Friday, May 6, 2011

'Economy Has Improved Dramatically Over the Past Two Years, But There Will Surely Be Bumps in the Road Ahead'

Statement by CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee on the Employment Situation in April

Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 268,000 in April, the strongest monthly growth in five years. The economy has added 2.1 million private sector jobs over 14 consecutive months, including more than 800,000 jobs since the beginning of the year. The unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent, but remains 0.8 percentage point below its November level.

Despite headwinds from high energy prices and disruptions from the disaster in Japan, the last three months of private job gains have been the strongest in five years. While the solid pace of employment growth in recent months is encouraging, faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. We are seeing signs that the initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – are creating the conditions for companies to add new jobs and foster the industries of the future. We will continue to work with Congress to find ways to reduce spending, so that we can live within our means without neglecting the investments in education, infrastructure, and clean energy that will strengthen our economy.

In addition to the increases last month, payroll survey estimates of private sector job growth for February (now +261,000) and March (now +231,000) were revised up. Overall payroll employment rose by 244,000 in April, well above market expectations. Payroll employment grew in almost every sector. Solid employment increases occurred in retail trade (+57,100), professional and business services (+51,000), education and health services (+49,000), leisure and hospitality (+46,000), and manufacturing (+29,000). Manufacturing has added 244,000 jobs in the last 14 months, the best period of manufacturing job growth in 13 years. State and local government experienced a decline of 22,000; this sector has shed 289,000 jobs in the past 14 months, mostly in local government.

The unemployment reading in April showed a partial reversal of the 1.0 percentage point decline over the previous four months. Employment measured in the household survey dipped in April and the labor force participation rate was unchanged. The unemployment rate data derive from a separate household survey. The payroll and household surveys can differ on a monthly basis; the household survey is more volatile, but the two surveys typically show similar long-run trends in employment.

The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years, but there will surely be bumps in the road ahead. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

Austan Goolsbee is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Statement courtesy of

Photo source:

Author: Chuck Kennedy

Permission: Public Domain

West Wing Week: 'A Good Day for America'

This week, the President announced the death of Osama bin Laden, visited New York City to honor the victims of 9/11 and their families, made sure the federal government was doing its part in the states devastated by storms and much more.

Video footage courtesy of

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In Memoriam.....Army Specialist Preston J. Dennis and Army Sergeant Kevin W. White

From the Executive Chamber of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Friday, May 6 in honor of a Fort Drum soldier who was killed in action on April 28, in Afghanistan.

Army Specialist Preston J. Dennis died when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st
Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. Specialist Dennis was from Redding, California.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Specialist Preston Dennis," Governor Cuomo said.

"We are saddened at the death of this young soldier, and we join with Specialist Dennis' fellow soldiers at Fort Drum in mourning his passing and honoring his service."

In addition, the governor has ordered flags be flown at half-staff on Monday, May 9, in honor of a Westfield resident who was killed in action on May 2, in Kunar province, Afghanistan.

Army Sergeant Kevin W. White died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

"In his hometown of Westfield and across the State, all New Yorkers join with the family, friends and fellow soldiers of Sergeant White in mourning his loss," said the governor.

"Sergeant White dedicated himself to serving his country after graduating from Westfield Academy and Central School in 2006."

From The G-Man would like to take this opportunity to honor
Army Specialist Preston J. Dennis and Army Sergeant Kevin W. White, their love of country and their service with the following video tribute.

Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

White House Briefs

Press Secretary Carney Explains Why the President Will Not Publish bin Laden Death Photo

Video footage courtesy of

Obama to Meet with Netanyahu

Statement on the Visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

On May 20, the President will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a meeting at the White House. The leaders look forward to discussing the full range of issues of mutual interest to the United States and Israel.

Photo source: Benjamin Netanyahu
Author: Benjamin Netanyahu
Permission: Public Domain

Prince Charles Visits the White House

Statement by the Press Secretary on the President's Meeting with the Prince of Wales

The President welcomed His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to the White House today, affirming the strength and depth of the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom. The President thanked His Royal Highness for the important contributions that British forces are making in Afghanistan and Libya.

During the meeting, President Obama warmly welcomed the Prince’s work over three decades on environmental issues, halting deforestation and encouraging sustainable food production. The President also congratulated the Prince on the wedding of his son, Prince William, to Catherine Middleton and extended his best wishes to the newlywed couple.

The President looks forward to visiting the United Kingdom at the invitation of Her Majesty the Queen during his State visit later this month.

Photo source:
Permission: Public Domain

President Obama Congratulates Newly-Elected Nigerian President

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Statement by the President on Nigeria's Elections

This morning, I called President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria to congratulate him on his election victory and to commend the people of Nigeria for their resolve and patience during last month’s historic presidential, legislative and gubernatorial elections. The success of the elections was a testament to Nigerian voters who waited in long lines, stayed to watch their votes counted and were determined that these elections mark a new chapter in Nigerian history.

Credit also belongs to the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Youth Service Corps, and Nigeria’s vibrant civil society, all of which must play a role in ensuring that the final results reflect the will of the Nigerian people and that Nigerian authorities investigate and address any allegations of fraud or irregularities.

While the majority of Nigerians cast their ballots free from intimidation and coercion, the post-election violence that followed the presidential election on April 16 was deplorable. Violence has no place in a democratic society, and it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to reject it. Democracy, however, neither begins nor ends with elections.

Now is the time for Nigeria’s leaders and its people to come together and build the future that they deserve—a multi-party democracy that addresses the aspirations of all Nigerians, especially its youth, who did so much to make the recent elections a success and who will define the nation’s future.

As Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria can show what is possible when people of different parties, ethnicities and faith backgrounds come together to seek peace, provide for their families, and give their children a better future.

Today, Nigerians have an historic opportunity to move forward together and make their nation into a model for Africa. As I told President Jonathan, I look forward to strengthening our partnership with Nigeria so that this and future generations of Nigerians can live in peace, democracy and prosperity.

Photo Author:
Ricardo Stuckert/PR

Permission: This photograph was produced by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency. (The content of this website is published under the Creative Commons License Attribution 2.5 Brazil)

Unclaimed Money Could Be Yours!

Senator Addabbo Schedules Free Unclaimed Funds Event for Woodhaven with NYS Comptroller's Office

New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. is co-sponsoring with the NYS Comptroller’s Office an Unclaimed Funds Event for Thursday, May 19, from 11 am – 12 pm, at the Woodhaven Richmond Hill Senior Center, located in the Ambulance Corps building at 78-15 Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven.

“Stop in and find out in a one-to-one sitting if you’re entitled to collect any funds from various accounts administered by NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli due to abandoned/forgotten bank accounts, unpaid insurance claims, NYS court funds, and other unclaimed accounts from corporations and brokers/dealers," Addabbo said.

"Interest is paid at current rate of 2% during the first five years on interest-bearing accounts such as savings and CD accounts. There is no fee to reclaim funds, but requirements vary to claim the money based on type of account. A signature, Social Security number, and proof of connection with both the account and address of record are generally required."

More than 25 million account records are still unclaimed; $653 million in cash was received by the Comptroller’s office between April 2009 and March 2010. During that same period, some $227 million was paid and more than 360,000 accounts were processed. Private companies are allowed to charge claimants up to a 15% finder’s fee. Companies making claims do not have faster access to funds than individuals who contact the Comptroller’s office directly. An average of 40% of claims are $50 or less, and an average of 60% are $100 or less.

Cuomo Unveils 'People First Tour'

Governor and Team to Visit Communities Across the State to Build Support for Reform Agenda

Governor Andrew Cuomo held a cabinet meeting to outline plans for his "People First Tour" in which he will deliver his message of reform directly to New Yorkers. During the "People First Tour" the governor and his team will deliver detailed presentations outlining the administration's top priorities for the current legislative session and how the public can support them.

Beginning next week and continuing throughout the legislative session, the "People First Tour" will feature the governor and Lt. Governor visiting communities across New York to build support for his legislative priorities, specifically, a property tax cap, ethics reform, and marriage equality.

In addition, the Governor will deploy certain members of his cabinet in order to bring his message and ideas to as many New Yorkers as possible. The Governor and his cabinet will meet with local media and community groups, as well as the general public.

Cuomo has repeatedly indicated that for real reform to occur in New York, he must make his case directly to the people of the state. Explaining the issues and maintaining an open dialogue allows New Yorkers to form an opinion, organize, and make the politicians in Albany act. "From the early days of my campaign, I have said we need to bring the people back into government," the governor said.

"That is what we did during the budget process and we achieved historic reform. Now, we must do it again in order to keep moving forward. The people want their property taxes capped, they want Albany cleaned up through real ethics reform, and they want marriage equality. We are going to engage the people of this state to build a broad coalition behind this agenda so that these reforms are not just talked about but actually passed this session."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Obama Administration Opposes H.R. 3

Chris Smith, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, represents New Jersey's 4th District. Smith, who sponsored H.R. 3., is considered one of the fiercest opponents of abortion.


H. R. 3 – No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

(Rep. Smith, R-NJ, and 227 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3 because it: intrudes on women's reproductive freedom and access to health care; increases the tax burden on many Americans; unnecessarily restricts the private insurance choices that consumers have today; and restricts the District of Columbia’s use of local funds, which undermines home rule. Longstanding Federal policy prohibits Federal funds from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered. This prohibition is maintained in the Affordable Care Act and reinforced through the President’s Executive Order 13535. H.R. 3 goes well beyond these safeguards by interfering with consumers’ private health care choices. The Administration also strongly supports existing provider conscience laws that have protected the rights of health care providers and entities for over 30 years, and it recognizes and supports the rights of patients. The Administration will strongly oppose legislation that unnecessarily restricts women’s reproductive freedoms and consumers’ private insurance options.

If the President is presented with H.R. 3, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

Photo source:
Author: United States Congress
Permission: Public Domain

White House Briefs

Nuclear Bomb

Statement by the Press Secretary on the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty and the South Pacific Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty

Today the President submitted the Protocols to the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty and the South Pacific Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. This step advances the President’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and to the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

Regional nuclear weapon free zone agreements reinforce both the commitment of nations not to pursue nuclear weapons and the nearly 65-year record of their non-use. The protocols to the treaties, once ratified, will extend the policy of the United States not to use or threaten use of nuclear weapons against regional zone parties that are members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in good standing with their non-proliferation obligations.

As a next step, the United States will engage parties to the two other regional agreements in force, in Southeast Asia and Central Asia, so that we can sign the protocols to those treaties as soon as possible.

'We Must Heed the Urgency to Listen to and Care for the Last Living Survivors'

Kiev Jew Killings in Ivangorod, 1942 (Click on photo to enlarge)

Statement by the President on Holocaust Remembrance Day

"I join people here at home, in Israel, and around the world in commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day and in honoring the memory of all those who suffered, died and lost loved ones in one of the most barbaric acts in human history.

More than six decades after the Holocaust, and at a time when Holocaust denial and genocidal ideologies persist, our grief and our outrage over the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews and so many others have not diminished.

This year marks both the 65th anniversary of the verdicts at the first Nuremberg trial, a defining moment in international justice, and the 50th anniversary of Adolf Eichmann’s trial, where the world heard firsthand testimonies from those who had suffered the horrors of the Holocaust.

From this tragedy we see the cost of allowing hatred go unanswered in the world, but from this justice we also see the power of holding the perpetrators of genocide accountable. Remembering these events only reinforces our solemn commitment to confront those who tell lies about our history and to stop the spread of hate in our own time.

We must heed the urgency to listen to and care for the last living survivors, camp liberators and the witnesses to the Shoah. And we must meet our sacred responsibility to honor all those who perished by recalling their courage and dignity in the face of unspeakable atrocities, by insisting that the world never forget them, and by always standing up against intolerance and injustice."

Photo source: Genocide: The Jews in Europe 1939-45, Ballantine
Author: Unknown
Permission: Public Domain

'The Threat to Our State and Our Nation Unfortunately Does Not Die With Osama bin Laden'

Flag of al-Qaeda in Iraq

Statement from Governor Cuomo on Death of Osama bin Laden

"The death of Osama bin Laden is a historic moment that represents a major step in our country's efforts to defeat terrorism around the world and should bring a sense of justice to the victims of 9/11 and his other attacks.

"We will never forget those who were lost, their families and those who risked their lives to save others.

"New Yorkers endured bin Laden's most devastating and destructive attack, and his death brings back the horrific images and emotions of that terrible day. However, his death also reminds us of our strength, courage, and unity as a people in our response to his actions.

"The Administration's vigilance and dedication to hunt down Osama bin Laden has never wavered and I applaud their commitment to this cause. I also applaud our men and women in uniform who have fought tirelessly against terrorism and to defend freedom.

"The threat to our state and our nation unfortunately does not die with Osama bin Laden. We must remain vigilant in preventing terror acts and continue to do everything to keep our state and nation safe and secure."

Photo source: Wikipedia
Permission: Public Domain