Resurgence of the American Auto Industry

United States Automotive Industry

The American automobile industry began in the 1890s and rapidly evolved into the largest automotive producer in the World through the use of mass-production. The industry began with hundreds of manufacturers, but by the end of the 1920s it became dominated by three large companies – General MotorsFord and Chrysler. After the Great Depression and World War II, these companies continued to prosper and the US produced near 3/4 of all automobiles in the world at 1950. However, after record of production near 15 millions in some 1970s years, at the beginning and middle of that decade, a combination of high oil prices, increased competition from foreign auto manufacturers, and increasing government regulation severely affected the companies. In the 1980s–1990s US auto power was overtaken by rapidly growed Japanese auto industry but in the 21st century both of them are balanced and now are the second largest in the World (after China) with annual production of 8–10 millions.In the ensuing years, the companies periodically bounced back, but by 2008 the industry was in turmoil. As a result, General Motors and Chrysler filed bankruptcy reorganization and were bailed out with loans and investments from the federal government.


US Auto Sales 2007- 2015

US auto sales score new high in 2015

1/5/16 YahooNews

US auto sales touched a new high in 2015 as easy credit, hot new vehicles and strong consumer confidence pushed sales slightly above the record set in 2000, industry data showed Tuesday.

Some 17.47 million vehicles were sold in the United States last year, nearly 70,000 more than the record set 15 years earlier, according to Autodata.

Sales were up six percent from the 16.52 million vehicles registered in 2014.

The boom comes after sales collapsed to lows not seen in decades in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis which knocked General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy.

That downturn accelerated much-needed restructuring at the Detroit Three carmakers, which began racking in record profits when the economy improved and sales started climbing again.

The good times are expected to keep on rolling in 2016.

“The US economy continues to expand and the most important factors that drive demand for new vehicles are in place, so we expect to see a second consecutive year of record industry sales in 2016,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist.

“The single most important pieces are the ongoing gains in employment and the growth in personal income. When you add in lower energy prices, it’s easy to see why consumer spending is strong.”

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83 thoughts on “Resurgence of the American Auto Industry

  1. WH

    Friday, January 13 , 2012

    All Times Eastern

    First Lady Michelle Obama this morning joins the cast of Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” at a special screening of “iMeet The First Lady” in Alexandria, Va.

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney will hold an off-camera gaggle in the Brady Press Briefing Room

    10:30 AM
    Vice President Biden and Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller will visit Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown, Pennsylvania to discuss college affordability.
    Doylestown, Pennsylvania
    Open Press

    10:45 AM
    President Obama meets with Secretary of Treasury Geithner.
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    11:00 AM
    11:20 AM EST
    11:20 AM
    President Obama delivers remarks on government reform
    East Room
    Open Press

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:45 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign event at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington.
    Local Event Time: The Jefferson Hotel, Washington, DC
    Closed Press

    2:00 PM
    Vice President Biden attends a campaign event in Philadelphia

    3:00 PM
    3:15 PM
    Vice President Biden attends an event to thank local supporters
    Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

    3:45 PM
    President Obama meets with Secretary of State Clinton.
    Oval Office
    Closed Press

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    5:30 PM
    President Obama and Michelle Obama host the Tuskegee Airmen, along with cast and crew members of the movie “Red Tails,” for a screening at the White House.
    The Family Theatre
    Closed Pres

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

  2. Effects of the 2008–2010 automotive industry crisis on the United States

    Beginning in the latter half of 2008, a global-scale recession adversely affected the economy of the United States. A combination of several years of declining automobile sales and scarce availability of credit led to a more widespread crisis in the United States auto industry in 2008 and 2009.

    Following dramatic drops in automobile sales throughout 2008, each of the “Big Three” U.S. automakers: General Motors (GM), Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler, requested emergency loans in order to address impending cash shortages. By April 2009, the situation had worsened such that both GM and Chrysler were faced with imminent bankruptcy and liquidation. With the intent to prevent massive job losses and destabilizing damage to the entire manufacturing sector, the U.S. and Canadian governments provided unprecedented financial bailout support to allow the companies to restructure and jettison legacy debt via Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Both companies separately filed for this protection by June 1.

    General Motors emerged from bankruptcy as a new company majority owned by the United States Treasury, and Chrysler emerged owned primarily by the United Auto Workers union and by Italian automaker Fiat S.p.A.. Both companies terminated agreements with hundreds of their dealerships and GM discontinued several of its brands as part of bankruptcy proceedings. Ford Motor Company was able to survive without entering bankruptcy partly due to a large line of credit which it obtained in 2007.

    The U.S. automakers were more heavily affected by the crisis than their foreign counterparts, such as Toyota. Following the 2000s energy crisis, the U.S. automakers failed to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles as opposed to the high-profit sport utility vehicles that were popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s which led to excess inventory and undesirable product. Since the automotive crisis abated, all three American automakers have increased sales of vehicles and have posted a profit.



    In the year before the President took office, the American auto industry lost more than 400,000 jobs. Chrysler and GM were facing liquidation.

    President Obama had a choice: He could have extended billions of dollars of taxpayer support without requiring any real changes. He also could have allowed the companies to collapse, which, because they are closely linked to networks of suppliers, dealers and other auto companies, would have had a dramatic ripple effect through the industry. Independent forecasts projected that, were the companies to fail, it could have eliminated more than 1 million jobs. Instead he chose a different way: standing behind the American auto industry, but requiring the companies to undergo painful restructuring to become competitive for the future.

    Obama Address to Joint Session of Congress
    In his joint address to Congress in 2009, Obama stated that

    “We will invest fifteen billion dollars in technologies like…more efficient cars and trucks built right here in America. As for auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and global recession have pushed our automakers to the brink. We should not, and will not, protect them from their own bad practices. But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it. Scores of communities depend on it. And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk from it”

    The President will be the first one to tell you that we will not rest until every American who is looking for a job can find one. But we will also not apologize for touting the rehiring of nearly 10,000 American manufacturing workers.


    • The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS),

      The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), colloquially known as “Cash for Clunkers”, was a $3 billion U.S. federal scrappage program intended to provide economic incentives to U.S. residents to purchase a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle when trading in a less fuel-efficient vehicle. The program was promoted as providing stimulus to the economy by boosting auto sales, while putting safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles on the roadways.

      Although the program officially started on July 1, 2009, the processing of claims did not begin until July 24,[2] and the program ended on August 24, as the appropriated resources were exhausted. The deadline for dealers to submit applications was August 25. According to estimates of the Department of Transportation, the initial $1 billion appropriated for the system was exhausted by July 30, 2009, well before the anticipated end date of November 1, 2009, due to very high demand. In response, Congress approved an additional $2 billion.

      In response to the U.S. Department of Transportation estimate that the $1 billion appropriated for the system was almost exhausted by July 30, 2009, due to very high demand,Congress approved an additional $2 billion for the program with the explicit support of the Obama Administration. On July 31, 2009, the House of Representatives approved the extra $2 billion for the program, and the Senate approved the extension on August 6, defeating all six amendments presented. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on August 7, and the appropriation was exhausted by August 24, 2009.


      • Did ‘Cash-for-Clunkers’ work as intended?

        Posted by Christina Romer & Christopher Carroll on April 05, 2010

        On June 24, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS, commonly known as ‘Cash-For-Clunkers’), one of several stimulus programs whose purpose was to shift expenditures by households, businesses, and governments from future periods when the economy is likely to be stronger, to the present when the economy has an abundance of unemployed resources that can be put to work at low net economic cost.

        Critics of the CARS program argued that it would have little ultimate effect because most of the purchases under the program would have happened soon anyway – they were merely ‘pulled forward’ from the following few months. In contrast, the CEA’s September 10 economic analysis of the program argued that a substantial proportion of the CARS sales were pulled forward from a far more distant future, and thus represented an important increment to aggregate demand at just the time when such demand was sorely needed.

        With seven months of post-Clunkers sales data in hand (September 2009 through March 2010; see dark blue line in figure), now seems a good time for a reckoning.

        The ‘short-term pull-forward’ view was perhaps most vigorously articulated by automotive industry website In late October, made a widely-reported forecast for the pace of sales in the last quarter of the year: According to Edmunds, light motor vehicle sales in November and December would be only about 10.5 million at an annual rate (the dashed blue line in the figure). Edmunds furthermore argued that, had the CARS program not existed, the pace of sales would have been higher, about 10.8 million, during those two months (the dashed red line in the figure).

        But according to the final data now in hand, the actual pace of sales in November and December was about 11.0 million units (the solid blue line in the figure substantially exceeds Edmunds’ October 28 forecast). Last Thursday’s announcement of a strong pace of sales in March also belies Edmunds’ pessimistic trajectory. Indeed, over the seven months following the end of the CARS program in late August, the sales pace has averaged 10.7 million units at an annual rate, much higher than the 9.6 million pace in the three months that preceded the program, and considerably stronger than the forecasts made by private forecasters just before enactment of the CARS program.

        A final source of evidence on size and timing of the ‘pull forward’ effect comes directly from the people who purchased a vehicle under the program. According to a survey conducted by the Department of Transportation as part of the program, the average timeframe over which new car purchasers said they would have otherwise sold, traded in, or disposed of their old vehicle was 2.87 years – far longer than the timeframe of a few months that the program’s critics hypothesized. A plausible interpretation of the available data, in fact, is that many of the CARS sales were to the kinds of thrifty people who can afford to buy a new car but normally wait until the old one is thoroughly worn out. Stimulating spending by such people is very nearly the best possible countercylical fiscal policy in an economy suffering from temporarily low aggregate demand.

      • Once struggling U.S. auto market now industry bedrock

        1/8/12 By Laurence Frost | Reuters

        DETROIT (Reuters) – Welcome to an unlikely beacon of hope for the global auto industry — Detroit.

        Executives arriving this week for the Detroit auto show find a U.S. car market that has morphed from meltdown three years ago to a safe haven as concerns grow about the stability of other big economies, from Europe to China.

        Analysts and executives expect 2012 U.S. auto sales to grow 4 percent to 9 percent, the third consecutive annual gain. The only reason automakers are not more bullish is the risk that the sovereign debt crisis in Europe may trigger a broader slowdown.

        All three U.S. automakers took market share in the United States for the first time in 23 years. But they can expect tougher competition in 2012 as the Japanese rivals rebound, and Hyundai and Volkswagen gather steam. A return to the boom years of 17 million annual sales, however, will not happen any time soon.

        “We see an exceptionally competitive market because there are now eight major manufacturers vying for share,” said Tom Libby, senior forecasting analyst at Polk, a Michigan-based automotive consulting firm.

        “VW has become very aggressive in the U.S., and Hyundai-Kia has huge momentum that will continue into 2012.”

        The crop of new vehicles at the Detroit show this week reflects the heavier competition U.S. automakers General Motors, Ford and Fiat-controlled Chrysler can expect in their home market.

        For the entire article:

      • GM Leads U.S. Carmaker Gains in China as Honda Sales Fall (making GM the world’s largest carmaker)

        January 10, 2012, 3:12 AM EST

        Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. reported record car sales in China last year, outpacing Japanese rivals hurt by production disruptions from the March 11 earthquake and Thailand’s floods.

        Deliveries to Chinese dealers climbed 8.3 percent from a year earlier to 2.55 million vehicles, Detroit-based GM said in a statement yesterday. Ford said its sales grew 7 percent to 519,390 units. Toyota Motor Corp., Japan’s biggest carmaker, said last week that China sales rose last year at the slowest pace since at least 2004 and Honda Motor Co. yesterday reported its first ever annual decline in deliveries in the country.

        GM, which received a $50 billion bailout from the U.S. government in 2009, sold an average of one car or truck every 12 seconds in the world’s largest car market last year as it started a five-year rollout of more than 60 new and upgraded models in China. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami affected suppliers for many Japanese automakers, with many also shutting plants in Thailand after the worst flooding in almost 70 years.

        “It’s clear that Detroit is undergoing a resurgence even as the Japanese automakers grapple with a terrible 2011,” Ashvin Chotai, London-based managing director for Intelligence Automotive Asia, said in a telephone interview. “In China, GM and Ford have been fairly aggressive with new models.”

        For the entire article:

    • Obama Administration Raises Voice on Bargaining Rights

      MARCH 1, 2011, 5:35 PM MARCH 1, 2011, 5:35 PM – wsj

      The Obama administration’s voice of support for collective bargaining rights grew louder this week as President Barack Obama and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis publicly stated that workers in states deserve to maintain their bargaining rights.

      Ms. Solis, in an article on the Huffington Post Tuesday, referenced job strikes her father participated in as a Teamster, and called collective bargaining “a cornerstone of our democracy and our middle class.”

      These rights “shouldn’t be cast aside in hard times” and “can and should be part of the solution,” she wrote, referring to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation to curb collective bargaining. “But some state leaders have gone too far in the process. Budget sacrifices are one thing; demanding that workers give up their rights as union members — to take away their voice — is another.”

      A day earlier, Mr. Obama told a gathering of the nation’s governors that while everybody should be prepared to give up something to solve the budget challenges, “I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon.”

      Some labor officials remain disappointed that Mr. Obama hasn’t used done more to publicly press Republican governors to back off proposals to curb collective bargaining rights of public-sector workers. Machinists union President Thomas Buffenbarger recently said he’d like to see Mr. Obama recite the preamble of the Wagner Act, the 1935 law signed by Franklin Roosevelt to recognize workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively, among other things.

      But John Sweeney, the former president of the AFL-CIO, applauded the president Tuesday, saying, “I think the president’s message yesterday was pretty strong.”

      This week, the AFL-CIO kicked off its winter meeting at its headquarters in Washington, a switch from an earlier plan to hold the meeting in Orlando where it would have been more challenging to gather and coordinate as state battles unfold. Labor is pouring at least $30 million into fighting for state union rights; if those rights are lost, it could cost the unions members and money as they seek to maintain political clout moving into the 2012 presidential election.

    • Obama to Governors: Don’t Vilify Public Workers

      FEB 28 2011, 11:57 AM ET TheAtlantic

      Addressing governors from around the country at the White House this morning, President Obama dedicated a moment of his speech to warning them not to vilify public workers.

      “I believe that everybody should be prepared to give up something to solve our budget challenges,” Obama said. “In fact, many public employees in your respective states have already agreed to cuts. But let me also say this: I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or when their rights are infringed upon.”

      Thousands of public employees have protested in Wisconsin and Ohio as Republicans have proposed stripping them of some collective bargaining rights, as part of new state budget plans. Pensions and compensation to unionized state and municipal workers have come under increasing fire from conservatives during the past year.

      “We need to attract the best and brightest to public service,” Obama said. “We’re not going to attract the best teachers for our kids if they only make a fraction of what other professions make … Yes, we need a conversation about pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other promises that we’ve made as a nation, and those will be tough conversations and necessarily conversations.”

      Obama has himself into the discussion over public-workers unions early on in the Wisconsin showdown.

      As protests first unfolded in Madison two weeks ago, Obama told a Milwaulkee TV station, “Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally seems like more of an assault on unions.” Obama’s grassroots political arm, Organizing for America (which is run by the Democratic National Committee), has reportedly assisted in organizing protests in Wisconsin, drawing some criticism from conservatives who see it as in appropriate for Obama’s political operation to stir opposition to a state’s governor.

      During the 2008 campaign, Obama enjoyed significant support from major unions, which have rallied around the collective-bargaining fights in Wisconsin and Ohio. He has long supported some of labor’s prized policy initiatives.

    • Biden defends unions against conservative ‘social agenda’

      By Daniel Strauss – 02/23/11 06:46 PM ET TheHill

      Unions are not the cause of the country’s economic woes, Vice President Biden said Wednesday.

      “Public employees are not the problem. The problem is much deeper,” Biden said during a fundraiser in New York for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

      Rather, Biden said, unions are part of the reason the country has a middle class.

      Biden said the Republicans are trying to use the bad economy that their policies created to push a conservative social agenda.

      “We are going to see the economic conditions they created used as an excuse to fundamentally go after the social agenda that the far right has been trying to accomplish for a long time,” Biden said.

      Biden’s comments in New York are the most direct pro-union statements he has made since protests broke out in Wisconsin in response to a bill which would curtail collective bargaining rights of public employees in that state.

      The bill, pushed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), has resulted in strong resistance on the left, as demonstrations gripped the state capital of Madison and Wisconsin Senate Democrats fled the state so that Walker’s bill cannot be voted on.

      The absentee Democrats say they won’t return until the bill is permanently killed. Gov. Walker is threatening massive layoffs if the Democrats do not return and permit the legislature to function.

      Last week President Obama came out against the Wisconsin proposal.

      “Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain, generally seems like more of an assault on unions,” Obama said last week.

    • ResetIncreaseDecrease
      Gracias, señor Presidente’

      Líder del Sindicato Local 909 tiene el honor de presentar a Obama en una manifestación

      No es frecuente que llegues a conocer al Presidente de los Estados Unidos

      La presidenta del Sindicato Local 909 de la UAW Ghana Goodwin-Dye no sólo conoció al Presidente, sino que además tuvo el honor de hacer su presentación en un acto del Día del Trabajo el 5 de septiembre en el sur de Detroit, donde tomaron la palabra el presidente Obama, la secretaria del Trabajo de Estados Unidos Hilda Solís, entre otros varios líderes, ante miles de activistas y afiliados a la UAW.

      La multitud se reunió en la rivera del Río Detroit detrás del centro Renaissance de la General Motors Co. para oír hablar al Presidente. También hubo actuaciones de la legendaria cantante Aretha Franklin y del Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.

      Goodwin-Dye fungió como miembro del Comité Nacional de Negociaciones UAW-GM y como Presidenta del Sindicato Local 909, representa a los trabajadores de la instalación Powertrain de GM en Warren, Mich. Ha trabajado en GM desde 1985,
      adquiriendo condición de oficial como electricista en 2008.

      Goodwin-Dye es la primera mujer afroestadounidense en ser elegida como Presidenta de su Sindicato Local.

      Dice que su participación como encargada de la presentación comenzó con una reunión un día con el vicepresidente de la UAW Joe Ashton, quien dirige el Departamento General Motors del sindicato.

      “El vicepresidente Ashton me dijo a mí y al presidente del Comité de Negociaciones [GM] Harold Jackson que el mandatario iba a estar hablando al sur de la ciudad y que se necesitaba que alguien lo presentara. Yo fui elegida de entre otros cuatro candidatos. Estaba emocionada y honrada de que Joe Ashton pensara en mí para presentar al Presidente —contó—. Él me había designado como secretaria de actas para el equipo de negociaciones, y entonces, pues tener la oportunidad de presentar al Presidente… estaba honrada y conmovida por eso”.

      Cuando Ashton le llamó para anunciarle su decisión, dice Goodwin-Dye que se puso a bailar de felicidad por toda la oficina de lo emocionada que estaba. Recuerda toda la experiencia como fuera de la realidad, desde el momento de escribir el discurso hasta el de correr por toda la ciudad con su hijo y su madre para llegar a tiempo al acto, directamente a esperar en el estrado junto con la senadora demócrata de Michigan Debbie Stabenow, el presidente internacional de los Teamsters Jimmy Hoffa, así como el presidente de la UAW, Bob King, el secretario tesorero de la UAW Dennis Williams, y otros dirigentes del movimiento laboral.

      Goodwin-Dye estaba al centro de la historia que se está escribiendo. Fue una experiencia que no olvidará en un buen tiempo.

      “Cuando el presidente Obama entró, habló con todos mientras le sacaban fotos. Entonces pidió conocer a la persona que haría su presentación. De hecho me dio las gracias y me dijo que apreciaba que me tomara el tiempo de hacer eso. Pero, honestamente, el honor era mío. Mi familia llegó a atestiguar que compartí el estrado con un Presidente del que estoy tan orgullosa.”

      Por mas:ñor-presidente

    • Resurgence of the American Auto Industry

      Posted by Amy Brundage on January 10, 2012 at 06:00 AM EST

      Yesterday, the North American International Auto Show kicked off in Detroit, with companies unveiling their new vehicles and folks eager to get their first peek. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was on hand for the opening events, and Commerce Secretary John Bryson, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and the Labor Department’s Director Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers Jay Williams are all taking part in auto show activities this week.

      The auto industry had a strong year in 2011. It’s easy to forget, but just a few years ago many people doubted whether there would even be an American auto industry in 2011.

      When President Obama took office, we faced the worst recession since the Great Depression, and the American auto industry was hit hard. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost in the auto industry, and entire communities that depended on a dealership or a parts manufacturer were affected.

      Both GM and Chrysler faced the stark choice of seeking government support or facing almost certain uncontrolled liquidations, which would have had a ripple effect across the industry, causing at least one million more jobs to be lost. The President refused to let that happen.

      For the entire article:

    • Chrysler Commercial – It’s Halftime in America

      Uploaded by chrysler on Feb 5, 2012

      It’s Halftime in America. And our second half is about to begin. All that matters now is looking ahead and finding a way forward. Be a part of it at

      • Cheering for America’s come back is a GOOD American trait; it’s called patriotism.

        President Obama and his administration are working towards the come back of ALL AMERICANS.

    Hit the road, Mitt

    November 08, 2011 Posted by Elizabeth Chan –

    Mitt Romney’s headed back to Michigan, asking for votes. But what does Michigan say to the man who said, “Let Detroit go bankrupt“?

    Hit the road.

    Michigan voters will have a clear choice between Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field, who wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, and President Obama, who not only extended a loan and restructuring package that saved 1.4 million jobs but has also made investments that are creating jobs.

    • Made in America – Obama for America 2012 Ad

      Uploaded by BarackObamadotcom on Feb 22, 2012

      Get the facts:

      In 2009, the President decided to extend emergency loans to GM and Chrysler—preventing the collapse of a major American industry:

      The Rescue

      -More than 1.1 million jobs saved in 2009, more than 310,000 jobs saved in 2010, and nearly $97 billion in personal income losses prevented

      -More than 200,000 jobs added since June 2009—the most growth in a decade

      -Industry expects to add 167,000 jobs by 2015

  4. Great topic, CR. A great achievement by President Obama and a major reason to re-elect him and the Democrats running. The GOP has always argued that the auto industry and all the businesses and millions of people depending on it should have been allowed to drown.

  5. Vice President Biden to Travel to Pennsylvania

    JANUARY 11, 2012

    Event Date 1: January 13, 2012 10:30 am – 11:30 pm

    WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday, January 13, Vice President Joe Biden and Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller will visit Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown, Pennsylvania to discuss college affordability.

    Since the members of Central Bucks High School West’s senior class were born, average published tuition and fees at public four-year colleges have tripled. 70% of Pennsylvania college students take out loans to pay for school and these students graduate with an average debt of over $28,000.

    The Vice President will discuss the importance of college and the steps the Administration has taken to keep college affordable in Pennsylvania and across the country. He will also call on colleges and universities to do their part to contain costs and ensure college remains within reach for the middle class.

    For the entire article:

  6. Friday, January 13, 2012

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

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

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


    • Today: First Lady Visits Virginia School For Random Dancing With iCarly Cast

      JANUARY 13, 2012 obamafoodorama.blogspot

      For her first non-campaign public event of 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama on Friday morning joins the cast of Nickelodeon’s iCarly at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Virginia, for a special screening of the episode she guest stars in, “iMeet The First Lady.” Mrs. Obama and cast members including star Miranda Cosgrove (Carly) and Jennette McCurdy (Sam) will participate in iCarly’s “Random Dancing” and answer questions from the students. The First Lady last showed off her dance moves at a school in May of 2011, joining kids for a “flash dance” workout created by popstar Beyoncé for the Let’s Move! campaign.

      The visit to Hayfield is the last stop on a tour for the iCarly cast, who this week visited three military bases to screen the episode for military kids. The school has “a large number of military children,” according to the East Wing.

      Mrs. Obama filmed her two scenes for “iMeet the First Lady” last summer in Los Angeles, to support her Joining Forces campaign. Onscreen, Mrs. Obama visits Carly after learning that the webcasting teen’s father, an Air Force pilot, has had his return home delayed by another redeployment. Mrs. Obama talks with Carly about her service to America as a member of a military family, and thanks her friends for supporting her during her father’s deployment. She also participates in a regular feature of the hit kids’ show, “Random Dancing.”

      Mrs. Obama has said that iCarly is a favorite of daughters Malia and Sasha, something she repeats during the episode. It premieres on Nickelodeon on Monday, January 16th at 7:30/6:30PM C.

      For the entire article:

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

      JANUARY 13, 2012 foodorama.blogspot

      By Marian Burros

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

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

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

      For the entire article:

  7. West Wing Week: 1/13/12 or “Insourcing: Bringing Jobs Back to America”

    From: whitehouse | Jan 12, 2012

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President visited the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, welcomed this year’s NBA Champs, the Dallas Mavericks, addressed the EPA, announced a new Chief of Staff, and introduced the White House’s Insourcing Initiative. That’s January 6th to January 12th or, “Insourcing: Bringing Jobs Back to America.”

  8. Obama film fest

    January 12, 2012 nypost

    The Obamas have a busy weekend of movie watching lined up, according to sources. The White House has requested a print of the Margaret Thatcher biopic “The Iron Lady” for a screening. Star Meryl Streep is up for best actress at the Golden Globes on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Cuba Gooding Jr. — star of another historical film, “Red Tails” — told us at its premiere this week at the Ziegfeld that he’s expected at the White House tomorrow with co-stars including Terrence Howard for a screening there. Executive-produced by George Lucas, “Red Tails” follows a crew of African-American pilots in World War II.

    • Tuskegee Airman heading to White House

      January 12, 2012 By Billy Cox -heraldtribune

      SARASOTA – “Red Tails,” the upcoming World War II action drama profiling the heroics of the Tuskegee Airmen, expands on the story of the group of black American fighter pilots who struggled against discrimination at home and Nazi firepower abroad.

      But as is typical of Hollywood movies, it can only tell part of the story.

      Sarasota snowbird and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Clayton Lawrence — one of the few surviving Tuskegee Airmen — attended a “Red Tails” screening late last year in his native New York and calls it “a bang-up movie.”

      But Friday night, he will watch the movie in presidential style. At the invitation of President Barack Obama, the 88-year-old veteran will join aging comrades and perhaps even executive producer George Lucas for another screening at the White House.

      Lawrence trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in 1943 and was anticipating combat deployment in the Pacific when the atomic bomb ended the war. But in the interim, he was part of what was a precursor to the civil rights movement known in the history books as the Freeman Field Mutiny.

      “What they were doing at Freeman Field was definitely illegal, and we planned to challenge it,” Lawrence says.

      Lawrence was assigned to the 447th Bombardment Group, the less-publicized counterpart to the 332nd Fighter Group that included the fabled “Red Tail” P-51 Mustangs of the 99th Pursuit Squadron. All fliers belonging to these segregated units — regarded by the Pentagon as a dubious experiment to gauge the competence of African-American warriors — were known as Tuskegee Airmen.

      For the entire article:

    • Tuskegee Airmen visit the White House

      From: whitehouse | Feb 2, 2012

      The President and the First Lady host Tuskegee Airmen along with cast and crew members of the movie Red Tails for a screening at the White House.

  9. Richard Cohen: President Obama, Mr. Lucky

    12/08/2011 By Richard Cohen – Washington Post

    It is said that when Napoleon was asked what qualities he looked for in his generals, he responded, “Just one — that they be lucky.” This is a quality President Barack Obama has in abundance — just look at the mess Republicans have made of their presidential race. Things turn out for Obama. They always have and it seems they always will.

    Shall we start with the latest unemployment numbers? At 8.6 percent, the jobless rate is lower than it has been in two and a half years and is heading in the right direction. Lots of people are still out of work and they will continue to be because the problem is structural, but the economy is improving and there is nearly a year until the presidential election — time for a new reality to overcome the old perception.

    Amazingly, the U.S. is about to become a net exporter of petroleum products. The last time this happened was 1949, which was 12 years before Obama was born. Talk about luck!

    Two of the great American auto companies have survived their close call with going belly-up and now are making money. Along with the financial system, they were saved by government programs that Republicans characterize as pretty close to neo-Stalinist. Call them what you may, they worked. Jobs were saved. You got a problem with that?

    For the entire article:

  10. Up Next…

    10:30 AM EST
    Vice President Biden and Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller will visit Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown, Pennsylvania to discuss college affordability. (Audio Only)

    • January 13, 2012

      Remarks by the President on Government Reform

      East Room

      THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Please have a seat.

      Welcome to the White House. I see all sorts of small business people here, and I am thrilled to have you here. As small business owners, you know as well as anybody that if we’re going to rebuild an economy that lasts — an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs — then we’re all going to have to up our game.

      The other day, I met with business leaders who are doing their part by insourcing — by bringing jobs back to the United States. And I told them that if you are willing to keep asking yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back, then I’ll make sure that you’ve got a government that helps you succeed.

      And that’s why we’re here today. I ran for office pledging to make our government leaner and smarter and more consumer-friendly. And from the moment I got here, I saw up close what many of you know to be true: The government we have is not the government that we need.

      We live in a 21st century economy, but we’ve still got a government organized for the 20th century. Our economy has fundamentally changed — as has the world — but our government, our agencies, have not. The needs of our citizens have fundamentally changed but their government has not. Instead, it’s often grown more complicated and sometimes more confusing.

      Give you a few examples. There are five different entities dealing with housing. There are more than a dozen agencies dealing with food safety. My favorite example — which I mentioned in last year’s State of the Union address — as it turns out, the Interior Department is in charge of salmon in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in saltwater. (Laughter.) If you’re wondering what the genesis of this was, apparently, it had something to do with President Nixon being unhappy with his Interior Secretary for criticizing him about the Vietnam War. And so he decided not to put NOAA in what would have been a more sensible place.

      No business or nonprofit leader would allow this kind of duplication or unnecessary complexity in their operations. You wouldn’t do it when you’re thinking about your businesses. So why is it okay for our government? It’s not. It has to change.

      Now, what we’ve tried to do over the first three years of my administration is to do a whole range of steps administratively to start making processes, procedures, agencies more consumer-friendly. But we need to do more, and we need authority to do more.

      So today, I’m calling on Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had to streamline and reform the Executive Branch. This is the same sort of authority that every business owner has to make sure that his or her company keeps pace with the times. And let me be clear: I will only use this authority for reforms that result in more efficiency, better service and a leaner government.

      Now, a little bit of history here. Congress first granted this authority to presidents in the midst of the Great Depression, so that they could swiftly reorganize the Executive Branch to respond to the changing needs of the American people and the immediate challenges of the Depression. For the next 52 years, presidents were able to streamline or consolidate the Executive Branch by submitting a proposal to Congress that was guaranteed a simple up or down vote.

      In 1984, while Ronald Reagan was President, Congress stopped granting that authority.

      And when this process was left to follow the usual congressional pace and procedures, not surprisingly, it bogged down. So congressional committees fought to protect their turf, and lobbyists fought to keep things the way they were because they were the only ones who could navigate the confusion. And because it’s always easier to add than to subtract in Washington, inertia prevented any real reform from happening. Layers kept getting added on and added on and added on. The Department of Homeland Security was created to consolidate intelligence and security agencies, but Congress didn’t consolidate on its side. So now the Department of Homeland Security reports to over 100 different congressional panels. That’s a lot of paperwork. That’s a lot of reports to prepare. That’s not adding value, it’s not making us safer to file a whole bunch of reports all the time.

      It has been a generation since a President had the authority to propose streamlining the government in a way that allowed for real change to take place. Imagine all the things that have happened since 1984. 1984 didn’t have — we didn’t have the Internet, just to take one example. A generation of Americans has come of age. Landlines have turned into smartphones. The Cold War has given way to globalization. So much has happened — and yet the government we have today is largely the government we had back then. And we deserve better.

      Go talk to the skilled professionals in government who are serving their country — and by the way, you won’t meet harder-working folks than some of the folks in these federal agencies; devote countless hours to trying to make sure that they’re serving the American people. But they will tell you their efforts are constantly undermined by an outdated bureaucratic maze. And of course, if you go talk to ordinary Americans, including some of the small business leaders here today, they’ll tell you that to deal with government on a regular basis is not always the highlight of their day. (Laughter.)

      Over the past three years, as I said, we’ve tried to take some steps to fix the problem — to bring our government into this century and, in doing so, to root out waste. So just to take some examples. We made sure that government sends checks to the right people in the right amount, which should be obvious, but we’ve been able to prevent $20 billion in waste over the last two years, just by making sure that checks are sent properly and we’re reducing error.

      We cut government contracting for the first time in more than a decade. We cut a whole range of overlapping programs. We have tried to yank the federal government into the 21st century when it comes to technology and making everything we do a little more Web-friendly. And by the way, that also helps in terms of accountability and transparency, because the public can get on or the various other websites and they can see what’s happening and track where money goes.

      So we’ve done a lot, but we’ve got to do more. We need to think bigger. So today, I’m outlining changes we could make if Congress gives the green light to allow us to modernize and streamline. These changes would help small business owners like you. It would also help medium and large businesses. And as a consequence, they would help create more jobs, sell more products overseas, grow our economy faster, improve our quality of life.

      For the entire article:

    • January 13, 2012

      President Obama Announces proposal to reform, reorganize and consolidate Government


      WASHINGTON, DC – As a follow up to last year’s State of the Union, today, President Obama called on Congress to reinstate Presidential authority to reorganize and consolidate the federal government, which will ensure swift action on his proposals to streamline government to make it work better for the American people while eliminating duplication, waste and inefficiencies.

      “We live in a 21st century economy, but we’ve still got a government organized for the 20th century. Our economy has fundamentally changed – as has the world – but the government has not. The needs of our citizens have fundamentally changed but their government has not. Instead, it has often grown more complex. Today, I am calling on Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had to streamline and reform the Executive Branch. This is the same sort of authority that every business owner has to make sure that his or her company keeps pace with the times. And let me be clear: I will only use this authority for reforms that result in more efficiency, better service, and a leaner government,” said President Obama.

      Almost every President from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan had reorganization authority. Too often past attempts to streamline government got caught up in beltway politics and power struggles that prevented meaningful consolidation. And more often than not, new agencies were added without taking any away.

      Unlike the authority granted in the past, the President’s proposal would initiate new accountability by mandating that any plan must reduce the number of government agencies or save taxpayer dollars. It would also ensure expedient review by Congress.

      The President laid out his first proposed use of that authority consolidating six agencies into one more efficient agency to promote competitiveness, exports and American business. Currently, there are six major departments and agencies that focus primarily on business and trade in the federal government. The six are: U.S. Department of Commerce’s core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

      For the entire article:

    • January 13, 2012

      Government Reorganization Fact Sheet

      Looking to make our government leaner, smarter and more consumer-friendly, the President will call on Congress to reinstate the authority that past Presidents had, over decades, to reorganize the government. With the exception of President Ford, every President from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan had reorganization authority. Presidents had this sort of authority for almost the entire period from 1932 through 1984.Unlike the authority granted in the past, the President’s proposal would initiate new accountability by mandating that any plan must consolidate government – reducing the number of agencies or saving taxpayer dollars.

      The President will also lay out his first proposed use of that authority: consolidating six agencies into one more efficient department to promote competitiveness, exports and American business. The President knows this is a make or break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it. The President’s proposed reorganization would help small businesses grow and, in doing so, would help get more Americans back to work.

      For too long, overlapping responsibilities among agencies have made it harder, rather than easier, for our small businesses to interact with their government. Those redundancies have also led to unnecessary waste and duplication. President Obama is committed to rethinking, reforming and remaking our government so that it can meet the challenges of our time and is worthy of the American people.

      Today’s proposal is just one example of the kind of action the authority he is requesting would allow.

      Competing in a 21st Century Economy

      We’re living in a 21st century economy with a 20th century bureaucracy. Our economy has fundamentally changed but the government has not. The needs of our citizens have fundamentally changed but their government has not. Instead, the government has grown only more complex.

      Over the past three years the Obama Administration has taken numerous steps to address this problem by eliminating government waste and inefficiencies. Clearly there’s more work to be done.

      The President’s First Action

      The President’s first focus under the Consolidation Authority Act would be to make it easier for America’s small businesses – which are America’s job creators – to compete, export and grow.

      Currently, there are six major departments and agencies that focus primarily on business and trade in the federal government. The six are: U.S. Department of Commerce’s core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

      This is redundant and inefficient. Small businesses often face a maze of agencies when looking for even the most basic answers to the most basic questions. There is a whole host of websites, toll-free numbers and customer service centers that at times offer them differing advice. The result is a system that is not working for our small businesses.

      The President is proposing to consolidate those six departments and agencies into one Department with one website, one phone number and one mission – helping American businesses succeed.

      One Department: there will be one Department where entrepreneurs can go from the day they come up with an idea and need a patent, to the day they start building a product and need a warehouse, to the day they are ready to export and need help breaking into new markets overseas.

      The new Department will lead the development and implementation of an integrated, strategic, government-wide trade effort and have a focused capacity to help businesses grow and thrive.

      Business USA

      We will also be unveiling a new website: BusinessUSA. This site will be a virtual one-stop shop with information for small businesses and businesses of all size that want to begin or increase exporting.

  11. Good and HOPEful Friday (the 13th!) CR and all friends!


    Just got an email from my great Democratic Congressman providing links to volunteer events that will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in our Congressional DIstrict. These will including working with senior citizens and planting trees for habitat restoration.

    The MLK Day of Service on Jan. 16 is part of the President's United We Serve initiative. More information here:

  12. 3:15 PM EST
    Vice President Biden attends an event to thank local supporters
    Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

  13. Making College More Affordable

    From: whitehouse | Jan 13, 2012

    Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are traveling the country hosting conversations nationwide addressing the cost of college tuition and student debt on American families.

  14. WH

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    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
    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
    First Lady Michelle Obama attends the Fith BET Honors 2012
    Warner Theater in Washington, DC

    10:00 PM

  15. Weekly Address
    January 14, 2011
    The White House

    As you can see, I brought a few things with me for this week’s video. A padlock. A pair of boots. A candle. And a pair of socks.

    No, we’re not having a yard sale. And these products may not appear to have much in common. But they’re united by three proud words: “Made in America.” They’re manufactured by American workers, in American factories, and shipped to customers here and around the world.

    The companies that make these products are part of a hopeful trend: they’re bringing jobs back from overseas. You’ve heard of outsourcing – well, this is insourcing. And in this make or break moment for the middle class and those working to get into the middle class, that’s exactly the kind of commitment to country that we need.

    This week, I invited executives from businesses that are insourcing jobs to a forum at the White House. These are CEOs who take pride in hiring people here in America, not just because it’s increasingly the right thing to do for their bottom line, but also because it’s the right thing to do for their workers and for our communities and our country.

    I told those CEOs what I’ll tell any business leader: ask yourself what you can do to bring more jobs back to the country that made your success possible. And I’ll make sure you’ve got a government that does everything in its power to help you succeed.

    That’s why, in the next few weeks, I will put forward new tax proposals that reward companies that choose to do the right thing by bringing jobs home and investing in America – and eliminate tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas.

    It’s also why on Friday, I called on Congress to help me make government work better for you. Right now, we have a 21st century economy, but we’ve still got a government organized for the 20th century. Over the years, the needs of Americans have changed, but our government has not. In fact, it’s gotten even more complex. And that has to change.

    That’s why I asked Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had to streamline and reform the Executive Branch. This is the same sort of authority that every business owner has to make sure that his or her company keeps pace with the times. It’s the same authority that presidents had for over 50 years – up until Ronald Reagan. And let me be clear: I will only use this authority for reforms that result in more efficiency, better service, and a leaner government.

    These changes will make it easier for small business owners to get the loans and support they need to sell their products around the world. For example, instead of forcing small business owners to navigate the six departments and agencies in the federal government that focus on business and trade, we’ll have one department. One place where entrepreneurs can go from the day they come up with an idea and need a patent, to the day they start building a warehouse, to the day they’re ready to ship their products overseas.

    For the entire article:

    • Obama challenges Republicans on goal they embrace

      1/14/12 By ERICA WERNER | Associated Press – 37 mins ago

      WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is promoting his efforts to make government more efficient and to persuade companies to bring jobs back to the U.S. from overseas.

      He rolled out those election-year ideas this past week and used his radio and Internet address Saturday to urge Congress and the private sector to get on board.

      “Right now, we have a 21st century economy, but we’ve still got a government organized for the 20th century,” Obama said. “Over the years, the needs of Americans have changed, but our government has not. In fact, it’s gotten even more complex. And that has to change.”

      On government reorganization, Obama wants a guarantee from Congress that he could get a vote within 90 days on any idea to consolidate federal agencies, provided his plan saves money and cuts the government. His first order of business would be to merge six major trade and commerce agencies into one, eliminating the Commerce Department, among others.

      The proposal is a challenge to congressional Republicans because it embraces the traditional GOP goal of smaller government.

      “These changes will make it easier for small-business owners to get the loans and support they need to sell their products around the world,” he said.

      For the entire article:


    The ridiculous things presidential candidates want you to believe about jobs

    1/13/12 By Ezra Klein – washingtonpost

    (Graph: Ezra Klein; Data: BLS) Mitt Romney’s campaign would have you believe that every job lost over the past three years is President Obama’s fault. That includes the 820,000 jobs lost in January 2009, despite the fact that Obama didn’t become president until the 20th of the month. It includes the 726,000 jobs lost in February 2009, before any of Obama’s policies had gone into effect. It suggests Romney holds a deeply ambitious view of a president’s power to influence the labor market — — a view, as we’ll see, that’s not shared by economists who were responsible for White House economic policies in recent administrations.

    But Romney’s campaign also asks us to believe that every job created in Massachusetts while he was governor was Mitt Romney’s doing. Obama might deserve the blame for the jobs lost in every state on his watch, but George W. Bush, who was president during Romney’s governorship, gets no credit for the jobs created in Massachusetts during his administration. And Romney claims that every job created by any company that Bain Capital had a hand in should also be credited to Romney — even if the job was created long after Bain separated from the company. Heads, I created a jobs; tails, you lost one.

    For the entire article:

  17. Europe must move quickly after downgrades: Merkel

    1/14/12 Brian Rohan -Reuters – 40 mins ago

    BERLIN (Reuters) – Ratings downgrades in the euro zone by S&P underline why Europe must seal a pact to tighten fiscal rules quickly and get its permanent bailout fund up and running as soon as possible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday.

    “We are now challenged to implement the fiscal compact even quicker … and to do it resolutely, not to try to soften it,” she said at a meeting of conservatives in the northern city of Kiel.

    “We will also work particularly to implement the permanent stability mechanism, the ESM, so soon as possible — this is important regarding investor trust.”
    Standard & Poor’s on Friday downgraded the credit ratings of nine out of 17 euro zone countries. Germany kept its AAA rating, while France and Austria lost theirs.

    The S&P move was not a surprise, Merkel said.

    “It is one of three ratings agencies,” she added. “We have taken it into account. It did not surprise us completely, given the discussion in the past weeks.”
    Turning to Europe’s current bailout fund, the EFSF, Merkel said that the downgrade should not affect its operation.

    “The necessary tasks that the EFSF must fulfill in the coming months, I very much believe, can be fulfilled with the current methods.”

    “The interest rates for the acceptance of certain bonds had already risen a bit anyway — the work of the EFSF will not be torpedoed. I see no need to change anything regarding the EFSF.”

  18. Canada to close loophole on foreigner gay marriages

    1/13/12 By Cameron French | Reuters – 17 hrs ago

    TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada will plug a loophole in its marriage laws that left foreign gay couples in a legal limbo, able to marry in Canada, but in a union that might not be legal, and perhaps without the ability to divorce.

    Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said the problem stemmed from a “legislative gap” that meant some – if not all – gay marriages performed in Canada could not be dissolved in Canada if gay marriage was not legal in their home country.

    “We will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada,” he said. “This of course will apply to all marriages performed in Canada.”

    The issue exploded on Thursday, when court documents emerged about a government argument that two women who married in Canada could not seek a divorce here because their marriage was not valid. One of the women was from Britain and the other from Florida, neither of them jurisdictions that allow gay marriages.

    Nicholson said the issue was unfair and the government believed the marriages should be valid.

    Thousands of same-sex couples have flocked to Canada to be wed since 2005, when Canada become one of the first countries in the world to formally legalize gay marriage.

    That legislation was introduced by a previous Liberal government, and some critics had worried that the latest debate might be part of an attempt by the Conservatives, who opposed same-sex marriage before they took over in government, to roll back the legislation.

    Nicholson said that was not the case.

    “I want to be very clear that our government has no intention of reopening the debate on the definition of marriage,” he said. “Both myself and the Prime Minister consider this debate to be closed.”

    For the entire article:

  19. January 13, 2012

    Presidential Proclamation — Religious Freedom Day, 2012


    – – – – – – –



    For nearly four centuries, men and women have immigrated to America’s shores in pursuit of religious freedom. Hailing from diverse backgrounds and faiths, countless settlers have shared a simple aspiration — to practice their beliefs free from prejudice and persecution. In 1786, the Virginia General Assembly took a bold step toward preserving this fundamental liberty by passing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which brought to life the ideal of religious tolerance from the texts of the Enlightenment in the laws of state. On Religious Freedom Day, we celebrate this historic milestone, reflect upon the Statute’s declaration that “Almighty God hath created the mind free,” and reaffirm that the American people will remain forever unshackled in matters of faith.

    Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the Virginia Statute formed the basis for the First Amendment, which has preserved religious freedom for both believers and non-believers for over 220 years. As our Nation has grown, so too has its diversity of faiths, cultures, and traditions; today, individuals of rich and varied beliefs call America home and seek to follow their consciences in peace. Our long history of religious tolerance and pluralism has strengthened our country, helped create a vibrant civil society, and remained true to the principles enshrined in our founding documents.

    Our Nation is committed to religious liberty not only for all Americans, but also for individuals around the world. Internationally, we bear witness to those who live in fear of violence and discrimination because of their beliefs. My Administration continues to stand with all who are denied the ability to choose, express, or live their faith freely, and we remain dedicated to protecting this universal human right and the vital role it plays in ensuring peace and stability for all nations.

    Today, as we reflect on the many ways religious freedom enriches our country and our lives, let us lend our voice to all people striving to exercise their innate right to a free mind.

    For the entire article;

  20. Michelle Obama To Attend BET Honors 2012

    JANUARY 12, 2012 obamafoodorama.blogspot

    The White House today announced that First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in the fifth annual BET HONORS 2012, a show celebrating outstanding achievements in music, literature, entertainment, media, service and education. It tapes on Saturday, Jan. 14, at the historic Warner Theater in Washington, DC. Honorees are poet Maya Angelou, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, filmmaker Spike Lee, The Tuskegee Airmen and educator Beverly Kearney.

    Gabrielle Union serves as host for the show, which also features celebrity award presenters and performances by Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Cicely Tyson, Common, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrance Howard, Jill Scott, John Singleton, and Willow Smith.

    Mrs. Obama will be celebrating with friends: Wonder gave a command performance at the White House for President Obama’s fiftieth birthday party in August. Smith, Scott, Franklin, Labelle, and Common have all performed at the White House.

    The show premiers on Monday, February 13, at 9:00 PM on BET during Black History Month. Proceeds from private ticket sales will be given to Metro TeenAIDS.

  21. Wisc. Recall Supporters Confident, But GOP Has Sway

    1/14/12 by SHAWN JOHNSON – NPR

    There’s a downside to starting a two-month recall petition drive in mid-November in Wisconsin. Sometimes it snows. A lot.

    On Tuesday, Democrats plan to turn in petitions by the truckload to try to force a recall election of Gov. Scott Walker. The effort follows the governor’s move last year to strip public workers of union bargaining rights.

    A heavy snowstorm late this week had most Wisconsin residents more occupied with shoveling than with knocking on doors. Recall petition circulators in the heavily Democratic city of Madison, for the most part, disappeared.

    But that’s partly because Democrats say the effort is all but over. They have no doubt they’ll turn in more than enough signatures to force a recall election.

    The Broader Significance Of Signatures

    “I feel very confident we’ll be able to hit or come near our goal of 720,000 signatures that we’ve stated publicly,” state Democratic Party chair Mike Tate says.

    If he’s right, it means Democrats would blow past the required 540,000 signatures needed to force a recall.

    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political science professor Mordecai Lee says it’s an impressive number, given the high threshold needed to force a recall in Wisconsin. Petitioners have to get signatures from 25 percent of everyone who cast a vote in the last race for governor.

    Lee says it shows this has become more than just a fight over the governor’s collective bargaining law.

    “This is not just the signatures of people who are directly affected by it and are unhappy,” he says, “but this is also the signatures of people who are in support of the recall for ideological reasons, for political reasons, for party reasons, for reasons of their values.”

    Indeed, Walker provokes strong opinions in Wisconsin residents. His supporters would all but go to war for him, but his hard-line stands have galvanized his opponents. Walker is more conservative than any other governor in Wisconsin’s modern history — a fact Democrats say he hid during his feel-good campaign in 2010.

    For the entire article and audio interview:

  22. Thank you, Mr. President, for saving our auto industry, for lifting our wrecked economy off the ground, for strengthening our national security, for leading us toward a better future, for always finding the way forward, for laying the foundation, for never giving up. Thank you, Mrs. Obama, for your endless hard work on behalf of our nation’s children, veterans and military families. Thanks to both our President and First Lady for their unbreakable strength and grace in the face of lies, bigotry, madness and hate — thanks for setting an example of courage and character, loving partnership and parenting, wisdom and optimism, that lets us proudly say this is the best of America, this is what we as a people aspire to.

  23. Obama Administration Responds to We the People Petitions on SOPA and Online Piracy


    1/14/12 By Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmidt

    The White House has responded to two petitions about legislative approaches to combat online piracy. In their response, Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff stress that the important task of protecting intellectual property online must not threaten an open and innovative internet.

    Use the link to sign the petition:

    • White House weighs in on Internet piracy battle

      By Brendan Sasso – 01/14/12 10:55 AM ET

      The White House responded to a petition urging a veto of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) on Saturday and laid out its conditions for supporting anti-piracy legislation.

      “While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,” the president’s advisers wrote.

      House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), SOPA’s sponsor, said his bill meets the White House’s requirements.

      “I welcome today’s announcement that the White House will support legislation to combat online piracy that protects free speech, the Internet and America’s intellectual property,” Smith said in a statement. “That’s precisely what the Stop Online Piracy Act does.”
      SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, are designed to go after foreign websites that offer illegal copies of music, movies and TV shows with impunity.

      Movie studios, record labels and business groups say the bill is necessary to crack down on online copyright infringement, which is hurting businesses and destroying jobs.

      But the measure has sparked a backlash from Internet freedom advocates and Web companies, including Google, Yahoo and Facebook, who say it would stifle innovation and censor free speech.

      The president’s advisers said they oppose a controversial provision that would require Internet service providers to block infringing websites through a process known as Domain Name System filtering.

      “Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security,” the White House wrote. “Our analysis of the DNS filtering provisions in some proposed legislation suggests that they pose a real risk to cybersecurity and yet leave contraband goods and services accessible online.”

      In a major concession to the bill’s critics, Rep. Smith dropped the site-blocking provision from the legislation on Friday. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said on Thursday he is open to changing the provision in the Senate version, the Protect IP Act.

      For the entire article:

  24. img src=”” alt=”WH” />

    Sunday, January 16, 2012

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
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  25. Sunday talk show tip sheet

    1/13/12 By ZACK HALE – POLITICO

    (Democratic excerpts only)

    NBC also has Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), as well as Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Tim Scott, both Republicans from South Carolina…

    CNN also has President Barack Obama’s longtime political counselor David Axelrod and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), as well as the Rev. Brad Atkins, president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and Bob Jones III, chancellor of Bob Jones University….

    Meanwhile, Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital” assesses the presidential race with John Podesta, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton who’s now chairman of the Center for American Progress….

    And TV One’s “Washington Week” has Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the Democratic National Committee

    Read more:

    New Yosemite Blanket to Raise Funds for National Park Foundation

    YOSEMITE, Calf./PORTLAND, Ore—One of our country’s oldest national treasures, Yosemite National Park, is the subject of a new addition to the famous Pendleton’s National Park Series Blankets this spring. Developed to honor the park, the new Yosemite Park Blanket also will help support it.

    Pendleton Woolen Mills and the National Park Foundation (NPF) jointly announce today the launch of the Yosemite National Park Blanket. Sales from the blanket will support the National Park Foundation. This blanket is the newest addition to the park series blankets available through NPF, the congressionally chartered and official non-profit partner of the National Park Service.

    “Pendleton, a time-honored and classic company, is an ideal partner of our national parks. The National Park Foundation is honored to partner with Pendleton, whose endearing history and conservation vision symbolize the lasting strength between Americans and their national parks.,” says Jill Nicoll, National Park Foundation acting president. “The program with Pendleton offers us a creative way to earn substantial dollars through the sale of one of our country’s timeless products, the Pendleton wool blanket.”

    Pendleton has offered their National Park Series (a collection of seven blankets, each representing a National Park) since the early 1900s. The historic striped markings and colors date back to the frontier trading posts. Traders would indicate the weight of the blanket offered in exchange for furs by holding up one finger for each pound. The original blankets incorporated three, four or five black stripes in the design, which indicated the value of the blanket.


    National Park Foundation

    Shop & Support

  27. Axelrod on ‘State of the Union’

    1/15/12 8:32 AM EST POLITICO44

    David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior campaign strategist, told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union” that GOP front-runner Mitt Romney doesn’t understand the economic reality of average Americans:

    “Governor Romney told — some voter was sharing her economic concerns with him about her own life the other day, and he said, one, you know, he gave her a whole treatise on the economy, and said what — finished by saying, well, you know, productivity equals income. Well, he misses the central issue of our time. Americans aren’t — it’s not that they’re not working hard enough. They’re working harder than they’ve ever worked, and for the last decade, their income has been flat — really, for several decades — and it’s dropped in the last decade. That is a central issue of our time. How do we create an economy which the middle class is growing, wages are growing, standards of living are not declining, but growing? That’s what a successful economy looks like. He misses that point.”

  28. Is the public option dead? Not quite.

    1/14/12 By Sarah Kliff – washingtonpost

    Jonathan Bernstein wonders whether, post-health reform, liberals have forgotten about the public option. Politically, he finds, there’s decent support for saying they have:

    It’s still very early, but the first hints are a lot less promising than I would have expected for public option supporters. I checked the web sites of non-incumbent Democrats running for the Senate with decent chances of winning this year: those running in open seats and weak Republican seats in Nevada and Massachusetts. Of the seven candidates in six states that I looked at who had issue positions listed (a few still have only placeholder or minimal sites so far), none of them mentioned a public option. None. Two mentioned drug reimportation; two didn’t mention health care at all.

    But in terms of policy, it’s a bit of a different story: A handful of states are using the health reform law to test out various government-run health plans.

    For the entire article:

  29. Cordray’s plans for the CFPB

    1/13/12 by Tess Vigeland –

    Tess Vigeland: Imagine taking a job and then getting hreatened with a lawsuit the day you start! But that’s the situation for Richard Cordray, new chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    Last week, President Obama used a recess appointment to usher Cordray into office. But a lot of people are asking questions, like was the Senate actually in recess? And that could mean a slew of lawsuits as Cordray starts to take action. But he’s moving ahead and joins us from his office in Washington. Thanks for being with us.

    Richard Cordray: My pleasure.

    Vigeland: First of all, I know you’re a five-time “Jeopardy” champion. So I’ll be giving you answers and then you can respond in the form a question. Does that work for you?

    Cordray: That keeps them short, too.

    Vigeland: Certainly does. I think what most people know of the CFPB up to this point is the agency has been trying to simplify a lot of paperwork around everything from credit card statements to mortgage applications. What would you say are your top three priorities right now?

    Cordray: Well, I would say that continuing that work is a high priority. The “Know before you owe” project, because what we find is consumers in the marketplace often are baffled and confused by a lot of fine print, by offers that are hard to follow, that may be potentially misleading or deceptive to them. Cleaning that up, simplifying and clarifying language is quite important to consumers can make better-informed decisions that they can live with.

    At the same time, another priority for us — now that we have a director; we could not do this before — we can now police the non-bank arena. We saw this in the mortgage market in the lead up to the financial crisis: Many mortgage brokers and others were not held to the same standards and principals of law that the banks were held to. And they undermined the market and it really destroyed the mortgage market in a way that the country, unfortunately, is still grappling with the residues of that crisis.

    For the entire article:

  30. Obamas head to church on eve of MLK holiday

    B1/15/12 Bernie Becker – TheHill

    The Obama family headed to church on Sunday, continuing a tradition of worshipping in Washington on the weekend before the Martin Luther King holiday.

    According to White House pool reports, the First Family headed to Zion Baptist Church in Northwest Washington on Sunday morning, where they heard a sermon about the civil rights leader and a reading of one of King’s most famous writings.

    The Obamas also sang along with other parishioners, and President Obama appeared to contribute to the church’s collection basket.

    The First Family have not always been frequent churchgoers around Washington. But in past Januarys, the family has marked the Martin Luther King holiday at churches in the nation’s capital.

    The family attended services this weekend in 2009, just days before Obama was inaugurated. And in 2010, the president delivered a sermon of his own to commemorate the holiday.

    For the entire article:

  31. January 14, 2012
    Statement by the President on Taiwan’s Elections

    We congratulate Ma Ying-jeou on his reelection and the people of Taiwan on the successful conduct of their presidential and legislative elections.

    Through the hard work of its people and its remarkable economic and political development over the past decades, Taiwan has proven to be one of the great success stories in Asia. In this year’s elections, Taiwan has again demonstrated the strength and vitality of its democratic system. We are confident Taiwan will build on its many accomplishments, and we will continue to work together to advance our many common interests, including expanding trade and investment ties.

    Cross-Strait peace, stability and improved relations, in an environment free from intimidation, are of profound importance to the United States. We hope the impressive efforts that both sides have undertaken in recent years to build cross-Strait ties continue. Such ties and stability in cross-Strait relations have also benefitted U.S.-Taiwan relations.

    The relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan is based on common interests and a shared commitment to freedom and democracy. As we have done for more than 30 years, we will maintain our close unofficial ties with the people on Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan and according to our one China policy based on the three Joint Communiqués with the People’s Republic of China and the Taiwan Relations Act.

  32. *********************

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2012”

    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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