Covering

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



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

President Obama Slow Jams (The News)

Let's just say what you are about to see is more entertaining than than ANYTHING you've seen this week in entertainment news.

President Obama's voice is at it again. Whether singing Al Green songs, or just speaking over (the right) music, he's an attention getter.

Mitt Romney can't touch this. Don't even try it, Romney. Don't try to solicit the help of Wayne Newton, or The Boss (BS), or Willie Nelson, or Neil Diamond, or even Mick Jagger in your own sordid attempt to copy the president, as you've done so many times during your bid for candidacy.

They wouldn't even have the same affect.

Watch President Barack Obama slow jam (the news) on the Jimmy Fallon Show, which he appeared on this past Monday night.



That is all.

Oh, yeah. Tell Congress to keep student loans affordable.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pool Report: Notable Quotes About the Secret Service Scandal


President Obama with Jimmy Fallon.
A pool reporter provided this intel on what the president said after being asked by Fallon about the scandal: "The secret service, these guys are incredible," Mr. Obama said. "They protect me, they protect our girls. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from that they do. What they were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there anymore."

The same pooler provided another piece of colorful commentary, writing in an email after the president visited the University of North Carolina earlier in the day:

"In these days of non-stop coverage of the Secret Service scandal, your pooler feels obligated to note that Mr. Obama's speech at Carmichael Arena took place directly across the road from an athletic practice facility called "Hooker Field."

The irony.

So far, at least twelve Secret Secret members have been relieved of their duties, a few taking the coward way out have retired.   The latest news is that there could have been more inappropriate action taken at another hotel in Cartagena, Colombia aside from initially reported Hotel Caribe.

"Now, you're into the hotel where the president of the United States was going to stay," Representative Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) said on the CBS program Face the Nation.

"And it just gets more troubling."

Related -
First Lady Visits Secret Service Headquarters: Is Running Required Now?
Hide the Kids (and the Wife): Sarah Palin on the Secret Service
You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up
There's a 'Hooker' in Martinsburg, West VA, too.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day in.... the Everglades

Vice President Joe Biden will travel to the Everglades in Miami-Dade County, Florida on Monday.

After touring part of Everglades National Park, the Vice President will deliver remarks on the Administration’s efforts to restore the Everglades.

Over the past three years, the Obama Administration has made restoration of the iconic Everglades a top environmental priority by significantly increasing federal funding and breaking ground on several key projects.

These efforts remain vital to the state of Florida, as the Everglades are the primary source of drinking water for more than 7 million Floridians and their natural beauty makes them a critically important part of the state’s tourism industry.

President Obama issued an Earth Day Proclamation stating:

"On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans came together to
celebrate the first Earth Day. Students, teachers, activists,
elected officials, and countless others challenged our Nation to
confront our most urgent environmental issues and rallied around
a single message: the success of future generations depends
upon how we act today. As we commemorate Earth Day this year,
we reflect on the challenges that remain before us and recommit
to the spirit of togetherness and shared responsibility that
galvanized a movement 42 years ago.


America rose to meet the call to action in the months and
years that followed the first Earth Day. We passed the Clean
Air, Clean Water, Endangered Species, and Marine Mammal
Protection Acts; founded the Environmental Protection Agency;
and ignited a spirit of stewardship that has driven progress for
over four decades. Today, our air and water are cleaner,
pollution has been greatly reduced, and Americans everywhere are

living in a healthier environment."

More.

No Raised Taxes, Or Student Loan Increases, Please.

President Obama will visit three key 'battle ground' states this week to talk student loan rate increase.

On Tuesday, April 24, President Obama will visit the University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder, CO to deliver remarks as part of a concerted effort to get Congress to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling this July.



Student loan rates are set to increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent for millions of college students.

"At a time when going to college has never been more important, it has also, unfortunately, never been more expensive", said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last week in a White House briefing.

Adding, "Families and students are struggling to meet these costs, and there's no reason why we should add to their burden.  And I have to tell you, as I’ve traveled throughout the country ... not just in disadvantaged communities, but more and more middle-class families are starting to think college might not be for them, it’s for rich folks.  There’s a real problem with that when we know going to college is the path to the middle class."

The president will continue his message, visiting the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in North Carolina, and visiting the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa on Wednesday, April 25th.
Keep abreast of this issue on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ using the hashtag DontDoubleMyRate.

Friday, April 20, 2012

White House Conference on Girls and STEM

On Tuesday, April 24, the White House Council on Women and Girls will host an event featuring a panel of trailblazing women in STEM fields, moderated by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.  The panelists will share their experiences and encourage young women to follow in their footsteps – or blaze a trail of their own.  This event will also include the very first public screening of “Girls in STEM,” a videofeaturing girls who participated in the 2012 White House Science Fair. 

Women and girls continue to be significantly underrepresented in STEM fields.  This trend starts early and comes at a serious cost to both the career prospects of our young women and the success of our economy.  By ensuring that women and girls receive the exposure, encouragement and support they need to enter and succeed in STEM fields, this country can benefit from the full range and diversity of its talent.

The event, featuring Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, Dr. Cady Coleman, NASA Astronaut; Colonel, U.S. Air Force, retired Jocelyn Goldfein, Director of Engineering, Facebook Dr. Jean Hernandez, President, Edmonds Community College Bianca Bailey, President, Howard University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders will be broadcast live online from the White House and on Facebook. 

A video recording of the entire event online (as well as a link to “Girls in STEM”) is being made available at www.WhiteHouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg.  Students can participate by

·        Submitting their questions for the panel right now through a webform on WhiteHouse.gov
·        On April 24th, they can watch live and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

and,

o  Watch live stream on WhiteHouse.gov/live beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT
o  On Facebook, watch the event live through the White House Live App and ask questions on the White House wall
o  On Twitter, use the hashtag #GirlsInSTEM to ask questions and discuss the panel.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

President Obama Announces More Key Administra​tion Posts

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Charles Benton, Nominee for Member,National Museum and Library Services Board
Charles Benton is the Chairman and CEO of the Benton Foundation.  He also currently serves on the boards of the Educational Development Center in Boston, and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where he was named a Lifetime Trustee.  In addition to his work on these boards, Mr. Benton previously was President or Chairman of the Encyclopaedia Britannica Education Corporation, Public Media, Inc., Films Inc., Home Vision Entertainment, and The Partnership for a Connected Illinois.  In recognition of his work in the media and telecommunications fields, Mr. Benton has been appointed to serve as Chairman of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, Chairman of the First White House Conference on Library and Information Services, and Member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters. Mr. Benton received a B.A. from Yale University.

Christie Pearson Brandau, Nominee for Member,National Museum and Library Services Board
Christie Pearson Brandau is a retired State Librarian and an adjunct professor for the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University.  Ms. Brandau served as State Librarian of Kansas from 2005 to 2009 and as State Librarian of Michigan from 2000 to 2005.  Prior to that, she worked at the State Library of Iowa, North Central Iowa Regional Library and in public libraries in Osage and Riceville, Iowa.  Ms. Brandau’s library affiliations include membership in the American Library Association, Public Library Association, and Chief Officers of State Library Agencies.  She served as President of the Iowa Library Association in 1991.  In addition to library affiliations, Ms. Brandau was a member of the state Humanities Council in Kansas and Michigan and served as a United States Commissioner for UNESCO from 2005 until 2010. Ms. Brandau earned her B.A. from Iowa State University and M.A. in Library Science from the University of Iowa.

Bert Castro, Nominee for Member,National Museum and Library Services Board
Bert Castro is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Zoological Society/Phoenix Zoo, a position he has held since February 2008.  From 2001 to 2008, Mr. Castro was Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanical Garden.  Mr. Castro began his career as the Children’s Zoo Keeper at the Tulsa Zoo in 1985, and since then has served as Assistant Curator at the Audubon Zoo, from 1993 to 1995, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Zoo Atlanta from 1995 to 1997, and Living Collections Manager/General Curator at the San Antonio Zoo from 1997 to 2001.   Mr. Castro has been a Board Member of Zoo Conservation Outreach since 2003, and served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums from 2009 until 2011 and the Board of St. Gregory’s University from 2005 until 2008.  Mr. Castro holds an Associate’s Degree in Natural Science from St. Gregory’s University, a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State University, and an M.S. from Friends University.

William B. Schultz, Nominee for General Counsel, Department of Health and Human Services
William B. Schultz is Principal Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Prior to joining HHS, Mr. Schultz was a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP from 2001 to 2011.  From 1999 to 2000, Mr. Schultz was Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).  Before he joined (DOJ), Mr. Schultz served as Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1994 to 1999 and Counsel for the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health and the Environment in the U.S. House of Representatives under Chairman Henry A. Waxman from 1990 to 1994.  Mr. Schultz previously served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught civil litigation from 1983 to 1987 and food and drug law from 1988 to 1993 and again in 1996. In 1974 and 1975, he clerked for Judge William B. Bryant of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Mr. Schultz received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

“I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years”, said President Obama.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Romney Fund Raiser To Be Hosted By Former Dog Killer and Griller

Fred Malek, president of Marriott hotel and accused dog 'killer and griller' in the 1950s is slated to host Mitt Romney in an upcoming fundraiser.  
Dog BBQ. Popular in Laos.
Dogs Against Romney (go ahead, Google it) don't think a presidential candidate should keep company with someone so vile.

But remember, Romney tied his family dog to the roof of the family car for 12 (count them, 12) hours during a family vacation.

I guess what they say is true: Dogs of the same 'fur', do bark together.

Read this story for yourself. We can't make this stuff up.

And they say Mike Vick was cruel.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Secret Service & Prostitution

So This Is How The Secret Service Gets Down

This isn't the first time, nor is it a secret, that the US Secret Service has been suspected of soliciting prostitutes. 

In 2008 a prostitution sting in the area of 11th and K Sts NW around 12:50 a.m. found a marked Secret Service Uniformed Division patrol car had stopped to speak with an undercover female officer who was posing as a prostitute. The patrol car was driven by a Uniformed Division sergeant who was in uniform.  The NSID officers assumed he was going to tell the undercover female officer to leave the area.

Find out what happened next.

Today we find that more than a dozen Secret Service personnel traveling with President Obama to Cartagena Columbia, while he attends the Summit of the Americas, have been released amid allegations of 'sexual misconduct'.


The Associate Press received an anonymous tip about the incident.  Secret Service spokesman, Ed Donovan has neither confirmed or denied any wrong doing.  While soliciting prostitution is considered inappropriate for the Secret Service, it is legal in certain areas of Colombia.

Does the release of the Secret Service personnel put the president in danger?  Will more secret service be flown in to replace the 'disgraced dozen', some of which are married?

The White House has released no comment on the matter (but did comment on Guinea Bissau’s military to seize power from the country’s civilian leadership, saying it "condemns the actions").

The latest allegations of sexual misconduct by the secret service is just one of several events that have taken place during the president's travel to Columbia.  Earlier today an officer in the presidential motorcade was involved in a minor motorcycle accident around 12:43 pm when his cycle skidded off the roadway. 

No word on the condition of the officer.

In another event, reports indicate that a bomb may have detonated in the region.

**Update** Sunday, April 15, 10:30 am

As the story evolves around sexual misconduct of secret service members, we are finding that members of the US military have also been involved in the 'freak nick' in Cartenga Columbia where the president was participating in the the Summit of the Americas.

At least five military members have been involved.  Are you really surprised?

What with the US military already under scrutiny for urinating on dead citizens in war torn Afgahnistan, killing unarmed men, women and children, waterboarding, raping its own female service members, and other heinous acts, this latest development is yet another black eye on the character of its members.

White House Press Secretar Jay Carney has deferred reporter's questions to the US military and the secret service.

A nice way of saying, 'We have no comment'.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

President Obama Makes A Push For the Buffet Rule (One More Time)

Speaking today in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB), President Obama made another plea to Congress, and the American public to call Congress, in support of the Buffet rule which would stipulate that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes. 

President Ronald Reagan offered the same plan during his presidency as well. 



Willing to comprise with Congress (yet again), the president suggested, "And if it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule."

Billionaire Warren Buffet, whose secretary pays a higher amount of taxes than he, was the inspiration behind the proposed rule.

A transcript follows below.

President Obama with wealthy business owners who don't mind paying higher taxes.
 Photo/CD Brown.
"Lately, we’ve been talking about the fundamental choice that we face as a country.  We can settle for an economy where a shrinking number of people do very, very well and everybody else is struggling to get by, or we can build an economy where we’re rewarding hard work and responsibility -- an economy where everybody has a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.

The people who have joined me here today are extremely successful.  They’ve created jobs and opportunity for thousands of Americans.  They’re rightly proud of their success.  They love the country that made their success possible, and most importantly, they want to make sure that the next generation, people coming up behind them, have the same opportunities that they had.

They understand, though, that for some time now, when compared to the middle class, they haven’t been asked to do their fair share.  And they are here because they believe there is something deeply wrong and irresponsible about that. 

At a time when the share of national income flowing to the top 1 percent of people in this country has climbed to levels we haven’t seen since the 1920s, these same folks are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years.  In fact, one in four millionaires pays a lower tax rate than millions of hardworking middle-class households.  And while many millionaires do pay their fair share, some take advantage of loopholes and shelters that let them get away with paying no income taxes whatsoever -- and that’s all perfectly legal under the system that we currently have.

You’ve heard that my friend Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary -- because he’s the one who’s been pointing that out and saying we should fix it.  The executives who are with me here today, not just behind me but in the audience, agree with me.  They agree with Warren -- they should be fixed.  They, in fact, have brought some of their own assistants to prove that same point -- that it is just plain wrong that middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires.

Now, it’s not that these folks are excited about the idea of paying more taxes.  This thing I’ve always made clear.  I have yet to meet people who just love taxes.  Nobody loves paying taxes.  In a perfect world, none of us would have to pay any taxes.  We’d have no deficits to pay down.  And schools and bridges and roads and national defense and caring for our veterans would all happen magically.

We’d all have the money we need to make investments in the things that help us grow -- investments, by the way, that have always been essential to the private sector’s success, as well, not just -- they're not just important in terms of the people that directly benefit from these programs, but historically, those investments that we’ve made in infrastructure, in education, in science, in technology, in transportation, that's part of what has made us an economic superpower.
And it would be nice if we didn't have to pay for them, but this is the real world that we live in.  We have real choices and real consequences.  Right now, we’ve got significant deficits that are going to have to be closed.  Right now, we have significant needs if we want to continue to grow this economy and compete in this 21st-century, hyper-competitive, technologically-integrated economy.  That means we can’t afford to keep spending more money on tax cuts for wealthy Americans who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them.  And it’s time we did something about it.

Now, I want to emphasize, this is not simply an issue of redistributing wealth.  That's what you’ll hear from those who object to a tax plan that is fair.  This is not just about fairness.  This is also about growth.  This is also about being able to make the investments we need to succeed.  And it’s about we as a country being willing to pay for those investments and closing our deficits.  That’s what this is about.

Now, next week, members of Congress are going to have a chance to vote on what we call the Buffett Rule.  And it’s simple:  If you make more money -- more than $1 million a year, not if you have $1 million, but if you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do.  If on the other hand, you make less than $250,000 a year -- like 98 percent of American families do -- your taxes shouldn’t go up. 

That’s all there is to it.  That’s pretty sensible.  Most Americans agree with me, so do most millionaires.  One survey found that two-thirds of millionaires support this idea.  So do nearly half of all Republicans across America.
So we just need some of the Republican politicians here in Washington to get on board with where the country is.  I know that some prefer to run around using the same reflexive, false claims about wanting to raise people’s taxes.  What they won’t tell you is the truth -- that I’ve cut taxes for middle-class families each year that I’ve been in office.  I’ve cut taxes for small business owners not once or twice, but 17 times.

As I said, for most of the folks in this room, taxes are lower than they’ve been, or as low as they’ve been, in 50 years.  There are others who are saying, well, this is just a gimmick.  Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule won’t do enough to close the deficit.  Well, I agree.  That’s not all we have to do to close the deficit.  But the notion that it doesn’t solve the entire problem doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it at all.

There are enough excuses for inaction in Washington.  We certainly don’t need more excuses.  I’d just point out that the Buffett Rule is something that will get us moving in the right direction towards fairness, towards economic growth.  It will help us close our deficit and it’s a lot more specific than anything that the other side has proposed so far.  And if Republicans in Congress were truly concerned with deficits and debt, then I’m assuming they wouldn’t have just proposed to spend an additional $4.6 trillion on lower tax rates, including an average tax cut of at least $150,000 for every millionaire in America.


They want to go in the opposite direction.  They want to double down on some of the inequities that already exist in the tax code.  If we’re going to keep giving somebody like me or some of the people in this room tax breaks that we don’t need and we can’t afford, then one of two things happens:  Either you've got to borrow more money to pay down a deeper deficit, or you've got to demand deeper sacrifices from the middle class, and you've got to cut investments that help us grow as an economy.
You've got to tell seniors to pay a little bit more for their Medicare.  You've got to tell the college student, we're going to have to charge you higher interest rates on your student loan or you're just going to get smaller student loans.  You're going to have to tell that working family that’s scraping by that they're going to have to do more because the wealthiest of Americans are doing less.

That’s not right.  The middle class has seen enough of its security erode over the past few decades that we shouldn't let that happen.  And we're not going to stop investing in the things that create real and lasting growth in this country just so folks like me can get an additional tax cut.  We're not going to stop building first-class schools and making sure that they've got science labs in them.  We're not going to fail to make investments in basic science and research that could cure diseases that harm people, or create the new technology that ends up creating entire jobs and industries that we haven't seen before.  In America, prosperity has never just trickled down from a wealthy few.  Prosperity has always been built from the bottom up and from the heart of the middle class outward.  And so it’s time for Congress to stand up for the middle class and make our tax system fairer by passing this Buffett Rule.

Let me just close by saying this.  I’m not the first President to call for this idea that everybody has got to do their fair share.  Some years ago, one of my predecessors traveled across the country pushing for the same concept.  He gave a speech where he talked about a letter he had received from a wealthy executive who paid lower tax rates than his secretary, and wanted to come to Washington and tell Congress why that was wrong.  So this President gave another speech where he said it was “crazy” -- that's a quote -- that certain tax loopholes make it possible for multimillionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary.  That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan.

He thought that, in America, the wealthiest should pay their fair share, and he said so.  I know that position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days, but what Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing that we’re calling for now:  a return to basic fairness and responsibility; everybody doing their part.  And if it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule.

But the choice is clear.  This vote is coming up.  I’m asking every American who agrees with me to call your member of Congress, or write them an email, tweet them.  Tell them to stop giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans who don’t need them and aren’t asking for them.  Tell them to start asking everybody to do their fair share and play by the same rules, so that every American who’s willing to work hard has a chance at similar success, so that we’re making the investments that help this economy grow, so that we’re able to bring down our deficits in a fair and balanced and sensible way.  Tell them to pass the Buffett Rule.

I’m going to keep on making this case across the country because I believe that this rule is consistent with those principles and those values that have helped make us this remarkable place where everybody has opportunity.
Now, each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, felt responsibility not only for themselves, but also for their community and for their country. They felt a responsibility to us, to future generations.  And now it’s our turn to be similarly responsible.  Now it’s our turn to preserve that American Dream for future generations.

So I want to thank those of you who are here with me today.  I want to thank everybody who is in the audience.  And I want to appeal to the American people:  Let’s make sure that we keep the pressure on Congress to do the right thing."

Related
How Many Millionaires Paid $0 in Taxes? Find Out for Yourself
Last week, the White House launched the official Federal Taxpayer Receipt for 2011, an online tool that gives Americans the ability to calculate where their tax dollars are being spent.

Joining Forces One-Year Anniversary: Complimented By Community Challenge

Joining Forces, the military initiative designed to aid and bring awareness to the plight of military families around the country, will turn one year-old in July.   To get the celebration started a bit early, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the duo and driving forces behind Joining Forces, today recognized winners of their Joining Forces Community Challenge.  The 'Challenge' went out to communities across the country admonishing communities to help a military family where ever they could. 

First Lady Michelle Obama and NBC News correspondent Tom Brokaw at today's Joining Forces Community Challenge event at the White House.  Photo/CD Brown
Said Second Lady Jill Biden, "Since we launched Joining Forces a year ago, we have been so inspired by the many ways Americans all across the country are honoring, celebrating and supporting our military families.  Our partners in this effort are businesses, schools, churches, communities and individuals.  The Joining Forces Community Challenge finalists here today are shining examples of what we’ve seen."

U.S. military members and families attend the Joining Forces Community Challenge
recognition today at the White House.  Photo/CD Brown.

The Joining Forces Community Challenge winners are Our Family for Families First Foundation; Armed Forces Service Center; Defending the Blue Line (Bethesda, MD); Give An Hour; Project Sanctuary; and the City of Richfield, Utah.

Since the 20 finalists were announced in February, the public voted to select the “People’s Choice Winner.” The additional five winners were selected with input from a panel of distinguished judges, that included Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent, (on hand today to give the introduction),   J.R. Martinez, Iraq war veteran, motivational speaker and winner of season 13 of Dancing with the Stars; Sloan D. Gibson, President and CEO, United Service Organizations (USO);
Julian Castro – Mayor of San Antonio, one of the nation’s largest military communities; and
Deanie Dempsey, military family advocate and wife of General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

General Martin Dempsey, Dr. Jill Biden, Tom Brokaw, and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Photo/CD Brown

"The challenge winners are leading by example, and showing that all of us can find a way to serve those who sever us", First Lady Michelle Obama said.
Just like the first lady's Let's Move! initiative, her Joining Forces initiative is adding more resources and  gaining more recognition.
The First Lady commissioned businesses to hire returning veterans as they transition from military to civilian lives.  Over the past year, more than 1,600 businesses, to include LinkedIn, Google, and Monster, have hired more than 50,000 veterans and spouses, with even more companies pledging to hire at least 160,000 more in the coming years.
"So, over the past year, not a single person that we’ve talked to, that we have approached, has told us that they could not help. Not a single person", said the First Lady.  "We’ve asked; they said yes."
Also saying 'Yes' are nurses.
Today at the University of Pennsylvania, home to one of America’s top Nursing Schools, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced a commitment from nurses eager to serve veterans and military families. In a broad, coordinated effort, more than 150 state and national nursing organizations and over 500 nursing schools have committed to further educate our nation’s 3 million nurses so they are prepared to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.
In attendance at today's event were several military members and their families.
US Air Force general, Norton (Norty) Schwartz called the First Lady and Dr. Biden's Joining Forces movement "very important".
For them to get so much support from across the country for military families, "It's very important", adding he'd never seen anything like it.

Tomorrow the First Lady will travel to Shreveport, Louisiana, to announce the 50,000th veteran to be hired through the Joining Forces initiative.  She will visit Kansas City Southern Railway Company, which has aggressively hired veterans because of the unique skill set that they bring to the job.
For more information about the Joining Forces Community Challenge and profiles of the finalists,go to http://joiningforces.challenge.gov/.  For more information about Joining Forces and to find opportunities to serve, go to JoiningForces.gov.

---

Related
War.  What Is It Good For?
While First Lady Michelle Obama and the most of the U.S. celebrate the efforts of the U.S. military we learn that Active-Duty Army Whistleblower Lt. Col. Daniel Davis has declared war on the military itself, and the Pentagon, for not telling Americans the truth about what goes on in war areas like Afghanistan.

Says Davis, "Senior ranking U.S. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the U.S. Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable."

"What are we doing there [Afghanistan] for so long?"

Davis spent two year-long deployments in Afghanistan. He spoke with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman.



Later this month, Davis will be awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Newt Gingrich Visits Pepsi Plant

The down, but-not-yet-counting-himself-out, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, remains on the campaign trail.
Today he is visiting a Pepsi plant in Bern, NC where he tweets - "This is an original bottle of Pepsi."


