Tuesday, December 1, 2009

He keeps his word and makes tough decisions

"Today, after extraordinary costs, we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end. We will remove our combat brigades from Iraq by the end of next summer, and all of our troops by the end of 2011. That we are doing so is a testament to the character of our men and women in uniform. Thanks to their courage, grit and perseverance , we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to its people."

"This review is now complete. And as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan.

I do not make this decision lightly. I opposed the war in Iraq precisely because I believe that we must exercise restraint in the use of military force, and always consider the long-term consequences of our actions. We have been at war for eight years, at enormous cost in lives and resources. Years of debate over Iraq and terrorism have left our unity on national security issues in tatters, and created a highly polarized and partisan backdrop for this effort. And having just experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the American people are understandably focused on rebuilding our economy and putting people to work here at home."

"But as we end the war in Iraq and transition to Afghan responsibility, we must rebuild our strength here at home. Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power. It pays for our military. It underwrites our diplomacy. It taps the potential of our people, and allows investment in new industry. And it will allow us to compete in this century as successfully as we did in the last. That is why our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended - because the nation that I am most interested in building is our own."

Friday, October 9, 2009

He leads the world towards peace

President Obama on Friday won the Nobel Peace Prize, a stunning choice of a newly elected official who had been in office for less than two weeks before this year's nomination deadline.
Obama won the prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced, saying it had "attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee said. "In the past year Obama has been a key person for important initiatives in the U.N. for nuclear disarmament and to set a completely new agenda for the Muslim world and East-West relations."

He added that the committee endorsed "Obama's appeal that 'Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.'"
The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year's prize though it was not immediately apparent who nominated Obama.
"The exciting and important thing about this prize is that it's given too someone ... who has the power to contribute to peace," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.


Monday, September 14, 2009

He supports the health care option that doctors prefer

When polled, "nearly three-quarters of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options," says Dr. Salomeh Keyhani. She and Dr. Alex Federman, both internists and researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.
Most doctors — 63 percent — say they favor giving patients a choice that would include both public and private insurance. That's the position of President Obama and of many congressional Democrats. In addition, another 10 percent of doctors say they favor a public option only; they'd like to see a single-payer health care system. Together, the two groups add up to 73 percent.

He acts to create financial stability and control greed

Calling for "strong rules of the road" to guard against systemic risks, Obama called for closing the loopholes and giving regulators more authority.

"We'll create clear accountability and responsibility for regulating large financial firms that pose a systemic risk," he said.

"While holding the Federal Reserve fully accountable for regulation of the largest, most interconnected firms, we'll create an oversight council to bring together regulators from across markets to share information, to identify gaps in regulation and to tackle issues that don't fit neatly into an organizational chart," the president said.

The third part of the president's proposal is to strengthen international cooperation to spur global demand and address the underlying problems that caused the recession.

"Taken together, we are proposing the most ambitious overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression," he said.

Monday, August 24, 2009

He supports human rights and works to prevent torture

It could hardly be a coincidence that the White House chose to announce new procedures for the interrogation and transfer of suspected terrorists on Monday morning, just hours before embarrassing new revelations were expected about what the CIA did to detainees during the Bush years. If the release of the declassified 2004 CIA inspector general's report fills people with disgust at the use of power drills and mock executions in secret prisons, the Obama Administration wants them to know that Americans need no longer be embarrassed by how their government treats detainees.

The President has approved new recommendations for the interrogation and transfer of suspected terrorists, which were created by a task force he set up shortly after taking office. The big headline is the creation of an interagency team of interrogators, which will be known as the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG). It will be placed administratively within the FBI, but the National Security Council (NSC) will provide what senior officials described as "strategic policy guidance." Although the officials were at some pains to state that the CIA will "be a key player in this effort," the reporting structure of the HIG seems designed to limit the role of the agency.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

He works to control the effects of tobacco

President Obama cited his own long struggle to quit the cigarettes he took up as a teenager as he signed the nation's strongest-ever anti-smoking bill Monday and praised it for providing critically needed protections for future generations.

"The decades-long effort to protect our children from the harmful effects of smoking has finally emerged victorious," Obama said during the sun-splashed Rose Garden signing ceremony.

The bill marks the latest legislative victory for Obama's first five months. Among his other successes: a $787 economic stimulus bill, legislation to expand a state program providing children's health insurance and a bill making it easier for workers to sue for pay discrimination.

The president has frequently spoken, in the White House and on the campaign trail, of his own struggles to quit smoking. He did so again during the ceremony, bringing it up while criticizing the tobacco industry for marketing its products to young people.

"I know — I was one of these teenagers," Obama said. "I know how difficult it is to break this habit."

Before dozens of invited guests, including children from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the president signed legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented authority to regulate tobacco.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act allows the FDA to lower the amount of nicotine in tobacco products, ban candy flavorings that appeal to kids and block misleading labels such "low tar" and "light." Tobacco companies also will be required to cover their cartons with large graphic warnings.


He values language, pronunciates correctly and demonstrates respect for others

Thursday, April 16, 2009

He collaborates to control weapons and immigration

During the press conference, Mr. Obama directly addressed controversial issues such as immigration and the violence sparked by drug wars here. In previsit interviews, Mr. Calderón told US media that he would ask for a reinstatement of the lapsed assault-weapons ban.

Obama acknowledged that as a candidate he supported reinstating the ban that lapsed in 2004, but that it would be wiser turn to more realistic pursuits, like better enforcement of existing laws.

“I haven’t changed my opinion. [The ban] would make sense, I continue believing that,” he said. “[But] none of us is under the illusion that reinstating the ban would be easy.”

The goal, both Obama and Calderón emphasized, is not a utopian elimination of drugs and related violence, but a reduction to a more manageable level.

“Are we going to eliminate all drug flows? Are we going to eliminate all guns over the border? That’s not a not realistic objective,” Obama said. “What is a realistic objective is to reduce it so significantly – so drastically that it becomes once again a localized criminal problem as opposed to a major structural problem.”

He believes in nuclear arms reductions for all

Declaring the future of mankind at stake, President Barack Obama on Sunday said all nations must strive to rid the world of nuclear arms and that the U.S. had a "moral responsibility" to lead because no other country has used one.
A North Korean rocket launch upstaged Obama's idealistic call to action, delivered in the capital of the Czech Republic, a former satellite of the Soviet Union. But Obama dismissed those who say the spread of nuclear weapons, "the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War," cannot be checked.
"This goal will not be reached quickly - perhaps not in my lifetime," he told a cheering crowd of more than 20,000 in the historic square outside the Prague Castle gates. We "must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, 'Yes, we can."'
Few experts think it's possible to completely eradicate nuclear weapons, and many say it wouldn't be a good idea even if it could be done. Even backward nations such as North Korea have shown they can develop bombs, given enough time.
But a program to drastically cut the world atomic arsenal carries support from scientists and lions of the foreign policy world. Obama embraced that step as his first goal and chose as the venue for his address a nation that peacefully threw off communism and helped topple the Soviet Union, despite its nuclear power.
But he said his own country, with its huge arsenal and its history using two atomic bombs against Japan in 1945, had to lead the world. He said the U.S. has a "moral responsibility" to start taking steps now.
"To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians this year," he promised.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

He supports the fight against drug trafficking

"At a time when the Mexican government has so courageously taken on the drug cartels that have plagued both sides of the borders, it is absolutely critical that the United States joins as a full partner in dealing with this issue,"


Saturday, March 21, 2009

He reaches out to foreign people and governments

"We have serious differences that have grown over time," Obama said in the video. "My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community."
"This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect," he said.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

He values women, girls and family

“I sign this order not just as a president, but as a son, as a grandson, a husband and a father. I saw my grandmother work her way up to become one of the first women bank vice presidents in the state of Hawaii, but I also saw how she hit a glass ceiling—how men no more qualified than she was kept moving up the corporate ladder ahead of her.”

Obama credited his wife, Michelle, for “juggling work and parenting with more skill and grace than anybody that I know.” But the president said he was also aware that those burdens often weighed on his wife.

“I also saw how it tore at her at times. When she was at work, she was worrying about the girls. When she was with the girls she was worrying about work,” he said.

Obama said the new White House Council on Women and Girls would be chaired by his longtime friend and senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett. The director of public liaison at the White House, Tina Tchen, is to serve as executive director of the group. “It will meet on a regular basis,” the president said, without elaborating. The panel’s mandate will be to make sure that all federal agencies take into account how their policies and actions affect women and girls.

“We need to take a hard look at where we’re falling short,” Obama said.


He acts to enhance America's standing in the world

He respects human rights and international law

The Justice Department on Friday said it would raise the legal standard used to determine who can be held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, basing U.S. authority for detaining terrorism suspects on authority derived from Congress and international law — not just presidential power.

In a memorandum to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, government attorneys abandoned the nebulous phrase "enemy combatant" coined by the Bush administration, but insisting the U.S. has the right to detain suspects who "substantially supported" the Taliban, al-Qaida or associated forces.

"The president has the authority to detain persons who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or al-Qaida forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported hostilities in aid of such enemy armed forces," the government asserted in court documents.

Although the brief maintains that the president still has the authority to hold prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, it also incorporated international law and congressional authorization into its legal basis for doing so. The Bush administration had argued that detention authority was derived from the president's authority as commander-in-chief of the military.

Even as President Obama is moving to close the military prison in Cuba, more than 200 detainees are challenging their detentions by the Defense Department in the courts. The Justice Department brief was filed in response to the March 13 deadline set by the court for the U.S. to explain its detention authority.

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in a declaration to the court that the Obama administration is in the process of reviewing the detention policy for individuals detained in armed conflict and counterterrorism operations.

"As we work towards developing a new policy to govern detainees, it is essential that we operate in a manner that strengthens our national security, is consistent with our values, and is governed by law," he said in a statement. "The change we've made today meets each of those standards and will make our nation stronger."

Holder also said the administration reviewing the status of the individual detainees to determine if continued detention is lawful to decide on their disposition.

"The review shall determine whether the continued detention of any such individual is lawful and in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice," Holder told the court.

Holder said a task force of Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, the State and Defense Departments, the office of the director of National Intelligence and the Joint chiefs of Staff is reviewing disposition of individual cases and will make recommendations to senior-level officials.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

He recommends real change to improve education

"Too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a difference in the classroom," he said, delivering the first major education speech of his presidency before a meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "Too many in the Republican Party have opposed new investments in early education, despite compelling evidence of its importance."

But he argued that a far-reaching overhaul of the nation's education system is an economic imperative that can't wait despite the urgency of the financial crisis and other matters.

"Despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us," he said. "The relative decline of American education is untenable for our economy, unsustainable for our democracy, and unacceptable for our children. We cannot afford to let it continue. What is at stake is nothing less than the American dream."


He works diligently to implement change

Since entering the White House, Mr Obama has:

Ordered the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp

Outlawed the use of harsh interrogation techniques by the CIA

Enabled states to set tougher car emissions standards

Reversed the ban on federal funding for aid agencies that perform abortions

Removed "conscience" protections for health workers who refuse to issue contraception


He is a world class writer

US president Barack Obama leads the nominations for this year's British Book Awards by making the shortlist for both author and biography of the year.

Obama's political tract, The Audacity of Hope, and his life story, Dreams from My Father, became UK bestsellers during his 2008 run for office.

Dreams from My Father was written before Obama thought of entering politics and was originally published in 1995. It tells of his early life as a black boy growing up with his white grandparents and is frank about his drug use and flirtations with the Black Power movement.


Monday, March 9, 2009

He separates ideology and politics from science

"Let’s be clear: promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it is also about protecting free and open inquiry. It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda – and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.

...That is why today, I am also signing a Presidential Memorandum directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making. To ensure that in this new Administration, we base our public policies on the soundest science; that we appoint scientific advisors based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology; and that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions."


He respects and promotes scientific research

"Today, with the Executive Order I am about to sign, we will bring the change that so many scientists and researchers; doctors and innovators; patients and loved ones have hoped for, and fought for, these past eight years: we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. We will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research. And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield.

... In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research – and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly."


Thursday, March 5, 2009

He controls government waste and corporate greed

President Obama signed a directive Wednesday that changes the way government contracts are awarded and who can get them, a move he said could save as much as $40 billion a year.
The amount the government spends on contracting has ballooned over the past eight years, with outlays for goods and services increasing from $200 billion in 2000 to more than $500 billion in 2008. The president said his plan would make the contracting process more competitive and accessible to independent contractors — and more difficult for contractors to defraud taxpayers.
"It's time for this waste and inefficiency to end," the president said Wednesday morning at the White House. "It's time to invest only in what works."

He acts to control escalating healthcare costs

US President Barack Obama has begun public consultations on how to reform the country's health care system. More than 120 health experts have gathered at the White House to discuss possible ways forward.
The US spends more than $2 trillion a year on health care, although nearly 50m people have no medical insurance.

Mr Obama made public health a key part of his election campaign and has pledged to make quality and affordable care available to everyone in the US.

He told the experts at the health forum - including doctors, nurses, insurance professionals and lawmakers - there would be no "sacred cows" in the discussions.

"In this effort, every voice must be heard. Every idea must be considered. Every option must be on the table," he said. Mr Obama said there could be "no debate" about whether all Americans should have access to decent, affordable health care: "The only question is, how?"

Attempts by previous administrations to reform the massively expensive system have collapsed in disagreements.

But Mr Obama said America's soaring health care costs were now "the biggest threat to our nation's balance sheet" and that anyone seeking to block reforms would "not prevail this time".

He moves to protect the environment and reduce America's addiction to foreign oil

"Because our future depends on our ability to break free from oil that's controlled by foreign dictators, we need to make clean, renewable energy into a profitable kind of energy," Obama said at a news conference Wednesday. "That's why we'll be working with Congress on legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy."

President Obama promised more money for conservation and renewable energy in his budget outline Wednesday, paid for in part by a mandatory cap on greenhouse gases.
The programs, originally laid out in the stimulus bill, include an effort to double the production of renewable energy in three years, primarily through tax breaks and loan guarantees for the industry.
The budget summary also increases funding for energy conservation in government buildings and private homes. It provides more money for cleaner coal-fired power plants, and to transform the country's aging electric grid.

He rebuilds broken foreign relationships

As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the first time on Friday, it is time for the new atmospherics to start being turned into new policies.

The meeting in Geneva follows a decision on Thursday by Nato foreign ministers - Mrs Clinton among them - to resume relations between Nato and Russia. These were broken off after the Russian action in Georgia last year.
The Clinton-Lavrov talks will be followed by the first meeting between Presidents Obama and Medvedev on 2 April in London, where they will both attend the G20 economic summit.
So, as Vice-President Jo Biden recently said it would be, the reset button on US relations with Russia has been pressed. Mrs Clinton has herself spoken of a "fresh start."

He uses soft power to protect American interests

Russia today signalled that it is ready to accept a secret offer made by Barack Obama to drop US plans for a European missile defence system in return for Moscow's help in dealing with Iran.

Obama's move is a bold one aimed at breaking the stalemate, which has lasted years, over attempts at preventing Iran securing a nuclear weapons capability.

Obama made the extraordinary offer last month in a letter to the Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, hand-delivered to the Russian government by US officials in Moscow. Officials told the New York Times that while it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow an incentive to join the United States in a common front against Iran.

Medvedev responded today by sayingthat Moscow will cooperate with Washington in dealing with the Iranian nuclear standoff, but confirmed there was no talk about a quid pro quo on missile defense and Iran.

Monday, March 2, 2009

He acts against torture

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ruled out the use of "waterboarding" as an interrogation technique for terrorism suspects on Monday, calling it a form of torture that the Obama administration could never condone.

Holder's declaration underscored President Barack Obama's break with the former Bush administration's anti-terrorist policies, which were condemned around the world by human-rights groups, civil liberties advocates and U.S. allies.

"Waterboarding is torture. My Justice Department will not justify it, will not rationalize it and will not condone it," Holder, who his heading a review of the treatment of terrorism suspects, said in a speech to the Jewish Council of Public Affairs in Washington. His vow was greeted by applause.


He exposes lies and deceit

The Obama administration threw open the curtain on years of Bush-era secrets Monday, revealing anti-terrorism memos that claimed exceptional search-and-seizure powers and divulging that the CIA had destroyed 92 videotapes of interrogations and other treatment of terrorism suspects.

The Justice Department released nine legal opinions showing that following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration determined that certain constitutional rights would not apply during the coming fight. Within two weeks, government lawyers were already discussing ways to wiretap U.S. conversations without warrants.

The Bush administration eventually abandoned many of the legal conclusions, but the documents themselves had been closely held. By releasing them, President Barack Obama continued a housecleaning of the previous administration's most contentious policies.

"Too often over the past decade, the fight against terrorism has been viewed as a zero-sum battle with our civil liberties," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a speech a few hours before the documents were released. "Not only is that school of thought misguided; I fear that in actuality it does more harm than good."


He chooses hungry children over rich farmers

Vilsack said he already has heard concerns about the Obama administration's plan to redirect subsidy payments for large farmers into nutrition programs as a way to help end hunger by 2015 and stem the rising tide of childhood obesity.

"We will do our best to frame this discussion in that way, so that people understand: 30 million children, 90,000 farmers," Vilsack told Reuters after speaking to people who work with the nation's food banks and anti-poverty groups.

"It is a tough choice, but it's a choice that folks are going to have to make," he said.
President Barack Obama last week outlined what some have called one of the most ambitious agendas for social change ever seen in the United States, pledging to raise taxes on the rich to boost services for those lower on the economic ladder.

For his first budget, he proposed phasing out direct payments to farmers with sales of more than $500,000 a year, to save $9.8 billion over 10 years, or roughly one-fifth of the $5.2 billion spent annually on the payments.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

He is ending the unjust war

President Obama outlined on Friday his plan to withdraw American combat forces from Iraq by August 2010, promising to dramatically scale back one of the nation's longest and costliest military efforts.
"Let me say this as plainly as I can: By Aug. 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," Obama told U.S. Marines in a speech at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

He is left handed

Friday, February 20, 2009

He appreciates and uses technology

Want Obama wants, Obama gets. Scoring the first major victory of his nascent term, the White House announced today that President Barack Obama will indeed keep his BlackBerry (eat it, Sectera Edge). President Obama will use the BlackBerry to keep in touch with “senior staff and a small group of personal friends.” As we’ve mentioned previously, Obama’s decision will have significant effects on the transparency of his communications.
Gibbs said the presumption from the White House counsel’s office is that e-mails will be subject to the Presidential Records Act, the law that requires the National Archives to preserve presidential records. But he also said that some exemptions in the law allow for “strictly personal communications.” He did not say how that classification would be determined but made clear that the device could be used for both business and personal communication.
How did Obama get the deal done? By turning the NSA loose on his BlackBerry:
On Monday, a government agency said that the Obama administration — but that is probably the National Security Agency — added to a standard BlackBerry a super-encryption package…. and Obama WILL be able to use it … still for routine and personal messages.

He keeps to his word

President Barack Obama approved adding some 17,000 U.S. troops for the flagging war in Afghanistan, his first significant move to change the course of a conflict that his closest military advisers have warned the United States is not winning.

"This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires," Obama said in a statement.

That was a slap at his predecessor, George W. Bush, whom Obama has accused of slighting urgent national security needs in Afghanistan in favor of war in Iraq.

The White House said the new commander in chief would send a Marine unit and one additional Army brigade to Afghanistan this spring and summer. About 8,000 Marines are expected to go first, followed by an Army brigade totaling about 4,000 troops, and 5,000 support forces. The United States has slightly more than 30,000 troops in the country now.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

He outmaneuvers the opposition

But we do know this much. Just as in the presidential campaign, Obama has once again outwitted the punditocracy and the opposition. The same crowd that said he was a wimpy hope-monger who could never beat Hillary or get white votes was played for fools again.

The G.O.P. doesn’t recognize that it emerged from the stimulus battle even worse off than when it started. That obliviousness gives the president the opening to win more ambitious policy victories than last week’s. Having checked the box on attempted bipartisanship, Obama can now move in for the kill.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

He promotes community service

"We are one people; We are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America's story"


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

He acts on the environment

On Monday morning, President Barack Obama signed executive orders that could speed the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles by improving fuel economy and setting stricter emissions standards. While the technology exists to reach the stricter standards, it's not clear that automakers can implement them fast enough. What's more, additional policy measures may be needed to reduce overall fuel consumption.
Obama signed two orders on Monday. One required the Department of Transportation (DOT) to enforce a law that will increase fuel-economy standards to a minimum of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The law was passed in 2007, but detailed rules telling automakers how to comply were never implemented by the Bush administration. The second order signed by the president calls for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revisit a request from the state government of California asking for permission to implement emissions standards that are more strict than federal rules. Those standards call for decreasing carbon-dioxide emissions from new vehicles by 30 percent by 2016; more than a dozen other states have since followed California's example. Under President Bush, that request was denied, but experts say it's likely that the EPA will now approve it.

He protects the health of children

US President Barack Obama has signed a bill to expand government-funded health insurance to cover an additional four million children. He acted just hours after the House of Representatives backed the $32.8bn (£23bn) expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Programme.


He calls it like it is

"And I'm happy to get good ideas from across the political spectrum, from Democrats and Republicans. What I won't do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place, because those theories have been tested, and they have failed. And that's what part of the election in November was all about."

"We can't posture and bicker and resort to the same failed ideas that got us in into this mess in the first place"

"I can't tell you with 100% certainty that every single item in this plan will work exactly as we hoped, but what I can tell you is... that endless delay and paralysis in Washington, in the face of this crisis, will only bring deepening disaster."


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

He controls corporate greed

US President Barack Obama has announced a $500,000 (£355,000) limit on executive pay at US firms that need substantial fresh government aid. The move follows widespread public anger over the levels of pay on Wall Street, but is not expected to be applied retrospectively. President Obama said it was "shameful" that top bankers had awarded themselves giant bonuses last year. He added that taxpayers should not be "subsidizing excessive compensation". In addition to the limit on basic pay, Mr Obama said if affected executives receive any further bonuses, they "will come in the form of stock that can't be paid up until taxpayers are paid back for their assistance".

Firms will also have to publicly disclose "all the perks and luxuries bestowed upon senior executives, and provide an explanation to taxpayers and to shareholders as to why these expenses are justified". "We're asking these firms to take responsibility, to recognize the nature of this crisis and their role in it," said the president.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

He values kids and their education

"We're very proud of what's been accomplished at this school and we want to make sure that we're duplicating that success all across the country," Obama told the students, who were about the same age as his youngest daughter, seven-year-old Sasha.

He owns up to his mistakes

"I think I screwed up," Obama said in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. "And, I take responsibility for it and we're going to make sure we fix it so it doesn't happen again."

Monday, February 2, 2009

He understands and appreciates the value of science

Obama taps a Nobel physicist for his Cabinet

This work by Steven is pretty cool: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/seminars/chu/chu.pdf

He can write

"What I do know is that history returned that day with a vengeance; that, in fact, as Faulkner reminds us, the past is never dead and buried -- it isn't even past. This collective history, this past, directly touches my own. Not merely because the bombs of Al Qaeda have marked, with an eerie precision, some of the landscapes of my life -- the buildings and roads and faces of Nairobi, Bali, Manhattan; not merely because, as a consequence of 9/11, my name is an irresistible target of mocking websites from overzealous Republican operatives. But also because the underlying struggle -- between worlds of plenty and worlds of want; between the modern and the ancient; between those who embrace our teeming, colliding, irksome diversity, while still insisting on a set of values that binds us together, and those who would seek, under whatever flag or slogan or sacred text, a certainty and simplification that justifies cruelty toward those not like us -- is the struggle set forth, on a miniature scale, in this book. I know, I have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless: how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi in much the same way as it does the lives of children on Chicago's South Side, how narrow the path is for them between humiliation and untrammeled fury, how easily they slip into violence and despair. I know that the response of the powerful to this disorder -- alternating as it does between a dull complacency and, when the disorder spills out of its proscribed confines, a steady, unthinking application of force, of longer prison sentences and more sophisticated military hardware -- is inadequate to the task. I know that the hardening of lines, the embrace of fundamentalism and tribe, dooms us all."


He understands race

He cracks down on influence peddling

When President Obama was campaigning for the job, he promised to change the culture of lobbying and influence peddling in Washington. Bob Kaiser is a senior correspondent with The Washington Post and the author of the book So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government. He talks with Renee Montagne about the president's efforts to end influence peddling.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

He supports equal pay for women

"Equal pay is by no means just a women's issue -- it's a family issue. It's about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition and child care; couples who wind up with less to retire on; households where one breadwinner is paid less than she deserves; that's the difference between affording the mortgage -- or not; between keeping the heat on, or paying the doctor bills -- or not. And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month's paycheck to simple and plain discrimination. "


Thursday, January 29, 2009

He slams Wall Street bonuses

President Barack Obama says that multi-billion dollar bonuses taken by Wall Street bankers are "shameful" while taxpayers bail out their industry.

The president said their actions "were the height of irresponsibility".
He said his administration would tell bankers they needed to show some discipline and restraint.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

He reaches out to the Muslim world

US President Barack Obama has used his first formal TV interview since taking office to reach out to the Muslim world - saying Americans are not its enemy.

Speaking to the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya network, Mr Obama reiterated that the US would extend the hand of friendship to Iran if it "unclenched its fist".


He wears out his shoes

He puts government spending details on-line

"And we will launch a sweeping effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government, and every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars by going to a new website called recovery.gov. Because I firmly believe with Justice Brandeis that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and I know that restoring transparency is not only the surest way to achieve results, but also to earn back that trust in government without which we cannot deliver the changes the American people sent us here to make."