i think your putting words into Obama's mouth and adding your own descriptives. Moreover, your use of the word condescending is either not your own or you don't know what it means. This instance is not appropriate for the word.
Healthcare reformed failed because of Bill and Hillary's ego....plain and simple. I'm as progressive as one can be but you can't storm the Bastille with one pitchfork. You need a movement of millions who will stand together and let the companies and dirty politicians know that their time is done. Yet, they still haven't learned. Instead of going to the people they are repeating the same mistakes of the 90s.
The Clinton's sold the poor and the middle class down the river in the 1990s. The supposed economic boom was built on speculation in the tech market and now housing market that crashed and burned. While Bill's folksy accent fooled me before, NAFTA hasn't been good for PA. I live here. The area has been saved by the defense industry that has been propped up by horrid war. Like the 90s the current economic state isn't sustainable. The national debt will crush the working man. Pharma has been hit by major reorganizations and structural adjustments due to law suits. Ed Rendell's big plan? Casinos!!!! Awesome...more service sector jobs that don't offer much hope for upward mobility or an avenue for jobs the future.
I'm sorry to take an aggressive tone but this kinda crap, sorry for those words, is useful to low information voters. Peddle it elsewhere.
SOmebody send a search party out. Jerome, you've clearly stooped to bating the other side. What gives? I'm amazed every time I come to MYDD...this place used to be a must visit and I have to cringe and wade through the spin.
Agreed!!! Man I feel I'm home! Thanks Katmandu1 I found some of BHO lies and fabrications abotu this experience....
Illinois State Senate
"In the Illinois State Senate, this meant working with both Democrats and Republicans to help working families get ahead by creating programs like the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state. He also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator Obama worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases." Link
United States Senate
He has continued this inclusive and productive style of work in the U.S. Senate: "In the U.S. Senate, he has focused on tackling the challenges of a globalized, 21st century world with fresh thinking and a politics that no longer settles for the lowest common denominator. His first law was passed with Republican Tom Coburn, a measure to rebuild trust in government by allowing every American to go online and see how and where every dime of their tax dollars are spent. He has also been the lead voice in championing ethics reform that would root out Jack Abramoff-style corruption in Congress.
Obama's foreign policy experience includes graduating from Columbia University with a degree in political science with an emphasis on international relations. In the U.S. Senate Obama is unique among Senators in that he serves on three of the four Senate Committees dealing with foreign policy issues including the Foreign Relations; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans' Affairs committees and is the Chair of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Relations which is responsible fore U.S. relations with European countries, the European Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (i.e., NATO). When comparing Obama's foreign policy experience with other candidates for President you have Democrat Joseph Biden who is Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat Hillary Clinton who is a member of the Armed Services Committee and John McCain who is the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee yet there is no Senator except for Barack Obama who serves on three of the four committees that deal with foreign policy.
Foreign Relations Committee
Obama service on the Foreign Relations committee has placed him in an unique position in that he is the Chair of the Subcommittee on European Relations and serves on the Subcommittees on African Affairs; East Asia and Pacific Affairs; and International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, and International Environmental Protection. This cross-section of subcommittees places Obama in a unique position of having knowledge about Asian, African and European issues. The only other member of the Foreign Relations committee who is running for President is Democrat Joseph Biden who is Chairman of the full Foreign Relations Committee yet unlike Obama he does not serve on any of the other foreign policy committees and his experience is limited to foreign policy issues covered by the Foreign Relations Committee.
Obama has also traveled extensively in his capacity as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and has visited Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan in Asia; Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, and the Palestinian Territories in the Middle East; and Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa in Africa. Obama has also co-sponsored the "Lugar-Obama Act" with Republican Senator Richard Lugar who was Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations at the time. This act was a bi-partisan effort to increase U.S. security in terms of the elimination of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction. This legislation came out of Obama's trip with Senator Richard Lugar to Russia, the Ukraine and Azerbaijan.
Obama has also sponsored legislation such as the "Democratic Republic of Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act" which was signed into law by President Bush on December 22, 2006. Obama has co-sponsored immigration related bills related to his service on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee including the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. His extensive foreign policy experience exceeds that of every other Presidential candidate including his trips abroad in the performance of his official duties as a member of committees dealing with foreign relation issues.
