Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) will be an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve System that will help empower consumers with the information they need to make financial decisions that are best for them and their families. Created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), the CFPB will work to promote fairness and transparency for mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer financial products and services. The CFPB will set and enforce clear, consistent rules that allow banks and other consumer financial services providers to compete on a level playing field and that let consumers see clearly the costs and features of products and services.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Secretary of the Treasury is responsible for standing up the CFPB until a Director of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate. President Obama has appointed Elizabeth Warren to serve as an Assistant to the President, and the Secretary of the Treasury has appointed her as a Special Advisor, responsible for overseeing the development of the CFPB. The CFPB implementation team, currently housed within the Treasury Department, is hard at work putting in place the building blocks for the Bureau.

For more: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/

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176 thoughts on “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  1. WH

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    All Times ET

    7:00 AM
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    Pres Obama and VP Biden receive the presidential daily briefing.
    10:00 AM
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    Pres Obama and VP Biden meet with Democratic governors.
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    Pres Obama and VP Biden meet for lunch.

    1:00 PM
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    Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.
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  2. Welcome to ConsumerFinance.gov

    2/2/11 Written by The CFPB Web Team

    Welcome to the online home of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This new bureau is in the construction phase, but we’re already hard at work on plans to make consumer financial products and services clearer for Americans—putting in place building blocks that will enable us to improve disclosures, enforce new consumer protections established by Congress, protect consumers from deceptive, unfair, and abusive practices, and allow financial services providers to compete on a level playing field.

    The consumer bureau will get much of its legal authority in July 2011. We’re launching this website almost six months in advance for only one reason: to listen to the American public. Hearing from you today will help us develop our plans for tomorrow.

    Today, we kick off our virtual listening tour with Open for Suggestions.

    In the coming days, weeks, and months, we’ll provide consumers with many different opportunities to connect with us. We’ll have regular blog updates, digital town halls, and many more ways to share thoughts with your new CFPB.

    Together, we have an opportunity to create a new consumer bureau that’s focused on making the market for consumer financial products and services work. And, we’re hiring! You can learn more by checking out our Jobs page.

    For the entire article: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/2011/02/02/welcometothewebsite/

    • The CFPB’s Budget
      February 14, 2011 Written by Elizabeth Warren

      Last year, the President signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which established the new consumer bureau. The central idea behind the creation of the CFPB was the need to increase accountability by consolidating core consumer financial protections that were scattered across government. Previously, seven different federal agencies were responsible for consumer financial protection, but none of those agencies viewed consumer financial protection as their top priority – and none was sufficiently accountable for getting the job done. Moving forward, the CFPB will serve as a cop on the beat dedicated to making the markets for consumer financial products and services work for American families.

      Today, the President released the Budget of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2012. The release includes budget and personnel estimates about the CFPB for this fiscal year and the next.

      Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB is funded by transfers from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The CFPB can request funds from the Federal Reserve that are reasonably necessary to carry out its consumer financial protection functions, but the CFPB’s funding from the Federal Reserve is capped at a pre-set percentage of the total operating expenses of the Federal Reserve, subject to an annual adjustment. To date, the CFPB has requested two funding transfers from the Federal Reserve for a total of just under $33 million.

      For the entire article: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/2011/02/14/the-cfpbs-budget/

    • Protecting You

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will make sure consumers have the information they need to choose the consumer financial products and services that are best for them.

      If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, a student loan, or a mortgage, you may have felt like you were signing your name to pages of incomprehensible fine print—and weren’t quite sure what was in there. Fine print can hide fees and rate increases, allowing companies to advertise one low price when the real price is much higher. Fine print can also make it impossible to make a direct comparison between two different loans because differences that could cost a lot of money are difficult to see and understand.

      The CFPB will work to ensure that financial companies make the true price clear to consumers so they can compare prices and features of consumer financial products and services and make the decisions that are best for them. Companies shouldn’t compete by figuring out how to fool you best. Transparency means that markets really work for consumers—and that means that companies will be rewarded for offering lower prices or better features.

      For the entire article: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/protecting-you/

    • Get Help Now

      Consumer Questions and Complaints
      If you have a question or complaint about a specific financial company, visit our Consumer Question and Complaint Assistant. Answer a few simple questions and we’ll tell you which agency may be responsible for overseeing the institution you are concerned about.

      Financial Education

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in the process of establishing an Office of Financial Education. That office will coordinate programs relating to financial literacy and consumer education, providing tools that will help families make financial decisions that are right for them.

      In the meantime, MyMoney.gov is a government website dedicated to the basics of financial education. It has resources to help Americans make common financial decisions like buying a home, balancing a checkbook, or paying for school. MyMoney.gov gathers some of the best tools and resources available on federal government websites and brings them together on one organized site.

      For the entire article: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/get-help-now/

    • Fighting to Protect Consumers

      September 17, 2010 Posted by Elizabeth Warren on

      Over the past several weeks, the President and I have had extensive conversations about the vital importance of consumer financial protection.

      The President asked me, and I enthusiastically agreed, to serve as an Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has also asked me to take on the job to get the new CFPB started—right now. The President and I are committed to the same vision on CFPB, and I am confident that I will have the tools I need to get the job done.

      President Obama understands the importance of leveling the playing field again for families and creating protections that work not just for the wealthy or connected, but for every American. The new consumer bureau is based on a pretty simple idea: people ought to be able to read their credit card and mortgage contracts and know the deal. They shouldn’t learn about an unfair rule or practice only when it bites them—way too late for them to do anything about it. The new law creates a chance to put a tough cop on the beat and provide real accountability and oversight of the consumer credit market. The time for hiding tricks and traps in the fine print is over. This new bureau is based on the simple idea that if the playing field is level and families can see what’s going on, they will have better tools to make better choices.

      If the CFPB can succeed at leveling the playing field, we can go a long way toward repairing a gaping hole in the budgets of millions of families. But nobody has ever thought or argued that the consumer bureau can fix everything. Lost jobs, stagnant incomes, rising costs for college, dwindling retirement savings—there’s a lot of work to be done.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/09/17/fighting-protect-consumers

    • Standing Up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

      October 28, 2010 Posted by Elizabeth Warren

      A few weeks ago, President Obama asked me to get to work starting the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was clear about his goal: Level the playing field for American families and fix the broken consumer credit market—and do it as quickly and effectively as possible.

      Today, I’m in California to continue conversations with families, financial industry leaders, consumer advocates, and others about the challenges and opportunities of setting up the new agency. Over the past month, I have listened more than I have talked, and I have learned a great deal about the need for change and the places where change should come first.

      While I am in California, a new layer in the conversations will begin. This morning, I will meet in Silicon Valley with technology industry leaders to solicit advice about building a state-of-the-art, 21st century agency that harnesses some new tools that exist in our hyper-connected and digital world. Tonight, I will deliver a speech at the University of California, Berkeley exploring key ways that information technology might be used to propel the consumer agency forward.

      I think the tools that can be at the new agency’s disposal will have at least three kinds of implications. First, information technology can help ensure that the new agency remains a steady and reliable voice for American families. The kinds of monitoring and transparency that technology make possible can help this agency ward off industry capture.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/28/standing-consumer-financial-protection-bureau

    • Remarks by Elizabeth Warren at the Consumer Federation of America Financial Services Conference

      12/2/2010 treasury.gov

      Priorities for the New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

      Thank you, Travis, for that introduction, and thanks to CFA for inviting me to speak with you about the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

      Two years ago, I spoke to this same group at this same conference to launch a campaign for the CFPB. At that time, not a lot of people had much sense of what a consumer financial agency would be. Of the very few who did, most considered it a pipe dream. Not many organizations were willing to listen. Shoot, there weren’t even many academics, the people who are in the business of producing pipe-dreams, who wanted to listen. It was too ambitious, too far reaching, too impossible.

      But not too ambitious for you. You were willing to listen–and to start working to turn an idea into a reality. You helped organize what became an epic David-versus-Goliath fight–an effort to create a new watchdog over consumer financial products and services and a new voice for families in Washington.

      Everyone in this room knows what happened next. First, there were CFA and a handful of other early organizers. And then we grew. Eventually, more than 200 large and small organizations supported the agency. They were joined by informal groups of ordinary Americans from around the country, bloggers, letter-to-the-editor writers, people who spoke up at town hall meetings and who signed petitions, and those who wrote their Members of Congress. We fought together–side-by-side with President Obama and Secretary Geithner– to get the new consumer agency passed into law. There wasn’t a lot of money on our side, and the odds were against us. We were up against aggressive lobbying, no-holds-barred from some big Wall Street players and special interest groups with massive budgets. But neither CFA nor any of the other groups buckled.

      For the entire article: http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg987.aspx

    • Five Questions with Elizabeth Warren

      12/8/2010 By: Erika Gudmundson – treasury.gov

      In the first of a periodic “Treasury Notes” series of “Five Questions” interviews with senior Treasury officials, we sat down this week with Elizabeth Warren, who serves as a Special Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, to discuss plans for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she is tasked to help standup and make as effective as possible.

      1) With hundreds of problems in the consumer financial products and services marketplace that the CFPB could chose to focus on, how do you decide where to dive in and begin? What have your top priorities been out of the blocks?

      Credit cards are a top priority because they are the most widely held credit product in the country. Four out of five families have a credit card and 50 million American families cannot pay off their credit card debt each month in full.

      Mortgages are the other top priority because they are the single most important financial decision that most families will make. We have learned from recent history that a bad mortgage can not only destabilize an entire family, but that enough of them can destabilize the entire economy.

      For the entire article: http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Five-Questions-with-Elizabeth-Warren.aspx

    • Treasury Department Announces Launch of ‘Beta’ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Website

      February 3, 2011 consumerfinance.gov

      WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the launch of a ‘beta’ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website, ConsumerFinance.gov, a critical link to the American public for soliciting ideas on the bureau’s creation and priorities and for answering questions on its work.

      “We have the opportunity to create a brand new consumer agency from the ground up. This agency will put a cop on the beat to enforce the laws on credit cards, mortgages, student loans, prepaid cards, and other kinds of consumer financial products and services,” said Elizabeth Warren, Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB, in a new video available on the website. “We want to make sure that the American people are with us all the way while we build it.”

      The central aim of the CFPB implementation team’s initial new media efforts will be engagement. The team will reach out to the American public for ideas, input, and feedback on the work already underway and on new initiatives commencing in the weeks and months ahead. In addition, the site will be a valuable tool in recruiting talent to join the staff of the CFPB.

      For the entire article: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/pressrelease/treasury-department-announces-launch-of-beta-consumer-financial-protection-bureau-website/

    • Testimony of Holly Petraeus before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs

      February 9, 2011 Hollister K. Petraeus- consumerfinance.gov

      Team Lead, Office of Servicemember Affairs
      Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Implementation Team
      U.S. Department of the Treasury

      February 9, 2011
      House Committee on Veterans Affairs

      Chairman Miller, Representative Filner, and distinguished members of the Committee: thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today about the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Implementation Team’s work to establish the Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA). First of all, I’d like to thank this Committee for its continuing efforts to protect servicemembers, veterans, and their families from predatory financial practices. As many of you know, I’ve been a member of the military community my entire life, and I feel that it’s very important that our military has strong advocates working on its behalf. And it’s my intent that the Office of Servicemember Affairs be one of those strong advocates, educating and looking out for military personnel and their families.

      First, I’d like to tell you a bit about my background, especially my work on military financial education issues during the last six years. Next, I’ll provide some background on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA). Finally, I’ll touch on the alleged violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) that are the subject of today’s hearing.

      For the entire article: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/speech/testimony-of-holly-petraeus-before-the-house-committee-on-veterans-affairs/

    • Finding a Home for the CFPB

      February 18, 2011 Written by Elizabeth Warren- consumerfinance.gov

      Location, location, location.

      That’s the real estate mantra, and the new consumer bureau is following the professional’s lead. We are getting a permanent home, and it’s all about location. Sometime next year, we will move right across the street from the White House complex to 1700 G Street, Northwest, Washington D.C.

      The White House is one of the most frequent destinations for tourists who come to Washington – if only just to walk by and to get a picture taken. Our vision is a building nearby that is the clearly identifiable home of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We want Americans to see where we work, to know that this is a place where financial cops are trained, and to be reminded that we are always looking out. We want this agency to have a very tangible presence for anyone who visits Washington.

      In fact, we want more. We want the building to have as much public space as possible. We’re hoping that we can open up parts of the lobby and the adjacent patio for families and service groups, for foreign visitors and local school kids, for anyone who comes to town. This agency belongs to the American public, and we want the American public to be welcome.

      For the entire article: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/2011/02/18/finding-a-home/

    • Remarks by Elizabeth Warren on The CARD Act

      2/22/2011 treasury.gov

      “The CARD Act: One Year Later”
      As Prepared for Delivery

      Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining us this morning for our conference on the CARD Act.

      One year ago today, many provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act – the CARD Act – took effect. We come together to mark this anniversary, but our primary goal is to analyze and discuss its impact.

      At the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we are determined that any actions we take will be grounded in a deep understanding of the market we are overseeing. Our organization reflects this commitment. Research and rule writing are brought together in a single division, comprising five expert teams specializing in specific markets. The Card Markets team was one of the first to get underway, and this conference represents the kind of work we plan to do on an ongoing basis.

      One year after the CARD Act took effect, we think it is appropriate to ask whether it has had its intended effects and how the credit card marketplace has changed. Where there are clear causal links, we need to draw them out. And where the connections are more tenuous, we need to keep asking questions and analyzing data. Of course, we must recognize the limits of this approach. Public policy formulation cannot be put on hold until every question has a definitive answer. The data will always be limited and the answers will never be definitive. Even so, we will work to formulate policy based on evidence and rigorous analysis.

      For the entire article: http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1074.aspx

    • July 18, 2011

      Remarks by the President in Nominating Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

      Rose Garden

      1:15 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. It has been almost three years since the financial crisis pulled the economy into a deep recession. And millions of families are still hurting because of it. They’re trying to get by on one income instead of two, on fewer shifts at the plant or at the hospital. They’re cutting expenses, giving up on a family night out so there’s money for groceries. And for a lot of families, things were tough even before the recession.

      So we’ve got to get the economy growing faster and make sure that small businesses can hire again, so that an entrepreneur out there can sell a new product, so that the middle class is getting stronger again, and so folks feel confident in their futures and their children’s futures.

      That’s why we can’t let politics stand in the way of doing the right thing in Washington. We can’t stand in the way when it comes to doing the right thing on deficits. And that’s why I want to take steps like making sure payroll taxes for middle-class families don’t go back up next year. That’s why it’s so important that we tackle the problems that led us into this recession in the first place.

      One of the biggest problems was that the tables were tilted against ordinary people in the financial system. When you get a home loan, it came with pages of fine print. When you got a credit card, it was as if the contract was written in another language. These kinds of things opened the door to unscrupulous practices — loans with hidden fees and terms that meant your rate could double overnight. It led to people getting mortgages they couldn’t afford, and it put honest businesses at a disadvantage. And it encouraged dangerously risky behavior on Wall Street, which dragged the economy into the mess that we’re still trying to clean up.

      That’s why we passed financial reform a year ago. It was a common-sense law that did three things. First, it made taxpayer-funded bailouts illegal, so taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill if a big bank goes under. Second, it said to Wall Street firms, you can’t take the same kind of reckless risks that led to the crisis. And third, it put in place the stronger — the strongest consumer protections in history.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/18/remarks-president-nominating-richard-cordray-director-consumer-financial

    • The White House Blog

      America’s Consumer Watchdog

      Posted by Dan Pfeiffer on January 04, 2012 at 10:45 AM EST

      Today the President will appoint Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has one important job: look out for the best interest of American consumers. He’ll work on behalf of millions of families across the nation to ensure they’re not being taken advantage of by debt collectors and credit reporting agencies. As America’s consumer watchdog, Cordray will work to ensure that families and students don’t get saddled with sky-high interest rates by mortgage or payday lenders. Bottom line: he’ll strengthen oversight and accountability in order to protect millions of families across the nation. This is an important step to protect the American people.

      The President nominated Mr. Cordray last summer. Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate blocked his confirmation. They refused to let the Senate go forward with an up or down vote. It’s not because Republicans think Cordray isn’t qualified for the job, they simply believe that the American public doesn’t need a watchdog at all. Well, we disagree.

      And we can’t wait for Republicans in the Senate to act. Now, you might hear some folks across the aisle criticize this “recess appointment.” It’s probably the same folks who don’t think we need a tough consumer watchdog in the first place. Those critics might tell you that Wall Street should write their own rules. Or you might hear them say the American people are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves. Again, we disagree with those critics.

      Here are the facts: The Constitution gives the President the authority to make temporary recess appointments to fill vacant positions when the Senate is in recess, a power all recent Presidents have exercised. The Senate has effectively been in recess for weeks, and is expected to remain in recess for weeks. In an overt attempt to prevent the President from exercising his authority during this period, Republican Senators insisted on using a gimmick called “pro forma” sessions, which are sessions during which no Senate business is conducted and instead one or two Senators simply gavel in and out of session in a matter of seconds. But gimmicks do not override the President’s constitutional authority to make appointments to keep the government running. Legal experts agree. In fact, the lawyers who advised President Bush on recess appointments wrote that the Senate cannot use sham “pro forma” sessions to prevent the President from exercising a constitutional power.

      Because of the President’s leadership and decisive action, the American people will have a consumer watchdog fighting tooth and nail on their behalf. The President knows this is a make or break moment for the middle class and he’ll continue to build an economy that’s based on the values of fairness and shared responsibility. Today’s announcement is a critical piece to strengthen the economy and restore the economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach it. Mr. Cordray is the right man for the job and we’re pleased he’s finally in place to continue his important work.

    • CFPB Mortgage Help

      consumerfinance.gov

      We can help you get connected to a HUD-approved housing counselor. At no cost to you, the counselor can help you work with your mortgage company to try to avoid foreclosure. A housing counselor can help you organize your finances, understand your mortgage options, and find a solution that works for you.

      Have this ready when you work with your mortgage company or housing counselor to discuss a possible work-out solution.

      Mortgage loan number (account number)
      Any additional paperwork from your mortgage company
      Recent pay stubs
      Recent tax return
      Household expenses (bills including food, utilities, car payments, insurance, cable, phone, credit cards, car loans, and student loans)

      ConsumerFinance.gov phone 1-(855)- 411-CFPB (2372)

      If you would prefer to look for mortgage help online, HUD provides a list of foreclosure prevention resources arranged by state. Military members or veterans can call us or visit the VA’s home loan website to get personalized assistance.

      Foreclosure prevention and loan modification scammers target homeowners who are having trouble paying their mortgages. These scammers might promise “guaranteed” or “immediate” relief from foreclosure, and they might charge you very high fees for little or no services. Don’t get scammed. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Call the CFPB if you think you may be the target or victim of a scam.

      Legal aid
      If you believe you are in need of an attorney, or if you have been served with a notice of foreclosure or other related legal complaint, there might be legal representation available at little or no cost to you. Find legal aid in your state.

      Source: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/mortgagehelp/

    • =

      Richard Cordray wants to hear from you

      Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on January 06, 2012 at 12:06 PM EST

      Earlier this week, President Obama appointed Richard Cordray to be the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is new organization with one important mission: fighting for American families. The folks at the CFPB go into the office every day to make sure that credit cards, mortgages, and loans work better for the people who use them.

      On Thursday, Mr. Cordray put out a special video and sent an email to the CFPB email list asking the American people to share their stories about your experiences with everyday consumer financial products like credit cards, mortgage agreements and loans.

      Check out the video and email below and then head over to ConsumerFinance.gov to share your story. Tell us your story at https://help.consumerfinance.gov/app/tellyourstory

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/01/06/richard-cordray-wants-hear-you

    • cfpb_140-2_million_from_capital_one

      By the Numbers: $140 Million

      Megan Slack July 23, 2012 12:38 PM EDT

      Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced its first public enforcement action: an order requiring Capital One Bank to refund approximately $140 million to 2 million customers who were pressured or mislead into paying for “add-on” products such as payment protection and credit monitoring when activating their Capital One credit cards.

      CFPB is the bureau of the federal government that’s tasked with protecting consumers by carrying out consumer financial laws, so that people are able to make financial decisions in their own best interests while knowing they are protected from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using a bank account. CFPB was established as part of the Wall Street reforms President Obama signed into law two years ago.

      The recent enforcement action is the result of a CFPB examination that discovered Capital One’s call-center vendors engaged in deceptive tactics to sell the company’s credit card add-on products. In some cases, consumers were led to believe that the product would improve their credit scores and help them increase the credit limit on their Capital One credit card. In other instances, consumers were not told that buying the products was optional, or were sold products they were ineligible to take advantage of.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/07/23/numbers-140-million

    • New “Shopping Sheet” Will Make It Easier for Students to “Know Before They Owe”

      Cecilia Muñoz July 24, 2012 01:55 PM EDT

      Editor’s Note: You can read more about the Shopping Sheet in a post by Secretary Arne Duncan on the official blog of U.S. Department of Education.

      Almost every day, President Obama gets letters from students who are swimming in student loan debt, and every week it seems we see another newspaper article about how the cost of college is becoming prohibitively expensive for too many American families.

      We know that college remains an excellent investment. Increasingly however, it is a financed investment, with the monthly loan payments to prove it. And, while we don’t want would-be students to be scared away from going to college because of the price, we aren’t doing students any favors by obscuring the reality of this commitment until after they’ve graduated.

      While this Administration continues to do everything we can to make sure that college remains affordable and available to families in the middle class and those aspiring to the middle class, we also are focused on making it easier for families to understand the costs and benefits of higher education up-front, so that they can more easily choose a college that is both high-quality and affordable.

      That’s why the Administration today released the final version of the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet—an individualized standard financial aid award letter that will help students and families understand the costs of college before making the final decision on where to enroll. The Shopping Sheet is the culmination of a joint effort between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education to provide individuals with critical information about their financial decision to attend college in a clear, concise, and standardized format that facilitates easy comparisons across institutions.

      As President Obama has said, students must “know before they owe” and be empowered with the facts to accurately compare the true costs of college from one institution to another before making a decision. While every college is unique, there are a few key pieces of information that every college provides — or should provide — to its students. The goal of this Shopping Sheet is to make sure this information is available in a clear and consistent format to ensure that students understand their financial responsibilities in a layout that makes sense to them, and in a manner that allows for easy comparisons across schools.

      Today’s announcement builds on the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to address the growing cost of college. Last year, the President convened leading college presidents from around the nation to discuss innovative solutions and proposals to keep costs down while maintaining quality in higher education. In January, President Obama emphasized the responsibility shared by the federal government, states, colleges, and universities to rein in college costs, and outlined a comprehensive proposal to ensure that we make progress. He also launched what was ultimately a successful effort to spur Congressional action in time to prevent the interest rates on federal student loans from doubling by July of this year. Just recently, in June, Vice President Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan called on all college presidents to provide greater transparency in college costs in financial aid information, and several key institutions, representing more than a million students across the country, committed to provide important financial information on cost, financial aid options, estimated monthly payments, and student outcomes to all of their incoming students. And today, Secretary Duncan sent an open letter to colleges across the country, encouraging them to follow this example and adopt the Shopping Sheet for next school year.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/07/24/new-shopping-sheet-will-make-it-easier-students-know-they-owe

      • July 24, 2012

        Fact Sheet: Administration Releases Final Version of Financial Aid Shopping Sheet

        Earlier this year, at the University of Michigan, President Obama outlined the steps that his Administration is taking to make college more affordable and to ensure that students “know before they owe.”

        Today, as part of that ongoing effort, the Administration unveiled the final version of the model financial aid award letter, or “Shopping Sheet” — an individualized standard financial aid letter that will help students understand their costs before making the final decision on where to enroll. The shopping sheet will allow students to easily compare aid packages offered by different institutions. To develop the Shopping Sheet, the U.S. Department of Education partnered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new independent agency established in the wake of the financial crisis.

        Too often, students and families face the daunting task of deciding where to enroll, whether to write a check, or whether to sign for a student loan, without a clear explanation of what the costs mean, or how these costs compare to other colleges they are considering. As a result, too many students leave college with debt that they didn’t understand at the time that they entered school. While many financial aid award letters provide this information, some can be confusing, lacking clear distinctions between grants and loans, as well information about post-graduate outcomes associated with the institution. These obscurities make the task of comparison-shopping for the most affordable and appropriate college even more difficult.

        The Shopping Sheet makes clear the costs and responsibilities of student loans upfront – before students have enrolled – outlining their total estimated annual costs, institutional rates of completion and default, and information about a student’s potential monthly loan payments after graduation. Ultimately, this tool provides students and their families with useful information that can help them make a more informed decision about where to attend college and to help them better understand the debt burdens that may be face after graduation.

        Secretary Duncan today will publish an open letter to college and university presidents, asking them to adopt the Shopping Sheet as part of their financial aid awards starting in the 2013-14 school year. Additionally, colleges who agree to the Principles of Excellence for Serving Military and Veterans will begin using this form during the 2013-14 school year. Institutions of higher education interested in adopting the Shopping Sheet may contact the Department of Education at ShoppingSheet@ed.gov for additional information.

        For more; http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/24/fact-sheet-administration-releases-final-version-financial-aid-shopping-

      • Prepared Remarks by Richard Cordray in a Press Call about the “Financial Aid Shopping Sheet”

        JUL 23 2012 BY RICHARD CORDRAY – cfpb

        Prepared Remarks by Richard Cordray
        Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
        Press Call with Education Secretary Arne Duncan
        “Financial Aid Shopping Sheet”

        July 23, 2012

        The cost of higher education has skyrocketed. Being able to afford a college degree is difficult. Borrowing for school is a reality of life.

        In this country, outstanding student loan debt has now crossed the $1 trillion mark. Student loans have eclipsed credit cards as the leading source of U.S. household debt outside of mortgages. This is a major issue for students, recent graduates, and their families.

        Based on a report that Secretary Duncan and I sent to Congress a few days ago, the private student loan burden on families is particularly troublesome. There are now more than $8.1 billion in defaulted private loans, and even more in delinquency.

        The bottom line is that no consumer should take on a large amount of debt without understanding the costs and the risks. Too often students receive financial aid award letters that are laden with jargon, use inconsistent terms and calculations, and make it unnecessarily difficult to compare different financial aid awards side-by-side.

        At the Consumer Bureau, we have heard from thousands of student loan borrowers who say that they simply did not understand what they signed up for. Many of them chose private student loans before exhausting their cheaper federal loan options, which would have offered them more protections if they run into trouble. Some resorted to other high-priced loans, like credit cards. All too often, borrowers got in way over their heads.

        Students need to know how much their loans are ultimately going to cost when all the interest and fees and other costs are factored into the equation. We are standing up for a simple and sensible concept: Students should know before they owe.

        The “Financial Aid Shopping Sheet” gives college-bound students what they have been craving: real numbers and a format that makes sense of a huge financial undertaking that too often is confusing and daunting to borrowers. This form, which presents a model of what all financial aid award letters should be, would provide a uniform way to inform potential students of their true college costs – before they commit to a school.

        For more: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/speeches/prepared-remarks-by-richard-cordray-in-a-press-call-about-the-financial-aid-shopping-sheet/

    • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Issues Rule to Protect Consumers from Irresponsible Mortgage Lending

      Rule Requires Lenders Ensure Borrowers Have the Ability to Repay Their Mortgage

      JAN 10 2013 consumerfinance.gov

      WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) adopted a new rule that will protect consumers from irresponsible mortgage lending by requiring lenders to ensure prospective buyers have the ability to repay their mortgage. The rule also protects borrowers from risky lending practices such as “no doc” and “interest only” features that contributed to many homeowners ending up in delinquency and foreclosure after the 2008 housing collapse.

      “When consumers sit down at the closing table, they shouldn’t be set up to fail with mortgages they can’t afford,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Our Ability-to-Repay rule protects borrowers from the kinds of risky lending practices that resulted in so many families losing their homes. This common-sense rule ensures responsible borrowers get responsible loans.”

      Leading up to the mortgage crisis, certain lenders originated mortgages to consumers without considering their ability to repay the loans. The gradual deterioration in underwriting standards led to dramatic increases in mortgage delinquencies and rates of foreclosures. What followed was the collapse of the housing market in 2008 and the subsequent financial crisis. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act created broad-based changes to how creditors make loans and included new ability-to-repay requirements, which the CFPB is charged with implementing.

      Ability to Repay
      In the years leading up to the financial crisis, lenders too often offered mortgages to consumers who could not afford them. Under the Ability-to-Repay rule announced today, all new mortgages must comply with basic requirements that protect consumers from taking on loans they don’t have the financial means to pay back. Among the features of the new rule:

      * Financial information has to be supplied and verified: Lenders must look at a consumer’s financial information. A lender generally must document: a borrower’s employment status; income and assets; current debt obligations; credit history; monthly payments on the mortgage; monthly payments on any other mortgages on the same property; and monthly payments for mortgage-related obligations. This means that lenders can no longer offer no-doc, low-doc loans, where lenders made quick sales by not requiring documentation, then offloaded these risky mortgages by selling them to investors.

      * A borrower has to have sufficient assets or income to pay back the loan: Lenders must evaluate and conclude that the borrower can repay the loan. For example, lenders may look at the consumer’s debt-to-income ratio – their total monthly debt divided by their total monthly gross income. Knowing how much money a consumer earns and is expected to earn, and knowing how much they already owe, helps a lender determine how much more debt a consumer can take on.

      * Teaser rates can no longer mask the true cost of a mortgage: Lenders can’t base their evaluation of a consumer’s ability to repay on teaser rates. Lenders will have to determine the consumer’s ability to repay both the principal and the interest over the long term − not just during an introductory period when the rate may be lower.

      For more: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/pressreleases/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-issues-rule-to-protect-consumers-from-irresponsible-mortgage-lending/

      • GOP WRONG WAY

        ‘We were wrong’

        Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:35 PM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

        It took over 700 days, a recess appointment, and a nuclear-option showdown, but a prominent Republican senator yesterday took stock of his party’s efforts to reject Richard Cordray and nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He reached an interesting conclusion.

        “Cordray was being filibustered because we don’t like the law” that created the consumer agency, said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “That’s not a reason to deny someone their appointment. We were wrong.”

        That’s not a phrase we often hear from politicians, especially congressional Republicans, and it’s a welcome concession. Indeed, since I made the same argument on Monday, I’m delighted by Graham’s candor.

        Perhaps, if Senate Republicans had come to this realization just a little sooner, Elizabeth Warren would be at the CFPB right now and Scott Brown would still be making Wall Street happy as a senator.

        Regardless, the question many Senate Democrats are asking right now is whether yesterday’s breakthrough — which overwhelmingly tilted in their favor — can help lay the foundation for broader progress, at least in the upper chamber. Greg Sargent reported this morning:

        Democrats plan to seize on yesterday’s events to exacerbate what they hope is a developing schism between the GOP leadership/hard right alliance and a bloc of GOP Senators who (Dems are betting) are genuinely fed up with that alliance’s continued flouting of basic governing norms. They hope to renew the push for a return to budget negotiations, with an eye towards replacing the sequester.”

        For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/07/17/19523971-we-were-wrong?lite

  3. Rachel Maddow- GOP bet against unions is backfiring
    From: StartLoving4 | Feb 23, 2011

    Rachel Maddow- GOP bet against unions is backfiring

    • Rachel’s show was really good once again. I love when she slammed politifact for their misinformation and not willing to change it. Why are these so called liberal pundits bashing PBO for not going to Wisconsin? Personally, I don’t think he should go. This will give them a chance to change the dialogue from Walker and start focusing on PBO. I am happy that he met with the labor leaders today. I am sure they will explain to their memebers. Afer Rachel’s show ended, I saw a couple of seconds of Schultz and he started out asking, why hasn’t PBO been to Wisconsin, and I immediately turned the channel. I don’t watch his show anyway. He and Chris Christie are two big bullies and I hate bullies.

  4. DCCC Holds 5 House Republicans Accountable for Restricting Women’s Health Care, Protecting Big Oil
    Campaign 2010

    Feb 24, 2011 DCCC.ORG

    DCCC Holds Five House Republicans Accountable for Restricting Women’s Health Care Options while Protecting Big Oil Profits

    As part of the latest phase of the DCCC’s “Drive for 25” paid advertising and grassroots campaign, five House Republicans are being held accountable for making the wrong choices by voting to restrict women’s access to legal and lifesaving health care services while preserving taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil companies making record profits. This is part of a nationwide campaign against 50 House Republicans, highlighting their failed budget priorities.

    The DCCC will be running automated phone calls, web ads, live phone calls, and e-mails in the following five targeted districts throughout the week:

    * Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25)
    * Bob Dold (IL-10)
    * Nan Hayworth (NY-19)
    * Jon Runyan (NJ-03)
    * Steve Stivers (OH-15)

    For the entire article: http://dccc.org/blog/entry/dccc_holds_5_house_republicans_accountable_for_restricting_womens_health_ca/

  5. Republicans move to kill U.S. housing rescue programs

    2/24/11 David Lawder and Corbett B. Daly -Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration’s key housing market rescue programs landed on the chopping block on Thursday as a committee in the House of Representatives scheduled a vote next week to terminate them.

    The Republican leadership of the House Financial Services Committee said the panel will vote on a bill on March 3 that would kill the Home Affordable Modification Program, which it said has failed to help a sufficient number of distressed homeowners to justify its cost.

    The committee also will vote on bills to shut down a Federal Housing Administration refinancing program and a fund to stabilize neighborhoods suffering from heavy foreclosures, they said. A fourth bill would kill a program to provide 12-month emergency loans to homeowners to stave off foreclosures.

    “In an era of record-breaking deficits, it’s time to pull the plug on these programs that are actually doing more harm than good for struggling homeowners,” committee Chairman Spencer Bachus said in a statement.

    “These programs may have been well intentioned but they’re not working and, in reality, are making things worse,” the Alabama Republican said.

    The Obama administration pushed back against the efforts, saying they would close the door on struggling homeowners facing the worst housing crisis in generations.

    “The administration remains committed to reaching eligible homeowners to give them every opportunity to avoid foreclosure and will continue working to make our programs as effective as possible,” an Obama administration spokesperson said.

    The bills face an uphill battle. If they clear the committee, they would have to be approved by the full House as well as by the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110224/pl_nm/us_usa_housing_congress

  6. Enraged mayors say Republican spending bill is an ‘atrocity’

    02/24/11 By Erik Wasson – TheHill.com

    Describing the House spending bill as an un-American atrocity, the heads of the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors announced Thursday they are launching a major lobbying effort against its cuts.

    The effort, going on behind the scenes this week, could culminate in a march on the Capitol in mid-March if the mayors don’t get what they are seeking, said conference President Elisabeth Kautz, the mayor of Burnsville, Minn.

    “We are going to have a major march and meeting in halls of Congress,” Bill Gluba, the mayor of Davenport, Iowa, said. He said the conference has decided to take the lead in organizing local and civic organizations to come to Washington to protest the cuts in the GOP spending bill.

    “The impacts are devastating. … As we stand here knowing what happened in the House, our only hope is in the Senate,” Kautz said.

    The group is focusing above all on stopping a 62.5 percent cut to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which House Republicans have included in the spending bill funding the government after March 4. The cut is intended to save $4 billion.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/appropriations/145943-angry-mayors-launch-effort-against-house-spending-cuts-

  7. Durbin: New House Republican Proposal More Of The Same
    Plan Ignores Recovery, Makes Irresponsible Cuts to Vital Programs

    February 24, 2011 democrats.senate.gov

    (WASHINGTON, D.C.)–Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois released the following statement regarding the House Republican bill to cut investments by $4 billion over two weeks:

    “Less than a week after passing a job-killing continuing resolution, House Republicans are doubling down, proposing a ‘compromise’ spending plan that takes their irresponsible cuts even further.

    “Senate Democrats have already agreed to a five-year spending freeze and $41 billion in spending cuts and we’re willing to go further. But that requires the sort of good-faith negotiations House Republicans refuse to engage in.

    “We need to invest in things that count: Education and training for our workers; innovation so that we have that kind of spark of creativity that creates new businesses and new jobs; and investment in the infrastructure of America, building things that are going to make us strong for generations to come.

    “Less than 90 days into the job, House Republicans seem more interested in shutting down the government than showing the leadership necessary create jobs and help the economy recover.”

  8. New DGA Chair O’Malley: Democratic Governors Will Lead Revival

    Maryland Governor Elected Chair of DGA;

    North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue Elected Vice Chair

    December 01, 2010 democraticgovernors.org

    Washington, D.C. – Members of the Democratic Governors Association today chose Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley as chair and North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue as vice chair for the critical coming year, as the party confronts its challenges and opportunities.

    Gov. O’Malley, who has served two terms as the DGA’s vice chair, said that governors will be the key to the party’s revival and will be models of fiscal responsibility, protecting core priorities like education and moving forward stronger into the new economy.

    “Democratic governors will lead the way back to our party’s resurgence,” said Chairman O’Malley. “Democratic ideas are already leading the way to restore our economy, whether it’s expanding access to capital for small businesses, strengthening our workforce, and spurring job creation with strategic investments to support the private sector.”

    “Democratic governors this year were honest about our shared challenges and the tough choices ahead of us; we fought back and we won. In 2011 and 2012, as both Democrats and governors, we will continue this record of being honest, making the tough choices, and winning.”

    Gov. Bev Perdue, who became the first female governor of North Carolina in 2008, said that governors have a unique role and will lead the way on creating jobs.

    For the entire article: http://www.democraticgovernors.org/news/press_releases?id=0405

  9. Thanks for all of this info on the new CFPB, CR. Like most, I agree the bureau is a great idea.

    I hope I’m not offending any supporters, but I personally am not too sure about Elizabeth Warren. To me, she seems like an Arianna Huffington – only Elizabeth has brains and credentials. She also seems to be like a Paul Krugman, and we know how he’s turned out (narcissistic, among other traits).

    Maybe anybody who’s a darling of the far left is scary to me; I don’t know.

    I think President Obama appointed her to her current roles for two purposes. One, to throw off the far left by bringing her onto the team. Two, so he can keep his eye on her, and keep her remarks out of the limelight (she, herself, has said she can’t speak as freely now that she’s attached to the government and the administration).

    Again, excuse me if anyone has differing views. I know nothing of international/national financial matters … this is just my gut feeling. For now, because she’s part of the team, I’ll try to give her the benefit of the doubt.

    • Hi Ms O’Boomer!

      I don’t know much about Ms. Warren but I think that the CFPB sounds like a great website!

  10. In Al Gore revival, Senate Dems eye the lockbox for Social Security

    02/24/11 By Alexander Bolton – TheHill.com

    Senate Democrats want to put the Social Security trust fund in a lockbox and insulate it from a broader budget-cutting package designed to reduce the national deficit.

    It’s a revival of the concept that former Vice President Al Gore (D) made famous when he sparred with George W. Bush over a proposal to invest a portion of Social Security funds in the private market.

    Eleven years late, Social Security is again a hot political topic.

    President Obama during his State of the Union address called on Congress to “find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations.”

    But labor unions and liberal groups have waged a blistering campaign to steer budget cutters away from Social Security, a widely popular safety-net program.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/146057-in-al-gore-revival-senate-dems-eye-lockbox-for-social-security

    • If “they” had only listened to Vice President Gore on this lockbox.

