Friday, February 26, 2010

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:

· Michael J. McCord, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense
· Katherine M. Gehl, Member, Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
· Michael J. Warren, Member, Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint individuals to the Vietnam Education Fund and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Their bios are below.

President Obama said, “The American people will be well-served by the expertise and commitment of these individuals. Their decision to serve their country is commendable, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administrations posts:

Michael J. McCord, Nominee for Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Department of Defense
Michael J. McCord was initially appointed Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) in January, 2009 (at that time this position did not require nomination or Senate confirmation). He joined the Department of Defense (DoD) with 24 years of experience in national security issues in the legislative branch, including 21 years as a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) from 1987-2002 and from 2004 through January 2009. During his tenure on the SASC he was responsible for oversight of defense budget matters. He also, from 1995-2002 and 2004-2008, served as the minority or majority staff lead on the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, where he worked with his subcommittee leadership, Senators Glenn, Robb, and Akaka, on military installation and basing matters including construction and base closure. He was also responsible for oversight of over $100 billion in annual DoD operating funds and military readiness policy matters. During 2003 he served as the budget analyst for defense and veterans issues for the Democratic staff of the House Budget Committee. Prior to his Senate employment, he served as an analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. Mr. McCord is a graduate of the Ohio State University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Katherine M. Gehl, Nominee for Member, Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
Katherine M. Gehl is presently the fourth-generation Chairman of the Board of her family-owned company, Gehl Foods, Inc. The company has approximately $175M in sales and 200 employees. As Chairman she oversees the development and execution of the company strategy. Previously, Ms. Gehl was a Vice President at Bernstein Investment Research and Management providing investment analysis and planning for private clients, foundations and endowments. Prior to joining Bernstein in 2002, she was Special Assistant to Mayor Richard M. Daley for Technology and Economic Development where she was responsible for developing and overseeing the Chicagoland New Economy Growth Strategy-a five year plan for economic development designed to spur job creation and income growth and position Chicago at the forefront of technologically-advanced cities. In between her work at Gehl and her work for the Mayor, Ms. Gehl was Director of Information Technology Services at Chicago Public Schools for a year and a half, and Director of Organizational Development at Oracle Corporation for three years. Ms. Gehl serves on the Boards of Directors of Public Allies and The Joffrey Ballet. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1988 and holds an MA in education from the Catholic University of America, and an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Michael J. Warren, Nominee for Member, Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
Michael J. Warren a Principal and Managing Board member of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm. Mr. Warren also serves as a member of the Investment Committee of Albright Capital Management, of which Albright Stonebridge Group is a significant shareholder. Prior to joining Albright Stonebridge Group, Mr. Warren led corporate development at HORNE ENGINEERING Services and served as President of Appfluent Technologies. Mr. Warren served as a Senior Advisor and economic cluster head for the White House Office of Presidential Personnel for the Obama Administration. He was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project's Agency Review Working Group helping to oversee the international trade and economics agencies. Mr. Warren previously worked at McKinsey & Company, both as a strategic consultant in the technology and financial institutions industries and as a fellow of the McKinsey Global Institute, advising corporate leaders in the U.S. and Asian semiconductor industries. Mr. Warren also served in the White House as Executive Director of the President’s National Economic Council and at the Labor Department. A Rhodes Scholar, Mr. Warren earned his degrees from Yale University and Oxford University. Mr. Warren is on the Board of Directors of the District of Columbia Retirement Board, Civitas Group, Virginia Tech’s Intellectual Property Board, Catalist, and the National Child Research Center. He is a member of the Yale University President’s Council on International Activities.

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to administration posts:

David Duong, Appointee for Member, Vietnam Education Foundation
David Duong is the President and CEO of California Waste Solutions. Mr. Duong also manages Vietnam Waste Solutions, the company’s overseas operation. He founded CoGiDo Recycling Company in Oakland, California, shortly after immigrating to the United States in 1979. After selling CoGiDo and prior to establishing California Waste Solutions, Mr. Duong served as the General Manager and then Marketing Manager for a major American solid waste and recycling firm. He has served as a Commissioner on the Oakland Waste Reduction and Recycling Commission, a Commissioner on the Oakland International Trade Commission, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Vietnamese American Entrepreneur Association, a Director on the Board of Directors for the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, and a Member of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Duong is very active in local charities and job development programs.

Marjorie Margolies, Appointee for Member, Vietnam Education Foundation
Marjorie Margolies is the founder and President of Women’s Campaign International, providing advocacy training for women throughout the world, and an adjunct professor at the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. She previously served as the Director of the United States delegation to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, and was an elected Member of Congress from Pennsylvania’s 13th district. Ms. Margolies is currently a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and was previously a senior fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania as part of their Institute for Public Service. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a CBS News Foundation Fellow at Columbia University.

Bruce Bastian, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Bruce Bastian is the co-creator of the word processing program WordPerfect. After the WordPerfect Corporation merged with NOVELL Corporation in 1994, Mr. Bastian began devoting most of his time to philanthropy. His foundation, the B.W. Bastian Foundation, supports organizations that promote equality, particularly in the GLBT community. He also has been a supporter of many performing arts organizations including those at the University of Utah, Ballet West, and the Utah Symphony and Opera. In addition, he has supported several environmental organizations, wildlife funds and homeless shelters. Mr. Bastian serves on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign.

Colleen Bell, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Colleen Bell is the Director of Special Projects for Bell-Phillip Television Productions, Inc. She is a member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Director’s Committee, helping to provide support for the museum’s continued growth. Ms. Bell has also led fundraising initiatives for music, art, and dance programs with P.S. Arts and co-founded the National Resources Defense Council’s Leadership Council. As an advocate for children, she is also a Trustee with Children’s Institute, Inc.

Charles A. Clarkson, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Charles A. Clarkson is the Founder and Chairman of The Clarkson Group, L.L.C, a real estate development and management company, and CEO and Chairman of IxReveal, Inc., an advanced analytics software company. He is active in community education and non-profit organizations, including serving as Chairman of Jacksonville’s Communities in Schools and is especially supportive of the arts such as the Florida Ballet in Jacksonville, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Lester Coney, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Lester Coney is the executive vice president in Mesirow Financial's Office of the Chairman. As a civic leader, Mr. Coney has been actively involved in many organizations in support of the arts, civic betterment, and minority and ethnic issues. He is a past chairman of both the Goodman Theatre and City Year Chicago, and founding chairman of Congo Square Theatre Company. He is a trustee for many organizations including: the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and Lincoln University. He sits on the board of directors of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and board of governors of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Mr. Coney’s honors include the 2007 Executive Leader Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Chicago, the 2007 King Legacy Award from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, and he was awarded for Leadership in the Arts by the Arts and Business Council of Chicago in 2006.

Sylvia Davis, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Sylvia Davis, formerly a Partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman Law Firm in Washington DC, is an attorney specializing in various intellectual property matters. During her tenure at the Firm, she was actively involved in the Firm's recruitment efforts to build and maintain a diverse working environment. For many years, she was also a member of the Intellectual Trademark Association, where she served on various committees dealing with current IP policy issues.

Jill Goldman, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Jill Goldman is a film maker, wife and mother. Ms Goldman has raised significant funds for various organizations, including Rock the Vote; the GO! Campaign, which is dedicated to empowering orphans and vulnerable street children; and the Tunahaki Foundation, which supports an arts-based shelter for AIDS orphans. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for One Voice, a non-profit organization helping Los Angeles families living at poverty level, and A Place Called Home which is a non-profit youth center in South Central Los Angeles providing educational programs, counseling, mentoring, music, dance, and art classes to underserved children.

Howard Gottlieb, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Howard Gottlieb is the general partner of Glen Eagle Partners, Ltd., which is a family private investment firm. Mr. Gottlieb is an accomplished violinist and has played in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has performed as a soloist with orchestras, in recitals and in chamber music groups in the United States and Europe. He is a life trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and serves on the board of trustees of the Merit School of Music, the Lyric Opera, the Ravinia Festival and the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a former trustee of the Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Gottlieb is a graduate of the University of Chicago and serves on the Visiting Committee of the College.

Victor J. Herlinsky Jr., Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Victor J. Herlinsky Jr. is a partner at Nowell Amoroso Klein Bierman in Hackensack, NJ, specializing in commercial litigation and land use law. Throughout his career, he has been appointed to numerous municipal public service positions. Most recently he was appointed by Governor Jon Corzine to the Interagency Council to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness. Last year, he was chosen to serve as President of the 56th Electoral College of New Jersey. Mr. Herlinsky also served on the Board for Shelter our Sisters, a non-profit organization in Bergen County, NJ, that assists women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Kaki Hockersmith, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Kaki Hockersmith is founder and owner of interior design firm Kaki Hockersmith Interiors. An active member of her profession, she has been a guest lecturer at numerous design centers, museums and cultural institutions. In 2005, Ms. Hockersmith oversaw the development of a historically accurate reproduction of the Clinton Oval Office and Cabinet Room at the Clinton Presidential Center. In 1993, she was appointed to the Committee for the Preservation of The White House where she was actively involved in the historic renovation of several State Rooms and the development of eight exhibitions of 20th Century American Sculpture in the Jacqueline Kennedy First Lady’s Garden. Ms. Hockersmith currently serves on the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Association and hosts many events in her home for charitable organizations in her community. She has been recognized nationally by the American Society of Interior Designers and has won ten regional ASID awards for her work.

Sharon Hoffman, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Sharon Hoffman is Advisory Board Chair, founder, and former 1st Vice President of The Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. The organization is the second home of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and promotes the company as well as dance arts and education in the community. She is also a founder and former President of Friends of Union Station and an officer of the Union Station Development Corporation, organizations working to save and restore the historic Kansas City building. Ms. Hoffman previously served as the chair of the Art Symposium, Art Auction, and National Council of Anderson Art Ranch board in Aspen Colorado, and as a member on the Kansas City Art Institute board for 11 years.

Candace Bond McKeever, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Candace Bond McKeever is a strategic consultant to many corporations and non-profits and is a senior executive with Hidden Beach Recordings. She ran the entertainment division for Essence Magazine where she oversaw the production of the Essence Music Festival and Essence Awards. Previously Ms. Bond McKeever was VP of Special Markets for Motown Records where she oversaw the Motown catalog and produced over 100 music titles. Currently she serves as Co-Chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Diversity Committee and serves on the boards of the California Science Center, the Red Cross of Southern California, the Alliance for Veterans and National Medical Fellowships.

Robert Monks, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Robert Monks is a real estate developer and entrepreneur. He is a founder and partner of several real estate companies, each engaged in specific segments of the market including commercial development, affordable housing, and property management. Mr. Monks is also the founder and former Chairman of Institutional Shareholder Services, the world’s leading provider of proxy voting and corporate governance services; and in 2009 he became an owner and director of Maine Today Media Inc. He currently sits on the board of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

Wendy Riva, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Wendy Riva is a freelance interior designer and consultant. For over 20 years, she has worked as an art director in the motion picture industry designing movie sets and serving as a liaison between production designer and decorator. In addition, she has been actively involved with several not-for-profit organizations, including the GO! campaign, which empowers orphans and street children around the world; the Spiral Foundation, a humanitarian project in Vietnam and Nepal; and HOPE Haiti, which provides health care and education to the Haitian people.

Cari Sacks, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Cari Sacks is a civic and community leader and philanthropist in Chicago, Illinois. She is a Trustee for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, serving as the Chair of the Exhibition Committee and serves on the Midwest Regional Advisory Board for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Ms. Sacks is a Trustee of the Erikson Institute, a nationally recognized graduate school in early childhood development focused on its commitment to educate and support children and their families though research and policy initiatives.

Amy K. Singh, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Amy K. Singh is an attorney who practices in the areas of entertainment, advertising and marketing, and provides counsel to clients on event production and promotion, television production, talent and other matters. Before starting her own practice, she held several positions, including as General Counsel/Senior Vice President of DDB Chicago Inc., and as an associate in the Chicago office of the firm now known as Sidley Austin LLP. Ms. Singh works to support the arts and youth, was a member of the Junior Board of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently on the Board of the Mikva Challenge, which develops civic leadership in Chicago’s high school youth.
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Senate Inaction On Medicare Hurts Seniors, Military and Boomers

/PRNewswire/ -- A Medicare meltdown now seems certain, as the U.S. Senate has left early for the weekend, abandoning seniors, military families and baby boomers. The Senate failed to repeal the Medicare physician payment formula that will cause a drastic 21 percent payment cut to physicians who care for Medicare and TRICARE patients. On Monday, the 21 percent cut goes into effect, forcing physicians to consider the difficult decision to limit the number of Medicare and TRICARE patients they see in order to keep their practice doors open.

"Our message to the U.S. Senate is stop playing games with Medicare patients and the physicians who care for them," said AMA President J. James Rohack, M.D. "It is shocking that the Senate would abandon our most vulnerable patients, making them the collateral damage of their procedural games."

Already, about one in four Medicare patients seeking a primary care physician is having trouble finding one, according to MedPAC, Congress' advisory body on Medicare. Physicians have told AMA that steep Medicare cuts will force them to limit the number of Medicare patients they treat. A new 2010 survey of neurosurgeons found that 60 percent are already reducing the number of Medicare patients in their practices, and cuts will force nearly 40 percent to decrease the number of new Medicare patients they see. More than 18 percent of neurosurgeons will no longer take new Medicare patients.

"The Senate had more than a year to repeal the formula and ensure the security and stability of Medicare and TRICARE, but that opportunity has been squandered," Dr. Rohack said. "This drastic cut will hurt our senior, disabled and military patients, as well as baby boomers who start entering the Medicare program next year."

"Last November, the U.S. House passed legislation (H.R. 3961) that would repeal the broken formula and better update payments to reflect the increasing cost of care," Dr. Rohack said. "AARP and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) have joined with the AMA in calling on the Senate to act, but the Senate has turned its back on America's seniors, military families and baby boomers."

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GA: Libertarians call for more spending cuts, oppose tax hikes

Despite efforts to trim down spending in the 2009 session, Georgia still faces a tremendous budget crisis stemming from the recession that has plagued the country.

The legislature is in the midst of a two week break to figure out how to manage the budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which begins in July. According to legislative leaders, everything is on the table, which includes tax hikes.

The three tax proposals receiving the most interest among Republicans are a 1.6 percent tax, conveniently called a “fee,” on hospital profits and insurances plans, a tax on hospital beds and a $1 per pack increase in taxes on tobacco products. Each of these proposals is poor public policy.

During a time when health insurance reform and the rising costs of health care, largely brought on by government regulation, are such a hot topic of debate, it shows poor judgment to propose a tax on insurance plans that will be passed off to consumers. A tax on hospital profits would hurt private medical facilities while propping up government-run hospitals. Both of these proposals are on the table to meet shortfalls in Medicaid funding, which cannot be cut due to an agreement by the state to maintain current funding levels when accepting stimulus money.

A tax on cigarettes would cause a dip in cigarette sales and not generate the tax revenue necessary to close the budget gap. Maryland and Florida passed similar tax increases in recent years, and both states saw a substantial and unforeseen drop in cigarette sales.

This tax plan also benefits surrounding states that would have a cigarette tax lower than Georgia's. Residents of the state living near the border could easily cross state lines and buy cigarettes, bringing them back to Georgia, while avoiding the state’s hefty "sin tax."

Democrat legislators have proposed an increase in the state’s income tax for individuals making more than $400,000 per year. This proposal would hurt small business owners and likely hinder job creation. Democrats are also pushing the $1 cigarette tax hike to balance the budget.

“Georgia’s budget problems are a crisis today due to the excesses of the past,” says Jason Pye, Legislative Director for the Libertarian Party of Georgia. “Our legislators have become addicted to spending, and when economic times get tough, it's necessary to quit that addiction cold turkey. It's obvious they can't.”

To solve the budget crisis, The Libertarian Party of Georgia advocates spending cuts, privatization of services and state parks, zero-based budgeting and a justification for all new spending programs.

The Libertarian Party is Georgia’s third largest political party and the only party in Georgia promoting fewer taxes, less government and personal liberty for all Georgians. To learn more, please visit

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ATR: The Individual Mandate Excise Tax is a Tax

/PRNewswire/ -- A close reading of President Obama's healthcare plan finds several terms to describe the tax Americans will pay if they choose not to purchase qualifying health insurance. These terms include "payment," "assessment," and "individual responsibility."

-- This same tax has also variously been referred to as a "penalty," a
"fee," or a "fine." In fact, it's none of those things, precisely.
It's a tax. The various synonyms used are designed to hide that
simple fact. The reason for wanting to do so is clear: since this tax
would be assigned to any uninsured American (including those making
less than $250,000 per year), it's a pretty apparent violation of the
President's promise not to raise "any form" of taxes on working
-- The evidence that this tax on the uninsured is in fact a tax comes
from a thorough reading of the Senate healthcare bill's uninsurance
tax section (which the Obama plan specifically says it is starting
-- Page 322 of the Senate bill (the "Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act") says that "any penalty imposed by this section with respect
to any month shall be included with a taxpayer's return under Chapter
1 [of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC)] for the taxable year which
includes such month." The procedure to collect the tax on page 336 of
the bill references Chapter 68 of the IRC. On page 337 of the bill, a
new Chapter 48 is added to Subtitle D of the Code (Miscellaneous
Excise Taxes) in order to create the uninsurance tax. Page 341 of the
bill continues to reference various parts of the Code that need to be
amended in order to cover this new tax.
-- Anyone reading this precise legislative language can see how this tax
would be collected. An uninsured individual would add the excise tax
to their regular income tax burden on the 1040 Form every April. It
is much like other excise taxes collected on the 1040 (early IRA
withdrawal tax, for example).

Americans for Tax Reform is a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose all tax increases.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Federal Government Says 'One-Person One-Vote' Rule Does Not Bind Congress - Plaintiffs in Historic Lawsuit Demand Equal Voting Weight Throughout U.S.

/PRNewswire/ - Plaintiffs in the historic lawsuit seeking a larger and more equitable Congress filed their briefs today in U.S. District Court. The lawsuit, Clemons v. Department of Commerce, challenges the constitutionality of the current size of the United States House of Representatives, arguing that the provision in the United States Code (2 USC Section 2a) that freezes the size of the House at 435 members is unconstitutional, violating the well-established principle of "one-person, one-vote" by a substantial margin.

"In short, the government asserts that they don't have to adhere to the 'one-person, one-vote' equality standard that is imposed on the states" said Scott Scharpen, founder and president of Apportionment.US, the non-profit charity coordinating the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs. "We honestly thought that we would get into a philosophical discussion around the question, 'How equal is equal?' Yet surprisingly, the government essentially claims that equality is not a factor at all when apportioning the U.S. House."

This is the same federal government, however, that forces states to achieve precise equality of congressional districts within a small fraction of 1%, yet at the national level, the federal government permits inequality to exceed 80%. The plaintiffs' response soundly refutes the government's extreme position with constitutional, historical and Supreme Court information.

The briefs filed today were prepared by Michael Farris, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. Quoting from one of the plaintiffs' briefs, "The Supreme Court's most common method of comparison in one-person, one-vote cases is to contrast the two districts that are most over-represented and under-represented. It takes 183 voters in Montana to equal 100 voters in Wyoming. Thus, Montana voters are 'worth' only 54.6% of voters in Wyoming. This disparity is so extreme that it brings back the distasteful episode in American history where slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person for apportionment purposes."

Unfortunately, the significant degree of inequality will persist and continue to get worse, based on the latest census projections. Therefore, the plaintiffs believe the time has come for Congress to properly reapportion itself according to the requirements of the Constitution and according to a "common sense" spirit of equality that all Americans deserve.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Senate Dems ax bipartisan jobs bill

Senate Democrats scrapped a bipartisan jobs bill in favor of one they say is leaner and focused solely on putting Americans back to work, and they're all but daring Republicans to vote against it.
The new, stripped-down proposal followed criticism that the bipartisan version wouldn't create many jobs.
The switch brought sharp accusations of reneging from Republicans who thought they had a deal, jeopardizing a brief attempt at bipartisan lawmaking.

Seniors Coalition: 'Mr. President, Senior Citizens Cannot and Will Not Bail You Out'

/Standard Newswire/ -- The Seniors Coalition, which represents the interests of over four million American senior citizens, today blasted comments by President Obama indicating that he would entertain the idea of cutting Social Security benefits in order to pay for his domestic spending priorities and bring down the federal budget deficit. The President's comments were made to BusinessWeek magazine.

"The President's willingness to pay for his spending spree by slashing Social Security benefits is yet
another direct attack on America's senior citizens and the Seniors Coalition will oppose it using every
resource we can muster," says Phil Theodosiou, The Seniors Coalition's Executive Director. "The Obama Administration has thrown fiscal responsibility completely out the window and now that the President needs more money to continue with his reckless policies he is looking to the elderly to bail him out. Mr. President, seniors citizens cannot and will not bail you out."

