Tag Archives: vice

Vice-President Joe Biden in Peoria, IL: The Fight to Stop Violence Against Women Continues

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Lynn Rosenthal

Vice President Joe Biden visits Peoria on March 31, 2010 to speak at the 16th annual Partners in Peace event hosted by the Center for Prevention of Abuse at the Peoria Civic Center. (Photo credit Fred Zwicky/Journal Star)

This week, the Vice President took his commitment to ending violence against women to Peoria, Illinois where he spoke at the Center for the Prevention of Abuse’s Partners in Peace awards.

The 1100 member audience was mesmerized by the Vice President’s story about his early efforts to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The first VAWA hearing was held on June 20, 1990, and over the next four years then-Senator Biden held moving hearings on domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

I found out that the problem was much deeper than I imagined,” Vice President Biden said, describing three obstacles that had to be overcome: the notion that domestic violence is a family matter; a culture that blames the victim; and the belief that if the woman didn’t report it, it must not have happened.

The Violence Against Women Act changed all that – sending resources to communities to improve the criminal justice response to abuse, creating tougher penalties for federal crimes, and bringing communities together to combat abuse. Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, domestic violence has dropped by 58%.

Vice President Joe Biden meets with local small business owners and workers Wednesday at the Spotted Cow during his visit to Peoria on March 31, 2010. The Vice President laughed as he learned that his ice cream was made just for him, a special flavor called Chip off the Old Biden. (Photo credit Fred Zwicky/Journal Star)

Despite the progress being made in reducing domestic violence across the country, the Vice President noted that there are still 2 million injuries and 1400 deaths to women each year. During the Vice President’s remarks on Wednesday, he said that the White House is stepping up its efforts in this arena, announcing an unprecedented $730 million in the President’s proposed FY2011 budget to shore up services, help victims find housing and legal assistance, and make sure every call for help is answered.

The Vice President pledged to continue his commitment to change attitudes and to “free women from the oppressive cultural norm that causes them in any way to feel they are responsible for or contributed to their own abuse.”

As one audience member said after the speech, the Vice President was “such a fitting representative for this issue.”

Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women
Photo credits Fred Zwicky/Journal Star

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Filed under Illinois, Obama Administration, Raymond L. LaHood (Sec of Transportation), Vice-President Joe Biden, Women's Issues

Vice-President Joe Biden: Recovery Act Tax Benefits

Posted by: Audiegrl

With the 2010 tax filing season underway, Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman today announced that that average tax refunds are up nearly 10 percent this year, due in large part to the significant new tax benefits available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), and reminded taxpayers that they can collect on those benefits this year as they file their 2009 tax returns. To help taxpayers see for themselves exactly how they can benefit from Recovery Act tax credits and collect every dollar owed when they file this tax season, the White House today launched a new interactive Tax Savings Tool available at www.WhiteHouse.gov/Recovery.

Here is a quick run-down of some key tax benefits available thanks to the Recovery Act:

  • Making Work Pay: 95 percent of working families are receiving the Work Pay tax credit of $400 for an individual or $800 for married couples filing jointly in their paychecks in 2009.
  • College Expenses: Families and students are eligible for up to $2500 in tax savings under the American Opportunity Credit.
  • Purchase of First Home: Homebuyers can get a credit of up to $8000 for first homes purchased by April 30, 2010 under the First Time homebuyer tax credit.
  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Incentives: Taxpayers are eligible for up to $1500 in tax credits for making some energy-efficiency improvements to their homes.
  • New Vehicle Purchases: Taxpayers can deduct state and local sales taxes or fees for vehicle purchases under the vehicle sales tax deduction.
  • Expanded Family Credits: Moderate income families with children may be eligible for an increase under the Earned Income Tax Credit and the additional Child Tax Credit.
  • Unemployment Benefits Tax Free in 2009: the Recovery Act made the first $2400 of unemployment benefits received in 2009 tax free.

The Recovery Act’s tax benefits of nearly $300 billion are not only providing some relief for middle class families, but also helping to jumpstart the economy and create more clean-energy, manufacturing, and construction jobs.

To learn more, visit Recovery.gov.

Read the Transcript

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Filed under Economy, Money, Obama Administration, Stimulus, Timothy F. Geithner (Sec of Treasury), Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the White House

Posted by: Audiegrl

The fountain in front of the White House flows with green water, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, in honor of St. Patrick's Day in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is a yearly holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (circa AD 387–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. It began as a purely Catholic holiday and became an official feast day in the early 1600s. However, it has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Ireland’s culture.

It is a public holiday on the island of Ireland (both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) and widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and Montserrat.

First Lady Michelle Obama brought a new tradition to the White House in 2009. She asked groundskeepers to dye the White House’s fountain water green for St. Patrick’s Day, paying homage to a long-time tradition in her home in Chicago. Each year the windy city’s Chicago River is dyed green for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

President Barack Obama (R) meets with the Taoiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen, in the Oval Office at the White House on March 17, 2010 in Washington, DC. Taoiseach Cowen is in Washington for St. Patrick's Day to meet with President Obama and later this afternoon will have lunch with members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

(AFP)~President Barack Obama on Wednesday thanked Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen for his support on “critical” global issues, and feted the Irish diaspora in America on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Obama welcomed the Irish leader to the Oval Office, in line with regular Saint Patrick’s Day tradition, and was also due to host a reception later in the evening to mark Ireland’s national celebration.

The president, wearing a green tie, thanked Cowen for Ireland’s assistance on “critical international issues,” noting that many US troops transited through Ireland on the way to Afghanistan.

He also praised the Irish government for the role its police were playing in training police forces in Afghanistan and said 36 million people who trace their lineage to Ireland had made a great contribution to American life.

Obama praised Cowen’s government for the role it was playing along with Britain and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in “reaffirming the progress that has been made in Northern Ireland.”

Cowen praised Obama’s sense of “mission” in the way he is positioning America around the world and praised the efforts the US leader had made since coming to office last year in repairing US banks and reviving the economy.

Read President Obama’s Transcript

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First Lady Michelle Obama appeared at an event sponsored by Newsweek at Washington's Newseum, where she spoke about her campaign to improve fitness and combat obesity in children. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite/March 17 2010)

Following her cover story for Newsweek, the First Lady talked with Newsweek’s Editor Jon Meacham about her Let’s Move campaign at the Newseum in Washington D.C. today. She discussed the magnitude of the problem of childhood obesity, especially during current times as a busier culture:

We’re also a culture and a society right now that snacks a lot more. Just some of the statistics I talked about in my speech yesterday was that the average snack amount when I was growing up was one snack a day, if you were lucky. And now it’s averaging two to three. They say the average school-age kid is getting six snacks a day. So we’re taking 200 more calories than we were 40 years ago, 30 years ago just from snacks alone.

She explained the importance of food manufacturing industries providing clear food labels so people can easily make decisions about what foods are healthy. “Parents have to understand what’s in the Twinkie; again, how does it fit into the overall diet. So we don’t need a warning, we need information. And we need information that’s easy to understand.”

The First Lady also talked about passing legislation that will set nutritional guidelines for school lunch programs and vending machines. President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the Council on Childhood Obesity that will review every program and policy regarding education and nutrition.

Visit LetsMove.gov to learn more about the initiative to address the growing health epidemic of childhood obesity.

Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at Newsweek’s Newseum Event

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President Barack Obama (R) talks to U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (L) during a departure from the annual St. Patrick?s Day Capitol Hill luncheon March 17, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Obama will host Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen for a St. Patricks Day reception at the White House in the evening. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

ABC~At House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s annual Friends of Annual luncheon this afternoon, President Obama told the crowd that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was paying attention to the health care reform battle as it reaches its final hours.

The president said that today “we all feel the heavy absence of one of our greatest Irish-Americans; a man who loved this day so much; a man who I believe is still watching this body closely, particularly this week — and that is our beloved Ted Kennedy.

Kennedy was a longtime advocate of expanding government-run health insurance and would have played a key role in the formation of the health care reform bill had he not taken ill.

At the luncheon, the president noted the presence of Kennedy’s widow Victoria Reggie and his son Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-RI.

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In the evening, the President and the First Lady hosted the Taoiseach and Mrs. Cowen at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Reception held in the East Room. The President and the Taoiseach delivered remarks and participated in a traditional Shamrock Ceremony. The Vice President introduced the President. Prior to their arrival, the Keltic Dreams, an after school Irish dancing troupe from Public School 59 in the Bronx, and the City of Washington Pipe Band performed.

President Barack Obama (R) receives a bowl of shamrocks from Prime Minister of Ireland Brian Cowen (L) during the annual St. Patrick's Day Reception in the East Room of the White House, March 17, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama and Cowen delivered remarks and participated in a traditional shamrock ceremony. Also in the picture is Mary Cowen (2nd L), wife of Prime Minister of Ireland Brian Cowen, and First Lady Michelle Obama (R).(Photo by Pool/Getty Images)

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Filed under (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, First Lady Michelle Obama, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, St. Patrick's Day, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden, Video/YouTube

Vice-President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden Visit the Middle East

Posted by: Audiegrl

Jordan King Tells Biden Israeli Settlements Threaten Peace

Vice President Joe Biden (3rd L), meets with Jordan's King Abdullah II (3rd R) at the Royal Palace on March 11, 2010 in Amman, Jordan. Biden's currently on tour of the middle east which has so far seen him meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Getty Images Europe)

AFP~ Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Thursday told visiting US Vice President Joe Biden that Israel’s new settlements plans threaten peace efforts and could lead to more regional violence.

The king renewed Jordan’s condemnation of Israel’s decision to build new settlements in east Jerusalem,” a palace statement quoted the king as telling Biden at a meeting.

He said “such unilateral actions, which are internationally rejected, threaten the peace process and put the entire region at risk of getting into a new cycle of conflict,” according to the statement.

Achieving peace in the Middle East requires a leading US role. The entire world is paying the price for the troubled peace process,” said the king, whose country, a key US ally, signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

Israel said on Tuesday it would build 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in mainly Arab east Jerusalem, and the announcement coincided with a visit by Biden to the disputed holy city.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly apologized to the vice president on Thursday in a bid to defuse the row over settlements, which prompted a Palestinian boycott of indirect peace talks.

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Filed under Dr. Jill Biden, Israel, Middle East, Peace Talks, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

President Obama Calls for New Steps to Prepare Children for College and Careers

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Obama outlines new steps to better prepare Americas children for college and the workplace at a meeting with the National Governors Association . The President is calling for a redesigned Elementary and Secondary Education Act that includes a comprehensive, new vision to help states successfully transition to and implement college- and career-ready standards by improving teacher preparation and development, upgrading classroom instruction, and supporting high-quality assessments.
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Filed under Children, Education, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Students, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden, Video/YouTube

The Bidens’ Love Story: Jill & Joe Talk Policy Fights, Lunch & Political Marriages On Good Morning America


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Filed under Culture, Dr. Jill Biden, Media and Entertainment, Uncategorized, Valentine's Day, Vice-President Joe Biden

The President and First Lady Host: In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement

Posted by: Audiegrl

February 9, 2010 marked the beginning of the 2010 White House music series with “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” – a concert celebrating Black History month.

Earlier that day, the White House also hosted a “Music that Inspired the Movement” workshop. High school students from across the country participate in a workshop to learn about how music influenced the Civil Rights Movement.

Robert Santelli, the executive director of The GRAMMY Museum, and Smokey Robinson, the legendary Motown singer, will facilitate the workshop with performances by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, one of the original Freedom Singers in the 1960s who traveled around the country carrying stories in song of local Civil Rights Movement campaigns to national audiences. Other artists participated as well, including: John Legend, John Mellencamp, and Toshi Reagon.

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In the evening, the President and First Lady hosted the “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” concert, featuring songs from the Civil Rights Movement as well as readings from famous Civil Rights speeches and writings with participants including Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Howard University Choir and The Freedom Singers, featuring Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Rutha Harris, Charles Neblett, Toshi Reagon and more. Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah and Joanne Woodward will be guest speakers.

“The civil rights movement was a movement sustained by music,” Obama said as he welcomed his audience.

He said activists from coast to coast were inspired by spirituals, felt their will sharpened by protest songs and base broadened by artists of hope. He said their work paved the way toward a more just America that allowed him to make history in 2008 with his election.

“Tonight, we celebrate the music of the movement,” Obama said.

Singer Yolanda Adams’ moving rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” was an early highlight of a night filled with amazing performances.

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The celebration was supposed to come on Wednesday, but faced with another major winter storm the White House decided to move the concert ahead by a day to beat what could be a second crippling snowfall in a week. As guests packed the first floor of the executive mansion, heavy snow landed on the South Lawn and blanketed the rest of Washington.

Morgan Freeman

Actor and activist Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman, who read excerpts from historical works throughout the night, harkened back to the song lyrics Obama invoked during his election-night victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park.

“A long time coming,” Freeman said.

He later deadpanned: “I wish I could sing.”

Obama said the music helped the movement’s faith as their leaders were jailed and their churches bombed.

“It’s hard to sing when times are rough,” Obama said. “The hymns helped … advance the cause of the nation.”

The concert was to be televised at 8 p.m. Thursday on public broadcasting stations nationwide as part of the “In Performance at the White House” series. National Public Radio also planned a one-hour concert special from the event to be broadcast nationwide on NPR stations beginning Friday.

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