White House Vegetable Garden Planting 2011

wh-kitchen-garden-flotus-paver

On March 20, 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama broke ground on the largest and most expansive vegetable garden to date on the White House lawn. On April 9, 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama was joined by local school children to plant the seeds for the White House vegetable garden.

This L- shaped 1,100-square-foot (100 m2) garden is located by the mansion’s tennis courts and can be seen from E street. The plot will provide more than 55 varieties of vegetables along with fruits that will be incorporated in the meals made for the Obama family as well as invited guests. Another portion of the yields will be donated to the local soup kitchen and the Food Bank Organization.

September 30, 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama was presented with a commendation by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), for planting the White House Kitchen Garden.

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268 thoughts on “White House Vegetable Garden Planting 2011

  1. WH

    Wednesday Mar. 16, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    VP Biden meets with OMB Director Jacob Lew, NEC Director Gene Sperling and senior advisers to discuss the budget in the morning.

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM

    Pres Obama and VP Biden receive the presidential daily briefing.
    Carney convenes an off-camera gaggle with Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs Daniel Restrepo and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhode.

    11:00 AM

    VP Biden chairs a regular meeting of senior officials to assess progress in Iraq.

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM

    Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.
    1:35 PM

    Pres Obama meets with USAID Administrator Raj Shah.
    2:00 PM

    Pres Obama meets with senior advisers.

    2:55 PM

    Pres Obama accepts an award in conjunction with Sunshine Week.
    3:00 PM
    3:05 PM

    Pres Obama and VP Biden meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

    3:30 PM

    First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in the third planting of the White House Kitchen Garden. She will be joined by local school children.
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM

    Pres Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event.

    • POTUS podium

      Mar 16, 2011

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

      1:00 PM EDT
      Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

      3:30 PM EDT
      First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in the third planting of the White House Kitchen Garden. She will be joined by local school children.

      CNN http://live.cnn.com/

      9:30 AM EDT
      U.S. Senate Session

      9:30 AM EDT
      House Committee Energy & Commerce | Environment and Economy
      Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission 2012 Budget Request Steven Chu; John Shimkus

      10:00 AM EDT
      U.S. Senate Session
      Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will testify before the Senate Finance Committee on the lessons learned since the healthcare reform bill

      10:00 AM EDT
      Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will testify before the House on budget for the Department of Labor

      10:00 AM EDT
      U.S. Army. Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey will testify before the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on the budget for the U.S. Army.

      10:00 AM EDT
      Army Gen. Petraeus will testify before the House Armed Services Committee on the developments in Afghanistan

      11:30 AM EDT
      Lawmakers unveil concussion legislation
      Lawmakers reveal new legislation aimed at protecting youth athletes from the dangers of sports-related traumatic brain injuries

      1:00 PM
      Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

      2 PM EDT
      Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner will testify before the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government and the Treasury Department’s budget

      2 PM EDT
      Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Barbara Bennett, chief financial officer of the EPA, will testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies on the EPA’s proposed FY 2012 budget.

      3:30 PM EDT
      First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in the third planting of the White House Kitchen Garden. She will be joined by local school children.

      3:30 PM EDT
      Nuclear crisis briefing
      Senators join the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to discuss the Japan crisis and potential ramifications for the United States

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      9:30 AM EDT
      U.S. Senate Session

      9:30 AM EDT
      Congress Hears Public’s Concern with Full Body Scans http://www.cspan.org/Events/Congress-Hears-Publics-Concern-with-Full-Body-Scans/10737420257/

      9:30 AM EDT
      House Committee Energy & Commerce | Environment and Economy
      Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission 2012 Budget Request Steven Chu; John Shimkus http://www.cspan.org/Events/Congress-looks-at-Nuclear-Safety-and-Crisis-in-Japan/10737420229-1/

      10:00 AM EDT
      U.S. Senate Session
      Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will testify before the Senate Finance Committee on the lessons learned since the healthcare reform bill

      10:00 AM EDT
      Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will testify before the House on budget for the Department of Labor

      10:00 AM EDT
      Elizabeth Warren Defends Consumer Financial Protection Bureau http://www.cspan.org/Events/Elizabeth-Warren-Defends-Consumer-Financial-Protection-Bureau/10737420228-1/

      10:00 AM EDT
      U.S. Army. Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey will testify before the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on the budget for the U.S. Army.

      10:00 AM EDT
      Army Gen. Petraeus will testify before the House Armed Services Committee on the developments in Afghanistan http://www.cspan.org/Events/Gen-Petraeus-To-Brief-House-Members-On-Afghanistan/10737420254/

      11:30 AM EDT
      Lawmakers unveil concussion legislation
      Lawmakers reveal new legislation aimed at protecting youth athletes from the dangers of sports-related traumatic brain injuries

      1:00 PM
      Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

      2 PM EDT
      Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner will testify before the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government and the Treasury Department’s budget

      2 PM EDT
      Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Barbara Bennett, chief financial officer of the EPA, will testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies on the EPA’s proposed FY 2012 budget.

      3:30 PM EDT
      First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in the third planting of the White House Kitchen Garden. She will be joined by local school children.

      3:30 PM EDT
      Nuclear crisis briefing
      Senators join the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to discuss the Japan crisis and potential ramifications for the United States http://www.cspan.org/Events/Congress-looks-at-Nuclear-Safety-and-Crisis-in-Japan/10737420229-2/

      Department of Defense http://www.defense.gov/live/

      10:00 AM EDT
      Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, and Michèle Flournoy, under secretary of defense for policy, address the House Armed Services Committee on U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.

      —-

      Japan Broadcasting Corporation
      NHK LIVE FEED: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/

      —-

      Middle East Protest

      Al Jazeera – English http://english.aljazeera.net/

      Middle East and North Africa unrest- BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698

    • US Embassy of United States- Tokyo, Japan
      Warden Message

      How to Contact the U.S. Embassy, your family and friends

      March 12, 2011 at 14:20

      This warden message is being issued by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Japan of ways to let family and friends know your status. This information is also being posted on the Embassy website to help family members to get the status of the person they are looking for.

      For information regarding tsunami warnings issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency, please see the JMA website or http://www.jma.go.jp/en/tsunami

      This Google Crisis Response website is a good clearing house of updated information, some information is in Japanese.

      We understand that there are limited flights departing from Narita and Haneda airports in the Tokyo area. If you trying to fly out from Japan, please contact your airline to see if it is scheduled to depart.

      For the entire article: http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-warden20110312-03.html

  2. White House Vegetable Garden

    On March 20, 2009 Michelle Obama broke ground on the largest and most expansive vegetable garden to date on the White House lawn.

    This L- shaped 1,100-square-foot (100 m2) garden is located by the mansion’s tennis courts and can be seen from E street. The plot will provide more than 55 varieties of vegetables along with fruits that will be incorporated in the meals made for the Obama family as well as invited guests. Another portion of the yields will be donated to the local soup kitchen and the Food Bank Organization.

    Environmental and economic benefits

    Foodies and Environmentalist are elated with the produce garden growing at the White House. Michael Pollan, author of the “Omnivores Dilemma” and advocate of sustainable agriculture, believes the garden is not only practical and efficient “but just as important, it teaches important habits of mind — helping people to reconnect with their food, eat more healthily on a budget and recognize that we’re less dependent on the industrial food chain, and cheap fossil fuel, than we assume.” By growing a vegetable garden at the White house emissions set off through the transportation as well as the additional costs from the purchasing of food products will be reduced. The non chemical fertilizers used in the plot are made with “White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.” The project has also proved to be cost efficient by the roughly two hundred dollars spent on the cost of seeds which will provide a continuous supply of fresh produce year round.

    Source: Wikipedia

    .Wh Vegetable garden

    Uploaded by whitehouse on Aug 31, 2009

    First Lady Michelle Obama and White House chef Sam Kass tell the story of the first garden on White House grounds since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden during World War II. This new garden was planted in the Spring of 2009 with the help of local elementary school children and has yielded a constant supply fresh produce for the First Family and White House events.

    • First Lady Michelle Obama Is Honored By American Public Gardens Association For Planting The White House Kitchen Garden

      Hope, education & environmental stewardship…

      September 30, 2009 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

      On the opening night of the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, First Lady Michelle Obama was presented with a commendation by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), for planting the White House Kitchen Garden. The short ceremony took place at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, site of the opening night reception, before the international festivities kicked off. Richard V. Piacentini, executive director of The Phipps, presented the commendation plaque (in photo, above). The APGA is a Pennsylvania-based organization devoted to strengthening public gardens in North America. The Phipps is considered the greenest public garden in America, with LEED certification and a model approach to sustainable management.

      “By taking the initiative to plant a vegetable garden, Mrs. Obama has created a renewed vigor for environmental stewardship within the heart of the American people at a time when self-reliance is of prime importance,” Piacentini said, after the commendation ceremony.

      For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2009/09/first-lady-michelle-obama-is-honored-by.html

    • QBG Joins APGA in Honoring First Lady Michelle Obama for Her Support of Gardens

      QUEENS BOTANICAL GARDEN JOINS AMERICAN PUBLIC GARDENS ASSOCIATION IN HONORING FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA FOR HER SUPPORT OF GARDENS

      Michelle Obama Presented with an Official Commendation at the G-20 Summit for Her Role in Revitalizing America’s Interest in Gardening

      September 28, 2009 queensbotanical.org

      Flushing, New York – In recognition of First Lady Michelle Obama’s leadership in fostering a renewed interest in gardening and community environmentalism, the Queens Botanical Garden joined the 500 public gardens that form The American Public Gardens Association (APGA) last week to present First Lady Michelle Obama with a commendation for her support of gardens.

      Prior to her and President Obama’s official welcoming of the G-20 leaders to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Richard V. Piacentini, executive director of Phipps, presented the commendation to Mrs. Obama on behalf of the more than 500 public gardens nationwide that make up the American Public Gardens Association.

      “In this age of global challenges, building a garden is always a symbol of hope because it requires faith in the unseen and the belief that something sustaining can emerge from a small seed,” said Dan Stark, executive director of the APGA. “Mrs. Obama’s demonstrated belief in the value and importance of gardens as being vital to educating present and future generations on the importance of environmental stewardship is inspiring to us all. We could not think of a more deserving recipient for this commendation than the First Lady.”

      For the entire article: http://www.queensbotanical.org/article/208609

    • Burpee Hails the New White House Vegetable Garden

      Mar. 24, 2009 By: Marketwire

      WARMINSTER, PA — (Marketwire) — 03/24/09 — W. Atlee Burpee & Co., America’s most trusted name in ornamental and edible gardening, responded today to the First Lady’s plans for a new White House vegetable garden.

      “Michelle Obama is setting a superb example for our country’s citizens and particularly for America’s children,” says George Ball, Burpee’s Chairman and CEO. Mr. Ball believes that Mrs. Obama will inspire an even greater surge in community gardens and home gardens across the country. Mr. Ball believes the First Family’s example will engender widespread, positive change for Americans.

      The White House announced plans on Friday to break ground on the first sizable vegetable garden since President Franklin Roosevelt was in office. The garden will provide food for the First Family’s meals and formal dinners.

      For the entire article: http://au.sys-con.com/node/890460

    • Spring Hits The White House: First Lady Michelle Obama Plants Kitchen Garden Next Week

      Third Spring veggie fest for First Lady’s national icon is next Wednesday…

      March 11, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

      First Lady Michelle Obama will host a third Spring planting party for her South Lawn Kitchen Garden on Wednesday, March 16, the East Wing has announced. Mrs. Obama will be joined by local school kids, of course. The planting is a bit early this year: In Spring of 2010, the garden was planted on March 31. (Above: Mrs. Obama and helpers plant broccoli at last Spring’s event)

      During last year’s Spring planting, the Kitchen Garden was expanded by 400 square feet at the First Lady’s behest, and it’s now a 1,500 square foot patch of green goodness that’s produced well over 2,000 pound of crops to date. It grows through all four seasons, thanks to protective Hoop Houses. Start-up costs for the garden in 2009 were less than $200, according to the East Wing. About a third of the crops are donated to Miriam’s Kitchen, a DC social services agency that provides meals for the homeless. The rest of the vegetables are used for everything from simple First Family meals to State Dinners.

      For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/03/spring-hits-white-house-michelle-obama.html

  3. I’d just like to bring this over from the previous post, since we have a new one!

    Earlier, I was looking for a news story to catch up with how the Senate will act on the three-week budget Continuing Resolution, and noticed something interesting in the “comments” section on one website. It appears Boehner and Cantor are now being heavily criticized by the far right (and especially the teafolk) for passing these couple-week CRs at all – saying that “the Democrats still control the House.”

    That last part is okay by me. 🙂

    • I started to watch The Last Word and when I saw that O’Donnell was going to criticize the Dems for voting with the rethuglians to cut NOA, I turned away. Was not in the mood for any criticism of the dems tonight.

      I am pretty much tuning out all of the shows for now because I am seeing all these so-called experts giving their opinion on the Japanese situation. My head started to spin because they are all saying different things. I don’t know what to believe.

  4. CR – Thanks for continuing to provide the link for AJE. Sad to see how bad things still are in Libya.

    This opinion piece is pretty interesting (about how President Obama got it right regarding using discretion during the initial protests in Egypt, Libya, etc.). But, of course, on the same page of their website, there’s another opinion piece on how PBO didn’t get it right — that’s the article I didn’t read.

    http://bit.ly/e4K0zb

  5. And thanks for the link for the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. God bless the people of Japan. My heart goes out to each one suffering from the earthquake and tsunami devastation.

  6. This is a nice gesture.

    Democratic lawmakers hold fundraiser for Giffords

    WASHINGTON – Dozens of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ colleagues showed their support Tuesday by making sure she has enough money if she seeks political office again.

    The Democratic lawmakers attended a campaign fundraiser on Giffords’ behalf and voiced confidence that the Arizonan would return to Congress. In the meantime, as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida said, they wanted to demonstrate that “we have her back.”

    “We’re going to make sure that when she does come back, she has the resources she needs to hit the ground running,” said Wasserman Schultz, one of three Democrats serving as chairmen for the fundraiser.

  7. Japan prepares to restart work at nuclear plant

    3/16/11 By ERIC TALMADGE and SHINO YUASA, AP

    FUKUSHIMA, Japan – Japan ordered emergency workers to withdraw from its stricken nuclear complex Wednesday amid a surge in radiation, temporarily suspending efforts to cool the overheating reactors. Hours later, officials said they were preparing to send the team back in.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the workers, who had been dousing the reactors with seawater in a frantic effort to stabilize their temperatures, had no choice but to pull back from the most dangerous areas.

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

    • Officials Urge Precautions at Yokosuka, Atsugi

      March 15, 2011 By Jim Garamone -American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – Officials told personnel in and around Fleet Activities Yokosuka and Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan today to limit outdoor activities and to turn off air conditioning due to the detection of low levels of radioactivity.

      U.S. 7th Fleet officials said sensitive instruments aboard the USS George Washington, docked at Yokosuka, detected low levels of radioactivity released from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.

      Limiting outdoor activities and turning off air conditioners “are strictly precautionary in nature,” the announcement said. “We do not expect that any United States federal radiation exposure limits will be exceeded even if no precautionary measures are taken.”

      Officials stressed that these are low-level readings and the public is not in danger.

      “According to the instrumentation at Fleet Activity Yokosuka, the levels are very low,” said Navy Lt. Anthony Falvo, 7th Fleet deputy public affairs officer. “For perspective, the additional radiation exposure over the past 12 hours was about 20 millirems –- which is less than one month’s exposure to naturally occurring radiation that one would get from the sun, the earth or rocks.”

      Officials will continue the monitoring program and will constantly check the weather and prevailing winds, Falvo said. If anything changes, base officials will immediately notify service members and their families, he added.

  8. Good Wednesday morning everyone! I HOPE that you have a good day! 🙂

    Prayers go out to Japan.

    • Petraeus: Afghan Transition Will Have Long-term Impact

      March 16, 2011 By Karen Parrish
      American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – As the transition approaches for Afghan forces to begin taking responsibility for security in their country, actions in the coming months will have consequences for years to come, the commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan said here today.

      Army Gen. David H. Petraeus told the House Armed Services Committee that each step in the process — set to culminate with Afghan forces having the security lead throughout the country by the end of 2014 — must be closely coordinated and irrevocable.

      “We’ll get one shot at transition, and we need to get it right,” he said.

      The coalition has increased its efforts to enable the Afghan government’s work to improve governance, economic development and the provision of basic services, Petraeus said.

      “These are essential elements of the effort to shift delivery of basic services from provincial reconstruction teams and international organizations to Afghan government elements,” he explained.

      Afghan-led reintegration of reconcilable insurgents must be an important element of the strategy, Petraeus said, noting that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force is assisting Afghan government initiatives, including the recently established Afghan high peace council and provincial reintegration councils.

      “Indeed, we recognize that we and our Afghan partners cannot just kill or capture our way out of the insurgency in Afghanistan,” the general said. “In fact, some 700 former Taliban have now officially reintegrated with Afghan authorities, and some 2,000 more are in various stages of the reintegration process.”

      All of these efforts are part of a comprehensive civil-military approach, he explained, in which ISAF coordinates with international organizations, diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, and the Afghan government and security forces.

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63182

  9. Official Notes Readiness Challenges in Pacific

    March 15, 2011 By Karen Parrish -American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. military response following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan highlights the importance of a forward troop presence in the region, a senior defense official told Congress today.

    Michael Schiffer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, testified today before the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness subcommittee on long-term challenges in the Pacific region.

    “Our forward presence in Japan and throughout the Asia-Pacific region has allowed us to respond to Japan’s urgent needs quickly,” Schiffer said.

    The U.S. military is contributing humanitarian assistance and helicopter search-and-rescue operations in Japan, Schiffer said, while U.S. Navy ships are providing water purification, medical teams and hospital beds. The military services will continue to provide “whatever assistance our Japanese friends require,” he added.

    U.S. service members in the Pacific region are ready to meet any challenges they may face in the near, medium or long term, Schiffer said.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63174

    • Helping Japan Now Pacific Command’s Top Priority

      March 17, 2011 By Cheryl Pellerin
      American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – U.S. forces in Japan are engaged in one of the biggest natural and manmade disasters of a lifetime, Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard said here tonight.

      Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, spoke over the phone from Hawaii to the Pentagon press corps about what the U.S. military is doing to help the Japanese Self-Defense Force respond to the disaster caused by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear emergency.

      “At U.S. Pacific Command we’re all very saddened by the tremendous losses that the Japanese have experienced,” Willard said, adding that he has served twice in Japan during his Navy career.

      In an effort Pacom is calling Operation Tomodachi — the Japanese word for friendship — “we are placing our very highest priority on our operations in support of our ally Japan,” the admiral said.

      Willard’s command has Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army and Special Operations Command troops in Japan, Willard said, performing functions ranging from bringing food, water and other supplies to the more than 500,000 displaced citizens of northeast Honshu, Japan’s main island.

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63206

  10. Misawa Air Base recovering from earthquake

    3/15/2011 by Tech. Sgt. Phillip Butterfield
    35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) — Misawa Air Base was shaken March 11 by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan but sustained only minor damage with no injuries or loss of life.

    “Our focus is on the recovery of the base and assisting our Japanese allies,” said Col. Michael Rothstein, the 35th Fighter Wing commander. “We will do whatever it takes to get us both on our feet again, and I believe we have the best people on the job for this task.”

    Further aiding in base recovery were the Airmen here supporting and establishing command and control operations, said Lt. Col. Dwayne Robison, the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.

    “Our Airmen and family members aided in recovery efforts almost immediately after the earthquake,” he said. “The earthquake struck the region when the base was in the middle of an operational readiness exercise. So we already had our emergency operations center and our unit control centers (up and running). This enabled people to call in immediately with reports of damages, and we had no delay with responding to their needs.”

    For the entire article: http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123246783

  11. Remarks Preceding Meeting With Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf

    Hillary Rodham Clinton -Secretary of State
    Cairo, Egypt

    March 16, 2011

    It was very exciting and moving for me to go to Tahrir Square and to have some sense of what those amazing days must have been like here in Cairo.

    I’m so looking forward to helping in any way that we can in this transformation and all the work that needs to be done.

    I was just saying to one of the ministers that we have an expression: It’s like drinking from a fire hose. There is so much to be done. But the United States stands ready to help in every way possible to translate what happened in Tahrir Square into the new reality for Egypt.

  12. Tsunami Cripples Several West Coast Harbors

    3/15/11 by Richard Gonzales – NPR

    The tsunami that devastated Japan also sent strong currents to California’s northern coast, causing tens of millions of dollars in damage and leaving four coastal counties under a state of emergency.

    Crescent City, Calif., near the Oregon border, ranks as the state’s most productive seafood harbor. But with no place for fishing vessels to tie down, the entire commercial fishing industry is, for all practical purposes, dead.

    Crescent City has earned its reputation as a “tsunami magnet.” The small, half-moon-shaped harbor traps the energy from churning ocean waves and has absorbed more than 30 tsunamis in the past eight decades. Last week’s tsunami, which hit as the harbor was still recovering from another tsunami that hit five years ago, sank 16 boats and damaged 47 others.

    “We’re all shut down here, the whole fleet,” says Ivan Simpson, a deckhand on a fishing boat that survived. “Seems like it’s going to be a while before we can even tie up in here or work out of this port or any other port around here.”

    “This is my source of income, my captains, there’s two to five people on each boat. You figure you got 100 or 200 boats that are shut down. That’s a lot of people out of work,” Simpson says. “We had a fairly good season until this.”

    The tsunami also washed thousands of dollars of crabbing traps and gear out to sea. They are likely irretrievable.

    Officials here fear another potential catastrophe. The sunken or damaged boats still hold fuel onboard, says Alexia Retallack of the state’s Department of Fish and Game.

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/15/134569532/tsunami-cripples-several-west-coast-harbors?ft=1&f=1003

    • Tsunami damage at Fort Bragg now $4 million

      March 16, 2011 PRESS DEMOCRAT STAFF

      Rain poured on Noyo Harbor at Fort Bragg Tuesday, slowing efforts to assess and repair damage caused by the tsunami on Friday.

      “It rained so hard, we quit,” said Noyo Harbor manager Jere Kleinbach.

      Weather permitting today, the remains of broken piers will be removed and divers will be able to better evaluate the damage to the harbor infrastructure, currently estimated at up to $4 million.

      The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday declared a state of emergency at Fort Bragg, paving the way for a similar state declaration that will help the battered harbor district obtain emergency funding to repair the docks.

      Waves of up to six feet pummeled the marina, wiping out a 150-foot section of one dock and seriously damaging at least two others.

      It could have been worse. “Nobody sank,” Kleinbach said.

      There would have been more damage if the larger, steel-hulled fishing boats docked in the marina had not motored out to sea to avoid being tossed around in the harbor, where they would have crashed into smaller boats, he said.

      For the entire article: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20110316/articles/110319676&tc=yahoo

    • March 16, 2011

      Readout of the President’s call with Japanese Prime Minister Kan

      The President spoke this evening by telephone with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan to discuss the status of ongoing relief efforts in Japan, including the emergency at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The President again conveyed his deep condolences at the tragic loss of life and the widespread suffering in Northeastern Japan. The President emphasized that the U.S. is determined to do everything possible to support Japan in overcoming the effects of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11. The President briefed Prime Minister Kan on the additional support being provided by the U.S., including specialized military assets with expertise in nuclear response and consequence management. The two leaders also discussed the welfare and safety of American citizens in Japan and the President described steps that the U.S. is taking in this regard. He thanked the Prime Minister for his commitment to help American residents. Prime Minister Kan briefed the President on the status of Japanese actions to contain the nuclear emergency and to bring the situation under control. The Prime Minister expressed Japan’s appreciation for the extensive humanitarian, technical and other support provided by the United States. The two leaders reaffirmed that U.S. and Japanese experts and officials would continue to cooperate closely and they agreed to remain in close touch through this challenging period. The President promised that the United States will always stand by Japan, our close friend and ally. The President expressed his extraordinary admiration for the character and resolve of the Japanese people, and his confidence that Japan will make a full recovery from this disaster.

  13. Hawaii governor tours areas damaged by tsunami

    3/15/11 StarAdvertiser.com

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday assessed damage on the Big Island and Maui inflicted by last week’s tsunami, including problems on a cruise ship dock.

    The governor told people in Kailua-Kona he would do everything he can to get help for repairs. The damage wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be, Abercrombie added.

    One of the major concerns in the West Hawaii town is that the asphalt on the cruise ship dock is uneven and might not be able to sustain the weight of tour buses carrying cruise ship passengers.

    A structural engineer was examining the pier it to see if it was sound and determine what kind of repairs were needed so cruise ships can return.

    Norwegian Cruise Lines canceled plans for its Pride of America to dock in Kailua-Kona next week.

    At the historic Hulihee Palace, workers were airing out old books, maps, poi pounding boards and spears that were drenched when the basement was flooded.

    The former summer vacation home for Hawaiian royalty is now a museum showcasing Victorian artifacts from the era of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani.

    Abercrombie’s administration previously said Hawaii suffered damage totaling tens of millions of dollars. The rough estimate combined damage to homes, businesses, hotels, boats, piers and government infrastructure.

    For the entire article: http://hosted2.ap.org/HIHON/117a0477c44849128ee910aa1d0181d9/Article_2011-03-15-Japan%20Earthquake-Hawaii/id-b56326daf92845ac9c06ecafa5aca0fa

  14. Ahead of NPR vote, Dems rally against ‘ironic’ push for cuts

    03/16/11 By Sara Jerome – TheHill.com

    House Democrats rallied this week to maintain funding for public broadcasting ahead of a Wednesday House Rules Committee vote on a bill to defund NPR.

    “It’s ironic that while some people are maneuvering to defund public broadcasting that so many of those same people started their day listening to NPR,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said. Bob McGrath, a Sesame Street actor, said public broadcasting is a “necessity to our society.” It’s “not a frill,” he said.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/149835-ahead-of-npr-vote-dems-rally-against-gops-ironic-push-for-cuts

  15. U.S. Ambassador Issues Message to Americans in Japan

    March 16, 2011 American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON, – U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos today issued a message to Americans living there to bring them up to date on the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck the island nation last week.

    Here is the text of the ambassador’s message:

    Today our hearts remain with our Japanese friends who, after suffering this devastating tragedy just four days ago, have to undertake recovery and reconstruction and address the ongoing nuclear emergency.

    We understand that many of you are anxious and have questions in the shadow of the Fukushima emergency, since we are in the midst of a complex, constantly changing, and unpredictable situation. In this fluid situation, our commitment to our citizens is to accumulate accurate information and assess it sufficiently in order to make important judgments.

    Since the first reports of trouble with the reactors, American nuclear experts have worked around the clock to analyze data, monitor developments, and provide clear assessments on the potential dangers. While at times we have had only limited access to information, I am personally committed to assuring that our experts have as much access and information as possible, and the necessary resources to understand the situation. I have personally been deeply engaged in these efforts.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63181

  16. Reid: Budget Votes Continue To Make Case For Compromise

    3/16/11 democrats.senate.gov

    Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today regarding the need for Republicans to compromise on a long-term Continuing Resolution:

    “No one can count the number of times this chamber has heard calls for compromise. That call has come from Senators of good faith, from every era, from Senators on both sides. Indeed, it’s the very essence of the legislative branch, which was purposefully designed to run on consensus.

    “As Senators, we search for the right arguments and the right incentives that will help us strike the right balance – a balance that will let the Senate and the country move forward.

    “But there has been no stronger argument for bipartisanship than the series of budget votes over the past few days.

    “Last week, the Senate voted on two proposals – one written by Republicans, and one written by Democrats. Some Republicans voted against the Republican bill. Some Democrats voted against the Democratic bill. And in the end, neither passed.

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=331946&

  17. NPR defunding vote: Don’t diminish democracy to settle a political score

    The NPR video sting makes it easier to repeat the talking point that public radio doesn’t deserve public support. But research of public media in other democracies shows the opposite is true.

    March 14, 2011 By Rodney Benson -csmonitor.com

    Republicans in Congress have wanted to defund public broadcasting for decades. Now, after former National Public Radio fundraising executive Ronald Schiller was caught saying that NPR would be “better off in the long run without federal funding,” they’re on the verge of making that happen. A vote could happen this week.

    Last week’s video sting certainly makes it easier to repeat the talking point that public radio doesn’t deserve public support. But careful research of public media in other democracies shows the opposite is true.

    Before they rush to strip crucial funding from public media, lawmakers should pause to consider just how small the investment and how big the return really are.

    A tiny amount

    Public funding in the United States is already far beneath the norm in other strong democracies. In a recent study of 14 other democracies – stretching from Australia to Norway to Canada – Matthew Powers and I show that per capita public spending in those countries ranges from $30 to more than $130. This compares to less than $1.50 for federal funding in the United States. Moreoever, when you add in state and local funding, corporate and foundation donors, as well as individual contributions, the US per capita total rises to just $9.

    For the entire article: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0314/NPR-defunding-vote-Don-t-diminish-democracy-to-settle-a-political-score

  18. Sunshine Week 2011 and Our Ongoing Commitment to Open Government

    March 16, 2011 Posted by Steve Croley

    Ed. Note: This afternoon, the President will accept an award from a coalition of good government groups and transparency advocates to recognize “ his deep commitment to an open and transparent government—of, by, and for the people” in conjunction with Sunshine Week.

    This week is “Sunshine Week.” Led by the American Society of News Editors and originally funded by the Knight Foundation, Sunshine Week is observed by media organizations around the country. It coincides with National Freedom of Information Day—March 16—selected to fall on James Madison’s birthday. Journalists, good-government groups, transparency advocates, educators, and many others interested in government transparency host events throughout the week to promote open government and freedom of information. They do so to assess the extent to which government is truly open, and to encourage citizens to seek information from their government and participate in public affairs.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/16/sunshine-week-2011-and-our-ongoing-commitment-open-government

  19. Michelle Obama Re-Plants Kitchen Garden Today, With Help from President Thomas Jefferson

    Seeds and plants from Jefferson’s vast vegetable garden at Monticello will be installed as Mrs. Obama hosts third Spring planting…

    March 16, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

    “The greatest service which can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture,” Thomas Jefferson, America’s foremost presidential gardener, once said. First Lady Michelle Obama’s version of that pronouncement might be “The greatest service that can be rendered to any community is to add a useful garden.” The uptick in America’s enthusiasm for edible gardening in the last two years has been credited to Mrs. Obama’s 1,500 square-foot South Lawn Kitchen Garden, which she will replant for Spring this afternoon at 3:30.

    Today marks the third Spring planting since the First Lady first broke ground for the Kitchen Garden on March 20, 2009, and it’s a bit of an early start: In Spring of 2010, the Kitchen Garden was planted on March 31. Mrs. Obama will be joined by local schoolkids, of course.

    For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/03/michelle-obama-re-plants-kitchen-garden.html

    • I love this Jefferson connection. I’m sure our media will get this around the country, for the benefit of students who may want to take part in planting private or community gardens in their hometowns – inspired by our First Lady.

      Yeah, right.

  20. Good morning CR and O friends.

    I have been watching Jay Carney’s presser this morning and I must say that he is finding his own. He is much stronger. I don’t understand why these reporters ask the same questions over and over.

    • Good Wednesday morning COS!

      My husband said that he thinks that the reporters all want their news agency be credited for having asked this or that question but it sure makes for obnoxious pressers!

      • CR – I’m late responding to some of these earlier posts, but I think your husband is right. The reporters are more interested in which sound bite their producers will use on TV that day, rather than asking really good questions – for which the American people might want really good answers. Pathetic.

    • Gee, I really enjoyed watching FLOTUS and the kids plant the garden. I felt like I should have been there planting one of those plants. 🙂 She is so down to earth. Hmmmm hot apple cider was a nice treat.

    • March 16, 2011

      Remarks by the First Lady at White House Kitchen Garden Planting -South Lawn

      3:33 P.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA: What’s going on? How are you guys doing?
      AUDIENCE: Fine.

      MRS. OBAMA: Fine! Are you excited?
      AUDIENCE: Yeah!

      MRS. OBAMA: You ready to do something?
      AUDIENCE: Yeah!

      MRS. OBAMA: All right, first I’ve got to find out who’s here. I see some Bancroft t-shirts. Are you guys all from Bancroft?
      AUDIENCE: Yeah.

      MRS. OBAMA: It’s good to have you back. What grades are you? What grades do we have?
      AUDIENCE: Fifth!

      MRS. OBAMA: Fifth grade, nice! Awesome! Now, Tubman? Is Tubman in the house?
      AUDIENCE: Yeah.

      MRS. OBAMA: Where are the Tubman people? Let’s see some Tubman action. Yes! And what grades are you all in?
      AUDIENCE: Fourth! Fifth!

      MRS. OBAMA: Fourth and fifth. How exciting. Now, who’s been here before? All right, cool, cool. And who — all right, let’s see new hands, new hands. Anybody who hasn’t been here before? All right, great.

      Well, this is exciting for all of us because this is the planting season for the White House Garden.
      AUDIENCE: Yay!

      MRS. OBAMA: And we’re excited to have you guys. We rely on you all so much to get all this done, because look how much we have to plant. There’s no way we would get this done without your help. So we really appreciate it. So how many of you guys know what we’re going to plant today? All right, give me something. Let me hear it. What are we going to do? Who told you?
      AUDIENCE: Spinach.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/16/remarks-first-lady-white-house-kitchen-garden-planting

      • Spring 2011 Kitchen Garden Planting

        From: whitehouse | Mar 30, 2011

        First Lady Michelle Obama, along with DC-area children, plant the White House Kitchen Garden. The garden includes spinach, peas, lettuce, broccoli, blueberries, raspberries and other vegetables and herbs.

    • BOOK DEAL, UPDATED GARDEN FOR MICHELLE OBAMA

      3/16/11 By AMIE PARNES – POLITICO

      Michelle Obama is writing a book about her now world-famous White House garden.

      The first lady signed the deal with the Crown Publishing Group and will write about the garden and healthy eating. The untitled hardcover book, which will include color photographs of the White House garden and other gardens around the country, is scheduled for publication in April 2012.

      Obama will not receive an advance, and all proceeds from the book will be donated to charity.

      News of the book deal came shortly after the first lady and a group of fourth and fifth graders from a Washington elementary school gathered on the White House South Lawn for the planting of the spring vegetable garden on Wednesday.

      For the entire article: http://www.politico.com/click/stories/1103/book_deal_updated_garden_for_flotus.html

      • Another perfect Christmas present that year! The Obamas make gift-giving easier, since I love to give books to my grandchildren. Oh, and the connection is: I love the Obamas.

  21. Investing in Open Government to Create A More Efficient and Effective Government

    Posted by Chris Lu on March 16, 2011

    Ed. Note: This post is part of our Sunshine Week series, a national initiative to celebrate and focus on government transparency and open government.

    Federal agencies collect enormous amounts of data about such diverse matters as automobile safety, air travel, air quality, workplace safety, drug safety, nutrition, crime, obesity, the employment market, and health care. The Obama Administration has made it a priority to share this and other government information – what the President has called a “national asset” – to improve citizen education and decision-making, and to spur innovation and job creation.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/16/investing-open-government-create-more-efficient-and-effective-government

  22. Removing Mercury and Other Toxics From the Air We Breathe

    March 16, 2011 Posted by Administrator Lisa P. Jackson

    This week, the EPA proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, a Clean Air Act protection that sets the first-ever national safeguards to limit power plant releases of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases into the air we breathe. America’s power plants are the source of half of the mercury emissions, half of the acid gases, and a quarter of all toxic metal pollution in the U.S, and almost half of America’s coal plants lack advanced pollution controls. Instead of operating without set limits for these pollutants – which are linked to costly and often fatal health threats like asthma, cancer and developmental disorders – American power plants will install widely available, American made pollution control technology to cut emissions.

    Setting commonsense goals for reducing harmful pollution in the air we breathe can save lives, prevent illnesses and promote the creation of new jobs. We’re confident in these expectations for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards because this has been the history of Clean Air Act protections for the last forty years.

    In 2010 alone, protections in the Clean Air Act prevented 160,000 premature deaths and 170,000 hospital visits. Cleaner air has meant trillions of dollars in benefits to our nation – not only through fewer medical bills, but by keeping our kids in school and our workers on the job. The Clean Air Act has also helped create jobs. As of 2008 the environmental technology industry – which develops, manufactures and maintains the tools that help keep our air clean – employed more than 1.7 million Americans.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/16/removing-mercury-and-other-toxics-air-we-breathe

    • Well, I’m surprised the Republicans haven’t gotten rid of the Clean Air Act yet.

      All kidding aside, this sounds like a great move forward by the EPA on behalf of all of us.

  23. New power line almost ready at Japan nuke plant

    3/16/11 AP

    TOKYO – A nearly completed new power line could restore electric cooling systems in Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear plant, its operator said Thursday, raising hopes of easing the crisis that has threatened a meltdown.

    Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Naoki Tsunoda said the new power line to Fukushima Dai-ichi is almost complete. Officials plan to try it “as soon as possible” but he could not say when.

    Meanwhile, conditions at the plant appeared to worsen Wednesday, with white smoke pouring from the reactor complex and a dangerous surge in radiation levels forcing workers to retreat for hours from their struggle to cool the overheating reactors.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/eQj9wz

    • Believe I heard today there are about 50 volunteers who stayed behind to man the nuclear plant(s) in Japan – so courageous!

  24. Ships, Aircraft Support Japan Relief Effort

    March 16, 2011 By Cheryl Pellerin – American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON – Fourteen U.S. Navy ships and their aircraft and 17,000 sailors and Marines are now involved in the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in Japan, a Defense Department spokesman said here today.

    Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan said the military effort has included 113 helicopter sorties and 125 fixed-wing sorties, moving people and supplies, helping in search and rescue efforts, and delivering 129,000 gallons of water and 4,200 pounds of food.

    The USS Tortuga, with heavy-lift MH-53 helicopters aboard, has completed loading 273 Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force troops, 93 vehicles and equipment for delivery tomorrow in Onimato, he said.

    The USS Blue Ridge, the command ship for Navy Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and is expected to remain in the area, Lapan said.

    The USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry and the USS Germantown — with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard — “will remain on the western side [of Honshu] rather than transit around to the east because of the at-sea debris field and the radiation hazard,” he added.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63185

  25. March 16, 2011
    Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting on Iraq

    The Vice President chaired a monthly Cabinet-level meeting today to discuss the current political, economic, and security situation in Iraq. Attendees included Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jacob Lew, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, and senior officials from the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Energy, and Homeland Security; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; the Office of the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations; and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Ambassador Jim Jeffrey and General Lloyd Austin participated by video conference.

    The discussion included an update on the status of implementation of outstanding agreements related to government formation. The principals noted that the levels of violence remain at historic lows in Iraq and that Iraqi Security Forces are capably providing security for the country. They also discussed provision of U.S. technical and policy support for the economic and energy sectors pursuant to the Strategic Framework Agreement between the United States and Iraq.

  26. March 16, 2011

    President Obama Nominates Two to the United States District Court

    WASHINGTON- Today, President Obama nominated Mary Geiger Lewis and Judge Jane Margaret Triche-Milazzo to United States District Court judgeships.

    “These women have had distinguished legal careers and I am honored to ask them to continue their work as judges on the federal bench,” said President Obama. “They will serve the American people with integrity and an unwavering commitment to justice.”

    Mary Geiger Lewis: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina

    udge Jane Margaret Triche-Milazzo: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/16/president-obama-nominates-two-united-states-district-court

  27. March 16, 2011

    Nominations Sent to the Senate

    Mary Geiger Lewis, of South Carolina, to be United States District Judge for the District of South Carolina, vice Henry F. Floyd.

    Jane Margaret Triche-Milazzo, of Louisiana, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, vice Mary Ann Vial Lemmon, retired.

  28. Hoyer: Closing Tax Loopholes Must Be Part of the Answer to Budget Challenges

    3/16/11 democraticwhip.gov

    WASHINGTON, DC – Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered a morning hour speech today on the House Floor on the budget deficit and how tax reform is one part of a serious deficit reduction plan. See below for a link to the video and his remarks as prepared for delivery:

    “Last week, former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough said this about the hard work of getting America out of debt: ‘The belief of some on the right that America can balance the budget by cutting education, infrastructure, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and home heating assistance to the poor is tantamount to budgetary witchcraft.’

    “Last week, Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan expressed a similar thought. Some, he said, ‘literally think you can just balance [the budget by cutting] waste, fraud and abuse, foreign aid and NPR. And it doesn’t work like that.’

    “Both Congressman Scarborough and Congressman Ryan are exactly right. Last week, I explained why Republicans’ spending plan, even as it cripples America’s competitiveness, barely makes a dent in our debt. That’s because the spending targeted by Republicans—non-security discretionary spending—only amounts to 14% of our entire budget.

    For the entire article: http://www.democraticwhip.gov/content/hoyer-closing-tax-loopholes-must-be-part-answer-budget-challenges

  29. Everyone prospers under health law

    3/16/11 democraticwhip.gov

    Just 12 months after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law, the American people are enjoying new protections, greater freedoms and lower costs.

    Children are now protected from being turned away by insurers because of a pre-existing condition. Seniors enrolled in Medicare now have the freedom to get preventive care — such as mammograms and colonoscopies — for free. A Patient’s Bill of Rights is freeing families from some of the worst abuses of insurance companies, including canceling coverage when you get sick because of a paperwork error.

    Early signs show that, after years of decline, the number of small businesses offering coverage to employees is increasing.

    Perhaps less widely recognized, but no less significant, has been the way the law is demanding transparency and accountability from the insurance industry to bring down premiums.

    For too long, it’s been common for people receive a letter from an insurer announcing a premium increase of 20 percent to 25 percent, with little explanation and no recourse. That’s already changing.

    During the past year, our department has provided states with almost $250 million in funding to strengthen their ability to review, revise or reject unreasonable rate hikes. New proposed rules would force many insurers to justify big increases and post explanations on the Web. States from California to Connecticut have already shown that vigorous oversight can be effective in stopping unjustified premium increases.

    For the entire article: http://www.democraticwhip.gov/content/everyone-prospers-under-health-law

  30. Memo: Republicans’ Reckless Plans Would Drive Up Drug Prices for Seniors, Put Sick Kids At Risk And Explode Our Deficit

    March 16, 2011

    To: Interested Parties
    Fr: Democratic Policy and Communications Center

    Re: Republicans’ Reckless Plans Would Drive Up Drug Prices for Seniors, Put Sick Kids At Risk And Explode Our Deficit

    While Democrats have moved on to creating jobs, after a year, Republicans are still obsessed with yesterday’s battles. There are various reckless Republican plans to take away benefits and protections that millions of Americans rely on, but the thing they all have in common is that they would raise taxes on small businesses, increase prescription costs for seniors, allow insurance companies to deny care to sick children and increase the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades.

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=331996&

  31. How It’s Playing: “Checkmate,” “Boehner’s Weakened Hand,” “No More Good Moves For Boehner In Spending Fight”

    3/16/11 democrats.senate.gov

    The news coverage today is clear: Republican defections show that Speaker Boehner must work with moderate Republicans and Democrats to forge a compromise that makes responsible cuts while keeping American jobs safe. It’s time for Speaker Boehner to abandon the extreme tea party members who continue to push for a government shutdown unless they get everything they want, and work with Democrats towards a bipartisan budget that invests in what makes us grow and cuts what doesn’t.

    Politico: Boehner’s Weakened Hand. “Tuesday’s breakdown in Republican discipline weakens Speaker John Boehner’s hand in White House budget talks and raises the chances of a government shutdown next month unless he and President Barack Obama greatly step up their game… LINK

    Talking Points Memo: Checkmate: No Good Moves For Boehner In Spending Fight. “But Tuesday’s outcome was nonetheless a mixed one for Boehner…LINK

    Politico: Some In GOP Grow Tired Of Right Wing. “Some veteran Republican House members are pushing back against conservative deficit hawks who are pushing for endlessly deep spending cuts, saying the right wing of the party is creating unnecessary divisions for the GOP majority…LINK

    Los Angeles Times: Republicans Split, But House Approves Stopgap Budget Bill. “The GOP-led House approved a short-term spending bill Tuesday but only after dozens of Republicans rejected the measure, forcing party leaders to rely on Democrats to achieve passage and help skirt a threatened government shutdown…LINK

    National Journal: Is Boehner Ready to Defy GOP Conservatives? “There were enough GOP defections, however, that the bill could not have passed without Democratic help.” LINK

    CQ Today: Boehner Faces Tough Choice After CR Vote. “Those competing forces leave Boehner with some tough choices… LINK

    The Hill: House Passes Stopgap Measure; 54 Republicans Vote Contrary To Party. “The 54 Republican “no” votes stood in sharp contrast with the vote on the last stopgap measure, on March 1, when only six Republicans voted against their leaders…LINK

    Bloomberg: Republican Defections Signal Difficulty Ahead in Budget Talks. “Defections among rank-and-file House Republicans on the latest short-term U.S. spending bill exposed divisions that may complicate negotiations with Democrats on a broader budget plan…LINK

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=331954&

  32. Reid: Budget Votes Continue To Make Case For Compromise

    March 16, 2011 democrats.senate.gov

    Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today regarding the need for Republicans to compromise on a long-term Continuing Resolution:

    “No one can count the number of times this chamber has heard calls for compromise. That call has come from Senators of good faith, from every era, from Senators on both sides. Indeed, it’s the very essence of the legislative branch, which was purposefully designed to run on consensus.

    “As Senators, we search for the right arguments and the right incentives that will help us strike the right balance – a balance that will let the Senate and the country move forward.

    “But there has been no stronger argument for bipartisanship than the series of budget votes over the past few days.

    “Last week, the Senate voted on two proposals – one written by Republicans, and one written by Democrats. Some Republicans voted against the Republican bill. Some Democrats voted against the Democratic bill. And in the end, neither passed.

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=331946&

  33. Open for Questions: A Conversation on The Clean Air Act with Administrator Lisa Jackson

    Posted by Nikki Sutton on March 16, 2011

    Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced EPA’s proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, a Clean Air Act protection to reduce harmful pollution in the air we breathe and help safeguard the health of millions of Americans.

    Join Administrator Jackson for a special White House live chat on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards tomorrow, Thursday, March 17 at 10:55 a.m. EDT. Administrator Jackson will be joined by young people who are passionate about this issue and the discussion will be moderated by Kalpen Modi of the Office of Public Engagement.

    Submit your questions for Administrator Jackson now in a comment on Facebook. And be sure to watch live tomorrow morning at whitehouse.gov/live or join the conversation on Facebook.

  34. March 16, 2011

    Remarks by the President at a DNC Event
    Marriott Wardman Park Hotel Washington, D.C.

    5:00 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Everybody, have a seat, have a seat. (Applause.) You’re making me blush. (Laughter.)

    AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!

    THE PRESIDENT: I love you back! (Applause.)

    It is — boy, it is nice to see so many friends in a room. (Laughter.) I live in Washington, so that doesn’t always happen. (Laughter.) But when you gather up so many folks who helped get me where I am today — I am reminded of that story of Abraham Lincoln when he was President. Back then anybody could have — he had office hours. And he’d let people come in and meet with him. And somebody insisted on coming to see him, barged through the door, said to his personal assistant, “I need to see the President. I’m the one who got him elected.” And none of you have done that, of course. (Laughter.)

    So the assistant goes in, mentions this to Lincoln. Lincoln looks at his watch — he’s got a little bit of time. He says, “Oh, bring the guy in.” He says, “Sir, I understand you’re the person responsible for getting me elected.” He says, “That’s right.” He says, “Well, I forgive you.” (Laughter.) So I forgive all of you. (Laughter.)

    I want to acknowledge obviously somebody who has done extraordinary work. This is the person who not only has fought for the things we care about, first as a mayor, then as a governor, most recently as DNC chair — he’s also somebody who was the first elected official to endorse me outside of Illinois when I announced for President of the United States. And he did so in the capital of the Old Confederacy, at a time when very few people thought I was going to win. So, clearly, he was term-limited — (laughter) — but nevertheless, it took a lot of courage. (Laughter.) And so I just want to say how much I appreciate my dear, dear friend, Tim Kaine. (Applause.)

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/16/remarks-president-dnc-event

    • Nice! I just love the fact we get to see and hear his remarks at his little jaunts around town!

      Thanks.

  35. Statement by U.S. Ambassador John V. Roos on Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunamis

    3/16/11 State.gov

    Statement by U.S. Ambassador John V. Roos on Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunamis

    Remarks
    Tokyo, Japan
    March 16, 2011

    The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Department of Energy and other technical experts in the U.S. Government have reviewed the scientific and technical information they have collected from assets in country, as well as what the Government of Japan has disseminated, in response to the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Consistent with the NRC guidelines that apply to such a situation in the United States, we are recommending, as a precaution, that American citizens who live within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant evacuate the area or to take shelter indoors if safe evacuation is not practical.

    We want to underscore that there are numerous factors in the aftermath of the earthquake and Tsunami, including weather, wind direction and speed, and the nature of the reactor problem that affect the risk of radioactive contamination within this 50 mile (80 km) radius or the possibility of lower-level radioactive materials reaching greater distances.

    The U.S. Embassy will continue to update American citizens as the situation develops. U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance should send an e-mail to JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov with detailed information about their location and contact information, and monitor the U.S. Department of State website at travel.state.gov.

  36. WH

    Thursday, March 17 2011

    All Times ET

    8:30 am
    Vice President Biden hosts a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in honor of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

    10:00 am
    The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    10:30 am
    The President and the Vice President meet with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    11:05 am
    The President and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will deliver statements to the press; the Vice President also attends
    Oval Office
    Pooled Press
    Gather Time 10:50AM – Brady Press Briefing Room

    12:00 pm
    The President, the Vice President and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny attend a St. Patrick’s Day lunch
    United States Capitol
    Pooled Press
    Gather Time 11:30AM – North Doors of the Palm Room

    12:30 pm
    Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
    James S. Brady Briefing Room
    Open Press

    3:30 pm
    The President delivers a statement on Japan
    Rose Garden

    6:00 pm
    Vice President Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis participate in a conference call with labor leaders.

    7:05 pm
    The President and the First Lady host a St. Patrick’s Day reception; the Vice President also attends
    East Room
    Pooled Press

    • POTUS podium

      Mar 17, 2011

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

      10:55 AM EDT
      Open for Questions with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

      11:05 AM EDT
      The President and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will deliver statements to the press

      12:30 pm
      Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

      2:15 PM EDT
      Open for Questions: America’s Great Outdoors
      Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar & Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack take your questions about the America’s Great Outdoors initiative.

      3:30 PM EDT
      President Obama’s statement on Japan
      President Obama will make a statement on the situation in Japan at the White House.

      7:05 PM EDT
      The President and the First Lady host a St. Patrick’s Day reception; the Vice President also attends

      —-

      CNN http://live.cnn.com/

      8:30 AM EDT
      Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is the guest of honor at a breakfast hosted by Vice President Joe Biden at his Naval Observatory residence.

      9:00 AM EDT
      House lawmakers consider NPR funding
      House lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill that would bar federal funding for National Public Radio.

      9:30 AM EDT
      House Committee Appropriations | Interior and Related Agencies
      U.S. Geological Survey Budget Michael Simpson

      10:00 AM EDT
      TARP oversight hearing
      The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on the state of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

      11:05 AM EDT
      The President and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will deliver statements to the press

      12:00 PM EDT
      U.S. House of Representatives
      U.S. House of Representatives: Terminating Funding for NPR

      12:30 PM
      Briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

      1:15 PM EDT
      ‘Friends of Ireland’ luncheon
      President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and others attend a luncheon in honor of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in Washington.

      1:30 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the crisis in Japan and the Libyan civil war.

      2:30 PM EDT
      Senate Committee Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs
      FEMA Preparedness William Fugate; Susan Collins; Joseph Lieberman

      3:00 PM EDT
      Senate government spending vote
      Senate lawmakers are expected to vote on a temporary government funding bill.

      3:30 PM EDT
      President Obama’s statement on Japan
      President Obama will make a statement on the situation in Japan at the White House.

      7:05 PM EDT
      The President and the First Lady host a St. Patrick’s Day reception; the Vice President also attends

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      9:30 AM EDT
      House Committee Appropriations | Interior and Related Agencies
      U.S. Geological Survey Budget Michael Simpson http://www.cspan.org/Events/Is-US-Prepared-for-Next-Big-Disaster/10737420262/

      10:00 AM EDT
      TARP oversight hearing
      The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on the state of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. http://www.cspan.org/Events/Senate-Hearing-on-Winding-Down-of-TARP/10737420261/

      11:05 AM EDT
      The President and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will deliver statements to the press http://www.cspan.org/Events/President-Obama-Meets-with-Irish-Prime-Minister-Enda-Kenny/10737420301/

      12:00 PM EDT
      U.S. House of Representatives
      U.S. House of Representatives: Terminating Funding for NPR http://www.cspan.org/Events/House-To-Vote-To-Defund-NPR/10737420260/

      12:30 PM
      Briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney http://www.cspan.org/Events/White-House-Briefing-with-Press-Secretary-Jay-Carney/10737420302/

      1:30 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the crisis in Japan and the Libyan civil war. http://www.cspan.org/Events/State-Department-Press-Briefing/10737420303/

      2:30 PM EDT
      Senate Committee Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs
      FEMA Preparedness William Fugate; Susan Collins; Joseph Lieberman http://www.cspan.org/Events/Is-US-Prepared-for-Next-Big-Disaster/10737420262/

      3:00 PM EDT
      Senate government spending vote
      Senate lawmakers are expected to vote on a temporary government funding bill.

      3:30 PM EDT
      President Obama’s statement on Japan
      President Obama will make a statement on the situation in Japan at the White House. http://www.cspan.org/Events/President-Obama-Remarks-on-Japanese-Nuclear-Crisis/10737420327-1/

      Japan Broadcasting Corporation
      NHK LIVE FEED: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/

      —-

      Middle East Protest

      Al Jazeera – English http://english.aljazeera.net/

      Middle East and North Africa unrest- BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698

  37. The Week Ahead: Time is ticking

    03/14/11 By Emily Cahn – TheHill.com

    Thursday, March 17

    Obama welcomes the Taoiseach of Ireland to the White House in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Later, in the day he will attend a St. Patrick’s Day lunch at the U.S. Capitol. In the evening, the Obamas will host a St. Patrick’s Day reception at the White House.

    Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States H.E. Michael Collins and his wife, Marie Collins, will host an invitation-only St. Patrick’s Day reception at the Park Hyatt Hotel.

    The National Archives will host a discussion on “The early years of the Peace Corps,” with former Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.) — who helped assist in the founding of the Peace Corps — as well as Peace Corps alumnus and journalist Chris Matthews. Former Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn and Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams will also be in attendance at the discussion, which starts at 7 p.m. at the National Archives.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/homenews/news/149187-the-week-ahead-another-vote-expected-on-a-short-term-measure-to-fund-the-government

  38. Peace Corps 50th Anniversary

    Thursday, March 17, at 7 p.m.
    William G. McGowan Theater – National Archives

    The Early Years of the Peace Corps
    On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Executive order that created the Peace Corps. Since then, more than 200,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in 139 countries around the world. In commemoration of the agency’s 50th anniversary, we present a discussion on the creation and early history of the agency. Chris Matthews, broadcaster and journalist—and Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland from 1968 to 1970—will moderate. Panelists include Bill Moyers; former U.S. Ambassador Jack Hood Vaughn; and Senator Harris Wofford—all of whom held leadership roles during the agency’s early years. Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams will introduce the panel.

    During the month of March, 2011, The National Archives Experience will exhibit Executive Order 10924, signed by President Kennedy.

    This program is a joint project of the Peace Corps and the National Archives and Records Administration, with promotional support by the Foundation for the National Archives.

  39. America’s Great Outdoors Youth Chat with Sec. Vilsack and Sec. Salazar

    March 11, 2011 Posted by Tim Fullerton

    Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the America’s Great Outdoors blog.

    Last month President Obama announced the final report of his America’s Great Outdoors initiative, featuring young Americans who are excited about conservation and ready to get involved in the outdoors. Your suggestions were clear. You want the outdoors to be relevant and accessible to everyone. You want jobs and more opportunities to learn in the outdoors. But most importantly, you want to help make it happen. Now, we want to keep the conversation going.

    Please join us on Thursday March 17th at 2:00 p.m. EST as Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar answer your questions live at WhiteHouse.gov/live.

    Submit your questions in advance on the YouthGO YouTube or send them to YouthGO@ios.doi.gov.

    You can also submit questions live via the White House Facebook app.

    With the release of the America’s Great Outdoors report we mark a new beginning in our efforts to reconnect our nation’s young people to the natural places that define our country and fuel our spirit of adventure. Our nation’s youth have spoken. Now it’s up to us to listen to what you’ve said.

  40. On St. Patrick’s Day, President Obama Welcomes Ireland’s New Prime Minister

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny makes his first visit to the White House; National Chamber Choir of Ireland performs at St. Pat’s reception…

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

    Tomorrow evening when President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a White House reception to mark St. Patrick’s Day, there will be a very special guest: The new Taoiseach of Ireland, Prime Minister Enda Kenny, will be visiting the President for the first time. Kenny, 59, was sworn into office on March 9, the first member of his party, Fine Gael, to be Taoiseach since 1982. He’ll be accompanied to Washington by his wife, Fionnula.

    The evening’s entertainment will be special, too: The National Chamber Choir of Ireland will sing the premiere performance of composer Bill Whelan’s specially commissioned Gné na Gaeltachta. There will be a Shamrock Ceremony, as Kenny presents President Obama with a silver bowl of the lucky greens. But contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, there will not be homebrewed White House beer served during the festivities.

    For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/03/on-st-patricks-day-president-obama.html

  41. There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama

    From: CorriganBrothers | Dec 11, 2008

    Official music video from the Corrigan Brothers. Sing along with the karaoke lyrics and trace Obama’s Irish roots!

    • Fulmoth Kearney, the great-great-great grandfather of United States President Barack Obama, emigrated from Moneygall to New York City at the age of 19 in 1850 and eventually resettled in Tipton County, Indiana. Kearney’s father, Joseph, had been the village shoemaker, then a wealthy skilled trade. Indeed the whole Kearney family emigrated to Ross County, Ohio in the first half of the 19th century. Fulmoth Kearney’s youngest daughter, Mary Ann, moved from Indiana to Kansas after her father’s death in 1878. Mary Ann Kearney is the paternal grandmother of Stanley Dunham, President Obama’s maternal grandfather.

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

    • CR, I absolutely love this. Thanks for sharing. Hope you don’t mind that I shared it on the OFA blog. This is so cute. I am watching it a few times. 🙂

  42. Thanks for the schedule as usual, CR.

    My schedule tomorrow (ha ha) is to go to an early breakfast with family and friends and then to the St. Patrick’s Day parade downtown, and then to lunch with the same group!

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all. G’night.

  43. hehe..ole ed is rubbing a lot of folks the wrong way these days..

    From my twitter timeline:

    RT @Pillar_Strength: @WeGotEd I see you starting trouble again. We’re not upset why are u? Your name should be Big Mouth instead of Big Ed #ofa

    • Thanks for posting Tigerfists. I will not watch Ed Schultz even though I know he supports the Wisconsin protesters. I was looking to watch Rachel tonight, but Ed was just beginning his show as Rachel airs an hour earlier now. He started railing on the President about standing with the protesters in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. I immediately changed the channel. I hope many people are letting him have it.

      • Good morning Jackie, CR, tigerfist and O friends. Tigerfist thanks for your twitter report. Just like Jackie, I watched Ed to try and get a readout on what’s happening locally in WI, MI, and the other states. As soon as as I saw that he would be complaining about PBO, I turned the channel. Ed does not have the guts to admit the role he played in getting Scott Walker and these other teaparty governors elected by telling folks to stay at home instead of voting.

        I have been listening to Bill Press (so called progressive show) calling the WH clueless on whats happening in Japan because they have not issued a moratorium on nuclear power points. They never learn. They do no realize how they affected the 2010 midterm election by constantly complaining.

        I had to get this off my chest this morning. 🙂

  44. Top ‘O the mornin’ to ya! I HOPE that you have the Luck ‘O The Irish and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 🙂

    • Happy St. Patrick’s Day Jackie!

      I’m wearing green and even bought Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream for dessert (after our corned beef and cabbage dinner)!

      • I will be wearing green today as well. I also have a four-leaf clover necklace to wear as an accessory. I believe our firm will have green bagels and cream cheese in honor of St. Patrick’s day this morning. Instead of corned beef and cabbage for dinner, I am having Napa cabbage, grilled chicken, and fat-free thousand island dressing for dinner.

  45. Changing the subject, but the only news I watch here in Phoenis is CBS “Telling It Like It Is.” They do a fairly good job of reporting facts. Last night, they told us that Senator Russell Pearce, the one who brought us the SB1070 fiasco, received a letter from numerous CEO’s to stop with all the immigration bills.
    It is all about the money, of course, but at least he is feeling pressure.

    CEOs Say Immigration Measures Hurt Business

    http://www.kpho.com/news/27222592/detail.html

    • Open for Questions: The Clean Air Act

      From: whitehouse | Mar 17, 2011

      EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson answers your questions on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, a Clean Air Act protection. March 17, 2011.

  46. White Board: The IT Dashboard & the Value of Transparency

    From: whitehouse | Mar 16, 2011

    In this White House White Board, U.S. Chief Information Office Vivek Kundra explains how the IT Dashboard website helped save $3 billion in taxpayer funds and make government more efficient by shining a light on the federal government’s IT projects.

  47. Oklahoma Senate passes Arizona-style immigration bill

    3/16/11 By Steve Olafson – Reuters

    OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) – The Oklahoma state Senate on Wednesday approved an Arizona-style immigration bill that gives police the authority to verify the citizenship status of motorists during legal traffic stops.

    The bill, passed by a 29-15 vote, also enables police to seize vehicles, real estate, firearms and computers used to engage in human smuggling, armed robberies and other crimes.

    The bill now goes to the state House, which last week passed an immigration reform bill that gives officers more authority to question citizenship status.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110317/us_nm/us_oklahoma_immigration

  48. Income tax chart shows assault on middle class

    3/17/11 William Browning

    COMMENTARY | Solving our national debt problem might be more of an income dilemma and less about a debt problem. A recent chart compiled from IRS and Tax Foundation data suggests the rich have been paying fewer taxes as compared to the middle class for over 20 years.

    Stephen Von Worley’s chart adjusts for 2011 inflation and includes income tax statistics from the 1920s through the present day. Darker shaded areas of the chart bespeak a time when the relative tax burden reached historic levels–blue is a low level, red is a high level.

    No one class of citizen has an overly high burden of paying income taxes in 2011. But overall, Americans making $1 million or more are shouldering less of a tax burden than before. When the government has been deficit spending at record levels, it’s time to increase taxes.

    When World War II was going on, millions of citizens were convinced paying taxes was patriotic in order to defeat Hitler and Japan. Now, paying down the debt is anything but patriotic. Groups such as the Tea Party “patriots” are saying keeping even more of our money is in line with American ideals.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110316/bs_ac/8078506_income_tax_chart_shows_assault_on_middle_class

    US income 1920-2011

  49. Now Streaming…

    11:00 AM EST

    DOD, Military Officials to Provide Personnel Overview

    Defense Department and military officials testify before the House Armed Services Subcommittee while providing a personnel overview of the services.

    http://www.defense.gov/live/

    • Order Adds Fairness to Detainee Processes, Officials Say

      March 17, 2011 By Karen Parrish
      American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – An executive order on detainees issued this month will strengthen national security and promote the rule of law, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III told a congressional committee today.

      The order for periodic review of detainees’ status strikes a balance between their rights and national defense needs, Lynn told the House Armed Services Committee.

      “Our goal is to ensure a system of detention that is balanced and fair with respect to the detainees, and is sustainable and credible with the U.S. courts, the Congress, the American people and our allies,” Lynn said.

      President Barack Obama issued the order March 7, directing that detainees held without a trial at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, go before a periodic review board within a year, and annually after that, to have their cases assessed.

      Each detainee also is entitled to a six-month file review between board assessments. The board is to include representatives from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the State Department.

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63200

    • Petraeus Previews Troop Drawdown In Afghanistan

      3/17/11 by The Associated Press

      The initial U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan in July probably will include combat as well as non-combat forces, the top U.S. commander there told a House committee on Wednesday.

      Army Gen. David Petraeus mentioned no numbers, nor did he identify which combat units might be pulled out to begin what President Barack Obama has called a responsible winding down of the war by 2014.

      Republican Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, led off questioning of Petraeus by asking whether combat troops would be included in the July withdrawals.

      “I am still formulating the options that I will provide to the president and the recommendation that I make,” Petraeus replied. “But I do believe there will be some combat forces included in those options and in that recommendation.”

      It is widely expected that a large share, if not the majority, of those initial American withdrawals will be support forces such as logistics specialists who helped in last year’s U.S. troop buildup. Petraeus has said he foresees a tough combat season ahead this spring and summer.

      For the entire article: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/17/134617953/petraeus-previews-troop-drawdowns-in-afghanistan?ft=1&f=1004

      • Petraeus says he has personal reason to end war: his son

        3/17/11 By Liz Goodwin- news.yahoo.com

        Under close questioning about the nation’s longest war from Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.), Army Gen. David Petraeus revealed that he has a strong personal stake in ensuring that U.S. troops get out of Afghanistan as soon as is feasible: His own son is serving alongside them.

        Jones said he worried the military would not actually leave Afghanistan in 2014 as promised, and that Petraeus would again be testifying in front of Congress that he needed more troops and more time. “You know, 15, 16, 17 years, for God sakes, how much more can we take, how much more can we give treasure and blood?” Jones asked.

        “I may not be at this table, probably won’t be, in 2015, but I’ll tell you that my son is in uniform, and Lieutenant Petraeus just completed a tour in Afghanistan, which thankfully we were able to keep very quiet, and left in November after serving as an infantry platoon leader,” the elder Petraeus said. “We’re very proud of what he did. He thinks he was doing something very important,” he said.

        For the entire article and a video: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110317/us_yblog_thelookout/petraeus-says-he-has-personal-reason-to-end-war-his-son

  50. Clinton Says U.S. Influence In Egypt Will Change

    3/17/11 NPR

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Cairo Wednesday and toured Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the peaceful uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak. She also met with some protest leaders, as well as members of the military government. Clinton spoke with NPR’s Steve Inskeep about the changes in Egypt, the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis in Pakistan, the situation in Libya and the crackdown in Bahrain.

    Inskeep: Okay, we’ll jump right into it. Again, I’ll try not to take up too much of your time. Before I ask about Egypt, I’m obliged to ask you about one other thing — Raymond Davis. Can you explain why, in your view, it was a wise idea in the long term to pay blood money for Davis’s release?

    Secretary Clinton: Well, first of all, the United States did not pay any compensation. The families of the victims of the incident on January 27 decided to pardon Mr. Davis. And we are very grateful for their decision. And we are very grateful to the people and government of Pakistan, who have a very strong relationship with us that we are committed to strengthening.

    According to wire reports out of Pakistan, the law minister of the Punjab Province, which is where this took place, says the blood money was paid. Is he mistaken?

    Well, you’ll have to ask him what he means by that.

    And a lawyer involved in the case said it was $2.34 million. There is no money that came from anywhere?

    The United States did not pay any compensation.

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/17/134615073/Hillary-Clinton-Interview?ft=1&f=1004

  51. Good Government on WhiteHouse.gov

    Posted by Kori Schulman on March 17, 2011

    Today, we launched a new section on WhiteHouse.gov that is dedicated to good government. WhiteHouse.gov/GoodGovernment is your central portal to tools and data that connect citizens to their government and improve their everyday lives, as well as Presidential Actions that promote open, transparent and accountable government.

    You’ll find useful tools and data from across the administration all in one place. Here, you can:

    * Browse the names of everyone who visits the White House: Having released over 1,000,000 names to date, the White House provides records of visitors on an ongoing basis online.
    * Report suspected incidents of improper spending: PaymentAccuracy.gov gives taxpayers a way to join the fight against improper spending by reporting suspected incidents of fraud, waste, and abuse.
    * See what’s on the President’s and Vice President’s calendar: Check out the President’s and Vice President’s daily public schedules, subscribe to updates, and even add their events to your own calendar.
    * Review each agency’s Open Government Plan: Following the President’s Open Government Directive, agencies implemented ambitious Open Government Plans, utilizing new technologies to connect citizens to their government.

    You can also review Presidential Actions that call for more open and accountable government:

    * Shutting the “Revolving Door”: President Obama has taken historic steps to close the “revolving door” that carries special interest influence in and out of the government.
    * Mandating Federal Agencies Disclose Data: A Presidential Memorandum mandates an Open Government Directive directing specific actions to achieve transparency, openness, and engagement.
    * Making the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) put citizens first: The President’s Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act directs that it be administered with a presumption of disclosure, not one of non-disclosure.
    * Making classification a two-way street: For the first time, no records may remain classified indefinitely. An executive order on Classified National Security Information makes major changes to address the problem of over-classification and public access to formerly classified records.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/17/good-government-whitehousegov

  52. US jobless claims extend downward trend

    3/17/11 AFP

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – New claims for US unemployment benefits fell last week, continuing a trend of improvement in the ailing labor market, government data showed Thursday.

    Initial jobless claims dropped to 385,000 in the week ending March 12, a decline of 4.0 percent from the prior week, the Labor Department reported.

    The latest data confirmed a downward trend in claims since they reached a peak in mid-August 2010.

    The four-week moving average fell by 7,000 from the prior week to 386,250.

    The moving average, which helps to reduce volatility, fell below 400,000 in late February.

    High unemployment has posed a key challenge to getting the economy on a sustainable track of recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s Great Depression.

    The unemployment rate dipped to 8.9 percent in February from 9.0 percent in January.

    • State-by-State unemployment claims, at a glance

      3/17/11 AP

      Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, marking the third decline in the past four weeks. Economists expect that applications will continue to decline as the economy improves.

      Below are the states with the biggest changes in weekly unemployment benefits and some of the reasons for the shifts. The state-by-state data is for the week that ended March 5, one week behind the national data.

      States with the biggest drops in claims:

      Massachusetts: Down 2,482. The state provided no reason for the change.

      Oregon: Down 1,680, with no reason provided.

      Rhode Island: Down 1,120, reflecting fewer layoffs in the service and manufacturing industries.

      States with the biggest increases in claims:

      New York: Up 17,926, reflecting layoffs in the transportatin and service industries.

      California: Up 13,388, reflecting the fact that state claims offices were open for a full five days to process claims after a week in which the President’s Day holiday had reduced the time to process claims.

      Illinois: Up 4,514, reflecting a return to a regular workweek for claims offices.

      Pennsylvania: Up 3,907, reflecting higher layoffs in the construction, trade, service and transportation industries.

      Texas: Up 2,828, reflecting higher more layoffs in trade, service and manufacturing industries.

      Ohio: Up 2,246, reflecting more layoffs in the auto industry.

  53. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody!

    >^..^<

    Irish Blessing

    May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.

    May the sun shine warm upon your face.

    May the rains fall softly upon your fields.

    and until we meet again,

    May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

  54. From my twitter timeline;

    RT @WestWingReport: Bloomberg Poll: Who has a “better vision” for the U.S.? Obama 45%, GOP: 33%. Neither/not sure: 22%

    • March 17, 2011

      Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland -Oval Office

      11:18 A.M. EDT

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. It is my great pleasure on St. Patrick’s Day to welcome the new Taoiseach, Prime Minister Kenny. We are thrilled to have him here. And we want to congratulate him on his historic victory.

      We obviously have the strongest possible relationship with Ireland. The warmth, the affection, the familial and person-to-person contacts between our two countries extend far beyond any dry policy issues. There is just an incredible bond between our two countries. And that’s one that we want to reaffirm here today.

      We have had an excellent conversation about how Ireland is going to be bouncing back from the severe economic challenges that it’s experienced over the last several years. The Taoiseach shared with me his plans and his efforts to make sure that people are put back to work in Ireland, that the financial system is stabilized. And he exudes great confidence, and I’m sure that we will be cooperating very closely with him and providing any assistance that we can on the economic front.

      In addition, Ireland obviously plays an important role in the world. We want to thank him for the operations at Shannon that are so vital for us moving our troops into Afghanistan. It is a testimony to Ireland’s friendship to us. In addition, Ireland actually has trainers in Afghanistan that have provided us great assistance. And I expressed my appreciation for those sacrifices. We’ve worked together on issues like international food security, and we will continue to work on those issues as well.

      We remarked on the fact that the situation in Northern Ireland has proven to be stable, and we are going to continue to pursue all the progress that’s been made there.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/17/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-enda-kenny-ireland

    • March 17, 2011

      Remarks by the President at Friends of Ireland Luncheon – U.S. Capitol

      1:04 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. Everyone, please have a seat.

      To Taoiseach Kenny; to his lovely wife, who has made a wonderful luncheon companion; to the Vice President who is here; to our host, Speaker Boehner, for gathering us together; Ambassador Collins and Mrs. Collins; distinguished members of the House and Senate; distinguished guests from Irish, Northern Irish, and British governments:

      It is wonderful to be here and a great privilege. It’s my privilege to join all of you today for this wonderful St. Patrick’s Day celebration –- a day when red, white, and blue has a strong hint of green.

      Taoiseach Kenny, welcome. We thank you for joining us. Your presence at this lunch virtually guarantees that any partisan clashes will be limited to who is more Irish than whom. (Laughter.)

      Now, speaking of ancestry, there has been some controversy about my own background. (Laughter.) Two years into my presidency, some are still bent on peddling rumors about my origins. So today I want to put all those rumors to rest. It is true my great-great-great-grandfather really was from Ireland. (Applause.) It’s true. Moneygall, to be precise. I can’t believe I have to keep pointing this out. (Laughter.)

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/17/remarks-president-friends-ireland-luncheon

  55. Backing workers
    Labor gets a special call from Biden

    03/17/11 By MATT NEGRIN- POLITICO

    Vice President Biden will call labor leaders Thursday evening to offer the administration’s backing for the “rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain,” the White House said in guidance to reporters.

    Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will be on the 6 p.m. call as well, the White House said.

    Workers’ rights have become a top concern as a budget battle raged in Wisconsin and President Obama warned against an “assault” on unions. In an op-ed that ran in The Washington Post on Thursday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defended his state’s new law that takes away some rights of public workers, while accusing Obama of being disingenuous.

    “Contrary to what the Obama administration would lead you to believe, most employees of the federal government do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits,” Walker wrote. “That means the budget reform plan we signed into law in Wisconsin on Friday is more generous than what President Obama offers federal employees.”

    • Thanks for this post CR. Helping the states affected by this does not requuire PBO going to each state. He can and has shown his support in many ways. Ed need to talk to and listen to the people of WI and Trumpka. Trumpka says that this is not about PBO.

    • State Department

      Mark C. Toner -Acting Deputy Department Spokesman
      Daily Press Briefing – Washington, DC

      March 17, 2011

      2:13 p.m. EDT

      MR. TONER: Quickly at the top, first a quick shout out to a group of New York-based Italian media who have filled up the briefing room and startled me when I walked out here. But anyway, welcome and thanks for coming down and thanks for being with us today.

      One thing briefly at the top and then we’ll get to your questions. We are disturbed by reports that a town square in the West Bank has been renamed in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, who was a terrorist responsible for an attack that killed 35 Israelis in 1978. We condemn this commemoration of terrorism and have conveyed our deep concern about this incident to senior officials in the Palestinian Authority and have urged them to address it. We underscore that all parties have an obligation to end any form of incitement.

      That’s all I have for the top, so – take your questions.

      QUESTION: One on the area: What’s your reaction to Abbas’ initiative to reconcile with Hamas and form a new unity government?

      MR. TONER: Well, I haven’t seen those reports yet, but again, our approach is quite clear. Our goal remains trying to get both parties – both the Palestinians and the Israelis – back to the negotiating table. And so the – and by saying that, what I mean is the ultimate goal there is comprehensive peace. And so our efforts remain getting them back to the negotiating table so they can reach that comprehensive peace. But in speaking to – I haven’t seen those reports yet, so I don’t have any reaction yet.

      For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2011/03/158548.htm

    • The Situation in Japan

      Patrick F. Kennedy -Under Secretary for Management
      James D. Pettit, Bureau of Consular Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary for Overseas Citizens Services
      Washington, DC

      ‘March 17, 2011

      MR. TONER: Good afternoon and welcome to the State Department – quiet down – (laughter) – and Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

      Let’s get right to business. We’re very fortunate to have with us today two individuals who can help address some of your questions about recent developments in Japan regarding American citizens, the voluntary departure order that went out last night, and I know kept some of you up late, but also – we have someone who can also address our ongoing efforts to help American citizens in the affected areas.

      So without further ado, Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy and Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Pettit are here to answer your questions. Go ahead.

      UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: With those statements, we’ll go right to your questions.

      MR. PETTIT: Questions, anyone?

      MR. TONER: That’s okay. Kirit, you want to go?

      QUESTION: Would you like to update us on the implementation of some of the measures that you announced last night, specifically the flights that were supposed to come in, and then also the efforts to evacuate Americans who are within the 50-mile radius around the nuclear plants?

      I did want to ask you one question I didn’t get to ask you last night. If you could be a little bit more specific about the reasoning for going to authorized departure; is it specifically because of the radiation concerns, or is it because of the broader picture going on?

      For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/m/rls/remarks/2011/158550.htm

  56. Reid: Republicans’ Dangerous Repeal Plan Would Balloon Deficit, While Hurting Sick Children And Small Businesses

    March 17, 2011 democrats.senate.gov

    Washington, DC—A year after the Affordable Care Act became law, Republicans are still fighting yesterday’s battles. But their wrongheaded repeal plan would raise taxes on small businesses, increase prescription drug prices for seniors and allow insurance companies to once again deny coverage to sick children. And they conveniently ignore the fact that their dangerous repeal plan would increase the deficit by more than $1 trillion.

    “This morning one of my friends said that passing the health care bill was a miracle in his life and his family’s life. Those are his words, not mine,” Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said today on the Senate Floor. “They could not find insurance for their child who developed diabetes. Because of the health care bill, that child is fully insured now. That’s what the health care bill is about.

    “Hundreds of thousands of students have health insurance because their parents have health insurance. The IRS sent notices to 4.4 million small businesses in America to let them know that they may qualify for reduced insurance premiums. And exchanges are being set up in Nevada and across the country that will mean every American has access to insurance plans similar to the ones members of Congress have. The health care bill is a milestone in the history of this country.”

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=332018&amp;

  57. #Wisconsin becomes a yet more national story

    Thu Mar 17, 2011 By Laura Conaway – maddowblog

    Wisconsin State Senator Randy Hopper, a Republican, has brought in a national campaign guru to help him fend off a recall drive, Talking Points Memo reports.

    And the Progressive Change Campaign Recall Committee and Democracy for America have a new ad out that’s airing locally in Madison and Milwaukee and looking for bigger play. “I believe that the issues that are being discussed here in Madison are not unique to Madison or the state of Wisconsin,” says teacher Jeremiah Holden. “These are national issues. Money is being taken away from workers and the tax breaks given to major corporations.”

    Michigan, can you hear them now? Ohio?

    http://www.recalltherepublicans.com/

    • Isn’t Randy Hooper the congressman who is living with his 25 year old mistress? I heard that the petitioners went to his home for signatures on recalling him, and his wife and another family member answered the door and signed the petition for his recall. 🙂

  58. New bill would ban discrimination against jobless

    3/17/11 By Zachary Roth – news.yahoo.com

    Over the last year or so, America’s jobs crisis has been accompanied by a troubling trend: discrimination against the jobless.

    As we wrote last month, there’s evidence that a growing number of employers are posting job listings that explicitly tell the unemployed not to apply. “No layoff candidates considered,” read one. Another was from the cellphone giant Sony Ericsson–which the company later called a “mistake.”

    At a time when long-term joblessness is a record high, the practice puts what some say is yet another obstacle in front of Americans who aren’t working–often through no fault of their own. It’s not illegal to discriminate against the unemployed. But Rep. Hank Johnson (pictured), a Georgia Democrat, wants to change that. This week, he introduced a bill that would extend the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act so that it bars discrimination against the jobless just as it bars discrimination on the basis of race or age.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/h7q3Iw

  59. The first thing I saw on the CNN ticker this morning was “Trump has doubts about PBO’s birthplace”. why is it that all of these folks are trying to please the teabaggers? Does Trump know how bad this makes him look. I am a little suprised and appaled at him stooping this low.

    • Obama keeps joking about birthers

      03/17/11 By MATT NEGRIN -POLITICO

      The president appears to be loving the whole Obama-wasn’t-born-here myth.

      At a lunch on Capitol Hill on St. Patrick’s Day, Obama told an audience that included plenty of Republicans that “some are still bent on peddling rumors about my origins.” But he wasn’t talking about what you’d think he was alluding to:

      “Now, speaking of ancestry, there has been some controversy about my own background. Two years into my presidency, some are still bent on peddling rumors about my origins. So today, I want to put all those rumors to rest. It is true my great-great-great-grandfather really was from Ireland. It’s true. Moneygall, to be precise. I can’t believe I have to keep pointing this out.”

      Obama cracked his laugh line just a week after rattling off another birther joke he used to address the persistent claim among some conservatives that he wasn’t born in Hawaii, but rather in Kenya.

      At a Boston fundraiser on March 8, for example, Obama told supporters: “There’s no weakness in us trying to reach out and seeing if we can find common ground. Now, there are going to be times where we can’t. I was born in Hawaii, what can I say? I mean, I just – I can’t – I can’t change those facts.”

      For the entire article: http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0311/wheres_this_guy_from_e2d453ec-b54c-44f5-9757-cbcec3fe786a.html

  60. Sunshine Week at the Department of Veterans Affairs

    Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on March 17, 2011

    Ed. Note: This post is part of our Sunshine Week series on the blog. Sunshine Week is a national initiative to celebrate and focus on government transparency and open government.

    The mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs – enshrined in our building – is “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan.” For our men and women in uniform who have fought for our country – serving them is a privilege and responsibility we take very seriously. At the VA, we are committed to continuing to meet and surpass our highest standards of care for each and every veteran, each and every day. Open government helps us do this: the publication of key health-related data to increase transparency, the creation of technological tools helping veterans to participate, and the harnessing of new ideas for innovation and collaboration, all fuel our mission.

    During Sunshine Week we are reflecting on our accomplishments – not so we can rest, but so we can take inspiration to build on our successes. We’re on a deliberate and thoughtful path to become an even more people-centric, results-driven, and forward-looking organization. I invite you to visit http://www.va.gov/open/ to see for yourself.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/17/sunshine-week-department-veterans-affairs

    • Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

      March 16, 2011 Posted by Jessica Livoti Morales – Democrats.org

      Throughout March, the Democrats will present an ongoing blog series celebrating American women of distinction, both past and present. Staff members at the Democratic National Committee and several female leaders in the Democratic Party have been asked to write about influential women in our country’s history and leaders who continue making contributions today.

      The story of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is one that speaks to the power of hard work and commitment to public service. As she eloquently stated when she was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice, “It is this nation’s faith in a more perfect union that allows a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx to stand here now.” The first justice of Latino descent and only the third woman on the Court, she is continuing her tradition of breaking boundaries in the American legal system in her time on the bench.

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

    • March 17, 2011

      Remarks by the President on the Situation in Japan
      Rose Garden

      3:35 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everyone. Over the last several days, the American people have been both heartbroken and deeply concerned about the developments in Japan.

      We’ve seen an earthquake and tsunami render unimaginable — an unimaginable toll of death and destruction on one of our closest friends and allies in the world. And we’ve seen this powerful natural disaster cause even more catastrophe through its impact on nuclear reactors that bring peaceful energy to the people of Japan.

      Today, I wanted to update the American people on what we know about the situation in Japan, what we’re doing to support American citizens and the safety of our own nuclear energy, and how we are helping the Japanese people contain the damage, recover and rebuild.

