The President on the Daily Show

Part I:

Part II:

(The videos might now work, follow the links)
We are a few days out from the town hall debate and a few days until the third and final presidential debate of this election cycle.

I have had quite a few conversations following Tuesday’s debate and I want to share some of what has come out of those conversations.

As the President acknowledges in the first video above, there is a fundamental difference between his vision for how Government can be a source of good in people’s lives and the view of governor Romney. Likewise, there is a fundamental difference between the views of people who support the President, and those who do not. I am not here to change any minds and I don’t have any illusions of being capable of such. Just like Mitt Romney isn’t going to come to his senses on the issues that I think he is flat-out wrong about, people who support him are not. That is not my goal. This blog is for my thoughts and feelings. The comment section has blown up (I use blown up in a relative sense, as in, we barely had any comments, EVER, and this week I have hadmthree) with people disagreeing with me. I am all for the disagreement. I am an open-minded individual, who when presented with FACTS that run contrary to my accepted view of the world, will take the time to think about them.

What won’t shift the lens through which I view the world are links to Fox News articles.

A few days removed from the debate there are two things that are really bothering me. The first, and I heard this crap from the cast of Morning Joe on Wednesday was that the President failed to lay out a plan for the next for years. Go to any right-wing website right now and I guarantee you will find some version of this lie there. Johnathan Cohn of The New Republic put this crap to bed today. What part of what Obama said Tuesday was not a plan for the next four years. I have watched the debate three times in its entirety. Watch it again, read the transcript. The economy is recovering. Every available metric we have says so. He doesn’t need a new plan, the one he has works. What he needs is a House of Representatives that is willing to work with him (damn those founders and their separation of powers).

The second thing that is driving me nuts is that the conversation about the debate has transitioned from “Exactly how badly did President Obama wipe the floor with Romney” to parsing words between whether the President referred to the Benghazi attack as an “act of Terror” or a “Terrorist Attack”. Now, they are complaining that he took too long in his speech to say it. Read through the comments in the previous post, this is not the only place this farce is being discussed.

The real point is that Mitt Romney is trying (and failing) to turn President Obama in Jimmy Carter, and himself Ronald Reagan. By paining Obama as somehow “weak” on national security, Team Romney hopes to pull a repeat of the 1980 election. The problem for Romney is that the President’s record on foreign policy is incredibly strong, and the video tape of him the Rose Garden makes Romney’s debate performance look clownish (“Proceed Governor…”).

What the real story should be about is Romney’s attempt to politicize an attack on American citizens. Lets use our imagination for a minute, in the fall of 2004, can anyone picture John Kerry attacking George W. Bush as weak on national security because it was under his watch that 3,000 Americans lost their lives on September 11th? It wasn’t that John Kerry was a pussy and was scared to say it. It was that John Kerry understood that there are some places you simply do not go in American politics. Like showing an acceptable level of respect during a debate (my students in Government are really excited to see how aggressive Romney gets on Monday after our discussion of Tuesday’s debate). John Kerry had the decency to not use the deaths of Americans as an opportunity to score points against Bush. Mitt Romney is clearly not programmed with that directive.

It is clear to anyone watching with a critical eye that Mitt Romney is taking his marching orders from the right-wing blog crowd.

I honestly do not know how there are still undecided voters. There could not be a clearer distinction between these two candidates. Love or hate the President, you know where he stands on whichever issue it is that matters to you. And the same goes for governor Romney.

We are basically all sitting back and waiting to see how less than five percent of the population of Ohio decides to go. Who the hell are these people? We have 19 days left until the election. An election that is going to decide which direction this country is going to go for the next four years (and beyond).

Do I have enough time to go door-to-door in Ohio…

 knock knock…

“Hi sir or ma’am, might I ask who you are voting for?”

“Mitt Romney”

“Thank you very much, make sure you get out to the polls, voting is our most important duty as citizens in a democratic society”

knock knock

“Hi sir or ma’am, may I ask who you are planning on voting for?”

“President Obama”

“Thank you very much, make sure you get out to the polls, voting is our most important duty as citizens in a democratic society”

Knock Knock

“Hi sir or ma’am, may I ask who you are planning on voting for?”

“Actually… I not sure they both…”

PUNCH IN THE FACE

knock knock

“Hi sir…”

Get your asses out to vote. This is serious. We live in a democratic society, our government derives is power from the will of the governed. Men and women have fought, bled, cried and died for 225 years to ensure that we would have the right to choose our own national destiny. If you don’t like the candidates, next time pay more attention during the primary season. Participation in a republican democracy is heavy lifting. If you want all of your decisions made for you, move to Iran. Here we have a choice, here we have a voice.

There is no greater crime to the continuation of our democracy than someone who choses to silence themselves. I realize that this is running on, but this has been bugging me all week.

The next Facebook status I read where someone is complaining about the debates, or the election is getting unfriended.

Lets think about this for a minute… so we (the Facebook community) are supposed to care about pictures of your dinner, or your workout (I am guilty of this one) or the Yankees, or how your third trimester is going, or how many times your child woke up last night, or any of the other millions of things people post on Facebook about (let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with any of it, that is what Facebook is for)

But… we’re not supposed to discuss politics? The one thing that actually affects all of us. The Status-Police have decided that this is the one topic that is off-limits? Two people are running to determine the future of our country. That means the future for that unborn baby who is giving you heart-burn that you just posted about. That means our energy policy that will determine if your kid can drink the water coming out of the faucet. This stuff matters, and if we cannot use the best public forum that we have at our disposal to talk about, we are lost as a people and we all might as well disengage from the process and let the politicians decide it for us. That way we can plug ourselves back into The Voice.

I have rambled here…

The First Presidential Debate

I am not going to go into a long explanation about my feelings concerning the two candidates. Use the archives.

I will admit that in the minutes after the debate, I felt exactly as Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz did. I felt as if the President should have more aggressively defended his policies as well as attack Romney on both his previous statements and lies as well as the ones  he was saying last night.

When Mitt Romney made a statement that was patently false, which he did more times than I could count last night, the President flashed that awesome smile of his and moved on. What he was banking on, I think, is that American people to be smart enough to know when  used car salesman is lying his ass off to get you into the driver’s seat of the bucket he his trying to pitch to you.

I will say this. I wish the President had been more energetic and aggressive. A little.

However, the only universe that Mitt Romney “Won” that debate last night is the alternative universe from which Mitt originates. One where facts do not matter. Basically, Mitt Romney “etch-a-sketched” his way through 90 minutes last night. Nearly everything he attacked the about the President was something that he previously supported. And everything that the President has done that has worked, well… That’s in his plan. Everything is apparently in this “Plan of his”. The problem for Mr. Romney is, in this universe, there are things like fact checkers, who have stated both last night and today, that Romney either lied or misled on a number of occasions last night.

I am (now) teaching Participation in Government and U.S. History and Government (yes, this liberal is shaping young minds). So of course we discussed the debate this morning. I was really pleased to hear that many of the students not only watched the debates, but watched some of the coverage of it, and were able to articulate what the pundits had to say. What I said to my students this morning was this. If you put the TV on mute, and watched but did not listen. Mitt Romney won that debate last night in a landslide. He looked directly at the President, was forceful and energetic. I don’t know what the smile/grimace thing is that he does, but it is terrible. But aside from that, Mitt “Looked” strong. The President in comparison looked down a lot (was taking notes I think), nodded when Romney was talking as if he agreed with him, and looked at the camera, not at Romney when he was talking.

If, however, you were to read the transcript, i.e. take away the visual and just have the words, the President won this thing going away. Romney only wins when you suspend disbelief. The substance, as has been the issue for him from day 1, was not there. I don’t know what the polls will show following this debate. The general consensus is that Romney “won”, big. I suppose that means the polls will tighten. If however, the electorate is smart enough to know when they are being lied to, repeatedly, I don’t think their will be much change.

I am disappointed that this is the post I am writing today. I think the President had the opportunity to shut the door on Romney last night. If he hit him on the 47% comments, on the Ryan budget, on the lies and distortions, on the etch-a-sketch nature of the Romney campaign etc., if he put Romney on the defensive, it could have ended this campaign.

I do think that the incumbent is at a disadvantage. There are four years of Obama policies, some successful, some not, from which to attack. Romney has the benefit of sitting back and saying, “this failed, that failed, I’d keep that, I’d replace that, I do this and that”, but never had to actually say how he would do so. Meanwhile, the President is in the position of defending the record while simultaneously stating what he is going to do better. It is a tough spot. One that in a lot of ways President Obama put himself in, but still tough.

ADDED:

Pay particular attention to the part about the ’84 election at about 10 minutes in:

Watch THIS VIDEO

Saturday Morning

I am sitting here drinking my coffee and preparing myself for some X2 Yoga on this gorgeous Saturday morning.

The house is incredibly quiet and I am finding myself overwhelmed with the lack of activity. I have no idea what to do with myself today.

Quick change of subject… I try really hard to not freak out over Avi getting older. I try to remember that no matter what I do, or how much I stress, she is going to grow up. And I can either enjoy the journey, or spend all that time stressing over it. Having said that, she turns 5 in two months and that reality is hitting me like a truck. Parents gush about their kids, it is what they do. So to sit here and talk about how amazing she is, I know I would sound like every other parent who thinks their kid is the greatest thing on the planet.

However, Avi is tremendous. She is easily the most emotionally developed 4-almost-5-year-old I have ever encountered. She understands things on an emotional plane that most children are not even aware of. I am finding it increasingly difficult to not shower her with everything she could possibly want. I don’t know that 5 is some kind of milestone, but it feels like it.

She made this for my kids at school:

Update

I cannot overstate how ready I am for this long weekend. Today is my Friday.

I have begun our Superhero Psychology project in my Psych classes and so far, the kids seem to be into it. I am doing a lesson today on how to watch a film critically so that they have some tools available to them when viewing superhero films later this month.

We watched this:

Which fit perfectly with what we are doing. After we learn how to view a film critically, we will be watching “Batman Begins” next week as we build on our project. I am using “Batman Begins” because it offers a perfect example of a Hero Arch for the students to follow and see and archetypical example.

I am starting to build the final project for my law classes. At this point I am unsure what I want them to do.

As far as my workouts go, I am in the midst of a much-needed recovery week. My back (I have a strained lat muscle on my right side) has been becoming increasingly sore, and I am starting to think about possible alternatives to my current workout program.

I will start Phase II of my X2/Asylum Hybrid on Monday.

I still have a few samples of Shakeology available for anyone who is interested in trying one out. Shoot me an email (terrancegilmore@gmail.com) or message me on Facebook with your address and what flavor you would like to try.

I stepped on the scale this morning for the first time in a few weeks and I was down about 3 pounds from where I was on April 15th. I can see a difference in how I look. I think the increased cardio of the Asylum is a large part of this.

I am still on my 1900 calorie diet which you can read more about under the Diet tab at the top of this page.

Aside from that, I am looking forward to the long weekend.

Finding Forrester

We are watching this in my Psychology classes right now as we wrap up our unit on Adolescent Psychology. Jamal Wallace is a great character to study because of the things that make him exceptional as well as the things that make him ordinary.

“Why is it that the words we write for ourselves are always so much better than the words we write for others?”- William Forrester

Teaching Psychology- Superhero Project

I have decided that the final project for my Psychology classes is going to be a research/creative project about superheros.

I would be doing this in my law classes as well, if I didn’t have so many kids taking both.

I am looking for ideas for the project. I have a basic structure, but need more. This is going to be a multi-week unit. They are going to do some research about superheros and the hero’s journey before they create their own. I am going to tie it into the Psychology curriculum that I am working from.

This is going to be an awesome opportunity to bring in some comic books and movies and have a fun, relaxing, but educational end to the school year in two of my five classes (maybe I can do this in my study skills class as well?).

If anyone has any ideas for this project, let me know as I am basically working from a blank slate here and have no limitations (aside from not showing R rated films, which means “Watchmen” is out unfortunately). I am really excited to put this together. I am thinking we will take about two weeks to complete, including watching some in-class superhero moves (can you say field trip to see the Avengers) which means I need to get started as the clock is ticking on my high school classes.