Press Releases

 

Tuesday
Dec092008

DNC - Howard Dean to Address Joint Meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs and the DNC Executive Committee

Washington, DC – Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean will address a joint meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs and the DNC Executive Committee on Friday, December 12 at the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California. The meeting offers the first opportunity since the historic 2008 election for state Democratic Party chairs and national Party officials to evaluate the results.

 

In addition to remarks by California Democratic Party Chair Art Torres welcoming the ASDC and DNC Executive Committee members to the Golden State, the meeting will feature presentations by California Congressman and DNC Vice Chair Mike Honda, ASDC and Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer, and DNC pollster Cornell Belcher. State Chairs from across the country will also make presentations highlighting the benefits of the DNC’s State Party Partnership program in strengthening Democratic Parties across the country.

 

Who: DNC Chairman Howard Dean; California Congressman and DNC Vice Chair Mike Honda; California Democratic Party Chair Art Torres; ASDC Chair and Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer; and DNC pollster Cornell Belcher

 

What: A Joint Meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs and the DNC Executive Committee

 

Where: Viceroy Room, Hotel Del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, California

 

When: Friday, December 12 at 1:00 PM Pacific.

Tuesday
Dec092008

Newsmax - Obama Questions Appointees About Gun Ownership, NRA Outraged

. Potential Obama Appointees Questioned on Guns

The National Rifle Association has denounced the Barack Obama transition team’s questionnaire asking potential appointees about their own gun ownership.

 

The 63-question personnel form includes this query: “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”

 

Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University, told Politico.com that there was no such question for potential appointees when George W. Bush took office in 2000.

 

“It kind of sticks out there like a sore thumb,” he said.

 

Light hypothesized that the Obama camp might want to avoid the spectacle of a Cabinet-level or other high-ranking appointee who is found to have an unregistered handgun.

 

But the NRA, which spent millions in an attempt to defeat Obama, is crying foul over the question.

 

“Barack Obama and his administration are showing their true colors and true philosophy with regard to the Second Amendment,” said Chris Cox, the NRA’s top political official.

 

“It shows what we’ve been saying all along — this guy doesn’t view the Second Amendment as a fundamental constitutional right.”

 

Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina also denounced the question.

 

“It’s very odd and very concerning to put out a question like that,” he said.

 

DeMint’s campaign organization sent an e-mail to supporters vowing to endorse legislation that bars federal hiring discrimination on the basis of gun ownership.

 

The question put to potential appointees is just the latest Obama move to irk opponents of gun control, NewsBusters contributing editor Tom Blumer pointed out.

 

Among other things, Obama has voted to allow lawsuits designed to bankrupt firearms firms, voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting, endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership, voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defense, and supported a proposal to ban gun stores within five miles of a school or park.

 


2. Ted Turner: KGB Was ‘Honorable’

 

CNN founder Ted Turner said the former Soviet intelligence agency KGB was “honorable” — and equated the U.S. mission in Iraq with the U.S.S.R.’s invasion of Afghanistan.

 

During an appearance on last week’s “Meet the Press,” Turner — whose latest book is “Call Me Ted” — was asked by host Tom Brokaw if he believes all nuclear weapons can be eliminated if the U.S. and Russia take the lead.

 

Turner, co-founder of the Nuclear Threat Initiative to stem the spread of nuclear weapons, said “absolutely,” and called the Russians “very reasonable, pragmatic, practical people.”

 

When Brokaw mentioned Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s past with the KGB, Turner responded:

 

“Well, he had that background. But you know, we have an FBI, and we're not prejudiced against somebody who's worked at the FBI. It's an honorable place to work. And the KGB, I think, was an honorable place to work. And it gave people in the former Soviet Union, a communist country, an opportunity to do something important and worthwhile.”

 

The next exchange went like this:

 

Brokaw: “But in the meantime, it appears that he's very much more interested in just causing difficulty for the United States, getting in our face in a manner of speaking.”

 

Turner: “Well, wait. We're the ones, in my opinion, we're the ones that started that. We're the ones that started by putting the Star Wars system in Czechoslovakia and Poland when they wanted to be part of it. We've said that system is only to protect us from Iran or protect Europe from Iranian missiles. So why didn't we cooperate with the Russians? Why have we constantly been pushing on the Russians all the time?”

 

Brokaw: “Your friend, Jimmy Carter, tried to be friendly with Leonid Brezhnev, and for his friendliness what did Brezhnev do? ... He invaded Afghanistan.”

 

Turner: “Well, we invaded Afghanistan, too, and it's a lot further — at least it's on the border of the Soviet Union or the former Soviet Union or Russia...”

 

Brokaw: “But Ted, don't try to go there in terms of justifying that ... It was naked aggression on the part of the Russians at the time.”

 

Turner: “Well, going into Iraq was naked aggression on the part of the United States.”

 

Brokaw failed to challenge that assertion.

 


3. Hillary Needs ‘Fix’ to Serve on Cabinet

 

Sen. Hillary Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, according to the public interest group Judicial Watch.

 

The Ineligibility Clause of the U.S. Constitution stipulates that no member of Congress can be appointed to an office that has benefited from a salary increase during that Senator or Representative’s current term of office.

 

A January 2008 Executive Order signed by President George W. Bush during Hillary Clinton’s current Senate term increased the salary for Secretary of State from $186,600 to $191,300.

 

Specifically, Article I, section 6 of the U.S. Constitution states: “No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments (salary and benefits) whereof shall have been increased during such time.”

 

At the 1787 Constitutional Convention there was fear that of members of Congress might create new jobs or give raises to existing jobs, and then take those jobs for themselves.

 

President Richard Nixon circumvented this provision after appointing Ohio Sen. William Saxbe to the position of Attorney General. The Attorney General’s salary had been increased during Saxbe’s term, but the Nixon administration managed to push legislation through Congress to reduce the salary to its previous level.

 

This scheme, known thereafter as “The Saxbe Fix,” was also used to allow Sen. Lloyd Bensen to assume the position of Treasury Secretary under President Clinton.

 

So Hillary will require a “Saxbe Fix” to serve as Secretary of State, according to Judicial Watch. But the group asserts that the tactic “may reduce the salary of Secretary of State to previous levels, but it does not affect what is a clear constitutional prohibition.”

 


4. Gen. James Jones Not Pro-Israel

 

Barack Obama’s appointment of retired Gen. James Jones as his national security adviser raised concerns in Israel that Jones is not a firm supporter of the Jewish state.

 

Jones, former supreme allied commander of NATO, served as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian security issues over the past year. During that time he was reported to have drafted a paper critical of some aspects of Israel’s security stance toward the Palestinians, according to the Jerusalem Post.

 

But the report, which Israeli government officials feared could cause tension between the U.S. and Israel, was never published.

 

However, it is known that Jones favors replacing Israeli forces in the West Bank with an international force.

 

He also opposes Israel’s demand that it retain extensive security control over the occupied territories even after a Palestinian state is established, the Israel newspaper Haaretz disclosed.

 

In discussions with the Bush administration, Israel has argued that its major population centers are vulnerable to rocket and suicide attacks from the West Bank, and control of the Jordan Valley is needed to prevent weapons smuggling into the West Bank.

 

Israel also wants control of border crossings, and maintains that Palestinians cannot be trusted with responsibility for security, according to Haaretz.

 

Jones has instead proposed a NATO-based international force that would eventually transfer control to the Palestinians.

 

Israeli officials maintain that an international force cannot provide the intelligence needed to ward off terrorist attacks.

 

As national security adviser Jones can be expected to make Israeli-Palestinian relations a top priority. In an interview with Inside the Pentagon in October, he said “nothing is more important” in the Middle East than a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

5. We Heard . . .

 

THAT Virginia businessman Earl Stafford is shelling out $1 million so that disadvantaged people, terminally ill patients, and wounded soldiers from around the country can stay in Washington for Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

 

Stafford, founder of the technology company Unitech, will provide his guests with free lodging for three nights at the JW Marriott hotel, which offers a prime view of the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route.

 

He told The Washington Post that he is prepared to spend $600,000 more for a breakfast, a luncheon and two balls at the hotel.

 

At least 30 percent of the guests staying in Stafford’s 300 rooms and four suites are to be disadvantaged or needy in some way.

 

The African-American businessman said he wants to “bless those who otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to be part of the great celebration, the inauguration and the festivities.”

 

THAT the cost of the inauguration could leave financially-strapped Washington, D.C., with a record-breaking bill for services.

 

The bill for security and other outlays will almost certainly exceed the $15 million the federal government gives to the District of Columbia each year to defray the expense of holding events, according to the District’s congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

 

In 2005, with an estimated 300,000 people in attendance, President George W. Bush’s second inauguration cost the city more than $17 million. This year, officials expect nearly five times as many people, according to the DC Examiner’s Web site.

 

“There will be an additional amount necessary to handle the unprecedented crowds,” said Norton.

 

“It’s an outrage to have costs incurred for federal events.”

Tuesday
Dec092008

SEIA Joins Leading Solar Companies in Call for More Global Reliance on Solar

Washington – Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) joined leading solar energy companies who called on world leaders meeting at climate talks in Poland to emphasize carbon-free solar energy generation in any solution to combat global warming.

 

“Increasing the use of solar provides reliable, carbon-free energy while creating millions of new jobs. Solar is not only the cleanest technology, but also produces more jobs per megawatt (MW) of installed electricity capacity than any other source of energy” said John Stanton, executive vice president of SEIA.

 

To jump-start similar carbon-reduction efforts here at home, SEIA calls on Congress to include key solar provisions in the Obama Administration economic stimulus bill that could be passed as early as January.

 

“Properly crafted economic stimulus legislation presents our nation with the opportunity to invest in industries that create jobs, foster our energy independence, improve our security and reduce our greatest environmental risk – global warming” added Stanton.

 

SEIA released its top priorities to be included in economic stimulus legislation that will be taken up by congress in January.

 

SEIA recommends Congress include the four following provisions in the stimulus package: 1) Improve the investment tax credit by making the credits refundable; 2) eliminate federal penalties levied upon preferred, below-market financing; 3) increase government procurement with a massive investment in solar energy technologies to power the federal government, and 4) revitalize America’s solar manufacturing base by enacting tax credits for the purchase of manufacturing equipment used to produce solar products here at home.

 

Tuesday
Dec092008

Presidential Inaugural Committee Invites New Hampshire Residents to Perform in 56th Inaugural Parade

Presidential Inaugural Committee Invites Londonderry High School Marching Lancer Band and Color Guard to Perform in 56th Inaugural Parade

Talent From Across America To March In Parade From Capitol To White House

WASHINGTON - Today, in keeping with its commitment to hold inaugural events that celebrate our common values and reflect the diversity and history of our great nation, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden's Inaugural Committee officially extended an offer to the Londonderry High School Marching Lancer Band and Color Guard to march in the 56th Inaugural Parade. Members of the group will join representatives from across the country and our Armed Forces in the historic parade down Pennsylvania Avenue following President-elect Obama's swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the Capitol.

"I am honored to invite these talented groups and individuals to participate in the Inaugural Parade," said President-elect Obama. "These organizations embody the best of our nation's history, diversity and commitment to service. Vice President-elect Biden and I are proud to have them join us in the parade."

Organizations wishing to participate in the parade submitted an application to the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC), which then assisted the Presidential Inaugural Committee in reviewing all of the groups' applications. All told, 1,382 organizations applied to participate, setting a new standard for interest in marching in the parade.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee was assisted in its selection process by a group of experienced military musicians, who utilized their expertise to help assess the presentation skills of marching bands, musical acts and drill teams.

All participants in the Inaugural Parade are responsible for paying for their own lodging and transportation to and from Washington, D.C. The Committee has been working closely with area governments and civic organizations to facilitate access to affordable accommodations and would like to encourage citizens from across the country to reach out and help the Londonderry High School Marching Lancer Band and Color Guard raise the necessary resources to participate in this historic event.

Regularly updated information will be provided to the public and the media on our website, www.pic2009.org.

Tuesday
Dec092008

Twitter - Follow the National Debt on Twitter

In October, the National Debt Clock in New York City ran out of room for the growing number of digits in our national debt. Now the Peter G. Peterson Foundation has created a new way to show the world exactly how out-of-hand our unprecedented debt has become.

 

First, some back story on the clock. In 1989, a real estate magnate named Seymour Durst installed the National Debt Clock near Times Square. But instead of minutes and hours, this clock calculates our federal debt, using figures from the U.S. Treasury. The clock serves as a reminder to everyone who passes that the government owes more to the public (in the form of Treasury bills and savings bonds), and more to itself (in the form of money it borrows from one pot to spend on another) with each passing single day.

 

When Durst installed the clock in 1989, the debt was $2.7 trillion. Now, with our national debt just cracking $10 trillion, the clock has simply run out of room to display new numbers.

 

As a blogger, we thought you and your readers might be interested in how the Peter G. Peterson Foundation is using social networking to spread the word. Check out our National Debt Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nationaldebt today. By following the national debt on Twitter, you'll receive a daily tweet of the national debt as reported by the Treasury Department.

 

Although this official number is the most commonly-cited national debt, it doesn't scratch the surface of the actual federal fiscal burden. Even though the official number just broke $10 trillion, the actual estimate - including all our government's obligations, like Social Security and Medicare - actually totals more than $57 trillion. Learn more about the real national debt here.

 

Visit http://www.twitter.com/nationaldebt to start following the national debt today, and whether or not you're on Twitter, please help spread the word!