Tag Archives: democrats

Obama for America


Early this morning, the Senate made history and health reform cleared its most important hurdle yet — garnering the 60 votes needed to move toward a final vote in that chamber later this week.

I’m grateful to Senator Harry Reid and every senator who’s been working around the clock to make this happen. And I’m grateful to you, and every member of the Organizing for America community, for all the work you have done to make this progress possible.

After a nearly century-long struggle, we are now on the cusp of making health insurance reform a reality in the United States of America.As with any legislation, compromise is part of the process. But I’m pleased that recently added provisions have made this landmark bill even stronger. Between the time when the bill passes and the time when the insurance exchanges get up and running, insurance companies that try to jack up their rates do so at their own peril. Those who hike their prices may be barred from selling plans on the exchanges.

And while insurance companies will be prevented from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions once the exchanges are open, in the meantime there will be a high-risk pool where people with pre-existing conditions can purchase affordable coverage.    

A recent amendment has made these protections even stronger. Insurance companies will now be prohibited from denying coverage to children immediately after this bill passes. There’s also explicit language in this bill that will protect a patient’s choice of doctor. And small businesses will get additional assistance as well.

These protections are in addition to the ones we’ve been talking about for some time. No longer will insurance companies be able to drop your coverage if you become sick and no longer will you have to pay unlimited amounts out of your own pocket for treatments that you need.

Under this bill families will save on their premiums; businesses that would see their costs rise if we don’t act will save money now and in the future. This bill will strengthen Medicare and extend the life of the program. Because it’s paid for and gets rid of waste and inefficiency in our health care system, this will be the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade.

Finally, this reform will extend coverage to more than 30 million Americans who don’t have it.

These are not small changes. These are big changes. They’re fundamental reforms. They will save money. They will save lives.

And your passion, your work, your organizing helped make all of this possible. Now it’s time to finish the job.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

On This Day ~~ Haiti … In memory


Massive earthquake strikes Haiti, 2010

On this day in 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastates the Caribbean island nation of Haiti. The quake, which was the strongest to strike the region in more than 200 years, left over 200,000 people dead and some 895,000 Haitians homeless.

The earthquake hit southern Haiti at 4:53 p.m. local time. The nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince, a densely populated city located about 15 miles from the quake’s epicenter, suffered widespread devastation. Countless dwellings were reduced to rubble, while hospitals, churches and schools collapsed and roads were blocked with debris. Numerous government structures were heavily damaged or destroyed, including the presidential palace, parliament building and main prison. (At the time of the quake, Haiti lacked a national building code, and many structures were shoddily constructed.) In the aftermath of the quake, amidst fears that victims’ decomposing corpses could spread disease, trucks picked up thousands of bodies and dumped them into mass graves.

Even before the earthquake, Haiti, which occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic occupies the other two-thirds), was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80 percent of its 9 million residents existing in poverty. Political corruption and violence, disease, malnutrition and limited access to education were a way of life for many in Haiti, which gained its independence from France in an 1804 slave revolt.

A large-scale, international relief operation was launched soon after the quake hit, with the United States taking charge and sending thousands of military troops to Haiti to deliver supplies, assist with search-and-rescue efforts and help maintain order. Relief efforts initially were hampered by earthquake damage to roads, communication systems and the Port-au-Prince airport and main port.

Governments and individuals around the world made donations and pledges of aid to Haiti totaling billions of dollars. However, on the first-year anniversary of the disaster, reconstruction efforts were still in their infancy. Thousands of people left homeless by the quake were living in tents, and only a small portion of the heavy debris resulting from the disaster had been cleared.

resource: history.com

i would like to add that the problem is getting access to education due to dollars and the fact that they are mostly privately run least we talk about the limited jobs in public schools and wages tend to be lower in non-public schools.

drug benefit expands to 1million more Seniors…the program is called Extra Help


Electronic Publication …  www.socialsecurity.gov

“It’s extra help,” Checker said in an interview, “and this is what I’m all about.”   To help promote the new twist in the law, Astrue enlisted Chubby Checker, who danced and sang “The Twist” to the top of the pop charts in the early 1960s. Those too young to remember Checker probably don’t qualify for the 65-and-up .

Who can get Extra Help?

Anyone who has Medicare can get Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Some people with limited income and resources are eligible for Extra Help to pay for the costs–monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments–related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. To qualify for Extra Help:

  • You must reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.
  • Your resources must be limited to $12,510 for an individual or $25,010 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds. We do not count your house and car as resources; and
  • Your annual income must be limited to $16,245 for an individual or $21,855 for a married couple living together. Even if your annual income is higher, you still may be able to get some help. Some examples where your income may be higher are if you or your spouse:
    • Support other family members who live with you;
    • Have earnings from work; or
    • Live in Alaska or Hawaii.

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How does the new law change what is counted as income and resources?

Beginning January 1, 2010, when determining your eligibility for Extra Help:

  • We will no longer count as a resource any life insurance policy; and
  • We will no longer count as income the help you receive regularly from someone else to pay your household expenses—food, mortgage, rent, heating fuel or gas, electricity, water, and property taxes.
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What else should I know about the new law?

If you already receive Extra Help, you will not need to reapply in 2010. Social Security will see if you are entitled to any additional Extra Help because we no longer count your life insurance or help with household expenses.

Beginning January 1, 2010, when you file your application for Extra Help, you also can start your application process for the Medicare Savings Programs—state programs that provide help with other Medicare costs. Social Security will send information to your state unless you tell us not to on the Extra Help application. Your state will contact you to help you apply for a Medicare Savings Program. These Medicare Savings Programs help people with limited income and resources pay for their Medicare expenses. The Medicare Savings Programs help pay for your Medicare Part B (medical insurance) premiums. For some people, the Medicare Savings Programs also may pay for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) premiums, if any, and Part A and B deductibles and co-payments.

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How do I apply for Extra Help?

It is easy to apply for Extra Help. Just complete Social Security’s Application for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020). Here’s how:

After you apply, Social Security will review your application and send you a letter to let you know if you qualify for the Extra Help. Once you qualify, you can choose a Medicare prescription drug plan. If you do not select a plan, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will do it for you. The sooner you join a plan the sooner you begin receiving benefits.

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Why should I apply for Extra Help online?

Our online application is secure and offers several advantages. It takes you through the process, step by step, with a series of self-help screens. The screens will tell you what information you need to complete the application and will guide you in answering the questions fully. You can apply from any computer at your own pace. You can start and stop at any time during the process, so you can leave the application and go back later to update or complete any of the required information. We are careful to protect your personal information

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How can I get more information?

For more information about getting Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug plan costs, visit www.socialsecurity.gov or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Social Security representatives are available to help you complete your application.

If you need information about Medicare Savings Programs, Medicare prescription drug plans, how to enroll in a plan, or to request a copy of the Medicare & You handbook, please visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY, 1-877-486-2048). When you call, you also can request information about how to contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). In addition, you can find your local SHIP contact information on the back of your Medicare handbook or obtain the information online at www.medicare.gov/contacts/staticpages/ships.aspx.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, 1941 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS (“THE FOUR FREEDOMS”) (6 January 1941)


[1] Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Seventy-seventh Congress:Voices of Democracy

[2] I address you, the Members of the members of this new Congress, at a moment unprecedented in the history of the Union. I use the word “unprecedented,” because at no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today.

[3] Since the permanent formation of our Government under the Constitution, in 1789, most of the periods of crisis in our history have related to our domestic affairs. And fortunately, only one of these–the four-year War Between the States–ever threatened our national unity. Today, thank God, one hundred and thirty million Americans, in forty-eight States, have forgotten points of the compass in our national unity.

[4] It is true that prior to 1914 the United States often had been disturbed by events in other Continents. We had even engaged in two wars with European nations and in a number of undeclared wars in the West Indies, in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific for the maintenance of American rights and for the principles of peaceful commerce. But in no case had a serious threat been raised against our national safety or our continued independence.

[5] What I seek to convey is the historic truth that the United States as a nation has at all times maintained opposition, clear, definite opposition, to any attempt to lock us in behind an ancient Chinese wall while the procession of civilization went past. Today, thinking of our children and of their children, we oppose enforced isolation for ourselves or for any other part of the Americas.

[6] That determination of ours, extending over all these years, was proved, for example, in the early days during the quarter century of wars following the French Revolution.

[7] While the Napoleonic struggles did threaten interests of the United States because of the French foothold in the West Indies and in Louisiana, and while we engaged in the War of 1812 to vindicate our right to peaceful trade, it is nevertheless clear that neither France nor Great Britain, nor any other nation, was aiming at domination of the whole world.

[8] And in like fashion from 1815 to 1914–ninety-nine years–no single war in Europe or in Asia constituted a real threat against our future or against the future of any other American nation.

[9] Except in the Maximilian interlude in Mexico, no foreign power sought to establish itself in this Hemisphere; and the strength of the British fleet in the Atlantic has been a friendly strength. It is still a friendly strength.

[10] Even when the World War broke out in 1914, it seemed to contain only small threat of danger to our own American future. But, as time went on, as we remember, the American people began to visualize what the downfall of democratic nations might mean to our own democracy.

[11] We need not overemphasize imperfections in the Peace of Versailles. We need not harp on failure of the democracies to deal with problems of world reconstruction. We should remember that the Peace of 1919 was far less unjust than the kind of “pacification” which began even before Munich, and which is being carried on under the new order of tyranny that seeks to spread over every continent today. The American people have unalterably set their faces against that tyranny.

[12] I suppose that every realist knows that the democratic way of life is at this moment being directly assailed in every part of the world–assailed either by arms, or by secret spreading of poisonous propaganda by those who seek to destroy unity and promote discord in nations that are still at peace.

[13] During sixteen long months this assault has blotted out the whole pattern of democratic life in an appalling number of independent nations, great and small. And the assailants are still on the march, threatening other nations, great and small.

[14]Therefore, as your President, performing my constitutional duty to “give to the Congress information of the state of the Union,” I find it, unhappily, necessary to report that the future and the safety of our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders.

[15] Armed defense of democratic existence is now being gallantly waged in four continents. If that defense fails, all the population and all the resources of Europe, and Asia, and Africa and Australasia will be dominated by conquerors. And let us remember that the total of those populations in those four continents, the total of those populations and their resources greatly exceeds the sum total of the population and the resources of the whole of the Western Hemisphere–yes, many times over.

[16] In times like these it is immature–and incidentally, untrue–for anybody to brag that an unprepared America, single-handed, and with one hand tied behind its back, can hold off the whole world.

[17] No realistic American can expect from a dictator’s peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion–or even good business.

[18] Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. “Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

[19] As a nation, we may take pride in the fact that we are softhearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed.

[20] We must always be wary of those who with sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal preach the “ism” of appeasement.

[21] We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests.

[22] I have recently pointed out how quickly the tempo of modern warfare could bring into our very midst the physical attack which we must eventually expect if the dictator nations win this war.

[23] There is much loose talk of our immunity from immediate and direct invasion from across the seas. Obviously, as long as the British Navy retains its power, no such danger exists. Even if there were no British Navy, it is not probable that any enemy would be stupid enough to attack us by landing troops in the United States from across thousands of miles of ocean, until it had acquired strategic bases from which to operate.

[24] But we learn much from the lessons of the past years in Europe-particularly the lesson of Norway, whose essential seaports were captured by treachery and surprise built up over a series of years.

[25] The first phase of the invasion of this Hemisphere would not be the landing of regular troops. The necessary strategic points would be occupied by secret agents and by their dupes- and great numbers of them are already here, and in Latin America.

[26] As long as the aggressor nations maintain the offensive, they-not we–will choose the time and the place and the method of their attack.

[27] And that is why the future of all the American Republics is today in serious danger.

[28] That is why this Annual Message to the Congress is unique in our history.

[29] That is why every member of the Executive Branch of the Government and every member of the Congress face great responsibility and great accountability.

[30] The need of the moment is that our actions and our policy should be devoted primarily–almost exclusively–to meeting this foreign peril. For all our domestic problems are now a part of the great emergency.

[31] Just as our national policy in internal affairs has been based upon a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all of our fellow men within our gates, so our national policy in foreign affairs has been based on a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all nations, large and small. And the justice of morality must and will win in the end.

[32] Our national policy is this:

[33] First, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to all-inclusive national defense.

[34] Second, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to full support of all those resolute people everywhere who are resisting aggression and are thereby keeping war away from our Hemisphere. By this support, we express our determination that the democratic cause shall prevail; and we strengthen the defense and the security of our own nation.

[35] Third, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to the proposition that principles of morality and considerations for our own security will never permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and sponsored by appeasers. We know that enduring peace cannot be bought at the cost of other people’s freedom.

[36] In the recent national election there was no substantial difference between the two great parties in respect to that national policy. No issue was fought out on this line before the American electorate. And today it is abundantly evident that American citizens everywhere are demanding and supporting speedy and complete action in recognition of obvious danger.

[37] Therefore, the immediate need is a swift and driving increase in our armament production.

[38] Leaders of industry and labor have responded to our summons. Goals of speed have been set. In some cases these goals are being reached ahead of time; in some cases we are on schedule; in other cases there are slight but not serious delays; and in some cases–and I am sorry to say very important cases–we are all concerned by the slowness of the accomplishment of our plans.

[39] The Army and Navy, however, have made substantial progress during the past year. Actual experience is improving and speeding up our methods of production with every passing day. And today’s best is not good enough for tomorrow.

[40] I am not satisfied with the progress thus far made. The men in charge of the program represent the best in training, in ability, and in patriotism. They are not satisfied with the progress thus far made. None of us will be satisfied until the job is done.

[41] No matter whether the original goal was set too high or too low, our objective is quicker and better results.

[43] We are behind schedule in turning out finished airplanes; we are working day and night to solve the innumerable problems and to catch up.

[44] We are ahead of schedule in building warships but we are working to get even further ahead of that schedule.

[45] To change a whole nation from a basis of peacetime production of implements of peace to a basis of wartime production of implements of war is no small task. And the greatest difficulty comes at the beginning of the program, when new tools, new plant facilities, new assembly lines, and new ship ways must first be constructed before the actual materiel begins to flow steadily and speedily from them.

[46] The Congress, of course, must rightly keep itself informed at all times of the progress of the program. However, there is certain information, as the Congress itself will readily recognize, which, in the interests of our own security and those of the nations that we are supporting, must of needs be kept in confidence.

[47] New circumstances are constantly begetting new needs for our safety. I shall ask this Congress for greatly increased new appropriations and authorizations to carry on what we have begun.

[48] I also ask this Congress for authority and for funds sufficient to manufacture additional munitions and war supplies of many kinds, to be turned over to those nations which are now in actual war with aggressor nations.

[49] Our most useful and immediate role is to act as an arsenal for them as well as for ourselves. They do not need man power, but they do need billions of dollars worth of the weapons of defense.

[50] The time is near when they will not be able to pay for them all in ready cash. We cannot, and we will not, tell them that they must surrender, merely because of present inability to pay for the weapons which we know they must have.

[51] I do not recommend that we make them a loan of dollars with which to pay for these weapons–a loan to be repaid in dollars.

[52] I recommend that we make it possible for those nations to continue to obtain war materials in the United States, fitting their orders into our own program. And nearly all of their materiel would, if the time ever came, be useful in our own defense.

[53] Taking counsel of expert military and naval authorities, considering what is best for our own security, we are free to decide how much should be kept here and how much should be sent abroad to our friends who by their determined and heroic resistance are giving us time in which to make ready our own defense.

[54] For what we send abroad, we shall be repaid, repaid within a reasonable time following the close of hostilities, repaid in similar materials, or, at our option, in other goods of many kinds, which they can produce and which we need.

[55] Let us say to the democracies: “We Americans are vitally concerned in your defense of freedom. We are putting forth our energies, our resources and our organizing powers to give you the strength to regain and maintain a free world. We shall send you, in ever-increasing numbers, ships, planes, tanks, guns. This is our purpose and our pledge.”

[56] In fulfillment of this purpose we will not be intimidated by the threats of dictators that they will regard as a breach of international law or as an act of war our aid to the democracies which dare to resist their aggression. Such aid . . . such aid is not an act of war, even if a dictator should unilaterally proclaim it so to be.

[57] And when the dictators, if the dictators, are ready to make war upon us, they will not wait for an act of war on our part. They did not wait for Norway or Belgium or the Netherlands to commit an act of war.

[58] Their only interest is in a new one-way international law, which lacks mutuality in its observance, and, therefore, becomes an instrument of oppression.

[59] The happiness of future generations of Americans may well depend upon how effective and how immediate we can make our aid felt. No one can tell the exact character of the emergency situations that we may be called upon to meet. The Nation’s hands must not be tied when the Nation’s life is in danger.

[60] Yes, and we must all prepare–all of us prepare–to make the sacrifices that the emergency– almost as serious as war itself–demands. Whatever stands in the way of speed and efficiency in defense–in defense preparations of any kind–must give way to the national need.

[61] A free nation has the right to expect full cooperation from all groups. A free nation has the right to look to the leaders of business, of labor, and of agriculture to take the lead in stimulating effort, not among other groups but within their own groups.

[62] The best way of dealing with the few slackers or trouble makers in our midst is, first, to shame them by patriotic example, and, if that fails, to use the sovereignty of government to save government.

[63] As men do not live by bread alone, they do not fight by armaments alone. Those who man our defenses, and those behind them who build our defenses, must have the stamina and the courage which come from unshakable belief in the manner of life which they are defending. The mighty action that we are calling for cannot be based on a disregard of all things the worth fighting for.

[64] The Nation takes great satisfaction and much strength from the things which have been done to make its people conscious of their individual stake in the preservation of democratic life in America. Those things have toughened the fibre of our people, have renewed their faith and strengthened their devotion to the institutions we make ready to protect.

[65] Certainly this is no time for any of us to stop thinking about the social and economic problems which are the root cause of the social revolution which is today a supreme factor in the world.

[66] For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

[67] Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.

[68] Jobs for those who can work.

[69] Security for those who need it.

[70] The ending of special privilege for the few.

[71] The preservation of civil liberties for all.

[72] The enjoyment . . . the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.

[73] These are the simple, the basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.

[74] Many subjects connected with our social economy call for immediate improvement.

[75] As examples:

[76] We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance.

[77] We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.

[78] We should plan a better system by which persons deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it.

[79] I have called for personal sacrifice. And I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call.

[80] A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. In my Budget Message I will recommend that a greater portion of this great defense program be paid for from taxation than we are paying for today. No person should try, or be allowed, to get rich out of the program; and the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation.

[81] If the Congress maintains these principles, the voters, putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks, will give you their applause.

[82] In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

[83] The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.

[84] The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

[85] The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

86] The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.

[87] That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

[88] To that new order we oppose the greater conception–the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

[89] Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change–in a perpetual peaceful revolution–a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions–without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.

[90] This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.

[91] To that high concept there can be no end save victory.

Textual Authentication Information

On this Day … Moby Dick Published


On this day in 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: “Call me Ishmael.” Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.

Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and as a young man spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee, a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results. Melville’s sixth book, Moby-Dick, was first published in October 1851 in London, in three volumes titled The Whale, and then in the U.S. a month later. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville’s friend and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The Scarlet Letter.

After Moby-Dick‘s disappointing reception, Melville continued to produce novels, short stories (Bartleby) and poetry, but writing wasn’t paying the bills so in 1865 he returned to New York to work as a customs inspector, a job he held for 20 years.

Melville died in 1891, largely forgotten by the literary world. By the 1920s, scholars had rediscovered his work, particularly Moby-Dick, which would eventually become a staple of high school reading lists across the United States. Billy Budd, Melville’s final novel, was published in 1924, 33 years after his death.

history.com