Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Honor Vets!!!

Obama sure does like Vets a lot more than Bush did ... This is from today's Progress Report:

Honoring America's Veterans

Yesterday President Obama observed Memorial Day in the tradition of sitting U.S. presidents, by placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C. Before the ceremony, a number of university professors petitioned the White House, urging Obama "to end a longstanding practice of sending a wreath to a monument to Confederate soldiers on the cemetery grounds." Despite their call to "break this chain of racism," Obama continued the Confederate monument wreath-laying tradition. But he may have started a new one, sending a second wreath to the African American Civil War Memorial honoring more than 200,000 blacks who fought for the North. Speaking before more than 4,000 veterans and family members at the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater, Obama paid tribute to the nation's fallen in his first Memorial Day address as commander-in-chief. "I cannot know what it is like to walk into battle," he said. "I'm the father of two young girls -- but I can't imagine what it's like to lose a child. These are things I cannot know. But I do know this: I am humbled to be the commander in chief of the finest fighting force in the history of the world." Speaking of those who chose to serve and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, Obama said, "They answered a call; they said 'I'll go.' That is why they are the best of America, and that is what separates them from those of us who have not served in uniform -- their extraordinary willingness to risk their lives for people they never met."

'WE HAVE FAILED' TO SUPPORT OUR VETS: In his weekly address, Obama acknowledged that "we, as a nation, have failed to live up" to "the responsibility" of serving America's veterans "as well as they serve all of us." "We have failed to give them the support they need or pay them the respect they deserve," he said, adding, "That is a betrayal of the sacred trust that America has with all who wear -- and all who have worn -- the proud uniform of our country...and that is a sacred trust I am committed to keeping as President of the United States." Indeed, according to a recent Center for American Progress (CAP) analysis, "many men and women who have served our country...are still in need of services to improve their quality of life -- before, during, and after deployments." Almost one in five Iraq and Afghanistan vets experience symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and yet only 53 percent of those suffering from PTSD or major depression have seen a physician. Attempted suicide and substance abuse rates among veterans have skyrocketed since 2003. More than 150,000 vets were homeless on any given night in 2007, with nearly 300,000 being homeless at some point during that year. Moreover, vets make up one-third of homeless Americans, even though only one-tenth of all adults are veterans. The economic downturn has hit vets hard as well. The CAP analysis notes that "foreclosure rates in military towns were increasing at four times the national average" last year. Additionally, "more than 75 percent of veterans report 'an inability to effectively translate their military skills to civilian terms.'"

A RENEWED COMMITMENT: During his Senate hearing to become Veterans Affairs Department Secretary last January, retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki pledged to transform the department into a "21st-century organization" that meets the needs of a growing population of wounded veterans. "My message would be this: Treat our veterans with respect and dignity," Shinseki said. "They're not here begging for a handout," he added. Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced the VA's 2010 budget, which increases spending by 15.5 percent over 2009, "the largest percentage increase for VA requested by a president in more than 30 years." The centerpiece of the proposal is an 11 percent increase in funding for veterans' health care. Just last week, Shinseki announced a plan to provide $215 million "in competitive funding to improve [medical] services specifically designed for Veterans in rural and highly rural areas." Also last week, Shinseki addressed the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans national conference and announced that the VA is creating a national center on homelessness among veterans. "We have a moral duty to prevent and eliminate homelessness among Veterans," he said.

SECTION 60: In his address yesterday, Obama reminded Americans of the servicemen and women who have fallen in the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. "A quarter of a million marble headstones dot these rolling hills in perfect military order, worthy of the dignity of those who rest here," he said. "Today, some of those stones are found at the bottom of this hill in Section 60, where the fallen from Iraq and Afghanistan rest. The wounds of war are fresh in Section 60. A steady stream of visitors leaves reminders of life: photos, teddy bears, favorite magazines. Friends place small stones as a sign they stopped by. Combat units leave bottles of beer or stamp cigarettes into the ground as a salute to those they rode in battle with. Perfect strangers visit in their free time, compelled to tend to these heroes, to leave flowers, to read poetry -- to make sure they don't get lonely." "[I]t doesn't take being Commander-in-Chief to honor the fallen," Iran and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff said yesterday, adding, "This Memorial Day, I hope you add your own words of remembrance for the brave men and women that have heroically served this nation, and perished on the battlefield. It is the duty of every American to ensure that they are never forgotten."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Well Said!!!

This is a great opening sentence to Graydon Carter's Editor's Letter in the June Vanity Fair:

It can fairly be said that the chain of catastrophic bets made over the past decade by a few hundred bankers may well turn out to be the greatest nonviolent crime against humanity in history.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Limbaugh = ASSHOLE!!!

This is from today's Progress Report ... why do people listen to this clown ... I read that the average age of a Limbaugh listener is 67 years old ... how does he get adverising money for that demographic???:

RADICAL RIGHT -- LIMBAUGH MOCKS RECESSION DURING SPEECH TO WEALTHY RIGHT-WING DONORS: On Monday night, Rush Limbaugh came to Washington, D.C. to address the President's Club Dinner, a meeting of wealthy donors and supporters of the conservative Heritage Foundation. The audience included Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), as well as various millionaire Heritage Foundation trustees, like Thomas Saunders. After more or less reprising his radio show routine, Limbaugh went on to brag about his $400 million contract with Clear Channel Communications. As he continued to gloat about his program's success, Limbaugh mocked the idea that Americans are suffering. "I've never had financially a down year. There's supposedly a recession, but we've got -- what is this May? Back in February we already had 102 percent of 2008 overbooked for 2009. So I always believed that if we're going to have a recession, just don't participate," Limbaugh said. Limbaugh is no stranger to belittling the poor and dismissing the economic troubles of others. In March, Limbaugh scoffed at a question on homeless children, asking, "Would somebody tell me the last time you saw a kid sleeping under a bridge?" As Media Matters reported, even Limbaugh's employer Clear Channel is struggling under the weight of the recession. Already this year, Clear Channel has "shed nearly 3,000 employees, or 12 percent of its workforce." While Limbaugh jets around the country in his $54 million Gulfstream G550, laughing off the recession, does he realize that his own bloated contract is contributing to the rising unemployment rate?