Tag Archives: obama
Okay, I’ll admit it — this isn’t from the White House Flickr, but I’m saying it is anyway. Last night, the Obama family lit the Christmas tree. As usual, the pictures are amazing. Right here, the Obama family reacts after Sasha turns on the lights. Literally, you should go through all the pictures right now. They are such an adorable family.
Obama: handing out tax cuts or possibly back massages.
I have spent over ten hours (in a horrible 2 hour commute every day) this week listening to NPR be entirely transfixed by the emerging deal made by President Obama, his beleaguered Democratic forces, and the empowered, minority Republican Party over the future of “The Bush Tax Cuts.” When the deal was announced earlier this week Republicans cheered while Democrats cried out with a million voices in pain.
HuffPo plashed apocryphal headlines across its page, FireDogLake breathed fire, and Bernie Sanders started threatening a filibuster. All the while the Democratic Party opinion leaders missed something important - most Democrats (especially those that supported the President) support the Tax Deal. It seems we are once again ceding fact to the hot heads at the edge of both the Republican and Democratic Parties.
In the end this deal is a good deal. (Read Here For Details) The hyperbole surrounding its conception and its contents are over blown and I want to explain why.
The deal is actually really good from a Democratic perspective. Both Jonathan Cohn and the NYT point out that this deal is LOADED with economy stimulating tax policies, unemployment insurance extensions, and other goodies. These economic stimulants will affect 156 million Americans and create/save 2.2 million jobs (thank you CAP) Go figure we spent all last week salivating for a deficit reduction plan and this week the Republican Party approved $450 billion dollars in additional spending. Only in America.
When deciding between the deal where everyone loses and I get a whole bunch of stuff (All I Want For Christmas Is Earned Income Tax Credits)… I usually pick the latter.
Yes, the high-end income tax cut extension and estate tax giveaways are ugly. Democrats should not like them and should be angry they exist. Get over it. On balance this deal affects more middle-to-low income Americans thank high-income Americans is a good deal for the economy.
This is also a deal that punts this issue to 2012. Usually I am all “PLEASE GOD DON’T” when Democrats punt issues down the line, but I trust the full force of the Obama Campaign to eradicate these tax cuts during an election season when the economy is on the mend and Democrats are not JUST coming off of a nasty midterm slaughter at the polls.
The NYT reported that this deal was forged between VP Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell in some tax deal bunker in the Capitol (Biden’s office). Liberals are angry that they were excluded from the table and did not have a say.
Yup, that is the whaaaaaaaaaaaambulance you hear.
In an era where the Republicans have just enough power to cause serious headaches this deal was completely necessary. It paves the way for lame duck legislating of DADT and the Dream Act, which would not have seen the light of day in the Senate without a Tax Cut Deal. Additionally, the tax cuts were not made permanent, which means there is still time to get their messaging right, which it hasn’t been for the last several months, and win this battle in 2012.
Importantly, this deal clarified for all involved (Democratic Party, Republican Party, the Media, bloggers, Sarah Palin, that caribou she shot) that the only thing the Republican Party really cares about are the rich. According to their spin they “won” because they got two policy priorities, the high-end tax cuts and estate-tax deal, that really only help people who own and have an intimate knowledge of monocles and/or top hats (not a reference to Mr. Peanut).
I have argued this before. Obama has always been and always will be a pragmatist. He ran on “hope” because we really needed it after eight years of Bush-grown, country-sized rot. Yet, nothing about his rather progressive (please… try to argue with that) agenda has said he is an idealist. He will compromise to get the win that creates the most good. In this tax deal his win brings good to millions of Americans, opens the door for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, provides time for the passage of the START treaty, and hopefully see the DREAM ACT passed.
All in all… I would say that is a pretty good deal.
When it comes to the environment, anyone can tell you I have a strange outlook on things.Â I want windmills as far as the eye can see, yet I want to build a new coal plant.Â I want people to drive less, yet I want as many cars built as possible.Â My views can be summed up simply as, I want jobs.Â That is not to say I don’t have a vision.Â I see Americans driving hydrogen cars, and our electricity coming directly from mother nature.Â Most of all what I want is Americans to travel throughout this great nation via high speed trains.Â And apparently so does President Obama.
The new plan calls for high speed corridors stretching from Boston to Florida, and improvements to the existing high speed corridors like the route between Detroit and Chicago.Â Part of the vision is trains traveling upwards of 150 miles per hour, similar to the Acela Express that serves the North East Corridor.
I had the pleasure of enjoying the European train systems in my young years, and one of my biggest regrets is the lack of proper train coverage in this nation.Â Finally we have a president who gets it.Â It’s important to note that this is just the beginning, hopefully someday we will see a return to train travel on a massive scale.Â I see state wide train service linking northern Michigan to Detroit, I-75 replaced with rail service as Spring Breakers crowd high speed trains heading to Miami.Â I can dream, but as Dylan said, “The times they are a changing.”
Yes We Can (Hold Babies) – European Edition
Recently President Obama travelled to Europe, Turkey, and Iraq in a his first large-scale trip abroad that resulted in massive international relations coup. His trip featured 18 bilateral meetings with world leaders – two major speeches (Prague and Ankara) – hosted two town hall meetings (France and Turkey) – six news conferences with a total of 35 questions – and traveled approximately 10,000 miles. Obama’s trip was a PR triumph, while he began the slow process of rebuilding America’s relationship with our allies across the globe.
Some Post-Trip Diagnosis
From whitehouse.org: The White House posted a great gallery of photos from the trip. These photos are interesting in that they are not the usual photo op photos, eg Obama + Foreign Head of State + Flags. They depict various behind the scenes instances that would not usually be released to the public. Also, some badass Air Force One/Marine One photos.
From Salon: Our man Juan Cole shreds conservative punditry for their negative reaction to Obama’s trip. He compares the hysteria of the right to the insanity caused by War of the Worlds radio broadcast and describes the Republican sphere of commentary as:
The weeping and trembling of Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and William Kristol underlined once again that the right-wingers are playground crybabies who kick and scream and faint whenever they do not get their way.
Professor Cole then proceeds to tear down every part of Republican criticism and perfectly throws their arguments back in their faces. This piece is perfect evidence that the insane arguments made by the right are easily defeated one fact is used against them.
Today, the White House announced that the Obama administration has lifted travel, remittance, mail and business restrictions relating to the Communist nation of Cuba. This also means that Cuban-Americans will now be able to visit relatives and loved ones in their homeland.
According to ABC News (Jake Tapper reporting), the Obama administration will also “take steps to enhance the flow of information by allowing U.S. telecommunications networks to link the U.S. and Cuba; and will allow an expansion of humanitarian items that can be sent to the island.” This is overall good news. Bush put restrictions on flow of Americans and products between Cuba in 2004 in hopes that the country’s leader, Fidel Castro (pictured above) would cave into our requests. However, this never happened. Meanwhile, living conditions in Cuba got worse.
My good friend’s mother is from Cuba. She was scared to visit family in Cuba because she was concerned that her passport would be taken away in Cuba and would not be able to return to America. I talked to her recently, and she feels better about going to Cuba. She stressed the fact that now that humanitarian items are allowed to be shipped to the Cubans, conditions there will improve. She said she may even take a trip there in the near future despite her lingering concerns.
In a related story, Chuck Todd, NBC News’ Political Director, had a little bit of a back and forth with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs because of the fact that Gibbs delivered the news instead of President Obama. Todd felt that this kind of message should’ve come from the President who was in his White House office. Watch the video clip here.
Have you seen the picture of Bo Obama, the new First Dog? Can you get any more adorable?!? Also, The Washington Post posted the photo (see above) on their website of Barack and Bo running through the White House. That’s one lucky dog. To read more about Presidential Pets, check out The Daily Beast’s photo gallery here.
Last night President Obama did a White House first by hosting a Passover Seder dinner for the Jewish holiday. Isn’t it crazy to think that no President before him had ever done such a thing? Clinton didn’t. Neither Bush did. Obama was the FIRST. However, two of Obama’s highest profile Jewish staffers didn’t attend the Seder: Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Strategist David Axelrod. Anyway, that’s still pretty cool that Obama did that. He has been really goingo ut of his way to open up the White House to people of all backgrounds. It is also somewhat ironic that Obama was once accused of being a secret Muslim, and now he’s hosting a Jewish dinner. Let’s see what the Republicans say about him now. Keep it up, Barack. Shabbat Shalom!
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and President Barack Obama.
At the Group of 20 economic summit held last Wednesday in London, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and our President Barack Obama took the fledgling steps to thaw the characteristically frosty relationship between the two countries.Â Both leaders have stated their interest in reducing their nuclear warheads and have agreed to begin talks — the first in more than a decade (BBC). Not only did Medvedev extend an invitation to Moscow, Obama whole-heartedly accepted it, saying the relationship between Washington and Moscow should be “reset.”
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which currently limits the U.S. and Russian arsenals to 1700 to 2200 warheads, is due to expire at the end of the year, making it even more essential for Russia and the United States to begin talking on good terms. The presidents both echoed the necessity for Iran to cooperate with the UN to ensure their nuclear program is peaceful. They also “agreed to work together on Afghanistan and expressed concern about an upcoming North Korean rocket launch,” a fact which certainly pleased President Obama (BBC). In addition, Obama agreed to support Russia’s World Trade Organization bid and seek U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty — two things Moscow has wanted for a while.
There is no doubt that there are many issues between the two countries that have yet to be resolved and will definitely have to be addressed in the future (e.g. missile shield, expansion of NATO). On the same note, I am glad Obama is taking the required steps for a good relationship with Russia and generally attempting to promote friendlier, but firm, foreign policy altogether. There is no better time than now.
My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.
~ President Obama, quoted by Politico, in a behind-the-scenes account of the president’s recent meeting with Wall Street CEOs.