USDA Rural Development

The USDA is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.USDA’s financial programs support such essential public facilities and services as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service. The USDA promotes economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks , credit unions and community-managed lending pools. USDA offers technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations. USDA provides technical assistance to help communities undertake community empowerment programs.USDA Rural Development has a $115 billion portfolio of loans and will administer $20 billion in loans, loan guarantees and grants through our programs in the current fiscal year. The USDA achieves their mission by helping rural individuals, communities and businesses obtain the financial and technical assistance needed to address their diverse and unique needs.For more information visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/

June 09, 2011

Obama Administration Establishes White House Rural Council to Strengthen Rural Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House today announced the establishment of the first White House Rural Council. While rural communities face challenges, they also present economic potential. To address these challenges, build on the Administration’s rural economic strategy, and improve the implementation of that strategy, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council.

“Strong rural communities are key to a stronger America,” said President Barack Obama. “That’s why I’ve established the White House Rural Council to make sure we’re working across government to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.”

The White House Rural Council will coordinate programs across government to encourage public-private partnerships to promote further economic prosperity and quality of life in rural communities nationwide. Chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the Council will be responsible for providing recommendations for investment in rural areas and will coordinate Federal engagement with a variety of rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, and state, local, and tribal governments.

“Rural America makes significant contributions to the security, prosperity, and economic strength of our country,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The Rural Council announced by President Obama shows his continued focus on promoting economic opportunity, creating jobs, and enhancing the quality of life for those who live in rural America. Together with the rest of the Obama administration, USDA has worked to support families and businesses in rural communities so that their success will pay dividends for all Americans.”

In the coming months, the White House Rural Council will focus on job creation and economic development by increasing the flow of capital to rural areas, promoting innovation, expanding digital and physical networks, and celebrating opportunity through America’s natural resources. The Council will begin discussing key factors for growth, including:

• Jobs: Improve job training and workforce development in rural America
• Agriculture: Expand markets for agriculture, including regional food systems and exports
• Access to Credit: Increase opportunity by expanding access to capital in rural communities and fostering local investment
• Innovation: Promote the expansion of biofuels production capacity and community based renewable energy projects
• Networks: Develop high-growth regional economies by capitalizing on inherent regional strengths
• Health Care: Improve access to quality health care through expansion of health technology systems
• Education: Increase post-secondary enrollment rates and completion for rural students
• Broadband: Support the President’s plan to increase broadband opportunities in rural America
• Infrastructure: Coordinate investment in critical infrastructure

Ecosystem markets: Expanding opportunities for conservation, outdoor opportunities and economic growth on working lands and public lands

For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/09/obama-administration-establishes-white-house-rural-council-strengthen-ru

.

Data.gov /Agriculture

Welcome farmers, researchers, data analysts, businesses and governments interested in food, agriculture and rural data that address a number of pressing social, economic, and environmental concerns.  Join us here to find data and statistics that can help inform investment and policy strategies related to agricultural production, global food security, poverty, nutrition and human health, natural resources and environmental issues, rural development, local and regional food systems and many other issues.

 

. .

Agriculture in the United State

Agriculture is a major industry in the United States and the country is a net exporter of food. As of the last census of agriculture in 2007, there were 2.2 million farms, covering an area of 922 million acres (373 million hectares), an average of 418 acres (170 hectares) per farm.

Major U.S. agricultural products:

1. Corn
2. Cattle meat
3. Cow’s milk
4. Chicken meat
5. Soybeans
6. Pig meat
7. Wheat
8. Cotton lint
9. Hen eggs
10. Turkey meat
11. Tomatoes
12. Potatoes
13. Grapes
14. Oranges
15. Rice
16. Apples
17. Sorghum
18. Lettuce
19. Cottonseed
20. Sugar beets

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_the_United_States

———

.

The Kochs’ quest

10/13/2012 09:11:44 PM PDT By Bill Wilson and Roy Wenzl – The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA, Kan. — In January 2009, just days after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Charles and David Koch met in their company headquarters in Wichita with their longtime political strategist, Rich Fink.

The country was headed toward bankruptcy, they agreed. Fink told them bluntly that Obama’s administration represented the worst of what Charles and David fear most: a bloated, regulation-heavy, free-spending government that could plunge the country into another deep recession. That day, Fink advised two of the richest men in the nation that it would be the fight of their lives to stop the government spending spree and to change the course of the country, starting with the 2012 election.

“If we are going to do this, we should do it right or not at all,” Fink, 61, recalled telling the brothers. “But if we don’t do it right or if we don’t do it at all, we will be insignificant and we will just waste a lot of time and I would rather play golf.

“And if we do it right, then it is going to get very, very ugly.”

Three and a half years later, Obama accused the Koch brothers of engineering “a corporate takeover of our democracy.”

The brothers’ political spending and the network of conservative political organizations and think tanks they fund have sparked protests. The condemnations and criticism prompted Charles Koch to break his silence about politics. In his most extensive interview in 15 years, Charles Koch talked about why he wants to defeat Obama and elect members of Congress who will stop what he calls catastrophic overspending.

Government recklessness threatens the country and his business, he said.

The Kochs say the price for their involvement has been high: Death threats, cyberattacks on their business, hundreds of news stories criticizing them, calls for boycotts of the company’s consumer goods, and what the brothers see as ongoing and public attacks from the Obama administration.

The Kochs aren’t finished. Win or lose in November, they plan to start a new fight. They are organizing dozens of business and grass roots groups to build support for eliminating all corporate and agricultural subsidies.

For more; http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_21769107/kochs-quest?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

Ending agricultural subsidies would mean that American busiensses would have to raise their prices and USA farmers would not be able to compete with cheap and inferior and unsafe imports.

* American diary farms would be impacted
* American vegetable and fruit farms would would be impacted
* American grain farms for human would be impacted
* American pork, beef and chicken farms would be impacted
* American nut farms would be impacted
* American fiber producers (cotton, wool, wood etc) would be impacted
* American gasoline would be impacted

There are many more that industries that would impacted.

About these ads

147 Responses to USDA Rural Development

  1. CR says:

    WH

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest will gaggle on Air Force One.

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:50 AM
    The President meets with his National Security Team
    Situation Room
    Closed Press

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    3:30 PM
    The President departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base
    South Lawn
    Open Press

    3:45 PM
    The President departs Andrews Air Force Base en route Martha’s Vineyard
    Andrews Air Force Base
    Travel Pool Spray

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    The President arrives Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station
    Open Press

    5:15 PM
    The President arrives Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
    Travel Pool Coverage

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • CR says:

      June 09, 2011

      Obama Administration Establishes White House Rural Council to Strengthen Rural Communities

      WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House today announced the establishment of the first White House Rural Council. While rural communities face challenges, they also present economic potential. To address these challenges, build on the Administration’s rural economic strategy, and improve the implementation of that strategy, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council.

      “Strong rural communities are key to a stronger America,” said President Barack Obama. “That’s why I’ve established the White House Rural Council to make sure we’re working across government to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.”

      The White House Rural Council will coordinate programs across government to encourage public-private partnerships to promote further economic prosperity and quality of life in rural communities nationwide. Chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the Council will be responsible for providing recommendations for investment in rural areas and will coordinate Federal engagement with a variety of rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, and state, local, and tribal governments.

      “Rural America makes significant contributions to the security, prosperity, and economic strength of our country,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The Rural Council announced by President Obama shows his continued focus on promoting economic opportunity, creating jobs, and enhancing the quality of life for those who live in rural America. Together with the rest of the Obama administration, USDA has worked to support families and businesses in rural communities so that their success will pay dividends for all Americans.”

      In the coming months, the White House Rural Council will focus on job creation and economic development by increasing the flow of capital to rural areas, promoting innovation, expanding digital and physical networks, and celebrating opportunity through America’s natural resources. The Council will begin discussing key factors for growth, including:

      • Jobs: Improve job training and workforce development in rural America
      • Agriculture: Expand markets for agriculture, including regional food systems and exports
      • Access to Credit: Increase opportunity by expanding access to capital in rural communities and fostering local investment
      • Innovation: Promote the expansion of biofuels production capacity and community based renewable energy projects
      • Networks: Develop high-growth regional economies by capitalizing on inherent regional strengths
      • Health Care: Improve access to quality health care through expansion of health technology systems
      • Education: Increase post-secondary enrollment rates and completion for rural students
      • Broadband: Support the President’s plan to increase broadband opportunities in rural America
      • Infrastructure: Coordinate investment in critical infrastructure

      Ecosystem markets: Expanding opportunities for conservation, outdoor opportunities and economic growth on working lands and public lands

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/09/obama-administration-establishes-white-house-rural-council-strengthen-ru

    • CR says:

      White House Roundtable Meeting with Rural Leaders

      Posted by Tom Vilsack on July 28, 2011

      Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the USDA blog.

      This week, I led a meeting in the Roosevelt Room at the White House with leaders of a host of rural organizations to discuss the White House Rural Council. The White House Rural Council, which was established by President Obama on June 9, 2011, will build on this Administration’s unprecedented efforts to spur job creation and economic growth in rural America. Along with Jon Carson, the Director of the Office of Public Engagement and Doug McKalip of the White House Domestic Policy Council, we discussed the Council’s efforts to improve coordination among federal agencies. We focused in on ways to help better leverage existing federal resources in rural America – and on how to facilitate private-public partnerships that can move the needle in building stronger rural communities.

      The meeting was a chance for me to listen to our rural partners on the issues that need to be addressed and discuss potential solutions. Some of the key issues raised included the need to coordinate more with our federal partners on health care, broadband, and other critical infrastructure; how to increase the availability of capital and lending to rural businesses and families; efforts to remove barriers to young and beginning farmers; and strategies for establishing better partnerships with states, tribes, local governments and the private sector. Many of the leaders gathered also expressed appreciation for the renewed focus on rural America and the importance the White House has placed on these issues.

      These sorts of conversations were an important goal of the Rural Council. While the Obama administration has worked to drive innovation in rural America and capitalize on emerging opportunities like renewable energy, local and regional food systems, and expanded broadband access, there is more work to be done. Partnering with leaders in rural America is the best way for government to help foster investment, support communities, and help rural businesses succeed, expand and create jobs.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/28/white-house-roundtable-meeting-rural-leaders

    • CR says:

      Giving Rural America More Tools to Grow and Create Jobs

      Posted by Tom Vilsack and Karen Mills on August 16, 2011

      Today, the President announced several important new initiatives to continue strengthening the rural economy and to create jobs in rural areas.

      As part of the White House Rural Council’s efforts to improve federal government coordination on rural economic development, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have been focused on rural small business growth. And for good reason: Half the people who work in America either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new private sector jobs are created by small businesses.

      Many of these small businesses are in rural areas and we are making sure that they have the tools they need to grow, create jobs and drive the economy.

      Today, the President announced a series of initiatives that leverage existing programs and funding to help small businesses and to meet other critical needs in rural communities. This included:

      * Committing up to $350 million in SBA growth capital to investors in rural small businesses over the next 5 years
      * Launching a series of events to connect private equity and venture capital investors with rural start ups
      * Creating teams to link federal funding opportunities with private investors interested in making rural investments
      * Making job search information available at 2,800 local USDA offices nationwide
      * Making HHS loans available to help more than 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals recruit additional staff
      Helping rural hospitals purchase software and hardware to implement health IT

      You can learn more about the announcement here.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/16/giving-rural-america-more-tools-grow-and-create-jobs

    • CR says:

      Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding for Over 900 Projects to Boost Renewable Energy Production, Reduce Energy Costs for Producers and Small Businesses

      August 17, 2011 usda.gov

      ATKINSON, Ill.,– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced grants for more than 900 agricultural producers and rural small businesses across the country to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in their operations. Secretary Vilsack made the announcement as part of President Obama’s rural economic bus tour in the Midwest where today he highlighted efforts underway to reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil, which will increase the economic competitiveness of rural America and promote job creation.

      “These investments enable our farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners to develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements that will save them thousands of dollars in energy costs each year,” Vilsack said. “This funding is an important part of the Obama Administration’s plan to conserve natural resources, create jobs and lead our country on the path to becoming more energy independent.”

      The grants are being provided through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a 2008 Farm Bill initiative. REAP offers funds for farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. These federal funds leverage other funding sources for small businesses. In all, USDA announced more than $11.6 million in energy grants today.

      The REAP program is helping many agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption. For example, Simpsons Brothers Greenhouses, LLC in Ovid, Mich., was selected to receive an $18,000 grant to make energy-efficiency improvements to its greenhouse operations, including installing greenhouse energy curtains that are designed to reduce energy consumption. These improvements are expected to reduce the company’s energy purchases by 42 percent and save more than $12,000 in annual energy expenses.

      For the entire article: http://www.cspan.org/Events/President-Ends-Bus-Tour-With-Town-Hall-Meetings-in-Illinois/10737423544-2/

    • CR says:

      Farmers Get Pricing Insight Through Market New

      August 10, 2011 Posted by David R. Shipman, Acting Administrator Agricultural Marketing Service – USDA.gov

      The announcement this week that the number of farmers markets has grown by 17 percent nationwide comes as no surprise to the USDA’s Market News. As demand for local and regional foods has grown, USDA’s Market News has grown as well by providing coverage of farmers markets and auctions.

      The coverage serves small and mid-sized producers by providing another piece of market information on a more localized scale. Many small and beginning farmers pursue a number of market outlets—including direct-to-retailer, direct-to-consumer (farmers markets), and farmers auctions—which allow many producers to aggregate their products and sell to buyers looking for local products in bulk.

      Sometimes small and beginning farmers and ranchers struggle to establish pricing for their products at these trading levels and need detailed local information to do so. Market News provides that local information which, along with national and regional reporting, aids producers in marketing their products and allows for smarter competition.

      Market News has produce information for the farmers markets and auctions in several of the recently named top ten states. For livestock and grain, Market News has 360 auction reports that provide weekly information on cattle, sheep, goats, and hay. Together the reports gather information from farmers markets and auctions in over 26 states.

      Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is committed to supporting all agricultural business models and Market News is just one of the many ways we empower businesses—both large and small. Market News reports give businesses the information they need to evaluate market conditions, make purchasing decisions, monitor price patterns, evaluate shipment movement, identify future trends and more.

      For the entire article: http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/08/10/farmers-get-pricing-insight-through-market-news/

      • CR says:

        Agriculture in the United States

        Agriculture is a major industry in the United States and the country is a net exporter of food. As of the last census of agriculture in 2007, there were 2.2 million farms, covering an area of 922 million acres (373 million hectares), an average of 418 acres (170 hectares) per farm.

        Major U.S. agricultural products:

        1. Corn
        2. Cattle meat
        3. Cow’s milk
        4. Chicken meat
        5. Soybeans
        6. Pig meat
        7. Wheat
        8. Cotton lint
        9. Hen eggs
        10. Turkey meat
        11. Tomatoes
        12. Potatoes
        13. Grapes
        14. Oranges
        15. Rice
        16. Apples
        17. Sorghum
        18. Lettuce
        19. Cottonseed
        20. Sugar beets

        Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_the_United_States

        • CR says:

          World Agriculture Output 2009

          World Agriculture Output 2009

          Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture

        • CR says:

          libertarian-teabagger-party

          The Kochs’ quest

          10/13/2012 09:11:44 PM PDT By Bill Wilson and Roy Wenzl – The Wichita Eagle

          WICHITA, Kan. — In January 2009, just days after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Charles and David Koch met in their company headquarters in Wichita with their longtime political strategist, Rich Fink.

          The country was headed toward bankruptcy, they agreed. Fink told them bluntly that Obama’s administration represented the worst of what Charles and David fear most: a bloated, regulation-heavy, free-spending government that could plunge the country into another deep recession. That day, Fink advised two of the richest men in the nation that it would be the fight of their lives to stop the government spending spree and to change the course of the country, starting with the 2012 election.

          “If we are going to do this, we should do it right or not at all,” Fink, 61, recalled telling the brothers. “But if we don’t do it right or if we don’t do it at all, we will be insignificant and we will just waste a lot of time and I would rather play golf.

          “And if we do it right, then it is going to get very, very ugly.”

          Three and a half years later, Obama accused the Koch brothers of engineering “a corporate takeover of our democracy.”

          The brothers’ political spending and the network of conservative political organizations and think tanks they fund have sparked protests. The condemnations and criticism prompted Charles Koch to break his silence about politics. In his most extensive interview in 15 years, Charles Koch talked about why he wants to defeat Obama and elect members of Congress who will stop what he calls catastrophic overspending.

          Government recklessness threatens the country and his business, he said.

          The Kochs say the price for their involvement has been high: Death threats, cyberattacks on their business, hundreds of news stories criticizing them, calls for boycotts of the company’s consumer goods, and what the brothers see as ongoing and public attacks from the Obama administration.

          The Kochs aren’t finished. Win or lose in November, they plan to start a new fight. They are organizing dozens of business and grass roots groups to build support for eliminating all corporate and agricultural subsidies.

          For more; http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_21769107/kochs-quest?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

    • CR says:

      Biggest jump in Midwest farmland prices in 34 years

      8/17/11 By Christine Stebbins | Reuters – 1 hr 52 mins ago

      CHICAGO (Reuters) – Prices for farmland in the heart of the U.S. grain belt were up 17 percent in the second quarter compared to a year ago, the biggest jump since 1977, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said on Wednesday.

      The rising values were driven by strong crop, livestock and milk prices which spurred farmers and investors to buy land, the bank said. Low interest rates have also boosted demand.

      “The combination of higher revenues for crop and livestock production has been an impetus for the significant increases in agricultural land values seen this year in the district,” the Fed said in its quarterly newsletter, adding “demand for farmland remained strong from both farmers and investors.”

      Farmland values are closely monitored by economists at the Fed and commercial banks, both for U.S. banking asset values and as a benchmark for agricultural balance sheets.

      Farmland strength in the last year has caused concerns about another farmland “bubble” like the one seen in the 1980s U.S. farm crisis, when overextended farmers lost their land. But bankers say most farmers are much less debt-laden than they were at that time thanks to boom crop prices in recent years.

      The Kansas City Fed released its own banker survey Monday, showing similar results with farmland values up more than 20 percent from a year ago. But the KC Fed farm income was also down in the southern Plains as a devastating drought had hurt crop yields and thus farmers’ incomes.

      The Chicago Fed surveyed 226 bankers in its district which stretches across the heart of the U.S. Corn Belt — Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

      Indiana and Iowa led the Midwest district with farmland up 20 percent or more. Illinois was close behind, up 19 percent.

      For the entire article: http://goo.gl/NnTmV

      • CR says:

        Investors seeing gold in farmland, infrastructure

        Aug 20, 2011 By Christine Stebbins | Reuters

        CHICAGO (Reuters) – The overall economy may be struggling against a double-dip recession but in farm country the boom times have rarely been better.

        Farmland prices are setting records and farmer incomes have been buoyed by exports and biofuels, easing the pain of some rough summer weather from drought, floods and fires.

        Amid China’s voracious appetite for grains and worries about climate hurting crops and food supplies in many countries, U.S. agriculture’s attraction as the world’s breadbasket has become a beacon for Wall Street.

        Firms like Omaha-based Gavilon, owned by Ospraie, a hedge fund associated with George Soros and Canada-listed Ceres Global Ag have been buying up grain elevators from Wyoming to Toronto.

        That is unusual: investors owning grain silos. But analysts say it’s not what it seems. No one wants to hold corn as a long-term asset, like gold bullion. But storing and moving grain for others has now become a very profitable business.

        William Wilson, a consultant and professor at North Dakota State University, said that 10 years ago you could store grain at elevators 2-1/2 to 3 cents per bushel per month. Now costs can be 8-10 cents a month depending on location or grain.

        “We’ve seen a lot of big new entrants into the agricultural commodity industry including White Box, Gavilon and others who are expanding,” Wilson said, referring to Minnesota-based hedge fund White Box Advisers, once an owner of grain storage.

        “One reason has been the shift to ethanol having a bigger part of the market, where they demand quick access to corn on a 12-month basis,” Wilson said.

        “Most of the time when you hear of private capital moving into agriculture they are talking about buying farms. But storage is a logistical function of the marketplace,” he added.

        For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/investors-seeing-gold-farmland-infrastructure-133536038.html

    • CR says:

      Rural Economic Tour: Highlights of President Obama in Iowa

      From: whitehouse | Aug 18, 2011

      Join President Obama as he travels around Iowa with highlights from his Rural Economic Tour. Learn more about the President’s tour at http://wh.gov/rus

    • CR says:

      Separating Fact from Fiction on Obama Administration’s Farm Policies

      August 19, 2011 by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – USDA.gov

      An August 18 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, ‘Obama on the Farm’, missed the underlying fact: the Obama administration understands that America’s farmers are some of our nation’s finest conservationists, and we have gone to historic lengths to support them in these efforts.

      Sadly, rumors and misconceptions have become the norm, not the exception, especially when it comes to regulations and the Obama administration’s work on agriculture. First, it was that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering treating spilled milk like an oil spill. Not true. In terms of water regulations, EPA has made it clear that recent rules do not seek to regulate land that occasionally ponds during heavy rains.

      The opinion piece also mentions the regulation of farm dust. This is another frequently repeated myth based on a congressionally-mandated review that the EPA has conducted every 5 years for decades. Not only does EPA understand that you can’t farm without dust, but the Administration’s efforts to listen to and work with America’s farmers are helping them enjoy some of the best incomes they have seen in decades.

      And the Department of Transportation announced just last week that it has no intention of proposing any new regulations or rules on the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies to or from a farm.

      Perhaps most importantly, the Obama Administration has worked to be the most accessible and collaborative in history. The President and I are listening to farmers, ranchers and other producers for how we can best collaborate to make them successful.

      For the entire article: http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/08/19/separating-fact-from-fiction-on-obama-administration’s-farm-policies/

    • CR says:

      Separating Fact from Fiction on Obama Administration’s Farm Policies

      August 19, 2011 by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – USDA.gov

      An August 18 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, ‘Obama on the Farm’, missed the underlying fact: the Obama administration understands that America’s farmers are some of our nation’s finest conservationists, and we have gone to historic lengths to support them in these efforts.

      Sadly, rumors and misconceptions have become the norm, not the exception, especially when it comes to regulations and the Obama administration’s work on agriculture. First, it was that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering treating spilled milk like an oil spill. Not true. In terms of water regulations, EPA has made it clear that recent rules do not seek to regulate land that occasionally ponds during heavy rains.

      The opinion piece also mentions the regulation of farm dust. This is another frequently repeated myth based on a congressionally-mandated review that the EPA has conducted every 5 years for decades. Not only does EPA understand that you can’t farm without dust, but the Administration’s efforts to listen to and work with America’s farmers are helping them enjoy some of the best incomes they have seen in decades.

      And the Department of Transportation announced just last week that it has no intention of proposing any new regulations or rules on the transport of agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies to or from a farm.

      Perhaps most importantly, the Obama Administration has worked to be the most accessible and collaborative in history. The President and I are listening to farmers, ranchers and other producers for how we can best collaborate to make them successful.

      For the entire article: http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/08/19/separating-fact-from-fiction-on-obama-administration’s-farm-policies/

    • CR says:

      One of the world’s ‘most feared’ pests found in Chicago

      8/25/11 By Claudine Zap | The Lookout – 17 hrs ago

      One of the world’s “most feared” pests was discovered on American soil. The Khapra beetle, in larva stage, was identified by customs officials last week in a 10-pound bag of rice that came from India.

      In a press release, Customs and Border Protection described the bug as “one of the world’s most tenacious and destructive stored-produce pests because of its ability to damage grain.”
      The beetles originated in South Asia but have invaded parts of northern Africa, the Middle East, and even Europe, Asia and South Africa.

      The Khapra beetle first invaded California in 1953. The infestation was not eradicated until 1966, at a cost of $15 million.

      Customs specialists have intercepted the beetle 100 times this year, “compared to three to six per year in 2005 and 2006, and averaging about 15 per year from 2007 to 2009,” the press release says.

      The Baltimore Sun reports that grain shipments do not even require a live beetle for the entire supply to be rejected. No other species is treated this way.

      Despite the increase in the number stopped at the border, the Khapra beetle has not made it into the American grain supply.

    • CR says:

      Report shows more US farmers relying on Internet

      8/27/11 By GOSIA WOZNIACKA – Associated Press

      FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Think of farms and images of tractors and combines come to mind. But what about laptops, smart phones and tablets?

      The number of farmers with Internet access on a variety of digital gadgets has dramatically increased, changing the way farms do business. Farmers say they’re increasingly using the Net to speed up their work flow, improve their farming techniques, market their crops, connect with customers and retailers, and fulfill a variety of regulatory requirements.

      Within the past decade, the number of farms with an Internet connection has increased by nearly 20 percentage points, according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month. More than half of America’s farms now have access to the Internet, with farmers in the West with the highest access.

      “The Internet is such an integral part of doing business in agriculture,” said Dan Errotabere, who farms 3,500 acres in Riverdale, 25 miles south of Fresno. “If the power goes off, everything on the farm seems to stop. Everything is so electronic now.”

      Farmers still lag behind the general population — nearly 80 percent of Americans surf the Web at home — but the fact that Internet-enabled devices have become less expensive and more portable has fueled the increase.

      Big farms like Errotabere’s have the most access, the USDA report shows. More than 70 percent of farms with sales of $250,000 or more use the Internet for farm business.
      For Errotabere, the Internet is key in communicating with and delivering documents to government officials, manufacturers, packers and retailers. His staff files reports online, catches up with pest control advisers via email and receives text messages about the weather.

      Errotabere emails brokers and trades agricultural commodity futures on the Web, and he downloads delivery information on an hourly basis for his crops.

      “The Internet is quicker, portable and more reliable than mail,” said Errotabere, who uses a laptop and smart phone and just got an iPad. “You get a pulse for whatever is happening in real-time. It has revolutionized the ag business.”

      For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/report-shows-more-us-farmers-relying-internet-071149604.html

    • CR says:

      BEA Computes that Rural America Personal Income Did Better than Urban America in 2009

      Submitted on August 30, 2011 – commerce.gov

      Guest blog post by Steve Landefeld, Director of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

      Off the top of your head, it probably seems obvious that the economies of America’s major cities differ structurally and behaviorally from our nation’s nonmetropolitan and rural areas, right? You are correct, indeed! But the really interesting question is, What can you learn about this from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis? BEA measures our regional economies in several ways, including GDP by State, GDP by Metropolitan Area, State Personal Income, Metropolitan Area Personal Income and County Personal Income (AKA: Local Area Personal Income).

      To understand the differences between the big, metropolitan areas and the rural parts of the country, your best bet is to turn to BEA’s Local Area Personal Income which details earnings in all 3,143 counties in the U.S.

      Technically speaking, nonmetropolitan counties are those that are not part of a metropolitan statistical area, or MSA, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget. Population in these counties is generally less than 50,000 people. There are 2,032 nonmetropolitan counties in the U.S., almost twice the number of metropolitan counties. Of course, not all nonmetropolitan areas are rural, nor are all rural areas excluded from official designated metropolitan areas. Another important consideration is commuting patterns, certainly plenty of Americans live in areas which may be rural, but drive into MSAs to work which intertwines these economies. (What, you thought we’d make it that easy?)

      For the entire article: http://www.commerce.gov/blog/2011/08/30/bea-computes-rural-america-personal-income-did-better-urban-america-2009

    • CR says:

      Rural Americans for Obama

      Published on Jul 3, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
      Join Rural Americans for Obama now: http://OFA.BO/M5cDfZ

      America’s small towns and rural communities are all about the values that America was founded on — family and community come first and if you’re willing to work hard, you can make a good life for yourself and a better one for your kids.

      President Barack Obama knows that too many rural families are working harder and harder and not getting ahead. He’s committed to restoring the promise that has always been America — if you work hard, pull your weight and act responsibly, you’ll get a fair shake in this economy.

      • CR says:

        It’s what plants crave.
        Iowa farms NEED another four years of Obama

        Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 22:20:35 PM CDT by: coyoterun – bleedingheartland

        Here is something we sent out to our friends and family on October 23.
        Greetings friends of the food movement and local & regional agriculture,

        We write tonight to invite you to join us in supporting President Obama’s reelection. We can think of a lot of reasons to support this administration. However, there is no better reason than to acknowledge the support through Secretary Vilsack that President Obama has provided to the food and agriculture community in general and specifically to those of us championing local, regional, and good food. Below are some reasons why we need to keep Obama in the White House and his policies for food and agriculture in place at USDA. If you are like us, you haven’t been in love with every single food and agriculture decision from this administration, but the good stuff will all go away if Obama loses this election and historically speaking there’s a bunch of good stuff.

        Romney and Ryan basically have no agriculture policy beyond eliminating the inheritance tax and getting rid of as much federal regulation of agriculture as they can. There is no evidence they will keep in place support for organic ag, small farms, beginning farmers, nutrition programs, local foods, urban agriculture, and creative conservation efforts like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

        Coyote Run Farm, our 110 acre diversified farm marketing 100% of our production to local customers, is depending on the kind of support the Obama administration is providing to agriculture. In addition, the Obama administration’s support for trade, disaster programs, and tax policies have also benefited the 1000 acre, commodity family farm that Matt’s parents and brother and sister in law are operating in Cass County. This administration, unlike any in our lifetime, is fighting for all of agriculture. Sometimes that can be disappointing when the administration doesn’t always take our side. But never has an administration taken the issues raised by the food movement so seriously and stood up for small farms so aggressively. For example, USDA has institutionalized its support through the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food work within the department. Again, this will all go away if Obama loses this election and agribusiness once again runs every aspect of USDA.

        For more: http://www.bleedingheartland.com/diary/5803/iowa-farms-need-another-four-years-of-obama

    • CR says:

      President Obama, Sec. Vilsack Will Meet To Discuss US Drought

      JULY 17, 2012 obamafoodorama.blogspot

      President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will have a closed-press meeting in the Oval Office on Wednesday morning to discuss the US drought, the White House announced on Tuesday evening. The current drought is the worst since 1956, according to a report released this week by The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC. About 55% of the country is in at least a moderate short-term drought, with parts of the US experiencing severe drought.

      As of last Sunday, 38% of the US corn crop was in poor or very poor condition, compared with 30% a week earlier, according to USDA. The agency had previously predicted a national average corn yield of 166 bushels per acre this year, but has revised this down to 146 bushels, with further reductions expected.

      Last week, Sec. Vilsack announced that USDA was amending the Secretarial Disaster Designation process in order to “deliver faster and more flexible assistance to farmers and ranchers devastated by natural disasters.” A natural disaster designation makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans and other support. The final rule for Secretarial Disaster Designations for drought was amended as follows:

      “Nearly automatically qualifies a disaster county once it is categorized by the U.S. Drought Monitor as a severe drought for eight consecutive weeks during the growing season. Effective July 12, 1,016 primary counties in 26 states will be designated as natural disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.”

      • CR says:

        After meeting and updating President Obama, USDA Secretary Vilsack speaks to press to discuss the Administration’s efforts to respond to the current drought in the US.

        July 18, 2012

        Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
        James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

        July 18, 2012

        Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
        James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

        SECRETARY VILSACK: Jay, thanks very much.

        I did have an opportunity to visit with the President. He is very well informed on the circumstances surrounding a very serious drought — the most serious situation we’ve had probably in 25 years — across the country. Sixty-one percent of the land mass of the United States is currently being characterized as being impacted by this drought.

        And our hearts go out to the producers, the farm families who are struggling through something that they obviously have no control over and trying to deal with a very difficult circumstance.

        There’s no question that this drought is having an impact on our crops: 78 percent of the corn crop is now in an area designated as drought impacted; 77 percent of the soybeans that are being grown in this country also impacted. It also obviously involves other commodities as well — 38 percent of our corn crop as of today is rated poor to very poor; 30 percent of our soybeans poor to very poor.

        And this obviously will have an impact on the yields. Right now we have indicated yields will be down about 20 bushels to the acre for corn and about 3 bushels to the acre for beans. That may be adjusted upward or downward as weather conditions dictate.

        This will result in significant increases in prices. For corn, we’ve seen a 38 percent increase since June 1st, and the price of a bushel of corn is now at $7.88. A bushel of beans have risen 24 percent.

        This administration has taken quick action to try to provide help and assistance. At the instructions of the President, the first thing we did was to streamline the disaster declaration system and process, reducing the amount of time it takes to have a county designated. That means that producers in those counties and adjoining counties are able to access low-interest loans.

        The President instructed us to reduce the interest rate on those loans from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent. He also instructed us to open up new opportunities for haying and grazing — our livestock producers are in deep trouble because of the drought. They don’t have anyplace for their cattle. They are looking at very high feed costs. So we are opening up areas under the Conservation Reserve Program for emergency haying and grazing.

        Normally when that happens, producers have to return a portion of the CRP payment that they receive. We’ve reduced the portion that they have to return from 25 percent to 10 percent.

        Our tools are somewhat limited and so we’re going to need to work with Congress to provide opportunities either through the passage of the Food, Farm and Jobs bill or through additional disaster programs, or perhaps additional flexibility in the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide help and assistance to our farmers.

        The question that a lot of folks are asking is what will the impact be on food prices. Because livestock producers will begin the process of potentially reducing their herds in light of higher feed costs, we would anticipate in the short term actually food prices for beef, poultry, pork may go down a bit, but over time they will rise. We will probably see those higher prices later this year, first part of next year. Processed foods obviously impacted by crop yields, and we will likely see the increase of that also in 2013.

        It’s important to note that farmers only receive 14 cents of every food dollar that goes through the grocery store, so even though prices on commodities increase significantly, it doesn’t necessarily translate into large increases for food prices. And if, in fact, people are beginning to see food price increases now, it is not in any way, shape, or form, related to the drought. And we should be very careful to keep an eye on that to make sure that people do not take advantage of a very difficult and painful situation.

        There is some degree of uncertainty about all of this. Technology has allowed us to have more drought-resistant crops. The spotty nature of drought, the spotty nature of rains can sometimes result in better yields than anticipated. We’re just going to have to see. As of today, 1,297 counties have been designated as Secretarial Disaster Areas. That’s approximately a third of the counties in the United States. We’re adding 39 counties today in eight states — those states are New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Indiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.

        We have staff that is now traveling to 12 states significantly impacted by the drought in order to get a firsthand look at conditions, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to help folks. But we’re obviously going to need some help, working with Congress, to create greater flexibility in programs, to revive the disaster programs that were allowed to expire last year, or to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs bill.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/18/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-and-secretary-agriculture-tom-

        ———–

        USDA – Drought

        Water Availability
        Drought and Weather
        Drought Prediction and Monitoring Tools
        Drought Reports, Papers, Articles and Services
        Hurricanes and Extreme Storm Events
        State and Regional Information on Drought
        Water Conservation

        Crop Assistance for Farmers
        Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)
        Provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occurs due to natural disasters.

        Fact Sheet: NAP Program

        Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program
        Provides financial assistance for crop production and or quality losses due to a natural disaster.

        Fact Sheet: SURE Program

        Crop Insurance
        Crop insurance is a risk management tool available to agricultural producers providing protection against low yields and/or lost revenue due to natural disasters including drought, excessive moisture, disease and other perils.

        Q&A: Crop insurance and drought damaged crops

        Fact Sheet: Prevented planting provisions drought

        Fact Sheet: Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Pilot Insurance Program

        Fact Sheet: Vegetation Index Basic Provisions

        Assistance for Livestock Losses
        Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)
        Provides financial assistance to producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire.

        Fact Sheet: LFP

        Map of Counties Eligible for LFP

        Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Emergency Haying and Grazing
        Haying and grazing of CRP acreage is authorized under certain conditions to improve the quality and performance of the CRP cover or to provide emergency relief to livestock producers due to certain natural disasters.

        Fact Sheet: CRP

        Need Help to Get Your Farm up and Running after a Disaster?

        Emergency Farm Loans
        Producers can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000.

        Fact Sheet: Emergency Farm Loan Program

        Disaster Designations – What and Where are they?
        Emergency Disaster Designation and Declaration Process

        DisasterAssistance.gov

        Other Resources:

        U.S. Drought Monitor

        Hay Net
        Internet-based service allowing farmers and ranchers to share ‘Need Hay’ ads and ‘Have Hay’ ads online.

        Farm Service Agency disaster programs

        Risk Management Agency programs

        State Farm Service Agency offices

        Tree Assistance Program (TAP)
        Provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists to replace eligible trees, bushes, and vines damaged by natural disasters.

        Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities
        The goal of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Disaster Resilience for Rural Communities grant program is to advance basic research in engineering and in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences to enhance disaster resilience in rural communities.

      • CR says:

        USDA Designates an Additional 39 Counties in 8 States as Primary Natural Disaster Areas Due to Worsening Drought
        Producers in 1,297 Counties in 29 States Eligible for Disaster Assistance

        July 18, 2012 usda.gov

        WASHINGTON, —Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today designated 39 additional counties in eight states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat. During the 2012 crop year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 1,297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. The additional counties designated today are in the states of Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. The U.S. Drought Monitor currently reports that 61 percent of the continental United States is in a moderate to exceptional drought.

        “Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this drought,” said Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. That’s why USDA officials are fanning out to affected areas, to let our farmers and ranchers know that we stand with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood. And that is also why it is important that Congress pass a food, farm and jobs bill that ensures a robust safety net for producers in times of need.”

        Earlier in the week, USDA also designated the entire state of Missouri a disaster area due to drought in response to a request from the state’s governor.

        For more: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/07/0243.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent

      • CR says:

        Today: President Obama To Discuss Drought Response With White House Rural Council

        AUGUST 07, 2012 obamafoodorama.blogspot

        With drought conditions of varying intensity now covering nearly two-thirds of the continental US, President Obama will meet with members of the White House Rural Council on Tuesday afternoon “to discuss ongoing efforts in response to the drought,” the White House said on Monday evening. The meeting will be at 4:15 PM in the Roosevelt Room. The Rural Council is chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; the President last met with the Secretary for a drought briefing on July 18th.

        In the interim, the Administration has put into place a series of actions to respond to the drought (see below). Members of the Rural Council are staff who work on the White House Domestic Policy Council, including Rural Affairs Senior Policy Advisor Doug McKalip, as well as representatives from agencies across the federal government. But a complete, up-to-date list of all members has not been released for 2012.

        For more: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/08/today-president-obama-to-discuss.html

        • CR says:

          An Administration-Wide Response to the Drought

          Matt Comptonv August 07, 2012 5:19 PM EDT

          Throughout much of the country, communities are struggling with one of the worst droughts to strike the U.S. in decades. The lack of rain and high temperatures have done considerable damage to crops — particularly those in the Midwest.

          Today, President Obama met with the White House Rural Council to discuss the steps being taken to help farmers, ranchers, and small businesses wrestling with this crisis.

          As part of that response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it will provide millions of dollars in assistance to restore livestock lands affected by the drought. The USDA will spend $16 million on technical and financial assistance for those whose crops or herds have suffered.

          The USDA has also reduced interest rates on its emergency loan program and worked with the major crop insurers to allow farmers to forego interest payments on unpaid premiums until November. The National Credit Union Administration also announced that more than 1,000 credit unions are increasing their lending to small businesses — including farmers.

          The Department of the Interior announced a plan to provide more relief and flexibility to ranchers whose livestock grazes on public lands, while the Department of the Transportation is working with state governments to provide emergency waivers of federal truck weight regulations and hours of service requirements to drought-stricken communities.

          For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/08/07/administration-wide-response-drought

        • CR says:

          August 07, 2012

          Fact Sheet: President Obama Leading Administration-wide Drought Response

          As communities across the country struggle with the impacts of one of the worst droughts in decades, President Obama is committed to ensuring that his Administration is doing everything it can help the farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and communities being impacted.

          To respond to immediate needs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies are using their existing authorities wherever possible to address the hardships arising from the lack of water, feed, and forage. Within the last month, USDA has opened the Conservation Reserve Program to emergency haying and grazing, has lowered the borrower interest rate for emergency loans, and has called on crop insurance companies to provide more flexibility to farmers. The Department of the Interior has provided additional grazing flexibility on federal lands and the Small Business Administration is working to help with access to investment capital and credit in affected communities.

          On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, President Obama convened his White House Rural Council for one of a continuing series of policy meetings to review Executive Branch response actions and to develop additional policy initiatives to assist drought-stricken Americans. Following the meeting, the White House announced several new measures the Administration is implementing to help those impacted by the drought, including providing additional assistance for livestock and crop producers, increasing the capacity for lending to small businesses, and waiving certain requirements on trucks helping to provide relief. President Obama also stressed the need for the entire Administration to continue to look at further steps it can take to ease the pain of this historic drought.

          For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/07/fact-sheet-president-obama-leading-administration-wide-drought-response

        • CR says:

          August 07, 2012

          Remarks by the President at Rural Council Meeting

          Roosevelt Room

          Please see below for a correction to a typo, marked with an asterisk, in the transcript.

          4:21 P.M. EDT

          THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I think all of you are aware that we are seeing devastating drought throughout the country. It is a historic drought, and it’s having a profound impact on farmers and ranchers all across many states.

          Now, at my direction, the Department of Agriculture, led by Secretary Vilsack, has been working with every other agency across the federal government to make sure that we are taking every single possible step to help farmers and ranchers to fight back and recover from this disaster.

          We’ve already designated over 1,500 counties across 32 states as disaster areas, which gives qualified farmers access to low-interest emergency loans. We’ve also opened up more land for haying and grazing. And we’ve worked with crop insurance companies to give farmers a short grace period on unpaid insurance premiums, since some families will be struggling to make ends meet at the end of this crop year.

          This has been an all-hands-on-deck response. I want to thank Tom for his leadership. But obviously, we’ve got a lot more to do, because a lot of folks are being affected by this.

          So today, the Department of Agriculture is announcing an additional $30 million to get more water to livestock and restore land impacted by drought. The National Credit Union Administration is allowing an additional thousand credit unions to increase lending to small businesses. The Department of Transportation is ready to help more commercial truck drivers to provide much-needed supplies to farmers and ranchers. And the SBA, the Small Business Administration, is working with other government agencies to connect even more eligible farmers, ranchers and businesses with low-interest emergency loans as well as counseling and workforce programs.

          Now, those are the ideas that have already been presented and are in the process of being implemented, but my instructions to all the agencies is we need to keep working and to see if there is more that we can do. And we’re going to continue to solicit ideas from state and local organizations, state-based [faith-based]* organizations, not-for-profit groups, the private sector, and most of all, the farmers and ranchers that are directly impacted, to find additional ways that we can help — because when there’s a disaster like this, everybody needs to pull together.

          Obviously, Congress has a role. Congress needs to pass a farm bill that will not only provide important disaster relief tools, but also make necessary reforms and give farmers the certainty that they deserve. That’s the single-best way that we can help rural communities both in the short term, but also in the long term. And we’ve already seen some good bipartisan work done in the Senate.

          For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/07/remarks-president-rural-council-meeting

    • CR says:

      Obama Administration Announces $9 Million Investment in Rural Communities to Foster Job Creation and Innovation

      Winners of the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge Will Strengthen Regional Industry Clusters and Rural Economies Across 12 States

      August 1, 2012 usda.gov

      WASHINGTON, – The Obama Administration today announced the winners of the multi-agency Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to spur job creation and economic growth in rural regions across the country.

      Economic development partnerships and initiatives in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia will receive awards ranging from nearly $200,000 to over $1 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

      For more: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/08/0258.xml&contentidonly=true

    • CR says:

      Barns for Obama – OFA Ohio

      Published on Sep 3, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
      Get involved in Ohio: http://OFA.BO/mS9cJo

      Brian, Joe and Rick share how President Obama has led in environmental and rural development investment. The President has empowered farming and rural communities—increasing their successes and helping Ohio move forward to an economy that’s built to last.

      Their enthusiasm from 2008 continues. They’ve added a new mural to the 2008 Obama Barn and continue to be a part of this campaign by volunteering and stepping up to be Neighborhood Team Leaders.

      How President Obama has helped Ohio:

      * Approved 1,296 farm loans in 2011
      * Expanded broadband internet to 28 new counties
      * Funded 169 rural clean energy projects
      * Funded 493 rural infrastructure projects

    • CR says:

      Enduring Drought, Farmers Draw the Line at Congress

      Published: August 12, 2012 By JENNIFER STEINHAUER – nytimes

      THURMAN, Iowa — John Askew pulled at a soybean pod and revealed two anemic beans dappled with stem rot, the harvest of a too hot sun and too little rain. Representative Tom Latham peered in and shook his head.

      “We need a farm bill — that’s the first thing,” said Mr. Askew, whose family has farmed here for six generations. Mr. Latham, a Republican, agrees.

      But House leaders, including Speaker John A. Boehner, who popped into Iowa on Friday night to promote Mr. Latham’s re-election campaign, have been unable to muster the votes.

      A summer drought that has destroyed crops, killed livestock and sent feed prices soaring is now extracting a political price from members of Congress, who failed to agree on a comprehensive agriculture bill or even limited emergency relief before leaving Washington for five weeks.

      Farmers are complaining loudly to their representatives, editorial boards across the heartland are hammering Congress over its inaction, and incumbents from both parties are sparring with their challengers over agricultural policy.

      In Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar and her Republican Party-endorsed opponent, Kurt Bills, disagreed sharply in their first face-to-face debate over what a farm bill should contain. In Missouri, Senator Claire McCaskill and her Republican challenger, Representative Todd Akin, defended their positions before the state farm bureau’s political unit.

      Representative Leonard L. Boswell, Mr. Latham’s Democratic opponent in a newly drawn district, said, “Every time I get out there, people keep asking me: ‘What happened to the farm bill? Why don’t we have a farm bill?’ ”

      In Arkansas, the Democratic Party paid for an automated call by a farmer imploring rural voters to pester Representative Rick Crawford, a Republican, about the unfinished farm business. Representative Kristi Noem, Republican of South Dakota, took heat back home for backing away from a petition sponsored by Democrats that would have forced the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill to the floor.

      “We would have much preferred they pass the House bill,” said Michael Held, the chief executive of the South Dakota Farm Bureau.

      For more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/us/politics/drought-driven-voters-vent-anger-over-farm-bill.html?pagewanted=all

      • CR says:

        Fiscal cliff is now the best shot for farm bill, agriculture lobbyists say

        10/27/12 04:24 PM ET By Erik Wasson – TheHill

        House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) caused a stir on Thursday when he seemed to indicate that a standalone farm bill would come to the House floor after the Nov. 6 election.

        But lobbyists said the remarks mean, at best, that a modified farm bill could be wrapped into a lame-duck bill dealing with expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts.

        “I’m committed to bring the issue to the floor and then to see a way forward so we can get the votes to pass (a bill),” Cantor said at a campaign event in Idaho.

        Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) seized on the remarks, saying, “I’m very pleased to hear that Majority Leader Cantor is now committed to bring the Farm Bill to the floor immediately after the election.”

        Republican aides, however, quickly made clear that Cantor was not expressing any new support for moving the farm bill as reported out of the House Agriculture Committee this summer.

        Washington farm lobbyists said that in the wake of Cantor’s comments, the last best hope for the 2012 farm bill to pass will be if it is riding on fiscal cliff legislation.

        For more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/264393-fiscal-cliff-is-now-best-shot-for-farm-bill-lobbyists-say

      • CR says:

        3 Farm Bill Extension Measures Filed In House – UPDATE: CBO Releases Score For One-Year Farm Bill Extension

        Congress has run out of time to pass new Farm Bill, says House Ag Chair Lucas; measures seek to avert a dive off the “dairy cliff,” provide drought relief to farmers…Senate Ag Chair Stabenow supports extension…
        *Update at bottom of post

        SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2012 By Jerry Hagstrom Founding Editor, The Hagstrom Report

        House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., is urging passage of a one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, but the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said on Sunday that House Republican leaders had filed three different versions of an extension on Saturday night, and that each is problematic. In addition to Lucas’ One-Year Farm Bill Extension, a Temporary One-Month Farm-Bill Extension was filed, as was a One-Month Dairy-Only Extension.

        In a statement on Sunday, Lucas said the one-year bill is a result of “discussions” with House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Senate “colleagues,” but he did not say specifically that the others were backing the bill.

        “Clearly, it is no longer possible to enact a five-year Farm Bill in this Congress,” Lucas said.

        “Given this reality, the responsible thing to do–and the course of action I have long encouraged if a five-year bill was not possible is to extend the 2008 legislation for one year. This provides certainty to our producers and critical disaster assistance to those affected by record drought conditions.”

        For more: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/12/3-farm-bill-extension-measures-filed-in.html

  2. CR says:

    Putting Country Before Party

    Posted by Dan Pfeiffer on August 17, 2011

    This morning I read Speaker Boehner and Rep. Cantor’s op-ed in the USA Today. Let me address a few of their points.

    First of all, we all know we’re going through a tough economic time. Our problems are eminently solvable, and it’s going to take some real work and some tough decisions to get there. So, there’s nothing wrong with our country, but there is something seriously wrong with the political games being played in Washington. If we want to get this economy moving again, we must stop the kind of political brinksmanship that we saw in the House during the debt ceiling debate and get to work.

    We need to get our fiscal house in order and take a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction. That’s not just the President’s belief. It’s a bipartisan position over on Capitol Hill and a belief held by millions of Americans across the nation. In fact, Speaker Boehner was close to striking a balanced deal that raised significant revenues by closing loopholes and asking the wealthiest to pay a little more with the President – a deal that would have taken a balanced approach to reducing the deficit while investing in areas that will help the economy grow– but he decided to walk away from the table. We actually heard members of the Republican Party rooting for the United States to go into default and send shockwaves through our financial system. That’s not the kind of leadership the American people expect, and that’s not the type of leadership they deserve.

    We need a commonsense approach to reduce the deficit and create jobs. We can’t reduce the deficit on the backs of those who can least afford it and continue to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, corporate jet owners and hedge fund managers, as much as Speaker Boehner and Rep. Cantor would like to. It just doesn’t make sense. We know, they know it, and experts like Warren Buffett have said it.

    In their piece they also applauded their own efforts on “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan. It wasn’t the answer the American people were looking for. It would have crippled economic growth, devastated Medicare and Social Security, and placed the burden on older Americans and the most vulnerable. That’s not acceptable and not the type of leadership we need to address our long term fiscal challenges.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/17/putting-country-party

  3. CR says:

    2012 Preview: Obama Defends Government From GOP Attack

    AUGUST 16, 2011 Laura Meckler – wsj

    President Barack Obama said last week that the 2012 campaign will be a more fundamental fight than 2008 because the battle lines are clearer than they were when the nation was plunging into an unprecedented financial crisis.

    One battle line already has been drawn.

    Republican presidential candidates are attacking the very idea of government. Mr. Obama is enthusiastically defending it.

    On Saturday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his candidacy for president with a dismissal of what government itself does. “I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can,” he said. Republicans may have heard echoes of Ronald Reagan, who said government was the problem, not the solution.

    This week, Mr. Obama responded with a passionate defense of government, setting up a fundamental clash of philosophies likely to play out between now and the 2012 election.

    “You’ll hear a lot of folks, by the way, say that government is broken,” the president said Monday at a town hall meeting in Cannon Falls, Minn. “Well, government and politics are two different things. Government is our troops who are fighting on our behalf in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s government. Government are also those FEMA folks when there’s a flood or a drought or some emergency who come out and are helping people out. That’s government. Government is Social Security.”

    He went on to say that government is also teachers, firefighters, police officers, people who run national parks and those who keep water and air clean.

    But the president is also trying to walk a careful line—saying that he isn’t one of those Democrats who think every government program is worth keeping just as it is. In that respect, he is running as a leader above both parties. Some might call it triangulating.

    “We also have to acknowledge — and sometimes Democrats aren’t good at this –… that not every program in government is working perfectly and we’ve got to make adjustments to become more efficient and more productive, just like the private sector does.” The more they do that, he said, the more Americans will appreciate the good that public employees do.

  4. Good thread CR.

    • CR says:

      Thanks Jackie!

      Farming/ranching are important American industries. We would and should not want all of our food to be imported into the U.S. because of safety, quality, price, embargoes, etc.

  5. CR says:

    White House Rural Council on the Road

    8/18/11 California:

    Office of the US Trade Representative: On August 18, Ambassador Kirk will tour the processing facilities of Blue Diamond Growers, located in downtown Sacramento. There he will observe each step of almond processing from delivery to shipping. Now 101 years old, Blue Diamond is the world’s largest and most respected almond processing and marketing cooperative. Blue Diamond’s membership includes approximately 3,000 California almond producers, who grow 1.5 billion pounds of almonds, valued at $2 billion, every year. California growers produce more than 80% of the total world almond supply, and nearly 70% of the almonds processed by Blue Diamond are marketed and sold to customers in over 90 countries. Following the tour, Ambassador Kirk will participate in a roundtable discussion with California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross and California agriculture industry leaders.

  6. CR says:

    Ambassador Locke Picks Up His Own
    Coffee, Gains ‘Hero’ Status Among Chinese

    8/17/11 EYDER PERALTA – NPR

    Some pictures of the brand new U.S. ambassador to China are causing quite a stir. There’s no scandal, instead the pictures have the Chinese reconsidering how their own public servants should act.

    And it’s all because of a coffee break.

    We’ll explain: Someone took a picture of Ambassador Gary Locke buying his own coffee at Starbucks in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. And, then, later pictures showed Locke and his family arriving at a Chinese airport carrying their own bags.

    Many Chinese were incredulous.

    “I think people look at him like a hero this time,” Chen Weihua told All Things Considered’s Melissa Block. Weihua is a columnist for China Daily, the country’s national English-language newspaper, and he joked that to many Chinese Locke looked like a “migrant worker.”

    They were astonished. Weihua explained why in a recent column. He wrote:

    To many Americans, there was probably nothing unusual about this. But to most Chinese people, the scene was so unusual it almost defied belief.

    How could someone who holds the rank of an ambassador to a big country not have someone to carry his luggage, and not use a chauffeured limousine. In China even a township chief, which is not really that high up in the hierarchy, will have a chauffeur and a secretary to carry his bag.

    Watching this episode, many Chinese people might start to wonder if the people at the US embassy in Beijing in charge of arranging Locke’s reception would keep their jobs.

    Ambassador Locke buying coffee at Starbucks in China
    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/08/17/139720794/ambassador-locke-picks-up-his-own-coffee-gains-hero-status-among-chinese

  7. jacquelineoboomer says:

    Hi, CR and O’family – Reporting in that my grandson and I think we saw Air Force One fly overhead tonight, here in Peoria, as President Obama headed back to the White House.

    Timing was right (according to a local reporter’s blog and the distance from the airport). Direction was right. Only one plane (I’m thinking there would have been a no-fly rule at that time for others).

    Even if it wasn’t President Obama, we are convinced it was and gave each other the high-five!

    • CR says:

      Yipeee!

      When I and Helene were outside of the WH gates the secret service shooed everyone away because POTUS was about to come in for a landing; we could not see anything.

  8. CR says:

    GOP Wrong Way Mitt Romney: One Day, Two Different Positions on Tax Cuts for the Rich

    August 17, 2011 Posted by Josh Cohen – democrats.org

    Even for Mitt Romney, yesterday’s flip flop on taxes is dizzying. During two different New Hampshire campaign stops, in Plymouth and Berlin, Romney first opposed tax cuts for the wealthy, then supported them.

    To be absolutely clear, Romney argued both positions in the same day.

    In Plymouth, Romney told a crowd that he opposes tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans:

    I’m not for tax cuts for the rich. The rich can take care of themselves. I want to get America working again. And so I want to make sure that whatever we do in the tax code, we’re not giving a windfall to the very wealthy.

    Then in Berlin, still yesterday, Romney argued the exact opposite position:

    I disagree with Warren [Buffet]. And I do want to keep the Bush tax cuts in place.

    Once again, Mitt Romney proved that he will shamelessly tell voters anything they want to hear to win their approval—even if it means reversing himself the same day.

  9. CR says:

    GOP Wrong Way “Some of my best friends are corporations”

    August 17, 2011 Posted by Matt Compton – democrats.org

    Last week, Mitt Romney took a stand for some of his best friends. When faced with a question by an Iowa voter about corporate taxes, Romney told him that “Corporations are people, my friend.”

    At a time when people are struggling — but Fortune 500 profits are at a record high — it hardly seems like the corporations need politicians like Romney to protect them.

    It’s not often when Democrats and Romney agree on an issue. We believe his comment stems from a world view that values corporations the same as individuals—and over the past few days, Mitt Romney has doubled down on those comments and defended that position.

    And if you’re like Romney and you feel like you need to wear your support for corporate America on your sleeve, then have we got a deal for you.

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.org/news/blog/some_of_my_best_friends_are_corporations

  10. CR says:

    GOP Wrong Way Mitt Romney “In Sync” with the Tea Party

    August 17, 2011 Posted by Josh Cohen – democrats.org

    During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney was asked by a group of steelworkers a series of questions. How cutting government spending would stimulate the economy? How would he protect Social Security? Does he consider himself a member of the Tea Party?

    Romney’s response to the Tea Party question speaks for itself:

    What I consider myself is someone who is in sync with the Tea Party.

    If you haven’t read it already, check out the editorial in today’s New York Times called “Crashing the Tea Party.”

  11. CR says:

    GOP Wrong WayThe Facts About Rick Perry’s Distorted Record of Job Growth

    August 17, 2011 Posted by Josh Cohen – democrats.org

    Since announcing his candidacy for president on Saturday, Governor Rick Perry has been flaunting his alleged economic record in Texas. It’s a bloated claim that may make a good sound bite, but it lacks the benefit of being true.

    In Perry’s announcement speech, he said:

    Since June of 2009, Texas is responsible for more than 40 percent of all of the new jobs created in America. Now think about that. We’re home to less than 10 percent of the population in America, but 40 percent of all the new jobs were created in that state.
    Here’s the catch: Population growth in Texas was larger than any other state, and the number of jobs the state created was largely a function of its size.

    And growth the state has benefited from has been driven by factors beyond Perry’s control –like rising oil prices, increased military spending, high birth rates, and immigration. The only real credit due here is to the status quo.

    Despite adding some jobs, unemployment has grown far quicker under Rick Perry’s watch:

    [Texas unemployment has grown] from 7.7 percent to 8.0 percent over that same period. And by that measure, Texas has done worse than the rest of the country since the peak of national unemployment in October 2009.

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.org/news/blog/the_facts_about_rick_perrys_distorted_record_of_job_growth

    • COS says:

      Rick Perry is a fraud and he is being exposed early. He is not in Texas where he can pull the wool over our eyes. He is playing in the big league now. Glad he is being called out. He is not a likeable person at all.

  12. CR says:

    Professional Left in tears as OFA and Huffpost quote People’s View

    August 17, 2011 Posted by rootless_e – ThePeoplesView

    The hyperventilation may cause Texas’ drought to break
    WASHINGTON — The Obama campaign’s point person in New Mexico recently sent an email to supporters defending the president’s position on the debt deal and bashing the Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and the “Firebagger Lefty blogosphere.”

    On the evening of Aug. 1, just after Congress passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling, Obama for America (OFA) New Mexico State Director Ray Sandoval sent an email to supporters with the subject line, “Please take 5 minutes to read this, Please.”

    “I know many of you have raised frustrations, but please, I implore you, please take 5 minutes and read the article below. It does a great job of explaining the Debt Ceiling deal,” Sandoval wrote in bold text.

    The rest of the email was a blog post taken from a blog called “The People’s View,” run by Spandan Chakrabarti.

    For the entire article: http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2011/08/professional-left-in-tears-as-ofa-and.html

    • COS says:

      This article was a huge hit. I even heard Stephanie Miller reading it on her show. She used it to defend PBO. It was a very good analysis of Paul Krugman’s article on the debt ceiling.

  13. COS says:

    PBO has been fantastic this week. He is so at home with anyone he meets. CR, if you can find the video of Melissa Harris Perry sitting in for Lawrence O’Donnell and analyzing the statement FLOTUS made about being proud of her country with Bachmann essentially saying the same thing on Sat, please post it.

    • CR says:

      8/17/11 MSNBC’s The Last Word

      Michelle Obama vs Michelle Bachmann

      HARRIS-PERRY: Just before Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachman won the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday, she gave an impassioned speech to attendees in a last attempt to secure their votes. There was one part in particular that struck me.

      REP. BACHMANN (R): As we’ve been all over this state, what we have seen is a restoration of that dream. And you have restored in me my faith in America.

      HARRIS-PERRY: OK, that seems pretty reasonable right? I mean, apparently at some point along the way Michele Bachmann losst her faith in America. When exactly she lost her faith, we don’t know. But for whatever rason, for some period of time, Michele Bachmann did not have fairth in our country. I have no problem with Michele Bachamann’s admission, but I must admit to being surprised at the way media and political pundits responded to Bachmann’s comment. They noticeably had nothing, absolutely nothing to say about it. That’s a bit troubling for this reason. Do you remember this moment in February 2008, when another Michelle made a similiar statement?

      MICHELLE OBAMA: Hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something, for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.

      For the entire transcript and video http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/44183267#44183267

  14. CR says:

    Good Friday morning everyone! I HOPE that you have a good day!

  15. CR says:

    Biden visit to China sees sides coming together

    8/18/11 By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN – Associated Press | AP – 28 mins ago

    BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden stressed the importance of personal ties as he met Thursday with his Chinese counterpart for talks that officials described as productive and optimistic about a resolution of U.S. economic woes.

    On his first visit to China as vice president, Biden seemed to click with Xi Jinping — the country’s leader-in-waiting — during talks that ran almost an hour overtime at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.

    They followed a formal welcoming ceremony including an honor-guard and the playing the Chinese and U.S. national anthems.
    In his opening remarks, Biden said forming a personal relationship was important and that the countries needed to work together for both their own prosperity and that of the world.

    “I would suggest that there is no more important relationship that we need to establish on the part of the United States than a close relationship with China,” he told Xi, who is expected to take over as Communist Party chief next year.

    “I am absolutely confident that the economic stability of the world rests in no small part on cooperation between the United States and China,” he said. “It is the key, in my view, to global stability.”

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/biden-visit-china-sees-sides-coming-together-121312991.html

    • CR says:

      VP in Asia Day One: Beijing, China

      Posted by Amy Dudley on August 18, 2011

      It was a busy and productive day in Beijing for Vice President Biden – one that began and ended at the Great Hall of the People. An elaborate welcome ceremony in the Northern Hall served as the official kickoff to Vice President Biden’s visit to China. Bilateral meetings with Vice President Xi and National People’s Congress Chair Wu Bangguo followed in the Eastern and Fujian Rooms. Finally, a banquet dinner in the Western Room capped the evening, complete with a cultural performance that included traditional Chinese song and dance.

      Following the official ceremony, the Vice Presidents and their delegations gathered for their first formal meeting, where Vice President Biden reiterated the economic importance of a strong U.S.-China relationship. “I’m absolutely confident that the economic stability of the world rests in no small part on the cooperation between the United States and China. …It is the key, in my view, to global economic stability,” said Vice President Biden.

      But it was the Vice President’s visit to a local lunch spot near the Drum and Bell Tower neighborhood in Old Beijing that had China talking. Embassy Beijing’s post about the traditional lunch fare he ordered – pork buns, zhajiang noodles and cucumbers — on one of the most popular Chinese microblogs, Sina, received over 6400 retweets and 3000 comments in less than an hour. Joining the Vice President at lunch were newly installed U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke and his wife Mona, as well as the Vice President’s daughter-in-law Kathleen and granddaughter Naomi who are traveling with him through Asia.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/18/vp-asia-day-one-beijing-china

  16. CR says:

    Syria: UN envoy voices alarm at ‘excessive and lethal force’ against civilians

    8/17/11 un.org

    The United Nations envoy advocating for the rights of children during armed conflict today called on Syrian authorities to end the bloodshed that has marked this year’s violent crackdown by Government security forces against civilian protesters.
    Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, issued a statement in which she said “the use of excessive and lethal force” by the security forces is “taking a heavy toll on civilian lives, including children.”

    As many as 2,000 Syrians have been killed in the past five months as members of the public across the country have protested against the Government and called for greater freedoms.

    The demonstrations are part of a broader uprising across North Africa and the Middle East that has led to the toppling of long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and conflict in Libya.

    Last weekend Syrian military forces launched a major assault on the port city of Latakia, and dozens of people have reportedly been killed.

    “We have had credible allegations of children being killed or wounded in security operations against civilians in Syria,” Ms. Coomaraswamy said.

    “There are also allegations that children have been tortured by the security forces. State parties have a duty to protect children in any police or military operations and I call on the Syrian authorities to fulfil their obligations.”

    The Special Representative also expressed concern about the well-being of child refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had to flee the recent violence, including Palestinian residents of a refugee camp in Latakia.

    For the entire article: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39313&Cr=Syria&Cr1=

  17. Good morning CR and everyone. HOPE you all have a great Thursday. May our President and First Family have an enjoyable, restful and secure vacation. God Bless them.

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and the Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  18. CR says:

    AFL-CIO: Labor will stand by Obama

    8/18/11 By Michael O’Brien and Kevin Bogardus – TheHill

    Organized labor won’t sit out President Obama’s reelection campaign and let a Republican win the presidency, the AFL-CIO’s political director said Wednesday.

    Despite the frustration labor activists have expressed toward the administration for the deals it has cut with congressional Republicans, Obama still provides a better alternative to a potential Republican president, said Michael Podhorzer, the labor federation’s top politics officer.

    “I don’t think that the labor movement will be on the sidelines with President Obama,” he said in a sit-down interview with The Hill Wednesday.

    Podhorzer said that the union is likely to announce this fall that it’s creating a so-called “super PAC” that can spend and receive unlimited amounts of campaign donations. Podhorzer said the labor federation has been limited by election laws to contacting just its own members but with a super PAC, the AFL-CIO can expand its outreach to non-union voters as well.

    “It’s not meant to compete with Karl Rove and raise hundreds of millions of dollars,” Podhorzer said.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/177271-afl-cio-labor-will-stand-by-obama-

  19. CR says:

    Next Up…

    10:00 AM EDT
    U.S. to Call on Syrian President to Leave Power
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will issue a statement in Washington regarding Syria.

    CNN http://live.cnn.com

    CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/Events/US-to-Call-on-Syrian-President-to-Leave-Power/10737423607/

    Department of State http://www.state.gov/

    • CR says:

      August 18, 2011

      Treaty Room, Washington, DC

      SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. For months, the world has borne witness to the Asad regime’s contempt for its own people. In peaceful demonstrations across the nation, Syrians are demanding their universal human rights. The regime has answered their demands with empty promises and horrific violence, torturing opposition leaders, laying siege to cities, slaughtering thousands of unarmed civilians, including children.

      The Asad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the world and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown.

      This morning, President Obama called on Asad to step aside and announced the strongest set of sanctions to date targeting the Syrian Government. These sanctions include the energy sector to increase pressure on the regime. The transition to democracy in Syria has begun, and it’s time for Asad to get out of the way.

      As President Obama said this morning, no outside power can or should impose on this transition. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders in a democratic system based on the rule of law and dedicated to protecting the rights of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sect, or gender.

      We understand the strong desire of the Syrian people that no foreign country should intervene in their struggle, and we respect their wishes. At the same time, we will do our part to support their aspirations for a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive. And we will stand up for their universal rights and dignity by pressuring the regime and Asad personally to get out of the way of this transition.

      All along, as we have worked to expand the circle of global condemnation, we have backed up our words with actions. As I’ve repeatedly said, it does take both words and actions to produce results. Since the unrest began, we have imposed strong financial sanctions on Asad and dozens of his cronies. We have sanctioned the Commercial Bank of Syria for supporting the regime’s illicit nuclear proliferation activities. And we have led multilateral efforts to isolate the regime, from keeping them off the Human Rights Council, to achieving a strong presidential statement of condemnation at the UN Security Council.

      The steps that President Obama announced this morning will further tighten the circle of isolation around the regime. His executive order immediately freezes all assets of the Government of Syria that are subject to American jurisdiction and prohibits American citizens from engaging in any transactions with the Government of Syria or investing in that country. These actions strike at the heart of the regime by banning American imports of Syrian petroleum and petroleum products and prohibiting Americans from dealing in these products.

      For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/08/170673.htm

  20. CR says:

    August 18, 2011

    Statement by President Obama on the Situation in Syria

    The United States has been inspired by the Syrian peoples’ pursuit of a peaceful transition to democracy. They have braved ferocious brutality at the hands of their government. They have spoken with their peaceful marches, their silent shaming of the Syrian regime, and their courageous persistence in the face of brutality – day after day, week after week. The Syrian government has responded with a sustained onslaught. I strongly condemn this brutality, including the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians in cities like Hama and Deir al Zour, and the arrests of opposition figures who have been denied justice and subjected to torture at the hands of the regime. These violations of the universal rights of the Syrian people have revealed to Syria, the region, and the world the Assad government’s flagrant disrespect for the dignity of the Syrian people.

    The United States opposes the use of violence against peaceful protesters in Syria, and we support the universal rights of the Syrian people. We have imposed sanctions on President Assad and his government. The European Union has imposed sanctions as well. We helped lead an effort at the UN Security Council to condemn Syria’s actions. We have coordinated closely with allies and partners from the region and around the world. The Assad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the globe, and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown.

    The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people. We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.

    The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders, and we have heard their strong desire that there not be foreign intervention in their movement. What the United States will support is an effort to bring about a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians. We will support this outcome by pressuring President Assad to get out of the way of this transition, and standing up for the universal rights of the Syrian people along with others in the international community.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/18/statement-president-obama-situation-syriahttp://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/18/statement-president-obama-situation-syria

    • CR says:

      August 18, 2011

      FACT SHEET ON SYRIA

      The United States has taken a series of steps and actions to work toward putting an end to the Syrian government’s violence, arrests, and torture, supporting the Syrian people’s universal rights, and pushing for a democratic transition.

      Executive Orders, Sanctions, and other Financial Actions

      Syria has been designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism since December 1979. An additional layer of sanctions was added in May 2004 with the issuance of Executive Order 13338, which implemented the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 and imposed additional measures pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Subsequent Executive orders have imposed additional sanctions targeting, among others, the President of Syria.

      Since the beginning of Syrian unrest, we have intensely pursued targeted financial measures to increase pressure on the Syrian regime. We have specifically targeted those responsible for human rights abuses, senior officials of the Syrian government, and Syrian businessmen linked to the Syrian regime. Our goal is to put an immediate stop to the Syrian government’s use of violence against civilians and its policies of mass arrests and torture, and to pressure the Syrian regime to allow for a democratic transition as per the demands of the Syrian people.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/18/fact-sheet-syria

      • CR says:

        August 18, 2011

        Executive Order:

        Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to Syria

        http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/18/blocking-property-government-syria-and-prohibiting-certain-transactions-

      • CR says:

        President Obama: “The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way.”

        Posted by Macon Phillips on August 18, 2011

        Today, President Obama called for the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, to step aside and took the strongest financial action action against the Syrian regime thus far. Here is President Obama’s full statement on the situation in Syria:

        The United States has been inspired by the Syrian peoples’ pursuit of a peaceful transition to democracy. They have braved ferocious brutality at the hands of their government. They have spoken with their peaceful marches, their silent shaming of the Syrian regime, and their courageous persistence in the face of brutality – day after day, week after week. The Syrian government has responded with a sustained onslaught. I strongly condemn this brutality, including the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians in cities like Hama and Deir al Zour, and the arrests of opposition figures who have been denied justice and subjected to torture at the hands of the regime. These violations of the universal rights of the Syrian people have revealed to Syria, the region, and the world the Assad government’s flagrant disrespect for the dignity of the Syrian people.

        The United States opposes the use of violence against peaceful protesters in Syria, and we support the universal rights of the Syrian people. We have imposed sanctions on President Assad and his government. The European Union has imposed sanctions as well. We helped lead an effort at the UN Security Council to condemn Syria’s actions. We have coordinated closely with allies and partners from the region and around the world. The Assad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the globe, and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown.

        The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people. We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.

        For the entirea article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/18/president-obama-future-syria-must-be-determined-its-people-president-bashar-al-assad

  21. CR says:

    Leading indicators rise 0.5 percent in July

    8/18/11 By TALI ARBEL – AP Business Writer | AP – 6 mins ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — A private research group forecast that the economy will grow slowly in the second half of the year because of the support it’s gotten from the Federal Reserve.

    The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.5 percent in July. The index had risen 0.3 percent in June.
    This summer’s readings suggest that the economy won’t pick up enough this year for the jobless rate to drop much. The small moves higher however indicate that the country likely won’t fall back into recession, as some economists fear.

    “The economy is slow, with little momentum, and shows no indication of acceleration,” said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein. He added that despite “growing risks,” the economy would likely grow at a “modest pace” this fall and winter.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/leading-indicators-rise-0-5-percent-july-140059338.html

  22. CR says:

    August 18, 2011

    Remarks by Vice President Biden in a Meeting with Chairman Wu

    The Great Hall of the People
    Beijing, China

    3:34 P.M. (Local)

    CHAIRMAN WU: Mr. Vice President, on behalf of the National People’s Congress of China, a very warm welcome.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: It’s a delight to be here.

    CHAIRMAN WU: And what a delightful thing to see you again in Beijing. We had a very good conversation back in September 2009 when I visited the United States, and you were very kind to show me your office.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, this is much nicer than my office. (Laughter.)

    CHAIRMAN WU: Well, I remember I said to you back then that your office was exquisite but not very big.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s right. You said that very diplomatically. (Laughter.)

    CHAIRMAN WU: But you said with a great sense of humor that this office is the closest to the President’s office.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s right.

    CHAIRMAN WU: And that shows its importance. And your visit is a very important one. Foreign Minister Yang just told me that you had very good discussions with Vice President Xi.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Yes.

    CHAIRMAN WU: You had a deep discussion about issues of mutual interest, and tomorrow you will have meetings with the President and the Premier. I’m sure that your visit will give new impetus to our bilateral relationship. We will further promote the steady and sustainable growth of China-U.S. ties.

    Now, it’s been 10 years since your last visit to China.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Too long.

    CHAIRMAN WU: Well, many changes have taken place here. I’m happy to learn that besides Beijing, you’re also going to Chengdu.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/18/remarks-vice-president-biden-meeting-chairman-wu

  23. CR says:

    August 18, 2011

    Remarks by Vice President Biden in a Meeting with Chinese Vice President XI

    The Great Hall of the People
    Beijing, China

    10:40 A.M. (Local)

    VICE PRESIDENT XI: Honorable, Mr. Vice President, Joseph Biden, the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucious said, isn’t it delightful to welcome friends coming from afar? I would like to, again, extend a warm welcome to you.

    Your visit this time is a major event in this year’s China-U.S. relationship, and it’s very important for further implementing the outcomes of President Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States, and to pushing forward the building of the China-U.S. cooperative partnership.

    Mr. Vice President, you’ve been in China twice. You’ve long cared about and been committed to promoting the China-U.S. relationship. Your belief that a successful, stable and prosperous China is good for the United States and, of course, for China and good for the whole world. I appreciate that statement.

    I, too, believe that under the new situation China and the United States have evermore extensive common interests, and we shoulder evermore important common responsibilities. It is the joint desire of the people of China and the United States and elsewhere in the world to see a close cooperation between China and the United States. We would like to work with your country to promote the development of relations between our two great nations.

    Our talks this morning is an important component of your engagements and activities here. I would like to have an in-depth exchange of views with you on our bilateral relationship and international and regional issues of mutual interest.

    VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Mr. Vice President, and, delegations, it’s a genuine honor to be here. It’s an honor to be back in China. As you know, as you mentioned, Mr. Vice President, this is — it’s been 10 years since I’ve been here last. And my first visit was in 1979 when I had the honor of being with Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping at the time.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/18/raemarks-vice-president-biden-meeting-chinese-vice-president-xi

    • CR says:

      The VP in Asia – Dining Local

      From: whitehouse | Aug 19, 2011
      Vice President Joe Biden makes a surprise lunch stop while between meetings at a small local restaurant, Chao Ganr. The Vice President tries some local flavors with Gary Locke, the American Ambassador to China

    • CR says:

      August 19, 2011

      Remarks by Vice President Biden and Chinese Vice President Xi at a U.S.-China Business Roundtable

      Beijing Hotel
      Beijing, China

      10:42 A.M. (Local)

      VICE PRESIDENT XI: (As translated.) Vice President Biden, representatives of the business communities of the two countries, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, it gives me great pleasure today to have this operation to attend together with Mr. Vice President, an opportunity presented by your visit to China, actually — the China-U.S. Business Dialogue.

      I know that the representatives present are accomplished business people in your respective fields, and you have made active contribution to the business cooperation between our two countries.

      Let me take this opportunity to express my appreciation and pay my tribute to the efforts you have made in advancing the business cooperation between our two countries. Enterprises are key contributors to the wealth of human society and important forces in driving world progress and development.

      Business people of both China and the United States — honest — (audio difficulties) — over the past 30 years and more since we established diplomatic relations, the business people of the two countries have worked together in a pioneering effort and returned a lot of — (audio difficulties) — January this year, President Hu Jintao paid a successful state visit to the United States.

      President Hu and President Obama jointly inaugurated a new stage in China-U.S. ties that is our joint effort to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/19/remarks-vice-president-biden-and-chinese-vice-president-xi-us-china-busi

    • CR says:

      August 19, 2011

      Remarks by Vice President Biden at a Meeting with Chinese Premier Wen

      Leadership Compound
      Beijing, China

      3:10 P.M. (Local)

      PREMIER WEN: (As translated.) It’s a great pleasure to meet you today, Mr. Vice President. I note that we were born in the same year. You have spent about 35 years in public service, and I’ve been working in the government compound of Beijing for more or less the same period of time. And I know that you are a big sports fan, so am I. (Laughter.)

      I know that in the past weeks and months, you have put in a large amount of effort to assisting the President in securing an agreement with the Congress about raising the U.S. debt ceiling, cutting U.S. deficit and stabilizing the U.S. economy. You have played a vital role in this process.

      In spite of the difficulties facing the U.S. economy at present, I have full confidence that the United States will overcome these difficulties and get its economy back on the track of healthy growth. The prosperity and stability of the United States is in the interest of the whole world.

      In the past two to three days, you have engaged widely with the sectors in China, both public and private. You have been sending a very strong message that is the further growth of China-U.S. ties is not only important for our two countries, but also for the whole world.

      It’s particularly important that you sent a very clear message to the Chinese public that the United States will keep its word or — and its obligations with regard to its government debt. It will preserve the safety, liquidity and value of U.S. treasuries.

      I’m sure that will give a boost to the investors’ confidence in the U.S. economy. You have already had some meetings with other Chinese leaders. Today, I would like to focus our discussion on economy. Now, I would like to give the floor to you, Mr. Vice President.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/19/remarks-vice-president-biden-meeting-chinese-premier-wen

    • CR says:

      August 19, 2011

      Remarks by Vice President Biden in a Meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao

      Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China

      4:26 P.M. (Local)

      PRESIDENT HU: (As translated.) Honorable Vice President, it is a great pleasure to meet you again in just half a year’s time. I want to welcome you to pay this official visit to China.

      Mr. Vice President, you’re an old friend of the Chinese people. You’ve made two previous visits to China, the first one in 1979 and then again in 2001.

      During my visit to the United States this past January, you and Secretary Clinton hosted a welcoming banquet for me, and you gave a warm and a friendly remarks at that occasion. I wish to express my sincere appreciation for that again.

      Over the last two days, National People’s Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Xi Jinping have had very good meetings and talks with you. You attended a China-U.S. Business Dialogue, and tomorrow you will be visiting Chengdu of Sichuan province. I believe your current visit will help you have a deeper understanding of China and the Chinese people.

      This visit will also help push forward exchanges and cooperation between our two countries in various fields and make new contribution to the building of a China-U.S. cooperative partnership.

      Now, I’d like to listen to you, Mr. Vice President.

      VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Mr. President, it’s an honor to be here. I thank you for your time. Your poor colleagues have had to be in my company and been so nice to me the last two days. We spent hours together thus far. Mr. Ambassador, again, thank you.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/19/remarks-vice-president-biden-meeting-chinese-president-hu-jintao

  24. CR says:

    President Obama: Small Business Is “Backbone of America”

    From: whitehouse | Aug 18, 2011

    Breakout session of the White House Rural Economic Summit. August 16, 2011.

  25. CR says:

    President Obama: Energy Innovation Vital for Rural Communities

    From: whitehouse | Aug 18, 2011

    Discussion of homegrown fuels at the White House Rural Economic Summit. August 16, 2011.

  26. CR says:

    California moves national popular vote closer

    8/18/11 By ROB RICHIE & JOE SROKA & NEAL SUIDAN – POLITICO

    California Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed a bill designed to fix our broken presidential election system and guarantee the White House to the winner of the national popular vote.

    Grounded in state powers, the National Popular Vote plan for president commits participating states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It can be activated only after its adoption in states that together have enough electoral votes to guarantee the outcome – meaning states representing at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes.

    Victory in California marks a major advance toward holding a national popular vote election in 2016. Only five years after the plan’s unveiling, supporters are nearly halfway to their goal of 270 electoral votes — after earlier wins in Hawaii, Maryland, Washington, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Illinois and the District of Columbia.

    Every other state has already debated the bill. More than 2,100 state legislators have sponsored or voted for it, and several states are now close to passing it.

    Past generations of national popular vote advocates proposed constitutional amendments to abolish the Electoral College. But just as states did not need a constitutional amendment to provide a right to vote for president, they can act immediately — because the Constitution gives each state exclusive power over how to allocate its electoral votes.

    For the entire article: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61606.html

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61606.html#ixzz1VOynV4C3

  27. Kat 4 Obama says:

    Happy and HOPEful Thursday CR and all friends! What an information-packed thread. Great job as always.

    >^..^<

  28. CR says:

    Champions of Change: Reducing Drug Use and Building a Healthier America

    Posted by R. Gil Kerlikowske on August 18, 2011

    Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.

    Champions of Change isn’t just an initiative to highlight innovative achievements and stellar performers, it’s a chance to recognize that, across the country, the dedication and commitment of a single individual or organization can affect huge positive change. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with a handful of these dedicated individuals and celebrating the progress they are making to reduce the devastating effects of drug use and make American communities healthier and stronger.

    Today’s news is often dominated by talk of the economy and jobs. And now, more than ever, it’s important to recognize that drug use harms every sector of this country. From keeping individual families together, creating a healthy and strong workforce, reducing the economic strain on the criminal justice system, and fostering a safe environment in local communities, tackling America’s substance abuse issues is vital for winning the future – and that’s exactly what this group of Champions of Change is doing.

    The community organizers who joined us in the Roosevelt room represent the progress we are making and the innovative and compassionate work going on in National, state, and local organizations across the country. During our meeting, we discussed the successes and challenges their organizations are facing, as well as how Office of National Drug Control Policy can help share their ideas throughout the substance abuse field.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/18/champions-change-reducing-drug-use-and-building-healthier-america

    • CR says:

      A Successful Approach to Dealing with Illicit Drug Use in America

      Posted by Timothy Wagner on August 19, 2011

      On August 5, I was honored with a Champions of Change award, allowing me to join a conversation between Administration officials and community leaders from around the country to discuss solutions we are implementing to deal with illicit drug use in America.

      Hearing from the incredible Champions of Change around me drove home the point that to be successful in countering the drug problem we must address it together with emphasis not only on supply reduction but also on demand reduction while dealing with the consequences when supply and demand reduction have not been enough. The enormous problem we confront requires a “Team of Teams” approach.

      The South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force Program emphasizes the importance of the team approach to drug law enforcement, bringing multiple federal state and local agencies’ resources together in joint task forces to work cooperatively and share intelligence and capabilities. HIDTA, a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, orchestrates and facilitates law enforcement drug task force operations by pooling the cooperative efforts of 53state and local participating law enforcement agencies and 12 federal agencies. Over 640 collocated full-time personnel participate in HIDTA initiatives. During 2010, The South Florida HIDTA dismantled or disrupted 131 Drug Trafficking /Drug Money Laundering Organizations in 2010. The South Florida HIDTA conducts high level investigations, as evidenced by its history of dismantling the most significant organizations and kingpins.

      In 2010 South Florida HIDTA seized over $558M in wholesale value drugs and $186M in cash. It also seized millions in other assets resulting in a return on investment of $138.64 for every HIDTA dollar spent.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/19/successful-approach-dealing-illicit-drug-use-america

  29. CR says:

    Immigration Update: Maximizing Public Safety and Better Focusing Resources

    Posted by Cecilia Muñoz on August 18, 2011

    President Obama is deeply committed to fixing our immigration laws and has been aggressively searching for partners in Congress who are willing to work with him to pass a new law. As he focuses on building a new 21st century immigration system that meets our nation’s economic and security needs, the President has a responsibility to enforce the existing laws in a smart and effective manner. This means making decisions that best focus the resources that Congress gives the Executive Branch to do this work. There are more than 10 million people who are in the U.S. illegally; it’s clear that we can’t deport such a large number. So the Administration has developed a strategy to make sure we use those resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first. If you were running a law enforcement agency anywhere in the world, you would target those who pose the greatest harm before those who do not. Our immigration enforcement work is focused the same way.

    Under the President’s direction, for the first time ever the Department of Homeland Security has prioritized the removal of people who have been convicted of crimes in the United States. And they have succeeded; in 2010 DHS removed 79,000 more people who had been convicted of a crime compared to 2008. Today, they announced that they are strengthening their ability to target criminals even further by making sure they are not focusing our resources on deporting people who are low priorities for deportation. This includes individuals such as young people who were brought to this country as small children, and who know no other home. It also includes individuals such as military veterans and the spouses of active-duty military personnel. It makes no sense to spend our enforcement resources on these low-priority cases when they could be used with more impact on others, including individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/18/immigration-update-maximizing-public-safety-and-better-focusing-resources

    • CR says:

      Dems cheer Obama’s more lenient rules on illegal immigrants

      8/18/11 By MIke Lillis – TheHill

      Democrats in both chambers are cheering Thursday after the Obama administration unveiled more lenient rules surrounding the deportation of illegal immigrants.

      The changes — announced by the Department of Homeland Security — will allow many illegal immigrants to remain in the country and apply for work permits.

      Under the new rules, DHS officials will perform a case-by-case reviews of those in line for deportation, weeding out violent criminals and other high priority cases while closing the books on those considered no threat.
      The changes could be particularly beneficial to people who would be eligible for the DREAM Act, an immigration proposal pushed by Democrats that has yet to pass Congress.

      The DREAM Act would offer a pathway to permanent residency — and eventually citizenship — for certain illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The bill passed the House in December, but was killed by a GOP filibuster in the Senate.

      Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) praised the DHS announcement, saying Obama “made the right decision in changing the way they handle deportations of DREAM Act students.”

      “These students are the future doctors, lawyers, teachers and, maybe, Senators, who will make America stronger,” Durbin said in a statement.

      To be eligible for the DREAM Act, a person would need to have been in the country for at least five years; earned a high school diploma, or its equivalent; and entered an institution of higher education or the military.

      For the entire article: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/177453-dems-cheer-obamas-new-immigration-policy

  30. CR says:

    White House Hispanic Community Action Summits Take the Conversation on the Road

    Posted by Stephanie Valencia on August 18, 2011

    In July the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics partnered to host the first ever White House Hispanic Policy Conference. Over a two day period, 160 Hispanic leaders from 25 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico joined over 100 Administration officials to discuss the President’s agenda and its impact on the Hispanic community and more importantly, to strategize on how we best move forward together to improve outcomes and access for the Hispanic community.

    At the end of the two day conference, several Latino leaders who participated asked us to come to their communities and hold similar gatherings in their cities and states to have the important conversation about how the Administration’s agenda impacts the Hispanic community across the country.

    Over the course of the next few months, the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics will partner to take this same format and conversation to several communities across the country. We will be holding over two dozen 1 ½ – 2 day “White House Hispanic Community Action Summits” in cities ranging from Phoenix, Arizona to Miami, Florida, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    For the entire article and video: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/18/white-house-hispanic-community-action-summits-take-conversation-road

    • CR says:

      Office Hours 8/18/11 or “The Real Fix is the #DREAM Act”: Cecilia Muñoz Answers Your Questions on Twitter

      Posted by Kori Schulman on August 18, 2011

      Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced a new strategy that focuses immigration resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first. Following the announcement, Cecilia Muñoz, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, answered your questions on Twitter, submitted with the hashtag #WHChat. See the archive of today’s Office Hours below, or on Storify.

      Follow @Whitehouse for the latest from the Administration and upcoming opportunities to engage. We’re always looking for ways to improve. If you have feedback on Office Hours or our online program, let us know. Share your feedback with the hashtag #WHWeb on Twitter or through this web form.

  31. CR says:

    Now Streaming…

    3:00 PM EDT
    Champions of Change – Youth Entrepreneurs
    The White House

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    • CR says:

      Champions of Change: Young Entrepreneurs

      From: whitehouse | Aug 18, 2011

      Young entrepreneurs share their stories and personal experiences. August 18, 2011.

  32. CR says:

    AIG repays U.S. government another $2.15 billion

    8/18/11 By Ben Berkowitz, editing by Matthew Lewis | Reuters – 4 mins 53 secs ago

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bailed-out insurer American International Group said on Thursday it closed the sale of its Taiwanese life insurance business and used the proceeds to repay the government another $2.15 billion.

    The money went toward paying down the government’s preferred interest in the entity that controls AIG’s one-third stake in Asian insurer AIA Group, which AIG spun off in an initial public offering last year.

    AIG’s bailout at one point totaled $182.3 billion. The government’s investment now stands at $51 billion — the 77 percent of AIG’s common stock held by the U.S. Treasury, and the remaining $9.3 billion in preferred interests in the AIA entity.

    AIG said it closed the sale of Nan Shan to Ruen Chen Investment Holding for $2.16 billion cash. The Nan Shan sale was prolonged by the Taiwanese government’s rejection of AIG’s first-choice buyer.

    With Nan Shan closed, AIG’s last major disposal will be International Lease Finance Corp, or ILFC, which buys airplanes and leases them to airlines. The company is looking at an IPO for ILFC later this year.

    The proceeds of the ILFC sale may be used to pay off the remaining Treasury interest in the AIA vehicle, which would let AIG keep that one-third interest in the company instead of selling it. The AIA stake was responsible for most of AIG’s net profit in the second quarter.

    AIG shares closed down 8.7 percent at $22.70, more than 20 percent below the government’s break-even point on the stock.

  33. CR says:

    Duncan dunks Perry on schools

    08/18/11 By ABBY PHILLIP – POLITICO

    POLITICO wrote last week that Rick Perry might be able to use education as an opportunity to challenge Obama’s policies in real time during the campaign. However, the Obama administration is sending pretty aggressive signals that it’s happy to take on the Texas governor.

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Thursday slammed Perry’s record on education in his state during an interview with Bloomberg that will be shown Friday.

    “Texas has really struggled, and I feel very, very badly for the children there,” Duncan said on Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt.” “Texas may have the lowest high school graduation rate in the country.”

    Duncan made it clear in the interview that he felt Perry’s policies didn’t “serve the children well.” Like the litigation over Perry’s jobs record in Texas, Obama’s team appears intent on pushing back on any potential education claims Perry might make during the campaign.

    “Far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college,” Duncan said. “You have seen massive increases in class size. You’ve seen cutbacks in funding. And we have to educate our way to a better economy.”

    For the entire article: http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0811/i_feel_very_very_badly_d383351e-3a1e-4262-85b7-db0a44669b42.html

  34. CR says:

    August 18, 2011

    Executive Order–Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce

    EXECUTIVE ORDER

    ESTABLISHING A COORDINATED GOVERNMENT-WIDE INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to promote the Federal workplace as a model of equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion, it is hereby ordered as follows:

    Section 1. Policy. Our Nation derives strength from the diversity of its population and from its commitment to equal opportunity for all. We are at our best when we draw on the talents of all parts of our society, and our greatest accomplishments are achieved when diverse perspectives are brought to bear to overcome our greatest challenges.

    A commitment to equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion is critical for the Federal Government as an employer. By law, the Federal Government’s recruitment policies should “endeavor to achieve a work force from all segments of society.” (5 U.S.C. 2301(b)(1)). As the Nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government has a special obligation to lead by example. Attaining a diverse, qualified workforce is one of the cornerstones of the merit-based civil service.

    Prior Executive Orders, including but not limited to those listed below, have taken a number of steps to address the leadership role and obligations of the Federal Government as an employer. For example, Executive Order 13171 of October 12, 2000 (Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government), directed executive departments and agencies to implement programs for recruitment and career development of Hispanic employees and established a mechanism for identifying best practices in doing so. Executive Order 13518 of November 9, 2009 (Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government), required the establishment of a Veterans Employment Initiative. Executive Order 13548 of July 26, 2010 (Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities), and its related predecessors, Executive Order 13163 of July 26, 2000 (Increasing the Opportunity for Individuals With Disabilities to be Employed in the Federal Government), and Executive Order 13078 of March 13, 1998 (Increasing Employment of Adults With Disabilities), sought to tap the skills of the millions of Americans living with disabilities.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/18/executive-order-establishing-coordinated-government-wide-initiative-prom

  35. CR says:

    WH

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    3:00 AM
    The Vice President meets with Premier Wen Jiabao at the Leadership Compound
    Local Event Time: 3:00 PM CST
    Pool Spray at the Top

    4:00 AM
    5:00 AM
    6:00 AM
    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  36. CR says:

    White House Rural Council on the Road

    President Obama is not the only one traveling to hear from people from all around the country. There are more than 100 events being held throughout the summer so senior Administration officials can talk with Americans about their ideas for creating jobs and rebuilding our economy. Here are just some of the recent and upcoming events related to the White House Rural Council:

    Illinois:

    Department of Transportation: On August 19, Secretary LaHood will visit the Illinois State Fair, where he will hold a roundtable meeting with rural farm and business leaders from central Illinois. While there, he will highlight the agency’s commitment to no new transportation regulations for farmers, and to continuing common sense agricultural exemptions to trucking and heavy equipment rules. Secretary LaHood will also discuss the importance of road, bridge, rail and port investments to growing our agricultural economy and expanding exports.

    Iowa:

    Department of Agriculture: On August 19, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack will hold a Rural Forum at the Iowa State Fair with businesses and community leaders, farmers, ranchers, and Tribal leaders to explore ways federal, state, and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs. As chair of the White House Rural Council, Secretary Vilsack is exploring ways to strengthen economic conditions, create jobs, promote innovation and improve access to essential community services in rural America.

    Nebraska:

    Veterans Affairs: On August 19, Secretary Shinseki will join Sen. Ben Nelson to host a rural roundtable near Lincoln. VA has made increased access to VA care in rural areas a top priority, and the department continues to develop new ways to reach veterans in rural parts of America. VA has placed 11 community-based outpatient clinics throughout the state and established tele-health services aimed at meeting the needs of rural veterans. Plans are underway for a new $560 million Omaha VAMC to replace the 60-year-old hospital. The facility provides a full range of patient care services, education, and research for veterans in a 104-county area of Nebraska, western Iowa, and portions of Kansas and Missouri.

  37. CR says:

    President Obama: Let’s Move! Campaign Is An Economic Boon For American Farmers

    AUGUST 18, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

    President says American fruit and vegetable growers, especially family farmers, will earn higher profits thanks to First Lady’s childhood obesity initiative…

    Speaking on Wednesday at the final town hall meeting of his rural bus tour through America’s heartland, President Obama gave his Alpha, Illinois audience a dissertation on Let’s Move!, First Lady Obama’s childhood obesity campaign. It came after an audience member commended Mrs. Obama’s efforts, then asked the President what his Administration will be doing to create “positive incentives to encourage people to eat healthy, and to live healthy.” The President, standing in front of a John Deere tractor at Country Corner Farm, described Mrs. Obama’s fitness initiatives. But his trip was designed to highlight his Administration’s efforts to boost the rural economy, so he gave an analysis of the economic benefits of Let’s Move! for American farmers.

    The US supply chain for domestically grown fruit and vegetables will be re-shaped by the Let’s Move! component that encourages citizens to eat more fruit and vegetables, the President said. This will help American farmers make more profit from their sales, especially family farmers, he explained. Certainly American family farmers could potentially benefit from the campaign, but under its current structure, these benefits are not apparent. And the President was confused about some details of his wife’s signature initiative.

    “This [Let's Move!] is something that actually can benefit farmers, particularly family farmers,” President Obama said. “A lot of times, farmers are not making all the money from their products because it goes through this chain of shipping and processing and distribution, and there are a lot of middlemen between the farmer and the end user.”

    That’s true: According to a February report from USDA’s Economic Research Service, farmers and agribusiness receive just 11.6% of the American food dollar, with the rest going to other points on the food supply chain.

    “If we can get farmers more directly linked to consumers, they’re selling their products more directly, they’re getting more fresh vegetables, more fresh fruit, then everybody can benefit,” President Obama said.

    For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/08/president-obama-lets-move-campaign-is.html

  38. CR says:

    Messaging Win: President Obama, Home Economics and the Federal Budget

    August 18, 2011 Posted by Deaniac83 – ThePeoplesView

    Having won the battle to establish the validity and necessity of our social safety net already, President Obama has set out to do something extremely important in his rural bus tour for his jobs agenda: reframing the conversation on spending and the budget with a progressive vision. The message is substantially the same wherever he has gone, but let me quote from his stop in Cannon Falls, Minnesota:

    “Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton — the last time we had a balanced budget — all of them understood that you have to take a balanced approach to solving our deficit and debt problems, the same way a family would. If you knew that you had to cut down on your budget, you wouldn’t stop funding the college fund for your kid. You wouldn’t say, sorry, Johnny, you know, things are tight so we’re going to keep on taking our annual vacation and I’m going to buy a new car next year, but you’re not going to college. That’s not how you balance your budget.”

    You get it when you listen to it. It makes sense. I have no doubt that this essential reframing will be missed in the media as well as the “mainstream lefty” blogosphere. But this is the essence of framing the debate if progressives want to sell the country on our vision of America: a nation that invests in our shared future, and that we do not sacrifice that shared future so that the extremely well-to-do can get even more comfortable. In fact, responsible families would do the opposite. They would cut out the lavish vacations so that their children’s college funds can be protected. Likewise, a responsible federal budget must protect investments into our future by asking those who have done the best to contribute their fair share.

    For the entire article: http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2011/08/messaging-win-president-obama-home.html

  39. CR says:

    West Wing Week: 8/19/11 or “Get On The Bus”

    From: whitehouse | Aug 18, 2011

    This week, The President welcomed the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers to the White House before embarking on a three day Rural Bus Tour across the midwestern states of Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. During his tour to the heartland, the President heard directly from Americans including small business owners, local families and private sector leaders while promoting a the need for faster economic growth, strengthening the middle class and accelerating hiring in communities and towns across the nation. That’s August 12th to August 18th or “Get on the Bus.”

  40. Good morning CR and everyone. HOPE you all have a great Friday. May the President and his family have a terrific vacation without incident.

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and the Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  41. CR says:

    Good Friday morning everyone! I HOPE that you have a good day! :)

  42. Obama_Cares

    Pssst. Obamacare is working!

    Recent data published by both the Standard & Poor’s Healthcare Economic Composite Index and the Congressional Budget Office reveal some unusually good news on the Medicare spending front.

    The rapid growth in annual government spending on Medicare is slowing down – and is doing so in rather dramatic fashion.

    Read more:
    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ten-miles-square/2011/08/psssst_obamacare_is_working031600.php

  43. CR says:

    In The Arctic Race, The U.S. Lags Behind

    8/19/11 by MARTIN KASTE – NPR

    Seattle is the home of the U.S. Coast Guard’s entire fleet of polar-class icebreakers. Both of them.

    Capt. George Pellissier commands both the Polar Sea and the Polar Star. He has spent much of his career on these ships, which were built in Seattle in the 1970s.

    “The two ships are almost identical. They were built a year apart. Our design is to break 6 feet of ice continuously, and we can break up to 21 feet of ice,” Pellissier says, referring to the thick “pressure ridges” that can form between sheets of ice in the waters north of Alaska, and which can trap and even crush less sturdy vessels.

    He takes pride in the fact that these “polars,” as they’re called, are still among the most capable icebreakers out there — not counting the Russians’ big nuclear-powered icebreakers.

    But Pellissier admits that if an ice-breaking emergency broke out, America wouldn’t have much to offer because, right now, neither polar icebreaker is functional.

    Four decades of ramming sea ice will do that. The Polar Star will recover — it’s currently being refurbished — but the Polar Sea will be scrapped.

    “I would dearly love to keep them both. I understand the fiscal realities that we’re in. It’s always sad to actually decommission a ship,” Pellissier says.

    The U.S. also has a medium-class icebreaker, the Healy, but it’s a research vessel and isn’t designed to break through ice more than 8 feet thick.

    Building ‘A Persistent Presence’

    The Coast Guard has told Congress it needs at least three medium and three heavy icebreakers. Global warming means more activity in the Arctic, and more civilian vessels are venturing north into harm’s way.

    In early August, the Obama administration gave a tentative green light to Shell Oil to start drilling for oil in the waters north of Alaska. The U.S. is also in the process of mapping the seafloor north of Alaska, with an eye to claiming more of the continental shelf, and the resources it may contain.

    The increased activity means the U.S. could face more challenges to its interests in the polar latitudes. Yet the U.S. isn’t party to a major treaty that will shape territorial claims in the region.

    Lisa Murkowski, the Republican senator from Alaska, is a big believer in establishing a more persistent U.S. presence in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, north of her state.

    “We are an Arctic nation. And as such, we have responsibilities and obligations in the Arctic,” she says.

    It’s not just about icebreakers; she says it’s time for a deep-water port on Alaska’s north shore. That is an expensive proposition, she admits, but the U.S. has to protect its interests.

    “There are a lot of folks that are looking with great interest at the level of activity by the Chinese up in the Beaufort and Chukchi. And they’re wondering, ‘What’s going on up there?’ Because we don’t think that they’re doing any sightseeing,” she says.

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/19/139681324/in-the-arctic-race-the-u-s-lags-behind

  44. CR says:

    Evacuation of foreigners planned from Tripoli

    8/19/11 By Robert Birsel | Reuters – 1 hr 35 mins ago

    BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – An international body said on Friday it would mount an operation, probably by sea, to evacuate thousands of foreigners trapped in Tripoli by rebel advances that have put Muammar Gaddafi’s capital under siege.

    The rebels, who have transformed the battlefield this week with victories taking them ever closer to the city, launched an assault east of the capital but were taking heavy casualties, a Reuters reporter at the front line said.

    Rebel advances west and south of Tripoli in recent days have cut the road links between the capital and the outside world and severed the supply lines of Gaddafi’s forces, putting his 41-year-old rule under unprecedented pressure.

    In a sign of fighting hitting closer to Gaddafi’s inner circle, the brother of the spokesman who has served as the leader’s public face was reported killed.

    A Reuters reporter said rebels had launched an assault on Gaddafi’s forces in Zlitan, east of the capital, where fighting has been bloodier and advances far slower than in the west. A large number of wounded were being brought to the rebels’ field hospital.
    The rebels suffered a setback on Thursday when Gaddafi’s forces crushed an uprising inside Zlitan.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/u-n-evacuate-foreigners-besieged-tripoli-122710962.html

    • CR says:

      EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES TRIPOLI LIBYA
      GOVERNMENT EVACUATION OPTIONS

      libya.usembassy.gov

      All U.S. citizens wishing to depart Libya should send an e-mail to LibyaEmergencyUSC@state.gov providing their personal information (name, date of birth, and passport number) and the best means to contact them.

      Benghazi:

      There are occasional international relief flights leaving Benghazi to various destinations, including Turkey. U.S. citizens interested in more information about travel by this means should contact LibyaEmergencyUSC@state.gov and provide their contact information.

      Misurata:

      There are private vessels transiting from Misurata to other ports, including Malta. If space is available, these vessels may be willing to evacuate individuals for a fee. The exact cost will vary by vessel, but a typical cost is 800 EUR (and U.S. Dollar equivalent) per person, to be paid in cash upon boarding. U.S. citizens interested in more information about travel by this means should contact LibyaEmergencyUSC@state.gov and provide their contact information.

      For the entire article: http://libya.usembassy.gov/government-evac.html

  45. CR says:

    CA Assembly approves limits to funeral protests
    Senate must approve minor amendments before bill becomes law

    Aug 18, 2011 The Associated Press

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A bill to keep protesters away from funerals was one step closer to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk after a unanimous vote Thursday by the California Assembly.

    The measure by Sen. Ted Lieu responded to a series of protests by the Westboro Baptist Church, a Topeka, Kan.-based group that has picketed military funerals around the country and contends the deaths reflect God’s punishment for tolerating homosexuality.

    The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the group’s right to protest in a ruling in March on a lawsuit filed by the family of a slain serviceman.

    If signed into law, the California measure would make it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, to protest within 1,000 feet of a funeral for one hour before or after a ceremony.

    Protesters also would not be allowed to use amplified sound and would have to stay on public property.

    For the entire article: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/08/ap-bill-passes-funeral-protests-passes-in-california-081811/

  46. CR says:

    Obama deserves his vacation, but the forecast is cloudy

    August 19, 2011 boston.com

    PRESIDENT OBAMA arrived on Martha’s Vineyard yesterday amid deceptively blue skies. Thunderstorms are expected later in his stay. After the year he’s had, Obama probably didn’t have to check the Weather Channel to know that.

    The president is entitled to his 10-day break. Compared to his recent predecessors, Obama is less inclined to rest. To this point in his presidency, he has taken 61 days off; at the same point in his presidency, George W. Bush had already spent 180 days at his Texas ranch.

    And yet many commentators, mostly conservatives, are calling attention to Obama’s respite on Martha’s Vineyard, characterizing the island as the monied enclave of East Coast liberals. There may be some political smarts behind such depictions. Another Vineyard lover, Bill Clinton, famously stayed away from the island during his reelection summers of 1995 and 1996. Instead, on the advice of then-strategist Dick Morris, Clinton went to Jackson Hole, Wyo. – no doubt carrying his triangulation strategy in his backpack with some Tom Clancy novels.

    But one of Obama’s strengths is his personal integrity, and it wouldn’t fit for him to decamp to, say, Daytona Beach, just because it’s in a swing state and has a populist image. Besides, while the Vineyard may indeed attract an elite crowd, it has been a diverse and integrated one for far longer than at most vacation spots – a history of which the island and the state of Massachusetts can be justly proud.

    For the entire article: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2011/08/19/obama_deserves_his_vacation_but_the_forecast_is_cloudy/

    • CR says:

      Brennan travels with Obama

      8/18/11 By POLITICO STAFF

      President Obama intends to be fully briefed on the stock market’s fluctuations during his stay at Martha’s Vineyard, but in between ice-cream runs, bike rides and perhaps perusing the latest labor statistics, he’ll also receive national security briefings.

      John Brennan, Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor, will be in Martha’s Vineyard for the duration of the visit, according to pool reports released Thursday.

      Obama this week warned of concerns over a “lone wolf” terror attack in the U.S. in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks in New York City.

      “[Brennan will] be providing regular updates to the president to insure that he’s properly briefed on national security issues,” White House press aide Josh Earnest said.

      “The president understands that he has important responsibilities to fill, and it’s his job to fill those responsibilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

      “At the same, he’s also a husband and a father. And I don’t think the American people begrudge the president spending a little time with his wife and daughters, at the end of the summer, before his daughters head back to school.”

    • CR says:

      Obama Begins Vacation On Martha’s Vineyard

      AUGUST 19, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

      President has no public events scheduled during nine-day vacation at Blue Heron Farm; top advisors on island, too…

      President Obama starts his first full day of vacation on the island of Martha’s Vineyard today. He’ll be making ice cream runs, golfing, and cycling as he relaxes for nine days on the woodsy island off the coast of Massachusetts, according to a White House spokesman. After three days of talking corn seed and the economy in the heartland, President Obama–minus his family–left the White House to travel to the island on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by First Dog Bo. The First Family is staying at the privately owned Blue Heron Farm, a 28.5-acre estate in the township of Chilmark. They also rented the property the previous two summers.

      “I don’t usually hang out with Red Sox fans,” said President Obama, a White Sox enthusiast, as he mingled with excited locals at the Cape Cod airport, holding a baby clad in the enemy team’s gear. The baby’s thrilled mom snapped photos. Mr. Obama has no public events scheduled through Saturday, Aug. 27, when he returns to Washington.

      “This is an opportunity for the President to spend a little time away from the spotlight with his wife and two daughters,” said Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, adding that the summer holiday will be much like those in 2009 and 2010.

      For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/08/obama-begins-vacation-on-marthas.html

  47. CR says:

    Celebs flood island ahead of president

    8/19/11 By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein – boston.com

    MENEMSHA – To the list of life’s certainties that includes death and taxes, you can add catching fish with Buddy Vanderhoop.

    Without fail, the colorful captain of Tomahawk Fishing Charters returns to the dock every day with an armload of fish – stripers, bluefish, sea bass, bonito, fluke, you name it – just as he’s been doing for three decades.

    “He’s the best,’’ powerhouse Hollywood director Michael Mann told us yesterday after a successful trip with the Vineyard’s go-to guide. “With Buddy, you go out a novice and you come back a pro.’’

    Mann, whose credits include “Public Enemies’’ and “The Insider,’’ is one of several VIPs who regularly fish with Vanderhoop. Conspicuous clients include Harvard professor Charles Ogletree Jr., musician Taj Mahal, directors Spike Lee and Wes Craven, and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who’s on the island at the moment and may be going out with Vanderhoop next week. (To be safe, Buddy better pack a bottle of Stoli with the bait.)

    Asked if he might finally land the big fish – President Barack Obama – Vanderhoop said he’s hopeful the commander in chief can get off the golf course long enough to catch some bluefin tuna.

    “We’ll see what happens,’’ he said.

    For the entire article: http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/articles/2011/08/19/celebs_flood_island_ahead_of_president/?p1=News_links

    • CR says:

      Obama visits Harvard professor

      08/20/11 By POLITICO STAFF

      President Obama attended a social event at the home of Harvard professor Charles Ogletree on Saturday night during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, according to a White House press aide.

  48. CR says:

    Champions of Change: Going Green and Increasing Accessibility

    Posted by Ashley Baia on August 19, 2011

    As an entrepreneur in the fields of alternative energy and transportation, Marc Klein is living proof of the importance of constant innovation. In 2006, Marc co-founded The Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG), which is a new American automobile manufacturer that is making the first factory-direct wheelchair accessible vehicle that meets or exceeds the vehicle guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is available in a compressed natural gas model (CNG). CNG is a “green” alternative fuel that is cleaner burning than gasoline, less expensive for drivers than gasoline, and is abundant here in the United States, so it reduces our nation’s dependency on foreign oil imports.

    Marc has been at the forefront of the battle to improve transportation for people with disabilities by facilitating their independence. By combining the features of “universal design” and natural gas fuel, VPG’s car – called the MV-1 — creates a win-win situation for everybody. In August 2008, VPG completed an equity financing of $160 million. Since the MV-1 is being assembled in Mishawaka, Indiana, it complies with the Buy America Act and is creating automotive jobs for Americans at this critical time.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/19/champions-change-going-green-and-increasing-accessibility

  49. CR says:

    Big chains and government target “food deserts”

    8/19/11 By Lisa Baertlein | Reuters – 42 mins ago

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Independent Philadelphia grocer Jeff Brown says he has cracked the code for making money in some urban communities that in the past have been shunned by big chains as being too risky to invest in.

