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So, I know I’m way behind on posting things about my cross-country trip. I promise more stories are coming, but this one is more timely… So we’ll start here.

“Democrats want to fall in love; Republicans fall in line.” The first time I ever heard that, I probably laughed. When I heard some blowhard pundit say that on CNN during the Iowa Caucuses, I definitely laughed. And now I find myself doing the same thing.

Ok, so I definitely supported John Edwards in the last election and early on in this election because he’s HOTT. I mean, have you seen that Newsweek cover*?? Holy crap. Pure hotness. But I also consider myself a populist, so I could pass off my choice as an academic one. But now I’ve found myself falling head over heels with Hillary, and even more shockingly, it has nothing to do with Bill.

As previously chronicled, I have been obsessed with Bill Clinton for many years. At least since high school. I love him. So when my friend and I were passing through Little Rock on our cross-country trip, I demanded that we make a stop at the Clinton Library. We got there a little late, and only got to spend an hour inside, but that was probably as much as I could take. We were barely into the exhibit areas before I started bawling like a baby.

The first thing that set me off was a big exhibit about the first election in ’92. Of course, no one expected the governor of Arkansas to be a contender. Most people don’t even know where Arkansas is. But Bill had a special something (the same special something that gets him in trouble, I think) that made people believe in him, want to elect him, and love him. There were lots of old pictures from his first time on the campaign trail—pictures of a very young George Stephenopolis celebrating Clinton’s performance in a debate, of Bill wiping barbeque off Al Gore’s chin while they ate lunch on the bus, and of Bill and Hillary taking a moment to relax between stops on the bus. Looking at those pictures, I started to sob. My traveling partner looked at me like I had three heads. “Look at them!” I exclaimed. “They look so young. They look like REAL PEOPLE.”

And it was true. Hillary had frizzy hair, big shoulder pads, dark eyebrows. She was a political neophyte. She was a far cry from the poised, posh, and polished (read: calculated) image of her we now have.

Next, we moved on to the year-by-year and “themed” areas. By “themed” I mean they were little cubbies dealing with different aspects of his presidency, like the economy, foreign policy, youth outreach and volunteerism (specifically the AmeriCorps program), diversity, and of course, the Monica/Whitewater stuff. The very first cubbie had a comparison list of different statistics, with a figure from his first day in office and his last. They were things like the unemployment rate, homelessness, people on welfare, and the national debt. It was a really amazing thing to see how the economy and the quality of life for the middle class rose so drastically during his eight years as the president. Thinking of the disaster that all of these statistics have become recently, I started crying again. This time, I looked over at my traveling partner, and she seemed to understand.

A few cubbies later, we got to the one on foreign policy. There, they displayed a letter that a little Kenyan boy (who was living in the UK) wrote to Clinton about his trip to Africa. I never realized this, but Clinton was the first US President to visit Africa. The little boy wrote about how he felt proud to be an African because Bill Clinton had visited the continent. He also said that Bill and Hillary looked good in the Kente cloth (I have no doubt that’s true for Bill) and that he would feel like the luckiest boy on earth if he got a response to his letter. Of course, they also had a copy of the letter that had been sent to the little boy. And also of course, I started bawling again.

I continued to tear up as I went through the rest of the exhibit (we didn’t get to go upstairs to see the personal things, like Hillary’s gown from the second inaugural ball), but those are the things that most affected me. But as I said, my falling for Hillary has nothing to do with Bill. But it has everything to do with the things I saw about Hillary in that museum.

Like when Hillary went to Africa to speak about women’s rights and demanding that they be considered human rights. And that picture of her, in a relaxed moment, looking so real. And then there was New Hampshire. I know much has been said about Hillary’s “crying” moment. Which I think is ridiculous because she didn’t cry. But man, did she look human. I felt my heart go out to her, and worried about what the Republicans would say. I could just imagine her being picked apart for being an “emotional woman.” Hell, John Edwards has already commented on her fashion sense and Barack Obama unleashed that probably-harsher-than-he-intended line about how she’s “likeable enough.”

But in the lead-up to the New Hampshire primary, I finally got what I needed from Hillary—the old Hillary, the human Hillary. And I’ll admit, I am really happy that she won New Hampshire. Now, I’m not saying I’m about to go volunteer for her campaign, or donate, or even vote for her. But I’m definitely starting to fall in love with Hillary.

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* I wanted to link it here, but I can’t. However, if you go to the newsweek site, click on the Magazine Tab, and then “Browse recent issues”–go to the December 24th issue. Wow.

So, if you didn’t already know it, the Southeastern US is experiencing a drought. And here in North Carolina, it’s actually an “unprecedented drought” according to our lovely governor*. Which means that restaurants are doing things like not refilling your waterglass unless you specifically ask. I understand this, and it totally makes sense. What doesn’t make sense are the restaurants who have gone to using paper/disposable dishes and making customers buy bottled water instead of getting glasses of water. Oh yeah, cause that’s so much better for the environment.

