Monthly Archives: February 2010

8.8 Magnitude Quake Hits Chile

Information and how to help:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

UPDATE: 7:42 a.m. — Evacuation sirens will be sounded across Hawaii at 6 am, local time

UPDATE: 6:19 a.m. — Just issued a Tsunami ‘Advisory’ for the west coast of the United States for California, Washington, coastal Alaska, and Oregon

UPDATE: 4:35 a.m. — Tsunami warnings — Warnings from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
AP~~SANTIAGO, Chile – A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, collapsing buildings, killing at least 16 people and downing phone lines. President Michele Bachelet declared a “state of catastrophe” in central Chile and said the death toll was rising.

Tsunami warnings were issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

“We have had a huge earthquake, with some aftershocks,” Bachelet said, appealing from an emergency response center for Chileans to remain calm. “Despite this, the system is
functioning. People should remain calm. We’re doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately.”

Bachelet said early reports were that 16 people had been killed, and “without a doubt, with an earthquake of this magnitude, there will be more deaths.”

In the 2 1/2 hours following the 90-second quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported 11 aftershocks, of which five measured 6.0 or above.

She urged people to avoid traveling in the dark, since traffic lights are down, to avoid causing more fatalities.

he quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. (0634 GMT; 1:34 a.m. EST), the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.

In Santiago, the capital, modern buildings are built to withstand earthquakes, but many older ones were heavily damaged, including the Nuestra Senora de la Providencia church, whose bell tower collapsed. An apartment building’s two-level parking lot also flattened onto the ground floor, smashing about 50 cars whose alarms and horns rang incessantly. A bridge just outside the capital also collapsed, and at least one car flipped upside down.

In the coastal city of Vina del Mar, the earthquake struck just as people were leaving a disco, Julio Alvarez told Radio Cooperativa in Santiago. “It was very bad, people were screaming, some people were running, others appeared paralyzed. I was one of them.”

Bachelet said she was declaring a “state of catastrophe” in 3 central regions of the country, and that while emergency responders were waiting for first light to get details, it was evident that damage was extensive.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

3 Comments

Filed under California, Chile, Disaster, Hawaii, Tsunami, Uncategorized

President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 02/27/10

white house gov logoWhiteHouse.gov~~~The Olympic Spirit, the Spirit of Bipartisanship, and Health Reform~The President takes a moment to congratulate our Olympic athletes. Discussing the unity and pride Americans feel in cheering them on, the President relates that sentiment to his own desire for bipartisanship in Washington. He praises the recent bipartisan meeting and talks about moving forward on health reform.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Leave a comment

Filed under Change, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Weekly YouTube Address

President Obama: Strengthening America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama signs an executive order for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama signed an executive order strengthening the capacity of and increasing the access to Federal funding for the nations historically black colleges and universities.

Obama says these schools have felt the pain of the recession most acutely because they enroll a higher proportion of low and middle-income students. He’s calling for increased funding for historically black colleges in his proposed budget.

President Obama says historically black colleges and universities still play a vital role and their success is crucial to a better future for all Americans. He’ll speak at the commencement ceremony for one of these institutions, Hampton University in Virginia, this spring.

The executive order is below:

Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Members of Virginia State University's Trojan Explosion Marching Band carry their drums through the Grand Foyer before performing at the White House. The band then watched as President Barack Obama signed an executive order for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Feb. 26, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Recognizing What Historically Black Colleges and Universities Mean to America

Written by William Jawando, Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement (cross-posted from WhiteHouse.gov)

“As I stood watching the Virginia State University drum-line perform in the White House this week (likely the first time an HBCU drum-line has ever performed at the White House), I was reminded of how far we have come as a nation and hopeful about where we are heading. The nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities have served our nation since 1837. They educated freed slaves, giving them the priceless gift of a mind filled with world’s possibilities. Today, this noble goal of our HBCUs continues as they unveil for their students the world of possibilities for themselves, their communities and our nation.

Guests attending this White House event left with a glow not unlike that of January 20, 2009, but they also left with a resolve to do the work that will be necessary to ensure all students have access to a high quality education and armed with the tools they need to reach for the American Dream.

When the President reflected on some of the legends that have matriculated through HBCU’s – Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King, WEB Dubois -I thought about how important and critically necessary these institutions have been to the fabric of our nation. I was reminded of the tremendous legacy of HBCUs and that when we invest in our young people at these schools we are preparing the way for the next King, Marshall, and Dubois.

President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to these institutions not just with this event, but also through his budget. The 2011 budget calls for $98 million in new money for HBCUs, including a commitment of $850 million over ten years. These are resources the schools can use however they see fit to build their capacity to deliver a quality education to their students. For the students, this year’s budget calls for an increase in the Pell Grant program, raising it to $5,710 annually. More than 50 percent of the students attending HBCUs qualify for Pell Grants and other forms of support. This is important because, as President Obama said, one in two students at HBCUs are the first in their family to attend college, and HBCUs continue to educate many students who often times would not be able to go to college for financial reasons.

The HBCU presidents and other guests present nodded in agreement as the President talked about the need to increase access and completion at HBCUs and the critical role they play. President Obama believes we must continue investing and supporting HBCUs as part of meeting his mission to develop a world-class education system in America. This is not just for the benefit of African Americans, but as we work to compete with our neighbors around this globe, it is to the benefit of all Americans.

Often in Washington we get mired in partisan debate and lose track of what’s really important. Education. Access to opportunity. A fair and living wage. These are things that matter and can make a difference in the lives of people no matter who they are, what they look like or where they are from. We were reminded of these truly American values this week, and for that I am eternally grateful. Now let’s get to work!”

Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.

2 Comments

Filed under African-Americans, Education, HBCU, Pres. Barack Obama, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Young Men, Young Women

Republican Jim Bunning Repeatedly Blocks Unemployment Benefits Extension for 1.2 Million Americans, Tells Dem ‘Tough Shit’

Posted by: Audiegrl

Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, is single-handedly blocking Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits next month.

As Democratic senators asked again and again for unanimous consent for a vote on a 30-day extension Thursday night, Bunning refused to go along.

And when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) begged him to drop his objection, Politico reports, Bunning replied: “Tough shit.”

Bunning says he doesn’t oppose extending benefits — he just doesn’t want the money that’s required added to the deficit. He proposes paying for the 30-day extension with stimulus funds. The Senate’s GOP leadership did not support him in his objections.

And at one point during the debate, which dragged on till nearly midnight, Bunning complained of missing a basketball game.

I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00,” he said, “and it’s the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they’re the only team that has beat Kentucky this year.”

Jed Lewison of Daily Kos produced a video of Bunning’s obstruction:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made a last-minute attempt on Friday morning to get Bunning to let the Senate move forward with extending benefits.

We talk a lot in the Senate about procedure. Our debate sometimes relates only to procedure. And often that’s appropriate,” Reid said. “And, as we know, sometimes these procedural rules we have in the Senate are complex. But the issue before us today is not something that’s arcane, very ritualistic or complex. It’s very simple. And it’s clear — clear that it’s going to be a lot more noticeable by people Monday morning, because it’s going to affect the lives of thousands of Americans and their livelihoods.”

By Monday morning tens of thousands of Nevadans and more than one million Americans who rely on unemployment insurance and health benefits will simply lose them.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) took the floor after Reid to stick up for Bunning. He noted that there is broad bipartisan support for extending benefits, but said Bunning was right to take a stand against adding $10 billion to the deficit. He also pointed out that the jobs bill that Reid scrapped two weeks ago, crafted by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), contained an extension of UI and COBRA.

I admire the courage of the junior senator from Kentucky,” he said. “Somebody has to stand up finally and say, ‘No more inter-generational theft!‘”

And with that, the Senate adjourned for the weekend.

More @

Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky

3 Comments

Filed under (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid, Democrats, Jobs, News, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Senate, Video/YouTube

President Obama Names Ann Fudge to Budget Panel

Posted by: Audiegrl

Ann Fudge

Ann Fudge

President Barack Obama named Ann Fudge, the former chief executive officer of Young & Rubicam Brands, to the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. David Cote, Alice Rivlin, and Andy Stern were also named to the committee, which will be co-chaired by former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson.

The committee will make recommendations to Congress by Dec. 1 to put the budget in primary balance so that all operations and programs for the federal government are paid for by 2015 and to improve the long-term fiscal outlook, the White House said in a statement. The total federal debt next year is expected to exceed $14 trillion — about $47,000 for every U.S. resident.

Fudge, 58, was a Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Legacy Award winner in 2008 and was named to the Black Enterprise 50 Most Powerful Black Women in Business list in 2006. As head of Y&R and Young and Rubicam Brands, Fudge managed a marketing powerhouse that included Y&R advertising, Burson-Marsteller public relations, Wunderman direct and database marketing, and Sudler & Hennessey healthcare communications. In previous jobs, she developed a 20-year track record of strengthening household brands such as Maxwell House Coffee, Kool-Aid, and Jell-O. Fudge serves on General Electric’s board of directors, the Harvard Board of Overseers, and as a trustee of the Brookings Institution. She has served on the boards of the Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

More @

2 Comments

Filed under Economy, News, Pres. Barack Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama Meets With Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala de Calderon

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama greets Mrs. Margarita Zavala de Calderon, the First Lady of Mexico, in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

The Mexican government says first lady Margarita Zavala has met with Michelle Obama during a visit to the White House on Thursday, February 25, 2010.

The President’s Office says the two women discussed obesity, diabetes, addictions and the situation of undocumented Mexican minors in the United States. It says they stressed the links between their countries in working on those issues.

Zavala was in Washington on Thursday for a conference on reducing demand for drugs. She returned home Thursday.

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

2 Comments

Filed under Childhood Obesity, Children, First Lady Michelle Obama, Mexico, News

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers Steps Down

Posted by: Audiegrl

Chicago Sun Times/Lynn Sweet~White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers told me Friday she will step down next month, after presiding over 330 events in the White House in 14 months.

Rogers is departing after achieving a major goal of President Obama and First Lady Michelle — opening up the White House to make it the “peoples house.”

As we turn the corner on the first year,” Rogers told me, “this is a good time for me to explore opportunities in the corporate world.”

Rogers told me it has been “an honor and a privilege to serve this president and First Lady, in what has certainly been a historic presidency.”

More @

Statement from the President and the First Lady on Desiree Rogers

We are enormously grateful to Desiree Rogers for the terrific job she’s done as the White House Social Secretary. When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People’s House, and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers. She organized hundreds of fun and creative events during her time here, and we will miss her. We thank her again for her service and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

ABC reports that Julianna Smoot is in the lead to take Desiree Rogers’ position as White House Social Secretary. Smoot worked as national finance director for Obama’s presidential campaign, and is currently U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s chief of staff.

Julianna Smoot joined the Office of the United States Trade Representative in February 2009 as the Chief of Staff.

Prior to joining the USTR, Ms. Smoot served as Senior Advisor to President Obama and served as Co-Chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. In January 2007, Ms. Smoot joined President Obama’s Presidential Campaign as the National Finance Director. Prior to working for President Obama, Ms. Smoot served as National Finance Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, chaired by Senator Charles Schumer.

Previously, Ms. Smoot served as Senior Advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and as Finance Director for Senator John Edwards’ race for U.S. Senate. Ms. Smoot has also held positions with Senator Richard Durbin and Senator Chris Dodd.

Julianna Smoot, a North Carolina native, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Smith College in Northampton , MA .

1 Comment

Filed under First Lady Michelle Obama, News, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized