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Day April 7, 2010

Detailed Achievements Of President BARRACK OBAMA


Robert P. Watson, Ph.D. Coordinator of American Studies
Lynn University ”
Email:
rwatson@lynn.edu


I am always being asked to grade Obama’s presidency. In place of offering him a grade, I put together a list of his accomplishments thus far. I think you would agree that it is very impressive. His first six months have been even more active than FDRs or LBJs the two standards for such assessments. Yet, there is little media attention given to much of what he has done. Of late, the media is focusing almost exclusively on Obama’s critics, without holding them responsible for the uncivil, nonconstructive tone of their disagreements or without holding the previous administration responsible for getting us in such a deep hole. The misinformation and venom that now passes for political reporting and civic debate is beyond description.

As such, there is a need to set the record straight. What most impresses me is the fact that Obama has accomplished so much not from a heavy-handed or top-down approach but from a style that has institutionalized efforts to reach across the aisle, encourage vigorous debate, and utilize town halls and panels of experts in the policy-making process. Beyond the accomplishments, the process is good for democracy and our democratic processes have been battered and bruised in recent years.

Let me know if I missed anything in the list (surely I did).



1.. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending
2. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices
3. Instituted enforcement for equal pay for women
4. Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq
5. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB
6. Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information
7. Ended media blackout on covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier’s family
8. The White House and federal government are respecting the Freedom of Information Act
9. Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible
10. Limits on lobbyist’s access to the White House
11. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration
12. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date
13. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren’t even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan
14. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research
15. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research
16. New federal funding for science and research labs
17. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards
18. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants) after years of neglect
19. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools
20. New funds for school construction
21. The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out
22. US Auto industry rescue plan
23. Housing rescue plan
24. $789 billion economic stimulus plan
25. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying
26. US financial and banking rescue plan
27. The secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed
28. Ended the previous policy; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards
29. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops
30. The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010
31. Restarted the nuclear nonproliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols
32. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic
33. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions
34. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office
35. Successful release of US captain held by Somali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job
36. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast
37. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles
38. Cash for clunkers program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulated auto sales
39. Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government
40. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children
41. Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program
42. Instituted a new policy on Cuba , allowing Cuban families to return home to visit loved ones
43. Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions
44. Expanding vaccination programs
45. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters
46. Closed offshore tax safe havens
47. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals
48. Ended the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back
49.. Ended the previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry’s predatory practices
50. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources
51. Lower drug costs for seniors
52. Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings
53. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel
54. Improved housing for military personnel
55. Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses
56. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals
57. Increasing student loans
58. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program
59. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy
60. Established a new cyber security office
61. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force; this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.
62. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts
63. Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness
64. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient
65. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced
66. Improving benefits for veterans
67. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration
68. Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud
69. The FDA is now regulating tobacco
70. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules
71. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports
72. Authorized discussions with North Korea and private mission by Pres. Bill Clinton to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons
73. Authorized discussions with Myanmar and mission by Sen. Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive
74. Making more loans available to small businesses
75. Established independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare
76. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court
77. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans
78. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000
79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel
80. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan
81. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan
82. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans
83. Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production
84. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters
85. Paid for redecoration of White House living quarters out of his own pocket
86. Held first Seder in White House
87. Attempting to reform the nation’s healthcare system which is the most expensive in the world yet leaves almost 50 million without health insurance and millions more under insured
88. Has put the ball in play for comprehensive immigration reform
89. Has announced his intention to push for energy reform
90. Has announced his intention to push for education reform…….

Oh, and he built a swing set for the girls outside the Oval Office


I think this last accomplishment shows what kind of man we have for a president.  I hope you have a great day.

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BAIRU, BAHIMA, BANYAMULENGE, BAHUTU, BATUTSI” ARE NOT ETHNIC GROUPS


Dear Ugandans at heart,
1/8 There are several falsehoods in the article below written by Eric Kashambuzi in the Observer on Wednesday, 31 March 2010, and plain inconsistencies in some of his logic and I think these need to be pointed out if anything to spotlight the deficiencies of his for some sections of Uganda’s political elite who have embraced his views hook, line and sinker.  I have already pointed out to him the unwholesomeness of such passive statements as “It has been reported….”: Who has reported? He uses that statement twice and in the second instance, the quote he makes from his authority contradicts the very same claim he sought to support by using that source (Shillington).

