Posted tagged ‘United States’

Barack Obama Steps Into Leadership Gap

December 8, 2008

Barack Obama has chosen not to observe the tradition requiring a president-elect to keep quiet on the sidelines until Inauguration Day. He made a series of bold calls this weekend for action on the economy, including a fiscal stimulus package and a plan to help homeowners. “I am disappointed that we haven’t seen quicker movement on this issue by the administration,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

From Financial Times:

With dutiful regularity, America’s president-elect has reminded the US public since November 4 that the country only has one president at a time. What he forgot to add was that his name is Barack Obama, not George W. Bush.

In a series of weekend statements – a radio address to the public on Saturday, a prime time Sunday morning interview and an afternoon press conference in Chicago – Mr Obama made it plain that economic events will not respect America’s oddly archaic 77-day transition.

Since his emphatic victory last month, Mr Obama has watched the economy fall off a cliff. The most recent data came on Friday, with the largest single monthly jump in unemployment since 1974. The Obama transition team, which has produced the fastest series of economic appointments “in history”, according to Mr Obama, has observed Mr Bush’s abdication of presidential authority with mounting concern.

Almost two million jobs have been lost since September. One in ten American mortgage holders are either in arrears or have had their homes repossessed by the banks. In what may well qualify as an understatement, Mr Obama on Sunday told NBC’s Meet the Press: “I am disappointed that we haven’t seen quicker movement on this issue [to assist struggling homeowners] by the administration.”

Mr Obama’s chief source of frustration with the outgoing president is Mr Bush’s refusal to agree to a second fiscal stimulus package, at a time when economists of all political stripes are calling for what the president-elect described as a “blood transfusion” to stabilise the patient. Hence Mr Obama’s intervention this weekend.

Without putting a cost-estimate on the package, Mr Obama on Sunday outlined the contours of a fiscal stimulus that would keep the US economy alive pending more substantial action. The plan, which emphasises aid to struggling states, many of which are deepening the crisis by cutting spending to meet their legal balanced budget requirements, could be passed by Congress some time in January.

Some hope the plan, which would cost at least $500bn, may even be ready for Mr Obama to sign on January 20 after he has taken the oath of office. The 111th Congress starts work on 6 January. “Things are going to get worse before they get better,” said Mr Obama yesterday. “My number one priority going in is to make sure we have an economic recovery plan that is equal to the task.”

My Thoughts on the 2008 Presidential Election…

November 6, 2008

The 2008 Presidential Election will go down in history as one of the greatest, and most important elections of all time. I was proud to have been a part of this election and that I got out and made my voice heard. I have not seen this much PASSION involved in American politics by our generation, ever! This election was our election! The passion didn’t only come from Democrats who were tired of the Bush Presidency, it also came from Republicans who had strong beliefs and fought to preserve them.

No matter which side you are on, if you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Red State, Blue State….always stand up for what you believe in! Some people may agree with you, some may strongly disagree with you. Some may start a heated debate, or others may calmly discuss their differences. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you voiced your opinion and stood up for what you believe in.

We have a right in this country to say and do what we want (to a certain extent) and we must never forget this. There are too many out there who take this right for granted. In many other years, we have sat back and watched what happened, while not taking our own stand. I was proud of both Democrats and Republicans for getting out and making a difference.

One point I want to make is this: Don’t forget to support our troops. I’ve heard those who say that we can now leave Iraq and bring the troops home tomorrow. Or others who go as far as saying “forget the troops and Iraq”. To those people I say, you’re not thinking clearly. You’re letting your heart cloud your judgment. Yes, we want all of our troops to come home safely, but if it takes time, then so be it. You can not leave a job half finished. Even if you believe we should not have even started the job, you still have to finish it.

Our troops are all over the world. They’re out there putting their lives in danger to protect our rights as Americans and our country. Even if you voted for Obama (like I did), or if you disagree with the war in Iraq (I know a lot of these people too), don’t turn your back on them. Yes, you have the right to disagree, but remember that they are overseas doing a job, and working to make our lives, and the lives of the Iraqi people, better.

There may have been no weapons of mass destruction, and we may not have caught Bin Laden yet, but the difference they are making in our lives is very important. Do not forget this.

This election will bring great debate between people of all sides. Just remember this, when you do argue with each other, try to be civil. Listen to what the other side has to say.

Democrats, for eight years you wanted change and now we’ll see what you make of your opportunity.

Republicans, for eight years, the Democrats wanted change. Now they have the chance to do something. I’m sure you’ll be demanding change as they did for so many years. But let’s at least give them a chance.

One thing that both Democrats and Republicans have in common is that in their hearts, they truly want what they feel is best for the country.

So to finish my rant I say…Thank You America. Thank you to both Republicans and Democrats, for coming out and making your voice heard. This is what makes America great. We may have our differences, and we will ALWAYS have differences, but we showed in 2008 that we still care about the United States and what we fought for more than 200 years ago when we began this great nation.

Thanks for listening. Feel free to give your own thoughts.

McCain, Obama Agree That Health Care Reform is Needed But Have Separate Ideas How to Fix It

October 1, 2008

John McCain and Barack Obama agree that our current health care system isn’t working. They each believe that the country needs to reduce the ranks of the 46 million uninsured and provide alternatives to job-based insurance. But any similarities between the presidential hopefuls’ health reform proposals cannot be found.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

McCain’s proposal relies on the private market to heal the ailing system. He proposes eliminating tax breaks employers enjoy for subsidizing health insurance, thereby treating the benefit as a taxable wage, and offering tax credits – up to $2,500 for an individual and $5,000 per family – to help people buy their own policies in the open market.

Obama’s remedy would build on the current system, requiring employers to provide meaningful coverage or contribute to a new public plan. Unlike a pure single-payer or government-run program, the public plan would give people guaranteed access to a mix of government and private plans with benefits similar to those available to federal workers.

Both plans come at a cost, the details of which remain murky. And the promise of health care reform seems all the more questionable – at least for the foreseeable future – given the current economic meltdown. The credit crisis could make the money required for an overhaul much tougher to come by, especially if a bailout for the financial sector is enacted.

But supporters of reforming the system say the country can’t afford to ignore health care, a $2 trillion piece of the economy that plays an essential role in the daily life of Americans.

Michael Phelps Won the 100 Meter Butterfly: Omega Provides Photographic Proof

August 24, 2008

it appears that we finally have photographic proof that Michael Phelps indeed beat Milorad Cavic in the 100-meter butterfly last week.

From the Associated Press:

Official timekeeper Omega released a digital photo sequence of last week’s riveting 100-meter butterfly finish at the Olympics—and it’s still not clear to the naked eye just who won.

Omega/AP

Phelps (left) and Cavic (right). Credit: Omega/AP

However, according to Omega timer Silvio Chianese, the results are clear.

“In the third set of images, with Phelps on the left, it is clear he is really pushing hard, while Cavic, on the right, is just arriving,” Chianese told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Last week’s victory gave Phelps his seventh gold medal of the games, tying him with Mark Spitz for most golds in a single Olympics. A day later, Phelps won his eighth gold as a member of the United States’ 400 medley relay squad.

Phelps’ time of 50.58 seconds was confirmed after a review down to the 10-thousandth of a second; Cavic’s time was 50.59.

Photo Phelps (left) and Cavic.

(AP Photo/Omega)

Chianese explained that it requires 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of pressure to activate the touchpad.

The photos were taken by Omega cameras placed directly above the finish line, slightly angled to include two lanes in each photo.

Chianese said the touchpad is the primary source to determine the race winner, while the photos can only be used as backup material.

It still will go down as the greatest finish in an Olympic swimming event and has provided heated debate over the past week. Thoughts?

US Women’s Soccer Team Advances to Olympic Finals

August 18, 2008

The US Women’s Soccer team is just one win away from a gold medal after defeating Japan this morning, 4-2. This will be the fourth straight Olympic final for the US, which beat Brazil 2-1 in extra time four years ago in Athens and will have the opportunity to repeat this year.

From the Associated Press:

Angela Hucles scored a goal in each half Monday to lead the United States to a 4-2 soccer win over Japan and another Olympic final against Brazil.

The Americans have played in the Olympic gold medal match every time since women’s soccer debuted at the 1996 Atlanta Games, missing the title only in 2000 in Sydney after a loss to Norway.

The U.S. had to rally from an early deficit Monday after Japan’s Shinobu Ohno opened the scoring in the 16th minute, but Hucles netted the equalizer from the six-meter (yard) line in the 41st and Lori Chalupny put the Americans ahead just three minutes later after beating two defenders inside the area in the 44th.

Heather O’Reilly added to the lead with a long-range shot in the 70th, and Hucles closed the scoring for the U.S. in the 80th with a crossing shot that caught Japan goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto by surprise.

Japan got on the board again with Eriko Arakawa in second-half injury time.

The teams played an open match in front of more than 50,000 fans at the Workers’ Stadium, with both sides creating several scoring chances from the beginning.

The US has built a dynasty in women’s soccer but should get a tough test with Brazil. The US lost to them 4-0 in the semifinals of last year’s World Cup, which also was played in China. Thoughts?

“Redeem Team” Trounces Germany 106-57

August 18, 2008

The US Men’s Basketball team sure are looking like gold medalists in 2008. The “Redeem Team” defeated Dirk Nowitzki and Germany Monday, completing an undefeated march through pool play with a 106-57 victory.

From the Associated Press:

Not since the Dream Team rumbled through Las Ramblas 16 years ago in Barcelona has a team looked this unbeatable. The Americans won their pool games by 32.2 points and averaged 103 points and now move on to a quarterfinal meeting with Australia, the only team they haven’t been able to blow out.

After the game, the team exchanged congratulations with Michael Phelps, now free to enjoy the rest of the games after winning eight gold medals in his record-setting Olympics. Bryant and Carmelo Anthony were among the U.S. players who went out to the pool to watch Phelps.

“He made history as one of the best swimmers ever, so for us to be a part of that and be here with him, we just felt good about it,” said Anthony, like Phelps a Baltimore product.

The Americans (5-0) return to the basketball arena Wednesday against Australia, the team that’s provided them with their toughest test in China.

A gold medal appears to be in the cards for the US, but I won’t be handing out the medal just yet. The Americans have had a tough time the past few years winning it all. But this team appears to be the strongest team we have had in quite some time and a gold medal seem inevitable. Thoughts?

Pervez Musharraf Resigns as President of Pakistan

August 18, 2008

President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, facing threats of impeachment, resigned his Presidency this morning in a televised address to the nation.

Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Credit: Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

From the New York Times:

Under pressure over impending impeachment charges, President Pervez Musharraf announced that he would resign Monday, ending nearly nine years as one of the United States’ most important allies in the campaign against terrorism.

Speaking on television from his presidential office here at 1 p.m., Mr. Musharraf, dressed in a gray suit and tie, said that after consulting with his aides, “I have decided to resign today.” He said he was putting national interest above “personal bravado.”

“Whether I win or lose the impeachment, the nation will lose,” he said, adding that he was not prepared to put the office of the presidency through the impeachment process.

His resignation came after 10 days of intense political maneuvering in Pakistan, and cleared the way for the four-month-old coalition government to choose a new president by a vote of Parliament and the provincial assemblies. But there were intense concerns in Washington that Mr. Musharraf’s departure would open a new era of instability in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country of 165 million people, as the fragile coalition jockeys for his share of power.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Following days of reported negotiations with a governing political coalition whose most cohesive bond is opposition to the former Army chief, Mr. Musharraf said he was sending his resignation to the speaker of the National Assembly. That announcement came after a nearly 45-minute defense of his leadership — begun with a bloodless coup in 1998 — that ranged from counterterrorism accomplishments to the construction of highways, dams and canals, and even the proliferation of Pakistani cellphones during his time in office.

Without mentioning the imposition of emergency rule last year and suspension of the judiciary that are among the acts his opponents deem impeachable offenses, Mr. Musharraf declared that “not a single charge in the impeachment can stand against me.” And he began and finished his argument by saying he had only ever acted out of concern for the country. “No charge can be proved against me because I never did anything for myself, it was all for Pakistan.”

It will be very interesting to watch how this situation develops as Pakistan has been arguably our most important ally in the war on terrorism. How will the incoming leader stand on this issue? How will the US relationship be maintained? Thoughts?