Obama receives the presidential daily briefing.
Obama meets with senior advisers.
White House press briefing. LIVE STREAM
Obama and Biden meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Michelle and I were inspired by the service and life story of former Army Corporal Frank W. Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I and the oldest known World War I era veteran in the world, who passed away yesterday at the age of 110. A decorated soldier in the Great War, he also survived more than three years in Japanese prisoner of war camps during the Second World War.
Frank Buckles lived the American Century. Like so many veterans, he returned home, continued his education, began a career, and along with his late wife Audrey, raised their daughter Susannah. And just as Frank continued to serve America until his passing, as the Honorary Chairman of the World War I Memorial Foundation, our nation has a sacred obligation to always serve our veterans and their families as well as they’ve served us. We join Susannah and all those who knew and loved her father in celebrating a remarkable life that reminds us of the true meaning of patriotism and our obligations to each other as Americans.
A readout from the White House:
The President spoke with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada today and underscored their common purpose in responding to the situation in Libya. They agreed on the need to deter additional acts of violence by the Qadhafi regime, protect those who might be the targets of such violence, establish accountability for human rights violations, and provide humanitarian assistance to those in need. The President expressed appreciation for Canada’s joining the United States in imposing tough unilateral sanctions against the Libyan government. The leaders agreed to coordinate closely in expanding the humanitarian effort in cooperation with the United Nations and other partners, and in consideration of other options should they become necessary. The Leaders also expressed a commitment to work together to help Egypt and Tunisia achieve successful, peaceful democratic transitions, and to work with other countries in the region to achieve meaningful reform.
Obama toasts governors over for dinner at the White House:
Sunday, February 27, 2011
The AP has a story today on the U.S. government's history of doing medical experiments on the vulnerable, incarcerated and others. Ethics shouldn't be such a moving target:
Shocking as it may seem, U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital.
Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission. The meeting was triggered by the government's apology last fall for federal doctors infecting prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala with syphilis 65 years ago. Read all of it
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Taking down the madman in Libya is taking longer than expected. In Libya, you can't say the word "taxi." Richard Engel on the cult of the madman:
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Economic policies favor the rich and it's easy to get richer when you already have money. Wall Street doled out $21 BILLION in bonuses in 2010, the fifth highest ever, despite a sluggish economy.
But we can't solely blame the super rich for getting rich off the backs of the working and middle class. The working class and the middle class have long bought into the idea that we can be super rich too! We have aspired to riches and plunged ourselves deep into debt to appear somewhat rich. We bought houses we couldn't afford because we thought we were entitled. Then we used them like an ATM machine to buy other stuff. Keeping up with the Joneses has long been part of the American culture. Retailers, marketers and sellers of material goodies call us "aspirational." Folks who sell stuff love the aspirational because up until the Great Recession, the aspirational allowed the rich to buy that third vacation home and that luxury yacht. The best thing we can do for ourselves is get out of debt and then live within our means.
Thomas Friedman has a good idea, though it seems politically impossible:
No one is rooting harder for the democracy movements in the Arab world to succeed than I am. But even if things go well, this will be a long and rocky road. The smart thing for us to do right now is to impose a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax, to be phased in at 5 cents a month beginning in 2012, with all the money going to pay down the deficit. Legislating a higher energy price today that takes effect in the future, notes the Princeton economist Alan Blinder, would trigger a shift in buying and investment well before the tax kicks in. With one little gasoline tax, we can make ourselves more economically and strategically secure, help sell more Chevy Volts and free ourselves to openly push for democratic values in the Middle East without worrying anymore that it will harm our oil interests. Yes, it will mean higher gas prices, but prices are going up anyway, folks. Let’s capture some it for ourselves. NYT
I hope Americans finally come to understand that our foreign policy has kept a whole region down only because we want -- need -- cheap gas. Even our relationship with Israel seems to be oil related. We support tyrants, who mistreat their own people, if they're nice to Israel. All so we can have cheap gas. In reality we probably have had no other choice. But now we do. We should view higher gas prices as Karma -- what goes around comes around.
Libya's tyrant is blaming Al Qaeda for the uprising, which is a really good try. I listen to this guy and I hear someone who has psychological problems. This guy suffers paranoia and delusions:
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Obama says the nations of the world have to speak with one voice to condemn the violence in Libya. Obama says the "full range of options" are being prepared to respond to the crisis in Libya. Hillary Clinton will travel to Geneva Monday for Libya talks.
Obama: The change that is taking place in the region is being driven by the people of the region. It represents the aspirations of the people who are seeking a better life.
On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand and to the families and friends of the victims in Christchurch, which has suffered its second major earthquake in just six months. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those whose lives have been touched by this tragedy, especially as they search for their loved ones and work to recover from this disaster. The United States is a close friend and partner of New Zealand, as evidenced by the meeting of the U.S.-New Zealand Partnership Forum that was underway in Christchurch when the earthquake struck. To assist in the rescue and recovery efforts, we have agreed to deploy a U.S. Agency for International Development Disaster Assistance Response Team, including an Urban Search and Rescue Team, and we stand ready to provide more assistance as needed. As our New Zealand friends move forward, may they find some comfort and strength in knowing that they will have the enduring friendship and support of many partners around the world, including the United States.Christchruch was hit with a 6.3 earthquake, killing at least 75 people:
Great news from the Dept. of Justice:
In a major reversal, the Obama administration has notified Congress that it will no longer defend the federal law that says marriage can exist only between a man and a woman.The Department of Justice's statement:
Attorney General Eric Holder says he has recommended, and the president has agreed, that the law unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples who are legally married but whose status is not recognized by the federal government. Read the rest at msnbc
Statement of the Attorney General on Litigation Involving the Defense of Marriage ActJay Carney on how the Obama administration decided to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act:
WASHINGTON – The Attorney General made the following statement today about the Department’s course of action in two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman:
In the two years since this Administration took office, the Department of Justice has defended Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act on several occasions in federal court. Each of those cases evaluating Section 3 was considered in jurisdictions in which binding circuit court precedents hold that laws singling out people based on sexual orientation, as DOMA does, are constitutional if there is a rational basis for their enactment. While the President opposes DOMA and believes it should be repealed, the Department has defended it in court because we were able to advance reasonable arguments under that rational basis standard.
Section 3 of DOMA has now been challenged in the Second Circuit, however, which has no established or binding standard for how laws concerning sexual orientation should be treated. In these cases, the Administration faces for the first time the question of whether laws regarding sexual orientation are subject to the more permissive standard of review or whether a more rigorous standard, under which laws targeting minority groups with a history of discrimination are viewed with suspicion by the courts, should apply.
After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.
Consequently, the Department will not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples in the two cases filed in the Second Circuit. We will, however, remain parties to the cases and continue to represent the interests of the United States throughout the litigation. I have informed Members of Congress of this decision, so Members who wish to defend the statute may pursue that option. The Department will also work closely with the courts to ensure that Congress has a full and fair opportunity to participate in pending litigation. Read the rest
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Obama's closing remarks:
Gaddafy is clearly out of touch with reality. He also seems to believe he'll melt in the rain. In a speech today, he's claiming protesters have been given hallucination pills and that they know no better.
Seems Gaddafy needs to die a martyr. Libyans seem to have no other choice but to get rid of him or he'll get rid of them. What I want to know is why he has so many different name spellings? His latest rant: