In and About the News
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In and About the News
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Going Viral Can Be Good or Bad, Depending Who You Talk To

Going Viral Can Be Good or Bad, Depending Who You Talk To | In and About the News |
Trying to explain to my Polish mother that my recent blog post - Presidential Election: "A Sad and Tragic Day for Our Nation" - has gone viral has been a bit challenging to say the least: "Mama, you know that post I wrote the day after the elections?




“Well, a lot of people have read it so far. And most of them seem to really like it. In fact, I’ve gone viral!”


“What?! I told you not to go outside with wet hair! You never listen to me! ‘Mama, you’re so old fashioned,’ you always say, ‘Mama, that is an old Polish wife with a tail,’ you always say, and now look what has happened!”


“No, Mama, I’m talking about my post! I just wanted you to know that it’s very popular.”


“I don’t want to talk about post right now! Tell me more about virus. Have you called doctor? Do you need special ointment?”


“No mama, I don’t need special ointment.”


“You need garlic! Eat the garlic now! Are you eating it? I cannot hear you chewing the garlic!”


“Okay mama. I’m eating the garlic. Nom Nom Nom. MMMMMM. Delicious.”


“Good Girl. What are symptoms? Headache? Stomach? Fever? Rash?”


“No mama. I don’t have symptoms, I’m trying to tell you……

“No symptoms? Nothing good can come from virus with no symptoms! My 2nd cousin Franek, from my father’s side, had virus with no symptoms!”


“Well, what happened to him?”


“He died.”


“From the virus?”


“No. He ate bad beets.”


“Okay, mama, I have to go. I have a lot to do today. I love you.”


“Do not work too hard. Rest. You do not want virus to spread.”


“Well, actually, I kind of…… know what mama? You’re right. I’ll rest. Have a wonderful day.”


“Okay, you too. Call me if rash appears. I will come inspect in. In meantime, cover yourself in cabbage.”


“Goodbye mama.”



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Awakenings | In and About the News |

Happy 237th Birthday!




The legacy of the United States Marine Corps was born on November 10, 1775. . .

Via Sharla Shults
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Want To Protect the Election? Volunteer as a Poll Worker

Want To Protect the Election? Volunteer as a Poll Worker | In and About the News |

Two and a half hours is too long to wait to vote.
By Katherine Goldstein|Posted Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at 3:58 PM ET


The line to vote at my polling place in Brooklyn, N.Y. was two and a half hours long. I don’t live in a swing state with massive turnout, and there was no hotly contested local election or ballot initiative.


While many New Yorkers are suffering the after effects of Hurricane Sandy, fortunately, my polling place was unscathed. The multistep process of checking in, voting, and getting the ballot electronically scanned wasn’t what made the line drag. The problem, to put it bluntly, was the sweet old ladies manning the polls. God bless these women for volunteering, but it’s clear: If young people really want to protect voters, they should volunteer as poll workers.

At my polling place, it took two elderly ladies, in tandem, two to three minutes to find each voter’s name in the rolls, write down the pertinent information, and have each voter sign. The actual voting booths were virtually empty because it took each voter so long to get through the bottleneck at check-in. The line management was terrible, and no information being given to the hundreds of people waiting outside in the cold or to organize and streamline the process.

Several poll workers were sitting around, starting into space. The voters on either side of me in line both bailed after an hour, saying that they’d try later. I asked if people who didn’t want to wait could just cast a provisional ballot, and a poll worker told me she didn’t know.


Of course, poll volunteers aren’t experts in line management, nor are they brought on because they’re speedy with a pen. They’re brought on because they have the time and inclination to volunteer—and so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that so many volunteers are retirees. But couldn’t we back them up with some plucky, fast-moving young people?


After all, college students and young people with flexible schedules are already out in force volunteering for both campaigns. And with unemployment near 8 percent, surely retirees aren’t the only people with their days free! Rather than showing enthusiasm by knocking on doors the day of election, how about ensuring a smooth process for the people who are actually voting? Long lines are a serious barrier for full participation, so idealists can see it as an act of social justice. You even get paid.


And while Election Day isn’t a holiday for federal or state employees—or for pretty much anyone who isn’t an autoworker—there is one group of state employees who might be available. If you’re a teacher, why not take your grading day off and run the polls? You already know all about line management and dealing with grumpy, impatient people.
Heck, by the time my two-and-a-half hour wait ended this morning, I’d have been happy to let Occupy Wall Street run the voting stations—after witnessing their massively well-organized relief efforts being coordinated for Sandy victims I’d take a bunch of charming anarchist hippies over good-intentioned but tortoise-paced old people any day.


