Joining Forces – Supporting Our Military

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are launching a national initiative called “Joining Forces” that will lend support to and honor America’s service members and their families on Tuesday, April 12th.

The campaign “aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of our society — citizens, communities, businesses, non-profits, faith based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government — to ensure military families have the support they have earned,”. “We’re focusing on four main areas: Employment, education, wellness and public awareness,” said Mrs. Obama.

To learn more visit: JoiningForces.gov

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May 05, 2016 FACT SHEET: As Part of the 5th Anniversary of Joining Forces, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Announce New Private Sector Hiring and Training Commitments for Veterans and Military Spouses

Joining Forces
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joining-Forces/217042158310061
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/joiningforces

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National Joining Forces Tour Schedule – All times are local:

April 13
9:30 AM – Military Community Event at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
10:15 AM – Visit to Operation Shower at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
4:30 PM – Visit to the Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio, Texas
7:50 PM – Military Families Event at Coors Field in Denver: Rockies vs. Mets, with Jessica Simpson

April 14
10:15 AM – Visit to the National Math and Science Competition in Colorado Springs
4:45 PM – Employment event in Columbus, Ohio.
6:15 PM – Community Event for Military Families in Columbus, Ohio

National Resource Directory – Veteran Job Search https://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov

National Resource Directory app – http://apps.usa.gov/national-resource-directory.shtml

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#JoiningForces

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218 thoughts on “Joining Forces – Supporting Our Military

  1. WH

    Tuesday, April 12 2011

    All Times ET

    9:30 AM
    The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    10:00 AM
    The President meets with senior advisors
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    The Vice President and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar host a plaque dedication ceremony to honor Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole; Jill Biden also attends.

    12:00 PM
    The President, the Vice President, the First Lady and Dr. Biden deliver remarks at the launch of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families
    East Room
    Open Press

    1:30 PM
    Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
    James S. Brady Briefing Room
    Open Press

    2:15 PM
    The President meets with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management John Berry
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    2:30 PM
    The Vice President meets with Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya.

    4:30 PM
    The President and the Vice President meet with Secretary of Defense Gates
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    5:00 PM
    The President and the Vice President meet with Secretary of State Clinton
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    • POTUS podium

      Apr 12, 2011

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

      12:00 PM EDT
      President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden deliver remarks at the launch of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s national initiative to support and honor American’s service members and their families

      1:30 PM EDT
      Briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

      —-

      CNN http://live.cnn.com

      10 AM EDT
      Officials Testify on FY12 Budget Requests
      Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and Army Gen. Walter “Skip” Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on their agencies’ defense authorization requests for FY12

      10:00 AM EDT
      Senate Environment Committee: Natural Gas Drilling, Safety & Implications

      11:45 AM EDT
      Space station crew honors human spaceflight
      The crew of the international space station speaks to reporters to celebrate the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight and the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle program.

      12:00 PM EDT
      President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden deliver remarks at the launch of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s national initiative to support and honor American’s service members and their families
      Space station crew honors human spa

      12:00 PM EDT
      Free State Foundation: FCC Regulations

      12:30 PM EDT
      Commercial privacy ‘bill of rights’ briefing
      Sens. John McCain and John Kerry brief reporters to introduce a so-called commercial privacy “bill of rights.”

      1:15 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the nuclear crisis in Japan, the conflict in Libya and the arrest of Ivory Coast’s former president.

      1:30 PM EDT
      Briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

      2:45 PM EDT
      Senate Committee Environment and Public Works
      Nuclear Safety and U.S. Disaster Preparedness
      Lisa Jackson; Barbara Boxer; Thomas Carper

      2:45 PM EDT
      Senate Committee Environment and Public Works
      Nuclear Safety and U.S. Disaster Preparedness &
      Japan nuclear crisis hearing
      Lisa Jackson; Barbara Boxer; Thomas Carper

      2:45 PM EDT
      Senate Banking Hearing on Derivatives

      6:30 PM EDT
      U.S. House of Representatives
      Tentative Roll Call Votes

      —-

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      7:45 AM EDT
      FY 2011 spending and FY 2012 budget debated http://www.cspan.org/Events/Budget-Week-in-Washington/10737420828/

      10 AM EDT
      Officials Testify on FY12 Budget Requests
      Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and Army Gen. Walter “Skip” Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on their agencies’ defense authorization requests for FY12

      10:00 AM EDT
      Senate Environment Committee: Natural Gas Drilling, Safety & Implications

      12:00 PM EDT
      President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden deliver remarks at the launch of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s national initiative to support and honor American’s service members and their families

      12:00 PM EDT
      Free State Foundation: FCC Regulations http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/298980-1

      12:30 PM EDT
      Commercial privacy ‘bill of rights’ briefing
      Sens. John McCain and John Kerry brief reporters to introduce a so-called commercial privacy “bill of rights.”

      1:15 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the nuclear crisis in Japan, the conflict in Libya and the arrest of Ivory Coast’s former president.

      1:30 PM EDT
      Briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

      2:45 PM EDT
      Senate Committee Environment and Public Works
      Nuclear Safety and U.S. Disaster Preparedness &
      Regulators to Give Update on Crisis in Japan-
      Lisa Jackson; Barbara Boxer; Thomas Carper http://www.cspan.org/Events/Regulators-to-Give-Update-on-Crisis-in-Japan/10737420819/

      2:45 PM EDT
      Senate Banking Hearing on Derivatives http://www.cspan.org/Events/Financial-Regulatory-Heads-Update-Congress-on-Dodd-Frank-Act/10737420818/

      6:30 PM EDT
      U.S. House of Representatives
      Tentative Roll Call Votes http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/298962-3

      —-

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

      10 AM EDT
      Officials Testify on FY12 Budget Requests
      Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and Army Gen. Walter “Skip” Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on their agencies’ defense authorization requests for FY12

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

      —-

      Middle East Protest

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

  2. joining_forces_logo

    Welcome to JoiningForces.gov

    Posted by Kori Schulman on April 12, 2011

    Today, President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Obama and Dr. Biden launched Joining Forces, a national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of our society – citizens, communities, businesses, non-profits, faith based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government – to ensure military families have the support they have earned.

    Our new website — JoiningForces.gov — provides ways for all Americans to step up and show their gratitude to our service members and their families. Here, you can share a messages of thanks, find opportunities to get involved and share stories of service. We’ll also highlight Federal Government support and the outstanding American citizens, communities, and businesses that are serving our nation’s military families.

    “Joining Forces was created to recognize and serve our nation‟s extraordinary military families who, like their loved ones in uniform, serve and sacrifice so much so that we can live in freedom and security,” said Mrs. Obama, “This is a challenge to every segment of American society not to simply say thank you but to mobilize, take action and make a real commitment to supporting our military families.”

    Join forces with us and stay connected through Facebook, Twitter, and email updates.

    • About Joining Forces

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden have met with military families, learned about their successes and challenges, and made it their priority to support them. Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

      Joining Forces:

      Brings attention to the unique needs and strength of America’s military families.
      Inspires, educates, and sparks action from all sectors of our society – citizens, communities, businesses, non-profits, faith based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government – to ensure veterans and military families have the opportunities, resources, and support they have earned.

      Showcases the skills, experience, and dedication of America’s veterans and military spouses to strengthen our nation’s communities.

      Creates greater connections between the American public and the military.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces

      • This is a great and well-deserved gift to our military and their families. Can’t wait to see how it plays out, and hope to be a small part of it.

    • First Lady, Dr. Biden to Launch Family-support Initiative

      April 11, 2011 By Elaine Sanchez – American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON– First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, will launch a national initiative tomorrow that will call on all sectors of society to support and honor America’s service members and their families.

      The initiative is intended to educate, challenge and spark action among citizens, communities, businesses, nonprofits, faith-based institutions, philanthropic organizations and the government, a White House release said.

      Following the initiative’s launch, Obama and Biden will embark on a two-day national tour to visit examples of communities, businesses and nonprofits working to support military families, the release said. Along the way, they’ll highlight the work of Americans –- from teachers and business leaders to neighbors and volunteers –- who are serving military families.

      Obama and Biden will kick off their tour by speaking to 3,000 military and family members at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on April 13, the release said. Special guests Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos and Maj. Gen. Carl B. Jenson, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East, also will attend.

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63505

    • Michelle Obama, Jill Biden Tour Schedule For Launch Of Military Family Campaign

      APRIL 11, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

      Mid-day Tuesday at the White House, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will join First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden as they launch a huge new campaign to support and honor military families. All four will make remarks at the event, which will be livestreamed here at noon ET. On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden will begin a whirlwind two-day tour of North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, and Ohio, to visit with military families in their communities.

      The First and Second Ladies will be taking part in seven different events that highlight the new campaign. In addition to military brass, they have some high-profile support lined up, including singers Jessica Simpson and Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers; cooking and home decor legend Martha Stewart; Sesame Street’s Elmo and other Muppets; and the cast of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters. Elmo has been part of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, too.

      For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/04/michelle-obama-jill-biden-tour-schedule.html

    • Michelle Obama, Jill Biden ‘Parade’ Cover Story

      APRIL 12, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

      First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden make their debut as co-cover models on the front of the April 24 issue of Parade magazine, as part of the push to roll-out the Joining Forces campaign, launched today at the White House during an East Room event. Parade is billing the interview as “exclusive,” but it’s one of a number of “exclusives” for the massive new campaign to support military families.

      In the pre-released portion of the interview, Mrs. Obama hits the same notes from her exclusive filmed interview with Entertainment Tonight, which will air this evening.

      “When I started campaigning for my husband, I wanted to meet with groups of women to make sure their stories were a part of the conversation in his campaign and potentially in his administration,” Mrs. Obama told Parade. “Everywhere I went there were military spouses, and their stories took my breath away – the pain of multiple deployments, trying to keep the family afloat. I remember sitting and crying with a group of them.”

      For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/04/michelle-obama-jill-biden-parade-cover.html

    • First Lady, Dr. Biden to ‘Shine Light’ on Military Families

      April 12, 2011 By Elaine Sanchez – American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden said they have spoken with countless military families in their travels and have heard some “breathtaking” stories of service and sacrifice.

      They’ve talked to wives dealing with fourth and fifth deployments, to children stepping up to care for their families, and to caregivers who walked away from jobs and homes to care for a wounded loved one.

      It’s now time, they said, for the rest of the nation to hear these stories.
      “There isn’t a citizen on the face of this nation who wouldn’t be moved by [their] fortitude,” the first lady said. “These aren’t stories of sadness — they’re stories of success, triumph …. These are the stories the country needs to be motivated by.”

      Obama and Biden plan to spotlight these stories in the coming months through their nationwide initiative, called “Joining Forces.” Joined by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, they announced today the launch of this campaign, which aims to bring together every sector of this nation -– from individuals and communities to businesses and nonprofits -– to support and honor service members and their families.

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63533

    • “Joining Forces”

      Uploaded by DODvClips on Apr 13, 2011

      First Lady Michelle Obama and Doctor Jill Biden launched a national initiative April 12 to help service members and their families.

    • The First Lady & Jill Biden’s New Mission to Help Military Families

      Uploaded by ivillage on Apr 13, 2011

      Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden introduce ‘Joining Forces,’ a new White House initiative designed to support service members and their loved ones. Find out how to get involved at http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces/

    • ”Joining Forces” Tour

      From: DODvClips | Apr 14, 2011

      First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr Jill Biden meet with military families a day after launching their ”Joining Forces” campaign.

    • Partnership Links Military Spouses With Employers

      June 23, 2011 By Terri Moon Cronk American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON – The Defense Department is launching a new partnership next week that’s intended to expand job opportunities for military spouses by connecting them with employers actively seeking to hire them.

      Microsoft, Home Depot, Starbucks and the Navy Federal Credit Union are just a few of the nearly 60 corporations and companies that have signed on with the DOD partnership, said Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy.

      When the partnership is launched June 29 at the Chamber of Commerce here, Gordon expects 14 more companies will be added to the partnership’s roster.

      “The design of this program is to bring together those spouses who want to work with a web portal where companies that would like to employ our military spouses can find them,” he said.

      That web portal is Military OneSource — located at http://www.militaryonesource.com — which also offers job-seeking resources such as resume building. People can call OneSource consultants at 1-800-342-9647.

      The partnership is based on memoranda of agreement to hire military spouses, Gordon explained. Some 100 job fairs are scheduled, starting in Los Angeles on July 10, with 200 companies ready to offer jobs to spouses.

      “Military spouses bring a lot to the table,” he said. “They’ve volunteered and lead different activities on and off our installations. They are skilled, diverse, and know how to operate in a team environment.”

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=64438

      • June 29, 2011

        REMARKS BY DR. JILL BIDEN AT THE LAUNCH OF THE MILITARY SPOUSE EMPLOYMENT PARTNERSHIP, AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

        United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

        Good morning everyone.

        Thank you, Andrea, for that kind introduction and for all you do for our country. I am thrilled to be here with all of you today as Second Lady, and also as a proud Blue Star mom.

        I’d like to thank the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the senior enlisted advisors and their spouses for their outstanding leadership.

        I’d also like to acknowledge Admiral and Deborah Mullen for their incredible commitment to our Nation’s military families. We are all grateful to you both – and Deborah, you are a wonderful example of our amazing military spouses around the globe.

        And finally, I’d like to thank our guests of honor, the extraordinary military spouses and families who are here with us today.

        All of us – the business representatives, the military leaders, and the officials from the Chamber of Commerce – all of us are here today because of you.

        For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/29/remarks-dr-jill-biden-launch-military-spouse-employment-partnership-prep

    • June 30, 2011

      Remarks by the First Lady at Vermont National Guard Joining Forces Rally

      Army Aviation Support Facility, Vermont National Guard, Burlington, Vermont

      3:40 P.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) Oh, my goodness. (Applause.) Good job. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Oh, my goodness! (Applause.) Got to come to Vermont more often! (Applause.) Yes! (Applause.) Oh, my goodness, thank you so much. (Applause.)

      Please, please rest yourselves. Oh, I am thrilled to be here with all of you today. Let me just say that when I found out I was coming to Vermont — I’m coming to do some other things, but I told my staff — I said I have got to do something with the Vermont Guard and my dear friend, Marcelle. So I am just thrilled to be here and that you all have taken the time to come and be here with me. We are proud, so very proud.

      I want to start by thanking Marcelle for that very kind introduction and for all her hard work on behalf of our Guard and Reserve families. But I also want to personally thank her for being my big sister in the U.S. Senate. She told you that we met then, but the truth is, is that she’s my big sister. She was assigned to me to look after me as a new spouse, and she did that well then and she continues to do that. She is a truly wonderful woman who I consider a dear friend, and she has always had my back. So we have to give Marcelle Leahy a big round of applause. (Applause.)

      And I also want to acknowledge someone who couldn’t be here today but who would have been here today. She’s been a phenomenal partner to me every day on this issue. She’s a military mom herself, a tireless champion for military families, and also my friend, Dr. Jill Biden. (Applause.)

      And I want to recognize your wonderful governor, Governor Shumlin. And his daughter is here, as well. She’s gorgeous, having a great summer. Stay out of trouble. Listen to your parents. (Laughter.) Thanks so much. As well as General — Major General Dubie for his outstanding leadership. I had an opportunity to meet his wife, as well.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/30/remarks-first-lady-vermont-national-guard-joining-forces-rally

    • Joining Forces Director Cites ‘Tremendous’ Progress

      Nov. 23, 2011 By Elaine Sanchez – American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON, – About 1,500 companies have hired 20,000 veterans and military spouses in the past couple of months, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the Joining Forces campaign, the campaign’s executive director said yesterday.

      These companies aim to hire upward of 135,000 veterans and spouses over the next couple of years through actions spurred by the White House’s military-support initiative, Navy Capt.
      Bradley Cooper told American Forces Press Service.

      “This is a story of the extraordinary — the extraordinary nature of our troops, veterans and our families, and the extraordinary capacity of a great nation to lend a hand and offer support to those who have earned it,” Cooper said.

      First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, launched Joining Forces in April to raise public awareness of military families’ challenges and sacrifices and to call on all sectors of society to support them. Cooper came on board in the summer to head up this initiative.

      Since its inception, the campaign has made “dramatic leaps” in military family awareness and support, the captain noted, particularly in its focus areas of employment, education and wellness.

      The public awareness dimension gained a boost when some big-name stars signed on to help. Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg each appear in a public service announcement to honor military families’ sacrifices. These PSAs now are rolling into theaters and national networks.

      Joining Forces also has teamed with large organizations such as Major League Baseball and NASCAR, Cooper said. MLB recently dedicated Game 1 of the World Series and NASCAR its final race of the year to military families and veterans.

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=66214

      • NATIONAL CENTER for PTSD Home

        Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like war, assault, or disaster.

        To learn more: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/

    • First Lady Announces 15,000 Jobs for Military Spouses

      Brad Cooper April 04, 2012 06:58 PM EDT

      Earlier today, I joined with First Lady Michelle Obama, to announce a major commitment by forward looking businesses that have launched an ambitious new effort to deliver more than 15,000 jobs to military spouses and veterans in the coming years. This new effort will help deliver jobs that are physically located near bases, as well as thousands of highly sought-after at-home employment opportunities to military families across the country.

      Military families are 10 times more likely to move across state lines than civilian families. Home based jobs are especially valuable for military families because they can move with military spouses as they relocate from base to base across the country, accommodate flexible work hours, enable spouses who care for children or elderly parents to work from home, and give home-bound veterans with disabilities new opportunities to have a fulfilling job.

      At home jobs with flexible work schedules can also lead to better work life balance, and extend job opportunities into communities often left behind. Military families will also benefit from the new job commitments being announced at nearly two-dozen physical contact centers located in close proximity to active military bases. These contact centers often support military families through: family-friendly scheduling, maintaining service accrual records, enabling the seamless transfer from one contact center to another in an event of a relocation, as well as extensive training and immense growth opportunities from agents to supervisors.

      These companies and their associated job opportunities will also be integrated into the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), a Department of Defense-led effort with more than 100 companies in the private sector who have committed to a focused effort on military spouse employment. MSEP was launched by Dr Jill Biden last summer.

