Obama wins second term!

See on Scoop.itIn and About the News

Elected on hope in a season of despair, President Obama won his first term by being the right guy at the right time. He won his second term making Mitt Romney the wrong guy.

Obama turned what could have been a stinging referendum on his economic stewardship into a pass-fail test on Romney’s character. A multi-million dollar media blitz casting aspersions on his extraordinary wealth and successful business career began weeks before Romney had even earned enough delegates to claim the nomination. In a campaign reminiscent of former President Bush’s takedown of John Kerry’s military record in 2004, Romney was not only stripped of his greatest asset in a race about how to stimulate economic growth, it became a liability.

“Obama won by thoroughly and completely trashing Mitt Romney and his reputation,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “It is the classic definition of winning ugly.”

But to exclusively blame the attacks from Obama and his super PAC allies for Romney’s defeat overlooks the Republican nominee’s own shortcomings. The smoothly coiffed, buttoned-down financier struggled to come across as a man of the people, a problem exacerbated by his vow to perpetuate tax breaks for the wealthy, several foot-in-mouth gaffes on the campaign trail, and a secretly recorded video of him at a tony fundraiser dismissing “47 percent” of Americans whom he said pay no income taxes and consider themselves “victims.”

The first African-American president also capitalized on an increasingly diverse electorate and used sophisticated turnout tools to make sure supporters, even casual ones, cast votes. “It’s like the demographic changes are making the old rules about unemployment sinking an incumbent obsolete,” said Democratic strategist Joe Trippi. “The Obama campaign knew they weren’t supposed to get re-elected, so they figured out who they needed to register to vote and turn out to change that.”

Again, Romney didn’t help himself amid the changing demographics, alienating the fast-growing Hispanic community by shaking an iron fist at illegal immigrants during the GOP primaries. He would have persevered over his more conservative but politically implausible Republican rivals, anyway — though as a Mormon who had spearheaded a government-led overhaul of health care as governor of Massachusetts, Romney was ill-suited to tap into the energy of the social conservative and tea party movements. He accepted the nomination as the least popular nominee from a major party in decades. Wrong guy, wrong time.

Romney badly misread the electorate, assuming the dragging economy would automatically turn voters against the president. Yet many still blamed the recession on former President Bush and were growing accustomed to incremental economic growth. It was a pitiable recovery, but a recovery nonetheless. Offering few details about his economic agenda, Romney didn’t look like a tempting alternative.

“The Romney team was convinced it was a time when likability was a secondary factor,” said Republican strategist John Brabender, who advised Romney’s one-time GOP rival, Rick Santorum. “They forgot they had to give people a reason to vote for Romney, not just against Obama.”

While Romney was still fending off Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, Obama was quietly opening campaign offices all over the country, re-launching his vaunted ground game from 2008. Then the Obama campaign went into overdrive; from the time Romney emerged as the likely nominee in April through most of September,

Obama outgunned him on television nearly three times over with predominantly negative ads, according to Kantar Media CMAG. Republican super PACs evened the score but didn’t control the damage. The Obama campaign and its allies branded the former chief executive of Bain Capital as a tax-dodging, job-outsourcing villain who would shred the safety net holding up the elderly and the poor.

Romney also blew silver-platter opportunities, fumbling through a high-profile trip overseas and allowing a cringe-worthy bit by Clint Eastwood to overshadow an otherwise carefully choreographed convention. In contrast, Obama made hay of his accomplishments, touting the auto bailout to overcome resistance from blue-collar workers and brandishing Osama bin Laden’s death to shore up his party’s traditional vulnerabilities on national security.

Democrats also drove wedges between Romney and two influential swing voting blocs – women and Hispanics – with ads attacking his positions on abortion and immigration. The ads suggesting Romney opposed birth control and abortion even in cases of rape and incest simply weren’t true, but he, not Obama, paid the bigger price.

It wasn’t until after the convention in September that Romney got serious about investing in Spanish-language advertising, and it wasn’t until the October debates that the self-described “severely conservative” candidate narrowed the gender gap by pitching himself as a political moderate. Then came Hurricane Sandy. In the pivotal homestretch, the focus moved off of Romney’s momentum and onto Obama’s role as commander-in-chief.

In the end, the damaged wreaked by the storm on the New Jersey shore was an apt metaphor for what Obama and his allies had done to Romney’s reputation.

See on www.theatlantic.com

Election day in a small town …

Our polling place is at the intersection of “Fair Street” and “Dead End.” No kidding.

We are, in some ways, a microcosm of the nation … yet we are also very different. We’re living in a liberal, highly educated and urbanized state, yet this is essentially a rural community. We express the commonalities of both urban and suburban communities. We are everyman and everywoman … and yet we are entirely different and unique.

We voted, as did most people in the United States — or so I fondly hope. The polls were busy, but the lines moved briskly and our wait was minimal, even on long lines.

Barack Obama was reelected. This is good news, but the election results are troubling. Troubling because the country is obviously so divided along traditional racial lines. The Old South is still voting white and white men are still voting for white men.

Troubling also because old, and I thought long-settled issues are still with us.

How come we’re still debating a woman’s right to have an abortion or have access to birth control? At what point are we finished with this? When are women, who are not actually the majority in this country,permanently free to choose what we do with our own bodies?

How did religion get so twisted up with politics? How did we let a religious fundamentalist minority become so  kingmakers in a country where freedom of religion, and separation of church and state are fundamental tenets of our nation? Why are we still fighting the civil war? How is it possible that so many people are so ill-informed about our Constitution and have never heard of the Articles of Confederation … how badly it failed … and their proposed “fixes” to today’s problems were historical disasters.

Around here, voting is a different experience than in more populous areas. First, and probably most important, Massachusetts is about as far from a battleground state as you could get. While there are no doubt die-hard Republican votes who went for Romney, he has been personally very unpopular in the Commonwealth since he abandoned Massachusetts to try to get an ambassadorship from Bush II.

Scott Brown’s signs dominate the area immediately in front of poll.

He was a bad governor. I’d like to think that the truth of this had something to do with his loss last night. He not only abandoned his office without completing his term, but he proceeded to badmouth  the people of Massachusetts, something that was universally resented across the state regardless of party.

One of the most interesting things I noticed when we voted was that there were plenty of signs for Scott Brown (R) and Elizabeth Warren (D) and signs for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, there were no signs at all for the Romney-Ryan ticket. Not a single one.

Obama and Warren, both democrats, at the intersection before the polling place.

Interestingly, not a single sign for any candidate indicated the party affiliation of that candidate.  The sign’s information included a website address and sometimes, the candidate’s email address … but not his or her party affiliation. Not even for Obama.  Okay, I’m reasonably sure that most or all of us know with which party the national candidates are associated, but for some of the local candidates, I was not sure whether they were Democrats or Republicans.

I didn’t notice this peculiarity until I downloaded the pictures. The absence of party affiliation on any signs for any candidate was suddenly glaringly obvious. I don’t know if this is normal. I don’t think so because I never noticed before. Does anyone know if this is usual or something different?

Democrat or Republican? I didn’t know for sure until I looked at the ballot!

Around here, quite a few local incumbents are running unopposed. Most of these are Democrats, but at least one was a Republican and a couple appeared to be unaffiliated. That’s a local anomaly perhaps more common in rural areas. If your representative is doing a good job, no one sees any reason to argue the point.

With the madness of the election over … will the virulence of partisan politics ebb and enable everyone to remember we are all Americans first and foremost?

If we can’t work together, we shall all hang separately. History has shown it time and again. Great empires have been destroyed by dissension within … it can and will happen here unless everyone calms down.

All the frothing at the mouth rage and rhetoric is doing no good for anyone. Unless we can let go of our hates and remember who we are and what we stand for,  I fear greatly for our future. We need to become one nation again. Under God or not, we neet to be a single nation, not a bunch of badly behaved children hitting each other with our shovels in the sandbox.

 

Win, Lose, or Draw it’s All Over Tomorrow Night

See on Scoop.itForty Two: Life and Other Important Things

The day before the election. In a few short hours Americans from all over the world will be voting. Polling stations will open and absentee ballots will be counted (remember George Bush). In the wee hours of the morning of the 7th, America and the world will see who the President will be for the next four years.

It’s like watching a genteel boxing match. In one corner you have Mitt Romney with his designer hair and “Hollywood Casting Director” presidential looks. In the other corner, we have the President himself. Barack Obama. Compared to Romney and his seemingly generic presidential lines, Obama looks like everyman.

But looks do not a president make. Romney may look the part, but thus far in his speeches he makes G W Bush look like Socrates. He is also a silver spoon rich kid who grew up to be a rich man. This rich man understands corporate mergers and profit margins.

America does not need someone whose main concern is the money they can get from their employees, sorry constituents.

Barack Obama grew up without a silver spoon and through intelligence, hard work and integrity became the president of the United States of America. He came into the office telling everyone that he would do everything he could to turn the country around. He told us that it would be hard and that it would take a long time.

He did not lie.

There are things that the current President has done that I do not agree with, but, he is still my president (well half of me claims him anyway, the other half loves the Queen) and I think he should be given the time to do what he promised.

I believe he will deliver.

But either way, tomorrow the poll stations will close and a winner will be chosen.

We can only hope that the Electoral College does not pick who they want, especially if it turns out to be Mitt Romney.

There will be those who do not like this brief post and to them I say, “That is okay. We are all entitled to opinions and mine do not have to match yours. I know that I have not “lived” under President Obama, but like the man who could not see the forest because he was too close to the trees, I feel that I can see so much from a distance that perhaps is missed by those living in America.”

However this election falls, we will all have a president to support and follow. Let’s do our best.

See on mikesfilmtalk.com

As I Went Down In The River To Pray

See on Scoop.itMovies From Mavens

As I Went Down In The River To Pray, Northern Ambassadors Choir and more … See on euzicasa.wordpress.com

Some wonderful music and  a great video clip from one of my favorite movies, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).

 

The man who saw the future …

WARNING: ALBERT EINSTEIN MAY NOT REALLY HAVE SAID THIS.  THIS IS HUMOR. PLEASE LAUGH.

Albert Einstein was a very smart guy. But could he see the future? It would seem he could. He said: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

 

 Appreciating art 

Chatting in a coffee shop

Conversation in the coffee shop

___

 A day at the beach

___

 Cheering for the team

___

On a date

___

 Sightseeing 

___

Albert Einstein was a very smart man and obviously could see the future.

A Sign of the times

I love that the sign doesn’t specify who should be impeached. It’s just “them.” Fill in your favorite politicians or party.

A sign of the times … somewhere in the Blackstone Valley.

Make Mine Maroon

I have come to dislike pink. It was never my favorite color. Too little girly for my taste and not a color that ever looked good on me. Very dark pink, hot pink is okay, but that rosebud pink always seems to suit other people, not me. Then, I had breast cancer. Since then, I am besieged by pink … not only the color, but an attitude.

I lost both breasts and got, in return, two nice fake breasts. Implants are not real breasts. They are vastly better than nothing, but they aren’t flesh. They have little or no sensation and I’m not sure how long it will be until they stop feeling like alien invaders.  The implants look fine under clothing but somehow aren’t me.

I am tired of being told my attitude is the critical issue rather than the disease. A lot of people seem to want me to be upbeat because if I’m happy, it makes them feel safer; these people do not want to hear if I am at sometimes besieged by feelings of sadness and loss. Considering the prevalence of breast cancer … of cancer in general … that’s sad. We really should have long since improved our ability to understand. But cancer scares the bejeezus out of everyone and no one wants to deal with that.

Walking around grim and full of impending doom is not necessarily a good choice, but each of us should be allowed to feel how we feel even if it’s bad. We’ve taken a major loss. Telling us we shouldn’t feel unhappy, that we should stay positive is unfair and infuriating. It ought to be acceptable to be fearful, worried, to mourn losses, to wonder “why me?” People complain about a lot less. They moan and complain about their bosses, their love life, their cars, traffic and the weather, but if I complain I had cancer … that’s not okay? Really?

Fake breastsI come from a family where cancer has taken a lot of lives. Getting it wasn’t exactly a bolt out of the blue. The closeness of these losses is not reassuring. It will be too late for me, but I’m sure there are many undiscovered genetic links to be found. They are evident in family histories, including mine. Eventually, these connections will be discovered and I hope research money is being spent on this type of genetic research. Being able to predict and prevent cancer would be much better than trying to make it go away.

I hate the “Pink” culture. I resent it. Glorifying breast cancer as if it were a kind of gift — which it isn’t — is unfair. Treating it as if it’s a “test” that if we pass, makes us heroines is equally ridiculous.

I am entitled to be pissed off. Frustrated with endless round of ill-health. I can’t afford denial. That’s a direct route to early death, or at least earlier than need be. Denying reality and pretending everything is fine when everything is NOT fine is unhealthy. No one with a serious illness can afford it. One way or the other, the problem is not my (or anyone’s) attitude, positive or otherwise. The problem is cancer.

