Friday, April 30, 2010

Sea Bird Getting Treated for Oil

Animal rescuers are ready to treat oiled covered birds. They treat them with Pedialyte and Pepto Bismol. Poor birdie. We're such bad caretakers of this planet. We need to get our act together--fast. We're being overcome with greed, greed for more profit, greed for more oil, greed for more stuff.

Arizona Tea Based in New York Not Arizona

Arizona Tea wants people to know that it's based in New York, not Arizona. It's too bad that Arizona tea is now associated with Arizona the state--so glad I don't live there--but I'm happy to see so many people feeling the need to do their part to boycott Arizona for its horrible law.

Obama Speaks at White House Correspondents Dinner May 1


The annual White House Correspondents Association dinner, with headliner Jay Leno, will be live streamed May 1 at C-Span, 8 pm eastern. This is the dinner in which Obama has to be funny. Here is last year's transcript.
Earlier in the day, Obama will give the commencement speech at U of Michigan.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Bono Meets With Obama and Staff on Poverty

Bono is in D.C. for the annual White House Correspondents' fundraising dinner tomorrow.

The U2 frontman joined an Oval Office meeting with the president and his national security staff on Friday to discuss the White House’s “development strategy” ahead of G8 and G20 meetings in Canada, according to a news release from One, the campaign Bono founded to fight poverty and AIDS. Bono shared experiences from his trips to African countries. More at Politico
Part of Bono's statement:
“A recurring theme was innovation. We agreed that there are simple technologies that need to be made more available to transform not only public health, but also agriculture, helping farmers check prices and weather patterns. While acknowledging these are difficult times for donor economies, we discussed the President’s food security initiative and agreed to encourage other countries who signed up to keep their commitment to invest $22 billion over 3 years.

Obama's Update on the Oil Spill April 30

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Mine Safety Officials Probed for Bribery

NPR News has learned that the Mine Safety and Health Administration is the target of a federal criminal investigation surrounding the explosion of the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia three weeks ago -- a disaster that killed 29 miners. The probe also targets Massey Energy, the owner of the mine.

Sources familiar with the investigation say the FBI is looking into possible bribery of officials of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that inspects and regulates mining. The sources say FBI agents are also exploring potential criminal negligence on the part of Massey Energy, the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine. NPR

Obama Administration Says No New Offshore Drilling Until After Investigation

The media is asking if this is "Obama's Katrina." Ugh. I'm not sure who thought up that analogy, but whoever did was someone who didn't understand what made Katrina so devastating.

A senior adviser to President Obama said the government would not allow any new offshore drilling until an investigation was conducted into the spill and whether it could have been prevented. The deadly explosion on an offshore oil rig last week and the resulting spill have complicated Mr. Obama’s recently announced plans to expand offshore oil and gas drilling, with some politicians and environmental advocates calling on the president to halt any planned expansions until more safeguards are put into place against future disasters. NYT
Watch David Axelrod, who says the Obama administration hasn't authorized any addition oil drilling and it won't until after a review of what happened. Axelrod also talks about immigration reform and Charlie Crist being run out of the republican party.

Obama Speaks on First Quarter GDP


Update: Obama calls GDP growth an important milestone but "you're hired" is the only economic news anyone wants to hear.

Obama says that all resources have been dispatched to the oil spill. Dept. of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has 30 days to report back on his findings on the oil spill.

Update: It's 11:25 and someone just signaled that Obama would be up in 2 minutes. He's about an hour late this morning.

The economy grew at 3.2% in the first quarter. Obama will speak at 10:35 am eastern on that number.
The only other scheduled event for Obama today is a visit to James J. Rowley Training Center in Beltsville, Maryland at 12:45 pm. The center trains Secret Service. Tomorrow, Obama gives the commencement at the University of Michigan.
This is a live stream of Obama's GDP remarks:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

White House Press Briefing April 29

Obama's Remarks on Gulf Oil Spill Video

Obama spoke on the oil spill prior to honoring teachers.

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Obama: Smarter Immigration Debate Needed


Obama signs autographs for visiting Olympians

Without the filter of the media, here is a transcript of Obama's remarks yesterday aboard Air Force One:
Q Are you committed to pushing forward on immigration law this year?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve made calls to Republicans to see if we can get them to join us. This is a difficult issue. It generates a lot of emotions, and the politics are difficult. But I’ve been unwavering in saying what we need to do. I think that I can get a majority of Democrats to support a comprehensive approach. But I need some help on the Republican side. We had that kind of help a couple of years ago. Senator McCain was one of the leaders in that process. I gave him a lot of credit for it, and still do.

