Archive for the ‘president’ Category

All The President’s Men: Where’s The Congressional Oversight?

March 11, 2009

On day one of the Obama Administration, we saw the Chief of Staff of the White House, the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States, make a gesture in public that we considered to be distainful, undignified and inappropriate.  But there’s no law against that.  Then we saw the same Chief of Staff to the President of the United States attack an individual American citizen: using a friendly and eager to please media as his assassin.  Rahm Emanual attacked Rush Limbaugh.

If any one of these actions had been carried out by a military officer serving any of the Pentagon’s Generals or Admirals, he’d be out of a job and on the way toward retirement.

Related:
The president may not have what it takes

This is more than inappropriate.  This is something Congress should examine.  Not after the fact: Congress should confirm presidential appointees that feel they have only one loyalty to one man — even as they serve all Americans (and take our tax dollars as their pay and influence the spending of trillions of our tax dollars).

When Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) pulled his pocket sized copy of the U.S. Constitution out to criticize the President of the United States for naming White House policy czars, he wasn’t just acting like a crazy old coot.  He was making a very important point; as reiterated below by  Bruce Ackerman in today’s Washington Post….
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For the first 150 years of our nation’s history, the Senate confirmed all leading members of the executive branch. But modern presidents have increasingly gained the power to make key appointments unilaterally — with President Obama taking this process to new heights. His White House czars such as Lawrence Summers and Carol Browner are likely to overshadow the Cabinet secretaries in their respective domains. Yet, as presidential assistants, they escape the need for Senate scrutiny. After the abuses of the Bush White House and the failed nominations in Obama’s own transition, this practice should be reconsidered.

By Bruce Ackerman
The Washington Post

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co
ntent/article/2009/03/10/AR2009031002
839.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Related:
Obama’s clumsy, smirky staff and unelected appointees are sinking him

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From Politico
February 25, 2009

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.

In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”

While it’s rare for Byrd to criticize a president in his own party, Byrd is a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House.

Read the rest:
http://www.politico.com/news/sto
ries/0209/19303.html

Related:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/11/te
rrific-tax-subsidized-acorn-mob-teams-up-
with-la-teachers/

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

Former reformist Iranian president will run again

February 8, 2009

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami declared Sunday he would run again for president, setting the stage for a major political showdown in coming months between the popular reformist leader _ who made dialogue with the West a centerpiece of his eight years in office _ and the country’s ruling hard-liners.

Khatami’s candidacy poses a serious challenge to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose mixture of anti-Western rhetoric and fiery nationalism sharply contrasts with Khatami’s tempered tones and appeals for global dialogue.

“I seriously announce my candidacy in the next (presidential) election,” Khatami announced Sunday after a meeting with his supporters.

AP

Iran's former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, left, seen, ... 
Iran’s former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, left, seen, at a ceremony organized by his party, a group of pro-reform clerics, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009. Iran’s former reformist president declared Sunday that he will run for president again in the country’s upcoming elections, posing a serious challenge to hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

He said he decided to seek the presidency in the June 12 vote because it was impossible for someone like himself who was interested in the fate of Iran to remain silent. The 65-year-old liberal cleric said he is “attached to the country’s greatness and the people’s right to have control over their own fate.”

Khatami’s decision to run against Ahmadinejad could significantly shake up Iran’s politics, appealing to citizens disillusioned by the country’s failing economy and Ahmadinejad’s staunch anti-U.S. foreign policy.

Relations between the United States and Iran improved marginally during Khatami’s eight years in office, and he encouraged athletic and cultural exchanges….

Read the rest:
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009
/feb/08/former-reformist-iranian-presi
dent-will-run-again/

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/m
east/02/08/iran.khatami/index.html

Obama Envoy Mitchell’s Firm Lobbied for Dubai’s Ruler

January 27, 2009

George Mitchell, President Barack Obama’s special Middle East troubleshooter, was chairman of a law firm that was paid about $8 million representing Dubai’s ruler in connection with a child-trafficking lawsuit.

From Bloomberg

The DLA Piper law firm did legal and lobbying work on the case, which alleged that Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum and another official used children kidnapped from other countries to ride as jockeys in camel races. The firm lobbied federal agencies, members of the U.S. House and about two dozen Senate offices, including those of Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2006 and 2007, according to Justice Department foreign-agent disclosures.

Mitchell, 75, who isn’t a registered lobbyist, didn’t lobby either on this issue or for Dubai generally. DLA Piper partner Bill Minor said in an e-mail that Mitchell, a former Democratic senator from Maine, mainly focused on growth and management at the firm of almost 4,000 attorneys and 65 offices worldwide, and high-profile projects such as an investigation of steroid use in Major League Baseball.

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=206
01087&sid=aa7hdtvtfYxc&refer=worldwide

Text of President Barack Obama’s inaugural address

January 20, 2009

Text of President Barack Obama‘s inaugural address on Tuesday, as prepared for delivery and released by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

OBAMA: My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it).”

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

May God Bless you.  And God Bless America.

18 minutes, 10 seconds

As Challenges Mount, Obama’s Global Luster Tarnishing … Already

January 18, 2009

“Maybe someone will ask for his impeachment by the end of next week.”

It is the fickle nature of being a superstar, rock star or politician I guess….

Related:
Caution To New American Government: Polls Can Plummet in a Heartbeat

In The U.S., Obama’s Populatity Grows as Inauguration Nears
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/18/poll
.obama.rating/index.html

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Obama Reelection Effort Begins

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By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer

Barack Obama got a global standing ovation long before he was elected president. But in a fickle and fast-moving world, the overseas reviews are already turning mixed.

In this July 24, 2008 file photo, President-elect Barack Obama ... 
In this July 24, 2008 file photo, President-elect Barack Obama waves as he arrives at the Victory Column in Berlin. Though much of the world will party through the night Tuesday after Obama is sworn in as America’s 44th president, just as it did when he was elected, there are signs the ardor is cooling as the sheer weight of his challenges sinks in. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Though much of the world will party through the night Tuesday after Obama is sworn in as America’s 44th president — just as it did when he was elected — there are signs the ardor is cooling as the sheer weight of his challenges sinks in.

A deepening global recession, new hostilities in the Middle East, complications in closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan — an impatient world has a stake in all of them and is asking how much change Obama can deliver.

“Just two months ago, the future president seemed a cross between Superman and Merlin the magician,” Massimo Gramellini wrote in a commentary for Italy’s La Stampa newspaper. “Now he himself admits he won’t be able to keep all his promises, and who knows? Maybe someone will ask for his impeachment by the end of next week.”

“The idealism has diminished,” said Samuel Solvit, who heads an Obama support network in France. “Everyone was dreaming a little. Now people are more realistic.”

Muslims want to know why Obama hasn’t joined the chorus of international criticism of Israel’s Gaza offensive. Last week posters of him were set on fire in Tehran to shouts of “Death to Obama!”

“By the time Obama takes office, hundreds or thousands more will be killed in Gaza and it will be too late for him to act,” said Adel Fawzi, an Egyptian government clerk in Cairo.

Hardline demonstrators burn posters of U.S. President-elect ... 
Hardline demonstrators burn posters of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, during a demonstration in support of the people of Gaza, in front of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran January 13, 2009.REUTERS/Stringer (IRAN)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/world
_awaits_obama

Obama Needs To Be a Proven Pilot, Make a Soft Landing in The Hudson River

January 18, 2009

Dan Rather said today that Americans hope Barack Obama can prove to be like airline captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III.

Everyone now knows Captain Sullenberger as the pro who managed a safe landing of his crippled aircraft in the Hudson River on January 15.  No one was hurt.

“America is hungry for a leader like the airline pilot,” the veteran former CBS newsman told Chris Matthews on his Sunday morning NBC News show today.

“Everyone wants Obama to give us a soft landing.”

Related:
“Miracle on the Hudson” Pilot: Older Pros Sure Worth Having

In this image taken from the website of Safety Reliability Methods, ... 
US Airways pilot Chelsey B. Sullenberger III

A US Airways jetliner is seen after it crashed into the Hudson ...
A US Airways jetliner is seen after it crashed into the Hudson River Thursday afternoon, Jan. 15, 2009 after a flock of birds apparently disabled both its engines. Rescuers pulled the more than 150 passengers and crew members into boats before the plane sank, authorities say. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport en route to Charlotte, N.C., when the crash occurred in the river near 48th Street in midtown Manhattan.(AP Photo/Greg Lam Pak Ng)

Russia: President By “Remote Control”?

December 30, 2008

When President Barack Obama meets Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, will Mr. Medvedev have the power to negotiate and speak for Russia?  Or is Medvedev a figure head; a creation of Vladimir Putin?  Who rules Russia and when signals come from the Kremlin who are they coming from and can one trust their instincts?  This is now a growing dilemma for Russia; and for Barack Obama and the United States….

Related from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/12/30/r
ussia.presidential.term.extension/index.html

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This year is ending as another watershed for Russia, on a par with 1990 or 1998.

2008 started with great expectations for the country’s future as the Kremlin engineered a seamless political transition from Vladimir Putin to Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev was elected to implement Putin’s Plan — a strategy of rapid economic modernization through 2020 that would wean the country from its dependence on oil and other commodities and make innovation the driving force of the economy. Russia needed only 20 years of peaceful, undisturbed development to make a breakthrough, Medvedev proclaimed in early 2008.

Vladimir Frolov
The Moscow Times

That prospect faded in August, when Georgia invaded South Ossetia. Medvedev responded with a strong show of force and moved to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, a move denounced by all major powers.

Putin Medvedev
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Above: Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in parliament May 8, 2008. Medvedev has proposed a longer term for Russia’s president and it is no secret that Putin wants to come back as President of Russia.  Photo: Sergei Chirikov AFP/Getty Images

Related:
Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

Suddenly, Moscow was facing global isolation and pressure. By October, Russia discovered the truth in the old saying that if anything can go wrong, it will. The price of oil fell from a high of $147 a barrel in July to less than $40 a barrel in December, sending the country’s trade balance and the budget into deficits, the ruble into devaluation and the economy into recession.

Medvedev’s presidency is changing from the management of a modernization policy to the management of an economic collapse. The financial crisis is also testing the viability of the Putin-Medvedev “tandemocracy,” as painful, unpopular decisions need to be made to save the country. The two centers of power promised a gradual evolution of Russia’s political system toward more pluralism and public accountability.

The crisis is now changing the dynamics and the direction of this process, as Medvedev’s own center of power has been too slow in developing while Putin, exercising ultimate authority, is wary of taking full responsibility for crisis management.

It is now an open secret that Putin has been running the government by “remote control” through his two ambitious first deputies — Igor Shuvalov and Igor Sechin. Both wield enormous power and ultimate responsibility for managing the crisis.

Putin’s White House is now the political center of gravity, while the Kremlin is gradually turning into a backwater. Nobody there seems to be in the crisis mode, with the exception of Arkady Dvorkovich, economic adviser to Medvedev. When someone as astute as Vladislav Surkov, the Kremlin first deputy chief of staff, starts holding policy meetings on U.S. President-elect Barack Obama as a political phenomenon, instead of focusing on the country’s crisis, this is a glaring sign of trouble.

Vladimir Frolov is president of LEFF Group, a government relations and PR company.
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1
016/42/373438.htm

Putin’s Plan To Govern Russia Again Hits a Glitch: Law

December 30, 2008

One of Russia’s opposition parties has challenged the Kremlin‘s whirlwind legislative campaign to extend the term of the Russian presidency, saying it violates a law requiring parliament to wait a year before ratifying a constitutional amendment.

The protest by the pro-democracy Yabloko party could prove an unexpected hurdle for President Dmitry Medvedev‘s plan to extend the presidential term from four years to six years — a proposal that has prompted widespread speculation that his patron, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is preparing to return to the nation’s top post.

The Kremlin has moved unusually quickly to enact the amendment, pushing it through both houses of parliament and all 83 of the nation’s regional legislatures in less than 50 days. The upper house of parliament confirmed the votes from the regions and sent the measure to the Kremlin for Medvedev’s signature last week.

By Philip Pan
The Washington Post

But in a statement issued the same day, Yabloko objected to the move, pointing out that a clause in the 1998 law setting procedures for amending the constitution says the regions must be given a year to consider proposed amendments. Another clause says the upper house should confirm the votes by the regions in its first meeting after that year has passed.

“They’re completely ignoring the law,” said Sergei Mitrokhin, chairman of Yabloko. “Unfortunately, this happens quite often, but this is the first time the process has been ignored for such a significant issue as a constitutional amendment.”

Mitrokhin noted that the 1998 law does not provide an exception in the event the regions approve an amendment before a year has passed, and he argued it was written that way to prevent “legislators from making such important decisions so quickly.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/art
icle/2008/12/29/AR2008122902474.html?hpid=artslot

Joe Biden on the Role of Joe Biden

December 22, 2008

Joe Biden said:  I think that the role of the vice president is determined in large part by his relationship with the president and the circumstances that administration finds themselves in.

And so when Barack [Obama] asked me about what I expected in return for accepting, if I accepted, what — I said I want to be there when you make every critical decision you make. I want to be in the room.

Vice President-elect Joseph Biden says he was asked to submit his recommendations for Cabinet posts.

Vice President-elect Joseph Biden

….I’d like to be able to give my input….

I’ve been asked to submit my own recommendations. I’ve been there at the table with a small group of people when each of these Cabinet potential nominees have been debated.

….Barack and I in the campaign — once he chose me after the nomination, after the convention — have been pointing out that one of the reasons to draw down additional troops in Iraq beyond the necessity to do it on its own was we need to be able to deploy more troops immediately to Afghanistan to help stabilize it….

Listen to Biden on a host of topics:
From CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/22/biden.lkl/index.html

Related:
Obama’s New Vision for Vice President Joe Biden
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Obama’s Artful Triangulation: “Arbiter in Chief”

Obama To Gays: Pastor Rick Warren Will Help Us All “Come Together”

December 18, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday defended his choice of a popular evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, rejecting criticism that it slights gays. The selection of Pastor Rick Warren brought objections from gay rights advocates, who strongly supported Obama during the election campaign. The advocates are angry over Warren’s backing of a California ballot initiative banning gay marriage. That measure was approved by voters last month.

But Obama told reporters in Chicago that America needs to “come together,” even when there’s disagreement on social issues. “That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about,” he said.

Associated Press

In this Aug. 16, 2008 file photo, then Democratic presidential ... 
In this Aug. 16, 2008 file photo, then Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, joins Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, for a discussion on moral issues. Aretha Franklin will sing, Warren will pray and more than 11,000 U.S. troops will be watching over the ceremonies in case of a terrorist attack during President-elect Barack Obama’s Inauguration.(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Obama also said he’s known to be a “fierce advocate for equality” for gays and lesbians, and will remain so.

Warren, a best-selling author and leader of a Southern California megachurch, is one of a new breed of evangelicals who stress the need for action on social issues such as reducing poverty and protecting the environment, alongside traditional theological themes.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights organization, said Warren’s opposition to gay marriage is a sign of intolerance.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081218/ap_on_g
o_pr_wh/inauguration_minister