Archive

September 25th, 2016

How Clinton and Trump can win undecided voters

    Really? Are there undecided voters left?

    Yes, as hard as it may be for most of us to believe, after putting up with the ads and sound bites of the presidential race for more than a year, polls show almost 10 percent of voters still haven't made up their minds.

    That's typical. I used to make fun of such voters. I thought they were pathologically indecisive, like people in a supermarket checkout line who go into paralysis when asked to choose paper or plastic.

    But give them some respect. With national polls and some crucial battleground states tightening up into a virtual dead heat, the holdouts deserve new respect. There are more than enough of them to decide whether experienced Democrat Hillary Clinton or entertaining Republican Donald Trump will be our next president.

    To get more insight into their frame of mind, I spent Friday evening with a roomful of undecided voters on the other side of two-way mirror from me and about a dozen other journalists.

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Homegrown violence and the presidency

    The epidemic of violence in the nation's streets, including everything from anti-police protests to lone-wolf terrorism, offers voters in the presidential election a clear choice. Do they want the steady but unspectacular hand of Hillary Clinton or the tough take-no-prisoners style of Donald Trump?

    The contrast seems certain to be played out in next Monday's televised debate at Hofstra University. It will pit the coloring-between-the-lines Democrat against and the wild-swinging, disrespectful Republican with an anything-goes mentality.

    The Obama administration, represented in the upcoming election by its former member Clinton, holds that our national security requires steady police work and intelligence, as well as respect for the rights of all citizens and immigrants regardless of race or religion.

    Trump, on the other hand, eagerly and outspokenly champions extreme methods that impinge on American standards, even including torture. He has openly approved of waterboarding prisoners to extract information that could produce intelligence that saves the lives of Americans in combat or of those in peril in our own communities.

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George H.W. Bush's defection is a big deal

    George H.W. Bush is planning to vote for Hillary Clinton. That's not considered major news by most mainstream outlets. But it should be.

    The story, first picked up by Politico late Monday night from a Facebook post by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the former Maryland lieutenant governor, got almost no play, for example, from the New York Times. It created only a very small flurry of interest on Twitter, at least judging from my feed.

    The only previous exceptions after Franklin Roosevelt to the norm that former presidents support their party's nominee were presidents who were aged, one president -- Richard Nixon -- whose support wasn't wanted, and one instance in which Jimmy Carter failed to endorse Bill Clinton's re-election in 1996.

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France’s Waste-Not Experiment

    France has embarked on two experiments we should take note of. First, the nation just banned all non-biodegradable disposable plastic cups, plates, and utensils. Second, they passed a law requiring supermarkets to donate unspoiled food they don’t want to charities instead of throwing it away.

    I used to work in a supermarket, so I’ve seen what gets thrown away. In fact, I’ve thrown good food away myself. Perfectly good loaves of bread, bagels, muffins, brownies, and pastries — I put it all in the trash.

    Why? Because I was required to, and I didn’t want to lose my job.

    A few times, I broke the store’s rules. I diverted food from the trash and snuck it out to give it to homeless people.

    I heard various explanations from the staff for why we couldn’t donate the food. One coworker claimed the store didn’t want a huge line of homeless people out the front door if word got out that free food was available. But that doesn’t explain why we didn’t give the food to a shelter.

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Donald Trump's black history fail

    Since June 2015, when Donald J. Trump entered the presidential race, there has been a list of long unseen, unheard or imagined things that have, for the electorate, become real.

    But on Tuesday evening in North Carolina, Trump's prevailing sense that oh so much is wrong with America and that he alone can fix it -- all of it -- may have detached him from reality.

    Speaking to a crowd gathered at a Trump rally in Kenansville, N.C., Trump said this:

    "We're going to rebuild our inner cities because our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they've ever been in before. Ever, ever, ever."

    Ever. Got that? Well, those who have cleared the grand bar of eighth-grade history should not.

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Confirmed: Trump campaign is controlling every word of prominent CNN commentator

    An insightful statement has emerged from the Donald Trump campaign. It concerns Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who was apparently fired from his post in June and then quickly signed on as a political commentator for CNN. A couple of weeks later, CNN self-disclosed that their new hire was receiving severance payments from the campaign. Those payments - $20,000 per month to Lewandowski's Green Monster Consulting - continued in August, according to the latest round of campaign finance reports. In response to questions about the setup, the Trump campaign said:

    Corey Lewandowski, who is no longer involved in the campaign, continues to receive monthly severance payments. The campaign will continue to honor its contract with Mr. Lewandowski, which stipulates he will be paid through the end of the year. These payments are in no way compensation for services rendered.

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Yes, it's hard to think about kids with cancer. But please don't look away.

    It's 6:30 a.m. and the sun is starting to peek out over the horizon. I take another gulp of my coffee, and leave the keys with the valet outside the hospital. I check my camera, making sure I have a formatted memory card and fresh batteries in my flash.

    As I grab my bag from the back seat, I can't help but notice the mismatched socks, leftover granola wrappers, and wrinkled school fliers that litter my car. I take a deep breath, thankful that my kids' seats are empty. I'm not at the hospital for them this morning. I'm there for 4-year-old Phoebe.

    About four years ago, I started taking pictures of sick kids. I look for smiles in hospital rooms and look past IV poles in hopes of capturing the fleeting moments of carefree childhoods that exist alongside tragic diagnoses and crippling test results. I look for little hands grasping onto hospital beds as toddlers take their first steps in brightly decorated triage rooms. My heart skips a beat when I see an older sister smile at a younger sibling, knowing that siblings, too, suffer when their loved ones are sick.

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When the county commission's prayer goes too far

    Plenty of local governments open their meetings with a quick, generic prayer from a member of the clergy. But is it different when the lawmakers themselves say "Let us pray" and then supplicate God to open everyone's heart to the message of Jesus Christ? Does that violate the Constitution?

    In a significant defeat for religious liberty, a federal appeals court has upheld a continuous practice of sectarian, public prayer by the members of a North Carolina board of county commissioners. The dissenting judge, the distinguished conservative J. Harvie Wilkinson, said the "seat of government" in the case was made to resemble "a house of worship." The court's majority said it was just following Supreme Court precedent.

    At the start of all the meetings of the Rowan County commissioners, one of the five -- all of whom are Christians and have been as long as anyone can remember -- invites those present stand for the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance. The commissioners take turns, but each typically opens by saying "Let us pray" or "Please pray with me."

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When it comes to climate change, let's get our priorities straight

    Policy expert Bjorn Lomborg answers The Washington Post's question: How much should the next president be willing to spend on mitigation or retooling for renewable energy?

    The next administration must recognize not only that climate change is a real problem but also that we are not on course to solve it. The next president needs the courage to discard our current feel-good but ineffective solutions. Ending our reliance on the fossil fuels that have powered two centuries of economic growth will require an energy revolution.

    Many policies focus on solving global warming by investing in solar and wind, but over the coming quarter-century, these technologies will contribute only marginally to the solution. Moreover, they are not competitive now and will be mostly inefficient for at least 25 years.

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What is going on here anyway?

    I know, it seems outrageous, But it's getting a lot of attention on some very respectable Web pages - which mainstream media won't mention:

    Donald Trump was not born in Queens,

    He was born in the Philippines,

    In a hotel in downtown Manila.

    Where his hair turned bright vanilla

    Due to vitamin deficiencies.

    His mom and dad were Celanese

    And left him with Franciscan nuns

    At the age of fourteen months.

    Adopted on the 3rd of June

    By a real estate tycoon

    Who took the little boy away

    To a mansion in the U.S.A.

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