Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Oct 3, 2012

Mitt Romney’s last chance to turn things around tonight

Filed under: Politics,Presidents — admin @ 1:32 am

The first presidential debate is going to take place tonight. This should be the most important moment for Mitt Romney. It must be a bit depressing for him and his supporters to watch the daily polls showing President Obama climbing up while his own slips away.

To be totally fair to him, Mitt Romney himself is a very competent man, kind in his heart, a loving and responsible husband, and a very successful business man. Yet, he has given up so much of his true self in order to win his party’s base support.

He seems a lost soul in his desperate attempt at grabbing their support, swinging from pro-choice, pro-healthcare, pro many good things in people’s life to their opposites.

Too bad he chains himself to a lost cause, a  party that is on its way to history book, and he has to fight a losing battle on their behalf. Republican party will have to change itself in the next two to three decades in order to survive the new world order. I truly feel sorry for Mitt Romney.

1, May 10, 2012

A Roll of Applause for President Obama for Openly Supporting Gay Marriage

Filed under: Politics,Presidents — admin @ 12:27 am

I have to give President Obama tremendous credit for coming out openly in his unequivocal support of same sex marriage. It took a long time for him to take this step, as he knew very well the risk that he might run by supporting gay marriage, especially during this election season. The fact he finally came out openly speaks hugely about his character.

I appreciate his honesty and political courage. He has been consistent on defending equal rights for all. For all, he deserves respect and support of the majority of people.

In contrast, his political opponent, Mitt Romney is famous for being flip-flopping, changing position as frequently as one changes underwear. If Obama is characterized of being consistent, Romney is just the opposite.

The country should be proud for having the first President who stands for equal right regardless of sexual orientation.

1, May 9, 2012

Reading and Writing about President Obama

Filed under: Presidents,Writing — admin @ 12:41 am

Last weekend, I talked a lot to my daughter about a book that I was reading The Promise: President Obama, Year One, by Jonathan Alter. It is a very good book.

After that, my daughter asked me if I was going to write something on President Obama on midwest voices. I said no, because this is a republican state and more readers are against Obama. Unless I write something anti-Obama, I would invite personal attacks.

My daughter said, “This is a democratic country and you should be able to say what you believe without fear.” She is right, but still I will avoid as much as I can the unpleasantness of reading nasty comments, until I become zen enough not to care whatever.

1, Mar 26, 2012

Battle over Obama’s Healthcare Reform Goes to the Supreme Court

Filed under: American Culture,Presidents — admin @ 12:58 am

The single biggest accomplishment in President Obama’s presidency so far seems to be his Affordable Care Act (ACA). And even that has been the target of the most hostile attack from his political opponents.

His opponents hate him so much that it seems they would totally eviscerate him if they got a chance. While the ferocity and the relentless nature of the attack on the president are extremely unfair and unjustified, they make me wonder why things have reached to this point.

There exist many explanations, but for some reason, I got the impression that the president has been too weak in facing his opponents, which has sent a wrong message.

American political arena is one of the ugliest, the most gruesome and hideous battleground, on which the strong bullies the weak. There is absolutely no room for civility. To survive this battleground, the weak must be strong and stare down any attack. No compromise whatsoever. Otherwise, your opponents think you are weak and strike you until you are dead politically.

This seems to be what is happening now in America. From very beginning, President Obama has been too polite and too conciliatory to his opponents, yielding too much, and overreaching too much to the other side of the aisle.

I am not optimistic about the outcome of the coming election. One thing I am sure, this first black president will leave tons of materials for historians and political scientists to talk about and for us to learn from.

1, May 26, 2011

Imagine Obama Pouring out These Words in China and India

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 12:32 am

“Perhaps, the argument goes, these nations (China and India) represent the future, and the time for our leadership has passed. That argument is wrong. The time for our leadership is now. …. It was the United States, the United Kingdom, and our democratic allies that shaped a world in which new nations could emerge and individuals could thrive.”

What would folks in China and India say to Obama? Obama, do you mean the U.S leads the world in its education, in productivity, in its students ranking highest in shanghai, or yes, in your ability to raise debt ceiling and borrow as heavily as Pacific ocean, in having the largest illegal immigrants working while millions of Americans receiving government paychecks? Obama, why did you go to India and China to seek medicine for your country’s illness? Haha! I got ya man.

The words that came up in my mind and that are better associated with Obama’s words are hegemony, double-face, shame, self-deceiving, and of course, the book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance… dream on happily ever after…

1, Apr 20, 2011

Obama Behaved Disappointedly in Mexico Gulf Oil Spill

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 12:30 am

It is exactly one year ago when Gulf of Mexico was hit by BP oil spill on a huge scale. Many things rush to my mind when I think of this calamity.

First and foremost is the reaction and behavior of U.S. president. I can never get over the huge disappointment over this president and what it truly revealed about him.

With the loss of lives and the on-going gushing of oil into the ocean, we expected the president would come over to the scene, rendering comfort and condolence to the victims’ families and mobilizing all forces to stop the disaster. This is common sense.

Instead, he played blame game, doing nothing but trying to make BP responsible for everything the spill incurred. No matter who is responsible in the end, the damage to the environment and the loss of lives cannot be undone. As the president, he should lose no time to limit this damage.

The fact he did not come over to the scene immediately to be with the victims’ family reveals his callous nature toward human beings. He is just incapable of feeling anything! Such a cold-blood being!

The fact he failed to understand the need and the urgency in stopping the spill as soon as possible allows the spill to last way longer than it should. This fully exposes his pitiful lack of problem-solving ability in the time of crisis.

I am not surprised if he ends up being one-term president.

1, May 8, 2010

Obama and Israel: The Dilemma of a Politician

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 12:57 am

While U.S. was baffled over Iran’s nuclear ambition, it goes desperately grabbing support from as many countries as possible, especially from the Arab world. Obama is smart enough to be aware of the fact that U.S. long-standing policy toward Israeli nuclear arsenal got to be changed if U.S. ever makes Iran and other Arabs obey.

Obama knows clearly that the Israeli arsenal buildup including some 200 atomic warheads are perceived as real threat by the Arabs and Muslims and the U.S. double-standard on this issue — keeping a blind eye to Israeli atomic weapon while hawking about Iran’s would-be ones — won’t be well-accepted Middle-East-wise. If U.S ever intends to reach out to the Arabs world and hopes to erase some of the ill-feelings in that part of the world, its policy on Israel is one key blocking rock.

Now here’s the true touchstone to his character — is he going to uphold justice and be a true peace-missionary as he did domestically regarding healthcare reform or is he a mere running dog for some wealthy money group? Will he ever challenge the America’s 40-year-old don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy toward Israeli arsenal? Interesting to see. Not difficult to predict the outcome in this money-dominant world.

Obama’s dilemma demonstrates the difficulties of being a successful politician and a person of integrity at the same time.

1, Apr 19, 2010

Obama and Today’s Tea Party Movement

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 12:21 am

The first black president, the prolonged economic crisis, the health care reform, big government spending, … they constitute all the right ingredients for mobilizing a grassroot force like Tea Party movement.

To be sure, the U.S. is going through a period of crisis and drastic social changes. As it happened in the past, some part of the population invariably feel threatened by these changes. One key factor that draws these people together is their resentment against a black president governing a white country. Hence, the backbone of this force come from the low-class white population, politically Republicans or ideologically conservative.

It is interesting to notice that you don’t see these people jumped out against big government spending when it was headed by a white president spending trillions on two exorbitant wars, as if money spent killing people on foreign lands were more worthwhile than on health care for the underpriviledged in this country.

Obama has already made history as the first black U.S. president, winner of Nobel Peace Prize, one who presided over nuclear reduction summit for the world’s peace, pushed out universal health care in America. He will surely go down the history as one of the greatest American presidents. No movement can change this fact.

1, Mar 3, 2010

Obama Wrong Again, It Is the Family That Counts

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 12:46 am

It is utterly disturbing to hear Obama’s comment on last week’s firing of all of the educators at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island —

Central Falls High School of RI saw only 7% 11-graders passing state math tests. As the result, the board overseeing this high school fired 93 teachers and other staff members.

Obama commented, “If a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn’t show signs of improvement, then there’s got to be a sense of accountability. And that’s what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th-graders passed state math tests — 7 percent.”

Obama is wrong on at least two accounts. First, Obama forgot that his success and those of many other blacks came from their strong family backgrounds, absolutely not from any successful school system. If the students from non-English language background are further reinforced by low socio-economical status, never do their homework at home or are unable to because of lack of any support from their parents, they are besieged with numerous social problems that are beyond the responsibilities of the teachers at school. If they are unprepared each day for classroom, what can we expect of the teachers?

