Posts Tagged ‘politics or governing’


Yes, they’re already elevating Joe Wilson, the Congressman who shouted “Liar!” at the President of the United States, to hero status.
Just the sort of mindless zealotry we don’t need.


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The President’s Speech on Health Care

A big amen to this (from the Dallas Morning News coverage):
“Despite deep-seated differences among lawmakers, Obama drew a standing ovation when he recounted stories of Americans whose coverage was denied or delayed by their insurers with catastrophic results.
“That is heartbreaking, it is wrong, and no one should me treated that way in the United States of America.” (My bold case for emphasis.)
As a hospital caregiver, I can tell you it happens and it happens a lot. How many patients do I see, week in and week out, who are suffering mental and emotional anguish on top of mental and emotional anguish, from illness or injury, because their insurancer is rooking them. And yes, it’s heartbreaking, it’s wrong, and no one should be treated that way in the United States of America.
It makes me sick, and no pun or joke intended.
Health-care reform is as much a moral issue as an economic one, if not moreso, as far as I’m concerned.
A big amen to this from our President too:
“”I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than to improve it.”
I applaud this president for having the political will and courage to keep the debate going and to keep the issue on the front burner. Politicians have been kicking the can down the road for so long that we’re going to kick the can off a cliff soon.
Most of the medical professionals, i.e. doctors and other medical personnel, that I talk to agree–the status quo in health care just won’t cut it any longer.
And this isn’t just about the uninsured. Even if you think you have very good health insurance, you might be in for a reality check if you’re perfectly healthy and ever have a wreck or accident and spend, say, six or eight or 10 hours in an Emergency Room getting everything from a bandage to a brain scan. That one ER stay can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars–and you can still end up paying specialist after specialist for their readings right out of your bank account.
I know this from personal experience, and more personal than being employed by a very large and richly endowed hospital system. I have very good health insurance, through the very large and wealthy medical system that employs me no less, and had two Ermergency Room stays this year. (2009 hasn’t been my year, but that’s another story.)
The ER doc in the second stay ordered a very expensive brain scan on me as a precautionary measure. My two stays in the ER amounted to about six hours each time. My insurance paid the biggest part of the cost, but I was swamped with bill after bill I’ve had to pay out of my pocket, all coming to a total of more than $2,500. Some of the expense I’m still paying out and will be for many months to come.
I see people who come in the ER who I know are well insured, or supposedly are, who tally up a lot more out of pocket expense than that.
I was lucky–I didn’t have to be admitted overnight for more hours and more tests and treatments and precautionary measures that run up the costs.
I don’t pretend to be smart enough to know what the answer is to health-care reform.
I just know that we have got to have reform and have it now. And I do know that a huge part of the problem lies with the insurance companies.
But some of it lies with all the high-tech, medical bells and whistles that can run up your bill in a flash. Some of it lies with people who work the system, or those going to the ER for their or their children’s sniffles rather than going to the family doctor–or going to the pharmacy and asking the pharmacist for a remedy he or she could recommend.
It’s a multitude of complex problems contributing to the breakdown of the healthcare system.
But the fact remains that there is a breakdown, and I wonder how much more we can bear before a collapse.
I don’t even see it as a liberal or conservative, a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s just an issue that the country is going to have to deal with.
A lot less rancor and political scare tactics would help, along with more reasoned debate–and prayer.
That’s what Christians do.

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Thank you Mr. President for the inspiring words that our school children so very much needed to hear.
And thank you Mrs. Bush for once again being a voice of reason as you’ve so often been over the years.
PARIS, France (CNN) — Former first lady Laura Bush praised the performance of her husband’s successor Monday, breaking with many Republicans in telling CNN that she thinks President Obama is doing a good job under tough circumstances.

She also criticized Washington’s sharp political divide during an interview covering a range of topics including her thoughts on first lady Michelle Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney, the situation in Afghanistan and Myanmar, and life after eight tumultuous years in the White House.

Bush sat down with CNN on Monday during a United Nations meeting in Paris, France, where she was promoting global literacy, a cause she trumpeted during her husband’s administration.

The typically reserved former first lady defended Obama’s decision to deliver a back-to-school speech to students, putting her at odds with many conservatives afraid that the president will use the opportunity to advance his political agenda.

“I think he is [doing a good job],” Bush said when asked to assess Obama’s job performance. “I think he has got a lot on his plate, and he has tackled a lot to start with, and that has probably made it more difficult.”

Michelle Obama is also “doing great,” she said, in part by turning the White House into a comfortable home for her family. Watch more of the interview ยป

Referencing the uproar over Obama’s address to schoolchildren, which will be aired nationwide Tuesday, Laura Bush said it’s “really important for everyone to respect the president of the United States.”

Bush didn’t completely dismiss the concerns of some conservatives but noted that controversial Education Department plans recommending that students draft letters discussing what they can do to help Obama had been changed.

“I think there is a place for the president … to talk to schoolchildren and encourage” them, she said. Parents should follow his example and “encourage their own children to stay in school and to study hard and to try to achieve the dream that they have.”

Bush indicated that she didn’t think it was fair for Obama to be labeled a “socialist” by critics and expressed her disappointment with the intensely polarized nature of contemporary American politics.

Part of the reason for the polarization, she said, was the increase in the number of congressional districts dominated by either strongly conservative or liberal voters.

“We’ve seen that for the last eight years, certainly, and we’re still seeing it,” she said. “That’s just a fact of life.” iReport.com: Share your thoughts on Obama’s speech

Bush conceded that after her husband was elected president, he was unable to replicate his success as governor of Texas in reaching across the aisle to Democrats.

“He was disappointed that that was not the way it worked out in Washington,” she said. “I’m sure President Obama didn’t expect it to be that way [either]. … All of us need to do what we can to come together on issues.”

Despite her husband’s disappointment, he is “doing very well,” she said. Both of them are now working on their memoirs, she noted.

Though the former first lady criticized the excessive partisanship of Washington, she expressed gratitude for Cheney’s decision to vocally defend her husband’s performance.

Cheney has been outspoken in his defense of the Bush administration’s national security record, which has been sharply criticized on, among other things, questions relating to the detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects.

“I think that Vice President Cheney has every right to speak out, and I appreciate that he is defending” the administration, Bush said. “I think that is important. I think there is a place for that.”

Bush also said it doesn’t bother her husband that Cheney’s “out there being critical.”

The former first lady said her husband still speaks with Cheney occasionally. Multiple sources have indicated that the two men parted ways on several issues in the last years of their administration, including Bush’s refusal to offer a pardon for former top Cheney aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Libby was convicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators looking into the leak that resulted in the exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

Though Bush expressed confidence that her husband will ultimately be remembered as “somebody who stood for freedom and who stood for the security of our country,” she admitted that she’s worried about the current situation in Afghanistan.

“I’m very concerned, of course,” she said.

“All of us are concerned, and everybody, as they look at Afghanistan from around the world, really hope and want to [do] whatever they can to help the government stabilize, to see that the elections were fair.”

Bush said she hoped people “will redouble their efforts” to help the country fend off Taliban and al Qaeda extremists.

She also repeated her outspoken criticism of the government of Myanmar, also known by its former name of Burma, which has come under fire for imprisoning pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

“She’s always been held under house arrest [because] they’re afraid of her popularity. They think that undermines their regime,” Bush said.

“I hope that they’ll see what she really wants. … She wants [the nation to have] a peaceful transition to a democracy and to have the chance for Burma to really build itself [into] a very wealthy and educated nation.”

After her husband’s eight controversial years in the White House, what does Bush have to say to critics who believe he had a negative, destructive influence in the world?

I would say that that’s absolutely not right,” Bush said.

“I don’t think they have either the right view of him or what his responsibilities are and were as president of the United States.”

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By Craig Medred, Alaska Dispatch
One year ago Saturday, Republican presidential hopeful John McCain hoisted little-known Sarah Palin onto the national stage. Little could McCain imagine the cast of characters she would bring with her or the firestorm she would create.
Isn’t it odd how nuclear explosions alter the time-space continuum? Thirteen months ago, much of Alaska knew Sarah Palin almost as much by her marriage to “first dude” Todd Palin, the Tesoro Iron Dog snowmachine racing champion, as by her political office, and the world — well, the world didn’t know her at all.
Now the world knows not only Sarah but Todd and many of the rest of the players in what has become the Palin Family Soap Opera: Bristol, the teenage daughter who has become a national spokeswoman for teen abstinence. Levi Johnston, Bristol’s ex-fiance and the daddy of the baby she had because she couldn’t abstain. Sherri Johnston, the mother of Levi, and a convicted drug dealer. Meghan Stapleton, the former television talking head who became the bark-at-the-media attack dog for Sarah, who was in turn the attack dog for Republican presidential contender John McCain.
And those are only the main players. Throw in the bit players — people like Palin’s Fox News buddy Greta Van Susteren; Levi’s handler, Tank Jones, and flamboyant attorney, Rex Butler; the gaggle of photogenic Palin children; Sarah’s plain-spoken father, Chuck Heath; even comedian Kathy Griffin, who dragged Levi along as her date to Nickelodeon’s Teen Choice Awards in August — and the show really gets weird.
Welcome to the strange new world of Sarah Palin, one-time Alaska beauty queen, one-time stay-at-home mom, and one-time mayor of the strip-mall town of Wasilla along the picturesque shores of Lakes Wasilla and Lucille in the shadow of the spectacular Talkeetna and Chugach mountains, below which dwell many hardworking people and a handful of the not-so-hard-working whom former state Sen. Ben Stevens once impolitely referred to as “Valley trash.”
The setting here is awesome, the cast of characters intriguing, and the spectacle sometimes hard not to watch.
At least until it gets just plain overwhelming.
Maybe by now you’ve had enough. Even one popular Alaska radio talk-show host was on the air in Anchorage only days ago expressing relief that with Palin gone from the governor’s office and comparatively silent on Twitter and Facebook, there have actually been a few days of quiet since she threw the “death panel” fireball at President Obama’s plan for national health care. The Obama administration, of course, is still trying to calm the “death panel” storm Palin created by posting just a few lines of copy on the Web.
And to think that prior to Aug. 29, 2008, Palin was — at least on the national level — an obscure, Republican governor in a far-off state serving as something of the de facto leader of a pack of Democrats in the state House.
That was then, when Sarah Palin was a uniter, not a divider.
This is now, with Sarah Palin one of the most visible Republicans on the national stage and arguably the most divisive figure in American politics. An ABC News/Washington Post poll in July found 70 percent of Republicans hold a favorable view of Alaska’s ex-governor, but among all voters — Republicans, Democrats and independents — 58 percent view her unfavorably.
She is quite simply the most popular Republican in the country at the moment, and the Republican least likely capable of bringing Democrats and independents into the conservative fold. It’s a long way from those halcyon days of yesteryear when she was cozier with some Alaska Dems than with her own party leadership.

It would be nice to ask Palin herownself what happened, but she can’t be found. The exact location of the former governor is being kept top secret, though there seem almost as many Sarah Palin spottings as Elvis sightings in the Lower 48 these days. At last report, she’d been rumored to be shopping for real estate in Montana, New York and Rhode Island. Take your pick.
She is also rumored to be struggling with marital problems. Who knows. The rumor has been denied vehemently, and yet it persists persistently.
What is known is that Palin isn’t at home in Wasilla.

“I don’t even know where she is right now,” her father, Chuck Heath, said this week from his home near hers in the big valley north of Anchorage.

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No, this is not a satire; it’s a straight-up news item from the Topeka, Kan. newspaper:

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins offered encouragement to conservatives at a town hall forum that the Republican Party would embrace a “great white hope” capable of thwarting the political agenda endorsed by Democrats who control Congress and President Barack Obama.
Jenkins, a Topeka Republican in her first term in Congress, shared thoughts about the GOP’s political future during an Aug. 19 forum at Fisher Community Center in the northeast Kansas community of Hiawatha.
In response to inquiries by The Topeka Capital-Journal, a Jenkins spokeswoman said Wednesday the congresswoman wanted to apologize for her word choice and to emphasize she had no intention of expressing herself in an offensive manner.
Jenkins told people at the Hiawatha forum the nation could benefit from inspired leadership of a group of “really sharp” young Republicans in the House, particularly Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. Cantor was mentioned as a possible GOP vice presidential candidate in 2008 and is thought to be interested in seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2012.
“Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope,” Jenkins said to the crowd. “I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington.”
A videotape of the presentation contains footage of Jenkins identifying three members of the U.S. House — Cantor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. — as future movers and shakers in the GOP. All are white, as is Jenkins.
“So don’t, you know, lose faith if you are a conservative,” Jenkins said in Hiawatha.

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The record shows that Kennedy, whatever else you might think of him, got the whole Iraq thing right, unlike the Right:
“The Bush Administration says America can fight a war in Iraq without undermining our most pressing national security priority — the war against Al Qaeda. But I believe it is inevitable that a war in Iraq without serious international support will weaken our effort to ensure that Al Qaeda terrorists can never, never, never threaten American lives again.
“Even with the Taliban out of power, Afghanistan remains fragile. Security remains tenuous. Warlords still dominate many regions. Our reconstruction effort, which is vital to long-term stability and security, is halting and inadequate. Some Al Qaeda operatives – no one knows how many – have faded into the general population. Terrorist attacks are on the rise. President Karzai, who has already survived one assassination attempt, is still struggling to solidify his hold on power. And although neighboring Pakistan has been our ally, its stability is far from certain.
“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction. Our intelligence community is also deeply concerned about the acquisition of such weapons by Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria and other nations. But information from the intelligence community over the past six months does not point to Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States or a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.
“War with Iraq before a genuine attempt at inspection and disarmament, or without genuine international support — could swell the ranks of Al Qaeda sympathizers and trigger an escalation in terrorist acts.”
—- From a speech by Sen. Ted Kennedy at Johns Hopkins’ Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. concerning the war, Sept. 27, 2002

—- And here’s an excerpt of a Kennedy speech to the Center for American Progress, broadcast on C-SPAN 01/14/04
“The advocates of war in Iraq desperately sought to make the case that Saddam was linked to 9/11 and Al Qaeda, and that he was on the verge of acquiring a nuclear capability. They created an Office of Special Projects in the Pentagon to analyze the intelligence for war. They bypassed the traditional screening process and put pressure on intelligence officers to produce the desired intelligence and analysis.
“As the world now knows, Saddam’s connection to 9/11 was false. Saddam was an evil dictator. But he was never close to having a nuclear capability. The Administration has found no arsenals of chemical or biological weapons. It has found no persuasive connection to al-Qaeda. All this should have been clear. The Administration should not have looked at the facts with ideological blinders and with a mindless dedication to the results they wanted.
“A recent report by the Carnegie Endowment concluded that Administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs. They also concluded that the intelligence community was unduly influenced by the policymakers’ views and intimidating actions, such as Vice President Cheney’s repeated visits to CIA headquarters and demands by officials for access to the raw intelligence from which the analysts were working. The report also noted the unusual speed with which the National Intelligence Estimate was written and the high number of dissents in what is designed to be a consensus document.
“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, President Bush himself made clear that his highest priority was finding Osama bin Laden. At a press conference on September 17th, 2001, he said that he wanted bin Laden “dead or alive.” Three days later, in an address to a Joint Session of Congress, President Bush demanded of the Taliban: “Deliver to the United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land.” And Congress cheered. On November 8th, the President told the country, “I have called our military into action to hunt down the members of the al-Qaeda organization who murdered innocent Americans.” In doing that, he had the full support of Congress and the nation-and rightly so.
“Soon after the war began in Afghanistan, however, the President started laying the groundwork in public to shift attention to Iraq. In the Rose Garden on November 26th, he said: “Afghanistan is still just the beginning.”
“Three days later, even before Hamid Karzai had been approved as interim Afghan President, Vice President Cheney publicly began to send signals about attacking Iraq. On November 29th, he said “I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that this guy [Saddam Hussein] is clearly … a significant potential problem for the region, for the United States, for everybody with interests in the area.”

—- And there’s more and much more on Kennedy’s nearly lone-wolf opposition to the Iraq invasion and his subsequent efforts to hold the warmongers accountable. Anyone can look up and watch the entire speech from C-SPAN, or do a search on Google, and see just how right he got it all in his relentless dissent regarding Iraq.

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Evangelist Tony Compolo said something that somehow seems fitting on a day when we’re mourning the loss of Ted Kennedy:

It’s about time we realized that Christianity is a call not to conservatism, but to change. Jesus came into the world not to conserve the system as it was, but to change the world into what it ought to be.”

Amen to that.
And God bless Ted Kennedy for trying and always fight to change the world into what it ought to be.

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