    Part of the secret is catering to the specific tastes of customers in individual stores, something Brown says will be difficult for mammoth retailers like Wal-Mart Stores and Supervalu to replicate, now that they are trying to tap underserved markets for much needed growth.

    “It’s going to be very difficult for a large chain to have that level of customization. Those chains get economies of scale for doing the same thing over and over,” Brown said.

    But specialized offerings sometimes do not equal success in so-called “food deserts” — urban and rural areas with poor access to fresh, healthy food. At times it takes cold, hard, cash in the form of short-term public and private incentives to help offset the higher cost of running stores in those areas.

    Half of Brown’s 10 ShopRite supermarkets are in communities where the dominant food sellers for years have been fast-food chains, dollar stores and mom-and-pop shops that sell mostly junk food and liquor.

    Brown’s newest store is in Philadelphia’s distressed Parkside section, which made headlines in 1985 after police ended a cult’s armed stand-off by dropping a bomb that killed 11 people and destroyed or damaged more than 60 homes.

    The 66,000-square-foot Parkside store, which received financial help from a public-private partnership, has a separate halal meat section for the area’s Muslim shoppers. Sales top $40 million a year — better than the average for Brown’s stores.

    “It’s a great thing for the neighborhood to have something like this because so many neighborhoods don’t. You’re stuck eating whatever the corner store sells and that’s usually not good for you,” said first-time shopper Lauren Fletcher, 43.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/big-chains-government-target-food-deserts-132812477.html

  50. COS says:

    Hello CR and friends. Hope your day is going fine. This is a wonderful video of PBO today.

    • CR says:

      Relaxing Obama hits bookstore, Vineyard golf links

      8/19/11 whdh

      VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. — Summer reading and a bit of golf. That says vacation for many Americans. Add briefings on the economy and national security if you’re the president.

      Barack Obama began the first full day of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation on Friday by taking his daughters book shopping, then hitting the golf links at a private course.

      The White House was at pains to point out he also was briefed by aides on national and international issues.

      At the Bunch of Grapes bookstore, Obama was greeted by shouts of “2012″ and “Four More Years.” Dressed casually in jeans and an untucked blue polo shirt, he introduced his daughters to patrons before setting off in search of vacation reading. The girls, meanwhile, shopped with a purpose.

      “They’ve got to buy some books,” Obama said of Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10, adding that one of them had a school assignment.
      One woman, Terry Wilson, 63, of Alexandria, Va., told the president: “Please don’t forget the teachers.” Obama replied that he loves teachers. “How could I forget them?” he said.

      At the end of the 15-minute shopping trip, Obama was seen holding five or six books, including “Brave New World,” Aldous Huxley’s futuristic classic, and “The Bayou Trilogy,” a crime novel by Daniel Woodrell set in Louisiana swampland.

      Obama emerged to cheers from well-wishers who were kept behind yellow police tape, then climbed into his SUV and rode back to his vacation compound to drop off the girls before being driven to Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown. Aides said his afternoon foursome included longtime Chicago friend Eric Whitaker and two White House staffers.

      Several Republican presidential candidates have criticized Obama for coming to this upscale island resort off the coast of Massachusetts at a time of economic uncertainty across the country.

      The 10-day stay on Martha’s Vineyard is Obama’s third straight summer on the island off Cape Cod, and his visit to the Bunch of Grapes was a reprise of how he started last year’s vacation. Once again, it was a father-and-daughters outing, with first lady Michelle Obama elsewhere on the island.

      Inside the bookstore, once Malia and Sasha had picked out books, Obama went to the cashier to pay but was heard disagreeing with the $32 price he was quoted, which seemed low for the size of his stack. He later paid by credit card, telling the cashiers that he uses it only about three times a year.

      “We’re counting on you!” one patron yelled as Obama left the store.

      The president also ran into someone he used to play basketball with in law school, Trent Headly. “He asked me ‘did we win win?’ We won one game, lost the second. Then he made his way,” Headly said.

      “He’s working all the time. He’s getting a little relaxing when he’s with his girls,” said Virlynn Atkinson White, from Washington, D.C., who also was on vacation. “But for the most part, I’m sure he’s working. There’s too much going on in the country. He’s very conscientious.”

      The White House defended Obama’s desire for time to recharge and spend time with his family before the new school year begins. Officials also said the president is never “really” on vacation.

    • CR says:

      Date night
      Obamas’ sunset dining

      08/19/11 By POLITICO STAFF

      First golf, then a date.

      President Obama packed off the kids – and perhaps his economic advisors – to bed to take first lady Michelle Obama to dinner at Meneshema’s Beach Plum Inn and Restaurant Friday evening during their vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

      Described at opentable.com as “casual elegant” dining overlooking the ocean and extensive gardens, the inn looked a perfect spot to take in a romantic New England sunset.

      Though the first couple’s attire wasn’t mentioned in pool reports, we assume the first lady barred the president from wearing the dad jeans he was spotted in earlier in the day.

  51. COS says:

    CR, I did it again. Don’t know what I did to get the video posted. Hope you enjoy it. :)

  52. Thank you COS. Love the video.

  53. CR says:

    U.S. & China Business Roundtable: Opening Remarks

    From: whitehouse | Aug 19, 2011

    In Beijing, Vice President Biden offers opening remarks at a roundtable discussion of U.S. and Chinese business leaders. The VP is joined by his counterpart, Vice President Xi of China.

  54. CR says:

    We saw the movie “The Help” today and it was good. Like I said it has some tense parts but lots of good parts too.

    I cried a lot during the film and after when I thought of all the people who stood up, who marched, who took abuse and who died for civil rights that many take for granted today whether you are African American or Hispanic American or Asian American or Anglo American. God made all of us and we should all treat each other with respect.

    • COS says:

      CR, my sister saw the movie last week and she and her husband absolutely loved it.

      • CR says:

        We loved it too

        • jacquelineoboomer says:

          The movie comes highly recommended! Also good for some younger people to see this representation of what was going on during that time. Might help open some eyes.

          Have a great weekend, CR and O’family! Hope you’re enjoying the President’s vacation right along with him, as am I.

          • CR says:

            Yes, Ms O’Boomer, you are exactly right young people should see it!

            The movie only hints at violence, you can hear the sounds of a man and women argueing over a telephone, the characters talk about a man was intentionally runned over by a car, the t.v. news bulletin that Medgar Evers was assassinated.

            —–

            Other books on domestic work written by African American authors:

            “Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow” by Jacqueline Jones

            “Living In, Living Out” by Elizabeth Clark-Lewis

  55. CR says:

    WH

    Saturday, August 20 , 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM
    10:30 PM
    V.P. Biden Speaks on U.S.-China Relations
    Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

  56. CR says:

    Remarks of President Barack Obama
    Weekly Address
    Saturday, August 20, 2011
    Alpha, Illinois

    Hello from the Country Corner Farm in Alpha, Illinois! For the past few days, I’ve been traveling to small towns and farm towns here in the heartland of this country. I sat down with small business owners in Gutenberg, Iowa; and ranchers and farmers in Peosta. I had lunch with veterans in Cannon Falls, Minnesota; and talked to plant workers at a seed distributor in Atkinson, Illinois. And to the girls volleyball team at Maquoketa High School, let me just say one thing: Go Cardinals.

    Now, I’m out here for one reason: I think Washington, DC can learn something from the folks in Atkinson and Peosta and Cannon Falls. I think our country would be a whole lot better off if our elected leaders showed the same kind of discipline and integrity and responsibility that most Americans demonstrate in their lives every day.

    Because, the fact is, we’re going through a tough time right now. We’re coming through a terrible recession; a lot of folks are still looking for work. A lot of people are getting by with smaller paychecks or less money in the cash register. So we need folks in Washington – the people whose job it is to deal with the country’s problems, the people who you elected to serve – we need them to put aside their differences to get things done.

    There are things we can do right now that will mean more customers for businesses and more jobs across the country. We can cut payroll taxes again, so families have an extra $1,000 to spend. We can pass a road construction bill so construction crews – now sitting idle – can head back to the worksite, rebuilding roads, bridges, and airports. We’ve got brave, skilled Americans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Let’s connect them with businesses that could use their skills. And let’s pass trade deals to level the playing field for our businesses. We have Americans driving Hyundais and Kias. Well, I want to see folks in Korea driving Fords, Chevys and Chryslers. I want more products sold around the globe stamped with three words: Made in America.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/20/weekly-address-getting-america-back-work

  57. CR says:

    Good Saturday morning everyone!

    Happy National Radio Day! I have a NPR sticker on my car’s rear window next to my “OBAMA2012“.

    I HOPE that you have a good day! :)

  58. CR says:

    Giffords is now aware of who died in massacre

    Aug. 20, 2011 Dan Nowicki -The Arizona Republic

    For nearly seven months, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was intentionally kept in the dark about the six people who died in the Jan. 8 shooting spree near Tucson.

    Although Giffords knew that she had been shot and that six people had died, her family, staff and friends wanted to wait until she had recovered enough from her own gunshot wound to the head before revealing the horrible details to her.

    Now, she finally knows the full extent of the rampage and that among the dead are her loyal aide Gabe Zimmerman; U.S. District Judge John Roll, a close friend; and 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. Twelve others besides Giffords were wounded in the mass shooting at a Giffords constituent event outside a grocery store.

    C.J. Karamargin, her congressional spokesman, confirmed Friday that Giffords, D-Ariz., was told the names of the dead in late July, in the days before her surprise Aug. 1 reappearance on Capitol Hill to cast a vote to raise the federal debt ceiling.

    “She was deeply saddened by it,” Karamargin said Friday. Karamargin, who has accepted a position with Pima Community College, revealed the development on his last day as a member of Giffords’ staff.

    The Arizona Republic reported in April that Giffords initially learned about the shooting by peering over her husband’s shoulder as he read aloud from a New York Times story about her. She noticed that he had skipped a paragraph that gave a rundown of the dead and wounded.

    Although she was told that there had been a shooting and that people died, she was not given the specifics. Her family and staff wanted to wait until she had reached the point in her rehabilitation where she could process the news and ask questions.

    Earlier this month, Giffords gave her personal condolences to Ross Zimmerman, Gabe’s father, during a brief telephone conversation.

    Ross Zimmerman told The Republic that it was his understanding that Giffords had asked her astronaut husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, to tell her who died. Zimmerman said he initially had worried that Giffords might inadvertently learn from one of her congressional colleagues that his son had died. Zimmerman was relieved to learn that she had been informed before her Washington, D.C., trip.

    Read more: http://bit.ly/mXh3Ik

  59. Good Saturday morning CR and everyone. HOPE you all have a terrific day.

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and the Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  60. CR says:

    Obama keeps low profile on the Vineyard

    08/19/2011 – Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein – BostonGlobe

    EDGARTOWN — If his comings and goings yesterday are any indication, President Barack Obama will be keeping a very low profile during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

    On Day 1 of the first family’s nine-day stay on the island, Obama remained mostly out of sight, not emerging from Blue Heron Farm until 12:15 p.m., when his motorcade headed into Vineyard Haven and a visit to Bunch of Grapes Book Store. (Daughters Sasha and Malia walked out with a bag containing, among other books, David Gessner’s “My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism,” which we recommended Obama read in our column this week.)

    But it was later, at the Vineyard Golf Course in Edgartown, where the president’s recalcitrance was most evident. Approaching the eighth tee in a golf cart with friend and frequent golfing buddy Eric Whitaker, the president noticed three TV cameras and a Globe photographer across the street. Rather than stop and be photographed teeing off, the president skipped the hole.

    Nor did the president show up at “Voices for Obama,” a fundraiser for his re-election campaign held the night before. The commander in chief was, in fact, just arriving at his deluxe Chilmark digs as 300 supporters – each of whom paid $100 – were filing into Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs. The event, organized by Northampton attorney Tom Lesser with an assist from Art Buchwald’s daughter-in-law Tamara, included talks by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Geraldine Brooks, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, and former White House counsel Greg Craig, among others.

    For the entire article: http://www.boston.com/Boston/names/2011/08/obama-keeps-low-profile-the-vineyard/ZBoC60DMODmINWkSNmNcVJ/index.html

  61. CR says:

    Obama’s summer reading list

    8/20/11 By CRAIG HOWIE – POLITICO44

    The mystery of President Obama’s summer reading list has been solved, but don’t expect it to be the last chapter in the Martha’s Vineyard trip-to-the-bookstore page-turner.

    Over the years, the annual presidential pickup has become something of an unputdownable, and mystery lovers, bibliophiles and White House observers waited on tenterhooks overnight to see which books Obama bought during a vacation stop at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven on Friday.

    Finally, Saturday’s pool reports revealed that POTUS bought two books for himself: “The Bayou Trilogy,” a collection by Daniel Woodrell, and “Rodin’s Debutante” by Ward Just.

    Cue a furious Wikipedia-ing of said titles by the hoi polloi, some knowing nods from the literati, and no small amateur psychology from political navel-gazers. “Rodin’s Debutante” features a “Gatsbyesque character living in a mansion outside robber-baron-era Chicago,” according to its description on Amazon.com, and “The Bayou Trilogy” is a trifecta of crime novellas that features a detective called Rene Shade, who takes on “hit men, porn kings, a gang of ex-cons, and the ghosts of his own checkered past,” also according to the Amazon blurb.

    And in a John Le Carre-esque twist, it was also revealed Saturday that Obama brought three books with him on vacation: “Cutting for Stone,” a novel by Abraham Verghese, “To the End of the Land,” a novel by David Grossman, and “The Warmth of Other Suns,” which was described as the “epic” story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson.
    Last year, the president purchased “Freedom,” by Jonathan Franzen, “Tinkers,” by Paul Harding and “A Few Corrections” by Brad Leithauser. For his daughters Sasha and Malia he bought “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee and “The Red Pony,” by John Steinbeck.

    This year it wasn’t revealed which books the president bought for his daughters. For every good story needs a cliffhanger.

  62. CR says:

    Next Up…

    10:30 PM EDT
    V.P. Biden Speaks on U.S.-China Relations
    Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    • CR says:

      August 21, 2011

      Remarks by the Vice President at Sichuan University

      Chengdu, China

      REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN

      ON U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS

      FOLLOWED BY Q & A WITH STUDENTS Sichuan University

      Chengdu, China

      10:40 A.M. (Local)

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, all, very much. (Applause.) Mr. President, thank you for your gracious introduction. We have an expression in the United States Senate where I served for many years when we want to say something personal, we say, permit me a point of personal privilege. I would like to introduce you to two of my family members who I’ve brought along with me, my daughter-in-law Kathleen Biden and my granddaughter Naomi Biden. Would you guys stand? (Applause.)

      It would be more appropriate to say Naomi brought me along with her since she’s a budding Chinese speaker, been taking Chinese for five years, so I’ve been listening to her on the whole trip.

      I want to again thank you very much. I had a wonderful few days in Beijing and a series of very positive and productive conversations with Chinese leaders. And I’m pleased to make my first visit to western China, which has played such an incredible, such an incredible role in this nation’s proud, proud history, and which today is the vanguard of Chinese — China’s high-tech future.

      Two years ago, Sichuan province suffered one of the greatest natural disasters in China’s recent history. And the American people were inspired — were inspired by the way you all came together to help one another during that crisis. And I’m absolutely amazed as I drive around the city, and I’ll be moving out into the province later, after this speech — I’m amazed at how quickly you have rebuilt and you have recovered.

      The people of Chengdu, let me say simply that your hospitality has more than lived up to your reputation as the “land of abundance,” so again, thank you so very much for that hospitality.

      It’s also great to be here on a university campus. I also want to thank our host, the university which counts amongst its alumni some of the most illustrious figures in recent Chinese history, including Zhu De and Ba Jin, both of whom are — one a literary icon; the other, one of the most illustrious figures, and a founding father of the republic.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/21/remarks-vice-president-sichuan-university

  63. CR says:

    *********************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “GOP Candidates on Lobbist Contributions, Social Services & more ”
    **********************

    To get to newest post click on “HOME” at the top of the page and click on the title of the newest post

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 260 other followers

%d bloggers like this: