Cabinet officials were on the road last week, making announcements and promoting the Obama Administration’s priorities.

Des Moines Register blog, Aug. 17,Vilsack: Estate tax won’t hurt most farmers“:

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today defended proposals to reinstate the estate tax, despite concerns raised at an Iowa State Fair roundtable about the need for more rural capital and incentives for young farmers.

Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, said he thinks the estate tax will be restored. The key is having appropriate exemptions for people who want to pass their farm down to a family member or someone else, he said. He expects to see a large enough exemption to cover the “vast majority” of farms and ranches in the country, he said.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, Aug. 20, “Salazar views Arch designs, says ‘We will get this done.’“:

Salazar called the five designs exciting and said that better use of the Arch grounds and connections to St. Louis and East St. Louis are important goals in even in a recession.

“We will make this one of our highest priorities,” he said. “I cannot find any place in the U.S. that has the frame for an urban park lilke you have here with the Arch and river.”

Tech Daily Dose, Aug. 17, “Broadband Grants Totaling $1.8 Billion Announced“:

Scores of stimulus grants to extend broadband infrastructure to underserved Americans were announced today by the departments of Commerce and Agriculture as part of an effort to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas.

Grants totaling $1.8 billion for 94 projects in 37 states are aimed at both job creation and technology expansion, Commerce Secretary Locke and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said in a conference call announcing the latest round of funding from a $7.2 billion pot for broadband projects that was included in last year’s Recovery Act.

Associated Press, Aug. 17,Stanford’s X-ray laser promises new discoveries“:

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Stanford University researchers said they’ve built the world’s most powerful X-ray laser, which they hope will lead to new discoveries in drug development, energy production and computer science.

The Linac Coherent Light Source has been up and running for several months at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. But it got its official dedication Monday with a visit from U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

 Puget Sound Business Journal, Aug. 19, “Locke defends NOAA move to Oregon“:

U.S. Commerce Secretary and former Washington Gov. Gary Locke said that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s planned move of the Pacific maritime operations to Oregon from the current location in Seattle’s South Lake Union area was a good deal for taxpayers.

And from the chief executive, President Obama and his weekly address, recorded in the White House and broadcast Aug. 21:

This can only mean that the leaders of the other party want to keep the public in the dark. They don’t want you to know which interests are paying for the ads. The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.

Well, we cannot allow the corporate takeover of our democracy. So we’re going to continue to fight for reform and transparency. And I urge all of you to take up the same fight. Let’s challenge every elected official who benefits from these ads to defend this practice or join us in stopping it.

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