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37 Bills That Barack Obama Has Written or Co-Sponsored in Just 2 Years in the US Senate!

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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:14 PM
Original message
37 Bills That Barack Obama Has Written or Co-Sponsored in Just 2 Years in the US Senate!
Edited on Tue Jan-16-07 04:43 PM by Dems Will Win

Obama really is Superman when you look at what he has done in just 2 years in the Senate. From his website:

Ethics and Lobbying Reform
Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has been a leader in fighting for open and honest government. During his first year as an Illinois State Senator, he helped lead the fight to pass Illinois' first ethics reform bill in 25 years as a U.S. Senator, he has spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Senator Obama is one of the authors of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (S. 2180). The bill would lengthen the cooling off period to two years for lawmakers and staff who seek to become lobbyists, and it would require immediate disclosure as soon as any job negotiations begin. The bill would open conference committee meetings to the public and require that all bills be posted on the Internet for 24 hours before they can be voted on by the Senate. Finally, the bill would end all lobbyist-funded gifts, meals, and travel and strengthen the Senate office that monitors lobbyist disclosure forms.

In addition, Senator Obama has sponsored three other ethics-related bills:

The Congressional Ethics Enforcement Commission Act (S. 2259)
The bill would create an outside ethics commission to receive complaints from the public on alleged ethics violations by members of Congress, staff, and lobbyists. The commission would have the authority to investigate complaints and present public findings of fact about possible violations to the House and Senate Ethics Committee and Justice Department. By taking the initial fact finding out of the hands of members of Congress, who are often reluctant to investigate their colleagues, the bill ensures prompt and fair disposition of public complaints.

To avoid manipulation of the commission for political purposes, any person filing a complaint that they knew to be false would be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment. No complaints could be filed against a member of Congress for 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general election.

The bill has been widely endorsed by reform groups. According to Common Cause, "this legislation would do more to reform ethics and lobbying than any other piece of legislation introduced thus far because it goes to the heart of the problem: enforcement." Public Citizen praised Senator Obama "for having the courage to challenge the business-as-usual environment on Capitol Hill and introduce far-reaching legislation." Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington stated: "This is the first bill that deals seriously with the lack of oversight and enforcement in the existing congressional ethics process. . . . This bill will help restore Americans' confidence in the integrity of Congress.

The Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act (S. 2261)
The bill would shed light on the almost 16,000 earmarks that were included in spending bills in 2005. Under the bill, all earmarks, including the name of the requestor and a justification for the earmark, would have to be disclosed 72 hours before they could be considered by the full Senate. Senators would be prohibited from advocating for an earmark if they have a financial interest in the project or earmark recipient. And, earmark recipients would have to disclose to an Office of Public Integrity the amount that they have spent on registered lobbyists and the names of those lobbyists.

The Curtailing Lobbyist Effectiveness through Advance Notification, Updates, and Posting Act (The CLEAN UP Act) (S. 2179)
The bill aims to improve public access to information about all legislation, including conference reports and appropriations legislation, in particular after hurried, end-of-session negotiations. Conference committee meetings and deliberations would have to be open to the public or televised, and conference reports would have to identify changes made to the bill from the House and Senate versions. Finally, no bill could be considered by the full Senate unless the measure has been made available to all Senators and the general public on the Internet for at least 72 hours.

Health Care
The United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet more than 45 million Americans have no health insurance. Too many hard-working Americans cannot afford their medical bills, and thus, health-related issues are the number one cause for personal bankruptcy. Too many employers are finding it difficult to offer the coverage their employees need.

Promoting affordable, accessible, and high-quality health care was a priority for Barack Obama in the Illinois State Senate and is a priority for him in the United States Senate. He believes firmly that health care should be a right for everyone, not a privilege for the few.


Senator Obama is a cosponsor of the Medicare Informed Choice Act (S. 1841), which would extend enrollment without penalty until the end of 2006. This bill would also allow all Part D beneficiaries to change their plan once during 2006.

Improving Quality of Health Care
Senator Obama is pursuing legislative initiatives to help improve health care quality.

He helped draft and introduce the National MEDiC Act (S. 1784), which promotes patient safety initiatives, including early disclosure and compensation to patients injured by medical errors. He also introduced the Hospital Quality Report Card Act (S. 2359), which will use federal hospital quality reporting requirements to inform and assist patients and other consumers in making their health care decisions.

Senator Obama strongly believes that greater use of health information technology can contain costs and improve the efficiency of our health care system. He introduced the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Efficiency Act (S. 2247), which would leverage the federal government's purchasing power to encourage increased adoption of technology by participating health plans.

Avian Flu
Avian influenza - or bird flu - is a potentially grave health threat to the U.S. and other countries around the world. Senator Obama was an early leader in bringing this problem before Congress and pushing for greater funding to improve preparedness.

Starting in March 2005, he obtained $25 million for international efforts to combat the avian flu and called for an inter-agency task force to immediately address this issue. This funding is now being used to mitigate the effects of the pandemic in Southeast Asia.

Senator Obama introduced the Attacking Viral Influenza Across Nations Act (S. 969), which calls for collaboration and cooperation at the state, national, and international level to ensure preparedness in the event of pandemic influenza. Such preparedness includes the procurement of antivirals, development of effective vaccines, and improvement of the public health infrastructure and medical surge capacity in hospitals.

Senator Obama also worked to push $7.9 billion through the Senate to help the U.S. prepare for the possibility of an avian flu pandemic.

Environmental Health
Senator Obama is deeply concerned with the hazards of lead poisoning. Almost 400,000 children have elevated blood lead levels, including many in Illinois. Over the past year, one of his legislative priorities has been highlighting the problems associated with elevated blood lead levels in children. As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Obama pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to issue long overdue rules for home remodeling and renovation that could prevent 28,000 lead-related illnesses each year, resulting in an annual net economic benefit of more than $4 billion.

In 2005, Senator Obama introduced the Lead Free Toys Act (S. 2048), requiring the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ban any children's product containing lead.

He also introduced the Healthy Communities Act (S. 2047) to identify and address problems in communities that are at high risk from environmental contaminants. In addition, recognizing the contribution of housing, parks, trails, roadways, and public transportation to healthy lifestyles, Senator Obama introduced the Healthy Places Act (S. 2506) to assess and support improvements to the built environment.

Genomics is the study of how a person's genetic makeup affects propensity for disease and response to treatment. Research in this area has the potential to predict which people will get sick, diagnose illnesses earlier, and screen patients to determine which drugs will be safe and effective. In August 2006, Senator Obama introduced the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2006 (S. 3822), which would increase funding for research on genomics, expand the genomics workforce, provide a tax credit for the development of diagnostic tests that can improve the safety or effectiveness of drugs, and reaffirm the need to protect genetic privacy.

Since coming to Washington, Senator Obama has made the elimination of childhood lead poisoning one of his top priorities.

Lead is also present in many children's products. In 2003 and 2004, nearly 150 million pieces of toy jewelry were recalled because of toxic levels of lead. To address this problem, Senator Obama introduced the Lead-Free Toys Act (S. 2048) to require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban any children's product containing lead.

Senator Obama is also an original cosponsor of the Home Lead Safety Tax Credit Act (S. 2053), which would provide tax credits to property owners who eliminate or contain paint hazards in homes where low-income young children or women of child-bearing age live.

Great Lakes
The Great Lakes store one-fifth of the world's surface water, and Lake Michigan alone provides drinking water for an estimated six million residents in Illinois. The Great Lakes are also important for recreation, transportation, and economic development. To preserve this national treasure, Senator Obama has been a strong supporter of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration and is a cosponsor of the Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act (S. 508).

One of the greatest threats facing the Great Lakes is aquatic invasive species. Senator Obama was successful in ensuring that Illinois receives adequate federal funding to operate a barrier to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan and disrupting the balance of the lake's ecosystem.

Global Climate Change
In addition to protecting the quality of the air we breathe, Senator Obama believes the U.S. needs to do more to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. He is a cosponsor of the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (S. 1151), which was introduced by Senators McCain and Lieberman.


Sampling conducted by the Tribune showed surprisingly high levels of mercury concentrations in freshwater and saltwater fish purchased in the Chicago area. The Tribune series also reported on how existing programs at the Food and Drug Administration and EPA have failed to adequately test and evaluate mercury levels in fish.

To address this problem, Senator Obama introduced two bills - the Mercury Market Minimization Act (S. 3627) and the Missing Mercury in Manufacturing Monitoring and Mitigation Act (S. 3631) . These bills would significantly reduce the amount of mercury that is deposited in oceans, lakes, and rivers, which in turn would reduce the amount of mercury in fish.

Destroying Surplus and Unguarded Conventional Weapons

After visiting weapons stockpiles in Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, Senators Lugar and Obama introduced S. 2566, which would expand the cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons. The Lugar-Obama bill would energize the U.S. program against unsecured lightweight anti-aircraft missiles and other conventional weapons and would strengthen the ability of America's allies to detect and interdict illegal shipments of weapons and materials of mass destruction. Funding would be provided to eliminate unsecured conventional weapons and assist countries in improving their ability to detect and interdict materials and weapons of mass destruction.

Health Care
Senator Obama successfully passed legislation in the Senate to force the Pentagon to work towards an efficient electronic medical records system that will help ensure better care for our nation's troops. It is Senator Obama's goal for each separating service member to receive a secure electronic copy of his or her military and medical records at the time of discharge to smooth the transition to the Department of Veterans' Affairs health care system.

Traumatic Brain Injury
As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Obama has been tracking the high incidence of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) among the veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. TBI is being called the signature injury of the Iraq war. Often caused by the shock wave of improvised explosive devices, TBI can result in permanent brain damage. In order to ensure that these returning heroes receive appropriate medical attention, Senator Obama passed legislation in the Senate that requires all soldiers to be assessed for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after they return from deployments.

Emergency Preparedness
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Senator Obama introduced legislation to prevent another tragedy in which the poor and elderly are left behind during a natural disaster or terrorist attack. His proposal, which was included in the recent port security law, requires states and localities to have emergency evacuation plans in place that take into account the special needs of senior citizens.

Fighting the Spread of Methamphetamines
Senator Obama cosponsored the Combat Meth Act (S. 103) which provides more money for fighting methamphetamines, tightens up control on the sale of meth ingredients, and provides assistance to children of meth abusers. The legislation would limit access to cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient used to make methamphetamine. This bill passed the Senate on September 15, 2005, and was signed into law.

Senator Obama has supported greater funding to fight meth through the use of Byrne Justice Assistance Grants. The Byrne Grant program provides important funding to many local Illinois law enforcement groups. For example, the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group (SIEG), a meth taskforce that polices 31 Illinois counties, pays for 5 of its 12 agents through Byrne grants. During Senate consideration of the Department of Justice funding bill, Senator Obama cosponsored an amendment to raise Byrne funding to $900 million in 2006; the amendment passed the Senate.

Support for Local Law Enforcement
Senator Obama has been a strong supporter of efforts to increase funding and support for our local law enforcement. He supported the reauthorization of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in the 109th Congress (PL 109-162) and supports efforts to increase COPS funding. The COPS program provides local law enforcement funding for: (1) hiring and training law enforcement officers; (2) procuring equipment and support systems (3) paying officers to perform intelligence, anti-terror, or homeland security duties; and (4) developing new technologies, including interoperable communications and forensic technology. Since 1994, the COPS program has funded more than 5,800 additional police officers and sheriffs deputies in Illinois and over $45 million in crime fighting technology assistance.

Sex Offenders
Senator Obama cosponsored Dru's Law (S. 792) which creates a nationwide sex offender database and requires greater monitoring of sex offenders upon their release from prison. The bill passed the Senate on July 28, 2005.

He also cosponsored the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. This bill increases the penalties for sex crimes against children under the age of 12, and creates a national Internet site known as the National Sex Offender Public Registry. The bill will also provide grants to local law enforcement to assist in preventing and investigating sex crimes against minors.

Violence Against Women Act
Senator Obama cosponsored extension of Violence Against Women Act (S. 1197), which passed the Senate on October 4, 2005, and was signed into law. The Act provides increased funds to law enforcement to combat violence against women. It also establishes a sexual assault services program and provides grants for education programs to prevent domestic violence and encourage reporting of abuses.

Security for Federal Judges
After the horrific murder of an Illinois federal judge's mother and husband, Senator Obama and Senator Durbin worked together to beef up security at our federal courthouses. The Illinois senators secured $12 million to improve security for federal judges. Senator Obama also joined Senator Durbin in requesting a Government Accountability Office investigation into additional steps that can be taken to protect judges.

The Senate Immigration Bill
Senator Obama played a key role in the crafting of the immigration reform bill that the Senate passed in May 2006. The bill, which President Bush supports, would provide more funds and technology for border security and prevent employers from skirting our laws by hiring illegal immigrants. The bill also would provide immigrants who are now contributing and responsible members of society an opportunity to remain in the country and earn citizenship. But not all illegal immigrants would be guaranteed the right to remain in the U.S. under this proposal; they would first have to pay a substantial fine and back taxes, learn English, satisfy a work requirement, and pass a criminal background check.

Senator Obama offered three amendments that were included in the Senate bill. The first amendment strengthens the requirement that a job be offered at a prevailing wage to American workers before it is offered to a guestworker. The second amendment makes it simple, but mandatory, for employers to verify that their employees are legally eligible to work in the United States. And the third amendment authorizes $3 million a year for the FBI to improve the speed and accuracy of the background checks required for immigrants seeking to become citizens.

Chemical Plant Security
Senator Obama, working with Senator Lautenberg, introduced tough legislation to drastically improve security at our nation's chemical plants. The Chemical Safety and Security Act (S. 2486) would establish a clear set of federal regulations that all plants must follow. Plants that are considered a high risk to large population areas or critical infrastructure would face more stringent standards. The bill requires chemical facilities to take steps to enhance security, including improving barriers, containment, mitigation, and safety training, and, where possible, using safer technology, such as less toxic chemicals or safer procedures.

Transit Security
Senator Obama is deeply concerned about the safety of the millions of Americans who use our nation's public transportation systems everyday. Unfortunately, non-aviation security has been under-funded since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, and our subways and buses remain vulnerable. Only days after the July 2005 bombings in London, England, Senator Obama cosponsored and voted for an amendment that would have increased rail and transit security by $1.2 billion. Although that amendment was defeated, Senator Obama remains committed to improving rail and transit security.

Disaster Response
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, improving our nation's emergency planning and response capacity has become a priority for Senator Obama. He has introduced legislation to ensure that the mistakes witnessed before and after Katrina are not repeated in the future. Senator Obama's legislation includes provisions to establish a national family locator system for missing persons, a mobile corps of volunteer health professions, and mandatory planning for the emergency evacuation of people with special needs, including low-income individuals, the elderly, and the disabled.

Terrorism Risk Insurance
Senator Obama cosponsored the extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (which became Public Law 109-144). The Act provides important protections to real estate in large cities such as Chicago.

Nuclear Waste
Within the past five years, three nuclear power plants have reported missing spent fuel. Senator Obama introduced the Spent Nuclear Fuel Tracking and Accountability Act (S. 1194), which would establish specific and uniform guidelines for tracking, controlling, and accounting for individual spent fuel rods or segments at nuclear power plants, including procedures for conducting physical inventories. These provisions were included in S. 864, which passed the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on June 8, 2005.

Drinking Water Security
Senator Obama drafted an amendment, which was included in the Safe Drinking Water Act, which passed the EPW Committee on July 20, 2005. The Obama amendment would provide $37.5 million over the next five years to protect the country's drinking water from a terrorist attack. It also instructs Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control to develop the tools needed by drinking water systems to detect and respond to the introduction of biological, chemical, and radiological contaminants by terrorists.

Primary & Secondary Education
Senator Obama has introduced the Innovation Districts for School Improvement Act (S. 2441). Under this initiative, school districts would submit plans on how they would become centers of reform. Twenty districts nationwide would be selected based on the best plans to increase achievement for all students and put effective teachers in all classrooms. These districts would receive substantial federal resources but would be required to implement systemic reforms and show convincing results.

Differences in learning opportunities during the summer contribute to the achievement gaps that separate struggling poor and minority students from their middle-class peers. Senator Obama introduced the Summer Term Education Programs for Upward Progress Act (STEP UP) (S. 2149) to address the achievement gaps among schoolchildren in the early grades. STEP UP establishes a grant program to support summer learning opportunities to be offered by local schools or community organizations.

Post-Secondary Education
Senator Obama believes that every high school graduate should have the opportunity to go to college or vocational school. Student loans provide critical financial aid for many Americans. Not long ago, financial aid was primarily in the form of grants. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Graduates now have more and more difficulty keeping up with loan payments. At a minimum, our government has the responsibility to ensure that the most affordable and sensible loans are available to our students. But government and students are not the only ones who need to act. Tuition costs have been rising at an average rate of 8% per year, well above the overall rate of inflation. Colleges and universities must also do their part to rein in costs and pass those savings on to students.

To address this problem, Barack Obama's first bill as a U.S. Senator was the HOPE Act (Higher Education Opportunity Through Pell Grant Expansion Act) (S.697), which would help make college more affordable for many Americans. The bill would increase the maximum Pell Grant from the current limit of $4,050 to a new maximum of $5,100.

Veterans Benefits Disparities
Following reports in December 2004 that Illinois veterans have for decades ranked nearly last in average disability pay received, Senator Obama led efforts to uncover the reasons for this disparity and to correct it. As a result of this pressure, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) opened an investigation into the matter, agreed to hire a dozen new claims specialists for the Chicago regional office, and agreed to re-examine the claims of Illinois veterans who felt they have been treated unfairly. Senators Obama and Durbin introduced an amendment that became law requiring the VA to notify Illinois veterans about their right to seek a review of their past claims. The resulting outreach to Illinois veterans in the summer of 2006, led to an increase in the number of Illinois veterans getting the benefits and services they deserve.

Greater Funding for Veterans Health Care
As early as February 2005, Senator Obama warned of a shortfall in the VA budget. Four months later, the VA reported that in fact it had more than a $1 billion shortfall. Senator Obama cosponsored a bill that led to a $1.5 billion increase in veterans' medical care. During the debate on the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, Senator Obama cosponsored measures that would have provided additional funding increases for veterans.

In September 2006, Senator Obama introduced the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act (S. 3988) to improve the VAs planning process to avoid budget shortfalls in the future. The bill requires the VA and the Department of Defense to work together and share data so that we know precisely how many troops will be returning home and entering the VA system.

Homeless Veterans
Every year, 400,000 veterans across the country, including an estimated 38,000 in Chicago, spend some time living on the streets. Senator Obama has been a leader in fighting homelessness among veterans. He authored the Sheltering All Veterans Everywhere Act (SAVE Act) (S. 1180) to strengthen and expand federal homeless veteran programs that serve over 100,000 homeless veterans annually. During the debate on the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, Senator Obama passed an amendment to increase funding for homeless veterans programs by $40 million. These funds would benefit programs that provide food, clothing, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and employment and housing assistance to homeless veterans.

In June 2006, Senator Obama introduced the Homes for Heroes Act (S. 3475), which would expand access to long-term affordable housing for homeless veterans by setting aside $225 million to purchase, build or rehabilitate homes and apartments for veterans. The legislation would also greatly expand existing veterans rental assistance programs and create a new office within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to coordinate services to homeless veterans.

Food for Recovering Soldiers
Senator Obama introduced an amendment that became law providing food services to wounded veterans receiving physical therapy or rehabilitation services at military hospitals. Previously, service members receiving physical therapy or rehabilitation services in a medical hospital for more than 90 days were required to pay for their meals.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and TBI
Senator Obama fought a VA proposal that would have required a reexamination of all PTSD cases in which full benefits were granted. He and Senator Durbin passed an amendment that has become law preventing the VA from conducting a review of cases, without first providing Congress with a complete report regarding the implementation of such review. In November 2005, the VA announced that it was abandoning its planned review.

Senator Obama passed an amendment to ensure that all service members returning from Iraq are properly screened for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). TBI is being called the signature injury of the Iraq war. The blast from improvised explosive devices can jar the brain, causing bruising or permanent damage. Concussions can have huge health effects including slowed thinking, headaches, memory loss, sleep disturbance, attention and concentration deficits, and irritability.

Easing the Transition to the VA
Senator Obama passed an amendment that became law requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to report to Congress on the delayed development of an electronic medical records system compatible with the VA's electronic medical records system. DOD's delay in developing such a system has created obstacles for service members transitioning into the VA health care system.

In September 2006, Senator Obama introduced the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act (S. 3988) which would help veterans transition from the DOD health system to the VA system by extending the window in which new veterans can get mental health care from two years to five years. The Lane Evans bill also would improve transition services for members of the National Guard and Reserves. /

Please remember to K&R so the press is countered with its claims of inexperience for this fine Democratic candidate
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. Why is he supporting mountain top removal coal mining?
You can't be "Superman" part of the time and the villian the rest of it.
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xultar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Does he have constituents in IL that rely on coal mining as a livelihood?
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. It doesn't matter, the practice is unacceptable.
People rely on war for their livelihood, too, but that doesn't make it OK.
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Sir Jeffrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Yup...downstate nt
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xultar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. He can't go against the livelyhood of his people.
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Sir Jeffrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. He can on the national stage...
there aren't a lot of voters in rural southern Illinois.
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rebel with a cause Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. Yeah, that is what we want
Edited on Tue Jan-16-07 05:48 PM by rebel with a cause
someone who forgets the little people - the working class. Their vote doesn't matter, screw them. :sarcasm:

I grew up in a coal mining family, town and area. I still have members of my family that make their living in coal mines. I am not a big fan of the coal mining industry but I know a lot of people that depend upon it to live. From what I have heard, coal mining can be done in an earth friendly way, and coal can be cleaned where it is more environmentally friendly. We have research ongoing here at SIU to find ways to do so.

I would like to live in a world where we could all have solar panels on our roofs to supply our power. I would like to live in a world where all the earth was protected from industry. I would like a lot of things, but I live in the real world, and I know that people have to survive and hopefully it will/can be in a way that the earth can be protected. That should be our goal, not taking away from people who are the working class.

Coal mines are one job here that can't be outsourced.

(edited for wording)
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Sir Jeffrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Geez...
Inevitably, when anyone advocates environmental regulations that cost jobs somewhere, it gets portrayed as "screw the poor/middle class". Why not do some research yourself on how little it would actually cost the federal govt to subsidize alternative sources of energy (like wind and solar) before you simply write it off as fantasy? It would cost a FRACTION of what we currently spend every year on coal subsidies.

The people telling you that coal can be mined in a clean manner are industry shills. The mine companies buy off politicians and get tax subsidies in return. They also fund "clean coal" research just like the oil companies fund anti-global warming studies. It is the cost of doing business to these crooks.
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rebel with a cause Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Perhaps you should also read my post more closely
I stated that I did not personally like the coal industry. I do not like them because I grew up with them and know what they are capable of. My grandfather, an orphan went to work in the mines at the age of nine. My father worked in the mines (on top) for around seventeen years until his mine closed down. His mine was Orient #2, and if you do your research, you will find it was the site of one of the countries worst coal mine disasters. I have lost relatives and friends in the mines, and trust me, I have more reason to not like the coal industry than you or anyone else who doesn't like the idea of burning coal. On the other hand, I still know people that depend on the mines to survive. I also know that the electricity that I, and probably most of you, use comes from the electric corporations burning coal. I just am not being a hypocrite about it.

Sir, you insult my intelligence because you can. I never stated that coal could be mined cleanly. I said there were ways to burn coal more cleanly and ways to mine it without doing as much damage to the land, and there was research being done at the Southern Illinois University on how to do so. I was also talking about the people of Southern Illinois who depend on the coal mines to live, the people that you dismissed in your post as not mattering because their votes were not not many. That is what I took exception to, not the environmental aspect, because you did not even mention the environment in your post. Only the unimpotance of the voters in Southern Illinois.

Perhaps sir, you should do some research and read your own post and see that "screw the poor/middle class" (your words not mine) was basically what your post said. If you meant it some other way, then you should have stated it some other way.
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Sir Jeffrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. You make a false assumption right away...
To you I am just some asshole bleeding heart on a message board talking out of my ass. You are wrong.

I am from Harrisburg so I know what happens when a small town gets destroyed because of mine shutdowns. In junior high I watched friends of mine have parents lose their jobs and some took advantage of the free money the govt made available for them to go back to college, while others sat around on unemployment for years (like my ex-girlfriend's father) before finally getting kicked off and required to find work.

I have friends and family who did and still work in the mines. For example, my grandfather worked for AMAX for 37 years and was lucky to retire before getting laid off. He is now in his early 70's and has had both knees replaced and now cannot travel because he is unable to control his bowels due to all the shit he was exposed to in the mines.

My aunt's husband (who is in his early 30's) works for a small mine in Equality, and he has already had broken bones and coughs up blood every so often.

However, starting my business career in Harrisburg put me into contact with many mine owners and executives. This is the point where my attitudes shifted. I saw how they leech off the public teet and turn around and blame the unions for shut downs. I saw how they buy off politicians with favors in exchange for tax subsidies and grants. I saw how they cut corners around the laws/environmental regulations to save a few measly bucks and when I compare the money we all spend subsidizing these assholes to the money we could be giving to wind and solar companies, it turns my stomach. No matter what regulations we place on these crooks, if we aren't there with a video camera monitoring them 24/7 they will find a way around the environmental laws...or they will just buy off the EPA agent doing the inspection. It pays for them to pollute.

Ultimately, though, my concern isn't for the poor displaced workers who choose to work in an industry that is dumping tons of pollution into the air while people like you shrug your shoulders and say "well those people need jobs". Does it suck when anyone loses a job? Of course. My concern is that by keeping these industries heavily subsidized with OUR money and turning a blind eye to the amount of pollutants and CO2 these industries dump into the air we are condemning millions of innocent citizens to permanent displacement and death due to global climate change.

As you indicated in your post, most of our electricity comes from coal. We need to stop this now and it really doesn't matter to me if a few thousand people have to find a new job. The economic costs of a few thousand former coal miners losing their jobs are, in my estimation, nothing compared to the economic costs of another Katrina, or watching the sea levels rise 10 feet.

And I insult your intelligence because you seem to be arguing that these people need to keep these jobs so we need to continue destroying the planet until we reach the point where the coal companies will finally do what they never have: play by the rules, clean up their product to the point where it doesn't pollute much and start behaving like responsible businesses. This point of view is based on an emotional attachment to your family and friends and a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of big industry.

If that is not your point, make your point and I will address what you mean to say and not what you say.

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rebel with a cause Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. Ok, I am a bleeding heart liberal,
so let me assure you that it was not my assumption that you were one. In fact I assumed nothing about you, except that you were not about to concede that I was responding to your posting that SI voters did not matter. You seem intent on taking the argument to the environmental subject, with which I do not disagree, but am only trying to state that there might be another answer than just the doing away of mines altogether. I am against government subsides to corporations period unless it is something special such as new technology to help humanity in some way. I would love to see other means of power employed, and if I could afford it I would have a home like Ed Begley Jr's house.

I will only say sir, that you learned about mine companies at a much later age than I did. I knew they did not care about their workers or anyone else by the time I was five. That was when I heard my father talking about the company store and how it was used to rob the workers. He also talked about the strikes and things that were done against the workers and about the poor scabs that were brought in to take their place. I was raised in a union home and I have been a factory worker and was held office in our union. I am still a believer in unions and am outraged at the work place of today.

Frankly I am tired of this and am going off to enjoy my evening. Good evening to you sir.
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Sir Jeffrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-17-07 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #31
32. Initially I was pointing out...
that Obama could indeed go against the constituents in rural Illinois if he wanted because they are a small voting bloc...a cold political analysis that anyone could make if they knew the area and the constituency. I never made a value judgment, but you assumed I made one.

In your initial post you interjected with sarcasm and idiocy, making false assumptions about my analysis. I suppose I could have avoided this by posting a dissertation on my beliefs about climate change, labor unions, regulatory agencies, coal mining subsidies, clean coal technology, and alternative fuels, but I expect DUers to be able to read and infer properly.

Then, when challenged by me you pull out personal stories in an attempt to play a sympathy card, all the while not thinking that I am from the same area as you with just as much (perhaps more) coal mining experience both first hand and beyond.

If you think that coal mines should stay open simply because your family and friends rely on it for income, just say so and be done with it. But don't delude yourself into thinking the coal mining companies will ever follow regulations. You should know better.

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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. That is not correct! He is against Mountain Top Removal -- here is App Voice blog FROM FRIDAY:
Edited on Tue Jan-16-07 04:25 PM by Dems Will Win
Jan. 12, 2007:

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) recently came under heavy fire from some in the environmental community and many in Appalachia for choosing to head up the Coal-to-Liquids Caucus with Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY). However, Senator Obama, a Democratic Presidential hopeful, has set himself as a leader of the Presidential pack as far as opposing strip mining and mountaintop removal.

When Appalachian Voices asked Senator Obama about MTR, and whether he supported or opposed strip mining, he said:

"Strip-mining is an environmental disaster!"

The telegenic Presidential hopeful did not stop there. He went on to adress mountatintop removal by saying:

"We have to find more environmentally sound ways of mining coal, than simply blowing the tops off mountains."

This is a Senator from a state that contains a LOT of (high-sulfur) coal. The fact that big fish like Obama are trending our way is fantastic.

Lets hope that this leads to some leadership on specific legislative proposals to end mountaintop removal in America by someone in the Senate. A presidential candidate opposing mountaintop removal represents the ideals of the Appalachian people. And the Appalachian people represent a potential of 51 electoral votes. That as much as Florida, Ohio, and New Hampshire combined.

Call and THANK Senator Obama for taking a stand against mountaintop removal by calling him at (202)224-2854. You can also call your US Representative at (202)224-3121 and ask them to co-sponsor the Clean Water Protection Act to help stop mountaintop removal coal-mining. /
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. There is no envirnmentally-friendly way to burn coal.
Bullet makers are just as bad as gun makers in being part of the problem rather than the solution.
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. I agree about coal certainly. Coal should be banned.
But I think Obama is smart enough to see that coal is not the answer once the numbers are run on it and include health, global warming, etc. He's running to the center on 2 issues right now, this coal to liquids program, which is total BS; and not shutting off funding next week for the war. HE says he's considering the Carbon Tax as well.

I agree with opposing Obama on both those things. But I never agree 100% with everything that a Democrat runs on and I trust Obama to make the right decision on most issues, and I believe he's the most electable.

So despite disagreeing on these 2 issues, and both I do not take lightly, I think he and Edwards are our best candidates and hope they run together!

The amazing thing to me is how much he got done in just 2 years in the Senate.
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. I want to like him, and I acknowledge what he's done...
...but I am very short on trust, and the longer the war and the environment go un-addressed, the less I have, especially for those acting against the global warming crisis.
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. He addressed global warming in his announcement video today
Which I cheered. Did you know the first thing he ever organized was a recycling program at his college?

When you remember that Edwards co-sponsored the IWR and what Hillary has done and said, and that Clark supported the war, the only one to the left of Obama on the war is Kucinich.
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Point taken. Despite what some may think, I'm airing my grievances here...
...hoping to be convinced otherwise, or to, at least, draw attention to what may be a problem for him in the future if not addressed. I haven't ruled him out entirely yet, and I'd certainly choose him over a republican.
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windbreeze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #20
29. Clark supported the war???
exactly when was that???
give me a date and time I can go check it out...cause I sure as hell do NOT remember him ever supporting the war...
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xultar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Don't bother with that silly old logic thing.
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LaPera Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
4. Too bad the dude is against stopping the funding of the war.
Edited on Tue Jan-16-07 04:24 PM by LaPera
I can't stand the self-absorbed dude!!
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xultar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Lots of people are against stopping funding. It makes it seem like the troops
will be left empty handed.
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LaPera Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. But it won't...Bring them fucking home, stop playing for image, image, image,
as Obama always does...which ever way the wind blows...
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. How can you say that when he provided clear leadership in the list in the OP
Please count how many good bills he authored or co-sponsored and even got many passed in a GOP Senate!

Did you read the OP? Which bills do you disagree with and why?
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illinoisprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Lapera, you need to look at reality and not just retoric. Like
having to work with the republicans to get enough votes to pass legislation to bring the troops home. You don't do that by acting stupid.
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Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
14. Terrific post. Thanks.
this is the sort of thing i'd rather see here than shallow and fuzzy arguments about politicians 'appeal' and how people 'feel' about them.
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illinoisprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. thanks, Kineta. I see nothing but, picking apart here instead of what
Obama has actually tried to do in the senate. A repub controlled senate. I think he has done alot and here we know our senator is hard working and usually tries to get stuff passed for the people.
And I wish people would think about the practicality of how things really work in the Senate and in politics in general like having to compromise and work with the other party to get things passed.
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. No candidate is going to have a perfect record on the war and everything
Well, maybe Dennis Kucinich does! But you can't get elected President when you are a 5'2" Congressman who is not a great speaker or have a ton of charisma. Let's face it, in the TV Age, that counts.

And so does a record like Obama has built in just 2 years in the Senate. Amazing!
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
24. According to Thomas, Obama sponsored and co-sponsored 579 bills.
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. Yoicks! THe real work of course is in authoring and introducing new bills
and the list shows he did an awful lot of those.

The guy is prolific and experienced in MANY different areas. On top of that he has a degree in International Relations! He would be very smart at foreign policy and negotiations.
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Toucano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 08:27 PM
Response to Original message
28. I don't want to sound disrespectful, but this doesn't counter the inexperience claim.
It does demonstrate that he's active and involved in his job, though. That's a good quality.

For the record, I believe the inexperience argument against ANY candidate is bogus. Experience isn't a requirement for the job, as well it shouldn't be. The Ideas and Skills of the candidate are more important than experience.

I believe Obama has all the skills and ideas required for the job, although I am not committed to any candidate or potential candidate.

I kind of like Eliot Spitzer, however.
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jaxx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-16-07 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
30. I love the superman picture and use it all the time.
Somehow it infuriates his opposition. ;-)
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