March 28, 2011

Shots Fired: Obama on Libya

There was a lot more in the speech, but here's what he meant:

Pretty darn quickly, we got a lot accomplished.

To summarize, then: in just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a No Fly Zone with our allies and partners. To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians.
And while we have accomplished a lot, some of you are still confused.
Despite the success of our efforts over the past week, I know that some Americans continue to have questions about our efforts in Libya. Qaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous. Moreover, even after Qaddafi does leave power, forty years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task. And while the United States will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community, and – more importantly – a task for the Libyan people themselves.

Some folks wonder if we should have acted at all - even in the face of our accomplishments.
In fact, much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya. On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all – even in limited ways – in this distant land. They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing concerns here at home..

Well, here's why - we can't help it. We're different. We're better than the rest of them.

To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.
And furthermore, here's what I think I have to do as President.
As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than keeping this country safe. And no decision weighs on me more than when to deploy our men and women in uniform. I have made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests. That is why we are going after al Qaeda wherever they seek a foothold. That is why we continue to fight in Afghanistan, even as we have ended our combat mission in Iraq and removed more than 100,000 troops from that country.
And even though you may not appreciate it, sometimes we have to act even when it doesn't seem like it's necessary, or when it's not obvious.

There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are. Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and common security – responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce. These may not be America's problems alone, but they are important to us, and they are problems worth solving. And in these circumstances, we know that the United States, as the world's most powerful nation, will often be called upon to help.
There's a reason for our actions at a time like this.

Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way. Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States. Ultimately, it is that faith – those ideals – that are the true measure of American leadership.
 So, to recap, here's why we went to Libya:

But let us also remember that for generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. We have done so because we know that our own future is safer and brighter if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity. Tonight, let us give thanks for the Americans who are serving through these trying times, and the coalition that is carrying our effort forward; and let us look to the future with confidence and hope not only for our own country, but for all those yearning for freedom around the world. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Any questions?

March 27, 2011

Sunday School 3/27/11: Jesus, the anti-tax revolutionary?

I was working on another post when I came across a reference to Rediscovering God in America, a book, movie and theme park (OK, I made up the theme park part) from the Newt Gingrich camp and their friends at Citizens United. Historian Gingrich (as opposed to Likely 2012 Candidate Gingrich) went on a mission to educate folks on the real role that religion has played in throughout our history, including a travelogue of monuments in DC. I don’t fault him for doing this; I commend him as a thrice married sinner who has by his own admission sought forgiveness from God and from the Republican Party.

Fast forward to Rediscovering God in America, the pastor's conference, which was held this weekend in Des Moines, IA. No significance there, natch; had nothing to do with Iowa being first in the presidential season. The conference included a showing of Newt's movie, an opportunity to spend hard-earned cash on books and DVDs, and some interesting sessions on religion and politics.

Take this example, where David Barton, the founder of WallBuilders (the folks who brought you the Texas school curriculum) points out (about as fast as humanly possible) a number of bible verses to show that Jesus was against taxes. Yep – Jesus was anti-tax. Very specifically he was against the capital gains tax, the estate tax, and the progressive income tax. He was also anti-minimum wage. Honest. Here's the proof.

On the estate tax, three verses were referenced; to the untrained, non-Republican eye, they seem to be more about abiding by the word of the Lord and being good. If you are, you will have something to pass on to your children's children - their inheritance would be your goodness, if you will. If on the other hand you don’t choose to live a god life, or if you try to pass on ill-gotten gains, they’ll be taken from you; and you can only pass on what is yours, not something that you have taken from others. 
  • A good [man] leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner [is] laid up for the just. (Proverbs 13.22)
  • Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave [it] for an inheritance for your children after you forever. (1 Chronicles 28.8)
  • Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession. (Ezekiel 46.18) 
The verses allegedly related to the progressive income tax appear to be more about tithing than about taxation. The fact that a tithe is required or recommended doesn’t preclude a tax also being applied.
  • And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, [even] of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. (Leviticus 27.32). Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year (Deuteronomy 14.22) 
  • Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD'S heave offering to Aaron the priest. (Numbers 18.28-29)
The next set of verses cited seem to indicate that the 'haves' will get more, and the 'have-nots' will lose what they have; basically, the rich tend to get richer, and the poor tend to stay poor. We all get that.  But I don’t see this as a biblical imperative against the capital gains tax.
  • For I say unto you, that unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. (Luke 19.26)
  • For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (Matthew 25.29)
Last, on minimum wage, the verses from Matthew are about paying the same amount of money to everyone, regardless of their effort, but not about how much everyone should get paid.
  • These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.' But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take [that] thine [is], and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee (Matthew 20.12-14). 
I’m no Bible scholar, not by a long shot. But I’m not seeing these verses as being at all indicative of Jesus being anti-tax. What I do see, instead, is people closely associated with a potential presidential candidate, one who's allegedly on the righteous path now, twisting the Bible to meet their needs, and directing pastors to interpret the Bible in a specific way as to promote an extremely selfish position.

Now that seems to be something that Jesus would have definitely been against.  

March 23, 2011

Health care, one year after PPACA

A year ago, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, ending a tumultuous period of debate in Congress, in our living rooms and in town hall meetings across America. The signing of the law and last November's elections have led to a repeal vote, defunding amendments, failed budget bills that make it illegal to implement any part of the ACA, a handful of court cases, and a new name - the Job-Killing Health Care Law – all of which look good in print to some folks, but most of which don’t really represent today’s reality. 

Here are some numbers on the bill from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Tracking Poll, taken in March:
  • those with unfavorable opinions of the ACA still outnumber the favorables by 46% to 42%, but the majority of Americans believe that the ACA will be at least somewhat successful in expanding coverage for the uninsured and regulating insurance companies so that consumers have more protections.
  • all of the major provisions except for the individual mandate are generally well supported, and Americans continue to support keeping the bill as is or expanding it (51%) vs. outright repealing or repealing and replacing with an as-yet undefined plan;
  • Significantly, 64% disapprove of using the Republican's tactic of de-funding the ACA through the budget process.
Given all of that, here are the numbers from the polls that I find most disconcerting:
  • over half of us have put off medical or dental care to save money
  • 70% are worried about having to pay more for health care or coverage
  • 50% worry about not being able to afford the care they need, and
  • 40% who are covered worry about losing their coverage. 
One year after PPACA, I’m still wondering what it's going to take to for us to figure out  our real health care, health delivery, and health insurance problems.

March 22, 2011

The Update Desk: Nuclear raction, Wisconsin unions, Ann Marie Buerkle

On nuclear reaction:  In the Sunday School post from March 13th, I expressed hopes that as we looked at possibly increasing America’s use of nuclear power, we’d be smart enough not to put nuke plants on fault lines or in low-lying coastal areas, where the risk of the kind of damage that Japan is experiencing could be high.  Since that time, I’ve heard that New York’s Indian Point plant is in fact one of the riskiest plants from an earthquake perspective. While significant earthquakes are rare in the Empire State, I was very surprised to see that we would have built a plant on a fault line; shame on me for not being more aware. 
Governor Andrew Cuomo has requested a meeting with federal officials to discuss Indian Point.  
The Wisconsin unions: I’ve done several posts, (including newspaper front pages) on the situation with Governor Scott Walker and his attempts at busting the state’s unions. While his legislation to strip collective bargaining rights and get agreed-upon concessions on wages and benefits was eventually passed by the Assembly in a dramatic late-night vote, and by the Senate when they stripped the union-busting part away from any financial legislation, a judge has issued a stay and for now at least it’s on hold.
I'd love for this to stand as a fantastic example of our messy American democracy in action, and regardless of the eventual outcome, hopefully the ‘sleeping giant’, that population of citizens that don’t vote, will have finally been woken up. Silly me, there I go again, being hopeful.  Democracy succeeds when people participate – and the more people participating, the better. 
Ann Marie Buerkle's responsiveness: Back in January, when the House of Representatives was preparing to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Republicans have dubbed the Job-Killing Health Care Law, I posted questions for Ann Marie Buerkle, who represents my district, on why she felt it necessary to repeal PPACA, and what she’d offer instead. I also emailed the questions directly to her office. I’ve never heard from her in response. 
It seems I’m in very good company. My local paper has printed several letters from Buerkle constituents who have been ignored as well – I guess she’s not answering anyone who questions her positions on PPACA, the budget, Planned Parenthood, government regulation, and so on. 
She admitted to being reluctant to putting forth her own ideas, but that doesn't excuse her not responding to ours.

March 21, 2011

Arne Duncan and keeping teams out of March Madness

Now that we’ve got the Sweet Sixteen all settled, and I’ve studied what remains of my bracket (thanks, Big East), I’ve got time to think about Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s comments on graduation rates and tournament participation. In recent interviews and op-ed pieces, Duncan has offered support for the Knight Commission’s recommendations that schools projected to graduate less than 50% of their players be kept out of post-season tournaments. 
The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, formed back in the late 1980s by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has focused on improving academic performance in college athletics, reducing the ‘arms race’ in athletic facilities development, and in integrity and accountability in college sports. The 50% graduation rate recommendation is a noble one, even in the face of protests to the contrary. I mean, c’mon, who wouldn’t strive for something as admirable as graduating half a team?
Well, one problem is how a team’s graduation rate is calculated. Here a couple of definitions from the NCAA’s website:
  • Academic Progress Rate (APR): The APR is a real-time assessment of teams' academic performance. The APR awards two points each term to student-athletes who meet academic-eligibility standards and who remain with the institution. A team's APR is the total points earned by the team at a given time divided by the total points possible.
  • Graduation Success Rate (GSR): The GSR is an NCAA graduation-rate methodology that credits institutions for transfers -- both incoming and outgoing -- as long as they are academically eligible. It differs from the graduation rate mandated by the federal government, which does not count incoming transfers and counts outgoing transfers as having not graduated (regardless of whether they do or not). The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees and is calculated for every sport.
So what does all of this add up to? On the one hand, take the Notre Dame of a few years ago. Digger Phelps, the former basketball coach, had a remarkable 100% graduation rate during his 20 years as coach, when they counted the 56 kids who played all four years for the Fighting Irish.  Compare that with Syracuse University's current situation - below the 925 APR, and in Duncan's opinion, not eligible for the tourney - primarily because three players left school early.  
But is the school guilty when athletes leave to try their hand in the pros, and should they count in the graduation rate?  It doesn’t seem like the same thing as people dropping out of school or not graduating after they’ve run out of athletic eligibility. And SU was penalized for their academic performance - they lost two scholarships. Other schools met a similar fate.
Is it enough that scholarships are lost, or should teams also be banned from the Big Dance? And should schools be punished because the daily grind of classes and studying, of time in practice and in the weight room, of games and travel and late-night starts, cannot compete with the NBA's starting salary of almost a half million dollars?
Ultimately, what the Knight Commission is trying to bring to college athletics is admirable; so too is Arne Duncan’s push for academic success. Regarding how the scores are counted, Duncan noted "Let's not debate methodology… Let’s get clear on our values. So let's not lose the forest for the trees here." To an extent, he's right - the goal is preparing kids for the future, and that should obviously include not only the fundamentals of basketball, but the educational fundamentals that will help these kids succeed whenever their playing careers are over.
There's plenty of blame to go around, and plenty of opportunities to make amends, including a more equitable formula, I think. What I don't think makes sense is punishing kids on a team who are on track to graduate on time, who are doing the right thing, and keeping them from their dreams.

March 20, 2011

Sunday School 3/20/11: Reactions to Operation Odyssey Dawn

On Fox News Sunday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen notes that the no-fly zone over Libya was  implemented successfully. “We’ve had a very significant impact very early in establishing this no-fly zone,” Mullen said; he wouldn’t say whether Gadhafi would be removed from power, but he did refer to the ‘limited’ mission.   

On This Week with Christiane Amanpour (ABC), Gadhafi’s son referred to President Obama as “a friend of the Arab world” and accused us of supporting terrorists, in a reference to the rebels. He also cautioned that “one day we’ll wake up” and realize we supported the wrong people. 

Mullen again (he was all over the airwaves today) noted that the missiles took out Gadhafi’s radar and that there was no sign of large-scale massacres of Libyan citizens. Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John Kerry (D-MA) echoed that this is a limited action, not a ‘war’ and that Obama is firm on that. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) didn’t seem convinced, falling more on the too little, too late side of the fence.

Similarly, on Face the Nation (CBS), Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) noted that “we really have not discovered who it is in Libya that we are trying to support.”   Break Meanwhile, here are some of the headlines from around the country and the world – I’ll leave it to you to determine which are US papers and which are not. All are courtesy of The Newseum:
  • Allies Unleash Attack on Libya; Gadhafi’s forces decry ‘crusader aggression,’ say 48 people die in first day of bombings.
  • Libyan defenses attacked; Gadhafi issues pleas, threats to West
  • West Hits Libya in Support of Rebels; Jets, missiles hit Gadhafi forces; civilian deaths not verified
  • Allied jets in Action as Gaddafi hits Benghazi; Military intervention begins; Thousands flee besieged city
  • World Battles a Tyrant; Canadian, French fighter jets in the skies over Libya
  • Gadhafi defiant despite attack; US, British and French hit multiple military targets
  • Qaddafi forces in Allies’ crosshairs; West after our oil, says Libyan envoy at OIC
  • Broad Western coalition launches air strikes against Gadhafi’s forces in Libya
Here's hoping that this will be limited, with no soldiers on the ground, and that the people we are supporting are in fact worthy of our support.

March 19, 2011

Shots Fired: Alexandra Wallace and Jimmy Wong

There’s been a lot of talk about civility in our political discourse, certainly since Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot back in January at a public rally. Folks famous and not have commented on how mean we are to each other, or how mean our political symbols are, and how there’s all this bullying going on. I’ve posted on it myself – and it’s not just political speech, it’s pretty much any article or event or thought or new item that can ‘inspire’ vitriol, spite, hate, and just general lack of respect, and to me that’s a shame. I think we can do better than that.

Some folks react by getting rid of the symbols, as politicians removed ‘targets’ from their websites (Sarah Palin’s PAC, most famously); some react by getting rid of the people who express opinions that don’t stay within expectations (Juan Williams, also famously), and others react by simply removing the comments as if they were never made.

This happened to me not long ago. A friend removed some links to articles on insanely stupid shootings as WalMart stores that I had posted in response to a pro-gun post of hers. I was within my rights to put them up, and she was clearly within her rights to remove them. What we didn’t do, to our credit, was digress into a shouting match, calling each other names, arguing red-faced in front of friends and family and carrying on like a couple of, uh cable news pundits, er, uh, um, idiots. 

The latest famous casualty of the firing process is Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac duck. Aflac, which I read does something like 75% of their business in Japan, was not even remotely tolerant of a tweet or two that Gottfried made after the twin disasters hit a week ago. Clearly it’s too soon to be making tsunami jokes, and clearly when you’re the spokesvoice of a company, you should know who you quack for and have some understanding of what that company would consider reasonable behavior. Or, maybe he just was tired of the role and wanted out – who knows.

But there is another option, other than shouting or firing or pretending the issue doesn't exist, and this video exchange is a priceless illustration of that.

In the first video, a blond American girl, UCLA student Alexandra Wallace  posts her thoughts about the "hordes of Asian people" that attend UCLA, their families and weekend habits. She then kicks it up notch and complains about them talking on their cell phones in the UCLA library – as she’s “on the verge of an epiphany” in her Political Science studies – presumably to family members in Japan about the "tsunami-thing." She also describes herself (accurately) as not being very politically correct but also as being well-raised.  She displays a sing-song, generic Asian dialect (ching-chong, ting-tong, ling-long and so on) to imitate the students on their phones.

Now don’t get me wrong, folks shouldn’t be talking on their cell phones in a library –she’s right on that point. The rest of it – well, maybe not so much.

In the second video, a young Chinese musician named Jimmy Wong responds via song to Alexandra, in what can only be described as hysterically creative and scathing. He mocks her Asian stereotypes, he mocks her studying (his line about her epiphanies is a beauty) and then translates her fake Asian words into a love song, complete with harmonies and instrumentation. Through his use of her own words, he turns the whole thing  around on her.

It's a perfect response, and one I wish we all had the creativity to dream up.

March 13, 2011

Sunday School 3/13/11: Nuclear Reactors and Budget Reactions

Most of the shows had segments on the evolving situation in Japan, with a focus on the nuclear reactors losing power and possibly facing meltdowns, the expanding evacuation zone (now officially twelve or 13 miles but maybe as many as 50 miles according to some reporters there), and what it means for any expansion of nuclear facilities here.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.  Asked about whether his cautious support for nuclear power changed, Schumer noted "Well, we're going to have to see what happens here...the bottom line is we do have to free ourselves of independence from foreign oil...Prices are up; our economy is being hurt by it or could be hurt by it (the situation in Libya). So I'm still willing to look at nuclear. As I've always said, it has to be done safely and carefully."
On the budget, Schumer offered that "We should make significant cuts, absolutely, we need to, but we can't cut into our seed corn. We can't cut into the things that help America grow and great jobs like education or cancer research or food safety, things like that." And, in reference to the White House, he noted that "...I talk to the White House every day...we're not always on the same page, but we usually are. And the overall goal, again, cutting waste, using a smart short scalpel but not a meat axe."
Seed corn?  Meat axe?  I'll be looking for these two to make their way into our growing political lexicon.
Others talking about the Japanese nukes were the folks at ABC, on This Week with Christiane Amanpour. Ploughshares Fund expert Joe Cirincione pointed out that "Nuclear reactors are built to withstand crises, and even multiple crises. But it's very hard to build a nuclear facility than can withstand this", pointing to the massive earthquake, the aftershocks, and the tsunami. 
Reporter Jake Tapper noted that "...if this crisis had happened here in the US, the government would be turning to Japan for help. These are the top people in the field" but he also mentioned that in cases like this, sometimes what the government says isn't all that there is to say.  
ABC's Martha Raddatz noted a conversation she had with a “senior administration official (who) said that's one of our major concerns, how this will affect nuclear power in the future. I think there were already demonstrations in Germany. I think you'll see here in the US, we will surely take a look at our nuclear facilities and have Japan as a - as a bad model there in what can happen that you haven't planned for." 
Geographically, I think our situation is different, or at least I hope so – we wouldn’t like consider building reactors on a fault line, or in low-lying coastal areas. I hope.  
The sanity of the morning was surprisingly on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.  Among his guests were Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Mark Warner (D-VA), who discussed their plans to help solve our budget problems.  Here's a sampling:
  • Chambliss: "It's imperative that we put everything on the table for discussion. I don't know where we are going to wind up. We're not there yet. But if you look at the debt commission report, you have to address spending... You've got to address entitlements...And you've got to look at revenue and reform our complicated tax code in a major way. And when you do that, everybody does have that skin in the game and everybody gets their score just a little bit."  
  • Warner: “You've got to put everything out. That means Saxby and I are probably going to take some arrows -- ...because we're taking, willing to take on reforming some of these entitlement issues. But every day that we punt, every day that we don't act, we add $4 billion to our national debt. At some point, we're going to have to pay that back.”
  • Chambliss: "Well, Chris, first of all, what we've got to do is when we see an increase in revenues coming in to Washington, we've got to make sure that Congress doesn't have the ability to spend that, because history dictates to us if we have revenues coming in that are uncontrolled, that's what's going to happen.”  
  • Warner: "We've been saying, listen, we've got to do this. We shouldn't allow this work of the debt commission, the so-called Simpson-Bowles commission to go for naught. We're willing to kind of link arms and we have other colleagues who are working with us. I think you are seeing a whole lot of other members in both parties say we need this long-term solution. “
I share these thoughts, also Warner's, in response to Wallace's question about when they might get some action on their proposals. "If we get into next year, you get into a presidential year and this whole issue would probably be punted until 2013."  
Sadly, that's fair and balanced. We cannot afford to wait.

March 6, 2011

Sunday School 3/6/11: A mixed bag

On Fox News Sunday, the daughter of the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church (who is also the lawyer who successfully argued their First Amendment case), told Chris Wallace that we could call her church a cult or anything else we wanted to, as long as we talked about them.  In a fun exchange, she advised that she has ‘no objective indicator otherwise’ that the Supreme Court Justices - all nine of them – are going to hell.  When Wallace asked if the president was going to hell, her response was “Absolutely on the president. That’s a big 10-4…he is most likely the Beast spoken of in the revelation.”  

On CNN’s State of the Union, former Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) related the story of how his campaign manager outlined the steps taken before Richardson made his run for President in 2008. “Three out of the six were can we raise the money to do it” he said. The others? Paraphrasing, can you stand the personal and professional intrusion and scrutiny, what’s the theme of your candidacy, and finally, where do you fit in with the other candidates, what’s your niche, and is your family behind you. 

Regarding the specific candidates in the Republican circles, a recent poll showed The Donald (Trump) had a 26% favorable rating, compared to Mitt Romney’s 25%. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), another once-candidate, thought that poll said more about the media than it did about Trump, who in Alexander’s opinion is “famous for being famous.” He agreed with Richardson’s assessment – there may be 14 Reps thinking about it, but when all’s said and done there’ll be two or three, the ones who are ‘willing to start and finish.’

Local boy David Muir, the weekend anchor on ABC News, joined Christiane Amanpour and Diane Sawyer on This Week to talk about goods made in America.  In a pretty interesting segment, they replayed a story from earlier in the week where a family agreed to have everything in their house that was not made in America removed, then replaced with homegrown goods. And they pretty much managed to do it.

Remarkably, according to the report, if everyone would spend just 1% more on American-made products (about 18 cents a day), it would create 200,000 jobs.  In the roundtable related to this segment, they focused on how America is a place of ideas, but then our ideas end up getting built in some other country. But they missed the one thing that always gets missed in this kind of discussion:  we have lost American jobs because we wanted the huge profits we got on Wall Street when all of our jobs were outsourced.  Folks didn’t realize, or didn’t care, that the nice profits and dividends we earned in our pensions, our 401(k)s, and our investment accounts were in part driven by all the savings companies realized by having our ideas built in foreign countries.    If you ask me, greed got us into this mess.  It’ll be interesting to see what gets us out.