Category Archives: Countries

California Throws Education Under the Bus

Written by: BlueDog89

California Gov. Jerry Brown recently proposed to cut more than $1 billion from higher education. Photo courtesy Associated Press.

Student activists and teachers unions in California are organizing statewide protests in opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to cut $1.4 billion from public colleges and universities.

Protesters at a demonstration at Modesto Junior College. Photo courtesy Turlock Journal.

California’s public education system is racked by threats of spending cuts due to the state’s fiscal crises, which include a deficit that has ballooned to more than $25 billion.

The California State University System is facing possible budget cuts of $500 million. The University of California would also face a $500 million cut under Brown’s budget proposal.

Brown has proposed cutting $400 million from the state’s community colleges, and raising tuition by 38 percent.

Modesto Junior College (MJC) administrators recently informed faculty members that jobs may be cut as the college attempts to shed $8 million from its budget.

MJC President Gaither Loewenstein answered questions about the budget cuts in a Q&A forum with students last week. He confirmed that the entire communications department, including majors in journalism, television and radio, would be cut in his budget reduction proposal.

Modesto Junior College President Gaither Loewensteinaddresses concerns over $8 million budget cut proposal. Photo courtesy Turlock Journal.

Other programs to end are culinary arts, communication graphics, architecture, engineering, industrial technology, dental assisting and all foreign languages, except Spanish and sign language.

The MJC West Campus library would close and be used as a learning resource center. Coach stipends would end, but competitive sports would continue.

Additional faculty and management employees would lose their jobs under Loewenstein’s budget proposal. Those layoffs would be effective June 30.
Reductions in salary or benefits for employees are not included in the proposal, which have yet to be negotiated.

Many students fear losing their favorite instructors, like anthropology professor James Todd. According to anthropology major and campus President of the Anthropology Club Priscilla Peralta, the department will be crippled with the layoff of Professor Todd. “Anthropology is a much needed discipline and should continue to be offered to the fullest extent,” said Peralta.

Loewenstein said that the decision to target specific programs rather than split the cuts across the board was intended to leave the college with fewer strong programs instead of making the entire college mediocre.

Californians need to step up, get involved with their schools, and reach out to school administrators and congressional representatives about this issue.

Ms. Peralta urges those who support her cause to send a personal message to Modesto Junior College President Gaither Loewenstein via email at loewensteing@mjc.edu.

In addition to getting personally involved with the schools in your community, education advocates encourage citizens to express their concerns to Gov. Brown. He may be reached via phone at 916.445.2841 or log on to his website to post a comment http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php.

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Filed under Anthropology, California, Civil Protest, Economy, Education, Governors, Students, Teachers, Unions, United States

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Germany Veterans Day Visit For U.S. Troops

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Ladies Michelle Obama and Bettina Wulff chat during Obama's visit at the Ramstein Air Force Base on November 11, 2010 in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany

First Lady Michelle Obama surprised a group of some 200 service men and women in Germany on Thursday, jumping in to help serve them steaks at a special Veterans Day meal.

The First Lady talked with the troops at Ramstein Air Base as she served up donated steaks, grilled by volunteers from the Californa-based Cooks of the Valley group, and chatted with their children as they moved through the line.

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Attend a State Dinner at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi

Posted by: Audiegrl


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle headed to Rashtrapati Bhavan, or President’s Palace in New Delhi, for a state dinner on Monday night.

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Dancers entertain guests during the State Dinner at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, in New Dehli, India, Nov. 8, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Address Students at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama addresses Indian students at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, India. The President and the First Lady are on a ten day Asia tour with stops in India as well as Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

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Remarks by the President and the First Lady in Town Hall with Students in Mumbai, India

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First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Mumbai University

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama plays with underprivileged children during her visit to the Mumbai University on November 6, 2010 in Mumbai, India.


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Students from the Make A Difference (MAD) program show First Lady Michelle Obama's signature on their hands. The First Lady visited the center for underprivileged children at the University of Mumbai. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Honor Victims of Mumbai Terror Attack

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visit a memorial for the victims who died in the Nov. 26, 2008 terrorist attack at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel in Mumbai, India, Nov. 6, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Filed under Change, First Lady Michelle Obama, India, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

Dancing And Diplomacy: The Obamas In India

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama and his wife First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport on November 6, 2010 in Mumbai, India. The President began his 10-day Asia tour in India where he is staying at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace hotel, the scene of a terrorist attack in 2008. During his tour the President will also visit Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

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Attacks on President Obama Going to Asia: A Long Trip from Reality

Written by Dan Pfeiffer

A recent article in the foreign press supposedly quoting an anonymous foreign official claimed that the President’s trip to Asia would end up costing American taxpayers $200 million per day and that 34 navy warships were being used for the trip – certainly an astounding figure, were it true.  Buts it’s not even close to true. This hasn’t stopped some political opponents of the President including some elected officials from trafficking in this claim.

So let us be unequivocal: the numbers reported have no basis in reality.  Due to security concerns, we can’t get into details associated with security procedures and costs, but it’s safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated and President Obama’s costs are in line with the costs of protecting previous Presidents.

For the record, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell was also asked about the claim that the President will be accompanied by 34 warships on the trip, and gave an appropriate response:

We obviously have some support role for presidential travel.  We don’t speak to that in detail for security reasons.  But I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy — some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier — in support of the president’s trip to Asia.  That’s just comical.  Nothing close to that is being done.

Dan Pfeiffer is White House Communications Director

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Filed under Change, First Lady Michelle Obama, India, Pres. Barack Obama

The White House: Celebrating Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

Today marks the retirement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an “event [that] invites us to celebrate his many accomplishments from which we have all benefited,” said President Obama. “We will miss his insight and his activism, but will continue to learn from his example.”

In 2009, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. America’s highest civilian honor — the 2009 awardees were chosen for their work as agents of change. In a never-before-seen video interview from the event, Tutu discusses being a catalyst of change and realizing one’s full potential:

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Here is President Obama’s full statement on the Archbishop’s retirement:

President Obama places a 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom around the neck of Archbishop Desmond Tutu during a ceremony in the White House, in Washington, on 12 August PA

It is with deep appreciation that I note Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s retirement from public life today on the occasion of his 79th birthday. This event invites us to celebrate his many accomplishments from which we have all benefited. For decades he has been a moral titan—a voice of principle, an unrelenting champion of justice, and a dedicated peacemaker. He played a pivotal role in his country’s struggle against apartheid and extraordinary example of pursuing a path to forgiveness and reconciliation in the new South Africa. He has also been an outspoken voice for freedom and justice in countries across the globe; a staunch defender of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons; and an advocate for treatment and prevention programs to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. We will miss his insight and his activism, but will continue to learn from his example. We wish the Archbishop and his family happiness in the years ahead.

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Filed under Change, Pres. Barack Obama, South Africa, Uncategorized

Welcoming our Troops Coming Home from Iraq

Posted by: Audiegrl

U.S. Army soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division race toward the border from Iraq into Kuwait Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010. The soldiers are part of the last combat brigade to leave Iraq as part of the drawdown of U.S. forces. (AP Photo/ Maya Alleruzzo)

Good afternoon,

Shortly after taking office, I put forward a plan to end the war in Iraq responsibly. Today, I’m pleased to report that — thanks to the extraordinary service of our troops and civilians in Iraq — our combat mission will end this month, and we will complete a substantial drawdown of our troops.

Over the last 18 months, over 90,000 U.S. troops have left Iraq. By the end of this month, 50,000 troops will be serving in Iraq. As Iraqi Security Forces take responsibility for securing their country, our troops will move to an advise-and-assist  role. And, consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all of our troops will be out of Iraq by the end of next year. Meanwhile, we will continue to build a strong partnership with the Iraqi people with an increased civilian commitment and diplomatic effort.

A few weeks ago, men and women from one of the most deployed brigades in the U.S. Army, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, returned home from Iraq. The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden were at Fort Drum to welcome the veterans home and spoke about their personal experiences as a military family:

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Our commitment to our troops doesn’t end once they come home — it’s only the beginning.  Part of ending a war responsibly is meeting our responsibility to the men and women who have fought it. Our troops and their families have made tremendous sacrifices to keep our nation safe and secure, and as a nation we have a moral obligation to serve our veterans as well as they have served us.

That’s why we’re building a 21st century Department of Veterans Affairs.  We’ve made one of the largest percentage increase in the VA’s budget in 30 years, and we’re dramatically increasing funding for veterans’ health across the board. In particular, we’re delivering unprecedented resources to treat signature wounds of today’s wars—Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Our sacred trust to take care of our veterans goes beyond simply healing the wounds incurred in battle. We must ensure that when our veterans leave the Armed Forces, they have the opportunities they need to further their education and support their families.  Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, some 300,000 veterans and families members have pursued a college degree.  Others are taking advantage of job training and placement programs.

My Administration will continue to do our part to support the brave men and women in uniform that have sacrificed so much.  But supporting our troops and their families is not just the job of the Federal Government; it’s the responsibility of all Americans.

As we mark this milestone in the Iraq war and our troops continue to move out of Iraq, I hope you’ll join me in thanking them, and all of our troops and military families, for their service.

Sincerely,
President Barack Obama

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Filed under Dr. Jill Biden, Iraq, Military, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

First Lady Michelle Obama and Daughter Sasha Visit Spain

Posted by: Audiegrl

Michelle Obama, America’s First Lady, and her youngest daughter Sasha traveled to Spain’s Costa del Sol for a short summer break to mark her 49th birthday. The First Lady also visited the Alhambra and the Palace of Charles the 5th in Granada, Spain. The FLOTUS then visited the House of the Moorish King in Ronda, Spain.

Both the First Lady and daughter Sasha visited Spain’s King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and Princess Letizia at the Marivent Palace on the island of Majorca.

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Filed under First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, Spain, Uncategorized