Friday, December 28, 2012

This Is What Teachers Learning to Shoot Guns Look Like



from The Atlantic Wire by Alexander Abad-Santos



In Utah, nearly 200 teachers came out to receive free firearm training. In Ohio, a pilot program to teach teachers how to use guns is at capacity. And in Arizona, the attorney general has outlined plan to arm school principals as the less "extreme" option. Even before new legislation is considered on the state or federal level in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, educators across the country are learning how to shoot — for real, and right now.
The National Rifle Association's plan to put armed guards in every school is one thing. Pundit suggestions to"gang rush mass shooters" and look for "huskier 12-year-old boys" are another story altogether. But when gun activists who say armed teachers can make a difference are luring hundreds of willing participants to an indoor sports complex, as Reuters reports they did late Thursday, well, you can start to see why a majority of people in this country still view the NRA favorably.
The apparent post-Newtown craze for gun-rights activists to transform teachers into gun-class students has arrived despite the fact that no armed civilian has killed a mass shooter in the past three decades. "Not one of 62 mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years has been stopped this way [by an armed civilian]," reported Mother Jones's Mark Follman, adding that the majority of mass shooters killed themselves: "More broadly, attempts by armed civilians to intervene in shooting rampages are rare—and are successful even more rarely. (Two people who tried it in recent years were gravely wounded or killed.)" The NRA's Wayne LaPierre has repeatedly suggested since Newtown that the armed guard at Columbine High School was not prepared to do enough to stop the shooting there — a claim that has been largely debunked. Several experiments have shown that average civilians do not perform well with minimal firearm training.
Gun rights activists are hoping to reverse history, however, with free training sessions that are expected to continue. Thursday's event in Salt Lake City was organized by the Utah Shooting Sports Council, an advocacy group witha slapdash website that uses language like "Gun Control zealots," references Nazi Germany ("Various schemes to establish de facto gun registration lists have been implemented in Nazi Germany"), and proclaims that "Gun Control is a FAILURE":
Nevertheless, there was the group on Thursday, holding hands — and guns — with teachers like this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And there were these teachers, too, sitting in gun class:
Meanwhile, in Ohio, the most popular firearms class is being run by Buckeye Firearms Association, a self-described political action committee that works "to elect pro-gun candidates and lobby for pro-gun legislation," according to the group's website. This was their Christmas message, and the image just seems a little, well, off — if you're considering what happened exactly two weeks ago in Newtown.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jay Carney Evades Questions About Prop 8 & DOMA


Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 12/11/2012

by 


This is at the very end of yesterdays press briefing:

Justin.

Q    Jay, will the administration take a public stance on the Proposition-8 case that was taken up by the Supreme Court on Friday, in particular some of the broader questions raised by that case, including whether or not the Constitution protects the rights of same-sex couples to marry?
MR. CARNEY:  Well, I appreciate the question, but for comment on the Court’s actions on that case, I would point you to the Department of Justice.  As you know, the administration is not a party to this case, and I just have nothing more for you on it.
Q    Did the President have any reaction to the court taking up the DOMA or the Prop-8 case?
MR. CARNEY:  I have nothing more for you on that.  Appreciate it.
Q    -- going to be able tell us what the President’s views are on that case.  Is the President not concerned about the outcome of that case?
MR. CARNEY:  Again, I just don’t have anything more for you, and I’d refer you to the Department of Justice.
Thank you all very much.
  
END
2:40 P.M. EST

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Fantastic Review Of A Fantastic Show


from the Examiner.com

DECEMBER 2, 2012 BY: STEVEWILSON

Kansas City native and musical icon Marilyn Maye joined the Heartland Men’s Chorus at the Folly Theatre for “Cool Yule, Big Jazz Band and Marilyn Maye!” on Friday night. Maye made a record 76 appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Her recording of “Too Late Now” was selected by the Arts Council of the Smithsonian Institution for its album of the 110 Best American Compositions of the Twentieth
Century. The beautiful voices of 150-plus singers combined marvelously with the Mid America Freedom Band as they opened the program with Irving Berlins “Happy Holidays” and “Holiday Inn”. The chorus performed three more songs before the Heartaches took to the stage and sung “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as a tribute for their Ad Astra group. Ad Astra is Latin for “to the stars” and the group is filled with members of the chorus who have passed this year and previous years. After the dedication to the Ad Astra group it was up to soloist John

Edmonds, who also performed with the Heartaches, to bring holiday cheer back to the audience with his rendition of “Little Jack Frost Get Lost.” In many of the programs performed by the chorus the audience has been treated to solo performances by Edmonds. Marilyn Maye took center stage and performed several selections with her personal musicians before intermission. It is fantastic to see Maye take to a Kansas City stage one more time to entertain the audience. Her voice is as strong as ever and her showmanship is second to none. She has gotten older and may occasionally forget a word or line or verse, but she makes light of it with humor. “Little naps are great” she said after asking her conductor to begin a song over. After the intermission the chorus returned to the stage and performed “Cool Yule”, written by Steve Allen. The next few selections including “Boogie Woogie Santa Clause” and “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas” were lively, upbeat and brought holiday magic to the audience’s ears. Soloist Steven Jeffrey Karlin sung “Hot Hannukah” before Marilyn Maye returned to the stage and performed several more selections, some of which included the Heartland Men’s Chorus. In this era of war, hunger, poverty, discrimination and disease it would hard to imagine a holiday season without a visit to the Heartland Men’s Chorus. This is one of the few gifts that get better every time it is unwrapped.
Steve Wilson, Kansas City Theater Examiner

Friday, November 23, 2012

Broadway Rocks

I'll be singing on the stage of Helzberg Hall with the Heartland Mens Chorus in January. Ticket information is listed below along with more information.


JANUARY 24-26

HELZBERG HALL | KAUFFMAN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

STEVEN REINEKE CONDUCTOR
THE HEARTLAND MEN’S CHORUS
DR. JOSEPH P. NADEAU ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

This rousing evening will be packed with show stopping numbers from the latest generation of Broadway musicals like Wicked and Mamma Mia. You’ll be tapping your toes and dancing in the aisles to the most electrifying songs ever to hit the Great White Way! Featuring upbeat favorites from such high energy shows as The Lion King, Rent, Hairspray and more.

To order Youth tickets for ages 8 and above, please call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400.

Thu 1/24/13 7:30PM
More Information Purchase
Fri 1/25/13 8:00PM
More Information Purchase
Sat 1/26/13 8:00PM
More Information Purchase

Bukeka's New Music Video! You Can Be A Part of the Video

Bukeka


First I want to thank all my fans for your continued love and support. Now I have some incredible news.

I am shooting my first music video to track 11 on my Spirit Is Alive CD, "SHINE". The video will be shot in 3 locations in the Kansas City area. First I want to thank all my fans for your continued love and support.

I am shooting my first music video to track 11 on my Spirit Is Alive CD, "SHINE". The video will be shot in 3 locations in the Kansas City area.

One of the locations will be one where you can join in, the horse fountain on the Country Club Plaza. There will be a Facebook invitation and a Meetup annoncement to give you the opportunity to be in the video with me.

You will have the chance to tell the world how you shine. Do you shine when you dance, when you teach, when you help others? How do you shine in the world?

If you wouId like to be behind the scenes, your donation would be greatly appreciated. $25.00 or more would be awesome, AND whatever is in your heart to do will make an impact. This link will take you CVE Enterprises.

LOVE AND APPRECIATION to you all. I will notify all of you the date and time of the shoot. Stay Tuned.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so

Let me first say that I think about a year ago a contingent of Soulforce members came to Kansas City to protest this IHOP group and I didn't go because I didn't understand what this was all about...and now it becomes fully clear.

This story just gets more and more crazy. Murder for Jesus...wait scratch that. Rape for Jesus...drugging for jesus...and THEN murder for Jesus. Now before you get all crazy and say that this really isn't a representation of the followers of jesus let me just say that this IHOP is a major organization in this city. The school has thousands upon thousands of students and surely this behavior isnt sanctioned by this school and even in the article some anonymous people say well "we were really scared for the members of the group" but in many ways the International House of Prayer is responsible for this.

