK of the highest caliber, and will have us invading Iran before the end of 2009; he will deny rights to women and gays; he will continue the Bush tax cuts for the rich, ignoring the middle and lower class; he will expand the number of people without healthcare - while destroying employer-paid plans for the rest of us; he will grow the deficit and continue with the same policies we have suffered with over the last 8 years. Instead of being a strong advocate for veterans, John McCain has actually denied improving educational benefits for veterans- less they have greater options than to stay in the military. John McCain is bad for America and, if he gets elected, we will all know it sooner rather than later.

Barack Obama gives me hope. He makes me believe. Barack Obama is the future of this country, and I hope the future is now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Standing Tall, Standing Proud

I am a liberal and a lobbyist. There I have said it. But when did these become bad words??

Liberal is defined as "favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs; favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties; of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies; free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant." Why are these bad qualities? I think these are great qualities. But all of a sudden "liberal" is thrown about as if it were a horrible thing to be. Well, I am a liberal and proud of it.

I am also a lobbyist. Lobbyists also have gotten a bad rap due to the despicable actions of Jack Abramoff and the like. Lobbyists are defined as "A group of persons engaged in trying to influence legislators or other public officials in favor of a specific cause." Again, why is this bad? We ALL need lobbyists working for our interests. Lets say you are a mom, teacher, lector at your church, and soccer coach. You want someone making sure teachers get fair pay and decent work conditions; you want someone making sure your church is free from prejudice, subject to generous tax benefits, and able to continue its good works; and you want to make sure your daughters and sons have equal opportunities to enjoy sports. Well - you also have your personal views - about social issues, tax issues, defense, etc. So - you pay dues to groups that help promote your different agendas. Maybe you are in a teachers union or association - that group probably employs lobbyists to work for your causes. Same with your religious group and your soccer association. Lobbyist simply work for the good of the members who hire them. Most people have some kind of lobbyist working on their behalf. If you are a member of an association (AARP, NRA, AMA, ABA, AFL-CIO, National Assoc of Retailers, Natl Assoc of Small Business, NFL, Major League Baseball, Chamber of Commerce, Natl Restaurant Assoc, American Nurses Assoc - I could go on and on) - then you probably have lobbyists in Washington looking out for your industry, your interests. And this is a good thing. You can't watch out for all your diversified interests at the same time. So you watch out for you - and you pay dues to associations to watch out for your other interests.

So there I am - I have put it out there. I am a liberal and a lobbyist - and proud of it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Signs of Fall

Over the weekend we made applesauce. It was a big hit with the kids (well, the thought the end product was ok, but they loved making it). It was pretty simple - about 6-8 apples, some water, a bit of cinnamon, a bit of vanilla, cup of sugar, and some lemon juice. The kids loved peeling and coring the apples. And dumping everything in the pot. They also loved the mashing. We used a potato masher and just crunched it all up when the apples had softened. Makes me truly think of fall. (well, that and the 50 degree temperatures!!!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Alive and Kicking

I am still here. I have not died or fallen off the face of the earth. I had a crazy business trip last week, then came down with an annoying cold that took away my will to do much. I still have the cold, but am on the mend. Anyway....

Great thing to recommend - Mama Mia, the movie SING-A-LONG version. I went last Monday with some girlfriends. I can't say I would recommend the film without the sing-a-long part. But with it - it was awesome. SO MUCH FUN. We went to this great local theater that has tables and chairs and full menus (including bar) instead of regular theater seating. It was really a blast. The place was packed and everyone was singing (they put the words on the screen below the movie) and getting into it. A great girls night out - I highly recommend!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Crazy Weekend

So this weekend was pretty nuts. Fun - but exhausting! Twice a year I participate in this big consignment sale, where I buy the vast majority of the kids clothes, and sell some old ones too. It was Friday night. DH was away this weekend, so I left work at 4pm, picked up all three kids and got home in time to meet the babysitter. Then my friend Holly and I drove out to the sale. We got there right at 6pm when it opened - and almost were able to skip the massive line. We were there for about 3 hours - which I know seems crazy - but there is all kinds of stuff, and you need to pick it out and sort through it then stand in the line from hell to checkout. It was great though - I got TONS of leggings for K (as requested), a few things for B, and LOTS of adorable Elmo stuff for Big Man. I also got dress up clothes for all three for a wedding we are going to in 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, my BF from college drove down from PA with her 2 kids and relieved my babysitter about 8:30pm. I got home and crashed! The next morning we all got up and went to the Fairfax City Festival. It was really pretty great. For $5 each the kids had free run of all the rides. They really enjoyed it. And my favorite 80s cover band was the lunchtime entertainment - even better! We met various friends there over the course of the day (we were there from 11am - 4:30pm!) and finally headed home.

At 6pm, said friends came over and we had dinner for 12 kids and 8 adults. One friend provided spaghetti and meatballs (already cooked!) and dessert for the kids. I made a quick chicken and pasta dish for adults.

