Saturday, December 20, 2008

Conan O'Brien, Made for TV Movie: Blagojevich Scandal (Video)

This is too funny....h/t demcon



In all honesty, this is just the beginning. There will be more, much more, before this scandal is over. It truly does ring like a Hollywood movie ready to be made.

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Obamas leave for Xmas Holiday to Hawaii (pictures)

On holiday............

President-elect Barack Obama, sporting a baseball cap, boarded a chartered plane here on Saturday morning and headed to his native Hawaii for a 13-day Christmas vacation.

Mr. Obama, joined by his wife and two daughters, did not wave to the cameras as he ran up the steps to a United 767 plane. Several friends from Chicago also are spending the holidays with the Obama family in Hawaii, where they have rented beachfront houses in Kailua, but they are traveling separately.

A handful of reporters, staff and Secret Service agents were aboard the nine-hour flight for Honolulu.








For the record, it is cold as heck here in Chicago, some places had over 10 inches of snow fall, and The Obamas left from O'Hare Airport.

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Barack Obama's Weekly Radio Address, Introducing the Science Team of Holdren, Lubchenco, Varmus and Lander (Video)

John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco are leading experts on climate change who have advocated forceful government action. Holdren will become Obama's science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Lubchenco will lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees ocean and atmospheric studies and does much of the government's research on global warming.

Holdren also will direct the president's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. Joining him as co-chairs will be Nobel Prize-winning scientist Harold Varmus, a former director of the National Institutes of Health, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Eric Lander, a specialist in human genome research.



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Friday, December 19, 2008

Bristol Palin's future mother-in-law busted for drug possession

Damn, did NOT want to give anyone with the name of PALIN another paragraph, but DAMN...

Future mother in law busted for drug possession? WTH???

A 42-year-old Wasilla woman was arrested Thursday at her home by Alaska State Troopers with a search warrant in an undercover drug investigation. Sherry L. Johnston was charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, the Wasilla 18-year-old who received international attention in September when Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, announced their teenage daughter was pregnant and he was the father. Bristol Palin, 18, is due on Saturday, according to a recent interview with the governor's father, Chuck Heath.

Troopers served the warrant at Johnston's home at the "conclusion of an undercover narcotics investigation," said a statement issued Thursday by the troopers as part of the normal daily summary of activity around the state.

Troopers charged Johnston with second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance -- generally manufacturing or delivering drugs -- as well as fourth-degree misconduct involving controlled substances, or possession.

And grandma, manufacturing and delivering drugs too? What kind of role model is that? Sounds like a meth thing, to me.

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Obama's Cabinet, Complete (Video)



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IL Governor Blagojevich Press Conference, "I intend to stay on the job" (Video & Transcript)

I will fight, I will fight, until I take my last breath..............



Damn, reminds me of J-HUD......"....and I'm tellin' you, I ain't goin'....."

Blago's attorney did not want him to open his mouth, but he just can't help himself.

youtube here
Blagojevich Press Conference
Chicago, IL
December 19, 2008


OK. Thank you very much.

I'm here to tell you right off the bat that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, that I intend to stay on the job, and I will fight this thing every step of the way.

I will fight. I will fight. I will fight until I take my last breath.

I have done nothing wrong, and I'm not going to quit a job the people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob.

Now, that's what I'm going to do. Let me tell you what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to do what my accusers and political enemies have been doing, and that is talk about this case in 30-second sound bites on "Meet the Press" or on the T.V. news.

Now, I'm dying to answer these charges. I am dying to show you how innocent I am. And I want to assure everyone who's here, and everyone who's listening, that I intend to answer every allegation that comes my way.

However, I intend to answer them in the appropriate forum -- in a court of law. And when I do, I am absolutely certain that I will be vindicated.

Rudyard Kipling wrote, If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you and make allowance for their doubting, too; if you can wait and not be tired by waiting; or being lied about, don't deal in lies; or being hated, don't give way to hating.

Now, I know there are some powerful forces arrayed against me. It's kind of lonely right now. But I have on my side the most powerful ally there is, and it's the truth.

And besides, I have the personal knowledge that I have not done anything wrong.

To the people of Illinois, I ask that they wait and be patient, sit back and take a deep breath, and please reserve judgment. Afford me the same rights that you and your children have. The presumption of innocence. The right to defend yourself. The right to your day in court. The same rights that you would expect for yourselves.

And one last thing: To all of those -- to those of you who have expressed your support to Patti and me during this difficult time, I'd like to thank you for your thoughts; I'd like to thank you for your prayers; and I'd like to thank you for your good wishes.

Patti and I cannot express to you how grateful we are for your kindness.

Merry Christmas. Happy holidays.

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Obama Press Conference Announcing Solis, Kirk, LaHood, Mills to Cabinet (Video)

At his fifth news conference in as many days, Obama announced his selections of Republican Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois for transportation secretary, California Rep. Hilda Solis for labor secretary, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk for U.S. trade representative and venture capitalist Karen Mills to head the Small Business Administration.




Below, Obama explaining that this economic road is going to be very difficult.



