Monthly Archives: March 2010

Bush busted– Wiretapped Americans illegally

cross-posted from T-Time

“The president, just like any other citizen of the United States, is bound by the law.”

Federal Judge Finds NSA Wiretapping Program Illegal

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush. In a 45-page opinion, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers who were representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance,” the judge said that the government was liable to pay them damages.

The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration’s claims that its warrantless surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans’ e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.

more:  NY Times

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Obama then and now: Opens Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time

cross-posted from T-Time

Then: “When I’m president, I intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country that prevents oil companies from drilling off Florida’s coasts,” Obama told reporters in Jacksonville in late June. “That’s how we can protect our coastline and still make the investments that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and bring down gas prices for good.” Candidate Obama 2008

Now: This announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and long term.

He added: “To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake.” (today’s announcement)


Obama to allow gas and oil drilling off Virginia coast

President Obama is set to announce that he will allow oil and gas drilling 50 miles off Virginia’s coast, including a possible sale two years from now of leases off the state’s shores.

The decision, which Obama will announce with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Andrews Air Force Base this morning, ends a long-standing ban on drilling along much of the East Coast, from Delaware to central Florida.

Obama’s move will represent a victory for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who campaigned last year on making the state the “Energy Capital of the East Coast” and using proceeds from drilling to pay for transportation. (Congress would still need to pass a bill allowing Virginia to receive royalties.)

Most Virginia leaders — regardless of political party — have expressed interest in drilling for oil and natural gas, including both U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark. Warner and most members of the state’s congressional delegation.

But environmental groups and some Democratic members of Congress, including U.S. Reps. James P. Moran Jr. of Northern Virginia and Robert C. Scott of Hampton Roads, say they worry that possible spills and new infrastructure onshore and off could harm plants, animals, tourism and the naval base in Norfolk, the world’s largest.

more here: Washington Post

and here:  Obama proposes opening Alaska coastal areas to offshore drilling


Replay: President Obama Speaks on “Energy Security”

March 31, 2010 11:05 AM EDT

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Host France’s President Sarkozy and First Lady Carla at the White House

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama meets with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France in the Oval Office, March 30, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France spoke to the media after meeting at the White House.

France’s first couple visited Columbia University and the Alliance Francaise and dropped in on Julliard School of Music students. The first lady is a musician herself; her last album “Comme si de rien n’était” was released in July 2008. Scroll down for a video of her singing the song “Quelqu’un m’a dit.”

Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy also visited Washington’s Kipp DC charter school (Knowledge is Power Program). The kids were over the moon at their visitor and her entourage of bodyguards. They greeted her carrying French flags and sang to her, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” She read them a Madeline book from the series about a girl living in France — read it in English, which the Italian-born French first lady speaks fluently.

The Sarkozy’s gift to the Obama family was some Asterix comic books for the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia. According to The Examiner, the French president and his wife decided to do what regular people do. They stopped by local DC landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl and got a half smoke for lunch.

In the evening President Obama and First Lady Michelle hosted a private dinner (closed to the press) for President Sarkozy and Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy. (hoping to have a photo soon…)

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

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Jon Stewart Returns And Rips Conservatives For Violent Health Care Fallout (VIDEO)

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Photo of the Day: Giant Squid

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi Meets with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France

Posted by: Audiegrl

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) speaks to the media as French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) listens as they meet on Capitol Hill March 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. Sarkozy is on a visit in Washington and he will meet with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office later today. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press availability this afternoon with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France prior to their meeting in the Capitol. Below are their remarks:

Speaker Pelosi:
Good afternoon. Once again, it is an honor to welcome the President of the French Republic to the Capitol of the United States. We all remember with great pride his beautiful speech to a joint session of Congress.

We are all reminded there are only two paintings in the chamber of the House of Representatives—one of the father of our country, George Washington, the other of the Marquis de Lafayette. Our friendship goes back a long way, and the President’s visit then and now reinforces that friendship.

I look forward to our conversation regarding the security of our countries: whether it relates to stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the situation in Iran relating to that; our cooperation in Afghanistan; and the issue of regulatory reform and our economic security. I would be interested to hear the President’s thinking on that subject. I know he has been a strong leader in that regard as well. And then of course, the issue of climate change, in which France and the European Union have lead the way.

So I am delighted to receive once again, President Sarkozy to the Capitol in friendship and again, with great recollections of his excellent speech to the Congress now almost two-and-a-half years ago when he was a new President of the French Republic.

President Sarkozy:[Translated from French]
I am so happy to be back in the Capitol. Thank you for your kind words about my speech. I, believe you me, I have not forgotten that moment, which was a memorable one in my life.

We will cover the wide range of topics you mentioned. I have much admiration for you, Madam Speaker. It is a great and wonderful symbol that there be a woman Speaker, in this, the world’s number one power.

This visit to the United States is very important to me. This afternoon with President Obama, I will be talking about the joint work of France and the United States.

Thank you.

SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House

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Filed under (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, France, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama

Obama Today Show Interview: Tea Party Built Around ‘Core Group’ Who Question His Citizenship, Believe He’s Socialist

Posted by: Audiegrl

AP~President Barack Obama says he believes the Tea Party is built around a “core group” of people who question whether he is a U.S. citizen and believe he is a socialist.

But beyond that, Obama tells NBC he recognizes the movement involves “folks who have legitimate concerns” about the national debt and whether the government is taking on too many difficult issues simultaneously.

In an interview broadcast Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show, Obama said he feels “there’s still going to be a group at their core that question my legitimacy.” But he said he didn’t want to paint Tea Party activists “in broad brushes” and he hopes to win over members who have “mainstream, legitimate concerns.”

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President Obama Signs Largest Reform Of Student Aid In 40 Years

Posted by: Audiegrl

A Great Battle Pitting the Interests of the Banks and Financial Institutions Against the Interests of Students

President Barack Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 during a signing ceremony at Northern Virginia Community College March 30, 2010 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Pete Souza, White House)

Today at Northern Virginia Community College, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, the last step on health reform that provided fixes for some elements and which improved upon the core health reforms by increasing tax credits for the middle class, investing in community health centers, and strengthening efforts to fight waste and fraud.

But the legislation also include another major priority of the President’s that was often overshadowed by the health reform debate, as he explained: “But what’s gotten overlooked amid all the hoopla, all the drama of last week, is what happened in education — when a great battle pitting the interests of the banks and financial institutions against the interests of students finally came to an end.” The President was referring to reform of student loans to make higher education more affordable, allowing students to get loans without relying on large banks as unnecessary middlemen, and saving American taxpayers $68 billion in the coming years.

The President explained that the government will reinvest the savings back into education by upgrading community colleges, increasing Pell Grants, and making it easier for responsible students to pay off their loans. Brian Levine from the Middle Class Task Force explains how the Income Based Repayment program will benefit students and help borrowers avoid unmanageable debt burdens here. The Act will also invest savings in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions.

Joined by Dr. Jill Biden, who spoke on the boost for community colleges in a video here earlier today, the President explained that this law takes another important step to invest in the country’s future through education:

For a long time, our student loan system has worked for banks and financial institutions. Today, we’re finally making our student loan system work for students and our families. But we’re also doing something more.

From the moment I was sworn into office, I’ve spoken about the urgent need for us to lay a new foundation for our economy and for our future. And two pillars of that foundation are health care and education, and each has long suffered from problems that we chose to kick down the road.

With the bill I signed last week, we finally undertook meaningful reform of our health care system. With this bill, and other steps we’ve pursued over the last year, we are finally undertaking meaningful reform in our higher education system. So this week, we can rightly say the foundation on which America’s future will be built is stronger than it was one year ago.

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During Passover, President Obama And First Lady Michelle Host Second Annual White House Seder

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama and the First Family mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder with friends and staff in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House, March 29, 2010. That’s Lisa Kohnke of the Office of Public Engagement to the President’s right at the table, and Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki to his left, who you may know from such White House blogs as this one.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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

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Why are Republicans Mad Now?

Viral email posted by: Betsm

This says it all about our party, my fellow Republicans:

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but why only now is it that you get mad!?

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we let Bin Laden escape.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn’t get mad when TARP was first enacted.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You only got mad when our government decided that people in America deserved the right
to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing our tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with the Grand Old Party, but helping other lower or middle class Americans…oh HELL NO!

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