Saturday, June 23, 2012

What Has Obama Done?

How many times have you read or heard from people who claim that President Obama " has done nothing" during his 3 years in office. Well, you can respond with a remarkable list of accomplishments. Use them to write your own letters, or as a response to know nothing political activists. The list is by no means complete, but it will give you plenty of content to use in your discussions.

Increased auto efficiency standards
Assassinated Osama bin Ladin
Passed air toxic regulations under the Clean Air Act
Ended the Iraq War
Eliminated the need for Interior Department approval for development on Indian Reservations
Passed historic health care legislation --Affordable Healthcare Act
20 year ban on new mining claims on one million acres near the Grand Canyon
Reducing defense budget by eliminating two Army brigades from Europe.
Rejected Keystone XL pipeline project on 1/18/2012 due to an unrealistic approval deadline imposed by Congress. Canada can resubmit proposal at a later time.
Reformed School Lunch Program to increase nutritional standards for students and lower caloric and fat levels.
Establish a mortgage program enabling qualified mortgage holders to rewrite loans at lower rates to avoid foreclosure.
Pushing to end military role in Afghanistan in 2013.
Signed the new START Treaty in 2010 that mandates a reduction of long range nuclear weapons to 1,550 by Feb. 2018.
Education reform--Race to the Top-- Increase in student achievement standards in 46 states.
Reformed the Student Loan Program to streamline funding and eliminate overhead costs imposed by lenders.
Patient's Bill of Rights
Drug discounts for Senior Citizens
[ ] Successful bailout of the US auto industry. Loans have been paid back and the industry is investing in new plants and technology.
DADT was repealed.
The President signed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The President signed the Lili Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
The President appointed two new Associate Justices to the Supreme Court
US will pay $ 1 billion to 41 Native American tribes in a settlement for long standing grievances including land mismanagement and unlawful use of properties.
Obama signed the JOBS Act into law. Provides for crowd funding for small businesses.
Declared that same sex marriage should be legalized. (May, 2012).
The President proposed to reduce air quality standard for fine soot particles from 15 ug/m3 to 12-13 ug/m3.
The President limits the deportation of young immigrants.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Elizabeth Warren Watercolor by Diana Zipeto

Elizabeth Warren watercolor by Diana Zipeto, daughter of Andover DTC member John Zipeto.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Warren's Character Sets Her Apart

To the editor:

Let's put the facts on the table. First, it is complete nonsense to insinuate that Warren obtained any affirmative action advantage in her being hired as a full professor at several of the best law schools in the country. Such was the statement of the noted Professor Charles Fried, who served as U.S. Solicitor General under President Reagan - one agreed with by all those involved in the hiring process. Second, any school would be fortunate to have Warren on their faculty. 

It is not disputed that Warren is a remarkable teacher. No wonder Harvard actively recruited her! At the U. of Pennsylvania her peers and students selected her for the Lindback Award for distinguished teaching (in 1994). At Harvard, two graduating classes - for the first time in the school's history - selected her as best law school teacher (the Sacks-Freund Teaching Award).
The fact that she is a great teacher is evident from NPR's recent report based on interviews with 60 former students - including those who clerked for a number of conservative Supreme Court Justices. The reporter "... could not find one former student with anything negative to say about Warren." Rather, their comments affirmed that Warren was the type of teacher who cared deeply about her students, was supremely generous with her time, was witty, wise and "cool", and made a significant positive contribution to their personal and professional lives. We should all be lucky enough to have such a teacher!

A person who cares deeply about doing the best job she can, who listens and empathizes, who gives generously of her time - even when there is no remunerative reward, who communicates effectively with those of diverse backgrounds and political leanings, and who will go the extra mile to help others - surely this is a person with the kind of character and seriousness we respect and admire. As Elizabeth Warren's teaching history shows, we are fortunate to have her running as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Lois Karfunkel

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Elizabeth Warren Stands Up for Women

Elizabeth Warren Stands Up for Women
Scott Brown Opposes Equal Pay for Equal Work

On June 5, 2012, Republican Senator Scott Brown voted “NO” on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill aimed to decrease the wage gap between men and women. “Across the nation, women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, and over their careers, that means they take home hundreds of thousands of dollars less than men,” Warren said. “Women deserve equal pay for equal work – especially now, when women are the sole breadwinner or the co-breadwinner of so many families.”

According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, the average woman in Massachusetts who works full time takes home $46,213 per year, while the average man in Massachusetts makes $56,959 per year. That’s an annual gap of $10,746 between men and women who work full time. And, during a 40-year career, the average women makes $434,000 less on average than men for comparable work [Center for American Progress].

Scott Brown has a track record of voting against women. He first voted against paycheck fairness in November 2010 and, a few months ago, Brown co-sponsored the Blunt Amendment to let any employer or insurance company refuse to provide women’s heath care services, Scott Brown and his team believe that paycheck fairness and the effort to close the wage gap is a “burden.” Elizabeth believes that what you’re paid for your work should be based on your experience and ability.

“With his vote, Scott Brown is telling the women of Massachusetts he thinks it’s okay that they continue to earn less than men with the same education doing the same work. His vote is costing Massachusetts families hard earned dollars that they can’t afford to lose in these tough times,” said Warren.

The Paycheck Fairness Act works to ensure that wage rate differentials are a result of relevant job-related factors like education, training, or experiences, rather than sex. It increases protection against retaliation and strengthens enforcement mechanisms. In addition, it improves data collection, authorizes training programs, and requires the creation of assistance programs to help small businesses. The Republican Party’s attacks on women need to stop, and that starts with making sure women receive equal pay for equal work. Tell Scott Brown that women deserve to earn fair wages: