Let's Show Obama Some Gratitude

October 31st, 2012

Back in August, New Yorker writer Jane Mayer raised a question: Could President Obama?s failure to cozy up to billionaires cost him the election? That question is still on the table.

Mayer reported how fundraising has always been uncomfortable for Obama, how even asking rich Democrats for donations made him squirm or withdraw. Even though his administration has not been difficult for the one percent, they find the threat of the loss once and for all of the Bush tax cuts intolerable. Beyond that, they?d like a more solicitous president, and in Mitt Romney, they?d have their man.

The New Yorker?s follow-up to Mayer?s question came in a piece by Chrystia Freeland in its October 8 issue, ?Super-rich Irony,? about how Bronx-born hedge-fund operator Leon Cooperman took offense at the failure of the president and his girls to send proper thank you notes for a self-published books of his granddaughter?s poetry that he dropped off as gifts.

Cooperman responded with ads in major newspapers castigating the president in and ?open letter? which vents all his frustration with Obama and his policies. You can read it here. http://www.gurufocus.com/news/154371/leon-cooperman-open-letter-to-president-obama Or not. (He doesn?t mention the thank-you notes.)

Let?s face it, Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.

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Mitt, Oil and the Middle Class

October 27th, 2012

The first time I visited the Mountain West was shortly after 9/11 when my partner and I made a long-planned visit to Yellowstone National Park. The golden leaves of the aspens and the cottonwoods were so radiant against the mountainside that I wanted to stop and photograph them at every turn of the road. And when people found out we were New Yorkers, we were welcomed with open arms.

Since then, we?ve travelled here more, down into the desert and up to the mountains, and I?m still awe-struck by the terrain, but the politics have taken some adjustment.

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Michelle, Our Belle

September 5th, 2012

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/09/04/dnc-2012-michelle-obamas-speech-at-the-democratic-national-convention-full-text/?tid=pm_politics_pop

Michelle Robinson Obama may have entered politics reluctantly, but last night she proved that she?s a fast learner. The speech she delivered made me want to stand up and cheer in my living room.

You want values? The First Lady gave us evidence of hers?and her family?s. She began with a description of the daily struggle her father made to provide for his wife and two children. Where else except in a union-protected job in the public sector do you think a pump operator in a water plant with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis could have kept his job? She didn?t ask, but what came through was the importance of the dignity of work and his commitment to paying his small share of his children?s college tuition.

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Mourning Sally Ride

July 29th, 2012

Link: http://www.actnowny.org

Ever since I read in astronaut Sally Ride?s obituary that she had been in a committed relationship with Tam O?Shaunessy for twenty-seven years, I?ve wondered how O?Shaunessy must feel now. I don?t know how Ride set up her estate, but O?Shaunessy won?t be receiving any survivor benefits from the military because it?s prohibited by the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Besides, they were not even married. Can?t do that in California.

Things have improved some since the AIDS epidemic of the eighties when lovers were not allowed into hospital rooms, because we read that O?Shaunessy was at the side of our nation?s first woman astronaut through her long bout with pancreatic cancer.

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The Eve of Independence

July 3rd, 2012

My days in the Four Corners are numbered now after a two-month sojourn. I paid a visit this morning to our local pond, which is famous among the cognoscenti but now drained down to primordial sludge in anticipation of water from a new artesian well. The occasional bubble rises to the surface, but I couldn?t photograph it, because I forgot to charge a battery last night. So be it.

Here in Utah, there?s a petition going around asking Governor Gary Herbert to outlaw fireworks on the Fourth because of the fire hazard.

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