History Buzz July 4, 2011: Obamas & Nation Celebrate Independence Day 2011


History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.



  • Celebrating Independence Day: Americans come together for Fourth of July festivities in the District and throughout the region…. – WaPo
  • How well do you know the Declaration of Independence? Take our quiz: Every Fourth of July, Americans celebrate the independence of the United States with fireworks, parades, and picnics. But how much do people know about the 1776 events that are being cheered? Here’s a quiz to test your knowledge of the Declaration of Independence…. – CS Monitor, 7-4-11


  • Obama thanks troops at July 4 party on South Lawn: Telling U.S. troops that “America is proud of all of you,” President Barack Obama marked the Fourth of July holiday by hosting a barbecue and concert for military members and families on the South Lawn of the White House.
    The president and his family – wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia – greeted more than 1,200 guests from a White House balcony Monday evening. After brief remarks, the first couple stood in the driveway and shook hands with visitors.
    “You represent the latest in a long line of heroes who have served our country with honor, who have made incredible sacrifices to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy,” Obama said. “You’ve done everything we could’ve asked of you,” he said, also recognizing the “families that serve alongside of you with strength and devotion.”… AP, 7-4-11


  • Fireworks, parades, 62 hot dogs: US celebrates 4th: The U.S. marked the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence with parades, fireworks, barbecues — plus presidential campaigning, a White House birthday and competitive eating….
    The holiday is celebrated as the nation’s birthday, but it also was Malia Obama’s 13th birthday. The president’s eldest daughter had to share her parents with hundreds of others as Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama invited troops and their families to attend a special barbecue and USO concert on the South Lawn.
    Some of the Republicans hoping to replace Obama in the White House spent part of the day campaigning in states where presidential politics are as much a part of the holiday as fireworks and barbecues…. – AP, 7-4-11
  • A Fireworks Show for the Nation: Fireworks will be illuminating the skies in cities across the country on this July 4 holiday.
    Among the classic destinations for Independence Day displays, the fireworks show on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., has long been a go-to for pyrotechnic enthusiasts.
    A Tennessee-based company called Pyro Shows is on its ninth year of designing Washington’s fireworks celebration. We talked to Tom Stiner about what goes into pulling a pyrotechnic show of this magnitude.
    Set against the backdrop of the Washington monument, the event includes “A Capitol Fourth” concert, which you can watch on many PBS stations starting at 8 p.m. ET…. – PBS, 7-4-11
  • Fourth of July Celebrations Draw Families, Troops and Presidential Hopefuls: SUMMARY Americans at home and abroad celebrated Independence Day with parades, barbeques, and fireworks. Judy Woodruff reports on how Americans celebrated Independence Day here and abroad.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: The United States marked its birthday today, the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, with parades and fireworks, plus competitive eating, presidential campaigning, and a new teenager at the White House.
    The party started late last night, midnight, to be exact, in Gatlinburg, Tenn. The tiny mountain town kicked off the Fourth of July in classic fashion, with banners, music, and plenty of kids up past their bedtime.
    Today, in cities across the country, preparations were under way for a robust celebration, unpacking fireworks and prepping the stages…. – PBS Newshour, 7-4-11Mp3


The President and First Lady watch the fireworks

The President and First Lady watch the fireworks over the National Mall, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/4/10

Barack Obama: Today we are celebrating our country, honoring our troops, and enjoying a little BBQ. From all of us at Obama 2012, have a wonderful Fourth.

George W. Bush: Laura and I wish our fellow Americans a happy 4th of July. On this anniversary of our independence, we give thanks for our freedom. We salute the men and women in uniform who defend it. And we ask for God’s continued blessings on the United States.

John McCain: Independence Day Message: I was honored to join General David Petraeus today at a re-enlistment ceremony in Afghanistan for 235 of our brave troopers on this, America’s 235th Independence Day. It was both humbling and inspiring to share this day with so many young Americans who have committed their lives to a cause greater than themselves — the freedom and security of our nation.
As we gather today for backyard barbecues and community events this 4th of July, let us pay tribute to our troops in harms way, their families who miss and love them so dearly, and all the heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend the nation we love.
Have a safe and joyful 4th of July, and God Bless America!

Michelle Obama: What You Can Do to Support Military Families: Good morning, This Independence Day, I hope you’ll join me and my family in recognizing both our brave men and women in uniform and their families for everything they do to protect our country and our way of life.
We know that when our troops are called to serve, their families serve right along with them. For military kids, that means stepping up to help with the housework and putting on a brave face through all those missed holidays, bedtimes and ballet recitals. For military spouses, it means pulling double-duty, doing the work of both parents, often while juggling a full-time job or trying to get an education.
That’s why, a few months ago, Dr. Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces, a nationwide campaign to recognize, honor, and serve our military families. Our troops give so much to this country and they ask us for just one thing in return: to take care of their families while they’re gone. So we’ve put out a call to action. We’re urging all Americans to ask themselves one question: What can I do to give back to these families that have given so much?
To answer that question you can go to JoiningForces.gov and learn more about how you can get involved. And you can get started right now through Operation Honor Card by pledging to spend a certain number of hours serving military families in your community. – WH, 7-4-11


An illustration shows Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams reviewing a draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson (left), Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Illustration courtesy Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, Library of Congres

  • Valerie Strauss: Top 5 myths about July 4: Back by popular demand (well, I like them), here are the top five myths about Independence Day, adapted from George Mason University’s History News Network:
    1. Independence was declared on the Fourth of July.
    2. The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4.
    3. The Liberty Bell rang in American Independence.
    4. Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag.
    5. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the Fourth of July…. – WaPo, 7-4-11
  • Fourth of July: Nine Myths Debunked Paul Revere didn’t ride solo, for one: Many time-honored patriotic tales turn out to be more fiction than fact. On the Fourth of July—today marked by a continent-spanning Google doodle—here’s a look at some memorable myths from the birth of the United States.
    1. The Declaration of Independence Was Signed on July 4
    2. Paul Revere Rode Solo
    3. July 4, 1776, Party Cracked the Liberty Bell
    4. Patriots Flocked to Fight for Freedom
    5. The Declaration of Independence Holds Secret Messages
    6. John Adams Died Thinking of Thomas Jefferson
    7. America United Against the British
    8. Betsy Ross Made the First American Flag
    9. Native Americans Sided With the British… – National Geo, 7-4-11
  • E.J. Dionne Jr.: What our Declaration really said: Our nation confronts a challenge this Fourth of July that we face but rarely: We are at odds over the meaning of our history and why, to quote our Declaration of Independence, “governments are instituted.”
    Only divisions this deep can explain why we are taking risks with our country’s future that we’re usually wise enough to avoid. Arguments over how much government should tax and spend are the very stuff of democracy’s give-and-take. Now, the debate is shadowed by worries that if a willful faction does not get what it wants, it might bring the nation to default.
    This is, well, crazy. It makes sense only if politicians believe — or have convinced themselves — that they are fighting over matters of principle so profound that any means to defeat their opponents is defensible.
    We are closer to that point than we think, and our friends in the Tea Party have offered a helpful clue by naming their movement in honor of the 1773 revolt against tea taxes on that momentous night in Boston Harbor…. – WaPo, 7-4-11
  • Special: Independence Daze – A History Of July 4th: Everybody knows that July 4th celebrates our nation’s beginnings. But for the first 94 years of our existence, the 4th wasn’t an official holiday at all. The Declaration of Independence itself sat untended in a dusty archive for 150 years. So how did Independence Day become the holiest day on our secular calendar? And why do we observe it with hot dogs, fireworks and mattress sales?
    In this hour, the History Guys explore the origins and curiosities of July 4th. They reveal the holiday’s radical roots, and look how the Declaration’s meaning has changed over time. They also consider how the Declaration’s messages about liberty and equality have been embraced by the descendents of slaves. And, as always, they take calls from BackStory listeners looking to the past to understand the America of today.
    Highlights Include:
    Historian Pauline Maier (“American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence”) contrasts the sections of the Declaration of Independence that mattered to the Founders with the sections that matter today.
    July 4th chronicler James Heintze (“The Fourth of July Encyclopedia”) recounts the early days of celebrating independence, with a special focus on explosives.
    Historian David Blight (“Frederick Douglass’ Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee”) analyzes Frederick Douglass’ 1852 speech, “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro,” widely known as one of the greatest abolitionist speeches ever…. – KUOW, 7-4-11
  • On the Fourth, a declaration we still must live up to: MORE THAN 130 British ships had set sail from Nova Scotia on June 9, on their way to the rebellious American colonies. The king of England had hired thousands of German mercenaries. The British penalty for treason was death and confiscation of one’s estate. These were some of the things on the minds of members of the Continental Congress as they met in Philadelphia to debate independence 235 years ago.
    “And yet,” writes the historian Pauline Maier, “as the British began to bring the greatest fleet and the largest army ever assembled in North America into action against the Americans, Congress devoted the better part of two days to revising the draft declaration of Independence. Wars, it understood, were not won by ships and sailors and arms alone. Words, too, had power to serve the cause of victory.”
    The Declaration of Independence, which we celebrate today, wasn’t even an official act of government. The Continental Congress had voted for independence on July 2. The July 4 Declaration, drafted mostly by Thomas Jefferson, was meant as inspiration for the soldiers and to justify and explain a drastic action against the crown to a divided and worried public. To be cynical about it, it was in some ways an early exercise in spin control, especially in its over-the-top excoriation of King George III’s alleged offenses. But in time it became — to use the title of Professor Maier’s 1997 book on the subject — “American Scripture,” with an impact on the national consciousness that far exceeded its revolutionary role….. – WaPo, 7-4-11
  • Victor Davis Hanson: America trusts its citizens: Putting confidence in individuals, and not the state or the bureaucracy, is what makes the U.S. an exceptional nation.
    For the last 235 years, on the Fourth of July, Americans have celebrated the birth of the United States, and the founding ideas that have made it the most powerful, wealthiest, and freest nation in the history of civilization.
    But today, there has never been more uncertainty about the future of America – and the anxiety transcends even the dismal economy and three foreign wars. President Obama prompted such introspection in April 2009, when he suggested that the United States, as one of many nations, was not necessarily any more exceptional than others. Recently, a New Yorker magazine article sympathetically described our new foreign policy as “leading from behind.”
    The administration not long ago sought from the United Nations and the Arab League – but not from Congress – authorization to attack Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya. Earlier, conservative opponents had made much of the president’s bows to Chinese and Saudi Arabian heads of state, which, coupled with serial apologies for America’s distant and recent past, were seen as symbolically deferential efforts to signal the world that the United States was at last not necessarily preeminent among nations.
    Yet there has never been any nation even remotely similar to America. Here’s why. Most revolutions seek to destroy the existing class order and use all-powerful government to mandate an equality of result rather than of opportunity – in the manner of the French Revolution’s slogan of “liberty, equality and fraternity” or the Russian Revolution’s “peace, land and bread.”… – PA Inquirer, 7-4-11
  • Around America, a spirited Fourth: In the nation’s capital, revelers celebrated the Fourth at the Mall in Washington. Festivities included a parade and fireworks.
    President Barack Obama thanked U.S. service members and their families Monday by hosting them on the South Lawn of the White House for a patriotic cookout and fireworks display.\ “After all that you do for our country every day, we wanted to give you guys a chance to get out of uniform, relax and have some fun,” Obama said.
    And fun was the order of the day as Americans celebrated Independence Day around the nation with flags, fireworks and food.
    Monday evening, revelers along the Hudson River readied for the Macy’s annual fireworks show, which usually attracts around 2 million people each year.
    In Washington, a display on the National Mall was scheduled to light up the night sky with the Lincoln Memorial as a backdrop.
    In key states around the nation, GOP presidential hopefuls for 2012 spent the day meeting with supporters at various events.
    Meanwhile, the rest of us settled in for a summer day as, well, American, as apple pie…. – CNN, 7-4-11
  • July 4th Menus in Years Past: July 4th cake Our idea of what types of food to serve on July 4th is pretty clear: hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, and a red-white-and blue dessert, perhaps, like the festive cake pictured.
    But how was Independence Day celebrated in the early days of the new republic? Food historian Sandra Oliver has delved into the past for answers, and was happy to share her findings with Epicurious.
    The news of Independence took time to trickle down through the country, she says, and celebrations were low-key local observances. “That’s pretty much the case for the first 30 or 40 years or so,” says Oliver…. – Epicurious, 7-4-11
  • Charles Cohen: History Bits About the Declaration of Independence and Its Main Author: For this July 4th Independence Day, we asked a historian to share a few stories about the Declaration of Independence and the people who drafted it.
    Charles Cohen, a professor of history and religious studies at U-W Madison, says there was genius behind Thomas Jefferson and others who crafted the document establishing the United States.
    But Cohen says misconceptions have also arisen about the Declaration and its authors…. – WUWM, 7-4-11Download Mp3
  • Some of the signers are obscure but Declaration of Independence endures: When you set off fireworks this holiday, remember to say “thanks” to William Whipple. Or tip your hat to Caesar Rodney as you throw hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. William who? Caesar what? Not exactly household names are they? But without them, and 54 other men like them, people wouldn’t have July 4 off from work, much less a country.
    At a crucial time 235 years ago, those 56 men signed their names to the Declaration of Independence, telling King George III theywere “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” The document was a momentous step, and the signers were the movers and shakers of their time. Yet, history has not been kind to many of them.
    “Some are well remembered, but the rest of them unfortunately go down in history as footnotes,” said Broome County Historian Gerald Smith…. – Press Connects, 7-3-11
  • What does our “Declaration of Independence” really mean?: Shocked again! Did YOU hear the news report that only 58% of us (Americans) know when our Declaration of Independence was signed on TV news last evening? The TV report continued to announce that a quarter of us (Americans) do NOT know from whom our founders declared INDEPENDENCE! Do YOU know?
    And now it is dawning the 4th of July 2011, the 235th anniversary of our DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE from GREAT BRITIAN. Did YOU know 1776 was the year? Did YOU know that GREAT BRITAIN was the “mother country” from which we did declare our INDEPENDENCE?
    The BRITISH “Daily Mail” online specifically puts its focus on our lack of knowledge as to whom we declared our INDEPENDENCE from, “While 76 per cent correctly said Great Britain, 19 per cent were unsure, and 5 per cent mentioned another country.”… – Gazette Extra, 7-4-11
  • Eric Slauter: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: How did these words become the most important in the Declaration of Independence? The answer starts with a small band of motivated Americans.
    In America’s revolutionary history, no document is more iconic than the Declaration of Independence, the short but sweeping statement issued by Congress on July 4, 1776, severing bonds with Britain and launching the Colonies on their path to independence.
    But what does the Declaration of Independence actually declare? For most Americans today, the answer is embodied in the opening sentence of the second paragraph: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.�
    Perhaps no sentence in American history is better known or has had a greater impact than these powerful words about equality and rights. It is no wonder then that schoolchildren memorize this sentence, that adults consider it the founding creed of America’s civil religion, or that this and other newspapers will highlight these words on their editorial pages tomorrow…. – Boston Globe, 7-3-11
  • Steven Greiert: History lesson Nation’s Founding Fathers had plenty of blemishes: Dr. Steven Greiert, a history professor at Missouri Western State University, said a surprising number of people confuse the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution, which came more than a decade later.
    “I think it’s very important that Americans spend time looking at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to really understand what went on at that time,” Dr. Greiert said. “Know the difference between the two documents.”
    The document that declared the states independent from British rule meant something different to the men who drafted it than what it means to citizens today. “All men are created equal” was written by men who owned slaves, and nearly 100 years before the 15th amendment, which prohibits denying a person (male) the right to vote on “account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”
    “What they really were saying was that all white men should have equal opportunity,” Dr. Greiert said of the drafters, many of whom were wealthy landowners. Women wouldn’t be considered “equal,” where voting was concerned, until 144 years after the Declaration of Independence was written…. – News Press Now, 7-4-11
  • Michael Steiner: History lesson Nation’s Founding Fathers had plenty of blemishes: Dr. Michael Steiner, a history professor at Northwest Missouri State University, references the study of historian Richard Shenkman, who said the public has a hard time accepting that the Founding Fathers “stooped to playing politics.” The public might also have a hard time swallowing that the founders didn’t approve of a popular vote for presidential elections.
    “Less well known is that the Founding Fathers didn’t particularly want the Electoral College to make the decision either,” wrote the author. “The expectation was that in most cases the electors would deadlock, throwing the contest into the House of Representatives.”
    Dr. Steiner said the more his students read about the Founding Fathers, the more human the drafters become.
    “And I believe that’s a good thing,” he said. “We create this mythic infallibility around them that is simply inaccurate. We want them to be better than they were. But they were normal living and breathing human beings like you and me. Thank goodness.”… – News Press Now, 7-4-11

History Buzz July 15, 2010: William Stewart Simkins & the UT Dorm Controversy & Niall Ferguson on America’s Decline


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.


IN FOCUS: HNN on Facebook & Twitter

IN FOCUS: July 4th Myths & History

  • T.H. Breen: The Secret Founding Fathers: Enough about Washington, Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers, says historian T.H. Breen, on July 4th we should celebrate the forgotten, ordinary men who took to the streets to fight British tyranny—and are the bedrock of our republican values…. – The Daily Beast, 7-3-10
  • T.H. Breen: ‘American Insurgents’ fired first shots of Revolutionary War: Common men — and some women, too — set the stage and paved the path that led to the Revolutionary War and America’s independence from England.
    Author T.H. Breen tells readers of “American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People” (Hill and Wang, $27) that a bevy of common men — and some women, too — set the stage and paved the path that led to the Revolutionary War. What’s more, they were doing it a few years in advance of the bigwigs who get the credit.
    Famous names, such as Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington owe much to others who struggled for independence in the years leading up to 1776…. – News OK, 7-3-10
  • Obama celebrates July 4th at White House barbecue: Calling the Declaration of Independence more than words on an aging parchment, President Barack Obama marked the Fourth of July on Sunday by urging Americans to live the principles that founded the nation as well as celebrate them.
    “This is the day when we celebrate the very essence of America and the spirit that has defined us as a people and as a nation for more than two centuries,” Obama told guests at a South Lawn barbecue honoring service members and their families. “We celebrate the principles that are timeless, tenets first declared by men of property and wealth but which gave rise to what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom in America — civil rights and voting rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights, and the rights of every American,” he said. “And on this day that is uniquely American we are reminded that our Declaration, our example, made us a beacon to the world.” “Now, of course I’ll admit that the backyard’s a little bigger here, but it’s the same spirit,” Obama said to laughter. “Michelle and I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with America’s extraordinary men and women in uniform and their families.” “Today we also celebrate all of you, the men and women of our armed forces, who defend this country we love,” he told the enthusiastic group…. – AP, 7-4-10
  • 4th of July: Facts about the Declaration of Independence:
    On July 2 the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain and on 4th of July 1776 the same Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Founding Fathers signed the document in August, after it was finished….
    Another fact about this important day in the United States of America’s history is that Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S President) and John Adams (2nd U.S. President) both died on 4th of July 1826, when the country was celebrating 50th anniversary of the signing.
    Although the capital city of the United States of America is Washington named after the great president, George Washington, the first U.S President, did not sign the Declaration of Independence because he was head of the Continental Army and no longer a member in the Continental Congress.
    The first anniversary resulted in a huge party in Philadelphia in 1777. There were fireworks, cannons, barbecues and toasts. – Providing News, 7-4-10
  • Thomas Jefferson made slip in Declaration: Library of Congress officials say Thomas Jefferson made a Freudian slip while penning a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence. In an early draft of the document Jefferson referred to the American population as “subjects,” replacing that term with the word “citizens,” which he then used frequently throughout the final draft. The document is normally kept under lock and key in one of the Library’s vaults. On Friday morning, the first time officials revealed the wording glitch, it traveled under police escort for a demonstration of the high-tech imaging. It was the first time in 15 years that the document was unveiled outside of its oxygen-free safe…. – A copy of the rough draft of the Declaration can be viewed online at http://www.myLOC.gov….- AP, 7-2-104th of July quotes: Best Independence Day quotes and sayings:
  • The United States is the only country with a known birthday. (James G. Blaine)
  • This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. (Elmer Davis)
  • Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. (Abraham Lincoln)
  • We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. (William Faulkner)
  • It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism. (J. Horace McFarland)
  • America is a tune. It must be sung together. (Gerald Stanley Lee)
  • The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic – have always blown on free men. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
  • Where liberty dwells, there is my country. (Benjamin Franklin)
  • Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world. (Woodrow Wilson) – Providing News, 7-4-10
  • Local NYer standing up for Horatio Gates: For a 14th straight year, James S. Kaplan spent the Fourth of July walking in the middle of the night among ghosts of the American Revolution…. – NYT (7-5-10)
  • Fifth of July is also a day to celebrate, say historians: The unassuming date could also merit respect for providing a pair of tidy bookends in the United States labor movement. In 1934, police officers in San Francisco opened fire on striking longshoreman in one of the country’s most significant and violent labor clashes. On the same date a year later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act, guaranteeing the rights of employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers.
    “That’s a big moment in American labor history, absolutely,” said Joshua B. Freeman, a labor historian at the City University of New York…. NYT (7-5-10)



  • Amazement at the speed and efficacy of historical scholarship in UT dorm case: Russell’s paper — published on the Social Science Research Network — drew attention to William Stewart Simkins (1842-1929), for whom a dormitory at the University of Texas at Austin was named in the 1950s. Simkins was a longtime law professor at Texas, but before that, he and his brother helped organize the Florida branch of the Ku Klux Klan — an organization he defended throughout his life, including while serving as a law professor. Russell’s paper led to public discussion in Austin of the appropriateness of naming a university building for a Klan leader. On Friday, William Powers Jr., president of the University of Texas at Austin, announced that he will ask the university system’s Board of Regents this month to change the name…. – Inside Higher Ed (7-12-10)
  • Taiwanese historian sentenced to prison for libel: Chen Feng-yang, chairperson of the history department at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), was found guilty of defamation charges brought by Lu Jian-rong, an ex-adjunct history professor at NTNU, after Chen allegedly attacked Lu’s reputation on NTNU’s website by calling him “a historian rotten from the roots” who is “malicious, sinful, and unforgivable” the court said…. – China Post (Taiwan) (7-9-10)
  • UMN’s graduate programs face ‘right-sizing’ in tough times: Faced with its own money troubles, the University of Minnesota is turning away more graduate students who would get financial help such as teaching positions. Still welcome are those who pay their own way or pursue in-demand studies such as biomedical sciences…. – Minneapolis Star Tribune (7-8-10)
  • Niall Ferguson: Historian warns of sudden collapse of American ’empire’: Harvard professor and prolific author Niall Ferguson opened the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival Monday with a stark warning about the increasing prospect of the American “empire” suddenly collapsing due to the country’s rising debt level…. – Aspen Daily News (7-6-10)
  • New Ed. Dept. report documents the end of tenure: Some time this fall, the U.S. Education Department will publish a report that documents the death of tenure. Innocuously titled “Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2009,” the report won’t say it’s about the demise of tenure. But that’s what it will show. Over just three decades, the proportion of college instructors who are tenured or on the tenure track plummeted: from 57 percent in 1975 to 31 percent in 2007…. – CHE (7-4-10)
  • Review of Harvard Scholar’s Arrest Cites Failure to Communicate: A new review of the arrest of a prominent scholar in black studies at his own home last July blames the incident on “failed communications” between the police officer and the scholar…. – CHE (6-30-10)
  • University of Colorado Professor Uncovers First Holocaust Liberation Photos, Highlights Overlapping Narratives: David Shneer, associate professor of history and director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, benefited from that openness. He began researching the issue in 2002, when he visited a photography gallery in Moscow. The exhibition was titled “Women at War,” and Shneer noticed that the photographers’ names sounded Jewish. He asked the curator, who said, “Of course they’re Jewish. All the photographers were Jewish.” Before the war, many of those developing the profession of Soviet photojournalism were Jewish, Shneer noted…. – AScribe.org (7-1-10)


  • Sean Wilentz and Julian E. Zelizer: Teaching ‘W’ as History The challenges of the recent past in the classroom: Even before the 2008 election, debate had begun about how President George W. Bush would be remembered in American history. There were many reasons that so many people were so quickly interested in Bush’s historical reputation. Given how intensely polarized voters were about his presidency, it was natural that experts and pundits would scramble to evaluate it. Bush’s spectacular highs and lows—the stratospheric rise in his public approval following the attacks of September 11, 2001… – Chronicle of Higher Ed, 7-11-10
  • Greg Mitchell: Andrew Bacevich, His Lost Son, and Obama’s War in AfghanistanThe Nation (7-8-10)
  • Joe Conason: Sure, listen to Niall Ferguson — but always ignore his bad advice: As a celebrity intellectual, Ferguson much prefers the broad, bold stroke to the careful detail, so it is scarcely surprising that he endorsed Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s “wonderful” budget template, confident that his audience in Aspen would know almost nothing about that document…. – Salon (7-7-10)


  • Charles Ogletree tackles Henry Louis Gates’ arrest in new book: Harvard law professor and author Charles Ogletree, a longtime friend and colleague of Gates’, who also served as his legal counsel in the case, examines the incident and its legal and social implications in “The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America.”
    The book is about much more than the arrest of an acclaimed black professor. Ogletree focuses on the long, troubled relationship between police and black men, as well as racial profiling by law enforcement and black Americans’ continuing quest for racial fairness in the criminal justice system and in everyday life. – Philadelphia Inquirer, 7-14-10
  • BARRY STRAUSS: A Failed Rebel’s Long Shadow: Now comes a distinguished contribution to the field by the British journalist and classicist Peter Stothard. “Spartacus Road” is a work of history, telling us of Spartacus’ life and legend, but it is also a travel book, as Mr. Stothard follows Spartacus’ rebellious path through 2,000 miles of Italian countryside…. – WSJ, 7-10-10
  • Niall Ferguson’s “High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg”:
    There’s a saying in publishing that the only brand is the author. Unquestionably Niall Ferguson is a brand, thanks to sweeping, Big Picture, Big Idea books such as “Colossus” and “The Ascent of Money.” With Ferguson, we expect provocative interpretations of epochs, empires and civilizations. Not this time. In “High Financier,” Ferguson follows a solitary capitalist into the weeds and flowers of his financial garden. This is no failing, of course; biography is simply a different enterprise. Rather than overarching, it often must be minute and particular. And Siegmund Warburg was extremely particular…. – WaPo, 7-9-10
  • Jane Brox: Shining a light on the way artificial light has changed our lives: BRILLIANT The Evolution of Artificial Light
    But, Jane Brox asks, at what cost? Though she celebrates human ingenuity and technical advances in “Brilliant,” her history of artificial light, Brox also presents damning evidence that in our millennia-long quest for ever more and brighter light, we’ve despoiled the natural world, abandoned our self-sufficiency and trained ourselves to sleep and dream less while working more. It’s time, Brox urges, to “think rationally about light and what it means to us.” Yes, the history of artificial light has its dark side, for those who aren’t too dazzled to detect it…. – WaPo, 7-9-10
  • Christiane Bird: Book review of “The Sultan’s Shadow,” about a 19th-century Arab princess: THE SULTAN’S SHADOW One Family’s Rule at the Crossroads of East and West
    Christiane Bird’s account of the Al Busaidi sultans in Oman and Zanzibar during the 19th century is, she says, “a tale rich with modern-day themes: Islam vs. Christianity, religion vs. secularism, women’s rights, human rights, multiculturalism, and a nation’s right to construct its own destiny.” In truth those themes are not quite so visible in “The Sultan’s Shadow” as its author would have us believe, for despite her lucid prose and dogged research, the book never comes together into a coherent whole. Instead, it is an oddly arranged miscellany, some parts of which are exceptionally interesting, but she never manages to connect them to each other in a convincing fashion…. – WaPo, 7-9-10
  • Reviews of ‘Romancing Miss Bronte,’ ‘Charlotte and Emily,’ ‘Jane Slayre’ – WaPo, 7-13-10
  • Kim Washburn: New Palin Biography Aimed At 9- To 12-Year-Olds ‘Speaking Up’ Set For September ReleaseWFTV, 7-9-10
  • Jack Rakove on Gary B. Nash: The Ring and the Crack: The Liberty Bell Yale University Press, 242 pp., $24
    It would be easy to assume that the flag and the anthem have always been the central cultural symbols of our nationality. But in fact that has not been the case, writes Gary Nash, in this fast-moving and engaging history of a different and, he argues, superior, symbol: the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag was not composed until 1892, eventually becoming the source of daily school recitals and occasional litigation, from the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the late 1930s and early 1940s to the atheist Michael Newdow’s more recent judicial quest. Then, too, the Stars and Stripes went through a long post-Civil War period as something less than a banner of universal nationality. Perhaps even now, lingering Southern attachment to the rival Stars and Bars may embody more than Confederate re-enactors’ cultural fondness for the Lost Cause. And while the “Star Spangled Banner” was composed back in 1814, only in 1931 did it acquire its official status as national anthem…. – TNR, 7-2-10


  • Historian calls on new generation: “There’s a lot of what we do not know.” That’s what Dr. Mitch Kachun said about Collins in one of his two speeches at the Juneteenth celebration at Brandon Park on Saturday. Kachun, a professor of history at Western Michigan University, has extensively researched local African-American author and teacher Julia Collins. The professor expressed being gratified he could take part in helping to finally recognize Collins’ work after 140 years. He said his research was done so he could help better understand and appreciate her life…. – Sun Gazette, 6-20-10
  • Brian Black: A Look At The U.S.’s Man-Made Environmental Disasters: …Here are some of the country’s most notable environmental disasters with human influence, both large-scale and small-scale, and how the government has dealt with them…. – National Journal (7-8-10)
  • A walk through history: UTEP effort highlights Hispanics’ significance: As far as historian David Romo is concerned, the streets of South El Paso represent a living textbook that can help students understand the complexities of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
    “The role of El Paso in the revolution by any criteria should be part of not only the El Paso school curriculum but the national curriculum,” Romo said. “Unfortunately, it’s mostly ignored by the textbooks.”…. – El Paso Times (7-6-10)
  • Census historian weighs in on electronic future of census: As hundreds of thousands of workers knock on doors this summer to collect information for the 2010 Census, momentum is mounting to drag future Censuses into the 21st century….
    “Using the Postal Service was an enormous innovation in 1970” when Census forms were first mailed (previous Censuses were door-to-door surveys), says Margo Anderson, a professor of history and urban studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an expert on Census history. “We’re 40 years later, and the mail isn’t the official way most people get their information or communicate. It’s really outmoded.”… – USA Today (7-6-10)
  • Soccer historian tells of South African soccer’s origins among political prisoners: “These men believed that there would be a free South Africa while they were still alive,” said Chuck Korr, an emeritus professor of history at the University of Missouri at St. Louis and the author of a book about the soccer league called “More Than Just a Game.”… – NYT (7-5-10)


  • Easton historian worked on Emmy-nominated The Pacific: Donald L. Miller, a Lafayette College history professor, was the only person on the project who personally interviewed Eugene Sledge, one of three Marines who fought in the Pacific on whom the series is based…. – The Morning Call, 7-8-10
  • As a historian in the House, Fred Beuttler puts current events in perspective: Historians do not do breaking news. Historians do not do the latest scandal scoops, election-night projections, or instant updates of Washington’s winners and losers. So it is no surprise that the media’s demand for historians is scant. But every now and then, when the breaking political news from Capitol Hill is in dire need of historical context, journalists and politicians alike go looking for Fred Beuttler… – WaPo (7-6-10)
  • 21st-century technology helps Princeton U historian John Haldon study Byzantine era: Princeton University historian John Haldon, a leading authority on medieval Byzantine history, can’t really remember a time when history didn’t intrigue him…. These days, Haldon is a professor of Byzantine history and Hellenic studies at Princeton…. NJ.com (7-5-10)
  • Kelly Lytle Hernández: UCLA professor chronicles rise of U.S. Border Patrol in new book: However, by the middle of the 20th century, the U.S. Border Patrol had shifted its focus and was concentrating its efforts on policing undocumented Mexican immigrants, a practice that continues to this day, UCLA historian Kelly Lytle Hernández writes in “Migra!: A History of the U.S. Border Patrol” (University of California Press, 2010).
    Drawing on long-neglected archival sources in both the U.S. and Mexico, Lytle Hernández uncovers the little-known history of how Mexican immigrants slowly became the primary focus of U.S. immigration law enforcement and demonstrates how racial profiling of Mexicans developed in the Border Patrol’s enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws…. – UCLA Newsroom, 6-17-10


  • Richard Norton Smith, David Greenberg: When Adversity Comes Calling, Some Actually Answer the Door: As a self-styled student of American history, Mr. Blagojevich would have a hard time comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy or even Gerald Ford when it comes to dealing with duress… – NYT, 7-11-10
  • Walter Wark: Spy Swaps Not a Cold War Relic: The Soviet Union is now gone, and Berlin is a single city in a reunited Germany. But, as intelligence historian Walter Wark of the University of Toronto says, the latest exchange shows that spy swaps have not gone out of date.
    “We have a tendency to forget that spying goes on as usual, and when spying goes on as usual, sooner or later there will be occasion to do a spy swap,” Wark said. “But it’s gone out of our consciousness, I think is the only thing that’s really remarkable about this. It’s not that it should happen. It’s just that kind of, with all the other dangers that we’re facing in a 21st century world, we’ve forgotten about espionage,” he said…. – VoA News (7-9-10)


  • Niall Ferguson aims to shake up history curriculum with TV and war games: History should be fun. More TV should be watched in the classroom, and children should learn through playing war games. The Harvard academic Niall Ferguson, who has been invited by the government to revitalise the curriculum, today sets set out a vision of “doing for history what Jamie Oliver has done for school food – make it healthy, and so they actually want to eat it”…. – Guardian (UK) (7-9-10)
  • Russian spy swap: Jeffrey Burds explainsWaPo (7-8-10)
  • Environmental historian Brian Black talks about impacts of oil spillPenn State Live (6-30-10)
  • The end of the Soviet Union was not inevitable, says Norman StoneU.S. News & World Report (7-1-10)


  • Obama Nominates Larry Palmer, former historian, as U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela: U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday nominated Ambassador Larry Leon Palmer — formerly the US Ambassador to Honduras — as the new U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela…. – Latin American Herald Tribune (6-30-10)
  • National Park Service Names New Cultural Resources Head: National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan Jarvis recently named Stephanie Smith Toothman, Ph.D., as the Service’s new Associate Director for Cultural Resources… – Lee White at the National Coalition for history (6-28-10)
  • New Director of Education Named at the Smithsonian: Claudine K. Brown has been named director of education for the Smithsonian Institution, effective June 20…. – Lee White at the National Coalition for History (6-28-10)


  • James McPherson: Historian makes Gettysburg spring to life: As I prepared last week for a tour of Civil War historic sites with 40 history teachers from northwestern Minnesota, I looked at the itinerary and wondered if I would get anything out of touring battlefields….
    The day climaxed when our group of teachers, lead by General McPherson, replicated Pickett’s Charge, the famous and futile attempt by General Lee to break the Union middle by sending a mile-wide swath of 13,000 men into the teeth of the Federal guns…. – Detroit Lakes Online, 7-2-10


  • July 28, 2010: Evan Thomas, Award-Winning Journalist, Historian to Lecture at Ventfort Hall: Known nationally and internationally as one of the most respected award-winning journalists and historians writing today, Newsweek’s Editor-at-Large Evan Thomas will appear at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Wednesday, July 28, as part of its 2010 Summer Lecture Series. He will discuss the subject of his new book, “The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898.” Thomas will be on hand to autograph copies during the subsequent Victorian Tea…. – Iberkshires, 7-13-10
  • September 17-18, 2010 at Notre Dame University: Conference aims to bring medieval, early modern and Latin American historians together: An interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Notre Dame this fall is making a final call for papers to explore the issue surrounding similarities between late-medieval Iberia and its colonies in the New World. “From Iberian Kingdoms to Atlantic Empires: Spain, Portugal, and the New World, 1250-1700” is being hosted by the university’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies and will take place on September 17-18, 2010. Medieval News, 4-29-10
  • Jeff Shesol to give Jackson Lecture at the Chautauqua Institution: Historian, presidential speechwriter and author Jeff Shesol will deliver Chautauqua Institution’s sixth annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States. Jeff Shesol will give the Jackson Lecture on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. in Chautauqua’s Hall of Philosophy…. – John Q. Barrett at the Jackson List (6-14-10)
  • Thousands of Studs Terkel interviews going online: The Library of Congress will digitize the Studs Terkel Oral History Archive, according to the agreement, while the museum will retain ownership of the roughly 5,500 interviews in the archive and the copyrights to the content. Project officials expect digitizing the collection to take more than two years…. – NYT, 5-13-10
  • Digital Southern Historical Collection: The 41,626 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries.




