Friday, July 31, 2009

Michelle Obama Welcomes Home Sailors in Norfolk

Michelle Obama spoke in a very windy Norfolk, Virginia at the Norfolk Naval Station, welcoming home sailors of the Comfort and Eisenhower:

Gibbs Press Briefing July 31

Gibbs does not mention, but Obama's going to need birthday cake on Tuesday.
Some of the week ahead:
Obama will be at Camp David tomorrow until Sun. morning.
Monday: Obama, Biden and Shinseki will mark the post 9-11 GI bill at 10:30 am at George Mason University.
Jimmy Johnson and the Emir of Kuwait will be at the White House.
Wednesday: Elkhart, Indiana, where Obama will announce some recovery act money and discuss the economy.

Romer Speaks on a Jobless Recovery

Christina Romer says experts are forecasting positive GDP growth in the second quarter. But as Obama says, a jobless recovery is not a recovery. Romer says the Obama administration is fighting a jobless recovery (economic improvement without hiring). Romer says they're working 24-7. I believe it. If there's one thing that's for certain, it's that the Obama administration is working their collective butts off.


The numbers:

Republicans to Use Summer Vacation to Derail Health Care

On C-SPAN last night, I watched John Boehner lie and exaggerate about health care reform. You can bet in August, republicans are going to try their hardest to derail reform. But we voted for Obama, which means we voted for health care reform. Now is not the time to fall for republican scare tactics. Tune them out. Make calls or email your Congress people. If you don't know who they are, look them up at the links in my sidebar. This is a little inspiration from Organizing for America:

Progressives are fighting for public option. I'm on the fence on the public option. The nonprofit co-op sounds like an interesting idea to me but I need to know the differences between the two and so far, the media has been useless in explaining how the co-op and the public option are different. Read a bunch of so called experts who are against the co-op here.

See part 2 and 3.

Obama Speaks on GDP

Obama says the stimulus put the brakes on the recession. The monthly jobs report next week is likely to show that we're still losing jobs and Obama reiterates we won't have recovery until jobs return. Obama said Congress is looking to use some recovery act funding to keep the Cash for Clunkers program going:

Obama Meets With President Arroyo of the Philippines

Popular Cash For Clunkers Not Suspended

The program that allows people to trade in their car for $3,500 or $4,500 discount on a new car may have run out of money in its first weekend. But contrary to media reports, it hasn't been suspended and it could be extended:

On cash for clunkers, Gibbs says the administration is working to find and develop ways to continue funding the program. Right now, he says, the program is "up and continuing to run."

"We feel confident that we'll have a solution...and that the program continues," he says.

For those wishing to buy a car this weekend, Gibbs continues, "the program will be in place." Politico
Yesterday republican Pete Hoekstra twittered that he was impressed with the program, so there will likely be republican support to continue the program.
Update, Obama's statement on the House approving more funds:
"I want to thank leaders in the House of Representatives for working quickly and in a bipartisan way to pass legislation that will use Recovery Act funds to keep 'Cash for Clunkers' going. This program has been an overwhelming success, allowing consumers to trade in their less fuel efficient cars for a credit to buy more fuel efficient new models. It has given consumers a much needed break, provided the American auto industry an important boost, and is achieving environmental benefits well beyond what was originally anticipated. The program has proven to be a successful part of our economic recovery and will help lessen our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of the air we breathe. I urge the Senate to act with the American consumers in mind to pass this important legislation."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sebelius Discusses H1N1 Vaccine Concerns

Gibbs Press Briefing July 30

Here's where I agree with Sarah Palin--the media. I think they do an average job. They're pulled to controversy much too easily and they don't cover enough of the stuff that matters to everyone. I wouldn't, however, blame the media for Palin's demise. The media simply highlighted her weaknesses. It wasn't Katie's fault that Palin didn't know foreign policy.
It would be really cool if some media outlet combed through the various healthcare bills and did some honest analysis. What we need more of is not the back and forth, not the politics, but information that's going to help us make up our minds.

Justin Barrett Apologizes for His Sick Remarks About Gates

Justin Barrett can't say "I'm not a racist." Only a racist would say those kinds of things. I think he's trying to keep his job, since he has his attorney with him. What's up with that? But I hope that he's learned something, if only to bite his tongue when he feels like he's going to say or write something stupid.

Gates and Crowley's Statement Post Beer

Awwww. We may not have learned anything, but it looks like they did. Gates and Crowley have planned a second meeting.
Gates:

Crowley:

"Beer Summit" in 40 Seconds or Less


Well, the "beer summit" was hilarious. The press snapped photos as fast as they could before being tossed. I think it was under 1 minute. Surprise, Joe was there. Remember him? He's the vice president. Obama and Joe had their jackets off and Crowley and Gates were jacketed. There they were. For a matter of seconds. Next up: Speculation until the cows come home.
Obama warned that it wasn't a beer summit:

Video too!

Obama Visits Elkhart Indiana Aug. 5

Update Aug. 5: Obama's speech in Wakarusa here.
Update Aug. 4: Obama will speak in Wakarusa at Monaco RV at 11:55 am eastern. This is likely to be live streamed at cnn.com and msnbc.com.
Update July 31: Robert Gibbs says Obama will announce some recovery act money and discuss the economy.
President Barack Obama will be in the Elkhart area on Wednesday, a White House official confirmed today.

No other details of the president’s visit are available at this time, the official told The Elkhart Truth.

The visit will be the president’s fifth trip to the area in the last 15 months.

Obama first came to Elkhart in April 2008, two days before the Indiana primary, canvassing through the city's Bank Street neighborhood. He held two town hall-style meetings at Concord High School, once in August as the Democratic presidential nominee and once in February as the 44th president. The February event was his first major trip outside of Washington since he was inaugurated. Elkhart Truth

Media Protests Not Being Able to Cover Beer Summit

Jake Tapper has a self important moment in this video. What the media really wants is to be in on the summit, to hear the conversation, otherwise, they say, it's not a "teachable moment." They're only getting 40 seconds to take a photograph.
Good grief. This has all been blown so far out of proportion as far as stupid coverage. Then tomorrow I'm sure we'll have exclusive interviews of Gates and Crowley talking about their conversation with Obama, or speculation on what they talked about. What about health care? Why doesn't some media outfit analyze and give us bullet points on the various health reform bills in committee. Huh? What about that? Let's get back to that.

2009 Medal of Freedom Recipients Include Hawking and Milk

Update Aug. 12: See video of the presentation here.
The awards will be presented on August 12. Here is a little bit about this year’s recipients:
Nancy Goodman Brinker is the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s leading breast cancer grassroots organization.

Pedro José Greer, Jr. is the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Florida International University School of Medicine. He is also the founder of Camillus Health Concern, an agency that provides medical care to over 10,000 homeless and low-income patients each year in Miami.

Stephen Hawking is an internationally-recognized theoretical physicist, and is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.

Jack Kemp was a U.S. Congressman, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Republican Nominee for Vice President in 1996. He died in May, 2009

Sen. Edward Kennedy is one of the longest-serving and greatest Senators of all time. He has worked tirelessly for health care reform over the last five decades.

Billie Jean King is known for winning the famous "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, and championing gender equality issues not only in sports, but in all aspects of life.

Rev. Joseph Lowery has been a leader of the civil rights movement since the 1950s, and co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King.

Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow is the last living Plains Indian war chief, and author of works on Native American history and culture who has served as an inspiration to young Native Americans across the country.

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official from a major city in the United States. He was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, and encouraged LGBT citizens to live their lives openly.

Sandra Day O’Connor was a Supreme Court Justice from 1981 until her retirement in 2006. She was the first woman ever to sit on the Supreme Court, and has received numerous awards for her outstanding achievements.

Sidney Poitier is an actor known for breaking racial barriers. He is the first African American to be nominated and win a Best Actor Academy Award.

Chita Rivera is an actress, singer and dancer, who has broken barriers and inspired a generation of women. In 2002, she was the first Hispanic to receive the Kennedy Center Honor.

Mary Robinson was the first female President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Since 2002, she has been the President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative.

Janet Davison Rowley, M.D., is the Blum Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. She discovered the first consistent chromosome translocation in a human cancer.

Desmond Tutu is widely regarded as "South Africa’s moral conscience," and was a leading anti-apartheid activist in South Africa.

Muhammad Yunus is a global leader in anti-poverty efforts, and pioneered the use of "micro-loans" to provide credit to poor individuals. More at WH.

Judge Orders Release of Gitmo Detainee

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle today ordered the release of Mohammed Jawad, a young Guantanamo detainee who has spent six and a half years at the U.S. detention facility in Cuba. He was accused of wounding two U.S. soldiers and their interpreter by throwing a grenade at their jeep in Afghanistan.

Jawad could be released by late August. Government attorneys said in court filings Wednesday that they were prepared to release him, but they didn't specify where he would go next.

“This is good news for Jawad but it's not nearly the end of his story,” writes CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent Andrew Cohen. The government could still decide to transfer him to civilian custody and then prosecute him for terror-related crimes, Cohen reports.
This is a serious injustice. Jawad was a boy when he was caught. No wonder Gitmo has been so successful for terrorist recruiting:
"This guy has been there seven years," she said at the hearing July 16. "Seven years. He might have been taken there at the age of maybe 12, 13, 14, 15 years old. I don't know what he is doing there."

Jawad's attorneys say he was only about 12 years old when he was arrested in December 2002, although there aren't records of his birth in a refugee camp in Pakistan so his age is unclear. The Pentagon says a bone scan shows Jawad was older, about 17, when he was arrested. Read the whole thing at CBS

It's Beer Day

I wish Obama had added Lucia Whalen to the guest list for the beer summit at the White House tonight at 6 pm. Whalen, the caller, was hurt, perhaps the most. She was trying to do the right thing but her words were distorted. Bob Schieffer points out the biggest lesson is that in prickly situations, people should bite their tongue. I don't know if anyone's ready to learn anything about improving relations among the races, or stopping racial profiling. I think what we've learned is that there is a lot of racism out there and it's perpetuated in our media:

No apologies are expected to be made. Isn't that nice. Working class whites now dislike Obama even more.

Police officer Justin Barrett inserted himself into the debate by making a fool of himself and proving that SOME cops aren't worthy of a badge:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Betsy McCaughey to Old People: Obama is Trying to Kill You

Now we have the "deathers!" What fun!
A relative recently informed me that healthcare reform is bad and Obama is bad, citing Betsy McCaughey, who it turns out is funded by the Pharma companies. This must be why a woman asked Obama at the town hall today if the government was going to make end of life decisions for her.
People who believe such nonsensical things fall into three camps: ignorant or racist or both.

More stupidity from Michael Steele. I can't stand this guy. Steele's problem is he's too obvious.

First Family Summer Vacation at Martha's Vineyard


Obama in Kroger: Tired of Senior Scare Tactics

Full video

Obama's small village in tow:

Maureen Dowd: Palin is the Best Story Ever

Sarah Palin hates the media but if it weren't for the media, no one would care about Palin.
It's only the media that continues to float her as a presidential candidate. If she becomes a candidate, it will be because of the media. It's as if Sarah and the media have this bitter love affair going on that we get to witness. They're always going at each other in public.
Maureen Dowd, who has an interesting column in the NYT that contrasts Palin and Hillary Clinton, explains why the media continues to cover her:

Boston Police Officer Slurs Gates in Racist Email

Are we all a bunch of fools or what? This incident has taken so many twists and turns, all for the worse. Today, an emotional Lucia Whalen, who made the 911 call, defends herself. Sgt Crowley got the details wrong and now a Boston police officer, Justin Barrett, uses a racial slur against Henry Gates in an email. It's becoming apparent that we have more than a problem with race in this country. We have serious problems with rational thinking skills:

Glenn Beck Gets Way Too Much of Our Attention

Glenn Beck is a Know-nothing nobody who continues to be propped up because he's entertainingly stupid. Sure, there are people who actually believe his schtick, but most people watch him to laugh at him, which they shouldn't because he's a boil on society. If anyone cared to stop this fool from saying stupid things, they'd simply stop watching.

Obama: Nobody is Talking Government Takeover of Healthcare

Obama continues his mission to dispel rumors on healthcare reform at a town hall in Raleigh NC:


House moving on a health care bill:

Blue Dogs Say Compromise Reached on Healthcare

While Obama was speaking at a town hall in North Carolina, blue dogs say a deal has been reached (public option included), committee vote by Friday and full House vote after August recess. Of course, this doesn't make the left happy. They've more or less demonized the blue dogs, but apparently, they've helped bring more costs down.

Update, Obama's statement:

"I want to thank the members of both the Senate and House of Representatives for continuing their work on health reform to provide more stability and security for Americans who have insurance, and quality, affordable coverage for those who don't. I’m especially grateful that so many members, including some Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee, are working so hard to find common ground. Those efforts are extraordinarily constructive in strengthening this legislation and bringing down its cost."

Obama Needs to Add One More To Beer at the White House

This incident is sad the whole way around.
It shows what kind of ripples incidents like these have on individuals, families, communities and the nation. People took sides either for or against Gates or Crowley, without considering nuances, and demonized the other. These days it's so easy to tear people apart on the Internet and in the media. Judging from the 9-11 call, she is NOT a racist. Looks like Obama needs to add one more to the gathering over beer.

The woman whose 911 call led to the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. spoke publicly for the first time about the case Wednesday, contradicting the arresting police officer on a key point and saying she was unfairly labeled a racist.

A police report said the caller described the possible burglars as "two black males with backpacks" — leading some commentators to vilify the caller as racist since it turned out Gates was entering his own home.

But the 911 recording released by police showed that Lucia Whalen never said two black men were involved. She did not describe their race, acknowledged they might just be having a hard time with the door and said she saw two suitcases on the porch. MSNBC

Obama Town Hall in Raleigh North Carolina July 29



Update: While Obama was holding the town hall, blue dogs say they've reached a compromise:

Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, speaking for the Blue Dog Democrats, said the agreement calls for the House Energy and Commerce Committee to begin debating the bill later Wednesday, but for no vote by the full House until after the upcoming August recess.

Ross and the Blue Dogs had threatened to derail the bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee because of concerns that it costs too much and failed to address systemic problems in the nation's ailing health care industry.

The Blue Dogs had presented committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman a list of 10 items that they wanted changed in health care reform proposals. Neither side revealed what the 10 items were. CNN

Obama is holding a town hall in Raleigh, NC. Live streaming at cnn.com or msnbc.com. I'll post video when it's up. Later, at 4 pm., Obama will be in Bristol, talking about health care at a Kroger supermarket.
Politico is live blogging:
The second third of the stimulus, Obama says, is for emergency health insurance, unemployment and other aid to state and local governments. And the last installment is for "short-term and long-term investments that are putting people back to work and building a stronger economy for the future." (12:24 p.m.)
Ticking off stimulus projects in North Carolina -- "water treatment plants are being renovated throughout the Triangle" -- Obama mocks stimulus critics who say money's being spent too slowly.
"I can't help but remember that those same critics contributed to the $1.3 trillion deficit that I inherited when I took office," Obama says. He goes off script: "I mean, seriously. I'm now president, so I'm responsible for solving it...You hand me a $1.3 trillion bill and you're complaining six months later because we haven't paid it all back."
Really going off on Bush-era excesses: "These are the same folks who are complaining about, we can't pay for health care. You passed a prescription drug benefit, didn't pay for it...handed the bill to me." (12:28 p.m.)
Another hit: "These folks need to stop scaring everybody. Nobody is talking about you forcing to change your plans."
Launching into his sales pitch for insurance reform, Obama receives roaring cheers with his pledge to stop denials of coverage due to pre-existing conditions. (12:32 p.m.)
People are really uniformed about healthcare. Obama says he gets letters that say they're worried he's going to take Medicare away yet they don't want government-run healthcare. The irony, of course, is that Medicare/Medicaid are government run. Obama wants to take the costs out of those systems, so that it's cheaper and more people can use it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gibbs Press Briefing July 28

Beer at the White House picnic table: 6 pm. Sometimes, the media asks smart questions. Sometimes not. This is a not day:

Colin Powell Racially Profiled Many Times

"There is no African-American in this county who has not been exposed to this kind of situation," Powell said. "Do you get angry? Yes. Do you manifest that anger? Do you protest? Do you try to get things fixed? But it's the better course of action to try and take it easy and don't let your anger make the current situation worse."

The former secretary of state said he has been racially profiled "many times," including an incident that took place while he was the national security adviser to President Reagan.

"Nobody thought I could possibly be the national security adviser to the president, I was just a black guy at Reagan National Airport," Powell said. "And it was only when I went to the counter and said, 'Is my guest here waiting for me?' that someone said, 'Oh, you're General Powell.' It was inconceivable to him that a black guy could be the national security adviser." CNN
On Palin:
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, he said, is a "fascinating figure ... you have got to hand it to her." Palin transferred power to Gov. Sean Parnell on Sunday.

He repeated his assessment that the former Republican vice presidential candidate had not been ready for the Oval Office last fall, but said she was worth watching.

"Apparently, she is going to re-enter public life ... . We will have to see what her plans are," he said Tuesday. "I don't know if she is doing all of this for political purposes or just to start a new life in the wonderful world of speaking. And we will all be watching with great interest."
Powell says republicans afraid are of Limbaugh.

Powell on Gates:

Michelle Obama Speaks at Caroline Family Practice

Michelle Obama helps open the Caroline Family Practice community health center in Bowling Green, Virginia.

Several Republican Birthers Outed

All these republicans--members of Congress--ought to be ashamed and shunned. Sickos. Nice work by FireDogLake blogger, Mike Stark. Here are some of them: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Aaron Schock, Tim Murphy, Charles Boustany,

New Enemy Body Count Policy in Afghanistan

Militant death tolls distract from helping the Afghan people, according to the new policy:

Grassley Explains His Vote Against Sotomayor

Lindsey Graham was the only republican to vote for Sonia Sotomayor.

AMA Head Says Healthcare Reform Necessary

The problem is healthcare isn't available to everyone, says AMA's Cecil Wilson.

Blue Dog: We Are Going to Pass a Healthcare Bill

"We're not ready to support a bill yet," said Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind., a member of the Blue Dog group, who added: "We'll get there. We are going to pass a health care bill, whether it's now or in the fall remains to be seen."

Without the backing of the 52-member Blue Dogs, it would be difficult for Democratic leaders to pass a bill, especially since no Republican supports the legislation.

"I think there's still a bit of daylight between the positions," said Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D. "I think the bottom line of Blue Dogs has not been met as of this time." MSNBC

Most think Congress lack the ability to draft a decent bill:

DeMint Defends Obama Against Birther Nonsense

Well, Mr. Waterloo's respectability level just went up. Few with any standing are stepping up to put an end to the birther nonsense. Mike Huckabee has, Ann Coulter has. But they don't have clout. Most seem to want to perpetuate it and other republicans seem to believe it.
With that, Jim DeMint needs to mind his language. "Socialist" or "socialism" should not be used because it's over the top and it is birther (racists) code.

"I may have disagreements with [the president] on issues," DeMint told the Huffington Post. "But he is my president, he deserves our respect, and we need forget that nonsense ...

"He is not only a citizen," he added, "he is our president."

It was a small nicety amid an otherwise familiar barnburner DeMint address. Speaking at the Heritage Foundation to promote his new book, "Saving Freedom," the South Carolinian warned that the president was "running wild" on a fast track to socialism. Read more at HP

DeMint explains why he's afraid of a public option:

All Republicans Except One Vote No on Sotomayor

It seems to me that if you're going to vote against someone, you should do it in person. Sonia Sotomayor was approved by the committee: 13 to 6. All of the republicans on the committee voted against her except for Lindsey Graham. Sessions, Hatch, Grassley, Coburn, Kyl, Cornyn voted no.

Obama, Crowley, Gates and Beer at the White House July 30

The date's set: Thursday at the White House. Beer, Crowley, Gates and Obama.
Obama's doing that empathy thing again.
It was wrong for Sgt. Crowley to arrest Gates but it doesn't appear that Crowley was doing so because Gates was black. It's looking like emotions flared on both sides and neither managed to be the bigger person. With a history of cops targeting black people, Gates immediately jumped to the conclusion that Crowley was racist.
But ultimately, it is the cop, the person with authority, who should be able to calm a situation. If Crowley had been more sensitive, he could've calmed Gates down.
I think Obama's trying to say that if both sides are empathetic, flare ups like these don't need to happen.
Sadly, both Crowley and Gates already have been demonized on the Internet. People have already taken up sides, which merely perpetuates racism. Sometimes, both sides are wrong. It will be interesting to see how their meeting plays out.
Colin Powell suggests "Skip" could've kept his cool:

Obama's Virtual AARP Town Hall Live Stream

Obama answered a lot of rumors from people who are afraid their health care is going to get taken away or get worse. A lot of older people are susceptible to email and Internet rumors. Right wingers target older people with fear tactics because they know that older people are vulnerable and easily scared when it comes to health care.
Obama says he got a letter from a woman who said she didn't want government running her healthcare and to leave her Medicare alone! Funny stuff. Some people don't even realize Medicare is a government program.

Today at 1 pm eastern, Obama will hold a virtual town hall with AARP. I'm sure you can guess the topic. Watch it here:
July 29, at 4 pm, Obama will hold another town hall in Bristol, Virginia at a Kroger supermarket.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Obama Town Hall in Bristol Virginia July 29

Update: Watch full video of the town hall here.
Obama will be meeting with grocery store workers at 4 p.m. eastern, Wednesday, July 29. The event should be live streamed at cnn.com or msnbc.com.

BRISTOL, Va. – Midway Street Kroger employees have been working around the clock to get ready for their chance Wednesday to talk with President Barack Obama about health care, which costs their company more than $1 billion per year.

Obama – whose top domestic priority has been a health-care overhaul – is slated to meet at 4 p.m. with the Bristol grocery store’s 87 employees for a town hall-style meeting.

Although no one could say Monday why the Bristol Kroger was chosen as the location for the meeting, it comes as leaders push for progress on health care before lawmakers go home for their August recess. Obama and congressional Democrats are seeking a government health insurance plan that critics say would lead to a federal takeover of the private health insurance marketplace.

On Monday, Kroger employees spruced up the store with a fresh coat of paint on the front awning and freshly scrubbed floors. Many picked up new name tags.

“We want to put our best foot forward,” Kroger Manager Rick Caldwell said, adding that he’s honored the president chose his grocery store to host the event. Read the rest at Tri Cities
Update July 29: This morning on NPR, we get a subtle reminder that racism is alive and kicking. Bristol is in the infamous Appalachia region. Listen:

Obama Speaks on Relations With China

Obama speaks on U.S. China relations at a time when China is concerned about its U.S. investments. Don't they own us now? The U.S. wants China's help with North Korea. This event, held in Washington, is a twice a year event started by the Bush administration, according to Bloomberg.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Geithner co-chair the dialogue. Clinton and Geither's op-ed on China:

When the United States and China established diplomatic relations 30 years ago, it was far from clear what the future would hold. In 1979, China was still emerging from the ruins of the Cultural Revolution and its gross domestic product stood at a mere $176 billion, a fraction of the U.S. total of $2.5 trillion. Even travel and communication between our two great nations presented a challenge: a few unreliable telephone lines and no direct flights connected us. Today China’s GDP tops four trillion dollars, thousands of emails and cellphone calls cross the Pacific Ocean daily, and by next year there will be 249 direct flights per week between the U.S. and China.

To keep up with these changes that affect our citizens and our planet, we need to update our official ties with Beijing. During their first meeting in April, President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao announced a new dialogue as part of the administration’s efforts to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship with Beijing. So this week we will meet together in Washington with two of the highest-ranking officials in the Chinese government, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, to develop a new framework for U.S.-China relations. Many of our cabinet colleagues will join us in this “Strategic and Economic Dialogue,” along with an equally large number of the most senior leaders of the Chinese government. Why are we doing this with China, and what does it mean for Americans?

Simply put, few global problems can be solved by the U.S. or China alone. And few can be solved without the U.S. and China together. The strength of the global economy, the health of the global environment, the stability of fragile states and the solution to nonproliferation challenges turn in large measure on cooperation between the U.S. and China. While our two-day dialogue will break new ground in combining discussions of both economic and foreign policies, we will be building on the efforts of the past seven U.S. administrations and on the existing tapestry of government-to-government exchanges and cooperation in several dozen different areas. Read more at the WSJ
Transcript of Hillary's remarks here.
Read more on this here.
U.S. Trade rep Ron Kirk talks about trade with China:

Obama Welcomes WNBA Detroit Shock-Video

Coulter and Huckabee Say Birthers are Wrong

I typically don't care what Ann Coulter has to say but this is surprising. Huckabee too.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sarah Palin Goodbye Speech

If only it was goodbye.
Palin gets assorted heckling and cheers. She's one strange cookie and she's so subpar as a possible leader that it's absolutely crazy that anyone cares what she's doing. It's as if she speaks in another tongue that only certain people can understand. She never makes any sense. Always talking in some sort of code. To the media she says: "In honor of the American soldier, you quit makin' things up."
She's too rich in fodder, so look forward to the media to continue to prop her up as a possible presidential candidate:

Face the Nation Roundtable on Gates and Race

This is a great video because two people from opposite sides of the political spectrum have a rational discussion. Thank you Bob Schieffer, Kathleen Parker and Michael Eric Dyson. I'm so tired of the dumbed down talk on this issue.

Here is the entire episode with David Axelrod:

Hillary Clinton Talks About Working With Obama

Hillary characterizes her relationship with Obama as open and candid. She says they meet several times a week. They talk about everything and she is the chief foreign policy advisor, but Obama makes the decisions.


Hillary is confident on health care reform. She should know:

Kristol Calls Obama Arrogant

I love the psychology of politics and power, and it's interesting to me that the people who hate Obama, such as Bill Kristol, say that Obama is arrogant. That's the one thing that Obama foes have in common. They all say he's arrogant. But I don't see a stitch of arrogance.
I see a whole lot of humility.
Obama foes seem to have an emotional reaction to Obama. They feel personally affronted. Perhaps Obama's humility and reason diminishes their neocon caveman style of power. OR, it could be a racial thing. Perhaps they're personally insulted that a black man could have so much power. It could be a combination of the two.
Funny, I see Kristol as arrogant, which is a mask for his insecurity:

North Korea Personally Insults Hillary Clinton

They say she looks like a primary school girl.
Foreign relations with a country like North Korea, which seems to be stunted as far as progressing forward, must be like dealing with an immature person, someone such as Rush Limbaugh. You can't engage on their level, in an exchange of insults, but somehow, you have to find a way to deal with them because they continue to act out.

Hillary: The Right Woman Can Win Presidency

Hillary Clinton would've gotten my vote if she wasn't up against Barack Obama. Hillary was the right woman at the wrong time. Aaaaack, Sarah Palin is the wrong woman. Period.


Entire show:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pelosi Confident on Health Care Bill

I'm not the biggest fan of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but she's one of the few backing up Obama. I'm tired of seeing the democrats vying for power among themselves.
CNN's John King interviewed Nancy Pelosi for State of the Union, which will air tomorrow.

“It’s the Speaker’s job sometimes,” King told Pelosi, “to referee disputes within the family. Are you worried your family is coming apart on this and that you might not have the votes on the floor?”

“Absolutely, positively not,” Pelosi responded. “When I take this bill to the floor, it will win.”

Pelosi also weighed in on the recent controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Junior, calling it “an unfortunate incident.”

She said, “With all due respect to the police officer involved, and the professor, who was affected by it, it didn’t turn out the way it should have.”

Pelosi also refused to be critical of President Obama who initially said during a primetime press conference Wednesday that the police who arrested Gates had “acted stupidly.”

“I think that the president of the United States has great respect for those who — public safety is our first responsibility as elected officials, public safety and the national security of our country,” Pelosi said of Obama. “Nobody carries that burden greater — in a greater way than the president of the United States,” the Speaker added. Read the whole thing at CNN

Moyers' Must See Video on Health Care Reform


Bill Moyers and guests present the left's view on health reform. The right's view is simply to kill health care reform. Then there are the special interests, which aren't interested in a public option. All sides are dug in. If Obama manages to rally the democrats to come up with a decent plan, it will surely be an amazing feat.

North Korea Ready To Talk One on One

CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk reports that, according to Ambassador Sin, Pyongyang is prepared to negotiate directly with Washington about Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program: "We are ready, any time," he said.

But the Obama administration has stuck to the framework of the six-party talks. Those negotiations, involving the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the U.S., have been unhinged several times, with Pyongyang returning to the development of its nuclear program and the testing of ballistic missiles.

For North Korea, those negotiations will not restart.

"We have already made our position very clear," Ambassador Sin told CBS. "The six-party talks are gone forever. We will never participate in the six-party talks again. Never again."
Read the whole thing at CBS News
Why no more 6 party talks?
North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Sin, offered Pyongyang's explanation. "We have proceeded very well about denuclearization on our side with what we have agreed upon in the six-party talks, but we were cheated. We were cheated, simply I say, by other parties. The other parties of the six-party talks did not implement what they have agreed, what they promised in the six-party talks. So we do not trust them."
Why they seek nukes?
The most ominous comment, however, was perhaps the explanation of why the North pursues their nuclear program. "We are always exposed to the nuclear threat of the U.S.," Ambassador Sin said. "Japan and South Korea are under the protection of the nuclear umbrella by the United States. And our neighboring countries are all-powerful with nuclear weapons. There is only one country – DPRK – with nuclear vacancy in the region. We are defenseless, so it is our last option – to possess the nuclear deterrent."

Top 10 Things Overheard at Palin's Farewell

Sarah Palin is still accepting political donations. Unfortunately, that means she'll have to spend it. Pick a name for Palin's new party here. I betcha she runs for president as a third party. I don't think she expects to win or even wants to win (she couldn't even hack the media glare as governor), she just wants to do what she wants to do and the media is going along for the ride.

Brain Dead Neurosurgeon Apologizes for Racist Obama Photo

Neurosurgeon David McKalip thought it was funny to be racist. My, my, we have such a long way to go. Sometimes, when smart professional people do really stupid things like this, I start thinking that maybe America just wasn't ready for a black president.

Political Brawling Fun For Everyone!

I don't know why but this video made me laugh like a turkey. Notice the lack of women.

Obama Talks Small Business Health Insurance

"This is unsustainable, it’s unacceptable, and it’s going to change when I sign health insurance reform into law." WHEN.

Transcript Read more about health insurance for small businesses here and here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gibbs Press Briefing July 24

If you've already seen the video of Obama talking about his call to Sgt. Crowley, you can buzz past that. Obama popped in at the beginning of Gibbs' press briefing and then Gibbs takes over:

Obamas Attend Marine Corps Band Parade


About the parade:

A one hour and fifteen minute performance of music and precision marching, the Evening Parade features "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, "The Commandant's Own" The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marine Corps Color Guard, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, Ceremonial Marchers, and LCpl. Chesty XIII, the official mascot of Marine Barracks Washington.

The ceremony starts at 8:45 p.m., beginning with a concert by the United States Marine Band. The Evening Parade, held every Friday evening during the summer, has become a universal symbol of the professionalism, discipline, and Esprit de Corps of the United States Marines.
.............
The "Oldest Post of the Corps," was established in 1801, and has performed military reviews and ceremonies since its founding. The present-day Evening Parade was first conducted on July 5, 1957.

The presidential inaugurations and specific occasions prompted the parades and ceremonies conducted at the Barracks during the early 1900s. The traditional reveille and morning muster parades were conducted with varying frequency at the post, and they eventually resulted in more formalized ceremonies. In 1934, when MajGen. John H. Russell, Jr. was the 16th Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Barracks initiated its first season of regularly scheduled weekly parades. The parades were conducted in the late afternoon, usually on Mondays or Thursdays and varied from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The parades were commonly referred to as "Sunset Parades." The ceremonies were conducted from April to November, concluding the week of the Marine Corps Birthday, November 10. Read more here

Caller Asks Gibbs About UFO Disclosure


Gibbs says he hasn't been briefed:

Gibbs talks about Twitter being blocked at the White House:

Obama's Interview on Nightline July 23


I'm not fond of Terry Moran as an interviewer. He reminds me of that creepy Dateline guy, who uses drama for an effect. Moran just sounds silly. But here is the video. transcript.


Despite the so-called "setback," on health care, I think reform will get done. Blue dogs aren't saying they don't want reform. Watch blue dog Loretta Sanchez talk about that here. Perhaps it's a good thing that the blue dogs are so influential because none of the bills in any of the committees sound like they're up to par. If they're going to overhaul health care, they might as well come up with the best possible overhaul. If we could only strap tape across the mouths of the republicans, I think everyone, even republicans, might be happy with the results.

Moran asks Obama about his spirituality being affected by the presidency: "I had a habit of praying every night before I go to be. I pray all the time now."

I think Obama needs a nice vacation at Blue Heron Farm.

CNN Extinguishes Birthers and Dobbs Talking Points

Seems Lou Dobbs was getting a little too fringe. While this may kill the story on CNN, it certainly won't end the story for the Birthers. This will simply give them more food.

TVNewser has learned CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein sent an email to a handful of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" staffers last night regarding the coverage of the so-called birthers and the validity of Pres. Obama's birth in the U.S. TV Newser
The exchange:
----- Original Message -----
From: Klein, Jon (CNN)
Sent: Thu Jul 23 19:00:44 2009
Subject: Important re birth certificate

I asked the political researchers to dig into the question "why couldn't Obama produce the ORIGINAL birth certificate?"

This is what they forwarded. It seems to definitively answer the question. Since the show's mission is for Lou to be the explainer and enlightener, he should be sure to cite this during your segment tonite. And then it seems this story is dead - because anyone who still is not convinced doesn't really have a legitimate beef.

Thx

*****************

*In 2001 - the state of Hawaii Health Department went paperless.*Paper documents were discarded*The official record of Obama's birth is now an official ELECTRONIC record Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the Health Department told the Honolulu Star Bulletin, "At that time, all information for births from 1908 (on) was put into electronic files for consistent reporting," she said.

Michelle Obama Speaks at National Design Awards

"...a laptop, a bridge an outfit..." See the award winners here.

Obama, Gates, Crowley and Beer at the White House

Update: Gates says he'll have a beer. Read what he said at The Root.
This is why I voted for Obama.
His judgement is as solid as it gets. He's always the bigger person. Obama needed to reach out if for one reason only, Crowley was getting hammered with criticism and the media was having a field day or as Obama says, a "media frenzy." Now, the media is effectively defused. This is a teachable moment, Obama said. Obama's unscheduled press conference:

Blue Dog Dems Playing Political Games?

I don't have a problem with the so-called fiscally conservative blue dogs. I'm a fiscal conservative myself. What I oppose is their open criticism of Obama (a democrat (in case they forgot)) and their public struggle for power. Just do the work that we sent you to Congress to do instead of trying to climb the political ladder. It seems to me if everyone wasn't so worried about their political career, they'd get a lot more done. Loretta Sanchez speaks on behalf of blue dogs:

Obama Speaks About Education July 24

Updated with video:

Obama speaks on education at 1:15 p.m. today. It's likely to be live streamed at cnn.com or msnbc.com.
This is probably what he'll be speaking about:

On Friday, Obama will officially announce the "Race to the Top," a competition for $4.35 billion in grants. He wants states to use funds to ease limits on charter schools, tie teacher pay to student achievement and move for the first time toward common academic standards. It is part of a broader effort to improve school achievement with a $100 billion increase in education funding, more money for community colleges and an increase in Pell Grants for college students.

Duncan has used the Race to the Top fund, created through the economic stimulus law, as leverage to drive the president's education agenda in Rhode Island, Tennessee, Colorado and elsewhere. Never has an education secretary been given so much money by Congress with such open-ended authority, according to current and former federal education officials. Margaret Spellings, Duncan's predecessor under George W. Bush, had a tiny fraction of that amount at her disposal.

Obama says stagnating student achievement is part of a "slow-rolling crisis" and represents a threat to the country's economic future. Stark achievement gaps remain for minority and low-income students. In some big cities, fewer than half of high school students graduate on time. The United States trails international competitors in math and science.

Here's a treat. Without using inflammatory words or sounding like a rabid Sarah Palin fan, Newt has something good to say about Obama's education reform plans AND the education secretary Arne Duncan. He also manages to criticize Obama in a civil manner. Hmmmmm. My guess is Newt wants in on this education reform. He also might've felt freer, figuring none of the republican base would be watching C-SPAN.

Rahm: Republicans Charged 2003 Prescription Drug Bill

Rahm Emanuel adds perspective to the health care debate in an interview with NPR this morning:

Fiscally conservative Democrats have also raised concerns about cost, but Emanuel urged the country to take a step back and think about the scale of what Congress is trying to accomplish.

"For 40 years, we've had a debate about health care that was solely about expanding coverage. For the first time, you have the dual goals of controlling costs and expanding coverage," he said.

"We're not just running it up on the credit card, which is how they did the prescription drug bill," he said, referring to the passage of a bill in 2003 under a Republican-controlled Congress that added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

"They charged it, which is a $900 billion charge," he said. "And nobody paid for it."

Emanuel sees giving more power to a commission already in place to advise Congress on how to hold down Medicare spending as key to keeping costs under control. Read the whole thing

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama Over Exposed?


The media is baffled as to why Obama is spending so much time giving interviews. They say he risks over exposure. They say he's "frittering away the novelty of his presence."

Obama's not worried about the novelty of his presence. He's worried about reforming health care (yes, I really do think that and I don't think he'd mind not getting reelected in 2012) and he's concerned that his message keeps getting drowned out by controversies, diversions and distortions, and the republican trolls under the bridge who keep throwing rock after rock. Where is the republican health reform plan? What do they do all day? I only see them whining about everything.
Obama isn't trying to reach the people who are engaged. He's trying to reach the people who are getting misinformation, the people who are being lied to, the people who are getting gossip instead of news. It only took a few months for people to flip on health care, which is probably because they don't understand the process or the goals. The more interviews Obama gives, the more opportunities for people to pick up a factual tidbit along the line. He's trying to communicate by blanketing his message so that more and more people understand.
“I’m really perplexed. It’s unbelievable,” said Karen Hughes, Mr. Bush’s White House counselor. “They’ve taken his greatest political asset — his gifts as a communicator — and totally diluted them. It’s been especially notable in the last couple weeks.”

Some Democrats said Mr. Obama should worry about frittering away the novelty of his presence. “It’s a risk of overexposure,” said Joe Trippi, a political consultant. “If you use it all up on health care, you may not be able to use it on something else. But if you’re going to risk using it all up, this is the one to risk it on.”

Past presidents have been more exclusive in giving exclusives, believing they would have more impact that way. In their first four months, Mr. Clinton gave 11 interviews and Mr. Bush gave 18, compared with 43 by Mr. Obama, according to Martha Joynt Kumar, a presidential communications scholar at Towson State University. That has accelerated in recent days as Mr. Obama popped up in venues ranging from “Anderson Cooper 360” on CNN to “Dr. Nancy” on MSNBC. NYT

First Grandma Marian Robinson Speaks on White House Life

New Clean Energy for America Poster


This is the latest poster by Hope poster designer Shepard Fairey. You can order it here.

Send This Racist Doctor a Friendly Note

David McKalip, a neurosurgeon of all things, sent this photo out to his listserv. I refuse to post it.
According to his website, he cares:

Care Philosophy

Please visit our NEW WEBSITE at www.mckalip.md

Personalized, compassionate care emphasizing patient understanding of all issues and involvement in decision making. State-of-the-art neurosurgical technical care with emphasis on protection of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
This guy shouldn't be doing surgery on anyone's brain because he's an idiot. We need to stop these people from thinking this kind of thing is okay.
Don't be lower than him, don't curse, just tell him in big words what you're thinking: dmckalip@neuro3.net, 727-822-3500

Obama Congratulates Sox Pitcher's Perfect Game


With e-word of Buehrle's perfect game arriving as the president headed for the airport, bound for Chicago and some party fundraisers tonight (including a $30,400 per-couple dinner at the home of Chicago hotel heiress and business executive Penny Pritzker), Obama telephoned Buehrle by cell phone from the limousine The pitcher stepped into Jerry Reinsdorf's office for the president's call.

Buehrle had retired 27 Tampa Bay batters in a 5-0 victory today to claim his place in club history. He was aided by a big catch by Chicago center-fielder Dewayne Wise, who also denied a home run by Tampa's Gabe Kapler.

Obama congratulated Buehrle on his "unbelievable achievement" and suggested that perhaps it helped that Obama had worn a Sox jacket when he threw out the opening albeit short, pitch of the All-Star game the other week. (And a pair of baggy jeans for which the president has taken no end of ribbing.) Read more at the Swamp