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August 4, 2009

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.

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April 22, 2009

April 22: Happy Earth Day!

earth-day-logo1

Indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air. Toxins like radon, carbon monoxide, mold, and gasoline shuffled in on shoes are all guilty culprits.

But an unbelievable fact is that “cleaning products” are amongst the worst toxins! According to the Clean Water Fund, the average U.S. household uses 40 pounds of harmful cleaning products each year which can cause allergies, headaches and more!

Ironically, cleaning products aren’t required to disclose their ingredients, but those big, bold “danger”, “warning” and “caution” labels might say enough. To be safe, it’s best to switch to eco-friendly cleaning products. Thanks to the boom in “green” living, there are now a number of great products on the market. Here are a few:

earth-day-bon-ami Bon Ami, an earth friendly cleaning powder and polishing powder, is celebrating its 120th year anniversary. The polishing cleanser, which works magic on stove tops, is made from calcite & feldspar mineral abrasives, and biodegradable detergent. It does not contain chlorine, perfume, or dye. The cleaning powder, which will make your tub sparkle, is recommended by allergists because it is gentle. This product is safe to use almost everywhere in your home.

earth-dat-ecover-glass-cleaner  Ecover, founded in Belgium in 1980, makes its earth-friendly cleaning products in a factory with a grass roof for insulation, wooden beams from a sustainable forest, and bricks made from coal mine waste. This glass and surface cleaner has a light floral scent and leaves mirrors completely streak free and clean of residue.

earth-day-7th-gen-shower-cleaner  Seventh Generation Natural Green Mandarin and Leaf Shower Cleaner has real mandarin and spearmint essential oils that masks the odor of hydrogen peroxide — a safe bacteria and fungus killing agent — that also removes stains and impressively whitens bathtubs. (more…)

March 20, 2009

Video: President Obama On Jay Leno

President Obama appeared on The Tonight Show on Thursday.

In his opening monologue, Leno said that lots of people were surprised that Obama would come on NBC — figuring that he would be tired of big companies on the brink of disaster with a bunch of overpaid executives.

President Obama told Jay Leno that he was stunned when he learned of the bonuses that bailed-out insurance company AIG was paying its employees. He said that the payments raise moral and ethical problems — and vowed again to try to recoup the cash for taxpayers.  He continued, “We’re going to do everything we can to get these bonuses back.”

Leno asked Obama what he thought when his staff first advised him of the payments, many made to traders in the very division that brought American International Group to ruin.

“‘Stunned’ is the word,” Obama replied. He said he found it hard to fathom how anyone would accept lavish payments in those circumstances. “People just had this sense of entitlement. We must be the best and the brightest.”

But Obama defended Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has increasingly come under fire for failing to block the bonuses.

“I think Geithner is doing an outstanding job,” Obama said. “He is a smart guy. He is a calm and steady guy. I don’t think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed him.”

Leno got more personal toward the end of the 35-minute interview.

Leno asked the president whether the White House bowling alley had been “burned and closed down” in light of Obama’s gutter ball embarrassment on the campaign trail last year.

Obama replied, “No, no. I have been practicing . . . I bowled a 129.”  (During the campaign Obama bowled a 37 out of a possible 300).

The audience roared with laughter, and the late-night talk show host assured Obama “that’s very good, Mr. President.” To which Obama interjected, “It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something.”

The audience laughed. But the White House didn’t let the comment linger without clarification.

“The President made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics,” White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters flying aboard Air Force One after the taping of the show, according to a transcript released by the White House. “He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world.” 

President Obama called Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shirver before the show aired and personally apologized for the remark.  Obama made a bad attempt at a joke that was meant to criticize himself and he did not intend in anyway to humiliate the disabled.  President Obama also extended an invitation to Special Olympic athletes to come bowl or play basketball at the White House.

Appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America Friday Morning, Tim Shriver said Obama was “very sincere” in his apology.   “He expressed openness and an interest in being more engaging in the movement and said he was a fan of the movement,” Shriver said. “And I think importantly said he was ready to have some of our athletes over the White House to bowl or play basketball or help him improve his score.” 🙂

Also on the “Tonight Show,” Leno asked the president when he would finally be making good on his famous campaign promise to reward his daughters with a puppy, which so far hasn’t surfaced.

“Listen, this is Washington. That was a campaign promise,” the president deadpanned to much laughter.

The president said he was “teasing,” and explained that as soon as he returns from the NATO Summit early next month, the “dog will be in place.”

Leno asked if the dog would be a “Portuguese Water Head,” referencing first lady Michelle Obama’s hint that the first family was leaning toward a Portuguese Water Dog. The president laughed and said, “It’s not a ‘water head.’ That sounds like a scary dog. Sort of dripping around the house.”

But the first dad gave absolutely no hints about what kind of dog – or puppy – it will be. “We’re going to get a dog that is — that I think the girls will have a great time — I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with it. You know, they say if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

It seems that Malia and Sasha will have their new furry friend by Easter!

March 19, 2009

Health: Marijuana — Legalize it!

Marijuana is a tricky subject in America.

Based on the way our current federal law is written marijuana seems to be the devil of all plants.  It is demonized and believed to be an immoral and destructive drug that should be censored at all costs and by any means necessary to save our nation from destruction!!!

Some of the methods used to control the use of marijuana are very expensive and quite irrational in my opinion.  We, the tax payers, have to pay for extra police officers and other law enforcement officers to monitor marijuana use.  We have to pay correction officers and maintain prisons to punish offenders who were caught with marijuana. We have the high cost of financially supporting citizens who are healthy and in the prime of their lives and should be working, paying taxes and contributing to their families and communities while they sit around in prisons because they were arrested, tried and committed for possessing a minuscule amount of the plant.

From my understanding, hemp, a natural fiber by product of the cannabis plant (marijuana) could be a very positive, practical and valuable fiber if used for industrial purposes.  The cannabis plant, like bamboo, is a very environmentally friendly plant and grows quickly and abundantly.   Hemp requires little or no pesticides or herbicides, controls erosion of topsoil and produces oxygen.  Hemp can also be used to replace harmful products like tree paper which is processed using chlorine bleach and creates a waste product that is carcinogenic (cancer causing).  The strongest chemical needed to whiten hemp so that it can be used as paper is hydrogen peroxide which is harmless.

Hemp can also be used to produce biodegradable plastics (save our land fills!), clothing textiles, rope, canvas, fuel and health food.

Marijuana can also be used for medicinal purposes. The active ingredient in marijuana (THC) and other compounds found in cannabis are legitimate holistic alternatives.

Marijuana and its by-products are suitable for patients suffering from various types of chronic pain, especially those unresponsive to traditional analgesics (pain killers). In addition, cannabis has less negative side-effects than opioids (synthetic/chemical narcotics used to treat pain) – which can be highly addictive – and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which can induce stomach ulcers, bleeding and kidney failure.

Just this past week, HB 648, a bill allowing severely ill patients to grow and use marijuana for medicinal purposes has won a 13-7 vote in the House Health and Human Services Committee in New Hampshire and heads for a full House vote next week.

The bill requires patients to be certified by a doctor before they can grow or possess up to six plants or two ounces of marijuana. They or a caregiver can grow the plants, and a patient is given the option of obtaining marijuana from another certified patient.

In addition to New Hampshire thirteen states have laws permitting medicinal use of marijuana. California is unique among them for the presence of dispensaries — businesses that sell marijuana and even advertise their services. These dispensaries are legal under California law even though they are still illegal under federal law.

In the past month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said federal policy will shift, giving states more leeway to pass and enforce their own medical marijuana laws. The Federal government will no longer focus on raids of marijuana clinics but will target marijuana distributors only when they violate both federal and state laws.

That is a departure from the Bush administration, which targeted medical marijuana dispensaries in California even if they complied with that state’s law. California law permits the sale of marijuana for medical purposes even though it’s still is against federal law.

Medical marijuana advocates in California welcomed the news, but said they still worried about the pending cases of those already in court on drug charges.

“Given the limited resources that we have, our focus will be on people, organizations that are growing, cultivating substantial amounts of marijuana and doing so in a way that’s inconsistent with federal and state law,” Attorney General Holder said.

Kris Hermes, a spokesman for national medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said he welcomed Holder’s perspective and that “It signals a new direction and a more reasonable and sensible direction on medical marijuana policy.”

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard of anyone dying from an overdose of marijuana.  Or anyone getting a disease because of marijuana but I have heard of people who got alcoholic poisoning and died; and people who were DWI and killed other people.  

