tagged w/ Obama's Administration
We cannot afford to be active watchers for too much longer... this is NO CHANGE!
3 years ago
He may be assembling a Team of Heavyweights, but Barack Obama isn’t likely to have the full-time services of one of the most formidable powers on the political landscape.
When Obama and Joe Biden sit down with Al Gore at noon Tuesday in Chicago, they’ll be talking issues — not making the pitch for the former vice-president to return to government service, say transition officials and those close to Gore.
Gore intends on continuing his work on the environment and energy from the outside rather than accepting a post.
Read Rest at Link...He may be assembling a Team of Heavyweights, but Barack Obama isn’t likely to... more
China's President Hu Jintao has warned of the effects of the global financial crisis on his country.
Mr Hu gave his warning at a meeting of the Politburo and his words have been made public by the state media.
As growth slows, Mr Hu said that in the coming period China would starkly confront the effects of the international financial crisis.
And he warned that the economic situation was a test of the Communist Party's ability to govern.
Recent figures show that the government has cause to be worried.
Growth has slowed to 9% - and predictions say that it may drop to 7% or 8% next year.
These are dazzling figures for some economies, but there's a widespread belief - even a superstition - in China that growth needs to stay above 7% in order for social stability to be maintained.
China has already taken action.
This past week the central bank carried out the biggest cut in interest rates in more than a decade.China's President Hu Jintao has warned of the effects of the global financial... more
President-elect Barack Obama planned to nominate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as his secretary of state on Monday, transforming a once-bitter political rivalry into a high-level strategic and diplomatic partnership.
Obama will name the New York senator to his national security team at a news conference in Chicago, Democratic officials said Saturday. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for the transition team.
To clear the way for his wife to take the job, former President Bill Clinton agreed to disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation. He'll also refuse donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, his annual charitable conference, and will cease holding C.G.I. meetings overseas.President-elect Barack Obama planned to nominate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as his... more
HAVANA – Russia's president met with revolutionary icon Fidel Castro on Friday, discussing Guantanamo Bay and hopes for a multipolar world with Cuba's former leader during a tour of Latin America aimed at raising Moscow's presence in the region.
Dmitry Medvedev spent hours talking and sightseeing with President Raul Castro before meeting privately with his 82-year-old older brother.
Medvedev said he was happy with his visit when he left the island Friday evening on a flight from the beach resort of Varadero east of Havana, Cuba's Prensa Latina news agency reported.
"We have defined what we are going to do next, we have cleared up everything regarding credits, and in Russia we will await President Raul Castro's visit," Prensa Latina quoted the Russian president as saying. The news agency offered no details about what had been defined and cleared up.
In an essay released hours after the meeting with Russia's president, Fidel Castro wrote that he emphasized to Medvedev Cuba's demand for the return of "up to the last square meter" of land occupied by the U.S. military base at Guantanamo.
"No country could understand that policy better than Russia, constantly threatened by the same adversary of peace," Castro added, referring to U.S. plans to build a missile-defense system in Europe.
In the essay, which appeared in the government Web site Cubadebate, the older Castro said he and Medvedev also discussed the need for a "multipolar world."
Earlier Friday, Medvedev and Raul Castro laid a wreath at a monument to Soviet soldiers who died while serving in Cuba in the early 1960s, a symbol of Cuba's once-prominent part in the communist bloc and the history of its ties to Russia.
Russian officials deny that Medvedev's four-nation trip is meant to provoke the United States, but the chat with Fidel Castro capped meetings with Washington's staunchest opponents in the region.
Medvedev toured a visiting Russian warship on Thursday with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and earlier met with Bolivia's Evo Morales and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, saying Russia might participate in a socialist trade bloc founded by Chavez and Cuba.
Medvedev also signed deals with Brazil and Peru, part of an effort to strengthen Russia's political, economic and military connections across a region long dominated by U.S. influence.
"We visited states that no Russian leader, and no Soviet leader, ever visited," he told reporters. "his means one thing: that attention simply was not paid to these countries."
Medvedev's Latin America tour is in some ways a response to U.S. moves in eastern Europe, where Russia sees its own security threatened by U.S. plans to build a missile-defense system in former Soviet satellite states.
Medvedev said he and Raul Castro had discussed economic and "military-technical cooperation" — apparently arms sales — "as well as security and regional cooperation."
Raul Castro, 77, served as Cuba's defense minister for nearly five decades, working alongside Soviet military officials. A steadfast communist, he often visited the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union was Cuba's chief source of aid and trade until it disintegrated in 1991 and Cuba's relations with the Russian Federation soured — though Havana's streets still echo with the clatter of Russian-built trucks and cars.
contHAVANA – Russia's president met with revolutionary icon Fidel Castro on... more
Karzai's comments came late Tuesday in a speech to a U.N. Security Council delegation visiting Kabul, the capital, this week. He accused the international community of failing "to fight the Taliban properly" since the U.S.-led war in the country began in 2001.
"This war has gone on for seven years. The Afghans don't understand anymore how come a little force like the Taliban can continue to exist, can continue to flourish, can continue to launch attacks with 40 countries in Afghanistan, with entire NATO force in Afghanistan, with the entire international community behind them," Karzai said. "Still we are not able to defeat the Taliban."
Karzai spoke days after U.S. President-elect Barack Obama promised to put greater emphasis on security in Afghanistan next year. The two men talked for the first time by phone last week.
Karzai, whose five-year term ends next year, has become increasingly critical of the international community. He has complained bitterly about mounting civilian casualties caused by U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan and has called for a halt to NATO raids on Afghan villages. In recent weeks, he has become more forceful in his calls for negotiations with the Taliban, saying he would guarantee safe passage to Taliban leader Mohammad Omar if he agreed to talks with the government.
"If there is no deadline, we have the right to find another solution for peace and security, which is negotiations," Karzai said.
Karzai, who was elected in 2004 after serving as interim president following the fall of the Taliban in 2002, is facing stiff political competition ahead of the presidential election set for September. With insurgents and criminal groups in control of parts of the country, his political foes have seized on the failure to effectively counter the threat, with some calling for an earlier election.
According to the constitution, the presidential election must be held 30 to 60 days before the end of the incumbent's term. Karzai's term ends April 22. But the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan decided this year to delay the vote by six months because harsh winter weather and a lack of security would make it difficult to organize polls in remote provinces.Karzai's comments came late Tuesday in a speech to a U.N. Security Council... more
What did you do on Thanksgiving Day?
President-elect Barack Obama and his family spent an hour handing out chickens, potatoes, bread and other Thanksgiving food to poor families on Chicago's South Side Wednesday morning after Obama introduced his latest economic advisors. Then he shook hands with Catholic grade school students ecstatic to see him.
Many of the poor and homeless - some of whom come for food every Wednesday - screamed in disbelief as they entered the parking lot of St. Columbanus church at 71st and Calumet and realized the reason they had been wanded by the U.S. Secret Service was because Obama, his wife and daughters, were standing there ready to pass out the food usually handed out by volunteers.
"At Thanksgiving, it's important for us to remember people in need," Obama said. "They told me the number of people coming here is up 33 percent from last year."
About 600 families got food, said Kate Maehr, executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. That's up from 270 families last year, said the Rev. Matt Eyerman.
This is the fourth year in a row Obama has handed out food before Thanksgiving. Last year, he did it in New Hampshire.
"We started seeing increases as early as last year January," Maehr said. "In April, we started seeing double-digit increases.
"Happy Thanksgiving - hey, don't forget your chicken," Obama said after hugging one woman who screamed when she saw him. Declining to give an autograph, he said, "If I sign autographs, I can't pass out my chickens."
Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 , stood beside their father also handing out food in the 43-degree weather beneath the elaborate 99-year-old stained glass windows of St. Columbanus church. Obama wore a leather jacket while Michelle and the girls were bundled in winter coats and hats.
Obama said it was important to bring his daughters because, "I want them to know how fortunate they are and that they have to give back," Obama said.
As he finished handing out the chickens, Obama turned and looked up at the windows of St. Columbanus School where the pre-K through 8th graders were furiously waving and screaming from their second- and third-floor windows, their screams barely audible through the closed windows.
"Hey Michelle, look," he pointed as she waved back.
"We've got to go in there and say 'hi' to those kids," he told his wife, much to the chagrin of the Secret Service, which frowns on spontaneity.What did you do on Thanksgiving Day?
President-elect Barack Obama and his family... more
WASHINGTON — Millionaire farmers continue to pluck crop subsidies they don't deserve, federal investigators say.
At least 2,702 farmers nationwide received subsidies between 2003 and 2006 even through they were making more than the $2.5 million gross income cutoff. The unwarranted payments totaled $49 million and exposed enduring Agriculture Department management problems, investigators concluded.
"USDA cannot be assured that millions of dollars in farm program payments it made are proper," the Government Accountability Office investigators noted in the report issued Monday.
In one case, investigators noted, "an individual with ownership interest in a professional sports franchise received a total of more than $200,000 in farm program payments for 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006."
Other rich and unjustified crop subsidy recipients identified by investigators included "a top executive of a major financial services firm," a "founder and former executive of an insurance company" and a "former executive of a technology company."WASHINGTON — Millionaire farmers continue to pluck crop subsidies they... more
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned of a "severe" economic downturn in the UK in 2009.
The Paris-based body has predicted that economic output in the UK will fall by 1.1% next year, more than any other major G7 country.
The US economy is forecast to decline by 0.9% in 2009, and Germany by 0.8%.
Economic growth in the 30 countries of the OECD is forecast to fall by 0.4%, before growing by 1.5% in 2010.
As well as the UK, the OECD identifies Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Spain and Turkey as being the countries most affected by the economic slowdown.
"These economies are most directly affected by the financial crisis, which in some cases exposed other vulnerabilities, or by severe housing downturns," it says.
In the pre-Budget report, the chancellor accepted that the UK economy would decline by 0.75% to 1.25% next year, but said that the UK was "better placed" than other countries to cope with the downturn.
The OECD warns that any recovery in the US is likely to be "languid" as consumption is held back by the large losses in household wealth.
And it says that the risks are still on the downside, suggesting that economic conditions could worsen significantly.The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned of a... more
New Orleans has been ranked as the most violent US city, with more than 19,000 reported crimes and 208 murders in 2007, according to a study.
Last Updated: 11:47PM GMT 24 Nov 2008
the forgotten city......by Bush Administration,, Thank God for people like Brad Pitt etc....
The study published by CQ Press, the book publishing arm of Congressional Quarterly, examined six categories – homicide, rape, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft.
The rankings include all cities of at least 75,000 residents that reported crime data to the FBI in those crime categories for 2007.
"Based on a per-capita basis, New Orleans has the No. 1 crime ranking using FBI statistics," said CQ spokesman Ben Krasney.
New Orleans was well ahead of second-place Camden, New Jersey, and third-place Detroit, according to the study.
St Louis, Missouri and Oakland, California, rounded out the top five.
In homicides, New Orleans had 94.7 per 100,000 population, compared to the overall national average of 5.6 per 100,000 and to Gary, Indiana, ranked second with 73.2 per 100,000.New Orleans has been ranked as the most violent US city, with more than 19,000... more
AKHMAJI, Georgia – Russia's foreign minister has suggested that Georgia's U.S.-backed government staged a shooting incident near a motorcade carrying the presidents of Poland and Georgia in order to discredit Russia and South Ossetia.
The shooting late Sunday stoked anger months after Georgia and Russia fought a brief war over the separatist region of South Ossetia. The August conflict worsened Moscow's relations with the West.
It also left South Ossetia entirely under the control of separatist forces and Russian troops. Before the war, Georgian forces held parts of South Ossetia.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has blamed Russian troops for the gunfire that broke out as he and Polish President Lech Kaczynski were traveling near a roadblock at the edge of South Ossetia.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has blamed Russian troops for the gunfire that broke out as he and Polish President Lech Kaczynski were traveling near a roadblock at the edge of South Ossetia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there was no gunfire from Russian or South Ossetian positions, and he suggested Georgia engineered the incident to discredit Russia and South Ossetia, Russian news agencies reported.
"This is a provocation, clearly," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying late Sunday in Peru, where he was accompanying President Dmitry Medvedev. "It's not the first time something like this has happened: They organize everything themselves and then blame the Russian or Ossetian side."
Russia and Georgia have accused each other of starting the August war, which began with a Georgian artillery barrage on the South Ossetian capital.
Georgia says the assault was prompted by Russia sending a massive troop contingent into South Ossetia. But Russia denies that and in turn accuses Georgia of a brutal action targeting civilians.
"Georgia's authorities thought it possible to resolve this country's territorial integrity problem by using Stalin's principle that is well known in our country: 'no man, no problem'," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Monday.
cont...AKHMAJI, Georgia – Russia's foreign minister has suggested that... more
CHICAGO – Citing an "economic crisis of historic proportions," President-elect Barack Obama urged Congress to pass a costly, job-creating stimulus bill as quickly as possible, a rare pre-inaugural call to action delivered as the outgoing Bush administration approved fresh billions to bail out one of the nation's largest banks.
Stock prices surged — the biggest two-day percentage gain for the Dow Jones industrials in 21 years — as investors took heart Monday from the actions and words of the incoming and departing chief executives.
"If we do not act swiftly and boldly, most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year," said Obama, 57 days shy of taking office in the shadow of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
He blended criticism of Detroit's beleaguered Big Three automakers — General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC — with a pledge of support for government aid to help them survive. "We can't allow the auto industry to ... vanish," he said, although he added that a blank check for an industry resistant to change was not the solution to its long-term decline.
CONT....CHICAGO – Citing an "economic crisis of historic proportions,"... more
Under the Constitution, the president's power to issue pardons is absolute and cannot be overruled.
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush has granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds ranging from drug offenses to tax evasion, from wildlife violations to bank embezzlement, The Associated Press learned Monday.
The new round of White House pardons are Bush's first since March and come less than two months before he will end his presidency. The crimes committed by those on the list also include offenses involving hazardous waste, food stamps, and the theft of government property.
Bush has been stingy during his time in office about handing out such reprieves.
Including these actions, he has granted a total of 171 and eight commutations. That's less than half as many as Presidents Clinton or Reagan issued during their time in office. Both were two-term presidents.
On the latest pardon list were:
_Leslie Owen Collier of Charleston, Mo. She was convicted for unauthorized use of a pesticide and violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
_Milton Kirk Cordes of Rapid City, S.D. Cordes was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits importation into the country of wildlife taken in violation of conservation laws.
the list cont....with some higher crimesUnder the Constitution, the president's power to issue pardons is absolute and... more
A senior Obama campaign official shared with The Washington Note and Huffington Post that in July 2008, the McCain and Obama camps began to work secretly behind the scenes to assemble large rosters of potential personnel for the administration that only one of the candidates would lead.
Lists comprised of Democrats and Republicans were assembled, sorted into areas of policy expertise, so that the roster could be called on after the election by either the Obama or McCain transition teams.
This kind of out-of-sight coordination is rare between battling presidential camps and provides some indication that both Obama and McCain intended to draw expertise into their governments from both sides of the aisle -- or at least they wanted to appear interested in doing so if the information leaked out about the list development process.
Fascinating tidbit on cooperation behind battle lines.A senior Obama campaign official shared with The Washington Note and Huffington Post... more
UBS has thousands of small shareholders, mostly relatively well-off, mostly elderly, and none of them expecting the value of their shares to be cut in half in a few short months.
I watched as greying heads bent over the agenda and as mutterings of irritation turned to angry comments. By the time the 6,000 strong crowd were seated, the mood was decidedly tense.
"We know of course that investing money is a risk, but we didn't expect this. Now we want to know who was responsible," said Roby Tschopp, spokesman for one of the shareholder groups.
Well, those responsible were plain to see - a phalanx of UBS chief executives in expensive suits, on a raised dais, bathed in spotlights. It was not the best public relations image.
It has been a hard year for the biggest Swiss bank, UBS. After losing millions in the US sub-prime mortgage market, it has had to beg the Swiss government for help.
The bank is haemorrhaging money, and smaller local banks are doing a roaring trade.
Those mild mannered pensioners may have included some crocodiles in their pockets, along with the sausages
One of those who has closed his account is Thomas Minder, the manager of a small but successful business.
He regards UBS's catastrophic investment in sub-prime mortgages as deeply un-Swiss.
"The whole sub-prime thing is an American invention," he says in a disgusted tone, "but a Swiss bank got involved."
And so, like the patriot he is, Mr Minder has embarked on a truly Swiss course of action to prevent such excesses in the future.
Using Switzerland's system of direct democracy, he has collected the required 100,000 signatures to hold a nationwide referendum to end, as he puts it, "the corporate rip off."
His proposal would forbid golden handshakes, bonuses would be performance related, and excessive salaries banned.UBS has thousands of small shareholders, mostly relatively well-off, mostly elderly,... more
Monday, November 24, 2008; Page A10
George W. Bush was the U.S. president at an economic summit here this weekend, but many foreign leaders were focused on President-elect Barack Obama instead.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper cautioned Obama against plans to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying it would worsen a global financial crisis. Chinese President Hu Jintao said he hopes Obama will recognize the importance of U.S.-China ties while treading carefully on the thorny issue of Taiwan.
And Mexican President Felipe Calderón, in an impassioned speech to delegates at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum Saturday, warned Obama that any tightening of trade restrictions would send a flood of illegal immigrants into the United States.
"The next U.S. administration must assume leadership in a very firm manner -- not just for Americans but for the whole world," Calderón said.
The stern words for Obama came during an annual APEC gathering dominated by fears over the ongoing financial crisis and underscored the difficult balance that Obama must strike if he intends to forge a new economic path for the United States.
Bush returned to Washington from Peru on Sunday after securing an agreement from the 21-member group to keep trade barriers low along the Pacific Rim as leaders fashion responses to the global financial storm. The APEC statement closely mirrors a pledge signed in Washington on Nov. 15 by leaders from the Group of 20 economic powers, nine of which were represented in Lima.
The leaders said Sunday that they could overcome the financial crisis, which has the world on the edge of recession, within 18 months. But they provided few details on how they plan to do that.
Many delegates to the APEC summit said there was little point in considering additional actions until Obama gets involved. The president-elect did not send any representatives to APEC, although transition officials said Obama's team was briefed by the Bush administration before the summit.Monday, November 24, 2008; Page A10
George W. Bush was the U.S. president at an... more
LIMA, Peru, Nov. 22 -- President Bush held his last meeting with a Russian leader on Saturday, saying he had worked to forge a "cordial relationship" with President Dmitry Medvedev and to be "respectful" when they disagreed.
Attending the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here in Peru, Bush also won pledges to keep Pacific Rim markets open during the financial crisis and made modest gains in stalled negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
The meeting between Bush and Medvedev came at a time of deepening tension between Washington and Moscow over the Georgia war, missile defense and other intractable conflicts. Their private session took place just hours after Bush issued a statement hailing the fifth anniversary of the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the nation Russia invaded in August.
"We've had our agreements; we've had our disagreements," Bush said after shaking hands with Medvedev before their meeting. "I've tried to work hard to make it a cordial relationship, though, so that when we need to work together we can, and when we disagree we're able to do so in a way that is respectful to our two nations."
Medvedev echoed the friendly tone, saying that "though we do have points of agreement and those points of real differences," he thinks that "in general our work was successful."LIMA, Peru, Nov. 22 -- President Bush held his last meeting with a Russian leader on... more
s the new administration prepares to take over the Education Department, school experts say one of Obama's first -- and toughest -- jobs must be restoring the broad bipartisan support it took to pass the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, which aims to boost the achievement of poor children. That consensus has splintered, with people on both sides of the aisle souring on the law as it is overdue for reauthorization in Congress.
"Forget the details of No Child Left Behind. The big challenge there is having to rebuild that bipartisan coalition," said Gary Huggins, director of the Commission on No Child Left Behind, an independent effort of the Aspen Institute. "On the Democratic side you have people walking away from it because of union pushback. On the GOP side you have people walking away because this is too large a federal footprint."
Helping ensure college access is likely to be the next president's most pressing education priority. The financial downturn has raised concerns about the continuing availability of student loans. On Thursday, the Education Department announced plans to expand purchases of the loans it backs, the most recent of several steps to help avert a student loan crisis.
"The most immediate issue is just the question of stability within the student loan programs," said Alexa Marrero, spokeswoman for Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (Calif.), ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee. "If we realize there's a problem, it will be too late."
But it is Obama's vision of refining the federal role in America's classrooms that may be the biggest political and policy challenge. He inherits an agency -- and a law -- that is seen by some local schools and union leaders as focusing more on sanctions and policing than on helping build better schools.s the new administration prepares to take over the Education Department, school... more
LOS ANGELES – A security guard shot and killed a man wielding two Samurai swords Sunday on the grounds of a Scientology building in Hollywood, police said.
The unidentified man approached three guards around noon in the parking lot of the Scientology Celebrity Centre, Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Terry S. Hara said.
The man was "close enough to hurt them" when one of the guards shot him, Hara said. Detectives were questioning the guard to figure out the swordsman's motive and determine whether the shooting was justified.
Surveillance tape showed the man arriving at the center's parking lot in a red convertible, then approaching the guards with a sword in each hand, Hara said.
"The evidence itself, it's very, very clear," Hara said. "The security officers were defending their safety."
a link to Scientology meaning:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ScientologyLOS ANGELES – A security guard shot and killed a man wielding two Samurai swords... more