Posts Tagged ‘Senator Obama’

Let’s be Honest

October 8, 2008

From Forbes:

McCain claims:

“They’re the ones that, with the encouragement of Senator Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington, that went out and made all these risky loans, gave them to people that could never afford to pay back.” 
Obama claims:  “I’ve got to correct a little bit of Senator McCain’s history, not surprisingly. … In fact, Senator McCain’s campaign chairman’s firm was a lobbyist on behalf of Fannie Mae, not me.”
Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.  If we’re being honest, it’s not the fault of anybody in Washington, it’s not the fault of anybody at the banks, it’s not the fault of the individual mortgage agent who told you your original interest rate and how much you qualified for.  It’s your fault. 
I recognize predatory lenders exist, and I’ve been seduced by easy lines of credit, but as a consumer I’m getting smarter, and I’m learning what I can and can’t afford.  When my wife and I learned we qualified for 3 times as much as our combined income for a home mortgage loan, and we learned the monthly payment on such a loan would be 3 times as much as we were paying in rent at the time, we knew — let me say that again, we KNEW — we could not afford such a loan. 
We were ignorant about a lot of things regarding our mortgage, and a lot of education needs to happen for the average American consumer of loans.  At the same time, a little common sense goes a long way. 
We need a president who can change the climate of sense in this country.  We need a president who can say things we aren’t going to like, but who we can appreciate for telling us.  We need real straight talk, not the fake talk we get from the candidate who claims to provide it straight. 
I want sense.  I don’t want gut reactions. 

Defining the Issues with Clarity

September 18, 2008

That’s a better title.  It establishes clearer purpose.   

I suggested yesterday that defining election year terms like elitist might be a useful way to spend the next weeks approaching the American presidential election, but what I really want to do is seek true definition of the issues and not just terms. 

Today’s issue is not really a timely issue as it’s been overshadowed by “the economy, stupid.”

But when we talk about victory in Iraq, what exactly does that mean?  What is victory supposed to look like?  How is victory to be defined?  Is it like pornography and we’ll know it when we see it?  Is victory achieved when the pre-war goals are achieved?  Does anyone remember what the pre-war goals were anymore? 

I recognize by asking these questions that I am not defining any issue with clarity as the title suggests here.  And I recognize by asking these questions I am opening myself to criticism by those who believe I am suggesting we “cut and run.”   However, I am of the opinion that we fix the mess we made. 

I am of the “Pottery Barn rule.”  I know why we are there; I hoped it was for other reasons, and as the build up suggested it was not for the reasons I believed in, I hoped a more solid case would be built.  Alas. 

The reasons for are as moot as the reasons against.  We are there.  But when politicians talk about Iraq in terms of victory and defeat, what does it mean for the United States to be victors?  Is victory only victory if we are not defeated?

Definitions please

September 17, 2008

As we approach the election in November, I’d like to explore the definitions of some campaign terms that keep coming up. 

First, I’d like to know what exactly an elitist is. 

What goes into the definition of elitist?  Is it snobbery?  Is it pedantry?  Is it wealth? 

How does one measure elitism? 

I ask because Mark Preston, Political Editor for CNN, blogged today about Lynn Forester de Rothschild — former Senator Clinton supporter — and her new support for Senator McCain.  Forester de Rothschild feels Senator Obama is an elitist and she can’t trust him.  I have no problem with someone believing, feeling and claiming they can’t trust a candidate, but I’d like to know what the elitism charge is all about. 

I’m particularly curious how a member of DNC’s Democrats Abroad who splits her time between New York City and London and is married to Sir de Rothschild can call someone an elitist.  But maybe I’m just proving the point.  I must be — in my 30 year mortgaged single home, non-vacation home owning, single city living, ten year old car driving, wondering why my lawn mower had to break down now thinking — an elitist.

If elitism sounds something like this:  “In case you’re wondering, ‘Crime, gee, I dunno’ is the moment when I decided to kick your a**,” then count me in.  Thank you Aaron Sorkin.

Universal Preschool

February 14, 2008

What did you learn in Kindergarten? 

If you’re like me, that was a long time ago.  There are moments frozen in my memory, but what’d I learn?  I don’t remember.  Of course back then, the idea of a full day of kindergarten was unheard of.

The state of Indiana – the state in which I teach — is working on requiring full day Kindergarten, and the state of Michigan – where I reside — requires all students to attend Kindergarten.  With such laws, do they require preschool?  Of course not.  Nevertheless, I’m torn about preschool. 

When I was growing up, preschool was called play school.  We probably worked on colors, and if Mom’s reading this, she can certainly correct me on what we did and didn’t do.  I vaguely remember taking little trips to the post office to see how things worked and to the fire department to check out the trucks, and there was always reading going on in our house.  But it seems to me that preschool’s a necessary element to a child’s readiness for Kindergarten these days, and Emily Guevera of the Beaumont Enterprise helps explain why that’s the case. 

Seems to me that if we’re going to require students to attend Kindergarten, and if we’re going to expect children to be able to sit through a full day of school who’ve never had a schooling experience, that these states need to invest in stronger preschool programs.  But I’m not really just talking to the states here.  Senator McCain, what’s your plan?  Senator Obama, what’s yours?  Governor Huckabee, how will you support preschool programs nationally?  Senator Clinton’s got the Head Start plan, but is she also prepared to support moms and dads who need childcare/workplace assistance in assuring their children can attend preschool?  In 2003, 1/3 of at risk children in the state of Michigan were not receiving the services they needed.  With all the talk of universal health care, perhaps we should consider universal preschool too.