Archive for April 27th, 2009


April 27, 2009


President Obama is just getting started: It’ll take more than 100 days to fix this mess
Monday, April 27th 2009, 4:00 AM


President Obama chats before playing a round of golf Sunday at Andrews Air Force Base, his first round since taking office.

As Barack Obama moves up on the completely arbitrary observance of his first 100 days in office, if you’re part of the 69% of people who, according to a new Washington Post poll, approve of the way he’s running the country, you’re wrong!

This is what you are told by commentators on what used to be state-run television, on right-wing radio and by what is laughingly called the Republican leadership in Congress: Obama doesn’t know what’s good for the country and neither do you.

You are told constantly that the minority on the other side is way more important than the majority that put Obama in office, a majority that thinks he should be given a fair chance, over these 100 days and the next 100 and the 100 after that, to show that he is more than some kind of smooth-talking front man for Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank.

You are also told that any faith in Obama is blind faith.

Except it’s not, no matter how good that theory is for ratings.

The people who support this President don’t think he’s flawless and don’t ignore his mistakes, starting with nominations for guys like Tom Daschle and Bill Richardson. They support him even if the jury is still out on Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, classic insiders, guys who helped shape the same failed economic system they’re now expected to fix.

No kidding, every time I see Summers on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, I put a death grip on my own wallet you’d need the Jaws of Life to pry loose.

The people who support Barack Obama in his first term aren’t any less conflicted about torture than anybody else in this country, even after eight years when Bush-Cheney seemed to be using the television show “24” as some kind of training film on prisoner interrogation.

Still, they are told by the hucksters from the right that their support for this President is misguided, or naive, or plain stupid. They are not allowed to think this President has a plan, or even has a clue.

But what is the plan from the other side? It is to hate HIS plan, whether it is about Hugo Chavez or TARP money or taxes or Afghanistan or picking out the new family dog. Their plan is to tell you what Obama SHOULD have done when it’s all over.

You know what’s really over? The old way of doing things. It got routed in the congressional elections of 2006, and then, with John McCain as its front man, him and Bristol Palin’s mom, it got the boot for good last November.

Somehow, though, if you listen to the loyal opposition, it’s only taken 100 days for the Bush-Cheney years to become the good old days.

We are now supposed to give the previous administration all the credit for keeping the country safe after Sept. 11, its cheerleaders celebrating everything they did from Iraq to hijacking the rules of the Geneva Convention in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. It’s as if our buildings got blown up on somebody else’s watch.

All this time later nobody can remember much about their first 100 days in office, just what happened around Day 200, in August of 2001, when the now-famous memo with this title – “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” – didn’t seem to get anybody’s blood racing down there on the ranch in Crawford, Tex.

“There was nothing that said, you know, ‘There’s an imminent attack,'” George W. Bush said when he was running for reelection in 2004.

You know? Well, he didn’t know. Neither did Cheney, his war-loving, waterboarding vice president, the one who won’t shut up now, who makes you nostalgic for the days when he was always in some undisclosed location hiding under his desk. Say this about Dick Cheney: He got a lot more interested in national security after he let others go off and fight the Red Menace of North Vietnam.

Barack Obama isn’t just trying to make fundamental, and necessary, changes in the way this country does business. He is dealing, here and around the world, with the mess that the geniuses who had the White House before him made of things. Even though you’re now expected to believe that somehow this is all his fault – him and his soft, liberal, America-hating friends.

The geniuses before him took eight years to make the mess. It’s going to take more than 100 days for the cleanup.


April 27, 2009


Monday, April 27, 2009
Michelle Obama: 100 Days Of Transformation
The 21 women nervously mingling at the White House were among the best in their fields. They had achieved Olympic gold, Grammy awards and four stars in the Army. One had orbited the earth aboard space shuttle Endeavour. Some had reached the highest outposts of corporate America, or had earned kudos on stage or on the big screen. They were together for one reason: Michelle Obama.

As a candidate’s wife, as it became increasingly clear Barack Obama might win the presidency, she had dreamed about a day like this, when she could bring together such a talented group and send them off to give pep talks to kids in the public schools.

As first lady, she realized she could make it happen.

“I couldn’t have imagined this a year ago,” Mrs. Obama said. She was speaking one morning last month to the other high achievers she had invited to the blue-and-yellow Diplomatic Reception Room in the basement of the White House.

Once in the White House, Mrs. Obama quickly was out the door and running on a bunch of issues, all of them very traditional, first ladylike and unlikely to upset the public.

She dashed around from one government agency to another, thanking often-criticized civil service employees for their work and plugging the president’s $787 billion economic stimulus package.

She got beyond official Washington, too — touring a neighborhood social services center, reading to little kids, serving mushroom risotto at a soup kitchen. She gave pep talks to high school students and dirtied her hands in the garden.

In Europe, she caused a media frenzy, not as much for where she went or with whom she met or for what she said, but for the outfits she wore to meet the British prime minister, the queen of England and the French president and his wife, a former fashion model.

Some of the clothes she wears sell out immediately after aides say where she got them. Numerous Web sites dissect and analyze her style; at least one is posting photos of every outfit she wears in public.

In London, she alone drew a rare, and much talked about, public display of affection from Queen Elizabeth II.

At a reception for world leaders attending the G-20 economic summit, Her Majesty draped an arm across the first lady’s back. Mrs. Obama returned the gesture, sparking endless discussion about whether it was wrong of her to touch the queen.

But the embrace also was a symbol of just how far Michelle Obama’s transformation had taken her. By getting a touch from the queen, she pulled off something few others have.

Mrs. Obama organized her own kind of G-20 summit at the White House last month, with an all-female cast ranging from singer Alicia Keys to actress Fran Drescher to astronaut Mae Jemison.

The assignment was to go out and inspire young people. Girls, especially.

Getting them to see their potential wasn’t something Mrs. Obama talked about on the campaign trail. The pep talks came after she realized the role model and source of inspiration she had become for so many.

“Nothing in my life’s path would have predicted that I’d be standing here as the first African-American first lady of the United States of America,” she told an audience of schoolgirls in London. “If you want to know the reason why I’m standing here, it’s because of education.”

It’s a simple pitch, and it’s the same whether she is talking to students in D.C. or England.

She was in their shoes once, but she liked going to school, she liked being smart, she liked getting A’s. She worked hard to get ahead and to prove the people who doubted her wrong. She tells students they can do the same.

Laura Bush says she wished she’d realized earlier the power she had as first lady.

Michelle Obama’s journey has already gotten her to that point, and she sees what she can accomplish.


April 27, 2009


April 25, 2009
Obama’s First 100 Days: A Look At Key Events
A look at key events during the first 100 days of Barack Obama’s presidency:

Jan. 22: Obama orders the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison within a year and declares that the United States will not engage in torture.

Jan 23: Obama lifts ban on federal funding for international organizations that perform or provide information on abortions.

Jan. 27: Obama gives first formal television interview as president to Arab television station, telling Muslims, “Americans are not your enemy.”

Jan. 29: Obama signs first bill into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, making it easier for workers to sue for pay discrimination.

Feb. 3: Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., withdraws as Obama’s nominee for secretary of health and human services.

Feb. 9: Obama holds first prime-time news conference, calling on Congress to enact his economic stimulus plan.

Feb. 12: Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., withdraws as Obama’s nominee for secretary of commerce.

Feb. 13: Congress completes action on a $787 billion economic stimulus package of tax cuts and new spending, intended to jolt the country out of the worst recession in 50 years.

Feb. 17: Obama signs the stimulus measure into law.

Feb. 19: Obama makes his first visit to a foreign country as president, meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a seven-hour visit to Ottawa.

Feb. 22: Obama hosts governors in his first formal dinner at the White House.

Feb. 23: Obama holds a fiscal responsibility summit at the White House, signaling his intention to tackle health care, the budget and Social Security.

Feb. 24: Obama addresses a joint session of Congress for the first time, focusing on economic issues.

Feb. 26: Obama unveils a $3.6 trillion federal budget for 2010 and estimates that the federal deficit for 2009 will balloon to $1.75 trillion.

Feb. 27: Obama announces withdrawal of all American combat forces from Iraq by August 2010, but says the U.S. will leave tens of thousand support troops behind.

March 5: Obama hosts daylong White House summit on health care.

March 9: Obama reverses President George W. Bush’s ban on federally funded embryonic stem cell research, and declares that all federal scientific research will be walled off from political influences.

March 11: Obama signs a $410 billion spending bill to keep the government running for the rest of the 2009 budget year. He calls the measure “imperfect” because it includes money for special projects set aside by members of Congress, a practice he pledged to end during the 2008 campaign.

March 16: Obama declares he will stop insurer American International Group Inc. from paying out millions in executive bonuses after receiving billions in federal bailout funds.

March 19: Obama becomes the first sitting president to appear on the “Tonight” show.

March 20: Obama releases video message to people of Iran in celebration of Nowruz, the Persian new year and the first day of spring.

March 26: Obama holds “Open for Questions”, the first virtual town hall meeting at the White House.

March 27: Obama announces comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the deployment of 4,000 additional military trainers to Afghanistan.

March 30: Obama asserted unprecedented government control over the auto industry, rejecting turnaround plans by General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, and engineering the ouster of GM’s chief executive, Rick Wagoner.

March 31: Obama travels to London, the first stop on an eight-day, six country tour of Europe and the Middle East.

April 1: Obama meets with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and announces start of negotiations on new strategic arms-control treaty.

April 1: Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have a private audience with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

April 2: Obama attends the Group of 20 economic summit in London, where leaders agree to bail out developing countries, stimulate world trade and regulate financial firms more stringently.

April 3: Obama speaks and takes questions from crowd of mostly French and German citizens at a Town Hall meeting in Strasbourg, France.

April 4: Obama attends NATO summit in Strasbourg but gets commitment from allies to send up to 5,000 more military trainers and police to Afghanistan.

April 5: Obama launches an effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons, calling them during a speech in Prague “the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War.”

April 6: Obama speaks to Turkey’s parliament, declaring that “the United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam.”

April 7: Obama pays a surprise visit to Iraq, meeting with U.S. troops and Iraqi leaders.

April 9: Obama sends a request to Congress for $83.4 billion for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

April 10: Obama says the economy is showing “glimmers of hope” after meeting with top economic officials.

April 12: Obama authorizes a military rescue of an American sea captain taken hostage by pirates in the waters off Somalia. The rescue results in the deaths of three pirates and the capture of the fourth, and frees Capt. Richard Phillips.

April 13: The administration announces that Cuban-Americans will be permitted to make unlimited transfers of money and visits to relatives in Cuba. The decision also clears away most regulations that had stopped American companies from bringing high-tech services and information to Cuba.

April 14: The Obamas introduce their new puppy, Bo, in a photo session on the White House lawn.

April 16: Obama meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon on his first trip to Mexico and Latin America. The leaders agree to cooperate on combating drug violence along the U.S.-Mexican border.

April 17: Obama releases memos from Bush administration authorizing harsh interrogation techniques but says no CIA employees who followed the memos will be prosecuted.

April 17: Obama travels to Trinidad and Tobago for the 34-nation Summit of the Americas and declares that he “seeks a new beginning with Cuba.”

April 18: At the summit, Obama shakes hands with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, the leftist, anti-American leader who had called Bush a devil.

April 19: Obama calls on Cuba to release political prisoners as a way to improve relations with the U.S.

April 20: Obama holds the first formal Cabinet meeting of his administration, ordering department heads to slice spending by $100 million, a tiny fraction of the $3.6 trillion federal budget he proposed a month earlier.

April 21: Obama leaves the door open for prosecution of federal lawyers who wrote harsh interrogation memos during Bush administration and says if there’s an investigation, it should be done by an independent commission.

April 22: Obama makes his first visit as president to Iowa, the state where his 2008 Democratic caucus victory launched him toward the presidency.

April 23: Obama tells congressional leaders he will not support creation of an independent commission to investigate the Bush administration’s harsh interrogation techniques.

April 24: Obama promotes his idea for the government to stop backing private loans to college students and replace them with direct government loans to young people. He also declines to brand the early 20th century massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey a “genocide,” breaking a campaign promise.

%d bloggers like this: