Day: August 14, 2009

Barack Obama’s Promotion Of Community Colleges

President Obama has become an advocate of promoting many more high school graduates to go through at least the community college level in education.

He has allocated $12 billion to accomplish the goal of five million additional graduates from the 1200 community colleges nationally by the year 2020.

It is well understood that even a two year degree can bring about a great increase in lifetime income, and also increased job satisfaction.

Needless to say, this could become one of the major accomplishments of the Obama Presidency if it works out as planned.

Bill Clinton’s Strong Defense Of Obama’s Health Care Initiative

Former President Bill Clinton, who suffered the failure of his health care plan in 1993-1994, came out swinging yesterday in support of President Obama’s health care initiative.

Speaking before a group of political activists, he declared that the success of the plan would raise Obama’s approval rating dramatically, and that all the fears and concerns about the health program would be shown to be false within a year and would make Obama even more popular.

Since Bill Clinton is still very much admired among a majority of Americans, his willingness to come out strongly for Obama could be a major plus, and the adoption of a viable health care plan would be a vindication of what he tried to do, and what Ted Kennedy has been spending great efforts over the past few decades to accomplish, and what Harry Truman promoted in his time, and even what Theodore Roosevelt advocated in his Bull Moose Progressive Party campaign in 1912.

The Oddity About American Political Parties And Ideologies

We already know that the GOP is extremely weak in most states as a result of the 2008 Presidential election, with only four states strongly Republican compared to 30 that are strongly Democratic, and the rest leaning toward the Democrats with a few exceptions.

And yet the latest poll evidence shows that many more people see themselves as conservatives than liberals, with moderates holding the balance as usual, and generally leaning toward support of the Democrats, at least in the presidential campaign itself.

The most conservative states are in the South–Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina; the Plains States–Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota; and the Mountain States–Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

The most liberal states are in New England–Massachusetts, Vermont; the Northeast–District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut; and the Far West–Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii. But the percentage who say they are liberal is considerably lower than the conservative numbers in the more conservative states.

Those who are moderates by definition range from 43 percent in Hawaii and Rhode Island to a low of 32 percent in Alabama.

So we have the oddity that the Democrats may be strong, but yet ideologically the country is nowhere near as liberal as the Democratic congressional leadership and senior membership, and even President Obama, based on his four years in the US Senate.

Therefore, the GOP is able to have great influence despite their small numbers in Congress, because so many Americans still find the word “liberal” abhorrent, and therefore, moderates rule the day in the battle with conservatives for the future agenda of the Obama Presidency.

The Hypocrisy Of Republicans On “Counseling For End Of Life Issues And Care”

Something often forgotten is that when the Bush Administration pushed for passage of the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, which 204 House and 42 Senate members of the GOP voted for, it included so called “counseling for end of life issues and care”, which now is called “death panels”!

At that time, there was no controversy over what has become a distorted issue today. So it is obvious that the GOP is demagoging an issue purely for political reasons, knowing full well what they are doing.

Needless to say, the Republicans should be punished for this at the polls in 2010 and 2012. We shall see if that is the eventual outcome of this outrageous propaganda campaign, designed simply to terrify voters and make them emotional.

President Obama And Town Halls In New Hampshire And Montana

Despite all of the controversy surrounding some of the town halls that have been held by Congressmen and Senators these past few weeks, it turns out that President Obama performed excellently at town halls in New Hampshire earlier this week and Montana today.

The crowd in both cases was pleasant and respectful, as should be, but there were definitely opponents in the crowd who seemed to be satisfied with Obama’s responses, even if they were not totally convinced. Obama invited challenges and questioning by critics, and it was done in a civil way.

Obama certainly made it clear that the charges leveled against the health care plan were myths, and he was strong in his assertions that the government was not out to promote socialized medicine. He repudiated all of the hysteria and panic that has been promoted by conservative and Republican and corporate opponents of any substantial reform in health care.

It is evident that the American people are concerned about changes in health care, but Obama, after having held back in the past couple of weeks in getting deeply involved in defending and explaining the plans for health care, has finally taken to the road and is actively promoting what he sees as essential action.

Despite a lot of doubts that remain about the effects of health care reform occurring, it seems to me that Obama is starting to change public opinion in what is likely one of the toughest battles he will face as President. The supporters of health care reform have to realize who the enemy is, and fight with courage and conviction!

Damon Weaver And President Obama

It was really pleasant to see an 11 year old African American boy from Pahokee, Florida, get the chance to interview President Obama at the White House yesterday, after earlier having had the opportunity to interview Vice President Joe Biden.

As usual, President Obama put on a great performance and encouraged Damon and other young people to study, work hard and accomplish their goals. The President is a great model for youth in this country, and it was wonderful to see such an inspiring interaction between the young man and the President.

It is certain that Damon will not forget this exciting moment in his young life!

A Promising Development On Education Reform

In the midst of so much controversy over health care reform, it is wonderful to report that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is gaining the support of former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the African American preacher Al Sharpton, who tend to agree on nothing else, to work with Duncan to promote education reform, one of the major aims of the Obama Administration.

The three men will visit Philadelphia, New Orleans and Baltimore in the fall to push those cities to work to improve failing schools as a first step toward widespread education reform nationally.

It is good to see cooperation on such an important issue as this one, and one could wistfully wish that Newt Gingrich would have the same attitude on health care reform, but alas, that is not the case! 🙁

However, I guess we should be happy with small miracles! 🙂

Betsy McCaughey: The True Enemy Of Health Care Reform

Betsy McCaughey is probably the one person who can be more condemned as an enemy of  health care reform than any other individual in America, and that is saying a lot!

An  attractive looking lady, you would never think she is the single most important figure to have worked against the Clinton health care initiative in 1993-1994, and again has become the leader of the struggle against any health care reform in 2009.

If her name sounds vaguely familiar for other political activism,  it is because she was Lieutenant Governor under Republican Governor George Pataki from 1995-1999,  his first term as New York Governor.  But she became  involved in controversy in ways that convinced Pataki to drop her from the ticket in 1998.

She has now become the biggest promoter of the idea that Obama’s plan for health care reform will promote the “death of Grandma”,  the idea of  “death panels”  that is also being newly promoted by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin  (after she withdrew the assertion two days after stating it)  and others, including Newt Gingrich and numerous talk show hosts.   All of the above, and certainly Ms. McCaughey,  KNOW they are promoting lies and deception, but it is obvious they have touched a nerve of scared and fearful Americans and will stop at nothing to destroy any chance for health care reform.

If the health care reform bill fails,  many will be held responsible,  but high on the list,  and maybe the very top of it will be one Betsy McCaughey!   🙁

Eric Cantor: Why Don’t You Speak Up About Nazi References To Obama? :(

Eric Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, and House Minority Whip from Virginia, has been strangely silent as a swastika was painted on the door of Georgia Congressman David Scott’s local office,  and as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have labeled Barack Obama as a Hitler with Nazi viewpoints.

Why is Eric Cantor unwilling to speak up on the abuse of the facts about Nazism, considering that he knows the truth of what Nazis did to the Jewish population of Europe, along with other groups, including gays and gypsies?  Does he really think a black Congressman and black President are Nazi like, enough so that one depiction of Obama has him with the Hitler mustache?  Is  he afraid to speak up against the indecency of conservative talk show hosts and even his fellow Republican leaders and party members?

Does Eric Cantor have a conscience, or is his long range desire to run for President preventing him from showing any principle or guts?

The  Jewish community and all decent people need to hear from Eric Cantor.  Speak up, and as John F. Kennedy wrote,  prove you are a “Profile in Courage”.   Denounce these words and actions and call for a condemnation of talk show hosts who have no desire to do anything but divide the nation,  prevent any medical care legislation,  and promote an atmosphere of violence and bloodshed.

If anything, god forbid,  should happen to the President or any member of Congress, or just an ordinary citizen,  the blood will be on the hands of these despicable peddlers of hate, and also on  the hands of a gutless Congressman named Eric Cantor!

Sad Reality About Ted Kennedy

It is a very poignant time if one respects the contributions and public career of Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Acknowledged as the “Lion of the Senate”,  one of its most exceptional members in the long history of that body,   well respected even by his Republican colleagues,  Ted Kennedy has been battling a brain tumor, first made public in May 2008.

He managed to endorse and promote the election of Barack Obama as President,  and has been championing major reform in the area of health care, which unfortunately is now bogged down by rumors, lies,  distortions, misconceptions, and pure demagoguery by talk show hosts,  corporate interests, and the Republican party.   It was hoped that we would be able to accomplish major reform as the culmination of his 47 years service in the Senate, the third longest ever.

Ted Kennedy has had his warts and shortcomings,  as for instance in the Chappaquiddick Affair forty years ago,  but he has done his best to redeem himself  by serving as the voice of the poor, the sick, the elderly, the disadvantaged, and the powerless.  There are very few senators who can match his public record in the Senate, and everyone knows he is a passionate advocate of the causes he cares about.

But recent days show evidence that he may be nearing the end of his battle with cancer.  He only has shown up a couple of times in public this year,  and three developments  in the past week are looming signs of a terrible piece of news that I hope will not occur as soon as it seems likely at this point.

First,  he is the only Senator who did not show up to vote on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court,  a nomination he much applauded.  Second, he was not present when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom earlier this week, with his daughter accepting the award and his sons also present for the honor.  Finally, today, he was unable to appear at the funeral mass of his beloved sister and founder of the Special Olympics,  Eunice Kennedy Shriver.   It is obvious that he would have been present, were he in good enough health condition to be at these momentous events.

So this is a time to be sad and recognize the reality that he may be  leaving us sooner rather than later.   I pray this is not so, but I think realistically,  this is the likely scenario very soon.

This is a moment to reflect and pray as hard as we can for a miracle, which will allow Ted Kennedy to return to the Senate and lead the charge for health care reform and other major reforms that have had to be delayed,  until we could have a progressive President in the White House.  May God look kindly on him and bless him with relief from pain and suffering, and give him a remission, so he can continue his great service to the nation!