Daily Archives: May 1, 2010

President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 05/01/10

Posted by: Audiegrl

white house gov logoWhiteHouse.gov~Giving Government Back to the American People~As the President beats back lobbyists seeking to weaken Wall Street Reform, he talks about an even broader threat that would vastly expand the influence of massive industries and their lobbyists in Washington. A recent Supreme Court decision opened the floodgates for corporations, including foreign corporations, to spend endless money on political ads that would give them even more power at the expense of American families – the President pledges to fight for reforms to stem that influence.

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

President Obama and First Lady Michelle at the 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner, Hosted by Jay Leno

Posted by: Audiegrl

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner Red Carpet

The 2010 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner brought politicos, reporters and celebrities to the red carpet…and the sartorial theme of the night also seemed to be red! First Lady Michelle Obama led the way in a magnificent gown by up-and-coming designer Prabal Gurung, and also spotted sporting the hue of the evening were Mariska Hargitay, Katie Couric, Kathie Lee Gifford and Gayle King.

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President Obama Trades Jokes with Jay Leno

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the White House Correspondents Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. May 1, 2010. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

President Obama made his second appearance at the annual White House Press and Scholarship Dinner last night in Washington, D.C. He took the dais before the headliner Jay Leno, remarking, “I’m also glad to be speaking first. We’ve all seen what happens to the person in the time slot after Leno.”

But Leno was far from the only subject of the President’s jokes. Senators, Members of Congress and his own Administration were all fair game. Of the recently passed health reform legislation, he noted:

“You might have heard we passed a health care bill. And some Republicans have suggested that the bill contains a few “secret” provisions. That’s ridiculous. There aren’t a few secret provisions in the health care plan. There are like hundreds. And tonight, in the interest of transparency, I’d like to share a couple. Let’s see here. This provision is called the “Bay State of Denial.” It reads, “This bill shall cover short-term memory loss related to the passage of Massachusetts health care reform.” Good news, Mitt, your condition is covered! This next provision is called the “Jersey Shore-Up.” It reads, “The following individuals shall be excluded from the indoor tanning tax within this bill: Snooki, J-Woww, the Situation, and House Minority Leader John Boehner.” This provision ought to put a common misconception to rest. It says right here: “If you do not like the ruling of your death panel, you can appeal it.”

He concluded his remarks before Leno took the stage with a reminder of the necessary role of the fourth estate:

“Some of you are seasoned veterans who have been on the political beat for decades. Others here tonight began their careers as bloggers not long ago. But I think it’s fair to say that every single reporter in this room believes deeply in the enterprise of journalism. Every one of you, even the most cynical among you, understands and cherishes the function of a free press in the preservation of our system of government and our way of life. And I want you to know that for all the jokes and occasional gripes, I cherish that work as well. In fact, tonight, I wanted to present you all with a bipartisan, Congressional resolution that honors all those wonderful contributions that journalists have made to our country and our world. Unfortunately, I couldn’t break the filibuster.”

Full Transcript of the Remarks

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The Vanity Fair/Bloomberg White House Correspondents’ Dinner After-Party


Vanity Fair/Michael Hogan~Despite news of a sobering scare in Times Square and an unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the power elites of Washington, New York, and Hollywood managed to squeeze in an evening of revelry in the nation’s capital. The party, hosted by Vanity Fair and Bloomberg, was held at the French ambassador’s sprawling residence, just blocks from the Washington Hilton, where the White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place earlier in the evening.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg and New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly were not on hand, having flown back to Manhattan after a car full of explosives was discovered in Times Square, but there were plenty of other power brokers available to fill the vacuum. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and senior adviser David Axelrod exerted their magnetic pull on “powerstruck” partygoers (to use a phrase coined during the party by guest Ryan Seacrest), while News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and Google C.E.O. Eric Schmidt served as human reminders that clout comes in colors other than red and blue.

