Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sponsored by...

Have the tube on right now while I putter 'round ye olde homestead, and hear that some news break or other on CNN was sponsored by "Americans for Balanced Energy Choices". I thought....hmmm, interesting. When I turned around I saw the logo. It was a piece of coal, with a tagline under it.

Yeah, well, those "Americans"? They're a [air-quote]non profit group[end air-quote], whose "Research Identifies Benefits of New Coal-Fueled Power". Yeah, because why not trade one fossil fuel for another...that'll create balance, right? We can keep using finite resources, instead of replaceable, renewable resources. Great idea.

Fishy, no? I dug a bit deeper. Seems David Lazurus at had these guys' number more than three years ago. (Just call me, "Mara-Come-Lately"!) Check this out:

It's a sophisticated ploy that's being used more and more by large companies to sway public opinion.

"There's a name for it -- Astroturf," said Gail Hillebrand, a senior attorney with Consumers Union in San Francisco. "It's when you try to make something look like a grassroots movement when it's not."

For ordinary citizens, this represents a new challenge.

"You want to know if it's an industry-sponsored message," Hillebrand said. "This helps you understand the validity of what you're hearing."

On its Web site, Americans for Balanced Energy Choices says only that "initial funding for this worthwhile project" was provided by "America's coal- based electricity industry."

It doesn't say that the coal industry -- which in reality has provided virtually all funding for the group since its establishment in 2000 -- contributed nearly $4 million to politicians in the 2000 election cycle, primarily Republicans.

Lovely. There's more:

Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, which bills itself as nonpartisan, also doesn't say in its ad or online that it receives logistical support, including staff members and other resources, from the Center for Energy and Economic Development, a coal-industry trade group.

The center has aggressively lobbied against limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, widely seen as a cause of global warming.

On its Web site, the center says it rejects "the theory of catastrophic global climate change" and takes credit for helping persuade Bush not to support the Kyoto Treaty on reducing emissions.

Nice, eh? And to think, if I hadn't turned around, I'd still think there was some wonderful group out there looking out for our planet's best interest with regard to how America generates it's energy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog for Choice

Well, I haven't really committed to keeping only one blog. See, I have posted stuff on the old one, because it gets more traffic...and it acts as a foil so that Darth Vadar (aka M*mmy D*ar*st) doesn't go searching for another blog by me. That way, I can be free to be me here and she's too busy inspecting the old one to think that there even IS a new one.

In any event, having said that, I wrote my Blog for Choice article on the other blog instead of this one. So, if you want, go check it out. Just remember....*shhhhhh* I don't want to reveal myself--my mixed bag is my safe haven, my "Force", as it were. I don't mind Mara readers knowing I'm Peg...

I just don't necessarily want my Peg readers to know I'm Mara, get it?



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Shall we dance?

Once upon a time, I confessed to my husband, Jim, my deep affection for Stephen Colbert. I know that I've written about this elsewhere, but suffice it to say, White and Nerdy as he may be, there's a soft spot in my heart for him.

Ah, hell, what can I say...I'm smitten with his silly ass.

and for the record...screw JT, Stephen is the guy who brought sexy back.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Highs and Lows of Campaign Season in NH

My daughter is six. A clever girl with a sense of humour, she's also a very sensitive girl, emotionally speaking. And so, like her mama, she sometimes feels things very deeply.
She needs a name...and because what I've chosen to name my kiddos for blogging purposes has been heretofore criticized --*Mara rolls her eyes, and lights a smoke*-- I'll give her a pseudonym that isn't descriptive, but in some ways similar to her given name. We'll call her Samantha, or Sam for short--she has a name that when shortened, could be a girl or a boy. Come to think of it, so does her little brother...I only just realized that. Anyway while I'm at it, my boy should be named. So, she's Samantha and he's Pete. Not for any reason other than it just came to me.
So, Sam is a sensitive one--and she's been paying a lot of attention to my interest in politics. She's clearly learned of my disdain for Romney. Last week, a neighbor put a Romney sign at the end of his driveway. Upon seeing it, Sam said angrily, "Hey!! That sign wasn't there before. What's he doing with a sign for Mitt Romney?!" This is following her pointed request several months ago that I provide her with "just three good reasons" why I don't think Romney should be president. Did I mention that she's six?

Last night, Jim Lehrer came on. She came into the room a few minutes into the broadcast, so she missed the intro where they were talking about the latest campaign advertisements. All she saw was a snippet of an ad, where John Edwards said, "...when I'm president, I'll..." and she thought it was all over. That John Edwards was actually going to be the next president.

She was elated! She came bounding into the kitchen and told her dad excitedly, "He did it! John Edwards is our next president!!" She was so excited, she was jumping around. Jim (what I've just decided, by the way, to call my husband on this new blog) had to reel the poor girl back in with the harsh blow of reality..."No, honey, not yet...the elections haven't even happened yet. He's not the next President." At first she was insistent--sure that we'd missed something, and Mom's guy had won!

Crestfallen doesn't begin to describe her once she truly accepted that Jim Lehrer was showing a commercial as an example, and that "...when I'm president..." was Edwards' way of coming across as confident to the voters that he'll win the election.

The election that Has. Not. Happened.

She burst into tears.

The emotion, the elation, the joy she displayed was so complete, that when she discovered it wasn't true, she just lost it, dissolving into a puddle of little sobs. "I was so happy! I thought he'd won..." she sniffed to me, as I hugged her, stroking her silky light brown hair. It was such a let-down for her, my heart was breaking for her.

Ah, the highs and lows of campaign season.

P.S. Pete is four, and has declared his own alliance with Hillary. When asked last night at dinner, Why Hillary? He said simply, "I think she's the best."

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My cat is a dink

He really is. He's such a cat.

Now, lest you worry that I am about to embark upon a blog entry where I wax on and on in glowing terms about a housepet of the feline variety, allow me to assure you, that will not be the case here.

I'm not a Cat Fancier. I'm not a cat person at all, really. I just don't like cats. My cat was a utility purchase, to be perfectly frank. We lived in an old farmhouse, with a stone cellar. Couple the stone cellar with New England winters, and you're housing all manner of critter during the long dark winter months. It's not as bad as it just don't go down cellar unless you absolutely, positively must go down there. And when you do? You bring your cordless phone, and call someone so that you are talking to another human being while you carefully pick your way down those rickety stairs, and after finding yourself standing on the dirt floor, partially crouched over so as to avoid donning a fresh hairnet of cobwebs you make lots of noise banging things around so as to make the little guests scatter.

Smart New England homeowners know the proper fix to critters in the mix is a work cat. And our cat was adopted to keep the critter population at know, circle of life, and all that good stuff. So, with that in mind, when we moved to our new home (brand new--we really swung the pendulum!), our cat had far less work to do. Fortunately, this seemed to coincide with his increasing need for sleep, and penchant for sleeping in the house all day long, and going outside for the whole night, like clockwork. During the Spring, Summer and Autumn, this feline makes the woods behind our house his litter box, but icy winter weather means that he often utilizes the indoor facilities. For nine or ten months, the litterbox in the cellar (huge improvement, by the way--cement floor, sturdy stairs, minimal spiders, good lighting--everything the old cellar was not!) goes completely untouched. But, when the snow outdoors is deep (beyond 4" or so), Persnickity Pete finally makes use of the box o' litter.

So, in the winter, part of my morning includes going to clean the box. If it's unused, I leave it be. If not, I scoop out what needs removing and smooth the litter the the scooper thing so I can later see if it's been used at all. Well, during the last week, we've have all manner of weather, and twice now, I've gone to clean the box--having seen that had been disturbed--and found that the little prick simply got into the box, moved it around as if he'd done his biz, but then left the box without the 'prize', as it were.

WTF? I mean, really. I feed him, I water him, I pay attention to him. Hell, last Christmas, I got him a fountain for his circulates the water through a filter, and pours it back into the dish, so it's always areated and fresh. Shut UP! I am so NOT a cat person...I just got sick of him mewling around everytime he wanted water, because he wouldn't drink from the dish unless he saw me fill it up right then and there--in front of him--with fresh agua. I am good to him. And I clean his box when he needs it. AND, I created this great system to determine if I need to clean it or not, and now he's going and gumming up the works.

I ask you, precisely what kind of thanks is that for my years of loyalty and care?

And yet, I love that damn Persnickety Pete, despite myself. And despite my insistence that I don't like cats.
At all.