Category Archives: Barack Obama

Welcome, Mrs. Obama!, ¡Bienvenida, Sra. Zavala!

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Kori Schulman

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (R) and her Mexican counterpart Margarita Zavala (L) run with second graders during a physical education class as they visit New Hampshire Estates Elementary School May 19, 2010 in Silver Spring, Maryland. The school was awarded the USDAs Healthier US School Challenge Silver Award in 2009 and partnered with a school in Mexico as part of the Monarch Butterfly Sister School Program. President of Mexico Felipe Calderon is on a state visit to Washington with the first lady of Mexico. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

Mrs. Obama invited Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala to the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland for a Let’s Move! event, as part of the Administration’s activities to welcome the President and First Lady of Mexico. On their visit, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Zavala talked to children about making healthy choices, skipped around the gymnasium and joined students for a “family style” lunch with plenty of broccoli to go around.

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The New Hampshire Estates Elementary School has a connection to both Let’s Move! and Mexico. A recipient of USDA’s Healthier US School Challenge Silver Award, the school stresses cooperative games and ways to maintain health through their physical education program and promotes social skills with “family style” lunches. It’s paired with a school in Mexico, as part of the Monarch Butterfly Sister School Program, which connects classrooms across North America to share projects on the Monarch butterfly.

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Jon Stewart Hammers Conservatives For Hypocritical Obama-Bush Comparisons

HP~When Jon Stewart’s on his game, it’s a thing of beauty. And considering he’s always on his game, last night’s opening segment was flat-out gorgeous, as he ripped hypocritical conservatives for constantly comparing Obama to Bush – but only terms of missteps.

The bit began by acknowledging the criticism the Elena Kagan selection, a move conservatives compared to Bush’s failed nominee, Harriet Miers. It wouldn’t be a big deal on its own, but as Stewart pointed out, it’s just one of many times pundits have been quick to compare anything Obama does to a Bush failure. Whether it’s his Katrina or Afghanistan, “it’s like no matter what happens during the Obama administration, there’s the perfect Bush f–k up for the occasion.”

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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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The Winds of Change ~ Cape Wind Farm Project Approved

Posted by: TheLCster

After Years Of Legal Battles, America’s First Offshore Wind Farm Is A Go

AP~The Obama administration has approved what would be the nation’s first offshore wind farm, off Cape Cod, inching the U.S. closer to harvesting an untapped domestic energy source – the steady breezes blowing along its vast coasts.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his decision Wednesday in Boston, clearing the way for a 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind was in its ninth year of federal review, and Salazar stepped in early this year to bring what he called much-needed resolution to the bitterly contested proposal.

We are beginning a new direction in our nation’s energy future,” Salazar said.

Cape Wind says it can generate power by 2012 and aims to eventually supply three-quarters of the power on Cape Cod, which has about 225,000 residents. Cape Wind officials say it will provide green jobs and a reliable domestic energy source, while offshore wind advocates are hoping it can jump-start the U.S. industry.

America’s onshore wind industry is the world’s largest, but higher upfront costs, tougher technological challenges and environmental concerns have held back the development of offshore wind farms.

Denmark installed the world’s first offshore wind turbine 20 years ago. China has built its first commercial wind farm off Shanghai and plans several other projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy envisions offshore wind farms accounting for 4 percent of the country’s electric generating capacity by 2030.

The Cape Wind Fact Sheet, Project Site Map and the Secretary’s Response to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation are available here or here. More information on the project can be found here.

Seven Must-Know Facts About the Cape Wind Project

  • Cape Wind will be the country’s first offshore wind farm. The US Department Of Energy predicts that offshore wind farms alone will handle 4% of the country’s electricity generating capacity by 2030.
  • The project will be ready to generate power in 2012, and Cape Wind plans on supplying 75% of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Island’s power combined with the clean energy technology. At peak capacity, the project has the capability to meet 4% of the entire New England region’s power needs.
  • When announcing the approval of the offshore wind farm, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, “With this decision we are beginning a new direction in our Nation’s energy future, ushering in America’s first offshore wind energy facility and opening a new chapter in the history of this region.”
  • The 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound will be no closer than 5 miles to land, and 14 miles away at its furthest. On a clear day, the turbines would only be a half-inch tall on the horizon when viewed from the nearest point of land. The number of turbines have been reduced from an original proposal of 170 to 130 to address concerns about harming views.
  • Cape Wind will create 600 – 1,000 construction jobs and 50 permanent wind power jobs.
  • The United Kingdom and Denmark are the leaders in offshore wind power, though many countries, like Germany, Norway, The Netherlands, and China, have invested in the renewable energy source as well. In 2007, Denmark (who built the first offshore wind farm decades ago) generated 19.7% of their electricity production from their combined wind power farms. That same year, 1.5% of electricity in the UK was generated by wind.
  • The green light for Cape Wind gives a lot of hope to the many other offshore wind farms being proposed in places like Texas, Delaware, and New Jersey. The Department Of The Interior writes, “the project would […..] be one of the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in the nation, cutting carbon dioxide emissions from conventional power plants by 700,000 tons annually. That is equivalent to removing 175,000 cars from the road for a year.”

President Obama Visits Wind Turbine Blade Plant in Iowa

The President visits a Siemens wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Fort Madison, IA on his White House to Main Street tour and speaks about how his Administrations investments in clean energy are creating jobs and new industries.

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University of Washington Survey Finds That Racial Attitudes Influence the Tea Party Movement

Posted by: BuellBoy



The tea party movement has gotten much attention in recent months, but aside from decrying big government and excessive spending, who are the supporters and what else do they appear to believe?

Many believed that the election of Barack Obama brought to a close the long, painful, and ugly history of race and racism in the United States. But as the incident with Henry Louis Gates last summer, and the more recent shenanigans with Tea Party activists suggest, racial divisions remain. Which is closer to the truth?

A recent survey directed by University of Washington political scientist, Christopher Parker, finds that America is definitely not beyond race. For instance, the Tea Party, the incipient movement that claims to be committed to reigning in what they perceive as big government, appears to be motivated by more than partisanship and ideology.

Approximately 45 % whites either strongly or somewhat approve of the movement. Of those, only 35% believe blacks to be hardworking, only 45 % believe blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that blacks are trustworthy. Perceptions of Latinos aren’t much different. While 50% of white tea party supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking, only 39% think them intelligent, and at 37%, fewer tea party supporters believe Latinos to be trustworthy.

The survey shows among whites, southerners are 12 percent more likely to support the tea party than whites in other parts of the U.S., and that conservatives are 28 percent more likely than liberals to support the group.

The tea party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race,”said Christopher Parker, a UW assistant professor of political science who directed the survey.

It found that those who are racially resentful, who believe the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks, are 36 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who are not.

Indeed, strong support for the tea party movement results in a 45 percent decline in support for health care reform compared with those who oppose the tea party. “While it’s clear that the tea party in one sense is about limited government, it’s also clear from the data that people who want limited government don’t want certain services for certain kinds of people. Those services include health care,”Parker said.

Parker directed the 2010 Multi-State Survey of Race and Politics, a broad look at race relations and politics in contemporary America. The survey reached 1,015 residents of Nevada, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and California. All were battleground states in the 2008 presidential election with the exception of California, which was included in the survey to represent the West Coast.

The survey found that 30 percent of respondents had never heard of the tea party, but among those who had, 32 percent strongly approved of it. In that group, 56 percent of Republicans strongly approved, 31 percent of independents strongly approved and 5 percent of Democrats strongly approved.

Preliminary analysis also reveals race affects the ways in which blacks and whites perceive the president, his policies, and how he’s handling his job. To illustrate, 75% of blacks have confidence in the president; 58% of whites share this appraisal. Likewise, where 90% of blacks think the president is doing a good job on the economy, 55% of whites agree with this appraisal. And the most recent hot-button issue, health care reform, received support from 86% of blacks versus only 36% among whites.

Are we in a post-racial society? Our survey indicates a resounding no,”Parker said.

Conducted by telephone from Feb. 8 to March 15, the survey reached 494 whites, 380 blacks, 77 Latinos and 64 members of other races. The sampling error margin is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality and the UW Department of Political Science paid for the survey. It was conducted by the UW’s Center for Survey Research.

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President Obama Plays HORSE with CBS’ Clark Kellogg

White House/Jason Djang~It’s been a big day of sports and games around the White House today. The President kicked off the annual White House Easter Egg Roll this morning where thousands of visiting children pushed eggs down the South Lawn. He then headed across town to Nationals Park where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch on the Nats’ Opening Day. That pitch marked the 100th anniversary of Presidential first pitches on Opening Day of baseball season, a tradition inaugurated by William Howard Taft on April 14, 1910.

And you better believe that the President will be watching tonight’s NCAA men’s basketball championship. In the run-up to the Final Four, he took on former NBA player and CBS Sports college basketball commentator Clark Kellogg in a game of HORSE — rather, POTUS — at the White House. Watch how he fared against the pro:

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Extremist Group Demands Governors Resign

Posted by: Bluedog89

CNN~A domestic extremist group has sent letters to more than 30 U.S. governors demanding they resign, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI said in an intelligence note.

The note, dated Monday, said the letters told the governors to vacate their posts within three days.

The FBI and DHS said there do not appear to be credible or immediate threats of violence attached to the letters.

The group behind the letters has a “Restore America Plan” that calls for the removal of any governor who fails to comply, the intelligence note said.

While DHS has no information that the removal refers to a specific plan for violence, “law enforcement should be aware that this could be interpreted as a justification for violence or other criminal actions,” the note said.

Other steps in the group’s plan include “establishing bogus courts, calling of ‘de jure’ grand juries, and issuing so-called ‘legal orders’ to gain control of the state,” the note said.

States that have acknowledged receiving the letters include Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, Arkansas, Maine, Colorado, Rhode Island, Michigan, Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio and Nevada.

Officials in Pennsylvania and Illinois did not say whether they had received a letter. Officials in Maryland and Idaho said the governors’ offices there did not receive such a letter.

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons received one letter Monday and three more Wednesday, including one by fax, said his chief of staff, Robin Reedy. The group behind the letters does not believe there should be a federal government, Reedy said.

The letters were not handwritten but did have some handwritten signatures, Reedy said Thursday.

The office had been warned in advance to be on the lookout for the letter, she said.

Gibbons’ office stepped up security at the Nevada Capitol in Carson City after receiving the letters.

Everyone had to enter through one entrance, and an X-ray machine and metal detector were brought in.

Boulders were placed in front of the Capitol so vehicles could not drive close to the building.

The governor hadn’t seen the letters because he had been in Las Vegas for a few days, Reedy said.

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Violence Erupts Over Health Care Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

The Monroe County Democratic Committee in Rochester, New York, is vandalized by anti-health care legislation protesters. Photo courtesy WHEC.

CNN~Shots fired at a congressman’s campaign headquarters. Windows smashed at Democratic offices across the country. A coffin placed on a lawmaker’s lawn. Hate-filled voice mail messages left on members of Congress’ phone lines.

Those are just some of the incidents reported since the House passed historic health care reform legislation Sunday — a bill that became the law of the land.

The issue has unleashed a deep-seated anger from those worried about a government takeover of health care, and what they deem as the process being “rammed through” Congress.

James Leach, with the National Endowment for the Humanities, said that while many of the acts may be protected under First Amendment rights, “that doesn’t mean that they’re morally justified.”

“And we have to think of ourselves as, ‘what kind of people are we?’ ” Leach said. “Are we one people working together with rival thoughts, or are we enemies within? And I think there’s something that’s been let loose in American politics that has to be thought about.”

That anger was visible in unruly protests by health care activists at the Capitol over the weekend.

Republican House members encouraged protesters outside and inside the House gallery, some of whom carried messages like “Vote no or else” or “If Brown won’t stop it, a Browning will” — a reference to newly elected Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown accompanied by a silhouette of a pistol.

But the anger has boiled over into physical and verbal threats. Windows have been smashed at Democratic offices in at least three states, and federal agents are investigating whether a cut gas line at the home of a Virginia congressman’s brother was related to the lawmaker’s yes vote.

Republicans have the right to be angry over the Democrat’s health care bill, but “resorting to violent measures is exactly the wrong way to send a message,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Thursday night.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, confirmed Thursday that his district office in Queens received an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter.

Later Thursday, Weiner told CNN that initial tests indicated the powder was not a biological agent, but that he still was awaiting final word from the New York Police Department. Workers at the office turned over their clothes for testing and were given protective suits before being allowed to go home a few hours later, Weiner said.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are now looking into the threats, and at least 10 House Democrats have been given extra security.

The voice mail has been vicious toward Michigan’s Bart Stupak, who switched his vote to seal the deal for the bill. He has released one of the voice mails.

“Stupak, you are a lowlife, baby-murdering scumbag, pile of steaming crap. You’re a cowardly punk, Stupak, that’s what you are. You and your family are scum,” an unidentified caller said. “That’s what you are, Stupak. You are a piece of crap.”

“Go to hell, you piece of [expletive deleted]” another caller said.

On Sunday, Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri had a coffin placed on his lawn, said his spokeswoman, Sarah Howard. She said Tea Party protesters at his office in St. Louis had a coffin with them and later brought it to his house. The coffin was later removed, she said.

Democratic congressional leaders have demanded Republicans join them in condemning a spate of threats and vandalism that has followed Sunday’s vote on the health care system overhaul.

The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader John Boehner, condemned the threats and vandalism, telling reporters Thursday that it “should not be part of a political debate.”

“There are ways for people to channel their anger, and they should do it in a constructive way,” he said.

Liz Mair, a Republican consultant, said protesters “are unfortunately crossing a line.”

“When we’re talking about violence, vandalism, threats, that crosses a legal line, in addition to being in plain old bad taste,” Mair said. “And I think that there’s a lot that is in plain old bad taste that is going on.”

Democrats aren’t the only ones being targeted.

Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, said Thursday that a bullet had been fired through a window at his campaign office in Richmond, Virginia.

A Richmond police spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that a bullet was fired at the congressman’s office. “We are investigating the circumstance surrounding it,” spokeswoman Karla Peters said.

Cantor also said that he had received threatening messages but that he would not publicly release the messages out of concern that doing so would only incite further violence.

He also accused Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — a member of the Democratic House leadership — of “fanning the flames” of violence by using threats that have been made against Democratic members “as political weapons.”

“Enough is enough,” Cantor said. “It has to stop.”

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse hit back against Cantor’s claims.

“We disagree with the charge made by Rep. Cantor today that Democrats are using acts of violence for political gain,” he said. “Let’s be clear: Calling on Republican leaders who have contributed in part to this anger by wildly mischaracterizing the substance and motives of health reform to condemn these acts is entirely appropriate.”

Another Republican — Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida — said in a news release Thursday that she received what appeared to be a death threat on her district office’s voice mail.

“Just wanna let you know I have 27 people that are going to make sure that this b**** does not live to see her next term. Goodbye,” the voice mail said, according to the release.

Brown-Waite said she contacted both the Capitol Police and the Hernando County sheriff, and they are “looking into the matter and subpoenaing telephone records.”

At least one of the threats aimed at lawmakers appears to be racially based.

House Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn, who is African-American, said he has received a fax in his office with a picture of a noose drawn on it and had threatening telephone calls at his home.

“We’re giving aid and comfort to these people, and this stuff gets ratcheted up,” Clyburn told CNN. “We in this Congress have got to come together in a bipartisan way and tamp this foolishness down. It doesn’t make sense. That’s not what a democracy is all about.”

Democratic officials and liberal Web sites are also upset that Sarah Palin used an image of crosshairs in a Facebook post this week listing 20 vulnerable Democrats who voted for the legislation. She plans to target them this election year with money from her political action committee.

Palin’s political “hit list” includes: Which Democrats has she singled out?
The list includes: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Harry E. Mitchell (AZ), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ), John Salazar (CO), Betsy Markey (CO). Allen Boyd (FL), Suzanne M. Kosmas (FL), Baron P. Hill (IN), Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL), Charlie Wilson (OH), John Boccieri (OH), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), Christopher Carney (PA), John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC), Tom Perriello (VA), Alan B. Mollohan (WV), and Nick J. Rahall II (WV).

Palin’s team is fighting claims that she is encouraging threats of violence. One House member mentioned her Facebook posting during a Wednesday meeting on safety concerns, a Democratic source told CNN’s Dana Bash. Mention of the map brought audible groans to the room, the source said.

An adviser to Palin responded by pointing to several instances in which the former Alaska governor has urged supporters to focus their energies on civil debate and action at the ballot box, not extremist activities.

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Georgia Attorney General Faces Impeachment Threat

Posted by: Bluedog89

Georgia Attorney General refuses to sign a multi-state lawsuit blocking the new health care bill. Now Georgia lawmakers are calling for his impeachment. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

HP~Georgia lawmakers reacted to Wednesday’s news that their Attorney General, Democrat Thurbert Baker, would not sign on to a multi-state lawsuit to block the health care bill in his state by filing papers to have him impeached.

The blog Peach Pundit reports that the resolution to impeach Baker, also a candidate for Georgia governor, now has at least 30 signatures and is still going forward.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, petitioned Baker to sign on to the joint lawsuit filed by more than a dozen attorneys general across the country earlier this week that seeks to shield states from the effects of the new health bill, including the so-called “individual mandate,” which forces most people to buy insurance.

“I cannot justify a decision to initiate expensive and time-consuming litigation that I believe has no legal merit,” Baker wrote in a two-page response to Gov. Perdue. “In short, this litigation is likely to fail and will consume significant amounts of taxpayers’ hard-earned money in the process.”

On Thursday Gov. Perdue said he would appoint a “special attorney general” to sign on to the lawsuit challenging the health care bill since Baker would not do it himself, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Perdue made the announcement a day after state Attorney General Thurbert Baker, a Democrat running for governor, told Perdue, a Republican, he would not pursue a lawsuit.

Though the impeachment process appears to be in motion, some see it as a futile distraction that will not succeed because the threshold for impeachment is so high. It requires a vote of one-half of the State House and two-thirds of the State Senate.

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Obama and Medvedev Set To Sign Breakthrough Arms Pact

Posted by: Audiegrl

NYT~President Obama and his Russian counterpart, President Dmitri A. Medvedev, have broken through a logjam in their arms control negotiations and expect to sign a new treaty in Prague next month that would slash American and Russian nuclear arsenals, officials from both nations said Wednesday.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev still need to talk once more to finalize the agreement, but officials were optimistic that the deal was nearly done.

The two sides have discussed a signing ceremony in Prague in early April, marking the anniversary of the first meeting between the two presidents and of Mr. Obama’s speech outlining his vision for eventually eliminating nuclear weapons.

The new pact would replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991, which expired in December, and would require both sides to reduce their warheads and launchers by more than one-quarter. The agreement is the most significant accomplishment so far for Mr. Obama’s policy of trying to “reset” relations with Russia. It is intended to pave the way for another more far-reaching round of reductions later in his term.

Neither the White House nor the Kremlin would formally comment on Wednesday, but officials on both sides confirmed that an agreement was close to done. A Kremlin official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was basic agreement on the text of the pact, although not all the wording had been finalized. He confirmed that Prague would be the likely location of a signing ceremony, although that too needed to be finalized.

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