The mood had changed since last year, when the Obama administration’s newly minted stars easily outshone the Hollywood imports. After a year of bruising battles, Rahm, Axe, Orszag, and co. looked a bit paler in comparison with the impressive array of movie stars (Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Anna Kendrick, Rosario Dawson, Bradley Cooper, Gabourey Sidibe, Zach Galifianakis, Jeremy Renner, Michael Douglas, Ashley Judd, Jessica Alba), TV actors (Chace Crawford, Adrian Grenier, Chelsea Handler, Jimmy Fallon, Matthew Morrison, and The Wire’s Dominic West, Michael K. Williams, Sonja Sohn), directors (Kathryn Bigelow, J.J. Abrams), athletes (Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo), designers (Donatella Versace, Jason Wu), and musicians (Jon Bon Jovi, the Jonas Brothers, John Cougar Mellencamp, T-Bone Burnett).

Sex in the City actresses Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis

Still, this being Washington, there was a central role for political figures and the people who cover them. Senator Chris Dodd, the chief sponsor of the financial-reform bill now making its way through the upper chamber of Congress, chatted with Murdoch while Larry Summers, Colin Powell, Eric Holder, Jane Harman, Richard Holbrooke, and Austan Goolsbee circulated nearby. (Congressman John Dingell, the Dean of the House, parked his 83-year-old frame on a couch and let the people come to him.) Luke Russert of NBC News made nice with the movie people and GQ Washington correspondent Ana Marie Cox squired musician Rhett Miller around the porch, but most of the political press corps seemed content to stick to their beat. Politico savant Mike Allen collected tidbits from the parties he’d somehow missed, ABC News political director David Chalian congratulated Axelrod assistant Eric Lesser on a flatteringNew York Times Magazine profile, and Jon Meacham, Maureen Dowd, David Gregory, Katie Couric, Walter Isaacson, and Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn mingled with V.F.’s Christopher Hitchens, Dee Dee Myers, Todd S. Purdum, Maureen Orth, Bob Colacello, Cullen Murphy, and Graydon and Anna Carter.

More than one guest was overheard to remark on the French ambassador’s enviable living conditions. The generously apportioned rooms, hung with portraits of bygone aristocrats, were luxurious enough, but the spacious grounds took things to another level. It was warm enough to spend the whole night outdoors, in the shadow of tall trees that were lit up for the occasion in shifting patterns of orange, green, and pre-dawn blue. Those most determined to see and be seen clustered on the main terrace, but others gravitated to less crowded spaces. Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann set up camp on the stairs leading down to the pool, drawing in any funny people who happened to pass by. The veterans of The Wire, meanwhile, hung together on a side balcony, posing for group snapshots with grateful fans.

At 3 a.m., a crowd of about 100 partygoers remained, reluctant to call it a night. A host of intractable problems awaited them back in the real world, but for the moment it was enough to worry how they might wrangle one last drink.

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

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Filed under Culture, Fashion, First Lady Michelle Obama, Hollywood, Media and Entertainment, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

West Wing Week ~ Doing the Math ~ April 23-29, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama attends a memorial service in Beckley, W.V., April 25, 2010, for 29 miners killed in an explosion at Big Branch Mine. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step-by-step with the President as he attends a naturalization ceremony for some members of the Armed Forces, delivers a eulogy for West Virginia miners, welcomes the World Series Champion New York Yankees, travels to the Midwest as part of his White House to Main Street tour, and much more.

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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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Filed under Change, Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Green, Obama Administration, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, West Wing Week

Sandra Bullock and Son Louie: It Was Important To Adopt From The U.S

Posted by: Audiegrl

In public, Sandra Bullock has been through the best and worst of times this year – from winning her first Oscar to enduring the breakup of her marriage. In private, she was quietly keeping a joyful secret – his name is Louis, and he is her newborn son.

He’s just perfect, I can’t even describe him any other way,” Bullock reveals exclusively in the new issue of People, announcing that she is the proud mother of Louis Bardo Bullock, a 3½-month-old boy, born in New Orleans. “It’s like he’s always been a part of our lives.”

In her interview with People magazine, Bullock said she is savoring her new maternal status with Louis, and is now finalizing the adoption as a single parent. “You wake up, you feed, you burp, you play, you do laundry,” she said. “I’m still in that stage where I’m just amazed with him and at life.”

Bullock talks about the adoption process in the interview, saying that it was important to her to adopt domestically, even though it meant a longer wait for a baby. After spending time in New Orleans after Katrina, the couple began the process four years ago.

We began the conversations and then all the paperwork, the background checks, the home visitations about four years ago,” she said. “We didn’t want to go at it any other way than the way everyone else would have to do it. There are hoops, but the hoops are there to protect the child. And worth every jump.

When asked why she chose to adopt from New Orleans, Sandra said adopting domestically was the priority.

I don’t know if it was important to adopt from New Orleans, but it was important to adopt from the U.S.,” she said. “New Orleans for both of us was a place that we loved, a place that had a lot of history for the both of us and a place I couldn’t let go of.

The baby, called Louie, was born in New Orleans and is named after jazz great Louis Armstrong, who had particularly touched Bullock with his signature song, “What a Wonderful World,” she said.

Fans and People readers immediately took to Facebook and Twitter to congratulate Bullock and comment on the news, with their reactions ranging from delight to declaring her an “inspiration.”

Sandra is a true role model for young women to learn how to handle themselves in good and bad times, class act, with style and grace abounding,” wrote someone who identified herself simply as Jacquelynn, while OnlyOneSher Tweeted: “How can you not think happy thoughts for Sandra Bullock? She deserves it and deserves to be happy! Congratulations!

Sandra Bullock’s Ties to New Orleans

Louisiana State Senator Ed Murray presents newly inducted Hall of Fame member Sandra Bullock with a proclamation thanking her for her support of Warren Easton Charter High School, the state’s oldest public high school. (Photo by Stanwycks Photography)

It’s a city synonymous with rebuilding, so New Orleans seems like the perfect place for Sandra Bullock to raise son Louis.

New Orleans is his city, and he is going to know it inside and out,” Bullock says. “Without the spirit of the people who live there and take care of the city and honor its traditions, its love for music, its love for life, take those people out and you don’t have why I love New Orleans so much.”

Even before deciding to “find our child in New Orleans,” Bullock was establishing significant ties to and a love for the Big Easy.

After Hurricane Katrina, Bullock became a major supporter of Warren Easton Charter High School, the first public high school for boys in Louisiana. The historical school sustained $4 million in damages, and the actress, who tells People she “felt such a profound need to do something for them,” has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for renovations, new band uniforms and a new health clinic.

She has also established a $10,000 college scholarship. Not to mention, before Bullock scored a Best Actress Oscar for starring in The Blind Side, which was written by New Orleans native Michael Lewis, she used the film’s New Orleans premiere as a fundraiser to benefit the school. Her generosity even earned her an induction into the school’s hall of fame last year.

She acts as if all 800-plus of these children are her own,” Warren Easton’s principal Alexina Medley tells People. Adds school board member Arthur Hardy: “She has been our angel. We love her.”

Sandra Bullock’s Baby News Brings Joy to New Orleans

The city of New Orleans is buzzing with the news that Sandra Bullock‘s new son Louis is from New Orleans – and the Oscar winner is getting a lot of love sent her way.

In September Bullock put down more permanent roots, purchasing a home in the Garden District of New Orleans. The mansion is reportedly near property owned by Treme star John Goodman and a home previously owned by writer Anne Rice, according to the Times-Picayune.

Personally, I’m thrilled for Sandra on the adoption of her child,” says Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who celebrated his Super Bowl MVP win on the David Letterman show with Bullock on Feb. 8. “Clearly she has embraced the city of New Orleans and appreciates what a wonderful and culturally rich city this is, and the fact that she has adopted a beautiful child with roots to our city makes it that much more special.

He adds: “It goes without saying that she is a talented actress, a true humanitarian and philanthropist. We are all very happy for her and the new addition to her family.”

Bullock’s love of the city is part of what makes her a resident, says New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, who also sends his best wishes.

Congratulations to Sandra Bullock and her new son,” says Nagin. “Since Hurricane Katrina, Americans have prayed for us, given their time as volunteers in our community, and demanded that no other city ever go through what New Orleans experienced. Sandra Bullock has become one of us. We wish this new mother every success.”

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Filed under Adoption, Children, New Orleans, LA, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

Arizona Ethnic Studies Classes Banned, Teachers With Accents Can No Longer Teach English…WTF?

