Tag Archives: president obama

Taxes?

Here is a CNN piece on what Obama is looking to accomplish with the debt deal being negotiated.  It would be interesting to note that taxes now are at a lower rate than they were under President Reagan in the 1980’s.

What Obama Wants In Taxes     

So what is your take on the debt debate?  Should we raise the debt ceiling?  Do we only rely on tax raises?  Do we only rely on spending cuts?  Where is the balance?

 

 

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Congressman Anthony Weiner Resigns

New York’s 9th Congressional District will be searching for a new voice today.  Embattled Congressman, Anthony Weiner, held a press conference today to announce his resignation saying, “I had hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do, to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it. But unfortunately the distraction that I have created has made that impossible.”

Weiner had been under pressure from colleagues in Congress to step down after it was discovered he used his Twitter account to interact with a minor while sending multiple lewd photographs of himself.

Anthony Weiner announced his resignation today weeks after lewd photos of him were leaked online. (photo: journeypost.co.cc)

Weiner has been a popular figure among progressives for his fiery personality and strong support of health care reform.  Weiner is best remembered for his constant battles against House Republicans.  There has been no news out of New York as to when a special election would take place.

Earlier this week President Obama joined the calls for Weiner’s resignation saying, “I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign.”

Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, an aide for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

We’ll have more as news comes in.

Special Comment: Dissecting How I Feel Over bin Laden’s Death

I’ve searched around for the answer as to how I should feel about the news of Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of a US Navy SEALS strike team.  Before I get into how I feel on the topic, I think it is only fair that I explain where I come from on this.

I had the unforgettable honor of participating in the 2001 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade along with the Pearl City High School Marching Band from Pearl City, Hawaii.  It was only two months removed from the tragic events of 9/11 and by sheer coincidence, our trip was scheduled to visit Washington D.C. before making the final stop to New York City.  I grew up next to a military installation and spent much time around active duty personnel as well as their families, this gave me a better understanding of how special it is to be an American.  I viewed the trip as a way to show our respect to those who fight for our freedom as well as those who lost their lives on the tragic day.  It was also a chance to bring the Aloha Spirit to those in the affected areas and perhaps to the rest of the country via the televised event.  We were allowed to see the scene at the Pentagon and were allowed within a few blocks from ground zero in NYC.  The scene is not something you can unsee or unsmell.  The ruins and the hard-working volunteers were a sight to behold.

It is with this experience that I learned of the death of Osama bin Laden while browsing the internet.  A window was open to my Facebook and I noticed that someone had posted a comment saying the Al-Qaeda leader was dead.  I was a bit confused by the news and immediately began checking a multitude of news sites.  Every site had a basic heading of the Osama’s death but offered no details.  It wasn’t until President Obama stepped to the podium in his address to the nation did we begin to hear what had happened.

A bird's-eye view of bin Laden's compound. (PHOTO: ABCNEWS)

The initial reaction was a combination of shock and satisfaction.  The man who had been on the run from the entire United States Military as well as many international forces had finally been found.  Not only had he been found, but he had been shot and killed by American forces.  This was a man who captured the attention of the entire world with his fanaticism, and whose main focus was to bleed the United States economy dry, had finally met his end.  Anyone who heard the news had to have been shocked.  The joke was that he had been the Hide and Go Seek World Champion for the last decade.  Now he was dead after being shot twice by a US SEAL team.

As an American, there had to be a sense of satisfaction that this man was no longer a priority.  As an American, there had to be a sense of satisfaction over finally catching the man who left a wake of devastation on a September morning in 2001.  I do not deny, nor do I attempt to hide the fact that I was for a moment satisfied at the news.  The satisfaction then turned into relief.  Osama had been on the radar of American intelligence since the early 90’s and was always a step ahead of his pursuers.  Now the long chase was over and our sights could be set on a different purpose.

There was a sense of relief for the armed forces and intelligence personnel who have searched around the world for Osama.  Aside from that though, there was a bit of apathy.  There is the understanding that although Osama was the top figure in Al-Qaeda, he is just another cog in the overall scheme of things.  The organization will continue on with their mission and will likely use the death of Osama as the rallying cry.  The fight against terrorism will continue and will likely remain unchanged.

At the end of the day, as an American, there is a sense of bravado.  There is a feeling of wanting to puff out one’s chest and to walk taller.  The actions of some heroic Americans have injected a bit of patriotism.  I am glad that it was AMERICAN forces who took down bin Laden and it was a decision made by our President.  It was not an incidental casualty of the war zone.  It was a calculated move made by our leadership.

For that, we all can be proud of.

Busy Day in Politics

The Hawaii  Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee will be hosting the first hearing of the 2011 session on Civil Unions.  The JDL hearing has gotten so much attention, the site of the hearing has been moved to the auditorium to accomodate the expected crowd.  The hearings begin at 10AM.  Need more info on this year’s version of the Civil Unions bill? Check out our write-up from last week.

Also in the political world today is the much anticipated State of the Union speech from President Obama.  There has been much talk about bipartisan seating by members of Congress as well as how the President’s recent remarks in Arizona will affect tonight’s speech.  The speech is set for 9PM EST or 4PM for Hawaii residents.  The White House webpage is offering an interactive way to follow the big speech with complete resources of charts and graphs relating to President Obama’s speech.  The speech will be simulcasted along all the networks and we can expect immediate analysis by the pundits.  For more on what to expect, take a look at the interesting article by Nate Silver.

Election day Winners and Losers

A few days removed from the craziness that was election day, it is now time to sort through the rubble and see where we stand.  There were some surprises and some close calls.  The results nationally really was in stark contrast from the results in Hawaii.  Nationally Republicans benefited from an electorate angry with the slow recovery of the economy.  Locally, Republicans took a huge blow in their hopes of keeping control of the governor’s office.  Now it’s time to break down a few of the winners and losers from this past election in Hawaii and on the mainland.

Winners:

Congressman John Boehner is poised to become the new Speaker of the House. (clevescene.com)

The obvious national winners are the entire Republican Party after they 50+ seat pick up in the House and erasing the Democratic majority in the Senate.  While falling short of controlling both houses, the GOP has a large majority in the House and will be able to prevent many of President Obama’s initiatives from moving forward.  Ohio congressman, John Boehner is lining up to be the new Speaker of the House while Eric Cantor looks to become the new majority WHIP.  A surprising national winner has to be Nevada Senator, Harry Reid.  Reid was able to fend off a tough challenge from Republican candidate and TEA Party favorite, Sharon Angle to gain reelection and keep his spot as Senate Majority Leader.

In Hawaii, the winners have to be the Democratic Party.  The 2010 elections solidified Hawaii’s long-standing tradition of being a blue state.  In fact, Hawaii has the most lopsided state legislature of any state in the nation.  88% of all the members of the Hawaii state legislature are Democrats, beating out Rhode Island which sports 84%.  Sen. Daniel Inouye cruised to a 50 point victory over his Republican challenger while Congresswoman Mazie Hirono easily won reelection with a 20 point margin.  The real surprise came in Hawaii’s 1CD House race with incumbent Charles Djou(R) falling to Colleen Hanabusa(D) by 7 points.  At the first printout, Djou trailed by about 4,000 votes.  However, the subsequent printouts only put the Republican incumbent further behind.  Hanabusa’s victory was the first time Hawaii voters had voted out a US Congressional incumbent.

But of course, the big winner was the Neil Abercrombie/Brian Schatz team.  The Democratic team was able to trounce their GOP counterparts by nearly 100,000 votes.  In fact, the final margin of victory was 17%.  To make matter worse, of Hawaii’s 51 state house districts, Abercrombie was able to win 50 of the 51.  It was surprising to many the sheer size of the victory for the long time US Congressman.  Abercrombie single-handedly took down political giant, Mufi Hannemann and his GOP challenger, Duke Aiona.  Abercrombie used an effective social media campaign to engage with the younger voters and was able to reestablish himself with the older voters whom he once represented while in the Honolulu City Council and Hawaii State Legislature.