  • Jane Brox: Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, (Hardcover), July 8, 2010.
  • Rudy Tomedi: General Matthew Ridgway, (Hardcover), July 30, 2010.
  • Richard Toye: Churchill’s Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made, (Hardcover), August 3, 2010.
  • Alexander Hamilton: The Federalist Papers, (Hardcover), August 16, 2010 Christopher Tomlins, Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865 (Paperback and Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Holger Hoock: Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850, (Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, (Hardcover), September 7, 2010
  • James L. Swanson: Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, (Hardcover), September 28, 2010
  • Timothy Snyder: The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (First Trade Paper Edition), (Paperback), September 28, 2010
  • Ron Chernow: Washington: A Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • George William Van Cleve: A Slaveholders’ Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic, (Hardcover), October 1, 2010.
  • John Keegan: The American Civil War: A Military History, (Paperback), October 5, 2010
  • Bill Bryson: At Home: A Short History of Private Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • Robert M. Poole: On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Robert Leckie: Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal: The Turning Point of the War, (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Manning Marable: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • G. J. Barker-Benfield: Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, (Hardcover), November 15, 2010
  • Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Michael Goldfarb: Emancipation: How Liberating Europe’s Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance, (Paperback), November 23, 2010


  • Stan Katz: Barry D. Karl and the Historical Profession: My friend and long-time historical collaborator Barry Karl died while undergoing emergency open-heart surgery in Chicago early this week. Barry would have celebrated his eighty-third birthday on the 23rd of this month — which will be the date of the first birthday of his only grandchild, Ethan. It is too bad that he could not have lived longer, but he had a long, successful and interesting career…. – Stan Katz in the CHE (7-11-10)
  • Ramon Eduardo Ruiz dies at 88; historian of Mexico and Latin America at UC San Diego: Ramon Eduardo Ruiz, a renowned historian of Mexico and Latin America whose books included in-depth studies of the Mexican and Cuban revolutions, has died. He was 88…. – LA Times (7-10-10)
  • Lawrence Holiday Harris, historian and diplomat, dies at 89: Lawrence Harris, who had careers as an American diplomat, an army officer and a college professor, visited 52 countries and every continent…. – Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7-7-10)
  • Ann Waldron, Biographer of Southern Writers, Is Dead at 85: Ann Waldron, who wrote biographies of Southern writers and books for children and young adults, but then — at 78 — decided that she’d rather concoct tales about gruesome murders on the campus of Princeton University, died Friday at her home in Princeton, N.J. She was 85…. – NYT (7-6-10)
  • Death of historian and art author Carola Hicks, 68: A famous Cambridge art historian has died at the age of 68…. – Cambridge News (UK) (6-28-10)

July 5, 2010: Obama’s Immigration Speech & Celebrating the 4th

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.


Fireworks during the Fourth of July celebration
Fireworks over the National Mall during the 4th of July celebration at the White House., White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/4/10


  • Independent Voters Favor GOP in 2010 Election Tracking: Prefer Republican candidate to Democrat by an average of 45% to 35%… – Gallop.com, 7-1-10


The President Records the Weekly Address
  • Analysis: BP clean-up leaves U.S. vulnerable to another spill: The Obama administration may succeed in pushing through its offshore drilling ban, despite fierce resistance from the oil industry, since a piece of machinery in short supply has left oil companies and the environment glaringly vulnerable to another oil spill… – Reuters, 7-6-10
  • Obama, Netanyahu Will Learn They Need Each Other: Barack Obama and Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu will find again today, as they meet in the White House, that however much they may annoy each other – and they do – they also need each other. Their ability to forge a new relationship, preferably with mutual respect and trust that eluded them, may well determine whether, how, and when Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
    Israel’s military and its intelligence community are constantly preparing for a possible attack aimed at damaging and delaying Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons, and sources close to the planning say there is no expectation that the United States would take part. “We don’t ask anybody to do our fighting for us,” said a senior official who requested he not be named, “but it is true that we would be asking for re-supply of anything that we might use.” Israel apparently would be counting on America to top up its arsenal of bunker-busting bombs, mid-air refueling equipment and perhaps long-range missiles.
    For Israel, at age 62, it has become routine to seek a “green light” – ohr yarok is the Hebrew phrase used by Israeli defense officials – from Washington before going to war. Israeli leaders want to feel that the U.S. has their back, at least diplomatically in the inevitable United Nations debates. At times, ohr tzahov – a “yellow light” – has been enough for Israel, such as its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 after the American government was briefed but neither assented nor protested…. – CBS News, 7-6-10
  • Independence Day in Pictures: Tonight, the President and First Lady hosted service heroes and military families for a Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House. See the Independence Day event through the lens of Pete Souza, Director of the White House Photo Office…. – WH, 7-4-10
  • Obama celebrates July 4th at White House barbecue: Calling the Declaration of Independence more than words on an aging parchment, President Barack Obama marked the Fourth of July on Sunday by urging Americans to live the principles that founded the nation as well as celebrate them.
    “This is the day when we celebrate the very essence of America and the spirit that has defined us as a people and as a nation for more than two centuries,” Obama told guests at a South Lawn barbecue honoring service members and their families. “We celebrate the principles that are timeless, tenets first declared by men of property and wealth but which gave rise to what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom in America — civil rights and voting rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights, and the rights of every American,” he said. “And on this day that is uniquely American we are reminded that our Declaration, our example, made us a beacon to the world.” “Now, of course I’ll admit that the backyard’s a little bigger here, but it’s the same spirit,” Obama said to laughter. “Michelle and I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with America’s extraordinary men and women in uniform and their families.” “Today we also celebrate all of you, the men and women of our armed forces, who defend this country we love,” he told the enthusiastic group…. – AP, 7-4-10
  • Biden marks US Independence Day with troops in Iraq: US Vice President Joe Biden marked Independence Day with American troops at a palace of ex-dictator Saddam Hussein on Sunday ahead of talks with the two men vying to lead Iraq’s next government. Speaking to soldiers at Al-Fao Palace, a former hunting lodge of the ousted Iraqi president that is now part of US military base Camp Victory, just north of Baghdad, an upbeat Biden relished the symbolism.
    “Here we are in the hunting lodge of a dictator who subjugated a people, who in fact stood for everything that we don’t stand for. And we are in the middle of the marble palace, making a lie of everything that he stood for,” he said. “I find it delicious that that’s happening,” he said to loud applause from the crowd of around 600 military personnel…. – AFP, 7-4-10
  • Petraeus: ‘We are in this to win’ in Afghanistan: Gen. David Petraeus formally assumed command of the 130,000-strong international force in Afghanistan on Sunday, declaring “we are in this to win” despite rising casualties and growing skepticism about the nearly 9-year-old war. During a ceremony at NATO headquarters, Petraeus received two flags — one for the U.S. and the other for NATO — marking his formal assumption of command.
    “We are in this to win,” Petraeus told a crowd of several hundred NATO and Afghan officials at the ceremony held on a grassy area just outside coalition headquarters. “We have arrived at a critical moment.” “Upfront I also want to recognize the enormous contributions of my predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal,” Petraeus said. He said the progress made reflected McChrystal’s “vision, energy and leadership.”… – AP, 7-4-10
  • Democrats’ Peril, GOP’s Challenge: Friday’s tepid employment report imperils Democrats who insist their recovery initiatives are on the right track, but also could pose a challenge for Republicans, who risk looking like they favor legislative inaction in the face of continued suffering. The stubbornly high joblessness ignited another round of debate over the Democrats’ current push to extend unemployment benefits and continue stimulus spending, an argument whose outcome could determine the results of the November elections. “People have lost confidence in what the Democrats are doing,” said Republican strategist David Winston. “But that is not enough of a reason to vote for Republicans…. – WSJ, 7-3-10
  • Blame game could ‘boomerang’ on Obama, strategist says: When signs of a severe economic downfall emerged more than two years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama was quick to point a finger at the man he hoped to replace. Seventeen months into his administration, the message is often the same, and Republicans say it’s time for him to drop the Bush bashing and take ownership of the problem.
    “Nothing makes a president look weaker than pointing the finger at past administrations,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. “By blaming somebody, it looks like you are playing politics and people just want jobs. They don’t care about whose fault it is. Playing the blame game only boomerangs on yourself.”… – CNN, 7-2-10
  • Obama’s immigration speech gets smacked by GOP pols, conservative pundits: GOP politicians and conservative pundits unleashed some verbal fireworks heading into the July 4 weekend by slamming President Obama’s immigration speech. Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s former adviser, led the charge, ripping apart Obama’s remarks, saying the President was trolling for Latino voters and is “not serious” about immigration reform. “If he [Obama] could get this thing to use as a political issue for the next three months to beat up on Republicans, he’d do it, which he’s doing,” Rove told Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor” guest host Laura Ingraham. “But about fashioning a comprehensive policy with all the details and all of the equities and all the contenders that want to come to some resolution of this, forget it. He’s not serious about it.”
    Compared to Rove, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s reaction was much kinder. She called the speech “helpless.”… – NY Daily News, 7-2-10
  • Tough gun-control ordinance is passed in Chicago: A city measure that restricts the use, sale and transport of firearms is approved after a Supreme Court ruling extended handgun rights…. – LAT, 7-3-10
  • In speech, Obama to argue for immigration overhaul: President Barack Obama hopes to rally new momentum behind the push for an immigration overhaul by explaining why he thinks a comprehensive approach is the only way to fix what he and others say is a system badly in need of repair. Obama was laying out his rationale in a speech Thursday, his first as president on the issue…. – AP, 7-1-10
  • 1.3 million unemployed won’t get benefits restored: More than 1.3 million laid-off workers won’t get their unemployment benefits reinstated before Congress goes on a weeklong vacation for Independence Day. An additional 200,000 people who have been without a job for at least six months stand to lose their benefits each week, unless Congress acts. For the third time in as many weeks, Republicans in the Senate successfully filibustered a bill Wednesday night that would have continued unemployment checks to people who have been laid off for long stretches. The House is slated to vote on a similar measure Thursday, though the Senate’s action renders the vote a futile gesture as Congress prepares to depart Washington for its holiday recess…. – AP, 7-1-10
  • Financial Overhaul Wins Final Approval in House: The House on Wednesday adopted legislation to revamp the nation’s financial regulatory system, voting mostly along party lines as partisan acrimony impeded cooperation even on the shared goals of averting future economic crises. The vote in the House was 237 to 192, with all but three Republicans standing in opposition to a measure that President Obama in his State of the Union speech said embodied one of the highest priorities of his administration: “serious financial reform.” “If this bill were to fail,” the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said, “We would be preserving a status quo that has left our economy in a wretched state.” To symbolize the importance of the bill, Ms. Pelosi personally gaveled the vote to a close, with 234 Democrats joined by three Republicans in favor; and 173 Republicans and 19 Democrats opposed…. – NYT, 7-1-10
  • Al Gore breaks silence as police reopen sexual assault case: Former Vice President Al Gore has broken his silence regarding 2006 sexual assault allegations by a massage therapist, as Portland, Ore., police say they are reopening the case.
    A statement issued by Kalee Kreider, Gore family spokesperson says: “Further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr. Gore. The Gores cannot comment on every defamatory, misleading, and inaccurate story generated by tabloids. Mr. Gore unequivocally and emphatically denied this accusation when he first learned of its existence three years ago. He stands by that denial.” – AP, USA Today, 7-1-10
  • Obama renews immigration push: The president meets with lawmakers to discuss a strategy for passing a bill this year; gaining Republican support will be a challenge. He will make his case to the public in a speech Thursday. LAT, 6-30-10
  • Supreme Court extends rights of gun owners: The court’s 5-4 decision in the 2nd Amendment case paves the way for challenges to laws restricting gun ownership, but Justice Samuel Alito says it will not ‘imperil every law regulating firearms.’… – LAT, 6-29-10
  • Biden to visit Gulf Coast: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be in the Gulf of Mexico region Tuesday to see first-hand the cleanup and recovery efforts of the BP spill. Biden will stop in New Orleans and Pensacola, Fla., to survey response efforts, visit residents affected by the spill and meet with area officials, the White House said….. – UPI, 6-29-10
  • Obama, lawmakers to discuss energy, immigration: President Barack Obama is turning his attention to energy and immigration legislation Tuesday. He’ll meet with a bipartisan group of senators to discuss passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation this year…. – AP, 6-29-10
  • Delaware: Attorney General Returns: Attorney General Joseph R. Biden III returned to work Monday after spending several weeks recuperating from a stroke. Mr. Biden, who is known as Beau and who is the son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., suffered a mild stroke on May 11. AP, 6-28-10

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Six Senate candidates to watch in the dash for cashWaPo, 7-2-10
  • Ethnic Distinctions, No Longer So Distinctive: If anyone still doubted, after President Obama’s election, that candidates are no longer prisoners of their race or ethnicity, then South Carolina’s Nikki Haley offers further proof. Ms. Haley, 38, was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants. Now she is the Christian, Republican nominee for governor in a state with a brutal history of racial oppression. What’s notable about Ms. Haley’s campaign, like that of Mr. Obama and other candidates, is not just that she has breached a racial and cultural barrier, but that she doesn’t feel the need — or the desire — to talk much about it. “I love that people think it’s a good story, but I don’t understand how it’s different,” she recently told The New York Times. “I feel like I’m just an accountant and businessperson who wants to be a part of state government.”…. – NYT, 6-30-10
  • Illinois Senate candidates spar over BP ties: Senate rivals Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk attacked each other Wednesday over ties to unpopular oil company BP and which candidate is less trustworthy. With both candidates carrying heavy political baggage, attack ads are likely to play a big role throughout the campaign for the seat once held by President Barack Obama. A day after publicly apologizing for exaggerating his military accomplishments, Kirk released two attack ads…. – AP, 6-30-10
  • Bill Clinton endorses Romanoff: Former President Bill Clinton bucked the Obama administration Tuesday and endorsed former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, calling Colorado a better place because of his leadership in the legislature.
    “Andrew brings to this race both an extraordinary record of public service and an extraordinary capacity to lead,” he wrote. “I believe that those assets, as well as his deep commitment to Colorado, give him the best chance to hold this seat in November.”… – The Denver Post, 6-30-10


The President speaks at the American University School of   International Service

The President speaks at the American University School of International Service, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/1/10

  • Weekly Address: President Obama Touts Nearly $2 Billion in New Investments to Help Build a Clean Energy Economy
    Remarks of President Barack Obama Saturday, July 3, 2010 Weekly Address Washington, DC:
    Still, at a time when millions of Americans feel a deep sense of urgency in their own lives, Republican leaders in Washington just don’t get it. While a majority of Senators support taking these steps to help the American people, some are playing the same old Washington games and using their power to hold this relief hostage – a move that only ends up holding back our recovery. It doesn’t make sense.
    But I promised those folks in Wisconsin – and I promise all of you – that we won’t back down. We’re going to keep fighting to advance our recovery. And we’re going to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America.
    That’s one of the reasons why we’re accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and doubling our use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power – steps that have the potential to create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.
    In fact, today, I’m announcing that the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments to two solar companies…. – WH,
  • Obama announces $2 billion for solar power: President Barack Obama announced Saturday the awarding of nearly $2 billion for new solar plants that he said will create thousands of jobs and increase the country’s use of renewable energy sources. Obama disclosed the funding in his weekly radio and online address, saying it is part of his plan to bring new industries to the U.S. “We’re going to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America,” Obama said… – AP, 7-3-10
  • Remarks by the President on Comprehensive Immigration Reform American University School of International Service, Washington, D.C.:
    Now, once we get past the two poles of this debate, it becomes possible to shape a practical, common-sense approach that reflects our heritage and our values. Such an approach demands accountability from everybody – from government, from businesses and from individuals.
    Government has a threshold responsibility to secure our borders. That’s why I directed my Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano — a former border governor — to improve our enforcement policy without having to wait for a new law.
    Today, we have more boots on the ground near the Southwest border than at any time in our history. Let me repeat that: We have more boots on the ground on the Southwest border than at any time in our history. We doubled the personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces. We tripled the number of intelligence analysts along the border. For the first time, we’ve begun screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments. And as a result, we’re seizing more illegal guns, cash and drugs than in years past. Contrary to some of the reports that you see, crime along the border is down. And statistics collected by Customs and Border Protection reflect a significant reduction in the number of people trying to cross the border illegally.
    That’s why businesses must be held accountable if they break the law by deliberately hiring and exploiting undocumented workers. We’ve already begun to step up enforcement against the worst workplace offenders. And we’re implementing and improving a system to give employers a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally. But we need to do more. We cannot continue just to look the other way as a significant portion of our economy operates outside the law. It breeds abuse and bad practices. It punishes employers who act responsibly and undercuts American workers. And ultimately, if the demand for undocumented workers falls, the incentive for people to come here illegally will decline as well.
    Finally, we have to demand responsibility from people living here illegally. They must be required to admit that they broke the law. They should be required to register, pay their taxes, pay a fine, and learn English. They must get right with the law before they can get in line and earn their citizenship — not just because it is fair, not just because it will make clear to those who might wish to come to America they must do so inside the bounds of the law, but because this is how we demonstrate that being — what being an American means. Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with certain fundamental responsibilities. We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair, reflective of our values, and works.
    It was at this time that a young woman named Emma Lazarus, whose own family fled persecution from Europe generations earlier, took up the cause of these new immigrants. Although she was a poet, she spent much of her time advocating for better health care and housing for the newcomers. And inspired by what she saw and heard, she wrote down her thoughts and donated a piece of work to help pay for the construction of a new statue — the Statue of Liberty — which actually was funded in part by small donations from people across America.
    Years before the statue was built — years before it would be seen by throngs of immigrants craning their necks skyward at the end of long and brutal voyage, years before it would come to symbolize everything that we cherish — she imagined what it could mean. She imagined the sight of a giant statue at the entry point of a great nation -– but unlike the great monuments of the past, this would not signal an empire. Instead, it would signal one’s arrival to a place of opportunity and refuge and freedom. …
    Let us remember these words. For it falls on each generation to ensure that that lamp -– that beacon -– continues to shine as a source of hope around the world, and a source of our prosperity here at home. – WH, 7-1-10
  • President Obama says Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law is ‘ill conceived’: “I’m ready to move forward. The majority of Democrats are ready to move forward. And I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward,” Obama said. “But the fact is, without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem,” Obama told an audience of several hundred at American University.
    “No matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable,” Obama said.
    “Laws like Arizona’s put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that ultimately are unenforceable,” Obama lamented. “And as other states and localities go their own ways, we face the prospect that different rules for immigration will apply in different parts of the country – a patchwork of local immigration rules where we all know one clear national standard is needed,” he added.
    “The legal immigration system is as broken as the border,” he said. “It’s made worse by a failure of those of us in Washington to fix a broken immigration system.”… – NY Daily News, 7-1-10
  • Remarks: Obama at Racine, Wisconsin Town Hall June 30, 2010: As we speak, we’re on the verge of passing the most comprehensive financial reform since the Great Depression – reform that will prevent a crisis like this from happening again. It’s reform that will protect our economy from the recklessness and irresponsibility of a few. Reform that will protect consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. Reform that ensures taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes.
    But most of our friends in the other party are planning on voting against this reform. In fact, just yesterday, I was stunned to hear the leader of the Republicans in the House say that financial reform was like using a nuclear weapon to target an ant. That’s right. He compared the financial crisis to an ant. The same financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly eight million jobs. The same crisis that cost people their homes and their lives savings.
    Well if the Republican leader is that out of touch with the struggles facing the American people, he should come here to Racine and ask people if they think the financial crisis was an ant. He should ask the men and women who’ve been out of work for months at a time. He should ask the Americans who send me letters every night that talk about how they’re barely hanging on.
    These Americans don’t believe the financial crisis was an ant. They know that it’s what led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. And they expect their leaders in Washington to do whatever it takes to make sure a crisis like this never happens again. The Republican leader might want to maintain a status quo on Wall Street. But we want to move America forward…. – Time, 6-30-10
  • In Wisconsin, Obama criticizes GOP for blocking his economic agenda: The president visits Racine, a city where the recession has hit hard, to cite economic gains while acknowledging much work lies ahead — and arguing that Republican lawmakers are the chief obstacle.
    He also directed criticism at House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R- Ohio), who recently characterized a Wall Street overhaul package currently before Congress as “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.” “This is the same crisis that led to the loss of 8 million jobs,” Obama said to loud applause. He called Boehner “out of touch with the struggles of everyday families.”… – LAT, 7-1-10


  • Julian Zelizer: Gotcha politics gone wild: The Democratic National Committee has launched a new website where anyone can upload videos. Call this the political YouTube.
    The “accountability project,” as the DNC has named it, is an effort systematically to capture the kind of “Macaca” moment that brought down Republican Sen. George Allen in 2006 when he made racially tinged remarks at a rally. A more recent example is the video clip from a private fundraiser last week that captured Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele questioning the war in Afghanistan, comments that have prompted calls for Steele’s resignation.
    Democrats have gone a step further by institutionalizing the power of YouTube politics with the hope of finding clips that will damage Republicans.
    This is a terrible idea. Without question, the website will escalate the partisan arms race that exists to dominate the arena of gotcha politics. Republicans surely will replicate the site. While some video clips can certainly be useful and they can expose the egregious behavior of politicians, YouTube clips too often provide short visuals that lack context and are skewed for political purposes.
    Partisan politics have been on a downward slope for decades. The media have often made things worse as editorial control over the dissemination of information has eroded to a point that is beyond repair….
    But like the old media, the new media has many flaws. The new Democratic website reveals that the parties are now fully embracing the more dangerous aspects of the new technology rather than trying to contain them.
    The growing use of these videos will severely damage the ways in which we choose and evaluate our politicians, pushing citizens to focus more on gaffes and gotcha moments than on the issues and policies that don’t lend themselves to this format, but which are really the critical questions of our time. – CNN, 7-5-10
  • Andrew Bacevich: Long wars, violence and change in America: “Long wars are antithetical to democracy,” says Andrew Bacevich in a Washington Post op-ed. He is a retired Army colonel and professor of history at Boston University. “Protracted conflict introduces toxins that inexorably corrode the values of popular government,” he says. There is “a culture of contempt” for civilians in the ranks of the military. Bacevich concludes that Americans “need to reclaim ownership of their army.”… – OpEd News, 7-5-10
  • Craig Shirley: Barack Obama A Better President than Reagan? No Chance: Siena College has just released its annual ranking of America’s 44 presidents, and I was delighted to be among the 200 historians to be asked to participate in evaluating the chief executives…. Surely the bias of those surveyed was underscored with the nonsensical ranking of Barack Obama ahead of Ronald Reagan. First, Obama should not have even been included. He’s only been in office for a year and a half. Further, many have argued that sufficient time should pass before these evaluations begin and that even Bill Clinton and George W. Bush ought to be left off the list until passions have cooled and they can be judged more dispassionately. But objectively, how does one really put Obama ahead of Reagan, who unlike FDR, solved his economic calamity in two years (and in the process, tamed the high inflation, high interest rates and created 19 million jobs in the private sector) and, oh by way, won the Cold War. Reagan critics in academia argue that Mikhail Gorbachev and Reagan concluded the Cold War. Ridiculous…. – Fox News, 7-2-10

Happy 4th of July: Independence Day History & Facts


  • 4th of July: Facts about the Declaration of Independence:
    On July 2 the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain and on 4th of July 1776 the same Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Founding Fathers signed the document in August, after it was finished….
    Another fact about this important day in the United States of America’s history is that Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S President) and John Adams (2nd U.S. President) both died on 4th of July 1826, when the country was celebrating 50th anniversary of the signing.
    Although the capital city of the United States of America is Washington named after the great president, George Washington, the first U.S President, did not sign the Declaration of Independence because he was head of the Continental Army and no longer a member in the Continental Congress.
    The first anniversary resulted in a huge party in Philadelphia in 1777. There were fireworks, cannons, barbecues and toasts. – Providing News, 7-4-10
  • Thomas Jefferson made slip in Declaration: Library of Congress officials say Thomas Jefferson made a Freudian slip while penning a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence. In an early draft of the document Jefferson referred to the American population as “subjects,” replacing that term with the word “citizens,” which he then used frequently throughout the final draft. The document is normally kept under lock and key in one of the Library’s vaults. On Friday morning, the first time officials revealed the wording glitch, it traveled under police escort for a demonstration of the high-tech imaging. It was the first time in 15 years that the document was unveiled outside of its oxygen-free safe…. – A copy of the rough draft of the Declaration can be viewed online at http://www.myLOC.gov….- AP, 7-2-10

