The Supreme Court is ruling on "Obamacare".

The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution in the 1970s and 1980s. It would have given men and women full equality under the law. However, today the Supreme Court is trying to decide if the government has the right  to mandate equality if it comes to healthcare. 
The United States has become a two class society, with the ones who have all and the ones who have very little or nothing. Sure the ones who have all  want the Supreme Court to overturn this new Healthcare-law which would give everyone  healthcare because they have insurance. They have the money to buy the best insurance available. 
So what about the ones who can’t pay for their medical bills? 
Should they just simply die because the conservative Supreme Court things it is too much government involvement? 
Isn’t one of the jobs of our government to protect and serve all people not just the wealthiest?


President Barack Obama Weekly Address March 24, 2012(Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday March 24, 2012
Hello.  This week, I traveled across the country to talk about my all-of-the-above energy strategy for America – a strategy where we produce more oil and gas here at home, but also more biofuels and fuel-efficient cars; more solar power and wind power and other sources of clean, renewable energy.
Now, you wouldn’t know it by listening to some of the folks running for office today, but producing more oil at home has been, and will continue to be, a key part of my energy strategy.  Under my Administration, we’re producing more oil than at any other time in the last eight years.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  And we’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the entire Earth and then some.  Those are the facts.
But as I’ve been saying all week, even though America uses around 20 percent of the world’s oil, we only have around 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  So even if we drilled everywhere, we’d still be relying on other countries for oil.
That’s why we’re pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy.  We’re producing more biofuels.  More fuel-efficient cars.  More solar power.  More wind power.  This week, I was in Boulder City, Nevada, where they’ve got the largest solar plant of its kind anywhere in the country.  That’s the future.  I was at Ohio State University, where they’ve developed the fastest electric car in the world.  That’s the future.  I don’t want to cede these clean energy industries to China or Germany or any other country.  I want to see solar panels and wind turbines and fuel-efficient cars manufactured right here in America, by American workers.
Now, getting these clean energy industries to locate here requires us to maintain a national commitment to new research and development.  But it also requires us to build world-class transportation and communications networks, so that any company can move goods and sell products all around the world as quickly and efficiently as possible.
So much of America needs to be rebuilt right now.  We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges.  A power grid that wastes too much energy.  An incomplete high-speed broadband network.  And we’ve got thousands of unemployed construction workers who’ve been looking for a job ever since the housing market collapsed.
But once again, we’re waiting on Congress.  You see, in a matter of days, funding will stop for all sorts of transportation projects.  Construction sites will go idle.  Workers will have to go home.  And our economy will take a hit.
This Congress cannot let that happen.  Not at a time when we should be doing everything in our power – Democrats and Republicans – to keep this recovery moving forward.  The Senate did their part.  They passed a bipartisan transportation bill.  It had the support of 52 Democrats and 22 Republicans.  Now it’s up to the House to follow suit; to put aside partisan posturing, end the gridlock, and do what’s right for the American people.
This is common sense.  Right now, all across this country, we’ve got contractors and construction workers who have never been more eager to get back on the job.  A long term transportation bill would put them to work.  And those are good jobs.  We just released a report that shows nearly 90 percent of the construction, manufacturing and trade jobs created through investments in transportation projects are middle class jobs.  Those are exactly the jobs we need right now, and they’ll make the economy stronger for everybody.
We’ve done this before.  During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.  After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways.  Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.
So tell Congress that if we invest in new technology and new energy; in new roads and bridges and construction projects, we can keep growing our economy, put our people back to work, and remind the world why the United States is the greatest nation on Earth.
Thanks and have a great weekend.


What about Obamacare?

This is a great introduction to the problem, a problem especially to the Republican Party right now. 
 Watch the discussion with Ali Velshi and Fareed Zakaria on how to fix U.S. health care. 
 Notice that Fareed Zakaria points out that the single payer-system works well and he uses Taiwan as an example! 
 Moreover Fareed Zakaria draw attention to the fact that we should learn lessons from Britain, Switzerland and Taiwan. 


Weekly Address: Ending Subsidies for Big Oil Companies(Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Hi, everybody.  As I’m sure you’ve noticed over the past few weeks, the price at your local pump has been going up and up.  And because it’s an election year, so has the temperature of our political rhetoric.
What matters most to me right now is the impact that rising prices have on you.  When you’ve got to spend more on gas, you’ve got less to spend on everything else.  It makes things harder.  So I wanted to take a minute this weekend to explain what steps my Administration is taking when it comes to energy – most importantly, producing more of it while using less of it.
The truth is: the price of gas depends on a lot of factors that are often beyond our control.  Unrest in the Middle East can tighten global oil supply.  Growing nations like China or India adding cars to the road increases demand.  But one thing we should control is fraud and manipulation that can cause prices to spike even further.
For years, traders at financial firms were able to game the energy markets, distort the price of oil, and make big profits for themselves at your expense.  And they were able to do all that because of major gaps and loopholes in our regulations.  When I took office, we did something about it.
The Wall Street reforms I signed into law are helping bring energy markets out of the shadows and under real oversight.  They’re strengthening our ability to go after fraud and to prevent traders from manipulating the market.  So it’s not just wrong, but dangerous that some in Congress want to roll back those protections and return to the days when companies like Enron could avoid regulation and reap enormous profits, no matter who it hurt.
What’s more, at a time when big oil companies are making more money than ever before, we’re still giving them $4 billion of your tax dollars in subsidies every year.  Your member of Congress should be fighting for you.  Not for big financial firms.  Not for big oil companies.
In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies.  And when they do, we’re going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people.  They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century, or they can place their bets on America’s future.   So make your voice heard.  Send your representative an email.  Give them a call.  Tell them to stand with you.
And tell them to be honest with you.  It’s easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices.  There just isn’t one.  Anyone who tells you otherwise – any career politician who promises some three-point plan for two-dollar gas – they’re not looking for a solution.  They’re just looking for your vote.
If we’re truly going to make sure we’re not at the mercy of spikes in gas prices every year, the answer isn’t just to drill more – because we’re already drilling more.  Under my Administration, we’re producing more oil here at home than at any time in the last eight years, that’s a fact. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high, that’s a fact.  And we’ve opened millions of acres on land and offshore to develop more of our domestic resources.
Those are the facts.  But we can’t just rely on drilling.  Not when we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but still only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  If we don’t develop other sources of energy, and the technology to use less energy, we’ll continue to be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs.  That’s why we’re pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy.  As we develop more oil and gas, we’re also developing wind and solar power; biofuels, and next-generation vehicles – and thousands of Americans have jobs right now because of it.  We need to keep making those investments – because I don’t want to see those jobs go to other countries.  I want to create even more of them right here in America.
And after three decades of inaction, we raised fuel economy standards so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon.  That’s nearly double what they get today.  That means you’ll only have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week.  And that will save the typical family more than $8,000 over the life of the car – just by using less gas.
Combined, these steps have helped put us on a path to greater energy independence.  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  In 2010, for the first time in 13 years, less than half the oil we used came from foreign countries.
We can do even better.  And we will.  But what we can’t do is keep being dependent on other countries for our energy needs.  In America we control our own destiny.   So that’s the choice we face – the past, or the future.  And America is what it is today because we have always placed our bets on the future.  Thanks, and have a great weekend.


In 17-Minute Video, Narrative Arc for a Presidency

President Obama at the State Dinner for Prime Minister Cameron (Video/Transcript)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Good evening, everyone.  Please have a seat.  Welcome to the White House.  I was just telling the Prime Minister that, so far, the evening has been successful because I have not stepped on Michelle's train.  (Laughter.)  My main goal this evening.  Michelle and I could not be more honored that you could join us as we host our great friends -- the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, and his remarkable wife, Samantha.  You can give them a round of applause -- why not?  (Applause.)
As I said this morning, this visit also gives us an opportunity to return the gracious hospitality that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, as well as David and Samantha and all the British people showed us during our visit to London last year.  And I know Michelle looks forward to returning.  Because, as she announced yesterday, she will be leading the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in London.  (Applause.)  I am jealous.  (Laughter.)
Now, I’m so grateful for all the time that David and I have had together.  But as we’ve learned, you can never tell how things will get reported as a consequence of our interactions.  When we met two years ago, we exchanged beers from our hometowns.  One news story said:  “David Cameron and Barack Obama cemented their special relationship -- by hitting the bottle.”  (Laughter.)
When we had a barbeque at Downing Street for some of our servicemembers, David and I rolled up our sleeves, threw away the aprons, decided to flip the burgers ourselves.  One reporter called it a “brave and foolish move.”  (Laughter.)  Another expressed amazement at our “surprising competence.”  (Laughter.)  Michelle and Samantha often remark the same way.  (Laughter.)
And finally, when David and I got beat pretty badly in table tennis by some local London kids, one newspaper asked the head coach of the British Olympic women’s team to critique our performance.  Obama, the coach said, “talked a lot.”  (Laughter.)  David “overhits the ball.”  (Laughter.)  Both of them -- I’m quoting here --“looked a little confused.”  (Laughter.)
But in moments like that, and in all of our interactions -- including today -- I’ve learned something about David.  In good times and in bad, he’s just the kind of partner that you want at your side.  I trust him.  He says what he does, and he does what he says.  And I’ve seen his character.  And I’ve seen his commitment to human dignity, during Libya.  I’ve seen his resolve, his determination to get the job done, whether it’s righting our economies or succeeding in Afghanistan.
And I will say something else, David.  All of us have seen how you, as a parent, along with Samantha, have shown a measure of strength that few of us will ever know.  Tonight, I thank you for bringing that same strength and solidarity to our partnership -- even if you do overhit the ball.  (Laughter.)
We are by no means the first President and Prime Minister to celebrate the deep and abiding bonds between our people.  There has been no shortage of words uttered about our special relationship.  And I was humbled to offer my own last year when I had the opportunity to address Parliament in Westminster Hall.
So, rather than words, I’d like to leave you tonight with two simple images.  They’re from different times and places, decades apart.  But they’re moments, I think, that reveal the spirit of our alliance and the character of our countries.
The first is from the Blitz, when, month after month, the British people braved the onslaught from the sky.  And one of those most enduring images from those days is of the London skyline, covered in smoke, with one thing shining through -- the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, tall and proud and strong.  The other image we know from our own lives -- from that awful September day, that unforgettable picture of the Manhattan skyline, covered in smoke and dust, with one thing shining through -- our Statue of Liberty, tall and proud and strong.
In those two moments I think you see all you need to know about who we are and what brings us together tonight.  In war and in peace, in times of plenty and times of hardship, we stand tall and proud and strong, together.  And as free peoples committed to the dignity of all human beings, we will never apologize for our way of life, nor waver in its defense.
It’s why David’s grandfather fought alongside us Yanks after D-Day; why my grandfather marched across Europe in Patton’s army.  It’s why tonight, at dusty bases in Afghanistan, both American and British soldiers are getting ready to go on patrol, like generations before them, shoulder to shoulder.  It’s why our diplomats and development workers are side by side, standing with the activists who dare to demand their rights, save a child from drought or famine.
It’s why leaders of our two countries can embrace the same shared heritage and the promise of our alliance -- even if we come from different political traditions; even if the Prime Minister is younger than nearly 200 years of his predecessors; even if the President looks a little different than his predecessors.  And David, it’s why, tonight, our young children -- and children across our countries -- can sleep well, knowing that we’re doing everything in our power to build a future that is worthy of their dreams.
So, in closing, let me just say that I intended to make history tonight.  I thought that I could be the first American President to make it through an entire visit of our British friends without quoting Winston Churchill.  (Laughter.)  But then I saw this great quote and I thought, “Come on, this is Churchill!”  (Laughter.)  So I couldn’t resist.
It was December 1941, and the attack on Pearl Harbor had finally thrust America into war, alongside our British friends.  And these were the words Sir Winston spoke to his new American partners:  “I will say that he must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below, of which we have the honor to be the faithful servants.”
And so I'd like to propose a toast:  To Her Majesty the Queen, on her Diamond Jubilee; to our dear friends, David and Samantha; and to the great purpose and design of our alliance.  May we remain, now and always, its faithful servants.  Cheers, everyone.
(A toast is offered.)
David.  (Applause.)
PRIME MINISTER CAMERON:  President Obama, First Lady, ladies and gentlemen:  It is a tremendous honor to be here this evening. And I want to thank you for putting on such a great dinner, and for making our visit so special over the last two days.  And thank you also for those strong and beautiful words that you've just spoken.
Now, Michelle, I'm sure that, like Sam, you often wonder what happens when your husband goes for a night out with the guys.  (Laughter.)  So maybe I should come clean about last night.  (Laughter.)  We went to basketball and we had a real man-to-man chat.  Barack tried to confuse me by talking about bracketology -- (laughter) -- but I got my own back by running him gently through the rules of cricket.  (Laughter.)
The truth is we have to have a guys' night out because so often we find we are completely overshadowed by our beautiful wives.  (Applause.)
As I rolled into bed last night, I said, "Samantha, do you want to hear about what I got up to on this great guys' night out?"  And she -- she's not too impressed by these things.  She said, "Well, everything you did was on television.  You were surrounded by the presidential bodyguard, so presumably you didn’t get up to anything."  (Laughter.)
Now, both Barack and I have said a lot today about the importance of the relationship between our two countries and our peoples.  Like my predecessors, I'm proud of our essential relationship and of Britain's strong national bond with the United States of America.  I feel it in my bones.
Now, there is, of course a great history of close relationships between U.S. Presidents and British Prime Ministers.  Importantly, these have been regardless of the political parties they happen to represent.  Her Majesty the Queen is a great authority on the matter.  She has seen -- and she likes to tell me this -- no fewer than 12 British Prime Ministers and 11 American Presidents during her time on the throne.  But I'm sure everyone here would want to pay tribute to her incredible service and selfless duty in this, her special Diamond Jubilee year.  (Applause.)
Now, Her Majesty's first Prime Minister was, of course, Winston Churchill, a regular guest here at the White House.  I'm not going to quote from Churchill, I'm going to quote about Churchill -- because it seems his visits were not always the easiest experience for his American hosts.
As Roosevelt's secretary wrote after one visit:  "Churchill is a trying guest.  He drinks like a fish.  He smokes like a chimney.  He has irregular routines, works nights, sleeps days, and turns the clocks upside down."  And for those of you who wonder why the British Prime Minister now stays at Blair House rather than the White House -- (laughter) -- I simply observe this.  We all know the story of Winston Churchill famously found naked in his bath by President Roosevelt.  This happened while he stayed at the White House in December 1941, and the federal government bought Blair House in 1942.  (Laughter.)
Now, for every genuine presidential-prime ministerial friendship, there have been some -- I think we could call them --total disconnects.  Edward Heath and Richard Nixon took personal awkwardness with each other to new and excruciating levels.  (Laughter.)  And yet, despite this, Richard Nixon arranged for someone to pay for the swimming pool at the Prime Minister's country residence of Chequers.  Incidentally, this swimming pool now has a serious and possibly terminal leak.  (Laughter.)
So I hope you won't find it amiss as I say here in the White House, for the first time in 40 years, these words:  It is time to call in the plumbers.  (Laughter.)
Now, turning to Obama-Cameron.  As fellow parents, Barack and Michelle have both been personally very kind to Sam and me.  And as fellow leaders, we've struck up, I believe, a really good partnership.  It is frank and honest.  We talk through issues very rationally.  We don't need to remind each other of the basic threats that we face; we know them.  But there are three things about Barack that really stand out for me:  strength, moral authority, and wisdom.
Strength, because Barack has been strong when required to defend his national interests.  Under President Obama's leadership, America got bin Laden.  (Applause.)  And together with British and coalition forces, America has fundamentally weakened al Qaeda.  The President says what he will do and he sticks to it.
I'll never forget that phone call on Libya, when he told me exactly what role America would play in Libya, and he delivered his side of the bargain to the letter.  We delivered our side of the bargain, too.  And let us all agree that the world is better off without bin Laden, but the world is better off without Qaddafi, too.  (Applause.)
Moral authority, because Barack understands that the means matter every bit as much as the ends.  Yes, America must do the right thing, but to provide moral leadership, America must do it in the right way, too.  The first President I studied at school was Theodore Roosevelt.  He talked of speaking softly and carrying a big stick.  That is Barack's approach.  And in following it, he has pressed the reset button on the moral authority of the entire free world.
Wisdom, because Barack has not rushed into picking fights, but is steward of America's resources of hard and soft power.  He's taken time to make considered decisions, drawing down troops from Iraq and surging in Afghanistan.  He's found a new voice for America with the Arab people.  And at home, he's recognized that in America, as in Britain, the future depends on making the best of every citizen.  Both our nations have historically been held back by inequality.  But now there's a determined effort in both our countries -- most notably through education reform -- to ensure that opportunity is truly available for all.
Half a century ago, the amazing courage of Rosa Parks, the visionary leadership of Martin Luther King, and the inspirational actions of the civil rights movement led politicians to write equality into the law and make real the promise of America for all her citizens.  But in the fight for justice and the struggle for freedom, there is no end, because there is so much more to do to ensure that every human being can fulfill their potential.
That is why our generation faces a new civil rights struggle, to seek the prize of the future that is open to every child as never before.
Barack has made this one of the goals of his presidency, the goal he's pursuing with enormous courage.  And it is fitting that a man whose own personal journey defines the promise and potential of this unique nation should be working to fulfill the hopes of his country in this way.
Barack, it is an honor to call you an ally, a partner, and a friend.  You don't get to choose the circumstances you have to deal with as a President or a Prime Minister.  And you don't get to choose the leaders that you have to work with.  But all I can say is that it is a pleasure to work with someone with moral strength, with clear reason, and with fundamental decency in this task of renewing our great national alliance for today and for the generations to follow.
And with that, I propose a toast:  To the President, to the First Lady, and to the people of the United States of America.  Cheers.
(A toast is offered.)  (Applause.)


President Barack Obama Weekly Address March 10, 2012 (Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Petersburg, Virginia
March 10, 2012

Hi, everybody. I’m speaking to you this week from a factory in Petersburg, Virginia, where they’re bringing on more than 100 new workers to build parts for the next generation of jet engines.
It’s a story that’s happening more frequently across the country. Our businesses just added 233,000 jobs last month – for a total of nearly four million new jobs over the last two years. More companies are choosing to bring jobs back and invest in America. Manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s, and we’re building more things to sell to the rest of the world stamped with three proud words: Made in America.
And it’s not just that we’re building stuff. We’re building better stuff. The engine parts manufactured here in Petersburg will go into next-generation planes that are lighter, faster, and more fuel-efficient.
That last part is important. Because whether you’re paying for a plane ticket, or filling up your gas tank, technology that helps us get more miles to the gallon is one of the easiest ways to save money and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
The recent spike in gas prices has been another painful reminder of why we have to invest in this technology.   As usual, politicians have been rolling out their three-point plans for two-dollar gas: drill, drill, and drill some more.  Well, my response is, we have been drilling.  Under my Administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs, and opened up millions of acres for drilling.  
But you and I both know that with only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices – not when consume 20 percent of the world’s oil. We need an all-of-the-above strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy – solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, and more.
That’s the strategy we’re pursuing.  It’s why I went to a plant in North Carolina earlier this week, where they’re making trucks that run on natural gas, and hybrid trucks that go further on a single tank.
And it’s why I’ve been focused on fuel efficient cars since the day I took office. Over the last few years, the annual number of miles driven by Americans has stayed roughly the same, but the total amount of gas we use has been going down. In other words, we’re getting more bang for our buck.
If we accelerate that trend, we can help drivers save a significant amount of money. That’s why, after 30 years of inaction, we finally put in place new standards that will make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade – nearly double what they get today. This wasn’t easy: we had to bring together auto companies, and unions, and folks who don’t ordinarily see eye to eye. But it was worth it.
Because these cars aren’t some pie in the sky solution that’s years away. They’re being built right now – by American workers, in factories right here in the U.S.A. Every year, our cars and trucks will be able to go further and use less fuel, and pretty soon, you’ll be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week – something that, over time, will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump.  We’ll reduce our oil consumption by more than 12 billion barrels. That’s a future worth investing in.
So we have a choice.  Right now, some folks in Washington would rather spend another $4 billion on subsidies to oil companies each year. Well you know what?  We’ve been handing out these kinds of taxpayer giveaways for nearly a century.  And outside of Congress, does anyone really think that’s still a good idea?  I want this Congress to stop the giveaways to an oil industry that’s never been more profitable, and invest in a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.  We should be investing in the technology that’s building the cars and trucks and jets that will prevent us from dealing with these high gas prices year after year after year. 
Ending this cycle of rising gas prices won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But that’s why you sent us to Washington – to solve tough problems like this one. So I’m going to keep doing everything I can to help you save money on gas, both right now and in the future. I hope politicians from both sides of the aisle join me. Let’s put aside the bumper-sticker slogans, remember why we’re here, and get things done for the American people.
Thank you, God bless you, and have a great weekend.


President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing (Video/Transcript)


THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Virginia!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you, everybody.  Wow, what a unbelievable crowd.  Everybody, please have a seat -- if you have one.  (Laughter.)

Well, thank you, James, for that rousing introduction and letting me hang out a little bit with your workers.  We’ve got a few other folks I want to acknowledge:  The Governor of the great Commonwealth of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, is here.  (Applause.)  Outstanding Congressman Bobby Scott is in the house.  (Applause.)  We’ve got your Mayor, Brian Moore.  (Applause.)  And I want to very much say thank you to our outstanding Secretary of Commerce, Secretary Bryson, who was here and he is doing great work trying to create jobs and investment and opportunity all across the country.  (Applause.)

It is great to be back in Petersburg.  (Applause.)  Last time I was here was during the campaign.  I had my bus pull over so I could get a cheeseburger -- (laughter) -- at Longstreet’s Deli.  (Applause.)  You guys have eaten there.  (Laughter.)  Some of you may think this violates Michelle’s Let’s Move program -- (laughter) -- but she gives me a pass when it comes to a good burger -- (laughter) -- and fries.

Now, back then, in 2008, we were talking about how working Americans were already having a tough go of it.  Folks were working harder and longer for less.  It was getting tougher to afford health care or to send your kids to college.  The economy was already shedding jobs, and in less than a decade, nearly one in three manufacturing jobs had vanished.  Then the bottom fell out of the economy, and things got that much tougher.  We were losing 700,000 to 800,000 jobs a month.  The economy was hemorrhaging.

And three and a half years later, we’re still recovering from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes.  And we’ve got a lot of work to do before everybody who wants a good job can find one, before middle-class folks regain that sense of security that had been slipping away even before the recession hit, and before towns like Petersburg get fully back on their feet.

But here’s the good news:  Over the past two years, our businesses have added nearly 4 million new jobs.  (Applause.)  We just found out that last month in February we added 233,000 private sector jobs.  (Applause.)  More companies are bringing jobs back and investing in America.  And manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.  (Applause.)  We just had another good month last month in terms of adding manufacturing jobs.  And this facility is part of the evidence of what’s going on all across the country.  This company is about to hire more than 200 new workers -- 140 of them right here in Petersburg, Virginia.  (Applause.)

So the economy is getting stronger.  And when I come to places like this, and I see the work that’s being done, it gives me confidence there are better days ahead.  I know it because I would bet on American workers and American know-how any day of the week.  (Applause.)

The key now -- our job now is to keep this economic engine churning.  We can’t go back to the same policies that got us into this mess.  We can’t go back to an economy that was weakened by outsourcing and bad debt and phony financial profits.  We’ve got to have an economy that’s built to last.  And that starts with American manufacturing.  It starts with you.  (Applause.)

For generations of Americans, manufacturing has been the ticket into the middle class.  Every day, millions clocked in at foundries and on assembly lines, making things.  And the stuff we made -- steel and cars and jet engines -- that was the stuff that made America what it is.  It was understood around the world.

The work was hard, but the jobs were good.  They paid enough to own a home, and raise kids and send them to college, gave you enough to retire on with dignity and respect.  They were jobs that told us something more important than how much we were worth; they told us what we were worth.  They told us that we were building more than just products.  They told us we were building communities and neighborhoods, we were building a country.  It gave people pride about what America was about.

And that’s why one of the first decisions I made as President was to stand by manufacturing, to stand by the American auto industry when it was on the brink of collapse.  (Applause.)  The heartbeat of American manufacturing was at stake -- and so were more than a million jobs.  And today, the American auto industry is coming back, and GM is number one in the world again, and Ford is investing billions in American plants and factories.  (Applause.)  And together, over the past two and a half years, the entire auto industry has added more than 200,000 jobs.

And here’s the thing.  They’re not just building cars again, they’re building better cars.  For the first time in three decades, we raised fuel standards in this country, so that by the middle of the next decade the cars that are built in America will average nearly 55 miles to the gallon.  (Applause.)  That will save the typical family about $8,000 at the pump over time.  That’s real savings.  (Applause.)  That's real money.

And it shows that depending on foreign oil doesn’t have to be our future.  It shows that when we harness our own ingenuity, our technology, then we control our future.  See, America thrives when we build things better than the rest of the world.  I want us to make stuff here and sell it over there.  (Applause.)  I don't want stuff made over there and selling it over here.  (Applause.)  And that’s exactly what you’re doing here at the largest Rolls-Royce facility in the world.  That’s what you’re doing by building the key components of newer, faster, more fuel-efficient jet engines.

I just took a tour and I learned a bit about how a jet engine comes together.  Don’t quiz me on it.  (Laughter.)  I'm a little fuzzy on some of the details.  (Laughter.)  I did press some buttons back there.  (Laughter.)

But a few weeks ago, I actually got to see the finished product.  I went to Boeing, in Washington State, and I checked out a new Dreamliner.  I even got to sit in the cockpit, which was pretty sweet.  I didn’t press any buttons there, though -- (laughter) -- because if it had started going it would have been a problem.

So this plane, the Dreamliner, is going to keep America at the cutting edge of aerospace technology.  American workers are manufacturing various components for it in Ohio, and Oklahoma, and South Carolina, and Kansas, and right here in Petersburg.  In fact, the demand for their planes was so high last year that Boeing had to hire 13,000 workers all across America just to keep up.  And Boeing is gaining more and more share all the time.

So think about that.  Rolls-Royce is choosing to invest in America.  You’re creating jobs here, manufacturing components for jet engines, for planes that we’re going to send all around the world.  And that’s the kind of business cycle we want to see.  Not buying stuff that’s made someplace else and racking up debt, but by inventing things and building things and selling them all around the world stamped with three proud words:  “Made in America.”  (Applause.)  Made in America.

Think about how important this is.  I mean, imagine if the plane of the future was being built someplace else.  Imagine if we had given up on the auto industry.  Imagine if we had settled for a lesser future.

But we didn’t.  We’re Americans.  We are inventors.  We are builders.  We’re Thomas Edison and we’re the Wright Brothers and we are Steven Jobs.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we do.  We invent stuff, we build it.  And pretty soon, the entire world adapts it.  That’s who we are.  And as long as I’m President, we’re going to keep on doing it.  (Applause.)  We’re going to make sure the next generation of life-changing products are invented and manufactured here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So that’s why we launched an all-hands-on-deck effort.  We brought together the brightest academic minds, the boldest business leaders, the most dedicated public servants from our science and our technology agencies all with one big goal:  a renaissance in American manufacturing.  We called it the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.  The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.  And today, we’re building on it.

I’m laying out my plans for a new National Network of Manufacturing Innovation –- and these are going to be institutes of manufacturing excellence where some of our most advanced engineering schools and our most innovative manufacturers collaborate on new ideas, new technology, new methods, new processes.

And if this sounds familiar, that’s because what you’re about to do right here at Crosspointe.  Later this summer, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing will open its doors.  And it’s a partnership between manufacturers, including this one, UVA, Virginia Tech, Virginia State University -- (applause) -- VSU is a little overrepresented here, obviously --  (laughter) -- the Commonwealth and the federal government.  So think of this as a place where companies can share access to cutting-edge capabilities.  At the same time, students and workers are picking up new skills, they’re training on state-of-the-art equipment; they’re solving some of the most important challenges facing our manufacturers.

You just got all this brain power and skill and experience coming together in this hub, and that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.  It allows everybody to learn from each other and figure out how we’re going to do things even better.  It’s going to help get that next great idea from a paper or a computer to the lab, to the factory, to the global marketplace.  And that’s especially important for the one in three Americans in manufacturing who work for a small business that doesn’t always have access to resources like these.

Obviously, big companies -- the Boeings, the Intels, the Rolls Royces -- they’ve got the resources, the capital, to be able to create these platforms.  But some of the small to medium-sized businesses, it’s a little bit harder.  So this gives them access and allows them to take part in this new renaissance of American inventiveness.  And we’ve got to build these institutes all across the country -- all across the country.  I don’t want it just here at Crosspointe, I want it everywhere.

To do that, we need Congress to act.  Hmm.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s true.  (Laughter.)  But that doesn’t mean we have to hold our breath.  We’re not going to wait -- we’re going to go ahead on our own.  Later this year, we’re going to choose the winner of a competition for a pilot institute for manufacturing innovation -- help them get started.  With that pilot in place, we’ll keep on pushing Congress to do the right thing because this is the kind of approach that can succeed, but we’ve got to have this all across the country.  I want everybody thinking about how are we making the best products; how are we harnessing the new ideas and making sure they’re located here in the United States.

And sparking this network of innovation across the country – it will create jobs and it will keep America in the manufacturing game.  Of course, there’s more we can do to seize this moment of opportunity to create new jobs and manufacturing here in America.

We’ve got to do everything we can to encourage more companies to make the decision to invest in America and bring jobs back from overseas.  And we’re starting to see companies do that.  They’re starting to realize this is the place with the best workers, the best ideas, the best universities.  This is the place to be.  (Applause.)  We've got to give them a little more encouragement.

Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.  Companies that choose to invest in America, they get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world.  Does that make any sense?


THE PRESIDENT:  It makes no sense.  Everybody knows it.  So it's time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas; reward companies that create good jobs right here in the United States of America.  That's how our tax code can work.  (Applause.)  That's how our tax code should work.

At the same time, we’ve got to do everything we can to make sure our kids get an education that gives them every chance to succeed.  (Applause.)  I’ve been told that last year’s valedictorian at Petersburg High, whose name is Kenneisha Edmonds, she had a pretty good statement.  She said her cap and gown was “the best gown that anybody can hang in their closet."  (Laughter.)  I like that.  So let’s make sure students like Kenneisha have teachers who bring out the best in them.  Let’s make sure if they want to go to college, their families can afford them to go to college.  (Applause.)

And let’s make sure all our workers have the skills that companies like this one are looking for -- because we've got to have folks engaged in lifelong learning.  The days when you started out at 20 at one company and you just kept on doing the same thing for 40 years -- that's not going to happen anymore.

So even if -- as I was meeting some of the folks here, they had been in the industry, they'd been machinists, they'd been in manufacturing for years.  But they're constantly upgrading their skills and retraining.  And some of them had been laid off and had gone back to school before they came to this company.  And so we've got to make sure those opportunities for people mid-career and onward, that they can constantly go back to a community college and retool so that they can make sure they're qualified for the jobs of tomorrow.

At a time when so many Americans are looking for work, no job opening should go unfilled just because people didn’t have an opportunity to get the training they needed.  And that’s why I've asked Congress -- (applause) -- I've asked Congress, join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with the skills that will lead directly to a job -- right now.  (Applause.)

We need to create more partnerships like the one this plant has with John Tyler Community College.  (Applause.)  We should give more community colleges the resources they need.  I want them to be community career centers -- places that teach people skills that companies are looking for right now, from data management to the kind of high-tech manufacturing that's being done at this facility.

So day by day, we’re restoring this economy from crisis.  But we can’t stop there.  We've got to make this economy ready for tomorrow.  Day by day, we’re creating new jobs, but we can’t stop there -- not until everybody who’s out there pounding the pavement, sending out their résumés has a chance to land one of those jobs.

Every day we’re producing more oil and gas than we have in years, but we can’t stop there.  I want our businesses to lead the world in clean energy, too.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the best colleges and universities in the world, but we can’t stop there. I want to make sure more of our students can afford to go to those colleges and universities.  (Applause.)  Everybody knows we’ve got the best workers on Earth, but we can't stop there.   We’ve got to make sure the middle class doesn’t just survive these times, we want them to thrive.  We want them to dream big dreams and to feel confident about the future.

I did not run for this office just to get back to where we were.  I ran for this office to get us to where we need to be.  (Applause.)  And I promise you we will get there.  (Applause.)   Some of these challenges may take a year; some may take one term; some may take a decade -- but we're going to get there.  Because when we work together, we know what we’re capable of.  We’ve got the tools, we've got the know-how, we've got the toughness to overcome any obstacle.  And when we come together and combine our creativity and our optimism and our willingness to work hard, and if we're harnessing our brainpower and our manpower, our horsepower, I promise you we will thrive again.  We will get to where we need to go.  And we will leave behind an economy that is built to last.  We will make this another American century.

Thank you.  (Applause.)  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)


The constant attack on women

This prior video (First Lady Michelle Obama Honors International Women of Courage)is especially important after the constant attacks on women by Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum.

Although I am a man, I feel appalled about the way some American (especially Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum) are poisoning the airways with their negativity about women. Both have made opposing remakes when it comes to the maltreatment on women in some parts of this world. However, it seems like that their criticisms are not sincere. They are just playing to the popular voices.In reality they are trying to suppress women as much as those who they criticize. 

Shame on you Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum!

First Lady Michelle Obama Honors International Women of Courage (Video/Transcript)

Earlier today, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the International Women of Courage Awards at the Department of State. Please see below for her remarks, and don’t forget to check out President Obama’s 2012 Proclamation on Women’s History Month.

Thank you. Thank you so much. Good morning, everyone. To say it is a pleasure to be here with all of you today would be an understatement. This is truly an important opportunity, it is an uplifting opportunity, and I am happy to be a part of it every single year.

And I have to start by thanking Secretary Clinton not just for that very kind introduction, but she has been an outstanding -- should I say that again? -- an outstanding Secretary of State. And she has been an inspiration to women and girls around the world. She is a role model for me in so many ways. I don't think she realizes how what she has done has made what I am doing partially possible. So with all the respect and admiration that I can give to her, I will be wherever she needs me to be, whenever she needs me to be there.

I also want to join in recognizing our special guest, First Lady Mills, who is a dear friend. We enjoyed our visit to Ghana. And she is going to have a productive stay here in Washington, so she's going to be busy. Just take it easy. And of course, Secretary Vanda Pignato, who is a dear friend as well. We are honored to have you with us as well. I also want to thank them for taking the time to be here today. It means so much to us all for you to be here.

I have to thank Ambassador Melanne Verveer for her terrific work she is doing -- what she is doing for -- for Global Women’s Issues. This event is top-notch, and it wouldn't happen if not for her. We are so grateful.

And of course, I want to recognize most of all the ten Women of Courage that we're honoring here today. These women come from all different corners of the globe. They have taken very different journeys to this moment. But they are all here today because somewhere along the line, they decided they could no longer accept the world as it is. And they committed themselves to fighting for the world as they know it should be. They saw corruption, and they worked to expose it. They saw oppression, and they worked to end it. They saw violence, poverty, discrimination, and inequality -- and they decided to use their voices, and risk their lives, to do something about it.

And day after day, these women have stood up and said the things that no one else could say, or would say. Year after year, they endured hardships that few of us could bear.

At the age of 22, Zin Mar Aungwas imprisoned for 11 years simply for writing a letter demanding that the elected civilian government take power in Burma. When she was freed, she went right back to work, fighting for the rights of women and ethnic minorities and political prisoners.

Shad Begum founded a women’s NGO in Pakistan, and she ran for district council. When she won, she intended to use her position to improve health care and education. But when the council met, she was forced to sit in a separate side room, behind a locked door. The microphone that was supposed to allow her to participate never worked. But undeterred, she decided to run for an even higher elected office, saying -- and this is her quote -- “Whatever it takes, I will make them hear me.”

And then there is Jineth Bedoya Lima, an investigative journalist in Colombia. Back in 2000, when she was writing about an arms struggling [sic] network, she was kidnapped, brutally assaulted for hours by those who wished to silence her. But instead of backing down, she moved from her regional newspaper to a national one, and despite continued threats against her life, she kept reporting. She became a spokeswoman for a global campaign against sexual violence. And for 12 years, she’s fought to hold her attackers responsible for their crimes.

She has even taken her case all the way to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, seeking justice not just for herself, but for women across her country.

And that is why, despite the risks they face, despite the hardships they endure, these women carry on -- because they know that they are fighting not just for their own rights and freedoms, but for the rights and freedoms of so many others. That is why, despite daunting physical obstacles, Safak Pavey didn’t just win a seat in parliament in her own country; she traveled to countries across the globe, winning support for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She lives her life by a simple motto -- these are her words: “Whatever you experience is an example to others.” Whatever you experience is an example to others.

The same can be said of Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo. Despite being one of just a few women in the Rio de Janeiro military police, she has risen through the ranks, commanding more than 100 male officers. We love that. Working in one of the toughest communities in the city and even arresting a gang of criminals who kidnapped her. Women of all ages have been inspired by her leadership, and of them she says -- again a quote -- “They see me as an example of the fact that any woman can work in any type of activity. It’s just a question of wanting to do it.”

And that is why each year we invite young people to join us at this event. It is so important because we want them to learn from and be inspired by the example of these women of courage.

We invite them because we want them -- we want to say to them and to boys and girls across America that if, despite all the obstacles these women of courage face, if they are still running for office and running organizations and serving their communities and their countries, then surely you can find a way to follow your dreams. Surely, you can find a way to give back to your community and to your country. If these 10 women can endure death threats and horrifying violence and years behind bars to stand up for what they believe in, then surely our young people can find a way to stand up for what they believe in. Surely, all of you can overcome the obstacles you face in your own life.

And I’m thinking particularly of Jineth Bedoya Lima and what she endured on that day 12 years ago. As her attackers assaulted her, they said to her, “Pay attention. We’re sending a message to the press in Colombia.” Well, today, with every story she writes and with every public appearance she makes, Jineth is sending her own message that she will not back down, that she will not give up, and she will never, ever allow her voice to be silenced.

And it is the same message that all of these women are sending with every act of courage they commit -– the message that injustice will not stand, that inequality will not be tolerated, and that they will not stay silenced in the face of evil.

And to all of those who are oppressed and abused and left out and left behind, they are saying: I am standing with you. I am fighting for you. You are not alone.

And on this International Women’s Day, that is the very message I wish to send to these 10 women and others like them in every corner of the globe.

On behalf of my husband and our country, I want you to know that you are never, ever alone. The United States of America stands with you. And we are so incredibly proud of everything that you have achieved. And we will continue to fight with you for the causes to which you have devoted your lives.

So thank you all so much. Enjoy this day. Congratulations. God bless. Now, before I sit down, I have one important honor. I get to introduce two more women of courage who have received the highest honor for their work –- our 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman. Please, let’s welcome them to the stage.


President Obama Speaks at Conference on Conservation (Video/Transcript)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Everybody, have a seat. Have a seat. (Applause.) Well, it is good to have all of you in here. Welcome to Washington.

I want to thank Ken Salazar for the introduction. Did everybody know that it's his birthday today? (Laughter.) All right -- has he milked that enough? (Laughter.) I just want to make sure everybody wished him a happy birthday. Turning 40 is tough. (Laughter.)

We’ve also got our outstanding Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, in the house. (Applause.) Our wonderful EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, is with us. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of you for being a part of this conference.

Now, I have to say that this is a pretty diverse group here today. We’ve got hunters and fishermen; we've got farmers and ranchers; we've got conservationists; we've got small business owners; we've got local government leaders; we've got tribal leaders. And some of you may have just wandered in -- I don't know. (Laughter.) But you’re all here for the same reason. Each of you has a deep appreciation for the incredible natural resources, the incredible bounty that we’ve been blessed with as a nation. And you’re working hard every day to make sure those resources are around for my daughters and your children and hopefully their children to enjoy.

Doing that takes creativity. The great Aldo Leopold once said that conservation is "a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution." It's not just about doing nothing; it's about doing something affirmative to make sure that we are passing on this incredible blessing that we have. And you also know that effective conservation is about more than just protecting our environment -- it’s about strengthening our economy. When we put in place new common-sense rules to reduce air pollution, like we did in December, it was to prevent our kids from breathing in dangerous chemicals. That's something we should all be able to agree on. But it will also create new jobs, building and installing all sorts of pollution control technology. And since it will prevent thousands of heart attacks and cases of childhood asthma, it will also take some strain off our health care system.

When we make a commitment to restore a million acres of grasslands and wetlands and wildlife habitat -- like the Department of Agriculture and Interior did today -- we’re not just preserving our land and water for the next generation. We’re also making more land available for hunting and fishing. And we’re bolstering an outdoor economy that supports more than 9 million jobs and brings in more than a trillion dollars a year. (Applause.)

And when we make it easier to visit this country -- like we've done recently at accelerating the process for foreign travelers to get visas -- we’re not just boosting tourism in big cities and places like Disney World. We’re helping more people discover our parks and our mountains and our beaches. And more visitors means more people renting cars and staying in hotels and eating at our restaurants and buying our equipment.

So the work you’re doing today is important if we’re going to grow our economy and put more people back to work. But conservation is also important when it comes to another issue that I’ve been talking about lately, and that's developing new sources of American-made energy.

Obviously, gas prices are on a lot of folks’ minds right now. And we’re getting another painful reminder of why developing new energy is so important for our future. Of course, because it’s an election year, everybody is trotting out their 3-point plans for $2.00 gas. And you know what that involves, is you drill and then you drill and then you drill some more. We’ve heard this for 30 years.

The American people know better. They understand we can’t just drill our way out of high gas prices. We’re doing everything we can to boost U.S. production. But if we’re going to take control of our energy future and avoid these gas price spikes in the future, then we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy -– yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and biofuels, and more.

And we’re making progress on this front. In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years. (Applause.) Because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled. (Applause.) And in my State of the Union address, I announced that we’re allowing the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes -– 3 million homes. That protects our environment and it helps families and businesses save money.

But while it’s important to use public lands to develop things like wind and solar energy, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we’ve also got to focus on protecting our planet.

That’s why Teddy Roosevelt made sure that as we build this country and harvest its bounty, we also protect its beauty. That’s part of our national character. And historically, it’s been bipartisan.

That’s why, even as our country grew by leaps and bounds, we made sure to set aside places like the Grand Canyon for our children and our grandchildren. It’s why my administration has stood up to protect its waters. That’s why President Kennedy directed a portion of the revenues from oil and gas production to help communities build trails and ball fields –- and why my administration has fought to protect the Land and Water Conservation Fund. (Applause.)

That’s why the hunters and anglers in this country have always been willing to pay a few extra bucks for a fishing license or a duck stamp that helps protect streams and habitats -- because they want to make sure that their grandkids can enjoy these same pastimes. That’s why my administration is expanding access to public lands so that more Americans can cast a rod or teach their children how to hunt.

We have to keep investing in the technology and manufacturing that helps us lead the world, but we’ve also got to protect the places that help define who we are, that help shape our character and our soul as a nation. Places that help attract visitors and create jobs, but that also give something to our kids that is irreplaceable.

And all of us have a role to play. One of the first bills I signed after taking office was the Public Lands bill that protected more than a thousand miles of rivers and established new national parks and trails. (Applause.) And two years ago, thanks to some great work by my Cabinet, and Ken Salazar especially, I kicked off the America’s Great Outdoors initiative to support conservation projects happening in all 50 states, including Fort Monroe in Virginia, which just became America’s 396th national park. (Applause.)

Right now, we’re restoring the River of Grass in the Everglades, providing clean water to millions of residents -- (applause) -- creating thousands of jobs -- construction jobs -- in southern Florida.

We need to keep moving forward on projects like these. And I know we’ve got ranchers and farmers and landowners here today who represent places like the Crown of the Continent in Montana, the Dakota Grasslands, and everywhere in between. We need to keep working to protect these incredible landscapes that all of you know so well.

The bottom line is this: There will always be people in this country who say we’ve got to choose between clean air and clean water and a growing economy, between doing right by our environment and putting people back to work. And I’m here to tell you that is a false choice. (Applause.) That is a false choice. (Applause.) With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today and protect our environment for ourselves and our children.

We know it’s possible. And we know it because of what’s been happening in communities like yours, where compromise isn’t a dirty word, where folks can recognize a good idea no matter where it comes from.

A while back, I heard a story about the Rogue River in Oregon. Every year, the Rogue is filled with salmon swimming upstream to spawn. But because factories were allowed to -- allowing warm water to run back into the river, the temperature was becoming too high for the salmon to survive. So to fix the problem, the town could have required the company to buy expensive cooling equipment, but that would have hurt the local economy. Instead, they decided to pay farmers and ranchers to plant trees along the banks of the river, and that helped to cool the water at a fraction of the cost. So it worked for business; it worked for farmers; it worked for salmon.

And those are the kinds of ideas that we need in this country -– ideas that preserve our environment, protect our bottom line, and connect more Americans to the great outdoors.

And this is personally important to me. Some of you know that I grew up in Hawaii mostly, and we got some pretty nice outdoors in Hawaii. (Laughter.) And you spend a lot of time outdoors, and you learn very early on to appreciate this incredible splendor. But I remember when I was 11, I had never been to the mainland, and my grandmother and my mother and my sister, who at the time was two, decided we were going to take a big summer trip. And we traveled across the country. And mostly we took Greyhound buses. My grandmother was getting -- she had some eye problems, and so she couldn’t see that well, so she was a little nervous about driving long distances. Sometimes we took the train. And we went to the usual spots -- Disneyland. I was 11, right? (Laughter.)

But I still remember traveling up to Yellowstone, and coming over a hill, and suddenly just hundreds of deer and seeing bison for the first time, and seeing Old Faithful. And I remember that trip giving me a sense of just how immense and how grand this country was, and how diverse it was -- and watching folks digging for clams in Puget Sound, and watching ranchers, and seeing our first Americans guide me through a canyon in Arizona. And it gave you a sense of just what it is that makes America special.

And so when I went back to Yellowstone, with Ken and my daughters -- that was the first time they had been -- and I'm standing there -- I'm thinking not only about them and the first time they're seeing this, but I'm also remembering back to when my grandmother and my mother had shown me this amazing country so many years before.

And that is part of what we have to fight for. That's what's critical, is making sure that we're always there to bequeath that gift to the next generation. (Applause.) And if you'll work with me, I promise I'll do everything I can -- (applause) -- I'll do everything I can to help protect our economy but also protect this amazing planet that we love and this great country that we've been blessed with.

Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless America.

Rush Limbaugh, the speaker of the Repuplican Party

Is this free speech? 
How come any company would like to have their advertizement connected with a guy like Rush Limbaugh?
If I were a  Republican I would be ashamed to be supported by Rush Limbaugh! 
Thanks Rachel for bringing attention to this guy and this issue.
Rush Limbaugh sounds like a dirty old man!


President Barack Obama Weekly Address March 3, 2012 (Video/Transcript)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hi, everybody. Earlier this week, I spent some time with the hardworking men and women of the American auto industry, who are busy writing a new chapter in America’s story.

Just a few years ago, their industry was shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs. Two of the Big Three – GM and Chrysler – were on the brink of failure. If we had let this great American industry collapse – if we had let Detroit go bankrupt – more than one million Americans would have lost their jobs in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

I refused to let that happen. These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck – they’re a source of pride and a ticket to the middle class. These companies are worth more than just the cars they build – they’re a symbol of American innovation and a source of our manufacturing might.

So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got the companies to retool and restructure. Everyone sacrificed. And three years later, the American auto industry is back.

Today, GM is the number one automaker in the world. Chrysler is growing faster in America than any other car company. Ford is investing billions in American plants and factories, and plans to bring thousands of jobs back home. All told, the entire industry has added more than 200,000 new jobs over the past two and a half years.

And they’re not just building cars again – they’re building better cars. Thanks to new fuel efficiency standards we put in place, they’re building cars that will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade. That’s almost double what they get today. That means folks will be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week, saving the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time. That’s a big deal, especially as families are yet again feeling the pinch from rising gas prices.

So what’s happening in Detroit will make a difference. But it won’t solve everything. There’s no silver bullet for avoiding spikes in gas prices every year. There’s no shortcut to taking control of our energy future. We have to pursue an all-of-the-above strategy that helps develop every source of American energy. And we have to do it now.

The good news is, we’ve been making progress. Take a look at this chart. Six years ago, 60% of the oil we used was imported. Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has decreased every single year. In fact, in 2010, for the first time in thirteen years, less than half the petroleum we consumed was imported. Part of that is because we’re producing more oil here at home than at any time in the last eight years.

But we can’t just drill our way out of this problem. While we consume 20 percent of the world’s oil, we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. We’ve got to develop new technology that will help us use new forms of energy. That’s been a priority of mine as President. And because of the investments we’ve made, our use of clean, renewable energy has nearly doubled – and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.

Now we need to keep at it. And to do that, we need to make the right choices.

Here’s one we can make right now. Every year, $4 billion of your tax dollars go to subsidizing the oil industry. These are the same companies making record profits – tens of billions of dollars a year. I don’t think oil companies need more corporate welfare. Congress should end this taxpayer giveaway. If you agree with me, I’m asking you to e-mail, call, or Tweet your representative. Tell them to stop fighting for oil companies. Tell them to start fighting for working families. Tell them to fight for the clean energy future that’s within our reach. Because the sooner we all get started, the sooner we’ll get there together. Thanks and have a great weekend.


At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) questioned why torture-memo author Steven Bradbury been called to testify.

The President and First Lady Honor Troops Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan

President Obama Speaks on the Resurgence of the American Auto Industry (Video/Transcript)

THE PRESIDENT: How's it going, UAW? (Applause.) It is good to be with some autoworkers today! (Applause.) All right. Everybody have a seat, get comfortable. Go ahead and get comfortable. I'm going to talk for a little bit. (Applause.)

First of all, I want to say thank you to one of the finest leaders that we have in labor -- Bob King. Give it up for Bob. (Applause.) I want to thank the International Executive Board and all of you for having me here today. It is a great honor. I brought along somebody who is proving to be one of the finest Secretaries of Transportation in our history -- Ray LaHood is in the house. Give Ray a big round of applause. (Applause.)

It is always an honor to spend time with folks who represent the working men and women of America. (Applause.) It’s unions like yours that fought for jobs and opportunity for generations of American workers. It’s unions like yours that helped build the arsenal of democracy that defeated fascism and won World War II. It's unions like yours that forged the American middle class -- that great engine of prosperity, the greatest that the world has ever known.

So you guys helped to write the American story. And today, you’re busy writing a proud new chapter. You are reminding us that no matter how tough times get, Americans are tougher. (Applause.) No matter how many punches we take, we don’t give up. We get up. We fight back. We move forward. We come out the other side stronger than before. That's what you've shown us. (Applause.) You're showing us what’s possible in America. So I’m here to tell you one thing today: You make me proud. (Applause.) You make me proud.

Take a minute and think about what you and the workers and the families that you represent have fought through. A few years ago, nearly one in five autoworkers were handed a pink slip -- one in five. Four hundred thousand jobs across this industry vanished the year before I took office. And then as the financial crisis hit with its full force, America faced a hard and once unimaginable reality, that two of the Big 3 automakers -- GM and Chrysler -- were on the brink of liquidation.

The heartbeat of American manufacturing was flat-lining and we had to make a choice. With the economy in complete free fall there were no private investors or companies out there willing to take a chance on the auto industry. Nobody was lining up to give you guys loans. Anyone in the financial sector can tell you that.

So we could have kept giving billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to automakers without demanding the real changes or accountability in return that were needed -- that was one option. But that wouldn’t have solved anything in the long term. Sooner or later we would have run out of money. We could have just kicked the problem down the road. The other option was to do absolutely nothing and let these companies fail. And you will recall there were some politicians who said we should do that.


THE PRESIDENT: Some even said we should "let Detroit go bankrupt."


THE PRESIDENT: You remember that? (Applause.) You know. (Laughter.) Think about what that choice would have meant for this country, if we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, if GM and Chrysler had gone under. The suppliers, the distributors that get their business from these companies, they would have died off. Then even Ford could have gone down as well. Production shut down. Factories shuttered. Once-proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps. And all of you, the men and women who built these companies with your own hands, would have been hung out to dry.

More than one million Americans across the country would have lost their jobs in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In communities across the Midwest, it would have been another Great Depression. And then think about all the people who depend on you. Not just your families, but the schoolteachers, the small business owners, the server in the diner who knows your order, the bartender who’s waiting for you to get off. (Laughter.) That’s right. (Applause.) Their livelihoods were at stake as well.

And you know what was else at stake? How many of you who’ve worked the assembly line had a father or a grandfather or a mother who worked on that same line? (Applause.) How many of you have sons and daughters who said, you know, Mom, Dad, I'd like to work at the plant, too? (Applause.)

These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck. They’re a source of pride. They’re a ticket to a middle-class life that make it possible for you to own a home and raise kids and maybe send them -- yes -- to college. (Applause.) Give you a chance to retire with some dignity and some respect. These companies are worth more than just the cars they build. They’re a symbol of American innovation and know-how. They're the source of our manufacturing might. If that’s not worth fighting for, what's worth fighting for? (Applause.)

So, no, we were not going to take a knee and do nothing. We were not going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities. So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We said to the auto industry, you're going to have to truly change, not just pretend like you're changing. And thanks to outstanding leadership like Bob King, we were able to get labor and management to settle their differences. (Applause.)

We got the industry to retool and restructure, and everybody involved made sacrifices. Everybody had some skin in the game. And it wasn’t popular. And it wasn’t what I ran for President to do. That wasn’t originally what I thought I was going to be doing as President. (Laughter.) But you know what, I did run to make the tough calls and do the right things -- no matter what the politics were. (Applause.)

And I want you to know, you know why I knew this rescue would succeed?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: How did you do it? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: You want to know? It wasn’t because of anything the government did. It wasn’t just because of anything management did. It was because I believed in you. I placed my bet on the American worker. (Applause.) And I’ll make that bet any day of the week. (Applause.)

And now, three years later -- three years later, that bet is paying off -- not just paying off for you, it’s paying off for America. Three years later, the American auto industry is back. (Applause.) GM is back on top as the number-one automaker in the world -- (applause) -- highest profits in its 100-year history. Chrysler is growing faster in America than any other car company. (Applause.) Ford is investing billions in American plants, American factories -- plans to bring thousands of jobs back to America. (Applause.)

All told, the entire industry has added more than 200,000 new jobs over the past two and a half years -- 200,000 new jobs. And here’s the best part -- you’re not just building cars again; you’re building better cars. (Applause.)

After three decades of inaction, we’re gradually putting in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickups. That means the cars you build will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade -- almost double what they get today. (Applause.) That means folks, every time they fill up, they're going to be saving money. They'll have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week. That saves the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time. That means we’ll cut our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day. That means we have to import less oil while we're selling more cars all around the world. (Applause.)

Thanks to the bipartisan trade agreement I signed into law -- with you in mind, working with you -- there will soon be new cars in the streets of South Korea imported from Detroit and from Toledo and from Chicago. (Applause.)

And today -- I talked about this at the State of the Union, we are doing it today -- I am creating a Trade Enforcement Unit that will bring the full resources of the federal government to bear on investigations, and we're going to counter any unfair trading practices around the world, including by countries like China. (Applause.) America has the best workers in the world. When the playing field is level, nobody will beat us. And we're going to make sure that playing field is level. (Applause.)

Because America always wins when the playing field is level. And because everyone came together and worked together, the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, good-looking cars in the world are once again designed and engineered and forged and built -- not in Europe, not in Asia -- right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)

I’ve seen it myself. I’ve seen it myself. I've seen it at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant in Detroit, where a new shift of more than 1,000 workers came on two years ago, another 1,000 slated to come on next year. I’ve seen it in my hometown at Ford’s Chicago Assembly -- (applause) -- where workers are building a new Explorer and selling it to dozens of countries around the world.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm buying one, too.

THE PRESIDENT: There you go. (Laughter.)

I’ve seen it at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio -- (applause) -- where workers got their jobs back to build the Chevy Cobalt, and at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit -- (applause) -- where I got to get inside a brand-new Chevy Volt fresh off the line -- even though Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it. (Laughter.) But I liked sitting in it. (Laughter.) It was nice. I'll bet it drives real good. (Laughter.) And five years from now when I’m not President anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself. (Applause.) Yes, that's right.

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT: I know our bet was a good one because I had seen it pay off firsthand. But here’s the thing. You don't have to take my word for it. Ask the Chrysler workers near Kokomo -- (applause) -- who were brought on to make sure the newest high-tech transmissions and fuel-efficient engines are made in America. Or ask the GM workers in Spring Hill, Tennessee, whose jobs were saved from being sent abroad. (Applause.) Ask the Ford workers in Kansas City coming on to make the F-150 -- America’s best-selling truck, a more fuel-efficient truck. (Applause.) And you ask all the suppliers who are expanding and hiring, and the communities that rely on them, if America’s investment in you was a good bet. They’ll tell you the right answer.

And who knows, maybe the naysayers would finally come around and say that standing by America's workers was the right thing to do. (Applause.) Because, I've got to admit, it's been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you're back on your feet. (Applause.) The same folks who said, if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, "you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye." Now they're saying, we were right all along. (Laughter.)

Or you've got folks saying, well, the real problem is -- what we really disagreed with was the workers, they all made out like bandits -- that saving the auto industry was just about paying back the unions. Really? (Laughter.) I mean, even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you know what. (Laughter.)

About 700,000 retirees had to make sacrifices on their health care benefits that they had earned. A lot of you saw hours reduced, or pay or wages scaled back. You gave up some of your rights as workers. Promises were made to you over the years that you gave up for the sake and survival of this industry -- its workers, their families. You want to talk about sacrifice? You made sacrifices. (Applause.) This wasn't an easy thing to do.

Let me tell you, I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time. You want to talk about values? Hard work -- that’s a value. (Applause.) Looking out for one another -- that’s a value. The idea that we're all in it together, and I'm my brother's keeper and sister's keeper -- that’s a value. (Applause.)

They're out there talking about you like you're some special interest that needs to be beaten down. Since when are hardworking men and women who are putting in a hard day's work every day -- since when are they special interests? Since when is the idea that we look out for one another a bad thing?

I remember my old friend, Ted Kennedy -- he used to say, what is it about working men and women they find so offensive? (Laughter.) This notion that we should have let the auto industry die, that we should pursue anti-worker policies in the hopes that unions like yours will buckle and unravel -– that’s part of that same old "you are on your own" philosophy that says we should just leave everybody to fend for themselves; let the most powerful do whatever they please. They think the best way to boost the economy is to roll back the reforms we put into place to prevent another crisis, to let Wall Street write the rules again.

They think the best way to help families afford health care is to roll back the reforms we passed that’s already lowering costs for millions of Americans. (Applause.) They want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny your coverage or jack up your rates whenever and however they pleased. They think we should keep cutting taxes for those at the very top, for people like me, even though we don’t need it, just so they can keep paying lower tax rates than their secretaries.

Well, let me tell you something. Not to put too fine a point on it -- they’re wrong. (Laughter.) They are wrong. (Applause.) That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess. We can’t afford to go back to it. Not now.

We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a long way to go before everybody who wants a good job can get a good job. We’ve got a long way to go before middle-class Americans fully regain that sense of security that’s been slipping away since long before this recession hit. But you know what, we’ve got something to show -- all of you show what’s possible when we pull together.

Over the last two years, our businesses have added about 3.7 million new jobs. Manufacturing is coming back for the first time since the 1990s. Companies are bringing jobs back from overseas. (Applause.) The economy is getting stronger. The recovery is speeding up. Now is the time to keep our foot on the gas, not put on the brakes. And I’m not going to settle
for a country where just a few do really well and everybody else is struggling to get by. (Applause.)

We’re fighting for an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, where everybody does their fair share, where everybody plays by the same set of rules. We’re not going to go back to an economy that’s all about outsourcing and bad debt and phony profits. We’re fighting for an economy that’s built to last, that’s built on things like education and energy and manufacturing. Making things, not just buying things -- making things that the rest of the world wants to buy. And restoring the values that made this country great: hard work and fair play, the chance to make it if you really try, the responsibility to reach back and help somebody else make it, too -- not just you. That’s who we are. That’s what we believe in. (Applause.)

I was telling you I visited Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant in Detroit about a year and a half ago. Now, the day I visited, some of the employees had won the lottery. Not kidding. They had won the lottery. Now, you might think that after that they’d all be kicking back and retiring. (Laughter.) And no one would fault them for that. Building cars is tough work. But that’s not what they did. The guy who bought --

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What did they do?

THE PRESIDENT: Funny you ask. (Laughter.) The guy who bought the winning ticket, he was a proud UAW member who worked on the line. So he used some of his winnings to buy his wife the car that he builds because he’s really proud of his work. (Applause.) Then he bought brand new American flags for his hometown because he’s proud of his country. (Applause.) And he and the other winners are still clocking in at that plant today, because they’re proud of the part they and their coworkers play in America’s comeback.

See, that’s what America is about. America is not just looking out for yourself. It’s not just about greed. It’s not just about trying to climb to the very top and keep everybody else down. When our assembly lines grind to a halt, we work together and we get them going again. When somebody else falters, we try to give them a hand up, because we know we’re all in it together.

I got my start standing with working folks who’d lost their jobs, folks who had lost their hope because the steel plants had closed down. I didn’t like the idea that they didn’t have anybody fighting for them. The same reason I got into this business is the same reason I’m here today. I’m driven by that same belief that everybody -- everybody -- should deserve a chance. (Applause.)

So I promise you this: As long as you’ve got an ounce of fight left in you, I’ll have a ton of fight left in me. (Applause.) We’re going to keep on fighting to make our economy stronger; to put our friends and neighbors back to work faster; to give our children even more opportunity; to make sure that the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)

Thank you, UAW. I love you. God bless you. God bless the work you do. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)