Monday, July 19, 2010

The Three Rules

What was Robert Gibbs thinking? It's almost been two years since President Obama has taken office and his administration still hasn't learned you never state the reality, the obvious, or the truth.

The basic rules of Washington is to make yourself look better then everyone else, distort the other guys message, and never take responsibility unless people like what you're taking responsibility for. By admitting defeat in the coming election, Gibbs broke all those rules and managed to piss off the entire Democratic Party at the same time.

Give him some slack though, he's lasted a lot longer then some of his predecessors and when you're talking to the media every day you're bound to screw up at one point or another. Of course the reality (and what any political consultant in the district will tell you) is that the Democrats are going to lose seats in Congress this coming election, it is only a question of how many.

However, I don't believe it is as obvious or gloomy as Gibbs had stated it on Meet The Press. The problem with the Democrats messaging is that they have been on the defensive, always trying to explain what they are doing. This is especially dangerous when people are anxious and need help. But the fact is this Congress has done a lot of good. Between health care reform and the new Wall Street regulations they have accomplished a lot, and when people look back on it, they will be grateful this reforms were passed.

But now it's time to get back on the offensive. Get a clear message and don't be afraid to defend your vote.

A recent poll conducted by the moderate think tank Third Way showed how bringing former President Bush back into the picture, voters are much more willing to vote for the Democrat.

David Broder
wasn't so convinced. He thought the Republicans could just bring back Reagan since the same poll showed most people also wanted more tax cuts. But don't forget, this Congress gave 95% of Americas a tax cut and Reagan raised taxes in his first term.

When the two parties debated these issues this past Sunday on Meet The Press, the Democrats were clearly back on the offensive and had the upper hand. So while Gibbs may have been telling what he thought to be the obvious truth, there's still a lot of time before the next election becomes the reality.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Breath From Politics

Since it seems so rare now a days, it is important to take note of when politicians do something that's not political. We learned today that the Obama administration will be implementing new policies to curb the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic.

These policies will be based on a year long report where a study was conducted with experts across the country. This comes at a time when over one million people in America are infected with H.I.V, with a new infection found every nine in a half minutes. Thousands of people are also unable to receive care. The new health care law that passed this year will help some of those people, but there is still a lot more work to do.

Even after all these years, and all the information about H.I.V./AIDS, there is still a stigma associated with having the disease. The report released today stated how people who are infected have a harder time getting a job, getting a loan for a house, and it becomes harder to receive certain health care services.

While the administration is clearly gearing up for the mid term elections, and Congress begins its last few weeks before summer recess, it's good to see some actual governing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Focus On What's Important

Between all the frenzy about Lebron James and Lindsey Lohan, its hard to remember that there is actual news stories out there. The fact that a basketball player has been able to completely attract the medias focus from the oil spill, Congress not extending the unemployment benefits, and even the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Between the two wars, 6,637 young men and women have lost their lives. The Iraq War is already the longest military operation in America's history, and as it turns out, there may not be any end in sight. General Ray Odierno said that while American troops will still be leaving Iraq by 2011, the United Nations will still need to have a presence there because of the fighting between the countries ethnic groups.

Vice President Biden recently visited the country in order to try and get the elected leaders there to work together and establish programs that will help Iraqi's live their lives. Mr. Biden's trip was marred by an attack where he and his wife were staying, and a successful attack by a suicide bomber who killed four people. Then, two days later, the military charged one of its soldiers with downloading secret information onto the Internet. The most famous of which is a video of Iraqi citizens and press being shot and killed by a U.S. helicopter.

One or two misses I can understand, the people who run the media are human. But the sheer ridiculousness of the media being fascinated by a poor girl who we should be feeling sorry for, and a basketball player who you would think has a big enough ego to solve the golf oil crises and capture Osama Bin Laden, is just irresponsible.

Maybe I'm wrong, and it's not the press' fault they need the ratings to keep themselves in business, and its our fault that the type of stories we want to hear aren't what is actually important.

This argument can go back and forth, and anyone who tells you they know they answer is lying. But to remedy this situation individuals need to keep perspective, and focus on what's important.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Staying Positive

My intuition was partly confirmed when I was searching information for this post. After you type in "learning" into Google, "learning disabilities" is the third term on the drop down list.

I found some very good sites on what learning disabilities are, and some ways which parents can help their children, and adults can help themselves, when one is learning disabled. Kids Health and the Learning Disabilities Association of America has great information, and can help answer a lot of questions for people whos lives they effect, or for those who have never heard of the term learning disability.

There was a recent New York Times article which showed the problems teachers have when they have to teach students who are extremely disabled. What makes learning disabilities unique, is that you would never know that someone has a learning disability unless he or she tells you. Learning disabilities not only effect the development that one learns, but social development as well.

Students have only recently begun being diagnosed with learning disabilities, and they usually are in their early teens. Now, I don't know anyone who liked middle school. Whenever I talk to anyone about it they always have bad memories, mostly from being picked on because, as you know, everyone is cool when they are twelve years old.

While school is a place to learn the skills that prepare you for the world, it is also a place where you are supposed to learn how to interact with other people without your parents telling you how to behave. But having a disability can make it difficult. Since you are struggling, school becomes a place where you are not comfortable. You are forced to work harder then your peers but still not getting as good of grades, your teachers keep telling you you're doing something wrong, and then your friends are calling you an idiot. It's not fun, and needless to say, you don't feel too good about yourself.

Having a learning disability is not something that goes away. While there are methods which can help those who are learning disabled, there is no way to fix whatever it is that causes someone to have these troubles.

There still needs to be research done to determine how to help students who are having these struggles. But what we know is that these students need extra help not just with their homework, but figuring out the best ways for them to learn. Time needs to be set aside with a teacher who can show students how to take notes, organize their work, and also give them the confidence necessary in order to succeed.

Believe it or not though, there are some positives to have a learning disability. For one, you know what you're good at. I'm 24, most of my friends have graduated, have jobs, and I still hear that they don't know what they want to do with themselves. Even in undergrad, no one knew what they wanted to major in and had to figure out their niche. When deciding what type of job or career path someone with a disability wants to go in, they're going to choose something that works toward their strengths. In the end they will be doing a job that they enjoy, and after all the struggles through school, will also be able to take more satisfaction in whatever they decide to do.
Being learning disabled also makes you a hard worker. All the days with tutors, or studying late at night, students with disabilities will be used to working those long hours that employers might need their employees to do.
Since learning disabilities are still relatively new to the world of education, those with disabilities may feel alone. But it is always important to remember that there are a lot of people with learning disabilities out there. Which is why I suspect so many people are googling the term. And even though it may be difficult at times, it's important to think positively. Take a break from school/work and do something you enjoy, which people should do whether they have a disability or not!