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Calling all volunteers: Clean Energy Corps



The House voted to create Clean Energy Corps, part of a larger bill to dramatically expand volunteer national service with 175,000 new positions. President Obama issued a statement on the bill which he pushed for: “We know that government alone is not the answer to the challenges we face. It will take all of us taking our share of responsibility. And while government can provide the opportunities to give back to our communities, as I hope it will through this legislation, it is up to each and every citizen to seize those opportunities. It is up to every one of us to do his or her small part to make the world a better place.”

But this is one more indication of energy in the right place. Finally, we are seeing the convergence of environmental and social issues in America. Clean Energy Corps. Wow. All the cool kids will be doing it. A chance to give back to the community, a chance to educate the public.

Passed in the same building where lawmakers reacted to the American International Group scandal yesterday, House Education and Labor Committee chairman George Miller commented, “one measure speaks to the immorality of America, and one speaks to the morality of America.” We live in interesting times. Read HERE.

Obama To Pull Troops In 18 Months

Item: Obama to pull troops out of Iraq by end of August 2010/Reuters

More Info: President Barack Obama said on Friday he would pull U.S. combat troops out of Iraq in 18 months as he unveiled a new strategy that stressed diplomacy and engagement with foes like Iran and Syria. Winding down the Iraq war will allow Obama to boost troop numbers in Afghanistan, which he has declared the central front in the U.S. fight against terrorism. He hopes it will also help him slash a ballooning $1.3 trillion budget deficit.

Question: Do you support Obama’s decision to pull troops out of Iraq in 18 months?

Video: Obama announces Iraq drawdown

President Obama announced today the United States will be bringing combat troops home from Iraq by next August.

Video: Day after the speeches

News shows are giving Barack Obama high marks for Tuesday’s speech.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Republican response? Not so much.

Obama Picks Locke For Commerce

Item: Obama offers third pick at Commerce Department/AP

More Info: President Barack Obama introduced former Washington Gov. Gary Locke as his nominee for Commerce secretary Wednesday, trying a third time to fill a key Cabinet post for a country in recession. … The president’s two top earlier choices for the post dropped out - one a Democrat facing questions about a donor and the other a Republican who had a change of heart about working for a president from the opposite party - well before the Senate had a chance to confirm them

Question (for Washington Berry Pickers): Is Locke a good choice for Commerce secretary?

Obama @ 6

President Obama’s speech starts at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, or as close to that as possible after he gets in the door, walks down the aisle and gets to the podium.

Members of Congress have been told the speech will take about 50 minutes, allowing time for expected applause pauses.

Some of the Washington and Idaho delegations may duck out a tad early; others might be caught on camera in Statuary Hall, which is where the national press corps waits to get the congressional take on the president’s speech.

Today’s fun video: For those missing the debates

President Obama and Sen. John McCain must be pining for the debates from last fall.

Obama gave McCain the first question at the economic summit. What are you going to do about those pricey helicopters, McCain asked.

Not to say ‘Toldya so’ but…

As reported by rumor last week in Spin Control, former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is apparently President Obama’s pick to head the Commerce Secretary.

The Associated Press is quoting an anonymous source as saying the announcement hasn’t been made yet but that’s the way it’s shaping up.

Why the secrecy? The Obama administration may be hoping for third time’s the charm on this one, as opposed to three strikes you’re out.

Rumor: Commerce job for Locke?

Barack Obama may reach into Washington state one more time for spots in the administration. A Washington, D.C., source says former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is being considered for the Commerce Secretary’s job.

That’s been a tough one for Obama to fill. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg both accepted the nomination and then withdrew. Chances are the vetting and the understandings on both side will have to be solid before any announcement is made.

But Locke served two terms as governor, and worked very hard to expand the state’s international trade, particularly with Asia.

King County Executive Ron Sims has already been nominated for a spot at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Obama Visits Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks on as President Barack Obama waves to the media after signing the guest book upon his arrival on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Thursday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Tom Hanson)

Question: What do you know about Canada?

Obama Unveils Mortgage Relief Plan

Item: Obama unveils mortgage relief plan to good media reviews/U.S. News & World Report

More Info: To extensive and largely favorable media coverage, President Obama yesterday outlined his housing relief plan at a high school in Mesa, Arizona. The story led all three network newscasts last night, and is featured on the front pages of newspapers across the country. The AP calls the plan “a $75 billion lifeline to millions of Americans on the brink of foreclosure.” The CBS Evening News said Obama “is throwing a lifeline to millions of homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages or at risk of outright foreclosure.” NBC Nightly News reported, “The basic goal of the plan is to help homeowners who owe more than their house is worth, need to refinance, but can’t get a new loan.”

Question: Do you consider this “75 billion lifeline to millions of Americans on the brink of foreclosure” to be a good thing?

Canada vs. America

Obama will make his first international visit as president to Canada, a critical moment for the future of clean energy as Prime Minister Stephen Harper plans to discuss the controversial tar sands oil development. Alberta alone represents the second-largest oil reserve in the world, after Saudi Arabia.

Tar sands production is literally the dirtiest oil in the planet, emitting three times the greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil and gas production for low quality crude, turning green wilderness to massive pits and bubbling black goop. The impact is evident: By 2015, the tar sands could emit more greenhouse gases than Denmark.

It feels like virtually every environmental group in the country is taking action. Our inbox is flooded with petitions, and there is a coalition composed of fifteen organizations at the very informative Obama2Canada. Forest Ethics even had this extreme (maybe Sherwin Williams inspired) ad in USA Today pictured below.

It’s hard to play down the negative role of the tar sands. Harper describes it as “an enterprise of epic proportions, akin to the building of the pyramids or China’s Great Wall. Only bigger” and we wrote a pretty mean-spirited post a month ago titled “Crude Awakening.”

In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) from last night, Obama gave his thoughts on the tar sands and energy at large, citing technology as a solution to fuel tradeoffs. Part of the transcript after the jump:



Obama Unapologetic re: Stimulus

Item: Crisis needs swift action, Obama says: He’s unapologetic in stimulus push/Washington Post

More Info: President Barack Obama declared in his first prime-time news conference Monday night that the task of saving and creating jobs is more important than cultivating the bipartisan cooperation he promised to bring to Washington and pressed his case for the massive economic stimulus plan working its way through Congress.

Question: Did President Obama’s news conference reassure you re: the stimulus package?

Reed: Obama Off To A Good Start

The morning after Inauguration Day, Maureen Dowd marveled at “the patience that America is extending to Mr. Obama.” The day after President Obama lost two appointees to tax problems, she chastised him in a column titled, “Well, That Certainly Didn’t Take Long.” No matter how many times the president warns us that the nation’s problems won’t be solved overnight, the chattering classes are already buzzing, “But you’ve had two weeks!” Don’t let the “Change-o-Meter” get you down: While Tom Daschle’s exit on Tuesday was a deeply painful loss for the Obama White House, the new president is still off to a good start, and the long-term prospects for his agenda are as strong as ever/Bruce Reed, Slate. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Coeur d’Alene native Bruce Reed that President Obama is off to a good start? Why? Why not?

Fisher: Obama Admits Error? Cool

National news anchors and reporters said President Obama had a bad day Tuesday, when his nomination of Republican New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg as commerce secretary was overshadowed by the collapse of two troubled nominations. But how many Americans agree that hearing a president admit error makes for a bad day? After eight years of an administration marked by serial bungling but led by a man who studiously avoided conceding mistakes, there is something mighty refreshing in hearing the president of the United States take credit for anything having gone wrong. And Obama did it not once, but repeatedly, in televised interviews with five network anchors/Jim Fisher, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Is it refreshing or troubling that President Obama admitted that he’d goofed in nominating several individuals who had tax problems?

“Too Fit to be President”

A year ago, Barack Obama reassured the crowd that he wouldn’t give in to Republican tactics to throw his then-candidacy off track.

“Listen, I’m skinny but I’m tough,” Sen. Obama said, to a nation where 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese. In his candidancy Obama was criticized by opponents for appearing elitist or out of touch with average Americans. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted in July shows Sen. Obama lagged behind John McCain among white men and suburban women who say they can’t relate to his background or perceived values.

“He’s too new … and he needs to put some meat on his bones,” said Diana Koenig, 42, a housewife in Corpus Christi, Texas, who says she voted for Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

“I won’t vote for any beanpole guy,” another Clinton supporter wrote on a Yahoo politics message board.

Reporter’s Question Angers Obama

Item: Obama flashes irritation in press room/Politico

More Info: President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press corps Thursday night, but got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question. Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a Deputy Defense Secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face. ”Ahh, see,” he said, “I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can’t end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I’m going to get grilled every time I come down here.”

Question: How open will Obama be to the media, after he’s been stung by them a time or two? Do you care if he’s open with the media?

The Full Text of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address

Text of President Barack Obama‘s inaugural address on Tuesday, as delivered.  Written by Jon Favreau. 

I just read this after hearing it yesterday morning.  I thought it to be an excellent speech that was appropriately unifying if not as outlandishly extravagant and historical as anticipated.  I think that Obama recognizes his challenges, as well as his mortality, something that the romanticizing populous has forgotten just a bit.  I think his speech, a rather humble one, subtly acnknowledged this. 

Here it is, verbatim and voiceless. 

OBAMA: My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

About last night…

Yesterday felt like the Day The Earth Stood Still—- a collective phenomenon best defined by various conversations with all walks of life as to what the moment meant to them. The conclusion was unanimous: There is hope. Of course, we’re referring to Daily Tip # 81.

