Romney keeping his promise to the left?

According to the Washington Post, when Mitt Romney was governor, he reassured pro-abortionists, gay rights activists, and environmentalists that as he rose through the ranks, he would change the Republican party’s hard-line stance on these issues:

Mitt Romney was firm and direct with the abortion rights advocates sitting in his office nine years ago, assuring the group that if elected Massachusetts governor, he would protect the state’s abortion laws.

Then, as the meeting drew to a close, the businessman offered an intriguing suggestion — that he would rise to national prominence in the Republican Party as a victor in a liberal state and could use his influence to soften the GOP’s hard-line opposition to abortion.

He would be a “good voice in the party” for their cause, and his moderation on the issue would be “widely written about,” he said, according to detailed notes taken by an officer of the group, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

“You need someone like me in Washington,” several participants recalled Romney saying that day in September 2002, an apparent reference to his future ambitions.

Romney made similar assurances to activists for gay rights and the environment, according to people familiar with the discussions, both as a candidate for governor and then in the early days of his term.

The encounters with liberal advocates offer some revealing insights into the ever-evolving ideology of Romney, who as a presidential candidate now espouses the hard-line opposition to abortion that he seemed to disparage less than a decade ago.

via As governor, Romney worked to reassure liberals – The Washington Post.

 

Colbert occupies Wall Street protesters

To his great credit, Stephen Colbert is an equal opportunity satirist.  A tip of the hat to Bruce Gee for alerting me to this interview with two Occupy Wall Street protesters.  The thing is, they, being stone-cold serious, are much more funny than Colbert being humorous!   But here is his interview with the “female-bodied” human named Ketchup, in which you can also learn the Robert’s Rules of Order equivalent for running a meeting by consensus (something you all should adopt for your church meetings).

Gross National Happiness

The nation of Bhutan has developed an ideology that is being picked up by other countries:  The use of government to make sure its citizens are happy.  Whether they like it or not.

Some fidget, a few eyes wander here and there, but for a minute or two, hundreds of primary schoolchildren are quiet, learning to meditate together at morning assembly — palms upturned and thumbs together in the style of Buddha.

This is Gross National Happiness — or GNH — at work in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, a country determined to hold on to its ancient values even as it modernizes, to preserve its environment even as its economy grows and to prove to the world that there is more to life than money.

The term was coined by the fourth king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in 1972 in an apparently off-the-cuff remark to a journalist.

“I am not so much interested in gross national product,” he reportedly said. “I am more interested in gross national happiness.”

Those words grew into an ideology that has been examined and embraced by development economists and political leaders the world over.

Not since Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence of people’s inalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has the idea been so widely disseminated that a government should promote — or at least not obstruct — its citizens’ happiness. France and Britain are incorporating measures of happiness and well-being into their national accounts, and the U.N. General Assembly adopted happiness as an unofficial Millennium Development Goal in July.

The U.N. resolution was a victory for Bhutan as it looks to win global approval for its national philosophy, but the utopian-sounding idea has proved difficult to put into practice at home.

“The joy of GNH is that it offers Bhutan a distinct and alternative path to development,” said opposition leader Tshering Tobgay. “The pitfall of GNH is that we are more satisfied with talking about it, preaching about it, rather than sincerely implementing some of its important principles.”

The government has tried to factor happiness into policy in a systematic way, creating a Gross National Happiness Commission and conducting two comprehensive studies of the happiness of its citizens based on what it sees as the four pillars of happiness: sustainable development, good governance, preservation of the environment and promotion of traditional culture.

via In Bhutan, pursuit of happiness is a tough mountain to climb – The Washington Post.

The article goes on to explain efforts to quantify an index of Gross National Happiness and how mandatory utopia laws are just not working as advertised.  Still, that is not stopping the government of Bhutan.

Do you think this will catch on here?  Isn’t that what both parties are implicitly trading on, what policies will make us the most happy?

More and longer field goals

Football has a new wrinkle, thanks in part to the phenomenon of youth soccer programs:

NFL place kickers are connecting on their field goal attempts at a higher rate than ever, threatening to make even long-distance kicks nearly as automatic as extra points. . . .

NFL kickers have been successful on 86.5 percent of their field goal tries this season. That is the highest percentage at this point in a season since at least the 1987 season. NFL officials say it would be the best percentage in history over a full season with at least 100 field goal attempts if kickers are able to maintain that pace. . . .

Through seven weeks last season, NFL kickers had connected on 81.9 percent of their field goal attempts. They hit 84.4 percent of their tries through seven weeks of the 2008 season, when they finished the year at what league is thought to be the record full-season percentage of 84.5 percent. Data on the number of field goal attempts and success rates wasn’t always kept reliably throughout league history, but it is generally accepted that field goal accuracy has improved greatly in recent years. . .

“The biggest difference is the kicks from beyond 40 yards,” said Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL’s competition committee. “That’s where the improvement really is. That was the impetus behind us wanting to change the overtime format for the postseason [eliminating the possibility of a team winning with a field goal on the opening possession of overtime] because the accuracy has become so good.”

Kickers even have been accurate on field goal attempts of 50 yards or longer, making 70.7 percent of them this season. Scobee is 5 for 5 on such kicks and Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski is 5 for 6.

Several people said kickers’ skill has been improving for decades, citing everything from the quality of the young athletes who take up kicking to the sophistication of the instruction they receive.

“You’ve got guys that are starting at a younger age, taking it way more seriously, training seriously,” Akers said. “You have kicking camps. Guys are specialized, and even specialized in the way they train.”

Gary Zauner, an NFL special teams coordinator for 13 seasons with three teams, now works with individual kickers and runs development camps and combines for kickers.

“The kids who are the better soccer players, they’re coming to football to kick,” Zauner said. “In high school, they’re getting instruction. They get to college and they get instruction. In the old days, nobody was really working with guys at a higher level. When you get better instruction earlier, it pays dividends down the line.”

Zauner said the large number of kids playing soccer in the U.S. has made the quality of kicking in football better.

via NFL kickers making field goals at record pace – The Washington Post.

Cain’s sexual harrassment charges

A third woman accuses Herman Cain of sexual harrassment:

A third former employee considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior including a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.

She did not file a formal complaint because she began having fewer interactions with Cain, she said. Afterward, she learned that a co-worker — one of the two women whose accusations have rocked Cain’s campaign this week — had already done so. She said she would have had to file if they hadn’t.

The woman spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying she feared retaliation. She was located and approached by the AP as part of its investigation into harassment complaints against Cain that were disclosed in recent days and have thrown his presidential campaign into turmoil. She said she was reluctant to describe the encounters she had with Cain when they worked together at the Washington-based restaurant trade group.

via Third Former Cain Employee Claims She Was Harassed by GOP Candidate « CBS Washington.

Keeping in mind that we don’t really know what happened, do you think these charges will–and should–sink Cain’s campaign for president?  Does the fact that this information was not made public until Cain attained front-runner status constitute “high tech lynching” or “the politics of personal destruction”?  Or do you believe that voters need to know this kind of information before casting their vote?

At any rate, here is a lesson for would-be candidates, including ambitious young people with a FaceBook page used to chronicling their every transgression and posting pictures about it:   With today’s “opposition research” as part of virtually every modern political campaign, candidates need to realize that any skeleton in their closet–anything they did wrong in public or anything they did that would be embarrassing–is going to come out.

Beware of Greeks fearing gifts

The Greeks founded Europe, and now they may end it.  And the vehicle for both is the same:  Democracy.

The European powers carefully crafted a deal to bail out Greece, forgiving half of their debt at the cost of significant reforms and austerity measures.  With this agreement, the world’s stock markets soared.  But then the Greek government, despite its earlier agreement, suddenly decided to put the accord to the vote of the people.  Since the population seems opposed to  austerity, the prospect of a referendum has cast the agreement into doubt, sending the world’s stock markets into another dive and shaking the economic foundations of the Eurozone.

World leaders convening at this resort [Cannes] for a long-planned summit find themselves confronting a suddenly acute crisis over Greece and signs of an economic slowdown throughout Europe that may narrow their room for action.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou left a cabinet meeting in Athens early Wednesday with his government intact — for now — and backing his plan to hold a national referendum on the country’s latest international rescue program.

World leaders will gather in Cannes, France, on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 to discuss Europe’s debt crisis and other economic issues. Thousands of protesters are gathering in France to urge the G-20 leaders to focus on the poor.

But his call for a popular vote on Tuesday has jeopardized the rescue plan and upended the agenda for Group of 20 leaders. Papandreou has been called to a meeting here Wednesday night to explain himself.

This was to have been a summit where the G-20 — the forum where industrialized nations and the leading developing economies compare notes on the world economy — puts its stamp on a plan that convincingly appeared to settle Europe’s lingering financial crisis.

Instead, with Cannes under a security lockdown that has made its streets into a virtual ghost town, the group will be looking for ways to avoid even greater problems. The 17-nation euro region is trying desperately to navigate between the budget-cutting and reform needed to bring down high levels of government debt, and the tepid economic growth that is sapping incomes, causing chronically high unemployment and straining political systems.

via World leaders to confer with Greece over referendum call – The Washington Post.

Do you think the Greek government was right to put the question of accepting the economic package to a popular referendum?  Does the world’s economic problems bring us to the limits of Democracy, the possibility that people will not vote to suffer, even when the alternative may be suffering on a far greater scale?  Can you see something like that happening here, with voters rejecting efforts to cut back federal spending AND repudiating new taxes AND demanding ever more entitlements, to the point of national bankruptcy?

UPDATE:  The Greek government has now scrapped the referendum.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X