You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

September 23, 2008

Phasing In the Audacity

By: Bernard Chazelle

The financial interventions of the past two weeks could end up costing the US taxpayer more than $1 trillion. Will it have consequences on President Obama's programs?

“Does that mean that I can do everything that I've called for in this campaign right away?” Obama said. “Probably not. I think we're going to have to phase it in."

Everything he's called for! Wow, the whole, full empty set!

This crisis is a godsend for Obama. Not only that'll help him get elected, but then his entire presidency can become a giant "phase-in." He can phase in the sick, the poor, and the guy who lost his home. Let's hope he can phase in the rain, too, so no one gets too wet in Tent City.

Funny how Wall Street never gets phased in.

— Bernard Chazelle

Posted at September 23, 2008 10:55 AM

Oh ın four years tıme Obama wıll be know as 'the affırmatıve actıon presıdent' and the most hated person ın Amerıca. He should be prayıng he doesn't get elected. He would have a hard enough tıme ıf thıngs were goıng well. But he wll be ın so far over hıs head ıt wıll be comıc to watch. After fuckıng up foreıgn polıcy and makıng the economıc problems worse, people wıll stop thınkıng, oh how audacıously ınspırıng to have a black medıocrıty as Presıdent and wıll start thınkıng, Jesus we fucked ourselves, agaın.

God I love ıt : )

Posted by: xyz at September 23, 2008 11:32 AM

oh and Bernard, please let me know when you can accept my generous offer, you have 1000 Russıan roubles waıtıng for you. Oh and I wıll of course provıde you and Jon wıth floss and antıbıotıcs.

Posted by: xyz at September 23, 2008 11:37 AM


Posted by: Monkay at September 23, 2008 02:00 PM

Oh, come off it. Which is worth more, a trillion dollars or a good excuse? How about a really really good excuse?

It's a fucking trillion dollars. Even if congress decides 90%, that's still a 1 with 11 zeroes. He is not the messiah, but I think he could probably have figured out a way to spend it that would not have hurt his chances for reelection. And he's probably creative enough to have come up with SOME other excuse for doing nothing important (if that's what you think he'll do) that is at least half as plausible as a trillion dollar loss. Like maybe a billion dollar loss somewhere else - sounds about the same to me, eh?

Posted by: homunq at September 23, 2008 03:13 PM

Well first they said the bailout would cost $2333 dollars for every man woman and child in the US.
Now they're saying it will cost $3278 for every man woman and child in the US.
This is very upsetting.
I need that $945.

Posted by: Roy Belmont at September 23, 2008 03:35 PM
Funny how Wall Street never gets phased in-

Is this because americans are gamblers at heart?

Also the trillion dollar fleecing plan.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 23, 2008 03:59 PM

I'm sorry, I don't understand. Are you saying that Obama will not do some specific thing (say Health Care) because of concerns about spending more? That appears to be what he said?

Were you snarking that he wouldn't have anyway? It seems you were saything that he didn't intend to do anything.

If that is the case, I'll be honest, I prefer it when a candidate says, "Here's what I beleive should be fixed and here are principles that must not be abrogated, we'll hash out the differences in office". Proposing a comprehensive plan during a campaign is foolishness"

Obama is not progressive enough for me, frankly, but I don't expect anyone to feed poor children, for example, from day one. I do expect them to forcefully declare that it must be solved and that somehow or another, they will do so.

So... that would be my soapbox, but I'm not sure what is on yours. Can you clarify?

Posted by: Dilapidus at September 23, 2008 04:13 PM

I'm really for the alienated, superior, left, chic. It feels great, you never lose, you just float over the rest of humanity like David Broder.

Who knows, maybe you are right, and Obama is the ghost of Lyndon Johnson on foreign policy and Bill Clinton on domestic policy. Given the circumstances, I'm going to say the hell with it and hope a little. Maybe you get to be right, but since you have no proposal for doing the right thing it still make you a poseur.

Posted by: Ed Marshall at September 23, 2008 11:29 PM

Nice to see that "WHADOWEEEDOOO" syndrome is in sway here too. Bernard, you deserve better than these sniffy rabble, poo-pooing your God given right to be cynical about the mealy-mouthed platitudes of a politician. Don't ya know that the kids are high on the hope these days, Bernard? Hope will sustain us! Hope will nourish us! Hope will keep my mom from getting foreclosed on! Even though every action he's taken since cinching up the nomination points to him being a spineless nothing (as opposed to a spineless old codger), you gotta believe, baby!

I can see the ghosts of future past, standing in those souplines now, smiles on their faces, because they got hope! No homes, mind ya, but hope!

Christ, you people are unbelievable.

Posted by: anonymouse at September 24, 2008 12:10 AM

Even though every action he's taken since cinching up the nomination points to him being a spineless nothing (as opposed to a spineless old codger), you gotta believe, baby!

It's not what I want but it's a light year out from Gore and Kerry. Rhetorically, at the very least, it is. If you can't see that, you are just an ossified, old political wreck spewing a certain point of left CW leftover from the past.

Anyone talking this line of shit better have been voting for the tendency of their choice and it really needs to be someone more radical than Ralph Nader (and I voted Nader 1996-2000). You should be way more radical than me.

Posted by: Ed Marshall at September 24, 2008 12:39 AM

Shorter Ed Marshall:

"Thank you sir may I have another!"

Yes, clearly the solution is to keep accepting more and more diminishing returns every four years! Even though the Democratic Party as a whole shifts ever rightward every four years, ratifying that choice with my vote (which, I'll remind you, you arrogant twat, is MINE and I certainly won't be giving it based on some faceless ass on the internet trying to make me feel guilty about it) will surely get me what I want! The goalposts keep shifting, and you Charlie Browns just keep kicking away, while Lucy Pelosi pull back the ball time and time again. Good luck with that.

"Anyone talking this line of shit better have been voting for the tendency of their choice and it really needs to be someone more radical than Ralph Nader (and I voted Nader 1996-2000). You should be way more radical than me."

Hey Ed? Bite my sack, k amigo? I don't have to justify my political viewpoints or votes (or lack thereof) to anyone, especially not to some hopelessly naive slave to the status quo that is currently sticking him and all his fellow taxpayers up. I reject your arrogant, asinine litmus test and your retch-inducing smug sense of superiority. You keep telling yourself I'm the fossil and you're the wide-eyed realist, pal.

Fuck the left, fuck the right, and fuck humps like you in the mushy middle trying to browbeat everyone else into buying into your little shell game. Just because you're a rube doesn't mean I'm going to become one to make you feel better, you putz.

Posted by: anonymouse at September 24, 2008 12:57 AM

Fuck you to, mouse.

You don't *have* a candidate. Are you waiting for the revolution? Are you going to do anything to make this happen? Are you going to mouth off on the internet and pretend to be really, fucking, smart, when you don't have the *slightest* idea what to do except for snark.

"Fuck the left, fuck the right". Pick a fucking side. You don't know what the fuck you are talking about. There are sides here. They are reflected piss poorly in the American system, but you really need to pick one here or you are just an idiot.

Posted by: Ed Marshall at September 24, 2008 01:05 AM

Kids, please: play nice.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at September 24, 2008 01:23 AM

I'm sorry, Jon.

I apologize for being intemperate and I'm going to bed.

Posted by: Ed Marshall at September 24, 2008 01:26 AM

Pick a side? For realsies? I'm sorry, I thought we were talking about governance, not playing kickball. Yeah, ok, fine, I'll pick a side, which side cares about protecting the Constitution all the time, instead of just when it's politically convenient and their opponents can't make them look like wussies for doing so? Which side has presented a real, substantive program to begin the work to stop climate change? Which side isn't merely pissing in the wind in a hurricane to the delight of their throngs of mindless sycophantic followers who treat governing the country like it's a Sox vs. Yankees World Series?

Ed, if neither "side" (we can only have two? Wow, what a great system! That couldn't possibly ever go wrong!) represents my views (or, for that matter, the purported views of most of its supporters), and I have people like you bellowing at me that I must, then yes, I say fuck the system. And no, I have no plan to fix it. I'm one guy living in Nevada, working a job I don't particularly like to pay the rent. I don't have a lot of freetime, and I don't particularly care to spend the precious little I do have trying to convince people like you that the system is broken and we need a third, fourth, fifth, etc. party to represent all the various and sundry viewpoints a human being can hold (believe it or not, some people are capable of coloring outside the lines! Fancy that!) and break the stranglehold the Dems and Repubs have on our Republic. You LIKE it this way. You like having a bully pulpit from which to issue remonstrations to people like me. You LOVE that the system exists the way it does, because it comforts you. People like you are deathly afraid of real change, of doing any kind of hard work, and have resigned yourself to accepting the scraps from the putrid swine who rule us' table. "Sure kid, we love civil rights, check out the black guy we nominated! Give us a few thousand more and we might try and do something for you, otherwise shut up until it's time to vote." You love the reality of this system, because it allows you the bare minimum of work and doesn't require you to educate yourself in the slightest: you merely have to look for a little letter behind someone's name on the ballot or on the teevee, and boom, you're set! No thinking required! You look down at people like me because we upset you and make you realize just how lazy you truly are and put the onus on me to singlehandledly overthrow the system so many people like you have so much invested in (emotionally and financially). But don't feel bad, Ed my boy, comfort yourself with the thought that I'm part of the shabby minority of Americans who recognizes the grift for what it is, and that we're vastly outnumbered by your ilk. There's safety in numbers, after all.

Posted by: anonymouse at September 24, 2008 01:47 AM


Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 24, 2008 10:33 AM

mouse has some valid points. Ed, I think that should have been "Fuck you too, mouse" ... but I quibble while Rome burns.

I suspect that Ed is just saying "yeah, I know he voted for FISA and won't commit to a definite withdrawal date and he is very much a politician, but for fuck's sake man.. you still have to vote for him."

While mouse is probably presuming more about Ed and Koolaid than I am reading.

The truth is.. I am not holding my nose nearly as tightly as I have had to in the past. Obama, on the campaign trail at least, is far better than either Gore or Kerry.

Would I do it differently? Yes. I would eviscerate even the tiniest encroachments onto the constitution, even on 2nd amendment questions. I would lead the future while investigating every damn thing from the bullshit "Departing Clinton team trashes executive offices" (the first official admin lies were actually on the first day!) to Paulson and the Bush Admins collusion in the Paulson plan. Plus whatever else they do wrong between now and January.

That doesn't mean I'm not gonna vote Obama and that doesn't mean I'm not gonna push him and his administration to do the right thing every way possible.

Posted by: Dilapidus at September 24, 2008 12:37 PM

Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan
Jumpstart the Economy

* Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families:Barack Obama and Joe Biden will enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate to help families pay rising bills. This relief would be a down payment on the Obama-Biden long-term plan to provide middle-class families with at least $1,000 per year in permanent tax relief.
* Provide $50 billion to Jumpstart the Economy and Prevent 1 Million Americans from Losing Their Jobs: This relief would include a $25 billion State Growth Fund to prevent state and local cuts in health, education, housing, and heating assistance or counterproductive increases in property taxes, tolls or fees. The Obama-Biden relief plan will also include $25 billion in a Jobs and Growth Fund to prevent cutbacks in road and bridge maintenance and fund school re­pair - all to save more than 1 million jobs in danger of being cut.

Provide Middle Class Americans Tax Relief

Obama and Biden will cut income taxes by $1,000 for working families to offset the payroll tax they pay.

* Provide a Tax Cut for Working Families: Obama and Biden will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. Obama and Biden will create a new "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The "Making Work Pay" tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans.
* Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less than $50,000: Barack Obama will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This proposal will eliminate income taxes for 7 million seniors and provide these seniors with an average savings of $1,400 each year. Under the Obama-Biden plan, 27 million American seniors will also not need to file an income tax return.
* Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans: Obama and Biden will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes. Obama and Biden will ensure that the IRS uses the information it already gets from banks and employers to give taxpayers the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return. Experts estimate that the Obama-Biden proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.


Obama and Biden believe that trade with foreign nations should strengthen the American economy and create more American jobs. He will stand firm against agreements that undermine our economic security.

* Fight for Fair Trade: Obama and Biden will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs. They will use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards around the world and stand firm against agreements like the Central American Free Trade Agreement that fail to live up to those important benchmarks. Obama and Biden will also pressure the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports.
* Amend the North American Free Trade Agreement: Obama and Biden believe that NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people. They will work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to fix NAFTA so that it works for American workers.
* Improve Transition Assistance: To help all workers adapt to a rapidly changing economy, Obama and Biden will update the existing system of Trade Adjustment Assistance by extending it to service industries, creating flexible education accounts to help workers retrain, and providing retraining assistance for workers in sectors of the economy vulnerable to dislocation before they lose their jobs.
* End Tax Breaks for Companies that Send Jobs Overseas: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that companies should not get billions of dollars in tax deductions for moving their operations overseas. Obama and Biden will also fight to ensure that public contracts are awarded to companies that are committed to American workers.
* Reward Companies that Support American Workers: Barack Obama introduced the Patriot Employer Act of 2007 with Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to reward companies that create good jobs with good benefits for American workers. The legislation would provide a tax credit to companies that maintain or increase the number of full-time workers in America relative to those outside the US; maintain their corporate headquarters in America if it has ever been in America; pay decent wages; prepare workers for retirement; provide health insurance; and support employees who serve in the military.

Invest in the Manufacturing Sector and Create 5 Million New Green Jobs

* Invest in our Next Generation Innovators and Job Creators: Obama and Biden will create an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to identify and invest in the most compelling advanced manufacturing strategies. The Fund will have a peer-review selection and award process based on the Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund, a state-level initiative that has awarded over $125 million to Michigan businesses with the most innovative proposals to create new products and new jobs in the state.
* Double Funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership: The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) works with manufacturers across the country to improve efficiency, implement new technology and strengthen company growth. This highly-successful program has engaged in more than 350,000 projects across the country and in 2006 alone, helped create and protect over 50,000 jobs. But despite this success, funding for MEP has been slashed by the Bush administration. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will double funding for the MEP so its training centers can continue to bolster the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.
* Invest In A Clean Energy Economy And Create 5 Million New Green Jobs: Obama and Biden will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial scale renewable energy, invest in low emissions coal plants, and begin transition to a new digital electricity grid. The plan will also invest in America's highly-skilled manufacturing workforce and manufacturing centers to ensure that American workers have the skills and tools they need to pioneer the first wave of green technologies that will be in high demand throughout the world.
* Create New Job Training Programs for Clean Technologies: The Obama-Biden plan will increase funding for federal workforce training programs and direct these programs to incorporate green technologies training, such as advanced manufacturing and weatherization training, into their efforts to help Americans find and retain stable, high-paying jobs. Obama and Biden will also create an energy-focused youth jobs program to invest in disconnected and disadvantaged youth.
* Boost the Renewable Energy Sector and Create New Jobs: The Obama-Biden plan will create new federal policies, and expand existing ones, that have been proven to create new American jobs. Obama and Biden will create a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that will require 25 percent of American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2025, which has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs on its own. Obama and Biden will also extend the Production Tax Credit, a credit used successfully by American farmers and investors to increase renewable energy production and create new local jobs.

New Jobs Through National Infrastructure Investment

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that it is critically important for the United States to rebuild its national transportation infrastructure – its highways, bridges, roads, ports, air, and train systems – to strengthen user safety, bolster our long-term competitiveness and ensure our economy continues to grow.

* Create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will address the infrastructure challenge by creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. This independent entity will be directed to invest in our nation’s most challenging transportation infrastructure needs. The Bank will receive an infusion of federal money, $60 billion over 10 years, to provide financing to transportation infrastructure projects across the nation. These projects will create up to two million new direct and indirect jobs and stimulate approximately $35 billion per year in new economic activity.

Technology, Innovation and Creating Jobs

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will increase federal support for research, technology and innovation for companies and universities so that American families can lead the world in creating new advanced jobs and products.

* Invest in the Sciences: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support doubling federal funding for basic research and changing the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that embraces science and technology. This will foster home-grown innovation, help ensure the competitiveness of US technology-based businesses, and ensure that 21st century jobs can and will grow in America.
* Make the Research and Development Tax Credit Permanent: Barack Obama and Joe Biden want investments in a skilled research and development workforce and technology infrastructure to be supported here in America so that American workers and communities will benefit. Obama and Biden want to make the Research and Development tax credit permanent so that firms can rely on it when making decisions to invest in domestic R&D over multi-year timeframes.
* Deploy Next-Generation Broadband: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we can get broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation's wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives.

Support Small Business

* Provide Tax Relief for Small Businesses and Start Up Companies: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will eliminate all capital gains taxes on start-up and small businesses to encourage innovation and job creation. Obama and Biden will also support small business owners by providing a $500 “Making Work Pay” tax credit to almost every worker in America. Self-employed small business owners pay both the employee and the employer side of the payroll tax, and this measure will reduce the burdens of this double taxation.
* Create a National Network of Public-Private Business Incubators: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will support entrepreneurship and spur job growth by creating a national network of public-private business incubators. Business incubators facilitate the critical work of entrepreneurs in creating start-up companies. Obama and Biden will invest $250 million per year to increase the number and size of incubators in disadvantaged communities throughout the country.


Obama and Biden will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions. He will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Obama and Biden will ensure that his labor appointees support workers' rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers. Obama and Biden will also increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation to ensure it rises every year.

* Ensure Freedom to Unionize: Obama and Biden believe that workers should have the freedom to choose whether to join a union without harassment or intimidation from their employers. Obama cosponsored and is strong advocate for the Employee Free Choice Act, a bipartisan effort to assure that workers can exercise their right to organize. He will continue to fight for EFCA's passage and sign it into law.
* Fight Attacks on Workers' Right to Organize: Obama has fought the Bush National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) efforts to strip workers of their right to organize. He is a cosponsor of legislation to overturn the NLRB's "Kentucky River" decisions classifying hundreds of thousands of nurses, construction, and professional workers as "supervisors" who are not protected by federal labor laws.
* Protect Striking Workers: Obama and Biden support the right of workers to bargain collectively and strike if necessary. They will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers, so workers can stand up for themselves without worrying about losing their livelihoods.
* Raise the Minimum Wage: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs.

Protect Homeownership and Crack Down on Mortgage Fraud

Obama and Biden will crack down on fraudulent brokers and lenders. They will also make sure homebuyers have honest and complete information about their mortgage options, and they will give a tax credit to all middle-class homeowners.

* Create a Universal Mortgage Credit: Obama and Biden will create a 10 percent universal mortgage credit to provide homeowners who do not itemize tax relief. This credit will provide an average of $500 to 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year.
* Ensure More Accountability in the Subprime Mortgage Industry: Obama has been closely monitoring the subprime mortgage situation for years, and introduced comprehensive legislation over a year ago to fight mortgage fraud and protect consumers against abusive lending practices. Obama's STOP FRAUD Act provides the first federal definition of mortgage fraud, increases funding for federal and state law enforcement programs, creates new criminal penalties for mortgage professionals found guilty of fraud, and requires industry insiders to report suspicious activity.
* Mandate Accurate Loan Disclosure: Obama and Biden will create a Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score, which will provide potential borrowers with a simplified, standardized borrower metric (similar to APR) for home mortgages. The HOME score will allow individuals to easily compare various mortgage products and understand the full cost of the loan.
* Close Bankruptcy Loophole for Mortgage Companies: Obama and Biden will work to eliminate the provision that prevents bankruptcy courts from modifying an individual's mortgage payments. They believe that the subprime mortgage industry, which has engaged in dangerous and sometimes unscrupulous business practices, should not be shielded by outdated federal law.

Address Predatory Credit Card Practices

Obama and Biden will establish a five-star rating system so that every consumer knows the risk involved in every credit card. They also will establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights to stop credit card companies from exploiting consumers with unfair practices.

* Create a Credit Card Rating System to Improve Disclosure: Obama and Biden will create a credit card rating system, modeled on five-star systems used for other consumer products, to provide consumers an easily identifiable ranking of credit cards, based on the card's features. Credit card companies will be required to display the rating on all application and contract materials, enabling consumers to quickly understand all of the major provisions of a credit card without having to rely exclusively on fine print in lengthy documents.
* Establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights to Protect Consumers: Obama and Biden will create a Credit Card Bill of Rights to protect consumers. The Obama-Biden plan will:
o Ban Unilateral Changes
o Apply Interest Rate Increases Only to Future Debt
o Prohibit Interest on Fees
o Prohibit "Universal Defaults"
o Require Prompt and Fair Crediting of Cardholder Payments

Reform Bankruptcy Laws

Obama and Biden will reform our bankruptcy laws to protect working people, ban executive bonuses for bankrupt companies, and require disclosure of all pension investments.

* Cap Outlandish Interest Rates on Payday Loans and Improve Disclosure: Obama and Biden will extend a 36 percent interest cap to all Americans. They will require lenders to provide clear and simplified information about loan fees, payments and penalties, which is why they'll require lenders to provide this information during the application process.
* Encourage Responsible Lending Institutions to Make Small Consumer Loans: Obama and Biden will encourage banks, credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions to provide affordable short-term and small-dollar loans and to drive unscrupulous lenders out of business.
* Reform Bankruptcy Laws to Protect Families Facing a Medical Crisis: Obama and Biden will create an exemption in bankruptcy law for individuals who can prove they filed for bankruptcy because of medical expenses. This exemption will create a process that forgives the debt and lets the individuals get back on their feet.

Work/Family Balance

Obama and Biden will double funding for after-school programs, expand the Family Medical Leave Act, provide low-income families with a refundable tax credit to help with their child-care expenses, and encourage flexible work schedules.

* Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act: The FMLA covers only certain employees of employers with 50 or more employees. Obama and Biden will expand it to cover businesses with 25 or more employees. They will expand the FMLA to cover more purposes as well, including allowing workers to take leave for elder care needs; allowing parents up to 24 hours of leave each year to participate in their children's academic activities; and expanding FMLA to cover leave for employees to address domestic violence.
* Encourage States to Adopt Paid Leave: As president, Obama will initiate a strategy to encourage all 50 states to adopt paid-leave systems. Obama and Biden will provide a $1.5 billion fund to assist states with start-up costs and to help states offset the costs for employees and employers.
* Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Obama and Biden will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve a million more children. Obama and Biden will include measures to maximize performance and effectiveness across grantees nationwide.
* Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides too little relief to families that struggle to afford child care expenses. Obama and Biden will reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses.
* Protect Against Caregiver Discrimination: Workers with family obligations often are discriminated against in the workplace. Obama and Biden will enforce the recently-enacted Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines on caregiver discrimination.
* Expand Flexible Work Arrangements: Obama and Biden will create a program to inform businesses about the benefits of flexible work schedules; help businesses create flexible work opportunities; and increase federal incentives for telecommuting. Obama and Biden will also make the federal government a model employer in terms of adopting flexible work schedules and permitting employees to request flexible arrangements.

Barack Obama's Record

* Housing: In the U.S. Senate, Obama introduced the STOP FRAUD Act to increase penalties for mortgage fraud and provide more protections for low-income homebuyers, well before the current subprime crisis began.
* Predatory Lending: In the Illinois State Senate, Obama called attention to predatory lending issues. Obama sponsored legislation to combat predatory payday loans, and he also was credited with lobbying the state to more closely regulate some of the most egregious predatory lending practices.
* American Jobs: Barack Obama introduced the Patriot Employer Act of 2007 to provide a tax credit to companies that maintain or increase the number of full-time workers in America relative to those outside the US; maintain their corporate headquarters in America; pay decent wages; prepare workers for retirement; provide health insurance; and support employees who serve in the military.

Posted by: AreYouSimplyUninformed at September 24, 2008 05:01 PM

Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan
A Sacred Trust

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that America has a sacred trust with our veterans. They are committed to creating a 21st Century Department of Veterans' Affairs that provides the care and benefits our nation's veterans deserve.

* Allow All Veterans Back into the VA: One of Obama's first acts will be reversing the 2003 ban on enrolling modest-income veterans, which has denied care to a million veterans.
* Strengthen VA Care: Obama and Biden will make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible. They will improve care for polytrauma vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, and women's health.
* Combat Homelessness among Our Nation's Veterans: Obama and Biden will establish a national "zero tolerance" policy for veterans falling into homelessness by expanding proven programs and launching innovative services to prevent veterans from falling into homelessness.
* Fight Veterans Employment Discrimination: Obama and Biden will crack down on employers who commit job discrimination against guardsmen and reservists.

Help for Returning Service Members

Obama and Biden will improve the quality of health care for veterans, rebuild the VA's broken benefits system, and combat homelessness among veterans.

* Ensure a Seamless Transition: Obama and Biden will demand that the military and the VA coordinate to provide a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life.
* Fully Fund VA Medical Care: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will fully fund the VA so it has all the resources it needs to serve the veterans who need it, when they need it. Obama and Biden will establish a world-class VA Planning Division to avoid future budget shortfalls.
* Fix the Benefits Bureaucracy: Obama and Biden will hire additional claims workers, and improve training and accountability so that VA benefit decisions are rated fairly and consistently. They also will transform the paper benefit claims process to an electronic one to reduce errors and improve timeliness.

Improved Mental Health Treatment

Obama and Biden will improve mental health treatment for troops and veterans suffering from combat-related psychological injuries.

* Improve Mental Health Treatment: Obama and Biden will improve mental health care at every stage of military service. They will recruit more health professionals, improve screening, offer more support to families and make PTSD benefits claims fairer.
* Improve Care for Traumatic Brain Injury: Obama and Biden will establish standards of care for Traumatic Brain Injury, the signature injury of the Iraq war.
* Expand Vet Centers: Obama and Biden will expand and strengthen Vet Centers to provide more counseling for vets and their families.

Barack Obama's Record

Record of Advocacy: As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Obama passed legislation to improve care and slash red tape for our wounded warriors recovering at places like Walter Reed. He passed laws to help homeless veterans and offered an innovative solution to prevent at-risk veterans from falling into homelessness. Obama led a bipartisan effort in the Senate to try to halt the military's unfair practice of discharging service members for having a service-connected psychological injury. He fought for fair treatment of Illinois veterans' claims and forced the VA to conduct an unprecedented outreach campaign to disabled veterans with lower than-average benefits. Obama passed legislation to stop a VA review of closed PTSD cases that could have led to a reduction in veterans' benefits. He passed an amendment to ensure that all service members returning from Iraq are properly screened for traumatic brain injuries. He introduced legislation to direct the VA and Pentagon to fix disjointed records systems and improve outreach to members of the National Guard and Reserves.

Posted by: AreYouSimplyUninformed at September 24, 2008 05:06 PM

Yikes, AYSU. Actually, quite a few of the folks here get their information from sources in addition to campaign spam.

Tell us about BO's "absolute belief" in the phony CheneyBush "War on Terror".
And the votes to expand and extend the police state through the PATRIOT Act and Carter's secret-evidence, Star-Chamber, rubber-stamp FISA.
And how such a progressive, lookin'-out-fer-the-little-guy candidate selects the DLC's Chief Economist as his senior economic adviser, "balanced" (I suppose) by hardcore neolibs like Cutler, Liebman, Furman, Rubin, Summers, etc.
Tell us how progressive expanding the military by 92,000 troops is.
Or how we should get on board with his calls to escalate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and join in his criticisms (from the right, like Gore and Kerry) of Bush for not escalating quickly enough.
Tell us about the ongoing calls for attacking Iran, begun in 2004 when he was a candidate for the Senate.
Tell us what he means when he calls Venezuela a "rogue state", and expresses admiration for JFK's murderous, anti-democratic "Alliance for Progress" in dealing with Latin America.
Or how hope-y, and change-y, and progressively audacious it is to champion virtually ALL of Zbig's russophobic "Grand Chessboard" imperial fantasies -- expanding NATO eastward, permanent bases in central and southwest Asia encircling Russia, "missile defense" on their borders, etc.
Right-wing talking points on Social Security (see his SS specialist Liebman's privatization advocacy in numerous books, articles, courses at Harvard, etc).
His Reaganite tax structure with the exception of maintaining the Clinton/Gore 25-plus percent slash in capital gains rates... deference to ATR bandwidth, I won't go on for pages, despite how easy it is to do so, off the top of my head, with a candidate so -- so -- so typically Dem.

Posted by: nasrudin at September 24, 2008 09:48 PM