When I left the polling place, the line was about five times as long as it was when I got there. For all of you still waiting in line at MS 51 in Park Slope, I recommend you take advantage of Gov. Cuomo's declaring emergency voting at any polling location, and jump the line to ask for a provisional ballot. And before the next election, sign up to volunteer. That’s an even better way to effect change.

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Massachusetts OKs medical marijuana, but questions remain

Massachusetts OKs medical marijuana, but questions remain | In and About the News |

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts voters have overwhelmingly approved a move to legalize medical marijuana, yet questions remain over how distribution will be regulated and whether the state can stop abuses.


The law approved through Question 3 on Tuesday’s election ballot eliminates civil and criminal penalties for the use of marijuana by people with cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, AIDS and other conditions determined by a doctor. It will create nonprofit treatment centers to grow and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers


Opponents say they are concerned that the state Department of Public Health, which is supposed to regulate the treatment centers, will not be able to prevent abuses. The department has been criticized in recent months for a lack of oversight at a drug-testing lab that was shut down in August after a chemist allegedly acknowledged mishandling evidence and faking test results. The state pharmacy board, under the auspices of DPH, has also come under scrutiny in a fungal meningitis outbreak linked to a steroid distributed by a compounding pharmacy in Framingham.


‘‘They have had some documented problems and they are working very hard to address those, but those are major undertakings and now this is thrown at them as well. It’s a lot of work in a relatively short period of time,’’ said state Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, an opponent of the law.


‘‘I just think the law was poorly written and is ripe for exploitation,’’ he said.


The law, which will take effect Jan. 1, calls for the DPH to issue a set of regulations within 120 days after that. The DPH must decide what amount of marijuana constitutes the 60-day supply patients can get for their personal use, register patients and caregivers, register treatment centers that will distribute the marijuana; and register the treatment center’s personnel.


Spokespersons for both the DPH and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which oversees DPH, did not respond to requests to answer questions about how officials will go about regulating the treatment centers.


The law limits the number of centers to no more than 35 in 2013, but says the DPH could allow more after that.


Supporters say the law has built-in safeguards that will prevent Massachusetts from encountering the problems seen in California and Colorado, where hundreds of marijuana dispensaries have opened and sparked complaints about increased crime and other social problems.


‘‘We only have 35 dispensaries versus the hundreds that are in Los Angeles or Denver. Nonprofits will be doing the dispensaries,’’ said Peter Hayashi, a neuropsychologist from Newton who suffers from chronic, debilitating nerve pain and supported the law to legalize medical marijuana.


‘‘The Department of Public Health is hardly a hotbed of licentiousness or recklessness. I have confidence that they'll be able to handle the question of the number (of dispensaries) in a reasonable manner.


Supporters also cite the penalties for violating the law. Anyone who fraudulently uses a DPH registration could be sentenced to up to six months in county jail, while those who fraudulently use a registration card to sell marijuana for non-medical uses could face up to five years in state prison.


Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said the mixed experiences in other states caused him to have his own misgivings about the ballot question initially. But he said now that the measure has been approved, the DPH has the responsibility for drafting regulations.


‘‘They will do so and do so well,’’ Patrick said Wednesday. ‘‘They'll be fully vetted as you know in this process, and we will learn as we go.’’ ‘‘That’s been the secret of success around health care reform and a host of other legislative initiatives over the last few years, and I suspect that will also be the case with medical marijuana.’’


Heidi Heilman, who headed the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, a group that worked to defeat the ballot question, said she is concerned that the broad language in the law will open up the door for many people to get marijuana legally. The law lists nine specific medical conditions, but also says patients with ‘‘other conditions’’ can receive marijuana with written permission from their doctors.


‘‘People can get medical marijuana for headaches, insomnia, back pain. That will increase the demand, and with that comes an increase in supply. That’s what happened in other states,’’ Heilman said.


‘It’s a billion-dollar industry that we just opened the door to here in Massachusetts. They are going to come in and capitalize on anyone in pain and our young people."



Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc contributed to this report.

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Nor'easter threatens up to a foot of snow in wake of Sandy

Nor'easter threatens up to a foot of snow in wake of Sandy | In and About the News |
Updated at 7:13 a.m.: NEW YORK - A new storm closed in on the Northeast coast Wednesday, threatening to dump up to 12 inches of snow in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.


