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WASHINGTON - In his latest tribute to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, President Obama headlined an event last night promoting an institute being built in Boston in Kennedy’s name.
The event at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., was for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. “In keeping with Senator Kennedy’s lifetime of public service, a major goal of the Institute will be to improve civic education in the nation and educate and inspire a new generation of active citizens and legislators,’’ a White House statement said.
Besides Obama, who also delivered the final eulogy at Kennedy’s funeral, other invited guests included the senator’s niece Caroline Kennedy, movie producer J.J. Abrams, and ABC News anchor Charles Gibson.
The institute is to be built next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Columbia Point. Senator John F. Kerry inserted a controversial $20 million earmark for the institute into the nearly $630 billion defense appropriations bill that is before the Senate.
Obama spoke from the top of a large mound of dirt and gravel at the Fairfax County Parkway Extension highway project, Virginia’s largest stimulus-funded project. Obama first visited the site in February, when work was just beginning, and said the progress that has been made since then is just one example of the work that is being done to turn the economy around.
The site is one of 8,000 road and bridge projects approved under the $787 billion economic stimulus bill Obama signed just after taking office. Construction is under way on nearly 5,000 of those projects. Obama said many are coming in 10 percent to 20 percent under budget, which will allow the government to invest in more projects.
Although some businesses have credited the stimulus bill with preventing layoffs, the national unemployment rate stands at 9.8 percent. Many economists have said unemployment could continue to rise.
US District Judge Clay D. Land issued a scathing 43-page order on Tuesday saying that California lawyer and dentist Orly Taitz filed “frivolous’’ litigation and attempted to misuse the federal courts to push a political agenda.
Taitz, a leader of the so-called birther movement, sued in Georgia federal court on behalf of Army Captain Connie Rhodes, who sought to avoid deployment to Iraq by contending that Obama wasn’t born in the United States and that he was “an illegal usurper, unlawful pretender, and unqualified impostor.’’
Documents show the president was born in Hawaii.
Land, appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush, had already dismissed the lawsuit, but Taitz continued filing motions. He said he fined her $20,000 “as a deterrent to prevent future misconduct and to protect the integrity of the court.’’
Taitz told The Daily Report in Columbus that Land’s order is “an absolute outrage.’’
“All I can say is that this order is issued with a goal to intimidate me, harass me, and retaliate against me for bringing a legitimate action on behalf of my client,’’ she said.