Early Bird Chat

On This Day: President Obama, Vice President Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill, March 21, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)


Today (all times Eastern)

10:25 AM: The President lays a wreath at the Jose Marti Memorial, Havana

10:35: Tours the Jose Marti Memorial

11:0: Takes an official photo with President Raul Castro, Palace of the Revolution

11:05: Participates in an official welcoming ceremony, Palace of the Revolution

11:30: Begins meetings with President Castro, Palace of the Revolution

1:50: Along with Castro, gives a statement to the press, Palace of the Revolution

3:45: Participates in an event focused on entrepreneurship in Cuba, La Cervecería

7:30: With First Lady Michelle Obama, attends a State Dinner, Palace of the Revolution


102 Responses to “Early Bird Chat”

  1. 1 jackiegrumbacher
    March 21, 2016 at 7:53 am


    • March 21, 2016 at 7:55 am

      Gooooood morning to you Jackie!

      • 3 jackiegrumbacher
        March 21, 2016 at 8:05 am

        Hi, Chips, and thanks for the glorious coverage of this incredible trip. Whenever there’s a great occasion, TOD rises to meet it like no other site in the world.

      • March 21, 2016 at 8:09 am

        GM Ms Chips …i want to echo Jackie G’s sentiments as well…I am ever so greateful for the coverage that you and NW bring for the Cuba Trip…

        and i want to bring over the comments from the last thread that catrst made about how invaluable TOD is:

        This just may be the most important website in the world right now. Thank you so much Lady Chips and Nerdy and all bt’s and commenters. I was struck by a contrast in feeling last night when I was reading here about the Cuba visit, and when I took a look at a few other sites to check in on other news. Here people were basking in the moment, drinking in the sheer pleasure of what was taking place. Everywhere else this visit was almost a minor happening and it was Trump, violence, spite, scandal, and wash rinse repeat. On the day this wonderful thing happens I saw the lefty world proclaiming there was no cigar (cute) from the visit because it didn’t solve everything. There should be jubilation but instead there were doomsday diatribes, there were dismissals of all the historic change and a focus on beating down the Clinton voters. Yikes. I don’t read right wing media so I didn’t get to hear their flaming of the trip but I am sure it will be out there soon even where I read, at least stories about the reactions.

        So in summary, this site is doing something extraordinary. Its keeping us focused, eye on the prize. That will have a tremendous downstream effect as we all need that to keep on keeping on. Also its fun here and that’s always good.

        AMEN to this

    • 13 Roberta in MN
      March 21, 2016 at 8:04 am

      GM Jackie and congrats on 1st. Starting the day right. Woot!!.

  2. 14 jackiegrumbacher
    March 21, 2016 at 8:01 am

    What an important day this will be for Cuba and the US. I guess since the state dinner tonight specifies the First Lady, we won’t be seeing the Obama girls dressed up for the event. It’s terrifying to consider that in November we will be faced with either setting the US back on the same dark and dangerous course we endured through much of the 20th century or continuing the Obama legacy of moving forward to a new and more enlightened era. Trump and/or Cruz represent the dark and ugly past. Hillary will continue to legacy of our great president. It’s that simple and I hope and pray that Americans don’t blow it.

    • 15 Don
      March 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

      You speak the truth, Jackie, here we have a President building bridges and making friends all over the globe. We are respected all over the world, and our enemies hide. I hope that our next President can at least not take us to war, and yes not going to war is all that I can hope for with a new President.

  3. March 21, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Good morning andy good bye! I’m off to teach the littles 😉

  4. March 21, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Good morning Chips, JackieG, Mary & TOD 🙂

    #TrustBarack ….. #YesWECan …..

  5. March 21, 2016 at 8:04 am

  6. March 21, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Amazing, simply amazing! Thanks to the Peshmerga!!

  7. 28 Roberta in MN
    March 21, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Good Morning Chips, Danny , Maryl1 & Bobfr. have a great day. BBL.

  8. 29 JER
    March 21, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Good Morning BFF and TOD.

  9. 31 Ladyhawke
    March 21, 2016 at 8:21 am

    • 32 desertflower
      March 21, 2016 at 8:49 am

      This is what happens when you lie and make shit up on the fly. There is no basis in fact for what they do….ever. I hope that it all comes crashing spectacularly down upon all of them,

      With that thought, Good Morning everyone! So wonderful to see this amazing trip to Cuba here, as always:) I love our little slice of heaven here….thank you for making this historic trip, memorable and momentous!

      Back to school today. Break is over:( The rest of the year just flies right by!

      Remember to call/write your Senators re: SCOTUS. We should have a list of name as long as those poor refugees names for these senators to have to walk over and ignore on their way to THEIR offices! Let’s get this done!

