The President Delivers A Statement About The Shooting At Fort Hood: Four Dead, 16 Injured At Ft. Hood, Texas.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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U.S. President Obama makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas while in Chicago U.S. President Barack Obama stands alone as he makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, while in Chicago, April 2, 2014. Obama said on Wednesday he was "heartbroken" that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid. At least one gunman opened fire on Wednesday, injuring an unknown number of people at the U.S. Army base in central Texas that was the scene of a shooting rampage in 2009, officials said. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Obama makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas while in Chicago
U.S. President Barack Obama stands alone as he makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, while in Chicago, April 2, 2014. Obama said on Wednesday he was “heartbroken” that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid. At least one gunman opened fire on Wednesday, injuring an unknown number of people at the U.S. Army base in central Texas that was the scene of a shooting rampage in 2009, officials said. REUTERS/Larry Downing

 

 

The President Delivers a Statement About the Shooting at Fort Hood

 

 

Tonight, the President delivered remarks about the ongoing situation in Fort Hood.

 

 

Obama: We will get to the bottom of Fort Hood shooting

 

Published on Apr 2, 2014

President Obama gives a statement on the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas.

 

 

 

 

Remarks by the President on the Shooting at Fort Hood

Chicago Cut Steakhouse Chicago, Illinois

 

6:46 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  I just got off the phone with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Sandy Winnefeld to get the latest report on the situation in Fort Hood.  Obviously we’re following it closely.  The situation is fluid right now.  But my national security team is in close contact with not just the Defense Department but the FBI.  They are working with folks on the ground to determine exactly what happened to make sure that everybody is secure.  And I want to just assure all of us that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

Any shooting is troubling.  Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago.  We know these families.  We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make.  Obviously our thoughts and prayers were — are with the entire community.  And we are going to do everything we can to make sure that the community at Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with the current situation, but also any potential aftermath.

We’re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again.  And I don’t want to comment on the facts until I know exactly what has happened, but for now, I would just hope that everybody across the country is keeping the families and the community at Fort Hood in our thoughts and in our prayers.  The folks there have sacrificed so much on behalf of our freedom.  Many of the people there have been on multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They serve with valor; they serve with distinction. And when they’re at their home base they need to feel safe.  We don’t yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again.  And we’re going to have to find out exactly what happened.

The Pentagon will undoubtedly have further briefings for you as we get more details [about what happened.]

Thanks, everybody.

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Update: 04/02/2014 9:00PM

 

 

The shooter, identified as 34-year-old soldier Ivan Lopez, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Justice Department said.

 

Six of the victims were transported to Scott & White Hospital with gunshot wounds. “Their conditions range from quite stable to quite critically injured,” Glen Couchman, Scott & White’s chief medical officer, said. Couchman said the hospital was not currently in need of blood donations from individuals.

 

Emergency crews, FBI and SWAT teams were called in to the base following the shooting, which occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. at a medical support building on the sprawling base. Soldiers and area residents were ordered to shelter in place as police pursued reports of a possible second shooter. The lockdown was lifted several hours later.

 

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Four dead, 14 injured at Ft. Hood, Texas congressman says

 

 

The main gate at the U.S. Army post at Fort Hood, Texas, is pictured in this undated file photograph obtained on November 5, 2009. A gunman opened fire in the Fort Hood Army base area in central Texas on April 2, 2014 injuring an unknown number of people, police said, and the base has issued a shelter in place order for all personnel on post. REUTERS/III Corps Public Affairs/U.S. Army/Handout/Files

The main gate at the U.S. Army post at Fort Hood, Texas, is pictured in this undated file photograph obtained on November 5, 2009. A gunman opened fire in the Fort Hood Army base area in central Texas on April 2, 2014 injuring an unknown number of people, police said, and the base has issued a shelter in place order for all personnel on post. REUTERS/III Corps Public Affairs/U.S. Army/Handout/Files

Authorities are investigating a shooting at Ft. Hood that left four people dead and 14 others injured, according to a Texas congressman. The sprawling military base was on lockdown as investigators tried to determine whether there was a second gunman.

 

Officials at Ft. Hood said they have received an initial report that a shooter at the base was dead. But Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said the shooter was among four who are dead. In an interview with CNN, he described the shooting as “soldier on soldier” and said terrorism was not suspected.

 

Ft. Hood’s Directorate of Emergency Services said that injured personnel were being transported to Carl R. Darnall Medical Center and other hospitals. Numerous law enforcement agencies are in support and on the scene.

The base said in a statement that its directorate of emergency services “has an initial report that a shooter is dead, but this is unconfirmed.”

 

It added: “the number of injured are not confirmed at this time.”

 

The base issued a shelter in place order for all personnel on post.

