Saturday, February 14, 2009

President Obama's Weekly Web Address


This week, I spent some time with Americans across the country who are hurting because of our economic crisis -- people closing the businesses they scrimped and saved to start; families losing the homes that were their stake in the American Dream; folks who've given up trying to get ahead, and given in to the stark reality of just trying to get by.

They've been looking to those they sent to Washington for some hope at a time when they need it most.

This morning, I'm pleased to say that after a lively debate full of healthy differences of opinion, we've delivered real and tangible progress for the American people.

Congress has passed my economic recovery plan –- an ambitious plan at a time we badly need it. It will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, ignite spending by business and consumers alike, and lay a new foundation for our lasting economic growth and prosperity.

This is a major milestone on our road to recovery, and I want to thank the members of Congress who came together in common purpose to make it happen. Because they did, I will sign this legislation into law shortly, and we'll begin making the immediate investments necessary to put people back to work doing the work America needs done:

The work of modernizing our health care system, saving billions of dollars and countless lives; and upgrading classrooms, libraries, and labs in our children's schools across America.

The work of building wind turbines and solar panels and the smart grid necessary to transport the clean energy they create; and laying broadband Internet lines to connect rural homes, schools, and businesses to the information superhighway.

The work of repairing our crumbling roads and bridges, and our dangerously deficient dams and levees.

And we'll help folks who've lost their jobs through no fault of their own by providing the unemployment benefits they need and protecting the health care they count on.

Now, some fear we won't be able to effectively implement a plan of this size and scope, and I understand their skepticism. Washington hasn't set a very good example in recent years. And with so much on the line, it's time to begin doing things differently.

That's why our goal must be to spend these precious dollars with unprecedented accountability, responsibility, and transparency. I've tasked my Cabinet and staff to set up the kind of management, oversight, and disclosure that will help ensure that, and I will challenge state and local governments to do the same.

Once the plan is put into action, a new website -– -– will allow any American to watch where the money goes and weigh in with comments and questions –- and I encourage every American to do so. Ultimately, this is your money, and you deserve to know where it's going and how it's spent.

This historic step won't be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but rather the beginning. The problems that led us into this crisis are deep and widespread, and our response must be equal to the task.

For our plan to succeed, we must stabilize, repair, and reform our banking system, and get credit flowing again to families and businesses. We must write and enforce new rules of the road, to stop unscrupulous speculators from undermining our economy ever again. We must stem the spread of foreclosures and do everything we can to help responsible homeowners stay in their homes.

And in the weeks ahead, I will submit a proposal for the federal budget that will begin to restore the discipline these challenging times demand. Our debt has doubled over the past eight years, and we've inherited a trillion dollar deficit –- which we must add to in the short term in order to jumpstart our sick economy. But our long-term economic growth demands that we tame our burgeoning federal deficit; that we invest in the things we need, and dispense with the things we don't. This is a challenging agenda, but one we can and will achieve.

This morning, I'm reminded of words President Kennedy spoke in another time of uncertainty: "Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks."

America, we will prove equal to this task. It will take time, and it will take effort, but working together, we will turn this crisis into opportunity and emerge from our painful present into a brighter future. After a week spent with the fundamentally decent men and women of this nation, I have never been more certain of that.

Thank you.

We're Melting

Kevin Drum, Mother Jones: Chart of the Day - 2.14.2009

[I]n case you want to see what's really happening this winter, here's a NASA chart of global temps for January. As you can see, there are only two areas in the entire world that are colder than the 1951-1980 average: eastern Siberia and the American northeast, home to virtually the entire national press corps. So naturally cold temps are getting lots of media play. But, in fact, the rest of the world continues to be substantially warmer than in the recent past, and if you look at entire latitudes, even in this chilly month every single one is warmer than in the past. It would be nice if global warming really were taking a break, but it's not.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jon Stewart Whacks John Sununu

NOW they're fiscally responsible, after they drove us into the ditch?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Crouchie Dancing

A new T-Mobile ad starring Peter Crouch:

Women Excluded From Stimulus Negotiations

Incredibly, the joint House/Senate conference committee ironing out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the stimulus contains no women! You can complain about this by sending an email to Nancy Pelosi here and one to Harry Reid here. Harry Reid's contact form only takes email from Nevada residents, so say you live on S. Carson St. in Carson City, zip code 89702. He is the Senate Majority Leader, he should take emails from everyone. Spineless weenie that he is. Grrrrr.

The Moderate Voice: No Female Senators or Representatives from Congress are on Stimulus Bill Conference Committee

You have got to be kidding me:

Senate Democratic leadership has announced who will be serving on the conference committee to iron out differences in the House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill.

* Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
* Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.
* Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii
* Finance Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa
* Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Both Finance and Appropriations were heavily involved in the creation of the Senate version, with each committee holding markups on their portions.

And for the House:

* Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, D-Wis.
* Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.
* Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
* Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Jerry Lewis, R-Calif.
* Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Dave Camp, R-Mich.

This is what it means to not have a critical mass, to have less than 25% of your constituency represented. Only 17% of all congressional members are female. And so, with five from the Senate (5% of the Senate) and 5 from the House (just over 1%), what chance do women get to be selected for these critical reconciliation meetings?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Year Ago

AFP/Getty Images: US Democratic presidential hopeful Illinois Senator Barack Obama holds a baby after holding an education roundtable discussion with teachers and parents at TC Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, on February 10, 2008.