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Monday, taking that first shaky step

A few months ago I read a short blog post that enchanted me:

I have a large basket by my front door. In the summer it holds hats covered with mosquito netting—essential for Maine’s black fly and mosquito season. In the winter, it holds 20 years’ worth of handknit scarves.

They come out in November and don’t get put away until April. This is partly because of Maine’s notoriously long winters, but partly because I can’t resist the womb-like warmth and security of a soft handknit scarf around my neck.

I decided that I just have to have my own basket of scarves. Of course to get there, I had to learn to knit. And that’s what I’ve been working on these last several months.  I didn’t even know until last night that we could put slideshows in posts now!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, just imagine my surprise when I volunteered to do this morning’s news post and found it was the day before an election! OMG…. this is probably the slowest news day of the year:

The big news this weekend (is this true?) was a fake rally hosted by fake news guys. And (I actually watched the whole thing) I think it was a success.

If you think you’re seeing more political ads than in the past, it’s probably not your imagination:

Joe Conason, “The Rise of Sewer Money

In New York, there is a traditional name for the kind of anonymous cash now cascading into the American electoral process. It’s called sewer money.

. . .

The sewer money candidates favor policies that have been outside the mainstream in this country for more than 70 years, including the abolition of the minimum wage, the destruction of Social Security and Medicare, and the repeal of most laws governing environmental pollution, labor exploitation, consumer protection and child welfare. They would end the direct election of senators, returning that function to the state legislatures, where sewer money often ensured the selection of pliable corporate stooges rather than honest public servants.

And according to the New York Times, this is just a test year for the really fun stuff to come:

For Donors, Vote Lays a Base for 2012

Buoyed by the impact their blistering, anti-Democratic campaigns have had this year, two of the largest new conservative groups helping Republicans are planning to keep pushing their agenda in the lame-duck session of Congress that will begin in two weeks and are already laying the groundwork for a more aggressive campaign in the 2012 presidential race.

Officials with the two conservative groups, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS — which are on track to spend well over $50 million combined this year, a sizable part of it from undisclosed donors — said they would continue advertising against Democrats as Congress returns, when decisions loom on the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and immigration.

Robert M. Duncan, the chairman of American Crossroads, which, like Crossroads GPS, was started with help from the Republican strategists Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, said he also informed major donors late last week that “research and development” was under way to make the groups even more effective in the next election, part of a pitch for continued investment toward a larger goal.

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not but ….

US Slides on Corruption Index

The United States, while still in the top 20 percent of the world index, fell from 19th in 2009 to 22nd this year, again failing to score in the top 20. That put it behind Canada, Barbados and Chile in the Americas.

The survey was carried out by watchdog group Transparency International (TI) in Berlin. To form its index, TI compiles surveys that ask businessmen and analysts, both in and outside the countries they are analysing, their perceptions of how corrupt a country is.

Relying on the number of actual corruption cases would not work since laws and enforcement of laws differ significantly from country to country.

There’s no question that my life was happier those last few months when I was just focused on my knitting…. I don’t know how things will go in tomorrow’s election.  But, no matter which actual candidates win, I’m not feeling optimistic about our future.  There’s big money out there.  And the people spending it aren’t on our side.


57 Responses

  1. From Joe Conanson’s “sewer money” link:

    Someone should ask Karl Rove why the donors to his organizations are so determined to shelter their identities behind phony fronts. And then he could answer the question that cuts to the heart of American democracy at this dangerous moment. What does sewer money buy?

    I dunno Joe, what did it buy in 2008?

  2. Jerome Armstrong on Saturday:

    I’ve ended my hyper-partisan allegiance to the Democratic Party. In moving beyond the past decade’s partisan affair with Democrats, I am ready for a real revolution to happen in this country.

    It has got to happen over the next two years, and its going to take progressives, libertarians, tea partiers, coffee partiers, conservatives… everyone that is not part of the problem (the financial/political/military elite). Get radical, first by moving beyond attachment to a single party or a political identity. Radicalize them both, go independent; whatever, and if that’s not you too, then get out of the way.

    I was banned from MyDD back in early 2009 by Chuckles Lemos

    • It’s interesting that he says it will take a broad opposition coalition. That’s what I think too.

    • I like this bit from his little rant ::

      In moving beyond the past decade’s partisan affair with Democrats

      He gave the dems a decade!! A whole decade!! Can you imagine committing THAT much time to an organization only to realize ….

      Oh, F*CK him. A decade barely counts in dog years.

      Jerome, How would you be feeling if you had been a Democrat for 3 decades?

    • Jerome was always pretty straight up and sensible. Unlike most others there…

    • I went there and got another lovely headline
      The Only Politician Obama May Personally Get Elected Isn’t Even A Dem. How Obama’s Choice Is Screwing Rhode Island Democrats.
      Someone pretty POd about Rhode Island. Even MoDo in her last column – has 2-3 lucid sentences – one about RI too.

    • Believers in the coming revolution have only heard about the Vietnam era. The country has moved way to the right since then. Today’s student aren’t ready to revolt more than the Democrats doing well in tomorrow’s elections.

      The young people who came to the Jon Steward rally were having fun while protesting the Republican Talibans; there were no revolution in their eyes.

  3. GOP Ahead in Illinois

    Republicans continue to lead the races for both Governor and Senator in Illinois, albeit by close margins. Mark Kirk is ahead of Alexi Giannoulias 46-42 for the state’s open Senate seat and Bill Brady is ahead of Pat Quinn 45-40 for Governor.

    That open Senate seat is the one that used to belong to a guy named Barack Obama.

    • Cat litter Republicans are being used to absorb, bury, and contain Democrats this election. I wonder if the Republicans understand this?

  4. I don’t care about politics today. I love your scarves! I taught myself to knit 3 years ago with the help of a christmas present from my daughter that was a book called stitch n bitch. I still use it. And, if you have not already done so, join Ravelry. It is a great place to find patterns, get help, meet people. They even have an I love Hllary group And, did I mention I love your scarves?

    • Cyn!!! Thank you!! I LOVE Ravelry but, haven’t found that group. I’ll go look right now.

      Do you want to be my friend there? I’m katiebird36 at Ravelry.

      I’m also taking a Basics, Basics, Basics class from the Knitter’s Guild of America. If I’m going to stick with this hobby I want to learn to do it right.

      and it’s a blast!

      Thank you again!!! xxoo

      • The Hilary group on Ravelry had some real tough times, and they are leery of new members. (I am one of the members of that group, although I do not go on ravelry as much as I used to.) So the group has morphed into a very tight knit group, and does not discuss politics on their group page. That said, it is a great group of women, and I say good luck with your foray into the fiber art community.

      • KB, did you get those ribbed scarf patterns from the original stitch ‘n bitch book? They look SO much like a “re-learning to knit” project I did last summer. Scarves are great! Instant gratification. I am now working on my first “harder than a scarf” project — an old-fashioned dress for Cecilia from a book called “simple knits for cherished babies.” I’m jadzia1971 on Ravelry. Who will be knitting this d*mn dress probably until the kid is 5. (Size 2 needles. What was I thinking???)

        We should have a Confluence Knitting Guild!

        • Hi Jadzia, I got those patterns as part of a couple of kits from Morehouse Farm. I know what you mean about the #2 needles — the long green scarf was done on #2s —- that was a dumb idea!! But, it’s all a part of learning.

          I just sent you a friend request at Ravelry.

          • One of my first projects was using aran weight yarn on size 3’s to knit a messenger bag. I call it my “too ignorant to know better” project.

      • I sure do! I’m off to find you. I cannot believe how I love knitting. I mostly do “free form”. I think it’s for people who don’t color within the lines. 🙂

  5. Woohooo!!! Knitting pics!!!

    Nous sommes tricoteurs amère s’accrocher à des principes, ne sont pas parties.
    (We are knitters clinging to principles, not party.)

    Those are lovely scarves.
    I’m working on a cowl for my 13yo right now.

    • I’ve seen some lovely cowl patterns — If I finish the sweater (for my daughter) – I want to knit some for gifts.

      Votermom, are you on Ravelry? Cyn (above) said there’s a Ravelry group there.

  6. Donna Brazile plays “principled” today on Twitter

    Donna Brazile
    Regardless of the outcome on Tuesday, together we stand. Our values will not change. Our goals will not change, just the people in office.

  7. Here’s a headline Myiq will appreciate
    2010 debates: Clowns to the left, jokers to the right
    I’d say, the whole election, not just the debates.

  8. Love the “My DD” link!! Maybe I can consider posting over there again. Between that and Olberman saying John Stewart has “jumped the shark” in this article at Politico this morning is turning out some pretty interesting links.


    Olberman also waxes poetic defending the “promise of cable newz” Hilarious! Can’t wait for Stewart’s take on this.

    Donna’s twitter this morning is all comedy too. “Stand on Principles” man! You CANNOT make this stuff up!

    • With the “stand on principles” thing – you could pretty much stand on any principles… as we have seen.

  9. NPR Politics nprpolitics

    Elections Likened To Circus? Clown Takes Offense http://n.pr/dnoFEi

  10. Oooooh!!!!!! love the pink scarf….

    I went mad last year knitting hats in icelandic wool, b4 going to Helsinki in February and finding the wind went thru all of them … 😦

    Have you tried Rowan for patterns?

    • Oh, thank you!!! And yes – I have. And their former designer, Kim Hargreaves too. I love their stuff.

      The pink scarf was REALLY easy — it was the very first thing I knit.

      One thing I forgot to say is that I’ve had a horrible pain in my shoulder (from a bone spur) for almost 2 years. But, when I started knitting, the pain disappeared. Totally.

      That’s my justification for sticking with it. (otherwise the guilt would kill me. I’m not used to spending money on a hobby)

      • I’m the opposite, if I knit something too heavy I can get wrist pains. It could be something to do with computer mice and knitting needles, but I don’t know.

        Love Kim Hargreaves, too.

        • Computer mice are the WORST thing for my shoulder!! I played Farm Town for months before I realized it was crippling me. You have to click the mouse a thousand times with that game.

  11. Scott Rasmussen on the election and what it means in his opinion.

    A Vote Against Dems, Not for the GOP

    The reality is that voters in 2010 are doing the same thing they did in 2006 and 2008: They are voting against the party in power.


    More precisely, it is a rejection of a bipartisan political elite that’s lost touch with the people they are supposed to serve. Based on our polling, 51% now see Democrats as the party of big government and nearly as many see Republicans as the party of big business. That leaves no party left to represent the American people.

    Voters today want hope and change every bit as much as in 2008. But most have come to recognize that if we have to rely on politicians for the change, there is no hope. At the same time, Americans instinctively understand that if we can unleash the collective wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.

    In this environment, it would be wise for all Republicans to remember that their team didn’t win, the other team lost. Heading into 2012, voters will remain ready to vote against the party in power unless they are given a reason not to do so.

    Elected politicians also should leave their ideological baggage behind because voters don’t want to be governed from the left, the right, or even the center. They want someone in Washington who understands that the American people want to govern themselves.

    • I really do hope that the ‘powers that be’, both Rep and Dem, recognize this . My favorite line in the article— ” A common theme in all the races is that white, working-class Democrats who tended to vote for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in 2008 are prepared to vote for Republicans.”

      But how can that be, Donna and Barack told us that we had no place to go. I thought we had to vote for the Democrats because of abortion and the wars??

  12. I wonder if they have ever polled how many who voted for Hillary in 2008 went third party. I voted Green in the G.E. and I know quite a few others did too. I’m still doing that. Must they always frame it so that Hillary democrats ALL were prepared to vote against the democrats by voting republican? It sort of misses the point. Many people, not just those who were Hillary supporters are fed up with both these parties.

    • There was some poll about Hillary voters wanting someone to primary obama. It was in a post or comments over the weekend…

  13. That’s interesting. There are a lot of voters who want someone to primary Obama right now.

  14. Katiebird – I love your scarves! Did you teach yourself how to knit?

    I have wanted to learn to knit – I learned how to crochet a few years ago.

    • Thank you so much!!

      I kind of did, kind of didn’t. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was a child. And I knit for a while back in the eighties.

      But, I didn’t have any memory of how to do it. My sister in law planned to teach me but, it turned out my fingers wanted to do Continental Knitting (I don’t know why) …. So I had to depend on YouTube to show me what to do.

      It was like having haunted fingers…..

      And now I’m taking a correspondence course to learn the “right way”

      • I learned to knit from a dvd I borrowed from the lib this summer. Trying to learn from a how-to book wasn’t working.
        But I prefer continental.

        Prior to that I only knew how to crochet a chain (someone must have taught me as a kid). Borrowed another dvd and learned how to do actual crochet stitches.:)

        • YouTube and DVDs have transformed the process of teaching ourselves. it’s really wonderful.

          My other grandmother taught me to crochet — it’s funny how those childhood skills stick around…..

          • It is like riding a bike — if you pick up & start doing it (maybe with a little refreshers here and there) you can do it. It is a shame that most kids today can’t create anything. I blame the TV for kids today not knowing how to do things like knit, crochet, sew, needle point etc. My mom grew up learing how to do all those things because, without TV, they had to do something to entertain themselves. She, in turn, taught me – now, I’m not as prolific at any of those things as my mom (I just don’t have the time), but I’m glad she taught them to me, because when I want to do them I can — for example, I’ve knitted a couple of really cute sweaters for my little chihuahua! 🙂

          • I never thought about looking for youtube instructions. There are things I’ve tried with crochet that seem hard from the books: ch-3, d-105, ch2… (actually, that would be easy – they have crazy instructions for crochet.)

        • I like continental knitting too. I’m yearning to get back to socks, I love making socks. I had stopped knitting last year because I got a tendonitis in my thumb. But it’s getting colder now and that’s perfect knitting weather.

      • If you’re already used to continental, stick with it; it’s faster. If you must go to English style, train yourself to keep your fingers on the needles. It’s none of my business, but nonetheless I get aggravated seeing a knitter lift her hand off the right needle to make every stitch. So much wasted motion!

        • Oh, no! I LOVE knitting Continental. It makes me feel sophisticated!!

          I DO have to work on how I hold the yarn though. I’ve got a caveman Continental thing going. I’ve recently joined a couple of knitting groups and I’m hoping that someone can help me figure out how to hold the yarn correctly.

  15. Katiebird,

    I admire your ability to teach yourself stuff like knitting. I’ve even tried Knitting for Dummies type books and I positively can not figure it out.

    If you have a particular video I’d love to point my daughter towards it though. What’s been the hardest for me is not being able to teach her a skill she wants to learn. My daughter loves making things whether it be cooking or beading or sewing. She seems to get real satisfaction out of creating things.

  16. I wish I knew how to knit. I love woolen goods. Besides, I could raise my needles as a real bitter knitter :0).

    I read the article on the US slide on the corruption index. Can’t say I’m surprised. It seems like everytime I open the paper or a website there’s more and more evidence.

    For instance, anyone who was curious as to the “why” of Clyburn’s switch in alligience and savage attacks on the Clinton’s in 2008 might be interested in reading this:


    It won’t improve your mood but should explain what we saw and heard. Clyburn’s soul had a specific price: his daughter heading the FCC. Sweet.

    Tomorrow should be an interesting day. I voted early, so I’m just leaning back, waiting for the results.

  17. Katiebird–I am so impressed. You do beautiful work and you’re inspiring me to pick up the needles. Politics is eating me up and I need something more theraputic. Thank you.

  18. Beautiful scarves, katiebird!! How wonderful!


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