Archive for November 8th, 2010





the kindness of strangers….

Source – 2008: 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.

“He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?”

Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man.

“He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants,” says Mary.

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.

Original Norwegian newspaper link




pleased to meet you


picture perfect: no 18

Barack H. Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States as his wife Michelle Obama holds the Bible and their daughters Malia Obama and Sasha Obama look on, on the West Front of the Capitol January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Chuck Kennedy-Pool/Getty Images)

See all the Picture Perfect photos here


but, but, but …. they said he’d tank after the midterms?!

Gallup: President Barack Obama earned a 47% approval rating from the American public in Gallup Daily tracking from Friday through Sunday …. former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush saw their job approval ratings decline after their parties’ midterm election losses in 1994 and 2006, respectively … Bush’s approval fell from 38% to 33% in less than a week …While the increase in Obama’s job approval rating since the election is small in absolute terms, the fact that it is up at all after his party’s major congressional and gubernatorial losses is notable



Two Days In Indonesia (local times)


4:30 p.m. Arrives at Halim Airport in Jakarta

Welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace

Late Afternoon: Meets with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and several Indonesian ministers for bilateral talks. Press conference to follow in  Presidential Palace garden.

8:30 p.m. State dinner


8 a.m. Visit to Istiqlal Mosque

Speech at University of Indonesia

Visits Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta

Afternoon: leaves for Seoul for G-20 meeting

…. at a classmate’s birthday party in Jakarta, 1971


a stately affair

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Indian President Pratibha Patil as US First Lady Michelle Obama and the Indian President’s husband, Devisingh Patil, look on

…. the U.S. national anthem is played before a state dinner at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi

Members of the United States delegation listen to their national anthem

Text of address

Report here

First lady Michelle Obama gives a traditional greeting to Marshal of India’s Air Force, Arjan Singh

….greeting Indian businessman Ratan Tata

….with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh


the front pages

Anandabazar Patrika, published in Calcutta, India

Aajkaal, published in Kolkata, India

CBS: Media coverage of President Obama’s visit to India is beyond intense.

More than 200 news channels in 26 languages are providing wall-to-wall coverage of the president’s three days here. The news operations have a huge audience. Nearly 1.2 billion people live in a country that is about one-third the geographic size of the U.S.

Indian TV news takes note of every word Mr. Obama utters. No syllable goes uncovered. Virtually every Indian channel carried live coverage of the president’s town hall meeting with students at St. Xavier College in Mumbai.

…Channel surfing becomes an exercise in “all Obama all the time.” The coverage can is ubiquitous, with TVs mounted over urinals in a hotel men’s room providing live pictures of the President of the United States.

….There is also a special fascination in India with the First Lady. The Indian media were enthralled by scenes of Michelle Obama dancing with school children and delivering an impassioned speech about her childhood.

Prahaar – Mumbai, published in Mumbai, India

Patrika, published in Bhopal, India

Naidunia – Raipur, published in Raipur, India

(Feel free to translate for me…. I can only figure out the pictures!)


spelling it out

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose for a photo with local school children as they tour Humayun’s Tomb, in Delhi, India on November 7







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November 2010

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