      If “they” had only listened to President Carter on energy.

      If “they” … well, we know the rest.

  11. Free Download | whitehouse | Feb 24, 2011

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, President Obama held events in Oregon and Ohio focused on promoting growth and winning the future through investments, concentrating on innovation and small business growth. Also, the President convened his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the White House.

  12. Sunday: Obamas Host 2011 Governor’s Ball

    February 24, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

    It’s that time of year again when the leaders of America’s states, commonwealths and territories descend upon Washington, DC, for the annual Winter Meeting of the National Governors Association. The confab begins Friday, and on Sunday evening, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will welcome close to fifty of the bipartisan chiefs and their spouses (or dates…) to the White House for the annual black tie Governors’ Ball, which includes dinner, dancing, and a high-profile musical entertainer. It’s the third time the President and Mrs. Obama have hosted the glam shindig.

    “You are where the rubber meets the road,” President Obama told the gathered Governors during his dinner toast at both previous Balls.

    Certainly there’s plenty of rubber hitting the road right now, what with protest marches and general turmoil in three different Republican-leaning states over public employees’ unions.

    For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/02/sunday-obamas-host-2011-governors-ball.html

      • Oh, that’s so funny, CR! He should be blushing if he is.

        My guess is he’ll be “too busy.” Hope we find out.

        • Hey Jacqueline. I am checking in late today because I was out all day running the streets. 🙂 I missed everything but I caught up on the last thread.

  13. I tell you CR;
    you need a Tweet button so that you can get more of the word out. I will try to find a way to tweet your blog over to my tweet of followers. I am still learning this tweet thing and it is neat.

  14. February 24, 2011

    Statement by the President on Algeria Lifting its State of Emergency

    I commend the Government of Algeria for taking an important step forward today by formally lifting the State of Emergency that has been in place in Algeria for 19 years. This is a positive sign that the Government of Algeria is listening to the concerns and responding to the aspirations of its people, and we look forward to additional steps by the government that enable the Algerian people to fully exercise their universal rights, including freedom of expression, association and assembly. The United States is committed to continuing our cooperation with the Government of Algeria as it works to represent and meet the needs of all Algerians. We will also continue speaking up for universal freedoms, justice and the dignity of every human being.

  15. February 25, 2011
    Readout of Mr. Donilon’s Call Yesterday with the Crown Prince of Bahrain

    Yesterday, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon spoke with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa and expressed strong support for the Crown Prince’s National Dialogue initiative. He also welcomed other steps that both the Crown Prince and King Hamad have taken in recent days to initiate an open dialogue on political reform with the full spectrum of Bahraini society. Mr. Donilon urged continued restraint by Bahraini security forces. As a long-standing partner of Bahrain, the United States believes that the stability of Bahrain depends upon respect for the universal rights of the people of Bahrain, including the right to peaceful assembly, and a process of meaningful reform that is responsive to the aspirations of all Bahrainis.

    • February 25, 2011
      Readout of President Obama’s Call with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey

      The President spoke today with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to continue consultations on the situation in Libya with our international allies and partners, coordinate our urgent efforts to respond to developments, and ensure that there is appropriate accountability. The President and the Prime Minister expressed their deep concern about the Libyan government’s use of violence against its people, which is completely unacceptable, and discussed appropriate and effective ways for the international community to immediately respond. They affirmed their strong support for the universal rights of the Libyan people, including the right to peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny and agreed that these rights must be respected. They discussed the range of options that both the United States and Turkey are considering to ensure the security of our citizens in Libya and hold the Libyan government accountable for its actions. They also agreed on the importance of providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Libya. They agreed to maintain close contact on this issue going forward, and took note of the fact that Secretary of State Clinton will consult with her Turkish counterpart Foreign Minister Davutoglu when she travels to Geneva on Monday.

  16. U.N. Security Council to meet, Libya hands out cash

    2/25/11 Tom Pfeiffer and Mohammed Abbas -Reuters

    BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – The Libyan coastal town of Zawiyah was under the control of anti-government protesters on Friday, a witness said, bringing a popular uprising against Muammar Gaddafi within 50 km of the capital Tripoli.

    There were other signs that the government’s grip was slipping, as prosecutor-general Abdul-Rahman al-Abbar became the latest senior official to resign and told al Arabiya television he was joining the opposition.

    In the first practical attempt to enroll the support of citizens since the uprising began, Libyan state television announced the government was raising wages, increasing food subsidies and ordering special allowances for all families.

    The U.N. Security Council was to meet on Friday to discuss a proposal for sanctions against Libyan leaders, fighting for survival against a popular uprising that has already driven them out of the east and the second city, Benghazi.

    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that “thousands” may have been killed or injured, and called for international intervention to protect civilians.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/fCHYNa

    • Tens of thousands hold rival rallies in Yemen

      2/25/11 Khaled Yacoub Oweis – Reuters

      SANAA (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh held rival demonstrations in the capital on Friday, in a test of support for the veteran leader’s 32-year rule.

      Protesters outside Sanaa University, repeating slogans which have echoed around the Arab world since the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, chanted: “The people demand the downfall of the regime.”

      About 4 km (2 miles) across town, loyalists shouted support for a leader they said was holding the fractured and impoverished tribal country together. “The creator of unity is in our hearts. We will not abandon him,” they chanted.

      Seventeen people have died in the past nine days in a sustained wave of nationwide anti-Saleh protests galvanized by the fall of the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents. Saleh has said he will not give in to “anarchy and killing.”

      A U.S. ally against the Yemen-based al Qaeda wing that has launched attacks at home and abroad, the Yemeni leader is struggling to end protests flaring across the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest state.

      For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/i9JwJg

    • Bahraini protesters fill capital to demand reforms

      2/25/11 ADAM SCHRECK, AP

      MANAMA, Bahrain – Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters filled Bahrain’s capital Friday in an attempt to boost pressure for sweeping political concessions before possible talks to end nearly two weeks of demonstrations and clashes in the strategic Gulf island kingdom.

      At least two major processions sought to converge on Manama’s landmark Pearl Square, which has become the focal point of the uprising pushing for democratic change. Security forces made no immediate attempt to halt the marchers in an apparent sign that Bahrain’s rulers do not want to risk more bloodshed and denunciations from their Western allies.

      Bahrain is the first Gulf state to be thrown into turmoil by the Arab world’s wave of change. The unrest is highly significant for Washington because Bahrain sits at the center of its military framework in the region. There is much at stake, too, for the Gulf’s ruling clans seeking to maintain their grip on power and efforts to keep Iranian influence in check.

      Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is the Pentagon’s main counterweight against Iran’s widening military ambitions. Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy, meanwhile, is under pressure from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf rulers not to yield to the Shiite-led protesters, fearing it could open footholds for Shiite powerhouse Iran.

      For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110225/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain_protests

    • Few gains in week of gov’t offensive in Somalia

      2/25/11 AP

      MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somalia’s president says government forces are gaining ground after a week of an offensive aimed at defeating Islamist insurgents.

      President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed said Friday the push will continue until Islamists’ lock on large swaths of the country’s south and central regions and the capital is broken. Government forces face stiff resistance despite earlier gains.

      An African Union peacekeeping mission spokesman says government forces and peacekeepers clashed with militants in Mogadishu on Friday, though fighting decreased in intensity.

      Residents of the Somalia-Kenya border town of Belet Hawo said pro-government militiamen have attacked Islamist militants from two fronts.

      Somalia hasn’t had a fully functioning government since 1991.

  17. Wis. Assembly passes bill taking away union rights

    2/25/11 TODD RICHMOND, AP

    MADISON, Wis. – Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly took the first significant action on their plan to strip collective bargaining rights from most public workers, abruptly passing the measure early Friday morning before sleep-deprived Democrats realized what was happening.

    The vote ended three straight days of punishing debate in the Assembly. But the political standoff over the bill — and the monumental protests at the state Capitol against it — appear far from over.

    The Assembly’s vote sent the bill on to the Senate, but minority Democrats in that house have fled to Illinois to prevent a vote. No one knows when they will return from hiding. Republicans who control the chamber sent state troopers out looking for them at their homes on Thursday, but they turned up nothing.

    “I applaud the Democrats in the Assembly for earnestly debating this bill and urge their counterparts in the state Senate to return to work and do the same,” Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, said in a statement issued moments after the vote.

    The plan from Republican Gov. Scott Walker contains a number of provisions he says are designed to fill the state’s $137 million deficit and lay the groundwork for fixing a projected $3.6 billion shortfall in the upcoming 2011-13 budget.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/gUQXLk

  18. Indiana Democrats stay out of state to avoid vote

    2/25/11 Susan Guyett -Reuters

    NDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – The Indiana House of Representatives is closed until Monday afternoon, while most House Democrats stay out of state to avoid voting on Republican-backed labor and education bills, officials said on Thursday.

    The Republicans have proposed a rule change that would extend a third reading deadline on the bills from this Friday until next Friday, March 4, to keep the bills alive, said John Schorg, media relations director for the House Democrats.

    But a quorum of 67 House members is needed for these rule changes to be considered and take effect, and Democrats, who left the state earlier this week, have not yet decided whether they will return for the vote, Schorg said.

    Democratic House Representative Ed DeLaney, staying with other Democrats in Urbana, Illinois, said Democrats have no intention of returning to the House floor until there is a clear and public agreement on what legislation will be discussed.

    “Any arrangements we make have to be made before we ever get on the floor,” DeLaney said. He noted that Republicans “can change rules at any time once they have a quorum.”

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110224/pl_nm/us_indiana_democrats

  19. Maryland Senate approves same-sex marriage

    2/25/11 Dave Warner – Reuters

    PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The Maryland State Senate passed legislation on Thursday night to allow same-sex marriage.

    The Civil Marriage Protection Act, approved by the heavily Democratic Senate on a 25-21 vote with strong support from the majority party, would effectively legalize gay marriage without forcing religious clergy to conduct marriages of which they disapproved. It had narrowly passed two preliminary stages of approval.

    Senator Richard S. Madaleno Jr., a Montgomery County Democrat and the senate’s first openly gay member, hailed the vote as historic.

    “It demonstrates our commitment to civil rights and equality to all,” he said in an email to supporters. “The House of Delegates should act swiftly to provide loving families across our state with the dignity and respect we deserve.”

    He said the bill is the same as a similar act in Washington, D.C., in that it exempts religious leaders from performing ceremonies if they object to same-gender marriage.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110225/pl_nm/us_maryland_marriage

  20. Happy Friday, everybody!

    >^..^<

    Kat's Obama Administration Report, 2/25/11

    Today's report features:

    West Wing Week: This week, President Obama held events in Oregon and Ohio focused on promoting growth and winning the future through investments, concentrating on innovation and small business growth. Also, the President convened his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the White House.

    President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness: The President's remarks at the inaugural meeting.

    The Legacy of Motown: First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes Smokey Robinson, John Legend, Berry Gordy and others to the White House to lead a youth workshop on the legacy and history of Motown.

    White House Press Briefing: Mr. Carney takes questions on Libya, events in Wisconsin and other issues.

    Thurgood: In honor of African-American history month, the White House hosts a screening of the new film "Thurgood" – a one-act play starring Lawrence Fishbourne and written by George Stevens, Jr.

    Ambassador Ron Kirk: As part of Celebrating Black History Month, the U.S. Trade Representative discusses his life and work.

    Growing the Market for Clean Energy: Energy Secretary Chu invites suggestions for speeding growth of the clean energy industry and stimulating private sector investment in the jobs of the future.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/25/949466/-Kats-Obama-Administration-Report,-2-25-11

  21. The Feds Are Prepared For A Shutdown, Are You?

    2/25/11 by Audie Cornish- NPR

    Time is running out for Republicans and Democrats to come up with a budget deal. If they don’t reach one in eight days, the federal government could shut down — much like it did about 15 years ago.

    In case that happens, all federal agencies are required to draw up contingency plans. And when budget discussions on Capitol Hill start to disintegrate, they hustle to update them. So if you’re planning on doing anything soon that requires the hand of a bureaucrat or a visit to federally owned property, you might need to do the same.

    Other than the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who could be sent home without paychecks, the first people to notice a government shutdown would likely be some vacationers.

    Take the Schissel family, for example, who are visiting Washington, D.C.

    “We were a little concerned we booked the vacation several weeks before we were aware of the shutdown,” says Scott Schissel, who’s traveling with his wife and their two kids. “Thankfully, we got here just in time.”

    “I assume we would have been locked out of the White House and the Capitol building and potentially even the national monuments, which we did all this week,” said the Westwood, Mass., resident.

    During the shutdowns in 1995 and 1996, more than 360 national parks from Yosemite to the Washington monument — and dozens of museums — closed their doors.

    Alice Rivlin, head of the Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton, remembers it well, and recalls how those shutdowns affected more than just vacationers.

    “Things that people need to get approved when they are doing ordinary business like buying a house or processing a loan — those things come to a screeching halt,” she says.

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/25/134043241/the-feds-are-prepared-for-a-shutdown-are-you

  22. From The Son Of Ex-Slaves, The Gift Of A Hospital

    2/25/11 Morning Edition – NPR

    Dr. John A. Kenney may be best known as Booker T. Washington’s personal physician. But Kenney’s granddaughter Linda Kenney Miller, along with her sister Diane Kenney, recall a different story about the doctor.

    In the early 1920s, Dr. Kenney had been run out of Alabama by the Ku Klux Klan and wanted to set up a medical practice in his new home of Newark, N.J.

    “He got there and he saw there was no place for African-Americans to be treated, for the doctors to get training, for the nurses to learn their skills. So he took a loan from a bank, and he built a hospital — the first hospital for blacks in Newark,” Linda says.

    It was in the third ward, where there was crime, poverty and illness, she says. And then, when the Depression hit, the hospital had to lay off a lot of staff because it couldn’t afford to pay them.

    The doctor was so busy that he would schedule surgeries in the wee hours of the morning — “3 and 4 in the morning, because the other time, he was washing linens, too, and being the janitor and doing everything,” Linda says.

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/25/134048252/StoryCorps

  23. After Obama’s Gay-Marriage Decision, ‘A New World’

    2/25/11 by Liz Halloran – NPR

    President Obama’s assertion that the federal ban on same sex-marriage is unconstitutional has expanded the political debate on legal rights for gay Americans.

    The administration’s position on the Defense of Marriage Act “will affect every nook and cranny of gay rights,” says James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union.

    “It’s a new world,” says Esseks, who heads the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project.

    By saying it regards the 15-year-old federal law as unconstitutional, the White House has injected gay rights as an issue into the next the presidential election. Obama is expected run for a second term in 2012.

    Some conservative activists have already begun raising money by pointing to what they characterize as the White House’s refusal to “defend marriage,” and influential Catholic leaders are echoing that language.

    Those groups already were displeased by Congress’s repeal of a ban on openly gay Americans in the military. Now the administration’s position on DOMA brings fresh attention to other efforts underway to equalize treatment of gays and lesbians under federal law.

    Democrats on Capitol Hill, in the wake of the White House decision, have promised to re-introduce a bill that would repeal the act and will propose legislation to extend spousal benefits to domestic partners and spouses of gay federal workers.

    For the entire article: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/25/134035020/after-obamas-gay-marriage-decision-a-new-world

  24. Consumer sentiment rises to best in 3 years: survey

    2/25/11 Caroline Valetkevitch – Reuters

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in three years in February, helped by an improving view of the labor market recovery, a survey released on Friday showed.

    The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey’s final February reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 77.5, up from 74.2 in January, and the highest since January 2008.

    It was above the median forecast of 75.3 among economists polled by Reuters and also above the early February reading of 75.1.

    Gains in confidence of households with incomes above $75,000 accounted for all the month’s jump, the survey showed. Consumers reported “significant” labor market improvements and judged their personal finances more favorably than at any other time in the past three years.

    The survey’s barometer of current economic conditions also rose to the highest level since January 2008. It came in at 86.9, up from 81.8 in January. It was a tad above a forecast of 86.8.

    The survey’s gauge of consumer expectations rose to 71.6, its highest reading since September 2009. January’s reading was 69.3.

    The inflation outlook was unchanged from the month before. The survey’s one-year inflation expectation remained at 3.4 percent, while the survey’s five-to-10-year inflation outlook stayed at 2.9 percent.

  25. Mullen Reaffirms American-Bahraini Alliance

    2/25/11 By Donna Miles -American Forces Press Service

    MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 25, 2011 – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen continued his visit to Bahrain today to reaffirm the U.S.-Bahraini relationship as the protest movement here entered its 12th day.

    The chairman arrived in the Bahraini capital last night to meet with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and retired Maj. Gen. Abdullatif bin Rashed al-Zayani, the Gulf Cooperation Council secretary general.

    Mullen “reaffirmed our strong commitment to our military relationship with the Bahraini defense forces,” said Navy Capt. John Kirby, the admiral’s spokesman. The Crown Prince also serves as commander in chief of Bahrain’s defense force.

    Kirby said the chairman also thanked Bahraini leaders “for the very measured way they have been handling the popular crisis here.” Mullen, the spokesman added, also solicited Bahraini leaders’ views and expressed appreciation for their insights and “how they are dealing with the changes they are making on behalf of their people.”

    During last night’s sessions, the talks focused on the turmoil that has gripped Bahrain since the uprising began Feb. 14, including a police raid last week in Manama’s Pearl Square that left seven people dead.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62934

  26. Boeing Wins Aerial Tanker Contract

    2/24/11 By Jim Garamone -American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2011 – The Boeing Co. has won the contract to produce the Air Force’s KC-46A aerial refueling aircraft, replacing the Eisenhower-era KC-135s and the Reagan-era KC-10s.

    Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said the competition for the contract was fair, open and transparent and he believes it will survive any possible challenge.

    “What we can tell you is Boeing was a clear winner,” Lynn said.

    Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley made the announcement at the Pentagon this evening. Both offers –- by Boeing and EADS -– met all 372 mandatory requirements under the competition, he said. The contract signed today is for $3.5 billion for engineering and manufacturing. This portion of the contract will yield four aircraft.

    Under this award Boeing will build 179 aircraft. Overall the contract is worth $30 billion with a final amount depending on the options exercised, Donley said.

    “I am pleased that this process has produced an outcome after an exhaustive effort by hundreds of the department’s very best people, that we will get about delivering a capability that’s long overdue and we can stop talking about it,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz said.

    The first 18 aircraft will be delivered by 2017.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62933

    • Congratulations to Boeing!

      Boeing (US) and EADS (Netherlands) were both bidding for the contract.

  27. VTGovernor: I am in Washington D.C. this morning and looking forward to speaking with President Obama @WhiteHouse in a few minutes #vt #vtgov Feb 25, 2011 at 09:49 AM

  28. Next Up…

    Department of Defense

    1:15 p.m. EST
    Secretary Gates to Speak at West Point
    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will speak about the future of the Army to the cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. http://www.defense.gov/

    • United States Military Academy (West Point, NY)

      As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, West Point, NY, Friday,

      February 25, 2011

      Thank you General, for that introduction. It’s a pleasure to be back here at West Point, although as I often say, it’s always a pleasure to be away from Washington, D.C.

      One of the greatest privileges of serving as Secretary of Defense over the last 4-plus years is the opportunity to visit the service academies – to speak to and hear from the future leadership of the finest military in the world. This will be the fourth – and final – time that I address the cadets of the U.S. Military Academy as Secretary of Defense. The last time I spoke to the entire corps of cadets in 2008, it was an evening lecture on strategy and leadership that ran to nearly 50 minutes. Rumor has it that there were a few stalwart cadets still awake at the end. Knowing most of you have been up since dawn, and knowing that the Firsties get to start their 100th Day weekend celebrations when I’m done here, I’ve decided to make this presentation much shorter.

      Nonetheless, I did want to take this last opportunity to share some thoughts with you, and through you to the Army as a whole, about the institution you will someday lead – the United States Army – and how it can better prepare itself, and in particular its leaders, for a complex and uncertain future. No doubt the Army’s challenges are daunting and diverse – supporting families, caring for wounded warriors, dealing with post-traumatic stress, doing right by soldiers, strengthening the NCO corps, training and equipping for the future, and finding a way to pay for it all. Today, I’d like to focus on three interrelated issues:

      * The future of conflict, and the implications for the Army;
      * How best to institutionalize the diverse capabilities that will be required; and
      * The kinds of officers the Army will need for the 21st Century, and how the service must change to retain and empower those leaders.

      For the entire transcript: http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1539

  29. February 25, 2011

    White House Announces Jeremy Bernard as Social Secretary

    The White House today announced Jeremy Bernard has been named Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary. He joins the White House staff from the U.S. Embassy in Paris, where he serves as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador. Prior to this role, he worked as the White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    “Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People’s House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways. We look forward to Jeremy continuing to showcase America’s arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House,” the President said.

    “I am deeply humbled to join the White House staff as Social Secretary and support President Obama and the First Lady in this role,” said Jeremy Bernard. “I have long admired the arts and education programs that have become hallmarks of the Obama White House and I am eager to continue these efforts in the years ahead.”

    “I look forward to working with Jeremy to continue the great work of the Social Office, from fun and educational student workshops to elegant State Dinners that welcome world leaders to the White House. Jeremy’s creativity, perspective and skills will be a welcome addition to our East Wing team, as we showcase the White House and celebrating America’s arts and culture,” said Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/02/25/white-house-announces-jeremy-bernard-social-secretary

    • Obamas name openly gay man as social secretary

      2/25/11 AFP

      WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House on Friday named Jeremy Bernard to serve as social secretary to President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama, the first male and first openly gay person to hold the position.

      The high profile job, traditionally filled by a woman, will put Bernard in ultimate charge of dispensing sumptuous White House hospitality at events from state dinners to holiday parties, concerts and tours of the presidential mansion.

      “Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People’s House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways,” Obama said in a statement.

      “We look forward to Jeremy continuing to showcase America’s arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House,” Obama said.

      Bernard, a long-time Obama supporter and fundraiser, has been serving as special advisor to the US ambassador to France at the US embassy in Paris.

      For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/f4IwpC

  30. Economic growth trimmed, consumers more upbeat

    2/25/11 Lucia Mutikani – Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer confidence hit a three-year high in February, suggesting the economy remained on a solid footing despite soaring gasoline prices.

    The rise in sentiment was a hopeful sign for the economic recovery after the government said on Friday that growth in the fourth quarter was not as robust as it previously estimated.

    The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey’s index on consumer sentiment climbed to 77.5, the highest since January 2008, from 74.2 in January — indicating consumers were weathering higher gasoline prices for now amid optimism about the labor market.

    “Consumers do appear to be taking the rise in gasoline and food prices in stride, which is very encouraging,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a few bumps along the road, but I do think the consumer will continue to play an important role in the recovery.”

    Gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said, a downward revision from its initial 3.2 percent estimate a month ago. Economists had expected GDP growth to be revised up to a 3.3 percent pace.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110225/bs_nm/us_usa_economy_sentiment

      • Democratic Governors’ Association Chairman Gov. Martin O’Malley (MD-D) addressed the press after meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden:

        Gov O’Malley basically said that all the governors were asked prior to the meeting at the White House to meet with their business communities in their states.

        Gov O’Malley also said that In the productive meeting with Pres Obama and VP Biden the governors were asked to report back on what their business communities were saying. Gov O’Malley reported “that the business leaders in all of their states understand that the most important priority we have right now is to create jobs and to make the right decisions so that we can harness the innovation that goes on in America for greater job creation so that we can do a better job of improving the skills and education of our work force and so that we can rebuild our nation’s infrastructure which also creates jobs.” “Talked about a reliable power grid…transportation reauthorization bill”

        VP Democratic Gov Assn Gov Beverly Purdue said that they talked about: “..Jobs, capital access, infrastructure, rules and regulations, education, innovation and exploration”

        • I, too, love Governor O’Malley!

          Plus I have relatives named O’Malley … no relation to him, but it’s a family thing, anyway. 🙂

    • Democratic Governors Association (DGA)
      Winter Conference – Washington D.C. Schedule

      Moving America’s Economy Forward, On the Front Lines of Job Creation: A Conversation with Democratic Governors February 25, 2011 Washington, DC

      DGA Chair’s Dinner Hosted by Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland
      February 25, 2011 Washington, DC D

      DGA Late Night February 25, 2011 Washington, DC

      Taste of America Gala February 26, 2011 Washington, DC

      DGA Chiefs of Staff & Senior Staff Reception February 27, 2011 Washington, DC

      Governors’ Series Reception Featuring Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts
      January 27, 2011 Washington, DC

  31. Secretary Clinton Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day with Events the Week of March 7-11

    2/25/11 state.gov

    The Department of State and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8 with a series of events that week.

    On Monday, March 7, Secretary Clinton will deliver remarks at the launch of the 100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges, spearheaded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, at the Department of State. This event will be open to credentialed members of the media. Contact sergentrt@state.gov for more information on this event.

    For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/02/157107.htm

  32. Good day, all!

    CR – Did you see that BWD gave you a shout-out on her blog? I, too, want to thank you for being my own personal port-in-the-storm after the trolls took over OFA! Let’s all just “keep going,” as my mother would say!

      • Friday already? Oh, yeah, my THIRD day with my new baby great grandson, who is six weeks old today! Yee-haw! Thanks for reminding me.

        And we even arranged for him to see his first SNOW when he woke up this morning. Yesterday, “we” gave him his first space shuttle launch. Who knows what we’ll do to top those!

    • The Suspension of United States Embassy Operations in Libya

      Patrick F. Kennedy- Under Secretary for Management
      Janet Sanderson- Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Washington, DC

      February 25, 2011

      MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. As was just announced in the White House press briefing, given current security conditions in Libya, coupled with our inability to guarantee fully the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel in the country, the Department of State has temporarily withdrawn Embassy personnel from Tripoli and suspended all Embassy operations effective today. The safety of the American community remains paramount to the Department, and we will continue to provide assistance to the greatest extent possible through other missions.

      And today, we are gratified that the ferry was able to depart Libya and has arrived in Valletta, Malta, as well as the departure from Tripoli of one last charter that carried our remaining diplomatic personnel from the mission as well as other American citizens and third-country nationals.

      But two of the hardest working people through the last several days – actually, probably the last several weeks – are Under Secretary for Management Pat Kennedy and Deputy Assistant Secretary Janet Sanderson from our NEA Bureau. And we thought we would bring them down just to kind of review what it means now to have our operations in Libya suspended. We still have diplomatic relations with Libya and will continue to discuss ongoing events with the Libyan leadership, but to go through a few of the mechanics of how we got to this point, obviously, Pat has been central in terms of the logistics of moving American citizens out of harm’s way. Janet has been involved in all of the interagency meetings and conversing every day with our DCM, who has done a brilliant job; our chargé d’affaires, who has done a brilliant job, in Tripoli.

      For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/m/rls/remarks/2011/157173.htm

  33. USDA Announces Claims Process for Hispanic and Women Farmers

    Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on February 25, 2011

    Cross-posted from the USDA blog.

    Today is an historic day for USDA. Working with colleagues at the Department of Justice, we launched a program that provides a path to justice for Hispanic and women farmers who believe they were discriminated against by USDA between 1981 and 2000. Many of these farmers and ranchers have waited and fought to get relief, but until now their only means of getting their complaints heard was to file an individual case in federal court. Today we are providing folks with a simpler path that enables them to file a claim for compensation that will be resolved by a neutral party without the involvement of the courts.

    When I was sworn in as Secretary of Agriculture two years ago, President Obama and I made a commitment to mend USDA’s troubled civil rights record. Since then, we have taken comprehensive action to turn the page on past discrimination. Last year we entered into a settlement with black farmers in Pigford II to address pending claims, and finalized a historic settlement agreement with Native American farmers under Keepseagle that faced discrimination by USDA.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/02/25/usda-announces-claims-process-hispanic-and-women-farmers

  34. Working with Tribal Nations to Build a Brighter Future

    Posted by Kimberly Teehee on February 25, 2011

    At the second White House Tribal Nations Conference on December 16, 2010, President Obama, numerous Cabinet Secretaries, and many senior Administration officials met with tribal leaders to continue delivering on the President’s commitment to ensure that tribal nations are full partners with his administration. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar delivered the opening remarks, laying out challenges facing the partnership between President Obama and Indian Country and emphasizing presidential initiatives in five main areas: (1) restoring tribal homelands; (2) building safer Native communities; (3) building strong, prosperous tribal economies; (4) fostering healthy communities; and (5) developing a structured and meaningful consultation policy.

    President Obama also addressed the conference. He highlighted the progress made in the nation-to-nation dialogue since last year’s White House Tribal Nations Conference, while also acknowledging that a great deal of work remains to be done in Indian country. The President emphasized the importance of improving tribal economies and increasing the number of jobs in Indian country by investing in infrastructure, expanding access to high-speed internet, and developing clean energy initiatives. President Obama also underscored the need to continue building on advances in health care and education. He said that addressing health disparities in Indian country was “not just a question of policy, it’s a question of our values; it’s a test of who we are as a nation.”

    The President discussed the significance of specific legislative accomplishments, including enactment of the Affordable Care Act which permanently authorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the Tribal Law and Order Act which goes a long way toward making tribal communities safer, and the Claims Resolution of Act of 2010 which resolved longstanding disputes about how our government has treated, or in some cases mistreated, many in Indian Country. Finally, the President announced that the United States supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He said that the aspirations the Declaration affirms, including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples, are goals that we, as a Nation, must all seek to achieve.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/02/25/working-tribal-nations-build-brighter-future

  35. Have you all subscribed to ECLECTABLOG? He sends out an email everytime he post something. I like his blog.

    • Ban calls on Security Council to consider immediate steps to stop killings in Libya

      2/25/11 un.org

      Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the Security Council to consider immediately concrete steps against Libyan President Muammar Al-Qadhafi’s Government for its deadly repression of protesters, with options ranging from sanctions to assured punishment.

      “In these circumstances, the loss of time means more loss of lives,” he told the 15-member body during a meeting on peace and security in Africa, noting that estimates put the death toll in recent days at more than 1,000. “It is time for the Security Council to consider concrete action.”

      The Council agreed to meet tomorrow to consider urgently a draft resolution “including specific targeted measures aimed at putting an end to violence, helping achieve a peaceful solution to the current crisis, ensuring accountability and respecting the will of the Libyan people,” the Council President, Brazilian Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, told reporters after consultations.

      Mr. Ban cited reports that Mr. Qadhafi’s supporters are conducting house-by-house searches and arrests. “According to some reports, they have even gone into hospitals to kill wounded opponents,” he said. “In their public statements, Colonel Qadhafi and members of his family continue to threaten citizens with civil war and the possibility of mass killing if the protests continue.”

      The Secretary-General, who announced that he would go to Washington on Monday to discuss the situation with United States President Barack Obama, said the media and human rights reports of indiscriminate killings, arbitrary arrests, shooting of peaceful demonstrators, detention and torture of the opposition, and the use of foreign mercenaries are “credible and consistent” even if there is no conclusive proof.

      For the entire article: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37628&Cr=Libya&Cr1=

    • UN rights council recommends suspending Libya, orders inquiry into abuses

      2/25/11 un.org

      25 February 2011 – The United Nations Human Rights Council today strongly condemned the recent violence in Libya and ordered an international inquiry into alleged abuses, while also recommending that the country’s membership in the UN’s top human rights body be suspended.

      In a resolution adopted unanimously at the end of a special session held in Geneva, the 47-member Council called on the Libyan Government to meet its responsibility to protect its population, immediately end all human rights violations, stop any attacks against civilians, and respect the popular will, aspirations and demands of its people.

      Members of the Council are elected by the General Assembly, which has the right to suspend the membership of a country that has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership. The process of suspension requires a two-thirds majority vote by the 192-member Assembly.

      Addressing the opening of the session, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged action to help end the violence in Libya and to hold perpetrators of atrocities accountable, warning that the crackdown on protesters is getting worse.

      “More needs to be done. I encourage all international actors to take necessary measures to stop the bloodshed,” she stated, adding that, according to some sources, thousands may have been killed or injured over the past week.

      “Although reports are still patchy and hard to verify, one thing is painfully clear: in brazen and continuing breach of international law, the crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of protestors.”

      For the entire article: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37626&Cr=Libya&Cr1=

  36. February 25, 2011
    Statement by the President on Anniversaries Being Observed in Kuwait

    On behalf of the people of the United States, I congratulate the government and people of Kuwait on the 50th anniversary of their independence on February 26. Kuwait is a long-standing friend and partner of the United States, and we thank His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his steadfast partnership and friendship.

    February 26 is also the 20th anniversary of Kuwait’s liberation by U.S.–led coalition forces. On that day, the international community, having rejected outright aggression and acted to reverse it, stood shoulder to shoulder with Kuwait in securing its freedom and sovereignty. I take this opportunity to honor all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of freedom in that undertaking – Kuwaitis, Americans, and other coalition partners alike. I also wish to reinforce our enduring commitment to the peace and prosperity of the region.

  37. U.S. Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Groups to Meet in Moscow to Support Cooperation in Education, Science, and Innovation February 28 – March 5

    Office of the Spokesman – Washington, DC

    February 25, 2011

    Several U.S. Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Groups will meet in Moscow February 28 to March 5 to hold discussions on joint projects and engagement designed to build sustainable scientific, academic, and private sector cooperation. By strengthening these links, the Commission’s Working Groups will help to create a new generation of global thinkers and institutions to collaborate on solutions to the challenges facing both our nations.

    The Science and Technology Working Group, co-Chaired by Dr. John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Dr. Andrey Fursenko, Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, will seek progress in bilateral projects involving climate science, information technology and nanotechnology.

    The Education Sub-Working Group, which is co-Chaired by Alina Romanowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State, and Igor Protsenko, Director of International Integration in the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, will be meeting with an Institute for International Education (IIE)-organized delegation of U.S. university presidents who are in Moscow to discuss to discuss opportunities for faculty, academic, and research partnerships between U.S. and Russian institutions on a broad range of topics, including science and technology.

    For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/02/157131.htm

  38. February 25, 2011
    Message from the President regarding the the annual renewal of the Cuba emergency

    TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

    February 24, 2011

    Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

    Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent the enclosed notice to the Federal Register for publication, stating that the national emergency declared with respect to the Government of Cuba’s destruction of two unarmed U.S.-registered civilian aircraft in international airspace north of Cuba on February 24, 1996, as amended and expanded on February 26, 2004, is to continue in effect beyond March 1, 2011.

    Sincerely,

    BARACK OBAMA

  39. President Obama on Libya: “These Sanctions Therefore Target the Qaddafi Government, While Protecting the Assets that Belong to the People of Libya”

    Posted by Jesse Lee on February 25, 2011

    The President has just signed an Executive Order regarding Libya Sanctions. In addition, he sent a letter to Congress on the matter and issued the following statement:

    The Libyan government’s continued violation of human rights, brutalization of its people, and outrageous threats have rightly drawn the strong and broad condemnation of the international community. By any measure, Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable. These sanctions therefore target the Qaddafi government, while protecting the assets that belong to the people of Libya.

    Going forward, the United States will continue to closely coordinate our actions with the international community, including our friends and allies, and the United Nations. We will stand steadfastly with the Libyan people in their demand for universal rights, and a government that is responsive to their aspirations. Their human dignity cannot be denied.

    Press Secretary Jay Carney also discussed the sanctions and broader context earlier in the day.

    • US prepares Libya sanctions, closes embassy

      2/25/11 STEPHEN BRAUN and MATTHEW LEE -AP

      WASHINGTON – The White House announced sweeping new sanctions on Libya’s government and temporarily abandoned its embassy in Tripoli on Friday, as a final flight carrying American citizens departed from the war-ravaged capital.

      The Obama administration announced unilateral sanctions against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the government was working with international allies at the United Nations on other pressure to ease violence that erupted in recent days.

      Carney said President Barack Obama will meet with the United Nations secretary general in Washington on Monday to discuss the situation in Libya.

      Carney did not immediately describe the sanctions in detail, but U.S. Treasury officials warned American banks and financial institutions that they were required to scrutinize “private banking accounts held by or on behalf of senior foreign political figures” and any transactions involving diverted or illegal funds.

      Libya, which Transparency International ranks among the world’s most corrupt countries, has enormous assets to plunder. According to a confidential U.S. State Department cable posted by WikiLeaks, the head of the Libyan Investment Authority said last year that “several” United States banks manage between $300 million and $500 million in Libyan assets. According to the cable, Mohamed Layas told U.S. Ambassador Gene Kretz that the country’s so-called sovereign wealth fund, which invests Libya’s enormous oil profits, had $32 billion in cash and other liquid assets.

      For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/fsSnIH

  40. Kicking Off the Democrats’ 2011 Winter Meeting

    February 25, 2011 Posted by Josh Cohen -DNC.org

    Yesterday kicked off the Democratic National Committee’s 2011 winter meeting in Washington, D.C. This gathering is one of several annual meetings that bring Democrats – community leaders and volunteers interested in making a difference – together from the national, state, and local level. Led by Chairman Tim Kaine, this week’s meeting is an opportunity to take pride in our work and our accomplishments, but also to prepare for the challenges ahead of us in 2011 and 2012.

    This is a conversation that starts here, but it continues in communities across the country. Democrats are talking about their priorities in the fights ahead – like reforming education, creating a clean-energy economy, passing the DREAM Act, improving literacy in underserved areas, and fighting for those hit hardest by the recession. They’re priorities shared by President Obama.

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.org/news/blog/1637

  41. Seventeen Small Business Tax Cuts and Counting

    Posted by Kori Schulman on February 25, 2011

    Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. President Obama’s focus on strengthening small business has included reaching out to entrepreneurs and small business owners, asking them what’s working and what needs to work better. Through Advise the Advisor, and this week’s Winning the Future Small Business Forum in Ohio, the President has heard from thousands of Americans.

    One of the questions we’ve seen is about what the Obama Administration has done to cut taxes for small businesses. On Twitter, lindismith asked @whitehouse, “What are the 17 new tax cuts for small businesses Obama signed into law?” Well, we took that question to some of the President’s top economic advisers, and here’s what they had to say.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/02/25/seventeen-small-business-tax-cuts-and-counting

  42. Tunisians proud at sparking Arab rebellions

    2/25/11 BOUAZZA BEN BOUAZZA -AP

    Pride is palpable on the streets of the capital six weeks after this tiny, Mediterranean tourist haven toppled its dictator and unleashed a wave of revolt in the Arab world. And there’s an atmosphere of cautious optimism about how Tunisia’s “people’s revolution” is turning out.

    Tunisia’s caretaker government has largely managed to calm unrest. Foreign diplomats are flying in to pledge support. Tunisians are even offering food and assistance to displaced people pouring across their border from chaotic Libya.

    “Like everybody, I’m full of hope for the future, a future that was cloudy until now,” said Chawki Hani, a 42-year-old engineer. He’s especially proud that Tunisians harnessed Facebook and the Internet “to break the wall of silence that has paralyzed Arabs.”

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/eAmhJj

  43. Archive of WWII codebreaker Alan Turing preserved

    2/25/11 JILL LAWLESS, AP

    LONDON – Papers relating to codebreaker and computer pioneer Alan Turing will go to a British museum after the National Heritage Memorial Fund stepped in to help buy them for the nation.

    The government-backed fund said Friday it had donated more than 200,000 pounds ($320,000) to a campaign to stop the notes and scientific papers from going to a private buyer.

    The fund’s chair, Jenny Abramsky, said the collection would be a permanent memorial to “a true war hero.”

    The documents were put up for auction by Christie’s in November but did not sell.

    An online campaign to keep them in Britain raised 28,500 pounds from members of the public, and computer firm Google contributed $100,000.

    The papers will go to the Bletchley Park Museum northwest of London, which commemorates the famous World War II codebreaking center.

    One of the founders of modern computing, Turing worked at Bletchley Park, and helped crack Nazi Germany’s secret codes by creating the “Turing bombe,” a forerunner of modern computers, to help reveal the settings for the Nazi’s Enigma machine.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/hVWG80

  44. WH

    Saturday Feb. 26, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    Pres Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    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

  45. Marine Forward Element Set Up to Help in Middle East

    2/25/11 By Donna Miles -American Forces Press Service

    MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 25, 2011 – Traveling through the Middle East to confer with U.S. allies in the midst of regional unrest, the top U.S. military officer visited a new Marine Corps headquarters element here designed to evacuate noncombatants or provide humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

    Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, checked in today on the Marine Corps Forces Central Command Forward element at Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

    The headquarters stood up in November to bring Marine Corps Forces Central Command what its other sister services already have: a forward element within the 20-nation Centcom area of operations.

    “Trying to conduct business from the MARFORCENT headquarters in Tampa is a bit difficult,” Lt. Col. Mark Duffer, the element’s deputy current operations officer, told reporters traveling with Mullen. “So we wanted to push something forward to the here and now, to what’s happening so we can [create an] effect right away.”

    Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, pushed for the new forward element to focus on two primary missions: theater security cooperation and crisis management. “This was his vision here,” Duffer said. “And his vision started a couple of years ago and finally came to fruition here.”

    MARFORCENT stood up with a staff of 161 Marines, sailors and civilian employees working in a tiny facility within Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62948

  46. Douglas F. Vaughan Indicted in Ponzi Scheme
    Vaughan Allegedly Swindled $76 Million From Approximately 600 Investors
    U.S. Attorney’s Office

    February 25, 2011 fbi.gov

    — filed under: Albuquerque Top Stories, Press Release

    ALBUQUERQUE—Douglas F. Vaughan, 63, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges stemming from a fraudulent investment operation that was actually a multi-million-dollar Ponzi scheme. The 30-count indictment generally alleges that, between 2005 and 2010, Vaughan operated a promissory note investment program, which he marketed as a means of generating revenue to grow his real estate business, as a Ponzi scheme. It further alleges that Vaughan owed more than $76 million in unpaid principal and interest payments to approximately 600 investors when the fraudulent scheme collapsed in early 2010.

    United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that the indictment is the result of a joint federal-state investigation that was initiated by the Securities Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department in September 2009, and later expanded to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Secret Service.

    For the entire article: http://www.fbi.gov/albuquerque/press-releases/2011/douglas-f.-vaughan-indicted-in-ponzi-scheme

  47. Department of Justice Press Release

    February 25, 2011

    United States Attorney’s Office
    Eastern District of Pennsylvania

    Alleged Supporter of Terrorist Group Extradited from Paraguay

    PHILADELPHIA—Moussa Ali Hamdan, 38, a dual citizen of the United States and Lebanon and a former resident of Brooklyn, New York, made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia today after being extradited from Paraguay. He is being held pending a detention hearing. Hamdan is among several defendants charged in a conspiracy to provide material support to Hizballah, a designated foreign terrorist organization. He was indicted November 24, 2009, along with nine co-defendants. Hamdan was taken into U.S. custody in Asuncion, Paraguay, on Thursday, by U.S. Marshals who escorted him to Washington, D.C., where members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force took him into custody.

    At the time of the indictment, Hamdan had left the United States. On June 15, 2010, Paraguayan authorities arrested him in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Paraguay for the crime of material support of terrorism.

    For the entire article: http://philadelphia.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel11/ph022511a.htm

  48. Pelosi Announces Hearing on Jobs Now: Protecting the Taxpayer & Securing Our Energy Future

    February 25, 2011 democraticleader.gov

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced today that the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee will hold a hearing Monday on creating jobs now in America, protecting the taxpayer, and securing our energy future. The hearing will emphasize actions the 112th Congress should take to create jobs, bolster the middle class, and strengthen our economy through innovation and new clean energy technologies.

    “Democrats in Congress are focused on America’s top priority: creating jobs,” Leader Pelosi said. “By investing in innovation, clean energy, and new technology, we can strengthen our future, put Americans back to work, preserve our national security, and ensure our country’s competitiveness in the global economy for generations to come.”

  49. Reid Spokesman: Encouraged To See Republicans Abandoning Calls For Extreme Measures That Would Cut Jobs And Hurt Our Economy — And Moving Toward Democrats’ Calls For Smart Cuts To Government Spending

    February 25, 2011 democrats.senate.gov

    Washington, D.C. – Jon Summers, spokesman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, released the following statement in response to reports that Republican leaders are considering a two-week Continuing Resolution that closely resembles the kind of responsible cuts Democrats have been calling for:

    “When Republican leaders have to hold an entire press conference to try to convince people that they do not want to shut down the government, that’s saying something. We are encouraged to hear that Republicans are abandoning their demands for extreme measures like cuts to border security, cancer research and food safety inspectors and instead moving closer to Democrats’ position that we should cut government spending in a smart, responsible way that targets waste and excess while keeping our economy growing.

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=331447&amp;

  50. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Travel to Geneva

    Philip J. Crowley -Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, Washington, DC

    February 24, 2011 state.gov

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Geneva February 27 to 28.

    While in Geneva, she will hold consultations with her counterparts on the situation in Libya, and events and trends in the broader Middle East. She will also address the high-level segment of the 16th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

  51. Democratic National Committee Meeting — Watch Live Tomorrow

    February 25, 2011 Posted by Josh Cohen – DNC.org

    Tomorrow morning, Saturday, February 26th, from 9:30 a.m. EST to 11:30 a.m. EST, the Democratic National Committee will convene the general session of its winter meeting — and you can watch it live here.

    This is a great opportunity to hear directly from national Democratic leaders and key advisers to President Obama. Featured speakers include the Honorable William M. Daley, the Honorable Hilda L. Solis, Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray, and DNC Chairman Gov. Tim Kaine.

    Don’t miss it: democrats.org/DNC-winter-meeting.

  52. Remarks of President Barack Obama

    February 26, 2011
    Washington, DC

    Over the last month, I’ve been traveling the country, talking to Americans about how we can out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the rest of the world. Doing that will require a government that lives within its means, and cuts whatever spending we can afford to do without. But it will also require investing in our nation’s future – training and educating our workers; increasing our commitment to research and technology; building new roads and bridges, high-speed rail and high-speed internet.

    In cities and towns throughout America, I’ve seen the benefits of these investments. The schools and colleges of Oregon are providing Intel – the state’s largest private employer – with a steady stream of highly-educated workers and engineers. At Parkville Middle School outside of Baltimore, engineering is the most popular subject, thanks to outstanding teachers who are inspiring students to focus on their math and science skills.

    In Wisconsin, a company called Orion is putting hundreds of people to work manufacturing energy-efficient lights in a once-shuttered plant. And in the small community of Marquette, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, widely accessible high-speed internet has allowed students and entrepreneurs to connect to the global economy. One small business, a third-generation, family-owned clothing shop called Getz’s is now selling their products online, which has helped them double their workforce and make them one of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies in a recent listing.

    Each of these places reminds us that investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure are an essential down payment on our future. But they also remind us that the only way we can afford these investments is by getting our fiscal house in order.
    Just like any family, we have to live within our means to make room for things we absolutely need.

  53. RACHEL MADDOW Senator- Walker treating people like poker chips

    From: StartLoving4 | Feb 25, 2011

    RACHEL MADDOW Senator- Walker treating people like poker chips

  54. Good morning CR. Thank you for the Maddow clip and the President’s Weekly Address. My evenings have been a little busy this last couple of weeks and I don’t see much on my own.

    Have a fabulous Saturday. California is sending us that snow storm that you all had. It should hit us this afternoon around 5 p.p.

  55. Group of volunteers leading Wis. protest efforts

    2/26/11 JASON SMATHERS- AP

    MADISON, Wis. – Harriet Rowan was among the first to join the Wisconsin Capitol protest village. That was on Valentine’s Day, and it was only the next day when thousands of others began camping out with her in the rotunda that the rumor mill, misinformation and confusion took off as fast as the crowd size.

    “I came back on Tuesday night and there was absolutely no organization,” Rowan said. “People needed people to go up upstairs and testify all night to keep the building open … people were going around just waking people up … it was chaotic.”

    The University of Wisconsin senior made a snap decision to coordinate protest efforts, producing signs with media talking points and starting a Twitter feed detailing legislative meeting times, union rally locations and details on day-to-day life in the Capitol.

    Other Madison residents have opened their doors to out-of-town visitors, offering lodging to anyone friendly to unions. At the Statehouse, pizza, chili and cheese are offered to hungry protesters. Busloads of supporters from Los Angeles and elsewhere arrive to boost the numbers.

    Nearly two weeks after the start of widespread protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal that would strip nearly all public employees of their collective bargaining rights erupted, a network of volunteers has emerged that keeps the daily demonstrations alive.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/eIoy80

  56. Big union protests planned in Wisconsin, nationwide

    2/26/11 By James Kelleher and David Bailey James Kelleher- Reuters

    MADISON, Wisconsin (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of demonstrators were expected to take to the streets of the Wisconsin state Capitol later on Saturday as protests against a Republican plan to curb the power of public sector unions entered their third weekend.

    Labor groups also planned for large demonstrations in every state capital in the nation on Saturday to show solidarity with Wisconsin in fighting the proposal they see as trying to break the union movement.

    Organizers and law enforcement were expecting another huge turnout in Madison, rivaling the estimated crowd of 50,000 last Saturday which was the largest protest since the demonstrations began.

    But demonstrators will have to brave frigid temperatures in Madison, where the high is forecast to reach only 19 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday.

    So far cold temperatures have not deterred union members and their supporters, especially on the weekends. But this Saturday’s protests take place in a different context, after the controversial union proposal passed the state Assembly on Friday, testing the resolve of a movement that has so far been remarkably peaceful.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/i91lZI

  57. Midwest Machinists Cheer Protests’ Diversity

    2/26/11 businesswire.com

    WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–From across the country, local members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) are speaking out in support of the coalition of union members on the front lines in Wisconsin and Ohio.

    “The protests across the industrial core of our nation have captured international attention. But what has received very little notice is their diversity,” said Wisconsin District 10 Directing Business Representative Russell Krings. “Teachers and painters, state employees and steel workers, service employees and machinists, sheet metal workers and musicians are all playing a part. And their ethnic, racial and gender diversity reflects how All-American these protests really are.”

    “Expanding these protests is the next step,” said Wisconsin District 66 Directing Business Representative Rick Mickschl. “Students whose college tuitions are rising, jobless American whose unemployment benefits have run out, seniors whose Medicaid and Social Security is the next right wing target, the forgotten poor for whom no one speaks – all must be embraced.”

    “With one-fifth of America’s workforce idled by this Grave Recession, we need jobs,” declared Ohio District 54 Directing Business Representative Dean Wright, Jr. “We cannot balance local, state or federal budgets without more revenue – the revenue that comes from full employment. JOBS Now must be our rallying cry.”

    For the entire article: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110226005001/en/Midwest-Machinists-Cheer-Protests%E2%80%99-Diversity

  58. Workers’ rights rally set for today at state Capitol in Lansing

    2/26/11 freep.com

    A coalition of union and liberal activist organizations will gather today at the state Capitol in Lansing to protest what they regard as attacks on the rights of workers in Wisconsin and across the nation.

    The noontime Rally to Save the American Dream is a coordinated effort led by public employee unions and MoveOn.org to turn out demonstrators at state capitols around the country.

    More than 700 people had signed up online to attend the Michigan event by early Friday evening.

    “It’s to show support for organized labor, which has been under attack since November,” when Republicans gained control of the U.S. House and many state legislatures, including Michigan’s, said Ken Moore, president of the Michigan State Employees Association.

    Organizers asked attendees to wear red and white, the colors of the University of Wisconsin, as a show of solidarity with demonstrators who have been swarming the Capitol in Madison in an attempt to block legislation that would sharply curtail the bargaining rights of public employees there.

    For the entire article: http://www.freep.com/article/20110226/NEWS06/102260334/1001/rss01

  59. As unions rally in Trenton, tea party protesters gather nearby

    2/26/11 By Matt Katz – philly.com

    The expanding battle between budget-cutting governors and union members who believe they’re fighting for survival landed on the Statehouse steps in Trenton on Friday.

    “What’s up with your governor, anyway?” asked Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, as union members responded with boos.

    “They’ve taken a lot from us, but they can’t take our freedom! They can’t take our right to bargain for a better way of life!”

    As Gov. Christie seeks to force public employees to pay more toward their pension and medical benefits to help close a state deficit, and as governors across the country look for similar savings in employee costs, organized labor is ramping up its opposition.