After living in California and traveling in the Western US, I kind of scoff at East Coast drought. Yes, we should conserve, but we use water for crazy-stupid things here. Like the fact that people freak the fuck out if they can only water their lawns on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. REALLY? Luckily, my apartment complex is in the ghetto, and the owners have no qualms about dead, brown, grass, so I didn’t have to campaign against landscape watering in my neighborhood (businesses are not restricted in their landscape watering here).

I have been trying to limit my own water consumption, too. I already do a lot of stuff you’re supposed to do, like only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they’re full, turning off the water when I brush my teeth or when I’m soaping my hands, etc. But I take long showers. I always have. I can’t help it. Lately, I’ve started setting the kitchen timer while I’m in the shower. I’m under 10 minutes now, but I cannot seem to break the 7 minute barrier. And I’ve decided to forego shaving my legs, especially since it is getting cooler. But today, it was 85 degrees again, so I wore my capris and had to expose my legs in all their hairy glory. It’s kind of embarrassing. I called my parents and asked if I could have $300 for laser hair removal, in order to conserve water. I don’t know why, but they said no. Then I thought, if the governor offered subsidies for all women who got laser hair removal, that could save a TON of water! Think about it–it’s at least as environmentally friendly as driving a Prius, and they give subsidies for that!

So, ladies, get out there and call your Congressmen. And Congresswomen, though they shouldn’t be that hard to convince about this, really. And if your Congressperson is a Republican, use phrases like “dirty hairy hippie chick” to scare them into supporting this cause.

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*Of course, this is the same man who thought it would be a good idea to appoint Mike Nifong the DA of Durham, so can we really trust his judgement? Ok, Ok, so he’s got scientific and historical facts backing him up this time. I suppose I’ll play along, for now…

One of my favorite bloggers, K, participated in a meme where she was asked 5 questions, and then she had to come up with 5 questions for 10 people (that’s 5 individual sets). Though I was not in her original 10, K did ask me to put my money where my mouth is on one particular issue… My undying love for Bill Clinton. While my love is undying, the whole sexual attraction part tends to ebb and flow like the tides, wax and wane like the moon, switch erratically like the traffic light outside my office. So, I figured the best way to answer her question was to mention some of the key points in this affair, and rate them like a traffic light–red (no freakin’ way), yellow (proceed with caution, but probably yeah), green (gentleman, start your engine!).

October/November 1992. I was just a high school sophomore, but my parents had me involved in politics from a very young age. Though I couldn’t vote, I helped post signs for Clinton and some of my local candidates. We had to do group work in Civics class around this time, and I remember my classmate D. Miller remarking that obviously Bush was the superior candidate and that he had to support his fellow beer-named person. Unfortunately, as a high-schooler, I was terrible at snappy comebacks, or I would have pointed out that he was an idiot and that Busch the beer was spelled differently. (Maybe it’s not that snappy anyway.) I was also completely enthralled with the soon-to-be President because he was a band geek like me, and ohmigosh, wasn’t that picture of him with JFK at Boys’ Nation just about the most adorable thing ever? However, at this point, I was a ridiculously virginal 15 year old, and though I had done my 9th grade research paper on the suspicious death of Marilyn Monroe (I was a very dramatic child), it never even occurred to me that the President of the United States would (gasp!) have an extramarital affair. (And anyway, I was thinking more along the lines of wanting to be the first daughter at this point…) Verdict: Red.

October/November 1996. The second election, and the first time I was able to vote in a Presidential election. Though I was still ridiculously virginal for a 19-year-old, I was fully aware of the charisma, charm, and power the man possessed. Verdict: Yellow.

September/October 1998. As a senior in college, I became completely obsessed with El Presidente. I read every sordid news story, and even the entire Starr Report when it came out. I remarked to anyone who would listen that, if offered the chance to hook up with the Leader of the Free World, I wouldn’t tell on him. And in October, I attended a career fair at Georgetown for government and non-profit jobs. I knew that representatives from the White House Intern Program would be there, so I got myself all cuted up, and tracked down the table. It was surrounded by twiggy girls in extremely short skirts. I knew I had no chance, and left dejected. (In retrospect, I was just as twiggy and was wearing a short skirt myself… I just hadn’t learned to use my boobs to get what I wanted yet.) Verdict: GREEN!

February 2003. Clinton is scheduled to speak as a part of a lecture series at UT-Austin. I knew one of the students who was on the committee to bring him to campus. At past lectures, she had been able to get special “VIP” tickets to the event, and people with those tickets would get to meet the speaker afterward. She was going to try to get those tickets for me and a few friends. The night before the tickets were to go on sale, she let us know that the demand was so high that she couldn’t get us tickets. We’d have to stand in line at the Union and get them ourselves. They started giving out tickets at 8 a.m., so we planned to get in line at 5 a.m. We figured we’d be ridiculously early, and the tickets were general admission anyway. The Union was three blocks from my apartment. We walked one block before we reached the line. By 4 a.m., the line wrapped around the corner in front of my building. By 7 a.m., the staff of the Union had arrived and determined that there were more people standing in the freezing cold than could ever get tickets. They went ahead and started distributing them, and we got all the way to the door of the union before we were turned away. Luckily, less than 24 hours later, the university announced that they were moving the appearance to a larger venue–the Frank Erwin Center, which is the UT basketball stadium. This time, we were in line at 4 a.m., and the line was again longer than the available tickets by 7 a.m., but this time, I emerged from the Union around 7:15 with two tickets in my hot little hands. At this point, I knew he’d be amazing. I knew he’d be charismatic. I just didn’t fully grasp what that meant. Even though I had to sit in the Upper Mezzanine, he made me feel like I was the only person in the room. I sat on the edge of my seat the entire time, leaning forward–every inch was an inch closer to him. I left that night completely energized, with a plan to go to his school in Little Rock when it opened (a plan I still toy with every time I get bored with my job), and only half-joking that we should go over to his hotel (the Four Seasons) and wander the halls until we found Secret Service guys. If someone had volunteered to go with me, this whole post might be moot. Verdict: Green.

September 2004. The news reports that Clinton will have heart surgery. I am saddened by the news, because it makes him seem feeble and frail. His age, for once, seems to matter. And I am kinda grossed out by the thought of an old man kicking the bucket in the middle of such an act. Verdict: Red.

September 2006. My boy gets all extra-pissed at Chris Wallace on Fox News. He’s so angry! So strong! So virile! He’s back! Verdict: Green.

I have quite a few friends who have worked in DC and met Mr. President, either during his term or after. They say that you cannot imagine the force of his personality. You are completely taken in, and you feel like the only person in the room. They say they can see themselves in Monica’s situation, and would be unable to resist his charm. These girls are much less, oh, let’s call it “antsy” than I am, so if they say they’d do the deed if given the chance, I have to say that for me, the Verdict: Green.

Mr. President, if you’re out there reading this, call me. Seriously.

Last night, I went to bed totally depressed. At that point, George “Macacawitz” Allen was leading in Virginia, Lamont had been soundly defeated in Connecticut, and Larry Kissell here in North Carolina was trailing significantly. Oh and? My homestate approved a “definition of marriage” act by nearly 80%. UGH.

This morning, when my alarm went off (I always wake up to NPR), I started to get a little excited again, when I heard that the Allen race in Virginia and Tester’s race in Montana were too close to call, but that both Dems were leading. YAY! I don’t know that much about Jim Webb, honestly, but I’ve read enough about Jon Tester to know that he’s a good man, and cares deeply about this country. I hope it goes his way. In addition, Larry Kissell is only behind by a few hundred votes, and the absentee ballots haven’t been counted. At least there’s hope.

Also, I have to say that I am really proud of myself, because I did actually bring up the “Definition of Marriage” act with my mom and dad. I was really nervous, because I found out during graduate school that while my parents are die-hard Dems, I am WAY more progressive than they are. (This was a really rude awakening for me, and still makes me quiver whenever I talk politics with my parents.) So I had really no idea how they were planning to vote. Luckily, they were voting against it. Unluckily, there weren’t a lot of other people in South Carolina feeling the same way. Le Sigh.

I am really concerned, though. I see this “wave o’ Dems,” as the news keeps calling it, sweeping into the House, but at least a few of them are former Republicans, many still don’t support equal rights for teh gays, and several are anti-choice. We’re starting to turn the tide, but maybe in name only. What good is that?

Just a few more notes…

I will not discuss he who shall not be named (even though I have before) except to say that I am very proud of Bob Harris for standing up to the delusional nightmare that is “our” once and future Durham D.A.

I actually really feel sorry for Ted Haggert, and I thought this article was thoughtful and truthful and my feelings about that whole thing are well-articulated in it, so I won’t bother to catalog my own thoughts on it, for now…

So, my friend and I have been volunteering for the Recall Nifong–Vote Cheek campaign. Pretty much all we’ve been able to do so far is put up campaign signs around the community. (I say “all” but really, we’ve spent several hours doing it!) Anyway, we routinely drive by all our signs and call each other to say “The ones at Lakewood still look good.” or “The ones by Duke Street are missing.” Yesterday, on my way home from work, I noticed that someone from Nifong’s campaign had put up one of their campaign signs directly in front of one of ours. It was literally 1.5 feet in front of ours. It was so ridiculous and petty. I couldn’t even believe they had done it. When we went out to fix it (we moved our sign), I just had to take pictures and post them here.

Because this is just so indicative of the man himself–petty, ridiculous, and desperate.

 Nifong Sign 1

Nifong Sign 2

Nifong Sign 3

At least, I think that is what my enjoyment of this cartoon would say about me to the Neocons of the world… 

bomb comic

I am a minor Conspiracy Theory* enthusiast. (I’m pretty sure we actually landed on the moon, though I’ll admit a certain friend of mine has offered some information that has weakend my resolve in the past few years.  ie, a few years ago, I would have said “Of course we landed on the moon.  DUH!!)  But I really do believe that the big, bad terrorists take a great deal of pleasure in the idiocy they inspire in the TSA.

To give proper credit, this comes from here, which I got via BoingBoing.

*By the way, I cannot say or write these words without thinking of Mel Gibson trying to bite off Patrick Stewart’s nose.  But that is one fabulous movie, is it not?  Of course, this is back when we all thought Mel Gibson was acting crazy instead of actually being crazy.