Monthly Archives: February 2009

Obama Attends Washington Wizards Basketball Game

Everyone knows that President Obama is a huge basketball fan, so it was kind of nice to see him trying to maintain some sort of sanity in his life by making an unannounced appearance at a Washington Wizards game last night. I am sure however that some of his critics would think otherwise. 

The President, dressed in his casual best and escorted by just a few Secret Service men, shocked and surprised the crowd by taking his seat amongst them to watch his hometown Chicago Bull take on the Wizards.
 
The Wizards sent the President back to the White House a little disappointed, they beat the Bulls 113-90.
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Filed under Associated Press, Basketball, Chicago Bulls, NBA, President Obama, Washington Wizards

President Obama’s Weekly Address: 2/28/09

President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate, and assures special interests that he is ready for the fight.

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Filed under Budget, corporate tax breaks, Education, family struggles, federal budget deficit, Financial crisis, healthcare costs, President Obama, renewable energy, weekly address

Lautenberg Praises Decision to Allow Public to See Fallen Soldiers Returning Home

Press Release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As a longtime advocate for allowing the public to honor America’s fallen soldiers return home from combat, Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D – NJ) today praised the decision to allow media coverage of the arrivals. The decision comes after a February 9th letter from Sen. Lautenberg to President Barack Obama urging him to overturn a misguided Bush Administration policy that prohibited caskets from being viewed.

“Every flag-draped coffin represents a family that will never again share a moment with their spouse, child or sibling,” Sen. Lautenberg said. “We should honor – not hide – flag-draped coffins. They are a symbol of the respect, honor and dignity that our fallen heroes deserve.”

Sen. Lautenberg has long taken an active role in giving our fallen troops the honor and respect they deserve when returning from overseas action:

On June 21st, 2004, Sen. Lautenberg brought an amendment (Amdt no. 2191 to S.2400) for a vote on the Senate floor. Sen. Lautenberg’s amendment would have instructed the Department of Defense to work out a new protocol so that the media can respectfully cover the return to the U.S. of the heroes who have died abroad, while preserving the privacy of families.

Sen. Lautenberg authored an op-ed in the Huffington Post about flag draped coffins in August 2008.

Following internal conversations with the Obama administration on the policy prohibiting media access to the arrival of flag-draped military caskets from overseas, Sen. Lautenberg sent a letter on February 9, 2009 to the President expressing his concern for the policy and urging the new administration to revise the current policy and put in place a new protocol (the Senator’s letter is attached).

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush issued an executive order prohibiting media coverage of caskets returning to Dover, Delaware, the main arrival base for fallen soldiers. Although the executive order remained in place throughout the 1990s, the Clinton Administration did not enforce it, allowing photos of caskets periodically at Dover and consistently at Andrews Air Force Base. When sailors were killed on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000, President Clinton approved the distribution of photos of homecoming caskets arriving to Dover.

However, the open access policy changed in 2003 as the U.S. invasion of Iraq began with this Department of Defense directive making clear that no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein, Germany, airbase or Dover base will be open to the public. As a result, the American public was denied the opportunity to grieve and honor the sacrifice of more than 4,000 service men and women who died over the past five years.

Sen. Lautenberg has spoken three times on the issue, in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

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Filed under Andrews Air Force Base, Department of Defense, fallen soldiers, flag-draped coffin, invasion of Iraq, President Obama, press release, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, The Huffington Post

Jobless Angry at Possibility of No Benefits

If Southern GOP Governors such as Bobby Jindal, Haley Barbour, Mark Sandford or Texas’s Rick Perry truely think that they can get away with turning down the extended unemployment benefits that are being offer to the States through President Obama’s economic stimulus package, then they may have another thing coming.

It seems as though many people that are unemployed and would benefit most from the money being offer to the States are outraged at the prospect that their governors are will to play petty partisan politics with their well being and they are letting them know about it.
I have been saying all along that the Governors will have to take the stimulus money, they have no choice if they or their legislatures expect to be re-elected.  It is a pocket book issue that effects people now, the unemployed don’t care what it would do to future state budgets. They care about putting food on the table and being able to turn on the lights when it is dark out.
The New York Times has the full story:
As governors in nine states, mostly in the South, consider rejecting millions of dollars in federal stimulus money for increased unemployment insurance, there is growing anger among the ranks of the jobless in those states that they could be left out of a significant government benefit.

The stimulus bill recently passed by Congress includes incentives to states to expand benefits to many more jobless people, including part-time workers and those who have cycled in and out of the work force, who are not covered in many states.

The Republican governors of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, along with Alaska and Idaho, have raised protests, saying that expansion could eventually require them to raise taxes.

On Wednesday, Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee became the first Democratic governor to express reservations on the issue.

For people like Henry Kight, 59, of Austin, Tex., the possibility that the money might be turned down is a deeply personal issue.

Mr. Kight, who worked for more than three decades as an engineering technician, discovered in September that because of complex state rules, he was not eligible for unemployment insurance after losing a job at a major electronics manufacturer he had landed at the beginning of the year.

Unable to draw jobless benefits, he and his wife have taken on thousands of dollars in credit-card debt to help make ends meet.

Read more >>>Here
  

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Filed under Bobby Jindal, Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, GOP Governors, Haley Barbour, Mark Sandford, Mississippis, NY Times, President Obama, Rick Perry, Texas, unemployment benefits

Monmouth County to receive $1.2 million in federal stimulus money

In a press release just issued, the Monmouth County Freeholders have announced that the county will be recieveing $1.2 million from President Obama’s economic stimulus package and is to be used for the prevention of homelessness in the county. The money will be dispersed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the emergency shelter grants program.

Deputy Freeholder Director John D’Amico, is expecting the the county will collect more funds from the stimulus package in the coming months based on the following qoute from the release.

“The county stands to benefit from President Obama’s economic stimulus package in many ways, not only are we in line for stimulus money to help prevent homelessness, but the county has a number of shovel-ready construction projects that are awaiting approval. These include bridge replacement and road resurfacing projects.”

Below is the text of the press release:

FREEHOLD – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders received confirmation today from Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s office that it will receive $1.2 million from President Obama’s economic stimulus package for the prevention of homelessness in the county.

The money will be dispersed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the emergency shelter grants program. Typically, money from this fund is used to keep people in their homes by assisting with rent, relocation and utility bills.

“This is good news for Monmouth County, where despite our relative affluence we have a great many people who struggle on a daily basis just to get by,” Freeholder Director Barbara J. McMorrow said. “That situation is only compounded by the economic downturn, placing additional pressure on our many nonprofit agencies that help prevent homelessness. This will be welcome news.”

“Just last month the county, in partners with our nonprofit agencies, conducted a program to help those who are homeless or who are facing homelessness,” said Freeholder Amy H. Mallet, liaison to the Department of Human Services. “The problem is very real for many county residents, and this money will go a long way toward helping those among us who are in need of assistance.”

News of the grant comes just days after the county received word that it would receive $810,000 from the Economic Recovery Act of 2009 for Community Development Block Grants. These grants will be dispersed among municipalities and nonprofits that do public services. Typically, they are dispersed among municipalities and nonprofits on a competitive basis.

Details of how the stimulus money in each of these grants can be appropriated has not yet been finalized and, therefore, exact use of the funds is still to be determined.

“The county stands to benefit from President Obama’s economic stimulus package in many ways,” Freeholder Deputy Director John D’Amico said. “Not only are we in line for stimulus money to help prevent homelessness, but the county has a number of shovel-ready construction projects that are awaiting approval. These include bridge replacement and road resurfacing projects.”


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Filed under Community Block Grants, Economic Stimulus Package, Freeholder Barbara McMorrow, Freeholder John D'Amico, homeless shelters, Monmouth County, President Obama, US. Sen. Frank Lautenberg

Senate tunes out Fairness Doctrine

For people that really care about the “Fairness Doctrine”, yesterdays vote in the Senate was either great news if you are a Rush Limbaugh fan or a blow to the head that stiffles free speech to progressives.

Sen. Jim DeMint(S.C.) attached an amendment onto a bill that would give the District of Columbia a voting rights in congress. The  admendment would prohibit the FCC from re-instating the Fairness Doctitrine. This amendment, theBroadcaster Freedom Act, passed along with the bill that gives Washingon, D.C voting rights.

Here is a little of what the Hill has to say about this:

The Senate voted Thursday in favor of an amendment to the District of Columbia voting-rights bill that would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from reinstating the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which critics say would decimate conservative talk radio.

The Senate passed the measure 87-11.

Republicans have introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act in the House as well, but Democrats are not expected to allow a vote on the bill.

Legislation would have to pass both chambers of Congress and receive President Obama’s signature.

The FCC first implemented the doctrine in the late 1940s to balance the political content of broadcasters, requiring them to give equal time to liberal and conservative viewpoints.

The agency scrapped the regulation in the mid-’80s after determining that it was no longer necessary because the public had a wide array of political news sources from which to choose.

Since then Congress has tried twice to re-implement the Fairness Doctrine but failed because of vetoes by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

The amendment, sponsored by Senate Republican Steering Committee Chairman Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman John Thune (S.D.), would block the FCC from reviving equal-time requirements by enacting the Broadcaster Freedom Act.

Read more>>> Here 

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Filed under Broadcasters Freedom Act, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, U.S Sen.Jim DeMint, voting rights, Washington DC

>FACT CHECK: GOP adrift on small business claim

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From the Associated Press via Yahoo News comes this little fact check pertaining to President Obama’s tax plans:

 

WASHINGTON – Claims that President Barack Obama’s tax plans are an assault on small business skirt the likelihood that most job-producing small businesses wouldn’t feel that pinch at all.


Obama is proposing to raise taxes on households earning over $250,000 by increasing the rate on the top two tax brackets and limiting deductions, starting in 2011.

Republicans and other critics, knowing they will get little mileage from defending the rich, instead are casting the plan as a tax hit on people who run industrious little companies driving job growth.

That’s not likely, according to one in-depth analysis, which found that more than 95 percent of small business owners would be off the hook.

Obama does not propose higher business taxes.

Read more >>> Here
 

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Filed under fact check, middle-class tax cuts, President Obama, tax plan