DNC LGBT Leadership Council’s 2012 Gala

DNC LGBT Leadership Council

Founded in the heat of the 2000 Presidential election campaign, the DNC’s LGBT Leadership Council is a strong symbol of the important role LGBT Americans play within the Democratic Party.

The council has three primary goals:

* Support the Democratic Party’s progressive, inclusive agenda
* Highlight LGBT Americans’ contributions to the political process
* Elect Democrats – who are invariably better on our issues than their opponents
* LGBT Leadership Council members receive invitations to issue and political briefings, e-mail political updates, and reciprocal benefits in other Leadership Councils.

The Obama administration has directed officials to recognize same-sex partners as family members 

“The UNHCR recommended that the U.S. consider family unity principles in exercising the public interest exception, including “de facto” family members, family members without pending legal status and same-sex partners.64”
“With regard to using the public interest exception to recognize common-law or same-sex partnerships without other relevant public interest considerations, U.S. federal law precludes the use of the term “spouse” to refer to same-sex partnerships 67. ”

Source: http://goo.gl/ZVi4R


June 6 – 7:30 PM ET
President Obama attends the LGBT Leadership Council’s 2012 Gala
Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Los Angeles, CA


High court strikes down federal marriage provision

6/26/13 By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press – 3 mins 4 secs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.

The court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

He was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/high-court-strikes-down-federal-marriage-provision-140557846.html


June 28, 2013

Statement by the President on the Extension of Federal Employee Benefits

Today my Administration announcedthat, for the first time in history, we will be making important federal employee benefits, including healthcare and retirement benefits, available to eligible married gay and lesbian couples and their families.

This is a critical first step toward implementing this week’s landmark Supreme Court decisiondeclaring that all married couples –gay and straight — should be treated equally under federal law. Thousands of gays and lesbians serve our country every day in the federal government. They, and their spouses and children, deserve the same respect and protection as every other family.

Under the leadership of Attorney General Holder, we will continue to move as quickly as possible to fully implement the Court’s decision.


US LGBT Rights Timeline 1903-2016 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

6/9/16 FACT SHEET: Obama Administration’s Record and the LGBT Community

Democrats for LGBT

 White House – LGBT

LGBT Democrats Facebook

Forward For Equality_sml


108 thoughts on “DNC LGBT Leadership Council’s 2012 Gala

  1. Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:20 AM
    President Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews.
    Local Event Time: 9:20 AM EDT
    South Lawn
    Open Press

    9:35 AM
    President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews en route San Francisco, California.
    Local Event Time: 9:35 AM EDT
    Joint Base Andrews
    Travel Pool Coverage

    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:45 AM
    Vice President Biden delivers remarks on the Administration’s efforts to create jobs in the United States
    Wake Forest Biotech Place
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Open Press

    12:00 PM
    First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at campaign event
    Pierre Hotel, New York, NY

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:45 PM
    President Obama arrives in San Francisco, California.
    Local Event Time: 11:45 AM PDT
    San Francisco International Airport
    Open Press

    3:00 PM
    3:15 PM
    First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Obama campaign volunteers
    Philadelphia, PA

    3:20 PM
    President Obama attends a campaign event.
    Local Event Time: 12:20 PM PDT
    California, Landmark Tower, San Francisco
    Closed Press

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    5:15 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Julia Morgan Ballroom.
    Merchants Exchange Building, San Francisco, CA
    Local Event Time: 2:15 PM PDT
    California, Julia Morgan Ballroom, San Francisco
    Print Pool

    6:00 PM
    6:15 PM
    President Obama departs San Francisco, California en route Los Angeles, California.
    Local Event Time: 3:15 PM PDT
    San Francisco International Airport
    Open Press

    7:00 PM
    7:20 PM
    President Obama arrives in Los Angeles, California.
    Local Event Time: 4:20 PM PDT
    Los Angeles International Airport
    Open Press

    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM
    10:15 PM
    President Obama attends the LGBT Leadership Council’s 2012 Gala
    Beverly Wilshire Hotel
    Los Angeles, CA

    11:00 PM
    11:55 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event
    Private Residence, Beverly Hills, CA

    President Obama overnights in Los Angeles, CA

    • POTUS podium

      June 6,, 2012

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

      9:30 AM EDT
      The President’s Export Council
      The President’s Export Council will meet to discuss topics and provide recommendations related to the National Export Initiative and export promotion.
      The White House

      11:45 AM ET
      Vice President Biden delivers remarks on the Administration’s efforts to create jobs in the United States
      Wake Forest Biotech Place
      Winston-Salem, NC


      CNN http://live.cnn.com

      9:30 AM ET
      Congress Reviews Labor Department’s Jobs Reporting Practices
      A House Oversight Committee is calling on BLS Acting Commissioner John Galvin to testify on planned changes by the Department of Labor around its release of the U.S. jobs report.

      10:00 AM ET
      Federal budget outlook hearing
      The director of the Congressional Budget Office testifies before the House Budget Committee on the office’s long-term budget outlook.

      11:00 AM ET
      Attorney General Eric Holder makes remarks at the Justice Department’s LGBT Pride Month celebration in Washington.

      11:45 AM ET
      Vice President Biden delivers remarks on the Administration’s efforts to create jobs in the United States
      Wake Forest Biotech Place
      Winston-Salem, NC

      12:30 PM
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the situations in Syria and North Korea.

      2:00 PM ET
      House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee: Corruption in Afghanistan


      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      9:30 AM ET
      Congress Reviews Labor Department’s Jobs Reporting Practices
      A House Oversight Committee is calling on BLS Acting Commissioner John Galvin to testify on planned changes by the Department of Labor around its release of the U.S. jobs report. http://www.c-span.org/Events/Congress-Reviews-Labor-Departments-Jobs-Reporting-Practices/10737431274/

      10:00 AM ET
      Senate Committee Banking, Housing and Urban AffairsDodd-Frank Financial Regulations Law Implementation http://www.c-span.org/Events/Senate-Examines-JP-Morgan-Chase-Loss-Financial-Regulation-Oversight/10737431273/

      10:00 AM ET
      Federal budget outlook hearing
      The director of the Congressional Budget Office testifies before the House Budget Committee on the office’s long-term budget outlook. http://www.c-span.org/Events/CBO-Director-Testifies-on-Grim-Long-Term-Budget-Outlook/10737431295/

      10:00 AM ET
      U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Nominee Faces Senate Foreign Relations Cmte.
      Brett McGurk, President Obama’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Iraq, appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning. http://www.c-span.org/Events/US-Ambassador-to-Iraq-Nominee-Faces-Senate-Foreign-Relations-Cmte/10737431296/

      11:00 AM ET
      Attorney General Eric Holder makes remarks at the Justice Department’s LGBT Pride Month celebration in Washington.

      12:30 PM
      State Department briefing
      The State Department holds its daily briefing with reporters. Topics expected to be discussed include the situations in Syria and North Korea.

      2:00 PM ET
      House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee: Corruption in Afghanistan http://www.c-span.org/Events/House-Committee-Investigates-Waste-amp-Fraud-in-Afghanistan/10737431297/

  2. rainbow-flag

    DNC LGBT Leadership Council

    Founded in the heat of the 2000 Presidential election campaign, the DNC’s LGBT Leadership Council is a strong symbol of the important role LGBT Americans play within the Democratic Party.

    The council has three primary goals:

    * Support the Democratic Party’s progressive, inclusive agenda
    * Highlight LGBT Americans’ contributions to the political process
    * Elect Democrats – who are invariably better on our issues than their opponents
    * LGBT Leadership Council members receive invitations to issue and political briefings, e-mail political updates, and reciprocal benefits in other Leadership Councils.

    For more information, please contact Jamie Citron at 202-863-8000.

    • lgbt_obama_logo

      June 01, 2012

      Presidential Proclamation: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2012

      Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2012

      By The President Of The United States Of America

      A Proclamation

      From generation to generation, ordinary Americans have led a proud and inexorable march toward freedom, fairness, and full equality under the law ‑‑ not just for some, but for all. Ours is a heritage forged by those who organized, agitated, and advocated for change; who wielded love stronger than hate and hope more powerful than insult or injury; who fought to build for themselves and their families a Nation where no one is a second-class citizen, no one is denied basic rights, and all of us are free to live and love as we see fit.

      The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has written a proud chapter in this fundamentally American story. From brave men and women who came out and spoke out, to union and faith leaders who rallied for equality, to activists and advocates who challenged unjust laws and marched on Washington, LGBT Americans and allies have achieved what once seemed inconceivable. This month, we reflect on their enduring legacy, celebrate the movement that has made progress possible, and recommit to securing the fullest blessings of freedom for all Americans.

      Since I took office, my Administration has worked to broaden opportunity, advance equality, and level the playing field for LGBT people and communities. We have fought to secure justice for all under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and we have taken action to end housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We expanded hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients and their loved ones, and under the Affordable Care Act, we ensured that insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to someone just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Because we understand that LGBT rights are human rights, we continue to engage with the international community in promoting and protecting the rights of LGBT persons around the world. Because we repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans can serve their country openly, honestly, and without fear of losing their jobs because of whom they love. And because we must treat others the way we want to be treated, I personally believe in marriage equality for same-sex couples.

      More remains to be done to ensure every single American is treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Moving forward, my Administration will continue its work to advance the rights of LGBT Americans. This month, as we reflect on how far we have come and how far we have yet to go, let us recall that the progress we have made is built on the words and deeds of ordinary Americans. Let us pay tribute to those who came before us, and those who continue their work today; and let us rededicate ourselves to a task that is unending ‑‑ the pursuit of a Nation where all are equal, and all have the full and unfettered opportunity to pursue happiness and live openly and freely.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/01/presidential-proclamation-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-pride-mon

      • President Obama and the Fight for LGBT Rights

        Published on May 23, 2012 by

        Join LGBT Americans for Obama: https://my.barackobama.com/lgbtpotusvid

        Glee star Jane Lynch narrates this documentary about LGBT rights in America. The video features a candid interview with President Obama, who speaks about the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, why he supports marriage equality, and what’s at stake for the LGBT community in this election.

      • Michelle Obama refers to daughters in
        explaining support of same-sex marriage

        6/01/12 11:37 AM ET
        By Alicia M. Cohn – TheHill

        First lady Michelle Obama, adding her support to her husband’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, said this week she supports marriage equality because she believes in the “basic values” of fairness and equality she taught her daughters.

        “In a country where we teach our children that everyone is equal under the law, discriminating against same-sex couples just isn’t right,” she said in a video posted by the White House on Thursday night. “It’s as simple as that.”

        The video featured Michelle Obama answering a series of questions asked through Twitter.

        In the video, Obama doubled as a campaign surrogate for her husband. Her response on marriage equality was accompanied by pictures of toddlers and what appear to be their same-sex parents. President Obama earlier this month said he personally supports legalizing same-sex marriage, and the campaign quickly unveiled merchandise and groups devoted to LGBT rights who support Obama, making it a strong theme in his reelection campaign.

        Like the president, the first lady referred to her two daughters in her endorsement of gay marriage.

        “For Barack and me it really comes down to the values of fairness and equality that we want to pass down to our girls,” she said. “I mean, these are basic values that kids learn at a very young age and that we encourage them to apply in all areas of their lives.”

        She also touted her husband’s policies toward veterans and military families and the voter registration initiative GottaVote, and credited him for appointing women to powerful positions in his administration.

        Hillary Clinton is “one of the best secretaries of State this country has ever seen,” she said, and also noted the “two amazing women” Obama appointed to the Supreme Court — Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

        “As long as we stay engaged and we keep empowering women, I have no doubt that we will see a woman in the Oval Office very soon,” she said. “We’ve got to encourage more women to become part of the political process. … Like I tell my daughters, women and girls can do whatever they want.”

    • I emailed the White House thanking President Obama when he said that he supports sex marriages. I received this response:


      Dear Friend:

      Thank you for writing. President Obama has heard from many Americans about same-sex marriage, and he has spent time giving this issue serious consideration.

      Recently, in an interview with ABC News, the President said, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” making it clear he believes it is wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships from getting married. The President’s view has been shaped by conversations with his family, friends, and the people who work with him at the White House. Ultimately, President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage is grounded in his values and his firm belief in treating others as we want to be treated.

      The President knows that people have differing views on marriage and that those views, even if we disagree strongly, should be respected. This is not a Federal issue, and the President knows we must be respectful of religious liberty, including the freedom of churches and other faith institutions to determine their sacraments. While Americans will continue to have differing views on marriage, we must remain committed to working together to build a stronger, fairer America.

      President Obama is grateful to hear from thousands of Americans each day, and we appreciate your taking the time to write. To learn more about this important issue, please visit http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/lgbt.


      The White House

    • Blacks, Gays & Marriage: When A Leader Leads

      June 05, 2012 11:00 AM Terrance Heath – bilerico

      When I read about the recent polls indicating a huge shift among African-Americans towards supporting same-sex marriage – a Public Policy Polling survey showing that 57% of African Americans say they’re likely to support Maryland’s marriage equality law, and a Washington Post/ABC News poll showing that 59% of African Americans say they support marriage equality – I was skeptical. Surprised. Hopeful. But still skeptical. Several days later, I remain so – unable to settle into one reaction or another.

      Don’t get me wrong. I was thrilled to hear the news; especially since it was accompanied by a poll suggesting that Maryland voters would vote “overwhelmingly” to uphold a law allowing same-sex marriage (passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. O’Malley). It was even more heartening that a report on the poll said that the shift could be attributed “almost entirely” by a shift towards support for marriage equality among African American voters. That the NAACP announced its support for marriage equality just a few days earlier made for a pretty inspiring week.

      As a black gay man, a husband, and father, I’m hopeful. As one who has experienced and written extensively over the years about the roots and intensity of homophobia in African-American communities, I’m heartened, skeptical, but also hopeful.

      Here’s the important bits from the report on the Maryland poll.

      – The movement over the last two months can be explained almost entirely by a major shift in opinion about same-sex marriage among black voters. Previously 56% said they would vote against the new law with only 39% planning to uphold it. Those numbers have now almost completely flipped, with 55% of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36% now opposed.

      -The big shift in attitudes toward same-sex marriage among black voters in Maryland is reflective of what’s happening nationally right now. A new ABC/Washington Post poll finds 59% of African Americans across the country supportive of same-sex marriage. A PPP poll in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania last weekend found a shift of 19 points in favor of same-sex marriage among black voters.

      While the media has been focused on what impact President Obama’s announcement will have on his own reelection prospects, the more important fallout may be the impact his position is having on public opinion about same-sex marriage itself.

      Maryland voters were already prepared to support marriage equality at the polls this fall even before President Obama’s announcement. But now it appears that passage will come by a much stronger margin.

      When President Obama announced his support for marriage equality, there was speculation that the president’s announcement would catalyze a shift in public support that would “move the needle” further towards support for marriage equality, alter the debate in the states, and cause African American voters to follow his lead. Immediately after the president’s announcement there was some evidence that Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage would not cost him African-American support or votes. And an early poll showed that 68% of African-Americans said Obama’s support for same-sex marriage “did not alter” their support for him. (Interestingly enough, 60% of independents said the same.)

      For the entire article: http://www.bilerico.com/2012/06/blacks_gays_marriage_when_a_leader_leads.php

    • 10-Year-Old Gives Gay Marriage Speech Before NYC City Council

      7/26/12 By Mia Trovato | Trending Now – 11 hrs ago

      Two months ago, fifth-grader Kameron Slade wrote a speech for a school competition that his principal forbid him from delivering. The topic was gay marriage. His mother, April Grantham-Slade, told the New York Times that her son wanted to address a subject that hadn’t been talked about much. Local media outlets heard about Kameron’s predicament, and the 10-year-old was invited to deliver his words for the cameras of TV station NY1. The video of Kameron’s speech received more than 600,000 views on YouTube, and he was ultimately allowed to speak at a special school assembly.

      Yesterday City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn — who married her partner, Kim M. Catullo, in May — gave Kameron an even bigger platform when she asked him to deliver the speech in the council chambers. Kameron, who arrived with his parents and grandfather, looked stylish and self-assured in a gray suit. He said he felt “honored.” I’m thinking his what-I-did-with-my-summer-vacation essays will be pretty interesting to read.

      What did you think of Kameron Slade’s speech and the invitation from the City Council? Let us know on Facebook or by following us @YahooTrending.


      USA: Young School Kid, who was banned from giving a speech coming @Out4Marriage “like

      Published on Jun 15, 2012 by Out4Marriage

      A fifth-grade student in New York who wanted to deliver a speech for marriage equality had his opportunity censored, but later reinstated at a different session due to immediate backlash, US media organisations report.

      Kameron Slade, a student at a local school in Queens won a school-wide competition to deliver a speech, but upon discovering that his topic was marriage between same-sex couples, his principal threatened to remove him from the contest if he did not change the topic.

      For more ways to get involved in the campaign visit http://www.Out4Marriage.org
      Fan us on Facebook http://www.FB.com/Out4Marriage
      Follow us on twitter @Out4Marriage

    • Sally Pederson and Joy Corning on Judicial Politics

      October 12, 2012 billmoyers


      Thirty-eight states now elect their high court judges. Large sums of money — $200 million over the last decade, much of it secret and tied to partisan agendas — are pouring into these judicial campaigns. In Florida, Pennsylvania, and Iowa, for example, justices are being targeted by radical groups that abhor judicial independence and want the courts to reflect their political bias.

      In Iowa, a state whose judicial system has been praised for its fairness and impartiality, the political and religious Right ousted three justices in 2010 over marriage equality, and is now trying to take down a fourth over the same issue. But this time a bipartisan coalition called Justice Not Politics, is fighting back. Its co-founders – Democrat Sally Pederson and Republican Joy Corning, both of whom served Iowa for eight years as lieutenant governor — join Bill to talk about what’s at stake when justices are at the mercy of partisan passions and money in politics.

      “What people would like to do is intimidate judges and make them understand that if they make a decision that’s counter to the interests of certain groups, that they’ll go after them,” Pederson tells Bill. “You know, we elect our legislators, we elect our president, governor. If we also have money and politics involved in our courts, then what is safe from just the opinions of the day?

      For the audio interview: http://billmoyers.com/segment/sally-pederson-and-joy-corning-on-judicial-politics/

    • US Leadership to Advance Equality for LGBT People Abroad

      Samantha Power December 13, 2012 04:00 PM EST

      During Human Rights Week, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding human rights and human dignity at home and abroad, and we recognize the need to build a world in which everyone can pursue their dreams free from violence and discrimination.

      Last week at the Human Rights First summit, I described how advancing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world is central to, not separate from, our comprehensive human rights agenda. With LGBT people facing death, violence, persecution, and discrimination around the world, the stakes could not be higher. Seventy-eight countries have laws that criminalize consensual same-sex acts between adults, resulting in unchecked human rights abuses and exploitation by police, security officials and private citizens. In at least 5 countries, the death penalty can be applied for being gay. Even where being LGBT is not a crime, violence by state and non-state actors alike often goes unpunished and LGBT communities live in fear and isolation.

      As President Obama has said, “no one should be harmed because of who they are or who they love”. To ensure a comprehensive U.S. response to these threats, one year ago, President Obama issued the first ever Presidential Memorandum to advance the human rights of LGBT persons, requiring all U.S. agencies engaged abroad to “ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” and to report annually on their progress.

      We are continuing to lead a government-wide effort to oversee implementation of the Presidential Memorandum and ensure effective coordination across different agencies and offices. Highlights from progress made across the U.S. Government include:

      Strengthening U.S. Government capacity:

      * Departments and agencies are establishing new coordination mechanisms, strengthening training of key personnel, and raising internal awareness among staff and partners about LGBT issues. Secretary of State Clinton and USAID Administrator Shah have instructed U.S. embassies and USAID missions to meet regularly with the LGBT community in their host countries.

      * The Peace Corps is implementing LGBT training sessions for Volunteers and staff to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by local LGBT populations as well as LGBT Peace Corps Volunteers in the field. In 2012, the Peace Corps also facilitated a regional workshop to help overseas posts foster a more inclusive and supportive environment for LGBT Volunteers and staff.

      Leveraging U.S. Foreign Assistance to Protect LGBT People from Violence and Discrimination and Respond to Urgent Crises:

      * Building on Secretary Clinton’s historic speech the same day the Presidential Memorandum was released, State launched the Global Equality Fund which — in more than 20 countries worldwide — supports emerging civil society organizations in advancing equality and protection for LGBT persons through increasing access to justice, supporting law reform, protecting individuals from violence and bolstering local advocacy efforts.

      * State and USAID are also working to improve program coordination and exchange best practices with other donors. USAID hosted the first high-level meeting with other development agencies during the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee meeting in December 2012.

      * As stated in the PEPFAR Blueprint for an AIDS-free Generation and guidance on HIV prevention for men who have sex with men (MSM), the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator continues to work with partner countries to prioritize and scale-up services for MSM.

      Protecting LGBT Refugees and Asylum Seekers:

      * State has continued to implement its comprehensive LGBT refugee protection strategy in coordination with the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS). State is funding research on threats facing LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, supporting NGOs that work with LGBT survivors of violence, and strengthening the capacity of UNHCR and other non-government partners.

      * DHS’ U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) created an expanded and stand-alone lesson module, Guidance for Adjudicating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Refugee and Asylum Claims.

      * DHS’ U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun deploying a new automated risk assessment instrument which directs officers to consider special vulnerabilities, including sexual orientation and gender identity, when making custody and classification decisions in the immigrant detention context.

      Advancing International Norms through Multilateral Engagement:

      * Throughout the United Nations system and in other multilateral forums, the United States has raised the profile of LGBT issues broadly, building on the first-ever UN resolution on the human rights of LGBT people at the UN Human Rights Council in 2011.

      Advancing International Norms through Multilateral Engagement:

      * At the 2012 annual World Health Assembly (WHA), Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius led a historic panel discussion, co-sponsored by Brazil, Norway, South Africa and Thailand, entitled Breaking Down Barriers: Addressing Stigma and Discrimination in Health Care for LGBT Persons.

      Promoting Nondiscrimination and Combating Criminalization of LGBT Status:

      * The Department of Justice (DOJ) has partnered with the Department of State to help countries such as Honduras— where President Obama called on the government to address impunity for violence against LGBT persons—investigate and prosecute LGBT hate crimes.

      * State has expanded public diplomacy and outreach efforts across the globe: nearly 90 embassies participated in Pride Week events this summer, with posts in Kenya, Laos, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan, among others, holding first-time LGBT events. State’s International Visitors Leadership Program is also playing a key role in ensuring LGBT leaders from other countries are able to learn from the experience of the LGBT movement in the United States, including learning about the U.S. experience in combating hate crimes.

      * The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has made clear that protecting the human rights of all people, including LGBT persons, is part of the overall human rights and governance criteria on which countries will be assessed for compact eligibility.

      * The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has asked each of the U.S. Executive Directors of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) including the World Bank to raise LGBT concerns to a policy level and increase awareness of the issue.

      * The Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) are considering LGBT concerns, for instance, in the context of the human rights eligibility requirement in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and through workplace anti-discrimination programs under the labor cooperation provisions of trade agreements. Commerce is also pursuing new lines of effort to engage the private sector in expanding non-discrimination and tolerance in other countries, recognizing that hostility to LGBT employees creates an adverse business climate that can hinder economic growth and competitiveness.

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/12/13/us-leadership-advance-equality-lgbt-people-abroad

    • U.S. to begin aiding foreign LGBT groups

      4/8/13 Carolyn Lochhead – sfgate

      The U.S. Agency for International Development, the federal government’s main foreign aid arm, announced at a Monday event in Washington a major new initiative to promote LGBT rights in developing countries.

      Eighty-five countries and territories currently criminalize same-sex relationships, according to the agency. Seven impose a death penalty. In South Africa, lesbians are often subjected to “corrective rape,” while throughout the Middle East and Africa, LGBT people are murdered and tortured because of their sexual orientation, said Claire Lucas, a senior adviser at the agency who conceived of the project.

      Uganda is still considering a bill to impose the death penalty on gays and lesbians.

      The $11 million, four-year initiative is a public-private partnership between USAID and San Francisco-based Olivia Cruises, UCLA’s Williams Institute, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

      The initiative will work with local LGBT groups to provide leadership training, research and other help, lending the imprimatur of the U.S. government to people who in many countries are outcast and vulnerable. The first work will take place in Equador, Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia. Officials said there has been a spike in violence against transgendered persons in Honduras since a 2009 coup in the country.

      For more: http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2013/04/08/u-s-to-begin-aiding-foreign-lgbt-groups/

    • Release No: NR-272-15

      July 13, 2015 dod.gov

      Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on DOD Transgender Policy

      Over the last fourteen years of conflict, the Department of Defense has proven itself to be a learning organization. This is true in war, where we have adapted to counterinsurgency, unmanned systems, and new battlefield requirements such as MRAPs. It is also true with respect to institutional activities, where we have learned from how we repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” from our efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, and from our work to open up ground combat positions to women. Throughout this time, transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms.

      The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.

      Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.

      As I’ve said before, we must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve. Going forward, the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both. Our military’s future strength depends on it.

  3. California gay marriage case looks headed to Supreme Court

    6/5/12 By Peter Henderson and Dan Levine | Reuters – 5 mins ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A federal court declined an appeal to revisit California’s gay marriage ban on Tuesday, clearing the way for the Supreme Court to consider whether the ban violates the U.S. Constitution.

    Supporters of the ban, Proposition 8, have lost two rounds in federal court. Tuesday’s decision now passes the issue into the hands of the top U.S. court, which, while conservative-leaning, has been sympathetic towards gay rights.

    The Supreme Court could agree to hear the matter in a session beginning in October, ahead of the November 6 U.S. presidential election, and putting it on track to decide the case within a year.

    President Barack Obama last month turned gay marriage into a 2012 campaign issue, saying he believed same-sex couples should be able to marry. His Republican opponent Mitt Romney disagrees.

    The Supreme Court could turn its next session into a gay-rights blockbuster, with two major cases coming at the same time.

    In addition to the California decision on Proposition 8 by the 9th U.S. Circuit, a Boston federal appeals court recently struck down part of the federal law rejecting same-sex marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act.

    “The timing is too perfect,” said Thomas Goldstein, a Washington-based attorney who practices before the Supreme Court, adding that the argument would resemble this year’s proceedings on legal challenges to Obama’s health care plan.

    The vast majority of U.S. states limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, and popular votes have consistently approved bans on widening those rights.

    But polls show growing acceptance of same-sex nuptials, which have been legalized in eight states and the District of Columbia, thanks to votes by legislators and court decisions.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/california-gay-marriage-case-looks-headed-supreme-court-165603133.html

    • Breaking: 9th Circuit Will NOT Re-Hear Federal Prop 8 Case

      June 05, 2012 1:15 PM By Karen Ocamb – bilerico

      Just published from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

      Filed Order for PUBLICATION (STEPHEN R. REINHARDT, MICHAEL DALY HAWKINS and N. RANDY SMITH) (Dissent by Judge O’Scannlain, Concurrence by Judge Reinhardt) A majority of the panel has voted to deny the petition for rehearing en banc. Judge N.R. Smith would grant the petition. The full court was advised of the petition for rehearing en banc. A judge requested a vote on whether to rehear the matter en banc. The matter failed to receive a majority of the votes of the non-recused active judges in favor of en banc consideration. Fed. R. App. P. 35. The petition for rehearing en banc is DENIED. The mandate is stayed for ninety days pending the filing of a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. If such a petition is filed, the stay shall continue until final disposition by the Supreme Court. [8202067] [10-16696, 11-16577] (RP)

      The case will now likely go to the US Supreme Court. American Foundation for Equal Rights is holding a conference call at 10:30 to discuss what happens now.

  4. US Drone Strike in Pakistan Kills Al-Qaida No. 2

    June 05, 2012 VOA News

    U.S. officials say a drone strike in northwestern Pakistan that killed al-Qaida’s second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, is “a significant blow to the terror group.”

    Tuesday’s confirmation of al-Libi’s death came a day after missiles from a pilotless U.S. plane hit a vehicle and compound in the North Waziristan tribal region, killing at least 15 people, including foreigners. News reports quote a Pakistani Taliban who confirmed al-Libi’s death and said it was “a big loss” for the terror network.

    Authorities in Pakistan reported they intercepted a telephone conversation in which militants talked about the death of an Arab, and said residents of the area had believed al-Libi was in the compound at the time of the strike. Al-Qaida’s deputy leader, a Libyan, reportedly had been wounded by an earlier U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan on May 28.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters al-Libi’s death had been confirmed. Citing U.S. intelligence sources, Carney described al-Libi as a “general manager” of al-Qaida. He said the dead militant had “experience that is hard to replicate,” and “there is no clear successor to take over his role.”

    For more: http://www.voanews.com/content/us-officials-say-drone-attack-targeted-al-qaidas-no-2/1147332.html

    • US Officials: Top Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in Pakistan Drone Strike

      JUNE 5, 2012 BY THE WORLD ⋅

      Summary: Senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in Pakistan on Monday, a US official has told the BBC.

      US officials said Libi was the target of a drone strike which hit a volatile tribal area of Pakistan’s north-west, killing 15 suspected militants.

      There has been no confirmation of his death from sources in Pakistan.

      According to officials, he played a critical role in the group’s planning against the West.

      Marco Werman talks with former CIA analyst Jarret Brachman.

      For the audio interview: http://www.theworld.org/2012/06/pakistan-drone-strikes/

  5. June 05, 2012

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the 2012 National Level Exercise

    Earlier today President Obama participated in the 2012 National Level Exercise (NLE), sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a part of its mandate to regularly test and evaluate our ability to respond to and recover from catastrophic events. Today’s exercise examined challenges related to managing a cyber incident involving physical impacts on our nation’s critical infrastructure. As a part of this exercise, the President hosted a Cabinet meeting to discuss with his leadership team the time-sensitive decisions that would have to be made if a significant cyber event affected critical infrastructure systems.

    The NLE is an important tool in the government’s efforts to protect the United States in the event of a cyber incident affecting our critical infrastructure. An increase in reported cyber intrusions into our nation’s critical infrastructure networks shows that these systems are not being adequately protected. Last May, the Administration sent a legislative proposal to the Congress that would give the Federal government and private sector new tools to ensure our most vital critical infrastructure systems are properly secured. The Senate is now considering legislation that would build on the Administration’s proposal to protect critical infrastructure. As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, we need Congress to pass legislation to secure the nation from the growing danger of cyber threats, while safeguarding the privacy and civil liberties of our citizens. The American people expect their government to ensure the cybersecurity of the critical infrastructure upon which so much of our national security, economic well-being, and daily lives depend.

    • Collaborative and Cross-Cutting Approaches to Cybersecurity

      Michael Daniel August 01, 2012 05:18 PM EDT

      As I reach the end of my first two months as Cybersecurity Coordinator, I wanted to highlight a few of the Administration’s recent accomplishments working in partnership with the private sector, and also preview some of our future activities. Some of the Government’s cybersecurity activities are already high-profile, like the recent National Level Exercise or our push for comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, but there is also substantial activity occurring outside of the spotlight. Both are needed if we are going to address the serious threats we face in cyberspace and capitalize on the exceptional opportunities cyberspace presents for governments, individuals, and U.S. businesses.

      Like many tough issues, cybersecurity is a cross-cutting problem, affecting not only all Federal agencies, but also state and local governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, academia, and other countries. It is a national security, homeland security, economic security, network defense, and law enforcement issue all rolled into one. As a result, it takes a truly cross-cutting response to address the problem, with the public and private sector working collaboratively. Within the government and the private sector, many organizations will need to work together in new and sometimes initially uncomfortable ways. We will also need a combination of technical, policy, and legislative tools to respond.

      Let me highlight a few recent initiatives where voluntary, cooperative actions are helping to improve the nation’s overall cybersecurity:

      * The Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cybersecurity/Information Assurance (CS/IA)

      * The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC)

      * The Electric Sector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model

      * In End-User Cybersecurity Protection

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/08/01/collaborative-and-cross-cutting-approaches-cybersecurity

    • July 19, 2012

      Op-ed by President Obama: Taking the Cyberattack Threat Seriously

      The full text of the op-ed by President Barack Obama is printed below. The piece will be published tomorrow in The Wall Street Journal and can be found HERE.

      Taking the Cyberattack Threat Seriously
      By President Obama

      Last month I convened an emergency meeting of my cabinet and top homeland security, intelligence and defense officials. Across the country trains had derailed, including one carrying industrial chemicals that exploded into a toxic cloud. Water treatment plants in several states had shut down, contaminating drinking water and causing Americans to fall ill.

      Our nation, it appeared, was under cyber attack. Unknown hackers, perhaps a world away, had inserted malicious software into the computer networks of private-sector companies that operate most of our transportation, water and other critical infrastructure systems.

      Fortunately, last month’s scenario was just a simulation—an exercise to test how well federal, state and local governments and the private sector can work together in a crisis. But it was a sobering reminder that the cyber threat to our nation is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face.

      So far, no one has managed to seriously damage or disrupt our critical infrastructure networks. But foreign governments, criminal syndicates and lone individuals are probing our financial, energy and public safety systems every day. Last year, a water plant in Texas disconnected its control system from the Internet after a hacker posted pictures of the facility’s internal controls. More recently, hackers penetrated the networks of companies that operate our natural-gas pipelines. Computer systems in critical sectors of our economy—including the nuclear and chemical industries—are being increasingly targeted.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/19/op-ed-president-obama-taking-cyberattack-threat-seriously

  6. Wisconsin – June 6 Results

    Gubernatorial Recall Election
    S. Walker, R (i) 53.5% 1,248,373
    T. Barrett, D 46.0% 1,073,446
    H. Trivedi, O 0.6%

  7. ‘American Grown’ Promo: First Lady Obama Does Gardening ‘Top Ten List’ For Letterman

    JUNE 06, 2012 obamafoodorama.blogspot

    First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday appeared on a segment for Late Show with David Letterman, promoting her new book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, which went on sale on May 29. Mrs. Obama filmed the spot earlier in the day in the Map Room at the White House, and gave host David Letterman a Top Ten List, telling him “Fun Facts About Gardening.”

