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Hello

A mishmash under the cut.

* Please, take a moment to look at this petition to stop forced evictions of Haiti's earthquake victims. Thanks.

http://www.change.org/...

Allow me to start with this.

Bullied 5th Grader Inspired by Letter From the President

Some kids turn to parents, friends or teachers if they’re dealing with bullies. But one local girl went right to the top for a little help. Student Ziainey Stokes from West Philadelphia wrote a letter to President Obama about bullying in January. The 11-year-old was fed up with being a victim after several years of abuse at two schools.

Not expecting a response, Ziainey was ecstatic to find what arrived in her mailbox in March – a genuine letter from the Commander-in-Chief. "I wanted to cry, but I was in public so I went home and went into the bathroom and started crying because I was so happy," said Ziainey.

In the letter, Mr. Obama thanked Ziainey for bringing attention to the issue of bullying. "Your letter demonstrates a desire to change the culture of your classroom as well as your community," he wrote. The letter also ended with a promise: "You deserve a safe, engaging, and enjoyable classroom, and together we will strive to make this a reality."

That sentence -- and the entire letter for that matter -- resonated with the young girl, inspiring her to start a new organization to fight bullying. "I’m starting an organization called No Kid Should Be Bullied," Ziainey commented on her quest to help other kids feel accepted at school.

// more (Plus Vid)

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Anyone feels like giving the car keys back to them? courtesy of Nancy Pelosi's Flicker photostream:

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The president to sign Wall Street reform tomorrow

Even after President Obama signed the health care bill into law, he continued to travel around the country to pitch its benefits. Expect him to do the same for financial regulatory reform.

"You can expect to see the president, the vice president, the secretary of the Treasury and a wide range of senior administration officials out there explaining within this legislation as a big package, highlighting elements that are particularly important to Americans," Neil Wolin, a deputy secretary of the Treasury, told reporters in a briefing.

After Wednesday's bill signing, officials will underline changes to "how they manage their everyday financial affairs, whether it’s credit cards, mortgages or providing a consumer protection hotline," Wolin said.

Added Diana Farrell, the deputy director of the National Economic Council, "He sees this as a priority."

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New ocean policy offers greater safeguards for Central Coast

The Obama administration Monday unveiled new policy for managing the nation's oceans, seeking to strengthen protection of coastal waters from the Gulf of Mexico to the Monterey Bay.

The policy, which secures a longtime vision of local Congressman Sam Farr, calls for creation of a National Ocean Council to coordinate the many layers of state and federal regulation on such matters as offshore drilling, fishing and shipping. The policy creates no new law, but is expected to sharpen attention to existing regulations.

"At a time when science knows the oceans are dying and several politicians have known it, there's never been a crisis to drive policy, until now," said Farr, D-Carmel, who has tried unsuccessfully to win a similar oceans conservation plan through legislation. "This is giant step forward."
Farr called the president's policy, which comes via presidential executive order "the clean water and air acts for the ocean."

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Obama makes environmental history with national ocean policy

By Sarah Chasis

In my 36 years of environmental policy work, there are few moments in my book that rise to today’s level of importance.
We have the Clean Water Act for our water and the Clean Air Act for our air. Finally, we will now have a bedrock environmental policy like this for our oceans.

President Obama, who hails from the ocean state of Hawaii and the Great Lakes state of Illinois, is expected to announce a revamping of the way we protect our oceans. This is something ocean advocates like me have been working toward for years.

// snip

Thanks to this new policy, the more than 20 different federal agencies that oversee activities affecting the sea (which are are governed by more than 140 laws), will now have to coordinate their efforts to ensure protection of the oceans. If you ask, I’d bet most Americans understandably think a basic policy like this already exists – just as so many believed companies knew how to safely drill off our shores. But it didn’t – until today. . This policy is desperately needed. President Obama is charting the course for healthy American seas and a healthy American ocean economy.
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President Obama Expands Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for Federal Operations

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.

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President Obama statement on the United Nation’s recognition of the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights commission::

I welcome this important step forward for human rights, as the  International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission (ILGHRC) will take its rightful seat at the table of the United Nations. The UN was founded on the premise that only through mutual respect, diversity, and dialogue can the international community effectively pursue justice and equality.  Today, with the more full inclusion of the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission, the United Nations is closer to the ideals on which it was founded, and to values of inclusion and equality to which the United States is deeply committed.

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Some images from OFA Vote 2010 Day of Action this past weekend. More here.

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Tony Award-winning actress Elaine Stritch sings during a White House Music Series event saluting Broadway theater and music performances in the East Room of the White House last night. The event, "A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House" features selections from American musicals with artists such as Nathan Lane, Idina Menzel, Brian d'Arcy James, Marvin Hamlisch and other Broadway stars. The event continued the White House music series celebrating the arts and demonstrating the importance of arts education. (AP)

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First Lady Michelle Obama watches students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the Joy of Motion Dance perform in a special dress rehearsal in the East Room.(Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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British Prime Minister, David Cameron, had his first official visit to the White House today (AP).

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President Obama reads a note given to him by a member of the WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury basketball team during a ceremony in their honor in the White House yesterday (AP).

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President Obama holds Leslie Macko of Charlottesville, Va, as he speaks about the unemployment yesterday in the Rose Garden. (Official WH photo by Chuck Kennedy).
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Originally posted to blackwaterdog on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 01:20 PM PDT.

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