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November 4, 2010

Beware of Career Politicians!

Washington seems to be irrevocably broken. We no longer have politicians who leave their communities from Alabama to Wisconsin and go to work in Washington on issues that will benefit their constituents. Once elected by their home town and state, politicians go to Washington armed with personal agendas and to do lists. That’s why D.C. is currently filled with Republicrats and the Class of 2010 will introduce Teapublicrats into Washington’s political structure. If a politician goes to Washington and dares to try to change the corrupt, crooked, fraudulent practices s/he will be labeled as ‘Public Enemy Number One’ and everything they try to work on — no matter how good for America — will be blocked. Saying that our government is a social order of elite cliques is an understatement.

Washington is FILLED with career politicians who are only interested in getting rich and re-elected. I am not being scornful nor am I mocking people who are civic minded. It is just difficult to explain why anyone would spend $150 MILLION dollars on a campaign to get a job that pays $180,000 a year. What could cause such a reckless financial decision? Could it be the personal benefits: the kickbacks, salary for life, unbelievable insurance and the ability to vote for a raise for yourself?

Washington is damaged and only American voters can change it. We have to put a stop to this madness that works against us. The only people who seem to benefit from the Washington political system are the corrupt Washington fat cats. We need term limits: two 2 year terms. Politicians should campaign the way they intend to govern and govern like they campaigned. Politicians should go to Washington, focus on what they campaigned to do to benefit their community and then leave D.C. when they’ve done their job. We need to stop politicians’ ‘special benefits’. Politicians should receive Social Security and Medicare just like everyone else. There should be a five dollar limit on campaign contributions and only from individual American citizens. We need our elected officials to be civic minded public servants instead of special interest directed career politicians.

We also need to be independent thinkers. That’s the only way Americans are going to benefit from our political system. Do not let either political party control your mind. Do not hate a candidate only because he is a Democrat. Do not hate a candidate only because she is a Republican. Do not trust a candidate just because she is a Democrat. Do not trust a candidate just because he is a Republican. If you do, you will forever be their puppet without benefits.

Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he will not work with President Obama on Programs that will benefit Democrats and Republicans alike. He said that his goal is to get a Republican in as President in 2012. Excuse me, but how does this help Americans get jobs, and loans, and homes and cars? He doesn’t care about how his decision will create consequences for you and me. Plotting the next election only benefits his personal agenda. McConnell is the Senate minority leader with an obligation to govern for Americans in a manner that transcends his own partisan goals.

It seems that given the choice of supporting something that was good for the country, but would also benefit Barack Obama politically, McConnell would screw over Americans. He is willing to do what’s beneficial for his personal political agenda; and not necessarily good for us Americans.

Our Teapublicrats MUST work together in the next two years so that America can get out of the ditch she’s in. If these politicians do not work together we will all suffer tremendously.

If the economy does not improve soon, more businesses will lay off more employees. Those of us with jobs could lose our jobs. If we lose our jobs we can’t buy anything or support our local businesses. If we don’t support our local businesses they will go out of business. If they go out of business there will be less taxes coming into our communities. If there are less taxes flowing into our community our Mayors will have to cut services in our communities and the downward spiral will continue until we are ALL affected. This can turn into a living nightmare for all of us. We have to work together as Americans and make it clear to individual politicians we elected that they must work for us, that getting America back on its financial feet is goal number one.

Our politicians are living THEIR American dream. We have to convince them to work for us: for you and me so that we can live our American dream.

We have to let them know that we will not tolerate 2 years of dysfunction that leads to more suffering for us while they sit on their behinds and get paid. We have to remind them that we the voters have the power to stop their dreams. We have to demand that they work together to create jobs and do what’s best for ALL of us.

Empower yourself. Force politicians to do the work you sent them to do in Washington. Contact your elected officials: tweet, email, call or write your Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor and Legislators and insist that they work together and do what’s right for America.

Contact your elected officials: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

October 18, 2010

Is The Tea Party Good For America?

Is the “Tea Party” good for America?

Last year after the first “tea parties” were held on Tax Day, 51% of Americans had a favorable view of the Tea Party (“TP”). According to Rasmussen, this year, that number went down by 10 points. Now 41% of polled voters have a favorable opinion of the TP, while 35% view it unfavorably — 23% are undecided. The Rasmussen also informed us that male voters are more likely to have a favorable opinion of the TP than female voters but there are many, many female Tea Partiers (“TPiers”) and we know that 70% of Republicans view the TP favorably.

Voters also said that if the Tea Party was organized as a political party, 34% would prefer a Democrat in a three-way congressional race; 27% would vote Republican and 21% say they would vote for the TP.

After doing a tremendous amount of research I came to the conclusion that the TP doesn’t have any real set of guidelines, long-term goals or realistic solutions that defines it as a group. On the other hand they have a few beliefs in common that make them unite when it’s opportune.

TP members say that they want to “take back” America! They say that America is heading in the wrong direction and we need to take control and fix it before it is too late. Bu they don’t say specifically what they want to fix. The rhetoric sounds damn persuasive and even more terrifying. It has many Americans frightened, anxious, enraged and ready to wage war!

TPiers believe that the federal government is a special interest group and that government and big business work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. Of course there was no TP before President Barack Obama. This contradicts their insistence that it’s really all about big government since big government didn’t bother them when George W or any other person was president.

The TPiers won’t commit to what part(s) of big government they would get rid of to create a small government. Do the TPiers want to get rid of Student Loans, Federal Education Funding, Job Corp, Public Transportation, Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare or any of the many government programs that build our roads, highways and bridges or the programs that protect our food supply, etc.? These are the things that ‘big government’ does. If our government isn’t responsible for these big issues that the majority of all Americans benefit from, who is going to create, fund and manage these programs? The TP doesn’t have an answer. They seem to be only interested in throwing random thoughts into the wind where they leave the thoughts…floating aimlessly…with no solutions.

TPiers are only interested in the economic state of our nation, not any of America’s social issues, unless, it’s something they don’t like such as: welfare, abortion, or gay and lesbian (GLBT) rights. The Republican Party candidate for Senate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, said, “And these programs that you mentioned — that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward — are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country, is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.”  TPiers wants us to believe that if we lose our jobs because of the Republican-caused economic crisis, or if we lose our house because of the Republican-backed bank fraud, or if we can’t afford health care insurance because Republicans blocked the public option, don’t worry; the government won’t have to help you because God will provide.

TPiers also allege that they are being painted as extremists, which they say they are not when they are in their smaller social club group. But they agree that when they come together and have joint meetings of different sects from different cities and states they are extreme in their vocalizations and outrage.

What is puzzling is that even politicians that owe their nominations to the TP tend to shy away from admitting to being a part of it. For example, here in the great State of Florida, Marco Rubio the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate said, “I think there is a real misunderstanding about what the Tea Party movement is. The Tea Party movement is a sentiment in America that government is broken – both parties are to blame – and if we don’t do something soon, this exceptional country will be lost and it will become just like everybody else.”

It seems that politicians use the TP to gain campaign funds and the nomination and then discard or distance them self from the TP in order to reconnect with mainstream voters. This is a very shrewd strategy! This strategy allows politicians like Rubio to tap into the ranting and raving of the TP without them self having to look or sound angry or extreme – they can blame the rage and disorderliness on their TP audiences. How incredibly conniving of mainstream Republicans!

How is this even possible? How can an ideological group that is only 18 month old allow mainstream politicians that do not support their beliefs to manipulate them and dispose of them so blatantly?! It seems that greed may be the answer.

Some TP leaders are thinking about their personal futures and are trying to find a way into mainstream politics. Yes, they want to be a part of the same big government that they loathe and preach against daily. TP leaders are involving themselves in the more traditional American political scene. From before the primaries and now as the mid-term elections draws closer, some tea party groups seem to have aligned themselves with one candidate or another and these alignments are changing the nature and character of the TP. Many TP sects are seeing a shift in their focus. They are moving from being ideologically linked groups of people who want to advance an ideal, to being candidate focused groups that are participating in the infighting between generally like-minded candidates. The thing is the TP leadership doesn’t want their activists or supporters to know that there is bickering and infighting in their ranks.

So back to my original question, “Is the “Tea Party” good for America?”

In a civic sense I believe that answer is yes because the TP has engaged and encouraged citizens to involve themselves in maintaining the good order of our fair republic – just as the country’s Founders envisioned it.

From a constructive, helping America to be all she can be point-of-view – my answer is a resounding no. Their candidates are erratic and are on the fringe of one extreme or another. They are not unifiers. They are dividing America with hostilities. The TP has not brought anything new to the table. They have no solutions and their political naiveté is worrisome. Simply put, they are obstructionists.

Initially I thought the Tea Party was a noble movement of independent free thinking spiritual people from all walks of life. What I have discovered during my research is that the TP could just as well become a neo-Nazi type party if they are not contained.

We cannot sit idly by and watch a few ‘non-thinkers’ without solutions take over the American political system. It seems to me that those who know do not speak and those who speak do not know. If ‘thinkers’ do not unite and make our voices heard we will all have to live with the decisions that the ‘non-thinkers’ made and it will be our own fault.

Keep your eyes on the prize — vote on Tuesday, November 2 and Early Vote if it’s an option in your State!!!

Peace, Love and Understanding!

 

October 16, 2010

Vote 2010: United We Stand; Divided We ALL Fall!

When you are the leader in anything (even on Dancing with the Stars!) there is only one way to go – down.  And there are always many happily waiting to take you top spot.  America is the world leader and there are many ‘vultures’ who want us to slip so that they can be the world leader – number one.  As the lyricist Des’ree said, “You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger, you gotta be calm and you gotta stay together!”

America – we MUST stay together.  We MUST unite or divided we will all fall.  The rest of the world is uniting against us. Wake up! Unite!!! Did you hear or read the news report on Thursday that Russia is helping to build a nuclear power station?!  Read the following articles for details:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101015/wl_nm/us_russia_venezuela_nuclear

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/15/russia.venezuela/

Most Americans want what’s good for America – we just have different ways we believe we should go about making America successful.  What we seem to forget is that there are more than one way to skin a cat, a deer or a gator.

If we continue to fight amongst ourselves as we are doing now, NONE of us will benefit.  Right now we are like a nation at a four way traffic intersection and we all moved at the same time. We are all in the middle of the intersection and no one wants to back up so we are all stuck. And everyone behind us is stuck and we’re backed up for miles without a solution in sight.

The top 10% of America has 90% of our wealth.  That 10% is receiving tax breaks from our government so that they will create good jobs in America and put us back to work.  But that’s not what they are doing.  They are taking the tax breaks and shipping tens of thousands of good paying jobs overseas.  This means that the top 10% are getting our tax monies from the government and they are getting more money by shipping our jobs abroad and saving millions. Why do the 10% wealthiest get to have their billion dollar cake and eat it too?  Why aren’t we screaming at them?

We have to look at who the real culprits are and rebel against THEM.  President Obama is giving these big businesses the tools they need to hire Americans.  These businesses have accepted the tools but they refuse to use it to help the middle class Americans they are suppose to help.  They are lining their pockets and sitting on their money eggs while we lose our jobs. 

America we have to unite against big business and we have to unite as a country before we drop from number one to number three or four.

We have to be smart citizen politicians.  We have to make decisions that help us; not the 10%.  We have to realize that the only way to rebuild America is for all of us to work together and get America out of the hole we’re in.  When we’re out of the hole we can debate our doctrines and personal preferences.

If we do not remain united, foreign powers will have a real opportunity to slip in and take bits and pieces of our country and businesses until they own America. Is that what we want to happen?

We can only point the fingers at ourselves if this great country collapses. 

This is not the time to snicker, bicker and point fingers.  Know is the time to set America right so we can continue to live in this great country as Americans and not become foreigners in our country.

So, what are you going to do?  Are you going to vote and unite America on November 2, 2010 and continue the work already started so we can all get jobs again?  Or are you going to vote to further divide the country and we will all fall?

United we stand. Divided we fall.

What are you going to do?

If America fails, which country do you want to rule America?  Which new language do you want to have to learn to speak?  Chinese, Russian, French?

United we stand. Divided we fall.

What are you going to do?

Peace, Love and Understanding!

December 16, 2009

Health Care Reform: Even Without The Public Option It’s BETTER Than What We Have Now!!!

With all the Health Care Reform brouhaha about losing the public option (which I want 100 %!) it may seem that we Democrats are losing the Health Care Reform battle – that’s not true.  Don’t believe the hype.

No,  we are not getting everything we want (neither is anyone else) but the chances of us getting everything we wanted with hundreds of law makers voting in Congress and needing 60 votes in the Senate was never realistic…it wasn’t going to happen; not ever.  There are too many politicians with specific political interests and geographical interests to make any one group or region completely happy.

But let us not forget the prize — Health Care Reform.  Let us re-focus. I know we’re in the middle of Hanukkah and Christmas is next week but we must get this done.

Even without the public option an additional 33 million Americans will receive health care benefits – we want that.  Even without the public option all insurance companies will legally have to cover you and me and our families and friends and neighbors regardless of pre-existing conditions – we want that.  We have NEVER had that in American health care before.  That is major!!! That is worth it to me. Plus there are other benefits even without the public option.

Don’t forget that when Health Care Reform is passed it WILL be tweaked in the upcoming months and even years to come so that things that seem to be lost now can be added later

The important thing is to PASS HEALTH CARE REFORM NOW so that we have a foundation to build on; we can always make the bill better later.  If we don’t pass Health Care Reform now the precedence will be set that says we really don’t care about Health Care Reform and we will probably never see health care pass in the next 30 years — we can’t wait 30 more years!!!  Remember that this fight has been going on for over 60 years!!!  This is the closest we have ever been so let’s get this done in 2009.

Please contact your elected officials and tell them to PASS AMERICA’S HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!

You’ll find links to e-mail, tweet, postal addresses, and phone numbers for key elected officials from our President to State Legislators at http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.  All you have to do is enter your zip code and your elected officials’ information will pop up.

Keep your eyes on the prize.  Call your elected officials today!!!

Happy Holidays!

December 3, 2009

Economy: Why NOW May Be A Good Time To Refinance A Mortgage

Why Now May Be a Good Time to Consider Refinancing a Mortgage

By JENNIFER SARANOW SCHULTZ

 

With mortgage rates hitting record lows, it may be time to think about refinancing.

