Archive for March 16th, 2011

16
Mar
11

night and day

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan from the Treaty Room office in the White House residence, Wednesday night, March 16, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

****

I know, I know, why am I surprised …. but Politico’s headline report tonight on this phone call:

“Yukio Edano, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, announced during a news conference in Tokyo that Obama had spoken to Prime Minister Naoto Kan in the morning.”

So, Yukio Edano and Naoto Kan are given their proper titles, but the President of the United States of America is “Obama”.

Come on Politico, just be honest and rename yourselves ‘The Tea Party Bugle’.

16
Mar
11

oscar romero

Salvadorans carry banners with the image of slain Archbishop Oscar Romero during the commemorations of the 30th anniversary of his death at the Metropolitan cathedral in San Salvador, March 24, 2010

I was only 13 when Oscar Romero was assassinated, but as a young Catholic, just getting fired up politically, who couldn’t find any Catholic leaders to respect, until I found him, his death had an enormous effect. These are some edited extracts from Wikipedia about his life:

Oscar Romero was a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador. He was assassinated on March 24, 1980 … He is considered by some the unofficial patron saint of the Americas and El Salvador….

In February 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador. His appointment was welcomed by the government, but was met with surprise, dismay, and even incredulity by many priests … who feared that his conservative reputation would negatively affect liberation theology’s commitment to the poor….

On March 12, a progressive Jesuit priest and personal friend Rutilio Grande, who had been creating self-reliance groups among the poor, was assassinated. His death had a profound impact on Romero who later stated, “When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, if they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path”…..

…In response to Fr. Rutilio’s murder, Romero revealed a radicalism that had not been evident earlier. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture…..

In 1979, the Revolutionary Government Junta came to power amidst a wave of human rights abuses by paramilitary right-wing groups and the government. Romero criticized the United States for giving military aid to the new government…

….Romero was shot on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass at a small chapel one day after a sermon where he had called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to obey God’s higher order and to stop carrying out the government’s repression and violations of basic human rights. According to an audio-recording of the Mass, he was shot while elevating the chalice at the end of the Eucharistic rite. When he was shot, his blood spilled over the altar along with the contents of the chalice.

A Salvadoran touches the tomb of slain Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, March 24, 2010…It is believed that the assassins were members of a death squad trained and funded by the United States….

****

Next week, it is being reported, President Obama will visit Monsignor Romero’s tomb during his trip to El Salvador on March 23.

There honestly are no words to describe how incredible the symbolism of that visit would be, if it can happen – for El Salvador, and for current or ex-Catholics (like me) in every part of the world. Romero was an extraordinary man, who made an extraordinary personal journey – he was ‘promoted’ by the Vatican because he was a conservative, but then his friend was murdered:

“When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, if they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path”.

Whatever the truth about his assassination, there is no doubt that the United States – and, sadly, Jimmy Carter – was a shameful accomplice.

So, if Barack Obama, President of the United States, is able to visit Oscar Romero’s tomb next week it would be something incredibly special.

16
Mar
11

baby listens to gop budget proposals…

…and like the rest of us, he’s not sure whether to laugh or cry

16
Mar
11

ah, memories……

Washington Post (2002): …President Bush … sprang from his golf cart at 6:15 a.m. and said he was “distressed to hear about the latest suicide bombers in Israel.” Just over four hours before, as Bush slept at his parents’ seaside retreat, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a bus in Israel, killing nine passengers.

Bush, wearing khakis and a knit shirt, was holding a driver in his gloved left hand …. however incongruous the setting, the president plunged ahead. “There are a few killers who want to stop the peace process that we have started, and we must not let them,” he said. “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers.”

His business out of the way, Bush barely paused for breath before saying, “Thank you. Now watch this drive.”

The abrupt segue illustrates the dilemma Bush will face over the next month as he relaxes and works at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., at a time of global political volatility. On Tuesday, Bush will leave Washington behind until Labor Day. That is likely to mean a return to the golf-cart diplomacy of last summer when Bush talked Middle East peace between playing holes, at one point dripping sweat as he said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat “can do a lot more to be convincing the people on the street to stop these acts of terrorism.”

More here

16
Mar
11

dnc, dc

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a DNC meeting in Washington on March 16

…with David Plouffe, who introduced the President

See the full text of the speech here – it’s brilliant. Extracts:

“It is – boy, it is nice to see so many friends in a room. (Laughter.) I live in Washington, so that doesn’t always happen. (Laughter.) But when you gather up so many folks who helped get me where I am today — I am reminded of that story of Abraham Lincoln when he was President. Back then anybody could have — he had office hours. And he’d let people come in and meet with him. And somebody insisted on coming to see him, barged through the door, said to his personal assistant, “I need to see the President. I’m the one who got him elected.” And none of you have done that, of course. (Laughter.)

