Sunday, September 02, 2012

President Obama’s accomplishments

After all the hammering by the Republicans this past week, lest we forget:

What follows is a partial list of Obama’s accomplishments so far. Unlike many such lists, there is a link to a citation supporting every single one.

From the site:  Addicting Information

Legislative Prowess

Despite the characterizations of some, Obama’s success rate in winning congressional votes on issues was an unprecedented 96.7% for his first year in office. Though he is often cited as superior to Obama, President Lyndon Johnson’s success rate in 1965 was only 93%.

Fiscal Responsibility

Within days after taking office, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse.

Created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money.

On his first full day, he froze White House salaries.

He appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending.

He committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems, and also signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting system.

Through an executive order, he created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

Improving the Economy, Preventing Depression

He pushed through and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as “the stimulus package,” despite the fact that not one Republican voted for that bill. In addition, he launched, so that taxpayers could track spending from the Act.

In his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy 3.5%.

He completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, and recovered virtually all of its costs.

He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan.

He oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years.

He oversaw a bailout of General Motors that saved at least 1.4 million jobs, and put pressure on the company to change its practices, resulting in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world.

He also doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which is designed to improve manufacturing efficiency.

He signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system. It also created a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown.

He signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which was designed to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices.

He increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect.

He signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market.

Through the Worker, Home Ownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, he and Congressional Democrats provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery.

He initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses.

He created, which allows for online collaboration between small businesses and experts re managing a business. (The program has since merged with

He played a lead role in getting the G-20 Summit to commit to a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis.

He took steps to improve minority access to capital.

He created a $60 billion bank to fund infrastructure improvements such as roads and bridges.

He implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs. Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest.

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost.

He dismantled the Minerals Management Service, thereby moving forward to cut ties between energy companies and the government.

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

He used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan.
Crafted an Executive order establishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans.

Wall Street Reforms and Consumer Protection

Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money.

He pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression.

Dodd-Frank also included the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

He made it so that banks could no longer use YOUR money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against their own customers’ interests.

He supported the concept of allowing stockholders to vote on executive compensation.

He wholly endorsed and supported the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax avoidance loopholes.

He made a deal with Swiss banks that permits the US government to gain access to the records of criminals and tax evaders.

He established a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau designed to protect consumers from financial sector excesses.

He oversaw and then signed the most sweeping food safety legislation since the Great Depression.

Civil Rights and Anti-Discrimination

He advocated for and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

He pushed through, signed and demanded the Pentagon enact a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced soldiers to lie to fight for their country, and put our troops at risk by disqualifying many qualified soldiers from helping.

He appointed Kareem Dale as the first ever Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy.

Helped Congress pass and signed the Civil Rights History Act.

He extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

He’s appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history.

He issued a Presidential Memorandum reaffirming the rights of gay couples to make medical decisions for each other.

He established a White House Council on Women and Girls

He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers. This was after the GOP blocked the bill in 2007. Only 5 Republican Senators voted for the bill.

Wrote and signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies evaluate the effect of their policies and programs on women and families.

He expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act.

Under his watch, National Labor Relations Board has issued final rules that require all employers to prominently post employees’ rights where all employees or prospective employees can see it, including websites and intranets, beginning November 2011.

Fighting Poverty

He provided a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps).

He signed an Executive Order that established the White House Office of Urban Affairs.

Improved Foreign Relations and American Status Abroad

He visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any previous president during his first six months in office.

As he promised, he gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in Cairo early in his administration.

He did much to restore America’s reputation around the world as a global leader that does the “right thing” in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the planet.
He re-established and reinforced our partnership with NATO and other allies on strategic international issues.

Closed a number of secret detention facilities.

He improved relations with Middle East countries by appointing special envoys.

He pushed for military to emphasize development of foreign language skills.

Offered $400 million to the people living in Gaza, called on both Israel and the Palestinians to stop inciting violence.

He refused to give Israel the green light to attack Iran over their possible nuclear program.

He worked to make donations to Haiti tax-deductible in 2009.

He established a new U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Issued Executive Order blocking interference and helping to stabilize Somalia.

He established new, more reasonable policies in our relations with Cuba, such as allowing Cuban-Americans to visit their families and send money to support them.

He ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was Republicans (and a smattering of Democrats) who prevented him from following through.

Ordered a review of our detention and interrogation policy, and prohibited the use of torture, or what Bush called “enhanced interrogation.” He ordered interrogators to limit their actions to the Army Field manual.

He ordered all secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to be closed.

He released the Bush torture memos.

On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention.

In response to the emerging “Arab Spring,” he created a Rapid Response fund, to assist emerging democracies with foreign aid, debt relief, technical assistance and investment packages in order to show that the United States stands with them.

Passed the Iran Sanctions Act, to prevent war, and to encourage Iran to give up their nuclear program.

Ended the Iraq War.

He authorized and oversaw a secret mission by SEAL Team Six to rescue two hostages held by Somali pirates.

Better Approach to “Defense”

Created a comprehensive new strategy for dealing with the international nuclear threat.

He authorized a $1.4 billion reduction in Star Wars program in 2010.

He restarted nuclear nonproliferation talks and built up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols to where they had been before Bush.

He signed and pushed to ratification a new SALT Treaty.

Negotiated and signed a new START Treaty that will last until at least 2021.

Through the Defense Authorization Act, he reversed the Bush Administration and committed to no permanent military bases in Iraq.

He developed the first comprehensive strategy with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan designed to facilitate the defeat of al Qaeda and the withdrawal of most troops, as well as the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

He returned our focus to Afghanistan, stabilized the country, and began the process of withdrawing our troops.

Fulfilled campaign promise and ended our involvement in Iraq, and will complete full troop withdrawal before Christmas 2011.

He took steps to severely weaken al Qaeda and limited their ability to terrorize the world.

He negotiated and signed a nuclear nonproliferation treaty with India.

He took decisive action to use NATO to limit the slaughter of innocents in Libya, so that the Libyan people could topple a despotic government and determine their own fate.

Treating Soldiers and Veterans with Respect

He made sure that families of fallen soldiers could be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB, by providing funding for it. He also ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers.

He funded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion to improve veterans’ services.

He provided the troops with better body armor.

Created the Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record program for military personnel, in order to improve the quality of their medical care.

He put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date. (personal note: my son will be in harm’s way for six fewer months with Obama as president, so you know I love this one).

He supported and signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans.

He ushered through the largest spending increase in 30 years for the Department of Veterans Affairs for improved medical facilities, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities.

He created the Green Vet Initiative, which provided special funding to the Labor Department to provide veterans with training in green jobs.

He oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals.


He has repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process.

Completely reformed the student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate.

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. This includes a major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide , as well as an expansion in school construction.

Also through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he put $5 billion into early education, including Head Start.

Signed the Post-9/11 GI Bill, also known as GI Bill 2.0

He oversaw expansion of the Pell Grants program, to expand opportunity for low-income students to go to college.

He passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provided an extra $12.2 billion in funds.

Greater Transparency and Better Government

He signed an order banning gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch.

He signed an order banning anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years. He also put strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House.

He held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public.

The Obama White House became the first to stream every White House event, live.

He established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities.

He provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history.

He crafted an Executive Order on Presidential Records, which restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records, and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews. This will provide the public with greater access to historic White House documents, and severely curtails the ability to use executive privilege to shield them.

He improved aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent in the processing of FOIA requests.

National Safety and Security

He’s restored federal agencies such as FEMA to the point that they have been able to manage a huge number of natural disasters successfully.

Authorized Navy SEALS to successfully secure the release of a US captain held by Somali pirates and increased patrols off the Somali coast.

Has repeatedly beefed up border security

Ordered and oversaw the Navy SEALS operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

Science, Technology and Health Care

He created a Presidential Memorandum to restore scientific integrity in government decision-making.

Opened up the process for fast-tracking patent approval for green energy projects.

He eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. He also provided increased federal support for biomedical and stem cell research.

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he committed more federal funding, about $18 billion, to support non-defense science and research labs.

He signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first comprehensive attempt to improve the lives of Americans living with paralysis.

He expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families, to cover more first-time mothers.

His EPA reversed research ethics standards which allowed humans to be used as “guinea pigs” in tests of the effects of chemicals, to comply with numerous codes of medical ethics.

Conducted a cyberspace policy review.

Provided financial support for private sector space programs.

He oversaw enhanced earth mapping, to provide valuable data for agricultural, educational, scientific, and government use.

He ushered through a bill that authorized the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.
As a result, the FDA has Ordered Tobacco Companies to Disclose Cigarette Ingredients and banned sale of cigarettes falsely labeled as “light.”

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he provided $500 million for Health Professions Training Programs.

He also increased funding for community-based prevention programs.

He oversaw a 50% decrease in cost of prescription drugs for seniors.

He eliminated the Bush-era practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug companies on price.

Two weeks after taking office, he signed the Children’s Health Insurance Re-authorization Act, which increased the number of children covered by health insurance by 4 million.

He held a quick press conference, and urged Congress to investigate Anthem Blue Cross for raising premiums 39% without explanation. Rep. Waxman responded by launching a probe, and Anthem Blue Cross put the increase on hold for two months.

Ushered through and signed the Affordable Health Care Act, which expanded health insurance coverage to 30 million more people, and ended many common insurance company practices that are often detrimental to those with coverage. He also established

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he allowed children to be covered under their parents’ policy until they turned 26.

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he provided tax breaks to allow 3.5 million small business to provide health insurance to their employees, and 29 million people will receive tax breaks to help them afford health insurance.

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he expanded Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level.

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, health insurance companies now have to disclose how much of your premium actually goes to pay for patient care.

Provisions in the Affordable Health Care Act have already resulted in Medicare costs actually declining slightly this fiscal year, for the first time in many years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Last year’s increase was 4%. Compare that to the average 12% annual inflation rate during the previous 40 years.

Strengthening the Middle Class and Families

He worked to provide affordable, high-quality child care to working families.

He cracked down on companies that were previously denying sick pay, vacation and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare tax payments through abuse of the employee classification of independent contractor.

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families.

Under Obama, tax rates for average working families are the lowest they’ve been since 1950.

He extended and fully funded the patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 10 years.

He extended discounted COBRA health coverage for the unemployed from 9 months to 15 months, and he’s extended unemployment benefits several times.

Environment and Energy

He fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact federal fuel efficiency standards that were above federal standards.

He fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. It was the first time such standards had been increased in a decade.

He oversaw the establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, which creates more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies.

His EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history.

He ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances.

He ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)

He oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers.

Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions.

His EPA ruled that CO2 is a pollutant.

He doubled federal spending on clean energy research.

He pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars.

He created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents.

He reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and even proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush-era stance that climate change was a “hoax.”

He fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide.

He required states to provide incentives to utilities to reduce their energy consumption.

Following Bush’s eight year reign, he reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic.

Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid automobiles, and later he and Democrats morphed that program into one that includes electric cars.

Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles.

He oversaw and pushed through an amendment to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorizing advances from Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

He also actively tried to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to eliminate the liability limits for those companies responsible for large oil spills.

He initiated Criminal and Civil inquiries into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Through his EPA, he asserted federal legal supremacy, and barred Texas from authorizing new refinery permits on its own.

He strengthened the Endangered Species Act.

His EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year.

Through the EPA, he took steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans.

He increased funding for National Parks and Forests by 10%

He announced greatly improved commercial fuel efficiency standards.

He announced the development of a huge increase in average fuel economy standards from 27.5mpg to 35.5mpg starting in 2016 and 54.5 starting in 2025

Other Stuff

He has expanded trade agreements to include stricter labor and environmental agreements such as NAFTA.

He oversaw funding of the design of a new Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History, which is scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015. He protected the funding during the recent budget negotiations.

Oversaw and passed increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

He nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Justice in the court’s history, and the women represent only the third and fourth women to serve on the court, out of a total of 112 justices.

He appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history, including more women than any other incoming president.

He eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education, and he rescinded the global gag rule.

He loosened the rules and allowed the 14 states that legalized medical marijuana to regulate themselves without federal interference.

His FDA banned the use of antibiotics in livestock production.

Ushered through and signed national service legislation, increasing funding for national service groups, including triple the size of the Americorps program.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Pennsylvania's Required ID for November 2012 Elections

Photo ID required for November 2012 Election

ALL voters will be required to show a photo ID before voting at a polling place

All photo IDs must contain an expiration date that is current, unless noted otherwise. Acceptable IDs include:
  • Photo IDs issued by the U.S. Federal Government or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
  1. Pennsylvania driver’s license or non-driver’s license photo ID (IDs are valid for voting purposes 12 months past expiration date)
  2. Valid U.S. passport
  3. U.S. military ID - active duty and retired military (a military or veteran’s ID must designate an expiration date or designate that the expiration date is indefinite).
  4. Military dependents’ ID must contain an expiration date
  • Employee photo ID issued by Federal, PA, County or Municipal government
  • Photo ID cards from an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning
  • Photo ID cards issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences or personal care homes

If you do not have one of these IDs and require one for voting purposes, you may be entitled to get one FREE OF CHARGE at a PennDOT Driver License Center. To find the Driver License Center nearest you, and learn what identification and residency documentation you will need to get a photo ID visit PennDOT's Voter ID website or call the Department of State's Voter ID Hotline at 1-877-VotesPA (1-877-868-3772).

NO ONE legally entitled to vote will be denied the right to do so. If you do not have a photo ID or are indigent and unable to obtain one without payment of a fee, you may cast a provisional ballot, and will have six days to provide your photo ID and/or an affirmation to your county elections office to have your ballot count.

If you have a religious objection to being photographed you can still vote by presenting a valid without-photo driver’s license or a valid without-photo ID card issued by PennDOT.

If you plan on voting by Absentee Ballot on the November 6, 2012 General Election, you will need to provide proof of identification. Be sure to see what identification is required by the Voter ID Law.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Women's health care and contraception


hold dominion over me, my mind, my body, my life, my choices, my vagina, or my uterus

If you attempt to restrict my access - or my sisters' access - to health care or contraception

Do not fool yourselves for ONE MOMENT that you have the right to speak for women, their choices, their thoughts, or their lives ANY MORE

Your attempts to own us, to harm us, to control us, to dictate policy to us, to impose your will over us -

You look scared, and I can smell your fear. And you should be afraid. Cause we aren't going to take your shit anymore.

We know how to direct 80% of the buying power and we know how to vote.

The age of old, crooked, white men is over. Consider this the death knell. Deep down, you know it. And we know it too.

Oh, and one more thing - deprive us of access and we will deprive YOU of access. If you take my meaning.



.......Thank you, FaceBook

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Clay Aiken Speaks Out Against Amendment One

Well, sometimes I do put politics into this blog. not often because I'd alienate quite a few people as I am a flaming liberal and proud of it, but not everyone is of my political persuasion and that's OK, you won't go to hell or anything *g*. I keed! I keed!

Anyway, I believe in equality for all. Being a woman of a certain age, I remember when it was perfectly OK for a male boss to tell a female employee to come into work with no bra so the customers could ogle her and if she protested, he had every right to fire her. I know what it's like to make less than a man for the same job, still happens today. I know what it's like to have to work harder and be better than a male in order to get the same recognition he does. I know what it's like to be discriminated against just because of gender. It ain't fun.

I don't live in North Carolina, but Clay Aiken does and since I'm a fan of his, I blog about some things that are important to him and, at the same time, open my eyes to things that I might not necessarily hear about in my neck of the woods. This video was pointed out to me today and as I watched it, Clay said something about how this certain amendment that 'they' are trying to pass in NC would affect children. I never thought of it that way.

Let's start from the beginning. Check out this website:
This is where I got my information. Evidently, North Carolina is proposing an amendment called "Amendment One". From the website:

On September 13th, the North Carolina Legislature proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would ban legal recognition for all unmarried couples, strip protections and benefits from families across our state, hurt our business climate and economic development and put our children in danger.

I never thought about how an amendment like this one could, potentially, strip children of medical insurance or affect the way the law treats domestic violence batterers. The website is very interesting and they lay out the issues in a way that makes for easy navigating the site.
Here's Clay's video:

Let me know your thoughts.