Friday, March 20, 2009

Will the Military be Banned from the Pentagon Next?

The president is to receive the award from the federation of black community newspapers in a White House ceremony this afternoon.

The Obama White House has closed the press award ceremony to the press.

We are not making this up:

Barack Obama was elected commander in chief promising to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history.

This achievement and the overall promise of his historic administration caused the National Newspaper Publishers Assn. to name him "Newsmaker of the Year."

From the president's official schedule:

"Later in the afternoon, the President and the First Lady will attend a reception with the National Newspaper Publisher Association in the State Dining Room, where they will be presented the Newsmaker of the Year award. This event is closed press."

Maybe they'll let the newspaper people pass the award through the fence.

-- Andrew Malcolm
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Simple Jack Vs. Barak Obama

Obama Apologizes to Special Olympics for Bowling Joke
President Obama called the chairman of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver, to say he was sorry for an offhand remark on the "The Tonight Show."

Bowling just isn't President Obama's game.

Appearing on "The Tonight Show," the president told host Jay Leno he'd been practicing at the White House's bowling alley but wasn't happy with his score of 129. The he rolled a gutter ball by quipping: "It was like the Special Olympics or something."

The audience laughed, but the White House quickly recognized the blunder.

On his way back to Washington on Air Force One, Obama called the chairman of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver, to say he was sorry -- even before the taped program aired late Thursday night.

"He expressed his disappointed and he apologized in a way that was very moving. He expressed that he did not intend to humiliate this population," Shriver said Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America." Obama, Shriver said, wants to have some Special Olympic athletes visit the White House to bowl or play basketball.

Still, Shriver said, "I think it's important to see that words hurt and words do matter. And these words that in some respect can be seem as humiliating or a put down to people with special needs do cause pain and they do result in stereotypes."

Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters traveling with Obama that the president's offhand remark was not meant to disparage the Special Olympics, only to poke some fun at the commander-in-chief's bowling skills.

"He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world," Burton said.

Despite making fun of his score, the president appears to be getting better the more he visits the White House lanes, which President Truman installed in 1947. During a campaign photo op a year ago at a bowling alley in Altoona, Pa., he rolled only a 37 in seven frames. The clip of the disastrous game was replayed on late night television shows such as Leno's -- one of Obama's few campaign gaffes.
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Those Who Forget History Are Doomed to Repeat It

Iranian Leaders Ignore Obama's Outstretched Hand
Iran's supreme leader snubs President Obama in response to a warm video issued by the White House seeking a "new beginning" with Iran.

Iran's supreme leader said Friday that world powers had been persuaded they could not block Iran's nuclear progress -- making no mention of a warm new-year's message sent by President Obama to his country, Reuters reported.

Neither Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nor Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad noted Obama's attempt to make a "new beginning" with their country in recorded messages they issued to mark the Iranian New Year.

Obama released his video Friday to coincide with the Iranian festival of Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring. In the video, Obama said the U.S. is prepared to end the strained relations if Tehran tones down its combative rhetoric.

"This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect," Obama said.

A press adviser to Iran's president downplayed the video, saying "minor changes will not end the differences."

Ali Akbar Javanfekr told the Iranian state-run English-language Press TV satellite station that Iran will never forget U.S. meddling in Tehran's affairs. The two countries broke off relations after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

He Certainly Is A Joke

Obama Does 'Tonight Show,' But Can He Strike the Right Tone?
President Obama will appear Thursday on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" -- the first such appearance of any sitting president.

Timing is everything in comedy -- but is President Obama missing his cue with a late-night TV appearance in the middle of an economic crisis?

Obama, who is in California for a set of town hall meetings, will appear Thursday on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

Though late-night shows are a staple nowadays for any political candidate, traditionally they've been avoided by anyone in the Oval Office. The Leno visit will mark the first such appearance of any sitting president.

And with the markets still well below their highs and the sudden firestorm over bonus pay at AIG, critics suggest Obama might be showing a little tone-deafness by heading to Hollywood.

"It's not an accident that no sitting president has ever done a show like this," media analyst Steve Adubato told FOX News.

Adubato noted the difficulty any commander-in-chief would have balancing levity and sobriety in that Los Angeles setting at a time of crisis.

"He could pull it off. ... I'm not convinced this was the smartest move," he said.

Leno's not the only sticking point. After the president released his NCAA tournament picks, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski wondered aloud why Obama was spending time on brackets when more pressing matters are at hand.

"As much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets," Krzyzewski said. (Obama picked Duke rival North Carolina to win the NCAA Championship.)

Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein said Obama, as he did during the campaign, is just trying to connect with as many Americans as possible -- and using every platform available, be it "The View," the Sunday morning talk shows or Leno. He saw no tonal problems with a guest appearance on late night.

"I think he's trying to project an air of normalcy and reassure people that they're working hard, at the same time that this is not a time for panic," Gerstein said. "As long as he doesn't do something that's jarringly discordant on 'The Tonight Show,' it's going to be fine."

Dan Amundson, research director at the Center for Media and Public Affairs, said Obama might just be squeezing in an appearance before Leno leaves the show later this year -- but he said the show could play in his favor as he tries to sell his economic agenda.

Obama embarked on a similar public campaign, on the stump and in the media, last month when he was trying to build support for his economic stimulus plan.

"Part of me says it's great a president is using every avenue to talk to everybody he can," Amundson said. "On the other hand there is always the potential of losing political gravitas and stature."

He said that dilemma dates back, at least, to Bill Clinton playing the sax on "The Arsenio Hall Show" during the 1992 presidential campaign.

Though the Arsenio appearance was seen as a plus for Clinton, former President George W. Bush got caught in a jocular jam in 2004 when, at a media dinner, he cracked jokes about not being able to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Too far, critics said.

Mary Kate Cary, a speechwriter for former President George H.W. Bush, wrote in a U.S. News & World Report column that Obama's Leno appearance could be damaging.

"There's a reason presidents don't do comedy on television, especially in tough times," she wrote. "Doing Jay Leno lessens the stature of the office, and diminishes the man. On Leno, he becomes just one more talk show guest."

With outcry building over revelations that bailed-out AIG was distributing $165 million in bonuses, Obama has tried to assure the public he still appreciates the somber mood of the country.

"I know a lot of you are outraged about this. Rightfully so. I'm outraged, too," he told the crowd Wednesday at a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa, Calif.. "Listen, I'll take responsibility. I'm the president."

No one at the town hall meeting asked Obama a question about AIG, and the White House said the questions are not pre-screened. But the AIG flap apparently is on the minds of most Americans: A Rasmussen Reports poll shows most Americans are following the controversy, and 76 percent of Americans want the employees who received bonuses to give them back.'s Judson Berger and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Run Timmy Run

Rep. Mack Calls for Geithner to Resign or Be Fired Over AIG Bonuses
The Florida Republican becomes the first lawmaker on Capitol Hill to call for the treasury secretary's ouster.

Florida Republican Rep. Connie Mack called for Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner to lose his job Wednesday, becoming the first Capitol Hill lawmakers to call for his ouster over AIG's using tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for executive bonuses.

"Quite simply, the Timothy Geithner experience has been a disaster. The Treasury Department is in disarray. Taxpayer dollars are being wasted. America's economy hangs in the balance. America needs and deserves a treasury secretary who can truly lead us forward," Mack said in a written statement.

He called on Geithner, the former New York Federal Reserve chief, either to resign or be fired, and said President Obama should nominate a new secretary with "the experience and leadership skills America deserves."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that Obama has "complete confidence" in Geithner, as lawmakers began to question why the Treasury Department didn't do more to prevent American International Group from paying $165 million in bonuses even after receiving more than $170 billion in federal bailout money.

Though the administration claims Geithner found out about the bonuses only last Tuesday, Mack suggested he was more involved.

"Before Timothy Geithner became secretary of the Treasury, he was working hand-in-hand with AIG and other financial institutions to provide them hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money as one of the key architects of the financial sector bailout," he said. "I've had serious concerns about Secretary Geithner from the moment he was nominated. In the months since, he has shown us time and again why he was the wrong choice for this critical post."

Geithner faced criticism during his nomination over personal tax problems but ultimately won confirmation.
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CHANGE! We can believe in: Hey, hijackers! Come on, fly the friendly skies!

Obama: No More Firearms Training for Commercial Airline Pilots

After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings.

NOW, however, President Obama is -- very very quietly -- ending the federal firearms program. The Washington Times says this is risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot firearms training program to hire more "supervisory" staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.

Read more here about Mr. Obama's efforts to preserve, PROTECT, and defend the Constitution -- and us.


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