Monthly Archives: June 2009

Energy Efficient Economy

President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Thursday several innovative actions that they say will promote energy efficiency while saving Americans billions of dollars annually.  
Transcript:
 
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Since taking — excuse me — since taking office, my administration has mounted a sustained response to a historic economic crisis. But even as we take decisive action to repair the damage to our economy, we’re also working to build a new foundation for sustained and lasting economic growth. And we know this won’t be easy, but this is a moment where we’ve been called upon to cast off the old ways of doing business, and act boldly to reclaim America’s future. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

MN2010: Entenza Pushes Clean Energy Economy

By Noah Kunin, Senior Political Correspondent6/29/2009It may be more than a year away, but candidates on both sides of the aisle are lining up to run for Governor of Minnesota in 2010.  With current Governor, Tim Pawlenty, declining to run for a third term the race has opened up considerably. The UpTake will be following all the candidates – in this video, we catch up with Matt Entenza campaigning for a clean energy economy in Mankato. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Secrets Of Starting A Citizen Media Organization

Editor’s note: The UpTake is featured along with journalists Bob Woodward, Katie Couric, Arianna Huffington and others as part of YouTube’s Reporters’ Center.  This is our video contribution – how to organize a video citizen media operation. Scroll down to the bottom of the story and you’ll see the list of free services we use to run The UpTake!  
Script:
 
You may have caught our live coverage of the Republican National Convention.  We seemed to have cameras where ever the action was and were reporting what was happening hours if not days before the legacy media. So how did The UpTake, a non-profit that operates on a shoestring and the kindness of donors, manage to out-do the multi-million dollar corporate media?  Simple: Train, Organize and Crowd source.We discovered people learn the most when we do hands-on, one-on-one sessions to cover the basics.  Most important was to give people feedback on what they did.Now you have a bunch of people who can run a camera and want to cover news.  That’s great!  But what are they all going to do?  This is where applying the same organization techniques used in political campaigns comes into play.We turned to free services available on the web to keep track of volunteers, story ideas, events and of course equipment.  The challenge was to connect volunteers with story assignments and equipment.  We didn’t have our own equipment to start, so we created a database of equipment our volunteers owned and were willing to lend out.  We let people submit story ideas to our website. The hard part was finding volunteers to cover those stories.  So we put one person in charge of just connecting volunteers and stories.(video of Recount and trial)Organizing volunteers was integral to our marathon coverage of Minnesota’s US Senate recount and Election Contest Trial.  The UpTake was the ONLY media to cover every minute of this and thousands around the world watched daily… Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Obama On Climate Change Bill Passage In House

Transcript:
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a historic piece of legislation that will open the door to a clean energy economy and a better future for America. 
 
For more than three decades, we have talked about our dependence on foreign oil.  And for more than three decades, we have seen that dependence grow.  We have seen our reliance on fossil fuels jeopardize our national security.  We have seen it pollute the air we breathe and endanger our planet.  And most of all, we have seen other countries realize a critical truth:  the nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy.  
 
Now is the time for the United States of America to realize this too.  Now is the time for us to lead.  
 
The energy bill that passed the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean energy transformation in our economy.  It will spur the development of low carbon sources of energy – everything from wind, solar, and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal.  It will spur new energy savings, like the efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer.  And most importantly, it will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs.  
 
Make no mistake:  this is a jobs bill.  We’re already seeing why this is true in the clean energy investments we’re making through the Recovery Act.  In California, 3000 people will be employed to build a new solar plant that will create 1000 permanent jobs.  In Michigan, investment in wind turbines and wind technology is expected to create over 2,600 jobs.  In Florida, three new solar projects are expected to employ 1400 people.  
 
The list goes on and on, but the point is this:  this legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy.  That will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries.  And that will lead to American jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced.  I have often talked about the need to build a new foundation for economic growth so that we do not return to the endless cycle of bubble and bust that led us to this recession.  Clean energy and the jobs it creates will be absolutely critical to this new foundation. 
This legislation has also been written carefully to address the concerns that many have expressed in the past.  Instead of increasing the deficit, it is paid for by the polluters who currently emit dangerous carbon emissions.  It provides assistance to businesses and families as they make the gradual transition to clean energy technologies.  It gives rural communities and farmers the opportunity to participate in climate solutions and generate new income.  And above all, it will protect consumers from the costs of this transition, so that in a decade, the price to the average American will be just about a postage stamp a day. 
 
Because this legislation is so balanced and sensible, it has already attracted a remarkable coalition of consumer and environmental groups; labor and business leaders; Democrats and Republicans.  And I want to thank every Member of Congress who put politics aside to support this bill on Friday.  
 
Now my call to every Senator, as well as to every American, is this:  We cannot be afraid of the future.  And we must not be prisoners of the past.  Don’t believe the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth.  It’s just not true.  
 
We have been talking about energy for decades.  But there is no longer a disagreement over whether our dependence on foreign oil is endangering our security.  It is.  There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy.  It’s happening.  And there is no longer a question about whether the jobs and industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable energy.  The question is, which country will create these jobs and these industries?  I want that answer to be the United States of America.  And I believe that the American people and the men and women they sent to Congress share that view.  So I want to congratulate the House for passing this bill, and I want to urge the Senate to take this opportunity to come together and meet our obligations – to our constituents, to our children, to God’s creation, and to future generations. 
 
Thanks for listening.    Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Looking For An Immigration Solution

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. We have just finished what I consider to be a very productive meeting on one of the most critical issues that I think this nation faces, and that is an immigration system that is broken and needs fixing. We have members of Congress from both chambers, from parties, who have participated in the meeting and shared a range of ideas. I think the consensus is that despite our inability to get this passed over the last several years, the American people still want to see a solution in which we are tightening up our borders, or cracking down on employers who are using illegal workers in order to drive down wages — and oftentimes mistreat those workers. And we need a effective way to recognize and legalize the status of undocumented workers who are here. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

A Warm Chile Reception At The White House

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to thank President Bachelet for taking the time to visit with me today. We had a chance to get to know each other at the Summit of the Americas, and we’ve spoken on the phone repeatedly. I find her one of the most compelling leaders that we have, not just in the hemisphere but around the world. I congratulate her and her entire team for managing the Chilean economy and the political process in Chile in such a excellent fashion, and I think she’s doing an outstanding job.  
Obviously the friendship between the United States and Chile is strong. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Governors And Obama Work On Health Care

President Obama meets with Governors Jennifer Granholm (D-MI), Jim Douglas (R-VT), Jim Doyle (D-WI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Christine Gregoire (D-WA), all of whom helped co-host forums in their regions.  
Transcript
 
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I just wanted to thank the governors that are represented here today — Governor Rounds, Gregoire, Douglas, Granholm, and Doyle. They are representative of the bipartisan group of governors that hosted roundtables around the country on health care after some initial meetings that I had with the National Governors Association, in which every single governor — Republican or Democrat; small state, big state — emphasized how important it was to reform our health care system to control costs, to assure choice of doctors and plans for individuals, and to make sure that we are providing high-quality care.  
And all of them represent states that have done some terrific work, wonderful experiments, have seen successes. But all of these governors also expressed to me, and I think heard from their constituencies, deep concerns about what the future holds. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

New MN Minority Leader Zellers Noncommittal On Open GOP Meetings

Newly elected House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers answers questions from the press. Zellars replaces Rep. Marty Seifert who resigned the leadership position so he could consider a run for Governor. Seifert is keeping his seat in the House….for now.  
Zellers said he will be a leader who makes decisions, but then deferred decision making Republican Caucus meetings public, saying that will be up to the other members of the caucus.  He said he will support what ever they decide.  
Zellers also predicted Republicans will hold 68 to 70 seats after the 2010 elections.  Right now the minority caucus only has 47 seats. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Obama Iranian speech subtitled in Farsi

President Obama spoke of the violence in Iran and the sacrifice its people has made.  The speech was subtitled in Farsi. Transcript:THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Good afternoon, everybody.  Today, I want to start by addressing three issues, and then I’ll take your questions.     First, I’d like to say a few words about the situation in Iran.  The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days.  I strongly condemn these unjust actions, and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost.I’ve made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering with Iran’s affairs.  But we must also bear witness to the courage and the dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society.  And we deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.The Iranian people are trying to have a debate about their future.  Some in Iran — some in the Iranian government, in particular, are trying to avoid that debate by accusing the United States and others in the West of instigating protests over the election.  These accusations are patently false.  They’re an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly taking place within Iran’s borders.  This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won’t work anymore in Iran.  This is not about the United States or the West; this is about the people of Iran, and the future that they — and only they — will choose.The Iranian people can speak for themselves.  That’s precisely what’s happened in the last few days.  In 2009, no iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to peaceful protests [sic] of justice.  Despite the Iranian government’s efforts to expel journalists and isolate itself, powerful images and poignant words have made their way to us through cell phones and computers, and so we’ve watched what the Iranian people are doing.This is what we’ve witnessed.  We’ve seen the timeless dignity of tens of thousands of Iranians marching in silence.  We’ve seen people of all ages risk everything to insist that their votes are counted and that their voices are heard.  Above all, we’ve seen courageous women stand up to the brutality and threats, and we’ve experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets.  While this loss is raw and extraordinarily painful, we also know this:  Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history. As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.  The Iranian people have a universal right to assembly and free speech.  If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect those rights and heed the will of its own people.  It must govern through consent and not coercion.  That’s what Iran’s own people are calling for, and the Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. Transcript in Farsi:

  Continue Reading →

Filed under:

A Better Drug Deal For Seniors

Transcript:
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Well, first of all, I want to thank Barry Rand for the introduction, but also AARP, the organization he so ably represents, for coming together with us on this critical issue today.  
Last week, in my address to the American Medical Association, I spoke about the urgent need for health care reform and what will be required to achieve it.  And one of the things that will be required, I said, was that everyone in our health care community is going to have to come together and do their part.  
In recent days, Chairman Baucus, who has been doing an outstanding job leading the finance committee on this issue, as well as members of my administration, have been in discussions with the pharmaceutical industry to find a way to bring down costs of prescription drugs for America’s seniors.  And I’m pleased to report that over the weekend we reached an understanding that will help close the notorious “doughnut hole” in Medicare Part D.  This is a significant breakthrough on the road to health care reform — one that will make the difference in the lives of many older Americans.  
I think many of you in the press are familiar with the issue.  The “doughnut hole” refers to a gap in prescription drug coverage that makes it harder for millions of Medicare beneficiaries to pay for the medication they need.  The way the program is structured, Medicare covers up to $2,700 in yearly prescription costs and then stops, and the coverage starts back up when the costs exceed $6,100.  Which means between $2,700 and $6,100 folks are out of luck.  And this gap in coverage has placing a crushing burden on many older Americans who live on fixed incomes and can’t afford thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.  
Chris Dodd, who has been an outstanding leader on a whole host of health care issues throughout his career and who is helping to lead the HELP Committee while Senator Kennedy is undergoing his treatment for his illness — Chris, I think, will tell you that as we travel around the country, seniors would constantly be coming up to us and saying, how do we deal with this extraordinary burden?  And as a consequence, you’d have seniors who would be taking half their medication, even though the doctor said that is not going to be as effective; you are putting your life at risk.  They had no other choice. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Take My Car Company…Please!

President Barack Obama has a bag full of one liners for the Radio TV correspondents dinner.  
Transcript:
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much. Thank you very much.  Thanks to all of you.  Please, everybody, have a seat.  Before I get started, as the father of two girls, can I just say how incredibly impressive those three young ladies were.  (Applause.)  Dad would be proud. 
 
To Heather and all the others who have made this evening possible, thank you so much.  It is wonderful to be here.   
 
I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to tell jokes that weren’t funny enough for me to use when we did this five weeks ago.  (Laughter.)  Whatever.  (Laughter.)  The jokes may not be as good, but neither is the guest list.  (Laughter.)  I’m just joking.  For me, there’s no contest.  Why bother hanging out with celebrities when I can spend time with the people who made me one?  (Laughter.)  I know where my bread is buttered. 
 
