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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.

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.

June 2, 2009

NBA Finals: Superman Will Meet The Black Mamba

Disclaimer – I am a Kobe fan and want to see him win number 4!

lakers

The Black Mamba is the perfect nickname for number 24, Kobe Bryant. He is a basketball assassin; a stealthy predator that can strike at any given moment. He possesses both a venomous skill set, and near-unrivaled speed in the NBA. He is a shutdown defender that stalks his prey. Kobe is the scariest guy in the NBA – he is a lethal weapon! Kobe’s nickname is so v-e-r-y appropriate.

The Black Mamba is one of Africa’s most dangerous and feared snakes. It is known for being very aggressive when disturbed or confronted and will not hesitate to strike with deadly precision. The black mamba is the largest venomous snake in Africa and the second longest venomous snake in the world after the King Cobra. The Black Mamba is also the fastest land snake in the world and uses its speed to escape danger. 

Since most of us knows Kobe’s stats and there are thousands of articles written about our one-name superstar I’m not going to delve into his accomplishments; just watch him play and you’ll understand why I love his game.

Dwight Howard Slam Dunk

I also really, really like Superman, D12, Dwight Howard. He’s earned his way to the big show and once the finals begin Thursday at the Staples Center our 23 year young superhero will get the greatest national exposure of his rapidly increasing pro career and his best opportunity yet to reach the rarefied superstar status of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. 

Howard has excelled on the court, and he has shown us his great charisma and personality and we can’t forget the forever present gleam in Superman’s eyes and his 1,000 mega watt smile. He is also very mature and is not an egocentric personality.  I remember during this year’s slam-dunk competition on All-Star weekend when he agreed to allow his main opponent 5 foot 9 Nate Robinson (NY Knicks) to use him as a prop to dunk the ball (see video below).  Howard inevitably knew that if Robinson jumped over him, Robinson would win the contest even though Howard was in the lead at the time.  Howard put on his Superman cape and allowed Robinson to jump over him; Robinson won and Howard was really very happy for Robinson and even gave Robinson a chest bump.  Howard is a class act.  

D12 has elevated his playing status, showed us his great personality and has made himself very marketable.  Soon Nike and Vitamin water will be calling — if they haven’t already. 

As a sports fan I am proud and happy to see two young men who are family-oriented, well-mannered and respectable representing us in the East and West. These are two young men who can serve as great inspirations for up and coming NBA hopefuls.

The finals will be a fight but a fight I will enjoy watching.  I hope Kobe gets ring number 4 – he has worked hard for it – but I will have a smile on my face if Superman gets his first.

Finals, game 1 – Thursday, June 4 @9pm EST on ABC

Watch Nate Robinson (NY Knicks) dunk over Superman Dwight Howard!

Kobe ‘baptizes’ Dwight Howard his rookie year:

Dwight Howard’s workout:

 

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 1, 2009

Pictures – President Obama Goes To The Wizards v Bulls Basketball Game

president-obama-waves-arrives-wash-wizards-bulls-2-27-09 On Friday, February 27 President Obama and friend Marty Nesbitt watched the Washington Wizards play the Chicago Bulls at the Verizon Center in Washington.

Obama earned cool points for watching the game from a courtside seat rather than in a luxury box. The Wizards and Bulls took the court for the opening tip but were sent back to the bench because a large crowd of cameramen had spilled onto the court as they waited for the President to enter.  After a three-minute delay President Obama entered from a nearby tunnel to a thunderous standing ovation from the crowd of 18,114 and took his seat.  The Wizards and Bulls joined in the applause and Washington’s Nick Young and JaVale McGee stood on their seats to get a better look at number 44.

president-obama-speaks-young-basketball-fan-supporter-2-27-09 He sat next to 5 year old DC native Nicholas Aiello. Obama and Aiello chatted several times during the game.

president-obama-speaks-wizard-bulls-2-27-09 Obama wore a black collarless shirt and a black sport coat and remained in his courtside seat until just before halftime and returned just after the start of the third quarter.

President Obama entertained his hometown Bulls at the White House on Thursday and received a Number 44 jersey from the team.

President Obama left with 4:26 to go in the 4th quarter with the Wizards up 103-86. As he left the crowd gave him another standing ovation.

president-obama-shakes-hand-2-27-09  president-obama-wizards-bulls-2-27-09  president-obama-marty-nesbitt-2-27-09-beer1

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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