"In order to bring down the deficit the Administration needs to start at the top and begin cutting. No more
taxpayer cars for members of Congress. Cut back on the number of aides following the First Lady around. Then, use all repaid TARP money to pay down the deficit and simply not spend the hundreds of billions dollars in wasteful stimulus money that has not been spent. The fact that the administration will not even take these simple steps shows that President Obama is not serious about deficit reduction and is simply looking to use Social Security as another source of cash for his domestic spending spree," Theodosiou says. "And perhaps most importantly, the government must pay back the iou's to the social security trust fund now. That will be a great start in helping main street."

The Seniors Coalition is the nation's leading free- market senior education and advocacy organization
representing more than 4 million seniors. The mission of The Seniors Coalition (TSC) is to protect
the quality of life and economic well-being that older Americans have earned while supporting common
sense solutions to the challenges of the future. To that end, TSC lobbies government at both the federal and state levels.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

FRC Statement on New Policy Requiring Military Bases to Carry 'Morning After' Pill

/PRNewswire/ -- The Family Research Council today criticized a decision by the Obama Administration to require military bases worldwide to carry Levonorgestrel, or 'Plan B.'

Jeanne Monahan, FRC's Director of the Center for Human Dignity, released the following statement:

"Family Research Council opposes requiring military bases worldwide to carry Levonorgestrel, or 'Plan B,' because the drug can prevent a fertilized embryo from implanting in the uterus and thereby destroy a human life. We can all agree that there is a huge difference between preventing and destroying human life. And women in uniform deserve to know the truth about their medications.

"In the last year we have witnessed the Obama Administration move from the status quo of abortion as legal and available in health care plans to aggressively promoting U.S. government funded abortions. In the same way, the fact that Plan B is optional for military facilities is not sufficient for the Obama Administration, so now military facilities will be compelled to carry and disseminate Plan B.

"Moreover, a requirement to carry this drug would be a violation of the conscience rights of military personnel who have moral objections to providing it, not to mention the majority of American taxpayers supporting military operations. Taxpayers should not be required to pay for military medical personnel to carry Plan B anywhere in the world.

"Recently the FDA changed its approval of Plan B from a prescription drug to an over-the-counter drug for women ages 17 and up. This change was made despite the fact that Plan B is composed essentially of high doses of regular contraceptive drugs (which still require a doctor's prescription). However, because extensive testing for those under the age of 17 has not taken place, the drug can only be obtained by prescription for girls 16 and under. Forcing military professionals to carry over-the-counter Plan B will make it more difficult to enforce age requirements for a drug not widely tested on young girls.

"Finally, the requirement to carry Plan B on military bases doesn't include a parental notification provision in cases in which a minor obtains Plan B by prescription. This new policy undermines the right of parents to properly care for their daughters' physical well-being. In a society that requires teachers to send students to the nurse for a band-aid, the Administration's approach on something profoundly more important than a paper cut defies common sense."

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CDA: Obama Should End the Cuba Travel Ban and Stop Wasting U.S. Funds on Regime Change Effort

/PRNewswire/ -- Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, issued the following statement about the Foreign Aid budget request for 2011 which proposes $20 million in wasteful spending on regime change programs for Cuba:

"Unless it's okay for the United States government to waste money on foreign aid programs that don't work, the Obama administration should remove the $20 million in spending it has proposed on 'regime change' on Cuba.

"Many activities funded by this program are illegal in Cuba, would certainly be illegal if Cuba conducted them in our country, and they have long histories of wasteful spending in the U.S. and hurting the intended beneficiaries in Cuba. Activities funded by this program recently landed a U.S. contractor in a Cuban prison. If you ever wanted to find a wasteful and counter-productive foreign aid program, this is it.

"The paradox is this: not one of these wasteful programs can hold a candle to the one policy change that would pour American information and ideas into Cuba, and bring both countries together - namely, ending the travel ban that stops all Americans from visiting the island and engaging the Cuban people, a 'program' which would cost the taxpayers nothing."

The Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA) is devoted to changing U.S. policy toward the countries of the Americas by basing our relations on mutual respect, fostering dialogue with those governments and movements with which U.S. policy is at odds, and recognizing positive trends in democracy and governance. For more information about CDA, visit our website.

CDA's report, "9 Ways for US to Talk to Cuba and for Cuba to Talk to US," published last year, recommended ending counter-productive 'regime change' programs and relying instead on policies of engagement to advance America's interests and lead to normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

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