Wednesday, December 17, 2008
"Together, they will serve as guardians of the American landscape on which the health of our economy and the well-being of our families so heavily depend," Obama said in introducing Salazar and Vilsack as his latest Cabinet picks. "How we harness our natural resources, from the farmlands of Iowa to the springs of Colorado, will speak not only to our quality of life, but to our economic growth and our energy future."Obama made several other Cabinet announcements this week -- the superintendent of public schools in Chicago, Arne Duncan, will be secretary of education, and an entire energy and climate team was announced in anticipation for combating global warming.
Obama, promising to address global warming and energy sources, formally named the rest of his team today: physics Nobel laureate Dr. Steven Chu as his Energy Secretary; Lisa Jackson as his Environmental Protection Agency Administrator; Nancy Sutley as his chair of the Council on Environmental Quality; and Carol Browner as assistant to the president for Energy and Climate Change, a new post.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on Jan. 5.
The Obamas were told that Blair House, where incoming presidents usually stay in the five days before Inauguration Day, is booked in early January, a spokesperson to the Obama transition said. “We explored the idea so that the girls could start school on schedule,’ the spokesperson said. “But, there were previously scheduled events and guests that couldn’t be displaced.”
It remained unclear who on Bushes guest list outranked the incoming President.
The Blair House will become available to the Obamas on Jan. 15.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Daschle’s pick was overshadowed by the high drama of Obama’s first news conference since the scandal surrounding his Illinois Senate seat broke, but both men pressed on.In addition to the HHS post, Daschle, a former U.S. senator for South Dakota as well as Majority Leader from 2001-2003, will craft Obama's universal health care plan.
Obama announced that Daschle, 61, also will head the White House Office of Health Reform, and that his deputy in that job will be Jeanne Lambrew, his co-author on a book on health care reform.
An obscure section on compensation for public officials, the Emoluments Clause, says that no member of Congress can be appointed to a government post if that job's pay was increased during the lawmaker's current term.As it turns out, the position of secretary of State received a pay raise during Clinton's tenure as New York's junior senator. So in order to keep things on the up and up, her congressional colleagues have changed it back.
Clinton would make about $4,700 less as secretary of state than her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.Clinton's new salary will be $186,600, still an improvement over her compensation as a senator.
Congress late Wednesday lowered the salary for the nation's top diplomat to keep Clinton's nomination from running afoul of the Constitution.
Not everyone is pleased, though, and conservative watchdog groups may challenge her appointment as the nation's top diplomat, not sure that Congress' pay cut satisfies the constitutional requirement.
Clinton's confirmation hearings will likely begin next month.
But Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said Thursday that Congress’ action has never been tested in court, and he says his group is considering litigation in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to challenge her appointment.
“In our view, it is an end-run around the Constitution,” Fitton said. “We are contemplating our next steps.”
Although the Illinois governor has been under investigation on federal corruption charges for years (as most Chicago politicians are, by default), Blagojevich’s arrest on Tuesday morning at his home definitely sealed the deal.Obama claims he did not know about and had no involvement in the scandal. In fact, some reports show that someone on Obama's staff may have actually blown the whistle on the governor's office.
Aside from numerous other charges, Blagojevich was indicted for “wide-ranging criminal conspiracy,” including his efforts to “sell or trade” President-elect Obama’s vacant Senate seat in exchange for financial benefits for him and his wife, Patti. What is this, wife swapping?
On Tuesday afternoon, the governor appeared in court and was released on $4,500 bail. And now, he’s back at work. Unless Illinois lawmakers act fast to impeach, Blagojevich will still be able to name Obama’s successor. In other words, he’s still open for business.
The President-elect gamely fielded three questions on the issue and addressed it in his opening remarks, saying (twice) that he was appalled and disappointed "by the revelations earlier this week." He declared that he "had no contact with the governor's office" and "did not speak to the governor" about the process of who should replace him as Senator. "That I know for certain," Obama said.Do you believe him? Do you think the public will? Or will this home-state scandal tied so closely to the new president affect his credibility? You decide.
So far, others have also been implicated in the scandal -- including Jesse Jackson, Jr., who reportedly offered up to $500,000 in fundraising for the governor in exchange for the vacant Senate seat.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
You can read Part Two here.
Hard times have hit us all at one time or another. We have seen the high unemployment numbers and the dismal forecast for economy in America. I never thought as a college graduate I would have an inside view of the day to day struggles of the homeless but I am there and will share my experiences so that people might gain a better insight and understanding of the plight we are facing in America.
I have been unemployed since March of 2008. Without unemployment benefits, I took to couch surfing and doing odd jobs for cash. Once the 2008 general elections were over and a new era in American History began, I started a new journey of my own. I spent a few weeks in a weekly motel that cost enough per week that I could have rented an apartment if I had not been evicted back in June. I realized that not only had I run out of money but I had also run out of options. I finally had to admit I needed more help than was available and I would have to take drastic steps. I moved my computer and many possessions that would not fit in a rolling suitcase and left them with a friend. I spent one last night on another friend's sofa and then I was truly on the streets and homeless.
I arrived at Sally (The Salvation Army) and found out they do a raffle every morning for beds that become available in the men's dorm. I was there at 8:45 am and waited as I watched more and more men file in hoping to get a bed for Wednesday night. The counselor came out and asked how many men were there for a bed. 15 men ranging in age from 18 to 70 raised their hands. The counselor said they only had two beds. As he walked around the room with a hat with 15 slips of paper, he informed us if we got a number we had a bed but if not we would have to try again the next day. I was not one of the lucky ones.
Realizing I had to do something I started asking questions and was told that I could try the lottery at ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless) at 6pm. I took my rolling suitcase and Netroots nation bag and headed over to ARCH to ask questions. I had to wait in line to get in and then have my bags go through an x-ray security machine like the ones they sue at the airport and then file through a metal detector. I went to the desk and asked what I need to do and to verify times for the lottery. I was also informed that if the temperature was below 40 degrees, they would allow more people to stay. The first night I was lucky enough to draw a number which meant I could sleep on a mat on the floor in the lobby of ARCH.
Once the lottery was over I was led into the building and told I would have to take a shower. The ARCH does not provide towels and since I had not thought to back one, I had to dry off with paper towels. I was then given a thin pallet to sleep on. Well, I would not exactly call it sleeping. I lay on the pallet with a coat and a sweatshirt rolled up as a pillow. I had another coat that I used as a blanket. I was close to the stairs that led upstairs to the bathrooms and people were walking by my head all night. There was snoring, coughing, people crying out in their sleep and even a few arguments. Lights out was at 9:30 but if you have ever been by ARCH you know they have security lights that are on 24/7. Reading was not a problem since I could not really sleep. At 4:30 am the people on the first floor were awakened so they could start setting up the lobby for the day. They served us coffee and granola bars. I had survived my first night as a homeless person.
The next two nights I was lucky enough to win cold weather lotteries and spend the night at two different churches who fed us dinner and breakfast before sending us back to ARCH. On Saturday morning, I was finally able to get assigned a bed at Sally. I no longer have to fear not having a bed as long as I follow all the rules. There are many rules and hoops you must jump through to qualify for the different programs and I will be discussing those and my life as a homeless person in future installments. Being limited to an hour on a computer at the library and having to have others post for me, restricts what I can do as a blogger. Look for future installments soon.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Our friends at Dos Centavos argue that sending Richardson to Commerce is a good move. Richardson takes up the post with experience in creating jobs and with negotiation. He was also the governor of a border state, and is uniquely qualified to handle issues of undocumented labor.
We wish Richardson luck in his new position, and welcome him to the Obama administration!
Go see Milk today! It's sure to be nominated for countless awards, and we think it was one of the best films of the year. Just don't see it at Cinemark! Harvey Milk would not have wanted companies supporting Prop 8 to benefit from him.
The movie depicts Milk, played by Sean Penn, and chronicles his rise and fall, culminating in his assassination. This is definitely a must-see movie! It also stars James Franco, Josh Brolin, and Emile Hirsch.
Update: Milk is already set to receive its first major award!
Monday, December 01, 2008
The selection of Senator Clinton represents an important first step down a new path for American foreign policy -- an enormous shift represented by the selection of a champion of women's health and rights to be in charge of America foreign policy.Read the rest of the article here. We agree with Richards -- Clinton is a magnificent pick for this job. We congratulate her and are excited to continue on this journey with Obama, Clinton, and the rest of the new team for a new America.
As first lady and as a U.S. senator, Hillary Clinton visited more than 80 nations, but for a majority of the world's population, her unique quality may be her gender. Senator Clinton understands that improving the status of women is not simply a moral imperative; it is necessary to building democracies around the globe. Improving the status of women is key to creating stable families, stable communities, and stable countries. Women's ability to control the size of their families, regardless of economics, nationality, or culture, has a direct impact on their economic well-being and that of their children. Senator Clinton understands that women's quality of life directly affects the major issues confronting the globe: national security, environmental sustainability, and global poverty.
Joe Biden, Vice President
Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense
Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General
James L. Jones, National Security Adviser
Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security
Robert Gibbs, Press Secretary
Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Following today's announcement of the national security team, we're still awaiting announcements from the president-elect on his choices for domestic leaders for Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Education, and Secretary of Health and Human Services.