Thursday, February 16, 2017

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen speaks to the New Haven Register Editorial Board about President Trump

Friday, January 6, 2017

New faces in Hartford

Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, and Sen. George Logan, R-Ansonia, take the oath of office in the Connecticut State Senate Chamber at the State Capitol on Jan. 4 as Somers’ daughter Grace (far left) looks on. 

Logan ( represents Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge.  Logan can be reached at 800-842-1421 and at 

(This photo and information were contributed by the Senate GOP office))

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Not enough to denounce....?

The following is a post from The Brooding Brahmin 
I really wanted to write about issues today.  In Connecticut, the word on everyone’s lips is the economy.  Chief Executive magazine ranks the state 46th (yes, 46th!) in terms of favorability for doing business.  Crippling tax hikes, a perpetual fiscal deficit, and a shrinking labor market are driving employers away from the Nutmeg State.  While the state enjoys the 6th best education system in the country according to Education Week, economic competitiveness and the job market continue to suffer.
Against that backdrop, I wanted to write today about the inefficiencies in Hartford preventing a righting of this listing ship.
But I can’t.
What changed?  A damning audio tape from the Republican presidential candidate, in which he brags about his fame allowing him to maul women at will.  Every day I wake up and think he can’t sink any lower.  And every day, he continues to prove me wrong.  The tape reveals a candidate that is sick, disgusting, and absolutely perverted….in other words, a standard page from the playbook that we have witnessed over the past 16 months.
Here in the blue state of Connecticut, where Republicans will remind you that a Connecticut Republican is not the same as a Deep South Republican, the House minority leader, Themis Klarides (R-114), said yesterday that she wants to wait and see how Trump handles himself in the 2nd presidential debate before deciding on her level of support.
Read more here.
Editor's note: This post was shared with the New Haven Register and is the work only of The Brooding Brahmin 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

"Bipartisan buffoons and the 9/11 bill"

The following is a guest post from The Brooding Brahmin 

Last Wednesday, Congress finally did something.  In a rare act of unity and getting something done, both the Senate and the House voted overwhelmingly to override President Obama’s veto of the The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), known as the “9/11 Bill.”  JASTA allows 9/11 victims’ families to sue the Saudi Arabian government for their alleged support of the terrorists that carried out the attacks.
Hooray Congress!  You proved that you were more than knuckle dragging elected chimps.  You actually did something – you took a stand and said, “Damn it, we’re going to pass this bill!”  And you handed Mr. Obama his first veto override.  In definitive fashion, no less!  The Senate voted 97 to 1, the House 348 to 77.  Now that’ll show him.
I appreciate this is a very sensitive topic.  Obama’s position was to protect American service members and diplomats abroad from retaliatory action.  Anyone remember the accidental bombing of a Doctors without Borders hospital in Afghanistan last October?  We certainly wouldn’t want a lawsuit on our heads as a result.  “Wait, wait…what do you mean we don’t have sovereign immunity?”  And yet, on the other hand, 9/11 is still a wound in our national consciousness, and we ought forever to show compassion to all those affected by that day and its aftermath.
But I’m not here to litigate whether the bill was a good one or not.  I mean, it passed.  In definitive fashion.
But then, not 24 hours laterCongress had a Brexit moment.  You remember….that moment of, “Oh crap, what have we done?  Did we really do this?”  Yup, you did.
Last Wednesday, Congress finally did something.  In a rare act of unity and getting something done, both the Senate and the House voted overwhelmingly to override President Obama’s veto of the The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), known as the “9/11 Bill.”  JASTA allows 9/11 victims’ families to sue the Saudi Arabian government for their alleged support of the terrorists that carried out the attacks.
Hooray Congress!  You proved that you were more than knuckle dragging elected chimps.  You actually did something – you took a stand and said, “Damn it, we’re going to pass this bill!”  And you handed Mr. Obama his first veto override.  In definitive fashion, no less!  The Senate voted 97 to 1, the House 348 to 77.  Now that’ll show him.
I appreciate this is a very sensitive topic.  Obama’s position was to protect American service members and diplomats abroad from retaliatory action.  Anyone remember the accidental bombing of a Doctors without Borders hospital in Afghanistan last October?  We certainly wouldn’t want a lawsuit on our heads as a result.  “Wait, wait…what do you mean we don’t have sovereign immunity?”  And yet, on the other hand, 9/11 is still a wound in our national consciousness, and we ought forever to show compassion to all those affected by that day and its aftermath.
But I’m not here to litigate whether the bill was a good one or not.  I mean, it passed.  In definitive fashion.
But then, not 24 hours laterCongress had a Brexit moment.  You remember….that moment of, “Oh crap, what have we done?  Did we really do this?”  Yup, you did.

Read the rest of this post: here.

Editor's note: This post was shared with the New Haven Register and is the work only of The Brooding Brahmin 


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Murphy on Pope Francis

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn. released a statement after Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress during his visit to the United States.
This is the statement, unedited here:

“It was an extraordinary honor to have heard Pope Francis address Congress today. His humility and courage are an inspiration to all Americans, regardless of faith. He has given a voice to the voiceless and challenged leaders from around the world to confront global challenges head on. Today, the Pope continued his groundbreaking papacy and challenged the United States Congress to make lasting progress on important issues including climate change, poverty, and the humanitarian crisis abroad.


“The pontiff reaffirmed that we are in a time of crisis: the moment to act on climate change is now and this Congress has an important role to play. Without aggressive policies to take on what he described as ‘environmental deterioration caused by human activity,’ the health and safety of millions around the world is at risk. He called for us to alleviate poverty and hunger – to stick up for the populations who have no voice in the political process and to promote economic opportunity for families across America. He reminded my colleagues that the United States has a long tradition of providing safe haven to those fleeing persecution and war.


“I took particular note of his admonition that ‘if we want security, let us give security.’ This was his challenge for the United States to get off the sidelines of the ongoing humanitarian and refugee crisis in Iraq and Syria, possibly the worst humanitarian disaster of our times.


“I’m hopeful that my colleagues will take up the Pontiff’s challenge to put aside partisan politics and work together to build a community ‘which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, it’s social life.’ It is our moral imperative to be good stewards of the earth and generous to those in need, and I hope we live up to Pope Francis's challenge in the days ahead.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Connecticut OPM releases rescission list

The Connecticut  Office of Policy and Management, or OPM, Friday  released "a list of more than $102 million in rescissions. The Governor has taken these steps so the budget remains balanced. Due to recent volatility on Wall Street and uncertainty about the future, he is taking these strategic steps so that, over the long term, our revenues can support our levels of spending.," according to a release.

See the list here:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sen. Murphy: Put American made products in National Park Service retail stores

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., after " hearing from a constituent that foreign-made products are available for purchase in National Park Service (NPS) concession retail stores, called on the NPS to increase the percentage of American-made merchandise sold in national park retail shops," according to a release 
The senator released his letter (pasted unedited below) to Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, in which, the release said, he " highlighted the important role that the federal government and its contractors – including NPS retail stores – can play in helping U.S. manufacturers expand their businesses, create new jobs, and bolster the economy by purchasing goods made by American workers."
"As part of an ongoing effort to protect and grow American manufacturing," Murphy asked that at least 50 percent "of goods sold in NPS stores come from American manufacturers," and "encouraged the NPS to codify stricter requirements to ensure that national park retail stores do not import or sell products made by foreign companies that are otherwise available through American manufacturers," the release said.

According to the release, Murphy has introduced several amendments and pieces of legislation – including the 21st Century Buy American Act and the American Jobs Matter Act – that "aim to strengthen existing standards and prioritize the purchase of American-made goods"

The letter:
The Honorable Jonathan Jarvis 
National Park Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Director Jarvis:
I write to thank you for your efforts to include American-made products in National Park Service (NPS) concession retail shops, and to encourage you to continue to expand the availability of these products in our national parks. While the NPS has made strides in ensuring that NPS retailers sell products made in the United States, a Connecticut constituent recently brought to my attention multiple instances of foreign-made products in NPS stores. I believe that we can do more to provide and promote quality, price-competitive, domestically-made products in our national parks, and ask that you take further steps to that end.
There were more than 270 million visits to our national parks in 2013, generating billions of dollars in revenue and contributing significantly to local economies. Working to make sure that more domestically-made products are sold would magnify that effect. As you know, federal investment in manufacturing helps create new American jobs, bolsters our economy, and enhances opportunities for America’s middle class. One of the easiest ways to create a ripple effect of prosperity through manufacturing communities is to ensure that the goods purchased through the federal government and its contractors, such as those sold in NPS retail shops, are made by American workers at U.S. companies.
Studies show many consumers are even willing to pay more for the quality associated with domestically manufactured goods, and selling American-made products is crucial to helping our manufacturers grow. I was pleased that a 2008 review by the National Park Hospitality Association indicated that 39 percent of merchandise in NPS retail stores was made in the United States.  An additional 31 percent was finished in the U.S., and the remaining 30 percent was imported from foreign manufacturers. While this is important progress, I ask you take immediate steps to increase the percentage of American-made merchandise in NPS retail stores to at least 50%.  As you know, the Buy American Act requires that certain manufactured goods be comprised of at least 50% American content. This 50% threshold I believe is one that NPS should be able to achieve.  
I understand NPS has already made reforms to encourage shop owners to buy American-made products, such as providing financial incentives to complying retailers and discussing ‘Made in USA’ initiatives during the store review process. However, I believe more can be done to find available, competitively-priced domestic products for NPS concessional retail stores, and encourage you to codify stricter requirements to ensure no products that are otherwise available through domestic manufacturers are imported from foreign companies.
I appreciate your previous efforts to promote American-made products.  In addition to further steps to increase the amount of American-made goods in NPS stores, please let me know what Congress can do to help ensure NPS retail stores buy American-made goods as we work together to help grow the American economy. The National Parks System is a priceless heritage belonging to every American, one that I believe can contribute to the resurgence of American manufacturing even as it helps conserve and promote our natural resources.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response.
Christopher S. Murphy
United States Senator

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

President Clinton to Receive Dodd Prize, Speak at UCONN

UConn today reports that President Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker at the Oct. 15 ceremony for the 20th anniversary of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, on UConn’s Storrs Campus.

Everyone in Greater New Haven recalls the Mr. Clinton visited the Elm City to stump for Gov. Malloy.

Read more about the UConn visit here.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Has Connecticut ended veteran homelessness?

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last week announced that Connecticut "has been designated by the federal government as being the first state in the nation to have ended chronic homelessness among veterans."

Malloy last year announced several initiatives "aimed at combatting veteran homelessness with the goal of ending homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015.  The state has since made major investments in housing, becoming a national leader for its work,'
 according to a release.


Also in the release: "Ending chronic homelessness among veterans is a milestone for Connecticut in its efforts to end homelessness entirely among veterans by the end of the year.  Connecticut is one of just a handful of states designated for, and participating in, the Zero:2016 initiative, which aims to end all chronic homelessness by the end of next year.  Today’s announcement means that all known veterans experiencing chronic homelessness are either housed or are on an immediate path to permanent housing, and that the state will be able to rapidly place any veteran who newly experiences chronic homelessness on the path to permanent housing.  Chronic homelessness is defined as an individual with a disability who has been homeless for a period of at least one year or has experienced four separate episodes of homelessness in the past three years."



Friday, August 21, 2015

Looney on Ojakian at CSUS

Senate President Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, released a statement Friday in response to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's Chief of staff. Mark Ojakian. being appointed as interim president of the Connecticut State College and University System

The statement is unedited here: 

“Mark Ojakian has the administrative and governmental skills necessary to effectively manage and advocate for the CSCU system and I enthusiastically support his appointment,” said Senator Looney. “During the 2011 SEBAC negotiations and throughout his tenure as Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mark has demonstrated an ability to collaborate with people representing a wide range of interests to achieve a positive outcome. I look forward to seeing him bring these skills to the academic world, working alongside faculty and students to further improve higher education in Connecticut.”

Speaker Sharkey lauds job numbers in Connecticut

Speaker Sharkey
House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, "hailed this week’s positive economic news and urged Republicans to stop gleefully predicting economic doom," according to a release.
In the release, Sharkey noted "recent employment numbers indicate Connecticut’s economy is heading in the right direction."
Read more about the job numbers here.
Sharkey also said that " instead of celebrating, state Republican legislators seem bent on rooting for failure." He was referring to this statement posted on the website of Senate Minority leader Len Fasano , R-North Haven, about state discussions with General Electric.

“Instead of rooting for Connecticut’s failure, Republicans should applaud that Connecticut has its lowest unemployment rate since 2008, and that our economy is turning the corner,” Sharkey said in the statement. “Their cynical practice of seeking to score political points at Connecticut’s expense must stop.  I welcome their policy ideas but their drumbeat of negativity is only hurting our state and our economy.”
Read Fasano's statement on GE here (unattributed statement removed):
“According to news reports, this counter-offer from state government will be laden with economic incentives which have not been disclosed,” Fasano said.  “If these reports are true, then they contradict remarks made recently about GE by Democrat leadership in the Connecticut General Assembly.”
Sen. Len Fasano
“If Gov. Malloy is preparing a state taxpayer-funded counter-offer for GE to ensure that the company keeps jobs here in Connecticut, I wonder if he has taken these statements from leading Connecticut Democrat legislators into account?” Fasano said, in the statemnt.  “These lawmakers feel strongly that GE is not negatively impacted by the new state budget.  So why is Gov. Malloy prepping a taxpayer-funded aid package for GE less than two months after he signed the state budget into law?
 When Gov. Malloy signed the budget into law, he said, ‘I'm very proud to pass the budget as amended.’  He signed the budget while Democrat leaders laughed and applauded.  These reports of the potential state tax subsidies to GE now make me question whether Gov. Malloy still considers his statement an accurate one. 
“If GE is bluffing about leaving Connecticut, then why would Gov. Malloy offer them a lot of state taxpayer money in hopes they will stay?”


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vote Smart: See the data

The following is posted from a press release, not edited here, but shared as a public service for those interested:
"Vote Smart (, the leading non-partisan national research organization focused on politicians and elections, announced a series of massive additions to its factual database on over 150,000 current and former elected officials and candidates. Through Vote Smart’s Great Divide Research Center:

  • The records of 25,000 current politicians have been refreshed with their most up-to-date biographical information (professional experience, educational background, organization memberships, family information), contact information (websites, emails, mailing addresses, phone numbers, LinkedIn accounts, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts).
  • 80,000 speeches and public comments have been added to the 900,000 public statements already in Vote Smart’s key word-searchable databases. They are from the president, cabinet, governors, and all members of the US House and US Senate, as well as candidates seeking federal office in 2014.
  • 500 new ratings by special interest groups and over 1000 new endorsements of state and federal candidates have been added to the existing data from the 1,500 special interest groups Vote Smart tracks.
  • 1,325 Key Votes have been added, cast by legislators in all fifty state legislatures and Congress.
  • Political contributions to 15,000 politicians have been updated.
  • 13,000 candidates are currently being interviewed on their issue positions. The results will be made public in October.

Originally founded as Project Vote Smart by national leaders such as former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, today Vote Smart is the premier non-partisan nonprofit providing free interactive web-based tools to help citizens instantaneously learn about the voting records, backgrounds, issue positions, campaign contributions, interest group ratings, and public statements of incumbents and candidates for local, state and national office.  Vote Smart’s comprehensive research data is used by major media and search platforms including  Bing, USA Today and National Journal, as well as hundreds of universities throughout the United States.

Vote Smart is funded entirely by foundation grants and individual contributions.  No funding is accepted from special interests, corporations or the government, and 75% of the research is undertaken by a diverse pool of unpaid volunteers and interns of all ages and walks of life. "

For more information:

Monday, August 11, 2014


The following is President Obama's statement, released by the White House Monday. It is shared unedited here: 

Martha’s Vineyard, MA

5:08 P.M. EDT


     THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I wanted to provide an update on recent developments in Iraq, including some important steps forward as Iraqis form a new government.


Over the past few days, American forces have successfully conducted targeted airstrikes to prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil, and to protect American civilians there.  Kurdish forces on the ground continue to defend their city, and we’ve stepped up military advice and assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they wage the fight against ISIL. 


At the same time, we’ve continued our daily humanitarian efforts to provide life-saving assistance to the men, women and children stranded on Mount Sinjar, and deployed a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team to help.  Some have begun to escape their perch on that mountain, and we’re working with international partners to develop options to bring them to safety.  I want to thank in particular the United Kingdom, France, and other countries working with us to provide much needed assistance to the Iraqi people.  And, meanwhile, our aircraft remain positioned to strike any terrorist forces around the mountain who threaten the safety of these families.


This advances the limited military objectives we’ve outlined in Iraq:  protecting American citizens, providing advice and assistance to Iraqi forces as they battle these terrorists, and joining with international partners to provide humanitarian aid.  But as I said when I authorized these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.  The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government -- one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country’s fight against ISIL. 


Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort.   Last month, the Iraqi people named a new President.  Today, President Masum named a new Prime Minister designate, Dr. Haider al-Abadi.  Under the Iraqi constitution, this is an important step towards forming a new government that can unite Iraq’s different communities. 


Earlier today, Vice President Biden and I called Dr. Abadi to congratulate him and to urge him to form a new cabinet as quickly as possible -- one that’s inclusive of all Iraqis, and one that represents all Iraqis.  I pledged our support to him, as well as to President Masum and Speaker Jabouri, as they work together to form this government.  Meanwhile, I urge all Iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through the political process in the days ahead.


This new Iraqi leadership has a difficult task.  It has to regain the confidence of its citizens by governing inclusively and by taking steps to demonstrate its resolve.  The United States stands ready to support a government that addresses the needs and grievances of all Iraqi people.  We are also ready to work with other countries in the region to deal with the humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge in Iraq.  Mobilizing that support will be easier once this new government is in place.


These have been difficult days in Iraq -- a country that has faced so many challenges in its recent history.  And I’m sure that there will be difficult days ahead.  But just as the United States will remain vigilant against the threat posed to our people by ISIL, we stand ready to partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces.  Without question, that effort will be advanced if Iraqis continue to build on today’s progress, and come together to support a new and inclusive government.


Thanks, everybody.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, August 7, 2014

'CT League of Conservation Voters Gives Reed 100 percent on Annual Scorecard'

In a release from legislative staffers, the office of state Rep. Lonnie Reed, D-Branford, said that the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters awarded her "a 100 percent rating for her support and advocacy of environmental and energy initiatives in their 2014 Environmental Scorecard."
     “I’m honored to be recognized again by the League of Conservation Voters,” said . Reed said, also in the release.  “Connecticut fights ongoing battles to ensure that our state is a clean, safe, healthy and beautiful place to live, work and bring up our children.  Environmental protection and economic development can and must be pursued together. I remain committed to defending the gains we’ve made and to doing what it takes to protect and enhance the quality of life for all of our citizens.”       
   "As House Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, Rep. Reed played a critical role in promoting, developing and winning passage of a new law to prevent fracking waste, a toxic bi-product of the natural gas industry, from being dumped in Connecticut," the release said.
  Reed is in her 3rd term serving the 102nd Assembly District and serves as the House chairwoman of the Energy and Technology Committee and as co-chairwoman of the pi-partisan Long Island Sound Caucus.   She represents Connecticut on the Bi-State Long Island Sound Commission with New York, the release said.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Read: President Obama's statement on Ukraine and Gaza

The following was released by the White House (unedited here) 
 THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I want to make a brief statement about the tragedy in Ukraine.  Before I do, though, I want to note that Secretary Kerry has departed for the Middle East.  As I’ve said many times, Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel attacks from Hamas.  And as a result of its operations, Israel has already done significant damage to Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.  I’ve also said, however, that we have serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives.  And that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a cease-fire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians, both in Gaza and in Israel.


     So Secretary Kerry will meet with allies and partners.  I’ve instructed him to push for an immediate cessation of hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.  The work will not be easy.  Obviously, there are enormous passions involved in this and some very difficult strategic issues involved.  Nevertheless, I’ve asked John to do everything he can to help facilitate a cessation to hostilities.  We don’t want to see any more civilians getting killed.


     With respect to Ukraine, it’s now been four days since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.  Over the last several days, our hearts have been absolutely broken as we’ve learned more about the extraordinary and beautiful lives that were lost -- men, women and children and infants who were killed so suddenly and so senselessly.


Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with their families around the world who are going through just unimaginable grief.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a number of leaders around the world whose citizens were lost on this flight, and all of them remain in a state of shock but, frankly, also in a state of outrage. 


     Our immediate focus is on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened, and putting forward the facts.  We have to make sure that the truth is out and that accountability exists. 


Now, international investigators are on the ground.  They have been organized.  I’ve sent teams; other countries have sent teams.  They are prepared, they are organized to conduct what should be the kinds of protocols and scouring and collecting of evidence that should follow any international incident like this.  And what they need right now is immediate and full access to the crash site.  They need to be able to conduct a prompt and full and unimpeded as well as transparent investigation.  And recovery personnel have to do the solemn and sacred work on recovering the remains of those who were lost.


Ukrainian President Poroshenko has declared a demilitarized zone around the crash site.  As I said before, you have international teams already in place prepared to conduct the investigation and recover the remains of those who have been lost.  But, unfortunately, the Russian-backed separatists who control the area continue to block the investigation.  They have repeatedly prevented international investigators from gaining full access to the wreckage.  As investigators approached, they fired their weapons into the air.  These separatists are removing evidence from the crash site, all of which begs the question -- what exactly are they trying to hide?


Moreover, these Russian-backed separatists are removing bodies from the crash site, oftentimes without the care that we would normally expect from a tragedy like this.  And this is an insult to those who have lost loved ones.  This is the kind of behavior that has no place in the community of nations.


Now, Russia has extraordinary influence over these separatists.  No one denies that.  Russia has urged them on.  Russia has trained them.  We know that Russia has armed them with military equipment and weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons.  Key separatist leaders are Russian citizens.  So given its direct influence over the separatists, Russia and President Putin, in particular, has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation.  That is the least that they can do. 


President Putin says that he supports a full and fair investigation.  And I appreciate those words, but they have to be supported by actions.  The burden now is on Russia to insist that the separatists stop tampering with the evidence, grant investigators who are already on the ground immediate, full and unimpeded access to the crash site.  The separatists and the Russian sponsors are responsible for the safety of the investigators doing their work.  And along with our allies and partners, we will be working this issue at the United Nations today. 


More broadly, as I’ve said throughout this crisis and the crisis in Ukraine generally, and I’ve said this directly to President Putin, as well as publicly, my preference continues to be finding a diplomatic resolution within Ukraine.  I believe that can still happen.  That is my preference today, and it will continue to be my preference.


But if Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and to back these separatists, and these separatists become more and more dangerous and now are risks not simply to the people inside of Ukraine but the broader international community, then Russia will only further isolate itself from the international community, and the costs for Russia’s behavior will only continue to increase. 


Now is the time for President Putin and Russia to pivot away from the strategy that they’ve been taking and get serious about trying to resolve hostilities within Ukraine in a way that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and respects the right of the Ukrainian people to make their own decisions about their own lives.


And time is of the essence.  Our friends and allies need to be able to recover those who were lost.  That's the least we can do.  That's the least that decency demands.  Families deserve to be able to lay their loved ones to rest with dignity.  The world deserves to know exactly what happened.  And the people of Ukraine deserve to determine their own future. 



Remarks by President Obama at signing of executive order on LGBT workplace discrimination

The following is a press release from the White House today (unedited here - scroll to the bottom to read the order Obama signed)
THE PRESIDENT:  Welcome to the White House, everybody.  I know I'm a little late.  But that's okay because we've got some big business to do here. 


Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day coming.  You organized, you spoke up, you signed petitions, you sent letters -- I know because I got a lot of them.  (Laughter.) And now, thanks to your passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of your cause, our government -- government of the people, by the people, and for the people -- will become just a little bit fairer.


AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Amen.  (Applause.) 


THE PRESIDENT:  It doesn’t make much sense, but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are --  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.  And that’s wrong.  We’re here to do what we can to make it right -- to bend that arc of justice just a little bit in a better direction. 


In a few moments, I will sign an executive order that does two things.  First, the federal government already prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  Once I sign this order, the same will be explicitly true for gender identity.  (Applause.)   


And second, we’re going to prohibit all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees.  (Applause.)    America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people. 


Now, this executive order is part of a long bipartisan tradition.  President Roosevelt signed an order prohibiting racial discrimination in the national defense industry.  President Eisenhower strengthened it.  President Johnson expanded it.  Today, I'm going to expand it again. 


Currently, 18 states have already banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  And over 200 cities and localities have done the same.  Governor Terry McAuliffe is here; his first act as governor was to prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  (Applause.)  Where did Terry go?  Right back here. 


I’ve appointed a record number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender public servants to positions across my administration.  They are ambassadors and federal judges, special assistants, senior advisors from the Pentagon to the Labor Department.  Every day, their talent is put to work on behalf of the American people.


Equality in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it turns out to be good business.  That’s why a majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies in place.  It is not just about doing the right thing -- it’s also about attracting and retaining the best talent.  And there are several business leaders who are here today who will attest to that. 


And yet, despite all that, in too many states and in too many workplaces, simply being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can still be a fireable offense.  There are people here today who’ve lost their jobs for that reason.  This is not speculative, this is not a matter of political correctness -- people lose their jobs as a consequence of this.  Their livelihoods are threatened, their families are threatened.  In fact, more states now allow same-sex marriage than prohibit discrimination against LGBT workers.  So I firmly believe that it’s time to address this injustice for every American. 


Now, Congress has spent 40 years -- four decades -- considering legislation that would help solve the problem.  That's a long time.  And yet they still haven’t gotten it done.  Senators Terry [Tammy] Baldwin and Jeff Merkley are here.  They have been champions of this issue for a long, long time.  We are very proud of them.  I know they will not stop fighting until fair treatment for all workers is the federal law of the land.  Everyone thanks them for that.  (Applause.)   


But I’m going to do what I can, with the authority I have, to act.  The rest of you, of course, need to keep putting pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation that resolves this problem once and for all.




THE PRESIDENT:  Amen.  Amen.  (Applause.)  Got the “amen” corner here.  (Laughter.)  Well -- (sings) -- (laughter.)  You don't want to get me preaching, now.  (Laughter.)     


For more than two centuries, we have strived, often at great cost, to form “a more perfect union” -- to make sure that “we, the people” applies to all the people.  Many of us are only here because others fought to secure rights and opportunities for us. And we’ve got a responsibility to do the same for future generations.  We’ve got an obligation to make sure that the country we love remains a place where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or how you started out, or what your last name is, or who you love -- no matter what, you can make it in this country. 


That’s the story of America.  That’s the story of this movement.  I want to thank all of you for doing your part.  We've got a long way to go, but I hope as everybody looks around this room, you are reminded of the extraordinary progress that we have made not just in our lifetimes, but in the last five years.  In the last two years.  (Applause.)  In the last one year.  (Applause.)  We're on the right side of history. 


I’m going to sign this executive order.  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)


(The executive order is signed.)