Monthly Archives: April 2011

Nejma Shea — Endangered Species

"Cross my eyes as Obama accepts the Peace Prize while Afghanistan dies."

Source: YouTube

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Obama says: “Stay away from my astronauts!”

With the crew of space shuttle Endeavour in medical quarantine, President Obama is concerned to hear someone in the room cough and warns them to "stay away from my astronauts!"

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Weekly Address: Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Oil Companies

At a time of high gas prices and massive oil industry profits, the President renews his call to end the $4 billion-per-year subsidies for oil and gas companies and invest in clean energy.

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Weekly Address: Taxpayer Subsidies for Oil Companies are Neither Right, nor Smart, and They Should End

Release Time: 
For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON – As oil and gas companies make tens of billions in profits and the government scours the budget for savings, President Obama called on Congress to stop handing them $4 billion annually in taxpayer subsidies. America’s oil production last year reached its highest level since 2003, but we need to invest in the energy of the future, instead of subsidizing the energy of the past.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Washington, DC

After the worst recession since the Great Depression, our economy is growing again, and we’ve gained almost 2 million private sector jobs over the last 13 months. But I also know that a lot of folks aren’t feeling as positive as some of those statistics might suggest. It’s still too hard to find a job. And even if you have a job, chances are you’re having a tougher time paying the rising costs of everything from groceries to gas. In some places, gas is now more than $4 a gallon, meaning that you could be paying upwards of $50 or $60 to fill up your tank.

Of course, while rising gas prices mean real pain for our families at the pump, they also mean bigger profits for oil companies. This week, the largest oil companies announced that they’d made more than $25 billion in the first few months of 2011 – up about 30 percent from last year.

Now, I don’t have a problem with any company or industry being rewarded for their success. The incentive of healthy profits is what fuels entrepreneurialism and helps drives our economy forward. But I do have a problem with the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies we’ve been handing out to oil and gas companies – to the tune of $4 billion a year. When oil companies are making huge profits and you’re struggling at the pump, and we’re scouring the federal budget for spending we can afford to do without, these tax giveaways aren’t right. They aren’t smart. And we need to end them.

That’s why, earlier this week, I renewed my call to Congress to stop subsidizing the oil and gas industries.  Understand, I’m not opposed to producing oil. I believe that if we’re serious about meeting our energy challenge, we need to operate on all cylinders, and that means pursuing a broad range of energy policies, including safe and responsible oil production here at home. In fact, last year, America’s oil production reached its highest level since 2003.

But I also believe that instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, we should invest in tomorrow’s – and that’s what we’ve been doing. Already, we’ve seen how the investments we’re making in clean energy can lead to new jobs and new businesses. I’ve seen some of them myself – small businesses that are making the most of solar and wind power, and energy-efficient technologies; big companies that are making fuel-efficient cars and trucks part of their vehicle fleets. And to promote these kinds of vehicles, we implemented historic new fuel-economy standards, which could save you as much as $3,000 at the pump.

Now, I know that in this tough fiscal environment, it’s tempting for some in Washington to want to cut our investments in clean energy. And I absolutely agree that the only way we’ll be able to afford the things we need is if we cut the things we don’t, and live within our means. But I refuse to cut things like clean energy that will help America win the future by growing our economy and creating good-paying jobs; that will help make America more secure; and that will help clean up our planet in the process. An investment in clean energy today is an investment in a better tomorrow. And I think that’s an investment worth making. Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.

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Supporting Stem Cell Research

Today, millions of Americans suffer from conditions like Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s and heart disease. And while we don’t know exactly what stem cell research will yield, scientists tell us that this research has the potential to help treat or cure these and many other diseases and conditions.

That’s why President Obama supports responsible stem cell research and it’s why we’re pleased with a court decision that paves the way for stem cell research to continue.  Earlier today, a court ruled that a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s ability to support stem cell research was unlikely to succeed and allowed federally supported stem cell research to continue.

The ruling was a victory for scientists and the patients who will benefit from their work. And the ruling will help ensure our nation remains at the forefront of scientific and medical research and innovation.  As President Obama said tonight to the students of Miami Dade College at their commencement , “America will only be as strong as our pursuit of scientific research and our leadership in technology and innovation.”

Stem cell research has the potential to cure diseases that have touched virtually every American family. We’re committed to realizing this potential and supporting responsible research that could develop new treatments, improve public health and deliver relief to patients in America and around the world. 

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Weekly Wrap Up: Egg Roll 2011

Your quick look at the week that was on

Eggs, Actors, and Athletes: The First Family celebrated Easter by hosting the 133rd White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday. 30,000 people from all 50 states and the District of Columbia got to attend, and were welcomed by a day chock full of special events and activities. This year's theme was "Get Up and Go," in keeping with the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative.

Helping Storm Victims in the South: Violent storms struck a number of southern states this week, leaving hundreds dead and thousands more with devastated homes and communities. The President directed recovery efforts from the White House, and traveled to Alabama with the First Lady to meet with families and recovery leaders. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was in St. Louis to survey the damage done to the airport and city. FEMA posted online resources for helping recovery workers and victims.

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Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney aboard Air Force One en route Alabama

Release Time: 
For Immediate Release

Aboard Air Force One En Route Alabama

      10:16 A.M. EDT

      MR. CARNEY:  Hello.  This is kind of nice.  I don't have any announcements, so let’s get started.

      Q    Describe for us what he’s going to do on the ground.

      MR. CARNEY:  Well, Mark, as you know, this is a trip that was planned on very short notice, for obvious reasons, so we don't have a lot of details that we can provide to you about what will happen on the ground.  He will obviously view the damage caused by these horrific storms and tornadoes and meet with families who’ve suffered greatly from this, and with local officials.  And beyond that, we're just going to have to report on it as it unfolds.  Unlike a lot of events, there hasn’t been a great deal of advanced choreography.

      Q    Will there be a statement from him?

      MR. CARNEY:  Yes, you can expect the President will make remarks.

      Q    What does he hope to accomplish with this visit to Alabama?

      MR. CARNEY:  Well, he wants to witness for himself the terrible devastation caused by these storms, to make clear the administration’s commitment to helping in any way that it can, and to I think put a spotlight for the rest of America on the kind of suffering that a storm like this can cause to so many families and businesses.

      Q    Is it just he and the First Lady?  Or what are the girls going to be doing during this Alabama portion?

      MR. CARNEY:  I don't have any information on the President’s daughters.

      Q    Can you talk a little bit — staying with disasters, the governor of Texas has been rather critical of the federal relief for his state that suffered the wildfires.  Any reaction?

      MR. CARNEY:  Well, on the wildfires, I don't have a great deal of specific information with me here, but in fact, federal funding for wildfire fighting has been extensive in Texas.  But I know that Nick Shapiro and the press office has a lot of detail on that for you.  So our response has been quite strong on that.

      Q    The Priorities USA fundraising group seems to be doing the same thing the President has long opposed by raising unlimited secret donations.  Why is the White House allowing them to do this?

      MR. CARNEY:  Well, first of all, we're not — I read those reports.  We don't allow outside groups one way or the other to do what they do in terms of campaign activity.  And obviously we don't control outside groups.  But the President’s position on disclosure is the same today as it has always been.

      Q    A former White House spokesman is leading the group.  I mean, there’s obviously some –

      MR. CARNEY:  I read that story, too, but again, we can't — these are not people working for the administration and we can't control their activity.  The President’s position on disclosure remains the same.  He believes it’s vitally important.

      Q    So he disapproves of –

      MR. CARNEY:  I'm not going to characterize it except that the President’s position on disclosure remains the same.

      Q    Jay, will the President meet with Congresswoman Giffords at the Cape?

      MR. CARNEY:  I don't have anything more I can tell you about — hold on one second, it’s right on my fingertips here.  As I think you know, the President and the First Family will view the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour with NASA Director Charles Bolden, Jr., and astronaut Dr. Janet Kavandi.  Beyond that, I don't have any information for you.  Obviously if he has other meetings we'll let you know if they take place.

      Q    We have been given guidance that he would be meeting with Giffords privately.  Is there any reason to –

      MR. CARNEY:  I can't confirm that at this time.

      Q    Just a lighter question — did he see the royal wedding or any of the — anything that happened in Britain today?  Did he watch it?  Did Michelle Obama watch any of that?  Just talk about if he –

      MR. CARNEY:  I haven't spoken with the First Lady about it, but the President did mention that he caught a little bit of it this morning over breakfast, but obviously was busy getting ready for this trip.  And he also — I think we're putting out some paper — he met this morning, very early this morning in the Oval Office with some of the surviving members of the Memphis Sanitation strike.  And I think we're putting out some paper on that as well as a photograph.

      Q    So no reaction to the dress?

      MR. CARNEY:  I don't have a reaction to the dress.  I personally thought it was lovely and we wish — all of us in the administration wish them the very best.

      Q    Is the President going to make remarks in Cape Canaveral?

      MR. CARNEY:  I don't believe we have anything set for that, no.

      Q    How concerned is the White House about Egypt normalizing relations with Hamas and Iran?

      MR. CARNEY:  With — I'm sorry?

      Q    With Hamas and Iran — Egypt.

      MR. CARNEY:  I'd ask you to check with folks back at the White House and the NSC on that.  I don't have anything.

      Q    Yesterday you tweeted about Paul Ryan in Wisconsin talking about subsidies.  In his budget proposal he has reducing corporate tax by 25 percent, so it was sort of in that language in the budget proposal.  Is that common ground that you're finding with Paul Ryan on gas company subsidies?

      MR. CARNEY:  Those are two different things.  My understanding is that — the President supports lowering the corporate tax rate in a revenue-neutral way by eliminating loopholes.  But specifically on the subsidies of oil and gas companies, the President opposes that.  He believes that in a time of tight budgets, we can't afford it.  We need to invest that money, $4 billion per year, more than $43 billion over 10 years, that money should be invested in clean energy, energy of the future — especially when the oil and gas companies, especially the big ones, show absolutely no need for taxpayer subsidies.  They are reporting this week substantial profits, in the tens of billions of dollars.

      And we welcome the statement by Congressman Ryan that he believes those subsidies should be eliminated.  Obviously the President feels that way, has for a long time.  We were heartened also by the remarks of Speaker Boehner the other day in an interview with ABC, where he suggested that was something that should be looked at.

      We just think that American taxpayer money does not need to be used to subsidize oil and gas companies that are experiencing record profits, especially at a time when American taxpayers are paying such very high prices at the pump.

      Q    Jay, can I try on the dollar?

      MR. CARNEY:  You may try.

      Q    So there’s been comments from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury expressing a strong dollar.  But it has weakened.  Is the administration concerned that it’s getting to a level that could have unintended consequences, disruptive influences, in markets?  The front page today of the Wall Street Journal, administration not concerned.

      MR. CARNEY:  I don't have any comment on the dollar, as I never do.  I would refer you to the Secretary of Treasury for that.  

      Q    Anything on the commencement speech you can tell us?

      MR. CARNEY:  Yes, I can tell you a little bit about that.  Hold on one second.  As you know, tonight the President will deliver the commencement address at Miami Dade College to an audience of approximately 4,000 graduates, family members and faculty, to applaud their hard work and stress the importance of preserving the same focus and determination as they enter the next phase of their lives.

      The President will speak to the West and North Campus graduates at the James L. Knight International Center in downtown Miami.

      The President will also receive his first honorary associate’s degree and be presented with the Presidential Medallion.

      Miami Dade is an extraordinary story.  It’s one of the nation’s largest institutions of higher education with — get this — more than 170,000 enrolled students, and in one of the largest minority-serving institutions, serving tens of thousands of Hispanic and African American students.  The President’s commitment to education is strong and the initiative that he asked Dr. Biden to work on on community colleges is one that he thinks is very important.  So he looks forward to this event very much.

      Q    Tell me about the speech for tomorrow for the White House Correspondents dinner.  Did he write it?  Is it — who else is helping him write it?  Who’s working on the jokes and how far along is he?

      MR. CARNEY:  That's highly classified information.  I can't reveal — you’ll have to come and see.

      Q    Are you writing some jokes?

      MR. CARNEY:  What’s that?

      Q    Are you writing any of the jokes?

      MR. CARNEY:  I am not.  There are far more talented joke writers than I who are working on the speech.

      Q    Could you please speak briefly to the President is going to NASA where the shuttle era is coming to an end, and in part because of his policies, numerous contractors and workers are going to be losing their jobs because of the direction which he’s taking the space program.  What do you have to say about that?

      MR. CARNEY:  I would say that President Obama laid out an ambitious plan, new plan for NASA, one that helps blaze a new trail of innovation and discovery.  Congress backed that plan and agreed with the President that we needed a new direction in space.  The President’s plan invests more in NASA, extends the life of the international space station, launches a commercial space transportation industry, fosters the development of path-breaking technologies, and helps create thousands of new jobs.

      This important change in direction will not only help us chart a new path in space, but can help us retool for the industries and jobs of the future that will be vital for long-term economic growth.

      I think the NASA Administrator has spoken to this quite a bit and I'm sure you’ve seen those comments.  I think they’re useful.

      Q    Does the President believe the commercial part of the industry is growing as it should, or is proceeding as it should? Is he satisfied with that?

      MR. CARNEY:  I haven’t had a conversation with him on it specifically, but obviously it’s his policy; he believes firmly that that's an important path to pursue.

      Anybody else?  That's it?

      Q    Thank you.

      MR. CARNEY:  Thanks, guys.    

                             END              10:33 A.M. EDT

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Live at 6:55: The President at Miami Dade College Commencement

Watch live beginning at 6:55 p.m. EDT as President Obama delivers the commencement address at Miami Dade College:

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The President in Alabama: “We’re Going to Make Sure that You’re Not Forgotten”

Ed. Note: Visit the FEMA blog to find ways to get assistance if you were affected by the recent storms.

The President stood with Alabama officials this afternoon to discuss what was clearly a sobering tour of Tuscaloosa:

Well, Michelle and I want to express, first of all, our deepest condolences to not just the city of Tuscaloosa but the state of Alabama and all the other states that have been affected by this unbelievable storm.  We just took a tour, and I’ve got to say I’ve never seen devastation like this.  It is heartbreaking.  We were just talking to some residents here who were lucky enough to escape alive, but have lost everything.  They mentioned that their neighbors had lost two of their grandchildren in the process.

There were stories like that not only all over town, but across the state and even the region, and the President praised the “resilience” of the people he had met even as they were surrounded by tragedy. He commended all the Alabama officials who have been working with the federal government and pledged that the work would continue well after the swarms of television cameras left:

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