Plus, we have our own luminaries here in attendance.  The junior senator from Wyoming, John Barasso, is here.  (Applause.) I’m sorry, John Barasso skipped this evening.  (Laughter.)  Let me tell you, though, for those who haven’t met him, John Barasso is the George Clooney of junior senators from Wyoming.  (Laughter.) 
 
It is great to be here with so much talent from the world of TV and radio.  Despite the flood of new media, I think your programming is more relevant than ever before.  At least, that’s the impression I get when I read the blogs every day.  (Laughter.)    
 
It’s good to see a number of hardworking correspondents here tonight.  Journalists like Chuck Todd.  I think I spotted Chuck over there somewhere.  (Applause.)  At this dinner, Chuck embodies the best of both worlds:  He has the rapid-fire style of a television correspondent, and the facial hair of a radio correspondent.  (Laughter.)  
 
Mika Brzezinski is here, I believe, in the house.  (Applause.)  Mika and I have a lot in common.  We both have partners named Joe who used to be in Congress and don’t know when to stop talking.  (Laughter.)   
 
And happening now:  Wolf Blitzer is here.  (Applause.)  He’s the only man — the only other man in America with his own Situation Room.  (Laughter.)  People assume that mine is cooler, but this is not the case.  As hard as we’ve tried, we have not been able to generate the bandwidth necessary to turn Larry Summers into a hologram.  (Laughter.)  We can’t do it. 
 
Now, one person that you know could not be here tonight is Secretary Hillary Clinton.  As most of you know, Hillary broke her elbow a few days ago on her way to the White House.  And we all wish her a very speedy recovery.  I do have to say, though, that while it’s been reported as an accident, there were some suspicious.  (Laughter.)  Just before the incident, Secret Service spotted Richard Holbrooke spraying WD-40 — (laughter) — all over the driveway.  (Laughter.) 
 
So now, on top of the costs of health care and energy and the recovery plan, we’ve got another fiscal problem.  Fortunately, the lawyers tell me that Hillary is ready to settle. (Laughter.)
 
I have to admit, though, it wasn’t easy coming up with fresh material for this dinner.  A few nights ago, I was up tossing and turning, trying to figure out exactly what to say.  Finally, when I couldn’t get back to sleep, I rolled over and asked Brian Williams what he thought.  (Laughter and applause.) 
 
Now, the truth is, Brian Williams is actually a terrible house guest.  He put an empty milk carton back in the fridge.  He leaves his wet towels all over the Roosevelt Room.  We’re pretty sure he clogged the toilet and didn’t tell anybody.  (Laughter.)
 
Although I must say, the whole thing was worth it.  “Inside the Obama White House” is my favorite new show.  (Laughter.)  There’s just something really compelling about the main character.  (Laughter.)  It’s wonderful narrative.  In fact, the show has been such a hit that all of you guys now want to come and tape one in my house.  ABC is planning a series called “Dancing with the Czars.”  (Laughter.)  TLC has got something called “John & Kate plus Peter Orszag.”  (Laughter.)  That’s going to be good.  (Laughter.)  Nick at Nite has a new take on an old classic, “Leave it to Uigurs.”  I thought that was pretty good.  (Laughter.) 
 
Of course, given the fiscal crisis in California, these shows all will be competing directly with Governor Schwarzenegger’s new reality series, “I’m a Celebrity — Get Me Out of Here!”  (Laughter and applause.)  That’s how I feel tonight.  (Laughter.)  
 
Look, it’s nothing personal, but this dinner conflicts with my date night.  (Laughter.)  I was supposed to be going out with Michelle for Thai food.  In Bangkok.  (Laughter and applause.) 
 
But I have been doing a lot of traveling.  I just returned from a trip abroad, as you know.  In Egypt, we had the opportunity to tour the Pyramids.   By now I’m sure all of you have seen the pictures of Rahm on a camel.  I admit I was a little nervous about the whole situation.  I said at the time, “This is a wild animal known to bite and kick and spit.  And who knows what the camel might do?”  (Laughter.) 
 
But I have to say, as I traveled to all these countries, I saw firsthand how much people truly have in common with one another.  Because no matter where I went, there’s one thing I heard over and over again from every world leader:   “No thanks, but have you considered Palau?”  (Laughter.)
 
Of course, most of my attention has been focused here back home.  As you know, we’ve been working around the clock to repair our major financial institutions and our auto companies.  But you probably wouldn’t understand the concept of troubled industries, working as you do in the radio and television. 
 
AUDIENCE:  Oooh!  
THE PRESIDENT:  Oh — we don’t joke about that, huh?  (Laughter.)  That’s not funny.  (Laughter.)
 
One problem we’re trying to solve is the high cost of health care in America.  And I’m pleased that in our quest to reform the health care system I’ve gained the support of the American Medical Association.  It proves true the old expression that it’s easier to catch flies with honey.  And if honey doesn’t work, feel free to use an open palm and a swift, downward movement.  (Laughter and applause.)
  Now, the challenges we face are many, and I’ll be honest — I don’t have all the answers.  And when I’m not sure what’s right, I often ask myself, “WWLD?”  What would a wise Latino do? Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Obama On The Privilege Of Fatherhood

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. And let me, first of all, thank John and Joe and Juan Carlos and Etan and Mike for sharing their remarkable stories with us. And let me thank Mike Strautmanis for helping to guide us through this — where did Mike go? There he is, over there.  
A couple other people that I want to acknowledge — first of all, our terrific Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is here in the house. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

A Tonic For An Epidemic Of Financial Irresponsibility

The President explains his plan to address one of the major causes of the current economic crisis — the breakdown of oversight leading to widespread abuses in the financial world. The new Consumer Financial Protection Agency will have the sole job of looking out for the financial interests of ordinary Americans by banning unfair practices and enforcing the rules. This is a cornerstone in America’s new economic foundation. Transcript
 
As we continue to recover from an historic economic crisis, it is clear to everyone that one of its major causes was a breakdown in oversight that led to widespread abuses in the financial system. An epidemic of irresponsibility took hold from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street.  And the consequences have been disastrous. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Happy Fathers Day From The White House

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Everybody have a seat. First of all, let’s give thanks that it’s not raining, because we thought it might be and we were worried that Bobby would be sending smoke into the White House. But it’s a beautiful day.  
I want to personally acknowledge once again — they’ve already been introduced, but I want to introduce them because some of you young people are sitting with them — you may not know who you’re sitting with — the extraordinary men who are participating in this event today. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Obama signs same-sex benefits memorandum

By Mary Delaware. President Obama issued and signed a memorandum extending federal benefits for same-sex partners for those in the Foreign Service and executive branch of the government. Obama announced his support for the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, which extends the spousal benefits to those of same-sex partners of Federal employees. He also mentioned his commitment to repeal Defense of Marriage Act, saying “It’s discriminatory, it interferes with States’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it.”Those in attendance included Sen. Joe Lieberman and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, whom Obama called “a real leader on this issue, and more broadly on the LGBT struggle for equality.” Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Obama Proposes Sweeping Changes In Health Care To AMA

President Obama gave a landmark, sweeping speech on health care reform to the American Medical Association in Chicago. More so than at any time before, he explained his vision for comprehensive reform that addresses every weak point in our health care system. It is a vision that implements best practices that have allowed some towns and companies to cut costs by as much as half compared to others. It is a vision that makes sure everybody has access to quality, affordable coverage, whether your family hits a rough patch or you have a pre-existing condition. It is a vision in which patients’ and doctors’ interests are aligned. Continue Reading →

Filed under:

Obama Launches “United We Serve” Website

Video and text from the White House: Since his Inauguration, the President has called on all Americans to serve our communities and be a part of building a better future for our country. And given this unique moment in our history with the unprecedented challenges we are facing, there isn’t a more important time than now for us to get involved. That is why today the President is announcing United We Serve — a call to action for all Americans to volunteer this summer and be part of building a new foundation for America, one community at a time. We know that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things when empowered with the proper tools. The Corporation for National Service, the federal agency dedicated to fostering service in communities across the country, is providing those tools on their website, Serve.gov. They make it easy to not only find volunteer opportunities in our neighborhoods, but also to create and promote our own projects
**http://the-uptake.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/2146/ Continue Reading →

Filed under: