Monthly Archives: August 2009

Obama: Kennedy “One of the greatest Senators of our time”

THE PRESIDENT:  I wanted to say a few words this morning about the passing of an extraordinary leader, Senator Edward Kennedy.  
Over the past several years, I’ve had the honor to call Teddy a colleague, a counselor, and a friend.  And even though we have known this day was coming for some time now, we awaited it with no small amount of dread.  
Since Teddy’s diagnosis last year, we’ve seen the courage with which he battled his illness.  And while these months have no doubt been difficult for him, they’ve also let him hear from people in every corner of our nation and from around the world just how much he meant to all of us.  His fight has given us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us:  the blessing of time to say thank you — and goodbye.  
The outpouring of love, gratitude, and fond memories to which we’ve all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives.  His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives — in seniors who know new dignity, in families that know new opportunity, in children who know education’s promise, and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just — including myself.  
The Kennedy name is synonymous with the Democratic Party.  And at times, Ted was the target of partisan campaign attacks.  But in the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle.  His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth, and good cheer.  He could passionately battle others and do so peerlessly on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintain warm friendships across party lines. Continue Reading →

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Report: Cops wrongfully sieze money for personal gain

News could not have been worse for legislators and public safety officials when an independent review of the Metro Gang Strike Force showed some troubling behavior. According to the report, some officers wrongfully seized money and property for personal gain. Today a joint Senate and House hearing heard the details of the report, ordered by Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion. Members also heard from Legislative Auditor James Nobles.  
Video from MN House and Senate Media Services Continue Reading →

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VP Joe Biden Remembers Senator Ted Kennedy

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, Mr. Secretary, thank you and your staff for the privilege of being with you today on what, as I prepared last night, was to be a joyous occasion, announcing another step in the direction of energy independence.  And you said the President made a wise choice.  The wisest choice the President made was asking you to be — I mean that sincerely — to be the Secretary to the Department of Energy.  You’ve assembled a first-rate staff, and you’ve taken on a role that is going to be a — is going to, in large part, determine the success of these next three-and-a-half years, whether or not we make a genuine dent, genuine progress in moving toward an energy policy that can help America lead the world in the 21st century as it did in the 20th century. Some suggest we’re trying to do too much.  But my response is, is there any possibility of America leading the world in the 21st century without a radically altered energy policy?  It is not possible.  And that charge has been given to one of the most remarkable men to serve in a President’s Cabinet, a Nobel laureate who is as articulate as he is obviously bright, and a man who has assembled a staff that can corral the bureaucracy — and we’re all — deal with bureaucracy, we’re all part of it — in a way that I haven’t seen in awhile. 
And I had planned on speaking to the Clean Cities Program as one of the several initiatives we have to begin to reshape our energy policy.  But as if Teddy were here, as we would say in the Senate, if you’d excuse a point of personal privilege, I quite frankly think it’s — would be inappropriate for me to dwell too much on the initiative that we’re announcing today and not speak to my friend. My wife Jill, and my sons Beau and Hunter, and my daughter Ashley — and I don’t say that lightly, because they all knew Teddy, he did something personal and special for each one of them in their lives — truly, truly are distressed by his passing.  And our hearts go out to Teddy Jr., and Patrick and Kara, and Vicki, with whom I spoke this morning, and the whole Kennedy family. Teddy spent a lifetime working for a fair and more just America.  And for 36 years, I had the privilege of going to work every day and literally, not figuratively sitting next to him, and being witness to history.  Every single day the Senate was in session, I sat with him on the Senate floor in the same aisle.  I sat with him on the Judiciary Committee next — physically next to him.  And I sat with him in the caucuses.  And it was in that process, every day I was with him — and this is going to sound strange — but he restored my sense of idealism and my faith in the possibilities of what this country could do. He and I were talking after his diagnosis.  And I said, I think you’re the only other person I’ve met, who like me, is more optimistic, more enthusiastic, more idealistic, sees greater possibilities after 36 years than when we were elected.  He was 30 years-old when he was elected; I was 29 years-old.  And you’d think that would be the peak of our idealism.  But I genuinely feel more optimistic about the prospect for my country today than I did — I have been any time in my life. 
And it was infectious when you were with him.  You could see it, those of you who knew him and those of you who didn’t know him.  You could just see it in the nature of his debate, in the nature of his embrace, in the nature of how he every single day attacked these problems.  And, you know, he was never defeatist.  He never was petty — never was petty.  He was never small.  And in the process of his doing, he made everybody he worked with bigger — both his adversaries as well as his allies. Continue Reading →

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Gov Pawlenty On New Online Health Care Market Tool

Governor Tim Pawlenty announces two new health reform measures he says places Minnesota at the forefront of the nation. The first is a website that gives consumers control, allowing them to search online for health care cost comparison and quality information. That website is www.mnhealthscores.org. Dr. Sanne Magnan, Minnesota Commissioner of Health, speaks on $47M in grants that are designed to help 39 communities promote healthy living. The grants will tackle three leading causes of preventable illness and death in the nation: tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition. Continue Reading →

