Tag Archives: National

5, 4, 3, 2, 1… The Obama Family Lights The National Christmas Tree

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

President Barack Obama, with mother-in-law Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha and Malia, and First Lady Michelle Obama, react as they push the button to light the National Christmas Tree during a ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Ed. Note: Watch the full National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and show with musical performances by B.B. King, Sara Bareilles, Common, Maroon 5 and more at www.thenationaltree.org.

Last night, the First Family continued a proud holiday tradition – lighting the National Christmas Tree for the 88th time. View photos from the event and watch a video of the President’s remarks, the tree lighting ceremony, and a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by the First Lady.

President Barack Obama addresses the crowd as he and the First Family attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama and First Family listen to the program at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

BB King performs Merry Christmas Baby at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The National Christmas Tree shines bright during the lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, Dec. 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

“Snow or shine, in good times and in periods of hardship, folks like you have gathered with Presidents to light our national tree,” said President Obama, “Now, it hasn’t always gone off without a hitch. On one occasion, two sheep left the safety of the Nativity scene and wandered into rush-hour traffic. That caused some commotion.”

He continued, touching on the history of the ceremony and taking a moment to honor the men and women that are serving in uniform overseas this holiday season:

Often, the ceremony itself has reflected the pain and sacrifice of the times. There were years during the Second World War when no lights were hung, in order to save electricity. In the days following Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill joined President Roosevelt to wish our nation a Happy Christmas even in such perilous days.

But without fail, each year, we have gathered here. Each year we’ve come together to celebrate a story that has endured for two millennia. It’s a story that’s dear to Michelle and me as Christians, but it’s a message that’s universal: A child was born far from home to spread a simple message of love and redemption to every human being around the world.

It’s a message that says no matter who we are or where we are from, no matter the pain we endure or the wrongs we face, we are called to love one another as brothers and as sisters.

And so during a time in which we try our hardest to live with a spirit of charity and goodwill, we remember our brothers and sisters who have lost a job or are struggling to make ends meet. We pray for the men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and in faraway places who can’t be home this holiday season. And we thank their families, who will mark this Christmas with an empty seat at the dinner table.

On behalf of Malia, Sasha, Michelle, Marian — who’s our grandmother-in-chief — (laughter) -– and Bo — don’t forget Bo — (applause) — I wish all of you a merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season.

And now I’m going to invite the entire Obama crew up here to help me light this Christmas tree. (Applause.)

All right, everybody, we’re going to count from five — five, four, three, two, one.

(The tree is lit.) (Applause.)

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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Bon Jovi Takes United We Serve on Tour

Posted by: TheLCster

President Obama’s United We Serve initiative is about to go on tour alongside Bon Jovi on the band’s “The Circle World Tour.” In collaboration with the Corporation for National and Community Service, rocker Jon Bon Jovi will be the first person to engage mass audiences in the President’s call to service at concert venues. The United We Serve initiative encourages Americans to get involved in community service to help the nation move forward.

Bon Jovi, a longtime service advocate and philanthropist, calls on Americans in the concert video and PSA to use their energy and passion to help tackle our nation’s challenges. As an individual who focuses his efforts on issues surrounding homelessness, Bon Jovi highlights what he calls the “power of we.”

President Obama has made service a central cause of his administration. Since calling on Americans to serve in his inaugural address, the momentum for service has soared and support for the Corporation for National and Community Service programs have skyrocketed. More than five million Americans volunteered with the Corporation in 2009, a 25 percent increase over the previous year. The United We Serve initiative challenges all Americans to help lay a new foundation for growth by engaging in sustained, meaningful community service to help meet our national priorities. The initiative has successfully bolstered civic engagement nationwide, helped to better our communities in priority issue areas, and leveraged partnerships with non-profits, U.S. corporations, and celebrities to foster a greater sense of purpose among Americans through service.

Watch Bon Jovi explain the importance of civic engagement, and find out what you can do to get involved and make a difference at Serve.gov.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Celebrates NEA’s Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama prepares to read Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, during an event at the Library of Congress on March 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Over three hundred local students participated in the event to promote reading . and to mark Read Across America Day and the birthday of author Theodor Seuss Geisel. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

AP~First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday Tuesday by reading “The Cat in the Hat” to a group of children wearing red-and-white-striped stovepipe hats like the book’s main character.

