Archive for optimism

What if... ?


what if

There is so much bad news being reported lately, and so many of us need a break. Please add your own What Ifs in Comments. My list is certainly not complete, so feel free to pile on. Take a moment to fantasize. What if...?

What if...

The news media reported accurately, objectively, and without bias?

People were rewarded for their competence, but not for incompetence?

People in positions of authority refused to succumb to desire for power and instead made fairness, compassion, kindness, objectivity, and good judgment their goals?

Everyone simply acted nice to each other?

People smiled and laughed more?

The color of your skin didn't matter at all? Ever again?

Your sexual orientation didn't matter at all?

Scared white people who will inevitably become a minority didn't care about that at all?

Religious groups didn't try to impose their beliefs on others?

Atheists were embraced by those of faith? What if an atheist became our next president?

Lethal weapons ceased to exist?

Lies were obsolete?

Blame were placed only on those who truly deserved it?

Baseless smear campaigns ceased to exist?

Women were treated/paid as equals?

Women were allowed to make their own decisions without men imposing their will on them?

Rapists ceased to exist?

Children were always loved and never abused or mistreated?

People stopped using and discarding other people?

There were less greed and more altruism?

Businesses cared about their customers enough to keep air and water clean and make the health and welfare of others a priority?

Terrorist groups looked at themselves in the mirror, did a double take, and started laughing? And then morphed into philanthropic and human rights groups?

Everyone old enough to vote could, and did?

Hunger was a thing of the past, food and water were plentiful?

All food was good for us and we could eat/drink as much of anything as we wanted without any negative consequences?

There were no diseases or extreme physical pain? What if everyone passed away peacefully when their time came?

Fear was rare?

Drugs (and drug ads!) were unnecessary?

Mental illness were as easily recognized and as easily treated as the common cold is?

All violence stopped immediately? Would all those angry people with guns and knives suddenly look sheepish and start cracking up? And then become reasonable, mentally stable, and friendly? What if that happened?

Opposing parties came together to work out the nation's problems instead of resisting or ignoring obvious solutions?

Everyone followed the most important rules of improvisational comedy and listened carefully to one another, then defaulted to the premise "Yes, and..." instead of, "No"?

Communicating were a priority? And people were good at it?

Animals were never mistreated or abused?

Everyone had a sense of humor?

People stopped using the words "folks" and "gentleman" inappropriately? Criminals are not gentlemen. Folks is a friendly word; use it that way.

People were hired to do what they loved, and then they were paid well to do it?

People habitually made other people feel important and accepted?

Computers worked properly?

There was no small print?

Old people were made to feel important and beautiful?

What if any of these questions could be answered without being prefaced by, "Yeah, right..."?

random thoughts smaller


Wanted: Dimples, optimism, and innocence. Paging Shirley Temple!


optimism via FunnyJunk dot comVia

As you probably know by now, Shirley Temple Black passed away, and with her, a spirit of optimism and joy that this country sorely needs today. This is one of those times that a tribute is in order, not only because a beloved legend is gone, but so is much of what she represented.

Shirley Temple gave the nation hope during the Great Depression (so that's where all that "hope and change" stuff started). She made fans, both adults and children, feel like smiling again, because everything would be okay, even during an era so bleak that Americans were literally committing suicide. She brought fleeting Moments of Happy just as millions felt hopeless.

When I was three years old, my mom wanted to surprise me, so she thumb-tacked her "Animal Crackers in My Soup" sheet music to my little bulletin board. I promptly took out a purple crayon and scribbled all over the adorable, dimpled face on the cover, because I was so envious of that rotten, cheerful, little kid and all her talent. My mother was furious with me, asking why I would do such a thing! I was confused and way too young to articulate my motives, so I simply apologized. I never forgot how upset I made her. I'm sure Shirley wouldn't have been too thrilled, either. Did I mention I managed to vandalize a collector's item?

Throughout my childhood, Shirley Temple was a role model to me, my friends, and of course, to multiple generations throughout the decades. She was smart, she was funny, she made Little Orphan Annie look like a pessimist, she could tap dance up a storm with the amazing Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and she could hold her own against Lionel Barrymore.

By the time I was an actress in my twenties, she even helped contribute to my a-lot-to-be-desired-impressionist skills in a routine I did in a local Hollywood play. The original stand-up wasn't strong enough, so the author let me run with my own "saccharine off" between Temple and Hayley Mills (known for her "Glad Game" in Disney's "Pollyanna"). "Shirley" won. Even she couldn't take all that happy clappy Glad Game jabber and told "Hayley" to shut up. Literally.

That was then. Now we could sure use a big dose of Shirley and Hayley's sunny attitudes, even if sugary musicals aren't your thing. What little Curly Top provided was a way out, a respite from all the doom and gloom. Today we not only have a struggling economy to contend with, we have crescendoing belligerence, bullying, obstruction, and bellicosity blaring at us from our Tee Vee, Radio, and Internet Machines 24/7. No matter how hard we try, we can't avoid the noise.

