Archive for April 13th, 2011

13
Apr
11

goodnight everyone…

‘Proud of Obama’, we’re all thinking of you and your loss, we send love and prayers. Take care of yourself. Come back when you’re ready, love you.

***

For those of you who missed Proud of Obama’s message earlier today:

“Good morning all, and Chipsticks. I covet your prayers today as my husband unexpectedly passed away yesterday. Please keep me in your prayers.”

13
Apr
11

‘rumors and trial balloons’

Paul Krugman (NYT): ….I liked the way Obama made a case for government at the beginning. I liked the way he accused Republicans of pessimism, of abandoning a hopeful vision of America. Good that he went after the Ryan plan – and good that he went after the cruelty of that plan. If you ask me, too many percentages. Oh, and whichever speechwriter came up with “win the future” should be sent to count yurts in Outer Mongolia.

Substance: Much better than many of us feared. Hardly any Bowles-Simpson — yay!

…Overall, way better than the rumors and trial balloons. I can live with this. And whatever the pundits may say, it was much, much more serious than the Ryan “plan”.

Update: The Times has a good side-by-side comparison. A world of difference — and Obama made the moral as well as practical case for his version.

Full post here

****

“Way better than the rumors and trial balloons”? And who released a whole bunch of those rumors and trial balloons in to the atmosphere before the President’s speech today? Yep, Paul Krugman.

It’s hard not to respect a man of his credentials, but he always seems so disappointed when the President rises above his rock-bottom expectations.

13
Apr
11

brazil (pete souza)

President Barack Obama fist bumps a young person reaching through the door at the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20 (Pete Souza)

…. playing soccer with children at the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20 (Pete Souza)

…. waving to people gathered on the street outside the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela Community Center in Rio de Janeiro, March 20 (Pete Souza)

….acknowledging applause after delivering a speech at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, March 20 (Pete Souza)

…. the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, March 19 (Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama walks with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff following the arrival of First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia, at the Palacio do Alvorada in Brasilia, Brazil, March 19. Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, right, shakes hands with Malia (Pete Souza)

13
Apr
11

:-)

President Barack Obama greets Rod O’Connor, Energy Department Chief of Staff, and his family in the Outer Oval Office, March 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

13
Apr
11

march…

President Obama stands by a cut-out picture of First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to Miami Central High School, Fla., March 4 (Pete Souza)

…greeting Miss Florida Memorial University Morisa Jagrup at Miami Central High School, March 4 (Pete Souza)

…in the Blue Room before greeting recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal, March 2 (Pete Souza)

…. greeting guests during the International Women’s Day reception, March 8 (Samantha Appleton)

….holding up four-month-old Alia Jawando as her father, William Jawando, Deputy Associate Director of Public Engagement, and her mother Michele look on in the Oval Office, March 9 (Pete Souza)

…. welcoming Make-A-Wish child Kennedy Alexander to the Oval Office, March 15 (Pete Souza)

…. greeting Halle Major during a Make-A-Wish visit in the Oval Office, March 29 (Pete Souza)

….greeting the daughter of a United States Secret Service agent before a departure picture in the Oval Office, March 1 (Samantha Appleton)

…. passing staff from the White House Military Office as he jogs along the Colonnade following an event that ran late, March 1. The military personnel and their families were lined up to take departure pictures with the President in the Oval Office. (Pete Souza)

…reading from his book, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,” during a visit by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and his family to the Oval Office, March 2. Joining them, from left, are Justice Breyer’s wife Joanna Breyer, grandson Eli Essiam Breyer and daughter Nell Breyer (Pete Souza)

President Obama, Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia, and members of the Australian and American delegations look up at the presidential seal in the Oval Office ceiling following their bilateral meeting, March 7 (Pete Souza)

…. talking with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his wife, Fionnuala Kenny, in the Green Room before a St. Patrick’s Day reception, March 17 (Pete Souza)

…. with President Sebastián Piñera of Chile, wife Cecilia Morel, and their family for a photograph during a dinner at La Moneda Palace in Santiago, March 21 (Pete Souza)

….greeting children during the U.S. Embassy meet and greet in Santiago, Chile, March 21 (Pete Souza)

Chilean First Lady Cecilia Morel, right, talks with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia during a cultural event at the Museo Interactivo Mirador in Santiago, Chile, March 21 (Samantha Appleton)

…. at an official dinner hosted by Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes at the National Palace in San Salvador, March 22 (Pete Souza)

Lots more photos here

13
Apr
11

‘it’s on: obama takes iron fist to gop’

CBS: President Obama may have been wearing a metaphorical velvet glove during his big deficit reduction speech Wednesday, but make no mistake about it: He took an iron fist to the Republicans.

… he set up the choice between his proposal and the one offered by the GOP. Mr. Obama said his plan to save $4 trillion over 12 years was grounded in staying true to the idea that “each one of us deserves some basic measure of security and dignity.”

And that, he said, means protecting the social safety net – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and unemployment insurance – even while reforming the programs involved. Those programs, he said, are integral to America’s exceptionalism. “We would not be a great country without those commitments,” argued the president.

He then went on to question the Republican plan for reflecting an abandonment of what makes America great … it says “we can’t afford the America that I believe in and that I think you believe in”…

The Republican vision, he added, was “deeply pessimistic.” The president said that Republicans are positing that America can’t afford to fix its bridges, to care for seniors, to send its kids to college – that America, in the end, can’t afford to be great.

And then he really went after the GOP, targeting what he said were $1 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans contained in the Paul Ryan Republican 2012 budget proposal.

…The Republicans, he argued, want to sell out what makes America special – its commitment to its people – in order to give the wealthiest Americans a little more spending money..

…This was the President Obama that voters rallied around in the 2008 presidential campaign – a candidate willing and able to lay down a clear vision grounded in progressive ideals….

Full post here

13
Apr
11

special guests

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

13
Apr
11

reaction: ‘a spirited defense of a progressive vision’

President Barack Obama reviews his fiscal policy speech with advisors in the Oval Office. Pictured, from left, are: Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling; Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew; and Director of Speechwriting Jon Favreau. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Steve Benen: …. As heartening as it was to hear President Obama’s full-throated condemnation of the House Republican budget plan – he didn’t pull any punches – what made his remarks this afternoon especially satisfying was his defense of the progressive vision.

…along the way, the president made a point of reminding his audience that government, the institutions of the modern welfare state, and the modern social compact are worthy of a spirited defense. Indeed, to hear Obama tell it, the progressive vision is the American vision.

See here for extract

There’s a word to summarize this approach to government. It’s called “liberalism.”

Jonathan Bernstein put it this way: “Liberals have wanted a full-throated affirmation of why government is a good thing? Obama delivered, with perhaps his strongest case for a liberal vision of government that he’s given so far during his presidency.”

The “sellout of the left” this wasn’t. What we saw today was an unapologetic defense of a progressive vision of government, cased in terms that were equal parts moral and pragmatic. America doesn’t hear it often enough, and Obama delivered it with passion and conviction today.

Read the full post here

Steve Benen: The President’s rousing rejection of Republican radicalism …. President Obama’s speech on the nation’s fiscal future was one of my favorites in a long while. It was exactly the sort of spirited defense of government and progressive values the nation desperately needed to hear right now.

…Last week, when the White House was criticized from the left for not having said more about the GOP vision, I wrote about my expectations for this week’s message: “I want to see a forceful, unapologetic response. I want a hearty defense of government. I want officials explaining why Paul Ryan’s plan is dangerous and ridiculous.”

This afternoon, in Obama’s address, I got all of those things …There were concerns among some of my fellow progressives going into this speech that the president may accept parts of the GOP plan or express some sympathies for the Republican vision. The opposite happened – this was a full-throated condemnation, not just of the radical Paul Ryan plan, but of the far-right goals it intends to pursue.

