Tag Archives: presidential

Harry Reid’s Office: Jim Bunning Holding All Presidential Nominees

Posted by: BuellBoy

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)

TPM/Rachel Slajda~Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), who has become a one-man filibuster of a bill to extend unemployment benefits, apparently placed a hold on all presidential nominees last week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office confirms to TPMDC that Bunning has placed the holds.

It turns out that not only has he been blocking the unemployment insurance bill, he has also been blocking the confirmation of nominees since last week as well,” said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.

Bunning’s spokesman tells TPMDC that he doesn’t know about the holds.

I don’t know that. Right now the senator’s number one priority is reaching an agreement to get this bill paid for and passed,” said the spokesman, Mike Reynard.

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Filed under (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid, Obama Administration, Partisan Politics, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Republicans, Senate, Uncategorized

Award Winning Actor Robert DeNiro to Play Governor George Wallace in ‘Selma’

Posted by: Audiegrl

Alabama Gov. George Wallace stands at the entrance of Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1963

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Robert DeNiro has been cast as Alabama Governor George Wallace in director Lee Daniels’ (Precious) upcoming civil rights film, “Selma“, which is about the 1965 march in Alabama that was “the political and emotional peak of the civil rights movement.”

Robert Deniro

Award-winning Actor Robert DeNiro

Wallace was the controversial political figure known for his Southern populist pro-segregation attitudes. He famously said in his 1963 inauguration speech, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

To stop desegregation by the enrollment of African-American students Vivian Malone and James Hood at the University of Alabama, Wallace stood in front of Foster Auditorium on June 11, 1963, until federal marshals, Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, and the Alabama National Guard forced him to step aside. (see clip below)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led marches between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama to protest Wallace’s unwillingness to give African-Americans their rights. The violence against peaceful marchers led to a famous statement by President Lyndon B. Johnson that ultimately led to the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young and James Farmer on January 18, 1964

Some of the other key roles that need to be cast in Daniels’ film include President Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr.

ComingSoon.net did an brief interview with Daniel’s last October, and discussing the film, he said, “It’s a moment in time in Martin Luther King and LBJ’s (life) around the signing of the Civil Rights.

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Racial Re-thinking as President Obama Visits China

Increasing diversity, born out of boom, forces Chinese to confront old prejudices

Lou JingWashington Post/Keith B. Richburg—As a mixed-race girl growing up in this most cosmopolitan of mainland Chinese cities, 20-year-old Lou Jing said she never experienced much discrimination — curiosity and questions, but never hostility.

So nothing prepared Lou, whose father is a African American, for the furor that erupted in late August when she beat out thousands of other young women on “Go! Oriental Angel,” a televised talent show. Angry Internet posters called her a “black chimpanzee” and worse. One called for all blacks in China to be deported.

As the country gets ready to welcome the first African American U.S. president, whose first official visit here starts Sunday, the Chinese are confronting their attitudes toward race, including some deeply held prejudices about black people. Many appeared stunned that Americans had elected a black man, and President Obama’s visit has underscored Chinese ambivalence about the growing numbers of blacks living here.

As China has expanded its economic ties with Africa — trade between them reached $107 billion last year — the number of Africans living here has exploded. Tens of thousands have flocked to the south, where they are putting down roots, establishing communities, marrying Chinese women and having children.

In the process, they are making tiny pockets of urban China more racially diverse — and forcing the Chinese to deal with issues of racial discrimination. In the southern city of Guangzhou, where residents refer to one downtown neighborhood as Chocolate City, local newspapers have been filled in recent months with stories detailing discrimination and alleging police harassment against the African community.

Lou sees similarities between her life and Obama’s: She also grew up without her father, whom she never knew. obamachinaUN-Climate-change-meeting-002-300x180 She read Obama’s autobiography and watched his campaign speeches on television. She learned how to chant “Yes, we can!” in English and calls Obama “my idol.

Reading the withering online criticisms of her talent-show appearance, she recalled, she came across one post that asked: “Now that Obama is president, does that mean a new day for black people has arrived?

“I think the answer is yes,” she said. “Some Chinese people’s perceptions of black people here have been transformed.”

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Oriental Angel‘ Triggers China Race Row

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theage.com.au—An instructor at Shanghai Drama Academy, where Lou studies broadcasting, put forward the mixed-race beauty and a handful of classmates to appear on the television talent show, without asking first.

She was selected for the top 30 nationwide, but was not among the 12 contestants chosen by judges for the next round.

Lou said she was not surprised by the judges’ decision, but was shocked by the thousands of web postings that followed, most of them negative and many of them expressing racist views.

I couldn’t help crying. I felt hurt. I never meant to offend anyone,” she said.

Although Lou is still working towards her dream of being a television presenter, she said the episode had left her less optimistic about whether she can find a place on China’s airwaves.

They want a TV host who is considered traditionally beautiful,” she said.

Ever since I appeared on TV, I realized that maybe I don’t fit the image of a TV host. Many believe a TV host should have white skin, high nose and big eyes.”

Lou said she would follow Obama’s visit to China, listing the US president — himself of mixed-race descent — as one of her heroes alongside her mother and Oprah Winfrey, whose show she watches over the Internet.

She said Obama’s autobiography had inspired her, but added that she was unconvinced she could change people’s minds about race.

He convinced people that he has the capacity to change what people thought of African-Americans. Compared to him, I don’t have that capacity for change because the Chinese media is too powerful,” she said.

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AP FACT CHECK: Palin’s book goes rogue on some facts

Posted by Audiegrl

PALIN-hugesAP/Calvin Woodward—Sarah Palin’s new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven’t become any truer over time. Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer’s dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.

Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush — a package she seemed to support at the time.

A look at some of her statements in “Going Rogue,” obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:

PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking “only” for reasonably priced rooms and not “often” going for the “high-end, robe-and-slippers” hotels.

THE FACTS: Although travel records indicate she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) overlooking New York City’s Central Park for a five-hour women’s leadership conference in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000. Event organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter. The governor billed her state more than $20,000 for her children’s travel, including to events where they had not been invited, and in some cases later amended expense reports to specify that they had been on official business.

PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, mostly from first-time givers, and turned back large checks from big donors if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.

THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised for her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis of her campaign finance reports. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC. Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees. She accepted $1,000 each from a state senator and his wife and $30 from a state representative in the weeks after the two Republican lawmakers’ offices were raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into a powerful Alaska oilfield services company. After AP reported those donations during the presidential campaign, she gave a comparative sum to charity.

PALIN: Rails against taxpayer-financed bailouts, which she attributes to Obama. She recounts telling daughter Bristol that to succeed in business, “you’ll have to be brave enough to fail.

THE FACTS: Palin is blurring the lines between Obama’s stimulus plan — a $787 billion package of tax cuts, state aid, social programs and government contracts — and the federal bailout that Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted for and President George W. Bush signed.

Palin’s views on bailouts appeared to evolve as McCain’s vice presidential running mate. In September 2008, she said “taxpayers cannot be looked to as the bailout, as the solution, to the problems on Wall Street.” A week later, she said “ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.”

During the vice presidential debate in October, Palin praised McCain for being “instrumental in bringing folks together” to pass the $700 billion bailout. After that, she said “it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in.”

PALIN: Writes about a city councilman in Wasilla, Alaska, who owned a garbage truck company and tried to push through an ordinance requiring residents of new subdivisions to pay for trash removal instead of taking it to the dump for free — this to illustrate conflicts of interest she stood against as a public servant.

THE FACTS: As Wasilla mayor, Palin pressed for a special zoning exception so she could sell her family’s $327,000 house, then did not keep a promise to remove a potential fire hazard on the property.

She asked the city council to loosen rules for snow machine races when she and her husband owned a snow machine store, and cast a tie-breaking vote to exempt taxes on aircraft when her father-in-law owned one. But she stepped away from the table in 1997 when the council considered a grant for the Iron Dog snow machine race in which her husband competes.

PALIN: Says she tried to talk about national security and energy independence in her interview with Vogue magazine but the interviewer wanted her to pivot from hydropower to high fashion.

THE FACTS are somewhat in dispute. Vogue contributing editor Rebecca Johnson said Palin did not go on about hydropower. “She just kept talking about drilling for oil.

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PALIN: “Was it ambition? I didn’t think so. Ambition drives; purpose beckons.” Throughout the book, Palin cites altruistic reasons for running for office, and for leaving early as Alaska governor.

THE FACTS: Few politicians own up to wanting high office for the power and prestige of it, and in this respect, Palin fits the conventional mold. But “Going Rogue” has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto, the requisite autobiography of the future candidate.

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President Obama Issues a Proclamation Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy at Fort Hood

Posted by Audiegrl

President Obama Speaks in the Rose Garden

This morning the President gave some brief remarks in the Rose Garden, and before discussing the news on job numbers that also concern all Americans, gave an update on his response to the tragic incident at Fort Hood yesterday:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I want to begin by offering an update on the tragedy that took place yesterday at Fort Hood. This morning I met with FBI Director Mueller and the relevant agencies to discuss their ongoing investigation into what caused one individual to turn his gun on fellow servicemen and women. We don’t know all the answers yet and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts.

What we do know is that there are families, friends and an entire nation grieving right now for the valiant men and women who came under attack yesterday in one of the worst mass shootings ever to take place on an American military base. So from now until Veterans Day I’ve ordered the flags at the White House and other federal buildings to be flown at half-staff.

This is a modest tribute to those who lost their lives even as many were preparing to risk their lives for their country. And it’s also recognition of the men and women who put their lives on the line everyday to protect our safety and uphold our values. We honor their service, we stand in awe of their sacrifice, and we pray for the safety of those who fight and for the families of those who have fallen. And as we continue to learn more about what happened at Fort Hood, this administration will continue to provide you updates in the coming days and weeks.

The President has just issued the following proclamation:

Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas
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By The President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Our Nation’s thoughts and prayers are with the service members, civilians, and families affected by the tragic events at Fort Hood, Texas. The brave victims, who risked their lives to protect their fellow countrymen, serve as a constant source of strength and inspiration to all Americans. We ask God to watch over the fallen, the wounded, and all those who are suffering at this difficult hour.

As a mark of respect honoring the victims of the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, Tuesday, November 10, 2009. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

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HBO’s By The People: The Election of Barack Obama

bythepeopleelectionpremiere_novideoHBO—Nearly a year before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency on Feb. 10, 2007, filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams began to roll cameras on the young senator. Over the next 19 months, they found themselves traveling all across the country, chronicling the daily ups and downs of the campaign trail as experienced by Obama, his family, his staff and volunteers. While Obama’s meteoric rise to the White House has been well documented in the press, few have witnessed the behind-the- scenes story of the passionate campaigners who helped a young African-American freshman senator attain the nation’s highest office.

Producer/Actor Edward Norton

Producer/Actor Edward Norton

Rice conceived the idea of making a documentary about Obama long before the Illinois Senator announced his decision to run for president. Inspired by his oratorical skills and star appeal at the 2004 Democratic Convention, she set out to film his political career in 2006. Rice approached documentary producer Sams, who joined to co-direct and actor Edward Norton’s production company, Class 5, agreed to produce the project. After Norton approached Obama’s team with the idea, the senator agreed to grant the filmmakers what turned out to be unprecedented and exclusive access.

Initially, it wasn’t even about a presidential campaign; the idea was simply to examine the political experience of a promising young politician of our generation,” says Norton, a two-time Oscar® nominee.

For Rice, the project had an even more personal dimension. She lost her older brother in the Sept. 11 attacks on the Twin Towers – an event that galvanized her political awakening. Then she saw Obama’s 2004 convention speech on TV. Rice recalls, “That’s when the idea of making a political documentary came into my mind.”

Notes Sams, “It was clear that Obama was inspiring people to think differently about politics. We wanted to explore his impact and see where it would take both him and the country.”

From this unique vantage point, By The People captures the boundless fervor of the campaign’s volunteers, as well as the extraordinary skill and technical sophistication of its organizers. “I think people will look back on this campaign as one that was conducted with a real understanding of communication and organizing tools that were singular to that moment,” says Norton. “It was an historic new read on how you could do an end run around conventional political methodology and strategies.”

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Premieres November 3 at 9pm ET

By The People: The Election of Barack Obama is a moving record of the Obama campaign’s history-making odyssey to the White House. Interwoven with the drama of the campaign is never-before-seen footage of Obama behind the scenes, as well as interviews and candid moments with wife Michelle Obama, the couple’s young daughters, Malia and Sasha, and senior campaign staff, volunteers, reporters, supporters and opponents. Watch the trailer.

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The Outrage Pandemic by Jeffrey Feldman

Op-ed by Jeffrey Feldman

Author Jeffrey Feldman

Author Jeffrey Feldman

HP/Jeffrey Feldman—Forget the Swine Flu. America is suffering from an outrage pandemic.

Like everybody else in America, I was surprised when the Nobel committee awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to Barack Obama. I was pleased, but surprised. Apparently, just about the only living creature not surprised was Bo the First Dog. But the outrage that flowed from every corner of the political conversation was far more depressing than learning about the award was surprising.

When did American optimism succumb to this constant outrage?

Less than a year ago, tens of millions of Americans descended on Washington, DC, just so they could say, “I was there,” on the day Barack Obama became President. Nine months later, a majority of Americans seem convinced that this same man–who once inspired them so deeply–has personally slighted them.

The right-wing is certainly responsible in part for the spread of the outrage pandemic.

The right has reached a level of outrage at Barack Obama that already exceeds what the left mustered after eight years of George W. Bush. The result is that right-wing politics in America now follows one general argument: If Obama wants it, then it is so bad it must be stopped or it will destroy America.

The insanity in this approach became clear in the health care reform debate where we have heard Republicans on Medicare say crazy things like, “I’d rather die than see this country adopt government-run health insurance” (e.g., I would rather die than have the kind of government health insurance that I currently have, which keeps me from dying).

When people shake their fists in protest at the very things they say they will die to defend, the result is far worse than a nation divided along political lines. It is a form of national schizophrenia.

While the outrage pandemic may have reached critical levels on the right, the left has done its part in the past nine months, too.

Try talking to anyone in the left-wing, nowadays, and it seems everyone has a bone to pick with Barack Obama. Whatever Barack Obama does, more and more people on the left are outraged by him. First it was the bank bailout program, then the auto-industry rescue, then the health care bill. Then it was not moving fast enough on closing Gitmo, then the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then withdrawal from Iraq. Now the left is outraged at Obama’s Afghan policy and his view on cap and trade and home mortgage relief and marriage equality and the prosecution of past administration officials.

Is there anyone left on the left who is not outraged at Barack Obama for something? If they’re out there, I never come across them.

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Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy by Jeffrey Feldman

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framingthedebatebookcover Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Change the Conversation (And Win Elections)
by Jeffrey Feldman

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