Obama finalizes his cabinet



Transcript

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Auto Industry is Temporarily "Bailed Out" (Video)

Bush will us the designated TARP funds, bypassing congress, to give the Big 3 the bridge loan that they need.

Ailing U.S. automakers and their workers accepted huge concessions Friday, potentially including a partial nationalization, in return for a $17.4 billion federal rescue package meant to buy them time to survive.

President George W. Bush outlined a plan that would hand $13.4 billion this month and next to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC. Both companies have said they soon might be unable to pay their bills without federal help.

GM would get $9.4 billion and Chrysler $4 billion. Ford Motor Co. has said it does not need immediate help.


President Bush


GM

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kirk picked for US Trade Rep and Mills for SBA

Expect announcement tomorrow.

President-elect Obama will choose former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk for U.S. trade representative, a senior Democrat close to the transition team confirms.

Kirk was the first African American mayor in Dallas, giving up his post in 2002 to run an unsuccessful campaign for the Senate seat, eventually won by John Cornyn.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos reports that Obama will likely pick venture capitalist Karen Gordon Mills to head the Small Business Administration.

Mills is president of the MMP Group, a private equity investor and advising firm, and also chair of the Governor's Council on Competitiveness.

Both these announcements will come at a 2:15 pm ET press conference in Chicago tomorrow, the fifth in five days Obama has had as he works hard to fill out vacant positions in his administration before leaving for vacation Saturday.

He is also expected to announce Hilda Solis as Labor Secretary Friday.

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Ret Admiral Dennis Blair picked Director of National Intelligence.

President-elect Barack Obama has settled on retired Adm. Dennis Blair to fill the nation's top intelligence job, congressional officials knowledgeable about the decision said today.

Blair, the former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, would become the nation's third director of national intelligence, succeeding Mike McConnell as the leader of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. He had been the rumored front-runner for the job for several weeks.

"It's definitely Blair," said one congressional official who had been briefed on the selection. Both sources spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Obama transition team declined comment.

Blair, if confirmed in the post, would be the second retired naval flag officer to hold the post, after McConnell. Some members of Congress, in internal discussions with the Obama team, had objected to the appointment of another career military officer to head the country's civilian-run intelligence establishment.

Ultimately, however, resistance to the selection faded as Blair impressed Republican and Democratic lawmakers with his knowledge of the intelligence agencies and ideas for streamlining and improving the often unwieldy U.S. intelligence apparatus, the sources said. Blair had served during the Clinton administration as a military liaison at the CIA in charge of coordinating intelligence between the spy agency and Pentagon.

Source

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Bush for 'orderly bankruptcy' for Auto Industry

You can't make this stuff up.

The Bush administration is looking at "orderly" bankruptcy as a possible way to deal with the desperately ailing U.S. auto industry, the White House said Thursday as carmakers readied more plant closings and a half million Americans filed new jobless claims.

With General Motors, Chrysler and the rest of Detroit anxiously holding its breath and waiting for a federal rescue, White House press secretary Dana Perino said, "There's an orderly way to do bankruptcies that provides for more of a soft landing. I think that's what we would be talking about."

I do not know anyone who has bought a bankrupt product, or would purchase a car from a company that may not be in business the next day. Along with that, who would honor any bankrupt car company auto warranty? And we are not even talking about the many suppliers who are also on teetering on the brink here.
On Thursday, spokesmen for Chrysler, GM and Ford generally referred to their previous comments that bankruptcy was not a workable solution. The car companies argue that no one would buy a vehicle from a bankrupt company for fear that the company might not be around to honor warranties.

And with dismal unemployment numbers, Speaker Pelosi reminds Bush that we should act now.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Capitol Hill that grim new unemployment data heightened the urgency for the administration "to prevent the imminent insolvency of the domestic auto industry."

The California Democrat said Bush has the legal authority to act now, and should attach the accountability standards that were included in a $14 billion House-passed and Bush-supported carmaker bailout that died in the Senate last week. That plan would have given the government, through a Bush-appointed "car czar," veto power over major business decisions at any auto company that received federal loans.

And let us not forget that General Motors and Chysler will shut down all their plants for 30 days. That is a snowball effect on everyone from workers to suppliers, to anyone attached to the automotive industry. And let us be frank, it is not like anyone is questioning if GM or Chrysler will reopen again? Without bailout money, it is a possibility that they will not.

The little guy never gets a break.

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Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA) tapped for Labor Secretary

A labor official says Rep. Hilda Solis of California will be nominated as labor secretary by President-elect Barack Obama.

The Democratic congresswoman was just elected to her fifth term representing heavily Hispanic portions of eastern Los Angeles County and east L.A. She is the daughter of Mexican and Nicaraguan immigrants and has been the only member of Congress of Central American descent.

The official spoke on conditions of anonymity because an announcement has not been made yet. A call to Solis's office was not immediately returned.

Solis, 51, has focused on immigration and environment issues while in the House.

An announcement is expected from the Obama transition team in the next few days.

I expect her to be formally announced by Obama tomorrow, along with Ray LaHood for Transportation Secretary. This will round out his cabinet and he is off to Hawaii for Xmas Holiday, on Saturday.

Source

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Obama Press Conference Announcing Mary Schapiro, SEC Chairwoman (Video & Transcript)

President-elect Barack Obama named seasoned regulator Mary Schapiro to head the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday.

(snip)

Obama also named Georgetown University law professor Daniel Tarullo to fill one of two vacancies on the seven-seat Federal Reserve Board, which is battling to ease a credit crisis and fend off a deepening recession, and he picked former Treasury official Gary Gensler to head the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which regulates the U.S. commodity futures and options market.


Transcript

And Obama answered questions on the pick of Rick Warren to give the invocation inaugural day.

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Blagojevich Attorney, Ed Genson Interview (Video & Transcript)

First Interview on MSNBC. Watch out for Genson, he is the attorney many in Chicago, i.e., R. Kelly, go to when it looks like they will go to jail and THEY DON'T.


Transcript

Press Conference, December 17, 2008



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Bill Clinton's Foundation Millions Given by Foreign Governments

This was a stickler during the primaries. A stickler for Hillary "possibly" being VP Candidate. And definitely a stickler, upon Hillary being appointed to Secretary of State, designate.

Former President Bill Clinton's foundation has raised at least $41 million from Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments that his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton may end up negotiating with as the next secretary of state.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave $10 million to $25 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit created by the former president to finance his library in Little Rock, Ark., and charitable efforts to reduce poverty and treat AIDS. Other foreign government givers include Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Italy and Jamaica.

The MSM will soon jump all over this list. Expect it to happen. Along with Blago, they will bundle this one, too.
The foundation disclosed the names of its 205,000 donors on a Web site Thursday, ending a decade of resistance to identifying the sources of its money. While the list is heavy with international business leaders and billionaires, some 12,000 donors gave $10 or less.

One thing, Clinton did not reveal NAMES of who gave what, so, again expect the MSM to jump all over this.
The former president did not release specific totals for each donor, providing only ranges of giving. Nor did he identify individual contributors' occupations or countries of residence.

Donors gave Clinton's foundation at least $492 million from its inception in 1997 through last year, the most recent figures available.

Source

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Foreclosure Help for Homeowners, NONE (Video)

Times are grim and tough.




And let us revisit, FORECLOSURE ALLEY.




My question is this, "Does anyone care about folks losing homes, jobs, retirement funds, lifetime savings, and the list is endless?"

And how bad is it? Read, this.

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Young Obama, In his youth, In his youth

He is smoking a ciggy, y'all....



View the rest here.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Official Inaugural Program

h/t demcon

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, today announced the program for the 56th Presidential Inauguration, which will take place on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2009.

"I am delighted to announce this superb line-up of participants in the 2009 inaugural ceremonies," said Senator Feinstein. "The inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama will be an event of historic proportion. It is appropriate that the program will include some of the world's most gifted artists from a wide range of backgrounds and genres."

The program participants were invited by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and chosen by the Chairman, the Presidential-elect and the Vice President-elect. In addition to Senator Feinstein, the members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies include: Senator Bob Bennett, Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; and House Republican Leader John Boehner.

The order of the program will be as follows:

Musical Selections
The United States Marine Band

Musical Selections
The San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus

Call to Order and Welcoming Remarks
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein

Invocation
Dr. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA

Musical Selection
Aretha Franklin

Oath of Office Administered to Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
By Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
The Honorable John Paul Stevens

Musical Selection, John Williams, composer/arranger
Itzhak Perlman, Violin
Yo-Yo Ma, Cello
Gabriela Montero, Piano
Anthony McGill, Clarinet

Oath of Office Administered to President-elect Barack H. Obama
By the Chief Justice of the United States
The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.

Inaugural Address
The President of the United States, The Honorable Barack H. Obama

Poem
Elizabeth Alexander

Benediction
The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery

The National Anthem
The United States Navy Band "Sea Chanters"

And more information on protocol, click here.

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Blagojevich will not fill Obama's Senate Seat

This is a no brainer. Duh.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich won’t appoint anyone to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, his lawyer said today.

Ed Genson, the prominent Chicago criminal attorney who is representing Blagojevich, was asked at a news conference in Springfield, Ill., if Blagojevich was planning to appoint anyone against the wishes of Democrats, including Obama.

“No,” Genson replied. “(U.S. Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid said that they’re not going to accept anybody he picks. Why would he do that?” Genson was in the Illinois capital for a hearing before a committee of lawmakers deciding whether they should recommend impeaching Blagojevich.

After these events have sullied the process, this is the very least Blagojevich can do.

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Mary Schapiro is plucked to head the SEC by Obama

After the Madoff 50 Billion ponzi scheme which have literally wiped out many worldwide, the eye on the SEC should be fierce.

I always looked at this position as "one of the boys" supposedly regulating "one of the boys", and after the Madoff fiasco, that is just what happened. The boys let one of their own, slide for too long.

The SEC needs credibility brought back to it. Desperately.

Mary Schapiro will be named tomorrow as Obama's pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Schapiro, who heads the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is well regarded and thought of as a tough regulator, but she could also be viewed as too much of an insider.

She has served under both Presidents Clinton and Bush, as chairman of the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission (appointed in 1994) and in January of this year, was appointed by Bush to the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.

She has also served on the SEC and headed the National Association Of Securities Dealers.

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Folks stop blaming Obama for Rick Warren. Know your history.

Everyone is having a damn hissy fit and ASSUMING that the President-Elect is in charge of the actual Inaugural Events.

In fact, the Inauguration is strict protocol, down to even SELECTING WHO GIVES THE INVOCATION. Sure, the President-Elect is asked for whom he wants, but in the end it is the Joint Congressional Committee who has the final say.

Let us start with the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

••

This is what the Joint Congressional Committee does:

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) plans and executes all Inaugural activities at the United States Capitol, including the Inaugural swearing-in ceremony of the President and Vice President of the United States and the traditional Inaugural luncheon that follows.

Let us break this down.

The committee comes to Obama and asks what he wants by giving him a list. The committee negotiates with potential participants for the President-Elect, in the end it is the committee that selects the participants of the program.

People remember, Barack Obama does not have a "home church" any longer. Does anyone on here remember someone by the name of Reverend Jeremiah Wright? If so, then you know that this slot was probably left open and the committee, which is bi-partisan and picked by the current Vice-President of the United States, selected Rick Warren.

Folks, protocol.

Let's reiterate again, that the whole program was selected by the Joint Congressional Committee, with input by the President-Elect, but in the end SELECTED by the Committee.

Just like after the Inaugural Address by President Barack H. Obama, he must then sit down for the Inaugural Luncheon which will be held as Statuary Hall.
On January 20, after the newly elected President has taken the oath of office and delivered his Inaugural address, he will be escorted to Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for the traditional Inaugural luncheon, hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC). While this tradition dates as far back as 1897, when the Senate Committee on Arrangements gave a luncheon for President McKinley and several other guests at the U.S. Capitol, it did not begin in its current form until 1953. That year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mrs. Eisenhower, and fifty other guests of the JCCIC dined on creamed chicken, baked ham, and potato puffs in the now-restored Old Senate Chamber.

I am indifferent to Rick Warren and could care less, but this is not an issue to get angry about. Warren was probably just a name on a list and we don't know if Obama even gave the committee a list of names for the invocation. He may have just let them select on their own, and this is very plausible.

For more information on Inauguration Day Events, please click here.

Finally, Inauguration Day is about protocol. The events are strictly adhered too, as it should be. C-Span is currently running a series on The White House and they will re-run a series on the protocol for Inauguration Day, check your local listings.

Hope this helps.

[UPDATE]: Obama did request Warren, but this is about the JCICC coordinating the Inaugural Events, not Barack Obama. And for the record, my indifference towards Rick Warren is that I don't like him and could care less about him. One thing we must remember is that Barack Obama is not going to make everyone happy, he did not do it through the primaries/election and he won't do it as POTUS.

[UPDATE]
Many have forgotten these words of Obama on election night:
"Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long"

He also said,

"And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too."

I guess we are already forgetting how it feels to have an Administration that was not all inclusive.

••

Cross-posted @ Daily Kos

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Republican Congressman Ray LaHood is tapped for Transportation Secretary

Ray LaHood is the second Republican in the Obama Cabinet. LaHood represented the Peoria, Illinois district.

President-elect Barack Obama intends to name GOP Rep. Roy LaHood of Illinois as his transportation secretary, a Democratic official said Wednesday, adding a second Republican to his Cabinet-in-the-making.
The official disclosed the selection of LaHood after the president-elect named former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado to head the Interior Department.

LaHood, 63, is stepping down from his congressional seat after 14 years in Congress from the area around Peoria.

He has been at the forefront of efforts to make the floor of the House less partisan. Respected for his ability to preside, he was in the chair during most of President Bill Clinton's impeachment a decade ago.

LaHood is known as a moderate republican and a staunch supporter of Amtrak.
The moderate Republican has broken with his party over Amtrak funding, voting yes last summer to expand passenger rail service. In 2005, he told the Peoria Journal-Star that "we've got a good Amtrak system in Illinois and I don't think we want to destroy it by talking about privatization." In 2006, he received a 66 percent rating from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, a major transportation construction lobby. He also voted in favor of the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008, a bill to promote increased public transportation use that garnered string bi-partisan support

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Colin Powell on Fareed Zakaria's GPS, CNN (Video)


Part One


Part Two


Part Three

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Obama Press Conference Announcing Vilsack and Salazar for Cabinet Posts (Video and Transcript)

Obama announces Tom Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary and Ken Salazar for Interior Secretary.




Obama Questions and Answers

Transcript

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David Axelrod on morning joe about Rahm Emanuel, Blago speaks, etc. (Video and Transcript)

Joe Scarborough of morning joe has nothing else to talk about, so he has beelined his punditry on Obama and there "must be something, there, there".

There are two things going on, first the political aspect. The 24/7 media keeps pounding a dead horse, especially Joe Scarborough and his continual repeat of Obama running Blago's campaign. Joe Scarborough needs to get up off his fat duff and come to Chicago.

First off, Obama supported Roland Burris for the Democratic Primary in 2002. He ended up supporting the Democratic Candidate, Rod Blagojevich, as many other Democrats did. Joe Scarborough and his continual rant about this is ridiculous.


Transcript

Barack Obama has never been close to Blagojevich, this has been documented repeatedly in the Chicago newspapers.

While the press continues to try to link Obama or anyone on his staff to illegal actions with Blagojevich, the legal aspect of this case is the second phase.

Obama's Team have completed the internal investigation of who has been talking to whom at the governor's office. Per request of US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the report will be release next week.

We don't know who has done what in regards to Blagojevich. Obviously, Blagojevich feels confident that he can beat these allegations because he has not been officially charged with anything. So far, all we have is a criminal complaint with Blagojevich talking, not acting, but talking. Then we have Jesse Jackson, Jr. who is now a known informant and have been talking to the US Attorney's Office for at least two years about corruption.

So, right now Illinois politics is a bastion of confusion with corruption all over it. If there was anything against Obama, himself, which US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said there was not, believe me it would have been out there.

Blagojevich is a albatross that the Illinois Legislation is trying to remove, but it will be hard and it will take time. For many reasons and it is speculated that he is in financial trouble, Blagojevich is hanging onto this job. There is a reason the governor has a high powered attorney in Springfield, Illinois, he will not be removed.



This is a story that will defused, some, once the Obama Team release their internal report, while Obama is in Hawaii for the Christmas Holiday next week.

Lastly, I know that Obama and his team never thought that Washington, D.C. looks so good right now. With all this crap swirling around? D.C. looks better everyday.

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Barack Obama, Person of the Year by Time Magazine



••

Time Magazine selected Barack Obama, "Person of the Year".


This should not be a surprise.

Barack Obama did what many said he could not. He is the first individual of "color" who has become the next President of the United States.

Through all of this he fought and beat the Clinton Machine. He put the use and value of the internet to the test. He was able to communicate to millions through YouTube. He raised record amounts of money through his website. He was able to move the very ordinary individual to volunteer and participate in his campaign.

Most of all he is change, the much needed change this country not only needs but is craving for.

He has proven that he is a very able, shrewd and smart politician. He was able to keep the punditry at bay and prove them wrong about him and his platform, repeatedly.

And lastly, we just love his wife, Michelle and the real Obama Girls, Malia and Sasha.

Congratulations, President-Elect Obama.

You probably sat in a fancier conference room the last time you refinanced or heard a pitch about life insurance. There's a table, some off-brand mesh office chairs, a bookcase that looks as if it had been put together with an Allen wrench and instructions in Swedish.

To reach this room, you pass through a cubicle farm lightly populated by quiet young people. Either they have just arrived or they are just leaving, because their desks are almost bare. The place has a vaguely familiar feel to it, this air of transient shabbiness and nondescriptitude. You can't quite put your finger on it ...

"It's like the set of The Office," someone offers.

Bingo.

It is here that we find Barack Obama one soul-freezingly cold December day, mentally unpacking the crate of crushing problems — some old, some new, all ugly — that he is about to inherit as the 44th President of the United States. Most of his hours inside the presidential-transition office are spent in this bland and bare-bones room. You would think the President-elect — a guy who draws 100,000 people to a speech in St. Louis, Mo., who raises three-quarters of a billion dollars, who is facing the toughest first year since Franklin Roosevelt's — might merit a leather chair. Maybe a credenza? A hutch?

But he doesn't seem to notice. Obama is cheerfully showing his visitors around, gripping the souvenir basketball he received from Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens, explaining a snapshot taken the day he played pickup with the University of North Carolina hoops team. ("They are so big and so fast and so strong, you know.") Then, since those two items basically exhaust the room's d├ęcor, Obama sits down on one of the mesh chairs and launches into a spoken tour of his world of woes. It's a mind-boggling journey, although he shows no signs of being boggled — unless you count the increasingly prevalent salt in his salt-and-pepper hair. By now we are all accustomed to that Obi-Wan Kenobi calm, though we may never entirely understand it. In a soothing monotone, he highlights the scariest hairpin turns on his itinerary, the ones that combine difficulty with danger plus a jolt of existential risk. (See pictures of the Civil Rights movement from Emmett Till to Barack Obama.)

"It is not clear that the economy's bottomed out," he begins, understatedly. (The morning newspaper trumpets the worst unemployment spike in more than 30 years.) "And so even if we take a whole host of the right steps in terms of the economy, two years from now it may not have fully recovered." That worries him. Also Afghanistan: "We're going to have to make a series of not just military but also diplomatic moves that fully enlist Pakistan as an ally in that region, that lessen tensions between India and Pakistan, and then get everybody focused on rooting out militancy in a terrain, a territory, that is very tough — and in an enormous country that is one of the poorest and least developed in the world. So that, I think, is going to be a very tough situation. Time Magazine, Continue


Announcement on the Today Show

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chris Matthews from Hardball, destroys right winger Frank Gaffney on Iraq (Video)



Cheney is a piece of work, what he and Bush have done will go down in history as one of the worst presidential decisions EVER MADE.

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No to Obama on Trade Job

Ummm, someone said NO.

The race for Democratic caucus vice chair is over -- before it began. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) has declined to take the position of U.S. Trade Representative, his spokeswoman, Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli, confirms to The Crypt.

Becerra broke the news to the Spanish-language outlet La Opinion, saying that he was concerned that trade would not be a top priority for the Obama administration.

One would hope with all the jobs that have been lost in this country, that trade issues which are tilted heavily to outsourcing jobs in this country, should be a very important issue for the Obama Administration going forward.

One has to just look at the monthly unemployment numbers and how we lost the manufacturing hold in this country.
Rep. Xavier Becerra tells the editorial board of La Opinion that he has turned down the job of U.S. trade representative, having concluded -- trade watchers take note -- that trade won't be the first, second, or third priority of the Obama administration.

Wow. Just wow.

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Jesse Jackson Jr., Admits that he has been an INFORMANT for the Feds

In street terms, homeboy was a snitch.


Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. — who was cited in a criminal complaint against Rod Blagojevich — has been an informant for at least a decade with the U.S. Attorney's office, and has informed on the embattled governor of Illinois, though not in the case currently under investigation, Jackson spokesman Kenneth Edmonds told CNN Tuesday.

In addition, two sources close to Jackson told CNN that, in 2002, Blagojevich — then running for governor of Illinois — solicited a $25,000 campaign donation from Jackson, which he did not get.

At the time, Jackson's wife, Sandi, was a candidate for the job of director of the state's Lottery Commission, a post she did not win, the sources said.

After Blagojevich took office, in early 2003, he told Jackson something to the effect of, "You see what $25,000 would have done?" the sources said.

No wonder JJJ wants his name back.



All of this should exonerate JJJ, but stay tuned.

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Rahm Emanuel supposedly on tape about Obama Seat 21 times

From Micheal Sneed, Chicago Sun-Times

Sneed hears rumbles President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the feds -- dealing with his boss' vacant Senate seat!

A lot of chit-chat?

This is a story that will never end until Blago leaves office. Sigh.

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Obama Evening Wrap Up. Cabinet Rollout Continues.


Obama, Biden and Ed. Sec. Designate Duncan at Dodge Renaissance Academy after presser.

••

Arne Duncan named Education Secretary.

President-elect Obama announced Tuesday his pick for secretary of education, calling Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan a hands-on reformer with a proven record of success.

"For years, we've talked our education problems to death, but failed to act," Obama said, speaking at a news conference held in a school that he said has made remarkable progress under Duncan's leadership.

"We can't continue like this. It's morally unacceptable for our children," Obama said.

For the past seven years, Duncan, 44, has run the nation's third-largest school district. Duncan, a Harvard graduate, played professional basketball in Australia and later ran a nonprofit education organization on Chicago's South Side before going to work in the city's public schools.

I am not a fan of Duncan for many reasons. Of all the picks, this one is a bad one in my opinion.

Read, JJP and bokeen.

Kids question Obama.



Transcript

••

The Obamas and Bidens Whistle Stop Tour to the White House
President-elect Barack Obama, Vice President-elect Joe Biden and their families will hold a pre-inaugural event in Baltimore on Saturday, Jan. 17, as they travel to Washington by train for the swearing-in ceremony the next week, it was announced today.

The presidential inaugural committee said that the Baltimore appearance would be "in the tradition of past presidents-elect," who have staged a variety of events on their way to Washington to begin their administration.

According to the committee, the Jan. 17 events are in keeping with the theme of the inauguration --"Renewing America's Promise" -- and will feature cities with historic connections to that theme: Philadelphia, where the country's promise was realized in the signing of the Declaration of Independence; Baltimore, "where that promise was defended, then immortalized in our national anthem"; and Washington, the nation's capital, where four days of inaugural celebrations are to be held next month.

Obama and his family plan to begin the day with an event in Philadelphia. They will then board a special train that will stop in Biden's hometown of Wilmington, Del., where another event will be held.

The vice president and his family will then board the train for the remainder of the trip. Biden was famous for commuting via Amtrak to Wilmington during his years in the Senate.

The inaugural train is due to arrive in Washington that evening after the Baltimore event. Details of the day's events will be announced later, the committee said. continue

••

Secret Service on Inauguration

Since we witnessed an Iraqi journalist throw both shoes at Bush and the slow security response, don't think or wonder if the Secret Service will not be on their game for The Obamas and Bidens during the whirlwind Inauguration. They will be.
The United States Secret Service, under the leadership of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and in cooperation with its local, state and federal security and public safety partners, has developed an overall security plan for the 56th Presidential Inaugural on Tuesday, January 20.

DHS has designated the Inaugural as a National Special Security Event (NSSE). When an event is designated an NSSE, the Secret Service assumes its role as the lead federal agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan. The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Park Police as well as a number of other federal and local agencies will play an active role in securing this event and resources will be deployed to maintain the level of security needed for the designated events.

A number of security measures will be in place for the 56th Presidential Inaugural. As details become available, this information will be updated. continue

••

Caroline Kennedy wants Clinton's Senate Seat

There is some angst in New York State over Kennedy being appointed or anointed to the Clinton seat.

Kennedy has been working the phones, letting the NY political establishment know that she is serious and wants the seat. This includes contacting Hillary Clinton.

Kennedy is not a carpetbagger as Clinton was in 2000, she is a bonafide New Yorker and have worked on various charities, raising monies for the public school system in NYC, runs the Kennedy Library along with the Kennedy Center Honors and selecting the Profile in Courage Award recipient. Plus, Kennedy is a lawyer and writer of several constitutional law books.

Picking Kennedy will secure several things for Democrats. She has the name recognition of a powerhouse and beloved family and she can raise the much needed money to run for this seat in New York. Remember, after the appointment there will be a special election in 2010, then another election in 2012 for the expiration of this seat. That's two elections withing a 4 year period. This is why Kennedy will have the ups on anyone else.

Finally, there has been a Kennedy in the senate since 1953, with her father being the first. Many will think this is an imperial or dynasty pick, but I see it as a legacy pick. If Caroline Kennedy wants this, she will have it.



••

and................

The Obama Girls and Blacks at Sidwell - An Inside Perspective, Part II

Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary

That Minnesota Senate race will never end, Norm Coleman lawyers up

Dear Republicans: You Lost. Get Over It.

And watch the C-Span week long series on The White House. Truly fascinating.

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Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa, Named Agriculture Secretary

No surprise here.

Sources say Obama has selected Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack for agriculture secretary.

Formal announcement, tomorrow at a presser.

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Obama Press Conference Naming Arne Duncan for Education Secretary (Video and Transcript)



Transcript

Press conference was held at Chicago school, Dodge Renaissance Academy, in Chicago, IL.

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Bernie Madoff, An Example Why Regulation is Important

When one give their money to a financial institution, investment broker or banker, etc., it is utterly important that strict regulations are adhered to. If this was done, we would not continue to read about Madoff's 50 Billion Dollar ponzi scheme nor read about how he has wiped out many individuals, schools, organizations and companies money, thus forcing many to shut down.

The SEC was tipped off about Madoff, but did nothing or put it another way, "SEC was slow moving". Now as we are looking at Madoff's worldwide scheme, the SEC need to accept some of this blame for not shutting this man down sooner, versus later.

Madoff may have avoided scrutiny, regulatory experts said, in part because he simultaneously operated a legitimate, regulated and high-profile business as one of the largest middlemen between the buyers and sellers of stock. In that role, he helped to create NASDAQ, the first electronic stock exchange, and advised the SEC on electronic trading issues. He was a large campaign contributor and a familiar of senior regulators.

"Bernie had a good reputation at the SEC with a lot of highly placed people as an innovator as somebody who speaks his mind and knows what's going on in the industry. I think he was seen as a valuable resource to the commission in its deliberations on things like market data," said Donald C. Langevoort, a Georgetown University law professor who specializes in securities regulation and served with Madoff on an SEC advisory committee.

In other words, since he is "one of us", we will just bypass investigating his financial house, umm ponzi scheme.

For anyone to think or believe that Madoff is just an outlier, think again. Hedge funds have very little regulation and it was Madoff who was operating under the Hedge Funds guidelines. So, the question is this, "are Hedge Funds on the up and up or are they one phone call away from being outted as a "ponzi scheme"."
At the same time, Madoff's separate investment business operated on the outskirts of regulation, during a period when the government has intentionally allowed private, unregulated transactions. Private investment pools, such as hedge funds, are subject to limited oversight, and Madoff constructed his investment business to avoid most of it. The SEC said Madoff did not register with it as an investment adviser until September 2006.

Finally, experts say the Madoff case may simply point to the inherent limits of regulation.

This is all scary. It should be.

We are talking about one man who has defrauded 50 Billion Dollars which is touching everyone worldwide. This is outrageous.

And now this.
Regulators now suspect that he may have run a second investment advisory business that was never registered with regulators, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The SEC does not have the resources to examine investment advisers on a regular schedule. Instead, the agency prioritizes examinations of companies based on their risk profile, which is basically a process of judging books by their covers. People familiar with the process said the SEC tends to focus on high-risk investment strategies, such as trading in derivatives.

In other words, showing the SEC Regulators one set of books, but operated under another investment organization, the one that milked 50 Billion Dollars from many people.

It is things like this that happen which makes many wonder, "Why in the hell should we have given Wall Street 700 Billion Dollars when many are just crooks?" Harsh words, indeed but this is the reality we are looking at.

Lastly, Madoff may have run the biggest ponzi scheme, but he is not the only one. The phrase "When it Rains it Pours" is very applicable here. Now we are just waiting and wondering if the rains will every stop.

Not any time soon.


Read the article, here.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Obama picks Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) for Interior Secretary

Damn, Obama is plucking the Democratic Senate, DRY!!!

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), a Latino with deep knowledge of water and land issues, is President-elect Barack Obama's choice to lead the Interior Department.

Two senior Democrats said Obama will name Salazar to the post, rounding out the energy and environmental policy team announced Monday in a Chicago news conference.


Salazar's family helped settle what is now New Mexico in the 1500s. He was raised on a ranch in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado and became an attorney with expertise in water law. He led Colorado's Department of Natural Resources and was state attorney general before winning a vacant Senate seat in 2004 and entering Congress in the same freshman class as Obama.

The Colorado senator campaigned vigorously for Obama in the swing state this fall, with Salazar barnstorming rural areas in a recreational vehicle, preaching alternative energy development and its potential to revitalize rural economies

LA Times

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Chicago School Chief, Arne Duncan to be Education Secretary

President elect Barack Obama will tap Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan on Tuesday to be his Education Secretary, a transition official told the Chicago Sun-Times. The appointment will come during a press conference at a Chicago school, the Dodge Renaissance Academy, 2651 W. Washington.

Chicago Sun-Times

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Official: Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America

Presidential electors have formally elected Barack Obama the nation's 44th president.

Electors gathering in state capitols across the country have pushed Obama above the 270 electoral votes needed to win, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Obama takes office Jan. 20, becoming the nation's first black president.

Monday's voting was a largely ceremonial procedure, but one mandated by the Constitution. Obama defeated Republican Sen. John McCain in the Nov. 4 election.


Per Electoral College

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Obama announces his "Green Team" for Energy and Environment (Video)


Obama Announcing Energy and Environmental Team


Team Introduces Themselves


Questions and Answers

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60 Minutes, CBS on Financial Crisis, Mortgage Crisis (Video)

Lesley Stahl speaks with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.); Scott Pelley investigates the deepening mortgage crisis; Byron Pitts profiles USC football coach Pete Carroll; And Andy Rooney checks his mail.




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Caroline Kennedy Wants Hillary's Senate Seat

It is official.

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of an American political dynasty, has decided to pursue the United States Senate seat being vacated by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, a person told of her decision said on Monday.

The decision came after a series of deeply personal and political conversations, in which Ms. Kennedy, whom friends describe as unflashy but determined, wrestled with whether to give up what has been a lifetime of avoiding the spotlight.

Ms. Kennedy will ask Gov. David A. Paterson of New York to consider her for the appointment, according to the person told of her decision. The governor was traveling to Utica today and could not immediately be reached for comment.

If appointed, Ms. Kennedy would fill the seat once held by her uncle, Robert F. Kennedy.

Ms. Kennedy has been making calls this morning to alert political figures to her interest.

Ms. Kennedy’s decision is likely to have a major impact on the governor’s considerations as he mulls who should succeed Mrs. Clinton. Already, some other Democrats have pointedly questioned her credentials for the job. United States Representative Gary Ackerman, a Queens Democrat, said last week that he did not know what Ms. Kennedy’s qualifications were, “except that she has name recognition — but so does J. Lo.” continue

Kennedy is now working the phones. Al Sharpton invited her down to Sylvia's in Harlem, reminding her that Obama and everyone else have been down there too.

And that remark by Gary Ackerman reminds me of when Clinton jumped into the NY Senate Race in 2000. Many said the same thing, "she is just a wife of the "then" President." See where she has gone since then.

Case closed.

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No Contact with Obama and Blagojevich about Senate Seat

But, no inappropriate conversations between Obama's Staff and Blagojevich's Staff.

All information will be released the week of December 22nd, due to US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's request.

At the direction of the President-elect, a review of Transition staff contacts with Governor Blagojevich and his office has been conducted and completed and is ready for release. That review affirmed the public statements of the President-elect that he had no contact with the governor or his staff, and that the President-elect's staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff over the selection of his successor as US Senator.

Also at the President-elect's direction, Gregory Graig, counsel to the Transition, has kept the US Attorney's office informed of this fact-gathering process in order to ensure our full cooperation with the investigation.

In the course of those discussions, the US Attorney's office requested the public release of the Transition review be deferred until the week of December 22, in order not to impede their investigation of the governor. The Transition has agreed to this revised timetable for release.

This should shut up the many "what does he know, and when did he know it crowd", unless they suggest that Obama not listen to US Attorney's office.

I think not.

Source

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

CBS, Face the Nation, December 14, 2008 (Video)

Bob Schieffer speaks with Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan about Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Micheal Eric Dyson's analysis; Senators debate the auto bailout; Blagojevich's effect on Barack Obama and the President-elect's priority.



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Meet the Press, December 14, 2008 (Video/Transcript)



Transcript

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Iraqi journalist throws shoes at Bush while in Baghdad, Iraq (Video)

Talk about don't let the doorknob hit 'cha!! The shoe throwing is a sign of contempt.



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