Special Needs

I love my job. I ride around and see the insides of people’s houses and hear their stories. For a writer it doesn’t get any better.

I’m thinking today about a mother and daughter I visited in Providence. I was there to supervise a nurse’s aid who was giving care to the daughter.

The daughter was in her thirties, a petite, quiet, severely mentally disabled woman. It wasn’t Down syndrome. I never found out what caused the disability, but the young woman would never be able to live without help. She needed to be fed, dressed, played with and constantly watched. She was like a two year old child, although stronger and more mobile. She occasionally had seizures, fortunately not often. She would have fits of temper, but with gentleness she could be calmed.

The house fascinated me. It seemed that nothing had been changed since President Kennedy. Maybe nothing had been changed since the mother began her life of devotion to a baby who would need her every day for as long as she could give.

If this little family had any money, it was not apparent. There was nothing new in the house anywhere. The mother was cheerful and uncomplaining, focusing on what was going well. No emergency room visits for months, no seizures or colds. She had nothing but praise for the kind nurse’s aid who cared for her daughter.

What does it take to support a special needs child in barest poverty? My agency sent a nurse’s aid to give the mother a few hours of respite. The daughter was enrolled in a day program from morning till afternoon on weekdays. Given her condition she would have been on Medicaid and SSI Disability to cover her medical expenses and prescription drugs.

Hillary Clinton was attacked for saying that it takes a village to raise a child, but it’s a fact that no one can give this level of care without help. In a run-down apartment in a poor section of town a mother depends on social programs just to survive.

I have visited other families where a mother, or both parents, devote their lives to the care of a disabled child. It doesn’t get easier as parents age and children’s needs increase.

I was listening to WRNI today, a conservative economist was talking about cutting government spending, specifically Medicaid and Medicare. Our governor has cut children’s health care. The Republican candidate promises not to raise taxes.

At the same time, the religious right are exuberant about the ‘culture of life’. They say that Sarah Palin ‘walks the walk’. Will she, or any of her party stand up and defend the programs that make life possible for children with special needs? Will they defend those programs against demagogues and short-sighted tax-cutters? Will they even give domestic needs the same respect they give the military?

If the Republican vice-presidential candidate is truly a maverick she has her chance to speak up now.

36 thoughts on “Special Needs

  1. I am not a conservative on this issue.My tax money is well spent on such people.Some people are owed something by society because they woud up getting dealt a bad hand in life throughno fault of their own,If we don’t care for them it doesn’t say much for us.

  2. not explicitly enough. the real answers will come when she defends the programs that support families caring for children with disabilities. even a better off family such as the Palins qualify for and need support from state and federal programs, and good health insurance.
    will she publicly stand up when it comes down to numbers and services for people in need are branded a tax burden?
    because it’s enormously expensive to care for a child with a disability and it does take a collective effort.

  3. In case you missed Gov. Palin’s speech last night. She may connect with mainstream America unlike anyone before her. McCain may end up working for her if he doesn’t watch out.


    SARAH PALIN: Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens, I will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the United States.

    I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America. And I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election against confident opponents at a crucial hour for our country.

    And I accept the privilege of serving with a man who has come through much harder missions, and met far graver challenges, and knows how tough fights are won, the next president of the United States, John S. McCain.


    It was just a year ago when all the experts in Washington counted out our nominee because he refused to hedge his commitment to the security of the country he loves.
    With their usual certitude, they told us that all was lost, there was no hope for this candidate, who said that he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. But the pollsters…


    The pollsters and the pundits, they overlooked just one thing when they wrote him off. They overlooked the caliber of the man himself, the determination, and resolve, and the sheer guts of Senator John McCain.


    The voters knew better, and maybe that’s because they realized there’s a time for politics and a time for leadership, a time to campaign and a time to put our country first.


    Our nominee for president is a true profile in courage, and people like that are hard to come by. He’s a man who wore the uniform of his country for 22 years and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who now have brought victory within sight.


    And as the mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander-in-chief.

    I’m just one of many moms who will say an extra prayer each night for our sons and daughters going into harm’s way. Our son, Track, is 19. And one week from tomorrow, September 11th, he’ll deploy to Iraq with the Army infantry in the service of his country.

    My nephew, Casey (ph), also enlisted and serves on a carrier in the Persian Gulf.

    My family is so proud of both of them and of all the fine men and women serving the country in uniform.



    So Track is the eldest of our five children. In our family, it’s two boys and three girls in between, my strong and kind- hearted daughters, Bristol, and Willow, and Piper.


    And we were so blessed in April. Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig.

    You know, from the inside, no family ever seems typical, and that’s how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys.

    Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a very, very special love. To the families of special-needs…


    To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message for you: For years, you’ve sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that, if we’re elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.


    And Todd is a story all by himself. He’s a lifelong commercial fisherman and a production operator in the oil fields of Alaska’s North Slope, and a proud member of the United Steelworkers union. And Todd is a world champion snow machine racer.


    Throw in his Yup’ik Eskimo ancestry, and it all makes for quite a package. And we met in high school. And two decades and five children later, he’s still my guy.


    My mom and dad both worked at the elementary school in our small town. And among the many things I owe them is a simple lesson that I’ve learned, that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity.

    And my parents are here tonight.

    I am so proud to be the daughter of Chuck and Sally Heath (ph).


    Long ago, a young farmer and a haberdasher from Missouri, he followed an unlikely path — he followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency. And a writer observed, “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity,� and I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.

    I grew up with those people. They’re the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food, and run our factories, and fight our wars. They love their country in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America.


    I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA.


    I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.


    So I signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education even better. And when I ran for city council, I didn’t need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and I knew their families, too.

    Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska…


    … I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involved.


    I guess — I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.


    I might add that, in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they’re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.


    No, we tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.


    As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes and whoever is listening John McCain is the same man.


    Well, I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And…


    … I’ve learned quickly these last few days that, if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.


    But — now, here’s a little newsflash. Here’s a little newsflash for those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country.


    Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reason and not just to mingle with the right people. Politics isn’t just a game of clashing parties and competing interests. The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it.


    No one expects us all to agree on everything, but we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant’s heart.

    And I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States.


    This was the spirit that brought me to the governor’s office when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau, when I stood up to the special interests, and the lobbyists, and the Big Oil companies, and the good-old boys.

    Suddenly, I realized that sudden and relentless reform never sits well with entrenched interests and power-brokers. That’s why true reform is so hard to achieve.

    But with the support of the citizens of Alaska, we shook things up. And in short order, we put the government of our state back on the side of the people.


    I came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is a law.

    While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over-the-top.


    I put it on eBay.


    I love to drive myself to work. And I thought we could muddle through without the governor’s personal chef, although I got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her.


    I came to office promising to control spending, by request if possible, but by veto, if necessary.


    Senator McCain also — he promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest. And as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.


    Our state budget is under control. We have a surplus. And I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending, nearly $500 million in vetoes.

    We suspended the state fuel tax and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,� on that Bridge to Nowhere.


    If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves.


    When oil and gas prices went up dramatically and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged: directly to the people of Alaska.


    And despite fierce opposition from oil company lobbyists, who kind of liked things the way that they were, we broke their monopoly on power and resources. As governor, I insisted on competition and basic fairness to end their control of our state and return it to the people.


    I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history.

    And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.


    That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are open, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart.

    The stakes for our nation could not be higher. When a hurricane strikes in the Gulf of Mexico, this country should not be so dependent on imported oil that we’re forced to draw from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And families cannot throw more and more of their paychecks on gas and heating oil.

    With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers.


    To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of the world’s energy supplies, or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that Venezuela might shut off its oil discoveries and its deliveries of that source, Americans, we need to produce more of our own oil and gas. And…


    And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: We’ve got lots of both.


    Our opponents say again and again that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems, as if we didn’t know that already.


    But the fact that drilling, though, won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.


    Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines, and build more nuclear plants, and create jobs with clean coal, and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources. We need…


    We need American sources of resources. We need American energy brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers.


    And now, I’ve noticed a pattern with our opponent, and maybe you have, too. We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers, and there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

    But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate.

    This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory,� except when he’s talking about his own campaign.


    But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot…


    … when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?


    The answer — the answer is to make government bigger, and take more of your money, and give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.


    America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions.

    Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights.


    Government is too big; he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much money; he promises more.

    Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan.

    And let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, and raise payroll taxes, and raise investment income taxes, and raise the death tax, and raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.


    My sister, Heather, and her husband, they just built a service station that’s now open for business, like millions of others who run small businesses. How are they…


    How are they going to be better off if taxes go up? Or maybe you are trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or in Ohio…


    … or you’re trying — you’re trying to create jobs from clean coal, from Pennsylvania or West Virginia.


    You’re trying to keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota.


    How are you — how are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?

    Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election: In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.

    They are the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners or on self-designed presidential seals.


    Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speech- making, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things, and then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things.


    They’re the ones who are good for more than talk, the ones that we’ve always been able to count on to serve and to defend America.

    Senator McCain’s record of actual achievements and reform helps explain why so many special interests, and lobbyists, and comfortable committee chairmen in Congress have fought the prospect of a McCain presidency from the primary election of 2000 to this very day.

    Our nominee doesn’t run with the Washington herd. He’s a man who’s there to serve his country and not just his party, a leader who’s not looking for a fight, but sure isn’t afraid of one, either.


    Harry Reid, the majority of the current do-nothing Senate…


    … he not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. He said, quote, “I can’t stand John McCain.�

    Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we’ve chosen the right man.


    Clearly, what the majority leader was driving at is that he can’t stand up to John McCain and that is only…


    … that’s only one more reason to take the maverick out of the Senate, put him in the White House.


    My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.



    This world of threats and dangers, it’s not just a community and it doesn’t just need an organizer.

    And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, “fighting for you,� let us face the matter squarely: There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you.


    There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain.


    You know, in our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world, the nightmare world in which this man and others equally brave served and suffered for their country.

    And it’s a long way from the fear, and pain, and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office.

    But if Senator McCain is elected president, that is the journey he will have made. It’s the journey of an upright and honorable man, the kind of fellow whose name you will find on war memorials in small towns across this great country, only he was among those who came home.

    To the most powerful office on Earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless, the wisdom that comes even to the captives by the grace of God, the special confidence of those who have seen evil and have seen how evil is overcome. A fellow…


    A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio…


    … Tom Moe recalls looking through a pinhole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway by the guards, day after day.

    And the story is told, when McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn towards Moe’s door, and he’d flash a grin and a thumbs up, as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this.�

    My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through the next four years.


    For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. But for a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.

    If character is the measure in this election, and hope the theme, and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause. Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States.

    Thank you, and God bless America. Thank you.

  4. Sarah Palin flatters herself in the comparison to a pit bull. No pit bull I’ve ever met has the propensity for self-aggrandizement and dishonesty that she displays.

  5. Sarah Palin has promised to be an advocate for families raising a child with disabilities. Let’s check her record in Alaska and hold her to her promise wherever she serves.

  6. One must wonder at the elitist disdain for a very determined and unpretentious individual of accomplishment as is Ms Palin. Is it because she is from the West, or is it envy. In her career, she has done real things, in a complex environment, for real people without much concern for political liabilaties. Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama have never “worked” at other than living the political life, and neither has crafted nor completed a substantive piece of legislation, nor done more than pontificate while becoming millionaires (as have 75$ or more of the members of Congress). Neither is or has been a union organizer or member, and both leave a trail of misjudgements, poor life choices and bizarre friendships, actions or statements, from alliances with “retired” terrorists, racist clergy, or over-inflation of their academic accomplishments and episodes of plagerism. It is sad to see an independent woman, steadfast and accomplished, castigated not for who she is, but for her political and moral convictions. It is almost as if there is a need on the left to not allow a Republican woman of the right to succeed because the Democrats have already abused their opportunity to win, by casting off Ms Clinton. Certainly, it is likely the only candidate that can win for the Democrats in November would have been Ms Clinton. This is one more instance that demonstrates for the need for a third and possibly fourth party.

  7. Yes, Sarah answered Nancy’s question. As gov, she cut funding to programs for unwed teen mothers.

    Answered the question loud and clear.

    For Joe, which McCain do you believe? The one who proposed immigration and campaign reform, or the one who later-when it was expedient–opposed bills that have his name on them. So why should I believe anything said by a man who has made 74 substantive changes of position in calendar year 2008?

    And Sarah Palin is cut from exactly the same piece of mendacious cloth:

    She lied about opposing the “bridge to nowhere.” She lied when she said Obama had no notable accomplishments as a senator. She lied when she said she favored programs for special-needs kids–after cutting fundingy by 62%. She lied about her support of Ted Stevens, and his support of her.

    And Donald, shame on you. Shame on you. No one is attacking her personally, That’s what Repubs do. The media is doing a half-hearted job of questioning her capacity to do the job she’s applying for. How dare you equate that with the sort of oersonal attacks McCain has been making against Obama for the last 3 months? Or shat she made against Obama last night?

    It’s not the elitist disdain for a small-town girl. It’s the legitimate question of “is this person actually qualified to lead the free world?” I’ve seen Obama questioned on that many times, and it’s a legitimate question. Why is is out of bounds to ask the same question of a Repub? She is a self-described “pit bull” after all. She can dish it out, but can’t take it? That’s not a quality I want in anyone, let alone a president.

    And why can’t she take it? Because she’s just a girl so she’s frail and delicate? That is blatant sexism.

    And this nomination is the worst kind of cynicism. She is allowed to stand before a national audience and lie through her teeth, and to accuse Obama of any number of personal faults, but we can’t even question her credentials.

    Wow. The sheer chutzpah of that is breathtaking.

    And Donald, in response to your lie about Obama’s lack of accomplishment in the Senate, you’d better read this.


    And check this for a more complete list of the lies she told. That’s LIES, folks. She Lied. Or am I a big meanie or a pointy-headed elitist for pointing out the obvious fact?


    Bet neither Donald, nor Joe, nor GCF have the guts to check the links.

    The double standard displayed by Repubs is nauseating. That’s why there’s even an acronym for it: IOKIYAR

    It’s OK If You’re A Republican.

  8. klaus,

    Here’s a little humor……………

    A young teenage girl was about to finish her first year of college. She considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat but her father was a rather staunch Republican.

    One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to taxes and welfare programs. He stopped her and asked her how she was doing in school.

    She answered that she had a 4.0 GPA but it was really tough. She had to study all the time, and she never had time to go out and party. She didn’t have time for a boyfriend and didn’t really have many college friends because of spending all her time studying.

    He asked, “How is your friend Mary?” She replied that Mary was barely getting by. She had a 2.0 GPA and never studied. She was very popular on campus and went to parties all the time. She often didn’t show up for classes because she was hung over.

    Dad then asked his daughter why she didn’t go to the Dean’s office and have 1.0 taken off her 4.0 and give it to her friend with the 2.0. That way they would both have a 3.0 GPA.

    The daughter angrily fired back, “That wouldn’t be fair! I worked really hard for mine and Mary has done nothing.”

    The father slowly smiled and said, “Welcome to the Republican Party.”

  9. klaus-which McCain?I was disgusted with his complicity on the destructive immigration bill that was almost law,and I never understood his anti-1st amendment stand on the bill he co-authorized with Feingold.
    I still think he’d be a lot better president than Obama,who has very little to recommend him beside a speaking ability.Obama is far left on every issue that matters to me.Unlike the lockstep leftists I don’t expect humans to always be consistent-I am not.I am sure there are no contradictions in your life or behavior,right Klaus?There certainly are in mine.
    McCain is okay with me in spite of my disagreements with some of his policy positions.Obama will mess this counry up beyond all recognition with bad judicial appointments,an aggressive attempt at gun control,which may flare up into a real nightmare for his new regime,a foreign policy that will encourage the worst of our enemies to push the envelope,and a general socialist tendency to tax productive people into submission to redistribute income to those who only know how to hold their hands out.
    Anybody who gets up in front of an ethnic-supremacist group like La Raza and says ICE,a government law enforcement agency is “terrorizing our communities”-a direct quote whioch I saw on video-is totally unfit for public office,let alone the presidency.And let’s not forget Bill Ayers,who should have been executed for what he did,and instead got a professor’s seat.This is who Obama associates with and has praised.

  10. Ghost,
    Imagine that, I almost forgot that Republican’s have a monopoly on hard work and a trade mark on the moral high ground. Apparently the grounded work ethic that your post’s teenaged daughter displays only applies to GOP teens here in the lower 48. I’ll be discreet.

  11. what do you say about the student who is having trouble keeping her grades up because she has to work 30 hours a week at minimum wage just to keep up with the tuition? there was a great editorial in the NYT about how a Pell Grant helped the writer get through college.
    i think that’s where we come down to reality. it is fair to use tax money to support public primary education for children whether they live in the rich or the poor area, and to do something about the unconscionable debt we levy on our middle class kids just to get the education they need for a good job.

  12. Nancy-my daughter worked two double shifts every weekend at a low paying job(26 hrs) all through undergrad and did very well and she worked full time and went to school full time for her Masters-she has what is called work ethic.I am not against taxpayer funded education,but where it is demonstrably a failure and the teachers unions won’t compromise on such issues as merit pay/retention,then people should have an alternative like charter schools.
    Pell grants are good-who’s arguing that?

  13. Let’s see: executive experience: governor of a state that is larger than Texas, Montana and California combined; larger than 23 of the smallest states combined; larger than all but 18 COUNTRIES; management of international agreements with Russia (23 miles away) and Canada; the richest state in natural resources; almost 50% of the shorline of the lower 48 (remember Mr. Obama was not sure if he “visited 57 of our 58 states”); executive in charge of cities hundreds of miles apart, National Guard, State Police; treaty obligations to 22 differnet language groups; state railroad; $40 billion dollar international gas pipeline (she negotiated);potentially riches oil state; richest gold state; riches gas state; richest wildlife state; richest timber state; gay back $1200 in oil royalties to the state to each Alaskan; killed the Bridge to No Where; and on and on; married to a guy who is part Alaskan aleut and both he and she are uUnited Steel Worker members. Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama are situated, entrenched career politician who have accumulated millions of dollars of wealth individually AFTER entering “public service.” At least Mr. McCain acquired his via marriage to a beer distributership lady whose father worked for it and even Mr. Kerry, at least got his from a ketchup widow. One might suggest that reality checks are in order and reality seems to have escaped some.

    One must be dismayed by the left scrutiny of a woman from the West, largely because she is not a leftist and because she is from the Wesy and adheres to conservative views. The treatment of her and her children was out of bounds. Aagin, if we wish to compare what people were doing at 17 and 18. Ms. palins daughter apparently is expecting a child and will be married. Mr. Obama was, in his own words, doing alcohol, and soft and hard drugs. If one wishes to look at candidate’s children, the same press should look at the conflicts and pending litigation that is apparently encroaching on Mr. Bidens sons. Similarly, Ms Palin has apparently never been firends with a terrorist (Mr. Ayers and Ms Dorn), or racist clergy (for 24 years), nor as has Mr. Biden “appropriated someone else’s speec, inflated his academic record, expressed apparent wonder that so many &-11 stores has folks from India and Pakistan, or that Mr. Obama “was so clean and well spoken.”

    My contention is that there has not been fair treatment of Ms Palin and disgusting ingnorance of the accomplishments of Mr. McCain. My political heritage, by the way, extends to grandparents who got the vote out for FDR and Stevenson; parents who organized for Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. Similarly, I worked for Hubert and Mondale, and my late wife actually worked for Walter Heller, the Chairman of JFK’s Council of Economic Advisors when he was a Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota. I need no lessons in the Democratic party, but I do feel dimayed of how poor in outlook and quality the party has become.

  14. Nancy, My eldest daughter will be graduating college next spring with a degree in psychology. She attended college while working full time. My middle daughter is attending college studying to be a pharmacist. She works full time, at Rite Aid and has two children. Did I mention she’s a single mom. Nothing is for nothing in this world. And no one should be afraid of hard work. That’s what makes our country great. Too bad some think social services are an entitlement.

  15. Ghost, every time you drive on a paved road or see a fire truck go by you are looking at social services. your family sounds wonderful and I wish them the best. I would like to see more money supporting the education of hard working students like them, it would be a good investment.

  16. Donald, just googled this
    ‘Palin Hasn’t Ordered National Guard to do Anything’
    however, I’ll be she would handle a snowstorm better than Governor Carcieri did last year.
    I heard that her church is Assemblies of God. Sarah Palin makes many references to God in her speeches, more than we heard in the convention. It would be fair to ask her, as was asked of JFK, whether she would follow her religion over the law of the land.

  17. Nancy-you’ve seemed to be very concerned about anti-Muslim bias at times-I studied the history of Islam in a Medieval History course in 1964 and later in 1972 in a course on Middle Eastern government(taught by a non-Muslim Iranian)and I learned that in Islam government and religion are inseparable.Anyone who avows themselves to be practicing Muslims must follow this philosophy.This has nothing to do with the current election-just mentioning it.
    I know some Assembly of God people and they are unequivocally fundamentalist Christians,but their religion doesn’t pretend to double as government.
    They may prefer to vote for fundamentalist Christians,just as a lot of Jews where I grew up would vote for a Jewish candidate almost by rote.Didn’t matter if the candidate was any good.I think they’ve moved past that by now.The same drill worked with Irish,Italians,Catholics when Kennedy ran,etc.
    The big difference was that none of them expected the government to act according to their particular religious beliefs.
    For that reason,I would not vote for an observant Muslim.As far as someone being “born” Muslim,and not practicing it,I would be totally unconcerned.
    If some find this attitude bigoted,so be it.I don’t hink it is,because it is a reaction to the most basic Islamic philosophy concerning religion and government.

  18. Donald,
    Is Obama a “career politician” or inexperienced? One cannot have it both ways,so I’ll leave it to you to pick your poison. The bulk of Obama’s net worth came from writing two best selling books, a far cry from lining one’s pockets at the expense of the public he served. With a population of roughly 700,000, Alaska’s population compares in number to Charlotte, NC, does this make Charlotte’s Mayor, who ever he/she may be, qualified to be our next VP?
    I agree that Palin’s children should not be subject to or made part of the ongoing media circus that is the general election. That being said, Gov. Palin had a choice to make when she was offered the VP slot by McCain…she chose to put her ambition and political career ahead of her children’s best interests. Much is being made of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy, but no one in the Obama camp is rolling out pictures of Jaime Lynn Spears or calling G

  19. Donald,
    Is Obama a “career politician” or inexperienced? One cannot have it both ways,so I’ll leave it to you to pick your poison. The bulk of Obama’s net worth came from writing two best selling books, a far cry from lining one’s pockets at the expense of the public he served. With a population of roughly 700,000, Alaska’s population compares in number to Charlotte, NC, does this make Charlotte’s Mayor, who ever he/she may be, qualified to be our next VP?
    I agree that Palin’s children should not be subject to or made part of the ongoing media circus that is the general election. That being said, Gov. Palin had a choice to make when she was offered the VP slot by McCain…she chose to put her ambition and political career ahead of her children’s best interests. Much is being made of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy, but no one in the Obama camp is rolling out pictures of Jaime Lynn Spears or calling Gov. Palin a “celebrity”.
    In closing Donald, do you honestly feel that Sen McCain’s military record has not been honored enough?
    No one can question his courage and loyalty. I have no intention of voting for the McCain-Palin ticket, but I would like to know more about Gov. Palin—as a citizen of this country I deserve to.

  20. Joe, I wasn’t even thinking of Muslims. I attended an Assemblies of God church when I was young so I have a particular concern with them.
    I remember that my husband, who is from the South, said that southerners would not vote for Joe Lieberman because of his religion. Much as I refused to believe that people could be that stupid, I have come to think it was a factor.
    I think it was a sad day in America when politicians began to pander to religion the way they have for the last 30 years. God is probably really embarrassed.

  21. Nancy-do you think it is possible that politicians pandering to religion is a reaction to the full frontal assault on any mention of God,school prayer,etc that resulted in the O’Hair decision of 1963?
    Everett Dirksen started a movement for a Constitutional amendment to return school prayer.It never got too far,as I recall.I do remember Kennedy being compelled to distance himself from the Pope.
    I’m not surprised that a lot of people wouldn’t vote for Lieberman because he’s Jewish.It’s a fact of life that some people hate and mistrust Jews whether they are openly religious like Lieberman or could care less about Judaism like me.
    I just accept it and as long as they don’t bother me,I won’t bother them.There are plenty of people in the world who take others at face value,so why sweat it?

  22. The world is a strange and interesting place: the news today is the discovery (and exposure by the press) that the Democrats seem to have thrown all their hundreds of American flags in trach bags and thence dumpsters after their convention with the faux styrofoam Grecian columns. I suspect that will be major news in the days to come, and of course, some staffer(s) will be thrown beneath the Obama bus. It’s getting crowded there: Rev, Wright was the first to go, followed by the other errant clergy, then General Clark, and more. This is what the Democratic Party has become: slight of hand and superficiality, candidate who don’t know how many states we have, or candidates with hair plugs and a record of plagerizing speeches.

    Some responses:

    Indeed, the Alaskan National Guard has been ordered to Kuwait and Iraq and the order to mobilize is always via a Governor and is approved by a State’s Governor. Recall Mr. Bush’s repeated request to the former Governor of Louisiana to mobilize her guard units after Katrina (she failed until too late). And Ms Palin has visited the Alaskan Guard in-country–matter of fact I recall my son (now in Iraq) telling me that he has met some of the Alsaka Guard. The Governor has also placed her Guard into State situations–fires and other local calamities, very typical for any Western Governor, and many elsewhere.

    One sees a miasma of reprehensible behavior and charges by the leftist machine, most ineffective in the end, but sadly will again split Democrats. Ms Palin has been greeted with interest and enthusiasm by both parties. It is the failing of Democrats and a ridiculous and unrepresentative primary process that has resulted in not being able to to field viable candidates. After all, it is the Democrats who contrived to deny people of voting by instituting “Superdelegates” and the absurd proportional voting, not the republicans.

    It also strikes me that the 9,000 population and the 700,000 population comparison is absurd and is indeed a very standard misunderstanding of elitist Easterners. My little town has 8,000, but no statewide p[olitician would avoid us. Ms. Palin’s town of 9,000 is more people than the total vote Mr. Biden received in the Presidential primary this time out. The last time Mr. Biden ran, he had to withdraw because it was discovered he had plagerized Mr. Kinnock’s speech. Mr. Biden seems to have spent more than $1000 for every vote he received. Alaska, by the way, is 43 times as large as Delaware (with it’s 3 electoral voted). We have ranches bigger than that out here.

    The absurd, “she put her political interests ahead of her children,” sexist and ignorant remark is off a very Left blog, also spin from Ms Sally Quinn of the Washington Post, who I recall managed to get Ben Bradley from his wife, 22 years ago, and has been broadly responded to by most of the main stream media. It is absurd. One wonders whether Mr. Obama, who has not helped his brother in Kenya (yup, he has a brother and a Kenyan Grandmother) and apparently living on $1 a month in a hut, is not castigated for putting ambition ahead of politics. Or, what about his Kenyan Grandmother–why is she not visible in the campaign, and is not Mr. Obama putting politics ahead of family?

    Mr. Obama is a career politician, if by the term you mean someone in politics; it does not necessarily mean in office. Actually the rate that career politician reach any office is about that of career baseball players making the Majors, ot career boxers getting a chamionship fight. Fot most of his adult (over 21 and post-drug life) Mr. Obama has been a politician. His experience as a money earning, public pay check national politician is about 3 years (160 days of work with the Senate in session).

    Mr. McCain’s militraty experience is extraordinary. We forget the carrier explosion episode, another act of heroism, befor the loss of his aircraft on the 23rd Douglas Skyhawk mission he flew, and we forget the experience of being the Exec of the largest Navay squadron–i think it was 22 years of leadership positions. It is unlikely anyone not experiencing the totality of theat life story can appreciate the dedication. We have not seen the likes of this caliber since Dwight Eisenhower; profound and worthy of respect. Our freedoms are built on the service of men and women like these, not the products of self-promotion and superficiality.

  23. Lately I have been thinking about Max Cleland. I saw him speak at Brown. He was very unhappy about the war in Iraq, and felt that the returning veterans would not get the support and services that they needed and deserved. His take on that was accurate and has been confirmed by the events of the past few years. Max Cleland was branded as unpatriotic. He lost three limbs in the Vietnam War, he served in congress, he was thrown out of office by the Bush Republican machine.

  24. Donald, the flag story is an urban rumor. wonder who started it?
    “But according to a senior official involved in organizing the Democratic convention, the McCain camp is simply lying about the flags.

    “All of the flags at Invesco were picked up and put in bags and into storage, along with the unused flags and campaign signs. The flags were going to be donated, and the signs were going to be sent out to be used elsewhere,” the official said, speaking anonymously since he was not authorized to talk to the press.”

    I volunteered on the Obama campaign in Providence, and I was impressed that they were smart about not wasting money, paper or signs. It would be consistent with what I saw here that they would save the flags for another event.

  25. I just hoped this campaign wouldn’t devolve into Nancy (sorry ’bout that)Grace,Maury Povitch level sniping about how the flags were handled and whose kid is having a baby out of wedlock.The flag story seems suspect because the Obama campaign people aren’t that stupid,not since Obama got jammed up over the lapel pin.And the vile crap I see on Daily Kos and some local blogs about personal issues is diverting from the fact that there is a world of difference between McCain and Obama on policy matters.Palin and Biden don’t count that much,because McCain has had cancer and Obama smokes.Is it likely they won’t live out the next four years?No.Both men are getting good medical surveillance and I don’t think the VP choices will have to do much more than attend funerals of foreign dignataries and maybe break a tie vote in the Senate(not likely this term).
    The issues I want to hear discussed are:energy,the war on terror,education funding,immigration,gun control,the role of the judiciary,and our future with constructs like NAFTA and the WTO.

  26. If my mention of cancer and smoking seemed contradictory vis a vis the importance of the VP picks,it wasn’t-both men are well aware of their health risks and denial won’t be a problem with either one of them.

  27. Donald, there is no “leftist machine.” Most of what the Repubs rail against are the unattributed, undocumented attitudes of “generic” liberals who don’t exist. When they state that “liberals believe” or “liberals think” they can never come up with an actual quote from anyone actually in a position of responsibility. Unlike the US Rep from Georgia, Lynn Westmoreland, who called Obama “uppity,” then repeated the word so there was no danger of misquote, and then, the next day, claimed he didn’t think “uppity” had any racial connotations.

    Does he believe that, or is he lying?

    And OK, you believe McCain is qualified for pres. Fine. Can you tell me what he plans to do if elected? Stay in Iraq for the next 100 years–now, when even Bush is adopting a timetable for withdrawal? Continue to follow bankrupt economic policies that are nothing less than top-down class warfare, benefitting the very wealthy while median wage falls?

    Maybe he is qualified, but I don’t like any of that.

    Oh–and did you catch the comments at the Rep Convention about how much WashDC needs to be reformed? And yet, which party has been in control for most of the past 28 years? Hint, it hasn’t been the Dems.

    And, Joe, I’m a little tired of the way you constantly refer to the ‘vile stuff at Daily Kos.’ Is it vile? Yes.

    But your implication is that there is some sort of equivalence between a handful of private citizens who go to a specific blog to vent their spleen, and a vast network of Right Wing, well networks. The RW has Rush and Michael Savage and Ann Coulter and Hannity and O’Reilly and Glen Beck a dozen others who have national TV and radio exposure to MILLIONS of people EVERY DAY. Plus, there are the Mellon and Scaife and Coors fortunes paying for books and newspapers, and the AP providing slanted news to newspapers across the country.

    There is simply NO comparison. The RW can spew vile hate that’s picked up by the news outlets as if it were news. Like this flag story, which Fox has been reporting as a news story.

    And you want vile? What about Ann Coulter’s comment in 2006 that “they shot the wrong Lincoln,” all-but saying Lincoln Chaffee should be shot because he dared to buck the RW talking points? As recently as last year, Rush was STILL claiming that Hillary had murdered Vince Foster. The famous story about how the Clintonistas had stolen the “W” keys off the typewriters in the WH was a lie, but reported as fact. Now the flag thing–another lie that was reported as news by Fox.

    How can you compare this sort of concerted, organized effort with a bunch of individuals at a single website? This is an attempt to create a moral equivalence where none exists. There is no comparison.

    I don’t read Kos, because it’s too predictable, and because much of what gets said is ridiculous. But how, in the name of God, can you compare that to Fox News, which is all-but the official propaganda outlet of the Repub party?

    Although, btw, even Fox is claiming that some of McCain’s ads are almost downright dishonest. McCain has run a dirty, vile campaign, almost completely devoid of both substance and truth. His sole qualification seems to be his biography, and he’s hired a “pit bull with lipstick” (and that’s HER description) as his #2. After hearing years worth of attacks about how Clinton lacked veracity, I’m disgusted by the way that McCain and Palin are praised as being decent, upright people.

    They are liars. Is that vile enough for you?

    Or is it that you can’t handle the truth?

    Oops! She did it again! From Political Animal:

    ….ABC’s Political Punch reports on Sarah Palin’s speech today:

    “She said she “championed reform of earmark spending by Congress, and I told the Congress thanks but no thanks on that ‘Bridge to Nowhere'”, she said, ommiting (sic) mention that she’d campaigned for governor supporting the bridge.”….

    This is from a speech she made last night in Albuquerque.

    So she’s a decent person, why?

  28. Donald,
    As I have stated dozens of times on the blog: You are certainly entitled to your opinion and I mine. Believe what you like, but to compare Sen. McCain to President Eisenhower is a real reach. Sen. McCain’s service to our country is both well/over documented and quite honorable like thousands of other veterans from our nations armed conflicts. Gen./President Eisenhower headed an entire regional military operation, Sen. McCain did not. Your are certainly correct that President Eisenhower was a rare and gifted leader, a leader who once removed from the battlefield realized the tremendous cost of war, and I quote “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in a final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of it’s laborers, the genius of it’s scientists, the hopes of it’s children…”
    Given the tone and rhetoric of Sen. McCain’s position on Iraq/Afghanistan/ the entire Middle East, and his advanced age, I am not sure that Sen. McCain will ever be able to gain the perspective that Eisenhower had in his later years.

  29. Klaus-I’ve heard all your anger at Savage,Coulter,Fox,Hannity,Rush,etc,etc and I actually don’t watch/listen to them except Fox news.i actually can read,and i come to my own conclusions.Please don’t try to pretend that there is no big money behind Daily Kos or Huffington,or Moveon.org,or Air America.George Soros,a miserable collaborator against his own poeple for the Nazis has billions made by slimy currency manipulation from which he pumps into left wing causes.
    You can go after McCain all you want.I trust him a hell of a lot more than Obama.Obama has a “citizen of the world”attitude which I don’t care for one bit.Sovereignty is sneered at by the left until a breakdown in that situation comes along to upset their cozy little world in academia where so many of the left “struggle”.
    Randy Rhodes suggested Bush be assassinated-you have no problem with that,right?
    Please don’t beef to me about equivalence arguments-every leftist I have debated a point with uses it to avoid answering the question.
    It’s like little kids-one gets caught breaking a window and starts squeaking”Larry opened the fire hydrant”-yeah-but we’re talking about the window,kid.
    I like to stay on point.most of my problems with Obama are extremely specific based on his stated positions.
    I spend a lot of my time trying to convince undecided voters to oppose Obama and vote for McCain.My “talking points”to use a horrible new trendy term,are their contrasting positions.

  30. Klaus-I will make an equivalence argument here:
    O’Reilly&Hannity=Matthews and Olbermann
    Ann Coulter=Randy Rhodes
    Michael Savage=Mike Malloy
    What’s my point?It seems almost like a chess game with mirror-image pieces faced off.
    I learn more about the truth from one novel by Cormac McCarthy than any ten pundit books could ever hope to teach me(if I ever wasted my time reading them).
    Try McCarthy if you haven’t.There is no political subtext to this advice.It helps to be fluent in Spanish if you read his “western” novels.

  31. The silence here is deafening. Sorry to kill a good bash for you all. Can someone tell me how to reach the administration of this site?

  32. Jack, when I wrote this post I wanted to inform people about the long term needs of families raising a child with a disability. I don’t thing that labeling support services as ‘entitlements’ and then bragging about how you cut them is compatible with responsible politics.
    Our Governor has made severe cuts in child health insurance for poor families and Governor Palin belongs to the party that makes tax cuts its signature issue. But her family will benefit from the social programs that have been put in place for families in need. Her son Trig will have a better life because these programs exist.

  33. Joe, you are simply wrong.

    Soros no longer “pumps” his fortune into left-wing causes. He never has. He started MediaMatters as a semi-corrective to the RW slime machine. It runs on its own, now. Soros hasn’t provided funding for it–or any other media–for several years now. Why not? He got fed up with the vicious, personal attacks on him.

    In the meantime, the RW has the vast fortunes of Mellon, Scaife, and Coors still pumping out lies and hate.