Absolutely no evidence of any kind exists to confirm the widespread belief that a positive attitude results in a higher survival rate.

That’s a myth perpetuated by people who are threatened by your cancer. If you have a positive attitude, maybe it means that the boogie man won’t get them.

Reality bites. Cancer is sinister and sneaky. It profoundly changes your life, even if it doesn’t kill you. It casts a long shadow under which you will always live.

I resent sappy postings on Facebook telling me that all cancer patients care about is living another day, that we have abjured selfish desires like money. Really? Personally, I would be delighted to get an infusion of money. I’d love to have a new car. Pay down the mortgage. Fix the driveway. So, please feel free to send your checks. Cash, personal checks and money orders are all accepted and if you want information for direct transfer into my account, I’m sure we can work it out. No donation is too small. Please encourage friends and family to donate too. Unlike regular charities, I promise to send you a personalized thank you note.

Cancer is a financial disaster for many, if not most people. Depending on what insurance you have and where you live, it can deplete your resources and leave you with nothing. It’s part of why maintaining that smiling face everyone wants to see can be so hard. Bad enough you’re sick. Bad enough they’re removing body parts. But you’re also broke and may never recover.

I remind myself that all of us are here on a temporary guest permit, that no one gets out of this world alive. Any one of us could be felled by a speeding car or hit by a meteor. No one gets a guarantee. Cancer adds another layer, a ticking clock you hear inside your head. You know that the odds of  getting cancer again are high, even if your surgery went perfectly and everything looks clean. As one of my more realistic oncologists said: “It just take one cell. Just one.”

One single undetectable cell finding a compatible place to land and grow is all it takes. You won’t find it until it’s big enough to produce symptoms. If the original organ(s) has been removed, the cell will have to find a new home in a different organ and no one can predict where that might be. Or how long in the future it may become large enough to notice. It could be a long time, long enough to give you a full life … and it could have already started somewhere and you just don’t know. Not knowing, wondering, alternating ups and down of hope and fear are damaging to your mental health and esprit de corps.

You want to be fine, you plan to be fine yet you find yourself always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

A positive attitude will not alter the course of the disease in any way, though it will make you more fun to have around. Pretending to be positive makes others less afraid. It will make your family and friends feel better. To some degree, we do it because what’s the point of spreading gloom? If it doesn’t help you, maybe will help them. The “acquaintances” and other people who impose the obligation to smile regardless of your real feelings are not concerned with your welfare. Most of them could care less how you feel. They just  don’t want to deal with your pain or the threat you represent to their peace of mind. They want you to be okay so they can feel okay.

The culture of positivity that has developed around a bad and painful experience is phony and unfair. Living a lie is not solving any problems. Forcing women to smile when they want to scream is an old, old story: we’ve been doing it for centuries. It’s another version of the Happy Face … housewives with fake smiles taking care of everything while no one considers how they feel. It’s the 1950s redux.

The offensive pink trash bin.

I do not buy into it .

There a reason you can never get a straight answer from an oncologist. Ask them if taking tamoxifen or whatever nasty concoction they are giving you will improve your long-term survival and they will quote statistics. You know and they know a statistic is a numerical average built on a volume of data. It has nothing to do with you as an individual, nor with your history, or genetic package.

When big bright pink trash bins imprinted with that infernal pink ribbon began showing up around town, I blew a small gasket. PINK TRASH BINS? We are celebrating breast cancer with trash bins? You’re kidding, right?

I understand people think they are doing the right thing by telling you how lucky you are to have “caught it in time,” to be alive. Not dying isn’t lucky. If I were lucky, I would still have breasts. Not getting cancer would be lucky. Mostly, just be nice. Unless you’ve been there, you don’t get to offer advice. If you’ve been there, you can share. Otherwise, say something polite, then shut up.

Surviving is grueling and exhausting. We get tired, we have good days and bad. If we are suffering, we want commiseration. If we aren’t in physical distress, laughter is a great medicine. I don’t need friends to tell me not to worry — I know I shouldn’t and we all know I will — but humor is the best gift you can give. It’s free, too. I love to laugh. On the other hand, if this is one of those days during which I want to bitch at the unfairness of life, that should be okay. Friends don’t tell friends how to feel. Cancer is scary: if I have to cope with it, so do you.

If you want my address to send your check or money order, let me know!

Here’s a link that might help give perspective and maybe give someone a chuckle, too. Laughter is good for the soul. It isn’t going to cure anything, but it feels so good!