Apple recently has denied a new iPhone application because of its political content. App developer, Red Daly, created the app iSinglePayer. The app’s purpose was to educate people about the benefits of a single-payer health care system. Single-payer health care is based around the idea of universal heath care.
This app rejection could be a sign that Apple doesn’t want to associate itself with one political stance or another; however, other political apps have been approved and used by many. During the election season last November, there were many apps giving information about Obama, McCain, and Palin. One app included news, events, and political positions of Barack Obama.
With technology being a main source of acquiring information, why not have politically slanted phone apps? If someone is being informed about politics or the political process, why try to prohibit that? I will be the first to admit that I have (and use) an app on my G-1 Google phone called “We the People” that has the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights and all of the Amendments.
Even though Apple has the right to regulate what apps the will and will not allow, I think they are making a mistake of not allowing political applications. Using the single-payer app as an example, they could allow apps from both sides of the issue. Many political minds blog, tweet, and use their iPhones religiously. Politically charged apps could only create more popularity for Apple.
Apple needs to jump on the political bandwagon and allow apps like iSinglePayer so people can benefit from the information provided.
With our own Kansas Representative recently in the national spotlight, the timing is perfect for a new website sponsored by the Kansas Democratic Party.
KDP recently launched the website www.JenkinsFail.com in honor of the 2nd District’s own Representative, Lynn Jenkins. Jenkins first made national news in mid August for her racist comments, or as she calls it, poor word choice. At a town hall meeting in Hiwatha, Jenkins said, “Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope. I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington.”
Her ‘great white hope’ comment refers to a term used in the early 1900s, when a white man and a black man were battling for the world heavyweight boxing championship. The white boxer was refered to as the ‘great white hope.’
Jenkins appoligized saying, “I was explaining that there are some bright lights in the House, and I was unaware of any negative connotation. If I offended somebody, obviously I apologize.” However, it was later uncovered by the Ottawa Herald that Jenkins voted to pass a bill in July addressing the boxing championship and the wording included the phrase ‘great white hope.’ Jenkins then stated that she didn’t read the material before she voted for the bill. So from the sounds of it, we have someone representing us who has not only used racist wording, but has admitted to not reading what she has voted on.
However, her indiscretions did not stop there.
Her next slip-up hit closer to home, taking place in Ottawa. Jenkins was holding a town hall meeting about health care at the Franklin County Annex in Ottawa on Aug. 27. Jenkins made national news for the second time in a matter of weeks, this time for laughing at a unisured, single, 27-year-old mother. Elizabeth Smith and her son Jonah were at the town hall to ask Rep. Jenkins why the government doesn’t provide health care to all citizens. After Jenkins got confused and the crowd had a short burst of argument, Jenkins then laughed at Smith and told her to be a grown up.
This incident landed Jenkins in hot water, as well as on many political talk shows including a spot on MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann’s ‘Worlds Worst People’ list.
Lately Jenkins has been spending more time defending herself and appoligizing than actually representing the people in her district.
Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in a conference call in conjunction with the Young Elected Officials Network and the White House. The call was focused on health care reform.
Those participating in the call were: young elected officials from around the country, staff from the Young Elected Officials Network, Karen Richardson-Outreach Director for the White House Office of Health Reform/Assistant Director of White House Office of Public Liaison, Michael Block- Intergovernmental Affairs, Mike Hash- Senior Advisor in the White House Office of Health Reform, and David Simas- White House Office of Communication.
We were first given a debriefing on what is going on in Washington D.C. when it comes to a new health care plan. The White House staff stated that there were some key elements to the health care reform. One of the elements dealt directly with insurance companies. The staff said insurance companies need to review and reform their policies when it comes to pre-existing conditions, amounts paid based on health status, prevention & wellness programs and making insurance affordable for lower income families.
The White House staff also brought up the much debated public option. They said the public option would create more competition with insurance companies thus making costs lower. They also said that public programs such as Medicaid, need to be expanded. David Simas- White House Office of Communication said that the public option would bring stability for those with insurance and would help those without insurance.
After the debriefing, those participating in the conference call had the opportunity to ask questions directed to the White House staff. A staff member of a young elected official asked what the timeline would be until an actually bill would be up for debate. White House staff said that it is unpredictable, however, leadership is pushing for late September or early October for something to be passed. One young elected official asked about the feelings of leadership about a health care reform and staff said there is mostly consensus and that the Democrats are unified on the principles of health care but the small details need to be worked out. Staff also said that a health care reform is about 80% done and that the President’s stance on the issue will be clear before a bill is passed.
I was the lucky one that got to ask the last question of the conference call. My question was focussed solely on college students and health care. I asked if there was anything in any of the bills that was directed toward college students. David Simas- White House Office of Communication said that many insurance companies are increasing the age of when they kick students off of their parents’ insurance. The age is currently around 23, they are increasing the age to 26. He said that this will allow ample time for students to graduate, get up on their feet, find a job, and start their adult life. He said that other students that are not covered under their parents, could fall into the benefits of the public option.
Mike Hash- Senior Advisor in the White House Office of Health Reform said that we are closer to a reform than we have ever been before and that we just need to continue the momentum. The staff said that there are currently 5 bills being worked on to reform health care. There are 3 completed bills in the House, 1 completed bill in the Senate, and 1 bill still being worked on in the Senate.
With this conference call and all of the health care townhall meetings taking place all around the nation, we should be making progress in the near future.
As everyone knows by now, we lost another great American politian today. Not only was Teddy Kennedy a great Senator (serving Massachusetts since 1962), he was also a strong advocate for health care reform. Now as we mourn his death, we also have to question if his death will affect progress toward universal health care.
Being the second Kennedy to pass away recently (his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away Aug. 11), it makes us think back to all the memories we have about the Kennedy family. As a well off and politically blessed family, the Kennedy family is THE most influential family our political system and our country have ever seen. Teddy’s father Joseph started the family political career in 1938 when he was a US Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Following in Joseph’s footsteps were Teddy’s brothers John and Bobby, both famous for their national politics; there was also Joseph Jr. who died at war during World War II. Then there were the very active sisters; Eunice, who started and founded the Special Olympics in honor of her sister Rosemary and Jean who was a US Ambassador to Ireland. Many of the Kennedys also had their hand in a variety of humanitarian work around the world. Teddy was the last of the living Kennedy siblings. There are many other Kennedys in the family, but none as infamous as the Kennedy siblings.
Even though Teddy was a dynamic part of the health care reform movement, there is still much hope for the future. After Teddy’s hard work, some people will be inspired to step up to the plate to take over his leadership in the reform. The health care debate will continue and hopefully we will be making progress in the near future. Teddy and the rest of the Kennedy legacy will never die, it will only make us more driven to do what we think is right.
“The Constitution does not just protect those whose views we share; it also protects those with whose views we disagree.”
“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”
“The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.”
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”