21st-Century Financial Regulatory Reform System

Regulation Reform

Earlier this year, President Obama outlined his plan to create a 21st-century regulatory system – one that protects public health and welfare while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. Among other things, his Executive Order on Regulation said the following: Always consider costs and reduce burdens for American businesses and consumers when developing rules; expand opportunities for public participation and public comment; simplify rules; promote freedom of choice; and ensure that regulations are driven by real science.

The President also called for an unprecedented government-wide review of regulations already on the books. As a result of that review, more than two dozen agencies identified initiatives to reduce burdens and save money. We released those draft plans to the public and asked for your comments. The final plans reflect feedback we received from industries, small businesses, and individuals from around the country – and they will save U.S. businesses billions of dollars in regulatory burdens.

Featured Plans

* The Department of Health and Human Services will soon propose to remove unnecessary regulatory and reporting requirements now imposed on hospitals and other healthcare providers, potentially saving an anticipated $4 billion over the next five years.

* The Department of Labor is finalizing a rule to simplify and to improve hazard warnings for workers, likely saving employers over $2.5 billion over the next five years without compromising safety.

The Department of Transportation is proposing a rule that will eliminate unnecessary regulation of the railroad industry, saving up to $340 million in the near future, and avoiding the risk that regulatory costs will be passed onto consumers.

The Environmental Protection Agency will soon propose a rule to reduce burdens on hazardous waste generators by moving from paper-based to electronic reporting, saving up to $126 million annually.

By the end of this year, the Internal Revenue Service will eliminate 55 million hours in annual paperwork burdens by consolidating reporting requirements and streamlining various tax forms.

For more http://www.whitehouse.gov/21stcenturygov/actions/21st-century-regulatory-system


91 thoughts on “21st-Century Financial Regulatory Reform System

  1. WH

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:30 AM
    President Obama Speaks on Hurricane Irene
    Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    President Obama and his family depart Martha’s Vineyard for Washington, D.C.

    10:00 PM
    11:00 PM
    11:17 PM
    President Obama and his family arrived on the White House lawn aboard Marine One

  2. POTUS podium

    August 26, 2011

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

    11:30 AM EDT
    President Obama Speaks on Hurricane Irene
    Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (Audio Only)


    CNN http://live.cnn.com

    10:00 AM EDT
    DHS, FEMA briefing on Hurricane Irene
    Officials with the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA brief reporters on U.S. preparations for Hurricane Irene.

    11:30 AM EDT
    President Obama Speaks on Hurricane Irene
    Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts


    CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

    9:30 AM EDT
    Atlantic Council hosts discussion on the future of Libya http://www.cspan.org/Events/Libyan-Rebels-Will-Recieve-15-Billion/10737423734/

    10:00 AM EDT
    DHS, FEMA briefing on Hurricane Irene
    Officials with the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA brief reporters on U.S. preparations for Hurricane Irene. http://www.cspan.org/Events/Libyan-Rebels-Will-Recieve-15-Billion/10737423734/

    11:30 AM EDT
    President Obama Speaks on Hurricane Irene
    Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts http://www.cspan.org/Events/East-Coast-Prepares-for-Hurricane/10737423720/

    12:00 PM EDT
    MLK, JR. National Memorial Proj. Foundation: Women Civil Rights http://www.cspan.org/Events/MLK-Memorial-Dedication-Postponed-by-Hurricane-Irene/10737423733/

    12:53 PM EDT
    MLK, JR. National Memorial Proj. Foundation: Women Civil Rights 2 http://www.cspan.org/Events/MLK-Memorial-Dedication-Postponed-by-Hurricane-Irene/10737423733/

    Middle East Protest

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

  3. Regulation Reform

    Earlier this year, President Obama outlined his plan to create a 21st-century regulatory system – one that protects public health and welfare while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. Among other things, his Executive Order on Regulation said the following: Always consider costs and reduce burdens for American businesses and consumers when developing rules; expand opportunities for public participation and public comment; simplify rules; promote freedom of choice; and ensure that regulations are driven by real science.

    The President also called for an unprecedented government-wide review of regulations already on the books. As a result of that review, more than two dozen agencies identified initiatives to reduce burdens and save money. We released those draft plans to the public and asked for your comments. The final plans reflect feedback we received from industries, small businesses, and individuals from around the country – and they will save U.S. businesses billions of dollars in regulatory burdens.

    Featured Plans

    The Department of Health and Human Services will soon propose to remove unnecessary regulatory and reporting requirements now imposed on hospitals and other healthcare providers, potentially saving an anticipated $4 billion over the next five years.
    Read and Discuss on Slideshare | Download as PDF

    The Department of Labor is finalizing a rule to simplify and to improve hazard warnings for workers, likely saving employers over $2.5 billion over the next five years without compromising safety.
    Read and Discuss on Slideshare | Download as PDF

    The Department of Transportation is proposing a rule that will eliminate unnecessary regulation of the railroad industry, saving up to $340 million in the near future, and avoiding the risk that regulatory costs will be passed onto consumers.
    Read and Discuss on Slideshare | Download as PDF

    The Environmental Protection Agency will soon propose a rule to reduce burdens on hazardous waste generators by moving from paper-based to electronic reporting, saving up to $126 million annually.
    Read and Discuss on Slideshare | Download as PDF

    By the end of this year, the Internal Revenue Service will eliminate 55 million hours in annual paperwork burdens by consolidating reporting requirements and streamlining various tax forms.
    Read and Discuss on Slideshare | Download as PDF

    For the entire plan: http://www.whitehouse.gov/21stcenturygov/actions/21st-century-regulatory-system

    • Treasury’s Plan to Create a 21st-Century Regulatory System

      8/23/2011 By: Sandra Salstrom – treasury.gov

      Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released its plan answering President Obama’s call to create a 21st-century regulatory system that is simpler and smarter and that balances the obligation to protect public health and safety with the commitment to promote economic growth and job creation. Here at Treasury, we reviewed existing rules to find and remove those that are out-of-date, unnecessary, overly burdensome or in conflict with other rules. Treasury’s Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules was posted on whitehouse.gov/regulatoryreform where people had the opportunity to comment and provide feedback on how to ensure all of our regulations are doing their job, at the maximum efficiency and lowest cost to taxpayers.

      Today, we released our final Treasury Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules 2011 on how to create a more efficient and effective regulatory environment. It details efforts taken by the Internal Revenue Service to eliminate 55 million hours in annual paperwork by consolidating reporting requirements and streamlining various tax forms by the end of 2011. And as of May 1, 2011, all individuals who apply for federal benefits will now receive their payments electronically, saving taxpayers approximately $120 million each year by eliminating paper checks. These are just two of the dozens of regulations we’re examining and updating to improve the way Treasury does business.

      I encourage you to read our plan, continue giving us your feedback and check back in the future, because this will be an ongoing effort to make sure that the work Treasury does works for you.

      Sandra Salstrom is Spokesperson for Tax, Budget, and Economic Policy.

    • The Facts About Regulations

      August 26, 2011 Posted by Cass Sunstein

      Lately, there has been a great deal of inaccurate information about the Obama Administration’s record on regulations. I wanted to take the opportunity to clear up the facts, particularly in view of a letter sent by Speaker Boehner to the President today.

      President Obama believes that, as our economy recovers and we work to support job creation, it is important to minimize regulatory burdens and avoid unjustified regulatory costs. The President has taken ambitious and strong steps to promote this goal.

      Executive Order 13563, issued early this year, calls on all agencies to conduct a thorough retrospective review of existing rules; it also imposes a series of new requirements designed to reduce regulatory burdens and costs. Just this month, twenty-six agencies released regulatory review plans, with over 500 reform initiatives. A mere fraction of the new initiatives will save more than $10 billion over the next five years; as progress continues, we expect to be able to deliver savings far in excess of that figure. Already, we’ve finalized or formally proposed reforms to save more than $4 billion of regulatory costs over that period.

      ‪It is important to note that there has been no significant increase in rulemaking under this Administration. On the contrary, the number of significant rules reviewed by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and issued in the first two years of the Obama administration is lower than the number issued in the last two years of the Bush administration. Moreover, in its last two years, the administration of George W. Bush imposed far higher regulatory costs than did the Obama administration in its first two years.

      Even more importantly, the net benefits of the final, economically significant regulations reviewed by OIRA in the first two years of the Obama Administration, including not only monetary savings but also lives saved and illnesses prevented, have been over ten times the net benefits during the first two years of the Bush Administration. Smart regulations produce significant benefits in the form of savings for businesses, clean air and water, workplace safety, safe food and consumer and investor protection.

      It is important to clarify that the annual regulatory agenda, sometimes cited as evidence of an increase in regulatory burden, is simply a list of potential ideas that agencies may consider pursuing. Under both Republican and Democratic Administrations, the agenda is merely a list of rules that are under general contemplation, provided to the public in order to promote transparency. Before any such rule can be issued, it must be subject to a long series of internal and external constraints, including the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act and the new burden-reducing, cost-saving requirements of the President’s January Executive Order on regulation. In any given year, many rules on the agenda do not become final.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/26/facts-about-regulations


    Hurricane Irene: National Resources in Case of Emergency

    Posted by Colleen Curtis on August 23, 2011

    As Hurricane Irene makes its way through the Caribbean, current forecasts from the National Hurricane Center project that the storm may continue to strengthen and could make landfall anywhere along the East Coast. Yesterday, President Obama signed an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local response efforts in the area.

    While the future path of Irene is uncertain, it’s important that those along the East Coast take steps to get prepared and stay informed. Ready.gov/hurricanes offers complete advice on how to prepare for severe storms, and hurricanes.gov always has the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

    Here are some other web resources that will be useful if you or people you know are impacted by this storm.

    Department of Homeland Security
    On Twitter @DHSJournal
    On Facebook http://www.facebook.com/homelandsecurity

    Blog Updates from FEMA
    On Twitter @FEMA
    On Facebook http://www.facebook.com/FEMA

    Ready Campaign
    On Twitter: @ReadydotGov

    NOAA/National Hurricane Center
    Tracking Hurricane Irene
    On Twitter: @NHC Atlantic
    On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/US.NOAA.NationalHurricaneCenter.gov

    American Red Cross
    Latest updates
    On Twitter: @RedCross
    On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/redcross

    • Hurricane Irene Update – August 23

      From: FEMA | Aug 23, 2011

      Administrator Craig Fugate provides a quick update on the progress of Hurricane Irene as it threatens the east coast of the United States. Those along the east coast should take steps to get prepared today at http://www.Ready.gov/hurricanes.

    • FEMA preps for Irene well in advance of landfall

      Published on Aug 26, 2011 by CBSNewsOnline

      Erica Hill talks to FEMA administrator Craig Fugate about the emergency plans for Hurricane Irene.

    • August 25, 2011

      Presidential Proclamation–Women’s Equality Day




      The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution tore down the last formal barrier to women’s enfranchisement in our Nation and empowered America’s women to have their voices heard in the halls of power. This Amendment became law only after decades of work by committed trailblazers who fought to extend the right to vote to women across America. For the women who fought for this right, voting was not the end of the journey for equality, but the beginning of a new era in the advancement of our Union. These brave and tenacious women challenged our Nation to live up to its founding principles, and their legacy inspires us to reach ever higher in our pursuit of liberty and equality for all.

      Before the Amendment took effect, women had been serving our Nation in the public realm since its earliest days. Even before they gained the right to vote, America’s women were leaders of movements, academics, and reformers, and had even served in the Congress. Legions of brave women wrote and lectured for change. They let their feet speak when their voices alone were not enough, protesting and marching for their fundamental right to vote in the face of heckling, jail, and abuse. Their efforts led to enormous progress millions upon millions of women have since used the power of the ballot to help shape our country.

      Today, our Nation’s daughters reap the benefits of these courageous pioneers while paving the way for generations of women to come. But work still remains. My Administration is committed to advancing equality for all of our people. This year, the Council of Women and Girls released “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being,” the most comprehensive report in 50 years on the status of women in our country, shedding light on issues women face in employment, crime, health, and family life. We are working to ensure that women-owned businesses can compete in the marketplace, that women are not discriminated against in healthcare, and that we redouble our efforts to bring an end to sexual assault on college campuses.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/25/presidential-proclamation-womens-equality-day

  5. GOP Wrong Way The GOP Abandons its Anti-Tax Mantra—For the Middle Class Only

    August 25, 2011 Posted by Josh Cohen – democrats.org

    In January this year, President Obama cut taxes for roughly 158 million workers. It’s a reduction that lowers what workers’ pay by an average of $1,000, and directly benefits everyone who makes $106,000 per year or less.

    Republicans are notorious for their staunch opposition to raising taxes of any kind. Millionaires are off limits, corporations are Mitt Romney’s friends, and oil companies and their billion-dollar profits are untouchable—according to the GOP, of course.

    But it turns out, their devout adherence to the “no taxes” pledge doesn’t apply to working and middle-class families. President Obama wants to extend the tax cut—Republicans want to end it.

    Harold Meyerson with the Washington Post outlines Republicans’ opposition to extending this middle-class tax cut:

    “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Camp complained that it would push the deficit higher. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the man who’d have us scrap Medicare, concurred. “It would simply exacerbate our debt problems,” he said on Fox News Sunday this month.

    In an attempt to excuse away their dismissal of working Americans, 158 million of whom benefit from the payroll tax cut, Republicans claim “’class warfare’ and ‘the politics of division.’”

    But Meyerson defines the GOP position for what it is: hypocrisy.

  6. Bernanke ahead, European stocks take hit

    8/26/11 By Jeremy Gaunt, European Investment Correspondent | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

    LONDON (Reuters) – European shares and the dollar fell on Friday, with markets playing down chances of a major shift toward further economic stimulus from U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke later in the day.

    Bernanke was to speak later in the day at a Fed conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

    A year ago in the same place, he opened the door to a second round of quantitative easing. Although there was some belief that he would announce a third round of asset buying this year, he is not now expected to come up with a fresh dose of shock treatment for the ailing U.S. economy.

    He is expected rather to acknowledge his disappointment over the pace of growth, possibly downgrade his outlook, and explain which medicines left in the Fed’s cabinet are best suited to fortify the economy.

    The uncertainty about what is to come has put many investors in a cautious frame of mind.

    “With many traders feeling like we’re standing on the edge looking down into a global recession, Bernanke has the ability to significantly elate or deflate the markets today,” said Jonathan Sudaria, dealer at Capital Spreads.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/asian-shares-edge-dollar-firm-005933443.html

  7. Economy grew at slower 1 pct. rate this spring

    8/26/11 By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER – AP Economics Writer | AP – 10 mins ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at a meager 1 percent pace this spring, a slower rate than previously estimated. The downward revision will likely increase fears that the economy is at risk of another recession.

    Fewer exports and weaker growth in business stockpiles led the Commerce Department to lower its estimate for the April-June quarter from its previous annual rate of 1.3 percent growth. That means the economy expanded only 0.7 percent in the first six months of the year.

    Economists note that nine of the past 11 recession since World War II have been preceded by a period of growth of 1 percent or less. The weaker growth could rattle an already edgy stock market, which has lost 12 percent of its value since July 21.

  8. 22 laid-off San Jose firefighters back on the job

    8/25/11 By John Woolfolk – mercurynews

    Nearly half of the 49 San Jose firefighters laid off last year amid a record budget shortfall will be back on the job starting Friday thanks to a federal bailout.

    The $15 million, two-year fire staffing grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency — believed to be the largest awarded to any city — will help restore all the firefighter jobs lost a year ago when city and fire union leaders failed to reach an agreement on pay cuts that city officials said were needed to prevent layoffs.

    The 22 laid-off San Jose firefighters who return to their jobs this week, after six weeks of a “refresher academy” to update their certifications, will be joined in coming months by 27 others hired away or laid off from other departments — 14 in October and 13 in February. Last year’s layoffs had shrunk the department to about 650 firefighters.

    “I feel an attachment to this community,” said Mike Hildalgo, 34, who jumped at the chance to rejoin the San Jose Fire Department, even though he enjoyed the job he landed with Palo Alto’s fire department after San Jose laid him off. Though he now lives in Santa Clara, Hidalgo grew up in San Jose, where the city’s firefighters inspired his career choice.

    “My mom would bring me out to the street to wave at the firefighters,” Hidalgo said. “It’s an outstanding organization and an outstanding community.”

    For the entire article: http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_18757947?nclick_check=1

  9. West Wing Week: Mailbag Day, Summer Edition 2011

    From: whitehouse | Aug 25, 2011

    Welcome to West Wing Week your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, Mailbag Day, Summer Edition 2011, where we take some questions from you and pose them to White House officials.

  10. GOP Wrong Way Do Republicans Really Want to Cut Taxes on the Wealthy and Raise Them on Everyone Else?

    8/26/11 By Howard Gleckman | Forbes – 18 hrs ago

    Do Republicans Really Want to Cut Taxes on the Wealthy and Raise Them on Everyone …

    Of all the curious rhetoric floating around both Washington and the campaign trail, the strangest may be the demand of many Republicans that Congress raise taxes for low-income working households even as it cuts taxes for the wealthy. The left has, not surprisingly, gleefully leapt on the issue. And, honestly, it seems like terrible politics for the GOP.

    But this idea is hardly new. It is a key element of various forms of consumption taxes such as the National Retail Sales Tax (including the wildly misnamed FAIR tax). It is also favored among those on the right who want to close “loopholes” to force low- and moderate-income households to pay some income tax even as they cut rates across the board—a design almost certain to favor high-income taxpayers.

    Texas governor and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry supports the FAIR tax (or at least did last year when he wrote his manifesto Fed Up). This levy would repeal nearly all federal taxes (including the income tax and the payroll tax) and replace them with a single-rate national sales tax on the purchase of all goods and services. FAIR tax backers set this rate at 23 percent but the Tax Policy Center’s Bill Gale and others have concluded that the rate would have to exceed 30 percent if the scheme is to raise as much money as current law.

    To try to get a sense of what such a levy would do to the tax burden across incomes, the Tax Policy Center analyzed a generic consumption tax designed to replace most federal taxes. In, um, fairness, it is important to note that TPC did not review the actual FAIR tax but rather a stylized Value Added Tax –type consumption tax. But any broad-based consumption tax will generate roughly the same pattern.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/republicans-really-want-cut-taxes-wealthy-raise-them-195953031.html

  11. Bernanke proposes no new steps to boost economy

    8/26/11 By MARTIN CRUTSINGER – AP Economics Writers,PAUL WISEMAN – AP Economics Writers | AP – 4 mins 55 secs ago

    JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (AP) — Chairman Ben Bernanke is proposing no new steps by the Federal Reserve to boost the economy while hinting that Congress may need to act to stimulate hiring and growth.

    Bernanke said Friday that while record-low interest rates will promote growth over time, the weak economy requires further help in the short run. He is speaking at an annual economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

    His speech follows news that the economy grew at an annual rate of just 1 percent this spring and 0.7 percent for the first six months of the year. Only slightly healthier expansion is foreseen for the second half.

    Bernanke said he’s optimistic that the job market and the economy will return to full health in the long run.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/bernanke-proposes-no-steps-boost-economy-140146068.html

    • August 26, 2011

      Statement by the President on Preparations for Hurricane Irene

      Fisher House at Blue Heron Farm, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

      11:28 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I want to say a few words about Hurricane Irene, urge Americans to take it seriously, and provide an overview of our ongoing federal preparations for what’s likely to be an extremely dangerous and costly storm.

      I’ve just convened a conference call with senior members of my emergency response team and directed them to make sure that we are bringing all federal resources to bear and deploying them properly to cope not only with the storm but also its aftermath. I’ve also spoken this morning with governors and mayors of major metropolitan areas along the Eastern Seaboard to let them know that this administration is in full support of their efforts to prepare for this storm and stands ready to fully support their response efforts. And we will continue to stay in close contact with them.

      I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now. Don’t wait. Don’t delay. We all hope for the best, but we have to be prepared for the worst. All of us have to take this storm seriously. You need to listen to your state and local officials, and if you are given an evacuation order, please follow it. Just to underscore this point: We ordered an aircraft carrier group out to sea to avoid this storm yesterday. So if you’re in the way of this hurricane, you should be preparing now.

      If you aren’t sure how to prepare your families or your home or your business for a hurricane or any other emergency, then you can visit Ready.gov — that’s Ready.gov — or Listo.gov. That’s Listo.gov.

      Now, since last weekend, FEMA has been deploying its Incident Management Assistance Teams to staging areas in communities up and down the coast. FEMA has millions of liters of water, millions of meals, and tens of thousands of cots and blankets, along with other supplies, pre-positioned along the Eastern Seaboard. And the American Red Cross has already begun preparing shelters in North Carolina and other states.

      These resources are all being coordinated with our state and local partners, and they stand ready to be deployed as necessary. But, again, if you are instructed to evacuate, please do so. It’s going to take time for first responders to begin rescue operations and to get the resources we’ve pre-positioned to people in need. So the more you can do to be prepared now — making a plan, make a supply kit, know your evacuation route, follow instructions of your local officials — the quicker we can focus our resources after the storm on those who need help the most.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/26/statement-president-preparations-hurricane-irene

    • August 25, 2011

      President Obama Signs North Carolina Emergency Declaration

      The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of North Carolina and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irene beginning on August 25, 2011, and continuing.

      The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Halifax, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, and Wilson.

      Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

      W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Michael F. Byrne as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.


  12. GOP Wrong Way Why is Mitt Romney like that?

    Fri Aug 26, 2011 By Laura Conaway – maddowblog

    That Mitt Romney has changed his mind (polite way of saying it) on several issues over the years and sometimes over the weeks is no help to his campaign. Want Mitt Romney’s position on abortion? How about two positions, each contradicting the other? And so on, for health reform, the economy, guns, etc., etc.

    After running down Mr. Romney’s many flips and flops last night, Rachel asked reporter Matt Viser of the Boston Globe about the other Romney problem — his tendency to snap at voters he’s trying to woo on the campaign trail. The Romney campaign, Matt told us, needs to counter the impression that he’s Mr. Scripted. For them, a snarling Mitt is not necessarily bad. “I think if he’s showing passion over those issues, I think the campaign sees that as an asset,” Matt said.

    The New York Times takes up a related question today, asking why it is that Mr. Romney “appears relaxed, but some stiffness is still evident.” Why indeed? From the NYT:

    “[C]ertain moments seem to leave him genuinely touched. In Keene, N.H., Lucy Opal, 83, who immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1957, hugged Mr. Romney and asked him to sign her tattered red autograph book. The book, filled with politicians’ scribbles, contained the signature of Mr. Romney’s father, George Romney, a former governor of Michigan.

    “Thank you, Lucy, for reminding me of my dad,” Mr. Romney said as he signed his name. “Love ya.”

    For the entire article and video: http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/26/7484219-why-is-mitt-romney-like-that

    • Top Romney Flip-Flops

      Tuesday, February 5, 2008 – washingtonpost

      1. Abortion. In October 2002, campaigning for governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney said he would “preserve and protect” a woman’s right to choose. He now describes himself as an abortion opponent.

      2. Gay rights. In a 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans, who advocate gay rights, he said he was in favor of “gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly” in the military. He now says it would be a mistake to interfere with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

      3. Gun control. Campaigning for the Senate in 1994, he said he favored strong gun laws and did not “line up with the NRA.” He joined the National Rifle Association in 2006 while pondering a presidential run, and he praised the group for “doing good things” and “supporting the right to bear arms.”

      4. Campaign finance. In 1994, he advocated a spending limit on congressional elections and the abolition of political action committees. In 2002, he supported public financing of campaigns from a 10 percent tax on private fundraising. This year, he said the McCain-Feingold law limiting campaign contributions is an attack on free speech.

      5. Immigration. In a November 2005 interview with the Boston Globe, he described an immigration overhaul advanced by John McCain as “reasonable.” He now denounces it as an “amnesty plan.” In December 2006, he signed an agreement authorizing state troopers to round up illegal immigrants.

      Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/04/AR2008020402805.html

  13. Americans drinking the haterade

    08/26/2011 By Ezra Klein – washingtonpost

    “The public is profoundly discontented with conditions in the country, its government, political leadership and several of its major institutions,” reports Pew. But let’s get more specific.

    popularity poll Aug 2011

    President Obama is unpopular. But despite being unpopular, he’s more popular than the Democratic Party or the Democratic Party’s congressional leadership, both of which are really unpopular. But the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party’s congressional leadership are more popular than the Republican Party and the Republican Party’s congressional leadership, both of which are super unpopular. The question in the upcoming election is whether the Republican Party’s candidate will end up super unpopular, like his or her party, or mildly unpopular, in which case he or she has a chance to beat Obama. And that’s politics in the United States of America in August of 2011. Inspiring, huh?

    • People are not happy with the way their lives are now and they have every right to feel unhappy as we are crawling out of “America’s second depression” and people felt just as unhappy, angry, discontented the same way during the Great Depression. President Obama said that it will take time to get back on America’s feet.

      The way America got back on it’s feet during the Great Depression is with World War II and President Obama never was and is not now eager to get us into another war so it will have to be a slow climb out if and only if Congress acts pro-actively to work with the President to help the creation of jobs, increase the tax on the wealthy, close tax loop-holes, eliminate wasteful spending and reinstate social services to the desperate.

    • Unfortunately, the field of candidates running for office to replace what we have are not offering any hope in the repug party. I hope people don’t make the same mistake of 2010. The midterms actually made things worst.


    8/26/11 POLITICO44

    President Obama and his family are coming home tonight, ending their vacation one evening early as Hurricane Irene hits the East Coast.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest announced the change in plans to reporters traveling with Obama on Martha’s Vineyard Friday morning. “I think the president simply reached the conclusion that it would be more prudent for him to be in Washington, D.C., and to be at the White House at the end of the day today,” he said.

    Here are some other highlights from Earnest’s off-camera briefing:

    — Obama was briefed this morning by his economic adviser Brian Deese, who spoke with him about international markets and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech. Obama also spoke with the IMF’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, Earnest said.

    — The governors whom Obama spoke with this morning about the hurricane included Republicans Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, Earnest said.

    — The White House still believes Muammar Qadhafi has lost his power, though Earnest said that “right now there is no evidence to indicate that Qadhafi has left Libya.”

  15. Perry signs pledge on anti-gay marriage amendment

    8/26/11 By WILL WEISSERT – Associated Press | AP – 45 mins ago

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Rick Perry has signed a pledge to back a federal constitutional amendment against gay marriage — a reversal from a month ago when the Texas governor said he so supported individual states’ rights that he was fine with New York’s approval of same-sex marriage.

    The pledge by the National Organization for Marriage states that, if elected, Perry will send a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification, and appoint U.S. Supreme Court and federal judges who will “reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution.”

    Others vying for the Republican presidential nomination, including Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, have also signed it, according to Brian Brown, president of Washington-based National Organization for Marriage, which campaigns against same-sex marriage.

    While far from a surprise, Perry’s decision raised some eyebrows because it appears to contradict his previous position that this is an issue that should be left up to individual legislatures.

    Perry won applause at a Republican conference in Colorado on July 22 when he said of New York’s same-sex marriage law, “that’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me.”
    Those comments alarmed some conservatives, however, and Perry moved to soothe fears the following week when he said during a broadcast interview with Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council, “I probably needed to add a few words after that ‘It’s fine with me.'”

    “Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn’t changed. I believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman,” Perry told Perkins.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/perry-signs-pledge-anti-gay-marriage-amendment-161046437.html

  16. Latest developments in Arab unrest

    By The Associated Press | AP – 1 hr 18 mins ago

    British warplanes strike a large bunker in Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, his last major stronghold. Rebels search for the remnants of pro-Gadhafi forces in Tripoli, which is enjoying the quietest day since the rebel takeover. Hundreds crowd a mosque in central Tripoli, listening as the imam praise the rebels. As rebels round up regime sympathizers, evidence of abuses raise concern about human rights violations.

    Syrian security forces kill at least two people as tens of thousands of anti-government protesters flood the streets. Protesters also express solidarity with Ali Ferzat, 60, a renowned political cartoonist who was grabbed after he left his studio early Thursday and beaten by masked gunmen. Ferzat is recovering. President Bashar Assad gets a boost from Shiite militant group Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, who echoes the regime’s claims that the unrest in Syria was being driven by a foreign conspiracy.

    Tens of thousands of Yemenis have protested in several city centers calling for ouster of their longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh loyalists held prayers at a mosque near the presidential palace.

    • NATO Hits Bunker in Libyan Leader’s Hometown

      8/26/11 VOAnews

      NATO warplanes have pounded a large bunker in Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown, Sirte, as opposition fighters moved toward the coastal city for a battle with pro-Gadhafi forces.

      Britain said Friday that its warplanes fired precision-guided missiles at the Sirte bunker complex overnight. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said NATO was not specifically targeting Gadhafi and that the airstrikes were designed to make sure he and his forces could no longer “continue waging war.”

      In addition to massing near Sirte, opposition forces were battling pockets of pro-Gadhafi fighters in Tripoli.

      The al-Jazeera television network says clashes also erupted Friday near the Tunisian border.

      Separately, the International Organization for Migration announced it had sent another ship to evacuate foreigners from Tripoli and deliver some 50 humanitarian workers. Late Thursday, a IOM charter ship left the city with 263 migrants on board.

      Fierce gunbattles rang out in the capital on Thursday, as Mr. Gadhafi used a short audio broadcast to rally his supporters and denounce foreign countries for their involvement in the conflict.

      For the entire article: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Libyan-Rebels-Move-Cabinet-to-Tripoli-128420988.html

  17. August 26, 2011

    Statement by the President on the Attack on the United Nations in Abuja, Nigeria

    I strongly condemn today’s horrific and cowardly attack on the United Nations headquarters building in Abuja, Nigeria, which killed and wounded many innocent civilians from Nigeria and around the world. I extend the deepest sympathies of the American people to the victims and their families, colleagues, and friends, whom we will keep in our thoughts and prayers.

    The people who serve the United Nations do so with a simple purpose: to try to improve the lives of their neighbors and promote the values on which the UN was founded — dignity, freedom, security, and peace. The UN has been working in partnership with the people of Nigeria for more than five decades. An attack on Nigerian and international public servants demonstrates the bankruptcy of the ideology that led to this heinous action.

    The United States strongly supports the work of the United Nations and its lasting bond with the people of Nigeria, a bond that will only emerge stronger in the wake of this murderous act.

  18. August 26, 2011

    Statement by the President on the Attack in Mexico

    I strongly condemn the barbaric and reprehensible attack in Monterrey, Mexico yesterday. On behalf of the American people, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families at this difficult time.

    The people of Mexico and their government are engaged in a brave fight to disrupt violent transnational criminal organizations that threaten both Mexico and the United States. The United States is and will remain a partner in this fight. We share with Mexico responsibility for meeting this challenge and we are committed to continuing our unprecedented cooperation in confronting these criminal organizations.

  19. August 26, 2011

    Readout of the President’s Call with IMF Managing Director Lagarde

    The President spoke to International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde today to discuss the global economic situation and recent developments in financial markets. As this was their first conversation since her appointment as Managing Director on June 28, the President congratulated Madame Lagarde on her new role and reinforced the importance of close cooperation between the United States and the IMF. The President and the Managing Director agreed on the need for policies that foster growth and job creation in the near term, while securing medium-term fiscal consolidation. They also concurred on the importance of rebalancing global demand towards emerging markets.

  20. GOP WRONG WAY Rick Perry’s Democratic past: 4 key questions

    8/26/11 The Week – 10 hrs ago

    More than 20 years ago, the Republican presidential frontrunner was on the other side of the aisle. Will his record come back to haunt him?

    It’s no secret that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is a “no-apologies conservative” — but not all voters know the new Republican frontrunner used to be a Democrat. Perry spent several years as a Democrat in the Texas state House — and always clearly had conservative leanings — before officially switching parties in 1989. Will his somewhat forgotten, blue-tinted past affect his bid for the GOP presidential nomination? Here are four questions that might come up in the campaign:

    1. When did Perry sour on the social safety net?
    These days, Perry believes “Social Security and Medicare are public policy blunders and are probably unconstitutional,” says Mark R. Yzaguirre at FrumForum. But back when he was a Democratic state lawmaker, pretty much everyone on his side of the aisle supported both programs. Perry seems to suggest, as Ronald Reagan did, that he didn’t leave the Democrats, but that instead, they abandoned him by lurching left. But the fundamental liberal position on Social Security and Medicare hasn’t changed since 1968, so primary voters will want and deserve to know when Perry changed his mind, and why.

    2. Why the abrupt jump from blue to red?
    It’s not as if Perry underwent some gradual ideological transformation, says Alan Colmes at Liberaland. He was Al Gore’s Texas state chair in 1988 when the Tennessee Democrat ran for president the first time. Perry has since suggested that his experiene with Gore served as a sort of road-to-Damascus moment that helped push Perry to “the side of the angels.” But there are still plenty of questions of what, exactly, motivated Perry to switch sides.

    3. Is Perry just masking his old Democratic beliefs?
    Perry isn’t alone in switching sides — the Left, with its “welfare boondoggle,” has driven plenty of fiscally conservative Democrats into the arms of the GOP, says Will Malven at The Houston Conservative. Even as a Democrat, Perry was a “fierce fiscal conservative always arguing for more austere budgets,” and his conservative views have “never wavered.” Still, skeptics are sure to wonder whether Perry’s “just another smooth talking closet moderate (or even liberal) who has adopted a conservative facade out of political expediency.” He isn’t — but Perry must be prepared to set disbelievers straight.

    4. And what about Perry’s past votes for tax increases?
    A raging liberal he was not,” says Jay Root in The New York Times. Perry was, after all, a former rancher and Air Force pilot representing rural Texans. But he did “cast some votes and took a few stands that seem to be at odds” with his Tea Party conservatism today. “The most vivid example is his support of the $5.7 billion tax hike in 1987, which was opposed by most Republican lawmakers and “triggered the largest tax increase ever passed in modern Texas.” Oops.

  21. GOP WRONG WAY Dick Cheney’s ‘head-exploding’ memoir: 6 revelations

    8/26/11 The Week

    The man who was arguably the most powerful vice president in U.S. history shakes up Washington with a pugnacious, unapologetic look back

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney is about to unveil his long-anticipated autobiography, In My Time, a blunt assessment of his eight years as George W. Bush’s second-in-command. Cheney, who predicts the book will have “heads exploding all over Washington,” offered a few advance details to NBC in a Dateline interview set to air next week, timed to the book’s release. In the meantime, here are six of the most compelling revelations:

    1. Cheney wanted to bomb Syria in 2007
    2. He kept a resignation letter locked in a safe
    3. The Bush camp was furious at Gore on election night
    4. Cheney wasn’t always a fan of Condoleezza Rice
    5. He still believes in waterboarding
    6. Cheney dreams of the simple life

    For the entire article: http://goo.gl/L5wHi

  22. Japan nuke plant radiation leak exceeds Hiroshima

    8/26/11 By MARI YAMAGUCHI – Associated Press | AP – 8 hrs ago

    TOKYO (AP) — The amount of radioactive cesium that has leaked from a tsunami-hit nuclear plant is about equal to 168 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, Japan’s nuclear agency said Friday.

    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency supplied the estimate at a parliamentary panel’s request, but it noted a simple comparison between an instantaneous bomb blast and long-term accidental leak is impossible and the results could be “irrelevant.”

    The report estimated for each of the 16 isotopes released from “Little Boy” and 31 of those detected at the Fukushima plant but didn’t provide the total. NISA has said the radiation leaked from Fukushima was about one-sixth of what the Chernobyl disaster released in 1986.

    The March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused three reactor cores at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant to melt. Several blasts and fires also sent massive radiation into the environment.
    The report said the damaged plant has released 15,000 tera becquerels of cesium-137, which lingers for decades and could cause cancer, compared with the 89 tera becquerels released by the U.S. uranium bomb.

    The bomb “Little Boy” dropped on Aug. 6, 1945, destroyed most of the city and killed as many as 140,000 people. A second atomic bombing three days later in Nagasaki killed tens of thousands more, prompting Japan to surrender and ending WWII.

    The Hiroshima bomb claimed most of its victims in the intense heatwave and neutron rays from a midair nuclear explosion and the highly radioactive fallout. No one has died from radiation leaks from the Fukushima plant, where explosion from hydrogen buildup damaged reactor buildings but did not involve reactor cores.

    The report estimated that Iodine-131, another isotope that accumulates in thyroid gland, and Stronthium-90, which has a 28-year half-life and could accumulate in bones, leaked from the plant in amounts about equal to 2.5 of the Hiroshima bombs.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/japan-nuke-plant-radiation-leak-exceeds-hiroshima-131930665.html

  23. WH

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing at the White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    5:30 PM
    President Barack Obama visits the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters

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

  24. GOP WRONG WAY A Tax Cut Only Republicans Would Oppose

    August 26, 2011 Posted by Josh Cohen – democrats.org

    As this week has unfolded, more and more media outlets have spent time covering the new-found Republican opposition to tax cuts.

    Specifically, GOP leaders are threatening to block a measure that would extend a tax reduction for the working and middle class through 2013, forcing a de facto tax increase on families still weathering the brunt of the recession.

    To say that this is a new position for Republicans would be an understatement.

    In December, these same people threatened to raise taxes on all families unless Democrats agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. In April, they threatened a government shutdown unless Democrats agreed to major budget cuts that would have affected working families the most.

    And, earlier this month, they threatened the first-ever government default because the GOP/Tea Party would not agree to reduce the deficit by asking shared sacrifice from the wealthiest Americans.

    But now that tax cuts for the working and middle class are subject to debate, Republicans have changed course.

    The New York Times reports:

    “All tax relief is not created equal,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader. “If the goal is job creation, Leader Cantor has long believed that there are better ways to grow the economy and create jobs than temporary payroll tax relief.”

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

  25. The Help“: box office hit that almost didn’t get made

    8/26/11 By Fred Schruers | Reuters – 8 hrs ago

    LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) – Like Kathryn Stockett’s much-rejected book manuscript, “The Help” is a movie that almost wasn’t.
    Potent as co-producer Chris Columbus’ track record is — with such landmarks as “Home Alone” and an adaptation of some note involving a kid named Harry Potter — the project got lots of studio rejections before it got traction.

    But now DreamWorks’ Stacey Snider — who decided with partner Steven Spielberg to greenlight the film — is reaping the commercial benefits of what cannot have been an easy call.

    Indeed, Snider turned the project down at first, when it was brought to her with newbie Tate Taylor attached to write and direct.
    She couldn’t justify the cost with a first time director on board, but said, “call me if you don’t get it set up.”

    “And by the time (Tate) called me, he had written the script, which was beautiful, and it proved more than just that he had ambition,” she has said. “It proved that he actually had talent. Still doesn’t tell you if he can direct a movie, but when you read a script that was as emotional and respectful as it was, it was a good sign.”

    Columbus praised Taylor’s decision to feature one character’s narrative voice-over in the film, noting that there are three main voices in the book.

    “It’s not an easy translation,” Columbus told TheWrap.

    Taylor settled on Abileen — played by Viola Davis — for that role. “I thought that was brilliant,” Columbus said.

    To lay a foundation for an old-school word of mouth campaign, the studio test-screened the film intensively with Columbus’ blessing: “I think it’s been the most-screened movie I’ve been involved with prior to release,” he said.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/help-box-office-hit-almost-didnt-made-142431284.html

  26. Al Gore to Rick Perry: Climate scientists aren’t motivated by money

    8/26/11 By Ben Geman -TheHill

    Al Gore on Friday bashed the notion that climate scientists are manipulating data for financial gain, a charge levied by global warming skeptics, including GOP White House hopeful Rick Perry.

    “This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money,” Gore said in an online interview.

    “These scientists don’t make a lot of money. They are comfortable, as they should be, but they don’t make a lot of money. That is not their motivation for doing what they do,” Gore added.

    His comments came in a wide-ranging interview with Alex Bogusky, a prominent former advertising executive who is working with Gore on the former vice president’s Climate Reality Project.

    Gore didn’t mention Perry by name in the interview, although Bogusky mentioned Perry as part of a broader question about doubt and climate science.

    Perry, the Texas governor, attacked climate scientists at a campaign stop in New Hampshire last week. “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data, so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects,” Perry said.

    For the entire article: http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/178431-al-gore-to-rick-perry-climate-science-isnt-about-the-money-

  27. Remarks of President Barack Obama
    Weekly Address
    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    In just two weeks, we’ll come together, as a nation, to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We’ll remember the innocent lives we lost. We’ll stand with the families who loved them. We’ll honor the heroic first responders who rushed to the scene and saved so many. And we’ll pay tribute to our troops and military families, and all those who have served over the past ten years, to keep us safe and strong.

    We’ll also recall how the worst terrorist attack in American history brought out the best in the American people. How Americans lined up to give blood. How volunteers drove across the country to lend a hand. How schoolchildren donated their savings. How communities, faith groups and businesses collected food and clothing.

    We were united, and the outpouring of generosity and compassion reminded us that in times of challenge, we Americans move forward together, as one people.

    This September 11th, Michelle and I will join the commemorations at Ground Zero, in Shanksville, and at the Pentagon. But even if you can’t be in New York, Pennsylvania or Virginia, every American can be part of this anniversary. Once again, 9/11 will be a National Day of Service and Remembrance. And in the days and weeks ahead, folks across the country—in all 50 states—will come together, in their communities and neighborhoods, to honor the victims of 9/11 and to reaffirm the strength of our nation with acts of service and charity.

    In Minneapolis, volunteers will help restore a community center. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, they’ll hammer shingles and lay floors to give families a new home. In Tallahassee, Florida, they’ll assemble care packages for our troops overseas and their families here at home. In Orange County, California, they’ll renovate homes for our veterans. And once again, Michelle and I look forward to joining a local service project as well.

    There are so many ways to get involved, and every American can do something. To learn more about the opportunities where you live, just go online and visit Serve.gov. Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost; a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.

    For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/27/weekly-address-observing-911-national-service

    • GOP Wrong Way
      With Hurricane Bearing Down Cantor Spox Says Disaster Relief Should Be Paid For With Spending Cuts

      August 25, 2011 Brian Beutler – TPM

      Looks like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will extend his requirement that federal disaster relief be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere in the budget to Hurricane Irene.

      “We aren’t going to speculate on damage before it happens, period,” his spokesperson Laena Fallon emails. “But, as you know, Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts.”

      This isn’t just to lay a honeytrap for Cantor. Human toll aside, hurricane damage can be very expensive, and if against all hope Irene hits hard, this sort of parameter could put a severe dent in federal programs that are already stretched quite thin.
      It’s worth pointing out that his home state of Virginia is in the line of the storm, so this, just as with the relatively minor earthquake damage, could present him with a political conundrum. Even if his non-coastal district escapes unscathed, his fellow delegates will want federal aid post haste, sans Congressional wrangling over the budget. The statement is, to be fair, an “ought to,” not a “must,” so perhaps this will be revisited.

      Late update: To underscore how real this scenario is, Gov. Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency in Virginia.

      • Yes and this jerk did an interview with CNN giving credit to Perry and others fwho had called him with offers of assistance, praising the power companies and not once mentioning FEMA or the President. This guy is such a tool.

        • Thank you Jackie for posting it even though it was Ed; at least it gave us the heads up on the TPM article which is the important part.

  28. Al Qaeda number two killed in Pakistan: U.S. official

    8/27/11 By Caren Bohan | Reuters – 9 mins ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number two leader of al Qaeda, Atiyah abd al-Rahman, was killed on August 22 in Pakistan, a senior U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday.

  29. Obama visits response center as hurricane threatens

    8/27/11 By Caren Bohan | Reuters – 33 mins ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Saturday visited Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters to get an update on preparations for Hurricane Irene as it charged north along the East Coast.

    Obama, who cut short his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, by a day because of the hurricane, said it would be a “tough slog” getting through the storm but praised the federal effort so far.

    The hurricane was expected to hit Washington in the early hours of Sunday before hurtling toward New York City.

    The U.S. government was widely criticized for its slow response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which flooded New Orleans.

    This week FEMA and Homeland Security officials have been out in full force urging residents in the path of the hurricane to prepare and take heed of local warnings.

    Obama stopped by a FEMA coordination center where federal officials were monitoring the hurricane on large screens and said: “You guys are doing a great job.”

    He added: “Obviously, we are monitoring the situation closely.”
    Pentagon spokesman George Little tweeted that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had approved a prepare-to-deploy order for 6,500 active-duty military to support hurricane relief efforts if required.

    In downtown Washington it appeared to be a relatively normal rainy Saturday afternoon. Coffee shops were open, pedestrians were strolling, and taxis, the Metro subway and buses were running. The Smithsonian museums were open.

    But by late afternoon skies had darkened, winds picked up and pools of water began to collect in city streets due to torrential rain.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-visits-response-center-hurricane-threatens-212501164.html

    • Irene rakes up East Coast, shuts down New York

      8/27/11 By Ned Barnett | Reuters – 4 mins 53 secs ago

      MOREHEAD CITY, North Carolina (Reuters) – Hurricane Irene charged up the U.S. East Coast on Saturday toward New York, shutting down the city, and millions of Americans sought shelter from a huge storm that halted transport and caused massive power blackouts.

      “The storm is coming,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the more than 8 million people who live in the United States’ most populous city that includes Wall Street, one of the world’s major financial centers.

      From the Carolinas to Maine, tens of millions of people were in the path of the giant 580-mile-wide storm that howled ashore in eastern North Carolina at daybreak on Saturday, dumping torrential rain, felling trees and knocking out power.

      At least six deaths were reported in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. Several million people were under evacuation orders on the U.S. East Coast.

      New York City ordered unprecedented evacuations and shut down its airports and subways, part of a huge public transit system that moves 8.5 million people a day on weekdays.

      Commuters were left to flag down yellow taxis and livery cabs that were patrolling largely deserted streets.

      Irene caused transport chaos in the eastern United States, as airline, rail and transit systems in New York and other cities started sweeping weekend shutdowns.

      For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/u-high-alert-hurricane-irene-closes-003715624.html

  30. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

    8/27/11 By The Associated Press | AP – 9 mins ago


    Rebel fighters push increasingly leaderless regime gunmen to the outskirts of Tripoli, as severe shortages of fuel, water and electricity paralyze the battle-scarred capital and the stench of growing piles garbage filled the air. The rebels, who now control most of Libya, say they are preparing for an assault on Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, his last major bastion, if negotiations with tribal leaders there fail.

    Syria’s closest ally, Iran, warns that a power vacuum in Damascus could spark an unprecedented regional crisis, while urging President Bashar Assad to listen to some of his people’s “legitimate demands.” Thousands of protesters insist they will defy tanks and bullets until Assad goes. The 5-month-old uprising in Syria has left Assad with few international allies — with the vital exception of Iran, which the U.S. and other nations say is helping drive the deadly crackdown on dissent.

    EgyptAir has flown its first flight to Baghdad in 21 years in what Iraqi airport officials are hoping will be an economic boost from a fellow Arab nation. Baghdad International Airport Director General Ali Jawad says about 30 passengers arrived on the commercial airline’s Saturday flight to the Iraqi capital. EgyptAir will fly four flights to Baghdad weekly and three to Irbil in the country’s northern Kurdish region.

    • Bringing stability to war-torn Libya

      8/27/11 By Mario Cacciottolo – BBC News

      The impending end of Colonel Gaddafi’s time as Libyan leader has raised immediate questions about the nation’s stability.

      There are fears that the chaotic situation could lead to a humanitarian crisis and even an increase in violence, much as the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq led to years of bloodshed.

      So just what needs to be immediately done to preserve the basic fabric of Libya’s society?

      Aid agencies give their view on what the pressing needs are for the Libyan people, and what needs to be done in the coming few days to bring stability to the country.


      A number of organisations are already in Libya offering supplies and assistance.

      A team of three Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staff is currently in Tripoli and is starting to support facilities that, the charity says, are already overwhelmed with patients wounded in the fighting currently taking place in the Libyan capital.

      MSF has also dispatched teams to Zlitan, east of Tripoli, and Al Zawiyah, to the west, to support hospitals faced with an influx of wounded.

      For the entire article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14668182

    • US filmmaker held alone 6 months in Libya

      8/27/11 AP – 6 hrs ago

      TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — American writer and filmmaker Matthew VanDyke says he thought he was going to die when a crowd wrestled open his jail cell after six months of solitary confinement.

      Instead of an angry gang fired by government propaganda, however, it was rebels and prisoners breaking him out of Tripoli’s notorious Abu Salim prison, he told Associated Press Saturday.

      VanDyke was captured by government soldiers in the eastern oil town of Brega and then held incommunicado for six months in Tripoli — a third of it in a small cell.

      The 32-year-old freelance writer and filmmaker now plans to stay in Libya until, he said, the whole country is free.

    • Key Al-Qaida Operative Killed, U.S. Officials Say

      8/28/11vby DINA TEMPLE-RASTON – NPR

      U.S. officials say that a CIA drone strike Aug. 22 killed al-Qaida’s freshly minted second-in-command. Atiyah al-Rahman was a Libyan who was a key Osama bin Laden associate for decades.

      Al-Rahman was killed in Waziristan, Pakistan, officials say, and they seem fairly confident they got their man. There are often reports about drone strikes against core al-Qaida leaders, but the terrorists end up surfacing later. That has happened in al-Rahman’s case too, but this time U.S. officials seemed to be pretty sure. They wouldn’t say whether they had DNA evidence that last week’s attack actually killed him.

      Al-Rahman isn’t a household name, but he was a key al-Qaida operator. He has been at bin Laden’s side since he was a teenager. He fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan. After the death of bin Laden in May, Ayman al-Zawahiri became the group’s number one man, and al-Rahman emerged as his deputy.

      Officials say al-Rahman figured prominently in the trove of documents Navy SEALs found in the bin Laden compound in Pakistan in May. The documents indicated that al-Rahman was the man bin Laden relied on to get messages to other al-Qaida leaders, and al-Rahman also acted as liaison with other al-Qaida affiliates.

      These affiliates have been focusing on attacks against the United States more and more. One such affiliate group is al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the same group that launched the Christmas Day airline bombing in 2009 and was behind the foiled cargo package plot last Thanksgiving.

      Al-Rahman was also allegedly in charge of getting bin Laden’s audio tapes and videos out to the rest of the world.

      Al-Rahman’s death, if it is true, comes at an interesting time for al-Qaida. It is going through its first leadership transition ever. Bin Laden has been the only leader the group has ever known and now, all of a sudden, al-Qaida’s core operation will have to see if it can continue without him. Officials say the next six months are critical in the transition. They see it as a window of opportunity with “potential to end the group.”

      For the entire article: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/28/140002638/key-al-qaida-operative-killed-u-s-officials-say

  31. WH

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing at the White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    President Obama will deliver a statement on Hurricane Irene in the Rose Garden

    6:00 PM
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    • POTUS podium

      August 28, 2011

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

      5:00 PM EDT
      President Obama will deliver a statement on Hurricane Irene in the Rose Garden

      CNN http://live.cnn.com

      11:30 AM EDT
      Homeland Security news conference: Hurricane Irene
      Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other federal officials discuss relief efforts and the status of Hurricane Irene.

      12:15 PM EDT
      NY Hurricane Irene Update

      5:00 PM EDT
      President Obama will deliver a statement on Hurricane Irene in the Rose Garden


      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      11:30 AM EDT
      Homeland Security news conference: Hurricane Irene
      Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other federal officials discuss relief efforts and the status of Hurricane Irene. http://www.cspan.org/Events/Hurricane-Irene-Moves-Up-the-East-Coast/10737423761/

      5:00 PM EDT
      President Obama will deliver a statement on Hurricane Irene in the Rose Garden

      Middle East Protest

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

  32. I Have a Dream” is the famous name given to the ten minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. King’s delivery of the speech on August 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters, the speech is often considered to be one of the greatest and most notable speeches in human history and was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address. According to U.S. Representative John Lewis, who also spoke that day as the President of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, “Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations.”

    The King Center http://www.thekingcenter.org/Default.aspx

    ▪ Audio of the “I Have a Dream” speech http://www.archive.org/details/MLKDream
    I Have a Dream Text of the spoken speech http://www.usconstitution.net/dream.html

  33. BET to dedicate Sunday’s programming to MLK

    8/25/11 AP –

    NEW YORK (AP) — BET still plans to dedicate Sunday’s programming to Martin Luther King, Jr., even though his memorial won’t be unveiled that day due to Hurricane Irene.

    The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial was supposed to be unveiled at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Sunday is the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

    BET says it still plans to air programs related to the slain civil rights leader Sunday, including “Alpha Man: The Brotherhood of MLK,” a special which takes a look at King’s role in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

    The network also will air “Michelle Obama on a Mission: Impact Africa,” which follows the First Lady’s travels to South Africa and Botswana.

    President Barack Obama was to have spoken Sunday, which BET planned to show on its channel.

    Centric, BET’s sister channel, will also dedicate Sunday’s programming to King.

  34. Sunday show preview: All about Irene

    8/27/11 By Jamie Klatell – TheHill

    (Democratic excerpts only)

    Political chatter will largely be pushed off your television screen this Sunday by Hurricane Irene, the storm which made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday.

    All the networks will have the latest updates from up and down the East Coast to monitor the aftermath of the hurricane.

    FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is scheduled to appear on ABC’s “This Week,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday.”….

    CBS’s “Face the Nation” has an interview scheduled with former Secretary of State Colin Powell that will focus on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    The official dedication of the MLK memorial on the National Mall was scheduled for this weekend but was postponed because of Hurricane Irene.

    For the entire article and GOP appearences: http://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/178469-sunday-show-preview-all-about-irene

  35. “Act now” to save global recovery, IMF chief urges

    8/27/11 By Ann Saphir and Mark Felsenthal | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

    JACKSON HOLE, Wyo (Reuters) – The new head of the IMF on Saturday called on global policymakers to pursue urgent action, including forcing European banks to bulk up their capital, to prevent a descent into a renewed world recession.

    “Developments this summer have indicated we are in a dangerous new phase,” International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said at a conference for top officials and leading economists from around the globe.

    “The stakes are clear; we risk seeing the fragile recovery derailed. So we must act now,” she said.

    Two years after the end of the worst of the financial crisis, growth in the United States and Europe is sputtering as government debt burdens surge.

    Borrowing costs for European banks are rising as lenders balk at providing any but the shortest maturity funds on fears over bank exposure to shaky euro zone sovereign debts. Sharp swings in global financial markets have intensified strains.

    Complicating the picture is policymaker indecision on both sides of the Atlantic.

    European leaders are fighting over who should pay the bill for taming a raging sovereign debt crisis.

    In the United States, lawmakers and President Barack Obama fought a contentious budget battle earlier this summer that resulted in the loss of the nation’s coveted “AAA” debt rating from Standard & Poor’s.

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned here on Friday that the fight had shaken confidence and sapped U.S. growth.

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

  36. Obama and Merkel vow action on global economic woes

    8/27/11 By Caren Bohan | Reuters – 7 hrs ago

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech after receiving the Emperor Otto …

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the eurozone crisis and financial-market turbulence on Saturday and vowed action to bolster the global economy, the White House said in a statement.
    “The two leaders agreed on the importance of concerted action, including through the G20, to address current economic challenges and to spur growth and job creation in the global economy,” the statement said.

    The White House also said Obama and Merkel discussed Middle East peace and would continue working on a statement by the Middle East Quartet — the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations — that would provide a basis for the resumption of direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

  37. Unusually quiet New York waits for Irene’s worst

    8/28/11 By MITCH WEISS &SAMANTHA GROSS – Associated Press | AP – 53 mins ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Waterlogged and silent, New York awaited the worst of Hurricane Irene as an unsettled dawn broke over the city Sunday. Seawater cascaded toward Wall Street and the labyrinth of cables and pipes beneath it, threatening the nerve center of global finance.

    The storm pushed a 3 1/2-foot surge of water into New York Harbor, and forecasters said the peak could be twice as tall later in the morning.

    Irene barely maintained hurricane strength, delivering winds of 75 mph, just above the dividing line for a tropical storm. But it was massive and powerful, forming a figure six that covered the Northeast. It sped up and was moving at 25 mph, twice as fast as the day before.

    The hurricane had already unloaded more than a foot of water on North Carolina, spun off tornadoes in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, and left 4 million homes and businesses without power. Nine people were killed.

    With steady, heavy rain falling in the nation’s largest city, there was nothing left to do but wait. There were sandbags on Wall Street, tarps over subway grates and plywood on windows — at least ones low enough to reach. The subway stopped rolling. Broadway and baseball were canceled.

    And 370,000 people had been ordered to move to safer ground, although they appeared in great numbers to have stayed put.

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/unusually-quiet-york-waits-irenes-worst-115429635.html

    • 4M without power as Hurricane Irene heads north

      8/28/11 By CHRIS KAHN – AP Energy Writer | AP – 8 mins ago

      More than 4 million homes and businesses were without power Sunday morning as Hurricane Irene continued to roar up the East Coast and took aim at the New York City area and New England.

      Winds of up to 115 miles per hour whipped across the Eastern Seaboard, ripping power lines from poles and snapping trees in half. Hospitals, emergency call centers and other crucial facilities were holding up, but officials said it could get much worse as Irene churns north.

      More than 1.3 million of the homes and businesses without power were in Virginia and North Carolina, which bore the brunt of Irene’s initial march. Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. had about three-quarters of a million outages combined.

      New Jersey and Pennsylvania each had about three-quarters of a million without power, and hundreds of thousands of other customers were in the dark in New York and Connecticut.

      Officials in southern and mid-Atlantic states had warned of mass power outages, with some recalling the destructive Hurricane Isabel in 2003, and their predictions were confirmed after Irene moved over North Carolina as a Category 1 storm early Saturday.

      New York’s biggest utility, Consolidated Edison, said it could cut power to the city’s most vulnerable areas if the storm causes serious flooding. Salt water and rain can damage electrical equipment.

      For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/4m-without-power-hurricane-irene-heads-north-125403691.html

    • Obama briefed on Irene as storm weakens, moves north; Napolitano says worst over in most areas

      August 28, 2011 Associated Press

      WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama was briefed Sunday morning as Irene was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.

      Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says Obama instructed administration officials to continue to be aggressive in their efforts to deal with the storm and its aftermath. Top administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, were also briefed on the response and recovery process.

      Napolitano says the worst of the storm has passed for most areas. But she says communities still in Irene’s path should continue to be vigilant even though the storm has weakened.

      Napolitano also expressed her condolences for the families of those killed in the storm.

    • After Irene: Little damage seen in many places

      8/28/11 By ROBERT RAY &TOM FOREMAN Jr. –
      Associated Press | AP – 1 hr 3 mins ago

      KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) — From North Carolina to New Jersey, Hurricane Irene appeared to have fallen short of the doomsday predictions. But with rivers still rising, and roads impassable because of high water and fallen trees, it could be days before the full extent of the damage is known.

      More than 4.5 million homes and businesses along the East Coast lost power, and at least 11 deaths were blamed on the storm. But as day broke Sunday, surprisingly light damage was reported in many places, with little more than downed trees and power lines.

      “I think it’s a little strong to say we dodged a bullet. However, it certainly could have turned out worse for the Hampton Roads area” in Virginia, said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Montefusco.

      At the same time, officials warned of the possibility of severe flooding over the next few days as runoff from the storm makes its way into creeks and rivers. In some parts of the Northeast, the ground was soggy even before the storm because of an extremely rainy August.

      Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett cautioned: “The rivers may not crest until Tuesday or Wednesday. This isn’t just a 24-hour event.”

      Irene brought rain of six inches to a foot to many places along the East Coast. The storm was still pummeling the New York City area on Sunday morning, dropping below hurricane strength but still dangerous with 65 mph winds and heavy downpours.

      For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/irene-little-damage-seen-many-places-135226709.html

      • Some flights resume in East, rail service halted

        8/28/11 By John Crawley and Lisa Lambert | Reuters – 34 mins ago

        Waves and storm surge pound the boardwalk and the beach at first light as Hurricane …

        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Airlines resumed limited operations Sunday at Washington-area airports lashed by Hurricane Irene while New York, the nation’s busiest air hub, assessed the storm’s wrath.

        With skies clearing and damage from feared Irene minimal, a few arrivals descended on the capital area’s three airports — Reagan National and Dulles in Virginia and BWI in Maryland.
        The biggest airlines canceled virtually all service for the day throughout the Northeast and hoped to restart flights in earnest Monday.

        It could take a couple of days to get operations back to normal, aviation officials said.

        More than 10,000 flights were canceled from Friday through Monday, most at New York-area airports that handle about 6,000 flights per day and 100 million passengers a year.

        Carriers heavily affected include US Airways, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines.

        All three New York airports remained effectively closed Sunday morning.

        Airlines abandoned Northeast airports ahead of the storm to keep their planes away from hurricane-force winds and torrential rains.

        Amtrak, the nation’s only long haul passenger rail service, canceled all Northeast trains for Sunday.

  38. GOP WRONG WAYHurricane Irene: Eric Cantor’s ‘callous’ disaster-aid refusal

    Aug 26, 2011 The Week

    The House majority leader says any relief money should be offset by spending cuts. Is he right — or is it cruel to talk accounting as a storm crashes in?

    As the East Coast braces for Hurricane Irene and Virginia shakes off a mild earthquake, one of the country’s most powerful Republicans, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is vowing to prevent disaster relief money from reaching the states unless Democrats agree to budget cuts. Is this insensitive grandstanding, or is he just making sure the government doesn’t spend money it doesn’t have?

    Cantor is putting politics ahead of victims: “Just as Republicans held the country hostage over the debt ceiling,” says Michael Stickings at The Moderate Voice, “Cantor is now trying to do the same over disaster relief.” Hurricane Katrina taught us that the only way to save lives and relieve suffering is to get food, shelter, and help to victims immediately. Cantor either didn’t learn that lesson, or he just “doesn’t care.” This is “political hostage-taking with lives and livelihoods in the balance.”

    “Hurricane Irene, Eric Cantor, and the Republican hostage-taking politics of disaster relief”

    And he’s done this before: Cantor is “callous,” says Tanya Somanader at ThinkProgress, but at least he’s consistent. “When Americans were struggling to recover from the deadly tornado that tore through the South in May, Cantor also demanded that any disaster relief be offset with cuts.” Apparently his idea of limited government calls for public servants to “completely fail the public they serve.”

    “Cantor says no earthquake disaster relief for his home state unless spending is cut elsewhere”

    For the entire article: http://news.yahoo.com/hurricane-irene-eric-cantors-callous-disaster-aid-refusal-135500597.html

    • GOP Rep Eric Cantor – That’s Not How We Do Things in America

      Uploaded by karinmoveon on Sep 1, 2011

      GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other Republicans are threatening to withhold aid for victims of Hurricane Irene in exchange for deep budget cuts. Tell the GOP and Rep. Cantor: “That’s Not How We Do Things in America”

  39. Deportation tide changing for gay couples

    8/28/11 By Matt O’Brien – ContraCostTimes

    OAKLAND — When a judge last week closed a deportation case against Filipino immigrant Raul Sinense, he and his husband, Peter Gee, celebrated by having coffee together on Berkeley’s Solano Avenue.

    The low-key celebration suited the low-key couple, who married on a Big Sur beach during the six-month window in 2008 when same-sex marriage was legal in California.

    The occasion, however, also marked a turning point: The Oakland pair is one of just three gay couples nationwide to benefit from a new Obama administration policy that orders immigration officials to reconsider deporting illegal immigrants who have strong community and family ties.

    “This is a really pivotal case,” Gee said. “It seems like the tide is changing in the U.S. toward inclusion, toward equality, toward human.”

    Immigration Judge Tue Phan-Quang ordered the case against Sinense closed on Aug. 16 because the immigration service said a few days earlier it was no longer seeking to deport Sinense to the Philippines. The problems are not over for Sinense — his case is not decisively terminated, just on indefinite hold — but the action means the couple won’t be separated and Sinense can reapply for a work permit.

    “San Francisco right now is really the center of this policy shift,” said Camiel Becker, the couple’s lawyer. “We have judges who don’t want to deport people if they’re in a same-sex marriage. It’s not just by chance. The trial attorneys and the judges

    For the entire article: http://www.mercurynews.com/samesexmarriage/ci_18765724?source=rss

  40. Obama meets with advisers for update on Irene

    8/28/11 By Caren Bohan | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama held a video conference on Sunday with key officials involved in the response to Hurricane Irene as the storm pounded New York City with winds and heavy rain.

    “The president was updated on the response and recovery efforts that are currently under way in coordination with state and local officials as well as the status of critical energy and transportation infrastructure,” the White House said in a statement.

    Among the officials participating in the conference call were White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    In the call in the White House Situation Room, Obama asked Napolitano and Fugate to keep in close contact with state and local officials about their response needs.

    The White House said Obama planned to reconvene the team on Sunday evening.

  41. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

    8/28/11 By The Associated Press | AP – 5 mins ago

    Retreating loyalists of Moammar Gadhafi killed scores of detainees and arbitrarily shot civilians over the past week, as rebel forces extended their control over the Libyan capital. In one case, Gadhafi fighters opened fire and hurled grenades at more than 120 civilians huddling in a hangar used as a makeshift lockup near a military base, said Mabrouk Abdullah, 45, who escaped with a bullet wound in his side. Some 50 charred corpses were still scattered across the hangar.

    Syrian authorities pursuing a crackdown against President Bashar Assad’s critics ban three prominent opposition figures from leaving the country, and security forces killed two people and arrested several others in northern Syria. The three were on their way to neighboring Lebanon to take part in a televised panel discussion when they were told by Syrian immigration authorities at the border that they were prohibited from leaving out of concern for their safety in Lebanon. The three denounced the decision.

    Bahrain will dismiss charges against some people detained during crackdowns against Shiite-led protests and allow compensation to prisoners abused by security forces, the Gulf nation’s king says in a nationally broadcast speech. It comes more than six months after his regime launched sweeping crackdowns against demonstrators seeking greater rights. In the speech, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa offers no clear concessions toward Bahrain’s majority Shiites, whose demands include easing the Sunni dynasty’s hold on power, setting policies and hand-picking government officials.

    An Omani court says it needs more time to study slander-related charges that could bring the closure of a newspaper after articles alleging widespread corruption inside the Justice Ministry. The court adjourns the trial until Sept. 9 after hearing testimony from the justice minister and two top editors for the Azzaman daily. The charges have brought complaints from press watchdog groups about media clampdowns in the tightly ruled Arabian peninsula nation, which faced pro-reform protests earlier this year.

    • August 28, 2011

      Statement by the President, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on Hurricane Irene

      Rose Garden

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I’m joined today by my Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and Administrator of FEMA, Craig Fugate, to provide a brief update on our ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Irene.

      First, let me say that this is a storm that has claimed lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who’ve lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storm. You need to know that America will be with you in your hour of need.

      While the storm has weakened as it moves north, it remains a dangerous storm that continues to produce heavy rains. One of our chief concerns before Irene made landfall was the possibility of significant flooding and widespread power outages. And we’ve been getting reports of just that from our state and local partners. Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks.

      So I want people to understand that this is not over. Response and recovery efforts will be an ongoing operation, and I urge Americans in affected areas to continue to listen for the guidance and direction of their state and local officials.

      Before the storm made landfall, the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA worked very closely with our state and local partners, as well as volunteer organizations, to pre-position supplies and teams of first responders along the hurricane’s projected track. And the American Red Cross opened shelters in communities across the region. I want to thank those Americans for their work over the past several days, which has saved lives and property up and down the East Coast.

      We continue to have search and rescue personnel on alert, as well as water, food and other needed resources. And moving forward, FEMA is working with state and local responders to assess damage and assist in the recovery.

      I do want to underscore that the impacts of this storm will be felt for some time, and the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer. Power may be out for days in some areas, and we will support our state and local partners in every way that we can as they work to restore power in those areas.

      So I’m going to make sure that DHS and FEMA and other federal agencies are doing everything in their power to help folks on the ground. I continue to meet regularly with Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate and the other members of my team to assess our response and ensure that we have what we need in place.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/28/statement-president-secretary-homeland-security-janet-napolitano-and-fem

  42. Recovering from Disaster


    Before You Enter Your Home
    Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

    Do not enter if:
    • You smell gas.
    • Floodwaters remain around the building.
    • Your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.

    Going Inside Your Home
When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:

    • Natural gas. If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on. Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles, or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.
    • Sparks, broken or frayed wires. Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
    • Roof, foundation, and chimney cracks. If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
    • Appliances. If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.
    • Water and sewage systems. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
    • Food and other supplies. Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
    • Your basement. If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
    • Open cabinets. Be alert for objects that may fall.
    • Clean up household chemical spills. Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
    • Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.

    Source: http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/recovering_from_disaster.shtm

  43. *********************

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “ President’s Council on Jobs & Competitiveness ”

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

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