So why not give marijuana the same laws and restrictions as alcohol?  Americans can legally brew beer and make wine up to a certain quantity for personal consumption. So why shouldn’t we be able to grow and possess marijuana up to a certain quantity for personal consumption?

Take it out of the hands of the dealers and let law enforcement concentrate on dangerous drugs.  In fact, we should legalize cannabis and encourage farmers to plant this very eco-friendly plant industrially as a source for paper and other by-products.  Why not?

Additional reading:

http://legalizepot.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/why-is-marijuana-illegal/

 

 

March 7, 2009

March 7, 2009: President Obama’s Weekly Address – Reforms Will Save Americans $40 Billion Each Year

President Barack Obama used his March 7, 2009 weekly address to detail his plans to fix our ailing economy, noting that reforming healthcare is necessary to ensure our long term fiscal health.  While ending this crisis will not be quick or easy, the President’s plans will take the swift, bold, and responsible actions needed for the United States to emerge stronger and more prosperous than before. And that is why reforming healthcare, jumpstarting job creation, restoring lending, relieving responsible homeowners, and making hard choices are all so critically important right now.

Transcript of President Obama’s remarks:

Yesterday, we learned that the economy lost another 651,000 jobs in the month of February, which brings the total number of jobs lost in this recession to 4.4 million.  The unemployment rate has now surpassed 8 percent, the highest rate in a quarter century.

These aren’t just statistics, but hardships experienced personally by millions of Americans who no longer know how they’ll pay their bills, or make their mortgage, or raise their families. 

From the day I took office, I knew that solving this crisis would not be easy, nor would it happen overnight.  And we will continue to face difficult days in the months ahead.  But I also believe that we will get through this — that if we act swiftly and boldly and responsibly, the United States of America will emerge stronger and more prosperous than it was before. 

That’s why my administration is committed to doing all that’s necessary to address this crisis and lead us to a better day.  That’s why we’re moving forward with an economic agenda that will jumpstart job creation, restart lending, relieve responsible homeowners, and address the long-term economic challenges of our time:  the cost of health care, our dependence on oil, and the state of our schools.

To prevent foreclosures for as many as 4 million homeowners — and lower interest rates and lift home values for millions more — we are implementing a plan to allow lenders to work with borrowers to refinance or restructure their mortgages.  On Wednesday, the Department of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development released the guidelines that lenders will use for lowering mortgage payments.  This plan is now at work.

To restore the availability of affordable loans for families and businesses — not just banks — we are taking steps to restart the flow of credit and stabilize the financial markets.   On Thursday, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve launched the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative — a plan that will generate up to a trillion dollars of new lending so that families can finance a car or college education — and small businesses can raise the capital that will create jobs.

And we’ve already begun to implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — a plan that will save and create over 3.5 million jobs over the next two years — jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges, constructing wind turbines and solar panels, expanding broadband and mass transit.  And because of this plan, those who have lost their job in this recession will be able to receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage, while 95 percent of working Americans will receive a tax break beginning April 1st.

Of course, like every family going through hard times, our country must make tough choices.  In order to pay for the things we need — we cannot waste money on the things we don’t. 

My administration inherited a $1.3 trillion budget deficit, the largest in history.  And we’ve inherited a budgeting process as irresponsible as it is unsustainable.  For years, as Wall Street used accounting tricks to conceal costs and avoid responsibility, Washington did, too.

These kinds of irresponsible budgets — and inexcusable practices — are now in the past.  For the first time in many years, my administration has produced a budget that represents an honest reckoning of where we are and where we need to go.

It’s also a budget that begins to make the hard choices that we’ve avoided for far too long — a strategy that cuts where we must and invests where we need.  That’s why it includes $2 trillion in deficit reduction, while making historic investments in America’s future.  That’s why it reduces discretionary spending for non-defense programs as a share of the economy by more than 10 percent over the next decade — to the lowest level since they began keeping these records nearly half a century ago.  And that’s why on Wednesday, I signed a presidential memorandum to end unnecessary no-bid contracts and dramatically reform the way contracts are awarded — reforms that will save the American people up to $40 billion each year.