While some have criticized Obama's foreign travel claiming that he is the most traveled freshman Senator in doing so they often fail to mention that as a result of his extensive trips abroad is legislation such as the Lugar-Obama Act instead preferring to make the political connection between his travels abroad to his run for President yet others will recognize the experience he has gained as a result of his foreign trips and recognize that as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he is expected to travel extensively and that his travels often were with the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Among the three top freshman who have received attention along with Obama in terms of foreign travel you have Barack Obama who serves on three committees dealing with foreign policy, Republican Richard Burr who serves on the Select Committee on Intelligence and Republican Tom Coburn who serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and it must be noted that such travel was part of an official delegation and was approved and paid for by the Senate.
Veterans' Affairs Committee
As a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senator Obama has fought to help Illinois veterans get the disability pay they were promised, while working to prepare the VA for the return of the thousands of veterans who will need care after Iraq and Afghanistan. Recognizing the terrorist threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, he traveled to Russia with Republican Dick Lugar to begin a new generation of non-proliferation efforts designed to find and secure deadly weapons around the world. And knowing the threat we face to our economy and our security from America's addiction to oil, he's working to bring auto companies, unions, farmers, businesses and politicians of both parties together to promote the greater use of alternative fuels and higher fuel standards in our cars."Link
"Obama has made ethics reform a central part of his political career. Two years into his first term in the U.S. Senate, he has had limited opportunities to leave a mark at the federal level, especially as a member of the minority party. But he has worked with Republicans on new good-government laws. He co-sponsored one, signed in September, that will create a federal spending database so Web users can track all grants, loans and awards greater than $25,000. He also pushed to limit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's authority to award open-ended, no-bid contracts in the wake of major disasters -- a reaction to post-Katrina abuses. More to the point, last year Senate Democrats tapped Obama as the chief negotiator for their caucus in talks over post-Abramoff ethics reforms, though those negotiations faltered. Ethics reform was one of Obama's signature issues in Springfield, as well. Beyond the Gift Ban Act, he helped push Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 2003 ethics reforms. The gift ban law, the first broad ethics reform in Illinois since the Watergate era, prohibited politicians from using campaign funds for personal use, barred fundraising on state property, established ethics commissions, curtailed fundraisers in Springfield during legislative sessions and mandated online reporting of campaign finances. The 2003 ethics package created independent inspectors general with subpoena powers to look into abuses by legislators, statewide officeholders and their employees. It further clamped down on the types of gifts lawmakers can receive and prohibited lobbyists and their spouses from sitting on state boards and commissions. Obama also touted publicly financed judicial campaigns, an idea that was approved by the Illinois Senate but languished in the House."Link
Nonproliferation: the poster child for issues that people ought to care about, but don't. Here Obama has teamed up with Richard Lugar (R-IN). How did this happen? Here's the Washington Monthly:
"By most accounts, Obama and Lugar's working relationship began with nukes. On the campaign trail in 2004, Obama spoke passionately about the dangers of loose nukes and the legacy of the Nunn-Lugar nonproliferation program, a framework created by a 1991 law to provide the former Soviet republics assistance in securing and deactivating nuclear weapons. Lugar took note, as "nonproliferation" is about as common a campaign sound-bite for aspiring senators as "exchange-rate policy" or "export-import bank oversight.""
The way to a wonk's heart: campaign on securing Russian loose nukes. -- In any case, in addition to working on nuclear non-proliferation, Obama and Lugar co-sponsored legislation expanding the Nunn-Lugar framework (which basically allows the US to fund the destruction or securing of nuclear weapons in other countries) to deal with conventional arms. From an op-ed Obama and Lugar wrote on their legislation:
"These vast numbers of unused conventional weapons, particularly shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles that can hit civilian airliners, pose a major security risk to America and democracies everywhere. That's why we have introduced legislation to seek out and destroy surplus and unguarded stocks of conventional arms in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
Our bill would launch a major nonproliferation initiative by addressing the growing threat from unsecured conventional weapons and by bolstering a key line of defense against weapons of mass destruction. Modeled after the successful Nunn-Lugar program to dismantle former Soviet nuclear weapons, the Lugar-Obama bill would seek to build cooperative relationships with willing countries.
One part of our initiative would strengthen and energize the U.S. program against unsecured lightweight antiaircraft missiles and other conventional weapons, a program that has for years been woefully underfunded. There may be as many as 750,000 missiles, known formally as man-portable air defense systems, in arsenals worldwide. The State Department estimates that more than 40 civilian aircraft have been hit by such weapons since the 1970s. Three years ago terrorists fired missiles at -- and missed -- a jetliner full of Israeli tourists taking off from Mombasa, Kenya. In 2003 a civilian cargo plane taking off from Baghdad was struck but landed safely.
Loose stocks of small arms and other weapons also help fuel civil wars in Africa and elsewhere and, as we have seen repeatedly, provide ammunition for those who attack peacekeepers and aid workers seeking to stabilize and rebuild war-torn societies. The Lugar-Obama measure would also seek to get rid of artillery shells like those used in the improvised roadside bombs that have proved so deadly to U.S. forces in Iraq.
Some foreign governments have already sought U.S. help in eliminating their stocks of lightweight antiaircraft missiles and millions of tons of excess weapons and ammunition. But low budgets and insufficient leadership have hampered destruction. Our legislation would require the administration to develop a response commensurate with the threat, consolidating scattered programs at the State Department into a single Office of Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction. It also calls for a fivefold increase in spending in this area, to $25 million -- a relatively modest sum that would offer large benefits to U.S. security.
The other part of the legislation would strengthen the ability of America's friends and allies to detect and intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction or material that could be used in a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon. Stopping weapons of mass destruction in transit is an important complement to our first line of defense, the Nunn-Lugar program, which aims to eliminate weapons of mass destruction at their source."
Dealing with unsecured stocks of shoulder-fired missiles and other kinds of conventional weapons, stocks that might fall into anyone's hands, be sold on the black market, and end up being used against our troops or our citizens, or fueling civil wars that tear countries apart -- it seems to me that this is an excellent thing to spend one's time on.
Avian flu: Obama was one of the first Senators to speak out on avian flu, back in the spring of 2005, when it was a quintessentially wonky issue, not the subject of breathless news reports. There's a list of Democratic efforts on avian flu here; Obama shows up early and often. He has sponsored legislation, including what I think is the first bill dedicated to pandemic flu preparedness. It's a good bill, providing not just for vaccine research and antiviral stockpiles, but for the kinds of state and local planning and preparedness that will be crucial if a pandemic occurs. (I was also very interested to note that it requires the Secretary of HHS to contract with the Institute of Medicine for a study of "the legal, ethical, and social implications of, with respect to pandemic influenza". This is actually very important, and not everyone would have thought of it.)
He has also spoken out consistently on this topic, beginning long before it was hot. Here, for instance, is another op-ed by Obama and Lugar:
"We recommend that this administration work with Congress, public health officials, the pharmaceutical industry, foreign governments and international organizations to create a permanent framework for curtailing the spread of future infectious diseases.
Among the parts of that framework could be these:
Increasing international disease surveillance, response capacity and public education and coordination, especially in Southeast Asia.
Stockpiling enough antiviral doses to cover high-risk populations and essential workers.
Ensuring that, here at home, Health and Human Services and state governments put in place plans that address issues of surveillance, medical care, drug and vaccine distribution, communication, protection of the work force and maintenance of core public functions in case of a pandemic.
Accelerating research into avian flu vaccines and antiviral drugs.
Establishing incentives to encourage nations to report flu outbreaks quickly and fully."
This is very good policy, especially the parts about increasing surveillance and response capacity here and abroad. (Effect Measure approves too.)
Regulating Genetic Testing: It was while I was reading about this issue that I first thought: gosh, Barack Obama seems to turn up whenever I am reading about some insanely wonky yet important issue. And this one is not just off the radar; it and the radar are in different universes. Anyways:
You might be surprised to learn that there is very little quality control over genetic testing. I was. If I offer some genetic test, I can basically say what I like about what it will reveal, so long as I avoid violating the laws against fraud. And if you think about how easy it would be to avoid those laws just by talking about, say, a test for some gene that has been found to be slightly associated with increased IQ, you can see how many deceptive (but not legally fraudulent) claims this allows.
Moreover -- and more seriously -- there is very little oversight of the quality of labs that do tests -- that is, whether or not they tend to get the right answers when they do those tests. There is a law (passed in response to evidence that significant numbers of people were getting incorrect results on pap smears) that requires what's called proficiency testing for labs. But though the law requires that the government develop special proficiency tests for labs that do work requiring special kinds of knowledge, and though genetic testing plainly fits that bill, the government has not developed any proficiency tests for genetic testing labs.
