Posts tagged Barack Obama
Roger Von Bergendorff was more than a lone wolf. He was a strange, distempered wolf. Often sick as a dog, he was over $6,000 behind on his rent in La Mesa, California. He finally found refuge in his mid 50s in a Riverton, Utah house owned by his cousin, Thomas Tholen.
Riverton is a suburb, maybe even exurb, of Salt Lake City. It has “horse properties”, most near the titular Jordan River (note the Exodus theme so popular in Utah), tract homes, and plenty of ranch-style homes built in the 1950s when this was the outer edge of homes in the Salt Lake Valley. The only IKEA for 400 miles in any direction is not far away. If the traffic isn’t bad, it’s about 15 minutes to downtown and maybe 30 minutes to some of the finest skiing in the United States.
A book on how to make ricin arrived at the Tholen residence, addressed to Roger. He followed the instructions assiduously and made the deadly toxin.
If Roger had what could be called “a purpose” in making his ricin, only the misfiring synapses in his broken brain could discern it. He’s certainly never communicated it to anyone official.
Roger moved out, but not until he had shown Cousin Thomas what he had done. (more…)
For good or ill, much of the western half of the United States was settled by European colonists because of incentives such as the California Gold Rush and the Oklahoma Land Rush and the Texas Oil Boom. Economic interests encouraged an almost manic tidal wave of migration and city-building. Often, such waves of investment and population movement happen with governmental assistance and encouragement. They always happen because businesses and individuals see an opportunity for growth and profit.
Over the next few decades, we will witness another such tidal wave of migration and investment. The seeds are being planted now, and President Obama’s 2014 budget includes a request for a $105 million down payment on the new land rush.
The amount of real estate available dwarfs anything we’ve seen before in our history. Trillions of dollars’ worth of vital resources await development. We need only the courage and vision to take the necessary steps.
To get this treasure, we’ll be in over our heads. Way over our heads. (more…)
President Obama played a round of golf yesterday, for the first time in a month. Golf is sort of a staple of presidential exercise. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush were all avid golfers. This is the sort of exercise the Secret Service likes for Presidents to engage in. It isn’t physically stressful enough (like jogging or bike riding) to unduly threaten the health even of older men, and it allows the Service to clear an area many tens of acres in every direction to keep away would-be dangers. Plus, it is pretty cheap as presidential outings go.
President Obama, however, has come under criticism for golfing this weekend — as he seems to for everything he does.
Some Republicans have argued that the resources devoted to the president’s protection on such outings could be better spent on other priorities, especially in light of the administration canceling public tours of the White House.
So here we have Republicans criticizing the President for wasting Secret Service funds on protecting him while he’s golfing, instead of wasting Secret Service funds on protecting the White House from tourists. (more…)
As a little-heralded feature of the recent fiscal battles between the White House and Congress, America has largely achieved the goal of the “grand bargain” pursued during the summer of 2011.
If you recall, back then President Obama and Speaker Boehner at one time came close to an agreement that would reduce the federal deficit by roughly $4 trillion over the next decade. A deficit reduction of this size was seen as the Holy Grail of budget talks, a reduction that was sufficient (even if barely) to stabilize the nation’s economic future. Talks fell apart then because of Republican refusal to accept revenue increases. But since then, slowly, haltingly, painfully, that magic $4 trillion goal has come very close to reality.
We’re almost there. Too bad so few people know it. Even worse, it’s too bad that political strategists choose to pretend otherwise. Perhaps there’s something evil in the (intentional?) avoidance of the realities. (more…)
The President’s annual State of the Union address has evolved over time. As we’ve noted before on these pages, the Constitutional mandate only specifies that the President must, according to Article II, Section 3:
… from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient …
That is, on occasion, he must tell Congress how things are going, and what he wants them to pass as legislation. There’s no requirement of a speech, no requirement of it being annual, and no requirement of it being any particular time of year.
But traditions form, and the live, televised annual speech before Congress has become the standard. President Bill Clinton turned them into theretofore unseen spectacle, in a manner he reprised at last year’s Democratic National Convention.
And, along the way, the opposition party’s responses to the State of the Union Addresses became part of the tradition as well. Until recently, that meant a single opposition speech. Beginning in 2011, though, Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater, MN) gave the first Tea Party response, distinct from that of the Republican Party. (more…)
The next round of budgetary posturing and hijinks in is full flower. This act must play out by the first of March, when the sequester cuts — delayed by the last budget deal — are again scheduled to kick in. Here’s where things now stand.
President Obama has made a proposal for handling the upcoming crisis that Congress has once more inflicted upon itself. Many Republicans — though, surprisingly not all — have voiced predictable objections. Republicans are pushing for all cuts, all the time, primarily to Medicare and Social Security, both of which seem to be on increasingly good financial footing.
We’ve got just over there weeks before the cuts kick in, cuts designed to be too horrible to contemplate, so horrible they would force Democrats and Republicans to work together. They have been horrible enough that they’ve forced Congress to delay them once. What will happen next? (more…)