Finally, because we cannot bring our deficit down or grow our economy without tackling the skyrocketing cost of health care, I held a health care summit on Thursday to begin the long-overdue process of reform.  Our ideas and opinions about how to achieve this reform will vary, but our goal must be the same:  quality, affordable health care for every American that no longer overwhelms the budgets of families, businesses, and our government.

Yes, this is a moment of challenge for our country.  But we’ve experienced great trials before.  And with every test, each generation has found the capacity to not only endure, but to prosper — to discover great opportunity in the midst of great crisis.  That is what we can and must do today.  And I am absolutely confident that is what we will do.  I’m confident that at this defining moment, we will prove ourselves worthy of the sacrifice of those who came before us, and the promise of those who will come after. 

Thank you.

March 1, 2009

President Obama’s Budget – Can You Handle The Truth?

president-obama-marines-no-carolina Last Thursday President Obama laid all his economic cards on the table when he revealed his first budget. He decided to do what has never been done in Washington before and treated taxpayers like grown-ups. He was open, honest and straightforward about what Washington has spent in the past and what he proposes to spend to get our economy out from it’s deep abyss.

The President’s budget includes $3.6 trillion to be spent in 2010 – with almost $1.2 trillion of it to be borrowed. His spending plan signals a sharp, maybe even historic, change of direction on taxes and the role of government. By boldly laying his cards on the table President Obama is betting that the public can handle the truth. Can you handle the truth?

Our economy is in a nose dive. Our American economy shrunk at a 6.2 percent pace in the last three months of 2008 the Commerce Department reported on Friday. That same day the White House announced that it will take a 36-percent share in Citigroup. These two facts by themselves are gloomy reminders that critical decisions have to be made in order to turn our economy around. President Obama’s truth about the budget will help him to make well-informed and educated decisions.

President Bush never included the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in his budgets; Bush treated both wars as ‘emergencies’ and therefore kept them off the books and gave us fake budgets all the years he was in office. Bush never included anything in his budgets for federal disaster response even though we have several disasters each year. For example Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Virginia massacre, fires in California as well as tornados in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Alabama and Illinois.

President Obama included the wars and natural disasters in his 10-year budget so that we will have realistic numbers – no deceptions, no facades and no shams.

Obama made it clear that laying the groundwork for a strong economy down the road won’t be free. Do you want to get rid of our oil addiction and simultaneously save our environment and create a green future? Do you want to reform health care and insure most Americans? Do you want to keep Medicare around? Do you want to repair our infrastructure and maintain our roads, bridges, airports and mass transit? Do you want to build a modern energy grid? All these items are necessary to ensure that America keeps our super power status — it will all cost money and Obama didn’t sugarcoat it.

Obama budgeted funds as a down payment for those priorities and he proposed taxes and identified savings to help cover the expenses.

President Obama’s message to us and to those on Capitol Hill was loud and clear — stop the hallucinating and confused thinking.  Stop living on Fantasy Island. Stop being Alice in Wonderland. None of these things we desire will pay for themselves and we can’t continue to borrow and spend and pass the bill to our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Yes we can argue about the larger role for government that Obama envisions for the nation. And we can argue about whether high earners should pay higher taxes. But by putting his ideas into budgetary black-and-white President Obama has challenged taxpayers to make realistic choices about what they want from their government and then to pay for it.  That’s what responsible, mature grown-ups do.

Can you handle the truth?

 

February 24, 2009

Watch President Obama’s Address to Congress Tonight

president-barack-obama-seal Tonight, five weeks into his presidency, President Obama will address a joint session of Congress. Although this is not an official State of the Union address, it is an opportunity for him to talk to Americans about the challenges our country faces and his plans for the future.

President Obama has been working really hard to get America back on track.  In five weeks he has done more that will help rebuild America than George W. Bush did in four years. 

He has already taken important steps to improve our lives and the lives of our children including:

  • signing a $787 billion stimulus package on February 17 that will help our citizens, states and municipalities
  • signing a housing-rescue plan
  • reversing the Bush Administration policies that have impeded state efforts to provide health coverage to children
  • signing the expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), taking care of unfinished business from the last Congress and providing health coverage to an additional four million children
  • signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, offering significant relief to millions of struggling children and families

Tonight President Obama will tell us how he intends to proceed and build on his momentum with plans to continue to help struggling American families, steady the markets and get us out of this economic crisis.

Watch President Obama’s address tonight at 9:00 p.m. EST.

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