Posted by: BuellBoy

HP~Arizona’s new immigration law is just about crime, its supporters say, but given that the state’s new education policy equates ethnic studies programs with high treason, they may not be using the commonly accepted definition of “crime.”

Under the ban, sent to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer by the state legislature Thursday, schools will lose state funding if they offer any courses that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

As ThinkProgress notes, the Tucson Unified School District’s popular Mexican-American studies department is the target here. The state superintendent charges that the program exhibits “ethnic chauvinism.”

Meanwhile, in a move that was more covert until the Wall Street Journal uncovered it, the Arizona Department of Education has told schools that teachers with “heavy” or “ungrammatical” accents are no longer allowed to teach English classes.

As outlined by the Journal, Arizona’s recent pattern of discriminatory education policies is ironic — and is likely a function of No Child Left Behind funding requirements — given that the state spent a decade recruiting teachers for whom English was a second language.

In the 1990s, Arizona hired hundreds of teachers whose first language was Spanish as part of a broad bilingual-education program. Many were recruited from Latin America.

Then in 2000, voters passed a ballot measure stipulating that instruction be offered only in English. Bilingual teachers who had been instructing in Spanish switched to English.

Teachers who don’t meet the new fluency standards have the option of taking classes to improve their English, the Journal reports, but if they fail to reach the state’s targets would be fired or reassigned.

Arizona Expands Its Discrimination: Teachers With Heavy Accents Can’t Teach English, Ethnic Studies Are Banned

ThinkProgress~Adding insult to injury, the Arizona legislature passed a bill yesterday outlawing ethnic studies programs:

HB 2281 would make it illegal for a school district to have any courses or classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity “instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

It also would ban classes that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people.”

The measure is directed at the Tuscon Unified School District’s popular Mexican-American studies department, which school officials say provides only “historical information” — not “ethnic chauvanism” as the state school superintendent has alleged. One state lawmaker tried to show how ridiculous the legislation is by proposing that schools be barred from teaching about 9/11 because it would result in hatred toward Arab-Americans; the measure failed.

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Filed under Arizona, Education, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Immigration, Law, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama to Host 20th Annual National Science Bowl

Posted by: Audiegrl

Students from Across the Country Prepare
for Regional Science Competitions


First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Department of Energy for the National Science Bowl competition in Washington, D.C., Nov. 5, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

On May 4, 2010 First Lady Michelle Obama will join Energy Secretary Steven Chu for the Department’s 20th Annual National Science Bowl where she will ask the championship round bonus point questions. The First Lady and Secretary Chu will also address the more than 500 high school and middle school students and the 100 teachers and coaches attending the competition. Last November, Mrs. Obama visited the Department and joined Secretary Chu for a practice session for young people competing in the Science Bowl.

In the days prior to the championship, 105 regional high school and middle school championship teams from 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will participate in round robin and double elimination rounds in which they will be quizzed on math and all science disciplines, including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics and astronomy.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl® is a nationwide academic competition that tests students’ knowledge in all areas of science. High school and middle school students are quizzed in a fast paced question-and-answer format similar to Jeopardy. Competing teams from diverse backgrounds are comprised of four students, one alternate, and a teacher who serves as an advisor and coach.

The Paul Dorman High School team at 2009 National Science Bowl

A featured event at the National Finals for middle school students, the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenge invites students to design, build, and race model cars. This competition tests the creative engineering skills of many of the brightest math and science students in the nation as they gain hands-on experience in the automotive design process and with hydrogen fuel cell technology.

DOE launched its National Science Bowl competition in 1991 to encourage high school students to excel in science and math and to pursue careers in those fields. “This year we anticipate 6,000 middle school and 15,000 high school students will compete in regional competitions” said Sue Ellen Walbridge, DOE Office of Science program manager for the National Science Bowl®. “From this number, we anticipate 40 middle school and 69 high school teams will participate in the finals held in May.”

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The National Science Bowl is the only science competition in the United States sponsored by a federal agency.

For more information, please visit the DOE National Science Bowl® Press Room

First Lady Michelle Obama listens as Energy Secretary Steven Chu asks questions during the National Science Bowl competition at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., Nov. 5, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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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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Filed under Children, Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Green, Sciences, Steven Chu (Sec of Energy), Students, Teachers, Uncategorized