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Monday, November 12, 2012

Life, Death and Lost Opportunities

Recently someone who was starting to become more involved in my social circles passed away suddenly.
This was not a case of the person having had a known disease that could have taken them at any time nor was it a case of the person being old and dying of old age.
This was a case of an unexpected stroke followed by a long period of time without any care and a hospital stay leading to slipping away.

Many who know me will attest that few things affect me emotionally. Most of the things tat do affect me in a manner that is unpleasant. Those things tend to increase my blood pressure and wind me up; those things make me angry.
Few things actually make me sad. Few things actually make me grieve.

This is not one of those things. My emotional disturbance over this was not due to my direct loss but due to the pain of the people whom I know who were left behind.

It has, however, generated a considerable amount of introspection on the part of my subconscious. That has, at this point, crept its way into the foreground of my thoughts.

I know Dave and I could have been great friends. I know this because of whom he was friends with and the common interests and knowledge bases we shared. I also know this because our personalities were similar enough that we would understand motivations and expectations of each other.
I know this because I am an introvert and my observations and experiences of Dave were that he, too, was an introvert.
Introverts, contrary to many non-introverts' belief, are not anti-social. They like people they just like their people. They take time to allow people into their circle and to generate friendships.
The problem is that this takes time.
The problem with that is that time is not always as plentiful as it seems like it would be.
The problem is that sometimes time is cut short. Cut short and cut unpredictably. Cut short without any ceremony or opportunity to rectify.

The reflection has generated some thoughts on what I want to change about myself and how I intend to change those things.

First - I realized that the missed opportunity to be better friends with Dave is mine (it is also his, but I cannot change another person). I could have reached out more. I could have generated more interaction. I could have invited him to things. I could have added him on Facebook sooner. Lots of things I could have done to generate a stronger friendship in the time that was there.
Would any of those things have saved him? Probably not. I cannot take any responsibility for the manner that he died nor for the events that led to it. Those events happened. If my friendship had altered that course it would have been only slightly and probably not enough to have made a difference to his survival.

What am I doing about this?
I have decided that when I see people whom I have good reason to believe I will get along with and whom I might be able to build a good friendship with I will do something about it.
Before I would wait and watch. I would engage in conversation when there was something relevant to talk about being discussed which I could weigh in on. I would evaluate the conversation and words used by the others and make a decision based on that. Then I would wait some more. I would repeat this until I felt as though the person might have an interest in allowing me into their lives AND that I had made the determination that I would like to have them in mine.
I am deciding from now on (I have actually already started doing this) that I will be a bit more cavalier with whom I allow into my life via social media. I will be more extroverted (it's easy to be MORE extroverted when one is as introverted as I am.... I will still be introverted) when it comes to adding people on facebook. People whom I have spoken to once or twice whom I may enjoy the company of I will add with less reservation. People who I know, but just barely, I will add. I will allow facebook to be a conduit to gaining a better understanding and knowledge of people whom I may be able to become friends with.

I will seize the opportunities presented to me rather than let them quietly slip away.

I understand that this will be hard work to maintain and it will have more failures than the path I ran before. I understand that those failures will feel difficult. I understand that I will have to generate interactions and that I might even make people uncomfortable in my feeble and awkward efforts to interact in a manner that I am not accustomed to. I also understand that my quiet looming may also make people uncomfortable in a non-threatening way.
I also understand, now, that missing an opportunity and losing it is just a failure in disguise.
If you don't try then you ALWAYS lose.
I don't like to lose. I, especially, don't like to lose when I didn't even realize I was playing the game.

Second - I realize that anyone can be taken at any time. I, like everyone else, knew this before but the harsh reality of someone closer to my own age and with a similar lifestyle in many ways to one I have led dying in the manner that Dave died drives this point home.
I intend to try and make sure people whom I know who matter to me know I am here and know they matter to me.
This will not take the form of always saying "hey, I like you; you're important" but, rather, it will take the form of seizing the opportunity for harmless frivolity and fun. It will take the form of joking with people who I care about to generate positive interactions with them. It will take the form of "liking" things they post to facebook when I like them. It will take the form of telling them jokes. It will take the form of spending time with them rather than being a lazy bastard on my couch. It will take the form of talking to them.
It will take the form of being there.

Sometimes life is mean to us.
Sometimes life is mean to others.
Sometimes life is unpredictable.
Sometimes life is lonely.
Sometimes life brings us pain.

