Tuesday, September 30, 2008
No, I am talking about the similarities of the fiscal crisis in America and the Foot and Mouth outbreak in England in 2001. If dollars were cows, well, congress just burned over a trillion dollars similar to the 10 million cattle and sheep that were killed because of the disease. In both cases, there is a big stink.
No one wanted to slaughter 10 million cattle and sheep in 2001 but it was necessary to save the rest of the livestock, keep the disease from spreading beyond the area it was contained in and to save the industry.
So public health officials and veterinarians made the decision to do what was necessary, even though people were screaming about it and protesting and all.
That is a picture of the FMD virus coating protein.
Likewise, no one wants to spend (or borrow, really, since it will probably be returned...with profit) 700 billion dollars to save the financial sector, but to keep the economic meltdown from spreading beyond the area it is contained in and to save the industry it will be necessary.
Ten million dead animals stink, no matter how you dispose of them, and a drop of 777 points in the Dow Jones stinks too. The public health officials dealt with the stink by wearing masks and such. All congress has to do is hold their nose and cast a vote. In some cases, a legislator does not have the luxury of waiting for a "perfect" bill to vote on. Sometimes you have to vote, and fix it later.
Let's hope the "bench warming" Republicans (as they were referred to this morning) can quit pouting and vote to help the country next time. I say this, because majority whip James Clyburn said this morning that Republican leadership had said they could deliver 100 votes out of the 110 originally agreed upon. Twenty minutes before the vote he saw Roy Blunt, the minority whip and asked him how it stood. Blunt said they didn't have a hundred, but could deliver 75 or 80. That would have been enough to pass the bill, and Clyburn told Blunt that would do because he had a cushion. They delivered 65 votes, and they blame Pelosi. I agree with Barney Frank, who said that changing you vote because of a speech is putting their hurt feelings above what is best for the country.
Come on children, play nice.
On Sunday, October 5, there will be a blessing of pets at DeBardeleben Park. It is on the corner of 3rd Ave. No between 16th & 17th St. in Bessemer, Alabama. Rev. Kim Pilkington will be blessing the animals hosted by First Christian Church of Bessemer. It will start at 9:45 AM.
Jacque Meyer, director of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society will be cooperating and giving a short speech before the event.
Please bring dogs on leashes, and cats in carriers, and birds and snakes and gerbils and such in cages.
Alabama Barack Team Bessemer has been busy, especially during the month of September. here is a summary of voter registration activities.
Month of July 105
Month of August 359
Month of September 1,148
Total new registered voters 1,612
That is just in Bessemer and nearby. Efforts are ongoing. The deadline for submitting Voter Registration applications is Friday, October 24.
Not sure if you are registered? Visit Voteforchange to see if you are registered to vote or to request voter registration or absentee ballot applications. It does not matter where you live.
Important phone numbers: Bessemer Barack Office: 425-5700. Gwen Alexander is the chair and her number is 428-8272. Birmingham's Barack Office new phone number is 458-0505. The Board of Registrars number is 325-5550. The Circuit Clerks' numbers for Absentee Ballot applications are: BHAM 325-5360, Bessemer Cutoff 481-4165, and Shelby County 669-3760.
Here are voter registration activities for which volunteers are needed.
Friday, October 3, Piggly Wiggly (West End) 1697 Tuscaloosa Ave SW, Birmingham, 9:00am-5:00pm
Friday and Saturday, October 3 & 4, Food Giant, 700 19th St N, Bessemer, 9:00am-6:00pm
Tuesday, October 7 Jess Lanier High School Homecoming Week, Jess Lanier High School lunchroom, 100 High School Dr, Bessemer, 10:00am-2:00 pm (Wear purple T-shirt)
Friday, October 10, Jess Lanier HS Homecoming Game, Snitz Snyder Stadium, Bessemer, 4:00pm-8:00pm Lanier will be playing Northridge. We will be there early to catch people attending the parade.
Friday, October 10, McAdory High School Football Game, 4800 McAdory School Road, McCalla, AL, 6:00pm-8:00pm (Wear Black or Gold) McAdory will be playing Wenonah.
Friday & Saturday, October 10 & 11, Obama Walk the Walk Campaign, YOUR neighborhood or join us as we go door to door in Bessemer neighborhoods, 9:00am-2:30pm. We will be leaving HQ at 10:00 am and returning at 3:00pm. Please wear an item to notify the person at the door that you are representing Senator Obama’s campaign as a volunteer.
Saturday, October 11, Bessemer Tigers and AG Gaston Little League Football Games, 2 separate locations, Snitz Snyder Stadium and Roosevelt Park on Hwy 150, 8:00am-2:30pm. Please return to HQ at 3:00pm.
Contact me or one of the numbers above for more information.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Freedom to read. That's a different story, at least to some. The Birmingham News has a front page story Book banning attempts still occur throughout U. S.
And you might be surprised at the titles. Little Red Riding Hood, Harry Potter, Huck Finn.
This is American Library Association's Banned Books Week (Sept 27 through Oct 4). Everyone should read a (attempted) banned book this week, I guess.
This was interesting:
Also drawing attempted bans are books that imply the Bible should not be interpreted literally, and books that include references to evolution, he said.
I will let you draw your own conclusions about that.
Here are the 10 most challenged books of 2007:
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
TTYL by Lauren Myracle
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
10 Most challenged books of the 21st century
The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
The Chocolate War by Rober Cormier
Alice Series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Fallen Angels by Waler Dean Myers
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Scary Stories Series by Alvin Schwartz
Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
Forever by Judy Blume
How many of you remember this? (Also from today's Bham News, no link. The article gives this as well as other examples of Attempts to ban or regulate books at public and school libraries in Alabama)
In 2004 an Alabama lawmaker failed in an attempt to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including university libraries. The bill by Rep. Gerald Allen R-Cottondale, would have prohibited the use of public funds for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the "homosexual agenda."
Some of you already know this, but I am writing a book, a historical novel of sorts, that takes place in 1965 in Washington, D. C., Franklin, Tennessee and Selma/Montgomery, Alabama. Although this is not my goal, if the book actually get published, maybe somebody will attempt to ban it. What better publicity! The book should be finished by the end of the year.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
So lets see what others are saying. Independent polls are probably a good place to start. These are not fake polls like Fox's "text in" polls.
CBS: Obama won 39%, McCain won 25%, Draw 36%
Insider Advantage: Obama won 42%, McCain won 41%, Undecided: 17%
CNN: Obama "did better" 51%, McCain "did better" 38%
All the pundits said that since McCain was having such a bad week and since foreign policy was supposed to be his strong suit, then he needed to win to regain some momentum. they said a tie was as good as a win for Obama.
So all of these really are good poll results for Obama.
CBS gave some more information:
Nearly half of those uncommitted voters who watched the debate said that their image of Obama changed for the better as a result. Just eight percent say their opinion of Obama got worse, and 46 percent reported no change in their opinions. McCain saw less improvement in his image.
Thirty-two percent have improved their image of McCain as a result of the debate, but 21 percent said their views of him are now worse than before.
Why did voters' image of Obama improve? Many volunteered that they were impressed by his poise and knowledge about the issues, that he was more knowledgeable about the issues than they thought previously. When it came to McCain, those same voters said he "didn’t control himself well under pressure," that he was "angry and bad-tempered," and that he "talked too much about the past."
Obama smacked McCain on Iraq:
And so John likes -- John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003, and at the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong.
You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shia and Sunni. And you were wrong. And so my question is of judgment, of whether or not -- of whether or not -- if the question is who is best-equipped as the next president to make good decisions about how we use our military, how we make sure that we are prepared and ready for the next conflict, then I think we can take a look at our judgment.
A total smackdown on the curmudgeon.
He even said the other day that he would not meet potentially with the prime minister of Spain, because he -- you know, he wasn't sure whether they were aligned with us," Obama said. "I mean, Spain? Spain is a NATO ally. If we can't meet with our friends, I don't know how we're going to lead the world in terms of dealing with critical issues like terrorism."
And McCain, it's Ahmadinejad (in Iran) and Zardari not "Qadari" (in Pakistan).
And why would you say Pakistan was a failed state in 1999? It was a democracy, with a few problems, but no where near the failed state we might experience if the McCain/Palin ticket wins.
And why were you afraid to look at Obama? Could you not look another leader in the eye? Or was it because it's hard to look someone in the eye when you know they are right and you are wrong?
You are no foreign policy expert John. Your judgement is flawed John. You lied about supporting veterans John.
You would not be a good president, John.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Here you can see how good she is at repeating what she is told to say. She just repeats the same phrase over when asked to really answer the question:
Signs of Hope and Change
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This is a little bit troubling.
First of all, witchcraft in this country was dealt with in Salem a few hundred years ago. We don't have troublesome witchcraft in this country. Yikes! A picture just fell off the wall. Maybe we do. But if you're going to be praying for deliverance from witchcraft and demons, shouldn't you be in Washington laying hands on W?
Second. This Pastor is a Kenyan preacher. He, along with others, used "spiritual mapping" to hunt down a witch named Mama Jane, who they believed was causing crime and spiritual oppression in the area, and blamed car accidents in the area on her. He whipped the town into a frenzy and the people wanted to stone her. Police tried to intervene, and thought they were being confronted by a demon when they entered her house. Alas, it was just her pet python, but they shot it anyway.
Third. And the media tells us Jeremiah Wright was wacko and divisive? They need to look into this guy.
What he doesn't need to do is go in there and screw up the plan with it close to being finalized that addresses most or all of the concerns lawmakers and Main Street have about it.
What's unusual is that McCain also suspended his presidential campaign.
Here's what all of this tells us.
McCain is erratic and unpredictable in times of crisis. The most recent crisis was hurricane Gustav, and in crisis mode McCain had the start of the Republican convention delayed. They said they didn't want to appear in a celebratory mood, forgetting that, compared to the Democrats, Republicans don't convene in a celebratory manner anyway. At any rate, these events and the McCain response show us that in crisis mode they just can't deal with everything going on plus the normal stuff.
McCain can not focus on all of the nation's needs. He is proving that by having to suspend his campaign to address the economic needs. I mean, they aren't even able to release ads during this time. It's like his campaign is an ant bed, and somebody just kicked it. Campaign staff is in crisis mode, like the ants, who crazily run around gathering eggs and larvae, suspending all their other duties, until the babes are carried deeper and the repaired smaller ant bed has the appearance of normality. And it's not long until all the ants have disappeared. What are they doing in there? Probably trembling in fear of the next kick. Trouble is, the big "unkicked" ant bed next door is still functioning normally.
McCain is narcissistic. I guess all presidential candidates are to some extent. But congress is progressing with a bill, plans are in place for debate, and the candidate who admits that economics isn't his thing, suddenly wants us to believe that the country's financial markets won't survive without his input, turning this crisis into a savior moment for McCain..."me, me, me...I can fix it (even though I don't understand the problem)." Meanwhile, Senate leaders are asking him to stay away, "We need leadership, not a photo op," Harry Reid said.
McCain is an angry man. And we need a solid, calm leader during times of crisis. Like Peggy Noonan said today on "Morning Joe," he looks like he's on the balls of his feet, ready to lunge forward. And we all know, we don't like going to Grandpa's house when he's in a bad mood. Remember how he's a little bit scary, sitting there brooding in his rocking chair? And jumpy and nervous? Do you want Grandpa as your president?
As I wonder how the economic crisis affects Bessemer, a quick search finds 109 foreclosures here, about 50 of them in the 35020 zip code.
So, like the rest of the country, Bessemer is hurting.
In addition, as gas and utility prices continue to rise, residents will have less money to spend on taxable items and our city’s revenue will decline as well.
While Republicans, the ones in Michigan at least, are trying to find ways to keep disadvantaged voters who have lost their homes to foreclosure from voting, Democrats are working with the administration to shore up the capital markets and provide some stability.
Now I know that may be a little unfair, but Democrats get the blame when anything goes wrong, so let’s give them the credit for doing something right. I also know that in the four days between me writing this and you reading it that any number of things could happen to make this column seem irrelevant. But during those four days I know one thing that will happen, Barack Obama will expand on his economic plan he proposed on Friday.
Obama realizes that any plan must help not only Wall Street but Main Street as well.
That is why his tax cuts for 95% of Americans are so important.
Along with the proposed economic stimulus package he supports, it will result in money in the pocket for Bessemer residents to buy groceries and gasoline with.
It’s ridiculous to think that John McCain, who has been against regulation for over 20 years and whose chief advisor Phil Gramm is responsible for the legislation that allowed the current deregulation, would suddenly be in favor of strict regulations necessary to stabilize Wall Street and prevent future occurrences of the same problems.
In addition, unlike the McCain response to the problem, Obama realizes that the crisis is global in nature, and the response should be global as well, as he has proposed a coordinated effort with our partners in the G-20, the group of 20 industrial and emerging market nations that work together on issues related to global stability.
We deserve confidence in our financial markets and institutions, and it’s hard to be confident in the current administration or the party that brought us the crisis.
Hearing Obama’s plan restores our confidence, assuming he wins in November.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
On Mondays and Thursdays the library will stay open until 9 PM and Saturday hours will be 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday 2 PM to 5 PM.
Why Mondays and Thursdays? Library director Oscar Smith says homework assignments are given out on Mondays and are due on Fridays, making Mondays and Thursday heavy traffic days.
Road Paving Update The city council voted to take bids for paving, killing for the time being at least, Mayor Ed Mays proposal to create a new city department for paving. Council person Jimmie Stephens said bidding out the work is most cost effective. Council person Louise Alexander said before we pave we need to clean up the city. In other words, paving would never get done.
Fire Rating Insurance rates are based on Fire Ratings and Bessemer has not had an assessment in 24 years. Our ISO (Insurance Services Organization) rating is 4. Inspectors have been here and are expected to release their findings in December.Fire Chief Paul Syx says we are light years ahead of where we were in 1984 (I certainly hope so). A lower rating would mean lower insurance premiums.
High School Name This sounds silly, but its really great for community involvement. Bessemer residents will be able to vote on a name for the new high school. On October 14, 2008 residents can go to any school until 2 PM or to the central office at 1621 5th Ave N until 3:30 to vote. Choices are: Bessemer Millennium High School, Marvel City High School, and Bessemer City High School. Suggested names that didn't make the cut are Renaissance High School, New Phoenix High School, Kainos Learning Academy of Bessemer and Bessemer School of Excellence. For those who don't know, Bessemer is called "The Marvel City." As for some of those other names, your guess is as good as mine.
Clay Aiken is Gay (People) This is not the kind of outing that has any relevance, like say, a gay chief of staff for a senator working against gay human rights. First, if anyone had any doubts after watching Clay's American Idol performances, ex marine John Paulus quashed them when he provided too much information about a passionate night that never happened.
Trouble is, it forever put the notion that Clay is gay into America's minds. But now that we know, does anybody care?.
Lindsay Lohan is gay (AfterEllen) Lindsay Lohan is gay. Again, is anyone surprised? she confirmed she is romantically involved with Samantha Ronson. However, unlike Clay Aiken, she is not a new parent.
Picture Credit AfterEllen.com
Tony Sweet is gay. The Christian music star says "It's a good thing I wasn't straight. I couldn't date any girls in town - they were all my cousins."
Part of Tony's reason for coming out is summed up in his Advocate article, "I want to let people know that there are churches out there that will support them, that will believe in them. It may take time, but there are other families you can build that can take you back to your religion and still let you be yourself."
From the article: One of the things that differentiates gospel music from other genres is that singers aren't performing as much for the fans as for the greater glory of God. "My singing is my ministry to God," Sweet says. "If I can use it to cross bridges between the gay world and the Christian one, then I think I'll be doing what I'm supposed to do."
The article is not posted onlineHere is a sample of his work, "Gentle Savior", filmed at a show.
And here he is signing "The Dance"
The Dance sung by ME !
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
You wake up, get dressed, go to work everyday at Roebuck - Hawkins Park, where you are director of the park center. You decide to have a nearby pond drained because the tennis courts have flooded and you blame the pond. City workers come and remove the dam, draining the pond.
How can you be park director and not know that the pond is home to the Watercress Darter, a federally protected species of fish that has been in the news several times in the last year? Especially since there are signs posted nearby. "It never crossed my mind" to consult federal authorities before having the pond drained, director Regina Nummy said.
Biologists are collecting the fish, over a thousand stinky dead fish, in part because the penalty for wounding or injuring an endangered species can be fines of thousands of dollars per animal.
Thankfully, the fish still lives in Bessemer at the Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge. This makes our pond even more important in the survival of the darter. I certainly hope that Birmingham does not have a say in the future of the pond at Roebuck Springs. Hopefully Federal authorities will order the dam to be rebuilt, and the pond re-populated. Maybe they can incorporate flood control into the design.
I have written about this colorful fish before, but I notice my old links no longer work. There is a new web site, Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge for the refuge in Bessemer. Come visit.
Monday, September 22, 2008
John McCain's chief of staff is gay. that in itself is not news, but it is newsworthy because he works for an anti-gay senator who is running for president.
Mark Buse is the man. Michelangelo Signorile reported this today on The Gist,
Then I was contacted in recent weeks by 46-year-old Brian Davis, an Arizona resident, who told me about his intimate relationship with Mark Buse (confirmed by Davis' mother, as well as by a long-time friend), and who decided he needed to tell the truth about Buse, on the record, in light of John McCain’s dramatic shift to the ideological religious right in this election and his choice of Sarah Palin, starlet of the evangelical movement, as a running mate. (Repeated calls to Mark Buse's office and calls and email to McCain's communications office in the Senate regarding this story were unreturned.
Or at least Buse's office staff. Buse wouldn't show.
We even have video (not racy) of Mark and his former lover in their abode.
This is one of the many reasons Republicans cannot be trusted. Hypocrisy at its greatest level.
He still writes a column that appears in various papers around the state, The Decatur Daily (but you have to pay to read the column...who do they think they are?) and The Anniston Star being two.
Evans is the Baptist preacher whose column I read every chance I get.
His latest column is Women, Faith and Politics :
I love the way our current political contest keeps tossing up the most marvelous contradictions for us to notice and enjoy. For example, Christians were urged to pray for rain to disrupt Barack Obama's acceptance speech in an outdoor stadium. But what actually happened is Hurricane Gustav came and disrupted the Republican National Convention.
And then there is our most recent contradiction — the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate...read the rest .
Another favorite is John Corvino, who writes and speaks and teaches at Wayne State Univeristy in Detroit.
Homosexuality, Morality and DiversityHow does the issue of sexual orientation fit into the general theme of diversity? And how can we talk about these issues without stepping all over one another's toes? In this program Dr. Corvino discusses how to foster respect for people;s diverse relationships while also respecting deeply held moral and religious convictions - all the while trying to avoid and attitude or "moral mushiness," as he calls it. He also considers the prospects and pitfalls of analogies between sexual orientation and race, religion, and other diversity issues.
