Archive for January 16th, 2011

16
Jan
11

miss weiss, fired up

One of my most loved videos from the campaign – 82-year-old Jean Weiss from Wilmington, NC, getting then Senator Obama fired up, and almost beating Joe Biden to a place on the ticket.

16
Jan
11

‘no one listened to gabrielle giffords’

I’ve been avoiding reading Frank Rich lately because some of his recent articles drove me bonkers, but thank you so much to Jennifer for letting me know about this one. I just posted extracts below – you can read the complete article at the link. I’ve been amazed the past week by how many commentators – and not just fruitloops on Fox ‘News’ – decided we could just dismiss what happened in Arizona as the work of a ‘mad man’ and not even consider that the inflammatory anti-Government hate-filled rhetoric of the right and the atmosphere it has created could have influenced his instability in any way, or tipped him over the edge. He had, after all, one hugely significant thing in common with the Tea Party and their like, he hated Government and was utterly paranoid about it. And he had that right wing insanity swirling all around his troubled head. How on earth could he have been immune to it? Any way, Frank Rich makes the argument briiliantly – thanks again Jennifer.

 

Frank Rich (NYT): …If we learn nothing from this tragedy, we are back where we started. And where we started was with two years of accelerating political violence…that struck fear into many, not the least of whom was Gabrielle Giffords.

…Did Loughner see Palin’s own most notorious contribution to the rancorous tone — her March 2010 Web graphic targeting Congressional districts? We have no idea — nor does it matter. But Giffords did. Her reaction to it — captured in an interview she did back then with Chuck Todd of MSNBC — was the most recycled, if least understood, video of last week.

…Giffords said that Palin had put the “crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” adding that “when people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.” … (she said) that colleagues who had been in the House “20, 30 years” had never seen vitriol this bad. … Few wanted to see what Giffords saw — that the vandalism and death threats were the latest consequences of a tide of ugly insurrectionism that had been rising since the final weeks of the 2008 campaign and that had threatened to turn violent from the start.

…Since Obama’s ascension, we’ve seen repeated incidents of political violence … he said, correctly, on Wednesday that “a simple lack of civility” didn’t cause the Tucson tragedy. It didn’t cause these other incidents either. What did inform the earlier violence — including the vandalism at Giffords’s office — was an antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s. That Loughner was likely insane, with no coherent ideological agenda, does not mean that a climate of antigovernment hysteria has no effect on him or other crazed loners out there….

…What’s more disturbing is what Republican and conservative leaders have not said. Their continuing silence during two years of simmering violence has been chilling.

Full article here

16
Jan
11

a week of mourning

LA Times: As President Obama and his aides prepared to memorialize the dead in Tucson, they were dealing with death close to home.

Two days after the Tucson mass shooting, Ashley Turton, the wife of Dan Turton, Obama’s liaison to the House of Representatives, died when her car struck a wall in their garage, igniting a flash fire.

A pall fell over the White House, already dark from the news in Arizona. Several members of Obama’s staff sought to help their colleague and the couple’s twin toddlers and year-old baby. Indispensable items on the schedule continued – two heads of state visited, and there were meetings and briefings – but the president remained mostly behind closed doors preparing for Wednesday’s memorial in Tucson. The week was set to end with a eulogy for late diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke.

“I think we’re all searching for meaning here,” said one senior administration official … Obama … had the job of trying to provide that meaning.


One of the major speeches of his presidency had suddenly been thrust upon him. He began his own search hours after he heard of the Tucson shootings. … One of the first people he reached out to after calling in his speechwriter was a young clergyman on his staff, Joshua DuBois.

…Obama moved between biblical teachings from the life of Job and verses of Psalm 46 in what amounted to a personal search for the appropriate message and merged his speechwriters with his spiritual counselors in an unusual collaboration.

It wasn’t the first time Obama has meditated on the life of Job, the biblical figure who loses his family, health and money. Like a tree that is cut down, the president told New Orleans residents on the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, their city can sprout again.

…On Saturday and Sunday, he spent long stretches preparing for and then calling family members of those killed and injured in the shooting. He also talked to Mark E. Kelly at the bedside of Kelly’s wife, Giffords…

On Monday morning, the president’s interim chief of staff, Pete Rouse, e-mailed West Wing staffers notifying them that Ashley Turton had died that morning … There was a brief break from work at the White House that morning when the staff spilled onto the frigid South Lawn, joining the president and Michelle Obama in a moment of silence to honor the Tucson shooting victims. Some said they also were thinking of the Turtons.

It was a moment to “connect in grief,” said one staffer, with one another and with the Obamas. Then they returned to their duties, focusing on the midweek memorial set for the University of Arizona sports arena. Expectations for the president were high … Would Obama be up to this moment?

The speechwriting started Monday. Obama summoned Cody Keenan, whose many written remarks for the president include his eulogy for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Keenan listened and wrote as the president dictated what he wanted to say.


….Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin was struck by Obama’s unusual show of emotion. As he spoke of Christina-Taylor, his voice grew choked and hoarse for a moment. Throughout the speech, his face registered grief at some points, resolve at others, and, as he announced that Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time earlier that day, joy.

“He did exactly what the moment called for, in a way that was consistent with him as a cerebral president,” Kearns Goodwin said. “It was a completely authentic moment.”

Full article here

16
Jan
11

sunday service

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia (hidden behind other parishioners) sing during church services at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, Jan. 16. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

More photos here

Time – Pool reports: POTUS and FLOTUS arrive at Metropolitan AME church at 9 am …. At 9:06 am. Crowd of about several hundred churchgoers cheer loudly at the arrival of POTUS and FLOTUS. One lady sitting in the back of the church is overheard yelling “God Bless You.”

The Right Rev. Adam J. Richardson recognized POTUS and FLOTUS for attending the service. FLOTUS’s mother is in attendance. …. “Mr. and Mrs. Obama thank you for your leadership,” said Richardson, who was on hand to deliver the Episcopal greetings. …. Richardson praised POTUS for his speech to the Tucson community last week. …. Richardson said the service honors the 25th anniversary of the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a national holiday. …

Prior to that, the choir passionately sang African American heritage hymns, drawing cheers from the attendees–some of whom lifted their children so they could see POTUS. … At 10:14 am the congregation sang happy birthday to FLOTUS. The First Lady stood up and waved at the pastor and the audience.

NYT: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama — and their daughters, Malia and Sasha — attended morning services at Metropolitan AME church on Sunday, joining several hundred parishioners to listen to a sermon by the Rev. Ronald E. Braxton that recalled the example set by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The day before the national holiday to honor Dr. King, the Obamas and the mostly black congregation at Metropolitan sang spirituals during the service. The parishioners also sang “Happy Birthday” to Mrs. Obama, who turns 47 on Monday.

The Obamas are spending a relatively quiet weekend at the White House and will attend a service project to honor Dr. King in Washington on Monday, aides said.

Following the service, the president returned to the White House and then left again a short time later with his daughters to play basketball.

16
Jan
11

this president is soooooo bad for business

NPR: ….The exports boom has helped the manufacturing sector grow at a pace three times faster than the rest of the economy. According to federal data released last week, exports rose for the third straight month in November to nearly $160 billion.

Overseas customers are buying more U.S. airplanes, pharmaceuticals, foods, industrial supplies, cotton, computers and more.

President Obama has set a goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015. To help, the U.S. Export-Import Bank announced last week it will identify 5,000 small businesses and help them get loans to boost their ability to export…

Full article here




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