Read all posts from April 2011

  • It seems sacrifice is on the minds of most everyone these days. In homes across the country working families are cutting back and learning how to do more with less. Military families are making the ultimate sacrifice – that of a loved one – to keep the rest of us safe. On top of trying to pay bills, put food on the table and raise children, many military spouses have to go at it alone, worried about the safety of their loved one abroad.

    My older brother served in the army and was stationed in Korea. I remember what it was like not having him around, sending letters, photos, care packages and such. It was hard on my mom because he wasn't home. Not having him around much and having been raised by working parents, I learned early on what it was like to do more with less. In my family, sacrifice was something my parents practiced on a daily basis to give me and my siblings a better life.

    Today, countless military families continue to do the same. In many ways, they have to work twice as hard. While I wasn’t raised by military parents, I did have a loved one who served abroad, and I do know about sacrifice. And I also know how important it is to give back.

    First Lady Michelle Obama greets people following her remarks at a SEARS distribution center 1

    First Lady Michelle Obama greets people following her remarks at a SEARS distribution center in Columbus, Ohio, April 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy) April 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

  • Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (74MB) | mp3 (7MB)

    This afternoon the President congratulated the winners of the proud three-way rivalry between the Army, Navy and Air Force Academy football teams.  Noting the presence of Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, Lieutenant General Michael Gould, and the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz, he gave all appropriate respect to the players who serve their country:

    Most of all, though, I want to congratulate the cadets who are standing behind me.  Until this year, no one on this team knew what it felt like to beat Army, to beat Navy, to visit the White House, and to earn football bragging rights over the other branches.  Now you know the feeling.  (Applause.)  They also know what it feels like not just to be a good service academy team, but to be a good team, period.  Put up 350 rushing yards against Oklahoma.  Finished 9-4 after what Coach Calhoun called the toughest schedule a service academy ever played.  And to cap it all off, to win in a bowl game against Georgia Tech.  (Applause.)  That’s impressive.  Georgia Tech has three times as many students. 

    Of course, I hear the victory that was sweetest of all was finally beating that Navy team.  I’m told that as soon as the final whistle blew, the loudspeakers started blasting Etta James singing “At Last.”  (Laughter.)  The entire cadet wing -– usually some of the most disciplined young men and women you’ll ever see -– just rushed the field and sang the alma mater with the team.

    So this is a group that has a lot to be proud of.  But, obviously, the most impressive thing about these young men, the thing that sets them apart, is that being a football player isn’t what defines them.  They’re airmen first.  And more important than any bowl game or trophy is the commitment that they’ve made to serve this country.

    That’s why last summer, when almost every other Division I team was working out and running through drills together, these players were scattered around the world learning the skills they needed long after they take off their jerseys and hang up their helmets. 

  • I have good news. Today, the Department of Energy offered a $2.1 billion conditional commitment  loan guarantee to support a concentrating solar thermal power plant near Blythe, California. This is the largest amount ever offered to a solar project through our the Department's Loan Programs Office.

    The loan will support two units of the Blythe Solar Power Project that will have a combined 484 megawatt generating capacity. These units are part of a larger project, sponsored by Solar Trust of America, that when completed will generate 1,000 megawatts of solar power, enough to power 95,000 homes a year.

    The project is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs and is estimated to avoid more than 710,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 123,000 vehicles.

  • Tonight and tomorrow night, Jewish families and friends in the United States and around the world will gather for Seders to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and the triumph of hope and perseverance over injustice and oppression. For most Jewish families, the Passover meal is full traditions passed down through the generations like the maror, or bitter herbs, which symbolize the bitterness of slavery in Egypt or the matzoh, unleavened bread, which recalls the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt – giving them no time to allow their bread to rise.

    While some families hold the secret to the fluffiest matzoh balls in town, others have created new traditions to share with their families and friends.

    Here at the White House tonight, President and Mrs. Obama will again host a small Seder, complete with recipes provided by friends and family.  It’s a tradition that started in Pennsylvania in 2008, when after a long day on the campaign trail then-Senator Obama gathered a group of staffers – Jewish and non-Jewish alike – for an impromptu Seder.  Each year since, the same group, along with a few close friends and family, have come together to carry on the tradition at the White House.  Among the family recipes on the menu this year are a traditional chicken soup with matzoh balls, braised beef brisket, potato kugel, carrot soufflé, and matzoh chocolate cake.

  • Today, the President released his 2010 federal income and gift tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax return jointly and reported an adjusted gross income of $1,728,096. The vast majority of the family’s income is the proceeds from the sale of the President’s books. The Obamas paid $453,770 in total federal tax. 

    The President and First Lady also reported donating $245,075 – or about 14.2% of their adjusted gross income – to 36 different charities.  The largest reported gift to charity was a $131,075 contribution to the Fisher House Foundation.  The President is donating the after-tax proceeds from his children’s book to a Fisher House scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled soldiers.  The President and First Lady also released their Illinois income tax return and reported paying $51,568 in state income taxes.

  • Watch as President Obama personally invites you to participate in his “Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity” facebook town hall event on Wednesday, April 20th at 1:45 pm PT / 4:45 pm ET live online from Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California. The event will be live streamed on facebook at facebook.com/WhiteHouse or https://apps.facebook.com/facebooklive/ and at WhiteHouse.gov/live

    Watch the video here and RSVP for the event at facebook.com/WhiteHouse.

    After the event, be sure to stay tuned for our Women and Technology panel with White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and the Startup America panel with Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee.  Learn more about these events and find out how you can get involved at: http:/www.facebook.com/WhiteHouse

    And be sure to “like” the White House on facebook to stay up to date with the latest news, events and ways to engage with President Obama and other senior advisors.