Archive for September, 2009

September Meetings and Events

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

September is a busy month, here are events to add to your calendar. The North Oakland Democratic Club (NODC) needs your support in these areas:

Oakland County Democratic Party (OCDP) meeting Tuesday, Sept 8th, 7 PM at the Oakland County Commissioners Auditorium 1200 N. Telegraph Rd, Pontiac, MI

8th District Committee Meeting Thursday, September 10, 6:30 PM,St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 700 Columbia Dr, Durand, MI 48429 [ Map ] – find out what is happening with the 8th District!

Join the NODC Saturday, September 12, as we walk in the Carry Nation Festival Parade. The parade begins Airport Rd at Saginaw St. We will start from the p arking lot of VFW Post 5587, 201 Airport Dr at 9:15 AM Parade begins at 10 AM
The parade ends at Karl Richter Campus School 920 E Baird St the parade route is about 1.3 miles
We plan to provide transportation from Karl Richter back to the VFW Hall on Airport Dr.

The NODC monthly meeting Wed. September 16th at 6:30 PM at the Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen, 54 S. Main St (M-15), Clarkston, MI 48346
We will meet in the M/C, which is located in the lower level. We will be discussing plans for Septemberfest in Ortonville (9/26) and Taste of Clarkston (09/27)
Location: Clarkston Union (M/C) 54 Main St, Clarkston, MI 48346, Contact: Phil Reid 248-812-9203

The NODC will be in Ortonville for Septemberfest, Saturday, September 26th, join us as we represent the Democratic Party in Brandon Twp. We expect be in the area of Mill St and South St. [ Map ] with our canopy. Contact: Phil Reid 248-812-9203

The NODC will be in Clarkston for their annual Taste of Clarkston, Sunday, September 27th, we will be in the area of Main St. and Washington St.

October 4th is the annual OCDP Phil Hart Dinner, at the Somerset Inn in Troy MI, Dinner begins at 7 PM. This year’s keynote speaker will be Congressman Barney Frank. Tickets are $85, and the NODC should have a table at this event. Please let me know if you can attend (248-812-9203).

Please reply back to me if you have any questions (pwreid1@aol.com)
Phil Reid, Chair, North Oakland Democratic Club
8th District V/C, Oakland County Democratic Party

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama – Back to School Event

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Watch the video (15 minutes) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/32735374#32735374

Arlington, Virginia, September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn.

Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work.

You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn.

But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Get the Facts Straight on Healthcare Reform

Friday, September 4th, 2009

MYTH #1: Reform doesn’t affect people who already have health insurance.

THE FACTS: Reform affects all Americans who have ever worried about healthcare costs or about losing their coverage if they become too sick, lose their jobs or change jobs. Every day, 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance. Further, one of the driving forces behind government deficits is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid. A public plan option will provide competition with the insurance industry to help keep costs down. If healthcare costs are not brought under control, there will be fewer resources for education and other important public services. In addition, out-of-pocket healthcare costs for every family will continue to climb.

MYTH #2: A public plan option will force all Americans into a government-run health program.

THE FACTS: Individuals with insurance do not have to join the public option. As President Obama has said: “if you like what you have, you can keep it.” Reform will create a health insurance exchange for the uninsured; this will allow individuals to compare prices and health plans to decide which plan (public or private) is right for them and their families. The choice is left up to the individual. The public plan option will benefit uninsured as well as insured Americans by increasing competition and choice in the marketplace. It will hold private insurers accountable, and will lower costs while ensuring affordable healthcare. Surely private insurance companies cannot be afraid of competition from a non-profit group.

MYTH #3: Reforming healthcare will cut Medicare benefits for seniors.

THE FACTS: The president is committed to improving healthcare for all older Americans and to strengthening Medicare. The healthcare reform plan now being considered will extend Medicare coverage and preserve older Americans’ freedom to choose their doctor. It will eliminate wasteful overpayments to private plans (estimated at $160 billion); expand access to and end patient co-payments for Medicare preventive services; increase payments to healthcare providers, which would
prevent doctors from refusing Medicare patients; and phase out the Part D “doughnut hole” that has caused many older Americans to do without their medications so they can afford other necessities.

MYTH #4: Co-ops are an adequate substitute for a national public insurance plan.

THE FACTS: A co-op is not a substitute for a national public health insurance plan, nor are co-ops a new idea. During the 1930s and 1940s, a healthcare cooperative movement was introduced in the United States; it failed. Co-ops were too small and undercapitalized to survive a physicians’ boycott. Today, experts estimate that co-ops would need at least 25,000 participants to be financially viable and more than 500,000 participants to be able to negotiate for lower rates. They would be essentially too small and too fractured to have effective bargaining power against the health insurance industry. For example, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan controls 65 percent of the state’s commercial market and would not be challenged by a “start-up” co-op.

MYTH #5: America’s deficit will increase by $1 trillion due to healthcare reform and force many families to go broke.

THE FACTS: President Obama has said he will not sign a bill that would add to the national debt or deficit. To honor this commitment, he has proposed that two-thirds of the cost of reform be paid for by reducing waste, fraud and abuse in existing programs and ending overpayments to insurance companies. The remaining revenue will come from limiting the itemized tax deductions for couples making more than $250,000 a year.

The current healthcare system results in $700 billion a year in wasteful and inefficient spending—causing financial strain on many families. Placing caps on out-of-pocket expenditures, including co-payments, and limiting extravagant spending by insurance companies are some of the new proposals to hold down rising healthcare costs for many working families.

MYTH #6: Congress is moving too quickly.

THE FACTS: The time to reform our healthcare system is now. Many Americans are uninsured or struggle to pay the soaring costs of care. As costs continue to rise, even those with employer-provided insurance pay a heavy price in forgone pay raises, increases in insurance deductibles and premiums, and greater insecurity about the availability of high-quality healthcare in the future.

Since 2000, employee contributions to company-provided health insurance have increased more than 120 percent, and out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-payments for medications, and co-insurance for physician and hospital visits have risen 115 percent. Skyrocketing healthcare costs strain family budgets, burden businesses of all sizes, squeeze state and federal budgets, and are delaying America’s economic recovery.

Send a letter to your U.S. senators and representative and encourage them to reform healthcare now.

Sourced: American Federation of Teachers