Not such a bad year

Conventional wisdom is that President Obama had a "bad year" in 2013. You hear it on talk shows and read it in newspaper columns. People cite the government shutdown, problems with the Obamacare rollout, and disclosures about the NSA.

But was it really a bad year? Consider these facts:

1.  The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) went into effect October 1st, despite the determined efforts of Republicans to repeal or defund it.

2.  Millions of people now have health insurance for the first time. Some got coverage through, others used the toll-free line or worked with navigators. People under 26 are now covered by their parents' health insurance.

3.  The expansion of Medicaid has provided millions of others with coverage. Hospitals like Cook County Hospital are now being reimbursed for care they've been providing for free.

4. The economy is growing at a faster pace, and the unemployment rate continues to fall.

5.  President Obama refused to give in to the government shutdown, which ended without further damage to the economy and our political process.


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Good Daily Herald series on FOID cards

The Daily Herald recently ran an excellent three-part series on Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) Cards. About 10% of people in the suburbs have FOID cards, which means that 90% of us don't. Even among those who have FOID cards, most are hunters or people who have  a family heirloom or a gun for protection in their home. Most of them support reasonable regulation of privately-owned firearms.

These are the three parts of the series:
There were also several sidebar stories and a good editorial:

Obama organizer running for Palatine Township Committeeman

Matt Flamm, a Democratic activist and organizer for President Obama's campaigns, is a candidate for Democratic Committeeman of Palatine Township. Flamm filed his nominating papers with the Cook County Clerk on Monday morning. Flamm is running to succeed incumbent Committeeman Sue Walton, who is not seeking reelection.

"Under Sue Walton's leadership, Palatine Township has changed from a Republican area to an independent one," Flamm said. "Strong Democratic candidates like Secretary of State Jesse White, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and former Congresswoman Melissa Bean have consistently won the township. President Obama won the township in 2008 and came within 310 votes of winning it again in 2012. Suburban voters are becoming more diverse and more progressive every year."

Flamm, an attorney, has lived in Palatine since 1987 with his wife, Betty. Their two adult daughters graduated from Palatine High School. He was a volunteer for former U.S. Representative Melissa Bean. As an organizer for President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Flamm led northwest suburban volunteers who traveled to Iowa, Wisconsin, and other swing states to persuade undecided voters and to increase voter turnout.

"Many suburban voters share the moderate, mainstream positions of today's Democratic Party," said Flamm. "They are progressive with regard to social issues like marriage equality. They're against unnecessary taxes and regulation, but they understand the value of what government does for people."

Flamm's Campaign Committee is chaired by Palatine Township Committeeman Sue Walton. Nancy Shepherdson and Lauren Beth Gash, Democratic State Central Committeewomen for the 8th and 10th Congressional Districts, are Honorary Co-Chairs. The committee consists of dozens of Palatine Township residents from a variety of backgrounds. For a complete list, go to

"We will focus on identifying Democratic voters and persuading them to vote," said Flamm. "Voting by mail and early voting have made it easier for working people who may not be able to get to their polling place on Election Day. We need to make sure people know that voting is easy and essential."

"The Obama campaigns showed that millions of people demanding change can defeat billionaires and big corporations," said Flamm. "We will apply that lesson locally."

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