“Are You Listening, Mr. President?” My Open Letter re: Today’s Economic Speech

Greetings, my fellow Politicos! I am sharing my letter to President Obama with you today. While his speech was heartening, I found little to truly help us, in our middle class family’s position. You and your family may be in a similar situation. And it’s summer vacation, so I had time to write a letter on behalf of all of us. I hope it speaks to your family’s concerns as well. Please don’t let my writing a letter to our President keep you from doing so. Maybe if they hear from enough of us, via email or snail mail, they’ll pay attention. (Hey, you know I’m the eternal optimist…) So, with no further ado, my open letter to President Barack Obama, to be snail mailed and emailed today: Dear Mr. President, In 2004, when you spoke at the National Democratic Convention, I was a teacher and mom of two amazing kids. Tweenie was eight, and Little Man had just turned four. We had just become homeowners, The Hubby and I, and our family was filled with hope for the bright future ahead. I called the kids over to hear your speech, saying, “This man is named Barack Obama. He’s going to be our President one day, Guys. He wants to fight for families like us.” Now it’s 2013, and you’ve not only been elected as our President, but re-elected with an overwhelming mandate by the American people. We have supported you all along the road, and are grateful for all you have done for our country and middle class families like ours. We’ve worked hard, Mr. President, and tried to do the right thing. But just working hard and doing what’s right isn’t enough anymore. We are upside-down in our home: our house payment is nearly $4000 a month for our two-bedroom, two-bath tract home in a working-class neighborhood. While several friends and family members have received help through the HARP and HAMP programs, we are not eligible. Why? Because we haven’t defaulted on our mortgage. We made sacrifices. We did not walk away, though it would have been easy to do so. If we weren’t underwater, we could refinance at a lower rate, and be able to save or get a little bit ahead. But as of right now, because we’ve done the right thing and not defaulted or simply walked away, we have no recourse. There is no way to escape the debt we’ve incurred, and gaining equity in our home is an impossibility. Tweenie is now eighteen and Little Man is ten. They’re still amazing, terrific kids who do well in school and want to go to college. Tweenie was accepted to a good school, her...

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He Who Has No Sin: Self-Excommunication? You First, Holy Father!

He Who Has No Sin: Self-Excommunication? You First, Holy Father!

Last week, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit’s Archdiocese told millions of Catholics that they should self-excommunicate themselves from the Catholic Church. Yes, you heard me right: self-excommunication: The archbishop of Detroit told Catholics who support same sex marriage that they should effectively excommunicate themselves. Archbishop Allen Vigneron on Sunday said that Catholics who support marriage equality and try to receive Communion would “logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury,” according to the Detroit Free Press. He went on to insist “that the Church wanted to help Catholics to “avoid this personal disaster” of effectively having to excommunicate themselves.” He was a bit late coming to the party, as last month Sacred Heart Major Seminary canon law professor Edward Peters, stated that anyone who supports either same-sex marriage or is pro-choice should not be allowed to receive Holy Communion (Sacrament of the Eucharist), because their thinking is in contrast with Canon Law (the Laws of the Catholic Church). Those of you who have been so generous and kind as to follow this humble blog know that I was born and raised in the Catholic faith. I had the benefit of twelve and a half years of Catholic education (my first school in kinder closed for lack of attendance, thus landing me in public school for part of a year before being securely installed in Catholic School for good). I was educated by the good Sisters of The Holy Cross, and later by the fine priests of the Augustinian order at a Catholic prep school (I tested well and got a scholarship, and it got me away from the idiots I was stuck with for the first eight years). I have only benefited from my fine Catholic education and am grateful for it. In my college years, I had my requisite time of wandering from my faith, and when I had kids, we dabbled in the Episcopal Church for a spell, a faith for which I have nothing but the greatest respect, and in which my firstborn was baptized. But it just wasn’t quite the same. Maybe it was the years of Catholic guilt so well-instilled in me – I was always a good student – I don’t know, but it just didn’t feel right. I felt as if I was betraying my faith. When I had my second child, we went back to the Church, and as the kids grew, I offered to teach CCD (Catechism, Sunday School) because I knew my son would never sit still for the hours of religious education demanded to receive his first communion. (My friends and I still marvel at the kind of desperation that a parish would have to...

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“If The 99% Vote, The 1% Won’t Matter”…Or Will They? Voter Suppression & The GOP

“If The 99% Vote, The 1% Won’t Matter”…Or Will They? Voter Suppression & The GOP

Well, my fellow Politicos, it has been a long time in blog years-July of this year- since I have posted here at mommapolitico.com, and I extend my heartfelt apologies. The new job has been all-consuming, but it is work for the common good, the work of making young people into smart and productive citizens,  and I love it, exhausting as it is. But I could not stand back and let this monumental election go by unnoticed, especially with the extreme effects it will have, for good or for bad, on the middle class and working people. So here I am. Today I just got a terrific bumper sticker from boldprogressives.org , which I promptly put on the car. (This despite the fact that The Hubby says I am one bumper sticker away from a ticket for lack of visibility!) You all know how I love small-d democracy, and it’s a mere 3 days from the national election, and our Little Man’s birthday, so there’s a celebratory tone here in the Politico household. I believe the sentiment expressed on the Bold Progressives bumper sticker with all of my being. And if we can get out the vote, I truly believe we will have a groundswell of support for not only the President, but for the so-called “down-ticket” races.  And that matters. Because a Democratic Congress could make for a real recovery for this country, in actions and not simply in words. Over the last six months, I’ve been listening to lots of people, too: friends and colleagues, people in the grocery store line and at the bank and post office. Folks who have been struggling and trying to get back to some sense of normalcy are grateful as the economy improves, people get back to work after tough times, the housing market improves, Obamacare provisions begin to kick in, our family and friends come home from wars in the Middle East, and they see the quality of their lives improve in so many ways. Our President has become a strong Commander-in-Chief, a leader in times of crisis (such as the flooding and damage wreaked by Sandy). My Republican friends tell me that they can’t, in good conscience, vote for Mr. Romney, for a myriad of reasons. And that is encouraging news for the upcoming election. Despite all the momentum I see, there has been a strong, deliberate and disturbing movement going on over the past four years by the Rethugs. I have told everyone that would listen that if the President loses this election, it will be for one reason and one reason only: the GOPs voter suppression efforts. Over the past four years, side-by-side with personhood amendments and all the other...

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WE Don’t Get It??? Bullpuckey! Mitt & The RICH Don’t Get It!!!

WE Don’t Get It??? Bullpuckey! Mitt & The RICH Don’t Get It!!!

Quoted in a USA Today article on the changing expectations of young adults, author Morley Winograd, who writes extensively about the Millennials, said their economic situation is “completely analogous” to the depression-era generation. “They were raised in relative affluence, and just as they are about to start in that affluent world, it all comes crashing down.” They are forced to assume that “everything that came before them was a mirage — that it was built on unsafe foundations.” This prolonged downturn will end. They always do. People will find their way back to confidence. But especially for those growing up under the weight of its fearsome uncertainties, it will be with us for generations to come. ~ Dr. Peggy Drexler, The Huffington Post (via http://charlesbivona.tumblr.com) Here we are, my friends, in a time and place in our lives, at a point when, in our parents generation, they saw their retirement funds growing; due to the housing and bank bailout, ours are gone. Our parents used the equity in their homes to improve their lot, adding a spare room, re-doing the kitchen, paying for college and weddings; we are upside-down, with no hope in sight. Our folks could get good, secure jobs with which they could raise families, have benefits, and pensions; we have to go deep in debt to get advanced degrees to compete for the few pension-less jobs out there, all the while having to pay for our own health insurance as costs skyrocket. Our parents paid for weddings, college for some of us, took us on cross-country trips for summer vacations to see the best of our land; we’ll be hard-pressed to pay for their grandkids’ weddings, or to help them through a state college, and to put aside enough to have some local fun on a “stay-cation.” Union-busting, teachers cut, firefighters and cops getting minimum wage (Scranton, PA, folks, google it!), GOP pushing to cut government jobs to their lowest numbers ever, in the middle of the worst recession we’ve had since the Depression, just when we’ve started to climb our way out of the Republican-created ditch. Yet, the GOP continue to insist that the rich don’t need to pay their fair share: $250,000 tax cuts for the top 1% in Ryan’s (now Mitt’s) budget. Middle class, hard-working families are asked to shoulder more and more of the burden. “Noblesse oblige is dead, long live Citizens United!” the corporate raiders cry, while Mitt dumps his funds into a charitable trust in his wife’s name the day before he becomes governor, and invests his money in Swiss Banks, the Caymans and several other tax-free, untraceable accounts overseas. Because he can. Because he will only release a year’s worth of...