    The Friday rally was in solidarity with the union workers in Wisconsin who stand to lose most collective-bargaining powers. Christie has expressed support for the Republican governor pushing that plan, Scott Walker, but he has not suggested getting rid of collective bargaining.

    Other fights over collective bargaining are looming in the statehouses of Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

    For the entire article: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20110226_As_unions_rally_in_Trenton__tea_party_protesters_gather_nearby.html

  60. Good Saturday morning everyone! Solidarity with all those who fight for equal rights! I HOPE that you have a good day!

  61. LinkedIn working again in China amid protest calls

    Feb 26,2011 AP

    BEIJING – Social networking site LinkedIn is once again accessible in China, after apparently being blocked by authorities following online calls for Middle East-style protests across the country.

    The unidentified organizers of the protests have urged citizens to rally Sunday in cities across China. Last weekend, an initial attempt to organize protests attracted only a handful of active participants, though it unnerved the authoritarian government.

    Beijing has responded by increasing Internet filtering, stepping up police presence and detaining dissidents.

    LinkedIn could not be opened in China for a few days this week but was working again Saturday. The Mountain View, California, company has said it was monitoring the situation.

  62. Happy Saturday CR, Kat and O friends. I am watching the DNC winter meeting now, Thanks CR for the link,

  63. U.N. To Discuss Sanctions Against Libya

    2/26/11 NY1 News

    The United Nations Security Council is expected to hold another meeting today to discuss possible sanctions against Libya.

    The meeting comes amid word that Moammar Gadhafi’s regime is arming civilian supporters to set up checkpoints and patrols around Tripoli to control movement and dispel protests.

    Residents report seeing trucks of civilians, including many teenagers, carrying automatic weapons patrolling their neighborhoods.

    U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is urging “concrete action” in protecting civilians dealing with the violence that continues to grip the Libya.

    Sanctions against Libya could include an arms embargo and an asset freeze and travel ban against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

    One resolution also suggests having Libya investigated for possible hate crimes against humanity.

    President Barack Obama will meet with the U.N. secretary general in Washington, D.C. on Monday to discuss further actions in the hopes of calming the situation.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be dispatched to Geneva to meet with the U.N. Human Rights Council.

    The United States already froze the assets of Gadhafi and four of his children, for what Obama calls Libya’s “unusual and extraordinary threat” to America.

    • U.N. Security Council takes up Libya sanctions

      February 26, 2011 By the CNN Wire Staff

      United Nations (CNN) — The United Nations Security Council went behind closed doors Saturday in an urgent session to discuss sanctions against Libya amid Moammar Gadhafi’s escalating crackdown on anti-government protesters.

      The draft resolution includes an arms embargo, asset freeze, and travel bans for Gadhafi and his associates. It also refers Gadhafi to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, which could prove to be a sticking point for some of the member nations.

      Several ambassadors said on their way to the meeting they expect a vote Saturday on the resolution.

      Gerard Araud, France’s ambassador to the United Nations, described the pace of the resolution proceedings as “an earthquake.”

      The United Nations estimates that 1,000 people have been killed since the Libyan uprising began last week and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Security Council to come up with immediate actions against Gadhafi’s regime.

      For the entire article: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/26/libya.un/index.html?section=cnn_latest

  64. Adult Conversation – Perspectives

    2/22/11 Paul Staley – KQED.org

    Evidently we could be on the verge of having the adult conversation about the role of government that our politicians have been promising and then postponing for so long. But hopefully this will be an opportunity for self-examination as well as debate given the conflicting opinions we have on the matter not only between but also within ourselves.

    Our government is composed of the many systems that tie us together, yet in this country we ground it in a national mythology of rebellion and independence. It is comprised of our fellow citizens but we talk about it as if it were an alien life form.

    In our personal experience it seems to move all over the place. When we get our paychecks we find that the government was in front of us in line, getting its share before we see one dime. And, yet sometimes when an emergency or disaster strikes, it is nowhere to be found.

    We chafe against government when it imposes restrictions that we consider unnecessary or inappropriate, and yet are quite happy to see the law used to enforce our own biases and preferences. We may profess to hate it but we make the same conflicting demands of it that we sometimes make of the people we love. We ask it to walk a tightrope that balances process with responsiveness and then are disappointed when it inevitably falls. We bequeath to it the problems that are the eternal woes of human existence, poverty, war and disease, and then criticize its inability to eradicate these. We entrust to it the people and things that we value the most in life, the education of our children and the protection of our homes and family, and then resent the contribution this requires of us.

    For the entire article and audio commentary: http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R201102220735

      • PBS:

        The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House (Coming to PBS March 1)

      • PBS, Feb. 25, 2011:

        IN PERFORMANCE AT THE WHITE HOUSE | Jamie Foxx and Opening Medley (airs on PBS 3/1)

        [In Performance at the White Househttp://www.pbs.org/inperformanceatthewhitehouse/] Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Seal and Nick Jonas perform a Motown Medley. Airs on PBS March 1.

  65. New Report Details Affordable Care Act Resources and Flexibility for States

    2/25/11 hhs.gov

    Affordable Care Act Has Made $2.8 Billion Available to States in Implementing Affordable Care Act

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released a new report showing that the Affordable Care Act provides states with significant flexibility and resources to improve health care benefits and protect consumers. Already, the law has provided or offered $2.8 billion in funding to states. This is a fraction of the total funding available under the law to help states implement new consumer protections, expand health coverage, and improve health care quality.

    “The Affordable Care Act is built on the foundation of providing states with the resources and flexibility they need to build a better, more affordable health care system,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This report shows that states have what they need to continue putting comprehensive health insurance reforms in place.”

    Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the fractured health care system placed tremendous financial burdens on states. In 2008, for example, states spent $17.2 billion on uncompensated care due to the large number of Americans without health insurance. Rising health care costs have also had a significant impact on state budgets.

    The Affordable Care Act builds on ongoing state efforts to reform health care, and provides states with new tools, flexibility, and resources to provide their residents with health care benefits and consumer protections at an affordable price. At a time when states are struggling with budget deficits, these resources are providing governors, state legislators and regulators, and the people they serve, with vital assistance to improve lives and reduce costs.

    The law also empowers states to choose a variety of implementation strategies to reflect their different insurance markets, provider networks, and the needs of their residents. Under the law, states receive substantial flexibility and financial support to cover the cost of creating new competitive insurance marketplaces and extending coverage to more Americans.

    The report can be found at http://www.HealthCare.gov/center/reports/states02252011a.pdf.

  66. Health officials track measles exposure at three U.S. airports

    2/26/11 By Lauren Keiper – Reuters

    BOSTON (Reuters) – State health officials are trying to track down travelers who may have been exposed to measles after a passenger who was contagious passed through three major U.S. airports.

    A woman with a confirmed case of measles traveled from the United Kingdom through Washington Dulles International Airport, Denver International Airport and on to Albuquerque International Airport last week, said Tom Skinner, spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The CDC has provided state health officials with information about passengers on those flights to begin tracing who may have had contact and if immunizations are current, said Skinner.

    On Friday, Colorado health officials issued a warning to travelers and workers at Denver International Airport of possible exposure to the passenger who is from New Mexico and was at the airport for several hours on Tuesday night.

    Officials believe the diagnosed case of measles was contracted overseas, said Skinner.

  67. Mullen: Anniversary Reaffirms U.S.-Kuwaiti Bonds

    2/26/11 By Donna Miles -American Forces Press Service

    KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, Feb. 26, 2011 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff joined in festivities today celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kuwait’s liberation during Operation Desert Storm and the 50th anniversary of its independence.

    “I am very proud to represent the United States here in Kuwait, as Kuwaitis celebrate their independence and our combined victory in Desert Storm,” Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters today before attending a massive military parade an hour’s drive from the capital in Al-Subiya.

    Calling the celebration “a terrific occasion,” Mullen said it “speaks to the strong bond of partnership we have with this country and our close military relationship.”

    Mullen expressed particular appreciation for Kuwait’s support for current military operations. He praised its “exceptional logistic support as we continue to flow our forces and resources out of Iraq.”

    “That support has been critical,” he said.

    Before today’s ceremonies, Mullen tweeted that he felt honored to participate, calling Liberation Day “a true testimony of their resilience and perseverance.”

    “I think the word ‘liberation’ says it all,” he said during an interview yesterday with the Kuwait News Agency. It’s significant, he said, in showing the commitment of the United States and its coalition partners’ efforts “to restore Kuwait to its rightful position and then to have watched Kuwait evolve” during the past two decades.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62951

    • I just can’t force myself to visit MoveOn’s website, but I did find out about the rally earlier today from other sites. I like the fact the Screen Actors Guild sent some “talent” there, in support of the union workers.

      • Jacqueline I also unsubscribed to moveon. It appeared that there was a big discussion on the live blogging about the lack of coverage of the rally from the major msm networks, i.e. cnn, cbs, nbc, abc.

  68. Obama says Gadhafi must leave Libya ‘now’

    2/26/11 ERICA WERNER, AP

    WASHINGTON – Ratcheting up the pressure, President Barack Obama on Saturday said Moammar Gadhafi has lost his legitimacy to rule and urged the Libyan leader to leave power immediately.

    It was the first time Obama has called for Gadhafi to step down, coming after days of bloodshed in Libya. Gadhafi has vowed to fight to the end to keep his four-decade grip on power in the North African country.

    “When a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now,” the White House said in a statement, summarizing Obama’s telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    Until now, U.S. officials have held back from such a pronouncement, insisting it is for the Libyan people to decide who their leader should be.

    Obama commented a day after the administration froze all Libyan assets in the U.S. that belong to Gadhafi, his government and four of his children. The U.S. also closed its embassy in Libya and suspended the limited defense trade between the countries.

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced further sanctions Saturday, revoking visas for senior Libyan officials and their immediate family members. She said applications from these people for travel to the United States would be rejected.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/hwoAxO

    • Holding the Qadhafi Government Accountable

      Hillary Rodham Clinton – Secretary of State
      Washington, DC

      February 26, 2011

      The United States strongly condemns the ongoing violence and human rights violations committed by the government of Libya against its own people. As President Obama said, these actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. They must stop.

      We are moving quickly on a series of steps to hold the Libyan government accountable for its violation of human rights and to mobilize a strong response from the international community.

      Last night the United States took action to limit the ability of senior officials of the Qadhafi regime to travel. As Secretary of State, I signed an order directing the Department to revoke U.S. visas held by these officials, others responsible for human rights violations in Libya, and their immediate family members. As a matter of policy, new visa applications will be denied.

      This step followed President Obama’s Executive Order freezing assets and imposing financial sanctions on members of the regime responsible for abuses against their own people and the suspension of the very limited defense trade we have had with Libya, including pending sales of spare military parts and other licenses allowing private companies to sell military equipment there.

      For the entire article; http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/02/157187.htm

      • Efforts to Assist U.S. Citizens in Libya

        Philip J. Crowley
        Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
        Washington, DC

        February 26, 2011

        The State Department’s obligation to U.S. citizens overseas is paramount. As the situation in Libya deteriorated we kept American citizens informed, issuing numerous messages advising them of the potential danger and ultimately, on Feb 20, advising them to depart while commercial flights were still available. When we planned assisted evacuations, we contacted hundreds of Americans in Libya to inform them directly of the details of our evacuation arrangements. Prior to departure from Tripoli, Embassy staff checked the airfield and its environs to ensure that we left behind no one who wished to depart Libya.

        For the entire article; http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/02/157184.htm

  69. BERLIN CALL

    2/26/11 POLITICO

    President Obama spoke with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Saturday to discuss the situation in Libya, the White House announced. The call came as the U.N. Security Council was meeting behind closed doors in New York to debate possible international sanctions on the Qadhafi regime.

    The two leaders discussed ways to “coordinate our urgent efforts to respond to developments and ensure appropriate accountability,” according to a White House statement. During the call, Obama expressed to Merkel “deep concerns” about the Libyan government’s “continued violations of human rights and brutalization of its people.”

    Obama has consulted with a number of foreign leaders in recent days about the developing unrest in Libya, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday.

    “The President spoke today with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, as he has done with many of his international counterparts this week, to discuss the situation in Libya and coordinate our urgent efforts to respond to developments and ensure appropriate accountability. The President and the Chancellor shared deep concerns about the Libyan government’s continued violation of human rights and brutalization of its people. The President stated that when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now. The leaders reaffirmed their support for the Libyan people’s demand for universal rights and a government that is responsive to their aspirations, and agreed that Qadhafi’s government must be held accountable. They discussed appropriate and effective ways for the international community to respond. The President welcomed ongoing efforts by our allies and partners, including at the United Nations and by the European Union, to develop and implement strong measures. The President and the Chancellor also discussed the global economic recovery and the need for effective tools to promote economic stability in the Eurozone.”

    • I only recently learned that Chancellor Merkel was herself a citizen of East Berlin, before the wall came down. I’m sure she, too, understands the need to restore human rights to the people of Libya.

  70. Seems like there’s never a moment’s peace for PBO. Thank goodness he is in charge; please continue to work hard to keep him where the world needs him: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

      • Hey Jacqueline and canadaBarb, agree with you. Little does Scott Walker know that he has awakened a partially sleeping giant. He messed with the wrong group of people. I have a feeling that people will be going to the polls in droves in 2012 and they will not be voting for republicans.

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