Daily Archives: April 1, 2010

President Obama Speaks On Health Care In Portland, Maine

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama speaks at the Portland Expo Center April 1, 2010 in Portland, Maine. President Obama spoke to Mainers on the passing of the health care legislation during a quick trip to Maine before attending a fundraiser in Boston. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images North America)

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President Obama Fills Out His Census Form

President Barack Obama fills out his 2010 Census form in the Oval Office, March 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It’s very important that you fill in the form and promptly mail it back. Census information affects the numbers of seats your state occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives. And people from many walks of life use census data to advocate for causes, rescue disaster victims, prevent diseases, research markets, locate pools of skilled workers and more.

When you do the math, it’s easy to see what an accurate count of residents can do for your community. Better infrastructure. More services. A brighter tomorrow for everyone. In fact, the information the census collects helps to determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services like:

  • Hospitals
  • Job training centers
  • Schools
  • Senior centers
  • Bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects
  • Emergency services

Participation isn’t just important—it’s mandatory.

Only Simple Addition Will Do

Written by Josh Marshall/Talking Points Memo

It’s not enough that folks from the Birther & Death Panel set have convinced many good folks that the Census is a secret plot to steal their lawn furniture. There’s another irony waiting. Historically, the real problem with underreporting has been in underprivileged communities — particularly African-Americans and Latinos and especially in large urban areas. To that end, conservatives have worked for the better part of two decades to stop the Census from taking any steps to correct numbers in the face of widespread non-response: namely, statistical sampling. And in the face of that pressure, the current Census Director has ruled out using sampling in the 2010 Census.

Now, it’s hard not to appreciate some of the irony in right-wing lies about the Census coming back to bite them. But it’s really a loss for everyone if everyone in the country, irrespective of race, creed, ideological persuasion, region and whatever else, doesn’t get counted.

But if there really is widespread undercounting because of the antics of folks like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), it’ll just be tough luck. There won’t be any solution.

Wingnut Blowback

Written by Josh Marshall/Talking Points Memo

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)

Most rightwing bamboozlement is a no consequences affair for the bamboozlers. Death panels, Manchurian candidate presidents, ‘armed IRS’ agents busting down your door to ram low deductible health care coverage down your throat. It goes on and on. But it seems one old yarn from the fever swamp may have some very pernicious consequences for the folks who make their living making up stories to keep the wingnut masses in a state of chronic agitation and moral panic.

Rightwing hullabaloo over the federal Census, particularly the improbable claim that the Census is unconstitutional, is reportedly leading a lot of the most conservative Republicans to refuse to fill out their Census forms, which in theory at least could lead to substantial underrepresentation for these folks in Congress over the next decade — not to mention a lower cut of services from the federal government.

That at least is what Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), the ranking Republican on the committee that oversees the Census, thinks is happening. And he’s now taken to Redstate.com itself, Fever Swamp Central, to tell fellow conservatives to do the right thing and fill out their Census forms. As McHenry notes, it’s very hard to reason that the Census can be unconstitutional since it’s one of the only things the constitution not only provides broad powers to do but actually expressly enjoins the federal government to do every decade.

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First Lady Michelle Holds White House Spring Garden Planting Event

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama (R) plants seedlings with schoolchildren from Bancroft and Hollin Meadows Elementary Schools and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (2nd L) during the annual Spring Garden Planting event held in the White House Kitchen Garden March 31, 2010 in Washington, DC. Mrs. Obama sponsors the event to teach children the importance of eating healthy foods and to encourage children to spend time outdoors. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)

The First Lady hosted the Spring Garden Planting in the White House Kitchen Garden, where she was joined by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, as well as the President of the National Gardening Association. Students from Bancroft and Hollin Meadows Elementary Schools also participated. Enjoy the video and the pics!

