Saturday, August 16, 2008

Philadelphia Chickens - Book of the Week!

This is the perfect gift for a favorite young niece or nephew!

You know Sandra Boynton's delightful cartoon animals; now she's worked with Michael Ford to create a musical in a book, featuring over a dozen show tunes. Adults can enjoy the music, recognizing perhaps the gentle fun it pokes at adult types; children will just like the singing animals ... if you can pry the book out of their hands to get at the CD.
Perhaps the most important point for parents is that the music is fun and not annoying! Got it? You can actually enjoy the music, which is important because you will be hearing it over and over ... you might actually choose to play the CD and find yourself singing along:
  • The Seldom Herd sings Cows
  • Meryl Streep sings Nobody Understands Me
  • The Bacon Brothers sing Philadelphia Chickens
  • Keith Boynton sings Be Like a Duck
  • Laura Linney sings Please, Can I Keep It
  • Eric Stoltz sings Snuggle Puppy
  • Patti LuPone sings I Like to Fuss
  • The Bacon Brothers sing Snoozers
  • Caitlin McEwan sings Faraway Cookies
  • John Stey sings Fifteen Animals
  • The Heath Sisters sing Belly Button (round)
  • Kevin Kline sings Busybusybusy ( favorite ... if you've ever wasted too much time working in an office, you'll know why ...)
  • Michael Ford sings Those Dinosaur Bones
  • Darcy Boynton chants Dinosaur, Dinosaur
  • Beth Andrien sings Jump Rope Jive
  • Scott Bakula sings Pig Island
  • Adam Bryant sings Pajama Time
  • Natasha Richardson sings Silly Lullaby
  • Aaaardvarks (Mark Linn-Baker, Joe Grifasi, Michael Gross & Devin McEwan) sing The Intermission Song

The book includes drawings, lyrics and musical notation. You should buy this new, but if you get it used, be sure to confirm in advance that it has the CD. It's a fine book in itself but you'll want to enjoy the show tunes!

Learn more here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Next President Could Block GI Bill 2008

If you, or some veteran you care about, hope the GI Bill will put you through college, keep in mind that the president has power to delay, obstruct, limit and generally screwup any program enacted by Congress. He can veto appropriations and block executive branch cooperation by executive order; he can foot-drag and lollygag, trim and skim, defer and obscure, complicate and procrastinate, impound and confound, confuse and simply refuse to execute the law for years at the least, and maybe forever.

John McCain opposed the GI Bill 2008 and still thinks it's a bad idea; Barack Obama voted for it and still thinks it's a good idea.

Do you really want to go to college?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Freddie Mac, Bernie Mac, Johnny Mac"

"Who are 3 Macs whose career came to an end in 2008?"

(With apologies to the great ... if somewhat profane ... Bernie Mac)...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Veterans Voting Support Act (H.R. 6625)

This story is all too common
"On June 30 [2008], I visited the Veterans Affairs Hospital in West Haven, Conn., to distribute information on the state’s new voting machines and to register veterans to vote. I was not allowed inside the hospital.

Outside on the sidewalk, I met Martin O’Nieal, a 92-year-old man who lost a leg while fighting the Nazis in the mountains of Northern Italy during the harsh winter of 1944. Mr. O’Nieal has been a resident of the hospital since 2007. He wanted to vote last year, but he told me that there was no information about how to register to vote at the hospital and the nurses could not answer his questions about how or where to cast a ballot.

I carry around hundreds of blank voter registration cards in the trunk of my car for just such occasions, so I was able to register Mr. O’Nieal in November. I also registered a few more veterans — whoever I could find outside on the hospital’s sidewalk.

There are thousands of veterans of wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the current campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan who are isolated behind the walls of V.A. hospitals and nursing homes across the country. We have an obligation to make sure that every veteran has the opportunity to make his or her voice heard at the ballot box. ... (continued in Help Our Veterans Vote by Susan Bysiewicz)

Recently the head of the VA blocked voter registration efforts on VA facilities, thereby hindering the right to vote of veterans hospitalized or permanently retired (see VHA Directive 2008-25)

Typically, when you go into a VA facility, this changes your address - and when you change your address, you have to change your voter registration. If you don't vote in two federal elections, usually your voter registration is canceled. And if you haven't signed up for an absentee ballot before going into the facility, you've got a big problem voting.

Since the decision to block voter registration drives on VA facilities was an executive decision, it could be reversed by an executive order of the President of the United States. So far, he hasn't done it.

Instead, H.R. 6625 would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to permit facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs to be designated as voter registration agencies. The rights of those who defended our Constitution on the battlefield must again be defended in Congress because of the unilateral action of a political appointee afraid that his incompetence will result in veterans exercising the franchise in a way he doesn't like.