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Jobs, GOP Lies and The Course Ahead: Getting Folks Back To Work, Republicans Be Damned!

  When I awoke this morning, on my first day of sleeping in for the summer vacation, to the sound of a wood chipper, it didn’t put me in the best of moods. And when I sat down to watch Andrea Mitchell shortly thereafter, I was confronted with the new job numbers: just enough to keep up, and keep job numbers at around 8%, a huge improvement over the Bush Administration’s record. Yet, it was seen as a failure by much of the punditry this morning. When I look at the graph, it’s pretty evident to me that there has been great improvement. After all, it takes longer to get the car out of the ditch than it did to get it in there…The pundits do have a valid point, though I don’t see it as dire as their “doom and gloom” predictions do. It’s going to take a while to dig out, and it’s an absolute wonder that we have at all, considering the Republican obstructionism that has been the marching orders of the Rethugs in the legislature. And have they ever been lockstep in their implementation of those orders. Recently, the GOP was forced to approve the Transportation Bill, which means jobs in infrastructure, the only job package they’ve allowed through the legislature in nearly four years. It was a well-played card, with the Dems all on-message, and all of the President’s surrogates sticking to the party line. The President spoke out directly on the bill, in no uncertain terms, and framed the issue so that the GOP had no choice but approve it, or look foolish and obstructionist to the American people. Wish we had such solid skills all the time on our side of the aisle. Hope it’s the beginning of more battles in this style over the next few months. But looking at job growth historically, we see that the party of “small government” has always done the antithesis: they’ve grown government, by adding government jobs to the workforce, funding teachers, police officers and firefighters to the government payroll.  As usual with the GOP, hypocrisy rules the day. Now, of course, the charge is that the President has grown government more than any other Administration. But let’s look at the pastfew Republican administrations and their size of government: Krugman demonstrates pretty clearly that, in time of recession, the way that other administrations have avoided job losses, including the GOP, was by growing the government workforce. Why? Because the government has the onyl pockets deep enough to do so. Take a broader look, over several other presidents: Here’s the same data, with a look at both of the Bushes as well. So, who’s the only...

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Memorial Day: In Which I Receive A Simple Reminder

Memorial Day: In Which I Receive A Simple Reminder

Please note: This is a re-post of a Memorial Day piece from a couple of years ago. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the moment that inspired it. Happy Memorial Day, and my deepest gratitude to those who serve and have served. We cannot repay your sacrifice, but you will not be forgotten. We were running a little behind Friday morning, with everyone tired and on the crabby side. I had a passing thought that it was the Memorial Day weekend, and that we ought to put up the flag. But with all the hustle and bustle, it was a fleeting thought, at best; I figured we could put it up after school, with still plenty of time to commemorate our fallen. As we ran out of the house, Little Man stopped, dead in his tracks, and ran back inside. Good Lord, what now? Did he forget his DSi? Nerf weaponry? Pokemon cards? As I lost my patience, and hollered after him, “What on Earth are you doing? We’re gonna be late for school!” my boy came out of the house, unfurling the flag. “It’s Memorial Day weekend, Mom! It’ll only take a second.” He gently placed it into the holder, regarded his handiwork for a moment. Then he ran to the car, saying, “After all, it’s the least we can do for all those soldiers who gave their lives for our flag.” He quickly buckled himself in as I stood there in awe and wonder at the good heartedness of my son. We have family and friends in Afghanistan this Memorial Day. There is, in this country, a new generation of children growing up without moms and dads, a generation that will lose brothers and sisters and sons and daughters to two, or three wars, depending on who does the counting. The soldiers, sailors, marines and guard members they love did not get to choose these wars, but instead, devoted themselves to a life that they knew may involve surrendering their own life. Whether or not we agree that these wars should ever have happened, or whatever our political affiliations on this holiday, it is vital that we remember the faces behind the uniform, the husbands and uncles, the moms and sisters, and hope for them a speedy return to us so that they may be here to help us celebrate the next Memorial Day. Please take the time this weekend to remember and give thanks for those who gave their lives in the service of our nation. My gratitude to all who serve. And if your life has gotten so busy that the little things that are so important are forgotten in the...

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Way To Go, Joe! Biden and POTUS Do The Right Thing re: Marriage Equality

Way To Go, Joe! Biden and POTUS Do The Right Thing re: Marriage Equality

Can I just say how much I love Joe Biden??? I love Joe Biden. I always have. I love that he will speak his mind, whether it is politically correct, or whether it’ll piss somebody off. I love that he speaks from the heart, whether it’s to say he supports same-sex marriage or whether it’s to tell The President that passing Health Care Reform “…is a big fucking deal!” ‘Cause, damn it, it IS a big, fucking deal!!! While the media portrays Joe as putting his foot in his mouth, I see it as a guy who doesn’t give a damn about speaking out, because he lives by his principles. If he says it, he believes it. And, by God, that makes Joe my kinda guy, bless his heart! There are times when The President needs to stand up and lead. Today was one of those times. And I am grateful that he has taken a courageous stance supporting marriage equality. But let’s give Joe Biden some credit where credit is due. But I have to say, my fellow Politicos, I am wondering if the Administration wanted it out there. Was this a strategic move? Was Joe given permission to go ahead and cut loose? Was Arne Duncan the follow-up, thus creating a “need” for The President to clarify his position on the issue? Seems mighty convenient, if you ask me…I believe that, while some see this as a politically risky move, I see it as smart and savvy. And highly deliberate! Here’s why: 1. First of all, what better way to mobilize the young voters and the base of the Democratic Party than to take a stand that is favorable to that demographic and well-overdue? Gotta get out the vote in November, folks, and better to get the position out there now and make it old news for the news cycle in November. This is a winner in this department, people. 2. POTUS can’t have a divided house. You simply can’t have that kind of dissention in an administration, so if a few folks conveniently state their opinions, well, The President is “forced” to present a united front. Calculated or not. 3. Public opinion. Hate to break it to the GOP, but being gay or lesbian ain’t no big thang anymore! My daughter got into a heated debate with a classmate in a college summer course last year (she’s been taking her high school language requirement at the local community college). She was downright angry and incensed over his hypocrisy on the issue, and matched him bible verse for verse, argued her point, and used his own logic against him. He finally walked away, stating that “It’s just...

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Welcome

I refuse to cave to a minivan. I am still a tomboy - comfortable in Levi's, my Yankees cap and Converse. And I always have a political opinion...hell, I always have an opinion, period. The hubby, my kids and my friends think I should run for office. Maybe one day. But for now, Momma Politico blogs. Peruse, enjoy, and know that our busy lives are as significant as those in The Washington Post. Cheers, Heidi Haines AKA Perry MacNeil Momma Politico

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