I know many hoped to hear this message from the White House last week, but from where I sat today, it was worth the wait.

Full post here

Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Obama made the moral case for what it means to be a democrat … For some time now, a bunch of us have been wondering when – or whether – Obama would step up and make a strong case for an expansive vision of Democratic governance … it’s fair to say Obama delivered.

Sure, the speech had flaws …but Obama did offer perhaps the most ambitious defense he may have ever attempted of American liberalism and of what it means to be a Democrat.

Crucially, right at the outset, Obama cast the battle with the GOP as one over whether we are going to maintain the social safety net and the national social contract as we’ve understood it for decades — and cast this question as central to our national identity. He used a key word — “commitments” — to describe Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance, insisting: “We would not be a great country without those commitments.” In other words, the social safety net and the liberal social contract are indispensable components of America’s greatness.

…We cannot know right now whether the steadfastness of Obama’s rhetoric in defending core liberal and Democratic ideals will be matched by equal resoluteness in practice when the battles heat up and the temptation to make deals and jettison core priorities intensifies. But Obama did tell us in clear and unequivocal moral terms what he thinks it means to be a Democrat, and those who have been waiting for him to do so should be quite satisfied by what they heard.

Full post here

13
Apr
11

‘obama’s “base” problem doesn’t actually exist’

Steve Kornacki (Salon): Here we go again … President Obama is being confronted with warnings that he’s at risk of losing his left-of-center political base.

…As I write this, Obama has yet to begin his deficit reduction speech, but it’s very possible that the liberal commentators who have been excoriating him for the past week won’t change their minds as a result of it. In other words, expect more of these stories in the coming days.

This ought to feel familiar. Time and again during Obama’s 27 months in office, we’ve witnessed eruptions like this, with one-time Obama supporters claiming that because of [insert Obama action here], the president has lost their support for good….

All of these episode have one thing in common: For all of the threats and dire forecasts, Obama’s base stuck with him. At the same time that he was agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts, his approval rating among Democrats held steady, in the 80 percent range, where they’d been throughout 2010 – and his highest scores were among self-identified liberals.

And nothing much has changed since then … Gallup’s latest poll has Obama’s approval among Democrats at 80 percent. An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey released last week put it at 83 percent – with a score of 79 percent among liberals. We have heard expressions of outrage from left-of-center commentators about how Obama has sold out his old base – but that base, by all appearance, remains very much intact.

…Just because Democrats instinctively tell pollsters that they want taxes hiked on the rich or that they want Guantanamo closed doesn’t mean they hold those views with the same intensity as commentators who live and breathe these issues for a living. What they do feel strongly about is a more basic and personal question: Do they like President Obama? The answer to this, when it comes to the Democratic base, has and continues to be an overwhelming “yes.”

Full article here

13
Apr
11

‘preemptive whinging is the new norm for the “professional left”‘

eclectablog.com: I’ll say right off the bat that I absolutely hate the term “professional left”. But it will suffice as a descriptor for those on the liberal side of the coin that seem to be able to find pretty much nothing about the Obama administration that they can approve of.

And when they don’t have anything to get upset about, that’s no problem. They just invent something. Here’s the playbook for your reference:

1. Read the day’s headlines.

2. Determine a spin that characterizes the President and his administration in the worst possible light.

3. If such a spin does not exist, postulate what the President and his administration’s response will be. Make sure that it is as negative as possible, even if it contradicts his past behavior.

4. Write endless blogs on how the President has once again sold his “base” down the river and kicked hippies in the teeth (after punching them, of course.) It is not necessary for him to actually have done this. Your prediction that he WILL do this is sufficient.

5. When what you predicted turns out to be quite wrong, ignore that and focus on the next day’s news item. No point in issuing a mea culpa. Just raise a fuss about something new and nobody will notice.

6. Lather, rinse and repeat.

This has been the way it’s done for nigh on two years now and this week is no exception.

Read the full post here




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