Monthly Archives: November 2009

White House Christmas Tree Arrives

The First Lady is presented with the Official White House Christmas Tree, which this year comes from Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The 18 ½ ft Douglas-fir will arrives on the traditional horse drawn carriage to the North Portico. The tree will be on display in the Blue Room throughout the holiday season. Continue Reading →

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Thanksgiving Greetings From President Obama

Transcript:

For centuries, in peace and in war, in prosperity and in adversity, Americans have paused at this time of year to gather with loved ones and give thanks for life’s blessings. This week, we carry on this distinctly American tradition.  All across our country, folks are coming together to spend time with family, to catch up with old friends, to cook and enjoy a big dinner – and maybe to watch a little football in between.  
As always, we give thanks for the kindness of loved ones, for the joys of the previous year, and for the pride we feel in our communities and country. We keep in our thoughts and prayers the many families marking this Thanksgiving with an empty seat – saved for a son or daughter, or husband or wife, stationed in harm’s way. And we say a special thanks for the sacrifices those men and women in uniform are making for our safety and freedom, and for all those Americans who enrich the lives of our communities through acts of kindness, generosity and service. Continue Reading →

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Turkey Earns A Pardon From Obama

“I was planning to eat this sucker” said President Obama.  But his daughters intervened and made him change his mind.  So the 40+ pound turkey named “Courage” will spend the rest of his days in Disneyland instead of being a Thanksgiving feast.  
Transcript

 THE PRESIDENT:  Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  Welcome to the White House.  On behalf of Sasha and Malia and myself, we’re thrilled to see you.  I want to thank Walter Pelletier, chairman of the National Turkey Federation, and Joel Brandenberger, its president, for donating this year’s turkey.  His name is “Courage,” and he traveled here from Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he was raised under Walter’s own precious care.  
     (Turkey gobbles.)
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  There you go.  (Laughter.)
 
Now, the National Turkey Federation has been bringing its finest turkeys to the White House for more than 50 years.  I’m told Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson actually ate their turkeys.  You can’t fault them for that; that’s a good-looking bird.  (Laughter.)  President Kennedy was even given a turkey with a sign around its neck that said, “Good Eatin’, Mr. President.”  But he showed mercy and he said, “Let’s keep him going.”  And 20 years ago this Thanksgiving, the first President Bush issued the first official presidential pardon for a turkey. Continue Reading →

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DFL Governor Candidates’ Debate, Hopkins

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (MN DFL) party 3rd Congressional District (CD3) and 5th Congressional District (CD5) held a public debate and reception featuring all MN DFL candidates for governor at the Hopkins Center for the Arts on Tuesday, November 24, 2009.KSTP-TV’s Chief Political Reporter, Tom Hauser moderated. DFL Candidates Tom Bakk, Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza, Susan Gaertner, Steve Kelley, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, John Marty, Tom Rukavina, R.T. Rybak, Ole Savior and Paul Thissen participated. Continue Reading →

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NetrootsMN Driving the News:Why Online Video Matters.

A panel at Netroots MN, Driving the News: Why Online Video Matters. Panelists are Jennifer Whigham, Noah Kunin, Jason Barnett, and Chuck Olsen all from the Uptake. Using The UpTake’s recent history, Jason Barnett tells the story of the RNC, the Coleman v. Franken trial, and how the use of organized video citizen journalism protected the truth and forced the legacy media to pay attention. This panel was recorded on Saturday, November 21, 2009. Continue Reading →

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Greenhouse Gas Policy?–9 DFL Governor Candidates answer

9 DFL Governor Candidates answer what will be their Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy? At the Netroots Convention in St Paul MN, 11/20/09. Fmr. Rep. Matt Entenza; Spkr. Margaret Anderson Kelliher; Ramsey County Attny. Susan Gaertner; Fmr. Sen. Steve Kelley; Sen John Marty; Fmr. Sen. Mark Dayton; Rep. Paul Thissen; Rep. Tom Rukavina; and Mayor R.T. Rybak answer. Continue Reading →

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A Woman’s Choice?–9 DFL Governor Candidates Answer

9 DFL Governor Candidates answer how they feel about a woman’s choice, at the Netroots Convention in St Paul MN, 11/20/09. Fmr. Rep. Matt Entenza; Spkr. Margaret Anderson Kelliher; Ramsey County Attny. Susan Gaertner; Fmr. Sen. Steve Kelley; Sen John Marty; Fmr. Sen. Mark Dayton; Rep. Paul Thissen; Rep. Tom Rukavina; and Mayor R.T. Rybak answer. Continue Reading →

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Capitol Report: Jumpstarting Minnesota’s Economy

The Senate DFL and GOP have very different ideas on how to spur business and job growth. Senators Tom Bakk and Joe Gimse detail their plans to moderator Julie Bartkey. Sen. John Doll discusses why expanding broadband speeds statewide is critical to out-state residents. Video from MN Senate Media Services Continue Reading →

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Why Obama Went To Asia

Hi.  I’m recording this message from Seoul, South Korea, as I finish up my first presidential trip to Asia.  As we emerge from the worst recession in generations, there is nothing more important than to do everything we can to get our economy moving again and put Americans back to work, and I will go anywhere to pursue that goal. 
 
That’s one of the main reasons I took this trip.  Asia is a region where we now buy more goods and do more trade with than any other place in the world – commerce that supports millions of jobs back home.  It’s also a place where the risk of a nuclear arms race threatens our security, and where extremists plan attacks on America’s soil.  And since this region includes some of the fastest-growing nations, there can be no solution to the challenge of climate change without the cooperation of the Asia Pacific.  
With this in mind, I traveled to Asia to open a new era of American engagement.  We made progress with China and Russia in sending a unified message to Iran and North Korea that they must live up to their international obligations and either forsake nuclear weapons or face the consequences.  As the two largest consumers and producers of energy, we developed a host of new clean energy initiatives with China, and our two nations agreed to work toward a successful outcome at the upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen – an outcome that leads to immediate action to reduce carbon pollution.  And I spoke to young men and women at a town hall in Shanghai and across the internet about certain values that we in America believe are universal:  the freedom of worship and speech; the right to access information and choose one’s own leaders. 
 
But above all, I spoke with leaders in every nation I visited about what we can do to sustain this economic recovery and bring back jobs and prosperity for our people – a task I will continue to focus on relentlessly in the weeks and months ahead. 
 
This recession has taught us that we can’t return to a situation where America’s economic growth is fueled by consumers who take on more and more debt.  In order to keep growing, we need to spend less, save more, and get our federal deficit under control.  We also need to place a greater emphasis on exports that we can build, produce, and sell to other nations – exports that can help create new jobs at home and raise living standards throughout the world. 
 
For example, if we can increase our exports to Asia Pacific nations by just 5%, we can increase the number of American jobs supported by these exports by hundreds of thousands.  This is already happening with businesses like American Superconductor Corporation, an energy technology startup based in Massachusetts that’s been providing wind power and smart grid systems to countries like China, Korea, and India.  By doing so, it’s added more than 100 jobs over the last few years. 
 
Increasing our exports is one way to create new jobs and new prosperity.  But as we emerge from a recession that has left millions without work, we have an obligation to consider every additional, responsible step we can take to encourage and accelerate job creation in this country. That’s why I’ve announced that in the next few weeks, we’ll be holding a forum at the White House on jobs and economic growth. I want to hear from CEOs and small business owners, economists and financial experts, as well as representatives from labor unions and nonprofit groups, about what they think we can do to spur hiring and get this economy moving again.  
It is important that we do not make any ill-considered decisions – even with the best of intentions – particularly at a time when our resources are so limited.  But it is just as important that we are open to any demonstrably good idea to supplement the steps we’ve already taken to put America back to work.  That’s what I hope to achieve in this forum.  
 
Still, there is no forum or policy that can bring all the jobs we’ve lost overnight.  I wish there were, because so many Americans – friends, neighbors, family members – are desperately looking for work.  But even though it will take time, I can promise you this:  we are moving in the right direction; that the steps we are taking are helping; and I will not let up until businesses start hiring again, unemployed Americans start working again, and we rebuild this economy stronger and more prosperous than it was before.  That has been the focus of our efforts these past ten months – and it will continue to be our focus in the months and years to come. 
 
Thanks. Continue Reading →

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First Lady: America Owes Health Care To Seniors

MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you so much.  First of all, forgive me — I’ve got children, and now I have a cold.  (Laughter.)  It goes along with the territory.  
Let me begin by first thanking Tina Tchen, who’s doing an outstanding job as Director of the Office of Public Engagement by opening up this White House to the American people and organizing events like this one today.  She’s just been a terrific asset and a dear friend — and let’s give her a round of applause.  (Applause.)
 
And I also want to commend Nancy-Ann for her extraordinary leadership on health care — health insurance reform.  I know my husband, who is traveling abroad right now, would agree with me when I say that without her, we wouldn’t have come this far, and because of her, we’re going to get the job done.  So we are grateful to you, Nancy-Ann.  (Applause.)
 
And of course, I want to thank all the women who are here today.  This is a wonderful, lively group — I heard you all giggling earlier today.  (Laughter.)
 
But I also want to thank the women who spoke today — to Kelly and Fran and Judy — for sharing their stories.  What they’ve been through isn’t easy, and I’m grateful that they have been brave enough and open enough to share their stories with all of us.  It takes a lot of courage.  
These stories touch our hearts.  They spark in us just a fundamental sense of unfairness.  But the sad truth is none of these stories are unique.  These kinds of stories are being told in city after city, town after town, all across America.  They’re being told by women who lost their coverage when their husband lost a job, or their husband passed away.  They’re being told by women who aren’t getting regular checkups because it’s simply too expensive.  They’re being told my women living on fixed incomes who can’t afford the prescription drugs that they need.  
     All of these stories reflect the fundamental reality — and that is, women are among those struggling most under the status quo, the way things are.  And women are among those who will benefit most from health insurance reform because the truth is that women, we have a special relationship with our health care system.  In a lot of families that’s true because we are the health care system in so many ways.  (Laughter.)
 
Eight in 10 mothers say they’re the ones responsible for choosing their children’s doctors, taking them to appointments, and managing the follow-up care.  And over 10 percent of all women are now caring for a sick or elderly relative.  
Our entire lives as women, we are asked to bear much of the responsibility for our family’s health and well-being.  And yet, we often face special challenges when it comes to our own health insurance.  Part of it has to do with the fact that women are more likely than men to do part-time work or to work in a small business — in jobs that are less likely to offer the kind of insurance that you really need.  In fact, over half of all women in this country don’t have the option of getting insurance through the workplace at all. Continue Reading →

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SBA Standing Behind Small Businesses

Did you know that half of all of the people in the US own or work for a small business? It’s one of the interesting bits of information in this look behind the scenes at the Small Business Administration. Video produced by the White House. Continue Reading →

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Obama Pushes Open Internet In China

AMBASSADOR HUNTSMAN:  That’s right.  And not surprisingly, “in a country with 350 million Internet users and 60 million bloggers, do you know of the firewall?”  And second, “should we be able to use Twitter freely” — is the question.  
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, first of all, let me say that I have never used Twitter.  I noticed that young people — they’re very busy with all these electronics.  My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone.  But I am a big believer in technology and I’m a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information.  I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable.  They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas.  It encourages creativity. 
 
And so I’ve always been a strong supporter of open Internet use.  I’m a big supporter of non-censorship.  This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions.  I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet — or unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.  
Now, I should tell you, I should be honest, as President of the United States, there are times where I wish information didn’t flow so freely because then I wouldn’t have to listen to people criticizing me all the time.  I think people naturally are — when they’re in positions of power sometimes thinks, oh, how could that person say that about me, or that’s irresponsible, or — but the truth is that because in the United States information is free, and I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me, I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don’t want to hear. It forces me to examine what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis to see, am I really doing the very best that I could be doing for the people of the United States. 
 
And I think the Internet has become an even more powerful tool for that kind of citizen participation.  In fact, one of the reasons that I won the presidency was because we were able to mobilize young people like yourself to get involved through the Internet.  Initially, nobody thought we could win because we didn’t have necessarily the most wealthy supporters; we didn’t have the most powerful political brokers.  But through the Internet, people became excited about our campaign and they started to organize and meet and set up campaign activities and events and rallies.  And it really ended up creating the kind of bottom-up movement that allowed us to do very well. Continue Reading →

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Is There A Threat To Unite Us? 8 DFL Governor Candidates Respond.

By Craig Stellmacher
“What is the greatest threat to Minnesota right now, that we can all unite around, and what will be your strategy to solve this problem?” Eight DFL Candidates for Governor, answer that question on Sunday 11/15 2009.  Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher; State Senator Thomas Bakk; Former US Senator Mark Dayton; Former State Senator Steve Kelly, State Senator John Marty, State Representative Tom Rukavina, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, and State Representative Paul Thissen, have all come to the Eagle’s Club at 2507 E 25 th St in Minneapolis Minnesota to talk to the DFL Senior Caucus Inside.  One room had the Vikings game on, and there were 150 DFL’rs in the second room, so we briefly go outside to answer the same question. 
For the last several years, I’ve been looking at Game Theory, also known as Strategy Theory.  Note, humans have a tendency to come together when they share the same threat. If the sky was filled with UFO’s with purple death rays, we’d unite with Iran and North Korea till they were gone. 
 
I’ve noted recently, that some politicians actually say there’s a group that threatens them.  The first example I can think of here in Minnesota is US Representative Michele Bachmann, she states that a group the size of hers, “Liberals”, threatens the existence of her group.  It will be hard for her to get a majority of the votes, while she accuses half of threatening her, the half she names have no reason to vote for her.  I think some politicians master this idea, and I can think of Reagan, Clinton and Obama, who got the American people to unite around a threat or an idea. 
 
I was looking for this uniting, in any of their answers.  If a politician states : “we all share the same threat”, I think it will be easier for them to get a majority of the people.  This uniting strategy, is rather powerful in the long run, but we have many examples in the last few years we can think of either with politicians or with TV pundits that urge us to divide ourselves and say near half–threaten our existence. 
 
Bachmann’s strategy works, because she has a base she can appeal to in her district, but she would have trouble getting elected state or nation wide.  Those that appeal to all with : “We all should unite, because we all have the same threat”–have a stronger strategy.  They can get more votes, and they can get more done once elected.    These answers are presented in alphabetical order. All answers, identify threats, but several really call out uniting around the problem.  They point to the current strategy as wrong, and they look to unite to solve this problem.  Bakk, Kelly, and Marty really go after our incorrect current divisive strategy in their answer.  They strongly want to unite, this could be key in getting elected state wide, and in then solving our problems together once elected. Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher : Thinks current leadership lacks vision, and she wants to focus on education, and the economic development plan. Continue Reading →

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Obama: Review Of Ft. Hood Shootings Needed

This was a week for honoring the extraordinary service and profound sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. Every fall, we set aside a special day to pay tribute to our veterans. But this year, Veteran’s Day took on even greater poignancy and meaning because of the tragic events at Fort Hood. On Tuesday, I traveled there to join with the Fort Hood community, the Army, and the friends and families of the victims to honor thirteen of our fellow Americans who died – and the dozens more who were wounded – not on some distant shore, but on a military base at home. Every man and woman who signs up for military service does so with full knowledge of the dangers that could come – that is part of what makes the service of our troops and veterans so extraordinary. But it’s unthinkable that so many would die in a hail of gunfire on a US Army base in the heart of Texas, and that a fellow service-member could have pulled trigger. There is an ongoing investigation into this terrible tragedy. That investigation will look at the motives of the alleged gunman, including his views and contacts.  As I said in Fort Hood, I am confident that justice will be done, and I will insist that the full story be told. That is paramount, and I won’t compromise that investigation today by discussing the details of this case. Continue Reading →

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Obama In Japan

PRIME MINISTER HATOYAMA: (As translated.) President Obama, I would like to welcome you to Japan. I’d like to express my heartfelt welcome to you. It is very hard — despite the tragedy of the mass shooting in your country, that you have taken time out of a busy schedule to come and join us here today. We’re very thankful to you. And today we have had a 90-minute, very intensive discussion. Continue Reading →

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Party Propaganda:DNC calls out Bachmann, Kline, House Republicans For Lies, Scare Tactics On Health

 The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced today the latest in its ongoing series – Call ‘Em Out – calling out House Republicans for their continued use of debunked claims and outright lies to distort the health insurance reform debate and block reform.  For months, Republicans have offered nothing but outlandish assertions – based purely on myth – and it’s crucial in the homestretch of this necessary and historic health reform effort that reform supporters double down on separating fact from fiction.  In an email that will be sent today, DNC Executive Director Jen O’Malley Dillon asks health reform supporters to watch a video pitting house members’ misleading, false claims against the independent organizations who have repeatedly discounted those claims and asks supporters to share their concerns with their Representative via twitter. Continue Reading →

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