The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage with no points hit 5.01 this week, slightly up from 5 percent last week but down from 5.97 percent this time last year, and the 15-year fixed mortgage rate hit 4.46 percent, compared with 4.47 percent last week, according to the latest data released Wednesday from Bankrate.com. These rates are at, or close to, the lowest levels since the company’s tracking began in 1985.

At the same time, the Mortgage Bankers Association said interest rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgages it tracks fell for a sixth straight week, remaining below the 5 percent level, “widely viewed as a psychological tipping point” according to this article.

The record lows are thanks to a combination of the Federal Reserve showing no inclination to raise short-term interest rates and investors and foreign central banks maintaining a healthy appetite for debt issued or guaranteed by the United States government, said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s senior financial analyst. And they come as many homeowners are finding themselves owing more than their house is worth and are having trouble making mortgage payments.

There is also a limited-time government program that helps people to refinance if they are slightly underwater. The “Home Affordable Refinance Program” is not as widely discussed as the related loan modification program. And it has been criticized by some housing experts for helping financial players profit. Still, it aims to help homeowners who have a mortgage balance equal to or greater than the value of their home refinance and obtain more affordable monthly mortgage payments.

The program is available until June of next year to homeowners who meet certain qualifications, including having loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and having a first mortgage that does not exceed 125 percent of the current market value of the home. (See if you qualify and find out how to apply if you do here).

With the risk that rates may not stay this low for long and that the government program will end, “there is a window of opportunity” for refinancing that will not be available for long, Mr. McBride said. He recommended that those who think they may not qualify for the program to double check what their home is worth to confirm this. Then, even if you don’t ultimately qualify, he suggested considering trying to refinance anyway if you are paying a higher rate on a fixed-rate mortgage or have an adjustable-rate mortgage.

“Today’s record low mortgage rates represent an opportunity for homeowners to refinance at lower fixed rates or to trade out of an adjustable rate mortgage before an inevitable increase in rates and lock in permanent payment affordability,” he said.

Are you considering refinancing in this environment? Why or why not? If so, what kinds of problems and hurdles, if any, have you run into trying to refinance? (Find more information about mortgages here and more information about loan modifications here).

Original link: http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/02/why-now-may-be-a-good-time-to-consider-refinancing-a-mortgage/

November 29, 2009

Economy: Obama Wants Mortgage Firms to Reduce More Loan Payments

The Obama administration in a proactive move plans to announce a campaign on Monday, November 30 to pressure mortgage companies to reduce payments for many more troubled homeowners since the $75 billion taxpayer-financed effort aimed at slowing down foreclosures is stalling.

In an interview the Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Michael Barr said: “The banks are not doing a good enough job. Some of the firms ought to be embarrassed, and they will be.”

In recent months even as lenders have accelerated the pace at which they are reducing mortgage payments for borrowers a vast majority of loans modified through the program remain in a trial stage lasting up to only five months but only a tiny fraction of loans have been made permanent.

Mr. Barr said the government would try to use shame as a corrective, publicly naming those institutions that move too slowly to permanently lower mortgage payments. The Treasury Department also will wait until reductions are permanent before paying cash incentives that it promised to mortgage companies that lower loan payments. “They’re not getting a penny from the federal government until they move forward,” Mr. Barr said.

Lawyers who defend homeowners against foreclosure insist that mortgage companies amass ridiculously profitable fees from long-term delinquencies and that is more beneficial to them than lowering mortgage payments to affordable levels. In October an oversight panel created by Congress reported that less than 2,000 of the 500,000 loan modifications being processed had become permanent under the Making Home Affordable program. When the Treasury releases new numbers next month, it is expected to report a disappointingly small number of permanent loan modifications, with estimates in the tens of thousands out of the more than 650,000 borrowers now in the program.

Even as our economy tries to find its footing the Treasury department is under pressure to help every day Americans who should have been helped by the banks and financial institutions who benefited from the bailouts on Wall Street.  These financial institutions seem not to feel that they have any moral responsibility to help the hundreds of thousands of households falling into delinquency daily because of the economy and high unemployment numbers. These financial institutions are reporting massive profits but are not helping everyday Americans – they are lining only their own pockets.

The administration’s Making Home Affordable program was put into operation as a means of helping three to four million households from foreclosure but because of the greed of some financial institutions it seems that only 50% of those households will receive the help they should have received. The Obama administration is trying to outwit the financial institutions they helped by publicly putting pressure on these institutions to do what they promised to do.  A White House aide said that they will continue to refine the program as needed and will not be satisfied until more program participants are transitioned from trial to permanent mortgage modifications.

November 18, 2009

Health Care Reform: Don’t Be Distracted By The Abortion Talk

Six in ten Americans favor a ban on the use of federal funds for abortion. Fine.  But let’s not let that stop us from passing Health Care Reform. The abortion issue and Health Care Reform are two completely different issues.  Don’t be distracted.  Don’t lose your focus.

I personally don’t believe in abortions but I believe in a woman’s right to chose.  I am not God and will therefore not judge someone else’s circumstances.  I do not believe that “the public at large” or our law makers should create legislation that would prevent many women from getting their health insurance plan to cover the cost of an abortion, even if no federal funds are involved. That’s just too black and white — what about women who are in a medical crisis?

These same people who are screaming that government is too big are the same people who want to micro-manage other people’s reproductive organs and choices.  Hypocrites!!!

Most Americans like most of the current House bill.  They like the parts that add new regulations to the health insurance industry that will stop them from discriminating against pre-existing conditions and provide more coverage for people who can’t afford health care.  Americans also like the language in the bill that requires companies to provide health insurance to their workers. But most of us are not so sure about the language that requires people to get health insurance on their own if they don’t get it through another source.  We agree with and understand the philosophy behind it, but it’s worrisome.

Folks, let us work this out.  Let us create a bill that benefits the majority of Americans.  Let us pass Health Care Reform.  Send a letter via US mail or send an email or call your elected officials and tell them what you don’t like about the existing bill and what you do like and support. Your voice matters.

Participate in the process.  Let your voice be heard. Tell our law makers to make the current House bill even better but please continue to support Health Care Reform.

Contact your elected officials — everyone from our President, Vice President, Senators, US Representatives, Governors and State legislators — by going to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

November 8, 2009

Health Care Reform: House Vote Brings Us One Step Closer To Success

us-congress-building  This morning, we are one step closer to achieving health care reform in the United States of America.  Can I get a “hip, hip!”

Nancy Pelosi and The House voted 220-215 on Saturday night on health care legislation that would provide way past due relief to Americans struggling to buy or hold on to health insurance.  One Republican, Representative Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana voted with the Democrats.

Some Democrats said they voted for the legislation so they could seek improvements in it. “This bill will get better in the Senate,” said Representative Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee who has been outspoken in his criticism of some provisions of the bill but decided to support it. “If we kill it here, it won’t have a chance to get better.”  “Our plan is not perfect, but it is a good start toward providing affordable health care to all Americans,” said Representative Peter A. DeFazio D-Oregon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and The Senate still have to bring their health care plan to the floor for debate. Once their decision is made then the House and Senate will bargain and hopefully reach a deal on a final bill that will go to President Obama for signing.

The health care legislature passed last night will be paid for through new fees and taxes along with strategic cuts to Medicare.  The plan will extend coverage to 36 million people now without insurance while creating a government health insurance program. It would end insurance company practices like not covering pre-existing conditions or dropping people when they become ill.  Most employers would have to provide coverage or pay a tax penalty of up to 8 percent of their payroll. The bill would significantly expand Medicaid and would offer subsidies to help moderate-income people buy insurance from private companies or from a government insurance plan. It would also set up a national insurance exchange where people could shop for coverage.

“We did what we promised the American people we would do,” said Representative Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the majority leader, but he also warned, “Much work remains.”

The successful vote came after President Obama traveled to Capitol Hill to make a personal appeal for lawmakers to “answer the call of history” and support the bill.

During the private meeting with Democrats in the Cannon Caucus Room, the President acknowledged the political difficulty of supporting major legislation in the face of unanimous Republican opposition and tough criticism from conservatives.

Lawmakers credited President Obama with converting a final few holdouts during his appearance at a closed-door meeting with Democrats just hours before the vote. Democratic officials said that the President’s conversation Saturday with Representative Michael H. Michaud, D-Maine, was crucial in winning one final vote.

After the vote, Mr. Obama issued a statement praising the House and calling on the Senate to follow suit. “I am absolutely confident it will and I look forward to signing comprehensive health insurance reform into law by the end of the year.”

But don’t forget, there’s lots of work still to be done.  We will have to make calls, send letters and send emails to our Senators in the upcoming weeks so that they will pass a health care plan.

November 6, 2009

The NY Yankees Are The Champions!!! But NYC Throws LeBron James A Party?

Yankees Parade Baseball  The New York courtship of LeBron James began in earnest when the scheduling gods curiously put his only appearance at Madison Square Garden on the same day as the Yankees’ World Series victory parade.

NY Yankee 5 Hideki Matsui  If you believe in conspiracy theories, then this is right up there with the “chilled” envelope pulled by David Stern in the 1985 Draft lottery, putting Patrick Ewing in New York. You mean LeBron, a die-hard Yankees fan, gets an up-close look while the city is being painted in pinstripes? Is there a better marketing opportunity?

Is this better than anything Madison Avenue could dream up?

Yankees Parade Baseball  The Knicks hope the intoxicating celebrity factor will be enough to sway LeBron next summer as a free agent, because that’s all the Knicks really have in their favor. They can’t offer more money. They can’t offer a better collection of teammates, at least not right away. They can offer Spike Lee while Cleveland offers Drew Carey. They can (and will, you watch) get Spike and Chris Rock, among other celebrity row fixtures, to make a recruiting film in which famous people explain to LeBron why playing in New York will be far more enjoyable than playing in Cleveland.

(Sample pitch from Rock: “Hey LeBron, where you celebratin’ after a tough game in Cleveland? Arby’s?”)

NY Yankees Derek Jeter Trophy  A handful of the Yankees, still smelling of champagne, will be strategically seated at courtside Friday, making LeBron the second-most loved athlete in the house … if Derek Jeter shows up.

Yankees Parade Baseball  Then there’s C.C. Sabathia, big basketball fan and friend of LeBron’s from when Sabathia played in Cleveland; he left for New York and scored an instant jackpot, both with money and a ring. The video screen will constantly show their faces and they’ll get a standing ovation, all designed to show LeBron what it’s like to be a champion in New York. And the fans, no doubt, will chime in, cheering LeBron at warmups (like, who else will they cheer this year?), gushing whenever he does something spectacular and chanting “MVP,” as they did last year, when he dropped 52 on the Knicks.

World Series Yankees Baseball  All this will play to LeBron’s ego and convince him that a star of his magnitude needs to be in New York. That theory, by the way, is obsolete. Maybe 20-25 years ago, a star could receive better perks in New York, as Reggie Jackson did when he left the small market A’s. But with the global media and advertising of today, that’s not really necessary. LeBron blew up commercially without ever leaving Cleveland, and that will continue to be the case if he stays in Cleveland.

NY Yankees 5 A Rod J Z  Obviously, the big factor for LeBron is collecting championships and whether his best chance is in Cleveland with a Cavs’ team that’s probably third-best behind Boston and Orlando and lacks a starry supporting cast, or a Knicks team being furiously stripped and rebuilt on the fly. The Knicks hope it also comes down to the stars and whether LeBron wants to hang with his buddy Jay-Z after the game, or retire to his palatial pad in Cleveland and call it a night.

That’ll be LeBron’s decision to make next July. And guess what? The Yankees should be in first place then, too.

Friday, November 6 @ 8pm EST on ESPN Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks!

November 4, 2009

I’ve Got The Seasonal Flu…Yeah?!

Cough and Sneeze

It started way early this year. Walking around coughing. Runny nose. Deep congestion. Unsettled stomach.  Waking up at 3am and not being able to fall back asleep.  Despite the make-up I was wearing, I looked sick but I didn’t have a severe fever.  Yes I had muscle aches and chills and went from hot to cold in a nanosecond and a temperature higher than 98.6 but I didn’t have a severe fever.

I live in Florida so usually the flu doesn’t hit us until February – not this year; the flu came early.

Everyone who looked at me, and saw me blowing my nose, or coughing, probably thought I had the swine flu. I stopped at a local pharmacy and bought cough drops, aspirin and two different types of flu and cold medicine, as well as a large carton of orange juice. As the cashier saw me approaching, her eyes got big. She began to hesitate — as if she didn’t want me to approach her register. I could tell she thought I had the swine flu.

I tried to comfort her — telling her it was simply a pre-emptive strike. I said I was fine, but simply had a sore throat. I said I wanted to start drinking orange juice early just to play it safe. I doubt she fell for anything I said.

It seems like the different viruses, colds and other bad bug strains out there may be packing a little bit more punch this year. Most folks who get sick now automatically assume they’ve got the swine flu. I did, and it was kind of scary. I even went to the ATM machine and took out money — fearing I could end up in the hospital in a matter of hours.  Don’t ask the logic behind that thinking.

Since we don’t usually see a full blown outbreak of the seasonal flu in Florida until February health officials believe most of the influenza activity we are seeing right now is H1N1, and not the seasonal flu. So we could be looking at a double dose of flu activity this year. Swine flu now and seasonal flu later this winter. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but things are certainly off to a bad start.

It’s starting to look like we are in for a long and rough flu season. I’ve got my hand sanitizer ready. I’m sick now and I have no desire to get sick again.

The 2009 virus circulating the world isn’t strictly swine flu; rather, it’s a mix of swine, avian and human influenza that has never been seen before in humans. In the upcoming months, we’ll be dealt the double whammy of seasonal flu season and a potential second wave of swine flu.

Some people already have enough trouble determining if they have a cold or the flu; the symptoms are similar, although the flu’s symptoms are a bit more intense. But it may be especially difficult to know if you have swine flu or seasonal flu, since the symptoms are extremely similar. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Swine flu patients also report diarrhea and vomiting, not usually present in seasonal flu.

A laboratory test is the only way to confirm a case of swine flu, but few tests have been done as most swine flu cases thus far look like a bout with seasonal flu. Many people recover without needing any medication or hospitalization, and some might not even know they’re ill. The mild nature of swine flu has led some to question why there needs to be any worry, as deaths have been far less than those attributable to seasonal flu.

However, because the current H1N1 influenza is completely new and no one has immunity, public health officials warn that swine flu could eventually cause more complications than seasonal flu does. Not only will there be more complications, they’ll likely be more serious. So far, doctors have reported that swine flu is more likely to result in viral pneumonia, as opposed to bacterial pneumonia often seen in seasonal flu cases; the bacterial version is much easier to treat than the viral kind.

Even if you don’t know if you have swine flu or seasonal flu, head to the doctor if you start to experience symptoms that aren’t part of a typical flu experience; these may be the warning signs of serious swine flu complications. That means everyone needs to remain vigilant about their health in the coming months.

Because swine flu and seasonal flu are transmitted in the same way, everyone should be on watch when it comes to prevention. Cover your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often, stop touching other people’s stuff in the office, don’t touch that door handle, stop talking in other people’s face and stay home when you’re sick. Whether you have seasonal or swine flu, you’ll be doing everyone around you a favor.

I’m GLAD that I don’t have the ‘swine’ — just a bad case of the good old seasonal flu which takes about five to ten days to shake — according to the doctor.

November 1, 2009

VOTE!!! IMPORTANT Elections on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Do you have an election in your community this week?  If you do, go out and VOTE and take a friend with you.

Folks, there are elections all across the country on Tuesday, November 3 and THEY MATTER. 

We’ll see important elections for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia and important Mayoral elections in Atlanta, Houston, New York and other cities and we should be focused on them.  Plus races for City Council, State Legislature and other positions are also up for grabs.  These elections might not receive as much publicity and hype and may not seem to be as ‘sexy’ as the Presidential elections but they are more important in many ways.

These elections will affect our daily lives: The raising of fees, property taxes, making our schools more effective, fighting disparities in our criminal justice system are all determined by the City Council, Commissioner’s Court, Sherriff’s office and by local and state judges yet we ignore these elections.  We should gladly spend time in lines to make sure our votes are counted in our local elections.

Even though President Obama is the leader of our country and the leader of the Democratic Party, once he authorizes monies to go to our communities our local elected officials are the ones who decide HOW to spend the monies. 

Our President is VERY important but our local elected officials are the people who allocate these funds in a meaningful way or waste it to serve their own personal agendas.

In order for President Obama’s policies to be effective, we need local politicians in office who have a similar vision.

Know which local politician(s) in your community will do the most for you and your family.  Share this information with your neighbors and friends and please make sure everyone in your household go out and vote and make sure each person takes a friend with them to the polls.

Keep your eyes on the prize — vote on Tuesday!!!

October 29, 2009

President Obama Honors Fallen American War Heroes At Dover

President Obama Downed Soldiers 10 29 09

As he weighs whether or not to send more troops into the Afghan war zone, late last night President Barack Obama made a solemn trip to Dover Air Force Base to honor some of our fallen soldiers by being there personally to greet the 18 flag-draped caskets of young American soldiers killed in action this week.

When he arrived in Dover, Delaware our President travelled directly to a base chapel where he met privately with families of the fallen Americans. Former President George W. Bush visited the families of hundreds of fallen soldiers but did not attend any military funerals or go to Dover to receive the coffins.

The Dover base is about 100 miles from the White House and is the entry point for service personnel killed overseas.

October 26, 2009

Asian Countries Uniting To Form EU Type Power Structure

ASEAN Leaders

As some Americans sit around huffing and puffing and thinking small;  as they continuously work on dividing and conquering the United States of America, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met last week and made moves toward uniting socially and economically in an EU-style community which would encompass half the world’s population.

So as we continue to fight amongst ourselves in America and dither on the brink of insanity and weaken our social and economic infrastructure instead of working together to make America better and stronger leaders at a summit of 16 Asian nations met in Thailand and listened as the prime ministers of Australia and Japan set out competing visions for a regional bloc that would boost Asia’s global clout.

A central question at their summit was what role that the United States and China would play in any future grouping.

Not wanting to miss out on the potential power that the Asian bloc of countries have, Russia has applied to join the East Asia Summit – a group that includes China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand that works in conjunction with ASEAN.

In November U.S .President Barack Obama will hold the first ever summit with ASEAN leaders as well as attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Singapore to keep America relevant in Asia.

Some countries want the United States to be part of a future Asia regional framework as a counterbalance to China’s influence said one diplomat.

Japanese premier Yukio Hatoyama pushed his plan at the summit for an East Asian community that could “lead the world”.  He said that he would not want to see an extensive US involvement with ASEAN or the East Asia Summit despite Tokyo’s close ties to Washington.

Australian leader Kevin Rudd’s vision for an Asia-Pacific Community by 2020 explicitly includes Washington.

“Whether we like it or not, I think we could not avoid a US role because the US is a big country which has powers both in economic and security matters,” said Chaiwat Khamchoo, an analyst at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University.

“Some countries in the region are suspicious of each other so they want the U.S. to play a role.”

After the distractions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has only recently re-engaged with the region, particularly in Southeast Asia where Washington’s hard line on military-ruled Myanmar kept it at a distance.

With Japan kept busy by its economic woes, China has boosted its influence across the region in recent years, signing a free trade agreement with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

India has tried to play catch-up, belatedly signing its own trade pact with the bloc.

Earlier this year US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the “US is back in Southeast Asia”.

Asian leaders agreed at this weekend’s summit that they need some new framework to hold together their diverse and sometimes fractious region. A closer community would help Asia capitalize on its relatively quick recovery from the global economic crisis and to cut its dependence on the West to drive growth.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in his closing remarks to the summit on Sunday that the old growth model in which Asia relies on consumption in the West will no longer serve us as we move into the future.”

Americans — united we stand, divided we fall.  Let’s stand together and build a better and stronger U.S. of A!

NY Yankees

Go Yankees!!!

October 9, 2009

President Obama — Nobel Peace Prize Winner!

Obama Nobel  This morning, while most Americans slept the Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway announced that President Barack Hussein Obama had been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.  The Nobel Committee awarded this honor to President Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” The committee also pointed out our President’s efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons, “He has created a new international climate, the committee said.

There are many cynics who choose to pretend that they are naïve by saying that our President does not deserve this honor.  I disagree.  Our world has been in a state of turmoil with the potential of war bubbling to the surface in the Middle East and Asia for the past several years.  Our President was courageous enough to go to South America, Egypt and Africa and Europe and speak peace to the world.  He did the same thing at the United Nations.  By his words and actions he has smoothed the feathers of leaders and put out fires that could easily be ignited in the East and West from North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il to Cuba’s Raul Castro to Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas to Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Whether the cynics want to believe it or not, the fact is, our world is safer because of President Barack Obama and therefore this honor bestowed upon him is not premature.

Which other world leader has put their reputation on the line and has spoken peace and responsibility to the world in this bold manner?

Obama Nobel  Today in the Rose Garden President Obama said he was “surprised and deeply humbled” by the committee’s decision, and quickly put to rest any speculation that he might not accept the honor. Describing the award as an “affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations,” he said he would accept it as a “call to action.” 

Here are President Obama’s own words:

OBAMA: Good morning. Well, this is not how I expected to wake up this morning. After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, “Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo’s birthday!” And then Sasha added, “Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up.” So it’s good to have kids to keep things in perspective.

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build — a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action — a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

These challenges can’t be met by any one leader or any one nation. And that’s why my administration has worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek. We cannot tolerate a world in which nuclear weapons spread to more nations and in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust endangers more people. And that’s why we’ve begun to take concrete steps to pursue a world without nuclear weapons, because all nations have the right to pursue peaceful nuclear power, but all nations have the responsibility to demonstrate their peaceful intentions.

We cannot accept the growing threat posed by climate change, which could forever damage the world that we pass on to our children — sowing conflict and famine; destroying coastlines and emptying cities. And that’s why all nations must now accept their share of responsibility for transforming the way that we use energy.

We can’t allow the differences between peoples to define the way that we see one another, and that’s why we must pursue a new beginning among people of different faiths and races and religions; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.

And we must all do our part to resolve those conflicts that have caused so much pain and hardship over so many years, and that effort must include an unwavering commitment that finally realizes that the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security in nations of their own.

We can’t accept a world in which more people are denied opportunity and dignity that all people yearn for — the ability to get an education and make a decent living; the security that you won’t have to live in fear of disease or violence without hope for the future.

And even as we strive to seek a world in which conflicts are resolved peacefully and prosperity is widely shared, we have to confront the world as we know it today. I am the commander in chief of a country that’s responsible for ending a war and working in another theater to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens the American people and our allies. I’m also aware that we are dealing with the impact of a global economic crisis that has left millions of Americans looking for work. These are concerns that I confront every day on behalf of the American people.

Some of the work confronting us will not be completed during my presidency. Some, like the elimination of nuclear weapons, may not be completed in my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it’s recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone. This award is not simply about the efforts of my administration — it’s about the courageous efforts of people around the world.

And that’s why this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity — for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometimes their lives for the cause of peace.

That has always been the cause of America. That’s why the world has always looked to America. And that’s why I believe America will continue to lead.

Thank you very much.

Congratulations President Obama!

October 7, 2009

Michelle Obama’s Roots — A Complex Path From Slavery

Fraser and Marian Robinson with Craig and Michelle

In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery

By RACHEL L. SWARNS and JODI KANTOR

WASHINGTON — In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475.

In his will, she is described simply as the “negro girl Melvinia.” After his death, she was torn away from the people and places she knew and shipped to Georgia. While she was still a teenager, a white man would father her first-born son under circumstances lost in the passage of time.

In the annals of American slavery, this painful story would be utterly unremarkable, save for one reason: This union, consummated some two years before the Civil War, marked the origins of a family line that would extend from rural Georgia, to Birmingham, Ala., to Chicago and, finally, to the White House.

Melvinia Shields, the enslaved and illiterate young girl, and the unknown white man who impregnated her are the great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama, the first lady.

Viewed by many as a powerful symbol of black advancement, Mrs. Obama grew up with only a vague sense of her ancestry, aides and relatives said. During the presidential campaign, the family learned about one paternal great-great-grandfather, a former slave from South Carolina, but the rest of Mrs. Obama’s roots were a mystery.

Now the more complete map of Mrs. Obama’s ancestors — including the slave mother, white father and their biracial son, Dolphus T. Shields — for the first time fully connects the first African-American first lady to the history of slavery, tracing their five-generation journey from bondage to a front-row seat to the presidency.

The findings — uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times — substantiate what Mrs. Obama has called longstanding family rumors about a white forebear.

While President Obama’s biracial background has drawn considerable attention, his wife’s pedigree, which includes American Indian strands, highlights the complicated history of racial intermingling, sometimes born of violence or coercion, that lingers in the bloodlines of many African-Americans. Mrs. Obama and her family declined to comment for this article, aides said, in part because of the personal nature of the subject.

“She is representative of how we have evolved and who we are,” said Edward Ball, a historian who discovered that he had black relatives — the descendants of his white slave-owning ancestors — when he researched his memoir, “Slaves in the Family.”

“We are not separate tribes of Latinos and whites and blacks in America,” Mr. Ball said. “We’ve all mingled, and we have done so for generations.”

The outlines of Mrs. Obama’s family history unfolded from 19th century probate records, yellowing marriage licenses, fading photographs and the recollections of elderly women who remember the family. Ms. Smolenyak, who has traced the ancestry of many prominent figures, began studying the first lady’s roots in earnest after conducting some preliminary research into Mrs. Obama’s ancestry for an article published in The New York Times earlier this year.

Of the dozens of relatives she identified, Ms. Smolenyak said, it was the slave girl who seemed to call out most clearly.

“Out of all Michelle’s roots, it’s Melvinia who is screaming to be found,” she said.

When her owner, David Patterson, died in 1852, Melvinia soon found herself on a 200-acre farm with new masters, Mr. Patterson’s daughter and son-in law, Christianne and Henry Shields. It was a strange and unfamiliar world.

In South Carolina, she had lived on an estate with 21 slaves. In Georgia, she was one of only three slaves on property that is now part of a neat subdivision in Rex, near Atlanta.

Whether Melvinia labored in the house or in the fields, there was no shortage of work: wheat, corn, sweet potatoes and cotton to plant and harvest, and 3 horses, 5 cows, 17 pigs and 20 sheep to care for, according to an 1860 agricultural survey.

It is difficult to say who might have impregnated Melvinia, who gave birth to Dolphus around 1859, when she was perhaps as young as 15. At the time, Henry Shields was in his late 40s and had four sons ages 19 to 24, but other men may have spent time on the farm as well.

“No one should be surprised anymore to hear about the number of rapes and the amount of sexual exploitation that took place under slavery; it was an everyday experience, “ said Jason A. Gillmer, a law professor at Texas Wesleyan University, who has researched liaisons between slave owners and slaves. “But we do find that some of these relationships can be very complex.”

In 1870, three of Melvinia’s four children, including Dolphus, were listed on the census as mulatto. One was born four years after emancipation, suggesting that the liaison that produced those children endured after slavery. She gave her children the Shields name, which may have hinted at their paternity or simply been the custom of former slaves taking their master’s surnames.

Even after she was freed, Melvinia stayed put, working as a farm laborer on land adjacent to that of Charles Shields, one of Henry’s sons.

But sometime in her 30s or 40s, census records show, Melvinia broke away and managed to reunite with former slaves from her childhood on the Patterson estate: Mariah and Bolus Easley, who settled with Melvinia in Bartow County, near the Alabama border. Dolphus married one of the Easleys’ daughters, Alice, who is Mrs. Obama’s great-great-grandmother.

A community “that had been ripped apart was somehow pulling itself back together,” Ms. Smolenyak said of the group in Bartow County.

Still, Melvinia appears to have lived with the unresolved legacy of her childhood in slavery until the very end. Her 1938 death certificate, signed by a relative, says “don’t know” in the space for the names of her parents, suggesting that Melvinia, then in her 90s, may never have known herself.

Sometime before 1888, Dolphus and Alice Shields continued the migration, heading to Birmingham, a boomtown with a rumbling railroad, an iron and steel industry and factories that attracted former slaves and their children from across the South.

Dolphus Shields was in his 30s and very light skinned — some say he looked like a white man — a church-going carpenter who could read, write and advance in an industrializing town. By 1900, he owned his own home, census records show. By 1911, he had opened his own carpentry and tool sharpening business.