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Obama Nominates Bernanke For A Second Fed Term

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I apologize for interrupting the relaxing that I told all of you to do, but I have an important announcement to make concerning the Federal Reserve.  
The man next to me, Ben Bernanke, has led the Fed through one of the worst financial crises that this nation and the world has ever faced. As an expert on the causes of the Great Depression, I’m sure Ben never imagined that he would be part of a team responsible for preventing another. But because of his background, his temperament, his courage, and his creativity, that’s exactly what he has helped to achieve. Continue Reading →

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We Can Afford Reform, We Can’t Afford the Status Quo

Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist for the Vice President and Executive Director of the Middle Class Task Force, debunks the myth that we can’t afford health insurance reform. To the contrary, not only has the President demanded that reform not add to the deficit in the short term, but reform is the only way to get skyrocketing health care costs under control that will be devastating not for families , businesses, and for government deficits in the long term under the status quo.  
Video from the White House Continue Reading →

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Rep. Ellison: You thought health care reform would be easy?

Congressman Keith Ellison (D – MN) fires up a crowd of volunteers about to door knock for health care reform. His speech was a variation of an article he wrote for the Huffington Post which you will find below:
 
So, my friends, what were we thinking?   Did we really think that extending health care coverage to all Americans would be easy?  Did we really believe that those who reap g’zillions of bucks from our ‘health’ (read ‘sick’) care system were going to give it all up without a fight?  Of course those who benefit from the status quo are attacking the Public Option.  Of course they are falsely claiming that Medicare reimbursement for end-of-life discussions are “death panels”. Of course they are disrupting town hall forums – some even carrying firearms. It’s not an element of reform they oppose; it’s reform itself. The special interests and protectors of the status quo acted worse when America was on the brink of passing Civil Rights and Voting Rights legislation.  They spread lies and fear when America was contemplating women’s suffrage too. Maybe it’s us, and not opponents of reform, who have failed to grasp the magnitude of this moment.  We are on the verge of bringing about health care reform 60 years in waiting.  Yes, we’re going to have to fight for it.  I worry that a little rough stuff has discouraged some progressives.  As Frederick Douglass famously said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. Continue Reading →

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Myth: Illegals, Abortion Covered By Health Care Reform

Each and every day in this country, Americans are grappling with health care premiums that are growing three times the rate of wages and insurance company policies that limit coverage and raise out-of-pocket costs. Thousands are losing their insurance coverage each day.  
Without real reform, the burdens on America’s families and businesses will continue to multiply. We’ve had a vigorous debate about health insurance reform, and rightly so.  This is an issue of vital concern to every American, and I’m glad that so many are engaged.  
But it also should be an honest debate, not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions, spread by the very folks who would benefit the most by keeping things exactly as they are. Continue Reading →

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Obama’s Ramadan Message

Transcript:
On behalf of the American people – including Muslim communities in all fifty states – I want to extend best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world. Ramadan Kareem. Ramadan is the month in which Muslims believe the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, beginning with a simple word – iqra. It is therefore a time when Muslims reflect upon the wisdom and guidance that comes with faith, and the responsibility that human beings have to one another, and to God. Like many people of different faiths who have known Ramadan through our communities and families, I know this to be a festive time – a time when families gather, friends host iftars, and meals are shared.  But I also know that Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection – a time when Muslims fast during the day and perform tarawih prayers at night, reciting and listening to the entire Koran over the course of the month. Continue Reading →

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Your Credit Card Bill of Rights Kicks In Today

Austan Goolsbee of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers talks about the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 – also known as the Credit Card Bill of Rights – which the President signed in May and which starts kicking in today. Watch the video to get a taste of the types of credit card headaches you won’t have to deal with anymore. Video from the White House Continue Reading →

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Health Care Myth: Disabled Will Be Treated Differently

Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform answers a question from outside the recent town hall in New Hampshire on why a specific section of the House legislation (“section 1177”) puts off care for the disable pending “further study.” This is a myth: for the disabled or their families, they can keep whatever care and coverage they currently have, but they will have additional options through Medicare for other voluntary programs. To the contrary, reform will make insurance more affordable, provide more options, and eliminate discrimination in purchasing health insurance so families won’t be turned down if a parent or child has a pre-existing disability or other health condition.  
Video from the White House Continue Reading →

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There is no panel to decide end-of-life health care

Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform answers a question from outside the recent town hall in New Hampshire on why reform will empower a panel to decide end-of-life care for Americans. This is a myth that has unfortunately been spread far and wide by defenders of the status quo. There is no such panel in any of the bills being considered in Congress, period. To the contrary, the House bill gives Americans and their families more choice and access to counseling and information on these most difficult decisions if, and only if, they choose to pursue it.  
Video from the White House. Continue Reading →

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Myth:Health Care Reform Will Limit Your Choices

Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform answers a question from outside the recent town hall in New Hampshire on whether any government involvement in health care will end up limiting choices for consumers. This is a myth: even the addition of a public option will be just that – another option –and will not eliminate any choices to the consumer. To the contrary, this would bring down costs and expand choice.  
Video from the White House Continue Reading →

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