A visitor looks at photographs taken during fieldwork in Indonesia by S. Ann Dunham, President Barack Obama’s late mother, during an exhibition at a gallery at the East West Center on the University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus, November 9
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with Irish President Mary McAleese and Dr. Martin McAleese during a courtesy call in the Drawing Room at the President’s residence in Dublin, Ireland, May 23, 2011
Oh, any excuse to take a trip down this memory lane:
Today is President Mary McAleese’s last day in office – she served 14 years (14!) as Irish president.
Sun Times: Today, in her keynote address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Steps Up: Hiring our Heroes event, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the International Franchise Association (IFA) which represents 1,100 franchises has committed to hiring 80,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014. 5,000 jobs of this commitment are promised to wounded warriors.
Mrs. Obama also announced that the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) – which Dr. Jill Biden helped launch at the Chamber of Commerce last summer and which includes nearly 100 companies and organizations – has committed to employ 20,000 military spouses. These organizations include companies like Microsoft, Home Depot and Citi and franchises like UPS, Guidant Financial and Data Doctors. Together, the commitment by the International Franchise Association and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership represents a commitment to hire 100,000 veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses by 2014.
Statement by the President on the State Department’s Keystone XL Pipeline Announcement
November 10, 2011
I support the State Department’s announcement today regarding the need to seek additional information about the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood.
The final decision should be guided by an open, transparent process that is informed by the best available science and the voices of the American people. At the same time, my administration will build on the unprecedented progress we’ve made towards strengthening our nation’s energy security, from responsibly expanding domestic oil and gas production to nearly doubling the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks, to continued progress in the development of a clean energy economy.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic): I want to double (or triple) down on these posts by Yglesias …. As Matt rightly notes, this obsession with the president’s want of liberalism really needs to confront the hard facts of Senators and congressmen who say things like this:
“Terrible,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) told POLITICO when asked about the president’s ideas for how to pay for the $450 billion price tag. “We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there.”
“That offset is not going to fly, and he should know that,” said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu from the energy-producing Louisiana, referring to Obama’s elimination of oil and gas subsidies. “Maybe it’s just for his election, which I hope isn’t the case.”…
Matt: … Webb and Landrieu … what strikes me about their remarks is that they’re being mean. Webb isn’t respectfully disagreeing with the administration’s proposed offsets, he’s calling them “terrible”. Landrieu is calling the sincerity of the president’s motives into question. For me, it’s difficult to imagine parallel behavior on the other side……
Coates: ….. it’s healthy, legitimate, essential and fair to ask, “What would make more progressive legislation possible?” That line of thinking has to confront the kind of statements and action by Democratic Senators who evidently feel little or no pressure from their progressive base.
…. I think liberals are much more comfortable attacking whoever seems to hold the most power ….. it’s comforting to believe in a narrative of liberal “betrayal,” to argue that the game is rigged in such a way that the Hippie-punchers always win.
Jonathan Cohn (TNR): If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ve read a lot of criticism of Republicans for talking economic nonsense, placing their political fortunes ahead of the country’s good, or some combination of the two. But sometimes Democrats, particularly conservative Democrats, do the same things. And now is one of those times.
Mary Landrieu and Jim Webb – I’m looking at you.
…. Landrieu represents Louisiana, a very conservative state, and plans to seek reelection – so there’s some political logic to her position. Webb is another story: He’s retiring. The feeling seems to be genuine. And, as Brian Beutler reports, plenty of other conservative Democrats seem to have similar feelings.
For what it’s worth, the substantive case for this point of view is exceptionally weak. Most mainstream economists would say what Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, have been saying: Deficit spending now, to boost the economy, combined with deficit reduction later, to make federal budgets sustainable, is pretty much the ideal policy.
But put that aside. Go back and read those quotes closely: Can you imagine Republicans speaking out against their leadership, on such a top priority, in such brazen terms?
…. Fellow liberals criticize to flay President Obama for avoiding fights – and, sometimes, they are right. But they also underestimate the obstacles Obama faces because of the divided Democratic caucus.
It’s not just that conservative Democrats wield an effective veto in Congress; it’s that they are constantly, almost compulsively, disagreeing with the president and undermining the party’s message discipline……
Source – 2008 (extracts): Mary was a newlywed and ready to move to Norway, but was stopped at the airport because she didn’t have enough money for the trip. Then a stranger turned up and paid for her.
Mary Menth Andersen was 31 years old at the time and had just married Norwegian Dag Andersen. She was looking forward to starting a new life in Åsgårdstrand in Vestfold with him. But first she had to get all of her belongings across to Norway. The date was November 2nd, 1988.
At the airport in Miami things were hectic as usual, with long lines at the check-in counters. When it was finally Mary’s turn and she had placed her luggage on the baggage line, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.
“You’ll have to pay a $103 surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway,” the man behind the counter said.
Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.
“I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions,” says Mary.
Although she explained the situation to the man behind the counter, he showed no signs of mercy.
“I started to cry, tears were pouring down my face and I had no idea what to do. Then I heard a gentle and friendly voice behind me saying, “That’s OK, I’ll pay for her”.”
Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.
….She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.
The piece of paper said ‘Barack Obama’ and his address in Kansas, which is the state where his mother comes from. Mary carried the slip of paper around in her wallet for years, before it was thrown out.
“He was my knight in shining armor,” says Mary, smiling.
She paid the $103 back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker in Chicago, and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university.
In the spring of 2006 Mary’s parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.
In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped ‘United States Senate, Washington DC’, Barack Obama writes:
“I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I’m happy I could help back then, and I’m delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States senator.”
The parents sent the letter on to Mary.
“It’s amazing to think that the man who helped me 20 years ago may now become the next US president,” says Mary delightedly.
President Obama meets Irish President Mary McAleese at her official residence in Dublin
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin
The signatures of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are seen in a visitors book at Aras an Uachtarain
President Barack Obama stands with Ireland’s President Mary McAleese at the Peace Bell during a tree planting ceremony
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama stand with Ireland’s President Mary McAleese and husband Martin McAleese as they meet Irish school children at the Peace Bell during a tree planting ceremony
President Barack Obama arrives to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Farmleigh House in Dublin
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala greet the President and First Lady at Farmleigh
Lines form in Dublin for this afternoon’s concert and speech by President Obama
President Barack Obama swings a hurling stick given to him by Taoiseach Enda Kenny
US first lady Michelle Obama gestures beside Fionnuala Kenny wife of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny as they view an embroidered panel depicting the Norman Invasion during a tour of Farmeligh House