Saturday, January 24, 2009

President Obama's Weekly Web Address


Remarks of President Barack Obama

Weekly Address

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

We begin this year and this Administration in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action. Just this week, we saw more people file for unemployment than at any time in the last twenty-six years, and experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. And we could lose a generation of potential, as more young Americans are forced to forgo college dreams or the chance to train for the jobs of the future.

In short, if we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.

That is why I have proposed an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan to immediately jumpstart job creation as well as long-term economic growth. I am pleased to say that both parties in Congress are already hard at work on this plan, and I hope to sign it into law in less than a month.

It’s a plan that will save or create three to four million jobs over the next few years, and one that recognizes both the paradox and the promise of this moment - the fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work even as, all around the country, there’s so much work to be done. That’s why this is not just a short-term program to boost employment. It’s one that will invest in our most important priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century.

Today I’d like to talk specifically about the progress we expect to make in each of these areas.

To accelerate the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, and biofuels over the next three years. We’ll begin to build a new electricity grid that lay down more than 3,000 miles of transmission lines to convey this new energy from coast to coast. We’ll save taxpayers $2 billion a year by making 75% of federal buildings more energy efficient, and save the average working family $350 on their energy bills by weatherizing 2.5 million homes.

To lower health care cost, cut medical errors, and improve care, we’ll computerize the nation’s health record in five years, saving billions of dollars in health care costs and countless lives. And we’ll protect health insurance for more than 8 million Americans who are in danger of losing their coverage during this economic downturn.

To ensure our children can compete and succeed in this new economy, we’ll renovate and modernize 10,000 schools, building state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries, and labs to improve learning for over five million students. We’ll invest more in Pell Grants to make college affordable for seven million more students, provide a $2,500 college tax credit to four million students, and triple the number of fellowships in science to help spur the next generation of innovation.

Finally, we will rebuild and retrofit America to meet the demands of the 21st century. That means repairing and modernizing thousands of miles of America’s roadways and providing new mass transit options for millions of Americans. It means protecting America by securing 90 major ports and creating a better communications network for local law enforcement and public safety officials in the event of an emergency. And it means expanding broadband access to millions of Americans, so business can compete on a level-playing field, wherever they’re located.

I know that some are skeptical about the size and scale of this recovery plan. I understand that skepticism, which is why this recovery plan must and will include unprecedented measures that will allow the American people to hold my Administration accountable for these results. We won’t just throw money at our problems - we’ll invest in what works. Instead of politicians doling out money behind a veil of secrecy, decisions about where we invest will be made public, and informed by independent experts whenever possible. We’ll launch an unprecedented effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government, and every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars by going to a new website called

No one policy or program will solve the challenges we face right now, nor will this crisis recede in a short period of time. But if we act now and act boldly; if we start rewarding hard work and responsibility once more; if we act as citizens and not partisans and begin again the work of remaking America, then I have faith that we will emerge from this trying time even stronger and more prosperous than we were before. Thanks for listening.

RIP Kay Yow (Updated)

Kay Yow died today. She was 66 and had fought breast cancer for 22 years.

I met Kay Yow once, at the Women's Final Four in Los Angeles in 1992. She was there for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association convention. We rode in an elevator down to the lobby with her. They were glassed in elevators that made a lot of people nervous. She was tall and lean, rangy and a little stooped over. (I didn't know she was a cancer survivor already). She had a rough, husky voice and an electric presence. She told some joke that had a slightly bawdy punchline, laughed uproariously at her own joke, said goodbye to everyone on the elevator and strode off when the doors opened.

That's the way I'll remember Kay Yow, the force of nature I met that day.

RIP Kay Yow. Yow's story touched players, fans

Mechelle Voepel, Yow's considerable efforts will live on

AP: Kay Yow, Basketball Coach, Dies at 66 A Chronology of Kay Yow's Life

Photo Gallery, Kay Yow, 1942-2009

UPDATE: Go to this link for a wide-ranging interview with Kay Yow (did you know her first name was Sandra?) as part of the University of North Carolina's Southern Oral History Program Collection. You can listen to the audio or read the transcript of the interview.


The Obameter: Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises

I'm bookmarking this site so I can follow President Obama's progress.

The Obameter: Tracking Obama's Campaign Promises
Tracking Obama’s promises

* Promise Kept 5

* Compromise 1

* Promise Broken 0

* Stalled 1

* In the Works 14

* No Action 488

Open the Crown!

This would be great news. Now if they would just get rid of the over-the-top Wackenhut "security" we would be free to visit the Statue of Liberty again.

Boston Globe: Salazar may reopen Liberty's crown

NEW YORK - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited the Statue of Liberty yesterday and said he will consider reopening its crown, which has been off-limits to tourists since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"I hope we can find a way," Salazar said in a statement. "It would proclaim to the world - both figuratively and literally - that the path to the light of liberty is open to all."

Salazar traveled to the monument and nearby Ellis Island at the request of Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who accompanied him.

Menendez and Senator Charles Schumer of New York, both Democrats, sponsored a bill in 2006 that would require the interior secretary to reopen the crown to the public. Salazar, as a Democratic senator from Colorado, introduced a similar amendment later that year as part of legislation to overhaul immigration laws.

The National Park Service opposes opening the crown to the public because the structure and the only staircase to it weren't designed for mass use.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's Gillibrand for Hillary's Senate Seat

Winning over her constituents
NYTimes: Ms. Gillibrand arriving at a farm in Cambridge, N.Y., in April 2007 to meet with residents of the area to discuss a bill meant to protect dairy farmers.
Photo: Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

Coach Mom loses a Congresswoman and gains a Senator: Kirsten Gillibrand has been named by New York Governor David Paterson to fill the remaining two years of Hillary Clinton's Senate term.

Some liberals are freaking out because she has the worst record of any New York Congressional representative on gay issues (only 80% positive from the Human Rights Campaign [pdf file]) and supports the right to bear arms. I would point out to my freaked out colleagues that her position on gay rights is the same as one Barack Obama's and that her position on the 2nd Amendment is the same as one Howard Dean's. Chill.

Hilariously, one blog called her "a bizarro version of Sarah Palin: she proudly touts her 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association", which would only be accurate if Palin had a degree from Dartmouth in Asian Studies or if she was a lawyer. Gillibrand speaks in full sentences and has never claimed foreign policy expertise. Or that she can see Canada from her house.

OK, Gillibrand is not as liberal as I would like. She voted with the Rethugs on FISA and for that reason I didn't give her any money this year. But she is smart, tenacious and learns on the job. She sat on the Agriculture Committee in the House and impressed all the farmers in Delaware County by learning about the issues important to them. I hope as Senator she will continue her "Sunshine" policy and list all of her meetings on her website. And I hope to meet her at the Delaware County Fair this summer. I hope we're still on her dance card now that she represents the whole state of New York.

Jon Stewart Watches Fox News So You Don't Have To

Fox News is apparently in full panic mode over the election of Barack Obama. Run for your lives, wingnuts!

Barack Mania Down Under

BBC Day in Pictures: Tennis fans show their support for US President Barack Obama - who was not on court at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One Year Ago

Reuters: : US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (C) reacts as he holds a baby at a rally in Columbia, South Carolina January 20, 2008.