Monthly Archives: July 2009

Rybak Says He Is “Very Likely” To Run For Governor

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told Democrats in Eagan that he is “very likely” to enter the race for Minnesota Governor. Rybak who is also running for reelection as Mayor this fall has often said he is concentrating on his reelection bid, but his actions the last two days indicate he is looking past this fall and to the 2010 Governor’s race.  
Beyond telling Democrats that he is very likely to run, Rybak sent an email out today that was very critical of Governor Pawlenty. In it Rybak said:
 
“My job as Mayor of Minneapolis is keeping me pretty busy, as you might imagine. Even with the Bush recession and the Pawlenty budget crisis, we’re making Minneapolis a safe place to call home, with crime at its lowest level in decades; we’re creating jobs and opportunity in every community; we’re building great places to strengthen our quality of life, and we’re planning for our children’s future so the city will be even greater for the next generation. Continue Reading →

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Obama and China

TRANSCRIPT:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Good morning. It is a great honor to welcome you to the first meeting of the Strategic Economic Dialogue between the United States and China. This is an essential step in advancing a positive, constructive, and comprehensive relationship between our countries. I’m pleased that President Hu shares my commitment to a sustained dialogue to enhance our shared interests. Continue Reading →

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Obama: My Daughters Can Be Champions

President Obama congratulated WNBA Champs The Detroit Shock today in an outdoor press conference. Obama said his daughters have never known a world where women couldn’t play professional sports, and thanked the WBNA for inspiring his daughters to be “champions.” Continue Reading →

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Michelle Obama On Design

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you, everyone. (Applause.) Good afternoon and welcome to the White House! (Laughter.) Tonight’s house is a little warm in here. (Laughter.) But it is a pleasure to be here with you today to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the National Design Awards and to honor some of the country’s most compelling innovators. Continue Reading →

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Obama: Businesses Being Crushed By Health Care Costs

I recently heard from a small business owner from New Jersey who wrote that he employs eight people and provides health insurance for all of them. But his policy goes up at least 20 percent each year, and today, it costs almost $1,400 per family per month – his highest business expense besides his employees’ salaries. He’s already had to let two of them go, and he may be forced to eliminate health insurance altogether.  
He wrote, simply: “I am not looking for free health care, I would just like to get my premiums reduced enough to be able to afford it.” Day after day, I hear from people just like him. Continue Reading →

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Obama: Race Issue Still Sensitive In America

I wanted to address you guys directly because over the last day and a half obviously there’s been all sorts of controversy around the incident that happened in Cambridge with Professor Gates and the police department there. I actually just had a conversation with Sergeant Jim Crowley, the officer involved. And I have to tell you that as I said yesterday, my impression of him was that he was a outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation — and I told him that. And because this has been ratcheting up — and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up — I want to make clear that in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically — and I could have calibrated those words differently. And I told this to Sergeant Crowley. Continue Reading →

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Obama Challenges Schools To “Race To The Top”

Arguing that education needs reform AND more money, President Obama is proposing a program that uses more carrot than stick to improve lagging US education results. The program he calls “Race to the top” promises more than $4 Billion dollars in grants to states and school districts that not only improve student performance, but also put good teachers where they are needed most. States that refuse to track teacher performance would not be eligible for the grant money. The program is the antithesis of President Bush’s underfunded “No Child Left Behind” program which penalized schools that did not meet performance standards and relied only on student testing in determining which schools were doing well and which were doing poorly. Continue Reading →

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Future Role Of US In Iraq

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. I am very pleased to welcome Prime Minister al Maliki back to Washington. We’ve just concluded a very productive discussion about a wide range of issues.  
We meet at an important moment. Substantial progress has been made since Prime Minister Maliki’s first visit to Washington in 2006, and since the Prime Minister and I had a chance to sit down together in Baghdad. Continue Reading →

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Press Quiz Obama On Health Care Plan

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening.  Please be seated.  Before I take your questions, I want to talk for a few minutes about the progress we’re making on health insurance reform and where it fits into our broader economic strategy.  
Six months ago, I took office amid the worst recession in half a century.  We were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month and our financial system was on the verge of collapse. 
 
As a result of the actions we took in those first weeks, we’ve been able to pull our economy back from the brink.  We took steps to stabilize our financial institutions and our housing market.  And we passed a Recovery Act that has already saved jobs and created new ones; delivered billions in tax relief to families and small businesses; and extended unemployment insurance and health insurance to those who’ve been laid off.  
Of course, we still have a long way to go.  And the Recovery Act will continue to save and create more jobs over the next two years — just like it was designed to do.  I realize this is little comfort to those Americans who are currently out of work, and I’ll be honest with you — new hiring is always one of the last things to bounce back after a recession. 
 