And so the question is, can we get some movement on that front? Lindsey Graham has been in serious conversations with Senator Schumer. I appreciate his courage on that. And my hope is, is that we can get a working group that can move this forward so that we’ve got serious legislation that solves the border problem and solves the wide range of issues that we face under immigration reform in a way that can garner the support of the American people.

You notice in the town hall meeting yesterday, those folks aren’t enthusiastic about illegal immigration. But when you lay it out for them, a sensible way of doing it, holding people who’ve broken the law responsible, securing our borders but also recognizing we’re not going to send millions of people back, many of whom have children who might be U.S. citizens, and that there should be a more sensible way of dealing with it -- people understand that.

So it’s a matter of political will. Now, look, we’ve gone through a very tough year, and I’ve been working Congress pretty hard. So I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue. There’s still work that has to be done on energy. Midterms are coming up. So I don’t want us to do something just for the sake of politics that doesn’t solve the problem. I want us to get together, get the best ideas on both sides, work this through, and when it’s ready to go, let’s move. But I think we need to start a process at least to open up a smarter, better discussion than the one that is raging right now.

Okay? One more. I’ll give him the last question since this is his first ride on the plane. Read more here.

Obama Honors National Teacher of the Year

The teacher of the year: Sarah Brown Wessling of Iowa, an English teacher at Johnston High School.

BP To Pay For Cleaning Up Oil Spill

BP is desperate for help in cleaning up, which means this is one nasty spill. The White House has declared the spill of "national significance," freeing up aid, according to CNN. Robert Gibbs, Janet Napolitano and other officials are briefing the press as of 12:54 pm here. The oil is not a uniform slick and is turning into "tar balls."

VENICE, Louisiana - As military officials consider joining the battle against the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration said Thursday that the cost of the cleanup will fall on BP, the company in charge of the rig that exploded.

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said President Barack Obama has directed his administration to confront the oil spill aggressively. The military is working to determine how its array of aircraft, ships and equipment might be able to assist the cleanup operation.

"We'll take help from anyone," Doug Suttles, chief operating officer of BP's exploration and production unit, said on NBC's TODAY show.

"We're not interested in where the idea comes from, what we're interested in is how do we stop this flow and how do we stop it now?" Suttles said.

But time may be running out: Oil from the spill had crept to within 12 miles of the coast, and it could reach the shore as early as Friday.MSNBC

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Here is some great information on the science and history of oil spills and how this one is effecting wildlife.
Q: How do oil spills impact wildlife?

Oil slicks, like the one currently floating in the Gulf, affect wildlife by coating their bodies in the water-repelling gunk. Since it floats, all sorts of marine animals, even birds, can take a hit. And fish sometimes mistake the floating slick for food and so are attracted to it, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

When birds' feathers get coated with oil, they lose their ability to trap air and repel water, meaning the animals can't maintain body heat. The result: hypothermia. Marine animals, such as sea otters, which depend on their clean fur coats to stay warm, can also become hypothermic, according to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Currently, the oil rig is currently well offshore, though experts have said any turn in winds and currents could send oil toward coastal wetlands where plenty of animals live. In addition, a pod of sperm whales is known to feed in the area of the oil well where the Deepwater Horizon sank, according to news reports.

Q: What percentage of U.S. oil comes from offshore rigs?

According to the Minerals Management Service, offshore drilling in U.S. territorial waters accounted for 30.2 percent of U.S. oil production in 2009 (379 million barrels of oil), and 11.4 percent of U.S. natural gas production (1.6 trillion cubic feet or about 12 trillion gallons).

Q: What is crude oil?

Most of the oil products in the United States are made out of crude oil – the rough, unprocessed form of oil. Gasoline, heating oil, petroleum and diesel fuel are all made from crude oil. Depending on the stage of processing, any one of these oils can get spilled into the environment. If the spill happens during the extraction process, crude oil is leaked. However, if the spill occurs after the crude oil has been refined, diesel fuel or petroleum is leaked. If the spill happens when a tanker's fuel supply is punctured, gasoline – another refined crude oil product - would seep into the environment.

Q: What type of oil spill causes the most harm?

Gasoline and diesel fuel molecules are smaller than crude oil molecules. Because of this, gasoline and diesel spills evaporate more quickly. However, these oils are highly toxic to living things, and can kill organisms that breathe in their fumes or absorb these oils through their skin.

Crude oil and other so-called heavy oils are dangerous in a different way. Although they are less toxic, they are thick and gluey and can smother living creatures. By covering the feathers of birds or the fur of marine mammals, these oils prevent the animals from maintaining their normal body temperatures, leading to death from hypothermia. And these oils don't evaporate, so they can remain in the environment for much longer.