So the assistant goes in, mentions this to Lincoln. Lincoln looks at his watch — he’s got a little bit of time. He says, “Oh, bring the guy in.” He says, “Sir, I understand you’re the person responsible for getting me elected.” He says, “That’s right.” He says, “Well, I forgive you.” (Laughter.) So I forgive all of you. (Laughter.)

….There are times where Michelle reminds me that I volunteered for this job — (laughter) — because she looks at me and I looked tired. But I’m telling you, I am having an extraordinary time, because there aren’t many moments in our lives where we know that we’re making a difference. And this is one of those moments.

….And my hope is that the same spirit that helped change this country in 2008, that that spirit is still in each and every one of you. Obviously the first time around it’s like lightning in a bottle. There’s something special about it, because you’re defying the odds. And as time passes, you start taking it for granted that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama is President of the United States. (Laughter and applause.) It’s not — but we should never take it for granted. And I hope that over the next couple of years, as we’re seeing a lot of you as I travel around the country, I hope that all of you still feel that sense of excitement and that sense of possibility, because we still have so much more to do.

…..I know that sometimes people may get frustrated and think, you know what, Obama is being too nice and we need to get in there and take it to them. (Laughter.) And there will be times where that’s important. But I also think it’s important for us not to lose that spirit that animated us early on, which was to say that we don’t want to just fight the same old battles over and over again. It’s important for us to make sure that we are actually doing the work of changing our politics even as we are changing our policies.

And that’s tough. It makes our job a little bit harder sometimes. But I think it’s absolutely important if we’re going to achieve our goals.”

“Don’t **** with me, okay? Thank you.”

16
Mar
11

green fingers (updated)

The non-YouTube version, especially for my rival in love:

Washington Post: There’s a new author in the White House: Michelle Obama.

The first lady has signed with the Crown Publishing Group for a book about the garden she started on the South Lawn of the White House and the benefits of healthy eating. The book, currently untitled, is scheduled to come out in April 2012. Obama received no advance and will donate all proceeds to a charity or charities to be determined.

The White House said the garden has yielded more than 2,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We’ve gotten food out of the garden, and we can eat it and it’s good,” Obama said Wednesday during a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press. “So we wanted to share the story with the rest of the nation and perhaps with the rest of the world, because we get so many questions about the garden: How did we do it? Why did we do it? How do I do this in my own home or community?”

More here

First lady Michelle Obama participates in the third planting of the White House kitchen garden with local school children, March 16

16
Mar
11

moving on

ABC: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an interviewer today that she would not accept a role in a possible second Obama administration.

The executive producer of the CNN show John King USA, Michelle Jaconi, tweeted that Secretary Clinton told the network in an interview in Cairo today that she “would NOT be in an Obama 2nd term cabinet.”

Clinton had been rumored to take over for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, but has suggested she was not open to the job.
Clinton also told CNN she wouldn’t want to be vice president or run for president again.

“You know, I had a wonderful experience running and I am very proud of the support I had and very grateful for the opportunity, but I’m going to be, you know, moving on,” she said, according to a transcript.

More here

16
Mar
11

more of those tumbling approval ratings….

Gallup, March 16

And that’s during the Middle East crisis and rising fuel prices……

16
Mar
11

sigh…..

Steve Benen: President Obama made his NCAA tournament picks yesterday. Apparently, it’s given the right something new to complain about ….last night on Twitter, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was just as silly, whining, “How can @BarackObama say he is leading when puts his NCAA bracket over the budget & other pressing issues?”

First, the notion that the president is putting March Madness “over” pressing issues is ridiculous, even by RNC standards. Obama took nine minutes to fill out a bracket. Presidents are busy, but the Sports Fan in Chief investing nine minutes on this probably won’t interfere with his duties. (I don’t recall anyone at the DNC asking, “How can George W. Bush say he is leading when he puts brush-clearing and bike-riding over pressing issues?”)

Second, have Limbaugh and Priebus seen what congressional Republicans are up to? While the president was making a brief appearance on ESPN, the House GOP was organizing an emergency meeting to discuss … NPR funding.

Indeed, for months, the new House Republican majority has wasted time on health care bills they know they can’t pass, abortion bills they know they can’t pass, climate bills they know they can’t pass, and budget bills they know they can’t pass. They’re also investing considerable energy in efforts ranging from recklessly accusing Muslim Americans of disloyalty to making English the “official” language to a proposal to better promote “In God We Trust” as the national motto (which will be getting committee attention tomorrow).

… how can the GOP say it’s leading when it puts NPR funding over the budget and other pressing issues?

Full article here




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