Daily Archives: May 7, 2010

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Enjoy “Date Night” in DC

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Obama and First Lady Michelle leave Komi restaurant in the Dupont Circle neighborhood May 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. The first couple were sent off by a cheering crowd of more than 200 people who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the Obamas.

Komi is a Washington, DC restaurant operated by Chef Johnny Monis. It is located at 1509 17th St. NW, near Dupont Circle, and serves Italian and Greek-influenced dishes. In April 2007, Food and Wine Magazine named Johnny Monis one of the F&W 2007 Best New Chefs.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Speak at the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum Issues Conference

Posted by: Audiegrl

When you need something done and you ask women to do it, it gets done~First Lady Michelle Obama

DNC~The first half of today’s Women’s Leadership Forum event was capped by appearances by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, who have worked closely together on issues from military families to their recent visit to Haiti.

Dr. Biden spoke about her work teaching at a community college, and some of the extraordinary women she’s met who are working to improve their lives and the lives of those around them:

“I am profoundly moved by the women I meet, whether in my travels or in my classroom each day, by their determination to learn, and their quest to make a better life for themselves and their families.”

First Lady Michelle Obama then took to the stage, reminding the audience of when she’d last been with the group, at the Women’s Leadership Forum held in Chicago in 2008. The First Lady Lady spoke on what’s changed since and what remains the same now:

“The last time we were together, it was back in late October of 2008, and you were all meeting in my hometown, Chicago…A lot has changed since we last met. But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Back then I talked about the issues that we face—from the economy, to health care, to education. And I said that these issues aren’t and they still aren’t about politics. They’re personal. And they’re personal for every single one of us in this room, and they’re personal for every single one of us in this country.

It’s easy to lose sight of that fact with all the back and forth that goes on here in Washington — folks yelling at each other on TV so that little things get blown out of proportion and sometimes big, important things don’t always get the attention that they deserve.

But when Barack and I travel the country now and we spend time with ordinary folks, they don’t have much interest in the scorekeeping that goes on here in Washington. They really don’t…

The questions they ask have nothing to do with the daily chatter that goes on here, and it has everything to do with the struggles, the real struggles they’re facing in their lives. They tell us about insurance companies that refuse to pay for the treatment that they need, and they ask us, “What do I do now?” Or they tell us, “I’ve been out of a job for months.” And they ask, “What are you going to do to help folks like me?”

…They are the basis for every decision he makes—not whether it’s good politics, not whether it’s going to make good headlines, but whether it’s good for them and for their families.”

The First Lady has made working with young people around the globe a priority, recently taking her first solo international trip to Haiti and Mexico. She told the story of a young woman she had met in Mexico City, and the stories like hers that show how women are the ones leading the fight to improve the world for future generations:

“I’ll never forget about a young woman that I met there named Maricela, who I met at a roundtable discussion with young leaders in Mexico City…Her father had passed away, and her mother — she told a story of how she worked tirelessly to support her and her four siblings; said her mom was always the first one to wake up in the morning, and the last one to go to bed at night. But she told us about the fact that despite their hardships, her mother was determined to build a better life for her daughter.

…This is a story that is told every day all around the world, and right here in America — a story about the strength and determination of women. Women who haven’t had much in their own lives, but who know exactly what they want for their children. Women who work those extra shifts, and make those sacrifices, so their daughters –- and their sons –- can have opportunities they never imagined for themselves.

I’m talking about women like Lilly Ledbetter, who kept on fighting for equal pay even when she knew that it was too late for herself, because she wanted something more for the women who came after her…I’m talking about women like Dr. Dorothy Height, one of my heroes — who kept up the fight for civil and economic rights up through the final months of her life. She once said, “I want to be remembered as someone who used herself and anything she could touch to work for justice and freedom…I want to be remembered as someone who tried.”

And every day, across this country, so many women wake up every day and try -– using everything they have –- to make life a little better for others…and that’s what you all are doing—building a better world for our kids and grand kids. We need you to stay involved. When you need something done and you ask women to do it, it gets done.”

Remarks by The First Lady and Dr. Biden to the Women’s Leadership Forum Issues Conference

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

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Special Mothers Day Event at the White House

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama (R) shares a moment with her mother Marian Robinson (L) as she hosts a Mother's Day event at the State Dining Room of the White House May 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. Guests at the events included former first lady Rosalny Carter, former first daughters, spouses and mothers of soldiers, and young women from Mrs. Obama's mentoring program and the notable women in their lives. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

In honor of Mother’s Day, the First Lady hosted an event at the White House this afternoon, joined by Dr. Jill Biden and Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter. She also recognized that today is Military Spouses Appreciation Day and told the spouses and mothers of service members that “we are forever grateful for your service and inspired by your strength.”