 

“There has been a shooting at Fort Hood and injuries are reported. Emergency crews are on the scene. No further details are known at this time,” the base said in a statement.

 

The base has been put on lockdown and police were securing its perimeter, police and military officials said.

 

President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he was “heartbroken” that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid.

 

“We are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” Obama told reporters in Chicago, where he is traveling for Democratic fundraisers.

 

Obama said his national security team was in close contact with the Defense Department and the FBI to determine what occurred and ensure that everyone was secure.

 

“We’re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again,” Obama said.

 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday called the incident a “terrible tragedy.”

 

“We know there are casualties, both people killed and injured,” Hagel told a news conference in Honolulu, where he was meeting with Asian defense ministers.

 

“We don’t have all the facts yet. We will get those. It’s still under investigation,” he added.

 

Local news reports said there may be two suspected shooters, while CNN reported that one shooter was believed to be dead, citing a U.S. official.

 

At about 5:30 p.m. Chicago time, a White House spokesman said President Obama had been told about the Fort Hood incident.”The President has been informed of reports of a shooting at Fort Hood. He’ll continue to receive updates on the situation throughout the evening,” principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said, according to a White House pool report.

 

Authorities advised those on the post to stay away from windows and to keep doors closed and locked.

 

Family members gathered near the main gate of the sprawling military base as a stream of police cars approached. Service members throughout the base were not permitted to leave their offices and quarters, and those outdoors were immediately ushered inside.

 

Spc. Cody Bishop, 28, told the Los Angeles Times his company of about 140 soldiers was in formation on a training exercise when the order came to shelter in place.

 

“We were standing in formation. They suddenly called everybody inside. They said stay inside. You can’t even go outside.”

 

Bishop said soldiers immediately gathered around television sets to try to learn what was going on. “We’ve got four different news channels on and getting four different reports,” he said.

 

As best he could tell, the shooting occurred about seven miles away from where he was, Bishop said.

 

He texted his wife, with whom he lives off base with his son, that he was OK.

 

Central Texas College, which has a Fort Hood campus, ordered an immediate evacuation of all students and staff, and canceled all classes.

 

In November 2009, a U.S. Army major shot and killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others during a shooting spree.

 

In September, a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 and wounding 4 before being slain by police. Last month, a civilian shot dead a sailor aboard a ship at a U.S. Navy base in Norfolk, Va.

Presently a press conference at Ft Hood is planned to take place with further information.
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Krystina Cassidy, left, and Dianna Simpson attempt to make contact with their husbands who are stationed inside Fort Hood while standing outside of the Bernie Beck Gate on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Fort Hood, Texas. At least one person was killed and 14 injured in the shooting, and officials at the base said the shooter is believed to be dead. (AP Photo/ Tamir Kalifa)

Krystina Cassidy, left, and Dianna Simpson attempt to make contact with their husbands who are stationed inside Fort Hood while standing outside of the Bernie Beck Gate on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Fort Hood, Texas. At least one person was killed and 14 injured in the shooting, and officials at the base said the shooter is believed to be dead. (AP Photo/ Tamir Kalifa)

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It’s A Garden Party At First Lady Michelle Obama’s House. School Children & FoodCorps Leaders Plant A White House Kitchen Garden.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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First Lady Michelle Obama, School Children, and FoodCorps Leaders to Plant Sixth Annual White House Kitchen Garden

 

Washington, DC—On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 3:30 PM ET, First Lady Michelle Obama will join FoodCorps leaders and local students to plant the White House Kitchen Garden for the sixth year in a row.  In 2009, Mrs. Obama planted a vegetable garden on the South Lawn to initiate a national conversation around the health and wellbeing of our nation—a conversation that evolved into her Let’s Move! initiative.  Since Mrs. Obama launched Let’s Move! in 2010, parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders, and kids themselves have stepped up to improve the health of our nation’s children.  And thanks to these efforts, we are moving toward a healthier new norm all across the country.

 

This year, Mrs. Obama is inviting the founders of FoodCorps and six FoodCorps service members to join her at the garden planting.  FoodCorps is part of the AmeriCorps Service Network.  This nationwide program is dedicated to teaching children about healthy food, how it grows, and where it comes from, and ensuring they have access to these foods each and every day.  Serving under the direction of state and community partners, FoodCorps members across the country dedicate a year of public service to help children grow up in healthy school food environments.  This fall, FoodCorps plans to serve local DC schools, Cleveland Elementary School, Friendship Public Charter School, and Kimball Elementary School—students from these schools will also be attending the garden planting.  In addition, Mrs. Obama will be joined in the garden by students from Bancroft Elementary School and Harriet Tubman Elementary School, who have been active participants in the White House Kitchen Garden.

 

The following FoodCorps service members will attend the garden planting:

 

  • Eileen Garcia (Woodbridge, CT): Eileen’s service site is a non-profit community farm that is close enough to some of the schools she serves that students can walk there for their lessons.  Her schools include: Ansonia Middle School, Ansonia High School, Mead School, and Prendergast School.

 

  • Whitney Smith (Detroit, MI): Whitney is serving a second FoodCorps service term at the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, where she educates students on gardening, food justice, and nutrition and instructs youth on urban agriculture.  Her schools include: Timbuktu Academy of Science and Technology, Muhammed University of Islam, and Shrine of the Black Madonna Nursery School.

 

  • Greg Beach (Boston, MA): Greg’s service site is City Sprouts, a nonprofit school garden organization that partners with urban public schools to integrate academic and environmental education in schools and neighborhoods.  His schools include: Fletcher Maynard Academy, Tobin Montessori School, King Open School, Vassal Lane Upper School, Cambridgeport School, and Cambridge Street Upper School.

 

  • Tim Williams (Wilmington, NC): At Feast Down East, Tim creates and maintains school gardens, and helps to develop a farm-to-cafeteria campaign and a Chef to School Program.  His schools include: Snipes Academy of Art and Design, Forest Hills Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Rachel Freeman School of Engineering, Supply Elementary, and Town Creek Elementary.

 

  • Sarah Ting (Oakland, CA): Sarah’s service site isOakland Unified School District where she teaches and collaborates with the Farm to School Supervisor on district level procurement for the National School Meal Program.

 

  • Alexis Sangalang (Camden, NJ): Alexis serves with the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids located in Camden, New Jersey.  Her schools include: Holy Name School, E.C.O. Charter School, Early Childhood Development Center Respond, Inc., Center for Family Services, Head Start, and D.U.E. Season Charter School.

 

 

The Sixth-Annual White House Kitchen Garden Planting

April 02, 2014 | 10:13 |Public Domain

 

The First Lady delivers remarks at the sixth-annual planting of the White House Kitchen garden, emphasizing the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

 

 

 

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Raise The Minimum Wage: Barack Speaks At Michigan University, Ann Arbor – Full Speech.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Obama Speaks At Michigan University, Ann Arbor – Full Speech

 

Published on Apr 2, 2014

President Obama speaks about raising the minimum wage while visiting the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

 

 

 

 

 

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Add Your Name: America Deserves a Raise

 

 

This afternoon, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez sent the following message to the White House email list, explaining why we need to raise the minimum wage.

 

Didn’t get the email? Make sure you’re signed up for White House updates.

 


 

Hey, all –

 

Last Friday, I spoke at a rally in Cleveland about raising the minimum wage. While I was there, I had the opportunity to talk with 11-year-old Jesseca Hudson, who came out to show her support.

 

Before I’d even boarded my plane back to D.C., she had already emailed me, telling me how she wanted to help in the fight to give millions of workers the wages they deserve.

 

Jesseca doesn’t think that someone working full-time should struggle to make ends meet. But full-time workers earning the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 only earn about $14,500 a year in wages — below the poverty line for a family of two.

 

That’s unacceptable. And it’s why the President has called on Congress and state governments to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — and on businesses to act on their own to increase the pay of their workers.

 

If you agree, then add your name, and share why you think we need to raise the wage.

 

 

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Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 will benefit about 28 million workers across the country. And it will help businesses, too — raising the wage will put more money in people’s pockets, which they will pump back into the economy by spending it on goods and services in their communities.

 

The bottom line: America deserves a raise.

 

And it’s not just 11-year-olds that understand why it’s a problem that the minimum wage has lost nearly a third of its value since its peak in 1968. Nearly three out of four Americans agree we should raise the wage.

 

If you agree it’s time that we answer the President’s call to increase the minimum wage and reward honest work, add your name and share why.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Secretary Tom Perez
Department of Labor

 

 

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In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, and announced he would issue an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for the individuals working on new federal service contracts.

 

Raising the minimum wage nationwide will increase earnings for millions of workers, and boost the bottom lines of businesses across the country.

 

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Today, the real value of the minimum wage has fallen by nearly one-third since its peak in 1968. And right now, a full-time minimum wage worker makes $14,500 a year, which leaves too many families struggling to make ends meet.

 

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“No one who works full time should have to raise their family in poverty.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA

 

 

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Remarks by the President on Minimum Wage — Ann Arbor, MI

 

 

President Obama Entering the IM Building

 

Published on Apr 2, 2014

The President of the United States visited the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus to talk about minimum wage. We captured the moment Mr. President entered the Intramural Sports Building in this short clip.

 

 

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

2:52 P.M. EDT

 

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THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Michigan!  (Applause.)  Go Blue!  (Applause.)  This is a good-looking crowd.  (Applause.)  Just happy to be out of class.  (Applause.)  I’m sure that’s not true. I’m sure these are all outstanding students.  (Applause.)  Good to see you.

 

First of all, give Mira a big round of applause for the great introduction.  (Applause.)  I want to say thanks to your president, Mary Sue Coleman, for her years of outstanding leadership here at Michigan.  (Applause.)  We’ve got a few other Michigan leaders who are here today.  We’ve got Congressman John Conyers.  (Applause.)  We’ve got Congressman Gary Peters.  (Applause.)  We’ve got your mayor, John Hieftje.  (Applause.)   Former Congressman Mark Schauer.  (Applause.)  Your Congressman, the legendary John Dingell, could not make it, but his wife Debbie is here.  Give her a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

 

Now, most importantly I know to all of you, we’ve got some Wolverines in the house here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got Greg Robinson III.  (Applause.)  We’ve got Jordan Morgan.  (Applause.) We’ve got Big Ten Player of the Year, Nik Stauskas.  (Applause.) And we’ve got quarterback, Devin Gardner.  (Applause.)  These guys were outstanding this year.  Give them a bigger round of applause than that.  (Applause.)

 

You guys had a great run.  That last game was as good of a game as we’ve seen the entire season.  I know you wish that that turned out a little bit later — if you’d had five more seconds, it would have been helpful.  (Laughter.)  But I wanted to congratulate the coach, Coach Beilein, and the team for a great season.  (Applause.)

 

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And I understand that Jordan wanted me to talk about my bracket.  (Laughter.)  My bracket is a mess.  (Laughter.)  I’ve learned my lesson — I will not pick against the Wolverines.  (Applause.)  It’s not going to happen.  This is the problem with doing these brackets — people just trash-talk you non-stop.  (Laughter.)  It’s terrible.

 

And I think it’s worth mentioning, I want to congratulate Jordan for playing more games at Michigan than any other player in history — not only earning an undergraduate degree in engineering — (applause) — pursuing a graduate degree in engineering as well.  That’s the kind of student athlete we’re talking about.  (Applause.)

 

Now, do some of you guys have chairs?  Because if you’ve got chairs, feel free to sit down.  But if you don’t, don’t sit down, because I don’t want you getting hurt.

 

Before I came here today, I stopped at Zingerman’s, which is the — (applause) — which is the right thing to do when you’re in Ann Arbor.  (Laughter.)  I stopped for two reasons.  The first is the Reuben is killer.  (Laughter.)  So I ordered like the small — (laughter) — and it didn’t look that small.  So I gave half to Valerie Jarrett, who’s traveling with us.  And then after I finished the half, I wanted the half back.  (Laughter.)  But it was too late.  All she had left was the pickle.  (Laughter.)  So I took the pickle.  (Laughter.)

 

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So one of the reasons I went was because the sandwiches are outstanding.  The second reason, though, is Zingerman’s is a business that treats its workers well, and rewards honest work with honest wages.  (Applause.)  And that’s worth celebrating.  And that’s what I’m here to talk about today:   How do we rebuild an economy that creates jobs and opportunities for every American?  And I want to focus on something a lot of people in Michigan are working very hard to accomplish right now, and that is raising the minimum wage to help more folks get ahead.  (Applause.)

 

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Now, here’s the context.  Our economy is doing better.  It’s growing.  Our businesses are creating jobs — 8.7 million new jobs over the past four years.  (Applause.)  Our manufacturing sector, which had been losing jobs throughout the ‘90s and throughout the — what do you call it — aughts?  (Laughter.)  You know, the 2000 to 2010, whatever you call that.  (Laughter.)
But manufacturing had been losing jobs — about a third of manufacturing had lost — and obviously that hit Michigan really hard.  But we’re now seeing the manufacturing sector add jobs for the first time since the 1990s.  So that is good news.  (Applause.)

 

The housing market is recovering.  Obviously the stock market has recovered, which means people’s 401(k)s, if they have them, are doing a lot better.

 

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Troops that were fighting two wars, they’re coming home.  (Applause.)   We just went through the first month since 2003 where no U.S. soldier was killed in either Afghanistan or Iraq.  (Applause.)

 

Today you’ve got companies looking to invest in the U.S. instead of sending jobs overseas.  They want to create more jobs and invest right here in the United States.  We’re more competitive.  We’re more productive.

 

Oh, and by the way, 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.  (Applause.)  That’s a lot of people — 7.1.  That’s enough to fill up The Big House 65 times.  (Applause.)  And by the way, that doesn’t count the more than 3 million young people who have been able to stay on their parents’ plans. (Applause.)

 

So we have seniors here who graduate and then it may take a couple months to find a job, or you’re doing an internship or something that does not provide health care, you’re going to be covered until you get that job that actually provides health insurance.  So it provides you the kind of protection you need.  (Applause.)

 

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So that’s the good news.  We fought back from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes.  We’ve laid the foundation for America’s future growth.  But here’s the problem:  There’s been a long-term trend that has really been hitting middle-class folks and folks trying to get into the middle class, and that’s been going on since before most of you were born.  The economy increasingly has folks at the top doing really well, but then middle-class families, people who are struggling to get into the middle class, they’re working harder, but their wages, their incomes aren’t going up.

 

And we’re a better country than that.  In America, we do not believe in opportunity just for the few.  We believe that everybody should have a chance at success.  Everybody.  (Applause.)  And we believe our economy grows best not from the top down, but from the middle out, and from the bottom up.  (Applause.)  And we want to make sure that no matter where you’re born, what circumstances, how you started out, what you look like, what your last name is, who you love — it doesn’t matter, you can succeed.  That’s what we believe.  (Applause.)

 

We believe that what matters is the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams and our willingness to take responsibility for ourselves, but also for ourselves.  That’s what America is about.  That’s the promise that this country is built on.  And for the sake of your generation, we got to make sure that that continues to be the case; that that’s not just something we’re nostalgic about; that that’s something that we project out into the future.

 

So I had a State of the Union a while back and I laid out a four-part Opportunity Agenda to make sure everybody has a shot.  And that starts with something I know graduating seniors are thinking about:  More good jobs paying good wages; jobs in high-tech and manufacturing and energy and innovation.  And there are things we can do to create jobs — rebuilding our infrastructure in this country, investing in R&D, closing wasteful loopholes that don’t create jobs.  So we’re providing tax breaks to companies that are creating jobs right here in the United States. Those are things we can do right now.

 

Opportunity means training more Americans for the skills needed to fill those jobs.  We got to make sure everybody is ready with the skills they need.  Not everybody is going to be lucky enough to be a Wolverine and graduate from Michigan.  (Applause.)  But everybody can get a good, solid base so that they can have a job and a career.

 

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Opportunity means guaranteeing every young people access to a world-class education, and that’s got to start with pre-K, all the way through higher education.  (Applause.)  And it means making college more affordable.  (Applause.)

 

Some of you may not know this, but before a lot of you even entered college, we took on the student loan system.  It was giving billions of taxpayer dollars to big banks to serve as middlemen in the student loan process.  We said, why do we need the banks?  We cut them out.  We used the savings that were generated, billions of dollars, to expand the grants that help millions of low-income students pay for college.  And we’re offering millions of students who are graduating the chance to cap monthly student loan payments at 10 percent of your income.  (Applause.)

 

This is something you need to talk to your counselors about, especially if you’re going into teaching or social work, or other professions where it’s a passion but you’re not going to be an investment banker salary situation.  So make sure you find out about this.  You can cap — I mean, I know Stauskas has got the contract coming up, so he’ll — (laughter) — he doesn’t have to worry about these things.  But I’m saying later — I’m not telling him to leave.  (Laughter.)  I wasn’t editorializing on that.  (Laughter.)

 

My point is we got to make sure that everybody can afford to do things that may not pay huge sums of money but are really valuable to society.

 

And the good news is more young people are earning college degrees than ever before.  But we’ve still got to do more work to rein in tuition costs.  I talked to your president about this. And we got to help more students who are trapped by student loan debt — because this country cannot afford striving young people to be priced out of a higher education.  Everybody has got to be able to afford it.  (Applause.)

 

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Finally, opportunity means rewarding the hard work of every American — not just some Americans, every American.  That means making sure that folks are paid equal for doing equal work.  (Applause.)  I do not want my daughters paid less than somebody else’s sons for doing the same job.  (Applause.)

 

It means making sure that there are decent benefits and, at minimum, that every American has access to quality, affordable health insurance.  It means paychecks and wages that allow you to support a family.

 

All of which brings me back to this issue of the minimum wage, giving America a raise.  Now, raising the minimum wage is not going to solve all of our economic challenges.  The majority of folks who are working get paid more than the minimum wage.  As Americans we understand that some people will earn more than others.  But here’s one thing we do believe:  Nobody who works full-time should be raising their family in poverty, right?  (Applause.)  If you’re working, if you’re responsible, you should be able to pay the rent, pay the bills.  (Applause.)

 

But that’s what’s happening right now.  All across the country, you can work full-time on the minimum wage and still be in poverty.  And that’s why, in the year since I first asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, we’ve seen six states on their own pass laws to raise their minimum wage.  Last week, Connecticut became the first state in the country to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.  (Applause.)  Congratulations, Connecticut.

 

President Barack Obama speaks on raising the national minimum wage at the University of Michigan on April 2, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Obama unveiled a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour in his State of the Union address in January. / JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama speaks on raising the national minimum wage at the University of Michigan on April 2, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Obama unveiled a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour in his State of the Union address in January. / JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

 

You’ve got more states and counties and cities that are working to raise their minimum wage as we speak.  That includes your state legislators from Ann Arbor — Adam Zemke and Jeff Irwin — who are trying to raise it here in Michigan.  (Applause.)  We’re proud of them.  Stand up, guys.  Come on.  There they are.  (Applause.)  See, I used to be in the state legislature, so I was kind of partial to — (laughter.)

 

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But raising wages is not just a job for organizers, it’s not just a job for elected officials, it’s also a job for business.  It was here in Michigan 100 years ago that Henry Ford announced he was doubling his workers’ wages.  And at the time, some of his fellow business leaders thought he had lost his mind.  But Henry Ford understood it was going to be good for business.  Not only did it boost productivity, not only did it reduce turnover, not only did it make employees more loyal to the company, but it meant that the workers could afford to buy the cars that they were building.  (Applause.)  So you were building — so by paying your workers more, you were building your own market for your products.

 

And hugely successful companies today, like Costco, they take the same approach.  And it’s not just big businesses; small businesses, too.  In my State of the Union address, I called on more business leaders to boost their employees’ wages, give them a fair wage.  And since then, you’ve seen businesses across the country — small ones, like an ice cream parlor in Florida, to a marketing agency in Georgia, to a pizzeria in St. Louis — they’ve all said, you know what, this is the right thing to do.

 

Recently, the Gap decided to raise its base wages, and that benefited about 65,000 workers in the United States — and it led me to go shopping at Gap.  (Laughter and applause.)  Some of you may have seen the very attractive sweaters that I purchased for my daughters.  (Laughter.)  They have not worn them yet, so if they’re listening, make me feel good, just wear it one time.  (Laughter.)

 

University of Michigan LSA freshmen, fromleft, Sydney Grant, Meredith Gillies, and Litong Pei wait in line in to see President Obama speak Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/The Ann Arbor News, Brianne Bowen) / AP

University of Michigan LSA freshmen, fromleft, Sydney Grant, Meredith Gillies, and Litong Pei wait in line in to see President Obama speak Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/The Ann Arbor News, Brianne Bowen) / AP

 

Now, Zingerman’s does not have as many workers as the Gap, obviously, but they try to do right by each and every one of them.  You’ve got some big businesses who go to Washington to lobby for special treatment for themselves.  So one of Zingerman’s owners, Paul Saginaw, flew to D.C. to lobby for his workers, to lobby for better treatment for workers through a higher minimum wage.  (Applause.)  That’s the kind of folks who are running Zingerman’s.

 

For the AAers: Pres Obama at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

For the AAers: Pres Obama at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

Then afterwards, he held a sandwich summit here in Ann Arbor to help build support for Michigan’s minimum wage going up.  And Paul’s point is simple:  Fair wages and higher profits are not mutually exclusive; they can go hand-in-hand.  That’s what Henry Ford understood.  And Paul opened Zingerman’s doors 32 years ago last month so he knows a little bit about business.  But he and business owners like him believe higher wages are good for the bottom line.

 

I happen to believe the same thing.  So I decided several months ago that the federal government should follow their lead. And so I issued an executive order that requires federal contractors, folks who are doing business with the government, to pay their employees on new contracts a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour.  It’s the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

 

And I’m determined to do my part to lift wages, improve take-home pay any way I can.  My attitude is if you cook our troops’ meals, you wash their dishes, your country should pay you a living wage.  (Applause.)

 

President Obama Speaks On Raising The Minimum Wage At The University Of Michigan

 

Now, here’s the challenge.  What Zingerman’s can do on its own, what even I can do as the head of the executive branch of the federal government, that doesn’t reach everybody.  If we’re going to do right by our fellow Americans, we need Congress to get onboard.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to have Congress to get onboard.  We’ve got to have state legislators to get onboard.  (Applause.)

 

Because even though we’re bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, we’re creating more good-paying jobs in education and health care and business services, there are always going to be folks who do critical work, who bust their tails every day — airport workers, restaurant workers, and hospital workers, and retail salespeople — who deserve an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.  They’re doing necessary jobs — they should be able to make a living.

 

So right now there is a bill before Congress that would boost America’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.  It’s easy to remember:  10-10.  10-10.  Passing this bill would not just raise wages for minimum-wage workers; it would help lift wages for nearly 28 million Americans, including nearly a million people right here in Michigan.  It would lift millions of people out of poverty right away.  It would help millions more work their way out of poverty right away.  (Applause.)

 

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It wouldn’t require any new taxes.  It doesn’t require new spending.  It doesn’t require new bureaucracy.  But what it would do is help those families and give businesses more customers with more money to spend.  And it would help grow the economy for everybody.

