Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Time heals all wounds? Mmmmm... Let's put everything in the proper 1977 "time" perspective. A 13-year-old is not a grown-up. She is a victim. An adult (Roman Polanski) raped a child, ran off to another country to avoid sentencing for said rape and all these industry folks are now behind him, almost 70 film luminaries — including David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Woody Allen (!) — have signed a petition demanding Polanski's immediate release. Just to draw a comparison, Michael Jackson was acquitted of charges involving inappropriate behavior with a child, and the masses today still regard the deceased pop star as a pedophile. No petitions there, no surge of support or statements against the media's treatment of Michael Jackson. Interesting. Polanski has been France, the country to which many tortured souls flee.
This message is from a Virgin Mobile customer. Enjoy.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A spectacular view of the State Capitol building in downtown Albany (with The Egg in the foreground), shot from the window as I waited this afternoon with other members of the press for NY State Health Commissioner Dr. Daines to arrive for a news conference about swine flu and regular flu. There's quite a storm brewing over vaccinations and vaccine and the fact that the state has ordered those who work in a health care setting to get vaccinated or be fired. Despite the arguments by the opposition, I can't imagine Dr. Daines or anyone else deliberately placing health care people in danger. After all, they need to be there at work, caring for the sick and injured. Once something "spooky" happens, like that bad batch of vaccine back in the 70s, it sticks in the public consciousness. A lot of folks are simply getting too Art Bell-ish over this. But think of the last commercial you saw on TV for medications where they read the laundry-list of possinle side effects.
Myself or someone from WAMC will be covering the big anti-flu shot rally today in Albany... meanwhile, down in the City, it's runoff day.
Now that's the Olympic Spirit!!! Derrion Albert - Honor Student Beaten to Death - Chicago Beating Video - and here's an Olympics Crony Watch
Some twisted soul posted a Facebook poll yesterday asking whether or not President Obama should be assassinated. Obviously that's a big no-no...
G-Unit General Hospital: 50 Cent vs. Fat Joe
Gossip Girl Se03ep03
Come the 15th of October, bloggers worldwide will join in blogging about climate change in one of the largest internet events staged for social change: Blog Action Day.
The aim of this global demonstration is to raise awareness and encourage dialogue concerning important subjects which face our planet.
Blog Action Day was founded by Collis & Cyan Ta'eed in 2007 with the support of their team at Envato. On that first occasion, founders encouraged more than 20.000 bloggers to devote a day to blogging about environmental issues. The next year, in 2008, they highlighted poverty issues with bloggers sharing their personal perspectives and ideas for solutions.
This year, with climate change is the subject, it presents a great opportunity to build on all the discussions and online campaigns that are being organized in advance of the COP15 United Nations meeting in Denmark this December.
Anyone can participate in Blog Action Day, be it on blogs, online journals or online magazines. There are no limits to how many posts one can write nor to the content of it, as long as climate change is the subject.
Once you've registered it's a pretty simple process! All you need to do is put up a post on October 15th and link to www.blogactionday.org somewhere in your post.
Tags: Blog Action Day 2009, Blog Action Day 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
It is morning now in Manila: the death toll in the Philippines from Tropical Storm Ketsana almost doubled overnight to 240 people ... STAR's 'Ondoy' fund drive on ... some are calling ONDOY The 'Katrina' of the Philippines. It is the worst storm to hit the region in more than 40 years!
Citizen videos captured horrible scenes of loss and devastation caused by a tropical storm which struck Metro Manila and nearby provinces in the Philippines last Saturday. One Filipino blogger listed other blogs that posted photos of flooded areas, traffic updates, information on relief goods, as well as online appeals for help to stranded victims. Some blogs used Google Maps to provide data on severely hit areas that should receive priority in relief efforts.
Twitter, Facebook help Philippines flood survivors flee ... Social networking sites are overloaded with poignant personal stories, photos and videos of the typhoon's aftermath. The stream of information soon became a “hub” for coordinating rescue and relief efforts for those who had access to the internet. Numerous tweets were exchanged to provide kept updates on relief efforts. One member initiated a personal campaign to solicit help and maintains a list of relief goods such as water and other basic food items.
ABS-CBN reports “Facebook is effective because there is a face behind every post that makes it credible to the reader. Since the one posting is presumably one's friend, there is greater trust. Of course, some friends are more credible than others,” shares prolific Facebook user Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) Dean Antonio La Vina. La Vina had to fly to Bangkok on Sunday to attend a climate change conference. But thanks to Facebook, the distance didn’t stop him from organizing the ASoG Task Force Ondoy. In a note posted on his page, La Vina on Monday created the task force that he envisioned would be “at the center of the national conversation on why this happened and more importantly what steps to take so that it never happens again.”
Singapore sends humanitarian assistance to Philippines
Local Filipinos mobilizing to help flood victims The Gazette (Montreal)
Tags: Manila Flood, Ondoy
Aside to Ernie A::: Dropping the "F" Bomb apparently ain't what it used to be... ask Jenny Slate!
Some things apparently can never be forgiven nor forgotten... (or CAN they?) ask Roman Polanski.
Catch ME on Kindle! Kindle Blogs are auto-delivered wirelessly to your Kindle and updated throughout the day so you can stay current.
“In Dele Giwa’s shoes” from Black Looks by Sokari::: Short film by Chinedum Iregbu - Dele Giwa, Nigerian founding editor of Newswatch magazine who was killed by a parcel bomb in 1986. Writing during the regime of General Babanigda, Dele Giwa’s killers have never been found but speculation has always remained that somehow the government or their agents were involved.
Moi, Mustapha Kessous, journaliste au "Monde" et victime du racisme
Riding the Big Destiny: Adrian Castro - Adrian Castro is a poet, performer, and interdisciplinary artist.
After being postponed last month due to permit problems and fear of violence, the 50 Cent and Bete Midler sponsored “40 Day” or family day finally went down yesterday at PS 40 in Southside Jamica, Queens. MissInfo's blog has more...
Mid-autumn Festival is just around the corner (3rd of October this year). Like each and every year, it’s hightime for mooncakes... Jenny Zhu has the delicious details! Meanwhile, Kimberlycun tells us how to get - er- "Fat and Farty" in a hurry...
Still FAT? Sharon blogs about trimming a different kind of fat (from the family budget!)
via GENSI:::Des artistes Hip-Hop français rendent hommage à Michael Jackson / Michael Jackson’s Tribute
and Marietta Le of Remainder of Budapest posts photos and video from a rally in support of Budapest's nightlife and from a graffiti and extreme sports competition held inside a metro station whose construction had been halted due to financial difficulties.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
This message is from a Virgin Mobile customer. Enjoy.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
- Dual Sim Card (so I have TWO numbers on a single phone!)
- Built-in TV (with the ability to record programs and watch them later!)
- Video Recorder (use with camera OR use the USB to record movies or video clips off the PC!) It came with a "sample" video - a Chinese Music video!
- Built-in FM Radio
- Audio Recorder/Player (think iPod here) which can record off the FM radio!
- Built-in Wi-Fi (sniff out a network and SURF the web for FREE!)
From checking various forums, I've learned the little HiPhone can download and use BOTH Google Android AND iPhone apps! I'll get to doing that later, after I've gotten to know the unit more thoroughly! It comes with a USB cable so when you connect it to your PC, it appears as an extrenal drive or device!
I'm sure there are more things I've already forgotten (or haven't discovered yet)... I've been playing around with the phone and familiarizing myself with the two carriers I'll be using. This will NOT be my "regular" mobile. I'm going in the direction of "Bat Phone" here, if you know what I mean!
The phone is very thin and it's going to be used more for its entertainment features than for "phoning" - if you get my drift. Many times when I'm out in the field working or someplace waiting I wish I had a radio with me (or TV)... and what if I saw something unique and wanted to shoot video? I can do it with this guy.
I don't care for the "touch-screen' very much. I prefer the buttons on my little Kyocera Wild Card, which has been a workhorse for me! So now you know: I'm carrying two phones, one is "business" the other "pleasure." I guess that old saying is true: you shouldn't mix business with pleasure, which is why I'm keeping the two apart on seperate pocket phones!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Beijing-based Twitter user Maggie Rauch had her camera ready when her local Xinjiang food restaurant exploded on Friday morning. “Could feel the explosion from my apartment,” she writes on her Twitpic of the blast.
Take Bill Clinton's Global IQ test!
In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi more than made up for lost time. His speech trailed on for six times the allotted slot, as world leaders laughed and yawned. On Twitter, users had a ball reacting to the speech!
Kuwait has blocked a group of blogs and websites with links to "terror" cells and groups...
Google's Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, the fellow who was felled by tree, getting better...
Ah, Sex! via Upstream blog: Emails from arrested Albany attorney Charles Keegan shed light on relationship with teen client... OWCH!
This message is from a Virgin Mobile customer. Enjoy.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
***I think Mackenzie Phillips is a despicable human being. I think she's telling her "story" for $$$$$$ and nothing more. I could make up something about a dead person too, and probably get somebody else to back me up on it. Shame on you, Ms. Phillips!
This message is from a Virgin Mobile customer. Enjoy.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Address to the United Nations General Assembly
September 23, 2009
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentleman: it is my honor to address you for the first time as the forty-fourth President of the United States. I come before you humbled by the responsibility that the American people have placed upon me; mindful of the enormous challenges of our moment in history; and determined to act boldly and collectively on behalf of justice and prosperity at home and abroad.
I have been in office for just nine months, though some days it seems a lot longer. I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. These expectations are not about me. Rather, they are rooted – I believe – in a discontent with a status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences, and outpaced by our problems. But they are also rooted in hope – the hope that real change is possible, and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change.
I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. This has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for our collective inaction.
Like all of you, my responsibility is to act in the interest of my nation and my people, and I will never apologize for defending those interests. But it is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009 – more than at any point in human history – the interests of nations and peoples are shared.
The religious convictions that we hold in our hearts can forge new bonds among people, or tear us apart. The technology we harness can light the path to peace, or forever darken it. The energy we use can sustain our planet, or destroy it. What happens to the hope of a single child – anywhere – can enrich our world, or impoverish it.
In this hall, we come from many places, but we share a common future. No longer do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the work that we must do together. I have carried this message from London to Ankara; from Port of Spain to Moscow; from Accra to Cairo; and it’s what I will speak about today. Because the time has come for the world to move in a new direction. We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interests and mutual respect, and our work must begin now.
We know the future will be forged by deeds and not simply words. Speeches alone will not solve our problems – it will take persistent action. So for those who question the character and cause of my nation, I ask you to look at the concrete actions that we have taken in just nine months.
On my first day in office, I prohibited – without exception or equivocation – the use of torture by the United States of America. I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed, and we are doing the hard work of forging a framework to combat extremism within the rule of law. Every nation must know: America will live its values, and we will lead by example.
We have set a clear and focused goal: to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies – a network that has killed thousands of people of many faiths and nations, and that plotted to blow up this very building. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, we – and many nations here – are helping those governments develop the capacity to take the lead in this effort, while working to advance opportunity and security for their people.
In Iraq, we are responsibly ending a war. We have removed American combat brigades from Iraqi cities, and set a deadline of next August to remove all of our combat brigades from Iraqi territory. And I have made clear that we will help Iraqis transition to full responsibility for their future, and keep our commitment to remove all American troops by the end of 2011.
I have outlined a comprehensive agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. In Moscow, the United States and Russia announced that we would pursue substantial reductions in our strategic warheads and launchers. At the Conference on Disarmament, we agreed on a work plan to negotiate an end to the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. And this week, my Secretary of State will become the first senior American representative to the annual Members Conference of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Upon taking office, I appointed a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and America has worked steadily and aggressively to advance the cause of two states – Israel and Palestine – in which peace and security take root, and the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians are respected.
To confront climate change, we have invested 80 billion dollars in clean energy. We have substantially increased our fuel-efficiency standards. We have provided new incentives for conservation, launched an energy partnership across the Americas, and moved from a bystander to a leader in international climate negotiations.
To overcome an economic crisis that touches every corner of the world, we worked with the G-20 nations to forge a coordinated international response of over two trillion dollars in stimulus to bring the global economy back from the brink. We mobilized resources that helped prevent the crisis from spreading further to developing countries. And we joined with others to launch a $20 billion global food security initiative that will lend a hand to those who need it most, and help them build their own capacity.
We have also re-engaged the United Nations. We have paid our bills. We have joined the Human Rights Council. We have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have fully embraced the Millennium Development Goals. And we address our priorities here, in this institution – for instance, through the Security Council meeting that I will chair tomorrow on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and through the issues that I will discuss today.
This is what we have done. But this is just a beginning. Some of our actions have yielded progress. Some have laid the groundwork for progress in the future. But make no mistake: this cannot be solely America’s endeavor. Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone. We have sought – in word and deed – a new era of engagement with the world. Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.
If we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we are not living up to that responsibility. Consider the course that we are on if we fail to confront the status quo. Extremists sowing terror in pockets of the world. Protracted conflicts that grind on and on. Genocide and mass atrocities. More and more nations with nuclear weapons. Melting ice caps and ravaged populations. Persistent poverty and pandemic disease. I say this not to sow fear, but to state a fact: the magnitude of our challenges has yet to be met by the measure of our action.
This body was founded on the belief that the nations of the world could solve their problems together. Franklin Roosevelt, who died before he could see his vision for this institution become a reality, put it this way – and I quote: “The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one Nation…. It cannot be a peace of large nations – or of small nations. It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.”
The cooperative effort of the whole world. Those words ring even more true today, when it is not simply peace – but our very health and prosperity that we hold in common. Yet I also know that this body is made up of sovereign states. And sadly, but not surprisingly, this body has often become a forum for sowing discord instead of forging common ground; a venue for playing politics and exploiting grievances rather than solving problems. After all, it is easy to walk up to this podium and to point fingers and stoke division. Nothing is easier than blaming others for our troubles, and absolving ourselves of responsibility for our choices and our actions. Anyone can do that.
Responsibility and leadership in the 21st century demand more. In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional division between nations of the south and north makes no sense in an interconnected world. Nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long gone Cold War.
The time has come to realize that the old habits and arguments are irrelevant to the challenges faced by our people. They lead nations to act in opposition to the very goals that they claim to pursue, and to vote – often in this body – against the interests of their own people. They build up walls between us and the future that our people seek, and the time has come for those walls to come down. Together, we must build new coalitions that bridge old divides – coalitions of different faiths and creeds; of north and south, east and west; black, white, and brown.
The choice is ours. We can be remembered as a generation that chose to drag the arguments of the 20th century into the 21st; that put off hard choices, refused to look ahead, and failed to keep pace because we defined ourselves by what we were against instead of what we were for. Or, we can be a generation that chooses to see the shoreline beyond the rough waters ahead; that comes together to serve the common interests of human beings, and finally gives meaning to the promise embedded in the name given to this institution: the United Nations.
That is the future America wants – a future of peace and prosperity that we can only reach if we recognize that all nations have rights, but all nations have responsibilities as well. That is the bargain that makes this work. That must be the guiding principle of international cooperation.
Today, I put forward four pillars that are fundamental to the future that we want for our children: non-proliferation and disarmament; the promotion of peace and security; the preservation of our planet; and a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.
First, we must stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and seek the goal of a world without them.
This institution was founded at the dawn of the atomic age, in part because man’s capacity to kill had to be contained. For decades, we averted disaster, even under the shadow of a super-power stand-off. But today, the threat of proliferation is growing in scope and complexity. If we fail to act, we will invite nuclear arms races in every region, and the prospect of wars and acts of terror on a scale that we can hardly imagine.
A fragile consensus stands in the way of this frightening outcome – the basic bargain that shapes the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. It says that all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear energy; that nations with nuclear weapons have the responsibility to move toward disarmament; and those without them have the responsibility to forsake them. The next twelve months could be pivotal in determining whether this compact will be strengthened or will slowly dissolve.
America will keep our end of the bargain. We will pursue a new agreement with Russia to substantially reduce our strategic warheads and launchers. We will move forward with ratification of the Test Ban Treaty, and work with others to bring the Treaty into force so that nuclear testing is permanently prohibited. We will complete a Nuclear Posture Review that opens the door to deeper cuts, and reduces the role of nuclear weapons. And we will call upon countries to begin negotiations in January on a treaty to end the production of fissile material for weapons.
I will also host a Summit next April that reaffirms each nation’s responsibility to secure nuclear material on its territory, and to help those who can’t – because we must never allow a single nuclear device to fall into the hands of a violent extremist. And we will work to strengthen the institutions and initiatives that combat nuclear smuggling and theft.
All of this must support efforts to strengthen the NPT. Those nations that refuse to live up to their obligations must face consequences. This is not about singling out individual nations – it is about standing up for the rights of all nations that do live up to their responsibilities. Because a world in which IAEA inspections are avoided and the United Nation’s demands are ignored will leave all people less safe, and all nations less secure.
In their actions to date, the governments of North Korea and Iran threaten to take us down this dangerous slope. We respect their rights as members of the community of nations. I am committed to diplomacy that opens a path to greater prosperity and a more secure peace for both nations if they live up to their obligations.
But if the governments of Iran and North Korea choose to ignore international standards; if they put the pursuit of nuclear weapons ahead of regional stability and the security and opportunity of their own people; if they are oblivious to the dangers of escalating nuclear arms races in both East Asia and the Middle East – then they must be held accountable. The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise, and that Treaties will be enforced. We must insist that the future not belong to fear.
That brings me to the second pillar for our future: the pursuit of peace.
The United Nations was born of the belief that the people of the world can live their lives, raise their families, and resolve their differences peacefully. And yet we know that in too many parts of the world, this ideal remains an abstraction. We can either accept that outcome as inevitable, and tolerate constant and crippling conflict. Or we can recognize that the yearning for peace is universal, and reassert our resolve to end conflicts around the world.
That effort must begin with an unshakeable determination that the murder of innocent men, women and children will never be tolerated. On this, there can be no dispute. The violent extremists who promote conflict by distorting faith have discredited and isolated themselves. They offer nothing but hatred and destruction. In confronting them, America will forge lasting partnerships to target terrorists, share intelligence, coordinate law enforcement, and protect our people. We will permit no safe-haven for al Qaeda to launch attacks from Afghanistan or any other nation. We will stand by our friends on the front lines, as we and many nations will do in pledging support for the Pakistani people tomorrow. And we will pursue positive engagement that builds bridges among faiths, and new partnerships for opportunity.
But our efforts to promote peace cannot be limited to defeating violent extremists. For the most powerful weapon in our arsenal is the hope of human beings – the belief that the future belongs to those who build, not destroy; the confidence that conflicts can end, and a new day begin.
That is why we will strengthen our support for effective peacekeeping, while energizing our efforts to prevent conflicts before they take hold. We will pursue a lasting peace in Sudan through support for the people of Darfur, and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, so that we secure the peace that the Sudanese people deserve. And in countries ravaged by violence – from Haiti to Congo to East Timor – we will work with the UN and other partners to support an enduring peace.
I will also continue to seek a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine, and the Arab world. Yesterday, I had a constructive meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. We have made some progress. Palestinians have strengthened their efforts on security. Israelis have facilitated greater freedom of movement for the Palestinians. As a result of these efforts by both sides, the economy in the West Bank has begun to grow. But more progress is needed. We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.
The time has come to re-launch negotiations – without preconditions – that address the permanent-status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians; borders, refugees and Jerusalem. The goal is clear: two states living side by side in peace and security – a Jewish State of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people. As we pursue this goal, we will also pursue peace between Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria, and a broader peace between Israel and its many neighbors. In pursuit of that goal, we will develop regional initiatives with multilateral participation, alongside bilateral negotiations.
I am not naïve. I know this will be difficult. But all of us must decide whether we are serious about peace, or whether we only lend it lip-service. To break the old patterns – to break the cycle of insecurity and despair – all of us must say publicly what we would acknowledge in private. The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians. And nations within this body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks over a constructive willingness to recognize Israel’s legitimacy, and its right to exist in peace and security.
We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It is paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the night. It is paid by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own. These are God’s children. And after all of the politics and all of the posturing, this is about the right of every human being to live with dignity and security. That is a lesson embedded in the three great faiths that call one small slice of Earth the Holy Land. And that is why – even though there will be setbacks, and false starts, and tough days – I will not waiver in my pursuit of peace.
Third, we must recognize that in the 21st century, there will be no peace unless we make take responsibility for the preservation of our planet.
The danger posed by climate change cannot be denied, and our responsibility to meet it must not be deferred. If we continue down our current course, every member of this Assembly will see irreversible changes within their borders. Our efforts to end conflicts will be eclipsed by wars over refugees and resources. Development will be devastated by drought and famine. Land that human beings have lived on for millennia will disappear. Future generations will look back and wonder why we refused to act – why we failed to pass on intact the environment that was our inheritance.
That is why the days when America dragged its feet on this issue are over. We will move forward with investments to transform our energy economy, while providing incentives to make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. We will press ahead with deep cuts in emissions to reach the goals that we set for 2020, and eventually 2050. We will continue to promote renewable energy and efficiency – and share new technologies – with countries around the world. And we will seize every opportunity for progress to address this threat in a cooperative effort with the whole world.
Those wealthy nations that did so much to damage the environment in the 20th century must accept our obligation to lead. But responsibility does not end there. While we must acknowledge the need for differentiated responses, any effort to curb carbon emissions must include the fast-growing carbon emitters who can do more to reduce their air pollution without inhibiting growth. And any effort that fails to help the poorest nations both adapt to the problems that climate change has already wrought – and travel a path of clean development – will not work.
It is hard to change something as fundamental as how we use energy. It’s even harder to do so in the midst of a global recession. Certainly, it will be tempting to sit back and wait for others to move first. But we cannot make this journey unless we all move forward together. As we head into Copenhagen, let us resolve to focus on what each of us can do for the sake of our common future.
This leads me to the final pillar that must fortify our future: a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.
The world is still recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In America, we see the engine of growth beginning to churn, yet many still struggle to find a job or pay their bills. Across the globe, we find promising signs, yet little certainty about what lies ahead. And far too many people in far too many places live through the daily crises that challenge our common humanity – the despair of an empty stomach; the thirst brought on by dwindling water; the injustice of a child dying from a treatable disease, or a mother losing her life as she gives birth.
In Pittsburgh, we will work with the world’s largest economies to chart a course for growth that is balanced and sustained. That means vigilance to ensure that we do not let up until our people are back to work. That means taking steps to rekindle demand, so that a global recovery can be sustained. And that means setting new rules of the road and strengthening regulation for all financial centers, so that we put an end to the greed, excess and abuse that led us into disaster, and prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.
At a time of such interdependence, we have a moral and pragmatic interest in broader questions of development. And so we will continue our historic effort to help people feed themselves. We have set aside $63 billion to carry forward the fight against HIV/AIDS; to end deaths from tuberculosis and malaria; to eradicate polio; and to strengthen public health systems. We are joining with other countries to contribute H1N1 vaccines to the World Health Organization. We will integrate more economies into a system of global trade. We will support the Millennium Development Goals, and approach next year’s Summit with a global plan to make them a reality. And we will set our sights on the eradication of extreme poverty in our time.
Now is the time for all of us to do our part. Growth will not be sustained or shared unless all nations embrace their responsibility. Wealthy nations must open their markets to more goods and extend a hand to those with less, while reforming international institutions to give more nations a greater voice. Developing nations must root out the corruption that is an obstacle to progress – for opportunity cannot thrive where individuals are oppressed and business have to pay bribes. That’s why we will support honest police and independent judges; civil society and a vibrant private sector. Our goal is simple: a global economy in which growth is sustained, and opportunity is available to all.
The changes that I have spoken about today will not be easy to make. And they will not be realized simply by leaders like us coming together in forums like this. For as in any assembly of members, real change can only come through the people we represent. That is why we must do the hard work to lay the groundwork for progress in our own capitals. That is where we will build the consensus to end conflicts and to harness technology for peaceful purposes; to change the way we use energy, and to promote growth that can be sustained and shared.
I believe that the people of the world want this future for their children. And that is why we must champion those principles which ensure that governments reflect the will of the people. These principles cannot be afterthoughts – democracy and human rights are essential to achieving each of the goals that I have discussed today. Because governments of the people and by the people are more likely to act in the broader interests of their own people, rather than the narrow interest of those in power.
The test of our leadership will not be the degree to which we feed the fears and old hatreds of our people. True leadership will not be measured by the ability to muzzle dissent, or to intimidate and harass political opponents at home. The people of the world want change. They will not long tolerate those who are on the wrong side of history.
This Assembly’s Charter commits each of us, and I quote – “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women.” Among those rights is the freedom to speak your mind and worship as you please; the promise of equality of the races, and the opportunity for women and girls to pursue their own potential; the ability of citizens to have a say in how you are governed, and to have confidence in the administration of justice. For just as no nation should be forced to accept the tyranny of another nation, no individual should be forced to accept the tyranny of their own government.
As an African-American, I will never forget that I would not be here today without the steady pursuit of a more perfect union in my country. That guides my belief that no matter how dark the day may seem, transformative change can be forged by those who choose the side of justice. And I pledge that America will always stand with those who stand up for their dignity and their rights – for the student who seeks to learn; the voter who demands to be heard; the innocent who longs to be free; and the oppressed who yearns to be equal.
Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people, and – in the past – America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment, it only reinforces it. There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self evident – and the United States of America will never waiver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.
Sixty-five years ago, a weary Franklin Roosevelt spoke to the American people in his fourth and final inaugural address. After years of war, he sought to sum up the lessons that could be drawn from the terrible suffering and enormous sacrifice that had taken place. “We have learned,” he said, “to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.”
The United Nations was built by men and women like Roosevelt from every corner of the world – from Africa and Asia; form Europe to the Americas. These architects of international cooperation had an idealism that was anything but naïve – it was rooted in the hard-earned lessons of war, and the wisdom that nations could advance their interests by acting together instead of splitting apart.
Now it falls to us – for this institution will be what we make of it. The United Nations does extraordinary good around the world in feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and mending places that have been broken. But it also struggles to enforce its will, and to live up to the ideals of its founding.
I believe that those imperfections are not a reason to walk away from this institution – they are a calling to redouble our efforts. The United Nations can either be a place where we bicker about outdated grievances, or forge common ground; a place where we focus on what drives us apart, or what brings us together; a place where we indulge tyranny, or a source of moral authority. In short, the United Nations can be an institution that is disconnected from what matters in the lives of our citizens, or it can be indispensable in advancing the interests of the people we serve.
We have reached a pivotal moment. The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation – one that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of all nations. With confidence in our cause, and with a commitment to our values, we call on all nations to join us in building the future that our people deserve. Thank you.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
President Obama on Letterman: newsflash, not everything is racism - I think it’s important to realize that I was actually black before the election…this is true.
Chain e-mail that falsely claims President Barack Obama has issued a new postage stamp commemorating the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr has even reached a Tennessee mayor who forwarded it to employees encouraging them to boycott the stamp. Jillian C. York reports.
Google MYSTERY:::Who's Dominique Dicaprio and why is she ahead of Megan Fox and Jessica Lange in search trends as of now?
LiveHopeLove.com Wins an Emmy! - LiveHopeLove.com, a multimedia website on the human face of HIV/AIDS in Jamaica, has won an Emmy for new approaches to news and documentary programming
Iranian sites and blogs such as Parlemannews report [fa] that two important blog service providers in country are in trouble. Persian Blog is filtered and BlogFa has had lot of ‘technical' problems in last week.
Popular Social Networking site Facebook has been forced to abandon Beacon, an advertising program that also published "updates" on your page.
Politics, NY Style:::The Albany Project ponders "What killed David Paterson?" Bill Hammond writes: "In the game of politics, as in life, they say it's better to be lucky than good. Andrew Cuomo turns out to be both."
And in case you missed it, AOA posts Larkfest 2009 photographs.
TRANSCRIPT: REMARKS BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON'S CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT
New York, New York
9:46 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much. Good morning. I want to thank the Secretary General for organizing this summit, and all the leaders who are participating. That so many of us are here today is a recognition that the threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing. Our generation's response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it -- boldly, swiftly, and together -- we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe.
No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent droughts and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees. The security and stability of each nation and all peoples -- our prosperity, our health, and our safety -- are in jeopardy. And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.
And yet, we can reverse it. John F. Kennedy once observed that "Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man." It is true that for too many years, mankind has been slow to respond or even recognize the magnitude of the climate threat. It is true of my own country, as well. We recognize that. But this is a new day. It is a new era. And I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.
We are making our government's largest ever investment in renewable energy -- an investment aimed at doubling the generating capacity from wind and other renewable resources in three years. Across America, entrepreneurs are constructing wind turbines and solar panels and batteries for hybrid cars with the help of loan guarantees and tax credits -- projects that are creating new jobs and new industries. We're investing billions to cut energy waste in our homes, our buildings, and appliances -- helping American families save money on energy bills in the process.
We've proposed the very first national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks -- a standard that will also save consumers money and our nation oil. We're moving forward with our nation's first offshore wind energy projects. We're investing billions to capture carbon pollution so that we can clean up our coal plants. And just this week, we announced that for the first time ever, we'll begin tracking how much greenhouse gas pollution is being emitted throughout the country.
Later this week, I will work with my colleagues at the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies so that we can better address our climate challenge. And already, we know that the recent drop in overall U.S. emissions is due in part to steps that promote greater efficiency and greater use of renewable energy.
Most importantly, the House of Representatives passed an energy and climate bill in June that would finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy for American businesses and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One committee has already acted on this bill in the Senate and I look forward to engaging with others as we move forward.
Because no one nation can meet this challenge alone, the United States has also engaged more allies and partners in finding a solution than ever before. In April, we convened the first of what have now been six meetings of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate here in the United States. In Trinidad, I proposed an Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas. We've worked through the World Bank to promote renewable energy projects and technologies in the developing world. And we have put climate at the top of our diplomatic agenda when it comes to our relationships with countries as varied as China and Brazil; India and Mexico; from the continent of Africa to the continent of Europe.
Taken together, these steps represent a historic recognition on behalf of the American people and their government. We understand the gravity of the climate threat. We are determined to act. And we will meet our responsibility to future generations.
But though many of our nations have taken bold action and share in this determination, we did not come here to celebrate progress today. We came because there's so much more progress to be made. We came because there's so much more work to be done.
It is work that will not be easy. As we head towards Copenhagen, there should be no illusions that the hardest part of our journey is in front of us. We seek sweeping but necessary change in the midst of a global recession, where every nation's most immediate priority is reviving their economy and putting their people back to work. And so all of us will face doubts and difficulties in our own capitals as we try to reach a lasting solution to the climate challenge.
But I'm here today to say that difficulty is no excuse for complacency. Unease is no excuse for inaction. And we must not allow the perfect to become the enemy of progress. Each of us must do what we can when we can to grow our economies without endangering our planet -- and we must all do it together. We must seize the opportunity to make Copenhagen a significant step forward in the global fight against climate change.
We also cannot allow the old divisions that have characterized the climate debate for so many years to block our progress. Yes, the developed nations that caused much of the damage to our climate over the last century still have a responsibility to lead -- and that includes the United States. And we will continue to do so -- by investing in renewable energy and promoting greater efficiency and slashing our emissions to reach the targets we set for 2020 and our long-term goal for 2050.
But those rapidly growing developing nations that will produce nearly all the growth in global carbon emissions in the decades ahead must do their part, as well. Some of these nations have already made great strides with the development and deployment of clean energy. Still, they need to commit to strong measures at home and agree to stand behind those commitments just as the developed nations must stand behind their own. We cannot meet this challenge unless all the largest emitters of greenhouse gas pollution act together. There's no other way.
We must also energize our efforts to put other developing nations -- especially the poorest and most vulnerable -- on a path to sustained growth. These nations do not have the same resources to combat climate change as countries like the United States or China do, but they have the most immediate stake in a solution. For these are the nations that are already living with the unfolding effects of a warming planet -- famine, drought, disappearing coastal villages, and the conflicts that arise from scarce resources. Their future is no longer a choice between a growing economy and a cleaner planet, because their survival depends on both. It will do little good to alleviate poverty if you can no longer harvest your crops or find drinkable water.
And that is why we have a responsibility to provide the financial and technical assistance needed to help these nations adapt to the impacts of climate change and pursue low-carbon development.
What we are seeking, after all, is not simply an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. We seek an agreement that will allow all nations to grow and raise living standards without endangering the planet. By developing and disseminating clean technology and sharing our know-how, we can help developing nations leap-frog dirty energy technologies and reduce dangerous emissions.
Mr. Secretary, as we meet here today, the good news is that after too many years of inaction and denial, there's finally widespread recognition of the urgency of the challenge before us. We know what needs to be done. We know that our planet's future depends on a global commitment to permanently reduce greenhouse gas pollution. We know that if we put the right rules and incentives in place, we will unleash the creative power of our best scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to build a better world. And so many nations have already taken the first step on the journey towards that goal.
But the journey is long and the journey is hard. And we don't have much time left to make that journey. It's a journey that will require each of us to persevere through setbacks, and fight for every inch of progress, even when it comes in fits and starts. So let us begin. For if we are flexible and pragmatic, if we can resolve to work tirelessly in common effort, then we will achieve our common purpose: a world that is safer, cleaner, and healthier than the one we found; and a future that is worthy of our children.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 10:02 A.M. EDT
(S03E02) The scene we've been waiting for all summer long has finally aired: Blair discovering that Georgina is her college roommate!
Miss last night's ep? No, you didn't!... New York Mag re-caps and Gossip Girl Insider has the promo for next week's ep!
QUESTIONS! What is Serena going to do with herself for the next year? Will Georgina and Dan last, or will it be a mistake to be lived down (particularly given her role on NBC's "Mercy")?
Monday, September 21, 2009
I ran across one earlier this evening that pretends to be a place where you can find information on removing the Clampi virus from your computer. But once you've clicked on it you get trapped into a site that forces you to download and install a program. Here's what to do: hit ctrl+alt+delete and on your task manager simply kill firefox.exe or explorer or whatever your browser is. Don't go back to that website! Some of them leave a cookie on your PC so that if you re-visit them, a trojan silently loads on your computer! BE CAREFUL! There are trusted sites that you CAN download from. Look for symantec and other well-knwon trusted sites.
How to Implement Layered Security for Your Computer
Layer 1 is a personal firewall. A personal firewall is a software program installed on your computer that controls access to everything that enters or attempts to leave your computer. Think of it as having your own personal security guard at your house and he asks you for permission to let anyone enter the house or leave the house. I prefer Zone Alarm firewall. It's FREE!
Layer 2 is antivirus software. Antivirus software is another program installed on your computer that inspects the data on your computer for viruses, trojans and keyloggers. It does this by comparing the files on your computer with a known list of bad software aka signatures. The antivirus program also inspects data entering and leaving your computer, checks for virus signatures or uses an algorithm to detect suspicious data packets. You can purchase antivirus software, but again you can also get some very good antivirus programs for free. I like Avira Antivirus and Avast Antivirus. Don't use AVG Free, the free version does not offer "rootkit" protection which is a very common area of exploitation.
Layer 3 is protection from Spyware, Malware and Adware. These programs inspect data entering and leaving your computer and checks for known bad software signatures. If you are using Windows XP or Vista, then you are already running Windows Defender and are covered. If you would like additional protection you can download free programs such Adaware, Spybot Search & Destroy and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
Layer 4 is to make sure you are running Windows update on a weekly basis to ensure you have the latest security patches for your particular operating system. You should also check for weekly updates on each of the products you installed in the previous three layers. Most programs have a scheduling option so you can set it and forget it.
Layer 5 is scanning. You must ensure each of the products installed in the first three layers run a scan weekly. Again, most programs have a scheduling option so you can set it and forget it.
Layer 6 is passwords. All security threats don't necessarily come from the internet. Make sure the password you use to log on to your computer is not an easy one to figure out. Make sure the password contains a mix of upper and lower case letters, at least one number and a special character such as !, #, &,_ or *. Do not use your computer password for any online programs like your gmail, twitter, MySpace, Facebook, bank accounts, etc... And if you use your computer in public places like a library or coffee shop, you will need to change it often. You would be surprised how many passwords and pin numbers get intercepted by people looking over your shoulder.
(Bukisa ID #104889)
Information from: How to Implement Layered Security for Your Computer - Bukisa.com is included in the post.Tags: Google warning, Clampi Virus
1) Make sure you are running antivirus software on your computer
2) Make sure you've got a Firewall installed on your computer
3) Download and install any critical updates and security patches from Microsoft
4) If you're using a Wi-Fi network at home, ensure it is password protected
5) When surfing the internet, do not click on any suspicious links
6) Consider using a prepaid credit card when shopping online, to isolate that account from your debit account or those used for online banking
7) If you do fall prey to Clampi, or other similar viruses, make sure you change password and login details for all banking and finance accounts that may have been compromised by the infection
Tags: clampi, clampi
Hudson Valley Community College
Troy, New York
11:57 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! Hello, Hudson Valley! (Applause.) Thank you very much. Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you. Thank you very much. What a wonderful reception. It is great to be here. Thanks for whoever organized the weather. (Laughter.)
I want to, first of all, say thank you to Jill Biden, who has been a teacher for almost three decades and she’s spent most of that time in community colleges. She understands, as all of you do, the power of these institutions to prepare students for 21st century jobs, and to prepare America for a 21st century global economy. And that’s what’s happening right here at Hudson Valley Community College. So give yourselves a big round of applause. (Applause.)
We've got some special guests here that I want to acknowledge, in addition to Jill. First of all, a wonderful man, the governor of the great state of New York -- David Paterson is in the house. (Applause.) Your shy and retiring Attorney General -- Andrew Cuomo is in the house. (Applause.) Andrew is doing great work enforcing the laws that need to be enforced.
I want to thank the Comptroller -- Thomas DiNapoli is in the house. (Applause.) Speaker Sheldon Silver is in the house. (Applause.) The Democratic Conference Leader, State Senator John Sampson. (Applause.) Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings. (Applause.) We've got three outstanding members of Congress who are just doing great work every single day -- Maurice Hinchey, Paul Tonko, Scott Murphy -- please give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)
The President of Hudson Valley Community College, Andrew Matonak, is in the house. (Applause.) Did I pronounce that right, Andrew? And Joe Sarubbi, Executive Director of TEC-SMART, who did a -- gave me a wonderful tour -- (applause.)
Now, you may ask, why are we here at Hudson Valley? We're here because this is a place where anyone with the desire to take their career to a new level or start a new career altogether has the opportunity to pursue that dream. This is a place where people of all ages and backgrounds -- even in the face of obstacles, even in the face of very difficult personal challenges -- can take a chance on a brighter future for themselves and for their family.
I was just talking to the Mayor of Troy, who was -- we were in a room, and he was saying how he had studied calculus in the room where we were taking a picture. And I had to inform him I didn’t take calculus. (Laughter.) But he was testimony, he was an example of what you can do because of an institution like this.
And I know that here in Troy, you want and need that chance after so many years of hard times. Communities like this one were once the heart of America’s manufacturing strength. But over the last few decades, you’ve borne the brunt of a changing economy which has seen many manufacturing plants close in the face of global competition. So while all of America has been gripped by the current economic crisis, folks in Troy and upstate New York have been dealing with what amounts to almost a permanent recession for years: an economic downturn that's driven more and more young people from their hometowns.
I also know that while a lot of people have come here promising better news, that news has been hard to come by, despite the determined efforts of leaders who are here today and many who are not. Part of the reason is that while people in this city work hard to meet their responsibilities, I have to confess that some in Washington haven’t always lived up to theirs.
For too long, as old divisions and special interests reigned, Washington has shown neither the inclination, nor the ability, to tackle our toughest challenges. Meanwhile, businesses were saddled with ever-rising health care costs; the economy was weakened by ever-growing dependence on foreign oil; our investment in cutting-edge research declined; our schools fell further short; growth focused on short-term gains and fueled by debt and reckless risk, which led to a cycle of precipitous booms and painful busts.
And meanwhile, too many in Washington stood by and let it happen. Now, after so many years of failing to act, there are those who now suggest that there's really not much the government can or should do to make a difference; that what we’ve seen in places like Troy is inevitable; that somehow, the parts of our country that helped us lead in the last century don’t have what it takes to help us lead in this one. And I'm here to tell you that that is just flat out wrong. What we have here in this community is talented people, entrepreneurs, world-class learning institutions. (Applause.) The ingredients are right here for growth and success and a better future.
These young people are testimony to it. You are proving that right here in the Hudson Valley. Students here are training full time while working part time at GE Energy in Schenectady, becoming a new generation of American leaders in a new generation of American manufacturing. IBM is partnered with the University at Albany; their partnership in nanotechnology is helping students train in the industries in which America has the potential to lead. Rensselaer is partnering not only with this institution but with businesses throughout the Tech Valley. And early next year, Hudson Valley Community College’s state-of-the-art TEC-SMART training facility is set to open side-by-side with Global Foundry’s coming state-of-the-art semiconductor plant. (Applause.)
So we know that Upstate New York can succeed, just like we know that there are pockets in the Midwest that used to be hubs of manufacturing -- they're now retooling; they're reinventing themselves. We know that can happen. We know that in the global economy -- where there's no room for error and there's certainly no room for wasted potential -- America needs you to succeed.
So as we emerge from this current economic crisis, our great challenge will be to ensure that we don't just drift into the future, accepting less for our children, accepting less for America. We have to choose instead what past generations have done: to shape a brighter future through hard work and innovation. That's how we'll not only recover, but that's how we'll also build stronger than before: strong enough to compete in the global economy; strong enough to avoid the cycles of boom and bust that have wreaked so much havoc; strong enough to create and support the jobs of the future in the industries of the future.
So today, my administration is releasing our strategy to foster new jobs, new businesses, and new industries by laying the groundwork and the ground rules to best tap our innovative potential. This work began with the recovery plan that we passed several months ago, which devoted well over $100 billion to innovation, from high-tech classrooms to health information technology, from more efficient homes to more fuel-efficient cars, from building a smart electricity grid to laying down high-speed rail.
But our efforts don't end there. For this strategy is about far more than just recovery -- it's about sustained growth and widely shared prosperity. And it's rooted in a simple idea: that if government does its modest part, there's no stopping the most powerful and generative economic force that the world has ever known, and that is the American people.
Our strategy begin where innovation so often does: in the classroom and in the laboratory -- and in the networks that connect them to the broader economy. These are the building blocks of innovation: education, infrastructure, research.
We know that the nations that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow. The ability of new industries to thrive depends on workers with the knowledge and the know-how to contribute in those fields. Unfortunately, today, our primary and secondary schools continue to trail many of our competitors, especially in the key areas of math and science. Hundreds of thousands of high school graduates who are prepared for college don't go to four-year or two-year schools because it's just too expensive; they run out of money. And roughly 40 percent of students who start college don't complete college. So all along that education pipeline, too many people -- too many of our young talented people -- are slipping through the cracks. It's not only heartbreaking for those students; it's a loss for our economy and our country.
I know that for a long time politicians have spoken of training -- of job training as a silver bullet, of college as a cure-all. It's not. I don't want to pretend that it is. We know that. But we also know that in the coming years, jobs requiring at least an associate's degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience. Think about that -- twice as fast. We will not fill those jobs, or keep those jobs here in America, without graduating more students, including millions more students from community colleges.
That's why I've asked Dr. Biden to travel the country promoting the opportunities that community colleges offer. That's why I'm grateful that Senator Chuck Schumer, who couldn't be here today, has shown tremendous leadership on this issue. And that's why I've set this ambitious goal: By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. (Applause.) We used to be number one. We should be number one again. (Applause.)
Now, to achieve this goal, we're going to need motivated students, motivated families, motivated communities, local leaders who are doing their part, state leaders who are doing their part. But the federal government has its part to do, as well.
So to reach this goal we've increased Pell Grants and created a simplified $2,500 tax credit for college tuition. We've made student aid applications less complicated and ensured that that aid is not based on the income of a job that you've lost. I hear too much from folks who say, I can't get any student aid because they're still looking at my income taxes when I had a job as opposed to my situation right now.
We've also passed a new G.I. Bill of Rights to help soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan begin a new life in a new economy. (Applause.) And the recovery plan has helped close state budget shortfalls -- I think the Governor will testify -- because those shortfalls put enormous pressure on public universities and community colleges, while also we've made historic investments in elementary and secondary schools. So we're helping states get through some very tough times without having to drastically cut back on the critical education infrastructure that's going to be so important.
Now, finally, through the American Graduation Initiative that I’ve proposed, we're going to reform and strengthen community colleges to help an additional 5 million Americans earn degrees and certificates in the next decade -- (applause) -- because a new generation of innovations depends on a new generation of innovators.
And just last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will go a long way to reform the student loan system so that college is more affordable for more people. Right now, the federal government provides a subsidy to banks to get them to lend money to students. The thing is the federal government also guarantees the loans in case the students don’t repay. So we're subsidizing banks to take on the risk of giving loans to students, even though taxpayers are absorbing the risk anyway. That doesn't make much sense. It costs us more than $80 billion. If we just cut out the middle-man -- the banks -- and lent directly to the students, the federal government would save that money and we could use it for what's actually important -- helping students afford and succeed in college. (Applause.)
That's what the bill -- I want to emphasize this just because every once in a while you may not know what your members of Congress are doing for you. These three guys right here are standing up for young people. We need senators to do the same. (Applause.) The bill that they voted on -- the bill that I proposed -- here's what it does: It takes the $80 billion the banks currently get and uses it to make Pell Grants larger. It uses those funds to focus on innovative efforts to help students not only go to college but to graduate. And just as important, these savings will allow us to make the largest investment ever in the most underappreciated asset in our education system, and that is community colleges like Hudson Valley, which are so essential for the future of our young people. (Applause.) So we hope to improve on this bill in the Senate and go even further on behalf of students.
Ending this unwarranted subsidy for the big banks is a no-brainer for folks everywhere -- except some folks in Washington. In fact, they're already seeing -- we're already seeing special interests rallying to save this giveaway. And the large banks -- many who have benefited from taxpayer bailouts during the financial crisis -- are lobbying to keep this easy money flowing. That's exactly the kind of special-interest effort that has succeeded before, and we can't allow it to succeed this time. This is exactly the kind of waste that leaves people wary of government, leaves our country straddled with trillions of dollars of deficits and debt with little to show for it.
And that's why I went to Washington, to change that kind of stuff. (Applause.) And I look forward to winning this fight in the Senate, just as we won it in the House, and signing this bill into law. (Applause.)
Now, another key to strengthening education, entrepreneurship, and innovation in communities like Troy is to harness the full power of the Internet, and that means faster and more widely available broadband, as well as rules to ensure that we preserve the fairness and openness that led to the flourishing of the Internet in the first place. So today, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is announcing a set of principles to preserve an open Internet in which all Americans can participate and benefit. And I'm pleased that he's taking that step. (Applause.) That's an important role that we can play, laying the ground rules to spur innovation. That's the role of government -- to provide investment that spurs innovation and also to set up common-sense ground rules to ensure that there's a level playing field for all comers who seek to contribute their innovations.
And we have to think about the networks we need today, but also the networks we need tomorrow. That's why I've proposed grants through the National Science Foundation and through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- or DARPA -- which helped develop the Internet, to explore the next communications breakthroughs, whatever they may be. That's why I've appointed the first-ever chief technology officer, charged with looking at ways technology can spur innovations that help government do a better and more efficient job.
We also have to strengthen our commitment to research, including basic research, which has been badly neglected for decades. (Applause.) That's always been one of the secrets of America's success -- putting more and more money into research to create the next great inventions, the great technologies that will then spur further economic growth.
The fact is, though, basic research doesn't always pay off immediately. It may not pay off for years. When it does, the rewards are often broadly shared, enjoyed by those who bore it -- costs but also by those who didn't pay a dime for that basic research.
That's why the private sector generally under-invests in basic science. That's why the public sector must invest instead. While the risks may be large, so are the rewards for our economy and our society. I mean, understand it was basic research in the photoelectric effect that would one day lead to solar panels. It was basic research in physics that would eventually produce the CAT scan. The calculations of today's GPS satellites, they're based on basic research -- equations Einstein put on paper more than a century ago. Nobody knew they'd lead to GPS, but they understood that as we advance our knowledge, that is what is going to help advance our societies.
When we fail to invest in research, we fail to invest in the future. Yet, since the peak of the space race in the 1960s, our national commitment to research and development has steadily fallen as a share of our national income. That's why I set a goal of putting a full 3 percent of our Gross Domestic Product, our national income, into research and development, surpassing the commitment we made when President Kennedy challenged this nation to send a man to the moon. (Applause.)
Towards this goal, the Recovery Act has helped achieve the largest increase in basic research in history. This month the National Institutes of Health will award more than a billion dollars in research grants through the Recovery Act focused on what we can learn from the mapping of the human genome in order to treat diseases that affect millions of Americans, from cancer to heart disease. I also want to urge Congress to fully fund the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, because since its creation it has been the source of cutting-edge breakthroughs from that early Internet to stealth technology.
So as we invest in the building blocks of innovation, from the classroom to the laboratory, it's also essential that we have competitive and vibrant markets that promote innovation, as well. Education and research help foster new ideas, but it takes fair and free markets to turn those ideas into industries.
My budget finally makes the research and experimentation tax credit permanent. This is a tax credit that helps companies afford the often high costs of developing new ideas, new technologies, new products -- which means new jobs. And this tax incentive returns two dollars to the economy for every one dollar we spend. Time and again, I’ve heard from leaders -- from Silicon Valley to the Tech Valley -- about how important it is. I’ve also proposed reducing to zero the capital gains tax for investments in small or startup businesses, because small businesses are innovative businesses; they produce 13 times more patents per employee than large companies do. (Applause.)
Now, these tax incentives will spur entrepreneurship. But there are other important steps to foster markets that value and promote risk-takers and idea-makers who've always been the center of our success. That's why it's essential that we enforce trade laws and work with our trading partners to open up markets abroad; that we reform and strengthen our intellectual property system; that we sustain our advantage as a place that draws and welcomes the brightest minds from all over the world; and that we unlock sources of credit and capital which have been in short supply as a result of the financial crisis.
Now, there are some other fundamental barriers to innovation and economic growth that we're going to have to tackle in order to ensure American leadership, and prosperity continues into the 21st century. For as a nation we face enormous challenges, from ending our dependence on foreign oil to finally producing -- providing all Americans with quality, affordable health care. We've got to attack these challenges to create a climate for innovation. And innovation can then be an important part of how we meet these challenges.
So let me give you an example -- health care costs. They leave our small businesses at a disadvantage when competing with our large businesses, and they leave our large businesses at a disadvantage when competing around the world. We will never know the enormity of the costs of our economy to the countless Americans unable to become entrepreneurs, to start a small business, to follow their dreams, because they’re afraid of losing their health insurance. So to lead in the global economy, we must pass health insurance reform -- (applause) -- that brings down costs and provides more security for people who have insurance, and offers options to people who don't have health insurance. (Applause.) Health insurance reform will be good for business, and especially good for small business -- especially good for small business.
Now, in the meantime, the recovery plan that we passed earlier this year has begun to modernize our health system. So innovation can also help drive down the cost for everybody. We are taking long-overdue steps to computerize America’s health records. And this is going to reduce the waste and errors that cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives -– while protecting patients’ privacy. And it’s important to note, as well, that the records that are held -- each of us having our own medical records in digital form -- holds the potential of offering patients the chance to be more active participants in the prevention and treatment of illness. And health IT, health information technology, if implemented effectively, has the potential to unlock so many unanticipated benefits because it provides patterns of data that we don't yet collect but could reveal discoveries that we can't predict in terms of how to cure illnesses.
The same thing is true when it comes to energy. No area will need innovation more than in the development of new ways to produce and use and save energy. And you understand that here at Hudson Valley. I firmly believe that the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. (Applause.)
And that's why we're doubling our capacity to generate renewable energy, building a stronger and smarter electric grid. And I was meeting some young people who are being trained right here so that they're going to be working on creating this smart grid.
We're investing in technologies to power a new generation of clean-energy vehicles. We've helped reach an agreement to raise fuel economy standards. And for the first time in history, we passed a bill to create a system of clean energy incentives which will help make renewable energy a profitable kind of energy in America, while helping to end our dependence on oil and protect our planet for future generations. This bill has passed the House. We're now working to pass legislation through the Senate. It is time to get this done. (Applause.) We have to lead on energy. We can't be lagging behind. (Applause.)
So that's an overview of our strategy. All these pieces fit together. It's a strategy that's essential for our recovery today, but more importantly, for our prosperity tomorrow. It's a strategy rooted in a deep and abiding faith in the ability of this country to rise to any challenge -- because that's our history. We're a people with a seemingly limitless supply of ingenuity and daring and talent. And at its best, our government has harnessed those qualities without getting in the way.
That's what led to the building of the Erie Canal, which then helped put cities like Troy on the map; that linked east and west and allowed commerce and competition to flow freely between. That's what led a pretty good inventor and a pretty good businessman named Thomas Edison to come to Schenectady and open what is today a thriving mom-and-pop operation known as General Electric. (Applause.)
A former senator from New York, Robert Kennedy, once told us, "The future is not a gift. It is an achievement." It was not an accident, not a gift, that America led the 20th century. It was the result of hard work and discipline and sacrifice, and ambition that served a common purpose. So it must be in the 21st century. Future success is no guarantee. As Americans we always have to remember that our leadership is not an inheritance; it is a responsibility.
So from biotechnology to nanotechnology, from the development of new forms of energy to research into treatments of ancient diseases, there is so much potential to change our world and improve our lives -- while creating countless jobs all across America. The question is if we are ready to embrace that potential, if we're ready to lead the way once more.
I think we're ready. I've seen it all across America. This generation, generation of young people sitting here, they have an unparalleled opportunity. We are called upon to help them seize that opportunity. That's what you're doing here at Hudson Valley Community College. That's what I intend to make sure that we do in Washington. That's what we will do as a nation.
Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 12:29 P.M. EDT