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

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

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:

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:

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:

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:
Weather Forecast:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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
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

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 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 You can also visit the from your mobile device for more information at

Individuals should always be prepared for a disaster like this. Visit 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