Thoughts, Ideas, and Concepts by Sandra Parks

Posts tagged ‘Politics’

What grade would you give President Obama?

Hi friends,
I am always being asked to grade Obama’s presidency. In place of offering him a grade, I put together a list of his accomplishments thus far. I think you would agree that it is very impressive. His first six months have been even more active than FDRs or LBJs the two standards for such assessments. Yet, there is little media attention given to much of what he has done. Of late, the media is focusing almost exclusively on Obama’s critics, without holding them responsible for the uncivil, unconstructive tone of their disagreements or without holding the previous administration responsible for getting us in such a deep hole. The misinformation and venom that now passes for political reporting and civic debate is beyond description.
As such, there is a need to set the record straight. What most impresses me is the fact that Obama has accomplished so much not from a heavy-handed or top-down approach but from a style that has institutionalized efforts to reach across the aisle, encourage vigorous debate, and utilize town halls and panels of experts in the policy-making process. Beyond the accomplishments, the process is good for democracy and our democratic processes have been battered and bruised in recent years.
Let me know if I missed anything in the list (surely I did).
Robert

1. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending

2. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices

3. Instituted enforcement for equal pay for women

4. Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq

5. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB

6. Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information

7. Ended media blackout on covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier’s family

8. The White House and federal government are respecting the Freedom of Information Act

9. Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible

10. Limits on lobbyist’s access to the White House

11. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration

12. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date

13. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren’t even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan

14. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research

15. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research

16. New federal funding for science and research labs

17. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards

18. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants) after years of neglect

19. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools

20. New funds for school construction

21. The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out

22. US Auto industry rescue plan

23. Housing rescue plan

24. $789 billion economic stimulus plan

25. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying

26. US financial and banking rescue plan

27. The secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed

28. Ended the previous policy; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards

29. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops

30. The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010

31. Restarted the nuclear nonproliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols

32. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic

33. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions

34. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office

35. Successful release of US captain held by Somali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job

36. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast

37. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles

38. Cash for clunkers program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulated auto sales

39. Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government

40. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children

41. Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program

42. Instituted a new policy on Cuba , allowing Cuban families to return home to visit loved ones

43. Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions

44. Expanding vaccination programs

45. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters

46. Closed offshore tax safe havens

47. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals

48. Ended the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back

49. Ended the previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry’s predatory practices

50. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources

51. Lower drug costs for seniors

52. Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings

53. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel

54. Improved housing for military personnel

55. Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses

56. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals

57. Increasing student loans

58. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program

59. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy

60. Established a new cyber security office

61. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force; this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.

62. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts

63. Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness

64. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient

65. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced

66. Improving benefits for veterans

67. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration

68. Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud

69. The FDA is now regulating tobacco

70. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules

71. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports

72. Authorized discussions with North Korea and private mission by Pres. Bill Clinton to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons

73. Authorized discussions with Myanmar and mission by Sen. Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive

74. Making more loans available to small businesses

75. Established independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare

76. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court

77. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans

78. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000

79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel

80. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan

81. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan

82. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans

83. Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production

84. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters

85. Paid for redecoration of White House living quarters out of his own pocket

86. Held first Seder in White House

87. Attempting to reform the nation’s healthcare system which is the most expensive in the world yet leaves almost 50 million without health insurance and millions more under insured

88. Has put the ball in play for comprehensive immigration reform

89. Has announced his intention to push for energy reform

90. Has announced his intention to push for education reform

Oh, and he built a swing set for the girls outside the Oval Office!

by
Robert P. Watson, Ph.D.Coordinator of American Studies
Lynn University

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF SARAH PALIN?

 

CHICAGO – Sarah Palin tells TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey that she doesn’t have her sights set on the 2012 presidency.

“I’m concentrating on 2010 and making sure that we have issues to tackle,” Palin said in the interview taped last week and broadcast on Monday’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” “I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in 2012. [Running for president is] not on my radar screen right now.”

Palin spoke to Winfrey as she began rolling out her 413-page memoir, “Going Rogue,” which will be released Tuesday. She begins a book tour Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Winfrey opened by asking Palin if she felt snubbed at not getting an invitation to “The Oprah Winfrey Show” last year. Winfrey said she didn’t have any candidates on her Chicago-based show during the campaign because of her support of President Barack Obama.

Palin said she didn’t feel snubbed and told Winfrey, “No offense to you, but it wasn’t the center of my universe.”

The former vice presidential candidate also discussed her experiences on the campaign trail and said she was confident in her abilities when she was asked to run with Sen. John McCain. When chosen, she said, “I felt like, wow, John McCain is a maverick. He’s all about empowering women. He is all about equality. He’s about the everyday working class individual who can succeed in this country and he chose someone who reflects that.”

At the time, she thought that the only skeleton in her closet was the fact that she was received a D in college.

“I thought that was going to be the extent of the controversy,” she said, laughing.

Palin said that she doesn’t blame herself for the Republicans’ election loss. “The reason we lost is because the economy tanked,” she said. “People were sincerely looking for change … Our ticket was perceived as status quo.”

Opening up about family
Palin talked about her family, telling Winfrey that the McCain campaign didn’t let her address the pregnancy of her teenage daughter, Bristol, the way that she wanted.

“This is not to be glamorized,” she said. “This is not to be emulated … I didn’t want that message getting out there that we were giddy happy to become grandparents.”

She added that her daughter called her in tears and was “devastated” and “embarrassed” when her pregnancy became public.

The former Alaska governor was asked about being pregnant with her son Trig, who has Down’s Syndrome. She said that she could understand why a woman would contemplate abortion.  

“It was easy to understand why a woman would feel that it’s easier to just do away with some less than ideal circumstance, to do away with the problem,” she said.

But the situation eventually stengthened her pro-life stance. “What I have been given is a gift,” she said.

Levi Johnston
Palin did not respond to the criticism she’s received from Levi Johnston, the father of her grandson, and denied rumors that Johnston and her daughter used to live together. She said it’s “a bit heartbreaking” to see the road that he has taken, saying that it is “not a healthy place to be,” referring to his plan to appear in Playgirl magazine.

“We don’t want to mess up the gig he’s doing: aspiring porn star,” Palin cracked. “I also saw I didn’t go to hockey games. There are so many untruths.”

The new memoir doesn’t contain any references to Johnston, who’s sparred with his former mother-in-law-to-be.

The former Alaska governor and former Republican vice presidential candidate told Winfrey that Johnston has been busy with media tours and hasn’t seen his son “for a while.”

Palin said she continues “to hope for the best and to pray for Levi” and that “this can all work out for good.”

The infamous interview
When asked about her infamous interview with Katie Couric, Palin said that she was “annoyed” while speaking to Couric and said the way the interview was edited was partially to blame for how she was portrayed.

“I don’t blame people for thinking I was not qualified,” she said. “Her agenda was not neccessarily to show me in the best light.”

She added that the McCain campaign gave her the green light to continue with the multi-part interview, even though she didn’t feel she had done well.

“The campaign said, ‘Right on, good!’ … if they thought it was a good interview, I don’t know what a bad interview was.”

Winfrey ended by asking Palin if she planned to host her own talk show. “Oprah, you are the queen of talk shows,” she responded. “There’s nothing to worry about.”

Something We Don’t Like to Talk About!!!

Gays Happy, but For How Long?

By

dirtyrottenscoundrels


You have to wonder sometimes how someone who is purportedly so intelligent can commit political suicide in so many ways.

Here is a man who promised something like stopping Don’t Ask during his campaign.

And rather than accomplishing something so simple early on, which many of us conservatives don’t really worry about, would have taken so little skull sweat.

