June 8, 2009: President Obama at 65th D-Day Anniversary, Health Care & Stimulus Plans


The President listens to the Vice President
(President Barack Obama listens as Vice President Joe Biden (left) presents the report on the Roadmap to
Recovery as he meets with his Cabinet in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, June 8, 2009.
Looking on at right are Attorney General Eric Holder and Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Shaun Donovan.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)


In Focus: Stats

  • RCP Poll, June 7, 2009: President Obama Job Approval: RCP Average: +25.2% Details Approve 59.7% Disapprove 34.5%
    Congressional Job Approval: RCP Average: -18.3% Details Approve 35.7% Disapprove 54.0%
    Direction of Country RCP Average: -3.7% Details Right Direction 45.0% Wrong Track 48.7%
  • Poll Finds Lukewarm Support for Bloomberg: Despite generally broad approval for the job Michael R. Bloomberg has done as mayor, a majority of New Yorkers say that he does not deserve another term in office and that they would like to give someone else a chance, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Cornell University and NY1 News…. – NYT, 6-8-09
  • Pelosi’s Poll Numbers Sink Below Cheney’s as GOP Hounds Her on CIA Remarks: Republicans are trying to keep the spotlight on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing the CIA of lying to Congress, saying her poll numbers show she’s out of step with voters and suggesting she step out of intelligence briefings since she doesn’t trust the source….
    A new Gallup poll out Friday of 1,015 national adults conducted May 29-31, 37 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Cheney and 34 percent have a favorable view of Pelosi. The margin of error is 3 percent. Pelosi’s current image rates 50 percent unfavorable, an increase from six months ago, while Cheney’s unfavorability has dropped from 63 percent six months ago to 54 percent now…. – Fox News, 6-5-09
  • Barack Obama’s Second Term Polls For the 2012 Election: Currently, Obama polls in the mid-60s approval rating. And when paired up with any of the prospective 2012 presidential hopefuls, Obama leads by about 15%. – Fox Austin, 6-5-09


The Headlines…

  • Obama repackages stimulus plans with old promises: President Barack Obama assured the nation his recovery plan was on track Monday, scrambling to calm Americans unnerved by unemployment rates still persistently rising nearly four months after he signed the biggest economic stimulus in history. Obama admitted his own dissatisfaction with the progress but said his administration would ramp up stimulus spending in the coming months. The White House acknowledged it has spent only $44 billion, or 5 percent, of the $787 billion stimulus, but that total has always been expected to rise sharply this summer. “Now we’re in a position to really accelerate,” Obama said. He also repeated an earlier promise to create or save 600,000 jobs by the end of the summer. Neither the acceleration nor the jobs goal are new. Both represent a White House repackaging of promises and projects to blunt criticism that the effects haven’t been worth the historic price tag. And the job estimate is so murky, it can never be verified…. – AP, 6-8-09
  • U.S. Envoy Begins New Middle East Peace Push: U.S. President Barack Obama’s special Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, began a new push to facilitate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on Tuesday by opening a series of talks with leaders in the region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is at odds with Obama over the president’s demand to halt Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and has not endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, a cornerstone of U.S. Middle East policy…. – Reuters, 6-9-09
  • Sources: House Democrats consider taxing benefits: Despite a less-than-rousing reaction from the Obama administration, House Democrats are considering a new tax on employer-provided health benefits to help pay for expanding coverage to the uninsured…. – AP, 6-8-09
  • Gingrich urges GOP inclusion at fundraiser & Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appears at GOP fundraiser: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Monday urged some 2,000 Republican party loyalists to stand up for GOP principles but to be inclusive as the party tries to retake the majority.
    “I am happy that Dick Cheney is a Republican,” Gingrich said at the annual Senate-House fundraising dinner. “I am also happy that Colin Powell is a Republican.” “A majority Republican party will have lots of debates within the party,” Gingrich, the former Georgia congressman, said. “That is the nature of majority parties.”… – AP, 6-8-09
  • Palin opts to appear at GOP fundraiser: Ben Evans, AP Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appeared at a major Republican congressional fundraiser Monday night, ending a will-she-or-won’t-she mystery that overshadowed the event and frustrated the GOP…. – AP, 6-8-09
  • Obama Push for Public Health Care Plan Stirs Controversy: President Obama insists that any new health care plan will be paid for and will not add to the deficit. But Republicans are suspicious, in part because Obama has been working only with Democrats, even meeting with them exclusively just before he left on his overseas trip. “If we go to a government plan, the government will be setting prices. They’ll be telling people what they can do. They’ll be injecting themselves between your doctor and yourself,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, calling a public plan “tremendously costly.”… – Fox News, 6-8-09
  • Gingrich sees no harm in Palin’s use of his words: Newt Gingrich takes no issue with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for using his words in a speech she gave last week. In fact, he’d be happy if more Republicans espoused his ideas, a spokesman for the former House speaker said Monday. Blogger Geoffrey Dunn, who is writing a book about Palin, accused the former Republican vice presidential candidate of lifting phrases and ideas at length from an article co-written by Gingrich in 2005. Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler said the accusation was comical. “If she used Newt’s ideas in a speech and gave him credit for them, there certainly is zero issue,” Tyler said…. – AP, 6-8-09
  • GOP, 2 Dems flip power balance in NY senate: Republicans and two dissident Democrats took control of New York’s Senate on Monday after the two New York City renegades voted with the GOP to throw the fledgling Democratic majority out of power. The decision by senators Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens to join the coalition gave Republicans a 32-30 voting edge on hastily introduced measures that changed the leadership structure. Neither Espada nor Monserrate changed party affiliation. Democrats held the Senate for barely five months after being out of power for four decades…. – AP, 6-8-09
  • Tight Race in Virginia as 3 Democrats Vie for Governor: When Virginia voters go to the polls Tuesday in the Democratic primary for governor, they will choose among three candidates who have distinguished themselves more by personality than politics during the fight to continue their party’s recent winning streak in this historically conservative state.
    The candidates are Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee; State Senator R. Creigh Deeds; and Brian J. Moran, a former member of the House of Delegates. The winner will oppose the Republican candidate, Robert F. McDonnell, in November. Mr. McDonnell, a former state legislator, was Virginia’s attorney general until he resigned in February to seek the governorship…. – NYT, 6-8-09
  • Clinton says NKorea reconsidered for terror list: The U.S. is considering adding North Korea back to a list of state sponsors of terrorism, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an interview broadcast Sunday after President Barack Obama pledged “a very hard look” at tougher measures because of the North’s nuclear stance. The communist country has conducted recent nuclear and missile tests, and there are concerns about the North’s shipping nuclear material to other nations…. – AP, 6-7-09
  • Bipartisan Health Bill Is Possible, Leaders Say: Plenty of people here think Senators Max Baucus and Charles E. Grassley are wasting time seeking a bipartisan health care bill to insure every American. And skeptics boast a 70-year winning streak. The two men’s roles as the Senate Finance Committee chairman (Mr. Baucus, Democrat of Montana) and the ranking Republican (Mr. Grassley, of Iowa) lack the clout of a generation ago. Each stands to attract more abuse than acclaim from his party’s rank and file…. – NYT, 6-7-09
  • Ailing Senator Ted Kennedy Key to Health Bill: Sen. Edward Kennedy, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee and a senator for more than 45 years, has championed health-care issues his whole career. But he has been fighting brain cancer and working on the legislation long distance from his Massachusetts home….
    Meanwhile, Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, is crafting a bill of his own that could set legislation on a different path. If the liberal Mr. Kennedy takes a lesser role, that could make it easier for the more-conservative Mr. Baucus to push the health-care legislation in a centrist direction. Mr. Kennedy, for example, is a major proponent of including a publicly run health-insurance option as part of a plan to give all Americans coverage, while Mr. Baucus is weighing other proposals that wouldn’t include such an option right away…. – Fox News, 6-7-09
  • The Obamas play tourists (with the odd detour for lunch at the Elysée Palace): A typical American family of four completed a typical tourist weekend in Paris yesterday. There were visits to the Eiffel Tower, to Notre Dame cathedral, to the Pompidou Centre and, er, Sunday lunch with President Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni. Actually, the father of the American tourist family, Barack Obama, missed the lunch at the Elysée Palace. He had to fly home to Washington on business.
    To those who tried to read a snub into his early departure, President Obama said: “I would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in Paris, stroll down the Seine, take my wife out to a nice meal, have a picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens. Those days are over, for the moment.” … – Independent UK, 6-7-09
  • Obama’s marriage was on brink of collapse, says book: Barack and Michelle Obama’s fairytale love story of an adoring couple propelled on to the international stage has caught the imagination of millions…. – Telegraph UK, 6-6-09
  • Official: Michelle Obama’s Top Aide Resigned to Escape Bureaucracy: Jackie Norris, who worked on the president’s campaign in Iowa, didn’t enjoy the management and scheduling duties and the large social aspect of the job, a senior official told Politico….
    Obama’s longtime friend and adviser from Chicago, Susan Sher, is replacing Norris as Obama’s top aide. Sher joined the administration as an associate counsel to the president. Sher and Michelle Obama worked together at the University of Chicago Medical Center. – Fox News, 6-6-09
  • Obama team plans more active role on health care: The White House, backing away from President Barack Obama’s “it’s-all-on-the-table” approach initially advocated, prepared to get louder and more involved in the details of a health care overhaul that officials once were content to leave to Congress, administration officials said Saturday. The White House’s attention increases as Congress turns to a priority that officials watched in recent weeks drift off what has otherwise been a precise pathway. Even with an Obama-imposed August deadline, many administration aides weren’t sure just how much they would be able to accomplish before Congress left for the summer, and Obama has turned to his grassroots supporters to pressure Congress to find a solution…. – AP, 6-6-09
  • Experts Say Candor in Diplomacy, as Obama Vows, Isn’t Always the Best Tactic: President Obama laid down a marker in Cairo last week for candor in American diplomacy. The United States, he declared, will “say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs” — a line that drew applause from his Arab audience. But candor and diplomacy are not synonymous, and if Mr. Obama were to apply the same approach to thorny problems like Iran and North Korea, it might not produce the intended desirable results, according to foreign affairs experts. Some say he risks forsaking the advantages of “constructive ambiguity,” the diplomatic practice of fudging differences, credited to Henry A. Kissinger…. – NYT, 6-6-09
  • Man sought for threatening president arrested: Authorities have arrested a man who allegedly told bank tellers while cleaning out his savings account in Utah that he was on a mission to kill President Barack Obama. The Secret Service said Daniel James Murray, 36, was arrested Friday outside a casino in Laughlin, Nev., a gambling town 100 miles from Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona line…. – AP, 6-6-09
  • Sweeping Health Plan Is Drafted by Kennedy: All Americans would have access to “essential health care benefits,” with no annual or lifetime limits, employers would have to contribute to the cost of coverage and the government would create a new public insurance program under sweeping legislation drafted by Senator Edward M. Kennedy and circulated Friday…. – 6-5-09
  • Obamas’ trip to Paris raises some eyebrows: So much for the Obama common touch. After whisking his wife to Manhattan for dinner and a Broadway show last weekend, President Obama is treating his family to a Paris vacation – paid for, in part, by taxpayers. The White House confirmed yesterday that first lady Michelle Obama, their two daughters, and his mother-in-law will fly today to the City of Lights to join the president, who has scheduled meetings with French officials and will appear at a ceremony tomorrow in Normandy marking the 65th anniversary of D-Day…. – Boston Globe, 6-5-09
  • Obama: Buchenwald ‘rebuke’ to Holocaust denial: President Barack Obama absorbed the stark horrors memorialized at the Buchenwald concentration camp Friday and said the lesson for the modern world is vigilance against evil, against subjugation of the weak and against the “cruelty in ourselves.” Obama honored the 56,000 who died at the Nazi camp and the thousands who survived. He invoked, too, his great-uncle, who helped liberate a Buchenwald satellite prison in 1945 and came back a haunted man…. –  AP, 6-5-09
  • Obama Pins Mideast Hope on Limiting Settlements: Iran seems to be hurtling toward nuclear weapons capacity, Hezbollah could win Sunday’s election in Lebanon and Hamas is smuggling long-range rockets into Gaza again. So why is President Obama focusing such attention on the building of homes by Israeli Jews in the West Bank? That, in essence, is the question being angrily posed by the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and underscores one of the biggest shifts in American policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in three decades. While every administration has objected to Israeli settlement building in occupied lands, the Obama administration has selected it as the opening issue that could begin to untie the Gordian knot of the conflict…. – NYT, 6-5-09
  • Among Israel’s U.S. Backers, Anxiety and Some Support Greet Obama’s Words – NYT, 6-5-09
  • Employment Report Fuels GOP Attack on Obama Policies: Republicans launched a political offensive against President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy after weeks of reticence, emboldened by Friday’s report of a surging unemployment rate. Political strategists have been pushing GOP lawmakers to attack Mr. Obama’s $787 billion stimulus plan and to challenge how the Democratic Congress has handled everything from taxes to unions to energy policy. At the same time, Republicans have worried such attacks would backfire in the event of a recovery. With Friday’s report that the unemployment rate had jumped to 9.4%, the highest monthly reading since September 1983, Republicans put aside those qualms….
    Rep. Dave Camp (R., Mich.), the senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, declared the stimulus plan a failure. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) proclaimed, “Washington is hanging middle-class Americans out to dry.”
    “This is President Obama’s economy now,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R., Va.). – WSJ, 6-5-09
  • Obama’s Voodoo Health Economics Cutting our medical care is bad science: On Monday President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers released a report called “The Economic Case for Health Care Reform.” The report argues that Americans must curb their consumption of medical care in order to avoid soaring federal deficits, unsustainable burdens on family budgets, and damage to the economy. All of these claims are untrue…. – WSJ, 6-5-09
  • Sotomayor Faulted Over Missing Memo: Critics of Judge Sonia Sotomayor seized Friday on her failure to include a 1981 memo opposing the death penalty in her response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire. But after 11 days of intense scrutiny, Judge Sotomayor’s chances of confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court appeared on track, thanks to the Democrats’ strong majority in the Senate and the lack so far of any revelation that would alienate a significant number of the lawmakers…. – WSJ, 6-5-09


President Obama speaks at Normandy
(President Barack Obama speaks during the ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville sur Mer in Western France, Saturday, June 6, 2009. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Political Quotes

    VICE PRESIDENT Biden: A couple weeks ago, I asked the Cabinet members to give me a list of new projects that they were absolutely certain of they could get up and running in the second hundred days that would build momentum and accelerate the job growth in the next hundred days. And they each came back with new projects. The 10 most significant of those projects, Mr. President, we’ve put in this book that we’re going to give you — it’s called “Roadmap to Recovery”….
    PRESIDENT Obama: Now I know that there are some who, despite all evidence to the contrary, still don’t believe in the necessity and promise of this Recovery Act, and I would suggest to them that they talk to the companies who, because of this plan, scrapped the idea of laying off employees and in fact decided to hire employees. Tell that to the Americans who receive that unexpected call saying, come back to work. Tell it to the Americans poised to benefit from critical investments that this plan makes in our long-term growth and prosperity.
    In the end, that’s the only measure of progress, is whether or not the American people are seeing some progress in their own lives. And so although we’ve seen some stabilizing in the financial markets and credit spreads have gone down, we’re seeing a reduction in the fear that gripped the market just a few months ago, stock market is up a little bit — all that stuff is not our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is making sure that the average family out there — mom working, dad working — that they are able to pay their bills, feel some job security, make their mortgage payments; the small business owner there is starting to see customers coming back in, they can make payroll, they can even think about hiring a little bit more and expanding. That’s the measure, how ordinary families are helping to rebuild America once more…. – White House, 6-8-09
  • WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Outlines Goals for Health Care Reform: In his weekly address, President Barack Obama described his goals for fixing our broken health care system. With skyrocketing costs threatening fiscal collapse, real reform that provides quality, affordable health care for every American is a necessity that cannot wait. To do this, reform must be built on lowering costs, improving quality, and protecting consumer choice so people who are happy with their coverage can keep it…. – White House, 6-6-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT D-DAY 65TH ANNIVERSARY CEREMONY Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial Normandy, France: Lyndon Johnson once said that there are certain moments when “…history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom.”
    D-Day was such a moment. One newspaper noted that “we have come to the hour for which we were born.” Had the Allies failed here, Hitler’s occupation of this continent might have continued indefinitely. Instead, victory here secured a foothold in France. It opened a path to Berlin. It made possible the achievements that followed the liberation of Europe: the Marshall Plan, the NATO alliance, the shared prosperity and security that flowed from each.
    It was unknowable then, but so much of the progress that would define the 20th century, on both sides of the Atlantic, came down to the battle for a slice of beach only six miles long and two miles wide.
    More particularly, it came down to the men who landed here — those who now rest in this place for eternity, and those who are with us here today. Perhaps more than any other reason, you, the veterans of that landing, are why we still remember what happened on D-Day. You’re why we keep coming back.
    For you remind us that in the end, human destiny is not determined by forces beyond our control. You remind us that our future is not shaped by mere chance or circumstance. Our history has always been the sum total of the choices made and the actions taken by each individual man and woman. It has always been up to us.
    You could have done what Hitler believed you would do when you arrived here. In the face of a merciless assault from these cliffs, you could have idled the boats offshore. Amid a barrage of tracer bullets that lit the night sky, you could have stayed in those planes. You could have hid in the hedgerows or waited behind the seawall. You could have done only what was necessary to ensure your own survival.
    But that’s not what you did. That’s not the story you told on D-Day. Your story was written by men like Zane Schlemmer of the 82nd Airborne, who parachuted into a dark marsh, far from his objective and his men. Lost and alone, he still managed to fight his way through the gunfire and help liberate the town in which he landed — a town where a street now bears his name.
    It’s a story written by men like Anthony Ruggiero, an Army Ranger who saw half the men on his landing craft drown when it was hit by shellfire just a thousand yards off this beach. He spent three hours in freezing water, and was one of only 90 Rangers to survive out of the 225 who were sent to scale the cliffs.
    And it’s a story written by so many who are no longer with us, like Carlton Barrett. Private Barrett was only supposed to serve as a guide for the 1st Infantry Division, but he instead became one of its heroes. After wading ashore in neck-deep water, he returned to the water again and again and again to save his wounded and drowning comrades. And under the heaviest possible enemy fire, he carried them to safety. He carried them in his own arms…. – White House, 6-6-09
  • Laura Bush glad Obama picked woman for high court: “I think she sounds like a very interesting and good nominee,” Bush said of Sonia Sotomayor, the federal appeals judge Obama picked. Mrs. Bush said in an interview broadcast Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “as a woman, I’m proud that there might be another woman on the court. I wish her well.” She was interviewed in Dallas, where the Bushes moved after their White House tenure. On another subject, Mrs. Bush said her husband will have no comment on any Obama decisions. He feels that as a former president, “he owes President Obama his silence on issues and there’s no reason to second-guess any decisions he makes,” Mrs. Bush said. – AP, 6-8-09
  • Clinton Urges ‘Clemency’ for US Journalists in North Korea: At a press conference with Indonesian Foreign Minister Noer Hassan Wirajuda, Secretary Clinton said the United States is focused on obtaining clemency for the two journalists – a matter she said that should be seen as separate from the nuclear issue.
    “We are pursuing every possible approach that we can consider in order to persuade the North Koreans to release them and send these young women home,” said Hillary Clinton. “We view these as entirely separate matters. We think the imprisonment trial and sentencing of Laura and Euna should be viewed as a humanitarian matter. We hope that the North Koreans will grant clemency and deport them. There are other concerns that we and the international community have with North Korea, but those are separate and apart from what’s happening to the two women.”… – VOA, 6-8-09
  • Senator says Obama ‘got nerve’ to push lawmakers: Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says that President Barack Obama “got nerve” to go sightseeing in Paris while telling lawmakers it’s time to deliver on a health care overhaul. Grassley, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, is key to any bipartisan health care deal. Using Twitter the Iowa Republican issued two angry “tweets” Sunday morning as the president wrapped up an overseas tour.
    Grassley’s first tweet: “Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us ‘time to deliver’ on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.”
    A short time later: “Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said ‘time to delivr on healthcare’ When you are a ‘hammer’ u think evrything is NAIL I’m no NAIL.”… – AP, 6-7-09
  • Specter ‘pleased and proud’ to be a Pa. Democrat: Sen. Arlen Specter told Pennsylvania’s Democratic leaders Saturday he’s “pleased and proud” to be back in the party he left shortly after launching his political career more than four decades ago. “I’m no longer a Republican in name only. I’m again a Democrat,” the fifth term senator said in an introductory speech to the Democratic State Committee at a downtown hotel. “It is really my independence that has made me strong, made me better able to represent Pennsylvania, to deliver for Pennsylvania and strong enough to come back to the party,” he said…. – AP, 6-6-09
  • In Des Moines visit, Pelosi says GOP frustrated: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday said Republicans are stepping up their attacks on her because they’re frustrated by congressional Democrats’ accomplishments. “I feel this principally comes from those who do not agree with the new direction we’re going to take the country, the change the American people asked for, to try to distract the public and the focus that you have to have,” said Pelosi. “It is an arena that I have chosen to be in and I understand what that is, but it will not take us off our course of action.” “Our success in all we’re doing in education, in energy and we will have a health care plan on the floor of the House before the end of July,” said Pelosi. “I suspect in Congress, what’s going on is they are trying to distract attention.” “He said the Republicans are trying to use me as a lightning rod,” Pelosi said, predicting that tactic would ultimately fail…. – Chicago Tribune, 6-6-09
  • Obama: Buchenwald ‘rebuke’ to Holocaust denial: “To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened,” Obama said. “This place is the ultimate rebuke to such thoughts, a reminder of our duty to confront those who would tell lies about our history.”
