Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Thursday, January 31, 2008

20080131 The “old” blog Kevin Dayhoff’s “Storage Closet” can be found here

The "old" blog, "Kevin Dayhoff’s' “Storage Closet" can be found here:

Welcome to "My Storage Closet"


January 31st, 2007 - January 31st, 2008

“Welcome to "My Storage Closet."

For my latest posts – please see -

Kevin Dayhoff

Soundtrack Division of Old Silent Movies.”

‘This journal goes with any meal. On the essay evolutionary scale, this journal is a monkey on roller skates. The monkey may or may not be wearing a pink tutu - this is for you to decide.”

Wow, do I wish I had written that, but I didn’t and I haven’t a clue as to who to credit…

Anyway, where was I? Oh - - a bit of an explanation as to why I have two blogs on blogger. Last September 27, 2006 – this blog: – froze-up on me.

I immediately started a new blog on what was known at the time as “blogger beta.” That blog is “Kevin Dayhoff – Soundtrack Division of Old Silent Movies,” and it has two URLs: or

On December 20th, 2006 I managed to be able to “reconfigure,” for lack of a better was of explaining it, both blogs into the “New Blogger” platform and that unfroze this blog

I now use it as my storage closet…

For my latest posts – please see -

Kevin Dayhoff

Soundtrack Division of Old Silent Movies.”

Otherwise, please enjoy rummaging around in my storage closet.

Kevin Dayhoff. I can be reached at: kevindayhoff (at)

January 31st, 2007

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

Kevin Dayhoff’s Facebook photo album

Kevin Dayhoff’s Facebook page

Blog Net News Maryland:

E-mail him at: or

His columns and articles appear in The Tentacle -;

Westminster Eagle Opinion;, Winchester Report and The Sunday Carroll Eagle – in the Sunday Carroll County section of the Baltimore Sun. Get Westminster Eagle RSS Feed

Blog Net News Maryland:

“When I stop working the rest of the day is posthumous. I'm only really alive when I'm writing.” Tennessee Williams

20080130 This week in The Tentacle

20080130 This week in The Tentacle

This week in The Tentacle

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Senator Robert Hooper – R.I.P.

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Last Thursday, former State Senator J. Robert Hooper, (R., Harford) passed away from colon cancer while surrounded by his family at his home in Street. He served in the Maryland Senate for nine years.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bill Clinton a Drag

Roy Meachum

There are others out there: People who believed William Jefferson Clinton ranked some where close to Thomas Jefferson in ranking U.S. presidents by brain-power. I felt that way. Once again, the man is proving that intelligent does not equate to smart. His performance in his wife's campaign demonstrates how very dumb he can be.

A Labor of Love…

Farrell Keough

Breaking News: Group able to accomplish acquiring and building football field for local children without government help.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Presidential Wannabes – The Democratic Field

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

My last column dealing with the presidential race broke down the GOP field and offered worthless advice, but no less worthy than the advice being offered by big whig media pundits. This week, the fickle finger of foolishness is pointing at the Democratic Party presidential wannabes. They’d be wise to duck.


WE GET LETTERS!!! An Adamstown resident takes issue with Roy Meachum's column, posted last Tuesday, on the upcoming Maryland primary. CLICK HERE!!! CLICK HERE!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Two Off-the-Wall

Roy Meachum

Both Baltimore's Hippodrome and Washington's Shakespeare Theatre Company opened new shows this week. By sheer coincidence, both stages are presenting productions that strike me as off-the-wall. Quite unlike their usual fare.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

From the Jaws of Victory…

Tony Soltero

According to a recent article in Baltimore’s Sun, the Democratic Party in Maryland is running roughshod over the Republicans in new voter registrations, with the donkey outpacing the elephant by a 3-to-1 margin. Similar trends are occurring nationwide, with turnout at Democratic caucuses and primaries absolutely obliterating the turnout registered at Republican electoral events.

New Year’s Musings

Patricia A. Kelly

The New Year has come again. I’m happy for that. For me, this time of year is for contemplation and re-organization. After racing around for the holidays, I’m very happy to be at home in silence, with just Tinker Belle to keep me company.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Iron Chef Maryland

Kevin E. Dayhoff

As members of the Maryland General Assembly prepare a menu of legislative edicts that will save the world from global warming, the weather feels rather chilly for State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick.

A Funny Thing Happened on The Way…..

Farrell Keough

A funny thing happened to the Resource Conservation Zoning areas the other day – they got a reprieve from potential damage by the Board of County Commissioners. But, only a reprieve. These zoned areas and the rules surrounding them are still on the altar of political distortion.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

All Over But...

Roy Meachum

Marylanders' primary vote in three weeks could mean bupkus (less than nothing). Nothing will probably matter after a whole passel of states square off the week before, February 5. It looks to me like the traditional Democratic bosses want Bill Clinton's former first lady. After the Iowa surprise, that's what we have seen. They took over in New Hampshire and Nevada.

Teaching is Not Telling

Nick Diaz

“Teaching is not telling.” Wise words spoken many years ago by a well-known Frederick County Public Schools administrator. This man is still working in the trenches, down at the school level, where he continues to make things happen.

The President Visits Frederick – Chapter Two

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

Once the other greeters had arrived, a member of the White House advance team called us together for a briefing. Nothing is left to chance, and every single movement is scripted. You’re told where to stand, how to line up, and where to go once you’re spoken to and shaken hands with the president.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The President In Frederick, Chapter 1

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

Okay, having the President of the United States in Frederick isn’t really such a big deal. In case you didn’t know, he spends many weekends up at Camp David. In fact, I think at the end of his two terms, he will have spent more time in the Catoctin Mountains than any previous president.

From Walkersville With Bias

Steven R. Berryman

Advice from the publisher of The Tentacle, John W. Ashbury given to me recently correctly told me that “A pancake, however thin, always has 2 sides,” in reminding me to consider the aspects of perspective and fairness in my columns.

Dr. King’s Call

Derek Shackelford

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is arguably the greatest orator of the last 50 years in America. Today portions of some of his Speeches will be played to celebrate the federal holiday celebrating his birth.

20080130 Constellation Threatens To Halt Plans For Reactor In Md

20080130 Constellation Threatens To Halt Plans For Reactor In Md

Hat Tip: Delusional Duck Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Constellation Energy Threatens To Halt Plans For Reactor In Md.

Constellation Energy Group has threatened to build a new nuclear reactor in New York instead of Maryland if the state’s political and regulatory environment doesn’t improve. [WRC-TV]

Hat Tip:

Constellation Energy Threatens To Halt Plans For Reactor In Md.

POSTED: 11:23 am EST January 30, 2008

UPDATED: 11:36 am EST January 30, 2008

BALTIMORE -- Constellation Energy Group has threatened to build a new nuclear reactor in New York instead of Maryland if the state's political and regulatory environment doesn't improve.

In a statement released on Tuesday, executive vice president Michael Wallace said the company hopes to break ground on a new reactor at Calvert Cliffs this year but would proceed instead with plans for a reactor at New York's Nine Mile Point if the company encounters delays in Maryland.

The statement appears to be Constellation's latest effort to challenge efforts by Maryland regulators and lawmakers to revisit deregulation.

Gov. Martin O'Malley said he's committed to the nuclear project in Maryland and will work to make sure it gets a timely review.


NRC Action on UniStar's Partial Combined License Application Sets Stage for Detailed Review of Potential New Reactor in Southern Maryland

UniStar Also Preparing New York Site for First U.S. Evolutionary Power Reactor

BALTIMORE, Jan. 29, 2008 -- UniStar Nuclear Energy, a strategic joint venture between Constellation Energy and the EDF Group, today announced that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has docketed UniStar's partial Combined License Application (COLA) for an advanced design reactor adjacent to Constellation Energy's Calvert Cliffs site in southern Maryland.

Michael J. Wallace, chairman of UniStar and executive vice president of Constellation Energy, said the NRC action confirms that the environmental portion of the application, as well as other critical information in the partial application, are technically complete and ready for detailed NRC review.

"The NRC decision is a major milestone in UniStar's plans to potentially develop and construct a fleet of new nuclear plants in the United States," Wallace said. "This regulatory step forward also supports Constellation Energy's efforts to provide economic and environmentally sound electricity to meet anticipated demand in the Mid-Atlantic region, and in particular the state of Maryland."

Wallace said UniStar expects to make a final decision in the next 12-18 months on whether to proceed with a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs site. He noted the company also is pursuing a new reactor in upstate New York as part of its strategy to build at least four U.S. Evolutionary Power Reactors (EPRs) in the United States. He said any decision to build a new nuclear plant will take into consideration a number of factors, including project economics, ability to finance and the political and regulatory climate in the state where the plant will be built.

"Ideally, we would like to break ground for a new reactor in southern Maryland in late 2008 so this carbon-free, base-load source of electricity can be in operation by 2015," Wallace said. "However, if we encounter delays in Maryland, we are prepared to proceed with the first EPR at our Nine Mile Point nuclear plant location in New York."

Wallace said the NRC decision to docket UniStar's partial Combined License Application begins a comprehensive, detailed review process that includes requests for additional information, site visits, public scoping meetings, the development of a draft environmental impact statement, and safety reviews.

UniStar plans to submit the remaining portion of its COLA -- which includes the Final Safety Analysis Report -- to the NRC in March. NRC regulations permit an applicant to submit one part of a COLA up to 18 months before submitting the remainder. Additional reviews and public meetings and hearings will occur following NRC review and acceptance of the remainder of the COLA.

The NRC decision, announced Jan. 25, continues to build momentum for UniStar, which is working with Constellation Energy, EDF, PPL, AmerenUE and emerging energy companies such as AEHI and Amarillo Power. U.S. EPRs have been proposed at existing nuclear sites in Pennsylvania and Missouri, as well as greenfield sites in Idaho and Texas. UniStar's full COLA will serve as the reference document for all additional UniStar COLAs.

In December 2007, UniStar's partner in the U.S. nuclear renaissance, reactor manufacturer AREVA, submitted its design certification application for the 1,600-megawatt U.S. EPR to the NRC. In November 2007, UniStar submitted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to the Maryland Public Service Commission for the potential plant at Calvert Cliffs and also announced an agreement with turbine-generator supplier Alstom for the turbine- generator systems for the first four U.S. EPRs.

UniStar Nuclear Energy, a strategic joint venture between Constellation Energy and EDF, is powering the nuclear renaissance in North America through industry leadership, disciplined business practices and effective risk-management. Based in Baltimore, Md., UniStar Nuclear Energy provides the licensing, construction and operating services needed to support the expansion of clean, safe and sustainable nuclear energy in the United States.

Constellation Energy (, a FORTUNE 125 company with 2006 revenues of $19.3 billion, is the nation's largest competitive supplier of electricity to large commercial and industrial customers and the nation's largest wholesale power seller. Constellation Energy also manages fuels and energy services on behalf of energy intensive industries and utilities. It owns a diversified fleet of 78 generating units located throughout the United States, totaling approximately 8,700 megawatts of generating capacity. The company delivers electricity and natural gas through the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), its regulated utility in Central Maryland.

An energy market leader in Europe, the EDF Group is an integrated energy company operating in all branches of the industry: generation, transmission, distribution, and the trading and sale of energy. The top electricity producer in Europe, the Group has predominantly nuclear and hydroelectric power plants in France, supplying electricity that is 95 percent CO2-free. Its transmission and distribution subsidiaries operate 1,246,000 km of medium and low voltage overhead and underground electricity lines and around 100,000 km of high and very high voltage networks. The Group is involved in the supply of energy and services to more than 38 million customers worldwide with more than 28 million of them in France. The Group's consolidated sales stood at euro 58.9 Billion in 2006 of which 42 percent was in Europe excluding France. EDF, which is listed on the Paris Bourse, is a member of the CAC 40 index.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

20080129 Ask the White House: January 29, 2008 - Jay Hein, Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

20080129 Ask the White House: January 29, 2008 - Jay Hein, Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House.

Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.[1]

Jay Hein: Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Biography[2]

January 29, 2008 Jay HeinGood afternoon! I just returned to the White House with President Bush following our trip to Baltimore visiting the Jericho Prisoner Reentry Program, a faith-based organization helping ex-offenders make a fresh start after prison. In his State of the Union address last night, the President recognized the impact of faith-based and other dedicated charities throughout the country like the Jericho Program. He also called on Congress to ensure faith-based organizations are always guaranteed a level playing field in Federal programs, by making Charitable Choice principles universal and permanent under the law. As the President marks the 7th anniversary of his Faith-Based and Community Initiative today, I join him in thanking America’s “Armies of Compassion” for their service to their neighbors in need.

Now I’m pleased to take your questions on the Presidents’ State of the Union address and the determined attack on need executed over the past 7 years through the Faith-Based and Community Initiative.

Ian, from Salt Lake City writes: What exactly is Faith-Based and Community Initiatives? What do you do?

Jay HeinHi Ian,

You ask an important fundamental question. Seven years ago today, the President launched the Faith-Based and Community Initiative to wage a determined attack on human need in our country. The President recognized the limits of government in solving social ills and rallied the “Armies of Compassion” in local communities across the nation to extend a helping hand to their neighbors in need. To help ensure a level playing field for faith- and community-based groups once deterred from competing for federal funds, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, along with Centers in 11 Federal agencies, worked to extend equal treatment for these organizations. The result, after seven years, has been a quiet revolution in the government addresses human need by strengthening community healers and extending their work in partnership with government.

Carl, from Greenville, South Carolina writes: Hi Jay, Thanks for taking the time to do this. While the President seemed really committed to the faith based agenda at the beginning of his Administration, it seems like he doesn't seem to support it as much now. Was it just all words? What has he been doing to strenghten support for faith based and community programs during his last years in office?

Jay HeinHello Carl,

Thanks very much for your important question. The Faith-Based and Community Initiative is carried out a lot like the dedicated organizations and volunteers that inspired it: behind the scenes and with little fanfare. But the truth is, it has quietly transformed the way government works to help people in need. It’s removed barriers faced by faith-based charities and other small nonprofits in partnering with government. It’s provided training to more than 100,000 individuals who are on the front lines of serving the needy. And billions of dollars in funding have been provided to groups serving at-risk youth, recovering addicts, returning offenders and many, many other broken and hurting individuals. As you heard in the State of the Union last night, the President remains committed to championing these efforts until his last day in office.

James, from Sioux Falls, South Dakota writes: Do you supply initiatives reflecting all of the various religons represented in the United States or just Christian/Judiasm?

Jay HeinHello James,

I appreciate your question. The Initiative seeks to guarantee a level playing field for any organization that wants to seek government funding. There should never be any favoritism for or against an organization based on its religious beliefs, or nonbeliefs for that matter. The only consideration should be whether the group can effectively deliver service to the needy in a way consistent with the legal guidelines of the funding.

Terry, from Bowling Green Ky writes: Could you please tell me what members of the President's cabinet andor Congress that was not present at the State of The Union Address tonight to insure Continuity of Goverment?

Thank you Terry

Jay HeinSure Terry.
In the event that something catastrophic were to happen as the President gave his State of the Union speech, one member of the Cabinet spends the evening away from the Capitol as a precautionary measure to maintain a line of succession to the Presidency. This year, Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne got to take the night off.

Jennifer, from Montgomery, Alabama writes: What is the goal for your office in the last remaining months and do you expect the next administration will retain the program? Thank you

Jay HeinHello Jennifer,

The heart of the Initiative will always be strengthening faith- and community based groups and growing their work in partnership with government to solve America's biggest social problems. I’d mention three special emphases for this final year. First, we’re putting a special focus on expanding programs that partner with small charities. This includes innovative government programs such as the Mentoring Children of Prisoner’s voucher program and increasing private philanthropy for these organizations. A second priority is to support the 35 governors who have started their own Faith-Based and Community Initiative as well as the other states that are interested in growing their own partnerships with nonprofit groups. This has really become a 50 state strategy. And finally, the President used his State of the Union address to call on Congress to make the Charitable Choice laws permanent. This action will ensure that faith-based groups receive equal treatment no matter who is privileged to occupy the Oval Office next. Given the success we have seen in strengthening government partnerships, the Initiative has become an invaluable governing strategy that will greatly assist the next President in meeting the social challenges that await his or her administration.

Michael, from Powell, Tn writes: How would you like the next President to build on President Bush's attempts to include faith-based groups in helping people?

Jay HeinGreat question, Michael.
Thanks to President Bush, the next President will have a tremendous foundation for new efforts to attack the great needs of our day through faith- and community-based organizations. Most of the barriers to partnering with government that faith-based and small nonprofits once faced have been lowered or removed. We now have clear, Constitutional guidelines for these partnerships as well. We also have a wealth of innovative new program models that enable government to effectively fund even novice, grassroots organizations. And, of course, the ability of the nonprofit sector to partner with government has been greatly expanded through training. Along with a wide range of other efforts, President Bush placed special focus on a number of specific issues: at-risk youth, mentoring, returning prisoners, community health clinics, HIV/AIDS, addiction, homelessness, and others. The next President will no doubt emphasize special issues as well, and he or she will have all the tools needed to draw fully upon faith- and community based groups to address these needs.

Laura, from Marthaville, Louisiana writes: Will there ever be any type of tax break for those of us who choose to educate our children in a Christian school or home school situation? I love the idea of vochers and wish this would be possible.

Jay HeinHi Laura,

President Bush believes strongly in public education. He also believes families trapped in underperforming schools should be afforded education alternatives to ensure their child succeeds. That’s why the President launched the DC Opportunity Scholarship program back in 2004 to help some of Washington, D.C.'s poorest children attend faith-based and other private schools of their choice. Last night, the President proposed a similar scholarship program, “Pell Grants for Kids” that would help low-income families with the costs of attending an out-of-district public school or nearby private or faith-based school. As the President said in his address last night, these grants will help “liberate poor children trapped in failing public schools.”

Scott, from McLean, VA writes:

How do you manage to work in politics while staying true to your values? Is it possible to accomplish anything in the political world without heeding the advice of Machiavelli?

Jay HeinThat’s a thoughtful question, Scott. I happen to believe that politics is a wonderful place to put your values into practice. For example, I have worked on welfare reform in Wisconsin and the Faith-Based and Community Initiative here in Washington. Both of these efforts dealt primarly with the question of how we can better serve the least, last and lost in society. Public service is an inspiring career if you love your country and serving others is something we all can do in government or our own neighborhoods. Watching the talk shows might make it seem like government is mostly about one side against another. But I am honored to work for a President who believes we can do better together. As we were leaving the prisoner reentry program in Baltimore this morning, one of the former prisoners turned to President Bush and said "Thank you for caring about us." He really does care about such men and I am inspired by how he puts his values into action in such a way.

Jay HeinThank you all for submitting your questions. I look forward to joining you again on Ask the White House!

Jay F. Hein was named Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives on August 3, 2006. He is the founding president of the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, an international public policy research firm headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. In this capacity, Jay directed the institute’s research portfolio concentrating on a range of community-based policies such as welfare-to-work, access to college, affordable health care and crime prevention.
Jay also served as Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for American Renewal, a public charity established by Ambassador Daniel R. Coats. The foundation provides financial grants and other support to community-based organizations and educates the general public on effective compassion principles and practices.
Prior to taking the helm of Sagamore Institute, Jay was Executive Director of Civil Society Programs at Hudson Institute, including the Welfare Policy Center, the Faith in Communities initiative, and community-based healthcare reform.
Also at Hudson Institute, Jay served as Director of Hudson’s field office in Madison, Wisconsin, where he conducted hands-on research and analysis in support of the State’s welfare reforms. He also served in Wisconsin State government as a policy director. In both of these roles, Jay helped design and implement Wisconsin’s ground-breaking welfare replacement program.
Earlier in his career, Jay worked in a range of leadership roles within Illinois State government, including the Illinois Department of Public Aid; Illinois Secretary of State’s Office; and Illinois State Library, where he contributed to the initial planning of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.
Jay performed his Master’s work in Political Studies at the University of Illinois-Springfield and earned his B.A. at Eureka College, where he was an inaugural member of the Ronald W. Reagan Fellowship program.

20080129 Bartlett says President’s call for domestic oil drilling not the answer to energy, climate issues

Bartlett says President’s call for domestic oil drilling not the answer to energy, climate issues (E&ETV News, 01/29/2008)

January 29, 2008

watch video

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Videotaped Reaction to Energy & Climate Comments in SOTU -- link to E&ETV coverage

Last night, President Bush delivered his final State of the Union address, highlighting the importance of clean energy innovations both internationally and domestically.

In his remarks, the President proposed a $2 billion international clean technology fund and called for increased funding for carbon capture and sequestration technologies in the U.S.

He also urged the completion of an international climate agreement.

During today's E&ETV Event Coverage of the State of the Union 2008, members of Congress including Congressman Roscoe Bartlett reacted to the President's comments on energy and climate immediately following the speech.

Lisa Lyons Wright

Press Secretary/Energy and Stem Cell Legislative Assistant

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett

2412 Rayburn

office 202-225-2721


E&ETV News: The Premier Information Source for Professionals Who Track Environmental and Energy Policy.

About E&E Publishing

Environment & Energy Publishing is the leading source for comprehensive, daily coverage of environmental and energy politics and policy. Every day, E&E's hard-hitting, original reporting plugs subscribers into the issues facing the White House, Congress, the courts, federal agencies and the states.

E&E's 25-person editorial team of editors and reporters is among the best in the business. We enjoy unrivaled access to key players in energy and environmental policy, so every day we develop insightful, balanced, timely stories readers won't find anywhere else.

Our coverage of major, breaking news goes deeper than the mass-market news services and brings readers informed, balanced, spin-free reporting. And while we cover the Washington policy and political scene like nobody else, we also literally go the extra mile to get the information you need. Our reporters go inside Yucca Mountain, around the world to cover climate treaty negotiations, to Alaska's North Slope in the middle of winter.

The result: We have a better on-the-ground understanding of all the factors surrounding your issues, so we deliver better information.

That's why we're read by the people who count: congressional offices and committees, the White House, the federal agencies (EPA, Interior, Energy, NOAA, BLM, MMS, DOD, USDA, FWS, etc.) law firms, local and national environmental groups, major corporations, media companies, consultants, lobbyists, utilities, state and local governments, foreign governments, think tanks, universities, financial institutions and international development organizations.


20080129 A belated Happy Australia Day

A belated Happy Australia Day

For Adelaide Green Porridge Café - Random Musings from Adelaide South Australia - A Nice Place to Live

On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11
British ships carrying folks to the colony of New South Wales,
effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship,
the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date
with great fanfare.

See History of Australia Day for more information.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

20070713 Debutlamalette Uploaded by mielpo Lien vers dailymotion


Uploaded by mielpo

Posted on Soundtrack: January 29, 2008

debutlamalette.wmv 15,9 Mo, 13/07/2007 Là où tout commence. lien vers dailymotion. “Une malette. Une simple malette…”


20080129 Judge drops all charges in Bowling Brook death

6 were charged with reckless endangerment in death of teen last year

By a Sun reporter, 5:55 PM EST, January 29, 2008

A Hat Tip goes to Carroll County Times reporter Ryan Marshall, who put a “breaking news” alert on the Carroll County Times web site, but did not go into details… Judge drops all charges in Bowling Brook casePosted 4:17 p.m. Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun is reporting:

A Carroll County judge dropped charges today against five counselors indicted in the death of an East Baltimore teen at a school for juvenile offenders, saying a failure to call 911 promptly did not meet the definition of reckless endangerment.

Each had been indicted on one count of reckless endangerment in the death last year of Isaiah Simmons, 17, at the privately run Bowling Brook Preparatory School.

Read the rest here: Judge drops all charges in Bowling Brook death


Central Maryland Regional Community Rallies behind Bowling Brook

Bowling Brook: A Sad Tale

Bowling Brook Preparatory Academy

P. O. BOX 100

Keymar, MD 21757

“Community Rallies behind Bowling Brook” Westminster Eagle Winchester Report March 13, 2007

“Community Rallies behind Bowling Brook”

“Soundtrack” blog posts and information about support for Bowling Brook Preparatory Academy, Keymar, Carroll County MD:

(Bowling Brook mission statement from web site: “To provide quality residential and education services to male adolescent offenders while helping these same young men make positive changes in their lives. We are committed to providing an environment that is conducive to learning. Our results oriented program focuses on education and providing students with the means of creating and sustaining real life changes through behavior modification and life learning skills. This personal achievement will lead students to successful re-integration into the community.”

Letters supporting Bowling Brook can be mailed to:

The Honorable Governor Martin O’Malley

Office of the Governor

100 State Circle

Annapolis, MD 21401-1925

The Honorable Secretary Donald W. DeVore

Maryland Juvenile Services

One Center Plaza, 120 W. Fayette Street

Baltimore, MD 21201.

20080128 Text of George W Bush State of the Union Address

20080128 Text of George W Bush State of the Union Address

President George W. Bush is applauded during his State of the Union Address at the U.S. Capitol Monday evening, Jan. 28, 2008.

White House photo by Shealah Craighead

"The President shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Article II, Sec. 3, U.S. Constitution

President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address

January 28, 2008

To access a copy of the text, of the State of the Union address, reprinted for Taneytown, Carroll County, Maryland, click here:

20080128 Discurso del Presidente Sobre el Estado de la Nación

Press Briefing by Ed Gillespie, Counselor to the President, on the President's State of the Union Address

Guest List for the First Lady's Box at the 2008 State of the Union

January 26, 2008
President's Radio Address

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

United States Capitol

State of the Union 2008

9:09 P.M. EST

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 28, 2008

THE PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens: Seven years have passed since I first stood before you at this rostrum. In that time, our country has been tested in ways none of us could have imagined. We faced hard decisions about peace and war, rising competition in the world economy, and the health and welfare of our citizens. These issues call for vigorous debate, and I think it's fair to say we've answered the call. Yet history will record that amid our differences, we acted with purpose. And together, we showed the world the power and resilience of American self-government.

All of us were sent to Washington to carry out the people's business. That is the purpose of this body. It is the meaning of our oath. It remains our charge to keep.

The actions of the 110th Congress will affect the security and prosperity of our nation long after this session has ended. In this election year, let us show our fellow Americans that we recognize our responsibilities and are determined to meet them. Let us show them that Republicans and Democrats can compete for votes and cooperate for results at the same time. (Applause.)

From expanding opportunity to protecting our country, we've made good progress. Yet we have unfinished business before us, and the American people expect us to get it done.

In the work ahead, we must be guided by the philosophy that made our nation great. As Americans, we believe in the power of individuals to determine their destiny and shape the course of history. We believe that the most reliable guide for our country is the collective wisdom of ordinary citizens. And so in all we do, we must trust in the ability of free peoples to make wise decisions, and empower them to improve their lives for their futures.

To build a prosperous future, we must trust people with their own money and empower them to grow our economy. As we meet tonight, our economy is undergoing a period of uncertainty. America has added jobs for a record 52 straight months, but jobs are now growing at a slower pace. Wages are up, but so are prices for food and gas. Exports are rising, but the housing market has declined. At kitchen tables across our country, there is a concern about our economic future.

In the long run, Americans can be confident about our economic growth. But in the short run, we can all see that that growth is slowing. So last week, my administration reached agreement with Speaker Pelosi and Republican Leader Boehner on a robust growth package that includes tax relief for individuals and families and incentives for business investment. The temptation will be to load up the bill. That would delay it or derail it, and neither option is acceptable. (Applause.) This is a good agreement that will keep our economy growing and our people working. And this Congress must pass it as soon as possible. (Applause.)

We have other work to do on taxes. Unless Congress acts, most of the tax relief we've delivered over the past seven years will be taken away. Some in Washington argue that letting tax relief expire is not a tax increase. Try explaining that to 116 million American taxpayers who would see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800. Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm. I'm pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders. (Laughter and applause.)

Most Americans think their taxes are high enough. With all the other pressures on their finances, American families should not have to worry about their federal government taking a bigger bite out of their paychecks. There's only one way to eliminate this uncertainty: Make the tax relief permanent. (Applause.) And members of Congress should know: If any bill raises taxes reaches my desk, I will veto it. (Applause.)

Just as we trust Americans with their own money, we need to earn their trust by spending their tax dollars wisely. Next week, I'll send you a budget that terminates or substantially reduces 151 wasteful or bloated programs, totaling more than $18 billion. The budget that I will submit will keep America on track for a surplus in 2012. American families have to balance their budgets; so should their government. (Applause.)

The people's trust in their government is undermined by congressional earmarks -- special interest projects that are often snuck in at the last minute, without discussion or debate. Last year, I asked you to voluntarily cut the number and cost of earmarks in half. I also asked you to stop slipping earmarks into committee reports that never even come to a vote. Unfortunately, neither goal was met. So this time, if you send me an appropriations bill that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half, I'll send it back to you with my veto. (Applause.)

And tomorrow, I will issue an executive order that directs federal agencies to ignore any future earmark that is not voted on by Congress. If these items are truly worth funding, Congress should debate them in the open and hold a public vote. (Applause.)

Our shared responsibilities extend beyond matters of taxes and spending. On housing, we must trust Americans with the responsibility of homeownership and empower them to weather turbulent times in the housing market. My administration brought together the HOPE NOW alliance, which is helping many struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. And Congress can help even more. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, modernize the Federal Housing Administration, and allow state housing agencies to issue tax-free bonds to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. (Applause.) These are difficult times for many American families, and by taking these steps, we can help more of them keep their homes.

To build a future of quality health care, we must trust patients and doctors to make medical decisions and empower them with better information and better options. We share a common goal: making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans. (Applause.) The best way to achieve that goal is by expanding consumer choice, not government control. (Applause.) So I have proposed ending the bias in the tax code against those who do not get their health insurance through their employer. This one reform would put private coverage within reach for millions, and I call on the Congress to pass it this year. (Applause.)

The Congress must also expand health savings accounts, create Association Health Plans for small businesses, promote health information technology, and confront the epidemic of junk medical lawsuits. (Applause.) With all these steps, we will help ensure that decisions about your medical care are made in the privacy of your doctor's office -- not in the halls of Congress. (Applause.)

On education, we must trust students to learn if given the chance, and empower parents to demand results from our schools. In neighborhoods across our country, there are boys and girls with dreams -- and a decent education is their only hope of achieving them.

Six years ago, we came together to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, and today no one can deny its results. Last year, fourth and eighth graders achieved the highest math scores on record. Reading scores are on the rise. African American and Hispanic students posted all-time highs. (Applause.) Now we must work together to increase accountability, add flexibility for states and districts, reduce the number of high school dropouts, provide extra help for struggling schools.

Members of Congress: The No Child Left Behind Act is a bipartisan achievement. It is succeeding. And we owe it to America's children, their parents, and their teachers to strengthen this good law. (Applause.)

We must also do more to help children when their schools do not measure up. Thanks to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships you approved, more than 2,600 of the poorest children in our Nation's Capital have found new hope at a faith-based or other non-public school. Sadly, these schools are disappearing at an alarming rate in many of America's inner cities. So I will convene a White House summit aimed at strengthening these lifelines of learning. And to open the doors of these schools to more children, I ask you to support a new $300 million program called Pell Grants for Kids. We have seen how Pell Grants help low-income college students realize their full potential. Together, we've expanded the size and reach of these grants. Now let us apply that same spirit to help liberate poor children trapped in failing public schools. (Applause.)

On trade, we must trust American workers to compete with anyone in the world and empower them by opening up new markets overseas. Today, our economic growth increasingly depends on our ability to sell American goods and crops and services all over the world. So we're working to break down barriers to trade and investment wherever we can. We're working for a successful Doha Round of trade talks, and we must complete a good agreement this year. At the same time, we're pursuing opportunities to open up new markets by passing free trade agreements.

I thank the Congress for approving a good agreement with Peru. And now I ask you to approve agreements with Colombia and Panama and South Korea. (Applause.) Many products from these nations now enter America duty-free, yet many of our products face steep tariffs in their markets. These agreements will level the playing field. They will give us better access to nearly 100 million customers. They will support good jobs for the finest workers in the world: those whose products say "Made in the USA." (Applause.)

These agreements also promote America's strategic interests. The first agreement that will come before you is with Colombia, a friend of America that is confronting violence and terror, and fighting drug traffickers. If we fail to pass this agreement, we will embolden the purveyors of false populism in our hemisphere. So we must come together, pass this agreement, and show our neighbors in the region that democracy leads to a better life. (Applause.)

Trade brings better jobs and better choices and better prices. Yet for some Americans, trade can mean losing a job, and the federal government has a responsibility to help. (Applause.) I ask Congress to reauthorize and reform trade adjustment assistance, so we can help these displaced workers learn new skills and find new jobs. (Applause.)

To build a future of energy security, we must trust in the creative genius of American researchers and entrepreneurs and empower them to pioneer a new generation of clean energy technology. (Applause.) Our security, our prosperity, and our environment all require reducing our dependence on oil. Last year, I asked you to pass legislation to reduce oil consumption over the next decade, and you responded. Together we should take the next steps: Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. (Applause.) Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power. (Applause.) Let us continue investing in advanced battery technology and renewable fuels to power the cars and trucks of the future. (Applause.) Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources. And let us complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases. (Applause.)

This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride. (Applause.) The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change. And the best way to meet these goals is for America to continue leading the way toward the development of cleaner and more energy-efficient technology. (Applause.)

To keep America competitive into the future, we must trust in the skill of our scientists and engineers and empower them to pursue the breakthroughs of tomorrow. Last year, Congress passed legislation supporting the American Competitiveness Initiative, but never followed through with the funding. This funding is essential to keeping our scientific edge. So I ask Congress to double federal support for critical basic research in the physical sciences and ensure America remains the most dynamic nation on Earth. (Applause.)

On matters of life and science, we must trust in the innovative spirit of medical researchers and empower them to discover new treatments while respecting moral boundaries. In November, we witnessed a landmark achievement when scientists discovered a way to reprogram adult skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells. This breakthrough has the potential to move us beyond the divisive debates of the past by extending the frontiers of medicine without the destruction of human life. (Applause.)

So we're expanding funding for this type of ethical medical research. And as we explore promising avenues of research, we must also ensure that all life is treated with the dignity it deserves. And so I call on Congress to pass legislation that bans unethical practices such as the buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life. (Applause.)

On matters of justice, we must trust in the wisdom of our founders and empower judges who understand that the Constitution means what it says. (Applause.) I've submitted judicial nominees who will rule by the letter of the law, not the whim of the gavel. Many of these nominees are being unfairly delayed. They are worthy of confirmation, and the Senate should give each of them a prompt up-or-down vote. (Applause.)

In communities across our land, we must trust in the good heart of the American people and empower them to serve their neighbors in need. Over the past seven years, more of our fellow citizens have discovered that the pursuit of happiness leads to the path of service. Americans have volunteered in record numbers. Charitable donations are higher than ever. Faith-based groups are bringing hope to pockets of despair, with newfound support from the federal government. And to help guarantee equal treatment of faith-based organizations when they compete for federal funds, I ask you to permanently extend Charitable Choice. (Applause.)

Tonight the armies of compassion continue the march to a new day in the Gulf Coast. America honors the strength and resilience of the people of this region. We reaffirm our pledge to help them build stronger and better than before. And tonight I'm pleased to announce that in April we will host this year's North American Summit of Canada, Mexico, and the United States in the great city of New Orleans. (Applause.)

There are two other pressing challenges that I've raised repeatedly before this body, and that this body has failed to address: entitlement spending and immigration. Every member in this chamber knows that spending on entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is growing faster than we can afford. We all know the painful choices ahead if America stays on this path: massive tax increases, sudden and drastic cuts in benefits, or crippling deficits. I've laid out proposals to reform these programs. Now I ask members of Congress to offer your proposals and come up with a bipartisan solution to save these vital programs for our children and our grandchildren. (Applause.)

The other pressing challenge is immigration. America needs to secure our borders -- and with your help, my administration is taking steps to do so. We're increasing worksite enforcement, deploying fences and advanced technologies to stop illegal crossings. We've effectively ended the policy of "catch and release" at the border, and by the end of this year, we will have doubled the number of border patrol agents. Yet we also need to acknowledge that we will never fully secure our border until we create a lawful way for foreign workers to come here and support our economy. (Applause.) This will take pressure off the border and allow law enforcement to concentrate on those who mean us harm. We must also find a sensible and humane way to deal with people here illegally. Illegal immigration is complicated, but it can be resolved. And it must be resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our highest ideals. (Applause.)

This is the business of our nation here at home. Yet building a prosperous future for our citizens also depends on confronting enemies abroad and advancing liberty in troubled regions of the world.

Our foreign policy is based on a clear premise: We trust that people, when given the chance, will choose a future of freedom and peace. In the last seven years, we have witnessed stirring moments in the history of liberty. We've seen citizens in Georgia and Ukraine stand up for their right to free and fair elections. We've seen people in Lebanon take to the streets to demand their independence. We've seen Afghans emerge from the tyranny of the Taliban and choose a new president and a new parliament. We've seen jubilant Iraqis holding up ink-stained fingers and celebrating their freedom. These images of liberty have inspired us. (Applause.)

In the past seven years, we've also seen images that have sobered us. We've watched throngs of mourners in Lebanon and Pakistan carrying the caskets of beloved leaders taken by the assassin's hand. We've seen wedding guests in blood-soaked finery staggering from a hotel in Jordan, Afghans and Iraqis blown up in mosques and markets, and trains in London and Madrid ripped apart by bombs. On a clear September day, we saw thousands of our fellow citizens taken from us in an instant. These horrific images serve as a grim reminder: The advance of liberty is opposed by terrorists and extremists -- evil men who despise freedom, despise America, and aim to subject millions to their violent rule.

Since 9/11, we have taken the fight to these terrorists and extremists. We will stay on the offense, we will keep up the pressure, and we will deliver justice to our enemies. (Applause.)

We are engaged in the defining ideological struggle of the 21st century. The terrorists oppose every principle of humanity and decency that we hold dear. Yet in this war on terror, there is one thing we and our enemies agree on: In the long run, men and women who are free to determine their own destinies will reject terror and refuse to live in tyranny. And that is why the terrorists are fighting to deny this choice to the people in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Palestinian Territories. And that is why, for the security of America and the peace of the world, we are spreading the hope of freedom. (Applause.)

In Afghanistan, America, our 25 NATO allies, and 15 partner nations are helping the Afghan people defend their freedom and rebuild their country. Thanks to the courage of these military and civilian personnel, a nation that was once a safe haven for al Qaeda is now a young democracy where boys and girls are going to school, new roads and hospitals are being built, and people are looking to the future with new hope. These successes must continue, so we're adding 3,200 Marines to our forces in Afghanistan, where they will fight the terrorists and train the Afghan Army and police. Defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda is critical to our security, and I thank the Congress for supporting America's vital mission in Afghanistan. (Applause.)

In Iraq, the terrorists and extremists are fighting to deny a proud people their liberty, and fighting to establish safe havens for attacks across the world. One year ago, our enemies were succeeding in their efforts to plunge Iraq into chaos. So we reviewed our strategy and changed course. We launched a surge of American forces into Iraq. We gave our troops a new mission: Work with the Iraqi forces to protect the Iraqi people, pursue the enemy in its strongholds, and deny the terrorists sanctuary anywhere in the country.

The Iraqi people quickly realized that something dramatic had happened. Those who had worried that America was preparing to abandon them instead saw tens of thousands of American forces flowing into their country. They saw our forces moving into neighborhoods, clearing out the terrorists, and staying behind to ensure the enemy did not return. And they saw our troops, along with Provincial Reconstruction Teams that include Foreign Service officers and other skilled public servants, coming in to ensure that improved security was followed by improvements in daily life. Our military and civilians in Iraq are performing with courage and distinction, and they have the gratitude of our whole nation. (Applause.)

The Iraqis launched a surge of their own. In the fall of 2006, Sunni tribal leaders grew tired of al Qaeda's brutality and started a popular uprising called "The Anbar Awakening." Over the past year, similar movements have spread across the country. And today, the grassroots surge includes more than 80,000 Iraqi citizens who are fighting the terrorists. The government in Baghdad has stepped forward, as well -- adding more than 100,000 new Iraqi soldiers and police during the past year.

While the enemy is still dangerous and more work remains, the American and Iraqi surges have achieved results few of us could have imagined just one year ago. (Applause.) When we met last year, many said that containing the violence was impossible. A year later, high profile terrorist attacks are down, civilian deaths are down, sectarian killings are down.

When we met last year, militia extremists -- some armed and trained by Iran -- were wreaking havoc in large areas of Iraq. A year later, coalition and Iraqi forces have killed or captured hundreds of militia fighters. And Iraqis of all backgrounds increasingly realize that defeating these militia fighters is critical to the future of their country.

When we met last year, al Qaeda had sanctuaries in many areas of Iraq, and their leaders had just offered American forces safe passage out of the country. Today, it is al Qaeda that is searching for safe passage. They have been driven from many of the strongholds they once held, and over the past year, we've captured or killed thousands of extremists in Iraq, including hundreds of key al Qaeda leaders and operatives.

Last month, Osama bin Laden released a tape in which he railed against Iraqi tribal leaders who have turned on al Qaeda and admitted that coalition forces are growing stronger in Iraq. Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al Qaeda is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated. (Applause.)

When we met last year, our troop levels in Iraq were on the rise. Today, because of the progress just described, we are implementing a policy of "return on success," and the surge forces we sent to Iraq are beginning to come home.

This progress is a credit to the valor of our troops and the brilliance of their commanders. This evening, I want to speak directly to our men and women on the front lines. Soldiers and sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen: In the past year, you have done everything we've asked of you, and more. Our nation is grateful for your courage. We are proud of your accomplishments. And tonight in this hallowed chamber, with the American people as our witness, we make you a solemn pledge: In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our nation. (Applause.) And I ask Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops. (Applause.)

Our enemies in Iraq have been hit hard. They are not yet defeated, and we can still expect tough fighting ahead. Our objective in the coming year is to sustain and build on the gains we made in 2007, while transitioning to the next phase of our strategy. American troops are shifting from leading operations, to partnering with Iraqi forces, and, eventually, to a protective overwatch mission. As part of this transition, one Army brigade combat team and one Marine Expeditionary Unit have already come home and will not be replaced. In the coming months, four additional brigades and two Marine battalions will follow suit. Taken together, this means more than 20,000 of our troops are coming home. (Applause.)

Any further drawdown of U.S. troops will be based on conditions in Iraq and the recommendations of our commanders. General Petraeus has warned that too fast a drawdown could result in the "disintegration of the Iraqi security forces, al Qaeda-Iraq regaining lost ground, [and] a marked increase in violence." Members of Congress: Having come so far and achieved so much, we must not allow this to happen. (Applause.)

In the coming year, we will work with Iraqi leaders as they build on the progress they're making toward political reconciliation. At the local level, Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds are beginning to come together to reclaim their communities and rebuild their lives. Progress in the provinces must be matched by progress in Baghdad. (Applause.) We're seeing some encouraging signs. The national government is sharing oil revenues with the provinces. The parliament recently passed both a pension law and de-Baathification reform. They're now debating a provincial powers law. The Iraqis still have a distance to travel. But after decades of dictatorship and the pain of sectarian violence, reconciliation is taking place -- and the Iraqi people are taking control of their future. (Applause.)

The mission in Iraq has been difficult and trying for our nation. But it is in the vital interest of the United States that we succeed. A free Iraq will deny al Qaeda a safe haven. A free Iraq will show millions across the Middle East that a future of liberty is possible. A free Iraq will be a friend of America, a partner in fighting terror, and a source of stability in a dangerous part of the world.

By contrast, a failed Iraq would embolden the extremists, strengthen Iran, and give terrorists a base from which to launch new attacks on our friends, our allies, and our homeland. The enemy has made its intentions clear. At a time when the momentum seemed to favor them, al Qaida's top commander in Iraq declared that they will not rest until they have attacked us here in Washington. My fellow Americans: We will not rest either. We will not rest until this enemy has been defeated. (Applause.) We must do the difficult work today, so that years from now people will look back and say that this generation rose to the moment, prevailed in a tough fight, and left behind a more hopeful region and a safer America. (Applause.)

We're also standing against the forces of extremism in the Holy Land, where we have new cause for hope. Palestinians have elected a president who recognizes that confronting terror is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and at peace with Israel. Israelis have leaders who recognize that a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state will be a source of lasting security. This month in Ramallah and Jerusalem, I assured leaders from both sides that America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve a peace agreement that defines a Palestinian state by the end of this year. The time has come for a Holy Land where a democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine live side-by-side in peace. (Applause.)

We're also standing against the forces of extremism embodied by the regime in Tehran. Iran's rulers oppress a good and talented people. And wherever freedom advances in the Middle East, it seems the Iranian regime is there to oppose it. Iran is funding and training militia groups in Iraq, supporting Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and backing Hamas' efforts to undermine peace in the Holy Land. Tehran is also developing ballistic missiles of increasing range, and continues to develop its capability to enrich uranium, which could be used to create a nuclear weapon.

Our message to the people of Iran is clear: We have no quarrel with you. We respect your traditions and your history. We look forward to the day when you have your freedom. Our message to the leaders of Iran is also clear: Verifiably suspend your nuclear enrichment, so negotiations can begin. And to rejoin the community of nations, come clean about your nuclear intentions and past actions, stop your oppression at home, cease your support for terror abroad. But above all, know this: America will confront those who threaten our troops. We will stand by our allies, and we will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf. (Applause.)

On the home front, we will continue to take every lawful and effective measure to protect our country. This is our most solemn duty. We are grateful that there has not been another attack on our soil since 9/11. This is not for the lack of desire or effort on the part of the enemy. In the past six years, we've stopped numerous attacks, including a plot to fly a plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles and another to blow up passenger jets bound for America over the Atlantic. Dedicated men and women in our government toil day and night to stop the terrorists from carrying out their plans. These good citizens are saving American lives, and everyone in this chamber owes them our thanks. (Applause.)

And we owe them something more: We owe them the tools they need to keep our people safe. And one of the most important tools we can give them is the ability to monitor terrorist communications. To protect America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they're planning. Last year, Congress passed legislation to help us do that. Unfortunately, Congress set the legislation to expire on February the 1st. That means if you don't act by Friday, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger. Congress must ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted. Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America. We've had ample time for debate. The time to act is now. (Applause.)

Protecting our nation from the dangers of a new century requires more than good intelligence and a strong military. It also requires changing the conditions that breed resentment and allow extremists to prey on despair. So America is using its influence to build a freer, more hopeful, and more compassionate world. This is a reflection of our national interest; it is the calling of our conscience.

America opposes genocide in Sudan. (Applause.) We support freedom in countries from Cuba and Zimbabwe to Belarus and Burma. (Applause.)

America is leading the fight against global poverty, with strong education initiatives and humanitarian assistance. We've also changed the way we deliver aid by launching the Millennium Challenge Account. This program strengthens democracy, transparency, and the rule of law in developing nations, and I ask you to fully fund this important initiative. (Applause.)

America is leading the fight against global hunger. Today, more than half the world's food aid comes from the United States. And tonight, I ask Congress to support an innovative proposal to provide food assistance by purchasing crops directly from farmers in the developing world, so we can build up local agriculture and help break the cycle of famine. (Applause.)

America is leading the fight against disease. With your help, we're working to cut by half the number of malaria-related deaths in 15 African nations. And our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is treating 1.4 million people. We can bring healing and hope to many more. So I ask you to maintain the principles that have changed behavior and made this program a success. And I call on you to double our initial commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS by approving an additional $30 billion over the next five years. (Applause.)

America is a force for hope in the world because we are a compassionate people, and some of the most compassionate Americans are those who have stepped forward to protect us. We must keep faith with all who have risked life and limb so that we might live in freedom and peace. Over the past seven years, we've increased funding for veterans by more than 95 percent. And as we increase funding -- (applause.) And as increase funding we must also reform our veterans system to meet the needs of a new war and a new generation. (Applause.) I call on the Congress to enact the reforms recommended by Senator Bob Dole and Secretary Donna Shalala, so we can improve the system of care for our wounded warriors and help them build lives of hope and promise and dignity. (Applause.)

Our military families also sacrifice for America. They endure sleepless nights and the daily struggle of providing for children while a loved one is serving far from home. We have a responsibility to provide for them. So I ask you to join me in expanding their access to child care, creating new hiring preferences for military spouses across the federal government, and allowing our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children. (Applause.) Our military families serve our nation, they inspire our nation, and tonight our nation honors them. (Applause.)

The strength -- the secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that our greatness lies not in our government, but in the spirit and determination of our people. (Applause.) When the Federal Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, our nation was bound by the Articles of Confederation, which began with the words, "We the undersigned delegates." When Gouverneur Morris was asked to draft a preamble to our new Constitution, he offered an important revision and opened with words that changed the course of our nation and the history of the world: "We the people."

By trusting the people, our Founders wagered that a great and noble nation could be built on the liberty that resides in the hearts of all men and women. By trusting the people, succeeding generations transformed our fragile young democracy into the most powerful nation on Earth and a beacon of hope for millions. And so long as we continue to trust the people, our nation will prosper, our liberty will be secure, and the state of our Union will remain strong. (Applause.)

So tonight, with confidence in freedom's power, and trust in the people, let us set forth to do their business. God bless America. (Applause.)

END 10:02 P.M. EST