Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Top Five Strengths

On Monday in my Creativity class at Wharton, Marty Seligman lectured about his development of Positive Psychology, a discipline that has had a major influence in the discipline. I signed up at the his website, Authentic Happiness, to try out some of his tools. I took the survey of character strengths first. These are the results.

VIA Survey of Character Strengths
Here are your scores on the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. For how to interpret and use your scores, see the book Authentic Happiness. The ranking of the strengths reflects your overall ratings of yourself on the 24 strengths in the survey, how much of each strength you possess. Your top five, especially those marked as Signature Strengths, are the ones to pay attention to and find ways to use more often.

Your Top Strength
Curiosity and interest in the world
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

Your Second Strength
Love of learning
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.

Your Third Strength
You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Your Fourth Strength
Bravery and valor
You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions.

Your Fifth Strength
Appreciation of beauty and excellence
You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.

Friday, October 22, 2010

When the Moment's at its Crisis

Hey gang. Its been a while since I posted on the blog. My attention was averted to, where as I'd been blogging for over a year on the Pennsylvania Senate Race. Well, know we're only a few weeks away from what promises to be an historic election. The Conventional Wisdom is spelling doom for the Democrat, with pollsters betting they lose 50 seats in the House. Goodbye Nancy. The Senate is still considered safe, but Republicans smell blood in the water. Power in Washington is vulnerable.

At the leading edge of the Democratic Party is The Admiral Joe Sestak, a 30 year navy veteran turned Congressman with progressive values. I followed the man he beat in the primary, Senator Arlen Specter, on my blog The In-Specter.

Arlen Specter is a career survivor in Pennsylvania Politics. I carefully watched as Sestak languished by double digits for months, only to come from behind mere weeks from the election and take Arlen down. Now Sestak is making a similar move in his race against Club for Growth darling Pat Toomey.

Nate Silver says his chances of losing are still over 80%. But as Silver admitted yesterday, Pennsylvania is "one state where a candidate in a fairly tight race does seem to have made up ground."

What's going on? Why this sudden shift in the polls? Reversals are rare, but polls are only a prediction. The outcome of this race will come down to one thing only: who votes on Election Day.

Sure that's obvious. But its also the point. Elections come down to who votes. In a democracy, only you can make the future.

I'll be posting here more often about the race, and hope to get you motivated to get out and vote for Democrats in this election.


I want to jump into a pair of ads I saw this afternoon on a Fox affiliate. The first was a veteran talking about his brother who died in Iraq.

Dante Zappala's is the narrator of this ad by His brother died in Iraq. He says:

Big Oil and its backers are spending millions to scare us, saying it costs too much to break our dependence on oil. What they're really doing is putting our security at risk. My big brother went to Iraq to keep us safe. He came home in a flag-draped coffin. America lost another hero. Big Oil wants to talk about costs? Don't let Big Oil lie to you about what our dependence really costs.

Now compare this ad, by the Republican Senatorial Committee. A dark, scary voice speaks in whispered tones about Joe Sestak's record in Washington, and association with Washington Liberals, and offers clips of Sestak speaking as evidence of his accusations.

(Voice) What did Joe Sestak think of the stimulus bill that failed to create jobs?

Sestak "It's the minimum amount needed. I would have voted for one trillion dollars."

(Voice) The government takeover of Health Care?

Sestak: "its hard for me to vote for a bill that doesn't have a public health care plan option in it."

(Voice) The job killing cap and trade energy tax?

Sestak: "I pushed hard for the cap and trade bill. The one the House passed should have even been more."

(Voice) There's left. There's far left. And then there's Joe Sestak."


The Republicans are right about one thing in this ad. You have a real choice in this election. Joe Sestak supported the ambitious agenda of President Obama: to reform Wall Street and stop the economic catastrophe caused by eight years of Republican mishandling; to guarantee health care as a right owed to every American, and stop the discriminatory, wasteful practices of the insurance companies; to enact practical reforms that will slow climate change while stimulating the creation of 21st century American industry.

The Veterans Vote ad provides the essential contrast in Pat Toomey. Like many of the radical right wing Republicans running this cycle, he threatens to undo our record of achievement on these critical issues. He might claim to be tough on National Security, but honest patriots like the men and women at Veterans Vote know the truth: his record of support for Big Oil, and no votes on things like CAFE standards and the Kyoto Accords from when he served in the House indicate that he too does not understand the real cost of oil dependence. Like the oil companies, his shortsighted focus on what is profitable now fails to take into account critical externalities that, in the long term, are dangerous for the physical and economic security of our nation and our world.

Don't sit this one out. On November 2nd, you have a clear choice. You can let the Republicans obstruct any more progress, or you can be counted on to deliver for good Democrats like Joe Sestak. The Coalition that elected Barack Obama must show up now. We cannot be silent!

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