Obama's Eulogy for Dorothy Height Video

Transcript here. Full video:

Obama's Wall Street Reform Speech in Quincy Video

Obama stopped in Quincy, Illinois yesterday.

Obama's Schedule April 29

Obama will deliver Dorothy Height's eulogy. Her funeral starts at 10 am. At 1:44 pm eastern, Obama will honor the teacher of the year. Look for live streams at msnbc.com or cbsnews.com.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride

Read about the Wounded Warrior project here.

Obama Wants Immigration Working Group

Obama at MogoOrganic in Iowa yesterday


Obama essentially said what Harry Reid said today, climate legislation first, then immigration. I think the White House wants Lindsey Graham in its corner, since he's one of the few republicans working in a bipartisan manner. Graham threw a fit when he thought immigration reform was moving ahead of energy legislation:
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - President Barack Obama said Wednesday that there "may not be an appetite" in Congress to deal with immigration immediately after going through a tough legislative year.

Obama said that there's work to do on energy legislation, midterm elections are coming up and he doesn't want to do something "just for the sake of politics." He said he hopes to get a working group together to solve a wide range of issues on immigration in a way that can garner the support of the American people. AP

"We've gone though a very tough year and I've been working Congress very hard, so I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue," the president told reporters aboard Air Force Onereturning with him to Washington from a Midwest trip.
Read Politico's take on the same press gaggle. Notice the differences. Interesting.

Obama Stops at Peggy Sue's Cafe in Missouri Video

On his way to Macon, Missouri, Obama ordered a cheeseburger and fries. Obama loves his cheeseburgers. When he first met his Air Force One Pilot, Scott Turner, he ordered a cheeseburger from the flight attendant, Reggie Dickson.

Birther Rally May 29

Update: Birther rally canceled. Birthers decided they needed to barbeque. Read the comments section at the cancelation post. It's pretty funny. Sad too. Seems some birthers aren't very bright.

Such a hapless lot of hopeless people.
If you haven't heard of the birthers, they are a fringe group who believe that Obama was born in Kenya or elsewhere, and therefore ineligible to be president. They say Obama's birth certificate isn't his real birth certificate.
They thrive on fear and hate.
Birthers were Sarah Palin followers (when she was vp candidate) and now are tea partiers (but not all tea partiers are birthers). I believe Politico was the first media outlet to write in depth about the birthers. David Weigel has a good understanding of birthers. He talks to NPR's Terry Gross here.
Without a doubt, birthers are merely bigots.
Birthers believe that Obama is Muslim with an anti-America agenda, which tells you what they think about Muslims. Some think Obama's the anti-Christ. I kid you not. I, unfortunately, am personally familiar with birthers. I have a relative who believes Obama is Muslim (and therefore a bad man).
Birthers believe Obama is an affront to "white culture."
There are actually birthers in Congress. Michele Bachmann is a birther. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Aaron Schock, Tim Murphy and Charles Boustany are on video supporting birthers as opposed to denouncing them.
I believe Palin is a birther. Birthers often hang out at freerepublic.com, wnd.com and humanevents.com. They are led by Philip Berg and Orly Taitz.
There are also military birthers. Many birthers are older people.
Here is the birthers promo for their rally. Notice the especially racist, hateful frame at the very end:

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Obama With Dorothy Height Video

Obama is set to deliver the eulogy for Dorothy Height tomorrow. Height fought racism and sexism.

Republicans Block Wall Street Reform Bill Third Time

Update: republicans agree to move ahead, after getting assurances from democrats that their needs will be met.
Democrat Ben Nelson voted with republicans. Andrea Mitchell asks Claire McCaskill if Nelson is protecting Berkshire Hathaway. Mitchell says the republican concern is that amendments will be rammed through and they won't have leverage. My guess as to why republicans are blocking debate is that the republicans don't want it known that they're fighting for more relaxed reform than the democrats. The democrats know this and that's why they keep voting. The NYT says republican stalling plays well with their base. They hope to stall it until Memorial Day

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Obama Administration Approves Offshore Cape Cod Wind Farm

I ask myself if we had a republican president, or any other president for that matter, would we have anywhere near the drive for new energy? I think Obama stands alone in this regard.

The Obama administration has approved what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm, off Cape Cod, inching the U.S. closer to harvesting an untapped domestic energy source — the steady breezes blowing along its vast coasts.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his decision Wednesday in Boston, clearing the way for a 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind was in its ninth year of federal review, and Salazar stepped in early this year to bring what he called much-needed resolution to the bitterly contested proposal.

