Someone Needs to Say It!

From Chris Matthews of MSNBC Oct. 7, 2010):
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Let me finish tonight with President Obama and what he’s done.

I say the following because no one else, including the president, has.

It is the hard structure of reality that in the current cacophony so often is overlooked.

This president came into office facing the worst economic outlook since the 1930s. He took action, bold action, the action prescribed by the best economic minds – following the best thinking there is in economics “since” the 1930s.

First, even before taking office, he backed up his predecessor in preventing a major collapse of the financial industry. Everyone involved said it “had” to be done to avoid catastrophe – the destruction of our country’s financial spine.

Second, he took the action – again boldly – to powerfully offset the white-knuckle drop in consumer spending and business investment. If he hadn’t, no one – including his worst critics – would have any idea what would have befallen us. We can argue about the name it was given – the stimulus bill – but the creation of this great boost in economic demand for goods and services as critical break on what was widely seen as an economic free-fall.

It’s easy to stand on the sidelines voting against everything, rooting against everything, and deride that bold action for the simple reason that nobody will ever remember if you had a seriously, reliably better alternative.

Third, the president achieved what so many presidents from FDR on have said needed to be done: end this humiliating dependency of tens of millions of Americans on the emergency room as their only way of getting medical attention. He said our society had a responsibility to look out for its members’ health, that individuals should be required to do what they can personally to provide for their care. For the first time in our country’s history we are no longer the hold-out in the modern world against broadly-available, accessible health insurance.

It is no time for political high-fiving, for bragging. We know that. The economy is down and people are hurting. But I wonder who’s good it does for the president and those who wish him well to overlook the simple, bold, impressive, gutsy facts of what he’s got done only now approaching two years in office.

Someone needs to say it.

[What about you, vigilant/empowered reader?]

http://hardblogger.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/10/07/5252771-matthews-asks-why-overlook-obamas-accomplishment

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100 Things President Obama Has Done
Since Taking Office—

… in spite of unrelenting Republican sabotage.

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Courtesy of an amazing blog:  Brown Man Thinking Hard … go here for complete documentation and detail of each point — http://simplifythepositive.blogspot.com

Think President Obama’s legislation hasn’t touched your life in a positive way?

Read below and think again.

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1. Signed an Executive Order on government contracting to fight waste and abuse

2. Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers

3. Renewed dialogue with NATO and other allies and partners on strategic issues

4. Announced a plan to responsibly end the war in Iraq

5. Provided funding to 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 and the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB

7. Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

8. Launched Recovery.gov to track spending from the Recovery Act, an unprecedented step to provide transparency and accountability through technology

9. Announced the “Making Home Affordable” home refinancing plan

10. Launched a $15 billion plan to boost lending to small businesses

11. Invested heavily in education both as a way to provide jobs now and lay the foundation for long-term prosperity

12. Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans

13. Signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Office of Urban Affairs

14. Limited lobbyist’s access to the White House

15. Issued an Presidential Memorandum to restore scientific integrity in government decision-making

16. Answered questions at the first online town hall from the White House that were submitted and voted on transparently by the public at WhiteHouse.gov

17. Established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities

18. Launched Business.gov – enabling conversation and online collaboration between small business owners, government representatives and industry experts in discussion forums relevant to starting and managing a business

19. Appointed the first ever Federal Chief Information Officer to provide management and oversight over federal IT spending

20. Signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act on February 4, 2009, which provides quality health care to 11 million kids – 4 million who were previously uninsured

21. Issued an Executive Order repealing the Bush-Era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research

22. Signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis

23. Announced creation of a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record for members of the U.S. Armed Forces to improve quality of medical care

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

25. Committed to phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdates weapons systems, which weren’t even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan

26. Provided federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research

27. Provided new federal funding for science and research labs

28. Played a lead role in G-20 Summit that produced a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis

29. Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system

30. Ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and a review of our detention and interrogation policy, and prohibited the use of torture

31. Appointed Special Envoys for Climate Change, Southwest Asia, the Middle

East, Sudan, and a Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

32. Empowered states to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards

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

34. Increased minority access to capital

35. Developed a comprehensive new strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan that will help defeat Al Qaeda and authorized the deployment of more than 21,000 troops to Afghanistan

36. Signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act which gives the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud, from lending to the financial system, and creates a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial practices that brought us to this point

37. Signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures, providing $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and helping to stabilize the housing market for everybody

38. Increased, for the first time in more than a decade, the fuel economy standards for Model Year 2011 for cars and trucks so they will get better mileage, saving drivers money and spurring companies to develop more innovative products

39. Issued a Presidential Memorandum to the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances, like dishwashers and refrigerators. Through this step, over the next three decades, we’ll save twice the amount of energy produced by all the coal-fired power plants in America in any given year

40. Unveiled a program on Earth Day 2009 to develop the renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. These regulations will enable, for the first time ever, the nation to tap into our ocean’s vast sustainable resources to generate clean energy in an environmentally sound and safe manner

41. Announced a new U.S.-Mexico border initiative

42. Concluded cyberspace policy review

43. Announced a strategy to address the international nuclear threat

44. Established a new “U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue”

45. Announced new policy steps towards Cuba

46. Increased minority access to capital

47. Issued a Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act instructing the Attorney General to issue new guidelines to the government implementing those same principles of openness and transparency in the processing of FOIA requests

48. Funded the design of a new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015

49. The Executive Order on Presidential Records brings those principles to presidential records by giving the American people greater access to these historic documents, severely curtailing the ability to use executive privilege to shield those documents

50. Signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, a hallmark piece of legislation

51. Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act to protect Americans from unfair and deceptive credit card practices

52. Signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to provide a coordinated Federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls and to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families

53. Launched a U.S. financial and banking rescue plan

54. Ordered secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to be closed

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

56. Launched U.S. Auto industry rescue plan

57. Provided better body armor to our troops

58. Authorized cutting the missile defense program by $1.4 billion in 2010

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

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

61. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, and addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference

62. Supported the first steps of a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide

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

64. Managed several natural disasters successfully, including severe winter ice storms and flooding in several states

65. Provided new car tax credit

66. Provided attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles

67. Purchased fuel efficient American-made fleet of vehicles for the federal government

68. Endorsed Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax havens

69. Nominated Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court. She was confirmed and becomes the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice

70. Helped reverse a downward spiral of the stock market. On January 19, 2009, the last day of President Bush’s presidency, the Dow closed at 8,218.22; today, the Dow closed at 11,328.19

71. Earned an unprecedented success rate of 96.7% on winning congressional votes on issues where he took a position. He did even better than legendary arm-twister Lyndon Johnson who had a 93% success rate in 1965

72. Provided affordable, high-quality child care to working families

73. Restored America’s reputation as a global leader that will do the “right thing” in world affairs

74. Issued an executive order to create the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

75. Increased funding for student loans and pell grants for 2010 students

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

77. Provided tax credit to workers thus cutting taxes for 95% of America’s working families

78. Cracked down on companies that deny sick pay, vacation and health insurance to workers by abusing the employee classification of independent contractor. Such companies also avoid paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance taxes for those workers

79. Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that made it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity

80. Appointed the first Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy

81. Signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act authorizing advance appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs by providing two-fiscal year budget authority thus enabling better medical care for veterans; endorsed by the American Legion, American Veterans, Blinded Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, Military Officers Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America

82. Held impromptu press conference to urge Congress to investigate Anthem Blue Cross and other corporate health insurance companies that raise premiums in high amounts without explanation. Rep. Henry Waxman launches probe; in this case, Anthem Blue Cross wanted to raise premiums 39%. They have now put the increase on hold for two months (as of February 2010).

83. Designated $1.5 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in the states hardest hit by the housing crisis: California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan; the MBA forecasts that foreclosures will peak in the last quarter of 2010

84. Protected 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors through the Recovery Act that would have otherwise been lost

85. Extended discounted COBRA health coverage for the nation’s unemployed from 9 months to 15 months; workers laid off between September 1, 2008 and February 28, 2010 qualify

86. Extended unemployment benefits for 2,000,000 unemployed Americans by 20 weeks. At the time the bill was signed 7,000 unemployed Americans were losing their unemployment benefits each day

87. Eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education which was significantly increased during the Bush Administration to $176 million annually

88. Rescinded the Global Gag Rule

89. Appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history including more women appointees than any other incoming president

90. Committed to no permanent military bases in Iraq through the Defense Authorization Act. For your reference

91. Provided tax credits to first-time home buyers through the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 to revitalize the U.S. housing market

92. Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs the largest spending increase in 30 years to improve medical facilities and national cemeteries, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities

93. Strengthened the Endangered Species Act

94. Empowered states that legalized medical marijuana to regulate themselves. Fourteen states have allowed some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington

95. Enhanced earth mapping

96. Increased funding for national parks and forests in 2010, and plans to do it again for FY 2011

97. Changed failing war strategy in Afghanistan

98. Allocated special funding to the Labor Department to provide green job training to veterans

99. Allocated funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police or firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession

100. Created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy 3.5% [as of December 31, 2009] through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

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