Secondly, Obama sounds like most of losers who blame the system for individual failure. In so doing, he exculpates parents who spend more time with their children and are the real criminals for their youngsters’ failure.

School matters but only to the extent when parents care and get involved, too. Obama expects beautiful flowers bursting out of unfertilized bathroom. Ridiculous!

1, Oct 21, 2009

Woodrow Wilson, One of the Greatest US Presidents

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 12:56 am

Upon learning Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, I thought of my favorite US president, the greatest one according to this writer, also a Nobel Peace Prize winner– President Woodrow Wilson.

No president has been as visionary, intelligent, inspiring and progressive as Wilson. He was the only professor-turned president and was the president of Princeton University before that. After World War I, he introduced in his 14-Points the idea of a league of nations, the first time in history of its kind, which won him the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize.

While Wilson fought hard for the League of Nations, he failed to have his peace effort passed in US Senate. Being a great thinker and an idealist, he would naturally be not understood and accepted by the average crowd of herd. He left the white house, rather beaten and disheartened. In fact, he was so unpopular by the time of next election that Americans chose a president who was in direct opposite to Wilson — Warren G. Harding. Harding came to the white house only to prove how dim-witted and incompetent he could be in that position.

Yet, years later, Wilson’s tremendous value was gradually discovered by historians and unfolded to the future generations.

Some people called him a white supremacist, which is absolutely true. Then again, at that time, how many white men in upper society were not white supremacists? And how many of the nation’s founding fathers did not own black slaves? It might be too harsh to judge a person out of his historical context.

Wilson once said, a president can be as great as he wants to. Indeed, in that position of high power, anything seems possible — war or peace or whatever. That’s how America found itself in Vietnam and now in Bush’s 2 wars. Alas, as Wilson was not popular when he left white house, his brilliant words and ideas were not taken seriously, so much so that the next three US presidents following Woodrow Wilson, Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, had proved themselves to be the most insignificant and nugatory occupants of white house.

1, Oct 9, 2009

Obama — Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 7:24 am

A man’s life is but a brief span. If one can accomplish one great deed, that’s good enough.

1, Sep 26, 2009

Communication and Another Faux Pas from our President

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 12:25 am

During the 7/22/2009 news conference, President Obama said,

“And part of what we want to do is to make sure that those [medical] decisions are being made by doctors and medical experts based on evidence, based on what works — because that’s not how it’s working right now. That’s not how it’s working right now. Right now doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. So if … your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, you know what, I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out… So part of what we want to do is to free doctors, patients, hospitals to make decisions based on what’s best for patient care -…”

I can’t believe our dear president could be so indiscreet. What is wrong with this part?

First of all, this across-the-board characterization of all doctors as being essentially profit-driven is nothing but an unequivocal insult to those conscientious doctors who dedicate themselve to the lives and the benefits of the patients, without placing money-making as their first priority. Obama could easily have avoided this blunder if he used the term like “a tiny percent of our doctors.”

Secondly, if you were a patient, what would you think of your doctor in light of president’s remark “I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out?” Such negative description of medical profession helps instigate an unhealthy distrust between a doctor and his/her patient, leaving doctors vulnerable to criticism, suspicions and even lawsuits.

Thirdly, the medical decision-making process is far more complicated than what Obama light-heartedly described. His ridiculously simplistic picture of this process drastically depreciates an otherwise traditionally honored life-saving and misery-relieving profession.

How would you feel if you were a doctor? God forbid that I am not a medical doctor and I still feel the sting in President’s statement. If anything, instead of creating a large base of support, President Obama is indeed an expert at creating political adversaries. The lack of prudence and good judgment in his communication are getting more and more scary and damaging. A good lesson for us all.

1, Feb 25, 2009

The President Speech: Honest and Optimistic

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 10:44 am

It is always good to hear this president talk, young, energetic, positive, intelligent, articulate, and overly optimistic. As I expected, he was totally sincere, honest, with all the good intention to do the right things for the majority of people.

He hit the heart of all the right targets when he said, “The only way this century will be another American century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil and the high cost of health care, the schools that aren’t preparing our children and the mountain of debt they stand to inherit.” I guess people from other countries would ask, “Why should it be ‘another American century?'” No offense.

This looks very much like a one-person-fight against a culture of “extravagant spending” and gigantic waste, a society of skyrocketing healthcare cost and decreasing educational achievements, and a country already having lost millions of jobs overseas.