John's latest column has to to with PDA's at weddings. That's "public displays of affection", not personal digital assistant like the McCain campaign claims their candidate invented, although you should probably keep your Blackberry tucked away at weddings as well.
Like many gay people, I have a love-hate relationship with weddings. On the one hand, I enjoy any excuse for a party, and what’s not to like about celebrating love and commitment with family and friends? On the other hand…
Well, where do I start?
Let’s face it: weddings can be tense affairs. The gaudy pageantry, the forced smiles, the nosy relatives…there is, in fact, a lot not to like.
This is especially true given the tendency of some marrying couples to want to outdo everyone else by being “creative.” I remember one wedding—a gay wedding, as it happens—where, after the vows, the grooms hopped into a vintage convertible and drove off…
…for about 150 feet, at which point they abruptly reached the end of the property, got out, and walked back. (Not surprisingly, that marriage lasted about two months, so perhaps the short ride was an apt metaphor.)...read the rest.
Make plans to hear John Thursday.
Friday, September 19, 2008
The photographer gives permission to use the pictures so spread the news. And lets hope Alabama women are as smart as these Alaska women.
While in Alabama we have to suffer through embarrassing ads for candidates like Mike Rogers
("That don't fly down here") ,
voters in Florida's 18th district get to see and hear ads like this one for Annette Taddeo:
A positive, happy ad where the candidate actually talks about some issues (speaking in English), instead of using Hee Haw characters for the ad(speaking in Hic).
Every day we can compile a list of Republican gaffes such as:
Who's campaign is it really? Sarah Palin referred to her and the presidential candidate as the "Palin - McCain administration". Isn't this a little too much like the "Cheney - Bush administration" we had in Bush's first term?
The Pain in Spain falls Mainly on McCain
McCain either does not know who the prime minister of Spain is, or where Spain is,or doesn't realize Spain is an ally of the United States. In a radio interview when asked about meeting with Spain's leader he said, (after talking about Mexico)
Uh, again, I, I don’t... all I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us, and standing up to those who are not and that’s judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America. And the entire region.
Senator, Spain is not in this hemisphere, it is not part of Latin America, it is not in the region.
The campaign came out with this as part of a statement trying to rescue their candidate: He also is not going to make reckless promises to meet America's adversaries.
Spain, an adversary? And we thought Palin had a poor understanding of foreign policy.
And now First Dude Todd Palin is refusing to heed the subpoena issued regarding troopergate, and will not testify about his role. Again the secrecy and avoidance of legal duties here is right out of the Cheney playbook.
But, speaking of First Dude, some seem to think he looks like gay porn star Vinnie D'Angelo. We haven't seen Todd shirtless, but let's compare.
Tim Wise with This is Your Nation on White Privilege:
I'll get you started.
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay. See the rest:
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Two things from two states.
In Alabama Inmates are being encouraged to register to vote, based in part on this opinion from Troy King:
The state attorney general's office issued an opinion seven years ago that inmates could vote from inside prison using absentee ballots.
Loretta Nall points out that now Troy King says it is "the worst thing he has ever seen".
There are up to 3000 inmates in Alabama that may be eligible to vote, and should be allowed to vote.
Now that this has made the news the prison commissioner Richard Allen, who supports us 100%, and is a very good and decent human being who believes in helping prisoners restore their lives is being bombarded with phone calls from angry white republicans condemning this historic effort to ensure people who have the right to vote are able to exercise it. The governor's office is also being flooded with calls from the same people.
Please call the following numbers and THANK the prison commissioner and the governor for supporting us and for UPHOLDING THE LAW.
DOC - 334-353-3883
GOV - (334) 242-7100
In Michigan we learned that the GOP plans to use foreclosure lists to challenge voters on November 4. The Obama campaign has filed a lawsuit to stop this.
Visit 866ourvote.org or call 1-866-ourvote to see what is happening or to report problems in Alabama or any other state.
Home from Denver: Fired up, ready to go
“A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.”
When Sen. Hillary Clinton opened her remarks at the Democratic Convention with these words, she was speaking for me and perhaps you, too. I traveled to Denver as one of those honored to serve as a delegate for this great lady. I’m just as honored to return home to Alabama convinced that, for our families and our future, Barack Obama and Joe Biden represent the best hope for a better tomorrow.
For those of you who know little about how political conventions work, it is fair to say there is a big celebration at the central convention hall surrounded by a constellation of constant food, policy discussions, and entertainment in every corner of the host city. Delegates learn and laugh together, and I for one came home fired up and ready to go.
But I must admit, while the cuisine and panel discussions were all great fun, I’m always more impressed by what goes on at the convention itself. One thing is abundantly clear every time I attend these extended “family reunions” — the Democratic Party truly looks and sounds like the America I see each day in Alabama.
I think of the values of our nominee for vice-president, Sen. Joe Biden. Here’s a man who lost his daughter and wife to tragedy days after being elected to office. For decades, he traveled home from Washington, D.C., to Delaware every single night to be with his sons and, later when he remarried, his wife and daughter. In his father’s advice, “Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.”
I hear the echoes of my own parents telling me that success comes from facing adversity head on.
I think of how Michelle Obama, who spoke with such clarity and conviction, reminds me of the strong, self-assured women I see every day at my church and in my neighborhood. When she said, “I come here as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world … their future and all our children’s future is my stake in this election,” my mind turned to my own family, and why I am so committed to staying involved in the political process.
I think of the surprising support that was on display there on stage even from Republicans.
Former GOP congressman Jim Leach described Obama as, “an individual whom I am convinced will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president.” And I will never forget the average citizen and self-described life-long Republican Barney Smith who spoke to the perils of corporate excess that leaves workers behind, saying, “We need a president who puts the Barney Smiths before the Smith Barneys.”
I think about the discussion of issues that impact real people, and proposals to address the challenges head on. One after another, speakers talked about things that matter — fixing an economy that is clearly in a recession, addressing our dependence of foreign oil, providing health care for all Americans, and bringing our brave troops home safely from harm’s way.
I think about the charge our nominee handed us at the end of his remarks, saying, “America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.”
That is his vision for the future, and it is mine as well. No cheap shots and lies. No hokey smoke screens or cynical decision making. No political posturing to divert attention from a bankrupt agenda that looks exactly like the last eight years.
Democrats see work to be done, and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves, accept a call for shared sacrifice, and move this nation forward together.
So, I remain a proud mother, a proud Democrat, a proud American, and a proud supporter of Barack Obama.
We were later reminded that President Bush’s advice to the American people following 9/11 was to go shopping, by presidential candidates who say we should have been called to service instead. But wait, that’s a little too close to being a community organizer, so we see why the Republican president wouldn’t recommend that.
After the attacks Americans were brought together for a brief period and we were reminded of this by Senators McCain and Obama coming together at ground zero in New York to honor the dead by talking with their families and tossing flowers into a reflecting pool.
Maybe just slightly less significant was the coming together of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, who met outside Clinton’s Harlem office, spoke with reporters, then went inside for a two hour lunch meeting.
Clinton said he would do “whatever I’m asked to do” to help Obama get elected, then predicted the Democrat “will win and win handily.”
Meanwhile John McCain is hoping the current president will not do anything to help him, since he is trying to deny he is running for Bush’s third term, in spite of agreeing with current president 90% of the time. As Al Gore said, “Hey, I believe in recycling, but this is ridiculous.”
The alignment of the stars that produced this temporary truce in campaigning also allowed Sarah Palin to be interviewed by the media. She showed herself more than ready to continue the policies of war hungry Bush, in spite of a complete lack of understanding of the Bush Doctrine which she equated to his world view.
Her answers did nothing to assure America that she could be commander in chief.
For instance, when asked “What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state (Alaska) give you?” her reply was “They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”
I feel safer already.
"...9/11 was TOTALLY on Clinton's watch..."
Most Americans realise Clinton was not president on September 11, 2001. Click on the link above to see my response to that.
Their reason for trying to focus on Clinton is obvious. John McCain offers nothing for the economy. Yesterday he said he wanted to form a "commission" to look into it. That is what republicans do, pass the buck to a commission. Commissions take months if not years to come to any conclusions, and I think the American people want solutions now.
Who remembers Herbert Hoover saying "The economy is fundamentally sound..." then what happened? For those who don't remember, the Great Depression began during the first year of his presidency. And McCain says the "fundamentals of our economy are strong..." And what will happen if he gets elected? Let's not find out.
McCain's economic advisor is Phil Gramm, who wrote the legislation that allowed the deregulation that resulted in the current crisis. Read this .
Another McCain advisor, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, was asked what McCain did as chairman of the Commerce Comittee to help him understand the financial markets.
“He did this,” Holtz-Eakin told reporters yesterday morning, holding up his BlackBerry. "...you're looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that's what he did."
John McCain invented the Blackberry?
The Blackberry was actually created by Research in Motion, a Canadian company.
The McCain campaign, as Karl rove reminded us, is depending on half truths, untruths and flat out lies.
The truth detectors have finally caught up with Sarah Palin as well, and her popularity is dropping like a rock. Her favorable rating is less than 50% now and she is the least favored among the four presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Investors and common folk are whining today, after yesterday's Wall Street meltdown, and McCain has solidified his misunderstanding of the economy by proclaiming that the "fundamentals" of our economy are strong.
If people were not really suffering, whether it is from $4.59 gasoline, shrinking wages, rising unemployment, unaffordable health care, disappearing retirements or losing their house, McCain's response to the crisis yesterday would be comical.
"Senator McCain, what economy are you talking about?" Obama asked.
I will tell you what economy he is talking about...the Bush economy. Here is what he is trying to do. McCain is trying to convince you that the Bush economy is strong, because he is offering nothing different from the policies that got us into this mess.
And we can not afford to elect McCain as "Bush 44", and we can not afford 4 more years of Bush economics.
While we are waiting to see what happens with the economy today, we can consider whether Sarah Palin is a racist, and whether she called Obama "Sambo" and Hillary a "Bitch"?
Monday, September 15, 2008
Who is better prepared to be president?
Let's start with education.
Think about your president. Shouldn't he...or she...be someone who is highly and appropriately educated? OK, then let's look at the education background of the candidates. Thanks, Tom and Erica for sending me information on this.
Occidental College - Two years.
Columbia University - B.A. political science with a specialization in international relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
University of Delaware - B.A. in history and B.A. in political science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)
United States Naval Academy - Class rank 894 of 899
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in journalism
I wonder why Palin transferred so often?
To administer the law or enforce the law, which is sort of what the job of the executive branch of government is, isn't an understanding of the law important? And to uphold the constitution of the United States, wouldn't an understanding of the U. S. Constitution be helpful.
Joe Biden teaches a seminar on constitutional law at Widener University.
Barack Obama taught constitutional law at Chicago School of Law for 12 years (1992 to 2004).
Based on education and understanding of the constitution, who do you think is better prepared to be president and vice president of our country?
Sunday, September 14, 2008
2. Michael Phelps can not act. So bad, that I will not even post video. But...he can still swim I am sure, and is still pleasing to look at.
3. Tina Fey does a great Sarah Palin.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Let me just say that this is why Barack is going to win. His campaign has gone into communities across the nation and set up offices, and he has a huge grass roots campaign effort. Of course I am realistic. McCain has a big lead in Alabama and that might be hard to overcome. But in other states this will make the difference. Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, for instance.
If you can't stay up...or won't be in yet...set your Tivo or DVR for Saturday Night Live tonight. Hot "celebrities," with Michael Phelps hosting and Barack Obama appearing. Two of my favorite guys.
Michael Phelps is hosting.
From ETonline :
The buzz for the "Saturday Night Live" season premiere this weekend just got a lot bigger! Not only is Olympic champ Michael Phelps hosting, but Barack Obama is slated to make a guest appearance.
People magazine says that Obama will fly in from New Hampshire to be "live from New York," but the extent of his on-air involvement is not yet known.
"The details of the sketch are still being worked out," Obama's campaign tells the mag.
The Democratic presidential hopeful previously appeared on "SNL" during the primary in sketch where Amy Poehler played Hillary Clinton.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Do your research and stop knocking this off your blog. Fannie and Freddie were already part of the government even though they had stockholders. Do some reading!
OK. I read. Off the web sites of the companies, and I copied this from their Frequently Asked Question pages, although if you read enough...you realize that they are private companies without having to resort to the question and answers.
From the Freddie Mac web site:
Is Freddie Mac a government agency?
No. Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress as a private company serving a public mission; however, Freddie Mac is not an agency of the Federal or any state government nor does Freddie Mac receive federal funds. In fact, Freddie Mac is one of the nation's largest federal taxpayers. Freddie Mac is owned by its shareholders and, like other corporations, is accountable to its shareholders and a board of directors.
From the Fannie Mae web site:
Is Fannie Mae a private company or is it part of the government?
First established in 1938 as a government agency, Fannie Mae in 1968 became a private, shareholder-owned company with a charter from Congress requiring the company to support the housing finance system. It is a financial services company serving the American home mortgage industry. The company offers banks and other mortgage lenders financing, credit guarantees, technology and services so lenders can make more home loans to more consumers. Fannie Mae's stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (FNM/NYSE).
Then the same person, I am quite sure, posted this on my 9/11 remembrance.
While you hate the haters, you have become one yourself.
Now I have publicly stated that I do not "hate" republicans" and I do not "hate" John McCain. I have a lot of respect for John McCain, as I knew him in 2000. But the policies of George W. Bush, which McCain has adopted, yeah, I hate those policies, if you must use that word. And the hypocrisy of the 2008 McCain, I don't care for that.
I even have respect for Sarah Palin for her accomplishments, but the more I learn about her, the less respect I have.
Speaking of the McCain hypocrisy, here's an example.
This picture shows John McCain boarding the yacht of A-list con man Raffaello Follieri and his then-movie star girlfriend Anne Hathaway in August 2006 in Montenegro.
Why is this significant? First, who is the real celebrity, Barack Obama or the guy that wines and dines and celebrates birthdays on expensive yachts with Hollywood movie stars and rich playboys?
Second. Is that Rick Davis in front of McCain? "A few months after McCain's yacht party, Follieri strengthened his ties to McCain's orbit by retaining Rick Davis's well-connected Washington lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, and offering Davis both an investment deal and help in securing the Catholic vote for McCain's presidential bid. "
And this is the guy who wants to do things differently?
Read the rest of the story in The Nation . "Following his guilty plea this week, Follieri now faces up to five years and three months in jail. " Nice guy to party with.
For those who don't like to read lengthy articles, just watch this video, "The Real McCain."
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Republicans ‘comments inaccurately portray the work done by legions of volunteers and paid organizers who work to improve the lives of others in their communities.
People like Elvira Kidd. Elvira has been involved in community activities for decades, and is an advocate for education. Most recently she is leading the Bessemer Neighborhood Association whose latest project involves getting dangerous trucks off of Dartmouth Avenue.
Or Erica Young. Erica has led a successful effort to transform an abandoned school yard into a community garden by bringing individuals, civic groups, institutions and corporations together. Jonesboro Community Garden can be used as a site for education as well as a place for a relaxing stroll.
And a local woman who shall remain nameless who helps find housing for abused or other women (and men) who need shelter and a little time to get back on their feet.
There’s Isabelle Rubio, who works with the Hispanic community and who, because of the trust she has gained, was able to work as a liaison between cautious Hispanics and law enforcement officials in the investigation of a gruesome murder scene recently in which five men were tortured and murdered.
And David Nicholls who is trying his best to save Arlington School in Bessemer, and is assembling a team of people to complete a project started a decade ago; the designation of Bessemer’s south side as a historic district.
These are the people who, in most cases without government assistance, make our communities a better place to live. None of these people hold the title of community organizer, yet that is the role they are playing.
To listen to the Republicans, the services these people provide are worthless. But as citizens of this and surrounding communities know, they are priceless. And while no one says their experiences alone would qualify them to be president, the organizational skills and compassion required are qualities that we need to see in our leaders.
What we don’t need is a president and vice president who offer little help and even less support to those who are less fortunate than themselves.
Barack Obama released the following statement:
Today, we honor the memory of the lives that were lost on September 11, 2001, and grieve with the families and friends who lost someone they loved in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We will never forget those who died. We will always remember the extraordinary efforts of our firefighters, police and emergency responders, and those who sacrificed their own lives on Flight 93 to protect their fellow Americans. And we give thanks for the Americans defending us every day in our communities at home, and in our military abroad.
On 9/11, Americans across our great country came together to stand with the families of the victims, to donate blood, to give to charity, and to say a prayer for our country. Let us renew that spirit of service and that sense of common purpose. Let us remember that the terrorists responsible for 9/11 are still at large, and must be brought to justice. Let us resolve to defeat terrorist networks, defend the American homeland, stand up for the enduring American values that we cherish, and seek a new birth of freedom at home and around the world.
John McCain spoke in Shanksville, PA, and this is part of his statement.
..."I spoke at the memorial service for one of them, Mark Bingham. I acknowledged that few of us could say we loved our country as well as he and all the heroes of September 11 had. The only means we possess to thank them is to try to be as good an American as they were. We might fall well short of their standard, but there is honor in the effort.
"In the Gospel of John it is written, 'Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.' Such was their love; a love so sublime that only God's love surpasses it. I am in awe of it as much as I am in debt to it. May God bless their souls."
That McCain mentioned Mark Bingham is significant. Mark was openly gay.
The gay community, and others, were scapegoated soon after 9/11/2001 by Jerry Falwell, who said “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen’.”
Falwell later apologized, as calculating conservatives often do when they make outlandish remarks, knowing full well that the effect of their remarks will linger. And Falwell's did, as other Christian "leaders" such as James Dobson continued to lay blame.
So let's remember two gay heroes from that day, Mark Bingham and Father Mychal Judge.
Mark Bingham, all 6 feet, 5 inches of him, loved a lot of things: food and wine shared with good company, discussions on politics, travel to foreign lands and laughing with friends. He built his public relations firm into one of the most respected small agencies in America with offices in San Francisco and New York.
Rugby was also a big part of his life. He was a sophomore on Cal State’s 1991 national championship team - the squad that started a string of 11 consecutive national titles.
Bingham never strayed from a fight. He played to win, always using the skills he learned in college rugby.
September 11, he used those same skills to protect a nation.
As the flight was taken over by terrorists, Bingham and a few other courageous men fought back. The burly Bingham used his cell phone to call his mother and tell her the plane was being hijacked and that he loved her.
Moments later the plane crashed into a Pennsylvania farm field.
Transcripts from the flight recorder indicated that the terrorists had intended to crash the plane into the U.S. Capitol building.
A leader in Dignity, the organization of gay Catholics, a priest, and a chaplain for the New York Fire Department, Mychal Judge was killed during the collapse of the towers while giving the last rites to a dying firefighter.
The firemen loved him. He had an encyclopedic memory for their family members’ names, birthdays, and passions; he frequently gave them whimsical presents. Once, after visiting President Clinton in Washington, he handed out cocktail napkins emblazoned with the presidential seal. He’d managed to stuff dozens of them into his habit before leaving the White House.
Back in the early 1980s, Judge was one of the first members of the clergy to minister to young gay men with AIDS, officiating at their funeral Masses and consoling their partners and family members. He opened the doors of St. Francis of Assisi Church when Dignity needed a home for its AIDS ministry, and he later ran an aids program at St. Francis.
In 2000, he marched in the first gay-inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade, which his friend Brendan Fay, a gay activist, organized in Queens.
Within minutes of the attack on the first tower of the World Trade Center, Father Mike was on the scene. When the tower collapsed, trapping firefighters, he went through the debris giving comfort to the dying.
As he gave the Last Rites to one firefighter, the second tower fell on top of him.
You can read about other out victims of the attack, and how their surviving family members have been affected at the link above.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Bring on the debates. Maybe the moderators will ask questions about veterans issues, energy, affordable health care, global politics, ending the war.
Besides, you really can put lipstick on a pig...here's proof.
Oh Brother said in a comment yesterday that seeing Liberty Bell perform was "pretty scary" but what about Republican keynote address speaker and former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani? And he really is a pig, but that's a different story as well.
Oh, and here is McCain talking about Hillary and her health care plan. That's when he was "for" using the phrase before he was "against" using the phrase.
Come on republicans...and press...lets address some issues here.
John McCain has allowed his campaign to sink the the lowest slime level I have seen in decades in a political campaign. Worse than...Slimy the Worm, Oscar the Grouch's friend!
There are many similarities. Slimy is known for such things as parachuting out of an airplane and doing things heroic. He used to just squeak and wiggle, but more recently began to talk. But enough of the similarities.
So Barack Obama supported teaching children about inappropriate touching to help protect them from pedophiles, and McCain comes up with an ad saying he was wanting to teach them "comprehensive sex education."
So John McCain is against protecting little girls from sex perverts, I guess?
The Obama campaign responded:
"It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls."
Palin ? Ethics?
Sarah Palin takes per diem pay for staying at her own home, and let's the taxpayers pay for her 7 year old daughter's plane tickets and claims to be against wasteful spending?
Sarah Palin lies about being against the bridge to nowhere, and McCain flat out lies about it saying she "stopped the bridge to nowhere." And you McCain/ Palin fans are still considering voting for them?
Does integrity not matter to Republicans?
And shouldn't the Vice President of the United States understand our government's role in issues like housing?
She said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had "gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers."
Shouldn't she know that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not taxpayer funded and are private companies? (It's the Bush (Bush=McCain) bailout that might be too expensive for taxpayers, however, but that is another story).
"You would like to think that someone who is going to be vice president and conceivable president would know what Fannie and Freddie do," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "These are huge institutions and they are absolutely central to our country's mortgage debt. To not have a clue what they do doesn't speak well for her, I'd say."
And you Republicans still think she is qualified to run the country?
My suggestion if McCain is elected: let's start the life support on November 5 just to insure that "heartbeat away" thing doesn't become a reality.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
“...does not support veterans???? LMAO...omg.You are hilarious!!! He has gone to Iraq and actually TALKED to the soldiers, didn't just do a photo op. Not only is he FOR veterans....HE IS ONE....”
Now, if that anonymous person will only read this, and see that each and every entry is documented, he or she will learn that yes, John McCain has a sorry record when it comes to supporting veterans. And look, read the Obama stuff too. There are serious issues confronting our veterans, and we have treated them like crap.
From AFL/CIO with plenty of documentation.
McCAIN REPEATEDLY VOTED AGAINST VETERANS’ HEALTH BENEFITS
McCain Opposes the 21st Century GI Bill Because It Is Too Generous. McCain did not vote on the GI Bill that will provide better educational opportunities to veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, paying full tuition at in-state schools and living expenses for those who have served at least three years since the 9/11 attacks. McCain said he opposes the bill because he thinks the generous benefits would “encourage more people to leave the military.” (S.Amdt. 4803 to H.R. 2642, Vote 137, 5/22/08; Chattanooga Times Free Press, 6/2/08; Boston Globe, 5/23/08; ABCNews.com, 5/26/08)
McCain Voted Against Increased Funding for Veterans’ Health Care. Although McCain told voters at a campaign rally that improving veterans’ health care was his top domestic priority, he voted against increasing funding for veterans’ health care in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. (Greenville News, 12/12/2007; S.Amdt. 2745 to S.C.R. 95, Vote 40, 3/10/04; Senate S.C.R. 18, Vote 55, 3/16/05; S.Amdt. 3007 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 41, 3/14/06; H.R. 1591, Vote 126, 3/29/07)
Opposed an Assured Funding Stream for Veterans’ Health Care. McCain opposed providing an assured funding stream for veterans’ health care, taking into account annual changes in veterans’ population and inflation. (S.Amdt. 3141 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 63, 3/16/06)
McCain Voted Against Adding More Than $400 Million for Veterans’ Care. McCain was one of 13 Republicans to vote against providing an additional $430 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for outpatient care and treatment for veterans. (S.Amdt. 3642 to H.R. 4939, Vote 98, 4/26/06)
Voted Against Establishing a $1 Billion Trust Fund for Military Health Facilities. McCain voted against establishing a $1 billion trust fund to improve military health facilities by refusing to repeal tax cuts for those making more than $1 million a year. (S.Amdt. 2735 to S.Amdt. 2707 to H.R. 4297, Vote 7, 2/2/06)
McCain Opposed $500 Million for Counseling Services for Veterans with Mental Disorders. McCain voted against an amendment to appropriate $500 million annually from 2006-2010 for counseling, mental health and rehabilitation services for veterans diagnosed with mental illness, post traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. (S. 2020, S.Amdt. 2634, Vote 343, 11/17/05)
McCain Voted in Support of Disabled Veterans Only 25 Percent of the Time from 2004-2005. While McCain claims he “has been a leading advocate” for veterans with disabilities, statistics show he supported the Disabled American Veterans’ interests only 25 percent of the time in 2004-2005. In 2006 that figure slipped to 20 percent of the time. (Project Vote Smart)