On Sunday morning we woke up and dropped Big Man off with Nana. (A few weeks ago Nana pointed out that Big Man was rarely alone - especially with someone other than Mom or Dad. Since she is taking him for 5 days when we go to Disney, we decided we needed some dry-runs). The rest of us headed to Cox Farms for the Pumpkin Festival. It was fun - although VERY crowded. The kids enjoyed the slides, goat petting zoo, and the hay ride. It was pretty hot out - turned out I sunburned my face. Luckily none of the kids seemed impacted.

Last night we ordered Outback in cuz I was too tired to cook.

This morning my friend and her kids left, and I brought K to school. B and Big Man are off for the federal holiday, so Nana is home with them. I am at work. Finally getting some downtime. ;)

Tonight our (2nd run) local movie theater is having a sing along to Mama Mia! Yay!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Countdown to Disney

So this week we finally told the girls about our upcoming trip to Disney World. We are going next month for 5 days, and I have been planning this since April. I CANNOT wait. But we didn't think we could tell the girls until at least 30 days out. We had Mickey Mouse call the house and talk about an "upcoming trip". Then I asked the girls why Mickey would be calling about a vacation?? K slowly got it. Her eyes got big, and she said "are we going to Florida?" And I said "yessss"..then she said to "D...D...?" I laughed and said "Disney World!". Both the girls screamed. They are so excited. They were a little sad that Big Man would not be coming with us - but I explained that he was too little and would get too tired. I made them a Disney Countdown calendar using Home Depot Mickey-head paint chips. Each day they will rip one off, and that will tell them how many days until we go. Tonight we are going to show them the video Disney sent us about our trip. Man, this is going to be fun!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

$5000 - a drop in the bucket for healthcare

Under current law, the health insurance benefits provided by your employer are exempt from taxes. Under Sen. McCain’s health insurance plan, this exemption would be eliminated and instead families would receive a $5000 tax credit to purchase health insurance. This tax credit would NOT go to individuals - but directly to the health insurance provider. Given that the average annual cost of health insurance for a family of four is $12,000 that is still a hefty price tag for consumers. Add to that the fact that many employers are likely to stop offering coverage, and the price on health insurance could skyrocket (since employees generally pay less than individuals because they are purchasing as part of a pool). And if you are old, unhealthy, or have a pre-existing condition – forget about it. The Urban Insitute reports that the McCain plan would make insurance coverage less accessible and affordable for those with high health care needs. Although the plan would increase coverage among the currently uninsured, it would reduce the number already covered by employers, leaving about the same number of people uninsured. Even worse, since the value of the credit doesn’t increase witph time, it is likely the number of uninsured will start to climb dramatically after 5 years.

By comparison, Senator Obama’s plan would provide government subsidies to allow low-income workers to obtain health insurance. The Urban Institute anticipates Obama’s plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 18 million in 2009 and by 34 million in 2018. There are currently 45 million Americans without health insurance, according to the Census Bureau.

Although Obama would not get to "universal coverage" - it would take a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Want to Play a Game?

So our girls LOVE games. Virtually any kind of game will do. They particularly like Uno, Hungry Hippos, and Connect Four. Just recently we pulled out our old Nintendo 64 and showed them Mario Cart. They have also tried Viva Pinata on XBox. DH and I like games too, so it has been fun. The difficult part is figuring out games we can all play. Four of us can pretty successfully play Mario Cart, but we haven't figured out what to do with Big Man. Often he is happy sitting on someone's lap while we play.

It is also hard on K, who wants to play more advanced games, but with Big Man around, it is hard to keep him from taking pieces or otherwise messing things up. She really loves Rush Hour Jr, which is hard to play with Big Man around, cuz he wants to play with the cars.

Any good family games you would recommend?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tax and Spend there has been a lot of talk about the tax plans of the 2 Presidential candidates. I think this chart says it all! Basically, the more you make the more you benefit from the McCain plan, and the less you make, the more you benefit from the Obama plan.
Now, we (DH and I) make plenty of money. And I certainly would love to pay less in taxes. But seriously - just look at the directions of the taxes in the chart. Does that look right to you?!!?? Should the greatest tax cuts be gong to individuals making over $2.8 million dollars??!!! Honestly? While the middle class sees little to no change? This just says it all to me. I'll get into the healthcare debacle later..but on just taxation alone, I think this chart is very illuminating.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Halloween is a big deal in our house. This weekend we got the yard mostly set up. The kids can't wait to wear their costumes. I so wish I could get on tape Big Man doing his Kung Fu Panda moves - it is so priceless!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

America and the World

Reported by Reuters (on a study by the Pew Institute) - the opinion of America from people around the world dropped by more than 20 percentage points during the Bush Presidency. And that is the overall number.

-- Number of people abroad who viewed America favorably in 2001: 58.3 percent
-- Number of people abroad who viewed America favorably in 2007: 39.2 percent

-- Number of people in Great Britain who viewed America favorably in 2001: 83 percent
-- Number of people in Great Britain who viewed America favorably in 2007: 56 percent

-- Number of people in Indonesia who viewed America favorably in 2001: 75 percent
-- Number of people in Indonesia who viewed America favorably in 2007: 30 percent

-- Number of people in Germany who viewed America favorably in 2001: 78 percent
-- Number of people in Germany who viewed America favorably in 2007: 37 percent

I think regaining World respect is something that will be critical for the next Administration.