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Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Senator Saslaw Receives 2011 Leader Of The Year Award From Hispanic Alliance

Talks a Bold Talk On Immigration and Education

Last week Virginia senator Richard Saslaw received kudos from the Hispanic Leadership Alliance at their annual scholarship banquet where five Latino students were awarded college scholarships by the group started by Fairfax County educators.

Saslaw says he has been a strong advocate for immigrants.

Virginia senator, Richard Saslaw, accepts the '2011 Leader of the Year' award from the Hispanic Leadership Alliance.
Photo/CD Brown.
"This nation was raised by immigrants', said Saslaw. "If you take a look at all the technological advances in the last century, a lot of been made by immigrants."  Naming off a few contributors: Jonas Salk, Albert Einstein, Edwin Teller, and the founder of Intel, Saslaw said "the list is endless."

However, the immigrants Saslaw was referring to weren't subjected to the interrogation that Latinos and other people of color have experienced in their relentless pursuit of liberty, freedom and justice here in America.

"If we had the same set of immigration laws in the 1920s and 30s that we have today, none of those people could get into this country", spoke Saslaw on the tactics used on Latinos.  Tactics that haven't been used on other immigrants (especially those void of melanin).

"People will always come where they think it's a better life", Saslaw said. "And we need to respect that."

Saslaw went on to talk about his Republican colleagues worried about the problems that illegal immigrants may cause.  "I realize that, but you don't sit there and try to criminalize a whole group of people."

Saslaw described the tactics of Republicans (at both State and Federal levels) as "trying to turn a political nickel at the expense of some group", and called it "unconscionable and reprehensible".

President Obama has pledged to the Latino community, having spoken with a group of prominent Latinos, at the White House , and again at a Texas school, to "fix the broken immigration system."

"We need an immigration policy that works; a policy that meets the needs of families and businesses while honoring our tradition as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws", the president remarked last year at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 33rd Annual Award Gala. 

"We need it for the sake of our economy, our security, and our future.  It may not be the easy thing to do politically.  But I didn’t run for President to do what’s easy.  I ran to do what’s hard.  I ran to do what’s right.  And when I think something’s the right thing to do, I think even my critics would have to admit I’m pretty persistent."

The president also signed an Executive Order to renew and enhance the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (so that it better serves communities across the country by engaging them in the process of improving the education of Latino students).

"There's nothing more important than that", said Saslaw to members of the HLA.  "It's pretty hard today to be successful without that college education.  Maybe one day we'll have a political system here in Virginia that will make that a whole lot easier than it is today."

Saslaw said he stopped bills in the Senate by Republicans that he described as "hostile" toward immigration, describing them "nothing to be proud of." 

"There were over thirty bills that were introduced and they were not helpful at all", explained Saslaw.  Bills that would not even allow anyone who was undocumented a seat in any Virginia college, even as an out-of-state applicant. Saslaw said he "killed all of the bills", except for the E-verify bill that allows employers to verify the status of hired employees.

Of the scholarship recipients on the evening - a total of five - all had GPAs of 3.5 or higher, despite overcoming their various circumstances.

Saslaw, whose grandfather was a Russian immigrant, said of Latinos, "they're hardworking people".  He said he was "encouraged" when he sees groups like the HLA.

"They give me a lot of hope."

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Growing by leaps and bounds.

The Hispanic population is growing by leaps and bounds. In his book Harvest of an Empire: A History of Latinos in America, Democracy Now host Juan Gonzalez, explains that before too long more Americans will be able to trace their roots from Latin America, instead of Europe.

The U.S. Census Bureau today released a 2010 Census brief on the nation's Hispanic population, which shows the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the nation's 9.7 percent growth rate.

Even Saslaw said of his district, which includes the areas of Prince William, Tysons, Stafford, Baileys Cross Roads, Falls Church, and Tysons Corner, that it's a "changing population".  The first twenty years he was in office, it was 96% white. "Now, it's majority minority."

Saslaw said we need to set "all these people on a path to citizenship."

The republican senator is up for re-election, and has already begun his campaign kickoff.

First Lady To Introduce New Food Icon For Healthier Food Choices

On Thursday, June 2, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will unveil a new food icon that will serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices.

The 2010 White House Child Obesity Task Force called for simple, actionable advice to equip consumers with information to help them make healthy food choices. As a result, USDA will be introducing the new food icon to replace the MyPyramid image as the government’s primary food group symbol. It will be an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. MyPyramid will remain available to interested health professionals and nutrition educators in a special section of the new website.

The new food icon will be part of a comprehensive nutrition communication initiative that provides consumers with easy-to-understand recommendations, a new website with expanded information, and other tools and resources.

Watch the event live at www.usda.gov/live.

President Obama's Job Creation Continues With New Job for John Bryson

President Obama Announces Intent to Nominate John Bryson as U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary



John Bryson.  A/P photo.

Today, President Obama will announce his intent to nominate John Bryson as the Secretary of U.S. Department of Commerce. Mr. Bryson will play a key role as a member of the President’s economic team, bringing decades of knowledge and experience in the public and private sectors, and will provide valuable ideas and initiatives to strengthen America’s competiveness around the world.

“I am pleased to nominate John Bryson to be our nation’s Secretary of Commerce, as he understands what it takes for America to succeed in a 21st century global economy,” said President Obama. “John will be an important part of my economic team, working with the business community, fostering growth, and helping open up new markets abroad to promote jobs and opportunities here at home.”

The President is confident in Mr. Bryson’s ability to lead the Department and promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved standards of living for all Americans by working in partnership with businesses, universities, communities and our nation’s workers.

Mr. Bryson will continue the Department’s mission to drive U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace, strengthen the international economic position of the United States and facilitate global trade by opening up new markets for U.S. goods and services. Mr. Bryson will continue the ongoing effort to meet the President’s goal of doubling America’s exports to support millions of American jobs.

Previously, John Bryson was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison and Edison Mission Group, from 1990 to 2008.

He is a director of The Boeing Company, The Walt Disney Company and Coda Automotive, Inc., and is a senior advisor to KKR. He is chairman of the board of BrightSource Energy, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), and the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) Board of Overseers. He also serves as co-chairman of the Pacific Council on International Policy (PCIP).

Mr. Bryson is a trustee of the California Institute of Technology and a director of The California Endowment and the W. M. Keck Foundation. He serves on the Advisory Board of Deutsche Bank Americas. He also previously served on a number of educational and environmental boards, including as chairman of the California Business Roundtable, co-chairman of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), trustee of Stanford University, and as a member of the U.N. Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC).

Bryson also served as president of the California Public Utilities Commission, chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board, and on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations. At the start of his career, he was a co-founder and attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national and international environmental group. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School.

"John, I am grateful to you for your willingness to serve.  I look forward to working with you.  And I know that you will help us deliver the kinds of growth, prosperity and job creation here in America that we all want", remarked the president today in a ceremony in the State Dining Room at the White House.

Bryson replaces Gary Locke, who President Obama recently named as ambassador to China.

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In 2001 Forbes rated Bryson the worst-valued chief executives on Forbes.com's First Annual CEO Value Survey. Read the story here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day At Arlington National Cemetery

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama appeared at Arlington National Cemetery with military members, Gold Star families, veterans and other Americans who came to honor and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

After presenting a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, the President spoke at the Memorial Day Service, attempting to provide comfort to those families who lost loved ones.

"This day is about you, and the fallen heroes that you loved. And it’s a day that has meaning for all Americans, including me. It’s one of my highest honors, it is my most solemn responsibility as President, to serve as Commander-in-Chief of one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever known. And it’s a responsibility that carries a special weight on this day; that carries a special weight each time I meet with our Gold Star families and I see the pride in their eyes, but also the tears of pain that will never fully go away; each time I sit down at my desk and sign a condolence letter to the family of the fallen."

The president, as he spoke about the grief the mourners have had to endure, told the families assembled he couldn't imagine losing his daughters, Sasha and Malia.

"To those of you who mourn the loss of a loved one today, my heart breaks and goes out to you. I love my daughters more than anything in the world, and I cannot imagine losing them. I can’t imagine losing a sister or brother or parent at war. The grief so many of you carry in your hearts is a grief I cannot fully know."



Vice President Joe Biden marched in a Memorial Day parade in Wilmington, Delaware where he spoke about veterans' sacrifices at a ceremony. The Vice President, along with wife Jill Biden and several local political leaders, walked the three-quarter mile route down Delaware Avenue to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which commemorates Delawareans killed in the Civil War.

Biden told a crowd of about 100 people that Wilmington's parade is his "favorite Memorial Day event in the United States."

It was the city's 144th annual parade.

"When I first started coming here, there were a lot of World War I veterans," Biden said. Biden said only about 1 percent of Americans is engaged in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which makes it easy for the other 99 percent to forget about the sacrifices made by service members.

He urged the audience members to acknowledge their service and the effect on their families.

"Let them know that you know the sacrifices they're making," Biden said.

"There's only one sacred obligation this nation has. That's to prepare and equip those we send, and care for them when they come back."

Dr. Biden has encouraged Americans to keep military families in their thoughts. She and the First Lady, through their Joining Forces initiative have created a web page where citizens can leave messages honoring U.S. troops.

"Our military families are true American heroes: they are parents who raise their kids alone while their spouse is deployed overseas, they are the grandparents who provide much needed support, and they are military kids who work hard in school while bravely awaiting their mom or dad's return from deployment. They serve our country bravely and without asking for recognition for their sacrifices", said Biden.

"That's why the First Lady and I started Joining Forces, a national initiative to recognize, honor and support our military families."

Monday, May 23, 2011

First Lady's New Initiative: Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens

There's no stopping our First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Wife, mother, attorney, Presidential campaign supporter, friend to world leaders, U.S. military families advocate, education advocate, university and colleges commencement speaker, champion of the Arts, and super hero.  What have we left out?

Oh, just this.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Institute of Museum and Library Services Director, Susan Hildreth announced the launch of Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens. The national initiative will provide opportunities for millions of museum and garden visitors to learn about healthy food choices and will promote physical activity through interactive exhibits and programs.



Mrs. Obama, addressing museum conference attendees in Houston, Texas via video message, said, "Everyday, in museums, public gardens, zoos, and so many other places, you expose our children to new ideas and inspire them to stretch their imaginations. You teach them new skills and new ways of thinking. And you instill a love of learning that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Every day, you all make such a difference in the lives of our children. And that’s why I’m so excited to work with you on an issue that is so critical to their health and well-being."

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don't solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.

"Museums and gardens are well positioned to make a difference. Many of them have core missions that focus on creating healthy environments for children and their families," said Susan Hildreth, director of IMLS." They are trusted institutions with deep community connections, knowledgeable staff and the ability to provide immersive interactive experiences that can help children, parents and caregivers to make healthy changes in their lives."

Developed in coordination with national museum and garden leaders, Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens will sign up 2,000 museums and gardens and reach 200 million visitors in the next year. The initiative aims to reach out to and engage twenty million young people in one year in Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens education programs. Activities will include interactive exhibits, afterschool, summer programming and cafeterias that help educate young people on how to make healthy food choices and be physically active. In addition, Let’s Move Museums & Gardens aims to offer healthier choices in 90% of existing facilities.

The initiative was originally developed though a collaboration among the American Association of Museums, the Association of Children’s Museums, and the American Public Gardens Association, and has now been broadened to include, the Association of African American Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, Association of Science-Technology Centers, American Association for State and Local History, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Center for the Future of Museums.

"The American Public Gardens Association is a natural fit for this initiative because public gardens provide families with indoor and outdoor spaces where they can engage in physical activity, interact with nature, and learn about the important role of plants in a healthy lifestyle,’ said Dan Stark, Executive Director, American Public Gardens Association." We feel privileged to be a part of this exciting initiative, and hope to inspire a generation of healthy, active, gardeners.

Janet Rice Elman, Executive Director, Association of Children’s Museums noted, "Children’s museums are places where children learn through play and exploration in environments designed just for them. The interactive learning at children's museums motivates children to try new experiences with their families and reinforces positive behaviors and messages that can lead to lifelong healthy habits. The Association of Children’s Museums is pleased to bring its network of more than 300 museums to this important initiative."

Ford W. Bell, President, American Association of Museums applauded First Lady Michelle Obama and IMLS Director Susan Hildreth for their leadership on this issue and encouraged museums of all types to learn more and get involved."Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens is a terrific example of the role that museums can play in addressing societal challenges and devising strategies to shape a better tomorrow."

Museums and gardens have great collective power to reach children and their families with important health messages. There are more than 17,500 museums in the United States and they reach an estimated 850 million people each year. Museums and gardens that wish to become a Let’s Move Museum or a Let’s Move Garden, are encouraged to visit www.imls.gov/letsmove.

Current Projects
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (NY) is adapting National Institute of Health’s "We Can!" materials to communicate to parents of young children living in the Bronx messages about healthy eating habits, balancing food intake and increasing physical activity. Read how Museums and Gardens are making a difference.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute visit http://www.imls.gov/.

President and First Lady Go To Ireland. Other European Stops Planned

President and Mrs. Obama leaving the White House last evening, boarding Marine 1 to Andrews AFB. 
Photo/CD Brown.
The President and First Lady left the White House last evening on route to their visit to Europe where it is expected the two will make several stops in their travel that includes Ireland (where the President has lineage).  The first event will be a meeting between the President and the First Lady, with President McAleese and her husband.  This meeting will serve as an opportunity to discuss both bilateral issues with President McAleese and also to honor her extraordinary legacy of serving the people of Ireland and advancing peace in Northern Ireland.

Then the President will travel to Moneygall, Ireland, which is the town in Ireland from which the President’s ancestors came.  Later, the president will return to Dublin, where he’ll deliver remarks at a public event about the ties between the United States and Ireland.

Schedule for the rest of the week.

On Tuesday, the 24th, the President and First Lady will travel to London, England. This is a state visit. Following the arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace, the President and the First Lady will have lunch with Her Majesty the Queen and the two U.S. and U.K. delegations. In the afternoon, the President will visit Westminster Abbey for a range of events associated with the state visit, including a wreath-laying ceremony there. In the evening, the President and the First Lady will attend a dinner at Buckingham Palace.

On Wednesday, the 25th, the President will have a full bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Cameron where the two are expected to discuss, among many items including: Afghanistan, counterterrorism, Iran, Libya, the global economy. The President and the Prime Minister will attend an event that’s being hosted by Mrs. Cameron and the First Lady to honor both military families, U.S. and U.K. service members and veterans. (Over the last several years, the United Kingdom has served alongside the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan).  Afterwards, the two leaders will hold a joint press conference. Following the press conference, the President will deliver a speech to the U.K. Parliament. Following the speech to Parliament, the President will reciprocate the hospitality of the Queen and he will hold a dinner in her honor at Winfield House, which is the residence of the American ambassador in London.

Thursday, May 26, the President will travel from London to Deauville, France. The President is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with President Medvedev of Russia where the two will likely continue talks an the New START treaty, cooperation on nuclear security, cooperation with regard to Iran sanctions, and nonproliferation as well as Russia’s increased cooperation with NATO.  Following the bilateral meeting with Russia, he will enter into the G-8 meeting.

Friday, May 27th -- The President is expected to have a bilateral meeting with President Sarkozy of France to discuss a full range of issues  The president will attend G-8 meetings where it is expected that the Prime Minister Kan of Japan will be in attendance.  The United States has provided substantial support the Japanese both in terms of the provision of certain types of assistance. The U.S. military has helped get assistance to the people of Japan when they were in need following the tsunami. The U.S. has also provided advice and technical cooperation surrounding the nuclear challenges that they face.

In the evening the President will arrive in Poland.  Poland is one of our key allies in Eastern and Central Europe, which has been a focal point of the President to strengthen European security during his term in office. The U.S. also has deep and longstanding ties with the Polish people. The two Presidents will host a dinner for the heads of state of Central and Eastern Europe where he is likely to consult broadly with U.S. and Central and Eastern European

On Saturday, May 28th, the President will have a bilateral meeting in the morning with President Komorowski of Poland. This will be an opportunity to discuss the bilateral agenda with the Poles that includes issues related to NATO, European security, economic cooperation, and democracy.  Later that day, the President will go into a working lunch and bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Tusk.  Following the lunch, the President and the Prime Minister will hold a joint press conference.

The President will return to Washington later that evening.

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We're already reading about the President's arrival in Ireland today from our traveling poolers.  Here's a feed:

Along the street, the president Obama accepted kisses from more than a handful of residents, and stretched his arms across rows of the crowd to shake hands.At 3:45 pm, he and the First Lady walked into Ollie Hayes bar to cheers. He stood in a corner shaking hands with a small group.

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Hear's feed from the President's visit to a local pub.  Bits that could be overheard:

"You look a little like my grandfather," Obama said to one man."We may be related to him as well. I'll have to check it out when I get back." "What's your name?" "We got to get a good picture with everybody. Michelle squeeze in here." "We got a family tree here and everything."

In brief remarks to the bar crowd of several dozen, Obama said:

"What a thrill it is to be here.""There are millions of Irish Americans who trace their ancestry back to this island."At the conclusion, he said: "And with that let me have a pint."

"Yes we can!" one man yelled.
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We will continue to update you during the President's week long trip.  Starting with photos of the First Couple here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

President Obama Delivers BTW Commencement Address

President Obama delivered the commencement speech to students of Booker T. Washington high school.

Admitting that he "cries at commencements", the president told the 2011 graduates:
"We are here today because every single one of you stood tall and said, “Yes, we can. Yes, we can learn. Yes, we can succeed. You decided you would not be defined by where you come from but by where you want to go, by what you want to achieve, by the dreams you hope to fulfill."
Just a couple of years ago, this was a school where only about half the students made it to graduation. For a long time, just a handful headed to college each year. But at Booker T. Washington, you changed all that.

The school won the President's Race To The Top Commencement Challenge.  Booker T. Washington High School’s graduation rate went from 55% in 2007 to 81.6% in 2010.  More here.

Trump Not Running For President

Full release:

"After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.

I want to personally thank the millions of Americans who have joined the various Trump grassroots movements and written me letters and e-mails encouraging me to run. My gratitude for your faith and trust in me could never be expressed properly in words. So, I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician's thoughts. My ability to bring important economic and foreign policy issues to the forefront of the national dialogue is perhaps my greatest asset and one of the most valuable services I can provide to this country. I will continue to push our President and the country's policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness. Issues, including getting tough on China and other countries that are methodically and systematically taking advantage of the United States, were seldom mentioned before I brought them to the forefront of the country's conversation. They are now being debated vigorously. I will also continue to push for job creation, an initiative that should be this country's top priority and something that I know a lot about. I will not shy away from expressing the opinions that so many of you share yet don't have a medium through which to articulate.

I look forward to supporting the candidate who is the most qualified to help us tackle our country's most important issues and am hopeful that, when this person emerges, he or she will have the courage to take on the challenges of the Office and be the agent of change that this country so desperately needs."

Thank you and God Bless America!


Donald J. Trump

Gee!  What made him change his mind!?

Congressman Jim Moran Honors Winners of 2011 Youth Environmental Summit

Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), who introduced legislation on Earth Day calling for a national five cent tax on plastic bags, was on hand to support the winners of the Earth Force 2011 Youth Environmental Summit.

Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) poses with H.B. Woodlawn's first place winners of the 2011 Youth Environmental Summit.  Photo/CD Brown.
As part of the Environmental Youth Summit activities, 6th and 7th grade students from Kenmore, Woodlawn, Swanson, H.B. Woodson and Francis C. Hammond schools of Arlington and Alexandria, VA were tasked with presenting projects for improving watershed communities. The students submitted essays and projects as part of a student competition titled ‘What Can You Do to Improve Your Watersheds?’

“This is so terribly important”, Moran told us.

“Not just for letting us as elected officials know where our focus should be, but this is all about our educating the next generation of leaders on how to protect and preserve our environment for their children. This is a ‘force’ to save the earth – literally.”

H. B. Woodlawn took home first place honors, along with a check for $1000 which they plan to split with the school.  They also plan to continue their environmental project by planting native plants along the school's wooded area.

The team members are also working on a book to compliment their presentation theme titled 'A Garden To Teach Others'

“It is organizations like Earth Force that are the key to our future”, Morans stated.

Moran claims his bag tax bill will help to pay for cleaning up bags and other debris that end up in rivers and streams, and encourages the use of reusable bags. Opponents claim the bill is pointless as Americans already use reusable bags.

For more on Earth Force initiatives, visit them at www.earthforce.org.

Friday, May 13, 2011

50th Anniversary of the Situation Room

To mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the White House Situation Room, today the President delivered remarks to the Situation Room staff to thank them for their around-the-clock work to keep the President informed and the country safe.

“We could not meet the national security challenges that we face without the capabilities of this room and the people who work here,” the President said.

The president called the staffers the “eyes and ears" of the President that provides the latest information and alerts. "It’s the nerve center for the U.S. government, the place where we come together to make policy and respond to crises from wars abroad to floods at home.”

The President also presided over a ceremony to name a secure conference room after the father of the Situation Room, President John F. Kennedy.

President Obama with advisers in the Situation Room viewing bin Laden capture.
In attendance with the president at the ceremony were Caroline Kennedy, John "Jack" Schlossberg, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and several other former national security advisers.

Neither the Vice President, nor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were said to have been in attendance at the ceremony.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Get Schooled! Race To The Top Commencement Winner Announced

Congratulations are in order for Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee.

The school was chosen as the winner of the 2011 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge. As such, their school will have honor of having President Barack Obama deliver the commencement address May 16th.

Vice President Joseph Biden called Principal Alisha Kiner to tell her the school had won.

"What we want to do is catapult our students to a higher plain", said Kiner. "And that takes going to college."

Although Booker T. offers AP courses as well as vocational and technical courses for its myriad of different students, one thing that is common, especially among the teaching staff and principle is making sure that the students know that whatever they chose to do, they must "be the best" at it, reminds Kiner.



Booker T. Washington High School’s graduation rate went from 55% in 2007 to 81.6% in 2010.

“I’m so proud of the schools that participated in this year’s commencement challenge and I want to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication,” said President Obama.

The school has taken steps such as establishing separate freshmen academies for boys and girls to help students adjust to the school culture and creating an atmosphere where teachers take personal interest in seeing students take pride in their schoolwork. Students can now take AP classes, learn about engineering through robotics competitions, and earn college credits.

“Booker T. Washington High School proves what can be accomplished when students, teachers, parents and administrators come together to support achievement in the classroom and I’m looking forward to delivering the commencement address at this extraordinary school soon.”



Info on Race To The Top
The President set a goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 and the Commencement Challenge invited the nation’s public high schools to submit applications that demonstrate their commitment to preparing students for college and a career. Hundreds of applications were received and were judged based on the schools’ performance, essay questions and supplemental data. The six finalists were selected for their creativity in engaging and supporting students, academic results, and progress in preparing students to graduate college and career ready.

Monday, May 9, 2011

President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and Let’s Move! Announce Collaboration to Support Military Families

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joined the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) to announce a new fitness industry effort to support our military families, particularly our National Guard and Reserve families, to further the goals of both of the First Lady’s initiatives, Let’s Move! and Joining Forces.



Members of the International Health Racquet &Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) offered free memberships to immediate family members (ages 13 and older, where applicable) of deployed reservists and National Guard members. Clubs may also provide additional benefits such as childcare, children’s programming, group classes, discounts for veterans, and discounts for active duty families. Beginning June 1, spouses and teen-age children can find participating clubs in their area online at www.healthclubs.com. The website will also offer a free digital subscription to Get Active! Magazine, a publication dedicated to promoting healthy living through exercise.

The American Council on Exercise® (ACE®), through its vast network of fitness professionals, is committing to a goal of providing at least 1 million hours of personal training and fitness instruction to family members of deployed reservists and National Guard members. Service members and their families can learn more about this effort and find participating fitness instruction in their area online at (www.acefitness.org/joiningforces) beginning June 1.

“Jill Biden and I launched Joining Forces to urge people to do whatever they can as neighbors, colleagues, and classmates to lend a hand to military families and to show our gratitude to those who serve our nation whether it’s on the battlefield or at home,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I’m so pleased that our fitness clubs and trainers have stepped up to both encourage and enable healthy lifestyles for these very special members of our communities to ensure a strong and healthy nation.”

The goal of Let’s Move! is to solve the problem of the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation, and this announcement will help move one step closer to that goal through outreach to military communities across the country. Members of the President’s Council will support Joining Forces and Let’s Move! by meeting and inspiring military youth and families at events throughout the summer. Council members will promote the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) to recognize and reward kids and adults who achieve their recommended daily physical activity goals.

Upcoming engagements include:

May 10-19: PCFSN Council Member and ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi will join several Wounded Warriors to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.

May 14-15: PCFSN Council Member and NASCAR driver Carl Edwards will visit with military families in Dover, DE, and will continue his commitment to reaching military families during race weekends all year.

May 16-20: PCFSN Council Member Dr. Stephen McDonough will join the 2nd Annual Warrior Games at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.

President’s Council members include Dominique Dawes, Grant Hill, Michelle Kwan, and Chris Paul.

Recap: White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner

Trump, the President, Protesters, and More

While the President was making about 2,500 attendees to this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner laugh while he took pot shots at his nemesis Donald Trump, protesters were on the outside demonstrating their dislike of Trump and his challenge for the president to reveal his birth certificate.

Trump with wife Malania.  Photo/CD Brown.
Suffice it to say, Trump sitting iron-clad at a table with wife Malania, had egg all over his face the entire evening.

Before the dinner began Trump, and others, walked the red carpet where the likes of Gayle King (no, no Oprah), New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg, NBA star Carmelo Anthony, actress Tyne Daley, Morgan Fairchild, Will.I.Am, John Legend, and others were all too happy to engage the group of red carpet photographers. After Trump posed very briefly with his wife, they began leaving the red carpet area, much to the dislike of photographers wanting some form of a statement from the Donald.  Ignoring the offer, Trump and his model wife walked away to a hearty stream of "boos" from the photographer crowd.

Once inside, the damage continued. President Obama, in presidential White House Correspondents’ Dinner fashion, showed the unconfirmed 2012 Republican presidential candidate who the real Commander-In-Chief is.

After taking praise for getting President Obama to release his long form birth certificate, the president was all to happy to acknowledge Trump’s effort.

"Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately”, said the President on Trump’s inquisitiveness, “But no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald.”




The president said the inquest of those like Trump and media members were “a distraction”, and stressed there are more pressing issues facing America.

Said President Obama, “And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter: like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”

The grass roots Twitter movement called ‘DumpDTrump’ wants Trump to apologize to the president.

Members of Twitter revolution #DumpDTrump hold signs
protesting Donald Trump. Photo/CD Brown.
“I would ask him [Trump] to make an apology to President Obama for questioning his legitimacy, and for not using the same standards of interrogation and questioning on Bush", said the group’s spokesperson DC Debbie.

The grassroots movement, with more than 5,000 strong since our interview with them last week, (garnering 4,000 followers in its first 24 hours of hitting Twitter), calls Trump a “shame and a spot on American culture and consciousness that needs to be removed”.

Joined by several civil rights organizations like Think Progress, the group’s focus is to get Corporations to stop advertising their products on Donald Trump sponsored programming, like Celebrity Apprentice, and Trump websites.

At the time of our interview with the #DumpDTrump protesters they were celebrating their success at getting the online advertiser GroupOn to end their advertising on Trump’s web site. In a statement to DumpDTrump, Groupon agreed “They would no longer, unintentionally advertise on the website in the future”, revealed Debbie.

Since their GroupOn success, the group plans to go after other advertisers, including PepsiCo.

“Right now we’re targeting Pepsi. That’s who we’ve been going after for the last 24 hours or so”, said member Asher Huey, also of Change.org.

However, the group announced on their Twitter account this afternoon:
At lunch, I just announced in front of 12 coworkers that I would NOT be ordering diet @pepsico because they won't @DumpDTrump's Apprentice."
In addition to getting advertisers to dump Trump, the group is hoping Trump would make good on his claim that he would reveal his tax returns once the president revealed his birth certificate.

Jeremy Koulish said if he were in talks with Trump he “would ask Donald Trump if he is prepared to release his full tax return, as required by any presidential candidate.”

“Where are the tax returns? Where are the financial disclosures”, questioned Koulish.

The group also warned that Trump's, “I have a good relationship with the Blacks” statement made earlier this year, has also spawned a new attack against Trump. One that has labeled him a racist.

This afternoon the group tweeted:

"Trump's use of the "I know a black guy" defense exemplifies his #racism. So why won't @PepsiCo #DumpTrump?"
One former Apprentice show contestant said that idea wouldn’t be too far fetched, as he thinks Trump has a problem with well educated African Americans.

Trump has disputed that claim.

Disputed or not, it would be hard to think Trump doesn't have issues. He has now called for the grades of President Obama.  Trump questions whether Obama was qualified to get into Harvard.  The president  served as president of the Harvard Law Review.

Said DumpDTrump's DCDebbie on this charge: “Trump didn’t really have positive things to say about Bush, but he never questioned his legitimacy, his citizenship, his nationality, his educational background; even when Americans found out he was just a C- student at Yale."

The group also has words for the TeaParty movement:  "You're a minority, and you've split the GOP base.    You don't represent America.  Your time is over, and you should go back to the [19]'50s."

Huey, on the other hand, thinks TeaParty should  "Keep pushing the Republican party as far to the right as you can.  I am enjoying watching."

The White House Correspondents' dinner performer was Saturday Night Live writer/comedian Seth Meyers who also had some choice words about Trump.

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See our photos here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

President Obama Visits Ground Zero

President Obama laid a wreath at the site of Ground Zero, days after the reported death of terrorist head Osama bin Laden.

He also spoke with many of the first responders and families of the tragedy.



While Obama visits survivors, some weren't even invited to the ceremony, or to the planned visit with the President. Hear one woman's amazing story of survival, and on being left out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's About Education, and Exercise.

This week's Run Across America showing at the White House with the First Lady wasn't nearly as animated as today's “Let's Move! Flash Workout Event" at Alice Deal Middle School.  The First Lady introduced the revamped version of Beyonce's 'Get Me Bodied' video for the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative.

The Alice Deal school offers boys and girls (grades 6-8)  basketball, cross-country/track, and soccer as well as baseball, softball and volleyball. It also offers cheerleading, fencing and rugby. Students take physical education and health for a semester a year.
Mrs. Obama can be seen at the school's outdoor facility performing some of the dance moves - even trying her hand at The Dougie.

"So this is an exciting day", said the First Lady.  "Over 600 schools all over the country -- and I heard they even did this in Japan -- at this same time are going to be doing what you’re doing, and I wanted to be here and see it.  Now, I haven’t had time to learn the moves. I’ve watched the video. I haven’t been like you guys, so I’m going to be off to the side just trying not to embarrass myself, but I am so excited to see you all get going."





How'd she do?   Watch the students' Flash Workout here.
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While Mrs. Obama was promoting student exercise, her Commander In Chief husband was promoting education by honoring National and State Teachers of the Year - including Hawaiian teacher of the Year, Kristen Brummel, a teacher at Noelani School in Manoa, Hawaii where President Obama was a student.

"So, I thought that was pretty cool.  I went there in first grade.  It’s a wonderful school", reminisced President Obama, who's sister is a teacher.

President Obama with Teacher of the Year Michelle Shearer and Education Secretary Arne Duncan
 in a Rose Garden Ceremony honor state teachers. Photo/CD Brown.
"Because in the end, the most effective teachers are the ones who are constantly striving to get better and help their students get better.  Those teachers who stay up late grading papers.  The teachers who give up their afternoons and free periods to give that student a little bit of extra one-on-one help, and spend evenings and weekends developing lesson plans and activities that don’t just teach the material, but make it come alive.  And the teachers who see the potential in students even when the students themselves don’t see that potential."

The National Teacher of the Year went to Michelle Shearer of Urbana High School in Frederick, Md.

Shearer comes from a long line of educators including her father, a chemist, who taught chemistry.  Teaching found Shearer while volunteering for deaf students.  "I teach because I love students", said Shearer. 
 
Michelle Shearer. 2011 Teacher of the Year.  Photo/CD Brown.
"We all have a responsibility to our students to provide them with the highest quality public education possible", Shearer said in an after-ceremony media interview.

"America wants to be the leader in public education.  And it's more than just teachers and students working in the classroom:  It's parents, communities, businesses.  Everybody buying into the idea that our students are worth it and that they are the future of our nation."

We asked Shearer what her thoughts are on the parents jailed for trying to send their children to a better school outside the district where they reside.

"All parents want the best education for their children, that's a given", said Shearer.  "And parents are an important partner in making sure that students get a quality education.  The most important thing is making sure that every neighborhood school is a quality neighborhood school.  Sometimes that means that different schools need different things.  When we think of equity we think every school needs the same thing.  We need to look at each school and see what that school needs for its students and community. I'm a believer in neighborhood schools, and I think if we come together as communities we can really take some of our schools that are low achieving and turn them into high performing schools."

When we asked Shearer if she thought the parents should be jailed for wanting to give their children a better education, Shearer replied:  "I don't comment on that.  My comment is making sure we have a great public school for every student in the country."

Thoughts On The Death of Osama bin Laden

I thought this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was appropriate at this time to remind us that not everyone celebrates the death of another human being, no matter the wrong done.

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."   - Martin Luther King Jr.

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A local poet shares her thoughts on the death of Osama bin Laden
 
Obama said Osama’s Dead.
Obama said, “Osama is dead!”
11pm on May 1, 2011, sister sent a text, daddy called my phone,
No thought of this news to be told.
Early in the am hubby confirmed the slaying
Obama said Osama is dead.
With no pics and proof to see
Many believe it’s a conspiracy.
“They showed Sadam, why not Osama?”
This question wants answers—did we get our karma?
Ten years ago twenty-three hundred dead,
Navy seals gave Osama one straight to the head.
His son is gone too, no worry there,
Cause’ you know that dude would’ve been his heir.
Eighteen foot walls couldn’t stop the U.S.
CNN, Al- Jazeera, whose got the real press?
The news is great- no more beef, no more vices,
But now what the fuck about the high-ass gas prices?
We are at $4.00 a gallon,
If they decrease, "Shit”, kill all the Bin-Ladens!
They say for tradition they buried Osama at sea,
I’m Muslim and this is some news to me.
They must not want a shrine or monument,
But this is why people doubt our government.
The original Trade Center bombing had elevens,
And damn if ain’t happen again.
Two sides to the story, some people are upset,
Some in my fam didn’t see him as a threat!
Interesting enough,
We called Osama’s bluff.
That bitter-sweet revenge feeling,
But now will there be more killings?
So heavy is this news,
Obama scored kudos and brownie points too.
Now matters like birth certificates and residency,
Don’t take up space in the news we see-
Trump, “Are you feeling me?”
I love you, but that statement was killing me!
Great for candidacy?
Great for parity or good ole’ hilarity?
Apprentice of Celebrity,
Obama gave the 3rd degree-
Even mentioned TuPac & Biggie
Like Charlie Sheen - Obama you’re WINNING!
Now leave this man alone,
He’ll run again and will win
We like him on that throne!
For all the families affected by this,
without a mention I’d be remiss.
My prayers to you and yours,
Military, thanks for fighting our wars.
To all the press and media- cheers to what Obama said…
American people, “Osama Bin Laden is dead."

”My prayers to all those who lost their lives in accordance with Terrorism. The tragedies from 2001 in the Trade Center Bombings and Osama, may all of you rest in peace. - Poet GG Zen

Things That Make You Go Hmmm! On So Many Levels

If you recall the 1980s Arsenio Hall Show, you're probably familiar with his popular show segment titled, 'Things That Make You Go Hmmm', Arsenio's attempt at bringing to light things in society that just don't seem right, or make any sense.

We had that moment during today's White House briefing where further discussion - with different answers - had us all saying Hall's catch phrase.  Add in a 'But, I thought you said yesterday that....', and fill in the blanks.

What we were told yesterday from John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on the capture and killing of one Osama Bin Laden as he spoke during a White House press briefing went something like this: 

MR. BRENNAN: Bin Laden died; the two al Qaeda facilitators -- the brothers, who were -- the courier and his brother in the compound; bin Laden’s son Hamza; and the woman, presumed to be his wife, who was shielding bin Laden.
Q Did he use her as a -- did he actually take her as a shield or did someone put her in front of him?

MR. BRENNAN: I wasn’t there so I hesitate to say

Q But she was in front of him

MR. BRENNAN: but it was an effort to try to shield bin Laden from the --

Q Bin Laden’s wife or his son’s wife?

MR. BRENNAN: Bin Laden’s wife. She served as a shield. Again, this is my understanding -- and we’re still getting the reports of exactly what happened at particular moments -- that when -- she fought back; when there was the opportunity to get to bin Laden, she was positioned in a way that indicated that she was being used as a shield -- whether or not bin Laden or the son, or whatever, put her there, or she put herself there, but, yes, that's again, my understanding that she met her demise, and my understanding is that she was one of bin Laden’s wives.

Today we heard this from Press Secretary Jay Carney:

"In the room with bin Laden, a woman -- bin Laden’s wife -- rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed."

Also heard this yesterday:

Q You said that Osama bin Laden was actually involved in the firefight, and we had -- it has been reported that he reached for a weapon. Did he get his hand on a gun and did he fire himself?

MR. BRENNAN: He was engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in. And whether or not he got off any rounds, I quite frankly don’t know.
 
We also heard this today from Press Secretary Carney:
 
In the room with bin Laden, a woman -- bin Laden’s -- a woman, rather, bin Laden’s wife, rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg, but not killed.  Bin Laden was then shot and killed.  He was not armed. 
 
Hmmm.
 
U.S. operatives shot and killed an unarmed man?  (That sounds like what happens here in the streets of US cities across the country.  So, that theory is not so far fetched).

What we also like to know...

If bin Laden was enemy #1, revered and hated by all for killing thousands of Americans on September 11, 2001, why would the US spend so much time making sure he had a proper burial?  And at sea none the less?

Per Carney's statement today on the topic:  "Aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the burial of bin Laden was done in conformance with Islamic precepts and practices.  The deceased’s body was (1) washed and then placed in a white sheet.  The body was (2) placed in a weighted bag; (3) a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were (4) translated into Arabic by a native speaker.  After the words were complete, the body was (5) placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, and the deceased body eased into the sea.

That's at least five steps taken.  Would such precaution and care be given to someone proported to be so hated?  Why would the US respect his custom when we were told bin Laden "hates our way of life."

Hmmm. 

Should Photos be released? Or Not.

Speculation over whether US operatives really killed Osama bin Laden, or not, have forced many to ask for the release of bin Laden photos.

Former Secretary of Defense, William S. Cohen, said on The Joe Madison Show on Sirius XM radio that President Obama should release photos of the body of Osama bin Laden.

“Get it out, get it over with and move on”, said Secretary Cohen. “Otherwise you have a rebirth of the ‘birther’ argument all over again”.

Cohen suggests doing so would put to rest any notions about whether the death was phony, and other conspiracy theories.

"If not, all those conspiracy theories are going to surface on a wider scale, not only in the United States but internationally, saying this really wasn't bin Laden, and that's why they won't release the photos, or the photos that they might release have been doctored."

The president is skeptical about releasing the photos, as is Congressman Mike Rogers (R - MI).


"I don't know what we gain by releasing this photo", he said this moring in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.



Victim's Compensation
The families of those killed in the horrific 911 episode where given financial compensation for their loss (which many squandered away), and an education fund was offered for their children.  Now resurrected at Ground Zero, the former place of the twin towers that were taken down my Islamic extremist ten years ago in that very space, will sit a new memorial, scheduled to open September 11, 2012.  And for many, the sweetest reward of all, Osama bin Laden is dead - although some say even that news, isn't enough to bring back loved ones lost.

Operative phrase:  Loved ones lost.

The president is planning to visit New York City on Thursday (May 5th) where he will participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial. He will also meet with will meet privately with 9/11 family members and first responders of the event.

Another Hmmm moment.

America seems ready to compensate everyone who has been wronged.   As Rush Limbaugh put it in 2002, and I hate to have to quote Rush Limbaugh:   "Keep in mind that some of the people that are getting an average of $1.185, million up to $4.7 million, are complaining that it's not enough. We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11th families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well."

Now, here's the question.   If 9/11 victims can be compensated; if Oklahoma City bombing victims can request to be compensated; if victims of the terrible Virginia Tech massacre can be compensated; if victims of the Holocaust can be compensated; then why, oh why can't African Americans be compensated for the heinous crime of theft, rape, torture, degradation, inhuman suffering, loss of loved ones, pain and suffering under that which is called slavery?

Other items that make you go Hmmm.

The President has met this week with both leaders of the Latino community, and with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss immigration reform, border security, and other issues relative to the Latino agenda, all the while he has said - or it has been inferred - that there is "no Black agenda."

Here's a readout of the President's meeting today with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Fixing the Broken Immigration System, as provided by the White House.

In a meeting in the State Dining Room today, the President and Senior Administration officials met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the importance of fixing the broken immigration system so that it meets our nation’s 21st century economic and security needs.


The President thanked the CHC members for joining him in a strong effort to pass the DREAM Act during the lame-duck session last year, and reiterated his disappointment that it failed to pass in the Senate after passing with bipartisan votes in the House. The President also noted his deep disappointment that Congressional action on immigration reform has stalled.

The President was asked by the CHC members to consider a broad range of administrative options. The President articulated that his goal is to reform the law, and that he cannot do this unilaterally, noting that the only way to fix what’s broken about our immigration system is through legislative action in Congress. However, the President agreed to carefully review the CHC members’ request.

The President detailed how the Administration continues to improve our legal immigration system, secure our borders, and enhance our immigration enforcement. He noted that his Administration will continue to work toward improving our enforcement practices so that we are not using our limited resources on those potentially eligible for an adjustment of status, but rather tightening our efforts so that the Department of Homeland Security more effectively and sensibly focuses on criminals, a smart approach from a law enforcement perspective.


The President updated the CHC members on the meetings he has held in recent weeks with stakeholders from a broad range of sectors and from both parties on the need to elevate the debate on immigration and get past the false debates and rhetoric that have dominated the issue. The President reaffirmed that he will continue to work to forge bipartisan consensus and will intensify efforts to lead a civil debate on this issue in the coming weeks and months. The President and the CHC members agreed that they share the same goal of fixing the broken immigration system through legislative action, and that it is in the best interests of our nation’s economic and security needs to do so at the earliest possible opportunity.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Run Across America With First Lady Michelle Obama

Young people from D.C. schools took part in a community run today as part of the Run Across America fitness program. Today's run was similar to those that have taken place in neighborhoods across the country that started in February, 2011 in California. This program is designed to inspire Americans to get up, get active and get healthy.

On hand were Kelly Ripa (host of Live With Regis and Kelly) and Dean Kamazes (known as the ultra marathon man) to help inspire the kids and families all across America to get up, get active and get healthy, fitting the precepts of the First Lady's Let's Move action plan.

Before joining the First Lady on the lawn at the White House, the students participated in an assembly at DC's Thomson Elementary school and ran (with some walking) a mile down 15th street.



Among the expressions of "I'm tired", the kids (ranging from eight years old and up) expressed joy in meeting the First Lady.  "I've seen her on TV, but never in person", exclaimed an excited eight-year old from Thomson Middle School.

Not only did they get to meet and take pictures with the First Lady, but also dog Bo - special guest of the hour.

The kids enjoyed apples and water and were admonished by the First Lady to continue their good job staying healthy.

"Now, when you leave here, I want you to keep it going. I want you to take your experience back to your schools, back to your neighborhoods, back to your families. And what are you going to tell people to do", asked Mrs. Obama?

"Exercise!", the children shouted in unison.

Mrs. Obama, concluding the special day with the final thought, shouted back: "Exercise! Eat healthy! What else? Keep moving!"

The Run Across America program finishes up next month in New York.

Run Across America at the White House - - Photos/CD Brown.

White House Press Briefing: Osama bin Laden

White House says they're 99.9% sure they have killed Osama bin Laden.  Body buried at sea, per Muslim customs.  National Security Intel suggests bin Laden used wife as human shield as he was being fired upon.
No US casualties suspected.

Obama Defeats Osama: "We Will Never Tolerate Our Security Being Threatened"

"Justice Has Been Done"

President Obama initiated the killing (or attack) of Osama bin Laden, giving direct orders to Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, "to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda."

Speaking late last evening just outside the White House East Room (interrupting Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice ending) the president vehemently articulated that, "We will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed."




U.S. operatives raided an al Qaeda compound located in Abbottabad, Pakistan where bin Laden was said to have been living in a large home on a secured compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad.


President Obama called the event "historic" and reiterated his predecessor's comment that the war against al Queda that started over a decade ago was "not a war against Islam", but rather "a war against a mass murderer of Muslims."

The president said bin Ladin's demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Via conference call this morning a senior administration official announced that the CIA began to work with the President on a set of assessments that led it to believe that in fact it was possible that Osama bin Laden may be located at a compound in Pakistan. 

"By mid-February, through a series of intensive meetings at the White House and with the President, there was a sound intelligence basis for pursuing this in an aggressive way and developing courses of action to pursue Osama bin Laden at this location", the official stated.

The president said the death of bin Laden "marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda" and gave praise to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. "We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day."

Former president George Bush, who began the initial command ten years ago to find bin Laden, called President Obama's accomplishment: "a momentous achievement."

"The fight against terror goes on", said Bush, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."


More  | Hundreds celebrate outside White House  (Reminiscent of when the President won the election in 2008) | Opposition To The Death of Osama bin Laden