Daily Archives: May 3, 2010

President Obama Congratulates U.S. Naval Academy Football Team for Seventh Straight Win

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Jesse Lee

President Barack Obama (L) receives a jersey from Osei Asante (R) of the Navy football team Midshipmen during the presentation ceremony of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy at the East Room of the White House May 3, 2010 in Washington, DC. The team was being honored for winning the trophy for the seventh consecutive year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

This afternoon, President Obama presented the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy to the U.S. Naval Academy football team for their seventh consecutive win. The President joked that after consulting White House counsel, the team was “only allowed to come back here one more time before it’s somebody else’s turn.” He congratulated them for seven straight wins against Air Force and eight against the Army, calling it an impressive win for “one of the biggest rivalries in sports, period.”

The President congratulated quarterback Ricky Dobbs for setting the NCAA rushing touchdown record at 27, and joked that Ricky’s announcement for presidency in 2040 was a bit much. “But it does mean that when Navy comes back for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy 30 years from now, you might hear a speech from this guy,” the President told the team. He also praised co-captain Ross Pospil for organizing a toy drive last year during a snow storm, thanking the team for their compassion and generosity.

In the end, it’s the willingness to put others above yourselves that sets this team -– and all the service academies  -– apart.  Your days are packed with morning inspections and a full load of classes, football practice, and military duties.  And oftentimes, you’re lucky if you can get a few minutes to yourselves before studying into the night.

But you do it because each of you has a higher calling — to serve your country in a time of war.  As Ross says, “We are always going to be remembered for what we have done on the football field.  That’s all well and good.  But we want to make a difference outside Bancroft Hall, and outside the Academy walls.” And that I think is the kind of ethic that makes us all so proud.

In a few short weeks, 32 of you will have that chance when you become officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.  Last year, I was honored to attend the Academy commencement and see firsthand the incredible spirit that drives every Midshipman at Annapolis — in addition to getting two chest bumps.

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Filed under Military, Navy, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

President Obama Delivers Speech at the University of Michigan’s Spring Commencement

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Shama Hussain

“Because I Believe in You”

President Barack Obama delivers a commencement address to the University of Michigan 2010 class in Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

At the University of Michigan’s Spring Commencement, President Obama discussed the nature of politics in our democracy which he said has “never been for the thick-skinned or the faint-of-heart.” He talked about pundits and politicians who call each other all sorts of names and continue to debate about the role and size of government, but reminded the audience that “our experiment in democracy has worked better than any form of government on Earth.”

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The President talked about the importance of healthy debate to maintain a basic level of civility, reminding the audience that “we can’t expect to solve our problems if all we do is tear each other down.” He explained that over-the-top rhetoric and vilification sends signals to the extreme sides that violence is a justifiable response.

“You can disagree with a certain policy without demonizing the person who espouses it.  You can question somebody’s views and their judgment without questioning their motives or their patriotism. Throwing around phrases like “socialists” and “Soviet-style takeover” and “fascist” and “right-wing nut” that may grab headlines, but it also has the effect of comparing our government, our political opponents, to authoritarian, even murderous regimes.

Now, we’ve seen this kind of politics in the past.  It’s been practiced by both fringes of the ideological spectrum, by the left and the right, since our nation’s birth.  But it’s starting to creep into the center of our discourse.  And the problem with it is not the hurt feelings or the bruised egos of the public officials who are criticized.  Remember, they signed up for it.  Michelle always reminds me of that. The problem is that this kind of vilification and over-the-top rhetoric closes the door to the possibility of compromise.  It undermines democratic deliberation.  It prevents learning –- since, after all, why should we listen to a “fascist,” or a “socialist,” or a “right-wing nut,” or a left-wing nut”?

It makes it nearly impossible for people who have legitimate but bridgeable differences to sit down at the same table and hash things out.  It robs us of a rational and serious debate, the one we need to have about the very real and very big challenges facing this nation.  It coarsens our culture, and at its worst, it can send signals to the most extreme elements of our society that perhaps violence is a justifiable response.”

President Barack Obama talks with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm during the University of Michigan commencement ceremony in Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President encouraged the audience to actively seek information that challenges their beliefs in order to “begin to understand where the people who disagree with us are coming from.”

“[I]f you’re somebody who only reads the editorial page of The New York Times, try glancing at the page of The Wall Street Journal once in a while.  If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website.  It may make your blood boil; your mind may not be changed.  But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship.  It is essential for our democracy.”

He closed by saying that the nation’s destiny has never been certain and reminded them of their “ability to shape that destiny.”

“That is what makes us Americans -– our ability at the end of the day to look past all of our differences and all of our disagreements and still forge a common future.  That task is now in your hands, as is the answer to the question posed at this university half a century ago about whether a free society can still compete.

If you are willing, as past generations were willing, to contribute part of your life to the life of this country, then I, like President Kennedy, believe we can.  Because I believe in you.”

President Barack Obama receives an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, before delivering the commencement address to University of Michigan graduates, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Filed under Education, Michigan, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts the 20th Annual National Science Bowl

Posted by: Audiegrl
Posted by Secretary Steven Chu

New Faces, New Solutions

First Lady Michelle Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu with the winning teams, North Carolina School of Science and Mathmatics, left, and Albuquerque Academy, right, at the 20th Annual National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. May 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and I have the distinct pleasure of lending a hand at the National Science Bowl – an impressive display of the scientific talents of our young people.  Over the past few days, students from sixty-eight high school teams and thirty-seven middle school teams have competed for the championship titles by answering questions in a range of scientific disciplines, including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics and astronomy, and math.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu ask the championship round bonus point questions at the Department’s 20th Annual National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. May 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

I have been going to Science Bowls for many years, and I always come away hopeful for America’s future.  I know the First Lady would agree that the knowledge and dedication of these students is inspiring. Read the First Lady’s remarks here.

Competitions like this one are important because America’s leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today.  We need a bold new generation of scientists and engineers to make America competitive in this century.  Only by having our best and brightest young people pursue careers in science and engineering can America compete for the high-wage, high-tech jobs of the 21st century.  We also face an unprecedented challenge to our very way of life from a changing climate, and we need this generation to help find new solutions to the energy and climate problem. In fact, all of the great challenges we will face in this century will require science and innovation to meet them.

Steven Chu is the Secretary of Energy

Students from Across the Country Prepare
for Regional Science Competitions


Students, coaches and parents takes photos of First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Science in Washington, D.C. May 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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 Alternative Energy, Children, Education, First Lady Michelle Obama, Green, Sciences, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized