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Archive for October, 2009

Are Americans Becoming Un-American?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The same people who criticized President Obama and Michelle Obama during the election as being un-patriotic or un-American have now become anti-American or unpatriotic themselves. And that includes the tea totting partiers, Rush Limbaugh and all their cohorts. While we have the right to free speech in this country, too much of a good thing can also be bad.  We had free speech to burn the American flag during the turbulent 1960’s; freedom of speech for the KKK to burn crosses during the civil rights era. And now apparently, we have free speech to disrespect the President of the United States and the office of the Leader of the Free World.

Even in free speech, there are limits.  We do not have free speech rights when there is libel and slander, defamation or pornography involved.  And I suggest that we don’t need free speech when it goes beyond party differences but goes to the heart of the office of the presidency.  As much as I was appalled during the election at the New Yorker magazine depicting Barack Obama and Michelle Obama as Muslim with a gun totting militant wife, I am more appalled now about the new free speech antics against President Obama.  We’ve had cartoons portray the President of the United States as the black man in white faced “Joker”. When President Obama won the coveted Nobel Peace prize, every crude conservative berated him for winning it.  And just last week, when President Obama visited Florida and stood beside Governor Crist, Republicans blasted Crist for even standing with the President.  A poll out this past weekend ( October 31, 2009) shows 66% of Republicans disapproved of the Governor’s decision to even appear with President Obama. This type of portrayal does a disservice to our country in the eyes of the world.  That’s what I mean by un-American and un-patriotic.

President Obama is the leader of our country, the Commander in Chief of our troops. For these renegades to publicly disrespect him is to disrespect our country. This goes far deeper than party politics.  It’s interesting these same people criticized Rev. Jeremiah Wright for doing the very same thing they are now doing.   If Rev. Jeremiah Wright could be labeled racist and Un-American for his comments, why aren’t the Limbaugh’s, tea totters and other crude Republican conservatives deserving of the same titles. They are after all becoming Un-American or Anti-American.

What do you think?  Are Americans becoming Un-American?

Peace By Peace

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I am excited to announce that I am now guest blogging for Peace x Peace ( Peace by Peace) an international women’s peace organization based in Washington, DC.  Please go to their site to read my first blog at:  http://www.peacexpeace.org/Peace_X_Peace_Blogs/?p=1144

From time to time, I will be blogging at Peace x Peace on issues that affect women here and abroad.  I hope to provide readers with thought provoking food that will move some to action. Stay tuned.

Best,

Debbie Hines, Esq.

Having A Heart For The Homeless

Monday, October 5th, 2009

In reality any of us could become homeless.  Just look at Chris Gardner, Wall Street mogul, now famous for his Pursuit of Happyness movie and book.  He was once homeless. Tyler Perry, author, screen writer, actor and producer is now worth more than $100 million. Seven years before his breakthrough, he was out on the street with no where to go.  There are countless veterans who valiantly served our country now living out their lives as homeless.  If these exceptional persons could become homeless, any of us could go down that same path.  It only takes a little bad luck and a reversal of fortune.

So I find it perplexing that Mayor Fenty chose to cut $20 million from the services for the homeless. He chose to do so in total disregard for Councilman Wells’  pleas to cut anywhere but the homeless services. Councilman Wells chairs the Committee which oversees funds for the homeless. And this was really a double whammy for the homeless.  Mayor Fenty cut in the same week funds for the House of Ruth which serves and shelters victims of domestic violence.

These cuts may leave many out in the cold for the upcoming winter months. Organizations for the homeless believe at least 480 women and 100 families are at risk of facing evictions from temporary and transitional shelter for the homeless. Then there are almost another 300 families who are on the waiting list for a homeless shelter.  So where are the homeless supposed to go? Imagine being evicted  from a temporary homeless shelter. There is no where else to go. That is rock bottom. 

The District of Columbia is more than mortar, monuments and museums.  We are families, friends, children and women. And yes, unfortunately some of us are homeless. In DC we talk about human rights. What could be more human rights than sheltering the homeless?  Yet, this is more than a human, social and moral issue. DC has a legal obligation to provide shelter to the homeless during the winter freezing months.  In the coming months, DC may be in violation of its own law.  The law was intended to protect and save lives. Nothing is more precious than human life.  We go to extreme lengths to save lives except apparently  if you are homeless.

It is not cost effective to make such deep cuts when so many people are facing foreclosures, losing jobs,  pensions and savings and ending unemployment benefits. These cuts may cost lives. That price is too high for even DC to pay. So Mr. Mayor, please have a heart for the homeless.

Health Care: It’s All About The Money

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

We should morally do what’s right when it comes to health care for all Americans. The moral argument is getting us no where as town hall meetings erupt like volcanoes.  Now the public option is sinking faster than the Titanic. We’re concerned more about wealth than health.  If you can’t beat them, then let’s join them. Let’s place the focus of the health care reform on money. A recent study by Timothy Waidmann at the  Urban Institute estimates the increased costs due to  racial and ethnic health disparitites is almost $24 billion in 2009.

Right now there are almost 10 million Americans, depending on who’s counting, without health insurance.  We know the lack of affordable  and quality health care results in poor health.  Some would say, who cares.  What the town hall erupters failed to realize is there is a higher cost for poor health. Simply put, it’s not cheaper to keep us in poor health or uninsured.

According to Mr. Waidmann’s study, the racial and ethnic health disparity among African Americans and Latinos due to elevated diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and kidney disease will cost the health care system $23.9 billion in 2009. Through the next decade, it could raise as high as $337 billion dollars. The disparity in health between African Americans and Latinos with Whites due to these elevated disease rates increases the costs to the entire health care system including Medicare and Medicaid.

We can’t afford to fail on national health care reform that will also impact and lower the racial and ethnic  health disparity of African Americans and Latinos. Quality health care and health care education must be  necessary goals for health care reform. We pay a huge price for increased costs due to ethnic and racial  disparity in health.  Let’s lower these costs. Yes, health care reform is all about the money.