      Additional information specifics of the commitments can be found at: http://www.joiningforces.gov/commitments

    • 60,000 Veterans and Military Spouses Have Been Hired Through Joining Forces Employment Initiatives

      Brad Cooper April 13, 2012 03:34 PM EDT

      It was a great day in Shreveport, Louisiana, yesterday. First Lady Michelle Obama joined the leadership of the Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway Company in announcing Michael Abitago, Junior as the 50,000 veteran or military spouse to have been hired by a company through the Joining Forces employment efforts this past year! Abitago literally left active duty in the Army last Saturday after 4 years of service (including 2 tours in Iraq) and starts work on Monday as a Conductor-trainee. He was hired by KCS in mid-March at a Joining Forces hiring event in Ft Hood, Texas.

      And there’s even more great news. A couple of months ago when we first wanted to highlight this event, we had planned on announcing our 50,000 hire. But as we approached our visit to Shreveport we had already hit that mark. By April another 8,000 veterans and military spouses were hired. And yesterday, Mrs. Obama revealed the news that the surge in hiring pushed the number of veterans and military spouses hired through Joining Forces to 60,000!

      Through Joining Forces, American businesses have not only hired more than 60,000 veterans and military spouses to date, they have also pledged to hire at least 160,000 more in the years ahead.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/04/13/60000-veterans-and-military-spouses-have-been-hired-through-joining-forces-employmen

    • Welcoming Home Our Veterans

      Published on Jul 23, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom
      Learn more: http://OFA.BO/ooJZtN

      Since day one, President Obama has made it a priority to keep the sacred trust we hold with those who wear the uniform of the United States and their families.

      In advance of the President’s remarks at the VFW Convention in Reno, Obama for America released this video that discusses the President’s commitment to keeping our nation’s sacred promise to our veterans. This video highlights a St. Louis parade organized to welcome our servicemembers home from Iraq.

      Learn how President Obama continues to better serve those who have served this nation and how you can get involved with Veterans and Military Familes for Obama: http://OFA.BO/ooJZtN

    • July 25, 2012

      America’s Social Workers Join Dr. Jill Biden to Launch “Social Work and Service Members: Joining Forces to Support Veterans and Military Families”

      National Association of Social Workers urges 650,000 professional social workers to gain education and training on mental and behavioral health, health, economic, and social challenges facing nation’s veterans and military families

      WASHINGTON, D.C.—Dr. Jill Biden will join the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at their national practice conference, Restoring Hope: The Power of Social Work, to announce a new Joining Forces commitment aimed at educating all social workers, regardless of practice area or focus, to have a better understanding of issues relating to the care, culture, and lifestyle of our nation’s troops, veterans, and military families. The Joining Forces commitment means that more than 650,000 social workers – the nation’s largest group of mental health care providers – will have access to training and resources to help meet the needs of our service men and women, veterans and military families.

      “We have asked a lot of our military over the past decade, and they have responded to the need for more and frequent deployments without complaint. Our veterans and military families are among the most resilient men and women I have ever met and I am always inspired by them. But they have shouldered a tremendous burden and for those who need some additional support, we need to be ready to help. Social workers are uniquely positioned to help reach our troops, veterans and military families exactly where they are, in every single county in America,” said Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States.

      In addition to invisible wounds such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which impact approximately one in six of our troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, service members and veterans have a heightened risk of substance use, unemployment, homelessness, and suicide. Female veterans and those residing in rural areas are at an even greater disadvantage as they may find it difficult to access services or find resources that directly address their unique needs.
      “Social workers are the largest provider of mental health services in the United States. We have a responsibility to ensure that service members, veterans, and their loved ones have access to the mental and behavioral health services they deserve. In addition, social workers who provide a broad range of services in areas such as sexual assault, case management, and advocacy have expertise and skills to offer and should be leaders in these efforts,” NASW President Jeane Anastas, PhD, LMSW, said.

      First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden created Joining Forces last year as a way to spark action and encourage all Americans to find ways to honor and support our service men and women, veterans and military families in their own communities. The initiative focuses on improving employment, education, and wellness of America’s troops, veterans and military families as well as raise awareness about the service, sacrifice and needs of all who serve our country. NASW has been a proud member of Joining Forces since 2011 and is committed to educating and training all social workers so that they are prepared to meet the needs of those who have made incredible sacrifices for the United States.

      “This announcement from America’s social workers is exactly the type of commitment we hoped to see when the First Lady and Dr. Biden launched Joining Forces last year – a major national organization stepping up and positively impacting our veterans and military families in the most meaningful of ways. This commitment is particularly meaningful and unique because it lays a foundation that will support our troops and their families for decades to come,” said Captain Brad Cooper, Executive Director of Joining Forces.
      Social work has been known as the helping profession for over a century and during that time has been an essential component of the social safety net, guiding people to critical resources, counseling them on important life decisions, and helping them reach their full potential. The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, with particular attention to those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/25/americas-social-workers-join-dr-jill-biden-launch-social-work-and-servic

    • McRaven gives ‘fantastic’ Obama credit for bin Laden raid

      By JOSH GERSTEIN | 7/26/12 1:06 AM EDT POLITICO

      ASPEN, Colo.—Republicans trying to play down President Barack Obama’s decision to launch the raid that led to the death of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden are not getting much help from the military brass who oversaw the operation.

      During a rare public interview on Wednesday, Adm. Bill McRaven, head of the U.S. Special Operations command, portrayed as bold and brave Obama’s decision to order the raid despite significant doubts about whether bin Laden was at the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound.

      “At the end of the day, make no mistake about it, it was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden of this operation, that made the hard decision,” McRaven said during an on-stage interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that served as the kickoff session of the Aspen Security Forum.

      Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has suggested that the decision to launch the raid was a no-brainer. “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,” Romney said in April.

      McRaven refused to respond Wednesday when asked whether he agreed with Romney that any president would have made the same decision Obama did. However, at a couple of junctures, the Special Operations commander offered effusive praise for Obama.

      “The president of the United States is fantastic,” the admiral said. “I’m not a political guy. I’ve worked in both [administrations,] very much enjoyed working with President Bush and I very much enjoy working for President Obama. This isn’t about politics. This is about a Commander in Chief who I have the opportunity to engage with on a routine basis.”

      McRaven also had high praise for Obama’s national security team, including those in place at the time of the raid, such as then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisers Denis McDonough and John Brennan.

      “I’m not a political guy, but I’ll tell you as an interested observer of this, they were magnfiicent how they handled the start-to-finish,” McRaven said. “The president asked all the right questions…The president gave me ample time to prepare once the conversations were through.”

      McRaven, like all military officers, serves at the pleasure of the president. A few weeks before the bin Laden raid, Obama nominated McRaven to take over the Special Operations command and be elevated to four-star admiral. McRaven, who was deeply involved in planning and executing the May 2011 raid, was confirmed by the Senate to his current post the following month.

      • Sharp Decline in Terror Attacks After Bin Laden Death

        8/1/12 By Dana Hughes | ABC OTUS News – 14 hrs ago

        The number of worldwide terror attacks fell to 10,283 last year, down from 11,641 in 2010 and the lowest since 2005, the State Department reported today.

        What’s made the difference? The State Department cites the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda members killed last year including Atiyah Abd al-Rahman and Anwar al-Awlaki, who was the head of Yemen’s Al Qaeda affiliate and had ties to the underwear bomber plot in 2010.

        “The loss of bin Laden and these other key operatives puts the network on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse,” the report stated.

        But Ambassador Dan Benjamin, the State Department’s coordinator for counter-terrorism, warned that for all the good news about the core of al Qaeda being weakened, affiliates of the group, particularly in Yemen and in Africa, continue to pose a real risk.

        Nigeria was one of the few countries which actually saw an increase in terror attacks last year because of Boko Haram, and Kenya and Somalia continue to experience attacks by a weakened Al Shabab. Benjamin also noted that the Arab spring and other countries in transition could leave important allies like Egypt and Iraq vulnerable to terror groups.

        “Inspiring as the moment may be, we are not blind to the attendant perils. Terrorists could still cause significant disruptions for states undergoing very challenging democratic transitions. Affiliates of the group, and violent extremist ideology and rhetoric continue to spread in some parts of the world,” said Benjamin.

        For more: http://news.yahoo.com/sharp-decline-terror-attacks-bin-laden-death-213958117–abc-news-politics.html

    • Karl Marlantes on What It’s Like to Go to War

      July 27, 2012 billmoyers

      Summary: Bill talks to Karl Marlantes — a highly-decorated Vietnam veteran, Rhodes Scholar, author, and PTSD survivor — about what we on the insulated outside need to understand about the minds and hearts of our modern warriors. Marlantes shares with Bill intimate stories about how his battlefield experiences both shaped and nearly destroyed him, even after returning to civilian life.

      “’Thou shalt not kill’ is a tenet you just do not violate, and so all your young life, that’s drilled into your head. And then suddenly, you’re 18 or 19 and they’re saying, ‘Go get ‘em and kill for your country.’ And then you come back and it’s like, ‘Well, thou shalt not kill’ again. Believe me, that’s a difficult thing to deal with,” Marlantes tells Bill. “You take a young man and put him in the role of God, where he is asked to take a life — that’s something no 19-year-old is able to handle.”

      For the audio interview: http://billmoyers.com/segment/karl-marlantes-on-what-its-like-to-go-to-war/

    • August 22, 2012

      Remarks by the First Lady at Joining Forces Veterans Hiring Event

      Mayport Naval Station
      Mayport, Florida

      1:35 P.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA: Thank you all so much. Please be seated. Forgot you all take orders really well. (Laughter.) I am beyond thrilled to be here with all of you today at Naval Station Mayport. And I want to start by thanking Paul for that very kind and, for me, moving introduction. And I also want to thank Vice Admiral Van Buskirk for his remarks as well today and for his strong leadership in America’s Navy.

      And I also want to recognize a couple of people who are here — Representative Brown for her service. I understand the Mayor is here as well. But I also want to thank Rear Admiral Sinclair Harris and his wife, Cora; Captain Douglas Cochrane and his wife, Anne; as well as Command Master Chief Robert White and his wife, Lesley. Thank you for hosting us here today.

      But most of all, I want to thank all of you, our extraordinary men and women in uniform and veterans, and your extraordinary families.

      I know that we’re being broadcast live into every U.S. military base –- here in America and around the world –- and we’ve got folks tuning in from as close by as Tampa and Pensacola, and as far away as Kabul and Seoul. And on behalf of myself and my husband, I want to start off by saying that we are so proud of your service and so grateful for your sacrifice.

      You all — and I say this time and time again, and I mean it every time I say it — you all are the very best of America. You all have given so much to this country. And I’m here today because I want to talk with you about what this country is doing to give back to all of you.

      As you all may know, last August — I think you saw a video — my husband issued a challenge to American businesses. He challenged them to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. And since Jill Biden and I launched Joining Forces, he asked the two of us to take the lead on working with companies to fulfill this challenge. And I have to admit, when you get an order from the President, it’s a little daunting, even if he is your husband. (Laughter.)

      So I was a little nervous, and I thought this challenge was pretty ambitious. And when we first started out, we only had two companies as our partners, and I wondered to myself how we were going to get from there to 100,000 new jobs in two years.

      But, fortunately, I didn’t have much time to sit around and worry, because before long, companies across this country started stepping up — big companies like Siemens and Sears; small businesses like tech startups and restaurants and transportation providers. And soon, those two companies became 20, and then 200, and then 2,000.

      And by mid-March, these companies had already hired 50,000 veterans and military spouses. By mid-April, it was 60,000. By May, we had 80,000. And today, I am so proud to announce that these 2,000 companies have not just met our challenge — they’ve exceeded it.

      As of today, they have hired or trained 125,000 veterans and military spouses –- 125,000. (Applause.) And they’ve done it more than a year ahead of schedule. That’s pretty impressive.

      And it would be understandable if these companies just stopped now and patted themselves on the back for a job well done and called it a day. But instead, these companies are doing just the opposite –- they’re doubling down on their commitment to all of you. And today, they’re pledging to hire or train another quarter of a million of our nation’s heroes — a quarter of a million — 250,000 -– including at least 50,000 military spouses. (Applause.)

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/22/remarks-first-lady-joining-forces-veterans-hiring-event

      • August 22, 2012

        First Lady Michelle Obama Announces 125,000 Veterans & Military Spouses Hired through Joining Forces

        Announcement meets President’s challenge one year early

        WASHINGTON – Today, First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Naval Station Mayport, Florida to announce that more than 2,000 businesses who have participated in her Joining Forces initiative have hired or trained more than 125,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year. Mrs. Obama also announced that these same companies have committed to build on the momentum to date and have pledged to hire or train 250,000 veterans and spouses in the coming years. The First Lady’s event at Naval Station Mayport was livestreamed by the Department of Defense to every U.S. military base around the world.

        One year ago, the President announced a series of measures to increase veterans’ employment and he asked the First Lady and Dr. Biden to lead an effort with the private sector through Joining Forces to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. Joining Forces efforts to date have exceeded the President’s challenge to the private sector with hiring milestones met more than a year early.

        The First Lady also reiterated her challenge to states to pass legislation that reduces the financial and administrative strains that 100,000 military spouses incur from trying to get their state licenses or certification credentials to transfer from state to state as they move. Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden made their pitch to governors in February of this year when only 11 states had legislation on the books supporting military spouse license portability. In just six months the number of states with supportive measures in place has more than doubled to 26 states.

        “The story of Joining Forces is of people across this country stepping up and doing everything they can to serve military families as well as they have served this country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Today’s announcement is just the beginning. We’re not going to stop until all our veterans know that when they hit the job market, their skills will be rewarded. And we won’t stop until all our military spouses know that the next time their family is transferred, they won’t have to leave their profession behind.”

        Companies are making new commitments to veteran employment every week. The following companies are new among the 2,000 businesses that are recognizing that hiring veterans is good for their bottom line:

        * NatLabs, Inc. committed to bring 400 jobs back to the U.S. from overseas starting in 2013 and hire veterans as 75 percent of their labor force. These 400 jobs in hi-tech manufacturing will be located in the Jacksonville, Florida, area.

        * Companies like, Dupont and Exelon have made commitments to have veterans constitute 10 percent of their new hires in the coming years.

        * The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) – consisting of more than 140 companies – is committed to hire 50,000 military spouses in the coming years. This unique partnership is coordinated by the Department of Defense and consists of companies who have pledged to hire military spouses and support their continued employment and professional development by transferring a spouse’s job with them when they move to a new military duty station. More information on MSEP can be found at: https://msepjobs.militaryonesource.mil/video/military-spouse-employment-partnership

        A complete list of every company and their commitment to veteran and military spouse employment through Joining Forces can be found at http://www.joiningforces.gov/commitments

      • Joining Forces to Provide Jobs for Military Families

        Published on Aug 22, 2012 by whitehouse

        In August 2011, President Obama challenged America to increase hiring for Veterans and military families. In just one year, the administration’s Joining Forces initiative, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, has answered the call and create job opportunities for more than 125,000 Veterans and military spouses. http://www.whitehouse.gov

        • Announcing 125,000 Hires Through Joining Forces

          Published on Aug 24, 2012 by whitehouse

          First Lady Michelle Obama makes a major announcement of 125,000 Veteran and Military Spouse hires through the administration’s initiative, Joining Forces. http://www.joiningforces.gov

  3. Fed to stick with low rates, despite oil price rise

    4/11/11 By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa – Reuters

    NEW YORK – Two of the Federal Reserve’s most powerful officials said on Monday the U.S. central bank should stick to its super-easy monetary policy, arguing inflation is not a threat and unemployment remains too high.

    Underlying U.S. inflation trends are subdued and long-term price expectations are contained, despite rising commodity costs, Janet Yellen, the Fed’s influential Vice Chair, told the Economic Club of New York.

    She argued the recent run-up in energy prices was more of a damper on consumer spending than an inflation risk, saying broad-based price increases are unlikely without substantial gains in wages, which have been largely stagnant.

    “I anticipate that recent increases in commodity prices are likely to have only transitory effects on headline inflation,” said Yellen, echoing remarks from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last week.

    “This accommodative policy stance is still appropriate because unemployment remains elevated, longer-run inflation expectations remain well anchored, and measures of underlying inflation are somewhat low,” Yellen said.

    New York Fed President William Dudley struck a similar note, saying the Fed shouldn’t be too enthusiastic about tightening monetary policy soon because the economy continues to operate well below its full potential.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/f5BMlW

  4. Economists See Growth Accelerating Later in Year

    4/11/11 Phill Izzo -wsj.com

    The U.S. economic recovery is expected to gain momentum over the rest of the year, despite a sharp pullback in growth during the just-finished first quarter, according to economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.

    On average, the 56 economists polled downgraded their estimate of first-quarter growth in gross domestic product to 2.7% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. That is down from an average first-quarter forecast of 3.6% just two months ago. The economy grew at a 3.1% rate in the fourth quarter.

    The respondents, not all of whom answer every question, cited the still-weak housing market, severe weather, declining confidence and the earthquake in Japan as factors contributing to the pullback. The single biggest factor named by 35 economists was the rising price of oil sparked by Mideast unrest.

    “High oil prices usurp confidence and erode spending by consumers still struggling with lost wealth,” said Sean M. Snaith of University of Central Florida.

    But the economists expect the problems in the first quarter to be transitory. “None of these things will derail the steadily strengthening expansion,” said Parsec Financial Management’s James F. Smith. Indeed, they forecast growth to pick up to 3.6% by the fourth quarter of the year and predict oil prices will fall back below $100 a barrel by the end of 2011.

    The improving outlook extends to the labor market. Economists on average see the U.S. adding about 200,000 jobs a month over the next year. Though that number isn’t strong enough to bring down the unemployment rate quickly, as the economy struggles to make up ground lost during the recession, the unemployment rate is seen continuing its downward trajectory.

    Respondents forecast the unemployment rate will fall to 8.3% by December 2011 from the 8.8% rate recorded in March.

    For the entire article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704843404576250790550550886.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

  5. Calif. sets nation’s highest renewable power goals

    4/12/11 ADAM WEINTRAUB, AP

    MILPITAS, Calif. – Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation requiring California utilities to get one-third of their power from renewable sources, giving the state the most aggressive alternative energy mandate in the U.S.

    California utilities and other electricity providers have until the end of 2020 to draw 33 percent of their power from solar panels, windmills and other renewable sources.
    “There are people who think we can drill our way to happiness and prosperity,” the Democratic governor told hundreds of workers and other supporters at a solar panel manufacturing plant near San Jose. “Instead of just taking oil from thousands of miles away, we’re taking the sun and converting it.”

    Previous California law required utilities to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources.

    Supporters of the higher standard said it will reassure investors and keep money flowing to develop alternative energy sources. They say that will lead to cleaner air and job growth in the green energy sector.

    “By the end of the decade, our goal is to make solar cost-competitive with other forms of energy, all other forms of energy,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the crowd at the SunPower Corp./Flextronics plant. “This would be a game-changer for us, opening up a world of export opportunities, and California’s innovators and businesses can help us achieve this goal.”

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/g1lqSX

  6. School Field Trip to California

    April 12, 2011 Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan

    No two schools are the same, and in a giant and diverse state like California, you need to visit a lot of classrooms and talk to a lot of teachers, administrators, students, parents and political leaders before you can even begin to understand the public education system’s accomplishments and challenges. This past week, I returned to the Golden State for a packed two-day visit to Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego.

    At an education summit organized by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, I directly challenged the city’s leaders, community groups, unions, parents, educators and students. Los Angeles, I told them, is a world-class city with a second-class school system. They can use the current and very real budget crisis as an excuse to continue on the road they have been on, or they can take the road less traveled—the harder road. To paraphrase the poet Robert Frost, that road less traveled will make all the difference.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/12/school-field-trip-california

  7. Obama saves education programs

    4/12/11 By MJ LEE – POLITICO

    The last-minute spending deal reached late Friday avoided cuts to education programs favored by liberals, including Pell grants and President Obama’s Race to the Top program.

    In an analysis of the agreement’s details, the AP reports that Obama “was able to reverse many of the cuts passed by House Republicans in February,” protecting programs like Head Start and keeping the $5,500 maximum Pell grant.

    The cuts that will be enacted into law sometime this week are “far tamer,” the AP says, including cuts to earmarks and leftover federal construction funding, or “money left over from previous years.”

    In Monday’s White House briefing, press secretary Jay Carney denied a reporter’s suggestion that the $38 billion in cuts are a “drop of water in the ocean.” “What was established on Friday was that if the leaders stay focused on the need to do what’s right for the American economy and what’s right for the American people, they can reach an agreement that is good for the American economy and good for the American people,” he said.

  8. United Streetcar Putting Americans to Work, Putting America in Position to Win The Future

    April 12, 2011 Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood

    Ed. note: This was originally posted on the Department of Transportation blog.

    When you watch our latest video, “Transporting America: United Streetcar,” you’ll see the next generation of transportation. You’ll see transit investments from the Department of Transportation helping people get where they need to go without breaking the bank. And you’ll see a company out-innovating and out-building its foreign competition while creating jobs for American workers.

    The streetcars rolling through Portland, Oregon, are helping commuters beat the rising cost of refueling their cars and vans and trucks. And, as rising gas prices take a bigger bite out of family budgets, other communities are looking to ease that bite through similar transportation options.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/12/united-streetcar-putting-americans-work-putting-america-position-win-future

  9. CIA head Leon Panetta, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus top contenders to replace Gates as Defense Secretary

    4/12/11 By Yochi J. Dreazen -National Journal

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates wound up his final trip to Iraq this weekend, prompting a wave of speculation about who’ll replace him. Most of the attention has centered on CIA chief Leon Panetta, a former White House chief of staff. But there is another serious contender for the post: Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi who has an unusually close relationship with President Obama. In the hallways of the Pentagon, many senior military officials believe it’s Mabus—not Panetta—who’ll be their next boss.

    Mabus doesn’t enjoy Panetta’s high profile in official Washington, but the Navy secretary has had a long and varied government career that could make him a good fit for the Pentagon’s changing mission. Gates has been a wartime Pentagon chief who spent his first years in office helping to bring Iraq back from the brink of civil war. More recently, he’s been a central player in the administration’s decision to sharply escalate the Afghan war. His successor will face a fundamentally different set of challenges: overseeing the American withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan while reconfiguring the Defense Department to adjust to a new era of mounting budgetary pressures.

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/eRj9BR

    • Of course, the President will choose wisely, but I’m not a big fan of Leon Panetta. I’m hoping Ray Mabus – although lesser known – will be selected, if these are the only two choices.

      Leon Panetta is too 1990s!

  10. PR firm helps Libyan rebels to campaign for support from US

    4/12/11 By Kevin Bogardus -TheHill.com

    Libyan rebels battling against Moammar Gadhafi have signed up a well-connected public-relations firm to help them earn recognition from the U.S. government.

    The Harbour Group has signed a pro-bono contract with the National Transitional Council, according to Justice Department records. The council formed in Benghazi, Libya, in opposition to Gadhafi’s military forces.

    Harbour Group will be working with the council’s U.S. representative, Ali Aujali, who resigned as Libya’s ambassador to the U.S. in protest in February as the revolution began to hold.
    Richard Mintz, Harbour’s managing director, will help manage the PR effort on behalf of the council.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/155379-pr-firm-helps-libyan-rebels-to-campaign-for-us-support

  11. Dempsey Lays Out Themes for Tenure as Army Chief

    April 11, 2011 By Jim Garamone -American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wanted an Army chief of staff willing to challenge the status quo, and he believes he has one in Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.

    Dempsey succeeded Gen. George W. Casey Jr. as the Army chief of staff during a ceremony at Fort Myer, Va., today. Due to a family tragedy, Casey and his family did not attend the event.

    “Whatever challenges confront us in the future, your Army will respond with the same courage and resolve with which it has responded over the past 235 years,” Dempsey said.

    Gates extolled the new chief of staff saying that he was impressed with Dempsey’s “keen mind, strategic vision, quiet confidence and the energy he brings to every assignment.”

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63519

  12. U.S. Task Force Transitions Combat Outpost to Afghan National Security Forces-
    TF Warrior Transitions COP Tangi to ANSF

    April 11, 2011 Combined Joint Task Force 101
    Story by By U.S. Army Sgt. Cooper T. Cash
    Task Force Patriot Public Affairs

    WARDAK, Afghanistan – Task Force Warrior Soldiers made final preparations to transition Combat Outpost Tangi to Afghan National Security Forces, April 8.

    U.S. Army Lt. Col. Thomas S. Rickard, commander of TF Warrior, toured the COP and discussed details of the transition with Sayed Abad District Afghan National Police Chief Abdul Ghafoor Aziz..

    The eventual reduction of U.S. forces and the vast area of Afghanistan within his unit’s area of operations led Rickard to realign his Soldiers to reach the most Afghan people.

    “As we lose U.S. personnel, we have to concentrate on the greater populations,” said Rickard, a Columbus, Ga., native.

    Although U.S. troops assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, will no longer run the outpost, there will still be a coalition presence.

    “U.S. forces will still patrol the area,” said Rickard. “We are going to continue to hunt insurgents in Tangi and prevent them from having a safe haven.”

    Leading up to the transfer, ANSF and U.S. forces secured the route to COP Tangi during Operation Tangi Smash. TF Warrior Soldiers patrolled the route, and ANSF manned checkpoints and searched homes.

    “As a result of Operation Tangi Smash, the ANP shut down a HME (homemade explosives) lab and seized nearly 24 kilograms of marijuana,” said Rickard. “The Afghan National Police have already demonstrated their resolve by placing permanent check points at each end of the valley.”

    For the entire article: http://www.isaf.nato.int/article/isaf-releases/tf-warrior-transitions-cop-tangi-to-ansf.html

  13. Afghan Villages Establish New Check Point in Uruzgan, Vow to Protect Citizens from Insurgents

    April 11, 2011 Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force

    Uruzgan, Afghanistan – Afghan citizens in Lower Doan and Kakrak villages in the Shahid-e-Hassas district of Uruzgan province established a new check point after an endorsement from a local shura, April 8.

    The decision to build the new checkpoint came after a partnered force of Afghan and coalition soldiers reclaimed a checkpoint from insurgents near the villages, April 6.

    The checkpoint was taken from Afghan police forces on March 23 when Taliban insurgents attacked and killed a police commander and several villagers, including a young boy, when firing at a mosque nearby, according to an Afghan National Police official.

    1After the combined Afghan and U.S. force seized the checkpoint from insurgents, local villagers ultimately decided to build a new checkpoint at an alternate location that would better protect them from insurgent attacks.

    For the entire article: http://www.isaf.nato.int/article/isaf-releases/afghan-villages-establish-new-check-point-in-uruzgan-vow-to-protect-citizens-from-insurgents.html

  14. U.S. Military Remains Ready to Help Japan

    April 11, 2011 By Lisa Daniel – American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON– The U.S. military remains ready to help Japan, even as it has repositioned many assets since a 9.0 magnitude earthquake marked a chain of disasters there one month ago, military officials said.

    Numerous aftershocks have rocked northeast Japan since the March 11 earthquake, including a 6.6 magnitude aftershock reported today and a 7.1 magnitude quake reported April 8.

    The U.S. military has not been called to help with the most-recent aftershocks, but continues to give support and remains positioned to respond to requests by the Japanese government, Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan told reporters today.

    “We continue to provide some measure of assistance to Japan, but certainly not at the level it was at a few weeks ago,” Lapan said.

    The military sent some 20,000 troops, 140 aircraft and at least 20 ships in support of Operation Tomodachi since March 11, according to military officials.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63517

  15. U.S. Provides Support for NATO’s Libya Operations

    April 11, 2011 By Jim Garamone – American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON – The United States continues to support NATO efforts in Libya, as Moammar Gadhafi’s forces continue attacks on Misrata and Ajdabiya.

    Gadhafi has said he will accept a cease fire, but “the latest reports are that Gadhafi is continuing to carry out attacks,” said Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan.

    “Talk of a cease fire is just that: Talk,” Lapan added.

    The African Union has proposed a ceasefire. “Since the start of the crisis, NATO has been in constant touch with the African Union as well as other regional and international organizations,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said today in Brussels. “I want to be clear: There can be no solely military solution to the crisis in Libya. NATO welcomes all contributions to the broad international effort to stop the violence against the civilian population. Any ceasefire must be credible and verifiable.”

    NATO aircraft are striking with care and precision while minimizing the danger to civilians, Rasmussen said.

    “This is in stark contrast to the pro-Gadhafi forces,” he said, “who are besieging their own cities and shelling city centers.”

    Since April 9, NATO aircraft have flown almost 300 sorties, the secretary general said, destroying 49 tanks, nine armored personnel carriers, three anti-aircraft guns and four large ammo bunkers.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63516

  16. Why Young Americans Should Care About Equal Pay Day

    April 12, 2011 Posted by Melody Barnes

    When President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, the country was watching Lassie on television, listening to The Beatles on vinyl and paying 22 cents for a loaf of bread – a great deal has happened since the law was signed in 1963. Women now graduate from college as often as men, work in many fields previously closed to them and occupy leadership positions across the nation’s workforce. But even with those accomplishments, we have not come far enough. More needs to be done to ensure that our policies address persistent discriminatory employment practices, including unequal pay, so that college graduates entering today’s workforce have the pay they deserve.

    April 12 marks Equal Pay Day and, unfortunately, pay equity is still an aspiration – not a reality. In 1963, women earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man. While that’s no longer the case, on average, women still make only about 77 cents for every dollar that men earn and are more likely than men to live in poverty. Even adjusting for variables like education level and time in the workforce, there remains a persistent wage gap between women and men, resulting in innumerable missed opportunities over the course of a woman’s lifetime.

    And the pay gap isn’t just a women’s problem, it’s a burden on families. In 2010, when women make up nearly half the workforce, two-thirds of American families with children rely on women’s wages as a significant portion of the family income. As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in American history, when families are struggling to pay their bills and save for the future, pay inequality only deepens that struggle and hampers our nation’s ability to fully recover. The last thing our families can afford is to take home less pay because of discrimination.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/12/why-young-americans-should-care-about-equal-pay-day

  17. Bay Area Connections to the Civil War (first shot of the Civil War in California)

    April 11, 2011, 7:24 pm • Posted by Joshua Johnson – KQED

    Tuesday marks 150 years since the Civil War began when Confederates in Charleston, S.C., opened their bombardment of Fort Sumter. You might think of it as a years-long fight of North and South, but as it turns out the West played a vital role as well.

    “A lot of Anglos from Tennessee and Louisiana had moved out to (Southern) California,” says St. Mary’s College History Professor Carl Guarneri. “Some had brought their slaves with them, (and they) had been given a grace period to keep them.”

    Northern California, however, was generally pro-Union and anti-slavery. Its population included a lot of northern Yankees who had moved west. Although there weren’t any major Civil War battles in California, the tension was there. Of course, California was a long way from Fort Sumter, and it took 12 days for news of the opening shot to arrive via Pony Express.

    The Civil War truly was a fight among countrymen, including in San Francisco. Hard feelings between Democratic Sen. David Broderick and state Chief Justice David Terry ended in a pistol duel in September 1859. Terry supported slavery; Broderick did not. Terry fatally wounded Broderick, who died a few days after being shot. (Some excellent background on the Broderick-Terry duel: from the National Park Service, the Virtual Museum of San Francisco, and the Anchor Brewing Company.)

    For the entire article: http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2011/04/11/bay-area-connections-to-the-civil-war/

  18. Next Up…

    12:00 PM EDT
    President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden deliver remarks at the launch of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s national initiative to support and honor American’s service members and their families

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

    CNN http://live.cnn.com

    • April 12, 2011
      Remarks by the President, the Vice President, the First Lady, and Dr. Biden at Launch of “Joining Forces” Initiative

      East Room

      12:16 P.M. EDT

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, welcome to the White House. Shirley, you’re getting to be an old pro. (Laughter.) When Shirley and Jill made their first television appearance a while ago, I think it was up in Philly at — for a Boots on the Ground event, Mr. Secretary, they were both scared to death. Now I am scared to follow Jill. (Laughter.)

      Ladies and gentlemen, Jill and I just returned from a ceremony that honored Bob Dole and his heroic service — an unparalleled devotion to supporting veterans in this country.

      You know, he always knew and taught me what many of us have come to learn — that we have many obligations in this country, but we only have one truly — one truly sacred obligation, and that is to prepare those who we send to war with all that they need, and take care of those who return from war and their families with all they deserve.

      Although Bob’s generation was known as “The Greatest Generation,” this generation of warriors, as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen can tell you, this generation of warriors may be among the most devoted because of the long, long, long periods of service that they’ve had to endure.

      They’ve seen multiple deployments. They’ve seen and participated in two wars that — wars that have extended almost a decade. And in the process, we have lost over 5,000 — not over, exactly, as of an hour ago — 5,957 fallen angels; 43,006 — 43,006 have been wounded. And there’s still more of a job to be done. There are still more warriors deployed.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/12/remarks-president-vice-president-first-lady-and-dr-biden-launch-joining-

      • The prayer that Dr. Jill Biden mentioned:

        “The prayer asks for courage and strength for each solider to do their duty when they risks their lives for our freedom and expresses thanks for the sacrifice of these men and women and their families.”

    • April 12, 2011

      President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Launch National “Joining Forces”Initiative to Support America’s Military Families

      Washington, DC – President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden today launched Joining Forces, a national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of our society – citizens, communities, businesses, non-profits, faith based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government – to ensure military families have the support they have earned.

      Joining Forces is spearheaded by Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden, who have been leaders in supporting our nation’s military families and advocating for their priorities. Joining Forces was created to address the unique challenges and needs of military families that Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden have heard firsthand during meetings with military spouses, briefings with military leaders, and many visits to military communities at home and abroad, and through their work on military family priorities. Building on this groundwork, the initiative will focus on key priority areas – employment, education, and wellness, while engaging in a comprehensive effort to raise awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of military families.

      “Joining Forces was created to recognize and serve our nation’s extraordinary military families who, like their loved ones in uniform, serve and sacrifice so much so that we can live in freedom and security,” said Mrs. Obama. “This is a challenge to every segment of American society not to simply say thank you but to mobilize, take action and make a real commitment to supporting our military families.”

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/12/president-obama-vice-president-biden-first-lady-michelle-obama-and-dr-ji

    • April 12, 2011
      Background on the Launch of “Joining Forces” Initiative Today

      BACKGROUND ON THE LAUNCH OF “JOINING FORCES” INITIATIVE TODAY
      EAST ROOM

      Today, the President, the Vice President, the First Lady and Dr. Biden will deliver remarks at the launch of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s national initiative, Joining Forces, to support and honor America’s service members and their families in the East Room.

      STAGE PARTICIPANTS

      Military Families
      Teresa Arciola
      Warrant Officer Clifford Blackmore and Carmen Blackmore (wife)
      Sgt. Cory Briest and Jennifer Briest (wife)
      Brooks Family: Shirley Brooks (Founder of Delaware Boots on the Ground), Norman (husband), Jason (son), Jeffrey (son), and Emily (daughter)
      Sgt. Brian Mast and Brianna Mast

      *Business Leaders
      * Administration Officials Expected to Attend
      * Members of Congress Expected to Attend
      * Business and Military Organization Leaders and Others Expected to Attend

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/12/background-launch-joining-forces-initiative-today

      • Celeb Support For Joining Forces Campaign

        APRIL 12, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

        Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks make PSAs; Nick Jonas, Jessica Simpson, Martha Stewart, Elmo join First Lady & Dr. Biden on tour…

        Film director Steven Spielberg, Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks, and chat show queen Oprah Winfrey are among the high-profile celebs who will make PSAs for the Joining Forces military families campaign. These will be produced by A&E Television Networks, according to the White House. Hanks and Spielberg visited President Obama at the White House in March of 201o, to screen their ten-part miniseries “The Pacific,” an HBO docudrama about World War II.

