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What a group. What a choice. The remaining field of Republican presidential candidates is one of the weakest in history. It is not just the liberal media that thinks so. Former Republican Congressman and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough believes it and right wing pundit Charles Krauthammer called the candidates “embarrassing”.

Mitt Romney has not only proven himself to be out of touch with reality, he has proven that he will say and do ANYTHING to get the nomination. When running for Senate against Ted Kennedy in the 90’s and then for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he was a pro-choice moderate. After he was elected governor, he vetoed a bill to give rape survivors information about emergency contraception. Fortunately, the state legislature overturned his veto. He has vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade and is against the ruling that most employers, including church-affiliated ones, must provide contraception in health care plans offered to employee. Romney wants to repeal “Obamacare” even though it is largely based on the insurance plan he championed as governor. He released two years of tax returns only after negative publicity could no longer be ignored. His 2010 and 2011 tax returns show unearned income of over $40 million on which he paid taxes at a rate less than 15%, numerous tax shelters and Swiss bank accounts. When he desperately wanted to be John McCain’s VP in 2008, he eagerly gave many years of tax documentation to the McCain campaign. Romney’s finances certainly caused concern to McCain, no slouch in the mega millionaire category thanks to his wife. Romney’s income is from his days at Bain Capital, from where he retired in 1999. Bain’s mission was buying up companies, taking out huge loans against the companies to pay itself enormous fees at low tax rates, selling off assets, firing people, underfunding the pension plan, defaulting on the loans and then running the companies into bankruptcy. Romney claims that while at Bain, he created thousands of jobs and believes if companies fail it is because they are weak and it is good for capitalism. His record as governor of Massachusetts does not reflect great CEO qualities either. He doesn’t worry about the poor because of the great safety nets they have. You know, the ones he wants to cut.

Newt Gingrich is amazing. What else can you say about a nasty megalomaniac who had an affair with his high school math teacher while he was still in high school and later married her, began an affair with a younger woman and dumped wife #1 when she was in the hospital for cancer surgery, started an affair with a much younger woman (who is now wife #3) and dumped wife #2 when she was diagnosed with MS. This is the same man who led the impeachment cries against Bill Clinton for his sex scandal. Gingrich’s reign was known for his government shutdown, ethics charges, reprimand and fine and resignation as Speaker and from the House. He went onto a successful lobbying career and amazingly resurfaced in politics with a penchant for placing his ego above the good of the party. He is running on a strong family values platform and does not believe in abortion for any reason, even in the case of rape, incest or health of the woman. Gingrich believes that English should be the official language. He and wife #3 (the oddly coifed and botoxed Callista), are good Catholics. Newt and Mrs. Gingrich (whomever she is at the time) will retire to the moon colony that he will create by the end of his second term as president.

Rick Santorum wants to bomb Iran, even though he would love to be an Ayatollah and impose sharia law – as long as it’s Christian (particularly Catholic). While he was in the Senate, he was pro-big government spending and earmarks. Now, he is anti-big government and pro- tax cuts. Tax cuts for the wealthy, that is. He wants government out of our lives but it’s OK in our bedrooms and for controlling women’s bodies. He has extreme social conservative views (just Google “santorum dog” or even just “santorum”). Santorum questions climate change and evolution and successfully added an amendment to No Child Left Behind requiring the teaching of Intelligent Design. His own 7 children are home schooled, and one of the reasons he lost his Senate seat by a landslide was because of the expense of his children’s “cyber school” billed to his Pennsylvania school district combined with the question of his Pennsylvania residency. He is against government-funded (public) schools and just recently announced that he is against coverage of prenatal testing (among many other procedures!) in health insurance plans.

Ron Paul is a principled person with a lot of extreme views. He does not change his stand on issues to win elections. He doesn’t participate in the congressional pension or accept Medicaid in his medical practice. He strongly believes that government should exist for national defense and a court system, and not much else. He is against most government spending, taxes, entitlements, the Federal Reserve and government agencies. Paul wants the US out of Afghanistan and is against most military intervention. He claims to be a strict Constitutionalist and believes that most matters should be left up to the states, including civil rights. Paul supports the right to bear arms, homeschooling, the repeal of Roe v Wade and corporate tax cuts. He vows to cut the federal budget by over $1 trillion. Why did someone who hates government choose to be part of the government?

For many reasons, Obama has not been able to accomplish some of his campaign goals. Besides inheriting an economic catastrophe that was shockingly worse than imagined, he is constrained by a Republican-controlled House that would rather destroy the country than work with him, and he does not have 60 Democrats in the Senate to prevent filibusters. It is amazing how much he has been able to accomplish, despite the misinformation and outright lies that have been spun. Racism plays a large role in the more than usual partisan politics game.

Think about it. Who is the best choice to be our next President? He’s already in the White House.

Mary Casey is a student in the MS in Business Leadership and Management program at CUNY School of Professional Studies and is an alumna of Lehman College. She is an administrator for a university in NYC. She loves to travel and wants to see as much of the world as possible. Mary created and maintained a community/political blog from 2002 to 2004.

Aside from the expected non-stop wave of stops and applause, there was one line from the State of the Union address delivered last night by President Obama that stuck with me.

“None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.”

– President Barack Obama, The State of the Union, 1/25/11

The technological revolution we are going through is being spoken of in the same context as Thomas Edison and the Wright brothers.  It is just further proof that the advances in online interactivity are something profoundly significant.  That the President choose to highlight these corporate powerhouses, both still in their relative infancy, as the new vanguards of the American economy and American ingenuity is worthy of a moment of discussion.

If our chief export is to be defined as innovation and ingenuity, it is impossible to avoid certain concerns.  We’re not talking about easily quantifiable products that will boost company revenues because we’re shipping more units and earning more money.  But the success stories of Facebook and Google are to be lauded because they are highlighting a new sort of social export that proves that America still has a lot to offer to the world, and will remain relevant and powerful on a global level thanks to sites that quite frankly, many people cannot live without.

We all love their products and can clearly point to a point in our lives before and after we began using them.  I’d wager that most folks would say that their lives have been improved (either subtly or significantly) thanks to either Facebook or Google.  But the truth is that one of the key selling points to both Google and Facebook is that they are both free.  Would you use either if they started charging?  Before you answer, seriously think about it.  Of course it’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction of mock disgust and dismay.  Pay?  For Facebook?  For Google?  Absurd.

But is it, really?  Think of the ease of information afforded to you by Google, and the convenience of contact that Facebook cultivates.  How much is that worth to you?  Something tells me it’s more than the whopping zero dollars we’re all paying right now.

I’m going to shift gears away from these hypotheticals, because luckily for us all, it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing either site behind a pay wall in our lifetime.  If ever.  In fact, there have been so many nonsensical “news” stories claiming that Facebook will start charging, that the site recently changed their login page to reflect them:

Notice the pledge on the right hand side above the sign up fields that the site will always be free.  They needed to put that out there right in front to supersede all the bogus claims of turning into a paysite.  But those claims are based in the reality that, Facebook is probably indispensable to a large enough percentage of their user base that people would find themselves willing to pay.

But we won’t have to, and that’s a good thing.  The American economy is on its way to righting itself, and the future is looking bright.  We have companies innovating on a scale so massive that it is changing the way the world interacts and learns more than anything since the telephone.  State of the Unions are always a time for Presidents to put a positive spin on things, even if the situation is particularly dire.  But for once, I’m inclined to agree.  Things are changing for the better, and thanks to innovations by Facebook, Google, Apple, and companies we haven’t even heard of yet, they’re changing at a rapid rate that all but guarantees an exciting and unpredictable future.

Shawn Abraham is SPS’ Virtual Campus Manager, which means he gets to have a lot of fun building an online community for the school.  He also has a lot of fun reading books about zombies.  These two things rarely intersect.

While the relationship between President Obama‘s administration and labor has at times appeared strained, there have been significant steps made toward fulfilling campaign promises and the broader labor agenda, but there is plenty of unfinished business.

This was the theme of a special breakfast forum, “Labor Under Obama,” on Friday, Jan. 21, at the Murphy Institute, part of the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

The presentation and lively discussion were led by Bill Samuel, director of government affairs at AFL-CIO, and Anne Marie Lofaso, associate professor of law at West Virginia University College of Law.

Samuel’s presentation included an examination of labor’s relationship with the administration and what is likely to happen in the wake of the recent midterm elections, labor’s expectations and demands, and missed opportunities on the part of both labor and the government.

Lofaso offered a retrospective analysis of the government’s performance with regard to labor, how it has fared in terms of protecting worker rights and job security, the key appointments and interventions in the labor market, and legislative actions that have been of particular importance to unionization and to working people.

Lofaso said that although Obama missed many legislative opportunities, he has made excellent executive appointments that help labor. Further, she said, Obama’s less publicized actions show his support for labor.

Samuel praised Obama as the best educated president on labor the country has had, but he also pointed out that among the challenges that the president faces are some immovable objects on Capitol Hill on labor issues, such as the Free Choice Act.

Martin A. Mbugua is the Communications and Marketing Manager at the Murphy Institute, part of the CUNY School of Professional Studies. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Northeastern Political Science Association.