Trump

Hey guys,

I have a few points I want to make about what happened in this election.

1. Anyone talking about Hillary Clinton being an imperfect candidate, please do not make a false equivalency between her flaws and his. Of course she wasn’t the “perfect candidate,” but dwelling on this is irresponsible. He is a monster who will take the country backwards and she would have moved us forward. Period. Its also hypocritical of anyone to second guess her candidacy now because literally EVERYONE (me and you)/ALL EXPERTS said she would win.

2. People are already suffering. I have talked to many people who say they refuse to live in fear, but just remember that being able to make this choice is a luxury. Trump represents a constituency of white, straight, christians who hate government and anyone not like them. Its about a group of people who yearn for the days when they could treat women and minorities like property and make decisions with impunity. This election was a major win for them. Almost every black, muslim, latin, women that I know is scared right now.

3. We will move forward but not before we hold Trump accountable. I am all for donating my time and money to fighting this man but it is VITAL that we not forget his campaign. He needs to be held responsible for what he has said, insinuated and done. We cannot allow ourselves complacency or to normalize what happened. His acceptance speech was filled with rhetoric about “coming together” yet he has successfully divided us and he needs to answer for that.

4. We are divided. We live in a bubble. I know everyone knows a handful of people who may have voted for Trump but most of us do not live in a world where he is widely accepted. This is a scary world. Its a world where objectifying women and mocking minorities, disabled people and those with religious differences is defensible. Do not succumb to your liberal guilt and think this divisiveness is our fault. While Hillary was talking about inclusivity Trump exploited this divide, widening it, and succeeded in polarizing Americans.

5. Don’t ignore this or think its going away. We need to be out there talking and actively working against the hatred and bigotry that is bubbling up all over the country. Trump represents this hate, giving a name and a face to it. There is going to be a protest at Trumps inauguration in January. I encourage everyone to come.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

Clinton at the 1st Debate

Hillary Clinton’s performance in the first debate was one of the best that I have ever seen. She was cool, calm and collected. She stood back and let Trump make an ass of himself and responded articulately in a way that made sense. Hillary’s difficulty is that she is a women. If a man had given the same performance the race would be over. Hillary is deadlocked against someone who embodies the worst our country has to offer (demagoguery, fear mongering, bigotry, and reality television) and yet the American people can’t bring themselves to quite embrace her. Do you think Trump would have lasted this long against Obama or Bill? Absolutely not. If Hillary were a man the American people would have a much easier time recognizing Trump for what he is: a complete embarrassment.

We love Obama and Bill. Obama was elected twice and I listened to the media say that if Bill Clinton was able to run for President in 2008 he would have won with 65% of the vote. But Hillary? Not so much. What is the difference between her and Obama on a policy level? Are their beliefs so fundamentally different? Of course not. In fact, Hillary has been criticized for trying to be too much like Obama policy wise. Is she the perfect candidate? No of course not. But the difference between her and Trump staggering. And if we let our collective sexism influence us much more we really will be in trouble.

Romney’s Not Running

Mitt Romney has decided not to pursue a third crack at the White House. My initial reaction to hearing this news was – “He wanted to run again?” It takes serious conviction to run for President at all – much less three times. I worked for a gubernatorial campaign in 2008 for three months and decided that campaigns are nothing but a bloodthirsty, soul-sucking, endless, sleepless cycle of work that can chew you up and spit you out. A campaign can jade even the most enthusiastic idealist and turn them into a cynical blogger. Campaigns are not for the meek of heart. BUT. There are those, as with any profession, (yes a career politician is unfortunately a profession), that live for this life; the constant blur of work, strategy, late nights and awful food. Its about the process not the end result . Others believe in the end goal. They believe that the campaign is a necessary means to an end which will serve a higher purpose. These candidates have a message and a vision that they believe is crucial for constituents to hear. Campaigns provide them a platform. In my opinion, Mitt Romney is the latter.

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I was totally immersed in the 2012 presidential election. I’m a staunch Democrat and was rooting for Obama but Romney fascinated me. He’s was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Republican, Mormon, business tycoon, and has lots money. But it was more his personality and temperament that intrigued me. He never seemed completely comfortable. Reporters would ask him tough questions and he would respond incredulously, almost in disbelief at their criticism, but never losing his temper. In this clip a reporter accuses Romney of having lobbyists run his campaign which prompts this awkward response/interaction. Its painful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gWYWwLtW_0

Watching Romney at times is like watching a movie where the protagonist is being coached on how to talk dirty in the bedroom. Cut to the sex scene and he is repeating verbatim what he’s supposed to say to the woman and we all leave the scene feeling shortchanged. He wants people to know that he’s the right man for the job so he engages with people who bring him down with quotes. You can’t please everyone (women know if you’re reading off a script in bed). If Romney was more comfortable in his own skin he would dismiss that reporter, the far right, and sex coaches everywhere and blaze a new trail of conservatism. I honestly think he has it in him.

Don’t believe me? Watch “Mitt” the documentary that goes inside Romney’s second presidential campaign (worth watching). He’s a nice guy. He has a family and he likes to have family meals at the end of the work day. He does NOT like to cuss and he believes that savvy business and hard work can get you far in life. He is the most mild mannered, vanilla, least likely to raise his voice, controlled man I’ve ever seen in my life. Sometimes you have to let it out. People like that. Emotion can be viewed as confidence and Mitt has suffered because of this relationship in the eyes of the public. It’s unfortunate because he’s done well wherever he has gone, and it’s easy to see why. He’s smart, pragmatic, efficient, he can manage employees in the workplace, understands numbers, and he gets things done. He’s quite impressive actually. Governor of a liberal state, passed (Obama-care) health care reform in Massachusetts, was a wildly successful businessman, ran a great Olympics in Utah, and was a worthy challenger to a sitting president running for re-election. Romney might have been the republican who transitioned this old/out of touch party in the modern era. But we’ll never know.

Romney’s problem is that he doesn’t feel comfortable with who he is. He flip-flops because gets caught between staying true to his beliefs and pandering a ultra conservative base. He tried to appease the ridiculous right wing base by pretending to be a hard line conservative when he’s not. He’s moderate. I don’t for one second believe he wants anything to do with those lunatics but was uncomfortable standing up to them. He’s like a hollywood producer who walks into a townie bar in Wooster Ohio, and tries to blend in with the crowd. I say it’s better to own where you’re from in a townie bar than try to become a local. What does he have to hide? He tried to make himself into a tough guy in the presidential debates with Obama and it worked for a little while until Obama rolled up his sleeves and started trading body shots with him. Romney doesn’t trade body shots. He does research and hires the best boxer in America to do it for him. He may get criticized for his methods by some but nobody can argue with the end results. He should have said this to us during his campaign. “You may not like my methods but I get things done. I don’t care how smarmy and elitist you think I am.” Shit! I might have voted for him.

I think Mitt Romney wants to be president badly. Badly enough to suffer through two exhausting campaigns. However, not running again is the right decision. Why go through another campaign? Why spend the money, lose the sleep, eat the shitty food, pretend to be happy in front of the people, kiss the ugly babies, and compromise your beliefs to gain the approval of a bunch of out of touch cronies who sit in ivory towers? It’s not worth it Mitt! I know you wanted it badly and I admire your conviction. But it’s not worth it. Maybe now you can apply yourself to a craft that lets you be comfortable with who you are.

Day 2/3

Day 2

The second day was much different from the first. Pasta, pasta, pasta. I ate a steady diet of pasta with pesto all day. I was definitely hungry especially at night and grew increasingly frustrated with my lack of choice in food.

I have noticed something interesting however. My living situation is not stable at the moment and this has made it significantly difficult to shop prepare food, and live a frugal food ingesting lifestyle. Don’t worry I sleep in beds most nights (and on a good amount of couches). The apartment in Cambridge where I have been “living” is owned by my parents and is rented four nights a week to international travelers. This has me moving from place to place by the night. Sometimes I’m in Davis Square with my bandmates, other nights I’m in Kendal Square with a college friends, Allston, Medford, and Washington DC whenever I can manage. Needless to say it has been hard for me to shop, prepare food ahead of time, and keep is sanitary throughout the week.

I have 10 dollars left.

Day 3

Well, I’m over budget. I didn’t eat my first meal until 12pm and being that I had no prepared food had to purchase a sandwich and cliff bar. These lasted me all the way till 8pm when I bought a hamburger. This is really hard. Without the ability to store food I can’t cook large cheap meals ahead of time to sustain me for a week. I have only been eating two meals a day and feel hungry all the time but without a stable kitchen I don’t have a better option.

I feel guilty because I know that I’m not supposed to have the option of paying beyond my means, but hunger is a powerful thing. I am going to attempt to only spend 20 dollars on the next four days. I think this is possible if I eat only pasta, cliff bars, and water. We’ll see. 

This is much more difficult than I imagined.

The Food Stamp Challenge

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Hello Snoozers! Its been awhile. I am a first year graduate student at the Simmons School for Social Work. Its early still, but the assignments thus far have been interesting and engaging. Currently I am working on a project involving foodstamps. I am to live off a foodstamp budget for a week ($33) and record my experiences while leading a public awareness campaign. Starting tomorrow I will be recording my thoughts and observations each day for a week. 

The guidelines are as follows:

  1. Each student should only spend a total of $33 on food and beverages during the week. Students who are responsible for purchasing and preparing food for a household may choose to participate in the challenge as an individual or as a household.

  2. All food and beverages purchased and consumed during the challenge week, including fast food and dining out, must be included in the total spending.

  3. During the challenge, only consume food and beverages that you purchased for the project. Do not eat food that you already own (this does not include spices and condiments).

  4. Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or at work, including at receptions, conferences or meetings.

  5. Please keep track of receipts on food spending and take note of your experiences throughout the week. 

So check in for the next seven days to see how it goes. Thanks.

 

Political Animals by Kevin Ellis

If you are a political junkie, you are probably spending Sunday nights at 10 pm watching The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s latest attempt to recreate the magic of The West Wing.
 
As a West Wing devotee, The Newsroom is OK. It tries hard. But the characters don’t fit the writing. And somehow a TV newsroom just cannot match the drama, pace and seriousness of a White House.
 
But over on USA Network, Political Animals with Sigourney Weaver, is great – especially if you are into the cult of Hillary Clinton. If you ever wondered why she stayed with her husband, what drives her, why she ran for president, how could she have managed the embarrassment all these years to become such a good secretary of state and such pure statement of whatever American exceptionalism is at the end of the day.
 
Weaver plays a former first lady who ran for president and lost. She is now secretary of state managing diplomatic crises while mothering to a gay son and having to watch her ex-husband – the ex-president – cavort with bimbos.
 
That is all pretty standard stuff. But the really good writing and plot is around what drives her. Why she does it. It gives you a great window into Hillary Clinton.
 
In the case of Political Animals, television has done what serious journalism has failed to do – explain a phenomenon that is layered, subtle and really, really complicated.
 
Sigourney Weaver says in interviews that she didn’t set out to play Hillary Clinton. But she is giving us a wonderful explanation – without all the right or left wing junk.
 
Clinton will go down in history as one of the greatest secretaries of state and one of the most intriguing political characters ever. Political Animals gives us head in understanding why.

— 

Kevin Ellis

Partner

KSE Partners, LLP

 

Cambridge Montpelier Washington

The Down Stairs Neighbors

My childhood friend, Chris, went to Spain about a year ago to play music. He is about to return to Vermont where we grew up. In a year he’s done a lot of great stuff. It wouldn’t surprise me to know that he swam with sharks, ran with bulls, and pinned the tail on an actual donkey. BUT, the coolest thing he did was start a great band. Here are a couple videos from select performances around Spain: