Brian Sims Made Money in P0RN

I'm afraid it's true. The owner of United Reprographics, Brian Sims, made his first real money in the p0rn industry. And quite sleazy p0rn sites at that. He told me this himself and I could be sued if I was embellishing even one bit. In addition, as the many, many ex-employees have commented; Brian Sims is, perhaps, the greediest, most despicable and disrespectful employer anyone has worked for. He calls his business minority owned ( Sims is black ) yet he runs it like a slave ship. Beyond all of this, United Reprographics is notorious for mistakes. Sims has been offered solutions but isn't bright enough to be able to properly vet them ( no, it's not spelled "vette" ) Jobs have even been sabotaged due to increasingly poor employee - employer relations. Given all the options to have print work done, it seems an unnecessary risk to use United.
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5 comments
#149613

Brian Sims is, perhaps, the worst employer I've ever worked for. Check out other complaint strings at Pissed Consumer.

#143633

Brian cut the Christmas bonuses, health accounts and Christmas party. I saw Brian Sims the day he did that and he was laughing.

It was punishment to workers who he felt shouldn't ever talk on the floor. In fact, this makes him crazy. He tried to make a rule that nobody was allowed to speak on to each other. He has cameras covering the entire shop that are monitored online.

He watches from his computer all day and night and even calls in to reprimand people if they happen stop to exchange a word with their fellow employees.

This guy is a real life Scrooge. He would be a great 17th & 18th century slave boss

#143632

Brian Sims claims here that's he's been generous to the families of United workers. Of course he doesn't name one.

Also, a week before the Christmas of 2008, when United was seeing unprecedented growth and making $500k that month ( and over $700k in Jan. 2009 ), long before any economic downturn, out of nowhere he announces that there will be no Christmas bonuses. No reason given. Also, no more health accounts and not even a Christmas party.

Craig, the manager of large doc., had to use his own money to buy his people a Christmas gift. It made me sick to see a guy who probably isn't making $18/hr having to pay out of his pocket while Brian had increased his income by $10k/month by cutting health accounts. Brian Sims' greed is epic. Truly something to behold.

But for him to make false claims about helping families of his employees is truly sickening.

Everybody got screwed and right before Christmas. People went broke at Christmas while owner Brian Sims had his best month ever.

#143631

I noticed didn't argued the fact that during the strongest months at United ( Dec 2008, Jan 2009 ) during a year when even he claimed that the company had grown by 10%, he cut Christmas bonuses a week before Christmas, he cut the health accounts and cut the company party. This was well before the economy went south.

#143364

I was a hard working manager with this company based in Seattle, Washington. I discovered that the owners had been taking my health insurance deductions from my paycheck and placing the funds in the company general account, leaving me uninsured. This had gone on for 6 months and after receiving a cancellation notice from the insurance company, I asked the owner about this. He angrily fired me on the spot. My wife was very ill at the time.

To add insult to this injury, the owner, Brian Sims, gave horrible references to every prospective employer who called him about me. I could not find a job anywhere. I had to settle on working as a laborer in a shipyard. I blew out both knees in this occupation and even after surgery, am in very bad shape.

Please do not give your business to this miserable excuse for a human being. In my opinion, he deserves to go to *** hor his greed and complete lack of humanity.

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#175139 Review #175139 is a subjective opinion of poster.
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Seattle, Washington
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United Reprographics, Seattle Washington

I was a hard working manager with this company based in Seattle, Washington. I discovered that the owners had been taking my health insurance deductions from my paycheck and placing the funds in the company general account, leaving me uninsured. This had gone on for 6 months and after receiving a cancellation notice from the insurance company, I asked the owner about this. He angrily fired me on the spot. My wife was very ill at the time. To add insult to this injury, the owner, Brian Sims, gave horrible references to every prospective employer who called him about me. I could not find a job anywhere. I had to settle on working as a laborer in a shipyard. I blew out both knees in this occupation and even after surgery, am in very bad shape. Please do not give your business to this miserable excuse for a human being. In my opinion, he deserves to go to *** hor his greed and complete lack of humanity.
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105 comments
#682529

I work for another independant competing reprographics company and have learned over the years that United is pretty tough competition. It's difficult to match their quality, especially on half size plans, and their customers are generally happy.

(at least that is what I hear regularly) I work for a great guy and have no reason try to compliment someone I don't know.

I have no idea what really happened or if the owner of is a *** but I do know that business' don't usually succeed by accident, even if they are fortunate enough to find great people, the owner must be doing something right.

The manager that speaks about his bad experience may be completely correct or may be a flake and deserved to be fired... I don't know.

But I personally will take all of this negativity with a grain of salt. Especially when he leaves racist comments.

#382084

The Racist! (chimp) really!

#382024

Point goes to the original poster. Thank you. You probably just saved my professional career. I could *never* work for such a shortsighted company.

Report

2. Written by Billy on June 8, 2011

Brian Sims please stop hijacking the comment section. You are a poor business man and now must face the shame you brought upon yourself and your family.

Report

3. Written by Billy on May 10, 2011

The White House Blog

Elevating the Debate on Immigration

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on May 10, 2011 at 10:35 AM EDT

Today, David Plouffe sent an email to the White House email list about the President's speech on immigration in El Paso, Texas at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. CDT) and the ways you can get involved in a national dialogue on this issue.

Check out the email below, and if you didn't get it, be sure to sign up for the White House email list.

Today, President Obama is traveling to El Paso, Texas to discuss the need to fix our broken immigration system. You can watch his speech live at WhiteHouse.gov/live starting at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. MDT):

Our nation is the leader of the global economy in part because of the steady stream of hardworking and talented people who have come to our country in search of a better life for themselves and their families. As we continue to strengthen our economy, we need an immigration system that demands responsibility and accountability from government, businesses and immigrants themselves.

In his speech today, the President will lay out his vision for an immigration system for America's 21st century economy and will call on Americans across the country to join a constructive conversation on this issue. We know that folks are already discussing this issue around their dinner tables, with their friends and neighbors and through social media communities like Twitter.

Here are just a few ways you can get involved in the conversation, and tell us here at the White House what you think:

1.Twitter. During the President's speech today, I'll have a screen up next to my TV to watch the conversation on Twitter using the #immigration hashtag, so make sure to use #immigration to share your thoughts.

2.Advise the Advisor. Cecilia Muñoz, one of the President's senior advisors on immigration issues, just posted a new Advise the Advisor video asking for your feedback on this important issue. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Advise to see the video and tell us what you think.

3.Roundtable Discussions. In addition to all the ways you can join the conversation online, we're encouraging Americans to host roundtable discussions in your own communities over the next few months, and let us know what you talked about and what issues matter the most in your community. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Immigration to get started.

Most Americans agree that our immigration system is broken: it hamstrings our economy, it hurts families who play by the rules, and it leaves millions living in the shadows without a path to get right with the law.

We can't out-educate, out-innovate and out-build our competitors without an immigration system that works for our economy. That's why this conversation on immigration reform is so important. We need voices from across the country to help us elevate the debate and move forward.

We're looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Sincerely,

David Plouffe

Senior Advisor to the President

Learn more about Immigration

Helping Small Businesses in the Supply Chain as they Grow and Create Jobs

Posted by Karen Mills on May 10, 2011 at 9:50 AM EDT

Today, I’m traveling with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Dayton, Ohio. We are at a small company called Hooven-Dayton that prints the labels for products like Tide and Mr. Clean. Our purpose is to hear from the executives of small companies like these, which are often referred to as “suppliers” because most of their products and services are sold to larger companies.

Why is this important?

A recent study showed that after a small supplier lands a big purchase order or a contract from a bigger company, the small company’s revenues go up 250% and they create about 150% more jobs in just two or three years. Therefore, at this critical time in our economic recovery, the small businesses in these supply chains are an important area for us to focus and build on.

So, throughout the day, we’re talking with small suppliers themselves about how to make America’s supply chains as dynamic and innovative as possible. I’m sure that we will talk about a range of issues, from access to capital, to creating new partnerships, to exporting, and more. These are areas where the SBA and our federal partners – as well as an increasing number of large U.S. firms – offer important tools that can help suppliers grow and create jobs.

read the rest

Learn more about Economy

Today’s Health Care Court Cases

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on May 10, 2011 at 8:40 AM EDT

Today, judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia will hear arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. In the first case – Liberty University v. Geithner – a district judge previously found that the law was constitutional. In the second case – Commonwealth of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius – a different district judge issued a very narrow ruling on the constitutionality of the health reform law’s “individual r

#377248

:eek

First of all, let me say thank you. I was contacted to interview for this company and have decided, based on this (and other) reviews, to pass.

Whether the allegations against United Reprographics are completely true or not, it is clear that *something* went on that instigated this process.

The interactions between former employee and owner show that the company has no regard for its business reputation and took no steps to rectify the situation before it escalated to this. Otherwise, the original poster wouldn't have felt it necessary to go pubic with their complaints.

It is important to me that I am *proud* of where I work. Could I be proud at United Reprographics in Seattle? I really doubt it. Their managers are so mishandled they feel the need to strike back. The owner is so clueless he doesn't realize his business image is severely scarred for his lack of personnel skills. I can only think what a client would say reading this thread...

So, even in a recession, I will not interview with this company. It's not merely the alleged working conditions or the questionable practices of the owner with regard to benefits... but that the company has suffered severe reputation damage and has made no attempt to correct it.

Seriously... A simple severance package and am "I'm sorry you feel that way" could have gone a long way in making this all go away, but apparently the owner felt this was a better (and cheaper?) solution... to trash his reputation and learn NOTHING from a bad situation.

Point goes to the original poster. Thank you. You probably just saved my professional career. I could *never* work for such a shortsighted company.

#295721

Brian Sims please stop hijacking the comment section. You are a poor business man and now must face the shame you brought upon yourself and your family.

#284335

The White House Blog

Elevating the Debate on Immigration

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on May 10, 2011 at 10:35 AM EDT

Today, David Plouffe sent an email to the White House email list about the President's speech on immigration in El Paso, Texas at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. CDT) and the ways you can get involved in a national dialogue on this issue.

Check out the email below, and if you didn't get it, be sure to sign up for the White House email list.

Today, President Obama is traveling to El Paso, Texas to discuss the need to fix our broken immigration system. You can watch his speech live at WhiteHouse.gov/live starting at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. MDT):

Our nation is the leader of the global economy in part because of the steady stream of hardworking and talented people who have come to our country in search of a better life for themselves and their families. As we continue to strengthen our economy, we need an immigration system that demands responsibility and accountability from government, businesses and immigrants themselves.

In his speech today, the President will lay out his vision for an immigration system for America's 21st century economy and will call on Americans across the country to join a constructive conversation on this issue. We know that folks are already discussing this issue around their dinner tables, with their friends and neighbors and through social media communities like Twitter.

Here are just a few ways you can get involved in the conversation, and tell us here at the White House what you think:

1.Twitter. During the President's speech today, I'll have a screen up next to my TV to watch the conversation on Twitter using the #immigration hashtag, so make sure to use #immigration to share your thoughts.

2.Advise the Advisor. Cecilia Muñoz, one of the President's senior advisors on immigration issues, just posted a new Advise the Advisor video asking for your feedback on this important issue. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Advise to see the video and tell us what you think.

3.Roundtable Discussions. In addition to all the ways you can join the conversation online, we're encouraging Americans to host roundtable discussions in your own communities over the next few months, and let us know what you talked about and what issues matter the most in your community. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Immigration to get started.

Most Americans agree that our immigration system is broken: it hamstrings our economy, it hurts families who play by the rules, and it leaves millions living in the shadows without a path to get right with the law.

We can't out-educate, out-innovate and out-build our competitors without an immigration system that works for our economy. That's why this conversation on immigration reform is so important. We need voices from across the country to help us elevate the debate and move forward.

We're looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Sincerely,

David Plouffe

Senior Advisor to the President

Learn more about Immigration

Helping Small Businesses in the Supply Chain as they Grow and Create Jobs

Posted by Karen Mills on May 10, 2011 at 9:50 AM EDT

Today, I’m traveling with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Dayton, Ohio. We are at a small company called Hooven-Dayton that prints the labels for products like Tide and Mr. Clean. Our purpose is to hear from the executives of small companies like these, which are often referred to as “suppliers” because most of their products and services are sold to larger companies.

Why is this important?

A recent study showed that after a small supplier lands a big purchase order or a contract from a bigger company, the small company’s revenues go up 250% and they create about 150% more jobs in just two or three years. Therefore, at this critical time in our economic recovery, the small businesses in these supply chains are an important area for us to focus and build on.

So, throughout the day, we’re talking with small suppliers themselves about how to make America’s supply chains as dynamic and innovative as possible. I’m sure that we will talk about a range of issues, from access to capital, to creating new partnerships, to exporting, and more. These are areas where the SBA and our federal partners – as well as an increasing number of large U.S. firms – offer important tools that can help suppliers grow and create jobs.

read the rest

Learn more about Economy

Today’s Health Care Court Cases

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on May 10, 2011 at 8:40 AM EDT

Today, judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia will hear arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. In the first case – Liberty University v. Geithner – a district judge previously found that the law was constitutional. In the second case – Commonwealth of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius – a different district judge issued a very narrow ruling on the constitutionality of the health reform law’s “individual responsibility” provision but upheld the rest of the law. Both cases are today being argued on appeal.

We’re confident that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Already, two additional judges have found the law to be constitutional. And the facts are on our side.

•Those who claim that the “individual responsibility” provision exceeds Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce because it penalizes “inactivity” are simply wrong. Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are actively making an economic decision that affects all of us.

•A new report released today from the Department of Health and Human Services makes clear that those without insurance struggle to pay for health care. According to the report, uninsured people cannot pay the full cost of 88 percent of their hospital bills. Even the uninsured with the greatest income and assets cannot fully pay for half of their hospital bills.

When people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, those with insurance and taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab.

The Affordable Care Act requires everyone who can afford it to carry some form of health insurance.

•For the 83% of Americans who have coverage and who are already taking responsibility for their health care, the Affordable Care Act will help insurance premiums to decrease over time.

•Only those who are able to pay for health insurance will be responsible for obtaining it.

•The Congressional Budget Office estimated that only 1 percent of all Americans would pay a penalty for not having health insurance in 2016.

To lower the cost of health care for everyone, we have to stop making those who act responsibly pick up the health care tab for those who don’t – and that means we need everyone to be a part of the health insurance marketplace. Bringing everyone into the system will also enable us to finally ban discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions. Without the individual responsibility provision, people could wait until they’re sick or injured to apply for coverage since insurance companies could no longer say no or charge more. That would lead to double digit premiums increases – up to 20% – for everyone in the individual insurance market.

We are confident the various cases regarding the law will be decided quickly, long before the law is scheduled to be fully implemented. And we are confident we will prevail.

Learn more about Health Care

Supporting Military Families and Let’s Move!

Posted by Robin Schepper and Shellie Pfohl on May 9, 2011 at 3:20 PM EDT

Cross-posted from the Let's Move! blog.

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama announced new collaborations to support our military families and ensure that everyone can get out and get moving.

Starting June 1, service members and their families will be able to visit the websites of the organizations to sign up for free sportsclub memberships and personal training.

read the rest

Learn more about Family

Calling All Questions: CBS Town Hall on the Economy with President Obama

Posted by Sarah Bernard on May 9, 2011 at 10:28 AM EDT

On Wednesday, CBS News will conduct a special town hall on the economy with President Obama. CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer and The Early Show Co-Anchor Erica Hill will join the President before a live audience at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

Submit your questions for the President in any of the following ways:

(CBS asks that you include your age, hometown and occupation with your question).

•Email

•Facebook

•Twitter with hashtag #CBSTownHall

•YouTube

On Thursday, tune in to watch the Town Hall on The Early Show during the 8:00 - 9:00am hour.

Learn more about Economy

Latest Awards Bring US Closer to National High-Speed Passenger Rail Network

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on May 9, 2011 at 9:39 AM EDT

Cross-posted from the Department of Transportation's blog.

This is a big day for the Department of Transportation, for the Obama Administration, and for the American people. We are bringing President Obama's vision of American high-speed rail one step closer to reality with $2.02 billion in targeted investments.

And I am thrilled.

Today we are advancing President Obama's historic high-speed rail blueprint through 22 carefully selected projects that will create jobs, boost manufacturing, and spur development while laying the foundation for our future economic competitiveness. We are providing two billion dollars to 15 states and Amtrak to help build out America's high-speed rail network, enabling people and goods to travel more quickly, safely and energy-efficiently than ever before.

When DOT announced the competition for these awards in March, we were inundated with 98 applications seeking more than $10 billion. Americans heard the President's plan to connect 80 percent of the nation to high-speed rail in the next 25 years, and they responded with a loud and clear, "Yes!"

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Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

The Gift of Good Health on Mother’s Day

Posted by Tom Kalil on May 8, 2011 at 3:08 PM EDT

Pregnant women and new mothers deserve more than just flowers this Mother’s Day. They deserve the precious gift of good health for themselves and their babies. That’s why today I’d like to celebrate the benefits of text4baby, a free, mobile health information service that offers useful tips timed to a woman’s due date or baby’s date of birth.

The beauty of text4baby is its simplicity. Text BABY (or BEBE in Spanish) to 511411, and receive three free SMS messages every week on important issues like nutrition, oral health, and immunization schedules. Text4baby also connects women to public clinics and support services for prenatal and infant care in their area.

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Learn more about , Family, Health Care, Women

"We and the Entire Nation Are So Proud Of All Of You": Mother's Day with the First Lady and Dr. Biden

Posted by Paul Wiley on May 8, 2011 at 2:40 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (215MB) | mp3 (21MB) .For a group of military spouses, this Mother's Day will be one they never forget. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a special Mother's Day tea to show their appreciation and thanks.

Includes Video

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Learn more about Defense, Family, Veterans, Women

Mothers Who Served, World War II – Present

Posted by Kate Hoit on May 7, 2011 at 5:51 PM EDT

Cross-posted from the Veterans Affairs blog VAntage Point. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden welcomed military spouses, mothers and grandmothers to the White House for a Mother's Day tea this week. Watch the video.

In honor of Mother’s Day, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is celebrating the women who have served our country and taken on one of the greatest roles in life: motherhood. In doing so, we reached out to mom Veterans and their family members for photographs and stories. We’ve received photographs and stories that stretch beyond the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan back to World War II. Each mother has a unique story, united by their service. Below are photos and excerpts of stories of mothers who served in World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan. Happy Mother’s Day!

Submitted by Thallassa M. Gunelius, MSgt, USAF (Ret), son

Judith Gunelius (above), enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in 1958. After a break in service to have four children, she became the first woman in the Minnesota Air National Guard in 1972 and the first enlisted female aeromedevac technician to fly on C-130s. . .I’m grateful for my mother and all the other courageous ladies who paved the way for those of us who followed in their footsteps. The example that both of my parents set during their enlistments resulted in all four of their kids carrying on the tradition in the US Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force. Collectively, our family has proudly served this great country for a total of 68 years!

Submitted by Joyce C. Leneave, U.S. Army Veteran, 1989-****, mother

While serving in the Army at the European Command Center, Patch Barracks, Germany, I became pregnant with my eldest child. I was a single mother and my female Commander was supportive of my decision to stay in the military. On May 26, 1992, my daughter Vanessa was born at Bad Constadtt Hospital. Now she is a freshman at NKU, studying music education. She hopes to be a high school music teacher. I am taking courses that were awarded to me by Military to Medicine. I am proud of my service to my Nation and it is all the more precious to me to know that my daughter shares part of that with me.

Submitted by Margo Trueman, sister-in-law

I would like to honor my sister-in-law, AMS3 (AW) Robyn Roche-Paull (left), who served in the U.S. Navy from 1991 to 1997. Robyn served on the USS Eisenhower when it first deployed with women on board. She is also one of the first women in the U.S. Navy to be qualified to launch aircraft. During her time in the Navy, she became a mother for the first time. In fact, she was on duty the night she went into labor so she literally worked right up to the day she gave birth. She continued her service for over a year following her son’s birth before receiving an honorable discharge in 1997. Robyn’s experience as a mother in the Navy prompted her to do what she could to help other mothers overcome these hurdles with more information and support than she had. She graduated from University with a degree in Maternal Child Health and went on to become a Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Submitted by Jeffrey Wollberg, son

This is a picture of my mom (left) taken on her 90th birthday. She is now 92. She was a WAVE during World War II and did secretarial work for the Navy. After her Navy enlistment was ended she continued in secretarial work and personnel management until she retired from her position as the president’s secretary from US Checkbook. Her services and my father’s service must have had some influence on our family. . .My two sons shown in this picture are in the Air Force, one in the Air Guard and the other active duty. They both graduated the same day from basic. I served in the Army Reserve 1986–1992 and Active Reserve 1992–2002.

Submitted by Kathryn Peacock, daughter-in-law

I’m writing to honor my mother-in-law. She has supported her son even when everyone else doubted his decisions to join the Army after college. Her family business could have made her encourage her son to travel a different route, but she knew he had to fulfill his goals to lead soldiers in battle. This February he was injured in battle. She was there at his side a day after his surgery at Walter Reed. She didn’t care he was heavily sedated, because she was able to share the moment with her son. As the wife of her son, she is an honest whole-hearted role model.

Submitted by SMSgt Katrina McIntosh, daughter

My Mom is Karin Winward, a retired SMSgt (Air Force E-8). She served 23 years and retired in 1992. She is my hero. We moved a lot as I grew up, I went to five elementary schools, two junior high schools, and two high schools, and enjoyed every minute of it. I was able to see new places and make new friends. She was the first WAF (Women in the Air Force) stationed at Tainan Air Base in Taiwan making great strides for women in the Air Force. My Mom is also my friend and my mentor. She is the reason I have served 23 years in the Air Force and am still serving. I believe that time apart just made us closer, made us appreciate each other more. She has been there every step of my career, even if we were across the world we were together in our hearts.

View the slideshow of over two dozen more photos of mothers who’ve served in uniform.

Kate Hoit is the New Media Specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is also an Iraq War Veteran.

Includes Photo Gallery

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Learn more about Defense

Weekly Address: Clean Energy to Out-Innovate the Rest of the World

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 7, 2011 at 5:30 AM EDT

Speaking from a hybrid vehicle transmission company in Indiana, the President explains how investments in a clean energy economy are the only solution to high gas prices in the long term.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Check out an infographic below on the President's approach to gas prices, or download the full size version.

Download Full Size.

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Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

The President & Vice President at Fort Campbell: "Gratitude"

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 6, 2011 at 8:16 PM EDT

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to troops at Fort Campbell, Ky., May 6, 2011. Vice President Joe Biden stands at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

.It was an emotional week, from the relief of the President's announcement that Osama bin Laden was dead to the somber rememberance of the victims in New York City. It ended on a note of gratitude, as the President and Vice President went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to welcome troops home from a deployment in Afghanistan after a private meeting honoring the military and intelligence professionals involved in the operation against bin Laden.

The Vice President:

I know many of you have just gotten home in the past few weeks -- so welcome home. And I know from experience that your families want more than anything to spend time with you. And so, every time I show up at a welcome home ceremony, I’m always worried about getting in the way. Because I remember when my son came back home from Iraq after a year, there were all these ceremonies. And I kept saying, ***, man, stop, I want to see my kid. (Laughter.)

So, anyway, I get it. So let me just say how much gratitude the President and I have, and all Americans do, for you all. You guys have been in the fight from the beginning. And the risk you’ve taken, the incredible sacrifices you’ve made, the comrades you’ve lost, the losses you’ve personally endured -- you’ve been in some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world.

I’ve been there a number of times, back up those *** mountains. I’d get a helicopter to go down 9,800 feet, and all I got on is a vest -- a bulletproof vest and a helmet and I’m out of breath climbing up about 40 clicks -- 40 feet. And you guys are up there, 60 to 80-pound packs running around. God, you’re amazing. You just are amazing. I’m in awe of the job you do, in awe of the job you do. (Applause.)

As I said back in February, I want to also thank your families. They made sacrifices as well, those intangible sacrifices -- those missed births and those missed birthdays, those missed graduations, those missed -- an occasional funeral. Perhaps more than anything else, just being missed, just not having you home.

The President:

They’re America’s “quiet professionals” -- because success demands secrecy. But I will say this. Like all of you, they could have chosen a life of ease. But like you, they volunteered. They chose to serve in a time of war, knowing they could be sent into harm’s way. They trained for years. They’re battle-hardened. They practiced tirelessly for this mission. And when I gave the order, they were ready.

Now, in recent days, the whole world has learned just how ready they were. These Americans deserve credit for one of the greatest intelligence military operations in our nation’s history. But so does every person who wears America’s uniform, the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.) And that includes all of you men and women of 101st. (Applause.)

You have been on the frontlines of this fight for nearly 10 years. You were there in those early days, driving the Taliban from power, pushing al Qaeda out of its safe havens. Over time, as the insurgency grew, you went back for, in some cases, a second time, a third time, a fourth time.

When the decision was made to go into Iraq, you were there, too, making the longest air assault in history, defeating a vicious insurgency, ultimately giving Iraqis the chance to secure their democracy. And you’ve been at the forefront of our new strategy in Afghanistan.

Sending you -- more of you -- into harm’s way is the toughest decision that I’ve made as Commander-in-Chief. I don’t make it lightly. Every time I visit Walter Reed, every time I visit Bethesda, I’m reminded of the wages of war. But I made that decision because I know that this mission was vital to the security of the nation that we all love.

Learn more about Defense, Foreign Policy, Veterans

Wounded Warriors Bring Inspiration to the White House

Posted by Darienne Page on May 6, 2011 at 5:37 PM EDT

This week, the White House was host to some truly inspiring guests: wounded veterans who are participating in the Wounded Warrior's Soldier Ride Program to raise money and awareness for other veterans struggling to recover from their injuries. Take a look at a video that aims to capture the spirit of the event; we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed having these heroes come inspire us.

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Download Video: mp4 (16.3MB) .Darienne Page is the Assistant Director of Public Engagement at the White House.

Learn more about Defense, Disabilities, Veterans

Europe: "The Cornerstone of our Engagement with the World"

Posted by Elizabeth Alexander on May 6, 2011 at 4:10 PM EDT

Speaking at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Atlantic Council on Tuesday night, Vice President Biden discussed the continued importance of a strong partnership with our European allies and partners, as well as the enduring relevance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in protecting against new and evolving threats around the world.

‪From the European Union’s role as our largest trading partner, to the significant role of NATO in Afghanistan and elsewhere, “Europe is the cornerstone of our engagement with the world and a catalyst for global cooperation,” Vice President Biden said, quoting President Obama.

Vice President Biden speaks at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Atlantic Council, May 3, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

.‪The Vice President stressed that while NATO’s membership and mission have evolved in response to the profound changes of the last two decades, our transatlantic relationship remains essential, as we move from “confrontation to cooperation with Russia” and “navigate the transformation that’s taking place in the Middle East.”

‪Vice President Biden lauded Russia’s emergence as a key partner in the greater European community, highlighting the “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations that led to a new START treaty and close cooperation on counterterrorism and nuclear nonproliferation. “Missile defense cooperation could be the next big step forward,” the Vice President said.

‪In closing, the Vice President asserted that in the next half century, one he predicted “will be just as consequential as the last,” the “lot of humanity is going to continue to depend upon…the solidarity of the Atlantic Community.”

Elizabeth Alexander is Press Secretary for the Vice President

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The President on Jobs & Gas Prices: Read His Remarks, Download the Graphic

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 6, 2011 at 1:48 PM EDT

A lot of Americans have questions about the economy – will the momentum of the past months keep up? What can we do about these gas prices eating away at our paychecks? And where will the good jobs come from for our next generation?

The jobs numbers this morning gave a positive sign on the first question, with another 268,000 private sector jobs in April bringing the total to more than 2 million over the past 14 months. The answers to the other two questions can be seen in part in factories like the one the President visited today in Indiana -- Allison Transmission. It’s a business that is creating jobs making transmissions for hybrid vehicles after a boost from a matching grant out of the President’s clean energy investments.

President Barack Obama examines a part held by Mike Clements during a tour of Allison Transmission in Indianapolis, Ind., May 6, 2011. Plant manager Mike Clements stands at right. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

.As the President put it, “This is where the jobs of the future are at”:

This is the kind of company that will make sure that America remains the most prosperous nation in the world. See, other countries understand this. We’re in a competition all around the world, and other countries -- Germany, China, South Korea -- they know that clean energy technology is what is going to help spur job creation and economic growth for years to come.

And that's why we’ve got to make sure that we win that competition. I don't want the new breakthrough technologies and the new manufacturing taking place in China and India. I want all those new jobs right here in Indiana, right here in the United States of America, with American workers, American know-how, American ingenuity. (Applause.)

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Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Posted by Kori Schulman on May 6, 2011 at 12:05 PM EDT

Ed. Note: Watch the First Lady and Dr. Biden deliver remarks at a Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Mother's Day event at the White House at 3:15 p.m. EDT on WhiteHouse.gov/live on May 3, 2011.

As President Obama stated in a proclamation, "On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, let us join together to show our service members we are taking care of their families back home as they serve our Nation across the globe."

Last month, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces, a national campaign to support our service members and their families. This morning, Dr. Biden sent this message to encourage all Americans to express their gratitude on Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Mothers Day, and everyday.

Check out the email below, and be sure to sign up for the Joining Forces email list to stay up to date on the initiative.

Good Morning,

This afternoon the First Lady and I will have the honor of welcoming a special group of women to the White House to celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Mother’s Day.

As a proud military mom and grandmother -- this day is especially meaningful to me, and always feel honored to be in the presence of our service members and their families.

In our travels, the First Lady and I have been privileged to meet so many heroes - from the moms who keep their families together while their loved ones are serving overseas -- to the grandparents who step in with much-needed support -- to the siblings and children who are strong and brave while mom or dad is away.

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The Employment Situation in April

Posted by Austan Goolsbee on May 6, 2011 at 9:52 AM EDT

Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 268,000 in April, the strongest monthly growth in five years. The economy has added 2.1 million private sector jobs over 14 consecutive months, including more than 800,000 jobs since the beginning of the year. The unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent, but remains 0.8 percentage point below its November level.

Despite headwinds from high energy prices and disruptions from the disaster in Japan, the last three months of private job gains have been the strongest in five years.While the solid pace of employment growth in recent months is encouraging, faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. We are seeing signs that the initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – are creating the conditions for companies to add new jobs and foster the industries of the future. We will continue to work with Congress to find ways to reduce spending, so that we can live within our means without neglecting the investments in education, infrastructure, and clean energy that will strengthen our economy.

In addition to the increases last month, payroll survey estimates of private sector job growth for February (now +261,000) and March (now +231,000) were revised up. Overall payroll employment rose by 244,000 in April, well above market expectations. Payroll employment grew in almost every sector. Solid employment increases occurred in retail trade (+57,100), professional and business services (+51,000), education and health services (+49,000), leisure and hospitality (+46,000), and manufacturing (+29,000). Manufacturing has added 244,000 jobs in the last 14 months, the best period of manufacturing job growth in 13 years. State and local government experienced a decline of 22,000; this sector has shed 289,000 jobs in the past 14 months, mostly in local government.

The unemployment reading in April showed a partial reversal of the 1.0 percentage point decline over the previous four months. Employment measured in the household survey dipped in April and the labor force participation rate was unchanged. The unemployment rate data derive from a separate household survey. The payroll and household surveys can differ on a monthly basis; the household survey is more volatile, but the two surveys typically show similar long-run trends in employment.

The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years, but there will surely be bumps in the road ahead. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

.Austan Goolsbee is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers

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Better Medicare In Your State

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on May 6, 2011 at 9:00 AM EDT

It’s been a little more than a year since the Affordable Care Act became law, but seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare are already reaping its benefits. Thanks to the new law, seniors have access to free preventive care and a free annual wellness visit. People who hit the Medicare prescription drug donut hole are getting a 50 percent discount on their prescription drugs. We have protected and expanded guaranteed benefits for all 47 million Americans on Medicare. And estimates indicate that the new benefits and services provided to seniors by the Affordable Care Act will save the typical senior over $3,500 over the next decade.

Today, we are releasing State-by-State charts that provide more detailed information on how seniors in your State are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act. Check out the data for your State below.

Unfortunately, some in Congress want to undo this progress and take us backwards. Under the Republican Medicare plan, a typical 65-year-old who becomes eligible for Medicare would pay an extra $6,400 than what he or she would pay if the plan were not adopted. You can learn more about the Republican plan here.

President Obama is committed to strengthening Medicare and building on the Affordable Care Act. As the new charts show, millions of seniors are already receiving better health care and paying less thanks to this landmark law – and, each year, these benefits will get even better.

Medicare After the Affordable Care Act

Lower Costs, Better Care for Seniors

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Select a Fact SheetAlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming Stephanie Cutter is Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor.

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West Wing Week: "A Good Day For America"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on May 6, 2011 at 1:00 AM EDT

This week, the President announced the death of Osama bin Laden, visited New York City to honor the victims of 9/11 and their families, made sure the federal government was doing its part in the states devastated by storms and much more.

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Vote for Your Favorite Healthy Living Innovation

Posted by Kathleen Sebelius on May 5, 2011 at 4:21 PM EDT

How can you help improve community health across the country? By sharing your opinion with us. Are you interested in healthy nutrition in the work environment? Or does physical activity for children get your vote? We want to hear from you!

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the Healthy Living Innovation Awards, an exciting chance to foster the spread of effective, community-based efforts that employ innovative approaches to promote healthy weight, physical activity, and nutrition. We asked for communities to submit creative, replicable, and sustainable innovations that demonstrate outstanding leadership and promising results---and today I’m pleased to say that by March we had received 245 applications.

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The President in NYC: "When We Say We Will Never Forget, We Mean What We Say"

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 5, 2011 at 4:12 PM EDT

previous photoPresident Barack Obama Travels To New YorkShow Gallery Info.

President Barack Obama traveled to New York, May 5, 2011, to meet with 9/11 family members, first responders, and participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the National September 11th Memorial.

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next photo .In New York City this afternoon, there was a profound mix of old grief and perhaps some new closure just a few days after the death of somebody responsible for such immense suffering in that city. The President didn’t speak as he laid a wreath at the National September 11th Memorial. And he kept it private when he met with 9/11 family members afterwards. But speaking separately to police officers from the city and firefighters at the "Pride of Midtown" Firehouse, Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 -- which lost 15 firefighters at the World Trade Center on 9/11 -- the President had messages for all of America.

To the firefighters:

This is a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day almost 10 years ago. Obviously we can't bring back your friends that were lost, and I know that each and every one of you not only grieve for them, but have also over the last 10 years dealt with their family, their children, trying to give them comfort, trying to give them support.

What happened on Sunday, because of the courage of our military and the outstanding work of our intelligence, sent a message around the world, but also sent a message here back home that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say; that our commitment to making sure that justice is done is something that transcended politics, transcended party; it didn’t matter which administration was in, it didn’t matter who was in charge, we were going to make sure that the perpetrators of that horrible act -- that they received justice.

So it’s some comfort, I hope, to all of you to know that when those guys took those extraordinary risks going into Pakistan, that they were doing it in part because of the sacrifices that were made in the States. They were doing it in the name of your brothers that were lost.

To the police:

And so since that time I know a lot of you have probably comforted loved ones of those who were lost. A lot of you have probably looked after kids who grew up without a parent. And a lot of you continue to do extraordinary -- extraordinarily courageous acts without a lot of fanfare. What we did on Sunday was directly connected to what you do every single day. And I know I speak for the military teams, the intelligence teams that helped get bin Laden in saying that we know the sacrifices and courage that you show as well, and that you are part of the team that helped us achieve our goal, but also help us keep our citizens safe each and every day.

So I couldn't be prouder of all of you. I couldn't be more grateful to you. And I hope that you know that the country will continue to stand behind you going forward, because there are still going to be threats out there and you're still going to be called on to take courageous actions and to remain vigilant, and you're going to have an entire country behind you when you do it.

#280005

Brian Sims please stop hijacking the comment section. You are a poor business man and now must face the shame you brought upon yourself and your family.

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell.

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday.

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities.

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course.

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today.

Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, thank you, Mr. President, for expressing what I think is the sentiment of decent people everywhere, in the face of this savagery and brutality.

Four innocent people were gunned down and seven new orphans were added, by people who have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything that they oppose.

I think that the President’s statement is an expression of our desire to fight against this terror. And the talks that we had, which were, indeed, open, productive, serious in the quest for peace, also centered around the need to have security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to Israel’s security. That is a fundamental element, an important foundation, of the peace that we seek and work for.

And I appreciate, Mr. President, your efforts to advance this peace for us and for our neighbors, for our region, and I think we can say, for the world.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.

And let me just say that I will be meeting with President Abbas this afternoon. He condemned this outrageous attack, as well. I have the utmost confidence in him and his belief in a two-state solution in which the people of Israel and the Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security. And so I am also grateful to him for his presence here today.

We’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be those who are going to do everything they can to undermine these talks, but we are going to remain stalwart.

And so, to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Prime Minister -- and to President Abbas, as well as to President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan, I am very grateful for their participation. I will have a longer discussion about that this afternoon after my bilateral meetings.

Thank you.

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President Obama's Address on the End of the Combat Mission in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 9:30 PM EDT

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Having returned hours earlier from a conversation with troops at Fort Bliss, Texas – troops who had seen every phase of what has become one of America’s longest wars – the President spoke to the Nation for just the second time from the Oval Office to announce the end of America’s combat role in that war. Americans in high school today may barely remember a time when America was not in combat in Iraq, and young adults – including so many of our troops who have sacrificed so much – have almost by definition gone their entire adult lives in a country divided over the war. Today, as the President put it, was a day to begin to “turn the page” – a day when America could turn its focus towards building itself back up from a devastating recession.

Over all that time, though, as the President pointed out, “there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides”:

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President Obama Salutes the Troops at Fort Bliss: "Thank You" and "Welcome Home"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 3:19 PM EDT

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Over the past week, we’ve been inviting you to join us in saluting the troops for their service. The response has been overwhelming, and has made clear that while the end of the combat mission is an appropriate time to recognize the sacrifice the troops and their military make, the gratitude is always there, and never forgotten with the American people.

It was in that same spirit that the President flew to Fort Bliss in Texas today, home to troops who have served at every stage of the Iraq War, including troops who are redeploying back home throughout the fall, and troops supporting our new support mission in Iraq.

President Barack Obama Greets Members of the Military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas

President Barack Obama greets members of the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas August 31, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President will address the nation from the Oval Office tonight at 8:00PM EDT, you can watch live here and submit questions for a live chat afterwards now. He told those listening that they would be the focus:

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Ben Rhodes Answers Your Questions About Iraq Following the President's Oval Address

Posted by Sarah Bernard on August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM EDT

Tonight at 8pm EDT, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office regarding the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. Immediately following the President's remarks, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications will answer questions directly from Americans across the country.

Now is your chance to hear the White House's response to your questions about the change of mission. Submit your questions now and vote your favorite ones to the top. Then tune in tonight at 8pm EDT to watch and participate at whitehouse.gov/live.

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New Resources for Employers and Unions to Help Keep Health Coverage Accessible and Affordable

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on August 31, 2010 at 10:58 AM EDT

If you are an employer, you know how difficult it can be to find – and provide– health insurance for your retired employees who are age 55 or older and not yet eligible for Medicare.

Some Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. And the cost of insurance can be out of reach for individuals looking to buy health coverage on their own.

Many employers would like to help their employees make this transition comfortably and provide access to health insurance past retirement. But in these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees.

The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees.

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Hurricane Katrina: The Work Continues

Posted by Chris Lu on August 31, 2010 at 10:16 AM EDT

Over the past week, we’ve been remembering the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, highlighting the progress made, and restating the Administration’s commitment to the region. This past weekend, several members of the Cabinet, the First Lady and President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast, where the President spoke about the stories of communities and families working to restore what was lost.

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Throughout our Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years of Remembering & Rebuilding series, we heard stories of dedication and restoration from across the federal government. Here are just a few examples of the Administration’s continued support for the individuals, families and communities who were affected:

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Agent Orange and Veterans: A 40-Year Wait

Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM EDT

With the unwavering support of President Obama, VA is transforming to meet its 21st Century responsibilities. Advocacy, on behalf of every generation of Veterans, is central to this transformation.

Agent Orange was a blend of herbicides used by the U.S. military, during the Vietnam conflict, to deny concealment to enemy forces. More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed to remove foliage and undergrowth. The most common, Agent Orange, was sprayed in all four military zones of South Vietnam.

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Economic Recovery for Small Businesses: Now is Not the Time to Pull Back

Posted by Karen Mills on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT

As I travel around the country, I meet many small business owners who are poised to take that next step to grow their business and create jobs. In fact, this morning’s USA Today looks at one of those business owners - Amarjit Kaur who runs a convenience store and gas station in Wood Village, OR. Amarjit has been approved for an SBA loan so she can buy the property she now leases. But today her application sits in a *** waiting for passage of the Small Business Jobs Act currently before the Senate.

Here’s what’s happening: Up until a few months ago, SBA was able to waive the fees for SBA loan borrowers. This allowed small business owners to put more money back into their business. In fact, these fee reductions will save Amarjit about $35,000. At the same time, we were able to increase the government guarantee on SBA loans, to encourage more banks and credit unions to go ahead and make SBA loans to good, creditworthy small businesses.

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Landmark: Number of Donut Hole Rebate Checks Passes One Million

Posted by Don Berwick on August 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT

Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov

On August 10th, you may have seen Jenny Backus’ post on HealthCare Notes noting that the third round of donut hole rebate checks went into the mail.

Recently, we hit a major milestone: the millionth check was sent out over the weekend.

If you haven’t heard about the rebate checks before, they are the first step in closing the prescription drug coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act. This gap is commonly referred to as the ‘donut hole.’ We know that many people with Medicare have tight budgets and some may skip or alter the medicines their doctors recommend they take in order to save money in the donut hole. That is dangerous and unacceptable. And that’s why the Affordable Care Act takes steps to close this coverage gap.

This year, as qualifying people with Medicare enter the ‘donut hole,’ Medicare will send them a tax-free, one-time rebate check for $250. Next year, if you reach the ‘donut hole,’ you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying covered brand-name prescription drugs.

If you are eligible for this assistance, remember, you don’t need to do anything special to receive the check. People who qualify for the one-time check do not need to sign up, since their checks are mailed automatically when they enter the donut hole. So just make sure to check the mailbox.

Just a reminder: you should never give out personal information to anyone who is not a trusted source. If anyone asks for your personal information you are encouraged to contact 1-800-MEDICARE and report the inquiry. You can also visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov for more information.

We hope that the latest round of checks will ease the burden on individuals recently entering the donut hole. This is just one of several ways that the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare so make sure you check out Medicare.gov and other areas of HealthCare.gov for more information.

Don Berwick is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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The President on the Economy: "Pushing This Economy Forward" vs. "The Blockade"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM EDT

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Speaking in the Rose Garden in the heat, the President began his remarks this morning on the economy by once again noting that for all the progress that's been made since "that terrible September when our economy teetered on the brink of collapse," there is much left to do -- and that millions of Americans are still struggling:

That’s why my administration remains focused, every single day, on pushing this economy forward, repairing the damage that’s been done to the middle class over the past decade, and promoting the growth we need to get our people back to work.

So, as Congress prepares to return to session, my economic team is hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference in both promoting growth and hiring in the short term, and increasing our economy’s competitiveness in the long term. Steps like extending the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire this year. Redoubling our investment in clean energy and R&D. Rebuilding more of our infrastructure for the future. Further tax cuts to encourage businesses to put their capital to work creating jobs here in the United States. And I’ll be addressing these proposals in further detail in the days and weeks to come.

Having laid out this broader agenda, though, and making clear that no one bill would be the silver bullet, the President zeroed in on the obstruction that is standing in the way of even the most immediate and obvious of steps:

And there’s currently a jobs bill before Congress that would do two big things for small business owners: cut more taxes and make available more loans. It would help them get the credit they need, and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now. And it would accelerate $55 billion of tax relief to encourage American businesses, small and large, to expand their investments over the next 14 months.

Unfortunately, this bill has been languishing in the Senate for months, held up by a partisan minority that won’t even allow it to go to a vote. That makes no sense. This bill is fully paid for. It won’t add to the deficit. And there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics.

Small business owners and the communities that rely on them, they don’t have time for political games. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer. In fact, just this morning, a story showed that small businesses have put hiring and expanding on hold while waiting for the Senate to act on this bill. Simply put: holding this bill hostage is directly detrimental to our economic growth.

So I ask Senate Republicans to drop the blockade. I know we’re entering election season. But the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things done and improve this economy.

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Newsflash! Economists Agree

Posted by Jared Bernstein on August 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT

The old adage goes that Presidents often wish for one-handed economists, to avoid all that “on the one hand, sir, we could be looking at X; though on the other hand, it could be Y.”

So when economic consensus forms around the outcome of a policy like the Recovery Act, it’s worth taking note. That’s why this article from USA Today, entitled (online) “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created 3 Million Jobs” is worth noting.

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Vice President Biden Lands in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM EDT

An update out from the White House moments ago:

Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq to participate in a Change of Command and Change of Mission Ceremony, fulfilling the commitment made by the President in his first month in office.

This is the Vice President’s sixth trip to Iraq since January 2009. The United States ends its combat mission in Iraq on August 31st, having drawn down to fewer than 50,000 troops from approximately 144,000 troops in January 2009. The remaining troops will advise and assist Iraq’s security forces, conduct partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protect U.S. civilians. In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by December 31, 2011.

President Obama will deliver a National Address on Iraq on August 31st. The Vice President’s visit at this juncture will reinforce the long-term U.S. commitment to Iraq. The Vice President will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim and other political leaders to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and to urge Iraqi leaders to conclude negotiations on the formation of a new government.

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Five Years Later, Our Commitment Continues

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on August 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM EDT

It's difficult to look back on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina with anything but sadness. Sadness for the lives lost, sadness for the displacement of so many people.

As we mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, there is still work to be done. And the Department of Transportation's (DOT) commitment to help rebuild Gulf communities remains strong.

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Five Years After Katrina: "New Orleans is Blossoming Again"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM EDT

Ed. Note: Read posts from Members of the Cabinet on Katrina recovery in our "Five Years of Remembering & Rebuilding" series.

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The President And First Lady Mark The Fifth Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

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On August 29, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet traveled to New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.

Includes Video

read the rest

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Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.

read the rest

Learn more about Health Care

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The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies.

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council.

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief.

Learn more about Foreign Policy

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Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.

read the rest

Learn more about Rural

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A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

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Working Towards Middle East Peace

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President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path.

Includes Photo Gallery

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Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell.

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday.

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities.

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course.

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today.

Report

Report

9. Written by the nightmare called United, on 20-09-2010 01:52

Working for Brian Sims is a nightmare.

United Reprographics is a sweatshop

Report

10. Written by The White House, on 02-09-2010 22:02

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Includes Video

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Education

*

Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.

read the rest

Learn more about Health Care

*

The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies.

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council.

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief.

Learn more about Foreign Policy

*

Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.

read the rest

Learn more about Rural

*

A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

previous photo

Working Towards Middle East Peace

Show Gallery Info

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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previous page page # 1 page # 2 page # 3 page # 4 page # 5 page # 6 next page

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path.

Includes Photo Gallery

read the rest

Learn more about , Foreign Policy

*

Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell.

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday.

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities.

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course.

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today.

Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, thank you, Mr. President, for expressing what I think is the sentiment of decent people everywhere, in the face of this savagery and brutality.

Four innocent people were gunned down and seven new orphans were added, by people who have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything that they oppose.

I think that the President’s statement is an expression of our desire to fight against this terror. And the talks that we had, which were, indeed, open, productive, serious in the quest for peace, also centered around the need to have security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to Israel’s security. That is a fundamental element, an important foundation, of the peace that we seek and work for.

And I appreciate, Mr. President, your efforts to advance this peace for us and for our neighbors, for our region, and I think we can say, for the world.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.

And let me just say that I will be meeting with President Abbas this afternoon. He condemned this outrageous attack, as well. I have the utmost confidence in him and his belief in a two-state solution in which the people of Israel and the Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security. And so I am also grateful to him for his presence here today.

We’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be those who are going to do everything they can to undermine these talks, but we are going to remain stalwart.

And so, to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Prime Minister -- and to President Abbas, as well as to President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan, I am very grateful for their participation. I will have a longer discussion about that this afternoon after my bilateral meetings.

Thank you.

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President Obama's Address on the End of the Combat Mission in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 9:30 PM EDT

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Having returned hours earlier from a conversation with troops at Fort Bliss, Texas – troops who had seen every phase of what has become one of America’s longest wars – the President spoke to the Nation for just the second time from the Oval Office to announce the end of America’s combat role in that war. Americans in high school today may barely remember a time when America was not in combat in Iraq, and young adults – including so many of our troops who have sacrificed so much – have almost by definition gone their entire adult lives in a country divided over the war. Today, as the President put it, was a day to begin to “turn the page” – a day when America could turn its focus towards building itself back up from a devastating recession.

Over all that time, though, as the President pointed out, “there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides”:

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President Obama Salutes the Troops at Fort Bliss: "Thank You" and "Welcome Home"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 3:19 PM EDT

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Over the past week, we’ve been inviting you to join us in saluting the troops for their service. The response has been overwhelming, and has made clear that while the end of the combat mission is an appropriate time to recognize the sacrifice the troops and their military make, the gratitude is always there, and never forgotten with the American people.

It was in that same spirit that the President flew to Fort Bliss in Texas today, home to troops who have served at every stage of the Iraq War, including troops who are redeploying back home throughout the fall, and troops supporting our new support mission in Iraq.

President Barack Obama Greets Members of the Military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas

President Barack Obama greets members of the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas August 31, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President will address the nation from the Oval Office tonight at 8:00PM EDT, you can watch live here and submit questions for a live chat afterwards now. He told those listening that they would be the focus:

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Ben Rhodes Answers Your Questions About Iraq Following the President's Oval Address

Posted by Sarah Bernard on August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM EDT

Tonight at 8pm EDT, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office regarding the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. Immediately following the President's remarks, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications will answer questions directly from Americans across the country.

Now is your chance to hear the White House's response to your questions about the change of mission. Submit your questions now and vote your favorite ones to the top. Then tune in tonight at 8pm EDT to watch and participate at whitehouse.gov/live.

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New Resources for Employers and Unions to Help Keep Health Coverage Accessible and Affordable

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on August 31, 2010 at 10:58 AM EDT

If you are an employer, you know how difficult it can be to find – and provide– health insurance for your retired employees who are age 55 or older and not yet eligible for Medicare.

Some Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. And the cost of insurance can be out of reach for individuals looking to buy health coverage on their own.

Many employers would like to help their employees make this transition comfortably and provide access to health insurance past retirement. But in these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees.

The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees.

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Hurricane Katrina: The Work Continues

Posted by Chris Lu on August 31, 2010 at 10:16 AM EDT

Over the past week, we’ve been remembering the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, highlighting the progress made, and restating the Administration’s commitment to the region. This past weekend, several members of the Cabinet, the First Lady and President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast, where the President spoke about the stories of communities and families working to restore what was lost.

Watch the video:

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Throughout our Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years of Remembering & Rebuilding series, we heard stories of dedication and restoration from across the federal government. Here are just a few examples of the Administration’s continued support for the individuals, families and communities who were affected:

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Agent Orange and Veterans: A 40-Year Wait

Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM EDT

With the unwavering support of President Obama, VA is transforming to meet its 21st Century responsibilities. Advocacy, on behalf of every generation of Veterans, is central to this transformation.

Agent Orange was a blend of herbicides used by the U.S. military, during the Vietnam conflict, to deny concealment to enemy forces. More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed to remove foliage and undergrowth. The most common, Agent Orange, was sprayed in all four military zones of South Vietnam.

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Economic Recovery for Small Businesses: Now is Not the Time to Pull Back

Posted by Karen Mills on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT

As I travel around the country, I meet many small business owners who are poised to take that next step to grow their business and create jobs. In fact, this morning’s USA Today looks at one of those business owners - Amarjit Kaur who runs a convenience store and gas station in Wood Village, OR. Amarjit has been approved for an SBA loan so she can buy the property she now leases. But today her application sits in a *** waiting for passage of the Small Business Jobs Act currently before the Senate.

Here’s what’s happening: Up until a few months ago, SBA was able to waive the fees for SBA loan borrowers. This allowed small business owners to put more money back into their business. In fact, these fee reductions will save Amarjit about $35,000. At the same time, we were able to increase the government guarantee on SBA loans, to encourage more banks and credit unions to go ahead and make SBA loans to good, creditworthy small businesses.

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Landmark: Number of Donut Hole Rebate Checks Passes One Million

Posted by Don Berwick on August 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT

Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov

On August 10th, you may have seen Jenny Backus’ post on HealthCare Notes noting that the third round of donut hole rebate checks went into the mail.

Recently, we hit a major milestone: the millionth check was sent out over the weekend.

If you haven’t heard about the rebate checks before, they are the first step in closing the prescription drug coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act. This gap is commonly referred to as the ‘donut hole.’ We know that many people with Medicare have tight budgets and some may skip or alter the medicines their doctors recommend they take in order to save money in the donut hole. That is dangerous and unacceptable. And that’s why the Affordable Care Act takes steps to close this coverage gap.

This year, as qualifying people with Medicare enter the ‘donut hole,’ Medicare will send them a tax-free, one-time rebate check for $250. Next year, if you reach the ‘donut hole,’ you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying covered brand-name prescription drugs.

If you are eligible for this assistance, remember, you don’t need to do anything special to receive the check. People who qualify for the one-time check do not need to sign up, since their checks are mailed automatically when they enter the donut hole. So just make sure to check the mailbox.

Just a reminder: you should never give out personal information to anyone who is not a trusted source. If anyone asks for your personal information you are encouraged to contact 1-800-MEDICARE and report the inquiry. You can also visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov for more information.

We hope that the latest round of checks will ease the burden on individuals recently entering the donut hole. This is just one of several ways that the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare so make sure you check out Medicare.gov and other areas of HealthCare.gov for more information.

Don Berwick is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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The President on the Economy: "Pushing This Economy Forward" vs. "The Blockade"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM EDT

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Speaking in the Rose Garden in the heat, the President began his remarks this morning on the economy by once again noting that for all the progress that's been made since "that terrible September when our economy teetered on the brink of collapse," there is much left to do -- and that millions of Americans are still struggling:

That’s why my administration remains focused, every single day, on pushing this economy forward, repairing the damage that’s been done to the middle class over the past decade, and promoting the growth we need to get our people back to work.

So, as Congress prepares to return to session, my economic team is hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference in both promoting growth and hiring in the short term, and increasing our economy’s competitiveness in the long term. Steps like extending the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire this year. Redoubling our investment in clean energy and R&D. Rebuilding more of our infrastructure for the future. Further tax cuts to encourage businesses to put their capital to work creating jobs here in the United States. And I’ll be addressing these proposals in further detail in the days and weeks to come.

Having laid out this broader agenda, though, and making clear that no one bill would be the silver bullet, the President zeroed in on the obstruction that is standing in the way of even the most immediate and obvious of steps:

And there’s currently a jobs bill before Congress that would do two big things for small business owners: cut more taxes and make available more loans. It would help them get the credit they need, and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now. And it would accelerate $55 billion of tax relief to encourage American businesses, small and large, to expand their investments over the next 14 months.

Unfortunately, this bill has been languishing in the Senate for months, held up by a partisan minority that won’t even allow it to go to a vote. That makes no sense. This bill is fully paid for. It won’t add to the deficit. And there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics.

Small business owners and the communities that rely on them, they don’t have time for political games. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer. In fact, just this morning, a story showed that small businesses have put hiring and expanding on hold while waiting for the Senate to act on this bill. Simply put: holding this bill hostage is directly detrimental to our economic growth.

So I ask Senate Republicans to drop the blockade. I know we’re entering election season. But the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things done and improve this economy.

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Newsflash! Economists Agree

Posted by Jared Bernstein on August 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT

The old adage goes that Presidents often wish for one-handed economists, to avoid all that “on the one hand, sir, we could be looking at X; though on the other hand, it could be Y.”

So when economic consensus forms around the outcome of a policy like the Recovery Act, it’s worth taking note. That’s why this article from USA Today, entitled (online) “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created 3 Million Jobs” is worth noting.

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Vice President Biden Lands in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM EDT

An update out from the White House moments ago:

Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq to participate in a Change of Command and Change of Mission Ceremony, fulfilling the commitment made by the President in his first month in office.

This is the Vice President’s sixth trip to Iraq since January 2009. The United States ends its combat mission in Iraq on August 31st, having drawn down to fewer than 50,000 troops from approximately 144,000 troops in January 2009. The remaining troops will advise and assist Iraq’s security forces, conduct partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protect U.S. civilians. In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by December 31, 2011.

President Obama will deliver a National Address on Iraq on August 31st. The Vice President’s visit at this juncture will reinforce the long-term U.S. commitment to Iraq. The Vice President will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim and other political leaders to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and to urge Iraqi leaders to conclude negotiations on the formation of a new government.

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Five Years Later, Our Commitment Continues

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on August 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM EDT

It's difficult to look back on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina with anything but sadness. Sadness for the lives lost, sadness for the displacement of so many people.

As we mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, there is still work to be done. And the Department of Transportation's (DOT) commitment to help rebuild Gulf communities remains strong.

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Five Years After Katrina: "New Orleans is Blossoming Again"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM EDT

Ed. Note: Read posts from Members of the Cabinet on Katrina recovery in our "Five Years of Remembering & Rebuilding" series.

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The President And First Lady Mark The Fifth Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

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On August 29, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet traveled to New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Education

*

Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.

read the rest

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The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies.

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council.

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief.

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Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.

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A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

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Working Towards Middle East Peace

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President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path.

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Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

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#207586

Thanks fellow poster. That did brighten my day.

Poor, Poor wittle Brian Sims.

Seriously, what a chimp. You can give a chimp a business but...

#206520

Daniel Washington is a Criminal convicted of Assult on a Girl. (That's so ***)

He filed for Bankrupcy!!!! When times were good for everyone else, poor danny!!

He has *** websites!!!

Such a hypocrite!!!!

A hypocrite despises those whom he deceives, but has no respect for himself. He would make a dupe of himself too, if he could.

Wait for the next installment of a day in the life of Danny Washington the criminal.

To Be Continued!!!

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#105186 Review #105186 is a subjective opinion of poster.

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