Jesse LeeMarch 02, 2011
01:49 PM EDT
President Obama appears briefly during the press briefing to say his thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the attack in Frankfurt as well as their families.
I want to take a brief moment just to say a few words about a tragic event that took place earlier today in Frankfurt, Germany.
I'm saddened and I am outraged by this attack that took the lives of two Americans and wounded two others. I think the American people are united in expressing our gratitude for the service of those who were lost. Michelle and I have their family and their friends in our thoughts and prayers and we are praying for a speedy recovery for those who were injured.
I want everybody to understand that we will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous act took place and in working with German authorities to ensure that all of the perpetrators are brought to justice.
We don't have all the information yet, and you will be fully briefed as we get more information. But this is a stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making all around the world to keep us safe, and the dangers that they face all around the globe.
So I think it’s fair to say that on behalf of the American people we want to extend our deepest condolences to these families. And we will give you further updates as we get more information about it.
Jeffrey ZientsMarch 02, 2011
01:09 PM EDT
In the White House Briefing Room today, I announced a new proposal to create a Civilian Property Realignment Board to help the Federal government cut through red tape and politics to sell property it no longer needs. The plan will save taxpayers $15 billion over the first three years the Board is fully up and running.
The Federal government owns 1.2 million properties across the country making it the biggest property owner in the United States, but billions of taxpayer dollars are wasted each year on government properties that are no longer needed. This includes roughly 14,000 buildings and structures currently designated as excess and thousands of others that are underutilized. These properties range from sheds to under-utilized office buildings and empty warehouses. Next month, the Administration will release detailed information on these excess properties so that the public can be better informed about this challenge
The proposal we announced today brings private-sector discipline to the management of Federal real estate and applies tactics proven successful by the Defense Department's Base Realignment and Closure Commission. It establishes an independent board of experts to expedite the disposal of unneeded properties and identifies opportunities to consolidate offices across and within agencies. The board’s recommendations will be presented to Congress in a package to be voted on in an up-or-down manner and all properties will swiftly be disposed of or consolidated.
Katelyn SabochikMarch 02, 2011
10:48 AM EDT
Last week, Nick Jonas took a short break from rehearsing for “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House” to encourage high schools to apply for the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. Check out what he had to say about it:
Applications for the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge will close next Friday, March 11, so don’t miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime. Public high schools across the country are invited to submit an application and tell us how they are preparing students for college and a career. At the end of competition, the winning school will get to have President Obama deliver its commencement address.
Applying for the Commencement Challenge is easy! The application requires three essays and some information about student achievement that should be readily accessible. The deadline for the competition is March 11 at 11:59 EST. For more information and to get started today, visit WhiteHouse.gov/Commencement.
Heather ZichalMarch 01, 2011
06:00 PM EDT
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report estimating the economic, environmental and health benefits of the Clean Air Act over the period 1990 to 2020. This report, which is designed to provide Congress and the public with comprehensive, updated, and peer-reviewed information on the Act’s costs and benefits, reaches a clear conclusion: the Clean Air Act has been an incredible investment for America.
According to the study, the direct benefits of the Clean Air Act – in the form of cleaner air and healthier, more productive Americans – are estimated to reach nearly $2 trillion in the year 2020, exceeding the costs by a factor of more than 30 to one. But this report also reminds us that the common sense provisions under the Clean Air Act are about more than economics – they are ultimately about the health of our families.
According to the report, in 2010 alone, the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the Clean Air Act prevented more than:
- 160,000 premature deaths
- 130,000 heart attacks
- 13 million lost work days
- 1.7 million asthma attacks
This report puts to rest the old argument that we can’t have a healthy economy and a healthy environment – and serves as an important reminder of the need to protect the Clean Air Act from attacks. For decades, it has brought cleaner air to our children and avoided billions in health care costs. And we need a strong Act to protect our children’s children for decades to come.
Kori SchulmanMarch 01, 2011
02:32 PM EDTViewing this video requires Adobe Flash Player 8 or higher. Download the free player.
Continuing a favorite White House tradition, the President and First Lady welcomed renowned musical artists to the White House to celebrate music that’s at the heart of the American story. As Black History Month drew to a close, Thursday’s performance fittingly paid tribute to the legendary sound of Motown. Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder took the stage alongside those influenced by generations of Motown musicians.
Join John Legend for a rare glimpse behind the scenes with performers including Jamie Foxx, Sheryl Crow, Nick Jonas, Seal, Gloriana, Jordin Sparks and more in the green room during rehearsal and backstage for the performance:
Check back soon for full performances on WhiteHouse.gov. In Performance at The White House: The Motown Sound premieres Tuesday, March 1st at 8 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide. (Check local listings.)
Secretary Ray LaHoodMarch 01, 2011
01:25 PM EDT
Today, I want to share a terrific new video, called "Transporting America: Proterra," which tells the story of Proterra, Inc, an electric bus manufacturer in Greenville, South Carolina. Thanks to federal investment, this company has been able to develop incredible zero-emissions transit buses and add hundreds of new jobs in South Carolina.Viewing this video requires Adobe Flash Player 8 or higher. Download the free player.
Last month Deputy Secretary John Porcari penned a blog for us on "Good, Green Jobs." He wrote that, "We know Americans can adopt environmentally friendly practices and create good jobs in the process."
Nowhere is that demonstrated more clearly than in Greenville, South Carolina, where Proterra, Inc, has begun manufacturing electric transit buses. More important to the Greenville community is the fact that Proterra has hired more than 120 workers, with plans to reach up to 350 workers by the end of this year and more than 1,300 by 2015.
March 01, 2011
12:11 PM EDT
In accepting the presidential nomination, John Kennedy promised “invention, innovation, imagination, decision.” Thirty-nine days after taking office, he established the Peace Corps by executive order and began to keep that promise.
The Peace Corps began for me when a call came from Millie Jeffrey, a Democratic National Committee member and active colleague in the Kennedy campaign’s Civil Rights Section (where I was deputy to Sargent Shriver). With great excitement, she told me about Kennedy’s extemporaneous talk she had heard at 2 a.m., October 14, 1960 to thousands of students, faculty, and town people waiting for him in front of the University of Michigan’s Student Union. Challenging the students, he had asked them if they were ready to spend years serving in Asia, Africa, or Latin America. Stirred by his question, Michigan students, including Millie’s daughter, had taken around a petition saying yes, they were ready – nearly one thousand had signed.
Now the students wanted to present it personally to Kennedy. Millie asked me to help arrange their doing so. The first staff man she had called showed little interest, but when she finally reached Ted Sorensen, he liked the idea and arranged the meeting. When the President learned of the petition, before seeing it, he told Ted Sorensen to start drafting a major speech proposing a Peace Corps. He gave that talk to many thousands at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on November 2, 1960. Almost everywhere Kennedy went in the last week of the campaign, he was asked about the Peace Corps. In his election eve broadcast he included the promise of a Peace Corps.
Jesse LeeMarch 01, 2011
11:30 AM EDT
On Monday afternoon, President Obama hosted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for a discussion of events in the Middle East and around the world. A readout of their meeting, provided by UN Ambassador Susan Rice during yesterday's press briefing, is below.
Katelyn SabochikMarch 01, 2011
11:22 AM EDT
The application deadline for the 2011 Race to the Top Commencement Challenge is March 11 – just ten days away! The Commencement Challenge invites public high schools across the country to demonstrate how their school best prepares them for college and a career, helping America win the future by out-educating our competitors and achieving President Obama’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. President Obama will travel to the winning school to deliver their commencement address this spring!
Earlier today, Good Morning America ran a segment on the Commencement Challenge featuring Simon Boehme, a member of Kalamazoo Central’s class of 2010, last year’s Challenge winner, and Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Check out the video on ABCNews.com.
Last week, musician John Legend was at the White House as part of the “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House” event, and he took a few moments to encourage high schools around the country to get involved in the Commencement Challenge:
Applying for the 2011 Commencement Challenge is easy. The application includes three short essays and readily available data from each school that illustrate how schools are promoting college and career readiness for all students while establishing a culture of student success and academic excellence. Applications must be submitted by Friday, March 11 at 11:59 pm EST. Apply today!
Secretary Janet NapolitanoMarch 01, 2011
07:00 AM EDT
Today marks the 8th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security. As I said in my “State of America’s Homeland Security” address in January, our nation is more secure than it was two years ago, and more secure than when DHS was founded. Nonetheless, our work never stops.
I am joining my predecessors, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, today at a public commemoration of the Department’s 8th anniversary. We’ll speak to the history and progress of the last eight years, and to the dedication and service of the more than 230,000 men and women of DHS. A live video stream of the event will be available here.
Since it was formed in 2003, DHS has achieved remarkable progress across our key missions: preventing terrorism; securing our borders; enforcing our immigration laws; securing cyberspace; and ensuring resilience to disasters.
But we know that we have more work to do to counter the evolving threats we face. We must remind ourselves that our mission – a secure homeland – requires our constant vigilance, hard work, and determination to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other threats.
As I often say, homeland security begins with hometown security. Working hand in hand with first responders, state, local, tribal and territorial governments, community groups, international partners and the private sector, we have made great strides in protecting our nation from terrorism and other threats while building a culture of resiliency and preparedness in our communities. Security is, indeed, a shared responsibility.
I invite you to watch and to learn more about how DHS is working every day to secure our nation. I look forward to the coming years, as we build on the foundation we celebrate today.
Janet Napolitano is the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
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