National Monuments Designated by President Obama

Organ Mountains Dessert Peaks
Organ Mountains Dessert Peaks

National Monument in the United States is a protected area that is similar to a National Park except that the President of the United States can quickly declare an area of the United States to be a National Monument without the approval of Congress. National monuments receive less funding and afford fewer protections to wildlife than national parks. However, areas within and extending beyond national parks, monuments, and national forests can be part of wilderness areas, which have an even greater degree of protection than a national park would alone, although wilderness areas managed by the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management often allow hunting and grazing.

National monuments can be managed by one of several federal agencies: the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or Bureau of Land Management. National monuments can also be privately managed.

National monuments can be so designated through the power of the Antiquities Act of 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt used the act to declare Devils Tower in Wyoming as the first national monument. He thought Congress was moving too slowly and it would be ruined by the time they made it a national park.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Monument_(United_States)

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Obama to make Organ Mountains national monument

Obama to create largest national monument of his presidency

5/19/14 Justin Sink – thehill

President Obama on Wednesday will designate nearly half a million acres in New Mexico as a national monument, the latest in a series of executive actions intended to improve environmental protections of federal lands.

The president will sign a proclamation establishing the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument, the largest such designation of his presidency, during a ceremony at the Department of the Interior, the White House said Monday.It will be the 11th time the president has established a national monument during his term, and the largest designation in terms of land mass during his presidency.

By contrast, former President George W. Bush established only four national monuments during his eight years in office.

The site will include areas used as training sites for the Apollo astronauts, as well as the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail, along which passengers and mail traveled toward San Francisco in the mid-1800s.

Press secretary Jay Carney touted the economic benefits of the designation, which is expected to boost tourism to the region.

“A recent, independent study found that a new national monument could generate $7.4 million in new economic activity annually from new visitors and business opportunities while preserving access for sportsmen, ranchers and recreational users,” Carney said. “This signing is part of our larger weeklong focus on helping businesses invest here in America to further grow our economy and create jobs.”

For more: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/206517-obama-to-mark-500k-acres-as-protected-in-nm

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The Obama Administration is committed to protecting the air we breathe, water we drink, and land that supports and sustains us. From restoring ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades, to reducing mercury pollution from power plants, we are bringing together Federal agencies to tackle America’s greatest environmental challenges. Learn more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/our-environment

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National Monuments 

National Monuments Established by President Obama 

 

 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014
President Obama signs a proclamation establishing the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument
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#NationalMonuments

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61 thoughts on “National Monuments Designated by President Obama

  1. WH

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    Vice President Biden meets with Romanian President Băsescu
    Bucharest, Romania

    President Joe Biden and Romanian President Traian Basescu deliver a Joint Press Statement
    Bucharest, Romania

    Vice President Biden meets with Romanian Prime Minister Ponta
    Bucharest, Romania

    Vice President Biden and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta deliver a Joint Press Statement
    Bucharest, Romania

    Vice President Biden delivers remarks to Romanian civil society and youth leaders
    Bucharest, Romania

    Dr. Jill Biden and Mrs. Maria Basescu, the Romanian First Lady, visits the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum
    Bucharest, Romania

    Dr. Jill Biden visits a Romanian NGO that works with victims of trafficking in persons
    Bucharest, Romania

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden travel to Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden arrive in Cyprus
    Larnaca International Airport, Larnaca, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden is welcomed by Cypriot Foreign Minister Kasoulides
    Larnaca International Airport, Larnaca, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Cypriot Foreign Minister Kasoulides deliver a Joint Press Statement
    Larnaca International Airport, Larnaca, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden overnight in Larnaca, Cyprus

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    President Obama meets with Secretary Shinseki and Rob Nabors
    Oval Office

    10:45 AM
    President Obama Makes a Statement about the Veteran’s Administration
    The White House

    11:00 AM
    11:35 AM
    President Obama participates in a ambassador credentialing ceremony
    Oval Office

    12:00 PM
    12:45 PM
    Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

    President Obama hosts The National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) Annual Meeting
    The White House

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:10 PM
    President Obama welcomes the 2013 Super Bowl XLVIII Champions Seattle Seahawks
    The White House

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:10 PM
    President Obama signs a proclamation establishing the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument
    Department of the Interior

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

  2. National Monuments

    A National Monument in the United States is a protected area that is similar to a National Park except that the President of the United States can quickly declare an area of the United States to be a National Monument without the approval of Congress. National monuments receive less funding and afford fewer protections to wildlife than national parks. However, areas within and extending beyond national parks, monuments, and national forests can be part of wilderness areas, which have an even greater degree of protection than a national park would alone, although wilderness areas managed by the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management often allow hunting and grazing.

    National monuments can be managed by one of several federal agencies: the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or Bureau of Land Management. National monuments can also be privately managed.

    National monuments can be so designated through the power of the Antiquities Act of 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt used the act to declare Devils Tower in Wyoming as the first national monument. He thought Congress was moving too slowly and it would be ruined by the time they made it a national park.

    For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Monument_(United_States)

    • Obama to create largest national monument of his presidency

      5/19/14 Justin Sink – thehill

      President Obama on Wednesday will designate nearly half a million acres in New Mexico as a national monument, the latest in a series of executive actions intended to improve environmental protections of federal lands.

      The president will sign a proclamation establishing the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument, the largest such designation of his presidency, during a ceremony at the Department of the Interior, the White House said Monday.It will be the 11th time the president has established a national monument during his term, and the largest designation in terms of land mass during his presidency.

      By contrast, former President George W. Bush established only four national monuments during his eight years in office.

      The site will include areas used as training sites for the Apollo astronauts, as well as the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail, along which passengers and mail traveled toward San Francisco in the mid-1800s.

      Press secretary Jay Carney touted the economic benefits of the designation, which is expected to boost tourism to the region.

      “A recent, independent study found that a new national monument could generate $7.4 million in new economic activity annually from new visitors and business opportunities while preserving access for sportsmen, ranchers and recreational users,” Carney said. “This signing is part of our larger weeklong focus on helping businesses invest here in America to further grow our economy and create jobs.”

      For more: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/206517-obama-to-mark-500k-acres-as-protected-in-nm

    • National Monuments Established by President Obama 

    • Our next national monument: New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

      Wilderness.org

      New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks is set to become a new national monument on May 21, riding a wave of local support and fulfilling a promise made by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address to “protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.”

      President Obama is using his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, as he has already done for places like California’s Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands. The campaign to protect the area, which will include about 240,000 acres of protected wilderness perfect for hiking, camping and hunting, was driven by local governments, tribal leaders, ranchers, sportsmen and conservation groups. An Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is supported by almost 3 out of 4 area residents, and studies suggest that new monument status would also solidify the region’s standing as a premier travel destination and boost jobs and economic activity.

      Near Las Cruces, New Mexico, the stretch of iconic land that will be included in the monument proclamation abounds with dramatic mountain peaks, colorful plants, sprightly antelope and majestic birds of prey. This area in Doña Ana County has long been prized for its rugged landscape, historical and archaeological sites and pockets of solitude, spread across thousands of acres encompassing the Organ, Sierra de las Uvas, Dona Ana and Potrillo Mountain Complexes. The region is considered a crown jewel of the southern Rockies.

      For more: http://wilderness.org/our-next-national-monument-new-mexicos-organ-mountains-desert-peaks

    • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks to become nation’s next national monument

      Monday, May 19, 2014 sierraclub.org

      Organ Mountains- Desert Peaks to Become Nation’s Next National Monument

      Washington, D.C. — The Sierra Club today praised the news that President Obama will designate New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area as our country’s next national monument. The steep-sided crevices, canyons and majestic spires of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks host stunning views, great recreation opportunities, archaeological sites and native plants found nowhere else in the world.

      “We’re thrilled that President Obama will use his authority to protect this important piece of America. As the crown jewel of the southern Rockies, there is no place quite like it on Earth,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, who visited the area with his family last fall. “Thanks to this designation, families will be able to experience the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks’ cultural sites, rugged landscape, and wildlife for years to come.”

      The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument includes beloved places like the Robledo Mountains, Broad Canyon, and the Valles Canyon Petroglyphs. Its designation will preserve irreplaceable archaeological and prehistoric sites, which span thousands of years of human history and chronicle New Mexico’s history and culture. It will also safeguard outdoor recreation areas that are so important for tourism and the quality of life in New Mexico. A recent economic study found that national monument designation would give a $7.4 million boost to the economy and double the number of jobs supported by outdoor recreation.

      “Protecting public lands like the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area is a win-win for us all,” said Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter. “It’s good for families and getting Americans outdoors, businesses and the benefits of increased tourism, and the simple and wonderful protection of an irreplaceable landscape .”

      For more: http://nmsierraclub.org/node/2422

    • Victory: Pristine New Mexico landscape soon to be protected as National Monument

      Monday, May 19, 2014 environmentamerica.org

      LAS CRUCES, NM – Today, the White House announced President Obama will permanently protect nearly a half million acres of pristine public land in New Mexico, known as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, by designating the area a national monument.

      This is a major victory for both New Mexicans and the American public who called on the administration to formally protect the region.

      Margie Alt, Environment America’s executive director and Sanders Moore, Environment New Mexico’s director, issued the following statement:

      “Today’s announcement that the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks will be protected is a major victory for the New Mexicans who have worked so hard and for all Americans who believe that iconic public lands should be protected for future generations. Thanks to President Obama, the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks is now safe from development. It will be a protected home for mountain lions, pronghorn antelope and peregrine falcons, and a destination for families and adventurers to enjoy long into the future. Having been to the Organ Mountains, we know first-hand that all Americans will benefit from this important decision.

      “President Obama, Interior Secretary Jewell, and Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich deserve credit for protecting this special place. And the tens of thousands of New Mexicans who signed petitions, came to town hall meetings, and made phone calls to ensure the protection of this incredible landscape have a lot to be proud of as well.

      For more: http://www.environmentamerica.org/news/ame/victory-pristine-new-mexico-landscape-soon-be-protected-national-monument

    • New national monuments coming in Northern California, Texas, Nevada

      7/10/15 By JOSH LEDERMAN Associated Press

      WASHINGTON — Mammoth bones, prehistoric rock carvings and more than a million acres of wilderness will be protected as part of three new national monuments that President Barack Obama is creating in California, Nevada and Texas.

      The presidential move, announced by the White House early Friday, brings to 19 the number of monuments that Obama has created or expanded since taking office. Environmental advocates hailed the new monuments as bringing sorely needed protection to natural American treasures, even as Republicans in Congress were pursuing legislation to stop the president.

      In Texas, Obama is creating a monument at Waco Mammoth, a relatively small site in central Texas where archaeologists have discovered remains of 24 Columbian Mammoths — the largest of the mammoth species — from more than 65,000 years ago, the White House said. Like other mammoths, the Columbian Mammoth is now extinct, but roamed freely in North America during the Pleistocene epoch, known colloquially as the ice age. The site marks the only spot in the U.S. where a nursery herd of mammoths has been discovered, and is also home to preserved remains of other ancient species including the saber-toothed cat, dwarf antelope and the western camel.

      Nevada’s Basin and Range, home to rare rock art from 4,000 years ago, will also become a national monument. The White House said more than 700,000 acres of public land will be protected in an untouched area of the Great Basin region. In addition to petroglyphs, the site also contains “City,” an array of abstract sculptures that artist Michael Heizer has worked on for more than four decades. The project evokes elements of Mesoamerican life, with ceremonial mounds interspersed with more modern architecture. Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate’s top Democrat, has been pushing for years to protect the site and its surroundings.

      Tourists and nature lovers in California will see more than 330,000 acres in northern California set aside for a new monument at Berryessa Snow Mountain. The White House touted the area’s rich biodiversity and Native American cultural sites, but the area is best known as a destination for hikers, campers, fishermen and hunters. Officials said designating the site as a monument would likely prompt increased visits to the area and drive economic growth in the coming years.

      “I applaud the president, because his historic action will preserve this magnificent area for generations and boost the local economy,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

      For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/nation-world/ci_28463945/new-national-monuments-coming-northern-california-texas-nevada?source=rss

  3. Vice President Biden’s Itinerary

    https://propresobama.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/us-romania-flags.jpg?w=700

    Wedensday, May 21

    Romania

    Vice President Biden meets with Romanian President Băsescu
    Bucharest, Romania

    President Joe Biden and Romanian President Traian Basescu deliver a Joint Press Statement
    Bucharest, Romania

    Vice President Biden meets with Romanian Prime Minister Ponta
    Bucharest, Romania

    Vice President Biden and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta deliver a Joint Press Statement
    Bucharest, Romania

    Vice President Biden delivers remarks to Romanian civil society and youth leaders
    Bucharest, Romania

    Dr. Jill Biden and Mrs. Maria Basescu, the Romanian First Lady, visits the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum
    Bucharest, Romania

    Dr. Jill Biden visits a Romanian NGO that works with victims of trafficking in persons
    Bucharest, Romania

    https://propresobama.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/usa-cypress-flags-e1400520440381.jpg?w=700
    Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden arrive in Cyprus
    Larnaca International Airport, Larnaca, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden is welcomed by Cypriot Foreign Minister Kasoulides
    Larnaca International Airport, Larnaca, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden Delivers A Statement
    Larnaca International Airport, Larnaca, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden overnight in Larnaca, Cyprus

    • May 21, 2014

      Remarks by vice President Joe Biden and Romanian President Traian Basescu in a Joint Press Statement

      Cotroceni Palace
      Bucharest, Romania

      11:10 A.M. (Local)

      PRESIDENT BASESCU: (As interpreted) Good afternoon. Welcome to Cotroceni Palace.

      Today we had a meeting, which is extremely important, with Mr. Vice President Joe Biden, a meeting in which we have discussed the main topics on our bilateral agenda and also on the regional agenda.

      I can say that after Romania joined NATO and the Europe Union, the strategic partnership for the 21st century that we have pinned down with the U.S. is the third major political achievement after the December revolution. We welcome the firm commitment of the U.S. for the fifth article of the NATO Treaty.

      We have also discussed about the need to consolidate the rule of law in Romania, the rule of law as a premise for progress further in achieving at the maximum level the strategic partnership we have with the U.S.

      In our talks, I thanked Vice President Biden for the immediate reaction, the immediate response that the U.S. had when the conflict started in Ukraine and Crimea was illegally annexed. The U.S. reacted by supplementing air forces, naval forces and land forces that are ready to participate in any kind of mission, particularly in a mission of discouraging Russia’s attitude, Russia’s desire to become again the USSR. It is a reconfirmation and this time a proof to the fact that the United States of America are true to their word.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/21/remarks-vice-president-joe-biden-and-romanian-president-traian-basescu-j

    • May 21, 2014

      Remarks by vice President Joe Biden and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta in a Joint Press Statement

      Victoria Palace
      Bucharest, Romania

      1:10 P.M. (Local)

      PRIME MINISTER PONTA: (As interpreted) Good day.

      We are very glad and honored to have the visit of Mr. Vice President Joe Biden here in Bucharest and at the headquarters of our government.

      We are very happy to see you once again after the gathering that happened in October last year in Washington. At that time, Vice President Biden said that he will come back to Romania, and as always he kept his word, and we’d like to thank him for that.

      But I believe that his visit here is at the most necessary and right time for Romania, a moment when we have to reaffirm the idea of a strategic partnership that is stable and of long term between the United States of America and Romania, and the importance and confidence that the United States grant to the entire region and all of our partners and allies from the area, and also a special feeling towards the Romanian people that it’s not just our desire to have this strategic partnership, but also the United States considers Romania to be a trustworthy partner and a respected partner.

      So this is the most important formula, and the presence of Vice President Biden in Bucharest is confirming this fundamental idea. I want to restate once again in the name of Romania our total commitment to meet the requirements in our role that we play as a country at the border of NATO and the European Union, of the democratic world which is at this time confronted with a crisis situation that is unprecedented in the past 25 years, the aggression on behalf of the Russian Federation, breaching the international norms, the illegal annexing of Romania [sic]. These are challenges that this region has not seen in a long time.

      And furthermore the presence of Vice President Biden here is a strong message for Romania, but also a strong message for the other countries in the region, first of all for Moldova, the country for which Romania has a lot of good feelings, but also for Ukraine, for Georgia and all the others that have decided to take the route of democracy, the route of reforms, and abiding the international law.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/21/remarks-vice-president-joe-biden-and-romanian-prime-minister-victor-pont

    • May 21, 2014

      Remarks by vice President Joe Biden to Romanian Civil Society Groups and Students

      Cotroceni Palace
      Bucharest, Romania

      2:45 P.M. (Local)

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Mr. President, we may be listening to a future president. I don’t know. (Laughter.)

      I want to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. It was a pleasure having an opportunity to spend some time with you as well, and Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, and the President of the Senate, and the Justice Minister, and to all the distinguished guests here, it’s a great honor to be in this magnificent venue and at such an important time in U.S.-Romanian relations.

