Monday, October 8, 2012

Last Call

As you probably expected, Mitt Romney's "big foreign policy speech" turned into something Romney probably wishes he had a time machine to correct.

Mitt Romney’s foreign policy speech Monday was filled with tough talk and slams of President Barack Obama’s leadership — but little of the clarity Romney has vowed to bring to the Oval Office.

Analysts reviewing what the Republican nominee said in what his campaign billed as a major foreign policy address weren’t impressed. The speech, they say, was much like Romney’s previous swings at laying out a foreign policy: couched in broad ideology and big ambitions and lacking the specifics for how he’d bring any of them about.

Shocking!  A Romney position speech that lack practical specifics!  Gosh, that never happens.

So while Romney was using the speech to capitalize on the momentum he had from his strong debate performance and the Obama administration’s vulnerabilities on the Libya attacks, foreign policy experts say the speech was vague at best, and reflected some confusion of ideas.

There’s absolutely nothing in this speech. This is a repackaging of language that has been a staple of Romney’s campaign since he threw his hat in the ring,” said James Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations. “If Romney has a foreign policy strategy, he still has not told us what it is. The governor is very fond of saying hope is not a strategy, but that cuts both ways. He didn’t answer two key questions: what he would do differently and why we should expect what he would to work.”

The one thing Romney would do differently according to the speech is most likely start a war with Iran (after putting troops in Syria first) and as to how it would work, wouldn't work.  But of course, Mitt can't actually say that.  If you thought the Romney budget was going to be a disaster before, throw another trillion dollar plus war or three into the mix and see what happens to our debt.

Mitt may have won last week, but this one's already shaping up to be a disaster as usual.

Toddler Buried By Parents, Never Reported Missing

This breaks my heart.  If called to check on the welfare of another child, one has a pretty good idea of what happened here.  The boy was never reported, which likely means either his death was suspicious or the family was in some other sort of trouble that prevented reaching out to authorities.

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — A routine child welfare investigation led to the discovery Saturday of a toddler's corpse, buried in the backyard of a Long Island home.

State police unearthed the remains in the dead of night at a tidy house in Farmingdale after being told by the boy's mother that he died two years ago. The circumstances of his death remained unclear Saturday.

The boy, Justin Kowalczik, was about 17-months-old when he died in the summer of 2010, police said. Authorities said the family never reported the child's death.

"It is absolutely a suspicious death and it is being investigated as such," said State Police Major Patrick Regan. "We don't have a cause of death, and to our knowledge, there was never a report made of the child being missing."

Investigators were trying to determine how the child died and why the family kept it a secret.

Officials with Suffolk County's Child Protective Services agency initially went to the home Wednesday to check on the health of one of the woman's three children. They grew concerned when the family couldn't account for the whereabouts of a child born in 2009.

Steve Martin Gets Political

I'm not often called upon to comment on it, but I loooooooove Steve Martin.  Loooooooove.  He is a funny, smart and kind-hearted man, and a brilliant musician.  And now, I can love him even more.

(Reuters) - Steve Martin has released an off-beat ad endorsing Bob Kerrey's candidacy in Nebraska's U.S. Senate race, in which the actor and comedian demonstrates how to build a wad of paper while cue cards offering praise for Kerrey are displayed on the screen.
Martin, playing the role of "home crafts expert," mangles a blank single sheet of white paper with paper clips, scissors, staples, chewing gum and a hammer, while a hand emerges from off screen offering typed messages in praise of Kerrey.
"He is a principled man whom I have known and respected for many years," reads one.
"But most of all... He is sane. And his ideas are workable," reads another.
Kerrey, a Democrat, represented Nebraska in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2001, when he moved to New York City to lead The New School university. He returned to Omaha this year to seek the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat. Kerrey, who faces Republican State Senator Deb Fischer in the November 6 election, has trailed in polls.

Terminally Ill Woman Forced To Suffer

There should be no question that your life is yours and yours alone to do with as you wish.  This case terrifies me, because as long as a person is competent to make medical decisions (as she is in this case) the wishes of parents are trumping the medical rights of a 28-year-old woman.

She is paralyzed from the neck down, tethered to breathing and feeding tubes — but Manhattan bank manager Grace Sung Eun Lee still managed to mouth four words Wednesday. 
“I want to die.” 
Doctors are trying to honor Lee’s wish, but her devout parents believe that removing the tubes is suicide — a sin that would condemn the 28-year-old to hell. 
They’ve gone to court to keep the terminally ill brain-cancer patient on life support, turning a heartbreaking family tragedy into a right-to-die legal battle.

Her future is determined.  She is not going to overcome this, nor is she going to pull through.  She does not want to prolong her pain, and I do not blame her.

When I went through my medical training, we were drilled on the importance of one of the least taught aspects of our medical rights: we can refuse treatment.  This is for a host of reasons, from experimentation to personal choices to one-off situations.  But the bottom line is we can refuse treatment, and should be able to in order to have freedom over our very lives.

In this case, Lee's parents are being selfish and making their daughter pay the price.  As long as they appeal and stall she will be forced to dwindle and suffer for their hollow victory.  Nobody wins, and this case plays out over and over, all around the country.

The right to die is one we should allow and protect.  The feelings of one person should not be able to override the medical rights of another.  We need to learn our place and let freedom of choice empower people to do what they feel is right.  It's their own life, after all.

Bonus Mitt Romney Stupidity (Special Edition)

TMZ is getting in the politics game, throwing this nice little zinger at Mitt Romney:

President Obama's peeps say Mitt Romney is gonna be sorry for blowing off a bunch of kids who participated in the Nickelodeon show, "Kids Pick the President."

The premise of the show -- kids submit questions to each candidate and based on the answers they make their pick for leader of the free world.  

Obama answered the kids' questions, but Romney said he didn't have the time.

Deputy National Press Secretary Adam Fetcher tells TMZ, "It's no surprise Romney decided to play hookey.  Kids demand details, and I'm sure they want some answers on why Romney could increase their class sizes, eliminate their teacher's jobs, raise taxes on their families and slash funding for Big Bird."
They don't stay neutral, they just don't go out of their way to go after either candidate.  At least, until handed pure gold like this.  It really does say a lot, and I'm glad Obama answered their questions.  Then again, he doesn't have a reason to be ashamed of himself, and Romney does.

Just a little bonus awesomeness from ZVTS, pleas e enjoy the rest of your day!

Man's Best Friend

As John Dolan lay in his hospital bed at the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Islip, N.Y., Sept. 27, he got a phone call from a hospital employee that he had to come get his dog. One problem, Dolan was inside the hospital and his wife, Priscilla, was asleep at home.
When Zander and Dolan were finally reunited, they couldn't be happier.
"He's my boy. He's been glued to me ever since," Dolan told "Good Morning America" today.
Dolan called his wife last Thursday to tell her to come get Zander outside the hospital. She didn't know he was missing until she got the call.
While Dolan was in the hospital he was very sad and moping around the house, Priscilla Dolan said. He was missing his best friend.
"He sleeps right next to John and John walks him a lot," Priscilla Dolan said.
It's a surprising story but not unheard of for an animal to track his owner.  Still, John Dolan is a lucky fellow, and I hope that Zander gets to go home with his friend.

Buzz Off, Creep

Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger has decided that last Wednesday's debate was the impetus he needed to go from "life-long Democrat" to "Romney moderate".  If you can stop laughing at that moronic leap of non-logic to read the rest of Bissinger proving he should stick to sports and not politics, it's comedy gold on par with the best of the Village Idiots.  Here's a taste:

I have never seen a performance worse than Obama’s, distracted, his head dipped into the podium as if avoiding the smell of something rotten, acting above the very idea that a debate does provide a pivotal referendum on his first term as it has for all incumbent presidents, whipsawed by the legion of usual advisers telling him to play defense when his own intuition should have told him that he needed to go on the offensive as Romney slapped him around.
But there was more than the entitlement of entitlement. He struck me as burnt out, tired of selling his message although he has always been terrible at selling his message when it veers from idealism into the practical.
By instinct I still cling to my Democrat roots. But I admit that as I get older, on the cusp of 58, I am moving more to the center or even tweaking right, or at least not tied to any ideology. Those making more than $250,000 should pay more taxes, and that does include me. But I also am tired of Obama’s constant demonization, of those he spits out as “millionaires and billionaires,” as pariahs. Romney’s comments at a fundraiser were stupid, but 47 percent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes. Yes, a majority are poor and seniors. But millions do not pay such taxes with incomes of more than $50,000, and whether it’s as little as $10, every American should contribute both as a patriotic obligation and skin in the game. This is our country, not our country club.

Come to think of it, Buzz here probably does have a long and glorious future career as rich white dude scolding the rest of us lazy schlubs over at the NY Times or Washington Post, I would imagine.  Look, if any part of your "middle-aged crisis conversion to Republican" speech involved your belief that President Obama is acting privileged and entitled, and that Mitt Romney is a regular Joe Moderate, I call bullshit on you ever being a liberal in the first place.

He even uses the odious phrase  "skin in the game", which is Villager 101 for "screw you poor people, it's time for you to suffer.  You've had it too easy."  If your train of thought involves you coming around to "toss a few of those folks into the volcano to please the island gods" you were never, ever a liberal.  You're just an asshole.

Buzz's article is so intellectually bankrupt, I swear it's recycled Bobo Angst and Friedman's Mustache, but the entire argument is too sophomoric for even that level of effort.  It's Bobo and Friedman's Mustache phoning it in after an all-night bender of NCIS episodes, unsweetened iced tea and boneless teriyaki wings, and by "all-night" I mean 11 PM.

Like I said, he'll fit in fine over there.

We Don't Know What We're Doing, Frankly

CNN profiles the mythical "undecided voters" in America's swing states, and it paints a depressing portrait of people who basically blame Obama for not fixing things without mentioning that little problem with GOP obstruction at every turn.  Four of the six voted for him in 2008, and five of the six think the problem is with him.  At no point do Republicans get the blame, other than a general distrust of Romney (all six don't trust the GOP candidate.)

The profile of single female voter Laura Palmer is typical:

Picture a presidential race in which the candidates ditch the insults. Visualize campaigns that inspire with positivity. Believe that you don't have to cut through the noise to figure out who these two men are, and what their leadership would look like in the years ahead, because they will tell you.

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, can let go of their fears and rise above the negativity. They can stop talking about the other guy, get in touch with their own hearts and simply speak their truth to the American people.

Sound hokey or ridiculous? It might. But if you're Laura Palmer, a former Washington insider, a shift like this -- by either candidate -- would snag her vote.

Palmer, 36, represents one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country: unmarried women. They account for a quarter of America's voting population. And in 2008, women in general voted at a higher rate -- casting 10 million more ballots than men.

In Palmer's adopted hometown of Alexandria, a disproportionate number of women are unmarried compared to the rest of the country. And in a swing state like Virginia, where every vote counts, Palmer matters.

But until she sees which man is better able to step outside himself and above the polarity, she will remain undecided.

WHY IS OBAMA SO MEAN!   Why can't he just fix Washington, that's why I voted for him!  It gives me a headache.  Here's a voter who simply doesn't understand that for Democrats and Republicans to get along in Washington, one side wants to, and the other side will simply wreck the country until they get what they want.  It's not polarizing, partisan opinion, it's actual fact as stated by my own senator, Mitch McConnell:  "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president".

Such denial is depressing, and yet these are the voters that both sides will need in order to win. Educating these folks, if you know them, should be a goal of yours.  Talk to them if you can.

You need to.


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