4th of July quotes: Best Independence Day quotes and sayings:

  • The United States is the only country with a known birthday. (James G. Blaine)
  • This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. (Elmer Davis)
  • Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. (Abraham Lincoln)
  • We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. (William Faulkner)
  • It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism. (J. Horace McFarland)
  • America is a tune. It must be sung together. (Gerald Stanley Lee)
  • The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic – have always blown on free men. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
  • Where liberty dwells, there is my country. (Benjamin Franklin)
  • Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world. (Woodrow Wilson) – Providing News, 7-4-10

July 10, 2009: Obama’s First 4th in the White House, Bush Celebrates in OK., Obama’s Meeting in Moscow, & G-8 Summit


President Obama and President Medvedev sign agreements


  • Voters’ Remorse — Is Baracklash on the Horizon? Since January Obama has failed to help many of his core supporters. Will they soon turn against him?: Call it Baracklash: so far, Barack Obama isn’t helping many people who voted for him in high percentages when he was elected president eight months ago. Fox News, 7-9-09
  • Obama Approval Drops by Double Digits in Ohio Poll: A new poll found that President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dropped by 13 percentage points from two months ago in Ohio, traditionally a critical swing state in presidential elections. The survey by Quinnipiac University released today showed 49 percent of Ohio voters approved of Obama’s job performance, down from 62 percent in a May 6 poll. The disapproval figure for Obama in the new poll was 44 percent, up from 31 percent in the May survey. The pollsters termed Obama’s ratings “lackluster” in a release, and said the numbers were his lowest marks “in any national or statewide Quinnipiac University poll since he was inaugurated.” – Bloomberg, 7-7-09
  • Obama kicks back for the Fourth Golf, cookout, rock concert mark president’s holiday: President Barack Obama took his own advice Saturday, relaxing on the Fourth of July with some golf, a cookout and a private Foo Fighters concert in the backyard, capped by the annual fireworks show on the National Mall. While Vice President Joe Biden celebrated with U.S. forces in Iraq, the president played host to 1,200 members of the military and their families at a White House barbecue. In his weekly radio and online video address, Obama called on Americans to celebrate the spirit of their national day with family and friends. “Kick back and enjoy a little time off,” he advised. “I hope that’s exactly what all of you do.”… – Baltimore Sun, 7-5-09


The President calls in to the H1N1 Flu Summit

Bill Branson, N.I.H. Photography, 7/9/09

H1N1 Summit

HHS opens a contest with a $2,500 prize for best H1N1 PSA video as the Administration holds an all-day summit on preparation.
Learn More
Watch the live-stream

G8 Group Photo

  • Obama to conclude summit talks, meet with pope: Global problems, Africa and the pope all figure in President Barack Obama’s day…. – AP, 7-10-09
  • Obama set for emotional visits to Vatican, Ghana: President Barack Obama is ending three days of often-wonkish policy discussions with fellow world leaders to embark on two of the most photogenic and emotional events of his young presidency: meeting the pope at the Vatican and becoming the first black American president to visit a mostly black African country. He was throwing in a televised news conference from Italy for good measure. Obama, his wife and daughters were to meet Pope Benedict XVI shortly before leaving Italy late Friday for Ghana. The two men have spoken by phone but not met before, aides say…. – AP, 7-10-09
  • NY Senate gets to work after resolving roadblock: New York’s Senate stalemate ended Thursday as it started 31 days ago, with a freshman Democrat convulsing the 62-seat house by switching sides and getting a powerful leadership post in the majority… Bronx Sen. Pedro Espada’s return to the Democratic conference gives Democrats a 32-30 majority for the first time since the June 8 coup. As part of the deal, Espada took the title of Senate majority leader…. – AP, 7-10-09
  • Despite Obama’s pledge, G-8 makes little headway on global warming: The president promises at the Italy G-8 summit that the U.S. will lead on climate change, but familiar obstacles — compounded by the global recession — produce familiar results…. – LAT, 7-9-09
  • Obama and Kadhafi shake hands: US President Barack Obama shook hands warmly on Thursday with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, long reviled in Washington. The landmark handshake took place as leaders from major economic powers and emerging nations prepared to take a group photo at a summit in L’Aquila, central Italy…. – AP, 7-9-09
  • Health care overhaul bill suffers another setback: The drive to remake the nation’s health care system suffered yet another setback in Congress on Thursday when a pivotal group of House Democrats demanded numerous changes in legislation the leadership was drafting on a fast track. The emerging bill “lacks a number of elements essential to preserving what works and fixing what is broken,” 40 members of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate to conservative Democrats wrote in a letter to party leaders. To win their support, they said, any legislation would need to be much more aggressive in reining in the growth of health care…. – AP, 7-9-09
  • Worst violence since US pullback hits Iraq: Bombs killed nearly 60 people in Iraq on Thursday in the worst violence since U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban areas last week, and American forces released five Iranian officials suspected of aiding Shiite insurgents. U.S. officials said they believe the Iranians, detained in northern Iraq in January 2007, had facilitated attacks on American-led forces but handed them over to the Iraqi government at its request because they were obliged to do so under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement. The U.S. State Department said it was concerned their release could present a security threat to American troops in Iraq…. – AP, 7-9-09
  • AP source: Burris won’t run for full Senate term: Sen. Roland Burris, whose deep ties to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich seemed to doom his Senate tenure from the start, will not run for a full Senate term in 2010. The move increases Democrats’ chances of holding on to the former Senate seat of President Barack Obama…. – AP, 7-9-09
  • US officials eye North Korea in cyber attack: U.S. authorities on Wednesday eyed North Korea as the origin of the widespread cyber attack that overwhelmed government Web sites in the United States and South Korea, although they warned it would be difficult to definitively identify the attackers quickly. The powerful attack that targeted dozens of government and private sites underscored how unevenly prepared the U.S. government is to block such multipronged assaults…. – AP, 7-9-09
  • Presidential records a time capsule of Bush years: Spread upon a table are a sampling of gifts to former President George W. Bush: a purse made of vines from the Thai queen, a Texas Rangers jersey autographed by pitcher Nolan Ryan and a framed mosaic of St. Peter’s Basilica from the pope. The gifts, documents and electronic records accumulated during Bush’s two terms have gone from the White House to a warehouse in suburban Dallas, just a few miles north of a turnpike named for his father. They will remain there until Bush’s $300 million presidential library — the nation’s 13th and the third in Texas — opens in 2013 on the Southern Methodist University campus near downtown Dallas. “It’s a wonderful eight-year time capsule,” said Jennifer M. Schulle, the registrar for the Bush library. “It’s everything that was going on — politically, personally and socially.”… – AP, 7-9-09
  • US, other wealthy nations vow global warming cuts: Targeting global warming, President Barack Obama and other leaders of the world’s richest industrial countries pledged Wednesday to seek dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to slow dangerous climate change. Setting a marker for success, they agreed for the first time that worldwide temperatures must not rise more than a few degrees…. – AP, 7-8-09
  • Near Tents and Ruins, G-8 Summit Meeting Opens: It had seemed an audacious choice: bringing the leaders of some of the world’s most industrialized countries to a city ravaged by an earthquake just three months before. But as so often happens in Italy, a country that appears to handle last-minute emergencies better than long-term planning, the Group of 8 summit meeting opened here on Wednesday without any glaring hitches.
    “We’re proud that we were able to pull off a miracle,” Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday evening at a news conference. ‘I thank everyone who agreed to move the venue here,” Mr. Berlusconi said, adding that world leaders said they were “happy” to come to L’Aquila, “the capital of grief.” – NYT, 7-8-09
  • PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama tax pledge unrealistic: President Barack Obama promised to fix health care and trim the federal budget deficit, all without raising taxes on anyone but the wealthiest Americans. It’s a promise he’s already broken and will likely have to break again. Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress have already increased tobacco taxes — which disproportionately hit the poor — to pay for extending health coverage to 4 million children in working low-income families. Now, lawmakers are looking for more revenues to help pay for providing medical insurance to millions more who lack it at a projected cost of $1 trillion over the next decade. The floated proposals include increasing taxes on alcohol, which could raise $62 billion over the next decade, and a new tax on sugary drinks such as soda, which could raise $52 billion…. – AP, 7-8-09
  • House Dems look at surtax on the wealthy: A plan to raise taxes on the wealthy is emerging as the leading option among House Democrats looking to finance health care legislation that President Barack Obama wants. Numerous officials say that under the proposal, an income tax surcharge would be imposed on individuals earning more than $200,000, with a higher threshold for couples…. – AP, 7-8-09
  • Obama, summit partners, eye intense global talks: President Barack Obama joined fellow world leaders in Italy Wednesday for talks on threats to global security and stability at a summit where climate change, a continuing global economic crisis, nuclear proliferation and world hunger took top billing. The G-8 meetings may lack the intrigue of Obama’s sit-downs earlier in the week with Russia’s top leaders, or the emotion of the reception the first black American president surely will get in Ghana Saturday. But they didn’t lack for ambition, on the surface at least, as the world’s most powerful officials discuss the problems threatening the planet. AP, 7-8-09
  • Mixed results for Obama’s first Moscow summit: For two days, President Barack Obama pressed the reset button with Russia. The results: He ended up getting the expected agreement on deep cuts in nuclear arsenals, but he is leaving Moscow with few assurances of Kremlin help in solving other issues key to his foreign policy agenda. He is also leaving behind a spark he hopes will blaze to life and thaw U.S. relations with a former superpower with a chip on its shoulder. But his two days of summitry produced no unexpected breakthroughs…. – AP, 7-7-09
  • Palin returns to work, defends decision to resign: Gov. Sarah Palin returned to the spotlight Tuesday with an appearance in a remote Arctic village where she stood by her perplexing decision to resign just as she tries to elevate her national profile ahead of a possible 2012 presidential run…. – AP, 7-7-09
  • Power of Stimulus Slow to Take Hold Rising Joblessness Blunts President’s Plan for Recovery: Five months after Congress approved a massive package of spending and tax cuts aimed at reviving an ailing economy, the jobless rate is still climbing and the White House is scrambling to reassure an anxious public that President Obama’s prescription for economic recovery is on the right track. Yesterday, Obama took time out of his first presidential trip to Moscow to defend the $787 billion stimulus package, arguing that the measure was the right medicine at the right time. “There’s nothing that we would have done differently,” he told ABC News…. – WaPo, 7-7-09
  • Democrats expand Senate control, yet splits remain: Democrats have potential to clear Republican hurdles. Obama still faces challenges in passing major measures. Democrats achieved their biggest majority in the U.S. Senate in decades on Tuesday as Al Franken of Minnesota finally took his seat — but President Barack Obama will still have to fight hard to muster the votes to pass healthcare reform and other major initiatives…. – Reuters, 7-7-09
  • Reading (Too Much?) Into Palin’s Resignation: Unanticipated events in politics — say, for example, Sarah Palin’s announcement that she was quitting as governor of Alaska — tend to be overanalyzed, imbued with more motive, forethought and political calculus than might really be there…. – NYT, 7-7-09
  • Bush gives Oklahoma town a special Fourth of July: The July Fourth celebration here featured all the food and revelry you would expect of a small-town holiday event. Swing sets and shaved ice. Root beer in corked bottles. Brass bands and bunting. Yet this remote city in western Oklahoma also won the lottery when it came to the headliner for “Let Freedom Ring 2009”: George W. Bush. The Woodward visit represents the latest example of Bush’s tendency to limit his public appearances to friendly venues…. – The Dallas Morning News, 7-6-09
  • Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara dies at 93: Robert S. McNamara, the brainy Pentagon chief who directed the escalation of the Vietnam War despite private doubts the war was winnable or worth fighting, died Monday at 93. McNamara revealed his misgivings three decades after the American defeat that some called “McNamara’s war.” “We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of our country. But we were wrong. We were terribly wrong,” McNamara told The Associated Press in 1995, the year his best-selling memoir appeared…. – AP, 7-6-09
  • US Congress back to wrestle with healthcare reform: Health care overhaul still faces big obstacles. Congress begins month of intensive healthcare work. Plan’s cost remains crucial factor…. After a week of holiday barbecues and hometown parades, the U.S. Congress returned to work on Monday to face what could be the year’s most severe test — finding common ground on a huge and costly U.S. healthcare overhaul…. – Reuters, 7-6-09
  • Health-Care Plan May Not Pass Senate by August, Grassley Says: Congress will probably complete a health-care overhaul this year, though the Senate is unlikely to complete consideration of a measure by the August recess as planned, the Senate Finance Committee’s top Republican said. “We might get it out of committee by the August recess,” Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television…. – Bloomberg, 7-6-09
  • A Busy Week Ahead as Senate Starts Work on Climate Bill: The Senate climate debate cranks up this week with a series of hearings and high-level meetings aimed at producing legislation that can be matched up with last month’s House-passed bill…. – NYT, 7-6-09
  • GOP: Dems have closed door on open government But Democrats say progress being made toward transparency: To many Republicans, that June 26 energy policy legislation will be remembered as the 1,400-page bill that broke the camel’s back. After Democratic promises to run the most open and transparent Congress in history, Republicans say they are stunned by the number of closed-off debates over legislation, including spending bills, and the lack of time to actually see, let alone read, measures before the House votes…. – Salt Lake Tribune, 7-5-09
  • Obama to meet powerful Putin for first time: U.S. President Barack Obama meets Russia’s most powerful politician, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, for the first time on Tuesday as part of a trip designed to improve relations between the world’s top nuclear powers. Obama’s meeting with the former KGB spy follows talks on Monday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that produced agreements on a target for cuts in nuclear arms and a deal to let U.S. troops fly across Russia to fight in Afghanistan. On the second day of his visit to Russia, Obama is also due to deliver a major speech on democracy, the global economy and the U.S.-Russian relationship…. – Reuters, 7-6-09
  • Obama seeks new start in sagging US-Russia ties: Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev end a seven-year hiatus in U.S.-Russian summitry on Monday, with each declaring his determination to further cut nuclear arsenals and repair a badly damaged relationship…. – AP, 7-5-09
  • Alaskans Consider Palin’s Legacy As She Prepares to Leave Office: In November 2006, as Sarah Palin celebrated her gubernatorial victory at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, she told the crowd she would bring a “new energy” to the governor’s office, stand up to “Big Oil” and usher in a new era of ethical reforms. But less than three years later, Palin is calling it quits, and Alaskans offer mixed assessments of her legacy as she steps down with 18 months left in her term. – WaPo, 7-6-09
  • Top Republicans puzzled by Palin’s abrupt resignation: Sarah Palin has no intention of retiring from public life, the soon-to-be ex-Alaska governor’s spokeswoman said Sunday, but top Republicans are expressing befuddlement at the decision by one of the party’s leading presidential prospects to give up her job… – USA Today, 7-5-09
  • Observers: Palin resignation cuts losses in Alaska: Ever since Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin returned from the presidential campaign trail, many Alaskans felt her heart wasn’t in the job…. – AP, 7-5-09
  • Sarah Palin not under FBI investigation, agency spokesman says: The former GOP vice presidential candidate’s surprise resignation as Alaska governor had set off speculation, including rumors of a pending federal corruption probe or charges. – LAT, 7-4-09
  • Palin Resigning Governor’s Job; Future Unclear: At a Friday news conference, Gov. Palin said, “I am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional.” Ms. Palin, 45, the Republican vice-presidential nominee last year, was supposed to serve through the end of 2010; she said she would cede control of the state to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell on July 25. – NYT, 7-3-09
  • Text: Palin’s Announcement: Transcript of Sarah Palin’s speech on Friday in Wasilla, Alaska, as she announced that she would be resigning as governor, as recorded by The New York Times – NYT, 7-3-09
  • Hillary Clinton tougher on Iran than political-straddler Obama: While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocated a stronger U.S. response to the beating and killing of protesting Iranians, President Obama resisted. When he finally at least said he was appalled and outraged by the Iranian government behavior, it was long after both England and France had condemned it. Always the egotist, Obama did not even let Clinton know that he was finally going to speak out and took the action without informing her. The situation was one more piece evidence of Obama’s weak-kneed response when it came to standing up to tyrants around the world. It was a reminder of his shaking hands and accepting a book from Chavez and his willingness to talk with other U.S. enemies without preconditions. And his bow in Saudia Arabia is not to be forgotten…. – Examiner, 7-3-09
  • Washington Post says publishers’ conference won’t be held: The Washington Post asked lobbyists and business leaders to pay $25,000 to attend a dinner discussion with government officials and journalists at the home of its publisher, and then canceled the event after the invitations became public. The newspaper’s executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, said Thursday that no one in the newsroom had vetted the invitation and its journalists would not participate. “The Washington Post’s name is not for sale,” Brauchli said. “The Washington Post’s reputation is not for sale.”… – AP, 7-2-09
  • Obama says he gets daily prayers on his BlackBerry: President Barack Obama says he gets a prayer every morning on his BlackBerry. Obama told reporters from religious news organizations on Thursday that White House faith director Joshua DuBois sends him a morning devotional every day to his e-mail device. He says it’s a “wonderful practice” that started during the campaign…. – AP, 7-2-09

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Cahill to leave Democratic party, set himself up for independent run: State Treasurer Tim Cahill this week will change his political party designation from Democrat to unenrolled, the first step in mounting an independent challenge to Democratic governor Deval Patrick in the 2010 general election, two advisers said today…. – Boston Globe, 7-6-09
  • Romney Emerges as Top Issues Play to His Strength: Most Republicans have just finished what might be called the spring of their discontent. Not much went right in the first half of the year; not much to cheer about. But not Mitt Romney. For this unsuccessful 2008 Republican presidential contender, it is hard to imagine how events could be moving more decisively in his favor in 2009. One can almost hear him wondering: Why didn’t things break this way last year? WSJ, 7-5-09
  • Bill Clinton to appear at Maloney fundraiser: Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s plan to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary next year will get a surprising boost later this month: a fundraiser headed by Bill Clinton. The former president is scheduled to raise money for the Manhattan Democrat on July 20 – despite the efforts of President Barack Obama and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to clear the field for Gillibrand…. – Newsday, 7-2-09
  • Maine Dems circle GOP contender over stylized ‘O’: O, boy. The executive director of the Democratic Party in Maine is accusing a Republican who’s considering a run for governor of stealing the stylized “O” from President Barack Obama’s Web site. Arden Manning says Les Otten’s “O” is a close copy of one on the Obama Web site…. – AP, 7-2-09


  • Palin Post-Resignation: “I Am Not a Quitter; I Am a Fighter”: “I am not a quitter; I am a fighter,” Palin said to CNN while on a family fishing trip in Dillingham, Alaska. Palin granted interviews with select media outlets to explain her decision to step down from office. “I want to help Alaska in different venues, on a different level,” she said. – TV Guide, 7-7-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT THE NEW ECONOMIC SCHOOL GRADUATION Gostinny Dvor Moscow, Russia: That’s why I have called for a “reset” in relations between the United States and Russia. This must be more than a fresh start between the Kremlin and the White House — though that is important and I’ve had excellent discussions with both your President and your Prime Minister. It must be a sustained effort among the American and Russian people to identify mutual interests, and expand dialogue and cooperation that can pave the way to progress. – White House, 7-7-09
  • How Obama speech sounds to Russian ears: What President Obama said to a Moscow audience and what Russia’s political elite heard were not necessarily one and the same — even when his words sought to reassure.
    I know Russia opposes the planned configuration for missile defense in Europe. And my administration is reviewing these plans to enhance the security of America, Europe and the world. And I’ve made it clear that this system is directed at preventing a potential attack from Iran. It has nothing to do with Russia. In fact, I want to work together with Russia on a missile defense architecture that makes us all safer. But if the threat from Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs is eliminated, the driving force for missile defense in Europe will be eliminated, and that is in our mutual interest.’
    ‘It is our commitment to certain universal values which allows us to correct our imperfections, to improve constantly and to grow stronger over time. Freedom of speech and assembly has allowed women, minorities and workers to protest for full and equal rights at a time when they were denied. The rule of law and equal administration of justice has busted monopolies, shut down political machines that were corrupt and ended abuses of power. . . . Competitive elections allow us to change course and hold our leaders accountable. . . . Governments which serve their own people survive and thrive; governments which serve only their own power do not.’
    ‘State sovereignty must be a cornerstone of international order. Just as all states should have the right to choose their leaders, states must have the right to borders that are secure, and to their own foreign policies. That is true for Russia, just as it is true for the United States. Any system that cedes those rights will lead to anarchy. That is why we must apply this principle to all nations — and that includes nations like Georgia and Ukraine. America will never impose a security arrangement on another country.’ – LAT, 7-7-09
  • PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV OF RUSSIA The Kremlin Moscow, Russia: We’ve just concluded a very productive meeting. As President Medvedev just indicated, the President and I agreed that the relationship between Russia and the United States has suffered from a sense of drift. We resolved to reset U.S.-Russian relations, so that we can cooperate more effectively in areas of common interest. Today, after less than six months of collaboration, we’ve done exactly that by taking concrete steps forward on a range of issues, while paving the way for more progress in the future. And I think it’s particularly notable that we’ve addressed the top priorities — these are not second-tier issues, they are fundamental to the security and the prosperity of both countries…. – White House, 7-6-09
  • No joke: Al Franken takes his new job seriously: “I think they’ll get to used to the idea that I’m a senator, that I’ve kind of changed careers,” Franken said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I just don’t think it will take that long. They’ll see what I do and what I say. Mainly I’m going to put my head down and get to work.”… “As someone who will have been in the committee a grand total of six days and isn’t an attorney, I kind of see myself fulfilling a certain role for Americans watching the hearings,” he said. Franken also said he is looking forward to getting involved in health care legislation and wants to play a role in crafting legislation that contains costs. “It is unsustainable the way we are going,” he said. – AP, 7-6-09
  • Bush Jokes About Retirement, Describes Courage as Key to American Spirit Former President George W. Bush looked back as far as the signers of the Declaration of Independence and as recently as the U.S. soldiers fighting wars abroad as examples of the patriotism and bravery that define Americans: “Patriotism comes in all different kinds of forms,” said the president, who noted a 60-year-old man from Nevada who got a waiver to enroll in the military after his son was killed in Iraq. The man is now serving as a Navy medic.
    “They did the right thing even when it was hard. They did the brave thing even when risky. They did the noble thing even when many others would not,” the president said….
    Having recently returned to Dallas, which he now calls home, Bush said he told his wife that he was “free at last.” “She says, ‘Yeah, you are free to take out the garbage and free to mow the lawn.,'” Bush joked. “I said ‘wait a minute, you’re talking to the former president.’ And she said, ‘Well, consider that your new domestic policy agenda.'” – Fox News, 7-5-09
  • Obama’s backyard bash: Welcome to the White House. (Applause.) And happy Fourth of July. Michelle and I are honored and proud to have you here on the Fourth. And we’re humbled to be joined up here by heroes — men and women who went beyond the call of duty in battle, some selflessly risking their lives again and again so that others might live. True to form, they — like all of you — say they were just doing their job. That’s what makes you the best of us, and that’s why we simply want to say thank you to each and every one of you for your extraordinary service to our country.
    We’re joined in that sentiment by Vice President Joe Biden, who, as many of you know, is marking Independence Day with troops in Iraq; and Jill Biden, who’s spending it with military families in Germany.
    I should say that there’s also one girl in particular who’s just thrilled that all of you are here — and that is Malia Obama, because this happens to be her birthday, as well. (Applause.) When she was younger, I used to say that all these fireworks were for her. (Laughter.) I’m not sure she still buys that, but even if this backyard is a little bit unique, our gathering tonight is not so different from gatherings that are taking place all across the country, in parks and fields and backyards all across America. In small towns and big cities, folks are firing up grills, laughing with family and friends, and laying out a blanket in preparation for the big show. They’re reliving the simple, unmistakable joys of being an American….
    But I want to say this to all of you: You have done everything that has been asked of you. The United States of America is proud of you. I’m proud to be your Commander-in-Chief. And that’s why, this Fourth of July, I renew my pledge to each and every one of you — that for as long as I have that immeasurable honor, you will always have the equipment and support you need to get the job done. Your families will always be a priority of Michelle’s and mine, and remain on our hearts and on our minds. And when our service members do return home, it will be to an America that always welcomes them home with the care that they were promised.
    It is, after all, your service — the service of generations of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — that makes our annual celebration of this day possible. It’s your service that proves that our founding ideals remain just as powerful and alive in our third century as a nation as they did on that first Fourth of July. And it is your service that guarantees that the United States of America shall forever remain the last, best hope on Earth. – Politico, 7-4-09
  • Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House July 4, 2009: Hello and Happy Fourth of July, everybody. This weekend is a time to get together with family and friends, kick back, and enjoy a little time off. And I hope that’s exactly what all of you do. But I also want to take a moment today to reflect on what I believe is the meaning of this distinctly American holiday.
    Today, we are called to remember not only the day our country was born – we are also called to remember the indomitable spirit of the first American citizens who made that day possible.
    We are called to remember how unlikely it was that our American experiment would succeed at all; that a small band of patriots would declare independence from a powerful empire; and that they would form, in the new world, what the old world had never known – a government of, by, and for the people…. – White House, 7-4-09
  • Mike Huckabee: Palin May Not Be Able To Handle Pressure Of Presidential Run: But her reason for resigning — that she was dogged by critics who cost her state millions in legal fees 00 will be a liability for her if she seeks the White House, Huckabee said. “If that had been the case for me, I would’ve quit in my first month,” said Huckabee. If she’s looking to be a national political figure, it’s not going to get easier, he said. “In a primary this is going to be an issue she’ll have to face. Will she be able to withstand the pressure?” he asked. Huckabee and Rove appeared on “Fox News Sunday.” – Huff Post, 7-5-09
  • Colin Powell worries Obama tackling too much: Colin Powell worries that President Barack Obama is trying to tackle too many big issues at one time and he offers this advice: take a hard look at costs and consider the additional red tape that will be created. “The right answer is, ‘Give me a government that works,'” the former secretary of state said in a television interview to be aired Sunday. “Keep it as small as possible,” added Powell, who said he has spoken recently with Obama and stays in touch with him.
    “I think one of the cautions that has to be given to the president — and I’ve talked to some of his people about this — is that you can’t have so many things on the table that you can’t absorb it all. And we can’t pay for it all,” Powell said. “And I never would have believed that we would have budgets that are running into the multi-trillions of dollars, and we are amassing a huge, huge national debt that, if we don’t pay for in our lifetime, our kids and grandkids and great grandchildren will have to pay for it.” In the interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” that is to air Sunday, Powell said he hasn’t changed his mind. “Keep it as small as possible. Keep the tax burden on the American people as small as possible, but at the same time, have government that is solving the problems of the people,” he said. He said Obama “has to start really taking a very, very hard look at what the cost of all this is. And, how much additional bureaucracy and will it be effective bureaucracy.” AP, 7-4-09Gen. Colin Powell expresses alarm about Obama spending: In an interview to be broadcast on CNN’s “State of the Union with John King” Sunday, July 5, 2009, Powell expressed concern that Obama’s ambitious iniatives may be enlarging the size of government and that the federal debt it too much. He said: “I’m concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them.” Powell also said that, in regard to Obama’s spending; “…And we can’t pay for it all.” – Examiner.com, 7-3-09
  • Obama confident in recovery despite jobs report: The government reported that employers cut a larger-than-expected 467,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate climbed to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent.
    “And I’m absolutely confident that we can, at this period of difficulty, prove, once again, what this nation can achieve when challenged,” Obama said in the Rose Garden after a meeting with executives from energy companies.
    “Obviously, this is little comfort to all those Americans who have lost their jobs,” he said.
    “So these companies are vivid examples of the kind of future we can create,” the president said Thursday in the Rose Garden, flanked by energy industry leaders. “But it’s now up to the Senate to continue the work that was begun in the House to forge this more prosperous future. We’re going to need to set aside the posturing and the politics, and when we put aside the old ideological debates, then our choice is clear.” He added: “It’s a choice between slow decline and renewed prosperity. It’s a choice between the past and the future.” – AP, 7-3-09
  • Obama: Court leaves room for affirmative action: President Barack Obama said Thursday the Supreme Court is “moving the ball” to limit affirmative action, but he stressed that its ruling in favor of white firefighters still allows employers and educators to take race into account in hiring, promotions and admissions.
    “This was a very narrow case, so it’s hard to gauge where they will take it,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press. The president said the city might have prevailed if it “had thought through how it was going to approach the issue ahead of time and said, ‘We think merit and highly qualified firefighters are absolutely important. That doesn’t contradict our desire to make sure that there is diversity in a city that’s 60 percent black and Hispanic. Let’s design promotion approaches that reconcile those two things.'” Instead, Obama said, “I think what people instinctively, probably, reacted to on that particular case had more to do with the fact that the people that studied for those tests already had a set of expectations that were thwarted.” – AP, 7-2-09
  • Hillary Clinton delivers remarks on 4 July holiday: “For Americans, the 4th of July is a day to reconnect with loved ones, to remember our history, and to renew our commitment to democracy, tolerance, and justice. As President [Barack] Obama said in Cairo last month, these are not just American values, these are core principles we share with people everywhere. So it is fitting that we open our doors and share this day with our friends and neighbors around the world,” said Clinton. “We all share responsibility for working together to ensure a more peaceful and prosperous future,” she said, adding: “So I hope that today’s celebration will become tomorrow’s partnership.” – Wsashington TV, 7-2-09
  • SC gov’s wife may be able to forgive affair: South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford says she may be able to forgive her husband’s much-publicized affair with an Argentine woman, but true reconciliation will take more time. In a statement e-mailed to reporters Thursday, Jenny Sanford called her husband’s behavior inexcusable but said she may be able to give him another chance. It was her first public remark since Gov. Mark Sanford told The Associated Press that Maria Belen Chapur is his soul mate but he is trying to fall back in love with his wife. “Forgiveness opens the door for Mark to begin to work privately, humbly and respectfully toward reconciliation with me,” she said. “However, to achieve true reconciliation will take time, involve repentance, and will not be easy.” – AP, 7-2-09
  • INTERVIEW OF THE PRESIDENT BY ALLAFRICA.COM Blue Room July 2, 2009: Q We asked visitors to our site, AllAfrica.com, what they might be interested in with respect to your policy. And as you might imagine, the responses are everywhere: conflict resolution, development issues, trade issues, et cetera. But they and we have one immediate question: How is it that you happened to pick Ghana as the first place to visit in sub-Saharan Africa?
    THE PRESIDENT: Well, part of the reason is because that Ghana has now undergone a couple of successful elections in which power was transferred peacefully, even a very close election. I think that the new President, President Mills, has shown himself committed to the rule of law, to the kinds of democratic commitments that ensure stability in a country. And I think that there is a direct correlation between governance and prosperity. Countries that are governed well, that are stable, where the leadership recognizes that they are accountable to the people and that institutions are stronger than any one person have a track record of producing results for the people. And we want to highlight that…. – White House, 7-2-09


The President gives an interview to AllAfrica.com
(President Barack Obama gives an interview to AllAfrica.com in advance of a major speech in Ghana on Thursday, July 2, 2009. Official White House Photo, Pete Souza)
  • Julian Zelizer “Commentary: Democrats should act now”: Democrats are elated because Sen. Al Franken, former comedian and radio host, is finally coming to town. The gates of political heaven seemed to open when former Sen. Norm Coleman finally conceded.
    During his much awaited victory speech, the senator-elect said that “I am not going to waste this chance.”
    With that statement, Franken started his senatorial career with an important message to his colleagues. Without any doubt, 60 votes in the filibuster-happy Senate is a lot better than 59.
    With 60 votes, a united Democratic Party can obtain cloture and end attempted Republican filibusters. But the problem is that 60 votes does not make the Senate “filibuster-proof.”
    That would require 60 votes, plus Democrats sticking together….
    Without compromise by both sides, a moment of unusual opportunity can quickly disappear…. As the 2010 midterms move closer, Democrats must realize these are the best legislative conditions that they might encounter in the next four to eight years. – CNN, 7-6-09
  • Douglas Brinkley “Hussein’s Gun May Go on Display at Bush Library”: Douglas Brinkley, an author and history professor at Rice University, said the pistol opened a psychological window into Mr. Bush’s view of his presidency. “It represents this Texas notion of the white hats taking out the black hats and keeping the trophy,” Mr. Brinkley said. “It’s a True West magazine kind of pulp western mentality. For President Bush, this pistol represents his greatest moment of triumph, like the F.B.I. keeping Dillinger’s gun. He wants people generations from now to see the gun and say, ‘He got the bad guy.'” Mr. Bush once said his favorite biography was of Sam Houston, the Texas hero who would have kept a gun from a vanquished enemy, Mr. Brinkley said. The fact that Mr. Hussein’s gun was unloaded was an amazing “irony,” he added. – NYT, 7-6-09
  • Thomas Whalen Analysis: Why is Sarah Palin resigning?: More than seven months after the presidential election, former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is sending shockwaves through the political world. Palin announced today that she is stepping down at the end of the month. There has been a lot of speculation that she may run for president in 2012. Thomas Whalen, a presidential historian and Boston University professor joins NECN for more on the announcement…. – NECN, 7-3-09
  • Diane Ravitch, Historian of education, NYU and Brookings: Sarah Palin is so yesterday. Frankly the blood sport of baiting Palin got tiresome. How much more mileage can the media wring out of this woman? She is just not that interesting, and the campaign of 2008 is over. Really over. Politico, 7-5-09
  • Julian E. Zelizer, Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton: Governor Palin’s decision is very revealing of how she understands the “executive leadership” qualities that she and Republicans boasted about on the campaign trail. If the going gets tough–or is no longer interesting– just quit. If Palin does run for president, her supporters, and the nation, better keep a close eye on her vice presidential running mate because who knows how long she would want to stay on the job before deciding to move on. Her Republican primary opponents will certainly have more than enough to talk about with voters. – Politico, 7-5-09
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin “Barack Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard days to come”: The Obamas face a similar situation that the Clintons did: Neither have their own vacation home or estate. “Unlike FDR, who had Hyde Park, or Lyndon Johnson or George W. Bush who had their own ranches, they need to find a place where they can relax, which the others did by going to their own homes,” said author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. The presidential getaway is no small matter: The off-hours have given shape to the imagery of the presidency. Ronald Reagan cultivated a sun-baked masculinity by spending time at Rancho del Cielo, his California ranch. “Once, when an aide told President Reagan that it might be better if he didn’t go to his ranch so much, he said: ‘You can tell me a lot of things, but you can’t tell me that,'” said Goodwin…. Politico, 7-5-09
  • BARBARA HOWARD: The Politics of Blackness: You say why Republican party; I say why not?: Whenever I see Democrats revise history, I don’t know whether to laugh at how uninformed they are or be afraid at how much they lie. I tend to be more afraid because the desired end result is to discredit the Republican Party, keeping black folk loyal to the Democratic Party.
    So when I read in Leonard Pitts’ Miami Herald column, “GOP blind to its race problem,” that “the modern GOP was created in 1965 with a stroke of Lyndon Johnson’s pen,” I couldn’t help but laugh. I would hope that Pitts would have done his homework to realize that he had stretched the truth so far as to be unrecognizable.
    He wrote about an aide to Tennessee State Senator Diane Black (R), sending a distasteful email about Obama, accusing her and most of the party (as usual) of racism, calling them “weasels in elephants’ clothes.”
    But instead of remaining silent, Frances Rice, president of the National Black Republican Association (NBRA) set P itts straight. In her article, “Democrats’ Racial Hypocrisy,” she quotes Gerald Alexander, who refutes the argument that all the racist Democrats crossed over to the Republican Party in “The Myth of the Racist Republicans.”
  • She also quotes the Rev. Wayne Perryman, who in “Unfounded Loyalty” gives the Democrats’ history in slavery, segregation and socialism. Unfortunately, blacks blindly joined the Democratic Party because of their complete ignorance of its actual civil rights record. They only know the fabricated one…. – South Florida Times, 7-3-09

South Lawn on 4th (The view of the South Lawn of the White House as the Foo Fighters performed on July 4, 2009. Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

President and First Lady watch fireworks

(President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the White House on July 4, 2009. Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

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