"Mother Nature is not cutting us a break along the East Coast," winter weather expert Tom Niziol told The Weather Channel on Wednesday. "We've got a lot of cold air in place down in the lower part of the atmosphere, and it is looking more like snowfall event for good portions of New Jersey, up through eastern Pennsylvania, right up through southeastern New York into New England.”

"This is a nor'easter. It's not a massive nor'easter by winter standards, but at this time of year immediately after Sandy's wrath and destruction, this isn't what we want,” he added.

View more videos at:

From Storm's city-by-city forecasts
Full coverage of Sandy's aftermath
Want to help the recovery? Here's how!

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Election day in a small town …

Election day in a small town … | In and About the News |

We are, in some ways, a microcosm of the nation … yet we are also very different. We’re living in a liberal, highly educated and urbanized state, yet this is essentially a rural community. We express the commonalities of both urban and suburban communities. We are everyman and everywoman … and yet we are entirely different and unique.

We voted, as did most people in the United States – or so I fondly hope. The polls were busy, but the lines moves along briskly and the wait was minimal, even on long lines. And Barack Obama was reelected. This is good news, but the elections results are also troubling. Troubling because the country is obviously so divided along traditional racial lines. The Old South is still voting white and white men are still voting for white men.

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Storm of the Century – Sandy and me by Emily Guido

Storm of the Century – Sandy and me by Emily Guido | In and About the News |

I am writing about a personal experience.   The hurricane Sandy was my first time I felt like I was in real danger.   I have been through tons of tornadoes in Southern Indiana, Tornado Alley but ... NOTHING LIKE THIS!


The best first person story of the storm I've seen to date and some exceptional pictures!

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Wind and water will increase through tomorrow evening

Wind and water will increase through tomorrow evening | In and About the News |
The picture above tells the story this afternoon, Sandy is one large storm. Winds of tropical storm force are being felt 3 times further away from the storm than would be typical. The storm is so large that hundreds...
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My Plane Out of NYC in Advance of Sandy, and Mitt Romney's America

My Plane Out of NYC in Advance of Sandy, and Mitt Romney's America | In and About the News |

Leaving New York City yesterday bound for California on one of the last flights out of JFK before the airport closed, a flight attendant told me I was lucky to already have my ticket. In light of the pending hurricane, the airlines had just hours before jacked up ticket prices on the flight to $4,000 (I had paid a few hundred dollars when I bought it last week)...


I couldn’t help think this was a miniature version of the America we’ll have if Mitt Romney is elected president. Rational and efficient in terms of supply and demand, guaranteed to maximize profits, but fundamentally unfair.

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Hurricane Sandy gains strength on East Coast path

Hurricane Sandy gains strength on East Coast path | In and About the News |
A superstorm threatening 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the nation gained strength Monday, packing winds of 90 mph just hours before it is expected to make landfall, forecasters said.


The National Hurricane Center said Monday morning that the Category 1 hurricane is moving north-northwest at 18 mph, and will soon turn northwestward. At 11:00 a.m. ET the storm was centered about 260 miles south-southeast of New York City. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 175 miles from the storm's center, with tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 485 miles. Maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, with higher gusts, were measured.

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FANGS and HEARTS week Review of Bram Stoker’s “DRACULA” and GIVEAWAY

FANGS and HEARTS week Review of Bram Stoker’s “DRACULA” and GIVEAWAY | In and About the News |

I think you all know the story of how my sister, Connie, and I used to watch Dark Shadows and other soaps together while her body was slowly dying and deteriorating with Leukemia. I would listen to her talk about the gorgeous men on the black and white RCA Television, and we would titter and laugh. She used to joke, “Maybe Barnabas Collins can give me a transfusion?” as our neighbor, who was a nurse, would hang the blood bag up on her hospital bed.


Back then, they would keep you in the hospital; however, Connie begged to be home with us. So in Connie and I’s bedroom was a mini-hospital with hospital bed, small refrigerator for her meds and blood, her princess pink phone, and of course her TV hung on the wall by my brothers. My bed was in a corner and we used to talk away the hours together.

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Hurricane Sandy and nor'easter combining into superstorm

Hurricane Sandy and nor'easter combining into superstorm | In and About the News |

As a potentially historic storm continues to take shape off the east coast meteorologists are abuzz with the atmospheric uniqueness of this system. While in some ways the pieces of this storm are similar to 1991's perfect storm, when hurricane Grace became absorbed into a nor'easter and then merged with a cold front, that storm never came onshore and this one will. Sandy is currently in the middle of developing nor'easter and over the next 24 hours the entire system will coalesce together moving as a system within a system. As this storm moves up the coast, it will do something we have never seen a tropical system do, it will hook left or west towards the coast. This will put areas to the north of the center of the storm in the most danger from the storm surge. The reason for that is because to the north of the center the winds will blow onshore and pile water against the coastline. Inlets, bays and harbors will see water levels rise for many hours and several high tide cycles.

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A look back at the Blizzard of 1978 -

A look back at the Blizzard of 1978 - | In and About the News |

When the storm began moving into eastern Massachusetts on the afternoon of Feb. 6, thousands of people were freed from their jobs so they could get home safely. But the wind-blown snows began falling at well over an inch an hour, and soon the occupants of some 3,000 cars and 500 trucks became stranded in rapidly-developing snowdrifts along Rt. 128. Fourteen people would die from carbon monoxide poisoning as they huddled in their snow-trapped vehicles.

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Let’s move to post-election bipartisanship

Let’s move to post-election bipartisanship | In and About the News |
Now that Election Day is over, it is time for a new spirit of bipartisan collaboration -- in Washington and in Springfield, a Daily Herald editorial says.


When Rep. Joe Walsh visited with our editorial board a couple of months ago, he predicted, to our surprise, that once the election was over, we’d see a stronger spirit of collaboration in Washington.

We say surprise because if there’s anyone who’s seemed to us to be reflexively obstructive, it has been Walsh, a Tea Party Republican who refused even to attend the president’s State of the Union address. Intransigence, we would have guessed, was his middle name.


But in that thoughtful discussion with our editorial board, Walsh contended that from his perspective, the intransigence of the past two years was necessary because of how huge the debt and the spending had become.


“A line needed to be drawn in the sand. Absolutely,” he said.

But now, even Walsh expressed frustration about Washington’s inability to get anything done. Asked to name the biggest surprise he found when he went to Washington, he said, “How difficult it is to move the ball in any direction.”


He said the past two years have been about saying “No.” But now that “No” has effectively been stated, he added, the next two years should be more collaborative, and he predicted that would the case whether the White House occupant is Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.


“In either scenario,” Walsh said, “you’re going to see a concerted effort to work together.”


If there is anything that encourages us on this, the morning after, it is that even someone as line-in-the-sand as Joe Walsh sees the need for a renewed bipartisanship.


That the public longs for this bipartisanship, there is little doubt.

In the final days of the presidential campaign, the messages (defined no doubt by the candidates’ internal polling) centered around the need to work across the aisle.


The Los Angeles Times reported that Romney told a crowd in Ohio, “You hoped that President Obama would live up to his promise to bring people together to solve big problems, but he hasn’t, and I will.” Obama, the Times said, meanwhile told a crowd in New Hampshire, “If you want to break the gridlock in Congress, you’ll vote for leaders who feel the same way, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans or independents.”


If the politicians are campaigning on bipartisanship, we only hope that now that Election Day has passed, they follow through.

We agree with Walsh that the country has huge problems. The state of Illinois does too.


The only way these problems get solved is through statesmanship, through working together, through collaboration, and yes, through compromise.


To those elected Tuesday, congratulations. The task now is to get something done. We’re counting on you to work in a bipartisan spirit.


Work together. Don’t let us down.

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Presidential Election: "Sad and Tragic Day for Our Nation" ?

Presidential Election: "Sad and Tragic Day for Our Nation" ? | In and About the News |

After hearing that President Barack Obama had just been reelected to a second four-year-term as our nation’s president I turned to my laptop and watched as Facebook suddenly became a blur of emotions, with months of political discourse coming to a head and clashing in a sea of insults and joyous celebration.

For perspective, I posted this on my timeline:


“In 1981, my parents fled Poland two weeks before Martial law. I was 4, my sister was 8 months old. They left the only home they ever knew and came to America, because they knew it was filled with promise and opportunity rather than riddled with the side effects of Communism, like crappy health care and 5 hour long lines for stale bread. Some are elated tonight, and some are downright depressed, but know this: we get to pick again in 4 years. Before you bad mouth our country, try living somewhere else, where there is No choice and truly No hope. Count your blessings America, because there are many.”


I awoke this morning knowing our country continued to be greatly divided and that emotions were running high and I checked in on my favorite social media sites to see how everyone was faring.


But my fascination quickly turned to disgust when I kept seeing the same status popping up over and over again:

“A sad and tragic day for our nation.”


Disappointing? Sure, if your guy didn’t win, I’m sure you’re feeling disappointed.


Frustrated? Nervous? Deflated? If you were counting on a different outcome, then of course you’re likely to feel these things.


But to exclaim that this is a tragic day for our nation?




This is what TRAGIC looks like. Photo courtesy 9/11 Photos via Flickr.


If I sound like I’m scolding some of you, it’s because I am. Get it together people and gain some perspective. Because this country will go to hell in a hand basket not because of a single man, but because we allow ourselves to forget just how amazing and resilient and FREE our nation truly is.


Maybe you woke up this morning feeling frightened about your future because you were counting on the other guy to make things better. But you also woke up in the same country where you are Free to express your religious beliefs, Free to speak your mind, Free to choose where you want to live, and Free to think idiotic things such as “this is a tragic day for our nation.”


I urge you to find a way today to remind yourself just how good we have it, even if you’re facing economic strife or some sort of adversity. I can tell you this much: as a mom of a special needs child, there’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be because I know that even though we have a long way to go in the way of awareness, accessibility, and acceptance, we are light years ahead of so many other countries in the world.


Today I un-friended the first person since the Presidential campaigns began. She threw a tantrum on Facebook and compared our President and those who voted for him to terrorists.


I draw the line there. Those photos above? That’s the handiwork of terrorists.


So if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps today because Mitt Romney won’t be moving into the White House come January, remember that we live in a nation where you get to do this all over again in four years.


In the meantime, empower others by getting involved in your community somehow. Do something kind for someone. Be someone’s hero. Spread kindness and tolerance. Teach your children that diversity is the cornerstone of this country and show them that not only is it possible to lose with dignity and respect, it’s imperative if we’re to move forward as nation.

Then meet up with your coworkers at the water cooler or your friends at the bar, and talk about what an idiot you think Obama is.


Because you can.


UPDATE: I’m so happy to know that this post has resonated with so many of you. I wrote it from my heart and I feel the exact same way today. Of course, I wrote it hoping we could all join hands and sing Kumbaya while rainbow colored unicorn poop fell from the sky, but alas, (and according to some of the comments) we just aren’t there yet. So in the meantime, if you have a comment, please remember to remain respectful or it will be deleted. Because unlike our fair nation, this website here is a straight up dictatorship.

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Frustration mounts over lingering power outages |

Frustration mounts over lingering power outages | | In and About the News |

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Vincent Pina finally saw a couple of utility trucks coming down his street Thursday and started to wave in anticipation. But they just cruised past his house and kept on going.


He hung his head in resignation.


"The thing that gets me the most is that there is no flood damage. I don't have any branches down. I have no wires down," said the Long Islander, who put a hand-painted sign out front that read: "Still No Power."

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Delegitimization of Obama begins

Delegitimization of Obama begins | In and About the News |

The conservative blogosphere has lit up with the specious argument that if Romney wins the popular vote while Obama carries the Electoral College, it would undermine his mandate and justify continued GOP obstruction.


The Republican drive to delegitimize President Barack Obama’s possible second term has started.


As recent polls have allowed for the possibility that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney could win the popular vote while the president carries the Electoral College, the conservative blogosphere has lit up not only with long-overdue attacks on the Electoral College but also with the specious argument that a popular-vote loss for Obama will undermine his mandate and justify continued obstruction by Republican lawmakers.




Under the Constitution, the Electoral College winner becomes president. Candidates know that when they plan their campaigns, and wise candidates could care less about the popular vote when they plot strategy and deploy resources. The popular vote, therefore, is a misleading measure of a candidate’s success or the strength of a mandate.


Obama came into office in 2009 with a powerful mandate after an overwhelming victory in both the popular vote and the Electoral College. Yet the experience of his first term demonstrates all too painfully that Republicans feel no need for excuses to obstruct every initiative the president supports. Rather, it is enough for them – as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) so boldly stated – to pursue the goal of defeating the president by denying him success.

