Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama was back in fighting form

I hope you saw President Obama's State of the Union speech last night. He was direct, occasionally funny, clear in his intentions and challenges, willing to call the Republicans out on their amnesia as to when this recession/depression began and the causes for it. He even told the country what the Repubs will be saying about his budget proposals (cut taxes for the corporations and the rich, cut government spending that provides the safety net for the middle class, get rid of pesky regulations) and reminded them that this was what was partly responsible for getting us in the mess. He also took responsibility for some of the mistakes attributed to his year-old administration. (Ever hear George Bush take responsibility for anything?)

He was candid about the issues facing us and what his intended solutions. Within one speech he was Dad, cheerleader, mentor, coach, and, most of all, a very human President. Whether or not I agreed with everything he said, it was refreshing to have a president address his nation as grownups who are capable of understanding complex issues and forming our opinions without the aid of pundits or party leaders. Bravo, Mr. President.

Now the work begins.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

A Disappointed Obama Supporter

(This post appears on

I continue to be a supporter of President Obama, but there are issues that keep cropping up that should not be happening. The latest example is that the EPA has accepted an application from a coal company for mountain top mining.

This has been going on since the George H.W. Bush presidency (some have traced it back to the Reagan era), and has resulted in the total destruction of entire mountains in Appalachia. Streams have been blocked, water sources polluted, people have been sickened by the pollution, and those who could manage to get out have walked away from homes and land that date back several generations. An acquaintance of mine who lives in Kentucky wrote to say that the violation of the land feels to her like rape.

Republican presidents since Nixon have made it clear that they care little for the "average" American, while they are eager to let Big Business rape the environment in the pursuit of profit. When Obama was elected, his supporters felt assured this would change, that he is a man dedicated to improving our environment and safeguarding our natural resources.

Then he appointed Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior, a man who had a history of siding with corporations whose work depended on degrading the environment and encroaching on lands of Native Americans. This is one reason, for example, that western wolves are being slaughtered as I write this, and the Polar bear has not yet been added to the Endangered Species list.

Add to this the latest EPA mountain top mining approval, and a dark cloud appears over the environmental policies of the Obama presidency. True, he can't be responsible for everything the lower-level bureaucrats do, but the president sets the tone and determines the principles for his administration. When it comes to the environment and endangered species, the jury is still out, but it is not looking good.