Losers:

Governor elect Neil Abercrombie cruised to an impressive 17 point victory on Election night. (daylife.com)

On a night where House Republicans picked up more than 50 seats and Senate Republicans came close to taking the majority, the obvious losers are the Democratic Party.  Democrats across the nation suffered defeat and many incumbents fell.  Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin saw his bid for reelection come up short.  Feingold is best known for his efforts to reform immigration.  The House Democrats will now be a highly outnumbered minority and will be at the will of Republicans.  Over in the Senate, Majority Leader Reid will have some tough fights ahead now that he has a near stalemate with Republicans.  President Obama must also be considered a loser of this election.  He has now lost the majority in the House and has the prospects of a severely weakened Senate.  Now more than ever will he need to sell his ideas to the public and work some magic if he hopes to have a second term.

Locally, the Hawaii GOP was not able to ride the so-called wave of change to victory.  Hawaii Republicans are now left with only a single Senate seat and only a handful of House seats.  Moreover, the Hawaii GOP invested heavily in the Djou and Aiona campaigns.  However, their investments would not produce the returns they anticipated.  A humiliating loss by Aiona was coupled with a bitter defeat for Djou.  Many within the party felt 2010 was the best chance for Hawaii Republicans to take control of the government and to finally solidify itself as a major power in Hawaii.  However, as the printouts were released, Republicans were left to wonder how and why this election turned out to be another drubbing from Hawaii Democrats.

The effects of this election will not be fully felt for another few years.  However, one thing is certain: Hawaii really does buck national trends and chooses to do things a little differently.  Whether this means a better Hawaii or something worse remains to be seen.  At least we now have another couple of years to start the conversation of where our state and this country is heading and hopefully are able to find some solutions along the way.

Post election hangover?

Election night brought us some surprises.  Victories by Neil Abercrombie and Colleen Hanabusa proved Hawaii remains firmly a Democrat controlled state.  Some tight House and Senate races kept Hawaii residents up throughout the night awaiting the final printout.  Nationally, the GOP took control of the House and narrowed the gap in the Senate.  President Obama has already discussed the election at a press conference earlier today.

Here is the final printout from yesterday’s election.  Keep in mind the results remain uncertified for at least another week or so.

Join us tomorrow for a complete wrap-up and some insight as to what the results mean moving forward for Hawaii!

Monday’s Best: Our Public School

Everyone can remember sitting around a table with friends or colleagues and complaining about not being able to find information on a specific topic.  Everyone has wondered when a website would be created that would gather all the best minds and ideas from a certain field and have that information easily accessible for the rest of the world.  Well the newest member of Desperate America’s Monday’s Best has brought that type of thinking to the problem of fixing the public schools system.  Our Public School was founded by a small group of educators and administrators that felt the need to address a decaying public school system and to find new solutions and new voices to fix the problem.  The board members of the organization feature an all-star list of educators and business professionals.  A familiar name in the mix may be Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Barack Obama.

The group’s founders have gained a wealth of knowledge on their travels and prescribe to the notion that the key to a great education is great educators.  OPS pushes this vision forward by acting as a resource for teachers and other educators by providing a database of ideas and successful practices.  The group strives to build a team of experts who can assist educators.  Our Public Schools has created a web site that allows educators to identify, interpret, and implement the best practices to address their specific needs.  The organization envisions a day when an entire community comes together to be accountable for the state of our public schools.  OPS is attempting to bring in business people, religious leaders, politicians and every day citizens to build this team.

To this point, Our Public Schools has already begun launching a campaign nationwide aimed at identifying and gathering successful education practices to build its database.  The campaign kicked off in May 2009 and has started in Hawaii.  The group also utilizes Facebook, YouTube, and other forms of media to highlight the work of successful schools and organizations.  This work has allowed others in the community to become familiar with the cause of OPS.  To understand the vision of the organization, visit their mission page today.

Our Public Schools has begun a campaign to raise money that would allow members to travel around the country and document the best practices and the top people.  Currently, OPS is searching for interested people to join the cause and provide support by submitting ideas and practices in action.  The group is also asking for $10 donations to be made to OPS.  The goal of the organization is to get 100,000 members to each donate $10.  This type of money would go a long way to building a better site and reaching more people across the country.  Our Public Schools needs all the help it can get to really become the organization it is striving to be.  This help needs to come from the community.  Politicians, artists, business owners, educators, and everyone else in the community needs to band together to ensure a strong public school system for future generations.  This country will only be as strong as its weakest link.  Our Public Schools is looking to strengthen that weak link.

Get Involved: Complacency is the breeding grounds for Incompetence!