McCain Voted Against Providing Automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustments to Veterans. McCain voted against providing automatic annual cost-of living adjustments for certain veterans’ benefits. (S. 869, Vote 259, 11/20/91)
INCLUDING BETTER ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE FOR GUARD AND RESERVISTS
McCain Opposed Increasing Spending on TRICARE and Giving Greater Access to National Guard and Reservists. Although his campaign website devotes a large section to veterans issues, including expanding benefits for reservists and members of the National Guard, McCain voted against increasing spending on the TRICARE program by $20.3 billion over 10 years to give members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families greater access to the health care program. The increase would be offset by a reduction in tax cuts for the wealthy. (www.johnmccain.com/Informing/ Issues/9cb5d2aa-f237-464e-9cdf-a5ad32771b9f.htm; S.Amdt. 324 to S.C.R. 23, Vote 81, 3/25/03)
McCAIN ALSO VOTED TO OUTSOURCE JOBS AT MILITARY FACILITIES
McCain Supported Outsourcing VA Jobs. McCain opposed an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing jobs, many held by blue-collar veterans, without first giving the workers a chance to compete. (S.Amdt. 2673 to H.R. 2642, Vote 315, 9/6/07)
He Also Supported Outsourcing at Walter Reed. McCain opposed an amendment to prevent the outsourcing of 350 federal employee jobs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center—outsourcing that contributed to the scandalous treatment of veterans at Walter Reed that McCain called a “disgrace.” (S.Amdt. 4895 to H.R. 5631, Vote 234, 9/6/06; Speech to VFW in Kansas City, Mo., 4/4/08)
AND HE REPEATEDLY VOTED AGAINST FUNDING FOR THE VETERANS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
2003: McCain Voted Against $122.7 Billion for Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted against an appropriations bill that included $122.7 billion in fiscal 2004 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies. (H.R. 2861, Vote 449, 11/12/03)
2001: McCain Voted Against $51 Billion in Veterans Funding. McCain was one of five senators to vote against the bill and seven to vote against the conference report that provided $51.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as funding for the federal housing, environmental and emergency management agencies and NASA. (H.R. 2620, Vote 334, 11/8/01; Vote 269, 8/2/01)
2000: McCain Voted Against $47 Billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain was one of eight senators to vote against a bill that provided $47 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. (H.R. 4635, Vote 272, 10/12/00)
1999: McCain Voted Against $44.3 Billion for Veterans Programs. McCain was one of five senators to vote against a bill providing $44.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, plus funding for other federal agencies. (H.R. 2684, Vote 328, 10/15/99)
1996: McCain Voted Against a $13 Billion Increase in Funding for Veterans Programs. McCain voted against an amendment to increase spending on veterans programs by $13 billion. (S.C.R. 57, Vote 115, 5/16/96)
1995: McCain Voted to Underfund Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted for an appropriations bill that underfunded the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development by $8.9 billion. (H.R. 2099, Vote 470, 9/27/95)
1995: McCain Voted Against Closing Tax Loopholes to Increase Veterans Funding by $74 Million. McCain voted against eliminating tax breaks and closing tax loopholes to provide revenue to restore some of the proposed cuts in Veterans Affairs spending. (S.C.R. 13, Vote 226, 5/25/95)
1994: McCain Voted Against Funding the Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain was one of nine senators to vote against appropriating $90 billion in budget authority for the Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development departments. (H.R. 4624, Vote 306, 9/27/94)
Barack Obama's Plan
A Sacred Trust
Barack Obama believes America has a sacred trust with our veterans. He is committed to creating a 21st Century Department of Veterans' Affairs that provides the care and benefits our nation's veterans deserve.
Allow All Veterans Back into the VA: One of Obama's first acts will be reversing the 2003 ban on enrolling modest-income veterans, which has denied care to a million veterans.
Strengthen VA Care: Obama will make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible. He will improve care for polytrauma, vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, and women's health.
Combat Homelessness among Our Nation's Veterans: Obama will establish a national "zero tolerance" policy for veterans falling into homelessness by expanding proven programs and launching innovative services to prevent veterans from falling into homelessness.
Fight Veterans Employment Discrimination: Obama will crack down on employers who commit job discrimination against guardsmen and reservists.
Help for Returning Service Members
Obama will improve the quality of health care for veterans, rebuild the VA's broken benefits system, and combat homelessness among veterans.
Ensure a Seamless Transition: Obama will demand that the military and the VA coordinate to provide a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life.
Fully Fund VA Medical Care: Barack Obama will fully fund the VA so it has all the resources it needs to serve the veterans who need it, when they need it. Obama will establish a world-class VA Planning Division to avoid future budget shortfalls.
Fix the Benefits Bureaucracy: Obama will hire additional claims workers, and improve training and accountability so that VA benefit decisions are rated fairly and consistently. He also will transform the paper benefit claims process to an electronic one to reduce errors and improve timeliness.
Improved Mental Health Treatment
Obama will improve mental health treatment for troops and veterans suffering from combat-related psychological injuries.
Improve Mental Health Treatment: Obama will improve mental health care at every stage of military service. He will recruit more health professionals, improve screening, offer more support to families and make PTSD benefits claims fairer.
Improve Care for Traumatic Brain Injury: Obama will establish standards of care for Traumatic Brain Injury, the signature injury of the Iraq war.
Expand Vet Centers: Obama will expand and strengthen Vet Centers to provide more counseling for vets and their families.
Barack Obama's Record
Record of Advocacy: As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Obama passed legislation to improve care and slash red tape for our wounded warriors recovering at places like Walter Reed. He passed laws to help homeless veterans and offered an innovative solution to prevent at-risk veterans from falling into homelessness. Obama led a bipartisan effort in the Senate to try to halt the military's unfair practice of discharging service members for having a service-connected psychological injury. He fought for fair treatment of Illinois veterans' claims and forced the VA to conduct an unprecedented outreach campaign to disabled veterans with lower than-average benefits. Obama passed legislation to stop a VA review of closed PTSD cases that could have led to a reduction in veterans' benefits. He passed an amendment to ensure that all service members returning from Iraq are properly screened for traumatic brain injuries. He introduced legislation to direct the VA and Pentagon to fix disjointed records systems and improve outreach to members of the National Guard and Reserves.
If you are a veteran and want to support Obama, Join Veterans for Obama now.