      First, we are bringing all available resources to bear to closely monitor the situation, and to protect American citizens who may be in harm’s way. Even as Japanese responders continue to do heroic work, we know that the damage to the nuclear reactors in Fukushima Daiichi plant poses a substantial risk to people who are nearby. That is why yesterday, we called for an evacuation of American citizens who are within 50 miles of the plant. This decision was based upon a careful scientific evaluation and the guidelines that we would use to keep our citizens safe here in the United States, or anywhere in the world.

      Beyond this 50-mile radius, the risks do not currently call for an evacuation. But we do have a responsibility to take prudent and precautionary measures to educate those Americans who may be endangered by exposure to radiation if the situation deteriorates. That’s why last night I authorized the voluntary departures of family members and dependents of U.S. officials working in northeastern Japan.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/17/remarks-president-situation-japan

    • President Obama: “We Will Stand with the People of Japan”

      Posted by Jesse Lee on March 17, 2011

      Having just returned from the Japanese Embassy where he wrote a message in a condolence book for victims, the President spoke at the White House on the tragic events in Japan. He made clear that the American government is helping in any way it can, is working for the safety of Americans in the country, and that the American West Coast is not in danger even under worst case scenarios. Read his full remarks below:

      Good afternoon, everyone. Over the last several days, the American people have been both heartbroken and deeply concerned about the developments in Japan.

      We’ve seen an earthquake and tsunami render unimaginable — an unimaginable toll of death and destruction on one of our closest friends and allies in the world. And we’ve seen this powerful natural disaster cause even more catastrophe through its impact on nuclear reactors that bring peaceful energy to the people of Japan.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/17/president-obama-we-will-stand-people-japan

      • This was so touching that the President went to the Japanese Embassy today, to offer his condolences to the people of Japan.

    • President Obama’s Condolences for Japan

      From: Americagov | Mar 18, 2011

      President Obama’s message of support to the people of Japan, written in a book of condolence at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, DC (May 17, 2011).

  61. EPA Proposes First National Standard for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants / Mercury and air toxics standards represent one of strongest health protections from air pollution since passage of Clean Air Act

    03/16/2011 EPA.gov

    WASHINGTON – In response to a court deadline, today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first-ever national standards for mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The new power plant mercury and air toxics standards – which eliminate 20 years of uncertainty across industry – would require many power plants to install widely available, proven pollution control technologies to cut harmful emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases, while preventing as many as 17,000 premature deaths and 11,000 heart attacks a year. The new proposed standards would also provide particular health benefits for children, preventing 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 11,000 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year. The proposed standards would also avert more than 12,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions and 850,000 fewer days of work missed due to illness.

    This rule will provide employment for thousands, by supporting 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs.

    For the entire article: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/bd4379a92ceceeac8525735900400c27/55615df6595fbfa3852578550050942f!OpenDocument

    • EPA Proposes Strong Safeguards to Protect Children from Toxic Mercury

      Sierra Club to Offer Free Mercury Hair Tests Nationwide to Raise Awareness about Health Dangers of Toxin Produced by Coal-Fired Power Plants

      3/16/11 sierraclub.org

      Washington, D.C. — Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a critical air quality standard to protect Americans against life-threatening air pollution such as mercury, arsenic and other air toxics from power plants, which are currently allowed to emit hazardous air pollution without national limits. The long-overdue and critically important mercury and air toxic standard updates Clean Air Act provisions and establishes emission limits for the nation’s fleet of power plants. According to EPA, each year the new protection will save as many as 17,000 lives and prevent 120,000 cases of childhood asthma.

      “As a father of two young children, I am proud to see the EPA announcing such strong protections from toxic mercury,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “These protections will benefit women, children and all Americans concerned about the dirty coal industry making them sick.”

      Air toxics include some of the most hazardous air pollutants to human health, and most of them come from dirty power plants. In addition to mercury and arsenic, these polluters emit lead, other heavy metals, dioxin and acid gases that threaten public health and child development. Even in small amounts these extremely harmful air pollutants are linked to cancer, heart disease, neurological damage, birth defects, asthma attacks and premature death.

      For the entire article: http://action.sierraclub.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=199861.0

  62. Gates Authorizes Humanitarian Funds for Japan

    March 17, 2011 By Cheryl Pellerin
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON– Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has authorized up to $35 million in initial Defense Department funds for humanitarian aid to Japan, a Pentagon spokesman said this morning.

    Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan said the funding is in addition to $8 million in total planned aid to Japan from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

    The funds will be used to help earthquake and tsunami survivors on the main Japanese island of Honshu, where damage to reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has prompted DOD to authorize the voluntary departure of eligible family members from the island to the designated “safe haven” of the United States.

    Eligible family members are those who are in Japan on orders because of their service member, Lapan said. They will be eligible for reimbursement for travel out of Japan. Family members in Japan simply visiting a service member are not eligible for travel reimbursement, the colonel explained.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63199

  63. IAEA says Japan situation serious but stable

    3/17/11 GEORGE JAHN, AP

    VIENNA – The situation at Japan’s tsunami-stricken nuclear plant is “very serious,” but at the moment does not appear to be deteriorating, a senior official of the U.N. atomic agency said Thursday.

    As emergency workers frantically worked to regain control of the dangerously overheated nuclear complex, Graham Andrew told reporters “there had been no significant worsening” over the past 24 hours at the crippled plant.

    Andrew, a senior aide to International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano, emphasized that the situation could change quickly, either improving or escalating into a wider catastrophe.

    “It hasn’t gotten worse, which is positive, But it is still possible that it could get worse,” he said. “We could say it’s reasonably stable at the moment compared to yesterday.”

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110317/ap_on_re_eu/eu_un_japan_earthquake

    • Travel Health Precaution
      2011 Earthquake, Tsunami, and Radiation Release in Japan

      March 17, 2011 at 17:40 EDT cdc.gov

      The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends that all Americans within 50 miles of the Fukushima reactors should evacuate the area.

      On March 11, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred off the east coast of Japan. A subsequent tsunami struck the coast, killing thousands of people and causing serious, widespread damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant and to buildings, roads, and power lines, particularly along the east coast of the Tohoku region.

      At this time, the US Department of State urges US residents to avoid nonessential travel to Japan.

      Damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami has resulted in an ongoing leak of radiation from this facility. The Japanese government has evacuated hundreds of thousands of residents of Fukushima Prefecture living within 20 km (12 miles) of the nuclear power plant. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends that all Americans remain a minimum of 80 km (50 miles) away from the plant. At this time, the risk of exposure to radiation and the risk of contamination from radioactive materials are believed to be low, especially for anyone outside a 50-mile radius of the nuclear power plant.

      For the entire article; http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/travel-health-precaution/2011-earthquake-tsunami-radiation-japan.aspx

    • EPA Statement on Air Monitoring Effort

      3/15/2011 epa.gov

      WASHINGTON – As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said, we do not expect to see radiation at harmful levels reaching the U.S. from damaged Japanese nuclear power plants. As part of the federal government’s continuing effort to make our activities and science transparent and available to the public, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will continue to keep all RadNet data available in the current online database. EPA is working with its federal partners and has deployed additional monitors to Hawaii, Alaska, Guam in the Northern Mariana Islands.

      As always, EPA is utilizing this existing nationwide radiation monitoring system, RadNet, which continuously monitors the nation’s air and regularly monitors drinking water, milk and precipitation for environmental radiation. The RadNet online searchable database contains historical data of environmental radiation monitoring data from all fifty states and U.S. territories.

      For the entire article: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/statement.html

      • Iodine Supplements Could Do More Harm Than Good for Worried Americans

        3/17/11 Rachel Krech – news.yahoo.com

        Fears over radiation levels spiking along the West Coast of the United States are rising as Japan struggles to control the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant after Friday’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck. Potassium iodide pills are flying off the shelves of stores along the West Coast as well as residents rush to prepare for high radiation levels in the area.

        By many public officials have been fighting to set the record straight and ease the fears Americans may have. The EPA released an official statement on the matter and said that the U.S. shouldn’t expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the country from the damaged nuclear power plants. The EPA also stated that they were still collecting extensive data regarding radiation levels in the air at many different locations in the western U.S. and other U.S. territories and that the data is available to the public.

        Mike Silcilia, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, confirmed the EPA’s statement as well and said it would be impossible for the radiation to travel 5,000 across the Pacific Ocean while maintaining the same concentration.

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

    • Radiation Emergencies

      CDC.gov

      BRIDGING THE GAPS: Public Health and Radiation Emergency PreparednessCDC has a key role in protecting the public’s health in an emergency involving the release of radiation that could harm people’s health. This site provides information to help people protect themselves during and after such an event. It also provides information for professionals involved in planning for and responding to this type of emergency.

      2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
      Current Situation

      * Nuclear Regulatory Commission
      * Department of Homeland Security
      * Environmental Protection Agency
      * What is CDC’s Role in Emergencies?

      Radiation and Health

      * Radioisotope Brief: Iodine-131 (I-131)
      * Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS)

      Radiation and Treatment

      * Potassium Iodide (KI)
      * Prussian Blue

      Information for Specific Groups

      * Travelers
      * Clinicians
      * More groups…

    • Calif. Radiation Levels Not Elevating

      3/18/11 By RJ MIDDLETON – nbcbayarea.com

      Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area, who are concerned about radiation from Japan’s nuclear emergency can call 211 for updated information.

      Currently, the Bay Area’s departments of public health are emphasizing that there is no danger to Bay Area residents from Japan’s nuclear emergency. They also discourage taking potassium iodide, which can have serious side effects and should not be taken unless recommended.

      Residents are discouraged from calling 911 unless they are experiencing a life-threatening emergency. During times of disaster, the 211 helplines provide critical information to local residents, relieving 911 operators from answering non-emergency calls.

      For the entire article: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Radiation-Levels-Not–118241044.html

    • Hawaii to get 2 more radiation monitors as EPA seeks to ease worries

      Mar 16, 2011 By Associated Press and Star-Advertiser staff

      SAN FRANCISCO >> Hawaii will get more two more radiation monitors as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeks to mollify public concern in the western United States and Pacific territories over exposure from damaged nuclear plants in Japan, federal environmental regulators said.

      The EPA is adding two more stations in Hawaii, one in Guam, and one in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In Alaska, officials are setting up three new monitors in Dutch Harbor, Nome and Juneau.

      Hawaii currently has two radiation monitoring stations, one each on Oahu and the Big Island. State health officials told the Star-Advertiser yesterday that they will put the two new monitors on Oahu’s North Shore and Kauai.

      “The agency decided out of an abundance of caution to send these deployable monitors in order to get some monitors on the ground closer to Japan,” said Jonathan Edwards, director of EPA’s radiation protection division. The idea is to get a better geographic spread of monitoring equipment than currently exists, he said.

      EPA already monitors radiation throughout the area as part of its RadNet system, which measures levels in air, drinking water, milk and rain.

      The additional monitors are being deployed in response to the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan, where emergency workers are attempting to cool overheated reactors damaged by last week’s magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami.

      Officials with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said they do not expect harmful radiation levels to reach the U.S. from Japan.

      For the entire article: http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/118132839.html

  64. Strong economic data points to more hiring

    3/17/11 AP

    WASHINGTON – Factories are producing more cars, computers and household appliances, and applications for unemployment benefits over the past four weeks are at the lowest point since summer 2008.

    Economic data released Thursday suggest that March will be the second straight month of strong job growth. And the reports helped Wall Street rebound a day after the market suffered its biggest drop in seven months.

    Still, rising prices for household necessities and trouble overseas could slow the U.S. economy in the coming months.

    “We have a lot of momentum in the U.S. economy right now,” said Kurt Karl, chief economist at Swiss Re. “That’s good, particularly since we’re going to be challenged by higher oil prices” and the impact of Japan’s earthquake and nuclear crisis.

    A key reason for the brighter outlook is that factory production increased in February for the sixth straight month. The Federal Reserve said production of cars and auto parts jumped 4.2 percent, nearly matching January’s gain. Production of furniture, electronics and appliances all rose.

    Manufacturing output has grown in all but four months since the recession ended in June 2009. And manufacturers have created 190,000 jobs over the past year, the highest 12-month total for that group since 1998. Last month alone factories added 33,000 net new jobs.

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

  65. Open for Questions: America’s Great Outdoors

    From: whitehouse | Mar 17, 2011

    Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar & Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack take your questions about the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. March 17, 2011.

  66. Feinstein introduces bill to repeal Defense of Marriage Act, recognize same-sex marriages

    3/16/11 By Josh Richman -Oakland Tribune

    The federal law banning same-sex marriages would be repealed and legally married gay couples would receive the same benefits as opposite-sex couples in the eyes of federal law, under a bill introduced Wednesday by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

    “There are tens of thousands of legally married same-sex couples in the United States, and more than 18,000 in my home state of California alone,” Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a news release. “These couples live their lives like all married people; they share the bills, they raise children together, and they care for each other in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death do they part. But because of (the Defense of Marriage Act), they have been denied federal protections. It is time to right this wrong. This bill will ensure that all married couples in the United States enjoy equal protection of our laws.”

    The “Respect for Marriage Act” would let same-sex married couples enjoy the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts, such as filing joint federal income taxes and claiming certain deductions; receiving spousal benefits under Social Security; taking unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act when a loved one falls seriously ill; and obtaining the protections of the estate tax when one spouse passes and wants to leave his or her possessions to another; among other things.

    Feinstein’s bill follows the Obama administration’s conclusion in February that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and its order that the Justice Department stop defending it in court. The 1996 law defines marriage strictly as a union between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law, and says states don’t need to recognize same-sex marriages performed by other states. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont have legalized same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriages in California were outlawed by voter-approved Proposition 8, whose fate is still pending in the courts.

    For the entire article: http://www.mercurynews.com/rss/ci_17628097?source=rss&nclick_check=1

    • March 17, 2011
      President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

      WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

      * Richard Howorth, Member, Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority
      * Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Department of Justice
      * Myrna Pérez, Commissioner, Election Assistance Commission

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/17/president-obama-announces-more-key-administration-posts

    • March 17, 2011

      Nominations Sent to the Senate

      Gineen Maria Bresso, of Florida, to be a Member of the Election Assistance Commission for a term expiring December 12, 2013. (Reappointment)

      Anthony Bryk, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences for a term expiring November 28, 2015. (Reappointment)

      Richard C. Howorth, of Mississippi, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority for a term expiring May 18, 2015, vice Howard A. Thrailkill, term expired.

      Lisa O. Monaco, of the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant Attorney General, vice David S. Kris, resigned.

      Myrna Pérez, of Texas, to be a Member of the Election Assistance Commission for the remainder of the term expiring December 12, 2011, vice Rosemary E. Rodriguez.

      Myrna Pérez, of Texas, to be a Member of the Election Assistance Commission for a term expiring December 12, 2015. (Reappointment)

  67. From my twitter timeline:

    RT @SarrahPalinU5A: I’m currently in talks to become the new voice of the Aflac duck. Fingers crossed everybody!

  68. White House Launches Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge

    Posted by Mara Vanderslice on March 17, 2011

    Since his inauguration, President Obama has emphasized interfaith cooperation and community service – as an important way to build understanding between different communities and contribute to the common good.

    On a conference call this afternoon, Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, launched the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. The launch featured a video from President Obama calling on institutions of higher education to make a commitment to advancing interfaith and community service initiatives over the course of the 2011-2012 academic year.

    For the entire article and video: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/17/white-house-launches-interfaith-and-community-service-campus-challenge

  69. Fostering Innovation Across America

    Posted by Don Graves on March 17, 2011

    In February, I traveled with Secretary Geithner and the President to Cleveland, Ohio to meet local business owners and discuss the challenges that they face each day. It was exciting to see the ingenuity and determination of so many entrepreneurs; the American spirit of entrepreneurial innovation remains strong, not just in Silicon Valley, but in all parts of the country. That innovation continues to be at the heart of the American economy and it has helped drive six quarters of economic growth.

    However, the challenges that these business owners face cannot be ignored. In the wake of the recent financial crisis, it is difficult for so many entrepreneurs to access the capital necessary for their companies to grow. Across the Administration, as we encourage innovation and promote entrepreneurship, we are grappling with this question: How can we make sure that the next Facebook has the capital it needs to grow and succeed?

    Next Tuesday, March 22, Treasury will be hosting a conference titled Access to Capital: Fostering Innovation and Growth for Small Companies. We will bring together policymakers, entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and other market participants to explore how both the public and private sectors can help promote access to capital at each phase in the lifecycle of a small company. We are committed to fostering an open dialogue about where the public sector should step in and where we should move out of the way.

    Over the past few decades, there have been meaningful structural changes in the US economy. These changes have transformed the way small businesses obtain capital and have also introduced both benefits and barriers to small companies looking to grow. A variety of new funding sources have emerged including incubators, angel clubs and private placement platforms. However, many traditional sources of “bootstrap capital” from home equity loans to credit card debt are harder to come by for many entrepreneurs. It is crucial that we understand new challenges and encourage the flow of capital to parts of the market – including regions – that may be underserved and through platforms that have been underutilized.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/17/fostering-innovation-across-america

    • Security Council authorizes ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians in Libya

      3/17/11 un.org

      17 March 2011 – The Security Council today effectively authorized the use of force in Libya to protect civilians from attack, specifically in the eastern city of Benghazi, which Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi has reportedly said he will storm tonight to end a revolt against his regime.

      Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which provides for the use of force if needed, the Council adopted a resolution by 10 votes to zero, with five abstentions, authorizing Member States “to take all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamhariya, including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force.”

      The abstentions included China and Russia, which have the power of veto, as well as Brazil, Germany and India.

      Expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence, and the heavy civilian casualties, the Council established a no-fly zone, banning all flights – except those for humanitarian purposes – in Libyan airspace in order to help protect civilians. It specifically calls on Arab League states to cooperate with other Member States in taking the necessary measures.

      For the entire article: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37808&Cr=libya&Cr1=

    • March 17, 2011

      Remarks by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland at a St. Patrick’s Day Reception
      East Room

      7:18 P.M. EDT

      VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Hello, everybody. Glen, wherever you are, thank you for that entertainment. I don’t know how you got a Shriver to sing, but — (laughter.) Welcome to the White House, everyone, and happy St. Patrick’s Day. (Applause.)

      You know, all of you Irishmen out there, my — hey, Ambassador Rooney, how are you? — they talk about the luck of the Irish. My grandfather Ambrose Finnegan didn’t like that expression as much. He liked the expression, he used to say, if you’re lucky enough to be Irish, well, you’re lucky enough. (Laughter.)

      And I think we’re all pretty lucky in here tonight — lucky to be here at the White House, lucky to be here about to hear the two people I’m about to introduce. And I’m fortunate to have the honor of being able to introduce Fionnuala Kenny and her husband, the Taoiseach. In this town, in this administration — it must be a bunch of Englishmen talking back there. (Laughter and applause.) I’m really diplomatic, aren’t I? (Laughter.) I’m really diplomatic. I don’t know — it’s in the blood, what can I say? (Laughter.)

      For the entire article; http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/17/remarks-president-obama-vice-president-biden-and-prime-minister-enda-ken

    • Remarks With His Excellency Eamon Gilmore, T.D., Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ireland

      Hillary Rodham Clinton -Secretary of State
      Treaty Room Washington, DC

      March 18, 2011

      SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning, everyone. It’s a pleasure to welcome the new Tánaiste here to the State Department. Eamon Gilmore is very welcome, and we had an excellent discussion. And there was a broad agreement, as you might guess, between two such strong friends and allies. I’m sorry I had to spend St. Patrick’s Day away from the celebrations, but I am delighted that we have so many common goals for the continuing close cooperation between our two countries.

      We are obviously following what’s happening in Japan on a minute-by-minute basis. Ireland very generously has contributed to the appeal for humanitarian assistance. We are also grateful for the offer of Irish experts to assist in dealing with this. As both Ireland and the United States know, Japan has been very generous in the past during others’ times of need, and we are responding.

      For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/03/158584.htm

  70. Hi CR,
    So good to see that you’ve posted this news…

    “U.N. Security Council on Thursday approved a no-fly zone over Libya….
    …authorized “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from attacks by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.”

    Sure stuffs those nim-wits screaming that “President Obama isn’t doing enough. blah, blah…”

    This is as it ought to be done….
    USA can’t just keep invading other countries, with out a consensus of agreement with other countries.
    …reason so many countries resented “cowboy Lone Ranger Bush” invading Iraq.

  71. I was just sitting here thinking and watching the NBC Nat’l nightly news and thinking that PBO is really the President of the world. It appears that he has to take the lead on all of the crises appearing around the world. After his speech today, regarding the radiation, I think all of these folks need to just chill. Also, the presser this morning was very informative. So far almost everyone I have seen have something slightly different to say. I stop watching the opinion givers earlier this week.

  72. Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the Security Council Stakeout on UN Security Council Resolution 1973, March 17, 2011

    Susan E. Rice- Permanent Representative
    New York, NY

    March 17, 2011

    Ambassador Rice: Good evening, the U.S. is very pleased with today’s vote and with the strong provisions of Resolution 1973. This resolution should send a strong message to Colonel Qadhafi and his regime that the violence must stop, the killing must stop, and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely.

    This resolution was designed to do two important things: protect civilians as well as strengthen the pressure on the Qadhafi regime through a substantial tightening of sanctions. Provisions for enforcement of the arms embargo, a ban on flights in and out of Libya with, in particular, a focus on those that may be carrying mercenaries, the designation of additional individuals and core Libyan-owned government companies for asset freezes, and a range of other very important measures. Taken together, the elements of Resolution 1973 are powerful and they ought to be heeded by the Qadhafi regime. I’m happy to take a few questions.

    Reporter: Your Secretary of State has met with a legion of the rebels in France, you have passed a resolution that protects Benghazi and the rest of the cities and villages and you have called the regime illegitimate and you have asked for him to step down. Isn’t it time that you recognize the government of the transitional council, like France, as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people? And I’d like to know how you got the Nigerians and South Africans to go back to the fault?

    For the entire article: http://usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/2011/158563.htm

  73. WH

    Friday Mar. 18, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    In the morning, VP Biden will travel to Philadelphia.
    10:00 AM

    Pres Obama receives the presidential daily briefing.
    10:55 AM

    Pres Obama is interviewed by WSOC Charlotte, WSVN Miami and WPVI Philadelphia
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM

    VP Biden will attend an event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
    2:00 PM

    President Obama Speaks on the situation in Libya -The
    White House

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM
    10:15 PM

    The first family departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base.
    10:35 PM

    The first family departs Andrews Air Force Base en route to Brasilia, Brazil.
    11:00 PM

  74. House votes to cut funding to public radio

    3/17/11 Wendell Marsh -Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives voted Thursday to end federal funding for National Public Radio, following recent controversies that entangled some of the organization’s senior executives.

    Republicans said the move, which passed by a vote of 228-192, was motivated by the need to cut spending in the face of a record federal budget deficit.

    Democrats argued the bill was a thinly veiled ideological attack on an institution that some Republicans have long criticized for what they see as its liberal bias.

    The measure’s prospects beyond the Republican-led House appear doubtful as Democrats control the Senate and President Barack Obama, who opposed the bill, could veto it.

    NPR, which has about 27 million listeners, was shaken last week when its chief executive, Vivian Schiller, resigned after the organization’s chief fund-raiser was secretly videotaped making disparaging remarks about members of the conservative Tea Party movement and questioning whether NPR needed government funding.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110318/media_nm/us_house_npr_5

    • Please keep your veto pen ready, Mr. President, just in case the Senate joins the House in doing something stupid (which I doubt).

  75. A late Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Had a wonderful day of celebration! Hope you all enjoyed your Thursday, too.

    I’ll read the rest of the news upthread now … glad the U.N. resolution was passed, although I join others in hoping this doesn’t lead to the worst situation.

    Also wish Godspeed to President and Mrs. Obama on their trip to South America! Hurry back.

  76. Remarks of President Barack Obama
    Weekly Address

    Saturday, March 12, 2011
    Washington, DC

    March is Women’s History Month, a time not only to celebrate the progress that women have made, but also the women throughout our history who have made that progress possible.

    One inspiring American who comes to mind is Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1961, the former First Lady was unhappy about the lack of women in government, so she marched up to President Kennedy and handed him a three-page list of women who were qualified for top posts in his administration. This led the President to select Mrs. Roosevelt as the head of a new commission to look at the status of women in America, and the unfairness they routinely faced in their lives.

    Though she passed away before the commission could finish its work, the report they released spurred action across the country. It helped galvanize a movement led by women that would help make our society a more equal place.

    It’s been almost fifty years since the Roosevelt commission published its findings – and there have been few similar efforts by the government in the decades that followed. That’s why, last week, here at the White House, we released a new comprehensive report on the status of women in the spirit on the one that was released half a century ago.

    There was a lot of positive news about the strides we’ve made, even in recent years. For example, women have caught up with men in seeking higher education. In fact, women today are more likely than men to attend and graduate from college.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/12/weekly-address-womens-history-month-highlights-presidents-resolve-pass-p

  77. OPINION: Cutting off NPR funding means less news, job losses

    03/18/11 By Joyce Slocum – TheHill.com

    These days, I’m frequently asked, “Can public broadcasting survive without federal funding?” I understand the reason for the question — we all understand the terrible burden of our national debt — but the real question is, “What’s the cost to the nation of defunding public broadcasting?”

    Eliminating federal funding would seriously damage public broadcasting and harm millions of Americans who rely on us. Period.

    It will mean fewer stations, fewer programs, and less news produced — especially locally. If stations go dark, that hurts us at NPR, but it hurts local listeners more. At NPR, our mission is to reach and inform as many people as well as possible about what’s going on in the world and in their communities. A weakened, smaller public broadcasting economy will deeply damage our ability to deliver on that mission.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/150589-cutting-off-nprs-money-is-a-bad-idea

    • Reid voices support for NPR

      3/18/11 ANDY BARR -POLITICO

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday lamented the House’s vote to defund NPR.

      Speaking on the floor of the Senate after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had used the floor to congratulate the winner of the Iditarod dog-sled race, Reid evoked NPR’s coverage of the event to criticize the GOP-led vote.

      “They had a really, really good piece on public radio before the start of the race,” Reid said. “I hesitate saying this because I know I will probably get in trouble, but this is a good reason why the House vote was bad today to defund public radio.”

      The Nevada senator then claimed that public radio is the “only” station that can be heard during the day in his hometown of Searchlight.

      Reid’s tempered frustration over the vote was widely shared by Democrats on Thursday, though some were much more heated in their responses.

      “What a relief. I’m glad we got the economy back going,” Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) sarcastically chided from the House floor. “I’m so glad we secured our nuclear power plants. So glad Americans are going back to work.”

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51544.html

  78. February 18, 2011
    Statement by Press Secretary Jay Carney on the President Traveling to Latin America

    The President and First Lady will travel to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador March 19-23, where the President will meet with the leaders and speak to the peoples of these countries to discuss a broad range of issues including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation, shared values and other issues of regional and global concern. The trip will provide an opportunity to engage key bilateral partners, to highlight the President’s engagement with the hemisphere, and to advance our efforts to work as equal partners to address the basic challenges facing the people of the Americas. The visit will include events in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and San Salvador.

    • Obama heads to Latin America

      March 18, 2011 By Dan Grech- Marketplace.org

      President Obama gets set to talk trade with counterparts in Brazil, Chile and El Salvador.

      Jeremy Hobson: Today, President Obama kicks off a five-day trip to South and Central America. First stop: Brazil, South America’s largest economy which has been growing like gangbusters despite the weak global economy.

      Dan Grech reports.

      Dan Grech: When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the U.S. was Brazil’s top trading partner. Today, China is number one.

      Peter Hakim is with the Inter American Dialogue. He says China has a voracious appetite for Brazilian raw materials, such as iron, soy beans and oil.

      Peter Hakim: Trade with China has risen something like five times in the last 10 years. It’s really pulled Brazil through the economic crisis without much damage.

      Exports to China helped Brazil’s economy grow more than 7 percent last year. But Brazil, like the U.S., has a love-hate relationship with China.

      Susan Siegel runs the Americas Society and Council of the Americas.

      Susan Siegel: Brazil is very worried about the competitiveness of the Brazilian currency vis-a-vis the Chinese currency, just as we are worried about exactly the same issue, dollar Chinese currency.

      Critics say a weak yuan makes it nearly impossible for manufactured products from the U.S. and Brazil to compete. Obama is traveling to Brazil with nearly his entire economic team. That includes the Secretaries of the Treasury, Energy and Commerce.

      Syndicated columnist Andres Oppenheimer says the goal of the trip is for the U.S. to team up economically with Brazil.

      For the entire article and audio interview: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/03/18/am-obama-heads-to-latin-america/

    • March 18, 2011

      Op-ed by President Obama in USA Today: Jobs at top of Latin America agenda

      The full text of the op-ed by President Barack Obama is printed below. The piece titled, “Jobs at Top of Latin America Agenda” was published in today’s USA Today. The text can be read online HERE.

      Jobs at top of Latin America agenda
      USA Today
      March 18, 2011
      By Barack Obama

      In recent weeks, we’ve seen how turmoil and tragedy around the globe can affect our own prosperity and security; how events abroad often have implications for everything from markets on Wall Street to families’ wallets on Main Street. And as a nation, we will continue to do everything we can both to promote stability and democracy in the Middle East and help the people of Japan recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

      But in this increasingly interconnected and fiercely competitive world, our top priority has to be creating and sustaining new jobs and new opportunities for our people.

      Lately, we’ve seen signs that we’re moving in the right direction. Our economy added nearly a quarter of a million new private sector jobs last month, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest level in nearly two years. And to keep that progress going, we’ve got to keep competing for every new job, every new industry, and every new market in the 21st century.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/18/op-ed-president-obama-usa-today-jobs-top-latin-america-agenda

  79. Arizona Senate votes down immigration bills

    3/18/11 David Schwartz -Reuters

    PHOENIX (Reuters) – The Arizona Senate on Thursday rejected five immigration bills, placing a major stumbling block in the way of state conservatives’ hopes to pass more laws cracking down on illegal immigrants.

    The Senate voted down bills that sought to provoke a reevaluation by the U.S. Supreme Court of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, Senate officials said.

    Other defeated measures sought to ban undocumented students from studying at state universities, as well as requiring hospitals and schools to check the legal status of patients and students respectively.

    The votes came despite the Senate having a majority of Republicans, generally more sympathetic to such measures than Democrats.

    “This was a clear statement that Arizona needs to focus on its priorities, not try to solve the immigration problem,” Democratic State Senator Steve Gallardo told Reuters.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110318/pl_nm/us_arizona_immigration

    • It is great news, but, so sad that this comes ONLY after big company CEO’s requested that they not go forward. All the protests from ordinary individuals fell on deaf ears.

  80. Secretary Napolitano’s Remarks at the U.S.-Mexico Congressional Border Issues Conference

    March 17, 2011 dhs.gov

    Washington, D.C. – Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today delivered remarks at the Annual U.S.-Mexico Congressional Border Issues Conference – highlighting the continued partnership between the United States and Mexico to ensure our mutual security while facilitating trade and travel along the Southwest border.

    “Security and prosperity are mutually reinforcing, and the United States and Mexico are closely linked by a common interest in robust security and growing economies,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We are committed to continuing to work with Mexico to foster a safe and secure border zone, while facilitating the legal trade and travel that helps our border regions prosper.”

    In her remarks, Secretary Napolitano underscored the Obama Administration’s unprecedented efforts to strengthen security along the Southwest border, which include increasing the number of Border Patrol agents from approximately 10,000 in 2004 to more than 20,700 today; doubling the number of personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces; and deploying approximately one quarter of all U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel to the Southwest border region – the most ever.

    For the entire article: http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1300385312206.shtm

  81. Public Invited To Participate In 90-Day Comment Period For Flood Maps

    Benton County, Arkansas and FEMA to gather public input on preliminary flood maps

    March 17, 2011

    DENTON, Texas — After months of collaboration and the continuous sharing of information resulting in preliminary flood maps, officials with Benton County, Arkansas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are now asking the public to participate in a 90-day comment period.

    Homeowners, renters and business owners in Benton County have from March 11 – June 8, 2011 to provide general comments, or to file an appeal or protest if there are possible errors on the map.

    An appeal is a formal objection to proposed base flood elevations. Appeals must be based on technical data that show proposed maps to be scientifically incorrect. Anyone who makes an appeal must include the method, data and analysis used to support the claim.

    Protests challenge information or data other than base flood elevation, such as changes to flood plain boundaries, corporate limits, or roads and road names. Comments, appeals and protests should be sent to FEMA through the local floodplain administrator.

    Anyone who hasn’t had a chance to participate in local flood insurance meetings or to review the new flood maps is encouraged to contact the Benton County floodplain administrator at (479) 271-1003.

    For the entire article: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=53943

  82. Now streaming…

    10 AM EST

    Department of Defense Officials Testify on Defense Authorization Request for the for FY12 and future defense programs. Topics will include military construction, the environment and base closure programs.

    http://www.defense.gov/live/

    • Afghan Institutions Making Strides, Petraeus Says

      March 18, 2011 By Karen Parrish
      American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – Afghanistan’s government and other societal institutions will determine the country’s long-term stability, the commander of NATO and U.S. forces there said today.

      Army Gen. David H. Petraeus capped a week of congressional testimony and meetings with a question-and-answer session at the Newseum here focusing on Afghanistan’s future.

      There’s only one way to achieve the core objective of eliminating terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan, Petraeus said, and that’s helping that nation develop the capability to secure and govern itself to “an adequate degree.”

      “We’re not trying to turn the country into Switzerland in 10 years or less,” the general added.

      NATO’s International Security Assistance Force has a comprehensive civil-military counterinsurgency campaign under way in Afghanistan to spur needed development, Petraeus said, but long-term stability must rest on an Afghan framework.

      Senior ministers in the Afghan government are “by and large … very impressive,” he said, noting that most are Western-educated and technologically sophisticated by regional standards, and many are reformers.

      The political structure in Afghanistan has significant constraints, Petraeus said, adding that while the nation’s constitution gives the executive branch a lot of power, President Hamid Karzai is not as all-powerful as might be thought.

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63219

  83. Diplomats: Saudi king moving to head off protests

    3/17/11 DIAA HADID, Associated Press

    CAIRO – Saudi Arabia’s monarch will announce a government reshuffle, an anti-corruption drive and a promise to increase food subsidies to combat rising prices in his first address to his nation since unrest began sweeping the Arab world, diplomats said Thursday.

    King Abdullah’s speech is expected after midday Muslim prayers on Friday.

    The rare speech by the country’s ailing 86-year-old monarch comes after a several small demonstrations in the oil-rich kingdom.

    Though only dozens of people have participated, it appears the monarchy is worried the protests could escalate into more intense gatherings, inspired by the unrest sweeping the Arab world.

    The diplomats said the king will replace the ministers of defense, higher education and religious affairs. The defense minister is ailing, while intellectuals have criticized the minister of higher education for dumping billions on expensive projects that they said produced few results.

    The diplomats said the king would not replace the head of the all-important oil ministry. The Saudi-based diplomats requested anonymity because the royal court had not made details of the king’s speech public.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110317/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_saudi_king_s_speech

  84. Again, Obama does 3 interviews

    03/18/11 By MATT NEGRIN- POLITICO

    Before he and his family leave for Brazil, President Obama will give interviews to three local news outlets in the Map Room, the same technique he used Tuesday to spread his agenda for education. The White House said in guidance to reporters that Obama will use the interviews — with stations in Charlotte, Miami and Philadelphia — to “preview his trip to Latin America and highlight the economic benefits of our relationship with the region.”

    “North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are four of the top exporting states to Brazil,” the White House noted.

  85. March 18, 2011

    Statement by the Press Secretary on H.J. Res. 48.

    On Friday, March 18, 2011, the President signed into law:

    H.J. Res. 48, which provides FY 2011 appropriations through Friday, April 8, 2011, for continuing projects and activities of the Federal Government.

  86. March 18, 2011

    Readout of President Obama’s Calls with Prime Minister Cameron and President Sarkozy

    Following the successful adoption today of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya, President Obama called Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. The leaders agreed that Libya must immediately comply with all terms of the resolution and that violence against the civilian population of Libya must cease. The leaders agreed to coordinate closely on next steps, and to continue working with Arab and other international partners to ensure the enforcement of UN Security Council resolutions on Libya.

  87. Libya offers cease-fire after UN no-fly zone vote

    3/18/11 HADEEL AL-SHALCHI and RYAN LUCAS -AP

    TRIPOLI, Libya – Libya declared an immediate cease-fire Friday, trying to fend off international military intervention after the U.N. authorized a no-fly zone and “all necessary measures” to prevent the regime from striking its own people. A rebel spokesman said Moammar Gadhafi’s forces were still shelling two cities.

    The United States said a cease-fire announcement was insufficient, calling on the regime to pull back from eastern Libya, where the once-confident rebels this week found themselves facing an overpowering force using rockets, artillery, tanks, warplanes.

    Eastern Libya has the majority of Libya’s oil reserves — the largest in Africa. Oil prices slid after the cease-fire announcement, plunging about $2.50 in the first 15 minutes of New York trading. By midday, they stood at $101.

    Mustafa Gheriani, a spokesman for the rebels, said attacks continued well past the announcement, which came after a fierce government attack on Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country. A doctor said at least six people died.

    “He’s bombing Misrata and Adjadbiya from 7 a.m. this morning until now. How can you trust him?” Gheriani said.

    The U.N. Security Council resolution, which passed late Thursday, set the stage for airstrikes, a no-fly zone and other military measures short of a ground invasion. Britain announced that it would send fighter jets, Italy offered the use of its bases, and France made plans to deploy planes. The U.S., which has an array of naval and air forces in the region, had yet to announce its role.

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

  88. Seizing Opportunities to Support American Jobs, American Values in Trade

    Posted by Ambassador Ron Kirk on March 18, 2011

    President Obama has set an ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015, supporting at least two million additional American jobs. As the President departs for Latin America to promote U.S. exports and U.S. jobs, we at the Office of the United States Trade Representative are continuing to work on three pending free trade agreements – with Korea, Panama, and Colombia – that can support these National Export Initiative goals.

    In December, President Obama announced that the United States and South Korea have finalized an historic trade deal that will increase U.S. exports to Korea by $11 billion annually while supporting 70,000 American jobs. The news has been met with high praise from a wide range of groups, including the United Auto Workers, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, the U.S. Chamber and the American Farm Bureau Federation, to name a few stakeholders. They know the positive impact this agreement will have on U.S. businesses and families, from auto workers to cattle ranchers to high-tech manufacturers and service providers.

    The U.S.-Korea trade agreement would eliminate tariffs on more than 95 percent of industrial and consumer goods within five years, creating a more open and fair Korean market for U.S. auto companies and workers, and new opportunities for U.S. manufacturers, farmers and ranchers. In real terms, U.S. beef producers could expect to save $90 million annually with the progressive elimination of Korea’s existing tariff.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/18/seizing-opportunities-support-american-jobs-american-values-trade

  89. Thank you President Obama for knowing that the right thing to do was to let the world leaders all get on the same page, instead of the big bully US pounding their chest and declaring a no fly zone. I am so proud of our President and I feel safe knowing he is looking out for us.

  90. Next Up…

    2:00 PM EDT
    Secretary of State Clinton discusses the Americas
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks on “Our Opportunities in the Americas” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. She may also discuss the situation in Japan.

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

    CNN http://www.cnn.com/video/flashLive/live.html?stream=stream1

    CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/Events/Obama-Begins-Trip-to-South-America/10737420293-1/

    • Remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Latin America

      Hillary Rodham Clinton
      Secretary of State
      Washington, DC
      March 18, 2011

      SECRETARY CLINTON: (Applause.) Thank you. Oh, thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It is a delight to be back at CSIS and have this opportunity to speak with you. I want to thank Mack for his introduction. Always ask a long-time friend to introduce you because then you’re guaranteed, at least if he doesn’t provide embarrassing detail, to have a positive prelude.

      I can think of no one more fitting than Mack to have provided that opening because he is a long-time champion of U.S. engagement in Latin America and did an excellent job as my husband’s envoy during the Clinton Administration.

      My thanks also John Hamre, Andrew Schwartz, CSIS for your generosity in hosting us this afternoon. As an institution that is focused on not just the day-to-day policy, but also on the deeper forces and dynamics that shape it, this is an ideal place to discuss what I see as one of the central strategic opportunities for the United States today.

      For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/03/158601.htm

    • March 18, 2011

      Remarks by the President on the Situation in Libya
      East Room

      2:22 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to take this opportunity to update the American people about the situation in Libya. Over the last several weeks, the world has watched events unfold in Libya with hope and alarm. Last month, protesters took to the streets across the country to demand their universal rights, and a government that is accountable to them and responsive to their aspirations. But they were met with an iron fist.

      Within days, whole parts of the country declared their independence from a brutal regime, and members of the government serving in Libya and abroad chose to align themselves with the forces of change. Moammar Qaddafi clearly lost the confidence of his own people and the legitimacy to lead.

      Instead of respecting the rights of his own people, Qaddafi chose the path of brutal suppression. Innocent civilians were beaten, imprisoned, and in some cases killed. Peaceful protests were forcefully put down. Hospitals were attacked and patients disappeared. A campaign of intimidation and repression began.

      In the face of this injustice, the United States and the international community moved swiftly. Sanctions were put in place by the United States and our allies and partners. The U.N. Security Council imposed further sanctions, an arms embargo, and the specter of international accountability for Qaddafi and those around him. Humanitarian assistance was positioned on Libya’s borders, and those displaced by the violence received our help. Ample warning was given that Qaddafi needed to stop his campaign of repression, or be held accountable. The Arab League and the European Union joined us in calling for an end to violence.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/18/remarks-president-situation-libya

  91. March 18, 2011

    Statement by the President on violence in Yemen

    I strongly condemn the violence that has taken place in Yemen today and call on President Saleh to adhere to his public pledge to allow demonstrations to take place peacefully. Those responsible for today’s violence must be held accountable. The United States stands for a set of universal rights, including the freedom of expression and assembly, as well as political change that meets the aspirations of the Yemeni people. It is more important than ever for all sides to participate in an open and transparent process that addresses the legitimate concerns of the Yemeni people, and provides a peaceful, orderly and democratic path to a stronger and more prosperous nation.

    • From rooftops, snipers kill 40 Yemeni protesters

      3/18/11 AHMED AL-HAJ and ZEINA KARAM – AP

      SANAA, Yemen – As snipers hidden on rooftops fired methodically on Yemeni protesters Friday, police sealed off a key escape route with a wall of burning tires, turning the largest of a month of anti-government demonstrations into a killing field in which at least 40 people perished.

      Many of the victims, who included children, were shot in the head and neck, their bodies left sprawled on the ground or carried off by other protesters desperately pressing scarves to wounds to try to stop the bleeding.

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

  92. Judge puts Wisconsin law on hold

    Mar 18, 2011 By Laura Conaway – MaddowBlog

    A circuit judge in Wisconsin has issued a temporary injunction against Governor Walker’s law stripping public employees of their rights. At issue in the case is not the contents of the law itself, but whether Republicans violated the states open meetings law when it created a conference committee on the fly and jammed the bill through.

    “It seems to me the public policy behind effective enforcement of the open meeting law is so strong that it does outweigh the interest, at least at this time, which may exist in favor of sustaining the validity of the (law),” Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi wrote. Ms. Sumi says that Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, who brought the suit, has a good enough chance of winning to merit stopping the law for now.

    For the entire article: http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/03/18/6294781-judge-puts-wisconsin-law-on-hold

  93. March 18, 2011

    Vice President Biden Announces New Communications Director

    Washington, D.C. – The Vice President announced today that Shailagh Murray will serve as his Communications Director, starting next month. She succeeds Jay Carney, who was appointed by the President to be the White House Press Secretary. Murray comes to the Vice President’s office as a veteran journalist, most recently at the Washington Post.

    Vice President Biden said: “Shailagh’s years of experience covering a broad array of issues ranging from domestic policy to foreign affairs make her uniquely positioned to lead our communications team. She is as well-respected among her peers as she is versed in the serious issues facing our nation and the world. Her leadership and counsel will be invaluable to me, and to the entire administration.”

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/18/vice-president-biden-announces-new-communications-director

    • Hi, CR and O family!

      Looked a little into Ms. Murray’s reporting via Google, and it appears she’s annoyed some of the far right with her “liberal bias.”

      Sounds good to me.

  94. Japan-based Military Families Remain Top Concern

    March 18, 2011 By Elaine Wilson
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON – Defense Department officials are taking “proactive, deliberate” steps to stay ahead of the changing conditions in Japan, while keeping the safety and well being of military families there always in mind, a DOD official said today.

    “From the Pentagon, the military community and family policy team and I are staying keenly aware of the fluid conditions there,” Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Pentagon’s office of military community and family policy, wrote in a blog released today. “From our schools and child care centers to our commissaries and exchanges, our focus is the well-being of military families.

    “While we all may not be in Japan,” Gordon added, “I know our hearts and thoughts all certainly are.”

    Officials are committed to providing military families timely and meaningful information in every situation, Gordon noted.

    However, he said, it “is monumentally [important] for our families living in the many [Japanese] cities and prefectures impacted by the tsunami.”

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63218

    • This is so frightening. Also just heard that small traces of radioactive material have been picked up in Sacramento, but the regulators are stressing it is way, way below putting folks in harm’s way. Nevertheless, I can just imagine the concern.

      I recall President Obama saying, “Whatever I know as President, I want the American people to know.” Luckily, we have a man of honor at the helm.

  95. Good afternoon CR and my O friends.

    If anyone can find the video of VP Biden speaking today at the townhall can you post it. I was out this morning and missed it. I heard Randi Rhodes play a portion of it. Thanks.

      • Hi COS!

        So far I only could find the article with audio below. I’ll keep looking for a video.

    • Vice President Biden Fires Up Union Activists: Organized Labor Keeps ‘Barbarians From The Gate’ (AUDIO)

      3/17/11 Amanda Terkel – HuffingtonPost

      WASHINGTON — Vice President Biden gave the Obama administration’s most forceful statement of solidarity with organized labor in its current battles around the nation on Thursday, encouraging activists to continue fighting for workers’ rights.

      “You guys built the middle class,” said Biden in a virtual town hall conversation hosted by the AFL-CIO. “I would just emphasize what Hilda [Solis] said and say it slightly different: We don’t see the value of collective bargaining, we see the absolute positive necessity of collective bargaining. Let’s get something straight: The only people who have the capacity — organizational capacity and muscle — to keep, as they say, the barbarians from the gate, is organized labor. And make no mistake about it, the guys on the other team get it. They know if they cripple labor, the gate is open, man. The gate is wide open. And we know that too.”

      For the entire article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/17/biden-union-barbarians-labor_n_837346.html

      Audio:

      • Thanks CR for this. VP Biden is the perfect person to open this dialogue and get the troopers fired up and let them know that we are with them.

  96. Member of original 29 Code Talkers dies in Arizona

    3/18/11 AP

    CAMP VERDE, Ariz. – Lloyd Oliver wasn’t much of a talker, but it was clear that he was proud to have his native language serve as a key weapon during World War II. As part of an elite group of Marines, he helped develop and implement a code based on the Navajo language that helped win the war.

    Years later, his hearing remained impaired because of gun blasts and other explosives during the war. He rarely brought up his time as a Code Talker, but his eyes gleamed when holding a picture of himself in his uniform. He kept a Marine cap and a U.S. flag displayed on his bedroom walls in the home he shared with his wife on the Yavapai Apache Reservation.

    Oliver’s death Wednesday means that only one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers survives — Chester Nez of Albuquerque, N.M. The 88-year-old Oliver died at a hospice center in the Phoenix suburb of Avondale where he had been staying for about three weeks, his nephew, Lawrence, said Friday.

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

  97. I hate to say it, and I know a lot of folks hate Keith, but I have been enjoying his blog. He still has worst persons. 🙂

    • I’ll check it out again. I looked at it the first day and liked it. Heard recently he had started attacking again, but if you recommend it … I’m there! Thanks, COS.

      P.S. I thought he had promised to get rid of worst persons! 🙂

    • Thanks Kat for your evening report. I also hope PBO and FLOTUS have safe and fruitful trip. I have seen a lot of the photos with the sniffing dogs where PBO will be meeting. The beast is already there. They are really preparing for his arrival. I saw an article saying that he has cancelled his big speech in Brazil. That ‘s to bad. I always love seeing his speeches and the reaction of the young people.

  98. President Obama to Participate in Televised Town Hall on Education

    Posted by Sarah Bernard on March 18, 2011

    As part of his ongoing effort to improve education for all Americans, President Obama will participate in a Univision-hosted town hall with students, parents and teachers on March 28 to discuss education and Hispanic educational attainment. The town hall is part of Univision’s “Es el Momento” (The Moment is Now) initiative focused on creating a college-bound culture in the Hispanic community.

    Do you have questions about better preparing students for college and 21st century careers? Or thoughts on how to increase parental enagement in education? Now’s your chance. In advance of the town hall, you’re invited to submit education-related questions here. Questions must be submitted by Sunday, March 27.

    Then tune in to watch a live video stream from the event in either English or Spanish at EsElMomento.com, starting at 7:00 PM EDT on Monday, March 28.

  99. Gates, Russian Counterparts to Discuss Defense Reform

    March 18, 2011 By Cheryl Pellerin
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON – During Robert M. Gates’ final trip to Russia as U.S. defense secretary, he’ll meet with Russian officials to discuss defense reforms under way in both nations, as well as global security and arms-control issues, the Pentagon’s senior spokesman said here today.

    At a briefing for defense reporters here, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff S. Morrell said Gates’ upcoming visits to St. Petersburg and Moscow will not be driven solely by arms control or global security topics.

    “This trip was borne out of the fact that both Secretary Gates and [Russian Federation Defense] Minister [Anatoly] Serdyukov, independently, were pursuing ambitious reform agendas within their ministries, within their departments,” Morrell said.

    Gates invited Serdyukov to Washington last September to discuss their independent efforts to “tame these enormous bureaucracies and doing so at a time when they are under enormous fiscal pressure,” Morrell said.

    After completing a productive series of meetings where the two defense chiefs addressed mutual 21st-century threats and talked about the need to reform, adjust and modernize their departments” Morrell said, Serdyukov invited Gates to Moscow to continue their discussions.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63222

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