Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Spend my birthday with some good friends..." (VIDEO)

The most important story of the day (at least to l'il ol' me) the President's speech before the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO:

The complete text of the speech is here.

Similiar to the speech he gave in Michigan, and to a Democratic Fundraiser, but I liked it anyway:

Because as hard as it is out there right now for a lot of folks, as far as we’ve got to go, what’s clear is that our nation is headed in the right direction. Our economy is growing again instead of shrinking. We’re adding jobs in the private sector instead of losing them. America is moving forward.

And we’re moving forward largely without any help from the opposition party -- a party that has voted no on just about every turn. No on making college more affordable. No on clean energy jobs. No on broadband. No on high-speed rail. No on water and highway projects. That doesn’t stop them from showing up at the ribbon cuttings. It doesn’t stop them from sending out press releases. They’ve even said no to tax cuts for small businesses and 95 percent of working families. They just said no to a small business tax cut again just last week.

As we speak, they’ve been trying to block an emergency measure to save the jobs of police officers and firefighters and teachers and other critical public servants across the country who may be laid off because of state and local budget cuts.

And as if that was not enough, now they’re talking about repealing this and repealing that. I guess they want to go back to hidden credit card fees and mortgage penalties buried in the fine print. They want to go back to a system that allowed for taxpayer bailouts. They want to go back to allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people based on preexisting conditions. They would repeal the tax cuts for small businesses that provide health care for their employees. They want to go backwards; we want to move America forward.

And that’s what the choice is going to be in this upcoming election, and all your members need to understand it. I know if you’re talking to a lot of your locals, I’m sure they’re feeling like, boy, change is not happening fast enough; we are still hurting out here. They’re frustrated. They’ve got every right to be frustrated. And I am happy, as President of the United States, to take responsibility for making decisions now that are going to put us in a strong position down the road. And they need to know that, that we’re going to be working with you to make sure that we’re putting ourselves in a position where folks are working and working for a good wage and good benefits.

But you have to remind them for the next three months, this election is a choice. You’ve got these folks who drove America’s economy into a ditch, and for the last 20 months, we put on our boots and we got into the mud and we’ve been shoving that car out of the ditch inch by inch, and they’ve been standing on the side the whole time watching, telling us, no, you’re not pushing hard enough, you’re not doing it the right way -- not lifting a finger to help. And now we’ve finally got that car up on the blacktop there, about to drive, and they say they want the keys back. Well, you can’t have the keys, because you don’t know how to drive. You don’t know how to drive. You’re not going to get the keys back. You’re not going to get them back.

Somebody pointed out to me that when you’re in a car and you want to go forward, you put it in “D.” You want to go back in the ditch, you put it on “R.” So I just want everybody to think about that.

Also, there was this story:

Now, just a few weeks before I visited that auto plant, 14 of its employees won the lottery. This is a true story. Now you’d think they would have decided to retire, cash out, walk away. But most of them didn’t. They’re staying on their jobs. And the guy who bought the ticket -- was a guy named William Shanteau -- took the money and he bought his wife one of the Jeep Cherokees that they make at the plant. And then he bought a bunch of American flags for his hometown, because he loves his country, just like he loves the company that he works for and the workers that he works with and the union that represents him.

And he’s going to keep on showing up every day because he loves that plant, he loves his coworkers, and he loves the idea of making something right here in the United States that’s worth something. He loves the idea of being productive and creating something of value for people.

That’s the true character of our people. That’s been the essence of the AFL-CIO. That’s why even in these difficult times, I remain confident about our future, because of people like that, because of the workers that I meet all across this country, members of your unions who get up every morning and put in a hard day’s work to build a company, build a future, support their families.