We can (and must) do better!

A thoughful letter from Earl Blumenauer, Congressman from Oregon.

Earl_garden.jpg Blumenauer
~Photo Earl Blumenauer Earl Blumenauer website.

 

Having just returned from a Congressional delegation visit to Finland, Estonia, and St. Petersburg, Russia, I am reminded again that as Americans, we set our sights too low.

We are the richest, most powerful nation on the planet. Most of the countries we compete against on the global stage send their children to be educated in America. The United States is headquarters to some of the world’s most profitable and innovative companies. It is also the birthplace of technology that has revolutionized our way of life over the last two centuries.

Yet, we behave as though we are weak, poor, and of limited vision.

Over the course of several days of discussions with a bipartisan group from Congress and international affairs experts from several countries, I was struck repeatedly by the many self-limiting decisions the United States has made.

Despite not having a national education system, students in Finland are performing at some of the highest rates in the world. The United States barely has state educational systems. For all of our concern about local control, American education is fragmented into over 10,000 independent, separately managed school boards, largely locally elected and funded. Because we don’t value education and we’re not strategic, we are leaving more and more of our children behind.

Americans express concern for families and our children. We’re, however, the only developed country that doesn’t have access to affordable child care and does not guarantee parents the right and privilege to welcome a new child with paternal leave.

The issue of health care continues to be a political battlefield. Even as a few Republican states that previously refused to expand coverage under the Affordable Care Act have reversed course, they have done so by restricting access to these new benefits through burdensome requirements for poor people to gain new coverage.

Despite our success in improving and expanding care, we are still falling short. We are secure, if not smug, in our pride of having one of the finest health care systems in the world. Yet countries with universal and single-payer health care systems are paying less and helping people live longer, stay healthier, and get well faster. Meanwhile, the U.S. health care system is opaque and makes expensive mistakes, where bad luck and illness can result in devastating health and financial consequences.

Our rich, powerful country is investing in unnecessary, expensive weapons of mass destruction that do nothing to enhance our security and everything to destabilize a world order. All the while, the decision to break the Iran nuclear agreement perplexes our allies and undermines efforts at future nuclear weapons control. On the eve of a potential high-level summit with North Korea, is there hope to have meaningful restraint on the part of the North Koreans, which has nuclear weapons, if we break our treaty that is working with the Iranians?

The United States, for all our power and wealth, does not have unlimited resources. And under the control of Donald Trump and the Republicans, our international prestige and good will is in free fall. They are not making America great. America is dangerously standing alone in a world that is increasingly interdependent and our relative wealth and power is in decline.

But it’s clear that we still have the chance to reverse course. We have vast resources. We have opportunities to learn from our mistakes and from the success of others to make a huge difference for ourselves and people around the world.

Most important, we have an opportunity to harness the unprecedented level of energy from folks across the country who are concerned with where our country is going. People like you can and will make the difference at the ballot box to save America.

Courage,

Earl

Cooling it with Google…

I never imagined that cooling my home in summer would be an issue in Portland, Oregon.  I counted on  a few hot days and then, back to cooler days and nights!

IMG_20180602_105108.jpg
~Photo Lori Greer

Continue reading “Cooling it with Google…”

Only as good as your word…

“You are only as good as your word. You can be smart, aggressive, articulate, and indeed persuasive, but if you are not honest, your reputation will suffer, and once lost, a good reputation can never be regained.”  Robert Mueller  The Washington Post

Robert Mueller Was7543808.jpg Washington Post
~Robert Mueller, The Washington Post 

Chapter A Day

Even though I live in Oregon, Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR)  is one of my favorite radio stations. Thanks to the Internet, I stream WPR programs daily.

Microphones Radio Announcer pexels-photo-270288.jpeg Pixababy
~www.pexels.com/Pixabay~

Continue reading “Chapter A Day”

Mistakes & Decisions

“If I had to live my life over again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”  Tallulah Bankhead Continue reading “Mistakes & Decisions”

Nose to the grindstone!

 

alarm clock
 

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going!  Sam Levenson *

 

~Photo http://www.pexels.com/Aphiwat chuangchoem

Busy Days

My life seems to be whizzing past.  I ricochet from the gym, work, walking the dog, home, church, errands…. Continue reading “Nose to the grindstone!”

Fair Warning…

I  know most of us have bad days at times.

However, I can never understand why or how a person could be RUDE to the person behind the counter anywhere.  Or, what gives a person the right to be mean to others at anytime? Continue reading “Fair Warning…”

Paranoid?

“Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”  Kurt Cobain

Am I paranoid? You be the judge.

paranoid pexels-photo-626164 Pedro Figueras
~Photo http://www.pexels.com/Pedro Figueras

Continue reading “Paranoid?”

A Morning Resolve

Sunrise pexels-photo-207247
~Photo http://www.pexels.com/Pixabay

“I will try this day to live a simple, sincere, and serene life, repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking;

“cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence;

“exercising economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike faith in God.

ln particular I will try to be faithful in those habits of prayer, work, study, physical exercise, eating, and sleep which I believe that Holy Spirit has shown me to be right….” *

*Excerpt from Forward Day by Day

Simple Words

He was controversial.

He was fired from Apple.

He took Apple to new heights.

He inspired many. Continue reading “Simple Words”