    Mrs. Obama was clad in a yellow dress as she spoke to Letterman onscreen, or as Letterman put it, “through the magic of television.” Number 1 on her list: “With enough care and effort you can grow your own Barack-oli,” the First Lady said, holding up a head of broccoli with President Obama’s face etched on the side. Number 2: “The White House tool shed contains shovels, trowels and Weed Whacker One.” CBS has so far released just a preview clip of Mrs. Obama’s list:

    To launch the book last week, Mrs. Obama did a TV book tour, visiting New York to film Good Morning America, The View, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Live! with Kelly. Mrs. Obama also appeared on The Rachael Ray Show. She will appear on Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible on June 14.

    For more: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/06/first-lady-talks-gardening-with.html


    The Morning Show : Michelle’s garden

    Published on Jun 6, 2012 by morningshow
    Michelle Obama has done a top ten garden list on Letterman to promote her new book.

    • Book TV: Michelle Obama, “American Grown”

      Published on Jun 18, 2012 by BookTV

      First Lady Michelle Obama signs her book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America at Barnes & Noble in Washington, D.C.

  8. Now Streaming…

    9:30 AM EDT
    The President’s Export Council
    The President’s Export Council will meet to discuss topics and provide recommendations related to the National Export Initiative and export promotion. Members will deliberate five letters of recommendation relating to: permanent normal trade relations status for Russia; U.S. – EU transatlantic partnership; federal, state, and local cooperation on export promotion; travel and tourism; and brokering under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
    The White House

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

    • President’s Export Council Meeting

      Published on Jun 6, 2012 by whitehouse

      President Obama’s Export Council meets to discuss increasing U.S. exports and creating American jobs. June 6, 2012.

  9. MBA: Refinance Activity increases as Mortgage Rates fall to New Record Low

    6/06/2012 07:00:00 AM by CalculatedRisk

    The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week to its highest level since February 10, 2012. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased slightly from one week earlier to its lowest level since April 13, 2012.

    The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased to 3.87 percent, the lowest rate in the history of the survey, from 3.91 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.46 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.

    For more: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2012/06/mba-refinance-activity-increases-as.html


    The war Romney ‘longed’ for

    Jun 6, 2012 9:29 AM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

    Romney in 1965, seen on the far right, protesting in support of the Vietnam War.

    At this point in American politics, whether a presidential candidate avoided service in Vietnam is probably an issue that has lost its electoral salience. While the controversy undercut Bill Clinton — and to a lesser extent, George W. Bush — its relevance in national campaigns seems to have come and gone.

    So, when the AP ran a 1,200-word piece yesterday on Romney’s Vietnam-era deferments, it’s tempting to think the story just doesn’t matter. As the argument goes, his unwillingness to serve, though perhaps embarrassing, doesn’t seem to tell us anything important now.

    But these assumptions aren’t quite right. The story matters in large part because this appears to be yet another area in which Romney hasn’t been honest with the public.

    Though an early supporter of the Vietnam War, Romney avoided military service at the height of the fighting after high school by seeking and receiving four draft deferments, according to Selective Service records. They included college deferments and a 31-month stretch as a “minister of religion” in France, a classification for Mormon missionaries that the church at the time feared was being overused. The country was cutting troop levels by the time he became eligible for the draft, and his lottery number was not called. […]

    [B]ecause Romney, now 65, was of draft age during Vietnam, his military background — or, rather, his lack of one — is facing new scrutiny as he courts veterans and makes his case to the nation to be commander in chief.

    This scrutiny is turning up some underappreciated details, which raise some legitimate questions. Indeed, there’s clear evidence to suggest Romney hasn’t told the truth about his actions during the war.

    For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/06/12085094-the-war-romney-longed-for?lite

  11. 11:00 AM ET
    Attorney General Eric Holder makes remarks at the Justice Department’s LGBT Pride Month celebration in Washington.



      June 6, 2012

      Thank you, Marc. I appreciate your kind words, and I especially am grateful for all that you – as well as your colleagues on the DOJ Pride Board and across the Justice Management Division – have done to bring us together today. It’s a pleasure, as always, to be part of this celebration. And it’s a privilege to welcome so many distinguished guests – including this year’s keynote speaker, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum – to the Justice Department.

      Thank you all for being here as we commemorate LGBT Pride Month – by reflecting on the extraordinary contributions of LGBT Americans and their allies, and by recognizing the outstanding achievements of this year’s award recipients.

      I would like to begin by congratulating each of the DOJ team members – as well as the students from the Anoka-Hennepin School District – who are receiving the Gerald B. Roemer Community Service Award for their innovative, dedicated efforts to prevent and combat sexual identity-based discrimination in the classroom. Your actions have made a profound difference in the lives of countless young people, and helped to ensure that all of our children have access to safe and supportive learning environments.

      I’d also like to acknowledge this year’s James R. Douglass Award recipient, Diana Flynn – Chief of the Civil Rights Division’s Appellate Section – who is being honored for her remarkable work in raising awareness about – and helping to address – a host of issues facing LGBT employees across the Department.

      Today’s awardees have made a tremendous impact – improving lives, families, and entire communities. They’ve also helped to advance our nation’s critical and ongoing struggle for LGBT equality. And each one of them serves as an important reminder that this work is driven forward – not just by institutions like this one, but also by individual actions – of courage, compassion, and commitment.

      Thanks to the advocates, activists, and attorneys in this room – and all across the country – we have made meaningful, once-unimaginable progress in recent years. And we come together at an exciting moment.

      For more: http://www.bilerico.com/2012/06/ag_eric_holders_remarks_celebrating_lgbt_pride_mon.php

    • Biden: Economic gains are ‘not enough,’ admin is ‘determined to act’

      6/6/12 12:55 PM EDT By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

      The gains the U.S. economy has made in the last three years are “not enough,” Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday in the battleground state of North Carolina, but the Obama administration is “determined to act.”

      “I think because of the president’s leadership and, obviously I’m prejudiced, we’ve had 27 straight months of private sector growth. Four million new jobs,” Biden said at Wake Forest Biotech Place in Winston-Salem. ” Not enough, not enough, not enough. And it’s up and it’s down, but it’s been constantly forward. But not enough. We have to do more, we have to keep fighting through this period of transition and this godawful recession we inherited.”

      But there are ways to do more. “We need to commit to education, we need to commit to innovation, we need to commit to our people,” he said. “We not only need to create new jobs, we need to create new industries.”

      Biden pointed to President Obama’s “to-do” list for Congress as one clear way to make progress on manufacturing, bringing jobs back to U.S. soil and helping veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan find jobs.

      “We’re determined to act, folks. You’re going to hear criticism of us because we’re insisting on acting. We will use every power that is legally under our constitutional capacity to act when the Congress will not,” the vice president said, alluding to the Obama administration’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative. Since last fall, the administration been using executive actions, directives and other means to try to boost the economy.

      “But understand: Our Republican friends in Congress are just as determined to not act,” the vice president said. “We are not going to relent. We can’t wait, you can’t wait, this country can’t wait.”

  12. 12:00 PM ET
    First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at campaign event
    Pierre Hotel, New York, NY

    • June 06, 2012
      Remarks by the First Lady at a Campaign Event

      Pierre Hotel
      New York, New York

      12:10 P.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Yes! It’s good to see that this crowd is already fired up. I can go back to D.C., right? (Applause.) Oh, my goodness! It is a thrill to be here this afternoon. This hotel is amazing. (Laughter.) One day I will come back and have tea — or do something. (Laughter.)

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!

      MRS. OBAMA: I love you all, too. We are going to get this done, right? (Applause.) Absolutely.

      I want to start by thanking Caroline for that very kind introduction and, more importantly, for all of the consistent support and friendship she has provided to me and to Barack. And, yes, I do have a crazy dog. (Laughter.) But he is very adorable, too, and we wouldn’t know what to do without him. So, for that alone, the Kennedys hold a special place in our heart. So let’s give Caroline another round of applause. (Applause.)

      I also want to recognize Cecile Richards for her outstanding leadership — (applause.) Thank you, Cecile. Way to go! (Applause.) It’s great to have you here today. Thank you so much.

      I want to also thank Jane Hartley for moderating today’s panel and for all of her hard work. (Applause.) And Laura Tyson and Heather McGhee for participating in the panel. I heard that that was really good. (Applause.) I missed it. I just flew in, so I missed it. But I heard that it is actually Heather’s birthday today. So, Heather, I know I’m going to see you after this, but wherever you are, happy birthday. (Applause.) And thank you for spending your birthday with a roomful of amazing women. (Applause.) And are there any men here today? (Applause.) All right — and a few good men, too. There you go — stand proud. Stand proud. (Laughter.)

      I know you all are busy — which is why events like this are so special, because I know that people have busy lives. You all have families to raise, jobs, careers, whatever it is that is filling up your calendars. But I know there’s a reason why all of us have taken time out to be here today.

      And it’s not just because we all support one extraordinary man — (applause.) I am the President’s biggest fan. I’m a bit biased. (Laughter.) I think he’s been phenomenal. (Applause.) And I know we’re not just here because we want to win an election — which I know we do. We’re here, we come together like this, with all this passion and fire, because of the values we believe in. We’re doing this because of the vision for this country that we all share.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/06/remarks-first-lady-campaign-event

  13. Summer Food Service Program

    Summer Food Program
    June 4 – August 17

    Announcing: 2012 Summer Food Service Program
    Introductory Webinars!

    During the school year, many children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. What happens when school lets out? Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again. Hunger also may make children more prone to illness and other health issues. The Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need.

    Want to help end hunger this summer? Here are a few ways you can help:

    How to Become a Sponsor or Site http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/Sponsor.htm
    How to Manage a Summer Food Program http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/Managing.htm
    How to Do Community Outreach for SFSP http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/Outreach.htm
    News & Email Updates http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/News.htm
    Frequently Asked Questions http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/FAQs.htm
    Free Webinars http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/webinar.htm

    For more information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer/

    • June 06, 2012

      Remarks by the First Lady at a Campaign Event

      National Constitution Center
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      3:39 P.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA: Yes! (Applause.) Wow! Thank you so much. What a great crowd! I am beyond thrilled to be here with all of you today. Wow!

      Let me start by thanking Erin for that very kind introduction and for all of her terrific work not just on this campaign, but working for our kids. Let’s give her another round of applause. Yay, Erin! (Applause.) I also want to recognize your outstanding Mayor and my dear friend, Mayor Nutter. Mr. Mayor. (Applause.) I also want to recognize your outstanding District Attorney, Seth Williams, who is here. (Applause.) And Kathleen Kane, who is here — she’s going to make an outstanding Attorney General here in Pennsylvania. (Applause.)

      And finally, I want to thank all of you, our extraordinary volunteers and organizers. Thank you for everything you all do — oh, day in and day out — to make this campaign possible. Especially you all down there. (Applause.) Thank you all. I want to thank you for doing all that hard work, knocking on those doors, making all those phone calls, registering those voters. (Applause.) And I want to thank you for giving folks the information they need about the issues they care about.

      And I want you to know that the kind of grassroots work that you all are doing to get people focused and fired up — you know, that kind of work — that work is at the core of this campaign. It’s everything we’re about. And that’s how we did it four years ago; that’s how we’re going to do it again today. (Applause.)

      And let me tell you something. What I know is that what you all are doing isn’t easy, that kind of work. I know that you all are putting in long hours. And I know that you’re doing it although you have busy lives. I know all of you have families to raise, jobs to do, classes to attend. But I also know that there is a reason why all of us are here today. And it’s not just because we all support one extraordinary man — (applause) — and I have to admit I’m a little biased about our President. (Applause.) And it’s not just because we want to win an election — which we do. We’re doing this because of the values we believe in. We’re doing this because of the vision for this country that we all share.

      We’re doing this because we want all of our children, all of them, to have good schools — (applause) — the kind of schools that push them and inspire them, and prepare them for good jobs — right? (Applause.) We want our parents and our grandparents to retire with dignity — because we believe that after a lifetime of hard work, they should be able to enjoy their golden years — right? (Applause.) We want to restore that basic middle-class security for our families in this country, because we believe that folks shouldn’t go bankrupt because somebody gets sick, they shouldn’t lose their home because someone loses a job — right? (Applause.)

      We believe that responsibility should be rewarded and that hard work should pay off. We believe that everyone should do their fair share and play by the same rules. (Applause.) These are basic American values. They’re the values that so many of us were raised with, including myself.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/06/remarks-first-lady-campaign-event-0

    • June 06, 2012

      Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

      Julia Morgan Ballroom
      San Francisco, California

      2:28 P.M. PDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Willie Mays, everybody, the “Say Hey Kid.” (Applause.) Thank you so much, everybody. Everybody, have a seat.

      First of all, it is true that they provide me with this really nice plane in this job. (Laughter.) But as cool as Air Force One is, it is much, much cooler when Willie Mays is with you on the plane. (Laughter.) I am so grateful to him for his support, but more importantly — he mentioned obviously the history that was made with my election. The fact is, is that we don’t make that history unless there are people like Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, who helped to lay the groundwork — (applause) — helped to lay the groundwork for a more inclusive America. And so we could not be prouder of him, and he could not be more gracious.

      A couple of other people I want to acknowledge — your outstanding Governor of the great state of California, Jerry Brown. There he is. (Applause.) Your equally dynamic Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, is in the house. (Applause.) The wonderful Mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee — give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)

      I want to thank Clint and Janet Reilly for hosting us here today. We are in their spot and we are very grateful. You can give them a round of applause. (Applause.)

      And we’ve got a guy who I guess is a little bit of a carpetbagger here today. (Laughter.) He is former chairman of the DNC, former governor of Virginia, now running for the United States Senate in Virginia, but is also one of my dearest friends. This was the first guy outside of Illinois, the first elected official outside of Illinois to endorse my candidacy for President. And we made that announcement together in Richmond, the seat of the former Confederacy. And this was at a time when Barack Hussein Obama was not favored to win. (Laughter.) And so he is a man of character. And I would urge all of you to get to know his incredible track record and support his terrific efforts in Virginia. Please give Tim Kaine a big round of applause. (Applause.)

      So it is good to be back in San Francisco. I’ve noticed I’ve been getting very good weather in San Francisco. (Laughter.) I don’t know if Ed or Gavin or somebody is arranging this, but it’s always spectacular to be here among so many friends, a lot of people who supported me in the past.

      I’m here not just because I need your help, but because the country needs your help. And when we came together in 2008, like Tim, you didn’t do it because you thought I was necessarily the odds on favorite. But we came together, because there was a sense that those core values that we hold dear, the things that make America special — the values that helped to expand opportunity for people from every walk of life and from all over the world — that those values had eroded a little bit, that they weren’t being observed in Washington the way we’d like them to be.

      We had seen surpluses turned into yawning deficits because of tax cuts for people who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them. We had seen two wars fought on a credit card. We had seen an economy that was increasingly built on financial speculation as opposed to us making stuff, and manufacturing was consistently moving offshore. And we’d gotten a sense that for a few people things were going really well, but an expanding number of Americans were having more and more trouble getting by, with the cost of everything from health care to college education skyrocketing, even as wages and incomes were flat.

      And so there was the sense that the core of the American Dream, the idea that anybody can make it if they try, regardless of what they look like, where they come from, who they love — that everybody has a stake, everybody has a piece in this exceptional, extraordinary country — that that was slipping away from too many people.

      Now, we didn’t know at the time that we were going to be facing the worst economic crisis in most of our lifetimes — we had already lost $4 million jobs before I sworn in and we’d lose 800,000 jobs the month I was sworn in. But we understood what was at stake. And what we also understood was the incredible strength and resilience of the American people.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/06/remarks-president-campaign-event

  14. Good and HOPEful Wednesday, CR and all friends!


    I just signed an online pledge to approve Referendum 74 and protect marriage equality in the state of Washington.

    • Good and HOPEful Wednesday Kat! Good for Washington State!

      Too bad so many CA voters got duped (by GOP Utah canvasses in CA and phony signs w/ images of PBO&VPOTUS approving “ Yes on 8” into falsely thinking that it meant “Yes for Families” instead of the true meaning of “No on Same-Sex marriage”

  15. June 06, 2012

    Readout of the President’s Phone Calls with Prime Minister Monti and Chancellor Merkel

    President Obama spoke separately today to Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Monti to discuss economic conditions in Europe. This continues the President’s close consultations with European colleagues following their Camp David discussions. The Leaders agreed on the importance of steps to strengthen the resilience of the Eurozone and growth in Europe and globally, and agreed to remain in contact as they prepare for the June 18-19 G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

  16. Buffett Sees No U.S. Recession Unless Europe Causes It

    Jun 5, 2012 By Zachary Tracer – bloomberg

    Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said he expects the U.S. economy to avoid another recession as long as Europe can contain its debt crisis.

    There won’t be a recession “unless events in Europe develop in some way that spills over here big-time,” Buffett said yesterday at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. He answered questions from David Rubenstein, co-chief executive officer of Carlyle Group LP (CG), the world’s second-largest private equity firm.

    Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis threatens to destroy the region’s 17-nation currency union. Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of Seven economies agreed yesterday to coordinate responses to the crisis as Greece contemplates leaving the euro. European leaders need to resolve some of the union’s weaknesses, Buffett said.

    “They’re in on a common currency but they’re not in on a common fiscal policy or a common culture or common labor practices,” Buffett said. “They have to reconcile some of these things.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-06/buffett-sees-no-u-s-recession-unless-europe-causes-it.html

  17. Fed more upbeat on economy in Beige Book

    6/6/12 By Jason Lange – Reuters

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economic growth in the United States picked up over the last two months and hiring showed signs of a “modest increase,” the Federal Reserve said in a report that ran counter to a growing sense of economic gloom.

    “Overall economic activity expanded at a moderate pace,” the central bank said on Wednesday in its latest “Beige Book” summary of business activity covering a period between early April and late May.
    The Fed’s previous Beige Book assessment of the economy, released on April 11, had painted growth in a more timid light.

    The central bank also described hiring as steady or modestly increasing, in contrast with a government report last week that showed hiring slowed last month for a fourth straight month.

    “The economy is not deteriorating as rapidly as last Friday’s payrolls report suggests,” said Stephen Stanley, an economist at Pierpont Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.

    The Labor Department said on Friday that employers added just 69,000 people to payrolls last month, the weakest increase in a year. The data fueled concerns the economy was cooling, although many economists think part of the labor market slowdown was a temporary payback for mild weather that boosted hiring over the winter.

    For more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fed-beige-book-points-moderate-180850401.html

  18. 10:15 PM ET
    President Obama attends the LGBT Leadership Council’s 2012 Gala
    Private Residence
    Beverly Hills, CA

    • June 07, 2012

      Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

      Private Residence
      Beverly Hills, California
      June 6, 2012

      8:09 P.M. PDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you so much, everybody. First of all, I just want to thank Ryan and David for opening up this incredible home — and arranging perfect weather. (Applause.) We are grateful to you for your hospitality.

      I want to also acknowledge John Emerson, who is here and has been just a great friend, and worked on my behalf for a very, very long time, and helped to pull this thing together. (Applause.)

      I will not be singing tonight.

      AUDIENCE: Awww —

      THE PRESIDENT: I’m just saying. (Laughter.) But usually in these kinds of settings where I’ve got a few friends, I like to spend most of my time in a conversation, as opposed to giving a long speech. So I’m just going to make a few brief remarks at the top.

      I just came from a wonderful event over at the Wilshire or the Hilton — I’m not sure which. (Laughter.) Here’s what happens — because you go through the kitchens — (laughter) — of all these places and so you never are quite sure where you are. (Laughter.) But I was telling folks — many of you got involved in the campaign back in 2008, and you did so not because you thought electing Barack Obama was a sure thing. Generally people named Barack Hussein Obama are not sure things in presidential races. (Laughter.) The reason some of you got involved is because I think you understood that there are a set of values that make this country extraordinary, that make this country exceptional.

      It’s not just our military might or the size of our economy. It has to do with a set of ideas, a creed, that started more than 200 years ago, when a band of colonists decided that they had a different idea about self-governance and they had an idea that said everybody is created equal, and everybody can participate, and each of us, if we’re willing to work hard and take responsibility, can take our lives as far as our dreams will take us.

      And those documents that they issued were not perfect and the society in which they lived wasn’t perfect. But they created this space where, through successive generations, we could continually broaden the scope of opportunity to more and more people, and include more and more people as citizens, and recognize each other as part of this American story.

      And so through civil wars and civil rights and women’s rights and workers’ rights, there’s been this constant battle so that more and more people can take part. And that’s made us all stronger. That’s made us all richer. And it’s made us this beacon for the rest of the world.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/07/remarks-president-campaign-event

      President Obama LGBT Leadership Council closing remarks

      Published on Jun 7, 2012 by cverdugo1225

      President Obama LGBT fundraiser

    • Obama Draws Hollywood, L.A. LGBT Donors

      Wed, June 06, 2012, 9:48 PM Wilshireandwashington

      President Obama told a Beverly Hills gathering of gay and lesbian donors from show biz, politics and activist orgs that the pursuit of equal rights “is just part of a broader fight on behalf of all Americans.”

      What he didn’t mention in his remarks on Wednesday was he recent announcement that he supports same-sex marriage, but to many who were there, it was readily apparent.

      As screenwriter Dustin Lance Black put it, the extended standing ovation that came when Obama appeared in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel ballroom was message enough. “He stepped on stage and said, ‘Here I am,’ and we said, ‘We heard you.'”

      The event drew many of Hollywood’s highest profile gay and lesbian performers and industry figures, as well as other stars and politicos who are starting to engage in the campaign.

      Read more: http://www.wilshireandwashington.com/2012/06/obama-draws-hollywood-la-lgbt-donors.html

  19. 11:55 PM ET
    President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event.
    Private Residence, Beverly Hills, CA

  20. Thursday, June 7, 2012

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    Vice President Biden meets with Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen of Finland.

    1:00 PM
    1:20 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event
    Private Residence
    Los Angeles, CA

    2:00 PM
    2:20 PM
    President Obama departs Los Angeles, California.
    Local Event Time: 11:20AM PDT
    Los Angeles International Airport
    Open Press

    2:45 PM
    First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Obama campaign volunteers
    Manassas, VA

    3:00 PM
    President Obama arrives in Las Vegas, Nevada.Local Event Time: 12:20PM PDT
    McCarran International Airport
    Open Press

    3:50 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks on student loans and the rising cost of education.
    Local Event Time: 12:50PM PDT
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Las Vegas, NV

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    President Obama departs Las Vegas, Nevada via McCarran International Airport.
    Local Event Time: 2:00PM PDT
    McCarran International Airport
    Open Press

    5:15 PM
    First Lady Michelle Obama attends a campaign fundraiser at a private residence.
    Washington, DC

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

  21. President’s speech at UNLV to focus on student loan crisis

    June 6, 2012 msnbc

    LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) — Las Vegas is gearing up for another presidential visit Thursday as President Obama will speak at UNLV. He’s expected to discuss student loans and the rising cost of education.

    Nevada is expected to play a critical role in the upcoming election, so even though isn’t a campaign trip per se, it will also serve that purpose.

    Regardless, people today jumped at the opportunity to grab free tickets to hear him speak. The line stretched around Cox Pavilion as Las Vegas residents hoped to get a ticket to the president’s speech.
    This will be Obama’s 10th visit to Las Vegas since his election, this time appearing to discuss a subject he’s been tackling for weeks.

    “For the first eight years of our marriage we were paying more in student loans than we were paying for our mortgage,” Obama said recently, “So we know what this is about.”

    Some have referred to the nation’s student loan dilemma as a crisis and if congress doesn’t act soon, in July interest rates on loans will double.

    “It’s the concern for most American students, most of them are walking out of college with 70-thousand, 100-thousand dollar debts,” said UNLV student Rachel Hershkovitz.

    For more: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47705733/ns/local_news-las_vegas_nv/t/presidents-speech-unlv-focus-student-loan-crisis/#.T8-L_2h9-Jc

  22. Netroots Nation 7th Annual
    6/7-6/10 Providence, RI

    This June 7-10, one of the most powerful political events of the year will take place in Providence: the seventh annual Netroots Nation conference.

    Join thousands of fellow bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists for four days of thought-provoking panels, practical trainings and fun networking opportunities. You’ll make new connections, improve your organizing skills, be inspired and build stronger relationships with others working on the issues you care most about. Plus, each year, some of the brightest minds in progressive politics go to Netroots Nation to speak with—and hear from—people just like you.

    The conference will feature:
    • 70 panels
    • 30 training sessions
    • Inspiring keynotes (Keith Olbermann is our first confirmed speaker)
    • Film screenings
    • Tons of social events and networking opportunities

    As you’re making travel plans, keep in mind when official events begin and end. The first sessions begin Thursday at 9 a.m., and Sunday’s service project will wrap up by 2:30 p.m

    For more: http://www.netrootsnation.org/event/netroots-nation-2012/

    Schedule Overview: http://www.netrootsnation.org/nn12/schedule-overview/

    Live Stream: http://www.netrootsnation.org/nn12/streaming/

    • I sure hope this will not turn in to an Obama bashing conference. I wonder what kind of show will Choi put on this year? 🙂

    • Obama tells activists ‘change is hard,’ in video message to Netroots Nation

      6/10/12 08:36 AM ET By Meghashyam Mali -TheHill

      President Obama taped a surprise video message for activists attending the progressive Netroots Nation conference, telling them that “change is hard, but we’ve seen it’s possible.”

      “It’s hard to believe this is already the fourth Netroots Nation of my presidency,” said Obama, greeting attendees in the pre-recorded message which was played at the summit in Providence, R.I. on Saturday. “That’s like 200,000 news cycles on Twitter,” he joked.

      Obama, who has faced criticism from some progressive activists for not doing more to help unseat GOP Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s failed recall effort and who has been on the defensive on the economy and seen rival Mitt Romney rise in the polls, sought to reassure liberal supporters in his message.
      “Four years ago, we came together because we shared a simple belief — that people who love their country can change it. And you have,” he said.

      “I know it hasn’t always been easy. I know the petty political fights in Washington can be frustrating, and believe me, I know that. But I hope you’ll look back and think about the fact that everything you did, step-by-step and day by day, has helped bring about the changes we’ve fought for.

      The president touted many of his achievements including the Affordable Care Act, with the video cutting away to a clip of a family from Englewood, Colo. discussing how the healthcare reform law helped them secure coverage for their sick son.

      “Change is also doubling down on clean energy and enacting historic fuel efficiency standards, changing our entire trajectory after decades of inaction,” Obama continues.

      “Change is the fact that for the first time in history you don’t have to hide who you love to serve the country,” he adds, referencing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

      Obama also mentions his ending of the war in Iraq and the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

      On the economy, Obama touts 4.3 million new jobs created in the last 27 months and vows to continue efforts to boost the economic recovery.

      “That’s just a short list,” he says.

      “At this make or break moment for the middle class, we face our most important fight yet, and now is the time to dig deep. Change is hard, but we’ve seen that it’s possible, as long as you’re willing to keep up that fight, I’ll be right there with you,” Obama concludes.


      President Obama Addresses Netroots Nation 2012

      Published on Jun 9, 2012 by

      President Obama sent this video message to the Netroots Nation 2012 Convention in Providence

  23. Reading about Wisconsin… polls are showing it definitely in President Obama’s corner vs. Mitt Romney, and the reason the recall failed was that so many people disapprove of recalls, not that they love Scott Walker. Always interesting to see the “why” in back of the numbers.

    • Hey Kat and CR. I am glad the polls showed that PBO won in WI. Apparently there is a new poll out in PA that shows PBO ahead. I hope people are beginning to notice Romney’s lies. I love how Rachel holds him accountable and criticize the MSM for not doing the same.

      • Hey COS!

        Yes, thank goodness that we have organizations who are paying attention and sharing the truth about things to counter the lies that Haters/Fox/Birthers spew.

  24. Getting the Facts on Tax Cuts

    Amy Brundage June 06, 2012 05:46 PM EDT

    Recently there’s been renewed debate about whether Republicans will stick by their insistence on holding the middle class tax cuts that are scheduled to expire at the end of the year hostage so that they can continue big tax cuts the wealthiest 2 percent of individuals. The President believes we must end the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and make them permanent for every family bringing in less than $250,000 a year.

    There’s a simple choice to make. We can either make investments in education, transportation, and new sources of energy – the types of investments that have always been essential to America’s businesses and to creating good middle class jobs. Or we can cut taxes even more for wealthy Americans who don’t need them and didn’t ask for them. We tried this in 2001 and 2003, and what we got was the slowest job growth in half a century, and the typical American family actually saw its income fall.

    Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress this week continued to use tired, false claims about the President’s approach to distract from their insistence on holding the middle class tax cuts hostage so they can give the very wealthiest individuals a tax cut we can’t afford. Just like they continue to push the same failed policies that got us into this mess into the first place, Republicans in Congress continue to push old, proven-false claims that ending these tax cuts for the wealthiest will hurt our nation’s small businesses and hurt the economy. Just today Speaker Boehner said, “We believe it’s time to extend all of the current tax rates because it really will provide certainty for American job creators.” Well, we’ve heard this before, but let’s debunk these claims once again.

    Let’s get at the facts:

    Countering Claims That The President’s Tax Proposals Would Hit Small Business

    * First, what Congressional Republicans Define as “Small Businesses” are Predominately Millionaires and Billionaires, Corporate Law Partners, Hedge Fund Managers.Congressional Republicans define as small businesses any individual who receives “small business income”. Under this definition:

    Over half of the 400 Highest Earners in the United States Would Be “Small Businesses” According to IRS data, in 2009, among the 400 taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross income – group that averages over $200 million each in taxable income – at least 237 would have qualified as “small businesses” under this definition.

    Hedge Fund Managers and Law Firm Partner are “Small Businesses”:It counts any type of partnership income, proprietor income, or S corporation income as “small business” income. That includes:

    * income received by partners in law firms – each and every one of whom would be considered a “small business” under this definition

    * income received by partners in hedge funds – each and every one of whom would be considered a “small business” under this definition

    * passive income on investments

    * income from renting out a property like a vacation home.

    This is why, last time Republican Congressional Leaders tried this argument they couldn’t produce one so called “small business job creator.” Last fall, when the GOP was blocking measures of the American Jobs Act that could have supported over a million additional jobs; they argued that asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share would hurt “small business job creators.” But after pressed by independent media outlets such as National Public Radio, Republicans in Congress and their wealthy allies could not produce a single millionaire job creator for NPR to interview. [LINK]

    * Second, even under the GOP’s own flawed definition of small business, approximately 97% of taxpayers with small business income would be completely unaffected by the President’s plan: According to estimates by Tax Policy Center, about 97% of taxpayers reporting business income would not be impacted by the President’s tax proposals — which only affect those earning over $250,000.

    * Third, the GOP’s so called “small business” tax proposal would discourage firms from actually creating jobs this year, while giving away tens of billions of dollars to millionaires and billionaires. The legislation sponsored by Majority Leader Cantor and passed by the House of Representativesprovides across-the-board tax cuts (a 20 percent deduction) to certain “small business” owners, including anyone with self-employment income who employs anywhere from zero to 500 workers – even to when they lay off workers or reduce pay.

    * This credit actually discourages hiring and investment because new employees and expenses count against income, so companies get a smaller benefit for expanding their payrolls and investing in their businesses.

    * In addition, the benefits are dramatically skewed – half of the $46 billion cost goes to those making more than $1 million.

    * The biggest beneficiaries are not small businesses employing workers, but the wealthiest Americans – like law partners and investment managers, the so called “small business job creators” republicans in congress claim would be hurt by the President’s position.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/06/getting-facts-tax-cuts

  25. Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional: judge

    6/6/12 By Basil Katz | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman was found unconstitutional by a federal judge in New York on Wednesday because it improperly interferes with states’ rights to regulate marriage.

    The ruling by Manhattan federal court judge Barbara Jones followed a decision last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston that concluded the Defense of Marriage Act discriminates against gay couples.

    Judge Jones became the fifth judge to find the 1996 law unconstitutional, adding weight to the demands of law makers and activists who want the law repealed.

    On May 9, Barack Obama became the first president to publicly express support for gay marriage, saying he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

    On Wednesday, Judge Jones said that under the pretext of creating a uniform law for all, the law intrudes “upon the states’ business of regulating domestic relations.”

    “Such a sweeping federal review in this arena does not square with our federalist system of government,” Jones wrote.

    Eight of the 50 U.S. states permit gay marriage, including Massachusetts, which became the first in 2004, and Maryland, the most recent.

    On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in San Francisco declined to reconsider its decision tossing out a California ban on gay marriage, clearing the way for the Supreme Court to consider whether the ban violates the U.S. Constitution.

    Wednesday’s case was brought against the United States in 2010 by Edith Windsor, who sued to recover $353,053 in federal estate tax she was not allowed to claim because her marriage to Thea Spyer, who died in 2009, was not legally recognized. Windsor and Spyer married in Canada in 2007.

    The judge ordered the money to be returned to Windsor.
    “It’s a good day for justice,” said Windsor’s attorney Roberta Kaplan.

    After the Obama administration said last year that it considered the law unconstitutional and would no longer defend it, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives (BLAG) took up its defense.

    The law prohibits same-sex couples from receiving marriage-based benefits such as Social Security survivor benefits, health benefits and jointly filing taxes.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/defense-marriage-act-unconstitutional-judge-235025428.html

  26. Gay marriage in Washington state blocked by proposed referendum

    6/6/12 By Laura L. Myers | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

    SEATTLE (Reuters) – Gay marriage opponents in Washington state blocked a law legalizing same-sex matrimony from taking effect as scheduled Thursday by submitting a petition for a ballot measure to repeal the statute.

    The group behind the repeal initiative, Referendum 74, said on Wednesday they had collected more than 241,000 signatures, about twice as many as needed, to qualify the measure for the ballot in November.

    Across the state, county officials who had been preparing to issue batches of new licenses to same-sex couples starting on Thursday put their plans on hold.

    Advocates of repeal had until Wednesday to gather at least 120,577 signatures to win approval for a referendum giving Washington’s voters a chance to overturn a measure passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat.

    Democrats, who also control both legislative bodies in Olympia, accounted for the lion’s share of support for gay marriage in Washington state, as they have elsewhere in the country.

    Opponents were led by religious conservatives, the bulk of them Republicans.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/gay-marriage-washington-state-blocked-proposed-referendum-233345559.html

  27. Jobless claims fall, labor market still on mend

    6/7/12 Reuters – 5 mins ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans lining up for new jobless benefits fell last week for the first time since April, a reminder that the wounded labor market is still slowly healing.

    Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 377,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was spot on the median forecast in a Reuters poll.

    The government revised the prior week’s figure up to 389,000 from the previously reported 383,000.

    Prior to last week, claims had risen in four consecutive weeks, adding to concerns over several months of lackluster hiring data.

    While the country emerged from a deep recession three years ago, the jobless rate last month was 8.2 percent, well above its long-term historical average.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/jobless-claims-fall-labor-market-still-mend-123446351–business.html;_ylt=A2KJNF8uotBPgW4AOI7QtDMD

  28. Next Up…

    9:00 AM EDT
    Korean American Leaders Briefing
    The White House Office of Public Engagement and The Council of Korean Americans invite Korean American community leaders to a briefing on issues of importance to the Korean American community. Participants will have an opportunity to hear from and engage with Obama Administration leaders on issues important to the Korean American community, including foreign policy, immigration, human rights, small business, education, civil rights, and trade.
    The White House

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

    • Korean American Leaders Briefing Part 1

      Published on Jun 21, 2012 by whitehouse

      The White House Office of Public Engagement and The Council of Korean Americans host a briefing for Korean American community leaders to discuss issues of importance to the Korean American community, including foreign policy, immigration, human rights, small business, education, civil rights, and trade. June 7, 2012.

    • Korean American Leaders Briefing Part 2

      Published on Jun 7, 2012 by whitehouse

      The White House Office of Public Engagement and The Council of Korean Americans host a briefing for Korean American community leaders to discuss issues of importance to the Korean American community, including foreign policy, immigration, human rights, small business, education, civil rights, and trade. June 7, 2012.

  29. Next Up…

    10:00 AM ET
    Online Women’s Health Town Hall
    As part of our focus on women’s health, the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would like to invite you to participate online in a Women’s Health Town Hall

    The event will be an interactive, open dialogue about how the health care law, the Affordable Care Act, is improving the health of women and their families.

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

    • Women’s Health Town Hall

      Published on Jun 7, 2012 by whitehouse

      U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, senior White House Officials, and a diverse array of media, organizations, groups and stakeholders engage in an open dialogue about women’s health care and the Affordable Care Act. June 7, 2012.

  30. Consumer Comfort In U.S. Increases For Third Consecutive Week

    Jun 7, 2012 6:45 AM PT By Michelle Jamrisko – bloomberg

    Consumer confidence in the U.S. rose for the third straight week as measures of personal finance and the buying climate improved.

    The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased to minus 37.6 in the week ended June 3 from minus 39.3 in the prior period. While the reading was little changed from this year’s average of minus 38.8, it has climbed 6 points since reaching an almost four-month low in mid May.

    A 9 percent drop in gasoline prices from the one-year high reached in early April may be overcoming disappointing news on the jobs front and a slump in stocks caused by concern over the outlook in Europe. The less money spent on filling up automobile fuel tanks, the more that can go to buying other goods and services, which will help underpin economic growth.

    “Consumers are clearly a bit more optimistic following the sustained decline in gasoline prices over the past two months,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “For now, that is offsetting the economic slowdown and soft employment market, as well as the increasing probability of financial problems in Europe spilling over into the broader global economy.”

    Fewer Americans applied for unemployment insurance payments last week, indicating limited progress in the labor market after a two-month slowdown in hiring, figures from the Labor Department showed today. Claims for jobless benefits fell by 12,000 to 377,000 in the week ended June 2 from a revised 389,000 the prior week that was higher than initially estimated.

    Shares Climb
    Stocks rose as China cut interest rates for the first time since 2008 to bolster growth in the world’s second-largest economy. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 1 percent to 1,328.62 at 9:40 a.m. in New York. It advanced 2.3 percent yesterday, the biggest gain of the year.

    The Bloomberg measure of Americans’ views of their personal finances rose to minus 3.1 last week from minus 6.4, and a measure of whether consumers consider it a good time to buy climbed to minus 41.6 from minus 45.1.

    The index on the current state of the economy declined to minus 68.1 from minus 66.5.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-07/consumer-comfort-in-u-s-increases-for-third-consecutive-week.html

    • June 07, 2012

      Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with Prime Minister Katainen of Finland

      Vice President Biden today welcomed Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen of Finland to the White House. The two emphasized the importance we each place on our strong and enduring bilateral partnership as well as the importance of the transatlantic relationship. The Vice President thanked Prime Minister Katainen for Finland’s significant contributions to international peace and stability, including its valued role as a NATO partner with troops serving in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, among other contributions to global security. The Vice President expressed appreciation for Finland’s development and reconstruction assistance in Afghanistan, as well as its significant financial contribution to sustain Afghan National Security Forces after 2014. They discussed a range of other regional and global issues as well, including their shared strong concerns about the situation in Syria.

  31. Obama For America: “Jobs”

    Published on Jun 7, 2012 by BarackObamadotcom

    Tell Congress we can’t wait: http://www.barackobama.com/JobsNow

    The President’s jobs plan would put teachers, firefighters, police officers, and construction workers back to work right now. And it’s paid for by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more, but Congress refuses to act. Tell Congress we can’t wait: http://www.barackobama.com/JobsNow

  32. Case closed: the stimulus worked

    Jun 7, 2012 10:43 AM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

    Among Republicans, it’s taken as a given that President Obama’s Recovery Act — a.k.a., the “stimulus” — was a failed Keynesian experiment. Among many voters, it’s also widely assumed that the effort to get the economy back on track simply did not work.

    Among those who know what they’re talking about, however, there is no real doubt that the stimulus was a success. Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, reminded Congress of this inconvenient truth yesterday.

    Did the stimulus work? Certainly not according to Republicans, who regularly blast President Obama’s “failed” economic policies on the campaign trail. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has called the $787 billion package of temporary tax cuts and spending hikes “the largest one-time careless expenditure of government money in American history.”

    But on Wednesday, under questioning from skeptical Republicans, the director of the nonpartisan (and widely respected) Congressional Budget Office was emphatic about the value of the 2009 stimulus. And, he said, the vast majority of economists agree.

    In a survey conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 80 percent of economic experts agreed that, because of the stimulus, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been otherwise.

    The truth matters, not simply as a political exercise in which partisan players point fingers and thump their chests, but for entirely practical reasons.

    For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/07/12104923-case-closed-the-stimulus-worked?lite

  33. 1:20 PM ET
    President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event
    Private Residence
    Los Angeles, CA

    • June 07, 2012

      Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

      Private Residence
      Los Angeles, California

      10:18 A.M. PDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Everybody sit down, make yourselves comfortable. In fact, it’s warm out here — gentlemen, feel free to take off your jackets. (Laughter.) I’m going to — there you go. That’s what’s called an executive order. (Laughter.)

      I want to thank JoAnn and Charles for hosting us in their extraordinary home. You can give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) I want to thank our event co-chairs, Nicole and Clarence Avant — (applause) — Lorna Johnson, Kerman Maddox, Candace and Steve McKeever, Cookie Parker, and Danielle Smith. (Applause.)

      I want to thank all of you for being here on this spectacular Los Angeles day. I’m glad some of you brought your children, your young people, which is great to see — although it doesn’t seem like they were arguing that much about getting out of one of the last days of school. (Laughter.) I don’t know how many excuse notes I’m going to have to write. (Laughter.)

      Michelle says hi. (Applause.) The girls, they’re in the mindset that school is almost done. We’re trying to keep them focused, telling them to run through the tape, don’t start slacking off too early. And Bo says hi as well. (Laughter.)

      Now, I’m here not just because I need your help, but I’m here because the country needs your help. When we came together — and so many of you were supporters back in 2008, and a lot of you got on this bandwagon before people could even pronounce my name properly — we came together not just to support me, not just to support an individual. The idea was that we were making a commitment to each other, that there were a set of values and ideals, there were a set of principles that we believed in as Americans that date back to the founding of this country.

      This did not begin as a perfect union, but the charter of this country — our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution — spoke to the possibility of perfecting the union. There were those who were excluded, there were those who were not considered full citizens, but there was this idea at the core of America that can be expressed very simply, which is in this country you should be able to make it if you try; if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility, that everybody can make it, regardless of what they look like, or where they come from, what faith they hold, or who they love — that everybody should be able to make it in this country if they try.

      Now, there were a lot of struggles to fulfill that promise. There was a war fought, and the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement and a workers’ movement. But the trajectory of this country has always been we’re going to expand more and more opportunity to more and more people, and promote dignity and respect and justice and equality and fairness for more and more people. That’s been the trajectory of this country. That’s the reason I can stand here today as President of the United States, because of the extraordinary work that was done in the past.

      And what we recognized in 2008 was, as much progress as had been made, it seemed like we were taking a wrong turn, that we were not being true to those ideals that everybody can make it. So we had a surplus turned into a deficit because of tax cuts for folks who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them. We had two wars fought on a credit card. A few people were doing really well, but more and more folks were struggling to get by as costs of everything from health care to sending your kid to college were skyrocketing, and people’s incomes and wages were flat-lining, and job growth was stagnant, and manufacturing was moving offshore.

      And so we came together to affirm and assert that we were going to restore that basic sense that in America, everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does their fair share and everybody plays by the same set of rules.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/07/remarks-president-campaign-event-0

    • June 07, 2012

      Remarks by the President on College Affordability

      Cox Pavilion
      University of Las Vegas
      Las Vegas, Nevada

      12:53 P.M. PDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Las Vegas! (Applause.) Well, how’s it going, Rebels? (Applause.)

      AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Four more years! Four more years!

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. If you’ve got a chair, go ahead and sit down. You can make yourself comfortable. (Laughter.) If you don’t, you’re out of luck, just stay there.

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: You look great!

      THE PRESIDENT: It is great to be back in Nevada. I want everybody to give George a big round of applause for that introduction. (Applause.) I want to thank all the students for coming out here — (applause) — on a nice summer afternoon, some of you might be at Capriotti’s or some place — (laughter) — but instead you’re here with us.

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: You look great!

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. I’ll tell Michelle you said so. (Applause.)

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love her too!

      THE PRESIDENT: And I love you back. Thank you. (Applause.) So I’m here today at UNLV — (applause) — home of the Runnin’ Rebels, to talk about what a lot of you folks are thinking about every day. Now, keep in mind we’re in Vegas. So in Vegas, you can bet on just about anything. (Laughter.) But what the students here have bet on is themselves. (Applause.) They’ve bet on themselves. By earning your degree, you’ve decided to make the best possible investment in your future and in the future of America. And I’m proud of all of you for making that investment, because it’s never been more important.

      In today’s economy, the single best predictor of success, by far, is a good education. (Applause.) And the statistics prove it. The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average. Their incomes are twice as high as those with only a high school diploma. A higher education is the clearest path to the middle class.

      And rebuilding the middle class is what we’ve been all about. (Applause.) I don’t have to tell folks in Nevada that we’re recovering from a crisis that cost millions of middle-class jobs. When that housing bubble burst, it hit people really hard.
      But we’re also fighting back from a long-term trend that has cost working families all across the country that sense of security. So our job is not just to get people back to work. Our job is to build an economy where hard work pays off. (Applause.)

      So I want more people to be able to make the investment you’re making. I want to make it easier for more students like you to earn a degree without shouldering a mountain of debt — (applause) — because even though education, a college education is still a great investment, the burden of debt is serious and it’s hard on folks just as they’re starting off in life. I don’t want to be a country where a shrinking number of people are doing really, really well and then, a growing number are barely able to get by.

      I want everybody in America to get a fair shot. (Applause.) I want everybody to do their fair share. (Applause.) I want everyone to play by the same rules. (Applause.) That’s the America I know. That’s the America I believe in. That’s the America we’re trying to build for you, for my children, for future generations.

      AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, President Obama!

      THE PRESIDENT: You’re welcome. (Applause.) Now, look, the fact is, again, I don’t have to tell folks in Nevada we’re still going through this process of recovery from that crisis. And we’ve taken some tough steps together. And the good news is our economy is growing again, but we need it to grow faster. Businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months. (Applause.) But to recover all the jobs that were lost in that recession, we’ve got to have them come back faster.
      The truth is the recovery has seen stronger job growth than what happened during the last recession a decade ago. But the problem is the hole we have to fill is a lot deeper. The global aftershocks are much greater. We’re already seeing it. Just like last year around this time, our economy has been facing some serious headwinds. You’ve got the lingering effects of the spring spike in gas prices. You remember that. It’s still tough on a lot of folks’ wallets. You’ve got the situation in Europe.

      But from the moment we first took action when I came into office to make sure that we did not go into a freefall depression, we knew that all — recovering all the jobs that were lost during the recession was going to take some time. And we knew there would be ups and downs along the way. What we also knew though was if we acted wisely and we acted together, if we didn’t quit, we’d come back stronger. We would do more than just get back to where we were, we would build an economy that would last for the long term.

      And, Las Vegas, I still believe that. I believe we will come back stronger. We have better days ahead, and it’s because of people like you, because of folks like you. (Applause.) I’m inspired when I hear folks like George putting in long hours working and taking summer classes. Some older students who are retaining — there you go. I don’t know, you don’t look that old to me. (Laughter.) But folks deciding to go back to school — retrain yourself for a new job, the jobs of the future.

      So you’re working hard. You’re playing by the rules. You deserve to have leaders who are going to do the same, leaders who will take action — (applause) — leaders who will do whatever it requires to fight for the middle-class and grow the economy faster. We may not fully control everything that happens in other parts of the world, but there are plenty of things we can do right here in the United States to strengthen the economy further. There are plenty of steps we can take right now to help create jobs and grow this economy faster.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/07/remarks-president-college-affordability

    • Helping Americans Manage Student Loan Debt

      Sabrina Siddiqui June 07, 2012 12:50 PM EDT

      Today, President Obama heads to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to discuss student loans. The President believes in creating an economy built to last that gives every hard working student a fair shot at developing the skills they need to find a good job by attending college, university, community college, or job training programs. To help put the cost of higher education within reach for more Americans, the President has taken action to cap monthly payments on student loans for responsible graduates who make their payments on time. Continuing to act, he will issue a Presidential Memorandum to streamline the process and improve information available to responsible borrowers about student loan repayment options. Answering the President’s call, Treasury and IRS will begin working on improving the application process for responsible borrowers.

      The Administration has helped make higher education more affordable by increasing Pell grants by over $900 and signing a tax credit worth up to $10,000 to help middle class families cover the cost of tuition. Additionally, over the past several years, the Administration has worked to improve repayment options available to responsible student loan borrowers. Since 2009, former students have been able to enroll in an “Income Based Repayment” (IBR) plan to cap their student loan payments at 15 percent of their current discretionary income if they make their payments on time and beginning in 2014 this cap will be lowered to 10 percent for borrowers. In October, the President announced a “We Can’t Wait” executive action to make that lower cap available to more borrowers by the end of 2012, which will reduce monthly student loan payments for more than 1.6 million responsible student borrowers.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/07/helping-americans-manage-student-loan-debt

    • June 06, 2012

      FACT SHEET: Helping Americans Manage Student Loan Debt with Improvements to Repayment Options

      WASHINGTON, DC – In today’s economy, higher education is not a luxury – it’s an imperative that leads to better jobs and a strong middle class. The President believes in creating an economy built to last that gives every hard working student a fair shot at developing the skills they need to find a good job by attending college, university, community college, or job training programs. To help put the cost of higher education within reach for more Americans, the President has taken action to cap monthly payments on student loans for responsible graduates who make their payments on time. Tomorrow, the President will act again by issuing a Presidential Memorandum to the Secretaries of Education and the Treasury to streamline the process and improve information available to responsible borrowers about student loan repayment options.

      The President has helped make higher education more affordable by extending Pell Grants to 3 million more students and signing a tax credit worth up to $10,000 to help middle class families cover the cost of tuition. However, prospects of high debt may discourage some potential students from enrolling at all and gaining the skills they need to compete in the global economy. Additionally, some graduates may choose to put off starting a new job-creating business or entering a teaching or another public service career because they feel held back by debt.

      Over the past several years, the Administration has worked to improve repayment options available to responsible student loan borrowers. Since 2007, former students have been able to enroll in an “Income Based Repayment” (IBR) plan to cap their student loan payments at 15 percent of their current discretionary income if they make their payments on time. Legislation signed by President Obama in 2009 lowered this cap to 10% for borrowers beginning in 2014. In October, the President announced a “We Can’t Wait” executive action to make that lower cap available to more borrowers by the end of 2012, which will reduce monthly student loan payments for more than 1.6 million responsible student borrowers.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/06/fact-sheet-helping-americans-manage-student-loan-debt-improvements-repay

    • Income Based Repayment: Everything You Need to Know
      Megan Slack June 07, 2012 10:59 AM EDT

      Over the past several years, the Obama Administration has worked to improve repayment options available to responsible student loan borrowers. Since 2009, former students have been able to enroll in an “Income Based Repayment” (IBR) plan to cap their student loan payments at 15 percent of their current discretionary income if they make their payments on time.

      In 2010, President Obama signed into law an improved income-based repayment plan that would lower this cap to 10 percent of discretionary income for students who take out loans after July 1, 2014. Then, last October, the President announced an executive action to make that lower cap available to more borrowers by the end of 2012, rather than 2014. The latest change will likely reduce monthly student loan payments for more than 1.6 million responsible student borrowers.

      Despite these opportunities and policy improvements to help graduates make their monthly payments, too few responsible borrowers are aware of their repayment options. Even among borrowers who understand their options, many have difficulties navigating and completing the application process.

      Today, President Obama is introducing a Presidential Memorandum that will help educate more students about their loan repayment options and streamline the IBR application process. Read through the questions below to learn more about income based repayment and how these changes might affect you.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/06/07/income-based-repayment-everything-you-need-know

  34. 4:30 PM ET
    DNC Women’s Caucus
    DNC will hold a phone Women’s Caucus to discuss the latest news and updates from senior DNC and campaign officials, like DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Women’s Caucus Chair Mame Reiley.

  35. 5:15 PM ET
    First Lady Michelle Obama attends a campaign fundraiser at a private residence.
    Washington, DC

  36. Michelle Obama buys a ‘real man’s pie’

    6/7/12 5:55 PM EDT By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

    First lady Michelle Obama took a surprise side trip to pick up some pies after a campaign rally in Virginia on Thursday .

    Obama, who spoke at a VFW post in Dale City, traveled to the tiny town of Occoquan (pop. 834) and visited Mom’s Apple Pie Company, which is known for using fresh, local ingredients.

    “I will be killed if I don’t come out of here with pie,” Obama said, according to a pool report.

    The first lady bought an apple pie and a sour cherry — which is described on the shop’s web site as a “real ‘man’s’ pie.”

    “A real ‘man’s’ pie, Mom’s serves it to you straight. No extra sugar to tame this pungent pie! It’s chock full of nature’s finest Mont Morency cherries.”

    It wasn’t all about pie, though. Obama greeted supporters and posed for pictures. She was serenaded by 6-year-old Sydney Trapp of Fredericksburg, who played “Ode to Joy” on her violin and then hit up the first lady for tickets to next year’s White House Easter Egg Roll.

    “You are on it!” Obama said. “You’ve earned your pie.”

  37. BREAKING: Boehner appeals DOMA cases to Supreme Court

    June 29, 2012 washingtonblade

    House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) attorneys on Friday formally appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an appeals court decision determining the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.

    Drew Hammill, spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), told the Washington Blade on Friday afternoon Republicans had notified Democratic leadership that House counsel filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.

    The court ruling that was appealed was the First Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the cases of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, which was filed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health & Human Services. On May 31, the appellate court issued a decision that Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional as a result of both cases.

    In a statement, Pelosi slammed Boehner for continuing to assert the constitutionality of DOMA, saying the appeal is a decision that will “waste more taxpayer funds to advance a position rejected by four different courts and to defend discrimination and inequality before the highest court in the land.”

    “Democrats have rejected the Republican assault on equal rights, in the courts and in Congress,” Pelosi said. “We believe there is no federal interest in denying LGBT couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to all couples married under state law. And we are confident that the Supreme Court, if it considers the case, will declare DOMA unconstitutional and relegate it to the dustbin of history once and for all.”

    Boehner’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment on the appeal.

    In the filing, Boehner’s attorneys present two questions to the Supreme Court: (1) Whether Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act violates the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; and (2) Whether the court below erred by inventing and applying to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act a previously unknown standard of equal protection review.

    “As the First Circuit recognized, this case calls out for this Court’s review,” the filing states. “The court of appeals has invalidated a duly-enacted Act of Congress and done so even though it acknowledged both that DOMA satisfies ordinary rational basis review and does not implicate heightened scrutiny. In the established world of equal protection law that result should have been impossible.”

    The filing also cites a separation of powers issue as the result of the Obama administration no longer defending DOMA in court as it continues to enforce it and leaves the House to defend the law.

    “Only this Court can settle this matter definitively,” the filing states. “Unless and until this Court decides the question, the executive branch will continue to attack DOMA in the courts, while continuing to enforce it, thus creating more potential litigation for the House to defend. This Court and this Court alone has the power to settle this question and redirect controversy over this important national question to the democratic process.”

    For more: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/06/29/breaking-boehner-appeals-doma-cases-to-supreme-court/

  38. rainbow-flag

    Appeals court rules against Defense of Marriage Act

    10/18/12 By Terry Baynes | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court in New York on Thursday ruled that a U.S. law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is now the second federal appeals court to reject part of the Defense of Marriage Act. It upheld a lower court ruling that had found a central part of the law unconstitutional.

    Appeals in several cases are currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which could choose to take up the issue in its current term.

    Two members of a three-judge panel ruled in favor of Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old woman who argued that the law discriminates against gay couples in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

    They found that gays and lesbians are entitled to heightened protection from the courts, based on the history of discrimination the group has suffered.

    “Homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public,” Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote for the majority.

    Six states have legalized same-sex marriage, including New York in 2011. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed in 1996, federal law and government programs do not recognize those marriages.

    The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Windsor by the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court in New York. Windsor is a former IBM computer programmer who married Thea Clara Spyer in Toronto, Canada, in 2007. The two were engaged in 1967.

    Spyer died in 2009 after a decades-long battle with multiple sclerosis, leaving all of her property to Windsor. Because the marriage was not recognized under federal law, Windsor had to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes, according to her lawsuit.

    Windsor’s attorneys argued that the act violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.

    The Obama administration said last year it considered the law unconstitutional and would no longer defend it. Instead, a group appointed by the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is defending the law in courts across the country.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/appeals-court-ny-rules-gay-marriage-law-unconstitutional-160159196.html

  39. *********************

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “President Obama Fights For the 99% Of America”

    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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