 

So you would think this would be a no-brainer.  Politically, you’d think that folks would be rushing to do this.  Nearly three in four Americans support raising the minimum wage — nearly three in four.  Here’s the problem.  Republicans in Congress — not Republicans out in America, because some of them get paid the minimum wage, so they want to see it raised — Republicans in Congress don’t want to vote to raise it at all.  In fact, some want to just scrap the minimum wage.  One House Republican said, “It’s outlived its usefulness.”

 

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AUDIENCE:  Booo –

 

THE PRESIDENT:  No, that’s what he said.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPANT:  Booo –

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo, organize.  (Applause.)  That’s what you need to do, because they may not hear the boos, but they can read a petition and they can see votes.  (Applause.)

 

You’ve got some Republicans saying we shouldn’t raise the minimum wage because — they said this — because, well, it just helps young people.  Now, first of all, I think it’s pretty good to help young people.  (Applause.)  I don’t know what’s wrong with helping young people.  Folks who say that, next thing you know they’ll say, “Get off my lawn.”  (Laughter.)  I think it’s okay to help young people.

 

But the fact is most people who would benefit from a higher minimum wage are not teenagers taking on their first job.  The average age of folks getting paid the minimum wage is 35.  A majority of lower-wage jobs are held by women.  Many of them work full-time, often to support a family.

 

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And, by the way, what’s wrong with helping young people get ahead?  (Laughter.)  Mira puts herself through college on a base wage of less than $3 an hour, because she’s working in a restaurant.  She works hard — she does.  So we should be making it easier for your generation to gain a foothold on the ladder of opportunity.  We shouldn’t be making it harder.

 

Now, the truth is the Republicans’ refusal so far to raise the minimum wage is pretty consistent with their general worldview — (laughter) — which says — it says basically you’re on your own; government doesn’t have a role to play in making sure that the marketplace is working for everybody.

 

Just yesterday, Republicans in Congress put forward a budget for the country that I believe would shrink opportunity for your generation.  It starts by giving a massive tax cut to households making more than $1 million a year, the very folks who’ve benefited the most over the last 20 years from this economy that is benefiting people at the top.  Then, so they don’t blow a hole in the deficit, they’d have to raise taxes on middle-class families with kids.  Then they’d force deep cuts to the investments that help our economy grow, like research and clean energy, and investments in middle-class families, like education and job training.

 

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When they put these budgets together, usually they don’t tell you exactly what they’d cut because they know you wouldn’t like it, so you have to kind of do the math.  But compared to my budget, if they cut everything evenly in the amount that they’re talking about, within a few years about 170,000 kids would get cut from early childhood education.

 

About 200,000 new moms and children would get cut off from the programs that help them to get healthy food.  Funding for 21,000 special education teachers would be cut off.  And if they wanted to make smaller cuts in any of these — in any one of these areas, they’d have to make bigger cuts in others.  It even cuts Pell grants, which makes it harder for students to pay for a college education.

 

Now, to give them credit, they do have one original idea, which is to repeal Obamacare — (laughter) — because they haven’t tried that 50 times.  (Applause.)  Fifty times they’ve tried to do that.  (Laughter.)  So that means they would take away health coverage not only for more than 7 million Americans who’ve done the responsible thing, signed up, bought health care for themselves and their families, but for the 3 million young adults who’ve been able to stay on their parents’ plan under this law.  What I just told you about being able to stay on your parent’s plan — the Republicans don’t like that.

 

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And their budget guts the rules we put in place to protect middle-class families from another financial crisis like the one that we’ve endured.  So if this all sounds familiar, it should be familiar because it was their economic plan in the 2012 campaign, it was their economic plan in 2010.  It’s like that movie Groundhog Day — (laughter) — except it’s not funny.  (Applause.)  If they tried to sell this sandwich at Zingerman’s, they’d have to call it the Stinkburger, or the Meanwich.  (Laughter and applause.)

 

Look, here’s the truth.  They’re not necessarily cold-hearted, they just sincerely believe that if we give more tax breaks to a fortunate few and we invest less in the middle class, and we reduce or eliminate the safety net for the poor and the sick, and we cut food stamps, and we cut Medicaid, and we let banks and polluters and credit card companies and insurers do only what’s best for their bottom line without the responsibility to the rest of us, then somehow the economy will boom, and jobs and prosperity will trickle down to everybody.

 

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And when I say it that way, I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating — except I’m not.  This is their theory.  They’re pretty unabashed about it.  And it’s not a new theory.  They’ve held it for decades, through good times and bad.  They were making the same argument against FDR when he was setting up Social Security.

 

And, look, it does create opportunity for a handful of people who are already doing really, really well.  But we believe in opportunity for everybody.  More good jobs for everybody.  More workers to fill those jobs.  (Applause.)  A world-class education for everybody.  Hard work that pays off with wages you can live on and savings you can retire on and health care you can count on.  That’s what “opportunity for all” means.  (Applause.) That’s what it means.

 

Now, next week, members of Congress have a fresh chance to show which side they’re on.  They’re going to get a yes or no vote on raising the minimum wage all across this country.  And they’ve got to make a clear choice:  Talk the talk about valuing hardworking families, or walk the walk and actually value hardworking families.  (Applause.)  You’ve got a choice.  You can give America the shaft, or you can give it a raise.  (Applause.)

 

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Here in Michigan, your Senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow — (applause) — your Representatives, John Dingell and John Conyers and Gary Peters, they are already onboard.  But every American deserves to know where their elected representatives stand on this choice.  So those of you — if you’re going back home for spring break or something or — did that already happen, spring break?

 

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m sorry.  (Laughter.)  Everybody is all, aw, yeah.  (Laughter.)  Well, I hope you had a good time.  (Laughter.)  But if you have the chance to talk to a congressman who’s not supporting it, you need to ask him, do you support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour?  If they say yes, then you should say thank you — (laughter) — because elected officials do not hear that very often.  When they do the right thing, you should reward them.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you, President Obama!

 

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THE PRESIDENT:  You’re welcome.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

 

Now, if they say no, you shouldn’t yell at them.  Be polite.  Ask them why not.  Ask them to reconsider.  Tell them to join the rest of the country.  For once, instead of just saying no, say yes.  It’s time for $10.10.  It’s time to give America a raise.

 

And as I’m looking out at all of you I’m reminded, four years ago I had the privilege of delivering the commencement address at the university, over in the big stadium.  (Applause.) And I said our democracy, it’s always been noisy, it’s always been messy.  We have big arguments.  But in the end, we’ve always had the ability to look past our differences and our disagreements and forge a common future.  And we’ve got common values — hard work, responsibility, pursuing your individual dreams.

 

What the argument is right now about is whether we also affirm the values that make sure we’ve giving everybody a chance; making sure our fellow citizens can also pursue their dreams; that we’re not just looking out for ourselves all the time, but we’re also looking out for the person next to you.  That’s also what America is about.  That’s what we have to do again.

 

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We’ve got more jobs to create.  We’ve got more kids to educate.  We’ve got more clean energy to create.  (Applause.)  We’ve got more troops to bring home.  We got more veterans to care for.  We got an immigration system we got to fix.  (Applause.)  We got to build a middle class.  We got to give opportunity for everybody who strives for it.  We got to make sure everybody — black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, with or without a disability, folks in the inner city, folks outside the borders of the city — everybody has got a chance.  (Applause.)   America is a place for everybody.  That’s what we’re fighting for.  That’s what I need you to go out there and talk about.  (Applause.)

 

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

 

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END
3:26 P.M. EDT

 

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President Barack Obama, followed by Rep. Gary Peters. D-Mich., waves as they arrive on Air Force One at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The president will speak at the University of Michigan about his proposal to raise the national minimum wage. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) / AP

President Barack Obama, followed by Rep. Gary Peters. D-Mich., waves as they arrive on Air Force One at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The president will speak at the University of Michigan about his proposal to raise the national minimum wage. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) / AP

Ann Arbor students camped out in line the night before to get tickets to see Barack speak.

Ann Arbor students camped out in line the night before to get tickets to see Barack speak.

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Off To Chicago!!!

Off To Chicago!!!

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President Obama is welcomed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn after arriving aboard Air Force One at Chicago O’Hare International Airport

President Obama is welcomed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn after arriving aboard Air Force One at Chicago O’Hare International Airport

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Springtime Honey Cake And Baby Honey Bee!


Originally posted on Romancing the Bee:

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This photo and recipe are reprinted courtesy of my favorite Domestic Goddess Martha Stewart!

The cake recipe is Italian in origin, perfectly sweet and tender, just like my brand new Italiano Grandson Benjamin (“Umberto!”) Michael Aquilino, born Sunday March 30, 2014!

Benjamin Bunny

Baby Honey Bee Benjamin!

In honor of Baby Ben I’ll be posting honey cake recipes this week. Here is Martha’s — it’s delicioso!!

INGREDIENTS

(Serves 10)

FIRST GLAZE

  • 1 large lemon, zested into strips
  • 3 sprigs sage
  • 3/4 cup honey

CAKE

  • Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

FINAL…

View original 194 more words

Cooking With Honey – Honey Granola Bars


Originally posted on Romancing the Bee:

hungry-boy-granola-bar-mhlb2026_vert

Since last summer I’ve been trying to come up with a really good granola bar recipe. I think I’ve found it! 

Yield:  12 to 16 bars

Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup honey

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup chopped raisins

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional!)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the…

View original 88 more words

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