NYT: On Memorial Day, Michelle Obama made an unannounced trip to visit the wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Joao Silva of The New York Times was among those on whom she paid a call. “She came across as a kind and attentive person,” Mr. Silva said. She asked about the progress of his recovery and gave yo-yos, Frisbees and White House candies to his children, Isabel, 6, and Gabriel, 5.
Perhaps the most telling moment occurred before Mrs. Obama arrived. On learning of her pending visit, Mr. Silva made a point of putting on his prosthetic legs. “I wanted to be able to greet her standing up,” he said.
Justin Elliott (Salon): If the release of President Obama’s birth certificate last month was the denouement of the birther saga, the release of Terrence Lakin from prison will be its bizarre coda. Lakin is the veteran Army doctor who refused orders to redeploy to Afghanistan because he believed Obama was born abroad, not a legitimate president, and therefore that military orders were invalid.
Last December, Lakin … was dismissed from the Army and sentenced to six months in prison … In what promises to be one of the stranger political spectacles of the year, a homecoming event is planned Saturday at the Southwest Airlines baggage claim area of Baltimore Washington International Airport. The website set up to support Lakin … suggests:
All we ask you to do is bring a home-made poster that says, “Welcome Home Terry.” or “Thank You Terry” or any appropriate messages about the issue. Bring a small US flag if you have one. We will text the coordinators when we deplane so you can all get ready to greet Terry as he descends on the escalator to baggage claim. We need a big hurray and lots of applause (of course). He may say a few words…
Unlike the folks over at WorldNetDaily, who have been enriched by years of pumping up birtherism, Lakin’s commitment to the conspiracy both torpedoed his career and put his family in financial peril. His website notes: “Please consider making a special gift at this critical time. We have been able to provide for the family’s monthly expenses, but contributions have dropped off since the release of the proposed birth document by the Obama administration.”
Can anyone imagine a more tragic story emerging from the birther carnival?
Dr Jill Biden and First lady Michelle Obama arrive with baby gifts while visiting expecting mothers during Operation Shower, a celebration for pregnant women whose husbands are service members, April 13, at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
First lady Michelle Obama speaks to Marines at a military community at Camp Lejeune
First lady Michelle Obama visits with wounded warriors during a tour of the Warrior and Family Support Center, April 13, in San Antonio
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden walk with Kathryn A. Condon (Executive Director, Army National Cemeteries Program) and Arlington National Cemetery Superintendent Patrick Hallinan as they arrive for the funeral service for Army Cpl. Frank Buckles, the last surviving American World War I veteran. March 15, at Arlington National Cemetery
Buckles died at 110 in his home in West Virginia in February. The Army corporal will be buried with military honors on Tuesday after lying in repose in Arlington’s Memorial Chapel, where mourners could go to pay their last respects.
The casket of US Army Corporal Frank Buckles lies in honor at the Memorial Chapel at Arlington National Cemetery, March 15
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden greet Susannah Flanagan, daughter of Frank Buckles, at Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Chapel in Arlington, Va., March 15, 2011. Buckles, the last surviving American World War I veteran, passed away on Feb. 27, 2011, at his West Virginia home. He was 110. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Marc Ambinder (The Atlantic): A few months after Barack Obama took office, CIA analysts monitoring the Middle East received an unusual request from the National Security Council. The president had appreciated the in-depth country profiles the intelligence community had prepared for him to read. But there was something missing. The white papers all assessed what various groups within each country didn’t like about the United States – but there was very little about what they admired. So that’s what Obama wanted to know: What do Yemenis, Qataris and Egyptians like about the U.S.?
The answer, in the case of Egypt, was the American education system. The competition for visas to study inside the U.S., particularly among those with a bent toward the hard sciences, was fierce. And it was considered a point of pride for a family member to brag about his brother studying overseas.
The National Security Council and the State Department turned this nugget of insight into policy: Obama would expand the number of educational visas available to qualified Egyptian students. The State Department would increase its direct outreach to Egyptians; it would hold entrepreneurship and science summits, and would convene gatherings of Egyptians to meet with visiting American scientists. As the White House’s focus turned to Egypt late last week, the aspirations of young Egyptians were very much on the president’s mind … After Tunisia, the intelligence community, the diplomatic community and the White House all anticipated that protests would spread …. Egypt was simply the most logical candidate for unrest….
BWD posted this article on The Only Adult In The Room – and if you read it you’ll see why ‘The Only Adult In The Room’ is so appropriate. It’s absolutely fascinating, a real insight in to how the President is dealing with this crisis as carefully and thoughtfully as possible.
Meanwhile, the media bleats cluelessly, completely ignorant of just how delicate this situation is, or how far-reaching the consequences might be in the Middle East. Unless the President announces he’s nuking Mubarak and/or the Muslim Brotherhood they’ll conclude he’s not being pro-active enough. Aw, sounds, like they’re lonesome for Bush.
Did you hear them whinging today at Robert Gibbs’ press conference? The President isn’t being made available to them to answer questions on how he’s responding to the crisis! So, the most critical thing here – more critical than the future of Egypt! – is that the President reveal to Jake Tapper, Chuck Todd and their buddies the nature of the careful work being done behind the scenes? Right.
White House: …. in the last days of the Session, both the House and the Senate passed a Bill, S. 3447, that significantly enhanced and changed the Post 9/11 GI Bill and other educational benefits…. This Bill made a lot of important changes to these programs specifically for wounded warriors and disabled veterans….
Vocational Rehabilitation Program Stipend. …. a disabled veteran receiving the housing stipend under the Vocational Rehabilitation Program …. can now opt to receive the more generous amount under the Post 9/11 GI Bill …. this will be hundreds of dollars more per month for tens of thousands of eligible beneficiaries.
Vocational School Training and Apprenticeships Now Covered. The Post 9/11 GI Bill can now be used at many more vocational schools, apprenticeships, and on-the-job-training programs, which means that you can use it to enter into almost any field that you want.
Housing Allowance for Online Learners. A housing allowance is now available for exclusively online learners, so even while you are recuperating and cannot attend class in person on a campus, you can start your education online and receive the housing support allowance you need.
Book Allowance for Active Duty. If you are still on active duty, and want to start your education, you can now receive the $1,000/year book stipend that was previously not available for active duty personnel.
Prep Courses and Test Fees Now Covered. If you have not yet applied for schools, and want to bring your SAT/ACT scores up, the Post 9/11 GI Bill can now be used to fund prep courses and the test fees themselves so you can be more competitive when you apply.
Time for Eligibility Tolled During Recovery and for Caretakers. The Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30), which has a 10-year expiration date, has been extended for wounded, injured, and ill veterans and their caretakers for the length of their recovery time…
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit with troops and their families on Christmas Day at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 25, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)