4/15/2009 – Editorials


By Richard Peterson

 

It was a welcome and refreshing spectacle to see President Obama greeted with such enthusiasm in Europe and the Middle East. The United States of America is once again looked upon as the country most nations want to emulate.

Obama told the gatherings over and over again that he wanted the US to partner with them to achieve shared goals, that the US couldn’t carry the load alone. His message was received very well by those who previously had nothing but contempt for the US and its policies under the Bush Administration.

That was quite a contrast to the Bush years when the US tried to bully its way through foreign relations. Bush’s primary negotiating tactic was to demand that a country give him everything he wanted and then we’d talk. That didn’t work, of course, which is why the Bush Administration was such a colossal failure on the world stage.

Obama isn’t someone we need to feel ashamed of. He’s just what we need. Writing in the Sargent County Teller at Milnor, Bill Anderson made a list of a few of Obama’s accomplishments in only three months on the job:

1) Extended health insurance coverage to 10 million American children, financing it with a 69c increase in the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes;

2) Set a timetable for the withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq;

3) Ended torture as an instrument of the US government’s interrogation techniques;

4) Secured the passage of the $787 billion economic stimulus package;

5) Is in the process of restructuring the regulation of the American banking industry;

6) Is in the process of restructuring the American automobile industry;

7) Re-established the nation’s commitment to halting the potentially disastrous effects of global warming;

8) Reaffirmed his commitment to the rule of law in protecting the rights of individual citizens;

9) Began the restoration of good relationships with our European and Asian allies; and

10) Removed or reversed restrictions on scientific and medical research which had no reasonable bases in science or ethics.

Naturally there are critics. Some say he’s spending too much. This is strange criticism coming from the Bush supporters who spent 16 trillion dollars in the last eight years while turning a projected five trillion budget surplus into 11 trillion in debt.

Believing that government is bad, the conservatives removed regulatory rules and were lax at enforcing those that were there, resulting in plunging the nation’s financial system into ruins and taking the global economy down as well.

Those who are bad-mouthing Obama are the same people who want us to go back to the policies of George W. Bush. That won’t happen anytime soon. It will take quite a while for the American people to forget what the conservatives did to them.

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Conservatives love to point out that because Congress required banks to lend money to minorities, most of whom were poor, that was the cause of the financial crisis.

This is something we can all understand. People are buying houses they can’t afford.

However, that’s just more right-wing nonsense!

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) played a minor part in the mess which was actually caused by wild speculation in the financial sector. The primary cause boils down to the so-called Credit Default Swaps, something few people understand.

According to Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune: ". . . the CRA applies only to banks and thrifts that get federal insurance. It does not even apply to three-fourths of the institutions that made subprime loans, the high-interest loans at the heart of Wall Street’s credit collapse.

"Also, nothing in the CRA requires banks to offer subprime loans, interest-only loans, no-money-down loans or any of the other gimmicks that inflated the now-fizzling housing bubble. Quite the opposite, the law calls on lenders to meet the credit needs of the communities in which they are chartered, ‘consistent with the safe and sound operation’ of those lenders.’ "

Check out the article at http://www.newsweek.com/id/162789 by Daniel Gross. He explains where the blame really lies, with greedy and reckless financial institutions run into the ground by wealthy white people.

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Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years

old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5,000 per month.

My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was

60. Now he’s 97 years old and we don’t know where he is.

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

The only reason I would take up walking is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

I have to walk early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.

I joined a health club last year and spent about 400 bucks. Haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to go there.

Every time I hear the dirty word "exercise," I wash out my mouth with chocolate.

I do have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

The advantage of exercising every day is that when you die, they’ll say, "Well, she looks good doesn’t she."

If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

I know I got a lot of exercise the last few years just getting over the hill.

We all get heavier as we get older, because there’s a lot more information in our heads.

Every time I start thinking too much about how I look, I just find a Happy Hour and by the time I leave, I look just fine.


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