    “He returned from his service in a state of shock,” Obama said, “saying little and isolating himself for months on end from family and friends.” Payne bore “painful memories that would not leave his head.”
    The president said Buchenwald “teaches us that we must be ever-vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time, that we must reject the false comfort that others’ suffering is not our problem, and commit ourselves to resisting those who would subjugate others to serve their own interests.”
    He added: “It’s also important for us, I think, to remember that the perpetrators of such evil were human, as well, and that we have to guard against cruelty in ourselves.”… – AP, 6-5-09


The President an European leaders arrive
(President Barack Obama (L-R), Britain’s Prince Charles, Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy arrive at the Colleville-sur-Mer
cemetery to attend a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy June 6, 2009. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Historians’ Comments

  • John Rosenthal “OBAMA FLUNKS HISTORY, AGAIN”: “Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald,” Obama said in Cairo, “which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today.” Buchenwald was indeed part of the network of concentration camps established by Nazi Germany, both in Germany proper and the occupied territories. And it is indeed true that some Jews were interred at Buchenwald and that many of those that were died there. According to the estimate of the Buchwald Memorial, from 1937 when the camp was established until its liberation in 1945, altogether some 11,000 Jews died at Buchenwald. 11,000. That’s roughly the number of Jews that were killed at Auschwitz in a single week. In total, not 11,000, but over one million Jews are estimated to have been killed at Auschwitz…. – New Majority, 6-5-09
  • SHELBY STEELE “Sotomayor and the Politics of Race Americans thought they were electing a president who would transcend grievance”: President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court points to a dilemma that will likely plague his presidency: How does a “post-racialist” president play identity politics? What is most notable about the Sotomayor nomination is its almost perfect predictability. Somehow we all simply know — like it or not — that Hispanics are now overdue for the gravitas of high office. And our new post-racialist president is especially attuned to this chance to have a “first” under his belt, not to mention the chance to further secure the Hispanic vote. And yet it was precisely the American longing for post-racialism — relief from this sort of racial calculating — that lifted Mr. Obama into office.
    The Sotomayor nomination commits the cardinal sin of identity politics: It seeks to elevate people more for the political currency of their gender and ethnicity than for their individual merit. (Here, too, is the ugly faithlessness in minority merit that always underlies such maneuverings.) Mr. Obama is promising one thing and practicing another, using his interracial background to suggest an America delivered from racial corruption even as he practices a crude form of racial patronage. From America’s first black president, and a man promising the “new,” we get a Supreme Court nomination that is both unoriginal and hackneyed…. – WSJ, 6-8-09
  • E.J. Dionne Jr.: Harry and Louise need health care reform: ….Health care reform could bail out these interests by adding the currently uninsured – fast approaching 50 million people – to their customer base, and by preventing more individuals and employers from dropping insurance altogether.
    Remember Harry and Louise, the imaginary couple who appeared in the television ads that helped beat President Bill Clinton’s health plan 15 years ago? That middle-class duo, which is to say a great many people just like them, has switched sides in the debate. The insurance companies and the drug companies that paid for the ads know that Louise’s employer has probably restricted her health coverage or dropped her altogether. And who knows if Harry still has a job?… – SF Chronicle, 6-7-09
  • Stephen Hess “Health, climate change vie for boost in US Congress”: “It’s not impossible to do both, but that would be more than a Congress has ever given a president, maybe since the first First 100 Days,” said Brookings Institution senior fellow Stephen Hess, referring to the start of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” presidency in 1933…. – Reuters, 6-7-09
  • Professor Juan Cole and Cairo-Based Analyst Issandr El Amrani on Obama’s Historic Address – Democracy Now, 6-4-09
  • KC Johnson one of the first to actually read Sotomayor’s Princeton thesis. His grade …. ?: … The thesis is quite good. I’m not sure it’s a summa cum laude thesis… but summa grades essentially depend on the competition and the standards at the time. As for the thesis as a whole, from a historian’s perspective: It’s solidly researched and fairly well written — uses lots of data, more or less presents an argument, and has a pedagogical approach (political/economic history, focus on a key political leader in Muñoz Marin) that is very much mainstream. This is basically a pedagogically sound thesis that (with one exception) allows the facts to speak for themselves…. – KC Johnson quoted by Stuart Taylor at the National Journal website (6-2-09)
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