  10. March 21, 2016 at 8:44 am


  11. March 21, 2016 at 8:52 am

    This very short video offers some cool culture! I’ve made those pastries and they are spectacular.


  12. 39 desertflower
    March 21, 2016 at 8:58 am


    Can we please retire the notion that Donald Trump is hijacking someone else’s party?

    This is who they are and have always been!

    • 40 Don
      March 21, 2016 at 9:05 am

      That’s right; Trump is not saying these things in the “quiet rooms” that Romney talked about. The Republican Party isn’t upset that Trump talks the way he does, they are upset because Trump talks out in the opening.

      • March 21, 2016 at 9:51 am

        and they are upset that he has NO allegiance to the GOP…and quiet as its kept ..neither does Cruzzz….and to take a step further..Sanders has NO allegiance to the DEMs…but…because of the SuperDelegates he cannot hijack the DEM party….(who would have thought that i would be grateful to them),,,

    • 42 desertflower
      March 21, 2016 at 9:06 am

      For all the Republican talk about “personal responsibility,” the party’s leaders have worked overtime to escape any responsibility for fanning the swamp fevers that produced Trump: They instead blame him on the same bogeymen they blame everything on — Obama and the news media. What GOP elites can’t escape is the sinking feeling that a majority of Republican voters are looking for a president who will repudiate them and, implicitly, their class. Trump refuses to kowtow to the Establishment—and it is precisely that defiance, as articulated in his ridicule of Romney and Jeb Bush and Megyn Kelly and Little Marco, that endears him to Republican voters and some Democrats as well. The so-called battle for the “soul” of the Republican Party is a battle over power, not ideology. Trump has convinced millions of Americans that he will take away the power from the pinheads on high and return it to people below who feel (not wrongly) that they’ve gotten a raw deal. It’s the classic populist pitch, and it will not end well for those who invest their faith in Trump. He cares about no one but himself and would reward his own class with extravagant tax cuts like any Republican president. But the elites, who represent the problem, have lost any standing that might allow them to pretend to be part of the solution…

      Long Read…

      • 43 catrst
        March 21, 2016 at 9:23 am

        There is an irony in the truth of the situation you so eloquently describe. Trump and Sanders, I would suggest, represent a coup mentality. Burn it down. Storm the ramparts. Meanwhile for myself we are living in a golden moment with our President and I am hoping to savor every minute of this time and to find the metacognition of what I love about the President and work to stay the course in the direction we have been set in.

  13. 44 amk for obama
    March 21, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Some of the last remaining Jews in war-torn Yemen have been brought to Israel in a secret mission.

    The Jewish Agency, which is responsible for Jewish immigration to Israel, said 19 people had arrived in recent days, among them a rabbi carrying a 500-year-old Torah scroll.

    The non-profit organisation said some 50 Jews had chosen to stay in Yemen.

    Since 1948, 51,000 Jews have emigrated to Israel from Yemen, which has one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities.

    Almost all of them were brought to Israel as part of Operation Magic Carpet in 1949 and 1950.


    • March 21, 2016 at 9:08 am

      So much hate, for so very long, all in the name of various ‘gods’ …..

      • 46 catrst
        March 21, 2016 at 9:32 am

        When the vicious attacks in Paris occurred I read that Netanyahu was playing off the crisis to suggest that Jews leave France for Israel. Now that I think about it that links up with the Christians trying to set up the scenario they consider the end times. Move everyone to Israel. On a less apocalyptic note with the opposition to two states and the non Jewish population growing in Israel to the point where demographics will force Jews into the minority you can see why hardliners in Israel are looking to bring more Jews to Israel. I am glad I live in a country that is facing the wonder of diversity and forcing itself to evolve. Our next years will not be about entrenchment, no matter what the Tea Party/ Birchers think about the subject. We will overcome our deep seeded issues and continue to respect, empower, include. This will be a wondrous place to make this happen. Blessings on every last person that is part of the solution going forward.

      March 21, 2016 at 9:43 am

      ON MY FB…………………..

  14. March 21, 2016 at 9:05 am

    G’morning Chips & TOD! Congrats Jackie on #1, and Happy Havana Monday everyone. 🙂 Thanks Chips and Nerdy for this most excellent coverage of our President’s historic visit. 🙂

  15. March 21, 2016 at 9:05 am

  16. 56 desertflower
    March 21, 2016 at 9:08 am

  17. March 21, 2016 at 9:10 am


    bbl …. take care everyone …

  18. 59 GGAIL
    March 21, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Good West Coast morning Chipsticks & TOD family. 😎

    • 60 desertflower
      March 21, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Morning GGail:) Was thinking about you this weekend…hope all is well. Did you meet up with the SoCal crew? Anyone seen LL??

