Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brought Me To Tears

My husband likes to surf music videos.  This afternoon we were cuddled on the couch with the iPad and he was showing me his favorite videos that he has come across this week.  This one really caught me off guard.  I literally started sobbing at 5:00.

And then we held each other for a long time.

I'm the luckiest man in the world.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Races Joe is Following

C and I have been talking a lot this weekend about the upcoming election on Tuesday.  So many interesting races and ballot measures.  I thought I'd bring this blog back from the dead to document the ones I'm paying the closest attention to.  I've highlighted the ones that I will be voting on this Tuesday.
  • U.S. President - incumbent Barack Obama (D) vs. Mitt Romney (R)
    I am particularly interested to see how Florida, Ohio, and Virginia vote.
  • U.S. Senate
    • Massachusetts - incumbent Scott Brown (R) vs. Elizabeth Warren (D).  In what has become the most expensive U.S. senate race in history, democrat Elizabeth Warren is vying to unseat the widely-liked, moderate republican Scott Brown.  When elected in 2010 following the death of Ted Kennedy, Brown became the first republican senator from Massachusetts since since 1972.  Polling has been very close throughout this race, but Warren has consistently led the polls for the last several weeks.
    • Missouri - incumbent Claire McCaskill (D) vs. Todd Akin (R).  While it was widely anticipated that unpopular McCaskill would lose the senate seat to Tea-Party favorite Akin, expectations and polls were up-ended this fall when Akin simultaneously expressed his conviction that not all rapes are "legitimate rapes", and that in the case of "legitimate rapes" a woman's body can resist conception.  McCaskill is now expected to win.
    • Indiana - (open seat) Richard Mourdock (R) vs. Joe Donnelly (D).  Another case that was expected to be an easy win for the republicans is now leaning Democratic following Mourdock's confusingly-worded statement that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

    • Wisconsin - (open seat) Tammy Baldwin (D) vs. Tommy Thompson (R).  If elected,  Baldwin--who is leading in the polls going into election day--would become the first openly gay U.S. senator.
  • U.S. House
    • Massachusetts 6th - incumbent John Tierney (D) vs. Richard Tisei (R)
      Tierney is embroiled in a mob money scandal.  He is expected to lose his race to openly gay, moderate republican challenger Richard Tisei.  Tisei would be the first republican Massachusetts has sent to D.C. since 1994, he would also be the first openly gay republican sent to D.C. by any state.  Tisei may be the only republican running for congress who has not signed Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge.
    • Minnesota 6th - incumbent Michelle Backmann (R) vs. Jim Graves (D)
      Michelle "vaccines give kids mental retardation" Bachmann is certifiably batshit crazy.  Though she has been elected three times from Minnesota, her district was recently redrawn in such a way that it has become competitive.  Though she has outspent her moderate democratic challenger Jim Graves 12:1 in this year's race, polls are very close.  I think she'll probably win reelection, but I would love to see her unseated.
    • Iowa 4th - incumbent Steve King (R) vs. Christie Vilsack (D)
      Steve King is another batshit crazy politician.  Elected five times from Iowa's 5th district, King finds himself in a competitive race in the new 4th district (District 5 was eliminated following the 2010 census).  I would love to see King finally booted from the house.
  • State Ballot Initiatives
    • Marriage Equality Legalization
      I am cautiously optimistic that Maine and Washington will be the first states to pass marriage equality by popular vote.  Maryland teeters on the edge...
      • Maine
      • Maryland
      • Washington
    • Marriage Equality Prohibition
      I expect Minnesota to pass its anti-gay marriage amendment, but I would love to be proved wrong.
      •  Minnesota

    • Medical Marijuana LegalizationI was surprised to learn that 17 states as well as DC have legalized medical marijuana usage.  On Tuesday, three other states--including my own--will vote to do so as well. 
      • Arkansas
      • Massachusetts
      • Montana

    • Recreational Marijuana Legalization
      These would make any of these states the first to legalize all marijuana usage.  Polls show the majority support in Colorado and Washington.
      • Colorado
      • Oregon
      • Washington
    • Physician-Assisted Suicide LegalizationWashington and Oregon allow terminally ill patients to seek physician assistance in ending their lives.  Massachusetts has voted on similar ballot initiatives seven previous times.  The current measure leads 2:1 going into election day, but the measure has led in polling 3 out of the previous 7 years and has yet to pass.
      • Massachusetts
    • Death Penalty Prohibition
      • California
    • Three-Strikes-You're-Out Amendment
      • California - voters will choose whether to maintain the state's existing three strikes policy or alter it to apply only to "violent or serious" crimes or for offenders who have been previously convicted of rape, murder, or molestation.

    • New Tax Legalization
      • California - voters will choose to either raise sales taxes by 25cents or activate  10-figure cuts into the state's universities and entitlement programs.
    • Obamacare ProhibitionArizona and Oklahoma already amended their state constitutions to declare no individuals or businesses in those states will be compelled to participate in Obamacare.  This year, four states may pass similar measures.  Watch for a quick series of Federal Circuit Court cases to knock all of these down in 2014, when all of Obamacare becomes law.
      • Alabama
      • Florida
      • Montana
      • Wyoming
    • Racist Language vs. Public Schools
      • Alabama wins the prize for the most bizarre ballot initiative.  The language of Alabama's 1901 constitution calls for poll taxes and segregated schools for "white and colored."  A 2004 ballot initiative to amend the constitution and remove the racist language was rejected by the voters.  Now there is another ballot initiative to remove the racist language... and replace it with "nothing in this constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense."  It's a lose-lose ballot measure that is being opposed the black political caucus of Alabama and the state teacher's union.

  • State Supreme Court Justices
    • Iowa - Justice David Wiggins faces a retention vote this year.  Following the Court's unanimous 2009 decision to strike down Iowa's ban on same-sex marriage, three of the sitting justices were ejected by voters in 2010 following a massive campaign waged by state and national anti-gay groups.   Wiggins is the only justice facing a retention vote this year, and anti-gay groups have once again campaigned for Iowa voters to eject him.