Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama vs Bush: Smackdown at the Pentagon

Obama spoke to the Pentagon yesterday in words so similar to those spoken by Pres. George W. Bush in his farewell address that one might think Obama a plagiarist. One cannot, however, say Obama was being sincere, uplifting, inspiring, or speaking from his heart.

You Tube
With similar words and sentiments, can you tell which man is disingenuous and just sleep walking through a disagreeable task because someone handed him a speech to read. And read it he did, as a schoolboy whose been told to eat his carrots - 'Aww, geez! Do I have to?'

Bush, on the other hand, was a poor speaker. He knew, we knew it. And he was always sincere, meant and felt what he said. We knew exactly where Dubya stood on any issue. So did foreign adversaries who didn't waste their time confronting him. They waited for a wuss in the White House and now they've got one.

Now, had this been an apology from Obama for some imagined wrong America had done...

h/t: Greg Engler,, 9/11: Obama "The Brilliant Communicator" vs. Bush "The Idiot"

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Obama's Never Ending Speech

Another historic Obama speech is scheduled for Monday, Sept 14. Before then, Obama takes snakeoil salesman dog and pony show to CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday night.

WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters)- U.S. President Barack Obama will give a speech about the financial crisis on Monday, marking the anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the White House said.

"He will discuss the aggressive steps the Administration has taken to bring the economy back from the brink (and) the commitment to winding down thse government's role in the financial sector," the White House said in a statement.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Most Enduring Memory of 9/11

... for me is the silence of this night eight years ago. I live beneath the landing pattern for John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. In 2001, all aircraft were grounded, except military. Normally, the last plane lands at around 11PM. Eight years ago, nothing. No planes, no traffic, no sounds, nothing.

Until 2:04 AM.

A small plane was in the air and passed over my home. At 2:06 AM, the sound barrier exploded in the sky moments after two military jets slashed the darkness pursuing the fool in the air. Just as quickly, nothing. No planes, no traffic, no sounds, nothing.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

9/11 Numbers

9/11 by the Numbers

Death, destruction, charity, salvation, war, money, real estate, spouses, babies, and other September 11 statistics.

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

•Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819

•Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343

•Number of NYPD officers: 23

•Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

•Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60

•Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402

•Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614

•Number of employees lost at Cantor Fitzgerald: 658

•Number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom: 22

•Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115

•Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1

•Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39

•Bodies found "intact": 289

•Body parts found: 19,858

•Number of families who got no remains: 1,717

•Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center: 36,000

•Total units of donated blood actually used: 258

•Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609

•Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051

•Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20

•FDNY retirements, January–July 2001: 274

•FDNY retirements, January–July 2002: 661

•Number of firefighters on leave for respiratory problems by January 2002: 300

•Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001: 200

•Number of FDNY vehicles destroyed: 98

•Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124

•Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99

•Jobs lost in New York owing to the attacks: 146,100

•Days the New York Stock Exchange was closed: 6

•Point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average when the NYSE reopened: 684.81

•Days after 9/11 that the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan: 26

•Total number of hate crimes reported to the Council on American-Islamic Relations nationwide since 9/11: 1,714

•Economic loss to New York in month following the attacks: $105 billion

•Estimated cost of cleanup: $600 million

•Total FEMA money spent on the emergency: $970 million

•Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion

•Estimated amount of insurance paid worldwide related to 9/11: $40.2 billion

•Estimated amount of money needed to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $7.5 billion

•Amount of money recently granted by U.S. government to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $4.55 billion

•Estimated amount of money raised for funds dedicated to NYPD and FDNY families: $500 million

•Percentage of total charity money raised going to FDNY and NYPD families: 25

•Average benefit already received by each FDNY and NYPD widow: $1 million

•Percentage increase in law-school applications from 2001 to 2002: 17.9

•Percentage increase in Peace Corps applications from 2001 to 2002: 40

•Percentage increase in CIA applications from 2001 to 2002: 50

•Number of songs Clear Channel Radio considered "inappropriate" to play after 9/11: 150

•Number of mentions of 9/11 at the Oscars: 26

•Apartments in lower Manhattan eligible for asbestos cleanup: 30,000

•Number of apartments whose residents have requested cleanup and testing: 4,110

•Number of Americans who changed their 2001 holiday-travel plans from plane to train or car: 1.4 million

•Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000

New York Magazine

Sept 11

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sept 10

Your Lies

With lies aplenty flying over the airwaves and through the wires from sea to shining sea, Washington, D.C. to Honolulu, and tempers flaring faster than a California wildfire, a musical interlude with Shelby Lynne...

Your Lies - Shelby Lynne,

And a bonus video because I love this song from Shelby's 2008 Dusty Springfield tribute album Just A Little Lovin' ...

Anyone Who Had A Heart Shelby Lynne,
My Space Video

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Liar, Liar! Pantalones on Fire!

That's the judgement of the Associated Press, a stalwart supporter of Obama the candidate. Of Obama the nation's leader, not so much.

Obama's slide from grace continues apace as his job disapproval rating reaches 52% in the five days preceding the Joint Session Health Care Speech Wednesday. Only 42% of people question still support his work to replace the current functioning health care system with a $2.5 trillion/year untried, untested socialist government mandated health care system that would actually fine people who do not carry the minimum coverage. Obama's "latest approval figures on health were essentially reversed since July, when 50 percent approved of his health effort and just 43 percent disapproved."

After the latest in a seeming never ending series of historic speeches, the AP fact checked Obama's claims made in the hour long dialogue that included several moments of spirited audience participation.

OBAMA: "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period."

THE FACTS: Though there's no final plan yet, the White House and congressional Democrats already have shown they're ready to skirt the no-new-deficits pledge.

House Democrats offered a bill that the Congressional Budget Office said would add $220 billion to the deficit over 10 years. But Democrats and Obama administration officials claimed the bill actually was deficit-neutral. They said they simply didn't have to count $245 billion of it — the cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don't face big annual pay cuts.

Their reasoning was that they already had decided to exempt this "doc fix" from congressional rules that require new programs to be paid for. In other words, it doesn't have to be paid for because they decided it doesn't have to be paid for.

The administration also said that since Obama already had included the doctor payment in his 10-year budget proposal, it didn't have to be counted again.

That aside, the long-term prognosis for costs of the health care legislation has not been good.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf had this to say in July: "We do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount."

OBAMA: "Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have."

THE FACTS: That's correct, as far as it goes. But neither can the plan guarantee that people can keep their current coverage. Employers sponsor coverage for most families, and they'd be free to change their health plans in ways that workers may not like, or drop insurance altogether. The Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill written by House Democrats and said that by 2016 some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers would decide to stop offering it.

In the past Obama repeatedly said, "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period." Now he's stopping short of that unconditional guarantee by saying nothing in the plan "requires" any change.

OBAMA: "The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally." One congressman, South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson, shouted "You lie!" from his seat in the House chamber when Obama made this assertion. Wilson later apologized.

THE FACTS: The facts back up Obama. The House version of the health care bill explicitly prohibits spending any federal money to help illegal immigrants get health care coverage. Illegal immigrants could buy private health insurance, as many do now, but wouldn't get tax subsidies to help them. Still, Republicans say there are not sufficient citizenship verification requirements to ensure illegal immigrants are excluded from benefits they are not due.

OBAMA: "Don't pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut. ... That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare."

THE FACTS: Obama and congressional Democrats want to pay for their health care plans in part by reducing Medicare payments to providers by more than $500 billion over 10 years. The cuts would largely hit hospitals and Medicare Advantage, the part of the Medicare program operated through private insurance companies.

Although wasteful spending in Medicare is widely acknowledged, many experts believe some seniors almost certainly would see reduced benefits from the cuts. That's particularly true for the 25 percent of Medicare users covered through Medicare Advantage.

Supporters contend that providers could absorb the cuts by improving how they operate and wouldn't have to reduce benefits or pass along costs. But there's certainly no guarantee they wouldn't.

OBAMA: Requiring insurance companies to cover preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies "makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives."

THE FACTS: Studies have shown that much preventive care — particularly tests like the ones Obama mentions — actually costs money instead of saving it. That's because detecting acute diseases like breast cancer in their early stages involves testing many people who would never end up developing the disease. The costs of a large number of tests, even if they're relatively cheap, will outweigh the costs of caring for the minority of people who would have ended up getting sick without the testing.

The Congressional Budget Office wrote in August: "The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall."

That doesn't mean preventive care doesn't make sense or save lives. It just doesn't save money.

OBAMA: "If you lose your job or change your job, you will be able to get coverage. If you strike out on your own and start a small business, you will be able to get coverage."

THE FACTS: It's not just a matter of being able to get coverage. Most people would have to get coverage under the law, if his plan is adopted.

In his speech, Obama endorsed mandatory coverage for individuals, an approach he did not embrace as a candidate.

He proposed during the campaign — as he does now — that larger businesses be required to offer insurance to workers or else pay into a fund. But he rejected the idea of requiring individuals to obtain insurance. He said people would get insurance without being forced to do so by the law, if coverage were made affordable. And he repeatedly criticized his Democratic primary rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for proposing to mandate coverage.

"To force people to get health insurance, you've got to have a very harsh penalty," he said in a February 2008 debate.

Now, he says, "individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance."

He proposes a hardship waiver, exempting from the requirement those who cannot afford coverage despite increased federal aid.

OBAMA: "There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage."

