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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.

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November 30, 2008

Wall Streeters Drinking More At Lunch

wall-street-sign The titans of Wall Street have taken a battering in the financial markets recently, but they are eating well and drinking more, according to the people who run Manhattan’s “power” dining spots.

At the 21 Club, a longtime redoubt of corporate chieftains and big names, alcohol sales are up 9 per cent from last year, and businessmen can be seen drinking $14-a-glass cocktails as early as 3pm on a weekday.

“Where people used to have one vodka on the rocks, now it’s a second one or maybe a third,” says Roger Rice, the floor manager. “I don’t know what to attribute it to. Maybe it’s the last year of the expense account.”

Others say their customers are drinking more to drown their sorrows. “People want to feel a little numb because it’s numbing out there,” says Steve Millington, general manager at Michael’s, the restaurant of choice for publishing and media executives.

He reports that alcohol sales are up a fifth from last year. “At dinner, hard liquor sales are up, cocktails and martinis. It’s less so at lunch. People are drinking wine at lunch, less the high-end wines and more medium-priced wines.”

wall-street-bull-balls The increase in alcohol sales is clear, says Mr. Millington, because overall customer levels are on a par with last year. “There’s a scent of fear,” he says.

Times are good at Delmonico’s, the 181-year-old fine dining restaurant, says Dennis Turcinovic, managing partner.

“It’s scary to say, but our business is up 6 to 7 per cent,” he says. “Alcohol sales . . . help a lot, they’re about 15 per cent up this year. The bar’s busy all day. I’ve had to hire extra barmaids.”

There are few signs that people are saving money on food either. At San Pietro, an upmarket Italian restaurant, business remains brisk. Gerardo Bruno, president, says overall business is up 12 per cent from last year.

In spite of the turmoil in the markets, one rule has held firm at San Pietro. “Americans, they never drink at lunch,” Mr. Bruno says. As for dinner, hard liquor sales are down, but after-dinner drinks, particularly grappa and cognac, are up, he adds.

Wine sales remain strong, especially at dinner, except for one noticeable change. “When times are fantastic, the host does not lead, he lets his guests lead in choosing the wine,” says Mr. Bruno. However, in the current climate, dinner hosts are turning to him to ask for wine recommendations, a clear sign that restraint is in order, according to Mr. Bruno.

Yet not everyone has suffered in the economic downturn. Mr. Bruno produced two empty bottles of 1947 Petrus, consumed recently by a Chinese customer who called ahead to order the wines.

The price?

 A mere $12,000 each.

 

happy-holidays-7

 

Original article:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/693de752-bdaa-11dd-bba1-0000779fd18c.html

October 1, 2008

Vote America! One Voice Can Change The World, One Voice Becomes Many

Democrats measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.

Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

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August 29, 2008

McCain Picks Gov Sarah Palin (Alaska) For His VP

 A few minutes ago John McCain announced that Sarah Palin who has been Governor of Alaska for two years will be his running mate.  Palin seems to be a very charming woman.

My first honest thought was ‘they don’t look comfortable together’.

My second though was how she is going to adjust to the mainland; in particular Washington, D.C.

My third thought was does Palin have the knowledge necessary to whisper corrections into McCain’s ears when he makes his gaffes like Lieberman does? Does Palin have National Security experience? How educated is Palin on the issues? Does Palin have Foreign Relations experience?

Is Palin just a ‘pawn’ to get the women vote? (That’s a redundant question). Does McCain think that the female vote is transferable from Hillary to ANY woman?

By selecting Palin, McCain proves that he is putting his ambitions ahead of those of our country. He has stated both recently and previously, that he would chose a running mate that shared his views and principles. She certainly fits his requirements. What he did NOT do was put the nation’s interests first – he selected an individual that is not qualified to succeed him in the event of an unfortunate tragedy. Is this sound mature thinking and judgment? This is all about me first.

Before becoming Governor of Alaska Palin was Mayor of Wasilla, a town of about 8,000. As someone who has visited and LOVEs Alaska, I can tell you that this will be a huge transition from Alaska to the lower 48.  Every town in Alaska is real small town rural living even in its capital Anchorage – where everyone knows everyone.  Anchorage has a population of approximately 270,000 people and that is about 50% of the population of the entire state of Alaska which is about half of a million people.  So Palin will be going from governing Alaska that has 500,000 people to co-governing America which has 301 million people.  The state of Illinois has 13 million people; the state of Delaware has 1 million people. What a promotion!

Living or working in a city like New York you see that much people in 5 blocks.  In Los Angeles you see that much people on Robertson Boulevard at lunch time.  In Miami you see that much people lazing around South Beach at any given minute – day or night.  In D.C. you see that much people walking around Georgetown at lunch time.

John McCain has had 4 bouts with cancer – is Palin prepared to be President if something happens to McCain?

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