        A & E’s holdings include the History, Lifetime and A&E networks, and the PSAs will air there. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have made their own campaign PSA, and tomorrow and Thursday, during a four-state tour to visit military families and communities, they’ll be joined at various events by singers Jessica Simpson and Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers; cooking and home decor legend Martha Stewart; Sesame Street’s Elmo and other Muppets; and the cast of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters. Mrs. Obama appeared on Oprah’s show in January to discuss the initiative.

        Other support…
        CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC, Nickelodeon, CMT, Disney, Walmart and Sam’s Club, NASCAR, Major League Baseball and AOL Huffington Post Media Group have all signed on to support Joining Forces in various ways. Arianna Huffington was among the guests in the packed East Room today during the campaign launch event; the guest list included Members of Congress, the President’s Cabinet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, businesses CEOs who have joined the campaign, and military service members and their families.

  19. Longtime adviser to Sen. Feinstein dies in LA

    04/11/2011 By MICHAEL R. BLOOD-AP Political Writer

    LOS ANGELES—Veteran Democratic consultant Kam Kuwata, a longtime adviser to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein known for his political savvy and sly wit, was found dead Monday at his home in Los Angeles’ Venice neighborhood. He was 57.

    The death appeared to be from natural causes and the Los Angeles County Coroner is not investigating, said agency spokesman Craig Harvey.

    Kuwata was a consummate political insider, and his influence was felt in many state Democratic campaigns for a quarter century. He maintained an amiable demeanor and ready smile in an age when political campaigning is often viewed as little more than name-calling and smear jobs.

    President Barack Obama said he was saddened to learn of Kuwata’s passing.
    “Kam’s brilliance as a political strategist was matched by his passion for our country and the process by which we govern ourselves,” Obama said in a statement.

    Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement that Kuwata’s “analytical skills, coupled with his gentle approach to a tough business, earned him the respect and friendship of his allies and opponents alike.”

    In Sacramento, Speaker John A. Perez adjourned the Assembly to commemorate the memory of his friend. Feinstein said she was shocked to learn of the loss of her friend and adviser of more than two decades.

    “He was respected by people in politics and journalism, something I always thought spoke volumes about the kind of person he was,” Feinstein said in a statement.

    For the entire article: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_17820340?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com&nclick_check=1

  20. Next Up…

    1:15 PM EDT
    State Department briefing
    The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the nuclear crisis in Japan, the conflict in Libya and the arrest of Ivory Coast’s former president.

    CNN http://live.cnn.com

    CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

    • Department of State Daily Press Briefing

      Mark C. Toner -Acting Deputy Department Spokesman
      Washington, DC

      April 12, 2011

      1:42 p.m. EDT

      MR. TONER: Good afternoon, everyone. Happy Tuesday. Welcome to the State Department. Just a couple things at the top, and then I’ll take your question – questions, plural. I imagine you’ll have more than one.

      Secretary Clinton did meet with Qatari Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani this morning leading up to his other meetings, of course, with United States officials, including President Obama, later this week. They did discuss a wide range of regional and bilateral issues, including, of course, the ongoing situation in Libya. And the Secretary did have the opportunity during that meeting to thank Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani for Qatar’s hosting of this week’s meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Doha, as well as for Qatar’s support for UN Security Council Resolution 1973 and Operation Unified Protector.

      As you know, she’ll also be meeting this afternoon with —

      QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

      MR. TONER: Yeah.

      QUESTION: (Inaudible) on the meeting, it’s just Burns, Feltman, and Gordon who are there?

      MR. TONER: Correct.

      QUESTION: Gene Cretz hasn’t gone there?

      MR. TONER: I will check. I don’t believe he is.

      QUESTION: Or Chris Stevens?

      MR. TONER: I’ll double-check on that.

      QUESTION: And then do you know if anybody plans to meet with Musa Kusa while they’re there?

      MR. TONER: I didn’t – sorry, Pete coughed.

      QUESTION: Do you know whether Musa Kusa – does anybody have plans to meet with Musa Kusa, who is apparently traveling to Doha as well?

      MR. TONER: I am aware of reports that he’s traveling there. I don’t have any details. I’d refer you to the Qatari authorities.

      For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2011/04/160621.htm

  21. U.S., South Korea Prepare Defense Against North’s Provocations

    April 12, 2011 By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden – American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON – The South Korean and U.S. militaries are well prepared to defend South Korea should North Korean provocations continue, the top U.S. military commander posted in the region told Congress today.
    Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee here, Army Gen. Walter “Skip” Sharp, commander for United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, said South Korean and U.S. military leaders have been working to hone their defenses and are ready to effectively respond to an array of North Korean provocations.

    “We have been working on a whole range of possible provocations from North Korea,” Sharp said. If North Korea should stage an act of provocation or aggression, he said, then South Korea “will immediately strike back in a proportionate self-defense manner. I do believe we are prepared.”

    Sharp cited North Korea’s sinking of the South Korean navy frigate Cheonan in March 2010 that killed 48 sailors, and the November artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong Island from North Korea that killed two South Korean service members and wounded others, including some civilians.

    For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63528

  22. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

    4/12/11 By The Associated Press – 11 mins ago
    _____

    LIBYA
    Sporadic fighting and shelling took place in the two main areas of conflict in Libya, Misrata and Ajdabiya, while French and British foreign ministers questioned whether NATO was being aggressive enough in its campaign of airstrikes to protect Libyan civilians around the embattled towns.
    _____

    EGYPT
    Former President Hosni Mubarak is admitted to a Sharm el-Sheikh hospital with heart problems the same day he was to be interrogated over allegations of corruption and attacks on the protesters whose 18-day uprising brought about his downfall. Military police also successfully cleared a four-day-old protest out of Cairo’s Tahrir Square with minimal difficulty.
    _____

    SYRIA
    Pro-government gunmen attacked two villages in the northeast in a move to crush a popular uprising against President Bashar Assad as the country’s leading pro-democracy group urged the Arab League to impose sanctions on the regime. The White House joined a growing chorus of international condemnation, saying the “escalating repression by the Syrian government is outrageous.”
    _____

    YEMEN
    Tens of thousands of Yemenis, including uniformed officers, demonstrated against President Ali Abdullah Saleh and condemned a mediation proposal by neighboring Gulf countries that called for the long-serving leader to step down, but guaranteed his immunity from prosecution.
    _____

    BAHRAIN
    The daughter of a prominent rights activists beaten up and arrested by police has gone on hunger strike calling for his release and that of her husband and other relatives taken by authorities as part of a widespread crackdown on protests by Shiites calling for more political freedoms.

  23. Thousands of Students Protest in Algeria

    4/12/11 VOAnews.com

    Thousands of students in Algeria have marched toward the presidential palace in the capital, Algiers, where they were confronted by security forces.

    News reports say some demonstrators called for the resignation of Education Minister Rashid Hawarbia while others chanted anti-government slogans.

    Witnesses say several protesters were injured in clashes with security forces.

    Within the past two months, Algerian police have used force to disrupt several opposition protests in the country.

    The rallies appear to be inspired by the wave of uprisings against autocratic governments in other Arab nations.

  24. Barack Obama’s Sister Pens Children’s Book

    4/12/11 By KARIN TANABE -POLITICO

    President Obama’s younger sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, is following in her famous brother’s footsteps. Just a few months after he penned “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,” Soetoro-Ng is out with her own book for young readers.

    “Ladder to the Moon,” just released by Candlewick Press, unites her now 6-year-old daughter, Suhaila, with Soetoro-Ng’s late mother, Ann Dunham, in a story about climbing a ladder to the moon at night to experience a dreamy world. Dunham, who was divorced from Obama’s and Soetoro-Ng’s father, died from ovarian and uterine cancer in 1995 at the age of 53.

    In a video posted on Amazon, Soetoro-Ng talks about her mother’s passion for storytelling. “Our mother brought stories from all over the world, stories like those in the book that value the earth, and environmental stewardship stories,” said the soft-spoken writer.

    For the entire article:http://www.politico.com/click/stories/1104/obamas_sister_pens_childrens_book.html

    • I just ordered a copy!

      I also just ordered the White House garden book : “First Garden” by Robbin Gourley that features FLOTUS.

      • Cool. I got the President’s children’s book for one of my granddaughters, and may have to get this one. PBO’s mother certainly had a positive influence on their lives, no matter her individualism! She did a fine job.

    • Interview With Maya Soetoro President Obama’s Sister (pt.1 of 2)

      From: MoxNewsDotCom | Apr 13, 2011

      • Interview With Maya Soetoro President Obama’s Sister (pt.2 of 2)

        From: MoxNewsDotCom | Apr 13, 2011

    • Ladder To The Moon

      4/15/2011 CSPAN

      District of Columbia Public Library | Tenley-Friendship Library

      Maya Soetoro-Ng, President Obama’s sister, presented her children’s book, Ladder to the Moon, to children at the Tenley-Friendship Library in Washington, D.C. Ms. Soetoro-Ng’s book was inspired by her wish that their late mother, Ann Dunham, had lived to meet her grandchild.

      CSPAN Video: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Ladde

  25. Another Example of How Regulatory Reform Eliminates Unnecessary Costs for Americans

    April 12, 2011 Posted by Cass Sunstein

    To win the future, we need a regulatory system that will promote economic growth, competitiveness, and job creation while also protecting our environment and the health and safety of the American people. On January 18, 2011, President Obama signed an important Executive Order designed to achieve that goal. Among other things, the Executive Order directs agenciesto consider comments from the public, to choose the least burdensome approaches, to ensure that the benefits of regulation justify the costs, and within 120 days, to produce plans for review of significant regulations that are now on the books.

    In the short period since it was signed, agencies across the federal government have taken fresh steps to improve regulations, reducing costs, incorporating input from stakeholders and the public, and updating rules that impose unintended or excessive burdens on the American people.

    Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the most recent of these smart steps toward eliminating unnecessary costs on the American public and American businesses. In direct response to feedback from stakeholders in the agriculture community, EPA concluded that an unintended result of the current Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) program – which is designed to prevent oil spill damage to inland waters and shorelines – has been to place unjustifiable burdens on dairy farmers and producers. As a result, today EPA announced that it has updated this important rule to exempt milk and milk product containers. This sensible decision will save the milk and dairy industries as much as $140 million per year.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/12/another-example-how-regulatory-reform-eliminates-unnecessary-costs-americans

  26. Kat’s Obama Administration Report, 4/12/11, Part 3

    Part 3 features a roundup from the Department of the Interior:

    – The Bureau of Reclamation expects to release a projected additional 3.33 million acre-feet (maf) of water from Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona to Lake Mead in Nevada, thus averting water shortages in the Lower Basin.

    – The Vice President and Interior Secretary Salazar honored former Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole for his longtime support for veterans and instrumental role in establishing the World War II Memorial in a ceremony on the national mall.

    – Secretary Salazar will join Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Dr. Christine King Farris, Dr. King’s sister; and Martin Luther King III to celebrate the completed renovation of Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Heritage Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall on Friday, April 15. The church, where Dr. King served as pastor, was a focal point of the civil rights movement and is now part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site, managed by the department’s National Park Service.

    – Links to all the National Park Service webcams.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/12/966359/-Kats-Obama-Administration-Report,-4-12-11,-Part-3

    • Thank you, Kat, for the information – especially on the President’s involvement in the celebration of the Ebenezer Baptist Church’s renovation. Hoping it will be broadcast for all of us to see.

  27. You probably posted this already CR but just in case you didn’t.

    PARADE Magazine to Carry Exclusive Interview with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden on Their New Military Families Initiative

    New York, April 12 — In an exclusive cover story to be published in PARADE magazine’s April 24 issue, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden discuss Joining Forces, their new initiative to support and honor the families of America’s service members, and their ‘First Friendship. This is a beautiful ohto shot of Jill and FLOTUS.

    http://www.parade.com/news/2011/04/12-michelle-obama-jill-biden.html

  28. Quick one – does anyone recall what time tomorrow the President will be speaking to “us”? Thanks!

    • 1:35 PM EDT

      President Obama debt plan remarks
President Obama hosts a meeting with bipartisan House and Senate leadership at the White House to discuss the fiscal policy vision and later delivers a speech at George Washington University.

      • Thanks so much, CR. I heard it was in the afternoon, but just couldn’t seem to find out the exact time. (Duh.)

        You saved the day!

        🙂

  29. WH

    Wednesday Apr. 13, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:30 AM
    First Lady Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden attend a Military Community Event at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

    10:15 AM
    First Lady Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden pay a visit to Operation Shower at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

    10:00 AM
    10:10 AM
    The President and Vice President receive the presidential daily briefing.

    10:15 AM
    First Lady Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden pay a visit to Operation Shower at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

    10:40 AM
    The President and Vicee President meet with bipartisan House and Senate leadership to discuss fiscal policy.

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:35 PM
    The President delivers a speech on fiscal policy; the Vice President also attends.

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    3:30 PM
    The Vice President meets with the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

    3:30 PM
    First Lady Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden pay a visit to the Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio, Texas

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    9:50 PM – First Lady Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden attend a Military Families Event at Coors Field in Denver: Rockies vs. Mets, with Jessica Simpson

    • POTUS podium

      Apr 13, 2011

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

      1:35 PM EDT
      President Obama debt plan remarks
President Obama hosts a meeting with bipartisan House and Senate leadership at the White House to discuss the fiscal policy vision and later delivers a speech at George Washington University.

      2:00 PM EDT
      Open for Questions: Speech on Fiscal Policy
      immediately following the President’s Speech on Fiscal Policy
      White House Senior Staff take your questions on the President’s Speech on Fiscal Policy- The White House

      —-

      CNN http://live.cnn.com

      9:00 AM EDT
      House Ivory Coast hearing

      The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights holds a hearing on the violence in Ivory Coast.


      10:00 AM EDT
      Senate Committee Judiciary
      Support for Crime Victims – Patrick Leahy

      10:00 AM EDT
      House gas prices hearing

      The Natural Resources Committee votes on three offshore energy bills that the chairman says will create new jobs and lower gas prices by tripling offshore American energy production.


      10:00 AM EDT
      Senate deficit reduction hearing
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus holds a hearing to discuss methods of deficit reduction.

      10:00 AM EDT
      Agriculture visa program hearing
      A House judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on whether the H-2A Visa Program, which allows foreign nationals into the U.S. for temporary agriculture work, meets the needs of the U.S. agriculture industry.

      1:00 PM EDT
      U.S. House of Representatives:
      Rule for FY2011 Federal Spending Budget Bill

      1:00 PM EDT
      House hearing on Arlington Cemetery 

Reports of mismanged records and mislabeled graves at Arlington Cemetery have been described as “unconscionable mistakes” by Rep. Rob Wittman. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and related agencies hold a hearing.

      1:15 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the conflict in Libya, the nuclear crisis in Japan and the unrest in Ivory Coast.

      1:35 PM EDT
      President Obama debt plan remarks
President Obama hosts a meeting with bipartisan House and Senate leadership at the White House to discuss the fiscal policy vision and later delivers a speech at George Washington University.


      2:00 PM EDT
      House Intelligence Muslim Brotherhood hearing
      The House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism, HUMINT, Analysis, and Counterintelligence convenes for a hearing

      3:00 PM EDT
      2012 budget hearing
      The House Rules Committee meets to begin the process of considering a budget resolution for next fiscal year.

      5:00 PM EDT
      Replay: President Obama debt plan remarks
      A replay of President Obama’s remarks from earlier today about his fiscal policy vision.

      6:00 PM EDT
      Brookings Institution:
      U.S.-Islamic World Forum w/ former Libyan ambassador &

      7:00 PM EDT
      Replay: President Obama debt plan remarks
      A replay of President Obama’s remarks from earlier today about his fiscal policy vision.

      —-

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      9:00 AM EDT
      House Ivory Coast hearing

      The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights holds a hearing on the violence in Ivory Coast.


      10:00 AM EDT
      House gas prices hearing

      The Natural Resources Committee votes on three offshore energy bills that the chairman says will create new jobs and lower gas prices by tripling offshore American energy production.


      10:00 AM EDT
      Senate deficit reduction hearing
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus holds a hearing to discuss methods of deficit reduction.

      1:00 PM EDT
      House hearing on Arlington Cemetery

Reports of mismanged records and mislabeled graves at Arlington Cemetery have been described as “unconscionable mistakes” by Rep. Rob Wittman. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and related agencies hold a hearing.

      1:00 PM EDT
      U.S. House of Representatives:
      Rule for FY2011 Federal Spending Budget Bill

      1:15 PM EDT
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the conflict in Libya, the nuclear crisis in Japan and the unrest in Ivory Coast. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/299004-1

      1:35 PM EDT
      President Obama debt plan remarks
President Obama hosts a meeting with bipartisan House and Senate leadership at the White House to discuss the fiscal policy vision and later delivers a speech at George Washington University.
 http://www.cspan.org/Events/President-to-Address-Administrations-Fiscal-Policy/10737420836/

      2:00 PM EDT
      House Intelligence Muslim Brotherhood hearing
      The House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism, HUMINT, Analysis, and Counterintelligence convenes for a hearing’ http://www.cspan.org/Events/Hearing-Examines-Role-of-Muslim-Brotherhood-in-Middle-East-Politics/10737420863/

      3:00 PM EDT
      2012 budget hearing
      The House Rules Committee meets to begin the process of considering a budget resolution for next fiscal year. http://www.cspan.org/Events/Budget-Debate-Begins-in-Congress/10737420838/

      6:00 PM EDT
      Brookings Institution:
      U.S.-Islamic World Forum w/ former Libyan ambassador & http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SIsl

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

      —-

      Middle East Protest

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

  30. Obama to set out budget plan on Wednesday

    Sun Apr 10, by Stephanie Griffith – AFP

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – Aides say President Barack Obama will lay out plans to reduce the soaring US budget deficit on Wednesday, setting the stage for a major battle that could define his reelection campaign.
    Washington is still regrouping from the political jousting that led to the near shutdown of the federal government at the weekend, but looming on the horizon are even bigger battles over the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget.
    Opposition Republicans put pressure on Obama in the long-term budget debate by unveiling a spending blueprint last week that would cut government expenditures by $6 trillion over the next decade.