I have very close friends and acquaintances who are gay and I think they are funny and fun to be around. Most of them are actually starting to understand that conservative doesn’t mean evil and anti gay – it means we can all get along, discuss issues without being shrill and that conservatism doesn’t mean we think all gay people should be shot.

In fact, most of us think that gay lifestyle is fine as long as they don’t do anything as annoying as coming around like some religions do and push their agenda down our throats.

I don’t like the religions doing it (and I am very religious – but I am very private as well) and I don’t support anyone else doing the same thing.

Is that cool with everyone?

If you’re religious – don’t judge. Live by the example you purport to support. Don’t tell people they are evil – let their choice be between them and the God you believe in. We certainly don’t know everything down here, and that certainly leaves human room for error on our judgment of people for any number of reasons.

Love your neighbor as yourself – that isn’t an option if you truly believe in what you espouse. It is the life that Christ told you to lead. If you believe in that, forgive what you see as a sin and move on. To hate the person because of the behavior is like someone hating you for YOUR core beliefs.

If someone is gay and conservative – don’t smack them down for their choice of sexuality. That’s ignorant and hatefilled and certainly doesn’t earn gold stars in heaven.

Don’t Ask was a silly thing to have in place. It is just as silly as saying that women who volunteer to go into the infantry shouldn’t be give a right to pass the same skillset tests that men do – and if they can tough out what are arduous tests (confidence course, crawl to earn your blue and such) then they have a right to carry a rifle and bleed for their country.

I wouldn’t want to have two men in the foxhole playing around on guard duty in a potential combat area, but really, do you think that they would be that stupid?

The same thing goes for a woman – if she proves she can hump a ruck 30 miles in hard, hot conditions – one that can weigh over 100 pounds, far be it from me to tell her she can’t do it. Just don’t turn around and try to say that they shouldn’t have to because they are women – I think we can agree to that.

I know some women I have met in my life that I would be happy to have next to me, and I certainly wouldn’t be thinking about them if I knew there was someone right over there ready to kill me. I’d be hoping she could shoot straight and reload quickly.

Get over it Mr. President. End the program now.

Let’s face it though, if you do – they might expect something else from you – and if you don’t stop this, you can always use this as a distraction to keep them from focusing on their beliefs about other this – fiscal responsibility, gun rights, etc.

I know my friends hanging around me are starting to listen and learn – and if everyone keeps waking up to being used by the progressives (you know – like that 45 year war on poverty – how’s that going by the way? After trillions thrown at that – any better yet?) they might see that you keep dangling carrots in front of them to stop them from realizing you are riding on their backs and actually doing things that they don’t support.

Help bring them around to our way of thinking folks – there’s no need for alienation, and the strife and strident stances drive them further from the light you are seeking to bring them to. Is that the way our Savior modeled his approach?

I say no. How say you?

This article was deep to me so I thought that I would share and see what sorts of comments that I would get from it!!!  What do you all think???

SMH

Kwame Kilpatrick’s Lifestyle In Question

Kwame Kilpatrick just can’t seem to catch a break. The former Mayor of Detroit claims to have cleaned up his lifestyle and is on probation in Texas. Now he has 10 days to hand over financial records to prosecutors that claim he’s violated his probation and is hiding funds owed to his former city.

Since his infamous days in the headlines Kwame’s been relatively quietly. He’s been working as an account executive at Compuware Covisint in south Texas, concentrating on health care. Now after he’s been spotted driving around in “fancy cars” like his Cadillac Escalade and living in a million dollar mansion, prosecutors are curious.

Kilpatrick’s attorney is defending his client however saying that the Escalade was a “gift” and should not be reported to the city. No word on the mansion. Kilpatrick will have to make an appearance in court October 29 to clear his name.

When Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to charges of assault and obstruction of justice, he agreed to pay the city of Detroit $1 million in restitution while serving five years of probation. He’s been ordered to pay $6,000 a month toward his debt.

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