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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Politics of Desperation

Mitt Romney

I've been away from the constant barrage of political garbage for about a week, but now I'm starting to put my toe in the water to see if it's OK to go back in. Hurricane Sandy has taken a lot of the luster out of the presidential election, as it should. We're still going to have an election next Tuesday, whether we like it or not. Hopefully, we come up with a clear winner Tuesday night, so we can go onto solving the problems that have been ignored.

We normally give politicians a little latitude because we know their limitations and their tendency to exaggerate. I had already given up on Romney’s  tax plan that didn't add up but now Mitt Romney is running an ad in Toledo, Ohio, where they make the jeeps in question, saying that Obama bailed out Chrysler, and they repaid us with plans of moving their entire operation to China. Forget politics; just think what that does to the worker's morale. Mitt Romney knows that story came from a blogger with no credibility whatsoever. It's not only the ad which may be out of Romney’s control  but it’s the lie Mitt is repeating in Ohio. Politifact gave him four Pinocchio's for the outrageous claim but Mitt Romney has doubled and tripled down since then, knowing some unsuspecting voters might not notice the lie. This morning, MSNBC's political consultant Mark Halperin tried to make excuses for Mitt by saying that Chrysler will build some jeeps in China. For example, let's say China agrees to buy 10,000 jeeps if Chrysler builds 3000 of them in China. That doesn't leave Mitt Romney off the hook because he said Chrysler would move the whole jeep operation to China. In that example, the 3000 jeeps built in China is part of a contract negotiation and it doesn't mean that those 3000 jeeps ever had a chance of being built in the United States.

It's normal for a sitting president and a governor of a stricken state to coordinate FEMA's efforts to bring relief to the citizens of those states as quick as possible. The governor normally accompanies the president when he takes to the air to see the damage, so they can show him why he needs some resources and where. The president has the ability to cut through red tape and eliminate some of the normal power plays between the federal agency and the state officials.

The Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, praised President Obama for his leadership and corporation during his state's initial attempts to recover from the storm. I didn't think much of it but apparently the political pundits did. Charles Krauthammer said Christie's words were equivalent to $200 million of campaign funds. One of the stupidest remarks I've ever heard came from one of the stupidest hosts I've ever seen, Fox and Friends, Steve Doocy." Mr. Doocy asked Governor Christi this question " Over the last couple of months, you have appeared throughout the country, Governor, on behalf of Mitt Romney… (W)e hear that perhaps Mr. Romney may do some storm-related events. Is there any possibility that Gov. Romney may go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?" Only to be slammed dunked in shame by Christie when he said, " I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics and I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power. I’ve got devastation on the shore. I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me."

As far as I can see, the political landscape hasn't changed much, the race may be getting a little tighter, but it's still about Ohio.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When is the right time to evacuate?

I don't think you'll ever get a definite answer to the question “when is it proper to evacuate?" I believe if we were in the direct path of a category five hurricanes; well, over 97% of us would be on a road out of Victoria. I used the 97% figure because that's how many people evacuated from Atlantic City, New Jersey, before the arrival of Sandy.

I remember sitting around the break room talking with everyone about their upcoming hurricane plans. Some of our part-time rancher/farmers said they had to stay to take care of their livestock before, and after a storm. Others wanted to ride it out, so they could get a heads-up on returning things to normalcy as quick as possible after the storm. Our resident bay rats (fellow coworkers from Seadrift and Pt. Lavaca) used to mock us for making hotel reservations while the hurricane was still three days out.

Long time Victoria residents usually consider themselves hurricane veterans. We were the ones telling the transplanted Texans the ins and outs of hurricane preparedness. I remember back in the 80s, an engineer from Missouri, making as all laugh because he brought out a pretty impressive colored map with the precise coordinates of when, and where the hurricane(still a couple of days out) would make landfall. We all reminded him that Hurricane Alicea was supposed to hit Pt. Comfort, and the Houston weather stations were keeping us informed; that is until the storm change directions and headed for them and Galveston. Things have changed because today landfall can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy.

I can remember riding out hurricanes like Carla, Beulah, and Celia (two of them; I didn't have much choice) but if anything resembles a category four heading our way; we're heading in the opposite direction or out of range. I'll take the kidding that I received from a neighbor because we fled to Port Isabel to get away from Rita. I remember getting back in town and seeing it was just like we left it, but before I could pull into the driveway, my neighbor let me know that we didn't get a drop of rain. I told him to go back inside and eat his sardines and crackers and other perishables that he stored up for the storm.

It still gives me the shivers when a governor tells those who decide to ride out a hurricane that first responders will not come to their rescue during the storm. I can understand the seriousness of the order, but I've seen many cases where heroes helped the stubborn anyway. Then there are some people who will hunker down each and every time and would never think of evacuating.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Looking for a cat on a Saturday night

Our hearts started racing when we received a cell phone call at 11:15PM Saturday night. The phone call was from our frantic daughter wanting to know if we had extra flashlights because their house cat ran outside and could not be found. We said that we would be right there because we knew we couldn't consciously go to sleep knowing that our daughter could use some help, no matter how old she was.

When we got there, we just turned on our flashlight and joined in the chorus of " here kitty, kitty" and it didn't really matter if the seven-year-old female tabby cat had a given name. I went through unmowed fields that I wouldn't go through in the daytime and shined my flashlight under parked cars and in people's driveways not realizing that I could get unwanted attention from the neighbors and the police. So much for the neighborhood watch, because we didn't get as much as one porch light being turned on but we did disturb the family dogs. You know those dogs will keep barking several minutes after you've left.

As I was walking, I kept convincing myself that the house cat was probably scared and close to the house, so I followed my instincts and shined my flashlight on the big tree on the side of the house. I immediately got the reflection of those huge green eyes and shouted “I found her."

After summoning my daughter, I told her to walk slowly toward the cat because it was scared, and she took my advice. She thought that she had the situation well in hand but then her scared cat let out a yowl, scratched her and ran for safety but stayed, close to the house. I then decided that we should open the front door, surround her from several feet away and start walking towards her. It worked. The cat ran into the house. I got the big hero's hug (you never get too old for that) for doing something that dads do; we make stuff up and when it works; we shamelessly take credit for it.... :-)

The next morning as I was reading my paper and drinking my coffee, our 13-year-old tabby, jumped up into the recliner causing me to spill a little of my coffee. I thought about scolding her, but she was just seeking warmth, and at least I knew where she was.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What’s in your wallet?


In the words of Oscar Wilde "We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities." In my working days, I used to be known as the gadget man. My coworkers couldn’t  wait until I bought the newest gadget and then they would make an offer to buy the gadget that  I had replaced. That was before EBay, but I would have never needed their services anyway, because I always had willing buyers.

I guess that I started with a daily planner/calculator, moved up to the Tandy 100, then the personal computer, from there to the Palm Pilot and finally to the iPhone and iPad. I have this uncontrollable desire to have information at my fingertips at all times. I'm not that fond of the words “I have no idea." I don't carry my Medicare or Social Security cards in my wallet, but I do have a picture of those cards on my phone. My whole medical, personal, and financial information is on my iPhone. My skeptic brother-in-law asked me the obvious question" what if you lose your phone?" I then replied" I still have the originals at home, and I have an app on my wife's iPhone and on my iPad called” Find Me'" which will give the addresses of the current position of the lost device; if I believe someone has stolen it, I have an option to delete the phone's data. I don't have to worry about re inputting all that info into a new phone because it's all backed up on iTunes.

I'm not constantly on my iPhone or my iPad, even though one or, both are always with me. For example, I know my doctor has a lot of patients, so I make good use of my 15 minutes by accurately answering his questions from the information I've cataloged on my iPhone. It may be my monthly glucose readings averages, blood-pressure readings, and copies of my last blood tests  which are stored on my iPhone. I even let him know when it's time for my yearly eye checkup and flu shot. I guess I could've written all that down, but then it would be hard for me to justify having an iPhone...:-)

The smart phone has replaced the land line, phone books, standard books,  the stand alone camera, voice recorder,GPS,planners,address books, pen and paper, photo albums, and in some cases fax machines, computers, and television. The owner of Newsweek thinks that 70 million people will own tables by the end of next year, so they will no longer publish their printed magazine. I've been reading the magazine on my iPad for a long time because of the convenience. I've been told that newsstands are hard to find in the larger cities,  because they are going the way of the old phone booths.

I carry my 16" Targus case (my wife jokingly calls it my purse) just about everywhere I go because I never know when I'm going to going to need a utility knife, small flashlight, recorder pen and pad, or my iPad or iPhone. Although I was never in the Cub or Boys scouts, I've always liked their motto" Be prepared."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Burnt Out

The other day I received an e-mail suggesting that a lot of us are burnt out. I accepted that for most people, but I'm a political junkie, who's always craving for more, so I thought I was above that. This morning, I just turned off the television, got on my bicycle went on a long ride because I got my fill of pundits telling me, "today's poll shows Romney ahead in this poll but Obama is ahead in early voting in the exact same poll. "

It's sad that our presidential election results comes down to about 113 counties and six states. We are so polarized and entrenched in our beliefs. It's sad how someone can make a fool of himself on a national stage like Governor Rick Perry did, go out and stump for Mitt Romney in Colorado and only manage to attract 60 people, but he still might be our next governor. I know it used to happen in the south all the time, but we now live in the days of Google where we can do some instant fact checking. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.

We now live in an era where marketing trumps the truth and if Mitt Romney wins using this method, it will be the standard bearer for all political campaigns in the future. The Romney campaign brushed aside the fact checkers early in the campaign, and it worked. Mitt Romney did a complete makeover for the first debate, and it worked because it threw the president completely off his game. We now have a virtual tie with the same President Obama competing with a different Mitt Romney than the one who won the GOP nomination. This is a gentler kinder Mitt Romney (in the last 3 weeks) who doesn't scare the soccer moms and says he will work with the opposition, although when he had a chance to do that as governor, he vetoed over 800 bills. It's the same Mitt Romney who constantly whined about the president attacking him in the third debate, as if he didn't stoop to that in the first and second debate.

The debates have come down to, who can say the memorable lines that will be talked about tomorrow and looking presidential; whatever that means. I can't believe that I sat there nervously saying, " please don't go all Ninja on him, President Obama" in one segment and in another I'm saying, " are you just going to sit there and let him get away with that?" The pundits have it right, it’s reality TV. That's too bad because global warming was not mentioned, the poor were mentioned only as an afterthought about food stamps, and competing thoughts about our education system was not discussed. Both candidates gave lip service to the latter and Mitt said he loved teachers, but it was more in the abstract. The president praised his "Race to the Top" effort, but we won't see the results for another other 10 years or so.

It's funny how I initially stayed away from Twitter because of the limited 140 characters, but I now prefer that media because it gives me back responses in real time. You get away from the “cut and paste" crowd but still have the ability to back up your statements with a link. Yes, I have to sort through a lot of tweets before I get to a good one, but it's usually worth the effort. I like having my smart phone nearby as I watch the debates because I can pull up Twitter, and someone has done all the fact checking for me. The best part about Twitter is that you don’t have to argue with nitwits who don’t know the basics of democracy, civics or economics. They still think a single person can lead our nation into socialism just because of their literal interpretation of the “general welfare clause “of our constitution.

In the next 13 days, I'm either going to quit blogging altogether, take a long exodus, or blog about something else other than politics; regardless of the election results. I successfully transitioned away from the VA forum without any lingering regrets, and I suspect walking away from a personal blog won't be that difficult. This is not a surprise to the people I have constant contact with via email because I made a decision way back in January, but then it was about quitting the VA forum and concentrating on a personal blog.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Final Debate

Tonight's final debate is supposed to be about foreign policy, but it wouldn't surprise me if Mitt Romney pivots to the economy as many times as he can. The incumbent always has the distinct advantage over his opponent when it comes to foreign policy. Mitt Romney is briefed on security matters, but he does not have privy to all the information a sitting president has.

I'm pretty sure the Benghazi incident will be revisited, but the New York Times story has brought Iran back into the spotlight. According to the story, it seems that Iran now wants to have a one- on- one discussion but the administration, and the Iranian representative denies the contents of that story. I believe the New York Times story because Iran has seen the value of its money drop 40% in the last two weeks, because of the economic sanctions. The Republicans are saying that the president should have done this long time ago when he had to be pushed by Congress before taking any action. That's certainly not true because it took a while to convince Europe and Russia to go along with the sanctions because it was against their economic interest. Dan Senor, a Romney foreign policy consultant, said the president should have backed the Green Revolution, and we would be in a stronger position than we are in today but that's coming from someone who advised President Bush to invade Iraq. Dan Senor insinuated that we should run any negotiations through Israel first, as if we are a subsidiary of Israel. I still think that we've been having back channel talks where both parties have walked away from the table but now the consequences of the tough sanctions have given us an upper hand in the negotiations.

Mitt Romney has criticized the president for not an arming the Syrian rebels, but if I were the moderator of tonight's debate, I would ask how far Romney would go. Would he establish a no-fly zone? Syria is located on the border of Iraq and Lebanon; could Romney ensure us that Islamic extremist would not get the arms intended for the Syrian rebels?

Mitt Romney said on day one, he would call out China for being a currency manipulator as all presidential candidates have in the past. China will have new government leaders pretty soon; and they will ask Romney if he's ready for a global trade war. As Jon Huntsman correctly pointed out; bellicose doesn't work with China.

Chris Wallace and Fox News must think that all intelligence reports go through them, before it goes to the president. I thought Chris Wallace, Britt Hume, and Senator Lindsey Graham's version of what happened in Benghazi is just pure partisan politics. They never mentioned, the Libyans, who helped us doing that tragedy nor the thousands who held signs condemning the actions of a few Islamic terrorists. They barely mentioned that the request for more security was for Tripoli not Benghazi. There're too many questions left unanswered, but they want their answers before the election.

It's funny how Mitt Romney and President Obama are right where this election started at 47% for each. The Democrats and Republicans are in their partisan corners waiting for the undecided to make up their minds. We now know that 2/3 of uncommitted are women. Mitt Romney has to win Ohio but if President Obama wins Ohio and Wisconsin and Nevada; he will be the 45th president of the United States.

I went down to cast my vote today, and the person next to me showed his driver's license but the poll worker informed him that it was not required. The man (a republican I presume) went on and on saying they should be required. I was going to refuse to show my driver's license if asked because I had my yellow voter-registration card. It didn't take me but a couple of minutes to vote straight party, verify, and push my selection with my stylus.

Go vote.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Finally…I Get It

I finally put the pieces together, and I now think I know why the right thinks the Benghazi incident is a political winner for them. It's not that unusual for the opposition party not trusting the White House but this time, they are trying to lay out a narrative of deception for political gain.

The Republican legislators have sided with the president on foreign policy matters when he stuck to the methods used by the previous administration. President Obama deviated from the Bush doctrine when he decided to enforce the Status of Forces Agreement that was signed by President Bush to exit Iraq. He again angered the right when he decided that the United States was not going to intervene in Libya alone. The president's team initiated the bombing of Libya but then quickly turned over the combat operations to the League of Arab Nations and Europe. We still supported the effort with our sophisticated radar systems and logistics. At the same time, the president was getting credit for killing Al Qaeda leaders and dismantling their operations. The neocon wing of the Republican Party never warmed up to Obama because they thought that he should've done more when the Iranian people started protesting. They won't tell you that the leader of that protest now supports a nuclear Iran.

The president's campaign rhetoric of “Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive" alienated the opposition so much that they were looking for ways to give him little or no credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden. Last month, the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi left the administration open for legitimate criticism on foreign policy. There's no question that the communication effort by the administration left a lot to be desired. The Republicans are trying to say that the administration did not want to say it was an al Qaeda operation because that would show al Qaeda has resurfaced and not on the run as the administration has said. There's an obscure boundary in saying that elements of Al Qaeda are still out there and saying that, realistically we must accept  that we will never be completely safe. A couple of days ago the FBI caught a terrorist who wanted to blow up the Federal Reserve. The Republicans are even more frustrated because the investigation probably won't come to any conclusion until after the election. That reminds me of the 2004 election, but the shoe was on the other foot.

I can understand why Mitt Romney introduced his 20% cut across the board tax plan in the primaries, but I don't understand why he's sticking with it. The 20% tax cut across the board, like Herman Cain's 9-9-9, is the shiny object voters cling to. Everyone wants a simple tax plan that fits their definition of tax fairness. It's too late for Mitt Romney to abandon his tax plan, so he's hoping that the media and voters don't realize that his plan is mathematically impossible. He wants to run out the clock knowing that his party just wants to win. You will see his campaign change the subject when a question is asked about the details of the plan or his stance on controversial issues.

The polls are all over the map; if you don't like the results of one poll, it's not that hard to find one that's more favorable. This morning Lawrence O'Donnell said the same-old people are being questioned because in the days of caller ID, "who answers unsolicited calls?” Even an avid poll watcher like me is starting to become a skeptic. Joe Scarborough said no one believes the Gallop Poll, which has Mitt Romney ahead by seven points. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell agreed and said that some polls had Mitt Romney within the margin of error in Pennsylvania, but the campaign long pulled their ads knowing that Obama will win that state.

It's funny how  how things change. When I first joined the VA forum Bill & Hillary Clinton were the most vilified politicians in American and on our forum. Today,they are the most admired.

The president went on the Daily Show last night emphasizing that we need to send more Democrats to Washington. While it's true, that Texas will give their electoral votes to Mitt Romney, that's not a reason to stay away from the polls. We still have a say in sending Rose Meza Harrison to Washington instead of Tea Party Republican Blake Farenthod. It's the same way for the senate if we really want to stop obstructionism. We have a chance of sending Paul Sadler to represent us as a United States senator instead of another Tea Party Republican like Ted Cruz. This election will be really close, so let's send a message by giving President Obama the victory on electoral votes and the popular vote.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Parsing Words

Romney Policy Details

Hopefully, in three weeks we can go back to living in the real world instead of the superficial one, the politicians and the media have created for us. Does anyone really care whether or not Representative Paul Ryan was washing dishes at a homeless shelter? His budget will tell you everything you need to know on how he feels about the poor. Mitt Romney's "binder" gotcha moment is getting a little over a top. I thought Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were going to have a loud shouting match over that subject this morning. I sort of understand her point because Romney didn't actually come up with the idea of hiring more women executives, so she said he shouldn't get credit for it.

I thought the rights of women was settled a long time ago, but it has resurfaced because it's become a political issue. Women make up 53% of the voting population, and they're being used like a political football. The Republicans say that they do not favor “equal pay for equal work" because they think that issue should be between the employer and the employee, and it shouldn't be an issue for the government. I don't agree with that because, if companies are going to compete for government contracts; the government has a right to insist that pay equality be inserted into the contract. There are some women who are not that excited about the Lilly Ledbetter Act because they just want an opportunity work, and they think that's just the way it is. Besides they don’t think it will ever affect them.

Mitt Romney and his surrogates get under my skin every time I hear them say that more women have lost their jobs under this administration than ever before. The other is playing that dog whistle for their base by saying more people are on food stamps under this president. Both statements are literally true as far as numbers go but they pray that the uninformed won't ask any questions. Republican governors laid off a lot of schoolteachers and related services, so we know the reason so many women lost their jobs. We also know that we were in the worst recession since the Great Depression, so the humane thing to do would be not to let recently laid-off individuals starve. I believe that we would have had just as many people on food stamps under a John McCain presidency.

I'm not going to pretend that I know what's important for women in this election. I always look at women as my equal; I don't believe they are single issue voters. I do believe a majority of women would not like to see Roe vs. Wade be overturned, and I also think that they appreciate “equal pay for equal work" but they may consider the economy to be the most important issue. I don't think women have to look at the inflation rate to see if the economy is improving for their family; they do the grocery shopping, fill up the cars, and are thoroughly involved in making educational choices for the children. It's not the stock market for them; it's the meat market. Andrea Mitchell said that she thought that women were turned off by the Alfa male performance of the two candidates in Tuesday's night debate. I don't know how we could measure that, but I think that's a case by case observation.

I don't want to get in trouble, but the “binder & flex time “Tweets are making me laugh. I saw a Tweet about 4:00 PM that read" women if you worked for Romney, you could be getting off right now to fix dinner"...:-)

The Mitt Romney campaign is once again going after the administration's reaction to the Benghazi incident in the next debate because they see another opening. I'm always puzzled why the right needs the president to react the way they would, or it's not acceptable to them. It's been that way for a while; they see an apology where the president might call it a conciliatory tone. When the Obama plan called for more Middle East countries to get involved in Libya; his opponents called it" leading from behind."

I've seen enough of Mitt Romney to come up with a pretty good picture of him. He's obviously a rich guy who doesn't have to conform to the 21st Century, unless he wants to. He will never have to work in a diverse environment, unless he chooses to. He really, really, really wants to be president, but when, and if he does become president, he will insist on the respect he doesn't give our current president. Right now, he will be anything you want him to be and there is a videotape to prove that. He would be a spreadsheet president who would undermine his biggest accomplishment to humanity (Romneycare) in order to accomplish his current goal.

I don't know how I overlooked it but I'm glad Dan Rather brought it up last night on the Rachel Maddow show. I'm paraphrasing but Dan Rather said, “President Obama saw the mistake he made in the first debate; acknowledged it; apologized and came back with a stellar performance." That's the making of a leader. Mr. Rather said we would have to go way back to President Eisenhower to see anything that closely resembles that. I know President Clinton apologized but not before, denying, lying, and putting our country through a lot of agony. I also believe the Republicans blew the incident way out of proportion for political gain.

OK,I’m over it because I can’t for the cycle to start all over again this evening.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Post Debate Analysis

Obama Romney Presidential Debate Photos

According to the gang on "Morning Joe" the president failed to outline his plans for the future, so he may have won the debate, but he didn't move the undecided. That's interesting, I saw a couple of focus groups last night, and I came away wondering how they got to the studio. For example, Chris Matthews asked a female panelist, what she thought about Mitt Romney avoiding the question about pay equality for women. She said something, like “he may have not heard the question, or maybe he didn't pay that much attention to it" but I was surprised it didn't bother her all that much. I can understand gasoline prices being important, but it seems to me our country doesn't want to line up the dots on the subject. They just want to equate gasoline prices with whoever is in office.

The pundits thought Mitt Romney won on managing the economy, but the president won on everything else. I can't see how Romney won on economic issues when his tax plan numbers don't add up, his energy policy is " drill baby drill" and his plan of keeping Pell Grants is in total contradiction to the Paul Ryan budget that passed a couple of times. We have a 30- year economic downfall that neither candidate is addressing. Our wages have been stagnant for a long time, and we have not graduated enough high school or college students to meet our future needs. The president touched on it, as John McCain did in 2008, by saying that the outsourced jobs are not coming back, so we need new good paying manufacturing jobs, but they can only be filled with an educated work force.

