Today is the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend. Take advantage. Watch some football. Eat some leftover turkey and pumpkin pie. We apparently have a big day tomorrow.
For tomorrow is the first day of December. It marks the first day of the last full calendar month before Barack Obama officially takes the reins of government. (If you’re an extremist right winger, I guess it also marks the first day of the “War on Christmas.” Good luck with that. Somehow, Christmas seems to survive year after year despite all your whines and whimpers.) But back to the business at hand… Word is out that a big press conference is planned for the morrow. President-Elect Obama will be announcing several major nominations including:
Secretary of State
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
National Security Adviser
Director of National Intelligence
Ambassador to the United Nations
Word on the street is that these people, in order, will be nominated to the above positions: Hillary Clinton, Janet Napolitano, Eric Holder, Jim Jones, Dennis Blair, Susan Rice and Robert Gates. There are two names there with which I do not agree; the rest I think are excellent choices. But then I told you that Barack and I would not agree on everything.
All of these nominations are, of course, subject to Senate confirmation.
News has been kind of slow the past couple of days. I guess everyone is still busy trying to metabolize tryptophan.
There was that terrible mess in India. It still kind of amazes me that with all the intelligence we supposedly have around the globe that everybody was caught by surprise like that. Perhaps if we were fighting the war against terrorism the way it should be fought… but that’s another story for another time.
President-Elect Obama skipped his weekly radio/YouTube message today. No, that’s not right. He didn’t skip it. He delivered it early in honor of the holiday. It’s back here.
This article from today’s New York Times was interesting. Barack Obama may be the first president to have legislation sitting on his desk awaiting his signature when he returns from the Inauguration…
WASHINGTON — Democratic Congressional leaders and the nascent Obama administration are moving quickly to assert control over federal policy, aiming to have economic, health and spending legislation waiting on the new president’s desk almost the minute he gets back down Pennsylvania Avenue from the inauguration.
Given the severity of the problems facing the nation, officials on Capitol Hill and in the Obama team say Democrats have put their schedule on fast-forward rather than allowing the usual lull between the start of the new Congress, this time on Jan. 6, and President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing-in two weeks later.
Lawmakers and staff members are already laying the groundwork for a running start, and Congress is scheduled to remain in session once its expanded Democratic majorities are sworn in.
That’s some good news. I’m glad everybody seems ready to buckle down and get to work. There’s a lot of work to be done.
A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday when “out-of-control” shoppers desperate for bargains broke down the doors at a 5 a.m. sale. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers shouted angrily and kept shopping when store officials said they were closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.
At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries, and the store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.
Shoppers stepped over the man on the ground and streamed into the store. When told to leave, they complained that they had been in line since Thursday morning.
Nassau police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the store doors at the mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the man, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour of Queens, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.
Welcome to the day-after-Thanksgiving edition of Friday Night Cartoons. If you are one of the ones who are brave enough to venture out into the malls today, please be careful out there. Here are the cartoons for this week. Click and enjoy…
As always, our thanks go to the talented and observant cartoonists who, each week, help us smile through the pain.
NBC’s Today Show did an interesting segment this morning questioning whether the United States now has two presidents…
President-Elect Obama has, from the day after his election, insisted that the United States has only one president at a time and that until January 20, 2009 that president is George W. Bush. However, given the seriousness of the economic crisis in which the country is now mired and the inadequacy of the man currently residing in the White House, the President-Elect has had little choice but to step up to the plate. It is to his credit that he has been able to do so in such a confident, competent and reassuring manner.
We have “only one President at a time,” Barack Obama said in his debut press conference as President-elect. Normally, that would be a safe assumption — but we’re learning not to assume anything as the charcoal-dreary economic winter approaches. By mid-November, with the financial crisis growing worse by the day, it had become obvious that one President was no longer enough (at least not the President we had). So, in the days before Thanksgiving, Obama began to move — if not to take charge outright, then at least to preview what things will be like when he does take over in January. He became a more public presence, taking questions from the press three days in a row. He named his economic team. He promised an enormous stimulus package that would somehow create 2.5 million new jobs, and began to maneuver the new Congress toward having the bill ready for him to sign — in a dramatic ceremony, no doubt — as soon as he assumes office.
