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from Environment Forum:

The quest to put solar power back on the White House

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betterbill

Bill McKibben, founder of the green group 350.org, is on a quest to convince President Barack Obama to put solar panels back on the roof of the White House.

He's at the end of a journey to Washington from Maine in a van fired by biodiesel carrying one of the 32 panels Jimmy Carter unveiled in 1979 during the first press conference on the White House roof.

Also in the van are students from Unity College, which got the the panels some time after President Ronald Reagan, no fan of alternative energy, had workers remove the panels during "roof repairs" in 1986.

McKibben had hoped to meet with somebody high up in the Obama administration such as Carol Browner, Obama's top energy and climate aide. He's been talking all week with the White House's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on the plan.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Shuffling the pack

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cabinetWe hear the White House is not wildly pleased with former budget chief Peter Orszag for abandoning the party line on tax policy this week. Now Democrats in Congress are beginning to distance themselves from President Barack Obama’s push to let taxes rise for the wealthiest Americans. We are unlikely to see this resolved before the mid-terms anyway, and there are still several different ways this could pan out. One possible compromise would be a short extension of the tax cuts for the rich and a longer extension for the middle classes, keeping any crucial decisions as far away from the 2012 campaign season as possible.

More today on the potential for a reshuffle in Obama’s inner circle after the November elections, especially if Rahm Emanuel departs for Chicago. Democratic sources tell us Larry Summers, never that happy in his role, might be among those who leave, but that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is likely to stay the course.

from Tales from the Trail:

It was just a game of golf!

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Ever since he played golf with President Barack Obama last week, New York newspapers have been rife with speculation that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is being wooed by the administration to replace Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. 

USA/The White House dismissed the speculation as fantasy and Bloomberg dismissed the idea. But still as summer draws to an end, what else is there to talk about going into the Labor Day holiday weekend except the lackluster U.S. economy?

from Tales from the Trail:

Mideast peace veterans and handshake diplomacy

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly referred to them as "veterans" of the Middle East peace process.

That description is probably one thing everyone can agree on. The process to bring Israelis and Palestinians to a lasting peace agreement has been going on for decades and every U.S. president hopes he's the one who will finally achieve what those before him tried and failed. PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/

from Tales from the Trail:

Obama’s Oval Office re-do: tasteful seat of power or beige man cave?

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OBAMA/The reviews are in on President Barack Obama's newly redecorated Oval Office. And they are, like the earth tones of the custom-made sofas, mostly muted.

The morning after the spiffed-up office was unveiled -- during Tuesday night's presidential address to the nation, with Obama sitting behind the Resolute Desk -- the Washington Post splashed its impressions on the front page of the much-read Style section, complete with graphics and commentary. "Very American and very appropriate," said Margaret Russell of Architectural Digest; "tasteful and ... very safe," was interior designer Celerie Kemble's assessment, both reported in the Post.

from Tales from the Trail:

Obama ends Iraq war where it began — the Oval Office

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The Iraq war ended where it began -- at the president's desk in the White House Oval Office.

President Barack Obama declared the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq with his hands folded on the desk where 7-1/2 years earlier President George W. Bush announced the beginning of military operations. IRAQ/OBAMA-SPEECH

from Tales from the Trail:

Wisdom of Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Kennedy and King in Obama’s new Oval Office

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OBAMA/

The first family had a little redecorating done back at the White House while they were on vacation last week, just in time for President Barack Obama to make only his second nationally televised address from the imposing -- and newly redone -- Oval Office.

The presidential sanctum has been decked with new and reupholstered furniture, fresh paint and new, hand-painted striped  wallpaper and a new wheat, cream and blue rug made of 25 percent recycled wool, the White House said.

from Tales from the Trail:

Rough spots for Obama on the economic…. statement

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USA-ECONOMY/

Things were looking good for President Barack Obama's statement on the U.S. economy in the White House Rose Garden: the sun was shining in a bright blue late-August sky.

It was a chance to show that he was paying close attention to the issue most on the minds of Americans. The statement came just after he ended a 10-day vacation trip to the pricey resort island of Martha's Vineyard, and before he launched into a week largely devoted to foreign policy, with an Iraq speech and Mideast peace talks on the agenda.

from Tales from the Trail:

Democrats disagree on NY mosque, White House says no problem

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Barack Obama and Harry Reid agree on most things.

They both favored stimulus measures to boost the economy. They both want climate change and comprehensive immigration reform to pass the Senate -- at least someday.

OBAMABut the U.S. president and the top Democrat in the Senate disagree about an issue that could become a flashpoint in the November elections: whether or not a Muslim cultural center in New York should be built near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – cautionary tale

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President Barack Obama signed a $600 million bill to strengthen border security, and just to make sure the message got through, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took the podium at today's White House media briefing. Immigration has always been a tough political issue, and in an election year no great strides are expected on major reform before the November vote. "It cannot only be done by Democrats. The Republicans need to come to the table," Napolitano said.

WALMART/The American consumer is still a cautionary tale. But consumer sentiment appears to have stabilized in August after dropping sharply in July. "Consumers are still cautious, but it is not double-dip material," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. In a separate report, U.S. retail sales rose in July but showed hints of lingering economic softness.

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