U.S. Debt Default By The Numbers

The risk of a U.S. default: By the numbers

Jul 15, 2011 The Week – news.yahoo (Excerpts)

If Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will have to make some very tough choices.

It’s all coming down to the wire. If Congress and President Obama don’t reach a deal to raise the U.S. debt limit by early August, the government won’t be able to honor all of its financial obligations. The nation’s savings account would be essentially empty, and without the authority to borrow, Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would have to choose which bills to pay from incoming tax revenue — and which bills and obligations to ignore. “You can move the chess pieces around all you want,” says Jay Powell of the Bipartisan Policy Center, but “you’re going to lose.” How much? Here, a look at some numbers underpinning the debate:

$14.294 trillion – Current debt ceiling, reached May 16. Geithner has moved money around so the feds can continue paying the bills through Aug. 2, even though the nation’s legal borrowing limit has already been reached.

$80 million – Number of payments U.S. makes every month

$306.7 billion – Amount the U.S. is obligated to pay from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31

$172.4 billion – Amount of revenue the U.S will bring in from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31

44 – Percentage of those August payments that would have to be immediately scrapped if no deal is reached

$29 billion – Interest payments on Treasury securities due to investors on Aug. 15

$49.2 billion – Social Security benefits to be paid from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31

$50 billion – Medicare and Medicaid benefits to be paid from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31

$31.7 billion – Payments to defense contractors due from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31

$12.8 billion – Unemployment benefits to be paid from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31

$2.9 billion – Active-duty military pay due from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31

$2.9 billion – Veterans Affairs program payments due from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31

$14.2 billion – Federal salaries and benefits due from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31

$12 billion – U.S. tax income expected to be received on Aug. 3

$32 billion – U.S. spending planned for Aug. 3 (including $23 billion in Social Security checks)

50 – U.S. credit rating within 90 days

7,000 – Number of top-rated municipal bonds Moody’s will automatically downgrade without a debt-ceiling deal

$130 billion – Amount of municipal debt affected by the Moody’s ultimatum

74 – Number of times the debt ceiling has been raised since 1962

10 – Number of times the debt ceiling has been raised since 2001


80 thoughts on “U.S. Debt Default By The Numbers

  1. WH

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:30 AM
    The President receives the presidential daily briefing.
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

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

    10:35 AM
    The President meets with members of the Giving Pledge including co-founders Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, and others who have taken the Giving Pledge
    State Dining Room
    Closed Press

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:05 PM
    The President will formally announce his intention to nominate former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as head of the new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
    Rose Garden
    Open Press

    1:35 PM
    The President hosts an education roundtable with business leaders, Secretary Duncan, Melody Barnes, and America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell and Founding Chair General Colin Powell
    Eisenhower Executive Office Building
    Closed Press

    1:45 PM
    The White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.
    James S. Brady Briefing Room
    Open Press

    2:00 PM
    2:15 PM
    The President and senior administration officials meet with heads of financial regulatory agencies to receive an update on implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
    Roosevelt Room
    Closed Press

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

  2. Lagarde issues stark warning on US debt default

    7/10/11 By Paul J. Richards | AFP

    New IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned on Sunday that a US debt default would jeopardize global economic stability and urged warring American politicians to forge a compromise budget deal.

    A default “would certainly jeopardize the stability, but not just the stability of the US economy, it would jeopardize the stability at large,” the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund told ABC News.

    “And that’s clearly against the purpose and the mission of the International Monetary Fund. So we are — we are concerned.”
Without an agreement, she said she could see “interest hikes, stock markets taking a huge hit and real nasty consequences, not just for the United States, but for the entire global economy, because the US is such a big player and matters so much for other countries.”

    Lagarde told ABC’s “This Week” that she did not expect Washington to end up in default, despite tense negotiations between the White House and Republican leaders on measures to increase the US debt ceiling.

    For the entire article: http://goo.gl/3Kkqk

    • Enough is enough,’ Obama says, calling for deal

      7/14/11 By JIM KUHNHENN – Associated Press | AP – 3 hrs ago

      WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid new warnings and fresh signs of strain, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are entering a perilous endgame in their debt limit standoff. The president, declaring “enough is enough,” is demanding that budget negotiators find common ground by week’s end.

      At the same time, the Senate’s top Republican has gained followers for his own last-ditch scheme to avoid a government default.

      The continuing impasse as an Aug. 2 deadline approaches is unsettling Wall Street, which until now has been performing as if an increase in the debt ceiling wasn’t in doubt. Tensions between the president and Republican leaders have increased amid protests and pressure from the financial world.

      “No one can tell me with certainty that a U.S. default wouldn’t cause catastrophe and wouldn’t severely damage the U.S. or global economy,” Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., told reporters Thursday. “And it would be irresponsible to take that chance.”

      Moody’s Investors Service said Wednesday it will review the government’s credit rating, noting there is a small but rising risk that the government will default on its debt. If Moody’s were to lower the ratings, the consequences would ripple through the economy, pushing up rates for mortgages, car loans and other debts. A Chinese rating agency, Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., also warned of a possible downgrade.

      Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, addressing lawmakers, warned Wednesday that not increasing the nation’s debt ceiling and allowing the nation to default on its debt would send “shock waves through the entire financial system.”

      For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/enough-enough-obama-says-calling-deal-070625996.html

    • Delivering the accountable government that taxpayers deserve

      July 13, 2011 – By JOE BIDEN -juneauempire.com

      Right now in Washington, there is a big debate about how to cut spending and rein in deficits while we continue to create jobs and build the platform we need to succeed in the future. The American people have high standards for how their tax dollars are spent, and the government has to find ways to eliminate expenses that are either wasteful or non-essential.

      As part of that effort, our government must work harder to make sure that tax dollars are not wasted on government programs that are ineffective, duplicative or just plain unnecessary. The president and I feel strongly about this, and that is why we launched the Campaign to Cut Waste.

      Two years ago, the president asked me to patrol all those who received money as part of the Recovery Act. We wanted to make sure every dollar spent was accounted for and used properly. We used the most sophisticated technology to detect and prevent fraud before it happened, and we placed a strong emphasis on making sure every federal agency — every Cabinet secretary — was focused on it, too.

      Through our diligence, we have had an unprecedented low level of fraud, with just a fraction of 1 percent of awards experiencing waste, fraud or abuse.

      With the Campaign to Cut Waste, we are taking this approach government-wide, applying it to everything we do. We’re focusing on how we can cut waste, get the most from taxpayer dollars, and reform how the government works so you, the American people, get the best service possible.

      First, we’re establishing a new Government Accountability and Transparency Board this summer, modeled after our Recovery Act Transparency Board. This will bring together the nation’s top waste, fraud and abuse watchdogs so that taxpayers can see exactly what their tax dollars are buying and trace the progress of work under all government spending.

      For the entire article: http://juneauempire.com/opinion/2011-07-13/delivering-accountable-government-taxpayers-deserve#.Th9kK83s5Xw

    • Moody’s warns it may downgrade US credit rating

      7/13/11 AP

      WASHINGTON (AP) — Moody’s Investors Service is threatening to lower the United States’ credit rating, saying there is a small but rising risk that the government will default on its debt.
The credit rating agency says it will review the federal government’s triple-A bond rating because the White House and Congress are running out of time to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit and avoid a default.

      The government reached its borrowing limit in May. Treasury says the government will default on its debt if the limit is not raised by Aug. 2.

      A downgrade would raise interest rates on U.S. treasury bonds, increasing the interest paid by U.S. taxpayers. It would also push up rates for mortgages, car loans and other debts, which are linked to Treasury rates.

      • S&P follows Moody’s on U.S. debt

        7/14/11 By POLITICO STAFF

        A day after Moody’s Investor Service warned that the United States’s credit rating was in danger of being lowered, Standard & Poor’s followed suit Thursday.

        S&P, one of the three major ratings agencies, said it “has placed its ‘AAA’ long-term and ‘A-1+’ short-term sovereign credit ratings on the United States of America on CreditWatch with negative implications.”

        S&P said the move “reflects our view of two separate but related issues. The first issue is the continuing failure to raise the U.S. government debt ceiling so as to ensure that the government will be able to continue to make scheduled payments on its debt obligations. The second pertains to our current view of the likelihood that Congress and the Administration will agree upon a credible, medium-term fiscal consolidation plan in the foreseeable future.”

        “We still believe that the risk of a payment default on U.S. government debt obligations as a result of not raising the debt ceiling is small, though increasing,” S&P said.

        Soon after the announcement, Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Jeffrey Goldstein issued this statement: “Today’s action by S&P restates what the Obama Administration has said for some time: that Congress must act expeditiously to avoid defaulting on the country’s obligations and to enact a credible deficit reduction plan that commands bipartisan support.”

    • Geithner: “We don’t have much time; it’s time we move.”

      7/14/2011 By: Erika Gudmundson – treasury.gov

      Just minutes ago, after a meeting on the Hill with members of the Senate Democratic Caucus to discuss ongoing efforts to avoid defaulting on the country’s obligations and find a balanced approach to deficit reduction, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner made a brief statement to the press:

      Secretary Tim Geithner: Thank you, Mr. Leader. Thanks for giving me a chance to come up here and talk through these problems and how we solve them. There is unanimity in that room that we are a country that meets its obligation, we are a country that pays our bills and that we’ll act and do what’s necessary to make sure that we can maintain that commitment. As the Majority Leader said, we have looked at all available options and we have no way to give Congress more time to solve this problem and we are running out of time. And the eyes of the country are on us, and the eyes of the world are on us and we need to make sure we stand together and send a definitive signal that we are going to take the steps necessary to avoid default and also take advantage of this opportunity to make some progress in dealing with our long-term fiscal problems. We don’t have much time; it’s time we move. Thank you very much.

    • Budget director: Still time for landmark deficit-reduction deal

      7/17/11 By Alexander Bolton – TheHill

      White House budget director Jack Lew insisted Sunday there is still time for President Obama and congressional leaders to reach a major deficit-reduction agreement, though talks are at a standstill. 
Lew said the president is ready to strike a sweeping deal to reduce the deficit by as much as $4 trillion over the next decade and is waiting for Republicans to join him.

      “If you look at where the parties are, compared to discussions over the last decades, there are things that both sides are talking about doing, that are very dramatic. I think there’s still time to get something big done,” Lew said on NBC’S “Meet the Press.”

      Lew said the major spending agreements and entitlement reforms of the past have required the cooperation of party leaders, citing past deals between former House Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.) and former President Ronald Reagan and between former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former President Bill Clinton.

      “The question is do we have a partner to work with and I hope the answer to that is yes,” Lew said. “Leadership requires a partner.”

      For the entire article: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/171893-white-house-budget-director-still-time-for-a-landmark-deficit-reduction-deal

    • Unbalanced Approach to Deficit Reduction

      Posted by Jason Furman on July 19, 2011

      Democrats and Republicans agree that getting our fiscal house in order is one of the critical challenges facing America. To address it we are going to have to make tough choices, bringing to the table a commitment to examine every area of the budget and every loophole in the tax code without presumptively taking any of the options off the table. But it is critical that we not bring down our deficits and debt at the expense of economic growth, innovation and job creation, or place the greatest burden on older Americans and the most vulnerable. That is precisely what the House’s Cut, Cap and Balance plan would do – a proposal that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney described as “duck, dodge and dismantle.”

      The House plan fails to achieve a balanced plan to reduce the deficit, which is precisely the approach that has worked successfully in America in the past and has recently been recommended by a number of different fiscal commissions.

      Let’s start with the “cut” and “cap” portions of the bill. These sections require spending cuts in 2012 and caps over the next decade identical to those in the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan., By House Republicans’ own design, achieving those spending levels would require cuts that would be harmful to the economic recovery in the short-term while also damaging our long-term competitiveness and placing a higher burden on seniors and the most vulnerable. To give a few examples:

      * The bill would abruptly cut more than $100 billion in spending in the first year alone, a step that Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf stated would “affect our projections for GDP growth over the next two years.”

      * The House Budget Resolution plan would cut clean energy investments by 70 percent, infrastructure investments by a third, and education and training by 25 percent – cutting 320,000 children from Head Start and reducing aid for families trying to put their kids through college by hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.

      * It would cut Medicaid by one-third over the decade, and by nearly 50% by 2030. This could, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, result in 36 million people losing Medicaid coverage, including people with disabilities and seniors in nursing homes. And that comes on top of the 17 million who would lose coverage due to repealing subsidies in the Affordable Care Act.

      * And it would cut programs for the most vulnerable – for example, by food stamp benefits for a family of four by $1,760 per year or cut 8 million households from the program.
      Finally, the House Budget Resolution proposed to convert Medicare to a voucher program, increasing costs for Medicare beneficiaries by $6,400 a year beginning in 2021 – with those higher costs increasing over time.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/19/unbalanced-approach-deficit-reduction

    • President Obama deals with the aftermath that the extreme weather disasters leave on the U.S., the inherited debt, the inherited wars, the inherited problems dealing with foreign aggressors such as N. Korea, Iran, China and Russia, a shinking US job market caused by US companies outsourcing work to foreign nations.

      He knew what he was getting into and still decided to run for President. What he did not know that a portion of the people (the unrealistic dreamers) who worked and voted for him would be crying foul because everything wrong in their lives was not fixed fast enough for their liking; those people will not stand with him now that America is in the middle of battle of woes. But we sensible people who saw what hard times were on the horizon will stand with him even during the hard times.

    • Debt Struggles As Old As America Itself

      4/5/12 FreshAir from WHYY


      As of today, the national debt held by the public is more than $10 trillion. That’s more than $30,000 for every man, woman and child living in the United States.

      We might think heated debates about the national debt are a relatively new phenomenon, but in fact, they stretch back all the way to the earliest days of the Republic, says economist Simon Johnson. His new book, White House Burning, co-written with James Kwak, traces the history of the national debt from America’s earliest days, when the nation started out in dire financial shape.

      “In fact, it was essentially bankrupt,” Johnson tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “It was in default on its debt. There wasn’t a stable, robust source of revenue.”…..


      * The normal way to fund deficits are to issue bonds which amount to real borrowing from real assets from entities which we must repay with interest at some future date from tax revenues

      * Average maturity of debt is usually four years

      * The National debt is currently at 15 trillion and is held by social security and medicare trust funds

      * The true debt of the US or the tax payers is called the ‘Debt Held By The Public’ ; which is currently 10 trillion

      * The national debt s/b 50% of annual out put of the GDP

      *Alexander Hamilton economic system and the operating system of the fiscal policy is to raise debt when you need to and to bring it down when you can

      * When you have a financial crisis and the banks collapse like the 2008 where banks collapse that will typically trigger a depression, that was exactly the experience in the US and Europe in 2008, you get a big deficit because the revenue has dropped, you may cut spending or not, it does not matter the big item for deficits was the loss of revenue.

      * Regan started out saying that he wanted to bring the deficit down and cut taxes and have bigger military spending well the combination did not work very well and what he settled for was hight military spending and lower taxes, a bigger deficit and there was a mini deficit crisis in the mid 1980-‘s to which Regan answered with compromise and tax reform and raising tax revenue

      The most important suggestions that need to be taken are to

      * Re-establish (increase it to back to the 1990’s) the revenue base

      * Keep social security and medicare where they are and fund them properly with revenue

      * End Bush Era Tax Cuts

      For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/05/149394336/debt-struggles-as-old-as-america-itself

      • The drivers of our debt

        May 15, 2012 By Steve Benen – maddowblog

        About a year ago, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) hosted a town-hall meeting with some constituents, one of whom said Bush-era policies are largely responsible for the current budget deficit. The Republican didn’t take the news well.