This is serious, and bad. Suppose you are mistakenly informed that you are a carrier for some horrible disease: you might decide never to have kids. Suppose you have a fetus tested and you are told that it has, say, Downs' syndrome: you might abort. To do these things as the result of a lab error would be horrible.
Not nearly as horrible as the results of some false negatives, though. Consider this case (from a very good report on the topic):
"A Florida couple both tested negative for the genetic mutation that causes Tay-Sachs, a fatal childhood disease. Two copies of the mutation are required to cause the disease. The couple learned that the test results were incorrect for both parents when their son began exhibiting symptoms of Tay-Sachs shortly after birth. He died eight years later"
Tay-Sachs is an unbelievably horrible disease:
"Infants with Tay-Sachs disease appear to develop normally for the first few months of life. Then, as nerve cells become distended with fatty material, a relentless deterioration of mental and physical abilities occurs. The child becomes blind, deaf, and unable to swallow. Muscles begin to atrophy and paralysis sets in. Other neurological symptoms include dementia, seizures, and an increased startle reflex to noise. (...)
Even with the best of care, children with Tay-Sachs disease usually die by age 4, from recurring infection."
So imagine this: you know that you and your spouse are at risk for carrying this disease. You both get tested; neither is a carrier. You give birth to an apparently healthy child. But after a few months, the child you love stops developing normally, and it turns out that both your test and your spouses were misinterpreted, or screwed up, or whatever, and as a result your child is going to die a horrible death by the age of four. Oops!
In your copious free time, you can think of more cases in which screwing up a genetic test would be disastrous. After you get through with the cases involving children and inherited diseases, consider the effects of misreading a genetic test and informing a man that he is not the father of his child when in fact he is. The possibilities are endless.
You can probably guess who has introduced legislation that addresses this problem. The people who wrote the initial report (note: I know them; they're very good) think it's good. So do I.
Reducing medical malpractice suits the right way: Contrary to popular belief, medical malpractice claims do not do much to drive up health care costs. Still, medical malpractice litigation is a problem. Tort reform would address this problem at the expense of people who have been the victims of real, serious medical malpractice, who would lose their right to sue, or have it curtailed. If you read the medical literature, however, it turns out that there's a much better way to minimize malpractice suits, namely: apologizing. Strange to say, it turns out that people are a lot less likely to sue when doctors and hospitals admit their mistakes up front, compensate the patients involved fairly, and generally treat people with respect. It certainly would have helped in this case:
"A Sanford mother says she will never be able to hold her newborn because an Orlando hospital performed a life-altering surgery and, she claims, the hospital refuses to explain why they left her as a multiple amputee.
The woman filed a complaint against Orlando Regional Healthcare Systems, she said, because they won't tell her exactly what happened. The hospital maintains the woman wants to know information that would violate other patients' rights."
I'd want to know what happened too, if someone cut off all my arms and legs. And in a case like this, if it was malpractice, limiting the damages a person can collect doesn't seem like the right answer, somehow.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton teamed up to introduce legislation aimed at helping hospitals to develop programs for disclosure of medical errors. (They describe it in this NEJM article.) Again, I think it's good policy: this really is what the evidence suggests is the best way to reduce malpractice claims, and it does it without curtailing the rights of people who have already been injured through no fault of their own. Moreover, when people feel free to discuss their errors, they are much more likely to figure out ways to avoid repeating them. (The legislation provides support for this.) And that's the best way of all to deal with malpractice claims: by addressing the causes of medical malpractice itself.
Those are some of the wonkier things he's done. (There are others: introducing legislation to make it illegal for tax preparers to sell personal information, for instance, and legislation on chemical plant security and lead paint.) He has done other things that are more high-profile, including:
* His "health care for hybrids" bill
* An Energy Security Bill
* Various bills on relief for Hurricane Katrina, including aid for kids and a ban on no-bid contracts by FEMA
* A public database of all federal spending and contracts
* Trying to raise CAFE standards
* Veterans' health care
* Making certain kinds of voter intimidation illegal
* A lobbying reform bill (with Tom Coburn), which would do all sorts of good things, notably including one of my perennial favorites, requiring that bills be made available to members of Congress at least 72 hours before they have to vote on them.
* And a proposal to revamp ethics oversight, replacing the present ethics Committee with a bipartisan commission of retired judges and members of Congress, and allowing any citizen to report ethics violations. This would have fixed one of the huge problems with the present system, namely: that the members have to police themselves.
"With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest."
"Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ``the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.''"