But yeah, the revered Community Building hosted an Inauguration Ball, and we’re still buzzing similar to Randy Marsh a la ”South Park.” (Okay, not that bad but some details are a bit sketchy right now.) We watched a rebroadcast of Obama’s inaugural address at the neighboring Magic Lantern, definitely a highlight of the evening. On a personal note, eight years ago to the day DTE was a high schooler observing a potential WTO scenario unfold on inaugural protesters in the streets of Seattle—- and saying that makes us feel old. So this time around was an immense contrast to put it very, very lightly.

It’s a new, energetic morning.

We’re especially pleased by this excerpt from the address, a pronouncement that could make past environmental inaction look like an antique curiosity: “For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.”

Full transcript of the remarkable address after the jump with photo.

Inauguration Day Wild Card — 1/20/09

It has been quite a day. A historic day. A day of new beginnings. Barack H. Obama’s inauguration, of course, dominated the news. But there were other things going on, too. U.S. Sens. Ted Kennedy was forced by illness to leave inaugural luncheon here. The U.S. Senate confirmed 6 members of Obama’s Cabinet Tuesday here. Wall Street gave Obama the coldest welcome in inauguration history by tumbling 332 points here. Meanwhile, thousands were shut out of the historic festivities, despite holding tickets and waiting hours here. And it’s time to replay the Wild Card …

We All Love A Parade — Right?

President Barack Obama walks down Pennsylvania Avenue with his wife Michelle Obama on their way to the White House in Washington this afternoon. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Obama’s inauguration address

Update: Listen to the inaugural address with NPR’s audio player.

Read the full text of Obama’s address.

For an alternate view, check out this word cloud featuring the words Obama repeated most. The image is courtesy of www.wordle.net.

CDA Residents Attend Inauguration

 At the inauguration (courtesy of Justin StormoGipson), Coeur d’Alene residents in attendance include (from left): Steve and Bev Moss, Maj and Justin StormoGipson, and Susan and Charlie Nipp. Charlie, of course, is the local boy who helped develop our Ironwood medical center and recently served as chairman for the Lake City Development Corp. Wife Susan is famous for the creating the Wee Sing series and as a co-author of the Mudgy & Millie children’s book. Which raises the question: What are a coupla well-heeled CDA residents like the Nipps doing hanging out at the Obama inauguration? Aren’t all of Lake City’s wealthy people Republicans?

Kos: Roberts Goofed, Not Obama

Chief Justice John Roberts is a man who has made very few public missteps in his life — but he appears to have made one when swearing in Barack Obama. Roberts slightly flubbed the oath, which then tripped up Obama. The oath is contained in the Constitution: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” But when Roberts swore in Obama, he flipped some of the words, saying: “I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully”/Daily Kos. More here.

DFO: Hey, it’s a new age. Daily Kos, as the go-to blog of the Left, should have face time here. Having said that, I’ll let you click on the link to discover the headline that Kos used. Which you won’t see in a headline at Huckleberries Online.

Idaho Democrats before the inauguration

Thom George, a Coeur d’Alene resident, is attending the inauguration with his wife and teenage daughters and sent in some pictures Monday.

He took the photo above of Idaho Democrats at the U.S. Capitol.

Click here to see another photo he took of the Capitol building.

APhoto of the Day — 1/20/09

 Billy Johnson, far left, of Charlotte, N.C., photographs General Mealer, right, with his grandsons Daryll Mealer, 7, second from left, and Jason Mealer, 6, with a cardboard cutout of President-elect Barack Obama on the National Mall in Washington Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

KREM2 Poll: Obama ‘Overhyped’

Early results in a KREM.com survey indicate nearly 60 percent of readers and viewers believe President elect Barack Obama is ‘overhyped.’ Those respondents - 62.07% - indicated they are not excited about Obama as president. After that 20.69% respondents said they are excited about Obama while 17.24% said they are indifferent/KREM2. More here.

DFO: Do you agree with these early results?

MichelleO Styles In Isabel Toledo

First lady Michelle Obama wore a sparkling yellow-gold sheath dress with matching coat by Cuban-born American designer Isabel Toledo for the inauguration of her husband, a choice many applauded as a cheerful message of hope and a vote for the American fashion industry. She paired the embellished ensemble with green gloves from J. Crew and green shoes. President Barack Obama wore a red tie and white shirt with his suit, topped with an overcoat adorned with an American flag pin. Their daughters were style icons in their own right, with 10-year-old Malia in a double-breasted periwinkle-blue coat with a blue-ribbon bow at the waist, and Sasha, 7, in a pink coat with orange scarf and satin belt, a coral-colored dress peeking out at the hem. Their coats were from Crewcuts by J. Crew/AP. More here.

Question: What did you think of the new First Lady’s outfit at the inauguration?