Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hundred Days on 101

from Wikipedia Hundred Days (disambiguation)

- The Hundred Days was Napoleon Bonaparte's final military campaign in 1815.

Hundred Days may also refer to:
- Hundred Days Offensive, the final Allied offensive on the Western Front during the World War I
- Hundred Days' Reform, a period of social and institutional reform in late imperial China
- Hundred Days Men, a Union military recruitment initiative during the American Civil War
- Canada's Hundred Days, the last 96 days of World War I
- "The First Hundred Days", the start of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1933 administration, resulting in the New Deal.
By extension, there is often talk of incoming U.S. presidents' actions in their first hundred days. See, e.g., First 100 days of Barack Obama's Presidency.
"100 Days", the first term (1834-1835) of British Prime Minister Robert Peel
"100 Days", the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

In popular culture:
- The Hundred Days (novel), an Aubrey–Maturin novel by Patrick O'Brian, set during Napoleon's 1815 campaign
- "A Hundred Days", an episode of Stargate SG-1
- 100 Days (1991 film), a Bollywood film
- 100 Days (1999 film), a film about the Rwandan Genocide

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 days question

This is an amazing question and a well composed response. The question was posed by Jeff Zeleny from the New York Times - blog here.

The American Presidency Project has compiled a list of presidential new conferences dating back to the presidency of Calvin Coolidge.

One interesting finding is that the frequency of news conferences has dramatically decreased in the television age.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

party switching

Arlen Specter today joined a long list of politicians who have switched political parties while in office. A wikipedia article on party switching identifies hundreds of politicians who have changed their allegiance.

Some recent high profile switches affecting the Senate include the following (from 2001 CNN article)
• Sen. Strom Thurmond (South Carolina) -- Democrat to GOP, (9/16/64)
• Sen. Phil Gramm (Texas) -- Democrat to GOP (1/5/83), switched while a member of the House
• Sen. Richard Shelby (Alabama) -- Democrat to GOP (11/9/94)
• Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Colorado) -- Democrat to GOP (3/3/95)
• Sen. Bob Smith (New Hampshire) -- GOP to Independent (7/13/99); Independent to GOP (11/1/1999)

Twenty one senators have officially switched parties since 1890. For a list of these senators see

Will Specter move his seat in the Senate? One interesting anecdote from the history of party switching comes from Wane Morse's jump from the Republican party to an independent. According to the Senate website referenced above- "When the 83rd Congress commenced in 1953, Morse listed himself as an independent. As the only third-party member on the Senate floor, he did not know where to sit, and set up a folding chair in the aisle between the Republican and Democratic sections. Eventually, he settled on the Republican side of the aisle."

Monday, April 27, 2009


Obama on a new day for science

will increase level of scientific funding to levels not seen since the 1960s

calls on scientist to engage communities

full text

Sunday, April 26, 2009

golfin and swine flu and Napolitano

(Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty)

Meanwhile back at the farm, Janet Napolitano tried to reassure the nation that the swine flu outbreak was contained.

Seems like reassurance is something she does (needs to do) well.

And, the gafe on 9/11

The story

Transcript of the interview.

The video
Canada more lax than U.S. about whom it lets in, Napolitano says @ Yahoo! Video

Saturday, April 25, 2009

not quite genocide

President Obama issued a statement yesterday on the aniversey of the start of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Stopping short of calling the actions of Ottomon Turks genocide, Obama said,

"Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people."

The full text of Obama's statement is here.

Candidate Obama on the topic - calls it genocide here
January 30, 2008

Samantha Power's influence is certainly evident.

Here's Power calling for an invasion of Israel

Power on Obama negotiated with U.S. foes

Was Obama following Power's advice at the Summit of the Americas?

from Obama's April 18, 2009 speech at the summit.

"To move forward, we cannot let ourselves be prisoners of past disagreements. I am very grateful that President Ortega -- (applause) -- I'm grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old. (Laughter.) Too often, an opportunity to build a fresh partnership of the Americas has been undermined by stale debates. And we've heard all these arguments before, these debates that would have us make a false choice between rigid, state-run economies or unbridled and unregulated capitalism; between blame for right-wing paramilitaries or left-wing insurgents; between sticking to inflexible policies with regard to Cuba or denying the full human rights that are owed to the Cuban people."


Or not?

Friday, April 24, 2009

slow down

The Washington Post reported today that President Obama has personally nixed a proposed commission to investigate the enhanced interrogation torture policy of the Bush administration.

With the exception of a few high profile presidential commissions (Roberts, Tower, Rogers and Warren) most of these efforts are simply efforts in political posturing.

The Rockefeller Commission (President's Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States) formed by President Gerald Ford in 1975 and chaired by VP Nelson Rockefeller, investigated a collection of CIA programs that were similarly out of control. The commission's report detailed activities that many Americans thought were unacceptable. The commission's findings in Chapter 11 on Operation CHAOS received the most attention, and was likely the most productive area of work for the commission. Would a commission appointed by Obama uncover covert CIA programs inside or outside the U.S? Perhaps now is not the time to find out.

Once upon a time the CIA acted badly, but got away with it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

taking on the cards

President Obama meet today with leaders from the credit card industry. In another of the what has become an issue a day whirlwind, Obama cajoled the creditors to end predatory lending and commit to a project of consistent and fair intertest rates.

More on the meeting at the White House website.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

prosecuting presidents

President Obama opened the door, according to AFP yesterday on the issue of prosecuting former Bush administration officials on charges related to the use of torture. The move came as Obama distinguished between those who followed orders and those who wrote the orders, with the threat of possible prosecution falling on the highers up.

From Talking Points Memo

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

As if there wasn't enought going on...

"President Obama is launching an effort "to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East," his spokesman said Tuesday." from CNN story published 10:00 pm EST

and an old, but still interesting story from Obama's visit the the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The prayer Obama stuffed into the wall on his visit.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Memos and moral

Page from one of four U.S. Department of Justice memos (released April 16, 2009). The memos, written in 2002 and 2005, are legal arguments justifying CIA interrogation by of terrorist detainees.

See all four online at and Wall Street Journal article from April 17, 2009, CIA Memos Released; Immunity for Harsh Tactic

Today, Obama wet to CIA hedquarters to rally the troops

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The gift

Obama on the book

The Wikipedia article on Galeano's book has been edited 21 times since this news broke about 24 hours ago (UPDATE - 31 times as of 10:00 PM EST 4/21). The only substantial new text in the article over this short period relates to the presentation of the book to Obama. Other edits were technical, bringing the article into convention for Wikipedia standards. There were two conservative attacks.

"Since Barack Obama spent 20 years listening to sermons given by Reverand Jeremiah Wright, he is very accostomed to anti-American sentiment. His wife hates America, too." posted by - the 11th edit from this IP address in Las Vegas Nevada this year. Removed in 15 minutes

"Since Barack Obama spent 20 years listening to sermons given by Reverand Jeremiah Wright, he is very accostomed to anti-American sentiment. His wife hates America, too." posted by - the 15 edit over a four year period from this IP address, also in Las Vegas Nevada. Removed in 18 minutes

"It's a book written by a commie, for commies, that should under no circumstances be read. If for some reason you do read it, take it with a grain of salt, and then burn it." Guayaquil Ecuador

"- Description of the book by an anonymous apologist for five centuries of imperialism" following the above posted by Education4All (new account).

I deleted this sentence. I also moved the following from the top of the article to the bottom in a section I titled "Cultural Significance in Latin America"

"In the foreword for the 1997 edition, Chilean novelist and close relative of former Chilean President [[Salvador Allende]], [[Isabel Allende]] says that "after the [[Chilean coup of 1973|military coup of 1973]] I could not take much with me: some clothes, family pictures, a small bag of dirt from my garden, and two books: an old edition of the ''Odes'' by [[Pablo Neruda]] and the book with the yellow cover, ''Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina''."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama and the Americas

In a speech at the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad


"Too often, the United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors. We have been too easily distracted by other priorities, and have failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas. My Administration is committed to the promise of a new day. We will renew and sustain a broader partnership between the United States and the hemisphere on behalf of our common prosperity and our common security."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Misson Mexico

Obama wades into the mess that is Mexico. This a place that has captured plenty of previous presidents.