At one point in the debate, I slumped in my recliner in disbelief as; both candidates were vying to be the "coal" president. Yes, I know they are pandering for the voters of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. I don't blame Mitt Romney for standing in front of that coal plant and saying, “this plant kills." I'm not impressed when the president says he is seeking a phantom “clean coal" technology. I can't believe the candidates were arguing semantics about drilling on federal lands. Mitt was right, drilling on federal lands dropped 14% in 2011, but it went up by 15% in 2010, so the president is still ahead by one percentage point. The drilled oil goes on the world market, so why is that important? It's amazing how we've had three debates, and the words “climate change" has not been mentioned.

I'm still trying to figure out why it's demeaning(the binder comment) to women because Romney said he picked many women to work in his administration by going to women's groups and saying, " can you help us find folks, and they brought him back some binders full of women." That happened but not the way the governor described it, it was women’s groups who started the movement. He still ahead, he didn't reject the effort, but he had to be led to it.I can see why some women may be upset when Romney said he supported flexible working hours so women could get home in time to fix dinner.

Mitt Romney blew a huge chance to rightly critique the president and his administration on the botched communication efforts concerning the Benghazi attacks. Mitt Romney chose to personalize and politicize the issue. That left the door wide open for the president to scold Mitt Romney for the cheap shots. Mitt tried to stay on script and criticize the president for not calling it an act of terror until 14 days later. Mitt Romney was wrong and  was rightly corrected by Candy Crowley in front of millions who were watching. I can only speak for myself, but I don't get a sense that Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan have a good feel for foreign policy. Foreign policy is about knowing the leaders of foreign countries,and  the customs,culture of the people in those countries.It’s about deciphering intelligence but most of all it's about” knowing when to act or react.”

I'll think anyone can dispute that President Obama and Governor Romney do not like or respect each other. Last night, Mitt Romney came out like a CEO in command of a board meeting but was quickly taken aback when President Obama met his challenge head on. The president was obviously agitated, but it didn't seem to distract him.

I think the president knocked down Romney after the Libya comment, but he got up, although staggering before the 10-second count. In answering a question on how he has been mischaracterized; Romney again left himself wide open by saying that he was for the 100% because up until the final two minutes of the debate, the president had not mentioned the 47%. The president came roaring from his corner and delivered the knockout blow by saying, “you can believe Mitt Romney when he said that 47% of the people thought of themselves as victims" and then went onto name old veterans, students, seniors and returning veterans as part of that 47%. I didn't see the pleasantries at the end of the debate between the candidates and their spouses, and I heard that Mitt left shortly after the debate but the president stayed around for the victory glad- handing.

I don't think much changed after last night, but it will be interesting to see the aftermath of the debate; if there's any. The president has to do what he did last night because it's the only way to counter falsehoods. The president has the record and all Mitt has to do is convince enough Americans that Obama, though well intended, did not do enough, and he can. Ohio is the key but 83 of their 88 counties depend on the auto industry; that's the reason the president is doing so well in that state.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Round II

It's all starting to sink it after all these months of trying to decipher talking points. I'm pretty sure I know what the Mitt Romney's tax strategy is and what's behind his foreign policy. Mitt Romney's sudden shift to the middle is being masked by having his surrogates telling the media that the debates allowed the country to see Romney in a different light, other than the one painted in the Obama ads. Since he made a strong showing in the debates, his base didn't make any noise about him moving to the middle. The Romney camp has Tony Perkins on speed- dial assuring him that Mitt Romney is severely pro-life. It's been said that Mitt Romney is rehearsing his" connect with the crowd" technique since a lot of tonight's debate questions will come from undecided voters. He is being prepped on how to smile and feel the questioner’s pain. President Obama already knows how to deal with a crowd, so he is being drilled on countering Mitt Romney's statements without seeming too aggressive.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are saying that their tax plan is the framework of a 20% across the board tax cut. They use the words" broaden the base and growth" which is basically saying," make more people pay income taxes and believe me this will work" because six studies, I have selected said so. Paul Ryan said that this had been done twice before, but that's not true. The tax brackets under President Reagan and Kennedy were a lot higher than they are today. Republicans will go to their graves saying that cutting taxes will promote growth because it puts more money into the hands of the people and job creators but that is not a proven fact. President Clinton raised taxes in the 90s ,and those years were known to be prosperous. There are no studies (only assumptions) that prove rising or lowering taxes will automatically lead to growth. Mitt Romney will not talk about eliminating the home-mortgage deduction because it will be political suicide, so he'll allow Congress to put it out there. He will then have the cover Congress to cover a campaign promise that went unfulfilled. I have to give credit to Chris Wallace for telling a Romney spokesman that of the six studies Romney is claiming, two of them are bloggers and one is a former George W. Bush staffer, and another comes from an editorial not a study. We might hear another version tonight.

Mitt Romney's foreign policy so far has been that he will do what the current administrations doing, but he will be more boisterous about it. He says that the Obama's Syria response is reprehensible, but he doesn't say what he'll do besides arm the rebels. There's a front-page story of the New York Times, stating that the arms that are meant for the Syrian rebels are falling into the hands of Islamic extremists.

I still think the White House is vulnerable to charges of incompetence in handling the deaths of our ambassador and three other Americans. We still don't know why our ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice,was sent out to the Sunday talk shows to say that a video caused the deaths of four Americans. Yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham said that the White House was in a mist of a giant cover- up and tried to emphasize that Al Qaeda in is now larger than they have ever been. That's all Fox News wants to talk about. There are a lot of misleading claims out there because our Marines guard embassies because of information that stored there not consulates or outposts. We know that Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was stationed in Tripoli  and was visiting Benghazi when the attacks occurred. We also know that the State Dept gets requests for more security all the time, and that is a bureaucracy request that probably wouldn't filter up to the White House. It's more likely to go through an appropriation committee in Congress. On the other hand, the fact that a CNN correspondent found Ambassador Stevens journal is a sign that the investigation was handled poorly. That whole area should have been sealed. I'm sure the president will be asked about all this tomorrow night because this issue is being politicized. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken blame for the whole incident, but some conservatives are saying that the White House has thrown Clinton under the bus.

The president mustn't let the Republicans say that Social Security is going bankrupt because it's not and can't. Social Security is and has always has been a promise to supplement seniors when they retire. It was always meant that the younger workers would contribute, so the retirees could benefit from the program, and the cycle would repeat itself. As we know, the Social Security tax revenue was put into the general fund, and no administration ever stopped the practice, and we are living longer today which in itself and has a crippling effect on the Social Security trust fund.

Will this be the debate of debates? I don't know, but it's a well-known fact that some people have already voted, and the majority have already made up their mind. I have to go along Saturday Night Lives’ skit describing those people who were still undecided. You have to tell those people who's running, where to vote, and the day of the election because there's more than enough information out there.

A Pew Research Center poll stated that 20% of social media users had been recently unfriended someone because of political discourse. I can believe that and I think it's going to increase as we get closer to Election Day. I just read a response to a local newspaper article from someone who describes himself as a white, bible beating gun- toting red neck. The poster had the audacity to lecture black voters because they supported President Obama. The poster would've loved to vote for black man (wink*wink) of his own choosing who met all his qualifications, but black people aren't allowed to do that. In the year where 16 voter suppression laws were either stopped or temporarily blocked; the poster doesn't think that black people need support groups like the NAACP. Matthew Courage (if that's his right name) said black people will never have a man of honor serve as president. If the Republican Party doesn't purge its ranks of those who think like Matthew Courage; it will go the way of the Whig Party.

I encourage everyone to view Jon Stewart's on the VP debate. I was not aware that Fox News got so upset over the antics of Joe Biden. If you do watch it, you won't have to believe the two out of the three polls that stated Joe Biden was the winner because Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer both said “if you would've listened to the debate on the radio, you would come away thinking that Joe Biden was the clear winner.” This was not a high school debate where a style is given a preference over substance. I have not heard the opposition arguing about Joe Biden's facts and fact checking; just his laughs.Fox brought out a doctor that said he could not evaluate Biden by viewing the tape of the debate but said he could be showing signs of dementia. Jon Stewart came back and said "yeah,the kind where he remembers facts."

I can't help it, even though I have full confidence in the president, I will be nervously watching tonight's debate. I've started watching the debates while following my Twitter feed. The comments are hilarious and insightful.People are quick on their feet and up on the issues ,which gives me feed back I might not of had. This is the future because people no longer trust the press to give us up to date information and the pundits rarely challenge the politicians. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

God Bless Joe Biden

The things I'm hearing this morning leads me to believe that if you are a Republican, you think Paul Ryan won and if you're a Democrat you and think Joe Biden crushed the young upstart. If you measured it by glasses of water consumed, Paul Ryan won. Most of the pundits I've heard have agreed that Joe Biden gave the liberals new life and Paul Ryan didn't embarrass himself or the party. It's funny how conservatives are annoyed because Biden interrupted Ryan but they called that taking charge of the debate when Romney did that to the president. It's hard for Democrats to please the conservatives because, when the president didn't challenge Romney last week, it was a sign of weakness, last night Biden's performance was deemed arrogant and condescending to them. It's one of those “do as I say not as I do."

I don't have a problem with people giving the vice president demerits for his style last night because it's the only way that you can have a conversation with a Republican legislator. I saw the congressman try to interrupt the vice president, and I also saw his facial reactions during the debate. I think Biden was a sitting fact checker who didn't allow Paul Ryan to use his slanted talking points effectively. Joe Biden called Ryan on his hypocrisy for railing against the stimulus plan, yet he wrote two letters to Joe Biden requesting funds for his district. Once again, neither Joe Biden nor the moderator could get Paul Ryan to say what the deductions he would cut in their tax plan. Joe Biden let the country know that Paul Ryan was and probably still is ,very instrumental in trying to privatize Social Security. If you've been around for while, you know that the Republican Party is not trying to strengthen Social Security and Medicare; they want to take small steps to eventually abolish it. You also know that Romney and Ryan are trying to sell the same old “supply side trickledown economics" that's never worked.

I do think that Paul Ryan effectively hit the administration for their response to Benghazi. The administration is vulnerable on this issue and they will continue to be until all the facts are out, blame is taken and remedies are put in place. The Republicans on the investigation committee took it a little too bit too far because they ousted a CIA operation in their quest to embarrass the administration.

I think Martha Raddatz did a suburb job in moderating the debate because she used her skills as an investigative reporter to follow up on some questions that weren't completely answered. She tried that with Joe Biden by saying that some generals want to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Joe Biden let her know that he's in the room when those decisions are made and he doesn't doubt that there are generals' who disagree with decision made by the pentagon.  Martha’s expertise in foreign policy might have influenced  her to allow that segment to go on longer than it should have.

I knew that Biden's many years of sitting on and eventually chairing the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and his position as vice president would give him an overwhelming advantage over Paul Ryan. I believe that's the reason for the lot of the “I can't believe he's that naive" laugh. Joe Biden made two critical statements, he said we would definitely be out of Afghanistan by the year 2014 but it takes a little bit of time to complete that transition. He also put Paul Ryan on the spot and by asking him if he wanted to go to war with Iran or Syria. At first Paul Ryan said he was against a timeline and then he was for it but in my opinion, he was out of his elements.

I did hear a Romney supporter in a focus group say that Biden actions were unbecoming of a sitting vice president. Vice President Joe Biden is a realist and this is the same way he has conducted himself, in the many debates he has participated in. I have learned from the books I've read that it's as the way military strategy is conducted. I remember the president dressing down General McChystal and reminding him and General Petraeus that he was the Commander in Chief and he would be treated that way. Politics and debates are the battlegrounds for the American vote to be president and vice president of the United States; not a church social.

Overall, the debate won't make much difference in the polls because most people have already made up their mind. This debate showed the contrast between the two parties especially at the end. I know in my heart of hearts that Paul Ryan does not believe that there should be exceptions such as, rape, incest and life of a mother but that's what he said as a company man. Governor Mitt Romney told Mike Huckabee that he favored a personhood bill but like everything else, he backed off of that lately in order to get elected. Joe Biden said that he believes in the teaching of his church on abortion but he doesn't want to impose his beliefs on non Catholics. You would have to be pretty naive to think that Romney would not try to repeal Roe v Wade. As Joe Biden said, "this election is about one and maybe two Supreme Court judges."

You noticed how the families of Joe Biden and Paul Ryan met and exchanged pleasantries; that was genuine. People who know Joe Biden are familiar with the northeastern back and forth and they don't take exception. Paul Ryan & Joe Biden joked about their passionate Irish heritage. It's different with Mitt Romney where  even his Republican opponents disliked him.

This is the last time that I will put up with a selfish intrusion of my blog. According to the IP address, this blogger will change his name in order to try piggyback his baseless propaganda rather than post it on his own blog. I was in a good mood yesterday ,so I let it slide but I'm not that naive. I don't try to push my ideology on any one and I respect the right of others to publish what they want on their own blogs. I would never even think of disrespecting other bloggers.

I think it was one of the best debates ever.

If you think Paul Ryan won,then by all means post it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My liberal friends are freaking out

Romney Rebuts Himself

I expected my wife to start freaking out because this is her first rodeo, but some of my liberal friends are starting to get a little nervous as the race is tightening. They're not listening when I try to tell 'em that Romney can't win the election without winning Ohio and Obama still has a 4 point lead in that crucial state. I can't remember who said it but my friends remind me of what was said yesterday “when conservative Republicans hear bad news; they want to kill the pollsters but when liberals hear bad news; they want to kill themselves." It may not be quite that bad, but some people think that this election should be a blowout, one way or the other.

This is the fun part where I try to match wits with public perception. I was wrong last week when I thought the jobs numbers would outweigh Romney's good debate performance. Most of the polls are moving favorably toward Romney, but we still have 27 days to go.

I've heard so many strategies of what Obama and Biden has to do but very little of what Romney and Ryan's plans are. Yes, it's obvious that the Obama campaign will take an offensive approach, but I'm pretty sure the Romney camp is expecting that, and they will have an answer. It'll be whether that answer is enough.

Joe Biden won't have the same problem President Obama in his debate tomorrow night because it's easier to walk away from ideas like Romney did, than it is from current proposals. Joe Biden's opponent, Paul Ryan, has submitted two budgets with substantial numbers on them. Paul Ryan might say that he is now running on Romney's plan but what does that say to his colleagues who took a political risk voting for his controversial proposals? If Mitt Romney loses, Paul Ryan, will likely be the budget director again, but he might not get as much support if he waivers too much on his proposals tomorrow night. Paul Ryan will get his first challenge tomorrow night because, so far he's only been preaching to his choir. Paul Ryan is getting a little testy, as he showed yesterday in an interview with a local television host. Paul Ryan was asked about guns and their relation to crime, and his answer was a standard “we need to enforce what's on the books." He also disappointed those that think that the president is a threat to the Second Amendment ,when he said “even President Obama is not asking for new gun laws." Paul Ryan as he typically does, tried  turning the gun issue into an economic issue by saying that more financial opportunity will reduce crime. When the interviewer asked if “tax cuts" were the solution, the interview came to a sudden stop, and Paul Ryan told him not to put words in his mouth. He seemed to be visibly angered. This is the time in the campaign where one gaffe or misspoken word dominates a two or three days negative news cycle.

The next debate between the presidential candidates will be about foreign policy where the president will have a lot to work with. Mitt Romney just gave a foreign policy speech where he said he would ask for 15 ships to be built along with three submarines. He has already asked for 100,000 more troops, so the question that should be asked is pretty obvious. Why is Romney requesting more than the Navy current plan? "The current Navy plan is to build 34 ships over the next four years — 10 in 2013 — including seven submarines as part of its goal to reach at least 300 ships by 2019. " Mitt Romney claims the president is weak in his support for the rebels in Syria. Our intelligence sources tell as that al-Qaeda forces are helping the rebels, so I wonder if Romney has the system to make sure that the arms we're supplying aren't going to Al Qaeda. Many of the things that Mitt Romney said he would do in the Middle East are already being done through back channels under the Obama administration. The president will have to walk a fine line between revealing our current strategy and combating political rhetoric.

PBS had a pretty good Frontline special about President Obama and Governor Romney last night. I learned a few things. For example,I didn’t know Mitt was involved in a near fatal auto accident. The special showed a lot of the  president’s college friends  although the conspiracy theorist said none existed. I didn’t know that Obama’s maternal grandparents were alcoholics.

Dish Network is offering their long-time customers a free movie. I see Obama 2016 is an option. Since it's free, I'll probably see it this weekend and blog about all the discrepancies in it next week; or not.

It's always interesting to see another opinion on how the Biden v Ryan debate tomorrow night will turn out and their reasoning behind it; knowing that a gut feeling is acceptable. I've stated my opinion; tell me your opinion.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A local Renter v Landlord Dispute

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Without taking sides in the local renter vs. landlord dispute, I can say that Mr. Huffmaster should not be allowed to rent this particular trailer, because of the  condition it is in. The shoddy wiring I've seen on our local evening news is a fire hazard waiting to happen. We have laws to protect us from restaurant's operating in unsanitary conditions; an unsafe unlivable environment should be treated the same.

I've never been a landlord, but I know many who are, so I'm not completely in the dark about their concerns. I know that renters will ruin a carpet in a short period of time, damage the walls and put more wear and tear on the housing unit than the landlords can deduct on their income tax. Victoria's housing shortage allows them to raise their rent in a true supply and demand scenario, this allows them to recoup some losses from previous years.The housing shortage will go away but I seriously doubt the rents will come down accordingly.

I've had a chance to be a landlord a couple of times in my life;once when my mother left us her home and the other when I sold my first home.  I declined both times because I would have to hire someone to make the needed repairs but most of all because I didn't want the responsibilities that came with a good renter/landlord relationship.

Some will say that renters have the trump card because of the current laws of eviction notices, moving out without paying, and leaving more damage than what they paid in rent payments. That may all be true but in today's market, the landlord can afford to be more choosy and doesn't have to put up with as much because the renter doesn’t  have a lot of options. The better apartment units will investigate the renter's credit and renting history before they allow them to move in.

Donna Carr's history is none of my business, but I do sympathize with her plight. It's not hard for me to feel sympathetic for someone living with breast cancer and caring for a granddaughter with only $739 in monthly income. A local poster noticed that she had a cigarette in her hand and quickly calculated the cost of the habit of smoking and its health effects. I think that comment was more of a lecture coming from someone who thinks being poor is always preventable. From what I've seen, a cigarette might be the only gratifying thing this grandmother has, and she can't be spending too much on the habit, being she only has $739 coming in.

I liked the comment about 49% of Victoria's renters not being able to afford what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers a modest two-bedroom apartment. Whoever did the numbers didn't account for the housing shortage or scrupulous landlords. From what I've seen, paying $450 a month for that the double-wide trailer, the government is once again getting ripped off.

I guess this one story is ending well since the grandmother, and granddaughter have found a new four-year-old mobile home they will rent to own. On the other side, the landlord gets his wishes because his nemesis is leaving. I'm sure he didn't think he would get all the negative publicity or be ordered to fix the electrical wiring issue in 10 days.

Monday, October 8, 2012

29 Days & Counting

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

I'm glad it's Monday because I had a trifecta of disappointment last week. First, there was Monday night where Tony Romo and the Cowboys stunk up the place. Then, there was the debate where President Obama didn't show up and then Saturday night, my Longhorns failed to make an open field tackle when they needed to. It's a brand new beautiful day. The temperature is 54° so it's time to turn those three pages and prepare for the next 29 days.

Before I move on, I want to give my take on Daniel Ellis's letter to the editor last week. It was a rare Obama complementary letter which I knew, would be attacked. I can't get angry because the letter got contradictory remarks because that would be hypocritical, so I'll try, to sum up, the points used by his detractors.

In Mr. Ellison's three short paragraphs, the  letter writer stated that he liked President Obama’s Christian like approach in handling problems, his humble beginnings contrary to Mitt Romney's and a plea for patience to complete the job.

I believe Mr. Romney, and President Obama are both God- fearing men but that's not for me to say because I can't see into their hearts, and neither can anyone else. Some will continue to use a single DVD that was shown on a continuous loop on Fox, to judge Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his parishioners as radical racists, and they will associate the president with them. That issue was settled in 2008, and 69 million people chose Barack Obama to be the 44th president of the United States. It would take a vivid imagination and a consumption of loads of propaganda to convince  even the  most guidable people that the president and Michelle didn't come from humble beginnings.

I agree with Mr. Ellis final assessment . Consumer confidence is up, and people are aware that we have a long way to go, so it's no time to start all over.

I started my weekly watching of the Sunday talk shows with a very spirited debate moderated by George Stephanopoulos on ABC Sunday. Peggy Noonan can write an excellent speech and a decent column, but she's no match for Paul Krugman when it comes to economics’, and it showed. Mary Matalin is also great using scripted talking points, but she was stunned when a panelist said that consumer confidence was up. Mary Matalin had to resort to rolling her eyes in obvious disgust. She even stooped to name calling, telling Paul Krugman " "You're hardly credible on calling somebody else a liar" when he said that Mitt Romney's incredible performance was theatrical and based on lies.

I noticed a pattern that's been used by Republicans. Mitt Romney cited the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) as his source for saying that we would lose 700,000 jobs by taxing the wealthy. First of all, NFIB, is an ultra- conservative think- tank that’s to the right of the United States Chamber of Commerce, so the fact that they are independent businesses is laughable. Every Republican surrogate will try to use the NFIB numbers and dismiss the Tax Policy Center as a left wing source, when the Obama team says that Mitt Romney has a $5 trillion dollar tax plan that's geared to the wealthy. Mitt Romney will often cite six supporting economists who agree that he can give a 20% tax cut across the board without raising the deficit. The economists he cited, like the American people and President Obama's team, have not been told the deductions that Romney will cut, to remain revenue neutral.

I think the onus is on the Romney team to repeat a stellar performance Thursday night and the rest of the debates. I also think that Joe Biden will get the ball rolling Thursday night, and it's going to be interesting to see if Paul Ryan does a complete 180°on his views because he has actually put out two budgets that failed to pass the senate. Is Paul Ryan going to say, that his ideological views were wrong, and they are now going with a more moderate point of view? Mitt Romney has effectively killed the Ryan budget because Mitt Romney said he would restore the $716 billion Ryan used in his budget proposal. Romney has also said that he will not increase the budget with tax cuts, so what happens to the Bush tax cuts and defense spending Ryan wants? It is surprising to see those who were criticizing Romney not being fazed with his moderate stances he is now taking.

I don't know if facts matter anymore because the waters have been muddied so much that people think that the Dept. of Labor and Bureau Statistics, and the Federal Reserve can be manipulated by the White House. Liberals don't have any confidence in the Supreme Court, and we all seem to be playing a zero-sum game. It's been that way for while; did anyone believe the color-coded terrorism threat advisory scale? Many thought it automatically went up to orange when President Bush approval numbers started dropping.

I still believe that this election will be about the role of government. I heard a good line, this weekend that went something like this “we the people made this government and we the people can fix what's wrong." That statement was supported with a good example of how a small  private startup company came together and built an app that helped the city of Philadelphia with their bureaucracy. It seems that Philadelphia was trying to get input from its citizens who use their children's park to see what they could do to make it better. Typically, they had a city council meeting were 150 people showed up on a weekday night. They would get about 10 ideas and then they would go through the bureaucracy of setting up committees for approval. By using a text-messaging system, the start-up received over 750 responses with new ideas that didn't require a weekly meeting. To make a long story, short, the app saves the city two million dollars and was implemented in two days. After that success, the start-up company received many more requests from cities across the nation. It goes to show that people want effective government.