2/8 While it is common knowledge that Bairu/Bahima and Bahutu/Batutsi are castes, he is  presenting them here as ethnic groups.  That is a fallacy, and a poisonous one at that, especially when he smuggles it into the political discourse of a country that is already riven with other centrifugal tendencies.  He is now transposing onto Uganda the same thinking that the Belgians introduced into Rwanda/Burundi with the disastrous effects that you very well know.
3/8 Kasambuzi has even gone ahead to create a new ethnic group, the so-called Banyamulenge, in order to advance his pernicious views, and to provide Mr Wafula Oguttu(FDC) with much needed ideological mileage.  It is common knowledge that the partition of the lands formerly occupied by Kinyarwanda speakers resulted in some of those people being placed in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, with the main body forming up Rwanda.  The ones that ended up in DRC were named after the volcanic ranges they occupied/were close to, hence the Banyamulenge (living close to Mulenge Hills), the Banyamasisi (Masisi hills) and Banyarutushuru.  The Banyarwanda of Uganda were also named after the hill that was closest to them: Bafumbira of Mufumbira ranges.  As you know, the Banyarwanda of Uganda have since rejected being named after an anthill in their neighbourhood.  So, what is this Banyamulenge ethnic group of Mr.Kashamburi that is refusing to marry his daughters?
4/8 What you are doing here is to add fuel to what the Belgians accomplished in Rwanda, by instituting an artificial cleavage in a community that spoke exactly the same language, shared the same neighbourhoods, had the same culture (and subsequently the same religion) only being distinguished by the fact that some subsisted by growing crops and others subsisted by raising stock.
5/8 Ethnically, the Bahutu and Batutsi are Banyarwanda, but the likes of you, Mr Kashambuzi, Mr Wafula Oguttu and others in our world would rather call them tribes/ethnic groups for the sake of advancing indolent political agendas that end up causing bloodshed.  Like in Rwanda, the people of Nkore in Uganda speak the same language, share the same locality and were subsistence producers, the Bahima being stock raisers while the Bairu were crop growers.
6/8 It is very interesting also that your article focuses only on marriage issues but is completely silent on questions of the different sources of economic power of the groups you write about, as if all that there is to life is the acquisition of boyfriends and girlfriends.  According to you, marriage or lack thereof is the determinant of group relations in communities where a sizeable section are cattle keepers and others are crop growers.  You do not mention the reality of the recurrent conflict between pastoralists and crop growers over space for raising crops and grazing animals.  As you know, some of these conflicts often become a zero sum, with competing groups seeking to eliminate each other physically as ecological resources become more and more scarce.
7/8 So, Mr Kashambuzi, when you have nomadic pastoralists (Tutsi/Hima) in endless bloody confrontations with a crop growers (Hutu/Bairu); with the latter spearing the former’s cattle that have destroyed the season’s millet crop: do you expect the families in those communities to be left with any emotional resources to indulge in romance with each other to acquire girl friends and boy friends?  We are also assuming here that you have any serious justification to extrapolate group relations in the peasant setting to the “modern” elite who are more socially mobile and exposed.  But even then, ask Professor Ogenga to carry out a survey of the legislators.  Let him tell us how many of them have spouses from outside their own communities.  Let us pretend that Bahima are an ethnic group distict from the Bairu (which they are not!), and they do not intermarry.  How many Acholi have married Karamojong? How Many Bokora are intermarried with Matheniko and Pian?  How many Batoro have married Bakonzo?  Did Prince Nakibinge of Buganda recently marry a Tutsi because he was seeking to be “de-hutuised”?  How about Kabaka Mutebi whose only son was mothered by a Tutsi?  How about his father who had two Bahima wives?  Were they also seeking to be “de-hutuised”?
8/8 Why does Kashambuzi allow himself to so blatantly trivialise the deep political challenges that the country is facing? Why do reduce the future of 30 million people to his girlfriend/boyfriend business, however much of a priority it may be for him (and Wafula Oguttu)?

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Forumists,
This is the article whose extract was posted to the forum challenging Bahima men to respond…..the rest is the debate that has since followed.

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Why Bahima men will not marry Bairu women Print
Guest Writers
Written by Eric Kashambuzi
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 23:18
I was very pleased to learn at a wedding function in Uganda recently, that the President of Uganda endorsed the culture of intermarriages.In societies – in time and space – that are relatively stable, there have been intermarriages both ways: men from different ethnic groups marry women from different ethnic groups, and vice versa, thereby ending ethnic exclusiveness. It has been reported that societies in Northern and Eastern Uganda, Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro and Northwest Tanzania are relatively stable because two-way inter-ethnic or inter-tribal marriages have taken place there.

However, in Southwest Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Eastern DRC where intermarriages have been one way (Bahutu and Bairu men marrying Batutsi, Bahima, Banyamulenge and Bahororo women whereas Batutsi, Bahima, Bahororo and Banyamulenge men are not marrying Bairu and Bahutu women), there has been constant conflict that contributed to the tragic events of 1972 and 1994 in Burundi and Rwanda respectively.

It has been reported that the desire by Batutsi, Bahima, Bahororo and Banyamulenge men to dominate Bairu and Bahutu politically and economically led them to refrain from marrying outside of their circles. This has been written about extensively by historians like Kevin Shillington (1989) who wrote that “some immigrant pastoralist groups intermarried with settled cultivators and between them produced new mixed-farming populations.

But the Hima and Tutsi [and later Bahororo and Banyamulenge] of the Southwest highland zones (Great Lakes Region) did not mix so freely. They avoided intermarriage and by keeping themselves distinct they managed, in time, to establish a position of domination over the majority peasant cultivators (Bairu and Bahutu) of the region.”

In Rujumbura County of Rukungiri District where Bahororo (Batutsi from Rwanda) fled to and sought refuge in 1800, (60-90 years after Mpororo Kingdom disintegrated and were replaced by Bahima in Uganda), there is not a single Muhororo (singular for Bahororo) man – to the best of my knowledge, since I come from Rujumbura – who has married a Mwiru (singular for Bairu) woman because, it is said, Bahororo do not want to be infiltrated and weakened politically since secrets about dominating Bairu and others would no longer be kept.

Because of this exclusiveness, Bahororo led by the Bashambo clan have ruled Rujumbura since 1800, dominating all major political positions and making them economically, and by extension, militarily powerful.

Educated and wealthy Bairu have been urged to marry Bahororo, Bahima and Batutsi women and become “tutsified’ and abandon their ethnic relatives who have remained leaderless. Bairu men who have not married Bahororo women have been systematically marginalised, however educated they are, sowing the seeds of instability in the area.

That is why there are increasing complaints that Uganda is now led by Bahororo, Bahima and Batutsi with support from Ugandans that have married Bahororo, Bahima and Batutsi women. It has been brought to Ugandans’ attention that everywhere you look in Uganda’s major political parties, you will find that their leaders are either Bahororo, Batutsi or Bahima, or Ugandans who have married Bahororo, Bahima, and Batutsi women.

And that is why some informed commentators are beginning to say that FDC, NRM and, to a certain extent, DP, are actually political parties of the same feather. Ugandans are challenged to research into these developments and decide on the way forward for the unity and stability of the country.

I spent 30 days in the DRC, Burundi and Rwanda in January and February 2010 and devoted some sleepless nights investigating this intermarriage issue. The conclusion was the same: namely that for the sake of political domination, Batutsi and Banyamulenge (in Eastern DRC) men do not marry outside their ethnic groups while wealthy and educated Bahutu marry Batutsi and Banyamulenge women and thereafter become ‘tutsified’ and abandon their indigenous ethnic people who remain leaderless and vulnerable politically and economically.

I am putting this forward not because I want to cause trouble, but on the contrary I am trying to help in averting trouble which is gathering on the political horizon in the Great Lakes Region as stories about the ‘Tutsi Empire’ spread in the region and beyond.

Once again, I thank the President for endorsing the culture of intermarriages which should be carried out both ways if it is to have meaning and contribute to peace, security and stability. An old friend of mine from Senegal confirmed that comprehensive intermarriages in his country have ended ethnic exclusiveness and contributed tremendously to the stability the country has enjoyed. The Great Lakes Region needs to draw a lesson from this example.

The author is a Senior Policy Advisor on the United Nations Millennium Project.
erickashambuzi@yahoo.com

Buganda and Kampala Markets:Remodelling Kampala City Markets in Kampala Urban Area



Remodelling Kampala City Markets in Kampala Urban Area

I am stunned with Kampala City Council and political party hypocrisy and corruption. Imagine the amount of money taken from Kampala Market’s stall owners, and envisage the terrible physical state of disrepair the Market are into! Then they shout about corruption! KCC must be disbanded.

Why political parties with their development demagoguery, doesn’t allow the Criminal Investigation Department, the Inspector General of Government investigate where over 100 millions collected from the so-called park yard (Nakivubo stadium car park yard) and Owino goes?  See attachment Nakivubo! Nakivubo management and KCC rents out Nakivubo parking yard but the money had never been account for!

Nsambya, Nakawa, Natete, Busega all these markets pay duties, tolls, taxes you name it. When a stall owner for example builds a stall he or she pays a construction fee! Plus a monthly charge and then taxes to Uganda revenues authority through the so-called market contract owners.

What are these types of contractors and what service do they provide other than stealing people’s earthly riches to feed their greed for political power? They will pay dearly for this recklessness.

Redevelopment, Remodelling and redesigning of Kampala City Markets, is not such a complicated thing. Market vendors, all those I have personally talked to, are willing and have the financial clout, to redesign and model the markets to highest and best acceptable modern standards.

Market vendor’s only impediment, is lack of;

1. Physical Planning Capacity

2. Architecture and Construction Engineering Capacity, to remodel Markets.

3. Financial management capacity, which Commercial banks can provide.

Kampala City Markets, do not need an investors, or private managers (contractors), other than some form of government planning input, that the MINISTRY OF WORKS must provide. It will make Kampala City Markets become suitable, for all seasonal habitation, with proper sanitary, hygienic and efficient delivery of services, in an urbanised and compact city environment they are located into.

The Ministry of Works, Architectural and construction engineering works departments, (am willing to offer my expertise free of charge) must put their heads together and design suitable market for an urban environment considering the following:

a. Uganda’s tropic environment – in relation to fresh and dry foodstuffs sold in these markets.

b. Compact city environment with high-density population and traffic.

c. Storage facilities for fresh produce sold in Kampala City Markets i.e. perishable and high contaminable fresh foodstuffs like meat and fish.

d. Parking facilities in relation to human and motorised traffic.

e. Fire outbreak possibility and mitigation.

f. The surrounding social, built, commercial and physical environments.

g. With polished stones cleaning markets will be very cheaper and easy. There area lot of granite rocks between Luwero and Kigumba for that purpose.

So far, all Architectural models, from Kiseka, Owino, Nakawa and Nakasero markets, I have seen, are not properly designed, to suit the purpose they are planned for.

What and how should city markets be modelled?

1. Fresh food Markets, must have clearly demarcated departments i.e. those selling dry from fresh, highly contaminable (meat, fish) and creameries foodstuffs.

2. City markets must be spacious and well ventilated to offer 100% air circulation. It is therefore a necessity, to engage VVS engineer (building ventilation) and experts.

3. For dry items, 100% air circulation, prevents bacterial, fungi and mould attack on dried foots items – implying city markets must have modern dry storage facilities per items or commodities sold. E.g. rice, maize flour, groundnut, powered milk etc.

4. All Kampala City Markets must have cold storage facilities and refrigeration for fresh and highly contaminable foodstuffs.

5. Kampala City Markets, especially those selling fresh foodstuffs, must have 100 % water supply all day around, partly for floor, food item cleaning, washing and refreshing.

6. Since women, make the bulk of workers in city markets, it implies given to their biological needs (menstruation) access to 100% laundry and bathing facilities must be provided. Laundry facilities like washing, and hot air driers machines are provisions for instant cleaning, also medically required for butchers and fish sellers. These must be underground the markets, highly guided by civil engineering works and food safety regulations.

7. City markets, must provide Kindergarten for babies and small children to off load extract work, for mothers in markets. It provides total physical and psychological peace for mother working environments.

8. Provisions for enough parking space, around the markets is a must – motor traffic can be regulated with automated billing parking machines.

9. The markets underground offloading and loading facilities to ease traffic congestion. Off load and upload can be time regulated i.e. at low and high peak hours.

10.  All Kampala City Markets must be provided laboratory-testing facilities for fresh foodstuffs and medical facilities – as a highly educated urban population grows, so will fresh food demand and necessity for high hygienic standard provisions.

11. Kampala City Markets, must have self-automated pressurised biodegradable waste facilities. Implying City and town council must provide adequate waste disposal facilities all year around.

12. Those selling ice creams, milk and eatables should be isolated from fresh and dry food markets. Retail Shops within fresh food markets, selling consumable in the category of super markets should be outlawed on medical grounds, within the market parameters.

13. The same applies, to those selling old clothes and metals that should have separate departments far way from fresh food markets. Owino and Kiseka markets.

For Uganda Revenue Authority remittance, commercial banks should be enticed to work with market vendors. URA will provide automated calculating software for registration, enrolling, incomes and expenditures collection and monitoring membership of all Kampala City Markets.

Kampala City Markets must reduce population densities. E.g. more markets can be built to hold a population of not more than 500 vendors each. This is possible with clear demarcation of dry/ fresh food vending and mivumba/ metal sellers i.e. in Owino and Kiseka markets.

Kampala City Council must only play a monitoring and guiding roll.

With the help of PPDA act, Local government Act, Leadership code, the Land Act water and environmental laws, etc-, KCC should show cause, why have been unable to develop, redesign, model, upgrade a single part of Kampala, as so stipulated in the county and town planning act and Kampala development programme or the so called structure plan that expire in 2000.

The government, can therefore, use the above laws to take over KCC. Allow the department of architecture and civil works engineering in the ministry works, start redesigning the city with immediate effect. The design can be given to respective vendors to look for money and develop or build new markets themselves.

The department of architecture and civil works engineering, in the ministry works can on a daily basis, for only a period of six month plan the entire Kampala City Markets. With the help of official community planning principal, where markets vendors, through their local councils will take on the roll of approving all planning projects, without KCC official input. That way you don’t contravene the Local government act.

I can help design, a full proof programme, that will completely do away with corruption in councils and streamline development of towns and cities, where no land could be stolen and misused.

Bwanika , Nakyesawa Luwero.

Daniel Bwanika www.idrc-ug.com

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