Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


More Politics

So I haven't had a lot of time to blog but I figure if I'm putting in 18 hour days I can allow myself a little blog time without feeling too guilty.

After work today I finally got started on my attic ladder project. I made the family eat leftovers (even poor Chris, who is feeling sick)and worked on the installation of the attic ladder (including lengthening the attic entrance, installing the actual ladder, hand sawing the plywood "door" (which I had to build myself as it wasn't included in the ladder package), and cleaning up my mess. I wasn't able to get the "door" installed because it got to be midnight and Kate needed to go to sleep (fair enough!) do the rest will have to wait until tomorrow but after that I should have both a functional ladder and a functional and weather-proofed "door" to my attic. There's a lot of unfinished space up there but luckily for us the builder left an 8 x 10 space with proper flooring at least so we can get started.


While I was working I could hear the TV on and kept hearing political news. I find the state of politics either baffling or enraging at the moment. How the hell did we get from Obama's comments to" Joe the Plumber" (that icon of virtue) to "Obama is a Socialist" who wants to steal your money and "redistribute" it to "the poor" (which means those undeserving brown-skinned welfare queens)? I mean, seriously, can you spare 5 minutes and LISTEN to Obama's actual response before jumping on the "OMG, he's a COMMIE" bandwagon?

Meanwhile Washington State ballots have been delivered to all of us "absentee" (aka Vote By Mail) voters and I've filled in everything but a couple of initiatives and King County Amendments which I haven't researched properly yet. For me, for all intents and purposes, the election is over. I've blackened the circles for my choice for President on down. My mind is made up, my alliances are determined. Even so, I'm still thinking politics for the next week. There are campaigns I've been following that I don't have a vote in but would like to see turn just the same. A few of those have to do with Washington state or Minnesota (land that I love).

In Washington, I've been following the Darcy Burner (with her Computer Science degree from Harvard, with an Economic minor... how perfect for our region?!) since the last election cycle where she lost a close race to douchebag Dave Reichert who played up his Green River Killer capture credentials (and, apparently, he played up his "degree" from Concordia) to win a tight race last time around. I'm all about getting Darcy Burner into Congress even though I can't vote for her directly. I've contributed to her campaign a few times now and I sincerely hope she wins this time. All of Washington will be better off under her representation.

I also have to admit that I have a strange attraction to the Minnesota races. My Scandinavian heart belongs to Minnesota even if I don't live there anymore. I was SO PROUD of Paul Wellstone(from my high school home town of Northfield whose denizens are featured in many of Paul's early ads), whose first speech on the floor of the Senate was against the First Iraq War. Minnesota is often painted as this provincial backwater, a place where people know about cows and fishing, perhaps mining or corn, but not a whole lot else. Bah, I say! Minnesota gives us the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party which "has its roots in third-party protest movements" as the DFL site says. Minnesotans not only gave us Paul Wellstone, but Keith Ellison (the first Muslim elected to Congress), Governor and former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, and, most embarrassingly Michelle Bachman. Minnesotans shouldn't be counted out! I'm watching the Bachman and Ellison re-election campaigns (and seriously pulling for El Tinklenberg). Minnesota could also give us Ashwin Madia, son of Indian immigrants who went to the University of Minnesota, NYU Law School, and served as a United States Marine in Iraq.

I've now pushed myself to a 20-hour day that included manual labor (and I've got the sore muscles and bruises to prove it) so I'm going to wrap this up but I'll go to sleep tonight hoping that next week will finally see an end to our long, dark Bush/Cheney-fueled nightmare. Help us out, won't you?



Divisiveness: not just for politics anymore

Pramas recently updated his blog with some commentary on divisive politics ( Real Americans ) that pretty much exactly matches what I would have to say on the topic. I've just had no time to post recently I was just going to do a simple "Me too" and link to it but something else caught my attention just now and I am so disgusted I have to say something.

From the Gen Con and Origins Charity Auctions report site:

On Saturday, August 15th, 2008 at 6:00 PM, the Gen Con Live Game Auction hosted their traditional charity auction. This year, the event was in honor of Gary Gygax. Originally the charity chosen for GenCon was Gary's favorite charity, the Christian Children's Fund. Unfortunately, when they found out that the money they would get came partially from sales of Dungeons and Dragons they decided not to be the sponsored charity.

The charity auction at Gen Con 2008 raised almost $18,000 that could have gone to making a "lasting difference in the lives of children in need"! To quote from the "donate now" page of the Christian Children's Fund (emphasis theirs):

Your donation to Christian Children's Fund will make a lasting difference in the lives of children in need. Your generosity provides crucial assistance for children around the world —children who face hunger, disease, violence, natural disasters and extreme poverty.

Your support is urgently needed, and Christian Children's Fund is committed to your privacy and security. We will not sell, trade or rent any personal information you provide.

Get that: your support is URGENTLY NEEDED. Unless you're a gamer. Unless you play Dungeons & Dragons, whose creator chose this as his favored charity. Christian Children's Fund claims elsewhere on their website that they believe "that all of our actions must be guided by the utmost integrity and transparency" (again, emphasis theirs). Utmost integrity? Better children starve and suffer than take money from generous, charitable gamers? Who makes that decision (and how can they live with themselves)?!

Much of the readership of this blog comes from the gamer community. We know we're not a threat to society, we know that gaming is just one aspect of our lives (be it our work, our hobby, or both) and that being a gamer and being a moral, decent, (yes, even religious... even, <gasp> Christian) person are not mutually exclusive yet gamers continue to be portrayed as mentally unstable freaks or dangerous devil worshipers (whichever is most in vogue at the moment).

To veer off into politics just for a second (hang with me), recently Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president. I'm linking to a part of the transcript that my friend JD over at FoldedSpace posted the other day.

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I've noticed that in talking about these divisions I sometimes run into people who think it's not really a big deal, that it's all blown out of proportion because of the current political races or that these Us vs. Them views are confined to isolated corners of Appalachia and not of real consequence.

Unfortunately, I don't think we've really put these divisions to rest at all. The fact that it was so easy to get crowds riled up and screaming out that Obama is a "terrorist" or a "Muslim" (or just the shameful way "Muslim" has become a pejorative the likes of which would never be so publicly tolerated if aimed at any other religious or ethnic group) shows us just how close to the surface these things are, often existing with as little justification or defensible rationale as Christian Children's Fund's decision not to accept the charitable donation from Gen Con. Blacks vs. Asians. Whites vs. Hispanics. Christians vs. Muslims. Heterosexuals vs. homosexuals. "Coastal elites" vs. "Joe Six-Pack".

I think everyone needs to remember the lesson of the Star-Bellied Sneetches.

via videosift.com

via videosift.com

Aaaand, I'm spent.

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Reclaiming My House

We're making some changes around the house.

Before the Green Ronin Summit I did some serious cleaning and reorganizing that will be ongoing through the fall and into the winter. We've gotten rid of a couple dozen boxes of old books, a few VHS tapes, and I'm seriously eyeing many of my CDs now that I've ripped them to MP3 (and backed them up to boot). Chris has been going through the office with an eye toward paring down our gigantic game collection, and Kate and I went through the books, toys, clothes and miscellaneous items of hers that were taking up the whole guest bathroom and making it unusable over the last couple of years. Yet more obsolete electronics were recycled, seven giant boxes of Styrofoam peanuts were donated to our local UPS store, and I managed a trip to the dump for things that were truly garbage as well.

I also moved and organized a lot of Green Ronin's files. Contracts that were spread out between multiple file boxes are now largely concentrated in a single filing cabinet and one file box and located in the upstairs office. We're now moving on to the next step of reclaiming our garage and possibly the attic as well. In an ideal situation I would like to install an attic ladder for both our house attic and the yet-to-be-finished garage attic. If we can significantly clear out the garage, I'd also like to insulate and finish the garage completely and turn it into a usable room. My mother's house has a converted garage that was a laundry room/family room with a carpet and a wood stove and a small area divided off to be a pantry/storage area with shelves and a chest freezer. In my fantasy, it could be a place where Chris could set up big minis games or where Kate could keep a drum kit.

Why yes, I do have a rich fantasy life, why do you ask?

Anyway, even if I don't accomplish everything I'd like to I do plan to move to separate the Green Ronin parts of the house more from the everyday life parts of the house. My daughter is going to be 13 in a couple of months and I'm all too aware that the time I get to spend with my family is precious and fleeting. I'm really, really trying to keep GR business out of my carved out "personal time" even as we're constantly under the gun to make up for lost time cost to us by flaking freelancers, or slow approvals, or incommunicado third parties, or whatever. I have a zillion things to handle for GR and I'm chipping away at them but that balance thing just has to happen for me to keep my sanity and not look back on my personal life with regrets.

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Another Public Service Announcement

Seattle diners, this one's for you!

For the last 15 years I have enjoyed Muhammed Bhatti's wonderful restaurant, Cedars on Brooklyn. When I heard Cedar's was changing hands this spring and going to be Cedars in name only, I was dismayed! I needn't have worried, because Mr. Muhammed is back and better than ever in his new location, Northgate's fantastic new Saffron Grill.

We're in the midst of the annual Green Ronin summit and I had a few places in mind for tonight's team dinner but those went out the window immediately when Marc told us that we could have the same delicious Cedars food, the same friendly and attentive service, at a new and better location. I knew I had to bring the guys there.

I was blown away by the modern new space after many years of being cramped into Cedars on Brooklyn. It's a crying shame that a restaurant calling itself Cedars still occupies the space that Mr. Muhammed's restaurant lived in for so long because this will certainly result in confusion as the zombie "Cedars" continues to trade on the reputation that was built by others. Kate has tried butter chicken all across Washington and in Vancouver BC and solemnly declares the Saffron Grill's (to her, still "Cedars") to be "the best ever, seriously."

The heart of the Cedars on Brooklyn we've known and loved now beats in Northgate's Saffron Grill. Pass it on!

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Hint to voters: GOP means REPUBLICAN

I cannot believe this needs to be said but apparently it does.

REPUBLICANS in Washington state do not want to run for political office as REPUBLICANS these days. I've noticed this in ads and signs this campaign season, "Vote for Jon Doe, GOP" but not, never, "REPUBLICAN" anywhere to be seen. Dino Rossi, the bitter, bitter REPUBLICAN loser of the last gubernatorial election in Washington is the most prominent example of this but he's by no means alone. Hell, to listen to Sarah Palin in the VP debates the other night you wouldn't know that the REPUBLICANS have been in control of anything since Clinton. But back to Rossi...

Dino Rossi is a REPUBLICAN and has identified as a REPUBLICAN in every other election he's ever participated in. This year, he's "prefers GOP Party" and it's causing confusion. State Democrats lost their bid to force Rossi to identify himself as a REPUBLICAN on this year's ballots, despite the court acknowledging that the trick "could very well engender voter confusion and make a substantial difference in the result of the election," according to Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz. The Seattle Times' chief political reporter David Postman noted that a poll back in June found that about 25% of Washingtonians didn't understand that GOP means REPUBLICAN. Appallingly, 7% thought that the REPUBLICAN candidate was the Democratic candidate. Even Rossi's own lawyer admits that 18% of the REPUBLICANS in the survey didn't realize that GOP means REPUBLICAN.

This is no accident, it's 100% cynical ploy. Not only that, it's Rossi's plan to obfuscate his REPUBLICAN credentials is succeeding. Christine Gregoire leads the REPUBLICAN Dino Rossi 51% to 41%, but only leads 48% to 44% when REPUBLICAN Dino Rossi merely says that he "prefers the GOP party".

It's underhanded, it's insulting, and it's completely typical. Don't be fooled, Washington voters! GOP means REPUBLICAN. Dino Rossi is a REPUBLICAN, as is every other "prefers GOP party" candidate. Vote for them if you like REPUBLICANS but I think they should at least have the balls to admit fair and square that they're REPUBLICANS.

Not to mention that it's really stupid and redundant to try to claim there's a "Grand Old Party" Party. If you're going to spell out the "Party" you should have to spell out the rest... only no one would know what the hell a "Grand Old" Party was, would they? Argh.

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