        “This year’s deficit is due to George Bush? That’s insanity!” Grimm said. He added, “That’s insane.”

        I can appreciate why Grimm’s pushback might resonate with some folks. George W. Bush left office more than three years ago, so it may seem as if today’s problems no longer have anything to do with him. Why blame Bush for Obama-era deficits? Grimm, who routinely struggles to understand the basics of current events, was incredulous, and I suspect plenty of Republicans agree.

        But reality isn’t “insane,” and the facts are incontrovertible. Sahil Kapur published this chart this morning.


        For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/15/11715914-the-drivers-of-our-debt?lite


    “Dreams of My Father” by Barack Obama
    Published July 17, 1995

    Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance is a memoir by United States President Barack Obama. It was first published in July 1995 as he was preparing to launch his political career, five years after being elected the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review in 1990.

    Obama’s March 2004 U.S. Senate Democratic primary victory in Illinois led to the book’s re-publication in August 2004, two weeks after his July keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention (DNC). The 2004 edition included a new preface by Obama and his DNC keynote address.

    For the entire article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreams_from_My_Father

    • Book TV: Sen. Barack Obama “Dreams from My Father”

      From: BookTV | Aug 20, 2008

      Barack Obama discusses his memoir, “Dreams from My Father.”/Dreams_from_My_Father

  4. New CIA chief Petraeus hands over command in Afghanistan

    7/18/11 By Paul Tait | Reuters – 8 mins ago

    KABUL (Reuters) – U.S. General David Petraeus, Washington’s new intelligence chief, handed over command of U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan on Monday, a day after a tentative start was made to a gradual process of transferring security to Afghan forces.

    Petraeus, credited with reversing a spiral toward civil war in Iraq, took over in Afghanistan on July 4, 2010, and is leaving the military to take over as director of the Central Intelligence Agency as part of a wider shake-up of senior U.S. security officials.

    Petraeus oversaw a “surge” of 30,000 extra U.S. forces which helped stop the momentum of a growing insurgency, especially in the Taliban heartland in the south.

    However, despite gains in violent southern provinces during Petraeus’ year in charge, the Taliban-led insurgency is still far from quelled.

    Violence across Afghanistan in 2010 hit its worst levels since the Taliban were ousted by U.S-led Afghan forces in 2001, with civilian and military casualties hitting record levels, and this year has followed a similar trend.

    “We should be clear-eyed about the challenges that lie ahead,” Petraeus said at a ceremony to mark the change of command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to U.S. Marine Corps General John Allen.

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

  5. Dem gov: To win in 2012, GOP wants to hurt economy

    Jul 16, 2011 By CHARLES BABINGTON – Associated Press

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The head of the Democratic Governors Association accused GOP debt negotiators in Washington of trying to undermine the economy so President Barack Obama will lose his re-election bid next year.

    Hogwash, responded Republicans.

    But the charge from Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is evidence of the political nervousness among Democratic governors looking ahead to 2012 after their ranks were thinned in the last election.
    It also hints at the tenuous control the president has over jobs and the economy, the issues certain to dominate the elections.

    At this weekend’s meeting of the National Governors Association, O’Malley has said Republican governors should urge GOP lawmakers to make a deal with Obama to increase the government’s borrowing limit before the Aug. 2 deadline when U.S. faces a financial default.

    The Republicans seem to be led by uncompromising hard-liners, he said, singling out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., for criticism.

    “I think that there is an extreme wing within their party who have as their primary goal not the jobs recovery, but the defeat of President Obama in 2012,” O’Malley said in an interview. “They know that their formulations, their policies of less revenues and less regulation badly failed our country and plunged us into this recession. So their only way of evening the playing field is to keep the president from being successful in the jobs recovery.”

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/dem-gov-win-2012-gop-wants-hurt-economy-180813724.html

  6. The President and First Lady Honor Nelson Mandela on his 93rd Birthday

    Posted by Kori Schulman on July 18, 2011

    Ed. Note: In 2009, the United States joined the United Nations General Assembly in declaring July 18th Nelson Mandela International Day. Today, the global community honors Nelson Mandela through acts of service. You can find service opportunities in your community on Serve.gov.

    “As the people of the world celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday on July 18, Madiba continues to be a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation,” President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama said in a statement, “On behalf of the people of the United States, we congratulate Nelson Mandela, and honor his vision for a better world.”

    The President and First Lady continued:

    Nelson Mandela said, ‘There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.’ A man who devoted 67 years of his life to public service, Madiba sets the standard for service worldwide, whether we are students, shopkeepers or farmers, cabinet ministers or presidents. He calls on us to serve our fellow human beings, and better our communities.
    In 2009, the United States was honored to join 192 other United Nations member states in the creation of Nelson Mandela International Day. As the global community honors Madiba on July 18 through individual and collective acts of service, we honor the man who showed his own people, and the world, the path to justice, reconciliation and democracy.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/18/president-and-first-lady-honor-nelson-mandela-his-93rd-birthday

  7. A Big Week for the New Consumer Agency

    Posted by Elizabeth Warren on July 18, 2011

    Ed. Note: Watch President Obama’s personnel announcement live at 1:05 PM EDT today on WhiteHouse.gov/live.

    This is a big week for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Today, the President will announce his intent to nominate Richard Cordray to serve as the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. On Thursday, the CFPB makes its transition from a start-up to a real, live agency with the authority to write rules and to supervise the activities of America’s largest banks.

    Rich will be a strong leader for this agency. He has a proven track record of fighting for families during his time as head of the CFPB enforcement division, as Attorney General of Ohio, and throughout his career. He was one of the first senior executives I recruited for the agency, and his hard work and deep commitment make it clear he can make many important contributions in leading it. Rich is smart, he is tough, and he will make a stellar Director. I am very pleased for him and very pleased for the CFPB.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/18/big-week-new-consumer-agency

    • Warren is ‘very pleased’ for Cordray

      07/18/11 By MATT NEGRIN – POLITICO44

      Elizabeth Warren says on the day that her consumer agency formally gets a nominee that the bureau’s critics “have a plan” to blunt its power.

      Writing on the White House’s blog, Warren said Monday morning that Richard Cordray has a “proven track record of fighting for families,” and that she’s “very pleased for him.”

      But Warren, whom liberals wanted to be nominated as the agency’s director, cautioned: “In May, forty-four Republican Senators wrote a letter saying that they will block anyone from serving as CFPB Director. Many of them don’t like the agency or the ideas that led to its creation. They lost that fight last summer in a straight-up vote, but they say they will use a filibuster over a Director nomination to undercut the agency. Without a Director, however, the agency’s authority over payday lenders, debt collectors and other non-bank financial companies can be challenged. The Republicans say that they will permit a Director only if the agency is amended to make it less independent and less likely to act.”

      “I remain hopeful that those who want to cripple this consumer bureau will think again and remember that the financial crisis — and the recession and job losses that it sparked — began one lousy mortgage at a time,” she wrote. “I also hope that when those Senators next go home, they ask their constituents how they feel about fine print, about signing contracts with terms that are incomprehensible, and about learning the true costs of a financial transaction only later when fees are piled on or interest rates are reset.”

    • A Director for the CFPB

      7/18/2011 By: Erika Gudmundson – treasury.gov

      Yesterday, the President announced his intent to nominate Richard Cordray as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In response to the announcement, Secretary Tim Geithner said:

      “As Ohio’s Attorney General and while at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray has earned a reputation as one of America’s strongest advocates for the interests of consumers. He is an effective leader who is committed to making sure American families and consumers have all the necessary tools to make the best possible choices. We are grateful that he has agreed to take on this important position and know he will build upon the powerful legacy that Professor Elizabeth Warren has established at the CFPB. Professor Warren has done an outstanding job at standing up this agency and has been a tremendous asset to us all during the Bureau’s first year. She has helped initiate critical work to simplify mortgage disclosure, improve credit card transparency and shield military families from predatory lenders and has done the agency a great service in recruiting top talent to take the CFPB and its mission forward.”

      And this afternoon, President Obama will make it official at a press conference with Secretary Geithner, Elizabeth Warren, and, of course, Richard Cordray. Watch it at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live at 1:05 pm ET.

    • July 18, 2011

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

      Rose Garden

      1:15 P.M. EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

  8. July 18, 2011

    President Obama Meets with Powells and Leading CEOs on Making Investments to Ensure a Competitive US Workforce

    Several CEOs Announce New Investments

    Today, the President will host an education roundtable with business leaders, Secretary Duncan, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell and Founding Chair General Colin Powell to discuss building upon strong industry-led partnerships that are working to transform the American education system. Other corporate partners in attendance include representatives from the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Coalition for Student Achievement, the Business-Higher Education Forum, and the United Way.

    “A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs but whether America can outcompete countries around the world. America’s business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That’s why were working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child,” said President Barack Obama.

    The President’s meeting with these leading CEOs builds on his continued leadership to work with the business community on the pressing needs of American education. Through efforts such as Change the Equation, with its focus on corporate investment in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, Skills for America’s Future with its support of business partnerships with community colleges, and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the private sector is responding not just with financial support, but with commitments that take advantage of their areas of expertise and the skills of their employees.

    New Commitments Being Announced Today:

    * Community Engagement and Investment to Transform the Nation’s Lowest-Performing Schools
    * Expanding Opportunities for Students to Prepare for Livable Wage Jobs
    * Research and Development for Next Generation Learning Models and Resources for Students and Teachers
    * Supporting a Statewide Focus on Education System Redesign

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/18/president-obama-meets-powells-and-leading-ceos-making-investments-ensure

    • July 18, 2011

      Readout of the President’s Roundtable Discussion on Financial Reform Implementation

      This afternoon, President Obama held a roundtable discussion on the implementation of financial reform. The President hosted senior officials from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      The President and the regulators discussed the progress that has been made on the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to strengthen our financial system and protect consumers. The discussion also provided a forum for regulators to discuss issues they have encountered in the implementation process and ways of better harmonizing their efforts.

      President Obama discussed the importance of moving forward with financial reform in a quick but careful manner. Attendees discussed their plans to continue their collective work to strengthen the financial system in the months ahead.

  9. Navies to float science robots in pirate oceans

    Jul 14, 2011 AP

    SYDNEY (AP) — International scientists have asked the Australian and U.S. navies to help them with research in the pirate-infested Indian Ocean.

    British and Australian scientists want the navies to deploy robotic instruments in the Indian Ocean to record critical data on climate and monsoon.

    Scientist Ann Threhser said Friday that a total of 19 Australian and British robots will be deployed by the two navies over the next six months. Thresher is a lead scientist at Australia’s national science agency.

    She says the robots are part of the Agro program that monitors climate change and monsoon patterns in oceans.
    The nearly 2 meter (6.5 feet) long robots fall 1.5 miles (2-kilometers) into the ocean to collect data.

  10. Wisconsin voters go to polls Tuesday in first recall election

    7/18/11 By James B. Kelleher | Reuters – 1 hr 48 mins ago

    MADISON, Wis (Reuters) – Wisconsin voters head to the polls on Tuesday for the first of what will be nine summer recall elections triggered by the battle earlier this year over curbs on public-sector collective bargaining in the state.

    In Tuesday’s special election, Dave Hansen, a Democratic state senator from Green Bay, will defend his seat against Republican challenger David VanderLeest.

    Hansen was one of 14 Democratic lawmakers who left Wisconsin for nearly three weeks this winter in an effort to thwart Republicans from passing the measure, which stripped teachers, correctional officers and other public employees in the state of most of their union bargaining rights.

    The bill, which ultimately passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled legislature and was signed into law by Republican Governor Scott Walker, also forces most public workers to pay more for their retirement and healthcare.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/wisconsin-voters-polls-tuesday-first-recall-election-182635847.html

  11. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

    7/18/11 By The Associated Press | AP – 23 mins ago

    The discovery of three corpses with their eyes gouged out sets off a sectarian killing spree that leaves 30 people dead in a chilling sign that the Syrian revolt against President Bashar Assad is enflaming long-simmering religious tensions. The opposition accuses the president’s minority Alawite regime of trying to stir up trouble among the Sunni majority to blunt the growing enthusiasm for the four-month-old uprising. The protesters have been careful to portray their movement as free of any sectarian overtones.

    Egypt’s military rulers commission a top judge to form an electoral commission, starting the process of organizing the country’s first elections after the popular uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak. The military decree sets a time frame for the first parliamentary elections in Egypt’s transition to democracy. The commission begins work on Sept.18, with the vote expected to follow roughly two months later.

    The Libyan government spokesman says representatives of Moammar Gadhafi’s embattled government held face-to-face talks with U.S. officials on repairing ties between the nations. There is no independent confirmation that such a meeting took place. Also, NATO forces destroy a radar tower at the Tripoli International Airport because it was being used to target its planes, the alliance says. Libyan officials counter that the radar system was not used for military purposes.

    About 100 journalists protest in the capital Sanaa against harassment and censorship by authorities. One newspaper editor says he was forced to distribute his daily in banana boxes to avoid government censors. The protest is held outside the residence of Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is acting head of state while the president is in Saudi Arabia recuperating from wounds he sustained in an attack on his compound.

    A dissident Iranian actress and blogger was arrested a week ago as she prepared to leave for Germany to write a blog for the Deutsche Welle radio station about the women’s football World Cup, the semiofficial ISNA news agency says. Pegah Ahangarani, 27, was arrested briefly in 2009 after the disputed presidential elections over charges of playing a role in the postelection riots.

    Prosecutors in the United Arab Emirates question two witnesses in the trial of five political activists who campaigned for democratic reforms in the Gulf nation and are accused of anti-state crimes. While the United Arab Emirates has not seen street protests like those that have roiled other Arab nations, authorities have moved to silence pro-reform advocates.

    A 14-year-old boy is killed by a stray bullet fired during a violent protest in the Tunisian town where the uprisings that spread across the Arab world first began. The news came as a fresh jolt to Tunisia as it prepares for landmark Oct. 23 elections for a body meant to write a new constitution.

  12. Allen Takes Reins as ISAF Commander

    July 18, 2011 From an International Security Assistance Force News Release

    KABUL, Afghanistan – Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen assumed command of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan here today.

    Allen succeeds Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who will retire from the Army this summer and will then serve as CIA director.
    Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff and Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command, were on hand for the change-of-command ceremony.

    Allen served as Centcom’s deputy commander from July 2008 until last month. From 2006 to 2008, he was deputy commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force and commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, deploying to Iraq as deputy commander General of Multinational Force in Anbar Province.

    He was the first Marine Corps officer to serve as commandant of midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, served as a Marine Corps Fellow to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and was the first Marine Corps officer inducted as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    The general received his fourth star from Mullen before the change of command.

    “Throughout, we will keep our eyes on the horizon – the future of Afghanistan – a nation of free people at peace, governed under its constitution, pursuing economic enterprise and development, in a secure and stable environment free from the extremism and terrorism that has plagued this wonderful country and its people for more than a generation,” Allen said after taking command. “In the end, together, we will prevail.”

    • Allen Praises Troops’ Courage, Sets ISAF Priorities

      July 18, 2011 By Cheryl Pellerin -American Forces Press Service

      WASHINGTON– Much work remains to secure Afghanistan’s future and eliminate violent extremists, the new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said today in a letter to the men and women of the International Security Assistance Force.

      Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen addressed the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians of ISAF, praising their courage under the most challenging conditions and setting out his priorities for unified action.

      “It will be my honor to serve with you all,” Allen handwrote at the bottom of the letter, which was posted on ISAF’s website. Allen assumed command today, succeeding Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is retiring from the Army and will be the next CIA director.

      Allen said his priorities include continuing the relentless pursuit of the enemy and accelerating the work associated with developing and fielding the Afghan national security forces.

      “We will accelerate our efforts to protect the population and to attack and degrade insurgent networks,” he wrote. “As we support the overall effort, we will continue to capture and kill the enemy and remove him from the field of battle through reintegration.”

      Allen said ISAF will promote opportunities for stabilizing villages and establishing the Afghan local police. Working with civilian partners, he added, ISAF will help to build capacity for governance, economic development and the rule of law.

      In the field, the general said, Afghan national security force formations are growing in size and confidence.

      For the entire article: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=64702

  13. NOAA, the U.S. Department of Energy and private partners launch project to reduce the cost of energy, including wind energy

    7/18/11 noaa.gov

    There has not always been a need to know precisely how hard the wind blows 350 feet above Earth’s surface. Today, wind turbines occupy that zone of the atmosphere, generating electricity. So NOAA and several partners have launched a year-long effort to improve forecasts of the winds there, which ultimately will help to reach the nation’s renewable energy goals.

    The Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP) is a collaboration among NOAA, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), two private wind energy companies and academic research institutions. The project began today as dozens of powerful, custom instruments designed to better profile and predict the weather and winds were powered up.

    “The end goal is to lower the cost of electric power for the consumer and meet President Obama’s clean energy challenge,” said Alexander MacDonald, NOAA deputy assistant administrator for research and director of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, Colo. “Our starting point is to improve the basic wind forecast for all users, including wind power and conventional energy companies, the aviation industry and the general public.”

    For the entire article: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110718_energycost.html

  14. US meets with Kadhafi representatives: official

    7/18/11 By Shaun Tandon | AFP – 16 mins ago

    US envoys held a rare meeting with representatives of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime over the weekend and urged the Libyan strongman to cede power, a US official said Monday.
    The one-off meeting on Saturday came a day after the United States and other Western and regional powers recognized the rebel Transitional National Council as Libya’s legitimate authority.
    US officials “met with regime representatives to deliver a clear and firm message that the only way to move forward is for Kadhafi to step down,” the US official said in Washington on condition of anonymity.

    “This was not a negotiation. It was the delivery of a message,” the official said.

    “We have no plans to meet again, because the message has been delivered,” she said.

    Another US official, who was traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in India, said that the meeting included Jeffrey Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, and Gene Cretz, who is the US ambassador to Libya but has left the country.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/us-meets-kadhafi-representatives-official-204613100.html

  15. Good afternoon everybody!!! How is everyone? Very hot in NY. Still helping my sister with her twins and still unemployed. But all in all things are OK not complaining.

      • Hey CR!!! I’m reading up on a group that Tori created on facebook and lots of people are leaving OFA. It’s a mess over there, sigh. Too bad it was a great place in 2008.

        • OFA website really blew a great opportunity to have been a super great Obama site for O-supporters: bad or lack of hindsight and management let the trolls dominate it. SIGH!

          OFA should just not allow any comments to be posted at all now.

          • Hey CR and friends. I am in agreement about OFA. For the life of me, I don’t understand the changes. My theory is, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. That site saw us thru a lot of good and bad times when we all came together and celebrated or held each other’s hands numerous times. It was like a family there. We easily donated and made phone calls which was very effective. It saddens me everytime I go there now and see all of the trolls bickering. The website does not depict how PBO feel.

  16. WH

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:30 AM
    The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

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

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    12:30 PM
    Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

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

    • POTUS podium

      July 19, 2011

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

      12:30 PM EDT
      The White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.


      CNN http://live.cnn.com

      9:30 AM EDT
      Japan nuclear plant safety review
      The Nuclear Regulartory Commission looks at the review undertaken in the wake of Japan’s earthquake and Daiichi Fukushima plant disaster.

      12:00 PM EDT
      House to Vote on “Cut, Cap, and Balance” Bill

      12:30 PM EDT
      The White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

      12:30 PM EDT
      State Dept. Horn of Africa briefing
      Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs; Dr. Reuben Brigety, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, and others brief reporters on the situation in the Horn of Africa.

      2:15 PM EDT
      U.S. Senate: 2012 Military Construction & Veterans Affairs Spending

      2:30 PM EDT
      Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee: U.S. Policy in Yemen


      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      9:30 AM EDT
      Japan nuclear plant safety review
      The Nuclear Regulartory Commission looks at the review undertaken in the wake of Japan’s earthquake and Daiichi Fukushima plant disaster. http://www.cspan.org/Events/Nuclear-Plant-Safety-Changes-Proposed/10737422941/

      12:00 PM EDT
      House to Vote on “Cut, Cap, and Balance” Bill
      President threatens veto http://www.cspan.org/Events/House-to-Vote-on-Cut-Cap-and-Balance-Bill/10737422946/

      12:30 PM EDT
      The White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

      12:30 PM EDT
      State Dept. Horn of Africa briefing
      Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs; Dr. Reuben Brigety, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, and others brief reporters on the situation in the Horn of Africa.

      2:15 PM EDT
      U.S. Senate: 2012 Military Construction & Veterans Affairs Spending http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/300584-2

      2:30 PM EDT
      Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee: U.S. Policy in Yemen http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/300585-1

      Middle East Protest

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

  17. Reconciliation

    7/18/2011 By Dylan Matthews – washingtonpost

    Today, Ezra talked to Kent Conrad about the Reid-McConnell debt framework and explained why not appointing Elizabeth Warren might have been a good call, while I laid out the White House’s case against “Cut, Cap and Balance.” Here’s what we missed:

    1) Why Democratic leaders want Elizabeth Warren to run for Senate.

    2) Obama’s judicial nominations problem.

    3) Republican leaders don’t realize we have an aggregate demand problem.

    4) Are mainstream liberals politically naive?

    5) Remember that Ezra’s hosting the Martin Bashir show again Tuesday, 3 p.m. on MSNBC.

      • It was a great interview. I am so happy that Elizabeth told Rachel that she did not want that job as head. Apparently, she personally picked The guy from Ohio. He is brilliant. I pray that he can get confirmed without any holds. I won’t hold my beath.

    • Still no Maddow Warren video available so CNN Warren will have to do for now….


      Warren: “I Really Don’t Get it”

      Published on Jul 18, 2011 by CNN

      CNN’s Wolf Blitzer talks to White House adviser Elizabeth Warren about the political controversy surrounding her.

  18. Rural Champions of Change – Sparking Innovation

    Posted by Melody Barnes on July 18, 2011

    One of the most gratifying aspects of working in the White House is that you never know who you might see on a daily basis. A wonderful and diverse cadre of Americans pass through for meetings and events, including renowned scientists, members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and occasionally even entertainment celebrities. Often, these visitors represent the most talented leaders in their respective fields.

    With this in mind, I was particularly pleased to recently participate in a Champions of Change roundtable with eighteen Rural Americans, representing the spectrum of excellence in Rural America. The group included farmers, ranchers, local educators, small business owners, and folks who are improving their communities through innovative actions. These rural champions represent the best of the best in their respective fields.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/18/rural-champions-change-sparking-innovation

    • Linking Technology and Higher Education with the Private Sector

      Posted by Roland Arriola on July 18, 2011

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

      I was deeply honored to be recognized as a Champion of Change on July 6. It was particularly gratifying for me as well as my counterparts from rural America to have the President of the United States visit with us during our roundtable discussion.

      In keeping with President Obama’s historic steps to lay the foundation for the innovation economy of the future, it has been my privilege to lead an initiative to develop a Technopolis Village that will leverage and link technology innovators and the resources of higher educational institutions with the private sector to create a technology cluster in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/18/linking-technology-and-higher-education-private-sector

  19. Cut, capped and rejected
    Veto threat is made on GOP debt bill


    President Obama says he’ll veto the conservative “Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011,” which links a debt limit vote to spending cuts and a balanced budget amendment, if it comes to him.

    “Neither setting arbitrary spending levels nor amending the Constitution is necessary to restore fiscal responsibility,” the White House said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Increasing the Federal debt limit, which is needed to avoid a Federal government default on its obligations and a severe blow to the economy, should not be conditioned on taking these actions. Instead of pursuing an empty political statement and unrealistic policy goals, it is necessary to move beyond politics as usual and find bipartisan common ground.”

    For the entire article: http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0711/cut_capped_and_rejected_d30ecb49-a646-45a0-bf5a-890615154478.html

  20. The Obama Administration’s Agenda on Seniors & Social Security

    “To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”



    Many seniors are struggling in the face of the economic downturn, having seen their savings fall, and we acted quickly to help provide relief. The Recovery Actprovided a one-time payment of $250 to retirees, other Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans, and SSI recipients. Fifty-six million retirees and other individuals received this one-time payment, totaling $14 billion. In light of continued economic hardship for too many seniors, the President has called for Congress to enact another $250 Economic Recovery Payment to our seniors this year, as well as to veterans and people with disabilities.

    Guiding Principles

    * Protecting & Strengthening Social Security

    * Strengthening Retirement

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/seniors-and-social-security/


    Tim Geithner “We’re Not Going To Dismantle Medicare & Social Security”

    Uploaded by MOXNEWSd0tCOM on Jul 18, 2011

  21. Leading the Anti-Bachmann Army

    7/19/11By David A. Graham | The Daily Beast – 4 hrs ago

    As Michele Bachmann surges, a dedicated band of haters is dishing scoops and drawing eyeballs to an influential blog. David A. Graham on the Minnesota Republican woman dedicated to bringing her down.

    Michele Bachmann’s star is on the rise. Her poll numbers are climbing. The donations are rolling in. And the press is scrambling for any scraps about her character, her past, what makes her tick. Digging deep into the Minnesota Republican’s record, reporters have found some tantalizing material: her alleged ties to the hate-mongering pastor Bradlee Dean, her work to get a pardon for Ponzi schemer Frank Vennes Jr., and her husband’s apparent reference to gays as “barbarians.”

    They’re juicy stories and they’ve gotten plenty of attention nationwide. But they aren’t news–a small cluster of bloggers in Minnesota broke all those stories years ago.

    These are interesting times for Eva Young, Ken Avidor, and a handful of other contributors who write the Dump Bachmann blog, a small online outpost that punches way above its weight class. For seven years, Young and her compadres have devoted long hours to cataloguing Bachmann’s every move, first as an obscure state senator and then in the U.S House. Now, the object of their attention is suddenly the front-runner in Iowa, and a leading contender for the 2012 GOP nomination. Rather than celebrating their prescience, the bloggers sound downright dismayed.

    For the entire article: http://goo.gl/6NhrT

  22. June housing starts at 6-month high

    7/19 /11By Lucia Mutikani | Reuters – 2 hrs 44 mins ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Housing starts scaled a six-month high in June and permits for future construction unexpectedly increased, a government report showed on Tuesday, partly reflecting growing demand for rental apartments.

    The Commerce Department said housing starts increased 14.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 629,000 units, the highest level since January, as ground breaking for multi-family units soared 30.4 percent.

    But May’s starts were revised down to a 549,000 unit pace, which was previously reported as a 560,000 unit rate.

    Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts rising to a 575,000-unit rate. Compared to June last year, residential construction was up 16.7 percent.

    For the entire article; http://news.yahoo.com/housing-starts-hit-6-month-high-permits-123325831.html

  23. GOP is bad for business


    The debt ceiling debate highlights an increasingly evident fact: the Republican Party is bad for business.

    This, of course, runs contrary to the GOP’s carefully crafted image. But it’s hard to come to any other conclusion after reviewing the party’s actions in congressional economic debates. Time after time, Democrats stepped up to take the tough actions needed to prevent economic collapse while Republicans buried their heads in the sand.

    First, nearly three years ago, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke flatly told Congress that our financial system would implode without immediate and direct intervention. The remedy they proposed — the Trouble Asset Relief Program — was not popular with anyone, including Democrats.

    Yet, there was a broad recognition that failing to act would result in economic calamity. A majority of House Republicans, however, still turned its back on the measure; even as Democrats voted nearly 3 to 1 to pass President George W. Bush’s policy.

    Second, our nation was losing more than 750,000 jobs per month when President Barack Obama took office. He proposed a combination of tax cuts and targeted spending to support consumer demand and promote business investment. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said his legislation took “a necessary step toward getting the U.S. economy back on track.”

    While our economy continues to confront significant challenges, every credible assessment of Obama’s legislation shows it helped pave the way for 16 straight months of private-sector job growth. Yet every House Republican voted against it.

    Now, congressional Republicans again threaten our economy by risking default on our debt. The business community has clearly laid out that default would have dire consequences for our economy. But many congressional Republicans act as if they don’t believe them or care.

    Even after Obama expressed willingness to cut our debt by $4 trillion – proposing $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in new revenue – Republicans still shirk their responsibility of maintaining full faith in our nation’s credit.

    These three debates have affected the U.S. business climate more than any other congressional matter of recent years. Each time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other influential business groups have urged action. But on each occasion, Republicans have walked away from business.

    Republicans stress the important economic role of business, but when the chips are really down, they take a walk. They are now the party of “no” when the U.S. economy’s stability, growth and preservation are at stake.

    Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) is the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.

    • July 19, 2011

      Remarks by the President on the Status of Efforts to Find a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction

      James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

      1:32 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. I wanted to give folks a quick update on the progress that we’re making on the debt ceiling discussions.

      I was in contact with all the leadership over the course of the weekend and continued to urge both Democrats and Republicans to come together around an approach that not only lifts the debt ceiling but also solves the underlying challenges that we face when it comes to debt and deficits.

      Some progress was made in some of the discussions, some narrowing of the issues. Speaker Boehner and the Republican House caucus felt it necessary to put forward the plan that they’re going to be voting on today. I think everyone’s estimation is, is that that is not an approach that could pass both chambers, it’s not an approach that I would sign and it’s not balanced. But I understand the need for them to test that proposition.

      The problem we have now is we’re in the 11th hour and we don’t have a lot more time left. The good news is that today a group of senators, the Gang of Six, Democrats and Republicans — I guess now Gang of Seven, because one additional Republican senator added on — put forward a proposal that is broadly consistent with the approach that I’ve urged. What it says is we’ve got to be serious about reducing discretionary spending both in domestic spending and defense; we’ve got to be serious about tackling health care spending and entitlements in a serious way; and we’ve got to have some additional revenue so that we have an approach in which there is shared sacrifice and everybody is giving up something.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/19/remarks-president-status-efforts-find-balanced-approach-deficit-reductio

  24. Haven’t been able to keep up on the news the last few days. Hope this new deal does not compromise the President’s chances for re-election and I hope he didn’t “cave” as I heard Ed Schultz said on his show last night.

  25. Making History: $142.3 Million for 155 Communities Nationwide

    Posted by Sandra Salstrom on July 19, 2011

    In the single largest round of awards in the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund‘s history, Treasury will distribute a total of $142,302,667 to 155 financial institutions serving economically distressed communities across the United States. CDFI Fund Director Donna Gambrell joined Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Danny Davis in Chicago yesterday to make the historic announcement.

    The 2011 awards were given to organizations headquartered in 40 states and the District of Columbia through the CDFI Fund’s cornerstone program, the Community Development Financial Institutions Program, and touch both rural and urban communities.

    They will help specialized community-based financial institutions spur local economic growth and expand access to affordable financial products and services. Chicago’s Fulton-Carrol Center, a small business incubator that houses almost 120 entrepreneurs and served as the backdrop for yesterday’s national award announcement, is just one of many examples of how CDFIs can play a critical role in helping small business owners spur job creation and economic growth in economically distressed communities across the country.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/19/making-history-1423-million-155-communities-nationwide

  26. July 19, 2011

    White House Chief of Staff Daley Highlights Priority for the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, White House Chief of Staff William Daley emphasized the Administration’s continued priority for the Export Control Reform Initiative as a national security imperative. The reforms when implemented will facilitate cooperation with U.S. allies and export control regime partners, strengthen the competitiveness of sectors key to U.S. national security, and increase U.S. exports, while maintaining robust controls where appropriate to enhance our national security. The current export control system is still based on the geopolitical, economic, and technological realties of the Cold War era and must be changed to meet 21st century national security needs.

    Last August, President Obama announced the foundation of a new export control system to strengthen U.S. national security and competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors by reforming our Cold War era system and adapting it to the changing economic and technological landscape. This initiative followed a year-long interagency review that determined that the current export control system is overly complicated and fragmented, contains too many redundancies, and, in trying to control too much, diminishes our ability to focus on the most critical national security priorities, impairs the interoperability of our Armed Forces with our Allies in the field, and undermines the competitiveness of sectors key to U.S. national security.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/19/white-house-chief-staff-daley-highlights-priority-presidents-export-cont

  27. NOLA Urban Entrepreneurship Forum

    Posted by Nicole Young on July 19, 2011

    On June 6, 2011, the White House co-hosted its first Urban Entrepreneurship Summit in Newark, NJ. Due to the overwhelming success of that first event, the White House has announced a series of Urban Entrepreneurship Forums in cities around the country, the next of which will be held in New Orleans, LA. The purpose of this event is to discuss best practices with urban entrepreneurs and hear their feedback on how the Obama Administration and the private sector can best support their growth and success in the global economy.

    On Wednesday, July 20, 2011, Xavier University in New Orleans, LA will host a White House Urban Entrepreneurship Forum. In addition to the White House, the summit features a wide array of partners including The City of New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, Urban League of Greater New Orleans, New Orleans Business Alliance, 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, Operation HOPE, and multiple federal agencies.

    The next Urban Entrepreneurship Forum will be held in Atlanta, GA on Friday, July 29, 2011.

    Join the conversation on twitter #WHUrbanJobsForum

  28. July 19, 2011

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Call with Chancellor Merkel of Germany

    The President spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel this morning by telephone about the Euro zone crisis in advance of the European Council meeting on July 21. They agreed that dealing effectively with this crisis is important for sustaining the economic recovery in Europe as well as for the global economy. The President also congratulated the Chancellor on Germany’s success in hosting this year’s Women’s World Cup and making it a memorable experience for players and fans alike.

  29. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

    7/19/11 By The Associated Press | AP – 1 hr 56 mins ago

    Syrian security forces open fire on a funeral procession, killing up to 10 people in Homs, hit for days by some of the most severe violence seen during the country’s four-month-old uprising. Dozens of people — possibly as many as 50 — have been killed in Homs since Saturday, according to activists, human rights groups and witnesses. Syria has banned independent media coverage, making it difficult to verify accounts from witnesses or Syrian authorities.

    Egypt’s ruling generals are seeking to ensure a future role for themselves with considerable independence from civilian leaders and possibly an authority to intervene in politics. The push appears to be driven by the military’s fear of losing the near-autonomous power it has enjoyed for nearly 60 years, but activists worry it will open the door for the army to dictate politics in a democratic Egypt.

    Government forces in trucks disguised with rebel flags shell opposition positions near the strategic eastern oil town of Brega, killing eight rebel fighters and wounding dozens more. Rebel forces have been pushing to seize the front-line town on Libya’s coast for nearly a week, but they say fields of land mines planted by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces have slowed the advance.

    Yemeni government forces shell a southern town overrun by radical Islamists, killing at least 20 militants in the past two days. In the capital Sanaa, Yemen’s disparate opposition groups announce a new alliance they say will unite all forces seeking to oust longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is in Saudi Arabia for treatment of wounds from a June attack on his palace.

    Tunisia’s Interior Ministry says unknown assailants have blown up a pipeline carrying fuel from Algeria during growing tensions in Tunisia. A ministry statement says no one was injured in the explosion along the pipeline, 63 kilometers (39 miles) northwest of Tunis. It carries fuel to Italy.

  30. What The Word ‘Compromise’ Really Means

    7/19/11 by GEOFF NUNBERG – NPR

    Sometimes people avoid even saying the word. Not long after the Republicans took the House last fall, Lesley Stahl interviewed John Boehner on 60 Minutes. Boehner told her the Republicans were ready to govern, and she said, “Governing means compromising.”

    He answered, “It means working together.”

    “It also means compromising,” she said.

    “It means finding common ground,” he answered.

    She kept pushing him about why he was unwilling to say “compromise,” until he finally answered, “I reject the word.”

    Now on the face of things, it’s disconcerting to hear a politician refusing to say “compromise.” It reminds me of the American tourists I once overheard in a rug bazaar in Morocco telling the merchant, “Mind you, now, we don’t haggle.” But as the debt limit drama continues, visiting the C-word would be imprudent for any prominent Republican. Polls show that Republican voters are far more resistant to compromise than Democrats are right now, and “no compromise” has become the rallying point for what has been dubbed the “Hell, No Caucus.” You hear that tone from the other side, too — Paul Krugman urged President Obama to draw a line in the sand against political extortion. But it hasn’t become a Democratic battle cry.

    For the entire article and audio commentary: http://www.npr.org/2011/07/19/138468870/what-the-word-compromise-really-means

  31. Sixth Grader Advocates for School Supplies – President Obama Responds

    Posted by Cameron Brenchley on July 19, 2011

    It’s no secret that schools around the country are facing deep budget cuts, often resulting in layoffs of staff and teachers and putting the burden on teachers to purchase much-needed supplies for their classrooms. The lack of school supplies caused one Lodi, California middle school student to take his case directly to President Obama in a letter.

    In the President’s personal response, he thanked Henderson for sharing his ideas and commended him for his commitment to the community. “In America, each of us can write our own destiny,” the President wrote. “So long as you are willing to dream big and work hard, you can accomplish great things and help others to do the same.”

    Secretary Duncan calls this tough economic climate for schools “the new normal.” To address the new normal, the Department of Education recently offered promising practices to states and communities on the effective, efficient and responsible use of resources in tight budget times. “We have to continue to invest [in education]” Duncan recently warned. “Budgets reflect our values, they reflect our priorities.”

    Read more about James Henderson and President Obama’s response at the Lodi News-Sentinel.

    Cameron Brenchley is New Media Outreach Manager at the Department of Education.

    • Local student James Henderson writes President Obama — and gets a response

      7/19/11 By Jennifer Bonnett/News-Sentinel Staff Writer

      James Henderson was so dismayed that his class lacked enough pencils and paper that he wrote to someone he felt could do something about it.

      His principal at Leroy Nichols Elementary School? No.
      The Lodi Unified School District board? Too small a government.

      Maybe the governor? Still not big enough.

      James went straight to the President of the United States of America — and President Barack Obama wrote back.

      The student was one of 36 in Carey Downey’s sixth-grade class when the students were visited by school board president George Neely. The pre-teen aired his concerns to Neely, who told him there was little funding available for education at this time, Downey remembers.

      That’s what triggered Henderson to take matters into his hands.
      “He just felt like we were scrounging around,” Downey said.
      Budgets for classroom supplies have dwindled in recent years, forcing teachers to use both sides of the paper and request donations from parents and businesses.

      In his letter, Henderson told President Obama that he didn’t see how the government could continue to cut education funding when they lacked even the basics.

      “I told him they were spending a lot more money on other things than school supplies,” Henderson said. “He told me people like me could change the country.”

      The student thinks that could be the case if he puts his mind to it and follows his goals, he said, adding that receiving Obama’s letter was a great honor.

      “Some people would think it was not that big of a deal, but I felt like I was important to get a letter from the president,” he said.
      He keeps one copy of the letter safe in a folder and another covered in plastic hanging in his room.

      James, who wrote the letter at the end of last school year, will enroll as a seventh-grader next month at Lodi Middle School.
      This isn’t the first time he’s launched a letter-writing campaign. James nominated Downey for the News-Sentinel’s Classroom Hero contest, and he won.

      The student also enjoys writing to family members around the country, playing sports and building outdoor furniture from wood. He lives in Lodi with his parents Mitchell and Tipring, and little brother, Tyler.

  32. Support Biomass Crops and Renewable Energy

    Posted by Rick Huszagh and Crista Carrell on July 19, 2011

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

    Last week in our meeting with Secretary Vilsack concerning rural development opportunities it became apparent that our country is facing a critical point. Energy and food production are approaching unprecedented challenges with occurrences such as China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia’s recent purchases and leases of over 140 million acres of land in Ethiopia and Sudan. To put things in perspective, this is the equivalent of all of the U.S.’s wheat and corn land currently in production.

    The United States is fortunate enough to have abundant and fertile land and a strong transportation infrastructure. The challenge is to turn our focus to rural America, from which so much of our food and energy come but which has only 16% of our population. Fellow Champions of Change outlined many creative ways of addressing rural America’s needs. Local food movements, energy efficient and consolidated housing development, and energy crops were among some of the many established and on-the-ground examples that are already functioning and put in place by just the few people in the room. All of these examples had something in common, which was the support of the USDA either through outreach or initial funding.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/19/support-biomass-crops-and-renewable-energy

  33. President Obama’s Message on the Debt Agreement

    Uploaded by BarackObamadotcom on Jul 31, 2011

    President Obama lays out the agreement he reached with congressional leaders to meet our financial obligations and reduce our debt in a video to supporters.

  34. 8/1/11



    Senate passes the Debt Ceiling bill 74 – 26

  35. August 02, 2011

    Statement by the President

    Rose Garden

    1:06 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Congress has now approved a compromise to reduce the deficit and avert a default that would have devastated our economy. It was a long and contentious debate. And I want to thank the American people for keeping up the pressure on their elected officials to put politics aside and work together for the good of the country.

    This compromise guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction. It’s an important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means. Yet it also allows us to keep making key investments in things like education and research that lead to new jobs, and assures that we’re not cutting too abruptly while the economy is still fragile.

    This is, however, just the first step. This compromise requires that both parties work together on a larger plan to cut the deficit, which is important for the long-term health of our economy. And since you can’t close the deficit with just spending cuts, we’ll need a balanced approach where everything is on the table. Yes, that means making some adjustments to protect health care programs like Medicare so they’re there for future generations. It also means reforming our tax code so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share. And it means getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies, and tax loopholes that help billionaires pay a lower tax rate than teachers and nurses.

    I’ve said it before; I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have borne the biggest brunt of this recession. We can’t make it tougher for young people to go to college, or ask seniors to pay more for health care, or ask scientists to give up on promising medical research because we couldn’t close a tax shelter for the most fortunate among us. Everyone is going to have to chip in. It’s only fair. That’s the principle I’ll be fighting for during the next phase of this process.

    And in the coming months, I’ll continue also to fight for what the American people care most about: new jobs, higher wages and faster economic growth. While Washington has been absorbed in this debate about deficits, people across the country are asking what we can do to help the father looking for work. What are we going to do for the single mom who’s seen her hours cut back at the hospital? What are we going to do to make it easier for businesses to put up that “now hiring” sign?

    That’s part of the reason that people are so frustrated with what’s been going on in this town. In the last few months, the economy has already had to absorb an earthquake in Japan, the economic headwinds coming from Europe, the Arab Spring and the [rise] in oil prices — all of which have been very challenging for the recovery. But these are things we couldn’t control. Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse. That was in our hands. It’s pretty likely that the uncertainty surrounding the raising of the debt ceiling — for both businesses and consumers — has been unsettling, and just one more impediment to the full recovery that we need. And it was something that we could have avoided entirely.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/02/statement-president

  36. How the plan works

    8/2/11 AP, New York Times

    The debt-limit passed by the House and awaiting approval by the Senate and the President would raise the nation’s debt ceiling by up to $2.4 trillion, which would be offset by equal or grater spending cuts.’

    Debit-limit hike 
$400 billion increase now
$500 billion more this fall
$1.2 to 1.5 trillion more by next year

    Spending cuts
$917 billion cut over 10 years starting Oct 1
$1.2 to
    1.5 trillion over 10 years cut by Dec 23

    Timetable and details

    Immediately: Raise debt limit by $400 billion
    Oct 1: Begin caps by spending that will reduce deficit by $900 billion over 10 years

    This fall: Obama can order another $500 billion debt-limit increase
Unless House and Senate override him by veto-proof margin

    By Nov 23: House-Senate committee identifies $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in cuts or new revenue

    By Dec 23: Congress must cote to enact committee plan with now amendment or delays, or else the White House budget office imposes across-the-board spending cuts.

    Before Dec 31: Both houses of Congress must vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

    Next year: Debit limit could be raised $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion if an equal amount of spending cuts are approved, or if Congress passes and sends to states a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

    AUGUST 1, 2011

    Letter to the Honorable John Boehner and the Honorable Harry Reid

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the impact on the deficit of the Budget Control Act of 2011, as posted on the Web site of the House Committee on Rules on August 1, 2011. The legislation would:

    Establish caps on discretionary spending through 2021;
Allow for certain amounts of additional spending for “program integrity” initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of improper benefit payments;

    Make changes to the Pell Grant and student loan programs;
Require that the House of Representatives and the Senate vote on a joint resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution;

    Establish a procedure to increase the debt limit by $400 billion initially and procedures that would allow the limit to be raised further in two additional steps, for a cumulative increase of between $2.1 trillion and $2.4 trillion;

    Reinstate and modify certain budget process rules;
Create a Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to propose further deficit reduction, with a stated goal of achieving at least $1.5 trillion in budgetary savings over 10 years;

Establish automatic procedures for reducing spending by as much as $1.2 trillion if legislation originating with the new joint select committee does not achieve such savings.

    If appropriations in the next 10 years are equal to the caps on discretionary spending and the maximum amount of funding is provided for the program integrity initiatives, CBO estimates that the legislation—apart from the provisions related to the joint select committee—would reduce budget deficits by $917 billion between 2012 and 2021. In addition, legislation originating with the joint select committee, or the automatic reductions in spending that would occur in the absence of such legislation, would reduce deficits by at least $1.2 trillion over the 10-year period. Therefore, the deficit reduction stemming from this legislation would total at least $2.1 trillion over the 2012–2021 period.

    Those amounts are relative to CBO’s March 2011 baseline adjusted for subsequent appropriation action. CBO has also calculated the net budgetary impact if discretionary savings are measured relative to its January baseline projections. Relative to that baseline, CBO estimates that the legislation would reduce budget deficits by at least $2.3 trillion between 2012 and 2021.

  38. *********************

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “Why We Need President Obama ”

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