Monthly Archives: May 2010

West Wing Week ~ 85 Ton Electric Arc Furnace ~ May 14 – May 20, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama gets a hug while greeting workers during a shift change at V&M Star, a manufacturer of steel products, in Youngstown, Ohio, May 18, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step-by-step with the President as he honors our nations top police officers, mourns officers killed in the line of duty, meets with top cabinet members about containing the BP oil leak in the Gulf, signs the Freedom of the Press act, welcomes the NCAA Women’s Basketball Champs UConn Huskies, travels to Youngstown, Ohio to visit a steel factory, hosts a State Dinner for the President of Mexico, and informs the American people on what Wall Street reform will mean for them.

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Filed under First Lady Michelle Obama, Obama Administration, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, West Wing Week

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Host State Dinner for the President and First Lady of Mexico

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama (R), and his wife first lady Michelle Obama (2L) stand with Mexican President Felipe Calderon (2R) and his wife Margarita Zavala after their arrival for the State Dinner at the White House on May 19, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photos by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

The United States and Mexico are linked by geographical, historical, familial, cultural, economic, and security ties. In recognition of these deep ties and the strong relationship President Obama has forged with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, President Obama and the First Lady will host President Calderón and Mrs. Margarita Zavala in the White House for a State Dinner.

Last night’s State Dinner was held in the East Room of the White House and the State Dinner Performance was held under a tent on the South Lawn of the White House.

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Welcome, Mrs. Obama!, ¡Bienvenida, Sra. Zavala!

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Kori Schulman

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (R) and her Mexican counterpart Margarita Zavala (L) run with second graders during a physical education class as they visit New Hampshire Estates Elementary School May 19, 2010 in Silver Spring, Maryland. The school was awarded the USDAs Healthier US School Challenge Silver Award in 2009 and partnered with a school in Mexico as part of the Monarch Butterfly Sister School Program. President of Mexico Felipe Calderon is on a state visit to Washington with the first lady of Mexico. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

Mrs. Obama invited Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala to the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland for a Let’s Move! event, as part of the Administration’s activities to welcome the President and First Lady of Mexico. On their visit, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Zavala talked to children about making healthy choices, skipped around the gymnasium and joined students for a “family style” lunch with plenty of broccoli to go around.

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The New Hampshire Estates Elementary School has a connection to both Let’s Move! and Mexico. A recipient of USDA’s Healthier US School Challenge Silver Award, the school stresses cooperative games and ways to maintain health through their physical education program and promotes social skills with “family style” lunches. It’s paired with a school in Mexico, as part of the Monarch Butterfly Sister School Program, which connects classrooms across North America to share projects on the Monarch butterfly.

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Official Arrival of Mexican President Felipe Calderón and First Lady Margarita Zavala

Posted by: Audiegrl

Today, the President and Mrs. Obama welcomed President Calderón of Mexico and Mrs. Zavala to the White House. In remarks at the official arrival ceremony, the President emphasized what can be accomplished by working together and how this visit will advance the partnership between our countries even further:

Together, we can help create jobs and prosperity for our people. We can ensure that our common border is secure, modern and efficient, including immigration that is orderly and safe. We can stand firm, and deepen our cooperation, against the drug cartels that threaten our people. And given Mexico’s global leadership, we can stand together for the opportunity and security of all people, in our hemisphere and beyond.

Finally, Mr. President, your visit speaks to a truth of our time — in North America and the world. In the 21st century, we are defined not by our borders, but by our bonds. So I say to you and to the Mexican people, let us stand together. Let us face the future together. Let’s us work together. Trabajemos juntos.

Following the ceremony on the South Lawn, the President is holding a joint press conference with President Calderón in the Rose Garden. In the evening, the President and the First Lady will attend the State Dinner with President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala, joined by the Vice President and Dr. Biden in the East Room of the White House.

