Archive for December 18th, 2010

18
Dec
10

from ‘homophobe’ to the repeal of dadt…..plus all the other kept promises

“I don’t think there’s a single Democrat out there, who if they looked at where we started when I came into office and look at where we are now, would say that somehow we have not moved in the direction that I promised. Take a tally. Look at what I promised during the campaign. There’s not a single thing that I’ve said that I would do that I have not either done or tried to do. And if I haven’t gotten it done yet, I’m still trying to do it.

President Barack Obama, December 7, 2010

Some day, maybe, people will take him at his word.

18
Dec
10

back in black: us now a net exporter of solar

Report shows 2009 net solar exports topped $700 million

Earth & Industry: As reports that China has already won the the race for global domination in the clean energy sector dominate the news, a new study suggests that early reports of the demise of the U.S. solar industry may be greatly exaggerated.

The report, published this week by GTM Research, found U.S. net exports totaled $723 million in 2009 with U.S. solar installations creating $2.6 billion in direct value to support the U.S. economy. And as compared to the U.S. overall economy, the report shows that U.S. trade in the solar industry is more balanced than in the overall economy, which had a trade deficit of $374 billion in 2009.

“The U.S. imports and exports product from every continent. But in addition to being a major net exporter of solar energy products, the industry is creating significant wealth in the United States and jobs in all 50 states,” said Rhone Resch, President and CEO of Solar Energy Industry Association, the largest solar industry trade association in the U.S.

Read the rest of the article here

Thank you Hachikō for the seriously GREAT link – legend!

18
Dec
10

sadly, there are some problems the president just can’t fix

18
Dec
10

on call

President Barack Obama makes Congressional calls from the Oval Office before today’s final Senate vote repealing the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the military, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

18
Dec
10

credit where it’s due?

Salon (Steve Kornacki): ….In a matter of days (if that), President Obama will sign the bill…. and fulfill one of his major campaign promises — one that some of his liberal critics had accused him of shirking.

Obama, it should be said, played this issue remarkably well. To listen to his liberal critics (at least before today), his handling of DADT has encapsulated all that’s wrong with his presidency. He’s lacked, in their telling, both a meaningful strategy and the stomach for a fight with Republicans. But the course he pursued actually made a lot of sense, as Saturday’s vote attests. Obama took pains to get Pentagon and military leaders aboard, commissioning an exhaustive study of the issue and promising them he wouldn’t preempt it with an executive order or legal fight.

While it was slow, the beauty of this process was that the final report, released three weeks ago, completely and authoritatively dismantled every rationalization that opponents of repeal could offer. The few moderate Republicans in the Senate who were open to repeal — either because of their own consciences or because of political dynamics in their home states (or both) — had nothing left to hide behind. Remember, it was only after the report’s release that Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski finally came on board. (The same, for that matter, was true for conservative Democrat Mark Pryor.) For the past two years, Obama has loudly insisted that he was working toward repeal. Saturday demonstrated that there was a method to the madness.

Andrew Sullivan: Do gay activists, including myself, want to doubt it now? ….I reiterate what I wrote barely a week ago: It seems to me the events of the last month or so reveal that the Obama administration has finally delivered the goods for the military, which is hobbled by this dated, counter-productive policy, and for the gay community, by moving the issue deliberately  through the Congress before the executive branch or the judicial branch.

Like 2009’s removal of the HIV ban, which was as painstakingly slow but thereby much more entrenched, this process took time. Without the Pentagon study, it wouldn’t have passed. Without Obama keeping Lieberman inside the tent, it wouldn’t have passed. Without the critical relationship between Bob Gates and Obama, it wouldn’t have passed. It worked our last nerve; we faced at one point a true nightmare of nothing … for years. And then we pulled behind this president, making it his victory and the country’s victory, as well as ours.

Error
This video doesn’t exist

Lt. Dan Choi: “President Obama, you are not off the hook. The compromise bill passed today puts the moral imperative squarely on your desk. Sign an executive order instituting a full non-discrimination policy throughout the military. If you do not, if you drag your feet and politicize this with your theoretical calculations as you have these past two years, you will be guilty of abetting those who loudly proclaim homophobia from their platforms and pulpits. Provide them no shelter or safe haven. Institute justice now….. Do not compare this to the integration of racial and religious minorities in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Integration of gay people has already happened…..”

You can read the whole thing at the link – Lt Choi is a truly remarkable man, which makes it kind of sad that he apparently has as much contempt for President Obama as he does for John McCain, even after what happened today. Or maybe he’s just not big enough to admit he got it all wrong about the President’s strategy on DADT, and that he is, after all, not a homophobe? He could learn from Maddow and Sullivan’s graciousness and honesty.

PS As someone on Huffington Post asked him, how on earth was this a “compromise” bill?

Two months ago:

PS II: I take back my description of Choi as a “remarkable” man – I somehow managed to miss what he said about Harry Reid in October:

“Harry Reid is a pussy – and he’ll be bleeding once a month.”

What a vile misogynist he is.

Thanks to Jessica for letting me know.

I found a good article on the comment here

Good grief, a campaigner against prejudice with a pretty nasty prejudice himself – ah, the breathtaking hypocrisy of it all! How did this guy treat the women he worked with in the army??

18
Dec
10

picture perfect: no 38

“The President was leaving the State Floor after an event and found Sasha in the elevator ready to head upstairs to the private residence. He decided to ride upstairs with her before returning to the Oval Office.” (Official White House photo by Pete Souza, May 19, 2009)

See all the ‘Picture Perfect’ photos here

18
Dec
10

how’s that hopie changie thing working? rather wonderfully, thanks

David Leonhardt, New York Times: “… Congress and the White House have completed 16 months of activity that rival any other since the New Deal in scope or ambition… If there is a theme to all this, it has been to try to lift economic growth while also reducing income inequality.”

Norman Ornstein (Congressional Scholar at American Enterprise Institute): “This is one of the most productive Congresses in history.”

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

AMERICAN RECOVERY & REINVESTMENT ACT, enacted in the first month of President Obama’s term, to jumpstart our economy, create and save 3.5 million jobs, give a tax cut to small business and 95% of American workers, begin to rebuild America’s road, rail, and water infrastructure, and make a historic commitment to education, clean energy, and science and technology, with unprecedented accountability.  (Signed into Law)

SMALL BUSINESS JOBS ACT, landmark legislation providing $12 billion in tax relief for small businesses by enacting 8 more small business tax cuts on top of the 8 already enacted by this Congress; creating up to 500,000 jobs, by leveraging up to $300 billion in private sector lending for small businesses through a $30 billion lending fund for community banks; fully paid for – doesn’t add a dime to the deficit.  (Signed into Law)

TEACHER JOBS/STATE AID/CLOSING TAX LOOPHOLES, creating and saving nearly 320,000 jobs; providing $10 billion to save 161,000 teacher jobs and $16 billion in Medicaid aid, with the effect of creating/saving 158,000 jobs, including police officers, firefighters, nurses & private sector workers; fully paid for by closing loopholes that encourage companies to ship American jobs overseas; cutting deficit by $1.4 billion.  (Signed into Law)

STUDENT AID & FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT, making the largest investment in college aid in history – increasing Pell Grants, making college loans more affordable, and strengthening community colleges – while reducing the federal deficit by ending wasteful student loan subsidies to banks. (Signed into Law)

HIRE ACT, creating up to 300,000 jobs, by providing a payroll tax holiday for businesses that hire unemployed workers and a tax credit for businesses that retain these workers; also unleashes tens of billions of dollars to rebuild infrastructure; fully paid for by cracking down on offshore accounts for wealthy.  (Signed into Law)


CASH FOR CLUNKERS, jump-starting the U.S. auto industry, providing consumers with up to $4,500 to trade in an old vehicle for one with higher fuel efficiency—spurring the sale of 700,000 vehicles.  (Signed into Law)

WORKER, HOMEOWNERSHIP & BUSINESS ASSISTANCE ACT, boosting the economy and creating jobs with more unemployment benefits for Americans hit by the recession, an expanded 1st-time homebuyer tax credit, and enhanced small business tax relief—expanded to all struggling U.S. businesses.  (Signed into Law)

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXTENSION, extending unemployment benefits to millions of American families through November 30, 2010; every dollar of unemployment benefits creates at least $1.61 in economic activity.  (Signed into Law)

AMERICAN JOBS AND CLOSING TAX LOOPHOLES ACT, to promote American jobs by restoring credit to small businesses, extending tax incentives for American R&D and tax relief for middle class American families, rebuilding American infrastructure, and expanding jobs for young people; and to close tax loopholes to make Wall Street billionaires pay their fair share of taxes.  (Passed by House)

HOME STAR JOBS, to create 168,000 American jobs making energy efficiency products, by providing incentives for consumers to make their homes energy-efficient — cutting energy bills for 3 million families and reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and dirty fuels.  (Passed by House)

JOBS FOR MAIN STREET ACT, to boost small business and to rebuild highways and transit; paid for by redirecting TARP funds from Wall Street to Main Street.  (Passed by House)

SMALL BUSINESS & INFRASTRUCTURE JOBS ACT, to extend Build America Bonds to help finance the rebuilding of schools, hospitals, roads and bridges; and target tax incentives to spur investment in small businesses and help entrepreneurs looking to start a new business. (Passed by House)

EDWARD M. KENNEDY SERVE AMERICA ACT, tripling volunteerism opportunities to 250,000 for national service for students to retirees; increased college financial awards. (Signed into Law)

WALL STREET REFORM, historic reforms to end taxpayer-funded bailouts and the idea of ‘too big to fail’, and protect and empower consumers to make the best decisions on mortgages, credit cards, and their own financial future.  Lack of accountability for Wall Street and big banks cost 8 million jobs.  (Signed into Law)

CREDIT CARDHOLDERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS, providing tough new protections already saving consumers money—like banning unfair rate hikes, abusive fees, and penalties—and strengthening enforcement. (Signed into Law)

FRAUD ENFORCEMENT & RECOVERY ACT, providing tools to prosecute mortgage scams and corporate fraud that contributed to financial crisis; creating an outside commission to examine its causes.  (Signed into Law)

LILLY LEDBETTER FAIR PAY ACT, restoring the rights of women and other workers to challenge unfair pay—to help close the wage gap where women earn 78 cents for every $1 a man earns in America.  (Signed into Law)

HELPING FAMILIES SAVE THEIR HOMES ACT, building on the President’s initiative to stem the foreclosure crisis, with significant incentives to lenders, servicers, and homeowners to modify loans. (Signed into Law)

HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM, landmark legislation putting American families and small business owners—not the insurance companies—in control of their own health care; lowering costs for middle class and small business; holding insurance companies accountable to prevent denials of care and coverage, including for pre-existing conditions; strengthening Medicare and lowering prescription drug costs; creating up to 4 million jobs; and reducing deficit by largest amount in almost two decades. (Signed into law)

HEALTH CARE FOR 11 MILLION CHILDREN, to finally provide cost-effective health coverage for 4 million more children and preserve coverage for 7 million children already enrolled.  (Signed into Law)

ENSURING SENIORS’ ACCESS TO THEIR DOCTORS, by blocking scheduled 21% cut in Medicare physician payments through November 30, 2010 and also updating payments by 2.2%.  (Signed into Law)

FOOD SAFETY, to fundamentally change the way we protect our food supply; close gaps exposed by recent food-borne illness outbreaks; give the FDA new authorities.  (Passed by House)

RYAN WHITE HIV/AIDS TREATMENT EXTENSION ACT, guaranteeing access to lifesaving medical services, primary care, and medications for low-income patients with AIDS and HIV. (Signed into Law)

AMERICAN CLEAN ENERGY AND SECURITY ACT, historic legislation to create 1.7 million jobs (with the Recovery Act); help free us from funding terrorism with our dependence on foreign oil; reduce the carbon pollution causing climate change; keep costs low for Americans; will not increase the deficit. (Passed by House)

OMNIBUS PUBLIC LAND MANAGEMENT ACT, the most significant conservation bill in 15 years, strengthening tourism and rural economies with more than 2 million new acres of wilderness and parks.  (Signed into Law)

DISCLOSE ACT, to fight a corporate takeover of our elections, requires them to disclose they are behind political ads; bans foreign-controlled corporations from putting money in U.S. elections.  (Passed by House)

FY 2010 DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION, authorizing 3.4% troop pay raise, strengthening military readiness and military families support, focusing our strategy in Afghanistan and redeployment from Iraq.  (Signed into Law)

REPEAL OF DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL, to provide for the repeal of this outdated policy, contingent on the certification that military review completed and that repeal would not impact readiness.  (Passed by House)

VETERANS HEALTH CARE BUDGET REFORM & TRANSPARENCY ACT, a top priority of veterans’ groups, authorizing Congress to approve VA medical care appropriations one year in advance to ensure reliable and timely funding and prevent politics from ever delaying VA health care funding.  (Signed into Law)

FY 2010 MILITARY CONSTRUCTION-VA APPROPRIATIONS, strengthening quality health care for 5 million veterans by investing 11% more for medical care, benefits claims processors, and facility improvements.  (Signed into Law)

CAREGIVERS AND VETERANS OMNIBUS HEALTH SERVICES, landmark legislation providing help to caregivers of disabled, ill or injured veterans, and improving VA health services for women veterans.  (Signed into Law)

HATE CRIMES PREVENTION ACT, giving law enforcement resources to prevent and prosecute hate crimes against Americans based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.  (Signed into Law)

See the full list here

18
Dec
10

“the right thing to do”

The President: “Moments ago, the Senate voted to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

When that bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.

Gay and lesbian service members — brave Americans who enable our freedoms — will no longer have to hide who they are.

The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one.

This victory belongs to you. Without your commitment, the promise I made as a candidate would have remained just that.

Instead, you helped prove again that no one should underestimate this movement. Every phone call to a senator on the fence, every letter to the editor in a local paper, and every message in a congressional inbox makes it clear to those who would stand in the way of justice: We will not quit.

This victory also belongs to Senator Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and our many allies in Congress who refused to let politics get in the way of what was right.

Like you, they never gave up, and I want them to know how grateful we are for that commitment.

Will you join me in thanking them by adding your name to Organizing for America’s letter?

I will make sure these messages are delivered — you can also add a comment about what the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” means to you.

As Commander in Chief, I fought to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because it weakens our national security and military readiness. It violates the fundamental American principles of equality and fairness.

But this victory is also personal.

I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation.

But I know my story would not be possible without the sacrifice and struggle of those who came before me — many I will never meet, and can never thank.

I know this repeal is a crucial step for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national security. I know it is the right thing to do.

But the rightness of our cause does not guarantee success, and today, celebration of this historic step forward is tempered by the defeat of another — the DREAM Act. I am incredibly disappointed that a minority of senators refused to move forward on this important, commonsense reform that most Americans understand is the right thing for our country. On this issue, our work must continue.

Today, I’m proud that we took these fights on.

Please join me in thanking those in Congress who helped make “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal possible:

Here

Thank you,”

Barack

18
Dec
10

history – and another promise kept

Washington Post: At 11:49 a.m., the United States Senate voted 63-33 to to end debate on the repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the discriminatory ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. The final vote (only 51 votes needed for passage) could come as soon as later today, but there is no doubt this is a victory. A victory for the Pentagon, which needs every able and valiant body to serve and protect this nation and its interests. A victory for the American people, who once again have shown the capacity to right a grievous wrong that ran counter to their fundamental sense of fairness. More importantly, this is a victory for service members serving in silence.

With just two sentences in the State of the Union speech last January, President Obama set the wheels in motion for today’s historic vote. No, the path to this day was not perfect. Many doubted the president’s commitment to get this done. Some even accused him of paying lip service to the gay community at best, and playing it for a fool at worst. Today’s vote should put that nonsense to rest.

Full article here

Statement from the President: Today, the Senate has taken an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security while violating the very ideals that our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives to defend.

By ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.

As Commander-in-Chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known. And I join the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the overwhelming majority of service members asked by the Pentagon, in knowing that we can responsibly transition to a new policy while ensuring our military strength and readiness.

I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Senators Lieberman and Collins and the countless others who have worked so hard to get this done. It is time to close this chapter in our history. It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed. It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly. I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.

Update: Lawmakers repealed DADT by 65-31 votes (The 65 included Scott Brown, Collins, Kirk, Ensign, Murkowski, Snowe, Voinovich)

Remember?

January 2010

18
Dec
10

wow, a proud few days for the gop

Washington Post: …. The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act failed to pass last night. Despite unanimously passing the Senate, it only garnered a 241-166 majority in the House. Since House rules were in suspension, the bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who sponsored the bill, had a blunt response in a late-night press release:

“The action on the House floor stopping the Child Marriage bill tonight will endanger the lives of millions of women and girls around the world. These young girls, enslaved in marriage, will be brutalized and many will die when their young bodies are torn apart while giving birth. Those who voted to continue this barbaric practice brought shame to Capitol Hill.”

His frustration makes sense: the corresponding House Bill had 112 co-sponsors! What the heck happened?

In the hours before the vote, Republicans circulated a memo to pro-life members of Congress alleging that the bill could fund abortions and use child marriage “to overturn pro-life laws” …. when it came time for a vote, a number of the bill’s pro-life supporters in both parties abandoned ship.

Time for the facts. First of all, the act is short – the body of the bill is around ten pages long – and does not mention abortion … a quick read suffices to show that the bill is not dealing with abortion.

Second, it does not appropriate any additional funding. It requires that the President and the State Department make child marriage a core part of American international development strategy. One more time: this means that this bill can’t provide funding for abortion. It’s not a appropriations bill. Nonetheless, some Republicans appear determined to showcase their conservative credentials at all costs –  even when the facts make it unnecessary, even when the world’s most vulnerable children bear the bill.

At this point, the bill’s future is uncertain, but the ongoing bizarre misrepresentation of a bill designed to empower young girls and women is the worst sort of political gamesmanship. Why play politics with their lives at stake?

And on Thursday:

Senate Republicans blocked the long-awaited 9/11 health care and compensation bill, making good on a pledge to reject all legislation until the Bush-era tax cuts are passed.

The 9/11 health bill, known as the Zadroga bill, would continue health care funding for tens of thousands of 9/11 emergency responders, construction laborers and downtown residents, workers and students. It would also potentially compensate people with post-9/11 health conditions and the survivors of those who have died.

Thursday’s vote went even worse than expected. The Democrats need 60 votes to open debate — and 60 to close it. Democrats had thought they had 59 votes and a few possible centrist Republican contenders for the 60th vote. But GOP discipline held strong, and the Democrats only hit 58. Newly-elected Illinois Republican Senator Ron Kirk stayed with his party. Kirk, who was elected to President Obama’s former seat voted for the House version when he was there in September. He had assured Democrats he would again now that he is in the Senate.

Republicans are concerned the Zadroga bill would create a new entitlement program. The Democrats say they can fund it without raising taxes by closing a loophole on international companies that locate in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes. Republicans, however, say that amounts to a new tax on companies that operate here and employ American workers.

9/11 responder John Feal lashes out Friday at GOP politicians holding up theJames Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act
New York Daily News: Lawmakers stung by the failure of the 9/11 health bill returned to Ground Zero Friday in hopes of breathing life into the measure.

Republicans filibustered the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act on Thursday, blocking the start of debate on the bill because they want to see tax cuts passed first.

Manhattan Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney ripped the move as “immoral” and “truly sad.” “Health care for Americans who are ailing because of 9/11 should not be held hostage to partisan politics,” Maloney charged.

Dozens of responders who showed up for the press conference were still in disbelief over the potentially fatal setback. “I was a registered Republican. I have no idea what I am now,” said Ray Simons, 60, a retired FDNY ambulance worker who said he’s ill from two weeks at The Pile. “For senators to turn this down, it’s like, oh, my God, it’s the ultimate betrayal.”

NBC NY: Arizona Sen. John McCain is under fire from his Democratic counterparts for a remark on the Senate floor yesterday, where he said lawmakers who support a health care bill for Ground Zero workers are “fooling around.”

The bill, which would provide up to $7.4 billion in aid for workers sickened by World Trade Center dust after the 9/11 attacks, was shot down by Republican lawmakers this month after they refused to consider the legislation until tax cuts were extended.

On Friday, McCain said Democratic leaders needlessly stalled a vote on a missile treaty with Russia “after all of the fooling around we’ve been doing” by holding loose votes on immigration and the Ground Zero health-care legislation.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), one of the main supporters of the bill, took to the Senate floor, saying “To call helping (first responders) fooling around is saddening and frustrating.”

And today, they defeated the DREAM Act:

ThinkProgress: Forty-one mostly Republican senators voted against a bill which would have provided young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents a path to legalization by pursuing a college education or serving in the military. 55 voted in the affirmative.

Immediately before the vote failed, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took the Senate floor to tell the young DREAMers who have come to his office that they were “wasting their time” because the border hasn’t been secured:

“…to those who have come to my office — you’re always welcome to come, but you’re wasting your time. We’re not going to pass the DREAM Act or any other legalization program until we secure our borders. It will never be done as a stand-alone. It has to be part of comprehensive immigration reform.”

What Graham didn’t mention is that though he has supported immigration reform in the past, he and his party are largely responsible for blocking it in 2010. First he held it hostage to health care reform, pitted it against climate change legislation, and then turned his back on it altogether. This summer, he declared his support for changing the 14th amendment to deny the U.S.-born children of immigrants citizenship.

And as we speak, they’re still trying to block the repeal of DADT and the passing of the START Treaty in the Senate

McCain? **** you, you bitter bigot 😉

 




@POTUS

@BarackObama

@WhiteHouse

@FLOTUS

@MichelleObama

@PeteSouza

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

@TheObamaDiary

@NerdyWonka

RSS Obama White House.gov

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS WH Tumblr

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Categories

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 41,787,182 hits
December 2010
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

WH Flickr