      • 61 GGAIL
        March 21, 2016 at 9:32 am

        Good morning DF 😘
        Yes, we met for Brunch and had a wonderful time 🎉
        LL is alive & well (?). He’s busy on his Twitter account. I have no clue why he’s not conversing with us on TOD.

  19. 69 amk for obama
    March 21, 2016 at 9:16 am

    cat burglar(ess) with her ‘haul’. hint to the clueless owners – she needs a bf.


    • 70 desertflower
      March 21, 2016 at 9:21 am

      OMG:) I knew an awesome cat when I lived next door to the family in CA…..Scooter:) Scooter would saunter around the neighborhood, inviting himself into open garages, open front doors, etc….stroll in and take whatever he fancied at the time….once I saw him running from across the street with a bag of macaroni in his mouth:) His “mom” would periodically lay his “treasures” out to see if anyone recognized something he stole as being theirs:) Great cat:)

    • 72 No Child Left Behind
      March 21, 2016 at 9:24 am

      Surprise, surprise. I recognize a sock here!!!

      Good Morning TODVille!

      March 21, 2016 at 9:38 am


  20. 74 amk for obama
    March 21, 2016 at 9:22 am

    One thing I will give donald dreck the credit for – for single handedly discrediting the ‘establishment’ gop including dumbya war criminals family, the corrupt msm, especially pox news, and the corrupter bw pundtwits, who make their living by spouting bs 24×7.

  21. March 21, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Oh, YES WE CAN

  22. 76 arapaho415
    March 21, 2016 at 9:23 am

    GM TODville.

    These might have been posted yesterday, but bears repeating for those interested.

  23. 78 arapaho415
    March 21, 2016 at 9:26 am

    And speaking of Congressional reps in Cuba, this is for TNmtnGirl (though she’s on the other side of the state from TN-9).

    Personal connection between Cuba, Jim Crow, Dr. MLK Jr’s assassination and MLB for @RepCohen:

    • March 21, 2016 at 9:47 am

      Thank you for sharing that! I had just looked at the list and saw Cohen’s name on it. What a fantastic story, maybe bit more for me because of the simple fact that I love baseball so any story like that draws me in. Thanks again.

      Hope all here have a blessed day and Holy Week ahead.

    • 80 catrst
      March 21, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Looks like a documentary on Jackie Robinson will be aired soon on PBS.

    March 21, 2016 at 9:35 am


  25. 82 vcprezofan2
    March 21, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Though I know it’s not your favourite day…. Happy Monday, Ms Chips!!!! The island travel should help you with the day. 😀

    Bringing over my thanks from yesterday because it’s so legit. 😀

    vcprezofan2 – March 20, 2016 at 9:49 pm
    This is one of those time when I’m tremendously happy that there is TOD!!!! 😀 😀 😀

    One of my favourite cousins whom I haven’t seen in over two years dropped by with her family today; of course we fell into catch-up mode, the end of which means I’ve missed all the 1st-day Cuba sights.

    I will first say ‘Thank God for Chips and for TOD.’

    Then, before I head off to see how quickly I can catch up, I will add …

    “Thank you Chips, NerdyW and any other Bt who may have posted, and thanks to all other commenting obots who have been on the trip.”

    Now I’m here but maintaining my ‘quiet’ pose as I read and absorb everything. 😀 😀

    Hi fellow Cuba travelers! It’s **GOOD** to be here [ 😉 wasn’t called to work today] basking in all this positive energy and being able to put politics in the good ole US of A a bit on the back burner; if only for a wee while.

    Have a terrific and Blessed Monday!

  26. March 21, 2016 at 9:36 am

    I wasn’t really able to be online yesterday. I watched some of the trip on CNN. But, I knew that TOD wouldn’t let me down, and I just spent this morning reading the diaries from the First Family’s trip to Cuba. As always, TOD is on it, getting us the best pics and video. Thanks so much TOD. Thanks so much for covering it in a respectful way that the MSM never would.

    TOD – YOU ROCK!!

  27. 84 CEB
    March 21, 2016 at 9:36 am

    A deep love for people and a life-long desire to serve all, vision, focus, emotional maturity, intellectual curiosity, kind heart, open mind, fidelity, ability to work well with others, but the having the strength to stand on principle, the ability to laugh at one’s self and to laugh with others; all of these and more are the traits that our leaders should have. Of all of the many ways in which PBO has transformed our country and most of the world, he has shown us that we need not settle for the type of people who have been our leaders for most of our lives. He has shown us that if we give them a chance, we can have good people in office; that we should reach high instead of settling for the least of the worst. He has shown us that we can and should look at people who do not fit the molds of those that we often reluctantly elected in the past. We deserve leaders like PBO all of the time and they are out there. We need to reform our political process so that more good people can use their talents to call on our better angels and help us to create a nation that truly lives up, for all of its citizens, the ideals that we tout.

      March 21, 2016 at 9:48 am


    • 86 catrst
      March 21, 2016 at 11:01 am

      I think we are all talking and thinking about what the President has shown us is possible in a leader and to try and search out those same characteristics in future leaders. I use the term metacognition. Trying to understand what it is to continue to look for. Thanks for the summary. Its a very important process and you are right in that we are more mature now in our understanding of what should and could be possible.

  28. March 21, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I have absolutely no sympathy. They re-elected him.

    Elections have consequences.


    From bad to worse for Sam Brownback’s Kansas
    03/18/16 04:39 PM
    By Steve Benen

    Not long after he made the transition from senator to governor in late 2010, Kansas Republican Sam Brownback boasted about his grand ambitions. The far-right Kansan, working with a GOP-led legislature, would cut taxes far beyond what the state could afford, in what Brownback described at the time as “a real-live experiment.”

    He was optimistic, though the Republican governor added at the time, “We’ll see how it works.”

    We sure will. In his first term, Brownback’s “experiment” led to debt downgrades, weak growth, and state finances in shambles. Perhaps the jobs picture is more heartening? Guess again. The Kansas City Star’s Yael Abouhalkah reported today on the state’s latest job numbers.
    Let this stunning news sink in: The Kansas jobs report released Friday shows the state lost another 1,900 jobs in February and now has 5,400 fewer jobs than it did one year ago.

    That’s right: The Sunflower State had a “growth” rate of negative 0.4 percent from February 2015 to February 2016, the first time that’s happened in more than five years. That negative employment rate is one of the worst in the nation.

  29. 88 No Child Left Behind
    March 21, 2016 at 9:48 am

  30. 89 desertflower
    March 21, 2016 at 9:48 am


    A U.S. judge is urging the Obama administration to protect from public disclosure federal court records related to the once-secret criminal history of a former Donald Trump business partner.

    In a highly unusual order prompted by The Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Brian M. Cogan said that unless the Justice Department acts before April 18, he will decide whether to make the court files public under the assumption that federal prosecutors don’t care.

    The case involves Felix Sater, a Trump business associate who had pleaded guilty in a major Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme and cooperated with the government. The AP reported in December that, even after learning about Sater’s background, Trump tapped Sater for a business development role in 2010 that included the title of senior adviser to Trump. Sater received Trump Organization business cards and was given an office within the Trump Organization’s headquarters, on the same floor as Trump’s own.

  31. 90 No Child Left Behind
    March 21, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Really? Because Il Douche no longer has coins???

    • 91 0388jojothecat
      March 21, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      Until DT is calling everyone else and Upchuck Toadface recants because he no longer has access and ratings fall…

  32. 92 No Child Left Behind
    March 21, 2016 at 9:53 am

  33. March 21, 2016 at 9:54 am

    A clarifying week for two different kinds of political parties
    03/18/16 12:49 PM
    By Steve Benen
    Almost immediately after President Obama introduced Judge Merrick Garland as his Supreme Court nominee, congressional Republicans said their unprecedented blockade strategy would remain in effect. It led National Journal’s Ron Fournier to say something unexpected.

    For those unfamiliar with Fournier’s work, the zealously centrist pundit has an unhealthy preoccupation with blaming “both sides” in every possible instance. But on Wednesday, the National Journal columnist declared, “I rarely come across a story where one side deserves 100% of blame. Congrats, GOP.” When it comes to the Republicans’ obstructionist tactics towards the Supreme Court vacancy, Fournier’s message to the party was simple: “You’ve stumped me.”

    Putting aside why any professional observer feels the need to examine a story while trying to blame both sides, Fournier’s concession was a rather striking reminder that even those who want to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt in the midst of their unprecedented tantrums can’t think of a credible defense.

  34. 96 JER
    March 21, 2016 at 9:59 am

  35. 98 MightyPamela
    March 21, 2016 at 10:00 am

  36. 99 JER
    March 21, 2016 at 10:03 am

    LIVE NOW: Hillary Clinton speaks at AIPAC – http://www.cbsnews.com/liveFeed/widget.shtml

  37. March 21, 2016 at 10:16 am

    POTUS wreath laying coming up @ 10:25AM


  38. March 21, 2016 at 10:20 am

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