    Republicans want to slash funds for Medicare, benefits for the elderly, and Medicaid, a health program for people with low income, but Democrats would prefer to make up much of the deficit by raising taxes on the wealthy.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110410/bs_afp/uspoliticsbudgetobama_20110410201850

    • When you read this type of report:

      “Republicans want to slash funds for Medicare, benefits for the elderly, and Medicaid, a health program for people with low income, but Democrats would prefer to make up much of the deficit by raising taxes on the wealthy”

      Then you start to almost think of President Obama as Robin Hood! We don’t need to steal from the rich to give to the poor, but for gosh sakes, make them pay their fair share in taxes … trickle-down economics didn’t work and won’t work!

  31. April 12, 2011

    President Obama to Meet with Bipartisan House and Senate Leadership at the White House

    Tomorrow at 10:40AM, the President will host a meeting with bipartisan House and Senate Leadership at the White House to discuss the fiscal policy vision that he will later lay out in a speech at George Washington University. Expected attendees include Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Representative Cantor, Representative Hoyer, Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, Senator Durbin and Senator Kyl.

    • This is naughty, but I hope the President has a light breakfast before meeting with some of these people …

      Actually, he can handle anything – I’m convinced of that, wholeheartedly!

  32. First Lady Michelle and Dr Jill Biden on National Joining Forces Tour

    April 13 Schedule:

    9:30 AM EDT – Military Community Event at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

    10:15 AM EDT– Visit to Operation Shower at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

    4:30 PM – CT Visit to the Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio, Texas

    7:50 PM MDT– Military Families Event at Coors Field in Denver: Rockies vs. Mets, with Jessica Simpson

  33. Clinton to Berlin, Seoul, Tokyo

    04/11/11 By MJ LEE -POLITICO

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to Germany, South Korea and Japan in the coming days, the State Department announced Monday.

    From Wednesday to Friday, Clinton will travel to Berlin, where she will meet with foreign ministers to discuss Libya and Afghanistan, and attend Amb. Richard Holbrooke’s memorial service at the American Academy. She also will get the Walther Rathenau Prize “for outstanding contributions to international understanding and cooperation,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

    Over the weekend, Clinton will be in Seoul, where she’ll meet with President Lee Myung-bak “as part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen the alliance and to discuss cooperation on regional issues.”

    And on Sunday, the secretary of state will travel to Tokyo “to show the United States’ support for the people of Japan and to highlight our long-standing commitment to the alliance,” meeting with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto and other senior officials. She’ll also visit the U.S. Embassy there.

  34. Retail sales up, consumer spending holds up

    4/13/11 By Lucia Mutikani – Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. retail sales rose modestly in March as auto sales plunged and consumers stretched to pay for pricey gasoline, but upward revisions to the prior months’ data pointed to fairly solid first-quarter spending.

    Total retail sales increased 0.4 percent, the smallest gain in nine months, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday, after rising 1.1 percent in February.

    Although March’s rise was a touch below economists’ expectations for a 0.5 percent gain, the government raised February and January figures, taking the sting out the report.

    “Sizable upward revisions to the data in January and February suggest that real personal consumption expenditure in the first quarter will not decelerate as much as feared,” said Michelle Girard, an economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.

    Receipts at gasoline stations, which accounted for about 10.7 percent of overall retail sales last month, increased 2.6 percent after rising 2.4 percent in February. Excluding gasoline, retail sales were up a scant 0.1 percent in March after a 0.9 percent rise the prior month.

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

  35. Lawmakers Prepare To Vote On 2011 Budget Deal

    April 13, 2011 NPR

    Lawmakers on Capitol Hill agreed to a budget deal for fiscal 2011 last Friday. But at the time, most of them did not know what was in the agreement.

    More information is coming out, as the House is scheduled to vote on the matter Thursday. The Senate also plans to vote Thursday.

    Meanwhile, NPR reporters have been sorting through the numbers:

    Tom Bowman reports on the Pentagon budget.

    Michele Kelemen looks at foreign aid.

    Julie Rovner reports on spending for health issues.

    Larry Abramson examines the education budget.

    Pam Fessler reports on poverty issues.

    David Folkenflik covers public broadcasting funding.

    And Elizabeth Shogren reports on cuts to environmental issues.

    For the audio: http://www.npr.org/2011/04/13/135369907/details-emerge-on-fiscal-2011-budget-deal

  36. Barack Obama set for ‘Oprah’ chat

    April 13. 2011 UPI

    WASHINGTON, April 13 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama and wife, Michelle, are to be interviewed on one of the last episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” a White House official said.

    The Obamas are to sit for the chat April 27 in Chicago, their former hometown and the city where the popular syndicated talk show is taped, the Chicago Tribune reported.

    The interview is to air May 2. “Oprah” is now wrapping up its 25th and final season.The last original episode of the show is to air May 25.

    Winfrey was a vocal supporter of Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign.

  37. Happy Wednesday, CR and all friends!

    >^..^<

    Kat's Obama Administration Report, 4/13/11, Part 1

    Part 1 is a reminder that the President will deliver a speech on fiscal policy at George Washington University at 1:35 p.m. EDT.

    Immediately afterward, Brian Deese of the National Economic Council will be answering questions on the President’s speech.

    Watch both events livestreamed at WhiteHouse.gov (http://www.whitehouse.gov/live?utm_source=041311&utm_medium=intro&utm_campaign=daily).

    I will post video/transcript when they're available.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/13/966540/-Kats-Obama-Administration-Report,-4-13-11,-Part-1

  38. Champions of Change: Harnessing the Power of Community and Clean Energy

    Posted by Will Byrne on April 13, 2011

    This past Friday, I was honored with a Champions of Change award, allowing me to join a conversation between Administration officials and community leaders from around the country to discuss new solutions we are implementing toward a new clean energy economy.

    As I heard from the incredible pioneers around me, two things were resoundingly clear:

    First, the clean energy economy has extraordinary potential to bring new opportunity and prosperity to America. Second, this new wave of innovation, just as the major economic transformations the United States of the past, is going to be driven by the home-grown ingenuity and entrepreneurship of our local communities.

    The organization I helped to found a few years ago, The DC Project, was built to realize this vision of a bottom up transformation of the clean economy. By working alongside communities to make sensible energy choices, we help everyday people to improve their own lives while also ramping up demand for clean energy services. Harnessing the power of community in this way, we not only unlock the local clean energy marketplace, but also ensure that its benefits, especially new jobs, are tied to the community.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/13/champions-change-harnessing-power-community-and-clean-energy

  39. Consumer spending increases 0.4 percent in March

    (8:10 a.m.)By MARTIN CRUTSINGER / AP Economics Writer
    Posted: 04/13/2011 08:01:06 AM MDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumers spent more in March on furniture, electronics and at restaurants, but also paid more for gas.
    Retail sales increased 0.4 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. It was the ninth consecutive monthly gain.

    The increase shrank to a 0.1 percent when sales at gasoline stations were excluded. Still, the biggest decline in auto sales in more than a year also pulled down overall sales. When taking out sales at gas station and of autos, retail sales rose 0.6 percent.

    Many analysts considered that a solid gain, given the jump in gas prices and the fact that Easter is coming later this year. They also noted that sales in the previous two months were revised up to show slightly better gains.

    Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the new report was “pretty decent … considering all of the headwinds the consumer is facing.”

    http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-business/ci_17832311

  40. Could the GOP lose the House next year?

    Apr 13, 2011 TheWeek- news.yahoo.com

    New York – A new poll suggests voters are souring on the new Republican majority in the House. Does this signal a Democratic surge in 2012?

    Just three months after taking charge of the House, Republicans have “fallen so far out of favor” with voters that they could lose control of the House to Democrats next year, according to Public Policy Polling. Forty-three percent of respondents in a new poll said House Republicans are doing a worse job than the Democrats did when they ran things, and only 36 percent think the GOP is doing better. Forty-six percent said they would vote for a Democrat if an election were held today, while 41 percent said they would back a Republican. Does this mean House Republicans are really in trouble?

    * Yes, the GOP’s excesses will cost its candidates
    * No, this is liberal propaganda
    * Neither party should be too confident

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

  41. Biden honored on artists’ rights

    4/13/11 By MJ LEE -POLITICO

    You wouldn’t know it from the White House daily guidance, but after a day of meetings and watching President Obama’s deficit speech, Vice President Biden will be honored at the Grammys on the Hill Awards.

    It’s unclear if Biden plans to be there when he’s honored. His office didn’t respond to a request for confirmation.

    Along with Sen. Bob Corker and co-founder of the Recording Artists’ Coalition Don Henley, Biden will be recognized for his “commitment to improving the environment for the nation’s music community,” the Recording Academy announced.

    “Look, piracy is outright theft,” Biden wrote in response to questions from Variety Magazine published Wednesday. “People are out there blatantly stealing from Americans – stealing their ideas and robbing us of America’s creative energies. There’s no reason why we should treat intellectual property any different than tangible property.”

    Biden also said the entertainment industry has done a “poor job” of protecting artists. “They should be able to come up with an intelligent, original and effective public education campaign targeting this issue,” he said. “To be honest, I am not certain they have dedicated the appropriate resources to this, and I hope they will.”

    For the entire article: http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0411/the_law_won_a509de5f-f866-426c-8369-867880bb0812.html

    • April 13, 2011

      Remarks by the President on Fiscal Policy

      George Washington University

      Washington, D.C.

      1:48 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Please have a seat. Please have a seat, everyone.

      It is wonderful to be back at GW. I want you to know that one of the reasons that I worked so hard with Democrats and Republicans to keep the government open was so that I could show up here today. I wanted to make sure that all of you had one more excuse to skip class. (Laughter.) You’re welcome. (Laughter.)

      I want to give a special thanks to Steven Knapp, the president of GW. I just saw him — where is he? There he is right there. (Applause.)

      We’ve got a lot of distinguished guests here — a couple of people I want to acknowledge. First of all, my outstanding Vice President, Joe Biden, is here. (Applause.) Our Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, is in the house. (Applause.) Jack Lew, the Director of the Office of Mangement and Budget. (Applause.) Gene Sperling, Chair of the National Economic Council, is here. (Applause.) Members of our bipartisan Fiscal Commission are here, including the two outstanding chairs — Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson — are here. (Applause.)

      And we have a number of members of Congress here today. I’m grateful for all of you taking the time to attend.

      What we’ve been debating here in Washington over the last few weeks will affect the lives of the students here and families all across America in potentially profound ways. This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page; it’s about more than just cutting and spending. It’s about the kind of future that we want. It’s about the kind of country that we believe in. And that’s what I want to spend some time talking about today.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/13/remarks-president-fiscal-policy

    • April 13, 2011

      FACT SHEET: The President’s Framework for Shared Prosperity and Shared Fiscal Responsibility

      The President believes that we need a comprehensive, pro-growth economic strategy that invests in winning the future, lays the foundation for strong private-sector job growth and ensures that shared prosperity will keep the American dream alive for generations to come. A key component of that strategy must be a commitment to fiscal responsibility and to living within our means. Today, the President is laying out a comprehensive, balanced deficit reduction framework to cut spending, bring down our debt and increase confidence in our nation’s fiscal strength, while supporting our economic recovery and ensuring we are making the investments we need to win the future.

      $4 Trillion in Deficit Reduction: The President is setting a goal of reducing our deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years or less. This deficit reduction would be phased in over time to protect and strengthen our economic recovery and the recovering labor market.

      Debt on a Declining Path, Backed Up By An Across the Board “Debt Failsafe” Trigger: The President’s framework would require that, by the second half of the decade, our nation’s debt is on a declining path as a share of our economy. To enforce this requirement, the President is calling on Congress to enact:

      * A Debt Failsafe that will trigger across-the-board spending reductions (both in direct spending and spending through the tax code) if, by 2014, the projected ratio of debt-to-GDP is not stabilized and declining toward the end of the decade. Consistent with prior fiscal enforcement triggers put in place by Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton, the trigger should not apply to Social Security, low-income programs, or Medicare benefits.

      Balance Between Spending Cuts and Tax Reform: The President’s framework would seek a balanced approach to bringing down our deficit, with three dollars of spending cuts and interest savings for every one dollar from tax reform that contributes to deficit reduction. This is consistent with the bipartisan Fiscal Commission’s approach.

      Shared Sacrifice from All, Including the Most Fortunate Americans: The President believes strongly that, as we make difficult choices to live within our means, we cannot afford to make our deficit problem worse by extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

      Bipartisan, Bicameral Negotiations on a Legislative Framework: The President has asked Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Leader McConnell to each designate four Members from their caucuses to participate in bipartisan, bicameral negotiations led by the Vice President, beginning in early May. The goal of these negotiations is to agree on a legislative framework for comprehensive deficit reduction.

      Policy Highlights. The policy highlights in the President’s framework build on the down-payment included in his FY 2012 Budget. They include:

      * Non-security discretionary spending: The President is proposing to build on the savings from the FY 2011 budget agreement, while investing in key drivers of economic growth like energy innovation, education, and infrastructure. This would entail cutting non-security discretionary spending to levels consistent with the Fiscal Commission, saving $770 billion by 2023.

      * Security spending: The President’s framework will go beyond the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget to achieve deeper reductions in security spending. It sets a goal of holding the growth in base security spending below inflation, while ensuring our capacity to meet our national security responsibilities, which would save $400 billion by 2023.

      * Health care: The President’s framework builds on the Affordable Care Act by including new reforms aimed at further reducing the growth of health care spending – a major driver of long-term deficits. The President opposes any plan that would simply shift costs to seniors and the vulnerable by undermining Medicare and Medicaid. Building on the foundation of the historic deficit reduction achieved through the Affordable Care Act, the framework would save an additional $340 billion by 2021, $480 billion by 2023, and at least an additional $1 trillion in the subsequent decade. These savings complement the new patient safety initiative that could lower Medicare costs by another $50 billion over the next decade by providing better care. The President’s framework includes initiatives that will:

      * Bend the long-term cost curve by setting a more ambitious target of holding Medicare cost growth per beneficiary to GDP per capita plus 0.5 percent beginning in 2018, through strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

      * Make Medicaid more flexible, efficient and accountable without resorting to block granting the program, ending our partnership with States or reducing health care coverage for seniors in nursing homes, the most economically vulnerable and people with disabilities. Combined Medicaid savings of at least $100 billion over 10 years.

      * Reduce Medicare’s excessive spending on prescription drugs and lower drug premiums for beneficiaries without shifting costs to seniors or privatizing Medicare. Combined Medicare savings of at least $200 billion over 10 years.

      * Other mandatory spending: Outside of health care, comprehensive deficit reduction must include savings in other mandatory programs, including agricultural subsidies, the federal pension insurance system, and anti-fraud measures, while protecting and strengthening programs that serve low-income families and other vulnerable Americans. The President’s framework includes a target of $360 billion in savings from other mandatory programs by 2023.

      * Tax reform: the President is calling for individual tax reform that closes loopholes and produces a system which is simpler, fairer and not rigged in favor of those who can afford lawyers and accountants to game it. The President supports the Fiscal Commission’s goal of reducing tax expenditures enough to both lower rates and lower the deficit.

      * Social Security: The President does not believe that Social Security is in crisis nor is a driver of our near-term deficit problems. But, in the context of an aging population and a Social Security wage base that is declining as a share of overall earnings, Social Security faces long-term challenges that are better addressed sooner than later to ensure that the program remains for future generations the rock-solid benefit for older Americans that it has been for past generations. That is why the President supports bipartisan efforts to strengthen Social Security for the long haul. These efforts should be guided by several principles, including strengthening the program and not privatizing it, improving retirement security for the vulnerable while protecting people with disabilities and current beneficiaries, and not slashing benefits for future generations.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/13/fact-sheet-presidents-framework-shared-prosperity-and-shared-fiscal-resp

    • I just sent this email to the WH:

      MAHALO PRES OBAMA FOR STANDING UP FOR THE MIDDLE & LOWER INCOME AMERICANS!

      WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK TOO! OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!!

      OBAMA BIDEN 2012

      • Great idea for the White House website to host all of these statements in one spot! Thanks for finding these, CR.

  42. Go to lunch, talking heads. The President has started speaking! We have your back, Mr. President!

  43. Next Up…

    2:30 PM EDT
    Open for Questions: Speech on Fiscal Policy
    immediately following the President’s Speech on Fiscal Policy
    White House Senior Staff take your questions on the President’s Speech on Fiscal Policy- The White House

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

    • Open for Questions: America’s Fiscal Future

      Uploaded by whitehouse on Apr 13, 2011

      Brian Deese from the National Economic Council answers your questions about the President’s speech on improving America’s fiscal future.

  44. Gov’t orders 14 lenders to reimburse homeowners

    4/13/11 By DEREK KRAVITZ, AP Real Estate Writer

    WASHINGTON – The federal government on Wednesday ordered 16 mortgage lenders and servicers, including four of the nation’s largest banks, to reimburse homeowners who were incorrectly foreclosed upon.
    The Federal Reserve, Office of Thrift Supervision and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency also directed the financial firms to hire auditors to determine if they improperly foreclosed on homeowners in 2009 and 2010. The Fed said it believed financial penalties were “appropriate” and that it planned to levy fines in the future. All three government agencies said they would review the foreclosure audits.

    In the four years since the housing bust, about 5 million homes have been foreclosed upon. About 2.4 million primary mortgages were in foreclosure at the end of last year. Another 2 million were 90 days or more past due, putting them at serious risk of foreclosure.

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

  45. Fed survey: US economy improves in spring

    4/13/11 By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

    WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve says the U.S. economy showed improvement this spring throughout the country, but higher oil prices remain a concern.

    Factories were busier, consumers spent more and companies boosted hiring in all 12 regions surveyed by the Fed. But the Fed also notes in a new report that high energy prices are putting pressure on businesses to raise their prices. Also, workers are not seeing wage increases because they lack leverage in the tight jobs market.

    Scant wage gains are a major reason Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says inflation won’t spread through the economy this year. Bernanke and a majority of Fed officials also predict that the surge in oil prices will lead only to modest and short-lived increase in consumer prices.

  46. Martha Stewart Joins Forces With First Lady

    APRIL 13, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

    Camp Lejeune visit begins four-state tour for military families campaign…

    Celeb cooking and home decor maven Martha Stewart joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden today at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, for the kickoff event of a two-day roadtrip for the Joining Forces campaign. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of one of America’s largest Marine Corps bases, they attended a baby shower for expectant military wives, run by Operation Shower. The party featured a rousing pep talk from the First Lady, and a scrapbooking demo from Stewart. A party cake in the shape of a red Radio Flyer wagon, surrounded by vintage wooden and painted toys was the centerpiece of the action.

    Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden arrived bearing White House gifts for the new moms: Monogrammed baby blankets and onesies, which got an “awww” from the happy crowd. (Above: Mrs. Obama nd Dr. Biden carry gift baskets)

    “What’s a onesie, and how does it work?” Mrs. Obama joked, as she told a story about her own
    first pregnancy, when she was carrying daughter Malia, now 12.

    “I want to thank you for holding it together, because you all look great,” Mrs. Obama said. “I’m proud of you for holding it together while your man’s doing something hard.”

    For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/04/martha-stewart-joins-forces-with.html

  47. April 13, 2011

    Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Biden to Base Community

    Goettge Memorial Field House
    Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

    10:02 A.M. EDT

    DR. BIDEN: Good morning. I’m Jill Biden and I am a proud military mom. I’m delighted to be back here at Camp Lejeune, and I’m especially fortunate to be here today with General Dunford and Bonnie Amos, wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

    Looking out at this crowd of Marines and their amazing families, one word comes to mind: Oo-rah!

    AUDIENCE: Oo-rah!

    DR. BIDEN: I love that. (Laughter.)

    When I visited two years ago, I was struck by what an amazing community you have here. I’ve had the honor of spending precious time with some of the Marines and family members of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion who were about to deploy to Afghanistan.

    I shared their pride, their concern and even their tears. And as always, it was the mothers who sought me out. They knew that I understood the powerful mix of emotions they were feeling at that moment.

    As I greeted the mother of a young Marine, she gave me a tight hug. I encouraged her to hang in there, hang in there. And in that strong way only a Blue Star mom could, she said something to me I’ll never forget. She said, “Every day. Every day.”

    I understood exactly what she meant because my son, Beau, has been a member of the Delaware Army National Guard for the last 10 years. In 2009, he served a year in Iraq. I’m very proud of him, but I also know how tough it can be when a family member is in a war zone thousands of miles away. I know how much you worry. I know how much you pray.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/13/remarks-first-lady-and-dr-biden-base-community

  48. April 13, 2011

    Statement from NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor on the National Security Advisor’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

    Today, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon concluded a positive and productive two-day visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    On April 12, Mr. Donilon met with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud in Riyadh to discuss the broad range of shared strategic interests between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah and Mr. Donilon held comprehensive discussions on political, security, and economic issues. The discussions highlighted the importance of the U.S.-Saudi partnership rooted in strong historical ties and shared interests. On the subject of Yemen, Mr. Donilon commended the GCC’s efforts to facilitate a peaceful transfer of power.

    On April 13, Mr. Donilon met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi for a wide-ranging discussion. They addressed U.S. and UAE common strategic interests in the region, and the ongoing importance of the broad partnership between their two countries. They also discussed the UAE’s important role as a member of the coalition enforcing UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in Libya. Mr. Donilon conveyed an invitation from President Obama for the Crown Prince to meet in Washington later this month, which the Crown Prince accepted.

    In his meetings in both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Mr. Donilon and his hosts agreed upon the importance of continued frequent consultations between our countries.

  49. Gala Dinner Celebrating the U.S.-Islamic World Forum

    Hillary Rodham Clinton -Secretary of State
    Hosted by the Brookings Institution and the State of Qatar
    Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium – Washington, DC

    April 12, 2011

    Good evening, everyone. And let me thank you, Strobe, for that introduction and for your many years of friendship. It is such a pleasure for me to join you at this first U.S.-Islamic World Forum held in America. His Highness the Amir and the people of Qatar have generously hosted the Forum for years. And as Strobe said, I was honored to be a guest in Doha last year. And now I am delighted to welcome you to Washington. I want to thank Martin Indyk, Ken Pollack and the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution for keeping this event going and growing. And I want to acknowledge all my colleagues in the diplomatic corps who are here tonight, including the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, the Foreign Minister of Jordan, and the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

    Over the years, the U.S.-Islamic World Forum has offered the chance to celebrate the diverse achievements of Muslims around the world. From Qatar – which is pioneering innovative energy solutions and preparing to host the World Cup – to countries as varied as Turkey, Senegal, Indonesia, and Malaysia, each offering its own model for prosperity and progress.

    This Forum also offers a chance to discuss the equally diverse set of challenges we face together – the need to confront violent extremism, the urgency of achieving a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, the importance of embracing tolerance and universal human rights in all of our communities.

    For the entire article: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/04/160642.htm

  50. Good afternoon CR and O friends. I am still on cloud nine from PBO’s speech this morning. CR, the articles you have posted here today are pure gold. So much positive news about FLOTUS, the economy etc. Thank you.

  51. April 13, 2011

    Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Biden during Operation Shower Drop By

    Ball Center

    Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

    10:51 A.M. EDT

    DR. BIDEN: Hello. I’m Jill Biden, and — gosh, thanks for inviting us here today. We’re so excited. And thank you to Martha Stewart. Gosh, she’s done a great job. (Applause.) And thank you to the ladies who are in charge of Operation Shower. They’ve done a great job.

    I’ve been involved — Michelle and I have our new Joining Forces that we’re traveling around the country. And this is so exciting for us because this is exactly what we hope that other communities will do for military families. And actually in the state of Delaware where I’m from, we actually did a shower for a military family — not with Martha Stewart, of course — (laughter) — but anyway, it’s just so great to be here.

    I am a mom. I have three children. I have five grandchildren, starting from 17 down to age five. So congratulations to all you moms-to-be.

    And now I’d like to introduce one of my favorite moms, Michelle Obama. (Applause.)

    MRS. OBAMA: Wow. So are you all having fun? Is this fun? Have you gotten into the fun part of it?

    So how many of you are first-time moms? Oh, so most of you are. That’s very — you know, just thinking back on — you know, my youngest is nine, will be 10. I enjoyed my pregnancy. I enjoyed every minute of it. And I hope you all are enjoying every minute of it.

    And I know that it helps to know that you’ve got some support. I mean, as a new mom, there are just an array of things that run through your head: What’s this kid going to be like? Will I get my shape back? Will I ever sleep again? What’s a onesie? How does it work?

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/13/remarks-first-lady-and-dr-biden-during-operation-shower-drop

  52. Simple Ways You Can Support Military Families

    Posted by Bailey Bernius on April 13, 2011

    Ed. Note: Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama said, “This is about all of us Joining Forces as Americans. And we can do it right where we live and work…If you ask any military family, they will tell you sometimes it’s the smallest things — these simple gestures that say “thank you” that can make the biggest difference in their lives.” Here are some ideas from our friends at the National Military Family Association to get started.

    In communities all over the world, military families are living a unique lifestyle in order to serve our country alongside their service member. It can be difficult for those not familiar with the military to understand this lifestyle and to figure out their role in helping military families in a time of need.

    Everyone has a role to play in supporting military families – not just their friends and neighbors. Employers, educators, community leaders, government leaders, and health care professionals can all help support military families in unique ways.

    For more tips and ideas, read the National Military Family Association’s Finding Common Ground: A Toolkit for Communities Supporting Military Families.

    Here are some simple ways civilian families can help the military families who are living right in their own communities.

    * Hang out
    * Be yourself
    * Volunteer
    * Provide a helping hand
    * Show your appreciation
    * Give a taste of home
    * Be a friend
    * Be understanding
    * Help make a house a home
    * Support education
    * Be a proud American

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/13/simple-ways-you-can-support-military-families

    • April 13, 2011

      Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Biden in Press Availability

      Warrior and Family Support Center
      San Antonio, Texas

      5:00 P.M. CDT

      DR. BIDEN: I wanted to thank Judy for taking us around today and showing us this beautiful family center. And it was an honor for us to meet the families here at the center. And up on the ward, we met several soldiers and their families.

      And actually you might think, oh, gosh, you’re going to a hospital and you’re going to see Wounded Warriors. But actually, I think we leave here more inspired, because of the resilience and strength we see in our Wounded Warriors and their families.

      MRS. OBAMA: And the thing that is amazing and one of the reasons why we wanted to come to this facility is because, as Judy explained, all of this that you see around is donated by the community — 100 percent of every salary of every brick of every piece of wood, of every bit of food. This is all done by the community.

      And as you all know, Jill and I just launched “Joining Forces,” and we’re rallying the nation around our military families. And a lot of people are going to wonder, well, how can I help? What can I do? This family center is an example of how communities step up and support the military families and the troops. And they do it with their own dollars, with their own energy.

      Judy said she has 67 volunteers waiting to volunteer at any given time. We’ve seen university students here. We’ve seen wives and mothers and sisters and brothers here helping. And I talked to one young man, who — I told him he should do the press avail. (Laughter.) He was saying that even as a soldier, he didn’t know that these resources existed. And that’s what we want the nation to know.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/13/remarks-first-lady-and-dr-biden-press-availability

    • April 13, 2011

      Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Biden at Joining Forces with the Colorado Rockies event

      Coors Field
      Denver, Colorado

      8:23 P.M. MDT

      DR. BIDEN: Hi. The kids are probably saying, “Who?” (Laughter.) Anyways — well, nice to see you. It’s nice to be here. I’m Jill Biden. I’m a proud military mom. Our son is Delaware Army National Guard, so — (cheering) — thank you. So I want to say a special hello to all the National Guard families who are here tonight. And one of the things that Michelle and I are doing is we’re going out across the United States, and we’re trying to send out a message of how important military families are, and we want to get the word out to all Americans about the sacrifices that you make for all of us.

      And so thank you for your service. Thank you for what you do for us. We all really appreciate it.

      And I’d like to introduce my partner in this project in Joining Forces, and it’s your First Lady Michelle Obama. (Applause.)

      MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, I’m a little taller. It’s okay. (Laughter.)

      Are you guys having fun?

      CHILDREN: Yeah!

      MRS. OBAMA: Isn’t this pretty cool?

      CHILDREN: Yeah!

      MRS. OBAMA: Did you guys get a chance to run out on the baseball field before it started raining?

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/13/remarks-first-lady-and-dr-biden-joining-forces-colorado-rockies-event

  53. Family Matters Blog: Blogger Interviews First Lady, Dr. Biden

    4/13/11 By Elaine Sanchez – afps.dodlive.mil

    Yesterday, I attended a briefing at the White House in which the nation’s top leaders announced a national campaign

    that aims to bring together every sector of this nation -– from individuals and communities to businesses and nonprofits -– to support and honor service members and their families.

    Speaking to a packed crowd of government officials, troops and their families, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden each expressed their enduring admiration and gratitude for military families and their excitement at launching the “Joining Forces” campaign.

    Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with the first lady and Dr. Biden in an interview at the White House to discuss this initiative and what sparked them to create it. I’ve been an admirer of their family-support efforts for some time, and was excited that I had the chance to sit down with them one on one at such a pivotal time.

    For the entire article: http://afps.dodlive.mil/2011/04/13/family-matters-blog-blogger-interviews-first-lady-dr-biden/

  54. April 13, 2011

    President Obama to Award Medals of Honor

    On May 2, President Barack Obama will award Private First Class Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano, U.S. Army, and Private First Class Henry Svehla, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

    Private First Class Kaho’ohanohano will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic actions in combat on September 1, 1951, while in charge of a machine-gun squad with Company H, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in the Republic of Korea.

    When faced by an enemy with overwhelming numbers, Private First Class Kaho’ohanohano ordered his squad to take up more defensible positions and provide covering fire for the withdrawing friendly force. He then gathered a supply of grenades and ammunition and returned to his original position to face the enemy alone – delivering deadly accurate fire into the ranks of the onrushing enemy. When his ammunition was depleted, he engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat until he was killed. His heroic stand so inspired his comrades that they launched a counterattack that completely repulsed the enemy.

    Private First Class Kaho’ohanohano’s sister, Elaine Kaho’ohanohano, and brother, Eugene Kaho’ohanohano, will join the President at the White House to commemorate their brother’s example of selfless service and sacrifice.

    Private First Class Henry Svehla will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic actions in combat on June 12, 1952, while serving as a rifleman with Company F, 32d Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division in the Republic of Korea.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/13/president-obama-award-medals-honor

  55. Fast rise in job openings brightens hiring outlook

    4/13/11 By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER and MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writers

    WASHINGTON – Companies are advertising more job openings than at any time in the past two years, suggesting April will mark a third straight month of strong hiring.

    The 3.1 million job openings posted in February indicate that businesses are gaining more confidence in the economy. People are spending more, buying furniture, clothes and electronics and eating out. That raises corporate revenue.
    High gas prices threaten the momentum, though. The national average for a gallon passed $3.80 on Wednesday.

    “We’ve turned the corner in terms of job growth,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James. “Unfortunately, there’s this big cloud of higher gasoline prices hanging over everything.”

    Competition for the job openings is easing, though still intense. There were 4.4 unemployed people, on average, competing for each available job in February. That’s down from nearly seven in July 2009, but still above the 2-to-1 ratio in a healthy economy.

    The rise in employment advertisements, reported Wednesday by the Labor Department, is the latest sign that companies are stepping up hiring. Openings jumped more than 350,000, from 2.7 million in January, the largest rise in almost seven years.

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

    Business Inventory 4/13/11

  56. Department of Justice Takes Action to Disable International Botnet
    More Than Two Million Computers Infected with Keylogging Software as Part of Massive Fraud Scheme

    4/13/11 newhaven.fbi.gov

    WASHINGTON—Today, the Department of Justice and FBI announced the filing of a civil complaint, the execution of criminal seizure warrants, and the issuance of a temporary restraining order as part of the most complete and comprehensive enforcement action ever taken by U.S authorities to disable an international botnet.

    The botnet is a network of hundreds of thousands of computers infected with a malicious software program known as Coreflood, which installs itself by exploiting a vulnerability in computers running Windows operating systems. Coreflood allows infected computers to be controlled remotely for the purpose of stealing private personal and financial information from unsuspecting computer users, including users on corporate computer networks, and using that information to steal funds.

    The Department of Justice strongly encourages computer users to ensure they are using security software on their computers and that users regularly update their security and routinely scan their computers for viruses. To learn more about what you can do to protect your computer, including how to download and receive updates on security vulnerabilities, the public may go to the following sites operated by U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) and the Federal Trade Commission, respectively: us-cert.gov/nav/nt01 and onguardonline.gov/topics/malware.aspx.

    For the entire article: http://newhaven.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel11/nh041311.htm

  57. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest’

    4/13/11 By The Associated Press – 17 mins ago
    _____

    EGYPT
    Ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons are detained for investigation of corruption, abuse of power and killings of protesters, bringing cheers of victory from activists who hope it marks a turning point in Egypt’s turbulent transition to democracy.
    _____

    LIBYA
    NATO launches new airstrikes on targets held by Moammar Gadhafi as the rebel movement urged a stronger air campaign that will allow them to advance on Gadhafi’s territory. In Tripoli, Gadhafi’s finance minister angrily denounces proposals by rebel leaders that they be given some of the regime’s assets that were frozen as part of international sanctions.
    _____

    SYRIA
    Women, children and students take to the streets in Syria, lending their voices to a monthlong uprising that President Bashar Assad insists is the work of a foreign conspiracy. In an apparent attempt to calm the women’s demonstration, authorities release about 100 detainees and parade them in front of the protesters, prompting cheers and cries of triumph, a witness says.
    _____

    YEMEN
    Gunmen loyal to the government attack the forces of the Yemeni president’s chief rival, killing one person and raising fears that Yemen’s weeks of popular unrest could evolve into pitched battles between factions of the divided military.
    _____

    BAHRAIN
    Bahrain’s Shiite opposition party says another one of its supporters, the fourth to date, has died in police custody. Haji Karim Fakhrawi died in “mysterious circumstances,” according to Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s main opposition party in the Sunni-ruled Gulf country. His relatives pointed to a body covered in bruises, saying he had died of torture.

    • I think it was late last night or earlier today that I heard Mubarak was taken from the prosecutor’s interrogation room to an ER with reported heart trouble, while the sons remained behind for further questioning.

  58. April 13, 2011

    Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani

    Earlier today, the Vice President met at the White House with the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. They discussed developments in the Middle East and the enduring partnership between the United States and Qatar. The two leaders reaffirmed their support for the historic changes sweeping the region. The Vice President commended Qatar for its leadership on Libya and for successfully hosting the Libya Contact Group meeting in Doha today aimed at advancing the Libyan people’s desire for lasting peace and stability in their country. The Vice President reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to regional security in the Gulf and thanked the Amir for his country’s important support to U.S. troops stationed in Qatar. Both leaders pledged to further strengthen the friendship between the United States and Qatar through sustained bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

  59. April 13, 2011

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the Submission of Legislation Required for Four Key Nuclear Security Treaties

    Today, on the first anniversary of the landmark Nuclear Security Summit convened by President Obama, the administration is submitting legislation required for the ratification of four key treaties that are critical to securing nuclear materials and preventing nuclear terrorism around the world. The Department of Justice has submitted to Congress legislation to implement the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM Amendment), the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT), the 2005 Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Protocol), and the 2005 Protocol to the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf (Fixed Platforms Protocol).

    At last year’s Summit, 47 world leaders embraced President Obama’s goal of securing all nuclear material around the globe, and agreed to take action to meet it. As a part of that effort, the leaders at the Summit called for all nations to accept and fully implement the CPPNM Amendment and the ICSANT, and 19 countries have since ratified one or both of these treaties. Building on the Senate’s advice and consent on these treaties in 2008, the legislation being proposed today would update the U.S. Criminal Code to strengthen our ability to fully investigate and prosecute acts of nuclear terrorism. We call on Congress to pass these bills as swiftly as possible so that the United States can fully ratify these treaties and continue to lead the global effort to prevent the world’s most deadly weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.

  60. First Lady Michelle and Dr Jill Biden on National Joining Forces Tour
    April 14
 Schedule:

    12:15 AM EDT – Visit to the National Math and Science Competition in Colorado Springs


    4:45 PM EDT – Employment event in Columbus, Ohio.


