Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Patty Labelle kicks off the dedication by singing the National Anthem.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Remarks by the President at Univision Town Hall
Bell Multicultural High School
10:37 A.M. EDT
MR. RAMOS: Mr. President, I have the first question. As a newscaster and as an anchor, I have to ask first. And I would like to ask something that everybody wants to know. I don't know if you can give us something about the speech you're going to give later on for us to listen to here at Univision. And we are going through a very difficult time. We're going through three different wars at the same time. I was looking at the education budget in the country and it amazes me that every dollar that is being spent on education we spend $10 for war and the Department of Defense. Do we need to change that? What would you do?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I just want to say, Jorge, it’s wonderful to be with Univision. It’s wonderful to be here at Bell Multicultural. (Applause.) You guys are doing outstanding work.
I also want to make a confession, and that is that although I took Spanish in high school, I'm receiving translation through this earpiece. (Laughter.) But for all the young people here, I want you guys to be studying hard because it is critical for all American students to have language skills. And I want everybody here to be working hard to make sure that you don't just speak one language, you speak a bunch of languages. That's a priority. (Applause.)
MR. RAMOS: Let’s talk about Libya.
THE PRESIDENT: Jorge, with respect to Libya, I am going to be addressing this issue tonight, and I’ve already discussed it on several occasions, including on your program.
Our involvement there is going to be limited both in time and in scope. But you’re absolutely right that we have a very large defense budget. Some of that is necessitated by the size of our country and the particular special role that we play around the globe. But what is true is that over the last 10 years, the defense budget was going up much more quickly than our education budget.
And we are only going to be as strong as we are here at home. If we are not strong here at home, if our economy is not growing, if our people are not getting jobs, if they are not succeeding, then we won’t be able to project military strength or any other kind of strength.
And that's why in my 2012 budget, even though we have all these obligations -- we’re still in Afghanistan; I have ended the war in Iraq, and we’ve pulled 100,000 troops out -- (applause) -- but we still have some commitments there -- despite all that, my proposed budget still increases education spending by 10 percent, including 4 percent for non-college-related expenses. But we also increased the Pell Grant program drastically so all these outstanding young people are going to have a better chance to go to college. (Applause.)
So the larger point you’re making I think is right that we have to constantly balance our security needs with understanding that if we’re not having a strong economy, a strong workforce and a well-educated workforce, then we’re not going to be successful over the long term.
MR. RAMOS: Okay. Mr. President, one of the main problems here in the United States is that -- with Hispanics especially -- is that only one out of three of Hispanic students actually graduates from high school. They drop out. And Iris Mendosa, a student from this school has the first question. Iris?
Q Hello, Mr. President. My name is Iris Mendosa, and I attend Washington, D.C. Bell Multicultural High School. And my question is: What can we do to reduce the amount of students that drop out of school before graduating? Read the rest
The Donald has been calling for Obama to release his birth certificate, joining that loony group known as.... The Birthers. Trump bragged earlier today to Newsmax (like Fox News times 10) about releasing his birth certificate (which for the sane among us, Obama already did in 2008). Funny thing about Trump's certificate though. It ain't the real thing:
But after several New York City-based readers contacted POLITICO's Maggie Haberman, her call to city officials revealed that an actual birth certificate, which is issued by the Department of Health, would have the agency's seal and also a signature of the city registrar - neither of which the Trump document has. Officials said the city Health Department is the "sole issuing authority" of official birth certificates in New York, and that the document would clearly say so, and "city officials said it's not an official document." PoliticoFurthermore, Politico's Ben Smith goes on to point out Trump's mother was born in Scotland and his plane is registered in the Bahamas (naturally). Of course I have no doubt Trump is a U.S. citizen (nor do I care or think that he stands any chance of being president, and I'm so proud to say I've never watched him fire people) and neither does Ben Smith. It's just sort of fun mocking a fool.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
NPR's On the Media has a great show on how much of our media and many of our politicians -- most of all Newt -- are fools on Libya. Many people are comparing Libya to Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Kosovo and Somalia. Foreign Policy editor Blake Hounshell says if Libya resembles anything it's Bosnia, only in Bosnia it took too long to save the masses from slaughter there. With Libya, the decision to act came in weeks.
Hounshell says one of the worst commentaries on Libya so far was one in the Nation that said Obama's female advisers "bewitched" Obama into getting involved. He said one of the best commentaries was by Nicholas Kristof. Hounshell says the story of Libya, where people are fighting and dying for freedom, has become a partisan slugfest. Our media have turned Libya into a stupidfest, indeed. Just like it does with nearly every topic that matters. Listen:
From Kristof's story:
In 2005, the United Nations approved a new doctrine called the “responsibility to protect,” nicknamed R2P, declaring that world powers have the right and obligation to intervene when a dictator devours his people. The Libyan intervention is putting teeth into that fledgling concept, and here’s one definition of progress: The world took three-and-a-half years to respond forcefully to the slaughter in Bosnia, and about three-and-a-half weeks to respond in Libya.For all the questions there is a simple answer:
Granted, intervention will be inconsistent. We’re more likely to intervene where there are also oil or security interests at stake. But just as it’s worthwhile to feed some starving children even if we can’t reach them all, it’s worth preventing some massacres or genocides even if we can’t intervene every time.
Critics of the intervention make valid arguments. It’s true that there are enormous uncertainties: Can the rebels now topple Colonel Qaddafi? What’s the exit strategy? How much will this cost?
But weighed against those uncertainties are a few certainties: If not for this intervention, Libyan civilians would be dying on a huge scale; Colonel Qaddafi’s family would be locked in place for years; and the message would have gone out to all dictators that ruthlessness works.