November, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Luke and I spent Thanksgiving in a small Mexican village next to the sea. We stayed with our host in her compound with 360 degree views, from the ocean to the mountains. Along with our San Diego friends we met lots of expats. We snorkeled, swam, walked on the beach, read, listened to music, played cards, drank beer, rode bikes, ate local food that I wish I could eat every day, sang songs and slept into the deepest of dreams from which we recovered every morning.

Thanks Joyce.

Guest Blogger: Susan Campbell McCachren, my sister, writes about her experiences volunteering for both the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns in northwestern North Carolina where she lives

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

As a volunteer for President Obama in 2012 and also for Candidate Obama in 2008, I, like so many across the country, made a zillion phone calls in a cold office, attacking those call lists, adept at laughing and amusing myself in between calls with the other volunteers only to jump on script when a live person came through on the other end of the phone. I gained a few pounds from leftover Halloween candy, sub sandwiches (yuck!) and missed workouts. Sleep was lost. My back was stiff from all that sitting. And in every photo taken at OFA headquarters, I look pastey and cold in old sweaters and gym shoes. But I can honestly say, I had the time of my life during both campaigns.

When I began volunteering in ‘08 (I was hired as a Deputy Field Organizer toward the end of the campaign) I was profoundly impressed by the tenets of the campaign. Every single person is welcome under Barack Obama’s tent. Each person has value and will be respected. Bring your creativity and innovation. Check your ego at the door. Teamwork is the order of the day. Work hard. Believe in yourselves and believe in each other. YES WE CAN. And the campaign really believed this stuff. They walked the talk. I saw this first hand.

But what took me by total surprise was that my own dreams began coming true. I would want or imagine something happening and then it quickly came to pass. The biggest example of this was meeting and shaking hands with the candidate himself at a town hall in Bristol, Va., in May of 2008. Against all odds, I wound up on the front row. He even autographed my copy of The Audacity of Hope. I had the chance to say “God Bless You!” which I had dreamed of saying and literally never for one minute doubted that I would. Against all odds.

A couple of months later, I saw Michelle Obama speak alongside Maya Angelou in Winston Salem, NC. A longtime admirer of Dr. Angelou’s work, I had really hoped to see her in-person some day. This even t exceeded all expectations.

Several weeks later, my husband Marc and I attended a fund raiser in Asheville, NC and shared dinner and talked politics with legendary music producer T Bone Burnett and his partner, Oscar winner, Callie Khouri. Afterward, we attended T. Bone’s concert, Raising Sand, starring Allison Kraus and Robert Plant, and we went back stage where we met up with he and Callie Khouri again, along with Robert Plant, for photos and autographs. I don’t know why any of this happened. Being rabid music fans, though, this still blows our minds.

And during this 2012 campaign, James Taylor came to our small, NC mountain town and insisted on coming by the OFA office to thank all the volunteers and play a few songs for us. I have wanted to see him live forever but never managed to. Until last month. He told stories about the Beatles and Carol King, and spoke at length about his love for and appreciation of President Obama. It was a very emotional and beautiful afternoon. The woman in her 60’s standing next to me had tears streaming down her face. Yes. We. Can.

And there are other, less flashy but more important stories of dreams coming true while on board with this campaign, such as canvassing a Vietnam vet, Ted, who hadn’t voted in decades because, as a convicted felon, he thought he couldn’t. He had been told that he couldn’t. He had volunteered for that war, believing he was doing what was right for his country and basically his life had been ruined by PTSD and Agent Orange which was brought to us by Monsanto, who claimed it was totally safe - the same corporation that is genetically modifying our food supply, claiming that This Too is safe - but that is another blog entry… He had had violent outbursts, hence, the felony, before meds helped him control his agitation. But in NC, once the sentence is served, including parole, voting rights are reinstated. I registered him as we sat in his trailer watching a speech by Barack Obama on PBS, a speech about how ill advised and wrong the Iraq war is. We were silent as we watched together. It was a profound canvass put together by a campaign that truly does intend to reach out to everyone.

My main point here, and what the Obama Campaigns demonstrated to me Loud and Clear, is that our dreams can and are coming true. Globally and personally. Keep dreaming! Keep believing. Keep going! Work and focus, with unrelenting faith in one another and basic goodness. Stay passionate about what you believe in. It’s an imperfect world. So what. This presidency won’t be perfect. Again, so what. Our aim is true. And the President’s aim is true. Stick together. Check all egos at the door. Brush off the naysayers. Reach out and spread the truth, share the facts. Activism is, to quote Alice Walker, “my rent for living on the planet.” And as the president stated to the young and young-at-heart campaign staff during the staff party in DC, the night after his inauguration in 2009, “You guys didn’t know we couldn’t do this. That’s how we won this. It’s because of you!”

President Obama’s Re-Election

Monday, November 12th, 2012

It seems to be a consensus in my mind that the Republicans have lived for so long in their own echo chamber (Fox, Rush, Hannity, et al) that they have started to believe the lies they are told and tell themselves.  They even defied math, simple math, in order to feed their delusions.   

So remote are the Republicans about the country and their role in it that they were gobsmacked when reality hit them the night of the election, disbelieving even their own Fox News in-house experts who called the race for Obama.

While I have no interest, a week after the election, in helping rehabilitate the Republican party, I also have no interest in feeling sorry for them.  I lived through 8 years of Reagan when he refused to even say the word AIDS until his 7th year in office, setting back AIDS research a decade during which many friends of mine died. I lived through 8 years of Bush who stole the election in 2000 with the help of the Supreme Court and lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq so he could attack and revenge his father.  I cry no tears for the Republicans, friends or not, for having to live through 4 more years of Obama.  They don’t know how lucky they are. 

Boo Hoo, Sandy beat Mitt?

Monday, November 5th, 2012

We’ll see tomorrow.  But if it’s true what the Republicans are saying and Sandy destroyed Mitt’s forward motion then maybe, just maybe, someone said their prayers. 

COX and the FLUSHED COOKIES — a tale of entrapment and dough

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

CASE #: 1350851


On both my MacBookPro and my PC today I could not access my COX email because COX COMMUNICATIONS, more commonly known as COX, flashed a pop-up that filled the screen and then froze there after I logged in. It asked for my zip code, city and state. There was no escape button, no way out. I pay COX email to service me every month. Why are they blocking my email? And it gets better or worse depending on your sense of humor. First of all COX sends me a bill so they know my zip code, city and state. Second of all, when I finally entered my zip code - against my will - the screen flashed again and returned me to the COX email homepage and then directly to “sign in with my COX password”. I soon realized I was trapped in a COX-designed info-seeking maze.

This is where the flushed cookies come in. 

I was panting when I finally picked up the COX telephone and called COX to solve my COX email problem.

After thirty minutes on the phone with COX which consisted of long holds interspersed with scattered verbal contact, I rose up the COX ladder of intelligence to a COX Email Specialist.  After checking into my problem he diagnosed the cause.

“You flushed your cookies,” he said.

“I did not flush my cookies,” I said.

“This happens when you flush your cookies.”

“I didn’t flush my cookies.”

He asked me to click back to the COX email homepage and login again. I did as directed. This time the full screen pop-up was too ashamed to display its white and blue COX.

“I’m in,” I said.

“This kind of thing happens when you flush your cookies all at once.”

“You and I both know I didn’t flush my cookies,” I said.

“Never flush your cookies. At least not all at once.”

“This has nothing to do with cookies. Or flushing.”


I could tell his heart wasn’t in it and I was anxious to get to my email.

“What is a cookie?”

He hung up in my face.

COX Sucker.