Saturday, April 30, 2011

Seth Meyers at White House Correspondents Dinner Video

Update May 2: The clip about bin Laden that Obama got a good laugh out of.

Seth Meyers slayed them at the White House Correspondents Dinner. So did Obama. See Obama's full remarks here. Full video of Seth's remarks:

Obama Family Tours Kennedy Space Center Video

Mitch Daniels Plunges Into GOP Pit

It's almost as if the GOP is conspiring to let Obama have an easy win in 2012. I had thought that Mitch Daniels might be different from the rest of the republicans. He seemed like a moderate, pragmatic guy, a relatively decent republican contender for president. But he's proved he's just like the rest of them wallowing in the GOP pit of muck and yuck. Taking a stand against Planned Parenthood is nothing but foolish. It also shows he's a coward, just like the rest of the republican pack.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) announced Friday that he plans to sign legislation that would prevent Planned Parenthood in the state from receiving Medicaid funds. When he does, Indiana will be the first state to take that step.

“I will sign HEA 1210 when it reaches my desk a week or so from now,” Daniels said. “I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position.” WaPo

Obama Speaks at White House Correspondents Dinner 2011

Obama went for it. He let Trump have it and so did Seth. (Watch Seth here). I mean Obama really put Trump in his place. After weeks of Trump's nonsense, it was very, very satisfactory. Welcome to America Trump! Full video (transcript).  CSPAN is doing reruns here. "My fellow Americans. Mahalo:"

Obama rips on Matt Damon who told Piers Morgan he's no longer an Obama supporter:

Obama takes on Mitt Romney and Trump:

Where's the National Public Radio table? Obama says he heard Michele Bachmann was born in Canada. "Yes, Michele, this is how it starts."

This is a pretty funny White House trailer that was showed:

This live stream begins tonight at 10:00 pm ET. SNL's Seth Meyers will headline the event, following Obama. The dinner's purpose is to raise money for scholarships.  More about the dinner here.  Apparently, the classless loudmouth Trump is going to be in the room as a guest of the Washington Post. How odd the Post would invite him. John Boehner will also be at the Post table. Anyway, this is the dinner where Obama gets to be funny and usually he's pretty funny. He could either mock Trump or ignore him. Some of the other folks who will be there include Bristol Palin, ugh, Michael Stipe of REM, Shaun White. See the guest list here. CSPAN is also offering live coverage at 6:45 PM ET.

Obama's Weekly Address April 30

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sanctions on Syrian Officials for Human Rights Abuses

From the White House:
Fact Sheet: Executive Order, Syria Human Rights Abuses

Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order imposing sanctions against Syrian officials and others responsible for human rights abuses, including through the use of violence against civilians and the commission of other human rights abuses.

This Order provides the United States with new tools to target individuals and entities determined to have engaged in human rights abuses in Syria, including those related to repression; to be a senior official of an entity whose property is blocked pursuant to the Order; to have provided material support to, or to be owned or controlled by, persons blocked under the Order.

The United States strongly condemns the Syrian government’s continued use of violence and intimidation against the Syrian people. We call upon the Syrian regime and its supporters to refrain from further acts of violence and other human rights abuses against Syrian citizens seeking to express their political aspirations.

In signing today’s Order, the President imposed sanctions on the following individuals and entities listed in the Annex to the Order:

· Mahir al-Asad: The brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad and brigade commander in the Syrian Army’s 4th Armored Division, who has played a leading role in the Syrian regime’s actions in Dar’a, where protesters have been killed by Syrian security forces.

· Atif Najib: A cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, Najib was the head of the Political Security Directorate (PSD) for Dar’a Province during March 2011, when protesters were killed there by Syrian security forces.

· Ali Mamluk: director of Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate (GID).

· Syrian General Intelligence Directorate (GID): The overarching civilian intelligence service in Syria. The GID represses internal dissent and monitors individual citizens, and has been involved in the Syrian regime’s actions in Dar’a where protesters were killed by Syrian security services.

· Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF): Iran is providing material support to the Syrian government related to cracking down on unrest in Syria. The conduit for this Iranian material support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate is the IRGC-QF. Despite the Government of Iran’s public rhetoric claiming revolutionary solidarity with people throughout the region, Iran’s actions in support of the Syrian regime place it in stark opposition to the will of the Syrian people. The IRGC-QF is a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is considered the military vanguard of Iran. The IRGC-QF was designated by the Treasury Department in October 2007 for providing material support to terrorist groups around the world, including the Taliban, Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

As a result of this action, any property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the individuals listed in the Annex have an interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

Obama Delivers Miami Dade College Commencement Address

Obama Speaks in Alabama on Storms Video

West Wing Week April 29

The Obamas and Giffords View Endeavor Launch in Florida

Update: Launch scrubbed. Obama meets with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly.

This is the shuttle's final launch. Gabby Giffords will also be there to see hubby Commander Mark Kelly off on his last Endeavor launch.
This live stream is set for 3:30 pm eastern time. Check for updates at NASA.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Obama's Schedule in Alabama and Florida April 29

Times are eastern.