That we have slightly more than one President for the moment is mostly a consequence of the extraordinary economic times. Even if George Washington were the incumbent, the markets would want to know what John Adams was planning to do after his Inauguration. And yet this final humiliation seems particularly appropriate for George W. Bush. At the end of a presidency of stupefying ineptitude, he has become the lamest of all possible ducks.[..]
In the end, though, it will not be the creative paralysis that defines Bush. It will be his intellectual laziness, at home and abroad. Bush never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and regulation that was necessary to make markets work. He never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and equity that was necessary to maintain the strong middle class required for both prosperity and democracy. He never considered the complexities of the cultures he was invading. He never understood that faith, unaccompanied by rigorous skepticism, is a recipe for myopia and foolishness. He is less than President now, and that is appropriate. He was never very much of one.
Barbara Walters went to Chicago last night and sat down with Barack and Michelle Obama for an interview that will air on a special edition of ABC’s 20/20 tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. Central time.
Barbara visited with Robin Roberts on this morning’s Good Morning America and discussed the interview. She even offered a few sneak peaks…
The preceding was a non-paid viewing alert. I usually enjoy Barbara’s interviews. Whatever you may say or think about her, she is a very talented interviewer. She really knows how to get people to open up. This interview with the future First Couple should be interesting and fun to watch.
P.S. This note especially for my friends on the right… “Rosie Live” airs on NBC tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central time. I know you won’t want to miss it!
Modeled on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to provide an independent voice on intelligence issues, the new Economic Recovery Advisory Board will be charged with offering independent, nonpartisan information, analysis, and advice to the President as he formulates and implements his plans for economic recovery. The Economic Recovery Advisory Board will provide regular briefings to the President, Vice President and their economic team. The Board will be established initially for a two-year term, after which the President will make a determination on whether to continue its existence based on its continued necessity.
Here, in the event that you missed it, is video of this morning’s press conference:
President-Elect Obama’s opening remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below the fold.
President-Elect Obama held another press conference in Chicago today — his second in as many days — to talk about the economy. He named Peter Orszag to head the White House Office of Management and Budget and Rob Nabors to serve as Orszag’s deputy.
It is clear that the President-Elect wants to assure a jittery nation that his administration will be ready and able to tackle our economic crisis from the first day they are in office and that they are taking steps right now to lay the groundwork for the work that needs to be done.
Mr. Obama has also invited that governors of all 50 states to meet with him in Philadelphia this coming Tuesday. The topic of discussion will of course be the economy and how the states and the federal government can work together to solve the crisis in which we now find ourselves.
Here is video of the press conference. The full text of the President-Elect’s opening remarks, as prepared for delivery, is below the fold.
President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden officially announced key members of their economic team today, naming Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury and Lawrence Summers as Director of the National Economic Council. Obama and Biden also named as Christina Romer Chair of the Council of Economic advisors, and named Melody Barnes and Heather Higginbottom to serve as Director and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
Timothy Geithner currently serves as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he has played a key role in formulating the nation’s monetary policy. He joined the Department of the Treasury in 1988 and has served three presidents. From 1999 to 2001, he served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. Following that post he served as director of the Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund until 2003. Geithner is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Lawrence Summers is currently the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University. Summers served as 71st Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001 and as president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006. Before being appointed Secretary, Summers served as Deputy and Under Secretary of the Treasury and as the World Bank’s top economist. Summers has taught economics at Harvard and MIT, and is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the American economist under 40 judged to have made the most significant contribution to economics. Summers played a key advisory role during the 2008 presidential campaign.
More information on the other appointees can be found at the link at the top of the post.
Needless to say, these folks have their work cut out for them.
The text of President-Elect Obama’s remarks at the opening of this morning’s press conference is below the fold…