President Obama Expands Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for Federal Operations

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Washington, DC – President Obama announced today that the Federal Government will reduce greenhouse gas pollution from indirect sources, such as employee travel and commuting, by 13% by 2020.  This commitment expands beyond the Administration’s greenhouse gas reduction target from direct sources set in January, 2010, such as Federal fleets and buildings, by 2020.  Cumulatively, greenhouse gas pollution reductions from Federal government operations will total 101 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the emissions from 235 million barrels of oil.

The reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is called for in President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 on Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, which requires the Federal government to lead by example towards a clean energy economy and reduce, measure and report direct and indirect greenhouse gas pollution.

“Every year, the Federal Government consumes more energy than any other single organization or company in the United States,” said President Obama.  “That energy goes towards lighting and heating government buildings, fueling vehicles and powering federal projects across the country and around the world.  The government has a responsibility to use that energy wisely, to reduce consumption, improve efficiency, use renewable energy, like wind and solar, and cut costs.”

The Federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the US economy. It owns 600,000 vehicles, owns and manages nearly 500,000 buildings, and paid a $24.5 billion utility and fuel bill in 2008.  Meeting these targets will engage the nearly 2 million men and women across the country who are employed by Federal agencies.

In conjunction with this announcement today, Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of Labor, Martha Johnson, Administrator of the General Services Administration, and Ronald Sims, Deputy Secretary of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development convened a Clean Energy Economy Forum on Federal leadership in High Performance Sustainable Building.

On October 19, 2009, the White House launched the GreenGov Challenge to ask all Federal and military personnel to share ideas about how the federal community can lead by example, green the government, and meet the goals of President Obama’s Executive Order on Federal Sustainability. The GreenGov Challenge generated more than 5,000 ideas and 165,000 votes from 14,000 federal employees.

Some GreenGov ideas have already been put into practice, from doubling the Federal hybrid fleet to eliminating Styrofoam cups from agency cafeterias.  Other ideas, such as utilizing renewable energy to power Federal buildings and expanding bicycle commuting, are being incorporated into each Federal agency’s annual Sustainability Plan.

The Executive Order further requires that the actions Federal agencies take to meet these goals have a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer. To promote accountability, annual progress will be measured by the Office of Management and Budget and reported online to the public.

Why Are Unions Pushing so Hard for Elizabeth Warren as Consumer Protection Czar?

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These days, any time unions go all out to push anything, you can bet there’s a hidden agenda.  Take for example the newly enacted “financial reform legislation” that gives unions the ability (through their pension funds) to put union activists onto the boards of publicly-held companies.

Under the recently signed financial reform legislation, there is also a newly created Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and, lo and behold, it will be headed by another presidential appointee (read “czar”).

Yes, the President gets to hand pick another czar, which is what makes the fact that the SEIU and AFL-CIO are lobbying hard for a lefty named Elizabeth Warren so interesting.

The labor community is going to lend its considerable political clout to the effort to get Elizabeth Warren confirmed as the first head of the newly-created Consumer Protection Agency, going directly to the White House official who may stand in her way.

On Tuesday, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry will “raise the point that Elizabeth Warren would be an excellent head of the newly created Consumer Protection Agency” in private talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, according to a senior source with the union.

The AFL-CIO’s Richard “the Fifth” Trumka has also weighed in on Ms. Warren:

In our view, there is only one candidate who is uniquely qualified and equipped to head this new agency. Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren originated the idea of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has proven as Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel to be a strong and fearless advocate for the American public.

Apparently, though, Ms. Warren is getting some opposition from Treasury Secretary Geithner (as well as the bill’s co-sponsor Chris Dodd) even though the agency was her idea to begin with.

Warren’s union support may, however, stem from her support for the nationalization of banks as she did as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP).  As COP Chair, her panel, according to Forbes columnist Thomas F. Cooley, “seemed completely politicized” when it issued a controversial report:

The report essentially argues for nationalization on the grounds that, under government reorganization, bad assets can be removed, failed managers can be ousted or replaced and business segments can be spun off from the institutions. “Depositors and some bondholders are protected, and institutions can emerge from government control with the same corporate identity but healthier balance sheets,” the report argues, parroting a position that has been staked out by many prominent economic pundits.

Clearly, this is Elizabeth Warren’s particular crusade against the banks, since a majority of panel members dissented from the direction the report took and two refused to sign off on it at all.

This likely explains why such high profile people as the SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry and the AFL-CIO’s Trumka would be going so far out publicly to push for a particular czar.

If it’s for the nationalization of an industry (see auto and health care for reference), today’s union bosses are all in.

Remarks by the First Lady at a “Let’s Move!” Baseball Clinic with Major League Baseball at Camden Yards

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Camden Yards
Baltimore, Maryland

11:22 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Oh, man, those were cool.  Pretty cool.  That’s my first, like, major PSA.  What do you think, kids?  Good?  Two thumbs up?  Would you listen?  Yes, I thought so.  Okay.  (Laughter.)

Well, good afternoon, everybody.  And thank you, Tim, thank you for that introduction.  Thank you for all your support.  I want to join the thank yous to the entire Baltimore Orioles organization; to Pete Angelos and his family for hosting us today.

This is certainly a beautiful park.  Kids, don’t you think this is cool?  (Applause.)  You’re sitting in the middle of a ballpark!  Okay.  (Laughter.)

I also want to thank the Tampa Bay Rays and owner Stuart Sternberg and his family for their support.  Also thanks to Tony Clark and the entire MLB Players Association and all 30 players who agreed to be part of the public service advertising campaign.  So that’s — it just means so much to these kids to see you guys joining in this.  Your voice means so much more to them than anything we could say, and we’re just proud to have you on board.  So thank you so much.

I also want to thank the First Lady of Maryland, Katie O’Malley.  Also, Baltimore’s mayor, Mayor Rawlings-Blake, thank you so much for being here today.  Thank you for your support.  Thank you for making this city a strong one and letting us launch this in your city.  We really appreciate it.

And I want to thank Commissioner Selig and his wife Sue and their family for being here.  As Sue said, they sent the women to do the job today.  I think we’re handling it, right, Sue?  (Laughter.)

And last but not least, to you guys, the kids, all the Major League Baseball RBI program participants and all those supporters from the Boys and Girls Clubs all around the country who’ve helped millions of kids lead happier, healthier lives because, kids, I know you’re hot out there, I know there are cameras, but we’re here because of you.  Truly, this is all about you.  Everything we’re doing is about you kids sitting here, and it’s important for you to know that.

The truth is that lots of kids just aren’t getting enough healthy foods and they’re not getting enough exercise.  And that’s going to make it hard for them to pay attention in class, it’s going to make it hard for them to keep up with their friends on the playground, and it’s going to make it difficult for young kids to grow up to be the kind of strong athletes that we see here.

So we needed to do something about it.  So when I became First Lady, we started planting a garden and doing some things around healthy eating, but it led to the launch of a broader conversation, a campaign called “Let’s Move!”  And “Let’s Move!” has a simple goal:  We’re trying to end childhood obesity in a generation so that kids born today grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.

We’re doing a lot of things.  We’re trying to get parents and teachers and mayors and governors and athletes and doctors.  We need everyone involved in this effort on behalf of our kids.

The campaign is going to do four things.  First, we’re helping parents to make better choices — we’re trying to get companies to provide healthier foods for you guys to eat.  The second thing, we’re trying to help schools like yours offer healthier meals so that you get good food at school.  The third thing, we’re making sure that all families can get healthy, affordable food in the communities where they live.  One of the biggest problems in this country is that lots of children live in neighborhoods that don’t have a supermarket at all, not a single supermarket.  That means that healthy fruits and vegetables are harder to find, and we’re trying to change that.

And number four, which is why we’re here today, is that we’re trying to get you kids moving!  (Applause.)  The whole campaign is about “Let’s Move!” because the truth is, guys, you are supposed to be getting at least 60 minutes of active play every single day.  Are you guys doing that right now?  How many kids are getting 60 minutes, a whole hour, every day just to play?  Let me see some hands.  (Laughter.)  All right, we got these two.  I know I’m getting mine in.

But that’s what led athletes to be the great players that they are today, because they never stop moving.  If you talk to your mothers — right, you guys?  You never stop moving.  Never.  And that’s what you guys need to do, and that’s why we’re here.  We’ve got to get you kids focused and moving, and we’ve got organizations all across the country ready to help.

At first, when these players were kids, they found a sport that they loved.  And they practiced and practiced and practiced until they were better at it than anybody else.  So we want you guys to do the same thing.

So that’s why we’re here.  I know you guys are hot.  But we’re going to get you guys moving today.  And one of the things we want you to think about doing — this is a challenge that I have from the President of the United States — are you ready?  He’s going to give out some awards, an Active Life Award, for kids who are committed to doing activity every day of the week, or at least five days a week, okay?  And if you can commit to doing that and get your parents involved and your schools involved, you’ll get one of those awards.  Maybe you’ll get to come to the White House.  But you have to commit to do that.  Do you think you’re ready to compete?


MRS. OBAMA:  This could be the start of it.  Are you ready to be healthier?


MRS. OBAMA:  Are you ready to eat more vegetables?


MRS. OBAMA:  Are you ready to drink more water?


MRS. OBAMA:  Are you ready to jump up and down?


MRS. OBAMA:  Throw some balls?


MRS. OBAMA:  Sweat?


MRS. OBAMA:  Scream?


MRS. OBAMA:  All right, let’s do it, let’s move!  Thank you guys.  I’m going to get out there with you.  I got my shoes on.  All right, let’s get going.  (Applause.)

11:29 A.M. EDT

Real Simpletons: Selling ObamaCare One Subscriber at a Time

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“How Health Care Reform Affects You.” Chances are you’ve seen an article along these lines pop up in your magazines of choice lately. I certainly have. Chances are the articles gloss over the major problems inherent in ObamaCare — if they’re not a straight out endorsement of the takeover.

Stephen Spruiell takes the latest incarnation of this problem to task over at NRO with “Real Simpletons: A popular magazine ignores the downside to Obamacare.”

My wife subscribes to Real Simple, a women’s-interest magazine specializing in articles on how to make life more organized. I often joke that our lives would be more organized if we didn’t have eight copies of Real Simple floating around the apartment at any given time. But since they are around, ll flip through them occasionally to see if there’s anything worth reading.

The article reads like an advertisement for Obamacare. One would be forgiven for thinking it a part of the administration’s campaign to improve the legislation’s popularity. Here is a complete list of the article’s subheads:

More services will be paid for in full.
Lifetime limits are history.
Your children can remain on your policy until age 26.
Kids with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage.
Insurers have to spend more money on care.

That’s it: All good, no bad, and the only two sources quoted in the article represent non-profits who supported the legislation.