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AmeriCrooks Watch: Meddling Michelle Obama to keynote volunteerism conference

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 20, 2009 10:47 AM


Photoshop credit: Leo Alberti

Well, well, well.

Michelle, Michelle, Michelle.

Guess where the First Lady will be on Monday?

Why, she’ll be delivering the keynote address at the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco.

And who is co-sponsoring the conference?

Why, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)!

Yes, that’s the same CNCS that is the parent organization of AmeriCorps.

It’s the same CNCS that last year suspended Sacramento mayor/Obama crony Kevin Johnson from receiving federal funds after then-inspector general Gerald Walpin blew the whistle on massive fraud and abuse of AmeriCorps dollars for personal and political gain.

It’s the same CNCS that then sat by and meekly watched Team Obama and the U.S. Attorney in Sacramento railroad Walpin after the November 2008 election for doing his damned job.

And now, there is no honest, independent watchdog to raise questions on behalf of taxpayers as the Obama political machine takes over the national service juggernaut. How…convenient.

By the way: The First Lady’s former chief of staff, Jackie Norris, starts her new job as “senior adviser” (translation: Michelle O’s mole) at CNCS on Monday. And from the AmeriCorps press release published yesterday:

“The First Lady has made service and volunteering a life calling, and her leadership is helping to inspire a whole new generation of Americans who are making service a part of their daily lives,” said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Her participation demonstrates the high priority the White House has placed on service as a way to help in our nation’s recovery.”

“First Lady Michelle Obama knows first-hand the power of service to transform lives and communities,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of the Points of Light Institute and co-founder of HandsOn Network. “We are thrilled that she chose our national conference as the platform to launch United We Serve. She has made service a centerpiece of her agenda, and her appearance will add a burst of excitement and a new significance to this gathering of service leaders as well as our larger efforts to usher in a new era of service.”

I first raised questions about the First Lady’s meddling into the AmeriCrooks mess on June 12 after following up on little-noticed reports in the niche publication Youth Today detailing Mrs. Obama’s active role and interest in staffing the top management at CNCS. As I noted last week:

Mrs. Obama’s interest is more than passing. She ran the AmeriCorps-funded non-profit Public Allies in Chicago from 1993-1996 and served on its national board until 2001. Like so many of the AmeriCorps recipients investigated by the inspector general’s office over the years, Public Allies was found to have violated basic eligibility and compliance rules. A January 2007 audit reported that the group lacked internal controls verifying that recipients who received education grants and living allowances were legal citizens or permanent residents as required by law.

Michelle Obama’s installation as the face and voice of the government volunteerism boondoggle only deepens suspicions about the role she and her staff may have played in Walpin’s sacking. So does her past exploitation of the “community service” mantle to reward Chicago politicos (see “The Obama horror story you won’t hear”).

***

You know who else was supposed to speak at the CNCS conference next week?

The supposedly dazed and confused Gerald Walpin.

Via WashTimes (hat tip – Quin Hilyer):

On Tuesday June 9, just one day before the White House first asked him to step down, the agency asked him to make a speech on June 23 in San Francisco to a conference of some 2,000 staff members and grantees. The invitation, he said, was delivered by Gretchen Van De Veer, director of the Office of Leadership Development and Training at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“They begged me to come,” he said. “Why would they do that if they thought I am incapacitated?”

Michelle? Anyone?

***

Will the liberal media lapdogs in San Francisco ask tough questions — or will they genuflect a la the Washington Post’s Robin Givan, who gushed last week that “so many eye her with awe and disbelief.”

Will anyone press the First Lady on the financial scandal — or will we get more drool-covered coverage of her bare arms?

Well, here’s the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci previewing the “frenzy” over Michelle Obama’s upcoming visit:

First Lady Michelle Obama is kicking off a White House push to underscore the importance of volunteerism in San Francisco on Monday — a move that will have political figures here elbowing each other to get in the frame with her.

But step aside, folks, it’s California First Lady Maria Shriver who snags that honor before all. Volunteerism has long been her leading issue, and she’s going to be alongside First Lady Michelle for the day in the starring role.

…”During this summer, the president is renewing his call to all Americans to identify needs in their communities, engage in meaningful service to create change — and stay engaged with these projects long after September,” says the Obama Administration press release, which urges Americans to hit the website of the Corporation for National and Community Service for ideas on where to volunteer.

But having Michelle Obama on board in San Francisco to make the case is a coup, bigtime, for Shriver and California; it not only ensures that armies of TV cameras will be focusing on state and local efforts, but brings out an adoring public — and that horde of local elected officials to lend support (and get in the picture).

Despite the MSM protectionism, this scandal is not going away.

I have a terrific volunteerism project: Volunteer to do the job the obsequious professional journalists won’t do. There will be national service events involving Team Obama members on Monday all over the country. Volunteer to serve your country by showing up and asking why Dear Leader undermined the IG protection law he helped co-sponsor in cutting Walpin loose.

Here’s the list of scheduled events open to the press and public unless otherwise noted:

First Lady Michelle Obama
*Note: This event is closed to the public.*
Mrs. Obama will join the First Lady of California Maria Shriver and Corporation for National and Community Service acting CEO Nicky Goren to highlight the importance of children’s health and well-being by helping to construct a public playground at Bret Harte Public Elementary School in San Francisco in conjunction with KaBOOM!. KaBOOM! empowers communities to build play spaces for children across the country.

12:30pm PDT
1035 Gilman Avenue
San Francisco, CA

Department of Defense
*NOTE: This event is closed to the press and the public.*

Secretary Gates will visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center to spend time with wounded warriors in residence there and to recognize the efforts of the many volunteers supporting this community of Service Members, families and staff.

Department of Justice
Attorney General Holder will visit the Police Athletic League in Philadelphia to tour the PAL center, speak to youth and volunteers and toss the opening tip-off of a youth basketball game.

3:00pm EDT
Cozen Center
732 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA

Department of the Interior

Secretary Salazar will work with volunteers from Youth Conservation Corps, Volunteers-in-the-Parks, Student Conservation Association and the Shenandoah National Park Association to remove exotic plants in the Shenandoah National Park.

11:30am EDT
Shenandoah National Park
Highway 121 and Skyline Drive
Luray, VA
Secretary Salazar will hold a media availability at 12:00pm EST.

Department of Commerce
Secretary Locke will visit the La Mesita Homeless Shelter for Families in Mesa, Arizona to read to children and serve them lunch at the Child Care Center.

11:00am MST
La Mesita Homeless Shelter for Families
2254 W. Main Street
Mesa, AZ

Department of Labor
Secretary Solis will work with the Los Angeles Communities Advocating for Unity Social Justice and Action YouthBuild program to help construct energy-efficient housing for low income individuals.

10:00am PDT
LACAUSA YouthBuild
1117 Goodrich Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Donovan will join volunteers from the St. Bernard Project and other local organizations to rebuild a New Orleans home that was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Donovan will also join the St. Bernard Project to welcome a family back into their Gentilly neighborhood home that was recently renovated with support from the St. Bernard Project.

9:45am CDT
The Allen Family House
7730 Hansbrough Avenue
New Orleans, LA

1:00pm CDT
The Wiltz Family House
5334 Cameron Blvd.
New Orleans, LA

Secretary Donovan will be available for interviews at 12:00pm CST at the Allen family house.

Department of Transportation
Secretary LaHood will visit and work on Habitat for Humanity’s Atlantic Avenue project in Brooklyn, New York. The Atlantic Avenue project is a 41 unit, multi-family, energy efficient building complex.

1:00pm EDT
Atlantic Avenue Habitat for Humanity project
2331 Atlantic Avenue (between Eastern parkway and Sherlock Place)
Brooklyn, NY
Secretary LaHood will hold a media availability at 2:00pm.

Department of Energy
Secretary Chu will travel to Battle Creek, Michigan for an energy efficiency event in partnership with League of Conservation Voters at the local YMCA. He will help assemble home energy efficiency kits and educational materials to help families lower their energy costs.

2:00pm EDT
Battle Creek YMCA
182 Capital Avenue NE
Battle Creek, MI

Department of Education
Secretary Duncan will meet with librarians and then read to children at Fanwood Memorial Library in Fanwood, New Jersey to highlight the importance of combating reading loss during the summer.

1:20pm EDT
Fanwood Memorial Library
North Avenue and Tillotson Road
Fanwood, NJ
Secretary Duncan will hold a media availability at 2:40pm EDT.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs
*NOTE: This event is limited to invited press.*
Secretary Shinseki will assist volunteer drivers in transporting patients who are unable to drive to their medical appointments at VA Medical Centers. Assistant Secretary Duckworth will address a group of youth volunteers about “Knowing and Respecting Disabled Veterans” and help escort a patient to a rehabilitation appointment.

Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Napolitano will be working with the Orlando Citizen Corps Council and volunteers in Orlando to assemble Community Emergency Response Team kits in preparation for hurricane season at the Orlando Emergency Operations Center.

1:15pm EDT
City of Orlando Emergency Operations Center
110 Andes Avenue
Orlando, FL

*Note: This event is closed to the public.*

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Fugate, a former volunteer firefighter himself, will meet with firefighters, Community Emergency Response Team volunteers and members of Fire Corps, a group of community members that volunteer time to support local firefighters, in Denver. They will discuss the importance of volunteerism in the effort to fight fires and keep communities safe.

11:00am MDT
Station 8, Denver Fire Department
1616 Park Avenue
Denver, CO

United States Mission to the United Nations
*Note: This event is closed to the public.*
Ambassador Rice will visit the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York, where she will teach middle and high school students about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and about the emergency relief items needed by children in the DRC. The US Fund for UNICEF will make a donation of emergency goods to children in the DRC, and the Harlem students will personalize the gifts with cards and photos.

12:15 pm EDT
Harlem Children’s Zone
35 East 125th Street
New York, NY

Office of the United States Trade Representative
Ambassador Kirk will serve breakfast at The Second Chance Café at The Bridge, a program of The Stewpot, a facility that feeds the homeless in Dallas, Texas. The Stewpot is a comprehensive resource center for homeless and at-risk individuals in Dallas.

7:00am CDT
The Second Chance Café at The Bridge
1818 Corsicana St.
Dallas, TX

Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Jackson will join Missouri River Relief, Blue River Watershed Association, Missouri Stream Team and Friends of the Kaw, as well as local students to monitor and help clean up the Missouri and Kansas Rivers at Kaw Point Park, Kansas. Students will be testing mercury levels in fish and measuring water quality and volunteers will be using boats to pick up trash along the rivers’ banks.

11:30am CDT
Kaw Point Park
Fairfax District
Kansas City, KS

United States Agency for International Development
Acting Administrator Alonzo Fulgham will participate in an immunization drive with the Baltimore City Health Department, the Esperanza Center, a health center that provides bilingual primary care adult, pediatric and well-woman care, and the Baltimore City Women, Infant and Children program.

10:00am EDT
Esperanza Center
430 South Broadway
Baltimore, MD

11:00am EDT
Baltimore City WIC Program
620 N. Caroline Street
Baltimore, MD

Council on Environmental Quality
Chairwoman Nancy Sutley will work with the Anacostia Watershed Society to plant native wetland species in Kingman Lake, a 35-acre wetlands marsh adjacent to the Anacostia River. Kingman Lake is the biggest tidal wetland in D.C.

2:00pm EDT
Kingman Lake
2790 Benning Road, NE
Washington, DC

Small Business Administration
Administrator Mills, along with SCORE, Small Business Development Center and Women’s Business Center volunteers and counselors will host a Young Entrepreneurs session at Southern Maine Community College. Mills, along with the other volunteers, will counsel budding business leaders by providing insight and assistance based on their knowledge and past experiences.

9:00am EDT
Southern Maine Community College
Peter A. McKernan Hospitality Center
2 Fort Road
South Portland, ME

Tuesday, June 23rd

Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Sebelius will participate in the “Reach Out and Read” program and read to children at a local health center in the DC metro area. Details are forthcoming.

Office of Personnel Management
Director John Berry will visit Food For Others food distribution center to kick off the ‘Feds Feed Families’ food drive that federal employees will participate in throughout the summer.

12:00pm EDT
Food For Others
2938 Prosperity Avenue
Merrifield, VA

Thursday, June 25th

Department of Treasury
Secretary Geithner will participate in a community service project in Washington, DC. Details are forthcoming.

Monday, June 29th

United States Department of Agriculture
Secretary Vilsack will work with the Summer Food Service Program in Chicago to help prepare and distribute free, nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas who are enrolled in the program. The Summer Food Service Program is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the USDA.

11:45am CDT
St. Agatha Family Empowerment Center
Chicago, IL

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