Secrets of Tyler Deaton's prayer group emerge - KansasCity.com

Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012
Posted on Sat, Nov. 17, 2012
Secrets of Tyler Deaton's prayer group emerge
Insiders describe leader Tyler Deaton, whose wife was found dead, as charismatic, controlling.
By JOE ROBERTSON and DONALD BRADLEY
The Kansas City Star
Tyler Deaton gathered his followers one more time to his wife’s Kansas City funeral.

It was Nov. 6, and they wept for Bethany Deaton, dead at 27. They chose this spot, a Longview Lake funeral home, looking out its picture windows on the same serene water where, by all appearances, Bethany had gone to take her own life a week before.

She loved the water, Deaton said, according to someone who was there. She loved the lakeside woods and its simple animals, its birds and squirrels.

While Deaton spoke in calm and assuring tones, at least one of his closest inner circle apparently was starting to come undone.

Three days later, investigators say, 23-year-old Micah Moore would go to police and uncork the terrible secrets that allegedly occurred over several months at a Grandview home where Deaton and other members of his religious group lived.

Witnesses told of a clan of young adults making sex part of their religious experience, of men in the group sexually assaulting Bethany over months, and of Deaton’s role as their “spiritual leader.”

But Moore’s darkest admission, according to court records, was that Deaton feared Bethany was about to reveal the group’s secrets.

Moore confessed that he had murdered Bethany and tried to make it look like suicide, and, according to court documents, he said Deaton told him to do it.

Moore alone has been charged, with first-degree murder. Deaton and others in the group are under investigation, prosecutors said.

Neither Deaton nor Moore could be reached for comment, but The Star, using court documents and interviews with people close to the Deatons and Moore, has pieced together a glimpse of life inside the group.

The group’s members found each other at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where a former classmate remembered that Moore and Bethany were “really good friends.”

“I can’t believe this would happen,” she said. Like many of the people interviewed for this story, she asked that her name not be used because of the nature of the case.

She and others who knew Moore and Bethany described them as sweet and generous. They were young, like all those who joined Deaton’s prayer group at Southwestern.

It was a pastoral campus, said a parent of one of the students in the group. “A super bunch of kids … very sweet and innocent — too easily becoming followers.”

Deaton and several others graduated in May 2009 and migrated to Kansas City to continue their religious exploration at the International House of Prayer’s booming school and ministry for missionaries. Bethany went, too. The parent who saw them as innocent followers watched them go as young people of strong faith, imagining lives as missionaries.

“How, in three years, does all this come to pass?” she wondered as she reflected on the allegations. “How did they fall down that slippery slope? How did one person have this much control?”

Tyler Deaton had the looks.

His senior portrait in the 2005 yearbook for Corpus Christi’s Calallen High School captured his arresting eyes and easy smile wrapped by his soft cheeks and a strong chin.

And a spunky arrogance.

“Be intolerant,” read his quote attached to the portrait, “because some things are just stupid.”

He was a member of the National Honor Society and the Young Republicans. He played jazz piano and won first place in the school’s talent show.

And when it came to debating, he was a champion, said his teacher, Charlene Dietrich.

“He could think logically,” she said. “He could argue his case. He is really personable. He’s smart, articulate and driven.”

He competed hard, learned from his losses and held steadfast in his faith and his convictions, she said.

The reach of the fresh allegations out of Kansas City are beyond anything the teacher could ever have imagined, but not the descriptions of his magnetic appeal.

“I could see him becoming known in his faith,” she said. “I expected good things out of Tyler. I could see where he would become a leader.”

Southwestern University, a small liberal arts college of some 1,400 students on a wooded, 700-acre campus, fit the model of what students almost invariably called “close-knit.”

The university, affiliated with the Methodist Church, included among its student offerings organizations where they could find religious fellowship.

It didn’t take long for Deaton to become a religious force on campus, schoolmates said.

Two things about Deaton stand out in the memory of one woman who often found herself debating him in Bible study.

“Everything had to go his way,” Christy Little said. “One time he said there would be no discussion until everyone agreed that the King James version was the only true version of the Bible. Well, I was Catholic so I had a problem with that. So we argued and of course Tyler won everybody over because that’s what he did.”

When the sanctioned campus organizations fell short of what Deaton wanted, he started his own group, students said — one that was not an official campus group, Southwestern officials said last week.

His group prayed longer. Sang stronger. And held its members to stricter interpretations of the Bible.

They used the campus chapel at all hours — before the university decided to bar them from it — so they were easily discovered by students wandering across the campus.

One student who joined the group described her first encounter.

Deaton was leading the praying with song, playing the keyboard and singing that God breaks every chain in your life.

“He had this awesome singing voice,” she said. “A really powerful voice. It was really moving.”

And when she met him, his intelligence and his warmth swept over her.

“He really knew the Bible,” she said. “He could teach out of it in a way that made sense. He was casual and intellectual and I was really affected by that.”

The group she knew, and that others in the group knew, was nothing dangerous. It wasn’t exclusive. New members came and went, they said. They loved Deaton, but never felt controlled by him.

They saw nothing that reconciles with the horrific allegations unleashed in Kansas City.

If anything, the students in his group at Southwestern were zealous in what they believed was possible in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Many believed in “holy laughter,” the notion that the spirit sweeping through one’s body could loosen its control.

Deaton believed that “God gloried in your having fun,” a former participant in his group said. “God would bestow laughter on you.”

At least once, some students said, Deaton with others attempted to raise a paraplegic student out of a wheelchair. Another time they tried to make a blind woman see.

“He believed God could fix things,” a student said.

That included, Deaton told people, fixing himself.

One of his group’s stark positions on Scripture was that homosexuality was wrong. Deaton’s stance against it weighed heavily because members said he had “struggled with being gay.”

“He struggled with it, but he overcame it,” a member of his group at Southwestern said. “It was a victory.”

By his senior year at Southwestern, 2008-2009, Deaton had had enough of the sanctioned campus organizations.

He told his members who still associated with the other groups that it was time to make a choice.

The last straw may have been some of the campus homecoming skits in the fall, one of the Southwestern group members said.

Performers with the sanctioned groups put together a comedy parodying a range of campus groups. At the end, they parodied themselves, dancing and singing while dressed in large, cardboard Bibles.

“He called people to the chapel after that,” the member said. “A lot of people were ticked off.”

At some point, the university administration decided Deaton’s group should not use the chapel anymore. That was fine with Deaton, the member said, because he didn’t want his to be a campus group.

By then, he and many of its members were already setting their sights on Kansas City.

The International House of Prayer had great appeal to the group, said a former member. They loved the Kansas City organization, which brings thousands of people to its retreats, its school for missionaries and its 24-hour prayer center.

They loved the strong evangelism and the dedication to following Scripture, the former member said. Many shared a belief that the “end times” were at hand. And they loved IHOP’s music.

“Everyone (in Deaton’s group) was big into Christian music,” the former member said. The first group was graduating from Southwestern in the spring of 2009. And younger group members would follow after their graduations.

At this time, Bethany was a close member of the group, but people who were there didn’t describe a romantic relationship yet between her and Deaton.

Southwestern students who had moved between Deaton’s group and the sanctioned organizations described a tug of war, trying to pull some of their friends back from Deaton.

The sanctioned men’s religious fraternity in particular lost many of its members, one of them said.

“I asked, ‘Why are we so small? Why is there not a Christian unity? Why are we not getting along?’ ” he said. “The answer was it was because of Tyler.”

Some of the staff at Southwestern grew uneasy with Deaton’s group and the pipeline it was laying to Kansas City.

One staff member remembered particularly wishing that Bethany wouldn’t join the exodus.

“I was terribly worried,” the staff member said.

In the 7300 block of East 122nd Street in Grandview, neighbors soon noticed that the street would fill with cars on Wednesday night. Dozens of people, mostly men, flowed into the Deaton house. One woman said the group would sometimes move to an adjoining property for a late-night drum circle.

At Southwestern, the group that Deaton started carried on. They never gave themselves an official name, but because many of them wore IHOP T-shirts, people around the campus began calling them the IHOP group, or “IHOPpers.”

Deaton and some of the other members in Kansas City, maybe six to 10 at a time, would go back to visit the group at Southwestern once or twice a semester. And for at least two years, the contact between the two was frequent and strong.

But the 2011-2012 school year brought a change, the member said. Deaton informed the group at Southwestern that the Kansas City contingent wasn’t going to be as close with the Texas members as before.

“They said it would be best for everyone involved,” the member said. They were “more disconnected … more hands-off.”

It’s only in hindsight now that the member frets at the separation, that “if the kind of horrible things (the court records describe) happened, it had time to brew.”

Those in Texas had no suspicion that anything so troubling was unfolding.

When news came on Valentine’s Day by Facebook and phone calls that Deaton and Bethany were engaged, the members in Texas celebrated. The wedding came in August.

“These were people we really loved,” the member said. “We were all excited. It was awesome.”

Now, many of the outlying members and friends and family fear for members of Deaton’s group in Kansas City.

Some said they hadn’t spoken for weeks or months.

One mother told The Star last week that her son fell in with Deaton’s group three years ago and she hasn’t seen or heard from him since. She thinks her son is probably in Kansas City.

Family and friends don’t know who was living where in south Kansas City. They don’t know who else was in the Grandview house where the alleged attacks occurred.

They don’t know who else is under suspicion.

Bethany’s body had been released to her family for a funeral Nov. 9 in Arlington, Texas.

It was the day of that second funeral when Moore went to the Grandview Police Department. At some point — court documents are unclear on the timing — he confessed many details to Shelley Hundley, a reverend and member of the executive team at IHOP. Investigators with the Jackson County sheriff’s office began questioning other people who lived in the house.

Bethany, whose body had been found the night before Halloween in the back of her van beside Longview Lake, with a bag over her head and a suicide note left on the console, was no longer considered a victim of suicide. Her body was returned to Kansas City.

Friends and family, already reeling from the false news that Bethany had killed herself, now had to fathom so much more.

Bethany was sexually assaulted over a period of months while drugged with someone else’s prescription anti-psychotic, witnesses in the house told authorities. This was happening, the witnesses alleged, in a period of time that male members in the house were involved in sexual relationships with Deaton, one saying it was part of a “religious experience.”

The statements unfolded with Moore allegedly saying that people in the group feared Bethany was about to tell her therapist about the assaults, and that he killed her with the plastic bag over her head at Longview Lake.

He did it, his statement to detectives said, because Deaton told him he knew Moore “had it in him to do it.”

A friend of many of the people who went to Kansas City is haunted now, remembering the close friendship and like-mindedness she saw in Moore and Bethany.

“They were both introspective, quiet-mystical people,” she said.

She watched them go from Southwestern, the same as so many others year after year, to join the evangelical adventure.

“It’s like they believed they were going into a storybook,” she said. “They were going to be equipped for the end times. For them it was heroic.”

To reach Joe Robertson, call 816-234-4789 or send email to jrobertson@kcstar.com. To reach Donald Bradley, call 816-234-4182 or send email to dbradley@kcstar.com. © 2012 Kansas City Star and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansascity.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

it depends on what your definition of "is" is

This content is from the new york times but I can't find the link. Nevertheless no one cares. Nobody except the sex negative crazed congress (read:GOP) who are the same assholes who impeached a democratic president for screwing an intern. The only tangible difference here is the institution (presidency vs military) and that Clinton lied under oath and Patraeus told the truth. I'll just link here so I feel better about copying this content and not being able to find the link.I feel better now. The F.B.I. investigation that toppled the director of the C.I.A. and has now entangled the top American commander in Afghanistan underscores a danger that civil libertarians have long warned about: that in policing the Web for crime, espionage and sabotage, government investigators will unavoidably invade the private lives of Americans. On the Internet, and especially in e-mails, text messages, social network postings and online photos, the work lives and personal lives of Americans are inextricably mixed. Private, personal messages are stored for years on computer servers, available to be discovered by investigators who may be looking into completely unrelated matters. In the current F.B.I. case, a Tampa, Fla., woman, Jill Kelley, a friend both of David H. Petraeus, the former C.I.A. director, and Gen. John R. Allen, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, was disturbed by a half-dozen anonymous e-mails she had received in June. She took them to an F.B.I. agent whose acquaintance with Ms. Kelley (he had sent her shirtless photos of himself -electronically, of course) eventually prompted his bosses to order him to stay away from the investigation. But a squad of investigators at the bureau's Tampa office, in consultation with prosecutors, opened a cyberstalking inquiry. Although that investigation is still open, law enforcement officials have said that criminal charges appear unlikely.

Woman was murdered to cover sexual assaults

this cult is in the south of kansas city. murdering in the name of jesus.

Woman was murdered to cover sexual assaults, authorities allege - KansasCity.com

Sunday, November 11, 2012

ISS Astronaut Drives Rover From Space Station

http://nbcu.mo2do.net/s/18488/29?itemId=tag:dvice.com,2012://3.92554&fullPageURL=/archives/2012/11/iss-drives-rove.php The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA conducted an experiment in late October that used the "interplanetary internet" to drive an earth-bound rover. Astronaut Sunita Williams used a laptop with experimental technology called Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to control the rover using a network of connection points that more effectively controls data relay. That's a pretty cool feat on it's own, but it's just a starting point for what could be a way to more easily communicate with astronauts on Mars and beyond. Successful DTN protocol will be a huge improvement on how we relay information between here and the Mars rovers. For example, currently if there is a problem or interference such as solar storm causing disruption of the data transmission, all the data is lost. The DTN is basically like the Internet as we know it, but woven into a sophisticated network of nodes that act as data connection points to accommodate delays over the vast distances in space. Data gets stored from node to node and if there is an interruption, they hold the data....(cont)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tune in to Esperanza’s “Radio Music”

Tune in to Esperanza’s “Radio Music” | KCMETROPOLIS.org - Kansas City's Online Journal of the Performing Arts

i know....this will be the third post in a row from kcmetropolis. i just find that they are the most consistent reviews in this town. oh ya and i usually only post reviews of shows that ive seen or worked at the kauffman center either the symphony or the opera. in this case however i wasnt able to watch the show i worked the merchandise table along with another volunteer and because there were sooo many volunteers who signed up for esperanza spalding it was difficult to even sneak in and catch her. next time im there though!

Tepid “Trovatore” | KCMETROPOLIS.org - Kansas City's Online Journal of the Performing Arts

Tepid “Trovatore” | KCMETROPOLIS.org - Kansas City's Online Journal of the Performing Arts

I am a fan of Lee Hartmans but I think he's being especially harsh in this review. I did however totally agree about the distracting projections in the back and his mention of my crush from afar Raymond Santos.

Carpenter contorts conformity | KCMETROPOLIS.org - Kansas City's Online Journal of the Performing Arts

Carpenter contorts conformity | KCMETROPOLIS.org - Kansas City's Online Journal of the Performing Arts

Monday, November 5, 2012

They Like Us They Really Like Us

Good Morning Volunteers,

I wanted to share with you the feedback we received from our patrons who attended Cameron Carpenter last night at the Kauffman Center.

The hospitality of your volunteers was wonderful. One member of our party is blind and one in a w/c. We were all SO well taken care of it was amazing. They are a tremendous asset to the Kauffman.

The concert hall is beautiful and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly.

The volunteer ushers were VERY good at helping my seatmate who was VERY uncomfortable in the top row. Thanks for the concern and the attempt of the manager to seat us in a different place. She was fine once she was seated. We were even contacted at the intermission. I was surprised and impressed. Keep up the good work!

Great volunteers who were very helpful.

Always a good experience. Volunteers very helpful and the parking arrangements are very convenient. I don’t need to address the building, it is perfect.

Thank you everyone for doing an amazing job.

Jenne Stapleton, Volunteer Coordinator

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rufus Live From The Artists Den

The wait is almost over: This Friday, October 19, Rufus' episode of Live From The Artists Den, filmed at the Church Of The Ascension in New York City this past spring, will premiere at last. A new teaser for the show has just been posted on ArtistDen.com. Head there now to check out the video, which features footage of “Jericho” and a brief interview clip with Rufus. While you’re there, be sure to look through their exclusive gallery of photos from the taping and check out when the show will air near you (click Where To Watch).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What Everyone Needs To Know Before Watching The VP Debate

What Everyone Needs To Know Before Watching The VP Debate By Annie-Rose Strasser on Oct 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm

1. Romney and Ryan would eliminate health care for 31 million people who are poor or disabled. Medicaid, which helps poor Americans, some seniors, and children afford health care, is right in the crosshairs of Paul Ryan’s House budget. He proposed cutting $1.4 trillion from the program, a move that would kick about 11 million people off Medicaid over the course of ten years. The Romney-Ryan plan is even worse, and is estimated to force about 44 million people off the program.

2.Ryan considers Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme.” In the Fall of 2011, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme,” and Paul Ryan agreed. Ryan wants to privatize the program.

3. 62% of Ryan’s budget cuts come from programs that benefit low-income Americans. Ryan’s budget proposes “$5.3 trillion in nondefense budget cuts.” 62 percent of the reductions would come from programs that specifically help low-income Americans:

4. Ryan voted for future defense cuts he now blames on Obama. Though Ryan claims Obama somehow orchestrated the sequester, a series of across-the-board spending cuts triggered if Congress can’t produce a better plan, the VP pick himself was a supporter of the mechanism. Not only did he vote for legislation to establish it, he peddled the plan to his Republican colleagues and proposed a similar initiative in 2004.

5. Ryan and Romney cannot cut taxes across the board by 20% and lower the deficit because it’s mathematically impossible. Ryan claims they will achieve these twin goals by closing loopholes and getting rid of deductions for the rich. But, as the Tax Policy Center points out, even if they got rid of every single deduction and loophole, they would still need to find more revenue. That means they’d need to start raising taxes on the middle class.

6. Ryan voted to increase the debt ceiling by $4 trillion under Bush. During the Bush years alone, Ryan voted with his party’s leadership to increase the debt ceiling by $4 trillion. In total, he has voted six times to raise the debt ceiling, increasing it by $5.8 trillion.

7. Ryan wants to kick 1 million students off of Pell Grants. As part of his budget, Ryan proposed cutting Pell Grants for nearly 1 million college students. Seventy four percent of Pell Grant recipients in 2011 came from families with incomes of $30,000 or less. There is no evidence that these cuts will curb rising college costs.

8. Ryan’s budget included the same $716 billion in Medicare savings included in Obamacare. The $716 billion that Obamacare takes out of Medicare will almost definitely come up in tomorrow’s debate. Ryan has claimed that Obama “raided” Medicare to pay for his health care reform. In fact, Ryan wants to make Medicare a voucher program and proposed taking the same cuts out of Medicare in his budget. But whereas Obamacare uses those funds to eliminate fraud and increase efficiency, Ryan proposed taking that money to pay down the deficit.

9. Ryan supported economic stimulus under Bush. If he’s going to follow the lead of his running mate, Ryan will invoke Obama’s stimulus plan, the Recovery Act, as failed legislation that wasted taxpayer money. But when George Bush was president, Ryan was supportive of a stimulus, and actually made a rousing case for infusing the economy with money, saying that it helped create jobs. Watch it:

10. Ryan used to supports a key aspect of Obamacare. Ryan will likely say at the debate that the Affordable Care Act is government overreach. In fact, he might even invoke “death panels,” as he has done at recent town halls. But Ryan proposed something extremely similar to these so-called “death panels” in 2009 — twice. In December of 2010, Ryan also asked the Department of Health and Human Services for an Obamacare health care grant “for the Kenosha Community Health Center, Inc to develop a new facility in Racine, Wisconsin, an area within Ryan’s district.”

11.Ryan opposes abortion access for rape victims. When it comes to abortion rights, Ryan is among the most extreme anti-abortion members of Congress. He believes rape victims shouldn’t have access to abortions and co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment that would have defined a fertilized egg as a human, thus outlawing not just abortion but also in-vitro fertilization and some forms of contraception.

12. Ryan supports a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. Ryan is vehemently opposed to marriage equality for same-sex couples. He has twice voted to amend the constitution to that effect, supported a same-sex marriage ban in his home state, and claimed that preventing same-sex couples from getting married was a “universal human value.”

Saturday, September 29, 2012

‘Turbo rocket’ violinist impressive in Kansas City Symphony’s season-opening concert

Review from the Kansas City Star from last night's KC Symphony concert:

‘Turbo rocket’ violinist impressive in Kansas City Symphony’s season-opening concert

By TIMOTHY L. MCDONALD
Special to The Star
Opening night for the Kansas City Symphony's Classical Series is always something of a celebration, and Friday night's concert at the Kauffman Center was no exception.

Granted, the event did not carry quite the level of excitement and hoopla as last year's opener: it was after all the premier season in the new facility. Still, the excited chatter outside Helzberg Hall before the concert attested to an audience eager to begin.

After a stirring rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," the concert opened with Finding Rothko, by Adam Schoenberg, the symphony's resident composer for 2012-13. Born in 1980, Schoenberg is a faculty member at UCLA and was educated at New York's Juilliard School and at the Oberlin Conservatory.

Based on four paintings by Russian-born artist Mark Rothko, the composition was a fine choice for the orchestra's season-long theme of Symphonic Pictures.

Finding Rothko opened with gentle, consonant chords. Haunting wind and reed lines played over sustained strings punctuated by percussion. The second movement intensified in rhythm, while the third movement contained a heightened sense of drama and a vibrant palette of tonal colors. Like the opening, the finale featured effervescent strings..

Music director Michael Stern identified violinist Vadim Gluzman as "a turbo rocket not to be denied." While the ensuing performance certainly justified the description, the opening movement started off a bit rocky. Gluzman demonstrated pyrotechnic brilliance in the rapid passages and myriad technical challenges. The melodic themes, however, lacked warmth at the outset, and the soloist occasionally exhibited a scratchy tone.

Things improved during and after the impressive first-movement cadenza, leading the audience to leap to its feet with applause.

All was forgiven with the lyrically rich second movement. Stern followed Gluzman's fluid, flexible rhythms, with very satisfying delayed downbeats.

While the first movement employed rapid, driving tempos, the finale was simply astounding — probably the fastest rendition I have ever heard. This led to occasional synchronization problems with the orchestra. Nevertheless, the dizzying tempos were exciting, and Gluzman exhibited enough energy to light a large metropolis.

Modest Mussorgsky's classic Pictures at an Exhibition concluded the concert. Like Schoenberg's composition, Mussorgsky's is based on visual art — in this case an exhibition of paintings in 19th century Moscow by Viktor Hartmann. Sections of the work represent paintings and the familiar "Promenade" theme portrays the viewer's walk between one artwork and the next.

Trumpeter Gary Schutza played the opening solo with bell-like clarity. The orchestra effectively captured the variety of images, from the foreboding and mysterious “Gnomus” to the delightful “Ballet of Little Chicks in their Shells.” The finale, “The Great Gate of Kiev” was bold and triumphant.

Stern proclaimed “we’re in a Russian mood” and led the orchestra in a boisterous and rollicking rendition of the "Dance of the Tumblers” from Tchaikovsky’s The Snow Maiden.

The program will be repeated at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall.

© 2012 Kansas City Star and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansascity.com

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More Sheer Hypocrisy From The GOP

September 24, 2012 In this MegaVote for Missouri's 5th Congressional District:

Recent Senate Votes
Veterans Job Training – Motion to Waive - Vote Rejected (58-40, 2 Not Voting)

The Senate spent much of last week working on this bill that would have created a so-called jobs corps to assist Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in finding post-service employment. After invoking cloture on a motion to proceed to the bill, a substitute amendment by Veterans Affairs Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., was introduced. Among other things, the amendment would have required states to issue certain licenses, such as for plumbing or truck driving, to veterans without the normal requirements if eligible applicants had at least 10 years’ experience in related military activities. Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., raised a point of order against the amendment that its costs exceeded the amount of funding allowed under current budgetary limitations. Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., then moved to waive the point of order, which would have allowed the amendment to be debated. 60 votes are required to waive budgetary points of order, however, and proponents of the bill fell two votes shy. Sustaining the point of order effectively killed the bill.

Sen. Roy Blunt voted NO......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Claire McCaskill voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Foreign Aid Suspension - Vote Rejected (10-81, 9 Not Voting)

Despite only having one must-pass item to clear before recessing – namely a continuing resolution to keep the government running, the Senate was in session into the wee hours of Saturday morning. This was initially due to the insistence of Rand Paul, R-Ky., on getting a vote for his bill to suspend foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya, and Egypt. Eventually an agreement was reached to hold a vote on the bill, which was soundly defeated due to bipartisan opposition.

Sen. Roy Blunt voted NO......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Claire McCaskill voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Iran Nuclear Threat - Vote Agreed to (90-1, 9 Not Voting)

This resolution from Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would reaffirm U.S. opposition to the Iranian nuclear program and states that the current regime of diplomacy and sanctions must continue until Iran meets certain benchmarks. These benchmarks include suspension of uranium enrichment, compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions and full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog. The resolution pointedly states that none of its language constitutes an authorization for the use of force. Rand Paul was the lone “nay” vote.

Sen. Roy Blunt voted YES......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Claire McCaskill voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Continuing Resolution - Vote Agreed to (62-30, 8 Not Voting)

After rejecting the Paul foreign aid measure and passing the Graham Iran resolution, the Senate was able to take up the continuing resolution that would fund government operations for the next six months at more or less flat levels (funding would increase by 0.6 percent for most programs.)

Sen. Roy Blunt voted YES......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Claire McCaskill voted YES......send e-mail or see bio
Recent House Votes Student Loan Exemption for Deceased Veterans – Suspension - Vote Passed (400-0, 29 Not Voting)

This bill, passed under suspension of the rules and therefore requiring a two-thirds majority for passage, would exempt student loan debt from gross taxable income for veterans who die as the result of a service-related disability. Loan forgiveness would be back-dated to October 7, 2001, and families/survivors of the deceased would have up to one year after enactment of the bill to file for refunds. The bill now heads to the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Public Funding for Political Conventions – Suspension - Vote Passed (310-95, 24 Not Voting)

Another suspension bill would prohibit the use of monies in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund for financing presidential nomination conventions, e.g. the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Under current law each major party is entitled to $4 million to stage their conventions and minor parties are entitled to an amount proportionate to their popular vote percentage in the previous election. An earlier House bill passed last December (Roll Call 873) would have eliminated the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, and thus the public financing of elections entirely. Unlike that measure, which was unanimously opposed by Democrats, the more modest bill passed last week attracted about half of all Democrats voting as well as all Republicans. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has introduced a companion measure with bipartisan support in the Senate.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Welfare Work Requirements – Disapproval Resolution - Vote Passed (250-164, 15 Not Voting)

The issue of welfare was a persistent theme in the presidential campaign for months – with the Republican nominee Mitt Romney accusing President Obama of removing work requirements from the program and allowing people to collect money with no strings attached. At issue was a July 12 memorandum issued by the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), which oversees the welfare program, whose technical name is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The memo laid out a proposed waiver program for states that meet certain requirements for boosting TANF employment goals. Republicans claim that HHS does not have the waiver authority it claims in the memo, and that the proposal should have been formally submitted to Congress since it amounts to an agency rulemaking. The latter assertion was supported by a Government Accountability Office report. Partisans on both sides have either decried or supported the waiver proposal, including the two chief architects of 1990s welfare reform, former President Clinton and former Speaker Newt Gingrich. The action taken by the House last week would repeal the move by HHS. In order for the repeal to become law, however, a similar resolution would have to pass the Senate and be signed by the president, both highly unlikely.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

STEM Visa Program - Suspension - Vote Failed (257-158, 14 Not Voting)

Immigration has always been a partisan battleground, but one area the parties seemed to have formed agreement in the 112th Congress was on the need to boost immigration by high-skill workers, particularly those in the so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R.-Tex., had been working with Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for months on just such a proposal. As with so many bipartisan efforts in the last two years, however, talks foundered. Both chairmen support creating roughly 50,000 visas for graduates of U.S. institutions with advanced degrees in STEM fields. The detail that derailed talks is that Smith wanted those visas to come at the expense of an existing program, the diversity visa lottery, which sets aside slots for people from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S. Schumer and other Democrats wanted to simply create new slots for the STEM graduates while holding the diversity lottery harmless. Last week Smith and House leadership decided to try their luck on the floor with a suspension vote for Smith’s proposal; it ended up falling 20 votes shy of the two-thirds needed for passage. Given the bipartisan support for the overall idea, it is possible talks could resume in the lame duck session, though the crowded agenda makes any decisive action unlikely before next year.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Manhattan Project National Park – Suspension - Vote Failed (237-180, 12 Not Voting)

Another failed suspension vote came on this bill to set aside federal land in New Mexico, Washington state, and Tennessee for a national park commemorating the Manhattan Project that led to the creation of the atomic bomb. Most suspensions are non-controversial, and Democrats in particular are usually in favor of creating parkland, but opponents of the measure said it would send the wrong message to allies such as Japan, which suffered mass casualties as a result of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. The bill fell 41 votes short.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Energy Regulatory Rollback – Passage - Vote Passed (233-175, 21 Not Voting)

The final bill passed by the House before the November elections was a summation of sorts regarding one of Republicans’ core electoral and policy arguments – namely that regulations, particularly those concerning energy production – are hurting the economy. H.R. 3409 is a smorgasbord containing the texts of five different bills, four of which had previously passed the House (Roll Calls 249, 573, 741 and 800, all in 2011). The original bill would prevent the Interior Secretary from issuing any regulations before 2014 that would result in damage to the coal industry, e.g., reductions in coal mining jobs, the amount of coal available for consumption or export, etc. The other proposals would: prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gases as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, as well as effectively repeal automobile efficiency standards that would increase gas mileage to 54.5 mpg by 2025; create a cross-agency council for analyzing EPA regulations and their effect on the economy, as well as pre-empting a handful of EPA rules from being finalized and nullifying others already finalized; prevent EPA from regulating coal ash - a byproduct of coal combustion that some states use to make asphalt – instead allowing the states to regulate it as they see fit; and limiting EPA authority over water-quality standards. The Senate will not take up the bill when it returns, and the president has issued a veto threat.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Upcoming Votes
Sportsmen's Act of 2012 - S.3525

Before breaking for recess, the Senate invoked cloture on the motion to proceed to this catch-all bill sponsored by Jon Tester, D-Mont. It would loosen a variety of regulations on hunters and fishermen, particularly regarding their activities on public lands.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Father Speaks Out: Don’t Let My Son Die

From Amnesty International
By Rev. Reynolds Thomas

Next week is very important — you see, it will help determine whether my son will live or die. My son’s name is Reginald Clemons, but we call him Reggie. He has been on Missouri’s death row for about 20 years now. On Monday the 17th, his case will be reviewed by a judge for what could be the last time.

Chances like this don’t happen often and we are grateful for this special opportunity. Before we reach that step, I want you to understand a few things about the case, my son and just how fatal the flaws of the death penalty system can be.

Then I hope you’ll send a letter of support to Reggie — for strength, for compassion, for justice. I’ll give it to him personally before the hearing.

The state of Missouri has accused my son of killing two young women — pushing them into the Mississippi River in April 1991. The pain the family of these two girls has suffered after such a staggering loss is unfathomable. But from the beginning, the case against Reggie has been riddled with grave and glaring problems:

“How can my son be about to lose his life when there is so much so clearly wrong with this case?

First, my sons’ face was so swollen after his interrogation by St. Louis police that the judge arraigning him sent him to the emergency room. Second, not one, not two, but four federal judges have agreed that the prosecutor’s conduct when cross-examining Reggie was “abusive and boorish”. This prosecutor compared my son, who at 19 years old never even had a criminal record, to two convicted serial killers.

Third, I wish race weren’t a factor, but it is a fact that the single most reliable predictor of whether someone will be sentenced to death is the race of the victim. My son is a black man. The two young women who were killed were white. Add that to the disproportionate dismissal of blacks during jury selection and you get a perfect storm of racial discrimination.

Fourth, and most troubling of all — the state’s only two eye-witnesses included a man who, at one point, confessed to police that he murdered the girls and another who took a plea in exchange for a lighter sentence!

How can my son be about to lose his life when there is so much so clearly wrong with this case?

Reggie Clemons

The support we’ve received over the years from Amnesty International and its members has been such an inspiration. It’s kept us strong, even when fighting a system that has, at times, made us feel weak.

That’s why I’ve invited Amnesty representatives to join me at Monday’s special hearing in Missouri. We want to pack as much positive energy as we can into that courtroom! They’ll bring your messages to me and I will deliver them directly to Reggie. I know it will mean a lot to him.

My son has come within 12 days of execution by lethal injection before. No person should have to endure the cruelty of a looming death sentence.

I’m praying that Monday’s hearing will be our chance to lay all the evidence, facts and flaws out on the table once and for all. I’m praying that your messages of support give him the strength he needs to keep fighting. And most of all, I’m praying that justice is coming for my son, Reggie.

Rev. Reynolds Thomas is the stepfather of Reggie Clemons

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Playing The Blame Game

Frankly I never know who to believe in type of situation. Is it the city? The unions? Teacher strikes are always sort of awkward that way. There's always stories from both sides. The teachers bitch about pay and the city bitches about paying them. Let's sidestep the issue of the paltry amount that our society pays teachers. I come from a family that is chocked full of teachers. My mom, bogth my sisters and older brother have been either full time or part time teachers for years. I actually worked for the chicago public schools academy for professional development a billion years ago so I guess what I,m saying is that there is a familliar ring to this issue. I still don't know which side to come down on. From cnn: Tens of thousands of teachers and support staff in Chicago are set to go on strike Monday after their union and school officials failed to reach a contract agreement, the union president said. "Negotiations have been intense but productive, but we have failed to reach an agreement that would prevent a labor strike," Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told reporters late Sunday night. Minutes earlier, the president of Chicago's school board said officials offered the city's teachers a contract including pay increases and other measures they'd requested. "We've been as responsive as we know how," David Vitale told reporters just before 10 p.m. CT (11 p.m. ET) Sunday.

Vitale said the package offered by school officials include effectively guaranteed pay increases for four years, does not include merit pay and offers "some give on the evaluation system." He said that for nearly two hours, he'd tried to but been unable to talk with union president Karen Lewis. "The average teacher will get a 16% raise over that (4-year) period" at a time when the city's fiscal situation is on edge, the school board president said of the offered deal. The looming strike in the nation's third largest school system --the first in 25 years --will affect nearly 700 schools and about 400,000 students, including some from neighborhoods struggling with crime and gang problems. The union itself has about 30,000 members. For them, that would mean the school year would abruptly stop soon after it started: Some students in the district began class on August 13, and more --on a different schedule --started september 4.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Clarification

I am going to say this one last time and then this topic will be banned from my blog. To all you lovelies coming from fb to read my blogpost about my ex, it's not happening. I've decided to delete everything associated with him and block his email block his texts and block him on fb. He continues to post things about me which is fine. We didn't know any mutual people in the first place and we didn't run around in the same circles before and we certainly don't now. Never thought he would descend into this extreme madness but I guess you never really do know about people. Frankly I'm scared for the next guy he comes into a relationship with. God help that guy.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

TedxKC Panoramic View

So awesome. Panoramic view of Helberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for the TedxKC Conference

Oh Bubba

President Clinton
September 5, 2012

The following is the full text of former President Bill Clinton’s speech on Wednesday from the Democratic National Convention.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Sustained cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now, Mr. Mayor, fellow Democrats, we are here to nominate a president. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ve got one in mind. (Cheers, applause.)

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before his election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression; a man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs that he saved or created, there’d still be millions more waiting, worried about feeding their own kids, trying to keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man who’s cool on the outside — (cheers, applause) — but who burns for America on the inside. (Cheers, applause.)

I want — I want a man who believes with no doubt that we can build a new American Dream economy, driven by innovation and creativity, but education and — yes — by cooperation. (Cheers.)

And by the way, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama. (Cheers, applause.)

You know — (cheers, applause). I — (cheers, applause).

I want — I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) And I proudly nominate him to be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party.

Now, folks, in Tampa a few days ago, we heard a lot of talk — (laughter) — all about how the president and the Democrats don’t really believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everybody to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

This Republican narrative — this alternative universe — (laughter, applause) — says that every one of us in this room who amounts to anything, we’re all completely self-made. One of the greatest chairmen the Democratic Party ever had, Bob Strauss — (cheers, applause) — used to say that ever politician wants every voter to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself. (Laughter, applause.) But, as Strauss then admitted, it ain’t so. (Laughter.)

We Democrats — we think the country works better with a strong middle class, with real opportunities for poor folks to work their way into it — (cheers, applause) — with a relentless focus on the future, with business and government actually working together to promote growth and broadly share prosperity. You see, we believe that “we’re all in this together” is a far better philosophy than “you’re on your own.” (Cheers, applause.) It is.

So who’s right? (Cheers.) Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats, 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private sector jobs.

So what’s the job score? Republicans, 24 million; Democrats, 42 (million). (Cheers, applause.)

Now, there’s — (cheers, applause) — there’s a reason for this. It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics. (Cheers, applause.) Why? Because poverty, discrimination and ignorance restrict growth. (Cheers, applause.) When you stifle human potential, when you don’t invest in new ideas, it doesn’t just cut off the people who are affected; it hurts us all. (Cheers, applause.) We know that investments in education and infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth. They increase good jobs, and they create new wealth for all the rest of us. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, there’s something I’ve noticed lately. You probably have too. And it’s this. Maybe just because I grew up in a different time, but though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate our president and a lot of other Democrats. I — (cheers, applause) — that would be impossible for me because President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High School. (Cheers, applause.) President Eisenhower built the interstate highway system.

When I was a governor, I worked with President Reagan and his White House on the first round of welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals.

(Cheers, applause.) I’m actually very grateful to — if you saw from the film what I do today, I have to be grateful, and you should be, too — that President George W. Bush supported PEPFAR. It saved the lives of millions of people in poor countries. (Cheers, applause.)

And I have been honored to work with both Presidents Bush on natural disasters in the aftermath of the South Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the horrible earthquake in Haiti. Through my foundation, both in America and around the world, I’m working all the time with Democrats, Republicans and independents. Sometimes I couldn’t tell you for the life who I’m working with because we focus on solving problems and seizing opportunities and not fighting all the time. (Cheers, applause.)

And so here’s what I want to say to you, and here’s what I want the people at home to think about. When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation. (Cheers, applause.) What works in the real world is cooperation, business and government, foundations and universities.

Ask the mayors who are here. (Cheers, applause.) Los Angeles is getting green and Chicago is getting an infrastructure bank because Republicans and Democrats are working together to get it. (Cheers, applause.) They didn’t check their brains at the door. They didn’t stop disagreeing, but their purpose was to get something done.

Now, why is this true? Why does cooperation work better than constant conflict?

Because nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. (Cheers, applause.)

And every one of us — every one of us and every one of them, we’re compelled to spend our fleeting lives between those two extremes, knowing we’re never going to be right all the time and hoping we’re right more than twice a day. (Laughter.)

Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is always the enemy, they’re always right, and compromise is weakness. (Boos.) Just in the last couple of elections, they defeated two distinguished Republican senators because they dared to cooperate with Democrats on issues important to the future of the country, even national security. (Applause.)

They beat a Republican congressman with almost a hundred percent voting record on every conservative score, because he said he realized he did not have to hate the president to disagree with him. Boy, that was a nonstarter, and they threw him out. (Laughter, applause.)

One of the main reasons we ought to re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation. (Cheers, applause.) Look at his record. Look at his record. (Cheers, applause.) Look at his record. He appointed Republican secretaries of defense, the Army and transportation. He appointed a vice president who ran against him in 2008. (Laughter, applause.) And he trusted that vice president to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. (Cheers, applause.)

And Joe Biden — Joe Biden did a great job with both. (Sustained cheers, applause.)

He — (sustained cheers, applause) — President Obama — President Obama appointed several members of his Cabinet even though they supported Hillary in the primary. (Applause.) Heck, he even appointed Hillary. (Cheers, applause.)

Wait a minute. I am — (sustained cheers, applause) — I am very proud of her. I am proud of the job she and the national security team have done for America. (Cheers, applause.) I am grateful that they have worked together to make us safer and stronger, to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m grateful for the relationship of respect and partnership she and the president have enjoyed and the signal that sends to the rest of the world, that democracy does not have a blood — have to be a blood sport, it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest. (Cheers, applause.)

Now — (sustained cheers, applause) — besides the national security team, I am very grateful to the men and women who’ve served our country in uniform through these perilous times. (Cheers, applause.) And I am especially grateful to Michelle Obama and to Joe Biden for supporting those military families while their loved ones were overseas — (cheers, applause) — and for supporting our veterans when they came home, when they came home bearing the wounds of war or needing help to find education or jobs or housing.

President Obama’s whole record on national security is a tribute to his strength, to his judgment and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship. We need more if it in Washington, D.C. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, we all know that he also tried to work with congressional Republicans on health care, debt reduction and new jobs. And that didn’t work out so well. (Laughter.) But it could have been because, as the Senate Republican leader said in a remarkable moment of candor two full years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work; it was to put the president out of work. (Mixed cheers and boos, applause.) (Chuckles.) Well, wait a minute. Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, are you ready for that? (Cheers, applause.) Are you willing to work for it. Oh, wait a minute.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! PRESIDENT CLINTON: In Tampa —
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: In Tampa — in Tampa — did y’all watch their convention?

I did. (Laughter.) In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was actually pretty simple — pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in. (Laughter, applause.)

Now — (cheers, applause) — but they did it well. They looked good; the sounded good. They convinced me that — (laughter) — they all love their families and their children and were grateful they’d been born in America and all that — (laughter, applause) — really, I’m not being — they did. (Laughter, applause.)

And this is important, they convinced me they were honorable people who believed what they said and they’re going to keep every commitment they’ve made. We just got to make sure the American people know what those commitments are — (cheers, applause) — because in order to look like an acceptable, reasonable, moderate alternative to President Obama, they just didn’t say very much about the ideas they’ve offered over the last two years.

They couldn’t because they want to the same old policies that got us in trouble in the first place. They want to cut taxes for high- income Americans, even more than President Bush did. They want to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts. They want to actually increase defense spending over a decade $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend it on. And they want to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor children.

As another president once said, there they go again.

(Laughter, cheers, applause.)

Now, I like — I like — I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. Here it is. He inherited a deeply damaged economy. He put a floor under the crash. He began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well- balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses and lots of new wealth for innovators. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, are we where we want to be today? No.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Is the president satisfied? Of course not.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!

PRESIDENT CLINTON: But are we better off than we were when he took office? (Cheers, applause.)

And listen to this. Listen to this. Everybody — (inaudible) — when President Barack Obama took office, the economy was in free fall. It had just shrunk 9 full percent of GDP. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month.

Are we doing better than that today?

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yes! (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: The answer is yes.

Now, look. Here’s the challenge he faces and the challenge all of you who support him face. I get it. I know it. I’ve been there. A lot of Americans are still angry and frustrated about this economy. If you look at the numbers, you know employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend again. And in a lot of places, housing prices are even beginning to pick up.

But too many people do not feel it yet.

I had the same thing happen in 1994 and early ‘95. We could see that the policies were working, that the economy was growing. But most people didn’t feel it yet. Thankfully, by 1996 the economy was roaring, everybody felt it, and we were halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in the history of the United States. But — (cheers, applause) — wait, wait. The difference this time is purely in the circumstances. President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. Listen to me, now. No president — no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years. (Cheers, applause.)

Now — but — (cheers, applause) — he has — he has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it. You will feel it. (Cheers, applause.)

Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know that I believe it. With all my heart, I believe it. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, why do I believe it? I’m fixing to tell you why. I believe it because President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas and the direction America has to take to build the 21st-century version of the American Dream: a nation of shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, shared prosperity, a shared sense of community. So let’s get back to the story. In 2010, as the president’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around. The recovery act saved or created millions of jobs and cut taxes — let me say this again — cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. (Cheers, applause.) And, in the last 29 months, our economy has produced about 4 1/2 million private sector jobs. (Cheers, applause.) We could have done better, but last year the Republicans blocked the president’s job plan, costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another job score. President Obama: plus 4 1/2 million. Congressional Republicans: zero. (Cheers, applause.) During this period — (cheers, applause) — during this period, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama. That’s the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s. (Cheers, applause.) And I’ll tell you something else. The auto industry restructuring worked. (Cheers, applause.) It saved — it saved more than a million jobs, and not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That’s why even the automakers who weren’t part of the deal supported it. They needed to save those parts suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together. (Applause.) So what’s happened? There are now 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than on the day the companies were restructured. (Cheers, applause.) So — now, we all know that Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. (Boos.) So here’s another job score. (Laughter.) Are you listening in Michigan and Ohio and across the country? (Cheers.) Here — (cheers, applause) — here’s another job score: Obama, 250,000; Romney, zero. AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (With speaker.) Zero. (Cheers, applause.) PRESIDENT CLINTON: Now, the agreement the administration made with the management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage, that was a good deal too. It will cut your gas prices in half, your gas bill. No matter what the price is, if you double the mileage of your car, your bill will be half what it would have been. It will make us more energy independent. It will cut greenhouse gas emissions. And according to several analyses, over the next 20 years, it’ll bring us another half a million good new jobs into the American economy. (Cheers, applause.) The president’s energy strategy, which he calls “all of the above,” is helping too. The boom in oil and gas production, combined with greater energy efficiency, has driven oil imports to a near-20- year low and natural gas production to an all-time high. And renewable energy production has doubled. (Cheers, applause.) Of course, we need a lot more new jobs. But there are already more than 3 million jobs open and unfilled in America, mostly because the people who apply for them don’t yet have the required skills to do them. So even as we get Americans more jobs, we have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are actually going to be created. The old economy is not coming back. We’ve got to build a new one and educate people to do those jobs. (Cheers, applause.) The president — the president and his education secretary have supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for jobs that are actually open in their communities — and even more important after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the dropout rate so much that the percentage of our young people with four-year college degrees has gone down so much that we have dropped to 16th in the world in the percentage of young people with college degrees. So the president’s student loan is more important than ever. Here’s what it does — (cheers, applause) — here’s what it does. You need to tell every voter where you live about this. It lowers the cost of federal student loans. And even more important, it give students the right to repay those loans as a clear, fixed, low percentage of their income for up to 20 years. (Cheers, applause.) Now what does this mean? What does this mean? Think of it. It means no one will ever have to drop out of college again for fear they can’t repay their debt. And it means — (cheers, applause) — it means that if someone wants to take a job with a modest income, a teacher, a police officer, if they want to be a small-town doctor in a little rural area, they won’t have to turn those jobs down because they don’t pay enough to repay they debt. Their debt obligation will be determined by their salary. This will change the future for young America. (Cheers, applause.) I don’t know about you — (cheers, applause) — but on all these issues, I know we’re better off because President Obama made the decisions he did. Now, that brings me to health care. (Cheers, applause.) And the Republicans call it, derisively, “Obamacare.” They say it’s a government takeover, a disaster, and that if we’ll just elect them, they’ll repeal it. Well, are they right? AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No! PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let’s take a look at what’s actually happened so far. First, individuals and businesses have already gotten more than a billion dollars in refunds from insurance companies because the new law requires 80 (percent) to 85 percent of your premium to go to your health care, not profits or promotion. (Cheers, applause.) And the gains are even greater than that because a bunch of insurance companies have applied to lower their rates to comply with the requirement. Second, more than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents’ policies can cover them. (Cheers, applause.) Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care, all the way from breast cancer screenings to tests for heart problems and scores of other things. And younger people are getting them, too. Fourth, soon the insurance companies — not the government, the insurance companies — will have millions of new customers, many of them middle-class people with pre-existing conditions who never could get insurance before. (Cheers, applause.) Now, finally, listen to this. For the last two years — after going up at three times the rate of inflation for a decade, for the last two years health care costs have been under 4 percent in both years for the first time in 50 years. (Cheers, applause.) So let me ask you something. Are we better off because President Obama fought for health care reform? (Cheers, applause.) You bet we are. Now, there were two other attacks on the president in Tampa I think deserve an answer. First, both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the president for allegedly robbing Medicare of $716 billion. That’s the same attack they leveled against the Congress in 2010, and they got a lot of votes on it. But it’s not true. (Applause.) Look, here’s what really happened. You be the judge. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits at all. None. What the president did was to save money by taking the recommendations of a commission of professionals to cut unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that were not making people healthier and were not necessary to get the providers to provide the service. And instead of raiding Medicare, he used the savings to close the doughnut hole in the Medicare drug program — (cheers, applause) — and — you all got to listen carefully to this; this is really important — and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare trust fund so it is solvent till 2024. (Cheers, applause.) So — (chuckles) — so President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare; they strengthened Medicare. Now, when Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as, quote, the biggest, coldest power play, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry — (laughter) — because that $716 billion is exactly, to the dollar, the same amount of Medicare savings that he has in his own budget. (Cheers, applause.) You got to get one thing — it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) So — (inaudible) — (sustained cheers, applause) — now, you’re having a good time, but this is getting serious, and I want you to listen. (Laughter.) It’s important, because a lot of people believe this stuff. Now, at least on this issue, on this one issue, Governor Romney has been consistent. (Laughter.) He attacked President Obama too, but he actually wants to repeal those savings and give the money back to the insurance company. (Laughter, boos.) He wants to go back to the old system, which means we’ll reopen the doughnut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and we’ll reduce the life of the Medicare trust fund by eight full years. (Boos.) So if he’s elected, and if he does what he promised to do, Medicare will now grow (sic/go) broke in 2016. (Boos.) Think about that. That means, after all, we won’t have to wait until their voucher program kicks in 2023 — (laughter) — to see the end of Medicare as we know it. (Applause.) They’re going to do it to us sooner than we thought. (Applause.) Now, folks, this is serious, because it gets worse. (Laughter.) And you won’t be laughing when I finish telling you this. They also want to block-grant Medicaid, and cut it by a third over the coming 10 years. AUDIENCE MEMBER: No! PRESIDENT CLINTON: Of course, that’s going to really hurt a lot of poor kids. But that’s not all. Lot of folks don’t know it, but nearly two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for Medicare seniors — (applause) — who are eligible for Medicaid. (Cheers, applause.) It’s going to end Medicare as we know it. And a lot of that money is also spent to help people with disabilities, including — (cheers, applause) — a lot of middle-class families whose kids have Down’s syndrome or autism or other severe conditions. (Applause.) And honestly, let’s think about it, if that happens, I don’t know what those families are going to do. So I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to do everything I can to see that it doesn’t happen. We can’t let it happen. (Cheers, applause.) We can’t. (Cheers, applause.) Now — wait a minute. (Cheers, applause.) Let’s look — AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let’s look at the other big charge the Republicans made. It’s a real doozy. (Laughter.) They actually have charged and run ads saying that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work. (Jeers.) Wait, you need to know, here’s what happened. (Laughter.) Nobody ever tells you what really happened — here’s what happened. When some Republican governors asked if they could have waivers to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama administration listened because we all know it’s hard for even people with good work histories to get jobs today. So moving folks from welfare to work is a real challenge. And the administration agreed to give waivers to those governors and others only if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20 percent, and they could keep the waivers only if they did increase employment. Now, did I make myself clear? The requirement was for more work, not less. (Cheers, applause.) So this is personal to me. We moved millions of people off welfare. It was one of the reasons that in the eight years I was president, we had a hundred times as many people move out of poverty into the middle class than happened under the previous 12 years, a hundred times as many. (Cheers, applause.) It’s a big deal. But I am telling you the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. (Applause.) But they keep on running the ads claiming it. You want to know why? Their campaign pollster said, we are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers. (Jeers, applause.) Now, finally I can say, that is true. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) I — (chuckles) — I couldn’t have said it better myself. (Laughter.) And I hope you and every American within the sound of my voice remembers it every time they see one of those ads, and it turns into an ad to re-elect Barack Obama and keep the fundamental principles of personal empowerment and moving everybody who can get a job into work as soon as we can. (Cheers, applause.) Now, let’s talk about the debt. Today, interest rates are low, lower than the rate of inflation. People are practically paying us to borrow money, to hold their money for them. But it will become a big problem when the economy grows and interest rates start to rise. We’ve got to deal with this big long- term debt problem or it will deal with us. It will gobble up a bigger and bigger percentage of the federal budget we’d rather spend on education and health care and science and technology. It — we’ve got to deal with it. Now, what has the president done? He has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade, with 2 1/2 trillion (dollars) coming from — for every $2 1/2 trillion in spending cuts, he raises a dollar in new revenues — 2 1/2-to-1. And he has tight controls on future spending. That’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the Simpson-Bowles Commission, a bipartisan commission. Now, I think this plan is way better than Governor Romney’s plan. First, the Romney plan failed the first test of fiscal responsibility. The numbers just don’t add up. (Laughter, applause.) I mean, consider this. What would you do if you had this problem? Somebody says, oh, we’ve got a big debt problem. We’ve got to reduce the debt. So what’s the first thing you say we’re going to do? Well, to reduce the debt, we’re going to have another $5 trillion in tax cuts heavily weighted to upper-income people. So we’ll make the debt hole bigger before we start to get out of it. Now, when you say, what are you going to do about this $5 trillion you just added on? They say, oh, we’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code. So then you ask, well, which loopholes, and how much? You know what they say? See me about that after the election. (Laughter.) I’m not making it up. That’s their position. See me about that after the election. Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic. (Sustained cheers, applause.) If — arithmetic! If — (applause) — if they stay with their $5 trillion tax cut plan — in a debt reduction plan? — the arithmetic tells us, no matter what they say, one of three things is about to happen. One, assuming they try to do what they say they’ll do, get rid of — pay — cover it by deductions, cutting those deductions, one, they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions, like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving, that middle-class families will see their tax bills go up an average of $2,000 while anybody who makes $3 million or more will see their tax bill go down $250,000. (Boos.) Or, two, they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for the national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel. They’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education, child nutrition programs, all the programs that help to empower middle-class families and help poor kids. Oh, they’ll cut back on investments in roads and bridges and science and technology and biomedical research. That’s what they’ll do. They’ll hurt the middle class and the poor and put the future on hold to give tax cuts to upper-income people who’ve been getting it all along. Or three, in spite of all the rhetoric, they’ll just do what they’ve been doing for more than 30 years. They’ll go in and cut the taxes way more than they cut spending, especially with that big defense increase, and they’ll just explode the debt and weaken the economy. And they’ll destroy the federal government’s ability to help you by letting interest gobble up all your tax payments. Don’t you ever forget when you hear them talking about this that Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before I took office, in the 12 years before I took office — (applause) — and doubled the debt in the eight years after I left, because it defied arithmetic. (Laughter, applause.) It was a highly inconvenient thing for them in our debates that I was just a country boy from Arkansas, and I came from a place where people still thought two and two was four. (Laughter, applause.) It’s arithmetic. We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down. (Cheers, applause.) Really. Think about this: President Obama — President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, brightens the future of our children, our families and our nation. It’s a heck of a lot better. It passes the arithmetic test, and far more important, it passes the values test. (Cheers, applause.) My fellow Americans, all of us in this grand hall and everybody watching at home, when we vote in this election, we’ll be deciding what kind of country we want to live in. If you want a winner-take- all, you’re-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket. But if you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, a we’re-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. (Cheers, applause.) If you — if you want — AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Chanting.) Four more years! Four more years! PRESIDENT CLINTON: If you want America — if you want every American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures — (jeers) — just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters — (jeers) — you should support Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.) And if you think — if you think the president was right to open the doors of American opportunity to all those young immigrants brought here when they were young so they can serve in the military or go to college, you must vote for Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.) If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American dream is really alive and well again and where the United States maintains its leadership as a force for peace and justice and prosperity in this highly competitive world, you have to vote for Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.) Look, I love our country so much. And I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come back. (Cheers.) People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth. (Laughter.) And so far, every single person that’s bet against America has lost money because we always come back. (Cheers, applause.) We come through ever fire a little stronger and a little better. And we do it because in the end we decide to champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor — the cause of forming a more perfect union. (Cheers, applause.) My fellow Americans, if that is what you want, if that is what you believe, you must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama. (Cheers, applause.) God bless you and God bless America. (Cheers, applause.)

Sen. Edward Kennedy Video Tribute

Michelle Obama