Full transcript of the First Lady’s remarks
Photo credits: Getty, Reuters and AP

Note: For more fun foodie coverage and photos, please check out our friends at ObamaFoodorama who were at the event: The Rhubarb Dance & Other Tales From The Spring Planting Of The Kitchen Garden

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Stand and Deliver‘ Teacher Jaime Escalante Dies at 79

Posted by: Audiegrl

This March 16, 1988 file photo shows Jaime Escalante, center, teaching math at Garfield High School, in Los Angeles. Escalante is the teacher on which the character in the movie Stand and Deliver is based. (AP Photo)

EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC)~~~He inspired countless students and was the subject of the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver.” Former Garfield High School math teacher Jaime Escalante is being remembered on Wednesday following his death from cancer at the age of 79. Escalante died on Tuesday at his son’s home near Sacramento surrounded by his children and grandchildren.

Outside James A. Garfield High School, the flag flew at half-staff to mark Escalante’s death. He is widely considered one of America’s most successful teachers.

He taught at Garfield High for 17 years, and by the time he left in 1991, he had elevated the school’s math program to one of the best in the country.

“Whenever I meet people across the nation, they always, ‘Did you know Mr. Escalante? What was it like?'” said Garfield High School Vice Principal Ramiro Robalcaba. “He just inspired students, parents and teachers across the nation.”

Robalcaba graduated from Garfield High School a few years after Escalante left.

Escalante was originally a teacher in Bolivia who immigrated to the U.S. He had to study English at night for years before he could get his California teaching credentials, but when he did, he put them to good use.

“He really put the school on the map. The entire nation knows Garfield High School, and we owe that to him,” Robalcaba said.

This March 9, 1988 file provided by Warner Bros shows actor Edward James Olmos, left, comparing notes with high school teacher Jaime Escalante during the filming of the Warner Bros film Stand And Deliver, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo Warner Bros)

Despite a low-income inner-city student body, Escalante produced some of the best math and science students in the country. He was the inspiration for the “Stand and Deliver,” starring Edward James Olmos.

“He was a good teacher. He got all his students to pass that test. Yeah, he was a good teacher here,” said student Cesar Jauregy.

Parent Tony Perez said he still remembered Escalante’s greatness. His son was one of Escalante’s students who now works as a computer engineer for Hewlett-Packard.

“I called him last night, I told him, and he got really sad because it really changed his whole life,” he said.

Garfield administrators said they have grief counselors on hand to meet with faculty members who worked with Escalante.

Administrators are planning a memorial service for Thursday at 7 a.m. Students, teachers and community members are all invited.

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Statement from President Obama on the Passing of Jaime Escalante

“I was saddened to hear about the passing of Jaime Escalante today. While most of us got to know him through the movie that depicted his work teaching inner-city students calculus, the students whose lives he changed remain the true testament to his life’s work. Throughout his career Jaime opened the doors of success and higher education for his students one by one, and proved that where a person came from did not have to determine how far they could go. He instilled knowledge in his students, but more importantly he helped them find the passion and the will to fulfill their potential. Jaime’s story became famous. But he represented countless, valiant teachers throughout our country whose great works are known only to the young people whose lives they change. Michelle and I offer our condolences to Jaime’s family, and to all those who knew him and whose lives he touched.”

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Host White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility

Posted by: Audiegrl

Small Business Owners, Workers, Business and Labor Leaders, and Experts Join Administration Officials to Discuss Workplace Practices for a Changing American Workforce

President Barack Obama addresses the closing session of the Forum for Workplace Flexibility in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building March 31, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Obama Administration held the forum to discuss workplace practices that allow working class to meet their jobs demands without sacrificing the needs of their families. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

Today, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and the White House Council on Women and Girls are hosting the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility to discuss the importance of creating workplace practices that allow America’s working men and women to meet the demands of their jobs without sacrificing the needs of their families.

Small business owners, business leaders, policy experts, workers and labor leaders are joining with senior administration officials today to share their ideas and strategies for making the workplace more flexible for American workers and families. The opening and closing sessions, as well as five breakout sessions focused on best practices and benefits for the American workplace and workforce, are streaming live on www.WhiteHouse.gov/live. In addition, much of the event is streaming on Facebook and Ustream, and the White House will include comments taken through these social networks in the feedback collected through the forum.

In conjunction with the forum, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers is releasing a report presenting an economic perspective on flexible workplace policies and practices. The report documents some of the changes in the U.S. workforce which have increased the need for flexibility in the workplace, including the increased number of women entering the labor force, the prevalence of families where all adults work, increasing eldercare responsibilities, and the rising importance of continuing education. It then examines the current state of flexible work arrangements and discusses the economic benefits of workplace flexibility – such as reduced absenteeism, lower turnover, improved health of workers, and increased productivity. The analysis is available online here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/100331-cea-economics-workplace-flexibility.pdf.

“Workplace flexibility isn’t just a women’s issue. It’s an issue that affects the well-being of our families and the success of our businesses,” said President Obama. “It affects the strength of our economy – whether we’ll create the workplaces and jobs of the future that we need to compete in today’s global economy.”

“Flexible policies actually make employees more – not less – productive,” said Mrs. Obama. “Instead of spending time worrying about what’s happening at home, employees have the support and the peace of mind they need to concentrate at work which is good for their families – and the bottom line.”
The Office of Personnel Management is also announcing a pilot program to incorporate flexibility in the government to provide better, more efficient service for the American people – even in the face of snow storms and other emergencies. The pilot program will build on the cost savings telework provided during last winter’s snow storms and expand opportunities for federal employees, here in Washington and across America, to telework on a regular basis.

“Employers, including the federal government, will have to implement flexible work policies if they want to attract the best and the brightest,” said Valerie Jarrett, Senior Adviser to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. ” The President is committed to making sure that the federal government can compete for talent because he knows that good people produce better work, which in turn, leads to better service for the American people.”

Shortly after taking office, the President signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is delivering relief to working families across the country, including tax credits and child care assistance for working families.

The President’s Budget for FY2011 builds on those initiatives with a series of investments to support caregivers for elderly relatives or family members with disabilities, to help families afford the cost of quality child care, to aid states wishing to establish paid leave funds, and to build the knowledge base about work-family policies.

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about the importance of creating workplaces that allow workers to balance job and family as she opens the Forum of Workplace Flexibility. A panel discussion follows the First Lady’s remarks.

Read the Transcript

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President Obama Declares March 31st César Chávez Day

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Valerie Jarrett

President Barack Obama, surrounded by the family of Cesar Chavez and leaders of the United Farm Workers that Chavez co-founded, signs a proclamation in the Oval Office designating March 31, 2010, which would have been his 83rd birthday, as Cesar Chavez Day. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, I joined President Obama in welcoming the family of César E. Chávez to the White House. On what would have been his 83rd birthday, the President honored his family and his life’s work by proclaiming March 31, 2010 “César Chávez Day.”

Chavez was raised in a family of migrant farm workers. In his youth and later in life, he led the charge for fair wages and safer working conditions after witnessing the abuses suffered by workers simply trying to earn a living. At the time, farm workers were deeply impoverished and often exploited by employers. Rarely did they have access to safe drinking water or basic necessities like bathrooms, and they were routinely exposed to the harsh chemicals used to treat crops and fields.

César E. Chávez

Chavez could not sit idly by while such abuses occurred. He became an organizer, a leader and a voice for justice, bringing farm workers together to demand change through boycotts, strikes and other nonviolent demonstrations. He established the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), which continues to champion his cause to this day. In fact, several of his family members continue to lead the UFW today.

The legacy of Cesar Chavez is one that is alive and well, even within the walls of the White House. Like Chavez, President Obama is also committed to giving communities the tools they need to grow stronger, more sustainable and more prosperous. The President knows that lasting change does not come from the top down, but rather, it comes from the bottom up, and he has encouraged all Americans to answer the call to public service—whether that means tutoring a child, creating a community garden, or helping needy residents to access necessary health care.

Valerie Jarrett is the Senior Advisor to the President

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Photo of the Day: Kansas Storm

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