Sometimes life seems dreadfully long.
But one thing we often forget when life does all of those things: our time is short.
We are insignificant to life. We are insignificant to time. We are insignificant to space. We are insignificant to the massive horde that is humanity and even more so to the gulf that is the history of civilization.

We are not, however, insignificant to each other.

Remember this for yourself.
Remember this for your friends.
Remember this for your loved ones.

Remember that, despite all the insignificance in the greater picture you are actually more significant than you know to those you know.

Do something about it.
Let them know.
Joke with them. Tell them stories. Listen to them. Let them know, by actions, that they matter to your world.

Don't let yourself, or those you care about, find themselves in a position where they are saying "if I only...." with respect to people they may care for....

On the flip side - accept people whom you care about interacting with you for what it is - an effort to show you they care or that they need you to care about them.

Our time is fleeting. Tomorrow is certain but our ability to experience it is not.

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Traditional Marriage"

Someone I know posted this video.
It took me nearly an hour to watch it so that I could tear it apart.
Below the video are the comments I made on the post that my acquaintance made on facebook and which I, in turn, posted on my facebook wall.

So, to point out - one can view this as the government over-ruling YOUR religion... but it can, and more rightly so, be viewed as YOUR religion trying to override the rights of people who do not believe in it. Marriage is, at its origin, a legal contract; religious components came later. If the legal contract of it is to exist then it is blatantly discriminatory to not allow people to marry whom they want to marry due to gender. This is the ONLY legal contract that is limited to a particular gender set as eligibility requirements and that is simply wrong.

The above is my commentary before starting the video... below is my commentary, written as I am watching it in the order that the video presents it.

As for stabilizing our society - bullshit. People who live together now will continue to do so. All that will change, in a societal viewpoint is that a discriminatory practice is removed from the lawbooks and the people who are currently demoted to second-class citizens will have the LEGAL right to be the default heir of their chosen partners. Currently the biological relatives of those people can bar them from visiting an incapacitated loved one in prison and can challenge any legal property directives easily in the event of an unexpected death with no will. If they are married then that goes away and the loved one has those LEGAL protections. I, honestly and bluntly, don't care one iota what individual churches do nor do I care if any of them are willing to perform a wedding ceremony in their facilities - this is entirely about the LAW.
As for comparing gay marriage to incest and pedophilia as a society-harming item: explain to me, simply and concisely, how allowing same-sex couples to have a LEGAL standing that does not change the behavior that the government "permits" to exist will change ANYTHING in public society.
And for the next points:
1 - if that EXCUSE is used then ALL hetero-sexual couples shouldn't be allowed to marry unless they intend, and succeed at having children. Many people do not want children and/or cannot have them. Unless you are willing to state, and make actions toward revoking their LEGAL right to marry this point is null and void on this issue.
2 - Show me the data on this. Show me the data that unequivocally outlines that parents from a heterosexual, two-parent home do better than single parents and better than gay parents. Be sure to include the data of marriages that failed part-way through the children's lives and marriages of people who got married because they felt they HAD to but HATE being married. Be sure to include data on parents who don't like their children and data on those who have too many children. Be sure to include all of this in addition to the data that is reinforcing of the idea. Also - be sure to include data on same-sex couples who CHOOSE to have a child and raise that child. Be sure to compare those "successful" child raising values against the heterosexual numbers and do a solid numerical comparison on percentages of children who are detriments to society. The numbers will tell the story that is counter to this video's claim.
3 - How does allowing ONLY heterosexual marriage protect women? My girlfriend, when presented with this statement quickly and easily claimed she doesn't feel traditional marriage protects her... and even asked "protects me from what?"
4 - How does it civilize men? As an unmarried man in this country I find this idea repugnant and derogatory.

The data outlines that most incidents of violence against women are actually perpetrated against them by their significant others and, often, that means their HUSBANDS. How is it that that data can be true AND points 3 and 4 be true? It can't be. Points 3 and 4 are, like the ones before them, based entirely on perception and an idealized state of society that simply does not exist.

5 - Show me the data. I know that being married will lower one's car insruance because, typically, married people spend more time at home than un-married people. The rest rest of these things need data to back them up... and that data needs to be cleansed of any trends that have stronger correlations that could lead to those statistics... such as neighborhoods, familial income, number of children, etc.