Their strategy has been to refuse to compromise, or even support, measures they had previously promoted, so they can assert that the president failed to bring people together and could not forge legislative results. They have worked tirelessly to stymie him ‑ and then accused him of being stymied.


The list of thwarted initiatives is long. Republican efforts nearly defeated the president’s stimulus bill, which economists agree created millions of jobs. They fought to prevent passage of universal healthcare ‑ turning on the individual mandate, a Republican creation. They opposed or slowed his Cabinet and agency nominees, preventing him from getting key people in place to staff his administration. They also threatened routinely to filibuster judicial nominees ‑ even when they had no substantive objections.


In the most irresponsible action taken by any political party in memory, Republicans united to bring the country to the brink of fiscal default and refused any deficit-reduction package that contained a dollar of new revenue. The damage to the country was significant ‑ and unnecessary.


In 2000, of course, Al Gore won the popular vote by more than a half-million votes but never contested the notion that the winner of the Electoral College vote should become president. Democrats did not question George W. Bush’s mandate because he had lost the popular vote. Rather, many resented Bush because he had lost the popular vote and had persuaded five justices of the Supreme Court to intervene in the electoral process to award him an undeserved Electoral College victory.


Fortunately, repeating that scenario remains highly unlikely.

Polling shows that Obama leads the popular vote in every region except the South, where, according to Gallup, he trails by 22 percent. While Obama trails among white voters in other regions, nowhere is this discrepancy as great as in the states that fought to preserve slavery. No small part of Obama’s Southern deficit is due to the Republican Party’s embrace of voters fueled by racial resentment, which has brought the party consistent support across the former Confederacy. Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act the following year, the South has moved steadily into the GOP column. Beginning with Richard M. Nixon, the Republican Party pursued its “Southern strategy” to encourage white voter backlash against remedies for racial injustice. Without these voters, Romney would not be competitive in the popular vote.


By contrast, Obama enjoys enormous leads in major population centers, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and in the states of New York, California and Illinois. He is certain to receive all their electoral votes without spending any real effort campaigning or running a TV ad in any of them.


If the goal were to accrue as many votes as possible nationwide, the Obama campaign could pump resources into getting out the vote in these states, as well as the rest of the Northeast ‑ where the only competitive presidential contest is in tiny New Hampshire. An Obama campaign to win the national popular vote would look far different from his campaign to win a majority in the Electoral College ‑ and would produce a far larger popular vote.


Sadly, the popular vote in this election is likely to be further skewed by Hurricane Sandy, which hit most devastatingly in the Obama strongholds of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In many areas, the infrastructure needed to operate and get people to the polls will not be fully operational on Election Day. Perhaps more significant, people trying to recover from Sandy’s devastation are, quite understandably, less likely to focus on getting to the polls. As fundamental as the right to vote is, in the absence of power, fuel, food and transportation, it is likely to slip as a priority.


In the unlikely event that Obama should be reelected without carrying the popular vote, however, there will surely be members of the opposition irresponsibly hurling that fact around as reason to reject the president’s second-term agenda.


Anyone who believes them should be embarrassed. Rather, we should all turn our energy to rethinking the Electoral College ‑ which has long since become obsolete.


PHOTO: The Supreme Court in Washington. Molly Riley / REUTERS

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Obama Beats Back the Right-Wing Tide

Obama Beats Back the Right-Wing Tide | In and About the News |
The president spent two years setting up this tough victory—turning the election into a stark ideological choice and crafting a brilliant ground game.


President Barack Obama made history again, with a victory that defied a decades-long trend: incumbents don't triumph when the economy remains in the doldrums and the public sentiment is one of unease. In an archly ideological race that pitted a progressive case for government against a conservative assault on government, the president, burdened by a slow recovery but bolstered by a brilliant ground game based on hard-and-fast demographic realities, beat back Mitt Romney, who embraced the tea-partyization of the Republican Party and campaigned (often in an ugly fashion) for the chance to be CEO of the United States.


The election, a close-call for Obama, signaled that division is still rampant within the political culture. Yet in his victory speech before thousands in a Chicago convention hall, Obama spoke of the "difficult compromises needed to move this country forward." He insisted, "we are an American family and we rise and fall together." Moments later, he strode across a confetti-drenched stage, as the PA played Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising." He had mounted something of a political resurrection.

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OBAMA WINS SECOND TERM | In and About the News |
Elected on hope in a season of despair, President Obama won his first term by being the right guy at the right time. He won his second term making Mitt Romney the wrong guy.


Obama turned what could have been a stinging referendum on his economic stewardship into a pass-fail test on Romney's character. A multi-million dollar media blitz casting aspersions on his extraordinary wealth and successful business career began weeks before Romney had even earned enough delegates to claim the nomination. In a campaign reminiscent of former President Bush's takedown of John Kerry's military record in 2004, Romney was not only stripped of his greatest asset in a race about how to stimulate economic growth, it became a liability.


"Obama won by thoroughly and completely trashing Mitt Romney and his reputation," said Republican pollster Whit Ayres. "It is the classic definition of winning ugly."


But to exclusively blame the attacks from Obama and his super PAC allies for Romney's defeat overlooks the Republican nominee's own shortcomings. The smoothly-coiffed, buttoned-down financier struggled to come across as a man of the people, a problem exacerbated by his vow to perpetuate tax breaks for the wealthy, several foot-in-mouth gaffes on the campaign trail, and a secretly recorded video of him at a tony fundraiser dismissing "47 percent" of Americans whom he said pay no income taxes and consider themselves "victims."


The first African-American president also capitalized on an increasingly diverse electorate and used sophisticated turnout tools to make sure supporters, even casual ones, cast votes. "It's like the demographic changes are making the old rules about unemployment sinking an incumbent obsolete," said Democratic strategist Joe Trippi. "The Obama campaign knew they weren't supposed to get re-elected, so they figured out who they needed to register to vote and turn out to change that."


Again, Romney didn't help himself amid the changing demographics, alienating the fast-growing Hispanic community by shaking an iron fist at illegal immigrants during the GOP primaries. He would have persevered over his more conservative but politically implausible Republican rivals, anyway -- though as a Mormon who had spearheaded a government-led overhaul of health care as governor of Massachusetts, Romney was ill-suited to tap into the energy of the social conservative and tea party movements. He accepted the nomination as the least popular nominee from a major party in decades. Wrong guy, wrong time.


Romney badly misread the electorate, assuming the dragging economy would automatically turn voters against the president. Yet many still blamed the recession on former President Bush and were growing accustomed to incremental economic growth. It was a pitiable recovery, but a recovery nonetheless. Offering few details about his economic agenda, Romney didn't look like a tempting alternative.


"The Romney team was convinced it was a time when likability was a secondary factor," said Republican strategist John Brabender, who advised Romney's one-time GOP rival, Rick Santorum. "They forgot they had to give people a reason to vote for Romney, not just against Obama."


While Romney was still fending off Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, Obama was quietly opening campaign offices all over the country, re-launching his vaunted ground game from 2008. Then the Obama campaign went into overdrive; from the time Romney emerged as the likely nominee in April through most of September,


Obama outgunned him on television nearly three times over with predominantly negative ads, according to Kantar Media CMAG. Republican super PACS evened the score but didn't control the damage. The Obama campaign and its allies branded the former chief executive of Bain Capital as a tax-dodging, job-outsourcing villain who would shred the safety net holding up the elderly and the poor.


Romney also blew silver-platter opportunities, fumbling through a high-profile trip overseas and allowing a cringe-worthy bit by Clint Eastwood to overshadow an otherwise carefully choreographed convention. In contrast, Obama made hay of his accomplishments, touting the auto bailout to overcome resistance from blue-collar workers and brandishing Osama bin Laden's death to shore up his party's traditional vulnerabilities on national security.


Democrats also drove wedges between Romney and two influential swing voting blocs - women and Hispanics - with ads attacking his positions on abortion and immigration. The ads suggesting Romney opposed birth control and abortion even in cases of rape and incest simply weren't true, but he, not Obama, paid the bigger price.


It wasn't until after the convention in September that Romney got serious about investing in Spanish-language advertising, and it wasn't until the October debates that the self-described "severely conservative" candidate narrowed the gender gap by pitching himself as a political moderate. Then came Hurricane Sandy. In the pivotal homestretch, the focus moved off of Romney's momentum and onto Obama's role as commander in chief.


In the end, the damaged wreaked by the storm on the New Jersey shore was an apt metaphor for what Obama and his allies had done to Romney's reputation.

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Rescooped by Marilyn Armstrong from Tech Gadgetry!

Samsung Galaxy Note II Smart Dock.. turns phablet into desktop

Samsung Galaxy Note II Smart Dock.. turns phablet into desktop | In and About the News |

"A new Smart Dock for the Samsung Galaxy Note II has surfaced, turning the stylus-toting smartphone into a mini desktop setup with plentiful connectivity for a display and wired peripherals. Listed at Samsung US’ site as well as at UK retailer Clove, the $99.99 accessory has three USB ports and a full-sized HDMI output, squirting up to 1080p Full HD onto a TV or monitor."

Via Mo Hall
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Hurricane Sandy Strengthens and Heads to Northeast

Hurricane Sandy Strengthens and Heads to Northeast | In and About the News |

More than 50 million people from the mid-Atlantic to New England braced Saturday for a potentially massive storm, as Hurricane Sandy churned northward on a collision course with another storm system that is sweeping in from the west.


Thousands of people were evacuated from low-lying areas, governors across the region declared states of emergency, and federal officials issued urgent warnings for people to prepare, saying that the storm’s impact would stretch to the Ohio Valley. The storm was bringing wind and rain Sunday morning to the North Carolina coast.


While tracking models showed the center of Hurricane Sandy likely to make landfall late Monday evening or early Tuesday, the director of the National Hurricane Center, Rick Knabb, said that the weather was expected to worsen well before then, with high winds and heavy rains starting to batter the region as early as Sunday night. The exact path of the storm was unclear, complicating preparation efforts.



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What a vote for Mitt means

What a vote for Mitt means | In and About the News |
Electing Romney would make the rich even more fabulously wealthy than they already are...


Just last Thursday, executives of more than eighty large American corporations called for tax reform that “raises revenues and reduces the deficit.”


The practical question is who pays for those additional revenues. If Romney’s view prevails and the rich don’t pay more, everyone else has to.


That’s nonsensical. The rich are far richer than they used to be, while most of the rest of us are poorer. The latest data show the top 1 percent garnering 93 percent of all the gains from the recovery so far. But median family income is 8 percent lower than it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation.

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Birds in Winter: How do they survive? |

Birds in Winter: How do they survive? | | In and About the News |
When the weather gets cold and snowy, many people wonder — even worry — about how the birds will survive.


So apparently the answer to "where do the swans go" the answer is "wherever they can."

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High Wind Warning in Massachusetts

High Wind Warning in Massachusetts | In and About the News |
Active until Oct 30, 2012 6:00 AM EDT - Issued Oct 28, 2012 7:24 AM EDT by National Weather Service.


Damaging winds likely across much Southern New England Monday and Monday evening.

Hurricane Sandy will track northward along the Eastern Seaboard today, before Turing West and most likely making landfall in New Jersey late Monday. Its strong wind field will expand northward into southern New England Monday and Monday evening, likely resulting in widespread damaging winds and power outages across southern New England. Highest confidence for this occurring is along the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the Islands.


High Wind Warning in effect from 6 am Monday to 6 am EDT Tuesday.


The National Weather Service in Taunton has issued a High Wind Warning, which is in effect from 6 am Monday to 6 am EDT Tuesday. The High Wind Watch is no longer in effect.


Locations: Central and Western MA.
Hazard, damaging winds.
Winds: northeast 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 65 mph.
Timing: strongest winds will occur Monday and Monday evening.
Impacts: widespread power outages expected from downed trees and power lines.

Marilyn Armstrong's comment, October 28, 2012 11:32 AM
I'm really glad we took down some of our trees, especially the sickly ones nearest the house.
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Angela Fritz's WunderBlog : Sandy tied for 2nd largest tropical cyclone since 1988 | Weather Underground

Angela Fritz's WunderBlog : Sandy tied for 2nd largest tropical cyclone since 1988 | Weather Underground | In and About the News |

Hurricane Sandy is now the 2nd largest tropical cyclone in the Atlantic since 1988, tied with Hurricane Lili of 1996. Sandy's tropical storm-force winds now extend 450 nautical miles from the center on the northeast side of the hurricane. This is a very, very large storm, and I suspect the #1 spot (Olga of 2001) is in jeopardy, as well.


1. Olga, 2001: 600
2. Lili, 1996, 450
2. Sandy, 2012: 450
3. Tanya 1995: 400
3. Irene 1999: 400
3. Igor, 2010: 400
4. Wilma, 2005: 375
5. Felix, 1995: 360
5. Michael, 2000 360
5. Irene, 2005: 360
5. Irene, 2005 360
5. Florence, 2006: 360

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