Over time, even our favorite escape hatches-- movies-- have become louder, harsher, and more violent. There are no more Shirley Temples out there to sing and dance us back into our lost innocence, elusive personal triumph, and buoyancy of spirit, mindsets that are all too quickly becoming idiosyncrasies relegated to distant memories.

So it's up to us, every person for him/herself, isn't that what Republicans keep telling us? As Shirley might have said, that's a lot of hooey. And as Hillary wrote, it takes a village. Times are tough, so it's time to take a page or two from the Book of Temple:

Remember the Golden Rule.

And keep smiling:


Democratic candidates inspired to run because of #GOPshutdown


cautiously optimistic

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) was at a fundraising breakfast in Washington D.C. last week, and he suggested some good news for those on the left: The disastrous GOP government shutdown is putting at least three new districts in play.

A source who attended said that yes indeed, the inspiration was the Republican lunacy to shut the federal government down. However, Dems needs to win 17 seats, and midterm elections don't exactly bring out Democratic voters. It's also when the party in the White House traditionally loses, not wins, seats.

The Hill:

The head of the House Democratic campaign committee says the government shutdown has significantly boosted his recruitment efforts. [...]

And now they’re calling us and can’t wait to run against this reckless Republican Congress," Israel told the gathering of the DCCC's Chairman Council.

Democrats are understandably motivated by the "GOP's jaw-dropping, "horrifying" poll numbers: "That's the end of the world! That's terrible!" enough to step into the ring. Don't get too giddy, though, this isn't a slam dunk. But still, it's a glimmer of hope where there was none.

Israel mentioned Nebraska's 2nd District, Washington's 8th District, and New Jersey's 2nd District.

During the breakfast, Israel outlined polling that's inspired Democratic recruits in some of these districts, including the 8-point lead Democrats hold in a generic ballot test in the newest Wall Street Journal poll, and the 9-point lead the party holds in the most recent Quinnipiac survey.

To make this dream come true, two things are necessary: Donations and getting out the vote. If you do neither, then you can kiss that glimmer good bye.

More details at the link.

GOP fail worst poll for them ever


Poll-itics: Yet another poll shows President Obama's approvals spiking


Public Policy Polling has President Obama's approval numbers rising (50%).

So does Quinnipiac, reporting his highest approval level since Osama bin Laden’s 2011 death (53%).

Now an Associated Press-GfK poll has him, again, at his highest numbers since May 2011 at 57 percent.

To add to the good news for the president, more Americans say the nation is heading in the right direction now than at any time since the start of his first term.

They must have seen the brand spanking new Bikini Graph and the one showing the jobless rate reaching a four-year low.

Republicans must be tearing out what's left of their hair.


Poll-itics: U.S. Satisfaction Up to 30%, Highest in Three Years


Via Gallup, where there are more details and another graph. Slowly but surely, things are looking up:

Democrats are driving the rise in satisfaction this year, not surprising given that an incumbent Democratic president is seeking re-election. The Sept. 6-9 Gallup poll, conducted the final day of the Democratic National Convention and the first three days after it, shows satisfaction among Democrats surpassing the majority level. A small fraction of Republicans, 7%, say they are satisfied, as do 25% of independents.

The September update marks the first time satisfaction has surpassed 50% among any party subgroup since August 2009, when a majority of Democrats were also satisfied.


Economists: U.S. economy will grow faster than expected this year


Via Steve Benen at the Maddow Blog

USA Today:

The U.S. economy will grow faster than expected this year, despite the headwinds of higher gas prices and Europe's financial crisis, according to USA TODAY's quarterly survey of economists. [...]

Economists think job growth for the rest of the year will be about 20% stronger than they did after Christmas. [...]

The biggest reason: Consumers have bought more vehicles and gone out to eat more often, even though gas prices had been expected to make them spend less, says Jeff Rosen, an economist at Briefing Research in Chicago. [...]

The economy will grow 2.5% this year vs. their 2.3% forecast three months ago.

And gas prices have dropped. Will they give President Obama credit for that after blaming him when they rose? Fat chance. And they shouldn't.

More here.


Gallup- Four in 10 Americans Now Say Economy Is Growing


Inching it back up.

PRINCETON, NJ -- Forty percent of Americans believe the U.S. economy is growing, up from 27% last April and 3% in 2008. While this represents a major shift in economic perceptions over the last four years, nearly half of Americans, 46%, still say the economy is in either a recession or a depression. An additional 13% say it is slowing down.

Negative perceptions of the economy were already the dominant view in January 2008. These become significantly worse in September 2008 -- after the start of the global financial crisis -- when many more Americans said the economy was in a recession or depression than merely slowing. Since then, fewer Americans have said the economy is slowing or in a recession or depression, while more have said it is growing.

Americans' increasing positivity is widespread, given that optimism that the economy is growing has increased fairly evenly across the nation's major social, regional, and political subgroups.