8:00 AM
The President meets with participants in the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike
Diplomatic Room
Closed Press
8:30 AM
The First Family departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base
South Lawn
Open Press
8:45 AM
The First Family departs Andrews Air Force Base en route Alabama
Andrews Air Force Base
Travel Pool Coverage
10:50 AM
The First Family arrives in Alabama
Local Event Time: 
9:50 AM CDT
Tuscaloosa Regional Airport
Open Press
11:10 AM
The President and the First Lady view the damage as well as meet with Governor Bentley, state and local officials and families affected by the storms
Local Event Time: 
10:10 AM CDT
Travel Pool Coverage
12:45 PM
The First Family departs Alabama
Local Event Time: 
11:45 AM CDT
Tuscaloosa Regional Airport
Open Press
2:10 PM
The First Family arrives in Cape Canaveral, Florida
Cape Canaveral Skid Strip
Open Press
2:45 PM
The First Family tours the orbiter processing facility
Cape Canaveral, Florida, Orbiter Processing Facility
Travel Pool Coverage
3:30 PM
The First Family views the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour LIVE STREAM
Launch Control Center
Travel Pool Coverage
5:40 PM
The President arrives Miami, Florida
Miami International Airport
Open Press
6:55 PM
The President delivers the Miami Dade College commencement address LIVE STREAM
Florida, Miami, Miami Dade College
Pooled TV, Open to Correspondents
9:05 PM
The President departs Miami, Florida
Miami International Airport
Open Press
11:30 PM
The President arrives at the White House
South Lawn

Obama Meets with Panama President Martinelli Video

Obama Speaks on Storms in the South April 28

Obama will travel to Alabama tomorrow. Prior to Obama's announcement of new security personnel, he spoke on the tornadoes wreaking havoc in the South:

Obama Awards 85 Science and Math Teachers for Excellence

President Obama today named 85 mathematics and science teachers as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The educators will receive their awards in Washington, D.C. later this year.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. The 2010 awardees named today teach kindergarten through 6th grade.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration.
 See the list of winning teachers here.

Obama Announces New Security Personnel April 28

Obama announces Leon Panetta will replace Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Gen. David Petraeus will replace Panetta at the CIA. Obama nominated John Allen to succeed Petraeus. Lastly, Ryan Crocker will replace Karl Eikenberry as US Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Why Gas Prices Are Rising?

A lot of folks blame Obama. Republicans have tried the old mantra drill, baby, drill.  Always exploit American ignorance with cheap politics is the name of the game when you're a republican. Fortunately for them, there's a lot of ignorance to be exploited. There's no short term solution to high gas prices, only a long term solution, but once again, Americans don't often think long term. Anyway, here's what Ben Bernanke said yesterday and I've posted some other sources that explain gas prices:
CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: So first of all, gasoline prices obviously have risen quite significantly. And we of course are watching that carefully. Higher gas prices are absolutely creating a great deal of financial hardship for a lot of people.

And gas, of course, is a necessity. People need to drive to work. So it's obviously a bad development to see gas prices rise so much.

Higher gas prices, higher oil prices also make economic developments less favorable. On the one hand obviously the higher gas prices add to inflation. On the other hand, by draining purchasing power from households, higher gas prices are also bad for the recovery. They cause growth to decline as well. It's a double wham my coming from higher gasoline prices.

Our interpretation of the increase in gas prices is the economist basic mantra of supply and demand. On the one hand we have a rapidly growing global economy, emerging market economies are growing very quickly. Their demand for commodities including oil is very, very strong. Indeed, essentially all of the increase in the demand for oil in the last couple of years, in the last decade has come from emerging market economies. In the United States our demand for oil, our imports have been actually going down over time.

The demand is coming from a growing economy where we have seen about a 25 percent increase in emerging market output since before the crisis. On the supply side, as everybody knows who watches television, we have seen disruptions in the Middle East and North Africa, Libya and other places that have constrained supply. That supply is not made up and that has in turn driven up gas prices significantly.

This is an adverse development. It accounts in the short-term for the increase, all of the increase in our inflation forecast at least in the very near term.

There's not much that the Federal Reserve can do about gas prices per se. At least not without derailing growth entirely, which is certainly not the right way to go.

After all, the Fed can't create more oil. We don't control the growth rates of emerging market economies. What we can do is basically try to keep higher gas prices from passing into other prices and wages throughout the economy and creating a broader inflation which will be much more difficult to extinguish.

Again our view is that most likely -- of course we didn't know for sure but we will be watching carefully -- is that gas prices will not continue to rise at the recent pace. As they stabilize or even come down if the situation stabilizes in the Middle East, that will provide relief on the inflation front, but we have to watch it very carefully.
The age of cheap oil is over.
Some blame speculators.
FTC says market fundamentals --supply and demand -- not illegal activity are causing higher prices.