"We are beginning a new direction in our nation's energy future," Salazar said. AP
But you can never make everybody happy:
But members of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Martha's Vineyard have vowed to sue to stop Cape Wind from being built, saying it would interfere with sacred rituals and desecrate tribal burial sites. Others opposed to the project on environmental grounds also have said they'll sue.

Salazar said he understood those concerns but had to weigh them against the nation's need for new renewable sources of energy.
From the Department of Interior:
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today approved the Cape Wind renewable energy project on federal submerged lands in Nantucket Sound, but will require the developer of the $1 billion wind farm to agree to additional binding measures to minimize the potential adverse impacts of construction and operation of the facility.

“After careful consideration of all the concerns expressed during the lengthy review and consultation process and thorough analyses of the many factors involved, I find that the public benefits weigh in favor of approving the Cape Wind project at the Horseshoe Shoal location,” Salazar said in an announcement at the State House in Boston. “With this decision we are beginning a new direction in our Nation’s energy future, ushering in America’s first offshore wind energy facility and opening a new chapter in the history of this region.”

The Cape Wind project would be the first wind farm on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, generating enough power to meet 75 percent of the electricity demand for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island combined. The project would create several hundred construction jobs and be one of the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in the nation, cutting carbon dioxide emissions from conventional power plants by 700,000 tons annually. That is equivalent to removing 175,000 cars from the road for a year.

A number of similar projects have been proposed for other northeast coastal states, positioning the region to tap 1 million megawatts of offshore Atlantic wind energy potential, which could create thousands of manufacturing, construction and operations jobs and displace older, inefficient fossil-fueled generating plants, helping significantly to combat climate change.

Salazar emphasized that the Department has taken extraordinary steps to fully evaluate Cape Wind’s potential impacts on traditional cultural resources and historic properties, including government-to-government consultations with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and that he was “mindful of our unique relationship with the Tribes and carefully considered their views and concerns.”

Because of concerns expressed during the consultations, Interior has required the developer to change the design and configuration of the wind turbine farm to diminish the visual effects of the project and to conduct additional seabed surveys to ensure that any submerged archaeological resources are protected prior to bottom disturbing activities.

Under these revisions, the number of turbines has been reduced from 170 to 130, eliminating turbines to reduce the visual impacts from the Kennedy Compound National Historic Landmark; reconfiguring the array to move it farther away from Nantucket Island; and reducing its breadth to mitigate visibility from the Nantucket Historic District. Regarding possible seabed cultural and historic resources, a Chance Finds Clause in the lease requires the developer to halt operations and notify Interior of any unanticipated archaeological find.

Salazar said he understood and respected the views of the Tribes and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, but noted that as Secretary of the Interior, he must balance broad, national public interest priorities in his decisions. “The need to preserve the environmental resources and rich cultural heritage of Nantucket Sound must be weighed in the balance with the importance of developing new renewable energy sources and strengthening our Nation’s energy security while battling climate change and creating jobs,” Salazar said. Read the rest here

Reid: Climate Legislation First But Immigration Reform This Year

The democrats just held a press conference urging republicans to vote to move the Wall Street reforms legislation to the floor, where amendments can be debated. I wish someone in the media would explain WHY the republicans are blocking debate. It doesn't make any sense.
Harry Reid says climate legislation will get done first because it's ready to go. BUT, immigration reform can also get done this year, he said. The immigration reform issue is another example of how the media pitted one against the other.
I'll post video if it comes available.

White House Press Still Griping About Access to Obama


Politico wrote a SEVEN page story on why the White House press doesn't like the White House. Did anyone in the mainstream media write a seven page story explaining healthcare?
I think Politico is sulking because the media apparently was "shooed" to the parking lot yesterday, while someone from the White House video taped Obama at Jerry's.
Again, if the press did its job the correct way, it would probably get more access. When healthcare was being debated, we got tea party coverage, death panels and Sarah Palin. I know more about the tea party than I do about anything else. What about Afghanistan? Where is the reporting on that?

I have yet to see someone in the mainstream press define what's in the financial reforms legislation. They'd rather cover the politics and the game playing than the substance. So they let the politicians characterize what's in the bill.
If you ask me, the media need to stop complaining and take a look at the job it's doing and try and do better. No one ever looks good when they're whining. It's not constructive to gripe via story.
The Obama administration is doing its job in trying to keep the press on topic.
I actually think Politico does a pretty good job as far as covering Obama's day to day schedule. But this is the second story Politico has written on this topic in recent weeks. Recently, Chuck Todd was complaining to Joe Scarborough about the White House's "grumpiness" to the press.
Obama and the media actually have a surprisingly hostile relationship — as contentious on a day-to-day basis as any between press and president in the past decade, reporters who cover the White House say.
Reporters say the White House is thin-skinned, controlling, eager to go over their heads and stingy with even basic information. All White Houses try to control the message. But this White House has pledged to be more open than its predecessors, and reporters feel it doesn’t live up to that pledge in several key areas: Read more at Politico
Gibbs:
But Gibbs is unapologetic about sometimes taking a hard line in his dealings with the press, saying it’s a response to the viral nature of modern media.

“There’s a danger in letting something go. Trust me, I read a lot of news every day. Not a day goes by that something that I didn’t pay enough attention to, or close attention to, doesn’t go from being myth to reality over the course of several hours,” Gibbs told POLITICO.

“I understand if you’re a reporter and get 95 percent right, and your word choice isn’t right on 5 percent. But that 5 percent goes on to become reality. I’ve got to live with that, when it may or may not be true,” Gibbs said. “It does make our jobs difficult.”
Gripe:
If you cover City Hall, you talk to the mayor. If you cover the Yankees, you’ll hang around Derek Jeter’s locker. The White House is no different, and aides past routinely filled that need by letting the press pool toss the president a couple of questions every so often, usually at one of the various events that fill his calendar every day.

Not Obama. He has severely cut back the informal exchanges with the press pool, marking a new low in presidential access.

Collins Says Goldman Arrogant and Evasive

If you missed Goldman Sachs' executives strange and evasive responses, watch here. Democrats are voting today for a third time to move the financial reforms to debate. But once again, republicans look like they'll block it. Susan Collins says republicans want to amend the bill. Richard Shelby says the republicans are still hung up on derivatives and the consumer agency.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Obama Speaks in Missouri at POET April 28

Updated with video:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Obama will speak on the economy in Macon, Missouri at POET Biorefining 2 pm eastern.
At 5 pm, he'll speak in Quincy, Illinois on the need to pass Wall Street reforms.
This is live audio. Look for a live stream at msnbc.com or cbsnews.com.
Obama arrives back at the White House late evening.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Biden and Geithner Spread the Love in Milwaukee

While Obama was looking at wind turbine blades, town halling and eating pie in Iowa, Joe Biden and Timothy Geithner hit up Milwaukee. Biden says middle class aspirations met with greedy, blood sucking Wall Street, or something to that effect.

NPR interviewed a feisty Joe today.

The Hunt for Obama

A group of girls from Asheville, N.C. spotted Obama on the golf course when he was in Asheville this past weekend. One of the little girls, Olivia, told Obama "you're the best president we've ever had." Amen.

Obama Stops at Jerry's for Rhubarb Pie and Coffee

Obama apparently wanted to eat his pie and drink his coffee in peace and sent the press to the parking lot. Obama makes a pitstop at Jerry's in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Obama told the Ottumwa town hallers that he really likes pie and the White House makes good pie, which is what raised his cholesterol level.

The president of the United States likes his pie tart, his coffee stale and his reporters out in the parking lot.

President Obama, relaxed and strolling in shirtsleeves, popped by Jerry's restaurant on Rte. 218 in Mount Pleasant on Tuesday and took the afternoon crew by surprise around 2:30 p.m.

One of the workers immediately called his wife — who didn't believe him — so he handed the phone to former Gov. Tom Vilsack, who was part of the entourage, to confirm that Obama had ambled in. Read the rest at Politico
Obama also made a pitstop at MogoOrganic farm. Photo of Morgan Hoenig, founder of MogoOrganic, Obama, Tom Vilsack. See pictures and read more here.
Obama at Jerry's:

Obama's Town Hall in Ottumwa Iowa

Here is a clip. More when it's available. Here is the full transcript, including the Q&A.

Napolitano Calls Arizona Immigration Law Misguided

Former Ariz. governor and current Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano says it's a difficult bill to enforce in a racially neutral way. I'll say.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Obama's Remarks at Siemens in Fort Madison Iowa Video

Next up in Iowa is a town hall at 5:35 pm eastern.

Levin Asks Goldman About Sh--ty Deal


These guys clearly live in a different world than we do. Goldman Sachs officials' wacked out answers:

Simpson and Bowles on Fiscal Cutting and Cackling

Republican Alan Simpson and democrat Erskine Bowles head up the bipartisan fiscal commission. They talk to Andrea Mitchell about cuts ahead and all the cackling and griping going on:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

How the Economy Tanked and It's Not Whether Goldman Was Short or Long

Carl Levin testified this morning on Goldman and how the economy tanked.
This is a translation of how the economy went down in lay terms: Banks such as Wamu bundled junk subprime mortgage loans--loans without proof of income, essentially loans to people who couldn't afford a house-- and then dumped them on Wall Street.
Wall street prettied up those subprime mortgages, dressed them up fancy.
Credit rating firms gave them good ratings.
Goldman profited from the unrecognizable junk subprime loans because it knew they were junk.
The economy crashed because Wall Street created nothing but worthless junk, which always leads me back to my contention that Americans were responsible for the crash as well.
Many people inadvertently participated in the crash by not understanding that they couldn't afford a house and by being duped by mortgage brokers. Others took advantage of easy loans.
Planet Money has a great post today. It doesn't matter if Goldman was short or long. Goldman was obviously immoral. The question is: did Goldman disclose the fact that it bet both ways to its clients? Did it disclose its immorality?

So the key question isn't whether Goldman was net short or net long the housing market. It's whether the company told its clients everything it should have told them.

The issue of disclosure is at the center of the SEC's fraud lawsuit against Goldman. The SEC says Goldman wrongly failed to tell its clients about the role of a hedge fund that took a short position on a mortgage-related security. Goldman denies the charges. PM

Obama Speaks on Bipartisan Fiscal Commission April 27

Obama created the commission by executive order in February.

Following the meeting, Obama's off to Iowa. What Chuck Todd describes as Obama's "grumpiness" toward the media, Obama says he's not playing the media game of stating what recommendations Obama will accept and what he will not. He just wants the commission to do its job. "We're not playing that game," Obama said.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Obama Speaks in Quincy Illinois April 28

Updated April 29: See Obama's speech in Quincy here.


Updated with time information:
Obama tours POET in Macon, Missouri at 1:20 pm eastern time;
2 pm, Obama will speak on the economy;
3:20 pm, Obama will visit a local farm;
5 Pm, Obama will urge passage of financial reform, which republicans have voted twice to block.
Look for a live stream at WhiteHouse.gov or cbsnews.com.

On day two of Obama's rural tour, he'll visit a business, speak to farmers and make a speech:
Obama will spend the night in Des Moines before returning to Quincy at 10:10 a.m. Wednesday. The president will then visit POET Biorefining near Macon, Mo. According to White House releases, Obama will “talk to workers about what they are experiencing during these tough economic times and share ideas for rebuilding our economy in the long term.”

Later he will visit a nearby farm and visit with the family. Quincy Herald Whig
Day one schedule here.

Hawking Says Aliens Will be Like V

Obama awards Hawking a Medal of Freedom


This has nothing to do with politics, or does it?
Physicist Stephen Hawking says on his Discovery show that aliens will probably be like the aliens on V, wanting to colonize the planet and destroy us. But I've got to imagine that if there are other life forms out there, we're surely at the bottom as far as Universe rankings on intelligence, with intelligence defined as enlightened enough to live peacefully, because that's what real intelligence is. It's not developing the latest gadget or mapping the human genome, or being a whiz at physics, it's the ability to live the golden rule, to respect the planet and all that exists here. We're probably the bacteria of the Universe. So if we get a visit from aliens, seems to me it will be from life forms that are beyond our intelligence, peaceful, not another low-life life form like us.
Should we try to make contact with ET? Certainly not, says Steven Hawking, citing concerns that our Earthly resources would be plundered. "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said in a series broadcast on the Discovery Channel on Sunday.

Researchers have been debating whether to call or not to call for some time, and have come up with a measure called the San Marino scale to gauge the risk of broadcasting messages to space. New Scientist

Obama Speaks in Iowa and Holds Town Hall April 27

Update: Watch video of Obama's remarks at Siemens here.


Live stream for both events here.

Prior to leaving for Iowa, Obama will speak on the nation's fiscal health at 9:45 am eastern.

As part of his two-day rural tour, Obama will tour the Siemens Wind Turbine manufacturing plant in Fort Madison, Iowa at 1:30 pm eastern.
He'll speak about the economy in Ft. Madison, Iowa at 2:10 pm eastern. He'll also top in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. No details on that yet.
At 5:35 pm eastern, Obama will hold a town hall at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Obama's economy speech will be live audio streamed at WhiteHouse.gov and the town hall will be live streamed at the same site:
We are so proud to have the opportunity to share with President Obama what we’re doing at the Siemens Energy Ft. Madison Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing Plant. Our employees – and the whole town – are buzzing with excitement. And I am honored to be his personal tour guide during his visit with us. I’m looking forward to showing him around our 600,000-square-foot plant where we have more than doubled our capacity in just the past two years. Of course, I’ve been practicing a bit to make sure my nerves don’t get the best of me, and my kids Nicholas and Marisa have taken turns playing “President Obama,” and then critiquing me…..so I’m think I’m ready.

We have a team of 600 employees who manufacture the blades for the Siemens 2.3-MW wind turbines, each of which produces enough power for 600-700 homes. These blades are approximately half the length of a football field and weigh 12 tons, so I think President Obama will be very impressed with their size….and with how innovative they are. We won’t have time to walk the entire factory, but I’ll certainly tell him about all the highlights, including the fact that we ship approximately 90% of our blades via rail to our customers’ wind plant sites, which helps us reduce our carbon footprint.

This plant is evidence of the more than $25 billion that Siemens has invested in the U.S. in the past 10 years to grow many of its clean energy technologies. Last fall, we started construction on a plant in Hutchinson, Kansas, where we will have 400 people assembling the structures that house all the generating components for our wind turbines. And just a couple weeks ago, we announced that we will build a new plant at our site in Charlotte, North Carolina, and hire 825 people over the next five years to make our advanced natural gas, power-generating turbines. I can’t tell you how good it feels to work for a company that is growing and investing in clean technologies at a time when many companies aren't.

Of course, we want to show off a bit to President Obama, and we’ve spent the past few days preparing the plant. I want him to see firsthand how we make our wind turbine blades, and also how we’re using tax credits from his stimulus program to expand the production capacity of our latest generation of blade technology. I will show him proof that the programs he helped put in place are in fact doing exactly what they were intended to do: grow our U.S. manufacturing base in clean technologies, create new jobs and revitalize towns like Ft. Madison, Iowa. Not only does each new blade mold we install result in 60-70 more jobs here at our factory, but that investment trickles into the local economy – whether it’s for companies like Huffman Welding & Machine, Inc. right here in Ft. Madison, Iowa, that helps us with fabricating and machining, or KPI in Burlington, Iowa, that processes the balsa wood we use in the manufacture of our blades or the local Hy-Vee grocery store that runs the food service for employees every day. We’re glad to be part of putting people to work in this region, an area that has struggled with tough times over the past 10 years.

That’s what tomorrow is all about: building a new clean technology economy that creates jobs in America. That’s what the President wants, and we’re going to show him what it looks like right here in Ft. Madison. WH

Republicans Block Wall Street Reform Bill

Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a Democratic effort to overhaul the financial system and crack down on Wall Street.

One Senate Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), joined 40 Republicans in voting against the bill. Nelson had been pushing for a provision backed by Warren Buffett that would have largely exempted existing derivatives contracts from the bill's new rules.

Democrats seized on the party-line, 57-41 test vote to portray Republicans as standing up for Wall Street banks that helped push the economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression. The Hill
Republicans blocked the democrats in moving the bill to the floor for debate. But no doubt, the bill is still getting done. Richard Shelby and Chris Dodd, who are working on the bill say so. These are just political games. This was expected, given that the republicans are the party of no. It just means that there probably will be further negotiations on the bill, something that the democrats were opposed to. Now the democrats can say that republicans stand with Wall Street and republicans can say the bill wasn't good enough for them. All fun and games, puffery and foolery if you ask me. Obama's tweet:
I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block today against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin.
John Harwood has it right:

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Obama Eulogizes Dorothy Height April 29

Look for a live stream at msnbc.com.

President Obama will deliver the eulogy at the funeral of Dorothy Height, the civil rights leader who died last week at the age of 98. Height, who was president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, was one of the last surviving leaders of the generation that battled for the fundamental rights of African Americans. More at The Root
Height's funeral service will be held at the National Cathedral. See Obama with Dorothy at the end of this video.
Details about the service here.

Obama Speaks at Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship

Here's video of Obama's speech at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. Obama takes another course in reaching out to the Muslim world--through entrepreneurs. Smart. Hillary Clinton will close the summit with a speech tomorrow at 4:30 pm eastern. You can watch a live stream of the entire summit here.


White House Press Briefing April 26

Robert Gibbs starts off with an announcement on Israel. Obama has asked the Department of Justice to evaluate Arizona's new law, which doesn't go into effect until 90 days. Gibbs said immigration reform and climate change legislation are both priorities and both will get done.

McCain Blames Federal Government for New Arizona Immigration Law

How long has John McCain been a senator? How many opportunities did he miss to work on immigration reform?

Gibbs: Both Climate and Immigration Reform Bills Can Get Done

Precisely what I was wondering--why can't both bills be done? At today's press briefing, Robert Gibbs says it's not an either or thing:

Frustrated by repeated questions about how he would prioritize immigration and climate change legislation, Gibbs said “whichever bill has the support it needs to be passed” will be passed first. “You all see this as an either-or, but this administration does not,” he said. Politico
Kerry, Lieberman and Graham are meeting to get climate legislation back on track.
Lieberman explains Graham's actions:

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Obama Welcomes Yankees to White House


A-Rod on meeting Obama:

Al Qaeda Support on the Decline?


Maajid Nawaz, a former extremist, now tries to educate Muslims that the U.S. isn't fighting Islam (only our fringe, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, tea partiers... work against U.S. efforts to defuse and dismantle terrorist organizations). Nawaz explained on 60 Minutes how he was radicalized and why many Muslims believe the U.S. is against them.

Obama Announces Vote 2010 in Video to Democrats

Our work isn't finished, Obama says.

Armed Man Arrested After Obama Left Asheville for West Virginia

Update April 27: Mcvey might just be a victim of his own stupidity.
Joseph Sean Mcvey said he wanted to meet the president, only he was armed, had an invalid driver's license and had formulas for a rifle scope. He was sitting in a car loaded with police equipment. The guy looks like he's 12. All of these Obama haters ought to just get themselves a life. Stop blaming the president and the government for their problems.

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Obama's Schedule April 26 Includes Yankees


10:40 am: Obama meets with senior advisers.

1 pm: Gibbs briefs the press and answers questions. Live stream.

3 pm: Obama welcomes World Series winners, the Yankees

4:30 pm: Obama and Biden meet with Robert Gates

6 pm: Obama speaks at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, which Obama announced in his Cairo speech. See the two-day summit schedule here.

President Obama will travel to Iowa, Missouri and Illinois on April 27 and 28 for the next stops on the White House to Main Street Tour.

During the visit, President Obama will meet with workers, farmers, small business owners, and local leaders to share ideas for continuing to grow the economy and to put Americans back to work. President Obama will spend time in these areas to hear about the challenges rural Americans face and to listen to their ideas for working together to turn the economy around.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Malia Obama Would be Pleased With the World Bank

In a Q&A session with kids on Thursday at the White House, Michelle Obama said one of Malia's top concerns is saving the tigers. Well, the World Bank has stepped up to do something to save the world's tigers in danger of extinction. There are only 3,500 left in the wild. Can you imagine the world without tigers? Read more here.

Save the tigers PSA:

Obama Eulogizes West Virginia Miners

Obama gave a short and uplifting eulogy. You can read Obama's eulogy here. This is the full video:


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Brooks and Shields Say no Immigration Reform This Year

Columnists Mark Shields and David Brooks say immigration reform won't happen this year. But they both agree that Arizona's new immigration law is misguided. They also talk about the financial reforms. All signs point to passage. The $50 billion fund that they talk about would be funded by the banks.

Browner Says Climate Legislation This Year

Since Lindsey Graham threw a fit the other day, there's been talk that climate legislation is going to be put on the back burner while the democrats take up immigration reform. Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, says the legislation will happen this year:

Browner’s full statement: "We believe the only way to make progress on these priorities is to continue working as we have thus far in a bipartisan manner to build more support for both comprehensive energy independence and immigration reform legislation. "We commend Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman for the tremendous work they have done to date to seize this moment and build a new coalition of business and environmental leaders and their efforts to craft a bill that will garner the votes to pass the Senate. Politico

Obama to Meet With Billy Graham in North Carolina

Check out Day one of the Obamas' getaway in Asheville, N.C. here. Day two here.


Update on Obama's meeting with Billy Graham:
1:40 p.m.

The first lady departed just now in a separate plane from Asheville Regional. No sigh yet of the presidential motocade. Reports via twitter are that the meeting between President Obama and Billy Graham lasted 30 minutes.

1:35 p.m.

Montreat resident Nancy Simpson said she’s glad the president and the Rev. Billy Graham met.

“I think president Obama can learn from Mr. Graham and Mr. Graham can learn from him,” Simpson said.

Also, she said its good they met because it will dispel rumors of any “rift” between the men. CT
Obama will spend a couple of more hours in North Carolina before he heads to West Virginia for the miners' memorial service. The Citizen-Times has been blogging Obama's trip:
President Barack Obama is taking time during his North Carolina weekend vacation to meet with evangelist Billy Graham.

A White House spokesman, Bill Burton, says Obama will visit the 91-year-old Graham at Graham's home in Montreat later Sunday.

Burton says that when Obama last spoke with Graham, in a telephone call in November on Graham's birthday, they said they'd get together as soon as possible.

Obama is spending the weekend in Asheville and plans to speak at a memorial service later in the day in West Virginia for the 29 coal miners killed in an explosion on April 5.

Graham's last crusade was in 2005. Since his wife's death nearly three years ago, he has spent most of his time at his North Carolina home. Public appearances have been rare.

Michelle Obama is not expected to accompany her husband to meet Graham.
More on the meeting with Graham.
Check out some of the Citizen-Times reader submitted photos of the Obamas' trip. I included three of them in this post. Love the secret service in the golf cart.