THE FACTS: Obama time and again has referred to the number of uninsured as 46 million, a figure based on year-old Census data. The new number is based on an analysis by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, which concluded that about two-thirds of Americans without insurance are poor or near poor. "These individuals are less likely to be offered employer-sponsored coverage or to be able to afford to purchase their own coverage," the report said. By using the new figure, Obama avoids criticism that he is including individuals, particularly healthy young people, who choose not to obtain health insurance.
In the not too distant future, Obama will be so far down in the polls as well as the eyes, hearts, and minds of Americans it will look like up to him. Not to fret, Mr Obama, Europeans still like you.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Obama Slams Door Before It Was Opened

Obama said tonight in his Joint Session Health Care Speech,

This is the plan I'm proposing. Its a plan that incorporates ideas from many of the people in this room tonight Democrats and Republicans. And I will continue to seek common ground in the weeks ahead. If you come to me with a serious set of proposals, I will be there to listen. My door is always open.
Once again, actions speak louder than words. Obama has not invited the Republican leadership to White House health care discussions since April. On May 13, 2009 a letter from House GOP leader John Boehner and 9 other Republicans was sent to the president offering to discuss points of agreement. In the letter, the Republicans expressed a clear willingness to work together,
"We write you today to express our sincere desire to work with you and find common ground on the issue of health care reform."
So far, there has been no response from the White House. The LA Examiner today wrote,
"In a conference call with bloggers today, the Whip Group said that the White House response was essentially, "thanks, but no thanks." "
So much for the open door shtick.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Text - Obama Health Care Speech Sept 9, 2009

Barack Obama's speech to Joint Session of Congress, September 9, 2009, 8:00 pm ET.


Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery

Address to a Joint Session of Congress on Health Care

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Washington, DC

Madame Speaker, Vice President Biden, Members of Congress, and the American people:

When I spoke here last winter, this nation was facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month. Credit was frozen. And our financial system was on the verge of collapse.

As any American who is still looking for work or a way to pay their bills will tell you, we are by no means out of the woods. A full and vibrant recovery is many months away. And I will not let up until those Americans who seek jobs can find them; until those businesses that seek capital and credit can thrive; until all responsible homeowners can stay in their homes. That is our ultimate goal. But thanks to the bold and decisive action we have taken since January, I can stand here with confidence and say that we have pulled this economy back from the brink.

I want to thank the members of this body for your efforts and your support in these last several months, and especially those who have taken the difficult votes that have put us on a path to recovery. I also want to thank the American people for their patience and resolve during this trying time for our nation.

But we did not come here just to clean up crises. We came to build a future. So tonight, I return to speak to all of you about an issue that is central to that future and that is the issue of health care.

I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last. It has now been nearly a century since Theodore Roosevelt first called for health care reform. And ever since, nearly every President and Congress, whether Democrat or Republican, has attempted to meet this challenge in some way. A bill for comprehensive health reform was first introduced by John Dingell Sr. in 1943. Sixty-five years later, his son continues to introduce that same bill at the beginning of each session.

Our collective failure to meet this challenge year after year, decade after decade has led us to a breaking point. Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy. These are not primarily people on welfare. These are middle-class Americans. Some cant get insurance on the job. Others are self-employed, and cant afford it, since buying insurance on your own costs you three times as much as the coverage you get from your employer. Many other Americans who are willing and able to pay are still denied insurance due to previous illnesses or conditions that insurance companies decide are too risky or expensive to cover.

We are the only advanced democracy on Earth the only wealthy nation that allows such hardships for millions of its people. There are now more than thirty million American citizens who cannot get coverage. In just a two year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage. In other words, it can happen to anyone.

But the problem that plagues the health care system is not just a problem of the uninsured. Those who do have insurance have never had less security and stability than they do today. More and more Americans worry that if you move, lose your job, or change your job, you'll lose your health insurance too. More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick, or wont pay the full cost of care. It happens every day.

One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadnt reported gallstones that he didnt even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it. Another woman from Texas was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne. By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer more than doubled in size. That is heart-breaking, it is wrong, and no one should be treated that way in the United States of America.

Then there's the problem of rising costs. We spend one-and-a-half times more per person on health care than any other country, but we arent any healthier for it. This is one of the reasons that insurance premiums have gone up three times faster than wages. Its why so many employers especially small businesses are forcing their employees to pay more for insurance, or are dropping their coverage entirely. Its why so many aspiring entrepreneurs cannot afford to open a business in the first place, and why American businesses that compete internationally like our automakers are at a huge disadvantage. And its why those of us with health insurance are also paying a hidden and growing tax for those without it about $1000 per year that pays for somebody elses emergency room and charitable care.

Finally, our health care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers. When health care costs grow at the rate they have, it puts greater pressure on programs like Medicare and Medicaid. If we do nothing to slow these skyrocketing costs, we will eventually be spending more on Medicare and Medicaid than every other government program combined. Put simply, our health care problem is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close.

These are the facts. Nobody disputes them. We know we must reform this system. The question is how.

There are those on the left who believe that the only way to fix the system is through a single-payer system like Canadas, where we would severely restrict the private insurance market and have the government provide coverage for everyone. On the right, there are those who argue that we should end the employer-based system and leave individuals to buy health insurance on their own.

I have to say that there are arguments to be made for both approaches. But either one would represent a radical shift that would disrupt the health care most people currently have. Since health care represents one-sixth of our economy, I believe it makes more sense to build on what works and fix what doesnt, rather than try to build an entirely new system from scratch. And that is precisely what those of you in Congress have tried to do over the past several months.

During that time, we have seen Washington at its best and its worst.

We have seen many in this chamber work tirelessly for the better part of this year to offer thoughtful ideas about how to achieve reform. Of the five committees asked to develop bills, four have completed their work, and the Senate Finance Committee announced today that it will move forward next week. That has never happened before. Our overall efforts have been supported by an unprecedented coalition of doctors and nurses; hospitals, seniors groups and even drug companies many of whom opposed reform in the past. And there is agreement in this chamber on about eighty percent of what needs to be done, putting us closer to the goal of reform than we have ever been.

But what we have also seen in these last months is the same partisan spectacle that only hardens the disdain many Americans have toward their own government. Instead of honest debate, we have seen scare tactics. Some have dug into unyielding ideological camps that offer no hope of compromise. Too many have used this as an opportunity to score short-term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long-term challenge. And out of this blizzard of charges and counter-charges, confusion has reigned.

Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on health care.

The plan Im announcing tonight would meet three basic goals:

It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who dont. And it will slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government. Its a plan that asks everyone to take responsibility for meeting this challenge not just government and insurance companies, but employers and individuals. And its a plan that incorporates ideas from Senators and Congressmen; from Democrats and Republicans and yes, from some of my opponents in both the primary and general election.

Here are the details that every American needs to know about this plan:

First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.

What this plan will do is to make the insurance you have work better for you. Under this plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. As soon as I sign this bill, it will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it most. They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime. We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick. And insurance companies will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies because theres no reason we shouldnt be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse. That makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives.

That's what Americans who have health insurance can expect from this plan more security and stability.

Now, if youre one of the tens of millions of Americans who dont currently have health insurance, the second part of this plan will finally offer you quality, affordable choices. If you lose your job or change your job, you will be able to get coverage. If you strike out on your own and start a small business, you will be able to get coverage. We will do this by creating a new insurance exchange a marketplace where individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for health insurance at competitive prices. Insurance companies will have an incentive to participate in this exchange because it lets them compete for millions of new customers. As one big group, these customers will have greater leverage to bargain with the insurance companies for better prices and quality coverage. This is how large companies and government employees get affordable insurance. Its how everyone in this Congress gets affordable insurance. And its time to give every American the same opportunity that weve given ourselves.

For those individuals and small businesses who still cannot afford the lower-priced insurance available in the exchange, we will provide tax credits, the size of which will be based on your need. And all insurance companies that want access to this new marketplace will have to abide by the consumer protections I already mentioned. This exchange will take effect in four years, which will give us time to do it right. In the meantime, for those Americans who cant get insurance today because they have pre-existing medical conditions, we will immediately offer low-cost coverage that will protect you against financial ruin if you become seriously ill. This was a good idea when Senator John McCain proposed it in the campaign, its a good idea now, and we should embrace it.

That's why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. Likewise, businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers. There will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still cannot afford coverage, and 95% of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements. But we cannot have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees. Improving our health care system only works if everybody does their part.

While there remain some significant details to be ironed out, I believe a broad consensus exists for the aspects of the plan I just outlined: consumer protections for those with insurance, an exchange that allows individuals and small businesses to purchase affordable coverage, and a requirement that people who can afford insurance get insurance.

And I have no doubt that these reforms would greatly benefit Americans from all walks of life, as well as the economy as a whole. Still, given all the misinformation thats been spread over the past few months, I realize that many Americans have grown nervous about reform. So tonight Id like to address some of the key controversies that are still out there.

Some of peoples concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it werent so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false the reforms Im proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.

My health care proposal has also been attacked by some who oppose reform as a government takeover of the entire health care system. As proof, critics point to a provision in our plan that allows the uninsured and small businesses to choose a publicly-sponsored insurance option, administered by the government just like Medicaid or Medicare.

So let me set the record straight. My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90% is controlled by just one company. Without competition, the price of insurance goes up and the quality goes down. And it makes it easier for insurance companies to treat their customers badly by cherry-picking the healthiest individuals and trying to drop the sickest; by overcharging small businesses who have no leverage; and by jacking up rates.

Insurance executives dont do this because they are bad people. They do it because its profitable. As one former insurance executive testified before Congress, insurance companies are not only encouraged to find reasons to drop the seriously ill; they are rewarded for it. All of this is in service of meeting what this former executive called Wall Streets relentless profit expectations.

Now, I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business. They provide a legitimate service, and employ a lot of our friends and neighbors. I just want to hold them accountable. The insurance reforms that Ive already mentioned would do just that. But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear it would only be an option for those who dont have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance. In fact, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, we believe that less than 5% of Americans would sign up.

Despite all this, the insurance companies and their allies dont like this idea. They argue that these private companies cant fairly compete with the government. And theyd be right if taxpayers were subsidizing this public insurance option. But they wont be. I have insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects. But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers. It would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities.

It's worth noting that a strong majority of Americans still favor a public insurance option of the sort Ive proposed tonight. But its impact shouldnt be exaggerated by the left, the right, or the media. It is only one part of my plan, and should not be used as a handy excuse for the usual Washington ideological battles. To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal. And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have.

For example, some have suggested that that the public option go into effect only in those markets where insurance companies are not providing affordable policies. Others propose a co-op or another non-profit entity to administer the plan. These are all constructive ideas worth exploring. But I will not back down on the basic principle that if Americans cant find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice. And I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need.

Finally, let me discuss an issue that is a great concern to me, to members of this chamber, and to the public and that is how we pay for this plan.

Here's what you need to know. First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period. And to prove that Im serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised dont materialize. Part of the reason I faced a trillion dollar deficit when I walked in the door of the White House is because too many initiatives over the last decade were not paid for from the Iraq War to tax breaks for the wealthy. I will not make that same mistake with health care.

Second, weve estimated that most of this plan can be paid for by finding savings within the existing health care system a system that is currently full of waste and abuse. Right now, too much of the hard-earned savings and tax dollars we spend on health care doesnt make us healthier. Thats not my judgment its the judgment of medical professionals across this country. And this is also true when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid.

In fact, I want to speak directly to Americas seniors for a moment, because Medicare is another issue thats been subjected to demagoguery and distortion during the course of this debate.

More than four decades ago, this nation stood up for the principle that after a lifetime of hard work, our seniors should not be left to struggle with a pile of medical bills in their later years. That is how Medicare was born. And it remains a sacred trust that must be passed down from one generation to the next. That is why not a dollar of the Medicare trust fund will be used to pay for this plan.

The only thing this plan would eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud, as well as unwarranted subsidies in Medicare that go to insurance companies subsidies that do everything to pad their profits and nothing to improve your care. And we will also create an independent commission of doctors and medical experts charged with identifying more waste in the years ahead.

These steps will ensure that you Americas seniors get the benefits youve been promised. They will ensure that Medicare is there for future generations. And we can use some of the savings to fill the gap in coverage that forces too many seniors to pay thousands of dollars a year out of their own pocket for prescription drugs. Thats what this plan will do for you. So dont pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut especially since some of the same folks who are spreading these tall tales have fought against Medicare in the past, and just this year supported a budget that would have essentially turned Medicare into a privatized voucher program. That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare.

Now, because Medicare is such a big part of the health care system, making the program more efficient can help usher in changes in the way we deliver health care that can reduce costs for everybody. We have long known that some places, like the Intermountain Healthcare in Utah or the Geisinger Health System in rural Pennsylvania, offer high-quality care at costs below average. The commission can help encourage the adoption of these common-sense best practices by doctors and medical professionals throughout the system everything from reducing hospital infection rates to encouraging better coordination between teams of doctors.

Reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan. Much of the rest would be paid for with revenues from the very same drug and insurance companies that stand to benefit from tens of millions of new customers. This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies, which will encourage them to provide greater value for the money an idea which has the support of Democratic and Republican experts. And according to these same experts, this modest change could help hold down the cost of health care for all of us in the long-run.

Finally, many in this chamber particularly on the Republican side of the aisle have long insisted that reforming our medical malpractice laws can help bring down the cost of health care. I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I have talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs. So I am proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine. I know that the Bush Administration considered authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues. Its a good idea, and I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today.

Add it all up, and the plan Im proposing will cost around $900 billion over ten years less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans that Congress passed at the beginning of the previous administration. Most of these costs will be paid for with money already being spent but spent badly in the existing health care system. The plan will not add to our deficit. The middle-class will realize greater security, not higher taxes. And if we are able to slow the growth of health care costs by just one-tenth of one percent each year, it will actually reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term.

This is the plan I'm proposing. Its a plan that incorporates ideas from many of the people in this room tonight Democrats and Republicans. And I will continue to seek common ground in the weeks ahead. If you come to me with a serious set of proposals, I will be there to listen. My door is always open.

But know this: I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that its better politics to kill this plan than improve it. I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are. If you misrepresent whats in the plan, we will call you out. And I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now.

Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing. Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most. And more will die as a result. We know these things to be true.

That is why we cannot fail. Because there are too many Americans counting on us to succeed the ones who suffer silently, and the ones who shared their stories with us at town hall meetings, in emails, and in letters.

I received one of those letters a few days ago. It was from our beloved friend and colleague, Ted Kennedy. He had written it back in May, shortly after he was told that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered upon his death.

In it, he spoke about what a happy time his last months were, thanks to the love and support of family and friends, his wife, Vicki, and his children, who are here tonight . And he expressed confidence that this would be the year that health care reform that great unfinished business of our society, he called it would finally pass. He repeated the truth that health care is decisive for our future prosperity, but he also reminded me that it concerns more than material things. What we face, he wrote, is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.

I've thought about that phrase quite a bit in recent days the character of our country. One of the unique and wonderful things about America has always been our self-reliance, our rugged individualism, our fierce defense of freedom and our healthy skepticism of government. And figuring out the appropriate size and role of government has always been a source of rigorous and sometimes angry debate.

For some of Ted Kennedys critics, his brand of liberalism represented an affront to American liberty. In their mind, his passion for universal health care was nothing more than a passion for big government.

But those of us who knew Teddy and worked with him here people of both parties know that what drove him was something more. His friend, Orrin Hatch, knows that. They worked together to provide children with health insurance. His friend John McCain knows that. They worked together on a Patients Bill of Rights. His friend Chuck Grassley knows that. They worked together to provide health care to children with disabilities.

On issues like these, Ted Kennedys passion was born not of some rigid ideology, but of his own experience. It was the experience of having two children stricken with cancer. He never forgot the sheer terror and helplessness that any parent feels when a child is badly sick; and he was able to imagine what it must be like for those without insurance; what it would be like to have to say to a wife or a child or an aging parent there is something that could make you better, but I just cant afford it.

That large-heartedness, that concern and regard for the plight of others, is not a partisan feeling. It is not a Republican or a Democratic feeling. It, too, is part of the American character. Our ability to stand in other peoples shoes. A recognition that we are all in this together; that when fortune turns against one of us, others are there to lend a helping hand. A belief that in this country, hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play; and an acknowledgement that sometimes government has to step in to help deliver on that promise.

This has always been the history of our progress. In 1933, when over half of our seniors could not support themselves and millions had seen their savings wiped away, there were those who argued that Social Security would lead to socialism. But the men and women of Congress stood fast, and we are all the better for it. In 1965, when some argued that Medicare represented a government takeover of health care, members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, did not back down. They joined together so that all of us could enter our golden years with some basic peace of mind.

You see, our predecessors understood that government could not, and should not, solve every problem. They understood that there are instances when the gains in security from government action are not worth the added constraints on our freedom. But they also understood that the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little; that without the leavening hand of wise policy, markets can crash, monopolies can stifle competition, and the vulnerable can be exploited. And they knew that when any government measure, no matter how carefully crafted or beneficial, is subject to scorn; when any efforts to help people in need are attacked as un-American; when facts and reason are thrown overboard and only timidity passes for wisdom, and we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter that at that point we dont merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges. We lose something essential about ourselves.

What was true then remains true today. I understand how difficult this health care debate has been. I know that many in this country are deeply skeptical that government is looking out for them. I understand that the politically safe move would be to kick the can further down the road to defer reform one more year, or one more election, or one more term.

But that's not what the moment calls for. That's not what we came here to do. We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when its hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet historys test.

Because that is who we are. That is our calling. That is our character. Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.

CA GOP Ass'man Canned - Duvall Resigns

Michael Duvall, (R-72nd Dist. Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Orange) California State Assembly, resigned this afternoon after bragging to another man about his sexual encounters with two lobbyist women. During a break in committee discussions the two men were where captured on an open microphone and video tape.

You Tube
The July conversation led to Republican Duvall losing his leadership roles as vice chairman of the Utilities and Commerce Committee and a member of the Rules Committee. An ethics investigation has been launched. His Assembly webpage biography says, "Chapman University awarded Duvall the Ethics in America Award in 2000 for his "demonstration of the highest standards of ethical integrity" while a member of the Chamber team." Apparently, after one earns an award one needn't continue "highest standards of ethical integrity."

Duvall tells the other man during the Assembly Appropriations committee meeting saying, "I like spanking her," he is heard to say on the videotape. "She goes, 'I know you like spanking me.' I said, 'Yeah, that's cause you're such a bad girl.' "

His bio also says, "Assemblyman Duvall lives in Yorba Linda with his wife Susan. He has two grown children."

The videotape doesn't end with the one instance of sexual braggadocio. Duvall goes on to talk about a second woman with whom he is also having an affair. "Sher, Shar, Shar - oh, she is hot. I talked to her yesterday. She goes, 'So are we finished?' " Duvall says, adding that he replied no. He continues: "And I go, 'You know about the other one, but the other one doesn't know about you.' "

Duvall released this statement on his campaign website (!):

"I am deeply saddened that my inappropriate comments have become a major distraction for my colleagues in the Assembly, who are working hard on the very serious problems facing our state. I have come to the conclusion that it would not be fair to my family, my constituents or to my friends on both sides of the aisle to remain in office. Therefore, I have decided to resign my office, effective immediately, so that the Assembly can get back to work."
Michael Duvall, Southern California Republican 72nd Dist Assemblyman, not only was cheating on his wife, Susan, but was also cheating on his two mistresses! And bragging about it in the State Assembly... on video tape. AND he only apologizes for having made the statements.

Can you say lowlife scum? But then, he's a politician. Lowlife scum is apparently a required characteristic.

Speaking of lowlife scum politicians, Obama is delivering an historic speech (yes, another one!) tonight. This time to a Joint Session of Congress to talk about government mandated health care for all Americans, why Socialism is good for the American working class, except union members and government employees who don't really do work like the American working class, and why we should have to have a Public Option w/Death Panels. It's the same pig in a poke with lipstick the Clintons tried to sell us 16 years ago in their health care address to a Joint Session of Congress which was also the last time there was a JSofC that wasn't a State of the Union Address. It didn't work then, but maybe we'll buy into the program now because Obama is Irish-American, and by cracky, we love the typical white Irish from Kansas.

As for Duvall, (and BTW, your timing was ever soooo perfect, thank you very much) tar and feather the ethics award winning scum sucking politician bastard, then ride him out of town on a high-speed rail. The other scum sucking politician bastard? Well, I'll refrain because anything else may get me a visit from the Secret Service, or more probable, other folks in various shirt colors - brown, purple, green, red, or pink, but surprisingly, not periwinkle.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

He Ain't Heavy...

... he's still not my brother no matter how much he looks like my brother. I had to expand this photo to screensavers size to clearly see this guy is not my older brother. Doppelganger, clone, or some Dr. Moreau liberal public option health care experiment gone horribly wrong? I don't know.

Northern Michigan Tea Party, Labor Day weekend via Atlas Shrugs.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Obama Spoke And It Was Good

Obama's prepared remarks to America's students at the Back to School Event, with pre-pre-event coverage here at Indigo Red, Buster Obama Goes to Sesame Street, seems like it was days ago, but happened only this morning. Already, bloggers and newsers are ripping it to pieces as if it were pulled pork. In fact, the pulling began Monday, a day before the speech was actually spoken.

Ed Morrissey at HotAir ran the speech through a word frequency counter program and found:

•56 iterations of “I”
•19 iterations of “school”
•10 iterations of “education”
•8 iterations of “responsibility”
•7 iterations of “country”
•5 iterations each of “parents”, “teachers”
•3 iterations of “nation”
That's a lot of "I" especially when he says, "It's not about me."

I have been an outspoken critic of Obama and clench my teeth to hold down the bile when forced to refer to him as President. I am no fan of his character, his policies, or his politics. One could rightly say that I don't like Obama and that would be nearly 100% true. Generally, I give him no quarter, but this time I can spare a dime.

I'm going to give the Messiah a break on the speech itself. The lesson plans, however, are a whole other ballgame. The speech was very much centered around his own life and school experience. Whether born in one of two hospitals in Honolulu, Hawaii, or one hospital in Nairobi, or a mud hut in Mudhut, Kenya, his subsequent story from inarguable humble beginnings to the White House is one that is inspiring to kids at the lowest rungs of society who may never have seen a future for themselves and kids higher up who don't see a future anymore since the "plant closed down."

He used his own story to inspire and challenge, so, yeah, he used "I" a lot. Not all of those kids are socialist fodder just as Alinsky's rules are not just for commie pinko rats. And even the right thinking smart kids, those who haven't drunk deeply the kool-aid of socialism, will get something from the speech - stay in school, set goals, study hard, play hard, try to win, when you lose, get up and do it again, when your opponent falters, lend a steadying hand. I can't think that those wise words, and wise they are, constitute the greatest evil facing this nation. When the rules are wrong, improve the rules, change the rules, void the rules. There's only one law worse than a good law gone bad and that's a bad law that's bad from the get go and only gets worse and no one steps out from the crowd to right the wrong.

If you believe Civil Disobedience has no place in America today or it is the province of only one side of a political argument, that bad law does not exist today, here and around the globe, then go back to Birmingham, Alabama and read again Dr. Martin Luther King's Letter from the Birmingham Jail; go back to South Africa and read again Mohandas K. Gandhi's Satyagraha in South Africa. Bad law needs to be exposed and abolished with good law put in its stead.

But, when generations of school children, from lack of guidance and encouragement, believe no law is better or worse than any other; that no philosophy - political, social, or religious - is better or worse than any other; that no country - as constituted and organized at this moment - is better or worse than any other; that no person is better or worse than any other, then nothing will change, nothing can change unless and until children are taught that better is possible with hard work and determination; that evil, or whatever one wishes to call it when one group of people purposefully sets out to harm another, or just one person of malice harms another, can be overcome. Even when the gain is small, progress is still made.

A large number Americans correctly demanded to see Obama's speech before it was delivered to our young and it was provided. We read along as Obama voiced the words. With minor spoken variation, the speech was exactly as presented on Monday for delivery on Tuesday. There were no exhortations or blandishments, neither blatant nor subliminal, to rip children from their parents or excise free will from their brains which are without form and void to the service of the STATE - socialist, fascist, or otherwise. There were only the encouragements to do one's best, to follow the rules, to work hard for greater rewards in a future better than the now, which was once our future.

And wash your hands.

If that is evil, then we've all lost complete track of reality.

We can all use encouragement now and again. Without the arguably illegal lesson plans, the message to students from Obama this morning was, in fact, one that parents, families, friends, teachers, coaches, pastors, priests, and rabbis should have been giving, but haven't or wouldn't. I wish someone had sat me down when I was 12 years old and forcefully, with love and honesty, told me in no uncertain terms all this "crap" that Obama imparted this morning. Maybe, just maybe, I would have actually accomplished something beyond efficiently converting oxygen to carbon dioxide and simply having a bona fide Birth Certificate with an official state seal attesting the fact I was born an American citizen with every right to ignore the freedoms and liberties for which millions of people from around the planet have labored and sweat and died to give to me.

Just this once, cut Obama some slack. It was a good speech. It was a good message.

We can rip on him again tomorrow for his ill advised, poorly planned, wrong headed, socialist Health Care Speech before a Joint Session of Congress.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sgt. Friday Educates Obama

Instant classic with Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, and Barack Obama:

via Attack Machine and Instapundit to bulletpeople at You Tube who uploaded this video Sept 5, 2009.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Buster Obama Goes to Sesame Street

House Majority leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO.), said "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students." That was 1991, when President George H. W. Bush hired a production company and paid $26,750 in taxpayer funds to address the nation's school kids from an 8th grade classroom.

Newsbusters reported as much four days ago and Hot Air today-

House Democrats criticized President Bush yesterday for using Education Department funds to produce and broadcast a speech that he made Tuesday at a Northwest Washington junior high school.

The Democratic critics accused Bush of turning government money for education to his own political use, namely, an ongoing effort to inoculate himself against their charges of inattention to domestic issues. The speech at Alice Deal Junior High School, broadcast live on radio and television, urged students to study hard, avoid drugs and turn in troublemakers.

“The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students,” House Majority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said. “And the president should be doing more about education than saying, ‘Lights, camera, action.’ ”
Democrats and the public were right to question the motives of Bush, Sr. just as Republicans are right to question Obama now. As Reagan said, "Trust, but verify." In 1991, Bush was not Internet live streamed into every school, but rather telecast requiring much collaboration from out side the White House. Today, Obama has access to an entire production company on any laptop loaded with any number of applicable programs and he can do the whole thing himself in the Oval Office toilet.

Even at that, it wasn't the content of the speech that caused the furor. Given Obama's educational associations and his positions favoring a more socialist approach to, oh, everything, the problem was with the teaching materials that were to accompany the speech. The first objection I had (and I don't have children) was in the first sentence of the lesson plan for PreK-6: "Teachers can build background knowledge about the President of the United States and his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama." Obama is referenced twice in this sentence. I would not object if the sentence read simply, "Teachers can build background knowledge about the President[s] of the United States and his speech by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama." Democrats called for congressional hearings to investigate the expenditure of scarce funds in 1991. Obama's advisers have revised the suggested lesson plans to be more compliant with expressed public sentiment: read - conservative parents went ballistic and Obama caved. Again, the O-man and staff were too far out of touch with America.

The run-up to the speech tomorrow morning, was handled in the clumsy and ham fisted manner we've early-on come to expect from this administration. Even the White House response has been predictable: totally mystified at all the fuss and feathers. Epictetus, a long dead Greek smart guy, wrote, "Do not write so that you can be understood, write so that you cannot be misunderstood." An educational lesson Obama and his writers need to learn sooner than later.

The speech presented below in its entirety, is far more innocuous than administration aides led anyone to believe. It may be so innocuous as to be a total waste of class time. Anyway, the speech as prepared by the White House -

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.

Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.

I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.

So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.

Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
My last objection is to the last line of the speech. Not because I'm an Atheist, but because Obama refused to use the same political benedictions as a candidate. In his retaking of the Oath of Office after being messed-up by the Chief Justice, Obama behind closed doors didn't add the traditional "So help me God". He has since added the religious political language, but only after public recriminations.

Obama doesn't get it. Just a little disingenuousness goes a long way to promote him as a phony, a liar, and con man. Dr Martin Luther King admonished to judge by the content of character not by the color of skin. Character has been described as what we do when no one is looking. Obama's character still leaves much to be desired, as a president and an Irish-American.

And if threats of keeping children home from school is all it takes for Obama to give-in, how safe are we against real screwballs in Iran, N. Korea, France, and California?

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.