Obama’s primetime “infomercial”

There were a lot of scathing remarks from the McCain/Palin camp about Obama’s half hour on television tonight. It was derided as an infomercial, a commercial. I watched with interest and was pleased to see that it told many stories of average Americans who will be affected by this election.

Obama simply, and eloquently, stated his positions and ideas. There was no slamming of the opponent, no sparring, no grandstanding. Why can’t ALL campaigning be like this?? I think we should suspend the debates and all campaign ads and rhetoric and just give the candidates time to talk, openly and honestly, about themselves and their platform. Instead of millions spent giving the same message in hundreds of cities, give the candidates big chunks of prime time to reach everyone at once! It was wonderful!

Even if I had not been an Obama supporter, I would stil have been impressed by the personal tone of the message and the sincerity with which it was delivered. It will, indeed, be a long six days! Every day my email is full of forwards, from Christian people I admire and respect, spouting hateful rhetoric about Obama. Obama the Muslim. Obama the terrorist. Obama the non-American. Obama the anti-Christ. It sickens me to read the hateful slander that has otherwise good, decent people believing an Obama presidency spells doom for America. Though I try to understand the base fears that allow them to be taken in by such evil propaganda, I am still saddened by their unwillingness to seek the truth behind it.  And yet, these are friends, acquaintences, neighbors…and so I quietly shudder and hit delete as the attacks grow stronger.  The election will soon be over and the desperate attacks will cease. Won’t they?

I am proud to be a part of a democracy, and I respect each person’s right to choose their own party and candidates. I am always willing to listen to opposing points of view, content and unshakable in my own views. This past 18 months has strained a lot of relationships over politics. Usually, it ends after the polls close and we go back to everyday life before the election. This time though, I worry that my deep disappointment in some of those “good, decent, Christian folks” will make it impossible to see them in quite the same way. No difference of opinion justifies the proliferation of hate I have seen in this campaign. I thought we had come so far from those old racially-charged days of mistrust. I hope that we can heal after the wounds inflicted this time around.

I know just the man to help mend the rifts and get us all working together. I watched his “infomercial” just tonight, and I was proud. Only 6 days to go.

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Time Warner and Channel 4 need to get together!

We are all creatures of habit and have our own favorite channels and programs. The way cable television is structured, we must buy a package of things we don’t like to get what we need (dish systems are the same). While I don’t purchase any premium movie channels, I do admit to buying “expanded” basic cable just to get one channel.

Yes, I’m a hopeless anglophile and love BBCAmerica! Many of our popular American shows are copies of successful British programs. I find things to watch on the BBC at all hours, so I justify the expenditure, but I could care less about the rest of the channels.

The expanded basic cable tier on Time Warner goes to channel 170. Does that mean I get 170 channels? Nope. Basis cable goes to 99 but there are lots of empty slots there as well. I understand that a pick and choose system of buying programs might not be profitable for the cable or satellite owners, but taking away our local channels hits below the belt.

Time Warner is giving out free antennas to get Channel 4. Duh! In our rural area, north of the Ridge Road escarpment and on the lake, antennas don’t get a signal, so we must rely on paid services. Besides, those antennas won’t work after February, as they’ve been informing us non-stop for the last year.

Out of 170 channel positions, I watch less than 20 channels. I would gladly give back every sports channel, shopping channel, music video channel and lots more just to get Channel 4 back! Admittedly a late night person, I am missing Letterman and my favorite Craig Ferguson at a time when political humor is at its best, and lord knows we need a laugh over this election! I miss CBS Sunday Morning and Channel 4 news (the only weekend fix for news junkies like me). It’s nice of our Canadian neighbors to broadcast the Bills game for fans in Niagara County, but I don’t watch any sports but the olympics.

I don’t know anything about the contracts between stations and servers, so I don’t know if the Lin Broadcasting demands are outrageous or not. All I know is, I am already paying way too much for too many channels I don’t want or watch, so if it costs a penny a day to get my local Channel 4 feed, take my $3.65 now and let’s get on with it!!!

To Lin Broadcasting- I resent being told in your waning days on the air to “switch to dish TV.” I do watch Channel 23 but would give up the ‘two-fer’ package just to get Channel 4 and the CBS feed back, if that’s what it takes. More is not necessarily better, as channel surfers well know. This whole fight is ludicrous and it’s the customers and loyal fans who are being hurt by it. Yeah, yeah, it’s only television and not the most important thing  in the world right now, but it is a big issue for many. For some people, TV is their only entertainment and escape. For the elderly and shut-ins it’s a window on the world and we don’t care about MTV, QVC or half of the channels you added to our feeding tube.

Can’t the sides put the consumer first, for once?? Everybody is hurting economically so we understand that business is tough, but greed is even harder to swallow. Both sides are leaving a bad taste in our mouths!

A Bazaar & Chinese Auction on a Friday Afternoon

Hey Moms, here’s a chance to shop, relax and try your luck while the kids are at school! Get ready for the Fall Bazaar and Chinese auction on November 7 at the Barker Fire Hall. The event is sponsored by the Barker Seniors and members and the public are invited to bring their crafts, collectibles, jams, jellies, baked goods, junktique items etc. We know there will be Rada cutlery and soy candles, gourmet candy, doggie treats, beds and pet supplies, crafts, stocking stuffer items and more to come. Get a jump on your holiday shopping! Refreshments will be available for sale.

            The bazaar runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and you can get a table by calling Cynthia Schultz at 795-3431. Vocalist Art Huntington will perform at 12 p.m. The auction drawing begins at 1:30 p.m. and winners need not be present. All auction proceeds go to the Care 2 Care food drive for our local food pantry and the public is invited to come for the afternoon to browse, buy and win. Auction donations are welcome.

Barker’s Veteran’s Dinner is coming up

Barker’s annual tribute to area veterans will be held on November 9 at the Barker Fire Hall, and veterans and families are urged to get their tickets early. Veterans from any service branch, in war or peacetime, are invited to sign up to attend. The doors open at 4:30 p.m. and there will be a buffet dinner by Donna Eick and staff of Divine Dining at 5 p.m. Following will be a tribute to veterans and music by local musicians, including the BCS Concert Choir and the “Vignettes,” Karen Corwin, Anne Leuer and Sue Rose. The evening’s surprise guest speaker will be a foreign-born person who was helped by our veterans and came here to become a service member and serve our veterans in return. Veterans eat free but must sign up and get a guest ticket. All others pay $7. Tickets are available at Thee Barker Store or by calling Wally Coates at 795-9948. Space is limited, so please get your tickets soon.

Box top Olympics winners announced!

The Box Tops for Education collection at Barker School has just been increased by 5,500 box tops equal to $550 in school supplies when redeemed! The PTSA Box Top Olympics contest ended with three winners; Gold went to Drew Reimherr (Mrs. Evans class), Silver  went to Melanie Sweeney (Mrs. Dissek’s class) and Bronze went to Luke Petti (Mrs. Weller’s class). Winners received pizza and wings certificates from PWT, as well as soda and movie rentals. There will be a new contest starting in November, so watch your products carefully and save those points. If you don’t have kids in school and want to contribute your box tops, contact me and I’ll tell you how.

Here is my original  post:

How many dimes are in your kitchen garbage can? There are hundreds of box tops and labels that are worth a dime- ten cents each- to our local school. The “Box Tops 4 Education” program started with box tops on cake mixes and cereal, but the program has spread to so many more products that everyone has got to buy at least a few of them.

 I challenge you to see how many you can find. Why? Because the PTSA at Barker’s Pratt Elementary and Middle School take the time to collect, sort and redeem them, getting all those dimes to use for supplies and equipment for our kids. Think they don’t add up? Since 2002, Barker has redeemed 44,520 box tops; that’s $4,452 for our kids! They collected 12,270 last year alone ($1,227) and I know we can do a lot better if we all pitch in.

Betty Crocker cake mixes, General Mills cereals, Hamburger Helper mixes, Betty Crocker potato mixes and snacks like Chex Mix all have Box Tops 4 Education. If you don’t use mixes or eat cereal, how about frozen vegetables by Green Giant or Totino’s Pizza Rolls? Healthy eaters will find them on Yoplait yogurt in the dairy case and the Fiber One line of products.

Don’t throw out those Huggie bags! Huggies diapers and pants count for box tops and so do personal care products from Poise and Kotex. One thing we all use is products from the paper aisle. Cottonelle, Scott, Kleenex and Viva all count for those dimes. Hefty bags and plate products do, too. Get yourself a box of big Ziploc bags (take off the box top points), open one up and start stuffing it! It may take a little effort to get into the habit, but you’ll discover how many of those little box tops were going into the trash!

Don’t have a child to send your Ziploc bag to school with? Drop it off at the Town Hall, Barker School or Thee Barker Store. You collect them and I’ll get someone will take them off your hands!

Go to www.boxtops4education.com and you can learn all about the program, get lots of coupons for box top products and chances to win more points for your favorite school! There’s a huge list of products and other ways to earn points. Did you know an order at Oriental Trading Company can earn a 4 percent rebate for the PTSA?  Order books and more to rack up points. Don’t want to bother with the internet? Just rip off those “Box Tops 4 Education” pieces off items you already buy and those dimes could add up to a lot of dollars! I’m looking for the person who collects the most for our Barker PTSA. Will it be you?

The ‘Palin’ look- only $4,716.49 a month!

Remember the hue and cry raised over John Edward’s $400 haircut? Well, for those of you who want that “just an ordinary hockey mom” look, it’s not as casual as it looks. It took nearly five thousand dollars to pretty Sarah up in September, and that’s only hair and makeup. The Republican National Committee shows a $130,000 shopping spree, financed by a campaign advisor, for the Palin family. I don’t begrudge them new duds but it does make Sarah not quite as in touch with the average person as she contends. There are no trips to WalMart or KMart on the list, don’t ya know. When was the last time the average voter spent $75K at Neiman Marcus and $40K at Saks Fifth Avenue (plus sizable chunks at Bloomingdales, Barney’s and Macy’s) all in one day??? Yeah, they really share our pain over the economy, don’t they???

The expenditures were listed on the R.N.C.’s monthly financial disclosure forms.

Those forms also documented $4,716.49 on hair and makeup in September, expenses that were not incurred in August.

On the campaign trail, Ms. Palin is always impeccably turned out, sometime changing jackets, high heels and hairstyles twice or three times a day.

When asked for comment, Alex Conant, a spokesman for the R.N.C., said only: “The R.N.C. does not discuss expenses as it relates to strategy.”

The full shopping list for Ms. Palin and her family, according to records of the Federal Election Commission, looks like this:

• $75,062.63 spent at Neiman Marcus on Sept. 10.

• $41,850.72 to Saks Fifth Avenue in New York on Sept. 10.

• $7,575.02 to Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis on Sept. 10.

• $5,102.71 to Bloomingdale’s in New York on Sept. 10.

• $789.72 to Barney’s New York on Sept. 10.

• Charges of $4,396.94 and $512.92 at Macy’s in Minneapolis on Sept. 10.

• $4,537.85 to Macy’s in Minneapolis on Sept. 22.

• $349.50 to Lord & Taylor in New York on Sept. 25.

• $4,902.08 to Atelier New York, a men’s clothing boutique, on Sept. 10.

• Two separate charges of $98 to Pacifier, a high-end baby store in Minneapolis, on Sept. 10 and Sept. 25.

• $98.50 to Steinlauf & Stoller, a sewing supply store, in New York on Sept. 25.

• $133 to the Gap in Minneapolis on Sept. 25.

The money for the clothing came out of the budget of the Republican National Committee’s co-ordinated campaign fund, not the McCain campaign, an an important legal distinction, said Kenneth Gross, a campaign finance expert at Skadden Arps in Washington.

Had the money come from the McCain campaign, it would be a conversion of campaign funds into personal use, which is prohibited. The same rule does not apply to money from party committees.

Check it out at http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/21/if-you-dont-look-good-we-dont-look-good/

A Haunting at the Palace!

If you like a good dose of spooky for Halloween, you’ll want to stop by Lockport’s Historic Palace Theatre next week for the “Haunted Palace.” There will be nine rooms of eerie delights to get your heart beating and your scream working! The thrills last from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on October 29th and 30th, and from 7 p.m. to midnight on Halloween!! Admission is only $5 per body…ANY body!