Tags: Obama | Making | Big | Strides

Obama Making Big Strides

Monday, 28 Jul 2008 04:22 PM

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The week that was, was a homerun for Sen. Obama. Like Eva Peron of Argentina and Julius Caesar of Rome, it was for him, Veni, Vidi, Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). Obama was lionized by 200,000 Germans when he addressed them, applauded by French President Sarkozy who made it clear he approved of the young American whose speeches apparently reminded his listeners of Jack Kennedy and Camelot, and received a warm reception from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Earlier in Iraq, Obama received a serious boost from Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki by agreeing with Obama’s timeline of 16 months for a U.S. troop withdrawal. Adding to Obama’s good fortune was the over-the-top description by Sen. John McCain of Obama as someone who “would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.”

McCain is running a terrible campaign devoid of any intelligent chess moves. The New York Times pointed out, “All three network news anchors are traveling to the Middle East and Europe for interviews with Mr. Obama. In contrast, no anchors and only two network correspondents traveled to Colombia and Mexico with Mr. McCain earlier this month, and no network anchors traveled for Mr. McCain’s trip to the Middle East and Europe in March.”

The McCain response reported by the Times: “when aides handed out luggage tags to the traveling press that read ‘McCain Press Corps: JV Squad, Left Behind to Report in America.’ The words were translated into French on the opposite side” — a foolish rejoinder.

While Obama was traveling internationally, McCain should have talked up his efforts to deal with the major domestic economic issues that will decide this election. For example, he should have announced support for a "Manhattan Project" to deal with the energy crisis.

T. Boone Pickens, who has made billions in the oil industry, has broadcast commercials pushing wind power and natural gas. The Manhattan Project cost $2 billion in developing the nuclear bomb. In dollars today that would be $21 billion. Pickens says we are spending $700 billion on importing foreign oil. I think a correct figure is closer to $400 billion.

Even if the Manhattan Project came up dry, at least we tried. In World War II, Nazi Germany hoped to conquer the Soviet Union’s Caucasus area and take over the Soviet’s oil fields and fortunately, failed. But, it learned to use coal to make its cars operate.

The subprime and bank crises are causing major damage to our economy. The Congress has dealt with it in its recently-enacted 800-page legislation. I hope it works.

The legislation was pushed through by Congressman and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, who is an honest legislator devoted to protecting the public. But I’ve heard no discussion regarding those who engaged in fraud in seeking mortgages and those providing the mortgages.

Shouldn’t there be lots of people going to prison for having engaged in fraud? Shouldn’t John McCain be pressing punishment?

Everyone talks about “bubbles” in the stock market. How many people in the past went to prison for creating the bubbles that caused the stock market to crash, wiping out the retirement funds of innocent Americans and causing enormous raids on the U.S. Treasury to save savings and loan institutions, banks, etc.? McCain should have talked about that, and other abuses of the public. If necessary, he should borrow Ralph Nader’s material.

Finally, McCain could have talked about the lack of availability of universal healthcare in the United States.

We are the only industrialized country in the world without universal health coverage. McCain’s current plan to provide subsidies so everyone who wants health insurance will have the means to get it, won’t work. Why doesn’t he grab the bull by the horns and urge the appointment of a top-notch commission that will examine all of the existing national health plans, pick the best, propose improvements and let the Congress consider it in an up-or-down vote?

Now back to Barack Obama. With his current successes, why isn’t he a shoo-in? On July 24, The Wall Street Journal examined this question and provided its answer — “Voters want to answer a simple question: Is Barack Obama safe?” Despite his triumphs abroad, the jury is still out.

A Savage Disgrace

Michael Savage, whose daily radio program “The Savage Nation” is reportedly broadcast on more than 350 stations and has 8 million listeners, recently used his program to attack autistic children.

During his July 16, 2008, broadcast, Mr. Savage called autism “a fraud, a racket.” He went on to say, “I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a rat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 1 in 150 children is now on the autism spectrum. Autism is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as “A mental illness that typically affects a person’s ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the environment. Some people with autism have few problems with speech and intelligence and are able to function relatively well in society. Others are mentally retarded or mute or have serious language delays. Autism makes some people seem closed off and shut down; others seem locked into repetitive behaviors and rigid patterns of thinking.”

I am told by an expert that Autism is a disease that has been redefined over time and currently includes behaviors not included 40 years ago. The underlying deficit that results in their abnormal behaviors has yet to be identified.

In defending his savage, moronic attack a few days later, Savage stated, “My comments about autism were meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community’s attempt to label too many children or adults as autistic. Many children are being victimized by being diagnosed with an illness which may not exist in all cases. Let the truly autistic be treated. Let the falsely diagnosed be free.”

Savage’s educational background, as stated on his Web site, michaelsavage.com, is that he “Trained as a scientist, he holds master’s degrees in medical botany and medical anthropology and earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in Epidemiology and Nutritional Science.” Do those credentials qualify him to declare that autism is a “fraud” or a “racket” or to dispute the findings of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control?

Don Imus was fired from his CBS radio program for his hateful racial statement referring to the Rutgers women’s basketball players as “nappy-headed hos.” Jesse Jackson, on the other hand, has suffered no monetary loss by way of fine or the loss of a job for his recent hateful statements toward Sen. Obama or for using the “N” word.

I don’t believe in firing people from their jobs because of stupid or controversial things they have said. As serious as the statements of Imus and Jackson are, Savage’s attitude toward and statements about a class of defenseless children are even worse.

Many of us know a family today with an autistic child or have such a child in our own family, and we are aware of what is involved in tending to that child’s daily needs. Savage demeaned those children by his comments and, in some cases, may have even caused them mental and physical harm if parents responded to their autistic child as he suggested.

If any parent, as a result of Savage’s tirade, defers or delays diagnosis and treatment, an autistic child could suffer severe harm.

So what to do? My suggestion is to stop listening to his “Savage Nation” show.

Let his 8 million listeners dwindle down to a few hundred kindred souls. No audience, no commercials. No commercials, no show. No show, no job. I don’t believe turning the dial violates my rule of not demanding that he be fired, even if the effect is ultimately the same. I am not required to spend my time listening to a fool and neither is anyone else.

Savage can make the point that today’s definition of autism includes children who in prior years would not have been deemed autistic. There are doctors who make that point, and it is a matter where there is disagreement in the medical community. It is also possible that some children may have been diagnosed with autism in error. There is, however, no malice in the rational discussion of these issues.

But Savage made this personal attack on sick children which is worth repeating: “I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a rat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.”

His language is vile and his conclusion obviously faulty. I hope no child is caused pain by Savage’s intemperate remarks. As for him, he should start with an apology. Then he should learn more about the subject.

Until he does, his cruel words linger as a continuing disgrace.

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