Category Archives: States

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

Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Tina Tchen

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will speak at the California Women’s Conference 2010, hosted by California First Lady Maria Shriver and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The annual Women’s Conference inspires, empowers and educates women to be Architects of Change in their own lives and in the lives of others.

Last year, I was honored to attend the event where Valerie Jarrett participated in parts of the Conference’s A Woman’s Nation: The Status of the American Woman panel. There she represented the Council on Women and Girls and discussed our efforts to improve workplace flexibility both in the federal government and the private sector.

We are excited that the Administration can be a part of this important event again and we encourage you to participate as well!

You can learn more by reading First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarks as well as Dr. Jill Biden’s remarks.

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***Photos include attendees, performers and speakers: Dr. Jill Biden, Jane Goodall, Oprah Winfrey, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Former First Lady of the US Laura Bush, Diane Swayer, Former Associate Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor, Sister Terry Dodge, Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayer, Tennis player Billie Jean King, Associate Justice Elena Kaegan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Brown, Anne Sweeney, Victoria Beckham, Recording artist Mary J. Blige, Author Deepak Chopra, Recording artist Sarah MacLachlan, Brian Williams, Phil Knight, Poet Mary Oliver, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Nick Kristof, Suze Orman, Howard Schultz, and Oral Lee Brown.

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Filed under California, Change, Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Women's Issues

The Obama’s Vacation Day 2 ~ Bunch Of Grapes Bookstore & Golfing in Martha’s Vineyard

Posted by: Audiegrl

Chief White House correspondent for FOX News Channel Major Garrett works the phone while sitting on the porch of the Mansion House, press headquarters for the President’s visit. The sign reads:

Mansion House Inn believes anyone who has passed health care reform, signed economic stimulus bills, recast America’s global image, commands two war zones, won the Nobel Peace Prize, nominated 2 Supreme Court judges (and) overhauled financial regulations, deserves a great vacation. Thank you Mr. President.
(Photo by Nelson Sigelman)

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Filed under First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, Massachusetts, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

The Obama’s Vacation Day 1 ~ First Family Travels To Martha’s Vineyard

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama is taking his family back to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., for summer vacation. President Obama and First Pooch Bo rode Air Force One on Thursday afternoon to Martha’s Vineyard, where they were to meet First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia. This marks the first family’s second summer vacation on the New England island, where they will stay in a rental home for 11 days and return to the White House on Aug. 29.

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Filed under First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, Massachusetts, Pets, Pres. Barack Obama

The First Family Visits the Gulf Coast

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by: Nikki Sutton

President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha swim at Alligator Point in Panama City Beach, Fla., Saturday, Aug.14, 2010. The President traveled to Panama City Beach with First Lady Michelle Obama and Sasha to meet with local business owners and officials and to encourage Americans to travel to the Gulf Coast beaches. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The First Family traveled to Florida’s Gulf Coast today to spend the weekend in Panama City Beach, Florida. The President and First Lady joined area small business owners and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus for a roundtable discussion of the recovery.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hold a round table discussion with business owners, officials, Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus at the United States Coast Guard Panama City District Office, Panama City, Fla, Saturday, August 14, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Following the roundtable discussion, the President spoke about his sustained commitment to the Gulf.  The President was clear that though the well has been capped and the oil is no longer spilling from the ocean floor, there is still work to be done:

Well, today the well is capped.  Oil is no longer flowing into the Gulf.  It has not been flowing for a month.  And I’m here to tell you that our job is not finished and we are not going anywhere until it is.  That’s the message that I wanted to come here and deliver directly to the people along the Gulf Coast — because it’s the men and women of this region who have felt the burden of this disaster.  They watched with anger and dismay as their livelihoods and their way of life was threatened these past few months.  And that’s why I made a commitment in my visits here that I was going to stand with you not just until the well was closed, not just until the oil was cleaned up, but until you had fully recovered from the damage that’s been done.  And that is a commitment that my administration is going to keep.

President Obama also spoke about Gulf Coast seafood safety:

Next we’re going to continue testing fisheries and we’ll be reopening more areas for fishing as tests show that the waters are safe.  Already, more than 26,000 square miles were reopened at the end of July, and another 5,000 were reopened earlier this week.  I know this takes some time, and it’s been incredibly hard on the people who earn their living on the water.  Carolyn’s boats, for example, have had to find different areas to fish that are further away and require more fuel, so she’s been having to make some decisions, maybe I don’t send out my boat this time out.  But their livelihoods, not to mention the health of the people across this country, obviously depends on making sure that folks can trust the seafood coming from the Gulf, trust that it’s safe, as it always has been.

Finally, President Obama stressed the importance of standing together with the people of the region and encouraged Americans from across the country to come down and enjoy the Gulf:

So, with the closure of the well we mark an important milestone.  But this is not the end of the journey.  And in completing the work ahead I’m reminded of what I heard when I was in Louisiana back in June.  I spent time with folks on Grand Isle, meeting with fishermen and small business owners, and the town’s mayor, David Camardelle.  And he told me what his friends and neighbors were going through.  He talked about how hard things had been.  But he also explained the way folks rallied to support one another, and said, the people in this community may not have a lot of money, but that didn’t matter.  “We help each other,” he said.  “That’s what we do.”

That’s what folks do for one another in the Gulf.  That’s what the Coast Guard has been doing for folks in need.  That’s what we do as Americans.  And my job is to make sure that we live up to this responsibility, that we keep up our efforts until the environment is clean, polluters are held accountable, businesses and communities are made whole, and the people of the Gulf Coast are back on their feet.

So to the men and women of the Coast Guard, thank you again for your extraordinary service.  To the people here in the Gulf, we are going to be standing by your side.  And to Americans all across the country, come on down and visit.

President Barack Obama, flanked by First Lady Michelle Obama and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, makes a statement to the press on Gulf Coast recovery plans, Panama City, Fla., Saturday, August 14, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


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Filed under First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, Florida, Pres. Barack Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama Christens Coast Guard Cutter in Mississippi

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama christens the USCGC Stratton with a bottle of champagne, during a ceremony at the Port of Pascagoula, in Pascagoula, Miss., July 23, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Remarks by the First Lady at Christening of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton in Pascagoula, Mississippi

Remarks by the First Lady at a Coast Guard Gulf Coast Oil Spill Briefing in Pascagoula, Mississippi


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The Obama Family’s Summer Vacation in Maine

Posted by: Audiegrl

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Filed under First Lady Michelle Obama, Maine, Pets, Pres. Barack Obama