    Second, your attempt at equating the RW and LW really doesn’t work. Chris Matthews is emphatically NOT a liberal. He’s another one–along with the late Tim Russert–who was a) hired by Jack Welch, and b) has a place on Nantucket where he hangs out with Jack Welch and several other NBC personalities. And is AirAmerica even on the air any more? Unlike Rush and Savage and the rest? And I’ve never heard of Mike Malloy, and I’ve never seen anything by Randy Rhodes blasted all over the blogosphere. So, yes, there are a few LW pundits, but their collective message is drowned out by the sheer volume of the RW noise machine, which is large, organized, and coherent.

    For example, check out the way the Nat’l Review handled the “Lipstick” comment. At first, they were ready to dismiss it as the ludicrous attack that it was. As the day went on, however, the dudgeon rose and there were 31 articles about it in 24 hours. Now, the fact that there was a “controversy” about Obama’s ‘lipstick’ comment is exactly my point. That story gets legs and consumes several days; McCain and Palin have been lying–flat, outright lying–for weeks now, and the media is only very slowly picking this up and getting the message out.

    In 2000, the media labeled Gore as a serial exaggerator; in 2004, the media labeled Kerry as a flip-flopper. McCain is a much worse version of both these traits, and it barely causes a ripple.

    So, you point to McCain’s positions. Which ones? The ones he was for, before he was against them, or the ones he was against, before he was for them?

    What are McCain’s positions? More tax cuts for the super wealthy? Do you realize that Obama’s tax plan would a) LOWER taxes for about 80% of the population; and b) be more fiscally responsible than McCain’s? Or that McCain’s plan would increase the deficit by an order of magnitude?

    McCain wants to continue the failed economic policies of the last three Republican admins. Why do you support this? So we can send more jobs overseas? So that more people can earn less money? So that the rich can get even richer? That’s what has happened under Repub policies. Why do you want to continue that trend?

    Oh, and why is currency “manipulation” “slimy.” Over on Repub blogs, or the op-ed page of the WSJ, it’s called ‘arbitrage’ and is the province of steely-eyed titans who move worlds. And why is it slimier than commodity speculation? Because the person doing it leans politically to the left? If he supported RW positions, would you say it’s the free market at work? Are you saying we should outlaw currency speculation?

    The war? Bush is now in favor of a timed withdrawal. Not negotiating with terrorist states? Bush is negotiating with N Korea, after his pig-headed refusal to do so allowed N Kor to get nuclear weapons. In fact, as Bush prepares to leave office, even he doesn’t support a lot of McCain’s foreign policy decisions. Bush now sounds more like Obama or Al Gore than he does John McCain.

    Forget Daily Kos. If you want (which you may not) to read considered LW opinion, read the Political Animal blog at the Washington Monthly website.

    As for Jack, Palin has nothing to do with what’s happening in Cranston. The point is that her record shows that she believes in cutting services to the needy. This isn’t speculation; she’s done it.

    And Bush is relevant. The problems that we’re facing with local funding for schools, etc. is that Repub policies of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans (while increasing taxes on the working class, as Reagan’s increase in payroll taxes did), have reduced both fed and state aid to education to a trickle. The money that was there for ed from the fed and state is gone, due to Repub policies, such as those followed by Bush.

    That, plus the fact that median wages have fallen for virtually everyone during this past “expansion.” As a result of Repub policies, the real median wage (adjusted for inflation) has fallen for every educational level–with one exception. Let me repeat that: during an econ expansion, median wages for almost all education levels has fallen.

    That is unprecedented, and is a direct result of Repub policies. Thus, while costs for local schools go up, city budgets cannot because the incomes of taxpayers have stagnated, if not fallen. George W Bush and the Repub regime that has controlled DC for most of the past 30 years is directly responsible.

    Median wages have fallen for HS dropouts, grads, people with some college, people with bachelors’ degrees, people with masters’ degrees, and people with Ph.Ds. So this isn’t about how the lazy get left behind. It’s happening to highly educated people.

    The only group that has seen its income go up is people with professional degrees: doctors, lawyers, MBAs, etc. And here’s the kicker: the increase in wages for this group, which is not a large part of the population, more than offsets the LOSSES suffered BY EVERYONE ELSE.

    IOW, the rich are getting very, very much richer while the rest of us lose ground.

    So, Jack, that’s why Bush is relevant to this thread. He does bear a significant measure of responsibility for the economic situation.

    And Joe wants this trend to continue.

  34. Klaus-I don’t know much about economics,but I don’t like speculators in commodities any more than currency manipulators,RW or LW does not matter to me.
    Obama cannot explain how he will pay for his Johnson-esque programs.
    I oppose NAFTA,CAFTA,and the subservience to the WTO precisley because of the loss of American jobs.
    Don’t preach to me unless you know what you’re talikng about,because my father lost his factory job in the late 50’s due to shoe production being moved overseas that long ago!We were financially strapped.He had to work a couple of really bad jobs until he got a job with NY State because he was a disabled WW2 veteran and got extra points on the entrance exam.Unlike this corrupt state where you need a “sponsor”.
    My “right wing” positions are limited to immigration,gun control,and abortion.
    I am fairly ignorant of economics,and I am not carryiong for the mega-rich because I sure am not one and whether you believe me or not,have never desired to be one.
    Don’t project your ideas about what I think.You haven’t a clue.
    If Air America is off the air,it’s because they obviously couldn’t sustain a following-that part of the free market I understand.

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