Streams

 

 

Barack Obama

It's A Free Blog

Will Obama Keep His Word on a Government that Lives Within Its Means?

Friday, January 28, 2011

WNYC

The president offered some straight talk during his State of the Union address on the relationship between our deficit, long-term debt problems and social welfare spending. He admitted that there would have to be sacrifices to bring our deficits under control, and that only working on non-military discretionary spending barely scratches the surface of the issue.

But what do the American people want to do about this? Normally you could just look at public opinion polling, but in this case, most polls are asking the wrong questions.

Read More

Comments [2]

It's A Free Country ®

The Unkindest Cut: What the People Want

Thursday, January 27, 2011

WNYC

A number of polls have looked to the people to try to divine where Americans would most support belt-tightening. The New York Times made a game in which readers could try their own hand at balancing the budget. Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor launched the “YouCut” website, which invites constituents to vote their favorite of a given three budget cut choices. CBS and the New York Times conducted polling to find out what the will of those with a landline telephone might be. 

Results appear pretty mixed.

Comments [1]

It's A Free Blog

Financial Crisis: Where's the Outrage?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In 2008, the bubble popped. The financial crisis sent our economy swirling into chaos and pushed us into this Great Recession. Many Americans lost faith in our private institutions that caused this mess and in our public institutions that should have seen it coming. The fallout shined a light on the double-dealing shell game being played by our financial giants. Unfortunately, they weren’t playing with Monopoly money. The high stakes had high costs: a devastating spike in unemployment, a national foreclosure crisis based on mortgage fraud and depleted pensions and retirement accounts for working Americans.

At least those whose reckless — and potentially criminal — gambles drove us into this ditch got what they had coming…bonuses, a light reprimand and carte blanche to do it all again.

It’s enough to make you so angry you’d consider dumping tea in Boston Harbor.

Read More

Comments [2]

It's A Free Country ®

Closing Tax Loopholes: Obama's Best Shot?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

By all measures, President Obama began his 2012 campaign on Tuesday night. He used big numbers—not just ones with dollar signs attached, but ones that exist only in imaginations: 2035. 2020. 2015. The thinking was grand, the planning long-term, the rhetoric Sputnik-ed.

And yet, one of the president’s proposals in his State of the Union address was all about the fine print: closing tax loopholes. Absent from the speech was a broad-stroke promise to raise or lower taxes. The closest Obama came to doing so was a thinly-veiled threat to eventually let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans, this after agreeing to extend them only last month.

Regardless of what happens to the top tax bracket, focusing on tax loopholes is a shrewd move politically, particularly with the president’s 2012 reelection campaign now in view. It realigns the tax debate on the minutiae of the federal code, getting away from the same old tax-versus-spend back and forth.

Comment

Transportation Nation

Mica: "We'll Get to Finish Line on Transportation Bill"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"I had a great night tonight  with Barbara Boxer, she’s going to chair the effort on the Senate side, and we have a whole host of ideas we’ve already agreed on. We can do it. We’re going to drag Obama kicking and screaming to the finish line."

Representative John Mica

TN correspondent Todd Zwillich caught up with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committtee Chair John Mica last night after the State of the Union address, and he and a few other reporters got his reaction to the president's speech and upcoming plans for a transportation reauthorization bill.  You can listen to the congressman here -- or read the transcript below.

Reporter: How do you balance this in your own party, with the needs you know are out there?

John Mica: Well, again, there are good investments and bad investments; they missed the mark last time with stimulus, they only put 7% of $787 billion. 30 days before the election only 39% was spent. So they lost the election by 1) derailing a six-year transportation bill and by 2) coming up with a plan that didn’t allow the money to even be spent to employ people, so now we have a chance to correct that, and we hope we don’t make the same mistake twice. But we’ll work with the president, some of his math as I said doesn’t work on high-speed rail–-we have a hearing at 10:00 in New York City, at Grand Central Station, to sort out some of the differences this week.

Reporter: how do you plan to pay for this transportation bill without the administration getting behind some innovative financing with more than just the word ‘innovative’? It seems like he fleshed out (crosstalk)

JM: Well, first of, I’m gonna take –

Read More

Comment

It's A Free Blog

Obama's No Centrist

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WNYC

A balanced look at President Obama’s actions and expressions of personal belief, in aggregate, points to a mainstream liberal, not a centrist.

Read More

Comments [5]

The Empire

Obama and the insurgents from Brooklyn

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Insurgent Democrat Lincoln Restler, campaign manager Sarah Baker, and the couple that inspired them. (Sarah Baker's Facebook page)

Lincoln Restler and his campaign manager, Sarah Baker, share a moment with Barack and Michelle Obama.

Obama's campaign was the catalyst for Restler's own scrappy, and narrowly successful, fight to become a Democratic district leader in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn County Democratic organization is still controlled by Assemblyman Vito Lopez who, reportedly, has not been eager to embrace some of the Obama-inspired activists in the borough.

Read More

Comments [7]

It's A Free Blog

This Isn't Your Grandfather's Sputnik Moment

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The build-up to President Obama’s State of the Union Address had suggested he was going to boldly challenge Americans to rise to meet the “Sputnik moment” of our generation. It was a tantalizing claim. Liberals hoped this sense of purpose would justify new investment in jobs, infrastructure and education, despite the worries of deficit hawks. Conservatives looked forward to pro-business policies behind the themes of entrepreneurship and innovation and were intrigued by the tone of American exceptionalism hinted at in the speech’s promotion.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Reacting to What Obama Didn't Say

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My story:

Afterwards, Bloomberg released a statement calling the omission of gun control from the speech "disappointing."

Considering the effort Bloomberg put into forcing the issue onto the president's radar, that appears to be an understatement.

Leading up to Obama's third State of the Union speech, Bloomberg hosted 34 people who lost family members to gun violence — one for each person who, on average, are killed in America every day by guns. Among those represented were victims of the Virginia Tech shooting, the recent Tuscon shooting, and even Martin Luther King III, son of the slain civil rights leader.

At the event, Bloomberg said the nation needed someone with "courage" to address the issue.

Later that same day, Bloomberg appeared on CBS with Katie Couric — along with King — to further press his case.

The day of the speech, the coalition Bloomberg founded to combat "illegal guns" published an open letter to the president in the Washington Post. Hours before the speech, Bloomberg's office announced he would be joined at City Hall on Wednesday by "Gifford's hero intern" who "cared for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot."

Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of Long Island said, "I'm disappointed that President Obama did not urge us to look at our nation's gun laws."

McCarthy — a gun control advocate spurred to action after her husband was gunned down on the Long Island Railroad — added, "I look forward to continuing that path and hearing from our president in the future."

Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner also thought that the Arizona tragedy provided Obama a moment to lean into what has normally been a difficult issue.

"In a speech that seemed to strive for common ground, he missed a chance for common sense on guns," Weiner said.

Read More

Comments [1]

WNYC News

New York Pols React to Obama's Speech: 'Disappointed,' 'Missed a Chance'

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WNYC

President Obama's speech was a call to arms for those seeking bipartisanship. Unfortunately, those looking for regulations of firearms heard not a word about their cause.

"What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow," Obama said to an audience of Washington lawmakers which, for the first time, had Democrats and Republicans seated next to one another.

"We share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled," said the president, referring to the youngest victim of the massacre that left Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords with a gunshot wound to the head.

But after that, Obama did not address the issue of gun control, something Mayor Michael Bloomberg strenuously advocated for with a major media push leading up to the speech.

Afterwards, Bloomberg released a statement calling the omission of gun control from the speech "disappointing."

Comments [4]

It's A Free Blog

Much Ado about Nothing

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"They say, 'What's your show about?' I say, 'Nothing.'"- Jerry Seinfeld

I was reminded of the Seinfeldian idea, the show about nothing, as I listened to the State of the Union. Don't get me wrong, President Obama said a lot, and some of the things he said I enjoyed hearing, but ultimately it was a speech about nothing.

Read More

Comments [21]

It's A Free Country ®

State of the Union Silent on the States

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

President Obama did a low energy version of President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" when he proclaimed the "worst of the recession is over."

While 44 of the nation's states are looking at a $125 billion dollar shortfall and hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded pension and health care liabilities, they did not make the president's State of the Union final cut.

Comments [1]

It's A Free Country ®

Excerpts from President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Released by the White House, As Prepared for Delivery

With their votes, the American people determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

President Obama, 2.0

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Nobody knows Bill Daley in the White House. And yet Obama decided he needed someone who would force him out of his comfort zone and bring in people because of his network of contacts, bring people into Obama's orbit who are not there already. It was a huge decision for Obama to make and really reflective of his views about these questions about insularity and the need to be less inbred going forward"

John Heilemann, national political columnist for New York Magazine, on Obama's choice for his new Chief of Staff

Comment

The Leonard Lopate Show

The State of Union and the President's Agenda

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Yorker editor David Remnick looks back at President Obama’s previous addresses to Congress to see how much of Tuesday’s State of the Union address will serve as the blueprint for his legislative agenda. We’ll look back at last year’s State of the Union and his February 2009 address to Congress. Remnick’s book about President Obama, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, is out in paperback.

Comments [8]

It's A Free Blog

What Obama Should Say

Monday, January 24, 2011

No doubt, even a great speaker, like President Barack Obama, will be tinkering with his State of the Union speech up to the last minute. So, here is my humble advice in two words: Think Big.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Will.i.am's platform

Monday, January 24, 2011

One of the president's most vocal supporters, Will.i.am. of the Black Eyed Peas, doesn't stick to the script when discussing the campaign, gun control and home foreclosure with Deborah Solomon:

--I don’t want to hope anymore. I don’t think we should hope anymore. We hoped enough. Now we have to do. We all have to do now.

--But is gun control the solution?

--I say: 'Let me pay for that house. It’s yours. You don’t got to pay me back.' It’s that simple.Why am I doing it? Because I said, “Yes we can.”

Read More

Comment

It's A Free Blog

Stucknation: Stats You Won't Likely Hear in the State of the Union

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Washington and around the country, chief executives including the president, the governors, and local mayors are all giving their annual takes on reality.

On Tuesday, from President Obama, we are going to hear about a nation that is still hurting but has turned a corner toward recovery.

But how is it really going on America's Main Streets?

Read More

Comment

WNYC News

Joe Lieberman: The Resilience and Missteps of a Political Maverick

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WNYC

Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Senator who had a turblent relationship with the Democratic Party, is reportedly set to announce he will not seek a fifth term in office.

Comments [3]

It's A Free Blog

How Would the King Rate the President?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Throughout the course of his all too brief life, Dr. Martin Luther King used the power of the spoken word to deliver both messages of warning and redemption for a nation that had not lived up to the true meaning of its creed. Now, as we fast forward nearly fifty years after he delivered his most famous speech on the national mall in Washington, America has its first president of color in Barack Obama.

But I firmly believe that King, operating under the guise of the universal Negro principle, “All my skin folk ain’t my kin folk," would not shy away from criticizing Obama where he found both our nation and our leader lacking.

Read More

Comments [5]