      Laura, thank you for the introduction, but more importantly, thank you for your continuing involvement. As I — the first time our paths crossed was five years ago, as you said, and look at you now, pursuing an advanced degree, an advocate for international education. And you are a reflection of the progress your country has made and continues to make.

      Mr. Prime Minister, judges, prosecutors, leaders of the parliament, thank you all for coming. In America, for all those of you who are public officials, we call this a “busman’s holiday,” having to listen to another public official make a speech. But I’m flattered that you are here.

      And the fact that you’re here, I think, is a reflection of the common recognition that while there may be political differences, one thing that unites all Romanian leaders is a strong stand in favor of democracy under the rule of law without question and without any caveats.

      I want to thank you all, but I particularly want to thank the civil society members here today for demanding greater freedoms, fairness and social justice, and maybe most importantly dignity for all the people of Romania.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/21/remarks-vice-president-joe-biden-romanian-civil-society-groups-and-stude

    • Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Biden Arrive in Cyprus

      Published on May 21, 2014

      Vice President Biden lands in in Cyprus marking the first time since Vice President Lyndon Johnson that a U.S. Vice President has visited Cyprus. http://www.whitehouse.gov

    • May 21, 2014

      Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden to the Press at Larnaca International Airport

      Larnaca International Airport
      Larnaca, Republic of Cyprus

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Mr. Minister, thank you for coming to greet Jill and me personally. I’ve been looking forward to this visit for a long time, ever since I was elected to the United States Senate way back in 1973.

      It’s great to finally be here in Cyprus, and I’m told I’m the first United States Vice President to be on Cyprus since Vice President Lyndon Johnson visited this beautiful island. I came here at the invitation of your President, and the government of the Republic of Cyprus. And I wanted to come to primarily underscore the value the United States attaches to our growing cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus.

      This relationship is now a genuine, strategic partnership, and it holds even greater promise, Mr. Minister. I look forward to sitting down tomorrow with the President to discuss a shared agenda, Cyprus’s growing leadership in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus’s support for the mission to eliminate chemical weapons from Syria and to help prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, its role in Europe and in the regional energy security, and our continued cooperation on search and rescue, crisis response, and counterterrorism. There’s much to discuss.

      And tomorrow the President and I will also discuss events in Ukraine. We have to be resolute and united in the face of Russian intervention. Also I know that the Cypriot people have faced tough economic challenges and have already made painful sacrifices. And I’ve been pleased to see the government make good on the progress of economic reform. I believe the economy is beginning to turn the corner. And we look forward to working with you to deepen our trade involvement and to restore growth and prosperity.

      Of course, an important focus of our conversations will be the settlement process. I look forward to meeting with the leaders of both communities; the leaders of the Greek Cypriot community tomorrow, and with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community the following day. The United States — I want to be clear about this — recognizes only one legitimate government of the Republic of Cyprus, and my visit and meetings throughout the island will not change that. It is my personal position. It’s the position of the United States of America, and it’s the position of the entire world — save one country.

      And it’s long past time — 40 years — that all Cypriots are reunited in a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. I’ve been encouraged by the steps that have recently been taken, the Joint Declaration on February the 11th, the visit of the Greek Cypriot negotiator to Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot negotiator to Athens, support from the international community, and the seriousness of purpose we have seen in this process thus far.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/21/remarks-vice-president-joe-biden-press-larnaca-international-airport

  4. Thank you for supporting our great President!

    I take this ‘job’ seriously and I am constantly doing research for this blog.

    I gleaned VPOTUS’ iterinary from WH briefings, WH statements, WH blog, USA.gov, US Embassy sites and news reports.

  5. I must say that I never realized that he even established any national monuments! How interesting!

    • Hi vitaminlover! Our President does not brag and the media does not focus much time on the good things that he is doing.

      • Hi, yourself, CR. Yes, I agree he doesn’t brag and thanks for reminding me about how the media tries to portray things.

  6. MBA: Mortgage Refinance Activity increases as Mortgage Rates Decline

    5/21/2014 07:01:00 AM by Bill McBride – calculatedrisk

    From the MBA: Refinance Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
    Mortgage applications increased 0.9 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 16, 2014. …

    The Refinance Index increased 4 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier. …

    “Renewed concerns about the state of the global economy, particularly in Europe, led to a flight to quality to US Treasury securities, thereby pushing interest rates down in the US,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist. “Rates on conforming loans hit 6 month lows and jumbo rates hit 12 month lows. Refinance volume picked up somewhat as a result, but it still remains more than 65 percent below last year’s pace. Purchase volume continues to run more than 10 percent below last year’s pace.”

    Read more: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2014/05/mba-mortgage-refinance-activity.html

  7. May 21, 2014

    Readout of the President’s Call with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan

    President Obama spoke with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan today. They discussed the situation in Syria and its impact on neighboring countries, including Jordan. The two leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment to continued close cooperation between our governments to advance shared goals.

    • May 21, 2014

      Statement by the President on Veterans Health Care

      James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

      10:58 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I just met with Secretary Shinseki and Rob Nabors, who I’ve temporarily assigned to work with Secretary Shinseki and the VA. We focused on two issues: the allegations of misconduct at Veterans Affairs facilities, and our broader mission of caring for our veterans and their families.

      As Commander-in-Chief, I have the honor of standing with our men and women in uniform at every step of their service: from the moment they take their oath, to when our troops prepare to deploy, to Afghanistan — where they put their lives on the line for our security, to their bedside, as our wounded warriors fight to recover from terrible injuries. The most searing moments of my presidency have been going to Walter Reed, or Bethesda, or Bagram and meeting troops who have left a part of themselves on the battlefield. And their spirit and their determination to recover and often to serve again is an inspiration.

      So these men and women and their families are the best that our country has to offer. They’ve done their duty, and they ask nothing more than that this country does ours — that we uphold our sacred trust to all who have served.

      So when I hear allegations of misconduct — any misconduct — whether it’s allegations of VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books, I will not stand for it. Not as Commander-in-Chief, but also not as an American. None of us should. So if these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it — period.

      Here’s what I discussed with Secretary Shinseki this morning. First, anybody found to have manipulated or falsified records at VA facilities has to be held accountable. The inspector general at the VA has launched investigations into the Phoenix VA and other facilities. And some individuals have already been put on administrative leave. I know that people are angry and want a swift reckoning. I sympathize with that. But we have to let the investigators do their job and get to the bottom of what happened. Our veterans deserve to know the facts. Their families deserve to know the facts. And once we know the facts, I assure you — if there is misconduct, it will be punished.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/21/statement-president-veterans-health-care

    • The 2014 NSTAC Annual Meeting

      Published on May 21, 2014

      The President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) holds its annual meeting, May 21, 2014. NSTAC is comprised of various chief executives from major telecommunications companies, network service providers, information technology, finance, and aerospace companies.

  8. Voters May Determine EU Chief Executive for First Time

    May 21, 2014 7:42 AM PT By Jonathan Stearns – bloomberg

    The European Union’s 400 million voters may be about to determine the chief executive of the world’s largest economic bloc for the first time.

    For that to happen, national leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will have to renounce their right to pick the head of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm. The commission proposes EU laws, acts as the bloc’s antitrust authority, administers its 140 billion-euro ($192 billion) budget, negotiates trade accords and runs a European foreign service.

    This question of where EU power lies will hover over May 22-25 elections to the European Parliament that will give the biggest Europe-wide party a claim to the top job at the commission. Under new treaty rules, heads of government must take “into account” the election result when nominating someone to succeed Jose Barroso of Portugal as commission president when his second five-year term ends in October.

    “Government leaders seem to think that they still have the right to choose who runs Europe,” Marco Incerti, an analyst at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, said by phone on May 19. “They haven’t yet fully subscribed to the new system. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a compromise candidate emerges, in which case there would be noise from the Parliament.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-20/voters-may-determine-eu-chief-executive-for-first-time.html

    • May 21, 2014

      Remarks by the President Honoring the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks

      East Room
      2:20 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: All right, everybody have a seat. Welcome to the White House. (Applause.) Let’s give it up for this quiet, reserved bunch called the Seattle Seahawks. (Applause.) World champions. Best football team in America. (Applause.) I considered letting Sherman up here to the podium today — (laughter) — giving him the mic, but we’ve got to go in a little bit. (Laughter.)

      Obviously we’ve got some big Seahawks fans here today. (Applause.) That includes — I know there are some members of Congress here who are huge Seahawks fans. We’ve also got the Secretary of Interior, Sally Jewell, who is a big Seahawks fan. (Applause.) We’ve got Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the house, a big Seahawks fan. (Applause.) I want to congratulate Coach Pete Carroll for his outstanding leadership. I think those of us who are in leadership positions across disciplines, we’re always looking at folks who do things the right way. I think it’s pretty clear that Coach Carroll does things the right way and we’re very proud of him. Seahawks owner Paul Allen, who has done a great job, congratulations to him. (Applause.) We’ve got General Manager John Schneider who put together this outstanding organization, but I’m curious where the championship belt is today, John. (Laughter.)

      We are here to celebrate the first Super Bowl victory for the city of Seattle. (Applause.) During the regular season, the Seahawks tied for the best record. Suffocating defense led to — led the league in points allowed, yards allowed, interceptions, takeaways, turnover margin. They beat the rival 49ers — (applause) — I knew you guys would clap on that one — (laughter) — in the NFC Championship game, and then dominated one of the best offenses in the NFL, beating the Broncos by 35 points. (Applause.)

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/21/remarks-president-honoring-super-bowl-champion-seattle-seahawks

    • May 21, 2014

      President Obama Designates Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

      WASHINGTON, DC — As part of his commitment to make 2014 a year of action using his pen and phone, President Obama will sign a proclamation today to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in south-central New Mexico, an action that, according to independent analysis, could generate $7.4 million in new economic activity each year. Using his authorities under the Antiquities Act, the President’s action will permanently preserve approximately 496,000 acres to ensure that the prehistoric, historic, and scientific values of this area remain for the benefit of all Americans while preserving access for sportsmen, ranchers, and recreational users. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument joins the ten other national monuments President Obama has designated across the country to permanently protect sites that are significant to our nation’s rich history and natural heritage.

      “Whether they’re hiking or camping or fishing, visitors to our parks and public lands are not only enjoying the bounty of our natural resources, but also promoting jobs and growth. And continuing to set aside federal land for outdoor recreation will drive critical revenue for those local communities, and preserve our pristine land for generations to come,” said President Obama.

      “Today is the culmination of a community-led effort to preserve, protect and promote these public lands, but it’s the beginning of a new chapter for the businesses that will benefit from the tourism and recreation, and the wildlife that rely on this unique habitat,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “The Organ Mountains and surrounding Desert Peaks are steeped in culture, history, wildlife and opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors – from hunting to hiking to gazing at ancient petroglyphs and fossils – and the President’s action ensures that these cherished landscapes are celebrated and passed on to the generations of New Mexicans and Americans to come.”

      The President’s proclamation honors years of work by the local community and businesses seeking increased protection and recognition for the area. Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall have championed legislation to protect and preserve the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region. Conservation groups and sportsmen’s organizations, local tribal governments, veterans and ranchers, faith leaders and Latino leaders, historic preservationists, the nearby cities of Las Cruces and El Paso, and over two hundred local businesses have also expressed support for permanent protection.

      The area is home to a high diversity of animal life, including deer, pronghorn antelope, mountain lions, peregrine falcons and other raptors as well as rare plants, some found nowhere else in the world, such as the Organ Mountains pincushion cactus. Hundreds of archeologically and culturally significant sites are found within the new monument, including some limited Paleo-Indian artifacts, extensive rock art sites and the ruins of a ten room pueblo, among other ancient dwellings. More recent history is memorialized with Geronimo’s Cave, Billy the Kid’s Outlaw Rock, and sites related to early Spanish explorers. The Organ and Doña Ana Mountains are popular recreation areas, with multiple hiking trails, a popular campground, and opportunities for hunting, mountain biking, rock climbing, and other recreation.

      Today’s action builds on steps the Administration has taken over the past five years as part of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, which fosters a 21st century approach to conservation that responds to the priorities of the American people. When he signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, President Obama marked the most extensive expansion of land and water conservation in more than a generation, designating more than 2 million acres of federal wilderness, thousands of miles of trails, and protecting more than 1,000 miles of rivers.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/21/president-obama-designates-organ-mountains-desert-peaks-national-monumen

  9. WH

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    Vice President Biden meets with Cypriot political leaders from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, civil society representatives, and faith leaders
    Greek Orthodox Archbishopric, Larnaca, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Cypriot President Anastasiades hold a bilateral meeting
    Presidential Palace, Nicosia, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Cypriot President Anastasiades deliver a Joint Press Statement
    Presidential Palace, Nicosia, Cyprus

    Cypriot President Anastasiades hosts an official lunch for Vice President Biden, Cypriot cabinet and party leaders, Cypriot former presidents and former Cypriot speakers of the house, and other Cypriot politicians

    Vice President Biden visits the U.S. Embassy to honor the memory of Ambassador Rodger Davies and local employee Antoinette “Toni” Varnavas
    U.S. Embassy, Nicosia, Cyprus

    Dr. Jill Biden and the First Lady of Cyprus, Andreana Anastasiades, visits the village of Lefkara
    Nicosia, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden visits the demilitarised zone U.N. Buffer Zone
    Nicosia, Cyprus

    Dr. Jill Biden and First Lady of Cyprus, Andreana Anastasiades, visits the U.N. Buffer Zone
    Nicosia, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden overnight in Nicosia, Cyprus

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama attends a fund-raiser for the DSCC
    Chicago, IL

    President Obama attends a fund-raiser for the Senator Dick Durbin
    Chicago, IL

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:45 AM
    President Obama meets with travel and tourism industry CEO’s and senior executives
    The Roosevelt Room

    11:00 AM
    First Lady Michelle Obama attends a Girls International Education Roundtable
    Eisenhower Executive Office Building

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:05 PM
    President Obama departs the White House
    South Lawn

    1:20 PM
    President Obama departs Joint Base Andrews

    2:00 PM
    2:30 PM
    President Obama arrives in New York
    Griffiss International Airport

    3:00 PM
    Harvey Milk Stamp Ceremony
    The White House

    3:25 PM
    President Obama tours the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
    Cooperstown, New York

    3:50 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks on the economy
    National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York

    4:00 PM
    4:55 PM
    President Obama departs New York
    Griffiss International Airport

    5:00 PM
    5:50 M
    President Obama arrives in Chicago, Illinois
    Chicago O’Hare International Airport

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    President Obama attends a fund-raiser for the DSCC
    Chicago, IL

    8:00 PM
    8:25 PM
    President Obama attends a fund-raiser for the Senator Dick Durbin
    Chicago, IL

    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    President Obama overnights in Chicago, Illinois

  10. President at bat for tourism
    Hall of Fame visit by Obama a bonus for Cooperstown

    Monday, May 19, 2014 By Larry Rulison – timesunion

    President Barack Obama’s visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Thursday is expected to be icing on the cake for the tourism industry in Cooperstown, which is having one of its best years in a while.

    People have been flocking to the Hall of Fame this year — not only because it’s the 75th anniversary of the museum, but because of the blockbuster class of six inductees this year that includes Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux.

    Obama’s visit will help launch the busy summer season, which begins Saturday with the Hall of Fame Classic game, said Patricia Szarpa, executive director of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce.

    “It’s certainly a nice surprise,” said Szarpa, who was busy Monday on last-minute preparations for the downtown parade that takes place before the game.

    Szarpa says she’s grateful for Obama’s signing of the 2012 law that created a set of coins issued by the U.S. Mint commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Hall of Fame.

    The $5 gold coins, which cost more than $400 each, and the $1 silver coins, which cost $50, have sold out. All that remain are half-dollar coins, which cost around $23. The coins are also special because they are curved, convex on the baseball side and concave on the glove.

    The Hall of Fame benefits from the sale of each coin — $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each silver coin, and $5 for each half-dollar.

    For more: http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/President-at-bat-for-tourism-5490600.php

    • Cooperstown locals and businesses prepare for presidential visit

      05/17/2014 06:06 PM By: Alana LaFlore – centralny.twcnews.com

      With a presidential visit to Cooperstown only days away, Time Warner Cable News reporter Alana LaFlore shares how locals are getting ready.

      COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Baseball, it’s America’s favorite pastime.

      “It’s so inspirational,” said Claudia Shoro as she left the hall of fame. “You think about baseball and it’s just such an important part of our social fabric. And all the personal stories, you think of all these players who came from such meek and humble beginnings and strove so hard and made it.”

      And now with President Obama highlighting the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a tourist destination, the sport could also play a role in improving the economy.

      Businesses in Cooperstown say they hope his visit will promote lots of tourism all year – not just during the summer.

      “To sustain it during the winter, the more people that know, to come to our store instead of traveling out of town,” said Christine Chapman, a sales associate at Cooperstown General Store. “That would help us. I think a lot of people think we’re just a tourist town and there’s not much else there but that’s not true.”

      It’s not every day the president comes to town, so you’d think local shops would spend a lot of time preparing. But most of the businesses in the area didn’t even know he was coming.

      “I didn’t know I just noticed a story came out two hours ago on my news service,” said Ainsley McCall, Manager at F.R. Woods House of Pro Sports.

      McCall is from Boston and it’s the first summer he’s working at his family’s store.

      “We’re surprised, we’re excited, we’re scrambling to get ready,” he said.

      McCall says his store will put up decorations, sell promotional items and brace themselves for the high foot traffic. His third generation shop hasn’t been doing as well in the past few years and could benefit from Obama’s plan for more visitors.

      “One of his key issues is boosting the economy but boosting local small businesses, family owned,” said McCall. “We’ve been here since 1947 when my grandfather started it. We’re a pretty good example.”

      For more: http://centralny.twcnews.com/content/news/all_news/740904/cooperstown-locals-and-businesses-prepare-for-presidential-visit/

  11. Vice President Biden’s Itinerary

    https://propresobama.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/usa-cypress-flags-e1400520440381.jpg?w=700

    Thursday May 22
    Cyprus

    Vice President Biden meets with Cypriot political leaders from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, civil society representatives, and faith leaders
    Greek Orthodox Archbishopric, Larnaca, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Cypriot President Anastasiades hold a bilateral meeting
    Presidential Palace, Nicosia, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Cypriot President Anastasiades deliver a Joint Press Statement
    Presidential Palace, Nicosia, Cyprus

    Cypriot President Anastasiades hosts an official lunch for Vice President Biden, Cypriot cabinet and party leaders, Cypriot former presidents and former Cypriot speakers of the house, and other Cypriot politicians

    Vice President Biden visits the U.S. Embassy to honor the memory of Ambassador Rodger Davies and local employee Antoinette “Toni” Varnavas
    U.S. Embassy, Nicosia, Cyprus

    Dr. Jill Biden and the First Lady of Cyprus, Andreana Anastasiades, visits the village of Lefkara
    Nicosia, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden visits the demilitarised zone U.N. Buffer Zone
    Nicosia, Cyprus

    Dr. Jill Biden and First Lady of Cyprus, Andreana Anastasiades, visits the U.N. Buffer Zone
    Nicosia, Cyprus

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden overnight in Nicosia, Cyprus

    • May 22, 2014

      Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden at an Official Lunch with President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus

      Presidential Palace
      Limassol, Cyprus

      VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Your Beatitude; Mr. President; distinguished leaders. Let me begin by saying a simple thank you. Thank you for the hospitality that’s been extended to me and my wife, Jill. And it’s been so warm a welcome to this beautiful island. I’ve been waiting over 40 years to come to Cyprus, and it has not disappointed — the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Crossroads of Civilization, and I might add, a genuine strategic partner to the United States of America.

      I am known in Washington as the White House optimist, as if I am the new guy on the block. The fact I’ve been there longer than all the rest does not dim my optimism. The fact of the matter is that it’s a natural that my toast today will be about the future, and I believe that for both our countries, the best days are ahead for both of us.

      In America, we are emerging from a recession and two wars. Our businesses have added 9.2 million jobs for 50 straight months. We have ended one war and are ending another. And we’re moving forward on health care, education, energy exploration. And as I said when I was recently in China, it’s never, ever, ever been a good bet to bet against America. We’re back. And we’re with you.

      Cyprus, too, has weathered tough economic times, and you’ve made some very painful reforms. Your economy is now turning the corner. You are emerging as a leader in the region. And Cyprus is poised to become a key player in the Eastern Mediterranean into a new — transforming the Eastern Mediterranean into a new global hub for natural gas and markets. You are uniquely situated at a critical time in modern history, so it should be no surprise that the best days are ahead for Cyprus as well.

      We’ve been working together for a long time. We’re working even more closely together now — from more trade and investment to counterterrorism — prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, as the President pointed out. And we’re partners in the biggest issues of the day: the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons, the prevention of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and responding to Russian intervention in Ukraine. This is not just a strategic partnership; it’s a growing partnership.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/22/remarks-vice-president-joe-biden-official-lunch-president-nicos-anastasi

    • May 22, 2014

      Remarks to the Press by Vice President Joe Biden in Nicosia, Republic of Cyrus

      Ledra Palace Hotel
      Nicosia, Republic of Cyprus

      10:23 P.M. (Local)

      THE VICE PRESIDENT [flanked by President Anastasiades, Dr. Eroğlu, and UN special representative Buttenheim]: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I want to thank my host and — for the incredible hospitality that’s been shown to me in my private meetings with the leaders, as well as our joint meeting. And I want to thank them for joining me tonight. We had a very productive discussion building on the meetings I had with each leader separately earlier in the day.

      The fact that we break bread tonight in the heart of a beautiful, ancient city — but also in a buffer zone that separates one Cypriot community from another reminds us that things were not always as they are now. They do not have to remain the way they are now. A better path is open.

      And I’m pleased that the two leaders have reaffirmed their full commitment to their joint declaration of February the 11th. The two leaders agreed to speed up the process of negotiations toward a comprehensive settlement which is their priority. They agreed to meet at least twice a month to this end. Their next meeting will be on June the 2nd.

      The two leaders also agreed to intensify work on preparing meaningful confidence-building measures as envisioned in the joint declaration. The two leaders also agreed to revitalize the bi-communal technical committees to improve the daily lives of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The two leaders also agreed to jointly call upon all those who have any information on missing persons to share that information with the Committee on Missing Persons in order to assist the committee in advancing its work. They agreed that additional resources should be provided for the work of the committee.

      For our part, the United States will engage with all stakeholders to explore mutually beneficial initiatives to reinforce settlement negotiations. And let me thank my colleagues again, and I look forward to seeing them again.

      [President Anastasiades, Dr. Eroğlu , and UN special representative Buttenheim depart]

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Let me add that I have been engaged in negotiations around the world in many difficult conflicts. But I must tell you, I have been truly impressed by the cordiality and the ease with which both leaders speak to one another and negotiate with one another.

      Tonight, I heard both leaders confirm a common objective — the reunification of Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. I heard common ground on certain aspects of these negotiations. I also heard differences. But I do not believe they are irreconcilable differences.

      There is clearly a lot of work to be done, but what I’m hearing gives me hope that a solution is within reach this time. The United States encourages the leaders to discuss a package on Varosha and Famagusta. If the two sides were to agree on this, the United States would stand ready to assist on the implementation.

      The United States is also hoping to see quick and substantial progress on a number of core issues which would allow the sides to enter the final phase of U.N.-led negotiations. But ultimately, the solution cannot come from the outside. It cannot come from the United States or anywhere else; it has to come from the leaders of the two communities, and from the compelling voices of the civil society leaders I heard from earlier today.

      People have asked me, what’s in this for the United States? I tell you, President Obama and I believe that Cyprus is a key partner in a challenging region. And we know it can be even a stronger partner if the next generation of Cypriots can grow up without the burden of conflict. That would expand people’s horizons to dream of something much bigger. It would unlock their talents and liberate them to do remarkable things.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/22/remarks-press-vice-president-joe-biden-nicosia-republic-cyrus

  12. Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007

    The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 [ Pub.L. 110–28, Title VIII ]is a US Act of Congress that amended the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour. It was signed into law on May 25, 2007 as part of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007. The act raises the federal minimum wage in 3 increments: to $5.85 per hour 60 days after enactment (2007-07-24), to $6.55 per hour 12 months after that (2008-07-24), and finally to $7.25 per hour 12 months after that (2009-07-24). In addition, the act provides for the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa to make the transition to the federal minimum wage on alternate timetables.

    As of 2008, 13 states already had minimum wage rates at or above $7.25 per hour.[2] These states were therefore unaffected by the increase.

    For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Minimum_Wage_Act_of_2007

  13. GOP WRONG WAY

    11 Things The Koch Brothers Don’t Want You To Know, From Robert Greenwald’s Newly Updated Documentary

    The poster boys for the top 1 percent are even worse than you thought.

    May 19, 2014 By Steven Rosenfeld – AlterNet

    The mega-billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch, stand apart in the world of Republicans.

    In 2012, their network of hardcore libertarian political donors spent $400 million on negative campaign ads intended to destroy government safety nets and defeat Democrats. They want to repeal Obamacare, dismantle labor unions, repeal any environmental law protecting clean water and air, roll back voting rights, privatize Social Security, stop a minimum wage increase and more. They don’t care about destroying the checks and balances in American democracy to get their way.

    In an updated documentary by Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films, Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition, we learn many things the Kochs don’t want you to know, from the origin of their radical agenda to other issues they’ve championed that haven’t made the national news, such as resegregating public schools.

    Here are 11 things the Kochs don’t want you to know about them.

    1. The family’s $100 billion fortune comes mostly from a massive network of oil and gas pipelines, and investments in other polluting industries like paper and plastics. The brothers inherited the seed money for their holdings from their father Fred Koch, who made his first fortune building oil pipelines for the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in the 1930s. Back in the states, Fred Koch supported racial segregation and white supremacist groups like the John Birch Society.

    2. Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company in America, worth upwards of $80 billion. It is one of the country’s top 15 polluters, responsible for more than 300 oil spills. It has paid over $100 million in fines and been found guilty by a federal jury of stealing oil from Native American lands.

    3. The Kochs have invested multi-millions in more than 85 right-wing organizations over the years to push an anti-government, libertarian agenda. Many local Tea Party chapters were fronts for Americans for Prosperity, one of their groups. Another big recipient, ALEC, or the American Legislative Exchange Council, drafts bills and talking points that Republican officials cite again and again. In the 2012 presidential election cycle, the Koch’s right-wing donor network spent $400 million on electioneering.

    4. The brothers work to create legal decisions to empower their efforts. They brought two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, to give speeches at their invitation-only gatherings for libertarian industrialists. That was before the Court issued its Citizens United ruling, gutting federal laws that restricted the kinds of outside campaigns they bankroll. They funded groups that filed thousands of pages of legal briefs to attack those election laws. After the Court threw out federal campaign restrictions in 2010—a ruling they help to write—the Kochs began to spend unprecedented sums to sway elections.

    5. Americans for Prosperity led a successful takeover of the school board in Wake County, North Carolina in 2009, which then ended student busing to resegregate high schools. They resurrected the coded rhetoric of the old South, using terms like “forced busing” and “neighborhood schools.” After hundreds of students were sent to other schools, the uproar was so great the AFP slate was voted out two years later, but not before the kids experienced racism and prejudice.

    6. As donors to higher education, the Kochs have designed grant agreements with more than 150 colleges and universities where they restrict academic freedom by exerting control over who gets hired. The programs they fund present only their views in class, curricula and in their research. They promote pro-business, libertarian inquiry, which does not allow the facts and results to lead to their own conclusions. Faculties at many universities have protested these donations and threats to academic freedom.

    For more: http://www.alternet.org/election-2014/11-things-koch-brothers-dont-want-you-know-robert-greenwalds-newly-updated-documentary

  14. Gain in U.S. Leading Index Points to Second-Quarter Rebound

    May 22, 2014 7:04 AM PT By Lorraine Woellert – TheHill

    The index of U.S. leading indicators rose in April for the fourth straight month, showing the economy will strengthen after a slowdown earlier this year.

    The Conference Board’s index, a gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months, rose 0.4 percent after a revised 1.0 percent gain in March that was larger than previously reported, the New York-based group said today. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an advance of 0.4 percent.

    The gain indicates the first-quarter slowdown was more the result of harsh weather than underlying weakness in the expansion. Faster job growth that leads to a pickup in wages would help provide a further boost to consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy.

    “It’s a slow, still-uneven recovery, but still modest growth,” Kenneth Kim, an economist at Stone & McCarthy Research in Princeton, New Jersey, said before the report. “It’s kind of idling gains, not very strong.”

    Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from gains of 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent.

    Another report today showed that more Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week. Jobless claims increased by 28,000 to 326,000, according to the Labor Department.

  15. Gain in U.S. Leading Index Points to Second-Quarter Rebound

    May 22, 2014 7:23 AM PT By Lorraine Woellert – bloomberg

    The index of U.S. leading indicators rose in April for the fourth straight month, showing the economy will strengthen after a slowdown earlier this year.

    The Conference Board’s index, a gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months, rose 0.4 percent after a revised 1.0 percent gain in March that was larger than previously reported, the New York-based group said today. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an advance of 0.4 percent.

    The gain indicates the first-quarter slowdown was more the result of harsh weather than underlying weakness in the expansion. Faster job growth that leads to a pickup in wages would help provide a further boost to consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy.

    “It’s a slow, still-uneven recovery, but still modest growth,” Kenneth Kim, an economist at Stone & McCarthy Research in Princeton, New Jersey, said before the report. “It’s kind of idling gains, not very strong.”

    Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from gains of 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent. The revised gain for March matched September’s reading as the biggest advance since March 2011.

    Other reports today showed that sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in April for the first time this year and more Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week. Stocks were higher, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rising 0.2 percent to 1,891.33 as of 10:17 a.m. in New York.

    Five of the 10 indicators in the Conference Board’s leading index contributed to the increase.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-22/gain-in-u-s-leading-index-points-to-second-quarter-rebound.html

  16. Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Rise for First Time This Year

    May 22, 2014 7:25 AM PT By Michelle Jamrisko – bloomberg

    Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in April for the first time this year as the weather warmed, price increases slowed and more properties were put on the market.

    Closings (ETSLTOTL), which usually take place a month or two after a contract is signed, increased 1.3 percent to a 4.65 million annual rate, the National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected a 4.69 million pace. The number of homes for sale jumped 16.8 percent in April.

    Easier lending standards for some Americans, faster job growth and historically low mortgage rates helped stabilize the industry at the start of the spring selling season. A pickup in construction that boosts housing inventory and tempers gains in property values would provide a further boost to the market.

    “The improvement in availability suggests stronger sales activity in the months ahead,” said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit. Price is the second-best forecaster of existing home sales in the last two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Still, “we need to see more building activity.”

    Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 75 economists ranged from 4.6 million to 4.82 million.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-22/sales-of-existing-u-s-homes-rise-for-first-time-in-four-months.html

  17. 11:00 AM ET
    First Lady Michelle Obama attends a Girls International Education Roundtable
    Eisenhower Executive Office Building

    • May 22, 2014

      Remarks by the First Lady at Girls International Education Roundtable

      Eisenhower Executive Office Building

      11:02 A.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA: Well, I want to thank you all for taking the time to come. This is — it couldn’t be better timing for worse reasons. What has been going on in Nigeria is a tragic reminder of the challenges that young girls all over the world face in trying to get an education.

      And now that we have a bit of the world’s attention on this issue, we have to seize upon the moment to take the opportunity to really push to make some significant changes. Because right now, today, there are millions and millions of girls around the world who are not in school. And it’s not because they don’t want to be in school, it’s because they don’t have the opportunities to be in school, and if they are in school, many of them are doing it and they’re putting their lives at risk. And we all know — you all are the experts — that countries are stronger when their women and girls are educated.

      So one of the reasons why we chose Reach Higher as a domestic issue to focus on education of young people here in the United States is because it’s an issue that we can connect internationally.

      Now, one of the things I tell kids here in the United States is, I want to see them in their seats, in class. Because every child in America has a school to go to, but that’s not the case around the world. There are so many — so there’s a twofold thing that we need to do — we need to inspire kids here in the United States to really utilize and understand the privileges that they have here, and not to take it for granted. But we really do need to lift up this issue and figure out from experts like you how we can strategically change the lives for younger girls, particularly adolescents. People need to understand what these issues are, and they need to know what we need to be doing as a global community to support these young girls.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/22/remarks-first-lady-girls-international-education-roundtable

  18. 3:00 PM ET
    Harvey Milk Stamp Ceremony
    Attendeess: Stuart Milk (Harvey Milk’s nephew, UN Embassador Samantha Power, Rep. John Lewis (Democrat-Ga), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-San Francisco), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Democrat-Wis), Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman.

    The White House

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

    • The Harvey Milk Forever Stamp Is Dedicated

      Published on May 22, 2014

      The U.S. Postal Service and the Harvey Milk Foundation host a dedication ceremony for the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at the White House, May 22, 2014.

    • https://propresobama.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/harvey-milk-e1400786333811.jpg?w=700

      Harvey Milk Stamps
      Forever/49-cents

      In 1977, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States.

      His career was tragically cut short nearly a year after he took office, when he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated.

      The stamp art centers on a photo of Milk taken in front of his camera store in San Francisco. The colors of the gay pride flag appear in a vertical strip in the top left corner.

      A commitment to serving a broad constituency, not just gay people, helped make Milk an effective and popular leader. He was an eloquent speaker with a winning sense of humor and was able to build coalitions between diverse groups. His achievements gave hope and confidence to gay people at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility.

      Milk believed that government should represent all citizens, insuring equality and providing needed services. In the years since his death, there have been hundreds of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender public officials in America. In 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Milk the Medal of Freedom.

      Photographer Daniel Nicoletta took the photograph used in the stamp art, which was designed by art director Antonio Alcalá.

      The Harvey Milk stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.

      For more: https://store.usps.com/store/browse/uspsProductDetailMultiSkuDropDown.jsp?categoryNav=false&navAction=jump&navCount=0&productId=S_472004&categoryId=

    • https://propresobama.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/rainbow-flag.jpg?w=700

      Harvey Milk Foundation

      Harvey and Our Vision
      Harvey Milk’s dream for a better tomorrow filled with the hope for equality and a world without hate guides the Foundation. Harvey Milk’s ground breaking election in 1977 as one of the world’s first openly gay elected officials-and its most visible one- symbolized the freedom to live life with authenticity to millions of LGBT women and men around the world.

      Harvey served less than a year in public office before his brutal assassination but his life profoundly changed a city, state, nation and a global community. His courage, passion and sense of justice rocked a country and stirred the very core of a put down and pushed out community, bringing forward new hope and a new vision of freedom.

      As a not- for-profit global organization, our program goals – to empower local, regional, national and global organizations so that they may fully realize the power of Harvey Milk’s story, style, and collaborative relationship building – are as large and bold as Harvey taught us! The Foundation, through Harvey’s dream for a just tomorrow, envisions governments that celebrate the rich and universally empowering diversity of humanity, where all individuals – gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, the young, the disabled – all who had been excluded can fully participate in all societal rights without exception.

      Harvey’s inspiring life has been the subject and inspiration for Academy award wining films (1984 The Times of Harvey Milk and 2009 Milk), operas, books including children’s books, plays, music, awards, proclamations and starting in 2010, an annual official governmental day of recognition.

      For more: http://milkfoundation.org

    • White House event celebrates Harvey Milk stamp

      May 22, 2014 Carolyn Lochhead – sfgate

      (05-22) 10:06 PDT WASHINGTON — On the day he would have turned 84 years old, Harvey Milk, the San Francisco supervisor and gay activist gunned down at City Hall in 1978, is having a postal stamp in his honor unveiled at the White House.

      The “forever” first-class stamp is based on a black-and-white photograph of Milk in front of his Castro Street Camera store in San Francisco in 1977. Milk is believed to be the first openly gay politician to be honored with a U.S. postage stamp.

      Thursday’s White House ceremony is being led by Samantha Power, the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, also plans to attend the event, which happens at 3 p.m. EDT.

      President Obama is traveling and will not be there, but he posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom to Milk in 2009, one of his first acts upon taking office.

      Also attending will be Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the first openly lesbian U.S. senator, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga, a leader in the civil rights movement, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman and Stuart Milk, the slain supervisor’s nephew and founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation.

      Milk was among the first openly gay elected officials in the United States when he won a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1977. He was gunned down along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White on Nov. 27, 1978.

      The U.S. Postal Service said in its commemoration notice that Milk took office at a time when the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community “was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination. Milk believed that government should represent all citizens, ensuring equality and providing needed services.”

      For more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/White-House-event-celebrates-Harvey-Milk-stamp-5498402.php

    • A Look at Harvey Milk’s Legacy

      Published on May 22, 2014

      On July 30th, 2009, the White House posthumously honored Harvey Milk with the Medal of Freedom for his work and leadership in advancing LGBT civil rights. In this interview from 2009, Harvey’s nephew, Stuart Milk, speaks about his legacy

    • May 22, 2014

      Remarks by the President on Creating Jobs Through Tourism

      Baseball Hall of Fame
      Cooperstown, New York

      3:50 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. There must be some White Sox fans here somewhere. (Laughter.) It is great to be here in Cooperstown. And I have to say that in addition to just wonderful people, those of you all across America and around the world who have not been here, this is a gorgeous place. We came in by helicopter and had a chance to see the landscape and it looks like a spectacular place to spend a few days, a week — however long you want to stay. I’ll bet people will be happy to have you.

      And although he is not here yet, I want to acknowledge the Governor of New York. He had a conflict and he’s on his way up. But he is really focused on jobs in Upstate New York — your Governor, Andrew Cuomo. I want to thank your Mayor, Jeff Katz, for having me, and his great hospitality, and everybody who was involved in arranging the visit. We’ve also got, by the way, our Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Ali Mayorkas, who is here. And he’s important because he’s helping bring travelers to America. (Applause.)

      It is a great honor to be the first sitting President ever to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Applause.) The timing could not be better. First off, summer marks the 75th anniversary of the Hall of Fame. I also promised Frank Thomas I’d check the place out before he’s inducted in July. (Laughter.)

      And I’m so glad I did. Obviously I didn’t have a chance to roam around as long as I wanted, but thanks to the wonderful hospitality here, I saw the ball that William Howard Taft threw at the first-ever presidential opening day pitch. I saw the “White Sox locker” of memorabilia, and got to bask in the glory of the 2005 World Series win. (Applause.) Yes!

      At the Hall’s request, I contributed something of my own, which was the jacket I wore when I threw out the first pitch at the 2009 All-Star Game. I hear that with all the media attention about it, there was also some interest in the jeans I wore that night. (Laughter.) But Michelle retired those jeans quite a while back. (Laughter.)

      So I love baseball; America loves baseball. It continues to be our national pastime. And for any baseball fan out there, you’ve got to make a trip here. But as much as I’d love to talk baseball all day — and with a Chicago legend, Andre Dawson, the “Hawk,” here today, it’s hard not to want to talk baseball all day long — I’m actually here to talk about jobs — good, middle-class jobs. And believe it or not, places like this institution, the Hall of Fame, have something to do with jobs and economic growth.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/22/remarks-president-creating-jobs-through-tourism

    • May 22, 2014

      FACT SHEET & REPORT: President Obama Visits Cooperstown to Highlight Travel and Tourism that is Growing our Economy and Creating Jobs

      The progress report on the President’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy can be found HERE.

      As a part of his Year of Action, the President is using the power of his pen and phone wherever he can on behalf of the American people to create jobs and help hardworking Americans get ahead. The President will travel to Cooperstown, New York to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame – an economic engine in upstate New York. The Hall of Fame draws nearly 300,000 visitors annually, helping to drive more than $160 million into the economy of Otsego County each year. In fact, it is projected that each Hall of Fame visitor generates an estimated $500 in spending into the regional economy.

      The President will discuss the Administration’s efforts to support increased travel and tourism in the United States – helping local businesses and growing the economy for everyone. Before heading to Cooperstown, the President will use the power of his pen to sign a Presidential Memorandum to help welcome more international visitors to our country, making it easier for foreign tourists to see more and spend more in the United States. The President will also utilize his phone – his power to convene – and meet with travel and tourism industry CEOs and senior executives at the White House to discuss their vital industry, which supports nearly 8 million jobs across the country and is a major driver of our economy.

      President Obama Visits Cooperstown to Highlight Travel and Tourism that is Growing our Economy and Creating Jobs

      * Tourism is America’s most important, and largest, services export: growth in international visitors has created roughly 175,000 American jobs over the past five years, and meeting President Obama’s goal of 100 million visitors in 2021 will support hundreds of thousands of additional jobs.

      * The number of international visitors to the United States has grown from 55 million in 2009 to 70 million in 2013, and each overseas visitor spends on average $4,500 per visit, at American hotels, shops, restaurants, and other domestic businesses.

      * Steps taken by the Administration have supported this impressive growth: The State Department issued 9.2 million visas in 2013, up 42% since 2010. Waiting periods for visas in important markets like Brazil and China have dropped from as high as several months to less than five days on average.

      * Through close partnership with airports and industry, we have seen dramatic improvements to the entry process and reduction in wait times for passport control and customs processing at airports.

      Building on this significant progress, as part of his Year of Action, the President is announcing new executive actions to continue to encourage and make it easier for international travelers to come to the United States

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/22/fact-sheet-report-president-obama-visits-cooperstown-highlight-travel-an

  19. Why Guantanamo remains open

    5/22/14 04:34PM By Steve Benen – maddowblog

    President Obama has received a fair amount of criticism from the left about the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The president vowed to close the prison, but after five years in office, it remains open.

    That’s not for lack of effort. Obama has tried, repeatedly, to pursue the policy that used to enjoy bipartisan support, but Congress — including members of both parties — have placed inflexible restrictions on the administration, preventing progress. In other words, the president hasn’t closed the prison because lawmakers simply won’t let him.

    Every time there’s reason to think progress is possible, Congress does what it always does. Adam Serwer reports on today’s developments.

    Congress isn’t ready to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, either. Shortly before the vote on [Rep. Adam Schiff’s] proposal, the House voted down an amendments put forth by Washington Democratic Rep. Adam Smith that would have shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and lifted the restrictions on transfers of detainees into U.S. prisons.

    The White House has threatened to veto the defense bill over the transfer restrictions, but it has backed down from doing so in the past.

    Smith reminded his colleagues that the prison, a symbolic scourge around the world, is wildly expensive and entirely unnecessary since the existing federal prison system already houses terrorists.

    It didn’t matter — the final vote was 177 to 247. A grand total of six Republicans actually voted with Democrats on this one, which I suppose is a nice silver lining. (23 Dems voted with the GOP majority.)

    There’s certainly nothing with being frustrated by the detention facility remaining open, but if you’re blaming the White House, you’re pointing the finger at the wrong end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Read more: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/why-guantanamo-remains-open

    • May 22, 2014

      Remarks by the President at DSCC Reception — Chicago, IL

      Private Residence
      Chicago, Illinois

      6:54 P.M. CDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, hello, hello! (Applause.) Hello, everybody. Well, it’s good to be in Chicago. (Applause.) Good to be home — now that it’s warmed up. (Laughter.) It was a rough winter. But you guys — you look like you survived it, you’re not any worse for wear.

      Let me begin by thanking Michael and Tanya. I did not know what a significant role I played in — (laughter) — making sure that this thing worked out. I was wondering, how did Michael get such a beautiful woman? And now I realize he was basically dropping my name — (laughter) — and said, yeah, the President is my great buddy and — (laughter) — and so now I know, now I understand. But thank you so much to both of you for hosting us in your beautiful home.

      And I also want to acknowledge two people who are doing great work every single day — one of the best public servants we have is the senator from the great state of Colorado, who is here, and also heads up the Democratic Committee to make sure that we hang on to the Senate — Michael Bennet is in the house. So give Michael a big round of applause. (Applause.) Yay, Michael!

      And of course, part of the reason we’re here is because we have somebody who not only has always been fighting the good fight on behalf of working families here in Illinois and across the country, but also happens to be somebody who, when I first went to the Senate, taught me so much and has been such a great and loyal friend. He is somebody whose integrity shines through on everything he does. So please give a big round of applause to our own Dick Durbin. (Applause.) Dick Durbin. Dick Durbin.

      Now, I’m looking around and I see a lot of friends, and all of you look the same and I look like Morgan Freeman. (Laughter.) So the job has been wearing me down a little bit, I admit, grey hear and all that. But Michelle still thinks I’m cute. She’s not ready to trade me in yet. (Laughter.) But whenever I come to Chicago and I see great friends, it reminds me of why I got into politics — because a lot of people here played a role in me becoming a state senator, becoming a U.S. senator, and ultimately becoming President.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/22/remarks-president-dscc-reception-chicago-il

    • May 23, 2014

      Remarks by the President at DSCC Dinner — Chicago, IL

      Private Residence
      Chicago, Illinois

      8:17 P.M. CDT

      THE PRESIDENT: First of all, to Fred and Dan, I’m so grateful for you guys hosting us here today. I’m trying to remember — was it two years ago or three years ago that I was here?

      Q Two years ago. And you were here in —

      THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve been here a lot, I know. (Laughter.) I meant most recently. I have abused Fred’s hospitality for quite some time. But it is wonderful to be home now that is has warmed up. (Laughter.) And it is wonderful to be with a lot of old friends.

      There are a couple other people I just want to acknowledge real quickly. Obviously, our Governor Pat Quinn is in the house. Please give him a big round of applause. (Applause.) Pat is doing a lot of hard stuff, and he’s doing it the right way. And I’m very appreciative for all the efforts that he’s making down in Springfield.

      We also have two of our finest public servants in the country. The first has the thankless job of being the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Reelection Committee, and that is our outstanding senator from Colorado, Michael Bennet. (Applause.) And the second guy is the person who, upon my election to the United States Senate, essentially taught me everything that he knew and kept me out of trouble, and supported me every step of the way when I ran for President, and has been a great friend and champion on behalf of working families not just in Illinois, but all across the country. He is a great friend. I couldn’t be prouder to be associated with him — Dick Durbin. (Applause.)

      So the goal here is not for me to give a long speech, because I want to have a conversation with you, but let me just set the context. A little over five years since I’ve been elected. We’ve gone from losing 800,000 jobs a month to creating over 9 million jobs. The unemployment rate has come down. The housing value has come up. The stock market — gone up. Trillions of dollars of wealth restored for families all across the country. The deficit — you wouldn’t know it always from reading the newspapers — has been cut by more than half.

      Clean energy — we’ve doubled. Greenhouse gases — we’ve lowered. Exports — we’re on track to double. College enrollment hitting all-time peaks. High school dropout rates going down. Latino dropout rates cut in half since 2000.

      We’ve ended two wars. We are — or we’ve ended one war and we’re in the process of ending the second. We’re producing more energy than we ever have before, and we’re importing less foreign oil than we have in close to two decades.

      So there are a whole bunch of metrics — a whole bunch of measures by which you’d say, indisputably, that we are better off now than we were when I came into office. And a lot of that has to do with the incredible resilience and grit and hard work of the American people. And yet, there’s still anxiety all across America. And some of it is that people still feel the trauma of seeing their home values drop, or their 401(k)s plunge, or losing their job, or seeing a friend of theirs lose their home. And you don’t shake those things off right away. It feels as if the ground is less firm under your feet.

      But a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’ve got trends that have continued over the course of decades in which those of us, frankly, in this room continue to do better and better. Folks at the top have seen their incomes and their wealth soar. And ordinary Americans have seen their wages and incomes flat-line at the same time as the costs of everything has gone up. And so they’re less confident that not only they will be able to retire with some dignity and maintain their standard of living; more importantly, they’re concerned that their kids are not going to be able to match their standard of living and the upward trajectory of their lives — the idea that if you work hard, if you take responsibility in this country, you can get ahead.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/23/remarks-president-dscc-dinner-chicago-il

  20. May 22, 2014

    Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice at the Chicago Council Global Food Security Conference

    Food Security Challenges for the 21st Century
    As Delivered
    Good afternoon everybody. I want to begin by thanking my good friend, Ivo, for that very kind introduction. Ivo and I have had the opportunity to work together in various different capacities inside government and outside government–and in every circumstance, it has been a great pleasure and an intellectual challenge, and I want to thank you for continuing your very good work on complex global issues now with the Chicago Council. I also want to thank Doug Bereuter, Dan Glickman, and everyone at the Chicago Council for inviting me to join you today.

    Throughout human history, the world has struggled with hunger and famine. For as long as mankind has cultivated crops, we’ve contended with drought and blight. But, in the past few decades, we’ve gained the tools to write a different future for humanity. At the World Food Congress in 1963, President Kennedy stated the cause very clearly: “As members of the human race, we have the means, we have the capacity to eliminate hunger from the face of the earth in our lifetime. We need only the will.”

    Since then, we’ve turned our will to reshaping our planet. The scientific achievements of the Green Revolution averted mass famines and saved more than a billion people from starvation. By adopting new seeds and agricultural techniques, countries that once relied on aid can now feed themselves. It’s a compelling reminder of just how much we can accomplish with focus, ingenuity, and the will to get things done. So many of you here today have been instrumental in this progress, and I want to thank all of you for your extraordinary contributions.

    I’m here because I want you to know that you have an enduring partner in President Obama and this administration. Not only Administrator Shah and Secretary Vilsack, whom you’ll hear from later, but our food security team includes Tjada McKenna of USAID, Jonathan Shrier from State, Suzanne Palmieri from USDA, and many, many other dedicated public servants. [Applause]

    They know, and you know, that ending food insecurity is profoundly in the interests of the United States. It’s an outrage when children starve or when hard-working families can’t afford to fill their most basic nutritional needs. We’ve seen what can happen when a spike in food prices plunges tens of millions of people into poverty—riots break out; conflicts for scarce resources cost lives; economies falter; instability increases. On the other hand, investing in agriculture is one of the surest ways to reduce poverty, expand economic activity, and grow the middle class. And that’s why President Obama has made food security a top priority in our global development efforts.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/22/remarks-national-security-advisor-susan-e-rice-chicago-council-global-fo

  21. *******************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED NBLB

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ” The Great Society″

    ********************

    To get to the newest post click on “HOME” at the top of the thread

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