Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 2/10/08 - 2/17/08

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's a scary, scary world...

Thanks to George Bush!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don't forget the flowers!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Clinton Campaign Ain't Gonna Be Happy...

...with THIS ANALYSIS of the Obama sweeps by the Associated Press:

"WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has found a lot of ways to explain her string of losses to Sen. Barack Obama.

Caucus states, the former first lady says, are undemocratic and cater only to party activists. Southern states, like Louisiana, have "a very strong and very proud African-American electorate" naturally predisposed to favor a black candidate. And so-called "red" states like North Dakota, Idaho and Kansas — all of which Obama won on Super Tuesday — will never choose a Democrat in the general election anyway.

By this logic, only certain states really matter, such as New Hampshire and New Jersey, states that Clinton has won. Or Texas and Ohio, states she must capture to stay in the race.

The list of excuses is long, but the justifications are wearing thin as Obama was expected to win primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia on Tuesday after a four-state sweep last weekend plus the Virgin Islands. All the contests Clinton has suggested don't count are proving in size and scope that they do.

"Every day the numbers show the true state of the race," Democratic strategist Jenny Backus said. "Obama is moving and gathering a bigger coalition, and Hillary's coalition is diminishing."

In the face of so many losses, the Clinton campaign has tried gamely to recalibrate expectations — signaling loudly that February would not be a good month for the New York senator. Her strategists even are discounting the power of Obama's momentum and are instead framing the contest as a drawn-out hunt for delegates that might not conclude until the party's national convention in Denver this August.

But to do so is to ignore all the other measures of campaign success — all of which now favor Obama. His campaign has brought in more than $1 million per day from more than 650,000 contributors, allowing him to flood the primary states with television ads and staff. Clinton, meanwhile, is still climbing out of a financial hole that forced her to make a $5 million personal loan to the campaign."

I don't think that very many folks believe she can win Texas and Ohio by enough of a margin to save her.

Even some of her supporters are saying "stick a fork in her...she's done."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Most Important News of the Night...

OK...maybe the Obama sweep was more important...

But that isn't what I'm talking about!


"Barking and baying up a storm, Uno lived up to his name Tuesday night by becoming the first beagle to win best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club.

The nation's new top dog was clearly the fan favorite, and drew a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden when he was picked.

Uno got right into the act, jumping up on handler Aaron Wilkerson and confirming his other title: noisiest in show. Years from now, he'll be known for the "ah-roo" heard 'round the ring.

The only dog consistently listed among America's most popular breeds for nearly 100 years, a beagle had never won in the 100 times Westminster picked a winner. That changed when judge J. Donald Jones pointed to this nearly 3-year-old package of personality.

Good ol' Snoopy, a champion at last."
As many of you know, we're kinda partial to Beagles (Biegels) around here!

This is something my daughter and I do together every year - oooh and ahhhh over the gorgeous doggies. I guess it's a Mother-Daughter thing.

Showing her true colors once again...

Here we go...so much for the "no negative" pledge. Hillary Clinton goes against her word and starts a negative campaign against Obama.

Sen. Hillary Clinton accused Democratic presidential rival Barack Obama of suspicious activity with a contributor after being asked in an interview today with ABC's Washington, D.C., affiliate WJLA, why she hasn't disclosed her income tax returns.

"Sen. Obama has some questions to answer about his dealings with one of his largest contributors Exelon, a big nuclear power company; apparently he cut some deals behind closed doors to protect them from full disclosure of the nuclear industry," she said.

Clinton defended her position not to disclose her income tax returns.

"I have said that I will release my tax returns when I am the nominee," the New York Democrat said. "My entire ethics statement is on record at the senate I have liquidated all my holdings, I'm holding everything in cash so there's not even a question of conflict."

Obama was not immediately able to respond to the accusation because his interview with the same station, which aired Monday night, was taped.

I KNEW she'd go negative when the going got tough.

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Superdelegates" and reminding them who they serve

KUDO 1080, Alaska's Liberal radio station, has a thread on their blog, Precinct 1080 about Alaska's Superdelegates.

The "Superdelegates" were established to give voice to the Democratic Party's "historical perspective." These delegates suppposedly bring that perspective in making their choices for party nominee. However, should that perspective carry more weight than the voice of the people?

I was one of as many as 3,000 newly-registered Democrats who voted in the Alaska Caucus on Super Tuesday. Alaska Democrats voted for Obama 75% to Clinton's 25%. So, the majority of those of us who are "new" Democrats voted for Obama. Paraphrasing my KUDO friend Shannyn Moore, we die-hard Independents finally joined the Democratic Party because we saw it as "a vehicle of change, not historical perspective."

In 1984 Gary Hart was only slightly behind Walter Mondale. Probably as a result of the "sex scandel" revelations about Hart (which did make him a non-viable candidate), Mondale received almost all of the Superdelegates and won the nomination.

Here we have the possibility of a potentially worse situation. As of now, Obama is on a roll and actually has a small lead in the number of popular delegates. If predictions are accurate, this will persist at least through to the March 4th decisions in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

So what would happen to the party if Obama has a decent lead in popular delegates by the Convention but still loses because of the tag-team-Clintons' skillful wooing of Superdelegates? I personally think all hell would break loose - that it's wrong for the "chosen" to usurp the party members and nominate a candidate that is not the people's choice. I believe that many other Democrats feel the same way.

It turns out that Alaska has four Superdelegates and that one of them has already vocalized her support to CNN for Clinton. This means that, in order to parallel the will of the Democratic party members in Alaska, the other three "Supers" should go for Obama.

On the Alaska Democratic Party website the party leaders are listed. They can be emailed by clicking on their names. These are the four who are Superdelegates:

Blake Johnson - First Vice Chair
Kenai, (907) 776-5212

John Davies - National Committee Man
Fairbanks, (907) 474-4927

Cindy Spanyers - National Committee Woman
Juneau, (907) 790-3931

Patti Higgins - State Chair (pledged herself to Clinton before the Caucus)
Anchorage, (907) 360-2561

HERE is a great website that provides ALL of the names of the Superdelegates across the nation, including who they have publicly pledged their support to (if anyone).

I truly hope that Democrats all over the country find out who their Superdelegates are and remind them who they represent.

Meeting cancelled between Obama and Edwards


"ABC News' Sunlen Miller Reports: An in-person meeting schedule for tonight between Senator Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards in North Carolina has been rescheduled, the Obama campaign confirms.

The two were intended to meet in North Carolina, Edwards’s home state, after Obama’s last campaign event of the day wrapped up in Baltimore."
While I can completely understand that they might want to reschedule the meeting quietly, I also wonder if the wildfires in Virginia, North and South Carolina had a roll to play:

"The high winds and wildfires caused both Democratic presidential hopefuls -- Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama -- to cancel appearances scheduled in Roanoke, Virginia. Virginia's presidential primaries are on Tuesday."
I truly hope that Edwards gets on board with Obama. I believe that their philosophies are a much better fit than Edwards/Clinton. Besides, I think that most Edwards supporters (like me) already took their vote to Obama and truly wish to see the two of them on a Democratic ticket. I think that would make Obama even harder to beat!

I forgot to mention...

HERE is the story on the new Community Voices columnists for the Anchorage Daily News.

Linda Kellen Biegel, aka "the crabby lady down the street," is a former federal employee, semiretired musician and a slayer of fish. She lives in "beautiful Midtown," where she and her husband are raising their 10-year=old daughter.

(Yes, Mom, I'm a redhead again!)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Organic" Fur

I wrote this in response to a thread from my Aussie/Kiwi gaming friends regarding the PETA anti-fur video hosted by Martha Stewart.

I recently saw a chunk of a PETA anti-fur video hosted by Martha Stewart. PETA found the most disgusting, most horrifying examples of abuse at fur farms.

I must say I agree completely that corporate fur farming sucks for the animals. However, most commercial beef (at least in the U.S.) comes from corporate farms, as well as pork, chicken, lamb, etc...Those industries have all had video footage posted and horrifying stories written about them as well, since those animals are also horribly mistreated. Whoever made the claim that "leather as a meat by-product" is gleaned from mostly "well-treated" animals (at least in the U.S.) is living in a fantasy world.

I spent every summer of my life until I was 18-years-old on the farms of my Grandparents and those of multiple aunts and uncles. They made a living raising steers, hogs, chickens, and sheep for market. The chickens were shut into the coop at night and were given the run of the farm during the day. Their cattle, hogs and sheep had big barns attached to large pens where they would be shut in at night. During the day, the pen's gate was opened so that they could access the acres of fenced grazing land. This was true of every family farm I've ever been to.

The corporations started buying up the land and raising the animals in the poor conditions to cut costs. It worked - they put the family farmers out of business. Of all the family farms I frequented in Western and Eastern Iowa, none remain that raise cattle, hogs or sheep. Chickens are just for eggs and for personal use.

In Alaska, there used to be hundreds of family fur farms all over the state. They shipped their product all over the U.S. and the animals were raised humanely as most family farmers do. In the lower-48 states, corporate farming once again took over and put most of the local farms up here out of business.

PETA's solutions to these issues are to go totally vegan and wear only plant derived or synthetic fiber clothing/shoes. Ultimately, PETA will fail to force the world to go vegan, fail to destroy fishing and hunting and fail to eradicate the wearing of all fur because these activities all have an appropriate place.

I used to work in Prudhoe Bay, far North of the Arctic Circle, where temps of - 30 F were common and temps of - 60 F happened a few times per winter. Up there is where I discovered that fur was the one and only thing that truly kept me warm and dry. I'd love to offer PETA a challenge: they can spend a winter night in a tent near Barrow, Alaska wearing as many of their synthetic or natural fibers they want. I will do the same using as much fur as I want. I wonder which of us will be warmer?

If PETA was smart, they would approach it from the standpoint of achieving more humane treatment for the animals rather than the losing proposition of attempting to destroy the businesses themselves. If PETA was smart, they would realize that the major issue here is really "corporate farming."

In my house, we eat halibut and salmon which we catch ourselves. We also eat moose when my sister-in-law is kind enough to send some our way. All of those meats are about the healthiest things one can eat. Since I'm scared of the way that corporate beef is injected with antibiotics and because of how the animals are treated, we eat only organic beef. It's harder to do, but I get organic chickens when I can.

I also buy "organic" fur.

Individual trappers are licensed and regulated by Alaska Fish and Game as a necessary method of maintaining healthy populations(snowshoe hare, fox, marten, etc...) rather than have large number of animals starve to death during the winter. Trappers are able to make their living by selling to local furriers. There are a number of Alaska Natives making their living as furriers because they are permitted to work with hides - like seal - that others cannot. Native Alaskans have worked with fur and made a living at it for hundreds of years.

The fur I own was made by a Native Alaskan furrier from furs (Marten - American Sable) that were trapped in Alaska. Therefore, for all practical puposes, my fur is "organic."

You may not buy my argument. However, you can't ignore the obvious: what is PETA suggesting that we use instead?

Looking at it from a extreme-cold perspective, I've provided a list of synthetic fibers used in outerwear sold by companies PETA supports:

- Nylon - petroleum-based
- Polyester - made from two petroleum-based products
- Lycra - petroleum-based
- Goretex - "made from the highly toxic, extremely persistent group of chemicals called perfluorochemicals (PFCs). Also used in Teflon, Stainmaster and Scotchgard."
- Polyurethane - "creates all kinds of hazardous by-products, including ozone-depleting methylene chloride during production and dioxins as a result of incineration."
- Rayon - natural substance base (wood pulp) but production requires toxic chemicals and creates toxic byproducts
- Polar fleece - made from polyester (see above)
- poly-fiberfill - any of the following: toluene, diisocyanate, formaldehyde, PBDEs and petroleum derivatives
- polypropylene - a thermoplastic polymer - petroleum-based
- Polyvinyl Choloride - ("Pleather" - pushed as a shoe-leather alternative by PETA) - plastic/petroleum-based

Hmmmm...not very "eco-friendly" are they?

I don't hate PETA - I even agree with them on issues regarding humane treatment of pets, spaying and neutering. I agree with them, as do the majority of Alaskans, that the aerial wolf-kill is wrong up here. (However, we can't seem to get our politicians to stop it...hmmm...follow the money.) I totally agree on figuring out a way to protect polar bears and walrus.

However, when they protest things they have never seen and do not understand (The Iditarod Sled Dog Race), when they decide that the "food chain" no longer exists and that we're not supposed to fish and hunt to feed our families, when they always promote a completely non-scientific "Disneyfication" of animals, and when all of the little darlings are too scared to visit Alaska yet want to dictate how I should live from sunny California, I have a tendency to get cranky.