A co-founder of First Ebenezer Baptist Church and Trinity Baptist Church, which later became active in the civil rights movement, he supervised Sunday schools at both churches, which still exist today, and at Regular Missionary Baptist Church.

“He was the dean of the deacons in Birmingham,” said Helen Heath, 88, who attended church with him. “He was a serious man. He was about business.”

He carried his family into the working-class, moving into a segregated neighborhood of striving black homeowners and renters. In his home, there was no smoking, no cursing, no gum chewing, no lipstick or trousers for ladies and absolutely no blues on the radio, which was reserved for hymns, remembered Bobbie Holt, 73, who was raised by Mr. Shields and his fourth wife, Lucy. She said the family went to church “every night of the week, it seemed like.”

He carried peppermints for neighborhood children, Mrs. Holt said, and told funny stories about his escapades as a boy. But his family struggled.

His first wife, Alice Easley Shields, moved around after they split up, working as a seamstress and a maid, and two of their sons stumbled.

Robert Lee Shields, Mrs. Obama’s great-grandfather, married Annie Lawson in 1906 and worked as a laborer and a railroad porter, but disappeared from the public record sometime around his 32nd birthday.

Willie Arthur Shields, an inventor who obtained patents for improving dry cleaning operations, ended up working as a maintenance man, Mrs. Holt said.

As for his ancestry, Dolphus Shields didn’t talk about it.

“We got to the place where we didn’t want anybody to know we knew slaves; people didn’t want to talk about that,” said Mrs. Heath, who said she assumed he had white relatives because his skin color and hair texture “told you he had to be near white.”

At a time when blacks despaired at the intransigence and violence of whites who barred them from voting, from most city jobs, from whites-only restaurants and from owning property in white neighborhoods, Dolphus Shields served as a rare link between the deeply divided communities.

His carpentry shop stood in the white section of town, and he mixed easily and often with whites. “They would come to his shop and sit and talk,” Mrs. Holt said.

Dolphus Shields firmly believed race relations would improve. “It’s going to come together one day,” he often said, Mrs. Holt recalled.

By the time he died in 1950 at age 91, change was on the way. On June 9, 1950, the day that his obituary appeared on the front page of The Birmingham World, the black newspaper also ran a banner headline that read, “U.S. Court Bans Segregation in Diners and Higher Education.” The Supreme Court had outlawed separate but equal accommodations on railway cars and in universities in Texas and Oklahoma.

Up North, his grandson, a painter named Purnell Shields, Mrs. Obama’s grandfather, was positioning his family to seize the widening opportunities in Chicago.

But as his descendants moved forward, they lost touch with the past. Today, Dolphus Shields lies in a neglected black cemetery, where patches of grass grow knee-high and many tombstones have toppled.

Mrs. Holt, a retired nursing assistant, said he came to her in a dream last month. She dug up his photograph, never guessing that she would soon learn that Dolphus Shields was a great-great-grandfather of the first lady.

“Oh my God,” said Mrs. Holt, gasping at the news. “I always looked up to him, but I would never have imagined something like this. Praise God, we’ve come a long way.”

Jim Sherling contributed reporting from Rex, Ga. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

This article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/us/politics/08genealogy.html

 

October 5, 2009

Elizabeth Edwards — Divorcing John Edwards?

Elizabeth and John Edwards  Supposedly Elizabeth Edwards has threatened to divorce John Edwards and claim her share of their $53 million estate amassed over 32 years of marriage.

The National ENQUIRER has learned Elizabeth dropped the divorce bombshell after learning a former campaign aide is claiming Rielle Hunter, the mother of Edwards’ love child, isn’t the only woman he seduced on the campaign trail.

“Elizabeth had always sworn she wouldn’t divorce John. But every person has a breaking point, and Elizabeth’s friends believe she’s reached hers,” an insider told The ENQUIRER.

 “Elizabeth knows every dirty little secret in her husband’s political past. She’s been his confidant for years, and she’s always kept quiet. But now she’s prepared to reveal all his secrets in open court.”

Elizabeth’s patience finally ran out when she learned about the scandalous claims in a tell-all book by her husband’s former campaign aide Andrew Young, the married father of three who once claimed that he’d fathered Edwards’ love child that Edwards had other affairs on the campaign trail over the years.

“Elizabeth was read portions of Young’s book proposal, and she flipped out,” said the source.

“Elizabeth basically told John that if she found out that was true, she’d have to divorce him because then he’d be a ‘serial cheater.’

“John claims Young’s book is a pack of lies.”

How sad that Elizabeth is going through this at this stage in her life.  This is so sad, but is it even true that she’s contemplating a divorce? 

I am NOT defending John Edwards in any way but would Elizabeth want all of John’s crap exposed for her children to see when they will have to depend on their father when she passes? 

If their children end up hating John it would almost be as if they have no parents.

This is so tragic and beyond sad.

Healthcare: Do Americans Understand? Or Even Care?

Does the average American really know what’s best for the ‘greater good’ of all Americans or do they even care? 

Looking back in history Americans have lamented the passing of many laws because they some how thought that it would impact their community in some conceived negative manner without looking at the long term benefits and how it benefited the majority for the ‘greater good’.

grand-canyon

There are too many  laws to mention that are now celebrated and their authors who were visionaries are now viewed as heroes decades later. But while these laws were before Congress there were those who didn’t have the vision to see their worth and fought tooth and nail to defeat them.  The 19th Amendment (gave women the right to vote), the Social Security Act of 1965, Theodore Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve by proclamation in 1906 and Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908 are just a few – there are sooo many others. Another law which was far-seeing but created battles and brawls was the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservative Act.

Mount Denali

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (or ANILCA) was a United States Federal Law passed in 1980 by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on December 2 of that same year. 

The law provided for the creation or revision of 15 National Park Service properties and set aside public lands for the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The act provided for the designation of 79.53 million acres (124,281 square miles) of public lands, a third of which was set aside as pure wilderness area where flora and fauna could thrive in their natural habitat and not be disturbed. The act provided for the creation or expansion of Denali National Park (home of North America’s tallest mountain).

The legislation was initially introduced into Congress in 1974 in several different bills, each outlining a single proposed park, monument, or other area. Several of these, in particular Lake Clark and Kenai Fjords, were quite controversial in Alaska. Little action was taken on any of them, so that by 1975 the National Park Service (NPS) and conservationists conceived the idea of a single bill that would cover several separate areas. The election in 1976 of Jimmy Carter kept afloat hopes that Alaskan conservation would finally get a fair hearing. However, several members of Congress, particularly Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, remained strongly opposed to the absorption of such a large amount of land by the National Park Service — which would take the land off the market and, Gravel felt, damage long-term economic development plans for Alaska. Gravel became the primary opponent to the act.

The Interior Department and NPS became concerned as 1978 dragged on that no action would be taken at all on the “national interest lands” included in the proposals mining and forestry claims, among other issues, were beginning to be levied against the lands and time was running out. The National Park Service and Interior lobbied President Carter to use the Antiquities Act to designate the proposed lands as National Monuments by executive order, which Carter did on December 1, 1978.

Carter argued that he had been forced to use the Antiquities Act by Congress’ failure to act in a reasonable time, but his actions nevertheless caused wide protest across Alaska.

President Carter was burned in effigy (a representation of his person) in Fairbanks. Residents in the Cantwell area undertook a large act of civil disobedience known as the Great Denali Trespass. Alaskan citizens went up into the park, fired off guns, made campfires, and did a number of other things that were officially prohibited by the National Park Service. The towns of Eagle and Glennallen produced official proclamations stating that the towns would not support National Park Service authorities, not enforce NPS regulations — such as not allowing open fires, skydiving, hunting, alcohol, and numerous other formerly popular activities in the parks and monuments — and would shelter and protect individuals who broke the regulations and protesters marched in the streets and called Jimmy Carter a socialist and a communist.

These protests continued for some time, the designation of the monuments broke the legislative opposition to ANILCA. Senator Gravel continued to obstruct passage of the bill, but in the wake of Carter’s proclamations most opponents recognized the need to work toward passage of an acceptable bill, rather than no bill at all.

In early November 1980, Jimmy Carter lost re-election to Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party won a majority of seats in the Senate. Conservationists recognized that if they did not accept the compromise then on the table, they would be forced to begin again in the next Congress with decidedly less support. The bill was passed in late November, and signed into law in December.

Mike Gravel, meanwhile, was blamed in Alaska for forcing Carter’s hand with the Antiquities Act. Though Carter was hardly held blameless for the creation of the new national monuments, Gravel was taken to task for the unpopular decision as well and was denied his party’s nomination for his Senate seat in the 1980 election.

Despite all these past hysterics most Alaskans and Americans and citizens of the world now strongly support the ANILCA, to the point of celebrating its creation, especially within the population center of Anchorage. To them the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act represents a successful example of wilderness conservation for the benefit of future generations.

The same will be said about healthcare reform in the decades to come.  Healthcare reform will be viewed as a humanitarian right that is a quintessential part of what makes America a great democracy and in the future Americans will ask why there was even a debate about healthcare being a right for citizens in the United States.

Sometimes in life, if we are not experts on a subject or if we are not farsighted and resourceful we have to step back, get out of the way and let our visionaries help us do what’s right today for our future and for the  ‘greater good’.

September 30, 2009

Iran — What Should The World Do?

Middle East 9 09

World powers put pressure on Iran ahead of crucial nuclear talks scheduled for Thursday, amid growing concern about the covert build up of Tehran’s nuclear program.  Iran has insisted for years that it has a right to civilian nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and to make enriched fuel for power plants — although its first Russian built and long delayed nuclear plant is still not online. Iranian officials underscored that their nuclear “rights” (uranium enrichment which the UN Security Council wants suspended) were not negotiable.

But its announcement last week of the ongoing construction of another uranium enrichment plant, underground near the Shi’ite holy city of Qom, prompted stern warnings from western capitals led by Washington and concern from some Arab states.

Arab states from the Gulf have joined talks with the six Western nations preparing to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Envoys from the Arab states are said to have met at the United Nations headquarters in New York over the weekend with the five permanent powers (P5) in the UN Security Council plus Germany who want guarantees from Tehran on the civilian nature of its nuclear ambitions.  The ‘P5-plus-one’ group is set to meet with Iran on Thursday, October 1 in Geneva.

“It will be in the best interests of everybody that this situation stays under control,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, following the disclosure of a secret Iranian nuclear site under development near the holy city of Qom. “The new facility is being looked at by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and it seems there will be positive co-operation with Iran for inspecting this site.”

Jeffrey Feltman, the US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, spoke of “ongoing consultation with our Gulf friends about what is our policy toward Iran and how we are going to address the October 1 dialogue with Iran.  There’s a profound concern on their part that we do not try anything that could be construed as trading their interests for our interests.”

Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated he has no objection to Gulf countries directly joining the talks.

Gulf States, fearing the encroachment of Iranian power throughout the region, have urged the country’s leadership to comply with international demands regarding the development of its nuclear program.

“Nuclear weapons is a tough issue, but it’s hard to know whether all this is just talk,” Dr. Ghanim A-Najjar, a political scientist at Kuwait University, told The Media Line. “Nuclear weapons are not a joke and I don’t think Iran will go that far. They don’t have the ability; the technology is not available to them.”

Dr. A-Najjar argued that recent efforts by Gulf States to explore nuclear power were in direct response to Iran’s nuclear development. “The Gulf States want to put pressure on Iran with threats of their own nuclear energy plans.”

“But I don’t see how Gulf States can be serious about nuclear development,” he added. “There’s a big step between saying we want nuclear power to actually having it and I don’t think the Gulf States are capable of this kind of development.”

Dr. Stephen Steinbeiser, Resident Director of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, argued that there was more concern over Iran’s overall influence in the region than the potential of a nuclear armed Iran.

“People are definitely interested in Iran, if one day it’s proven that Iran has nuclear weapons the balance of power in the Middle East really squeezes Arabs out of the middle between Iran and Israel. That’s something that makes people pause and people are starting to question just how powerful Arab states really are.”

“The Israelis have a very palpable fear of Iran,” he said. “Yemenis don’t have that but there’s a concern about the influence that Iran is presumed to yield.”

“People here are less interested in these negotiations than in what is perceived to be Iranian interference in the northern rebellion,” he said, referring to an ongoing military conflict between Yemen’s central government and a Houthi-led rebellion in the country’s North. “You never hear it in the mainstream media but locally people feel that the northern rebels are receiving Iranian support and that this is not so much a war against rebels but a war against Iranian intrusion.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said this week that Moscow would like to see “substantial progress” on the nuclear program in Geneva, days after President Dmitry Medvedev signaled he might endorse sanctions against Iran.

This is a strong indication of a change in Russia’s position and that probably has something to do with the US attempts to reset the relationship with Russia. 

China has an important import/export relationship with Iran — will they put pressure on Iran now that Russia seems willing to do so? 

September 29, 2009

Bill Maher On Jay Leno: Emails — Mark Foley vs Gov Mark Sanford

In June 2009 Governor Mark Sanford, Republican from South Carolina, admitted that he had conducted an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina who he had gone to visit in Argentina three times during the past year.  “I have been unfaithful to my wife . . . I developed a relationship with what started as a dear dear friend,” said Sanford.

He said that he had met Maria Belen Shapur roughly eight years ago and that it had become romantic within the last year.

In September 2006 Mark Foley, Republican Congressman from Florida, sent sexually explicit email and instant messages to a 16 year old male congressional page from Monroe, Louisiana as well as to other congressional pages.

This is sad but funny.  Watch Bill and Jay read some of the emails.

September 23, 2009

Important Facts About Healthcare Reform

Benefits of Healthcare Reform:

So what does reform mean for you? In short, it means stable, quality, affordable care that you can depend on when you need it.

Here are five ways that health care reform will help lower costs, improve quality and bring stability to your health care.

  1. You & Your Doctor Make Decisions
    Health Care Reform Means You and Doctor Will Make Health Care Decisions
     
  2. Stable Coverage If You Have a Pre-Existing Condition or Get Sick
    Health Care Reform Means Stable Coverage for You and Your Family if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition or Get Sick.
     
  3. Lowers Cost & Caps Out-of-Pocket Expenses
    Health Care Reform Lowers Costs, Caps Out-of-Pocket Expenses and Eliminates Limits on Annual or Lifetime Care.
     
  4. Focuses on Preventive Care
    Health Care Reform Focuses on Preventive Care to Fend Off Illnesses and Save Costs.
     
  5. Relief to Employers
    Health Care Reform Provides Relief to Employers.

For more information go to: http://www.factsaboutreform.org/index.html

September 21, 2009

Watch President Obama’s Healthcare Plan In 4 Minutes!!!

The details President Obama outlines in this video are those that every American needs to know. No matter your political party or whether or not you have insurance, his plan for health care security and stability matters to all of us.

Millions of American citizens cannot get health insurance — and 14,000 are losing their insurance every day. If we do nothing, half of Americans under the age of 65 will lose their health insurance at some point in the next ten years.

That’s not right. Plain and simple. For Americans with insurance as well as those without it, inaction is not an option.  In America, no one should go broke because they get sick.

Bottom line — health insurance reform will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance, coverage for those who don’t, and will lower the cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government.

As the President says, now is the time to deliver the change we need on health care.

Please pass on this information to your family, friends and social networks.

Please take four minutes and watch this video.

September 17, 2009

9/17/09: President Obama FIRED UP About Healthcare Reform at the University of Maryland in College Park

President Barack Obama continued his nationwide health care reform tour today by paying a visit to the University of Maryland.  As during then Senator Obama’s campaign, many in attendance arrived at the crack of dawn to hear the President’s speech. Students from the University of Maryland and other universities expressed an overwhelming amount of support for President Obama which was evidenced by the mass wave of supporters who gave a standing ovation before the President had even arrived to make his speech. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley described Obama’s health care reform speech as historic and the students in attendance showed a tremendous amount of support for Obama’s clarification of his position.

President Obama spoke to those in attendance in an effort to clarify how his proposed policies would have an effect on young adults. During his speech, he said, “More than one-third of all young adults have trouble paying their medical debts. In the United States, nobody should go broke because they get sick. The time has finally come to provide affordable, accessible, quality healthcare to every single American.”

Obama touched on familiar themes in this address, including a call for the public option, or a government-run health insurance plan. The public option has been the most contentious point of the health care debate and it would force private insurers to lower costs and be more competitive while Republicans blast it as a government takeover of health care.

The president also pointed to the “unprecedented” coalition of doctors, nurses and hospitals that have backed the Democratic health care overhaul.

“It was good to have a campaign-like rally outside of a campaign,” said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, who attended the event. Ulman said Obama struck a chord that had been echoed during the campaign trail — fixing health care won’t be easy, but it must get done.

September 14, 2009

9/13/09: President Obama on 60 Minutes Re: Healthcare

September 11, 2009

Healthcare: Senator Edward (Teddy) Kennedy’s Letter To President Obama

Please read the Honorable Edward Kennedy’s letter to President Obama below.  The letter was delivered to our President after Senator Kennedy died.  Senator Kennedy said it all in his letter.

Let’s get this bill signed for Uncle Teddy.  It’s simple, click on the link below, plug in your zip code and the list of all your elected officials that you should call will pop up with their phone number.  Call each of your elected official’s office and simply say, “I am calling to express my support for President Obama’s healthcare reform plan” or something like that.  They’ll ask for your zip code – that’s it.  They won’t ask for any personal information — and if they do you don’t have to share it.  They are logging calls to keep count of  support for healthcare reform- you can also call more than once. 

When I worked in news and we got calls because a story impacted the public in some profound way each call was calculated as 100 people because they figure for every call they receive from the public 100 people were thinking of making that call.   We are trying to get 5,000 individual calls to every elected official.  Please call and encourage your friends to call as well…please.  Pass this information on.  Let’s get this done.

Let’s be able to look back one year from now and marvel at our tremendous accomplishment.  

Democracy is not a spectator sport – we all have to participate for it to work. Please participate today.

Let’s do this for the late and great Senator Edward M. Kennedy.  Click the link below.

Add your voice: Ask your representatives to support my plan for real health reform in 2009.

 

Edward M. Kennedy

May 12, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.

On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.

You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.

When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.

There will be struggles – there always have been – and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat – that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.

And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will – yes, we will – fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.

In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your campaign- and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a young President who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me great hope that as I leave, another young President inspires another generation and once more on America’s behalf inspires the entire world.

So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend- and to stand with you one last time for change and the America we can become.

At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream lives on.

And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.

With deep respect and abiding affection,

Ted

September 10, 2009

President Obama’s Healthcare Plan – We The People Like It!

Last night President Obama successfully laid out his plan for healthcare reform at a joint session of Congress. President Obama made it unequivocally clear to Congress that their recess is over, that their time of game playing is over and that it is time for them to get back to work and do the job they were hired to do by the American people.

The speech was a brilliant and was filled with specifics.

Can you imagine a healthcare system where you and your family and the rest of us cannot be turned away for treatment because of a pre-existing condition? 

Or your premiums cannot go up just because you get sick? 

And your health insurance carrier cannot ‘water down’ your benefits, period. 

And if you don’t have insurance you will get coverage!

How wonderful is all that?!

 The heart of President Obama’s plan is simple:

1. Bring stability and security to Americans who already have health insurance

2. Guarantee affordable coverage for those who don’t have health insurance

3. Stop the rising cost of health insurance
 
President Obama incorporated the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans to create a plan that’s bold, practical, and represents what the majority of Americans agree on.

President Obama reminded us that we’ve come closer to real healthcare reform in the last few months than we have in the last 60 years. But those who profit from our unhealthy healthcare system the way it is now will fight him and fight us every inch of the way so that there is no healthcare reform. Because of this, YOUR voice, right now, is necessary, indispensable and is very important.

Healthcare reform will not happen just because we want it. It can only come when we demand it. The only way Congress is going to pass healthcare reform is if they hear from you and me.  I have made my calls, sent emails and letters.  Will YOU and every adult in your house please do the same? 

Please support President Obama’s healthcare reform plan.  Go to President Obama’s link below:

Add your voice: Ask your representatives to support my plan for real health reform in 2009.

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

See President Obama’s full plan and call your representatives and encourage them to support it:

http://my.barackobama.com/SupportReform

Many of us spent a lot of time and energy to get President Obama elected; that was just the beginning.  Now we have to spend equal or more time making sure that he is successful implementing the policies we hired him to put into effect.

It is essential that you let your Senators and U.S. Representatives know that you support President Obama’s healthcare reform.

Democracy is not a spectator sport – we all have to participate for it to work.  Please participate.

Watch and listen to President Obama:

September 9, 2009

Racism In America — Alive and Kicking In 2009

I am so over this race shyt.  Bring on the damn aliens from Neptune or Uranus who want to marry Caucasian women so that earthlings can finally love black people!!! :-)

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the ignorance and foolishness of a certain percentage of our population.

But seriously, we elected President Obama to get some real work done for “we the people” and it’s time for all of us who voted for him to get back on the job of speaking up for him and pressuring our elected officials so we can move ahead and get some work done! President Obama’s presidency will not be successful unless we accomplish what he set out to achieve.  You know what you have to do.  Let’s get to work.  Onward soldiers!!!

The article below was written by Andrew M. Manis for Clarksvilleonline.com on January 19, 2009 but it is so very timely.

Article: When are WE going to get over it?

For much of the last forty years, ever since America “fixed” its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, “When are African Americans finally going to get over it?

Now I want to ask:  “When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that “Election Spurs Hundreds’ of Race Threats, Crimes” should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in “Bombingham,” Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than “talk the talk.” 

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes.   Criticize them, yes.  Call for their impeachment, perhaps.

But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we’re back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven what conservatives are always saying -that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that schoolchildren from Maine to California are talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, “How long?”    How long before we white people realize we can’t make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can -once and for all- get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?  How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior?  How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loud mouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we starting “living out the true meaning” of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that “red and yellow, black and white” all are precious in God’s sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn’t believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency.   I still don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here’s my three-point plan:

First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built I’m going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I’m going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama.

Third, I’m going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can “in spirit and in truth” sing of our damnable color prejudice, “We HAVE overcome.”

It takes a Village to protect our President!!!

About the author: Andrew Manis is author of Macon Black and White and serves on the steering committee of Macon’s Center for Racial understanding.

Let’s get to work by speaking up for President Obama and healthcare reform.  You can contact President Obama, Vice President Biden, your Senators, Congresspersons, Governors and State Legislators by going to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Original article: http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/2009/01/19/when-are-we-going-to-get-over-it/

 

September 8, 2009

President Obama To American Students: “I expect great things from each of you.”

“Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.”

 “You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.”

Minutes ago President Barack Obama addressed students from kindergarten to 12th grade all across America.  His speech had the right tenure and was uplifting and inspiring.  I was inspired and I am many, many years removed from college.  I know many people who are 20, 30 and 40 year old that needed to hear this speech. :-)

I have to say that people who decided against having their children listen to this moving and encouraging speech are simply stupid – I am being polite.

How can a parent not want their child(ren) to be inspired?  You never know what’s going to inspire a young person and as a responsible parent you have to expose them to all possible positive influences. But some of these same parents allow their children to listen to Pitbull, Miley Cyrus, New Boyz, etc who offer nothing remotely encouraging in their lyrics.

Education is important and this was a great and motivating way for students to start the school year.

What Sarah thought about President Obama’s speech:

Below is our President’s prepared speech which was delivered beautifully:

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today. 

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.   

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year. 

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn. 

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox. 

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve. 

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. 

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. 

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide. 

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future. 

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy. 

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country. 

Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in. 

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse. 

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right. 

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying. 

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. 

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America. 

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall. 

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same. 

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it. 

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things. 

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK.  Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” 

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying. 

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals. 

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. 

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?  

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

September 1, 2009

Republican Solution For Healthcare: Ask Your Neighbor For Help

It’s really sad, the Republicans are completely irrational and are without compassion.

I don’t know about you, but, if I have traumatic brain injury, heart disease, cancer, influenza, pneumonia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic liver disease, cirrhosis or even a toothache I’m surely not going to my neighbor Bob for a cure – but that’s what the Republicans want Americans to do according to Senator Tom Coburn.

So I guess if you’re OK with getting your medical and dental care from Bob the Builder or Joe the Plumber the Republican solution will work just fine for you.

But, if you live in the greatest country in the world, in the new millennium and believe that in America all things are possible and that here in America we should have the best medical and dental care possible, with proper and adequate regulations in place, then I guess Healthcare reform is for you.

Call your elected officials and let them know that you want Healthcare Reform with a public option. Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!

 

 

 

August 26, 2009

Edward Moore Kennedy — An American Hero Dies

Edward Moore Kennedy

Edward Moore Kennedy is an American hero.

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 22, 1932 and there are not adequate words to describe all he did – known and unbeknownst – for America.  Because of all his work and diligence he made America a better place than she was before he was born. He is one of the greatest legislators in American history and was the voice of progressivism in the United States.

He received his higher education at Harvard University and the University of Virginia Law School and became assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, and served on John F. Kennedy’s election campaign in 1960.

In 1962 he was elected at the age of 30 to the Senate seat which his brother had vacated in 1960. In 1964 he was re-elected for a full term to the Senate and won subsequent re-election in 1970, 1976, 1982, 1988 and 1994 and continued to serve America until August 25, 2009.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for forty-three years. Throughout his career, Kennedy has fought long and hard for issues that benefit the citizens of Massachusetts and the nation.

He is a true American hero that gave of himself selflessly.

Senator Edward Kennedy (Uncle Teddy) 2008 Democratic Convention:

Senator Edward Kennedy (Uncle Teddy) 1978  Democratic Convention on Health Care:

Let us rename the Health Care Reform bill the “Edward Kennedy Health Care Bill” and STAND TALL, BE COURAGEOUS and get his life long dream and hope of a Health Care bill passed.

RIP Senator Kennedy, RIP!

August 17, 2009

8 Reasons Why YOU Need Health Care Reform NOW — WITH A Public Option!

Folks, if you believe in healthcare reform and want to see it implemented NOW is the time to speak-up! 

Our elected officials MUST hear OUR voices. 

Now is not the time to be dignified, poised and full of grace; now is the time to fight back. The other side is fighting dirty.  Now is the time to speak up or forever hold your peace.

Contact your elected officials and let your voice be heard!

Don’t let them win; fight for your right to have a healthcare system WITH a public option.

Go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml and contact your Senators and Congresspersons. Let them know that you WANT healthcare reform with a public option.

Inaction will not work.  Be the difference you want to see in America!!!

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage:

1.  Ends Unfairness for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.

2.  Ends Very expensive Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.

3.  Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.

4.  Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.

5.  Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.

6.  Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.

7.  Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.

8.  Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick. Learn more and get details:

 http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/

8 common myths about health insurance reform:

1.  Reform will stop “rationing” – not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a “government takeover” of health care or lead to “rationing.” To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.

2.  We can’t afford reform: It’s the status quo we can’t afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.

3.  Reform would encourage “euthanasia”: It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.

4.  Vets’ health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans’ access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President’s budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.

5.  Reform will benefit small business – not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

6.  Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare “doughnut” hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

7.  You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.

8.  No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts.  Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose.  Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:

http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck
http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck/faq

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now:

1.  Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:

http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/denied_coverage/index.html

2.  Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job.  Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:

http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hiddencosts/index.html

3.  Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:

http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/women/index.html

4.  Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:

http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hardtimes

5.  Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:

http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/helpbottomline

6.  The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:

http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction

7.  Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people – one in every three Americans under the age of 65 – were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:

http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction/diminishing/index.html

8.  The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance – projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:

http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Health_Care_Report.pdf

August 13, 2009

Former Senator John Edwards Takes DNA Test. He Is The Father of Rielle Hunter’s Daughter

Rielle Hunter Baby Frances  Former U.S. Senator John Edwards has secretly undergone a DNA test and supposedly the test confirms that he’s the father of his former mistress’ 18 month old daughter Frances Quinn.

Since there seems to be proof positive of Edward’s infidelity it is believed that Edwards and Rielle Hunter are now negotiating child support payments because Rielle says she fears that Frances will not receive financial support from Edwards in the future.

Rielle recently testified against Edwards before a federal grand jury that’s probing whether he broke campaign finance laws by secretly redirecting money to her.  Hunter’s testimony could get Edwards in serious hot water with the law.

Also read:

http://letustalk.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/scandal-john-edwards-alleged-lover-in-the-beginning-part-one/

http://letustalk.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/scandal-john-edwards-alleged-lover-today-part-2/

http://letustalk.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/john-edwards-admits-affair-denies-love-child-is-his/

http://letustalk.wordpress.com/2008/08/09/show-me-the-money-john-edwards-mistress-will-not-seek-paternity-test/

August 12, 2009

AARP Supports Healthcare Reform: President Obama Doesn’t Want to Secretly Kill Senior Citizens!

The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) has been protecting senior citizens by keeping them informed on issues since 1958.  The AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people aged 50 and over improve the quality of their lives.

The AARP is urging members to “Get the Facts” on health care reform. They write,

Much of the debate is being driven by special interests that are deliberately kicking up clouds of dust to obscure facts. AARP doesn’t want misinformation and fear-mongering to dominate this debate.  From allegations about rationing care to wild reports of government-sponsored euthanasia, the rumors just keep getting crazier.  

The AARP then goes over five prominent myths that have taken hold thanks to the special interest groups and debunks them. 

Here the AARP separates fact from fiction

Myth: Health care reform is socialized medicine.

       Fact Health care reform will preserve the employer-based health care system, meaning an estimated 200 million Americans will continue to get their coverage through their employers.

       Fact For people buying coverage for themselves, there would be a range of private health plans to choose from. Also, the so-called “public plan” option would seek to give American consumers another choice if they can’t find affordable, quality coverage in the private insurance market. The goal of the “public plan” is to give consumers the best value for their money and force greater competition among insurance plans for our business.

       Fact: Every proposal that Congress is considering would allow people to choose their own doctors and hospitals.

       Bottom Line: Health care reform isn’t about a government takeover. It’s about guaranteeing all Americans a choice of health care plans they can afford.

Myth: Health care reform means rationed care.

       Fact: None of the health reform proposals being considered would stand between individuals and their doctors or prevent any American from choosing the best possible care.

       Fact: Health care reform will NOT give the government the power to make life or death decisions for anyone regardless of their age. Those decisions will be made by an individual, their doctor and their family.

       Fact: Health care reform will help ensure doctors are paid fairly so they will continue to treat Medicare patients.

       Bottom Line: Health reform isn’t about rationing; it’s about giving people the peace of mind of knowing that they will be able to keep their doctors and that they will always have a choice of affordable health plans.

Myth: Health care reform will hurt Medicare.

       Fact: None of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services.

       Fact: Health care reform will lower prescription drug costs for people in the Medicare Part D coverage gap or “doughnut hole” so they can get better afford the drugs they need.

       Fact: Health care reform will protect seniors’ access to their doctors and reduce the cost of preventive services so patients stay healthier.

       Fact: Health care reform will reduce costly, preventable hospital readmissions, saving patients and Medicare money.

       Fact: Rather than weaken Medicare, health care reform will strengthen the financial status of the Medicare program.

       Bottom Line: For people in Medicare, health care reform is about lowering prescription drug costs for people in the “doughnut hole”, keeping the doctor of your choice, improving the quality of care, and eliminating billions in waste that is causing poor care and medical errors.

Myth: Health care reform is too expensive – we can’t afford it.

       Fact: The President and Congress have committed to producing legislation that will be paid for so it won’t saddle our children and grandchildren with debt.

       Fact: If we do nothing to fix health care, families with Medicare or employer-based health coverage will likely see their premiums nearly double again in the next seven years.

       Fact: If we do nothing to fix health care, the share of your income spent on health care will nearly double in the next seven years.

       Bottom Line: When one in three Americans say someone in their family skipped pills, postponed or cut back on needed medical care due to the cost; when countless bankruptcies are related to medical expenses; when the number of uninsured approaches 50 million; when government spending on health programs rises so rapidly that it jeopardizes other priorities; and when employers struggle to pay for the costs of health care, the fact is, we can’t afford not to fix health care.

Myth: Health care reform means the government can make life-and-death decisions for you.

       Fact: Health care reform will NOT give the government the power to make life-and-death decisions for anyone regardless of their age. Those decisions will be made by individuals, their doctor and their family.

       Fact: No one, including the government or your insurance company, will be given power to make life-and-death decisions for you.

       Bottom Line: Health care reform isn’t about putting the government in charge of difficult end of life decisions. It’s about giving individuals and families the option to talk with their doctors in advance about difficult choices every family faces when loved ones near the end of their lives.

The AARP is asking members to take action regarding health care reform by asking members to write to their elected officials. The AARP website writes, “At this crucial moment, we have the opportunity of a lifetime to fix our broken health care system. President Obama has promised health reform before the end of the year but we need to make sure that Congress follows through.”

The AARP advocates bipartisan cooperation and would like to see our elected representatives in Washington working together to get health care reform passed. 

Original article:

http://www.examiner.com/x-1172-Progressive-Politics-Examiner~y2009m8d12-AARP-promotes-health-care-reform

August 6, 2009

Stand Up, Speak Up! Let’s Mobilize for Healthcare Reform!!!

Organizing for America is putting together thousands of events this month where you can reach out to neighbors, show your support, and make certain your members of Congress know that you’re counting on them to act.

But these canvasses, town halls, and gatherings only make a difference if you turn up to knock on doors, share your views, and show your support. So here’s what I need from you:

Can you sign up to attend an event near you?

Passing comprehensive health insurance reform will not be easy. Every President since Harry Truman has talked about it, and the most powerful and experienced lobbyists in Washington stand in the way.

Fixing this crisis will not be easy. Our opponents will attack us every day for daring to try. It will require time, and hard work, and there will be days when we don’t know if we have anything more to give. But there comes a moment when we all have to choose between doing what’s easy, and doing what’s right.

This is one of those times. 

Please RSVP for an event in your community to build support for health insurance reform:

http://my.barackobama.com/AugustAttend

Now is the time.  Let’s seize this moment and win this historic victory for our economy, our health and our families.

August 5, 2009

Republicans LOVE Their Government Run Healthcare

Millions of middle-class families across the country are one illness away from financial ruin including me, maybe you as well; but we can prevent that from happening.

The Healthcare Reform that President Obama wants to sign is pretty easy to understand — it is designed in such a way that it will enable Americans who have coverage to keep it and Americans who need coverage to purchase it. It is designed to build on the healthcare system we have today by getting rid of waste, fraud and abuse.

Opponents of healthcare reform are making outrageous claims about healthcare, twisting words and facts to scare many non-thinking Americans.  Republicans are even claiming that healthcare reform will kill seniors?! W.T.H!  Does anyone exist in America who really believes that absurdity?  That ludicrousness?  That joke?  Really, does anyone believe that healthcare reform will kill seniors!?

Last week was the 44th anniversary of another landmark moment in our nation’s health-care system. President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law 44 years ago but before the bill was signed he was taunted, criticized and ridiculed by political hecklers of health-care reform who claimed that Johnson and our government would takeover healthcare and create a socialist healthcare system and it would be the worst possible healthcare system in the world.  We are in the middle of what seems like déjà vu.

Forty-four years later our 44th President is hearing the same ‘echo’ from Republicans who have AND ENJOY a government run healthcare system similar to Medicare for themselves and their families.  How hypocritical.

1.  Medicare ensures that our parents and grandparents have access to affordable health care.

2.  Medicare protects seniors and their families from backbreaking health expenses.

3.  Medicare operates more efficiently than any other health care coverage – public or private – in our country.

4.  Medicare is a government run healthcare system.

President Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare experience with Republicans taught us that progress does not come easily – especially in the face of big-name campaign contributions and big-dollar ad campaigns.  

President Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare experience also taught us that progress is not always a function of bipartisanship.

Of the key congressional votes on Medicare 44 years ago only 13 Republican senators and only 70 House Republicans joined the overwhelming Democratic majorities to vote for it.

We’re seeing the same kind of opposition today as we fight for healthcare reform. Republicans in Congress are claiming that defeating healthcare reform would break President Obama; that a defeat on this issue will be Obama’s Waterloo.

I don’t care about Obama’s Waterloo (I hope he never gets one though); I care about millions and millions of Americans having access to healthcare that is affordable and healthcare that will make us healthier.  I believe that’s what thinking Americans want.

The drug industry and the health insurance industry are spending millions of dollars to influence Congress. The health insurance industry is camping out at the Capitol and spending lots and lots and lots of money to organize non-thinking Americans to go to town hall meetings and scream and shout and ‘protest’  healthcare reform and the public insurance option.

These non-thinking Americans fail to realize that private insurers will have to cut premiums and increase the quality of healthcare if there is a public insurance option since Americans will have a choice and can decide who we want to give our business to.

Despite being mocked by Republicans 44 years ago, Medicare has proved itself.

1.  Medicare has pulled millions of seniors out of poverty.

2.  Medicare has helped retirees live long and healthy lives.

3.  Medicare has helped to fuel our economy.

4.  Medicare has proved just how important health insurance is.

5.  Medicare works.

And healthcare reform will work.

1.  Healthcare reform will cut healthcare costs for millions of middle class families and small businesses across the country.

2.  Healthcare reform will end uncertainty about health coverage because both private and public insurance will always be available.

3.  Healthcare reform will confront the needless red tape, medical errors, and fraud and abuse that inflate health-care costs and compromise health-care quality.

4.  Healthcare reform will prevent insurance companies from covering you when you’re healthy and dropping you when you’re sick, and from denying you coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

5.  Healthcare reform will keep the insurance industry honest and will make Americans healthier.

We have work to do to get healthcare reform signed and we must do it together.  Inaction doesn’t protect your health coverage or push healthcare costs down.

We must take action to turn things around. Special interests, worn-out cynical politicians, and insane talking heads are going to pull out all the stops to freeze our health-care system in time.

Don’t let them win; fight for your right to have a good healthcare system with a public option.

Go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml and contact your Senators and Congresspersons.

Let your elected officials know that you want healthcare reform with a public option.

Watch Rachel Maddow take on the hypocritical Republicans:

August 4, 2009

Former President Bill Clinton Visits North Korea — Laura Ling and Euna Lee Released!!!

 

North Korea Journalists Held Laura Ling and Euna Lee leaving North Korea!!!

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has issued a “special pardon” to Laura Ling and Euna Lee the two American journalists convicted of sneaking into the country illegally, and he ordered them released during a visit by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The release of Ling and Lee was a sign of North Korea’s “humanitarian and peace loving policy,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

Bill Clinton arrived in North Korea Tuesday on an unannounced visit and met with the reclusive and ailing Kim.

North Korea accused Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, of sneaking into the country illegally in March and engaging in “hostile acts” and the nation’s top court sentenced them in June to 12 years of hard labor.

Hooray!!! Yeah!!! And God Bless Bill Clinton!!!

 

Cash For Clunkers Is WORKING So The Republicans Want To Stop It?!

Wow — what a beautiful thing!  Ford Motor Company announced yesterday that in July, for the first time in 2 years, new vehicle sales have increased!

Something positive is happening in our economy slowly but surely. It seems that those stubborn dark economic clouds lingering over the nation are beginning to clear.  Homes sales have increased, the stock markets are up and now American car sales are up. Yeah!

Is it OK for me to whisper the word trifecta?  As in the three main areas of our economy are slowly grinding their way UPWARDS!

Cash For Clunkers

The Cash for Clunkers program has been an astounding success. Addressing two of the big three items topping President Obama’s current agenda — the economy, the environment and healthcare.  The Cash for Clunkers program has allowed consumers with oversized gas-guzzling vehicles to trade them in for newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles, at a reduced cost.

The consumer wins by driving away in a car that costs them less to purchase and less to own and operate.

The environment wins because of the increased fuel economy (an estimated 10 mpg saved per trade-in) and decreased emissions inevitably given off by the ‘clunkers’.

The automakers win by getting a tremendous boost to their sales and profits.  Interpretation — mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money!

It’s a good day in America when our biggest manufacturing industry does well.

For the skeptics, the real questions are:

1.  Has the United States of America’s economy benefited from the Cash for Clunkers program?

2.  If additional funding passes will it continue to benefit the economy?

3.  Will this additional funding help consumer confidence and help to jump start spending again?

The answers are, in no particular order, yes, yes and yes!

Most economists agree that people spending money is what reverses a recession. It’s not complicated, people have to start spending.  When people start spending demand for goods and services increase and people get hired and then those hired spend more and because they are spending more demand for goods and services increase and so the cycle continue and then we see a boost in GDP.

When the GDP increases some inflation usually follows BUT that means that our economy is seriously improving and higher inflation equates economically to lower unemployment.

When Ford Motor Company and other American car companies sell more vehicles, they demand more goods from suppliers – not just auto part suppliers, but paper suppliers and ink suppliers and cafeteria-food suppliers and hand-soap suppliers and transportation providers, and the goods and services from thousands of other suppliers. In turn, those companies demand more from their suppliers and the economy heats up.

Right now, thanks to President Obama’s Cash for Clunker Program our economy has enjoyed a week-long window of collective restored consumer confidence – even stock sales are on the rise! Nice!!!

Cash for Clunkers has done in one week what what the top economic strategists and hundreds of lawmakers and thousands of experts and billions of dollars have not yet been able to pull off in ten months – it got the economy rolling again!

So now the program needs two billion additional dollars – give it to them!

Instead of shouting HALLELUIAH that our economy is seeing some light, several Republican politicians have sneered, scoffed and scorned the program.  I honestly believe that the ONLY reason they are trying to knock the program is because they can see its success and they do not want to see President Obama and the democrats do anything that is beneficial to you and me (Americans in general) because it will affect the number of Republicans who get re-elected in 2010.  It is that plain and simple folks; the Republicans prefer to see the democratic programs fail just so that they (the Repubs) can benefit politically.

This is an extremely selfish way that the Repubs choose to operate and I don’t like it one bit.  I want to see the Democrats programs succeed so that you and me — all of us — can all succeed.

I hope that our elected politicians have the collective common sense to agree that the Cash for Clunkers program continue.

It is important that YOU contact YOUR Senators and Congresspersons and let them know that this program is important to all of us and America’s economic health. 

This is our country and we the people must stand up for what’s right for us individually and collectively and we must let our politicians know that they work for us and we expect them to do what is best for we the people otherwise we will vote them out of office.

Go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml and search for your senators by name, state, or congressional class and visit their websites. 

Call both your Senators and your Congresspersons and let them know that you want the Cash for Clunkers Program to continue.

Happy 48th Number 44!

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Barack

In honor of President Obama’s 48th (doesn’t he look GREAT!!!) Domino’s Pizza locations in Washington, DC are offering FREE CAKE!

Domino’s is launching a new dessert — the Chocolate Lava Crunch Cake and if you stop by any Domino’s location in Washington D.C. and say “Happy Birthday” to the President, you will get a free sample.

The promotion runs between 11 am and 9 pm today while supplies last.

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

Grandpa Dunham

August 3, 2009

White House: “NO New Taxes For Middle Class”

President Obama is committed to making sure middle class families do not see a tax increase, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today. 

“The president’s clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year,” Gibbs said, repeating Obama’s pledge from the presidential campaign. 

On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner suggested that taxes increases are inevitable. 

“We will not get this economy back on track, recovery will be not strong and sustained, unless we … can convince the American people that we’re going to have the will to bring these deficits down once recovery is firmly established,” Geithner said on ABC’s “This Week.” 

Asked point blank whether it was right to suggest it is a matter of when, not if, taxes will be raised, Geithner responded, “It is absolutely right.” 

National Economic Council President Larry Summers also did not rule out future increases on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” 

Gibbs, though, dismissed the comments Monday as part of a “hypothetical back and forth” that Geithner and Summers allowed themselves to engage in. 

“Promising that everybody’s going to be on message may be a bar that’s too high for me to leap over,” Gibbs said.

Peppered with reporters’ questions on the topic, he repeatedly said that despite the Sunday comments the president has been “clear” that he intends to shield middle-class families from a tax hike. 

“I am reiterating the president’s clear commitment in the clearest terms possible that he’s not raising taxes on those who make less than $250,000 a year,” he said. 

The discussion over future tax increases comes as the deficit is expected to hit $1.8 trillion next year. With spending still planned for a $1 trillion, 10-year health care reform plan, officials say something will have to be done to keep the deficit and national debt from growing wider. 

Gibbs said that President Obama is committed to cutting wasteful spending to help achieve that goal. 

July 28, 2009

A GOODBYE Ode To Sarah Palin!

On August 29, 2008 in Dayton, Ohio, then Republican presidential candidate John McCain announced that he had chosen Sarah Louise Palin as his running mate to possibly become Vice President of the United States.

Approximately 330 days after John McCain’s announcement Sarah Louise Palin resigned as Governor on July 26, 2009, two and a half years into her four-year term.

It was fun Sarah; by golly we’ll miss ya!  Good bye Sarah, goodbye!

Here is an “Ode to Sarah”. Enjoy the lyrical stylings with complex stanza forms using You Tube.

These clips sums up the intelligence of Sarah Louise Palin’s last 330 days:

 

 

June 24, 2009

Voting Rights Act: Clarence Thomas Puts On His White Robe

Earlier this week, by an 8 to 1 vote, the high court decided that the time wasn’t quite right to discard a provision of the act that requires most Deep South states and more than 12,000 municipalities to seek permission from the Justice Department before changing polling places or times or reshaping electoral districts or any number of other things that could make it tough for blacks and other minorities to vote. Of course, the court narrowed the act a bit by lifting the pre-clearance provision for the Texas water district that brought the lawsuit and by allowing municipalities that have a clean record to ask for a bailout.

A surprisingly unified court found a compromise that allowed it to sidestep questions about whether the key provision of the law is constitutional, therefore avoiding a divisive showdown with Congress, which just three years ago found that the 1965 act was still needed. 

The court’s eight white justices – even Scalia – decided not to gut the act that made it possible for blacks across the South to vote without having to recite the Constitution word for word or without having to guess how many bubbles were in a bar of soap as a prerequisite to vote.

Only Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s lone African-American, found the provision unconstitutional.

According to Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas Black voters no longer need voting protection.  According to Thomas, the South has changed enough so that the Voting Rights Act was no longer needed. He said, “The violence, intimidation and subterfuge that led Congress to pass Section 5 and this court to uphold it no longer remains.”

Clarence Thomas is a complete ass because things have not changed that damn much; if he read the newspaper on election day he would know what continues to happen!  Of course black voters no longer encounter Ku Klux Klansmen or racists armed with guns at polling stations or are asked ridiculous qualifying questions as they did during the Jim Crow days but today there are more subtle things being done that will disenfranchise blacks and other minorities from voting. 

In the 2008 general elections blacks in Georgia (where Thomas is from) and other Southern states would show up to vote to the polling place listed on their voter registration cards to find that the polling station had been recently moved to a neighborhood that is five miles away – making it impossible for them to get to the polls before closing since many were working class and they had to work and take public transportation. There were many polling stations that opened in black and minority neighborhoods but had no machines or had broken machines plus a plethora of unbelievable voter disfranchisement scenarios. This was just 7 months ago!!!

A look at the electoral map shows that the above scenarios aren’t born of paranoia, but of reality. Currently the Republican Party – a party that built its ranks by playing to the fears of Southern whites – has largely been isolated to the Southern region of the United States. John McCain carried states such as Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. Those states have every reason to fear huge turnouts of black and minority voters since that could most probably upset the outcome in certain political contests and further loosen the Republicans’ hold on the south.

Myers Anderson, Clarence Thomas’ grandfather who raised him often said to Thomas, “Don’t shame me. And don’t shame our race.”

There is no way of knowing what Myers Anderson would think of his grandson’s performance as a Supreme Court Justice.  Anderson, whom Thomas called “Daddy” died two days before his 76th birthday in 1983 while Thomas was still chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Would Myers Anderson, a black man who struggled mightily to do for himself and who, according to Thomas, routinely put up his property as bond to bail student protesters out of jail, take pride in his grandson’s service on the high court?

Would “Daddy” be able to reconcile the steadfast support that he gave the local NAACP chapter in Savannah, Georgia with his grandson’s votes on race and civil rights-voting issues, which Thomas’ black critics have characterized as traitorous?

How would “Daddy” feel if he could hear people of color say the man he helped raise from childhood should be ashamed of himself for having dishonored the seat Thurgood Marshall held?

Shame on Clarence Thomas.  His vote against the Voting Rights Act that allowed his grandfather “Daddy” to vote will forever be his legacy.  Shame on Thomas.

June 23, 2009

We Want Health Care Reform!!!

Healthcare

Just like Kanye West chanted “we want pre-nup” in ‘Gold-digger’, I am chanting and we should all be chanting “we want health care reform!”

President Obama won the general elections and when he won one of the things that we Americans voted for was health care.  Like President Obama has rightfully said, “we won”.  Why would Congress have the impudence to not vote and pass President Obama’s health care reform bill?  Well, I don’t care what congress’ political reasons are, “I want health care reform!”

I am willing to organize family, friends and neighbors, call members of Congress and the Senate and cajole and pressure our elected officials so they do what the ‘people’ want.  I hope you’re ready to organize and make calls as well. 

Here is why we need health care reform.  Simply put families need to be able to get the care they need, from a physician of their choice, at a price they can afford.

Many families’ wages have been stagnant for years and our budgets have been undermined by the rising cost of living and health care. We have a dysfunctional and unsustainable health insurance system and families need Congressional action to assure quality and affordable care. We wanted health care reform twenty years ago; today we NEED it desperately!

Excessively high health care costs are a drag on our economic recovery since working families are putting more and more money into health care instead of buying things from retailers or what have you and helping the economy.

Hard working people like me and you are falling further and further behind in bills and too many people have filed for bankruptcy just because they got sick.  It is sick that the number one reason for personal bankruptcy in the United States is a major health care crisis.  That is ridiculous and inexcusable; this is THE United States of America – the greatest country in the world – shouldn’t we have health care for all our citizens?

At the same time small businesses and companies that provide satisfactory employee health care benefits are at a severe economical disadvantage against companies that do not provide adequate coverage to their employees and that’s not right; companies doing the right thing should not be penalized financially.

Our current system is utterly unaffordable. Health care costs Americans $2.3 TRILLION a year and 50 million people aren’t even covered.  Lower health care costs will help to expand access to more people and at the same time take some financial pressure off even those of us with insurance.

Health care providers have to also do their part to eliminate the imbalance in health care and all employers must be required to pay their fair share.

Changing the way we pay for health care must also be a part of the solution. We cannot continue to pay for expensive technology and treatments that have no evidence of effectiveness. Health care providers should be compensated for the quality – and not the quantity – of health care they deliver.

We must streamline and modernize the way we access medical records and eliminate inefficiencies and flaws in the system that cost money and cost lives.

Despite protests by those who offer NO solutions, it is clear that our government must have a role in controlling costs and regulating private insurance. We need a quality public insurance plan option that will end the dominance and price gouging of private insurers.

I am demanding it.  The public is demanding it.  76% of Americans are demanding a quality public health care option and WE must be prepared to fight Congress to get it. 

I hope you’re ready to fight!

June 21, 2009

Happy Father’s Day!

If you’re a great hands on Dad who is a positive influence in your child(ren)’s life – Happy Father’s Day to you!!! 

If you’re not, it’s never too late to start actively participating and being an integral and positive influence in your child(ren)’s life. Our collective future needs you to be a responsible, accountable and  good father so we have well adjusted young people who grow up to be well adjusted responsible adults.  As an adult you know that life can be difficult so why create unnecessary insecurities in your child’s life by being absent?  Why make your child(ren) a statistic?

As a candidate and now president, Barack Obama has been telling men what sort of father they should be. It has become his Father’s Day ritual. He’s asking  ALL American men to be better fathers than his own.

The president showcased fatherhood in a series of events and a magazine article in advance of Father’s Day this Sunday. He said he came to understand the importance of fatherhood from its absence in his childhood homes — an estimated 24 million Americans today are growing up without a dad!

Fathers run deep in the political culture as they do everywhere else, for better and worse. Michelle Obama has said many times how her late dad, Fraser, is her reference point and rock — she checks in with him, in her mind, routinely and at important moments. 

A Kenyan goat herder-turned-intellectual who clawed his way to scholarships and Harvard, Barack Hussein Obama Sr. left a family behind to get his schooling in the United States. He started another family here, then left his second wife and 2-year-old Barack Jr. to return to Africa with another woman.

His promise flamed out in Africa after stints working for an oil company and the government; he fell into drink and died in a car crash when his son was 21, a student at Columbia University.

“I don’t want to be the kind of father I had,” the president is quoted as telling a friend in a new book about him.

His sister, Maya, called his memoirs “part of the process of excavating his father.”

Obama now cajoles ALL men to be better fathers — not the kind who must be unearthed in the soul.

His finger-wagging is most pointed when addressing other black men, reflecting years of worry about the fabric of black families and single mothers, but it applies to everyone.

Father’s Day 2007: “Let’s admit to ourselves that there are a lot of men out there that need to stop acting like boys; who need to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; who need to know that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise a child.”

Father’s Day 2008: “Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.”

Father’s Day 2009: “We need to step out of our own heads and tune in. We need to turn off the television and start talking with our kids, and listening to them, and understanding what’s going on in their lives.”

He doesn’t hold himself out as the ideal dad. No driven politician can.

“I know I have been an imperfect father,” he writes in Sunday’s Parade magazine. “I know I have made mistakes. I have lost count of all the times, over the years, when the demands of work have taken me from the duties of fatherhood.”

He volunteered for those demands, as all people do when they want power. His years as a community organizer, Illinois lawmaker, U.S. senator and presidential candidate often kept him apart from family.

At the same time, he went to great lengths in the 2008 campaign to find time with his girls and wife, and now considers the routine family time one of the joys of living and working in the White House.

The new book “Renegade” by Richard Wolffe recounts strains in the marriage early this decade, arising from his absences and from what Michelle Obama apparently considered his selfish careerism at the time. The author interviewed the Obamas, friends and associates.

Obama himself attributed his “fierce ambitions” to his dad while crediting his mother — a loving but frequently absent figure — with giving him the means to pursue them.

“Someone once said that every man is trying to either live up to his father’s expectations or make up for his father’s mistakes,” he once wrote, “and I suppose that may explain my particular malady as well as anything else.” By malady, he meant the will to achieve.

Obama was a schoolboy in Hawaii when his father came back to visit. He gave his dad a tie. His father gave him a basketball and African figurines and came to his class to speak about Kenya. He was an impressive, mysterious figure whom Obama found compelling, volatile and vaguely threatening.

The visit took a sour turn when Obama went to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and his father made him shut off the TV, saying he watched too much. Obama slammed the bedroom door; a loud argument ensued among grown-ups.

Be present inyour child(ren)’s life. They need your time – now.

Happy Father’s Day to MY G-R-E-A-T Dad!

June 20, 2009

New Study – Homosexual Behavior Widespread In Animals

Dolphins The pairing of same sex couples had previously been observed in more than 1,000 species including penguins, dolphins and primates.

However, in the latest study the authors claim the phenomenon is not only widespread but part of a necessary biological adaptation for the survival of the species.

They found that on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, almost a third of the Laysan albatross (large seabirds) population is raised by pairs of two females because of the shortage of males. Through these ‘lesbian’ unions, Laysan albatross are flourishing. Their existence had been dwindling before the adaptation was noticed.

Other species form same-sex bonds for other reasons, they found. Dolphins have been known engage in same-sex interactions to facilitate group bonding while male-male pairings in locusts killed off the weaker males.

A pair of “gay” penguins recently hatched an egg at a German zoo after being given the egg that had been rejected by its biological parents by keepers.

Writing in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Dr. Nathan Bailey, an evolutionary biologist at California University, said previous studies have failed to consider the evolutionary consequences of homosexuality.

He said same homosexual behavior was often a product of natural selection to further the survival of the species.

Dr Bailey said: “It’s clear same-sex sexual behavior extends far beyond the well-known examples that dominate both the scientific and popular literature – for example, bonobos, dolphins, penguins and fruit flies.”

“Same-sex behaviors – courtship, mounting or parenting – are traits that may have been shaped by natural selection, a basic mechanism of evolution that occurs over successive generations,” he said.

“But our review of studies also suggests that these same-sex behaviors might act as selective forces in and of themselves.”

Original post:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/5550488/Homosexual-behaviour-widespread-in-animals-according-to-new-study.html

June 18, 2009

President Obama Swats A Fly – It Makes The News Cycle and PETA Protests!

Fly 

Come on now news media!  How ridiculous is it that this is in the news cycle??? It is absurd, foolish, and ludicrous that this even made the news. Just plain dumb!

Once upon a time not so long ago when America had real journalists and we could depend on the news being newsworthy, this “fly-killing” would have be edited out so as not to embarrass the President of the United States whether he was a Democrat or a Republican.  It is preposterous that the news division of CNBC edited this into their broadcast to create news.  This is NOT news.  CNBC should be embarrassed that they no longer have a reputable news team and are depending on insects to create their lead story.  I am dumb founded!

It is even more ridiculous that PETA is protesting the “Killing of the Fly”.  They have just lost any creditability they had with me.  Flies are dirty, germ and disease carrying pests and they all need to be whacked! 

Flies are NASTY by nature and collect pathogens on their legs and mouths when females lay eggs on decomposing organic matter such as feces, garbage and animal corpses.  Houseflies carry diseases on their legs and the small hairs that cover their bodies. It takes only a matter of seconds for them to transfer these pathogens to food or touched surfaces. Diseases carried by houseflies include typhoid, cholera and dysentery.

I am happy to have a President who is a Ninja fly killer!  As a matter of fact, let he or she who has never swatted a fly cast the first rock — um — whack!

June 15, 2009

Is Dick Cheney Now Anti-American?

In an interview with Jane Mayer for The New Yorker magazine, CIA Director Leon Panetta generated some media attention for saying that “it’s almost as if he is wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point.”

Cheney has repeatedly criticized the Obama Administration’s approach to terrorism and Panetta was responding to a speech the former vice president made at the American Enterprise Institute, where he accused the Administration of making the United States less safe for ordering the closure of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, halting enhanced interrogations of suspected terrorists and reversing other Bush administration initiatives he says helped to prevent attacks on the U.S.

Panetta’s exact statement was, “I think he smells some blood in the water on the national-security issue. It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics.”

Vice President Joe Biden was asked during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if he agreed.  The VP said that “he wouldn’t question the motive behind Cheney’s criticism. He said, “I think Dick Cheney’s judgment about how to secure America is faulty. I think our judgment is correct.”

Complete New Yorker article:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/22/090622fa_fact_mayer

June 11, 2009

Confirmation That Rush Limbaugh Is INSANE! Believes That White Supremacist Is A Leftist!!!

It was just a matter of time before divisive rhetoric and ideology like Rush Limbaugh’s send insane people over the edge and cause serious harm to communities in the United States.

Rush Limbaugh needs to be responsible and recognize that words are powerful and influence people.  Limbaugh has been selling fear to his listeners with extreme right wing propaganda.  It is dangerous.

It seems that guilt has taken hate monger Rush Limbaugh so much waaay over the edge that he’s now saying that cold blooded murderer James von Brunn, the man that murdered museum guard Stephen Tyrone Johns (who was kind and held the door open for him at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC) was influenced by the left wing!

This proves either that Limbaugh is c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y delusional and needs psychiatric help or that he is c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y selfish and is willing to destroy the Republican Party.

Limbaugh is uneducated about the facts he speaks about, he’s ignorant, selfish, dim-witted and a security hazard and at this point I think someone in the Secret Service should go to his office and have a conversation with him.

Watch the asinine and fanciful video of Limbaugh saying that white supremacist, Aryan Nation advocate, Jew hater, black people hater James von Brunn is a leftist:

June 10, 2009

Banks Allowed To Payback TARP Money – Government Predicts A Profit From The Investment

Ten big banks may be thinking that they may soon be able to sponsor golf tournaments, fly their corporate jets willy-nilly, hire foreign workers instead of American citizens and pay their executives preposterous salaries once again without interference from our government.

The real reason the banks are in such a hurry to repay the TARP loans is that they seem to actually believe that by repaying the funds the government will no longer intervene in their business practices – they’re wrong.

They’re wrong not because President Obama and his administration wants to be in the banking business but because Obama and his administration is going to continue to hold the banks accountable until President Obama believes that they have dug themselves out of the deep hole that they’re in and that the banks are on a solid foundation and that American depositors monies are safe and secure.

The banks are anxiousness to win back their independence but they might be acting prematurely.  Let them be warned, if they find themselves in another deep hole President Obama most likely will not save them a second time and what will they do then? They should really, really ponder that.  If I were a bank executive I would hold onto the monies until I was 200% sure that my bank was on a seriously solid foundation.

A concern of the Obama administration is that if big banks rush to return bailout money, it could prevent them from having enough capital to continue lending.  The Treasury Department, in conjunction with the Federal and other bank regulators conducted stress tests of the 19 largest banks this spring to see if they had enough capital to withstand worse-than-expected economic conditions.

Nine passed the test. But 10 others were required to raise a total of $75 billion as a cushion against potential future losses on bad mortgage loans and other investments if the recession worsened. The Federal Reserve said Monday that the 10 banks including Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co had submitted acceptable capital-raising plans.

Eight of the nine banks that were found to not need new capital following the government’s bank stress tests last month said they will pay back TARP funds.  They are:

JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Bank of New York Mellon, State Street and regional banking giants Capital One, BB&T and U.S. Bancorp.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley which was the only financial firm that regulators did ask to raise money after the stress tests confirmed it also won approval from the Treasury Department to pay back $10 billion.

Chicago-based Northern Trust which received $1.576 billion in TARP funds was not part of the bank stress tests but said on Tuesday that it had also won government approval to exit the program.

All 10 financial firms indicated that they intended to pay back TARP funds by redeeming the preferred shares the government acquired in them last fall. Such a move would return approximately $68 billion to the government’s coffers.

So far, the Treasury Department has allowed nearly two dozen small, mostly community-based lenders to redeem the government’s preferred shares, representing nearly $1.9 billion in taxpayer money.

In a press conference Tuesday, President Obama said such repayments “a positive sign,” but warned that the financial crisis still presented challenges to both American businesses and consumers

“This is not a sign that our troubles are over, far from it,” he said.

Proceeds received from those 10 banks will be applied to the Treasury Department’s general account and some of the funds will used to promote financial stability should the economy take a turn for the worse. A portion of those funds will also be used to reduce Treasury’s borrowing and rein in the nation’s rapidly rising deficit.

Regulators are fearful that major financial institutions which are responsible for issuing a substantial amount of credit to the U.S. financial system may cut back on lending even further as a result of paying back TARP funds and could therefore endanger what may be a budding economic recovery.

Several bank chiefs downplayed these concerns in statements issued Tuesday stating that they will be there for consumers and businesses seeking loans.

“We fully expect to continue to vigorously offer lending opportunities to our credit-worthy consumer, small business, corporate and institutional customers, invest for future growth and support the U.S. government’s overall efforts to stimulate the economy,” Richard K. Davis, chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp, said in a statement.

Watch President Obama’s Press Conference about TARP money payback:

 

Palau Agrees To Accept Chinese Muslims Held At Guantanamo

Palau Island

President Barack Obama ordered that Guantanamo be shut down by January 2010. Since the order came down U.S. diplomat Daniel Fried has been leading the U.S. State Department’s efforts to resettle the Guantanamo detainees.

After months of negotiations, Palau President Johnson Toribiong said on Wednesday that his government would be “honored and proud” to take in the  17 Uighur Chinese Muslim prisoners who have been held for years at the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for suspected terrorist acts. The Bush administration refused to designate the Uighurs as “enemy combatants” but would not release them.  In late 2008 a U.S. federal judge ordered the men to be released into the United States. That ruling was eventually overturned by an appeals court.

Sandra Pierantozzi, Palau’s minister of state says her nation is glad to have the Uighurs. “If they want to settle in Palau we would welcome them,” Pierantozzi said. “This is very much in line with the culture of Palau, where people who drift in and who needs settlement and place are welcome to our shores and our tradition will take care of them and insert them into our society.

The Uighurs are from China’s western Xinjiang province and Beijing has accused the Uighurs — who dominate the province — as separatists who want to create an independent “East Turkestan.” The Uighurs are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia.

Washington is refusing to send the Uighurs back to China, fearing they would be persecuted.

Pierantozzi says her nation is not concerned over China’s likely displeasure over the resettlement of the Uighurs. “We continue to conduct business as usual, we are a free sovereign country, we are free to make decisions for us, as we believe and see for our benefit,” Pierantozzi said, “and also we are a small country but we are a part of the United Nations and the world community of nations, so we try to do our part.”

The Pacific island nation of Palau is located southeast of The Philippines, south of Guam and north of Indonesia.  Palau is a former U.S. trust territory who has been independent since 1994 and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, China’s longtime rival, rather than Beijing.

It has been reported that the Palau government agreed to accept $200 million in aid from the U.S. in exchange for accepting the Uighurs. 

June 4, 2009

NBA Finals: Lakers Have The Hunger And Desire!

Celtics Lakers Basketball

Why I think the LA Lakers are going to win the NBA championship

This is not disrespect to the Orlando Magic in anyway – they have been exemplary and have knocked out some great teams to get to the dance and I expect them to give the Lakers a run for their money. 

This is simply about hunger, desire and Kobe.

In 2006 the Miami Heats beat the Dallas Mavericks because of pure hunger and desire. The Heat team was put together to win a championship and there were four members on the team who were starving, ravenous and famished for the championship.

  1. Shaquille O’Neal – the scorned center who was looking to stick it to the LA Lakers for trading him after he had led them to three championships
  2. Alonzo Mourning – who had just recovered from a kidney ailment and probably saw this as his last chance to win a ring
  3. Coach Pat Riley – this was possibly his last opportunity to win another ring
  4. Dwyane Wade – the up and coming rising star young who was ready to fully break free of the shadow of the players in his draft class who were selected ahead of him.

In 2008 the Boston Celtics were predatory, voracious and gluttonous for the championship.

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen saw this as their trip to the big dance and they weren’t going to waste their trip; they were in it to win it.

  1. Pierce pretty much came out of a wheelchair to help Boston win a game
  2. Ray Allen made shots like the devil himself was after him  despite the illness to his young son
  3. And who can forget Kevin Garnett kissing the floor and crying after he finally got his first title.

That was some serious, stomach-aching starvation that played out in the 2008 finals.

The XY and Z factor to me is Kobe Bryant. He has won three championships with Shaquille O’Neal but now wants to move into a different echelon of all-time greats by winning as the indisputable leader of a title team. Bryant desperately wants that, no matter how grumpy he gets when asked about it.

Plus Bryant is 30 and this could be his last and best shot at winning another title. There is only so long that he can continue to hold off some the league’s younger stars who themselves are hungry.

Coach Phil Jackson has won nine championships and is desperately seeking a 10th.  Even though he downplays that passing the great Red Auerbach is a goal, by winning another ring with a team that he helped build up from the lottery would be VERY rewarding. That combined with his declining health, Jackson may not have many more opportunities to get back to this position.

Plus the fight to make it to the finals has toughened up the rest of the Lakers. The team now has a full grasp of what to expect in the finals and they are unified by the common purpose of getting the job done.

That is why I picked the Lakers in six.

President Obama in Cairo, Egypt: Time For A “New beginning between the United States and Muslims”

Egypt Obama

This morning at 6:10 am EST President Obama made brilliant history yet again and Americans should be proud because we made progress with Muslims worldwide today.

After years of American and Middle East tension where we mutually viewed each other in a not so friendly manner, today the Egypt state broadcasting service was beaming uplifting scenes of the American and Egyptian flags flying side by side and Obama’s smiling face superimposed over graphics of the Pyramids and local landmarks. An image of the Egyptian and American flags woven together in a yin and yang fashion was kept on the screen of Egypt State TV throughout the morning.  That by itself is absolutely incredible!

Speaking in the ancient seat of Islamic learning and culture and quoting from the Quran for emphasis, President Obama called for a ‘new beginning between the United States and Muslims’, and said together, we can confront violent extremism across the globe and advance the timeless search for peace in the Middle East. ‘This cycle of suspicion and discord must end,’ Obama said

By President Obama making his much anticipated speech in the Grand Hall of Cairo University in downtown Cairo instead of heading to the Sinai beach resorts where diplomatic gatherings are often held, he told the people of Egypt that he was serious about connecting on a personal level. And when he peppered his speech with words from the Koran, and balanced support for Israel but with a strong call for a Palestinian state, the deal was closed. Home run!!!

American European Activists Demostrate for Peace in Gaza

President Obama was blunt about the United States “unbreakable bonds” with Israel but promptly stated that Palestinian was “suffering” since Israel’s founding in 1948 and that there was a real and immediate need to curb Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and establish a secure Palestinian state.

President Obama acknowledged the negative stereotypes of Islam that took root in America after the 9/11 terrorist attacks but also said that Muslim nations need to fix their own exaggerated views of the United States as a country bent on dominating them.

The history of the relationship between America and Muslim communities is deep and complex. 

Thomas Jefferson taught himself Arabic using his own Quran kept in his personal library, and had the first known presidential Iftaar (the evening meal for breaking the daily fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan) by breaking fast with the Tunisian Ambassador at sunset.   

President Dwight Eisenhower attended the dedication ceremony of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 1957. 

President Bill Clinton issued the first presidential greeting for Ramadan.  Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting in which participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from true dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach patience, sacrifice and humility. President Clinton appointed the first Muslim American ambassador, M. Osman Siddique, to Fiji, and sent the first presidential Eid al-Adha greeting to Muslims.  Eid al-Adha or the “Festival of Sacrifice” is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God. 

One year after President George W. Bush placed the Holy Quran in the White House library in 2005, Representative Keith Ellison took the oath of office on the same Quran owned by Thomas Jefferson two hundred years before.

With his speech in Cairo, President Obama laid another marker, addressing America’s relationship with the Muslims around the world right in the heart of the Middle East.  Past years and decades have deepened the rift in our relationship with Muslims worldwide but particularly in the Middle East and our President have now created a new start by opening up a serious, honest dialogue hoping to find areas of common interest and new ways of communication in areas where we don’t agree. 

By continuing unprecedented outreach to Muslim communities, the President is strengthening national security and opening up new opportunities to address some of the problems that have been problematic over recent years.

Well done President Obama!

President Obama’s Cairo speech:

Cairo Palestinian boys in Gaza Strip Rafah watch President Obama Cairo U  Palestinian boys in Gaza Strip town of Rafah watch President Obama speak at Cairo University.

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