The first half of President Barack Obama’s first Oval Office address was as it should have been: holding BP accountable for the devastation to our Gulf Coast and outlining in broad terms what the government is going to do to ensure people and the environment are made whole.
The second half of the speech was unnecessary at the moment and came across as political opportunism.
I don’t doubt for one second that Obama believes it when he says this country is addicted to oil and that energy independence and a clean energy future are strategically – perhaps existentially – critical goals for the United States.
I don’t think tonight was the time because now is the time for the nation to be laser-focused on our neighbors’ travails on the Gulf Coast. Everyone knows that the Obama Administration’s commitment to clean energy and a green economy is only rivaled by its commitment to health care reform. It wasn’t necessary tonight to take the focus off of the immediate task, even for the eight minutes or so the president discussed national energy policy. And, that energy policy is a politically divisive topic as it is currently framed. Evil, multi-national oil companies and terrorists on one side vs. Smart Car drivin’, Birkenstock wearin’ idealists on the other. It’s just not fair to the people of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi to have to share their moment with the Cap and Trade debate.
Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny.
I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for a president of the United States of America to utter words to that effect regarding energy policy in this country. Tonight, though, they rang hollow. I’m watching this live feed of black and brown shit jetting, pouring into the Gulf of Mexico at the revised-again rate of 65-100 thousand barrels per day. Anderson Cooper is on TV with not just oil-slicked birds, but the eggs of brown pelicans – recently stepped on by “BP cleanup workers.” Keith Olbermann actually screamed “Goddammit” last night on Countdown. (That was actually about something else.) One crisis at a time, please!
Source: White House Press Office
Good evening. As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists. And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.
It’s totally reasonable and inevitable that the share price of BP would suffer mercilessly from the company’s gargantuan liability in the Gulf of Mexico. Earlier this week I created the following chart of BP’s daily closing share price for it’s U.S.-listed shares.
When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar opined publicly that the company ought to be responsible for all unemployment claims related to the federal government’s six month moratorium on offshore Gulf drilling, BP’s stock took an especially nasty dive to a 14-year low on Wednesday. I hope that the Obama Administration’s efforts to turn public opinion back in the president’s favor on this mess don’t backfire and kill what this country needs to be the proverbial “Golden Goose” for the next several years. A heavily-regulated and monitored BP – in a strong financial position – is the company that will be able to afford the tens of billions of dollars needed to make the people and environment of the Gulf Coast whole.
Madame Speaker, Vice President Biden, Members of Congress, and the American people:
When I spoke here last winter, this nation was facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month. Credit was frozen. And our financial system was on the verge of collapse.
As any American who is still looking for work or a way to pay their bills will tell you, we are by no means out of the woods. A full and vibrant recovery is many months away. And I will not let up until those Americans who seek jobs can find them; until those businesses that seek capital and credit can thrive; until all responsible homeowners can stay in their homes. That is our ultimate goal. But thanks to the bold and decisive action we have taken since January, I can stand here with confidence and say that we have pulled this economy back from the brink.
Michael Isikoff writes in Newsweek about an Obama Administration stance on revealing which bigwig execs visit the White House on business. The problem is that Obama’s lack of transparency in responding to a FOIA request regarding coal company executives resembles the stonewalling secrecy of the Bush Administration’s handling of similar requests.
As an Obama supporter and Obama voter I am equally elated and dismayed. In the case of energy policy, I’m elated we have a President who seems to be finally making the connection between our dependence on oil – foreign and otherwise – and environmental and national security issues. I’m dismayed by Obama’s refusal to honor public interest groups’ requests to know what coal companies are lobbying the White House on “clean coal” initiatives. The jury is out on the feasibility of clean coal technology and its practicality. As an Ohioan I want to support the coal industry. As an American concerned about pollution, greenhouse gases and the affordability of electricity I want to know more about where the federal government intends to invest clean coal funding and what to expect as a return on investment. As a cynic, I want to know what big spenders – be they coal companies or the Sierra Club – are attempting to game the political system.
(Source: White House Press Office)
Over the past few days, I’ve been traveling through the Middle East and Europe working to renew our alliances, enhance our common security, and propose a new partnership between the United States and the Muslim world.
But even as I’m abroad, I’m firmly focused on the other pressing challenges we face – including the urgent need to reform our health care system. Even as we speak, Congress is preparing to introduce and debate health reform legislation that is the product of many months of effort and deliberation. And if you’re like any of the Americans I’ve met across this country who know all too well that the soaring costs of health care make our current course unsustainable, I imagine you’ll be watching their progress closely.
Transcript – President Barack Obama Speech at Cairo University – A New Beginning for U.S. – Muslim World Relations
1:10 P.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I’m grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And I’m also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum. (Applause.)
We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world — tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.
This is kind of annoying – for it’s total lack of saying anything of any substance:
Readout of The President’s Meeting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
President Obama and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia met today and discussed a wide range of issues including Middle East peace, the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, energy, Iran and other matters affecting the region. The President and the King also discussed the President’s upcoming speech to the Muslim world. The President and King pledged to remain in close contact in order to continue to make progress on these and other issues central to the US-Saudi relationship.
This came, “Immediate Release,” for God’s Sake! LMAO. How about if the White House just released the President’s public schedule each day. For the 30 minutes it took some young press aide to sweat over the drivel above and the layers of approval it probably went through, is it really worth it?
Exercises like the one above are not transparency.
Filed under: Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, National Security, Politics
(Source: White House Press Office) 4:02 P.M. EDT
Q Mr. President, welcome to the program.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much.
Q Mr. President, thank you for joining us — that we could join you, in this case. If you want to improve relations with the Muslim world, do you have to change or alter in some way the strong U.S. support for Israel?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don’t think that we have to change strong U.S. support for Israel. I think that we do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace, and that that’s going to require, from my view, a two-state solution; that it’s going to require that each side — Israelis and Palestinians — meet their obligations.
I’ve said very clearly to the Israelis both privately and publicly that a freeze on settlements including natural growth is part of those obligations. I’ve said to the Palestinians that their continued progress on security and ending the incitement that I think understandably makes Israelis so concerned — that that has to be — those obligations have to be met.
This week, I nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Court of Appeals to replace Justice David Souter, who is retiring after nearly two decades on the Supreme Court. After reviewing many terrific candidates, I am certain that she is the right choice. In fact, there has not been a nominee in several generations who has brought the depth of judicial experience to this job that she offers.
(Source: White House Press Office)
11:08 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Everybody, please be seated. We meet today at a transformational moment — a moment in history when our interconnected world presents us, at once, with great promise but also great peril.
Now, over the past four months my administration has taken decisive steps to seize the promise and confront these perils. We’re working to recover from a global recession while laying a new foundation for lasting prosperity. We’re strengthening our armed forces as they fight two wars, at the same time we’re renewing American leadership to confront unconventional challenges, from nuclear proliferation to terrorism, from climate change to pandemic disease. And we’re bringing to government — and to this White House — unprecedented transparency and accountability and new ways for Americans to participate in their democracy.
I’m surprised it’s taken this long for the question to be asked in a White House press briefing. There is a fairly large amount of folks out there in Amerika who believe that President Obama has not released his birth certificate; that it resides behind lock and key in a vault somewhere in Hawaii.
Un-f*&cking believable. You can see the president’s birth certificate here. The tards on the right who continue to wring their hands over this issue say that the document is not what they expect for some reason. According to Snopes.com, a site that never lets us down when it comes to debunking, the document linked above is consistent with other certificates of live birth from the time in Hawaii.
Lester Kinsolving is the fellow who asks the question. Kinsolving a radio host and “correspondent” for Internet conservaporn World Net Daily has every right to ask the question, but it should be noted that WorldNet Daily has been the standard bearer for all things anti-Obama.
- Obama Selects Sotomayor – New York Times
Judge Sotomayor, who stood next to the president during the announcement, was described by Mr. Obama as “an inspiring woman who I am confident will make a great justice.”
The president said he had made his decision after “deep reflection and careful deliberation,” and he made it clear that the judge’s inspiring personal story was crucial in his decision. Mr. Obama praised his choice as someone possessing “a rigorous intellect, a mastery of the law.”
But those essential qualities are not enough, the president said. Quoting Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mr. Obama said, “The life of the law has not been logic, it has been experience.” It is vitally important that a justice know “how the world works, and how ordinary people live,” the president said.
The judge described her selection as “the most humbling honor of my life.”
- Obama nominates Judge Sotomayor – Washington Times
The president said he wanted a nominee with intellectual rigor and an appreciation for the limits of judicial power — “a judge’s job is to interpret, not make law.” But he said it was Ms. Sotomayor’s “own extraordinary journey” from the housing projects of the South Bronx that he thinks will give her the “common touch” he wanted in a justice.
Mr. Obama also touted Ms. Sotomayor as a jurist with moderate appeal because she was first nominated to the federal bench by former President George H.W. Bush, a Republican.
- Obama chooses Sotomayor – Washington Post
However, Sotomayor is strongly opposed by conservative groups, who have signaled their intention to use her nomination as a rallying cry against liberal causes. Republican lawmakers said this weekend they would try to slow down her confirmation, which despite the strong Democratic majority in the Senate could lead to an all-consuming fight this summer that could divert attention from the rest of Obama’s political and economic agenda.
“Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written,” said Wendy E. Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network, in a statement e-mailed to reporters this morning. “She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.”
- SCOTUS pick is Sotomayor – CNN
Sotomayor, however, has suffered through recent stinging criticism in the media and blogs from both the left and right over perceived — some defenders say invented — concerns about her temperament and intellect.
As she has risen through the judicial ranks, Sotomayor increasingly has drawn the ire and opposition of conservatives. A majority of Republican senators opposed her elevation to the appellate court in 1998.
However, an official with the Republican National Committee promised that the GOP will be equitable toward Sotomayor.
“The Republicans are going to strike a tone that’s fair, that allows the vetting process to happen like it should, and that’s in stark contrast to how the Democrats dealt with Judge Roberts when you look back a couple years ago,” the official said, referring to the 2005 confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Admiral Mullen, for that generous introduction and for your sterling service to our country. To members of our armed forces, to our veterans, to honored guests, and families of the fallen — I am deeply honored to be with you on Memorial Day.
Thank you to the superintendent, John Metzler, Jr., who cares for these grounds just as his father did before him; to the Third Infantry Regiment who, regardless of weather or hour, guard the sanctity of this hallowed ground with the reverence it deserves — we are grateful to you; to service members from every branch of the military who, each Memorial Day, place an American flag before every single stone in this cemetery — we thank you as well. (Applause.) We are indebted — we are indebted to all who tend to this sacred place.
“Today, North Korea said that it has conducted a nuclear test in violation of international law. It appears to also have attempted a short range missile launch.
These actions, while not a surprise given its statements and actions to date, are a matter of grave concern to all nations.
North Korea’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons, as well as its ballistic missile program, constitute a threat to international peace and security.
By acting in blatant defiance of the United Nations Security Council, North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community.
North Korea’s behavior increases tensions and undermines stability in Northeast Asia. Such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea’s isolation. It will not find international acceptance unless it abandons its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants action by the international community. We have been and will continue working with our allies and partners in the Six-Party Talks as well as other members of the U.N. Security Council in the days ahead.”
In the partisan heat of Washington, our new president has gone to some lengths to take a log or two off the fire. Barack Obama has been met time after time with the back of the hand from the GOP. Now, days before Obama’s first nomination to the Supreme Court, Kyl is out there talking filibuster. Hell, he doesn’t even know who the nominee will be. For all he knows it will be Pat Buchanan. (Buchanan does show some empathy for the middle class.)
But no. Sen. Kyl is just unimaginative enough to grab a headline the easy way. He’s there in the middle of the Republican fire base cranking the air raid siren. Hopefully calling attention to nothing more than his brutish sense of politics.
The Senate’s No. 2 Republican on Sunday refused to rule out a filibuster if President Barack Obama seeks a Supreme Court justice who decides cases based on “emotions or feelings or preconceived ideas.”
Sen. Jon Kyl made clear he would use the procedural delay if Obama follows through on his pledge to nominate someone who takes into account human suffering and employs empathy from the bench. The Arizona Republican acknowledged that his party likely does not have enough votes to sustain a filibuster, but he said nonetheless he would try to delay or derail the nomination if Obama ventures outside what Kyl called the mainstream.
“We will distinguish between a liberal judge on one side and one who doesn’t decide cases on the merits but, rather, on the basis of his or her preconceived ideas,” Kyl said.