A Nation Depressed

I've never tried to dwell on birthers. Racism is still found in old, white ladies who grew up with the belief that white people are better than black people. Racism is still found in young men, who've grown up with racist parents. Racism is still found in much of the South, where people grew up believing that black people's brains are smaller. Racism is found in the workplace. It's everywhere. American ignorance drags us all down. But what is also incredibly bothersome is the fact that our media, let's just say it, is so STUPID and IGNORANT, that it can't see--or has been reluctant to acknowledge-- birtherism for what it is, that it can't see Trump for who he is. Why can't we just call Trump a bigot? Why can't we explore his bigoted past? I'm sure there is one. The media has been a birther mouthpiece. The media bought the birther propaganda that Obama needed to show additional proof of his birthplace. They bought into the lie that Obama's released 2008 birth certificate wasn't enough. The media promoted birtherism to sell "news." But then again, Sarah Palin got the most clicks, despite her clear ignorance on just about every topic, and "queen birther" Orly Taitz, as wacko as she is, is more known than some of our prominent authors of the day.
It strikes me that this is a sad time for our country in all ways. The fact that the President of the United States had to release additional proof of his Americanism just kills me. As a nation, we're not just economically depressed. But hopefully, it's the dark night of the American soul that will give way to some light and enlightenment. It took the NYT long enough:
....If there was ever any doubt about Mr. Obama’s citizenship, which there was not, the issue was settled years ago when Hawaii released his birth certificate. The fuller document that Mr. Obama had to request contains some extra information, including his parents’ signatures and the name of the hospital where he was born, but it was unnecessary to show his legitimacy.

So it will not quiet the most avid attackers. Several quickly questioned its authenticity. That’s because the birther question was never really about citizenship; it was simply a proxy for those who never accepted the president’s legitimacy, for a toxic mix of reasons involving ideology, deep political anger and, most insidious of all, race. It was originally promulgated by fringe figures of the radical right, but mainstream Republican leaders allowed it to simmer to satisfy those who are inflamed by Mr. Obama’s presence in the White House.

Sarah Palin said the birth certificate issue was “fair game,” and the public was “rightfully” making it an issue. The House speaker, John Boehner, grudgingly said in February that he would take Mr. Obama “at his word” that he was a citizen, a suggestion that the proof was insufficient. He said, however, that it was not his job to end the nonsensical attacks. “The American people have the right to think what they want to think,” he said at the time. That signal was clearly received. Lawmakers in nearly a dozen states introduced bills requiring presidential candidates to release their full birth certificates.

It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious “other” would have been conducted against a white president. Read the whole thing at NYT
If I had to diagnose Trump, leading in polls (which doesn't really say much given the republican field), I'd say he suffers extreme pathological narcissism:
a personality disorder marked by a grandiose sense of self-importance. Patients are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. In spite of these fantasies, they are troubled by a sense of inadequacy and respond to criticism, defeat, or rejection either by indifference or by feelings of rage, shame, humiliation, or emptiness. Their relationships with others are disturbed by expectations of special favors, exploitativeness, overidealization and devaluation of others, and a lack of empathy. Medical Dictionary
If you haven't seen this powerful commentary, you should:

Obama and Michelle Obama on Oprah Clip

If you missed all the hoopla, Obama, being our first black president, who needs to deal with an onslaught of racism in addition to all the other problems this nation faces, released additional "proof" yesterday that we was born in the U.S. One thing is for sure, Obama will go down in history as a president who handled racism with incredible grace. Never has he taken a swing at American ignorance, or condemned anyone for racist remarks. He's tried to educate people and uplift them. He's been a role model. Without a doubt, Obama is one of our more enlightened presidents. This Oprah episode airs Monday, May 2.

Michelle Obama Answers Kids Questions at White House April 28

Michelle Obama talked to kids of parents who work at the White House. They asked her questions about her favorite color, books, what it was like at the White House.... FLOTUS said one of her favorite books was "Song of Solomon." She said the Obama and Malia read the entire Harry Potter series together. FLOTUS's favorite sport to watch and play is tennis. Her favorite color -- all of them, but if she had to choose, lavender. Her favorite places at the White House are the Rose Garden and the Yellow Oval Room.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama's Schedule April 28

All times are eastern:

12:45 AM
The President arrives at the White House
South Lawn
Open Press
10:15 AM
The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
10:50 AM
The President holds a meeting on Libya
Situation Room
Closed Press
11:30 AM
The President meets with Secretary of State Clinton
Oval Office
Closed Press
2:05 PM
The President meets with a group of influential Hispanics from across the country on the importance of fixing our nation's broken immigration system to meet our 21st century economic and national security needs so that America can win the future
Roosevelt Room
Closed Press
3:10 PM
The President makes a personnel announcement
Open Press
3:45 PM
The President meets with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli
Oval Office
Closed Press
4:20 PM
The President and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli will deliver statements to the press
Oval Office
Pooled Press