"Moment Of Surrender"
A new report from a Wharton professor entilted "The American Dream? The Private and External Benefits of Homeownership" dismantles the prevailing myth of the happy home owner. The author writes, "I find little evidence that homeowners are happier [than renters] by any of the following definitions: life satisfaction, overall mood, overall feeling, general moment-to-moment emotions (i.e., affect) and affect at home… They are also more likely to be 12 pounds heavier, report a lower health status and poorer sleep quality. They tend to spend less time on active leisure or with friends. The average homeowner reports less joy from love and relationships… Contrary to popular belief, I do not find significant differences in family-related time use patterns, family-related affect, number of normal work hours, indicators of stress or measures of self-esteem and perceived control of life by homeownership … Homeowners are happier on average only on an unadjusted basis. Once household income, housing quality and health are controlled for, they are no happier than renters. What’s more, they report to derive more pain from both the neighborhood and their house and home. This positive pain gap remains stable and robust when health, neighborhood characteristics and financial stress are controlled for. As for the most frequently cited channels of a positive impact by homeownership, namely self-esteem, stress, health and family life, again there is very little supporting evidence in my data… [H]omeowners spend less time on active leisure activities or with friends, which have been documented as some of the most enjoyable affective experiences."
This is a most interesting read, as I find that a subtle but palpable peer pressure exists around the topic of home ownership, supported so effectively by wall-to-wall programming such as HGTV and similar decor porn media outlets, "big box" home decor and improvement stores, and countless home magazines. The message we receive is that you only arrive once you've purchased a home, that you are somehow less responsible or that you are living carefree if you are a renter. I think home ownership is one of the most significant decisions any of us will ever make and it should be made for all the right reasons at the best possible time for the individual(s) involved. The subprime mortgage crisis reveals the dangers of selling the dream to those who should never have taken the keys in the first place.
The country's top court has dissolved the government. The decision, which effectively dissolves the Prime Minister's government, follows months of opposition protests that have driven government officials from their offices. The Consitutional Court also banned at least one of the ruling coalition partners, effectively dismantling the government over allegations of vote-rigging. Adeputy prime minister from one of the remaining coalition parties will take over until the parliament could approve a new government.
The head of state is cutting short a state visit to Europe and returning to the country in the face of a political crisis that could bring down the government next week. The head of state will be called upon to decide who should govern if the minority government falls in a confidence vote. Opposition leader announced Monday that he had informed the head of state of a formal entente between the opposition parties, and called on her to let him govern. The Prime Minister's minority government could fall Monday when the House of Commons votes on last week's economic update - unless the Prime Minister prorogues Parliament.
Fascinating times indeed. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. By the way, the first country is Thailand and the second country is Canada.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States,Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady,Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Finally, the reunion I've been waiting 11 years to see...My two favourite actors are appearing in Revolutionary Road this December. Based on the 1961 novel of the same name by Richard Yates (and the inspiration for the TV show "Mad Men") this film, directed by Sam Mendes, promises to be memorable and poignant. I think it will prove to be an excellent counterpart to Mendes' "American Beauty" (1999). In a 2000 re-review of the novel, the New York Times reviewer writes, "Mostly 'Revolutionary Road' is just so smart and keen and shockingly inventive about everything it turns its imagination to: about being young and blissfully rudderless in New York City before the responsibilities of marriage and family cloud the sky; about entertaining the awful neighbors; about long, long business lunches; about being 30 and feeling middle-aged; about fearing change when you know change is likely to save you; even about the pink light seen through a poor man's earlobe, palely summing up all of humanity's frailty and failure."
As I watch Governor Sarah Palin address the Republican National Convention I can't help but think of Senator Hilary Clinton. Surely she is also watching, and she must be pinching herself. She must be finding the scene on the television incredulous. I wonder if she is harbouring a bitterness as she contemplates the past year and the decades of her public service and where it has led her--to watching instead of being in front of the camera setting the agenda.
Tonight's messages from Rudy Giuliani and Governor Palin have been barbed and vicious. Both have come out on full attack mode with their gloves off. For example: "This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign". Ouch! They are slicing and dicing Senator Obama for his lack of executive experience and they are positioning him as being all about style and little substance. The word "experience" has been used in almost every sentence, and while Palin is veering on too much sarcasm for my taste, Democrats are very wrong to discount her or the Republicans. Still, I wish she would actually tell us why she would make a great VP instead of spending her time deifying McCain and denigrating Obama. Read Palin's speech here.
As of last look there was only a one-point gap between the parties. This tells me that the so-called "battleground states" and the undecided will determine this election. We should expect one of the most barbaric displays of party rhetoric, stinging criticisms, tabloid-style attacks, excess negativity than in the last two elections. The "Us" and "Them" quotient will rise exponentially. The key will be to see which party can mobilize feet to the polls, and who can win over the fence-sitters. Palin's straight-shootin', small-town hockey mom persona fuels the Republican base, and perhaps will pull in many others. Obama will need Hilary Clinton more than ever to work the stumps and pull in support for the Democrats.