Obama's day (with damn commercial)

George W. Bush loved 'em

Bill Clinton did Nafta -signing into law December 8, 1993

George HW Bush loved 'em and did Nafta - iniating the process October 7, 1992

Ronald Reagan loved 'em all in Cancun October 23, 1981
President Reagan Dining with Heads of State
Original caption: Cancun, Mexico: United States President Ronald Reagan (2nd from left) talks with heads of state during a dinner hosted by Mexico President Lopez Portillo (R). Also pictured (LTR), Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India, acting Bangladesh president Abdus Sattar and Foreign Minister Hand Dietrich Genscher of West Germany.

Jimmy Carter outside Mexico City February 14, 1979 - talk about lovin 'em Wow!

Oh yes and... Zachary Taylor - much love?... maybe not

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax day, tax cuts, tea party - basketball?

President Obama tries to own the day

tea baggers have their say in my city, Raleigh, NC

better yet, and go figure - a you tube search on tea baggers North Carolina yeilds three hits (on this day), one of which is this...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bo and Obama

The Obamas have their dog - the story

-the video (paid for - pardon the commercial)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Big Egg Rolls

It's a tradition that dates back to the 19th century
Here black children in Washington, D.C. participate in the annual Easter egg hunt at the White House> This was one of the public events that blacks were allowed to attend in that segregated city.

White House Easter Egg Roll, 1898. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Irony yes, but it seems like the Obamas have to one up everything> This year, 30,000 people are expect for the annual White house Easter Egg Roll - more

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Obamas on Easter

The Obama attend Easter service at St. John's Church north of Lafayette Park

Some detail on the Easter service from a pool report Mark Halperin at Time Magazine

Tick-tock - At 10:48 the First Family emerged from the residence. From where we were in the motorcade, we could only see FLOTUS Michelle Obama and one of the Obama daughters. At that point we could not see outfits, but later in church Mrs. Obama and the girls appeared to be wearing matching white or cream-colored sweaters. The first lady was wearing a white or cream-colored floral skirt or dress. POTUS wore dark suit even though we spotted at least 4 parishioners in seersucker suits.

As the motorcade (en route less than 2 minutes) stopped and we ran to catch up with POTUS, huge cheers erupted from the gathering Easter crowd.

We arrived at 10:53 am.

Service started right at 11, and from press pool spot in back pew, I at first could not see POTUS or first family. Fortunately AP superstar, the much-taller-than-me Phil Elliott, spotted POTUS. He sat at least six rows back from the front of the church, and it was impossible to see the girls even from standing position while everyone else was seated. Two agents were seated in the pew behind POTUS.

Parishioners arriving went through two mags set up outside the entrance. Your pool spotted several little girls in their Easter best with their arms straight out as they went through security.

Rev. Luis Leon, rector, told congregants it was his 15th Easter service at the church.

His sermon included references to famous poets E.E. Cummings and Emily Dickinson, hating the New York Yankees and a shout-out to POTUS-picked NCAA tournament winners the UNC Tarheels. Some quotes to follow in next pool report.

A writer's pool only was allowed into the church while the others had to wait with the motorcade.

The service was heavy with songs performed by lovely choir and brass ensemble. Among the selected hymns - Alleluia, Jesus Christ is risen today, A song of praise, Come, ye faithful, Welcome happy morning.

Readings were:
Exodus 14:10-14, 21-25, 15:20-21
Acts 10:34-43
Mark 16:1-8

A brief mention of President Obama in the program, which served for both the 9 am and 11 am services.

During prayers of the people, led by Robert Black:

"Guide and bless us in our work and play, and shape the patterns of our political and economic life; we pray for Barack, our President, the leaders of Congress, and the Supreme Court, and all who are in authority; for Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and the Middle East, that all people may be filled through the bounty of your creation."

Response from entire church: "We are your servants, O God. Guide us in your grace."

Other than that, there was no mention of president during the service.

The president and first lady stood to briefly greet parishioners during the "peace be with you" portion. FLOTUS had her hair down and straight.

We also could not see if they placed money in the offertory dish as it went by. No one from press pew contributed.

As communion began, congregants snuck peeks at the president and his family. For those wondering, the demographic was at least 90 percent white.

The first family stood to get in line for communion, all smiling.

POTUS went first with communion, followed by Sasha, Malia, and then FLOTUS and an unidentified young girl who looked to be Malia's age.

Smiling wide and seeming to be in great spirits, POTUS returned to his pew. He kept leaning over FLOTUS to talk to his daughters. Several parishioners stopped to say hello to the first family during the long communion session.

Pool escorted out at 12:21, and huge crowds had gathered behind police tape lines on the corner of 16th and H and in Lafayette Park.

A few minutes later, POTUS left from same side door where he'd entered.

Motorcade rolled again at 12:29. Back at White House and stopped at 12:31. Lid called 12:33.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dylan on Obama

This is Bob Dylan on Barack Obama from The Times of London

First off, his mother was a Kansas girl. Never lived in Kansas though, but with deep roots. You know, like Kansas bloody Kansas. John Brown the insurrectionist. Jesse James and Quantrill. Bushwhackers, Guerillas. Wizard of Oz Kansas. I think Barack has Jefferson Davis back there in his ancestry someplace. And then his father. An African intellectual. Bantu, Masai, Griot type heritage - cattle raiders, lion killers. I mean it’s just so incongruous that these two people would meet and fall in love. You kind of get past that though. And then you’re into his story. Like an odyssey except in reverse.

and the new Dylan single - FEEL A CHANGE COMIN' ON

Thursday, April 9, 2009

End of war

The Civil war ended 133 years ago. President Obama and Civil War; some people have things to say.

For one, Thomas Friedman wrote just after the election that Obama's election brought to an end the Civil War.

Here is an interesting little twist on Obama and Civil War and... Lincoln

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Obama in Iraq

White House Photo, 4/7/09, Pete Souze

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, guys. Let me say Multinational Force Iraq, Multinational Corps Iraq, Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq First Corps, America's Corp Band: Thanks to all of you.

Listen, I am so honored.


THE PRESIDENT: I love you back.

(AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Obama in Turkey

Speech before the Turkish parliament today

Joint press conference

Al Jazeera news story on conflicting messages

A bit more hard core

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Obama in Prague

Obama in Prague

Part 2

Part 3

Some other American presidents in Europe

John F. Kennedy in Berlin - "Ich bin ein Berliner"

Ronald Reagan in Berlin, June 12, 1987 - "Tear down this wall"

Reuters story on these three speeches

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Iceland cometh

Prime Miniter of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir

As president Obama met with NATO leaders in Baden Baden Germany today, protesters in Iceland continued to demanded that their country withdraw from the NATO allience. Meanwhile, Iceland's leaders sought out Obama to visit their country.

Recent protest such as these on March 30, 2009 suggests a visit by Obama might meet some resistance.

Of course, these protests were minimal compared to the violent protests outside the NATO meetings in Strasburg, yesterday.

This week's Icelandic opposition to NATO harkens back to protests that erupted when Iceland joined NATO in 1949.

To be sure, protesting Icelanders do not back down from a fight - April 23, 2008


And, on Jan 20 (the day President Obama was inagurated) protesters in Iceland attempted to shut down the legislative body at Althingi House

Photo credit: Kjartan Einarsson

More from Iris Erlingsdottir at Huffington Post on Icelandic political goings on

Friday, April 3, 2009

NATO Concert at the Kurhaus

from wikipedia article on Kurhaus

"The first official event of the 2009 Strasbourg-Kehl summit was a working dinner in the Florentine Room (Florentiner Saal) on the evening of April 3, 2009 at the Kurhaus.[4] The large horse-shoe table was set with 28 places, allowing each leader to see and hear each other as they ate and talked together."

"One of the many elegant chandeliers in the Kurshaus. A brief classical program of classical music in the Kurhaus auditorium preceded the dinner, with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter playing works from European and American composers, including selections from Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dances and the Hoe-down from Aaron Copeland's Rodeo."

The music,

Brahms' Hungarian Dances

Aaron Copeland's Rodeo, sort of different

Thursday, April 2, 2009

G29 (sans EU) and minus the shots with Argentina and Indonesia, and why?

Kirchner on the phone with Obama - as close as it gets

Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with Obama? not happening