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Filed under Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Mexico, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

Tip O’Neill is Right

Posted by: ogenec

In the wake of last night’s contests, Washington is involved in its favorite parlor game: declaring winners and losers. Politico says the activists won. And, sure, that argument has superficial appeal: Rand Paul prevailed over McConnell’s hand-picked candidate; Blanche Lincoln is in a dogfight; and, perhaps most telling, Sestak beat Specter like a drum. Much to the chagrin of the White House.

But isn’t the real lesson — so far, little remarked upon — that “all politics is local”? To my mind, the famous Tip O’Neill statement was never more true than yesterday. Sestak beating Specter had, I think, more to do with reflexive aversion to the White House imposing Specter on the local electorate as if from on high. Even from my far-removed perch, it struck me as quite arrogant for Washington insiders to decree who the local representative should be, especially when the hand-picked candidate is not a Democrat, but a Republican seeking shelter from the Tea Party maelstrom. In that sense, the WH took a well-deserved loss. They should learn from it: Nobody appreciates having their mind made up for them by the party apparatchik.

But, elsewhere in PA, Mark Critz won the special election for Jack Murtha’s seat. And he’s no activist darling: he’s opposed to the Obama agenda, would have voted against health care, and is anti-choice. Hardly the poster boy for progressives. And yet, he won.   That is further proof to me of the “Big Tent” theory: Democrats win, and will retain their majority, when they elect Dems who represent the cultural make-up of their districts.  Whether they adhere to notions of progressive orthodoxy is, frankly, irrelevant.

So I applaud Sestak.  But I also applaud Critz, despite the fact that his views are so different from mine.  And I hope Blanche Lincoln pulls it out in AK.  The Republicans are on a party purification bender, but  I see no reason for Democrats to join them in that foolhardy endeavor.  Especially when wins like Critz’s portend that the rumors of the Dems’ death in November are, like Mark Twain’s, greatly exaggerated.

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Filed under News, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Republicans

Rima Fakih, Miss Michigan & Arab-American, Crowned 2010 Miss USA

Posted by: Audiegrl

Miss Michigan Rima Fakih is crowned Miss USA 2010 Sunday, May 16, 2010 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

AP~ Lebanese immigrant Rima Fakih says it was a certain look from Donald Trump that tipped her off that she had won the 2010 Miss USA title.

The 24-year-old Miss Michigan beat out 50 other women to take the title Sunday night, despite nearly stumbling in her evening gown.

She told reporters later that she believed she had won after glancing at pageant owner Trump as she awaited the results with the first runner-up, Miss Oklahoma USA Morgan Elizabeth Woolard.

“That’s the same look that he gives them when he says, ‘You’re hired,'” on Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” she said.

“She’s a great girl,” said Trump, who owns the pageant with NBC in a joint venture.

Fakih took top honors at the pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip after strutting confidently in an orange and gold bikini, wearing a strapless white gown that resembled a wedding dress and saying health insurance should cover birth control pills.

Fakih, an Arab-American from Dearborn, Mich., told pageant organizers her family celebrates both Muslim and Christian faiths. She moved to the United States as a baby and was raised in New York, where she attended a Catholic school. Her family moved to Michigan in 2003.

Pageant officials said historical pageant records were not detailed enough to show whether Fakih was the first Arab American, Muslim or immigrant to win the Miss USA title. The pageant started in 1952 as a local bathing suit competition in Long Beach, Calif.

Fakih told reporters she sold her car after graduating college in Michigan to help pay for her run in the Miss Michigan USA pageant.

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Filed under Christianity, Fashion, Islam/Muslim, Michigan, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

Palin’s “Mama Grizzlies” Are Devouring the GOP Not Obama

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Sarah Palin recently told an anti-abortion activist group that “mama grizzlies” will eat up the Democrats in November and shove the country back into the GOP’s arms. Her home grown, home state animal kingdom analogy would have been more apt and frightening a year ago when the Tea Party first gathered steam. Then GOP leaders banked that the Tea Party would be their back channel hammer to pound Obama and the Democrats in November. Things went well in the beginning. The party’s angry protests, marches, and parades, the passion, zealotry, their sloganeering, name calling, their anti-tax, anti big government, and defense of freedoms code word racism boded well. President Obama seemed the perfect made-in-heaven foil. He’s a moderate, African-American, Democrat who they recast as a closet unpatriotic, race baiting, socialist.

The set script, though, has suddenly radically changed. In quick succession, GOP stalwarts in Utah, Florida, Kentucky, and Maine, and John McCain in Arizona have either been knocked out the box or are under withering fire from Tea Party activists. The white hot anti-incumbent rhetoric in Tea Party circles is almost totally aimed at the GOP incumbents and candidates. Any hint from a GOP incumbent in their words, actions, or voting record of making nice with Democrats and Obama guarantees a tongue lash from Palin, and relentless hectoring, harassment, and even physical threats from street level activists. GOP leaders have slowly woke to the recognition that Tea Party activists will settle for nothing less than a full blown exorcism of any trace of moderation or compromise from the GOP.

The danger looms for the GOP that 2010 could be 1964 all over again. That was the year that a right insurgency powered by ferocious Deep South and Western opposition to the civil rights movement, legislative and court ordered desegregation, and pending civil rights rights bills rammed the GOP to the hard right and in that year’s presidential election, to political disaster. The GOP suffered mightily in the aftermath of LBJ and the Democrat’s landslide sweep. But the crushing defeat did not totally transform the GOP into a hard core rightwing opposition party. There were many conservative Republicans who were still willing to compromise, conciliate, and work when necessary with Democrats.

The best case in point is McCain. Pre-presidential candidate Obama’s ascension, he was widely held up as the standard model of the responsible, pragmatic, Republican conservative who was willing to reach across the congressional aisle to get things done. It’s a far different story in the Obama White House days. McCain’s sprouted wings on his heels in his mad dash to the right to keep his Senatorial job. His rush to the right typifies the GOP’s Catch 22 dilemma. He can’t win, or at least the perception is that he can’t win, by ticking off Tea Party activists. Yet, catering to them types him as a pandering, captive of the loose jointed right, shill.

Either case scenario poses the grave threat that the GOP could be a fractured, unhinged party months before the November showdown. Polls and surveys show this potentially chilling scenario. In a Pew survey 40 percent of Democrats say they have no faith in their elected representatives in Congress. That’s an all time low in the history of the Pew survey. But even fewer Republicans say that they have any faith in their congressional representatives. That’s a crushing load the GOP could drag into the fall elections. A pack of hard right candidates that carry the GOP banner will be a powerful turn-off to thousands of politically crucial independent voters. In past polls, many of them registered disgust, frustration and anger at Obama and the Democrat’s policies and signaled a willingness to shift back to the GOP. This could be out the window.

Then there’s Palin. She poses absolutely no threat to Obama’s solid or lukewarm Democratic base. The mere mention of her as a possible presidential candidate is more than enough to terrorize disappointed liberal Democrats out of their Obama inertia. The real damage that she can do will be to further confuse, rile up, and split Republicans. Polls show that while voters in general say Palin’s not presidential timber, a huge minority of Republicans say that she is. This could translate into a stock of disgruntled, frustrated voters who would be sorely tempted to push, prod and hector the GOP to give Palin her due as a possible presidential candidate. This kind of talk will propel even more independents away from the GOP.

Palin can talk all day about “mama grizzlies” ousting Democrats from power in November and beyond. But the stark political reality is that so far the only ones who have been threatened or devoured wear the GOP tag. This wasn’t in the GOP mainstream’s script for Palin and the Tea Party.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press).
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Filed under 2010 Elections, 2012 Elections, Conservative, Democrats, Pres. Barack Obama, Republicans, Senate, Uncategorized