Friday, November 23, 2012

What's Missing from Black Friday

What's missing from Black Friday shopping — the element that could turn this thing truly epic — is alcohol. Imagine guys walking the lines with trays strapped around their necks shouting, "Get your ice cold beer!" Awesome.

Paint It Black (Friday)

"But there was also something deeply disturbing at the sight of so many Americans waiting this week to get into stores that were already open. Black Friday’s metastasizing control over our popular culture is propelled by a poor economy and reminds us how millions of Americans have seen their incomes stagnate or fall over the past decade. We wouldn’t be so desperate to be first through those doors if stretching every dollar to its furthest possible extent didn’t mean so much, right?"Andrew Leonard

Friday, November 09, 2012

Barack Obama | It's not that you guys remind me of myself, it's that you're so much better than I was...

Inspiring or infuriating? Barack Obama with his predominately young Chicago campaign staff the day after his reelection. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

the poll that matters is in your neighborhood

Not sure where your polling place is located? National Polling Place Locator.

Have a problem at the poll? Report poll place issues at Election Protection or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE

Monday, November 05, 2012

Too Far to Turn Back Now | The Election of 2012

This time four years ago, Susan and I were in Pennsylvania with her dad and I was thumbing a final post on the 2008 election into my iPhone.
Today, Dale -- who, at 89, recalls vividly what happened when Americans were willing to employ the strength of our elected government for the common good in another time of economic and political crisis -- put it as clearly as anyone could. "If people like what George Bush has done the last eight years, they should vote for John McCain. If they don't like the last eight years, Obama is their man." 
I find no fault in that summary. Senator McCain isn't President Bush but I think he's too close for comfort. Beyond that, I hardly know who he is. Certainly not the Senator who had my grudging respect in the 90s. Senator McCain surrendered significant ground to the Bush Administration on the constitutional doctrine of habeas corpus and historic legal prohibitions prohibiting torture. Senator McCain's lack of curiosity and discernment about economics -- especially after his involvement in the costly Keating financial scandal is disheartening. And then there's the selection of Governor Palin, a choice in which I find no upside. 
I don't wish to demonize Senator McCain; I just don't think he's the right person to lead our government. 
I like Senator Obama on foreign affairs. I like him on the Constitution, on health care, on tax policy, on the economy (though I feel confident we're in for tough sledding in the economy no matter what). In short, I'm more confident in Senator Obama's worldview than Senator McCain's. Perfect? Of course not. But, as far as I'm concerned, much better. 
That's why I voted for Senator Obama in early balloting. It's why Dale will vote for Senator Obama at his polling place tomorrow.  
Don't be afraid. This way to the future.
Dale died last spring at age 92. He did not regret his vote for Barack Obama, and neither do I regret mine. 

I admit I didn't anticipate the self-destructive belligerence with which Republicans in the U.S. Congress resisted not just the President's policies but resisted him as a human being. I thought they were better women and men than that; better legislators; better citizens. My mistake. In fairness, not every Republican in the House and Senate misbehaved. But, sadly, most of those who did not won't be back in January, having retired or been turned out by their constituents in contentious primaries this year. 

Still, in the face of a stiff, foul wind, Mr. Obama led us across the threshold of (at least) four extraordinarily important cultural shifts. None of the four is complete; there is work to be done; but that work was begun because we elected Barack Obama president in 2008.

The Affordable Care Act ensures that tens of millions of us can be insured and will remain insurable. For the first time in our history (though certainly not the first time in the world) none of us needs to fear that our families will lose everything because one of us has lost his or her health.

Financial reform via the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act makes it harder for liars and thieves to rip off ordinary citizens and easier for us get justice should we fall prey to those who are crooked and greedy and false. This is to say nothing of keeping our economy on the Great Recession side of what was rapidly devolving into another Great Depression.

 By bringing the Iraq war to a conclusion, by winding down the war in Afghanistan, by the messy work of personal diplomacy and statecraft, and the canny deployment of Secretary of State Clinton, President Obama brought the U.S. back from the brink with our allies, adversaries and enemies. We are safer and better positioned in the world in 2012 than we were in 2008 (without descending farther down the path of torture, even if we haven't yet managed to remove congressional barriers to closing the compound at Guantanamo Bay and pursuing justice under the law, as we always have in our best moments as a nation).

Our national policies have in the last three years took a heartening turn toward human dignity and equal protection under the law via the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell. It's a start. (As a practical matter, the test of equal protection under the law is that by statute, code, regulation and enforcement, every one of us is treated as I want to be treated.)

We have crossed important thresholds in these domains, but we are by no means finished. What's been accomplished is incomplete and imperfect. There is so much to be done.

Meanwhile, the opposition fronted by Governor Romney is determined to push us back across those thresholds and seal the doors if they can.

I say they can't. I'm voting for President Obama in 2012 because he's leading in a direction I want us to go. Because, as he has been saying in the campaign, "We've come too far to turn back now."

Sunday, November 04, 2012

People Who Don't Think the President is a Muslim

From President Obama's remarks at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast:
"We can't leave our values at the door. If we leave our values at the door, we abandon much of the moral glue that has held our nation together for centuries, and allowed us to become somewhat more perfect a union. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Abraham Heschel -- the majority of great reformers in American history did their work not just because it was sound policy, or they had done good analysis, or understood how to exercise good politics, but because their faith and their values dictated it, and called for bold action -- sometimes in the face of indifference, sometimes in the face of resistance ...

And so when I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren't discriminating against those who are already sick, or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren't taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody. But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God's command to 'love thy neighbor as thyself.'"

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Lemony Snicket Offers His Endorsement in the U.S. Presidential Race

L. Snicket
At 90 Days, 90 Reasons, Lemony Snicket joins 89 other cultural figures to endorse Barack Obama for a second term as President of the United States. Mr. Snicket, offers Reason 12:


1. I don’t know where Osama bin Laden is. I just don’t spend that much time on it, to be honest with you.

2. I’m not concerned about the very poor.

3. I am only going to allow small bills—three pages. You’ll have time to read that one over the dinner table.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Mitt Romney + Good Faith

Mitt Romney by Gage skidmore
I try to project myself into the minds of presidential candidates; to understand where they're coming from, and why they want to lead us in one direction instead of another.

This is easier in some election cycles than others.

I haven't been able to understand where Governor Romney is coming from and I can't figure out where he wants to lead the United States other than not there (or more recently, there, yes, but with me in charge instead of President Obama). 

Sifting through what I've seen and heard the last two years, I've concluded that, as far as I can tell, Mr. Romney is telling the truth about his faith; about his desire to be a good Mormon with all that entails. 

But Mr. Romney has given me no reason to trust him on jobs and the economy; on foreign policy and the projection of military power; on taxes (his or mine and yours); on health care, on human rights, on transparency, truth-telling and trustworthiness; on saying what he means, or even meaning what he says.

If trusting Mr. Romney to be the best Mormon he can be is the crux of his campaign...that just doesn't do it for me.