And the fact is, even before this crisis hit, we had an economy that was creating a good deal of wealth for those folks at the very top, but not a lot of good-paying jobs for the rest of America.  It’s an economy that simply wasn’t ready to compete in the 21st century — one where we’ve been slow to invest in clean energy technologies that have created new jobs and industries in other countries; where we’ve watched our graduation rates lag behind too much of the world; and where we spend much more on health care than any other nation but aren’t any healthier for it. 
 
That’s why I’ve said that even as we rescue this economy from a full-blown crisis, we must rebuild it stronger than before.  And health insurance reform is central to that effort.  
This is not just about the 47 million Americans who don’t have any health insurance at all.  Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job, or change their job.  It’s about every small business that has been forced to lay off employees or cut back on their coverage because it became too expensive.  And it’s about the fact that the biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid.  
So let me be clear:  If we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit.  If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket.  If we don’t act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day.  These are the consequences of inaction.  These are the stakes of the debate that we’re having right now. Continue Reading →

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Obama Applauds Ending Expensive F-22 Program

Transcript:
 THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Before I talk about the progress we’re making on health insurance reform, I want to say a few words about a very important vote that just took place in Congress. Long before I took this office, I argued that meeting our greatest challenges would require not only changing policies in Washington, but changing the way we do business in Washington.  I also promised that part of that change would be eliminating waste and inefficiency in our defense projects — reform that will better protect our nation, better protect our troops, and save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. As Commander-in-Chief, I will do whatever it takes to defend the American people, which is why we’ve increased our funding for our military, and why we will always give our men and women in uniform the equipment and support that they need to get the job done. But I reject the notion that we have to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on outdated and unnecessary defense projects to keep this nation secure.  That’s why I’ve taken steps to greatly reduce no-bid defense contracts.  That’s why I’ve signed overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation to limit cost overruns on weapons systems before they spiral out of control.  And that’s why I’m grateful that the Senate just voted against an additional $1.75 billion to buy F-22 fighter jets that military experts and members of both parties say we do not need. At a time when we’re fighting two wars and facing a serious deficit, this would have been an inexcusable waste of money.  Every dollar of waste in our defense budget is a dollar we can’t spend to support our troops, or prepare for future threats, or protect the American people.  Our budget is a zero-sum game, and if more money goes to F-22s, it is our troops and citizens who lose. Continue Reading →

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Sen Bakk – Schools Not Guaranteed Payback Under “Unallotment”

By Grace Kelly–
Minnesota Senator Bakk explains how the budget proposed by the legislature differs from the unallotment by Republican Governor Pawlenty. The $1.8 billion education payment shift does not have a future budget or a law to pay back that shift. Even if education payment shift can be paid back, it results in $20-$40 interest cost per a pupil. The senate proposed a shared-pain approach that used federal stimulus money to backfill the education cut.  
Since the governor basically would not negotiate, $72 million additional funds (according to Pawlenty’s Finance Commissioner Tom Hanson) were lost in federal matching dollars due to the way the unallotment was applied. Continue Reading →

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Obama Striking Back At Health Care Reform Foes

Partial Transcript: And over the past decade, premiums have doubled in America; out-of-pocket costs have shot up by a third; deductibles have continued to climb. And yet, even as America’s families have been battered by spiraling health care costs, health insurance companies and their executives have reaped windfall profits from a broken system. Now, we’ve talked this problem to death, year after year. But unless we act — and act now — none of this will change. Just a quick statistic I heard about this hospital: Just a few years ago, there were approximately 50,000 people coming into the emergency room. Continue Reading →

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GOP Delays Sotomayor Vote

GOP Senators requested that the Senate Judiciary committee confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor be delayed until next week. The vote will now take place on Tuesday July 28th. Continue Reading →

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President Obama Honors Apollo 11 Astronauts

On the 40th anniversary of mankind’s first walk on the moon, President Barack Obama meets with the three astronauts of Apollo 11. Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon, followed by fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Astronaut Michael Collins piloted the Command Module in orbit around the moon while the other two explored the surface.  
Transcript:
THE PRESIDENT: Very rarely do I have such an extraordinary pleasure as I have today to welcome three iconic figures, three genuine American heroes. To have Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin here beside me is just wonderful. Continue Reading →

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Rep. McCollum -Public Option Is Check On Insurance Co’s.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D) Minnesota says the solution to the health care crisis is reforming Medicare reimbursements. She says the current system penalizes states such as Minnesota that have reduced costs and improved care.  
McCollum says she supports a public option, but any public option needs to address the Medicare reimbursement problems. She says a public option would be a check and balance on insurance companies. Without such an option, McCollum doesn’t trust insurance companies to follow through on promises to enroll people with pre-existing conditions. Continue Reading →

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First Step On Moon- NASA Enhanced Video

Millions around the world watched a blurry black and white TV image on July 20, 1969 as Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the moon. Now 40 years later, millions on the internet can watch a slightly less blurry black and white video image of that same event. NASA has released the enhanced restored video to mark the moon landing anniversary. Continue Reading →

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