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      A religion is an ideology with supernatural elements. We consider it OK to criticize Marxists or capitalists or libertarians or monarchists, but we tend to shy  away from saying that a religion has bad elements. The Hindu caste system is evil. It needs to end, and it needs to end today. If The Laws of […]
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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.