Tag Archives: democrat

Should Obama foot the bill?

If a politician makes a visit that that ensues extra costs for the town or city where the function was held, should that politician pay the bill for the extra costs? That is the current debate on the table in sunny southern California.

 President Barack Obama visited Newport Beach in Orange County, California back in February. The visit drew a need for extra police officers and reserve officers in the city and the cost rang up a bill of $35,043.04. That bill has been forwarded to the Obama for America Campaign to be paid off.

According to the Huffington Post, City Manager Dave Kiff released this written statement:

“I think it is appropriate to treat it like a private event — if another private event that large and which required that much police presence occurred, we would bill the event sponsor … If the president was here on presidential business, we likely would not have billed for that.”

Kiff also included in his statement, however, that having Obama visit the city was an honor. Some residents agreed that Obama needed to foot the bill. In that same article, resident Scott Mason said “I don’t care what the political party is … I am not in the President’s party. If you are using the public sector to support fund-raising … you have to pay for that.” Mason lives on the same street the fundraiser was held on.

According to the NY Daily Times, during the event Obama held a breakfast with wealthy donors. It was one of several stops made in a California on a fundraising trip. The Los Angeles Times reported that the breakfast was held at the home of Jeff and Nancy Stack. To gain entrance the ticket was $2,500 a person. Additional opportunities included a $10,000 photo reception and a $35,800 “greet and breakfast” option.

The bill dated May 10 and due June 9, was sent to Obama’s office in Chicago. There has been no response yet to the bill.

Some argue that Obama is being sent this bill due to the fact that he is a Democrat. Registered Republicans outweigh Democrats in the city three to one, making the right wing influence in the area very strong. Other complaints include that no other politician has been given a similar bill when their visits drew costs for the city.

How do you weigh in? Do you think Obama should pay the costs he racked up in his visit? Or do you think Obama is being targeted due to his political affiliation?

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Does Separation of Church and State Mean Anything?

Rick Santorum is well-known for his religious viewpoints, but some are starting to wonder if he has gone to far. On ABC’s “This Week”, Santorum said ““I don’t believe that the separation of church and state is absolute. The First Amendment means the free exercise of religion and that means bringing people and their faith into the public square.”

According to this article from Bloomberg, Santorum greatly disagreed with a speech former President John F. Kennedy gave in 1960 about separation of church and state. Santorum is quoted in the Huffington Post saying “ “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

According to this CBS article, Kennedy was a Catholic, which brought concern by some people. He gave a speech explained he was the Democratic candidate for president who happens to be Catholic, not the Catholic candidate for president. Santorum has built his entire campaign on his faith, and this only solidifies that approach even more.

Santorum feels that America is based on diversity and Kennedy’s speech promoted the opposite idea. Santorum expresses a viewpoint that implies that the separation of church and state would actually prohibit individuals from expressing their freedom of religion and would only end up in the government imposing their personal religious viewpoints on the average citizen.

Santorum is attempting to use this to pop some holes in President Barack Obama’s image. In the Huffington Post article, Santorum said “”[Obama believes in] some phony ideal, some phony theology … not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.” This is not the only complaint Santorum has lodged against Obama. The Los Angeles Times explained that Santorum feels that Obama wants everyone to go to college so society can “impart liberal ideology” on young adults. He also implied it was a slap in the face to all non degree holding adults.

Santorum also expressed anger that Obama apologized for the incident in which U.S. personnel in Afghanistan burned copies of the Koran. Apologizing “shows weakness””, according to the Times article. Santorum felt that Obama could have expressed that the Koran was the Islamic Holy Book without apologizing.

How do you weigh in on this argument? Do you think America should have definite separation of church and state? Or do you think a more flexible definition needs to be afforded to encompass the right of freedom of religion?

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All Male Contraception Panel Sparks Controversy

Do you think men are qualified to make decisions in regards to women’s health concerns? Birth control remains at the height of concern in the government. A congressional committee made the positive step forward of holding a panel on contraception, but they made the seemingly unfortunate mistake of forgetting to include anyone who actually has a female reproductive system on the panel. That’s right. A panel dedicated to talking to contraception with zero women weighing in. As you can imagine, women and men everywhere are expressing their dissatisfaction with the panel and its members.

According to an article on Politico, democratic representatives Carolyn Maloney and Eleanor Holmes Norton walked out in protest of the panel. Maloney summed it up pretty neatly when she said “What I want to know is, where are the women?” Both Maloney and Norton felt that chairman Darrell Issa of manipulating committee rules by blocking women from being on the panel. Maloney added “”I look at this panel [of witnesses], and I don’t see one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventive health care services, including family planning.”

If you look at my previous post, you can see how President Obama’s plan to include contraception to all employees regardless of the employer’s political affiliation sparked this debate in the first place. According to an article on The Grind Stone a law student by the name of Sandra Fluke was to sit on the panel. Her approach was to look at birth control as a health care issue. Republicans did not agree with that request, arguing they wanted to discuss religious liberty. Fluke, according to Issa, was not qualified to testify about religious liberty.

This is not a completely man versus women argument. Representative Ann Marie Buerkle is also cited in the Politico article as agreeing with Issa. She stated “”I really find it so objectionable that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would characterize this as something so narrow as being about contraception. This is a fundamental assault on one’s conscience.”

Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings echoed the voices of Maloney and Norton, feeling as though the Republican Party had committed a massive injustice by ignoring the viewpoints of millions of women across the country. Norton made a motion to force a vote to seat Fluke, due to the fact that he was breaking committee rules (according to Norton). Fluke ignored the motion, prompting Maloney and Norton to vacate the room.

I stumbled across Larkin Callaghan’s blog in which she shared Senator Boxer’s response to the all male health panel. Senator Boxer serves from California and is a well known advocate for women’s rights. The argument right now is the argument that a panel dealing with elements of women’s health should have at least one woman to represent women’s voices on a congressional panel. According to the government census site in 2010 50.8% of the US population was women. With half the population being of the female sex it makes sense that many would be angered by a 100% male panel making rules over contraception.

If you want to see the testimony Sandra Fluke intended to give, you can view it here. What do you think about this debate? Should a woman have been present for the panel? Or do you believe the panel should have merely remained at religious liberty conversations and that the all male panel did not pose an issue?

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