I hope this election is not about sound bites, quotes taken out of context, 30 second ads or anything but well informed opinions. I hope we don't allow ourselves to think that the 3/10 of 1% job numbers drop are rigged for election purposes. We shouldn't let the politics of Big Bird confuse or influence us; that program costs $450 million or as I like to say, 6 hours of Pentagon spending. Mitt Romney did a wonderful job of mudding the waters on green jobs. That $90 billion for green jobs was just a proposal figure that never materialized.  Not even half of that has been spent because Congress only allocated $34 billion of it.  Mitt Romney said half of the green companies went bankrupt but that is not true.  Only three of the companies went bankrupt.  Check out the facts because if a candidate will lie about something that can be Goggled in 5 minutes; what else could he be lying about?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why do we still have corporal punishment in our schools?

Getty Images

I remember blogging about corporal punishment while I was still at VicAd, but I thought we had some people looking into petitioning our state to get rid of it. Evidently, it's still a problem because it's still legal in 19 states despite the evidence that it can do serious harm to our children.

Recently, a couple of Texas mothers complained that a male assistant principal severely paddled their daughters. What the daughters did to get in that situation is not in question because evidently there was a school policy that required officials of the same sex to do the paddling. It was presented to the school board where they responded by dropping the ruled that required officials of the same sex to do the paddling. The Springtown Independent School District removed any restriction that might hinder their hideous practice.

I don't know why Texas has to be one and 19 states that allows corporal punishment. New Jersey has banded since 1867 and in the 1980s and '90s many states followed suit in adopting bans against corporal punishment in schools, including New York and California.

In the 2005-06 school year more than 223,000 students received corporal punishment. Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama lead in doling out corporal punishment where 5-8% of their students have received that type of punishment.

Corporal punishment has been linked to mental-health problems in children, and yes I know we all received corporal punishment without it having any ill effects on us. Studies have shown that children who receive physical punishment are more likely to experience depression, suicide antisocial behavior. I don't know if I put much stock in a Canadian study that found a connection between corporal punishment and alcohol and drug abuse, but they believe it to be true.

In my typical liberal answer for the problem; I say let's pass a federal law against corporal punishment in our schools. That won't work because Congress cannot pass a law all that's unconstitutional. The Supreme Court in 1977 (Ingraham v. Wright) ruled that  school corporal punishment does not violate the Eighth's amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. I guess that we could look at that case to see what is needed for it to be ruled cruel and unusual punishment. Perhaps more studies showing that it leads to depression suicide and antisocial behavior will do the trick.

Corporal punishment in schools is not popular. In an ABC News poll 72% of the respondents opposed physical punishment in grade schools. It's not a winning issue in the south, where it's most common, only 35% favored the practice.

As I was taking my bicycle to be repaired this morning, I was delayed by long train. As the railroad cars were passing by, I noticed the graffiti. I thought, yes the taggers defaced private property but there's some obvious talent there. I wonder when and how they got lost in the system. Instead of wasting all the time of spanking a child, documenting the practice, and answering the parents, we should use that time to try to get the heart of the problem. We can always punish the unruly by making their conduct part of their passing grade. We could also make it another standard they have to meet to participate in extracurricular activities, or we could simply expel them or put them in detention for a period of time.

Have a good weekend and support Breast Cancer Month.

I got the information I used from “Why Is Paddling Still Allowed in Schools? by Adam Cohen,Time Magazine. Read more here

Friday, October 5, 2012

You can’t stop to gloat

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This morning's job numbers ruined the celebration party for the GOP. It's as it's as someone turned off the juke box as they were still celebrating Romney's debate victory. Romney surrogate, former governor of New Hampshire, John Sunnu, told Andrea Mitchell,"What people saw last night, I think, was a president that revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is, and how he has absolutely no idea how serious the economic problems of the country are, and how he has failed to even begin to address them,” Sununu — a top Romney surrogate — said on MSNBC Thursday. Those views are shared by people who think that this president is a product of affirmative action. They themselves could never make the grades to get into Harvard, or have what it takes to win the presidency, so they can't see how President Obama could accomplish all this.

This morning's job numbers show that we created when 114,000 jobs last month but most importantly it dropped the unemployment rate from an 8.1% to 7.8%. The 7.8% is what will be the headlines in tomorrow's newspapers because that's what it is on today's online versions. The conservatives have already cracked up their spin machine to create another government and liberal media conspiracy theory. We can argue the accuracy of those numbers, but we can't deny it's the same metric that has been used since we've been using the data. The numbers are good, but we would need another 10,000 jobs, in order to keep up with a population growth. We also have to remember that 7,600 people turn age 60 everyday and just give up being part of the workforce. It's a known fact that those with a college degree have an unemployment rate of around 4%. We also know that the most important statistic is how the voter feels on November 6th. As I've said all along, we have a consumer-driven economy, so when consumers start spending, inventories will drop and no matter what party of affiliation a business owner subscribes to, they will have to hire to keep up. The June and July job numbers have been revised upward. The housing market is starting to pick up; manufacturing is up slightly and so is consumer confidence.

We Democrats can't gloat because there will be one more job's numbers before the election but it is my opinion that the undecided will have made up  their mind by then. Recent voter suppression may have been overturned by federal judges but some voters may not be aware of that. It’s no time to get complacent or take time out to “smell the roses.”

I'm just saying that if we sit back and try to imagine lady justice balancing that scale. On one hand, we have a debate victory and on the other, we have an optimistic job number. It's my opinion that the job numbers will weigh so heavily in the president's favor that it will throw the debate victor off the scale. The Romney camp will have to go back revise their stump speeches where they say that unemployment has never been below 8%. They will make it the point that it's not good enough and the administration will admit that but touting Romney 12,000,000 jobs without specifics is not a good counter argument. I don't think the job numbers will get below 6% for another two or three years, no matter whom the president is.

Mitt Romney is dismissing the recent job numbers, but he threw those ardent supporters who agreed with his 47% comment under the bus, by admitting that those comments were wrong. That's what he would've said if Obama would have pressed him on it the other night. I think the reason for Mitt Romney's new found confidence is that he finally got out of that shell the hard-right conservatives put him in. He will now be the moderate Republican he's always been; he'll agree with the group he's talking to at the moment. The conservatives have no choice, but to sit back and hope that Paul Ryan will influence him. If you're a Romney supporter, you best not plant your feet in cement on what he says because there's video evidence to show that's not a good idea.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Wake up call?

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There's no way to sugarcoat it, Mitt Romney gave President Obama a good old-fashioned country butt kicking. Mitt Romney put on his establishment Republican moderate game face and was relentless in his attack on the president's policies. Last night Mitt Romney showed how he became the governor of Massachusetts. I'm not going to whine or make excuses, I'm going a step further and tip my hat to him for getting the job done. I looked forward to the debate, but I was very disappointed of how it transpired. The panel at MSNBC was angry and made no bones about the president being soundly defeated by his challenger. Bill Kristol of Fox News said it was the best Republican debate performance since Ronald Reagan in 1980.

The great thing about debates is that people can come away with different opinions and still be correct in their analysis. I think Mitt Romney took over the debate when he ran roughshod over the moderator, Jim Lehrer, and got away without naming the deductions in his tax plan that he would eliminate. . Mitt Romney went immediately after "green jobs" although Jim Lehrer never asked him about that. President Obama never challenged the obvious contradictions in the statements of last night's version of Mitt Romney. I think the Obama prep team over emphasized the “staying above the fray “part. The undecided voters may have looked at the debate and came away wondering if that's the way the president negotiated with the opposition.

Mitt Romney won on style and performance, but he left a lot of material that the Obama campaign will use in their 30-second ads. I think the president could have used Romney's characterization of himself as being one who could get along with the opposition. The president could have said, “yes Mr. Romney you gave the Democrats what they wanted; and if I was to offer a big tax cut for the wealthy; I'll have 87% of the Republicans with me." The idea that Mitt Romney will be the one to get the parties to work together is laughable. As the president said," you'll repeal Obamacare on day one; Democrats will not be in the negotiating mood." The president never mentioned Mitt Romney's 47% comment, the intrusive methods of stopping abortion favored by Republicans, pay quality, the obstructionist Congress, or Mitt Romney's self-deportation comment. The president even lost the closing statements because I said to myself, how can you convince people that you will fight for them if you didn't do it in the 88 minutes you had to expose and demolish your opponent?

The president did a good job in explaining how Medicaid recipients would lose 30% of their benefits if the federal government were to send the states ,block grants. He did get Mitt Romney to admit that we do need to regulate Wall Street,  and that he would keep Pell grants but most importantly; that there is not a situation imaginable where Romney would raise taxes on the wealthy. The president President Obama did a good job of explaining health care, Medicare and he did get Mitt Romney to admit that his Medicare plan is a voucher program. The president didn't make to the point that might have made Mitt Romney stutter a little. The Romney plan will give those over 55 a choice of traditional Medicare or a voucher system; those under 55 will not get that choice. The president just took it for granted that we all know Romney's plan would not get off the ground if he included current Medicare recipients in his plan.

There's no question that Mitt Romney had a terrible September but this debate gives him a chance to pail out some water and duct tape some of the leaks in his sinking ship. When the Tea Party wakes up from their sugar high of last night's debate win, they are going to say, “He said what!” Mitt Romney did sprinkle in a little of state rights, cutting off the funding for Big Bird, but he also said that he would fund education programs.

My final analysis is that President Obama was blindsided by a well-prepared Mitt Romney. I don't know how you can prepare for someone who doesn't give details of his plans because you can't contradict something he doesn't produce. Mitt Romney got away with plausible deniability. I also realize that the president hasn't been challenged for four years; he got a rude awakening last night. For example, and Paul Ryan and the GOP Congress passed two budget proposals that totally contradict Romney's plan. Romney will have a harder time negotiating with his own party. The thing that annoyed me the most was the president allowing Mitt Romney to use "growth,"  as a way of raising tax revenue. Growth or the lack thereof is a result of a policy and not part of the calculation. For instance, if a boat salesman included all the fish that you would catch as part of the selling price, you probably wouldn't accept it.

Today, the fat cats will write out the checks to Mitt Romney, the polls will tighten and the Republicans will have that twinkle in their eye as they speak fondly of their candidate. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the right wing blogs will all have a bounce in their step today. Republicans like bellicose, substance and facts come in a distant, second and third.

The Obama team can't afford to hang down their head in defeat but instead have to look ahead to the rematches and the vice-presidential debates in two weeks. They don't have to worry about Joe Biden going on offense because that's what he does best. He's already calling the Republican's version of Medicare..." Voucher care." As even Ryan Paul admits, the gaffes Joe Biden makes are usually in informal settings, so there's no doubt that he'll bring his “A” game. It reminds me of Dick Cheney beating John Edwards after an obvious President George W. Bush loss. Despite losing the debates, President Bush won the presidency.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pre-debate Hype

After 45 years of marriage, my wife will sit down and watch her very first presidential debate with me, from start to end. She watched a little of the 2008 debates, but tonight she told me that she would watch the entire 90 minutes because she's tired of hearing of what others think. She's behind Obama 100% but, she’s relying on what she will see tonight, instead of what the pundits will say tomorrow.

The pre-debate hype is as high as I've ever seen it, and I guess that's due to 24/7 media coverage of what to expect. Yesterday, Matt Drudge and Tucker Carlson tried to influence the media by digging up yet another exclusive Obama bombshell. Fox News picked up a tease and advertised it as breaking news tonight on Sean Hannity. As usual, it was nothing more than a 2007 Obama speech where he gave a shout-out to his Pastor Jeremiah Wright. Sean Hannity said he sounded blacker than usual. The people who are behind this must think that their viewers are pretty gullible because this video has already been hashed out by Tucker Carlson when he was a host on MSNBC.

Yesterday, I read an article by George Will, which puzzled me because I think the conservative columnist is a pretty smart man. I don't usually agree with him, but I like to hear or read his viewpoint. He said that although the economic figures are dismal, and our foreign policy is in shambles; President Obama shouldn't even be close to being reelected. I don't agree with that analysis, but I can understand why someone would see it that way. It's the reason he gave for the president being reelected that left me puzzled. He said that President Obama would get a second chance because voters are reluctant to throw out the first black president. He went onto say that Frank Robinson stayed on as the Cleveland Indian manager because the owner didn't want the fire the first black manager in major league baseball. George Will knew that he would be criticized and would be called a racist for having those views. I wouldn't say that he was a racist, but I know there's not a measurement of how many people who would vote that way. This is just my opinion, but I don't think there's that many people who think that way.

This morning the panel on “Morning Joe” were discussing the most-recent polls where it showed that the race is tightening prior to tonight's debate. Joe Scarborough started the discussion by mentioning what he thought was a gaffe by Joe Biden that was similar to Mitt Romney's 47% comment. Joe Scarborough went into a laughing fit mocking Joe Biden for saying, “This is deadly earnest, man. This is deadly earnest. How can they justify raising taxes on the middle class that’s been buried the last four years? How in the Lord’s name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?” Joe Scarborough said it was an indictment on the president's policies because they were in office. I guess you could see it that way, but I've been saying that the middle class has been suffering for over 10 years. It's no question that they suffered the most because their companies have either laid them off, cut back their hours and benefits, and many have lost their homes. Joe Biden's comment will get some blowback because people act on sound bites and how they are portrayed.

I don't think you can compare Joe Biden's remarks to the 47% comment that was reinforced by Paul Ryan's words in November when he told a conservative crowd that 30% of the people don't share the American dream. Those two comments are accurate depictions of what the Republican Party really thinks. It hasn't changed much throughout the years. I saw a clip of the 1976 debate between James L. Buckley and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, where Buckley constantly accused his opponent of supporting a welfare state. The GOP is proud of their “takers and makers" mentality. For example, the other day a Paul Ryan supporter asked the Congressman if there was a way to make sure everyone paid something “have some skin in the game." Paul Ryan had a chance for redemption, but he made it worse by saying, " we want to make those people taxpayers by making jobs available to move them into the middle class." A lot of the 47% are seniors, returning veterans, students working part time while attending college, so making more jobs attainable will not get them out of the 47%.

Joe Scarborough hates to be corrected, but he doesn't realize that non conservatives don't think that Ronald Reagan was perfect. Joe was saying that if Mitt Romney could have Reaganesque results if he uses the same tactics that the late president did against Jimmy Carter. He got angry when someone pointed out that Ronald Reagan never had a plan on how to release the hostages in Iran, he famously said, “we only have one commander in chief at a time" but he did give a great optimistic closing speech backed by an economy that was showing no sign of improvement. Mark McKinnon, political strategists for President George W. Bush tried to say that the debates won the election for his candidate. He showed a little anger when someone pointed out that Al Gore won the popular vote by 600,000 votes, and it was left up to the Supreme Court. It's funny how those little facts play into the picture.

The Romney camp is saying the people will finally get to know the real Mitt Romney. I thinks that's just spin like the one saying that people are just now starting to get interested in the election. I disagree because the 2012 GOP primaries were viewed by many and many people are requesting early voting ballots. 

I'm eagerly awaiting the debate tonight, and I don't expect get much sleep because I'll have to watch the post-debate analysis. About 45 million people viewed Sarah Palin and Barack Obama's acceptance speech and that many will probably view tonight's debate.