Daily Archives: April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010 Round Up from Across the Obama Administration

Posted by: Audiegrl

It’s been a busy Earth Day here at the White House and around the Administration.  Yesterday Vice President Biden kicked off the Administration’s Earth Day Celebration by announcing $452 million in Recovery Act funding to support a “Retrofit Ramp-Up.” This program will create thousands of jobs and allow these communities to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses while testing out innovative strategies that can be adopted all over the country.  President Obama also issued a Presidential Proclamation on Earth Day calling on Americans to join in the spirit of the first Earth Day forty years ago to take action in their communities to make our planet cleaner and healthier.

This afternoon, Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, hosted a live chat on WhiteHouse.gov to answer your questions about how the Administration is working to improve the environment and build a clean energy economy that supports the jobs of the future.  This evening, the President hosted an Earth Day reception in the Rose Garden at the White House where he discussed some of the challenges that lie ahead in achieving a clean energy economy:

I think we all understand that the task ahead is daunting; that the work ahead will not be easy and it’s not going to happen overnight.  It’s going to take your leadership.  It’s going to take all of your ideas.  And it will take all of us coming together in the spirit of Earth Day — not only on Earth Day but every day — to make the dream of a clean energy economy and a clean world a reality.

Over on the Social Innovation and Civic Participation blog, guest blogger and former Peace Corps volunteer Kelly McCormack shares here story about a community solution to an environmental problem in Gautemala.

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Finally, President Obama’s cabinet and other senior government officials fanned out across the country as part of the Administration’s 5-day celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.  From live chats, to announcing major investments in renewable energy, to appearing on the David Letterman show – all-in-all a busy day!

  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson
    Both EPA and Earth Day celebrate their 40th birthdays this year!  On Earth Day, Administrator Jackson joined Green For All at the Grant Houses Community Garden in Manhattan to take a tour of the garden, deliver remarks to students and volunteers and participate in a planting activity with volunteers.  Later tonight catch her on the David Letterman Show to talk about the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the President’s clean energy and green jobs agenda. Check out EPA’s Earth Day website to learn more about what they are doing to celebrate 40 years of going green!
  • Energy Secretary Steven Chu
    On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department will invest more than $200 million over five years to expand and accelerate the development, commercialization, and use of solar and water power technologies throughout the United States.
  • Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
    Secretary Locke spoke in Jersey City, N.J., at the Lincoln Park restoration project that is turning a landfill into a healthy wetland. NOAA funded this habitat restoration project through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley
    Chair Sutley will deliver remarks at the Earth Day Network’s 40th Anniversary of Earth Day festivities on the National Mall this Sunday.  Today she shared her personal reflections on Earth Day on the White House blog.
  • Labor Secretary Hilda Solis
    Earlier today Secretary Solis hosted a webchat to discuss issues and opportunities related to Earth Day. The Department of Labor also issued a report detailing green job training opportunities made available over the past year, including $490 million in Recovery Act funding for green jobs training.
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki
    Secretary Shinseki awarded $20.2 million to install solar energy systems at 18 VA medical centers through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus
    Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus celebrated Earth Day by attending a flight test of the “Green Hornet,” an F/A-18 Super Hornet multirole fighter jet powered by a biofuel blend. Secretary Mabus has made the exploration and adoption of alternative fuels a priority for the Navy and Marine Corps.
  • Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
    Secretary Salazar joined hundreds of children on the National Mall for a Buddy the Bison Hike sponsored by the National Park Service. Later he joined the Earth Day Network event on the mall to talk the need to address urgent environmental crises such as climate change.
  • Transportation Secretary  Ray LaHood
    Secretary LaHood celebrated Earth Day at a rally in Chicago with Mayor Daley and the Chicago Climate Action Plan.  You can read more about his day on his blog Fastlane.
  • Education Secretary Arne Duncan
    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered remarks at a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day Thursday at the National Mall in Washington.
  • Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen
    Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen reflected on his blog “iCommandant” on the Coast Guard’s mission of saving lives and saving the planet by helping to protect and preserve marine life and habitats.

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Filed under Change, Environment, Eric Shinseki (Sec of Veterans Affairs), First Lady Michelle Obama, Gary F. Locke (Sec of Commerce), Green, Hilda Solis (Sec of Labor), Lisa P. Jackson (EPA Administrator), Obama Administration, Pres. Barack Obama, Raymond L. LaHood (Sec of Transportation), Secretary Arne Duncan (Sec of Education), Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar (Sec of Interior), Steven Chu (Sec of Energy), Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates Take Your Child to Work Day

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to children in the East Room of the White House April 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. Mrs. Obama addressed and answered questions from children of Executive Office employees at the White House's annual Take Your Child to Work Day. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)

CBSNews~First Lady Michelle Obama this morning held a question-and-answer session with about 100 children of White House staffers in the East Room of the White House. The occasion? Take Your Child to Work Day.

“What’s important to know is that your parents got here because they worked hard,” the first lady said. “They worked hard when they were your age. And I tell my kids this all the time: If you want to work in a place like the White House, no matter what you do, now is the time that you have to start thinking about working hard in school.”

One child asked Mrs. Obama “what will happen if something bad happened to a country.”

“Well, first of all I’d wake my husband up if it were at night,” she responded, prompting laughter. “And I’d tell him, hey, buddy, you’re the president, get down to the Oval Office and call some leaders.”

Asked about the much-obsessed over first dog, Bo, the first lady called him “crazy.”

“He loves to chew on people’s feet,” she said.

Another student asked what Mrs. Obama likes to do in her free time. She said that she doesn’t have much free time, and that she is spending a lot of time taking care of the puppy and going to her kids’ games.

She does, however, occasionally “sneak out” for a little fun, she said.

“Every now and then I have this thing that I like to do with some of my staff members, and we sneak out, without telling anybody, and we go and test out all the fun places to eat in D.C. — like I went to Five Guys and nobody knew it,” she said, prompting laughs from the children. “It was good.”

Remarks by The First Lady at Take Your Child to Work Day Event

Bo, the Obama family dog, paws First Lady Michelle Obama's leg as she answers questions from children of White House staff members during a Take Your Child To Work Day event in the East Room of the White House, April 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Welcome Olympians to the White House

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Obama and First Lady Michelle greet members of the U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey team in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, April 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

USAToday~Rainy weather forced U.S. Olympians indoors today at the White House, but did not dull the excitement of meeting the president and first lady.

“It never gets old coming to the White House,” said medal-winning speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama went from room to room in the Executive Mansion, greeting Olympic and Paralympic team members who recently competed in Vancouver. The event had been scheduled for the South Lawn.

Some of the Olympians — such as alpine skier Alana Nichols — are helping Michelle Obama with her anti-obesity campaign targeting the nation’s children called “Let’s Move.”

“We’re big believers in moving and staying active and keeping our bodies healthy,” Nichols said.

Nichols has also promoted equality for fellow Paralympians. “We’re athletes first and foremost,” she said.

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Last two Official White House Photos by Lawrence Jackson

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

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The Tea Party: Populism of the Privileged by E.J. Dionne

Posted by: BuellBoy

Op-ed by E.J. Dionne

EJ DionneWashington Post~The Tea Party is nothing new. It represents a relatively small minority of Americans on the right end of politics, and it will not determine the outcome of the 2010 elections.

In fact, both major parties stand to lose if they accept the laughable notion that this media-created protest movement is the voice of true populism. Democrats will spend their time chasing votes they will never win. Republicans will turn their party into an angry and narrow redoubt with no hope of building a durable majority.

The news media’s incessant focus on the Tea Party is creating a badly distorted picture of what most Americans think and is warping our policy debates. The New York Times and CBS News thus performed a public service last week with a careful study of just who is in the Tea Party movement.

Their findings suggest that the Tea Party is essentially the reappearance of an old anti-government far right that has always been with us and accounts for about one-fifth of the country. The Times reported that Tea Party supporters “tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.” They are also more affluent and better educated than Americans as a whole. This is the populism of the privileged.

And the poll suggested something that white Americans are reluctant to discuss: Part of the anger at President Obama among Tea Partiers does appear to be driven by racial concerns.

Saying this invites immediate denunciations from defenders of those who bring guns to rallies, threaten violence to “take our country back,” and mouth old slogans about states’ rights and the Confederacy. So let’s be clear: Opposition to the president is driven by many factors that have nothing to do with race. But race is definitely part of what’s going on.

The poll asked: “In recent years, do you think too much has been made of the problems facing black people, too little has been made, or is it about right?” Twenty-eight percent of all Americans — and just 19 percent of those who are not Tea Party loyalists — answered “too much.” But among Tea Party supporters, the figure is 52 percent, almost three times the proportion of the rest of the country. A quarter of Tea Partiers say that the Obama administration’s policies favor blacks over whites, compared with only 11 percent in the country as a whole.

So race is part of this picture, as is a tendency of Tea Party enthusiasts to side with the better-off against the poor. This puts them at odds with most Americans. The poll found that while only 38 percent of all Americans said that “providing government benefits to poor people encourages them to remain poor,” 73 percent of Tea Party partisans believed this. Among all Americans, 50 percent agreed that “the federal government should spend money to create jobs, even if it means increasing the budget deficit.” Only 17 percent of Tea Party supporters took this view.

Asked about raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year to provide health care for the uninsured, 54 percent of Americans favored doing so vs. only 17 percent of Tea Party backers.

This must be the first “populist” movement driven by a television network: Sixty-three percent of the Tea Party folks say they most watch Fox News “for information about politics and current events,” compared with 23 percent of the country as a whole.

The right-wing fifth of America deserves news coverage like everyone else, and Fox is perfectly free to pander to its viewers. What makes no sense is allowing a sliver of opinion to dominate the media and distort our political discourse.

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A correspondent for New Left Media ventured out among the tea partiers during their tax day protests in Washington D.C. last week to interview them about what it is that’s fueling their fierce opposition to to the government in general and President Obama in particular.

Suffice to say, the answers involve lots of wild-eyed claims about tyranny and socialism. Highlights include a woman gravely warning “Obama is considering banning fishing in America,” as well as another dressed in a ball and chain outfit to illustrate how our liberties are being constrained.

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