Wednesday, October 31, 2012

6 Days to the Election

We are in the final run to election day and no one can say who might win. According to all the polls (Gallup, Pugh, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, etc.), it's a dead heat between the two presidential candidates.

I like the poll with Hallowe'en costume shops. On October 24th, Spirit Halloween stores stated that, according to their records, the candidate who sold the most masks before Halloween in an election year won the election.

In 1996, Clinton outsold Dole 71% to 29%, and as we all know, Clinton won. In 2000, Bush 2 beat Gore 57% to 43% and, in his re-election bid in 2004, Bush 2 once again outsold his opponent, Kerry, 65% to 35%.

In 2008, McCain's mask didn't do too hot. His mask accounted for 40%, leaving Obama to sweep it up with 60% of the sales. And, if mask sales are any indicator, Obama will take it away again in 2012. As of October 24th, it was Obama 65% and Romney 35%.

Now, THAAAT'S my kind of poll research!

Friday, October 26, 2012

11 Days to the Election

  A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality. 

    ― Winston Churchill

I got into a bit of an argument on Facebook today. It started with the Sun-Sentinel endorsing Romney. In the course of 'arguing my case' with hard-headed Republicans, it occurred to me that regardless of who gets elected, the economy will recover. It's all the other stuff I'm worried about. 
As much as I want my brother to find a job after three years of unemployment and his impending eviction from his apartment ... after watching my granddaughter struggle to work full time and go to school ... seeing my daughter, college degree in hand, struggle with the student loan debt she acquired ... these things make me realize that it really doesn't matter who gets elected anymore. The economy will recover. The rich will get richer. And, unless one of us invents something akin to sliced bread, my family will forever be middle class. Which is okay with me. I'm only going to be around another thirty or forty years. But my kids? I'm not so optimistic for their futures.

I'm bummed out today. This whole election thing has me going around in circles. We've had stormy weather and now this. So, here's a cute kitten picture to make me and you feel better.

There's always tomorrow, right?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

12 Days to the Election: Political Ads & A Story

They are everywhere. On the television at home. 
America Deserves Better (Romney)
On the radio in the car. 
On the internet at work.
Political ads are everywhere.

Don't the marketing geniuses that put this stuff together (while making a slough of money!) realize that most of us know the stuff they keep saying over and over and over? Jeez.

I want fresh information. I want to know what I don't know about the candidates. And, I have been actively seeking such information. To my surprise, I found a story in my own neighborhood.

I have a new neighbor who is renting a house in my neck of the woods since early summer. He retired to sunny south Florida from the Boston area and is looking forward to his first winter here, minus the snow and cold. And, he shared a "Romney story" with me.  One I had never heard before.

This lovely man, who I will call "Henry," lived and worked in Boston his entire adult life and remembers the stories about Romney orchestrating the purchase of land for the Mormon church in a small community outside of Boston.  Belmont, according to my neighbor's recollection, was a community of upper middle class residents who liked the quiet and peaceful life they had outside of the booming city of Boston. The Mormons infiltrated the community by purchasing homes and, over a few years, succeeded in assembling a stockpile of land. It seems residents were not aware of this for several years because the Mormons operated quietly, not doing anything to attract attention to themselves.

At some point in the early 1990s, the Mormons decided they wanted to build a church in Belmont. At the top of a beautiful hill, according to Henry.  When the non-Mormon residents (many of whom had lived there for more than 20 years, he says) learned of this, they attended city council meetings to protest to their elected officials that building a church in that spot would change the character of their neighborhood and their way of life.  Those opposing construction of the church would learn that the city commission was not on their side. Somehow, the Mormons had managed to assemble the parcels of property necessary to build their church and, even a lawsuit wouldn't stop it. And, according to Henry, Mitt Romney was at the lead of this "business venture" on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. The same Mitt Romney that is running for President of these United States.

The January 2, 2000, Associated Press news story begins: "BOSTON — The 69,000-square-foot Mormon temple sits atop a hill, dominating the upscale residential neighborhood of single-family homes in suburban Boston. When complete, it will draw crowds of Mormons from all over the northeast and Canada for baptisms, marriages and other ceremonial events." To which I responded, "Oh. My."

Upon researching Henry's story (which I had never heard about before our conversation), I learned that the Mormon church is eager to build churches all over the world and Mitt Romney has been helpful to them in that regard. They're building one near my workplace as I write these words. So, I found myself imagining how it might be to have them infiltrate MY neighborhood the way they did the Belmont community ... and, I thought about how that would make me feel. I've lived in my home for 25 years. It's a quiet neighborhood, off the beaten path, tucked away from all the hullabaloo of tourists, a little piece of "old Florida." I cherish the peace and quiet and lack of traffic. And, I would be heartsick if that happened in my neighborhood, so I suspect that is how many Belmont residents felt back then.

Today, I ask myself and you: Is this who we want to run our country? I think some of you will say "yes." I hope most of you say "no." In 12 more days, we'll all be forced to make that choice.

Some of my references:

NY Times 10/16/2011- Romney, a role of faith and authority

Boston Massachusetts Temple, 100th operating temple

Mormon News' Coverage of the Boston Temple Challenges

Thirteen Days to the Election

All I had time to do was type this and the title.
Life does, indeed, get in the way of political ambition.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

14 Days to the Presidential Election

I am such a slouch here on my blog. Oh, yes. I have the best intentions. Intending to write once a week. Then, when too many weeks go by, I tell myself I'll write once a month.

Yeah. Right.

So, with 14 days until Election Day, I'm going to try a little exercise. I am going to attempt to write a comment each day until the day AFTER election day.

Today's comment has to do with last night's Presidential Debate. It was held here in Florida and I managed to stay awake for the first 45 minutes, napping, and awaking in time to catch the last 20 minutes.

I slept through the first debate, just like President Obama said he did. (You're supposed to smile at this.)  The second debate, I watched intently, thanks to a late cup of coffee. Yes, folks! Caffeine works! And, it was something akin to a good football game. You had to keep your eyes on the players!

This third debate was different. First of all, it was moderated by my favorite Sunday morning political talk show host, Bob Schieffer. The man has more journalistic integrity in his little finger than any other reporter I know. (Except maybe, Scott Pelley.) Second, the President and the Governor were seated; not wandering all over the stage. I found the Town Hall Forum a little disconcerting because of that. It was like watching two bullies in a school yard playing "King on the Mountain." And, finally, our two debaters were now seasoned. They'd done this. They knew it was an even playing field.

Except for one thing. Obama knows from his experiences as President what's REALLY going on with foreign relations. He's been in the "situation room." He's ordered bombings and shootings. He knows how it feels. He knows how it goes down. And, personally, I'd much rather have a leader who's done it before. There's something to be said for experience.

The thing that I found most exasperating was when Romney wouldn't answer the question. Any high school debater can tell you that FIRST you answer the question, THEN you provide support for your answer. He didn't do that. A lot. So, Romney got demerits on my debate scorecard. Charm will only get you so far in a debate. I thought President Obama did well in answering in a way that regular folks (like me) can understand. He didn't "dumb it down" as some have accused him of doing. He took some tips from Bill Clinton and made his answers understandable.

Some say it was a draw. I say Obama won. But, not by a landslide. So, now ... here we are ... 14 days before the election and we have to prepare to make our choice. Too bad we can't have them both. Obama for his community activism spirit; and, Romney for his business acumen. I believe our economy would recover by Valentine's Day if that were the White House team!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stealing Words

Watching "Sunday Morning" and a story about plagiarism ... It reminded me of 1991 when I took the College Level Academic Skills Test (CLAST) and was required to "retake" the writing portion because I had obtained a perfect score and they suspected plagiarism. I had written about someone I knew who had suffered great personal loss.

My original score was later restored following the "retake" when it became clear that I could actually write. Back then, there were no computer programs to scan and compare my work to the work of other writers, so hard proof was essential to a fair decision.

I was never worried.
But today? That's a different story ...