Archive for optimism

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.


President Obama is still willing to work with Congress in 2012


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Ed Schultz:

"According to The Times, the president will showcase measures he is taking on his own to revive the economy. The Associated Press reports he will unveil at least two or three directives per week."

The Hill:

The White House on Tuesday downplayed news reports that President Obama will go it alone with Congress this year.

Two senior administration officials said there’s work to be done with Congress — including work on the deficit and full-year extension of the payroll-tax cut — and Obama will look for opportunities to work together with Congress to improve the economy.

The administration officials said Obama will also be pushing lawmakers to pass some parts of his jobs package that did not win approval in 2011. Anything that hasn’t been signed into law, Obama still wants to sign into law, the officials said.

Jay Carney says this isn't an "either or" situation... and also that President Obama "hopes" Congress will work with him.

You can stop laughing now.

But he also said that if Congress does the one thing it does so well-- obstruct-- "the president's not going to just sit here." That's more like it.

White House officials believe that some Republicans who are up for reelection will break with their party and do what Eric Cantor refuses to do, compromise. In fact, in his interview on "60 Minutes", Cantor said he wants to "cooperate," but the other C word is not an option, because it really means compromising "principles". That's funny, I thought it meant meeting someone half-way.

Let's ask Mr. Webster, before wittle Ewic's press secretary interrupts to cover Ewic's wittle hiney again:

Definition of COMPROMISE

1a: settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions

b : something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things

2: a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial <a compromise of principles

So Eric Cantor and his buddies cherry pick the definition ("derogatory" Eric?) that is the least relevant or applicable in order to avoid giving the president so much as an inch.

And this is who President Obama still feels will meet him half way.