Talking about the love and care that mother figures give every day, she said that there is no way to quantify how important mothers are in our lives, asking, “Do 15 or 20 sleepless nights during high school equal a bouquet of flowers?” The First Lady was joined by her own mother, who she described as her “rock.”

She has pulled me up when I’ve stumbled.  She’s pulled me back when I’ve run out of line, talking a little too much.  She’ll snap me up.  She really does push me to be the best woman that I can be, truly, as a professional, and as a mother, and as a friend.  And she has always, always, always been there for me.  And as our family have grown, she’s managed to expand her love for all of us.

And raising our girls in the White House with my mom — oh, not going to do this — (laughter) — is a beautiful experience.  And the opportunity to have three generations living in the White House, it’s beautiful.  And I’m pretty sure the President is happy about it, too.  In this world there is so much going on, we know that we’re blessed, the Obamas.

The First Lady also discussed the White House Leadership and Mentoring Initiative, which she said was created because she believes “in the importance of giving our young mentees a piece of ourselves.”  She explained that the program is about helping women realize that they can be leaders and create their own opportunities, recognizing that the room was filled by women who had done just that. “[T]here are so many of these stories right here in this room.  Now, they may have different characters and soundtracks, right, but whether you grew up on Bing Crosby, Aretha Franklin or Beyonce, each story here is important,” she said.

She described Mother’s Day as “a day to enjoy one another,” and closed by telling her mother, “Thank you, Mommy. I love you.”

Remarks by The First Lady at Mother’s Day Tea

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West Wing Week ~ X , Y , Z ~ April 30 – May 6, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama receives a briefing on the economy from National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, left, in the Oval Office, May 6, 2010. At right is Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. (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 monitors and then visits areas affected by the BP Oil Rig incident, delivers a commencement address at University of Michigan, attends the White House Correspondents Dinner, presents the Commander-in-Chief trophy to the Navy Midshipman, ushers in Cinco de Mayo and much more.

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Stewart Takes On EVERYTHING: Mocks Rekers’s Rentboy Romp, BP, Greece, and More…

TPM~Jon Stewart tackled all the big news last night: riots in Greece, oil spill in the Gulf, the failed Times Square bomber who left his keys in the car, and of course, the anti-gay leader who was caught with a gay escort.

“The world is exploding!” he said.

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Los Suns Also Rise: Phoenix Suns Win in More Ways Than One

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Dave Ziran

Anyone who believes that sports can’t be an effective platform for social justice, needed only to watch last night’s game between Los Suns of Phoenix and the San Antonio Spurs. The unprecedented decision by the entire Suns organization – from owner Robert Sarver to star players Amare Stoudamire and Steve Nash – to wear uniforms blaring Los Suns and come out against Arizona’s anti-immigrant Senate Bill 1070, created a sports broadcast like no other in my lifetime. The game on TNT began with sideline reporter Marty Snider outside the arena covering a mushrooming 3,000 person civil rights march, led by Al Sharpton and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon (both wearing Los Suns Jerseys.) Then the scene switched to the pre-game studio with host Ernie Johnson and former players Kenny “the Jet” Smith, Chris Webber, and Charles Barkley. The viewing audience then got an unexpected and bracing lesson in dissent.

Kenny Smith, like any good point guard, set up the others by saying, “I think it’s great that the team understands, the management understands and now the people of Phoenix are all rallying together at the same time.” Barkley, a long time Arizona resident and a man who once said that he was a Republican until “the Republicans lost their damn minds” chimed in saying, “The only people screwing it up are the politicians. The Governor – the interim governor I might add – J.D. Hayworth and John McCain. They’re the ones screwing this thing up. I really take my hat off to Robert Sarver and the Suns for taking a stand. You know, living in Arizona for a long time, the Hispanic community, they’re like the fabric of the cloth. They’re part of our community and any time you try to do any type of racial profiling or racial discrimination……. President Obama you’ve got to do something because these lightweight politicians in Arizona have no idea what they are doing.”

The typically blunt Barkley speaking in such terms is hardly surprising. But it was Chris Webber who upped the ante, interrupting a visibly uncomfortable Ernie Johnson with, “Public Enemy said it a long time ago. ‘By the Time I Get to Arizona.’ I’m not surprised. They didn’t even want there to be a Martin Luther King day when John McCain was in [office.]. So if you follow history you know that this is part of Arizona politics.”

It was a remarkable display and it was difficult to not think of the millions of television viewers around the country, in sports bars, restaurants, and house parties, being confronted with this kind of forthright, plainspoken language. But perhaps even more important than the support Los Suns received from protestors and broadcasters, was their play on the court. Phoenix trailed by nine at the end of the first quarter and Spurs star power forward Tim Duncan was scoring with ease. The crowd was dead and it wasn’t difficult to envision what would be said in the SportsWorld if Phoenix lost: “The political hoopla was a distraction.” “This is why sports and politics don’t mix.” “They should have been focused on the Spurs and not immigration.” And grinning smugly would have been LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson who chided the Suns yesterday saying, “If I heard it right the American people are really for stronger immigration laws…. I don’t think teams should get involved in the political stuff.”

In other words, everyone who stands with SB 1070 would be feeling a little more joyful this morning. It would have been an echo of the time Muhammad Ali lost his first fight to Joe Frazier and all the columnists and fans who wanted to see the draft dodging Ali punished, chortled gleefully after he was knocked to the canvas. But just when we were all ready to stick a fork in the brick-laying Suns, something remarkable happened. The slick shooting, fast breaking team started to crash the boards, play ugly, and do all the dirty work that wins games. Doughy, undersized three point shooter Jared Dudley started aggressively snatching offensive rebounds like his soul had been possessed by Barkley himself, energizing the crowd and shocking his team back to life. The result was a 110-102 victory in which the run and gun Suns were held to just eight fast break points. Coach Alvin Gentry said afterward that he had never seen the team play so mentally tough.

Maybe this will be the start of a new trend where teams see the unifying benefits of going out on a political limb and taking a stand. Maybe players across the sports leagues who oppose SB 1070 will be inspired to come together in a common organization and demand Arizona cease the imposition of “Juan Crow” on the Latino population. Maybe the major sports unions, all of whom have voiced opposition to the bill, will release a joint statement saying that they will support any player or team who boycotts the state as long as SB 1070 is on the books. Maybe this is all utterly unrealistic. But it seems a hell of a lot more possible this morning than it did last night. Vivan Los Suns.

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Dave Zirin is a sports correspondent for The Nation Magazine

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Filed under Arizona, Basketball, Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Immigration, Sports, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama to Speak at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 2010 Commencement

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama will be the keynote speaker for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s (UAPB) 2010 Spring Commencement exercise on Saturday, May 8 at 3 p.m. The university announced today that the event will be broadcast live on UAPB Channel 24 and streamed online via www.uapb.edu.

History of the University

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is a historically Black university located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Founded in 1873, it is the oldest HBCU and the second oldest public institution in the state in Arkansas (after the University of Arkansas).

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was founded in 1873 as the Branch Normal College; it was nominally part of the “normal” (education) department of Arkansas Industrial University, later the University of Arkansas, but was operated separately due to segregation. It later became a land-grant college under the 1890 amendments to Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, which required states which did not open their land-grant university to all races to establish a separate land-grant university for each race. The school severed its ties with the University of Arkansas and became Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal (AM&N) College in 1927; it moved to its current campus location in 1929. The school re-joined what is now the University of Arkansas System in 1972, this time as a full-fledged campus, gaining its current name and university status in the process.

Since 1988, the university has gained recognition as a leading research institution in aquaculture studies, offering the state’s only comprehensive program in this field, and supporting a growing regional industry throughout the Mid-South (according to the school, aquaculture is a $167 million industry in Arkansas alone and approximately $1.2 billion in the Mississippi Delta region).

The Examiner notes that,  this month, President Obama, the First Lady, and officials from throughout the Administration will deliver commencement addresses to Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation.  In total, eleven HBCUs will receive commencement addresses from Obama Administration officials this year.

Other officials participating in graduation ceremonies include Secretary Robert Gates, Department of Defense (Morehouse College)Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education (Xavier University), Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA (Huston-Tillotson University), Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President (Morgan State University)Melody Barnes, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council (Virginia Union University), and Ambassador Susan Rice, United Nations (Spellman College). In addition, John Wilson, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is scheduled to speak to Wilberforce University, Wiley College, and Harris-Stowe State University.

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Kiss My Ash

Posted by: TheLCster

Written by Robert J. Elisberg

We’ve gotten to the point where the public today accepts glib political demagoguery from spokesmen for the Republican Party. Certainly, ideas and discourse exist in the GOP, but they’ve been elbowed out of the center ring. And of course there’s nothing acceptable about it. Because there are consequences to their words.

Mind you, I’m not referring to normal, everyday political razzle-dazzle. Lying, exaggeration, double-speak. That’s the lifeblood of all politics. Democrats included.

No, I’m talking about those who rant what they know not to be true, or don’t remotely believe in, or couldn’t care less whether it’s true or not, solely because the only thing they want is to create divisive anger in crowds and do nothing more than score political points.

There are consequences to their words.

All parties have long had irresponsible demagogues. But it has become a driving force within the Republican Party because of their lockstep march against All Things Obama.

Of course, today’s glib political demagoguery starts further back, fine-tuned during the Bush Administration which took the responsibility of national leadership and played it as if it was paintball. The whole “you’re with us or you’re a terrorist” mindset may have been great politics, but there were consequences. When your game is to destroy a CIA agent fighting that very terrorism, the points you get weaken America.

Glib political demagoguery is the thoughtless game that got Dick Cheney telling Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” That too was fine politics – but there were consequences. A national debt doubling to $12 trillion. A budget deficit of $482 billion from surplus. And all America is digging ourselves out of them now.

This all hit home very clearly over the past month, as GOP glib political demagoguery has repeatedly showed its consequences, in all its devastation.

The most prominent, of course, is the agonizing disaster of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. For two years, Republicans from Sarah Palin, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Steele and beyond, have hyperventilated with their “Drill, Baby, Drill” pontification, not caring its risks, just that it was grand politics for riling up crowds. And now we see the ghastly consequences.

Already 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled. It could reach past 11 million. In only one day, the slick went from an unthinkable 1,150 square miles to over 3.800. It’s growing faster than The Blob, and nearing the pristine Florida Keys. This is an economic disaster of such catastrophic proportions it could impact the climate. And 11 workers killed.

(It’s a macabre observation that oil is the sole area Sarah Palin has claimed supposed “expertise.” That was never expertise, mind you, but we see the naked Emperor’s Clothes laid bare. Imagine now how empty the rest of her non-existent qualifications are. And not a word from her since the disaster.)

Yet within just the past month, this is far from the only gruesome case by Republicans of glib political demagoguery that has resulted in crushing consequences.

Think back if you will to February 24, 2009. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was selected by the Republican Party to deliver its response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. With dripping ridicule, Mr. Jindal derided the Obama stimulus investment of “$140 million for something called volcano monitoring.”

Never mind that Sarah Palin, then still governor of Alaska before resigning, let the glib political demagoguery pass. The callousness of this GOP strutting showed itself only a month later, when Mt. Redoubt erupted – in Alaska. There are consequences to glib political demagoguery. Far-greater devastation was only averted because of early volcano monitoring.

But even this isn’t the point. Because, remembering Bobby Jindal and the GOP’s calculated, snide mocking of “something called volcano monitoring,” as if it didn’t matter, as if it was a fake-Socialist, Big Government waste by Barack Obama because he’s Barack Obama – only weeks ago, the entire world saw this:

When Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland erupted, airline travel came to a complete halt throughout Europe. World commerce was suspended. The world’s climate was impacted. There were a billion dollars in losses. “In terms of closure of airspace, this is worse than after 9/11,” said a spokesman for Britain aviation. “The disruption is probably larger than anything we’ve seen.”

And only a year earlier, the GOP spokesman said: “Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington.”

I’m guessing they’d like to take back that wisecrack about “eruptions.”

This is why government monitor volcanoes. It matters. It has consequences.

It all matters. It all has consequences.

Again.

And again and again.

Like when you engage in glib political demagoguery to rile crowds and endlessly repeat a snarky mantra for political points by attacking “cap and trade” and roaring that “clean coal CLEAN COAL” is the solution, the only solution, the easy answer, you knowingly ignore that there are consequences. And one is the Upper Big Branch mine disaster with 29 men dead.

Disagreement is good. So, too, is active opposition.

But glib political demagoguery is where the line gets drawn.

Our words matters. When you create anger in others to score political points, dismissive of what the devastating results could be, you do not deserve to be on the stage.

The gravest oil disaster in U.S. history. The biggest airline disaster in world history. A mine disaster leaving 29 me dead. All within the last month alone.

The longer list makes it more shameless.

There are consequences for your words.

Far too many Republican spokesman have tried to gut the United States with a shiv, all for 30 pieces of silver and craven political expedience. Too many others in the GOP have quietly, sheepishly acquiesced and enabled them.

Go. Let the adults talk. Let the good and serious people still in your party – and all parties – have the microphone back. You’ve shown your worth. The world can no longer afford you.

Robert J. Elisberg has been a commentator and contributor to such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, C/NET and E! Online, and served on the editorial board for the Writers Guild of America. He has contributed political writing to the anthology, “Clued in on Politics,” 3rd edition (CQ Press).

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Filed under Democrats, Disaster, Environment, Greed, Republicans, Uncategorized