Marian Calabro: “We came home from vacation in June to find no Verizon landline service. No telling how long it was out, but it took them four days to repair. Fortunately we also have a cable line. Since then, three other friends in north Jersey have had similar experiences. Until this year I never heard of Verizon crashes unless there were huge storms. They’ve become just plain lax. The fellow who says to complain to the BPU is correct, because they’re a utility—or should be.”
Ted Graham: “If you have broadband, there are several options for switching to Internet calling and keeping your current home phone number. I have an Ooma, which cost $200 and offers no monthly fees, free long distance and cheap international calling. We kept our home number and plugged in our existing wireless handsets, it works great. Saves $25/month, plus lots of crazy fees and taxes. I’m not sure I’d do it for your only phone, but most people will have at least one cell phone around.”
☞ I haven’t used it myself, but I’m glad to hear you’re pleased, because I suggest Ooma in the new edition of my book.
Suggested at $4.50 a year ago and a few weeks later at $3.02 – and a few months later still at $2.47 – our patience (obstinacy?) has begun to pay off, with the stock closing at $4.81 last night. Guru thinks it will be over $6 in a year. I wouldn’t rush to buy it here and have sold some shares in my tax-deferred account – but am happy holding the rest.
If you haven’t seen this on Daily Kos or The People’s View, check it out – and pass it on. It’s not particularly elegant, but it shows that an awful lot has been accomplished, even in the face of unprecedented opposition. That the Republicans would have filibustered their own Bipartisan Deficit Reduction Commission speaks volumes, I think, to the all-but-treasonous way the Republicans in the Senate have sought to throw wrenches in the gears of progress. You can argue that their cheers when Chicago lost its Olympic bid was just robust partisanship. You can argue that their prayers the health care bill would fail was based on policy differences – though the “Waterloo” talk suggests some just wanted to see the President fail. Likewise, their votes against extending unemployment insurance, against the stimulus, against the small business package, against the credit card bill and the financial reform bill and the hate crimes bill and repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell – all that. But how do you argue that scuttling their own proposed bipartisan deficit reduction commission was anything other than trying to make sure the President fails, whatever the cost to the country?
Anyway, here it is:
Respectfully, Mr. President: Thank You!
Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 08:56:57 AM PDT
As the battle for control of Congress has tightened and the so called enthusiasm gap is evaporating, we must continue speaking to voter about what Democrats in Congress have accomplished.
If you are a democrat and you have an enthusiasm gap, I am hoping that this could change your lack of enthusiasm.
The facts are in the last 23 months, the following are things that I think are worth keeping scores about what President Obama and the Democratic congress have accomplished that get over looked without an ounce of credit by some who are always disappointed about something.
I think it is important to not only speak to voters about the fact we are moving forward together but remind activists to see what they have been resisting.
I don’t know about you but I am ready to go and these are the reasons why I have more Enthusiasm than ever:
Health Care Reform:
- Coverage can’t be denied to children with pre-existing conditions.
- Adults up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ health plans.
- Free preventive care.
- Rescinding coverage is now illegal.
- Eliminating lifetime limits on insurance coverage.
- Restricting annual limits on insurance coverage.
- More options to appeal coverage decisions.
- $5 billion in immediate federal support to affordable Coverage for the Uninsured with Pre-existing Conditions.
- $10 billion investment in Community Health Centers.
- Create immediate access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for early retirees.
- Made an $80 billion deal with the pharmaceutical industry to contribute to cut prescription drug costs for the nation’s seniors reduce the size of the “donut hole” in the Medicare (Part D) Drug Benefit.
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has worked. The Economy Has Been Growing – take a look at the graph of GDP growth between 2007 thru 2010.
- US auto industry rescue plan — Detroit making profits again and at least 1 million jobs saved.
- Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 that extended Unemployment benefits up to 20 weeks and more.
- Provided $14.7 billion in small business loans increasing minority access to capital.
- The $26 billion aid to states package preventing large-scale layoffs of teachers and public employees.
Banking and Financial Reform:
- Signed a sweeping bank-reform bill (the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) into law.
- Managed the $700 Billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that Banks have repaid 75% of TARP funds, bringing the cost down to $89B as of June 2010.
- Cut Salaries For 65 Bailout Executives.
- Closed offshore tax safe havens, tax credit loopholes on companies that use the tax laws to ship American Jobs oversees. HR 4213.
- Signed into law the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act to fight fraud in the use of TARP and recovery funds, and to increase accountability for corporate and mortgage frauds.
- Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act.
- Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 that increased the amount of federal Pell Grant awards and enabled the stripping of banks privileges as intermediaries for student loan servicing.
- Created the Race to the Top Fund, a $4.35 billion program to reward States that submit the best proposals for change.
- As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, funded over$100 Billion for reforms to strengthen Elementary and Secondary education, early learning programs, college affordability and improve access to higher education, and to close the achievement gap.
- The $787 billion economic stimulus package has created or saved nearly 2 million jobs slowing the bleeding.
- Jobs for Main Street Act (2010)injected $27.5 Billion for Highways, $8.4 Billion for Transit into the country’s transportation system to create jobs and spur economic activity.
- A $33 Billion Jobs Package that will allow Small businesses to get $5,000 tax credit for new hires.
- A $26 billion State Aid Package Jobs Bill saving 300,000 teachers and public workers jobs from unemployment.
- The Auto bailout saved 1 million jobs.
- Implemented renewable fuels mandate of 36 billion gallons by 2022, four times what we currently consume.
- Automakers will be required to meet a fleet-wide average of New Gas Mileage Standards at 35.5 MPH by 2016.
- A $60 billion investment in renewable and clean energy.
- $275 billion dollar housing plan – $75 billion dollars to prevent at-risk mortgage debtors already fallen victim to foreclosures and $200 billion to bring about confidence to offer affordable mortgages and to stability the housing market.
- Established “Opening Doors” to end the homelessness of 640,000 men, women, and children in the United States in 10 years.
- Provided $510 Million for the rehabilitation of Native American housing.
- Provided $2 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization Program to rehab, resell, or demolish in order to stabilize neighborhoods.
- Provided $5 billion for Weatherization Assistance Program for low income families to weatherize 1 million homes per year for the next decade.
- Provided grants to encourage states and localities to take the first steps in implementing new building codes that prioritize energy efficiency.
- giving $250 economic stimulus check to 55 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in 2009.
- Cutting prescription drug costs for Medicare recipients by 50% and began eliminating the plan’s gap (“donut hole”) in coverage.
- Passing as part of H.R.3962 (Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010) a $6.4 billion measure reversing a 21 percent cut in physician payments that would have started a flood of rejections by some doctors of seniors covered by Medicare.
- Expanded eligibility for Medicaid to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level ($14,400 per year for an individual).
Military Veterans and Families:
- Implemented a strategic planto increase the hiring of Veterans and Military spouses throughout the Federal civil service.
- Provided for the expenses of families of to be at Dover AFB when fallen soldiers arrive.
- Passed the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 increasing the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans.
- Declared the end of the war in Iraqi bringing back nearly 100,000 U.S. troops home to their families.
- Donated 250K of Nobel prize money to Fisher House, a group that helps provide housing for families of patients receiving medical care at military and Veterans Affairs medical centers.
- Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.
- Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
- Instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (virtually all hospitals) to allow LGBT visitation rights.
- Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government (the nation’s largest employer).
- Signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act.
- Extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover Gay employees taking unpaid leave to care for their children of same-sex partners.
- Lifted the HIV Entry Ban.
- Implemented HUD Policies that Would Ban Discrimination Based On Gender Identity.
Well, there is more but you see we have done a lot. We have the tools to shape the message. We need to move forward together and focus on what we will accomplish forward in the coming years. That is why we have to work hard for the next three weeks to GOTV.
These are my kids at the One Nation March about a week ago [adorable photo omitted for lack of technical expertise – A.T.]. They are fired up as I am. Are you?
THE OFA IPHONE APP
If you are . . . watch the demo, download the app, knock on some doors (it tells you which and how), hang on to Congress.
Quote of the Day
Triumphant wife to down-and-out husband: I've consolidated all our bills into one missed payment.~Frank Cotham cartoon in the October 11, 1999, New Yorker
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