    6:15 PM EDT – Community Event for Military Families in Columbus, Ohio

  61. Obama to meet Qatar ruler at White House on Thursday

    4/10/11 Alister Bul -Reuters

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will meet the ruler of Qatar at the White House on Thursday, holding talks with an influential Arab supporter on Libya and a key ally in a region that has been jolted by popular unrest.

    “The President looks forward to discussing a range of issues with the Emir, including the recent developments in the Middle East and Qatar’s leadership in the international effort to protect Libyan civilians,” the White House said on Sunday.

    Obama’s meeting with Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani comes after the president dispatched his national security adviser Tom Donilon to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for talks.

    U.S. backing of pro-democracy movements in the Middle East and North Africa, which have ousted autocratic rulers in Egypt and Tunisia since erupting in January, has unsettled some of Washington’s long-time allies in the region.
    The United States is also playing a central role in United Nations and Arab League-backed military action to protect Libyan civilians against attacks from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110410/pl_nm/us_usa_qatar_1

  62. Rachel Maddow’s show was really, really good tonight. I loved her analysis of PBO’s speech.

      • Rachel Maddow said on her show tonight

        “The President is making the case that the Republican’s proposal for America is transferring resources and money from people who really do not have it to spare in order to give a ton of those resources and money to people who are already rich.”

        • Thanks for posting CR. I even found enough courage to watch Ed. He was over the moon with joy. He read parts of PBO’s speech over twice. 🙂

  63. Pelosi Statement on President Obama’s Speech on the Federal Budget

    April 13, 2011 democraticleader.gov

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after President Obama’s speech on the federal budget:

    “Today, President Obama presented not only a strong vision for America’s future, but a strategic plan for how we achieve it. The President took the debate to a higher ground, focusing on the priorities Americans hold most dear and the principles that make our country strong.

    “The President made it clear: we will protect the health of our seniors by preserving Medicare and Social Security; invest in the education of our children; and ensure the strength of our middle class, as we reduce the deficit.

    “Democratic priorities stand in stark contrast with the Republican vision that ends Medicare and shifts costs to seniors as it gives tax breaks to Big Oil and millionaires. Democrats will continue to measure every initiative by whether it creates jobs, strengthens our middle class, and responsibly reduces the deficit.”

  64. President Obama’s Plan for Shared Prosperity and Shared Fiscal Responsibility

    April 13, 2011 Posted by Josh Cohen- democrats.org

    Earlier today, President Obama delivered a major speech at George Washington University that laid out a comprehensive vision for America’s future that will help grow our economy and reduce the deficit by $4 trillion. Drawing from Bipartisan Fiscal Commission recommendations, this plan protects middle-class families and seniors, invests in the education and job creation, restores fairness to our tax code, and begins to reform programs that have warped over time. It’s a balanced approach that calls for shared responsibility that rewards all Americans.

    Both parties agree that America’s current deficit isn’t sustainable for the long run. But any serious proposal to lower that burden must contribute to, and not obstruct, our country’s economic progress – and it must ensure shared responsibility and shared benefit.

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

  65. Interim Chair Donna Brazile on the President’s Plan to Achieve Fiscal Responsibility

    April 13, 2011 Posted by Josh Cohen-democrats.org

    Today, President Obama unveiled his plan to reduce the deficit while still investing in the things we need to support strong job growth and win the future. Following the President’s speech unveiling his plan, DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile released the following statement:

    President Obama has made it very clear that whe n it comes to our nation’s future he has two goals – putting America back on sound fiscal footing and guaranteeing that as we do so we continue to support strong economic growth and increased job creation. He will not sacrifice one for the other, because he knows both are critically important.

    That’s why, in contrast to the Republicans’ extreme plans for slashing spending on critical investments in America’s future while reducing taxes on the wealthiest Americans, President Obama has put forth a plan that will demand shared sacrifices from everyone in order to secure a better future for us all. Because the President understands a plan that places all the burdens on seniors, the sick, the poor and the middle class while providing for trillions in tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans isn’t courageous and isn’t bold – it’s downright unfair. As the President said, no plan that purports to deal with our deficits and debt that gives a trillion dollars away to the wealthiest Americans in tax breaks while ending Medicare for seniors can be considered the least bit serious – and frankly – it is not. In short, the same old Republican playbook isn’t going to cut it anymore – they’ve been champions of tax cuts for the wealthy as the solution to all America’s problems for decades now, even as our deficit has exploded and our economy has suffered the worst crisis since the Great Depression – and now we’ve got to try something different.

    For the entire article: http://www.democrats.org/news/press/1907

  66. Hoyer Statement on GOP Bill to Defund Prevention and Public Health Programs

    April 13, 2011 democraticwhip.gov

    WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after House Republicans voted to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund:

    “Tomorrow, Republicans will mark their 100th day in the House majority, and it is now clear that they will have failed to consider even a single piece of legislation to create jobs. Today, underscoring that inaction, instead of trying to help put Americans back to work, they voted to repeal an important program to help Americans stay healthy, and help our country save money.

    “Democrats created the Prevention and Public Health Fund to improve our efforts to fight chronic diseases and promote prevention and wellness. Chronic disease accounts for 75% percent of our health care spending and seven out of ten Americans’ deaths each year. Rather than paying to treat those diseases after they’ve set in, we can save money by working to prevent them—and more importantly, we can save lives. In fact, prevention can pay for itself: a Trust for America’s Health report tells us that investing just $10 per person per year in prevention programs can, within five years, save our country more than $16 billion annually.

    For the entire article: http://www.democraticwhip.gov/content/hoyer-statement-gop-bill-defund-prevention-and-public-health-programs

    • What’s next for the Republicans, the great time wasters? Thanks, Rep. Hoyer, for taking a stand and issuing this statement.

    • Whip Hoyer Discusses President’s Plan to Reduce the Deficit, Finding Agreement on Debt Limit on CNBC

      4/14/11 democraticwhip.gov

      WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the President’s plan to address the deficit and the need to work in a bipartisan fashion on the budget and debt ceiling today on CNBC’s Squawkbox.

      “We had a good meeting in the White House yesterday. I think a good, frank discussion. I think the President’s speech laid out essentially what the Commission that he appointed, which was headed by former Chief of Staff Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, which said yes, we need to bring spending down. I think that’s generally agreed upon. We’ve got to rein in deficit and debt, it’s dangerous to our economy, our people and our competitiveness internationally. What the President indicated yesterday was yes, we’ve got it bring it down. We’re going to cut spending by about two-thirds of that $4 trillion he wants to cut over the next 12 years and rely on revenues, that is paying for what we buy, for the other third, which is essentially the formula that the Commission set forward. David Stockman in referring to the alternative Ryan budget made it very clear that he thought that was not a reasonable alternative. And that in fact, we had to rely to a much greater degree than the Republicans, who say absolutely no, on revenues.”

      For the entire article: http://www.democraticwhip.gov/content/whip-hoyer-discusses-president’s-plan-reduce-deficit-finding-agreement-debt-limit-cnbc

    • GOP WRONG WAY

      Missouri GOP: “Supporting the troops” doesn’t including letting them vote

      April 18, 2012 By Nathan Thomas – dlcc

      Military personnel could become collateral damage in the latest GOP attack on voting rights – a Republican-sponsored bill in Missouri that could effectively end many military voters’ ability to vote by mail.

      The St. Louis Post-Dispatch condemned the bill, sponsored by GOP state Rep. Shane Schoeller, in a sharply-worded editorial last week:

      Schoeller not only wants to ask voters to weaken the state constitution and then disenfranchise any state voters who lack a specific form of government-issued photo identification, now he also wants to take away the right of absentee voters — including members of the armed services — to mail in their ballots.

      House Bill 2109 is horrendous for a variety of reasons. (…) The bill, for instance, gives local election boards the right to determine if your birth certificate is adequate. (Note to Hawaiians: Cancel that move to Missouri). Similarly, if you have a drivers license from a state that your local election authority doesn’t think protects citizenship enough, you might not be able to register to vote.

      The worst provision in Mr. Schoeller’s bill would take away the long-held right of Missourians who request absentee ballots to vote by mail. These folks already are registered to vote. Some of them are disabled and can’t get to the polls. Others are members of the military, stationed far from home, perhaps even overseas protecting the very right to vote that Mr. Schoeller seeks to diminish.

      For the entire article: http://www.dlcc.org/node/2445_Missouri_GOP_Voter_Suppression_Targets_Military_Voters

  67. Thanks for posting the clip from Rachel Maddow’s show. I have turned her off the last two nights because she was railing on the President. Glad she was more positive tonight.

    • Hi, Jackie. I also appreciate clips because I only watch these shows now when somebody else “reviews” them and says to come on in – the water is fine! I’ve turned chicken.

  68. U.S. inflation seen picking up but no grave threat: Reuters poll

    4/14/11 By Leah Schnurr – Reuters– 27 mins ago

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. inflation is likely to climb higher than previously thought but the recovery will not stall as interest rates will be held down until early next year, according to the latest Reuters poll of economists.

    Expectations of growing demand for commodities have driven prices higher, while oil prices are not far from more than two year peaks reached on speculation that unrest in the Middle East could trigger further supply disruptions.

    Even so, analysts said the drag on consumer spending from higher gas prices will not be too severe and companies generally aren’t expected to pass on to customers much of the higher costs they are experiencing.

    “Inflation is going to be higher than most expect, but I do expect it to moderate some in 2012,” said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York. “Does this mean there is a genuine threat to the recovery? No.”

    For the entire article: http://yhoo.it/gHrd5x

  69. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Obama taking a ‘grown-up approach’

    4/14/11 By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO

    President Barack Obama approached deficit reduction “as a grown-up would,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, his pick to be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee, said Thursday as she defended his deficit-reduction speech and his likely $1 billion reelection campaign.

    In her first interviews since getting the nod last week, the Florida congresswoman said that Obama’s Wednesday speech began to lay out an adult vision of shared sacrifices that stands in sharp contrast to the position that Republicans have taken.

    “The president envisions trying to address our budget deficit and turn the economy around and focus on job creation and not short-circuit our economic recovery,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show. In contrast, “the direction that the Republicans have proposed … is to balance all of the sacrifice on the backs of our seniors, on the backs of our frail elderly.”

    Wasserman Schultz said that Obama’s plea for fiscal responsibility and the estimated $1 billion he’s expected to raise for his reelection campaign were not necessarily at odds. The president expects his campaign – while massive – to be driven by people making small contributions to a cause they believe in.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53175.html

  70. IMF chief applauds Obama deficit plan

    4/14/11 AFP

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The head of the International Monetary Fund on Thursday applauded US President Barack Obama’s ambitious plan to slash the US government’s huge deficit and debt burden.

    IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn called the need for advanced countries to get fiscal policies on a sustainable path “a real concern.”
    “The recent declarations by President Obama are very welcome; (he) goes clearly in that direction,” Strauss-Kahn said at a news conference.

    On Wednesday Obama unveiled his plan for a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts to reduce the US budget deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years in a major policy speech.

    Strauss-Kahn, presiding over the annual spring IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington this week, warned however that fiscal adjustments need to be undertaken carefully so as not to undermine the fragile recovery in economic growth in developed countries.

    On Monday the IMF urged the United States to begin reducing its huge budget deficit this year and to not put off the painful adjustment, forecasting that the country’s debt will hit 10.8 percent of GDP this year, one of the highest among developed nations.

    “A credible strategy to stabilize public debt in the medium term, and a down payment on fiscal consolidation in 2011, are urgently needed,” the IMF said in its spring report on the global economy.

    • Money talks. If the money folk get behind the President, the Paul Ryans in this country have nowhere to run.

  71. April 14, 2011

    First Lady and Dr. Biden Highlight Education on National Tour for Military Families

    This morning, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, in conjunction with the National Math and Science Initiative, will host a science competition where military parents will challenge the students at Fountain-Fort Carson High School, where military children make up almost half of the student body, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Joining in this challenge of kids versus parents will be Jamie Hyneman and Grant Imahara from the Discovery Channel program MythBusters.

    The visit follows the launch of Joining Forces, a national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families, on Tuesday at the White House. The event will highlight the commitment to produce awareness about the unique challenges military children face and the need for advanced placement courses and digital content services in math and science at schools serving military children.

    Discovery Education is providing Fountain-Fort Carson High School educators with free access to a customized professional development webinar series featuring a unique collection of career video clips, learning activities, and related content that highlight the connections among science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/14/first-lady-and-dr-biden-highlight-education-national-tour-military-famil

  72. April 14, 2011

    Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Biden at National Math and Science Bowl

    Fountain-Fort Carson High School
    Colorado Springs, Colorado

    9:47 A.M. MDT

    DR. BIDEN: Hello. I’m so incredibly pleased to be back at Fort Carson. And as a teacher, I feel right at home in this school.

    The First Lady and I wanted to visit your school today because we know how important the role is that school plays in the lives of military children. As a teacher and a military mom, I know what a difference a great teacher can make and what a world-class education means for our nation’s military children.

    In our travels, Michelle and I have seen many teachers who are making things easier and better for these military children in their classrooms — teachers who arrange parent-teacher conferences by Skype so deployed parents can participate; teachers who encourage students to tape a photo of their deployed parent on their desk so they can look at it whenever they feel the need; or teachers like the one in my granddaughter’s classroom who hung a photo of my son’s deployed unit so the whole class would know that Natalie’s dad was at war.

    Believe me, that photo of her dad on the wall meant the world to Natalie. And it meant the world to me and the Vice President, too.

    These teachers and all other individuals and groups across the country who are supporting our troops and their families are showing all Americans that there are countless ways to help — some large and some small, but all important.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/14/remarks-first-lady-and-dr-biden-national-math-and-science-bowl

  73. April 14, 2011

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Visit Sears on National Tour for Military Families

    Discuss Importance of Employment and Career Development Opportunities for Military Spouses

    Today, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will join First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, for an event at Sears in Columbus, Ohio to highlight how several major businesses have made commitments as part of Joining Forces, a national initiative launched on Tuesday at the White House to support and honor America’s service members and their families. Employment is a key priority of the initiative. The visit will focus on private sector commitments that ensure transferability to military members and their spouses – when soldiers are transferred, spouses can now more easily retain their jobs at a participating facility in their new community.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/14/first-lady-michelle-obama-and-dr-jill-biden-visit-sears-national-tour-mi

  74. April 14, 2011

    Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Biden at Joining Forces with USO and Sesame Street event

    Veterans Memorial Auditorium
    Columbus, Ohio

    6:32 P.M. EDT

    DR. BIDEN: Thank you, Elmo and Katie. And thank you to the USO, Sesame Street, and Nick Jonas for supporting Joining Forces. Weren’t they terrific? (Applause.)

    It’s so great to be here in Columbus tonight. I can see a lot of children in the audience. Can you raise your hand if you’re part of a military family? Can we have a big round of applause for all our military kids? (Applause.) Thank you, kids, for all that you do. I know just how proud you are of your moms and dad in uniform.

    But we are all so proud of you. I’m especially pleased to be here today as the mother of an Army National Guardsman. (Applause.)

    I want to thank General McKinley and his wife, Cheryl, and all the other adjutants general for your work on behalf of the National Guard families. (Applause.)

    And I want to say a big welcome home to the Marines of the Lima Company. You make us so proud! (Applause.)

    Michelle and I came here today to say thank you to all you servicemembers and your families, and we hope to inspire more communities out around the country to reach out to our military families just like we are doing tonight. We can all join forces.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/14/remarks-first-lady-and-dr-biden-joining-forces-uso-and-sesame-street-eve

    • Joining Forces: Sesame Street/USO Special Event

      From: USO4troops | Apr 15, 2011

      First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden help kick off the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families in Columbus, Ohio, participating in a special event with performances by Sesame Street and Nick Jonas.

    • The Department of Education: Our Commitment to Supporting Military Families


      Posted by Arne Duncan
 on April 21, 2011

      
Our country’s safety and prosperity relies on the everyday commitment and sacrifice of our nation’s military members and their families. That’s why the U.S. Department of Education is proud to join agencies across the government in participating in First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative, which seeks to mobilize all sectors of society to better support service members and their families.
 


      Military families face unique challenges. They and their children often deal with high rates of student mobility, as well as emotional and personal stress caused by deployments and other military assignments. Our Department has taken steps to better meet these needs by providing important guidance to states and districts and by working to better direct the flow of federal resources.
 


      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/21/department-education-our-commitment-supporting-military-families

    • Travels With the First Lady and Dr. Biden – Joining Forces

      From: whitehouse | Apr 26, 2011

      First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden embark on a 2 day U.S. tour to launch a national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of our society — citizens, communities, businesses, non-profits, faith based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government — to ensure military families have the support they have earned.

  75. A New Way to Serve Our Veterans

    Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on April 19, 2011

    Some of the most important programs our department provides are mental health services. I am pleased to announce that VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) have launched the PTSD Coach – our first in a suite of jointly developed mobile smartphone applications (apps) for mental health.

    When speaking with Veterans living with PTSD, we were told that they wanted and needed a convenient way to learn more about the services and resources available to them, as well as an app that could help them manage symptoms of PTSD at any given moment. The PTSD Coach is a cutting edge app which provides information and tools that Veterans and service members can use to cope with their PTSD symptoms any moment of the day—24/7.

    This new tool is useful for anyone who is receiving treatment for PTSD. It is also an anonymous resource that will be important for Veterans and service members, who may not be in treatment now, but who may be seeking quick, accessible information about PTSD. It’s available now on iTunes and will be online soon for Android phones, as well. I recommend it for anyone, who wants to learn more about PTSD, and we’ll look forward to introducing additional apps over the course of the coming year. This is just one more way that VA and DoD are working together to provide 21st Century tools for the men and women who are serving, and have served, our great Nation.

    Eric Shinseki is the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  76. May 20, 2011

    Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama at United States Military Academy Graduation Family Banquet

    West Point, New York
    May 20, 2011

    AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY—

    Hello everyone, and thank you for that wonderful welcome. I want to thank Lieutenant General Huntoon for that very kind introduction, as well as Secretary of the Army John McHugh, the Class of 1961 bar presenters, all of our distinguished guests, and all of the parents, families, and friends who are joining us tonight. And of course, I want to say thank you for inviting me here to the United States Military Academy.

    This is my first visit to West Point and I am truly humbled to speak to you tonight on an evening that’s so special for all of you, for this Academy, and for this country. As I look around at the cadets in this room, it is very clear to me that you all reflect everything we hope to see in ourselves and our country – firmness of character and strength of heart, a strong body and a ferocious mind, a devotion to country and to family.

    And I know that this weekend is the product of 47 months of extraordinary effort and endurance from R-Day to your last exam during TEE-week. For all of you, I know this has been a magnificent journey, a journey full of academic and athletic victories, a journey that has taken you across the country and around the world.

    You’ve learned new skills and immersed yourself in new cultures, which will serve you well on today’s battlefields. You’ve also created a Bionic Foot, an Exoskeleton, and other robotics and cyber defense projects that will help troops in the field. In the area of sports, your football team had its first winning season in 14 years and its first bowl victory in 25. Your women’s rugby team just brought home the national championship last weekend. And with your help, West Point earned its first victory in the Sandhurst Competition in 18 years.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/20/remarks-first-lady-michelle-obama-united-states-military-academy-graduat

  77. President Obama Lays a Wreath at Arlington National Cemetery

    From: whitehouse | May 30, 2011

    President Obama lays a wreath on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery.

  78. May 30, 2011

    Remarks by the President at a Memorial Day Service

    Arlington National Cemetery
    Arlington, Virginia

    11:25 A.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you so much. Please be seated.

    Thank you, Secretary Gates, and thank you for your extraordinary service to our nation. I think that Bob Gates will go down as one of our finest Secretaries of Defense in our history, and it’s been an honor to serve with him. (Applause.)

    I also want to say a word about Admiral Mullen. On a day when we are announcing his successor as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as he looks forward to a well-deserved retirement later this year, Admiral Mullen, on behalf of all Americans, we want to say thank you for your four decades of service to this great country. (Applause.) We want to thank Deborah Mullen as well for her extraordinary service. To Major General Karl Horst, the commanding general of our Military District of Washington; Mrs. Nancy Horst; Mr. Patrick Hallinan, the superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, as well as his lovely wife Doreen. And to Chaplain Steve Berry, thank you for your extraordinary service. (Applause.)

    It is a great privilege to return here to our national sanctuary, this most hallowed ground, to commemorate Memorial Day with all of you. With Americans who’ve come to pay their respects. With members of our military and their families. With veterans whose service we will never forget and always honor. And with Gold Star families whose loved ones rest all around us in eternal peace.

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

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

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/30/remarks-president-memorial-day-service

  79. Standing When the First Lady Pays a Call

    May 31, 2011 DAVID W. DUNLAP – NYTimes

    On Memorial Day, Michelle Obama made an unannounced trip to visit the wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Joao Silva of The New York Times was among those on whom she paid a call. “She came across as a kind and attentive person,” Mr. Silva said. She asked about the progress of his recovery and gave yo-yos, Frisbees and White House candies to his children, Isabel, 6, and Gabriel, 5.

    Perhaps the most telling moment occurred before Mrs. Obama arrived. On learning of her pending visit, Mr. Silva made a point of putting on his prosthetic legs.

    “I wanted to be able to greet her standing up,” he said.

  80. Hollywood Silver Screen Debut: First Lady Michelle Obama Films “iCarly”

    JUNE 13, 2011 obamafoodorama.blogspot.com

    In Los Angles on Monday for a two-day swing through California, First Lady Michelle Obama taped two scenes of a special episode of the hit Nickelodeon TV series for kids, iCarly, to promote her Joining Forces campaign to support and honor military families. The show’s storyline features 18-year-old actress Miranda Cosgrove as title character Carly Shay, who lives with her older brother in a loft, with no parents around because their father is a Colonel deployed overseas. The First Lady’s episode was written especially for her by series creator Dan Schneider.

    Since becoming First Lady, Mrs. Obama has appeared on many talk shows–and on a special White House episode of Iron Chef America. She’s also taped an extensive series of PSAs for both the Joining Forces and let’s Move! campaigns, but the iCarly outing is her first appearance on a sitcom. Earlier in the day, during a meeting at the Writers Guild Theater in West Hollywood, designed to encourage the creative Guilds to support military families by making entertainment vehicles focused on members of the Armed Forces, Mrs. Obama explained her iCarly appearance, and said that she’d been memorizing lines, but added that she was “terrified.”

    For the entire article and photos:http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/06/hollywood-silver-screen-debut-first.html

    • First Lady in Hollywood

      From: DODvClips | Jun 14, 2011

      First Lady Michelle Obama wants to see more stories involving military families on television and in the movies.

    • Friday, January 13, 2012

      Alexandria, Virginia * Morning – First Lady Michelle Obama will join the cast of Nickelodeon’s iCarly at a special screening of “iMeet The First Lady,” a new episode featuring Mrs. Obama that honors America’s military children. The show’s lead character, Carly Shay (played by Miranda Cosgrove), is the daughter of an Air Force Colonel currently serving overseas in the military. In “iMeet the First Lady,” Mrs. Obama talks with Carly about her service to America as a member of a military family and thanks her friends for supporting her during her father’s deployment. The episode airs on Nickelodeon on Monday, January 16th.

      The iCarly cast will host special screenings of “iMeet the First Lady” at military bases across the country starting on January 9th to give military kids the first chance to see the new episode. The cast will visit Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, California; Naval Submarine Base, New London, Groton, Connecticut and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Wrightstown, New Jersey. As the final event of the tour, Miranda Cosgrove and the iCarly cast will be joined by Mrs. Obama at Hayfield Secondary School, a school with a large number of military children. They will screen the episode, participate in iCarly’s “Random Dancing” and answer questions from the students.

      Mrs. Obama will also appear in a Joining Forces PSA produced by Nickelodeon that will debut immediately following the airing of “iMeet the First Lady” on the 16th.

      Source: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/01/week-ahead-schedule-for-first-lady.html

      • Let’s Groove: Michelle Obama Celebrates Acting Debut With iCarly Screening For Joining Forces

        JANUARY 13, 2012 foodorama.blogspot

        By Marian Burros

        Alexandria, VA: First Lady Michelle Obama shimmied and shook and pumped her fist as she did some “random dancing” with the iCarly cast members who joined her on Friday morning in the auditorium at the Hayfield Secondary School. The 1,500 students in the audience shouted and screamed and applauded just as loud as they did when the stars of the popular kids show came on stage. Mrs. Obama’s visit to the school, which has many children from military families enrolled, was to promote “iMeet The First Lady,” an episode that premieres Monday on Nickelodeon. It’s Mrs. Obama’s debut as a sitcom actor.

        “Got to dance on stage with Mrs. Obama #awesome,” tweeted Miranda Cosgrove, who plays lead character “Carly Shay.” She also “randomly dances” with Mrs. Obama on the show; the fun interlude is a regular feature.

        The audience received the highest accolade from Jerry Trainor, who plays Carly’s elder brother “Spencer” on the show. He said it was the loudest crowd the cast had ever had.

        For the entire article: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/01/lets-groove-michelle-obama-celebrates.html

      • Joining Forces with Nickelodeon & iCarly

        From: whitehouse | Jan 16, 2012

        First Lady Michelle Obama joins the cast of Nickelodeon’s iCarly at a special screening of “iMeet The First Lady,” a new episode featuring Mrs. Obama that honors America’s military children. The event took place at Hayfield Secondary School, a school in Virginia with a large number of military children. They screened the episode, participated in iCarly’s “Random Dancing” and answered questions from the students.

  81. June 22, 2011

    Remarks by the President on the Way Forward in Afghanistan

    East Room

    8:01 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Nearly 10 years ago, America suffered the worst attack on our shores since Pearl Harbor. This mass murder was planned by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network in Afghanistan, and signaled a new threat to our security –- one in which the targets were no longer soldiers on a battlefield, but innocent men, women and children going about their daily lives.

    In the days that followed, our nation was united as we struck at al Qaeda and routed the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then, our focus shifted. A second war was launched in Iraq, and we spent enormous blood and treasure to support a new government there. By the time I took office, the war in Afghanistan had entered its seventh year. But al Qaeda’s leaders had escaped into Pakistan and were plotting new attacks, while the Taliban had regrouped and gone on the offensive. Without a new strategy and decisive action, our military commanders warned that we could face a resurgent al Qaeda and a Taliban taking over large parts of Afghanistan.

    For this reason, in one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve made as President, I ordered an additional 30,000 American troops into Afghanistan. When I announced this surge at West Point, we set clear objectives: to refocus on al Qaeda, to reverse the Taliban’s momentum, and train Afghan security forces to defend their own country. I also made it clear that our commitment would not be open-ended, and that we would begin to draw down our forces this July.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/22/remarks-president-way-forward-afghanistan

    • Obama Tells VOA US Will Not Abandon Afghanistan, Despite Troop Cuts

      6/23/11 VOANews

      President Barack Obama has discussed the current situation in Afghanistan in an interview with the Voice of America.

      The president says his decision to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan does not mean the U.S. is abandoning that country.

      “Keep in mind that we’re talking about 10,000 troops by the end of this year, an additional 23,000 by the end of next summer – and we’ll still have 68,000 troops there, in addition to the coalition partner troops,” President Obama said. “So there is still going to be a substantial presence. But what it does signal is that Afghans are slowly taking more and more responsibility.”

      Phased transition

      The president says his decision is consistent with what he called a phased transition process.

      “Already there are Afghans out there every day who are fighting the fight, Afghans who are dying on behalf of their country, and their freedom, and their dignity,” he noted. “And what we want to make sure of is that we continue to be a good partner with that process, but also want to send a signal to the Afghan people: this is your country ultimately and you are going to have responsibilities.”

      For the entire article: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/Obama-Focuses-on-Afghanistan-During-VOA-Interview-124416269.html

    • “We’re Keeping Our Promises”: Vice President Joe Biden on Afghanistan, Iraq, and Our Commitment to Defeat al Qaeda

      Posted by Kori Schulman on June 23, 2011

      Last night, President Obama addressed the nation on the way forward in Afghanistan and his plan to remove 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and a total of 33,000 by next summer.

      To put this decision in a larger context, Vice President Biden took a few minutes to share his thoughts about the promises this Administration has made – and kept – when it comes to the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and our commitment to defeat al Qaeda:

  82. U.S. turns joint security stations over to Iraqis

    June 29, 2011 Spc. Anthony T. Zane, 362nd MPAD – army.mil

    BASRAH, Iraq, June 24, 2011 — Three joint security stations located in southern Iraq were signed over to the Iraqis June 19-22, 2011.

    U.S. military officers met with Iraqi officials at Sifer and Al Sheeb in Maysan Province and Minden located in Basrah Province to sign over control of the three stations as the U.S. continues its responsible drawdown.

    “The significance of these last three sites is that they were done with very little advanced notice,” said Lt. Col. Charles Schoening, division engineer and chief of transition, 36th Infantry Division, Austin, Texas. “We got approval to close Sheeb, Sifer and Minden June 1, which is right around three weeks, and prior to that no bases had been closed in that short a time period,” he added, emphasizing the efficiency of the drawdown.

    Preparing each site for the transition included many steps to ensure that the bases were in proper order once returned to the government of Iraq.

    “There is an exhaustive environmental process in order to ensure that when we return these bases, there is nothing hazardous or harmful to the environment left on the bases,” said Schoening. “We have a very good ongoing environmental program, so if there is an incident, say a fuel spill, we have a process for getting that cleaned up immediately,” he added.

    The official turnover occurred not in a public forum, but in the privacy of small meeting rooms located at each station, including Sifer, located on the Iranian border.

    For the entire article: http://www.army.mil/article/60792/U_S__turns_joint_security_stations_over_to_Iraqis/

  83. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama deliver remarks on the President’s Principles of Excellence for Military, Veteran & Spouse Education Benefits at Fort Stewart, GA

    April 27, 2012

    Remarks by the President and First Lady at Fort Stewart, Georgia

    Fort Stewart
    Hinesville, Georgia

    12:45 P.M. EDT

    MRS. OBAMA: Hello, Fort Stewart! (Applause.) We are beyond thrilled — beyond thrilled — to be with all of you today. And before I get started, there’s just one thing I want to say, and that is, hooah!

    AUDIENCE: Hooah!

    MRS. OBAMA: Did I do that right?

    AUDIENCE: Hooah!

    MRS. OBAMA: All right, good. (Laughter.) Phew.

    I want to start by thanking Sergeant Marshall for that very kind introduction and for sharing his story with us today. And I want to thank all of you — our men and women in uniform, our veterans and your extraordinary families. (Applause.) Absolutely. For the families, yes! (Applause.)

    One of my greatest privileges as First Lady has been meeting folks like you on bases and communities all across this country. And I always say this, but I can never say it enough: I am in awe of you. I’m in awe of how many of you signed up to defend our country in a time of war, serving heroically through deployment after deployment. I’m in awe of your families — the spouses who run their households all alone, the kids who step up at home and succeed at school and stay strong through all the challenges they face. With their service, they make your service possible.

    And I’m also in awe of our veterans — (applause) — because I know that your service doesn’t end when you hang up your uniform. For so many of you, your whole life is a tour of duty, and as you become leaders in our communities and continue to give back to our country, you keep serving. And like so many Americans, the more I’ve learned about the sacrifices you all make, the more I wanted to find a way to express my gratitude, and that’s — not just with words, but with action.

    And that’s why last year Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces. It’s a nationwide campaign to recognize, honor and support our veterans, our troops and our military families. And I have to tell you, we had barely even finished announcing this campaign when we were inundated with offers to help. I mean, so many people wanted to step up and show their appreciation that we hardly knew where to begin.

    In our first year alone, more than 1,600 businesses hired more than 60,000 veterans, and they pledged to hire at least 170,000 more in the coming years. (Applause.) National associations of doctors and nurses representing millions of health professionals are working to improve treatment for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. We’ve had TV shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Sesame Street; organizations like NASCAR and Disney — they’re working to share the stories of our military families with the rest of the country. And these are just a few examples out of thousands all across the country.

    So if I can leave you with just one message today, I want you all to know that America does have your backs. And we are just getting started. We are going to keep at this. We’re going to keep on working every day to serve all of you as well as you have served this country.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/27/remarks-president-and-first-lady-fort-stewart-georgia

    • April 26, 2012

      We Can’t Wait: President Obama Takes Action to Stop Deceptive and Misleading Practices by Educational Institutions that Target Veterans, Service Members and their Families

      On Friday, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Fort Stewart in Georgia where the President will sign an Executive Order to help ensure all of America’s service members, veterans, spouses, and other family members have the information they need to make informed educational decisions and are protected from aggressive and deceptive targeting by educational institutions. We have a sacred trust with those who serve and protect our nation. It’s a commitment that begins at enlistment, and it must never end. That’s why President Obama is committed to ensuring veterans and service members have the chance to get a college education and can find work when they return from service.

      Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill became law, there have been reports of aggressive and deceptive targeting of service members, veterans, and their families by educational institutions, particularly for-profit career colleges. For example, some institutions have recruited veterans with serious brain injuries and emotional vulnerabilities without providing academic support and counseling; encouraged service members, veterans, and their families to take out costly institutional loans rather than encouraging them to apply for Federal student aid first; engaged in misleading recruiting practices on military installations; and have not disclosed meaningful information that allows potential students to determine whether the institution has a good record of graduating service members, veterans, and their families and positioning them for success in the workforce.

      Members of Congress have introduced legislation to address these issues, but the Administration believes we must do all we can administratively to protect veterans from these deceptive practices by improving the quality of information and services that these schools must provide. These steps will help ensure that Federal military and veteran education dollars are well spent. Today’s Executive Order will apply to a variety of military and veteran education benefits, including the GI Bill, Tuition Assistance Program, and Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Program (MyCAA).

      Today’s Executive Order will:

      • Help Ensure Military and Veteran Students Have the Information They Need

      • Keep Bad Actors Off of Military Installations

      • Crack Down on Improper Online Recruiting Practices

      • Provide Veterans with a Complaint System

      • Improve Support Services for Service Members and Veterans

      • Provide Students with Better Data on Educational Institutions

      • Strengthen Enforcement of Student Protections

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/26/we-can-t-wait-president-obama-takes-action-stop-deceptive-and-misleading

    • April 27, 2012

      Executive Order — Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members

      EXECUTIVE ORDER
      – – – – – – –
      ESTABLISHING PRINCIPLES OF EXCELLENCE FOR EDUCATIONAL
      INSTITUTIONS SERVING SERVICE MEMBERS, VETERANS, SPOUSES,
      AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS

      By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to ensure that Federal military and veterans educational benefits programs are providing service members, veterans, spouses, and other family members with the information, support, and protections they deserve, it is hereby ordered as follows:

      Section 1. Policy. The original GI Bill, approved just weeks after D-Day, educated nearly 8 million Americans and helped transform this Nation. We owe the same obligations to this generation of service men and women as was afforded that previous one. This is the promise of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (title V, Public Law 110-252) (Post-9/11 GI Bill) and the continued provision of educational benefits in the Department of Defense’s Tuition Assistance Program (10 U.S.C. 2007): to provide our service members, veterans, spouses, and other family members the opportunity to pursue a high-quality education and gain the skills and training they need to fill the jobs of tomorrow.

      Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill became law, there have been reports of aggressive and deceptive targeting of service members, veterans, and their families by some educational institutions. For example, some institutions have recruited veterans with serious brain injuries and emotional vulnerabilities without providing academic support and counseling; encouraged service members and veterans to take out costly institutional loans rather than encouraging them to apply for Federal student loans first; engaged in misleading recruiting practices on military installations; and failed to disclose meaningful information that allows potential students to determine whether the institution has a good record of graduating service members, veterans, and their families and positioning them for success in the workforce.

      To ensure our service members, veterans, spouses, and other family members have the information they need to make informed decisions concerning their well-earned Federal military and veterans educational benefits, I am directing my Administration to develop Principles of Excellence to strengthen oversight, enforcement, and accountability within these benefits programs.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/27/executive-order-establishing-principles-excellence-educational-instituti

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