Monday, May 31, 2010

Obama and Netanyahu Speak About Flotilla Attack

Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his visit to the White House that was scheduled for tomorrow, after Israel's Navy commandos attacked a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. Israel says it was provoked. There were weapons on board as well. From the White House:
This morning between 10:00 and 10:15 AM CDT, the President spoke by phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He said he understood the Prime Minister's decision to return immediately to Israel to deal with today's events. They agreed to reschedule their meeting at the first opportunity. The President expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today's incident, and concern for the wounded, many of whom are being treated in Israeli hospitals. The President also expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning's tragic events as soon as possible.
Israel released this video:

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Biden Lays Wreath At Arlington National Cemetery 2010

Obama honors soldiers at the Lincoln National Cemetery.
Biden's remarks:

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Marines Memorial Day in Afghanistan:

3 Planes Violate Airspace Over Obama's Chicago Home

Three? That seems like a lot. The pilots were forced to land. I hope it's an offense that comes with a hefty fine.
Pilots ought to know they need to check their airspace.
In the most recent incident -- which was posted on NORAD's Facebook and Twitter pages -- a Cessna 152 flew about two miles into the restricted space about 8:55 p.m. Sunday before two F-15 fighter jets and an HH-65 Dolphin Coast Guard helicopter intercepted the plane and escorted it to the Lewis University Airport in Romeoville.

In another incident Saturday morning, Humphreys said, another Cessna 152 "barely encroached" into the restricted area and was met by a Dolphin helicopter and escorted to Schaumburg Airport. Read it all at Chicago Trib

Obama's Memorial Day Speech 2010

Change of plans. Obama speaks at Andrews Air Force Base:

Obama announces delay because of lightning. Ultimately, the event was canceled. Obama, instead, met with families on the buses. Obama's stopping at the Fisher House to visit with families of wounded soldiers. WestWingReport on Twitter has a preview of what Obama was going to say. I'll post the speech transcript when it's up.

Well, folks, thunder and pouring rain killed live coverage.
It's 12:30 pm eastern and POTUS has arrived. Live streaming of the ceremony here.

Obama participates in a wreath laying ceremony at 12 pm eastern time. He will speak at the Lincoln National Cemetery at 12:45 pm eastern. This is a live audio stream of Obama's speech. You can catch a live video stream at Joe Biden will participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The Obamas head back to D.C. around 5 pm.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jindal and Colin Powell on This Week

Bobby Jindal and Colin Powell were on This Week.
Jindal says what you might expect him to say.
Colin Powell says Obama was on top of the oil spill but he didn't convey that to the American people. I'll buy that.
Obama sends out his cabinet people first. People want to see the president on their TVs. They want to see the president in the disaster area.
The media hammered on the narrative that Obama wasn't visible. Powell says when a disaster happens, the president needs to be highly visible at the start or else the media will fill the void.
Powell also talks about DADT. Jake Tapper shows a 17-year old clip of Powell making the case against gays in the military. Powell says he feels differently now. The country has changed, he said. He says he's in favor of repealing DADT, but he said the opinions of the senior military leadership must be heard.
In part two, he talks about Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and education.

Part 2

This was a great roundtable, all the way around. The only people who don't favor repealing DADT are republicans in office.

Pawlenty Says Economic Recovery Phony

I think most economists would disagree with presidential wannabe Gov. of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty. Given all the positive economic signs out there, he's really going out on a limb.
Pawlenty chatted with David Gregory in Minnesota.
Pawlenty conveniently says the economy will erode again in 2011, post midterm elections.
On the oil disaster, Pawlenty says he wished that Obama assumed accountability earlier. What an absurd statement.
It's also highly ironic that Pawlenty is slamming the Obama administration for not having the technology or the plan to stop the BP oil spill, as if republicans, the party of drill baby drill, in bed with oil for decades, would've overhauled MMS or cracked down on oil companies. Ugh. I hate politics. I don't know how anything gets done in the realm of politics, where everything is phony.
This is the full video:

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Here is the clip where Pawlenty calls the economic recovery phony:

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Gutierrez Vs. Hayward on Immigration

No doubt, America's immigration laws need to be changed, but the main trouble with Arizona's law is the intent behind the law is bigoted. People hate Mexicans. We have racists ruling the immigration debate. Reasonable minds, without a racist motive, need to draw up immigration reform.
If we did just one thing--send employers to jail for hiring illegal workers, you can bet the problem would be solved just like that. We wouldn't have Mexicans risking their lives crossing the border to earn a living because no one would hire them. But the dirty not-so-secret secret is that business wants cheap labor, and like everything else in this nation, business gets what it wants.

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Obama's Statement on Top Kill Failure

Today, I’ve spoken with National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, as well as Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and senior White House advisors John Brennan and Carol Browner regarding the ongoing efforts to stop the BP oil spill. From the beginning, our concern has been that the surest way to stop the flow of oil – the drilling of relief wells – would take several months to complete. So engineers and experts have explored a variety of alternatives to stop the leak now. They had hoped that the top kill approach attempted this week would halt the flow of oil and gas currently escaping from the seafloor. But while we initially received optimistic reports about the procedure, it is now clear that it has not worked. Rear Admiral Mary Landry today directed BP to launch a new procedure whereby the riser pipe will be cut and a containment structure fitted over the leak.

This approach is not without risk and has never been attempted before at this depth. That is why it was not activated until other methods had been exhausted. It will be difficult and will take several days. It is also important to note that while we were hopeful that the top kill would succeed, we were also mindful that there was a significant chance it would not. And we will continue to pursue any and all responsible means of stopping this leak until the completion of the two relief wells currently being drilled.

As I said yesterday, every day that this leak continues is an assault on the people of the Gulf Coast region, their livelihoods, and the natural bounty that belongs to all of us. It is as enraging as it is heartbreaking, and we will not relent until this leak is contained, until the waters and shores are cleaned up, and until the people unjustly victimized by this manmade disaster are made whole.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Obamas Have Barbecue With Neighbors

Check it out here.
At about 4 p.m., President Barack Obama and his family left their house, walking north on Greenwood Avenue. Malia Obama, the president's elder daughter, had Bo on a leash.

Also in the expedition were the president's wife Michelle, younger daughter Sasha, mother-in-law Marian Robinson, brother-in-law Craig Robinson and Craig's wife Kelly, pushing a stroller.

Top Kill Fails Next Up LMRP Cap

The next try at stopping the leak will take four days or longer.

Clean up is going better:

Fish festival goes on:

Obama Tours Beach in Louisiana Video

Watch Obama's speech in Grand Isle here.
If you missed the press conference, you can watch the full video here.
Thad Allen and LaFourche Parish President Charlotte Randolf spoke to the media yesterday after touring Fourchon Beach:

Obama Speaks About Memorial Day in Weekly Address

Obama will speak on Memorial Day at the Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Obama Stands by Gates on Defense Spending

Robert Gates stands by Obama. Gates says that Obama will veto a spending bill that funds unnecessary defense projects. Obama's statement:
As the Congress continues its work on funding bills for the Department of Defense, I want to reiterate my strong support for the reforms Secretary Gates is advancing at the Pentagon. He has kept me fully apprised of his efforts to reform how our military operates and bring needed efficiencies to the Department of Defense. I stand squarely behind Secretary Gates' position on the JSF second engine and C-17 programs. As the Statement of Administration Policy made clear, our military does not want or need these programs being pushed by the Congress, and should Congress ignore this fact, I will veto any such legislation so that it can be returned to me without those provisions.
The House voted to include the jet engine in the defense spending bill. The problem with politicians is they always have a short-term view.

Media Sloppiness on Reporting Oil Disaster Response

Elizabeth Shogren seems to suggest Steven Chu is just a token of trust and that he hasn't been working on the oil leak for long. In fact, Obama asked him to help out BP officials May 10. Right now, Chu's working on contingency plans if top kill doesn't work. I track this stuff daily.
If anyone bothered to read any of the information that's here, here, here, here, and here, they would know that the Obama administration has been very responsive. But reporters have been yappity yapp yapping into absurdity.
Chuck Todd also said tonight that Obama said they are out of boom. Not sure if that is true, since I can't find anything else that backs that up. Obama didn't say that in his remarks today. Perhaps Obama mentioned it off camera.
Here is a timeline of the Obama administration's response to the disaster that begin April 20.

Grand Isle Mayor: Obama Listened

Mayor David Camardelle of Grand Isle gives an emotional account of what went on in the meeting today with Gulf Coast governors, parish presidents, mayors and Obama:

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White House Memo on Sestak

The memo from Robert Bauer, White House Counsel:
SUBJECT: Review of Discussions Relating to Congressman Sestak Recent press reports have reflected questions and speculation about discussions between White House staff and Congressman Joe Sestak in relation to his plans to run for the United States Senate. Our office has reviewed those discussions and claims made about them, focusing in particular on the suggestion that government positions may have been improperly offered to the Congressman to dissuade him from pursuing a Senate candidacy.

We have concluded that allegations of improper conduct rest on factual errors and lack a basis in the law.

Secretary of the Navy. It has been suggested that the Administration may have offered Congressman Sestak the position of Secretary of the Navy in the hope that he would accept the offer and abandon a Senate candidacy. This is false. The President announced his intent to nominate Ray Mabus to be Secretary of the Navy on March 26,2009, over a month before Senator Specter announced that he was becoming a member of the Democratic Party in late April. Mabus was confirmed in May. At no time was Congressman Sestak offered, nor did he seek, the position of Secretary of the Navy.