He also tweeted a picture of him visiting with John Johnson, owner of Hamlin Drug Co, the oldest African American owned pharmacy in America.
We're guessing this is his last ditch effort to gain voter support from the African American community, as he continues to trail substantially behind Mitt Romney.
Note to Gingrich:  It probably won't work.

**Just in** Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is expected to bow out of the presidential race today, sighting his daughter's illness as the primary factor.
Gingrich has not officially conceded to Mitt Romney, the likely Republican presidential candidate, but has suggested that his party rally behind Romney to defeat President Obama in the 2012 election.

President Obama spoke at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton today for an official event on the economy, where he made the case for the Buffett Rule. The Buffet Rule, per the White House, is a simple principle for fairness that ensures that millionaires pay at least the same effective tax rate as middle class families pay.

"The President believes in standing up for the middle class and making our tax system fairer, where everyone plays by the same set of rules, in order to ensure the economic security of the middle class."

We're guessing whether poor, middle class, or rich - all sides enjoy a tall glass of Pepsi - and pay around the same amount of tax when purchasing the mentioned product. 

Drugs Pharmaceuticals, relative to the three classes, however, is a whole other story for another day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The JOBS Act. Why You Pay More In Taxes Than The Rich. And More.

On the White House blog this week, three items became the central focus.

White House press release.

On the Budget/Buffet Rule
How Many Millionaires Paid $0 in Taxes? Find Out for Yourself
This week, the White House launched the official Federal Taxpayer Receipt for 2011, an online tool that gives Americans the ability to calculate where their tax dollars are being spent. The President believes the American people deserve to know exactly how and where their tax dollars are being spent, that’s why he launched the first such receipt last year.

President Barack Obama signs the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which includes key initiatives the President proposed last fall to help small businesses and startups grow and create jobs, in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 5, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On the JOBS Act
The JOBS Act: Encouraging Startups, Supporting Small Businesses
President Obama recognizes the critical role these types of high-growth startups and innovative entrepreneurs play in creating an economy that’s built to last. That’s why back in the fall – and again in his State of the Union Address – the President put forward a series of specific proposals to ease regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from accessing the capital they need to grow and create jobs.

White House Blog: Three Charts Illustrating Two Different Visions for Our Nation
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer lays out the key differences between the president’s approach and the Republican budget. “The President’s approach to reducing our deficit is a balanced approach that asks the wealthiest to pay their fair share, achieves significant health savings and enacts sensible spending cuts while making the investments we need to have a strong middle class.”

A few important stats to note:

The President’s Budget:
·        Raises more than $1.5 trillion in new revenue through upper income tax provisions, including expiration of the 2001/2003 high-income tax cuts and limiting tax expenditures for high-income households.
·        Cuts taxes for millions of middle-class families and protects families under $250,000 from tax increases.
·        Indexes the Alternative Minimum Tax to inflation to prevent a tax increase on millions of middle class families.
·        Calls for both individual and corporate tax reform and lays out principles for reform to promote fairness and economic growth.

On Military Spouses/Veterans
White House Blog: First Lady Announces 15,000 Jobs for Military Spouses
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden created Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and take action to support veterans and military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives. The Joining Forces initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure veterans and military families have the support they have earned.

On Healthcare/Affordable Care Act
White House Blog: Bad Math and the Affordable Care Act
Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy Jeanne Lambrew breaks down falsities that opponents of the law are using to claim that the cost of the ACA has doubled to $1.7 trillion.

On Women &The Economy
The White House Council on Women and Girls hosted a Forum on Women and the Economy. President Obama delivered remarks at the Forum to highlight ways the Administration has helped create economic security for women and recognizes that women are key to economic growth and competitiveness.
                                   

Friday, April 6, 2012

President Obama On the Rwandan Genocide

Eighteen years after the Rwandan genocide, we pause to reflect with horror and sadness on the 100 days in 1994 when 800,000 people lost their lives.  The specter of this slaughter of mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters haunts us still, and reminds the nations of the world of our shared responsibility to do all we can to protect civilians and to ensure that evil of this magnitude never happens again. 

The United States grieves with the Rwandan people, and we remember those whose lives were cut short. And as we do, we also recognize Rwanda’s progress in moving beyond this horrible tragedy, the strides it has taken to improve the lives of its people, and its contributions to protecting civilians from other nations in UN peacekeeping missions around the world. 

The U.S. government and the American people will continue to extend our friendship, partnership, and support to the Rwandan people as they seek to build a peaceful and prosperous future.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Members of Congress and Parents of Trayvon Martin On Capital Hill

Can There Be An  Enforced Stop Racial Profiling Act?

Members of Congress have been more than focal about the Trayvon Martin murder that happened in February of this year.

Last week members of Congress took to the House floor, along with Trayvon Martin's parents, to put the word out that racial profiling is still an unacceptable practice.

Martin was gunned down by a renegade neighborhood watch captain as he was walking back home to his father's house, located in a predominately white, gated community.  His killer, George Zimmerman remains at large while the 18 year-old's parents and family continue to seek justice.
"We are with you, Congressman Gregory Meeks said to Martin's parents. 
Meek also had a message for those believing a young life like Trayvon Martin is expendable.

"We are sending a message to all of America. . . you cannot discriminate and profile individuals because of his or her looks."



Cases like Trayvon Martin are cropping up all around the country.  And it hasn't been a recently occuring phenomenon.  From Emmit Till to Travyon Martin, to those before them, Black males continue to be under siege.
Listen to Terrence Johnson story. In 1978, police had no trouble arresting the 15 year-old Prince George County youth.  A jury had no trouble convicting him.  He was defending himself from a brutal beating by police officers.



This week President Obama signed the  Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK) to introduce more accountability and transparency in the federal government.  He also signed the Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that will help startups get access to a larger pool of potential investors and make it easier for businesses to become publicly traded companies..

The president needs to sign a Stop Racial Profiling Act (SRPA) so incidents mentioned in this posting are no more.

Even the popular Atlanta movie producer and actor, Tyler Perry, who has given generously to the Obama re-election campaign fund, experienced racial profiling  - as early as this week.  Read what he stated about his profiling experience on his FaceBook page.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Take an at-home 360-degree tour of the White House’s public rooms with Google Art Project

The web site isn't yet available (at the time of this posting), but the White House today announced the latest step in President and Mrs. Obama’s efforts to truly make 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue “The People’s House”, by working with Google Art Project to create a virtual 360-degree tour of the White House’s public rooms. 

Since the President’s inauguration – when he and Mrs. Obama surprised guests attending public tours – the Obamas have worked to make the White House more open and accessible. Over three years later, approximately 2.5 million visitors have walked through the gates of The People’s House, including Residence tourists, guests at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll events, Fall and Spring Garden Tours, guests at State or Official Arrival Ceremonies and White House Kitchen Garden school group tours.  Now through the Google Art Project, millions more will be able to virtually visit the White House.



“The White House isn’t simply a home to First Families or meeting space for world leaders, it’s also known as ‘The People’s House,’ a place that should be open to everyone. And that’s why we’ve made it a priority to invite young people, military families, and Americans of all ages to join us here at the White House,” Mrs. Obama says in a video welcoming digital users to explore the White House via the Google Art Project. “Thousands of people have walked these halls and gazed at the artwork.  They’ve examined the portraits of Washington, Lincoln, and Kennedy.  They’ve imagined the history that’s unfolded here. And now you can do all of that without leaving your home. So go ahead, look around, enjoy the history and the beauty of these rooms.  Because after all, this is your house, too.”

The Google Art Project, which launched in February 2011, uses Google technology to allow users to view museum objects in high resolution and explore institutions through Google Street View. The new White House tour is part of a global expansion of the Google Art Project – today Google announced the project has new partnerships with 29 partners in 16 cities across the country.

The White House is the only building in the world that is simultaneously the home of a head of state, the executive office of a head of state, and is regularly open to the public for tours.

For information and instructions on applying for a White House visit, please go to:http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events/