Just as one black president cannot change the culture of black Americans, neither can he reverse the momentus of this wasteful culture being formed during the last 1/2 century. It takes a whole nation to complete this Sisyphus task, yet do we see the nation is behind him?

Good wish and hope are one thing, conrete action plan is another. Unless we can get to the root of the problems that we want to tackle, we are not anywhere near to the solving of these problems. For example, on our failed education, tons of dollars were already infused into schools for “No Child Left Behind” dream, do we see any advancement? Yes, comparing to colonial America, no comparing to other developed countries now.

Time will tell how much can be accomplished during his presidency. Better be positive than negative. If nothing else, it is good to your dear health. Cheer to your health!

1, Jan 19, 2009

I Have a Dream–Cut Down the Cost of Inauguration 2009

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 9:57 am

I read this piece of news today. “As the recession continues to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy and inauguration celebrations ramp up, a lot of people are asking: ‘How much will this shindig cost?’ The short answer? Likely more than $150 million — and yep, that could be the most expensive ever.”

Why cost so much? Because according to one spokeswoman in charge of inauguration occasion, “we’re sending a message to the entire world about our peaceful transition of power, and you don’t want it to look like a schlock affair. It needs to be appropriate to the magnitude of events that it is.” Vanity of the highest degree! As if the world had not known how heavily the nation is in debt domestically and internationally! You certainly send one clear message to the world of how excellent you are at spending money, so far. What good does it do to the millions of unemployed and to the recession-tortured nation?

I also just read about the nation’s severe job situation. The unemployment rate is as high as 9.6% in Michigan, followed by Rhode Island, California, South Carolina, Oregan, District of Columbia, and Nevada ranging from 9.3 to 8%. The nation has a total of over 12 million unemployed. What a shame to spend so much in face of a national recession on this large scale!

On this day of Martin Luther King, Jr, I also have a dream. I wish the president-elect could set an example for the nation of extravagance. Have a small-scale party and let people watch the event from their home TV, instead of having everybody flying from all corners of the nation gathering in DC for the ceremony, creating traffic jam, polluting the air with overcrowded airplanes. Use just one fraction of this money on this occasion and have this money go to the rescue of millions of unemployed. Instead of sending millions of balloons to the sky, send much-needed checks to millions in need. Well, readers might ask me, “Are you talking to Jesus Christ or what?”

The dream remains real as long as you don’t wake up. Happy dreaming on this “I have a dream” day.

1, Nov 16, 2008

President LBJ, Grandiose, and his Vietnam War

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 11:10 am

I have been reading a book on US presidents in 20th century. There are tons of interesting and thought-provoking facts. I read an adjective describing Lyndon B. Johnson — grandiose, a rather derogatory term for a president.

Comparing to Jimmy Carter, LBJ was rather grandiose. He wanted to achieve an unprecedentedly large-scaled achievement — Great Society. To be fair, he did achieve tremendously and had done unprecedented good deeds domestically, such as, civil right laws, Medicaid, War on Poverty, etc.

Yet, he was more remembered for his expansion of Vietnam War to 550k strong and was forever haunted by the chanting — “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” Readers will be able to appreciate the fact that this man was truely grandiose, having the capacity to generate monumental results — large-scaled victory domestically and even larger than his victory is his defeat and loss in Vietnam War. A strange phenomenon. A paradox. What went wrong in his mind? Beat me.

1, Nov 5, 2008

A president is as Great as He Wants to be

Filed under: Presidents — admin @ 8:42 am
Indeed, my prediction came true, a landslide victory for Democrats. One of the factors that has helped is the dissatisfaction with the incumbent administration. He took full advantage of this factor. Let me put in another way — the incumbent president helped tremendously defeating JM. Political battle is very relentless, pushing to the limelight of the world a young first-term senator who is little known 4 years old, dashing the 30-year long dream of the much well-known senior politician Clinton.

I remember my favorite president W. Wilson once said something like this, “A president is as great as he wants to be.” Indeed, we have seen presidents like W.G. Harding, C. Coolidge, H. Hoover in 1920s, the three least inspiring, most mediocre ones who only proved how incapable they could be and how wrong it was to push them into white house. And of course, we also have successful ones like TR, FDR, JFK, and B. Clinton. This elect has four more years to write his own history.

For us, we are writing our history everyday, just as great as anyone else.

By the way, there is something very amusing. At my current workplace people asked each other “Did you vote?” but no one asked “Who do you vote?” This is so different from the culture that I used to be in at Sprint, where people openly talked about their choices.

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