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Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 64,102
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President Barack Obama with Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Toni Morrison in the White House, May 29, 2012.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
more Medal of Freedom winners at the White House here: http://theobamadiary.com/2012/05/29/medal-of-freedom-2/
Posted by bigtree | Tue May 29, 2012, 09:28 PM (4 replies)
@MichelleObama Today we pay tribute to those who gave their lives for our country and offer our support to those who loved them. –mo 5.28.2012, 1:11 p.m.
@BarackObama Today, we honor those who loved their country so much they sacrificed their lives for it. We owe them a debt we can never repay. -bo 5.28.2012, 12:35 p.m.
Posted by bigtree | Tue May 29, 2012, 12:20 PM (1 replies)
excerpt from remarks by the President Commemorating Memorial Day, May 28, 2012
Arlington National Cemetery
ONE thing we can do is remember these heroes as you remember them—not just as a rank, or a number, or a name on a headstone, but as Americans, often far too young, who were guided by a deep and abiding love for their families, for each other, and for this country.
full remarks: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/05/28/remarks-president-commemorating-memorial-day
Posted by bigtree | Tue May 29, 2012, 11:54 AM (1 replies)
President Obama stands with Vietnam War widow Rose Mary Sabo-Brown after he and first lady Michelle Obama laid a wreath with her at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.
President Barack Obama is reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall as he delivers remarks during the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War commemoration ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 28. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
"Veterans, families of the Vietnam War, I know the wounds of war are slow to heal. You know that better than most. But today we take another step. The task of telling your story continues. The work of perfecting our Union goes on. And decades from now, I hope another young American will visit this place and reach out and touch a name. And she’ll learn the story of servicemembers -- people she never met, who fought a war she never knew -- and in that moment of understanding and of gratitude and of grace, your legacy will endure. For you are all true heroes and you will all be remembered."
full remarks by the President at the Commemoration Ceremony of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War
mp4 (852MB) http://www.whitehouse.gov/videos/2012/May/052812_NationalMall_HD.mp4
mp3 (55MB) http://www.whitehouse.gov/videos/2012/May/052812_NationalMall.mp3
Posted by bigtree | Tue May 29, 2012, 09:50 AM (2 replies)
Mitt Romney wants African-Americans to vote for him. At the very least, he wants black voters to think twice before proudly casting their ballot for the first African-American president in the nation's history. That's why his campaign is stepping up their messaging and outreach to the black community, beginning this month -- to try and convince voters (both black and white) that his campaign and party aren't actually the pariahs that their indifferent and mostly hostile positions and statements would suggest.
It's a rather tardy start to this initiative by the Romney campaign, having only recently appointed their first, sort-of-senior, black official as a communications adviser for outreach to the African-American community. The new campaign official, Tara Wall, a former Bush appointee and conservative commentator, must understand that she has a daunting task in selling her candidate's message and policies to the black community.
from an article in TBO: http://www2.tbo.com/news/nation-world/2012/may/27/namaino13-romney-begins-quietly-courting-black-vot-ar-408443/
"Yes, it is a bit harder this time. We have a black president. But we can't go in with the mindset that we aren't going to win any people over to our side," said Tara Wall, a former Bush administration official who was recently hired as a senior Romney communications adviser to handle outreach to African Americans.
It may not be an actual ploy, as Wall argues here, but republican outreach is normally not what most African-Americans have in mind when they look for support and attention to their particular needs and concerns. In fact, most of the republican party's outreach to the black community has been a cynical attempt to convince folks that the issues and initiatives they've advocated and fought for over the decades are wrongheaded and should be supplanted with their party's own prescriptions and schemes, instead.
That's certainly been the case with Mitt Romney. Despite providing lip service to the overall concerns of black voters, he's adhered to most of the confrontational planks of his party's reflexive paternalism which is determined to convince African-Americans that their conservative agenda is ultimately superior to what black Americans have been demanding and fighting for.
It's rather easy to point to Romney's opposition to affirmative action as a harbinger of his overall attitude toward issues which predominately affect black Americans. Although, that position would seem to be a predictable and ordinary disagreement on policy which, by itself, wouldn't seem to necessarily mean that the presumptive nominee for president is hostile to the interests of the African-American community.
However, that very position of Mr. Romney's is at the hub of his party's philosophy that there isn't actually any more need to seek or recognize any broad legislative remedies for the black community and individuals, because, as the right-wing thinking of the vast majority of his party goes, 'equality' means that blacks aren't viewed as requiring or deserving any benefit from the government targeted specifically to their particular community of concerns and interests.
The lie that's perpetuated by their right-wing is that blacks have already achieved enough recovery from the institutionalized racism and discrimination of our nation's past, so that they should now be made to compete on an 'equal' level with their white counterparts for government assistance and benefit.
Despite the persistence of disproportional percentages of black individuals in states of poverty; insubstantial health care; inadequate housing; criminal profiling and higher rates of incarceration for similar crimes as non-blacks; lack of resources for education; etc., the Romney republican stance would never favor the views of the African-American community that these are issues which need to be addressed with specific attention to their impact on black Americans.
In fact, republicans only seem to recognize that a black 'community' actually exists around election time; and even then, only to posture as if 'responsibility' and 'accountability' were challenges for African-Americans alone, and, that poverty, joblessness, crime, and other deficiencies of their community were the product of all that they would deny them legislatively. For their own good, the contemporary republican dictum goes, the community that they'll admit is suffering proportionally to the rest of the nation (if they can somehow blame our black President), should not receive benefits or government remedies which don't carry some punitive or corrective measure to induce desired behavior.
For example, Romney vehemently defended his wife's decision to 'work at home' raising her children, but, for poor communities which are disproportionally black, Romney insists mothers should be forced to put their children in daycare and go to work. At a town hall event in Manchester, New Hampshire on January 4th, Romney described his position on work requirements for welfare recipients as governor of Massachusetts:
“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” Romney said. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that's heartless,' and I said ‘No, no, I'm willing to spend more giving daycare to allow those parents to go back to work. It'll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”
Fair enough, except when you consider how difficult it is to find employment these days, especially in hard-hit African-American neighborhoods. Without available jobs, the workfare measures are merely punitive, and not any path to upward mobility or sustenance.
So, what about the health needs of the black community and the impact of Romney's pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act?
from ColorLines: http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/04/mitt_romneys_dismal_racial_justice_report_card.html
In 2000, 57.5 percent of black Americans had employer-sponsored health insurance. By 2010, that number fell below 50 percent, to 45.3. For black children, the drop was even steeper: employer sponsored health insurance fell 14.1 percentage points.
As Romney 'reaches out' to the African-American community, his campaign for president is imbued with his political promise to eviscerate any progress for the black community that's been made as a result of the health law's passage. Yet, he's determined to tell that community, and others in need, that he knows better than they do in their support of the historic changes in access and benefit.
It was that superior attitude on display last week in a black community in west Philadelphia where Romney staged the second of his tardy attempts at outreach in minority neighborhoods. At a charter school with a predominately black population, Romney sought to confront educators he met with, instead of listen to their concerns. This, despite his statement beforehand that he came "to learn, obviously, from people who are having experiences that are unique and instructive."
Instead, Mr. Romney came armed with proposals for school vouchers and a cynical slap at teachers' unions in the form of an argument against the well-established need for smaller classrooms; a view of his which was based on a study done in Singapore and South Korea; apparently good enough in Romney's mind for our U.S. communities. It's not as if Romney cared about the issue, though, as much as he was mindlessly taking glee in opposing the teachers' union's longtime support and advocacy for more qualified teachers and more classrooms.
One of the most important things Mr. Romney might 'learn' from people in the African-American community is that it won't do any good to patronize them with his presence if all he intends to do is ignore their concerns and interests in favor of promoting to them his cynical own. It might help if he actually respected these folks in the first place. People can, not only sense a phony, they know when they're being talked down to and ignored.
from BET on Romney's Philadelphia 'outreach' effort: http://www.bet.com/news/features/vote-2012/news/politics/2012/05/25/commentary-romney-s-telling-visit-to-a-black-neighborhood.html
Washington Post writer Philip Rucker, notes that Romney was greeted (in Philadelphia) by shouts of “Get out, Romney!”
Romney discovered an active, informed community which wasn't just sitting around waiting for some republican demagogue to sweep into town and rescue them with his punitive reforms. In fact, the charter school's founder told reporters that he's not sure whether Romney understands the needs of the African-American community. I'm not even sure he has any affinity for them at all.
Before an awkward photo op with a group of African Americans kids at a Martin Luther King Day parade in January 2008, Romney displayed his most candid side. That hasn't been his strong suit . . . "Who let the dogs out? Who, who?" Romney presumptuously chanted to the small crowd gathered on the corner of the block. Personally, I think he's just not up to 'outreach.' Perhaps he should actually take himself up on his offer to just 'listen' to the people he intends to vote for him, instead?
Posted by bigtree | Sun May 27, 2012, 10:34 AM (35 replies)
DPH ~ Daily POTUS Hug, Friday, May 18, 2012
No new hugs yet today . . . here's a recap from earlier in the week.
President Obama spoke about the economy, marriage equality and other issues in Chelsea on Monday, and was introduced by Ricky Martin, sporting a moustache for his role in “Evita.” The two shared a hug. Photos by Bob Krasner
Obama takes it to another level at the Rubin Museum
Posted by bigtree | Fri May 18, 2012, 01:03 PM (0 replies)
from The only adult in the room:
on May 14, 2012
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Speaking at an event for the first time since announcing his support for same-sex marriage, President Obama said his position was part of his campaign philosophy, rooted, he said, in “the basic idea that I want everybody treated fairly in this country.”
“So much of this has to do with a belief that not only are we all in this together but all of us are equal in terms of dignity, in terms of respect,” the president said to the cheers of 200 people — including singer Ricky Martin and actress Eva Longoria — at the Rubin Museum of Art in downtown New York City.
Consistent with that belief, Obama continued, “the announcement I made last week about my views on marriage equality.”
“We have never gone wrong when we expanded rights and responsibilities to everybody,” he said. “That doesn’t weaken families, it strengthens families.”
Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images
President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign fundraiser May 14, 2012 at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City.
read more: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/14/11703805-obama-gay-marriage-doesnt-weaken-families-it-strengthens-families#.T7GbF5KvPDA.twitter
Posted by bigtree | Tue May 15, 2012, 09:07 AM (13 replies)
I know I can sometimes appear to be an optimist, but I'm often deeply cynical about politicians and government. Don't mistake my confidence and positive persona for optimism, or for some kind of naivete. Hell will freeze over, I believe, before I see all of the changes I want enacted by government realized in my lifetime.
There are, however, transformational moments in our history which usher in progress which can't be reversed or erased. I believe that President Obama's announcement, in his calculated interview released today, that he now fully supports marriage equality, is one of those earth-moving political decisions which will usher in a new generation of civil rights for those individuals in the LGBT community who have been deliberately denied basic citizenship rights because of who they love; who they choose to have sexual relationships with; and, who they choose to marry.
We don't need to dwell too long on the utter immorality and political timidity of the president's earlier position which he had said was 'evolving' over time. There is no justification to be had for his insistence on sticking to his position against marriage equality and rights for gay Americans. There isn't any mitigation of those views to be had in his welcome and correct support of many other precepts of our LGBT agenda. There isn't any justification for waiting so long to express this change of heart -- no letting the powder dry; or waiting for the next election; or defending his reelection can justify maintaining such a selfish and hurtful stance.
Yet, there isn't any more need to dwell on those transgressions of Barack Obama now that he's made a decision to move forward to change attitudes and the law. There's no more need than there was to dwell on the faults of President Lyndon Johnson -- a man who ushered in a new era of civil rights for black Americans and others; yet, couldn't keep himself from calling blacks 'nigras.' -- after he had his own epiphany and embraced the civil rights fight; enlisting every instigation of democracy he could manage to further the historic progress he ultimately achieved in making the federal government responsible and accountable for the defense of those rights.
What the President has done with his statement -- just a couple of paragraphs; a few sentences -- is to make himself the primary target for those who would oppose these rights he's advocating. In this election year, President Obama will be forced; challenged to defend his position on marriage equality as integral to the defense of his entire candidacy for reelection. I don't know if that's the fight folks were expecting, but that's the one we've got right now.
The President will need to be nimble and positively brilliant in his defense of his stance in order to avoid those in opposition making this issue one which overshadows all else in his campaign. Yet, it will likely dominate almost every instance of his bid for reelection.
Fortunately, this President has already demonstrated his capacity and ability to express empathy, compassion, and understanding on many issues in ways which welcome all Americans to join in and participate. Indeed, President Obama will likely use this issue as a measure of our commitment to each other; employs his defense in a way which ultimately unites us.
It's hard to understate the importance of this sitting president's embrace of these basic, but denied, rights. History has shown that it takes leadership at the level of the presidency to initiate and carry through important changes in our society. It has been said by Edmund Burke that, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Or, perhaps, more accurately, ""When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
So, united we now stand. Forward to the fight for equality for all!
Posted by bigtree | Wed May 9, 2012, 06:50 PM (8 replies)
May 8, 2012
During an election-year clash over which U.S. political party has the best prescription for curing unemployment, Democrats can argue that almost two-thirds of private-sector job growth in the past five decades came with them in the White House.
Democrats hold the edge though they occupied the Oval Office for 23 years since Kennedy’s inauguration, compared with 28 for the Republicans. Through April, Democratic presidents accounted for an average of 150,000 additional private-sector paychecks per month over that period, more than double the 71,000 average for Republicans.
Obama focused his remarks on the improvement at non- government employers. “Our businesses have now created more than 4.2 million new jobs over the last 26 months -- more than 1 million jobs in the last six months alone,” Obama said at a May 4 event in Virginia.
Through April, private employers have added an average of about 900 jobs per month since Obama’s inauguration. During the two terms of his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, private payrolls shrank by an average of 6,700 jobs per month.
. . . Republicans, campaigning on pledges to cut government spending and programs, had a relatively better record at creating public-sector jobs Since January 1961, federal, state and local government employment grew by 7.1 million under Republican presidents and 6.3 million when Democrats were in the White House. Government agencies added an average of 21,000 jobs per month under Republicans, compared with 22,000 for Democrats.
read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-08/private-jobs-increase-more-with-democrats-in-white-house.html
Posted by bigtree | Wed May 9, 2012, 07:00 AM (5 replies)
Monday, 7 May 2012
One third of all U.S. manufacturing executives of companies with sales above $1 billion per year now say they are planning or considering “reshoring”
____ Most economists — even those inclined to sympathize with the Obama administration’s economic policies — scoffed in 2010 when, in his State of the Union address, the president vowed to double US exports in five years — creating 2 million jobs in the process.
It’s not that this wasn’t possible in the eyes of economists. It just wasn’t likely, they thought, that the global conditions and political climate in the United States would allow it.
The “zero effect” — the distorting phenomenon of measuring growth starting at an unnaturally low point — kept a damper on enthusiasm even as export figures soared in 2010-2011.
Many experts assumed that the favorable trends supporting that growth had little to do with long-term shifts. Instead, most felt the numbers reflected a coincidental confluence of events: sky-high oil prices that drove the costs of shipping upwards, a mega-recession that undermined American labor’s negotiating leverage, Federal Reserve “quantitative easing” that kept the dollar cheap and pumped up US exports, and freak events like the euro zone meltdown and the Japanese earthquake/tsunami that took major players off the economic chessboard.
But the data has started to cause reassessments. Monthly net exports have grown from $140 billion to $180 billion since the start of 2010.
read more: http://www.cnbc.com/id/47323840/
Posted by bigtree | Tue May 8, 2012, 02:38 PM (2 replies)