Uncompensated Advisory Board Options. We found that, as the Congressman has publicly and accurately stated, options for Executive Branch service were raised with him. Efforts were made in June and July of 2009 to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board, which would avoid a divisive Senate primary, allow him to retain his seat in the House, and provide him with an opportunity for additional service to the public in a high-level advisory capacity for which he was highly qualified. The advisory positions discussed with Congressman Sestak, while important to the work of the Administration, would have been uncompensated.

White House staff did not discuss these options with Congressman Sestak. The White House Chief of Staff enlisted the support of former President Clinton who agreed to raise with Congressman Sestak options of service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board. Congressman Sestak declined the suggested alternatives, remaining committed to his Senate candidacy.

Relationship to Senate Campaign. It has been suggested that discussions of alternatives to the Senate campaign were improperly raised with the Congressman. There was no such impropriety. The Democratic Party leadership had a legitimate interest in averting a divisive primary fight and a similarly legitimate concern about the Congressman vacating his seat in the House. By virtue of his career in public service, including distinguished military service, Congressman Sestak was viewed to be highly qualified to hold a range of advisory positions in which he could, while holding his House seat, have additional responsibilities of considerable potential interest to him and value to the Executive Branch.

There have been numerous, reported instances in the past when prior Administrations -- both Democratic and Republican, and motivated by the same goals -- discussed alternative paths to service for qualified individuals also considering campaigns for public office. Such discussions are fully consistent with the relevant law and ethical requirements.

House Passes Unemployment Insurance Extension

The unemployment extension provision was part of a two-pronged bill. Only one republican supported the unemployment extension.
The week of June 7, the Senate will take up the legislation. Some republicans are expected to support the Senate bill. Obama will sign it once Congress is done.
The U.S. House approved legislation to extend unemployment insurance, restore some tax breaks and raise taxes on managers of buyout funds and other investment partnerships.
Lawmakers voted 215-204, largely along party lines, for the legislation costing about $112 billion. The Senate plans to consider the plan during the week of June 7 after lawmakers’ Memorial Day recess.
The plan would continue funding for extended unemployment benefits through Nov. 30 and renew a variety of tax cuts for businesses and individuals. The House also voted 245-171 to give doctors a 19-month reprieve from scheduled cuts in their reimbursements from the Medicare program.
The plan is “one important step forward in getting American families the help they need,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “I ask the Senate for its swift action on this package so I can sign it into law, and I urge Congress to move quickly on additional relief measures.”

DoD Standardizes Videotaping of Detainee Interrogations

Beck Apologizes for Mocking Malia Obama

I don't listen to Glenn Beck. I try not to. But I have on occasion, mostly clips.
To a person who has fresh ears and isn't indoctrinated into his ways, he sounds like a person on the verge of a mental breakdown. I don't find him entertaining, funny, or in any way, informative.
Listening to him only boosts his salary.
He's completely irrational and his rants aren't based in fact. He's almost whimsical, like a cartoon character.
He appears to have the qualities of a cult leader. He's delusional, narcissistic, coercive, manipulative. I imagine many people find him charismatic. He's mentally unstable and yet he's able to lead masses of people, unwittingly, into his delusion.
I always feel sorry for his children. Practicing bigotry and hate is another form of child abuse.
This is his apology for what's in the absurd video below:
In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism, I broke my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates. The children of public figures should be left on the sidelines. It was a stupid mistake and I apologize--and as a dad I should have known better.

Obama Speaks in Grand Isle on BP Oil Spill

Obama Visits Louisiana Beach With Tar Balls - Video

It's 2:52 pm eastern and Obama is about to speak from the gulf. Live stream.

West Wing Week Video May 28

West Wing Week is a rundown of Obama's week, put together by Arun Chaudry, the White House videographer. There are some behind the scenes clips that haven't been seen in the media, such as Obama's chat on the White House basketball court with young Russian basketball players.

Louisiana Wants its Share of Oil Revenues Now

The Times-Picayune has an editorial advocating for its share of oil revenue earlier than 2017.
We can't wait till 2017 for the resources we need to save our imperiled coast. We and other oil-producing coastal states must start getting the 37.5 percent share of oil and gas royalties from new drilling in the Gulf now. Not seven years in the future. Not when it's too late and there's nothing left to save.
Sen. Mary Landrieu has introduced a bill that would speed up the timetable. It would cost the federal treasury $3 billion a year. It's the right and fair thing to do. The decision lies with Congress. President Obama should be our ally-in-chief in the battle to save Louisiana's coast. His administration should work tirelessly on behalf of this legislation. So far, he's been silent.
We have shared only minimally in the wealth that pours into federal coffers, but we bear the risks of oil production. NOLA

Obama Speaks About BP Oil Spill From New Orleans May 28

Update: See video here.

Update May 28: Obama stayed in the gulf longer than scheduled and his podium awaits It's 2:48 pm eastern.
Obama leaves Chicago and arrives in New Orleans at 11:10 am eastern. He'll meet with Govs. Bobby Jindal, Florida's Charlie Crist, Alabama's Bob Riley, and others. Obama will visit a boom beach.
Thad Allen will brief Obama at 1:10 pm and at 1:30 pm, Obama will make a statement. Fingers crossed.
Obama heads back to Chicago at 2:25 pm to spend the weekend with his family--Bo too.
On Monday, Obama speaks at the Lincoln National Cemetery at 12:25 pm eastern.
Tuesday, Obama meets again with Netanyahu.
Wednesday, it's Paul McCartney.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Collins Votes With Democrats to Repeal DADT

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday voted to repeal the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law that bans openly gay people from serving in the military.

The panel voted 16-12 to repeal the law. Sen. Jim Webb (Va.) was the only Democrat to vote against the measure, while Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) was the only Republican to vote for it.
Under the provision, the repeal will not be implemented until the Pentagon finishes its review of how it would impact the military. President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen must first certify it can be achieved consistent with the military’s standards of readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruitment and retention.
The Hill
Obama is pleased:
I have long advocated that we repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’, and I am pleased that both the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee took important bipartisan steps toward repeal tonight. Key to successful repeal will be the ongoing Defense Department review, and as such I am grateful that the amendments offered by Representative Patrick Murphy and Senators Joseph Lieberman and Carl Levin that passed today will ensure that the Department of Defense can complete that comprehensive review that will allow our military and their families the opportunity to inform and shape the implementation process. Our military is made up of the best and bravest men and women in our nation, and my greatest honor is leading them as Commander-in-Chief. This legislation will help make our Armed Forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity.

Obama Speaks at Reception for Jewish Heritage Month Video

This is Obama's last event of the eve before the Obama family left for Chicago. Obama will fly to the Gulf Coast tomorrow.

Obama's Next Problem: Hurricanes

Obama briefed on hurricanes

Obama will soon have one more problem to contend with: Hurricanes. Obama needs to start walking on water--NOW.
Economy, terrorists, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, floods, tornadoes, oil spills. Did I miss anything? What a mess. I'm sorry, but I truly think people are wrong in about the Obama administration's response to the oil disaster. There is no doubt that oil companies have corrupted government. But that didn't just happen during the Obama administration. That's been a long time coming. The big lesson here is business without proper oversight will succumb to greed every time. Every government agency could probably use an overhaul, because the next disaster is looming.
I've just about had it with the republicans. Exactly what will it take for them to actually do something?
I hear people saying why didn't BP try "top kill" sooner? It's because BP has been engineering top kill since the beginning of the disaster and it took that long to get it right. It's a horrible thing that happened. People are angry. But they don't have the facts.
The Obama administration is getting slammed by the media. Once the media buys into a narrative, they all follow each other, and then they're all over a story until it makes you nuts. Their coverage only encourages people to be defensive. MSNBC's biggest hack has a story about Obama being too cool. I will never understand that criticism.
The media holds up James Carville as an example that even democrats are angry. Carville isn't a democrat. He's a Clinton democrat. I've rarely ever heard him have a good word to say about Obama. He's a political machine. He's also really annoying. For me, he's up there with Sarah Palin, Dylan Ratigan and Keith Olbermann. Ick.
Statement by the Press Secretary on the President's Hurricane Preparedness Briefing

“President Obama was briefed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read, as well as five FEMA Regional Administrators adding their local prospective, on the outlook for hurricane season and the Federal government’s efforts to prepare all Federal partners, state and local governments, the private sector and the public for hurricanes and other emergencies.

Early today, NOAA announced it expects an “active to extremely active” hurricane season this year.

Under the President’s direction, the entire Federal family is working together to ensure not only that the Federal government is doing everything to prepare for the coming season, but that the public knows of the critical role they have in making sure they are prepared for storms and other emergencies, to include having up-to-date evacuation plans.

The President stressed that the government must ensure we consider the effects the BP oil spill could have on storms, response capabilities, and recovery efforts in planning for this year’s season but that those considerations do not change the primary mission of emergency management officials during a response, which is to support state efforts to protect lives and property.

In addition, the President urged that Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate continue to be in close contact with Governors, congressional delegations, and emergency managers in hurricane-prone states to ensure they have all the tools and resources needed to prepare for, respond to, and recover from any potential hurricanes.”

For a White House blog post by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on hurricane preparedness, please click HERE

Below is a list of attendees at today’s meeting:
Vice President Joe Biden
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate
NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco
National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan
Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner
Domestic Policy Director Melody Barnes
OMB Director Peter Orzag
Deputy FEMA Administrator Rich Serino
FEMA Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery Bill Carwile
NOAA Director of Marine and Aviation Operations Center Rear Admiral Philip Kenul
Five FEMA Regional Administrators

Gallup: Americans Now Care About Environment

BP's new logo

Apparently, Americans now favor the environment over energy production, which would be nice if it was a long-lasting sentiment. But give it a few months. Americans are fickle and reactive. Polling Americans reflects but a moment in time. But there was an interesting nugget in a recent Gallup poll. Republicans who took part in the poll were steadfast: in March, 62% said energy over environment and in May, 62% said energy first. Only democrats and independents changed their minds. I suppose that's why politicians are always chasing independents.
The new results are based on a May 24-25 USA Today/Gallup poll. In March, by 50% to 43%, Americans said it was more important to develop U.S. energy supplies than to protect the environment, continuing a trend in the direction of energy production seen since 2007. Now, the majority favor environmental protection, by 55% to 39% -- the second-largest percentage (behind the 58% in 2007) favoring the environment in the 10-year history of the question. Gallup

Hillary's Speech on National Security Strategy May 27

Hillary and Jim Jones

View the entire speech here. Clinton says the Obama administration is making the case that defense, diplomacy and development aren't separate entities. They have to be viewed as a whole.

Blumenthal Proves Not All Voters Angry

Apparently, no one gives a hoot that Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal lied. Given the fact that the media keeps telling us voters are outraged with politics as usual, you'd think voters would kick him to the curb. Connecticut-ers are probably a happier bunch of people, who vote for the happier party, the democrats.
About a week after acknowledging he "misspoke" about his military service during the Vietnam era, a new poll released Thursday shows Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal remains popular among Connecticut voters and maintains a double-digit lead in the race.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, conducted May 24-25, shows Blumenthal leading the endorsed Republican Senate candidate, former wrestling executive Linda McMahon, by a 56 percent to 31 percent margin in the race to fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Chris Dodd. msnbc

Obama Welcomes Liberian President Sirleaf

Obama met with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, this morning.

Michelle Obama's Speech at Wayne State University

Michelle Obama spoke on leadership and mentoring at the university May 26. Transcript.

Michelle Obama's remarks on social innovation grants:

Obama Welcomes Duke Basketball Team to the White House

Obama on Sestak Job Offer

I have to admit, I haven't really paid much attention to this issue. It seems to be political hay.
The White House plans to officially answer the lingering question of whether a member of President Barack Obama’s staff tried to get Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) out of the Senate Democratic primary in Pennsylvania by offering him a job in the administration.

Obama said Thursday that he would soon issue “an official response” to the accusation Sestak made months ago during the primary challenge against Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), whom the White House had strongly endorsed. Sestak has continued to stand behind his claim since beating Specter in the election a few weeks ago, and pressure has mounted on the White House to disclose what happened. More at Politico.

Video of Obama's Press Conference on Oil Disaster May 27

I'm with Bernie Sanders on extending a permanent ban on new drilling. Not only that, we need a conservation plan. Americans need to start making some sacrifices. We want everything, yet we don't want to give up anything, which is how we get into so much trouble. We want government to provide services, yet we don't want to be taxed. Banning new drilling will also send the message to oil companies that we're moving on, so ramp up your other lines of business. Then we need a national plan to heavily invest in new energies.
Here's the transcript. Full video:

The list of reporters Obama called on.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Obama's Schedule May 27

Highlighting the day will be the press conference at 12:45 pm eastern.
In the morning, Obama welcomes the Duke basketball team to the White House.
At 11 am eastern, Obama, Biden, and Bill Clinton take a photo with the U.S. World Cup Soccer team.
At 2:05 pm, Obama will get briefed on the 2010 hurricane season.
At 3:10 pm, Obama holds a meeting with the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
At 4:10 pm, The Obamas and Biden host a reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month.
At 6:15 pm, the Obama family leaves for Chicago.
At some point in the day, Hillary and James Jones will speak on the new national security strategy.

Here is a live stream of the press conference, which will be broadcast on your TVs as well.

Brennan's Speech on New National Security Strategy

Obama and Brennan

Obama releases his national security strategy tomorrow, so hold on tight for republican and right wing blather. Obama's strategy advocates cooperation with other nations. His strategy doesn't consider "terrorism" the enemy, but rather al qaeda. Terrorism is a tactic. That's an important distinction that's completely lost on war mongers. Obama's strategy doesn't condemn Islam, but rather al qaeda. Obama's vision of national security brings me great comfort. If there was one reason I'd vote again for Obama, it would be for that reason alone. Hillary and James Jones will speak tomorrow on the new strategy. Here is an excerpt of today's speech by John Brennan, President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
Tomorrow, Secretary of State Clinton and the President’s National Security Advisor, General Jones, will discuss how this strategy will advance our interests around the world.

Today, as the President’s principal advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism, I want to address how this national security strategy is guiding our efforts to secure our homeland by renewing America’s strength, resilience and values.

The President’s strategy is absolutely clear about the threat we face. Our enemy is not “terrorism” because terrorism is but a tactic. Our enemy is not “terror” because terror is a state of mind and as Americans we refuse to live in fear. Nor do we describe our enemy as “jihadists” or “Islamists” because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenant of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.

Indeed, characterizing our adversaries this way would actually be counterproductive. It would play into the false perception that they are religious leaders defending a holy cause, when in fact they are nothing more than murderers, including the murder of thousands upon thousands of Muslims. This is why Muslim leaders around the world have spoken out—forcefully, and often at great risk to their own lives—to reject al Qaeda and violent extremism. And frankly, their condemnations often do not get the recognition they deserve, including from the media.

Moreover, describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie—propagated by al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism—that the United States is somehow at war against Islam. The reality, of course, is that we never have been and will never be at war with Islam. After all, Islam, like so many faiths, is part of America. Read the whole transcript
The strategy will also address the growing numbers of homegrown terrorists:
Indeed, we have seen an increasing number of individuals here in the United States become captivated by extremist ideologies or causes. Somali Americans from Minnesota traveling to fight in Somalia, the five Virginia men who went to Pakistan seeking terrorist training, David Headley, the Chicago man charged with helping to plan the Mumbai attacks, the Pennsylvania woman, Jihad Jane, charged with conspiring to murder a Danish cartoonist. The president’s national security strategy explicitly recognizes the threat to the United States posed by individuals radicalized here at home.

We have seen individuals, including U.S. citizens, armed with their U.S. passports, travel easily to extremist safe havens and return to America, their deadly plans disrupted by coordinated intelligence and law enforcement. Daniel Patrick Boyd of North Carolina, who with others, conspired to murder U.S. military personnel and Najibullah Zazi, who received his instruction in bomb making in Pakistan. Unfortunately, we were unable to thwart Faisal Shahzad, accused of attempting to set off the car bomb in Times Square.

Obama Speaks at Lincoln National Cemetery on Memorial Day

Listen people, I'm talking to you, the ones who believe Glenn Beck or some other erroneous blogger that says the president of the U.S., our POTUS, is going to blow off Memorial Day (the rest of you read the bottom half of the blog).
Think about that.
You done?
Obama is the Commander in Chief. He cares about the troops. He's shown nothing but respect and admiration for the troops. His administration has been revamping the Veterans Administration, under Eric Shinseki. Michelle Obama has made military families a priority. Just search this blog for "michelle Obama."
Don't fall prey to other people's agendas. Don't be manipulated. Stop wasting your time chasing nonsense. It makes our society worse. Let's elevate the conversation, shall we?
It's frustrating because I see one Obama conspiracy a week. It's maddening.
Obama will speak at the Lincoln National Cemetery on Memorial Day at 12:45 pm eastern. Live stream at CBSNEWS. Live audio stream. It's not a second rate cemetery. It is a place where veterans are buried. It has a rich history, given its namesake.
The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery lies in the northwestern area of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, approximately 50 miles south of Chicago. Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery is named after the 16th President of the United States and founder of the National Cemeteries. In the midst of the Civil War, on July 17, 1862 President Lincoln's signature enacted the law authorizing the establishment of national cemeteries "... for the soldiers who die in the service of the country." During the Civil War there were 14 national cemeteries opened pursuant of this legislation. President Lincoln's legacy is especially important to the people of Illinois, where he worked and lived. Lincoln is remembered for his successful law practice and elected service as a resident of Illinois. He served as an Illinois State Assemblyman and an Illinois Representative during the 13th Congress, prior to his election as 16th President of the United States. He is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery near the State Capital in Springfield, Illinois, where many additional sites of historical interest are located. NLC

Obama to Propose Tough Regulations on Oil Rigs

It's so odd to hear so many republicans speak so lovingly of the environment. I never knew they cared so much. It's kind of creepy. Republicans always have an agenda: Power. It's never about anything else.
Obama's set to propose tough new regulations. That ought to get them to shut up.
I'm so sick of democrats, republicans and the media. It's a trifecta of madness. It doesn't allow for integrity. It doesn't promote honesty and it doesn't create an environment where problems can be solved. Everything is for show.

Thad Allen on the Live Oil Leak Video Feed

Thad Allen said BP wasn't going to cut the live feed, but rather its ceo wondered aloud whether it might be wise to do so and someone leaked that to the media. BP was concerned that the remote vehicle operators might feel extra pressure with the feed live. Top kill explained.
I just hope it works.

Hopefully, they're not feeling any pressure because here is a live stream that I'm sure many are watching:

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Obama Holds News Conference May 27

Update May 27: See the video of Obama's remarks here.

Obama will hold a news conference with the press tomorrow. The conference starts at 12:45 pm eastern time. You should be able to catch a live stream everywhere,, and It will be on regular TV as well.
Should be a good one since White House reporters have been complaining about the lack of one on one time with Obama. The so-called "liberal media" has clearly concluded that the government's response to the oil catastrophe has not been good enough. I expect that will be the main line of questioning. The Washington Post actually has five very good questions for Obama. What is clear is that the agency that oversees oil companies is corrupt.
The federal government could probably use an overhaul of all of its agencies because it's just a matter of time before the next one is exposed. It seems that government has been letting business slide for too long.
Thursday, May 28, the Obama family will head to Chicago for Memorial Day weekend.
On Friday, May 29, Obama heads to the gulf.
On Memorial Day, Obama will attend ceremonies at Lincoln National Cemetery.

Libertarians Turn on Rand Paul

The angry people seem to be having a tough time figuring things out.
The Libertarian Party is considering running a candidate in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, saying GOP nominee Rand Paul - the son of a former Libertarian presidential candidate - has betrayed the party's values.

Party Vice Chairman Joshua Koch said Wednesday that Paul has been a black eye for Libertarians because of stands he's taken on issues, including his criticism of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Koch said Paul is not a Libertarian. He called Paul and his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, "faces of the same bad coin." AP

Obama Meeting Again With Netanyahu June 1

Obama and Rahm

Update May 31 via Politico:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled his visit to the White House in the aftermath of the Israeli military's action against a flotilla seeking access to Gaza, the AP reports. White House spokesman Bill Burton said in advance of Netanyahu's decision that the White House was currently "to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy."
The Obama administration is trying to get peace talks back on track. Rahm Emanuel is in Israel, part of a family vacation, and will be meeting with Netanyahu today. Obama met with Netanyahu at the White House on March 24, and apparently, it didn't go so well.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama in Washington Tuesday (June 1),[1] with talks likely to center on the current round of indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians mediated by U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell. [2]

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was expected to meet today (Wednesday) with Netanyahu to deliver the invitation. Emanuel is currently on a private visit to Israel to celebrate the bar mitzvahs of his son and his nephew. Emanuel also is expected to meet tomorrow (Thursday) with Israeli President Shimon Peres to discuss a range of U.S.-Israel concerns.[3][4] The Israel Project

Obama's Remarks at Boxer Fundraisers in San Francisco

Was this the only photo that Getty could get last night? This is a really bad photo. What is it that the photog was trying to say? It just looks awkward.

Obama spoke in California last night at a couple of fundraisers for Barbara Boxer.
CNN has a couple of clips.
Here is the one where Obama speaks about moving our economy to new energies.
Here is another where he's heckled about DADT.
Obama says: "I saw this guy down in LA," referring to the heckler. Obama says the heckler should buy a ticket to see a guy who doesn't support his point of view.

Obama Speaks in Fremont at Solyndra May 26

Rand Paul Does Interview with Right Wing Russia Today

Rand Paul avoids mainstream media, cancels his Meet the Press appearance on Sunday, but managed an interview with the right wing Russia Today:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Top Kill Animation

More on top kill, which has been successful, but unproven at 5,000 feet, at Rigzone.
The top kill effort could start tomorrow, or not, and it could take two days. BP has been prepping for top kill since the beginning.
"We have been designing "top kill" from day one," but it has taken this long to properly design the procedure, said Kent Wells, BP's senior vice president of exploration and production, in a conference call. BP executives previously warned this procedure has never been tried at depths so great, adding there is a 60% to 70% chance of success.

Wells said the vessels and equipment for the procedure are now in place but that "we are in the final states of pressure testing it." This diagnostic testing can take another 12 to 24 hours and if it is deemed safe the actual top-kill procedure will take anywhere from half a day to a couple of days to complete, he said.

The integrated oil company plans to pump heavy drilling mud into the well in the hope that the pressure will cause the well to go "static," said Wells.

This "top-kill" procedure has proven successful around the world "but it hasn't been done at 5,000 feet," he said. WSJ

Obama's Meeting With Italy's Napolitano

Obama and Giorgio Napolitano, President of Italy
From the WH: The two leaders discussed a range of important strategic issues, including Iran, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Middle East peace efforts, counterterrorism efforts, and the global economic recovery. The President also expressed his support for a strong, integrated Europe capable of advancing our shared interests around the world, and for efforts to further strengthen the transatlantic relationship through the NATO Strategic Concept process which will help prepare NATO to address 21st century challenges.

The President expressed his deep appreciation to President Napolitano for Italy’s contributions around the world to promote peace and stability – including significant Italian deployments to Afghanistan, Lebanon, and the Balkans – as well as Italy’s hosting of the 13,000 American service men and women and their families who call Italy home. The President said he looked forward to seeing Prime Minister Berlusconi at the upcoming G8/G20 meetings, and looks forward to furthering the already close cooperation between the United States and Italy in the months and years ahead.

Obama Tells Marv Albert His Bowling is Better Video

Obama Asked Republicans Today for Cooperation

Obama met with Senate republicans today and all he got was an angry Corker. This is from the White House:
The President had a good exchange with the Senate Republican Conference today about priorities for the balance of the year.

He asked for their cooperation in finishing work on measures to help create jobs and improve our economy, including one to help make loans available to small businesses; in ratifying the START treaty that is central to our long-term security and efforts at nuclear non-proliferation; and in confirming Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court in a timely manner, so she can take her seat when the court reconvenes after summer.

The President also urged the conference to work with him to address two major, unresolved issues: comprehensive immigration reform and energy legislation.

On immigration, the President noted that many in the conference have supported efforts before to fix a broken system and impose accountability at our borders, accountability for employers who undercut the law by hiring undocumented workers; and for the workers themselves, who are here illegally and must take responsibility. And he urged them to work with him across party lines to make progress on this issue.

On energy, the President told the conference that the gulf oil disaster should heighten our sense of urgency to hasten the development of new, clean energy sources that will promote energy independence and good-paying American jobs. And he asked that they work with him on the promising proposals currently before Congress.

Obviously, there were continued differences on some of these issues. But, the President believes that direct dialogue is better than posturing, and he was pleased to have the opportunity to share views with the conference.

He will continue to take every opportunity to work constructively with any member of Congress, of either party, to move America forward.
But when republicans crawled out of the meeting more than an hour later, one republican was a wee bit upset. Sen. Bob Corker criticized Obama for using republicans as props. They may as well be useful for something. I think republicans make great props.
A GOP senator ripped into President Barack Obama at a meeting on Capitol Hill Tuesday, telling him he had “audacity” coming in and using Republican lawmakers as "props."

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the Democrats’ partner on Wall Street reform, criticized Obama during a meeting the president requested with the Senate Republican conference to court their support for the remaining initiatives on his agenda.

After the meeting, GOP senators said they appreciated the outreach.

But behind closed doors, the president faced a hostile crowd of angry Republicans, led by Corker.
Obama reacted coolly:
The Republican who witnessed the exchange said Obama offered up a mild response.

“He said he wanted the bill the way it was and just because Corker didn’t get what he wanted he shouldn’t get so mad,” said the source. Read what else republicans had to say at The Hill
A grownup saves face for Corker:
A spokesman for the White House said the exchange with Corker was not as harsh as Republicans described.

“The exchange he had with the president was actually pretty civil,” said White House spokesman Bill Burton.

Yet more republican thuggery. Do they really think they're going to make inroads with the American people like this? Republicans have a lack of respect for POTUS:
"He needs to take a Valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) told reporters. "He's pretty thin-skinned." msnbc
McCain is still posing:
"I said we needed to secure the border first," McCain recounted. But, according to several senators, Obama argued in favor of a comprehensive bill that also provided a pathway to citizenship for illegal residents, similar to the legislation that McCain backed in 2007.

Michelle Obama Kicks off Let's Move Lawn Series Video


Obama Heads to Gulf May 28

Update May 28: Obama arrives in New Orleans at 11 am eastern time. Obama's schedule in the gulf here.
It's all part of Obama's Memorial Day weekend.

Obama Sending 1,200 Guard Troops to Border

Read James Jones and John Brennan's border letter here.
Homeland Security officials said that the troops would provide support to law enforcement officers already working along the border by helping observe and monitor traffic between official crossing points, and would help analyze trafficking patterns in hopes of intercepting illegal drug shipments. They performed similar tasks in an earlier deployment along the border from 2006 to 2008, when they also assisted with road and fence construction. The troops have not been involved directly in intercepting border crossers. NYT
McCain wants 6,000.

Congress Could Repeal DADT This Week

Here is the compromise to the amendment, which will be attached to defense spending bill: If the repeal is passed, it wouldn't be put into place until after the DoD and military complete a review, due on Robert Gates' desk Dec. 1, and only if military leaders say it doesn't effect readiness, cohesion and retention. Read the White House letter on this here.

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Obama Speaks on $30 Million Small Business Lending Fund

Obama spoke in the Rose Garden just minutes ago and at 12:20 pm, he'll address the Senate republicans. Read about Obama's small biz initiatives here. Transcript.