Thursday, June 3, 2010

Meeting with Arizona's Governor

Meeting with Arizona's Governor
Posted by Jesse Lee on June 03, 2010 at 03:47 PM EDT
This afternoon the President met with Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona in the Oval Office -- here's the official readout from the White House:

The President had a good meeting with Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona at the White House today to discuss a range of critical issues of mutual interest, including the President’s comprehensive plan to secure the Southwest border and the unprecedented resources his Administration has devoted to that effort. The President and Governor Brewer also discussed the President’s decision to deploy up to an additional 1,200 requirements-based National Guard troops to the border and his upcoming request to Congress of $500 million in supplemental funds for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities as part of that integrated strategy. The President listened to Governor Brewer’s concerns, and noted that the Administration’s ongoing border protection and security efforts have increased pressure on illegal trafficking organizations through record seizures of illegal weapons and bulk cash transiting from the United States to Mexico, resulted in significant seizures of illegal drugs headed into the United States, lowered the average violent crime statistics in states along the Southwest Border, and reduced illegal immigration into the United States.

Despite the significant improvements, the President acknowledged the understandable frustration that all Americans share about the broken immigration system, and the President and Governor agreed that the lack of action to fix the broken system at the federal level is unacceptable. As he did at the recent meeting with Senate Republicans, the President underscored that security measures alone won’t fix the broken borders, there needs to be comprehensive immigration reform that includes: lasting and dedicated resources by which to secure our borders and make our communities safer; holding unscrupulous employers accountable who hire workers illegally and exploit them and providing clear guidance for the many employers who want to play by the rules; and requiring those who have come here illegally to pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English, and get right with the law. The President urged Governor Brewer to be his partner in working in a bipartisan manner on comprehensive immigration reform to implement the type of smart, sensible, and effective solutions the American people expect and deserve from their federal government. Regarding Arizona law SB1070, the President reiterated his concern with the measure, including that a patchwork of different state immigration regulations around the country would interfere with the federal government’s responsibility to set and enforce immigration policy.

President Barack Obama meets with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in the Oval Office, June 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Honoring Sir Paul McCartney

Honoring Sir Paul McCartney
Posted by Kori Schulman on June 03, 2010 at 03:29 PM EDT
Last night, President Obama presented America’s highest award for popular music − the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song − to Sir Paul McCartney in the East Room of the White House. Watch a video of the award presentation:

Artists from all genres and backgrounds joined the President and First Lady to honor Paul McCartney, including Stevie Wonder, the Jonas Brothers, Faith Hill, Emmylou Harris, Lang Lang, Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, Jack White, Corinne Bailey Rae, David Grohl, and Jerry Seinfeld. As they gathered to present the annual award for extraordinary contributions to American music and culture, in his remarks, the President took a moment to address the challenges Americans face and the value of music in tough times:

We've gone through a difficult year and a half, and right now our thoughts and our prayers are with friends in another part of the country that is so rich in musical heritage -- the people of the Gulf Coast who are dealing with something that we simply had not seen before. And it’s heartbreaking. And we reaffirm, I think together, our commitment to see to it that their lives and their communities are made whole again.

But part of what gets us through tough times is music, the arts, the ability to capture that essential kernel of ourselves, that part of us that sings even when times are hard. And it’s fitting that the Library has chosen to present this year’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song to a man whose father played Gershwin compositions for him on the piano; a man who grew up to become the most successful songwriter in history -– Sir Paul McCartney.

The concert will be broadcast on PBS stations nationwide on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 8:00 PM EDT as “In Performance at the White House Celebrating the Music of Paul McCartney: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize.”

Paul McCartney, recipient of the Gershwin prize, performs in the East Room of the White House. June 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Corinne Bailey Rae performs at a concert honoring Paul McCartney, recipient of the Gershwin prize, in the East Room of the White House. June 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder perform "Ebony and Ivory" at a concert honoring McCartney, recipient of the Gershwin prize, in the East Room of the White House. June 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
Last year, the President presented Stevie Wonder with the 2nd Annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize. The prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive manuscript collections reside in the Library of Congress. The prize is awarded to musicians whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins.

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The Brooklyn Bridge & the Story of American Workers

The Brooklyn Bridge & the Story of American Workers
Posted by Liz Oxhorn on June 03, 2010 at 12:33 PM EDT
If you’ve ever looked back at the old black and white photos of America being built, with hard-working men and women creating the infrastructure and fueling the economy that made our country what it is today, you may have stumbled across pictures like this where workers scaled dizzying heights to put the finishing touches on the Brooklyn Bridge back in 1881:



Over the past year and half, the Recovery Act has put hundreds of thousands of hard-working men and women to work on the same kind of projects for the 21st Century -- once again fueling America’s economy by repairing, rejuvenating, improving and advancing much of same infrastructure that was first created back then.

During a visit to New York City yesterday, Vice President Biden stopped by the Brooklyn Bridge where Recovery Act dollars are at work making a contribution to New York City's locally-funded effort to repair, upgrade, and preserve one of America’s most historic crossings.



Vice President Joe Biden tours a construction site underneath the Brooklyn Bridge that is partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, in New York City, New York, 6/2/10
After touring the construction site alongside Mayor Bloomberg, Vice President Biden spoke about how the $508 million project, which is funded in-part by the Recovery Act, will bring the Brooklyn Bridge into a state of good repair and improve traffic flow for the more than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians, and 2,600 bicyclists that cross every day.

“It’s great to see men and women back on the job, completing work on one of the truly, treasured landmarks this country possesses,” the Vice President told a crowd of about 40 construction workers near the Manhattan-side entrance to the bridge.


Vice President Joe Biden talks to construction workers during an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act event at the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, New York, 6/2/10
New York City says the Recovery Act’s $30 million investment in the project will create 150 jobs, generate economic activity and allow New York City to fund other critical infrastructure projects they otherwise would have eliminated or postponed. For the Brooklyn Bridge, it means a reconstructed roadway surface, rehabilitated and retrofitted steel support structures, expanded entrance ramps, and repainting to prevent corrosion.

As Vice President Biden noted, the Recovery Act has funded nearly 1,300 bridge projects and 14,000 transportation across the United States to-date.


Vice President Joe Biden speaks in front of the Brooklyn Bridge during an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act event, in New York City, New York, 6/2/10
Liz Oxhorn is the Recovery Act Communications Director

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Let's Move Outside! at Red Rock Canyon

Let's Move Outside! at Red Rock Canyon
Posted by Assistant Secretary Rhea Suh on June 02, 2010 at 04:59 PM EDT

First Lady Michelle Obama launches her "Let's Move Outside" component of her "Let's Move" initiative at Red Rock Canyon with Senator Harry Reid in Las Vegas, Nevada. June 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Yesterday, I was fortunate to join First Lady Michelle Obama, Representative Dina Titus and Senator Harry Reid at the launch of Let’s Move Outside! in the spectacular Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area of Southern Nevada. The Canyon is just a short drive from the bustle of the Las Vegas Strip; this 197,000 acre property takes you to another time and with its solitude, wide open vistas and soaring red sandstone cliffs. Red Rock Canyon is one of only sixteen National Landscape Conservation Areas in the country, managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

This amazing backdrop was the perfect setting for the First Lady's to announce a new component of her Let’s Move! campaign -- Let's Move Outside! As the first lady said in her remarks:

Our overall goal for “Let’s Move Outside” is to really get our kids active so that they make it a habit of moving around and seeing the activity they need not as a chore but as a fun way to explore our country and to do some things they haven’t done.

Doctors, teachers, and other professionals agree that outdoor activity is one of the easiest and most fun ways to get – and stay – fit. And boy, did we have fun!

First Lady Michelle Obama launches her "Let's Move Outside" component of her "Let's Move" initiative at Red Rock Canyon with Senator Harry Reid in Las Vegas, Nevada. June 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Twenty energetic kids from nearby elementary schools joined us for the afternoon’s activities. The First Lady and Senator Reid led the group in a series of geology stretches. Then, we all hiked over to a sandstone slope, where we watched some able rangers guide kids on a “rock scramble.” Even though it was a steep climb, the pay-off at the top was terrific — a panoramic view of the canyon as far as the eye could see. Finally, children were sworn in by First Lady Michelle Obama as official Let’s Move Outside! Junior Rangers, capping off an afternoon of adventure, exercise, and good cheer.

There are no better places for America’s children to get moving than in the parks, trails, and waters in all of our communities. Whether you are walking, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, or mountain biking --America’s public lands have a wide range of affordable activities and adventures for every family. These lands are America’s backyard—they are owned by everyone in this country and provide opportunities to get outside in every state, county, and city in the country.

The Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service will be hosting Let’s Move Outside! events across the country during the summer months. We will engage partners across the public and private sectors to expand access to these places and connect American families to our great big collective backyard. Check out the Let's Move! website to find opportunities to get outside and have fun today!

Rhea Suh is Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management & Budget

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Moving Forward on the New Foundation

Moving Forward on the New Foundation
Posted by Jesse Lee on June 02, 2010 at 03:48 PM EDT
“America does not stand still. We move forward.” -- this was a recurring theme in the President’s speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, harkening back to one of the most sweeping speeches of his presidency.

On April 14th of last year, the President spoke at Georgetown University on his vision to restore the economy not just in the short term, but for generations to come. In the time since then, the economy has turned from hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of jobs, to some of the strongest job growth we’ve seen in years over the past months – although for millions of Americans times are still tough. But in that same time, much progress has also been made on what the President called the “New Foundation” a year ago:

It's a foundation built upon five pillars that will grow our economy and make this new century another American century: Number one, new rules for Wall Street that will reward drive and innovation, not reckless risk-taking -- (applause); number two, new investments in education that will make our workforce more skilled and competitive -- (applause); number three, new investments in renewable energy and technology that will create new jobs and new industries -- (applause); number four, new investments in health care that will cut costs for families and businesses; and number five, new savings in our federal budget that will bring down the debt for future generations. (Applause.)

The President noted that “for a lot of middle-class families -- for entire communities, in some case -- a sense of economic security has been missing since long before the recession began,” and that this problem is what the New Foundation is meant to address. As such, he chastised the Republican Party for the fact that “most have sat on the sidelines and shouted from the bleachers” rather than offer real help. He gave a recap of the progress made on each pillar, making clear while some may argue we need to move backward towards the broken status quo, he will continue to push forward:

On Wall Street Reform, which has passed both the House and Senate:

To start with, we can't compete as a nation if the irresponsibility of a few folks on Wall Street can bring our entire economy to its knees. That's why we're on the verge of passing the most sweeping financial reform since the Great Depression. It’s a reform that will help prevent another AIG. It will end taxpayer-funded bank bailouts. It contains the strongest consumer protections in history -- protections that will empower Americans with the clear and concise information they need before signing up for a credit card or taking out a mortgage.

On education, which has remained a consistent top priority of the President’s even as other issues dominated the headlines:

You know, if you’re a family who’s tightening your belt, you will definitely sacrifice going out to dinner, but you’re not going to sacrifice saving for your child’s college education. It’s precisely our investments in education and innovation that will make America more competitive in the 21st century. And we can’t go back; we’ve got to move forward. (Applause.)

That’s why I’ve made education reform a top priority -- because countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow. And so we want every citizen to have the skills and training they need in a global economy -- from the day that you’re born through whatever career you may choose.

Last year, we launched a national competition to improve our schools based on a simple idea: Instead of funding the status quo, we will only invest in reform -- reform that raises student achievement, that inspires students to excel in math and science, and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans.

On the deficit, which was put on a disastrous course in previous years, and was made worse by the recession that “put a $3 trillion hole in our budget before I even walked in the door”:

The third component is the belt-tightening steps I’ve already outlined to reduce our deficit by $1 trillion.

Starting in 2011, we will enact a three-year freeze on all discretionary spending outside of national security -- something that was never enacted in the last administration. We will allow the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire. We’ve gone through the budget, line by line, and identified more than 120 programs for elimination. We’ve restored a simple budgeting rule that every family and business understands called pay-as-you-go. And we will charge the largest Wall Street firms a fee to repay the American people for rescuing them during the financial crisis -- a fee that will bring down the deficit by $90 billion -- (applause) -- a fee that will bring down the deficit by $90 billion over the next decade. By the way, that $90 billion represents about one-eighth of the amount these banks will pay out in bonuses over the same time period in time.

On reforming our broken health insurance system, now the law of the land, with new benefits kicking in virtually every month:

We also know we can’t compete in a global economy if our citizens are forced to spend more and more of their income on medical bills; if our businesses are forced to choose between health care and hiring; if state and federal budgets are weighed down with skyrocketing health care costs. That’s why we finally passed health insurance reform.

Now, let’s be clear. The costs of health care are not going to come down overnight just because legislation passed, and in an ever-changing industry like health care, we’re going to continuously need to apply more cost-cutting measures as the years go by. But once this reform is in full effect, middle-class families will pay less for their health care, and the worst practices of the insurance industry will end. People with preexisting medical conditions will no longer be excluded from coverage. People who become seriously ill will no longer be thrown off their coverage for reasons contrived by the insurance company. Taxpayers will no longer have to pay -- in the form of higher premiums -- for trips to the ER by uninsured Americans. Businesses will get help with their health care costs. In fact, small businesses are already learning they’re eligible for tax credits to cover their workers this year. And with less waste and greater efficiency in the system, this reform will do more to bring down the deficit than any step we have taken in more than a decade.

The other party has staked their claim this November on repealing these health insurance reforms instead of making them work. They want to go back. We need to move forward.

The President saved the clean energy economy for last, which got its biggest investment in history from the Recovery Act, but which still lacks a comprehensive energy bill out of the Senate:

Now, this brings me to an issue that’s on everybody’s minds right now -- namely, what kind of energy future can ensure our long-term prosperity. The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error, or of corporations taking dangerous shortcuts to compromise safety, or a combination of both. And I’ve launched a National Commission so that the American people will have answers on exactly what happened. But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth, and these are risks -- (applause) -- these are risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes. We also have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and our grandchildren. (Applause.)

We consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. So without a major change in our energy policy, our dependence on oil means that we will continue to send billions of dollars of our hard-earned wealth to other countries every month -- including countries in dangerous and unstable regions. In other words, our continued dependence on fossil fuels will jeopardize our national security. It will smother our planet. And it will continue to put our economy and our environment at risk.

Now, I understand that we can’t end our dependence on fossil fuels overnight. That’s why I supported a careful plan of offshore oil production as one part of our overall energy strategy. But we can pursue such production only if it’s safe, and only if it’s used as a short-term solution while we transition to a clean energy economy.

And the time has come to aggressively accelerate that transition. The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future. (Applause.) Now, that means continuing our unprecedented effort to make everything from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks more energy-efficient. It means tapping into our natural gas reserves, and moving ahead with our plan to expand our nation’s fleet of nuclear power plants. It means rolling back billions of dollars of tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.

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The Affordable Care Act and the Deficit

The Affordable Care Act and the Deficit
Posted by OMB Director Peter Orszag on June 02, 2010 at 02:01 PM EDT
Cross-posted from the OMB blog.

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf recently gave a presentation on health costs and the fiscal outlook. Doug concludes that the federal budget remains on an unsustainable course even after enactment of the Affordable Care Act, and I wholly agree with him.

There should be no ambiguity about whether we face unsustainably large deficits over the medium- and long-term. We do. That is why the Administration’s Budget proposes significant additional deficit reduction and that is also why the President has formed a bi-partisan Fiscal Commission charged with recommending measures to achieve medium term fiscal sustainability and to meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook.

The fact that more action must be taken on the deficit even after enactment of the Affordable Care Act, however, is a distinct question from whether the health legislation helps to improve our fiscal course — which it does.

In particular, CBO estimates that the Act will reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion over the next ten years and more than $1 trillion in the ten years after that. That’s more deficit reduction than has been enacted in over a decade.

Perhaps more importantly, the Act has the potential to fundamentally transform our health system into one that delivers better care at lower cost. This potential isn’t fully captured in CBO’s numbers, and that’s appropriate. CBO produces its estimates based on what has happened in the past, and we have never enacted such a fundamental transformation.

The new law incorporates the most promising ideas from economists and leaders from across the political spectrum to control health care costs. As I have written before, this includes the vast majority of the options CBO itself suggested for reducing long-term health care cost growth. And we now have a variety of new institutions that will be devoted to guiding policy toward higher-quality and lower-cost outcomes.

The bottom line is that we are on a long journey toward fiscal sustainability — but that should not diminish the importance and potential of the Affordable Care Act.

Peter R. Orszag is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weekly Address

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 29, 2010 WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Invites All Americans to Honor America’s Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day
WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Barack Obama asked all Americans to join him in remembering and honoring our men and women in uniform who have died in service to the country. The commitment these heroes have demonstrated – the willingness to lay down their lives so the rest of us might inherit the blessings of this nation – has helped make America the most prosperous, most powerful nation on earth and it is what we honor on Memorial Day.

The full audio of the address is HERE. The video can be viewed online at www.whitehouse.gov.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Weekly Address
Washington, DC

This weekend, as we celebrate Memorial Day, families across America will gather in backyards and front porches, fire up the barbeque, kick back with friends, and spend time with people they care about. That is as it should be. But I also hope that as you do so, you’ll take some time to reflect on what Memorial Day is all about; on why we set this day aside as a time of national remembrance.

It’s fitting every day to pay tribute to the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America. Still, there are certain days that have been set aside for all of us to do so. Veterans Day is one such day – when we are called to honor Americans who’ve fought under our country’s flag.

Our calling on Memorial Day is different. On this day, we honor not just those who’ve worn this country’s uniform, but the men and women who’ve died in its service; who’ve laid down their lives in defense of their fellow citizens; who’ve given their last full measure of devotion to protect the United States of America. These are the men and women I will be honoring this weekend, and I know many of you are doing the same.

There are any number of reasons America emerged from its humble beginnings as a cluster of colonies to become the most prosperous, most powerful nation on earth. There is the hard work, the resilience, and the character of our people. There is the ingenuity and enterprising spirit of our entrepreneurs and innovators. There are the ideals of opportunity, equality, and freedom that have not only inspired our people to perfect our own union, but inspired others to perfect theirs as well.

But from the very start, there was also something more. A steadfast commitment to serve, to fight, and if necessary, to die, to preserve America and advance the ideals we cherish. It’s a commitment witnessed at each defining moment along the journey of this country. It’s what led a rag-tag militia to face British soldiers at Lexington and Concord. It’s what led young men, in a country divided half slave and half free, to take up arms to save our union. It’s what led patriots in each generation to sacrifice their own lives to secure the life of our nation, from the trenches of World War I to the battles of World War II, from Inchon and Khe Sanh, from Mosul to Marjah.

That commitment – that willingness to lay down their lives so we might inherit the blessings of this nation – is what we honor today. But on this Memorial Day, as on every day, we are called to honor their ultimate sacrifice with more than words. We are called to honor them with deeds.

We are called to honor them by doing our part for the loved ones our fallen heroes have left behind and looking after our military families. By making sure the men and women serving this country around the world have the support they need to achieve their missions and come home safely. By making sure veterans have the care and assistance they need. In short, by serving all those who have ever worn the uniform of this country – and their families – as well as they have served us.

On April 25, 1866, about a year after the Civil War ended, a group of women visited a cemetery in Columbus, Mississippi, to place flowers by the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen at Shiloh. As they did, they noticed other graves nearby, belonging to Union dead. But no one had come to visit those graves, or place a flower there. So they decided to lay a few stems for those men too, in recognition not of a fallen Confederate or a fallen Union soldier, but a fallen American.

A few years later, an organization of Civil War veterans established what became Memorial Day, selecting a date that coincided with the time when flowers were in bloom. So this weekend, as we commemorate Memorial Day, I ask you to hold all our fallen heroes in your hearts, and if you can, to lay a flower where they have come to rest.

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Deepwater BP Oil Spill

Deepwater BP Oil Spill
"We're going to do everything in our power to protect our natural resources, compensate those who have been harmed, rebuild what has been damaged, and help this region persevere like it has done so many times before."

-- President Barack Obama, Venice, Louisiana

Information on Spill-Related Damages and Claims
Fishermen and those affected by the BP Oil Spill who wish to contact BP about a claim should call 1-800-440-0858. For those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution, can call the Coast Guard at 1-800-280-7118. For more information on assistance for small business owners and others in affected areas, visit DisasterAssistance.gov.

What You Can Do
•Request volunteer information and register to volunteer: (866)-448-5816
•Submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system or submit alternative response technology, services or products:
(281) 366-5511
•Report oiled or injured wildlife: 1-866-557-1401
•Report oil on land: 1-866-448-5816
State specific volunteer opportunities:

•Louisiana
•Mississippi
•Florida
•Alabama
Federal Response Resources
Check out the links below to find out how federal departments and agencies are responding to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill:

Joint Information Center
At the beginning of the event, the Coast Guard elevated the response and established a Regional Command Center and Joint Information Center in Robert, La., inviting all partners in the response to join. Get the latest updates from the partners on the ground in the Gulf Coast: http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com

•Facebook
•Flickr
•Twitter
•YouTube
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Since the moments after the oil rig explosion on the night of April 20, DHS has played a lead role in federal response efforts—deploying the U.S. Coast Guard to search and rescue the 126 people aboard the rig, and quickly leading efforts to establish a command center on the Gulf Coast to address the potential environmental impact of the event and to coordinate with all state and local governments. Secretary Napolitano leads the National Response Team, an organization of 16 federal departments and agencies responsible for coordinating emergency preparedness and response to oil and hazardous substance pollution events.

U.S. Coast Guard
The Coast Guard has played a major role from the very beginning, when it responded to the explosion on a search and rescue mission to save lives. Pursuant to the National Contingency Plan, Rear Admiral Mary Landry was named the Federal On-Scene Coordinator to lead a Regional Response Team which was stood up that included DHS, DOC/NOAA, DOI and the EPA, as well as state and local representatives. As the event escalated, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen was announced as the National Incident Commander for the administration’s continued, coordinated response—providing additional coordinated oversight in leveraging every available resource to respond to the BP oil spill and minimize the associated environmental risks.

Department of the Interior (DOI)
The morning after the explosion, Secretary of the Interior deployed Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes to the Gulf Coast to assist with coordination and response to the event, and provide hourly reports back to the administration. Since then, DOI has played a vital role in overseeing BP’s response efforts while—at the President’s request—working to deliver a report with recommendations on what, if any, additional safety measures should be required for offshore operations. Secretary Salazar has announced that inspections of all deepwater rigs and platforms are underway.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Since the BP Oil Spill, EPA has provided full support to the U.S. Coast Guard and is monitoring and responding to potential public health and environmental concerns. Environmental data, including air quality and water samples, will be posted and frequently updated on this site as it is collected and validated by EPA’s response teams along the impacted coastlines. This data is meant to determine potential risks to public health and the environment: http://www.epa.gov/bpspill

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
As the nation’s leading scientific resource for oil spills, NOAA has been on the scene of the Deepwater Horizon spill from the start, providing coordinated scientific weather and biological response services to federal, state and local organizations: http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/deepwaterhorizon
Weather Forecast: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lix/

Small Business Administration
SBA is making low-interest loans available to small businesses in the Gulf Coast regions of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi suffering financial losses following the April 20 Deepwater BP oil spill that shut down commercial and recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are available immediately in designated counties and parishes of each of the four states to help meet the financial needs of qualifying small businesses following the oil spill: http://www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/

Department of Defense (DOD)
DOD continues to support the ongoing response effort by lending Naval and Air Force bases to provide vital staging areas for boom deployments and other activities, and providing C-130 aircraft equipped with Modular Aerial Spray Systems, which dispense chemical dispersant—capable of covering up to 250 acres per flight. DOD also plays a significant role in the National Response Team, helping to lead the coordination of response actions for the federal government. Secretary of Defense Gates has authorized use of Title 32 status for up to 17,500 National Guard members in four states: Alabama (3,000), Florida (2,500), Louisiana (6,000) and Mississippi (6,000).

Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service
The Fish and Wildlife Service continues to support the joint agency response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with experienced specialists, land managers, and support personnel. Booms to capture and deflect anticipated oil are being deployed at Breton National Wildlife Refuge, where thousands of brown pelicans and shorebirds are currently nesting. The Service also is initiating Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration activities in this incident to assess and address the long-term damage to impacted resources: http://www.fws.gov/home/dhoilspill

Department of the Interior’s National Park Service
The National Park Service is focused on human safety and resource protection in eight national parks in the Gulf area. These parks are working to assess resources, collect baseline data, coordinate boom placements, plan for responsible cleanup, install barriers for shore bird and turtle nest protection, and plan for potential park closures, if necessary: http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/oil-spill-response.htm

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Oil spill response workers may be exposed to many different chemical, physical, biological, and psychological hazards. These hazards vary depending on the type and location of the oil spill, type and stage of response, degree of coordination between entities involved in response and recovery, and the workers’ specific tasks. Therefore, occupational and environmental hazards need to be identified, assessed, and monitored in each oil spill response: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/oilspillresponse

Daily Updates
A chronology of the ongoing administration-wide response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill, beginning on April 20, is available here.

Information on Air, Food, and Water Safety
Air: With the prevalence of vapor concerns from oil near the Gulf coast and the controlled burning to help contain the spread of oil, air quality is a health concern. EPA has initiated an air monitoring effort to ensure the safety of local residents and track any developing air quality changes.

Food: Although crude oil has the potential to taint seafood with flavors and odors caused by exposure to hydrocarbon chemicals, the public should not be concerned about the safety of seafood in stores at this time. There is no reason to believe that any contaminated product has made its way to the market.

Water: NOAA is restricting fishing for a minimum of ten days in federal waters most affected by the BP oil spill, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay. The closure is effective immediately. Fishermen who wish to contact BP about a claim should call 1-800-440-0858.

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More than 350,000 White House Visitor Records Online

More than 350,000 White House Visitor Records Online
Posted by Norm Eisen on May 28, 2010 at 06:16 PM EDT
In September 2009, the President announced that – for the first time in history – the White House would routinely release visitor records. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were created in February 2010. Today’s release also includes several visitor records created prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public during April 2010 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the grand total of records that this White House has released to well over 350,000 records. You can view them all in our Disclosures section.

Norm Eisen is Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform

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"You Are Part of a Long Continuum"

"You Are Part of a Long Continuum"
Posted by Jesse Lee on May 28, 2010 at 06:01 PM EDT

Vice President Joe Biden delivers the commencement address at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, May 28, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
This afternoon the Vice President gave the commencement address at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, and spoke with awe of the tradition the graduates in the audience were becoming a part of:

You all possess traits that Secretary Bancroft knew were necessary when he set up this Academy 165 years ago. But you all also possess skills, talents, and capacity that are beyond -- far beyond anything -- anything Secretary Bancroft could have thought of 165 years ago.

But notwithstanding that, you are part of a long continuum. You're writing a new chapter in a long history of a strong tradition of this great Naval Academy. You’re all going to be part of a fraternity that goes back 165 years and binds you together like little I have seen in my experience. No matter how long you serve in uniform, even when you’re out of uniform, you will come across fellow Annapolis graduates, share sea stories, discuss those “Four years by the Bay” -- and know -- and know like few others in the nation can know that wherever you go there is somebody who will have your back, even though they don't know you personally.

That’s an awesome sense of pride and patriotism. And it’s an awesome sense of pride and patriotism that comes over you all when you sing “Navy Blue and Gold.” It’s a feeling that few have a right to share like all of you. This place is special, even to those of us who didn’t attend it. This place is special. And you’ve had a special experience that has given you a bond that’s going to last you a lifetime. You will be amazed how tight that bond is and how long it will last.


Vice President Joe Biden greets newly commissioned Second Lieutenant Huy Truong who he mentioned during his commencement address at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, May 28, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
.To be clear though, he made clear that he was in awe of the graduates on their own merits as well:

You know, for four long years now, you’ve looked forward to this moment -- they’ve looked forward to it, as well -- to watch you walk across this stage: Marines, aviators, SWOs, SEALs, E.O.D., submariners -- and there may be just a special bit of pride for the families of the 11 -- the 11 who will be the first Naval Academy women to serve on submarines.

Ladies and gentlemen, for all of you, the breadth of the assignments you’ve taken on is matched only by the depth of the skill you’ll leave this field with. You’ve been trained by the very best. And you leave here with an astounding capacity to lead.


Newly commissioned Ensigns take the Oath of Office after Vice President Joe Biden delivered the commencement address at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, May 28, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

"The Largest Cleanup Effort in U.S. History"

"The Largest Cleanup Effort in U.S. History"
Posted by Jesse Lee on May 28, 2010 at 04:47 PM EDT
Following up on his press conference discussing the BP oil spill, the President travelled to the Gulf Coast to get another first-hand look at the progress and to be briefed by those on the ground. At the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Grande Isle, Louisiana, the President spoke to the frustration those in the local community and across America feel watching the BP oil leak:

Understandably, the feelings of frustration and anger, the sense that any response is inadequate -- we expect that frustration and anger to continue until we actually solve this problem. But in the meantime, we’ve got to make sure that everybody is working in concert, that everybody is moving in the same direction. And I want everybody to know that everybody here -- at every level -- is working night and day to end this crisis. We’re considering every single idea out there, especially from folks who know these communities best.

The President commended those in the area who have “rolled up their sleeves” to help with the clean up, saying that “we’re in this together.” He warned that as frustrating as it is now, the clean-up will be a monumental and lengthy process, but he pledged to ensure that BP compensates those whose livelihoods have suffered and directed small business owners and others in need of help to the resources here at WhiteHouse.gov.
Gulf CoastShow Gallery Info.
President Barack Obama tours Fourchon Beach on the Louisiana coast to talk firsthand with those engaged in the effort to plug the BP oil leak and mitigate the damage it is causing, Friday, May 28, 2010.M

He spoke extensively of what he saw touring the tragedy this morning:

And our response treats this event for what it is: It’s an assault on our shores, on our people, on the regional economy, and on communities like this one. This isn’t just a mess that we’ve got to mop up. People are watching their livelihoods wash up on the beach. Parents are worried about the implications for their children’s health. Every resident of this community has watched this nightmare threaten the dreams that they’ve worked so hard to build. And they want it made right, and they want to make it right now.

I just had a chance to listen to Mayor David Carmadelle of Grande Isle, our host here, telling us heartbreaking stories about fishermen who are trying to figure out where the next paycheck is going to come from, how are they going to pay a mortgage or a note on their boat. And he is having to dig into his pocket at this point to make sure that some of them are able to deal with the economic impact. So this is something that has to be dealt with immediately, not sometime later. And that’s everybody’s driving focus -- everybody who is standing behind me. This is our highest priority and it deserves a response that is equal to the task.

That’s why this has already been the largest cleanup effort in U.S. history. On the day this disaster began, even as we launched a search and rescue effort for workers on the drilling rig, we were already staging equipment in the event of a larger-scale spill. By the time we discovered the third breach, a week after the Deepwater Horizon platform sank, we had already stationed more than 70 vessels and hundreds of thousands of feet of protective boom on site.

Today, there are more than 20,000 people in the region working around the clock to contain and clean up this spill. We’ve activated about 1,400 members of the National Guard across four states. Nearly 1,400 vessels are aiding in the containment and cleanup effort. And we deployed more than 3 million feet of hard and sorbent boom, including an additional 100,000 just yesterday for these parishes in Louisiana that face the greatest threat.

Now, I’ve made clear to Admiral Allen and I did so again today that he should get whatever he needs to deal with this crisis. Whatever he needs, he will get.

Right now, we’re still within the window where we don’t yet know the outcome of the highly complex top kill procedure that the federal government authorized BP to use to try to stop the leak. If it is successful, it would obviously be welcome news. If it’s not, a team of some of the world’s top scientists, engineers and experts, led by our Energy Secretary and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu, has for some time being -- has for some time been exploring any and all reasonable contingency plans.

But our response will continue with its full force regardless of the outcome of the top kill approach -- because even if the leak was stopped today it wouldn’t change the fact that these waters still contain oil from what is now the largest spill in American history. And more of it will come ashore.

To ensure that we’re fully prepared for that, and in accordance with input from folks down here, I’ve directed Secretary Napolitano and Admiral Allen to triple the manpower in places where oil has hit the shore or is within 24 hours of impact. This increase will allow us to further intensify this already historic response, contain and remove oil more quickly, and help minimize the time that any oil comes into contact with our coastline. That means deploying more boom, cleaning more beaches, performing more monitoring of wildlife and impact to this ecosystem.

We’re also going to continue to do whatever it takes to help Americans whose livelihoods have been upended by this spill. Gulf Coast residents should know that we’ve gathered all pertinent information regarding available assistance and the federal response in one place at whitehouse.gov.

We have ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and we will make sure they deliver. And the parish presidents and governors here in Louisiana were already giving us some sense of some of the bureaucratic problems that we’re going to have to cut through, but we are going to cut through them. And for those who are in economic distress, if you’ve already filed a claim and you’re not satisfied with the resolution, then whitehouse.gov will point you in the right direction.

As I said yesterday, the Small Business Administration has stepped in to help businesses by approving loans, but also as important, allowing many to defer existing loan payments. A lot of folks are still loaded up with loans that they had from Katrina and other natural disasters down here, so they may need some additional help.

If you’re a small business owner and you weren’t aware of some of the programs that have been put in place or haven’t participated, then, again, the White House website will connect you to the resources you need. And we are making sure that all the parish presidents know, and folks like the mayor, other local officials are going to be aware of how they can get immediate help from us.

What’s more, we’ve stationed doctors and scientists across the five Gulf States to look out for people’s health and then to monitor any ill effects felt by cleanup workers and local residents. And we’ve begun setting up a system to track these efforts -- excuse me, to track these effects -- and ensure folks get the care that they need. And we’ve told BP that we expect them to pay for that, too.

As I’ve said before, BP is the responsible party for this disaster. What that means is they’re legally responsible for stopping the leak and they’re financially responsible for the enormous damage that they’ve created. And we’re going to hold them accountable, along with any other party responsible for the initial explosion and loss of life on that platform.

But as I said yesterday, and as I repeated in the meeting that we just left, I ultimately take responsibility for solving this crisis. I’m the President and the buck stops with me. So I give the people of this community and the entire Gulf my word that we’re going to hold ourselves accountable to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to stop this catastrophe, to defend our natural resources, to repair the damage, and to keep this region on its feet. Justice will be done for those whose lives have been upended by this disaster, for the families of those whose lives have been lost -- that is a solemn pledge that I am making.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Long Gray Line

The Long Gray Line
Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on May 24, 2010 at 11:36 AM EDT

On Saturday, President Obama delivered the commencement address at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. This year one thousand and two cadets entered into the “Long Gray Line” of West Point graduates.

The class of 2010 is the ninth consecutive class to graduate while our nation is at war. Last year, President Obama visited West Point to his strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan. During the commencement address the President reflected on the changing nature of the war over the past nine years: .

We face a tough fight in Afghanistan. Any insurgency that is confronted with a direct challenge will turn to new tactics. And from Marja to Kandahar, that is what the Taliban has done through assassination and indiscriminate killing and intimidation. Moreover, any country that has known decades of war will be tested in finding political solutions to its problems, and providing governance that can sustain progress and serve the needs of its people.

So this war has changed over the last nine years, but it’s no less important than it was in those days after 9/11. We toppled the Taliban regime -- now we must break the momentum of a Taliban insurgency and train Afghan security forces. We have supported the election of a sovereign government -- now we must strengthen its capacities. We’ve brought hope to the Afghan people -- now we must see that their country does not fall prey to our common enemies. Cadets, there will be difficult days ahead. We will adapt, we will persist, and I have no doubt that together with our Afghan and international partners, we will succeed in Afghanistan.

The President stressed the importance of looking beyond the immediate task at hand to building a more prosperous and peaceful future for our country and the international community.

Now even as we fight the wars in front of us, we also have to see the horizon beyond these wars -- because unlike a terrorist whose goal is to destroy, our future will be defined by what we build. We have to see that horizon, and to get there we must pursue a strategy of national renewal and global leadership. We have to build the sources of America’s strength and influence, and shape a world that’s more peaceful and more prosperous.

Time and again, Americans have risen to meet and to shape moments of change. This is one of those moments -- an era of economic transformation and individual empowerment; of ancient hatreds and new dangers; of emerging powers and new global challenges. And we’re going to need all of you to help meet these challenges. You’ve answered the call. You, and all who wear America’s uniform, remain the cornerstone of our national defense, the anchor of global security. And through a period when too many of our institutions have acted irresponsibly, the American military has set a standard of service and sacrifice that is as great as any in this nation’s history.

The President also noted that “burdens of this century cannot fall on our soldiers alone.” All of us must play a part in securing our nation’s future:

Now the rest of us -- the rest of us must do our part. And to do so, we must first recognize that our strength and influence abroad begins with steps we take at home. We must educate our children to compete in an age where knowledge is capital, and the marketplace is global. We must develop clean energy that can power new industry and unbound us from foreign oil and preserve our planet. We have to pursue science and research that unlocks wonders as unforeseen to us today as the microchip and the surface of the moon were a century ago.

Simply put, American innovation must be the foundation of American power -- because at no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy. And so that means that the civilians among us, as parents and community leaders, elected officials, business leaders, we have a role to play. We cannot leave it to those in uniform to defend this country -- we have to make sure that America is building on its strengths.

The President concluded his remarks by noting that America’s campaign to defeat al Queda was “necessary and just,” it "is not an end in itself.”

America does not fight for the sake of fighting. We abhor war. As one who has never experienced the field of battle -- and I say that with humility, knowing, as General MacArthur said, “the soldier above all others prays for peace” -- we fight because we must. We fight to keep our families and communities safe. We fight for the security of our allies and partners, because America believes that we will be safer when our friends are safer; that we will be stronger when the world is more just.

From the birth of our existence, America has had a faith in the future -- a belief that where we’re going is better than where we’ve been, even when the path ahead is uncertain. To fulfill that promise, generations of Americans have built upon the foundation of our forefathers -- finding opportunity, fighting injustice, forging a more perfect union. Our achievement would not be possible without the Long Grey Line that has sacrificed for duty, for honor, for country.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Another Step Towards Securing Our Future in Energy

Another Step Towards Securing Our Future in Energy
Posted by Jesse Lee on May 21, 2010 at 02:25 PM EDT

This morning, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum on fuel efficiency standards, an initiative that will build on his goal to move towards improved fuel economy for vehicles. The signing comes a year after he made a historic agreement to break America’s dependence on foreign oil and create clean energy jobs.

The President explained that one year later, we are already beginning to see the results of that goal. The Presidential Memorandum signed today will take another step forward by proposing the development of a national standard for larger heavy-duty trucks. The Memorandum directs the Department of Transportion and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create a first-ever National Policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks for Model Years 2014-2018. Trucks consume more than two million barrels of ail every day and emit 20% of all transportation related greenhouse gas pollution, and the new standard is expected to bring down costs for transporting goods while reducing pollution and spurring growth in the clean energy sector.

The President explained that this is a matter of global importance:

We know how important that is. We know that our dependence on foreign oil endangers our security and our economy. We know that climate change poses a threat to our way of life -– in fact we’re already seeing some of the profound and costly impacts. And the disaster in the Gulf only underscores that even as we pursue domestic production to reduce our reliance on imported oil, our long-term security depends on the development of alternative sources of fuel and new transportation technologies.

But we also know that our economic future depends on our leadership in the industries of the future. Around the globe, countries are seeking an advantage in the global marketplace by investing in new ways of producing and saving energy. From China to Germany, these countries recognize that the nation that leads in the clean energy economy will lead the global economy. And I want America to be that nation.



President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House before signing a Presidential Memorandum outlining the next steps in his vision for cleaner, more efficient vehicles, May 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

New Tax Credit Will Support Groundbreaking Research, Create Jobs, and Bring Down Costs

New Tax Credit Will Support Groundbreaking Research, Create Jobs, and Bring Down Costs
Posted by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on May 21, 2010 at 12:44 PM EDT
As a former Governor, I know that economic growth often starts with small businesses that have big ideas. As Secretary of Health and Human Services, I’ve seen how a breakthrough in a lab can lead to a life-saving medication in medicine chests across America.

Today, my colleagues Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins made an announcement that brings these forces together. As part of the Affordable Care Act, we’re creating a new tax credit for biotechnology research that will create jobs, save lives, and bring down health care costs.

The tax credit will be available to the small biotech firms around the country whose research has been judged by our NIH experts to hold great promise to lead to new therapies and medical innovation. Our goal is to make targeted investments so that encouraging leads that otherwise might have been set aside can now be vigorously pursued by some of our best scientists.

Over the last few decades, breakthroughs in biotechnology have improved the health of millions of Americans – dramatically reducing the mortality rates for many diseases and health conditions. At the same time, the biotech industry has become a key driver of our high-tech economy, supporting 1.3 million high-quality jobs.

Put simply, today’s announcement equals more cures and more jobs.

To learn more about how this announcement achieves some of the Affordable Care Act’s key goals like supporting American businesses, promoting health care innovation, and helping Americans live healthier lives, you can read a fact sheet here and the full IRS Notice on the tax credit here.

Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Weekly Address: Health Reform Starts to Kick In

Weekly Address: Health Reform Starts to Kick In
Posted by Jesse Lee on May 08, 2010 at 06:00 AM EDT
The President goes through the benefits in health insurance reform that are already kicking in for young adults, retirees, and families, and says more benefits are coming down the pike.


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On the Ground, Updating President Obama on the Floods in Tennessee

On the Ground, Updating President Obama on the Floods in Tennessee
Posted by Craig Fugate on May 07, 2010 at 06:37 PM EDT
At the request of the President, I’m in Tennessee for the second time this week to meet with local officials and assess the damage from the severe weather and subsequent flooding that swept through this state and other parts of the Southeast this week, and to ensure that all the needs of the state and local governments – as well as communities and individuals – are being met. I met with Governor Phil Bredesen and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean yesterday and reiterated our commitment to bring every federal resource to bear in response to this – as Governor Bredesen described – “unprecedented” storm. FEMA was on the ground from the beginning and is leaning forward to ensure a swift federal response to this disaster.


We’ve been engaged with the affected states since last Saturday when the rain began to fall, and currently have representatives on the ground in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana to measure the damage and provide federal assistance where needed.

On Monday night I met with Governor Bredesen of Tennessee, and on Tuesday, the Governor requested, and the President signed, a federal disaster declaration for the state, standing up federal assistance by way of temporary housing and home repair grants, loans to cover losses from uninsured property, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover. The President signed a similar declaration for Alabama the day before.

To date in Tennessee:

•27 counties have been declared as federal disaster areas;
•Approximately 12,000 individuals have registered for FEMA assistance;
•FEMA has approved over $1.5 million in federal assistance for housing and other needs.
We’re working to make sure that every request is processed rapidly, and that individuals and business owners in the affected areas have all the information and resources they need to quickly recover from these storms.

I’ll join Secretary Napolitano tomorrow in Nashville, where we’ll meet with state and local officials and receive briefings on the coordinated federal, state, and local response efforts underway.

Individuals who live in the affected area can register for federal assistance by calling the FEMA hotline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov. You can also visit the fema.gov from your mobile device for more information at http://m.fema.gov/.

Individuals should always be prepared for a disaster like this. Visit ready.gov for information to prepare for the unexpected.

Craig Fugate is the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More information and resources on the floods and severe weather in the Southeast:

•Statement by the President on Severe Weather and Flooding in the Southeast
•Statement by the White House Press Secretary on the President's Southeastern Flooding Briefing
•President Obama Signs Tennessee Disaster Declaration
•President Obama Signs Alabama Disaster Declaration
•Conference Call on the Flooding in Tennessee with FEMA Administrator Fugate, Governor Phil Bredesen, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, SVP American Red Cross Joe Becker
•Read out of the President's Calls with Tennessee Governor
•White House Press Secretary on the Response to the Southeastern Flooding and Severe Weather
•Senior Administration Officials Visit Tennessee to Support Response and Recovery Efforts
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"All of the Extraordinary Women in Our Lives"

"All of the Extraordinary Women in Our Lives"
Posted by Shama Hussain on May 07, 2010 at 05:52 PM EDT

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.

First Lady Michelle Obama leans over to kiss her mother, Marian Robinson, while hosting a Mother's Day Tea with White House Mentees, their mothers, and former First Family guests in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 7, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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.”

First Lady Michelle Obama talks with guests while hosting a Mother's Day Tea with White House Mentees, their mothers, and former First Family guests in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 7, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

First Lady Barack Obama hosts a Mothers Day Tea in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 7, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why are BP and the US Administration not taking every action they might in the Gulf of Mexico

This process and treatment is not a panacea to the problems of what might be the biggest environmental disaster for ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico by the hand of man ‘SO FAR’ in our short history. But are all efforts and actions that might be made; being taken? If not, we might ask why not?



Thanks for watching - considering; and taking action.

For more information and to contact CRESTLINE INDUSTRIESINC CLICK HERE

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sneak Peek of the Commencement Challenge Finalists

Sneak Peek of the Commencement Challenge Finalists
Posted by Lauren Paige on April 24, 2010 at 01:09 PM EDT
Starting on Monday the public will have a chance to weigh in on the six finalists in the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek of the schools today.

Over the past few weeks students from the six finalist schools worked with Get Schooled to create a short three minute video demonstrating how their school best meets the criteria of the Commencement Challenge. We’ll debut those videos and a short essay by each school on Monday morning on WhiteHouse.gov/Commencement. Visitors to the site will have a chance to rate each finalist on a scale of 1-5 and President Obama will choose one of the top three highest rated schools to visit and deliver the commencement address. Be sure to check back Monday morning to weigh in on the finalists!

Lauren Paige is Director of Special Projects for White House Communications.

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Weekly Address: Good News from the Auto Industry

Weekly Address: Good News from the Auto Industry
Posted by Jesse Lee on April 24, 2010 at 06:00 AM EDT
As the auto industry and financial markets begin to stabilize, the President says the government’s emergency interventions are now winding down. He pledges that real reform, particularly on Wall Street, must now begin.


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Friday, April 23, 2010

Navy’s Green Initiatives Take Flight on Earth Day

Navy’s Green Initiatives Take Flight on Earth Day
Posted by Tony Russell on April 23, 2010 at 05:24 PM EDT
Yesterday, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and hundreds of other onlookers witnessed a major step forward in the Navy’s initiatives to improve our energy independence and safeguard our environment. In honor of Earth Day, the Navy conducted a test flight of the Green Hornet, an F/A-18 Super Hornet multirole fighter jet powered by a biofuel blend. Check out video of the flight on Navy.mil.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus noted the Navy’s commitment to exploring alternative energy solutions:

The alternative fuels test program is a significant milestone in the certification and ultimate operational use of biofuels by the Navy and Marine Corps. It's important to emphasize, especially on Earth Day, the Navy's commitment to reducing dependence on foreign oil as well as safeguarding our environment. Our Navy, alongside industry, the other services and federal agency partners, will continue to be an early adopter of alternative energy sources.

This is the latest sign of progress in the work taking place across the Administration to encourage the development of advanced biofuels. These efforts simultaneously strengthen the economic recovery in rural America and enhance our national security by decreasing our dependence on foreign oil and addressing the challenge of climate change.

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (April 22, 2010) The Navy celebrates Earth Day by showcasing a supersonic flight test of the "Green Hornet," an F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighter jet powered by a 50/50 biofuel blend. The test, conducted at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., drew hundreds of onlookers that included Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who has made research, development, and increased use of alternative fuels a priority for the Department of the Navy. April 22, 2010. (by U.S. Navy photo by Kelly Schindler/Released)
Tony Russell is Communication Advisor for the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change.

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