Mrs. Obama helped kick off the National Education Association’s 13th annual “Read Across America” celebration at the Library of Congress. The event marked the day that Dr. Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel, would have turned 106.

Do you know the president of the United States reads all the time,” Mrs. Obama told a group of more than 200 students from elementary schools in Washington and Arlington, Va. “Our girls at home read every single night.”

The first lady said that her daughters, Sasha and Malia, are allowed to stay up 30 minutes later if they are reading.

Some of the first family’s favorite children’s books are “Horton Hatches the Egg,” by Dr. Seuss and “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak, Mrs. Obama said in response to one of the children’s questions.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan also read “Horton Hears a Who!

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel led the children in a rhyming pledge to read every day. It began: “I promise to read each day and each night. I know it’s the key to growing up right.”

On Monday President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2 Read Across America Day.

Read Across America Day
What is NEA’s Read Across America?

NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

NEA’s Read Across America also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year.

In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA’s Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements. Athletes and actors issue reading challenges to young readers. And teachers and principals seem to be more than happy to dye their hair green or be duct-taped to a wall if it boosts their students’ reading.

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President Obama Names Ann Fudge to Budget Panel

Posted by: Audiegrl

Ann Fudge

Ann Fudge

President Barack Obama named Ann Fudge, the former chief executive officer of Young & Rubicam Brands, to the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. David Cote, Alice Rivlin, and Andy Stern were also named to the committee, which will be co-chaired by former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson.

The committee will make recommendations to Congress by Dec. 1 to put the budget in primary balance so that all operations and programs for the federal government are paid for by 2015 and to improve the long-term fiscal outlook, the White House said in a statement. The total federal debt next year is expected to exceed $14 trillion — about $47,000 for every U.S. resident.

Fudge, 58, was a Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Legacy Award winner in 2008 and was named to the Black Enterprise 50 Most Powerful Black Women in Business list in 2006. As head of Y&R and Young and Rubicam Brands, Fudge managed a marketing powerhouse that included Y&R advertising, Burson-Marsteller public relations, Wunderman direct and database marketing, and Sudler & Hennessey healthcare communications. In previous jobs, she developed a 20-year track record of strengthening household brands such as Maxwell House Coffee, Kool-Aid, and Jell-O. Fudge serves on General Electric’s board of directors, the Harvard Board of Overseers, and as a trustee of the Brookings Institution. She has served on the boards of the Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

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First Lady Michelle Obama To Governors: ‘Let’s Act‘ On Obesity

Posted by: Audiegrl

First lady Michelle Obama applauds the spouses of the nation's governors as she begins her address on childhood obesity at the at the start of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

First Lady Michelle Obama applauds the spouses of the nation's governors as she begins her address on childhood obesity at the at the start of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(AP)~~First lady Michelle Obama appealed to governors on Saturday for help in reducing child obesity and said they had a moral and financial imperative to act.

She praised states for their steps already and assured state leaders that the federal government had no interest in taking over their efforts.

Let’s stop wringing our hands and talking about it and citing statistics,” she told governors at their winter meeting. “Let’s act. Let’s move. Let’s give our kids the future they deserve.”

The first lady found a high-powered audience to make the case for her new campaign on obesity. One in three American children is overweight or obese, a condition that raises their risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses.

Obama sought support from leaders of both parties and made sure to respect the influence of the states.

The way I see this, there is nothing Democratic or Republican, there is nothing liberal or conservative about wanting our kids to lead active, healthy lives,” she said. “There’s no place for politics when it comes to fighting childhood obesity. And I know all of you agree.”

The first lady’s campaign has four parts: helping parents make better food choices, serving healthier food in school vending machines and lunch lines, making healthy food more available and affordable, and encouraging children to exercise more.

In talking to the governors, she emphasized the importance of empowering parents who feel helpless because they don’t feel they have the time, money or information to provide healthy meals or safe places to exercise.

First Lady Michelle Obama is greeted by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, as she is introduced to speak at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

First Lady Michelle Obama is greeted by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, as she is introduced to speak at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Mindful that the governors face economic crises in their states, Obama said the obesity solutions need not be expensive. She encouraged them to take steps such as providing access at school ball fields to the community at nights, or requiring the construction of sidewalks when new roads are being built.

Comprehensive and coordinated doesn’t mean centralized,” she added. “I’ve spoken to so many experts on this issue and not a single one of them has said that the solution is for the federal government to tell people what to do. That doesn’t work.”

The governors are trying to find political solutions to soaring health care costs as President Barack Obama seeks to do the same. Michelle Obama said the money crunch cannot be solved without addressing child obesity.

If we think our health care costs are high now, just wait until 10 years from now and think about the many billions we’re going to be spending then,” she said. “Think about how high those premiums are going to be when our kids are old enough to have families of their own and businesses of their own.”


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Filed under Barack Obama, Change, Childhood Obesity, Children, Culture, Democrats, First Lady Michelle Obama, Government, Governors, Health, History, Independents, News, Obama Administration, Politics, Pop Culture, Presidents, Republicans, States, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized, US, Women's Issues, Young Men, Young Women

Little-Known Black History Fact: Selena Sloan Butler

Posted by BuellBoy

Selena Sloan Butler

Selena Sloan Butler

Selena Sloan Butler was the past president of Georgia Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers 1919-1926. Following the success of the National Congress of Mothers PTA, African-American teacher and Spelman College graduate Selena Sloan Butler heard the call, so on May 7, 1926, the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT) was formed, with Sloan holding the title of its first national president.

Butler was dedicated to teaching. When her community lacked a kindergarten for black children, she held classes in her living room.
Butler’s goal was to create an organization that held interest in all children, regardless of color or social status. The first local chapter was at Yonge Elementary school in Atlanta in 1911 and grew from there. However, because of segregation, the Colored Mothers PTA would work independently of the larger National PTA until 1970.

Young Street Parent Teachers Association Atlanta 1919

Young Street Parent Teachers Association Atlanta 1919

An activist in the community, Butler co-founded the Spelman College Alumnae Association, organized the Phyllis Wheatley Branch of the Atlanta YWCA and was the first president of the Georgia Federation of Colored Women’s Club. From 1929 to 1930, she served under President Herbert Hoover’s cabinet on the Child Health and Protection committee.

Yonge Elementary was renamed in honor of her husband, Dr. Henry Rutherford Butler, and Selina Sloan Butler’s portrait now hangs in the Georgia State Capitol building.

Selana Butler died October 1964.

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Obama Outsmarts the Terrorists

Posted by: BetsM

President Obama isn’t nearly as scared of the terrorists as Bush was—and that’s precisely why al Qaeda is falling apart

Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart

The Daily Beast/Peter Beinart~Republicans think about terrorism the way Democrats think about poverty. Democrats know their anti-poverty policies don’t always work. But they tell themselves that at least their hearts are in the right place, at least they care about the problem.

That’s the way Republicans think about terrorism. In unguarded moments, honest Republicans will admit that not all of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies worked. But they tell themselves that at least they know America is at war; at least they know the terrorists are evil; at least they really care about the problem.

In a sense, the Republicans are right: they do worry more about terrorism than Democrats. You can see it in the polls. Democrats–especially liberal Democrats—focus part of their foreign policy anxiety on things like climate change, global pandemics and financial collapse. For many Republicans, by contrast, the terrorists are today’s equivalent of the Nazis and the communists: they’re the only threat that really matters. Everything else is an afterthought.

But as conservatives used to say during the poverty debates of the 1960s and 1970s, intentions and outcomes are not the same thing. Sometimes, ironically enough, not worrying quite so much can produce better results.

Which brings us to Barack Obama’s “war on terror.” Conservatives keep saying that Obama doesn’t really believe we’re at war; that he sees terrorists as mere criminals, not the epic evil-doers that they really are. But here’s the irony: It’s precisely because he doesn’t see the terrorist threat as quite so epic that al Qaeda is falling apart.

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