The claim that same-sex marriage creates NO benefit is blatantly wrong. It allows for the full equality of everyone in the eyes of the law. Discrimination is a slippery slope and it can be applied to anyone; if it s allowed for anyone. This also allows people to decide who is their default next of kin which is an important means of passing along accumulated wealth and deciding on what care is best for someone who is sick.
For that matter, if one actually assumes that all of the points above are valid then: 1 & 2 - Married homosexual couples who choose to adopt (and make no mistake, they can adopt now) will generate a two-parent household that brings the same benefits to children that heterosexual married couples bring.
3 & 4 - If married men are inherently more civilized and married women are inherently protected (from what?) then we should strive for as many married men and women as we can get. Right now we are eliminated 10% of the population from being ALLOWED to marry. That means that, at least, 10% of women are unprotected and 10% of men are uncivilized because they are unmarried. Allowing them to marry will reduce that number.
5 - The same things that might generate those societal improvements in neighborhoods due to married couples will also apply to married homosexual couples.

Essentially, it allows the same benefits to society that traditional marriage provides to society. EXACTLY THE SAME benefits. All of the benefits outlined above can be applied equally to ANY married couple regardless of their gender.

Claiming that homosexual marriage "merely validates sex partners" is a hollow argument as heterosexual marriage does EXACTLY the same thing if the couple has no intention of raising children..... and, on top of that, being married does not magically make you a good parent. There are plenty of married people who are TERRIBLE parents. This argument is invalid. I thinkthe people behind this video would be surprised to find that more and more couples are forming where children are not the primary motivating force and more and more of them are forming where children happen, despite not wanting them and more and more children are happening outside of wedlock because more and more people just don't care about the traditional structure that RELIGION says is best for the children.

When the video states that the childless marriages are the exception and not the rule and, therefore, shouldn't be considered it invalidates that argument by using exceptions to what happens in the legal world to make it's point. One cannot simultaneously decry exceptions and invalid and then use them to support one's own argument.

The idea that schools with teach kids to be gay is ridiculous. The argument over whether or not this should be allowed has been a far greater introduction to the topic of homosexual marriage than it EVER would be on its own. Schools, at most, will treat it like it is what it is - something that sometimes happens and that it's fine. Let the people who have a difference preference than you be the way they are; it's none of anyone else's business.

As for the video's comment that the law treats everyone equally because everyone can marry someone of the opposite sex is garbage. That's like saying everyone can invest in google; in theory everyone can but the cost of the stocks prohibits most from being able to. Marrying someone of the opposite gender isn't the point - marrying someone whom you love and want to spend the rest of your life with IS the point. That is the ENTIRE point. A large group of people are prohibited from doing that. To say otherwise is to hold onto ideals of marriage that have changed over time repeatedly... and, thus, invalidates the idea that that is the core reason for marriage. I cannot buy a wife in exchange for livestock. I cannot sell a daughter into marriage. I cannot take a virgin military captive as a wife. I cannot force my brother's widow to become my wife. I cannot take multiple wives. All of these things are part of "traditional" marriage yet none of them are held true in law in 2012. What is so special about THIS barrier? It is that this barrier scares homophobic people. This barrier makes people think that equality is only for "normal" people.

As for discriminating against behaviors - that is completely correct. The government is discriminating against behaviors; but also against sexual organs. It is saying that it is the business of the government to determine who is allowed to bump genitalia together in the privacy of their own home. It is saying that consenting adults have no privacy when it comes to sex. It is saying that the comfort of some should outweigh the freedom of others. It is saying that if the government does;t like your behavior it can prevent you from having legal rights because of it… even when that behavior hurts no one and should be left alone. This argument is ludicrous because it really boils down to - the government is allowed to tell you whom you can have sex with in the privacy of your own home.

And to bring it back - people who are BARRED from marrying their loved one ARE being discriminated against. If one is unconscious and hospitalized then that one's blood relatives (even if they haven't spoken in YEARS) have a greater right under the LAW than the person who may have lived with the person for decades. Who is better equipped to make decisions for that person that correspond to their wishes? The estranged family or the loved one who cohabitants with them? If one member of a couple is run over by a bus and killed and the house and vehicles are in their name but both partners paid equally for them the family can the ALL of that away; is that fair? No. Marriage protects the rights of property and the rights of visitation in the hospital. Marriage protects other rights, too.

As for the same-sex marriage advocates needing to be more tolerant - simply not true. The instances where they are not are, again, the outliers and they are smaller in number than the instances where people who want to have a homosexual marriage are being discriminated against in some form or another. The raw disallowance of being ABLE to get married to a loved one is a constant discrimination against homosexual people. They experience it daily. People supporting "traditional" marriage are only experiencing intolerance when they voice their ideas on this continued hatred and bigotry to people who will, ultimately, be found to stand on the right side of history.

"Homosexual relationships are ALREADY TOLERATED" - this, alone, summarizes the entire video. It also summarizes exactly why both sides feel they have a position to support. I don't want to be "tolerated" - its derogatory. You wouldn't want your child to be "tolerated" at school or anywhere else. You wouldn't want your pets to be "tolerated" you wouldn't want yourself to be "tolerated." Toleration is not enough because it is not equality. The supporters of "traditional" marriage think this is enough because they can't see how allowing same-sex marriage licenses will not harm them at all but will grant equal rights to an entire segment of the population that is still constantly under attack by RELIGION.

I'll also point out that many of the same arguments presented in this video are similar to those presented against allowing interracial marriages and, dating back further, to allowing non-white people the opportunity to be recognized as people… and dating back further to discriminate against left-handed people. They are empty arguments that come from a place of fear and hatred of things that are different rather than a place of reason and rationality.

So, I challenge those supporting this video, as I have challenged supported of "traditional" marriage in the past - explain it to me. Convince me. Please. Explain it to me like a child... and in a way that I cannot argue. I have been asking, since the first time this came up on the ballot in Maine, for people to explain to me why this is wrong in a logical and concise manner that I cannot argue with using logical points to invalidate the arguments presented to me... Thus far NO ONE has been able to do it. The answers ALWAYS boil down to "because God is against it" (or some paraphrasing of that) or "because I don't like it." - Neither of those are good reasons for LAW. Separation of church and state outlines the former and what you feel is not the same as what others feel is the latter...

Lastly - All of this text comes from someone who thinks marriage, in any form, is a foolish and inefficient way of imparting legal rights to another person. I, personally, think it should be completely abolished from the law books and that NO ONE should be allowed to get marriages because they simply should not exist. There is a MUCH simpler way to handle all of these rights-granting permissions without all the hoopla and garbage that comes along with marriage.

Please, if you support "traiditonal" marriage than be PERFECTLY blunt... and perfectly selfish. Tell me how allowing others the right to marry their loved one will harm YOU in any way. How will it change YOUR life if two women or two men go to city hall and pay the fee for their marriage license and then pay an officiant to marry them? How will that slight economic boost to the local municipality and an officiant hurt YOU in any way? How will it change your life in any manner other than force you to go "OH NO THOSE GAY PEOPLE MIGHT BE MARRIED NOW?"
Really. Tell me. I want to know how it will damage your life.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

53 Reasons to Vote for Romney?

A facebook friend posted this article.

I had to read it and make comments.

Here are the points and my comments on them:

#1. “Mitt Romney graduated from Harvard University with a degree from the prestigious J.D.-M.B.A. program, which is the graduate education of the last two presidents combined.”
This does not mean anything other than he was able to complete the degree requirements through one means or another. I have met people who are educated from well-respected schools that I wonder how they got into the school, let alone how they finished it. These letters at the end of a name are merely a means to get the CHANCE to prove one-self to be legitimately smart and capable of making good decisions. Point redacted – 52 points.

#2. “Mitt Romney governed a state whose schools ranked first nationally in education.”
At its best this means that Mitt actually managed the education system in his state. At its worst this means that he simply did not touch the education system and, therefore, break it. I don't know enough of MA state education system, nor of Mitt's policies, to comment either way.
Without more information this point cannot be cast in his favor – point redacted; 51 points remain.

#3. “In 1984, Romney founded and led one of the world’s most successful venture capital and investment firms: Bain Capital.”
So? he started a successful company. So have many politicians. Running a greedy, bottom-line-focussed company that does not care about employees and does not care about job retention is not necessarily what a COUNTRY needs.
This one is valid enough that I will leave the point intact.

#4. “Bain Capital helped turn around numerous struggling businesses that went on to become prosperous and successful, such as: Burger King, Sealy, Sports Authority, Staples, Brookstone, Burlington Coat Factory, Clear Channel, Domino’s Pizza, Houghton Mifflin, Dunkin’ Donuts, The Weather Channel, Guitar Center, and the Hospital Corporation of America.”
This only shows what Mitt's company invested in. Attributing their success to Mitt is like saying that the companies whom I own stock in are successful because I own stock in them. To validate whether these were actually systematically good investment decisions or mediocre one needs to see ALL of the investments that Bain capital made while Mitt was there and see what the overall success to failure rate was (not the overall cash flow as that was obviously positive – the actual count of successful investments versus unsuccessful ones); that will show us how good he is at making systematically good decisions. The shotgun approach with the philosophy that SOME things will hit and hit BIG is NOT what this country needs for a good government. This is also kind of the same thing as point 3. That brings the overall count down to 50.

#5. “In 2002, Romney left the private sector to oversee the Olympics preparations at Salt Lake City. He erased a $379 million operating deficit, organized 23,000 volunteers, and oversaw security in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.”
This is a commendable thing. It is worthy of note. This point stands.
The local major newspaper has commended this and still endorses Obama and says that Mitt doesn't deserve a chance to prove himself in the White House.

#6. “As governor of Massachusetts, Romney turned a $3 billion deficit into a $700 million budget surplus in less than two years.”
This is commendable. I wish he would put forth a consistently-messaged and solidly-stated PLAN on how he would do this for the country.

#7. “Governor Romney was granted emergency gubernatorial powers and slashed unsustainable spending levels by hundreds of millions of dollars.”
This is also commendable.... but it is, essentially, the same thing as point #6. That reduces the count to 49.

#8. “As governor, he helped reduce Massachusetts’ unemployment rate from 6% to 4.7%.” Again – HOW? How will he do this for the country? Also, what about his comments that the government isn't responsible for job creation? If he is going to make that comment then he CAN'T also take credit for creating jobs when he was helming a government.
I will also point out that taking credit for this is similar to taking credit to education systems (see above; point 2) without more information I cannot use this to justify voting for Romney. 48 points remain.

#9. “Romney was elected Chairman of the Republican Governors Association for the the 2006 election cycle, going on to raise a then-record $27 million for candidates in state house contests across the nation.”
This is not a bonus point for people who are on-the-fence; this is a reinforcing point for people who are ready and happy to vote Republican without research on the cases. This is only a supportive idea for extreme partisan politics. Those are NOT in the best interest of the average person; only the people controlling the strings of the parties.
Given that this is not a reason for someone who is NOT a mindless GOP puppet to vote for Romney I deduct it; 47 remain.

#10. “In 2006, Governor Romney proposed and signed into law market-based healthcare reform approved by 99% of the Massachusetts legislature, which was 85% Democrat and could override any veto.”
I cannot make comment on this other than the raw statistics presented in this statement are commendable.

#11. “Romney objected to the employer mandate, mandated benefits, minimum coverage guidelines, and medicaid expansion in the final healthcare bill. His vetoes were overridden. He also preferred a tax break for those who could prove coverage, rather than a penalty for the individual mandate.”
I disagree with penalizing people for not having health care because if they cannot afford healthcare then they cannot afford the penalties. The “Obamacare” package actually has exemptions built in for people who cannot afford the care; the penalties really only apply to people who can afford it but choose to not have health care coverage. Granted, it's hard to have a unilateral definition of who can afford it that applies correctly.
That said – I could easily be swayed by a tax credit for people who have coverage rather than a penalty for people who do not.
This is also a sub-point to point 10. Count down to 46.

#12. “As Romney predicted, the healthcare law added 1.2% to Massachusetts’ budget, despite the additional costly provisions that he objected to as governor. Another analysis put the cost as low as .3% a year or $100 million.”
This is an interesting statement without even knowing the law referenced.
First – Mitt's law cost the government.
Second: Mitt's analysis is 4x the damage than another analysis.
This is also a sub-point to point 10. Count down to 45.

#13. “So-called Romneycare remains popular with 67-84% of Massachusetts residents, who are happy with the plan and would not go back to the old system if given the chance."
I have already commended this.
This is also a sub-point to point 10 and, essentially a duplication. Count down to 44.

#14. “Romney cut taxes 19 times, and they were only raised in Massachusetts when his governor’s veto was overridden. The governor used fees to help close the state’s $3 billion budget shortfall.”
I COULD outline that this is similar to point 6 but it is different enough that I will merely ask “How.”
What “fees” did he implement that allowed him to cut taxes AND convert a deficit to a surplus? In conjunction with #6 I want to see what he did to manage this.
Again, I point out that this lacks specific data so I cannot use it to vote FOR Romney. 43 points remain.

#15. “Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal Obamacare as quickly as possible, granting waivers from the program to the states in the meantime (just as President Obama gave waivers to special interests and the Democrat Party exempted politicians from the program).”
This is only a reason to vote FOR Romney if one dislikes Obamacare AND if he has a means to replace it with a coverage program that will benefit the overall population as much as Obamacare.

#16. “A devout Mormon, a branch of Christianity, Romney spent two years as a missionary in Paris, France, forgoing entertainment, dating, and contact with family and friends to serve God.”
This is a reason to vote AGAINST Romney. Not only am I removing this from the list I find it important enough that it counts as a NEGATIVE point (two point deduction); down to 42.

#17. “Mitt Romney has never smoked cigarettes, used drugs, or drank alcohol, which shows remarkable dedication.”
Not really. Not drinking at all is interesting; not partaking of it regularly is easy. This is hardly a reason to vote for a presidential candidate. 41.

#18. “Mitt Romney has given nearly 13.5% of his income to charity over the last twenty years, $4 million in 2011 alone. Much of his donations was given to his church.” Charitable contributions – good.
Charitable contributions are tax deductions – neutral.
Charitable contributions to a CHURCH – bad (point deducted) – 40.
Tax-deductible contributions to HIS church (meaning he benefits from them) – double bad – 39.

#19. “The former governor’s taxes never fell below 13.66%, and amount to 38.5% of his income over twenty years.”
I'd like that little of my income to go to taxes. It must be nice to be rich enough to buy a smaller overall tax bracket. Point deducted. 38.

#20. “Mitt Romney accepted no pay as an intern in his father’s Governor’s office, no pay as bishop and stake president for his church, no pay as president of the Olympics, and only a ceremonial salary of $1 as Governor of Massachusetts — 28 years of virtually unpaid service.”
Unpaid intern at father's company – not something to make one a presidential candidate. No pay as bishop in the church - not something to make one a presidential candidate. No pay to coordinate the Olympics – commendable
Ceremonial salary of $1 to govern a state – commendable.
28 years comment is in question.
I'll let this point stand on the last two points; still at 38.

#21. “Mitt Romney refused to take his father’s trust fund money, he financed his way through college, and he donated his father’s inheritance to charity.”
I have seen articles that prove this is, at best, a misleading statement.
I can't take this as a reason to vote for him with that information out there, too. 37 points.

#22. “Ann and Mitt Romney lived in a modest basement apartment for years.” Define “modest.”
Define “years”
One's living quarters don't make one Presidential material; point deducted. 36.
I will acknowledge, though, that this deflates some of the other commentary which demonstrates Mitt's lack of comprehension of what it is like to be an average American.

#23. “While at Bain Capital, Romney shut down the company so that workers could help find a partner’s missing daughter. Mitt Romney helped organize the search, which sent out hundreds of thousands of fliers. The teenage girl was found in New York, after police traced a call in New Jersey to a teenage boy who was interested in the reward.”
Assuming this is fully true it is commendable. This is actually worthy on several points. 1-he shut down the company and 2 – he invested money to print fliers.
This shows a level of empathy and a level of willingness to invest in a good that does not directly benefit him. This shows that he has the capacity to understand the benefit to this (at minimum on a tactical level).

#24. “In July 2003, Mitt Romney used his Jet Ski to rescue a New Jersey family and their Scottish terrier McKenzie out of Lake Winnipesaukee while their boat sank.”
Commendable. Shows courage and an ability to act when it is needed. Not sure how this will help him run a country, though, as the actions needed are long-term strategy and not short-term emergency actions.
This is, essentially, showing the same aspect of Romney as point 23. 35 remain.

#25. “After a California wildfire, Mitt Romney took time out away from his campaign to help a family dig out a tree stump. The act went unpublicized, because Romney does not like to advertise his community service and random acts of kindness.”
This is, essentially, showing the same aspect of Romney as point 23. 34 remain.

#26. “In 1979, Mitt Romney helped a dying fourteen-year old boy named David write his will and delivered the eulogy at his funeral.”
This is, essentially, showing the same aspect of Romney as point 23. 34 remain.

#27. “At a campaign stop in South Carolina, Mitt emptied his wallet for a woman having trouble paying her light bill named Ruth Williams. The woman was in difficult circumstances due to her desperately ill son.”
I have no faith he would do this on a massive scale nor do I have faith this was more than a campaign stunt.
Also, this is, essentially, showing the same aspect of Romney as point 23. 33 remain.

#28. “Although Mitt Romney had the opportunity to attend Stanford, he took a risk and bypassed it to attend Brigham Young University, where his future wife was enrolled. As recounted, Mitt Romney was worried about Ann Davie being wooed by other suitors after he received a “Dear John” letter.”
So? His personal life is not a reason for presidential candidacy. 32 remain.

#29. “As governor, Romney hired more women to his economic team than any other in the country.”
And yet he has made NUMEROUS comments implying he feels that it is a woman's place to be at home. That this is being made a point means he finds hiring women a HUGE deal. It really shouldn't be and it should evenly mirror the eligible and qualified workforce demographic.
I am torn on whether to deduct this one or not so, to be fair, I will leave it as valid.

#30. “Although Mitt Romney is personally against abortion, he has respected a woman’s ‘right to choose’ and vowed not to make abortion legislation a part of his presidential agenda.”
And yet he has flip-flopped on this issue MANY times depending on whom he was speaking to. Point deducted. 31 remain.

#31. “While Romney is a proponent of “traditional marriage,” and is not in favor of civil unions, he has not stood in the way of legal extensions of rights to “domestic partnerships.” As the governor put it, “If the question is: “Do you support gay marriage or civil unions?” I’d say neither; if they said you have to have one or the other, that Massachusetts is going to have one or the other, then I’d rather have civil unions than gay marriage.” Romney has been endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans.”
This is not only not a valid reason to vote FOR Romney; it is a valid reason to vote AGAINST him. This point is removed AND another deducted. 29 remain.

#32. “While Romney was governor, he vetoed a bill for embryonic stem cell research.”
Not a valid reason to support him. My morals don't have an issue with embryonic stem cell research AND I don't feel this should be a federal issue. Point deducted – 28 left.

#33. “Romney also said he would cut federal funding for PBS, given the U.S. is borrowing money from China to finance the government. Such a bold statement about cutting a popular federal program shows courage and seriousness about the issue. (Sesame Street and other programs would not likely go out of business, regardless.)”
Not a good reason. The volume of money that this represents is such a miniscule portion of the overall budget that it would not make a dent. Point lost for this comment – 27.
Point also deducted for the obvious level of pandering that this comment represents AND the realization that this funding is some of the best-leveraged funding our government allocates. It's a poor decision to make this statement – 26 points remain as valid.

#34. “Mitt Romney also told the NAACP that he pledged to repeal Obamacare, drawing boos. This again demonstrates his willingness to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
And yet he has altered what he is stating to match the audience he is speaking to. One cannot TRUST he will always make the tough decisions and deliver the tough message. One CAN assume he will usually say what he thinks he NEEDS to say to benefit himself. Negated point; 25 remain. I won;t deduct a second point even though I really WANT to because of the obvious distortion of reality that this point is trying to create.

#35. “The governor said he would cut funding for the pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood.”
I can't argue this. I BELIEVE he has said it, but I am too lazy to go validate the actual words. But, regardless not saying he will is not saying he won't. Declining to NOT do something that is bad is not a positive reason to vote for someone. Point redacted. 24 remain.

#36. “Romney stated in unequivocal terms that the Federal Reserve should be audited. As he responded to a questioner at a campaign stop, “The Federal Reserve should be accountable. We should see what they’re doing.” “
Assuming this is completely accurate and not misrepresented I agree with it completely.

#37. “The Republican candidate has pledged to work to repeal the burdensome 2300-page Dodd-Frank regulations.”
I don't know what these are, nor what they do. By default my ignorance makes this a non-issue for me at the moment. I have to, therefore, deduct it from the count of reasons to vote FOR Romney. I will make a note on that in the summary. 23 remain.

#38. “Although Mitt Romney has admitted that man is responsible for “some warming” in the climate, he opposes cap-and-trade and fought the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as governor of Massachusetts.”
I agree with part of this statement but I can't agree with not doing anything about it. Point deducted. 22.

#39. “The GOP candidate has proposed more domestic energy development, approval of the Keystone pipeline, and a return to market-oriented “green energy” innovation.”
Without more research I cannot know enough to be sure on this one.... but, on the surface, it looks like something I can agree with. I will leave this point.

#40. “Romney signed into law at least one pro-second amendment or pro-sportsmen bill while governor every year, and blocked or improved anti-gun legislation coming out of the Democrat-dominated legislature. NRA board of directors member Grover Norquist in 2007 called Romney’s position on guns “flawless.” “
Without more research I cannot know enough to be sure on this one.... but, on the surface, it looks like something I can agree with. I will leave this point.

#41. “Regarding foreign policy matters, Mitt Romney has pledged to be a staunch defender of Israel.”
I can't be a solid support of Israel and their tactics. This is not a positive to me. Point deducted; 22.

#42. “He has called Iran’s attainment of nuclear weapons “unacceptable” and would do everything in his power to prevent it.”
Agreed on the former. There should be limits on the latter. Working with them to remove an impetus to USE them against us would be more valuable than a military action that reinforces the Arab world's hatred of the US. Without knowing more I cannot determine is this a reason to vote for him or against him... I will, to be fair, leave this point intact.

#43. “Mitt Romney called Russia the U.S.’ “number one geopolitical foe.” President Obama has made numerous concessions to Russia in what he called a “reset” of relations and even whispered to Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more “flexibility” after his “last election” in a hot microphone exchange.”
I disagree. Russia is no longer out largest foe. Our largest foes is not (currently) military; it is economic and/or ideological.
Not a reason to vote FOR Romney – point deducted; 21.

#44. “In regards to China, Romney has stated he intends to go after China for currency manipulation, and he would strengthen our naval assets in the Pacific.”
This is actually two points; I am surprised the article did not outline it as such. I agree with holding China accountable where we can. I am not sure I agree with strengthening our military. I'll leave this point intact.

#45. “Although Romney was attacked by mainstream media for going after Obama on his mishandling of the terrorist attack at Benghazi, further analysis confirms that the administration did not send help to the murdered diplomats and security forces after three requests.”
Not a reason to vote FOR Romney; possibly a reason to vote against Obama. Point deducted. 20.

#46. “Mitt Romney strongly opposes illegal immigration. He is not for forcibly removing but wants to seek ways to encourage legal immigration and discourage illegal immigration.”

#47.”He selected as his running mate Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, who was re-elected six times in a Democrat-heavy district, and never failed to receive 63% of the vote.”
Point against Romney. Ryan is dangerous and is a worse liar and misogynist than Romney. This is a bad enough mistake to not just not be a supporting reason but ALSO be a reason against him. Two points deducted. 18 left.

#48. “Paul Ryan’s proposed budget plan would “shrink the size of government to about 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2023, 19 percent of GDP in 2040 and 16 percent of GDP in 2050.” The plan is relatively non-aggressive, as conservative critics contend, but may be politically viable.”
I don't know enough to rebut this so, since I like what it says here, I will let it stand.

#49. “As one policy foundation summarized: “The Ryan budget would reform income taxes for individuals and corporations by lowering rates and allowing fewer exemptions, deductions and other special provisions.” “
This is a sub-set of point 48 and not another reason. Point deducted. 17 left.

#50. “As the analysis continued, “relative to the CBO baseline, these proposals would cut taxes by $4.4 trillion over 10 years and would more than offset all of the budget’s $4.1 trillion in proposed spending cuts.” Other ‘non-static’ budget analyses have confirmed this $4 trillion in spending reductions.”
This is a sub-set of point 48 and not another reason. Point deducted. 16 left.

#51. “According to the CBO’s long-term projections, federal debt would decline to 62 percent of GDP in 2022 and to 10 percent of GDP in 2050 under the Ryan plan.”
This is a sub-set of point 48 and not another reason. Point deducted. 15 left.

#52. “As a potential president, Mitt Romney would likely be charged with nominating two Supreme Court justices, who would have lifetime appointments, and dozens of federal judges. The Justices he cites as his favorites are: Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.”
This actually scares me. I don't want a GOP-appointed judge added to the list. Reason NOT to vote for Romney; two points deducted. 13 left.

#53. “While governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney worked with an 85% Democrat legislature to balance the budget four times. If his election bid is successful enough on November 6th, he would likely have the opportunity to work with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and possibly a GOP majority Senate to effect the change of direction America so desperately needs.”
Part of this is point 6, re-stated. Point deducted. 12 remain.
The idea of a GOP-controlled house, senate and White House is terrifying. It removes the checks and balances that a bi-partisan government brings.... even when that brings it's own set of problems. Furthermore, that GOP today does not represent anything that I can support so the idea of a GOP-controlled government is even more terrifying that an all Democrat-dominated government. Another point deducted; 11 left.